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I first time made this chili I served it to two meat-loving men, who both couldn’t believe that it was vegan. The first recipe attempt was spot-on, and I had to be sure it wasn’t a fluke. Attempt number two is very similar to number one, with some minor changes: changed the type of oil and reduced it from 3 to 2 Tbsp, increased beer from 9 to 12 oz (simply because it makes more sense, and I was making it at 11 a.m. on a Monday, which, even for me, is too early for a drink), corrected an error in the preparation method, increased cooking time. My S.S. preferred this attempt over the first.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, medium dice
1 red bell pepper, medium dice
1 green bell pepper, medium dice
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 cup textured vegetable protein
2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
12 oz beer of your choice (use gluten-free beer to make the recipe gluten-free)
1 28-oz can peeled whole tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 15-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 4-oz can fire-roasted green chiles
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, soak the textured vegetable protein in hot water. Drain, and then add to the pot along with the paprika, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Saute for 2 minutes.
3. Pour in the beer and reduce by half, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to loosen the bits.
4. Crush the tomatoes and add to the pot, along with the beans and green chiles.
5. Cover the ingredients with water (about 1 quart). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until thick (chili will continue to thicken as it sits).
6. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with sliced scallions (optional).

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The result? Very tasty, not as spicy as last time. Increase cayenne pepper to 1 tsp, but otherwise this one is getting close to where I want it to be!

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This is ridiculously easy, and can be altered in many ways. Don’t feel like making the broth? Use store-bought chicken or vegetable broth instead. Are you vegan? Omit the chicken altogether, or replace with tempeh or tofu, and omit the fish sauce. Feel free to substitute the shiitakes with any other mushroom, or the snow peas with snap peas. Don’t like miso? Well, that ingredient I suggest not to mess with; it adds a sweet-salty, mild “funk” that is hard to achieve with other products. If you follow a gluten-free diet, choose a miso paste made with soy beans and/or rice (not barley; they even make miso out of chickpeas!), and use Tamari soy sauce, which is made without wheat.

2 quarts Thai-inspired chicken broth
1/2 cup white miso
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 chicken breasts, shredded (reserved from the Thai-inspired chicken broth)
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (tops only)
9 oz snow peas, thinly sliced
Sriracha, for garnish (optional, but recommended)

1. Bring Thai-inspired chicken broth to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low.
2. Stir in white miso, fish sauce, and soy sauce.
3. Add chicken, shiitake mushrooms and snow peas and cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through.
4. Garnish with sriracha, if you feel so inclined (and you should).

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1 tablespoon canola oil
1 leek (or 1 small onion, or 2-3 shallots), thinly sliced
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 heart of romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1 cup brown rice, prepared according to package directions
1 bag kimchi
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (omit to make it vegan)
1 teaspoon soy sauce (or Tamari, to make it gluten-free)

1. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute leeks and celery until soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add romaine lettuce and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until just wilted.
3. Add brown rice, kimchi, frozen peas and cook until heated through, about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in fish sauce and soy sauce and serve alongside fish, or alone as an entree. (I served it with tuna, which I encrusted with homemade gomasio–a seasoning of ground sesame seeds and salt–and seared.) Alternately you can top with a fried or poached egg for a savory, umami-rich breakfast or brunch (this is what I did with the leftovers).

Notes: YUM. Maybe add edamame, or garnish with sesame seeds.

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Lots of the recipes I found for vegan broccoli cheddar soup used milk alternatives, nuts, flour, cornstarch, and/or vegan cheese. I was looking for something simpler.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, medium dice
2 stalks celery, medium dice
1 medium sweet potato, small dice
2 cloves garlic, thin slice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups arugula
1 small head broccoli, cut into small florets
1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1. Heat the oil in a pot over medium-high heat.
2. Add the onion, celery, sweet potato, and garlic to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Saute, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Pour water into the pot and cover the vegetables by 3 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
5. Stir in arugula and cook for another minute. Puree with an immersion blender.
6. Add broccoli florets and nutritional yeast and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, or until the broccoli is soft.
7. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve.

Notes: yum. Love the color the sweet potato lends to the soup, which mimics traditional broccoli cheddar soup. The nutritional yeast is a powerhouse, giving the finished product a rich, cheesy, almost fermented flavor. The arugula simply boosts the nutrition profile, but is not essential; it can be omitted, or substituted with nearly any other type of green leafy vegetable.

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2 10-oz packages extra-firm tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 assorted bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 10-oz mushrooms (I used cremini, but any will do)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
2/3 cup white wine
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Cut each block of tofu into 7 slices. Arrange on a sheet pan and place another sheet pan on top of it. Weigh the top down and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain and pat tofu dry.
3. Cook tofu in broiler for 5 minutes per side, or until dried out and golden brown. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F.
4. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and Italian seasoning and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 7-10 minutes.
5. Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce by 3/4.
6. Add the tomatoes and reduce liquid by half. Then lower heat to low and cook for 25-30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.
7. Arrange half of the tofu in the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with half the sauce mixture. Layer the rest of the tofu on top, and finish with the rest of the sauce.
8. Bake for 30 minutes.

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6 oz cauliflower florets
12 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved or quartered, depending on the size
1/2 hothouse cucumber, small dice or julienne (or both!)
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

1. Over a bowl, grate cauliflower florets using the large holes on a box grater.
2. Add tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint, and lemon zest to the bowl.
3. Combine lemon juice with tahini and stir, thinning with a couple tablespoons of water. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, and season with salt.
4. Pour dressing over the tabouli and stir to combine.

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This is attempt #2 at testing this recipe. I think this newer version is better than this previous attempt.

1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp curry powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 stalks celery, medium dice
1 medium onion, medium dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2-inch knob fresh ginger, minced
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 avocados, sliced or diced, for garnish (optional, but highly recommended)
Lime juice, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Toss the carrots with 1 Tbsp olive oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Spread out on a sheet pan and roast for 25 minutes, or until dark brown and tender.
3. Heat remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the carrots to the pot and cover by 1 inch with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
5. Puree the soup using an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and stir in coconut milk.
6. Garnish soup with avocado and freshly squeezed lime juice (optional). Fresh chopped cilantro would also be a great garnish.

Serves 4 (entree)-6 (appetizer)

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