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Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

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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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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Here’s more awesome vegetarian food we found in Austin. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see this post.


TLT Sandwich at . LOVED this restaurant! They have a mix of ominivore, vegan and vegetarian offerings. This is the vegan version of their TLT, subbing tempeh for the bacon, and the millet bread is gluten-free (they have lots of gluten-free options, come to think of it). Came with a big ol’ dish of vegan mayo and slaw. Sandwich was great, but I didn’t care much for the slaw; it had a strange taste I just couldn’t bring myself to like. Snack Bar is in a revamped ’50s building. Very mid-centry, and they were playing Talking Heads on the patio when we ate there. How much cooler can you get?


This was Kevin’s selection at Snack Bar—the Veggie Bocadillo. Roasted veggies, grilled halloumi cheese (!), and Moroccan spices on a baguette with a side of potato straws. He enjoyed the sandwich, and the potato straws were way better than my slaw.


Of course, we had to go back to Jo’s. This is their BBQ sandwich made with wheat roast on a slightly sweet bun. YUM! You can’t go wrong with Jo’s wheat roast. It’s a little sweet and really spicy.


This is Kevin’s griddled 3 cheese from Jo’s with a side of fries. He likes his grilled cheese sandwiches!

Somehow we managed to not take pictures of any of our breakfasts, which is too bad. My favorite breakfast was probably the multi-grain pancakes from Jo’s (yes, we went there a total of 3 times). It wasn’t until after we left that I realized the other Jo’s on South Congress had a tofu “egg” salad sandwich. If I’d known that, we would’ve gone there for lunch while we were on South Congress. Oh, well. I’m sure Jo’s will still be there when we go back in December 2010.

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Kevin and I have been in Austin these last few days (hence the lack of posts). We’ve going during our Christmas vacation these last two years, and I have to say, I think I could easily live in Austin. They have some great, walkable urban areas, lots of cool independent business and a crapload of vegetarian-friendly restaurants. While I had fun, I was happy to get home last night. Here’s some of the veg-friendly eats we enjoyed (all pictures were taken by Kevin):


The Berkeley Vegan Pizza from Z Pizza. Holy crap, this had to be the best pizza I have put in my mouth, vegan or otherwise. I think they use Daiya cheese, and wow, it’s amazing! So melty and gooey! And the crust is perfect—fairly thin, but still soft and chewy. I wish we had one of these in Fort Worth!


Vegan wrap at Flipnotics. Can’t remember what it was called, but inside it had brown rice, nori, thai peanut sauce. This was good, but I think it would’ve been even better warmed up. Loved the atmosphere here. Reminded me of places in Portland, OR.


Blue Dragon Smoothie from Juan Pelota Cafe. This smoothie is made with blueberries, pineapple, coconut and soy milk and it was awesome! Totally puts Jamba Juice to shame.


Veggie Frito Pie from Jo’s Coffee. We discovered this lovely coffee shop in the 2nd St. District (there’s also one on South Congress) last year and fell in love! You can get a vegetarian Frito pie made with either veggie chili or wheat roast. I picked the wheat roast and . . . wow . . . loved this, but I couldn’t begin to eat all those Fritos. Kevin tried to help, but we still left about a million Fritos behind.

I don’t want to make this post too long, so I’ll save the rest for tomorrow. I can’t believe it’s already New Year’s Eve! We usually have parties to go to, but this year I think we’re going to stick around the house and recover from our trip.

So . . . see you next year!

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