Garlic Scapes and a Vegan Slow Cooker Recipe

Garlic Scapes – what?! They are the flowering stems from certain kinds of garlic, or at least that’s what I got from my googleing. I saw them at the Raleigh Farmers Market and had no idea what to do with them, so of course I bought them. This is green vegetable week at my house!

I chose to make Absorption Pasta with Scapes and Wild Mushrooms from Stephen Cooks. My changes were veggie not-chicken broth for the real chicken broth, half and half for the cream, and a mix of oyster, baby potabella, and shitake mushrooms. You can get the mushroom mix at Trader Joe’s and they are really tasty. You could substitute soy milk or unsweetened soy creamer if you can find it. Or in fact you could just use tofu sour cream and I bet it would come out nice.

The scapes are really a garnish for the pasta. You sear them after the mushrooms and they become pretty tender. At least the stems did, the flowers were woody and not as good in my opinion. I have some left over so I may make pesto out of the rest. The stems had a mouth fell like super thin asparagus, with a definite garlic flavor – but very mellow.

The other thing that was interesting about this dish is the fact you simmer the pasta in the broth, rather than boil it separately. It worked like a charm and was really good. In fact, I really liked this alot and will be making it again. My partner said it’s like fancy mac and cheese. From her that’s a huge compliment, she’s an 8 year old in a 40 year old body!

It’s slow cooker Thursday! I’ve fallen down on my slow cooker posting. So last night I went looking through my favorite slow cooker book Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker and found a recipe to make this morning. If you saw my menu plan Monday, one of the things that I bought at the farmers market was collard greens. Southern, full of vitamins, and tasty too, what more could you want? Those of you in different perts of the country could substitute kale, chard, or other greens.

I’m finding one of the best way to “hide” greens is to chop them and add into other dishes. For instance, chard was added to the pasta last night and no one knew until I told them. Spicy White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew with Collards seems like it’ll fit that bill as well.

Against the wishes of the recipe I added the collards in with everything else, so we’ll see if this shortcut is a good idea or a bad one once I get home. I’m hoping since they are fresh they will be less bitter. And I actually put the crockpot on high and l sauteed the onion, pepper, and garlic in there while I took a shower. I’ll update this post if it was a bad idea. (Added 5/9 – it seemed to do fine. It may have been a little less bitter if I waited, but I enjoyed it.)

Spicy White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew with Collards

Recipe By :Robin Robertson from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker adapted by Susan of Fat Free Vegan

Serving Size : 6 (looks like more than that to me!)

1 Tb. olive oil – optional and not included in the nutritional values
1 medium yellow onion — chopped
1 small red bell pepper — seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic — minced
1 pound sweet potatoes — peeled and cut into 1-in chunks
1 hot chili pepper — (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root — peeled and grated
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes — with juice
3 cups white beans, cooked — (cannelini or other, may use 2 cans)
1 teaspoon light brown sugar — or a natural sweetener
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
3 cups vegetable broth, fatfree
salt and pepper — to taste
2 cups collard greens — chopped

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Check often to prevent burning.

Transfer the mixture to a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker. Add the sweet potatoes, chile, ginger, tomatoes, beans, brown sugar, allspice, cumin, bay leaves, and stock; season with salt (if desired) and pepper, cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours.

Close to serving time, cook the collard greens in simmering water until they are tender. Stir them into the crock pot. Taste to adjust the seasonings. (At this point I added about the same amount of allspice and cumin as the directions called for –in other words, I used twice as much). Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Taste to adjust the seasonings. (At this point I added about the same amount of allspice and cumin as the directions called for –in other words, I used twice as much). Remove the bay leaves and serve.

“Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker”

Per serving: 219 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (3% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 44g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 23mg Sodium

NOTES : This stew is colorful and full flavored, thanks to a host of vegetables and seasonings. I like to cook the collard greens separately to avoid any bitter taste in the stew. Because sweet potatoes break down easily, it’s important not to cook this stew too long. For a mild, yet still flavorful, version, eliminate the hot chile.


4 Responses

  1. I have a friend who has had aggressive breast cancer very young, and is trying to make major changes to her life, including eliminating all animal protein. Also, she does not really know how to cook and is looking to learn. I’m going to have to pass this on to her as something to try. Thanks.

  2. This sounds good, thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. Sounds good. I’d eat it with some cornbread too..Yummy!

  4. Sounds delicious! I haven’t had much luck with my slow cooker, so thanks for sharing a successful recipe! We’re having a mushroom recipe contest and I’d love to have you submit this recipe to The winner will be mailed 2 lbs. of fresh morel mushrooms.

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