vegan black bean chili

This hearty, medium-spicy chili pairs beautifully with my vegan skillet cornbread.  Put some fresh greens alongside, and you’ve got a complete easy make-ahead dinner that tastes even better the second day.  How nice to eat chili and feel satisfied but not stuffed afterwards!  Bulgur wheat idea is from Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run recipe, and I found basic bean-to-onion and such ratios at eat, live,run, a nonvegetarian blog.  Guess a lot of runners want the protein and calories of vegan chili!  I ground whole cumin seed just a bit, more like, ‘cracked’, with a mortar and pestle.  If you have a spice grinder, use whole cumin seed and grind briefly for freshest cumin flavor punch. Cacao is optional; it adds a sweet dark undertone, and pushes up the antioxidant level.


Prep Time: 20 minutes (+ bean-soaking & cooking time if using dry beans)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 jalapenos
2 t cumin, freshly ground if possible
1 tsp cayenne
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 can tomato paste (the 6 oz can)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, julienned
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
2 1/2 Tbsp cacao powder
4 cups black beans, cooked    blackbnchili

Step One: Chop onion and peppers. Thaw corn in microwave.  In a large pot, cook onions and peppers in olive oil till onions are soft.

Step Two: Add cumin and cayenne, stir. Add diced tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir, then cook for five minutes, till fragrant.

Step Three: Add all other ingredients and cook on medium heat for twenty minutes. Adjust seasoning/heat and simmer on low for another ten minutes. Serve hot with cornbread.


vegan skillet cornbread

This moist, lightly sweetened confetti cornbread smells intensely good while baking! Adapted from a recipe at The Vegan Road blog.  Jalapeno, a small red pepper, and corn boost flavor, color and texture.  Serve alongside chili or soups, or warmed up with orange marmalade or mango chutney for a sweet-hot snack.

Prep Time: 10 minutescornbrdskillet
Bake Time: 30 minutes
1 cup cornmeal — yellow or white
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp flax seed
4 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 jalapeno
1 small sweet red pepper


Preheat oven, with 8″ iron skillet in it, to 425.

Step One: Combine cornmeal, flour,baking powder, and salt in larger of two bowls.

Step Two: Heat almond milk in microwave for one minute and twenty seconds. Grind flaxseed in spice grinder. Add ground flaxseed to hot almond milk to form ‘eggy’ mixture. Let sit while you move on to step three.

Step Three: Dice peppers. Mix peppers and thawed corn into dry ingredients.

Step Four: Whisk olive oil and maple syrup into almond milk/flax mixture.

Step Five: Add wet ingredients to dry; do not overmix.

Step Six: Lightly grease heated iron skillet with olive oil. Pour cornbread batter into skillet and bake at 425 for twenty-five to thirty minutes, or till toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean and top is golden. Serve hot!


easy vegan chai

This first snowy day of the season called for the stimulating cardamom, clove & cinnamon scents and flavors of chai.  I use loose organic Rishi Masala Chai but any high-quality blend will do.  Filling the mug then adding half a mug of almond milk gives the right portion, as some water steams off while infusing the spices.  For an extra kick, toss a small slice of fresh ginger root in the simmering tea.

Time: 12 minutes
water to fill your mug
2 T (approx.) loose whole leaf chai blend
almond milk, unsweetened vanilla
sugar to taste, 1 -2 spoonfuls


Step One: Fill your mug with water; pour into small saucepan. Add 2 T loose chai if you have a large mug like the one pictured; more or less depending on size. Cover and bring to boil.

Step Two:  Lower heat and simmer near boiling, partially lidded so steam can escape, for ten minutes.

Step Three:  Fill your mug halfway with almond milk; pour into simmering tea.  Let it heat up for one minute.

Step Four:  Pour ‘milky’ tea through a strainer and enjoy.


vegan super granola

This is a super-nutritious, crunchy, oat-and-walnutty granola that clumps up well.  Dried goji berries, cranberries, and peaches complete the mix, but you could use raisins and/or nearly any dried fruit.  This recipe fills two quart-sized mason jars — if you don’t nibble too much of it right out of the oven!   Largely based on a recipe from oh she glows, with cayenne idea borrowed from yummy life blog. granolabamboo

2 1/2 c old-fashioned oats
1/2 c raw walnuts, chopped medium
1/2 c unsalted raw nut mix such as cashews, peanuts, sunflower seed
2 T pepitas (pumpkin seed, toasted)
1/2 c shelled hemp seed
2 T ground flaxseed
2 T coconut flakes or shreds
1 t cinnamon
generous pinch nutmegwetndryingredgr
1/2 t salt
1/8 t cayenne
5 T brown rice syrup
1 T coconut oil
2 T pear butter or apple butter
2 T peanut butter
1/4 c brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 c dried goji berries
1/2 c dried unsweetened cranberries
3 dried peach halves, diced (about 1/2 c diced)

Step One: Preheat oven to 300. Combine all dry ingredients (except dried fruit) in a large bowl. Mix well.
Step Two: Combine wet ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat till the mixture boils. Lower heat and simmer, stirring intermittently, about ten minutes or till nicely fragrant and smooth.

Step Three: Pour wet mixture, while warm, over dry, and stir well with wooden spoon. Most of it will clump up nicely. Break up any too-large clumps and stir a bit more till it’s pretty even.


Step Four:  Spread mixture in a 15 x 10 or similar baking pan or sheet with sides. Bake in a 300-degree oven forty-five minutes, stirring gently about every 10 – 15 minutes for even browning. (The granola will seem damp while it’s baking. It crisps up as it cools!)

Step Five: Let cool to crispen, while gathering and/or dicing about 1 1/2 cups of dried fruits of your choice. After about ten minutes of cooling, give the granola a stir and cool ten more minutes. After twenty minutes’ cooling, add fruit and mix it all up.

Step Six: Store in jars with lids, or ziploc bags. Hide some away before it’s all gone!


roasted winter squash seeds

These are ridiculously easy to make, any time you’re roasting winter squash.  Save the seeds, rinse well (takes some detangling ‘squash strings’ effort), pat dry, and pop into the oven once it’s cooled down to 250.  These are seasoned with cumin, onion powder, and cayenne.  I look forward to hearing what other seasonings you choose to complement the seeds.  Here’s nutrition data  — good fiber and, said to be a good source of protein, vitamin K, iron and copper, and a very good source of magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.  I wouldn’t blog any food that isn’t a good source of something to keep you healthy!

Time:  45 min. baking, + 10 min. to scoop and wash seeds
3 winter squash, any type
1 1/2 t olive oil
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1/2 t onion powder


Step One:  Cut open the squash with a big sharp knife.  Scoop out seeds, along with the inner stringy pulp, using a regular spoon.


Step Two:  Place the seeds and pulp in a colander and rinse well, while pulling pulp off the seeds.  It takes some patience, two hands, and a good heavy water spray.



Step Three:  Place seeds onto a dry dishcloth and pat them dry with it.  It’s helpful to leave them out to dry while you go ahead and roast the squash for another recipe, such as spicy roasted squash spread.  Then while the oven cools down…


Step Four:  Place seeds on olive-oiled cookie sheet and move them around a little to coat lightly.  Sprinkle spices over the seeds.  Pop into a 250 F oven for 35 – 40 minutes; give them a little more or less time depending how crunchy and dark you prefer them.  The ones pictured, I baked for nearly an hour for a smoky well-done flavor.

Enjoy!  They taste great warm, and perk up a salad, wrap, or bowl of soup.  I confess I like to nibble on them with raisins from a little bowl …but then, I like nearly anything with raisins from a little bowl.

vegan spicy roasted squash spread

This recipe evolved from an urge to fill wraps with something other than hummus.  I adapted a fabulous recipe for cashew ‘cheese’ from the blog Positively Vegan.  It works well with butternut squash or yellow winter squash.  The spread received enthusiastic thumbs-ups at home, so I’m sharing!


Time:  1 hour soak/roast + 15 minutes prep.
Yields 4 cups spread
1 cup raw cashews (soaking them will take an hour)
2 acorn squash
4  cloves garlic
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 t smoked paprika
1 t cayenne
1 t red pepper flakes
1 heaping T white or red miso
tamari to taste
1 T tahini
1 T apple cider vinegar


Step One:
Cover cashews with water and set aside to soak (allow an hour or more). Preheat oven to 425.

Step Two:
Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds (delicious washed and roasted, later). Cut squash into fourths or a bit smaller. Place open side down in baking dish with a little water in it. Toss in the garlic cloves, smashed slightly to get the peel off easily. Cover with aluminum foil and bake forty-five minutes to an hour, or till soft.


Step Three:

Scoop squash away from its peel and place in food processor. Drain cashews and add them, and all other ingredients, to food processor. Whir it all together, about a minute, scraping down sides a couple times and adding a little more (or less) spice as you like. That’s it!


vegan spicy lentil spread

This creamy, garlicky green lentil spread/dip is a lively alternative to hummus.  Toasting the walnuts takes nine well-worth-it minutes and adds depth of flavor.  Inspired in part by this nonvegan recipe at Food & Wine and also this one from Vegetarian Times.  Omit peanut butter and brown rice syrup if you want the cayenne and garlic to knock you over!


Prep Time:  30 minutes to cook lentils,+ 10 minutes to prepare.

1 cup dry green lentils (2 1/2 cups cooked)
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup kale
1 cup cilantro
1/2 red onion
6 – 8 cloves garlic
1 scant T brown rice syrup
2 T olive oil
2 T peanut butter
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground cayenne
1 t salt
1 1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t cracked black pepper



Step One: Cook lentils for half an hour or till soft, in a bit less than 3 cups water. Drain cooked lentils well in a colander.

Step Two:  While lentils are cooking, toast walnut halves in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon here and there as they turn fragrant and tinged with golden brown. While toasting, gather all other ingredients and put them in the food processor.  (Be sparing with the spices at first unless you like it pretty wild!)

Step Three: Add lentils to contents of  food processor.  Close it up and whir on high setting for twenty seconds. Remove lid and scrape sides a bit, to get everything in on the whirring.


Step Four: Process another 40 seconds or till creamy and hummus-textured. Adjust seasonings to taste.

That’s it! Enjoy this in wraps, sandwiches, scooped over salad greens, or as a dip for carrots or chips.

rosemary & cracked pepper onion rolls

Cold weather has brought on my breadmaking urge.  Found a scrumptious-looking recipe at SImply Scratch and decided to veganize it!  Olive oil replaces butter; brown rice syrup replaces honey.  Flax seed adds nutrition and an earthiness to these great-with-a-hot-bowl-of-soup rolls.  I grind up peppercorns with a mortar and pestle to get the flavor-burst of pepper I like.  If you have a spice grinder, you can get similar nice big pieces by grinding coarsely.  20131023_173342

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus 1 1/2 hours rising time
Bake Time: 18 – 20 minutes

1 c whole wheat flour
2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t salt
2 t cracked pepper (I used a tricolor blend)
2 T flaxseed
1 pkg active dry yeast
1 1/2 c warm water
1 T brown rice syrup
4 T olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Step One:  Mix flours, salt, and cracked pepper in a large bowl.



Step Two:
Chop the onion and sautee in 1 T olive oil till golden; meanwhile, mince and add in garlic. Continue sauteeing till onion is caramelized. Set aside to cool.

Step Three: Stir brown rice syrup into warm water. Sprinkle yeast into water and brown rice syrup, and stir gently with a nonmetal spoon till disolved. In about ten minutes the mixture will be bubbly; in the meantime move on to step four.

Step Four: Grind flaxseed, chop rosemary (removed from stem) and add both to flour mixture.

Step Five:  Add yeast mixture, onions and garlic to flour mixture.  Stir with wooden spoon, then knead on a floured surface for about five minutes or till dough is springy.

Step Six:  Place dough in large bowl coated with olive oil, rolling dough slightly to cover with oil so it won’t dry out.  Let rise, covered with dishcloth, in a warm place for one to one and a half hours.


Step Seven:   Separate dough into twelve rustic round pieces, placing them onto lightly oiled baking sheet.  Let rise about fifteen minutes.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees as the rolls are rising.

Step EIght:  Bake for 20 minutes or a bit less, till golden brown; brush with olive oil halfway through baking.  Your kitchen will smell fantastic!  Serve warm.

jen’s roasted peppers

This easy broiler method for roasting peppers has me making them often! They’re a colorful, intense-flavored addition to salads, wraps, hummus, over pizza, straight from the jar…you name it.  You choose how much of the charred peel you want to stay on; it adds more smoky flavor.  Store the roasted pepper strips in jars with olive oil, a little sea salt or a splash of Coconut Aminos, and some garlic cloves to use them within a couple of weeks.  Or, store them longer in the freezer in a tightly covered container.  The peppers shown (equivalent to 6 bell peppers) made two pint-sized jars plus a little more.

Bake Time: 30-40 minutes
Prep Time: 15 min. cooling time + 10 or more minutes (depending how many peppers)


Bell peppers: 6 red, yellow, and orange
Olive oil, several drizzles
Coconut aminos, Bragg’s aminos, or sea salt to taste
Several cloves of garlic


Turn oven on to Broil.


Step One:  Place washed peppers whole in Pyrex baking dish.  While waiting for oven to get hot, peel two to three cloves of garlic for every six peppers.  Smash the cloves just a bit to release flavor and/or cut them in half.  Set them aside.

Step Two:  Place baking dish full of peppers under the broiler, about five inches from heat.  WIth tongs or a large fork, turn them about every ten minutes, till each of four sides is about halfway charred, but not blackened completely.

Step Three:  Remove peppers from oven.  Let them sit and ‘wilt’ for about fifteen minutes.  The wait time makes them easier to handle heatwise, and seems to release the stems so they will come off easily with most of the seeds.



Step Four:  With compost bowl handy, or over the sink, take hold of each pepper stem and twist.  it will come out easily and pepper will split open.  Gently scrape out any seeds that strayed from pepper stem.  Leave most of the charred peel on; some will naturally fall off.  It’s a bit messy, but not ridiculously so.

Step Five:

Cut peppers into strips and place in jars.  Drizzle with olive oil; you don’t need to cover them, it’s the general moistening effect that matters.  Place smashed garlic cloves in jar as you add peppers.  Finish with a few splashes of coconut aminos or pinches of salt.  Serve at room temperature (or warm!) for best flavor.


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