As I mentioned before, I am a bit lazy in the kitchen and always look to make recipes easier. I have become obsessed with these zucchini cakes and have simplified the recipe. I no longer sauté the veggies and I bake them instead of broiling. I like the taste and consistency better; they are very vegetabley. The outside gets crispy/firm and the inside stays soft. It takes me 20 minutes to make and clean up the veggie mixture and another 5 minutes to form patties right before baking.

1 small onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1 clove crushed garlic
2 carrots, shredded (about 1 ½ cups)
3 small zucchini, shredded (about 5-6 cups)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup of kidney beans (or any beans, really)
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
4 – 5 teaspoons Old Bay
whole wheat flour (for coating patties)

Food process the onion and garlic. Put into a large bowl (10 cups or so). Microwave for 1 minute. Drain off liquid. Use the the shredder attachment to shred the carrots and zucchini. Add to large bowl. Food process beans with 2 tablespoons of water to make a paste. Add to the bowl. Add oats, Worcestershire sauce, and Old Bay. Mix well with your hands. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Spray a cookie sheet with high heat canola oil. Place flour on a plate. Divide veggie mixture into 8 same size balls. Take each ball and flatten it into a patty.  Drop the patty into the flour, pressing the flour onto both sides. Place patties onto cookie sheet. Bake at 400º for 30-35 minutes. Flip once after 15-20 minutes. Cool for about 5 minutes. We keep left overs in the fridge and nuke them for 1 minute and then toast them for a few minutes. Easy veggie to go. Each patty has 144 calories, 1 grams of fat, 0 saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, and 6.5 grams of protein.

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Zucchini Cakes

Back when I was a vegetarian, I used to make zucchini “crab cakes.” They had eggs and mayo in them and were fried – definitely not part of my current healthy vegan diet. I was pretty sure that I could make them without eggs and mayo, but wasn’t sure how to cook them. My friend Maggie made veggies burgers from allrecipes.com (substituting beans for the eggs and cheese), and she broiled them. I combined my old recipe with her new one, and these zucchini cakes turned out delicious with a nice crispy outside and soft, moist, flavorful inside!

1 small onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1 clove crushed garlic
2 carrots, shredded (about 1 ½ cups)
3 small zucchini, shredded (about 5 cups)
1 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup of garbanzo beans (or any beans, really), mashed or processed
1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
4 – 5 teaspoons Old Bay
whole wheat flour (for coating patties)

Note: I used the food processor to chop and shred all veggies.

Put about 2 tablespoons of water in a frying pan. Cook the onion and garlic over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms, cover, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. When veggies are tender, drain most of the liquid from the veggies (I didn’t press them, but I used a strainer and I froze the vegetable broth for a future recipe). Put veggies in a bowl. Mix in oats, beans, Worcestershire sauce, and Old Bay. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Place flour on a plate. Form the vegetable mixture into round patties and drop each patty into the flour, pressing the flour onto both sides. Spray a cookie sheet with high heat canola oil. Place patties onto cookie sheet and broil at 500º for 7-9 minutes, flip and continue broiling for another 7-9 minutes or until heated through and browned. Cool for about 5 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack. These can easily be reheated in the toaster oven.

If you make 8 huge patties, each patty has 153 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 saturated fat, 0 cholesterol, and 6 grams of protein. Nutritionally, this doesn’t quite count as a protein, so we added baked beans and fresh Lancaster County corn for a fabulous summer meal.

UPDATE: See revised recipe here.

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We are so fortunate to be able to shop at Central Market in Lancaster City. One of the stand owners, who grows all of his produce pesticide free, suggested that we try his swiss chard. I thought chard was tough and bitter, but we tried it and now we are addicted. I think the key to yummy chard is freshness and young tender leaves. If you can get fresh (picked that day) chard from a farmers’ market, it will keep for at least 5 days in the fridge. We use (and reuse) special produce bags (Evert-Fresh Green Bags) to help keep sensitive produce fresh.

Rainbow swiss chard is so beautiful – it makes me smile. It belongs to the same family as beets and spinach, but chard has a very mild taste (I do not like spinach). Chard is super good for you; one cup has 35 calories, 3.3 grams of quality protein, 214% of your daily vitamin A, 53% of your daily vitamin C, 17 % of your daily vitamin E, 716% of your daily vitamin K, and it is a good source of minerals (calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese).

Cooking chard: Wash chard. Cut off and discard the bottom 1-2 inches of the stalk. Slice stalk into small pieces (about 1/2 inch). Throw the stalks into a large sauté pan with a few tablespoons of water (not oil). Sauté over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Cut chard leaves into thin strips. Add to the sauté pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. We like to put it on top of vegan pizza or just eat it as a side veggie. – YUM!

Cabbage Sausage Soup

The flavor for this super easy, super yummy soup comes from the vegan sausage.

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3 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 medium onion (minced)
2 medium carrots (shredded)
1 large cabbage (shredded)
2 large potatoes (cubed)
5 cups water
2 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans (white beans)
1 14-ounce package of tofu sausage (Tofurky Sweet Italian Sausage)

1. Mince the garlic in the food processor. Add onion and continue mincing. (Since I received a food processor for Christmas from my parents, I have been processing everything.)
2. Put onion and garlic in large soup pot.
3. Shred carrots with food processor shredding blade and add to pot.
4. Shred cabbage and add to pot. (I couldn’t believe how much cabbage one head produced so I didn’t use the whole cabbage. After the soup was cooked, I wished that I had used the entire head since it shrinks.)
5. Scrub and cube potatoes and add to pot. (I always leave the skin on my potatoes.)
6. Add water to pot. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium, and simmer until all veggies are tender, about 30 minutes.
7. Rinse beans and add to soup.
8. Cut sausage into small pieces and add to soup.
9. Turn down to low, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes until flavors all combine.

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caulisoup.jpg

2 small heads cauliflower, cut into large florets
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 large potatoes, diced
2-3 carrots, shredded
3 cups water
1 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons dill
2 cups unsweetened soymilk
4-5 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes (optional)

You can make this deliciously creamy soup in about 30 minutes. Since you are going to purée the soup, don’t spend a lot of time neatly chopping the veggies.

1. Place cauliflower, onion, garlic, potatoes, carrots, and water in large pot.
2. Bring veggies to a boil and simmer until tender (about 20 min).
3. Use an immersion blender to purée the veggie mix right in the pan with broth (or use a food processor or blender).
4. Add salt, pepper, dill, soymilk, and nutritional yeast.
5. Cook over low heat until hot and/or ready to serve.

Note on Nutritional Yeast: It is not the same as yeast used for baking bread. It is a nutritional supplement available in health food stores. People describe its flavor as cheesy. I don’t love the taste of it in high amounts, but 4-5 tablespoons in this soup gave it a cheesy feel. Nutritional yeast is high in B12 (one of the few vitamins that vegans need to supplement).

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