Every culture has its version of the ‘roll’, whether it’s an egg roll, burrito, crepe, taquito, Chinese lettuce wrap, goi cuon, American roll-up and cabbage roll. There are different versions of the cabbage roll from various counties: Sweden, Finland, Bosnia, Italy and perhaps most famously Poland.
Cabbage rolls are usually soft-boiled cabbage leaves wrapped with minced beef or pork and rice and baked in tomato sauce. It’s a simple peasant food. I can remember my mother in law admonishing me not to cook cabbage in my house because neighbors would smell it and think I was impoverished.
Yes cabbage does release a lingering strong odor when cooked but cabbage is very nutritious. You can open a window and turn on a fan if you are so delicate. Cabbage rocks! It’s full of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1 and B2, folate, calcium, selenium, iron, protein and niacin.
And by the by, it’s filling, tasty and a child friendly dish!
When I was growing up, I looked forward to when my parents went out at night because that meant we could have Kraft Mac & Cheese. Supposedly the company made it healthier a couple of years ago by removing artificial dyes, flavors and preservatives. Hold on Kraft fans, this new Kraft dinner is not a healthy choice to eat. It’s low in fiber and still high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat. I came up with a healthy vegan mac & cheese that doesn’t have any artificial ingredients is low in sodium, but high in protein and fiber, and zero added sugar and only 2 teaspoons of healthy oil. Yes, it does take more time to make, but it tastes better and is better for you and your family.
1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
2 teaspoons grape or virgin olive oil
1 chopped medium yellow onion
1 cup sliced bella mushrooms, (can use crimini or white mushrooms)
1 red pepper finely chopped
1/4 cup finely sliced sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup cilantro stem removed and cut (reserve 2 tablespoons)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 can (15.5 oz.) small white beans drained (reserve the bean liquid for later use)
2 Tablespoons white wine or low sodium veggie broth*
1 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon turmeric
2 cups dried cavatappi (or elbow) pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 green onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place cauliflower florets on a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. Drizzle with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place under broiled until gently browned. Watch closely.
In a large fry pan saute onions in broth for 5 minutes then add mushrooms, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Continue to saute adding broth as necessary, until soft.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain.
Prepare sauce by adding beans, wine or broth*, turmeric, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons cilantro and cayenne pepper to blend. Blend until smooth, stopping to stir and adding liquid as needed.
Combine cauliflower, pasta, green onion and remaining cilantro in fry pan. Then stir in sauce.
Heat over low medium for a couple of minutes until warmed.
* I frequently use wine in recipes. I understand some people have a hard time metabolizing it or want to avoid for other reasons. I totally get it. Substitute low-sodium veggie broth. For those of you who can’t tolerate “LTP” remember it is found in the skins grape but white wine is fermented without the skins. Check with your doctor if you can tolerate white wine.
If you’re a vegan you know jackfruit is a frequent meat substitute in many vegan recipes. When this nutritious fruit is cooked it mimics the texture of pulled pork and its mild taste can easily be seasoned to a variety of flavors. Just recently several national chain food stores have started carrying the fruit in the produce section. It’s sold whole or in pieces. You may prefer buying a cut up jackfruit section since whole jackfruit can weigh as much as 80 pounds. Whole Foods and many Asian markets stock fresh and canned jackfruit. If you choose to use the canned variety, make sure it’s packed in brine or water, not sweet syrup. Jackfruit may look intimidating but its well worth the effort to learn how to prepare and cook.
approximately 3 lbs of unpeeled jackfruit or 2 drained (20 oz.) cans
1 large yellow onion
1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow)
3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground fresh pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 cups veggie broth plus 2 tablespoons
Cut jackfruit into several smaller sections. (Note: jackfruit is very sticky so you may prefer to wear gloves and cover your cutting board with a sheet of parchment paper.) Remove rind with a knife.
Keep slicing jackfruit into large chunks. Remove the seeds and from the pieces.
Put a large heavy bottom pot filled with broth on the burner to boil. Meanwhile cut jackfruit into thin shreds.
Add sliced fresh jackfruit or drained canned jackfruit to broth and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
While jackfruit is simmering, slice one large onion and bell pepper. Sauté onion and pepper in a pan with 2 tablespoons broth until soft.
Combine sautéed veggies with jackfruit and remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. You can serve the ‘pulled pork’ on a gluten-free roll as it is traditionally done. I prefer to serve it with roasted baby potatoes.
I admit it. I love cooking with family and friends. And yes I love art projects. I used to joke when I lived in Manhattan that if you were to jump on the sidewalk outside my apartment a cloud of glitter would emerge from its exterior. I love creating with my children. It’s a fun time to explore, joke and play. Yet somehow at the age of 15 and 18 the glamor of spreading shaving cream sprinkled with glitter on the table top doesn’t cut it with my children. Instead , I have substituted colorful veggies and play (or pizza) dough. And oh what fun we have. The pizza may not be pizza parlor perfect but I guarantee it tastes as good!
1 store-bought bag of pizza dough (about 16 oz.)
1 medium onion thickly sliced
1/2 orange pepper and 1/2 red pepper (any types are fine) cut into large pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Marinara sauce
Olive oil for grilling
Fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup flour (for your hands and the surface so dough doesn’t stick)
Salt and pepper as desired
Light the grill.
While grill is pre-heating, decide if you want to make one large pie or smaller individual pizza so each kid can make her own. Let dough come to room temperature.
Lightly flour cutting board and hands so the dough doesn’t stick.
Now it’s time to channel your inner pizzaiolo although I’ve never successfully tossed a pizza into the air. A rolling-pin and hands, is my method of choice.
5. By this time the grill is usually hot enough for grilling the veggies (450º). Grease the grill then add the veggies. After several minutes lightly grease the top of the vegetable before you flip them. Grill for a couple minutes longer then reserve.
Brush one side of pizza dough with olive oil and place oil side down on grill. Cook for several minutes. Then brush oil on the top and flip. At this point I add the cherry tomatoes to the grill.
Brush the cooked side of pizza with Marinara sauce. Leave on grill for several more minutes watching carefully so the bottom of the pizza doesn’t burn.
When pizza is almost done top with veggie and basil.
Everyone loves dumplings and they’re easy to make if you have dumpling wrappers. The only caveat is a lot of premade wrappers contain egg. If you prefer you can use gluten free wrappers if you can find them. I finally found vegan dumpling wrappers at a nearby Asian market. Joy!
1 packet of dumpling wrappers (about 40) thawed if frozen
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 medium onion chopped
3 Tablespoons chopped ginger
3 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno pepper( or to taste)
1 package tofu (8-12 oz,
1/2 cup loosely chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon light soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sake, dry sherry or white wine
1/4 cup light soy sauce (for dipping sauce)
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (for dipping sauce)
Separate dumpling wrappers and place on a non-stick surface. Then cover with a damp towel so they don’t dry out.
Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of salt over cabbage and let sit for about 15 minutes to get rid of excess water. Then rinse salt off cabbage and squeezed dry in a a clean dish towel or paper towel.
Squeeze moisture from tofu by placing the block in dish towel or paper towel. Squeeze well and crumble at the same time.
To make the filling, place all ingredients, except soy sauce and rice wine vinegar for dipping sauce, in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Stuff dumplings by holding the wrapper in one hand and placing a tablespoon of filling in the center.
Then wet 1/2 the wrapper’s circumference with a finger dipped in water.
Fold in half to make a semi-circle. Crimp edges shut with the prongs of a fork.
Continue until done.
Place a large pot two-thirds of the way filled with water on the burner to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
When boiling add as many dumpling that can fit in pot. Boil until they rise to the top then boil for 1 minute more.
Remove by strainer and boil the remaining dumplings
Yum, I love comfort food: food that is warm, tasty, healthy, and filling. But it’s no longer comfort food for me if animals had to suffer, or if the production of some the ingredients is wasteful and environmentally unsound. I guess putting food into my body that causes pain, slaughter, sickness and pollution is not great for my digestion. My philosophy on sustainable living and loving is summed up in this delicious recipe. And when you’re done eating you can rest assured that the consumption of this meal has helped farmers and planet Earth. That’s a mighty good aftertaste.
2 cups Arborio rice
2 chopped bell peppers (I picked what I had on hand a red and a yellow.)
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup green onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup white wine divided into 2 half cups
6 cups veggie broth
1 Tablespoon herbs de Provence (Mix of savory, thyme, and rosemary.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
Warm veggie broth and wine in a pot. (Hint: I freeze leftover wine for later use.)
Add the garlic, onions and herbs. Saute one minute then add peppers and saute two minutes before adding sliced mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are slightly browned.
Add rice and stir for several minutes until browned.
Slowly add warmed liquid 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until all the liquid is absorbed.
5. When there’s only about 1 cup of liquid left to stir in add the rest of the ingredients and stir until all liquid is absorbed.
I love traditional Moo Shu Vegetables in pancakes! They’re crunchy, spicy, aromatic, tasty, colorful and have the magical savory taste of umami. What’s not to love? Lots, if you are a vegan and mindful eater. Most all Moo Shu Vegetable recipes have eggs which of course are a no no for a vegan. The recipes usually contain a lot of sugar, oil and possibly MSG and gluten. In my vegan recipe, we overcome these obstacles and still end up with lots of flavor, nutrients and umami! The secret ingredients include: jackfruit : nutritional yeast and shiitake mushrooms!
1 (20 oz.) can of young green jackfruit, drained, rinsed and cut into smaller pieces. (Make sure the jackfruit is not canned in sweetened syrup, brine or water is fine.)
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water: drain, remove stem and slice
1 large onion chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped ginger
4 cloves chopped
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 carrot peeled into strips or ribbons
2 1/2 cups shredded cabbage (green or purple)
1 cup mung bean sprouts
1/2 sliced raw white or cremini mushrooms
5 green onions
1 cup vegetable broth (added as needed for sauteing
2 teaspoons dark sesame seed oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
4 tablespoons hoison sauce, ,divided
1/4 cup white wine or rice wine (sake)
lettuce leaves (baby bibb, butter or iceberg)
Saute onions, ginger and garlic with 3 tablespoons of veggie broth in large sauce or fry pan for 3 minutes. Add more broth to pan as needed.
Add jackfruit, 2 tablespoons hoison sauce, soy sauce and about 1/2 cup veggie broth. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you can shred all the chunks of jackfruit with a fork.
After shredding jackfruit, add shredded cabbage and carrots and mushrooms, saute until cabbage softens. Add vinegar and a splash of white wine or rice wine.
Add sesame oil, remaining hoison sauce, nutritional yeast sprouts and carrot strips. Cover and steam until sprouts soften, about 2 minutes.
Put into a serving bowl and toss. Add additional soy sauce and hoison sauce to taste. Serve with large lettuce leaves for wrapping on the side.
I love sushi. In fact, going out for sushi with my omnivore friends never poses the problem of having to eat the usual vegan fare at a typical American restaurant of a garden salad and pasta with non-meat marinara sauce, yet again. I came up with these easy to make vegan sushi rolls that require little culinary skill other than cutting vegetables, making rice, and rolling. I also have posted a recipe for vegan spicy tuna rolls. If you’re having problems finding the ingredients try an Asian market.
2 cups uncooked sushi rice or short grain rice (white or brown)
One large European cucumber (or regular cuke with seeds removed,) peeled and cut into strip
One pickled radish
soy sauce for dipping
Add rice to 3 cups water and cook. I use a rice maker.
Mix wasabi powder with 2 Tablespoons water.
Cut vegetables. Rinse cut radish in water several times.
When rice is done cooking add rice vinegar and sesame oil, mix. Try to fluff the rice with a rice paddle or spatula so that it cools down but is still warm and mixes well with vinegar.
Place nori rough side up on a bamboo mat(available in most Asian markets) or rip off a piece of plastic wrap roughly 12″ long. I prefer to wrap the bamboo mat in a paper towel and plastic wrap so that it’s easier to clean.
Place about 3/4 cup of rice on bottom 2/3rd of nori. Flatten so that it’s evenly dispersed. Then place your desired topping toward the middle of the roll. I like avocado and green onions rolls, pickled radish rolls and cucumber rolls with green onions. You can try asparagus, pickled carrot or any vegetable you like.
Using the bamboo mat or plastic wrap carefully roll up from rice topped end. Roll firmly to keep the roll together when you get about 2″ from seaweed end dampen your finger tip with water and wipe to seal end. Place roll seal-side down on cutting board and finish making the rest of the rolls. When done use a serrated knife to cut rolls into 1.5″ logs. Place on serving plate. Garnish with wasabi and pickled ginger.
Looking for a cool dish on a hot day? Here in the New York we’re in the midst of a heat wave. As is my solution to a lot of troublesome events, I find cooking and eating can make my day a little sunnier (or hopefully a bit more cloudier in the case of a heat wave). But with the heat so intense, I don’t feel like slaving over the stove. Instead, this easy to make vegan cream of celery soup which is served cold like a vichyssoise fits the bill. But unlike a traditional vichyssoise it doesn’t drive the calories up with unnecessary cream. The thickness is achieved from beans and nutritional yeast, instead of potatoes, while the celery flavor is enhanced with fresh parsley and garlic. This is a perfect for lunch or dinner. Add a green salad and fruit and voila, you have a perfect dinner for a heat wave!
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, chopped (I used a Vadalia, but any white or yellow onion works)
1 large celery heart, chopped
1 quart (32 oz.) low-sodium vegetable broth
2/3 cup of drained white beans
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon turmeric
1/4 cup white wine
Salt (very little is necessary) and pepper to taste
Add onion, celery, garlic and 1/4 cup broth to a non-stick fry pan. Over medium heat saute until soft (about 10 minutes).
Get parsley. If you like me you’ll venture to your glorious vegetable garden and cut it. Ahhh, the joys of warm weather. Be sure to bring a flashlight if it’s dark. Youmay need to scare off the coyotes and fisher cats. (Don’t get me started on fisher cats. We just recently started hearing and seeing them in our yard. Their howls sound as though someone’s getting murdered in your yard. If you hear these screeches on a regular basis you probably have fisher cats. If these pests aren’t causing the ruckus, you might consider relocating to a safer area.)
Add turmeric, wine and a little pepper to sauteing vegetables and simmer until all the liquid is gone.
In the food processor put beans, parsley, one cup of broth, and nutritional yeast. Process until smooth.
Add sautéed vegetables and another cup of broth to food processor. Blend again until smooth. Do not over blend.
Scrape contents of food processor bowl out into a large pot. Heat over medium heat than gently whisk in the remaining broth until soup reaches desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. Let the soup cool off in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. If you started dinner late like I sometimes do, go ahead and serve it warm. The kids and mainly mother need to get to bed at a decent time.
Unlike traditional pesto made with pine nuts or walnuts, lots of olive oil and grated Parmesan cheese, this recipe is very low in fat, calories and is just as tasty. Nutritional yeast replaces the Parmesan cheese and small white beans replace the nuts and olive oil. As in the traditional pesto, basil and garlic are still used. This is an easy, quick go to dinner especially in the summer when I have an abundance of basil growing in the garden. My omnivore son always has a second helping. Comfort food to make and eat!
1 large bunch basil. Pick leaves of stems to make 3 packed cups.
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 can small white beans drained (15.5 oz)
Salt and pepper to taste
Place basil leaves, garlic, nutritional yeast and drained beans (save the liquid for cookies) in a food processor and process for 45 seconds or until smooth.