Savory Baked Beans (with sweet option in notes)

I adore baked beans – sweet ones – so I had to figure out a way to make them taste good without the added inflammatory and caloric additions of sweetener.  These came out spectacularly savory and delicious.  Organic products aid in gaining the extraSavory Baked Beans flavor that the sweet usually masks.  If you still want a touch of sweetness, check out the note at the bottom.

I used a 2-qt casserole and ended up with splatter in the oven.  You might want to use a large dish to avoid that.

Without further ado – here’s the recipe!

SAVORY BAKED BEANS

  • 4 cans mostly drained organic pinto beans
  • 1 15-oz can organic tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp hickory smoke seasoning
  • 3/8 tsp organic dry mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp organic garlic powder
  • 2 tsp organic onion powder
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 c. chopped organic onion
  • 3 lg organic garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 c water, as needed (see picture at bottom for how soupy it should look before baking)

Mix all in a large covered (this can be foil) casserole dish, adding water if things look fairly dry.  Bake at 375 degrees for 75-90 minutes, or until onions are soft enough for your tastes. To speed the baking process up some, you could saute the onions in the 1/4 c of water first.  

Note: if you want sweet baked beans, add 1-4 T. maple syrup, or, perhaps, 1 T. molasses and 1-3 T. maple syrup.Savory Baked Beans uncooked

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Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice

After listening to Dr. Hans Diehl (creator of the CHIP program) speak this weekend, I am once again tweaking our vegan diet.  We already have been consuming vasts quantities of fruits and veggies, including for juicing.  Now we’re ncreasing whole grains (I’m not talking about the flour, but the actual grains) while keeping out the sneaky processed flours that show up when your guard is down and you buy packaged things; cutting back – to the point of eliminating – processed sweeteners (this is my biggest difficulty); and decreasing oils (it’s recommended to not use any added oils, but I’m not sure about that one for me with my mega-dry skin and hair.)  Not only is this a way to maximize health long-term, but in the short term (less than 1 week), I’ve lost pounds!  And I’m eating way more than I was.  Win, win!

BUT!  If my family is going to tolerate me messing with their food – again – it had better be tasty stuff that I fix them, or there will be a revolt against lots of grain, especially plain old rice, showing up on their plates.  While I love the stuff, most of them have never been fans.  Surprisingly, I have a lot of recipes for main dishes using whole grains that we’ve tried.  It’s time to dust off some of the tried-and-true recipes, as well as invent some new ones.

Cilantro-Lime RiceLast night, my son-in-law showed up with a brown bag from Chipotle.  It smelled so good!  Short of putting on my coat and driving to Chipotle, I decided right then that the next day I would make up a really big batch of cilantro-lime rice to split up into smaller amounts for the freezer so that on short notice, I could make something wonderful when tantalizing food teases me.

I’ve tried to make this before, but it fell short.  This time, I thought some onion, garlic, and lime zest would help things along.  And how!!  What a difference.  I had a healthy scoop with some black beans and tomatoes for lunch – yum.

Freeze the extra amounts in meal-sized packages for later use unless you have a large family.

Cilantro-Lime Brown Rice 

  • 3 c. long brown rice (basmati or jasmine is nice, but not imperative)
  • 8 1/2-9 c. water (or whatever your container of rice indicates is needed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • zest of 1 lime, microplaned (this really makes it shine)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1 c. loosely packed cilantro leaves, minced

Bring the first 6 ingredients to a boil in a heavy-duty 3-qt. pan, and then cook over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed (or a little tiny bit is left in the bottom of the pan.)  Taste test it to make sure the rice is soft.  If needed, add a little water and continue cooking.  When it is finished, stir it well and replace the lid, leaving it to rest for at least 15 minutes to steam and get fluffier.  Meanwhile, juice the lime and toss it with the cilantro leaves.

Once the rice is finished steaming, toss it with the lime juice and cilantro.  Serve with any Mexican-style meal, or just with some beans for a quick meal.

Fiesta Quinoa

Fiesta QuinoaAh, the plans I make and the menus I create….only to be dashed to pieces the first night!  Grocery day can be crazy in our household, with stops at several stores, since no single one of them carries everything with which I cook.  Today (actually, several months ago, since I found this post hiding in my draft folder) was no different ~ except a couple of extra errands were tossed in for good measure.  This meant I didn’t have the needed time to make the do-ahead items on my menu for the week.  Which also meant that when I got home late, there was no instant supper to put on the table. Continue reading

Maple Baked Beans

Baked Beans 2I adore baked beans ~ hot or cold.  I can even tolerate Bush’s vegetarian canned ones if I have to ~ like when Hurricane Ike’s leftover wind sheers came through our area and our power was out for 2 1/2 weeks!  I love to try baked beans at potlucks, but my favorite ones are my own recipe…which can be different every time since I rarely follow a specific recipe.  I like them plenty sweet and full of onions; best served with potato salad in the summer or cornbread in the winter.  Usually, my beans come out juicier than pictured, but I baked them a little too long while I was away.  The time-bake feature is great…usually.

I have to thank my daughter, K, for getting this written down.  I have never measured before when making them.  😀  She wanted my recipe, though, so I held a measuring cup under the different things I poured in to catch what I would normally have drizzled over the beans until it “felt right.”  Then I actually poured it over the beans and checked to see if it was really enough.  It felt very strange, but it worked!  lol  Now K has a recipe and my blog has a new entry.  Nice.  🙂  Thanks, dear.

Baked BeansMaple Baked Beans

  • 4 cans of pinto beans, drained (or 6-8 cups of home cooked pinto beans)
  • 1 can of butter beans, drained (1 3/4 – 2 c. home cooked butter beans, or add more pintos)
  • 1-2 large onions, depending on taste  (I err on the side of plenty, because they cook down so much)
  • 1/2 c. ketchup (or more)
  • 4-6 T. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. BBQ sauce (I use Trader’s Joe’s Bold and Smokey Kansas City Style)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 T. nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but adds depth)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. garlic powder or 1-2 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat oven to 325-400° (depending on how quickly you want to bake them; add extra liquid if you will be baking them for a long time.)  Mix all ingredients together in a 3-4 qt. casserole dish.  Cover with foil.  Bake until onion is soft and translucent.  This will take 1-2 hours, depending on the temperature you use.  Pull the foil back to check on the onion’s condition, or use a glass casserole so you can peek through the side.

These also work very well in a crock-pot!  Since everyone’s crock-pot is different, I can only suggest that longer is better to make sure you don’t have crunchy onions.  I’d opt for 8-10 hours.

Variations:  Replace ketchup and BBQ sauce with tomato sauce and extra maple syrup and more of the other seasonings.  Or replace BBQ sauce with 1/4 c. ketchup and add 1-2 T. mustard and 2 T. more maple syrup.

These are also mighty tasty if you toss in some chopped up veggie hot dogs or Bacos before you bake them.

Chili

There is nothing quite as satisfying on some cold evenings as a bowl of good chili and a piece of cornbread to go with it.  This simple recipe doesn’t taste simple at all.  Grab a bowl and a spoon and dig in!

Chili

  • 3-4 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil or water
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans chili beans, undrained
  • 1 28-oz or 2 14-oz. cans of diced tomatoes, undrained (one may be zesty style) or crushed tomatoes
  • 10-16 oz. frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 c. frozen corn
  • 1 c. water (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Marmite or Vegex paste (optional, but really adds a lot of depth of flavor ~ if you prefer, add some South African Smoked Seasoning Blend and/or Spike to achieve that depth.)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • salt to taste
  • soy sour cream and vegan “cheese” to top each bowl as desired

Saute onions in olive oil or water until they lose their stiffness and relax onto the bottom of the pan, but not until they are completely soft.  (This leaves them with just a little bit of texture in the finished stew to contrast the soft beans and the crisp corn ~ for crispier corn, add it just a couple of minutes before serving.  This both cooks the corn just enough to leave it crisp, and cools the chili a tad so that it doesn’t burn your mouth when you chow down.)  Add garlic for about 1 minute.  Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer until spinach is tender.  Serve with soy sour cream and/or non-dairy cheese.

Beefy Vegan Soup

After all the fun of the Virtual Vegan Potluck I was inspired to create something new the very next day.  I wanted to make a soup to feed my family (plus a potential 1-2 others), but none of my regular recipes were resounding with my mental tastebuds.  What did sound good was some kind of beefy stew.  I peeked into my cupboards and fridge to see if I had the supplies to pull something like this off.  Next I recruited my son, J, to help me.  (Not only is he good with ideas, but he peels a mean carrot or potato!  lol)  Here is what we came up with ~ a good solid “beef” soup!

This makes an 8-quart stock-pot just about full.

Beefy Vegan Soup

  • 3 c. sliced/diced carrots
  • 1 1/2 c. sliced celery
  • 3 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 5 c. diced potato
  • 6 c. chopped cabbage
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 10 c. water
  • 1/2 c. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 1 T. Marmite or Vegex
  • 3 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1 tsp. celery salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 T. Spike
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a touch of sweetener – maybe 1-3 tsp. (believe it or not, this makes a difference)
  • 4 c. Soy Curls, roughly broken/crushed into 1-2″ pieces

Place everything except the soy curls into a large 8-quart stock pot.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Allow to simmer 30 minutes or so, until the vegetables are tender.  (I like to get the potatoes to the point they will almost melt in your mouth.  Then they remind me of my mother’s crock-pot roast, potatoes, and carrots that she used to make when I was a kid and still eating meat.)  Toss in the Soy Curls and stir thoroughly.  Remove from heat.

Serve this as soon as it’s not so hot it will burn your mouth.  Better yet, let it sit off the heat for an hour or so and warm it back up.  Soups always taste better if they can sit for a while and be reheated so that the flavors meld well.  I love leftovers the next day ~ they’re always better!  🙂

Tuscany Stew for the Virtual Vegan Potluck

Welcome to Cheerfully Vegan’s main course dish for the Virtual Vegan Potluck!  If you’ve started from the beginning of the potluck and are working your way through, you must have seen some amazing recipes by now.  If you are jumping into the potluck for the first time using my blog as your entry point, then welcome to the program already in progress!  😀  Let me catch you up to speed (the rest of you can jump to the next paragraph.)  V.V.P. is a marvelous online, twice-yearly get-together of 100 (give or take) vegan or vegan-friendly food bloggers around the world.  Each blogger signs up for what kind of dish they will “bring” ~ and then on the set date, posts that recipe on their blog.  We each link to the blog before and after ours (see the leaf links at the bottom of this page) so that you can start at any one point in the 100 blogs and just click to see the previous or the next entry.  Pretty simple, huh?  Let’s get started!  For those of you who want to jump to the head of the table and start from the beginning, click on the leaf at the beginning of this paragraph.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program….

When I was trying to decide what to bring to the potluck, I was torn.  Do I make something showy and/or spectacular, or do I choose a simple dish that everybody will make time and time again?  Since I was jumping into this at the last minute (somebody needed to bow out a couple of days ago and I was blessed to take their place) I really didn’t have a lot of time to hem and haw over the decision!  Finally, I chose something that is a little of both.  It is simple to prepare with a relatively short list of ingredients, but the flavor is spectacular ~ at least if you love garlic and spicy Tofurkey links it is!  😉

The great thing about this dish is that you can be as hands-on, or not, as you like.  You can choose to cook the beans from scratch and grow your own greens to pick fresh (okay, okay…or pick them fresh from the display at the store), or you can pick up canned cannellini beans and frozen greens when you need supper on the table quickly.

My plan was to do something in between ~ canned beans and fresh kale from the market.  Mmmm…not so much.  By the time I got to the store late yesterday all of my favorite organic curly red kale was GONE!  (Understand that this was more of a crisis in my mind for my morning smoothies than for the soup…*sniff*)  I knew that the grocery store also carried a great substitute of frozen turnip greens with diced turnips (alas, not organic) that I had used in the past.  Since I not only needed a picture or two for the blog as well as supper for the evening ~ and it was getting late ~ I opted for the frozen greens.  Time had run out to dash to another store in the hopes that they still had some kale left.

I made a double batch of this last night and it is a good thing I did!  My plan was to have enough leftovers for lunch for 2, or even 3 of us.  It was so popular with the family that there is only a single serving left.

Tuscany Stew

  • 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lg. onion
  • 1 14-oz pkg. Tofurkey Italian “sausage” links, halved lengthwise and sliced (to decrease the intensity of the spicy flavor, only use half the package)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2-2 c. cannellini beans (or 1 can), rinsed and drained (you may substitute navy beans, but add them a few minutes before serving so that they don’t turn to mush)
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1 pound greens, fresh or frozen – kale, turnip greens, spinach, etc. – chopped (remove any tough stems if you choose fresh greens)
  • non-dairy grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

In a very large frying pan or a Dutch oven*, saute the onion and Tofurkey pieces in olive oil on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the onion is softened and the Tofurkey is browned nicely.  Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute, stirring often to keep the garlic from browning and getting bitter.  (If you prefer, you can skip the last step and just toss the garlic in at the next step instead.)  Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer until the greens are cooked to your preference ~ I like mine very tender.  Whether you chose fresh or frozen greens will affect the cooking time, too.  You probably should plan on approximately 15-20 minutes.  If you like a saucier stew, cover the pot.  If you prefer less broth, cook with no lid, but stir often so that the greens at the top of the pot don’t dry out.

Serve with non-dairy Parmesan cheese and a tasty bread to soak up any extra broth.

Serves: 3-4 (which doesn’t include hungry teenage boys, by the way, which is why I have only one bowlful leftover today.)

*Note ~ I highly recommend a non-stick pan for this, or you’ll need extra oil to keep the links from sticking.

Olive and Veggie Burger Hash

I love to play with my food!  That’s probably why I write a vegan food blog (although, you wouldn’t know it lately, because I’ve been AWOL – tsk, tsk.)  Tonight, hubby was going to be late and the teen boys were going to eat after their meeting.  I had time to play!

Lately I’ve been very hungry for savory things ~ quite out of character for a woman with a sweet tooth the size of Montana!  I wanted something really interesting.  This recipe isn’t what it started out to be…and it’s better than I hoped, because I just kept adding things to make it more interesting.  Once I pulled out J’s large jar of green olives to add to it things really came together.  Usually, I’m not a green-olive fan ~ just on pizza occasionally, in potato salad, and, apparently, in this.  😀

I would have loved to have added mushrooms to this, but, alas, they didn’t make it into the grocery cart this week.

There is no picture, unfortunately.  Not only were we too hungry to wait for a photo to be taken, but in all honesty, this just isn’t a photographic dish!  It isn’t very pretty.  But, man, does it taste good!

Olive and Veggie Burger Hash

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 8-10 oz. frozen artichoke hearts
  • 3 veggie burgers of choice (Boca Burger “hamburger” type or gluten-free version) or an equal amount of burger-type crumbles
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (if you love garlic, please, please use more!  I have a hubby who only tolerates it)
  • 1/2 can black olives, halved (if you like Greek olives, or such, use those)
  • equal amount of green olives, sliced
  • salt to taste

Place onion, artichoke hearts, and oil in a large frying pan and begin heating on high.  When you hear sizzling, turn the heat down to medium high and push the vegetables aside to clear a spot for the burgers on the bottom of the pan.  When the burgers have thawed some, use a spatula or a flat-edged bamboo utensil to break them into small pieces.  Add salt at this time to your taste.  (I like just a sprinkling.)

Once these things are softening well, add the garlic and toss well.  Stir often to keep the garlic from burning to the bottom of the pan.  Add the olives and heat through.
Serve.

This is super good with sliced tomatoes fresh from the garden.  We also had asparagus spears and sweet potato fries.

Substitution Soup (aka: Eggplant-Cabbage Soup)

This is a bit earlier in the year than I usually make soup ~ but with cooler evenings arriving earlier than normal, I couldn’t resist.  Last week I found a very large organic eggplant at Kroger.  I’d never seen one there before, so I quickly pounced on it!  Since I needed to use it before it went the way of other science experiments in the back of my frig, this influenced my decision to make this particular soup.

My dear high school friend who taught me about this soup has a different name for it than I use.  She calls it garbage pail soup, because you can throw in just about anything you want and it’s likely to taste good.  Use up the veggies that just can’t wait much longer.  Throw in whatever meat-like substitutes you like.  Just start with the base of the soup and have fun.

I do wish the greens would stay brighter for visuals with this soup, but my family doesn’t like the texture of them wilted at the last minute of cooking time, so I have to put up with duller-looking greens.  The good thing?  It still tastes amazing!  (I ate 2 large bowls of it.)

There is one thing you should know.  This makes a HUGE pot of soup that will last you for more than one meal.  You can freeze some of it.  You can add something new each night to it to make it slightly different.  Or you can invite a crowd over for supper.  🙂

Substitution Soup

Absolutely necessary:

  • 12-16+ c. filtered or well water (depending on the size of your cabbage and other veggie amounts)  Good water is important to the taste of your soup
  • 1 small-to-medium cabbage, diced or sliced
  • 1 eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 large onions (more if you like)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T. basil (more if using fresh)
  • 1 1/2 – 3 tsp. Marmite or Vegex (add the smaller amount and taste test later)
  • 6-8 T. chicken-style seasoning     (ditto)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 T. +/- sweetener (depending on how acidic your canned tomatoes are), optional

Variables:

  • herbs and seasonings of choice (including Spike*, or Mrs. Dash)
  • 3-6 c. diced or shredded potatoes* (or use small cauliflower florets or corn)
  • 1-2 lbs. green vegetables ~ may be frozen (chopped leafy greens such as spinach*, kale, turnip greens*, etc., zucchini – diced or shredded, green beans, chopped broccoli, etc.
  • 1/2-1 c. dried lentils* (or add canned beans at the end of cooking time)
  • 1/2-1 1/2 c. brown rice*, millet, barley (increase cooking time), or other whole grain
  • veggie meat of your choice ~ use more than one kind for added interest ~ chorizo* (for a spicy version), TVP, seitan, homemade or canned gluten pieces, broken soy curls*, soy hot dogs or links, Gimme Lean, chopped up soy burgers, Tofurkey “sausages,” etc.

Throw everything from the “absolutely necessary” list into a large stock pot.  Bring this to a boil while you chop everything else, adding as you go.  The cabbage will decrease in size as it cooks, so you may not need as much water as you think you might.  You may always add more later, as well as more seasonings to balance the extra water.  When the lentils, rice, and potatoes are cooked, taste the soup and see if it needs something, like more salt, or some other kind of seasoning.  Adjust it as needed.  Let the soup cool to serving temperature as a large stockpot of soup can be seriously hot.  Pair it with some marvelous bread and enjoy!

*my choices for the soup pictured

Hummus

Everybody has a favorite hummus recipe, right?  Well…sometimes the answer is ‘no.’  This post is for those poor deprived souls who don’t already have their own go-to recipe for hummus.

This is super easy and so much cheaper than buying a tub of it in the store ~ some of them are quite pricey.  (And have you checked out the ingredients lists on some of those?  Ick.  I don’t like canola oil or vinegar.  I want healthier choices.)

Hummus

  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2-2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 T. tahini (Joyva is my favorite brand – for taste and ease of stirring)
  • 1-2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove fresh garlic (2-3 for garlic hummus)
  • 1/4-1/3 c. chopped onion
  • heaping 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4-1/3 c. water (depending on how watery your onion is, and desired thickness)

Blend either in food processor or blender until very smooth.

Variations:  add in one or more of the following ~ roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, green onion, dillweed, spinach, etc.  Look at the flavors in the store and experiment with add-ins.  If you are adding in a slightly liquidy item, decrease your water.