Vegan Quinoa Fritters with Mushroom Gravy

 

From the back: Quinoa fritters, Sweet Potato Fritters, Potato Croquetas

 Everyone loves a fritter, everyone. When it’s fried up, quinoa creates a crispy crust that’s very satisfying. It’s a nice addition to any table and a great dish to share. People love fritters! Make them half the size for a tasty appetizer. If you’re avoiding gluten, use a gluten-free flour and substitute macerated crispy rice cereal for the breadcrumbs.

Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 24 minutes, plus quinoa cooking time Makes 12 fritters

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/2 cup for frying
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced carrot
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced parsley or cilantro
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and sauté onion, carrot, celery, pepper, and garlic until translucent, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, flour, salt, pepper, and parsley or cilantro. Mix well. Squeezing the batter together firmly, form mixture into twelve 3-inch fritters (24 if you want mini-fritters).
Add 1/2 cup olive oil to sauté pan and heat over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Fry
the fritters in small batches until golden brown, less than 2 minutes per side. Serve with Creamy Mushroom Gravy.
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Classic Pasta Checca with Fresh Tomatoes (Va Va Va Vegan!)

This sauce is à la minoot (that’s French for minute) and very lightly cooked. Fresh tomato sauce is a must-have recipe for every chef’s repertoire, especially during tomatomania season which is 10 months out of the year here in sunny California. Make it on the full moon, when basil is said to have extra romantic powers (oo la la) , and serve with some crusty bread and a green salad for a simply delicious meal.

It’s important to salt the cooking water so the plain pasta absorbs the salt while cooking. Nobody likes flat pasta.  Be sure to undercook it a bit too, about a minute less than recommended. These two simple things will make you a better chef in an instant.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes, including pasta cooking time Serves 4 to 6smallparties

Ingredients

1 pound pasta of your choice
2 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, Italian or heirloom preferred, cut into hearty chunks

1 tablespoon cornstarch
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup coarsely chopped or torn basil
Nu Cheeze –  to taste

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just barely al dente. Set aside a cup of pasta water, then drain and set pasta aside while you make the sauce.

To velvetize the tomatoes, place them in a large bowl and sprinkle on cornstarch, add 1/4 cup pasta water, and stir to combine. Place a large skillet over high heat, add olive oil, and heat until almost smoking. Add garlic and give it a quick stir, avoiding any browning. Add velvetized tomatoes (with liquid) and stir to combine. Add salt, sugar, and balsamic vinegar and stir again. Bring sauce to a boil and thicken for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce is too thick, thin with additional pasta water. Add cooked pasta, stir to combine, and toss with the basil.  Done!

Serve  Nu Cheeze on the side.

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