Fennel, Carrot, and Chickpea Fricassée

Fennel, Carrot, and Chickpea Fricassée | veganblonde.com

Fricassée is a French dish made by half sautéing, half stewing pieces of meat, and serving them in a thick white sauce. My grandpa used to make it often.  He would make his fricassée in its even simpler form, by sautéing ground beef in loads of butter along with lots of diced onion and celery. He would then deglaze the pan with hot black tea, add some heavy cream, whole peppercorns, fresh parsley, and there you had it! Sometimes he would add cut up potato cubes in there.

Well, as you can imagine, this recipe is much different. First, you HAVE to use the freshest vegetables you can find. Because the vegetables are the stars, there are very few other seasonings. I sauté the veggies until they are soft, but not browned. I then add some liquid, to continue the cooking, but just enough so that it doesn’t turn into a soup. I removed my grandpa’s beloved cream, obviously, but did not substitute. You can serve with a dollop of fresh coconut yogurt, if you’d like.

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 3-4 shallots, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 fennel bulbs, cored and sliced thin
  • 2 carrots, cut into small cubes
  • 1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, cut into small cubes
  • 1 large celery stalk, cut into small cubes
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large handful spinach, large leaves torn
  • 1/2 to 1 cup vegetable broth
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • Garnish: fresh fennel fronds, fresh parsley

In a large straight-edge sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots, garlic, fennel, carrots, bell pepper, celery, thyme sprigs, and generous pinches of sea salt and pepper. Sauté over medium heat, stirring often, so the vegetables cook, but do not brown or burn, about 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas and mix well. Add some stock, a little bit at a time, so that the vegetables are wet, but the broth isn’t soupy. Add the spinach and toss until just wilted. Taste and adjust seasonings. Bon appétit!

Butterkin Pecan Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter

Butterkin Pecan Ravioli
Butterkin Pecan Ravioli with Sage Brown Butter | veganblonde.com

If you want a pasta dish that’s decadent, pretty, and perfect for company, you just found it! This ravioli recipe will make your heart swoon, and your arteries thank you for choosing the vegan version! If you can’t find butterkin squash, that sweet and versatile squash that is a cross between a butternut squash and a pumpkin, feel free to substitute butternut squash or cooking pumpkin. You will get the exact same wonderful results!

  • 1 butterkin squash, or butternut squash, or cooking pumpkin, halved and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba (water from a can of chickpeas)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans, plus more for toppings
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 9 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 25 sage leaves, left whole
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°. Coat all sides of the squash with the olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves, cut side down, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven, and roast until tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

In a large bowl, mix the semolina flour and the all purpose flour. Add the aquafaba and the water and mix well with your hands, until you obtain a soft and uniform ball of dough. If the dough is too wet, add a little bit of flour. If it is too dry, add a little bit of water, one teaspoon at a time. Place the ball of dough in a plastic wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 40 minutes.

While the dough rests, scoop out 1 1/2 cup of flesh from the roasted squash. Keep the rest for another use, like in a soup, or in a sauce. Transfer the flesh to a food processor. Add the toasted pecans, the nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon of the butter, and the maple syrup. Process until smooth. Set aside.

After resting time, remove the dough from the fridge and from the plastic wrap. On a lightly flour-dusted surface, roll out the dough, using a rolling pin, until smooth and very thin. Using a 2-in cookie cutter, or any other round cup similar in diameter, cut dough into circles. Make a ball with the unused dough, and roll out again until smooth and thin. Cut out more circles, until you use all your dough.

Scoop out a scant teaspoon of squash mixture in the center of half the circles (the “bottoms”). Using your fingers, spread a small amount of water around the inside perimeter of the dough “tops”. Place them on top of the filled dough bottoms and press around the edges to seal properly. You should have approximately 40 raviolis.

To cook the raviolis, place them, without overcrowding them, in a large pot of salted boiling water, for 4-5 minutes. I did mine in two batches.

While the raviolis cook, heat the remaining 8 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and cook until they are crispy and the butter is golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.

Place some raviolis in a plate, spoon some of the sage butter on top, and garnish with toasted pecans. Bon appétit!

Sweet and tasty, butterkin squash is a cross between a pumpkin and a butternut squash.
Sweet and tasty, butterkin squash is a cross between a pumpkin and a butternut squash.

Baked Jerk Tofu

Baked Jerk Tofu
Baked Jerk Tofu | veganblonde.com

Jerk has always been one of my favorite seasonings. There is something quite unique about it, probably because of the use of allspice berries. I remember the cookouts on the streets of Jamaica. The smell is something I will never forget… The hot grills, the salt air, the spices. Well, as you would expect, back in my kitchen, I still crave Jamaican cuisine. Often.

I have a dry jerk seasoning blend that I usually have on hand. I use it on roasted cashews all the time. I am not sure where I got the recipe as it was written on a piece of paper in one of my notebooks. But it was exactly what I needed here!

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into small cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons dry jerk seasoning (or any other dry jerk seasoning you like)

Preheat oven to 400°.

In a medium bowl, mix the olive oil, lime juice, ginger, garlic, and jerk seasoning. Add the tofu cubes to the bowl, and mix until well coated.

Spread the tofu cubes in one layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Transfer to the oven and cook 15 minutes. Shake the tofu cubes around and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve with sliced green onions, rice and peas, and cabbage slaw. Bon appétit!

Dry Jerk Seasoning

Dry Jerk Seasoning
Dry Jerk Seasoning | veganblonde.com

I am not sure where I got this magical powder recipe. I found it written in a notebook at home. Big thank you to whoever shared this. This is something precious in a kitchen, something like my garam masala. You should always have some on hand. This jerk seasoning is used in my Baked Jerk Tofu recipe, but you can also toss it into simmering coconut milk and serve over pasta. You can toss raw cashews with coconut oil, sprinkle them with the jerk seasoning, and pop in the oven. You can also sprinkle some on fried plantain chips. It’s really endless. It’s spicy and tangy, and you won’t want to live without it!

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Just mix everything in a small bowl. Keep in the fridge in an airtight container. Bon appétit!

Brussels Sprouts, Leek, and Spigarello Pasta in Creamy Wine Sauce

Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, and Spigarello Pasta in Creamy Wine Sauce
Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, and Spigarello Pasta in Creamy Wine Sauce | veganblonde.com

Now if you want to fancy up your pasta night, try this! It sounds complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy. And quick. I mean ultra quick. Like 15 minutes quick. You can even skip the wine part and achieve pretty similar (and awesome) results. As with many of my recipes, take this as a technique, and switch up the vegetables according to the seasons. These days, the markets are filled with sprouts, leeks, and my favorite green, spigarello.

You’ll find spigarello in many of my recipes. It’s an heirloom variety of broccoli, native to southern Italy, considered the parent of broccoli-rabe. Unlike broccoli, however, you eat the leaves of spigarello, as the plant doesn’t produce florets. The taste, for me, is somewhere between kale and a very mild broccoli. It’s extremely versatile, it can be added to many dishes, and it’s popping up at farmers markets throughout the country. Look out for it. And if you can’t find it, feel free to use lacinato kale, or beet greens instead.

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 leek, cleaned, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 can coconut milk
  • 1 bunch spigarello, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pack of your favorite, cooked according to package directions
  • Garnish (always optional): sliced green onions, red pepper flakes, fresh thyme

In a large straight-edge sauté pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the leek, garlic, Brussels sprouts, thyme, and generous pinches of both sea salt and pepper. Sauté, stirring often, until tender and browned, about 8-10 minutes. Feel free to play with your heat in order to achieve a nice caramelized color on your vegetables. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, and let reduce about one minute. Add the coconut milk and heat through. Add the spigarello and continue cooking until the greens are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. You will most probably need to add sea salt and pepper at this point, all normal. When your sauce is ready, add enough of the cooked pasta to the pan for the sauce. Mix well. Serve garnished with sliced green onions and red pepper flakes. Bon appétit!

Asian-Inspired Soup of the Day with Pan-Seared Tofu and Brown Rice Noodles

Asian-Inspired Soup of the Day with Pan-Seared Tofu and Brown Rice Noodles
Asian-Inspired Soup of the Day with Pan-Seared Tofu and Brown Rice Noodles | veganblonde.com

I felt like eating a warming broth, with ginger and garlic. A broth to which I could add a few leftover veggies I had in the fridge. I had carrots, snap peas, Brussels Sprouts, green beans, shiitake mushrooms, and spinach. I figured I could add pan-seared tofu and some brown rice noodles I had in the pantry. And there was dinner. If you have a few staples in your pantry, handy at all times, dinner can be done in no time and be ultra nutritious. Serves 4.

Here’s how you do:

For the broth:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1″ piece ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups mixed seasonal vegetables, cut so that they all cook at the same time
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 large handful spinach
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Sea salt and pepper

In a soup pot, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger and garlic, and sauté for 1 minute. Add the vegetables, season to taste with sea salt and pepper, and sauté, while stirring, about 2 minutes. Add the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are slightly tender, but still al dente. Add the spinach, stir one minute, and take off the heat. Add the cilantro and set aside.

For the tofu:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu, squeezed off excess water and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • 2″ piece ginger, smashed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste

In a shallow bowl, pour the tamari on top of the tofu cubes, and distribute evenly. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, ginger, and garlic, and sauté one minute. Add the tofu cubes, season to taste with sea salt and pepper, and let them sear on one side for 3-4 minutes, undisturbed. Turn them only when they come off the skillet easily. Cook on the other side for another 3 minutes and remove from the heat.

To serve:

  • 8.6 oz package of brown rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/3 cup roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin
  • Lime quarters

In four shallow bowls, place some cooked noodles. Top with some warm broth, some tofu cubes, cashews, cilantro, green onions, and serve with lime quarters. Bon appétit!

Wild Rice, Italian Sausage, and Black Bean Stew

Wild Rice, Italian Sausage, and Black Bean Stew
Wild Rice, Italian Sausage, and Black Bean Stew | veganblonde.com

This is a recipe I often come back to. It is always unique, because it changes with the seasons, but it is also unfussy and delicious. I use wild rice for the protein content, and spigarello, because I love the texture of those perfect leaves that taste like a cross between broccoli and kale. I had some black turtle beans in the fridge that were cooked the night before, but garbanzo would be just great here. On the day of the picture, I had spotted the first asparagus of the season at the market, so obviously these ended up in here. Let your imagination and the seasons guide you.

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup shallots, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 large heirloom tomato, chopped small
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch spigarello, sliced (or kale or spinach or Swiss chard)
  • 1 cup asparagus, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked wild rice (from 1 cup dry, cooked according to package directions)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 plant-based Italian sausage links, sliced in rounds (I had some amazing sausage links from Sol Kitchen)
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, to garnish

In a large straight-sided sauté pan, or soup pot, heat the oil, over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, sprigs of thyme and rosemary, and generous pinches of sea salt and pepper. Sauté, covered, stirring often, until the shallots are soft, about 5-6 minutes. Add the turmeric and cook for one minute. Add the tomato and cook, covered, stirring often, until the tomato is liquified, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, the spigarello, and the asparagus. Mix well and cook until the vegetables are al dente, about 2-3 minutes. Add the wild rice, black beans, and sausage links, and heat through. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!