Archive for the ‘Main Dishes’ Category

Melanie has been making several soups of a curried nature, and it really has me craving soups and curries. So here’s a little something I threw together inspired by her latest, delicious creations! This recipe makes about 6-8 servings, depending on your serving size and how much liquid you add to thin out the soup.


2-2.5 C dried chickpeas; soaked and cooked [save some of the cooking water to use for the soup]

1 medium butternut squash; roasted (375°F, ~30 min) and roughly chopped

1 medium sweet potato; roasted (375°F, ~30 min) and roughly chopped

1 raw Serrano pepper, roughly chopped

1 small shallot, raw, peeled and roughly chopped

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp each paprika, ginger, and sage

4.5-5 C bean cooking water or broth (enough to make a smooth, soupilicious consistency)

salt & pepper to taste

green chili sauce, to taste (optional)


  1. Puree together all ingredients and spices until smooth. I used an immersion blender, but you could also use a food processor. Adjust consistency to preference adding 1 C of liquid at a time. I started with 2 C (to get the process going) and added slowly until it became the perfect thickness.

2. Garnish with homemade croutons and sprinkled paprika.

Happy Cooking!

On this day in history: Pizza, Ti voglio bene!

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I had dinner at a friends the other night, and of course.. I was the only vegan in attendance. Instead of making them find something vegan to make for me, I offered to bring something instead. Only having a short window of time between waking from my nap and when I was destined to arrive, I needed something quick and easy. So I ran to the grocery store, picked up the freshest looking veggies, some quinoa.. and threw this together. Luckily it was easy enough to remember without me having to write anything down. 🙂 This recipe literally took 15 minutes – while the quinoa was cooking, I prepped the veg..and by the time the quinoa was ready (12 minutes later), so was the veg! So if you’re looking for something quick, easy, crowd-pleasing, and crowd-filling.. this is your dish! There were 4 adults, and there’s enough left over to feed me for a few more meals… so it’s a perfect pot-luck dish to feed up to maybe 10 as a side, and maybe 4-5 hungry vegans as a main dish. But of course, you can easily double the recipe to feed a larger crowd.


2 tsp canola, safflower or olive oil
1 C quinoa
2 C water
1 can or 1-1.5 C cooked black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
sea salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tsp garlic powder
1-1.5 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 bunch kale, chopped [it was about a handful of stems, maybe 8]
2 medium carrots, washed and chopped
6 Campari tomatoes, quartered (or 12 grape tomatoes, halved)
1/2 red bell pepper, 1” dice
1/2 yellow bell pepper, 1” dice **if you don’t want to use 1/2 of two different bells, you can use a whole of 1.. whatever tickles your bell pepper fancy!
1 bunch cilantro, minced
juice of 2 limes


1. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add 1 C quinoa and toast lightly, about 2-3 minutes. Add water and spices, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, prep (wash and chop) all the veg. Place all veg and half the cilantro into a large bowl, set aside. Juice the limes, set aside.
3. When the quinoa has maybe 3-4 minutes left, add the drained beans.
4. When all water is gone from the quinoa, remove from heat. Fluff with a fork. Toss onto veg, let sit a few minutes to “steam.”
5. Give a stir, drizzle with lime juice, add remaining cilantro. Salt and pepper to taste. Voilà!

Almost-Raw Veg & Quinoa Salad

Almost-Raw Veg & Quinoa Salad

**I call this almost-raw because the only thing cooked is the beans and quinoa. If you wanted it completely raw, omit the beans and sprout your quinoa.. it’ll take longer since the quinoa takes some time to soak and sprout, but it’s certainly doable.

Happy Chopping!

On this day in History: Chai Spice Shortbread Cookies (2009)

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Another hiatus, for which I sincerely apologize! On the bright side our new yoga studio, Cherry Blossom Yoga, is doing really well..so there’s good reason for the hiatus. 🙂 And while I can’t promise when the next post will be, I can assure you that the inspiration that follows will be most pleasing to the palate. The ingredients are the same as the veggie sushi from days gone by. Though, I did add in some additional veg which you may like, that’s not normally found in traditional rolled veggie sushi. And with that in mind, any veg that you think you might enjoy raw would be a delightful addition! This dish feeds as many as you’d like..depending on how much rice you cook and veg you cut. But it makes a perfect, refreshing and raw (aside from toasting the nori), summertime salad chock full of vitamins (including B’s, thank you weed of the sea) and minerals without the need to roll sushi. 😉 This salad also gives you the freedom to include veg that may not be the easiest to get into a rolled sushi format. And if you can locate the right Shoyu or Tamari Sauce..a gluten- and/or wheat-free dish as well 😀


Sushi Rice
Carrots, julienned
Cucumber, julienned
Fresh Red Bell Pepper, julienned
Green Onions, diced
Sliced Avocado (if one is so inclined, I’m not a fan..but Mother enjoyed it)
Raw Sesame Seeds
Pickled Ginger
Shoyu or Tamari soy Sauce (look for one that is wheat- and/or gluten-free if need be, regular soy sauce is NOT)
Toasted Nori, roughly chopped (not an easy task, but worth it..and by rough, I mean as good as you can get it.)


1. Prepare the sushi rice.
2. While the rice is cooling off (I like to stick it in the freeze while chopping), roughly chop the toasted nori and place on serving plates (like the bed of a salad).
3. Julienne the carrots, cucumber, bell pepper; dice the green onions; set aside.
4. When the rice is cooled, wet hands and form a giant snowball of rice. Place ball o’ rice on top of chopped nori. Top with julienned veg and diced green onions. And if one is so inclined, top with pickled ginger, sliced avocado and sprinkle with sesame seeds and shoyu sauce. Utilize your awesome skills with chopsticks and ENJOY!

Happy Eating!

On This Day in History: Blueberry Bran Mini Loaves


Veggie Sushi

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This is a hodge-podge dish I created this afternoon..similar in fashion to the spicy noodle veg, but on rice. I just took the veg I had on hand because I needed to use up some veg before it went bad (the studio monopolizes my time, so yeah..now I actually have veg that might go bad because I’m not in the kitchen as much)..so any veg would work. You could also include some peas, corn, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, even a hot pepper. This would also be awesome served on a bed of baby spinach and turned into a salad..perhaps topped with some pistachios or pine nuts. I really love the addition of purple potatoes in combo with the red potatoes. YUMMY! This recipes serves about 4 peeps! 🙂


1 TBSP olive or canola oil
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
1 medium (or 2 small) red potatoes, cubed
1 medium (or 2 small) purple potatoes, cubed
1/2 bunch kale, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 TBSP ground (or minced) ginger
1 tsp dried basil
1-2 tsp shoyu sauce
salt and pepper to taste
2 green onions, diced for garnish


1. In a skillet, over medium heat, warm the olive (or canola) and toasted sesame oils. Add in the onion and cook for about 2-3 minutes (the time it took me to chop the potatoes).
2. Add in the cubed potatoes with a little salt (maybe 1/2 tsp). Saute over medium heat about 8-10 minutes, until the onion becomes translucent and the potatoes begin to develop a browning.
3. Add in kale, red bell, ginger, and basil. Cover with a lid and let saute over medium heat another 8-10 minutes, until potatoes are soft all the way through.
4. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, serve over some brown rice or a bed of baby spinach, garnish with green onion and/or any nuts. Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!


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Green Dal

Dal is easy, tasty and healthy.  What more could you want?  Eat it with some veggies, and rice or chapati for a quick delicious meal.


2 C dry split green peas

4 C water

3/4 C unsweetened milk substitute (I use So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage)

1/2 small onion

1 TBS canola oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp anardana

3 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp salt

cilantro for garnish


1.  Rinse the split peas, and then simmer over medium heat in 4 C water for 30 minutes, or until tender, but not falling apart.

2.  While the peas are simmering, heat the canola oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, cumin seeds and anardana.  Saute for 3-5 minutes, or until the onions turn clear.

3.  Add the garlic and saute another 2-3 minutes.

4.  Add the curry powder and salt, stir to distribute and remove from heat.

5.  When the peas are done cooking, stir in the onion mixture and the milk substitute.  Lower heat to med-low.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro and serve.


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Vegetable Biryani

This is certainly not the most traditional biryani recipe (I just cannot replicate the flavor you get in restaurants, they must have some mystery spice), but after much trial and error, I’ve managed a tasty flavor mixture.  But if anybody knows what the secret ingredient to authentic flavor is, please let me know!



1.5 C brown basmati rice

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp turmeric

2 1/4 C water


1 small gold potato

canola oil, as needed

1/2 small yellow onion

1/2 tsp each:  cumin seeds, coriander seeds, anardana

2 cloves garlic

1 serrano chili (optional)

1/2 tsp each: garam masala, curry powder

1 tsp ground each: cumin, ground coriander, salt

1 medium carrot

1/2 head of broccoli

1/2 red bell pepper

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 C green peas, thawed

1/2 C chopped cilantro


1.  Soak the rice in a large bowl of cold water for at least an hour.  Pour out the water and refill with fresh water, and then drain completely.

2.  In a large skillet, heat the rice, water, olive oil, turmeric and salt over high heat until the water just begins to simmer.  Then turn heat down to medium or medium-low (just enough to maintain a simmer, but not boil) and cook covered for 18-20 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed.

3.  Set aside and let sit for at least 20 minutes.

4.  While the rice is cooking, heat a spoonful or two of canola oil to medium in a non-stick skillet.  Cook the potatoes for 4 minutes without stirring.

5.  Then stir them up, add the onion, garlic, chili and cumin and coriander seeds, and cook another 4 minutes.

6.  Add the ground spices and salt and stir to mix.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add the carrots, and more oil if needed.  Cook for 3 minutes.

7.  Add the lemon zest, broccoli and bell pepper.  Cook for 3 minutes.

8.  Add the thawed green peas.  Cook for 3 minutes.

9.  Fluff the rice with a fork and combine it with the veggies.  Stir in the cilantro and serve!


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I used to love the pierogis at Veselka in NYC, but of course most pierogis have egg or sour cream in the dough.  It only occurred to me recently that I could attempt to make them vegan.  The filling can be pretty much anything mixed into mashed potatoes, but the dough is the tricky vegan part.  I used some plain coconut milk yogurt for the first batch of dough I tried, and at first I thought it tasted a little weird.  But after making other doughs without the yogurt, I appreciated the richness it brought to the flavor profile.  This is definitely one of my “work in progress” recipes, so I would love to hear suggestions for it!  These freeze great (raw or cooked), so make a bunch and keep them for later!

Ingredients: makes 2-3 dozen, depending on dough thickness


3 C All Purpose Flour

1/2 tsp salt

3 oz plain vegan yogurt

1/2 – 3/4 C water


2.5 lbs baked golden potatoes

2 tsp canola oil

1/2 small onion

2 cloves garlic

1/2 medium head broccoli, diced

2 TBS Earth Balance buttery sticks

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper


1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Scrub potatoes, prick with a fork, wrap in foil and bake for 60-75 minutes (depending on size), or until easier pierced with a fork.

2.  While potatoes are baking, prepare dough.  Add all dough ingredients to a large bowl, starting with 1/4 C water.  Stir until liquids are absorbed, and add more water as needed.

3.  Turn onto lightly floured surface and kneed for 1 minute, until you have a smooth dough.  Avoid overworking.  Wrap in plastic and let sit for at least 20 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat canola oil over medium.  Cook onions until they turn clear.  Add the garlic.  Continue sauteing until onions are slightly browned.  Add broccoli, Earth Balance, salt and pepper.  Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until broccoli turns bright green.

5.  Once potatoes are fully cooked, mash them in a large bowl.  Add broccoli mixture and blend thoroughly.

6.  Divide dough into quarters.  Roll dough out to about 1/8 inch thick, or less.  Cut with a round 3-4 inch cookie cutter.  Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle of each round.  Dab a small amount of water along the edge of the dough.  Pull two sides of the dough up, and pinch together to seal the pierogi. (The dough in these pictures will look different than yours, because I experimented with the dough recipe a couple of times, but only took pics once.)

7.  Cook the pierogis either by boiling for approximately 4 minutes, or fried.  To fry, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a skillet over medium-low heat.  Cook pierogis on one side for 4-5, or until golden brown, with the pan covered.  Then turn to cook on the other side, again with the pan covered.

Serve warm with caramelized onions, or freeze to eat later!


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I like to use roasted veg quite often in various recipes – enchiladas, fajitas, soft tacos, topping for salads or nachos, pizzas, paninis, etc. But when I was searching to see if I posted anything about the SOP for roasting vegetables, the Primate contained no such post! *Gasp* So here is the Standard Operating Procedure for roasting veg as a base for any recipe you like! Here I show then served on a bed of fresh baby spinach and warm quinoa… Enjoy!


Red bell pepper
Red onion
Yellow onion
Garlic cloves
Corn kernels
…any other veg you can think of to julienne (summer squash, zucchini, etc)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 TBSP olive or canola oil (depending on how much veg you use – with 2 Red bells, 1 small yellow onion, 1/2 large red onion, ~5-6 cloves garlic, I used 1 TBSP olive)


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Julienne veg, separate garlic into their individual cloves but leave them in their peel.
3. In a large bowl, sprinkle the veg somewhat generously with salt, and some black pepper. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive or canola oil. Toss to distribute evenly.
4. Spread veggies flat on a baking/cookie sheet covered with parchment or Silpat.
5. Roast for about 25-30 minutes. Remove peels from garlic, toss, and serve as you please.

*Use these veggies in just about anything you desire. They will keep in the fridge a few days, so they’d be perfect to roast up on a Sunday to keep for lunches or additions to dinners during the week.

Happy Roasting!


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Here’s a soup that will warm you from your head to your tootsies on these cold winter nights! A spicy soup, reminiscent of my velvety tomato soup..but with a wonderful flavor addition of roasted red bell peppers! This recipes makes about 4-6 servings. It would be supreme topped with some homemade croutons!


1 TBSP (or so) canola or olive oil
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 medium golden potatoes, small diced
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 jar (454g) roasted red bell pepper, roughly chopped
4 C vegetable broth
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried garden sage
1 tsp dried garden oregano
1/4-1/2 tsp fresh ground coriander
1 TBSP garlic powder
1 TBSP minced ginger
1 tsp cayenne *if you’re opposed to too much spice, start with 1/2 tsp and work up from there


1. Warm oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Dice onion and potato. Add to warmed oil. Let saute a few minutes, then add the canned diced tomatoes.
2. Roughly chop the red bell and mince the ginger. Add to pot.
3. Add in herbs and spices, stir to combine. Let saute a few minutes, maybe 2 or 3, then add the broth.
4. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer approximately 30 minutes. Puree with a stick blender, or transfer to a regular blender to puree until smooth. Top with croutons or serve with a slice of Earth Balance buttered toast, and enjoy!

Happy Cooking!


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I’ve been really infatuated with bean purees lately.  You can spread it on sandwiches, use it as dip for carrots and chips, or just serve it along side some rice and veggies for dinner.  Earlier this fall, during the few short weeks that I could find them at the farmer’s market, I made the most wonderful puree out of bird egg beans.  I first discovered bird egg beans last fall, when I moved to the DC area.  They are so delicious!  But if you can’t get them at your farmer’s market, use any hearty bean instead, such as Roman, large Lima or Italian white bean.


2 C shelled bird egg beans

1 TBS dried herbs – rosemary and oregano

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

0.5 – 1.5 tsp salt (to taste)

2-4 C water for simmering the beans


1.  If using fresh beans, shell, rinse and simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender.  If you using dried bean, soak overnight, rinse and simmer for 1 hour, or until tender.

2.  Drain the beans, but save the cooking water.

3.  Puree the beans, herbs, olive oil and salt in a food processor, along with a 1/4 C of the beans’ cooking water.  Add small amounts of water, until desired thickness is reached.

4.  Serve as a snack, appetizer, or as part of your meal, and enjoy!


On this Day in History: Chickpea Chili Flatbread.  I had totally forgotten about this recipe, but wow, it looks tasty!

chickpea chili flatbread12


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