Posts tagged appetizer

Black Bean Chili, Quinoa, Kale, and Squash Fritters

My Garden Grows Squash Fritters with Creamy Dill Sauce

Community Garden

The community garden outside my office. My department's plot is in the back center.

Fritter Veggies

Fritter Veggies


Well, not literally… but I did just harvest my first squash from the new community garden at work. The facilities team built a fenced-in garden with one above-ground plot for each department. It’s a wonderful job perk, and one that really helps me out, since I have an apartment with no ground space to grow veggies and very little sun on my porch. So far, I am growing yellow squash, green and red bell peppers, tomatoes, banana peppers, basil, mint, parsley, okra, and chives. This is my very first garden! :-)

In honor of my squash harvest, I decided to make a meal around squash fritters. I found a squash fritter recipe at This Primal Life that I heavily modified to make the patties more colorful and crunchy.

Squash Fritters with Creamy Dill Sauce

Fritter Ingredients

  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 fresh ear of corn kernels
  • 1 tsp Lowry’s seasoned salt (or regular salt)
  • 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed mixed with 1 tbsp. water (as egg replacer)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. parsley, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp. chives, chopped fine
  • dash chili powder
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • dash pepper
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil for frying

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup Vegenaise
  • 1 tbsp. dill
  • splash apple cider vinegar


Combine sauce ingredients in a small dish and mix well. Refrigerate until fritters are ready.

Wash the squash and zucchini, chop off the ends of each, and grate through a cheese grater. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and let sit for 10 minutes. If you have a cheesecloth, drain the grated squash through it, otherwise, do like I did and squeeze the squash with your hands to drain it. There was quite a bit of water, and you want to get out as much as you can. You can use a clean washcloth or napkin to press more water out. Next, heat the coconut oil in a frying pan on medium to medium-high heat. As the oil is heating, combine the grated squash in a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients (green onions, bell pepper, corn, flaxseed mixture, garlic, parsley, chives, chili powder, flour, and pepper). Mix thoroughly with a spoon. Once the oil is hot, use your hands to make patties about three inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. Place the fritters one at a time on the end of a spatula or slotted spoon and carefully drop into the oil. My fritters took about 3 or 4 minutes to brown nicely on the bottom. Once they are browned, turn them over with the spatula and fry another 2 or 3 minutes. Drain on a clean kitchen towel. Drizzle with dill sauce when ready to eat.

To accompany my fritters, I made quinoa, steamed kale, and black bean chili from a PCRM database recipe. The meal was outstanding if I do say so myself. I’m looking forward to more yummy squash meals from my garden.

Fritters Fritterin'

Fritters Fritterin'

Black Bean Chili, Quinoa, Kale, and Squash Fritters

Black Bean Chili, Quinoa, Kale, and Squash Fritters


Vegan Spinach Artichoke Casserole

Spinach Artichoke Casserole

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Casserole

My dad came home from a potluck the other night, raving about the spinach artichoke casserole his friend Joan McAllister had brought. It was like a spinach artichoke dip you would normally eat with pita chips as an appetizer, but instead you bake it with fried onions on top like a green bean casserole. Ingenious!

So I decided to try a vegan version, which nixes the parmesan/asiago cheese and instead uses a powdery faux parmesan recipe that comes from La Dolce Vegan. The result is a delightfully crunchy-on-the-outside casserole with a creamy spinach underbelly. To be honest, I don’t think the faux cheese added much flavor, so next time I might even leave it out. You could use Daiya I suppose, but either way, this is a great vegan side dish. Thanks for sharing, Joan!

Spinach Artichoke Casserole


  • 2 10 oz boxes of frozen spinach, prepared and drained
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium onion, sauteed in butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 can artichoke hearts or bottoms
  • 8 oz sour cream (I used Tofutti vegan sour cream)
  • 1/2 cup asiago or parmesan cheese (I used the vegan parm recipe below)
  • 1 can French’s fried onions

Vegan Parmesan Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Vegan Parmesan Directions:
Combine in food processor and grind until thoroughly mixed.

Casserole Directions:
Mix the spinach, onion, artichoke, and sour cream together. Put half of it in a buttered casserole and top with cheese; repeat. Top with French’s fried onions. Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes.

Sushi Night


Salty Edamame

Sushi makes a refreshing yet satisfying meal, but I never tried to create my own at home because it seems complicated. Well one night my tummy rumblings won out over my fear, and I decided to make edamame, vegetable tempura, and three different vegan sushi rolls.

First off, conquer your fear of making beautiful and delicious sushi by watching the Hippy Gourmet’s step-by-step video. I love this guy and his tie-dye video graphics. He uses some ingredients that you may not have, but the beauty of sushi is trying different flavors, so go with what you’ve got. A couple things not mentioned in the video: 1. If you don’t have a bamboo mat, you can use a placemat covered with saran. 2. It is crucial to use sushi rice – other types of rice don’t get sticky enough to adhere to the nori. Okay, on to the food…


1 bag edamame, frozen, in pods
2 tbsp salt

Boil a pot of water with 1 tbsp salt. Add edamame and boil for about 5 minutes, or follow instructions on the bag if you’re using frozen. Drain the edamame, place in a bowl, and salt. That was easy!

Tempura batter: (recipe from The Flying Vegan)

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 tsp. mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup ice water
  • 1 cup broccoli crowns
  • 1 yellow squash, 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1 zuchinni, 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1 sweet potato, 1/2 inch thick slices
  • 1 cup okra

Tempura instructions: Heat about an inch of oil (canola or corn work well) in a frying pan over medium high heat.  In a medium bowl, combine batter ingredients and mix well. Using tongs, dip each veggie into the batter and then immediately place in oil. Veggies should take around 3 to 5 minutes to turn crispy and golden brown. Then, remove veggies from oil with tongs and place on a plate covered with a paper towel to soak up excess oil.

Veggie Tempura

Veggie Tempura

Sushi ingredients:

  • 3 sheets toasted nori
  • 2 cups sushi rice
  • 1/4 cup crushed roasted macadamia nuts
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced into strips
  • 1/4 cup tempura sweet potato (from recipe above)
  • 1/8 cup diced green onions
  • 1 carrot, sliced into strips
  • 1 tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/8 cup esame seeds

Cover a place mat or bamboo mat with saran wrap. Lay out one sheet of toasted nori, wet your hands, and add a handful of rice to the nori sheet, pressing rice down as you go. Leave about an inch of rice-free nori at the top edge. The rice is very sticky, so keep wetting your hands if you’re having a rice catastrophe. Next, lay out a thin strip of each vegetable down the middle of the nori, parallel to the rice-free edge. Once you are done adding ingredients, use your place mat to gently roll the nori into a cylinder. You can wet the rice-free top edge of the nori, so that when the edges meet, they will stick together. Remove the place mat and you should have an adorable cylinder of sushi goodness. Cut into rolls about 1.5 inches wide, or about 6 pieces per cylinder. Add sesame seeds to garnish. Repeat this process with other ingredients to make different rolls. I made one cucumber avocado roll, one avocado macadamia nut roll, and one sweet potato tempura with vegan mayo roll.

The sushi is ready to eat! Serve with soy sauce, and wasabi and pickled ginger if you have it.


Avocado Cucumber Roll

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