I started writing a big long essay about Passover and making food choices that no longer enslave others, and about freedom from our addictive and unhealthful food choices. But I know you all would be likely to skip over it because this tart is just so darn pretty. Those are extremely important issues to me though, so I will be revisiting this post soon. In the meantime, here you go…
Let me just say that, believe it or not, this tart really tastes even better than it looks. Plus, it’s made entirely of whole, unprocessed ingredients–literally just fruit and nuts. It’s raw, gluten-free, oil-free, and has no added sugar. And, of course, it’s kosher for Passover.
Best. Dessert. E V E R!
2 cups walnuts
1 cup pitted dates
1/4 shredded unsweetened coconut, divided
1/2 cup dried mango, soaked in water for at least 10 minutes
1 ripe banana
Fruit of your choice (I used baby kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries.)
1. Add the walnuts, dates, and half the coconut to a food processor and pulse till somewhat smooth. It doesn’t need to be as pureed as peanut butter, but it shouldn’t be too crumbly either.
2. Spread the rest of the coconut onto the bottom of a pie pan. Press the walnut-date mixture evenly into the bottom and sides of the pie pan to form the crust. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
3. In the meantime, blend the dried and fresh mango and banana until completely smooth. Pour onto the crust and place back in the freezer for about an hour.
4. Cover with fruit and place in the fridge until ready to serve. (Depending on how long that is, there will be some variation in terms of firmness when slicing. Mine was pretty messy but it really didn’t matter because it tasted so good. You can always keep in the freezer longer and then let it de-thaw for 30-60 minutes before serving if you want it firmer.)
My mother is an excellent cook and one of my favorite dishes of all time was her taco salad. It was colorful and fun, and so delicious that I always had countless servings each time we had it for dinner. Her recipe called for ground chicken, so it’s been quite a while since I’ve had it. For a long time, I avoided attempting to make vegan versions of non-vegan dishes I loved because I knew I would always prefer the original. This isn’t because the original actually tastes better; it’s simply because it’s familiar. We humans are designed to be wary and skeptical of difference and change. Sticking to the familiar doesn’t feel risky; it’s safer and more comfortable.
BUT, if we give change a chance, if we can get out of our comfort zone just a little bit and give ourselves time to readjust, what was once unfamiliar will eventually become familiar. This applies to all aspects of life, not just food, so keep it in mind next time you find yourself making comparisons between the known and the unknown or feeling hesitant about trying something new.
Anyway, since it has been quite a while since I’ve had my mom’s taco salad and I knew I wouldn’t have the attachment to its familiarity that I would have had years ago, I decided to give a vegan version of this recipe a go. Instead of ground chicken, I used ground tempeh, and I added corn in lieu of the shredded cheddar cheese she would sometimes add. Everything else was the exact same.
Well, I was totally impressed with how it turned out! I’ll just be blunt: it was spectacular. The ground tempeh was absolutely delicious. Which makes sense because, after all, I applied the exact same seasonings as she would with ground chicken. And as I always say, humans don’t crave the taste of plain flesh; we crave the seasonings, and those seasonings are plant-based! I really liked the corn, too. I had added it mostly for color but it provided pops of delicious sweetness that went really well with all the lime juice and the salsa. I probably make this once a week because now it is so tasty. And just like before, my stomach seems to hold serving after serving after serving. Thank goodness!
(Serves 4–unless you are an extremely big eater–ahem–in which case it would serve 2-3)
1 package tempeh, grated
1 large onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups of black beans (1-15 oz can + 1 cup)
1-2 tablespoons taco seasoning (I prefer 2 tablespoons)
2 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro
1 cup of halved baby tomatoes
1 cup of sweet corn
1 cup of salsa
Lots and lots of limes!
1. Saute the onions and tempeh with a tablespoon of water until brown, about 10 minutes.
2. Add 1 can of black beans and the taco seasoning, and saute for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool until room temperature.
3. Place the romaine, cilantro and baby tomatoes into a large salad bowl. Add 1 cup of black beans, the corn, salsa, and tempeh mixture and toss. Serve with lots of lime wedges to squeeze just before serving.
I make the world’s best cornbread. I’m not bragging; just stating a simple fact. (This fact has been verified numerous times by that Southern husband of mine.) In this dish, I’ve taken my cornbread recipe and transformed it into a dip!
This is a great example of how pureed beans can be used whenever you’re in need of a creamy consistency. For this recipe, all I did was omit the flours I would normally use in my cornbread recipe, and used white beans instead. Between the beans and the quinoa, this dip is incredibly high in protein and fiber, while still maintaining the deliciously sweet tenderness of cornbread. Enjoy it with tortilla chips or carrot sticks. Yum!
1 cup dry quinoa
1 cup cornmeal
1-15 oz can (or 1 1/2 cups) white beans, such as cannellini or navy beans
1 cup nondairy milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup sweet corn
1. First prepare the quinoa: pour the quinoa onto a dry pan and toast over high heat for about 2 minutes, or until you start to hear popping. Add two cups of water and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low, cover, and continue cooking for 18-20 minutes. The quinoa is done when it’s light and fluffy–similar to couscous–and each piece has a little curly tail.
2. In a food processor, combine the cornmeal, beans, nondairy milk, maple syrup, chili powder, and cayenne. Blend until smooth.
3. Add the corn and quinoa to the food processor and pulse till the consistency is smoother but still retains a graininess.
4. Serve as is or heat up in the microwave for 1-3 minutes.For my cornbread recipe, read on.
The World’s Best Cornbread Recipe (not even kidding)
1 tablespoon brown rice flour
1 1/4 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon unrefined sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon flax eggs (a fantastic egg substitute: place 2 parts warm water and 1 part ground flax seeds in a blender and blend at high speed for about a minute or until the mixture becomes gelatinous. Will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.)
*if you can’t have spelt flour, try using Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Baking Flour
1. To make the quinoa, first toast quinoa on a dry pan over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 18-20 minutes until quinoa is fluffy.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and get out a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the corn, cornmeal, flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix together the soy milk, maple syrup, applesauce, and flax eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir well to combine. Stir in the cooked quinoa. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
This dish has undergone several revisions and I can now confidently say it is officially FANTASTIC. The ingredients are very simple but they come together to make something really elegant. Mr. Goldhouse, with his ever impressive ability to articulate the heart of the matter in as few words as possible (unlike his wife), describes this casserole as “fancy poor man’s food.”
I recently served this to some new friends we had over for dinner and received praise every vegan chef loves to hear from a non-vegan: “I had no idea vegan food could taste so good!” Plus, as regular readers already know, I am a huge fan of dishes that lasts for several meals because it makes life so much easier, and this one really lasts well. I suggest making this on a Saturday or Sunday for dinner and then bringing it for lunch or having it for dinner during the week. Whenever I make it, even though I’ll eat it for several dinners in a row, I am still always sad when it’s finally gone because it is just so delicious. This one is a MUST for your cooking repertoire!
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 small can of no-salt added tomato paste
2 cups dry green lentils
1 cup dry quinoa
6 cups of low-sodium vegetable broth or water
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (canned is fine)
1-2 lbs of frozen spinach
1 large lemon
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1. In a large saucepan, saute the onions and carrots with 1-2 tablespoons of water over medium heat until the onions become translucent, approximately 10 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
3. Add the paprika, cumin, allspice, crushed red pepper, turmeric, and tomato paste. Stir until throughly combined.
4. Add the lentils, quinoa, and broth or water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then lower the heat to medium and cover for 45 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, to prepare the top layer, mix the cinnamon with the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
6. Once the lentils are fully tender, add the frozen spinach to the saucepan and cook until the spinach is fully heated.
7. Zest and juice the lemon and add to the saucepan.
8. Pour the mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spread the sweet potatoes evenly over the mixture and bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with cilantro when ready.
eHow has titled this video “Low-Fat Pinto Bean Dip.” It is, indeed, low in fat as there is no sour cream, cheese, or oil. But what I think is so great about this dip is that, unlike your typical pinto bean dip which is usually thick and heavy and leaves a lump in your stomach, this is just so light and fresh. The ingredients are incredibly simple, but they come together to create something really flavorful. Hence my preferred title: “Pinto Bean Salsa Dip.”
Do you know why pinto beans are called “pinto” beans? In Spanish, “pinto” means “painted,” which is a reference to the beautiful reddish-brown markings that appear on the beans when they are dried. So “pinto beans” literally translates to “painted beans.” It’s probably the artist in me, but I get a HUGE kick out of that. Painted beans!
Anyway, if you are looking for a quick and savory snack or appetizer, this one is a definite winner. My only regret when making it was that I didn’t double the recipe because it went fast!
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped plum tomato
1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed
1-15 oz can of pinto beans
2 teaspoons lime juice
1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.
Kate Goldhouse is a certified nutritionist and wellness coach who works with clients from all over the world, helping them to achieve their health and wellness goals. She is a self-taught expert chef who teaches plant-based cooking classes at Goldhouse Gourmet in Boston, MA. Kate is also the star of over 30 cooking videos on eHow.com where she shows people how to cook mouthwatering meals that promote better health and a better world.
Kate received her B.A. with Honors from Brown University where she studied the way food and eating shaped ancient civilizations. She received her certification in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell in 2013 and her certification in nutrition and health coaching from the Vancouver Island School of Natural Wellness in 2014.
Kate adopted a plant-based diet in 2010 when she realized the impact our food choices have on our own health, the environment, and the lives of animals. She found that learning to cook healthful plant-based meals for herself to be incredibly empowering and has since been dedicated to using her passion for cooking and fascination with nutrition and psychology to guide others in achieving optimal health and wellness.
Contact Kate: email@example.com