Squash and Vegetable Ragout

Sometimes we just want comfort food — something warm and filling that reminds us of homemade meals (real or imagined) and makes us feel all cozy inside. If that dish has nutritional value, say a lot of vegetables, even better.  Ragout is a dish that typically has loads of vegetables and makes diners feel all warm and comforted.

This South American Squash and Vegetable Ragout from the Vegetarian Times does not disappoint. With a balance of legumes, veggies, and fruits, it can then be stuffed into a whole squash, baked, and served as a complete entrée.

Squash and Vegetable Ragout
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  1. 6 dried pitted apricots
  2. 4 dried pitted prunes
  3. 6 small acorn or butternut squash
  4. 1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for coating squash
  5. 1 small Spanish onion, diced (1 cup)
  6. 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
  7. 2 tsp. dried oregano
  8. 1 small red bell pepper, diced (1 cup)
  9. 1 14.5-oz. can whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped, juice reserved
  10. 1 small Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
  11. 1 small sweet potato, peeled and diced (1 cup)
  12. ½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
  13. 1 15-oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  1. Place apricots and prunes in bowl, and cover with 1 cup boiling water. Soak 2 hours, or overnight. Drain, and coarsely chop fruit, reserving liquid.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut circular opening in squash tops, and reserve tops. Cut small slices off bottoms of squash so they stand up straight. Scoop out and discard seeds and fiber from squash. Rub outsides of squash shells and lids with oil, and place on prepared baking sheet.
  3. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and oregano; sauté 2 to 3 minutes. Add bell pepper and tomatoes and juice; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add potato, sweet potato, and reserved apricot-prune soaking liquid, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until potatoes are almost soft. Add corn and apricot-prune mixture, and simmer 2 to 3 minutes more. Add beans, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Simmer 5 minutes more.
  4. Ladle 1 cup stew into each hollowed squash; place lid on top. Bake 60 to 90 minutes, or until fork can easily pierce through squash.
Things Vegans Cook http://www.thingsveganscook.com/
Try it at your next party and see if it doesn’t please the crowd.

Polenta Cakes

Most of us don’t think about Southwestern food as being easily converted into vegan cuisine. I’ve spent the last 20 or so years perfecting recipes that are from my region of the American Southwest and are suitable for the vegan table. Here is one that is my favorites.

Polenta is actually a dish that comes from Spain, but it was picked up by Mexico and brought into the United States. It can be soft and creamy or made into these delectable little cakes that can be served with almost any entrée, from Portobella Fajitas to red chili tofu. They can be served with your favorite vegan chili or soup or even just eaten by themselves. However you serve them, they’ll be a hit with your diners.


Creamy Polenta Cakes
Creamy polenta formed into cakes can be served with a variety of entrees or all by themselves.
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  1. 1 cup polenta
  2. 4 cups vegetable broth
  3. 1 cup coconut milk
  4. 2 tbsp vegan margarine
  5. 2 tbsp lime juice, fresh
  6. 1 cup yellow onion, small dice
  7. 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  8. ¼ cup red pepper, roasted and diced
  9. 1 tsp red chili powder or 1/2 tsp jalapeno powder
  10. Daiya Pepperjack “cheese”
  11. 3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  12. 2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  1. Bring 4 cups of vegetable stock and the lime juice to a boil.
  2. Slowly add in the polenta. Use a whisk to keep the polenta from lumping together. Keep the temperature at medium high and whisk until the polenta absorbs the water. This is going to take an absurd amount of time (15 minutes).
  3. Keep whisking and add in the margarine.
  4. Keep whisking and add in the coconut milk.
  5. Lower the temperature to medium and stir in the onion, garlic, and roasted red pepper. Keep whisking.
  6. Finally, when the polenta is getting a bit stiff yet tastes creamy and dreamy, add the chili powder, salt and cilantro, and take it off the fire.
  7. Stir in the cheese at the very end. It will melt all on its own.
  8. Pour into a greased sheet pan and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Remove from refrigerator and “turn” the polenta out of the pan. Once you do this, cut the polenta into either circles or squares. This is a great opportunity to use funny shaped cookie cutters and make dinner fun for the family!
  10. Heat up a flat griddle and add a little oil. Sear the polenta cakes so that they color on both sides.
  1. You have the option of serving the polenta right out of the pot, without the added step of making cakes.
Things Vegans Cook http://www.thingsveganscook.com/

Date Energy Balls with Almonds

February 16th is National Almond Day, so we thought we’d take this week and explore a little more about this amazing nut. Almonds are extremely versatile. They can be roasted, pureed, chopped, and milked. They can be made into flour. So many uses.

I make my own almond butter and I like to put almonds in my nut mix. I’ve tried milking them, but it turns out it’s just a few cents cheaper to buy the pre-made milk.

Almonds and dates go very well together. Here’s a recipe for an energy ball/bar that includes these amazing tree nuts.

Date Energy Balls with Almonds
This yummy recipe was created for www,KitchenShaman.com and is shared here with permission.
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  1. ½ cup pitted dates
  2. ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  3. 1 cup roasted almonds
  4. 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  5. ¼ tsp cardamom
  6. ¼ tsp cinnamon
  7. ¼ tsp jalapeno powder (optional)
  8. 1 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a food processor until it’s a big sticky mess. Roll into 1 ounce balls. They can also be shaped into bars
  2. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. Overnight is better. Store in the refrigerator (if they last that long).
  3. Enjoy when you need a quick pick me up.
Things Vegans Cook http://www.thingsveganscook.com/

Eggplant & Mungbean with Vegetables

After a short hiatus, we are back with even more interesting and fun recipes, videos, and books to share. I hope you enjoy this blog as much as we enjoy making it.

While experimenting with cooking Indian food, I came up with this interesting and fun dish. It features eggplant, drumstick, and mung beans.

It certainly has the flavors of South India and uses many of the ingredients, but is in no way authentic. It is, however, very creative.


Eggplant & Mungbean with Vegetables
An Indian-inspired recipe featuring eggplant, drumstick (an Asian vegetable), and mung beans.
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  1. 2 tbsp sunflower oil or olive oil
  2. 1 white sweet potato, large dice
  3. 1 large or 2 small Japanese eggplants (the purple ones), large diced
  4. 1 drumstick, large dice
  5. 1/2 cup cherry tomato
  6. 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  7. 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  8. 2 red Fresno chilies, chopped small
  9. 2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
  10. 2 tsp fenugreek seed, toasted
  11. 2 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  12. 1 tsp turmeric, ground
  13. 1 tsp amchur (mango) powder
  14. 1 large ball of tamarind, soaked in hot water
  15. 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  16. 1 cup cooked mung beans
  17. Salt to taste
  1. Soak the tamarind in hot water for 15 minutes. Break up the tamarind and strain. Reserve the tamarind juice.
  2. Heat a large heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add the oil. Add onions and ginger. Saute until onions become soft. Add sweet potatoes, saute for another minute or two. Then add eggplant, drumstick, and chilies. Cook until the vegetables become tender.
  3. In another sauce pan, place mung beans and 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer. Cook until mung beans are well done.
  4. While vegetables and beans are cooking, toast each of the spices separately. Place in a skillet on low and toast for 3-4 minutes until seeds release their aroma. (to save time roast the seeds before cooking)
  5. Add the turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, coriander, amchur powder, and tamarind juice to the vegetables. Cook another 5 to 7 minutes, or until the spices are incorporated.
  6. Serve hot over the mung beans, with flat bread or crackers.
  1. I added the heirloom cherry tomatoes to this recipe because I needed to use them up. You can use roma tomatoes, or regular cherry tomatoes.
Things Vegans Cook http://www.thingsveganscook.com/

Vegan Sugar Cookies

cookie cuttersIt’s the holiday season,which means it’s also cookie season. Whether you’re making cookies for your family, to take to a holiday party or as part of a cookie exchange, you’ll probably be baking sugar cookies at some point this December.

Looking for a recipe for sugar cookies that is also vegan? The Minimalist Baker provides us with a step by step to make these sweet and tasty cookies. You can even get creative and use cookie cutters to make your favorite shaped cookies. If you’re good at decorating, make some frosting and have fun creating holiday shaped and colored treats.

Give them a try, and let us know how it turns out.


Eggplant Enchiladas with Ancho Mole Sauce

Have you wondered whether the lovely food photos we’ve shared come with recipes? In some cases they do!

The photo we shared on November 30th came from this tasty recipe that translates iconic Southwestern flavors into a vegan recipe meal that will make your taste buds sing.

This recipe (like most we share on the blog) originally appeared on our sister site, kitchenshaman.com. Check it out when you get the chance for more recipes as well as in depth articles on the history and uses of various foods as well as great cooking tips.

If you try this recipe yourself — or any of the recipes we share here — please let us know how they come out by sharing with us on social media: @VegansCook on Twitter, @thingsveganscook on Instagram, and Things Vegan Cook on Facebook.

Eggplant Enchiladas with Ancho Mole Sauce
A delightful vegan take on traditional enchiladas.
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Eggplant mixture
  1. 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  2. 1 standard eggplant, small dice
  3. 1 chayote, small dice
  4. 1 red pepper, small dice
  5. ½ yellow onion, small dice
  6. ½ tsp turmeric
  7. 1 tsp ground cumin
  8. 1 tsp ground coriander
  9. 1 tsp epazote
  10. 1 tsp lime juice
  11. 1 tsp salt
Ancho Mole
  1. 6 ancho chili pods
  2. 3-4 cloves of garlic
  3. ½ onion, rough chop
  4. 4 cups water
For Assembly
  1. Corn Tortillas
  2. Vegan Chedder “cheese”
  1. Place the mole ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Cook on medium heat until the chili pods are softened and pliable. Remove from heat. Carefully remove the stems and seed cores from the chili pods.
  2. Puree in a blender until sauce is smooth. Pass through a fine mesh sieve. Set aside.
  3. While the mole is cooking, heat up a large saute pan and add the oil. Once the oil is hot add in all of the vegetable ingredients. Saute until the eggplant starts to soften. Then include the spices, turmeric, cumin, coriander, epazote. Saute for another minute or two, then deglaze with lime juice, add salt to taste, adjust seasoning. Set aside.
  4. To assemble the enchiladas: Heat mole up in a saute pan. Drop in about a ¼ teaspoon of cumin. Dip a corn tortilla into the sauce on both sides. Set onto a cookie sheet. Fill ¼ of the way with the vegetable mixture and cheese. Roll enchiladas and place in a casserole dish that will fit the tortillas.
  5. Cover tortillas with sauce and “cheese.” Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  6. Serve garnished with lettuce, tomatoes, and black olives. You can add a bit of poblano cream if desired.
Things Vegans Cook http://www.thingsveganscook.com/