Tag Archives: kale

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon - Luminous Vegans

Have you heard that phrase–anything you can eat, I can eat vegan–? I can’t remember where I saw it. On a t-shirt maybe. Perhaps on someone’s blog or instagram photo. But it really resonated with me because it’s true. There are so many tasty vegan dishes and recipes out there that do an excellent job of replicating non-vegan flavors. So much so, that I wonder why animals are even still used for food.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon - Luminous Vegans

Take these twice baked butternut squash for example. It’s a beautifully creamy butternut squash topped with a smokey “bacon”. But no cows or pigs were harmed to create it. Cashew cheese was used for the creaminess. And coconut flakes baked with liquid smoke were used for the bacon.

Vegan Coconut Bacon

The coconut bacon I used is Cobi’s from Veggietorials. This is the first coconut bacon that I’ve ever made. And it will probably be the only recipe I ever use because it is the perfect combination of smokey, sweet, salty and spicy. Since the first time I made it (mentioned in my “picture an hour” post), I have made it several times.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon - Luminous Vegans

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon

adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 4 butternut squash (about 4.5-5 pounds)
  • 5 large kale leaves washed, tough cores removed and torn into smaller pieces
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup cashew cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbs chopped chives
  • 3-4 tbs panko crumbs
  • olive oil
  • garlic and onion powder
  • salt and pepper
  • enough coconut bacon (or any vegan bacon) to top each squash half to your liking.

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon - Luminous Vegans

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 F. Wash the butternut squash and microwave them for about 3 minutes to make them easier to cut. Halve all the squash and sprinkle each half with a little salt and pepper. Place the squash halves (open sides up) in a pan (I ended up using two pans) with about 1/4 inch of water and bake covered for about 25-35 minutes (squash should be tender when pierced with a fork). While the squash is baking, steam or saute the kale leaves with the garlic and set aside.

Take the squash out when done baking and turn oven down to 425 F. When the squash are cool enough to handle, carefully scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl leaving a small border of butternut squash in each half to help it keep its shape. Mash up the flesh with a fork. Then thoroughly mix in the cashew cheese, chives, kale and salt and pepper to taste. Fill the emptied butternut squash halves with this mixture. In a small bowl, mix the panko crumbs with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous pinch of garlic powder, onion powder and salt and pepper. I used my hands to mix everything well to make sure all the panko was seasoned.

Sprinkle the panko mixture on the stuffed butternut squash and bake uncovered at 425F for about 20-25 minutes until warmed through. Finally, top with as much coconut bacon as you desire!

Twice Baked Butternut Squash with Kale and Coconut Bacon - Luminous Vegans

This dish is a combination of so many flavors that I love. Subtle sweet squashiness from the butternut squash. A slight cheesiness from the cashew cheese. And a touch of smokey saltiness from the “bacon”. It also has wonderful contrasty textures. From the creaminess of the butternut squash filling to the crispy panko and chewy coconut bacon.

This is one of those meals that I try really hard to eat slowly otherwise I might inhale it all at once. So with each bite, I close my eyes and let all the contrasting flavors and textures mingle awhile before I dive in for another. I may or may not make audible moans of pleasure while eating this dish.

What are some ways you like to cook/eat butternut squash?

Cheesy Vegan Alfredo with Peas and Kale

I’ve never met a creamy, cheesy vegan sauce that I didn’t like. My predilection for “creamy, cheesy” dishes is even mentioned on my “recipes” page . If I ever become allergic to nutritional yeast (i.e. the cheesy part of vegan cheese sauces and cheeses), I think I would die. I kid.

Mostly.

Nutritional yeast – or “nooch”, has some seriously magical transforming powers. With a little vegan cooking science magic, this stuff can go from dry yellow flakes to rich, creamy-cheesy sauce.

cheesy vegan alfredo with peas and kale - Luminous Vegans

It also kicks-ass on it’s own. I may or may not be known to eat nutritional yeast straight from the container. A more um, “proper” way to eat it straight up is  to sprinkle some on freshly popped popcorn for a cheesy vegan snack. I buy our nutritional yeast in bulk at Sevenanda or in little tubs from our local farmer’s market.

For this dish, I mixed quite a bit of nutritional yeast with cashews and almond milk (and other stuff) and the result was a creamy-cheesy vegan alfredo-like sauce. It’s an easy sauce to blend up any night of the week and requires just a little heat to thicken it up. We had it with pasta and sautéed peas and kale because those are things we typically have on hand. There’s probably other delicious ways to use it though—drizzled over roasted veggies, just mixed with cooked spinach or kale…

cheesy vegan alfredo with peas and kale - Luminous Vegans

Cheesy Vegan Alfredo with Peas and Kale

serves 2

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of pasta
  • 1/2 cup of peas (I used frozen)
  • kale leaves from 4 large stalks (torn into smaller pieces)
  • 2 cloves of garlic clove (one should be minced, the other can be whole)
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews *
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbs of chicken-free broth concentrate (I used Better Than Bouillon)
  • salt and pepper

* I used a high speed blender to blend the sauce so I didn’t soak the cashews for this dish. Depending on the strength of your blender/food processor, you may need to soak the cashews in water for a couple of hours to help break them down and get them creamy.

Directions

Cook the pasta according to package. Now on to the peas and kale mixture. In a lightly oiled pan with a lid, sauté the minced garlic clove until soft on medium heat. Then add the kale leaves and stir in a couple of tablespoons of water or stock so that about a 1/4 inch of liquid sits in the pan. Add the frozen peas. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and then put the lid on and turn to medium-low until the liquid mostly evaporates. I let it simmer with the lid while I make the sauce. It’s good to check on it and give it a good stir adding more liquid if needed. You don’t want the kale sitting in the pan without liquid while it’s actively cooking.

cheesy vegan alfredo with peas and kale - Luminous Vegans

For the sauce put the almond milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, whole garlic clove, lemon juice, onion powder, chicken-free broth concentrate in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat the sauce in a pot large enough to hold everything (sauce, pasta, peas and kale) over medium-high heat. Make sure to stir/whisk the sauce constantly while heating. It should thicken up pretty quickly (~3 minutes). Remove from heat. Add the pasta, peas and kale. If there is extra liquid in the peas/kale mixture, make sure to drain it out before adding it to the pot. Salt and pepper everything to taste and then dig in!

What are some of your favorite ways to cook with or eat nutritional yeast?

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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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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.

Tassili’s Raw Reality

As far as I know, there are only two pure raw food restaurants in Atlanta: Loving it Live and Tassili’s Raw Reality. Loving it Live is great, but it’s pretty far for us. So we were happy to discover Tassili’s Raw Reality a couple of months ago.

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Outside they have produce and herbs growing. How awesome is that!

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The inside feels very cozy. Partly because it’s small but mainly because it’s decorated with warm, inviting art and colors.

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It’s the kind of place where you place your order at the counter and they bring the food to you or you can take it away.IMG_0330 _Snapseed

A lot of the menu items are displayed in the front glass case. IMG_0332 _Snapseed

Since a lot of things are prepared fresh, a longish wait time during peak hours is not uncommon. The wait is not bad since it’s such a cozy place and on Sundays they have live music.IMG_0352 _Snapseed

On our first visit, we got a lot of food in order to try a bunch of stuff. Neal got (clockwise) the sweet coconut corn, pad thai noodles, curried plantains and karamu couscous.Image 1 _Snapseed

I got (clockwise) black love stew, spicy kale salad, a nori roll and black-eyed pea hummus.Image 3 _Snapseed

Now I think we’ve figured out our favorites. These descriptions are taken from the online menu.

  • karamu couscous:  A lightly sweet, fluffy, festival of couscous, raisins and berries that is perfect on its own or as a complement to the Spicy Kale and other savory dishes
  • sweet coconut corn: This dish is like drinking sweet kernel corn right from a freshly split coconut bowl cut straight from the tree.
  • spicy kale salad: With one of nature’s most nutritionally complete foods as its base, Tassili’s Spicy Kale is a flavorful blend of fresh kale, red onion, sun dried tomatoes, spices and, of course, the love that brings it all together (personal note: this stuff is for reals spicy and I don’t normally like spicy but this is soooo good!)
  • nori rolls: How can so much satisfaction be packed into such a little unassuming roll? Taste it and you’ll understand. Tassili’s Nori Rolls is a flavorful blend of sunflower and pumpkin seed, wakame seaweed, scotch bonnet and spices (I cannot eat at Tassili’s without having at least one nori roll)

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There are still many things on the menu that we want to try like the w-raps, spicy naked tacos and the eggplant pizza so we will be back.

What are your favorite raw foods and/or restaurants like?

Kale yeah!

I’ve made kale chips before, but never of the cheesy variety. So with two bunches of kale in the fridge and plenty of nooch in the pantry, I decided what the kale? Let’s do this.

I followed the fabulous recipe from Pride and Vegudice, however I didn’t have a red bell pepper on hand so I used a ripe tomato instead. I don’t know if the sauce is supposed to be this thick after blending, but this is what mine looked like before massaging and roasting took place:

This is what the final product looked like out of the oven.

These were amazing! My mouth is watering just thinking about them. A crispy, cheesy snack that’s actually *gasp* good for me?

Photo courtesy of the Vegan Ryan Gosling tumblr, which sadly, is no longer around 😦

Why thank you Ryan Gosling, thank you. I will use this to make more cheesy kale.

In other kale-yeah news, I was pleasantly surprised to be nominated for the inspiring blogger award by the Veggiewitch and the Liebster award from the Vegan Kat. Thank you!!

I’m supposed to share seven things about myself, but I’m gonna bend the rules a bit and share with you the top 7 artists that I have most recently listened to on Spotify:

  1. Sigur Ros
  2. Electric President
  3. Seabear
  4. Olafur Arnalds
  5. M83
  6. The Postal Service (Don’t hate)
  7. Stars

In turn, I pass the award on to some very inspiring vegan bloggers who give me hope for the future b/c of the vegan families they are raising. Inspiring indeed:

  1. Two Vegan Boys
  2. Don’t Fear the Vegan
  3. Live.Learn.Love.Eat
  4. Making a vegan baby
  5. Growing a Vegan

Vegan babies take over the world, heck kale yeah!