Tempeh Lentil Soup with Freekeh

I know, I’ve brought up the topic of freekeh on my blog before, and I hope you’ve checked it out. But if you haven’t tried it yet, now you can take part in the Whole Grain Sampling Day!  Even that day might be new to you, as it was to me.  It’s a day set aside to encourage all of us to eat more whole grains.

As you might have guessed, I’m taking on freekeh as a personal mission. First off, it’s fun to say! According to what I’ve read, it’s an ancient Middle Eastern grain that is popular in  many regions, with many different pronunciations. I’m taking that to mean you can’t go wrong in how you say it, which adds to the fun factor. The grain comes from young, green wheat, which is sun-dried and rubbed to yield small grains that remind me of barley. It’s available in a whole form and a cracked form. In my experience, they can be used interchangeably, as long as they are cooked according to the package directions. The taste is a little smoky and slightly nutty, and it’s packed with protein and fiber. I’m fortunate in being able to pick it up at Whole Foods locally, but if you can’t, it’s worth buying it online. Check out Freekehlicious  and Freekeh Foods for more information and recipes. And check back here every Friday in March for a new recipe featuring my latest favorite find.

Although Celine and I know our way around most whole grains (yes, we wrote Whole Grain Vegan Baking), it’s always exciting to encounter new vegan ingredients. Join others on April 2nd in trying new whole grains! And join in a discussion on whole grains and Whole Grain Vegan Baking with the Dr. Don Show, Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 6 PM Eastern!


Tempeh Lentil Soup with Freekeh

Tempeh Lentil Soup with Freekeh

Lentil soup is always a favorite, but with a tempeh bacon base layer and the addition of the toothsome freekeh, the lovely lentil soars to new heights.  With soups being such a comfort food, this is an ideal way to try freekeh. Keep in mind that cooked freekeh can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 8 days, making it ideal for quick and easy meals throughout the week.

1 tablespoon high heat neutral-flavored oil

1 (6 ounce) package tempeh bacon, chopped

1/2 medium onion, minced

1 large carrot, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1 cup small cauliflower florets

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup French green lentils

6 cups water

2 teaspoons vegan  vegetable bouillon paste

1 tablespoon tamari

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke, optional

1/2 cup cooked cracked freekeh

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the tempeh bacon and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned. Reduce the heat to medium, and add the onion through (and including) the tarragon. Stir and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the lentils, water, bouillon paste, tamari, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 to 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Stir in the freekeh, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Yield: 4 servings



Tahini and Radish Freekeh Salad

I’ve been cooking with feekeh a lot lately. It’s an amazing ancient grain that I’ve just recently been seeing in stores. Freekeh is made from young green wheat which is roasted and thrashed to remove the berries.  It’s slightly nutty in taste with a texture similar to barley. For the full nutritional breakdown, check out the Freekehlicious page. 

I’ve been able to find freekeh in both natural food stores and well-stocked groceries, but I wouldn’t hesitate to order it online if that was my only source. I’ve fallen in love with it, and think you will, too. I’ve been using whole freekeh, but if all you can find is cracked (like some of my West Coast friends), get it! Just follow the cooking time on the package.

Expect to see more recipes for it here on my blog, as well as in the book  that Celine and I are currently writing which is a protein book. I wish I’d known about this wonder grain when we were writing Vegan Finger Foods!

Tahini and Radish Freekeh Salad


Tahini and Radish Freekeh Salad

Healthy and satisfying, this protein-packed salad will keep you energized for hours. I love the pairing of the roasted radishes, which become almost sweet, with the crunch of the fresh ones, all made better since it’s on peppery arugula.  If you prefer a spicier dressing, feel free to add 1 to 2 teaspoons sriracha to the salad dressing.

1 large scallion

2  watermelon radishes, about 8 ounces  (can also use breakfast radishes, or the spicier red radishes)

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon tahini

1 tablespoon tamari

1 teaspoon sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups prepared whole freekeh, cooled

1 medium carrot, grated

1/2 cup (1/2-inch pieces) snow peas

Salt and pepper

4 large handfuls baby arugula

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Chop one of the radishes into 1/2 inch cubes. Put the scallion and the chopped radish into an 8-inch pan. Drizzle with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until the radishes are very lightly browned and starting to look slightly shriveled, 25 to 30 minutes.  The scallion should be limp and a dull green. It may take slightly less time than the radishes.

Put the roasted scallion in a small blender. Add the vinegar, tahini, tamari, sugar, and garlic. Process until smooth. Put the freekeh, carrot, and snow peas in a medium-size bowl. Pour the dressing over the freekeh mixture and stir to coat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, thinly slice the remaining radish. Put a handful of arugula on each plate. Place 3 to 4 radish slices off center in a line. Divide the salad evenly between the flour plates, also in a line.

Yield: 4 servings


Kite Hill Cheese: White Alder Mini Review with Stuffed French Toast

To say I was excited to learn that our “local” Whole Foods (it’s an hour away) started carrying Kite Hill cheese would be an understatement. I’ve been a fan of Tal Ronnen since he was the consulting chef for Chrissie Hynde’s VegiTerranean restaurant, which sadly, has closed. Personally, I don’t care for Gardein (Tal Ronnen helped in creating it) for all the reasons that many others are: it’s too “real” for me. However, that is what makes it such a successful gateway food, and I’m sure it has helped to influence some vegan-curious eaters, as well as being an convenient and easy go-to for busy vegans.

So when I heard he was tackling cheese, I was particularly hopeful. If his Gardein was too much like the real thing for me, would his cheese also be a close duplicate? At least as far as this brie-style cheese goes, my answer would be a resounding yes. With a perfect rind, and a delightfully French tasting funk (thanks to the aging of the cheese, I think), this creamy cheese is the ideal bread and spread brie that I remember from the old days.

The cheese is a little pricey ($11.99/6 ounces) at our Whole Foods, so I’d probably save it for special occasions. The homemade version are a fraction of the cost, but for authenticity and old world flavor, it’s totally worth the splurge. Make this decadent and delicious french toast for your sweetie: with it’s creamy and slightly sweet filling, it’s a sure way to show your love.

Stuffed French Toast


Brie-Stuffed French Toast

6 (1-inch) slices stale french bread

6 slices White Alder Cheese (or other vegan brie-style cheese)

2 tablespoons natural organic jam of choice

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons nondairy milk

Neutral flavored oil, for cooking

Pure maple syrup, for serving

Using a sharp or serrated knife, cut a pocket in each slice of bread parallel to the cut sides. Do not cut all the way through the bread. Tuck a slice of cheese in the pocket and spread the inside of the pocket with 1 teaspoon jam. Squeeze closed. Continue until all the french toast is stuffed.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in shallow pan. Add the milk and stir together. The batter should be thick and may be lumpy.

Heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge each bread slice in the flour mixture, then put into the skillet. Cook for 3 to 5  minutes, until golden brown. Turn over to cook the second side in the same way.  Serve immediately.

Serves 2 to 3

Jammin’ Quinoa Crumb Cake

You can tell when I’m nearing the end of writing recipes for a book. I tend to go in a different direction, and also show up here on the blog again. Celine and I are putting the finishing touches on our protein book, and are eagerly awaiting the release of Vegan Finger Foods. 

Coming soon!

So I’m playing in the kitchen, not always writing the recipes down. Luckily, I did have a pen nearby for this one! Although the cake looks very decadent (and tastes it!), it’s a wholegrain treat with the perfect texture. Just look at that crumb!  For the jam, I used a pomegranate-raspberry blend that added a sweetness and a bit of tang, all made better by the crunchy quinoa streusel on top of it all. I don’t think you could go wrong with any natural, organic jam.  Enjoy a piece for breakfast, or as a the ideal side to a cup of tea in the afternoon.

Jammin’ Quinoa Crumb Cake


Jammin’ Quinoa Crumb Cake


1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

3/4 cup quinoa flour

1/4 cup almond meal/flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup plain unsweetened nondairy milk

1/3 cup melted refined coconut oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


2/3 cup natural and organic jam

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

3 packed tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons quinoa

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons melted refined coconut oil

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper. Whisk together the flours, sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a medium-size bowl. Stir in the milk, coconut oil, and vanilla until combined. The mixture will be thick. Spread and press it into the baking dish evenly. Spread the jam evenly over the dough.

To make the streusel, combine the flour, sugar, quinoa, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the oil, and stir until mixed. Spread the mixture on top of the jam layer, gently pressing it in. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, the center should not be jiggly. Pull a bit of the paper away from the crust to be sure it is lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting.

Yield: 1 (8-inch) cake


“Fried” Ice Cream with Raspberry Sauce

Way back in 2007, I posted a photo of a “fried” ice cream I’d been playing with. Rather than actually being fried, the ice cream is coated in a corn flake mixture. It’s got a sweet, crunchy coating, which is only made better by the luscious raspberry sauce and drizzle of chocolate syrup. This one truly looks fancy pants, and certainly couldn’t be easier. If it’s just too easy for you, make your own ice cream!

As an added bonus, this can be made gluten-free. In fact, that’s the way I’ve been making it since discovering a fantastic ancient grain corn flake. I’m lucky: my ice cream was soft by the time I got home, so I didn’t have to wait to get this into the muffin cups. But if you have some already in the freezer, just take it out and let it soften until it can be scooped easily. To make it soy-free, choose a dairy and soy-free ice cream instead. No matter how you decide to make it, this is the ideal dessert for Valentine’s Day.

“Fried” Ice Cream

“Fried” Ice Cream with Raspberry Sauce

1 quart vanilla (or other) nondairy ice cream (my favorite for this is So Delicious Vanilla)

1 cup vegan corn flakes

2 tablespoons coconut crystals (see note)

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 (6 ounce) packages fresh raspberries, more for garnish if desired

1 to 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, to taste

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

Vegan chocolate syrup, for serving

Line 8 cups of a muffin tin with plastic wrap. Scoop the ice cream evenly into the 8 cups and place another piece of plastic wrap on top. Using your hands, press the ice cream to compact it into the cup and remove any open spaces. Freeze for 1 hour or longer.

Put the corn flakes in a large ziplock-style plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, crush the flakes into small pieces. Add the sugar and cinnamon, and shake to combine. Take one ice cream disk at a time and warm it very slightly with your hands. You only want a minimal of melting, but enough for the cereal mixture to adhere. Roll each disk in the crumbs, pressing them into the ice cream to cover them completely. Return the ice cream to the plastic-lined muffin tin and cover well with plastic wrap. Place in the freezer. The ice cream can be frozen like this for up to 2 weeks.

Put the raspberries in a small saucepan and add 1 tablespoon maple syrup. If the raspberries aren’t very sweet, add the remaining maple syrup to taste. Whisk the orange juice and cornstarch together in small bowl. Pour into the raspberries and cook over medium-low heat. Cook and stir until the berries are broken down and the mixture is thick. Let cool before using. The sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

To serve, spread about 3 tablespoons of raspberry sauce on each plate. Top with an ice cream disk and drizzle with chocolate syrup. If desired, add a few raspberries for garnish.

Yield: 8 servings (enough for a couple to celebrate Valentine’s Day 4 times!)

Recipe Note: When Celine and I were working on Whole Grain Vegan Baking, we worked with coconut sugar a lot. For some reason, it’s sweeter before it is baked or cooked. That makes it the perfect sweetener here, but feel free to use any dry sweetener of your choice.