Monday, January 14, 2013

BBQ Lentils!

Yes....my kids LOVE BBQ lentils.  It is one of the most requested meals in our house AND it can be served many ways.   Not to mention, they are so easy to make!  I have made them in the crockpot, as well as a last minute meal on the stove.  Tonight we had them over mashed potatoes.  This recipe is also very tasty on a bun as a sloppy Joe type sandwich.
 



Ingredients:
4 cups water
16 oz dried lentils
1 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 bay leaf
3 tbs tomato paste
1 tbs veggie soup base (powder)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
pinch of cayenne powder
1/4 c pure maple syrup
1/4 c organic ketchup
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tbs brown mustard
1/2 tsp liquid smoke (or more if you like it smokier)

**I don't measure when I cook, so these are estimates.  Please taste your lentils after they have simmered for a while and adjust the flavors.  

For the crockpot:
Saute the onion and garlic until soft. Then,  combine the onion and garlic with and all other ingredients in the crockpot, stir until mixed well.   Leave on low for about 5 hours, or until you reach desired consistency.   Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Stove top:
Saute the onion and garlic until soft with the veggie base and a little water.  Add the lentils, water and the rest of the ingredients.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Once the lentils have boiled, turn to low and simmer for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.  The lentils will have a bite to them and will NOT be soft cooked for this amount of time.  The sauce should thicken.  If you want softer lentils, add more liquid and extend cooking time.



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Vegan Cheese & Gluten Free Baked Ziti

WOW!  There isn't much more to say really.  This cheese is so rich and decadent,  so luscious and creamy...and so VEGAN!   I used it in a baked ziti, but you could totally make it thicker to spread onto crackers.  The possibilities are endless.  It certainly isn't fat free, but eaten once in a while is okay in my book.

Ingredients:
2 cups raw cashews (soaked for at least an hour/drained)
3 Fresh basil leaves 
2 tbs Arrowroot powder or Corn starch 
2 cups Non dairy milk (I used plain almond milk) 
2 tbs Earth balance (I used soy free)
1/4 c Nutritional yeast
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Sea salt
Cracked pepper to taste

Soak and drain your cashews.  Put them into your food processor and process until they form a paste.  You can add a tablespoon of water if you like to help it along.  In a pot, melt the Earth Balance, add the milk and whisk in the arrowroot powder.  Chop the basil and add to the pot.  Bring to a boil while whisking. Turn down heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. 

Add the milk mixture to the food processor with the cashews.  Add the rest of the ingredients and process again.  Process all ingredients until you get a creamy cheese.  If you want it to be thinner, add a little more milk.  If it is too thin, add more arrowroot or corn starch.  You may want to adjust the salt as well, it might need a bit more.


HERE is the recipe I used the cheese in.  I made a gluten free/vegan baked spinach ziti. I cooked a pound and a half of gluten free pasta.  Then  I added a bag of cooked organic spinach to the cheese and then blended it with my pasta and some homemade garlic marinara I had on hand.  Then I baked it for about an hour @ 350. 

I served this with some eggplant (m)eatballs too.  My vegan guests and non vegan guests on New Years Eve were in love with this dish.  I can't tell you how rich and decadent this was.  It's a special occasion recipe for sure, but it is one that you and your guests will remember and request!! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!