Posts Tagged ‘side-dish’
Baked Carrots

This Thanksgiving, I want to try something a little different. Usually, my Look at how delicious that broth is!Thanksgiving is made up of creamy casseroles and sugar-laden side-dishes. It would be easy for me to veganize those dishes and call it a day. But, knowing that the average American consumes something north of 3000 calories on Thanksgiving, I’m going to go another way. Sure, I’m still going to serve up the sweet potato casserole (with reduced fat and sugar), and I’ll probably even go with the string bean and mushroom casserole with french fried onions. However, I’m also actively seeking out side dishes that feature  fall vegetables paired with delicious spices.

So, instead of taking some carrots out of a can and slathering them in butter and brown sugar, I decided to find a savory side dish that would give the root vegetables all the credit they deserve.

Just Like Mom Used to Make

Cream of mushroom soup: anyone from my generation knows that there are many different

Mine is brown because I used soy sauce in the gravy. You shouldn't do that and I shouldn't have either.

things one can do with a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup.  You can pour it over chicken for a fancy dinner dish, you can use it in a chicken pot pie, and sometimes, if it’s a major holiday, you can mix it with string beans and bake it into a casserole.

Which brings me to an interesting conversation I had the other day. Allegedly, in the midwestern states, a casserole is a dish that is always made with Ritz crackers and Jello. What I call a casserole is referred to as a “hot dish”.  I would appreciate it greatly if anyone out there could shed some light on this for me. A quick google search did turn up some evidence in favor of this assertion, but I would really love it if someone actually from the mid-west could corroborate.

Anyway, this is the first of my Thanksgiving posts. During the month of November, we will be test-driving recipes for the end of the month. Hopefully we’ll be able to scare up enough people to actually host a Thanksgiving dinner, but if not, at least there will be plenty of seasonal fun for us and plenty of ideas for you.

Coconut Rice

Some of my friends have a huge problem with coconut, and some of my friends are crazy. Some of my friends fall into the venn diagram space where they are both crazy and have an issue with coconut. While I am not one to imply that correlation suggests causation, it makes me wonder sometimes. I am obsessed with coconut. Even though it’s horrible for the environment, I love the smell of banana boat suntan lotion. It reminds me of a Vegas pool in the summertime. I know that coconuts are full of fat, so I try to limit them in my diet as I am trying to lose another 10 pounds. However, I had some flaked coconut left over from the grrl scout cookie experiment, and I was trying to come up with a good way to use both that and the can of coconut milk that has been camped out in my pantry for what seems like months. I decided that if you can use vegetable broth to flavor rice, there’s no reason why you can’t use coconut milk as well. For this recipe, I use a blend of white and brown rice, so that you get the health benefits of the brown rice combined with some of the lighter texture of the white. I thought about calling it “Doesn’t Matter if You’re Brown or White”, because I just saw Captain Eo at Disneyland. However, we’ll just stick with Vegan Coconut Rice, because I am writing this much too early on a Saturday morning for such puns and games.

This makes a delicious side dish. I enjoyed it with tofu curry, but I imagine it going well with any number of spicy Thai or Indian dishes. I imagine that one could also throw in a little agave syrup and omit the peas and put together an impressive little dessert.

Vegan Coconut Rice

  • 1/2 c. white rice
  • 1/2 c. brown rice
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 of an onion
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk
  • toasted coconut flakes
  • handful of frozen peas

1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onion for 3-5 minutes. You’ll need something deep enough to simmer the rice in.
2. Pour in the dry rice. Stir and heat until the rice is toasted. This is just like making a risotto, so please feel free to do your best Gordon Ramsey impression.
3. Add 1/4 a can of coconut milk and enough water to make 2 cups. Allow the mixture to come to a low boil and cook until the rice is firm and almost all liquid is gone.
4. Add another cup of coconut milk and 1/4 c. peas. Simmer on medium until most of the new liquid is evaporated. You should get a creamy consistency, just like a risotto.

A Few of My Favorite Things

String beans and mushrooms and garlic and vegetable broth. Yum!

Before the revolution, I used to be wild about string bean casserole with cream of mushroom soup and fried onions. Now, I find the idea a little revolting. However, I can still get behind the flavor combination of mushrooms and string beans. It has been awhile since I picked up any string beans, and I decided I wanted to work them into my weekly menu plan. I buy mushrooms just about every week, and put them on everything from pizza to veggie burgers, so I’m always looking to use them.

When looking at string bean recipes, many of them called for soy sauce. Now, I like soy sauce, but it has so much sodium! I’m sorry, but I don’t think that 50% of your recommended daily value of sodium should come from a tablespoon of anything, not even salt. Susan over at Fat Free Vegan (my second favorite vegan food blog) is the one who really turned me on to the idea of cooking with vegetable broth. I use the reduced sodium, concentrated packets from Trader Joes so that I always have some on hand. You just add a cup of water, and you’re ready to rock and roll.

This recipe is really simple, I wonder if it should even be called a recipe. I guess that if you really wanted to, you could transfer it from the skillet into a baking pan and then top it with bread crumbs. That would make it a casserole. However, it would also unnecessarily dirty an additional pan.

Skillet String Beans and Mushrooms
1 lb. string beans
2 c. white mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic
1 c. of vegetable broth
1 TBSP. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

1. Clean your vegetables. This means scrubbing the mushrooms and quartering them. It also means snipping the gross little ends off of your string beans. Mince your garlic into delicious little pieces.
2. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat
3. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute for about 3 minutes, just until the mushrooms start to shrink.
4. Add string beans and 1 cup of vegetable broth, stir well
5. Cook for 7-10 minutes over medium heat, or until vegetable broth starts to reduce. My beans were pretty well cooked, but the sauce was still a little thin, so I added 1 1/2 tsp of cornstarch. The trick with cornstarch is that you have to mix it really well in a little water before adding it to the pan, or you’ll get lumps.
Serves: 2 at 161 calories each

This recipe is a great side dish. I’m going to serve it as an accompaniment to chicken-less nuggets, because sometimes I like to eat like I’m 5 years old.