Choosing a vegan cooking style is a choice that requires dedication, perseverance, and determination. I tried this for a while and found that I really wanted eggs, butter and milk in my recipes. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it and find it to be just the right fit for your health goals and conscience. Colleen Patrick-Goudreau dedicates her book to all animals and each one’s innate loyalty, intelligence, gentleness, strength, playfulness and maternal instincts. We all know these things to be true about animals, but choose to forget them when the dinner bell rings. I love Colleen for speaking her truth and making me think differently about what I put on the table.
Colleen divides her book into chapters that reflect events like “Casual Meals for Four to Six”, or “Feasts for the Holidays”. If I am looking for something in particular I simply check out the alphabetical index at the back of the book. Something that is extra nice about this cookbook is that the recipes are marked oil-free, wheat-free and soy-free for those with allergies.
Every four or five pages there are photos in this cookbook. Generally, I prefer more photos, but I have come to really respect Colleen’s recipes and don’t worry about the finished look. I read the recipe title, glance over the ingredients and check out the serving suggestions and variations to see if there is something there that peaks my interest. I’ve made enough of her recipes to know that they are all marvelous, so I don’t feel I need a photo for each dish.
One thing I picked up from Colleen’s recipes is the idea of sauteing in water instead of oil. I’ve done this for years now and prefer to keep additional fats out a recipe if I can and this has been a good way to streamline a bit. She has also included a page on survival tips for friends and family of vegans. I understand this completely because my mother suddenly didn’t want to have us over for dinner, she wasn’t sure if we were going to have turkey for Thanksgiving, and I think she pretty much felt she’d never see us again since so many of our visits center around a meal. We finally settled on the idea that they shouldn’t worry about it. We would eat what we could of the things they offered and we just might bring along a dish of our own to share!
This recipe is very tasty and I’m sharing it because I want to spread the word about Colleen’s lovely book and healthy, tasteful recipes. This particular one is wheat-free and soy-free. (I add Smart Grounds – a meat substitute – to this recipe for added texture and to fool my boys that there’s meat in them!)
Courtesy The Vegan Table © 2009 by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Reprinted with author’s permission.
Elegantly Simple Stuffed Bell Peppers
- 1 cup water
- 6 bell peppers, preferably a variety of colors
- 3 tablespoons oil, for brushing and oiling baking dish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Water or vegetable stock, for sauteing
- 2 medium-size yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 can (16 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup raw almonds, finely chopped or slivered
- 2 1/12 cups cooked long-grain brown rice
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons raisins
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ground almonds
- chopped mixed fresh herbs, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. boil 1 cup water to pour around peppers in pan.
Halve peppers lengthwise, leaving stems intact, if possible. Scoop out seeds. Brush cut sides with 1 tablespoon oil, place them cut side up in a shallow, lightly oiled baking dish, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, until peppers are soft and easily pierced with a fork but still have their shape.
Heat a few tablespoons of water or stock in a large soup pot. Saute onions and garlic for 5 minutes over medium heat, until onion becomes translucent. Add tomatoes and raw almonds, and saute for another minute or two. Remove pan from heat and stir in rice, mint, parsley, basil, and raisins. Season well with salt and pepper, then spoon mixture into the peppers still on the baking sheet.
Pour 2/3 to 1 cup boiling water around the peppers, just enough to touch the base of each so they don’t burn. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Sprinkle ground almonds on top. Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes longer. Serve garnished with fresh herbs if desired.
Yield: 12 servings
Serving Suggestion: Try a combination of brown and wild rice, for added texture and color.
Visit Colleen’s website at The Compassionate Cook.
Visit this link if you are interested in purchasing The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.