Sausage, Bean, and Spinach Soup (slow cooker)

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

I like this recipe because it includes a “meaty” vegetarian sausage. I know. An oxymoron. A contradiction in terms. Perhaps…but this sausage is tasty and nutritious!  Continue reading

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Beefless Stew with Sofrito (slow cooker)

For a complete meal serve with a rice or pasta side.

Aromatic and savory, sofrito is a condiment, a sauce, and a base for many Caribbean dishes from countries such as Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. In short, it is versatile. And it is flavorful. Super flavorful. Sofrito is a condiment, a sauce, and a base for many Caribbean dishes from countries such as Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. In short, it is super versatile. And it is flavorful. Super flavorful.

Sofrito has its origins in Spanish cuisine and typically consists of onions sautéed in oil with ingredients like garlic, hot and/or sweet peppers, tomatoes, and herbs such as cilantro, culantro, and oregano. Some sofritos are red, others are green, some are chunky, and others puréed.

My version is pureed and vegetarian. I substitute Gardein Beefless Tips for beef. It is tasty, easy to use, and most of all it has the texture necessary for a slow cooker recipe.

Stew Ingredients:
1/2 cup yellow onion (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
2 packages Gardein Beefless Tips
2 cups red potatoes (not peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes)
15-ounce can diced tomatoes
½ cup pitted green olives (such as Lindsay Naturals)
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups Sofrito (make ahead – see below*)
¼ cup water

Stew Directions:
Set slow cooker heat to low.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes. Add onions/garlic to slow cooker. Stir in balance of ingredients (Gardein Beefless thru water).

Cook for 3½ hours. Prior to serving, taste and adjust for salt (if necessary). Serve with a side of rice and fresh garden salad. See it in my new slow cooker cookbook at Amazon.

Note: This recipe makes about 5 cups of stew. It can easily be doubled if you need more!

* Sofrito Ingredients:
2 medium Spanish – or yellow – onions (cut into 1-inch chunks)
4 cubanelle peppers (seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks)
18 medium cloves garlic (peeled)
1 large bunch of cilantro (washed and chopped)
4 leaves of culantro
4 ripe plum tomatoes (cored and cut into 1-inch chunks)
2 medium red bell peppers (seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks)
Salt to taste 

*Sofrito Directions:
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cubanelle peppers and sauté until onions are soft. Place onions and cubanelle peppers in the bowl of a 6-cup food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until very coarsely chopped.

With the motor running, add the remaining ingredients one at a time through the feed tube and process until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to container and store in refrigerator until ready to use. It will keep on the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days and much longer if frozen. 

Note: If you can’t find cubanelle peppers, substitute Anaheim chilies. Culantro, although similar to cilantro, is not the same as cilantro. On the Westcoast, look for culantro in Asian food markets.

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Panko-Portobello Mushroom Burger

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Lightly fried Portobello coated with crispy panko breadcrumbs.

A few weeks ago Robin and I ate at the relatively new Ojai Harvest restaurant in downtown Ojai. I had their Grain Bowl and Robin ordered the Veggie Burger made with a crispy breaded mushroom patty. She let me have a bite of her burger and when we got home I immediately began deconstructing it because it was that good. Continue reading

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Alphabet Soup (slow cooker)

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Still can’t find the “Y” so I’m going with “CHEF”.

As a kid, I couldn’t wait for mom to make alphabet soup for Saturday lunch. I looked for pieces of macaroni to spell out “RANDY” and was usually disappointed that I couldn’t find a “Y” to complete my name. Then I was disappointed that the soup was no longer hot when I got around to eating it. See it in my new slow cooker cookbook at Amazon. Continue reading

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Minestrone Soup (slow cooker)


Minestrone is a thick soup containing vegetables and pasta. The word originated from the Italian language word minestrare, which means to serve.  Continue reading

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Mulligatawny Soup (slow cooker)

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Mulligawtany Soup shown with fresh grated apple.

Mulligatawny is the Anglicized version of the Tamil words for “pepper water” or “pepper broth.” Continue reading

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Kohlrabi Soup

Kohlrabi (baby)Kohlrabi is a crispy, crunchy alien-looking vegetable that you can prepare in more ways than you ever thought possible. Don’t be put off by its appearance even if it does look like someone teleported a Martian vegetable right into your kitchen. Continue reading

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