Monday, January 7, 2013

Food for the Soul ~Vegan/Vegetarian

January 1st in many households across the US it is tradition to prepare a soul food meal that usually includes either gumbo which is a seafood soup dish, black eye peas (for good luck throughout the year), greens (collards, mustards, or turnips) and usually rice and some type of meat.  Since I decided to make dietary changes that do not include meat and reducing the amount of diary I intake, I've stayed away from preparing those delicious southern comforting soul food dishes.  The thought of making collard greens without using smoked turkey tails to season them was actually scary to me.  I thought they'd be bland and flavorless. I couldn't have been more WRONG.

This year I decided to take a leap out of my comfort zone and prepare a traditional New Year's Day feast for my son's and I. I'd been searching for vegan recipes for making collard greens and sweet potatoes for a few days before I found one I was comfortable with trying. I'd heard about smoke salt from visiting the site of beautiful Chef Ahki who posted the heading on one of her blog articles: "If you ain't eatin' greens once a week, you trippin!" It immediately caught my attention because I hadn't even thought about making greens without meat. I asked some of her followers what they used and was advised to use smoke salt to give the greens the smoked flavor without the animal fat. I couldn't find any smoked salt at Whole Foods and was bummed.  I still figured I'd make the bland tasteless pot of collards since I'd already spent time and money on fresh organic veggies.   While cooking I noticed I had some smoked paprika so I hopped online and found a recipe for cooking greens and it included smoked paprika, which I found for $2 at my local Kroger.

Recipe to feed a family of 3

2 bunches of organic collard greens (soaked, washed, with stems removed, and chopped as desired)
1 onion
1 16oz carton of vegetable broth/stock
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water (optional)
combine ingredients in 4 qt or larger stock pot turn fire or burner on medium high, bring to a boil, turn fired or burner down to medium low and allow to simmer for 45 minutes or until collard greens are to your desired tenderness and texture.

3-4 large sweet  potatoes or yams (chopped into large chunks)
1/2 cup of organic raw sugar
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp agave nectar
1-2 cups of water
place ingredients in 2 qt sauce pan on medium high burner setting, allow to boil, turn down burner to low and allow to cook until soft 30-45 minutes.  Check with a fork for desired tenderness.

1-lb pack of fresh organic black eye peas (pre-cleaned separated and rinsed, or soak overnight in water and manually separate and rinse)
2 cups vegetable broth/stock (or enough to cover the peas)
1 small piece of garlic clove diced
Sea Salt (to desired taste)
Ground black pepper to taste
Place ingredients into small 2qt or less sauce pan and bring to boil, turn down to low setting until peas are no longer crunchy but before they begin to separate.

For those who don't know Quinoa is a great way to add protein to vegetarian and vegan diets.  I am using quinoa in replace of  brown rice.
1 cup quinoa
2.5 cups of water
Place ingredients into small sauce pan, bring to boil, turn down heat to low and cover with lid for 20 minutes or until quinoa has fully sprouted.

Completed Dishes

I gotta have my hot sauce! 

Bon App├ętit 

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