cooking · Dinner · Vitamix Recipes

Vegan Friendly Sides – Farmers Market Finds

It was a bumper crop last weekend at the farmers market for produce – fresh shallots, tomatoes, fingerlings potatoes, carrots, purple scallions, tender green beans, blueberries….summer is good living! I made two dishes that we had with dinners this week. They work as great side dishes but also work as mains, with a bit more protein added in (such as beans).

Potato Gratin


  • 1 cup raw sunflower kernels, see below
  • 2 pounds new potatoes, small, such as fingerlings
  • ½ pint cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallots, fresh if you can find, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (see here for recipe)
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp dry mustard powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper


Cover the sunflower seeds with filtered water, cover and refrigerate overnight, drain.

Add the potatoes to a large saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to a boil and let cook until just fork tender. Drain and let dry.
Preheat oven to 350°, lightly oil with a little olive oil.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add oil, shallots and carrots, sauté until tender, add garlic and sauté till golden.

Add the cooked vegetables to a high-speed blender, along with broth, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, mustard powder, salt, pepper and drained sunflower seeds. Process on high until smooth, using tamper as needed.

Pour sauce back into skillet and cook until thick and bubbling, whisking often.

Toss the sauce with the cooked potatoes, fold in the tomatoes and pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, covered.

Serves 6 to 8.

Kirk bought me a small cast iron dutch oven that I had begged for and then never used. I found it worked perfectly here 😉 Only took 2 or 3 years for me to find the right use. I think from now on I will use it to cook my brown rice (which I bake often, but did in a glass pan before). And those purple onions? Wow. I HAD to buy them! Think purple green onions, but so full of flavor. Normally I tend to pick out green onions and leave ’em behind…..not this meal!

Baked Mexican Brown Rice


  • 1 Tbsp neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, diced
  • 1½ cups long grain brown rice
  • 2¾ cups water
  • ¾ cup canned tomatoes (see below)
  • 1 tsp dried ground ancho chile powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt


To make the tomatoes – process a 14.5 ounce can of tomatoes (preferably organic) until smooth, measure out what you need. Reserve rest for another recipe (makes great pizza sauce if cooked down)

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat a medium dutch oven (I’d say mine is 2 quarts?) over medium-high. Add oil, onion and bell pepper, saute until crisp-tender. Add in garlic.

Rinse rice in a fine mesh strainer and shake dry, toss in the pot and stir for a minute.

Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil. Stir well, cover tightly and put in the oven for an hour, undisturbed.

Take out and fluff.

Notes – If you like it spicy, add a Jalapeño diced with the vegetables. To make a bigger meal, add in 1½ cups cooked/drained pinto, kidney or black beans. On the ancho chile powder? If you have a bulk herb/spice section look there, that is where I found it.

Serves 4 to 8, depending on portion.


2 thoughts on “Vegan Friendly Sides – Farmers Market Finds

  1. LOL. I’m pretty sure I have the same pot – and now I know what to use it for. And thank you muchly for the gratin dish. Exactly the kind of creamy comfort food that I miss most having given up the moo. You’re awesome.

    1. “If you love me, then you’ll get me this!” “Yes, I know it matches nothing in my kitchen” “What am I going to use it for? Have faith” Promptly hidden away 😉 I know he is happy though when he sees me using the tools he buys me for gifts 🙂

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