Sweet Potato Lasagna

Have you ever used a vegetable as a noodle? I’ve seen so many recipes floating around the web for zucchini noodles and spiralized vegetables lately, and with our annual Octuberfest party around the corner, I was inspired to experiment with sweet potato pasta.

Lasagna means layered, so in the most literal sense of the word, this is indeed a lasagna. But don’t expect any cheese, meat, tomatoes or grains; this casserole uses thinly sliced sweet potatoes as noodles, a savory white bean bechamel (thank you to My New Roots for the inspiration there!), a pumpkin herb sauce, and fresh greens.

The resulting lasagna is a harvest celebration, full of autumn flavors and comforting carbohydrates. This would be a great Thanksgiving side dish, but it also makes a cozy dinner for four (or, if you have appetites like me and Eric, for two).

Main or side, this is definitely the sort of dish you want to share with friends. It’s naturally gluten-free, and I’ve included a paleo-friendly modification in the notes below. Enjoy!

Love and Potato Pasta, 

 

 

Sweet Potato Lasagna

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1.5-2 pounds sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil, melted and divided
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced and divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 15 ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon white miso (optional)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 cups raw greens (I like a combination of spinach and basil)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. For the noodles:
  3. Slice sweet potato as thinly as possible, into round "noodles." Set aside.
  4. For the pumpkin sauce:
  5. In a small sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until the edges begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add 1 clove of garlic and thyme; stir for 1 minute. Deglaze with white wine and allow to simmer until reduced by 1/3. Add the pumpkin puree and stir through until the sauce has an even consistency. Taste for salt and pepper. Set aside.
  6. For the white bean bechamel:
  7. In a blender, combine 3 tablespoons refined coconut oil, white beans, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, nutmeg and water until creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. To assemble:
  9. Grease an 8x8 casserole dish. Add a layer of sweet potato to the bottom. Add half the greens on top, followed by half the pumpkin sauce and half the white bean bechamel. Repeat: sweet potato, greens, pumpkin, white beans.
  10. Bake for 1 hour, or until the sweet potato is soft.
  11. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Notes

For a paleo-friendly or SCD-friendly recipe, replace the white beans with 2 cups of cashews, soaked overnight and drained.

For a soy-free recipe, omit the miso.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/sweet-potato-lasagna/

Cream of Celery Soup

“Leave the dishes

Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator

and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.”

-Louise Erdrich, Advice to Myself 

At my old grocery store in Cambridge, I was able to buy celery by the stalk. I absolutely loved this, since I usually only needed a stalk or two for a soup or risotto. And despite Louise Erdrich’s advice, I hated having a huge head of celery in the bottom drawer.

But that was the situation I found myself in the other week (my current local grocery store only buys gargantuan heads of the vegetable). Celery gives a lovely note to soups, but I rarely give it the spotlight. I thought I’d give it a try and was delightfully surprised.

This soup uses an entire head of celery and is exactly what you’ll want to try the next time you are on the verge of a Louise Erdrich moment.  Raw cashews and cooked potato to add richness and body. It is flavored with onions, garlic, and dill.

Love and Celery,

 

 

P.S. Did you know you can regrow celery? This method really works! We now have little celery stalks growing on our windowsill (which will come in handy, since most of the time you really do only want one stalk).

Cream of Celery Soup

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 1 head celery, chopped
  • 1 large, waxy potato, chopped
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a soup pot, add leek, garlic and oil over medium heat. Cook until the leeks become soft.
  2. Add the dill and celery and stir occasionally until everything is cooked through.
  3. Add the potato and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potato is soft, about 12 minutes.
  4. In a blender, add the cashews and a bit of the cooking liquid to form a cream. Transfer the remainder of the cooked ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/cream-celery-soup/

 

Wild Blueberry and Rosemary Sorbet

Did you know you can make creamy sorbet using applesauce as a base? It’s true!

There are lots of recipes on the internet for banana soft serve- essentially blending up frozen bananas until they reach the texture of ice cream. If you haven’t tried this out yet, definitely give it a whirl. This method totally works because bananas are both sweet and starchy. Apples don’t have starch but they do have a fiber called pectin, which acts as a thickener. They also have a much more neutral flavor, making applesauce a great base for any fruit flavored sorbet.

You may not think to pair blueberry and rosemary together, but it’s a fantastic combination. You can, however, think of this recipe as a blueprint. You could swap the rosemary for lavender (another great combo) or omit the herbs altogether. If you’re not a fan of blueberries, try raspberries or cherries.

Love and sorbet,

 

 

Wild Blueberry and Rosemary Sorbet
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 16 ounces wild blueberries, frozen
  • 1/4 cup honey or other liquid sweetener
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar or granulated cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until totally smooth. Since you've used frozen blueberries, the base is already chilled and ready to churn in your ice cream maker as soon as you are!
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/wild-blueberry-rosemary-sorbet/

 

Peach and Tomato Tartines

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In my constant quest to invent recipes that do not require heat, I seem to have forgotten tartines.  A tartine is basically just a fancy name for an open faced sandwich.  Unlike a typical sandwich, where all you see is the beige of the bread, open faced sandwiches act like a blank canvas onto which you can tumble any number of colorful fruits, veggies, and herbs.

When I lived in Norway, open faced sandwiches were a way of life.   Typical Norwegian breakfast and lunch are open faced sandwiches spread with butter or mustard and topped with cheese or meat.  Hearty, but not exactly plant based.

This recipe is heart healthy and plant based.  The base is a rich, creamy, tangy cashew cheese, and it’s topped with ripe peaches and tomatoes.   I know it’s a little fussy, but I love taking the extra 30 seconds to make my food look pretty.  It adds such ceremony to a meal, and takes you out of the ordinary moment of your life into the realm of creativity and play.

Love and tartines,

Amanda Signature

 

 

Peach and Tomato Tartine

Yield: 1 serving

  • Cashew Cheese:
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Tartines:
  • 2 slices toasting bread
  • 1/2 cup cashew cheese
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1 ripe peach, sliced
  • chives, to garnish
  1. To make the cashew cheese: Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until totally smooth. Set aside.
  2. Toast your bread until golden and brown.
  3. Spread 1/4 cup of cheese on each of the toasts.
  4. Layer with sliced tomatoes and peaches.
  5. Top with chives, to garnish.
  6. Enjoy!

Notes

For a gluten-free option, use gluten-free bread.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/peach-tomato-tartine/

 

Avocado Shake

avocado-milkshake

Happy New Year!  

I love the clean slate feeling of a fresh year.  I love the opportunity to reflect on all the wonderful things that happened the year before and wonder, with anticipation, what new friends and new adventures the new year will bring.

And I love new years resolutions.  I first became vegan because of a new years resolution.  I was doing a different challenge every month for a year, and my friend Julie asked if I’d like to go vegan with her for a month.  It sounded fun, so I figured I’d give it a try.  And that was the starting point of this beautiful adventure.

Many people use new years resolutions to set unrealistic goals and then self flagellate when they don’t achieve them.  I really see no point in this.  You have this blank page of a year- why muddy it with your own self loathing?  If you want to set a new years resolution at all, think about something you are curious about.  What would it look like to start exploring it?  What would be the first step?  Start there and see where the journey takes you.

This Avocado Shake is something I’d forgotten about until recently.  I was flipping through images from early drafts of my cookbook (another new years resolution project).  This shake didn’t end up making the final cut, but it’s the perfect type of new years recipe:  healthy, fast, easy.

It may sound strange, but I promise you it isn’t.  It’s actually a very common Brazilian recipe.  Brazilians blend avocados with milk and sugar;  I blend them with coconut milk and a little agave or coconut nectar.  This is a great recipe to make the morning after a long, indulgent night.  Avocados make the shake thick and creamy, while adding lots of fiber, vitamin k and vitamin e.  Coconut adds lots of medium chain triglycerides and a tropical flavor.

It’s a perfect recipe, no matter what diet you’re on.  Though it is an especially great recipe for my loved ones who are managing their neurological diseases through diets rich in veggies and coconut!

Love and Happy New Year,

Amanda Signature

 

 

Avocado Shake

Yield: 1-2 servings

This makes quite a thick shake. But the beauty of the recipe is that you can adjust any ingredient to suit your preferences. If you like it thinner, add more coconut milk. If you like it sweeter, add some ripe banana, one medjool date, or a little extra coconut nectar. If you want to add some extra veggies, through in a handful of spinach- it will yield a bright green color. Enjoy!

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • handful of ice
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave, coconut nectar, or maple syrup (optional)
  • pinch salt
  1. Blend all ingredients until totally smooth.

Notes

For a paleo diet: use coconut nectar.

For a whole foods plant based diet: replace the liquid sweetener with a medjool date or 1/2 ripe banana.

For a raw foods diet: use the meat and water from one young coconut.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/crispmas/

 

Mushroom and Hummus Toast

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To paraphrase Nigella Lawson, the kitchen is a place I love to escape to.  That said, this is a busy season.  Between the parties, holiday planning and holiday shopping, free time is quite limited.    That said, there are plenty of nights when I come home wanting a proper dinner- something warm and nourishing- but I don’t feel like putting in a lot of time or effort.

This is one of those magical, next-to-no-effort recipes.  The amount of energy you want to invest is up to you.  If you’re feeling super ambitious, you can make the bread, make the hummus, and take your time caramelizing onions, searing mushrooms, deglazing with wine, and sprinkling with salt.

I will be taking the lazy route- using good store bought bread and hummus.  I sear the mushrooms in a hot pan, then deglaze with a combination of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and liquid smoke.  It gives the mushrooms a really meaty, slow cooked flavor that hits all parts of your tongue.

Once the toasts are assembled, I drizzle over a bit of white truffle oil.  This is my magic trick- anointing any dish with white truffle elevates the whole meal to something altogether elegant.  Toss over some chives or whatever fresh herbs happen to be lurking in your refrigerator, and you have yourself a meal in less than 15 minutes.

Love and Quick Suppers,

Amanda Signature

 

 

Mushroom and Hummus Toast

Yield: 1 serving

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 8 ounce package sliced white mushrooms
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari (if gluten free)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tablespoon white truffle oil
  • 1/2 cup store bought hummus
  • 2 slices store bought bread, toasted
  • Chives, minced (optional)
  1. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add the garlic cloves to the pan.
  3. When the garlic cloves are sizzling, add the mushrooms and stir occassionally. Give it at least 1 minute between stirs. This gives the mushrooms an opportunity to brown.
  4. When the mushrooms are brown and the pan looks dry, add the soy sauce and vinegar. Allow most of the liquid to evaporate before adding the maple syrup and liquid smoke. Cook until the mushrooms have absorbed all the liquid. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. To assemble: Place a slice of toast on your plate. Dollop over 3-4 tablespoons of hummus and spread evenly over the toast. Pile the mushrooms on top of the hummus. Top with truffle oil, chives, salt, and pepper.

Notes

For a gluten-free option, use tamari in place of soy sauce, and gluten free bread.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/mushroom-hummus-toast/

White Miso Oatmeal

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Weddings are the only times I find it challenging to eat vegan, but brunch can be pretty uninspiring.   Brunch menus are full of eggs, bacon, and sausage.  Even pancakes and crepes tend to be filled with eggs and milk.  Of course, there’s always something to get- a fruit plate, bagel with peanut butter, or toast and jam- but most brunch spots are lacking in innovative, plant based options.

Savory oatmeal is an innovative, hearty and satisfying brunch option that I love to make at home.   The base is simple:  rolled oats, white miso, and coconut milk.  You could use whatever miso you like, but I like using a mellow white miso as it is the perfect mix of sweet, salty, and savory.

Now that you have your porridge canvas, options are endless.  This is a particularly forgiving base for leftovers.  I topped mine with a handful of walnuts, leftover sauteed mushrooms, and chives.  But you could easily toss in some sauteed greens, leftover roasted vegetables, sliced radishes.  Whatever you have on hand, and whatever you crave, is perfect.

Love and Brunch,

Amanda Signature

 

 

White Miso Oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon miso
  • 1 tablespoon full fat coconut milk, or other nondairy milk
  • Optional toppings: cooked mushrooms, cooked greens, roasted vegetables, walnuts, chives, radish
  1. In a small saucepan, bring oats and water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and continue to cook until the oats have swelled and softened.
  2. Turn off the heat, and stir in the miso and coconut milk.
  3. Cover the pot and leave for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  4. Top with any of your desired toppings and serve.
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/white-miso-oatmeal/

Muhammara

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A few weekends ago, Eric and I went to Governor’s Island for a Unicycle Festival.  We discovered the festival around 11:48am on a Saturday, and the festival began at 1pm.  Now, usually I am a snob about jarred peppers.  But we had some on hand, and I wanted to quickly whip up a picnic lunch so we could get on our way.  I threw everything in the blender, grabbed some bread and a few cut up veggies, and we were on our way.

The Unicycle Festival turned out to be disappointingly tiny, but the dip was delicious!  And given how ludicrously simple it was to make, I have since been persuaded to change my snobbish ways.

This makes a delicious accompaniment to the Chesapeake Cakes, but it’s also a fantastic picnic or party dip.

Love and Jarred Peppers,

Amanda Signature

 

 

Muhammara
  • 1 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon date syrup or other sweetener
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender of food processor. Blend until completely smooth.

Notes

For a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free breadcrumbs.

For a Paleo diet, omit the breadcrumbs entirely and increase the walnuts by 1/2 cup.

For a Whole Foods Plant Based Diet, omit the olive oil.

For the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, omit the date syrup.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/muhammara/

Chesapeake Cakes

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I was a seafood fiend when I was little.  One of my mother’s favorite stories to tell is about the time I ordered Oysters Benedict off an adult menu when I was barely past toddlerhood.  I grew up in Virginia, not too far from the Chesapeake Bay, where seafood was abundant.  And crabs were particularly plentiful.

But crabs, particularly Blue Crabs, have been under threat lately in the Chesapeake Bay.  According to The Chesapeake Bay Program, blue crabs are particularly “vulnerable to pollution, habitat loss, and harvest pressure.”

Lucky for us, we have artichokes.  Yes, artichokes.  If you pulse up a combination of artichokes and hearts of palm in the food processor, mix with a few spices and a bit of seaweed, and fry them up, they taste remarkably like crab cakes!  Serve over a healthy dollop of Muhammara (recipe coming next time), and you have a delicious, extravagant appetizer or light supper.

But why would you want to make crab cakes without the crab?  Because it’s not really the crab you’re after.  It’s that taste of the ocean, the richness of ingredients, and the familiarity of the flavor and texture.  All of this can be achieved, without causing any harm to the environment.  If this former seafood fiend can find satisfaction in a plant based party cake, I know you’ll love it, too.

Love and Crab Cakes,

Amanda Signature

 

 

Chesapeake Cakes

Yield: 6 patties

Serving Size: 1-2 patties

Adapted from Chad Sarno's Hearts of Palm "Crab" Cakes

  • 1 sheet nori
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 can hearts of palm, drained
  • 1/3 cup oil, for frying
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup celery, minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno, minced
  • 3 tablespoons vegan mayo (ex: Just Mayo)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • fresh black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  1. Toast the nori by holding it about 8 inches over an open flame and turning it until it becomes dry. Crumble the toasted nori into a spice grinder and grind until a fine powder forms. Set aside.
  2. Place the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm on a clean dish towel and press to remove any excess liquid. Place in a food processor and pulse a few times. Be careful not to over process. You want the pieces to resemble lump crab meat.
  3. In a small pan, saute onion, celery and jalapeno in about a teaspoon of oil until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, combine nori, sauteed vegetables, mayo, Old Bay, nutritional yeast, sugar, cornstarch and black pepper.
  5. Gently fold in the artichoke hearts and hearts of palm until thoroughly incorporated.
  6. Chill the mixture for at least 1 hour.
  7. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the mixture and form into a patty. Dredge in the breadcrumbs until coated. Place the breadcrumbed patties on a tray and chill an additional hour.
  8. When you're ready to fry, heat the remaining oil in a deep skillet over medium high heat. Toss a few breadcrumbs into the oil. When they sizzle and turn golden brown, you're ready. Gently lower the patties into the oil and cook until the edges turn golden brown, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and allow to cook an additional 3 minutes on the second side. Remove from the oil and set in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Notes

For a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free breadcrumbs of pulse up gluten free crackers in a food processors until a breadcrumb like consistency is reached.

For a soy-free diet, use a soy-free vegan mayo.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/chesapeake-cakes/

 

All Vegetable Sushi

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I just don’t understand how people survived without air conditioning.  I really don’t.  Our little window unit struggles to keep our tiny NYC apartment cool enough to be tolerable.  And it is definitely not strong enough to combat the added heat of the stove.

My mission this summer has been to create meals that require absolutely no added heat.  No stove, no oven, not even a toaster oven.  I want food that is cool and hydrating.  That means we’ve been eating lots of smoothies, hummus, tapenades, and ice cream.

Raw food cuisine is also perfect for this kind of weather.  Personally, raw food as a dogma is not my thing.  It’s simply not true that raw fruits and vegetables are better than cooked fruits and vegetables.  We need both.  But I really appreciate raw foods innovative and creative approach to ingredients, and I am grateful for the source of inspiration!

This sushi recipe is totally raw.  The rice isn’t rice- it’s a mixture of white vegetables, almonds, ume vinegar, agave nectar, and fresh ginger.  It’s surprisingly delicious!   Of course, the fillings can be whatever you like.  I love avocado and cucumber.  You could throw in some smoked tofu, sundried tomatoes, julienned beets.  Really, anything you want or anything you have on hand.

This recipe is super flexible, allergy friendly, whole foods based, and gluten-free!  I hope it helps keep you cool during these sweltering summer days.

Love and sushi,

Amanda Signature

 

 

All Vegetable Sushi
  • 6 cups white vegetables (daikon, cauliflower, jicama, white carrot)
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon ume vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons agave of other liquid sweetener
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 10 sheets toasted nori
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 carrot, jullienned
  • 1 bunch scallions, cut into 3 inch pieces
  • 1 cucumber, julienned
  • Warm water
  1. In a food processor, pulse white vegetables until they break down into pieces the size or rice.
  2. Pulse the almond flour, vinegar, agave, and ginger into the white vegetable rice until eventy distributed.
  3. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a clean dish towel or fine mesh cheese cloth. Squeeze some of the liquid out of the rice. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Lay a piece of toasted nori with the shiny side facing down on a sushi mat or piece of cling film.
  5. Press 1/2-3/4 cup vegetable rice onto the sheet of nori. The vegetables should be pressed firmly into the nori, so that they stick together. It should be an even layer, about 1/4-1/2 inch thick, which covers about 3/4 of the sheet of nori. Leave 1/4 of the nori untouched.
  6. Lay slices of your vegetables parallel to the edge of the nori in a single line. Be sure not to overstuff!
  7. You are ready to wrap the sushi. Brush a bit of warm water on the exposed 1/4 of the nori sheet. This will allow it to adhere to the roll.
  8. Using your sushi mat or cling film, begin to roll the sushi in a tight, even log. Be sure to press along the way. Once you reach the end of the nori, press the damp edge into the log to seal it. Give the whole sushi a firm squeeze to compress the vegetables together.
  9. Using a serated knife, cut the sushi into bite sized pieces. Serve with soy sauce.

Notes

For a nut allergy, replace the almonds with ground sunflower seeds.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/all-vegetable-sushi/