Monday, April 30, 2012

Vegan B.L.T.'s (Or, Rather, B.L.A.T.'s)


The A is for Avocado. It doesn't have the ring of BLT but your mouth likes it. I know this recipe doesn't exhibit much culinary genius, but I think it is important to post things like this for people who aren't seasoned vegans. For people who don't yet realize that you can be vegan and have your BLT too. 

All you need is some pre-seasoned tempeh "Fakin' Bacon," some Vegannaise, two pieces of whole grain bread, some sliced tomato and avocado, and some lettuce (if you want to be somewhat healthy, spinach). 

Toast the bread, saute the Fakin' Bacon in a skillet, and assemble your sandwich!!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Smoothies - A Recent Discovery

So I recently discovered that I may not be getting as much omega-3 fatty acids as I should. That's not because they can't be found in a vegan diet, but because I simply have not been consuming any plant foods with significant amounts of omega-3. 

Flax seed has tons of omega-3 but I wasn't sure how to go about eating a tablespoon of the stuff on a daily basis. Then I discovered the power of smoothies. Smoothies are amazing because they are a treat, but at the same time you can hide a lot of nutrition in them! My personal quest is to see how much "junk" I can hide in my smoothies. Currently, I have been able to successfully hide 2 leaves of kale and 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed. Not to mention that there is also about 2.5 servings of fruit. I am also playing around with hemp protein powder (hemp is good for you and has lots of protein too!). Unfortunately it makes smoothies a bit too gritty when you add the two tablespoon serving size. But I plan on trying it out with a bit less. I will keep you updated on the results. 

So here are my general guidelines for successful smoothie making:

1/2 cup frozen fruit (mixed berries, mango, peaches, pineapple, raspberries)
1/2 cup red kale (I pick red kale because it doesn't make the smoothie as green as regular kale)
1 banana
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (this will vary depending on how thick you like your smoothie)

Put ingredients in blender. I find that putting the frozen fruit in first lets the machine blend them up a bit easier. Blend until you no longer see pieces of green leaves flying by and the smoothie is moving fluidly.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Sunshine Couscous Salad

What. Another couscous recipe in the same week!!!?? 

Sorry, I know that's a bit much but the last one was pearled Israeli couscous, and this is the instant kind. They're totally different creatures. 

Boston hit 91ºF today, which is why I opted for something that didn't require any cooking. I call this dish "Sunshine Couscous" because it's perfect for making and eating in the sweltering hot sunshine. Also, there's so many different brightly colored vegetables in it that when I was making it, it reminded me of a sunset. 

I know there is a strange pink hue that pervades this dish, and that makes it a bit un-photogenic. Beets have that effect on many things, but I promise this is delicious and SUPER healthy, as well as easy!

Sunshine Couscous Salad
2 cups water
1 teaspoon veggie bouillon (the equivalent of using 1 cup water and 1 cup broth)
1 1/2 cups instant couscous
1/2 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, diced
1 large red beet, diced
1 large golden beet, diced (if you can't find these, obviously just use another red beet instead!)
2 scallions, sliced
1 pound EXTRA FIRM tofu, diced (you need to use extra firm because it has a consistency more like feta)
1/2 cup dried apricots, minced
juice of 2 1/2 lemons
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried dill
pinch of cayenne

Bring the water and bouillon (or broth) to a boil. Remove from heat, add couscous, and let sit until you are finished combining the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Add couscous last, stir to combine, and refrigerate for at least one hour. 


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas with Apricot and Red Pepper Couscous

While this recipe takes some time for the roasting, it's actually a very quick and easy recipe. Good for weeknights when you're in a hurry. Once you have your veggies in the oven and the couscous on the way, you can sit back and read your favorite book or feed your internet addiction while everything cooks!

Roasted Eggplant and Chickpeas with Apricot and Red Pepper Couscous

Serves: 4

Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes active

For the Roasted Veggies

1 red onion diced 
1 entire bulb of garlic, each clove removed from their papery skin and coarsely chopped
1 large eggplant, cut into 1/2 chunks
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric 
salt and pepper, to taste
2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 425ºF. In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients together. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, spread the veggies out into a thin layer, and place in oven. Stir every 10 minutes for about 45 minutes, until the eggplant and chickpeas are evenly roasted.

For the Couscous

2 cups Israeli couscous
1/2 cup dried apricots
1 scallion, diced
3 tablespoons parsley
2 roasted red peppers (from a jar), sliced julienne 
1/2 teaspoon salt

Put the apricots in a glass measuring cup and cover with water. Microwave on high for about 3 minutes. Remove the apricots and reserve the water for cooking the couscous. 

Add the couscous to a pot and add four cups of water, including the reserved apricot water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until cooked, about 10-15 minutes.
Toss in all the remaining ingredients and stir. 

To Serve 

1/2 cup slivered almonds

On each plate place the couscous and garbanzo-eggplant mixture. Top with almonds. 


Monday, April 16, 2012

Quick and Healthy Weekday Breakfasts

There was a time in my life when I was so obsessed with instant oatmeal that I consumed at least one metric ton of oatmeal. Upon consumption, I was so nauseated by the thought of oatmeal, that I thought I would never be able to eat the stuff again. It's been years, but I have finally come up with a recipe for fast, homemade oatmeal that I love. Which I thought was impossible, but apparently was not. Here it is!

Best Oatmeal 
(serves 1)
1/2 cup plain instant oatmeal
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 tablespoon shredded coconut
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1-2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2/3 cup soymilk (approximately)

Mix all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Pour the milk until the oatmeal is just covered. Stir, and microwave for 1 minute. Add more milk if necessary.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BBQ Seitan

This is so easy that there's not even really a recipe. BBQ Seitan is a veritable vegan staple.

You just need some seitan (preferably homemade, recipe here), some store bought BBQ sauce, some crusty white bread, and some cabbage and vegennaise! 

Toast your bread. Slice your seitan and heat in a skillet with BBQ sauce (or just throw in the microwave!) and whip up some coleslaw! 

For the coleslaw, I don't want to give quantities because every cabbage is different. If you have a huge cabbage then perhaps the recipe won't allow you to use as much "vayo" as you really should. And then you'll be like "this coleslaw is terrible!" And then maybe you won't keep coming back to my blog. So I'll take the leap of faith that you can tinker with the quantities to get your coleslaw just right. Here's what I put in mine:

Napa cabbage

Shredded carrots
Diced green onions

Apple cider vinegar
Mustard powder
Fresh cilantro
A bit of agave nectar, or sugar
A touch of salt


Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Pasta

This is a pasta that is loosely based off of a dish from the Italian restaurant I used to cook at in college. It's lemony and fresh for spring! 

Spring Pasta (Inspired by Scarpas' Pasta Veneto)

1 lb orecchiette, cooked (you can use shells or penne as well)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, sliced into half moons
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons garbanzo and fava bean flour (you can use regular flour too)
1/2 cup sundrieds, dry (not in oil or water)
1 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced 
1 can artichokes, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup capers and a few teaspoons brine
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 tablespoons roasted pine nuts

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. 

In the meantime, put the sundrieds and water into a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 2 minutes, or until the water boils. Let sit until ready to use. 

Back to the onions and garlic. Add the garbanzo flour to the pot and stir. Continue stirring occasionally until it turns a golden color. Strain the sundrieds from the water and add the water to the pot, along with the lemon juice and wine. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Add the nutritional yeast, mushrooms, artichokes, green onion, red pepper, capers and parsley. Chop the sundried tomatoes and add. Simmer for about 10 minutes to let all the flavors meld. Toss in the pasta. 

Top each serving with roasted pine nuts! 


Friday, April 6, 2012

Peanut Butter and Banana Pancakes (PB&BP)

Just in time for the weekend!! Another pancake recipe.

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup white flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 soy milk (possibly more)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon agave
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 banana, mashed with a fork
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon Earth Balance

Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium high heat. Grease with the Earth Balance.

Combine the soy milk and apple cider vinegar in a large bowl and let sit to curdle.

In a small bowl combine the flours, baking powder, and salt.

Add the canola oil, agave, vanilla, banana, and peanut butter to the soy milk and mix. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and combine. Because I am trying to translate the recipe from my husband, who doesn't consistently measure ingredients, you may have to add a little more soy milk to get your desired consistency. 

Pour the batter onto the griddle by quarter cups  and brown on one side. Flip and brown on the other. 


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Chile-Coconut Crusted Tofu with Lime Scented Vegetables, Millet, and Major Grey Mango Chutney

Why so fancy? Because that's what I felt like calling it. It's actually a really simple dinner. 

Originally, this recipe included quinoa. Unfortunately, there are a number of ethical problems with quinoa (n.b. I'm really glad this Mother Jones article gives the original Guardian piece--which lambasted vegans for their quinoa consumption--a reality check). A long time ago, my main interest was in Fair Trade, and so the potential problems that quinoa export is causing is not something I want to be a part of. I've edited this recipe to use millet instead. I actually really like millet a lot. It's pretty similar to quinoa in terms of texture. 

Chile-Coconut Crusted Tofu with Lime Scented Vegetables, Millet, and Major Grey Mango Chutney

Makes: 4 servings

Time: 45 minutes

For the Veggies

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 red onion, halved and sliced into half moons
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
juice of half a lime

Heat oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add peppers, onion, garlic and ginger all at once. The goal is to just barely soften these ingredients and bring out their flavors. Saute for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and place veggies in a large bowl, for the time being. Add soy and lime juice and combine.

For the Tofu

4 tablespoons canola oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon red chile powder
2 teaspoons red chile flakes
1 teaspoon cumin
4 tablespoons flaked coconut
1 pound tofu, pressed, cut widthwise into 8 rectangles and then each rectangle cut into a triangle

Heat the oil over medium high heat. 

Combine cornstarch, chile powder and flakes, cumin, and coconut in a shallow bowl. Dredge the tofu pieces in the mixture, being careful that dredged pieces do not touch one another as they will become stuck together. 

Fry the tofu on one side until crispy and dark golden. Flip finish other side.

To serve

4 cups cooked millet, warmed
1 jar Major Grey's Mango Chutney
1 avocado, sliced
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro

On each of four plates divvy the quinoa, vegetables, and avocado. Arrange four pieces of tofu on each plate and top with a generous dollop of chutney and 1 tablespoon cilantro.