Teff Jalapeño Bread

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This is my first time cooking with Teff flour. I’m excited for this recipe because I’ve wanted to try Teff for a long time but couldn’t find it anywhere. I finally found it at Whole Foods. Teff flour is used to make Ethiopian Injera bread as well as other Ethiopian staples. It’s nutrient dense and gluten free. It’s also high in protein and fiber compared to other grains but, most importantly, it’s rich in iron. A serving of Teff flour contains 5 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of your daily iron requirement – which is why it’s considered a superfood. Warm jalapeño bread seemed like a great idea this time of year and a great way to incorporate Teff flour into my baking. If you can’t find Teff flour, you can make this recipe using all purpose flour or gluten free flour. Because Teff flour is light brown in color, this bread – which is actually a type of cornbread, doesn’t have the typical yellow color.

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Teff is nutrient dense, which makes it a little higher in calories vs. traditional all purpose flour. This bread is buttery, slightly sweet, and melts in your mouth. It goes really well with vegetarian chili or any soup. It also makes a healthy, filling snack on its own. It’s soft, a little crumbly, and not too dense.This recipe is great as a vegan, gluten free appetizer at your next dinner party. It’s so good fresh out of the oven – when it’s still warm. If you really want to indulge, add a small pat of vegan butter. If you make Teff jalapeño bread make sure you take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram and Facebook or pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Teff flour is high in iron and has a light brown color.

Teff Jalapeño Bread

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups Teff flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 flax eggs (mix 2 tbs flax powder in 6 tbs water and let sit for 10 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbs minced jalapeño
  • 1 tbs sliced jalapeño for garnish
  • olive oil spray

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray an 11 inch x 7 inch pan with olive oil spray and set aside. In a large bowl, combine Teff flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a medium sized bowl combine almond milk, vegan butter, applesauce, flax eggs, maple syrup, and minced jalapeño. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour batter into greased baking pan and smooth the top. Top with jalapeño slices and bake at 350F for 47-50 minutes. Bread is ready when it springs back to touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. May store in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/12 serving of bread: 224 cal

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Curried Pumpkin Soup

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It’s hard to believe the season for all things pumpkin is already here. This year has really gone by quickly. Pumpkin is everywhere: lattes, brownies, smoothies, you name it. Most of the pumpkin spiced or pumpkin flavored recipes I’ve been seeing are sweet. I’ve been craving pumpkin (because how can you not!) but I wanted a savory pumpkin dish. Don’t get me wrong – I’ll still indulge in my vegan pumpkin cheesecake recipe and pumpkin oat bars! I went to Amsterdam last month and had this delicious curried coconut pumpkin soup at the most unlikely place – the Rijks museum cafe. I found out later that this beautiful cafe at the is actually well known for its unique dishes. It has a big open atrium overlooking the main floor of the museum and the line to get in is pretty long. I knew the second I tasted the soup that I would have to try to recreate it at home… so here it is. I hope you love it as much as I do! One of the best things about this recipe is that it’s ready in 30 minutes! There’s very little food prep which makes this a great weeknight meal. There are layers of flavor and also rich creaminess to this soup because of the numerous curry spices and full fat coconut milk. The pumpkin flavor still stands out since the curry is not too overpowering. The turmeric adds to the beautiful color and is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties. It’s filling and so tasty that you’ll want to have more than just one bowl! It’s heavenly when paired with crusty bread. The pumpkin seeds as a garnish add a nice crunch. I used an immersion blender to make this soup smoother but it’s optional. Make sure to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram or share this recipe on your Pinterest board if you make it.

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Curried Pumpkin Soup

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tbs vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1.5 (15oz) cans pumpkin puree (about 2.5 cups)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 2 tbs pumpkin seeds (optional garnish)
  • 2 tbs chopped parsley (optional garnish)

Directions

Heat butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Next, add garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, allspice, salt, and black pepper and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add coconut milk and pumpkin puree and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring to combine. Add vegetable broth and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Soup should thicken. Puree soup with a hand held immersion blender or in a blender for smoother texture. Taste soup and add more salt and black pepper if desired. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and parsley and serve while hot. May store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Makes about 6 cups.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1 cup: 107 cal

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Cheesy Vegan Nachos

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Septembers in Chicago are an ideal time to visit – the fall foliage is stunning and the weather is just perfect. It also marks the return of football season. Whether you’re into college football or the NFL, it’s an exciting time! If you’re a sports fan like me, vegan game day snacks are hard to come by. Whether I’m at a bar for Sunday Fun Day or at a friend’s place, I typically have few vegan options. Loaded nachos are my weakness and cheese fries are always on my mind – but the vegan versions are only available at a few spots in the Windy City. I usually end up ordering take out from my favorite vegan comfort food spot – Upton’s Breakroom. I’m not sure exactly what’s in their cheese sauce but my goal was to recreate something similar at home. The cheese sauce in this recipe is great because it’s relatively low in calorie and dairy free. It’s also cashew free, so say goodbye to soaking cashews overnight for this one. Of course vegan cheese sauce doesn’t taste exactly like traditional cheese sauce, but it has a delicious cheesy flavor and texture that won’t make you miss the dairy. It’s creamy, spicy, and thick enough to use as a stand alone dip. I always try to use fresh ingredients in all of my recipes. Many recipes for nacho cheese sauce call for onion powder and garlic powder but fresh onion and garlic make this sauce over-the-top good! You’ll need a high powered blender or food processor to get the smooth texture. Feel free to add more jalapenos if you like it extra spicy! You can also use seitan chorizo or refried beans instead of black beans. I didn’t top my nachos with avocado because they’re already very rich tasting but you really can’t go wrong by adding some diced avocado. This sauce is also great on broccoli, cauliflower, and baked potatoes. I also use the base of this sauce in my vegan macaroni and cheese recipe. I hope you make some vegan nachos this football season! If you do make them, be sure to tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram or Pin the recipe on Pinterest! And, of course, UMich Go Blue!

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Cheesy Vegan Nachos

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 large bag of organic tortilla chips
  • For the cheese sauce:
  • 1 small carrot, peeled
  • 1 small white potato, peeled
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (about 3 tbs)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk
  • 1 tbs vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
  • For the Pico de Gallo:
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced (about 3 tbs)
  • 2-3 tbs lime juice (juice of half a lime)
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Toppings:
  • 1, 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Vegan sour cream ( find the recipe here or use store bought such as Tofutti brand)

Directions

First, make the Pico de Gallo. Combine diced tomatoes, onion, minced jalapeno, lime juice, cilantro, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl and chill. Boil potato and carrot in a small saucepan until they are soft all the way through, drain water and set aside. Boil potato and carrot in a small saucepan until they are soft all the way through. Drain water and set aside. In a small saute pan, sauté shallot in vegan butter for about 2 to 3 minutes. Next add garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add jalapeno, cumin, paprika, and chili powder and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add almond milk, almond flour, nutritional yeast, and salt and whisk until smooth. Heat mixture until just boiling. Remove from heat and carefully transfer to a food processor or blender. Add boiled carrot and potato and blend mixture in food processor until smooth. Makes about 1 1/4 cups of cheese sauce. Assemble nachos in a large bowl: top tortilla chips with vegan cheese sauce, black beans, pico de gallo, and vegan sour cream. Serve immediately. May store vegan cheese sauce in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/4 cup cheese sauce: 103 cal

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Vegan Panzanella Salad

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Summer is the best time of year in Chicago! We have a multitude of parks that host free movies and live music all summer long. One of my favorite summer activities is packing a picnic and sitting on the lawn of Grant Park. The backdrop of the city skyline combined with fresh air, the sounds of a full orchestra, friends and family, and delicious food makes for a perfect evening! Panzanella is one of my favorite summer salads to bring on a picnic. I love French bread, fresh herbs, and really good olive oil. All of the fresh ingredients along with the red wine vinaigrette make this salad really tasty. You can use 1 day old, crusty French bread or toast fresh bread in the oven to make sure it doesn’t get too soggy once it’s in the salad. The bread should have a chewy (not soggy) consistency once it absorbs the dressing. I used vegan mozzarella by Follow Your Heart that I found at Whole Foods but you could also use extra firm tofu as a substitute. The capers add salty flavor and the bright, multi-colored heirloom tomatoes are just bursting with sweet flavor. There are several variations of this salad. You could add red and yellow peppers for tangy crispness. There’s also a version that adds arugula for a spicy kick. I think this dish is really satisfying and often have it as a light meal. It goes really well with most white wines or even rose. This recipe is so simple and super easy to assemble. If you make it, let me know how it turns out! Tag your picture with @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram and Facebook or Pin It on Pinterest!

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Fresh, simple ingredients!

Vegan Panzanella Salad

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 (6oz) French demi baguette, cut into 1.5 inch pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 1 lb grape heirloom tomoatoes, halved
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 (10oz) package vegan mozzarella cheese, cut into 1 inch pieces (such as Follow Your Heart brand)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbs capers
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 300F. Cut bread into 1.5 inch cubes and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake at 300F for about 13-15 minutes. Remove bread from oven and set aside to cool. Next, make the dressing: whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl toss bread with dressing and combine well. Let bread absorb dressing for about 5 minutes. Next, add tomatoes, cucumbers, vegan mozzarella, onion, capers, basil, and oregano and combine well. Salad is best if consumed within 24 hours.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/6 of Vegan Panzanella: 307 cal

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Polenta with Mushrooms, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Sage

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It’s mid-March and still snowing in Chicago! This type of weather is perfect for comfort food. Polenta is easy to make from scratch and is hearty and satisfying. It’s an often overlooked vegan ingredient which is very versatile. It can also be used to make corn grits. Polenta seems to be making a comeback in 2017… We even have a new, all polenta restaurant in the West Loop in Chicago that serves up hot polenta with various sauces (including a vegan option!). You can buy polenta that is already cooked, but I prefer to make mine from scratch because the flavor is unbeatable. You can actually skip baking the polenta to make a creamy, decadent side dish. Baking allows for a firmer, chewy texture that can be cut into squares. I like to serve the baked version as an appetizer because it’s easier to eat and serve. This recipe has endless variations… you could add fresh diced tomatoes instead of sun dried and chopped basil instead of sage to give it a more traditional Italian flavor. Truffle oil is also delicious in polenta! If you’re gluten free, look for gluten free polenta – Bob’s Red Mill makes a gluten free version. This dish is creamy, delicious, and filling but still low in calories. The mushrooms add an earthy flavor and go well with tart, sweetness of the sun dried tomatoes. The fresh sage adds fresh flavor and fragrance. Remember to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean if you make it!

Colorful, whole ingredients!

Polenta with Mushrooms, Sun Dried Tomatoes, and Sage

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup corn polenta (uncooked)
  • 3 cups water
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbs sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • olive oil spray
  • 1 tbs vegan butter (such as Earth Balance)

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease an 8″ x 13″ baking dish with olive oil spray and set aside. Cook garlic 2-3 minutes in olive oil on medium heat in a medium sized sauté pan. Add sage and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and most of the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. Next, bring 3 cups water to boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly add polenta to boiling water, stirring frequently with a spatula or whisk. Reduce heat to low and cook polenta for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Polenta will thicken and bubble (be careful as polenta may splatter and burn skin!). Add butte, salt, and pepper and stir well. Next, gently fold mushroom mixture into polenta. Spread polenta evenly onto greased baking dish and bake for 18-20 minutes. Polenta should be firm, turn golden-brown, and start to separate from the sides of the dish. Cut into squares and serve warm. May store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate Calories per 1/6 of polenta: 137.5 cal

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Curried Sweet Potato Fries with Lemon Garlic Aioli

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I don’t eat fries often but when I do it’s to treat myself after a tough week at work or after a big workout. Good fries are not hard to find in Chicago. The temptation is everywhere! Fries are vegan but not exactly healthy… This spicy, healthier recipe for fries is easy and will satisfy your craving without destroying your healthy eating goals for the day. You can enjoy a serving of these fries with less guilt. I’ve learned a lot about food from reading Michael Pollan’s books including Omnivore’s Dilemma. He recommends making your own fries when you crave them. That way you can control what goes in them. Making your own fries also allows you to appreciate and savor them more. The lemon garlic aioli is really the star of this recipe. It goes perfectly with the curry spices in the fries. If you like crispy fries make sure that you spread them out evenly so they aren’t touching on the baking sheet. I prefer softer fries so I tend to pile mine onto the baking sheet. These fries are incredibly flavorful and so easy to make. They contain less fat compared to traditional fries since they are baked not fried. The spices add a savory kick which complements the natural sweetness of the potatoes. I prefer sweet potatoes because they are high in vitamin A and have a lower glycemic index compared to regular potatoes. Let me know how they turn out by taking a picture and tagging @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram!

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Curried Sweet Potato Fries with Lemon Garlic Aioli

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 4 potatoes)
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • For the aioli:
  • 3 tbs vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (use a garlic press for best results)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil spray and set aside. Wash, peel, and cut potatoes into 1/4″ to 1/2″ sticks. Toss potatoes with olive oil, cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic, coriander, salt, and black pepper. Spread fries evenly on baking sheet making sure fries do not overlap (for crispy fries). Bake for 30 minutes (flip half way through cooking time). For the aioli: whisk together lemon juice, mayonnaise, and minced garlic until smooth. Serve immediately. Store fries and aioli separately in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Reheat fries in oven or toaster oven at 350F for about 5-7 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/4 fries: 210 cal (without aioli)
  • Approximate calories per 1/4 aioli: 68 cal

 

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