1 can whole peeled tomatoes (crushed with your hands, 28 ounces)
1 bunch basil (torn, to garnish)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
2 medium eggplants (sliced 1/4-inch thick, peeled)
olive oil (spray)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (roughly chopped)
2 tablespoons parsley leaves (roughly chopped)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
For the Pomodoro Sauce: Preheat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add olive oil. Add the onions and garlic. Season with salt. Cook until translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove oregano and discard. Using an immersion blender, puree on low to preserve the red color. Add basil and stir to combine. Set aside.
For the Eggplant: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place two racks inside of two baking sheets.
On the racks, place the eggplant rounds and lightly spray both sides with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
For the Cashew Parmesan: In the bowl of a food processor, add the cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder, and pulse to combine until it becomes a fine meal.
Heat a nonstick saute pan over medium-low heat and add the bread crumbs. Allow to toast until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the basil, parsley, and oregano and toss to combine. Pour the panko bread crumbs into a large bowl, add the cashew mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
To Assemble: Decrease the oven temperature to 325ºF.
Spray a 9×9-inch baking dish with olive oil, place one eggplant round and top with one heaping tablespoon of the sauce, followed by a heaping tablespoon of the cashew parmesan. Top with another eggplant round and repeat the process 2 more times, finishing with a fourth eggplant round with sauce.
Assemble the remaining eggplant parmesan stacks in the baking dish with the rest of the eggplant rounds. Place in the oven until heated through, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the cashew parmesan over each eggplant stack.
Tip: The cashew parmesan will keep for 1 month in the refrigerator or freezer stored in an airtight container. Use to garnish pastas, soups and salads just like you would Parmesan cheese!
Preheat a grill pan or panini maker to medium heat.
In a large bowl, add red wine vinegar or basmalic, dried oregano, fresh oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix to combine. Add the tomatoes and toss to coat. Set aside.
For the Pesto: in the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts. Pulse and chop until almost blended. The resulting pesto will be a little chunky and not too wet. Pulse a few times to chop and combine. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil until combined, The resulting pesto should be a little chunky and not too wet. Add the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and pulse a couple times just to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set the sauce aside so that the flavors meld.
To build the sandwiches, lay out a top and bottom piece of ciabatta with the insides facing up. Spread some pesto on both slices of bread. On the bottom piece, add some mozzarella and dressed tomato slices. Top with bread. Brush the outside of the sandwich with a little olive oil. Place on preheated panini maker and close. Cook until golden brown and the cheese has slightly melted, about 3-5 minutes. Continue building sandwiches with remaining ingredients.
Tip: alternatively, cook the panini stovetop in a skillet or grill pan and press with a weighted object.
The story of chili always ends with the statement that it’s better the second day. So why don’t we just make it ahead of time and consider that first day as part of the cooking process? I do. My “vegan-ified” version uses pecans, which have a distinct richness and “meaty” mouthfeel, and play very nicely with the brown spices. The dried mushrooms are a nifty addition that I learned from Cook’s Illustrated. Not only do the pulverized mushrooms thicken the chili, they also add that forest-floor bass note that we interpret as “hearty.” I keep some dried mushroom powder in my spice rack at all times—whatever’s cheapest—and you should too. A spoonful will add a layer of complexity to vegan dishes and omnivorous dishes alike.
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
16 ounces button mushrooms, stems removed, wiped clean, and quartered
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 cups pecans (about 7 ounces), toasted, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cinnamon stick
Two 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cups vegetable stock (or vegetable broth, and cut the salt by half)
One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
One 1-ounce package dried mushrooms (whatever is cheapest), pulverized in a blender
1 tablespoon kosher salt
In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil and add the fresh mushrooms. Cook, stirring only once, until browned, about 6 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot and stir to incorporate. Simmer until the vegetables and nuts are soft, about 30 minutes. Let cool. Refrigerate overnight.
HOLD IT? Keep the chili in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat the chili in a pot over low heat, stirring often.
PLATE IT! My ideal chili-serving vessel would be the dolsot, which is an individual Korean earthenware bowl that retains tons of heat. You can find them online. Warm them up slowly in the oven, and then ladle in the chili. Or you can scoop the chili into a bowl. Garnish with whatever you like (see below).
BREAK IT: Chili is kind of an open-source recipe. Now that you’ve made it, customize it to your liking. Change the beans, add some greens, or even wrap it in a tortilla and fry it up like the chimichangas.