The Loma Prietan - November/December 2011

Cooking Green

Sensational Plant-Based Recipes on Sierra Club Food Sites

story and photo by Kay Bushnell

Tasty spiral sandwiches with colorful fillings are always popular
Tasty spiral sandwiches with colorful fillings are always popular

Some of the best sustainable, plant-based recipes can be found on Sierra Club web sites. The recipes are wholly plant-based, with nutritious and delicious ingredients that are easy on the environment. Food lovers will enjoy these hearty and flavorful dishes for all kinds of entertaining as well as everyday meals.

The coming months are filled with holiday meals and gatherings with family, friends and co-workers. A constant on all of these occasions is food, food that we expect to be especially delectable during the holiday season.

Those who are committed to sustainable plant-based consumption relish the opportunity to share favorite foods based on grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts with their guests. The bonus for everyone is that these foods are healthy and nutritious as well as earth friendly. Look forward to enjoying flavorful, plant-based dishes made from well-tested recipes at sustainable social events.

You will find recipes for the food mentioned here at the following Sierra Club sites. The initials after the name of each dish indicate which site has the recipe for that dish. Once at the site, simply click on the name of the dish to see the complete recipe.

LP = lomaprieta.sierraclub.org/loma-prietan/collections

SC = sierraclub.org/sustainable_consumption/recipes/

Savories. Drop-in events often call for food that fits on small plates. Make several spreads based on olives, beans (such as garbanzo beans, black beans, and white beans), sun-dried tomatoes, nuts, and seeds. Find easy spreads and dips in plant-based cookbooks such as Veganomicon, May All Be Fed, and The Conscious Cook, as well as on Sierra Club sites. Blending roasted red bell pepper or fresh basil into easy-to-make Creamy Hummus (LP) can embellish it visually and add an intriguing, rich taste. Serve the spreads with a variety of crackers, chips, fresh bread slices, and raw or lightly steamed veggies. Spreads such as Creamy Hummus (LP), Pine Nut and Almond Pate (LP), and the Veggie Pate that accompanies this article can double as fillings for attractive and popular rolled sandwiches made with lavash bread. Egg-Free Salad (LP) and Mock Tuna Salad (LP) are delicious fillings for traditional sandwiches made with sliced bread and can be cut into four triangular mini-sandwiches.

Creamy Pasta Primavera (LP), French Onion Pie (LP), and Planet-Friendly Lasagna (LP) are ideal entrees for a buffet. If your event features soups and muffins, take a look at the beautiful soups and quick-bread recipes on both Club sites mentioned above.

Frozen meat-free meatballs found at natural food markets are available in three varieties: Original, Mushroom, and Italian. See Saucy Meatless Meatballs (LP) for a sweet and sour sauce that transforms these plant-based balls into elegant appetizers to serve with toothpicks.

Most plant-based cookbooks have recipes for mushroom caps that can be stuffed ahead with a vegetable or nut-based filling, baked, and served hot. Mock Crab Cakes (SC) is another tasty appetizer to serve hot. Tortilla Pie (SC) is a fun dish to share with others. Prepare it ahead and heat it just before serving.

Sweets. Choose proven recipes that are easy to make ahead. Bake a loaf of Pecan, Date, and Orange Bread (LP), slice it, and serve with cream cheese alternative found in the cold case in your natural foods market. Cranberry-Orange Scones (LP), especially when formed into miniature triangles, are very pretty and hearty. If you want an especially festive cake to grace your buffet, set out Cranberry-Orange Cake (SC) on an elevated, stemmed cake stand. When the cake is sliced, the fresh cranberries look like colorful jewels embedded in the slices. Pre-slice pieces in place to make it easy for guests to serve themselves. Pear Pecan Torte (LP) is another luscious dessert.

Chocolate lovers will gravitate to a platter of rich-tasting Chocolate Cherry Cookies (LP) and Blissful Brownies (LP). Both are easy to make ahead.

If you are planning a seated event with a full meal, you will find many delicious, wholly plant-based soups, hearty salads, and flavorful main dishes at both of the sites mentioned above.

Chapter member Kay Bushnell has taught plant-based cooking and has appeared as The Garden Gourmet in a community access television series.