When you crave a Meatball Hoagie, this is how you do it

A while ago I was having a huge craving for a fat meatball sub. So like anytime I am craving something, I sat down and started researching great methods to make the best meal for my craving. This is what I came up with: Sun-Dried Tomato “Meatballs” with vegan mozzarella, homemade marinara sauce and a side of vegan pretzel bites. It came out great and definitely satisfied my craving. This is the first time I ventured into mozzarella and pretzels. Anytime I experiment with something new it’s always exciting. I hope you enjoy and I urge you to try this. You won’t be disappointed.

 

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Sun-Dried Tomato Vegan Meatballs

Ingredients:
  • 1 Flax Egg (1 Tbsp flax seed meal + 2.5 Tbsp water)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for sautéing
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil)
  • 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • pinch each sea salt and red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
FOR COATING
  • 2 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp (12 g) panko bread crumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare flax egg in your food processor or high speed blender.
  2. Heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and minced garlic. Sauté until slightly browned, stirring often – about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then add to food processor or blender with flax egg.
  3. Next add panko bread crumbs, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, vegan parmesan cheese, salt + red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Pulse/blend until small bits remain, scraping down sides as needed.
  4. Next add rinsed/dried chickpeas and blend/pulse until a moldable “dough” is formed, scraping down sides as needed. You don’t want the chickpeas to turn into a paste, but you also don’t want any left whole.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. Scoop out rounded 1 Tbsp amounts of dough and gently form/roll into balls – about 15 total. Then roll in additional vegan parmesan cheese-panko bread crumb mixture to coat.
  7. Heat the same skillet you used earlier over medium heat. Once hot, add enough olive oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of the skillet, then add meatballs in two batches, as to not crowd the pan. Add more oil as needed.
  8. Brown for about 5 minutes total, shaking the pan to roll them around to brown all sides. Turn down heat slightly if browning too quickly.
  9. Add sautéed meatballs to a bare baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.

 

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 3 Tbsp (9nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix/pulse until a fine meal is achieved. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Lasts for several weeks.

Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Yellow Or White Onion, Diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 whole Large Carrots, Peeled And Finely Diced
  • 2 cans (28 Ounces Each) Whole Tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar (more To Taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

Instructions

In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and carrots and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour the tomatoes and juice in a large bowl and use your hands to gently squish/smush the tomatoes so that the juices are released and they are all broken up. Add the contents of the bowl to the pot and stir. Add tomato paste. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, and oregano (or other dried or fresh herbs). Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add minced fresh parsley at the end and taste/adjust the sauce for seasonings.

 

Gooey Vegan Mozzarella

Ingredients

  • ¼ to ½ Cup Raw Cashews
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 3 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Tapioca Starch (also known as Tapioca Flour)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder

Instructions

  1. If you do not have a high-powered blender, you will first need to boil or soak the cashews to soften them. To Soak the Cashews: cover with water and soak for 4 hours or overnight. To Boil the Cashews: Cover with water and bring to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes until they are tender and can be easily broken between your fingers.
  2. Drain the cashews and add them along with the 1 cup of water and all the remaining ingredients to a blender. Blend until completely smooth. It will be very watery.
  3. Pour into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, and continually stir as it cooks. As you stir it will start forming clumps, and then all of a sudden it will become a cheesy gooey mass of yumminess. This takes about 5 minutes. Continue to cook and stir for an additional 2 minutes to make sure it has firmed up completely.

Vegan Pretzel Bites

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses, or brown sugar
  • coarse salt
  • For the baking soda wash:
    1/2 cup boiling water
    1 tbsp baking soda
  • For the cornstarch (vegan egg) wash:
    1/2 cup water
    1 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Start the pretzel dough: put the warm water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until yeast is foamy, then add the flour and salt. Pulse to combine, then process for about 30 seconds or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out into an oiled bowl and let rise for about one hour.
  2. * After the first rise, the dough can be refrigerated (or frozen) in a gallon size zip top bag and used later. Cold dough must sit at room temperature for at least two hours before moving on to the next step.
  3. Divide the dough into four pieces. Using your hands and a lightly floured surface, roll each dough piece into a long snake shape, about one inch thick. With a dough cutter or knife, cut the dough snake into bite size pieces, and set aside, keeping the cut pieces covered with plastic while you work and dusted with a little flour to prevent sticking. Continue with the other three pieces of dough.
  4. Let dough bites sit under plastic for about 20 to 30 minutes to puff up.
  5. Meanwhile, fill a large stock pot with about eight cups of water. Set over high heat to bring to a boil.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Once pretzel water is boiling, add ¼ cup baking soda and molasses.
  9. Using a slotted spoon, drop the dough bites in a few at a time and scoop out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet once they float to the top of the water – about a minute. Continue with all the bites, scooping onto the baking sheet.
  10. Make the baking soda wash: Add baking soda to boiling 1/2 cup of water. mix and keep aside.
  11. Brush the pretzels liberally with warm baking soda wash. Let them sit for 2 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile Make the cornstarch wash: Mix the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of water, heat the water over medium heat until it thickens into a sludge. Brush the pretzels with the warm cornstarch wash. Sprinkle granulated salt on the pretzels.
  13. Bake the pretzels for 13 to 15 minutes, or until golden.

Now you are ready to serve and enjoy

Bon Appetite!

-Chef Drew

Our Christmas Feast

The holidays are always a great time for cooking, and of course blogging. Everyone always goes out of their way to make great meals for all to enjoy. This was no exception in our house. I wanted to make great food for my wife and I to enjoy both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We had some awesome plant based food! To look for inspiration I turned to my obvious favorites, Plant Pure Nation and Forks Over Knives. One Christmas Eve we went for the French Dip sandwich (which was always one of my favorites as a meat eater) with some homemade sweet potato fries. This sandwich did not disappoint. Hearty, flavorful, delicious. Christmas Day we started with a little appetizer of Mushroom Tapenade on Polenta Squares and for dinner had Pumpkin Sage Pasta. Both were very yummy and filling. I think we really hit a home run with these dishes and just goes to show everyone, you can eat plant based and still make totally awesome holiday food that won’t have you feeling gross, overweight, and ashamed. Below are the recipes and pix of how I made them.

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French Dip Sandwich

Ingredients

Horseradish Aioli (My wife hates horseradish so I left that ingredient out and instead put a pinch of cayenne in for a slight heat and it came out great)

  • 1 cup tofu cashew mayonnaise (recipe to follow)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Au Jus Dipping Sauce

  • 2 cups low sodium mushroom stock
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Filling

  • 1 onion, sliced into half rings
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 whole wheat sub rolls

Directions

  1. To make the aioli, blend the mayonnaise, garlic, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and green onions using a food processor. Set aside
  2. To make the au jus dipping sauce, whisk together the mushroom stock, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the cornstarch is absorbed, turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste, Set aside.
  3. In a nonstick frying pan, saute the onion and mushrooms in 1/4 cup of the au jus dipping sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toast the sub rolls and spread the aioli generously on each bun, then cover with the mushroom mixture. Serve with the warm dipping sauce on the side.

Tofu Cashew Mayonnaise

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, boiled for about 10-15 minutes to soften
  • 7 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp tahini
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  •  1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 tbs water

Directions

  1. place all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If you like yous a little thinner, add more water 1 tbs at a time until desired consistency is reached.

 

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Mushroom Tapenade on Polenta Squares

Ingredients

  • 1 onion diced
  • 10 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • one 6 ounce can pitted black olives, drained
  • 2 tbp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 1 recipe polenta (recipe to follow)

Directions

  1. In a large skilelt over medium-high heat, saute the onion, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a little bit of water for 3-5 minutes, until softened stirring frequently. Add the wine and cook until absorbed.
  2. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor. Add the olives, capers, and basil. Pulse until blended but still chunky.
  3. Cut the polenta into 2×2 inch squares and top with a spoonful of tapenade.

Polenta

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups non dairy unflavored milk
  • 1 1/3 cups polenta cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
  2. Bring the water and milk to a slow simmer in a pot over medium heat
  3. slowly stir in the cornmeal about a 1/4 cup at a time. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently and scrapping the bottom to avoid burning.
  4. The cornmeal is done cooking when it is smooth and thick. Stir in the remaining ingredients before removing from heat.
  5. Press the polenta into the prepared baking sheet until it is about 1 inch thick.
  6. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

 

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Pumpkin Sage Pasta

  • 8 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 1 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/3 tbs minced fresh sage
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile combine remaining ingredients together in a saucepan and heat over low until thoroughly warm, about 5 minutes.
  2. Taste, adding more sage or pumpkin pie spice if desired, plus salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cover and let sauce rest for 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavor to merge and sauce to thicken slightly.
  4. Toss cooked pasta with sauce.

 

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There you go, our holiday food. Try if you’d like and I hope you enjoy.

 

Bon Appetite

-Chef Drew

You asked for it, you got it

I posted a picture of our dinner last night without the intention of blogging it. It wasn’t anything really over the top but turned out to be a great meal that I am pretty proud of so I threw the picture and description up. The results showed me there really are people I am friends with on Facebook that follow my posts and are interested in our recipes from time to time. Every post always gets a few likes but it’s hard to tell how many people click the link and read what I have to say and try to recreate our meals based off my recipes. When people actually comment requesting me to post the recipes it really gives me a great feeling to know people like what I make and want to try new things with less meat and dairy products. Even if it’s just the picture that sucks you in I’m glad to see you’re ready to experiment. So here it is, Spaghetti squash with broccoli, cauliflower Alfredo. The Alfredo was based on a recipe from Plant Pure Nation, but like any chef I modified a few things. These were pretty minor changes but I feel like they had a big impact on the overall finished dish.

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When it comes to spaghetti squash there are a few ways to make it. I prefer baking mine as opposed to boiling it. To bake, simply preheat your oven to 350. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle a little olive oil on each half and season however you like. I usually use salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Place on a baking sheet cut side down so the steam stays underneath and cooks it through. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can pick it up to scrape the insides out with a fork.

Cauliflower Alfredo:

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 cups nondairy milk

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cauliflower and boil for 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. Add all ingredients to a high powered blender or food processor and blend until creamy.

For my recipe I didn’t have regular Dijon mustard. I used a Whole Grain Dijon from trader Joes. It has a great flavor and the seeds aren’t fully ground. I think it added a great taste and texture to the Alfredo as opposed to basic Dijon.

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Also, I like my Alfredo a little thicker so I only used 1 1/2 cups of Almond milk and it came out perfect. I would suggest starting with the same amount and if you like yours a little thinner, add the remaining 1/2 cup until it’s the consistency you like.

Scrape your squash with a fork once it is cool into a large skillet over medium heat. Saute with a little vegan butter for 5-10 minutes to reheat and give a little crunch. Toss in the Alfredo. Steam your broccoli florets for 5-10 minutes, I like mine with a good crunch still so I don’t steam it for very long. Once cooked to your preference, toss into the squash and Alfredo. Top with a little extra cracked pepper and serve.

Bon Appetite!

-Chef Drew

Forget the “Blue Box Blues”

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We all grew up on that amazing fake taste of Kraft mac and cheese but as you become an adult you realize how much better homemade is. There is a lot you can do and tons of variations to make amazing cheese sauces to top your favorite pasta. This is the first recipe we made from my new favorite cook book “The Plant Pure Nation Cookbook” by Kim Campbell. This recipe uses Butternut Squash and OMG I think this is my new favorite way to make mac and cheese. The recipe only uses half a squash so we made it twice last week and decided to do it two ways. The first we stayed true to the full recipe and made baked mac and cheese. The second time it was after a work day and I wanted to save some time so rather than baking it I just tossed the pasta in the cheese sauce and used shells which I like because they hold in extra sauce. Both were awesome and I encourage everyone to try this. You can pick your favorite way or do what we did and make it both. You can never have too much mac and cheese in a given week.

Macaroni and No Cheese

1 cup cooked and mashed butternut squash

1/4 cup raw cashews

1 1/2 cups nondairy milk

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

3/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

12 ounces macaroni noodles

1 cup peas

1/2 panko bread crumbs

Hints: using frozen butternut squash is a time saver however if you’re like us and prefer fresh then allow yourself time to bake (40 minutes)

If you do not have a high powered blender, presoak your cashews for a few hours or boil for 15-20 minutes to soften

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Place cooked squash, cashews, milk, cornstarch, nutritional yeast, mustard, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Transfer to a saucepan over medium heat and whisk until thickened, if you prefer thinner add water.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions
  5. Combine the pasta, sauce, and peas in a casserole dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
  6. Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly.

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If you are skipping the baking step, simply add your cooked pasta to the sauce in the saucepan and toss to coat.

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Enjoy!

-Chef Drew

Recipe brought to you by this amazing plant based book and documentary

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When The Moon Hits Your Eye…PIZZA. I made pizza.

So I was looking for a vegan blue cheese recipe yesterday and stumbled across a recipe for buffalo cauliflower wings and vegan blue cheese.  I’ve seen plenty of recipes for buffalo cauliflower wings, but we haven’t tried any yet.  I thought, why not put it on a pizza with the blue “cheese”!

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The original recipe for the “wings” can be found here.  Also, the dough was packaged pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. We looooove their pizza dough! I used the whole wheat variety for this pizza.

On to the pizza…

INGREDIENTS

For the Wings:

1 Head Cauliflower (I used a pre-cut package from Target’s Archer Farms line)

1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk

3 Teaspoons Garlic Powder

1 Cup Frank’s Red Hot (Original)

2 Tablespoons Earth Balance

For the Blue Cheese:

1 Cup Just Mayo

1/4 Block of Extra Firm Tofu (drained)

1 Teaspoon Tahini

Splash of Lemon Juice

Splash of Rice Vinegar

Dash of Garlic Powder

DIRECTIONS

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

While the oven is heating, cut your head of cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.  Even though mine was pre-cut, I still broke mine up into smaller pieces than I would to make “wings”. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond milk, flour, and garlic powder.  This batter should end up fairly thick, like pancake batter.  If yours is too runny, add a little more flour. Put the cauliflower pieces in the bowl and coat with the batter, I used my hands for this.

Line a glass baking dish with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray and transfer the battered cauliflower pieces. Be careful you don’t get to much extra batter in the dish. (It is not fun to pick out the hot pieces later!) Bake for 18 minutes.

While the cauliflower is baking, make your hot sauce and blue cheese.

For the hot sauce, melt the Earth Balance in a small sauce pan on medium-low heat.  After the butter has melted, add the hot sauce and stir.  I kept my sauce on low as I made the blue cheese, stirring periodically with a whisk.

In a medium bowl, mix the Just Mayo with tahini, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and garlic powder. Taste for “tang” and adjust to your liking.  Once you have the flavor down, crumble the drained tofu and mix again.  The tofu gives it that blue cheese texture!

After the cauliflower finishes its first round baking, remove it from the oven so you can add the hot sauce! Transfer the battered cauliflower pieces to a bowl and pour on the hot sauce. Mix it well so all the pieces are coated. I used parchment paper when I baked my cauliflower so I was able to toss the used paper and put the cauliflower back in the same dish. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

While the cauliflower is finishing, prepare your pizza dough (or skip this step and use a pre-baked crust.) We roll ours out on a floured surface and put on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. When the cauliflower is done with it’s second round of baking, adjust your oven temperature according to the directions on your pizza dough/crust.  If it’s raw, I suggest pre-baking it most of the way before topping the pizza.

Once your crust is ready and the cauliflower has finished baking, assemble your pizza! I put a thin layer of the hot sauce from the bottom of the baking dish on the crust first. (Since there was no raw chicken in this recipe there is no worries about germs.) Then top it with a layer of the cauliflower and blue cheese on top.  Since you’re using a ready-to-use crust or pre-baked dough, you only need to pop it in the oven for a few minutes to heat it thoroughly. Enjoy!

Melissa

Why cheat just because it’s a holiday….

A lot of people use the excuse that it’s a holiday to cheat. Summer holidays are always hard because everyone wants to enjoy BBQ or have a cookout. Becoming vegan has been a little bit of a struggle particularly with the cookout category. I love hotdogs and hamburgers but let’s face it, the vegan options at the grocery store are still terribly processed and bad for you. So how do you enjoy cookout food and still eat healthy food? The answer is taking some chances and venturing to make your own. I made a great Labor Day feast this weekend by taking taking some risks and learning some more great new tricks. I was not disappointed at all by the outcomes. Our menu consisted of Mac salad, baked beans, and hotdogs (or in this case carrot dogs.) An entirely plant based meal and had me thinking I was enjoying all the cookout foods I used to, this time a lot healthier and with no meat or dairy.

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Carrot Dogs:

8 large carrots

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbs Liquid smoke

1 Tbs canola oil

8 gluten free hotdog buns

  1. Peel the carrots, cut off ends and cut them to bun length. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the carrots until the are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Drain them and run them under cool water to stop the cooking.
  2. In an air tight storage container, mix the soy sauce, water, vinegar, garlic powder and liquid smoke. Marinate the carrots in the fridge for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Remove the carrots from the marinade and arrange them in the skillet in a single layer. Add a few spoons of the marinade and cook until they begin to caramelize. Rotate often.
  4. Serve on buns with your favorite toppings.

My toppings were Red Onion Sauce and Pickle Relish

Red Onion Sauce:

1 cup water

1 tsp corn starch

3/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbs brown sugar

1 tsp hot sauce

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs canola oil

2 large onions thinly sliced

1 tsp garlic powder

  1. In a bowl combine the corn starch and water. Whisk until it’s smooth
  2. Add in the ketchup, vinegar, mustard, brown sugar, and hot sauce
  3. Mix in the cinnamon, chili powder, salt, pepper. Whisk until smooth
  4. In a large skillet, heat the oi over medium high heat
  5. Add the onions to the skillet. Add the garlic
  6. Cook the onions until softened but not browned, about 8 minutes
  7. Add the sauce to the pan and toss to coat
  8. Bring sauce to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens and the onions are tender, about 25 minutes

Pickle Relish:

1 large cucumber

3/4 cup cider vinegar

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1/4 cup cane sugar

2 tsp salt

1 green bell pepper

1 small white onion

  1. Trim the ends of the cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise, seed, and finely chop.
  2. Bring the vinegar to a boil in a saucepan. Add the cucumber and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring frequently, until it is just starting to lose color and is tender but still crunchy.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the cucumber out of the vinegar and set aside. Add the mustard seeds and coriander seeds to the vinegar and bring back to a boil. Stir in the sugar and salt and reduce heat to simmering.
  4. Finely chop the pepper and onion. Mix with the cooked cucumber. Pour the vinegar over the vegetables and stir to combine.

Vegan Macaroni Salad:

1 pound of your favorite pasta

1/4 cup iced celery

1/4 cup minced onion

2 carrots, shredded and chopped. (I used 1 yellow and 1 purple for color)

Vegan Mayo (recipe to follow)

1 Tbs mustard

1 1/2 tsp cane sugar

1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain and rinse with cold water to cool off.
  2. In a large bowl add pasta, celery, onion, and carrots.
  3. Mix in mayo, sugar, salt and pepper

Vegan Mayo:

1/2 cup soy or almond mild (unsweetened)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground mustard

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp agave

1 cup canola oil

  1. Place milk, sea salt, ground mustard, garlic powder, vinegar, and agave in a food processor. Place lid on and turn to slow.
  2. Take the middle part of the lid out while blending and slowly pour in oil.
  3. Place lid back on and blend until thick and creamy.
  4. Allow to sit over night

Slow cooker baked beans:

1 lb dried beans

1 large onion finely diced

1 cup water

1 6 oz can tomato paste

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup molasses

4 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (if you care make sure it is a vegetarian version)

1 1/2 tbsp salt

1 tsp ground mustard

1/4 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

  1. The night before, soak beans with enough water to cover by 2 inches. Soak overnight
  2. In the morning, mix together all ingredients except beans and onion.
  3. In the bottom of your slow cooker layer the diced onion then top with beans.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the beans then add up to an additional 3 cups of water until the tops of the beans are just submerged.
  5. Cook the beans on low for 12 hours or on high for 6-8.

That way my meal and I loved it. If your feeling adventurous I suggest trying one or all of these. Enjoy!

-Chef Drew

Who’s ever heard of a Greek vegan?

I know I never have. A lot of Greek foods and flavors are centered around meat. Growing up Greek food was one of my favorite culinary cultures. We used to always go to our local Greek fest every summer and I have a lot of great memories of it. And let’s face it is there anything better than a fine Greek restaurant? Nope there isn’t. Last night I really didn’t have a plan for dinner and with our work schedules I knew I wanted something fairly quick and easy to put together but with a lot of great flavors. I knew what we had in the fridge and started thinking of ideas. Who knew that I’d settle on vegan eggplant gyros? I think I found a new favorite here.

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Vegan Eggplant Gyros with Hummus Sauce

1 very large eggplant, cubed

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp Oregano

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

salt/pepper

1 large tomato, sliced

1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 cup cucumber, chopped

4 pita flatbreads

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Place the eggplant in a large ziplock bag. Add oil, close and toss to coat. Add oregano, paprika, and nutritional yeast. Close, toss to coat.

Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and spread out eggplant. Bake for 30 minutes until soft.

While roasting, make hummus sauce and marinade onions in vinegar (drain before serving)

Hummus Sauce

2 cans lima beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 lime juiced

1 clove garlic chopped

2 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

1 large lemon juiced

2 tsp dried dill

Cook lima beans with 1/2 cup water for 6 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, let stand for 5 minutes. Rinse under cold water and drain.

Puree lima beans with oil, lime juice, and garlic in food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and add mint. Blend to combine.

Add 1/3 cup of the hummus to a bowl with the lemon juice and dill. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. If lemon taste is too strong, add more hummus to taste.

Take pita, spread hummus sauce, top with tomato, onion, cucumber and eggplant.

Enjoy!

What do you call a fake noodle?

Impasta, get it?

I love pasta. Since changing to a plant based diet we find ourselves eating tons of pasta and there have been no complaints about it. We find ourselves eating a lot of brown rice or quinoa pasta because they are made without eggs. I have found that although I am not gluten intolerant, I enjoy eating gluten free pasta more because I don’t feel as heavy after. Last night I decided to make one of my favorite pasta dished of all time and in the process a learned some great new tricks. Making this meal was a lot of fun and every time I make vegan chicken I make it a little better. Also I learned about making vegan Parmesan cheese which was a huge plus because Melissa goes crazy for Parmesan cheese. So here is my take on the classic fettuccine, chicken, broccoli, Alfredo.

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Vegan Parmesan Cheese

3/4 cup raw cashews

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix/pulse until a fine meal is achieved. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh.

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Vegan Chicken

1 block extra firm tofu

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup corn meal

1 tsp poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp coconut oil

Tofu achieves a better chicken like consistency if frozen, thawed, and pressed for at least an hour. Plan ahead to make sure this is done before. When ready, cut the tofu into strips. Mix the other ingredients together and dredge the tofu on all sides.

Heat over to 425

Heat a frying pan on medium high heat. When hot add 1 Tbsp of oil and let melt. Once melted and oil is hot place tofu in oil and fry for about five minuted. Flip and fry another 5 minutes

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. After frying both sides of the tofu, remove from the pan and place on baking sheet. Bake each side for roughly 5-7 minutes until crispy like chicken. Once baked, cut chicken into cubes.

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Vegan Alfredo

1 clove garlic

1 tsp olive oil

2 cups cauliflower chopped

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 Tbsp vegan Parmesan cheese

1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

Cook the minced garlic with olive oil until golden brown. Add the almond milk and bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper, chopped cauliflower and cook until it’s soft, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the Parmesan and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add additional milk as needed while blending to achieve desired Alfredo consistency. Cook your favorite pasta. Return sauce to pan and toss with pasta. If you’re choosing to add anything to your dish like chicken and broccoli, add and toss.

Top with a little fresh parsley and serve with some homemade garlic bread.

Bon Appetite.

Chef Drew