Sunday, February 28, 2010

Blueberry-Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

Last night I used a blender to make smoothies, but blenders are a great gadget for any number of other dishes beyond drinks! This barbecue sauce starts out on the stove (almost like a jam), and then gets pureed in the blender until smooth.

In a saucepan, combine 2 cups blueberries, 1/4 balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons raw sugar, 3 tablespoons ketchup, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil (which will happen quickly!), then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until slightly thick. Remove from heat and let cool.

For the ketchup, I like the one from Organicville since it is certified vegan, even though other brands on the market are often vegan as well.

Once the mixture has cooled, transfer it to a blender and process until smooth. 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce is 70 calories.

I sliced some thick slabs of firm tofu and grilled them in a grill pan, basted with this sauce. You might also try it over grilled seitan or vegan chicken patties, or as a dipping sauce for vegan chicken nuggets!

blueberries $7.98
ketchup $4.99
garlic powder $4.19

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mango-Mint-Rum Slush

Pull out the blender and whip up a batch of these delicious smoothies!

Chop 1 and 1/2 cups mango (about 1 whole mango), and freeze for one hour.

Combine the mango pieces in a blender with 1/2 cup ice cubes, 1/2 cup mango nectar, 6 tablespoons white rum (such as Bacardi Silver), 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice (of which I was a teaspoon or so short), 1 tablespoon raw sugar, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped mint. Blend until smooth.

This refreshing drink is best served immediately! You have enough here for 2 servings of about 1 cup and 250 calories each, but make extra batches as needed for a larger crowd.

mango $1.99
lime $0.50
mint $1.99

Friday, February 26, 2010

Vegetarian Pad Thai

The original version of this recipe was deemed 'vegetarian' despite the inclusion of fish sauce (!). It only took a few tweaks to make it not just officially vegetarian, but vegan as well. On the other hand, I made quite a few mistakes while cooking tonight, so you'll have to bear with me!

For the sauce, the original recipe called for 2/3 cup Heinz chili sauce. A glimpse at the ingredients - although vegan - included high fructose corn syrup, which I try to avoid. What's more, I was rather stunned to see no chilis in Heinz 'chili sauce'! So instead I bought a Thai chili sauce from Thai Kitchen, which had the added benefit of being certified vegan and organic. It is probably spicier than Heinz' variety, but that only makes it more authentic, right? However, you can buy the Heinz version if you don't mind all that corn syrup.

Combine 2/3 cup chili sauce of your choice with 1/4 cup packed organic brown sugar, 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons miso tamari or soy sauce (in place of fish sauce), 1 and 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (I minced mine by accident), and 1 teaspoon chopped and seeded serrano chile. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cook 8 ounces wide rice stick noodles (also called banh pho) for 5 minutes in boiling water. Drain, and rinse with cold water. Drain again and set aside.

Now it's time for the tofu, which does double duty in this recipe. Buy a 14-ounce package of extrafirm tofu (although I bought lite firm tofu, which worked just as well). Cut 3/4 of the package into 1/2-inch cubes. Crumble the remaining 1/4 of the package. The tofu that is in cubes was actually tofu in the original recipe. The tofu that you've crumbled is taking the place of 2 egg whites and 1 egg which were scrambled in the original. Set both aside, or now.

Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil in your largest skillet over medium heat. Add the cubed tofu, and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add 2 teaspoons more oil to the same skillet, and increase the heat to medium-high (which I forgot to do!). Add 3 minced garlic cloves and saute 10 seconds. Add the crumbled tofu in place of the eggs, and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in the chili sauce mixture from earlier and the cooked rice noodles; cook for 2 minutes.

Add the cooked cubed tofu, 2 cups fresh bean sprouts, 3/4 cup diagonally cut green onions (I unfortunately only had closer to 1/2 a cup), and 1/4 cup minced cilantro; cook for 3 minutes.

Note: I realized I was out of fresh garlic just as I began cooking. Luckily, I have dried minced garlic in my spice cabinet, which works as a substitute in a pinch. 1/2 tsp. dried garlic is about the equivalent of 1 fresh minced garlic clove, so for this recipe I used 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dried.

Place 1 and 1/3 cups of the noodle mixture on each of 6 plates. Sprinkle each serving with an additional 2 teaspoons minced cilantro and 1 teaspoon chopped peanuts. Place a wedge of lime on the side of each dish. Each serving is 350 calories.

chili sauce $
serrano chile $0.15
wide rice stick noodles $2.99
tofu $2.69
bean sprouts $1.49
cilantro $1.69
lime $0.50

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Savory Breakfast Casserole

Despite the name, this casserole would be equally yummy for dinner, alongside a side salad or some roasted red potatoes.

The original recipe called for 2 whole eggs and 4 egg whites. To transform that for a vegan, combine 8 ounces lite silken tofu in a food processor with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus the equivalent of 1 egg from Ener-G egg replacer, and 1/4 tsp. turmeric for color; process until smooth.

Combine the 'eggs' with 1 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese (such as Galaxy Foods), 1/4 cup chopped green onions, 1/4 tsp. dry mustard, 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. black pepper; stir well with a whisk, and set aside.

Meanwhile, coat an 8x4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Add 7 ounces crumbled meatless fat-free sausage to the pan. For the 'sausage', Light Life's Gimme Lean fits the bill perfectly here - 7 ounces is only half of the package, so save the other half for another use. As a warning, it can be a bit sticky as you crumble it up with your fingers!

Top the 'sausage' with 2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed white bread - I used the organic soft white from the Vermont Bread Company. As always with white bread, double check the ingredients for sneaky things like milk or honey.

Pour the 'egg' mixture over the bread cubes, then sprinkle 1/4 cup more vegan cheddar on top. I had actually added a 1/2 cup of 'cheddar' to the soy milk mixture earlier, so omitted this second dose of 'cheddar' on top!

Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 40 minutes - by the end, a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.

Divide the casserole into 3 equal portions of 320 calories each. There's another bonus to this recipe as well: it freezes beautifully, so if you want to prepare 2 casseroles now and freeze one for later, that's a snap to do!

Simply double the quantities above, and prepare 2 casseroles side-by-side right up to the step before baking. Cover one of them with plastic wrap along the surface, so no air is inside, then wrap the whole pan in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. When you finally want it, let the casserole thaw for 24 hours in the fridge. Remove the foil and plastic wrap, and cover with a new piece of foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 50 minutes. Voila! Another meal without any extra dishes.

green onions $0.79
lite silken tofu $2.69
meatless fat-free sausage $3.00
white bread $4.59

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Asparagus in Warm Tarragon Vinaigrette with Pecans and 'Bacon'

I am forcing spring a little with this side dish - asparagus really won't be in season for another month or two, but I can feel my palate making a subtle shift already...away from the heartier fare of winter and towards spring's vegetables!

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet coated with cooking spray, over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add 1 and 1/2 pounds asparagus (cut into 1 and 1/2-inch long slices), and saute for 4 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons raw sugar. Add the vinegar mixture, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced tarragon, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper to the asparagus. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Note: you'll definitely want to use fresh tarragon for this recipe, not dried. Fresh tarragon is amazingly aromatic, and - something I never noticed before tonight - has a strong licorice/anise note to its smell. A search on wikipedia showed that this scent is due to a compound called estragole, which is a carcinogen in mice, but absolutely harmless even at 100 times the typical consumption rates in humans! (Although, shame on scientists for giving mice a carcinogen).

Sprinkle the asparagus with 2 tablespoons chopped pecans (toast them first, if you like) and 2 cooked and crumbled slices of vegan bacon (such as LightLife). 1 cup of asparagus makes a spring-y side dish of 140 calories.

Note: when I have recipes that call for crumbled 'bacon', I find it best to cook the vegan bacon for about 1 to 2 minutes longer than package directions, so it gets nice and crispy.

asparagus $4.48
vegan sugar $4.99
tarragon $2.49
pecans $0.38
vegan bacon $2.50

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shang Kimchi (Summer, or Raw, Kimchi)

Kimchi is a pickled side dish popular in Korean cuisine, which can be made out of any number of vegetables, but which is most traditionally made with cabbage. Variations of kimchi differ by season, and this version - made in smaller batches and with less seasonings - would be common in summer months. Unlike other versions, it doesn't need to ferment for days or weeks - although it still needs a few hours to chill in your fridge!

Coarsely chop 7 cups napa cabbage, and combine in a large bowl with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt. Place another bowl on top of the cabbage to weigh the mixture down, and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours, tossing occasionally.

Drain the cabbage, and rinse with cold water, then drain again and squeeze dry.

Combine the cabbage with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds (toast them first, if you like), 1 tablespoon plus 3/4 tsp. Thai chile paste (I accidentally added about 1/4 tsp. too much), 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic, and 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil.

I couldn't find Thai chile paste, also called sambal oelek, when I went to the grocery store. I already have "chile paste with garlic" at home, however, which is so similar that it was an easy substitute. Indeed, a Google search even revealed that some versions of sambal oelek contain garlic - sounds like "chile paste with garlic" to me!

Let chill for at least 4 hours before serving. I let mine chill a bit longer - about 5 hours, but in full disclosure, I only had time to let the first stage (the cabbage mixed with the kosher salt) stand for 2 hours, not 3! A classic case of not having read the whole recipe in advance...

1/4 cup of kimchi is 20 calories, and you'll have about 2 cups total. You can double this recipe in a pinch. Serve alongside rice noodles with veggies - and provide chopsticks!

napa cabbage $7.11

Monday, February 22, 2010

Southwestern Barley "Grits"

Barley takes the place of corn here, which is the traditional base for grits. A bowlful of this savory cereal would be delicious at lunch time - or even for breakfast to take the chill off a winter morning!

Place 1/3 cup uncooked pearled barley in a blender and process until coarsely ground. Transfer to a large saucepan. Repeat with batches of barley until you've used 1 and 1/4 cups total (yes, I know the math on that doesn't quite work out, so I guess the original recipe was just approximating!)

Note: as with when I made Fruited Breakfast Barley about a week ago, I found that my barley didn't so much grind as "crack", but that it still worked out okay in the recipe; the purpose of grinding/cracking the barley this way is that it cuts down on cooking time. So don't fret if you still see fairly whole pieces of pearled barley, too.

Cook the barley over medium heat for 4 minutes, to toast it. Add 3 cups water, 3 cups plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1 tablespoon agave nectar (in place of honey) and 1/2 tsp. salt to the saucepan; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently - you'll definitely want to attend to the stirring, because otherwise a skin will form on the top of the soy milk.

Stir in 1 cup shredded vegan cheddar (such as Galaxy Foods), 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1 (4-ounce) drained can of chopped green chiles. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

This recipe makes a big batch to feed a crowd! Ladle 1 cup of cereal into each of 6 bowls. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti's Better Than Sour Cream). You could even drizzle on hot sauce if you like, for an added kick, although I skipped that suggestion. Each bowlful is 320 calories.

plain soy milk $2.49
vegan cheddar $3.39
canned chopped green chiles $2.19

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Chocolate Chunk Bread Puddings

This recipe was far more time consuming for a vegan than it would have been for a non-vegan, but it's so worth the effort! The reason is that the original recipe called for Hawaiian sweet bread. This bread, typically available in the bakery section of the grocery store, is made with eggs and milk, and I could not find a store-bought version that catered to the vegan consumer.

I didn't let that stop me though! How hard could it be, after all, to make Hawaiian sweet bread at home? Further, the recipe I found online to adapt made use of a bread machine, so it gave me a wonderful opportunity to try out the bread machine I received over Christmas (thanks Dad!).

So first I'll tell you how to make your own vegan Hawaiian sweet bread, and then I'll tell you how to make the puddings.

In the basket of a bread machine, combine 1/4 cup room temperature plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1/4 cup softened vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), 1/2 cup mashed banana, 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple, with juice (such as Native Forest), the equivalent of 1 egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G), 1 teaspoon coconut extract, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/3 cup raw sugar, 1/2 cup instant potato flakes, 3 cups bread flour (lightly spooned into measuring cups and leveled with a knife), and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast.

For the potato flakes, Whole Foods' 365 organic brand is 100% dehydrated potato - no butter etc. added. Also, I only had 1 banana at home, which yielded 1/4 cup mashed - but I crossed my fingers that this discrepancy wouldn't impact the final loaf too much, and it doesn't seem to have mattered.

Check your bread manufacturer's instructions, but the order in which I've listed the ingredients above is typical - wet ones, then dry ones, than the yeast on top - the yeast shouldn't touch the wet ingredients!

Set your bread machine to "light crust" "sweet bread" and "1.5 pounds", then sit back and watch it go! It should take about 3 hours, but unlike handmade bread, you just get to relax while the machine does all the work. My crust actually came out a little too blackened, but since this was my first time using the bread machine, I wasn't fazed by a little error - and the interior of this sweet bread was perfect.

You'll only need 1 and 3/4 cups of the bread (cut into 1/2-inch cubes) for the puddings, so save the rest for another use. I highly recommend sandwiches using vegan deli-sliced 'ham', which marries well with the pineapple flavor of the bread!

Now we can move on to the pudding...

Place the cubed bread on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, until toasted.

Meanwhile, in a bowl combine 2/3 cup plain soy milk (I used 3/4 cups by accident! Luckily this is less than a 1-ounce difference), 2 tablespoons raw sugar, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, 1 tablespoon Kahlua (yes, vegan, as per the company), 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, and the equivalent of 1 egg. Stir well with a whisk. Add the toasted bread, and toss to coat, then cover and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. I let mine chill for about an hour.

Divide half the bread mixture evenly among 2 (6-ounce) ramekins coated with cooking spray. Coarsely chop 1 ounce of dark chocolate (I used Newman's Own organic). Divide half of the chopped chocolate evenly among the ramekins. Repeat the layers (i.e. the second half of the bread mixture and the second half of the chocolate).

Place the ramekins in an 8-inch baking dish, and add hot water to the pan to a height of 1 inch. (Note: I find it easiest to do this using boiled water from a tea kettle). Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes. Dollop 1 tablespoon of vegan whipped cream (such as Soyatoo) over each pudding and serve while they're still warm!

Each pudding is 320 calories. This makes a perfect romantic dessert for two.

banana $0.28
canned crushed pineapple $3.19
instant potato flakes $1.99
Kahlua $24.99 (for a big bottle, the rest of which I intend to make into vegan mudslides!)
dark chocolate $2.99

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Banana Split Ice Cream Pie

This dessert has all the components of a banana split sundae - in pie form! I found it awfully messy both to make and to eat, but heck, sundaes were never meant to be clean. For the ice cream, any non-dairy vanilla of your choice will do, whether made of soy milk, rice milk, or the latest on the market - coconut milk. I prefer the soy delicious vanilla frozen dessert from Turtle Mountain.

For the crust, you'll need chocolate wafer cookies. The original recipe suggested Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers, which are not vegan, so instead I used the dairy-free chocolate alphabet cookies from Newman's Own Organics:

Combine 1 and 1/4 cups of vegan chocolate cookie crumbs with 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), tossing with a fork until moist, then press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 10-inch springform pan. I crushed the cookies in a zip-top bag with a rolling pin, but admit to a little impatience, so I had a few chunks of cookie left. I realized this probably wasn't the best idea if I wanted to have neat slices of pie at the end of the day, but I just decided to hope the crust would set while the pie was in the freezer!

Spread 1/2 cup chocolate sundae syrup over the crust - Ah!laska and Santa Cruz Organic both make vegan versions similar to Hershey's chocolate syrup. Top the chocolate with 4 cups sliced bananas (firm ones are better than ripe ones here). Spread 6 cups vegan vanilla 'ice cream' of your choice over the bananas - you'll need to let the 'ice cream' soften at room temperature so it is spreadable. Figure on about 30 minutes, but be careful it doesn't get so soft that it melts all the way!

Cover and freeze for 3 hours. Next you'll need an 18-ounce jar of strawberry sundae topping to spread evenly over the top. I ordered mine from Nature's Flavors, whose version is certified vegan. Be aware that the company can take up to two weeks to process orders, but it's so worth it... Almost everything on their website is vegan, and much of it is hard to find anywhere else: They only sold their strawberry topping in a 16-ounce jar, but that was close enough for me.

Cover and freeze for an additional hour.

Let the pie stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before cutting into 16 wedges. Serve each wedge with an additional 3/4 tsp. chocolate syrup, about 1 tablespoon chopped fresh pineapple, and 1 teaspoon chopped peanuts. Each serving is 320 calories.

Note: you can also make the pie up to 3 days ahead of time and just keep it in the freezer until ready to serve! This is great for vegan birthday parties.

chocolate sundae syrup $3.50
vanilla frozen dessert $11.98
strawberry sundae topping $7.50
pineapple $3.90

Friday, February 19, 2010

Corn and Jalapeno Waffles

Over the past month or so, I've used my waffle maker for breakfast waffles, savory dinner waffles, sweet dessert waffles - you name it. Well, these little waffle bites make a perfect appetizer to pass around on a tray with cocktails!

Lightly spoon 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour into measuring cups, and level with a knife.

In a large bowl, combine the flour with 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Set aside.

Meanwhile, make 2 cups vegan 'buttermilk' by pouring 2 tablespoons lemon juice into a measuring cup, then filling with plain soy milk (such as Silk) to equal 2 cups - let stand 5 minutes to clabber (sour) the mixture. Combine the 'buttermilk' with 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil and the equivalent of one egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G).

Pour the 'buttermilk' mixture into the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Stir in 1/4 cup minced jalapeno pepper and one (11-ounce) drained can of corn. I was actually about a tablespoon short on the jalapeno by accident, but figured it was for the best since I don't like things too spicy. I also had to buy a 15-ounce can of corn since I couldn't find an organic brand in the 11-ounce size, so if you do the same, measure out about 1 cup of kernels and save the rest of the corn for another use.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of batter per square of a preheated waffle iron, coated with cooking spray. Let cook 3 to 5 minutes until done (mine took the full 5 minutes). Repeat with the remaining batter (you'll have about 8 whole waffes). Cut each waffle into 4 small pieces, and arrange on a serving platter. 2 waffle pieces are an appetizer nosh of 110 calories.

plain soy milk $2.49
jalapeno pepper $0.35
canned corn $0.89

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fettuccine with 'Bacon' and Roasted Red Pepper

Rich pasta dishes like this are perfect in the winter!

Drain a 7-ounce jar of bottled roasted red peppers. Cut the peppers into 1/4-inch thick strips and set aside.

Heat a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat - if you were using real bacon, you wouldn't need the cooking spray, but since vegan bacon won't render fat in the same way, you'll definitely want to add that extra lubrication.

Add two slices of chopped vegan bacon (such as LightLife) and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup sliced onion and 3 minced garlic cloves; saute for 1 minute.

Next, add the chopped red bell peppers, 1 cup frozen green peas (thawed in advance), and 1/4 cup vegetable broth (I accidentally added half a cup!); let simmer for 1 minute.

Stir in 4 cups cooked fettuccine (about 8 ounce uncooked pasta), 2 tablespoons shredded vegan cheese in place of Parmesan (such as the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods), 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. For the fettuccine, I used Whole Foods' in-house brand.

You'll have 4 servings of 1 and 1/3 cups and 340 calories each.

bottled roasted red bell peppers $2.79
vegan bacon $2.50
frozen green peas $1.99
fettuccine $1.99

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mini Red Pepper-Mushroom Pizza

It was a little hard to make this recipe suitable for vegans - namely because it called for a Boboli 6-inch pizza crust. Boboli's crusts, however, contain cheese. I checked the freezer section for individual-sized pizza shells, but even the organic brands contained eggs. The prepared pizza crust that is vegan, from Whole Foods' 365 brand, available in the bread aisle, is sized for a full-size pie, not an individual one. So what did I do? I measured a six-inch circle from the center, and trimmed it to size! Save the extra scraps of pizza crust in the fridge, and make them into bread sticks with pizza sauce for dipping on another night!

Now that my pizza crust was settled, I could assemble this cute little personal pizza. Cut a medium-sized red bell pepper in half. Place half of the pepper on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and flatten with your palm. Broil for 15 minutes, then let stand in a zip-top bag for 10 minutes before peeling off the blackened skin. Finely chop the pepper, then combine with 1/2 tsp. lemon juice and 1 minced garlic clove; set aside.

(Note: you can save the other half of the pepper for another use, or if you like, you can broil it now as well, and use it on a sandwich for lunch tomorrow!).

Heat a small skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms caps and 1 tablespoon sliced shallots; saute for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar; set aside.

Place your pizza crust on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Spread the bell pepper mixture over the crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border on the edges. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil, and then with 3/4 cup torn fresh spinach. Arrange the mushroom mixture evenly over the spinach, then top that with 6 tablespoons shredded vegan mozzarella (such as Galaxy Foods).

Bake at 450 degrees for 4 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. black pepper and just a dash of salt once out of the oven, then enjoy!

The whole pizza is 470 calories.

red bell pepper $2.29
shiitake mushrooms $3.99
pizza crust $4.99
basil $2.99
fresh spinach $2.50
vegan mozzarella $3.39

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fruited Breakfast Barley

I've made several savory barley dishes on this blog, but this time I thought I'd try a sweet version - this dish makes a great hot breakfast!

Place 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons uncooked pearl barley in a blender and process for about 15 to 20 seconds - it should be coarsely ground. Don't fret if not all of your barley grains are completely ground - the idea is just to crack the grain so they cook faster. Place the barley in a saucepan over medium heat and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Toasting the barley this way first gives the cereal a wonderful nutty flavor!

Add 2 and 1/2 cups water, 3 tablespoons organic brown sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt; bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add 1/2 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk), and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly - the mixture should be thick by the end. Stir in 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup quartered dried apricots, and 1/4 cup coarsely chopped slivered almonds (which you can toast first, if you like).

Spoon 1 cup of the hot cereal into each of 3 bowls - this dish is definitely best served immediately. Each bowlful is 330 calories.

pearl barley $3.19
dried apricots $0.49

Monday, February 15, 2010

Three-Seed Epi

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I hosted another couple, for wine and appetizers, and my boyfriend came home with a pain d'epi from the bakery. Pain d'Epi, a form of French baguette, takes its name from the French for wheat stalk, because that's what it resembles. I thought it was so adorable that I had to try making my own at home!

Start by dissolving one packet yeast (about 2 and 1/4 teaspoons) in 1 cup warm water (use a thermometer to verify that the temperature is between 100 and 110 degrees). Let stand 5 minutes.

Lightly spoon 2 and 3/4 cups bread flour into measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add the flour to the yeast mixture, along with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt, stirring until a dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes (punch the dough down with the heel of your palm, fold it in half, turn it a quarter turn and repeat!). You can add up to 1/4 cup more bread flour as needed so the dough doesn't stick to your hands; I only needed another tablespoon or so.

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning so the top of the dough is coated as well; cover and let rise for 45 minutes, ideally some place 85 degrees and free from drafts.

Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes, then shape it into a 21-inch rope. Place the rope on a baking sheet sprinkled with 1 teaspoon cornmeal (you can twist it to fit, if your baking sheet isn't long enough).

Here's where you'd stop if you were making a simple baguette! But to shape the "epi," make 14 diagonal cuts, going about three-quarters of the way through the dough, spaced about 1 and 1/2 inches apart. The original recipe said to do so with a pair of sharp scissors, but I used a small sharp knife instead. By the end you should have 14 triangular pieces. Now, pull those pieces away from the center on alternating sides. This step was very hard for me to visualize, so I sort of pulled my triangles apart from one another at random. I ended up with something that looked sort of like a wheat stalk, but not quite right. Here's a photo of professional pain d'epi, which might be a useful visual guide:

I think what I did wrong was to make my diagonal slits in different directions; in retrospect, I probably should have made them all in the same direction... But oh well, it's the taste that counts, not looks! So moving on, make the equivalent of 1 egg white using egg replacer, and brush over the top of the baguette (you'll have extra liquid, which you can just discard).

In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, and 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds; sprinkle evenly over the top of the baguette. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Uncover and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, then cool on a wire rack. Rip apart the triangles at the perforations, into 14 servings of 130 calories each. When we were hosting, my boyfriend served the pain d'epi with slices of sausage, cheese and mustard - there's no need to miss out as a vegan! Try any of the vegan sausages on the market, and nosh on them with slices of this bread.

yeast packets $1.39
bread flour $8.69

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Raspberry-Topped Amaretto Tarts

This recipe for two makes the perfect dessert on Valentine's Day! Even better, you can make it ahead of time, so you're not slaving over a stove when you would rather be with your significant other.

I had to do some improvising for the crust, which called for vanilla wafer cookie crumbs. As with the Banana Pudding I made last week, the closest I could find were organic Letter of the Day cookies in 'very vanilla' flavor, from Earth's Best Organic - but once you crumble them into cookie crumbs, no one will know they once had the alphabet on them!

So crumble whichever vegan vanilla cookies you find to equal 1/4 cup - about 10 cookies. A good method for crumbling is to place them in a zip-top bag and roll over them with a rolling pin.

Combine the cookie crumbs in a small bowl with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons melted vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) and 1 teaspoon raw sugar, tossing with a fork to combine.

Coat either 2 (6-ounce) ramekins or 2 (5-inch) creme brulee dishes with cooking spray. Divide the crust mixture evenly among the 2 dishes, pressing into the bottom. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk), 3 tablespoons raw sugar, 5 teaspoons cornstarch, 1/8 tsp. salt (which I forgot!), and the equivalent of 1 egg yolk using egg replacer. (If you use Ener-G, a 'yolk' is 1 and 1/2 teaspoons powder stirred into 1 tablespoon warm water). Set aside.

Heat 3/4 cup more plain soy milk in a saucepan over medium heat, just until tiny bubbles form around the edges, but before it comes to a boil. The original recipe said this stage would happen at 180 degrees, but my thermometer was only at 140 degrees, so perhaps soy milk has a different boiling point than cow's milk. Either way, it took quite a lot longer than I expected for the temperature to get that high (about 15 minutes), so have patience!

Pour the hot soy milk into the sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk, then transfer the whole mixture back into the saucepan. Continue to cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. It should be thick and bubbly by the end, and will really thicken up in the last 30 seconds or so of cooking.

Remove from heat and stir in 2 teaspoons amaretto (Disaronno is vegan, according to the company), and 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract.

Place the bowl with the custard into larger bowl filled with ice, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until cooled to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Spoon the custard evenly over your 2 prepared crusts. Cover and chill for anywhere between 2 and 6 hours.

Just before serving, top each tart with 1/4 cup raspberries. You could also garnish with mint sprigs if you like, for a pretty presentation. Each tart is 310 calories.

vanilla cookies $3.29
amaretto $3.50
raspberries 4.99

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sunflower-Wheat Loaf

This whole wheat bread is delicious as breakfast toast!

Dissolve 1 packet yeast (about 2 and 1/4 teaspoons) in 1 cup warm water - check with a thermometer to make sure that the water temperature is between 100 and 110 degrees. Let stand 5 minutes.

Lightly spoon 2 cups whole wheat flour into measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add the wheat flour to the yeast mixture, along with 1/4 cup agave nectar (in place of honey), 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil, 1 tablespoon dark molasses, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring to combine. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour; this process will create a "sponge," which will keep your final product from becoming too dense.

Add 1/4 cup wheat germ and 2 tablespoons cornmeal to the sponge. Lightly spoon 1 cup bread flour into a measuring cup, and level with a knife, then add to the dough as well; stir until a soft dough forms - since the sponge wasn't as wet as bread batter normally is, it took a few minutes for all the flour to stir in, so be patient!

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes (punch the dough down with the heel of your palm, fold it in half, turn it a quarter turn on the work surface, and repeat!). You can add up to 1/4 cup more bread flour as needed so the dough doesn't stick to your hands, although it should still be tacky - I used about 2 tablespoons more flour. At the end of kneading, start adding 1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds and 1/4 cup dried blueberries, kneading them into the dough in batches until incorporated.

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning so the top of the dough is coated as well. Cover and let rise for 1 hour, ideally some place about 85 degrees and free from drafts.

Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes, then roll out on a floured surface into a 14x7-inch rectangle. Starting on the short (7-inch) end, roll up tightly, pressing so that you eliminate any air pockets, and pinching the ends and the seam to seal them. Place the roll, seam-side down, in an 8x4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Coat the top of the dough with cooking spray as well, then cover and let rise for 45 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes - the loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Let cool on a wire rack. You'll have 16 slices of 160 calories each.

whole wheat flour $3.69
dried blueberries $7.49

Friday, February 12, 2010

Three-Grain Cereal with Sunflower Seeds and Fruit

This cereal is another warm way to start a cold morning! You can cook the entire batch all at once, or freeze the dry cereal in zip-top bags, in individual 1/2 cup portions.

In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed, 3/4 cup steel-cut oats, 1/4 cup golden raisins, 1/4 cup dried cherries, 3 tablespoons oat bran, 3 tablespoons wheat germ, 3 tablespoons sunflower seed kernels, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.

If you're making the cereal in one big batch, bring 4 and 1/2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the cereal, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and cook a final 2 minutes, stirring constantly - the cereal should be thick. This recipe makes enough for 3 servings of 1 and 1/2 cups and 330 calories each - but it also doubles easily!

As I mentioned, since the cereal is meant to be served immediately, you can make individual portions and freeze them for later. In that case, use 1 and 1/2 cups water per 1/2 cup dry cereal mix, and cook according to the directions above.

dried cherries $6.49

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Roasted Onions with Balsamic-'Honey' Drizzle

I love roasting vegetables in the winter - not just for the way it deepens their flavor, but also for the way it warms up the whole apartment! This side dish is a snap on a busy night.

The original recipe called for 4 (6-ounce) sweet onions, such as Walla Walla or Vidalia. My supermarket always seems to carry huge sweet onions, though (I don't know if anyone else has noticed this trend...). The smallest I could find were 8 ounces each, so instead of 4, 6-ounce onions I bought 3, 8-ounce onions, and the math still worked out perfectly. Instead of peeling and quartering them, as directed, I peeled my onions and cut each into 6 wedges, to make up for their larger size.

Place the onion wedges in a baking sheet or baking dish coated with cooking spray. Add 1 tablespoon melted vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (use 1/2 tsp. dried thyme if you prefer), 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper; toss to coat.

Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring half way through cooking time.

Pour 1/2 a cup of vegetable broth over the onions, then return to the oven for a final 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon agave nectar (in place of honey), stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over the onions once out of the oven, and toss gently to coat.

Divide the onions into 6 side servings of about 1 cup and 80 calories each. Try these alongside stuffed baked potatoes or any other warming winter entree you can think of!

fresh thyme $2.49
sweet onions $3.34

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Banana Pudding

Hurrah for Ener-G egg replacer! I've had luck in the past getting this nifty powder to mimic all sorts of things eggs can do - thicken breads and cakes, make souffles rise, and add light airiness to waffle batter. Tonight, I asked a lot of it - a meringue topping for this pudding. Ener-G's website indicated that it would be possible, but you never know these things until you try them at home. My success tonight makes me want to bake meringue cookies in the future! But I'll save that for another day...

For tonight, there are several layers to this pudding - cookies, custard, bananas - and almost all of them besides the bananas required creative vegan thinking. The first problem was the vanilla wafer cookies. All of the brands out there - from the generic Nilla wafers to Whole Foods' organic version - contain eggs, butter, etc. The closest I could find were actually organic Letter of the Day cookies in 'very vanilla' flavor, from Earth's Best Organic - although meant for kids, once they are layered in this pudding, no one will be able to see that they have the alphabet on them!

So buy a box and set that aside.

To make the custard, start by spooning 1/3 cup all-purpose flour into a measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine the flour in a saucepan with 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt, stirring with a whisk. Gradually pour in 2 cups plain soy milk (such as Silk), stirring constantly. Cut a 2-inch vanilla bean in half, and scrape the seeds into the soy milk mixture, before adding the bean as well.

Cook over medium heat for 12 minutes, stirring constantly - just toward the end the mixture will thicken and grow bubbly. Remove from heat.

In a separate bowl, make the equivalent of 1 egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G). Pour the soy milk mixture over the 'egg', stirring constantly with a whisk. Transfer the entire mixture back to the saucepan and continue to cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, still stirring constantly, until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.

(Note: I actually made an egg yolk, not the whole egg, i.e. only 1 tablespoon water instead of 2 tablespoons water, added to Ener-G powder. Luckily I can only imagine this made my custard even thicker, so I don't think it mattered too much).

Now it's time to make the meringue! In a large bowl, make the equivalent of 4 egg whites using Ener-G (and for this, I do not recommend other egg substitutes; you'll want 2 tablespoons of the powder whisked into 1/2 cup warm water). Now beat with a mixer for 12 minutes- yes 12! At about the half-way mark, start adding 6 tablespoons raw sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition. By the end, you will have a thick, white mixture that looks like the "stiff peaks" of real egg white meringue.

And now to layer the pudding! You'll want 60 of the vegan vanilla cookies and 2 and 1/2 cups sliced banana (about 3 firm bananas) total, so have those ready to go. The original recipe actually called for only 40 vanilla wafers, but since these Letter of the Day cookies are a bit smaller, I upped the number to fit the dish/weight in grams.

Arrange 30 vegan vanilla cookies along the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish. Top that with half the banana slices. Top that with half of the custard. Repeat the layers - 30 more cookies, the second half of the banana slices, and the second half of the custard.

Spoon your meringue over the top, spreading to the edges. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.

And voila! Not only did the meringue hold up in the oven, but it also set, by which I mean, it firmed up. Truly this has revolutionary potential for me to make meringue cookies. But for now, I will stop exalting and enjoy my pudding. Divide into 8 equal servings of about 3/4 cup and 290 calories each. You can enjoy this recipe warm or chilled. It also doubles easily, if you want to impress an even larger crowd with your new vegan meringue skills!

vanilla cookies $3.29
banana $1.18

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

'Buttered' Sweet Potato Knot Rolls

It felt like another good afternoon for bread baking! These yummy dinner rolls are sweeter and richer than other breads, and lend an elegant touch to the dinner table.

Heat 1 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk) to between 100 and 110 degrees (verify the temperature with a thermometer). In a large bowl, dissolve 1 packet yeast (about 2 and 1/4 teaspoons) into the warm soy milk, and let stand 5 minutes.

Add 3/4 cup canned mashed sweet potato, 1 tablespoon melted vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt, and the equivalent of 2 egg yolks using egg replacer (such as Ener-G - in which case you'll want 1 tablespoon powder whisked into 2 tablespoons warm water).

Lightly spoon 4 and 1/2 cups bread flour into measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add the flour to the sweet potato mixture and stir until you have a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes (flatten the dough with the palm of your hand, fold it in half, turn it a quarter turn, and repeat!). You can add up to 1/2 cup more bread flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands, although keep in mind that the dough should be soft and tacky. Quite honestly, I didn't need to add any of that extra flour to this dough, nor did I really need a floured work surface! As always with bread, use your judgment when it comes to how much flour to use.

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning so the top of the dough is coated as well. Cover and let rise until doubled in size - about 45 minutes - ideally some place about 85 degrees and free from drafts.

Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes, then divide it into 24 equal portions. Working with one portion at a time (keep the remaining dough covered to prevent it from drying out), shape the portion into a 9-inch long rope. Tie that rope into a knot around itself, and tuck the ends underneath. Place the rolls on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, 12 rolls per pan. When forming the 9-inch ropes, I found it easiest to roll/pinch the dough against a work surface; the dough tended to tear apart if I pulled it hard.

Lightly spray the rolls with cooking spray, cover, and let rise on the baking sheets for about 30 minutes.

Uncover the rolls and bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, with 1 pan on the bottom rack of the oven, and 1 pan on the second rack form the top. Rotate the pans, then bake an additional 7 minutes.

Transfer the rolls to a wire rack, and brush the tops with an additional 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter. You can serve these warm or at room temperature - each roll is 140 calories.

Note: make sure you really tuck the ends of the "knot" under well; I thought I had secured down all of my ends, but a few of them popped back up during baking!

canned mashed sweet potato $2.50

Monday, February 8, 2010

Quick Coconut Soup

Tonight, I am boldly going where I have never gone before... vegan shrimp. I saw them in the freezer section from a company called Vegetarian Plus (which also makes 'spare-rib cutlets' and other non-meat meat products), but had to work up the nerve to try them! When I saw the recipe for this delicious-sounding soup, I decided to take the plunge. If you can't find them at your grocery store, you can order them online at:

The other seafood-item in this dish for which I had to substitute was fish sauce. I like using miso tamari, which has a bit more of that salty tang than even regular soy sauce, and approximates the saltiness of the anchovies in real fish sauce.

In a saucepan, combine 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon miso tamari (or soy sauce) in place of fish sauce, 1/2 tsp. minced garlic, 1/2 tsp. grated lime rind, 1/4 tsp. chile paste with garlic, 3 ounces vegan shrimp (unthawed), and 14 ounces of vegetable broth.

Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup light coconut milk, 1 tablespoon chopped green onions, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chopped cilantro, and 1 teaspoon fresh-squeezed lime juice.

Place 1/3 cup cooked basmati rice in the bottom of a bowl. Ladle the soup over the rice. This soup is a perfect serving for 1 person, of about 2 and 1/2 cups and 340 calories.

What was the verdict on the shrimp? To be honest, I couldn't quite put my finger on what they tasted like. Not like real shrimp, certainly (at least, I don't think, although it's been 15 years since I last tasted shrimp...), but with a little bit of "fishy-ness" to them that I appreciated. It was just enough to make the taste novel, but not so much so that I got a case of "this can't be vegan" panic. Indeed, more so than the taste was the absolutely enjoyment of cooking with these little "shrimp", so I intend to incorporate them into my diet on occasion in the future!

Here's one close-up!

ginger $0.68
miso tamari $8.49
lime $0.50
vegan shrimp $6.59
light coconut milk $2.39
green onions $0.99

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Everything-but-the-Kitchen-Sink 'Frittata'

This recipe gets its name because the veggies and other fillings listed below are merely guidelines - you can use any vegetables, beans etc. that you have on hand to stuff this 'frittata'! It makes a perfect meal for one, so you pull this recipe out of your mental file cabinet and just use whatever fillings you have on hand, any night you find yourself eating solo.

I recommend doing all the prep work - chopping etc. - for this recipe ahead of time, as it comes together very quickly.

The original recipe called for 4 egg whites and 1 whole egg to make the frittata. To approximate that, you'll want 7 ounces lite silken tofu mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch, the equivalent of one egg made with Ener-G egg replacer, and a dash of turmeric for color. Combine that "egg" mixture in a food processor with 2 tablespoons plain soy milk (such as Silk), 1/8 tsp. salt, and just a dash of black pepper; process until smooth.

Meanwhile, cut 1/2 cup (1-inch) pieces of asparagus. Place the asparagus in a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and microwave for 20 seconds. Set aside.

Heat an 8-inch ovenproof skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add 1/4 cup (rinsed and drained) canned black beans and 1 tablespoon chopped red onion; saute for 30 seconds.

Add your 'egg' mixture, spreading to the edges of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 1 minute.

Top the 'frittata' with the asparagus slices and 2 teaspoons chopped basil; cook an additional minute. Sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons shredded vegan mozzarella (such as Galaxy Foods).

Remove from heat and wrap the handle of the skillet with aluminum foil. Transfer to an oven set on "broil", and broil for 4 minutes - the mixture should be set by the end.

Cut 2 grape tomatoes into quarters (cherry tomatoes would work, as well). Sprinkle the tomatoes over the top of the 'frittata' just before eating. As I mentioned, this makes dinner for 1 - the entire 'frittata' is just 280 calories.

asparagus $6.05
lite silken tofu $2.69
canned black beans $1.99
red onion $1.77
grape tomatoes $2.99

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes

Here's an easy side dish to serve one, on the nights when you're just cooking for yourself!

Cut 1/2 pound small red potatoes into quarters. Place the potatoes in a saucepan, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 13 minutes - the potatoes should be very tender. Drain and set aside.

Combine 1 teaspoon vegan butter (such as Earth Balance) and 1 minced garlic clove in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave for about 30 seconds.

Add the potatoes, 3 tablespoons plain soy milk (such as Silk), and 1/8 tsp. salt to the 'butter' mixture; mash with a fork or potato masher to desired consistency. I actually liked these a little rustic and chunky, especially because the red skin was still mixed in, rather than completely smooth.

As I stated at the beginning, you'll have 1 serving, of about 3/4 cup and 210 calories.

red potatoes $4.99

Friday, February 5, 2010

Roasted Carrot Soup

This soup is perfect for a cold winter night.

Cut 1 pound of carrots into 2-inch pieces - the closer in size your pieces are to one another, the more uniformly they'll roast.

Place the carrot pieces in a baking dish coated with cooking spray, along with 2 teaspoons melted vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), and 1/8 tsp. black pepper, tossing to coat. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes, stirring every ten minutes or so.

Combine the carrot mixture in a blender or food processor with 3/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (use 1/4 tsp. dried oregano, if you prefer); process until smooth.

Heat an additional 1/2 tsp. vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 tsp. ground cumin and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the carrot puree, 2 and 1/4 teaspoons agave nectar (in place of honey), 1 and 1/2 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lime juice, 1/8 tsp. black pepper, and 14 ounces vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Note: I had accidentally added a full 1/4 tsp. black pepper while roasting the carrots in the first step, so omitted the second dose of black pepper at the end here, figuring it all evened out.

1 cup of soup is 110 calories. Serve with a big entree salad!

carrots $1.37
fresh oregano $2.49
vegetable broth $3.79

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Soba with Herbed Edamame Sauce

Edamame is pureed into a sort of pesto sauce for this yummy pasta.

Cook 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame according to package directions. Drain, then combine the edamame in a food processor with 2 tablespoons chopped cashews, 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, 3 tablespoons shredded vegan cheese in place of Romano (such as the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods), 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper and 2 small peeled garlic cloves. Process until finely chopped.

Add 1/2 cup hot water and process until smooth. How hot should the water be? The recipe didn't say, so I heated water as if for tea, let it stand a moment, then added to the food processor.

Meanwhile, cook 8 ounces soba according to package directions.

Serve 1 cup noodles with 1/3 cup of the sauce and an extra teaspoon of chopped cashews sprinkled on top. Each serving is 410 calories - this makes enough for about 3 servings, but it doubles easily.

Note: the recipe called for dry-roasted cashews, but I bought raw cashews, since that's what Whole Foods had in the bulk section; I can't imagine this distinction made any difference overall.

cashews $0.56
cilantro $1.69
soba $3.39

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

'Sour Cream', 'Cheddar', and Chive Potato Waffles

Who says waffles are just for breakfast? Try these savory waffles for dinner - they're super quick, so perfect on a busy weeknight!

In a bowl, combine 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 (6-ounce) package of potato pancake mix. Some brands include sugar, but I found a fully vegan version from Streit's that fit the bill - look for this ingredient in the kosher section of the grocery store, near matzo mix etc.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 and 3/4 cup plain soy milk (such as Silk), 8 ounces vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti's Better Than Sour Cream), and the equivalent of 1 egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G); whisk together until smooth.

Add the soy milk mixture to the potato pancake mixture, stirring until smooth. Fold in 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheddar (such as Vegan Gourmet) and 1/4 cup chopped chives.

Spoon 1/2 cup batter per square of a preheated waffle iron, coated with cooking spray. Cover and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until the waffles are done (a good indication is when the waffle iron stops smoking). Mine took the full 5 minutes to cook. Repeat the procedure with the remaining batter.

This recipe makes enough for about 8 waffles, of 190 calories each.

(Note: the batter seemed thicker than other waffle recipes I've made, but if the same happens to you, don't be concerned - they'll cook up just fine!)

potato pancake mix $2.49
plain soy milk $2.49
vegan sour cream $2.49
vegan cheddar $4.39
chives $2.49

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tofu and Swiss Chard Stacks

This little layered dish is almost like a lasagna, except with tofu in place of the noodles!

In a bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons soy sauce (I always prefer using a low sodium variety), 1 tablespoon mirin, 2 teaspoons rice vinegar and 1 teaspoon agave nectar (in place of honey).

Cut 12 ounces of reduced-fat firm tofu into 4 equal slices, lengthwise. Place the slices in an 11x7-inch baking dish, and pour the soy sauce mixture over the slices. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to marinate, turning the tofu over halfway through.

Place the tofu slices on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray, and discard the marinade. Broil the tofu for about 10 minutes on each side - I originally had mine on the rack directly under the heat, but it looked like it was browning too quickly, so I moved it to the center rack.

While the tofu broils, heat 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, and 2 minced garlic cloves; cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Add 4 cups thinly sliced Swiss chard and 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds (toast them first, if you like); cook until the chard is wilted and tender, stirring frequently. The original recipe said you'd need about 3 minutes, but I must have had a particularly tough bunch of chard, as mine took twice that time. Stir in 2 teaspoons soy sauce at the end of cooking.

On each of 2 plates, arrange 1/4 cup of the chard mixture. Top with 1 tofu slice. Repeat the layers, ending with a tofu slice. You'll have 2 servings of 160 calories each - or make this a larger entree for 1! Round out the meal with some rice and stir-fried vegetables.

reduced-fat firm tofu $2.00
Swiss chard $2.99
sesame seeds $2.69

Monday, February 1, 2010

Penne with Shiitakes, Olives, and 'Asiago'

It can be a bit difficult to work out quantities when you only want a recipe to feed 1 person. And let's be honest, quite often if you're a vegan you're probably the only vegan at the table. In that vein, I intend to do a couple of recipes in the near future specifically designed for 1. Enjoy!

For this pasta, you'll only need about 1 serving of penne (which is generally 2 ounces, or 3/4 cups dry pasta, enough to make 1 and 1/2 cups cooked pasta). For small dishes such as this, then, I actually prefer buying rice pasta - not out of any avoidance of gluten, but because rice pasta is often sold in packages of only 8 ounces, as opposed to 16 ounces. That way, I find myself with a lot less leftover random shapes of half-empty pasta boxes filling my pantry! But you can use any kind of penne pasta you like - rice, wheat, or even one of the fancier ones on the market - DeBoles now makes a quinoa/amaranth penne!

While you cook 3/4 cup uncooked penne according to package directions, heat a small skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps, 1 tablespoon chopped shallot, and 1 minced garlic clove; saute for 2 minutes.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups torn fresh spinach, 1 tablespoon chopped basil and 1 teaspoon rice vinegar; cook for 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup vegetable broth and 2 tablespoons sliced ripe olives; cook a final 15 seconds.

Toss together the mushroom mixture, the cooked penne, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/8 tsp. black pepper and just a dash of salt.

Spoon the pasta onto a plate and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese in place of Asiago (such as the vegan mozzarella from Galaxy Foods). You'll have 1 entree of 550 calories.

Note: if you look closely in my photo you might see that my olives are green, not black (ripe). That's because I noticed a can on the grocery store shelf proclaiming the first ripe olive still retaining its shades of green. I had to give it a try! Indeed, the flavor was like a black olive, but the color a deep, blackish-green.

shiitake mushrooms $3.99
fresh spinach $2.50
basil $2.99
ripe olives $3.99
penne pasta $2.00

The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance