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Baked Breakfast Polenta

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I was inspired by a recipe for baked polenta fries and a recent travel experience where I ate a fried polenta bread for breakfast.

To make my baked breakfast polenta, first cook polenta (cornmeal) in salted water according to the instructions on the package until thick. Next, mix in seasoning.

I made two variations. One was sweet, with liquid stevia and corn kernels added, and was served with sprinkled sugar and cinnamon, fruit compote, or maple syrup.

The second was savoury and contained coriander leaves (cilantro), corn kernels, and green chilli.

Next, the mixture should be spooned in to a lightly greased dish. Either a baking pan or a flat-bottomed bowl will do. It needs to sit for at least an hour to cool, but as a breakfast dish it’s best done the night before.

Preheat the oven to 200° C/375° F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. The now solid mix can be cut into shapes, either freehand or using a cookie cutter. Brush oil on both sides of the polenta. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning the polenta once.

If you are short of time, you can pan-fry it instead until it is lightly browned on each side, but this will use a bit more oil.

Sweet Corn Ginger Soup

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I got this recipe from Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry. Corncobs are used to make a broth, while onion, celery, garlic, ginger and paprika powder are cooked in a bit of oil. The vegetables are then simmered in the broth, along with coconut milk. Finally the soup is blended and the corn kernels are cooked briefly in it. It is topped with coriander leaf (cilantro).

The recipe calls for straining out the vegetable mash before adding the corn kernels. This makes for a light, creamy soup.

However, I liked it better with the mash retained, which makes for a richer soup and a brighter colour.

Light Pasta Salad

To make this pasta salad, I first soaked a handful of cashews in warm water, before blending them with a little water, one small clove of garlic, a bit of nutritional yeast, and half of a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. I then cooked the pasta, along with the carrots and broccoli, which I did not want to eat raw.

While the pasta and vegetables were cooking, I rinsed some tinned corn, sliced olives, chopped yellow and red sweet peppers, chopped cucumber, and chopped parsley. I rinsed the pasta, broccoli and carrots in cold water to chill them, then mixed them with the remaining vegetables, the cashew sauce, black pepper, salt, and olive oil.

Obviously the vegetables can be changed to taste – I meant to add some frozen peas to the pasta just before draining, but discovered I had run out – as the main thing about this dish is that it has a very light sauce instead of a heavy mayonnaise one that is typically found in pasta salads.

Pad Kee Mao

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This recipe for drunken noodles (which contain no alcohol) is from Thailand. It was good, but a bit too oily for me.

I have never been fond of baby corn, so I chose to replace it with ordinary corn.

 

Quick Vegetable Biryani

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I made this according to a friend’s recipe. It contains shredded cabbage, peas, carrot, green beans, mint and corn, which I added in greater proportion than his recipe called for.

Recycling Soup

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After rehydrating shiitake mushrooms for gyoza, I had a nice, earthy broth. I also had the stalks of the Chinese cabbage left over. From the broccoli stalk soup, I had the top of the broccoli. I also added carrot, corn, salt, pepper and savoury to make this soup, which I topped with a little parsley.

Kidney Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

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This kidney bean and butternut squash soup is perfect for autumn. I really appreciated the inclusion of cinnamon and cumin seeds. I chose to include the latter whole instead of crushed. I opted for fresh tomatoes instead of tinned ones, but had to use tinned corn instead of fresh. I used dried kidney beans which I soaked overnight and cooked before using. I used vegetable stock and skipped the pumpkin seeds.

The original recipe calls for topping the soup with feta. It’s quite tasty without feta; there is no reason this won’t work perfectly as a vegan recipe.

Sautéed Corn and Spinach

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I used the vegan version of this recipe, with salt instead of shrimp paste.

Vegetable Pie with Butterbean Mash

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Origin

I’ve been making quite a few Greek dishes, and I love the creaminess of beans cooked in olive oil. This recipe made me think of making the beans into the mash in a pie-style dish. I am sure you could vary this with a different combination of vegetables, depending on what you have available.

Ingredients

  • 800 grams (cooked weight) giant white beans
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 200 grams potato
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 handful of dried mu-err mushrooms
  • 150 grams tinned corn, drained and rinsed
  • 250 grams mushrooms
  • 2 handfuls of frozen peas
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon seaweed flakes (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • salt to taste

Process

Soak the mu-err mushrooms for at least half an hour in cool water and rinse them well before using.

Soak the beans overnight if using them dried. Cook in a little water with all but 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft. If you are using canned beans, drain and rinse them and add them to a pan with enough water to cover and all but 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add salt and fresh thyme and simmer the beans for half an hour. Drain the beans, reserving the liquid. Remove and discard the thyme stems.

Mash the beans, using one tablespoon of olive oil and some of the reserved cooking water. Add salt to taste. Set aside.

The reserved bean liquid should measure about four cups. Reduce it if there is too much.

Dice the potato, carrot and tomato and put them to simmer in a pan with the reserved bean liquid. Dice the celery, mushrooms and mu-err mushrooms and add them to the pan.

Dice the onion and cook on medium-low heat in a frying pan with the remaining tablespoon of oil until soft and just beginning to brown. Add the onion to the other pan, along with the peas and corn. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius/350° Fahrenheit. Cook until the carrots, potato and celery are soft and the tomatoes have dissolved.

Add nutritional yeast, seaweed flakes, Worcestershire sauce and salt to taste. Drain the vegetables, reserving the liquid. Put the vegetables in a square baking dish.

Put the cornstarch in a small bowl and add liquid to blend. Mix the slurry into the pan. Let the liquid cook down until thick, then pour it over the vegetables.

Top the vegetables with the bean mash and cook for 30 minutes, until the bean mixture is just starting to turn golden on top.

 

Warm Corn and Bean Salad

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Origin

I cooked too many kidney beans one day and needed to use the leftovers, so I made a variation of rice and beans with vegetables without the rice.

Ingredients

  • 400 grams cooked and rinsed kidney beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 250 grams corn kernels
  • 1/2 green chili (optional)
  • 1/2 pimenton or other sweet red pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons taco seasoning mix
  • 1 spring onion (scallion) – green part only
  • a few sprigs of coriander leaf (cilantro)
  • salt to taste

Process

Dice the onion finely. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium-low and add the onion when it is warm. Cook the onion slowly until soft and beginning to brown, stirring frequently.

While the onion is cooking, chop the sweet pepper and the chili and set them aside. Chop the spring onion and mince the coriander leaf.

Add the sweet pepper and chili pepper to the onion. Cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the corn, kidney beans and taco seasoning. Adjust to taste with taco mix and salt. Cook just until the beans and corn are warmed through.

Serve garnished with the chopped coriander and spring onion.