Tag Archives: asparagus

Dorm Room Dinners: Indian Feast

This is the first of a series of posts I’ll call “Dorm Room Dinners,” even though sometimes, it might be lunch. The point being to give you a look–or taste!–at how easy and delicious it is to be vegan, even on a dining hall meal plan in college. Sure, the quality’s not comparable to what you could produce living at home with your own kitchen (plus, I feel like, a year and a half into being vegan, my cooking skills have gotten to the point where I usually prefer my own handiwork to the meals I get–and pay more for–when I eat out anyways). Still, with a little creativity, dining hall food can be quite enjoyable.

Here’s a recent lunch from Pomona’s dining hall, Frary (it’s our “Harry Potter” dining hall…see for yourself!)

I got some Indian-spiced mixed vegetables (cauliflower, celery, carrots, potatoes, green beans, and onions) and stewed lentils from the regular buffet line, and steamed asparagus from the “Farm to Fork” vegetarian/vegan section. I brought them back to my dorm room in my reusable plastic take-out box, and rounded out the meal with half a microwave-nuked sweet potato (I know, I know, but I don’t have an oven!), drizzled with coconut oil, cinnamon, and sea salt.

Life could be worse.

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Sweet Potato Soup, White Bean Hummus, Pretty Pasta, Fruit Tart, and Pudding Cake

Sometimes there’s just no way to group the subject of your post into anything more than an eclectic title. This post is kinda just a buildup of the past couple days, so you’ll just have to deal with it!

A couple days ago, I made the Nutty Sweet Potato + Kale Soup from Kath Eats Real Food after seeing La Belle Vegan enjoy it! :) I followed the recipe except I added a Tbs of PB into the actual soup because, well, why not?!

This soup is insanely wonderful. It’s really thick and creamy, and it has so many yummy ingredients–sweet potatoes, peanut butter, vanilla, raisins, kale, garam masala–what’s not to like? Don’t let the fact that vanilla and kale are in the same recipe scare you! Also: it tastes way better the next day!

Next up are a few things I made for a dinner party for our friends, the Levenbergs (This is a little shout out to you guys if you read this! We had so much fun last night!). For an appetizer, I made the White Bean Hummus with Thyme and Basil from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan (and Dreena just posted the recipe on her blog. Coincidence?), and my sister and I made homemade whole wheat pita chips for dipping (just cut up some pita into triangles, brush it with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and garlic powder, and bake at 350ish for 20 or so minutes, flipping halfway through).

It comes out a lovely pale, almost sea-foam, green color, and it tastes as good as it looks! Bursting with the flavor of fresh herbs.

The main course was Whole-Wheat Shells with Asparagus, Peas, Feta, and Mint from the April issue of the Vegetarian Times. I’m always a bit skeptical making magazine recipes because I feel like they’re not as tried ‘n true as cookbook ones and I’ve had a couple so-so magazine meals, but I’m glad I went for it here because this dish came together beautifully. I used Sunergia Mediterranean Herb Soy Feta (I wanted to make my own–there’s a recipe for almond feta in the same issue, but I neglected to notice that it had a shiitake load of prep time until the day of, so that was a no go). On a quick side note, I can’t recommend Sunergia enough! Their feta is possibly the best soy cheese I’ve ever had in terms of how well it resembles the real thing. It has a nice salty, tangy bite to it, and the same crumbly texture. Definitely try it out if you can!

My favorite part of this recipe was that every ingredient was green. Asparagus, peas, basil, mint, green onions. The varying verdant shades were really gorgeous, and the dish was light and fresh.

For dessert I made the Fruit Tart from the Joy of Vegan Baking. It has a Shortbread Crust (with only 3 ingredients!) that is brushed with jam (I used strawberry), topped with Pastry Cream (I made the banana variation, which I highly recommend), decorated with fresh fruit, and finally, glazed with more jam. Here she is half naked:

And fully clothed:

You almost don’t want to cut it up. Almost.

Last, but not least, and from a completely different night, Chocolate Banana Pudding Cake! I know, I know, calm down. Try to resist jumping up and down with excitement. This is a recipe that will be in Dreena Burton’s new cookbook that she was kind enough to let me test as a veganversary present of sorts. Thank you so much, Dreena! I wasn’t able to make it for my veganversary because of school work at the time, but I made it last night to celebrate my 21st birthday…3 weeks late, haha. It probably seems weird that I made my own birthday cake, but I love baking so much, that it would have been torture for me to sit back and watch someone else make it! I’d never made a pudding cake before, and the concept of pouring boiling chocolate water over a pan of cake batter just prior to putting it into the oven was intriguing to me.

Here it is fresh out of the oven:

You’d never know there was any pudding-y goodness lurking under there, would you? At least until…

Wha-BAM!

God bless you, Dreena. My mom said this may have been the best vegan dessert she’s ever had–and with me as her daughter, she’s had A LOT–and I just might have to agree.