Savory Veggie Bread Pudding

Savory Veggie Bread Pudding
Serves 4 as a main dish

  • 4 slices whole grain bread, stale is fine
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill leaves (or 1/3 the amount dried dill)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 cups raw chopped vegetables, any/all of the following: small cauliflower florets, broccoli florets, peeled diced eggplant, thinly sliced zucchini, diced red bell pepper, halved or quartered mushrooms, corn kernels (may use frozen or canned, drained), seeded and diced tomatoes (may use canned diced tomatoes, drained)
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 2-quart baking dish.

Tear bread into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with dill, paprika, thyme, salt, black pepper; toss to evenly distribute. Drizzle in 2/3 of the milk and stir to moisten; set aside.

In a large covered skillet, place 1 1/2 inches of water and a steamer basket. Steam cauliflower (if using) 7 minutes; transfer to bowl with bread, mix and set aside. Steam broccoli (if using) 5 minutes; add to the bowl, mix and set aside. Steam eggplant (if using) 3 minutes; add to the bowl. If using canned or frozen vegetables, add them to the bowl, mix and set aside.

Remove steamer basket and drain skillet. Heat oil in skillet on medium and sauté onion until translucent, 3 minutes. Add zucchini, bell pepper, and fresh corn kernels if using, and sauté until softening, 5 minutes. Transfer sauté, and fresh tomatoes if using, to the bowl, mix and set aside. Add mushrooms to skillet and sauté until liquid has been released and evaporated, and mushrooms are browning, 7 to 10 minutes; transfer to the bowl.

To vegetable mixture add remaining milk, mozzarella, and mayonnaise; mix well. Transfer to prepared pan. Sprinkle top with paprika. Bake until top is golden and edges are crusty, 35 to 40 minutes. Brown top under broiler 4 to 5 minutes. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes, then cut and serve.

Lentil Rice Soup

Lentil Rice Soup
Serves 8

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, de-stringed and chopped
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups vegetable broth (or water + bouillon)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes including liquid
  • 3/4 cup brown rice and/or wild rice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped, 1 bunch spinach, chopped, or 1 (16 ounce) bag baby spinach
  • French or Italian bread, for serving

In a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven combine broth, tomatoes, rice, salt, pepper, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then add lentils. Cover and simmer until rice is tender, 45 to 55 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil on medium and sauté carrots until softening, 10 minutes. Add celery and onion and sauté until onion is translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until aromatic, 1 minute. Add sauté to simmering saucepan. Adding greens: add kale or regular spinach in the last 10 minutes of cooking time; add baby spinach when soup is done, and stir to wilt. Serve soup with bread.

Vegan Options: The New Normal at Restaurants

"Barbecue joints and other restaurants that usually cater to ardent meat-eaters are starting to offer meat-free meals, because they don't want to be vetoed by mixed parties because there aren't enough options for the vegan diners." (read more)

"Basil" the Baby Snail


I found this little guy and three of his friends while picking basil for the last pesto of the season. They agree, my basil is delicious! I don't mind sharing.

Italian Winter Stew

Italian Winter Stew
Serves 6 to 8

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 diced sweet onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 5 potatoes, diced 1-inch
  • 1 small acorn squash, peeled, seeded and diced 1-inch
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano or marjoram leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil leaves, or 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 to 8 packed cups de-stemmed and chopped kale
  • 1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Italian bread, for serving 

Heat olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan and sauté onion until golden, 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until aromatic, 1 minute. Add wine and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes including liquid, broth, potatoes, squash, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil, then stir in kale. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in cannellini and red kidney beans and simmer 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with Italian bread.