Tag Archives: Tomatoes

Thanksgiving 2012

It was good to have the family together after too many years and to celebrate with some flexibility in my eating habits.  😉

For breakfast I made pumpkin-cranberry scones from a mix from Trader Joe’s (had to get some pumpkin in somewhere)

My Dad made a ham, so I tried to think of hearty vegetarian entrees that would complement that.  I decided that pineapple would go well with sweet potatoes (much better than the classic/gross marshmallow topping) and then found this lovely recipe for pineapple upside down sweet potatoes.  It was wonderful!


I also made my Nine a Day Salad, which is always a hit. 

and some collard greens with pecans



some simple garlic mashed potatoes (made with soy milk)

cornbread stuffing mix from Trader Joe’s to which I added sauteed onions and celery + corn kernels

My sister made the classic/delicious green bean casserole: a huge crowd pleaser.  My Mom made Pilsbury crescent rolls and 2 pies: apple and pecan.

Everything was absolutely delicious!  I was thankful for an abundance of good food and family.


Caribbean Home Cooking

The other day my friend Yaina made a lovely Cuban/Puerto Rican meal for me!

Black Beans and Rice, Tostones (Savory Fried Plantains), and Avocado-Tomato Salad

Just bragging.  That’s all.

Pollock Potluck

Inspired by this photo of me at the Chicago Art Institute:

…my awesome neighbor across the hall suggested a POLLOCK POTLUCK.  We decided to skip the cigarettes and beer.   And went with veggies instead.  I know.  I know.  A vegan tribute to Action Jackson.  The man is rolling in his grave.  We spent more time talking about Peggy Guggenheim, Gertrude Stein, Frida Kahlo, Emily Dickinson, and Hatshepsut than Pollock.  But we ate some really good spaghetti squash that kind of looked like his famous paint splatters.  It was pretty much amazing.

Jenny made a delicious salad of cold steamed green beans, apples, oranges and walnuts over a bed of lettuce with citrusy vinaigrette.

I made Spaghetti Squash with Vegetable Ragout from a cookbook called The Gluten-Free Vegan Cookbook by Susan O’Brien.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place 1 spaghetti squash (about 2-3 pounds) directly on the oven rack and bake until soft, about 1 hour.  Remove and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  • While squash is cooking, place a large skillet over medium heat and pour in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add 1 large onion, medium zucchini, and 3 cups chard, all finely chopped, and saute for 8 to 10 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup roasted red pepper, 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, and 4 cloves garlic, chopped.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon capers, and cook for another minute or 2.  Add some fresh or dried basil and 1/8 cup red wine (or red wine vinegar) and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Cut the squash in half.  Scoop out the seeds and discard.  Then scoop out the noodly flesh and place it in a large bowl.  *Note: I will probably drain the squash halves upside-down on some paper towels before scooping next time.  Mine came out a bit soupy.*  Toss with the vegetable mixture.

  • 1 spaghetti squash: $3.98
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil: $0.05
  • 1 large onion: $0.33
  • medium zucchini: $0.70
  • 3 cups chard: $0.89
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper: $0.76
  • 4 ounces cremini mushrooms: $0.99
  • 4 cloves garlic: $0.20
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes: $0.89
  • 1 tablespoon capers: $0.50
  • dried basil: $0.05
  • 1/8 cup red wine vinegar: $0.10

=$9.44/6 servings = $1.57/serving!

I also made some vegan parmesan to sprinkle on top.  This was inspired by my friend Kristin’s recipe.  She had told me the ingredients but not the amounts, so I winged it.  I just put the following in my food processor:

  • 3/4 cup raw cashew pieces: $1.13
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast: $0.60
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder: $0.05
  • a pinch of dried crushed red pepper: $0.01
  • 1 tablespoon lemon pepper (add some salt too if your lemon pepper is the salt-free kind): $0.15

Then pulsed it until it resembled the texture of parmesan.  EASY!

=$1.94 for about 1 cup of faux parmesan

I would say that this meal qualified as a masterpiece.


Spaghetti Bolognese

This week I was craving a nice, comforting bowl of pasta.  I turned to an old favorite recipe for vegan bolognese sauce:


The secret weapon here is textured vegetable protein (TVP).  It provides a remarkably meaty texture and soaks up whatever flavored liquids you use to re-constitute it.  The soy sauce here gives it a dark color and meaty depth of flavor.  Best of all, TVP is a CHEAP source of protein.  It doubles in size when re-constituted, and a cup of dry TVP, at just over a dollar, is certainly cheaper than a pound of ground beef (and I seriously doubt that your family would notice the difference).

This time around I added a stalk of celery along with the other veggies; I used one tablespoon of Italian seasoning in place of the herbs listed; and I subbed a can of Trader Joe’s Marinara sauce for the crushed tomatoes + tomato paste.  Mushrooms would be a good addition.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil: $0.05
  • 1 onion: $0.25
  • 1 carrot: $0.08
  • 1 stalk celery: $0.12
  • 2 garlic cloves: $0.10
  • Italian seasoning: $0.15
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes: $0.05
  • 1 cup textured vegetable protein: $1.08
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce: $0.18
  • 1 cup vegetable stock: free (homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast: $0.30
  • 1 (28 ounce) can marinara: $1.79
  • ½ cup fresh parsley: $0.59
  • 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti: $1.39

=$6.13/6 generous servings


Can you imagine how much you would pay for this big plate of pasta in a restaurant?

Enjoy with a glass of red wine.  It pairs well with a cheap merlot, like 2-Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s

Also, here’s an old photo from when I first made this a couple of years ago:

It’s a photographic dish, and it tastes even better than it looks!  Buon appetito!

Cabbage, Potato, and Tomato Soup in the Crock Pot!

Another winning recipe from my friend DeAnna!:


D suggested adding the juice and zest of one lemon plus 1/4 cup of golden raisins to help the “good sour.”  I did add the lemon juice but not the raisins.  I also added a can of white beans for protein and 3 choggia beets.  I omitted the butter/margarine and just threw everything in my crock pot and cooked it on low for 9 hours.

  • 1 onion, chopped: $0.25
  • 3 potatoes, diced: $0.71
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped: $0.36
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced: $0.15
  • 4 cups veggie broth: free (homemade)
  • 1/2 head cabbage: $0.75
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes with basil, undrained and chopped: $1.99
  • 1/2 cup ketchup: $0.16
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce: $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning: $0.05
  • 1 can white beans: $0.89
  • 3 choggia beets: $1.39
  • 1 lemon: $0.50

=$7.25/12 servings


Cheap, low in calories, and still comforting on a snowy February night, it doesn’t get any better than this!

Tomato-Rosemary Scones

I used to live near a Whole Foods, and I got addicted to these savory Tomato-Rosemary Scones from their bakery.  Needless to say, I was thrilled when I found the recipe in the book Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (* I have successfully made these gluten free by using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour and adding 1 teaspoon xantham gum)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 13 cup olive oil
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary , chopped (about 4 sprigs)
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper.
  • In another bowl, combine wet ingredients and rosemary.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid. Gently mix with a wooden spoon.
  • When the batter is loosely holding together, turn it onto a lightly floured work surface and gently knead until a soft dough forms. DO NOT overmix. Some patches of flour are good. Add a little extra flour if the dough seems sticky. Divide dough in two and form each section into a 6-inch disk. Slice each disk into six pieces (cut in half and then cut each half into thirds). OR if you are lazy like me and don’t need your scones to be pretty, you can just scoop the dough into 8-12 mounds on the cookie sheet (like drop biscuits).
  • Place scones on the baking sheet and bake 14-16 minutes or until the tops are firm. Remove and let cool a bit on plate or cooling rack. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

I think some chopped sun-dried tomatoes would be a nice addition to the dough.

I like to serve these with either Earth Balance brand non-hydrogenated margarine or Trader Joe’s brand vegan cream cheese.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour: $0.15
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder: $0.06
  • ¼ cup sugar: $0.04
  • salt and pepper: $0.01
  • 13 cup olive oil: $0.27 (Isa says you can use canola to make it even cheaper)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce: $1.79
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar: $0.03
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary: $0.99

=$3.34/12 scones


If I remember correctly, the Whole Foods bakery was charging $2.50 per scone.  That’s almost ten times more!!!

Nine-A-Day Salad

I don’t normally use a recipe when I make salad, but it’s definitely worthwhile in this case: http://www.food.com/recipe/nine-a-day-salad-382136

This salad is chunkier and heartier than what I usually come up with on my own.  It’s a real crowd pleaser, my go-to salad for parties/potlucks, so I knew exactly what to do when my Aunt Julie asked me bring a salad for a family dinner.

I always double the recipe for a crowd.  This time around I used tarragon instead of basil, doubled the olive oil (oh yeah!), and used one whole yellow bell pepper instead of two different colors.  I also subbed sunflower seeds for the almonds because that was what I happened to have.  I like to let it marinate in the dressing for a couple of hours before serving.  Everybody always asks me, “What kind of dressing did you use?”  and I take pleasure in responding, “homemade.”  The truth is, though, that vinaigrette is super, super simple to throw together.


  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar: $0.32
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice: $0.24
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon: $0.02
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano: $0.02
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped: $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon salt: $0.01
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil: $0.20

=$0.91 for about five ounces of salad dressing or $0.18/ounce

Newman’s Own dressing is $3.99/16 ounces on their Web site, or about $0.25/ounce.


  • 2 cups broccoli florets: $0.90
  • 1 yellow bell pepper: $1.26
  • 4 slices red onions: $0.12
  • 1 can chickpeas: $0.89
  • 1 cup carrot, sliced: $0.16
  • 1 zucchini, sliced: $0.70
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced: $0.50
  • 16 cherry tomatoes: $0.66
  • 4 cups spinach: $0.99
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower seeds: $0.16

=$7.25 for a gigantic bowl of salad with dressing/7 servings

= $1.04/serving

…or I imagine it could feed 4 people as an entree, which would be $1.81/serving.

Julie set up a pasta bar, which was a fun idea.   She had different fresh chopped veggies and meats set out and let each person make a bowl of raw ingredients, which she sauteed, then added pasta and (choice of red or white) sauce: kind of like a Mongolian barbecue restaurant!  She very thoughtfully cooked mine first to avoid meatamination.
I chose garlic, red onions, yellow squash, and two(!) kinds of mushrooms.  She also made yummy garlic toast.
It was fun to catch up with the ladies over some comforting food.