We had a serious crop of okra this year, then had a serious bumper crop as well. My husband requested I come up with a recipe for vegetarian gumbo. Here it is.
2 stalks celery1 cup yellow or white onion4 garlic cloves2 cans petite diced tomatoes½ cup diced green bell pepper2 cups fresh green beans2 cups purple hull, black-eyed or cream peas2 cups fresh okra1 8-oz package seitan¼ cup unbleached white flour¼ cup vegetable, canola or peanut oil1 Tbsp creole seasoning1 to 3 cups water
To Make It:
Prepare ingredients and set aside:• Wash and slice celery into thin sections.• Coarsely chop the onion.• Mince the garlic.• Wash and dice the bell pepper.• Wash and cut the green beans into 1-inch to 1-½-inch sections.• Wash the peas (if fresh) or measure out if frozen.• Wash and cut the okra into ½-inch to ¾-inch sections.• Rinse seitan and cut it into small pieces.
Put a heavy Dutch Oven or Chef’s pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the oil to the pan and heat for about a minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the oil/flour mixture is light brown. Add the onion and celery to the pan and cook 4 minutes. Add the garlic and creole seasoning and cook one minute more. Add the tomatoes, bell pepper, green beans, peas, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, mist a separate skillet with oil and put it on the stove over medium heat. Add the seitan and cook about 5 minutes until lightly browned, stirring frequently.
Add the seitan and okra to the Dutch Oven. Add more water, if desired, until the gumbo is the thickness you like. Cook for 20 minutes.
Serve over warm rice.
I have a knack for making fluffy rice every time. I reveal my secrets here.
1 cup white or brown rice1-¾ cups water for white rice2 cups water for brown rice1 tsp salt1 Tbsp canola, vegetable or extra-light olive oil
The two tricks to fluffy rice are to (1) wash the rice and (2) use a heavy, preferably nonstick, pan with a tight-fitting lid.
So, first put the rice in a strainer or colander and rinse it under cold water for at least two minutes. This will remove the starchy residue that is the main culprit on making rice sticky.
Put the rice into a heavy pan. The heavier the pan, the less likely the rice is to burn. Add water, salt and oil. Put on the stove over medium to medium-high heat until it boils. Stir and reduce heat to simmer. Cook approximately 16 to 20 minutes for white rice, 45 to 50 minutes for brown rice. Fluff before serving.
This is a variation of a recipe I got from my dear friend Jeane. It is an easy and fairly quick recipe, great for a weeknight one-dish meal. For those omnivores who want meat or poultry, serve it with pan-fried boneless chicken breasts.
1 Tbsp extra light olive oil
1 stalk celery1 small white or yellow onion1 8-oz can sliced water chestnuts2 cups (8 oz) sharp cheddar cheese¾ cup eggless mayonnaise¼ cup pine nuts¾ cup frozen green peas¾ cup frozen baby lima beans1 12-oz bag frozen carrot slices, cauliflower and broccoli
2 Tbsp butterEnough crackers to make ¾ cup cracker crumbs (12 to 22, depending on the size)
Preheat oven to 375°F. Mist or grease a 2-1/2 to 3-qt casserole dish (be sure it has a lid) with the olive oil.
Toast the pine nuts by putting them into a small skillet on the stove over medium heat. Stir frequently until slightly browned. Remove them from the skillet so they do not continue to cook.
Wash the celery stalk. Cut it into thin slices and put it into a large mixing bowl. Coarsely chop the onion. Add it to the bowl. Open and drain the water chestnuts. Add them to the bowl. Grate the cheese and add it to the bowl. Add the eggless “mayonnaise” and the pine nuts. Stir with a spoon until everything is well blended. Add the frozen vegetables and stir until they are well coated. Spread into the greased casserole dish. Cover and bake until bubbly, approximately 25 to 35 minutes.
While this is baking, make the topping. Smash the crackers into crumbs. My mini food processor does this quite handily. If you don’t have one, another method is to put them into a plastic zipper bag and smash them with your hands or a rolling pin. Put the cracker crumbs into a small mixing bowl. Cut 2 Tbsp of very cold, very hard butter into small pieces and put in the bowl. Squish the butter into the crackers with your fingers and thumbs, making it into a crumbly topping.
When the casserole is bubbly, remove from oven, remove the lid and sprinkle the cracker crumb topping on top. Return to the oven without the lid and bake for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the cracker crumbs are lightly browned.
Blueberries and blackberries looked so good at the supermarket. Here is a crisp using both of them.
1-½ cup blueberries1-½ cup blackberriesJuice from one lemon (about 1 tablespoon)¼ cup turbinado sugar1 Tbsp unbleached white flour
⅔ cup unbleached white flour½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar1 tsp ground cinnamon¾ cup old-fashioned oats6 Tbsp very cold unsalted butter or vegan substitute
Whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or non-dairy topping
Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate with butter or vegan substitute.
Wash and drain the blueberries and blackberries. Put into a bowl and add lemon juice. Put the turbinado sugar and 1 Tbsp flour into a large plastic zipper bag. Mix well. Add the fruit to the bag, then gently turn it back and forth until the fruit is coated. Dump the fruit into the pie plate.
In medium bowl, mix 2/3 cup flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and oats. Cut the butter or vegan substitute into small pieces, add to the bowl and mix with fingers or a pastry cutter until crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the berries.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes until fruit is bubbly and top is lightly browned. Serve warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or non-dairy topping on the side.
I love cinnamon apples. They are so good and so easy to make.
4 Granny Smith apples2 Tbsp butter or vegetable oil or canola oil½ cup brown sugar1 tsp ground cinnamon¼ tsp ground nutmeg or allspice
Put brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice in a large plastic zipper bag and shake to mix. Peel and slice the apples, add the apple slices to the bag. Shake to completely coat the apples.
Put the butter or oil in a large frying pan on the stove over medium heat. When melted, add the sugared apple slices. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and the liquid is reduced.
Serve as a dessert with ice cream, over pancakes, or just by itself.
My husband is not a vegetarian. Nutritious steel cut oats are nevertheless his routine breakfast of choice. He cooks them overnight over very low heat. We now have an induction cooktop that has a very low heat setting and he puts them in a small pan. With every other cooktop, he has used a double boiler to prevent scorching.
½ cup steel cut oats1-½ cups water½ tsp salt
Suggested Toppings Butter, margarine or vegan spreadDried fruit of your choiceDiced fresh fruit of your choicePecans or walnuts
Put oats, water and salt in the top half of a double boiler. Cover. Fill the bottom half of the double boiler half full of water. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting, put the top half with the oats it in on top and cook overnight.
In the morning, stir and transfer to a bowl. Melt butter, margarine or vegan spread on the oats, then top with your favorite dried or fresh fruit and nuts.
I had a wonderful herb garden this year. I combined some of them with heirloom tomatoes for this salad.
3 heirloom or your favorite tomatoes¼ to ½ red onion¼ cup Kalamata olives¼ cup fresh parsley¼ cup fresh oregano¼ cup fresh basil¼ cup tarragon vinegar¼ cup extra virgin olive oilSalt to tastePepper to taste½ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese (optional)
Wash and slice the tomatoes. Overlap on a large plate or platter. Cut the onion into thin strips. Drop on top of the tomatoes. Drain the olives and sprinkle them over the tomatoes. Wash, dry and mince the herbs. Sprinkle them over the tomatoes. Drizzle the vinegar and oil over the lot. Salt and pepper to taste. If desired, sprinkle with crumbled cheese.
My mother made seriously good chicken and doughy, stick-to-your-ribs dumplings. Once I discovered seitan, I came up with my own vegan recipe for this comfort food. I hope you like it.
1 Tbsp extra light olive oil or canola oil2 8-oz packages seitan1 medium yellow or white onion
6 cups water1 vegan vegetable or mock chicken (e.g. Not-Chick’n) bouillon cube
2 cups unbleached white all-purpose flour1 tsp baking powder¼ tsp ground thyme¼ cup ice water
Cut the seitan into bite-size pieces if necessary. Dice the onion. Set aside.
Put a Dutch Oven on the stove top over medium heat. Mist with extra light olive oil or canola oil. Add the seitan. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes until lightly browned in spots. Remove from the pan. Add about 1 Tbsp oil to the pan. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes until slightly translucent. Add 6 cups water and the bouillon cube.
Meanwhile, to make the dumplings, put the flour, baking powder and thyme into a medium mixing bowl. Stir to mix. Add ¼ cup ice water. Stir to mix thoroughly. The dough should be easy to work with—not sticky and not too dry. Add either a little water or a little flour if necessary.
Roll out the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut it into long strips, then cut each strip into 4” sections. Drop strips into the broth. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Put the seitan back in the pan, cover and simmer for 10 to 20 more minutes, until heated through.
So many great fruits are ripe and available in stores now. This fruit salad is a very refreshing way to serve them.
2 large nectarines (about 1 cup)1 large mango (about 1 cup)1 cup fresh strawberries1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup orange juiceJuice from one lemon (about 2 Tbsp)1 Tbsp turbinado (raw) sugar or 2 tsp agave nectar
Sprigs of fresh mint for garnish
Peel the peaches, slice them and put them into a large mixing bowl.
Wash the nectarines and cut them into slices. Add them to the bowl.
Wash and cut the mango into 1” chunks. Add them to the bowl.
Wash the blueberries and add them to the bowl.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the fruit mixture and gently toss to coat. Cover and put into the refrigerator until ready to eat. Stir occasionally and stir again before serving.
Wash the mint sprigs and dry them with paper towels. Put a sprig on each individual serving for garnish. Alternatively, cut off the mint leaves and gently fold them to the fruit just before serving.
Black beans and corn make a good pair. Here I put them in a zesty salad or side dish.
2 15-oz cans black beans1 11-oz can whole kernel corn½ cup red or white onion½ orange or red bell pepper½ green bell pepper
¼ cup balsamic vinegar¼ cup olive oil1 tablespoon fresh cilantro½ teaspoon ground cumin½ teaspoon Tabasco
Rinse and drain the beans. Put them into a large mixing bowl that has a lid or that you can easily cover with plastic. Drain the corn and add it to the bowl. Dice the onion into small pieces. Add it to the bowl. Remove the seeds and stem and chop the bell peppers into ¼-inch pieces.
Put the oil and vinegar into a small mixing bowl. Wash and finely chop the cilantro. Add it to the bowl. Add the cumin and Tabasco. Whisk together.
Add the vinegar mixture to the bean/corn mixture in the large bowl. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight to blend flavors. Serve as a salad or side dish.
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Each month we will bring you breakfast, dinner and special occasion menus starring the foods you are already cooking, and featuring tantalizing new vegetarian dishes to appeal to everyone.