the vegan spoon

I may never influence the masses - but so long as I have a positive impact on all creatures around me, I am content.

Vegan Omelettes!

Before I relished in my first vegan omelette a month ago at the Wayward Cafe in Seattle, I had no idea such a feat was even possible. Not only is it possible, the recipe is nearly foolproof…even for an amateur vegan chef like me!

I found the omelette recipe at Post Punk Kitchen and stuffed each one with half of a cooked Boca spicy chik’n patty, a sauteed veggie blend (onions, pepper, garlic, mushrooms, salsa) and a sprinkle of Daiya Cheddar Cheese. Then I drizzled nacho cheezy sauce and vegan hollandaise (both recipes in recent blogs below) over the top of each omelette, and baked them in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese.

They came out perfectly! I can’t believe this is the first I’ve known of vegan omelettes! This will be a regular dish in the weekend brunch rotation. :)

Vegan Chili Mac Attack

I’ve been blessed with an abundance of garden fresh tomatoes this summer…perfect for whipping up a healthy supply of pasta sauce and freezing it for the cold, flavorless tomato days of winter ahead. I made an Italian green marinara a few weeks ago, so I decided to give this weekend’s sauce a Mexican spin. Because, well, everything is better when it tastes like Mexican food. And this soyrizo “meat” sauce is the f’ing bomb.

The vegan cheese I made to drizzle over the pasta is a recipe from “The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook” that I changed up a bit. And no pasta meal is complete without garlic bread, so garlic tortilla wedges were a natural choice for the side. This meal had insane flavor…rich, spicy, fresh…a Mexitalian success!

Vegan Soyrizo “Meat” Sauce
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
1 bulb garlic, minced
1 pkg vegan Soyrizo
1/2 to 1 cup dry white wine or sake
5 to 7 lb tomatoes, blended into juice
1 small can chopped green chiles
seasonings all to taste, but this is about what i used:
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp chipotle powder
1 1/2 Tbsp cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp coriander
2 tsp cayenne
2 to 3 cups cooked pasta of your choice
1 cup nacho cheezy sauce
1 cup cooked corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil on medium in a large pot on stove. Add onions and peppers and saute 7 to 10 minutes, until veggies are getting soft. Add garlic and cook a minute more. Add Soyrizo and saute another 5 to 7 min, stirring occasionally. Add white wine to deglaze the pan and let cook down another few min. 

Add tomato juice, chiles and seasonings. Bring sauce to a boil, then turn to low and let simmer for 1 to 2 hours, until sauce reaches desired thickness. I use a splash guard on top of my pot so sauce doesn’t get all over the stove. Serve over any kind of cooked pasta you like! Top with nacho cheezy sauce (recipe below), corn and cilantro. This makes a ton, so freeze whatever you don’t use in your meal and enjoy again later!

Vegan Nacho Cheezy Sauce
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (2 cups)
½ cup chopped pimiento pieces
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp tahini
½ tsp yellow mustard
½ tsp salt
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1 ½ tsp white miso
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp chipotle powder
3 Tbsp chopped green chiles
¾ cup plain, non-dairy milk
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a food processor, add all ingredients except the milk and cilantro. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. Add mixture to small saucepan and whisk in milk. On stove, heat cheese on low to med low, stirring frequently, until sauce starts to bubble and is heated through. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and get your chili mac on!

Garlic Tortilla Wedges
2 large flour tortillas
1 Tbsp canola oil
garlic powder and taco seasoning for sprinkling

Cut each tortilla into 8 wedges. Brush one side of each wedge with a little oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Spray a small skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium. Add wedges a few at a time (seasoned side down) and cook for about 2 min, until browned but still soft. These are so simple and taste amazing! Another awesome vegan feast!

Huevos Benedict

It was high time today for an epic Sunday brunch. I found a recipe for vegan hollandaise sauce in “The Saucy Vegetarian” and with the inspiration of that creamy deliciousness, I concocted a Mexican version of eggs benedict. And holy scrumptiousness…this is officially going in my future cookbook! It wasn’t the healthiest of meals, but Sunday is a day of rest and overindulgence. Make this - you won’t be sorry!

Huevos Benedict
6 corn tortillas
2/3 cup Daiya shredded cheese
1 pkg soyrizo
1 large tomato, sliced thin
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 tsp black salt
1 10 oz pkg extra firm tofu, cut in 1/4 to 1/2” thick slices
1/2 to 1 cup vegan hollandaise (recipe below)
1 avocado, sliced
chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Heat small skillet to medium. Add soyrizo and break apart with spoon. Cook 6 to 8 min, until soyrizo is heated through and starts to brown. Put in bowl and set aside. In same skillet, heat 2 Tbsp oil on medium. Add tofu slices (3 or 4 at a time). Sprinkle one side with black salt. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, until brown, and flip over, sprinkling other side with black salt and cooking another few min until browned on the other side. Repeat with all tofu and set aside.

Preheat oven to 450. To assemble the huevos benedict, place tortillas on large baking sheet. Sprinkle some Daiya cheese on each one, then top with soyrizo, a tomato slice or two, a slice of tofu, and a Tbsp or two of hollandaise sauce. Bake in the oven for about 10 min, until cheese is melty. Remove from oven, top with fresh chives, and serve with avocado slices and additional hollandaise. And enjoy the f out of them. Happy Sunday!

Vegan Hollandaise Sauce
1 lb silken tofu
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbsp tahini
2 tsp dijon or yellow mustard
2 Tbsp fresh parsley leaves
1 large clove garlic
1 tsp black salt (plain salt is fine too, but black salt will add an eggy flavor)

Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. This makes a huge batch! Enjoy!

Yesterday’s garden harvest!

Poor animals, how jealously they guard their bodies, for to us is merely an evening’s meal, but to them is life itself.

Pasta Verde

What do you do when you have an abundance of green zebra tomatoes at your disposal? Make green marinara sauce of course! This garden veggie feast featured much more than sauce, but tonight we are honoring the lovely, juicy fresh garden tomato…because there’s no better time of year to do so. Mix your green marinara into whatever pasta dish you want. I made tri-colored bowtie and tossed fresh garden kale and swiss chard into the water in the last few minutes of boiling. A healthful and hearty way to get your greens! With roasted garden squash, tomatoes and beets on the side, it doesn’t get much more local, colorful and delicious!

Green Marinara Sauce
20 to 30 green zebra tomatoes, quartered
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 large yellow onions, chopped
2 small green peppers, chopped
1 1/2 bulbs garlic, minced
2/3 to 1 cup sake or dry white wine
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 to 2 tsp salt (to taste)
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup blend of fresh parsley, oregano and basil

Put about 1/3 of the tomatoes in a blender and blend until mostly smooth…a few chunks are ok. Transfer to large bowl. Repeat with the rest of the tomatoes until all are blended.

Meanwhile, heat oil on medium in large pot. Add onions and peppers and cook 7 to 10 min, until transluscent and starting to brown. Add garlic and cook another min or two. Add sake or wine and cook another few min. Add blended tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper (adjust salt as needed to taste). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until sauce has cooked down and thickened to desired consistency. Stir in 1/3 cup fresh herbs, saving the rest for garnish. Enjoy with your fave pasta…and have a verde good time!

Comfortably Fresh

It’s sweet corn season! Woohoo! I may petition that a fifth season be officially introduced into society so that fresh corn and tomatoes can truly get the recognition they deserve. No other time of the year is more exciting when it comes to fresh produce. And so I buy and consume as much as I can in the short time window I’m given. So corn and a juicy cantaloupe were the “fresh” sections of the meal.

Tonight’s “comfort” portion of dinner was vegan meatloaf with a mushroom red wine gravy. I made a pretty traditional meatloaf recipe with the dry veggie burger mix I keep socked away in my pantry. And I had about half a bottle of red wine I wasn’t terribly enamored with, so a red wine gravy was the perfect way to weasel out of drinking it! Its flavors ran rich and deep. Here’s how it’s done.

Mushroom Red Wine Gravy
1 Tbsp oil
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
16 oz white mushrooms, sliced
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup mix of chopped parsley, rosemary and sage
1/2 bottle dry red wine
1/4 cup cornstarch, dissolved in 1 cup water

In a large skillet, heat oil on low. Add onion and cook low and slow for about a half hour, until onion is beautifully golden and caramelized. Be sure to stir every once in awhile. Turn heat up to med low/medium, add garlic, and cook a minute more. Add mushrooms and cook 10 to 15 min, stirring occasionally, until most mushroom juice has evaporated. Add seasonings, herbs, wine and cornstarch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for about 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until gravy thickens and is deep and rich in color. Spoon generously over vegan meatloaf or any other dish you want to give a hearty, comforting spin to. And don’t forget a corn cob!

Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.

Pink Potatoes!

It’s beet season again and time to get creative with this beautiful magenta super food! I decided to try a unique spin on mashed potatoes tonight and added some garden beets into the mix. And my patio is flourishing with fresh herbs right now, so some sage, rosemary and basil joined the potato party too. The beets gave the savory potatoes a hint of  sweetness. Delish!

The green salad is a mix of red lettuce, kale, swiss chard and beet greens - all from our garden! I topped it with chickpeas, sundried tomatoes, a few little chunks of Tofurkey deli slices and a homemade honey mustard dressing. A sensational summer dinner!

Pink Garlic Mashed Potatoes
3 or 4 medium beets, peeled and cut in small chunks
8 to 10 small to medium red skin potatoes, cut in med chunks
1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped fine
1 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped fine
1/2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp vegan margarine
2 Tbsp vegan sour cream
1/4 to 1/2 cup plain almond milk (or more as needed for desired texture)
salt and pepper to taste

Add potato and beet chunks to large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat enough that water is still lightly boiling, and let boil about 20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender.

Drain potato beet mix, leaving a little of the boiling water in the pot. Add additional ingredients and mix with beaters on high (or mash with potato masher) until desired consistency. Add more milk for a smoother end product, less if you prefer it chunky. 

Honey Mustard Dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 Tbsp horseradish
1 Tbsp agave nectar
2 cloves garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy with your favorite salad ingredients.

Happy Summer!

The last day of June

We had a slow start to the veggie growing season, but those days are (hopefully) over! We’ve been graced with buckets of rain and good hot days in June, and the garden is loving every minute. Greens wise, the swiss chard is huge, we’ve got a full row of healthy, happy curly kale, and the red lettuce continues to thrive. The mustard greens have just about given up in this heat, but there are a few left - and wow - some of the raw leaves taste like you’re taking a straight shot of wasabi. I like the pain though.

I’ve picked a few beets too, and they’re just about to the right size. And we had our first squash blossom yesterday, so zucchini is right around the corner! There are also a few little peppers popping out and tiny green guys appearing on our quickly growing tomato plants. The cucumber plants look super healthy too.

The slow movers are the green onions and yellow onions. They have yet to do much, but we’re being patient and letting them grow at their own pace. Nothing yet on the eggplant/collard/lima bean front, but we only planted those about a week ago, so we’ll see what happens. So excited how well it’s all coming along and hoping for some great harvests soon!

Summer Pesto Salad

Finally…summer is here! And with hot and muggy sundress weather comes something even better. Fresh local food season! Our garden is really taking off…in fact, our spinach and mustard greens already went to seed, so we planted a few other seeds (eggplant, lima beans and collards) in hopes that it’s not too late to salvage even more goodies later this year.

But what we have now are LOTS of greens. There are still a few mustard greens hanging on, the swiss chard and kale are bushy and lovely, and we have more beautiful red lettuce than we know what to do with. I picked the first two beets of the season too! And my garden neighbor (he’s a pro, seriously) was kind enough to give me a kohlrabi he had just picked. Add the garden bounty to some farmers market goodies (radishes and green onions) and I created a flavorful plate lined with the colors of summer!

I used lettuce as the base for the salad and roasted my beets and some baby carrots with salt, pepper and rosemary. I then peeled and julienned a kohlrabi, chopped up some green onion and thinly sliced red radishes (I left all of those raw). I also wilted a variety of greens (kohlrabi greens, swiss chard and mustard greens) with chopped garlic and some salt and pepper. So all THAT went into this gorgeousness. And some fresh chopped chives too.

But that’s not all folks! I made a delicious vegan pesto dressing to tie it all together. After all, a dinner without some kind of condiment is shameful. And it’s jam packed with healthy greens and patio grown herbs, so it’s just one more way to feel awesome about what you’re eating!

Vegan Pesto Dressing
1 cup each - kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, radish greens
1/2 to 1 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup parsley leaves
2 Tbsp fresh oregano
juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (to desired consistency)

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Use as a salad dressing, dipping sauce or spike it with tequila and do shots. Happy dining!

keep your senses open.
it still won’t make sense.
but you may like it more.

Greens and reds

This is our garden as of last weekend! Greens have been good to us, and we’ve got plenty of fresh salad fixins. The spinach didn’t fare so well and has already gone to seed, but everything else is rockin’ out. The mustard greens are super spicy and best served in a salad mix with some milder pals…a bit hard core on their own, though I REALLY like their bite. The tomato plants were wee lil’ tots when we first planted them, but they’re coming along nicely. And the squash and cucumber plants have ventured out of the ground too. It will be a bit before they get any size to them, but they’re alive and ready to rumble through a Midwest summer. And like last year, the beets seem like they’ll be prolific too. I always love a good opportunity to get creative with the dark purple beauties. More to come as the season goes on!

Gettin’ our garden on

The 2013 garden has begun! We planted a bunch of greens, beets and green onions back in April and this shot is a few weeks later, when the mustard greens, red lettuce, spinach, kale and swiss chard were well on their way to their glory days. Off to the right we planted a few varieties of squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers. Our plot is much smaller this year…which means less stuff…but also a LOT less time weeding and watering. Can’t wait to see what the season brings!

Vegan Hummus Wrap

Looking for a simple, wholesome and delicious way to get your veggies? Wrap ‘em up with hummus! I made this wrap for a recent picnic I went on with my cousins and it was a huge hit. I spread store bought Sabra hummus of the pine nut variety on a large flour tortilla. Then I added salad greens (fresh from my garden!), halved cherry tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts, avocado slices, cucumber slices, and thinly sliced radish. The radishes were local too…produce is still in short supply since it’s been such a chilly and rainy spring, but we’re getting there!

Wrap this beauty up and you’ve got yourself a picnic delight!