quinoa & corn salad

This summer salad features delightfully crunchy quinoa and sweet corn kernels in a tangy dressing. Never tried quinoa? It’s similar to millet; look for it in the bulk section of your local natural foods store. We used red quinoa for this recipe, but other colors are available.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups corn kernels (canned, frozen, or fresh; if fresh, briefly cook kernels in boiling water, rinse with cold water, and drain)
1 medium cucumber, diced
8-oz. package cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Several large romaine leaves, sliced into ribbons

1/2 cup olive oil
Juice from 1 large, fresh lemon
3 Tbs. maple syrup
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt

1. Combine rinsed quinoa, salt, and 1 1/2 cups water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat. Let quinoa simmer until all the water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Remove from heat. After about 10 minutes, “fluff” the quinoa with a fork by lightly stirring.

2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa with the corn kernels, diced cucumbers, and tomatoes.

3. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together, and stir into the salad.

4. Arrange romaine ribbons on plates. Scoop quinoa salad on top.

cinco de mayo chip dip

Besides chip dipping, this salsa also works great as a taco or burrito topper. If you prefer chunkier salsas, substitute 4 chopped tomatoes for the tomato juice (for a total of 6).

12-oz. can tomato juice
4-oz. can pickled jalapenos, drained and diced (save the liquid)
1 Tbs. pickled jalapeno juice (more if you like)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 sweet white or purple onion, minced
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. parsley flakes
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Combine all ingredients. Dip your chips.

Latin-inspired meal

Fried plantains, fiesta beans and rice, and pico de gallo. This meal is a medley of Latin-inspired flavors, and these three items work SO well together. The slightly sour bite of the lime in the pico de gallo is balanced by the warm, sweet plantains…and the beans and rice complement both of them. I found myself trying to get a bit of all three on the fork at the same time…try it!

A Latin medley

A Latin medley

pico de gallo

This delightful, fresh Mexican condiment, also called salsa fresca, is simple and delicious. Use it as a taco or burrito topping, or pair it with plantains and black beans and rice for a Latin-inspired dinner. Or just dip your chips in it.

2 large, ripe tomatoes, cored and seeded
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium red or sweet onion, finely diced
1 to 2 finely diced Serrano chiles (or more, depending on your heat tolerance)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Serve at room temperature, or refrigerate briefly before serving. Pico de gallo is best served shortly after preparing it.

south of the border soup

south of the border soup

Make sure you use red and yellow bell peppers for this soup. The colors contrast beautifully with the brilliant green cilantro for a festive dish. If you prefer vegan chowder, stir in 2 cups of your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk after your soup is ready. Heat through and serve.

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 1/4 cups vegetable broth, divided
2 Tbs. flour
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
6 cups water
2 Tbs. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes (about 4-5 medium), peeled and diced
2 cups frozen corn
1 4-oz. can diced green chilies, undrained
1 14-oz. can pinto beans, drained
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large stewpot over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the canola oil until the onion is translucent. Add the bell peppers. Stir in 1/4 cup vegetable broth, flour, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Cook for about 5 minutes.

2. Add remaining 2 cups vegetable broth and water. Stir in Worcestershire sauce. Add potatoes and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. Increase heat to medium and stir in frozen corn, green chilies, pinto beans, and cilantro. Cook for about 5 more minutes until ingredients are heated through.

3. If making chowder, add soy milk and heat through. Serve with warm tortillas, tortilla chips, or a green salad. Optional: Mexican beer with a lime wedge.

black bean soup

The sun-dried tomatoes are a tasty addition to this hearty soup.

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dried, not in oil)
2 Tbs. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 4-oz. can diced green chilies
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 15-oz. cans black beans
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Put sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl. Add enough boiling water to completely cover the tomatoes. Cover the dish and set aside.

2. In a large stewpot over medium heat, sautè the onion and garlic in the canola oil until the onion is translucent. Stir in the green chilies, cumin, broth, and tomatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Chop the softened sun-dried tomatoes and add to the soup. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the black beans and cook for 5 minutes.

3. If you have an immersion blender, use it to puree about half of the soup. If you’re using a blender or food processor, process about half of the soup and return to the pot. Add salt and stir.

4. Serve with tortillas and a side salad (or maybe some tortilla chips).

summer salsa

What a great way to use up those extra tomatoes from your garden.

4 large, ripe tomatoes
1-2 Tbs. seeded jalapeño peppers
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt

1. Remove skins from tomatoes by placing them in boiling water for less than 1 minute and then plunging them into ice water. Cut tomatoes in half, remove seeds, and chop.

2. Combine chopped tomatoes with remaining ingredients. Add fewer or more jalapeños to taste.

fajitas with cool avocado sauce

Tofutti’s Better Than Sour Cream is the secret ingredient in this delightfully creamy non-dairy sauce. It’s the perfect complement to the hot and spicy fajita veggies.

Avocado sauce:
1 ripe avocado, coarsely chopped
1 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
2 Tbs. lime juice
Salt to taste

Fajita veggies:
2 Tbs. olive or canola oil
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 green pepper, coarsely chopped
1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1 jalapeno, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbs. chili powder
Pinch of cayenne
1 tsp. salt
Black pepper, freshly ground

Tortillas (preferably warm)

1. In food processor or blender, combine avocado, non-dairy sour cream, lime juice, and salt to taste. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in large, non-stick skillet. Sauté onion and peppers until onions are transparent. Add remaining ingredients; stir to combine and simmer until peppers are tender (about 5-7 minutes).

3. Spoon veggie mixture into tortillas; roll and top with avocado sauce or serve open-faced with avocado sauce.

Variation: Add chopped pre-cooked tofu or tempeh to the veggie mixture when you add the vegetable broth.

mexican “chicken” stew

Add your favorite chicken substitute to this tasty tomato-based stew. Olé!

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
16 oz. chicken substitute (thawed if frozen)
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. cocoa powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. chili powder
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar

1. In large saucepan, sauté onion in olive oil until translucent. Add chicken substitute and cook until heated through.

2. Add cumin, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and chili powder; stir to combine.

3. Add tomatoes, salt, and brown sugar. Simmer for 10 minutes. Serve over rice.

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.

southwestern veggie salad

Southwestern Veggie Salad is a colorful side dish that’s perfect for a potluck or any occasion that calls for a quick recipe. You’ll make this salad again and again.

1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 medium Vidalia or red onion, finely diced
1 bunch of flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped
1 15-oz. can corn, drained
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained
1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
1 cup picante sauce

Mix all ingredients together and chill. That’s it!

gallo pinto

This Costa Rican staple of rice and beans is usually eaten for breakfast, although it’s not unusual for people in this Central American country to eat this dish several times a day. Serve with some fresh, sliced papaya or mango or other tropical fruit.

3 Tbs. canola or olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked white rice
2 8-oz. cans black beans, undrained
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
5 Tbs. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until it becomes translucent. Add garlic and sauté until golden.

2. Add remaining ingredients and cook until heated through, stirring well. Serve warm. Gallo Pinto is one of those dishes that seems to taste better the next day.

tortilla soup

This soup is perfect for a weeknight because it’s ready in about half an hour.

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 small zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 14-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 Tbs. lime juice

Tortilla chips for topping

1. Heat canola oil in large saucepan. Sauté onion until translucent. Stir in zucchini slices; cook for about 2 minutes. Add garlic, broth, soybeans, and tomatoes. Cook until zucchini is soft.

2. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice. Ladle into soup bowls and top with crushed tortilla chips. Serves 4.

black bean enchilada bake

Save this dish for a chilly winter evening—it’s the ideal comfort food. Serve with Spanish rice and a spinach salad.

1 28-oz. can black beans
1 10-oz. bag frozen corn
6 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup salsa
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
Olive oil for greasing baking dish
1 15-oz. can enchilada sauce
4 extra-large whole wheat tortillas (or 6-8 regular size)
Vegan cheese (optional)
Vegan sour cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine first seven ingredients. Heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Continue cooking until mixture is heated through.

2. Meanwhile, lightly grease a 13 x 9 (or similar size) baking dish. Pour about ½ cup of the enchilada sauce in the baking dish and spread evenly. Heat tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds until they are soft and pliable.

3. Scoop about a cup of the enchilada filling into the middle of a tortilla. Roll your tortilla, fold ends under, and place seam side down in the baking dish. Continue until the filling is used up. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over rolled up tortillas. Sprinkle with vegan soy cheese if you like. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. Serve with vegan sour cream and a side of salsa.

flamin’ garden fajitas

The combination of jalapeño, cayenne, and paprika gives these fajitas a pleasant heat. If you prefer a milder taste, omit the cayenne and reduce the amount of minced jalapeño. You can find flavored baked tofu in the refrigerated section of most supermarkets. (We used a tomato-basil flavored tofu.)

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced into thin strips
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 jalapeño, minced
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. baked tofu, sliced
8 tortillas
Vegan sour cream (try Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream)
1 avocado, sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
2 Tbs. cilantro, minced for garnish

1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Sautè the onion until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add bell peppers and jalapeño; stir to combine. Add 1/4 cup water, and cover skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove cover and add spices, mushrooms, and baked tofu. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and the tofu is heated through (about 5 minutes). If desired, begin warming the tortillas (either wrapped in foil in the oven or wrapped in paper towels in the microwave).

3. Transfer fajita mixture to a large bowl. Allow guests to top their tortillas with the fajita mixture, vegan sour cream, sliced avocado, diced tomatoes, and cilantro. Olè!

“chicken” mushroom enchilada casserole

My corn tortillas weren’t cooperating. I had envisioned a beautiful pan of tightly rolled enchiladas smothered in sauce, but despite being dipped in sauce and allowed to soften, my tortillas were cracking and slowly unfolding. I changed course and sliced the tortillas, layered the ingredients, and then smothered with the sauce. The resulting casserole was much quicker than rolling enchiladas, and it tasted great.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 10-oz. package of your favorite chicken substitute, thawed and chopped
1 8-oz. package baby Portobello or button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 8-oz. can green chilies
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
2 15-oz. cans enchilada sauce
1 dozen corn tortillas, sliced in half
Hot sauce to taste (optional)
Vegan cheese and salsa for topping (optional)
Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional garnish)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly oil a 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Spread 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce over the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and sautè the onion until translucent. Add garlic, chicken substitute, mushrooms, and spices. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. (Add some vegetable broth or water if the pan becomes too dry.) Stir in green chilies and sour cream. Remove from heat.

3. Empty remaining enchilada sauce into a large bowl. Dip half the tortilla slices into sauce, coating thoroughly. Line bottom of pan with tortilla slices. Spoon “chicken” and mushroom mixture over tortilla slices. Cover with remaining tortilla slices, and spoon remaining enchilada sauce over slices. Top with vegan cheese if using. Cover pan with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 5 minutes. Top casserole wedges with salsa and fresh cilantro, if desired. Side dish idea: fiesta beans and rice.

fiesta beans and rice

Be sure to use both red and green bell peppers for a colorful, festive side dish.

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 cup vegetable stock
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked rice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Hot sauce to taste (optional)
Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional garnish)

1. In a large saucepan, sautè the onion and bell peppers until the onion is translucent. Add garlic, vegetable stock, chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, and black beans. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in rice and season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and hot sauce (optional). Cook until heated through. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro if you like.

black bean & hominy enchiladas

Look for hominy (also known as posole or pozole) in the Mexican foods section of your supermarket, or visit your local Latin American grocery. This recipe makes 24 enchiladas, enough for a party or leftovers for lunch.

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup frozen corn
1 small zucchini, cut into matchsticks
1 4-oz. can diced green chilies
1 15-oz. can black beans, drained
1 15-oz. can hominy, drained
1 cup cooked rice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper to taste

2 dozen fresh corn tortillas
3 15-oz. cans green or red enchilada sauce
Vegan sour cream for topping (optional; we used the Tofutti brand)
Vegan cheese for topping (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9″ x 13″ baking dishes (or equivalent) and set aside. Heat the canola oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add the next 11 ingredients (corn through freshly ground pepper) and cook until heated through.

2. Empty two cans of enchilada sauce in a large bowl. Dip each corn tortilla in the sauce. Lay on a flat surface, and place about 1/3 cup of the bean/hominy mixture down the center. Roll up and place in the baking dish. Repeat until all tortillas are used (or you run out of filling). Spoon any remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas, as well as the contents of the third can.

3. Cover pans with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and top with vegan cheese if using. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until enchiladas are browned. Top with salsa and vegan sour cream. Serve with a salad or Spanish rice.

homemade refried beans

Rebecca Valencia says that her children love these homemade refried beans. If you like spicy food, add cumin or jalapeños to the saucepan.

1/2 lb. dry pinto beans
1/2 cup of kidney beans
1 handful of Navy beans (or Great Northern beans or other white beans)
1 – 2 Tbs. olive oil

1. Pour the beans into a crockpot and fill to the top with water. Cook on low for about 9 hours or on high for 5 or 6 hours. When the beans are tender, add salt to taste. Pour the bean broth into a bowl and set aside.

2. Pour the beans into the blender. Gradually add the bean broth and puree the beans. Don’t add too much water-the beans will be soupy instead of thick and creamy.

3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the pureed beans and cook until heated through. Serve with your favorite Central or South American dishes, or refrigerate and reheat for a later meal.

uncle bill’s fresh spicy salsa

Thanks to Rebecca Valencia for submitting her Uncle Bill’s salsa recipe.

2 yellow chile peppers
1 (or 2) jalapeno peppers
4 or 5 Roma tomatoes, diced
3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 bunch of cilantro, minced
1/2 bunch of green onions, minced
1/2 lemon
Pinch of salt

1. Prepare the chile peppers by removing the seeds and stems and mincing. For a spicier salsa, reserve some seeds and add to the mixture.

2. Combine the first six ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the ingredients and add a pinch of salt. Serve with chips, on vegan tacos, or as a salad dressing!