Vegan Kale & Potato Gratin

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Cold weather equals comfort food. I’m all about the comfort when it’s easy to make and tastes delicious. Though it’s great to put in a great deal of effort, I’d rather save the effort for the eating and serving up yummy dishes.  This meal is great as a side or even as a main event, trust me you will want seconds. I even was able to get my carnivorous boyfriend and brother on board. I was inspired by a recipe on TheKitchn.com but you know me, I love to make it vegan! Well, here you go my foodies!

What You Need: 

  • 1 1/2 pounds of red potatoes
  • 1 bag of Tuscan kale (Trader Joe’s has a great bag of Tuscan kale, super cheap, super tasty-great in smoothies too!)
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 cup of coconut or soy milk creamer (unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup of cashew cheese
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbs of vegan butter (soy free)
  • 2 tbs of gluten free flour (or wheat flour, your choice)
  • Breadcrumbs (optional)

How You Make It: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Slice potatoes into disks , 1/4-inch thick (skin on) and toss into salted boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add flour, stirring constantly. After a minute or so, add in the coconut/soy milk creamer. Continue to stir until it thickens. Once thick, add in nutritional yeast and cashew cheese (think cheese sauce for mac ‘n cheese, yum). Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss  the potatoes and kale in the olive oil mixture. Add to a casserole baking dish, layering the kale and potatoes and adding the “cheese” sauce to each layer and sprinkling with bread crumbs, if you like.
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the top is crispy. Feel free to add more breadcrumbs to the top layer for added crunch (suggestion: mix breadcrumbs with vegan butter to make the top extra golden).

Serving Suggestion: Serve with a mixed greens salad or with your favorite sautéed veggies. I love making roasted brussels sprouts with Grade B Maple Syrup, dried cranberries and slivered almonds. Perfection. Sweet and savory all in one dish, talk about a food-gasm (yes, that is a word).

I hope you get inspired to make something delicious for dinner tonight or any of these cold nights during the Polar Vortex.

Peace, love and NO beef!

Guramrit

Yogi Bhajan’s Pasta e Fagioli

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When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that’s amore! When the stars make you drool just like a pasta fazool…that’s amore! 

When I think about Pasta e Fagioli, I instantly think of that song. Then again, I start singing it when I crave pizza, pasta or anything Italian. I came across an old cookbook from my childhood, “The Golden Temple Vegetarian Cookbook” by Yogi Bhajan. I have a strong attachment to Yogi Bhajan partly because he named me. Talk about an awesome conversation starter, right? Well, long story short my mom studied Kundalini yoga with Yogi Bhajan back in the 80s and called him when I was born to give me a name. I’m really glad she did because if I wasn’t named Guramrit, I would have been a Bhupinder (sorry dad, being called Boopy for short is not cute). So back to this cookbook. My mom and I were on a hunt for a few of her yoga books since I am getting mentally prepped for Yoga Teacher Training. She came across this cookbook which really brought me back to being a kid. My mom would make some of my favorites from this cookbook (more recipes with a twist coming soon). I was searching for some inspiration and the page I happened to open up was this particular recipe for Pasta e Fagioli. Of course I always tweak, dabble, taste, sprinkle to tailor to my tastebuds. I hope you enjoy this hearty and delicious stew for lunch and dinner. I’m actually still eating this 2-3 days later. It gets better with age!

What You Need: 

  • 1 35 oz can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz can navy or white beans
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, diced
  • 1/2 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of baby spinach (I have to add spinach to EVERYTHING)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 8 oz gluten free (brown rice) pasta (macaroni elbows, ziti- whatever you like)

How You Make It: 

  1. In a large pan, sauté carrots, leek and garlic until translucent. Lightly salt and pepper and continue to stir. Toss in beans and stir.
  2. Toss in the rest of the ingredients except pasta. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. In a separate pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Salt generously and cook pasta according to package instructions (ideally, al dente). Drain and rinse pasta. Set aside.
  4. Remove bay leaves. Serve with beans with pasta and enjoy!

Note: By keeping the pasta and bean mixture separate, it keeps the pasta from absorbing all the liquid. Then you won’t have soggy pasta! 

Keep warm my dear friends and make yourself something comforting for dinner tonight.

Peace, love and no beef!

Guramrit

Meyer Lemon and Almond Risotto

In 2011 after graduating from college, I went on a little Euro-trip with my best friend, Xiomara. As a food connoisseur (foodie for short), I was in heaven the moment we landed in Italy. One of my favorite dishes is risotto. The creaminess, the heartiness as well as the love and soul that goes into a great bowl of risotto makes my taste buds and heart sing. I have to admit, it is a tedious and exhausting process. Traditionally risotto calls for wine but we didn’t have any on hand so we just added a little more veggie stock. If you can get the wine, bring it! It adds another dimension of flavor. Get ready for a delicious meal and arm workout!

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What You Need:

  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons of butter (Vegan Butter, Earth Balance Soy Free Spread is Fab)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup of arborio rice (or short grain brown rice, which I opted for in this recipe)
  • 3-4 cups of vegetable stock (there’s more flavor in stock), warmed and set to the side
  • 1 cup of white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio- only use wine you actually would drink)
  • 1 cup of frozen peas
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup of chopped slivered almonds (you can toast them if you would like for added flavor)
  • 2 Meyer Lemons, juice and zest
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley (opt for flat parsley, not curly)
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

How You Make It: 

  1. Heat oil in a heavy pot. Add one tablespoon of  butter to the oil. Toss in shallots and garlic. Cook over medium low heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Turn up the heat and toss in rice. Mix thoroughly until completely coated with the oil mixture. Add the glass of wine (if you’re not using wine, add a ladle full of stock) and scrape the pot to deglaze (AKA removing the crusty bits at the bottom of the pan)
  3. Stirring frequently, slowly add a ladle full of stock at a time. Once the previous ladle full has been absorbed, add another ladle full. Continue this process until you have used up to 3 cups of the stock. Test the rice. If the rice is tender, do not add the last cup of stock. If there is still a bite to the rice, add the final cup and continue to cook until the stock is absorbed.
  4. Toss in peas and tomatoes. Stir to combine. Slowly stir in the final tablespoon of butter for creaminess. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Once peas are fully cooked, add the juice and zest of both lemons, almonds and parsley. Add more salt if needed.
  6. Serve immediately.

My favorite part about risotto has to be eating it with loved ones and seeing their smiles. You can serve this with some fresh sautéed veggies on the side or with some bruschetta if you’re having an Italian themed dinner. The best part about this recipe is it doesn’t contain any cheese or actual butter to make it overly heavy. You can enjoy the comfort of this classic Italian dish without overindulging.

Buon Appetito!

Peace, love and NO beef!

Guramrit

Guiltless Fettuccine Alfredo

I’ve been on the search for a vegan version of an Alfredo sauce since…forever. I loved making Fettuccine Alfredo when I ate dairy but even then it would not play nice with my stomach. I went on a search yesterday to satisfy this craving and found a fool proof recipe for Alfredo sauce. When I say this recipe was simple, I mean simple. I popped the ingredients in my Vitamix and within a minute this sauce was ready. The longest part of this recipe was cooking the pasta, but trust me the wait is worth it!

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

What You Need:

1 can of unsweetened coconut milk

1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes

2 cloves of garlic

1/2 tablespoon of dried basil (you can use fresh as well)

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and black pepper

1/4 cup of Daiya Mozzarella Vegan Cheese Shreds (optional)

How You Make It: 

1. Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender. Blend. Pour over your favorite pasta. Enjoy!

Suggestions:

Serve with brown rice fettuccine pasta and broccoli or peas. Serve with a delicious glass of white wine and bask in the glory of not feeling bloated or guilty! 

Benefits: 

1. Nutritional Yeast is jam packed with: Vitamin B-12 (us vegans need this as it is only really present in meat and dairy products for the most part), it is high in protein (2 tablespoons = 9 grams of protein!), high in fiber, it’s gluten free and is a great source of folic acid.

2. Coconut Milk has good fats to help you feel full which keeps you from overeating and helps you burn fat. How awesome is that? The creamy goodness of coconut milk is also great for your hair and skin while also boosting your immunity.

Peace, love and NO beef (more Alfredo sauce, please)

Guramrit