Posts Tagged With: Spanish food

Valentina’s Cocina: Patatas Bravas

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of announcing the publication of Roots: Where Food Comes From & Where It Takes Us. Today I bring you the second of my recipes from the famed Senora Valentina. This simple recipe is delicious for veg*ns and meat eaters alike. It can be served as a tapas with toothpicks for spearing or as a nice side dish.


Spanish Olive Oil

1 finely chopped onion

2 crushed garlic cloves

Salt to taste

1/2 cup Spanish Sherry (dry white wine will also work)

4 tomatoes, chopped and seeded (or 1 14 ounce can)

2 tsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp crushed dried chilis

2 tsp Spanish paprika

2 lbs. potatoes


  1. Heat about 1 TBS of olive oil in the pan until smoking and then add the onions, cooking roughly 5 minutes. When the onions are soft, but not browned, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute, stirring continuously.
  2. Add the wine and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Then add the tomatoes, chiles, paprika, salt, and vinegar, reducing the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for roughly 10 minutes. Your sauce should have a thick consistency. OPTIONAL: Put the sauce in a food processor and pulse until smooth. (Valentina would smack you with her cane for this, but some people don’t care for a chunky texture.)
  3. Cut the potatoes into rough chunks. In a skillet, heat about 1 inch of olive oil. Add the potatoes and cook on medium-high for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are a pretty golden brown. Make sure to turn the pieces several times to cook evenly.
  4. Remove the potatoes using a slotted spoon and drain them on a paper towel, blotting gently to remove excess oil. Sprinkle with a little salt.
  5. Warm up the sauce and combine with the potatoes.

Senora Valentina Tip: Prepare the sauce the morning before you plan to serve it (you can actually make it up to 24 hours in advance). Allow it to sit, either covered on the stove, or in the refrigerator, until you have finished the potatoes. This will give the sauce stronger, more melded flavor.

For a healthier version, check out this recipe test from Robin Robertson’s Vegan Fire and Spice.



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Vegan Chow Down: Spanish Lentils and Patatas Bravas

It was with great glee that my meat-eating, Atkins following bestie Jenn presented me with two new vegan cookbooks for Christmas. It is with equal glee that I dive into them, testing the wares and yumminess potential.

Vegan Fire and Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global RecipesMy first tests came from Vegan Fire and Spice: 200 Sultry and Savory Global Recipes by Robin Robertson. As a Texas girl, I love spice and spicy, so I was especially excited to give this one a whirl. The book delivers on the promised number of recipes–it is packed full of them, organized geographically. It is a simple book with a nice introduction containing ingredient and cooking tips. I always enjoy pictures in a cookbook and was a touch disappointed that this contains none. That aside, I like the variety and her writing style. Each recipe is even rated according to spiciness using a little chili pepper symbol.

Having learned to cook in Madrid from my Spanish landlady, I love Spanish food and was eager to try some of my favorite Spanish flavors veganized. I tried her Spanish Lentils, which were ranked low on the spicy scale, included ingredients I already had (one of my tests for a good cookbook), and were simple to prepare. My husband and kids enjoyed this dish; my daughter even asked for the leftovers for lunch.

The other dish I elected to try was her Spicy Spanish Potatoes, which are her spin on Patatas Bravas. Now the traditional preparation of this dish is already vegan, but I elected to try Robertson’s version just because it is healthier.

I did have to make some substitutions (noted below), in part because my husband cannot tolerate serious heat. The final results were so good. Both dishes had similar cooking times, so they finished at the same time. These two dishes paired together was actually a really good idea–the more mellow lentils provided a contrast to the spicier potatoes. I highly recommend both and cannot wait to work more of these dishes into my cooking rotation.

Spanish Lentils by Robin Robertson


1 TBS olive oil

1/2 cup minced onion

1/2 cup minced celery

1 serrano or hot chili, minced (I used a roasted green chili because I can get them locally)

3/4 cup lentils

2 TBS chopped sun-dried tomatoes (I used 1 TBS of sun-dried tomato paste)

3 cups water

Salt and pepper

2 TBS chopped parsley


  1. In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the celery, garlic, onion, and chile. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 7 minutes.
  2. Stir in lentils, sun-dried tomatoes, and water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until the lentils are tender and the liquid absorbed, about 45 minutes. Stir in the parsley just before serving.

Spicy Spanish Potatoes


1 1/2 lbs. russet or Yukon potatoes, cut into one inch cubes

2 TBS olive oil

2 tsp smoked paprika, divided

1/2 tsp cayenne, divided

Salt and pepper

1 (14 oz) can of fire roasted tomatoes, well drained (I got some with green chilis in them to match with the lentils)

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 TBS sherry vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp cumin

2 TBS minced parsley


  1. Preheat the oven to 475. In a bowl, combine potatoes,  oil, 1 tsp of paprika, 1/4 tsp cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Spread the potatoes on an oiled baking sheet and roast until crisp and browned, about 45 minutes, turning one halfway through.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, sugar, chili powder, cumin, remaining paprika and cayenne, and process until well blended. Transfer to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. When sauce and potatoes are done, combine in a serving bowl and sprinkle with parsley. Serve hot.



Categories: Feed the Belly, Life and Other Nonsense | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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