Tag Archives: vegan

vegan cassoulet

This archive post from our original acornometrics blog on Tumblr was posted in December of 2104, under the title: Grace Your Holiday Table with Vegan Cassoulet. We’re bringing it back today because a reference to it popped up on Facebook, stirring up new interest in the recipe. Enjoy!

Wait, isn’t cassoulet full of duck confit and all kinds of pork and sausages? Well yes, but … what it really is, more abstractly, is a garlicky bean stew full of “chunks of things” and I couldn’t see why those chunks couldn’t be veggies. The results turned out to be totally yummy. This isn’t a precise recipe, more like a “plan of attack” because the best cassoulets are a reflection of the chef who is preparing it. 


1 lb white beans (we prefer cannellini), rinsed, picked-over, and soaked overnight

1 shallot, studded with about 6 to 8 cloves

5 cloves garlic (peeled, whole, not chopped)

¼ teaspoon salt 

fresh cracked white pepper

Mirepoix: diced shallots, carrots, garlic

2 Tablespoons olive oil

¼ c diced sun-dried tomatoes (“vegan bacon”)

1 Tablespoon of harissa (Tunisian chili paste)

1 Tablespoon diced preserved lemon (or the zest of one fresh lemon)

½ c white wine

Thyme (several fresh sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried)

1 quart of vegetable broth (may need more)

1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved, oven-roasted with a handful of fennel seed. 

1 lb butternut squash cubes (about equal size to a brussels sprout half), oven-roasted

1 lb rutabaga cubes (about equal size to a brussels sprout half), oven-roasted

1 lb of pearl onions, blanched and pealed

Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

½ cup chopped parsley at end

1 cup of panko or other breadcrumbs, moistened with olive oil and seasoned with a bit of salt

Salt and fresh cracked pepper

Vegan Cassoulet in the works (photo: Larry Dunn)

Cook the Beans

Drain the soaking liquid, rinse the beans, and put them in large heavy sauce pan with enough water to cover by an inch or two. Add the clove-studded shallot and garlic cloves and seasonings. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a slow simmer. Cover and cook until beans are just tender. This should take at least 30 minutes and possibly 45 minutes (depending on the type and age of the beans, etc.). Remove and discard the shallot. Remove the garlic cloves, mash them into a paste, and stir that paste into the beans. Set beans aside. 

Assemble and Cook the Cassoulet

In a 5-quart Dutch oven (that can go from stove-top to oven) heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the mirepoix and sauté, season with salt and pepper. Add the sun-dried tomato and preserved lemon, and harissa. De-glaze the pan with the white wine. Add the cooked beans, thyme, and vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the brussels sprouts, squash cubes, rutabaga cubes, and pearl onions. Add more stock (or water) if needed. Consistency should be like stew, flowing, but thicker than soup. Simmer for about 20 minutes to meld flavors. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Turn off heat and add chopped parsley. CAN BE MADE AHEAD TO THIS POINT AND EVEN REFRIGERATED AND FINISHED A DAY OR TWO LATER 

Finish the Cassoulet in the Oven

If you have prepared ahead of time, bring the stew back to room temperature. If it has thickened too much, add more stock (or water) to bring back to stew consistency. 

Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Bring the stew back to serving temperature on the stove-top. Check and adjust for salt and pepper. 

Spread the prepared bread crumbs in a generous layer over top of rewarmed stew and bake until the crumbs are nicely browned and stew is bubbly. 

Serve with crusty bread or brown rice and sautéed greens or salad on the side. 

Wine pairing: a fruity dry red wine from Southern France, Italy, or Spain 

cornmeal waffles

by Larry Dunn, July 18, 2020

Until recently, we’ve never been particularly avid fans of waffles. Sure, we had our moments in the late 60s at the old Star Waffle Shop on Cass Avenue in Detroit, only a couple of blocks from our apartment, or the Apartfug, as we called it (fodder for its own post at some point). We’d wander in there in the middle of the night, they were open 24/7/365, all toked up on weed or flying high on LSD, and we’d order the namesake waffle, with a scoop of ice cream, and either maple syrup or hot fudge. A tantalizing sensation when your taste buds are in a heightened sate.

My mother made waffles several times a year when we were growing up, and they we’re tasty enough. But Arlene and I never invested in a waffle iron over all these years; waffles just didn’t seem worth the trouble, when we could more easily make pancakes, if we were in that sort of mood for breakfast or brunch. And we have a great, and easy to make, whole wheat (or multi-grain) pancake recipe. Arlene has regularly ordered “chicken & waffles” in restaurants over the years. But if those waffles are ever any good, it’s a bonus. For her, it’s always about the fried chicken.

Cornmeal Waffles, ceramic bowl by Brian Dunn (photo: Larry Dunn)

Our waffle consciousness changed last fall during a brief R&R side trip to the Catskills when we were in NYC for some music events. We’d first been in the region the prior summer, when we met our Florida family there for a week’s vacation. We were charmed by the area, and shocked that it could seem so remote, only two hours from NYC. On the summer visit we’d tried to grab a meal at Phoenicia Diner, which all the people and all the guides say is a must, only to find it mobbed every time we drove by. But on a late Monday morning in October, we had no trouble getting seated immediately. “Chicken and Waffles” on the menu caught my eye, thinking I’d recommend it to Arlene. But I decided to order for myself, when I learned the waffles were made with cornmeal. That seemed worth trying, and my hunch paid off. Crispy, even, crunchy, exterior, but still light and fluffy inside, and the cornmeal added aroma and a flavor punch far beyond what any standard whitebread waffles can deliver. I was hooked, and left there determined to find or devise a recipe to make them at home.

I spent the rest of the fall and early winter researching recipes . . . oh, yes, that, and having major surgery on my cervical spine and then a long slow recovery. I devised a recipe and aimed to try it during our annual winter sojourn to visit our Florida family in Sarasota. They have the waffle iron; no sense in our buying one until we knew we had a winning recipe. We made them for the whole crowd one Sunday in February, with sliced fresh local strawberries and maple syrup. They were a big hit.

Cornmeal Waffle with fresh local organic blueberries (photo: Larry Dunn)

A new waffle iron was waiting for us when we returned home to Oberlin and we’ve been making cornmeal waffles every few weeks ever since. They are especially welcome at this time of year when we have so much local fresh fruit in Ohio, as we go through a sequence of strawberries, cherries, blueberries, apricots (if we’re lucky), peaches, plums, and apples. Each waffle batch leaves us with eight or ten squares we can put in the freezer, and they taste almost as good warmed up in the toaster as they do fresh off the griddle. As soon as the freezer supply is gone, we make some more. If you’d like a PDF of the recipe, press the “Download” button below.

There’s a bit of a serendipitous postscript on my search for a cornmeal waffle recipes last fall. At the time I could find no recipes from the Phoenicia Diner, nor even any claiming to be like theirs. But as I was starting this post, I stumbled upon the fact that the Phoenicia Diner released a cookbook, just as the pandemic shutdowns were starting. I have verified that the waffle recipe is in the table of contents, though you cannot see the recipe itself. In the TOC listing, it makes no mention of them being “cornmeal waffles.” It would be hilarious if that was all a figment of my imagination! But our cornmeal waffles are a treat, no matter where I got the inspiration, and I’m guessing that cornmeal is in their recipe. The waiter must have told me about it. I’m going to get the book and find out.

Notes for Restricted Diets. Some of the Florida family have dietary concerns with milk products and with gluten. So, when we made these waffles down there, we replaced the buttermilk with almond milk, soured with one tablespoon of vinegar, and used a “vegan butter” product instead of actual butter. We swapped in whole-grain oat flour for the whole wheat pastry flour. Getting the consistency right took a bit of fiddling. But in the end the results were deemed outstanding by all our eaters. I believe you could take the recipe the rest of the way to full vegan, by substituting silky tofu for the egg yolks and whipped aquafaba (garbanzo bean liquor) for the whipped egg whites. If you try that, please let us know how they turn out.

All gone (photo: Larry Dunn)