WorldVegan Saturday: A is for Argentina

MomChef, VegKid and myself have decided to celebrate international cuisine every Saturday, vegan style. We have started with a country that starts with "A" (Argentina!) and will work our way through the alphabet to Zimbabwe week-by-week until we've exhausted all letters of the alphabet (maybe not "X", we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.), wrapped our minds around cultures we've never truly experienced and stretched our vegan culinary taste-buds all around the world.

A is for Argentina:




First Course: Salad

There is nothing Argentine about this salad; I just feel weird not having greens somewhere for every meal. I'm a VegHead like that.

1 head Romaine Lettuce, outside leaves discarded, rinsed, trimmed, and chopped
1 large Tomato, chopped
1 small Red Bell Pepper, cut in thin julienne, 1 inch long
1/2 small Avocado, cut into chunks

Dressing:
Juice from 1 lemon
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt, to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  1. Add romaine lettuce, tomato, red bell pepper, and avocado to salad bowl.
  2. Toss to combine.
  3. Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl and toss with salad.

Makes 4 Servings: 77 Calories
High in dietary fiber
High in potassium
Very high in vitamin A
High in vitamin B6
Very high in vitamin C



Second Course: Locre de Argentina (Navy Bean and Corn Soup)

Locro is the Spanish word for stew, or thick soup. This navy bean soup is a version of locro from Argentina. It's similar to corn chowder, and is traditionally made with beans, chorizo, beef, smoked bacon, squash, and served with a spicy salsa.

My interpretation of the dish was hearty but can be a bit overwhelming with the meat substitutes but delicious none-the-less. It was a welcomed treat.


Ingredients:
2 cans navy beans
2 tbs corn oil
1 package of Tofurky kielbasa (4 links)
2 packages of Gardein Beefless Tips
2 cups frozen corn
2 carrots, peeled and sliced into bite size pieces
1 large acorn squash, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes
6 cups of vegetable broth

Spicy Onion Garnish
3 tbs corn oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp fajita seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Drain the navy beans and add them to a large pot.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan and sauté the kielbasa and the beefless tips until lightly browned. Cool and slice the sausages into bite size pieces, and add them with the beef to the pot with the beans.
  3. Add the corn, carrots and the squash to the pot.
  4. Add the veggie broth. If necessary add some water as well to cover the beans and meat by an inch.
  5. Simmer the meat, beans, and vegetables on low to medium heat for about an hour, then taste and check for seasoning. The soup should be thicker. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. While the soup is cooking, make the sauce. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet that was used to cook the sausage, and add the chopped onion and red pepper. Season with a teaspoon of paprika, and chili powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
  7. Serve soup hot, with the sauce on the side, and decorate each bowl with a sprinkle of green onions.

Makes 16 Servings: 218 calories
High in dietary fiber
High in vitamin A



Third Course: Empanadas
Argentine empanadas are often served at parties as a starter or main course, or in festivals. Shops specialize in freshly made empanadas, with many flavors and fillings.

The dough is usually of wheat flour and butter with fillings differing from province to province: in some it is mainly chicken in others beef (cubed or ground depending on the region), perhaps spiced with cumin and paprika, while others include onion, boiled egg, olives, or raisins. Empanadas can be baked (Salta style) or fried (Tucuman style). They may also contain ham, fish, humita (sweetcorn with white sauce) or spinach; a fruit filling is used to create a dessert empanada. Empanadas of the interior regions can be spiced with peppers. Many are eaten at celebrations.

You will have left overs of this filling. I will use my half of the leftover filling to top a baked sweet potato or perhaps make enchiladas later this week. GET CREATIVE!

Ingredients:
1 poblano pepper
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup corn, frozen
juice from 1 lime
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp agave nectar
2 tbsp vegan cream cheese (we used tofutti)
Vegan pie crust (we got lazy and used Krusteaz Pie Crust Mix. Yay, convenience!)

  1.  Preheat oven to 400. Roast pepper in oven for about 20 minutes or until it's blackened. Remove from oven and place in a covered bowl to cool and steam. Once cooled, remove skin, seeds and stem. Chop. Reduce heat to 375.
  2. Saute onions, peppers, garlic and spices until translucent and softened. Add mushrooms, black beans, corn and lime juice. Saute for around 5 minutes and deglaze with vegetable stock (usually white wine is used for this and if you have some...do it!)
  3. Add kale and cilantro, to wilt. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Add agave and cream cheese. (The agave was used to cut out some bitterness from our kale so adjust as necessary.)
  4. Make vegan pie crust: Use a 2" biscuit cutter to cut out rounds for empanadas. We ended up with 32 rounds but depending on your pie crust recipe, it could vary. 
  5. Spoon 2 tbsp of filling into the middle of the round. Dampen your finger with water and trace the outside edge of the dough round. Top with another dough round and press edges together to seal. Decorate edges with fork tines and cut a 1/2" slit in the top of each empanada to release steam.
  6. Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes, or until golden brown.  
The filling makes about 31 servings of 2 tbsp. 2 tbsp of filling has 28 calories.
The pie crust was 200 calories per empanada.
1 Empanada is 228 calories
High in dietary fiber
High in manganese
Very high in vitamin A
High in vitamin B6
Very high in vitamin C

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