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Vibrant and Veganfull (V&V) provides vegan recipes to support health and contributions to sustainability.  V&V also explores ideas and concepts to provide you informed choices for living more sustainably.

With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie

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Smothered Garlicky Rapini & Mushroom Toasts

Italian flavors collide in this garlic forward, wonderfully crisp and creamy "toast." I adore this recipe and whenever I see a lovely bunch of rapini (aka - broccoli rabe) in the grocery, I snatch it up and reconfigure my meal plan to include these toasts. It's really just a handful of fresh ingredients so even a terrible memory like mine can recall what else I need to successfully craft the dish; the rest are pantry and I always have on hand. Lemons (check!), garlic (check!), and a soft warm baguette (check)!

I have often made this recipe for a crowd and cutting the pieces into toast points not only elevates the dish for a canape-like look & feel, but also allows for easy consumption over small plates. A favorite of mine for game day or the Super Bowl, the toasts are always gone by the end of the first quarter. Crispy, saucy, spicy and chewy; oh, and packed with veggies, plus vegan? These toasts lack nothing!

Sustainability Spotlight: Rapini is often referred to as "little broccoli" but that is only in visual respects since the bunches look like baby broccoli and are vibrantly green. Rapini (Rabe) is closely related to a turnip and generally has a bitter flavor (which I couch here by blanching the rapini - do not skip that step; very important).

The health benefits of rapini include vitamins AC, and K along with minerals such as calcium (bone health), folate and iron (both for healthy blood cells and prevention of anaemia). Filled with water and fiber, rapini can aid in digestion and keep you fuller, longer.

Besides being a health powerhouse, rapini also has been used in studies by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as reported by Seed World for the sustainability support of other crops through the attraction of honeybees. Farmers (specifically almond growers in California) rely on managed honeybee colonies to pollinate the almond crop which starts flowering in February. Rapini has a "cold hardiness" and large pollen-rich yellow flowers (which is very attractive to bees) which made the vegetable a great choice in the study to review for supporting the bee colonies for this particular crop. Honey bees colony size directly affects the almond yield of the California fields, and access to food sources for the bees in the late winter / early Spring for bee reproduction is integral to the success of the pollination process. Previous methods to aid the bees included protein-rich supplements which didn't meet all the bees' nutritional needs (i.e. - 65% of the supplement were excreted as waste). With rapini, only ~30% of the protein from the pollen was excreted as waste (results reported in 2015 via Apidologie).

So, the sustainability impact of rapini is simply the aid it can (and has shown) to give to honey bees. As many know, honey bees are an integral pollinator for our flowering fruits and trees to ensure the diversity and health of the planet's food supply from plants (not just humans, I'm talking all other animals). Without pollination, the world would start to starve from the bottom of the food chain on up; to yes, us (humans). The better we can support the bees, the better we can be stewards of this planet for ourselves and all flora & fauna.


  • White Bean Puree:

    • 1 can Great Northern white beans (do not rinse or drain)

    • 6 tbsp olive oil

    • 3 garlic cloves (sliced thin; mandoline #1)

    • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

    • salt (to taste)

  • Toasts:

    • 1/4 cup olive oil

    • 1 bunch broccoli rabe (trimmed)

    • 3 garlic cloves (sliced thin; mandoline #1)

    • 2 cups oyster mushrooms (chopped)

    • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

    • 1 lemon (juiced)

    • 1 large Parisian Baguette (halved & sliced long into "sandwiches")

  • White Cheese Sauce:

    • 1 cup water

    • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews

    • 1.5 tbsp white miso

    • 2.5 tbsp nutritional yeast

    • 3/4 tsp salt


  1. Make White Bean Puree:

    1. Heat oil in a small sauce; once it shimmers, add garlic and sauté until it browns (~2-3 minutes).

    2. Add red pepper and the white beans including liquid.

    3. Cook on medium-high to thicken (stirring occasionally) for ~8 minutes; salt (to taste)

    4. Remove from heat and puree (carefully; it's hot!) in a large food processor. Set aside to cool slightly.

  2. Make Toasts:

    1. In a large pot of salted water, boil half of the broccoli rabe for ~5 minutes. Remove from water and squeeze dry; repeat with second half of the broccoli rabe. Chop rabe coarsely.

    2. Store water to cool (for watering plants), and wipe out large pan from boiling the rabe; add oil and swirl to coat. Once it shimmers, add garlic and sauté for ~2-3 minutes until golden. Add oysters and rabe to the pan and sauté for ~5 minutes until browned and softened. Add red pepper and lemon; stir to coat. Remove from heat.

  3. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

  4. Place baguette halves on a silpat lined jelly roll (lipped baking sheet) and pull out some of the interior to hollow out bread for filling (Waste Not! I roll pieces of this soft interior into ball shapes and serve the bread to my kids as "bread balls" like my mother used to for me- still works - they love it).

  5. Generously oil the interior of the bread, top with 1/4th of the white bean puree for each bread, and 1/4th of the broccoli rabe & mushroom mixture.

  6. Make White Cheese Sauce: Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender and puree for ~1 minute (Vitamix) or 5-6 minutes for other blenders (scraping down sides or using a tamper as needed) until smooth.

  7. Pour white cheese sauce over vegetables and slide the pan (on a rack positioned in the middle of the oven) into your oven to toast for ~7-8 minutes. Switch the oven to broil (High) and put 5 minutes on the timer (do not remove pan, or move pan in oven); after the 5 minutes, your cheese should have "browned" and your toasts crisped.

  8. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes; slice with a sharp knife into toast points.

Enjoy with some family and friends; or just by yourself!

With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie

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