Vegan MoFo Orange Week – Sweet Potato Power


Good morning!  I am kicking off my day with a lovely orange breakfast of diced fresh mango:

sweet potato cakes 005Since I published a post fairly recently that was dedicated exclusively to my love for mangoes, I will not be working with them for Vegan MoFo.  Nonetheless, I am eating this one as I’m posting, so I thought it was okay to at least give a shout out!

Today I want to instead talk about sweet potatoes!  This is one of my favorite foods.  They are so versatile, and their gentle sweetness and soft, creamy texture  bring balance to savory meals.

Last night I used sweet potato to create Gingered Sweet Potato and Black Bean Cakes.

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Yield: 7 medium cakes, or 10-12 smaller cakes
Time: 25 minutes or less
(This recipe has been given the omnivore seal of approval by H.  In fact, he took all of the leftovers to work for lunch today.)

You need:
1 cup of black beans, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato
1/2 of a medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. whole wheat bread crumbs (or panko) (omit for gluten-free option)
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
1/16 tsp. cayenne (optional)
Pink salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cooking spray

To Make:
First, use a fork to lightly mash the beans, then place them in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  You want to mash them just until no whole beans remain, but not so much that they come to resemble a paste.

Next, bake your sweet potato.  [For weeknight cooking, I recommend using the microwave (blasphemy, I know, but it’s SO much faster).  To do this, scrub the potato and poke it a few times with a fork, then place it on a plate and microwave for 3 minutes.  Test it by poking again with the fork.  If the fork enters easily, it’s done.  If not, continue to microwave it at 30 second intervals, testing each time, until it is cooked.]

While the sweet potato is “baking,” warm the olive oil in a medium or large skillet, then saute the onion in it until translucent (about 3-4 minutes).  Add the sauteed onion to the bowl with the mashed beans.

When the sweet potato is done, allow it to cool slightly, then use a spoon to scrape out the lovely orange flesh.  Mash it with a fork and then add it into the mixing bowl.  (My sweet potato yielded a little over a cup of mashed goodness.)

Add the breadcrumbs and all of the spices, including the grated ginger, to the bowl and mix well.  Taste the mixture for seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Lightly spray a medium or large skillet (I used the same one I had cooked the onions in) with cooking spray.  Using a 1/4 cup measure, press the mixture into the palm of your hand and shape it into patties.  Place patties one-by-one on the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

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Serve with your favorite grain, or as a sandwich with condiments of choice.  Enjoy! I ate mine with quinoa and steamed broccoli, and H enjoyed his together with a scoop of quinoa on a hamburger bun .

And actually, after the photo, I made a sriracha-tahini sauce that was absolutely delicious spread on top of the cakes (it’s just 1 tbsp. tahini with 1/2-1 tsp. sriracha stirred in).  I also tried one with ketchup and it was even better; for some reason the ketchup really brought out the gingery flavor!

Don’t be afraid to get creative with these. 🙂

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Roasted Veggiepalooza

Is it still pigging out if you’re bingeing on vegetables?

I went a little crazy at our farmstand last week. I got sweet potatoes, parsnips, and Brussels sprouts, and decided to try something new-to-me: cheddar cauliflower! I filled two whole baking sheets with vegetables, which I tossed with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and finely chopped garlic.

Everything came out perfectly roasted–tender and just slightly caramelized–and the house smelled so good!

I couldn’t have imagined a more delicious dinner–a big bowl of roasted fall delights.

Also I loved the cheddar cauliflower! It is much like regular cauliflower except that it has a lovely orange hue and also a slightly earthy aftertaste, much like cheddar cheese. Delicious! I will definitely buy this again.

I still have a giant butternut squash on my counter and am open to suggestions as to what to do with it…

Peace o’ Vegan Heaven

I almost started jumping up and down the other day when I saw this post on Peace o’ Pie’s blog.  Vegan Brunch…must try.  And try I did.  Gorged myself is actually more like it.  Here is a recap:

From the buffet line:

Clockwise from top left, you see: curried tofu, tempeh bacon, smoky mac n cheese, sweet potato home fries, a paprika zucchini potato pancake, and a gluten-free cinnamon walnut pancake (sort of hidden by the potato pancake…sorry!). 

The tofu and the latke were my favorites.  I wish I had gotten more tofu!  The mac n cheese was quite good as well–just in appearance alone, it’s one of those “I can’t believe it’s vegan!” foods.  I mixed a liberal amount of chili garlic sauce into the mac to make it perfect.  Sweet potato home fries, check.  Cinnamon walnut pancake–a bit heavier/denser than I’d normally like, but I am also not accustomed to gluten free eating so maybe it comes with the territory.  Flavorful though, and I enjoyed the big crunchy walnut pieces in it.  The tempeh bacon was the only thing I wasn’t thrilled with; that said, I have tried and failed to love tempeh in the past so my opinion is not terribly weighty on whether this was good or not.

But then there was this:

A cinnamon bun with strawberry cream cheese frosting

Holy crap.  Besides being incredibly photogenic, this thing was delectable.  I ate half of it early in the day with my brunch and the other half for dessert later on.  A finger-lickin’ delight, and I can’t wait to go back for more!

I have alot more to say about Peace o’ Pie in a future post (in  my draft folder right now…along with everything else ever. Sigh.)  All you need to know for now is that it’s friggin’ awesome and any vegans that visit Boston should make it a point to stop in!