Sesame-Stuffed Eggplant

Eggplant
Sesame-Stuffed Eggplant | veganblondes.com

I’m learning how to cook Indian food, as you probably know by now! My Mother-in-law is such a joy to cook with, and she shares quite the treasures! I had never eaten those Sesame-Stuffed Eggplant before we made them together. She said they are usually served when company comes, or at dinner parties. But they are so cute, I might make them more often than that. Note that the stuffing could also be used with small bell peppers, or any substantial chile. Anaheim peppers come to mind. They look and taste beautiful, and besides the handling of the nuts, they’re not long or hard to make at all. This recipe gave us 9 mini eggplants, so you can double or reduce the recipe accordingly.

  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup almond slivers, toasted
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, toasted
  • 8-9 small Indian eggplants
  • 3 tablespoons butter (I used Miyokos Creamery), melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 heaping teaspoon garlic-ginger paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced curry leaves
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil

Put the toasted nuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until reduced to a powdery meal. Remove to a medium bowl.

Add the salt, chili powder, garam masala, garlic-ginger paste, turmeric, onion, cilantro, and curry leaves. Mix well with your hands.

Add the butter by teaspoonfuls and mix well between each addition, until you obtain a sticky mixture.

Cut the eggplant as below, in four segments, making sure to keep the stem intact:

Eggplant
Eggplants cut in four segments, keeping the stem intact.

Stuff the eggplant as below:

Stuffed Eggplant
Stuffed Eggplant

Add the oil to a medium skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add the stuffed eggplant and sear on all sides. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15-20 minutes, turning them as they cook, for even results. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve warm. Bon appétit!

Karine

Mushroom Curry

Mushroom Curry
Mushroom Curry | veganblondes.com

Ah, curries! My mother-in-law is visiting us in Arizona and I always take the opportunity, when she’s here, to cook with her and write down her recipes to pass down the future generations. It’s always such a treat, and every time, I feel like she’s letting me in on a major secret!

Indian cuisine is one of the most intricate and evolving types of cuisine, thanks to its 8,000-year history, characterized by various cultural groups and regional traditions.

This curry satisfies my cravings for Indian food and for mushrooms, two of my favorites. It is quick to make, and can be served over rice or any other grain. I like it served over sorghum, a gluten-free grain, native to Africa, and used extensively in Indian cuisine.

  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1 large onion, chopped small
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 heaping tablespoon garlic-ginger paste
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped small
  • 1 lb mushrooms, chopped small
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or red chili flakes
  • 3/4 tablespoon garam masala
  • Fresh cilantro, to garnish

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the cloves and cinnamon stick, and sauté 1 minute. Add the onion and turmeric, and sauté until the onion is caramelized, about 7-10 minutes.

Add the garlic-ginger paste and sauté one more minute. Add the tomatoes, stir well, cover, and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Add the mushrooms and stir. Add the salt and chili powder and mix well. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender, but with a little bite.

Add garam masala, turn off the heat, and done! Serve with some fresh cilantro.

Bon appétit!

Rainbow Pasta

Pasta
Rainbow Pasta | veganblondes.com

I have two kids. More often than not, I don’t have all the time in the world. This pasta saves my life often: Before a date night, so that the kids eat before the sitter comes, on a busy weeknight after spending the day in the garden, as a quick meal for a casual get together served with garlic bread. The possibilities are endless. Even for the vegetables you put in. The only advice when it comes to your veggies is to introduce them in the recipe according to their cooking time. I wouldn’t put chopped carrots at the same time as kale, but shredded carrots, sure. Or I wouldn’t put eggplant at the same time as spinach. You see what I’m getting to. This pasta recipe is more of a guideline to build your dream pasta, or to build something that will empty your fridge and make you eat veggies! Be creative!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 zucchinis, diced
  • 2 yellow squashes, diced
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ lengths
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bunch Rainbow chard, stems diced, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 package of your favorite pasta
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil, leaves torn
  • 4 green onions, sliced thin on the diagonal
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, bring some water to a boil, and add a few generous pinches of salt. Once the water boils, add the pasta, and cook according to package’s instructions. Before draining the pasta, keep about 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a very large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the vegetables (according to cooking time), keeping the chard and kale for the very end. Season with salt and pepper. Once everything is nice and cooked, but still crunchy, add the cooked pasta and some of the cooking liquid, if needed. Mix well.

Serve topped with a drizzle of olive oil, the fresh basil and green onions. Bon appétit!

Karine

Rainbow Pasta
My chopped veggies, ready to get sautéed. | veganblondes.com

 

Coconut Green Spring Soup

Spring Soup
Coconut Green Spring Soup | veganblondes.com

This is it. It is now spring in Arizona. The fruit trees are starting to bud, the seeds are sprouting. And this weather inspired this refreshing Green Spring Soup. The flavors in the soup, based off of coconut milk, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass, scream nice weather. You could use other vegetables that cook somewhat quickly, as this soup is ready fast! Longest thing is mincing and chopping. I served my soup over some somen noodles by Hakubaku, an Australian company. It seems to be a cross between soba and ramen noodles. They were very good, but any type of Asian noodles would work here. Ramen, soba, pad thai noodles, all good choices! I hope you enjoy this soup as much as my family did!

  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass, minced
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ lengths
  • 2 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced thin into half moons
  • 3 heads baby bok choi, stems and leaves separated, stems diced and leaves torn if too big
  • 5 cups vegetable broth or mushroom stock
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons green curry paste
  • 4 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thin, about 1/4″
  • 2 limes, cut into quarters
  • 1 jalapeño chile, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 10 oz package Asian noodles (soba, ramen, pad thai), cooked according to package directions
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • To garnish: fresh cilantro, fresh basil, mung bean sprouts, and raw peanuts, toasted

In a soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and lemongrass, and sauté for 2 minutes, while stirring.

Add the asparagus, the zucchini, and the bok choi stems, and cook, stirring, 3 minutes more.

Add broth, coconut milk, green curry paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and add mushrooms. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked.

Add the bok choi leaves and turn off the heat. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the juice of half a lime and add the chile.

To serve, put some noodles in a shallow bowl. Top with some soup and garnish with cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, toasted peanuts, and lime quarters. Bon appétit!

Karine | veganblondes.com

Fruit Bliss® Sun-Ripened Tomato and Basil Soup

Tomato Soup
Sun-Ripened Tomato and Basil Soup | veganblondes.com

This soup is a wonderful classic to which we add a kick of flavor with sun-ripened tomatoes. The use of heirloom tomatoes, or the best tomatoes you can get your hands on, is key to a balanced soup that’s just screaming for fresh basil and olive oil!

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup shallots, diced
  • 1 small carrot, very finely chopped
  • 1 small celery sprig, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 cup Fruit Bliss® Turkish Tomato Halves (keep 1-2 halves from package to garnish)
  • 4 cups heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Fresh thyme and parsley sprigs, tied with kitchen twine in a bouquet garni
  • 1 large handful fresh basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • To serve: pumpernickel croutons, fresh basil, olive oil

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook, covered, until soft and fragrant, about 8 minutes, stirring often to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Add the dried tomatoes, stir for one minute. Add the chopped heirloom tomatoes, vegetable broth, and bouquet garni. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, for about 15-20 minutes.

Discard the bouquet garni. Add the fresh basil leaves and maple syrup. Let cool. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer the soup back to the pot. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve with some croutons, some sun-ripened tomatoes, more fresh basil, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bon appétit!

Karine

Super-Quick Broccoli Gratin

broccoli gratin
Super-Quick Broccoli Gratin | veganblondes.com

Are you in a rush? Do you always wonder what to cook as a side dish? Are you on the market for a new broccoli recipe? We’ve got the perfect thing for you! Not only is this broccoli gratin fast and easy to make, it’s packed with flavor and you’ll need  only five ingredients, including salt and pepper! You could also add some vegan cheese on top, but it’s completely addictive without!

And psst! The leftover broccoli florets are also wonderful on top of a big bowl of kale and farro!

  • 1 large head of broccoli (about 2-2 1/2 lbs), trimmed and cut into florets
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • Sea salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375˚F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the broccoli fleurets, the olive oil, and the sea salt and pepper (to taste). Spread the florets in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the mayo with the mustard. Drop dollops of sauce over the broccoli florets, so that they all benefit from the sauce.

Pop in the oven and roast for 12-15 minutes, until the broccoli is tender, but still crisp, and a nice golden char starts to appear on the sauce. That’s it! Bon appétit!

Karine

Maple-Jalapeño Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts
Maple-Jalapeño Glazed Brussels Sprouts | veganblondes.com

This is a quick and easy way to eat Brussels sprouts, but it is also so decadent, you might want them for dessert! These Brussels Sprouts are easy and quick to make, and the leftovers are also great the next day with some spelt (or any other grain) and some Dijon-Garlic Vinaigrette. You can use a milder pepper if you want less kick!

  • 2 jalapeño chiles, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 lbs Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved

Preheat oven to 400˚F.

In a small saucepan, combine the chiles, maple syrup, butter, and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 2 minutes and remove the chiles with a slotted spoon, reserving them for serving. Continue simmering for an additional 5 minutes, until the glaze thickens a bit.

Spread the Brussels sprouts halves on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with the glaze. Transfer to the oven and roast for about 20-25 minutes, basting with the glaze 2-3 times, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Cooking time may vary depending on the size of your sprouts. Serve topped with the reserved jalapeños. Bon appétit!

Karine