Eggplant Hummus with Dill Pesto

This is a fantastic way to hide some eggplant and use up a big hunk of pesto. I’ve served this on toast, with eggs, as the base of a sandwich, and would absolutely love the pesto swirled into some mashed potatoes. The hummus, too, tbh. Ooh. Would also be nice thinned with a bit of oil or water and tossed with pasta. I need to make a second batch.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Eggplant Hummus with Dill Pesto

Hummus

1 smallish eggplant, roasted

1 can chickpeas, drained

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp. tahini

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. red pepper

Salt

To make, combine all ingredients in a food processor and whiz. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or acid as necessary.

Dill Pesto

1 huge hand dill (about 1/3 of a cup packed)

About 1/3 of a cup smoked almonds, chopped

1 big clove garlic

3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. water

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt

To make, combine all ingredients in a food processor and whiz. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or acid as necessary.

Makes about a cup of hummus and half – 3/4 a cup of pesto

Roasted Potatoes with Avocado Dill Sauce

This recipe as written, I realize, may not be accessible to anyone who does not share my love of grabbing interesting looking ingredients from the Asian aisle and chucking them in whatever looks good.

If you’re still curious to see what this tastes like and don’t share that predilection, an approximation can most likely be made by combining lemon juice, a hint of pomegranate molasses and a hint of rotel green chilis.

I served this plain for dinner (DH added rotisserie chicken to his), and with chili tuna for lunch the next day. Both plain and with some added tuna were good; if you want a little more nutrition with your dinner, broccoli would be great here. Maybe a bit of sesame seed for a little more fat.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Potatoes with Avocado Dill Sauce

Sauce:

1 stalk celery

1 Tbsp. Japanese Yuzu jalapeño sauce

1 Tbsp. Kewpie Yuzu no-oil dressing

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

2-3 Tbsp. tahini

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1-2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

1 clove garlic

1 Tbsp. oil of choice

Neutrally seasoned roasted potatoes (I roasted mine in a combo of garlic oil, salt and pepper until browned in a 220C oven ~35 mins)

Chop celery and garlic and add to a blender along with the rest of the sauce ingredients. Whiz. Taste for salt and acid, adding more if necessary. Add a little more water if it’s too thick for your liking. Mine was fine, but your mileage may vary.

Sauce serves 4 – 5; potatoes can adjust to accommodate that number or more

Roasted Pumpkin Miso Pasta

This lower-than-it-could be in carbs dish started life as the baby of a Japanese curry recipe and a ramen recipe and snowballed into a straight-up yummy pasta dish. I’m super bummed I only made enough to serve two; this was fantastic.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Pumpkin Miso Pasta

About a cup chopped pumpkin or butternut squash

2 tsp. white miso paste

Veggie or chicken stock

1/2 tsp. red chili flakes

Olive oil

1 Tbsp. + sesame oil

Curry powder

1 inch peeled fresh ginger, minced

2 scallions, minced

Sesame seeds

Soft egg (optional)

Togarishi (optional)

Kontjac noodles or sushi rice or ramen or udon or zoodles – all would be awesome, though I’ve only tried wide kontjac and rice

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Peel and chop the pumpkin into smallish pieces. Add to a prepared baking sheet, lash with oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and curry powder. Toss. Bake about 40 minutes or until browned in spots and soft.

Let cool for a beat, and then add to a blender with the miso, red chili flakes, 2 tsp. oil, 1 Tbsp. curry powder, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, and 1/2 a cup of stock. Blitz, adding more stock if needed to get smooth. I used about a cup in this stage.

In a saucepan or tall-ish sided skillet, add the minced ginger and the white + light green parts of the scallions with 2 tsp. garlic oil. Sauté until the onion is beginning to soften.

Add the blitzed pumpkin and another half cup or so of stock. Let simmer down to the consistency of a thick soup.

Add your drained and rinsed kontjac or whatever curry vehicle you’re feeling, toss, and let simmer a few minutes to combine.

Serve with an optional soft egg, the green parts of the scallions, a little drizzle of sesame oil, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and some togarishi if you want another hit of spice.

Serves 2 but can easily be scaled up

Vegan Nut-Free Cheddar

This is a solid non-dairy cheddar-like cheese that doesn’t use nuts. Cashew cheese is great, but can be really expensive – and really calorie-dense. Not exactly a weeknight food.

This version tastes pretty cheesy, makes a decent Mac & cheese (better, strangely, with sauerkraut mixed in), and would make a good dip base.

Gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Vegan Nut-Free Cheddar

1 medium russet potato
1 medium carrot
2 cups non-dairy milk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. mustard powder
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

Roughly chop the potatoes and carrot and boil until soft, approximately 10 minutes. Drain and let cool a bit. Add to the bowl of a blender or food processor.

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and add a little more lemon juice, spices or salt. I find if I’m missing some punch, extra mustard powder works well.

If you need an even thicker cheese sauce, heat in a pan slowly, stirring often, until desired thickness is reached.

Serves quite a few

Chicken Katsu Curry

Ooh, this is a good one. Not *quite* like the katsu from my regular takeout spot, but not far off. Add a dash of pumpkin purée and some white pepper, and it’s there. Delicious.

Chicken Katsu Curry

Chicken Katsu

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

40 grinds salt

Generous amount black pepper

1/4 cup flour

2 eggs

2 cups panko

Curry

1/4 cup neutral oil

1 yellow onion

1 medium carrot

1 inch ginger

4 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp. flour

2 Tbsp. curry powder

1 cup chicken broth

2 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce

1 Tbsp. honey

Katsu Sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp. oyster sauce

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp. honey

Preheat your oven to 375F/200C. Add a silicone liner or tinfoil to a baking tray and set aside.

Lay your chicken breasts in a single layer between 2 sheets of baking paper and pound to 1/2 inch thick.

Set up a breading station by placing shallow bowls or plates of flour seasoned with salt & pepper, beaten egg, and panko in a row. Coat the chicken with the flour mix, then dunk in the egg, and dredge in panko. Put on the prepared baking sheet and let stand 10 mins to rest.

Bake 10 mins, flip and bake an additional 10 mins.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the onion and carrot. Add the oil to a large pan and set over medium-high. When the oil comes up to temperature, add the onion and carrot and sautée, stirring frequently, until softened.

While that is working, chop the ginger and garlic. Add to the pan and sautée another few minutes.

Whisk in the flour and curry powder to combine.

Whisk in the chicken stock, soy sauce and honey.

Simmer, stirring frequently, 15 – 20 minutes or until reduced by about half.

Let cool and blend.

For the Katsu sauce, whisk together the ketchup, oyster sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and 1 Tbsp. honey.

Serve with a bowl of sushi rice. Makes enough for 4.

Bulgogi Chicken Bowl

Another dinner from my week whose directive from the hubbs included chicken & rice. This was another fantastic one – though fair warning: it’s a bit spicy. Deliciously so.

gluten-free

Bulgogi Chicken Bowl

1 Fuji or Gala apple

1 pear

1 thumb ginger

1 green onion

1 white onion

5 cloves garlic

1/2 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos

1/2 cup gochujang

Sprinkle black pepper

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 – 1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken (I used thighs and breasts)

A second green onion

A sauce you enjoy (I used Bulldog bbq in place of the brand of slightly sweet teriyaki I was searching for)

Kewpie mayo

Toasted sesame seeds

1/2 – 1 cup cooked short grain white rice per person

Make the marinade by blending all ingredients above the chicken until mostly smooth.

Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the marinade. Let sit an hour to the next day.

Place into your favorite multi or slow cooker. Mine has a button for “meats”. I punched that and 20 minutes later, the chicken was done.

Serve over rice, garnished with the sauce, mayo, second green onion and sesame seeds.

Serves 4 – 5

Vegan Cheesy Gochujang Noodles

Some days I don’t know why I get into my head the taste combinations I do. This is not one of those days. For some reason, something a couple I love on YouTube had said in a video I watched who knows how long ago popped into my head and I just couldn’t shake the desire to find out what cheese + Gochujang tasted like.

(Side note: if you like food, are interested in either Asian cuisines or finding out what it’s like to live in either Korea or Japan as a North American expat, check out Simon and Martina’s channel and blog: Eat Your Kimchi. It’s well worth the binge watch. Find them, and the recipe whose vague memory inspired this one here. Now, back to your regularly scheduled blah-blah!)

Now, I can’t do animal cheese, and I’m not even trying to pretend that this version tastes like cheese cheese (I think if I added garlic powder and mustard powder it might – but I’m still reintroducing foods, and Gochujang was my challenge food today), but it has a hint of cheesiness and a nice richness from the coconut milk.

If you’re batch cooking this recipe, maybe add a bit more coconut milk to the mix – mine turned out a bit clumped-together for subsequent meals; it loosened up on heating and stirring, but it could have been a skosh freer in the storage container.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Vegan Cheesy Gochujang Noodles

3 Tbsp. gochujang
1/4 c. sesame oil
1/4 c. soy sauce or coconut aminos
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
1.5 in. grated ginger
1/4 c. coconut milk
Garlic oil
Bok choy, chopped
Rice noodles
Green onions
Sesame seeds
Ketjap manis

First, boil some water and set your rice noodles to soak – I do 1/2 – 1 cup per serving.

While the noodles are soaking, chop the bok choy and sautée in a large skillet over medium-high in a few squirts garlic oil. Season with a little sprinkle soy sauce/coconut aminos to season.

While those are both going, whiz together the ingredients from coconut milk up to make a sauce.

Slice the green onions and set aside for garnish. If you’re not vegan, prep your protein too (egg, little shrimps and rotisserie chicken all go great here). Grab your sesame seeds.

When the bok choy is cooked to your liking, drain the noodles and add to the pan. Stir with tongs to break them apart gently and fully incorporate the veggies. Add the sauce and stir again. Cook everything together a few minutes.

Top with the green onions, a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds, optional protein, and a swirl of ketjap manis.

The sauce makes enough to support 2.5 big servings

Korean Coconut Buddha Bowl

I’ve been quite excited to see a resurgence of bowl-related meals in the popular press (mostly because that’s what I’ve mainly been making for dinner since .. Miami) – Call them Buddha Bowls, Nutri Bowls, Glow Bowls … they all amount to the same basic formula: filling item, accents, protein source & sauce.

This version starts with a coconut curry, and wanders into the territory of Korea with the substitution of gochujang for red curry paste. Yum.

gluten-free, low carb

Korean Coconut Buddha Bowl

For the sauce

1 Tbsp. neutral oil
2 medium shallots
1 inch ginger
2 Tbsp. gochujang
1 can coconut milk
2 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. sambal olek
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. soy sauce

For the bowl

1 Tbsp. neutral oil
1/2 onion
1 c. snap or snow peas
1 c. carrot batons
1 c. asparagus
2 c. shredded purple cabbage
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1-2 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 c. water

Optional: ground chicken & fried eggs

Sesame seeds

Mince the shallot & ginger and sautée in the oil until softened. Add the rest of the ingredients, whisk to combine, and let simmer 15 minutes or until thickened and velvety.

While that’s working, prep your bowl.

When your sauce is done, set aside, wipe your pan and add the oil + carrots. Stir. Add the onion and sautée until the onions are softened.

Add the peas and sautée, stirring frequently, until the peas are beginning to soften.

Add the cabbage and stir. Add 1/4 c. water and cook, stirring frequently, until the water has evaporated and the cabbage is crisp-tender.

Add the asparagus, soy sauce & lime juice and cook, stirring, a few minutes more.

Divide veggies between two bowls and top with ground chicken & fried egg if desired. Spoon over about a quarter to a third of the sauce per bowl. Sprinkle sesame seeds over top.

If you are after a shot for the ‘gram, cook all these veggies separately and arrange artfully. Ain’t nobody in this house got time for that.

Bowls serve 2 with leftover sauce

Gochujiang Tahini Bowl

This recipe is very loosely based on something I ran across in a PureWow email newsletter: creamy gochujiang sauce. I didn’t have time to click on the link when I saw it, so of course my brain turned it over all afternoon – wondering what that could possibly taste like, and what one would use for cream in a non-dairy way.

The original recipe looks fantastic – and if I’d gotten around to making this recipe in a week DH was home and I hauled myself to the grocery (instead of playing my favorite game: home Chopped), I would have loved to have added zoodles and maybe even coconut milk in place of the dairy.

As it stands, I used what I had on hand – and it was still fabulous. I can think of a ton of ways to use this sauce – in a poke bowl, with spare ribs and broccoli, slicked over mango and scallion, or fried up like bibimbap.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo if you choose a non-soy variety

Gochujiang Tahini Bowl

Sauce

2 Tbsp. ajvar (or other red pepper) paste
1/4 c. tahini
2 Tbsp. gochujiang (check your labels for gluten free or paleo)
2 tsp. ginger/garlic paste
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 – 1/2 c. water

Bowl

Sugar snap peas
Broccoli
4 ounces protein (tofu or tempeh if vegan; rotisserie chicken if not)

Toppers

2 tsp. sesame seeds
1-2 scallions, sliced

Blend the sauce ingredients together, starting with 1/4 cup water. If needed, add an additional 1/2 cup – I wanted my sauce velvety but able to ribbon from my spoon, so I went for the full 1/2 cup. Taste – my ajvar was a bit spicy and my particular gochujiang was whatever the manufacturer deems as level 3. On first taste (after 1/4 cup water), the sauce was a touch spicy – diluting with more water took some of that spice out – so keep that in mind when choosing your thickness level.

Drizzle over your chosen bowl ingredients – I used a combination of quick stir-fried sugar snap peas and broccoli – and top with sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions.

Makes enough sauce for 4 bowls 

Red Curry Miso Sauce

This is one of those sauces that came about because I had expensive ingredients to burn before they went bad.

I’m glad I had the space to dick around in the kitchen – this Sauce is fantastic. I served it with roasted butternut squash and chicken breast for a quick & easy dinner. It would also be delicious with any sort of potato or pasta, toasted hazelnuts, and any roasted veg. I’m thinking: baked potatoes topped with toasted hazelnuts, fry dip, hash sauce, shrimp zoodle pasta with pistachios, swirled around roasted broccoli, or slathered on a nice juicy steak.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, keto

Red Curry Miso Sauce

2 tsp. Thai red curry paste
1 tsp. yellow miso
1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
1 Tbsp. minced shallot
2 Tbsp. Ghee

Mix all ingredients together. Spoon over or toss with something (see headnote) for a flavorful dinner.

Makes enough for 1 – maaaaaybe 2, depending on what you make and how strong you like your flavors. Doubles or triples nicely.