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Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

My husband Kevin and I eloped in November 2009. We decided instead of having a big crazy wedding, we’d just swing by the courthouse and throw a low-key party later. Before we even got married, we knew we were going to have all vegan food at our party, and we knew that awesome food would come from Spiral Diner, our most favorite restaurant in the world.

Behold the deliciosity! All vegan, all awesome, put together by Lindsay—pigs in blankets, veggie wraps, chips, hummus, salsa, chickenless salad, and fresh fruits and veggies. The only other vegetarian in our family besides Kevin and I is my mom, but we heard nothing but good things about the food from our omnivorous friends and relatives. My favorite item was definitely the pigs in blankets, followed closely by the chickenless salad.

And of course there was cake! Glorious Neapolitan cake—layers of chocolate and white cake with strawberry icing, drizzled with chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate-covered strawberries—all put together by the very talented founder of Spiral Diner, Amy McNutt. OMG! And yes, it was vegan, and everyone raved about it! It was soooo moist and sooooo delicious (and pretty to boot)!

Here’s another view of the yumminess:

The party went down at The Usual, our friendly, local prohibition-era cocktail-serving bar. Seriously, if you’re a cocktail connoisseur or or just looking for a good Friday night cocktail, you have to check this place out. I’m a fan of the Scorpio and the Mai Tai. Click the link to check out their happy hour specials.

So that’s our vegan wedding party. I was so stuffed by the end of the evening, but it was all sooo, sooo good. And no one except my carnivore brother seemed even reluctant about the food. So there you go . . . vegan wedding shindigs can totally be done and they can be thoroughly awesome!

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I’ve been a little obsessed with everything tiki/’50s faux Polynesian lately. So I decided to try my hand at make vegan rumaki.

Rumaki is a faux Polynesian dish that consists of chicken livers and a water chestnut on a toothpick wrapped in bacon and broiled. Sounds like a vegan’s delight, right? According to Wikipedia, rumaki was first concocted in the 1940s for Don the Beachcomber’s tiki restaurant.

So what did I use as a vegan substitute for chicken livers? I used firm tofu. I don’t know how genuinely similar it is, since I’ve never had chicken liver, but I figured it would work. For the bacon, I used Morningstar bacon. The taste was good, but the problem with pretty much all vegetarian bacon is low fat content—it burns really easily. I wish some company would make a fattier vegan bacon for dishes like this. I know that sounds horrible, but seriously, it would be a huge help.

Other than the easily burning bacon, I was happy with how my rumaki turned out. I think next time I’ll slice the bacon length-wise, leaving two long, thin strips—this way I could wrap it completely around the water chestnut and tofu. I might also experiment with other brands of meatless bacon.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. Try it for your next tiki party or any time you get a craving for something bacon-wrapped.

Vegan Rumaki

1/2 cup tamari sauce
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 package firm water-packed tofu, drained and pressed
1 8 oz can slice water chestnuts
1 package vegan bacon
Toothpicks

Whisk together the tamari, water, sugar and ginger. Set aside. Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces—about 1-inch wide and just under 1/4 inch thick. Cut the bacon slices in half (width-wise, or length wise, depending on how you want to wrap it). Sandwich a water chestnut slice and tofu chunk together and wrap with a piece of bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Continue until you’re out of bacon. Place the rumaki in a large bowl or pan and cover with the tamari mixture. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for 6–8 hours.

After the rumaki has marinated, drain and place your rumaki on a foil-covered pan. Broil under medium heat until the bacon is cooked, turning often. Be careful not to burn the bacon. Total cooking time will be around ten minutes.

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I haven’t been posting very regularly lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. I have a backlog of stuff to post, starting with this lovely recipe.

I love peanut sauce and I love broccoli slaw, so why not bring the two together? I’ve never been a big fan of mayo-drenched coleslaw, so this is a great alternative. Enjoy with veggie egg rolls or pot stickers!

Asian-Inspired Peanut Slaw

3-1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons agave nectar
Dash tabasco
12 oz bag broccoli slaw (or cole slaw)

Whisk together everything but the broccoli slaw until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. Toss with broccoli slaw until evenly coated and serve.

Variation: For a fruity twist, toss in a drained 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple. You could also throw in a few tablespoon of chopped peanuts for some crunch.

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This recipe is from the very first issue of my long-forgotten zine The Cheap Vegan. It’s simple and totally cheap to make, and these can actually be burritos or tacos, depending on the tortillas you use. If you have large flour tortillas, you can fill ‘em up and make burritos. If you use corn tortillas, place a line of filling down the middle, fold in half, and you have a taco. Sweet!

Be sure to save your leftovers. The filling is even better the next day!

Cheap As Dirt Vegan Tacos (or Burritos)
2 small potatoes, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 cup TVP
1 cup water or light veggie broth
7/8 cup hot water
1 T chile powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 t pepper
1 T soy sauce or tamari
Corn or flour tortillas (crispy taco shells are dope, too)

Combine the onion, potatoes, garlic salt, onion powder, chile pepper, black pepper, and 1 cup water in a large, nonstick skillet. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. While the vegetables are simmering, combine the TVP and the 7/8 cup of hot water and allow it to sit for at least 5 minutes. After the vegetables are done simmering and the potatoes are tender, stir the soy sauce into the TVP and add to the potato mixture. Stir to thoroughly combine the TVP and the potatoes and simmer for five minutes. Spoon into homemade tortillas and top with vegan cheese, sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado or nothing at all.

Variation: If you don’t have any TVP on hand, you can use 1-1/2 cups cooked, drained beans instead (that’s what I used in the ones pictured). Omit the 7/8 cup water if using beans.

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Holy crap! I’ve gone over a week without posting a new recipe! How sad! Don’t fear, though. I’m back with something you can make for breakfast.

Granola is a healthy breakfast food that often gets loaded with oils, sugar, corn syrup, and other unhealthy ingredients, and the brands with healthier ingredients tend to be crazy expensive. So what’s a granola-lover to do?

Make this!

No oil. No refined sugars. Just wholesome tastiness. Enjoy it with your favorite vegan milk, on yogurt, on top of your I-Scream Sundae, or wherever you need the tasty crunch of granola.

Low-Fat Granola

4 cups oatmeal, quick or regular
1 cup oat bran or another cup oatmeal
2 cups raisins or other dried fruit (dried cranberries are great)
1/3 cup apple juice concentrate, thawed
3 tablespoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger (optional)
Tiny pinch salt

Preheat oven to 325F. Combine everything except the apple juice concentrate, agave and the spices in a large bowl. Combine the spices, agave and the apple juice concentrate in a small bowl. Add the apple juice mixture to the oat mixturel. Mix with a spoon until everything is evenly coated. Spread the granola out on 1 or 2 very foiled-lined (spray foil with nonstick spray) baking sheets. Bake until toasted, about 30 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes. Allow it to cool completely on the baking sheets, then store in airtight containers.

Variation: If you like your granola nutty, add up to 3/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds or chopped nuts. Pecans or walnuts are tasty!

For “flavored” granola, add up to 1 teaspoon of your favorite extract–vanilla, almond, coconut, or whatever you like–to the apple juice mixture.

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Spiral Diner is hands-down my most favorite restaurant ever. Spiral is a vegan restaurant that opened in Fort Worth in 2002. I’ve been going ever since opening week and I’ve rarely had a thing I didn’t like.

Spiral has a regular rotation of Blue Plate Specials. Past ones have included the Festivus Sandwich (cranberry pecan dressing, Tofurkey, cranberry sauce, cream cheese, and mayo all sandwiched between two slices of whole grain bread), the Paul Reuben (vegan reuben), chili mac, crazy baked potatoes, and countless other awesome things.

Their newest Blue Plate is an assortment of vegan quesadillas (made with Daiya cheese and all kinds of awesome fillings) and vegan nachos (made with their own cashew cheeze sauce). Of course, as soon as we found out they were offering these tasty gems, Kevin and I had to go down there and try them out. We ordered the Blackened Tofu Quesadillas:

And the Black Bean and Cheese Nachos:

We shared both, and WOW! The quesadillas consist of whole wheat tortillas stuffed with melty Daiya cheese (this stuff is magical!), crisp blackened tofu, corn, tomatoes, green onions and creamy chipotle. On the rare occasion I’ve had regular quesadillas, I always feel gross after eating all that greasy cheese. The Daiya cheese is melty and creamy without all the grease, and the tofu and corn add the perfect combo of textures and flavors.

The nachos were also a winner. The piping hot cashew cheeze sauce is smooth and has a great nutritional yeast/”cheezy” flavor, and the black beans, tomatoes, and onions all added great substance and flavor. They reminded me a little of the vegan nachos we had at Hungry Tiger Too in Portland, Oregon.

If you live remotely close to a Spiral Diner (there’s one in Fort Worth and Oak Cliff), get there fast before these babies are gone. I really, really hope these get added to the regular menu. In fact, now I’m inspired to make my own vegan nachos . . .

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Today is Vegan Thursday! (If you don’t know what that is, check out Chocolate-Covered Katie’s blog). Since I’m already 90% vegan (and 100% vegetarian), I decided on Vegan Thursdays, I’d come up with a new vegan recipe. Thus, we have these delicious, cheeseless quesadillas!

I made this using ingredients already in my pantry and fridge. It’s all really basic stuff. I’m trying to keep the food bill low this week, so look for more pantry concoctions soon! :-)

I have a feeling this spread would also be good between two slices of bread as a cheeseless grilled cheese!

Queso-less-dillias

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon yellow miso
2 tablespoons vegan cream or milk (I used unsweetened MimicCream)
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teapsoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Tortillas of your choice

Place everything except the tortillas in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. This is your “cheeze.” Spread a generous layer of “cheeze” on a tortilla. Place another tortilla on top of the cheese (you know, like a sandwich). Grill over medium heat in a lightly oiled nonstick skillet or griddle until toasted (about 5 minutes). Flip over and grill other side. Cut into wedges. Repeat until you have a big pile of delicious quesadillas.

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Need some hearty comfort food to get you through the winter (holy crap, it’s been cold lately!)? Check out this filling pasta dish. It’s reminiscent of Hamburger Helper, but without the meat, dairy and general processed grossness of its pre-packaged cousin.

For the pasta, I used rice penne, but rotini or macaroni would work well, too.

Hamburger Helper with a Vengeance

2 cups uncooked pasta
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
12 oz package “beef” crumbles
3/4 teaspoon cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Cheeze Sauce
1 cup plain, unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon vegan mayo
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, making the cheeze sauce. In a small sauce pan, whisk together all the sauce ingredients and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly. When it just starts to boil, lower the heat and cook until thickened. Set aside.

Cook the onion, crumbles, and cajun seasoning in a lightly oiled skillet until onion is translucent and crumbles are heated through. Add the drained, cooked pasta, almond milk, ground pepper, and cheeze sauce and cook over low heat until everything is heated through. Serves 4.

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I love pretty much anything with chocolate and peanut butter. Throw in a banana and it’s that much better. This smoothie’s a great way to get your chocolate-PB fix without ingesting tons of fat and refined sugar. Note that the small amount of strawberries called for don’t really impart any flavor; they’re just low-cal filler.

Choco Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

1 frozen, sliced banana (hint, slice before you freeze)
1-1/2 cups almond milk (chocolate, plain or vanilla)
3/4 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 heaping tablespoon PB2 (or 1 tablespoon natural style peanut butter)
3 frozen strawberries
1 teaspoon agave (optional; the banana and protein powder already provide quite a bit of sweetness)

Put everything in a blender or Magic Bullet and and process ’til smooth.

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Note: This post would have a picture, but alas, all my smoothie pictures came out blurry and gross. So you’ll just have to imagine what the chocolaty, strawberry-y goodness looks like.

I love smoothies. I don’t make them enough, and I’m not really sure why. They’re by far my favorite thing to have for breakfast, so this year, I resolve to make more smoothies. Here’s one of my favorites.

Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Smoothie

1 cup frozen strawberries
1-1/2 cups almond milk (chocolate, plain, vanilla–they all work)
3/4 scoop chocolate protein powder (I use Spiru-tein)
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
Tiny squirt (about 1 teaspoon) agave or other sweetener (use more if you like sweeter smoothies)

Place everything in a blender or Magic Bullet and blend until smooth.

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