Since we’re so close to Halloween I selected 13 of my favorites for you to warm up with. So stay toasty and dry, and eat your oatmeal! [Read more...]
A Spring CSA often seems much like a Winter one. There’s a great assortment of greens, turnips, and radishes. Granted the greens and turnips are baby ones instead of the turnip I got that was as big as my head. Make life easy and turn your CSA into a quick meal by making this Potato Turnip Soup with Spring Greens Pesto. to recipe →
This soup started with the gorgeous lentils above. I found them in a bulk bin at Whole Foods and fell in love. I knew that the red lentils wouldn’t stay red, but I had decided that the mixture would still look like autumn leaves after being cooked. Wrong!
I also added these beautiful purple potatoes to add to the imagined colorful mix. And, well, I was wrong again.
The soup turned out tasty and perfect for a fall day, but it looks like any other lentil soup. The mixed lentils and purple potatoes cost more than the plain ones. So use plain ones in this recipe and you won’t be disappointed. You can use any lentil you have on hand.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup lentils
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups potato, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, minced
- 1 tablespoon bouillon
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1/4 teaspoon ground)
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- smoked salt (or plain salt) and pepper, to taste
The night before: Saute the onion in oil until it turns translucent, then add the garlic and cook one more minute. Store cooked mixture with other cut veggies in the fridge overnight.
In the morning: Add everything except salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Cook 7 – 9 hours on low.
Before serving: Taste, add salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings if needed.
I found some organic cherries hiding in the back of my fridge when I was cleaning the other day. I also had some Gardein Beefless Tips in the freezer. I thought why the heck not, and set out on one of my experiments. This was a very tasty one!
I know some people don’t like meat substitutes. If it’s not your cup of tea use wheat gluten or steamed tempeh instead of the Gardein.
Make sure to be very careful when/if you cut the frozen beefless tips. You can thaw them first or just leave them whole if you prefer. I cut mine smaller just to make it go a little further.
If your family would not like the cherry chunks you can also purée the cherries and the wine together before you add it to the slow cooker.
Slow Cooker Gardein Beefless Tips in a Fresh Cherry Sauce
Serves 4 with a big side of steamed veggies or a big salad (Serves 2 to 3 with no other sides.)
Cooking Time: 6 – 8 hours on low
- 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and cut into quarters (can use frozen but thaw before cutting)
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 1 package (9 oz/255g) Gardein Beefless Tips, cut pieces carefully into thirds (or equivalent seitan)
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 medium baby potatoes, sliced thickly
- 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon smoked salt (or plain salt)
- Ground pepper
The night before: Pit and cut up the cherries and slice the beefless tips and store in fridge.
In the morning: Oil the crock. Layer the cherries on the bottom, followed by the wine and sprigs of herb, then top with beefless tips. Layer potato slices on top of the beefless tips so they can ‘bake’. Cook on low for 6 to 8 (or high for 3 to 4 hours).
Tip: If you don’t want a red tinge to the potatoes you can put a layer of parchment paper or foil on top of the beefless then place the potato slices on top of that.
Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.
This is very rich and goes well with a large serving of steamed seasonal veggies.
Ok, you and I know both that these are just mashed potatoes with puréed spinach. I have fancied them up with some Unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk and some smoked salt. But with St. Paddy’s day just around the corner it’s a perfect way to dress up tomorrow’s dinner. (Don’t panic the “beef” in the pic above is Gardein‘s vegan beefless tips.)
To make the cooked potatoes in the slow cooker use the Slow Cooker Beyond Easy Baked Potatoes. Once they are done (they can cook all day while you are at work), make sure to use a clean pot holder to handle the cooked potatoes with since they will be really hot then split them open and scrape the flesh out into a bowl.
This isn’t a slow cooker recipe if you boil your potatoes on the stove, but either way they are great for St. Paddy’s Day!
Green Mashed Potatoes
Serves 3 to 4
- 1/2 cup Unsweetened So Delicious coconut milk
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 2 large cooked potatoes, peeled
- 1 to 2 tablespoon(s) Earth Balance
- smoked salt, to taste (or 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke and plain salt)
Puree the nondairy milk and the spinach in a blender until smooth. No matter how you cooked your potatoes transfer the insides (no peel) to a bowl and mash the potatoes. You can use a mixer after you add the liquid and Earth Balance, just make sure not to over mix or they will get gluey. Mix everything together.
Note: If the mixture is too thick make another spinach coconut milk batch and add it to the mixture as well.
I love my greens and making up new ways to get my other half to eat them. Sometimes I’m successful and she even asks for more! This Collard Pesto was one of those successes. Mixed in with the soup it was a relationship that will definitely be celebrated in my house again soon.
You can serve it over pasta, on top of polenta, or swirl it in a soup. It adds a punch of citrus brightness and a beautiful green accent where ever you add it. It’s perfect to liven up your Dark Days dinners.
This pesto recipe calls for some specialty ingredients, but you can make it without them. I’ve suggested substitutions in the pesto directions.
Slow Cooker Potato Turnip Soup
- 2 cups turnips, peeled and chopped
- 6 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon vegan chick’n bouillon
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
Add everything except salt, pepper, and almond milk to your slow cooker. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
Remove rosemary sprig and discard. Puree using an immersion blender. Add almond milk and blend it in. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with a swirl of Collard Citrus Pesto (recipe below) on top.
Dark Days Collard Citrus Pesto
- 4 cups collards, stems removed and chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vegan chick’n bouillon
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (walnut also works well)
- 1 tablespoon blood orange olive oil (or plain orange juice)
- 1 teaspoon lemon balsamic (or plain lemon juice)
After you prep the greens add the water with chick’n bouillon mixed in to a saute pan. Add collards and cook on medium heat. Cook until collards are tender, but still bright green (about 10 minutes). The water will also be evaporated at this point. You can add extra water in cooking if needed.
Put all ingredients into a food processor and process until grainy or finely minced but not pureed. Add extra olive oil, water, or pumpkin puree if the mixture is too thick.
Makes 1 to 2 cups
For the 3rd week of the Dark Days Challenge I decided to not use polenta, pasta, or a wheat base for dinner. I figure those will be my backups and get used plenty over the next few months. I had a few red potatoes I got at the Raleigh market a little while ago. Like most of my potatoes, they were starting to sprout and needed some immediate attention. In keeping with the challenge I peeled those little suckers instead of using larger, non-local, baking potatoes.
What I found odd about the Raleigh market is that many of the farmers are growing hot house tomatoes, peppers, and I’m even seeing fresh berries. So the peas and the bell pepper are local, where the rest is not. I wish they had onions and garlic! Next year I will put up onions all summer to be prepared for winter cooking.
Slow Cooker Dark Days Purple Hull Peas
Slow Cooker Size Note:
Slow Cooker Dark Days Purple Hull Peas can be comfortably made in a 2 quart slow cooker, but would probably be too much in a 1 to 1 1/2 quart slow cooker. If you use a 4 quart you may need to add 3 cups of water instead of the 1 to 2 cups called for in the recipe. This would be the case with a 6 quart as well, or if your slow cooker is less than 1/2 full.
Slow cooker temperature runs hotter when it is less than 1/2 full on all slow cooker and some do the same if they are not 3/4 full. Read your slow cooker manual to see what yours recommends. When in doubt throw in an extra cup of water. If the peas are too watery when you get home, turn the temp to high and prop open the lid with a wooden spoon.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bell pepper (any color), chopped small
- 1 quart fresh purple hull peas (frozen works too)
- 1 to 2 cups water or vegetable broth (enough to cover the beans and veggies)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Tabasco or other hot sauce, for serving
The night before: Heat the oil over medium heat then add the onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute more, then add the bell pepper and cook until it softens. Store everything together in the fridge. If your peas are frozen defrost them in the fridge overnight.
In the morning: Place all the ingredients into an oiled slow cooker and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Add extra water if your slow cooker is less than 1/2 full (see note above). Add salt and pepper before serving. Also add more Cajun seasoning if needed.
Serve over rice, cornbread, or mashed potatoes with a side of hot sauce to give it some old-time flavor.
(These can be made similar to the Asian greens if you want to make it in slow cooker. Add the balsamic and flavored olive oil right before serving.
The collards were local and are becoming a tasty winter staple. The olive oil and balsamic I used to flavor them with are not local. But they did come from a store in Chapel Hill that specializes in flavored oils and vinegars, Blue Sky. At least I was supporting a local merchant and the flavor was absolutely amazing and got the house greens hater to eat her collards!
- 1 tablespoon plain olive oil
- 2 bunches collards (other greens can be substituted)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
- 1 to 2 tablespoons blood orange olive oil
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon white balsamic vinegar
- salt, to taste
Clean the collards, remove the large stem that runs through the middle, and chop the leafy part that’s left. (Hint: when greens are small you can usually skip this step.) Heat olive oil in a larger saute pan. Add the collards little by little until you can fit them all in the pan. If you have a really large pan add them all at the same time. Add water as and if needed. This just helps them steam a bit if they are thick. It also keeps them from burning.
How long you cook them will depend on if you like your greens bright green or cooked to death like mama used to make them. As soon as they are the way you like them take them off the heat and add the salt, flavored oil and vinegar. Start out with 1 tablespoon of each and add more until the flavors are strong, but not so strong that you don’t know what you are eating.
Creamy, garlicky potatoes are a favorite anytime, but it’s a great dish to bring to a holiday dinner. It’s as rich as the original, in fact no one will suspect it’s vegan unless you tell them! Fancy up this dish and make it au gratin. Just add some shredded vegan cheddar in between the layers of potatoes (but not on top of the casserole). About 30 minutes before serving put some more cheddar on top of the casserole.
Creamy Scalloped Potatoes
- 2 pounds (915g) organic potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 cup (256g) cashews
- 1 cup (58g) nutritional yeast
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1 1/2 cup (375ml) unsweetened non-dairy milk (*use rice or almond milk, etc. – just not soy to make it soy free)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- pepper to taste
The night before: Slice potatoes. You don’t have to peel them if you use organic, but do peel if they are conventional. In a food processor or blender combine the sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. Store mixture and sliced potatoes in separate containers in the fridge overnight.
In the morning: Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an oiled crock. Layer 1/3 of the potatoes then pour on another 1/3 of the sauce and repeat with the last of the potatoes ending with the sauce. Cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
Yields: 6 servings
Total Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Cooking Time: 6 to 8 hours
You can certainly make this dish in one sitting instead of spreading it out over the night and morning. Especially if you’re making it for tday.
I want to make a few posts on super easy things to make in the slow cooker. This is one that when I have friends over, they always tell me they never thought about cooking baked potatoes in the slow cooker. So I’m posting it here just in case you don’t already know.
You can still toss them in a microwave, but I prefer the texture when they’re baked in the oven or the Crockpot.
I love making a meal out of a baked potato by topping it with black bean chili and serving a big salad with it. Yum!
Slow Cooker Beyond Easy Baked Potatoes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 6- 8 hours (can cook longer if you are working late)
- 4 large russet potatoes (use organic so you can eat the skin too)
- a fork
In the morning: Wash the potatoes and scrub off any dirt. Make a few holes in each potato with the fork. Put them in the slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours and enjoy your perfectly baked potato.
It’s true – no water in the slow cooker and no oil is needed to coat the potato. It really is as easy as it seems. You can also cook 1 or 2 potatoes in a 1 – 1.5 quart slow cooker.
This recipe is so easy that you can fit it into your schedule, no matter how busy you are. The great things about using a slow cooker is you put in about 15 minutes at night to prep for the morning where you put about in 10 more minutes. That takes less time than driving to a restaurant to eat out.
Slow Cooker Smokey Split Pea Soup – gluten-free
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 – 8 hours
- 1 bag of split peas (about 2 – 3 cups)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 potato, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tb dried thyme (or a few sprigs of fresh)
- 1 tsp cajun seasoning (use salt-free f possible)
- 1 tsp chipolte powder
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 7 cups filtered water or veggie broth
The night before: Chop the veggies into medium-sized cubes. Peel the potatoes and carrots if they are not organic. Mince the garlic.
In the morning: Throw everything in your slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low.
Taste to see if you need to adjust seasonings. You may need to add a little salt. Purée with an immersion blender.
Serve topped with croutons and chopped vegan bacon.