Tag Archives: Vegan

There have been lots of black beans in my life as of late, where they find form as black bean burgers, black bean chili (my favorite recipe being from Deborah Madison’s Greens Cookbook), and those amazing flourless black bean brownies. Sometimes extra beans get thrown together with brown rice.

My new fave thing to do with beans is spreads. Here you can let some creativity loose and combine whatever ingredients you have on hand to make something cheap, versatile, and awesome. You can use black beans, of course, but any other bean will do. Each variety has its own particular, subtle flavor. Lima, Cannellini, Adzuki, Flageolet, fresh Favas — get to know your beans!

The recipe below is for a basic savory spread, and can be paired with bread, chip, or meaty item. What about a sweet bean spread, à la mochi, you say? I’ve yet to try it, but it could be good.  Chocolate beans?  Maple beans?  Fruity beans?


2 cups beans, soaked (about 1 cup dry), canned, or leftovered
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. oil (sesame, olive, peanut — consider your other flavors when choosing)
1 tsp. salt

If using soaked beans: put them in a pot, cover with water about an inch above the surface of the beans, add a bay leaf and dash salt, and cook until soft, about an hour. Or use a pressure cooker, way faster.

Heat the oil and salt in a pan. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent and tender. (You could get wild here and caramelize the onions, roast the garlic.) In a food processor, blend the beans until they are a smooth paste. Add the garlic and onion and purée.


  • Fresh herbs
  • Horseradish
  • Roasted peppers
  • Hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, pepitas, pecans, walnuts, etc.
  • Chipotle or hot sauce
  • Miso
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Fresh ginger
  • Tomato paste
  • Curry paste
  • Soy sauce & sesame seeds
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Insert item from your pantry here

This will keep, sealed, for up to a week in the fridge.

So many beets, so few mouths here at Odd Kitchen!  Time to get creative. This is essentially an alfredo sauce with grated beets. You can make a vegan version, sans cheese, by substituting olive oil and coconut milk for butter and cream.

2 cups grated beet (1 very large beet or 2 medium-sized beets)
1/2 onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3-4 tablespoons butter
2 cups cream
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, or a mixture of Parmesan and Fontina
3/4 – 1 cup stock
5-6 leaves fresh basil, shredded (or chiffonade cut, if you like it like that)
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium-low flame. Add onion and stir, stir, stir until it’s golden brown or darker — caramelized, if you can get it there, but never burned. Add the garlic and a flourish of salt and pepper.

Pour the cream and basil into the pan.  Add grated beets.  Stir and let simmer for about ten minutes; add stock as the liquid evaporates.  When beets are tender, add the cheese and stir until it’s melted and the sauce is creamy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Pasta to come…

2-4 servings

So this is a very nice wintry soup to make, where the grilled flavor enriches the dish a great deal in my opinion. Also, miso is involved as a salting agent. I have thought about acquiring a little hibachi to fire up in the evenings — an activity one can do rather painlessly in this city during the present season — but in the meantime, a grill pan works quite well, and is what I used in this case.

You will need:
1 small head or 1/2 large head cabbage
1 medium-sized Japanese sweet potato
1/2 large onion
4 or more cloves of garlic
2 cups cooked beans
6 cups stock
Ghee or olive oil
2-3 tablespoons shiromiso (white miso)

Chop the cabbage in half and remove the core. Shred or slice as fine as you would like to eat with a soup spoon. Heat your grill pan, and once it is hot, apply the cabbage. Let it get browned and a little burned, moving it around every so often. Swap out batches of cabbage to get the whole quantity grilled. While you are doing this, mince the onion and smash the garlic. Peel the sweet potato and chop into cubes. I say cubes the size of sugar cubes, but you may say something else.

At this point, your cabbage will probably be done grilling and should be put to wait in a bowl. Scoop some ghee or pour some oil into your soup pot and let it get warm. Add a pinch of salt to the fat and stir. Add onion & garlic and saute until slightly translucent. Add the potatoes and stir a bit more. It’s fine if things get a little browned.

Pour in your stock and add your beans. I have used black beans and white beans and navy beans and each version has been equally delicious, though aesthetically different. (Same goes for cabbage varieties. Red? White? Napa?) I will say that there is a structural difference between canned and cooked dry beans; the latter tends to hold up better in soups, but you should not fuss over this.

Bring everything up to a simmering state and taste. Depending your stock, you may need more flavor. This is when you add the miso, spoonful by spoonful, until the flavor is to your liking. Now add the cabbage and cook until tender. Then ladle into bowls and eat.

This is a wonderful soup with crusty bread and butter on the side, then yogurt & jam for dessert. And tea. And then, naptime.

6 servings

Another pimenton dish.  A simple and tasty way to get some stabilizing sugars, fiber, and beta carotene.

1-2 garnet sweet potatoes
1/2 large onion
2-4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp pimenton (Spanish smoked paprika)
A few tablespoons olive oil or other liquid fat
Fresh cilantro to taste

Peel and slice the sweet potato into discs; put into a bowl and toss with the oil and pimenton.  Slice the onion into thin half-circles and pull apart.  Smash the cloves of garlic with the back of your knife.  Line the sweet potato discs scalloped-style in a 13×9″ baking dish and spread the onion and garlic on top.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes; remove when the potatoes are soft.  Serve with plain yogurt or queso fresco.

4 servings

I love these chips so much — they are fast, easy, and have a delicious nutty flavor that makes them slightly addictive.  They’re best eaten soon after baking, before the oil has had a chance to resaturate the leaves (the amount of oil can be reduced by using parchment or a silicone mat).  I find that they are too fragile for dipping, but adding seasoning to the oil can provide a nice flavor boost.  They also make a fine garnish. You may wish to try this recipe with spinach, red kale, or other light weight greens.

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This raw-food salad is based off of a dish I had at a Middle Eastern restaurant on West Broadway many years ago.  It’s excellent alone or as part of a larger survey of food, such as a composed salad plate. I have served this along with a French lentil-feta salad, pureed sweet potatoes with coconut milk, roasted peppers, vegetarian kibbeh, and fresh-baked pitas to positive reviews.

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1/2 Butternut squash
1/2 onion
Some cloves of garlic
Salt & pepper
Olive oil
1/2 – 1 head Kale, curly or dino
1 can/2 cups coconut milk
Some cups of stock

Have the squash halved, peeled, and gutted.  Then cut into chunks.  (Don’t worry how they look.  They’ll go into a food processor later.)  Chop the onion and smash the garlic cloves.  Coat everything in olive oil and salt and pepper, put into a baking dish, cover with foil, and pop into a 350-degree oven.

Cut the center vein out of the kale and chop leaves into smallish bits, nothing bigger than a stick of gum.  Rinse them in a colander and put them into a pot with the coconut milk.  Then pour in stock until the leaves are covered.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer until the leaves are very tender.  If they do not melt in your mouth, or if you have to chew them, they are not tender enough.  Tender is the key!

When the squash is soft — about 40 minutes to an hour — remove from oven and let cool a bit.  Then put everything into the food processor and cream it up.  Pour the squash mixture into a bowl, and when the kale is tender, add that too.  It’s better here to incorporate the kale first before adding the broth; strain or spoon it out.  Stir in enough broth to make a consistency you like.  Then put it on your pasta.  Parmesan cheese and hot pepper top things off nicely.

This is one way to incorporate dark leafy greens into your diet if you are not so keen on them.  You could probably puree the kale as well.

About 6 cups, depending

1 package extra-firm tofu
Green beans, enough to fill a soup bowl
1/2 onion, minced
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup soy sauce or Bragg’s
Salt & pepper to taste

Rinse tofu and crumble into a colander. Let this sit on a plate or a bowl or in the sink while preparing the rest. Chop green beans horizontally so that they are no bigger than a pencil eraser. Press excess water from the tofu and turn into a mixing bowl. Add the vegetables and seasonings and mix well. Serve on rice cakes with Sriracha or other favored hot sauce.

2-3 servings

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