Spicy Tomato Onion Chutney

spicy tomato onion chutneyIt’s no secret that I love spicy food, and Indian is definitely one of my favorites. This chutney is a great staple to have on hand. The recipe makes around 3-4 cups and it will keep for around 2-3 weeks in the fridge. I like to store mine in glass mason jars. If you store it in plastic, the plastic will take on not only the flavor, but the color of the chutney. For a mild version, omit or reduce the Serrano peppers depending on your taste preference. Make sure you remove the seeds and stems if you don’t like heat!

I know that many of the ingredients here are not available at a local supermarket. I am fortunate to live with 30 minutes of two great Indian grocers. If you love Indian food, and want to start cooking it, you can easily order these ingredients online. A little of each goes a long way.

Spicy Onion Chutney

Indian Feast! Mutter Paneer, Coconut Basmati Rice, Veggie and Chickpea Curry, Home-made Chapati, Cilantro-Mint Sauce, and Tomato-Onion Chutney.
Indian Feast! Mattar Paneer, Coconut Basmati Rice, Veggie and Chickpea Curry, Home-made Chapati, Cilantro-Mint Sauce, and Tomato-Onion Chutney.
  • 2 tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp asafetida
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 Serrano chilies, diced (omit or reduce for a milder chutney)
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained; reserve liquid
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
  • 1 large onion, diced (around 3 cups)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp salt (more or less depending on your personal taste.)

Method

  1. Heat ghee in a very hot skillet; add the mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  2. When the seeds pop, add the rest of the spices along with the tomato and tamarind.  Bring to strong simmer , cover and cook for 5 minutes
  3. In a glass or ceramic bowl, place the raw onion, raw ginger, cilantro,onion and garlic along with the salt, mix well and pour the HOT (this means temperature and it is very important that it is  hot!)  mixture over the onion mixture.
  4. Take the reserved liquid, and reduce by half in a saucepan (this is an optional step, but gives the chutney a much better depth of flavor, if you don’t do this please reserve the liquid and use it in place of some of the water when you cook rice.)
  5. Pour reduced tomato mixture into the hot onion mix, let cool completely and season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.

This chutney lends a beautiful, authentic taste to your Indian feast! You can also use it in place of salsa, if you want to give fusion food a try! I love to mix Mexican and Indian flavors!

Vegan 5 Spice Sesame-Orange Fritters

vegan frittersI do not deep fry very often, but when I do, I make it count! These fritters are very similar to donut holes. They are yeast risen, but really easy to make. So many people are nervous about yeast dough, but if I can do it, so can you! You can make a double batch of dough, or freeze half the dough for later if desired. If you freeze the dough, do it after rising, then let it come to room temperature before frying.

Toasting the sesame seeds may seem like an unneeded step, but it gives these fritters a depth of flavor that can’t be duplicated. Just make sure your sesame seeds are not rancid! (Store them in the fridge or freezer.)

5 Spice Sesame Orange Fritters

  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1  tsp five spice powder
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 1/2 -2 c all purpose flour
  • heaping 1/4 t salt
  • 2 c vegetable oil

Method:

  1. Place water, yeast and sugar in a mixing bowl. Let yeast bloom for 10 minutes
  2. Add spices, olive oil, vinegar, sesame seeds, zest, flour and salt
  3. Stir well until it resembles a very thick batter/dough. It will be too sticky to knead
  4. Cover and let rise for an hour
  5. Heat oil to 375 in at least a 3 qt pan
  6. Drop by heaping tablespoons and fry for several minutes ( until golden brown on all sides )
  7. Toss in sugar mixture directly from the oil (as long as your oil is hot enough, they will not be very greasy at all )

Serve warm.

This is definitely a special occasion treat, but they are so good. If you want to be extra decadent, drizzle chocolate sauce over them. (Melted coconut oil, cocoa powder and powdered sugar mixed together and drizzled warm.)

Chipotle Hummus (with peanut butter option)

melomeals chipotle hummusHummus, plus the smoky heat of chipotle equals something quite amazing! I created this recipe years ago after tasting a commercial brand and it was definitely one the most popular recipes on Melomeals.

I use home cooked chickpeas and reserve the cooking liquid. I usually pressure cook the beans which creates an amazing, buttery texture. I like to make the hummus with the hot beans and hot liquid, but if you use canned beans, you can heat up the beans and their liquid. If you use a 29 oz. can of chickpeas, you will have some left over for another use. If you don’t want to heat everything up, that’s OK, but the flavors won’t be quite as deep.

Chipotle Hummuscollardwraphummus

  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 t Tony’s creole seasoning
  • 1/2  t cumin
  • 1/2 t coriander
  • 2 c HOT chickpeas (reserve ½ c cooking liquid)
  • 1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 T tahini or peanut butter
  • 2-4 T chickpea cooking liquid as needed or Olive Oil if you aren’t watching  your calories
  • Juice of 2 limes ( around 3 T )
  • ¼ c chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  1. Pulse garlic and Tony’s in food processor until garlic paste is formed
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until totally smooth
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add more lime juice if needed.

If you add a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast, this hummus takes on a nice, cheesy flavor and works well in burritos or enchiladas. I like using it in place of salad dressing, as spread on burgers, stuffed in a collard with avocado and sprouts; the possibilities are endless. It has been a crowd pleaser at parties and is all around a great staple to have on hand. It will keep for 1 week providing you NEVER double dip or use a spoon that has been used in something else. It also freezes well, so you can make a double batch and pop it in the freezer. Cook once, eat twice, or more!

3 Ingredient Vegan Veggie Burgers

blackbeans2014

This was one of my most popular recipes on my Melomeals blog. Fortunately, I have backed up most of my recipes and will be sharing some of them here.  I am copying this directly from the post. I created this during my Vegan For $3.33 a Day days. If I sound a little defensive towards the end of the post, it is because I used to get a lot of emails and comments about whatever type of food I was blogging about and I knew that people would freak out about the Onion Soup Mix. Even though I specifically asked people not to comment on it, I still, TO THIS DAY get comments and emails about it.


Today I am going to share a recipe that has some processed product in it. I avoid these types of foods most of the time, but sometimes they come

in handy for me and I’m sure that some of my readers will feel the same way. The ingredient is Onion Soup Mix.

The other day I went to the store with $3.33 cash in hand. I wasn’t sure what I was going to buy for the day, but  onions were on the agenda. I

could have bought 5 lbs of onions for 2.99 which is what I usually do. That usually lasts for 2 weeks. I wandered around the produce aisle and

saw a huge bunch of kale for $1.69. That went into my basket. I had a decent stash of dried beans at home and I planned on making some soups and

burgers, but I needed onions for those. Buying the onions would put me over my budget. I didn’t want to buy smaller amounts and pay so much more

per pound, so I ended up getting some Onion Soup Mix instead of the onions

I decided to create super simple Veggie Burger Base that can be used as is or dressed up and turned into a sausage patty or bean ball.

Don’t leave out condiments! Check out my Lower Fat Vegenaise Alternative, Chipotle Sauce and Sugar Free Ketchup recipes to dress these babies

up!

Serve a side of my Low Fat Potato Salad and you’ve got yourself a delicious, stick to your ribs meal.

3 Ingredient Veggie Burger Base

3 Cups HOT Beans (HOT means TEMPERATURE)
2 Cups old fashioned oats (rolled oats, uncooked)
1 envelope onion soup mix
Hot bean liquid if needed to bring the mixture together

Method:

Mix everything together
Let mixture cool
Form into patties and cook over medium heat in a cast iron skillet for 5 minutes a side

Here’s a video of what the mixture should look like:

Meatballs

½ batch Veggie Burger Base
½ t oregano
1 t garlic powder
Pinch ground fennel
¼ t rubbed sage or pinch sage powder
1 t balsamic
Pepper
Form into balls and microwave for 10 minutes. You want these to be hard, dry and not edible when you’re finished. Simmer in sauce for 10

minutes before serving.

balls2014

In anticipation of your questions:

Yes, the bean mixture needs to be hot.
I really do mean to microwave the bean balls until they are hard as rocks. The texture when reconstituted is much better when you do it this

way. You can bake them, but they will be mushy.  If you must bake them, do so at a low heat, say around 250 until they are very dry. I haven’t done it, so I’m not sure how long it will take, maybe an hour? Let me know if you try it and how it worked out for you.
I use home cooked beans and cooking liquid which has not been salted. I think canned beans in addition to the soup mix would be too salty.
You can use whatever kind of beans you like, make sure they are very well cooked and HOT!
You can bake the burgers, but they will  be very dry. The cooking methods I use in my recipes are generally tailored to the specific recipe.

A baked veggie burger will be a much wetter mixture than a stove top burger. If you still want to bake this burger then add more bean liquid

than you think is necessary.
If you don’t have onion soup mix, you can use couple T soy sauce and a couple T onion powder.
If you are offended by said onion soup mix the don’t make the recipe! It is not necessary to email me warning me of the dangers of processed foods!

How To Build A Raw Kale Salad

rawkalesalad2014

I have made A LOT of Raw(ish) Kale/Collard Salads in my days!  Having worked in two restaurants that were inside of health food stores, I had access to a lot of produce all of the time, so depending on my mood and ingredients on hand, I have sort of a template, which I would like to share with you.  Most of my recipes are really just templates I color with this spice or that grain, etc.

Basic Raw* Slaw

  • 4 cups sturdy leafy greens (kale, mustard, chard, collards, spinach, escarole)
  • 2 cups red or green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or citrus juice
  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive, sesame, flax, coconut)

Massage together for 5 minutes or until the veggies start to break down

You are essentially ‘cooking’ the greens here and not paying attention to flavor. The carrots/onions add a nice dimension to the greens as they break down, creating a vegetable broth.

The greens are super juicy now and I take advantage of that juice and don’t drain it. If you want a cleaner flavor, just strain for 5 minutes before proceeding.  I like to add some of these ingredients that soak up the juice and create a delicious dressing without a lot of extra oil (add around 1/4 cup each or 1 cup all together)

  • toasted sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  •  toasted dried coconut
  • nutritional yeast
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • dried mushrooms
  • raisins
  • dried cranberries
  • apricots
  • toasted walnuts
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • crystalized ginger
  • chopped apples or pears (Dried would be great too)

Spices:

NO matter what I’m doing, I always add a small pinch of nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds.

You can add 1/2 teaspoon of these:

  • Basil, marjoram and rosemary for an Italian Salad (great with sun dried tomatoes, walnuts and nutritional yeast)
  • Lemon Pepper, Coriander and Curry for Indian Slaw (great with coconut, and raisinis)
  •  1/4 teaspoon Cardamom,  1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (with pumpkin seeds and crystalized ginger, apples and raisins)

Other ad ins:

  • 2 cups seasonal fruit
  • avocado (this creates an amazing creamy yummy dressing!)
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Herbs  (basil, cilantro, mint, parsley or whatever you have on  hand)
  • Various Raw Veggies  (Broccoli, peppers, celery, sprouts, lentil sprouts, anything you have that needs to be used)

Finally, taste and add to taste:

  • Soy sauce/tamari/braggs or
  • Seasoning Salts
  • Pepper
  • Acid (vinegars, citrus juices, tamarind umeboshi)
  • Your favorite spices
  • More nutritional yeast
  • Your favorite oils (I add more oils last… and usually the best quality oils I have..)
  • Hummus or your favorite bean based spreads

You basically want to get a nice balance of savory, acidic, sweet, crunchy..

*rawish because not all the ad ins are raw

  • Make sure your hands are VERY clean before making this salad
  • This will keep (as long as you NEVER double dip or use the same tasting spoon) for up to 4 days in the fridge.

I hope you play around with what you have on hand.  That is how the BEST creations are made.

Do you have a favorite Raw Kale Salad?

White Bean Borscht

borscht

Borscht

  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 t caraway seeds
  • 1 T dried dill
  • 4 t  smoked paprika
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 10 cloves garlic, pressed
  • ½ c carrots , diced ( 1 small )
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1.5 t salt
  • Pinch pepper
  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and diced. Wash and chop beet greens ; set aside.
  • 4 c cabbage, shredded
  • Reserved beet greens
  • 2 c  waxy potatoes, diced ( around 2 medium )
  • 15 oz can canellini beans, drained or 1.5 cups cooked beans
  • 6 c good quality vegetable broth ( lo w sodium )
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T fresh dill

    1. In a heavy bottomed 8 qt pot over medium heat, warm spices in the oil for 20 seconds. Ad onion, garlic, carrots  and tomato paste along with salt and pepper.
    2. Sauté for 10 minutes stirring well or until the vegetables are fragrant.
    3. De-glaze with apple cider vinegar
    4. Add beets, cabbage, beet greens, potatoes , beans and broth. Turn heat to medium-hi and cover.
    5. Cook for 35 minutes. While soup is cooking, caramelize shallots
    6. When soup is finished, stir in apple cider vinegar, soy sauce and fresh dill

This soup is delicious topped with Vegan Caramelized Shallot Sour Cream.

Vegan Caramelized Shallot Sour Cream Dip

sourcreamshallot2014
Vegan Caramelized Shallot Sour Cream

Caramelized Shallot Sour Cream

  • 2 cups shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or cooking spray
  • Pinch salt/pepper
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 14 oz. soft tofu
  • 2 tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp umeboshi vinegar
  • Salt to taste

  1. Use a cast iron skillet over low heat
  2. Add shallots, oil, salt/pepper, paprika and sugar
  3. Cook for 30 minutes or until very brown.
  4. Stir often
  5. Let mixture cool
  6. Add shallots to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Allow mixture to chill for several hours before serving.

This is a delicious accompaniment on baked potatoes and to White Bean Borscht.