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Pepper, tomato and onion stew (lecsó) with black lentils and kale

Inspired by lecscó, my version adds a little nuance with the poblano pepper and rounds the dish out with some kale and black lentils. Shown here with freshly made spätzle (gluten free, plant-only) dusted with nutritional yeast, but fresh bread, roasted or mashed potatoes, rice or similar accompaniments should all go well.

Ingredients

1/3 cup black beluga lentils
3/4 cup water
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu (about 1/2″)
4 scallions, minced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4t coarse sea salt
1 cup red peppers, cored, seeded, 1/3″ dice
1 cup Hungarian peppers, cored, seeded, 1/3″ dice
3/4 cup poblano peppers, cored, seeded, 1/3″ dice
1/2T smoked paprika
1/2T coconut sugar (or a little maple syrup)
1/2T lemon juice
1 cup tomato passata (or puree)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 cups green curly kale, stemmed and chopped
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: There are a number of regional variations for lecsó, but tomatoes, onions, and peppers form a common base. Use some fresh tomatoes, slice the peppers and onions in strips rather than dice and use green pepper rather than poblano for a more traditional version. If you do, saute the onions first, add the paprika and sugar and then the rest of the peppers. Lecsó is often stewed. You ca make this dish in a slow cooker if you prefer (just be careful not to overcook the peppers). A tablespoon of cooking oil will also add some richesse to this dish.

Method

Bring the water to a boil in a small pan with a lid. Add the lentils and kombu. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Remove the kombu and set the lentils aside to cool for 5 minutes, covered.

With the lentils underway, bring a large frying pan to heat on medium high. Add the peppers, scallions and sea salt. Stirfry for 3-5 minutes, or until the peppers are starting to wilt. Reduce heat to medium. Add the paprika and coconut sugar. Saute for 3-5 minutes.

When the pan starts to brown, add the lemon juice and deglaze. Add the passata and stock, and return to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes uncovered or until the passata has been reduced by about 1/3, stirring periodically (but gently).

When ready, add the kale and black lentils. Stir to combine. Let stand 2-3 minutes to cool and to wilt the kale. Season to taste and serve.

Shoestring sweet potato, black bean, and kale bowl with caper aioli

A fairly simple but rich bowl with sweet potatoes, kale, black beans and caper aioli. This makes a good size bowl for 2 or a small side dish for 4.

Ingredients

For the sweet potatoes
3 cups sweet potato, peeled and spiral cut
1T sriracha (or similar or to taste)
1/2T curry powder
2T tamari
1/4t coarse sea salt
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the mushrooms, kale and black beans
2T water
1/4t coarse sea salt
2 scallions, minced
1/2 cup maitake mushrooms, finely chopped
1 cup cooked black beans
2 cups green curly kale, coarsely chopped
1/2T lemon juice
2T nutritional yeast
1/4t black pepper, freshly cracked (or to taste)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the aioli
2T sesame seed butter
2T white pickling vinegar
1t lemon juice
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t prepare brown mustard
1T pickled capers, minced
1/2T dried green herbs (I use herbes de Provence)

Optional: Shoestringing the potatoes will require a spiral slicer, although a mandoline will give you something similar. If you have neither, dice the sweet potatoes 1/4″ and adjust the cook time as noted below. If you make the beans from scratch, start with 1/3 cup and 1 cup of water (or make them in a batch). I stew them with kombu. A little sun-dried tomato added with the kale would also go well in this dish.

Method

Start the sweet potatoes, and then make the kale and then the aioli.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the sweet potatoes. Mix the sriracha, tamari, curry powder and sea salt. Toss the sweet potatoes in the mixture until well coated. Bake evenly distributed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper on the middle rack until crisp. Expect about 30 – 40 minutes. Stir periodically to ensure even coverage. Remove from heat when done.

Not, the potatoes should be well-distributed to increase the amount of air flow available to them (so that they crisp). The more open air they get, the better. If you dice the sweet potatoes, bake until fork tender. Ovens vary; use the colour and texture as your guide.

At the 25 minute market, mix the ingredients for the aioli in order, up to but not including the capers, until emulsified and fluffy. Add the capers and green herbs, stir to combine and let stand while you saute the kale.

Bring a large frying pan to heat on medium. Add the scallions, sea salt and water. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the maitake mushrooms and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the kale and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add additional water by the tablespoon if the pan gets too dry.

Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan. Remove from heat. Toss with the nutritional yeast and black pepper. Let stand to cool while you plate the sweet potatoes.

To plate, add the sweet potatoes in an even, shallow layer. Season the beans, kale and mushrooms to taste and layer on top. Dollop with the aioli and serve.

Spicy, sweet potato fries, chickpeas, and kale in curry-spiced, sesame-ginger gravy

Lightly spicy, rich and sweet, this is a relatively simple but colorful and flavourful dish.

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes, about 6″ long, peeled and sliced lengthwise in 1/2″ fries (about 3 cups)
2T tamari
A pinch coarse sea salt
2t sriracha (or similar, or to taste)
1/2 cup millet flour
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 cups green curly kale, coarsely chopped

For the gravy
1T curry powder (or individual spices if you prefer)
1 scallion, minced
1/2T fresh garlic, minced
2t ginger, grated and minced
2 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup tomato passata (or puree)
2T sesame seed butter
1T arrowroot powder dissolved in 2T cold water
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: Other greens go well in this dish, but will wilt more quickly. The ginger should be slightly more prominent to complement the sesame in this dish. but you can always use your own spice blend in place of curry powder. Freshly ground or popped spices have more flavour. Add some dried chilis with the other dried spices for more heat. I use dried chickpeas that I’ve simmered with kombu usually in a large batch for this type of dish — about 2/3 cup dry will yield 2 cups cooked.

Method

Preheat the oven to 450F or to the highest temperature to which your baking paper is rated. Whisk the tamari, sriracha and salt. Toss the sweet potatoes in the mixture until well coated. Toss them lightly in the millet flour (just a light dusting).

Add the fries to a baking sheet lined with the baking paper in a thin, even layer. Bake for about 35 – 45 minutes (depending on the temperature) until well cooked and lightly crispy, turning periodically to ensure even cooking. Ovens vary; use the texture as a guide.

At about the 15 minute mark, start the gravy. Bring a large pan to heat on medium. Add the curry powder (or your dry spices) to the pan and toast for 2 minutes or until they are nicely aromatic. Add the scallion, garlic and ginger and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add the stock, bring the pan to a light simmer, and add the chickpeas.

Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes. At the 30 minute mark, add the sesame seed butter and passata and stir until dissolved. Simmer another 5 minutes or so until the fries are ready. Stirring continuously, add the arrowroot mixture slowly until it thickens. Add the kale and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and cook another 1-2 minutes stirring frequently, until the kale is nicely wilted and bright green.

When everything is ready, plate the fries, ladle the chickpeas and kale over top, and serve.

Chickpea, potato and kale soup

With a light tomato, herb broth, this is a rich but simple soup with lots of colour and flavour. This makes 4 small bowls or 2 good sized ones.

Ingredients

2T water
1/4t coarse sea salt
2T scallions, minced, 2″ – 3″ green reserved for garnish
1/4t black pepper, freshly cracked
1/4t dried red chilis (or to taste)
1t dried basil, rubbed
1/2t dried oregano, rubbed
1/4t dried thyme, rubbed
1T fresh garlic, minced
1 cup cooked chickpeas
3/4 cup white potatoes, 1/3″ dice
1/2T lemon juice
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup tomato passata (or puree)
2 cups green curly kale, chopped coarsely
1T nutritional yeast
Coarse sea salt, nutritional yeast, and black pepper to taste

Optional: Garnish with 2T minced fresh basil at the end (in lieu of dried at the beginning) to add flavour and colour. Add more passata for a stronger tomato flavour. A tablespoon oil for the saute in place of the water will add some richesse. Use white beans instead of chickpeas for something more traditional. About 1/3 cup dried chickpeas will yield 1 cup cooked. I usually make my chickpeas with kombu in a batch so that I always have some on-hand.

Method

Bring a medium pan with a lid to heat on medium high. Add the scallions, green herbs, chilis, black pepper, 2T water and sea salt. Water saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the potatoes and chickpeas and saute for another minute or so. Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan. Add the stock. Bring the pan to a simmer, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Add the passata, cover and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the kale and stir to combine. Add the nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Let stand 1 minute for the kale to wilt. Season to taste, and ladle out. Garnish with additional nutritional yeast if you like and scallion green sliced on an angle.

Fresh pappardelle with chickpeas, maitake mushroom, sun-dried tomatoes and kale

A simple pasta with a light, but satisfying and flavourful sauce.

Ingredients

For the pasta
1 cup semolina flour
1t tapioca flour
2t cornstarch
1/3 cup + 1T water
2 liters water with 2t coarse sea salt for boiling.

For the sauce
1 cup cooked chickpeas
2T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1/4 cup scallion, minced (2-3 scallions)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1/2T dried green herbs (I use herbes de Provence)
1 cup maitake mushrooms, trimmed and broken into 1″ strips
2T sun-dried tomatoes (dehydrated, not jarred) rehydrated in 1/4 cup water
2 cups green curly kale, chopped coarsely
2T nutritional yeast
2T pasta water
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: Other mushrooms will work here, but maitake (also known as hen of the woods or signorina mushrooms) have a lovely mild flavour and a soft texture, as well as a good nutritional profile. A little kalamata olive in this dish would also be nice. If you make the chickpeas from dried, about 1/3 cup dried will yield 1 cup cooked. Replace the pappardelle with fettuccine, linguini or spaghetti if you prefer. Replace the kale with small broccoli florets, flat leaf parsley, spinach, or other greens — just be sure to adjust the cooking time and the amount to your taste.

Method

Start the tomatoes, then the pasta, and then the sauce.

Bring 1/4 cup water to a boil and reconstitute the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Mix the semolina flour, the tapioca flour and the cornstarch. Add the water and mix until a smooth elastic dough forms. Knead for another 2 minutes. Let the dough rest, covered with a warm moist tea towel in the mixing bowl for about 15 minutes.

When the dough is ready, roll out on a lightly floured board to a large rectangle about 1/8″ thick. Cut the pappardelle in long strips (10″ – 12″ by 1/2″), preferably with a pastry cutter. Let the strips dry on the cutting board while you make the sauce.

Bring a large frying pan with a lid to heat on medium high. Add the oil and sea salt. Add the scallions and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and green herbs. Saute for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add the chickpeas, the sun-dried tomatoes and their water. Deglaze the pan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the pasta is ready.

Bring the 2 liters water to a boil. Add the salt. Add the pasta. Swirl the pan to separate the pasta. Boil lightly until for 2- 3 or until the pasta is done (it will float). Drain gently, reserving about 2 tablespoons of water for the sauce. Add the water the sauce and stir to combine. Rinse the pappardelle with cold water and set aside to finish the sauce.

Add the kale and stir to combine for about a minute or two until the kale is nicely wilted but still a vibrant green. Remove from heat. Add the nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Season the sauce to taste. Plate the pasta, add the sauce and serve. Garnish with additional nutritional yeast if you like.

Sweet, spicy tempeh stuffed agnolotti pasta with kale, kalamata olives, garlic and avocado oil

A relatively straightforward, sturdy and richly flavoured stuffed pasta dish. This is an ‘al plin’ variation for agnolotti. The recipe makes an appetizer portion for 4 or a filling bowl or 2.

Ingredients

For the pasta dough
1 cup semolina flour
1t tapioca starch
A pinch baking powder
1/3 cup heaping warm (but not hot) water

For the filling
1/4 cup water
1T sun-dried tomatoes, minced (dehydrated, not jarred)
1t dried herbs de Provence, rubbed
1/2T fresh garlic, minced
1 scallion, minced
125g tempeh (use pasteurized)
1/4 cup soft, dried dates, pitted and minced (I use medjool)
1t sriracha (or similar and/or to taste)
1t balsamic vinegar
2T bread crumbs
2T nutritional yeast
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the sauce
2T avocado oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
2 cups green curly kale, coarsely chopped
1T kalamata olives
1/2T fresh garlic, minced
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: Replace the water for the filling with vegetable stock if you prefer. If you prefer, saute the kale without the oil, but in that case, I would recommend 2 tablespoons of olives for a little extra flavour. Add a tablespoon avocado oil to the filling for a richer taste and mouth feel. Garnish with some sun-dried tomatoes, scallions, or capers for additional flavour and nutrition, but keep it simple. Agnolotti are a fairly sturdy pasta — so, heavier sauces will also work but traditionally, the flavour goes into the filling.

Method

Start the filling, then the pasta, then the sauce.

In a large frying pan with a lid, bring the water to a light boil. Add all of the ingredients up to and including the sriracha. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed, stirring periodically.

While the filling simmers, mix the dry ingredients for the pasta dough. Add the water. Mix, then knead until a solid dough forms, and then another minute or so. Let rest about 10 minutes covered in the bowl with a warm, wet tea towl.

At the 15 minute mark, uncover, increase heat to medium and saute for another 5 – 10 minutes until the pan is starting to brown. Add vinegar and deglaze the pan. Add the bread crumbs and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine and set aside to cool while you roll out the pasta.

Break the pasta into 2 – 3 pieces. Keep the dough you’re not using moist with the tea towel. Roll the dough out to about 3″ x 14″ strips, about 1/8″ thick. Fill the sheet width-wise in a solid line, about 1″ in diameter, about 1 1/2″ down from the top. Leave 1 1/2″ from the left side and 1 1/2″ on the right unfilled.

Carefully fold the top of the pasta toward you just over the filling, leaving about 1/2″ or so of dough at the bottom. Press the top of the dough into bottom of the dough with the flat of your index fingers to form a consistent seal. Pinch the unfilled left and right sides.

You’ll now have a long tube of filled dough. Using your index fingers and your thumbs, pinch the agnolotti in (6) 1″ pieces vertically, creating about 1 1/2″ inch of dough in between each agnolloti. Pinch firmly. The pinch, the small amount of filling and the dough, along with the cut is what seals the pasta.

Trim the three sides of folded dough with a pasta cutter. Separate each agnolotti with the pastry cutter with a cut through the pressed dough in between each. With your thumbs and index fingers carefully press the pinched pieces of dough down at the sides (completing the fold).

Let the agnolotti dry a few minutes while you bring the water to a boil. I use the saute pan to boil my agnolotti so that the pasta picks up some of the flavour from the filling, but use a fresh pan if you prefer.

When the water has reached a light boil, add the pasta, swirl the pan, and simmer gently for about 3 – 5 minutes. The agnolotti will float when done. Don’t overcook.

Drain carefully, reserving 2T pasta water in the frying pan. Return the frying pan to heat on medium high. Add the kale and remaining ingredients. Stir fry for 2 – 3 minutes or until the kale is lightly wilted and a vibrant green. Rinse the agnolotti with warm water and add to the pan, stirring gently to pick up the sauce.

Remove from heat, bowl out, garnish and serve.

Chili-garlic tofu, asparagus and kale bowl stir fried with avocado oil and sriracha

This is a simple, but light dish, with tofu and asparagus stir fried with red pepper, zucchini, carrots, avocado oil and sriracha, then tossed with kale. This makes a small appetizer for 4 or a larger bowl for 2.

Ingredients

For the tofu
225g extra-firm, high quality tofu, 1/3″ cubes
2T cornstarch
1/4t coarse sea salt to taste
1/4t black pepper, freshly cracked

For the vegetables
2T avocado oil
1 small sweet onion, trimmed, halved length-wise, and sliced, 1/4″
1/4t dried red chilis (or to taste)
1T fresh garlic, minced
1t fresh ginger, minced
8-10 stalks of asparagus, bottoms snapped off, cut in 1″ segments
1 red pepper, cored, seed, and sliced 1/2″
2 small carrots, trimmed, halved length-wise, and sliced on an angle, 1/10″
1 small zucchini, trimmed, halved length-wise, and sliced on a angle, 1/8″
2 cups green curly kale, coarsely chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the sauce
1/2 cup boiling water
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu (about 1″)2T tomato passata (or puree)
1T white pickling vinegar
1/2T sriracha (or to taste — I use 1T)
1/2T coconut sugar
2T tamari (or to taste)
1T tapioca starch dissolved in 2T water

Optional: Add rice or rice noodles for a fuller meal. Add whole cashews. Reduce the avocado oil to 1 tablespoon and add a tablespoon of peanut butter to the sauce if you like. If you have the time, make the sauce first and marinate the tofu in the sauce for 30 minutes, then toss with corn starch. To water saute, replace the avocado oil with 3 tablespoons water and add the tofu with the asparagus. The tofu won’t be as crispy but the cornstarch also provides cling for the sauce. You can replace the kale with other greens, but if you do, pick a sturdy green that will hold up under the warmth of the other vegetables.

Method

Press your tofu ahead of time if necessary. Prepare your vegetables so they’re ready to go. Cube and toss the tofu in the corn starch until well-coated. Bring the 1/2 cup water to a boil and add the kombu to start the rehydration process.

When ready, warm a large frying pan or wok on medium high heat. Add the avocado oil. Add the tofu and fry until lightly browned (should be 2-3 minutes). Working quickly, remove the tofu and set aside.

Add the onion and stir fry for 2 minutes, deglazing the pan as you do. Add the chili, garlic and ginger. Stir fry for another minute. Add the tofu and stir fry for 3 minutes. Add the red pepper, zucchini and carrots. Stir fry another 5 minutes.

Remove the kombu from the water and whisk together the remaining sauce ingredients. Add the sauce to the pan and deglaze again if necessary. Stir fry another 2 – 3 minutes.

Stirring continuously, add the tapioca mixture to the pan and stir until it thickens (should be immediately). Add the kale and stir until lightly wilted (about 2 minutes). Season to taste. Spoon out into bowls and serve

Pasta and lentil soup with kale and cabbage

A warm and comforting soup based on pasta e lenticchie, which is often made with just ditalini, but broken spaghetti or capellini, or pasta mista are also common. This recipe uses ditalini, but adds farfallini and fideo for variety. This is ‘soupier’ than the traditional dish and makes a small bowl for 4 or a larger bowl for 2. Double the pasta for something more traditional and filling or serve with fresh baked bread sticks as shown here.

Ingredients

For the pasta
6T semolina flour
1t plant-only egg replacer
2-3T lukewarm water

For the lentils
1 cup water, and 2T water, separated
1/2 cup brown lentils (black, green or dupuy will also work)
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu, about 1″
2 scallions, minced, 3″ – 4″ green reserved for garnish
1/4t coarse sea salt
1T garlic
1/2t dried basil, rubbed
1/4t dried oregano, rubbed
1/4t dried thyme, rubbed
A pinch dried rosemary, rubbed
A pinch dried marjoram, rubbed
A pinch dried red chilis and/or 1/4t black pepper, freshly cracked
1T lemon juice
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups tomato passata (or puree)
1 cup shredded green cabbage
1 cup green curly kale, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2T fresh basil, chopped finely or chiffonade
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: Add a teaspoon coconut sugar (or similar) if you like with the other herbs for a little more balanced flavour. Spinach would be more traditional than cabbage and kale, but chard would also make a nice alternative. Saute the scallions, et al., in a little cooking oil instead of water, or finish the dish with a little drizzled olive oil for a richer taste and mouthfeel. Replace the lentils with chickpeas or white beans.

Method

Start the lentils, then make the pasta.

In a large frying pan with a lid, bring 1 cup water to a light simmer. Add the lentils and kombu. Cover, simmer for 30 minutes until they are fully cooked but still al dente.

While the lentils simmer, combine the dry ingredients for the pasta, add the water and knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough. If you knead for 2 – 3 minutes and the dough is still a bit dry, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time, but give it a few minutes. When smooth, cover with a warm wet tea towel and let rest about 15 minutes.

When the dough has rested, prepare and cut the pasta shapes you’d like. See the notes below on how to make the particular shapes. Your lentils should be about ready by the time you are finished with the pasta. Drain, reserving the kombu. Set the lentils and kombu aside.

Warm the pan on medium heat. Add the 2T water, scallion, garlic and herbs. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. Add the cabbage and stir fry for another 3 – 5 minutes. Add the lemon and deglaze the pan. Add the stock and 1 cup passata. Return the lentils to the pan.

Return the pan to a light simmer, reduce heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes. Remove the kombu. Add the kale and stir to combine. Return the pan to a light boil.

Add the farfallini and ditalini and simmer 3 – 4 minutes. Wait a minute or two before adding the fideo. Add the remaining passata and return the pan to a simmer. Simmer another 5 minutes or so until the pasta is done. Remove from heat.

Add the nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Season to taste. To plate, ladle out and garnish with scallion green sliced on an angle, basil, and some additional nutritional yeast if you like and serve.

Making the pasta
Any or all of these shapes will go well in this dish. I also use ricciolini from time to time. Toast or fry the fideo if you like. You can also use boxed pasta, but you may want to parboil separately depending on what you use.

For farfallini, roll out the a large rectangle about 1/8″ thick. Cut 3/4″ x 1/3″ rectangles (smaller if you can). The ends of farfallini are often rounded, but rectangles will be much easier. Working quickly, pinch each strip firmly in the middle with the edges of your thumbs. If you want to make them even smaller, you can always try a pair of tweezers. Let dry on the board.

For ditalini, you’ll either require a dowel or something similar (something long, round and needle-like, but even in diameter). Roll the dough out to about 1/6″ and cut into 4″ x 1/2″ strips. Wrap the dough width-wise around the dowel and pinch closed (so that you have a long, 4″ tube).

Roll gently on the cutting board to create long, even tubes, about 1/3″ in diameter. Slide off the dowel and repeat. If your dowel/dowel replacement is long enough, do longer pieces of dough. Let each dry on the board.

For fideo, some people simply use broken spaghetti, although traditionally, fideo is actually a Spanish noodle and has a slight curve. If you have a lot of experience with chiffonade or julienne, this won’t be a difficult shape.

Roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/8″ thick (thinner if you can). Cut into long rectangular strips about 1 1/2″ high by several inches long. Carefully and precisely cut 1/8″ strips. Roll each strip gently with a few fingers to round it. Either curve each strip a little and let dry on the board, or gently arrange on a curved glass and let dry there.

When ready, add to the soup as directed

Tacos with spicy tempeh, white miso sauce and baby greens

Soft, hand rolled corn tortillas, warm spicy tempeh and lime accented greens make this a lovely and flavourful dish. Fresh tortillas are terrific and when you make them from scratch, you control all of the ingredients. Be sure to use masa harina rather than regular corn flour
for this recipe. This makes eight small tacos.

Ingredients

For the tempeh
1T cooking oil
1T fresh garlic, minced
1T red Thai chili paste (or similar and/or to taste)
250g tempeh, crumbled (use pasteurized)
1/4 cup tamari (or to taste)
1 cup vegetable stock
1/4t coarse sea salt

For the tortillas
1 1/2 cups masa harina
1/2T ground flax seed
1/2t coarse sea salt
1 cup hot water

For the white sauce
1 cup unsweetened plant milk (I use soy)
1/4t coarse sea salt
1T white vinegar
1T sesame seed butter
1T white miso
2T tapioca flour dissolved in 2T cold water
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the greens
1T olive oil
1t lime juice
1/4t coarse sea salt
1T nutritional yeast
1 cup loose baby kale
1 cup loose baby spinach

For the garnish
1/2 cup passata (or tomato puree)
1/2t red Thai chili paste (or similar and/or to taste)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste.
2T nutritional yeast

Method

First, start the tempeh, then the tortillas, the white sauce, the greens and the garnish.

In a frying pan with a lid, bring the oil and sea salt to heat on medium high. Add the garlic and chili and fry for 2 minutes. Add the tempeh and fry for 3-5 minutes. Add the tamari and deglaze the pan.
Add the stock, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.

While the tempeh simmers, make the tortillas. Mix the dry ingredients and add the water. Stir to form a smooth, pliable dough, neither too dry nor moist. If the dough is too wet, add more masa 1T at at time; if too dry, add water 1T at a time. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts, and flatten each into a 2-3″ round disk. Cover the dough with a damp cloth while you press the tortillas.

Heat a frying pan on medium high heat. If you have a tortilla press, follow the instructions provided.
If you don’t, roll the tortillas out gently between two sheets of plastic wrap into rough circles about 1/8″ thick, about 5-6″ in diameter. It’s the peeling of the tortilla that’s of the most difficult part — go slowly. Carefully peel and add the tortilla and cook until the top of the tortilla is start to look dry. Flip and cook the other side (it should be about 1 minute each side, a little more on the first, a little less on the second).Little brown spots make a tortilla look lovely. Repeat for the remaining 7 tortillas and cover with a warm, very lightly damp tea towel.

Let the tortillas rest for about 20 minutes to cool and soften until you’re ready to use. The tortillas will keep, but you’ll likely have to steam them to use them later. At the 40 minute mark, preheat the oven to 450F. In a shallow pan with sides, bake the tempeh for another 20 minutes or until the moisture has been absorbed the tempeh has started to brown. Ovens vary; use the colour as your guide. Don’t overcook.

Start the white sauce and broil the tempeh for another 5 minutes. In a small sauce pan, bring the soy milk to a simmer. Add the sea salt, miso, sesame seed butter and vinegar. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes uncovered. Slowly add the tapioca solution stirring continuously until it thickens.
Remove from heat and season to taste. Remove the tempeh from the oven. Let the white sauce and the tempeh cool for a few minutes.

While they cool, whisk the dressing for the greens and toss. Whisk the ingredients for the garnish.
To assemble, fill each tortilla with 3-4T tempeh, 2T white sauce, 1/4 cup greens and then about 2t passata mixture. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and serve.

Black lentil mezzaluna in a sesame white sauce with oyster mushrooms and kale

Similar to pierogi, mezzaluna are a lovely and decorative pasta, filled here with a lightly spicy combination of black beluga lentils, poblano peppers and Brussels sprouts, served in and a rich sauce of white miso, sesame seed butter and oyster mushrooms. This makes an appetizer portion for 4 or large plate for 2.

Ingredients

For the filling
1/4 cups black lentils
2/3 cups water
1 ‘sprig’ dried kombu (about 1/2″)
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1 scallion, minced (3″ – 4″ green reserved for garnish)
1/4 cup poblano pepper, chopped finely
2 Brussels sprouts (about 1/4 cup scant), minced (or green cabbage)
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste
For the dough
1 cup semolina flour
A pinch sea salt
1/3 cup water
1t olive oil
2 liters water and 2t coarse sea salt for boiling
For the sauce
1T cooking oil
1/4t coarse sea salt
1/2t dried basil, rubbed
1/4t dried oregano, rubbed
1T fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup oyster mushroom, wiped and finely chopped
1/2T lemon juice
1 cup unsweetened plant milk
1T sesame seed butter (I use a fairly traded brand)
1 cup green curly kale, finely chopped
1T arrowroot flour dissolved in 1T cold water
1/2T white miso
2T nutritional yeast
Coarse sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: Replace the Brussel sprouts with sun-dried tomatoes for something slightly more flavourful.

Method

Start the filling first, then the pasta, then the sauce. In a small pan with a lid, bring the water to a boil. Add the lentils. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 30-40 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender. When the lentils are done, remove the kombu, rinse the lentils and set aside.

While the lentils simmer, make the pasta dough. Mix the flour and salt. Mix the water and oil. Mix the wet and the dry. The dough may seem too dry initially. Keep mixing, and then knead until as a smooth elastic dough forms, and then another 2-3 minutes. Cover with a warm wet tea towel and set aside to rest for at least 30 minutes.

When the lentils are ready, in a medium frying pan, bring the oil to eat on medium high. Add the cooking oil and sea salt. Add the scallion. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the pepper and Brussels sprouts and saute for 5 minutes. Add the lentils and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Set aside covered to cool.

Roll out the dough on a floured board in a large rectangle about 1/10″ thin. Cut small circles about 2 1/2″ round. Bunch up leftover dough, roll out and cut. Repeat until all of the dough has been used. Aim for 16 circles.

When the dough has been cut, add a heaping tablespoon of filling to each in an oblong shape in the middle. Carefully pinch closed, starting with the top, one side, and then the other. Squeeze out any excess air. Crimp both sides of the seam with a fork. Let sit to dry lightly while you make the sauce.

In a large pan with a lid, bring the cooking oil and sea salt to heat with the sea salt on medium high. Add the green herbs and saute for 1 minute. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the oyster mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan. Add the soy milk. Bring the pan to a light simmer. Add the sesame seed butter and stir to dissolve. Simmer lightly, stirring occasionally while you finish the pasta.

In a large pot, bring the 2 liters water to a boil with the sea salt. Add the mezzaluna carefully to the water and boil lightly until they float (should be 3-5 minutes). They’ll float when done. Don’t overcook. Drain them carefully in a colander, reserving 2T of the pasta water. Rinse the pasta gently with cool water.

Add the pasta water and the kale to the sauce and stir to combine. Simmer another 2 minutes. Stirring continuously, add the arrowroot mixture until it thickens. Remove from heat. Add the white miso and stir until dissolved. Rinse the mezzaluna with hot water, drain and add them to the sauce. Stir gently to coat. Let stand 2-3 minutes to cool. Season to taste.

When lightly cooled, plate the mezzaluna and pour sauce over them. Add the scallion greens sliced on an angle. Dust with nutritional yeast, and serve.