16 Bean, Leek, and Kielbasa Soup

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16 Bean, Leek, and Kielbasa Soup ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking and Food Blog

“I used to help my granddaddy make sausage. He would mix it up in a cleaned-out washtub with his hands, no gloves. Man, if we did anything like that today, they would jack the jail up and throw us under it.”Jimmy Dean

Don’t worry, we would never use Jimmy Dean sausages. We made this soup with yummy vegan Kielbasa, of course!

This hearty and satisfying stew was made from 16 types of dried beans (available at grocery stores as “16 Bean Soup Mix”), carrots, celery, onions, red wine, thyme, celery seed, Creole seasoning, garlic, leeks, green beans, beer, store-bought vegan kielbasa, and more! The recipe includes instructions for how to make this on the stove or in a slow cooker. We used our slow cooker and this turned out wonderfully. This is a great lunch recipe that goes really well with a vegan grilled cheese sandwich! The recipe is from Betty Goes Vegan by Annie & Dan Shannon, page 70.

Kielbasa Facts: Kielbasa is a type of Polish sausage that is also known as kołbasa, klobasa, kobasa, kolbasi, kovbasa, kobasi, and kubasa.

Mini Focaccia with Tapenade

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Mini Focaccia with Tapenade ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“Appetizers are the little things you keep eating until you lose your appetite.” — Joe Moore

Feast your eyes on these cute little round focaccia breads with a caper and kalamata olive spread, topped with chopped heirloom tomatoes and fresh rosemary. These are fun to make and a great appetizer option for when you’re having company over. Delicious warm or at room temperature.

The recipe is from Party Vegan, by Robin Robertson, page 62.

Focaccia Fact: Focaccia is a popular flat oven-baked Italian bread that is traditionally topped with olive oil and herbs and other ingredients.

Baked Beet and Carrot Latkes

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Baked Beet and Carrot Latkes ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.” — Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

These savory little root vegetable latkes are from Annie & Dan Shannon’s Betty Goes Vegan, page 466. These were easy to prepare and ever so tasty. Made using beets, carrots, potatoes, and onions these are baked, not fried like latkes are typically prepared, which makes them that much healthier. We served them with Sour Dressing from Vegan Deli by Joanne Stepaniak, page 123, and a chopped chive garnish.

Latke Fact: The word “latke” itself is derived (via Yiddish) from the Russian/Ukrainian word латка meaning “patch.”

Purple Passion Fruit

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Passion Fruit ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“Sometimes you’ve just got to grab an apple – or grapes, or strawberries. Something that’s healthy but maybe a little bit more adventurous, if you can see fruit as adventurous.”LL Cool J

When I found some beautiful, fragrant purple passion fruits at my local grocery store I just had to try them. I’ve never eaten passion fruit before and the smell was intoxicating, like perfumed fruit punch. I later learned that they smelled of Kool-Aid to me because passion fruit is often used in juice mixes to enhance their aroma.

I had no idea what these little gems were going to look like when I cut them open, and boy was I was surprised by what I found. The peels are full of orange gel-encased seeds. To eat passion fruit, you scoop the seeds out with a spoon (leaving the white rind behind) and swallow them whole. Apparently this is because the seeds are bitter when chewed. Although sweet-smelling, these were surprisingly tart. This wasn’t a bad thing though, as they tasted magical and marvelous!

If you think passion fruit is interesting-looking, check out passion flowers!

Almond Rice Balls

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Almond Rice Balls ~ From Vegetate, Vegan Cooking & Food Blog

“A simple act of kindness the size of a rice grain can weigh as heavy as a mountain.”  ― Feroz Bham

These tasty Almond Rice Balls from Laura Matthias’ ExtraVeganZa (page 21) are a perfect snack or appetizer. Made from a rich, savory blend of brown rice, tahini,  tamari, onion, garlic, dill, and ground almonds, we finished them off in one sitting.

We paired them with some refreshing Revive kombucha. Revive is my favorite brand of kombucha, not just because it tastes the best but also because it’s organic, they reuse their bottles (you just put down a deposit on the bottles when you make your purchase and you get it back when you return your bottles to the store) and they use biodiesel delivery trucks. Sorry, but it doesn’t come in a cool skull bottle, that’s mine. ;)  Check out Revive’s amazing Sustainability Commitment.

Kombucha Fact: Kombucha is an effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea that originated in China.