In which I blatantly plagiarize a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

It’s Monday at 11:35pm. I am just barely scraping in under the wire on the whole “menu plan Monday” concept. I have absolutely no ideas. For once, I don’t have a bunch of recipes left over from the previous week. I don’t even have a CSA box coming this week to provide inspiration. So I’m going to take advantage of the fact that everyone else has already posted their menu plans and make my plan out of their meals. As my favorite guilty-pleasure show, Leverage, would say “Let’s go steal a menu.”

For a huge round-up of recipes from all over the web, check out the Menu Plan Monday compendium over at OrgJunkie!

Vinegret (Russian beet salad) from this week


Butternut squash lasagna with spinach, beet greens, VCon cashew ricotta, and vegan bechamel (this is leftover from yesterday)
Green salad with radishes and scallions

Tofu aloo gobi
Brown rice

Wednesday (from Catzlover’s Cooking)
Veggie burgers
Sweet potato fries
Green salad

Thursday (defrost 2 C. veg broth)
Good Shephard’s Pie (from Two Vegan Boys) with mushroom gravy
Steamed broccoli

Friday (defrost noodles!)
Pasta with vegan soy-free meatballs and pasta sauce (from Zom G.)
Savoy cabbage with cumin seeds

Black eyed pea, kale, and millet bowl (from happyveganface)

Sushi rice bowl with brown sushi rice (from Beyond Rice and Tofu)

Lunch: Vegan chilaquiles (taking inspiration from the corn tortillas in my fridge that are about to go bad)

Shopping list: Sweet potatoes, tomato, salad stuff, carrots, soy yogurt, Earth Balance, vegan cheese, canned corn, kale, tofu, cucumber, avocado


Still playing catch-up on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

Once again I have several recipes left from last week’s meal plan. Which is good because I’m pretty exhausted and this definitely saves me some effort in the planning department. Also, providentially, a lot of what is coming in this week’s CSA box fits perfectly into the remaining meals from last week!

Why do I have so many meals still unmade from last week? It was a busy week with both a lot of stuff going on and a pretty high level of fatigue. I did make the Nicoise salad (that was a pretty funny experience – the salad already lacked the tuna, of course, but, due to the tastes of the person I was making it for, his batch also did not include capers, Nicoise olives, or anchovy paste (which I still have in the fridge from the old days). So, pretty much a green bean and potato salad with red wine vinegar and olive oil! He liked it, though, so hey, whatever works.) as well as the pasta with caramelized fennel and zucchini. The pasta was pretty good, but whatever fantasy experience I had been expecting from “caramelized fennel” totally didn’t come through and I won’t be making that recipe again. I eat pasta so rarely that it might as well totally knock my socks off when I do. Now I need another way to use up fennel when it comes in my box, though, besides roasting it, which is awesome.

Edamame, Corn, and Tofu Succotash from last week's menu

I also ended up making the Edamame, Corn, and Tofu Succotash, which is one of my favorite easy go-to recipes. I went out to the store on a drizzly Sunday afternoon to buy stuff for the recipe and got so distracted by other shopping that I forgot to buy smoked tofu, which is one of the two ingredients I left the house in search of! So I ended up broiling my own tofu with Liquid Smoke. It turned out great, but it was pretty silly to turn a quick, simple recipe into a “make your own ingredients” one.

There was also a totally unexpected cooking adventure this week. One of my best friends (and fellow vegan) came over this weekend and we ended up talking all night and drinking rum-and-ginger-beers. This led to a desire to make rum cake, which ultimately seemed impossible to make both vegan and gluten-free, but that put us in a cooking mood and somehow at midnight we found ourselves standing in the kitchen making baked vegan mac and cheese and kale with kale sauce. Another friend showed up after midnight following her waitressing shift and we were able to say, “Dinner’s hot, want some?” which was a pretty awesome feat at 12:30 AM.

Creamy Chickpea Curry from this week's menu plan

So it was a good week for cooking and I’m left with a bunch of inspiration for this coming week. Best of both worlds! This week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap is hosted by the GFMS organizer and nutritionist extraordinaire, Cheryl of Gluten Free Goodness with the theme of cinnamon. After my tipsy rum cake conversation this weekend I am determined to make rum balls, which means I’ll need to either find or bake gluten-free vanilla cookies (sigh). I am very intrigued by this very West-Coast sounding recipe for Double Spiced Rum Balls, which uses Mayan cocoa (which is spiced up with cinnamon and allspice) and spiced rum. I also finally have chia seeds so it is well past time to make Cheryl’s amazing Chai Breakfast Cake that I’ve been drooling over for months. I’m making a couple of Indian-inspired dishes this week as well, so maybe I’ll see if there’s an opportunity to throw in a bit of garam masala.

For a huge collection of menu plans from all over the web, check out the giant Menu Plan Monday compendium over at OrgJunkie. And have a great week of cooking, everyone!

Monday (today is a day for comfort food)
Fresh corn polenta (cooked in rice cooker)
Steamed broccoli
Mashed potatoes and wasabi mashed potatoes
Smoked tofu
Baked beans

My friend is having his “vegiversary” – a celebration of ten years of not eating meat! I still need to ask him what he wants me to bring.

I’m giving a friend cooking lessons tonight, so I need to coordinate with him what the menu will be.

Tofu aloo gobi
Green salad
Brown basmati rice

Stir-fried Sichuan green beans
Steamed savoy cabbage with pickled ginger
Chili-glazed tofu
Sweet brown rice

Kale with kale sauce
Creamy chickpea curry

Sloppy sushi with brown sushi rice, shitake mushrooms, avocado, and cucumber

Chiles rellenos

When I graduated from college I moved back to the Bay Area with my boyfriend, who was from Minnesota. He’d only ever lived in the Midwest and on the East Coast, and I would be totally mortified when he mispronounced the double-l in Mexican food. Unfortunately for my tender 22-year-old sensibilities, chiles rellenos (as in “chilis re-LEN-os”) was one of his favorite foods. Eventually through my gentle (?) corrections he learned to speak Cali-Mex with the best of us, and could cringe right along with me when his parents came to visit and totally mispronounced all those Js and LLs.

The lovely pasillas are in the back left corner of this photo from the farmer's market

I’ve never been that into chiles rellenos myself. They’re just so heavy on the cheese and the fried.  But the other day at the farmer’s market I saw these incredibly gorgeous, shiny, firm Pasilla peppers and they just cried out to be stuffed. This notion was a pretty radical departure for me since a) I hate peppers, especially cooked peppers and b) I hate stuffed vegetables of all kinds (squashes, tomatoes, etc.). But I found myself putting three of those pretty peppers into my shopping bag nonetheless. I decided I wanted to make chiles rellenos, although the fact that in their traditional form they are basically peppers stuffed with huge hunks of cheese and dredged in an egg-and-flour batter did give me pause on the whole vegan, gluten-free front.

Luckily after I got home and did some internet searching I found a fantastic-sounding vegan and gluten-free (basically) recipe from Terry Hope-Romero, author of the Latin cookbook Viva Vegan that has been getting great reviews from my fellow vegan bloggers. I ended up making my chiles late one night when I came home jazzed from an evening out. I riffed on Terry’s filling (and was also inspired by this yummy but very vegan-cheese-heavy recipe) until I came up with what I can honestly say ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever cooked. The combination of mashed potatoes, vegan cheese, and nuts was the most delicious, savory, mouth-feel-full concoctions ever made in my kitchen. The batter doesn’t replicate the fluffy egg batter of the non-vegan version, but it provides a great, savory shell to hold in all that goodness.

Super Delicious Vegan Chiles Rellenos Filling (for instructions on how to prepare the chiles and stuff and batter them, see the recipe on Terry Hope-Romero’s blog)

For stuffing 3 pasilla peppers:

1 T. olive oil
2 small red bliss potatoes, chopped into 1-in pieces and steamed
5 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup mixed chopped walnuts, cashews, almonds
1/3 cup corn kernels (fresh or thawed frozen)
3 T. vegan cream cheese
3 T. grated vegan mozarella
juice of one small lime
grind fresh black pepper
salt to taste (it may not need any)

Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Saute garlic until it becomes fragrant, then add nuts and saute, stirring constantly, until they brown, about 3-5 minutes. Add in corn and saute another 2 minutes. Add in potato, mashing it up and combining it with the other ingredients in the pan.

Remove pan from heat and add cheese, cream cheese, lime juice, and a grind of fresh black pepper and salt to taste (it may not need any salt). Follow instructions on Terry’s blog for stuffing and battering the peppers.

A busy girl’s vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

The last few months have been so busy! I almost never get my menu plan written and posted on Sunday nights anymore, and I’m lucky if I actually make even three or four of my planned meals. I am having a ton of fun, though, so no complaints! This week I’m going to try to focus on really simple food that I can make in the squeezed-time between social events! Of course it’s me we’re talking about… so wish me luck with that whole “really simple” thing!

Falafel with GF pita, baba ganoush, and turnip pickles, from last week's menu plan

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Heather of Celiac Family with the theme of potatoes. I try not to eat too many white potatoes, but they are a marvelous treat! I have some pretty fingerling potatoes that came in my box and I’m planning to make vegan Nicoise salad with them this week. I absolutely love potatoes in Nicoise dressing (minus the anchovies, of course)! I’ll also try to pick up a few more potatoes and a cauliflower at the farmer’s market on Wednesday so I can make yummy and super-easy Tofu Aloo Gobi from Vegan Express. Other simple potato favorites are wasabi mashed potatoes and of course putting leftover french fries into decadent breakfast tacos (the recipe link isn’t vegan, but I make them now with vegan cream cheese and no scrambled egg. No less delicious!).

For a huge selection of menu plans, check out the Menu Plan Monday compendium over at OrgJunkie, the lovely lady who keeps this whole menu-plan ball rolling, all over the web!

Nicoise Salad (on this week's menu)

Nicoise salad with green beans, tomato, and fingerling potatoes

Pasta with caramelized fennel and zucchini

Tofu aloo gobi
Brown basmati rice

Edamame and Smoked Tofu Succotash

Polenta (cooked in rice cooker)
Steamed broccoli
Olive tapenade

Kale with kale sauce
Creamy chickpea curry

Sloppy sushi with brown sushi rice, shitake mushrooms, avocado, and cucumber

Shopping list: 3 zucchini, 2 large potatoes, 1 head cauliflower, smoked tofu, frozen edamame, 2 ears corn, 3 large tomatoes, red onion, scallions, broccoli, kale, cucumber

Green beans and red plums ~ Week of October 6th

Super beautiful, full, lush box today! (Although no replacements for the missing stuff from last week… Still haven’t heard back from FFTY in response to my email. Boo.)

I ate one of the heirloom tomatoes with my dinner tonight and finally got a delicious tomato from my box! All summer they’ve been kind of watery and/or tasteless. But I just couldn’t get enough of the one I had tonight. (It’s the funny, pointy-looking red one in the picture.)

I’m really excited to have so many greens! The chard and collard greens make me purr with dark-leafy-green contentment. I need to be better about salad to use up the lettuce and arugula. And I have no idea what I’m going to do with all that cilantro… I should add that to my veto list!

Here’s what came in my pretty box this week:
Fuji apples (1 lb)
Red plums (1 lb)
Valencia oranges (2)
Leek (1)
Chard (1 bunch)
Collard greens (1 bunch)
Green beans (1.5 lbs)
Arugula (1 bunch – to replace the sweet peppers on my veto list)
Radishes (1 bunch)
Romaine lettuce (1 large head)
Mixed heirloom tomatoes (1 lb)
Cilantro (1 bunch)
Fennel (1 small bulb)
Fingerling potatoes (1.5 lbs)

No clever title, just another vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

Last week was an awesome week for cooking! I made all kinds of exciting things, new recipes and old favorites. I fed lots of friends and I ate really well.

On Friday night a friend treated me to a massage and a trip to the spa (most awesome friend ever, right??) and when I got home I was all full of restless energy, probably from being so thoroughly relaxed. So at about 11:30 at night I decided to finally make the chile rellenos I’d been putting off for two weeks. Luckily my beautiful Pasilla peppers were still hale and hearty, so, despite the fact that the recipe I was following advised making the dish over several days, I went for it! I followed a Terry Hope-Romero recipe for the general outline of what to do, but I ended up improvising my own filling. I know every week I’m all, “Oh man, this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!” but these guys were really really insanely good. I’ll try to get the recipe posted later this week.

As delicious as they are unphotogenic!

Another thing I made this week was this “polenta pizza” I’d been wanting to try. It’s not really anything like pizza, but it’s a great dish. We just have to call it something else. Polenta casserole? Polenta pie? Polenta is cooked with fresh corn (my favorite!) and butternut squash, then layered onto a baking sheet,  spread with white bean, tomato, and garlic sauce, and topped with caramelized red onions and dry farmed tomatoes. Then baked. Then scarfed. I actually found it a bit bland, but when I dipped a bite into my salad dressing, inspiration struck, and every slice I had after that was sprinkled with a generous amount of balsamic vinegar. The combination was impeccable.

(Unbaked) polenta pie from last week's menu plan

My kim chee also finished fermenting this week, so I celebrated with a one-pot version of one of my favorite foods, Korean bibimbap. My friend and I went through almost an entire small jar of kim chee, which was a delicious luxury because I still have three more! I bought a big ceramic crock at Rainbow last week, which I am really excited about, because it will allow me to make my sauerkraut and kim chee in big batches that I can just press down with a plate, rather than constantly managing the brine levels of multiple jars, etc.

Kim chee fermenting!

This week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap is hosted by Celiacs in the House with the theme ingredient of brussels sprouts. Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite foods, but I’m at the mercy of my CSA box this week, so no brussels sprouts for me. I’ll be eagerly gathering up the recipes of my fellow GF menu swappers, though. My favorite brussels sprout dish right now is a gratin they serve at Gracias Madre, a vegan Mexican place here in the city, which I would love to reproduce at home. It has a cashew cheese sauce that is just phenomenal!

For a huge round-up of menu plans from all over the web check out the Menu Plan Monday compendium at OrgJunkie!

Green chile tamale topped with avocado with napa cabbage, refried beans, and Cheezly

Leftover bibimbap with homemade kim chee

Homemade falafel
GF pita bread (in the freezer)
Baba ganoush
Turnip pickles

Thursday (defrost soup!)
Nicoise salad
Roasted cauliflower soup (from freezer)

Rice bowl with leeks, collards, chard and avocado

Pasta with caramelized fennel and zucchini

Shopping list: red onions