Saturday, July 18, 2020

Mushroom Larb In Cabbage/Lettuce Cups (Vegan Minced Mushrooms With Ginger & Mint)

Shiitake & Cremini Mushroom Larb
Flavorful Mushroom Larb In Cabbage/Lettuce Cups is a fabulous treat composed of tasty, toasty mushrooms flavored with scallions, garlic, ginger, and mint. The brilliant mix of fragrant fresh herbs, crunchy toasted peanuts, the umami of the browned caramelized mushrooms, and the pungent, salt, sweet, and hot flavors make every bite of larb very interesting and extremely satisfying. This is one of my favorite way to enjoy mushrooms. Mushroom Larb makes an easy and sumptuous lunch, light dinner or an appetizing and and refreshingly pleasing starter.

Mushroom Larb is gluten and dairy free. 

Flavorful Mushroom Larb is so easy as all is done in one pot; after the mushrooms are done, all the other ingredients are added right in. I like to call them Laos/Thai tacos since the larb is served in lettuce/cabbage cups, pick them up with your hands and enjoy them. Although one can serve them on fancy plates with knife and fork, it works great to pick up and eat - bonus is less dishes to wash.

I love using assorted mushrooms for the larb as they all contribute their special flavors to the dish. Shiitake or other mushrooms like cremini are great by themselves or combined with other mushrooms. Although only shiitake and cremini mushrooms are given in the recipe, feel free to change up and add your favorite fresh mushrooms.

We enjoy serving and eating the warm larb in small assorted lettuce leaves (Romaine, Butter, Red or Green leaf, Belgian Endive, etc) and red or green cabbage cups. Besides making the dish gorgeous, the lettuce and cabbage provide a fresh sweet crunch and added nutrition.

When serving as a main meal, you may like to accompany larb with some hot cooked rice and or other accompaniments.

Mushroom Larb

Instead of coconut aminos, soy sauce maybe used - be sure to check for gluten ingredients. If using soy sauce, you might like to add a couple of pinches of brown sugar.

I used a fresh red jalapeño this time and used only a little more than half. Chiles vary in heat so be careful to add less at first. You can add more chile after the taste test. If fresh red chiles are not handy, use 1-2 tsp Red chile flakes or to taste.

Larb is delicious with plain rice. Larb enclosed in a rice ball makes a lovely sushi-like snack.

Makes about 12 appetizer OR 4 Meal size Servings


2 Tbsp Uncooked Rice, toasted and ground (optional)
1/2 cup Roasted Peanuts, coarsely chopped
12 oz Shiitake Mushrooms
12 oz Cremini Mushrooms
1-2 tsp Oil
1-3 fresh Red Thai or other chiles, thinly sliced or minced 
4-5 cloves Garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp Freshly grated Ginger
6-7 Green Onions, thinly sliced
2-3 Shallots, thinly sliced
1-2 Tbsp Coconut Aminos 
1 large handful Coriander/Cilantro, roughly chopped
1 large handful Fresh Mint, large leaves torn

Lettuce/Cabbage leaf cups for serving
1 head Red/Green Cabbage
1-2 heads small Lettuce
Lime Wedges


Prepare Toasted Rice: Toast the dry rice in a small pan stirring constantly until golden and puffed. Cool completely and grind coarsely using a spice grinder or mortar and peste. Toasted rice maybe prepared a few days ahead and reserved in an airtight container.

Roasted Peanuts: Toast the peanuts if raw and cool. If using roasted peanuts, crush or chop coarsely. Peanuts maybe prepared a few days ahead and reserved in an airtight container.

Lettuce/Cabbage leaf cups: Wash and drain the greens thoroughly. Separate the leaves of lettuce and use the smaller inner leaves. Cut them to desired size. Cut the cabbage into quarters if large and gently separate the desired number of leaves without tearing. Save the rest of the lettuce and cabbage for other recipes. The leaf cups maybe prepared one or two days ahead and reserved in a resealable bag in the fridge.

Prepare Larb:
Wash briefly/clean and wipe the mushrooms dry. Remove stems from the Shiitake mushrooms. Cut  both type of the mushrooms into small pieces (no need to mince); fine to leave them a bit chunky.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat and add oil, mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Let the mushrooms cook undisturbed until the bottoms turn golden. Stir and continue cooking until all the pieces are browned.

Sprinkle the ground roasted rice over the mushrooms and mix well.

Stir in the chile, garlic, ginger and shallots; cook for about a minute. Turn off heat.

Stir in the green onions and the coconut aminos.

Fold in the cilantro and mint; mix well.

Reserve 2 tablespoons of the peanuts for garnishing and mix in the rest into the larb.

Taste the larb and adjust seasonings - more chile, coconut aminos, a pinch of salt, etc.

Serve warm in the cabbage or lettuce leaf cups garnished with the reserved peanuts. Pass the lime wedges. Eat right away before the the larb wilts the cabbage/lettuce.

Promptly refrigerate any leftovers; gently reheat and serve.


Thursday, July 16, 2020

Mexican Style Street Corn Salad

Mexican Style Street Corn Salad, vibrant with the flavors of the roasted corn, lime juice, fresh and crisp greens, and zippy south of the border seasonings, is a truly delicious salad.This is a naturally gluten, dairy and oil free recipe.

Mexican Style Street Corn Salad is filled with tasty morsels of corn, peppers, assorted greens and nutty seeds. The mango is the perfect cool sweet touch to the refreshing and spicy fresh flavors of the other ingredients.
Mexican Style Street Corn Salad with Mangoes

Canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce is available in most markets; puree the contents of the can and store in jars in the fridge.

Frozen corn maybe used instead of fresh; pan toast in a skillet until slightly browned. Some markets sell frozen roasted corn which just needs thawing out.

Chipotle Crema Dressing dressing is lovely slathered on barbecued corn on the cobs or toasted frozen corn kernels; so save any extra in a covered container.

Instead of vegan mayo, vegan sour cream or cashew cream maybe used.

Instead of the mango, watermelon or other fruit maybe used.

4 servings


Chipotle Crema Dressing
2-3 Tbsp Vegan Mayo
1-2 tsp Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1-3 tsp Mexican Seasoning Mix
1/2 tsp ground Cumin
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
Fresh Lime juice to taste (1-2 limes)

4-6 handfuls fresh baby arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces
4-6 Leaves Romaine Lettuce, thinly sliced
4 ears Corn on the cob (see Notes)
1 sweet Red Pepper, chopped
1 handful of fresh Cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup Vegan Jack type Cheese, crumbled (optional)
1/4 cup roasted Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
6-8 Red Radishes, thinly sliced
Chile powder or Smoked Paprika for sprinkling (optional)
Lime wedges to serve
Nutritional Yeast for sprinkling
1 large ripe Mango, cut into bite-sized pieces


Prepare the dressing: Mix the mayo with the spices and juice from 1 lime. Stir well and taste. Add more lime juice and seasonings until just right. If the dressing is too thick to drizzle, add a little water a teaspoon at a time. Reserve in the fridge until needed.

Roast the ears of corn over a hot grill, or on the stove top. You can remove the husks, or keep them on. Roast them over high heat turning every couple of minutes, until they start to steam and get dark spots. Put them aside to cool.

When the corn is cool enough to handle, slice the kernels off with a sharp knife. If made ahead, reserve in the fridge and warm the corn before adding it to the salad. Add a spoonful of  the dressing and mix well.

Assemble the salad: Arrange the arugula, romaine, and radish slices in a large shallow salad bowl or individual bowls. Scatter the warm corn over the greens. Sprinkle the cilantro top, and drizzle with the dressing. Distribute the cheese crumbles (if using) and red pepper on top. Garnish with the pepitas and a sprinkle of chile powder and nutritional yeast. Pass the lime wedges.

Serve and eat immediately while the corn is still warm.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Peach Salad w/Oil-free Creamy Vinaigrette

Peach Salad w/Oil-free Creamy Vinaigrette is a refreshing and luscious salad when the fragrant and juicy peaches ripen in the summer. The creamy vinaigrette pairs perfectly with the sweet peaches, buttery avocados and the fresh greens. 

Oil-free Creamy Vinaigrette is a snap to prepare and is delicious on any salad. The wholesome and mild tasting oatmeal and hemp hearts help make it creamy. This dressing is so good that we love to make daily salads just to enjoy it! The vianigrette is oil, gluten, and dairy free.

Oil-free Creamy Vinaigrette maybe prepared ahead and will stay fresh for 1 week. Use this dressing to season your favorite salads.

Spinach, Arugula, Butter/Green/Red Leaf Lettuces, Curly or Belgian Endive, etc all work well as salad greens. Readily available Spring mix consisting of baby greens is another easy option.

4 Servings


1/4 cup Oatmeal
1/4 cup Hemp Hearts
1 medium Shallot
2 cloves Garlic
2 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1 Date OR 1 tsp Maple Syrup
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Water
1-2 pinches Dried Italian herbs

4 large handfuls of Salad greens
1 Carrot, shredded
1-2 large ripe Peaches, sliced
1 ripe Avocado, sliced
1 small handful fresh Basil/Mint leaves, cut into chiffonade


Combine all the ingredients (except the dried herbs) for the vinaigrette in the blender jar and blitz until creamy and smooth. Pour into a clean jar. Add a tablespoon or two of  water to the blender jar to gather up all the dressing clinging to it. Add to the jar along with the dried herbs. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge.

Combine salad greens and carrots in a bowl when ready to eat. Divide among 4 bowls.

Arrange the peach and avocado slices on top. Drizzle the dressing over the salad.Sprinkethe basil/mint on top and serve immediately.


Monday, June 22, 2020

Easy & Tasty Zucchini Kimchi

Zucchini Kimchi
Easy Zucchini Kimchi is exactly that and tasty as can be. This is a fantastic recipe for a beginner's first foray into kimchi making; it goes together in minutes and the results are very impressive. Another great way to enjoy the abundant harvest especially if you grow these generous veggies or know someone who does! The tasty kimchi maybe served with any meal that needs a flavorful side.

We love fresh small batches of kimchi. I slice and salt the zucchini while preparing a meal or cooking. When the rest of the work is done, it takes a couple of minutes to finish the kimchi.

This recipe is gluten and dairy free; and oil free too if the sesame oil is not used.

Once you start making and enjoying this kimchi, you will find many ways to enjoy every morsel. I love to pile them on my avocado or peanut butter toast for a lovely savory breakfast, brunch or snack! You may like to double the recipe because it disappears very fast!


If Korean red pepper is not available, use about 1/4 tsp Cayenne or more to taste.

If you don't like ginger or green onions, they maybe left out. 

2-3 Servings


2 large Zucchini
2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 small Onion, thinly sliced 
1 clove garlic, minced
2-3 thin slices fresh Ginger, minced (optional)
1-2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp - 1 Tbsp ground Korean Red Pepper
2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil (optional)
1 tsp toasted Sesame Seeds


Cut each zucchini lengthwise and then slice crosswise into half moons. Place zucchini in a large bowl and add in salt. Shake and stir until all zucchini pieces are  coated with salt. Let sit for approximately 25 - 30 minutes until zucchini gets wilted slightly. 

Press the zucchini firmly but gently without squeezing or breaking them to remove all the moisture; but doesn't have to be completely dry. Taste one piece to check for saltiness; if it is too salty, swirl with a little fresh water and drain thoroughly again. Blot dry with paper towels and place into large clean and dry bowl.

Add all remaining ingredients except the oil if using and the sesame seeds and stir until well to coat thoroughly.

Yay! You just made KIMCHI!

Place the kimchi in a clean, dry, sterile jar and cover with an airtight lid.

Although the kimchi is delicious to enjoy immediately, it is even better if it is allowed to ferment one or two days. To ferment, leave the jar on the counter. Shake or stir daily with a clean spoon to mix well and push all the veggies down so the liquid coats everything.  After one or two days, put kimchi in the fridge. 

Serve the fresh kimchi right away or wait one or two days. Drizzle with the sesame oil if using and sprinkle the sesame seeds just before serving. Delicious served with rice, other grains, or any way you like.

Zucchini Kimchi

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Chopped Salad With Non-Dairy Raita Dressing

Simple yet luscious Chopped Salad With Non-Dairy Raita Dressing came into being when I wanted a salad to coordinate with an Indian themed meal. The salad turned out fabulous with requests for more!
Chopped Salad With Raita Dressing
Chopped Salad With Non-Dairy Raita Dressing is a wonderful recipe good and good for you with all the pro- and pre- biotic components. The radishes and grapes add spicy crunch and cool sweetness to this wonderful and satisfying salad.

The dressing and salad (without the tomatoes) maybe prepared a day ahead and reserved in the fridge separately. Add the tomatoes and the dressing to the salad just before serving.


Watermelon instead of or in addition to the grapes is wonderful in this salad especially on a warm day or evening.

Spinach or other greens maybe used instead of the romaine lettuce.

4 Servings


Raita Dressing
1/4 cup Raw Cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
1/2 cup thick non-dairy Plain Yogurt
1-2 pinches Salt
1 juicy Lime, juiced
1/2 small Red Onion, finely chopped
1 small Zucchini, shredded
2 Tbsp Fresh Coriander/Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
1 tiny pinch Asafetida
1 Tbsp fresh Ginger, finely grated
1/2 - 1 Jalapeño/Serrano Chile, cored and finely minced
2 stem fresh Curry Leaves, minced

1 Romaine heart, finely sliced
1-2 Persian type Cucumbers or 1/2 Hothouse cuke, diced
1 large Carrot, shredded
1-2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
6-8 sprigs fresh Mint
6-8 Sprigs fresh Coriander/Cilantro
1 generous Handful Roasted Cashews, coarsely chopped
1 large handful Seedless Red or Black Grapes, halved
Fresh Radish Slices (optional)


Raita Dressing:

Blend together the cashews, yogurt and lime juice until smooth. Spoon out the yogurt mixture into a bowl; sluice the blender with a couple of tablespoons of water to gather all of the yogurt mixture and add to the bowl.

Heat a small pan and add oil. Add the mustard seeds and cook on low heat until the seeds begin to pop. Stir in the asafetida, ginger, chile, and curry leaves and cook for a few seconds until the chiles trun bright green and soften. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute or two. Add the spiced chile mixture to the cashew-yogurt mixture in the bowl along with the onions, zucchini, coriander/cilantro, and a pinch or two of salt. Stir well, taste, and adjust seasonings.

Store the Raita Dressing in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.


Combine the lettuce, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, and herbs in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.


Check the dressing; if it is too thick, add a little non-dairy milk or water a teaspoon at a time to get the right consistency. Adjust the seasonings if necessary with salt and lime juice.

Divide the salad among 4 bowls/plates, drizzle with dressing, sprinkle the cashews, a few grapes and slices of radish on top.

Serve immediately.


Thursday, June 18, 2020

Simple and Delicious Quick Zucchini/Yellow Squash Sauté

Simple and Delicious Zucchini/Yellow Squash is a quick side dish to accompany any meal. Although fine with any meal, it is particularly wonderful served as part of Indian, Chinese, Korean type meals with warm rice, quinoa, or other grains. The sesame adds a lovely nutty crunch. Since this is a veggie dish, it is naturally gluten/dairy free and oil-free as well.

Enjoy with warm cooked rice/grains, roti or other flatbreads and dal/bean dishes such as Simple Dal, Lemony Dal, Sambar, Chole, one of the fresh veggie dishes like Raita, Salad, etc.

Delicious with warm cooked rice or other grains and with other side dishes or simply put the zucchini on top of the rice along with some sautéed tofu. 


A combination of zucchini and yellow squash maybe used or only one type of veggie. 

If you like the Zucchini/Yellow Squash on the dry side without a lot of liquid, sprinkle the cut veggies with a pinch of salt and set aside until the rest of the veggies are prepared. Just before cooking, press and drain any accumulated liquid and proceed with the recipe.

Other sweet veggies like Summer or Chayote Squash also maybe prepared this way.

4 Servings


2 cloves Garlic, chopped (optional)
1/2 small Onion, thinly sliced
4-5 medium Zucchini/Yellow Squash
1 generous pinch Turmeric
Salt/Tamari, to taste
1/8 -1 tsp Ground Red Pepper (cayenne)
2-3 Green Onions, sliced
A small handful fresh Coriander/Cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp Roasted Sesame Seeds for garnish


Cut zucchinis/yellow squash in half or quarters lengthwise and cut into coin thick slices crosswise. If using other squashes, cut them into bite sized pieces. See note for salting the veggies for a drier result.

Place all ingredients in a wok or large skillet except sesame seeds, green onions and Cilantro.

Turn the heat up to medium high heat and stir fry for about 4-5 minutes, or until veggies are hot and done to your liking. They taste best if they still retain a bit of firmness and a little crunch. 

If the veggies were not salted and drained, there maybe some juices collected in the bottom of the wok/skillet and that is perfectly fine. If you try to evaporate the liquid, the veggies will get overcooked and turn mushy. Mushy = Not Tasty!

Turn out onto a serving plate, garnish with green onions, sesame seeds and cilantro. Serve immediately.


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Palak Kadhi (Spinach & Besan (Chickpea flour) Non-dairy Curry)

Palak Kadhi, Spinach & Besan (Chickpea flour) Non-dairy Curry, is an easy and delicious recipe that is also naturally gluten free. I have veganized it by fermenting the besan mixture overnight thus eliminating the necessity for yogurt. But if you have old plain, unsweetened, non-dairy yogurt you want to use up on hand, about 1 cup of the yogurt maybe stirred in at the end. The final seasoned oil based on Hema's suggestions is what makes this kadhi so exceptionally tasty! I added the smoked paprika to the seasoned oil to take the flavor to another level.

Frozen spinach makes it very quick and easy to prepare this Palak Kadhi (Spinach Curry); one large bunch of fresh spinach maybe used instead of the frozen spinach if you prefer. This kadhi is similar to Non-Dairy Kadhi which has a different flavor profile and no spinach.


Use the larger amount of the besan (chickpea flour) for thicker curry.

Use higher amounts of the spices for the seasoned oil if you like the kadhi spicy; the lower amounts result in a mild kadhi. Increase the spices for spicier kadhi.

For extra tanginess, a little lime or lemon juice maybe added before serving.

Traditionally the kadhi is served with cooked rice (the classic combination is known as "kadhi-chawal") but kadhi maybe served with other grains or roti if desired.

4 servings


2-4 Tbsp Besan (chickpea flour)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1-2 dried Red Chiles
8 oz frozen Spinach

Seasoned Chile Oil
1 tsp oil
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground Red Pepper (cayenne)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1/8 - 1/4 tsp Asafetida


Combine besan, turmeric, 1 tsp salt and 1 cup of water in a clean jar. No worries if there are some lumps; they dissolve after soaking. Keep the besan mixture at room temperature preferrably overnight or at least 8 hours.

Cook the spinach and if it is coarsely chopped, use a food processor, blender, or a sharp knife to finely chop it.

Heat a 2-3 quart (liter) pan and add the cumin, mustard, and fenugreek seeds along with the chiles. Shake and swirl the spices for about a minute or so until the spices darken and mustard pops.

Whisk the besan slurry thoroughly and stir it into the pot; add another cup of water to the jar, stir to gather any besan left in and pour into the pot.

Bring to a boil while stirring/whisking often, reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.

Stir in the spinach and mix well. Add a little boiling water if you like to thin the kadhi. Remove the kadhi from heat.

Heat the oil in a small pan and add the spices; swirl or stir until spices are toasty and deepen in color slightly but do not burn.

Pour the seasoned oil over the top of the curry and immediately cover. Allow the kadhi to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Taste the kadhi and adjust the seasonings. Remove and discard the whole red chiles so no one chews on them inadvertently.

Serve the Palak Kadhi (Spinach & Non-dairy Curry) hot over warm rice or other grains.