Potato and cabbage pancakes with lightly roasted heirloom tomatoes and lemon nori pesto.

Colcannon (a traditional Irish dish) is normally made from mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale. This version shreds the vegetables, adds some tomatoes and scallions, as well as a little pesto for a quick brunch style dish a little more like boxty. This make four pancakes.

For the pancakes

2 cups of shredded yellow potatoes (well-scrubbed, unpeeled)
1 cup of shredded cabbage (I use coleslaw mix)
2T of olive oil
2 scallions, minced (about half a cup — reserve a little green for garnish)
1T of minced garlic
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
1/4 to 1/2T of coarse sea salt (use less if you don’t like your potatoes nicely salted — you can always add more later)
1T of egg replacer diluted in 2T of cold water
A pinch of turmeric
Black pepper to taste.

Preheat your oven to 400F.
Squeeze out all the moisture you can from the potatoes.
Combine everything but the egg replacer in a large bowl and mix until well combined.
Whisk the egg replacer, cold water and turmeric until well combined.
Add the mixture to the potatoes and cabbage and mix well until the egg replacer is thoroughly distributed.
Make balls about 3/4 to 1 cup in size from the mix, packing well.
Add the balls to a well oiled baking sheet and pack by hand again.
Bake on the middle rack until the tops are starting to brown slightly (about 25 to 35 minutes depending on your oven).
Once the balls have started to brown a little on top, flatten carefully with a wooden spoon for a pancake shape about 1″ high.
Set the oven to broil.
If you roast the tomatoes in the garnish, add them to the pan now, cut side up, sprinkle with a very tiny pinch of sea salt.
Broil for 7-10 minutes — until you have a nicely browned top.*
Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes.
Carefully remove the pancakes from the pan and plate with the tomatoes.

For the garnish

2T of scallion green sliced on the diagonal
2 basil leafs
4 small grape tomatoes, halved
A small amount of olive oil just to coat the tomatoes a little
A pinch of sea salt

For the pesto

2T of olive oil
A pinch of coarse sea salt
3T of packed fresh basil
1t of lemon juice
1/2t of nori flakes
2t of minced garlic
2t of nutritional yeast

Combine ingredients in a high speed blender and blend. You can always ad a few pine nuts to this, but given the amount, you may have difficulties getting it to blend.

*I use a convection oven. Time may vary for a gas or a standard electric. Use the browning of the potatoes to guide the amount of baking. If you use a gas oven, very carefully flip the pancakes once they start to brown (as above) with a spatula and cook for another 10-15 minutes at 400F.

Sauteed cabbage with roasted red pepper

Ingredients:

1 large red pepper (and olive oil to coat — about a teaspoon)
2T coconut oil
1/4t powdered turmeric
1/2t coarse sea salt
1/4 cup minced scallion
2T minced garlic
1T lemon juice
3 cups loosely packed shredded cabbage (I use coleslaw mix)
2T kalamata olives, minced
2T of nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

Lightly oil and roast the red pepper in a oven on 450F.
When the skin has until lightly charred, remove the red pepper, cool, peel, seed and dice in 1/2″ pieces.
In a frying pan, bring the oil and sea salt to heat on medium high.
Add the scallion and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and turmeric and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the cabbage, red pepper and lemon juice.
Saute for 5-8 minutes or until the cabbage is wilted, but not soft.
Remove from heat.
Add the nutritional yeast, olives, and stir to combine.
Add additional sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Yellow potatoes roasted with thyme, sumac and black salt

Commonly used in the Mediterranean, sumac adds a unique, sweet and sour flavour and a beautiful red colour to dishes. This recipe easily doubles and makes a nice accompaniment to kale, collards, arugula, spinach, or other greens as a side dish or potato salad.

Ingredients

4 small yellow potatoes (about 2″ diameter), quartered
2T of olive oil (reserve about half a T for oiling the pan)
2t of lemon juice
1T of garlic, minced
1/4t of coarse sea salt
1/4t of black salt
1/2T of fresh thyme, stemmed, or 1/2t of dried thyme, rubbed
1t of dried sumac
1/4t of black pepper
Additional sea salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat the oven for 450F
Mix everything but the potatoes in a small bowl.
Add the spice mixture to the potatoes and toss, coating evenly.
Lightly oil an oven pan and heat the pan in the oven for about 1 minute to warm the oil
Add the potatoes to the pan.
Roast on the middle rack for 10 minutes at 450F, stirring at 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 375F and roast for another 25-35 minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned and fork tender.
Stir every 10 minutes to promote even browning.
Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes to cool.
Add any additional sea salt or black pepper.

Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a little extra sumac to add colour to the presentation. Substitute dill for the thyme or minced scallions for the garlic to soften the dish. Dress with a mix of 1T of sesame seed butter (tahini), 1t of lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt for additional flavour and richesse.

Dark beer and tomato braised portobello mushrooms with caramelized onions

Thinly sliced mushrooms in a flavourful, sweet, full-bodied gravy. These goes well with potatoes, pasta, or as a filling for hot sandwiches.

Ingredients

2T cooking oil separated
(2) 1/4t of coarse sea salt
1 medium vidalia onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2t dried, ground cumin
1t dried, ground coriander
2T minced garlic
1t of black strap molasses
4 large portobello mushrooms in 1/3″ slices (about 350g)
1T of lemon juice
1T of tamari
3 medium tomatoes, very ripe, cored and seeded (about 500g)
1 1/2 cups of dark beer*
1 cup of vegetable stock
1T of arrowroot whisked with 2T of cold water
2T of nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
About 3-4″ of scallion green for garnish.

Instructions

Core and seed the tomatoes and chop coarsely; then puree them in a high speed blender.
In a large frying pan with a lid, Bring the oil to heat with the sea salt on medium high.
Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes.
Add the cumin, coriander and garlic and saute for 3 minutes.
Add the molasses and stir to combine.
Reduce heat to medium low.
Spread the onions evenly in the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes stirring frequently until they have browned.
While the onions caramelize, bring the other 1T of oil and 1/4t of sea salt to heat in a frying pan on medium high.**
Add the portobellos to the pan and saute until the portobellos start to lose their moisture.
Reduce the heat to medium low and saute until the pan starts to brown (about 10 minutes).
Add the lemon juice and tamari to the portobellos and deglaze.
Add the portobellos to the onions once they are ready.
Stir to combine thoroughly and return the pan to medium high heat.
Saute together for about 2 minutes.
Add the pureed tomatoes and stock to the pan.
Stir to combine, and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the beer, stir to combine and cook until the liquid reaches a simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until until the sauce is thick and has reduced by two thirds or more (expect at least an hour).

Whisk the arrowroot and the water and add slowly to the pan, stirring
continuously until thickened.
Add the nutritional yeast and stir to combine.
Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
Plate and garnish with the scallion.

*The quality of the beer is very important to this recipe. Pick a well-balanced one. I use dunkel for the malt flavour. Also, it’s uncommon, but some beers are still filtered using isinglass and other animal products.
Be sure to check!

**Unless you have an enormous frying pan, if you fry the portobellos with the onions in the same pan, you’ll overload it. Your portobellos won’t be quite as soft or rich, but they should still be good and everything will taste fine. You can also try slow cooking the ingredients together if you prefer not to have multiple pans on the go.

Couscous and baby kale salad with apricots and sun-dried tomatoes

This salad provides a simple light lunch or a solid appetizer.

Ingredients

1 cup of water
1/4t of coarse sea salt
1/2 cup of whole wheat couscous
1 cup of packed baby kale greens
1/4 cup of boiling water
1/4 cup of dried apricots
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the dressing

2T of packed sun-dried tomatoes
2T of olive oil
2t of lemon juice
1t of dried thyme, rubbed
1t of dried mint, rubbed
1t of ground cumin
1/2t of ground coriander
1T of garlic, minced
1t of ginger, minced

Directions

Add the apricots and sun-dried tomatoes to a small bowl.
Add 1/4 cup of bowling water to rehydrate.
Let stand for 10 minutes.
In a pan with a lid, bring the water to a boil with the sea salt and add the couscous.
Cook as directed (couscous will often cook without heat if it’s left to stand, but it varies).
Add the soaking liquid from the apricots to the couscous and stir to combine.
Add the remaining ingredients to the sun-dried tomatoes and apricots.
Toss to combine.
Add the baby kale greens.
Toss to combine.
When the couscous is finished, plate and add the kale, apricots and sun-dried tomatoes if you’ll eat immediately or toss to combine to pack up.

If you pack it up with hot couscous, the kale will wilt a bit. If you don’t like wilted kale, toss the couscous in a little olive oil and chill before adding the other ingredients. Additional greens, raisins, figs, walnuts, pepita seeds and other add-ins will give it more flavour, texture and nutrition.

Grilled polenta

Polenta provides an inexpensive, easily seasoned and versatile base for a wide range of dishes. This version provides a side dish that’s a little crispy on the outside, but moist and flavorful on the inside.

Ingredients

1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
1/2t of coarse sea salt
2T and 2t of cooking oil (reserve the 2t for grilling the polenta)
2t of garlic, minced
1T of nutritional yeast
Additional seasoning to taste*

Directions

Bring the oil to heat on medium high in a heavy bottomed pan on medium high
Add the sea salt and the garlic and saute the garlic for 2 minutes.
Add the water and bring to a soft boil.
Add corn meal slowly, stirring as you go.
Reduce heat to low and cook for roughly 40 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.
The polenta will be done when it’s quite thick and pulling away from the sides of the pan.
Add the nutritional yeast and any additional seasonings.
Let stand five minutes to cool.
Spoon the polenta into two lightly oiled ramekins, and smooth the top with a spoon.
Let cool for about 30 minutes uncovered in the refrigerator to setup.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Carefully turn out the polenta.
Lightly oil the polenta and grill directly on the middle rack until the polenta browns a little here and there (about 10-15 minutes, turning once).

*I use sea salt and black pepper, but green herbs, particularly basil, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, and other high flavour seasonings add variety, nutrition and colour.

**If you’re anxious about grilling something directly on your oven rack, use a lightly oiled pan with the drier top of the polenta down.

Warm rye berry salad with baby arugula, and cranberries

The rye gives this dish some hearty chew. While intended as a side dish, the arugula holds up well. Some walnuts or chick peas would turn this salad into a light lunch.

Ingredients

3 cups of vegetable stock
1 cup of rye berries (whole grain rye)
1T of plant-only margarine
3 scallions, minced
1/4 cup of dried cranberries (sweetened with juice, preferably)
1t of dried thyme, rubbed
2 cups, packed, of baby arugula greens
1T of nutritional yeast
2T of olive oil
2t of lemon juice
Sea salt and black or cayenne pepper to taste

Directions

Bring the stock to a boil and add the rye berries.
Cover and simmer for 1 hour on low until the stock is absorbed.
Remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Melt the margarine in a frying pan on medium high.
Add the scallions and thyme.
Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add the rye and the cranberries and stir thoroughly to combine.
Remove from heat.
Add the arugula to a large bowl.
Mix the rye, cranberries and arugula together until well-combined and the arugula is lightly wilted.
Whisk together the olive oil, nutritional yeast and lemon juice.
Dress the salad, season to taste, and serve.

Polenta fries with tomato basil aïoli

A nice alternative to deep frying, the corn meal crisps up quite nicely. Replace the corn meal with whole grain teff for quicker, more nutrient dense versions (simmer for only 20 minutes).

Ingredients

For the polenta
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
1/2t of coarse sea salt
1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
2T of unsweetened soy milk
2T of olive oil (or coconut oil, if you prefer)
1T of garlic, minced
1/4t of dried ground turmeric
2T of nutritional yeast
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the aïoli

1/4 cup of unsweetened soy milk
1t of lemon juice
1T of sesame seed butter
1T of garlic, minced
1T of fresh basil, minced
2t of tomato passata (or pureed tomatoes if that’s what you have)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

Make the polenta first, then the aïoli.

Bring the water and sea salt to a soft boil in a pan with a lid.
Add the corn meal slowly, stirring as you go.
Reduce heat to low and cook for roughly 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking.
The polenta will be done when it’s quite thick and pulling away from the sides of the pan.
Add the nutritional yeast, garlic, turmeric, soy milk and any additional seasonings.
Stir thoroughly to combine.
Let stand five minutes to cool.
Spoon the polenta into a lightly oiled (or nonstick) 3″x9″ baking dish, and smooth the top with a spoon.
Let cool for about 30 minutes uncovered in the refrigerator to setup.
Preheat the oven to 450F.
Carefully turn out the polenta, cut into twelve slices.
Generously oil a cookie sheet and sprinkle with a little corn meal.
Add the polenta and bake turning every 8-10 minutes or so for about 30-40 minutes — until the fries start to lightly brown and the outside is lightly crisp, Ovens vary. Use the texture and colour as a guide.
Remove and let cool for 5 minutes, and serve with the aïoli.

While the polenta bakes, make the aïoli.
Blend the soy milk, sesame seed butter, lemon juice and garlic in a high speed blender with a pinch of sea salt (I used an immersion blender).
Next, slowly add the oil in a dribble while blending so that it will emulsify correctly.
Mince the basil and add it to the aïoli, stirring to combine.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to let the flavours mingle.
Add the passate in drips when ready to serve.

Peanut sauce, salsa and other dips do well this dish. The aïoli also makes a nice spread for sandwiches and other uses. For a creamier fry, blend the polenta for a minute in a high speed blender once it’s cooled and before putting it into the baking dish.

Sun-dried tomato, caper hummus with teff fries

A traditional favorite with some additional flavors. Teff has a food chemistry similar to corn meal, but is more nutrient dense; cut into fries, it make a nice snack or side dish.

Ingredients

For the hummus
1/2 cup of boiling water
1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
2 1/2 cups of cooked chick peas
1/4 cup of sesame seed butter
1/4t of coarse sea salt
3T of lemon juice
2T of garlic, minced
1t of dried, ground cumin
1T of capers
2T of olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

For the teff

1 1/2 cups of water
1/2 cup of whole grain teff
1/4t of coarse sea salt
2T of nutritional yeast
2T of olive oil
2t of tamari
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Make the hummus and then the teff

For the hummus, add the boiling water to the sun-dried tomatoes and let stand 10 minutes.
Add the sesame seed butter, the olive oil and lemon to a blender and puree.
Add the tomatoes and the remaining ingredients to a blender and puree till smooth.
The consistency should be smooth and creamy. Add a 1-2T of additional water if necessary.
Season to taste.
Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.

For the teff, bring the water to a boil in a pot with a lid.
Add the teff and sea salt sea salt
Reduce to low, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the teff is thick (it should be pulling away from the sides).
Add the tamari and nutritional yeast.
Stir to combine, pour into a 3″x9″ baking dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour to setup (it should be firm).
Preheat the oven to 450F
Oil and warm a baking sheet.
Slice the cooled teff into 10 – 12 pieces width-wise.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until lightly crisp, turning every several minutes. They should be lightly crispy.
Remove from oven, cool or 5 minutes and serve.

Warm tempeh and soft wheat salad with broccoli, red pepper and fresh raspberries

A warm fall salad with a variety of bold flavours, colours and textures. Rye berries will work in this dish as well; increase the cooking time to about 1 hour and add the tempeh after 15 minutes.

Ingredients

1/2 cup of soft wheat berries
2 cups of vegetable stock
1 ‘brick’ of pasteurized tempeh (250g) in 1/2″ cubes*
1/4t of coarse sea salt
1/4t of coarse salt
1 scallion, minced
1 red pepper, cored, seeded and cut in 1/2″ dice
2 cups of brocolli florets broken up in to about 1″ pieces
3T of cooking oil
1T of lemon juice
1T of agave nectar
2t of tamari
2T of nutritional yeast
1/2 cup of fresh raspberries, chopped**
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions

In a pot with a lid, bring the stock to a light boil.
Add the wheat berries, the cubed tempeh, and the 1/4t of sea salt.
Cover, reduce to low and simmer 40-50 or until the water is absorbed and the wheat is soft. Add a little water if you start to run out of moisture.
When the wheat is done, in a frying pan, bring the oil to heat on high.
Add the sea salt and scallion and stir fry for 1 minutes.
Add the broccoli and red pepper and stir fry for 3-4 minutes.
Add the lemon, tamari and agave.
Stir to combine.
Add the tempeh, wheat and nutritional yeast.
Stir to combine and remove from heat.
Add the nutritional yeast.
Stir to combine.
Season to taste.
Plate and garnish with the chopped raspberries.

*Make sure to use pasteurized tempeh or to pasteurize your tempeh separately before preparing it using this recipe. Tempeh from a standard grocery store will often be pasteurized, but be sure to check the label. The recipe requires cooking longer than the time normally required for pasteurization, but better safe than sorry.