Virtual Vegan Potluck: Cheesy Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip

It’s Virtual Vegan Potluck day! What a really fantastic idea. More than 65 bloggers have come together to make vegan food to share at a virtual vegan potluck. Feast your eyes on delicious, plant-based, and healthy appetizers, beverages, salads, breads, mains, sides, soups, and desserts. I’m sure you’ll find some good food to “sample” and I think we’ll all leave with new blogger-friends and recipes. (If you want to start at the beginning, head over to Vegan Bloggers Unite!)

I made Cheesy Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip from The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone. We invited Britt and her husband to come help us eat it because, if left unattended, I will eat this whole thing myself. All of it. And then my pants don’t fit for a week. Trust me. It’s happened.

Fortunately, they came and we all enjoyed some fantastic food. Feast your eyes on this fresh produce, beans, and all-around deliciousness.

Tomatoes and avocados

All the ingredients. I love how fresh this recipe is.

Avocados

The dip, constructed

Finally, I get to eat it!

Cheesy Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 3 large avocados
  • 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 12-16 oz. nondairy sour cream
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives, or more if you like
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 package Daiya shredded vegan cheddar cheese (her recipe calls for 2 cups, but I’m over cheese, so I don’t need that much)

The original recipe calls for a few more spicy ingredients that I don’t include. Even though I think Alicia Silverstone and I are kindred spirits, I don’t have permission to post this recipe, so I’m going to send you to Oprah’s site for the full recipe. Also, Alicia and Laura Linney made a video about making this dip and it’s super cute. (Be sure to come back for the rest of the Virtual Vegan Potluck!)

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Start at the beginning, Vegan Bloggers Unite!

Recipe Friday: Yummy Vegetable Fajitas

What do you get when the store finally has not only decent sized zucchinis and squash, but also at a decent price? Vegetable fajitas!

I am a huge Mexican food fan myself and when your husband tells you that the meal you made is almost as good as the meal we get at the local restaurant we frequent, it’s a big deal!

Vegetable Fajitas

  • 1 medium size sq20120416-160548.jpguash
  • 1 medium size zucchini
  • 1/2 medium size onion
  • 1 pepper of your choice ( I used green because it was on sale)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • olive oil (enough to get your veggies to start cooking)
  • salsa of your choice
  • tortilla wrap of your choice

Seasoning Mix

  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
  • 1 vegetable boullion cube
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

20120416-160756.jpg

Directions

  1. Cut veggies into bite size pieces
  2. Start cooking rice
  3. Add a little bit of oil to a skillet and saute veggies with the seasoning mix added until veggies are soft
  4. Warm up up an ungreased skillet on medium to medium-low then place your tortillas on there until they are soft.. careful not to burn them
  5. Mix your rice and veggies, place mix on your tortillas, and add some extra salsa if you like
  6. Feel free to add beans to this recipe too!
  7. Enjoy 🙂

Recipe Friday: Mujaddara

Since I have crazy heartburn that is brought on by things as mild as toast or oatmeal, I felt that I probably should avoid the sloppy lentils we planned to make today (with tomatoes and peppers – ouch!). Still craving lentils, I decided to go with the tamer, yet still delicious, mujaddara.

Mujaddara is a traditional Lebanese dish made with lentils, caramelized onions, and rice. And gomasio. That’s it! It’s so simple, satisfying, and healthy.

Mujaddara

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 1/2 cup onion, sliced
  • 1 cup lentils
  • herbs and spices, to taste

1. Cook the rice according to directions. (I prefer brown rice, but white rice is quicker.)

2. Meanwhile, caramelize the onions in a deep skillet. Add the lentils and stir to warm them. Add 2 cups of water and cook on medium low until the water is absorbed, about 45 minutes.

3. Combine rice and lentils. Add herbs and spices or raisins and a healthy sprinkling of gomasio. Traditionally, mujaddara can be made with cumin, coriander, mint, or cinnamon. You could also use bulgur instead of rice.

We found the recipe in Vegan Lunchbox Around the World, but the recipe above is heavily modified and is the one we enjoyed for dinner this week.

More mujaddara recipes

Recipe Friday: Gomasio

sesame seedsGomasio is basically a condiment made of sesame seeds and salt. And it just makes everything taste better. It’s part of a macrobiotic (or superhero) diet because it’s better than salt alone as it adds some healthful nutrients.

Nutrition and You explains sesame seeds:

Its oil seeds are sources for some phyto-nutrients such as omega-6 fatty acids, flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants, vitamins and dietary fiber with potent anti-cancer as well as health promoting properties.

You can buy gomasio (gÉ™-mosh-ee-o) at the store, but why not make it yourself? It’s super cheap and easy to make. We always have a jar of fresh gomasio on our table to top our dinners.

Gomasio
(I have a small mortar and pestle, so this is 1/2 the normal recipe.)

  • 3 TBSP sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1. Toast the salt in a dry skillet. Transfer toasted salt to a suribachi or mortar and pestle and grind into a fine powder.

2. Toast the sesame seeds in the same dry skillet until they’re a nice toasty color. Transfer the seeds to the suribachi or mortar and pestle and grind together with the salt.

Store it in a jar. It lasts about 1-2 weeks. Put it on everything besides sweets.
Try it. You’ll love it!

Recipe Friday: Super Seasonal Special

Super seasonal special

Super Seasonal Special

Last Saturday night, we had an abundance of zucchini from a friend’s garden, some staple items in the cupboard, and not much else. So, we whipped up this dinner and let me tell you, every bite was delicious. I call it the Super Seasonal Special for a few reasons. 1) It’s super because it’s a complete meal – 1/4 grains, 1/4 protein, 1/2 vegetable. 2) We used seasonal vegetables – zucchini and onions fresh from local gardens. 3) It’s based on Pete’s Harbor Special from the Student’s Vegetarian Cookbook.

Super Seasonal Special
  • 1 can of (vegetarian) refried black or pinto beans
  • cooked brown rice
  • 2 small zucchini, sliced
  • one onion, chopped, divided
  • 1 can of tomatoes (or 2 fresh, which would have been better)
  • some pepicha (not necessary, but we got it with our City Fresh share, so we thought we’d use it) or cilantro

1. Cook the rice according to directions. About 50 minutes. Or use leftover rice.

2. In a medium/large skillet, saute the onion in olive oil. Put 1/2 the onion in a bowl for salsa.

3. Make the salsa: mix sauteed onion, tomatoes, and cilantro or pepicha. Taste and adjust however you like.

4. Add the zucchini to the onions in the skillet and cook until soft. Heat the refried beans in a saucepan.

5. Spread beans on a plate. Top with rice, zucchini/onion mixture, and salsa. Enjoy!

Mmm…. eat it with tortilla chips. We like unsalted Garden Fresh Gourmet.

Recipe Friday: New markets

Middle East market

A great way to get ideas for new food and new ingredients is to go to small, ethnic markets. We went to the European Market in Cleveland’s West Side Market last weekend and found a pound of dried whole peas for less than $2. (I plan to sprout those peas.) There were many more treasures there for really low prices.

On Sunday, we stopped at the Near East Market in Cuyahoga Falls to see what they have. We love Lebanese food so we knew we’d find some fun food. We bought some Persian tea for a school project and red lentils for $1.79. The rose jam from Turkey is indescribably delicious. I can see the rose petals! The real treasure is the date syrup. It’s a great substitute for refined sugar because it’s super sweet. They had a fantastic selection of rice, beans, tubs of olives, vegetables, and so much more.

Do you have a favorite ethnic restaurant or market?

Recipe Friday: Toast

Upcoming recipe Friday (a whole week away!)

Toast with onions, greens, avocado, sprouts

Last year, I was really into caramelized onions. And I’m always looking for ways to eat more greens. So, I made this toast for lunch or a quick afternoon snack. You can alter it however you want. The first recipe had caramelized onions with wilted kale on toast. The one pictured has a little more variety:

  • 2 pieces of toast
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 beet green leaves (or whatever green you have)
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • lentil sprouts

1. Sprout lentils. (basically, you rinse and drain them twice a day for 3-4 days)

2. Saute the onion for about 20 minutes, until it’s caramelized. Add the greens just so they wilt a little.

3. Spread avocado on your toast. Top it with the greens, onion, and sprouts. Enjoy!

More about sprouts

What do you like on toast?

Recipe Friday: Chocolate Cherry Shake

Recipe Friday sneak peek

A fun way to get your spinach is to hide it in a shake! Here’s my favorite:

Chocolate Cherry Shake

3-4 spinach leaves
8 cherries
1/2 banana (or not)
1 1/2 cup of chocolate almond milk

Blend it in a blender. Pour over ice and enjoy. You won’t even taste the spinach.

You could add some flax or hemp seeds for even more power.

The “dark chocolate” almond milk made by Silk is amazing. Seriously. I make hot cocoa with it and it takes like it has marshmallows. Yum yum yum.

Don’t miss

4 ways to pit a cherry

Recipe Friday: Ice cream!

Making your own vegetarian  or vegan ice cream is so easy!

To make delicious, healthy, cheap ice cream, peel some bananas and freeze them. The next day, mash them up with a fork and you’ve got ice cream. Don’t knock it till you try it… it’s soooo gooood!!!

P.S. Add cocoa powder or carob for homemade chocolate ice cream. Mmmmm…. with strawberries on top. Ok. I gotta go. I’m getting hungry.

Update: Make your own ice cream bars. I bet you could make banana ice cream and top it with chocolate (instead of dipping it in chocolate, which might be tricky).

Recipe Friday: Impromptu Pesto

Upcoming Recipe Friday

Impromptu Pesto: carrot greens, basil, spinach

We recently switched from baby carrots to whole carrots and at Krieger, they sell them with the greens on top. Whenever they sell the veggies with the greens on top (beets, radishes, etc), I kinda figure the greens are edible. Sure enough, I looked online and found plenty of recipes for carrot greens. Then, …

On Sunday night, we wanted some pesto, but we didn’t have a lot of basil. We did have spinach and carrot tops. So, we altered this recipe a little. We toasted some pine nuts and sautĂ©ed the garlic cloves (I don’t like the strong garlicy taste, so I sautĂ© the garlic just a little to calm it down). Then, we added 2 cups of greens – basil, carrot tops, and spinach – to the food processor. A little olive oil … a pinch of salt … Tada ~ Pesto!

This pesto is so yummy! The basil flavor really carries through, and the carrot tops add just a little “green” flavor, but not too much. Next time you have a craving for pesto, find some greens and improvise.