Bean & Kale Miso Dip

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
— Edward Everett Hale

When my blogging buddy over at The Roasted Root, Julia Mueller, asked if I wanted to review her new book, "Let Them Eat Kale!"...I'm not going to lie, I was a little hesitant. Don't get me wrong, Julia is an immensely talented writer and recipe developer, her site is gorgeous and there are few blogs I enjoy reading more than hers. She has a clever, sarcastic, and downright hilarious voice that always has me laughing. I feel as though Julia's down to earth vibe and realistic approach to food and life itself are similar to my own. 

Produce On Parade

However, her recipes aren't vegan or vegetarian. Gasp! Admittedly, I felt a bit squeamish promoting a book that had recipes with meat and dairy, but I'm not about "all or nothing" when it comes to others and consuming less animal products. As we always hear, it's about progress, not perfection. I know many of my readers aren't vegan or vegetarian, but may still want to be more plant-based.

So I agreed to review her book. Julia was so wonderful and she said if I wasn't comfortable doing it, I was under no obligation and that she totally understood. She's such a sweetie. However, I have loads of non-vegan cookbooks that I love and if you're vegan, you probably do too. We know how to substitute for meat and dairy, what works, what doesn't, what can be emulated and what you seriously should not (faux salmon, anyone?)!

"Let Them Eat Kale!" is a book where many of the non-vegan products can be heavily substituted. The recipes are majorly plant-based (hello, it's a book entirely about kale...come on) and while reading through, I kept making mental notes of recipes that I just had to try. Sweet Potato Veggie Burritos with Coconut Curry Sauce. Yes, please. Indian Chickpea Stew with Kale. Give it to me now. Superfood Stuffed Acorn Squash. Never met a squash I didn't like, especially a stuffed one. It was my Thanksgiving feast!  

If you're new to veganism or just not really sure how to substitute, below you'll find a handy list of what I like to use. Like I said, you could eat your way through half this book without making a single change, still keeping it vegan. However for the recipes that may need substitutions, here's a list of vegan superstars I used to replace animal-exploiting foods/products:

  • chicken egg = (for baking) 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed and 2 Tbsp. water/ = (for scramble) firm tofu
  • cow's milk = coconut, almond, soy, hazelnut, hemp, cashew milk...the list goes on and on..
  • cow's cream = full-fat coconut milk
  • cow's milk yogurt = soy or coconut yogurt
  • cow's cheese = really depends on the type but I've used miso, Parmela, tofu, or just omitted completely
  • chicken meat = usually tofu but I've used chicken alternatives such as Gardein
  • cow's meat (steak or hamburger) =  really depends, but I enjoy the alternatives like seiten or just use veggies like eggplant
  • fish meat = I will use tofu but fish is hard to replicate so I don't try to very often but there are veggie alternatives in the frozen food section
  • chicken or beef broth = vegetable broth ( because why wouldn't you!?)
  • honey = agave nectar or maple syrup

See how easy? What do you like to use as vegan substitutes? 

I especially enjoyed that the book has several pages in the beginning devoted to the knowledge of all things kale. It's nutritional content, differing varieties, and even how to grow it!

Yesterday, I picked up some stunning multi-colored kale at the grocery store. It was mostly purple with streaks of deep green and I knew I wanted to showcase the beauty. It had such a sweet smell to it and was so tender. This kale needed to be the star in a recipe, so I decided to make a variation of Julia's White Bean Kale Dip.

Produce On Parade - Bean & Kale Miso Dip

Instead of two cans of cannellini beans, I used one can, and then one can of chickpeas. I don't often use cannellini beans and I happened to only have one on hand. A big change I made was adding 4 tsp. of red miso to the dip in place of the salt. I thought it really gave the dip some dimension. I enjoy bold flavors and for some reason I'm going through a miso-fanatic craze right now, if you couldn't tell by yesterdays recipe. MISO FOREVER!

Produce On Parade - Bean & Kale Miso Dip
Produce On Parade - Bean & Kale Miso Dip
Produce On Parade - Bean & Kale Miso Dip
Produce On Parade - Bean & Kale Miso Dip
Produce On Parade - Bean & Kale Miso Dip
Produce On Parade - Bean & Kale Miso Dip
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Bean & Kale Miso Dip
A quick and healthy dip for crackers, veggies, or to spread on a sandwiches. Slightly adapted from Julia Mueller's cookbook, "Let Them Eat Kale!"
Ingredients
  • 1 15 oz. can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 fresh sage leaves
  • 2 cups packed kale leaves, de-stemmed, washed and torn
  • 4 tsp. miso paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Instructions
Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides often. Serve with crackers or a veggie tray, spread on sandwiches, or whatever you like!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6
Produce On Parade - Bean & Kale Miso Dip
Produce On Parade - Bean & Kale Miso Dip
Produce On Parade - Bean & Kale Miso Dip

I think this book would be a great addition to any kitchen that's trying to get in more veggies or lean towards a healthier, more plant-based diet. Or if you just really freaking love kale. Josh N., this books for you! Yes, there are some animal-based recipes, but the vast majority of cookbooks do and there are substitutions that can be made, just with any great recipe. 

I hope you check it out! I have several recipes already tabbed to try and many of them are vegan or vegetarian already! "Let Them Eat Kale" can be found on Amazon or in your local bookstore.

Bob likes to drink out of the bird bath (they don't use it anyway..). It was one rainy day! Look at my poor herbs!

Bob likes to drink out of the bird bath (they don't use it anyway..). It was one rainy day! Look at my poor herbs!

German Word of The Day

Dip --> Soße (zoo-sehl)

Good Deed of The Day

Did you see this article on Tuesday from the Wall Street Journal about how meat prices well on the rise compared to vegetables? "It’s a good time to be a vegan. Meat prices are up 9.4% in June from a year earlier, and pork, fish and eggs are more expensive, too." Well, you heard it here first. It's a good time to be a vegan!

Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.
— Dalai Lama

Guess what?? I'm back and so happy to share this little space with you again! However, this week won't offer any respite from the busyness and excitement that is my absolute existence right now. With this crazy tornado of wonderful, big life moments and teeny pesky nuisances that've got me whipping about, the recipes for the next few days will be quick to prepare and most importantly, easy, and fairly hands-off too. 

The first morning I was back, I went to the store in the bleak, early hours before work to get coffee creamer. Duh. Forget food, I need just need vanilla soy creamer to survive apparently. Let me tell you what. That is the best time to go to the store. It's totally stocked, there's no one around except other tired, zombiesc, antisocial people like myself who don't want anything to do with anyone else. And...I found the most gorgeous organic beets with their luscious, velvety greens still attached! Jackpot! My little hands couldn't snatch them up fast enough!

In a rare moment of clarity, I decided to dress the beets and their greens in an quick, miso balsamic reduction and pepper them with warm and crunchy walnuts. This humble dish is a nutritional powerhouse that will hopefully catapult me into the chaos that's lurking in the future and help me battle the wretched and regrettable four hour time difference between Alaska and Ohio. My bedtime is now 6pm sharp (instead of the usual 10pm). It's all I can do to walk to my car on my way out of work with my eyes actually open as I'm just about asleep! A day off when we got back would have been most helpful. Lesson learned.

Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle

I love, love, love beets and I'll eat them pretty much anyway at all, but this dish was absolutely, incredibly delicious! A new favorite way to eat up those red little gems...and their greens too! 

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Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle
An easy and impressive side dish. Layered, sliced steamed beets are adorned with crunchy walnuts and their own sauteed greens, then drizzled with a miso balsamic reduction. NOTE: Beet greens tend to age very quickly, so be sure to try to use the day they are purchased.
Ingredients
  • 4 medium red beets, with greens
  • 2 Tbsp. walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup brown onion, diced small
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 heaping cup of walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp. miso paste (I like red)
Instructions
First, prepare your steamer to steam the beets.Cut off the leaves of the beets, leaving about one inch attached to the top of the beet. Scrub the beets very well and place whole in the prepared steamer for about 30-60 minutes. My beets only took 30 minutes, but time will vary depending on the size. Remove when fork tender and allow to cool.In a very large rimmed frying pan, heat the walnut oil over medium-low. Add the garlic, onions, red pepper flakes, and walnuts. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to brown. Meanwhile, wash the beet greens. Rip off the stems to discard (or feed to a furry companion) and tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Spin dry in a salad spinner or pat dry with a towel. Add to the frying pan and sauté for an additional 5 minutes until wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat and allow to rest until the beets are done steaming. In a microwave safe 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup (or medium bowl), heat the vinegar for 1 minute. Then, continue in 30 second intervals until about half has evaporated. Be sure to allow the microwave to actually stop in between the intervals. Careful not to let it burn! This should only take about 2 minutes total. Remove from the microwave and allow to cool until the beets are ready, then whisk in the miso paste. When the beets are done steaming and have cooled slightly, cut off the top and the end bit, and then slice. You can peel them if you like but I prefer not to. To serve, arrange one sliced beet in a small bowl. Top with ¼ of the cooked greens and drizzle with a little of the miso vinegar glaze. A little goes a long way!
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4
Produce On Parade - Walnut Steamed Beets & Greens with Miso Balsamic Drizzle

German Word of The Day

Balsamic --> balsamisch (bah-zal-misch)

Good Deed of The Day

Drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean? Have we seriously learned nothing? Help urge Secretary Jewell to say no to offshore oil drilling in these remote waters that provide critical habitat for polar bears, whales, walrus and more, who are already suffering the effects of climate change!  

Super Vitality Truffles

Compassion for animals is intimately associated with goodness of character, and it may be confidently asserted that he who is cruel to animals cannot be a good man.
— Arthur Schopenhauer

So, whenever Todd and I fly we usually bring a lot of yummy, travel-friendly vegan food. I am sure you do too. Vegans in the house raise your hands to the heavens and can I get a soulful "Uhhhh Huhhhh!" You know what I mean. Good Buddha, there just ain't no tasty food to be found! Unless you want to be buying a severely under or over ripe $6 banana, you better be packing food yourself. It's a shame. I know there are some exceptions though. I even heard LAX has it's very own vegan restaurant! 

We aren't flying through LAX...poo... 

Thus, I made us some super healthy & nutritious Vitality Truffles! Normally our goto travel snacks are my Birdseed Cookies and banana chips. But this time, I wanted something a bit more healthful. These little guys have no added sugars or sweeteners, no added oils, and use only whole food ingredients. They have the texture of a coarse fudge and they're fun to customize too. I made mine an "Apple Spice Cinnamon" by adding in half a tea bags contents. 

Produce On Parade - Super Vitality Truffles

This is a great recipe for substituting in what you like and what you have on hand. If you don't like a particular nut, seed, or fruit...just use what you do enjoy! Be adventurous!

Produce On Parade - Super Vitality Truffles
Produce On Parade - Super Vitality Truffles

Will you take a gander below? Look at all those amazing, nutritious little beasties who are going to somehow seriously pump you up to be squeezed into a middle seat with two nine foot Texans on either side of you, a surly teenager incessantly kicking your seat from behind, and a booger-flinging-eye-staring-contest-bratface turned around, bug eyed in front of you. I know it's going to happen. I'm prepared. "Om, om, om...*munch munch*"


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Super Vitality Truffles
Bites of super vitality! These little guys have no added sugars or sweeteners, no added oils, and use only whole food ingredients. They have the texture of a coarse fudge.
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup whole walnuts
  • 1/2 cup whole pecans
  • 6 whole Brazil nuts
  • 1/3 heaping cup ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup dried goji berries
  • ¼ cup dried blueberries
  • ¼ cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • ¼ cup cocoa nibs
  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • Half the contents of an Apple Cinnamon Spice teabag (optional or ½ Tbsp. of favorite tea leaves)
  • 6 (about ½ cup) pitted dates
  • 6 (about ½ cup) dried figs
  • ¼ tsp. xanthan gum
  • Dash of kosher salt
Instructions
In a food processor, add the pecans through and including the tea. Process until granular and the sides begin to stick and turn heavy. Now, add the remaining ingredients and process for about five minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. The dough should be very well combined and sticky. It should hold together when pressed.Form into bite size balls. Some oil from the nuts might be expelled onto your hands, and if you put tea in the dough, it will be colored! Store in the fridge or freezer. I put mine in the freezer because I like them super firm.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 30 Balls
Just my little animal foodie friends,  hanging out and jammin'.

Just my little animal foodie friends,  hanging out and jammin'.

Produce On Parade - Super Vitality Truffles

German Word of The Day

Vitality --> Lebensfreude (Lee-beens-Freud-eh)

Good Deed of The Day

Did you guys see this article on a vegan cheese project that aims to replicate cheese from cow's milk by using caseins? So weird! Kudos for finding a way to replicate cheese without harming cows (kind of similar to those test tube burgers I suppose) but casein really isn't that great for us. Read up on The China Study, if you haven't already. As an animal advocate this makes me happy, but as a consumer I think I might pass. What about you? What do you think of this innovation?