Category Archives: vegan

I won’t ever quit you—kale chips

Kale chips, you and I started off innocently with just some salt and oil. But when the time was right, we took our relationship to the nooch level.

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Now I have you in all the ways my heart desires…store bought, home-made, dehydrated, baked, with nooch, without nooch—it don’t matter how you dress! You will always be my number one secret healthy vegan junk food and I will never quit you.

I won’t quit you kale chips

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked for at least an hour)
  • 1 large garlic clove (peeled)
  • 6 baby carrots
  • 2 tbs of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs almond milk
  • salt (to taste)
  • paprika (to taste)
  • 1 bunch of kale (cleaned, stems removed and leaves torn up into random chip sizes…also make sure the leaves are dry!)

Directions

  1. Throw everything (except the kale) into a high-speed blender or food processor.
  2. Pour mixture over kale chips, preferably in a bowl.
  3. Massage the mixture onto the kale (I use my hands) so every kale leaf is coated thoroughly.
  4. Spread the leaves out on a baking pan.
  5. Bake leaves in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour (until the kale leaves are crisp and the mixture is no longer moist). Every oven is different so just keep checking!!
  6. Once the kale chips are done, take them out and sprinkle more paprika on top for more heat (or not) and let cool.
  7. Eat them all. Eat all the kale chips. Or share ‘em if that’s yer thing.

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Vegan Eats in Olympia Washington

When we went to Portland, we also drove up to visit Neal’s parents in Washington and made a pit stop in the capital, Olympia. Did you know that Olympia is a pretty vegan friendly city? We didn’t get to explore many of the vegan offerings because we only stayed for two meals worth. Doesn’t everybody measure time in meals?

The first place we visited was Narai Asian Cuisine. This place is very vegan friendly. On the Happy Cow website, it was mentioned that the owner is veg and therefore very accommodating to veg*n. And indeed, when we asked if the dishes we ordered could be made vegan they said–absolutely! It’s always nice when your server confidently knows what the word “vegan” means.

We got the Fresh Rolls (with tofu) – fresh green leaf, cucumber, shredded carrots & Thai basil wrapped in a soft rice skin, cut in half and served with peanut sauce & sweet chili sauce sprinkled with ground peanuts.

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Neal got the Pad Thai (sans the egg and fish sauce) – thin rice noodles stir fried with green onion, ground peanuts, pad Thai sauce & bean sprouts and garnished with shredded carrots, bean sprouts, ground peanuts and a wedge of line.

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And I got the Pad Wooh Shen (no egg) – veggies stir fried in garlic sauce with clear noodles, white & green onion, cabbage, napa, snow peas, bok choy & mushroom. This dish was smoky and garlic-savory goodness!

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We were tempted to eat there again for a second meal, but we decided to try another Asian restaurant called Saigon Rendevous. They have an extensive veg*n section on their menu.  There are some non-vegan items in the veg*n section to be aware of like eggs and mayonnaise, but a quick check with the owner was all we needed to make sure the dishes we wanted were a-ok.

We got Tofu and “Pork” rolls (served on top of pickled cabbage!)

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wonton soup

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and we split the Mongolian “Beef”- spicy stir fry of bamboo shoots, carrots and green onions over a bed of crispy rice noodles.

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Would I eat at these two places again? For sure. The food and service were both great and there were definitely more things on the menu I wanted to try.  I’m a sucker for tasty vegan Asian food.

This and That Red Curry

I’ve gotten in the habit of jotting down notes when I’m making food a mess in the kitchen. Neal doesn’t, yet he does about half the cooking in the house. One night he threw together this kick-ass red curry. So I asked him–what’d ya put in it? He just shrugged and said–this and that. This is our (mostly joking) email exchange in which I try to get some coherent recipe out of him.FakeCurry _Snapseed

Me:

How would you like an exciting opportunity to collaborate with an up and coming vegan blog? If so, read on and follow the directions…Can you type up the recipe for your curry that you made the other day before you forget? Rough estimates of quantities and measurements are fine.

Thanks,

Luminous Vegans

Him:

I would love this opportunity. Thank you. Please let me know at your earliest convenience if this will suffice:

First, quarter your red potatoes and boil them. Dice up red bell pepper, carrots and two cloves of garlic. Chop up the kale leaves. Then, saute the veggies and garlic for a few minutes with a tbsp of sugar before adding a can of coconut cream and some bamboo shoots. Also, at this time, add a tbsp of red curry paste. I like to smash and swirl the curry paste in a quarter cup of vegetable broth so it’s already broken up before getting lost in the sauce. Also add two tbsp of Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce.  Squeeze half a lime into the sauce and cut up the rest of the lime for garnish. Simmer all of this for 20-30 minutes.

Kind Regards,

Neal

Me:

Thank you so much for your prompt response! We will be working hard to get this recipe out to readers.   We look forward to working with you more in the future.

Oh, but for realsies….HOW MANY potatoes, red bell pepper, carrots, kale? Estimates are fine.

Him:

M’am, with all due respects, your email was extremely pushy.

FOUR $$$$$$ red potatoes

ONE $$$$$$$ red bell pepper

EIGHT POINT FIVE $ baby carrots

FOUR kales

just estimates.

I’m not sure what the $$$$$$$$ means. I guess ya gotta get blinged out produce for this curry.  In case that wasn’t clear, the recipe is below.

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This and That Red Curry

Ingredients

These are estimates says the man!

  • 4 quartered red potatoes (or whatever potatoes you have on hand)
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 8 chopped baby carrots
  • 4 stalks of chopped kale leaves (stems removed)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • a smidge of preferred sautéing oil
  • 1 tbs sugar
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste (EDIT: found out from Neal later that it wasn’t actually red curry, but Massamam Curry paste that he used. I think that any curry paste would work well though)
  • 1/4 cup of veggie broth
  • 14 oz can of coconut cream
  • 14 oz can of bamboo shoots (use as much or as little as desired. He used about 1/2)
  • 2tbs of Bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 lime

Directions

  1. Boil the potatoes until slightly tender (about 8 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  2. Sautee the bell peppers, bell peppers, carrots, kale and garlic with the oil and sugar for a few minutes in a large pot or pan.
  3. While that is sautéing, dissolve the red curry paste into the veggie broth in a small cup or bowl.
  4. Now add the coconut cream, bamboo shoots, cooked potatoes, curry paste +veggie broth mixture and Bragg’s to the sautéing veggies.
  5. Squeeze in juice from half of the lime. Stir and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

This curry is sweet and creamy with a slight kick of curry heat. We ate it with jasmine rice and squeezed a slice of lime over our individual dishes. The tanginess of the lime is a nice contrast to the other rich flavors. It made about 2-3 servings when served with rice.

Kale Me Crazy, First Impressions

A new juice joint called Kale Me Crazy has opened up in Atlanta. Their facebook page states “Kale Me Crazy is an upscale juice bar that specializes in cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and raw foods.  We believe in better health and well-being through organic raw food”.  I love smoothies especially in the summer, so we headed over to try it out.

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Its interior is sleek, mostly white and modern and small.  There is seating at the front bar or at another bar facing the window. The guy at the counter was really nice and let us sample the juices. All the juices and smoothies are vegan and they offer some vegan baked goods.

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I got the Refresh smoothie- kale, celery, apple, banana, mint, coconut meat, coconut milk and maple syrup.

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Neal got the Recovery smoothie-banana, cherries, cashews, coconut yogurt, almond milk and vegan protein.

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Both smoothies were good, but I think I would have liked it more if there had been more cherry tartness in the Recovery and more apple sweetness/tartness in the Refresh. Neal really liked his and thought it tasted like a cherry milkshake.

I got the vibe that they were still getting a feel for what customers wanted and liked, so it’s possible their menu may change. If I happen to be in the neighborhood and get a hankering for a smoothie I’ll definitely stop by again, but I don’t see myself going out of my way to get one. To be fair, I don’t think I’m their target demographic because while I like smoothies, I’m not that into the whole juicing thing (I like pulpy fiber!). And since I own a Vitamix, it’s hard to justify spending that much on a smoothie when I can make one all day, err’day for a fraction of the price.

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Homemade spinach, pineapple, frozen banana,and coconut flakes smoothie.

What do you prefer….fresh pressed juices or smoothies?

The story of how Pearl (couscous) went from drab to fab

It was a dark and stormy night getting late in the evening and I had no motivation (or inspiration) to make dinner.  So I started scrolling through this Whole Foods app thingie to try to get ideas and came across this (not vegan) recipe that used pearl (aka Israeli) couscous. I thought to myself—Hmm, I think I’ve got a jar of that in the pantry somewhere and I haven’t had couscous in awhile. Not a huge fan of tiny couscous, but I love this bigger pearl couscous because it tastes more like pasta. Which I guess it kinda is. Wait, what is couscous??? Oh, ok.  It is basically tiny pasta balls. Cool. Thanks Wikipedia.

Couscous seemed simple enough. I decided to just cook up the couscous and mix it with whatever veggies we had and some olive oil, salt and pepper. When I took stock of our produce situation I realized we had peaches that needed to be eaten along with a bag of king trumpet shrooms. Ok, if I was gonna have the king trumpets they had to be grilled like last time because they were delicious that way. And since I had the grill pan out, I decided I might as well grill the peaches too. Then I realized I had way more peaches than I needed to grill so it only made sense to use the extra peaches to make sauce to go over everything.

And that’s the story of how a  “well ya gotta eat” meal turned into a “blog about it” kind of meal.

I loved this salad because it wasn’t really a salad. It struck a nice balance between crisp freshness and grilled savory-ness all enveloped in summer sweetness  thanks to those Georgia peaches!

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Pearl Couscous Salad with Grilled Peaches

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup pearl couscous
  • 1 3/4 cup veggie stock
  • 1 chopped cucumber
  • 2 whole peaches for the sauce + 4 sliced peaches for grilling
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • olive oil (amount varies)
  • maple syrup (amount varies)
  • salt and pepper (amount varies)
  • 16 oz bag of king trumpet mushrooms sliced to “scallop” sizes
  • 2-3 stalks of chopped green onion

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Directions

  1. Toast the dry couscous with 1 tbs of olive oil in a small pot on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Stir frequently. Parts of the couscous should get golden in color.
  2. Add in the veggie stock, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes until the broth is absorbed and couscous is tender.
  3. Throw the cooked couscous in a large bowl with the cucumber and toss it with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  4. For the sauce, throw the garlic cloves and the 2 whole peaches (pits removed) into a blender along with a small drizzle of olive oil and maple syrup and a pinch of salt. Blend. Taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Blend again. Continue blending in small amounts of olive oil, maple syrup, salt and/or pepper until you get desired consistency and balance between savory and sweet. Set aside.
  5. Grill the 4 sliced peaches along with the king trumpet mushrooms.
  6. Put everything together by layering the grilled peaches and mushrooms on the couscous salad and pouring the peach sauce on top. Top with the green onions for presentation and taste!

Welcome Food Surprises

When little things become amazing things.

Little thing:

I jokingly told Neal that he should make me breakfast on Saturday.

Amazing thing:

He not only made me breakfast, but he made it a nice spread with a tropical twist because he knew I had tropic lust. (tropic lust: noun, the desire for all things tropical when you see people’s tropical vacay pics on instagram).

French toast (recipe here) with coconut shavings and maple syrup.

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A virgin pina colada with coconut water, fresh pineapple, coconut cream, almond milk and ice.IMG_6550 _Snapseed

Little thing:

A friend texts suggesting we all eat and hang out at their pool.

Amazing thing:

We not only hang out and have good times, but it spontaneously turns into an amazing shared vegan meal!

It was a “build a plate/bowl” smorgasbord.vegspread

Left side below: watermelon, basil, strawberry and tomato skewers with a sweet balsamic dressing; Udon noodles with bamboo shoots, baby corn, and tofu with a soy and sesame dressing; and nachos with black beans, scrambled tofu, fresh corn, mushrooms, tomatoes, and green onions covered with a salsa and melted Daiya mix.

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Right side above: Jasmine rice topped with bbq soy bits, slaw, green onions and ranch (this was what we brought and it was our nod to Native Bowl’s Mississippi bowl).

I had seconds of everything!

And for dessert we had open-faced s’mores and a lovely blueberry cobbler made with organic blueberries and oats.

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My only regret is that I could not make more room in my stomach because I wanted to keep having magical tastes in my mouth.

Cooking a Raw Dish: Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I like raw food. I do. But sometimes when I eat a raw dish, I think—hmmm, this would taste reeeeally good if it were hot! Like temperature-hot, not Shakira-hot because I’ve eaten some pretty sexy raw dishes before. I’ve made this sundried tomato and basil manicotti (*see footnote) from VegNews in its intended raw format in the past, but this time around I decided to forgo nearly slicing my fingers with a sharp knife trying to get thin zucchini noodles and just make baked stuffed zucchini boats.

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I made the sundried tomato and basil cashew cheese as-is and stuffed them in the zucchini. I also made the raw marinara as-is except I chopped up the scooped-out zucchini insides and stirred it in. I simmered the marinara until the zucchini was cooked and then I poured it over the stuffed zucchini and baked everything covered in foil for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.

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I had no clue how this would come out because I’ve never tried baking a raw dish. While the zucchini baked, I kept thinking—this is so wrong, what am I doing?? But my apprehensions were unfounded because the dish came out creamy-dreamy delicious! The filling was just as full of sundried tomato-basil flavor as it was raw. The marinara was rich and tomato-y and the zucchini was nice and tender with a subtle bite. All the individual components melded nicely as a result of the baking.

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* To get to the actual recipe, scroll down until you see “raw manicotti”. The recipe calls for 4 zucchinis and I only had 2 so I had sauce and cheese leftover.