December: Black Bean & Vegetable Stew

Recipes are everywhere you look – I found the recipe for this black bean and vegetable stew on back of a can of black beans. Since then, it has become a winter staple because it uses your favorite ingredients or whatever you have on hand. Seriously, I cannot emphasize how easy, delicious and versatile this soup is; it’s a great beginner recipe, and it will feed an army.

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November: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Cold weather means hearty soups, warm bread and a mug of hot tea. Shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with minced lamb, but this delicious vegetarian version will be sure to please everyone! It’s similar to the vegetable pot pie that I made last year, but instead of biscuit dough on top that bakes into a crust in the oven, a shepherd’s pie is topped with mashed potatoes to keep all the moisture and flavor in.

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August: Vegan Samosas with Mint Chutney

Samosas originated in the Middle East as early as the 9th century, then spread across Africa and Asia under a variety of names. The pastry dumplings are usually filled with a combination of potatoes, peas, lentils and spices, and are either baked or fried. This recipe comes from chef Melanie daPonte, a vegan personal chef located in Florida who posted these samosas on her blog earlier this summer.

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May: Vegan Pho Broth

Outside of Vietnam, Seattle is one of the best places to find authentic pho noodle soup. In fact, the world’s largest bowl of pho can be found in the city’s International District! Dating back to the early 1900’s, pho is traditionally made with beef broth and rice noodles, and filled with a combination of vegetables, tofu, meat and garnishes. This savory veggie pho broth is filled with aromatic spices, and can be frozen to use as soup stock for any number of vegetarian recipes.

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January: Lentil Soup with Cumin and Lemon

I have a huge 3-ring binder filled with recipes that I collect: magazine pages from the doctor’s waiting room, labels torn from a can of beans, online articles and printed for inspiration or written down on scraps of paper. Some I have already tried and loved, but the rest I keep “just in case” of… what? The next time someone asks me, “Can you please bring this very specific dish that you’ve never made before?” That’s never going to happen. So in 2019, I’m going to dig through my binder and finally try all the recipes that I’ve been saving up.

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August: Tofu Pad Thai

This pad thai doesn’t come from a proper cookbook, but it comes from my notebook where I keep recipes that I’ve torn out of magazines and newspapers, photocopies, printed out and written notes on, or jotted down on the back of receipts. The notebook has no order or theme, it’s just a jumble of flavors that looked good to me. It’s my favorite cookbook, and after many years, it’s fairly hefty with some favorite dishes. But there are a lot of dishes that I still haven’t tried yet.

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August: Chai-Spiced Yam Bruschetta with Crunchy Kale

I first encountered Plum when I was volunteering at KEXP 90.3 FM: before the radio station’s new home was built at Seattle Center, the major giving offices were located upstairs in the Armory, where the food court is. I stopped by Plum Pantry for pre-made salads and sandwiches on my way to my other job, but at the time I didn’t know it was part of a larger group of restaurants owned by Makini Howell. Today, the Plum brand encompasses a vegan bistro, bakery, food truck, pantry, catering and a cookbook. Although the Plum Pantry food is delicious, I’m excited to try something more elaborate.

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April: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burgers

I have been a vegetarian since 2005, with the exception of deliciously fresh Pacific Northwest seafood. When I go to a new restaurant that has a veggie burger on the menu, it’s usually what I’ll end up getting. Ordering something simple and universal at a variety of places makes it easier to find new twists that each chef has added to make it their own. Are the patties made in-house from scratch? What kind of bread is it served on, and what garnishes and sauces come with it? But despite sampling nearly every veggie burger that crosses my path, I’ve never tried to make my own – until now!

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