Saint Patrick's Day Stout, Seitan and Cabbage Casserole

Saint Patrick's Day Stout, Seitan and Cabbage Casserole

Despite being part Irish, my family never really did anything to celebrate St. Patty’s day while growing up. There was no Irish soda bread, no corned beef and cabbage, no colcannon. Since it’s turned into a bit of a foodie holiday, I wanted to make something to celebrate my Irish heritage this year, but there were no family recipes to veganize. I came across an interesting dish in Better Homes and Gardens and it seemed perfect for converting. It’s not really a casserole in the traditional sense, but I wasn’t sure what to call it, and since it’s a casserole dish, I decided to roll with it. If you’re unfamiliar with seitan, it’s a wheat meat that can often be found next to the tofu in the grocery store.

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Meatless Monday - Tempeh Marsala

Meatless Monday - Tempeh Marsala

Anything chicken can do, tempeh can do better. At least that’s my motto in the kitchen. I like to browse through omnivore cooking magazines for meals that I can veganize. I came across a chicken marsala recipe and it seemed ripe for the veganizing. I don’t know if I’ve ever actually had anything marsala, to tell the truth, so I don’t know how close this tastes to the “real thing”, but it was a damn fine tempeh dish.

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Meatless Monday - Curried Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas

Meatless Monday - Curried Coconut Spinach & Chickpeas

It seems that no one has told Mother Nature that March is here and spring is just around the corner, because the cold weather just doesn’t seem to stop. This recipe for curried coconut spinach with chickpeas is hearty and comforting and perfect for chilly evenings. This is a thick curry that can be eaten with a fork, rather than a spoon. Serve it over baked sweet potatoes or brown rice for a complete meal.

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Meatless Monday – A Very Vegan February in Montclair

Meatless Monday – A Very Vegan February in Montclair

When I adopted a vegan diet in 2001, there wasn’t much in the way of vegan food or activities in the Montclair, NJ area. (Yes, there is such a thing as vegan activities.) If I wanted to eat a good veg restaurant, I would have to rely on New Jersey Transit to whisk me over the Hudson River into New York City. If I wanted to attend a vegan cooking class I would have to pay quite a pricy fee to do so at Natural Gourmet Institute, the only place in the area that really offered plant-based cooking classes. If I wanted to attend a talk on vegan cooking or have a cookbook signed by a notable author, I would have to trek to a rinky-dink bookstore in the East Village. Things have definitely changed with time and Montclair is becoming quite the vegan place to be.

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Meatless Monday – Easy Weeknight Dinner Cooking Class

Meatless Monday – Easy Weeknight Dinner Cooking Class

Join Dianne Wenz (that’s me!) as she cooks up a quick and easy weeknight meal using easy to find grocery store ingredients. I will be making an Asian-inspired salad, a vegetable noodle stir-fry, and a healthy no-bake dessert. You’ll be able to try everything, and you’ll go home with all of the recipes so you can make them for your family in your own kitchen.

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Meatless Monday - Hoppin' John

Meatless Monday - Hoppin' John

Hoppin’ John is a southern dish that’s supposed to bring good fortune to the new year. It’s traditionally made with black eyed peas, greens such as collards or kale and some sort of pork or bacon. The black eyed peas are symbolic of coins and since the greens are the color of money, they’re supposed to add extra wealth

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Meatless Monday – Mulled Wine

Meatless Monday – Mulled Wine

You would think that all alcohol is vegan, but the truth is that some of it isn’t. Some beers and wines are filtered using gelatin or isinglass, which is the dried swim bladder of a fish. There are many, many beers and wines that are vegan though, and the website Barnivore is a good site to check for info. There are so many different brands in the world that it’s impossible it keep a comprehensive list, so if you’re really worried, the best thing to do is ask the company. I recently met a wine rep who tried to tell me that all wine was non-vegan, so while most winemakers are now savvy to what's vegan and what isn't, there is still a learning curve.

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Meatless Monday - Chocolate Mousse Pie

Meatless Monday - Chocolate Mousse Pie

Not only is the Christmas season the most wonderful time of the year, it is usually also the most unhealthy. Indulgent dishes and sugary sweets are usually the only foods on the menu at holiday parties and family gatherings. This raw chocolate mousse pie is made with . . . 

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Meatless Monday – Curried Pumpkin Peanut Soup

Meatless Monday – Curried Pumpkin Peanut Soup

Last year I created it a Curried Pumpkin Peanut Soup recipe using roasted pumpkin. It was a big hit with people, but some told me that they just didn’t have time to chop and roast a pumpkin. I hear ya – sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in a day. I’ve reworked the recipe so that it uses canned pumpkin puree, rather than roasted pumpkin. 

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Meatless Monday – Savoring the Shore Cookbook

Meatless Monday – Savoring the Shore Cookbook

Born in an effort to help with Hurricane Sandy Relief, Savoring the Shore is a community cookbook full of recipes that celebrate the Jersey Shore. Some recipes are signature dishes from local restaurants, some are family recipes that have been passed down for generations and others are fresh twists on classic New Jersey fare. 

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Meatless Monday - Pumpkin Baked Ziti

Meatless Monday - Pumpkin Baked Ziti

Thanksgiving can be a tough holiday for those who don’t partake in meat, but with some careful planning, it is possible to get through the day relatively unscathed. Even though pasta isn’t traditionally thought of as a Thanksgiving dish, it’s been showing up on the table more and more throughout recent years and it’s a safe meatless option. The pumpkin and pecans in this recipe give it a fall feel, and the tofu ricotta tastes close enough to the “real” thing that even omnivores will enjoy it.

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Meatless Monday – Spicy Coconut Kale

Meatless Monday – Spicy Coconut Kale

It used to be that kale was one of those weird foods that only “health nuts” and vegans ate, like chia and mung bean sprouts.  But in the last year or two, kale has really taken over and has become quite the trendy veggie - so much so that my friend Deana thinks it has “jumped the shark."

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Meatless Monday – Lentil Stuffed Eggplant

Meatless Monday – Lentil Stuffed Eggplant

This recipe was inspired by a bunch of small eggplants I received in my Purple Dragon Co-op share a few weeks ago. I wanted to something different than the usual grilled eggplant or pasta dishes, so I decided to hollow out the veggies and fill them with a meaty lentil mixture. This recipe will work with larger eggplant as well - just use 2 of them rather than 4.

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Meatless Monday – Roasted Kabocha Soup

Meatless Monday – Roasted Kabocha Soup

Now that it’s the middle of October, we’re deep in the heart of pumpkin season! For a twist on traditional pumpkin, I used a kabocha squash in this dish. Kabocha is also known as Japanese pumpkin and is one of the more popular members of the squash family due to its strong yet sweet flavor and moist, fluffy texture. This soup is perfect for chilly fall evenings.

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Meatless Monday – Spicy Lentil and Carrot Soup

Meatless Monday – Spicy Lentil and Carrot Soup

I’ve never been too much of a soup person.  I have friends who get really excited at the prospect of having soup for lunch, and I’ve never understood their enthusiasm. Maybe it’s because when I was growing up, soup meant opening a can of flavored water with bits of vegetables and beans floating around it in. It never tasted very good and it never filled me up.

All that has changed with this spicy lentil soup. It’s filling and extremely flavorful, and when I know that I have it waiting for me for lunch, I count down the minutes until it’s time to eat. Have I become a soup person after all?

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Meatless Moday - Groundnut Stew

Meatless Moday - Groundnut Stew

"Groundnut” is actually another word for peanut.   Groundnut stew refers to a stew made with peanut butter.

Whether this stew resembles a traditional African groundnut stew is immaterial for my purposes - it just tastes good and has become a cool weather favorite of mine!

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Meatless Monday at Goldie's In Asbury Park

Meatless Monday at Goldie's In Asbury Park

Redefining vegan cuisine to such a degree that guests will have no need to define or label it beyond calling it purely great food, Smith, a hospitality, marketing and design firm enlivening Asbury Park, recently announcee the opening of Goldie’s. With an incredible menu, awe-inspiring design and innovative cocktails – it is the very first vegan restaurants with a liquor license in New Jersey – Goldie’s is soon to attract diners from all over, vegans or non-vegans alike.

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