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Vegan MoFo: Savory Summer Squash Tart with Thyme and Rosemary

The Vegan MoFo gods have prompted: “OMG, Barack Obama is coming over because he knows you make awesome vegan food! What are you going to make?”

Well, he is the president, after all. So I figured I should try to make something somewhat fancy. I didn’t think my usual bowls of random grains and beans would do. I wanted something composed. But also seasonal, and preferably local, because hello, Michelle’s totally coming, too. Enter: tart.

In my opinion, tarts are elegant, but not too elaborate. Something you could easily prepare for dinner, but still requires a bit of know how.

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I started out preparing the tart shell, which is a mixture of whole-grain spelt flour, oat flour, vegan butter and olive oil. The mixture is meticulously pressed into a tart pan (this is where a bit of skill comes in), and then parbaked.

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I then got to work on the filling. I originally wanted to use brown lentils as the base, as they lend a meatiness and earthiness. However, I was out. That’s when moong dal swooped in and saved the day. Moong (mung) dal is split moong beans, which you can find with husk or without (I used husked, as it has a smoother consistency). I love moong dal as it has quite an earthy taste, yet milder than lentils. You can find it at any Indian store, along with a host of other wondrous legumes.

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After cooking with some herbs, it turns into a puree! Which is exciting, at least to me. No blender required *gasp*. The less dishes the better.

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I layered in the moong dal, and topped it off with sauteed summer squash, onions, and cherry peppers. This is where the local comes in. I harvested these beauties from a local farm. (Editor’s note: In my dreams I would have harvested it all from a local farm. But it reality the summer squash came from BJ’s. You win some, you lose some.)

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Here it is, prior to the final bake.

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Et voila. The final tart. I’d say it’s ready for its Obama debut. Maybe with a nice side salad of baby lettuces in a spiky vinaigrette?

Also, this is great fuel for your training (as my theme is Half-Marathon Training Fuel). It is full of complex carbs, from the oats, spelt, and moong dal. Complex carbs are great for sustained energy throughout the day, and into the next day, too. Your muscles store carbohydrates as glycogen, to be broken down when doing strenuous exercise, such as running. Just imagine all of those little moongs sitting there in your muscles, ready to power you through that next mile 😉

Savory Summer Squash Tart with Thyme and Rosemary

Serves 8

Tart shell adapted from Amy Chaplin

Tart Shell Ingredients

  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup oat flour (from 1 cup oats)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp melted vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp water

Moong Dal Filling Ingredients

  • 1 cup moong dal, sorted and rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Summer Squash Topping Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, cut in half-moons
  • 2 summer squash, cut in thin rounds
  • 3 cherry peppers, or 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 mild red chile pepper (I used cayenne, I think)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp herbes de provence
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Make tart shell: Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine the first four ingredients. Add melted vegan butter, olive oil, and water. Add 1 tbsp more water if the crust is too dry. You want it fairly crumbly, but the dough should stay together if you press it into a ball. Take a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press the crust into pan. Do the edges first and work your way into the middle. Place crust in oven and bake for 20 mins. Set aside.
  2. Make dal filling: While the crust is baking, combine all dal ingredients except salt in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to low and cover. Cook for 20 mins or until dal has turned into a fragrant puree. Mix in salt.
  3. Make summer squash topping: Heat olive oil in a large sautee pan over medium heat. Once hot, add onion and cook for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 15 minutes more, or until squash is cooked through.
  4. Raise oven heat to 375 F. Spread dal filling evenly around the shell. Then spread the sauteed veggies over top. Bake for 25 minutes. Wait 10 minutes for it to cool a bit. Cut into 8 slices. Note that if you eat it the same day as you make it, the dal filling likely won’t hold shape well. However, a chill in the fridge overnight allows pieces to maintain sharp edges when cut. Enjoy!

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Vegan MoFo: Chocolate-Chip Corn Muffins

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I make vegan baked goods quite often for my coworkers. To answer today’s Vegan MoFo prompt, “Share something vegan (and delicious, duh!) with a non-vegan” I am sharing this recipe for Chocolate-Chip Corn Muffins. I made these muffins a few weeks back and brought them into work for my hungry colleagues to gobble down. They did just that. Not one was left over, and I received many a compliment.

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Even though I am not vegan, I often veganize my baked goods. I do so largely because I eat dessert every day. Yes, you heard me right. Every. Single. Day. Because of this, I don’t want to be eating mountains of butter, eggs, and refined sugar on a regular basis. I’d much rather eat something made with whole grains, heart-healthy fats, and unrefined sugars. Also, vegan baked goods taste remarkably similar to the traditional (barring, of course, some recipes which require a lot of rising).

Pictured above are some of the healthful ingredients used in the muffins: pure vanilla extract, maple syrup, avocado oil, whole-grain spelt flour, and cornmeal. I frequently use avocado oil in place of canola in baking and sauteeing. Avocado oil is similar to olive in that it is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). It differs from olive oil in taste and ability to be used in high-heat; avocado oil is tasteless, whereas olive oil has a distinct grassy flavor; avocado oil can be used in high-heat cooking, while olive oil cannot.

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If you have little ones, or if you pack your own lunch for work, I think one of these moist muffins would make an excellent lunchbox addition.

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My favorite way to serve them is warm with melted butter running in all of the corny nooks. This is easily achieved by microwaving one for a few seconds, adding a few pats of Earth Balance, and diving in face first.

Chocolate-Chip Corn Muffins

Adapted from Love and Lemons

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup water or plant milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 + 1 tbsp cup avocado oil, or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the dry ingredients (cornmeal to salt) in a large bowl. Then, stir in chocolate chips.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the remainder of the ingredients. Add the wet mixture into the dry and stir to combine.
  3. Grease a muffin tin. Fill each muffin mold until nearly full (a bit over 3/4 full). Bake muffins for 18 to 21 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before taking them out of the pan (but of course, the chef can sneak one earlier if s/he can’t resist the glorious scent of chocolate and cornbread *coughme*). Devour!

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Raw Blueberry Power Porridge

Today’s Vegan MoFo prompt is “Something blue”. Voila,  my friends, something blue:

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This gorgeous Raw Blueberry Power Porridge is a fun way to shake up your breakfast routine. If you’ve never had raw buckwheat porridge before, it’s made by soaking buckwheat in water for 20 mins or longer, and then blending the buckwheat into a smooth consistency. In this recipe, I’ve done just that, but added frozen wild blueberries for flavor and that sexy color. I buy my frozen wild blueberries at Trader Joe’s for a few dollars, but you can also find them in bulk at Costco or BJ’s.

On top, I added fresh blueberries, along with little dabs of homemade brazil nut butter and sunbutter. I think next time I will add some crunch by scattering on a few kernals of raw buckwheat. I recommend that you do so!

Why is this Power Porridge, do you ask? Well, because I added a half scoop of protein power for some extra staying power. Don’t get me wrong, one serving of buckwheat does have 6g of protein, which is a fairly good amount. But, since I am amping up my milage, I wanted a bit of an extra boost.

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Raw Blueberry Power Porridge

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup buckwheat groats, soaked in water at least 30 mins
  • 3/4 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 1/4 cup plant milk
  • 1/2 scoop sweetened vegan protein powder (I used Vega)
  • a handful of fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp nut butter(s) of choice (I used brazil nut butter and sunflower seed butter)

Directions

  1. Drain the soaked buckwheat. It is normal for it to be slimy. Rinse the buckwheat thoroughly to remove the slime.
  2. Blend first four ingredients in a blender. Pour out into serving bowl. Top with fresh blueberries and your favorite nut butter. Dive in!

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