Savory Garlic Ginger Wontons – $4.83 recipe/ $0.14 per wonton

032

It’s party season, and that means I’m spending a lot of time dreaming up perfect appetizers that suit a vegan diet and an omnivore palate alike. These creamy wontons totally hit the spot, the recipe makes 35 wontons and can be served with a variety of sauces- I used teriyaki, but you could also serve them with duck sauce, chili oil, or soy sauce. Folding the wontons can be a little tricky at first, but don’t despair- I account for that with the ingredients list (since I usually destroy a couple wontons during the folding process). The filling is super easy to make and could even be made ahead of time and then used -it’s just potatoes, carrot, and spices!

Ingredients – Makes 35 wontons

3 Idaho potatoes ($0.40)

1 carrot ($0.37)

5 cloves garlic ($0.25)

1 tbsp. fresh grated ginger ($0.64)

1 package wonton wrappers ($2.99) – Read the label, some brands have egg in them- Asian brands are often vegan

1/2 tbsp. cumin ($0.05)

1/2 tbsp. madras curry ($0.03) – You may substitute with the curry powder of your choice.

1 tsp. salt ($0.01)

1 tsp. paprika ($0.05)

1 tsp. oregano ($0.03)

1 pinch cayenne pepper ($0.01)

034

1. Peel and chop your carrots and potatoes. Peel your garlic and grate ginger (set aside). 

2. Toss potatoes, carrots, and garlic into a pot of boiling water- cook over high heat for 25 minutes. Once veggies are tender, strain and rinse in cold water. 

030

3. Return carrots and potatoes to your original pot, use an immersion blender to fully combine your ingredients. Add in all of your spices and fresh ginger now too. The consistency will be very thick- the starch in the potato acts as a thickening agent, which is why this recipe is so simple. You may want to let this mixture cool a bit before making your wontons. 

037

4. The most common mistake when you’re making your wontons is overfilling them- so start with less filling than you might think. You will also want to have a small side bowl filled with water. First drop a dallop of the filling in the center of the dough, now wet your fingers and run them along each edge (this makes the dough stick to itself).

042

5. First fold the dough into a triangle. Now take the two corners that are along the flat side of the triangle and press them together. You made need to put a bit more water on your fingers, I also folded the end over twice, which you can see in the photo if you look closely. 

6. Now steam your wontons for 15-20 minutes, these are just as delicious room temperature as they are piping hot- so feel free to make these ahead of time. 

041

I added scallions and teriyaki sauce for garnish, but the basic flavor of the wontons is so savory and warm that you could pair these with lots of different sauces- I think peanut sauce would be especially delicious.

Cauliflower Bean Bowl – $3.51 recipe/ $0.35 serving

022

I thought this would be the perfect recipe to kick off my new spin on this blog: frugal vegan cuisine. At just .35 a serving it fits even the most modest budget. The flavors are well balanced and mild enough for a sensitive palate. It’s also gluten free and low calorie- but still packed with protein. Most of my recipes are fairly inexpensive, but from now on I’ll really be breaking down the cost for you, and designing recipes and menus that are more intentionally budget friendly.

Total Meal Cost: $3.51       Cost Per Serving: $0.35      Number of Servings: 10 

Ingredients 

1 large head cauliflower ($1.29)

4 cups water (free!)

1 small can tomato paste (.70)

1 can kidney beans (.33)

1 can chickpeas (.33)

1 cup frozen peas (.25)

1 bouillon (.22)

3 cups rice (.25)  – made separately and set aside

1 tsp. cumin (.03)

1 tsp. vindaloo curry (.05)

1 tsp. onion powder (.03)

1/2 tsp. basil (.03)

salt to taste

1. First heat your water to nearly boiling.  I used a dutch oven to cook this, but you could use a large lidded pot.

024

2. While your water is heating up, go ahead and slice your cauliflower. It will get tender while cooking so you can leave it in fairly large slices for now and break it apart with a spoon when it’s softer.

3. Now that your water is warm, add in the bouillon, tomato paste, and all of the herbs. 

012

4. Now add your cauliflower to the pot. Cover and cook over high for about 15 minutes. You may want to stir it occasionally so that each piece of cauliflower has a chance to be submerged. 

006

5. Your cauliflower should be lovely and tender now. You can take this time to break it up more with a wooden spoon. Add in your beans now and cook for an additional 10 minutes covered over medium heat. 

003

6. Now add in the peas and mix. Continue cooking over low heat, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Taste to see if you need any more salt- add if desired. 

011

7. I added some crushed red pepper and hot sauce to mine for extra heat. I served mine with basmati rice, but you could use any grain of your choice. 

Carrot Bisque with Country Style Dumplings

055

Pillowy herb dumplings and fragrant carrot broth are the perfect remedy to a freezing cold walk home from the train. Country style vegan dumplings like these are easy enough to make on a whim, you could easily use them in any number of stocks. I think that next I’ll try them with a tomato based broth and Italian herbs.

Ingredients

(for the soup)

8 cups vegetable stock

6 large carrots

4 large leeks

olive oil

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. oregano

1 pinch ground cloves

(for the dumplings)

2 cups flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. sugar

1 1/4 cup boiling water

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter

1 tsp. sage

1 tsp. dill

1 tsp. basil

1. Halve and slice your leeks. I only use the end, of the leeks- once the green color deepens it becomes tougher, I only use the white and light green part. Dice your garlic, and peel and chop your carrots. 

027

2. Saute garlic and leeks in some olive oil. I do this in the pot I will be making the soup in. Saute for high uncovered for 5 minutes. Then saute over low heat, covered, for an additional 5 minutes.  

034

3. Add vegetable stock, and carrots to pot. Cook over high heat, uncovered for 15 minutes. Lower heat slightly and cover, let cook for an additional 30 minutes. 

4Add in onion powder, oregano, and cloves. Let soup cool for a bit and use an immersion blender to puree. Be careful if the soup is hot, it could easily splash. Puree evenly and completely, so that the carrot stock becomes perfectly smooth and creamy. 

5. Keep soup on low heat uncovered as you make your dumpling dough.

002

6. Sift flour into large mixing bowl. Add in baking powder, salt, sugar, sage, dill, basil, boiling water, and non-dairy butter. Your dough will get nice and elastic, and that’s when it’s time to cook your dumplings. 

7. Turn the heat up on your soup pot, make sure it is strongly simmering. Spoonful by spoonful, take lumps of the dough and drop it into the carrot soup. I allow a few seconds between each dumpling, it gives them a moment to solidify before you drop in the next pocket of dough. Simmer for about an additional 10 minutes, and serve. 

044

Look at these perfect warm pockets of dough.

045

Homemade Massaman Curry with Tumeric Rice

055

Homemade curry paste is a real treat. This sauce may look commonplace, but don’t be fooled, it has complex flavors blended fragrantly into every bite. Traditional Thai Massaman curry includes meat as well as shrimp paste, this version omits those and replaces them with perfectly cooked potatoes, tender carrots, crispy tofu, and cashews.

Ingredients

(For the homemade curry paste)

8 dried thai chili peppers (soaked for 20 minutes, then seeded and diced)

2 tsp. coriander

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. ground white pepper

1 stem lemongrass, chopped

1/2 tsp. galanga powder

(for the rest of the curry dish)

1 box firm tofu

4 medium potatoes (I used classic brown Idaho)

3 large carrots

5 tbsp. homemade curry paste

2 cans coconut milk

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cinnamon stick

6 cardamom pods

1 tbsp. brown sugar

1 tbsp. tamarind concentrate

1/2 cup cashews (you can use peanuts if you prefer)

(for the rice)

1 tbsp. tumeric

2 cups rice (Jasmine or Basmati)

1. First you can prep your vegetables, and chop any herbs. I like to chop the potatoes and carrots very roughly, in big chunks- with the long cooking time even larger pieces of potato and carrot will be perfectly cooked.  

022

2. Now make your curry paste- combine all the ingredients for the paste in the order that they are listed above, pureeing them in your food processor.

024

3. Cube and fry your tofu, and set aside. 

017

4. Add olive oil, cashews, and curry paste to a large pot, saute on high for about 4 minutes. The aroma of the paste will become very strong, but the cashews should not be burning- add more oil if necessary. 

5. Add coconut milk to pot, also throw in potatoes and carrots. Add in vegetable stock along with tamarind, cardamom (shelled), cinnamon, and brown sugar. Cook covered over medium high for 20 minutes. You may want to make your tumeric rice while the curry simmers. I used Basmati rice, as the rice is cooking add enough tumeric to fully color the rice yellow. 

062

6. Now cook uncovered over medium for 30 minutes. This gives the sauce time to thicken and become more multifaceted. Once this is done, gently mix in the fried tofu. The sauce should be beautifully fragrant and creamy. 

053

Serve with rice, add garnish of your choice (shallots, cilantro, and basil would all work well).

Roasted Pepper Spread- $5.26 recipe/ $0.29 serving

077

I love this creamy roasted vegetable spread, it’s with rich herbs and pecans. This recipe is ideal for a party because the spread can be made hours or even a day earlier. Once you’re ready to serve, just spread it on bread and bake for about 15 minutes. It’s well balanced and savory.

Ingredients

3 orange bell peppers ($3.26)

5 garlic cloves ($0.15)

3 white mushroom caps ($0.20)

2/3 cup pecans ($0.65)

1 tsp. chopped fresh basil ($0.05)

1/2 tsp. lemon juice ($0.03)

1/2 tsp. cumin ($0.03)

1/2 tsp oregano ($0.03)

1 tbsp. tahini ($0.15)

2 tsp. crushed red pepper ($0.06)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast ($0.50)

2 tbsp. olive oil ($0.15)

1. Preheat oven to 400. 

2. Roughly chop mushrooms and peppers. In a small bowl combine with pecans and garlic. Coat in olive oil and put in a small casserole pan. Bake for 30 minutes. 

035

3. Once your peppers are done baking, let them cool. Once the peppers are no longer steaming, put in the food processor and puree. Add in herbs, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, tahini, and red pepper flakes. Once fully blended, refrigerate for at least one hour. 

088

4. When you’re ready to serve, just spread vegetable mixture on good French or Italian bread. Heat in the oven on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees. 

105

Enjoy! This recipe makes at least 18 slices, I still had some left over after using a whole loaf of Italian bread.

Vegan Truffle Cream Pasta- Two Ways

054

This creamy truffle infused pasta with baby bella mushrooms and peas can be served extra creamy or crispy and baked- cook’s choice.

Ingredients

1 box baby bella mushrooms

1 box rotini (you may not use the whole box, I used about 3/4 of it cooked)

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup cashews

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1.5 cup almond milk

2 tbsp. non-dairy butter

1 tbsp. white truffle oil (If you don’t want to buy truffle oil, simply infuse some regular olive oil with garlic and rosemary, and use that instead of the truffle oil)

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. basil

1/2 tsp. oregano

(Optional: additional nutritional yeast and plan breadcrumbs, only use if you are making baked version)

1. Soak cashews in warm water for at least an hour. 

2. Boil water for pasta. When pasta is fully cooked, just drain it and set aside. 

3. While pasta is cooking, make your cashew cream. Combine drained cashews, 1/4 cup almond milk, 4 tbsp. water, and 1/2 tsp. lemon juice- puree in food processor. Set it aside for now. 

4. Now chop your mushrooms. Saute them in non-dairy butter and truffle oil.  

047

5. Once the mushrooms are browned, add in the rest of the almond milk, and gradually stir in the cashew cream. Mix in the basil, oregano, and nutritional yeast. 

021

6. The sauce should be thickening now, if it isn’t you may want to turn up the burner a bit. Once it begins thickening add in the frozen peas. Mix throughly. Now you have two choices of how to finish this dish, you can either: 

Gradually pour sauce into pasta, combine and serve as is. This will give you the creamiest possible result:

022

Or, you can combine pasta and sauce, and transfer to a casserole dish- add the extra breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast to the top, and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. If you are considering baking it, I would also recommend adding an extra 1/3 cup of almond milk immediately prior to baking.

041

Happy cooking!

Spaghetti Squash Pepper Pot

037

Spaghetti squash stuffed in a baked pepper and served with parsnip steaks, flat green beans, and Indian eggplant. It’s a perfect autumn dinner for four. The vegetables are vibrant and fresh, and the herbs are subdued so that each piece can be fully heard.

009

Suntan peppers, Indian eggplant, parsnips, and flat green beans are great this time of year. If you need to swap out the produce, use bell peppers, regular green beans, and one large eggplant, diced.

Ingredients

4 suntan peppers

4 small eggplants

2 large (in circumference) parsnips

1 lb. flat green beans

1 medium spaghetti squash

2 cups vegetable stock

olive oil

salt

pepper

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. sage

021

1. Preheat oven to 375. Thickly slice your parsnips, only at the largest part- discard it when the diameter is less than 3 inches. Also trim your beans, halve and scoop seeds out of your squash, and halve your eggplants. 

2. Place parsnips in a baking dish, spread them out so that they cook evenly. Cover with vegetable stock and place in oven. Now rub olive oil into the flesh of the spaghetti squash and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place it on a casserole dish or baking pan face up- put that in the oven as well. Bake both dishes for 40 minutes. Turn the parsnips over at the 20 minute mark. 

3. While squash and parsnips are baking, put your eggplant face down in a heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, liberally drizzle olive oil. 

015

4. Pile your green beans on top of the eggplants and drizzle with lots of olive oil again. Add in sage and basil- make sure your green beans are evenly coated, and keep the flat side of the eggplants down. Cover and cook on medium for 30 minutes, check on it occasionally and make sure to keep adding oil if it gets dry. 

011

5. By now your squash and parsnips are done. Remove them both from the oven. Cut the tops off of your peppers and prepare them for filling. Using a fork, scoop the spaghetti out of the squash and fill the peppers with it. Rub a bit of oil on the outside of the peppers, and place in the oven for an additional 10 minutes. 

And serve! The squash is so crunchy and fresh, the parsnips take on an unbelievable texture, and the herbs on the eggplant and green beans bring the whole dish together with a Mediterranean sensibility.

032