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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Savory Mushroom Gravy

Rich vegetables and vegetarian gravy baked under a golden garlic mashed potato blanket, this dish warms both tummy and soul. Vegan shepherd’s pie with savory mushroom gravy is stick-to-your-ribs hearty comfort food at its finest.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Savory Mushroom Gravy | Letty's Kitchen

Like a cross between a pie and a casserole, shepherd’s pie was first an economical way to use up leftovers–simply dibs and dabs of meat mixed with gravy, topped with mashed potatoes, and baked  until the potato “crust” turns golden.

In this meatless rendition, cook an entire bulb of garlic with the potatoes, either in a steamer or Instant Pot pressure cooker. The potatoes and garlic practically fall apart and the garlic mellows so its presence is practically undetectable. With olive oil, salt, and some of the cooking water, they easily mash into smooth, creamy potatoes.

Each of the three components to this dish, garlic mashed potatoes, herbed mushroom gravy, and vegetable filling, can be made ahead. If it’s more convenient for you, assemble the pie, refrigerate, and bake it later. Continue Reading…

Potato Chickpea Curry with Pineapple

Generous in buttery toasted cashews and healthful turmeric, positively bursting with zingy ginger and garlic flavors, this colorful potato chickpea curry with pineapple is an outrageously delicious curry that gathers blue ribbon praises from family and company every time you bring it to the table!

Potato Chickpea Curry with Pineapple | Letty's Kitchen

Last week here in the mountains, the foliage colors were as intensely brilliant as this vegetable curry. This week, the wind ruthlessly strips those bright yellow aspen leaves from their branches. Leaves blowing and falling around like it’s raining gold, curry gold. So beautiful…

Several summers ago, Robbie and I spent 18 days with good friends on a self-supported Grand Canyon river trip. We all took turns cooking, and our kitchen team was on duty the last dinner of the trip. We fed everyone this spicy sweet potato chickpea curry along with quick-cooking quinoa. Continue Reading…

16 Healthy Vegetarian Halloween Picks

From bloggers around the world,  for America’s third favorite holiday, here’s a spooky bunch–16 healthy vegetarian Halloween picks and treats, a tempting mix of ghost and goblin real food, some savory, some sweet!

16 Healthy Vegetarian Halloween Picks | Letty's Kitchen

The thing is, I don’t even like Halloween. What a strange holiday. What are we celebrating? Free candy?

There, now you know.

Except I can’t resist Halloween theme food. Here are 16 healthy recipes that caught my eye. Continue Reading…

Double Chocolate Maple Pear Muffins

Hello muffintalk Monday! Today we are talking moist, not too sweet double chocolate maple pear muffins that leave warm smidgens of chocolate all over your fingers– whole grain muffins, sweetened with chunks of pear and pure maple syrup, and lavished with dark chocolate morsels!

Chocolate Maple Pear Muffins | Letty's Kitchen

The finger-licking chocolate-y fruitiness going on in these muffins is a welcome treat any time of day. You could definitely serve them for dessert, maybe with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Tilt your head in a muffin-y nod to the classic French dessert, Poire Belle Hélène–perfectly poached pears with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream.

You should see Robbie gobble these down, a guy who professes to not like chocolate. I had to hide them from ourselves in the freezer, which works for me, but after dinner he just reaches in, opens the container, and eats one frozen! Continue Reading…

How To Cook Black Beans in a Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)

This post shows how to cook black beans in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot. In less than 15 minutes, you get toothy tender, rich, earthy, meaty, ready-to-enjoy beans, all soupy in a nutritious cooking broth.

How to Cook Black Beans in a Pressure Cooker | Letty's Kitchen

Cooked from scratch, dried beans become pot beans, frijoles de olla, with delicious pot “liquor.” Canned beans in salty liquid don’t even come close to freshly cooked beans and their broth. And it happens fast in the Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker.

If you wish, when the dried beans go in the pot, season them with a mild dried chile, garlic cloves, and/or chopped onions. If you have less than perky parsley or cilantro, throw that in the pot too. Mexican cooks add epazote to their beans. Epazote is a pungent green herb with “gas-relieving” properties.

Black beans cooked in Instant Pot with whole chile seasoning for How to Cook Black Beans in a Pressure Cooker
Speaking of farts, we are sometimes advised to soak dried beans before cooking, to make them more digestible.

  • Which brings up the back and forth question—do we soak the beans before cooking or do we not? And there’s the why soak the beans if you use a pressure cooker?
  • Another question: With a pressure cooker, do we turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, and for how much time, or should we “quick-release?” Both work, with slightly different cooking times.
  • Oh, and when are we supposed to add salt before or after cooking? You’ll find plenty of discussion about that too…

Continue Reading…