more meatless meals matter

more meatless meals matter | vegan recipes Chef Gretchen Hanson


Whether you are hardcore vegan or just v-curious, we all know that more meatless meals matter and could use some new and exciting ways to cook vegetables and whole grains and new ways to infuse flavors into the dishes. The recipes below were each designed to impart a different technique. I tried to demonstrate the importance of a solid flavor profile balance: salty, sweet, spicy and sour. Each dish will have at least a subtle representation of at least three of these flavors. I strive to hit a grand slam on my more intricate dishes, but sometimes comfort foods are perfect with merely two. You decide what works best for you.

I have been teaching people how to regain their health and vitality through plant based cooking for over nine years now. Sometimes it will just be to one person, sometimes to hundreds. No matter where and to how many, the most common complaint to vegan food is that it just tastes too much like health food. (Vegan Treats aside…Yum!) I teach vegan cooking exactly like I learned to cook classical French cuisine. The only difference is that my mise en place (tools of my trade) are different, I use different ingredients, and I use different techniques to impart a wide variety of divergent flavors to each vegetable.

So, yeah, basically no similarities at all.



6 cups cooked garbonzos

2 medium onions, diced very fine

½ cup roasted onion

6 cloves garlic, diced very fine

5-7 carrots

2 TB safflower oil

5 tbsp olive oil plus more as needed

¼ cup lemon juice

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp coriander powder

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp garam masala

1 can coconut milk

3 Yukon gold potatoes in a 1 inch dice

1 large can fireroasted Muir Glen tomatoes or about 10 tomatoes oven dried overnight

1 cup vegetable stock

1 cup tomato juice


Clean carrots and oven roast them at a high heat with a little oil until caramelized and browning. In about a 400 degree oven they should take little more than twenty to thirty minutes. In a large skillet or frying pan, sautee onions and garlic in olive oil until soft, about 5-10 minutes. Allow to grow brown and caramelize. Add potatoes, roasted carrots, garbonzo beans, spices and tomatoes. Allow spices to grow aromatic.

Add vegetable stock, tomato juice, and lemon juice, cover, and simmer about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, add can of coconut milk and more stock if needed.






3 TB dark sesame oil

2 TB tamari

2 TB rice wine vinegar

2 TB sweet chili sauce

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 TB finely minced scallions

2 tsp grated fresh gingerroot

1 tsp siracha

2 large blocks firm tofu



Freeze tofu over night, then press tofu to remove excess water. Whisk all other ingredients together. Cut tofu into small blocks and cover with marinade for at least an hour or overnight.

Stir fry tofu or bake at 375 for 30 minutes.





1 cup dried Porcinis

1 tsp porcini dust

1 cup black Barley OR buckwheat groats

6 sliced Portabella Mushrooms or other wild mushrooms


½ cup roasted onions

6 cups vegetable stock

1 tsp white pepper

¼ tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cayenne


Put Porcinis in small pot of cold water and bring to a rapid boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Cool. Strain liquid to remove grit and chop Porcinis. Reserve liquid and porcinis Sautee Portabellas in olive oil over high heat. Cook barley over medium heat in 2 cups of vegetable stock till tender. When barley is tender add porcini stock, porcini dust, remaining vegetable stock, sautéed portabellas, onions and Teff. Bring to high simmer.  Season. Drizzle with Truffle oil.




2 bunches of kale about 2 lbs

½ cup extra virgin olive oil or garlic oil

6- 8 large portabella mushrooms

1 can of organic cannellini beans or one cup of cooked Umbrian lentils

3-4 cups vegetable stock

¼  cup dried porcinis

12 roasted garlic cloves (roasted in slow oven till soft)

1 cup caramelized yellow onion (sautéed in organic oil until browned)

1 tsp dried oregano or 1 TB chopped fresh

1 TB fresh parsley flat leaf Italian

½ tsp white pepper

½ tsp herbal sea salt or sea salt flakes

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes if desired


Infuse vegetable stock and porcinis for one hour over low heat. Strain porcinis, roughly chop and return to broth. Clean and rough cut kale, sautee over high heat in pan with garlic cloves and caramelized onions until wilted. Pour a little bit of vegetable stock in after kale is searing to wilt. Do only a handful at a time. Clean and slice portabellas and sautee over medium high heat in olive oil. Put all ingredients together in large saucepan add seasonings and herbs and let simmer till flavors meld.



1/2 cup rice wine white vinegar

2 tsp organic sugar
1/2 cup sliced cucumber (or any vegetable)
1/4 cup shallots, sliced
1-2 tsp chopped green chiles to your taste

Put vinegar, sugar and chiles in a pint jar, shake thoroughly, add sliced shallots and cucumbers. Mix ingredients and place in the refrigerator to develop flavors for a few days before using.



2 cups Basmati Rice

1 TB Cumin

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Cayenne

1 tsp Herbamare

1 tsp Oregano

½ tsp thyme

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ cup roasted onion

2 cups Vegetable Stock

2 cups Tomato Juice

2 cups sliced summer squash sautéed in EVOO or any other vegetables already cooked like diced peppers, celery, corn, carrots, string beans, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms etc.


Preheat oven to 350. Sautee rice in EVOO with seasoning and roasted onion until kernels are golden. Add liquids to rice and bring to a boil on the stovetop. Put cooked vegetables in pot, stir, cover and put in oven at 350. Check for doneness at 25 minutes. If kernels are still hard you may need to add more liquid.




1 1/2 pounds or two large bunches rainbow Swiss chard

1 cup raw walnuts

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup roasted onion

1/2 cup golden raisins,

1 cup water

½ tsp white pepper

½ tsp herbamare

¼ tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 coconut oil

2 TB balsamic vinegar


Plump raisins in warm water. Cut chard leaves into a chiffonade and cut stems into ¼ inch slices. Roast walnuts on stovetop with coconut oil, nutmeg and cayenne. Flash sautee chard and stems in olive oil and roasted onions just till they wilt. Toss everything together. Season with white pepper and herbamare. Start with just a pinch and add as needed.





3 cups raw pumpkin seeds

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp cayenne

2 tsp smoked sea salt

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp ground oregano

2 TB coconut oil

2 TB agave nectar


Heat dry hot pan till smoking hot put seeds in and begin to toast. When beginning to brown add coconut oil, spices and heat till smoking and fragrant. Swirl in agave and remove from heat and cool.






2 cups couscous

2 cups tomato juice

1 cup vegetable stock


½ tsp white pepper

2 sliced eggplants

1 cup roasted onions

½ cup canola

1 can artichokes

½ tsp oregano

Pinch crushed red peppers

3 roasted red peppers diced

1 cup vegan ricotta

2 cups roasted tomato soup (see recipe page number)

2 lbs mixed baby spinach and baby kale leaves

1 tsp EVOO


Boil Tomato juice with vegetable stock. Add equal parts of couscous, 1 TB olive oil and hot boiling liquid. Stir well and saran wrap container. Let steam for 15 minutes. Roast eggplant sliced in ½ inch slices tossed with safflower or olive oil and salt in high heat oven (400) for twenty minutes. Roast artichokes with oregano and crushed red peppers and 1 TB  oil also turning frequently. Lower heat to 350 and allow oven to cool. Oil two cup oven safe ramekins and layer roasted vegetables in the following order, reserving half of the roasted onions. Eggplant, Artichokes, Onions, vegan Cheese, Eggplant. Cover and bake till bubbly. Take baby greens and sautee in other half of roasted onion over high heat till wilted, add roasted tomato soup and couscous and heat till cooked thorough. Invert ramekins over top of couscous to serve.




1 large ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced

Safflower oil

White balsamic or rice wine vinegar

Agave nectar


Brush pineapple slices liberally with oil and vinegar. Grill till hash marks form on both sides then brush with agave nectar. Close grill top and reduce heat to low for 5-10 minutes.




This is a ratio recipe so you can adjust quantities according to how much you wish to make.

Ratios are as follows

Balsamic: red wine: pomegranate juice


What that means is that you use equal parts balsamic and red wine to half as much pomegranante juice.

For every 5 cups of liquid you start with you will add 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp cayenne at the end. You will finish with 1 TB fat (butter or earth balance). Five cups of liquid will reduce to less than a cup.

The trick is to do your reduction quickly to start  and then to slow it down as you get closer so you don’t over reduce and end up with black asphalt at the bottom of your pan. You can start at a slow boil until you get over half way and then slow down to a high simmer. Do not add your seasoning and fat until the very end. You will know when the reduction is done when it continues to bubble on its own after you remove it from the heat. It will be thick and syrupy like agave nectar. At that point whisk in your seasonings and fat and remove from the heat. This concoction is difficult store unless you add the fat since it hardens almost instantly.

This is a basic reduction that in the pages that follow will be repeated with multiple variations.



4 Responses

  1. Thank you! I’ve been looking forward to getting these since seeing your demo at the Lancaster Veg Fest!

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