Eating with the season on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

I’ve just arrived home from a fascinating four days at the Hazon Food Conference in Pacific Grove. The conference explored all kinds of interesting intersections, between environmentalism and food systems, Judaism and food ethics, social justice and foodie culture, personal financial investment and sustainable agriculture, and many more. I learned so much, both from the sessions and panels I attended as well as all the informal conversations I had with fellow conference-goers. You can read more about my time there here and here. I feel deep gratitude to the Joyce and Irving Goldman Family Foundation for sponsoring around 40 young adults, including me, providing full scholarships for all of us to the conference.

The Local Foods Wheel

On Sunday, right before we left for home, the conference had a big marketplace where folks could give out info and sell books they’d written or published, foods they’d made, and so on. At one of the tables I came across one of my favorite things ever, the San Francisco Bay Area Local Foods Wheel, being sold by one of the wheel’s creators. I first encountered the wheel, which is a stunning combination of gorgeous artwork and design with intriguing, well-presented information, on a refrigerator in the Spirit Rock kitchen when I was working back there during a retreat. (You’re not supposed to read anything on retreat, but who could resist those tiny, perfect line drawings with their little cursive labels?) Now it’s the most popular item on our refrigerator; every guest and visitor is magnetically drawn to it and we usually have to pull them away – they just want to stand there spinning it and spinning it and looking at every picture! The wheel shows on its top layer all the foods that are in season year-round in the Bay Area (and we’re lucky – there are so many of them!). Then you spin the top layer around to match up with the current time of year, and the bottom layer reveals the foods in season at this time.

Our CSA keeps us local and seasonal at every meal, but we’re not getting a box this week, so I turned to the wheel to help me plan this week’s menu. (My other goal for the week: use up all the lettuces from our box we’ve been keeping on life support for the past couple of weeks!)

For an assemblage of great, gluten-free menu plans, check out this week’s Gluten-Free Menu Swap over at The GF CF Cookbook. (The theme for this week’s swap is leftover ham, which, as a vegetarian, I can’t contribute to at all. I do have smoky beans and tempeh bacon this week, though, which are kind of the same flavor profile.) And, as always, for a huge round-up of menu plans from all over the web – and the world – check out the giant MPM compendium over at orgjunkie.

What’s in season:

Monday: Winter greens
Wine braised lentils over toast with Tuscan kale and pearl onions (Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Suppers)
Red leaf salad

Wine braised lentils over gluten-free quinoa toast with Tuscan kale and pearl onions

Tuesday: Butternut squash
Vegan “mac and cheese” made with butternut squash “cheese” and Tinkyada brown rice spirals
Romaine lettuce salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Wednesday: Brussel sprouts and wild mushrooms
Brussels sprouts and mushroom ragout with herbed vegan, GF dumplings (Vegetarian Suppers)
Mixed lettuces salad

Brussels sprouts ragout with wild mushrooms and herbed gluten-free dumplings

Thursday: From Duck’s mom’s garden!
Simple oven-roasted butternut squash
Arugula salad with sauteed red onions and toasted walnuts
Tangy red lentils
Quinoa with coconut oil

Friday: Savoy cabbage
Savoy cabbage gratin with tempeh bacon
Baked sweet potato
Homemade smoky pinto beans

Savoy cabbage gratin with tempeh bacon

Saturday: Parsnips, winter radishes, rutabegas
Roasted root vegetables with home-grown rosemary
Chard and walnut yum
Impressionist cauliflower

Sunday: Meyer lemons
Roasted broccoli with meyer lemon zest and pine nuts
“Sloppy” sushi with balsamic-glazed portobello mushrooms

Seasonal extras: Turnips and pomelos
Middle Eastern-style turnip pickles

A fresh batch of turnip pickles (with beet for color)

Candied pomelo peel

Candied Pomelo Rinds Dipped in Bittersweet Chocolate

Going Dutch on a vegan, gluten-free Menu Plan Monday

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but Duck is an amazing thrifter. He has amazing skill and amazing luck. Practically our entire house is furnished and decorated from thrifted or free furniture, artwork, cookware, appliances… I could go on and on. The best was when we needed a new sleeper-sofa. Duck picked out the exact one he thought would work best for us from the Ikea catalogue. Then he used his incredible powers of thrifting to find both pieces – the mattress and the frame – from separate people on craigslist, one for free and one for a fraction of the original cost.


His most recent conquest is our very shiny, very beautiful, very orange Le Creuset Dutch oven (well, according to them it’s a French oven, but I think they’re just being snobs). We’ve been wanting a Dutch oven for a long, long time, but even used they still sell for hundreds of dollars. I’m not even going to say how much (or little, rather) Duck found this one for, but I will say the woman we got it from was fully in her right mind and understood what a treasure she was bestowing on us, and when she showed us her stunning, brand-new set of cobalt blue Le Creuset cookware we felt quite equanimous about accepting from her our incredible bargain.

We lugged it home (they tell you and they tell you, but still nothing prepared me for how heavy this baby actually is) and thunked it proudly on the stove. Where it sat, admired, for several days.


“Do you remember why we wanted a Dutch oven?,” I finally asked Duck as we basked in the warm glow from our stovetop.

“I just like how they look,” he told me, gesturing to the vibrant enamel glaze that starts out fiery orange at the bottom of the pot and then fades up to almost sunrise yellow.

“But what did we want to cook in it?”

I remembered that at some point I decided I needed a Dutch oven, that there was something I just couldn’t cook without it, but now more than a year later I had no idea what that was.

Duck shrugged. His job was done. The prize had been attained. But as I wracked my brain and scoured the internet, I had to wonder – had we just gotten the world’s best deal on the world’s heaviest paperweight?

(Here’s the thing, in case you’re wondering if I’ve never cracked a cookbook in my life. I know what you use a Dutch oven for, but, you see, we’re vegetarians.)

Finally I came across a recipe online for Wine Braised Lentils over Toast, with credit given to Deborah Madison from her cookbook Vegetarian Suppers. This is one of my favorite cookbooks, and so when I saw that, memories clicked back into place. Debbie M. to the rescue again, this time incarnated as the Queen of the Meatless Dutch Oven.

So, without further ado, I present you with a meal plan designed for a week of glorious, vegan, gluten-free celebration of that enameled treasure of the stovetop, that weighty jewel of the kitchen, the Dutch oven.

Wine braised lentils over toast with Tuscan kale and pearl onions (Vegetarian Suppers)

Butternut squash green curry with mushrooms, eggplant, and tofu (Vegetarian Suppers)

Brussels sprouts and mushroom ragout with herbed vegan, GF dumplings (Vegetarian Suppers)

Braised fennel with saffron rice timbale (Vegetarian Suppers)

Grits and greens with spinach, chard, scallions, parsley and dill (Vegetarian Suppers)

Moroccan chickpea stew with harissa and apricots

Greek-style braised green beans
Gigantes in savory tomato sauce (using canned gigantes beans)

This week I have the honor of hosting the weekly Gluten-Free Menu Swap, and of course I self-servingly chose Dutch ovens as our theme! Check back as the day goes on for more wonderful gluten-free menu plans from all over the web.

Heather at Celiac Family is getting her Thanksgiving planning in gear (hmm, I should be doing that, shouldn’t I?) and on top of that she has a delicious, ambitious week planned. Butter chicken, boneless pork ribs, and GF pizza will all be new recipes this week, capped off by a Leftovers Buffet that’s sure to be gourmet if the rest of the menu is any indication of the contents of Heather’s fridge!

Kim at Gluten Free Is Life is enjoying glorious weather and a perfectly Fall menu. Bourbon chicken, honey-baked lentils, and sweet potato hash browns just conjure up crisp, clear days with lots of running around outside followed by tummy-warming suppers. She also just celebrated her anniversary – Happy Anniversary Kim & Aaron!

Deb at Green V-Neck is miserably hung-over but still managed to put together a fabulous vegetarian, gluten-free menu with international flair. A little visit to the British Isles with lentil and rice shepherd’s pie, all kinds of Indian goodness with rajma masala and bean curry, and some Mexican heat to banish that hangover for good with her taco salad and black bean soup with guacamole. Hope you feel better soon, Deb!

Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness is still hampered by her kitchen remodel, but she pulls off a spectacular menu as well. (Maybe our theme this week should be “triumph through adversity”!) More fall flavors, with turkey and celery in chestnut sauce, rosemary salmon, and something I’d never heard of before that has now become the new object of my obsession – hazelnut butter cups. Yum!

Esther of The Lilac Kitchen is trying to get more veggies back into her meal plan, and she succeeds wildly this week with a mouth-watering menu that includes sweet potato rostis, bean and veg stew, and butternut squash gratin. And just so things don’t get too wholesome, there’s an amazing white wine and cream sauce in there as well…

For a huge compendium of menu plans (most not veg or GF), check out the Menu Plan Monday round-up over at OrgJunkie.

Oh! And if you’ve been meaning to share a favorite bean, lentil, or other pulse or legume recipe for the Steady Pulse event, it’s not too late! Just send it to me by tomorrow (Nov. 17th) and it will still make it into Wednesday’s round-up and of course into the final Recipes You Can Count On compendium.