Dragon Bowl

The Dragon Bowl is a menu staple at New York City’s Angelica Kitchen. It’s hearty, delicious, and colorful.  After a holiday of binge eating and too many sweets, this is a clean meal that makes you feel healthier just looking at it. Choose whatever steamed vegetables and beans you have on hand or are in season.

Dragon Bowl

Serves 2


2 cups cooked brown rice
1 bunch greens, i.e. kale, collards, or chard
1 can black-eyed peas, rinsed or 2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (or bean of your choice)
2 cups cooked seasonal vegetables. We used sweet potatoes. Other options include broccoli, squash, cauliflower, etc.

Miso tahini dressing
1 T tahini
1 T miso
3/4 cup warm water
1 t dill

Wash and cut greens into bite sized pieces. Steam about 5 minutes until bright green.

Cook your seasonal vegetables. If using sweet potatoes, poke holes in them using a fork and microwave on high for about 5 minutes, turning once at 3 minutes. If using broccoli, cauliflower or summer squash, steam until tender, about 5 minutes.

To make the sauce, combine miso and tahini then slowly add warm water. The sauce will thicken at first. Smooth out lumps, then add remaining water and dill.

Fill two bowls with half of the rice, greens, beans, and seasonal vegetables, then pour dressing over to taste.

Tropical French Toast

Years ago there was a restaurant in my town that did a great vegan brunch menu. Hands down the best thing on the menu was its Hawaiian French Toast. French toast is delicious, but it’s also really easy to mess up. This morning I decided to try to recreate the French toast I enjoyed so many years ago.

I used this recipe and substituted 1/2 cup of the soy milk with pineapple juice strained from a can of pineapple chunks. After cooking the French toast until browned, I put it on a baking dish and kept warm in an oven on 350 while I made the topping. I put a can of pineapple chunks — including the remainder of the juice — in a pan on medium heat. Once the juice started bubbling, I added 1 tablespoon of flour to thicken up the sauce.

Next, I removed the toast from the oven and topped with the pineapple reduction and toasted coconut. Now I just need a tropical breeze and a vegan pina colada to top the day off.

Squash scones?

We’re being overrun with squash, which is not a bad thing, but coming up with ideas for different ways to use it is not always easy. I used to work at Starbucks and gazed longingly for hours at their pumpkin scones. Frosted to perfection the fact that they weren’t vegan was my only saving grace. Using that as my inspiration, I went on a quest this morning to make my own vegan version using slightly less icing. I found this recipe online and used it as the basis for my recipe.

Instead of pumpkin, I used kabocha squash which is sweet and a great replacement. I used whole wheat flour instead of spelt and had to increase the milk (I used soymilk) by about ½ cup. Add it gradually until the dry mixture is moist enough to stick together. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out if you add too much, so do it a little at a time.  The verdict:  Probably not as sweet as Starbucks’, but they’re fresher and healthier. 10 out of 10 say they’d eat them again. Or at least two of us.

And hey, we’re down 1/3 cup of squash. Now what to do with the rest of it?

Chile soup

Chile soup is one of my dad’s specialties. The spicier, the better. If you have roasted chiles, it’s quick and easy to make and paired with tortillas, makes for a filling meal. My parents sent me home with a bag of Anaheim peppers on my last visit which I roasted and froze. Here’s how:

To roast the peppers, broil for about 20 minutes on 400 then turn, broil for another 10-20 minutes or until the skin is blistered. Remove from oven and put in a sealed container, sealing the lid to trap the moisture and heat. Once they’ve cooled enough to touch, wearing gloves remove one pepper at a time, remove seeds, and peel. Chop into one inch pieces.

Soup Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons canola oil or water
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 cup roasted, peeled Anaheim pepper, or to taste
2 potatoes, cubed into 2 inch chunks
6 cups water and a bouillon cube or 4 cups water and two cups of vegetable broth
1 package Boca crumbles, Morningstar Grillers Crumbles, Yves Ground Round, or TVP
Salt to taste (optional)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh cilantro (optional)

Sauté the onion in the oil or water on medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and sauté one minute more. Add the tomatoes, cumin, peppers, potatoes, and water or broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork. Add the crumbles and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add salt to taste and served garnished with cilantro.

Serve with fresh warm tortillas. I recently got this tortilla press which makes my tortillas more consistent in size and shape, plus it’s a little less of a mess to clean up than rolling them out on the counter. Just make a ball of dough, add some flour, and press!


Paella with vegan shrimp and sausage

On a trip to Spain in 2002, I recall eating a beautifully presented paella. I also recall trying to explain to the waiter that we did not want shrimp, fish, or sausage in it, which to him was simply incomprehensible. This colorful paella was made with vegan shrimp from Sophie’s Kitchen and Field Roast brand vegan sausage. These days, there’s almost nothing you can’t find in a vegan version.

Sophie’s Kitchen got its start because the owner was looking for an allergen-free alternative to seafood for her daughter. There are other good reasons to avoid eating sea creatures as well: like overfishing, which, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization , “is putting heavy pressure on the world’s shrimp stocks … and causing significant environmental harm.

Available in Whole Foods and other large natural stores, Sophie’s Kitchen’s products are all-vegan and free from most common allergens, like soy.