Pinto bean cutlets, mushroom gravy, kale chips, and mashed potatoes

This was a pretty elaborate meal altogether, and completely worth the effort! On Friday night we made pinto bean cutlets, based on the Veganomicon chickpea cutlets, mushroom gravy, kale chips, and sinfully delicious mashed potatoes.

Mushroom Gravy

1 package white mushrooms, sliced thinly

1 TBL vegan margarine

1 TBL light tamari

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1.5 cups water (or enough to cover mushrooms)

Extra tamari


1-2 TBL cornstarch, with enough water to make a thick, yet runny paste (3-4 TBL water)

In a pot, saute mushrooms in a small amount of Earth balance (or other vegan margarine) until they release their juices, about 5-7 minutes. Add tamari and garlic. Cook another 5 minutes or so. Add water to cover (approximately 1.5 cups), bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for another 5 minutes. Taste the liquid, if too watery add 1-2 teaspoons of tamari, add cayenne. Taste for seasoning. When the sauce tastes good, add in about half of the cornstarch mixture and stir continuously. It will thicken rapidly. If you like a thicker gravy, add more cornstarch. Continue to stir until it’s your desired thickness. Then turn down the heat, and stir occasionally until you are ready to serve it.

Kale Chips

There are lots of great recipes for kale chips on the internet. We chopped up the kale, tossed it with about 1 TBL olive oil, salt, cayenne, and garlic powder. Then baked it at 325 for 10 minutes. Easy-peasy.

Pinto Bean Cutlets

(This recipe makes only four, so we doubled the recipe below, and froze the leftover cutlets.)

1 cup canned pinto beans

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup vital wheat gluten

1/2 cup matzah meal

1/4 cup pinto bean liquid

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 cloves garlic minced

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon rosemary

Preheat oven to 400.

In a mixing bowl, use an immersion blender to mix the pintos together with the oil until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and knead for about 3 minutes, until strings of gluten have formed. (We let the dough sit for 10-15 minutes and this helped with the next stage.)

After the dough rests, divide the cutlet dough into four equal pieces. To form the cutlets, knead each piece in your hand for a few moments and then flatten and stretch each one into a roughly 6 x 4-inch rectangular cutlet shape. The easiest way to do this is to first form a rectangular shape in your hands and then place the cutlets on a clean surface to flatten and stretch them.

Add a moderate thin layer of olive oil to the bottom of the pan. Place the cutlets in the pan and cook on each side for 6 to 7 minutes. Add more oil, if needed, when you flip the cutlets. They’re ready when lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Brush both sides of each patty with olive oil, place on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Flip patties over and bake another 10-15 minutes until firm and brown on both sides.

Mashed Potatoes

We didn’t really measure anything, as per the norm, but these mashed potatoes were perfect. Chop 7-8 small yukon gold potatoes and boil until soft (leave the skins on). While the potatoes cook, grate 1/2-3/4 cup almond (or other non-dairy cheese) into a mixing bowl. Add 3-4 TBL of Earth Balance, approximately 1/3 cup rice milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the cheese. Set aside. After the potatoes are done, drain in a colander and mash with cheese mixture. Top with mushroom gravy……….Enough said.

Vegetarian Italian bean and vegetable soup

With the freezing monsoon weather, it was definitely another night for soup. Following a confusing conversation about making matzah ball soup, S and I went for an Italian style soup, reminiscent of minestrone, without the pasta and some other key ingredients. Oh, and we got to use our new immersion blender, which is so much better than the old one!italian soup

½ package vegetarian bacon, diced

1 onion, diced

3 celery stalks, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 small potatoes, chopped

Salt and pepper

2 cups swiss chard

1.5 cups chopped tomatoes

1 can white beans, with liquid

1 can kidney beans, with liquid

4-5 mushrooms, chopped

2 TBL miso

32 oz water (or to cover)

1/2 TBL parsley

1 bay leaf

¼ tsp thyme

1 TBL basil

1 TBL oregano

3 green onions, chopped for garnish

In a large pot, saute vegetarian bacon, onions, garlic, celery, salt and pepper with some olive oil. When the vegetables begin to soften, add in potatoes and saute 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except spices. Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil. Add spices and reduce heat to simmer. Cook 30-40 minutes. Pulse about half the soup with an immersion blender for a creamy texture. Serve with chopped green onions.


Potatoes Au Gratin

2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
1/4 c. soy butter
1 medium onion chopped
1 tbl. whole wheat flour
salt and pepper
1 c. rice milk
1/2 c. fat-free plain yoghurt
1/2 c. yoghurt with Wholefoods ranch dressing seasoning mix
2 c. cheese grated (combined): .75 oz mustard cheese, white Cabot cheddar

Heat oven to 375.
Slice potatoes approximately 1/8 of an inch thick. Spread potatoes evenly into an ungreased casserole dish.

In a pot, melt butter and cook onions for about 2 minutes (until golden). Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Remove from heat.

Stir in rice milk, yoghurt, dip, and 1.5 cups of cheese. Heat to boiling and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Pour cheese sauce over potatoes. Divide one-fourth of a cup of rice milk and pour into each corner of the casserole dish.

Bake 45 minutes, uncovered.
Sprinkle remaining cheese over potatoes and cook an additional 15-20, until brown.

Egg Noodles with Fancy Cheese and Kale

2 cups (dry) egg noodles, cooked
1.5 c. kale
2 oz ricotta salata
2.5 oz (approximately) unpasteurized Chimay cheese with beer
1/4 c. soy butter
1/2 c. rice milk
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

In a pot on medium-low heat, melt together butter, rice milk and cheeses. Add in salt and pepper to taste.

Cook and drain egg noodles. Chpp kale to slightly larger than bite size.

Mix together noddles, cheese mixture, noodles and kale.

Bake 30-40 minutes until brown on top.

Mediterranean Tomato Chickpea and White Bean Soup

1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 can chickpeas
1 can white beans
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
2 small potatoes
4 jalapenos and juice
4 garlic cloves
2 tsp. parsley
1 tbl. cumin
1 tbl. Hungarian paprika
1 tbl. oregano
1 tbl. cayenne
1 tbl. red curry powder
1 bay leaf
1 tbl. tahini
1 tbl. tamari
dash of sherry
olive oil

In a large stock pot, saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add in spices, along with chopped potatoes, carrots and celery. Add sherry (to taste) and jalapenos. Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add in canned tomatoes and beans. Stir well to prevent stickage. You may want to add between 1/2 cup and 1 cup of water to cover all the ingredients (and depending on how soupy you enjoy your soup.)

Bring to a boil, then cover loosely and reduce heat to simmer for at least 30 minutes.

We served this with a scoop of rice and grated Mustard Seed Cheese.

Vegetarian French Onion Soup

Loosely adapted from Emeril’s French Onion Soup.

This recipe makes two casserole dishes (8 generous servings), and is best if made a day ahead.

6 tbl. butter
2 pounds white onions, sliced
1 tbl. rosemary
1/2 cup sherry
6 cups water
4 vegetarian bouillon cubes
1/4 cup tamari
1 vegan Italian slausage
3-4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
6 slices of bread made into homemade croutons
2 cups white cheddar, grated

Melt butter in a large stock pot. Slice the onions very thinly and add to the pot. Cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes and then add garlic and rosemary. Stir frequently. The onions will start to break down, but continue cooking until the onions are caramelized and translucent, about 45 minutes. Add the sherry and let it cook for about 5 minutes.

Add the boullion cubes and water and bring to a boil. Add in tamari and slausage (crumbled). Lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate overnight.

Place six slices of old bread on a baking sheet. Lightly butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, cayenne, garlic and parsley. Bake at 325 for about 10 minutes. If the bread is not crisp enough, flip the slices over and bake an additional 5 minutes. Cut into small chunks.

Place half of the refrigerated soup in a casserole dish, then top with half of the crutons and half of the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes covered with foil at 350, then remove foil and bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes.

Twice Baked Potatoes with White Cheddar and Mustard Seed Cheeses

3 small Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup of shredded white cheddar and “Red Dragon with Mustard
Seed and Ale” English Cheese
1/4 cup rice milk
1/4 cup margarine
salt and pepper

Poke holes in the potatoes and bake for 10-15 minutes at 400.
Cut in half and scoop out the insides. Save the skins.
In a large bowl, mash together potato, cheeses, milk, butter, salt and pepper.
Place potato skins on a baking sheet and stuff with mashed potato mixture.
Dampen the outside of the skins with a little water and sprinkle with salt.

Return to oven for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are crisp on the outside.

Homemade Spaghetti Oh’s

Half a bag of o-shaped pasta
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 white onion
3-4 cloves garlic
oregano, parsley
salt, pepper
1/4 cup old red wine

In a medium sized pot, saute onion in olive oil until translucent. Add in garlic and spices, cooking until fragrant. Add red wine and deglaze the pan. Add tomato sauce and stir well. Bring to a boil, then cover loosely and reduce to a simmer. Cook at least 30 minutes on low or medium low heat.

Boil and drain pasta. Return to pot and add in butter and parmigiana. Stir well. Add pasta to tomato sauce and let sit for several minutes before serving.

French Inspired Channa Dal Soup

Inspired by Sonya’s French Lentil Soup.

3 tbl olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cups chard stems, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
2-3 tbs tomato paste
1.5 cups red wine
16 oz dried split chickpeas
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp thyme
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs German mustard
salt and pepper

In a large pot, heat oil and saute onions, chard and carrot. Add in bay leaves and garlic, cooking until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and wine and reduce the liquid by 3/4.

Add in chickpeas and enough broth to cover with a few inches of liquid. You may need to add extra water. Simmer with a cracked lid for about 40 minutes, or until the chickpeas are soft. Uncover for the last few minutes, or until the soup is the desired thickness. Add in a large spoonful of mustard, stir and serve immediately.

Serve with delicious salad:
Swiss chard (red and green)
Red bell pepper
Carrots grated
White cheddar, grated
Red wine vinegar
Dash of salt and pepper

Egg Noodles with Swiss Chard and Cherry Tomatoes

1/2 pound egg noodles
28 oz can cherry tomatoes
1 bunch green chard, without stems
olive oil
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic

Mix together tomatoes, spices and olive oil in a pot, on medium heat. When the tomatoes are bubbling slightly, add in the minced garlic and stir. Cook for at least 10 minutes, then add in chopped swiss chard. Stir well and cover. Cook for about 10-20 minutes (or longer). Meanwhile, boil water and cook noodles. Drain and rinse with hot water.

** In retrospect, I wish I had made the sauce with onions and red pepper flakes as usual. I also wish I had added in some wine or vinegar. Alas.**

When the sauce is ready, stir in the egg noodles and allow to sit for a few minutes before serving. Top with parmigiana or other delicious cheese.