Vegan Pesto Rice

Vegan Pesto Rice
Though I do not follow a strictly vegan diet, and likely never will, over the past several years I have found myself more and more inclined to make most of my dinners vegan only. As much as I do enjoy cheese, this move towards vegan meals hasn't meant sacrificing anything in the way of flavor and satisfaction — if anything, it's honed my creativity and seasoning abilities. Even when I'm craving one of my old favorite non-vegan dishes, I can often turn it into something vegan that's just as good.

One of my long-time favorite side rice dishes has always been an easy stovetop pesto rice loaded with fresh grated Parmesan cheese, reminiscent of the creamy and chewy texture of risottos. Craving it again, I revisited the recipe, but decided to make it vegan without losing any of the elegant simplicity, flavor, and texture of the original. This version uses a combination of miso and my easy homemade nut-based vegan Parmesan cheese to recreate the flavor of the rice and keep its creamy consistency. I didn't miss the cheese at all, and this vegan pesto rice is probably going to be my go-to pesto rice from now on. As always, my recipes are guidelines and can easily be adjusted to suit the preferences of the cook, so feel free to use dairy Parmesan if desired.
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Rustic Italian Bean and Vegetable Soup

Rustic Italian Bean and Vegetable Soup
Northern Italian winters may not have the frigid weather that we have here in Canada, but Mediterranean soups are as warming and comforting as anything you could want when the temperatures are plunging outside. The delicious flavors in this thick and hearty winter soup come from nothing more complicated than an assortment of vegetables simmering with tomatoes and beans with just a little garlic — nothing could be simpler or more satisfying. Served hot with a loaf of fresh crusty bread on the side, and you have the perfect meal for the coldest nights.

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Toor Dal and Spinach (Toor Palak Dal)


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
oor Dal and Spinach

I used to make this simple but colorful and exotic dal curry every few weeks years ago when my repertoire of vegetarian recipes was far more limited than now. But I never minded. The creamy combination of warm, sweet and nutty toor dal cooked with tangy tomatoes, tart lemon juice and earthy spinach greens is as delicious as it is simple. Served over a bed of fresh hot cooked rice, or with some flatbreads, it is an easy and wonderful meal for any season.

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Savory Indian Potato Cakes


Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Savory Indian Potato Cakes
Indian savory appetizers are always a delight, and while I ordinarily don't fry foods in much oil, sometimes I will make the exception when I'm making Indian savories at home for the extra crispiness that cannot quite be matched with oven-baked methods … like with these golden Indian potato cakes that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside because they're made with mashed potatoes.

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