Rustic Tuscany Flatbread

Rustic Tuscany Flatbread
What is it about fresh, warm, home-baked bread that is so comforting? This Italian flatbread recipe is surprisingly easy to make, and its delicate flavor goes with almost everything. It cooks up so fast; you’ll want to make this for dinner a couple times a week.

3 cups organic flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. dried rosemary, minced
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. minced garlic
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup ice-cold water
Extra kosher salt for sprinkling
Extra olive oil for brushing

Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, and use a fork to gently blend them. Make a well in the center, and pour the oil and water into it. Mix gently until completely blended. If necessary, add a teaspoon or two of cold water; then knead with your hands until dough is smooth.

Pull out a wad of dough about 2 1/2 inches across – slightly larger than an egg or a ping-pong ball. Place onto a lightly floured surface and spread with your fingers into a flat disk about 8 inches across. The top will be uneven.

Heat a large nonstick frypan over medium-high heat. (We used one of those grill pans with the ridges in the bottom, which gave the bread in our photo the sear marks.) When pan is hot, brush the flat dough disk with olive oil and place oiled side down in the pan. Heat for about 2 minutes until a few brown spots appear on the bottom. Brush top with olive oil, flip bread over, and cook another 2 minutes. Slide out of pan onto a plate with paper towels on it, and sprinkle with a little kosher salt. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Serve while warm.

What do you all think about maybe adding some flecks of sun-dried tomatoes to this recipe…or pine nuts? I also think this bread might be delicious with a homemade veggie burger.

classic potato salad

This is a vegan variation of my mother’s potato salad recipe, which was always very much in demand.

1 cup vegan mayonnaise (Spectrum makes a tasty one)
2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cane sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup mild onion
5-6 medium Yukon Gold or red potatoes

Slice potatoes in half and place in a pot of boiling water. Boil until potatoes are tender but not mushy. Cool slightly; peel and slice into cubes.

In a large bowl, stir together the first five ingredients. Add celery, onions, and potatoes; stir gently to coat. Chill. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika and a parsley sprig.

grapefruit soda

We’re extremely fond of a certain imported Italian grapefruit soda from a well-known natural foods chain. Inspired by the abundance of excellent citrus in stores right now, we wondered if we could make our own homemade grapefruit soda and duplicate the flavor of the imported soda. Well, the results were REALLY GOOD.

First, halve a grapefruit and squeeze the juice from the fruit. (We averaged about 3/4 cup of juice from each grapefruit, but these seemed to be very juicy, and I suspect that most grapefruits may yield a bit less.) Pour 3/4 cup to 1 cup juice per glass. Add sparkling mineral water and a squirt of agave nectar if you like a bit of sweetness. Stir and add ice. Sip and enjoy.

homemade grapefruit soda

homemade grapefruit soda

winter minestrone

winter minestrone
If you’re experiencing post-holiday blues and you’re still facing weeks of winter weather, try focusing on one really good thing about winter: big pots of hot soup. This one incorporates the best of winter’s produce offerings.

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 carrots, diced
1 turnip, peeled and diced
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp. Herbes de Provence
1/2 tsp. thyme
8 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup pearl barley
1 can cannellini beans, undrained
1 cup small pasta shapes (we used spirals)
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 cups kale leaves, washed and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a stewpot over medium heat. Sautè the onion 5 minutes or until transparent. Add celery and garlic; stir to combine. Stir in the carrots, turnip, and potatoes. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

2. Add spices, vegetable broth, and barley. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.

3. Add beans, pasta, and tomato paste. Return to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook over medium heat until the pasta is tender.

4. Stir in the chopped kale and cook for about 5 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

artisan bread

Love the flavor and texture of artisan loaves from the bakery but tired of paying sky-high prices? Make your own for a fraction of the cost! Yes, baking your own bread can be time-consuming, but it’s also very satisfying. And once you taste that warm, crunchy crust fresh from your oven, you may never go back to store-bought breads.

Here’s a basic recipe to get you started. No kneading is required. Feel free to experiment with some variations: Try topping with coarse salt, sprinkling some dried herbs into the dough, or adding some special ingredients like sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped olives, or sprigs of fresh rosemary.

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 packet yeast (~ 2 1/4 tsp.)
1 tsp. sugar
3 1/4 cups organic, all-purpose unbleached flour (if using whole wheat or bread flour, increase the amount of water by 1/4 cup) plus a bit more for dusting
3/4 Tbs. coarse kosher or sea salt
Olive oil

1. Mix 1/4 cup of the warm water with the yeast and sugar. Let stand for about 8 minutes until yeast is foamy.

2. Add remaining warm water. Mix flour and salt in until well incorporated (try adding the flour 1 cup at a time). Dough will be “wet” or rather sticky. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp dish towel, and let rise for 2 hours in a warm, draft-free area. (If our house is cool and drafty on baking day, we place the bowl inside the oven on its lowest setting with the door propped open a bit.) Note that the dough may be hard to work at this stage.

3. After the dough rises, place it on a tabletop lightly dusted with flour. Divide dough into two small rounds* if desired, or just make one loaf. Add a little more flour if the dough is sticky and hard to work. Sprinkle flour on top of dough, and tuck sides under to create desired loaf shape(s). Place dough on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Allow it to rest for approximately 40 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 450°. For best results, add 3/4 to 1 cup boiling water to a broiler tray on the bottom rack. This creates steam in the oven and improves the texture of your loaf. (As a precaution, cover your oven window with a dish towel while adding the water container, and be very careful to avoid splashing water on the window to prevent cracking it.)

5. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown. Oven times and temperatures vary, but with practice, you’ll be able to produce a picture-perfect loaf every time.

*A small round loaf of artisan bread is sometimes called a “boule” (from the French word for ball).


Ratatouille is a wonderfully flavorful French vegetable stew; it can be eaten hot or cold, and it’s very filling! Try adding a thick-sliced fresh baguette to complement this tasty vegetable stew. This recipe takes advantage of your summer garden vegetables. Allow some prep time – you’ll be slicing and dicing. We added a teaspoon of Herbs de Provence for an intense country French flavor.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 medium onion, diced
1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
1 14-oz. can vegetable stock
1 large eggplant, diced
3 medium zucchini, quartered and cut into 1/4″ slices
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
1 tsp. dried Herbs de Provence
3 Roma tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and diced)
5 sprigs Italian parsley, finely chopped
8-10 basil leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and continue to sauté until onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and stir. Pour in vegetable broth and stir until the liquid begins to bubble.

2. Add the diced eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, and dried Herbs de Provence. Stir gently to combine, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. It may look like there is not enough liquid, but do not add liquid – the vegetables will release a lot juice as they cook. Just keep stirring every couple of minutes. The vegetables should be tender but not mushy.

3. Stir in the diced tomatoes. After a minute or two, the tomatoes will be heated through. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Stir in the chopped parsley and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste – Sue adds about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Although ratatouille is usually served hot, it is also delicious served at room temperature the next day, which allows the vegetables a chance to reach their optimum flavor.

creamy potato soup

Cold nights require a great soup recipe. This one fits the bill.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4-5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups plain, unsweetened soymilk or coconut milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. dried sage
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion and potatoes for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and vegetable broth and cover pot. Reduce heat and cook until vegetables are soft (about 20 minutes).

2. Add soymilk or coconut milk and spices. Cook until heated through. Use your favorite method to puree the soup: blender, immersion blender, or food processor. You can also mash the potatoes with a potato masher for a chunkier soup. Serve with some crusty bread.

mushroom salad

Fresh herbs and exotic mushrooms combine to make a memorable salad.

1 lb. of fresh mixed mushrooms (such as shitake, oyster, or chanterelle), trimmed and sliced
1/4 cup white wine (if you prefer, substitute vegetable broth or apple juice)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 cup fresh herbs, such as basil, thyme, oregano, or parsley
12-oz. package fancy salad mix

1. Heat oven to 325°. Place sliced mushrooms on a large piece of foil. Top mushrooms with wine; drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper, minced garlic, and rosemary. Fold foil to create a packet; bake in oven until mushrooms are tender (about 20 minutes).

2. Mix fancy salad greens with fresh herbs. Arrange on plates. Top with warm mushroom mixture. Serves 4.

hungarian bean soup

Making a big pot of soup chockfull of vegetables is a weekend ritual around here, and Hungarian Bean Soup is a favorite.

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 medium carrots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
6 cups vegetable stock (if you prefer, use vegetarian chicken-flavor broth)
2 bay leaves
1 14-oz. can pinto beans, drained
1 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a large stewpot. Sautè celery, onion, carrots, and garlic until vegetables begin to soften (about 10 minutes).

2. Add vegetable stock; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; add bay leaves, cover, and simmer until celery is soft (about 30 minutes). Add pinto beans, paprika, oregano, and basil. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Discard bay leaves and serve with sides of salad and/or crusty peasant bread.

pasta sauce with rosemary

If you’re a fan of rosemary, you’ll love this fragrant pasta sauce.

3 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 quart tomatoes, chopped fine
1/2 cup tomato paste
3 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp. fresh basil, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or stewpot. Sauté onions and garlic until golden. Add remaining ingredients; simmer over medium heat about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

mushroom gravy

Mmmmm…savory gravy, perfect with mashed potatoes and so much more.

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or diced
1 1/2 cups shitake mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup tamari
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. sage
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the canola oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent. Add mushrooms. Cook for another five minutes.

2. Stir in tamari and vegetable broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Whisk rice flour and spices into gravy mixture until well blended. Serve immediately.

mediterranean pasta salad

2 cups tricolor fusilli or rotini pasta
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
2 Tbs. Italian flat-leaf parsley
3 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped

Cook pasta; drain and cool. Combine with chopped vegetables and herbs. Toss with your favorite oil and vinegar dressing (we like Newman’s Own Balsamic Vinaigrette).

mushroom barley soup

My mother usually made a crockpot of barley soup when the weather was especially frigid (and in Upstate New York, that was often). This vegan barley soup, which uses dried shitakes for an extra flavor dimension, will warm you up right down to your toes.

4-5 dried shitake mushrooms
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup celery, diced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 large carrot, diced
12 oz. white mushrooms
8 cups water
1 cup pearl barley
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. sage
1 tsp. thyme
Pinch of Hungarian paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley, chopped

1. Place the shitake mushrooms in a bowl; pour boiling water over them. Cover the bowl and let the mushrooms soften for about 45 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and pour the soaking water through a cone coffee filter to remove any sediment. Reserve the strained liquid. Dice the shitakes.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large stewpot over medium heat. Sauté the garlic, celery, onion, and carrot until the onions are translucent. Add the white mushrooms and shitakes and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

3. Add 8 cups of water, the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, barley, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Partially cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add remaining spices; cook, stirring occasionally, until the barley softens (about another 30 minutes).

5. Stir in chopped parsley right before serving.

mediterranean stew

This stew has a good blend of flavors and textures. Serve over polenta, rice, or couscous.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup red onion, chopped
2 cups green pepper, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 medium eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cups)
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 15-oz can of garbanzo beans, drained
1 Tbs. rosemary, chopped
1 cup parsley, coarsely chopped

1. Heat oil in a large pan. Sauté onion and pepper until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, mushrooms, and eggplant. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is softened but not mushy, about 15 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, olives, garbanzo beans, and rosemary. Simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley. Makes

linguine with walnuts & swiss chard

Although the combination of pasta, nuts, and greens may seem unlikely, the flavors are wonderful. Serve with a green salad and some rustic bread.

1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 large bunch Swiss chard
3 Tbs. walnut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 cup shallots, diced fine
16 oz. linguine
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Toast walnuts in a skillet over medium heat. When the walnuts are fragrant, they’re done. Be careful—they can burn quickly.

2. While the pasta water heats, trim and rinse Swiss chard leaves. Slice leaves into ribbons.

2. Heat walnut oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and shallots and cook until shallots are tender (about 10 minutes). Add the chard and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

3. Cook linguine in boiling water; drain. Add chard mixture and walnuts to pasta; stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

spanish rice

Enjoy this low-fat version of an old favorite.

1 Tbs. canola oil
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced or diced
1/2 cup tomato, diced
1 cup vegetable broth (or vegetarian chicken-flavor broth)
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper

1. Heat the canola oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add uncooked rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is golden (about 4 minutes). Add the onion and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the tomato.

2. Add the stock and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice absorbs the liquid (about 15 minutes). Serve with your favorite main entrée. Garnish with fresh parsley sprigs. Serves 4.

beer batter bread

This bread recipe is so easy, it’s perfect for a fast weeknight meal. Try pairing it with BBQ Veggie Chili.

2 cups self-rising flour*
3 Tbs. sugar
1 12-oz. can or bottle of your favorite beer
Olive oil

Grease a loaf pan with olive oil. Heat oven to 350°. Combine flour, sugar, and beer. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 20 minutes. Brush top of loaf with olive oil; return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until loaf is golden brown.

*If you don’t have self-rising flour on hand, make your own. For each cup of self-rising flour, sift together:
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

mom’s mashed potatoes

Just like Mom used to make, but with a new twist: non-dairy milk.

5 russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Place potato quarters in cold water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes are tender (about 25 minutes).

2. Drain potatoes and place in electric mixer bowl. On low speed, gradually beat in soy milk and seasonings, scraping the side of the bowl with a spatula as needed until potatoes are fairly smooth.

3. Serve warm topped with vegan margarine or gravy.


There are many versions of minestrone; this is one of our favorites. Feel free to substitute in-season produce.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped,
2 zucchini, sliced
3 red potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups cabbage, shredded
1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth or water
1 15-oz can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1 16-oz can cannellini beans, drained
1 cup cut green beans
salt to taste

1. In large stewpot, heat olive oil. Sauté onion until semitransparent.

2. Add carrots, celery, zucchini, potatoes, cabbage, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

3. Add remaining ingredients; simmer another 30 minutes.

better-than-chicken cacciatore

Tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushrooms in a savory oven-baked sauce are perfect on a chilly night. Serve with a green salad, some crusty peasant bread, and perhaps your favorite wine.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
8-oz. package fresh button mushrooms, sliced
1 16-oz. package of your favorite chicken substitute (defrosted if frozen)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbs. tomato paste

rice or pasta

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Sauté onions for about 5 minutes. Add bell peppers; continue to sauté until onions and peppers are softened.

2. Add remaining ingredients to skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

3. While cacciatore is simmering, preheat oven to 350°. Transfer cacciatore to an oven-safe baking dish and cover with a lid or foil. Bake until heated through and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Serve over rice or pasta.

presto pesto

Pesto is usually made with parmesan cheese. You can substitute a vegan parmesan cheese if you like, but we think that pesto is delicious without it. Serve with a green salad and your favorite wine.

1 cup pine nuts (also called piñon nuts)
1 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup vegan parmesan, optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Your favorite pasta

1. Start heating the pasta water while you assemble the pesto ingredients. When the water begins to boil, add the pasta and start preparing the pesto.

2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients and process until smooth.

3. Drain pasta and toss with pesto.

vegan creole sauce

Love the romance (and the fragrance) of Creole flavors but not the meats (sausage and bacon grease) usually included in Creole cooking? We have a solution for you: Vegan Creole! This sauce has a tomato base and uses the “Holy Trinity” of New Orleans cooking: green peppers, onions, and celery. Mix in the chili powder and Tabasco® sauce for spicy heat, and you’ve got a regional Louisiana flavor!

You can change the heat level by adjusting the amount of Tabasco® and chili powder. Serve over rice, add authentic muffaletta bread, and later cool your palate with some pecan praline frozen soy yogurt for dessert.

Note: Check the label on your brand of Worcestershire sauce because some contain anchovies. Vegan versions are available.

1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 Tbs. olive oil
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
2 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes, with juice
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. Tabasco® sauce
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 Tbs. cornstarch

1. Sauté the onion, green pepper, and celery in oil in medium cookpot until onion is transparent. Add garlic and stir. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and spices. Add salt and pepper to taste, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Mix cornstarch with 2 Tbs. COLD water and stir into cookpot. Let simmer another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Serve over hot cooked rice. Serves at least 6.

armenian garlic dip

This is a great way to use day-old bread, and according to the Armenians, the only way to ingest such massive amounts of raw garlic and enjoy it. Jill in Boulder, Colorado submitted this recipe. She says that this recipe is one of several gifts from her dear friend and brother Spice, a vegan gourmet chef.

Jill advises against kissing or engaging in any close-talking with non-eaters of this raw garlic dip soon after you indulge in the intense garlickyness.

5 or 6 cups whole wheat bread innards (everything except the crust)
3 medium bulbs (not cloves) garlic
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3/8 cup lemon juice (fresh if possible)
1 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Soak the bread in enough water to more than cover it, and then squeeze out the extra water and set the bread aside. In a food processor, mix the garlic, salt, lemon juice, and oil until the garlic is pureed. Add the bread and run until the mixture is homogenous. Refrigerate several hours to allow flavors to develop.

Note: The garlic has a preservative quality that allows this dip to keep at room temperature in a sealed jar for about two weeks. In the refrigerator, it will keep at least as long, with a gradual intensifying of flavors that is desirable.


Glogg, a traditional drink of the Scandinavian Advent season, is like mulled wine. The varieties of glogg recipes could boggle one’s glogg-addled mind (try saying that three times quickly), but basic glogg consists of red wine with spices and a combination of other spirits and fruit juices. We here in the Ethnic Vegan test kitchens were happy to experiment with a number of recipes until we hit on a great-tasting result that will knock your winter socks off.

Plan to make the spice mix at least 24 hours ahead. Cardamom and nutmeg seedpods may be hard to find; you can substitute ground, if necessary. Heat to the simmer stage, but do not boil! Serve warm.

spice mix:
8 cardamom seeds, cracked (or 1 tsp. ground)
1/3 cup raw, peeled almonds
1 whole nutmeg seed pod, cracked (or 1 tsp. ground)
1 cinnamon stick
10 whole cloves
1/2-inch slice fresh ginger, peeled and diced
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup raisins
Burgundy wine (enough to cover ingredients in saucepan)

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan, and cover with wine. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let stand (unrefrigerated) for at least 24 hours.

The next day, strain liquid into a larger pan, and add:

4 cups burgundy wine
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cups port wine
1 cup brandy
1 cup sweet vermouth

Heat until steaming (don’t boil!). Stir before serving; solids will have settled to the bottom.

john’s authentic spanish gazpacho

“Of course everyone in Spain calls his or her recipe ‘authentic’ gazpacho, but they’re all different,” says John from Phoenix (part of Sue’s extended family). John’s recipe has received rave reviews from every person who’s tried it, so we’re dubbing his version authentic! This delicious raw-veggie recipe is not only healthy, but it’s also quick. Just throw everything in the blender.

If you like raw onion, feel free to add more. English cucumbers are long, skinny cucumbers with few seeds; you can substitute another type if you wish. If you like your gazpacho hot and spicy, use less tomato juice and more spicy vegetable juice or Bloody Mary mix.

1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 English cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup sweet yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. oregano, dried
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
36 ounces tomato juice or vegetable juice
12 ounces spicy hot vegetable juice or Bloody Mary mix

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup bread crumbs or crushed saltines

1. Reserve a few tablespoons of zucchini, bell pepper, and cucumber for a garnish. Combine all remaining ingredients in a blender except olive oil and bread crumbs. If your blender has a small capacity, process in batches. After everything is purèed, add olive oil and bread crumbs to blender (this adds a nice texture to the soup). Mix well.

2. Serve ice cold in chilled bowls, and top with a dollop of vegan sour cream and reserved chopped veggies.

tuscan pasta salad with eggplant

The pine nuts in this quick, simple recipe really stand out amid the simple blend of vegetables. Use Italian flat-leaf parsley if you can (it has a better flavor than other varieties and is not bitter). The results are delizioso! This dish is especially good with a loaf of crusty Italian bread and a Tuscan red wine, such as Chianti.

1 lb. penne pasta
3 Tbs. olive oil
2 celery stalks, sliced thin
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, sautè the celery in olive oil for about 3 minutes.

3. Add eggplant, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook on medium heat until eggplant is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if necessary to prevent sticking.

4. In a separate bowl, combine tomato paste, vinegar, 1/4 cup water, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add to eggplant mixture. When eggplant is tender, remove from heat and stir in pine nuts, parsley, and pasta. Chill before serving, but keep in mind that gently heated leftovers taste great as well.

bean and pasta soup

Ruth created this winter wonderland of pasta and beans with a spicy tomato-based sauce. We’ve all tried this dish and loved its color and flavor. It’s satisfying and perfect for a cold winter day.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
6 cups vegetable stock
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. Italian seasoning blend
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups Gemelli pasta

1. Heat oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Stir and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients except pasta; then increase heat to high. When soup begins to boil, stir in pasta and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until pasta is tender. Serve with a salad and artisan bread.

This soup will thicken while in the refrigerator, so add water or broth when reheating leftovers.

taste of provence soup

This soup began as plain ol’ potato soup. It changed along the way, thanks in part to the Herbs de Provence spice blend brought back by a friend from a trip to France.

7-8 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
8 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup broccoli florets
1 can creamed corn
1 lb. chard, washed and chopped
1 tsp. Herbs de Provence spice blend
2 tsp. salt

Peel and chop potatoes, carrots, and onion and place in large soup pot. Add vegetable broth, and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender. Add broccoli and creamed corn, lower heat, and simmer another 10 minutes. Add chard, spices, and salt. Simmer another 10 to 15 minutes. Add additional water or broth if desired.

Serve with a loaf of crusty French bread, sliced diagonally into large chunks, and pretend you’re having dinner on the south coast of France.

vegan moussaka II

vegan moussaka

vegan moussaka II

There are as many versions of moussaka recipes as there are vegetables to add to this hearty dish (see another version here). Some versions of this dish are made with potatoes instead of eggplant, and some add zucchini. In England, sometimes a layer of mashed potatoes is used on top instead of cheese. This vegan version is filling and delicious, especially when served with a chunk of crusty bread. It’s great for an early fall supper when the nights start getting cooler.

1/2 cup lentils
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 bay leaf
Olive oil
1 large eggplant
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 14-oz can garbanzo beans
1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated non-dairy cheese (optional)
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

1. Place lentils, stock, and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. While lentils are cooking, oil an 8″ x 8″ baking pan; set aside. Drain lentils and set aside.

2. Heat 3 Tbs. olive oil in a large saucepan. Slice the eggplant into 3/8-inch slices. Cook the slices until lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Set slices aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350°. In the same saucepan, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add onion and garlic, and sautè for about 5 minutes. Add lentils, mushrooms, garbanzos, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and 1/4 cup water. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper.

4. Place half of the eggplant slices in the baking dish. Spoon half the lentil mixture over the slices. Repeat with remaining eggplant slices and lentil mixture. Bake for 35 minutes. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake another 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted and dish is bubbling. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Variation: If you’re not a fan of non-dairy cheese, try the English version of moussaka and add a top layer of mashed potatoes before popping in the oven.

mediterranean summer lentil salad

You can never have too many salad recipes in the summertime.

2 cups cooked lentils
2 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled, and cubed (1/4 inch)
1 cup frozen peas, cooked and drained, or fresh
1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup celery, finely chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
1 Tbs. fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 Tbs. fresh basil, chopped

2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Mix all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Pour dressing over salad, toss, and serve.

ceci bean salad

Ceci beans, a.k.a. garbanzo beans or chickpeas, are a great source of protein. More ceci bean trivia: according to Italian rules for vowels following the letter C, “ceci” is pronounced “chay-chee.”

1 14-oz can ceci (garbanzo) beans, drained
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, chopped fine
2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
2 Tbs. chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix and allow flavors to marry for an hour before serving.

cannellini bean dip

This mild dip is perfect for dipping fresh veggies. Try baby carrots, zucchini slices, celery sticks, broccoli and cauliflower florets, asparagus spears, mushrooms, bell pepper slices, or cherry tomatoes. If you prefer spicy dips, try adding a dash of your favorite hot sauce for an extra kick.

1 15-oz. can cannellini beans
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
3 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano (or 1/4 tsp. dried)
1/4 tsp. salt
Additional olive oil for drizzling

Add beans, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, and salt to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer mixture into a small serving dish. Drizzle with additional olive oil and sprinkle with a little oregano or parsley. Dip your veggies!

one-pot pasta pronto

Did you know that “pronto” is Italian for “quick”? After a hard day of work (or maybe a weekend shopping spree), this one-pot pasta dish makes a satisfying supper.

2 15-oz cans crushed Italian-flavored tomatoes
1 15-oz can vegetable broth
1 cup water
2 cups rotini pasta
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into a large stewpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Serve with a green salad and fresh Italian bread, and maybe a glass of Chianti.

roasted red pepper soup

Roasting the red bell peppers results in a sweet, slightly smoky flavor. Accompanied by a salad and crusty peasant bread, this soup makes a great light supper.

2 large red bell peppers
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
4 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce to taste (optional)

1. Preheat broiler. Cut bell peppers in quarters; trim and discard seeds. Place quarters on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil for about 10 minutes or until skin blackens and peppers soften. Place peppers in a paper bag. Roll the top of the bag over to seal, and set aside for about 10 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a stewpot over medium heat. Sautè the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic for about 7 minutes. While the vegetables cook, peel the blackened skin from the roasted bell pepper quarters and coarsely chop. Add peppers to stewpot, along with vegetable stock. Add tomato paste and spices and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

3. Use your favorite method to puree the soup: blender, immersion blender, or food processor. Heat for an additional 5 minutes. Ladle soup into serving bowls.

tomato florentine soup

“Florentine” can be roughly translated as “in the style of Florence,” and dishes with this name in the title often contain spinach. Bring the style of Florence to your table with this tasty soup.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
5 cups vegetable broth
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2/3 cup uncooked small pasta shapes or orzo
1 10-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Fresh basil, finely chopped

1. Heat oil in a large stewpot over medium heat. Sautè onion and celery until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, broth, tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add pasta shapes. Cook about 10 minutes. Add spinach and cook until pasta is done. Add sugar, salt, pepper, and basil, and stir to combine. Ladle into serving bowls.

pizza dough

Making homemade pizza is definitely more time-consuming than popping a frozen pie in the oven, but once you taste your homemade creations, you may never go back to the store-bought varieties. Even if you’ve never made dough from scratch, you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

1 .25-oz. package active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
3 cups flour, divided (plus extra for dusting)

2 14-inch pizza pans, greased with olive oil, or a pizza stone

1. In a large bowl, add warm water to yeast and sugar. Set aside for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, grease a medium-size bowl with olive oil. Add olive oil, salt, and 2 3/4 cups flours to yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined and dough pulls away from side of bowl.

2. Sprinkle flour over a work surface; slowly incorporate remaining 1/4 cup flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). If dough sticks to your fingers, slowly add more flour.

3. Place dough ball in greased bowl; turn to coat. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size. (I like to heat the oven on a warm setting while I prepare the dough. When the dough is ready to rise, I turn off the oven and place the covered bowl in the oven, leaving the door ajar.)

4. Divide dough in half and roll out on a floured work surface. Fit dough into prepared pizza pans. Cover with pizza sauce and your favorite toppings. Bake at 450° for about 15 minutes or until the bottom of the crust is lightly browned and toppings are thoroughly cooked (you may want to switch to the broiler setting for the last few minutes of baking to thoroughly cook the toppings). Pass out the napkins and enjoy!

split pea soup

As with most soups, this one tastes best on the second day.

1 16-oz. package green split peas
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
2 14-oz. cans vegetable broth
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp. ground savory

1. Carefully sort through peas and rinse. Place peas in large stewpot with onion, carrots, and broth. Add enough water to cover ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water when necessary to keep peas covered.

2. Add salt, pepper, and spices. Reduce heat and simmer on medium-low heat for 1 hour. Stir often and occasionally add water to prevent soup from becoming too thick. Remove bay leaves and serve.

italian vegetable stew

A chickpea is a garbanzo is a …cece bean, if you’re in Italy! Thanks to Sue for this stew recipe.

2 Tbs. olive oil
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 14-oz. can vegetable broth
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 16-oz. package frozen cut Italian green beans (or fresh)
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 15-oz. can cece beans (chickpeas)
Pinch of sugar

Sauté potatoes, onion, and garlic in olive oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5-7 minutes or until onion is transparent and soft. Add broth and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, green beans, seasoning, salt, and pepper, and simmer over low heat. Cook 10 minutes, and then add cece beans and sugar. Simmer another 10 minutes, stir, and serve.

vegetable grain soup

Before you prepare this soup, check your cupboards for tiny leftover amounts of grains, barley, lentils, etc. and feel free to substitute whatever you have on hand for the ingredients listed below.

2 quarts vegetable broth
1 quart water
1 small onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
3 celery ribs, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup lentils
1/2 cup split peas
1/2 oz. dried mushrooms
1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cubed
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp. basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1. In a large soup pot over medium heat, bring the broth, water, onion, carrots, celery, and garlic to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the barley, lentils, split peas, and dried mushrooms. Continue to simmer for an additional 45 minutes.

2. Add the potato, zucchini, tomatoes, and spices and simmer for an additional 30 minutes or until the lentils and vegetables are tender. Serve hot with a rustic bread.

rosemary focaccia bread

If you’ve never made homemade bread, this is a good introductory recipe. It’s easy! The dough needs time to rise, so save this recipe for a leisurely afternoon. Use fresh rosemary for the best (and most fragrant!) results.

4 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 package (.25 ounce) active dried yeast
2 tsp. salt
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Additional olive oil for brushing
Kosher salt for sprinkling
Extra sprigs of fresh rosemary for garnishing

1. In a small saucepan, heat olive oil, rosemary, and garlic until aromatic. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together water, active dried yeast, and salt. Add olive oil, rosemary, and garlic and stir. Add 4 cups of flour and stir until combined. Knead the dough in the mixing bowl with your fingers for about 3 minutes. Gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is soft, not sticky. If it’s still sticky, knead in extra flour until the dough is soft.

2. Cover bowl tightly and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about one hour. (I like to preheat the oven on the warm setting, turn the oven off, and let the dough rise in the oven with the door slightly open). Gently poke the dough with your finger. If your finger imprint remains, it’s ready.

3. Brush oil on a 10″ x 12″ rectangular baking pan. With oiled fingers, stretch the dough evenly over the baking pan. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 400°. Brush top of dough with olive oil and decorate with rosemary sprigs. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.

strawberry tofool

Maybe you’ve heard of a classic dessert called a fruit fool? Sue found an English recipe for strawberry fool that dates back to 1764! The basic recipe consists of berries and an equal amount of cream, with sugar added. After blending well, the consistency is similar to a pudding. Some modern recipes use cream and yogurt. Sue came up with this veganized version. YUM. Try it. It’s easy and fast.

1 12-oz. package SILKEN tofu
12 oz. fresh strawberries (or 12-oz. package frozen strawberries, thawed)
1/2 cup agave nectar

Blend in a food processor; chill. That’s it!

thumbprint cookies

One of our favorite cookies!

1 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

1. In a mixing bowl, beat the margarine, sugar and almond extract at high speed for about 2 minutes. Stir in flour and salt; don’t overmix. Chill for about 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 350º. Roll cookie dough into small balls and place on ungreased baking sheet. Place a thumbprint in the middle of each. Bake for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill indentations with jam. Return to oven and bake for about 5 more minutes.

3. Remove from oven and cool.

vegan moussaka

Moussaka is a layered eggplant casserole that traditionally contains lamb or beef and a rich dairy-based sauce. Although Greece seems to be the birthplace of moussaka, many other regions of the world claim their own versions, including the Middle East, Ethiopia, and Eastern Europe. Our version uses broiled eggplant instead of fried and includes a creamy vegan sauce.

1 large eggplant
2 Tbs. olive oil plus additional for brushing eggplant
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup red wine
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. vegan cream cheese (we used Tofutti’s Better Than Cream Cheese)
1/2 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk

1. Oil an 8 x 8 baking pan; set aside. Heat the broiler. Trim both ends of the eggplant and cut 1/4″ lengthwise slices (peeling the eggplant is optional). Place slices on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Slide baking sheet under the broiler and bake until slices are nicely browned. Turn slices over, brush with olive oil, and brown the other sides. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. While browning eggplant, heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in a large saucepan. Cook onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Add next 8 ingredients (red wine through black pepper); stir to combine. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes.

3. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine vegan cream cheese with soy milk. Stir occasionally until cream cheese is melted.

4. Place half the eggplant in the baking dish. Spoon half the tomato sauce over the slices. Repeat with remaining slices and sauce. Spoon the cream cheese sauce over the casserole. Place baking dish in oven under broiler until top is nicely browned. Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes. Serve with a green salad.

Variation: If you like to cook with meat substitutes, add a vegan beef or sausage to the tomato sauce mixture.

roasted root vegetable casserole

This two-for-one recipe yields a second dinner with a minimum of extra time and ingredients. Serve the roasted root vegetable casserole on the first night. On the second night, place the leftovers in a big soup pot, add a couple items, and enjoy a tasty dinner stew.

3 large white potatoes
2 yams
1 large yellow onion
1 large turnip
1 large rutabaga
5 carrots
2-3 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning blend
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350°. Peel all vegetables (you can scrub potatoes and leave skins on), cut into 1-inch cubes, and place in a large roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle spices over veggies and mix well. Add 1/2 cup water to roasting pan. Bake for 1 hour uncovered, then cover and bake for an additional hour. Serve with a colorful salad and a crusty loaf of bread; sit back and enjoy the compliments!

Day 2: Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

In a large soup pot, put leftover roasted veggies, a 10-oz package frozen cut green beans, and a quart of vegetable broth. Add just enough water to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.