Tag: hens

Black Olive Bruschetta with Cashew Cream

Can you tell Italian cuisine is on my mind? Between our trips to Italy and my Italian cuisine podcast series, I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes.

Traditionally, bruschetta features tomatoes and basil, but bruschetta itself just means “burnt / toasted bread,” so really, we can do whatever we want.

BUT, you can’t say broo-SHET-a. The “ch” sound in Italian is a hard “k” sound (like Chianti or Gnocchi), so it’s pronounced broo-SKET_a.

Ingredients

🌱2 tablespoons olive oil
🌱3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
🌱2 shallots, finely minced
🌱Salt and pepper, to taste
🌱1/4 cup pine nuts, coarsely chopped
🌱1/2 cup pitted black (or kalamata) olives, finely minced
🌱1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
🌱1 whole grain baguette, sliced
🌱Olive oil for brushing
🌱Basil Cashew Cream (see below)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400, and line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

2. Add the oil to a large sauté pan, along with the garlic, shallots, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Cook over medium heat until the shallots begin to glisten, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts and olives, and sauté for 3 minutes more.

4. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, and turn off heat.

5. Lightly brush both sides of the bread slices with oil.

6. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until about 5 to 7 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Spread a generous amount of cashew cream on each bread slice, and carefully spoon the olive mixture on top.

8. Sprinkle with some minced basil.

MANGIA!

BASIL CASHEW CREAM

Because the cashews have to soak for at least an hour, you will want to factor that in to your total prep time.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (300 g) raw cashews soaked in 3 cups (720 ml) of water for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) water

Directions

Once the cashews have soaked, drain and rinse them in a strainer.

Place them in a food processor, along with the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil. Turn on the machine, and let it run for a few seconds to start combining the ingredients.

Add most of the water, and process until the mixture is completely smooth, about 2 to 4 minutes, turning the machine off periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Before adding all of the water, I like first seeing what the consistency is; it’s always easier to add more than it is to take any out!

Salt, to taste. The consistency should be thick but spreadable.

For Your Modification

*Instead of basil, add chives, dill, parsley, or any combination you desire.

*Add finely chopped sundried tomatoes and/or olives instead of or along with the fresh herbs.

For Your Information

It will keep well in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.

Can You Eat Eggs And Still Be Vegan?

Because hens don’t have to be killed to obtain their eggs, many people have been conditioned to perceive eggs as being healthy, humane, and cruelty-free, despite the fact that the majority of them are from factory farms. To demonstrate their compassion for animals in general and battery cage hens in particular, as well their desire to promote animal welfare, they buy eggs labeled free-range, cage free, humane, and organic, believing they are not contributing to animal cruelty and factory farming.  

Many people often declare that they get eggs from local farmers or backyard hens, who are genuinely cage-free. That leads them to ask me one of the most common questions I receive about veganism, ethics, and animals: what’s wrong with eating eggs from backyard hens / chickens since it doesn’t contribute to animal cruelty. What if that person is vegan in every other way but eats the eggs of their own rescued hens? Or sanctuary hens? Or their hens who are “pets”? In other words:

  1. Is it unethical / problematic / perpetuating cruelty to avoid buying factory farmed animal products but eat eggs from rescued hens? AND 
  2. Can that person call themselves vegan?

Listener Sponsors

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Truth Bombs

  • To call yourself vegan, the presumption is you don’t eat animal flesh and fluids. That’s not an arbitrary characterization. While there are grey areas related to being vegan, it’s safe to say that the most basic definition of that is that you’re not eating anything that comes out of an animal. 
  • There is no such thing as a vegan overlord. In the end, whatever you call yourself is up to you.
  • Eggs are loaded with problematic dietary cholesterol, animal fat, and animal protein — not to mention being carriers of foodborne pathogens such as salmonella.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids reside in plants — not animal products. Skip the middle chicken and get your nutrients directly from the source: plants.
  • If there is no rooster, there is no chance the hens’ eggs will become fertilized. No rooster, no chick.
  • Intention has a lot to do with the decisions we make about the critters in our care.
  • Being vegan is about doing what we can to foster compassion and to avoid contributing to violence. It’s not about being perfect, and it’s not about being pure.
  • Being vegan is a means to an end, not an end in itself. I don’t aspire to be as vegan as I can be. I aspire to be as compassionate as I can be. 
  • In order to help animals, we need to change the paradigm from one of entitlement to one of communality.

Lentil Meatballs {Recipe}

Of course there are commercial vegan meatballs in the store, but in just a short time, you can enjoy a more delicious, more healthful, more affordable, zero-waste, plastic-free version! These are fantastic over traditional pasta or zoodles, pasta made from zucchini!

ADVANCE PREPARATION REQUIRED

Ingredients

2 tablespoons water for sauteing

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 cup dried brown lentils

2-½ cups water

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds + 3 tablespoons water, blended in a food processor or blender for about 1 minute or until thick and gelatinous

1/2 cup breadcrumbs (Italian-style or plain)

2 teaspoons dried oregano

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon ground fennel seed

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon chili powder

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste

¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

Marinara sauce of your choosing

Directions

In a 4-quart saucepan, heat up the water in a large sauté pan, and add the onion. Sauté over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, and saute for another minute.  

Add the lentils, water, and ½ teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, and let cook for about 25 minutes, or until the lentils are soft. (If there is still some water left in the pot when the lentils have finished cooking, drain it in a strainer. If the water evaporates too quickly for the lentils to properly cook, add a bit more water.

When the lentils are done, place them in the bowl along with the flax seed mixture. Add in the bread crumbs and all the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Taste for salt, and add the remaining ½ teaspoon, if needed.

Mash the mixture with a potato masher or fork until the lentils are broken up and the mixture is sticky enough to hold together when rolled into balls. You want the mixture to be soft but not a paste.

Let the mixture sit covered in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes, up to 24 hours.

When ready to prepare, squish the mixture with your hands. The mixture should be quite wet and able to be formed into balls that will stay together when cooked. If it’s too wet, add more breadcrumbs. If it’s too dry, add a little water.

Taste, and add more salt or other seasoning, if desired.

Shape the lentil mixture into balls of your desired size. You can make them large like golf balls or smaller. To create uniform sizes, use a melon baller or small ice cream scoop.

Next, add a tablespoon of olive oil to the same large sauté pan you used to sauté the onions, or use a nonstick pan to brown the lentil balls. Turn your stove to medium heat. Brown the lentil balls on all sides. If using right away, add them to a large pot of marinara sauce. If not using right away, store them in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Serve with pasta and your favorite marinara sauce with fresh parsley sprinkled on top — or on a hearty roll with sauce and vegan cheese for a meatball sub!

For Your Information

The longer you leave the lentil balls in the marinara sauce, the more they’ll break down, which is still delicious — it becomes more of a “meat” sauce. However, if you’d like them to keep their shape, heat the sauce separately, and pour it onto the pasta and the lentil balls while everything is still hot.

For Your Modification

You can make a gluten-free version with a gluten-free flour of your choice or with rolled oats. Pulse rolled oats in a food processor until they are ground into a powder-like consistency. One cup of whole rolled oats yields the equivalent amount of oat flour.

Soy-free, wheat- and gluten-free (if using wheat-free flour)

Minestrone Soup with Kale {Recipe}

The addition of kale in this classic comfort soup makes it even better, certainly more nutritious, and definitely more colorful! PLUS, it’s vegan / plant-based / animal product-free!

The Italian word minestrone refers to a large, hearty soup. The soup itself is part of what is known in Italy as cucina povera — literally “poor kitchen,” referring to the necessity of creating dishes based on what was available and in season. As it has been passed down through the ages, there is no fixed recipe and lends itself to many variations.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon oil or water for sautéing
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
One 15-ounce can or equivalent fresh diced tomatoes
1-1/2 cups white beans (Cannellini, Great Northern, navy)
1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
6 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 cup soup pasta (elbow macaroni, shells, etc.), cooked
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

Heat the oil or water in a large soup pot over medium heat, and add the onion and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until the onion turns translucent and the carrots glisten, about 7 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute or so, until the garlic begins to smell fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their liquid and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down a bit.

Add the beans, kale, parsley, water, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the flavors are all incorporated.

Add the pasta, and stir to incorporate. Cook for 5 minutes more, tasting and adjusting the salt and pepper as needed, then remove from heat and serve.

What more fantastic vegan recipes? Have you checked out my cookbooks? 

The Joy of Vegan Baking 

The Vegan Table

Color Me Vegan

The 30Day Vegan Challenge

Yield: 6 servings

Oil-free if using water to sauté, soy-free

Herbed Cashew Cream

I was tempted to call this recipe “Basil Cashew Cream,” but I didn’t want to limit you. Consider this delicious spreadable cheese a basic foundation to which you can add any variation of fresh herbs or other ingredients. From The 30-Day Vegan Challenge.

There’s also a version of my cashew cream matched with the Black Olive Bruschetta. It’s sooo good! The photo references are my Strawberry Bruschetta — also in The 30-Day Vegan Challenge — but you can use this cashew cream in many ways, especially as a spreadable cheese. I served it recently for an afternoon tea party I hosted with girlfriends, and it was just perfect. 

Yield: 1½ cups or 12 servings

Note: Because the cashews have to soak for at least an hour, you will want to factor that in to your total prep time.

Ingredients

2 cups (300 g) raw cashews soaked in 3 cups (720 ml) of water for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons minced basil
¼ cup (60 ml) water

Directions

Once the cashews have soaked, drain and rinse them in a strainer.

Place them in a food processor, along with the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and basil. Turn on the machine, and let it run for a few seconds to start combining the ingredients.

Add most of the water, and process until the mixture is completely smooth, about 2 to 4 minutes, turning the machine off periodically to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Before adding all of the water, I like first seeing what the consistency is; it’s always easier to add more than it is to take any out!

Salt, to taste. The consistency should be thick but spreadable.

For Your Modification

  • Instead of basil, add chives, dill, parsley, or any combination you desire.
  • Add finely chopped sundried tomatoes and/or olives instead of or along with the fresh herbs.

For Your Information

It will keep well in the refrigerator for at least 3 days.

Vegan Eggless Meringue Cookies {Recipe}

Yup, you read that right—meringue in a vegan recipe. In December 2014, French chef, Joël Roessel, discovered that the liquid from canned beans such as chickpeas has a chemical composition that mimics the functional properties of egg whites. Hence, aquafaba (“water from beans”) was born and the word coined by Goose Wohlt.  

There is so much buzz on the internet about this amazing discovery that I couldn’t possibly reiterate it here, but I will say that some people find that unsalted chickpeas work better than those that are salted; I haven’t necessarily found that, but there you have it.

Ingredients

Liquid from 1 can (15 ounces or 425 g) of chickpeas (about ¾ cup or 180 mL)

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

⅛ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (150 g) white granulated sugar, made fine by first pulsing it in a coffee grinder

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200 °F (100 °C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner, and set aside.

Drain the liquid from the can of chickpeas, and add it to a mixing bowl along with the vanilla extract, cream of tartar, and salt. You may use a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer (using the whisk attachment). (Mixing by hand will only wear out your wrists and not give you the peaks you’re seeking.)

Set your mixer on high, and slowly pour in the sugar as the beater is running. Beat for 10 to 15 minutes, though you may need to stop once or twice to scrape down any sugar that sticks to the side of the bowl.

After 10 minutes or so, check the meringue. You’re looking for the stiff peaks characteristic of meringue. There have been times these peaks have formed after only 6 minutes, so just keep an eye on it.

At this point, if you’d like to add any food coloring gel, spoon a portion of the meringue into a separate bowl, and carefully fold in the coloring.

Use a pastry bag or a spoon to dollop the meringue onto the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 1-½ hours, then turn the oven off. If you want a crisp outside and chewy center, this is essential. You may open the oven door just a smidge, but leave them in the oven for at least an hour — up to 24 hours.

Store in a cool, dry place. They are best eaten the day you make them, but if your environment is very dry (not humid), they can last a few days in an airtight container.

For Your Edification

Aquafaba is not only the liquid from canned chickpeas but from chickpeas made from scratch, as well.  

No Such Thing as “Humane” Meat, Dairy, and Eggs

Some people say “I eat only ‘humane’ or ‘humanely raised’ meat, dairy, and eggs” or “As long as the animals killed for human consumption are killed humanely, then there’s no problem.” That’s one point of view. Here’s my vegan point of view.

GET YOUR FREE JOYFUL VEGAN GUIDE

Includes delicious plant-based recipes and a meal plan!




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