December 8, 2013

Gingery Coconut Stew With Brussels & Rutabaga

Serves 6 to 8

Coconut Ginger Stew

When the weather forecast starts mocking you with single digits, this stew hits all the right notes. Three degrees is simply not enough degrees! Brrrr.

Somehow there was not a single rutabaga recipe on the site! I don’t know how that happened because rutabaga is basically my spirit vegetable. With all it’s purpleness and earthiness and intensity. It’s like a wizened turnip. But if you can’t find any, turnips or parsnips would be great here, too.

Although you typically find rutabaga in European cooking, I love the combination of rooty veggies and Asian flavors. Here the rutabaga gives a great balance to the stew; naturally sweet from the coconut and the carrot, with contrasting lime notes and laced through and through with ginger. The seared Brussel sprouts add extra wintery goodness as well as a fun texture. Chickpeas round the whole thing out (no pun intended) (because chickpeas are round.)

So when life gives you three degrees, make this stew! Serve with some jasmine rice and warm up your life.

Recipe Notes

~I like coconut oil in here for obvious reasons, but any neutral flavored oil will do!

~I’ve been really digging those little 5.5 oz cans of coconut milk. It’s so efficient and there is zero waste. If you can’t find them, then just measure out 2/3 a cup of coconut milk and you’re good to go.

~My brussel sprouts were little so I just halved them. If yours are on the bigger side, quarter them instead.

~The easiest way I’ve found to peel a rutabaga is with your chef’s knife. Place the rutabaga on your cutting board and gently slice away the waxy skin starting from top to bottom.

1 tablespoon coconut oil (refined or virgin)
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 lb Brussel sprouts, quartered [see note above]
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 heaping tablespoon fresh minced ginger
3/4 lb rutabaga, peeled and diced (1/2 inch)
1 cup sliced carrots
4 cups vegetable broth
1 15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1 1/2 cups)
1 5.5 ounce can coconut milk (about 1/2 a cup)
Juice of one lime
Zest of 1/2 lime
Salt to taste

Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)
Jasmine rice for serving

Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion in the oil with a big pinch of salt, until onions are lightly browned. Now add the brussels and try to get them lightly seared by making sure that they hit the surface of the pot. So just push the onions to the sides and let the brussels cook, giving them a stir every now and again. It doesn’t have to be perfect and not every single one needs to sear, just do your best!

Add ginger, garlic and red pepper flakes and mix in. Cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the rutabaga, carrots and vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to simmer, and add the chickpeas and lime zest. Cook with the lid ajar (to let steam escape) until the rutabaga is tender (5 more minutes or so.)

Add coconut milk and lime juice, and taste for salt. Heat through, and serve with cilantro and extra red pepper flakes or Sriracha if you like.

November 17, 2013

Isa Does It Sweepstakes!

Isa Does it Sweepstakes

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the support for Isa Does It and Make It Vegan! Thanks for posting pics of what you’ve been making and thanks for sharing the videos. Both the book and the series were such a labor of love, it means the world to me to know that y’all are loving them, too.

But let’s not stop at a simple thank you. Isa Does It has already made your kitchen better with all those recipes, and now we want to make it even BETTER THAN BETTER with the Isa Does It Sweepstakes! The lovely folks at Breville will be providing appliances used in the Make It Vegan video series to give away to four lucky winners. That’s right! I’m like a goth, vegan Santa Claus or something.

To enter, click here and fill out the form as directed. You’ll be entered for a chance to win one of these four amazing prizes:

• First Prize – 1 Breville Scraper Mixer Pro™ and 1 copy of Isa Does It

• Second Prize – 1 Breville Hemisphere™ Control Blender 1 copy of Isa Does It

• Third Prize – 1 Breville Fast Slow Cooker™ and 1 copy of Isa Does It

• Fourth Prize – 1 Breville Mini Slow Oven® and 1 copy of Isa Does It

And now for some legal stuff…

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. A PURCHASE DOES NOT INCREASE CHANCE OF WINNING. Void where prohibited. Must be at least 18 years of age and a US resident to enter. Sweepstakes begins November 17, 2013 and ends December 15, 2013. Visit to read the Official Rules. Sponsor: Hachette Book Group, Inc. 237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017.

Good luck to all, and thanks for the support! I wish you all the happiest and veganist of Holidays!

November 10, 2013

Quinoa Caesar Salad

Serves 8
Total time: 45 minutes || Active time: 45 minutes

Quinoa Caesar
Photo by Vanessa Rees

“Put some quinoa in it.” It’s almost become my motto. I mean, why not? Everything needs quinoa! Even Caesar Salad. This one really is a meal and it makes a ton because I love it as leftovers. It tastes great the day after and, honestly, still pretty darn good on day 3. But feel free to half it if need be. I am in love with the dressing; it’s creamy, garlicky, briny and tangy and just the kind of stuff you want to stick your face in.

In the video, I’m making it with breaded tofu. There’s another version in Isa Does It with tempeh croutons (pictured), but you can make it even easier (Isa-er?) by simply throwing some chickpeas on top. It’s definitely an entree salad, so pick your additional protein and have fun with it!

Recipe Notes

~I highly recommend making the quinoa a day in advance so that it’s easy to pull together on a weeknight. Soak the cashews all day so that you can just come home and whip up the dressing.

~For the roasted garlic, you can either roast a head of it a day in advance or buy some. Often big fancy places like Whole Foods will have roasted garlic cloves for sale (there are about 15 in a head) or you can even nab some from the salad bar. But honestly, although it adds another dimension of garlicky sweet deliciousness, you can forego it if need be.

For the Breaded Tofu:
3/4 cup fine storebought breadcrumbs (I use whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed between your fingers
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed between your fingers
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder

14 oz extra firm tofu, sliced into 8 slabs widthwise
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

For The Briny Caesar Dressing:
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours and drained
1 head roasted garlic (about 10 cloves, see tip)
2 cloves fresh garlic
1/4 cup capers, with some brine
3/4 cup water
Several dashes fresh black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

For the rest:
6 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
8 oz chopped romaine
4 oz baby arugula (or chopped arugula)
1 avocado, cut diced into 1/2 inch pieces

Make the Breaded Tofu:
Preheat a large non-stick pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. On a dinner plate, use your fingertips to mix together the breadcrumbs, dried herbs and garlic. On a separate plate, pour the soy sauce.

Place a tofu slab in the soy sauce, and toss to coat. Then dredge them in the breadcrumbs, tossing to coat. (Use your dry hand to handle the tofu in the breadcrumbs, otherwise you’ll get a crumb mitten on your hand.) Put coated tofus off to the side of the plate and continue until all tofu is coated. Put a thin layer of olive oil in the pan, and then transfer tofu cubes to the pan. Let cook for a few minutes then flip, using a thin metal spatula so that you don’t scrape off the breading. Cook for about 7 minutes total, adding a little extra to the pan as needed, and flipping occasionally until browned on most sides.

Once browned, remove from pan and slice on a bias into 1/4 thick pieces.

Make the dressing:
Simply add all of the ingredients to a small blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Scrape down the sides every now and again to make sure you get everything. Thin with a little water, if necessary. Keep tightly sealed and refrigerated until ready to use. Keeps for up to 5 days.

Assemble the salad in a very large mixing bowl. Toss the greens with the quinoa, and then add the dressing. Serve topped with tofu and avocado!

November 3, 2013

Stuffed Thanksgiving Burger

Makes 6 burgers
Total time: 1 hour || Active time: 30 minutes

Stuffed Thanksgiving Burger

There are plenty of ideas out there for what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers, and those creations are some of my favorites in the world. But what if it’s the beginning of November and you don’t yet have any Thanksgiving leftovers? Well, how about I transport you to the day after Thanksgiving; except without all those dishes, without all the travel and without all of those classic “jokes” where your great-uncle twice removed tries to make you eat turkeys?

Enter the from-scratch Thanksgiving Burger. It’s an unholy carbfest: think stuffing that’s stuffed in a roll! Lentils provide that proteiny burgerness, mushrooms add that earthy umaminess and hazelnuts aren’t only deliciously festive here, but they add great texture, too. And of course, you’ve got to have cranberries. Here, they are dried and studded throughout the burger like ruby jewels, providing little bursts of tart sweetness. All of the stuffing stand-bys — your celery, sage and thyme — are accounted for, too. You’re basically eating a beautiful Bob Ross landscape of the prettiest autumn foliage you ever did see. But in burger form. And believe me, you will give thanks with every bite!

Stuffed Thanksgiving BUrger

Recipe Notes

~Canned lentils work super great here. But if you don’t have any, make sure to account for the time it will take to boil some up.

~I used kale as my green, but it wasn’t completely untouched. I rubbed it with a little olive oil and salt. I think, though, that arugula (plain and unadultereated) would be a fantastic green to use instead.

~Mayo was my spread of choice for sure. I think ketchup would be too overpowering with these babies.

~I can see some food processors not doing the best job of chopping hazelnuts. If yours is such a machine, chop them by hand, using a clean kitchen towel over the cutting board and your chef’s knife. PS don’t bother peeling the hazelnuts. The skin doesn’t disturb anything here.

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Small yellow onion, diced medium
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dry rubbed sage
4 cups baguette sliced into cubes
1 cup vegetable broth

1/2 cup hazelnuts [see note above]
I cup cooked lentils (brown or green)
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries

To serve:
6 sourdough rolls
Kale [or your preferred greens, see note above]
Vegan mayo (storebought or homemade)

Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan non-stick (preferably cast iron) over medium high heat. Saute onion in one tablespoon olive oil for about 3 minutes with a pinch of salt, until translucent. Add mushroom, celery, garlic, black pepper, thyme and sage and saute for 7 to 10 minutes, until mushrooms have released most of their moisture.

Add baguette cubes, and drizzle in the other tablespoon of oil. Toss bread to coat in the mixture and cook for 5 minutes or so, tossing often, to lightly brown the bread.

Add the vegetable broth and use your spatula to really mush the bread up in the broth, so that it absorbs all the liquid and resembles stuffing. Let it cook about 3 more minutes, to sop up all the flavor.

While everything is cooking in the pan, place hazelnuts in food processor and pulse until they are chopped (not pureed.) Pieces should range from itty bitty to pea sized. Transfer nuts to a large mixing bowl. (No need to clean it out for the next step.)

Add the lentils to the food processor and puree until relatively smooth. Now add the bread mixture from the pan into the processor and pulse 10 to 15 times. You want the mixture to hold together, but there should still be mushroom and celery visible, it shouldn’t be a puree.

Transfer this to the mixing bowl with the hazelnuts. Add in the cranberries and salt. The cranberries like to stick together so make sure you separate them. Combine thoroughly, using your hands if need be, to form a firm but still malleable mixture. Taste for salt and pepper.

Let the mixture cool completely. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or so, just to help it firm up and let the flavors meld a bit.

Rinse out your cast iron, and preheat on medium-high. Roll the burgers into 6 equal sized tennis balls. Wash your hands often and keep them a little damp during this process for that the burgers don’t stick to your hands. Flatten into 1 1/2 inch thick patties.

Cook in a thin layer of oil for about 4 minutes on each side. Serve on buns with greens and mayo. Die of happiness!

October 30, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Mac & Cheese – VIDEO

Serves 4
Total time: 30 minutes
Active time: 20 minutes

Roasted Red Pepper Mac-N-Cheese
Photo by Vanessa Rees

This is a beautiful bright orange mac, flavored with pepperoni type pizza seasonings; fennel, thyme, and oregano. I used to call it Pizza Mac & Cheese, actually! I’ve written a lot about vegan Mac & Cheese in the past, so I’ll skip all the broohaha, and just tell you to check out the latest Make It Vegan video and then get your mac on! For roasted brussel sprout directions, use this recipe.

Recipe Notes

~I always have a jar of roasted red peppers on hand, but making your own doesn’t take much time or effort. If you’ve got the oven on to cook something else, anywhere between 350° and 425°F, simply sneak in a pepper or three on a small baking pan. Roast whole for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the pepper appears collapsed, then transfer to a paper bag immediately and close the bag up securely. This will steam it, so that when cool the skin comes off easily. Once you get the skin off, open the pepper up (if it hasn’t already broken open) and discard the seeds. Voilà!

~If you don’t have any pizza seasoning laying around, simply use these spices: 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed or ground fennel, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic)

~You can make this a baked mac, if you prefer! Transfer the whole shebang to an 8×8 casserole and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.

~If you forgot to soak the cashews, have no fear. You can boil them for the same creamy effect, and still have this on the table in 30 minutes. Just submerge in boiling water for 15 minutes, drain, and proceed.

1/2 lb macaroni or other small pasta

3/4 cups unroasted cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced medium
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
1 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 roasted red peppers (jarred or homemade)
1 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons pizza seasoning (see note)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Preheat a 2 quart sauce pot over medium heat. Saute onions in oil with a pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds or so, then transfer to a blender or food processor.

Boil a large pot of salted water for cooking the pasta. Once boiling, cook pasta according to package directions.

Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the vegetable broth, corn starch, nutritional yeast, red peppers, tomato paste, pizza seasoning, salt, mustard and turmeric. Blend until very smooth. Scrape down the sides every 30 seconds or so and test for smoothness.

Transfer the sauce in the blender back to the sauce pot where you cooked the onions. Turn the heat up to medium and let cook, stirring very often, until thickened. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes. Taste for salt. It should taste slightly salty because you’re going to be pouring it on the pasta.

The pasta should be done while the sauce is thickening, so drain and place pasta back in the pot you cooked it in. Set aside.

When sauce is thickened, add it to the pasta in the pot, and use a large slotted spoon to mix well, taking care not to break the pasta. Serve!