Monday, September 30, 2013

Jamaican Jerk Jack Kale Salad!

Kale?  Uh yes please!  Jamaican flavored Jackfruit "Chik'n?   Heck yes!  A creamy, zesty dressing?  Just stop it!

A crispy, crunchy raw salad with no guilt what so ever.  If you cannot find Jackfruit, you can always order online or can substitute with tempeh or seitan.  Just season and saute whatever you use the same way I made the jackfruit and you will have a very similar salad.

This salad can be served for a great, satisfying, not to mention insanely healthy, lunch or dinner!  I cannot boast enough about it, but I will shut up.

Jamaican Jerk Jack Kale Salad
 Raw kale can be pretty fibrous.  To make the leafy green a bit more delicate and appealing, make the salad a little ahead of time (maybe 20 minutes or so) before eating.  The dressing will absorb the tough exterior and soften the green.  It will also give the salad more flavor as it sits!

Have left over, already dressed salad?  No worries with this guy!  I even like it the next day!   Rare with salads because they tend to wilt.

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 cups raw kale, washed and destemmed and cut into pieces
1-1.5 avocados chopped
1 large vine ripe tomato chopped
1 can jack fruit drained
jamaican jerk seasoning
1/2 tbsp evoo
1/4 red onion sliced
avocado-cilantro-lime dressing
3 tsp adobo sauce (optional if like heat)

Drain jackfruit and pat dry and tear into shreds.  Heat evoo in sauce pan and add in jackfruit shreds and jerk seasoning.  Saute for about 3 minutes and set aside to cool.  In a bowl, add in all ingredients and toss with dressing.  Lastly, throw in your jackfruit chicken.  And that's it folks!  Tasty, healthy and delish!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

You're gonna fall for this fall recipe! Mediterranean Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

I don't know why it has taken me so long to come out with another Israeli Couscous dish.  But that long wait will never happen again!  I forget each time how much I love it!  It just makes sense to create Mediterranean flavors with it!  And, shoot, why not make an entire meal and make it a stuffing for acorn squash.  It is officially fall, after all!

This is super healthy and satisfying!  You get that sunny, bright and citrus flavor from the couscous colliding with the nutty and heart warming squash.  I mean, who wouldn't want to eat this???

Mediterranean Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

Have this leftover?  Ryan took a serving for dinner tonight with him and said it was even better a day old!

Makes me kind of sad because that was the last of it.  All the reason to make it again!

2 acorn squash halved and seeded
1 tbsp vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
2 c Israeli couscous
4 c vegetable broth
4 tbsp capers
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 lemon juiced
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp evoo
3 tbsp chopped parsley
3 vine ripe tomatoes

Preheat oven 400.  Take your acorn squash, cut in half, seed and trim off the the bottoms of the squash so they can sit flat while baking.  Melt vegan butter and brush squash with it.  Lightly season with salt and pepper and bake for 45-60 min.
In meantime, heat evoo in sauce pan and toast couscous for about 2 minutes.  Add veggie broth, bring to a boil and cover/simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Transfer to bowl, add in 1 tbsp evoo, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, parsley, capers and seasoning.  Set aside to cool.
In another pot, boil water and cook vine ripe tomatoes for about 5-8 minutes.  Drain, return to pot and crush with fork.  Add in fresh garlic and saute for about 3 minutes.  Transfer half of sauce into couscous salad and save the rest for underneath acorn squash.

Once squash is done baking, scoop in couscous salad mixture into the squash and serve with sauce.  SOOOOO  GOOOD!  I know it seems a bit wordy, but it is much easier that it seems!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Creamy Vegan Fall Soup!....Vegan Leek and Poato Soup with Dumplings!

I've never made dumplings before, but it sure was fun and surprisingly super easy!  Next time I will try them in a broth soup.  Maybe do a vegan play on the traditional Chinese Lion's Head.  Hmmm!

Anway, I love this soup and the dumplings alike.  Makes you feel cozy and good inside.  Great on it's own for a nice dinner or pair this with a beautiful light salad!

Vegan Leek and Potato Soup with Dumplings!

If you don't want dumplings, definitely just make the soup!  You cannot go wrong with it.

This made about 6 servings.  Have leftovers?  Put it in some tupperware and freeze for a later date.

That's what I did and can't wait to visit it in a few weeks....and I won't even have to cook! 

for the soup:
2 leeks washed and chopped
3 small russet potatoes peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 tbsp evoo
2 c nondairy milk
2 c vegetable broth

for the dumplings:
1 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c chopped parsley
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp vegan butter melted
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk

Heat evoo in large pot and add in garlic, leeks, potatoes and onions.  Stir and saute for about 10 minutes.  Slowly add in broth and nondairy milk and the remaining spices.  Bring to boil, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

In meantime, make the dumplings.  Boil either vegetable broth or water (enough to cover the dumplings).  Mix all dry ingredients together and all wet ingredients together.  Then combine the both.  Don't overwork the dough too much.  Form into golf sized balls and drop into boiling broth or water for about 5 minutes.

This is the perfect time to finish the soup.  Just transfer to food processor until blend until smooth and creamy.  Ladle soup into bowl and drop in the dumplings!  Delish!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Holla at the Vegan Hollandaise.....Steamed Green Beans with Vegan Hollandaise

As a vegetarian, I absolutely loved hollandaise sauce.  Rich, creamy and delicious!  I mean, that's what french food is, right?  If you thought "vegan + french food = yeah right", I did first  But, I have proved myself wrong....once again.  I tried an au gratin with a bechamel sauce and it was tastier than ever.  So, why not be adventurous?

Steamed Green Beans with Vegan Hollandaise

The "hollandaise" comes from just blending tofu with some mustard, lemon juice and some spices.

Try with asparagus as well.  Bet that would be killer!

Since you probably can figure out how to steam the green beans, I will just include the vegan hollandaise recipe.

1/2 block tofu (soft would work best but not a deal breaker)
1 tbsp melted vegan butter
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 lemon juiced
1 tsp tumeric
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp water

Just throw all the stuff in blender or food processor until smooth.  Then, heat in sauce pan and serve!
Nom nom nom.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Seitan Steak with Mushroom Red Wine Sauce

Ryan and I had a great day off today, and it was mainly due to our meals.  Obviously I cook so much because I truly love it.  It's my meditation and it really grounds me.  But, I also cook so much because there aren't enough vegan restaurants!  That just breaks my heart because I love Chicago's dining scene.

But we went to one of our favorite quick serve spots today and I got inspired.  Native Foods Cafe has an insanely good vegan menu and I am determined to try literally every item this year.  If you live in a city that has this spot, I highly recommend you going ASAP!

Anyway, the point of the long ramble was that they use a lot of seitan and it struck me I have yet to work with it.  I already had vital wheat gluten in my plantry, so I had everything I needed.  Seitan is like tofu was 20 years ago.  Fairly new kid on the block, but is becoming increasingly popular with not just the vegans and the veggies, but for everyone.  It is a great meat replacer, versatile and extremely high in protein!

 Seitan Steak with Mushroom Red Wine Sauce

I didn't realize how freakin' easy it is to make seitan.  What a pleasant surprise!

Keep in mind it does double in size while boiling.  If you have left overs, no prob!  Slice it up and use as lunch meat!


for the seitan:
1 c vital wheat gluten
1/2 c veggie broth
1/4 c soy sauce
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tbsp evoo
garlic powder
onion powder

to boil seitan:
2 c veggie broth
2 c water
1 garlic clove
1/4 c yellow onion sliced

for sauce:
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 garlic diced
2 scallion diced
sliced mushrooms (i used button)
2-3 tbsp soy sauce (have more to add in just in case)
1/4 c red wine (have more to add in just in case)


Start with the broth, because you want to bring it to a boil by the time you have finished making the seitan.  Who wants to wait around??  Just add the broth ingredients to a large bowl and boil.

In a mixing bowl, add in all ingredients for the seitan.  Start mixing with fork, then use your hands.  Form into 2 steaks.  Once done, add to boiling broth, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Once you have about 10 minutes left before seitan is done, start prepping your sauce.  Once done, heat butter on medium and saute garlic and scallion for about 2 minutes.  Add in mushrooms and saute for another 2 minutes.  Add in soy sauce and red wine.

Your seitan should be done, remove from boiling broth and add to sauce pan.  Sear seitan steak in the sauce.  Add more soy sauce and red wine if needed (most likely needed).  Pan sear each side for about 3 minutes.  Place steak on pan and pour over the mushrooms and sauce.  To add more sauce, throw in a touch of water to get the reserve bits off the pan.  Scrape the pan and pour over steak. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Healthy Vegan Football Food.....Roasted Cauliflower and Edamame Dip!

Looks like hummus, kind of tastes like hummus, but it's not hummus!  This recipe is super healthy, and tasty.  I love it as a dip, but there are definitely other things you can to do with it!  It makes a great spread for a Mediterranean style sandwich with roasted red peppers and an olive tapenade.  Yummmm....might have to try that!

I was especially excited to make this because my awesome parents just sent me an amazing new food processor.  Any new cooking gear makes me never want to leave the kitchen!  And, I looovvveeee blending, pureeing and mixing!  There was no way i was letting my new little toy sit idle for even a day!

I came up with this recipe because I had a half of a cauliflower head left and had a feeling it was on the way into the garbage.  I hate hate hate wasting food of any kind.

So I contemplated a few choices...a nontraditional dip or a great vegan soup.  I opted for a dip.  Saving my soup idea for a cold winter evening!  (be on the lookout!)

Roasted Cauliflower and Edameme Dip

1/2 head cauliflower cut into florets
1 tbsp evoo
1.5 c shelled edamame
1-2 large garlic clove  (depending on preference)
1/4 c evoo
1/4 c tahini
1/4 c water
1.5 lemons juiced

Preheat oven 400.  In a bowl, toss cauliflower and garlic with evoo and salt/pepper.  Place on baking sheet and cook for roughly 30 minutes.  In meantime, boil your edamame for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
Once cauliflower and garlic is done roasting, transfer to food processor add in your cooked edamame and the remaining ingredients.  Blend until smooth.  Refrigerate until cold.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Mock "Seafood" and Corn Chowder!

There has been a bit of a chill in the air.  What else is better than a warming, healthy, vegan chowder?  I especially love chowders or hearty soups on a lazy family day.  Cuddling up on the couch with loved ones and slurping on some delicious soup is my idea of a perfect evening.

So what makes this vegan soup "seafood"?  You guessed it!  Yes, I used jackfruit again.  This time I shredded it to emulate crab and the seeds to emulate clams.  By adding dried nori you are able to capture that seafood taste.

This recipe, like all soups, is idiot proof.  If you are a new home cook.  Try starting off with soups!  You can really never go wrong.  Just trust your taste buds- you can always add or eliminate and taste along the way.

Vegan Mock "Seafood" and Corn Chowder

1 can jackfruit (drained)
1 can sweet corn drained (not creamed corn)
2 celery stalks chopped
2 large carrots chopped
1 small onion chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 tbsp evoo
2 c vegetable broth
2 c unsweetened almond milk chopped
2 sheets nori (crumbled)
1/2 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp sriracha
1/2 c flour

First, start off with shredding drained jackfruit with your hands.  Keep both the shredded parts and the seeds (optional).  I used the seeds because they somewhat resemble a clam.  Once done, set aside.
In a large pot, heat evoo on medium and saute garlic, onion, carrots and celery for about 5 minutes.  This is your "mirepoix".  Add in broth, almond milk, jackfruit, corn and nori.  Bring to boil, then simmer and cover.  After about 10 minutes, add in seasoning and flour and stir until mixed.  Cover for an additional 10 minutes.
Serve with homemade croutons and you are good to go!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Elvis would be Proud.....Vegan Whole Wheat Peanut Butter-Banana Crepes

As promised, here is another crepe recipe, this time sweet and protein packed.  From time to time, I love peanut butter and fruit smoothies for a protein boost in the morning.  But, when I feel like getting a bit more substance, this is a great recipe!

A very satisfying, stick to your ribs vegan breakfast item.  I think just one crepe is a perfect amount, but for my hungry hubby, 3 should do it (if not more).

Vegan Whoe Wheat Peanut Butter-Banana Crepes

With this recipe, you get roughly 7 grams of protein and 1 fruit per crepe.  My estimate would be that one crepe is less than 300 calories, just about 10 g carbs, 7 g protein.

Not a bad way to start your day!

Ingredients: (yields 4-5 crepes)

for crepe:
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk (or your choice of vegan milk)
2/3 c Water
1/4 c vegan butter
1 c flour
1/4 tsp salt

for filling:
1/4 c all natural peanut butter
4 bananas sliced
3-4 tbsp unsweetened or sweetened almond milk
1/2 tbs evoo

In a bowl,  whisk together all the ingredients for the crepes and refrigerate for roughly 10-20 minutes.

In meantime, in one saute pan, heat evoo and quickly saute banana just enough to carmelize.  In a sauce pan, heat peanut butter and slowly stir in milk until smooth.

Once your crepe mix is ready, lightly oil large saute pan and pour in just enough to cover the pan (you don't want the crepe to be thick!).  Cook on medium and flip once edges are browned and the top is bubbled.  Once flipped, spoon in about 1 tbsp peanut butter and spread, add about a half of a cut banana and fold.  Transfer to plate and drizzle just about another tbsp peanut butter mixture and top with a few banana pieces.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Slurping is the Trend....Vegan Tahini-Miso Ramen

Ramen is making a huge comeback, and not just for those poor college students.  There have been so many documentaries/movies on Ramen along with great, upscale ramen restaurants popping up.  Why?  I'm not so sure.  But all I know is that all eating etiquette is thrown out the window.  Proper way of eating....slurp slurp!

So there is a difference in ramen noodles.  You want to stay away from the instant ramen.  These ones are deep fried in oil to maintain the long lasting shelf life.  Opt for the ones that are air dried.  They are slightly more expensive and take a whopping 5 minutes to cook!  Just look at the ingredients on the back of the package if you are questioning which ones to buy.

Also, you will be making your own sauce, so don't even think about using any nasty, over the top sodium packages.

Vegan Tahini-Miso Ramen

The great part about ramen is the versatility.  I've seen some crazy recipes out there....Chicago even has a restaurant with a ramen burger, which I believe started in New York.  The ramen is used as a bun.  Yeah, I don't get it either.

My recipes won't be that weird and off putting, I promise!

Ingredients/Directions: (serves 4)

4 ramen nests
4 c water
1/4 c white miso paste
1/4 c tahini
2 tbsp lan chi chili with garlic paste (or sriracha + garlic)
1-2 tbsp tamari
1/2 c sliced mushroom (i used button b/c I had them, but opt for exotic if possible)
1 c spinach
1/4 c red cabbage
1/4 c chopped scallion
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger

Boil 4 cups of water and cook ramen nests for about 5 minutes.  Once cooked, transfer both water and noodles to a bowl and add in miso paste, tahini, tamari and lan chi.  Stir until completely mixed.  *NOTE, if you do not like spice, start off with a small amount of lan chi chili paste and work from there.  You may also have to add in more miso paste or tamari.  I always like to start off with a little of my "seasonings" and build off of the base.  To each their own!

Once you have your base, throw in the remaining ingredients.  The hot water will cook the veggies to perfection!

Now start slurping!

Vegan Savory Crepes! Vegan Crepe "Omelette"

Good morning!  I woke up a few hours ago and literally had a conversation in bed with the hubbers re: I need more breakfast recipes.  His response was, "well, we never really eat breakfast".  Well, guess what?  Breakfast will be made this morning!

My taste buds prefer savory over sweet, so I thought making a crepe "omelette" would be a perfect start to the day!  Tomorrow I will satisfy Ryan's tastebuds and do something sweet. 

Vegan Crepe "Omelette"

 I yelled at myself after eating this, because a little bit of hot sauce would have really made this faux omelette that much better.  I don't even know who I am anymore....when do I ever forget hot sauce????


 for crepe:
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk (or your choice of vegan milk)
2/3 c Water
1/4 c vegan butter
1 c flour
1/4 tsp salt

for filling:
red onion

In a bowl,  whisk together all the ingredients for the crepes and refrigerate for roughly 10-20 minutes.  In the meantime, saute your veggies of your choice in evoo.  I always prefer mushrooms and onion, but be creative! 
Once your crepe mix is ready, lightly oil large saute pan and pour in just enough to cover the pan (you don't want the crepe to be thick!).  Cook on low-medium and flip once edges are browned and the top is bubbled.  Once flipped, add in your veggie mixture and fold. 

That's it!  Yay!  Breakfast time!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Holy Ravioli!!....Vegan Sweet Pea Ravioli with Pea Puree and Pea-Lemon-Truffle Sauce

This is truly a chef-inspired vegan dish!  Light, delicate, flavorful and appealing to the eyes!

When I think ravioli, I think heavy, cheesy and a whole lot of sauce.  At least, that is the American way of doing things....but, why not try something a bit out there?  Something light, bright and stimulating to both the eyes and mouth?!

Sweet pea raviolis with a duo of light sauces?  Ummm, heck yes and can I have it now????  It may sound a bit odd, but it works and works realllyyyy well!  It may seem a bit intricate, but don't be intimidated, it is 100% doable for all level of cooks!

Some mixtures of ingredients may not make sense right off the bat for you, but trust me....the combo of puree of peas, truffle oil and lemon juice is a bit of sex on the tongue (don't be bashful...we all know food is sexy).

(for ravioli filling)
2 c fresh sweet peas or frozen peas thawed
1 lrg garlic minced
2 shallots minced
1/4 c dry white wine
egg replacer mixed with water
wonton wrappers 

(for sauces)
1/4 c blended puree from above
reserve liquid from pea puree from above
1/4 c baby arugala

1/2 c frozed peas thawed
1 tbsp evoo
1/4 avocado
 lemon juiced
2 tsp white truffle oil

Heat evoo in large saute pan and saute garlic and onions for about 3 minutes.  Add in peas and white wine and cook until liquid has cooked away about half.  Season to taste and trasfer to blender and blend until desired consistency.

Remove from blender and remove excess liquid with cheese cloth or a mesh strainer.  Keep excess liquid for one of the sauces.

 Create a station to form your raviolis.  What I
 did was put down parchment paper and lighly floured it, then set down the amount of raviolis
I wanted to make.  I also have my egg replacer mixed in water next to me as well.  Next, spoon in about 3/4 of the blended pea mixture.  With your fingers, coat the edges of the raviolis with the egg replacer and fold.  Do this until all of them are complete.  Set aside

For the first sauce, heat a pan with evoo and add in the blended pea mixture, reserve pea water and arugala.  Heat just until the arugala begins to wilt.

 Finally, to make the last sauce, take all the
ingredients (peas, evoo, avocado, lemon juice and truffle oil) and blend until smooth.  It should like like a bright vibrant green apple.

To cook the raviolis, boil water and cook for about 2 minutes or until they float.  Put the first sauce under the raviolis and drizzle the pea-truffle-lemon mixture on top!

So awesome!

Sweet Pea Raviolis with a Duo of Sauce

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Healthy Vegan Football Food Part 2......Jackfruit "Chicken" Nuggets

We love our Sundays!  If anyone knows me and Ryan, they know that Sunday is our ridiculous grocery excursion day.  Today we rounded out at hitting up 4 completely different grocery stores.  It's sad, but true.  One store we the market in Chinatown, solely to pick up (drum roll please)....JACKFRUIT!  Yeah, I'm kind of obsessed.  It's a great meat replacer, but note, there is not much protein in it at all, so make sure you get protein elsewhere!

I thought about using these to make nuggets, and what better day to do that on than football Sunday?  By properly seasoning the fruit itself and the panko bread crumbs, you really come up with a tasty creation.

Jackfruit "Chicken" Nuggets

This vegan football snack turns out to be low in calories and carbs and guilt free!

Dip in your favorite sauces!  I found that agave nectar was the best pairing!

1 can jackfruit
1/4 c flour
1/2 c panko crumbs
egg replacer mixed with water
onion powder
garlic powder

Preheat oven 425.  Drain jackfruit completely and pat dry with paper towels.  Half or quarter (depending on size) each piece, removing seeds if possible.  Season with spices above.  Set up your dredging station with three bowls: flour, egg replacer and seasoned panko crumbs.   With each piece, coat in flour, then egg mixture, then panko.  Cook in oven for 15-17 minutes.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Vegan Steamed Gyoza

Gyoza is Japanese for potstickers.  And, they are seriously one of my favorite appetizers to order at an Asian restaurant.  But, the sad thing is, 9 out of 10 times, they only offer pork.  Breaks my heart because they are so appealing to me.  They are light, filled with sauteed goodness and served with delicious dipping sauce.

Unlike previous recipes, I decided to go with packaged wonton wrappers.  I was a bit ambitious before and also realized that even the top Asian restaurants most likely use the packaged wrappers as well.

 Don't fret if you could (or only have) only find square ones, I was in the same situation!  Simply take one of your wine glasses, and trace around the rim with a nice.  Voila!  You have your perfect circle for the gyoza.

10 gyoza wrappers
egg relpacer mixed with water
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1/2 c grated cabbage
1/2 c grated carrot
1/4 c chopped yellow onion
2 tbsp chopped scalled
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp chili oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
                                                                                    1/4 c tamari (or soy sauce)
                                                                                    2 tbsp agave nectar
scallion for garnish
sriracha for garnish (optional)

Place all the ingredients used to filling on cutting board so you have everything organized and you are not still prepping while you are sauteing the veggies.
 Heat both chili and sesame oil in saute pan on medium.  Start with sauteing garlic and ginger for about 2 minutes, then add scallions and onions and saute an additional 2 min.  Add in remaining veggies and saute until soft.  Set   aside.
Prepare your wonton wrappers by placing them on lightly floured parchment paper.  Spoon in about 1/2-1 tbsp of the veggie mixture into center of wonton.  With your egg replacer mixture, coat the edges of the wonton and fold.  Pinch the ends together to secure.  Do this until all your wontons are filled.

In a large saucepan, pour in about 3-4 inches of water and bring to boil.  Place in the gyozas and cover (this is the "steaming" process).  Leave in for about 2-3 minutes and remove.

For your sauce, mix in your tamari, agave nectar and scallions.  Grab your chopsticks and start eating!

Vegan Steamed Gyoza

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Don't Hit the Road Jack(fruit).....BBQ Pulled "Pork" Jackfuit Sandwhich

I flippin love jackfruit.  I've said it once, and I'll say it again:  Jackfruit is by far my favorite meat-replacer.  Best part is is that it is actually a fruit.  Bye-bye heavy, bloating wheat gluten!  Bye-bye non-digesting soy and textured soy protein.  And hello new fellow in town. 

What I love about this is the gooey, smokey, spicy BBQ sauce matched with the acidic slaw.  Perfect combo!  Feel like a lighter option?  Eliminate the bread and go with a lettuce wrap.  Bam!  Easy as that!

BBQ Pulled "Pork" Jackfruit Sandwhich

 I can't wait to play around with more recipes.  We made a trip to Chinatown specifically for jackfruit and made sure to stock up!  So prepare to see a few more ideas!

Remember, you want to get the can that reads "in water" not "in syrup".

Ingredients/Directions (yields 3-4 sandwiches)
1 can jackfruit
3/4 c homemade BBQ sauce or your preferred bottled bbq sauce
1/4 head of red cabbage
1/2 cucumber sliced
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
s+p to taste
buns (or lettuce wraps)

Make or heat your BBQ sauce on low in small sauce pan.  Drain jackfruit and press until most of the moisture is removed.  Shred each piece and add into sauce pan with the bbq sauce.  While heating, chop your red cabbage, mix with cucumber and toss with the rice wine vinegar and seasoning.

Take your bun, spoon in bbq "pulled pork" jackfruit, top with the slaw and bam!  Take a bite into that baby!

Creamy Goodness!....Zesty, Creamy White Bean Spread

Hummus is always a fan favorite, but feel like doing something a tad bit different?  Go for a white bean spread!  I was comparing the nutritional differences between the chickpea and the white bean, and there was virtually no difference.  Both are high in protein and fiber with roughly 20 g of carbs in each serving.  Can't really go wrong with these bean spreads!

You can either buy the canned cannellini beans or white navy beans, or buy your beans in bulk. 
But, here is the main difference.  Yes, you will have to think ahead and do a bit more work if you choose to go the dry bean, bulk route.  But, there are many benefits with this choice!  They are cheaper, contain less sodium, and are lower in carbs and calories!  But obviously, when it comes down to it, it is your choice.

Zesty, Creamy White Bean Spread

I really love this recipe because the parsley and fresh lemon juice really brightens the dip.  Between the evoo and tahini, bean dips can tend to be a little heavy.  The acidity really cuts through that heaviness and the herbs just freshen it up!

Ingredients/directions (this makes alot!)
2 c dry white beans (or 2 cans of cannellini beans)
1/4 evoo
1/4 water
1/4 tahini
1-2 clove garlic
1 lemon juiced
1/4 c chopped flat leaf parsley

In a pot soak your beans overnight.  Make sure you have about 3-4 times the amount of water because the beans expand as they soak up the water!  After soaked, rinse well and add back to pot with water, add in some salt and bring to boil.  Cover pot and simmer for about 30-45 minutes (or until soft).
Drain well and transfer to blender or food processor.  Add in all the ingredients, except for the chopped parsley.  Blend until smooth or to your desired consistency.  With a spoon, stir in parsley.
Enjoy this as a dip, as a spread in a sandwich, or with pita and falafel.  Anyway you choose, it is great!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Everything Under the Sun Detox Black Lentil Salad

I literally put everything I had in my vegetable cooler in this salad, hence the title.  This is a great recipe for when you fear a lot of your vegetables are about to go bad. 

So, why black lentil?  I have actually never cooked with them before (not like the cooking process is much different).  Though when I was in the bulk aisle of the grocery store, I was examining the nutritional labels and learned that black lentils have more protein and more fiber than any other lentil.  So, this was a no brainer for me.

I really had no idea what to do with them and they were sitting in my plantry for awhile.  So today, I thought I make a heart healthy, detox salad with them.  And boy was that a great idea!

Everything Under the Sun Detox Black Lentil Salad
 For me, the lentil salad itself was a complete meal.  Though, when it comes to Ryan, he needs something a bit heartier, so I added maple glazed seitan chunks to it. 

Simply just warm the seitan in a pan and lightly glaze with maple syrup until warm.  Lightly salt and serve.

Apparently, the heat burned off a lot of the sugar, so it was just a subtle maple sweetness.


1 c dry black lentils
1 roasted beet
1 bunch asparagus washed and cut into pieces (only spears if want)
2 medium sized carrots peeled and cut in quarter pieces
1 medium zucchini quarted pieces
1 c raw kale
1 small cucumber quarter pieces
1 red bell pepper sliced
1/4 red onion sliced
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbsp evoo (for cooking)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp evoo (for dressing)
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
optional: seitan- see preparation above

In a pot, bring 2 cups of water and 1 c lentils to a boil.  Cover and simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  In meantime, heat evoo in saute pan and saute garlic, carrots and asparagus for about 5 minutes.  Add in zucchini and red pepper and saute another 3.  Season with salt and pepper.  Now add in kale (you may need more evoo) and saute until limp.  Season to taste.  Set aside.  In another saute pan, heat a touch of oil (this part is optional- I like to carmelize red onions in some dishes to give it the sweet and salty aspect) and add in red onion.  Sprinkle about 2 tsp brown sugar and saute for about 3-4 min.  Add to the cooked vegetables that are set aside. 

Transfer cooked lentils to bowl and mix in coked vegetables and raw cucumber.  Mix together vinegar, evoo and brown sugar (or agave nectar) and pour into lentil mixture.  Mix thoroughly and add more if needed.

Easy, Homemade BBQ sauce

I'm sure everyone has their favorite bottled BBQ sauces, but there is always something to be said when you make it from scratch.
So, here is my favorite and easiest go to standard BBQ sauce:

Easy, Homemade BBQ Sauce
Add caption
bbq sauce:
1 tbsp evoo or coconut oil
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 c chopped yellow onion
2 c ketchup
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sriracha (or hot sauce)
3 tbsp raw agave nectar
2 tbsp brown sugar
s + p
liquid smoke

In pan, heat evoo and saute onion and garlic for about 3 minutes.  Add in ketchup, stir.  Add in all of the ingredients and stir on low heat until brown sugar is dissolved.

And there you have it!  Your own batch of BBQ sauce.  Now go impress your friends at your next barbeque!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Healthy Vegan Football Food!....Un-Fried Pickles

Why fry when you can bake?  You can still have the crispy, crunchiness just minus all the nasty oil!

The first time I had fried pickles was a few years ago in Austin.  I couldn't really see why they were so popular, but I am now a huge fan!  They are crunchy, salty and just flat out tasty.  Where these may not be considered "healthy", there are considered healthier than the standard fried pickle.

To add more flavor, spice up your panko bread crumbs with some seasonings.  This gives it just that extra kick.

Un-Fried Pickles

Pair this with vegan ranch.  I am a weirdo and have always eaten pickles with ketchup.  So, for me, organic, all natural ketchup is the sauce for me.  Yeah, yeah.  I'm an oddball.

dill pickles
1/2 c flour or whole wheat flour (gluten free option)
1/2 c bread crumbs
egg replacer mixed with water or choice of vegan milk
smoked paprika

Preheat oven 425.  Remove pickles from jar and pat dry with paper towels to try and remove all the liquid (this will prevent them from being limp and soggy).  Set up your dredging station.  One bowl flour, one bowl with mixed egg replacer/milk and last bowl with bread crumbs mixed with the spices.  Dredge each pickle with flour, then egg mixture, then bread crumbs until all gone.  Bake in oven for 7-10 minutes.  That's it!

Cheesey Cheesey Dressing.....Vegan Blue Cheese Dressing

I am a freak with dressings and sauces alike.  It may be my biggest downfall because you can ingest a ton of calories and fat without even knowing it.  Yes it is vegan, but not the healthiest so use sparingly!

If you have all the ingredients, you can bang this recipe out in 5 minutes or less.

Vegan Blue Cheese Dressing

1 block firm tofu
1 c veganaise
1/4 c unsweetened original almond milk (or your choice of vegan milk)
3 tbsp white miso paste
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 lemon squeezed

Drain tofu and firmly press the block with multiple paper towel.  Squeeze out as much liquid as you possibly can and crumble into small pieces.  Transfer to mixing bowl and add in all the additional ingredients.  Mix thoroughly and adjust seasoning to your taste.  Serve with veggies, a wedge salad or with buffalo wings

Monday, September 9, 2013

Just "Beet" It.....Roasted Beet Hummus

I know there have been a few recipes recently involving beets, but why not?  The are versatile, healthy and flippin' yum yum!

Love love love this recipe.  So perfect for a light snack.  Or perfect for a little get together "starter". It is an easy finger food and conversation starter,   Gorgeously bright, almost that of the color of a pomegranate.  Creamy and lip smacking!  Everyone is going to want this recipe.....seriously.

Roasted Beet Hummus

 It has the subtly of a traditional hummus, but by adding in the beets, you also have that slightly sweet earthiness to it.  So good I want to package it and sell it to the local mart.

You can thank me later if you don't believe me :)

Serve with veggies or easy pita bread.

1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 medium beet
1/4 c lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1/4 c tahini
2 tbsp evoo
1 clove garlic minced

Heat oven 375.  Lightly oil beet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and bake in oven for roughly 1 hr.  Remove and let cool.  Remove skin and cut beet into pieces.  Add all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Season to taste.  Let cool in refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until you want to serve.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Healthy Vegan Football Food.....Vegan Buffalo Wings!

Spicy and lip smacking good!  I don't even know if I have actually ever had real buffalo wings.  I think I've only ingested faux buffalo wings made by Morning Star before I became a vegan.  Note that many of the frozen Morning Star Products are NOT vegan.

Cauliflower florets are a brilliant substitute for chicken.  Bring these spicy firecrackers to your next Sunday football party get together, and I bet even the non-vegans will be gobbling them up!

If you desire something a bit heartier, you can try using seitan instead.

But, I prefer the cauliflower route.  Light, healthy, gluten free and soy free.

By using whole grain flour, this makes the recipe gluten free.  If this is not important to you, use any type of flour your little heart desires.


Vegan Buffalo Wings

 Remember, if you use my vegan blue cheese dressing, it does contain tofu, so the dressing would not be soy free.  You can try to make it without the tofu, but I am not sure how this will taste.

1 head cauliflower (cut into florets)
1 c whole grain flour (or flour of your choice)
1 c unsweetened original flavor almond milk (or your choice of vegan milk)
1 tbsp evoo
1/2 c hot wing sauce (I use Frank's Red Hot)

Preheat oven 450.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and vegan milk and stir until completely combined.  The consistency should be think.  Add in a hand full of the florets and completely dredge.  Transfer to baking pan and repeat until of the cauliflower is gone.  Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.  In meantime, combine hot sauce and evoo.  Remove cauliflower from oven and drench the cauliflower completely and return to oven for another 5-7 minutes.  Transfer to a serving dish and serve with blue cheese dressing and celery.
Now that's a bang in your mouth!

Don't make me "Beet" the Risotto Outta Ya!.....Vegan Beet Risotto

Gorgeous, vibrant and show stopping!  You start out by making a traditional risotto and end up with a bright, nutty, creamy, earthy mouth-gasm.

Like all recipes I do, a lot of love goes into them.  But, similar to most Italian recipes, you really must commit and bring love and finesse.  It really shows when you make a risotto properly.  So lets just jump into this non-traditional bad boy!

I'm going to do this a bit differently than most posts.  First, list ingredients and then go into the process, along with including some tips and interesting facts along the way.  Hope this is fun and informative!

1 large beet peeled (or 2 small beets)
2 c arborio rice (or whatever rice you prefer)
1/2 c dry white wine
2 c vegetable water
2 c water
1 medium onion diced
2 garlic cloves chopped
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 tbsp evoo

First off, a few tips when dealing with beets:
a.) wear gloves (if you don't have gloves, cover hands in plastic bags and work that way)

b.) No gloves? No plastic bags?  Rub cooking oil on hands, so as not to dye your hands red.

c.) Try not to handle beets on wood cutting board.  Wood is very porous and will absorb the red juice.  Use a plastic one instead.

d.) No plastic board?  Have a stain on your wooden cutting board?  Use Grandma's trick: rub salt and soda water on stain and scrub!!!

So, there are a few ways to treat your beet when making this risotto.
1.)  use raw grated beets
2.) use cooked, pureed beets
3.) combine the two.

I chose the ladder option.  But, the choice is yours.

So here are the directions:
Start off with preheating your oven to 375.  Peel beet ( mine was the size of a softball, so I used one; if medium sized use 2).  Decide which route you would like to go....if you want raw....grate the beets.  If you would like cooked beets, oven bake for one hr. and puree.

Once you have either your grated beets, pureed beets or the combo, set aside and start the risotto.

In one pot, heat vegetable broth with the 2 c water and simmer.  In another large saute pan, heat evoo  and saute onion and garlic until translucent.  Add in rice and toast for roughly 3 minutes.  Remember to continuously stir throughout this entire process!  Slowly add in white wine, stir until almost evaporated.  Then laddle in broth/water, 1/2 c-1 c at a time.  Stir until that gets absorbed and repeat until all broth is gone.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add in beets until completely covered red and then mix in nutritional yeast.

Seems difficult, but it's really not.  And, it's all worth it!  Top with vegan blue cheese and serve with herbacious garlic bread for a fantastic meal!

Vegan Beet Risotto

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I think I Did It!......Vegan Blue Cheese

As I have mentioned before, the only thing that separated me between being a vegan and a vegetarian was cheese.  Everything else easy to give up.  Being deprived from cheese seemed daunting.  I have tried many different faux cheese products from the grocery store, but always seem to fall a bit short.

I have yet to find a faux blue cheese and really wanted to create it.  As I mentioned a few days ago in my Miso Mushroom Steak recipe, that miso paste would be great to make a "cheese" with.  It has that funky, pungent taste to it.  And who doesn't love those funky, stinky "cheeses"?

Vegan Blue Cheese

 Literally what you see is this picture is what I added to make the "blue cheese".  It's as easy, cheesy as that!
(I had to)

This would also be great to make a blue cheese dressing with and make a wedge salad.  Hmmmm- I'll definitely post that when I get around to it!

1/2 package firm tofu
1/2 juice from lemon
1.5 tbsp white miso (add more if needed)
1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
garlic powder

Drain tofu and press.  To press, cover in paper towels and place a large cook book (or whatever weighs a decent amount) on top.  Let press for roughly 20-30 minutes.  If you are short on time, squeeze tofu with multiple paper towels until dry.  Crumble into pieces, add the rest of ingredients, mix and magic!  Vegan Blue Cheese!!!!!

Cha-Cha-Cha Chili......Vegan Three Bean Chia Chili

The heat wave has come to an end and it almost feels like the beginning of fall.....almost.  Typically this would sadden me, but now I have a new outlook on the changing seasons......this means a new array of seasonal produce and new recipes!  Woohoo!!

What better way to energize your body and mind and satisfy your taste buds than a protein packed three bean chili?  Vegan, soy free, gluten free and 100% de-flippin-licious!

Vegan Three Bean Chia Chili
  In my opinion, this chili works out so great (aside from the delicious spices) is due to the fact that I blend about one cup of the chili AND because I use chia seeds.  Chia seeds are ever so popular these days and it is not surprising why.  Not only are they superfoods and used for energy, but they are also used as a thickening agent.

For some great and truly interesting facts, check this article out!

Ingredients/Directions (yields 4-6 servings)
1 can black beans (rinsed/drained)
1 can kidney beans (rinsed/drained)
1 can pinto beans (rinsed/drained)
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
2 celery stalks diced
1 medium onion diced
1 large carrot peeled and diced
1 tomato chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/4-1/2 c water (depending on your desired consistency)
3 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp adobo seasoning
1 tbsp liquid smoke (optional)
1 tbsp oregano
juice from 1 lime
1 tbsp evoo
2 tbsp chopped cilantro (garnish/optional)
1/2 avocado chopped (garnish/optional)

In a large pot, heat evoo and saute onion, cellery, carrot, and garlic until soft (about 5 min).  Literally throw in all the ingredients EXCEPT for cilantro and avocado and mix thoroughly.  Adjust seasoning if needed.  Take about 1.5 cups of the mixture, transfer to blender and blend until smooth.  Return to pot, turn to low, cover and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Serve and enjoy with garnishes and oyster crackers/vegan sour cream if desired. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Japanese "Steak and Potatoes"....Vegan Miso Mushroom Steak with Wasabi-Cauliflower Mash

This is a fun little play on "steak and potatoes" with a Japanese influence.  The "steak" is a portabello steak and the "potatoes"  are a cauliflower mash.  This makes a great vegan, low carb meal!

Maybe next time I will try this recipe using eggplant instead.  I think that eggplant and miso would be great.  But, don't get me wrong, the mushrooms were delicious as well!

Miso Mushroom Steak and Wasabi-Cauliflower Mash

You can do a variety thing with miso paste.  It's great as a marinade, in sauces or even to use when making vegan cheeses.

It has a very pungent, nutty essence that may not be very appealing to some, but once added with other ingredients, it is great! 


For the mushroom:
4 portabellos
1/4 c white miso
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp evoo
2 tsp sriracha

Clean, de-stem and spoon out the black gills.  Set aside.  Combine and whisk the remaining ingredients for the marinade.  Season to taste and marinate mushrooms for about 10-20 minutes.
***good time to start cauliflower mash***
When time to cook, heat grill and cook each side for about 3-4 minutes.  Garnish with scallions.  Serve with mash.

For Wasabi-Cauliflower Mash
1 head cauliflower (cut in florets
1 tbsp wasabi (paste or powder)
1 garlic clove
1/4 c unsweetened original almond milk (or whatever non-dairy milk you prefer)
2 tbsp vegan butter

Bring pot of water to a boil and steam cauliflower florets and garlic for 5-7 minutes.  Remove and transfer to blender or food processor.  Add in remaining ingredients and blend until smooth or slightly chunky.  Season to taste.  Yummmmmmy!  Love the wasabi touch!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Holla at Masala!..... Vegan Masala Burger!

Have a taste for Indian food but not in the mood the the typical dal, or those dishes that are meant to be served with naan, such as punjab eggplant or curried chickpeas.

Or maybe you just want something with that Indian flavor bite without the mess.....well, here is your solution.....Vegan Masala Patties.  Bursting with South Indian flavors and so not messy!

Vegan Masala Burger

Serve this with curried ketchup and a fresh mango salsa.  A little heat in the ketchup gives the burger a kick.  And, the mango salsa is light and refreshing to counterbalance the Indian spices.

2 carrots peeled and cut
1 small yukon gold potato peeled and cut
1/2 c frozen peas thawed
1/2 c corn
1/2 green bell pepper chopped
1/4 c chopped yellow onion
1/2 c rolled oats blended fine in food processor
1/4 c whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 tbsp evoo
1/2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tbsp garam masala

Bowl pot of water and cook carrots and potatoes until soft (about 5 minutes).  Drain and set aside.  In saute pan, heat evoo and saute bell pepper and yellow onion until soft (3-5 minutes).  Add in carrots, potatoes, corn and peas and just saute until warm.  Add in the curry powder, tumeric and garam masala.  Once everything is mixed, transfer to bowl.  Mix in bread crumbs and blended oats.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Add in 1/2 tbsp evoo and mix.  Form into patties and place in freezer for about 15-20 minutes.
Once semi frozen, remove.  Heat pan and cook patties in evoo about 3 minutes a side.  Serve with your favorite condiments!  (Try my suggestions!  You won't be disappointed!)