Archive for Veganomicon

Chicken Parm!

One of the many options for the chickpea cutlets...

Just like I had predicted, I found myself making the chickpea cutlets again, and this time making them into a ‘chicken’ parm dish. This was DELICIOUS, and again, really easy to make. I had the chickpeas pre-cooked before work, so when I came home I started making them immediately, which does not take long at all. This time I cooked the chickpeas for a little longer, so they were more soft, and I think it made the consistency of the cutlets even better, and particularly easier to work with, as there was not little pieces of chickpeas that had not become totally soft falling out of the mixture when I was kneading it.

While the patties were cooking on the stove (I pan-fried them again, next time I make them, which I am sure will be soon, I will try to make them in the oven and see if it changes the texture of the cutlet at all), I started boiling water to cook my whole wheat pasta. I understand that there are a ton of carbohydrates in this dish, but that’s alright every once and awhile I think, especially when it tastes this good. When both the pasta and the cutlets were done, I heated up some marinara sauce, poured it over both (I used a generous amount, the pasta and the cutlet seem to suck up the sauce pretty well), and sprinkled some vegan Parmesan cheese over the entire plate. I only wish I had my pot of spices on hand to add on some fresh basil and parsley. It was so good, and the texture of the cutlets turned out great for a second time, really making it a good stand in if you are ever missing chicken parm.

I don’t know if I have made this clear or not, but I really love this recipe from the Veganomicon. It is so easy, and tastes like it should have been a lot more difficult to make. I think this is definitely one of those recipes everyone should try out. It is a dish I would gladly feed to a non-vegetarian to gauge their response, it’s that convincing!

Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits

Hello, my new favorite dinner.

Yep, that is it. I am waiting to try a recipe from the Veganomicon that disappoints me, but I have yet to. The farm share left me with tons of leeks, which I have never cooked with. I turned to my cookbooks to find a recipe to use them in, before they ran the risk of spoiling.

I stumbled across the leek and bean cassoulet  in the Veganomicon. I really love stew-like dishes as they are warm, savory, and stick to your insides. This recipe seemed like it had to be a winner, and any of the pictures I found of the dish on other blogs or recipe sites simply looked amazing.

I got to work cutting all of the vegetables, boiling the potatoes, and getting the dough ready for the biscuits that would be placed on top. The majority of effort put into the dish really goes in the prep of the veggies, but other than that it is fairly simple and only requires you to have the patience to wait while it cooks (which is harder than you would think, given how great this smells). I knew it was going to be delicious even when I was mixing the leeks, potatoes, beans (I ended up using butter beans rather than white, as the recipe calls for, along with string beans) and carrots over the stove in the vegetable stock.

After it was done cooking over the stove, I placed it into a 9×13 Pyrex casserole dish and placed the biscuit dough on top. After popping it into the oven, I was excited. I knew it was going to be fantastic, and I had a hard time forcing myself to let it cool after before eating it. This is such a great fall/winter casserole. It is warm and comforting, and colorful as well. The potatoes, carrots and string beans come out perfectly soft with just the right amount of bite left in them. The leeks, which I thought were going to be overwhelming in the dish, give the gravy the perfect amount of flavor without making everything taste too onion-y. I ended up stirring the biscuit in with the gravy and vegetables, getting bites of it with every couple of spoonfuls. It is amazing with the gravy, and adds just a tiny bit of sweetness and richness to the dish, contrasting well with the hearty vegetables.

I can’t wait to make this again. It really isn’t too difficult of a dish, and could be made the night before to be put into the oven when ready to eat. It is fairly inexpensive, especially with some our vegetables coming from the already purchased farm share, and has a ton of servings, especially if you are making it for just yourself. Even for two I think you would be able to get at least two dinners out of it. I even had it for breakfast before work one morning, it was great even then!

BBQ Tofu

I love BBQ sauce. Lately I’ve just been using Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (it really is amazing) whenever I feel the need to put sauce on things, mainly Boca chickens and the various dishes they make it into. On this particular night, I made the Backyard BBQ Sauce from the Veganomicon. I followed the recipe until the very end, where I added chunks of pineapple and a small amount of pineapple juice. After reading the ingredient label of Sweet Baby Ray’s, I realized that it has pineapple in it, and that must be what makes it amazing. I think I was right.

They cooked up great (I baked them instead of pan-frying), they had just enough of a bite to them. The BBQ sauce was an awesome combination of sweet and sour, and the chunks of pineapple in it were great. It was almost a little too tangy, so I think next time I would add less vinegar if I were to add the pineapple juice as well. I served it over a slice of toasted wheat bread, alongside some sweet corn and maple-mustard glazed string beans and potatoes (from Vegan with a Vengeance). I had a decent amount of BBQ sauce left over and served it up another day with some Chickpea cutlets. It’s good to know the sauce is versatile and lends itself well to other dishes. If you get the chance, you should definitely make the sauce – it was great with the baked tofu!

Greek Tofu Benedict and Diner Home Fries

Roasted Red Peppers - I should make them more...

I know what you are thinking. Another breakfast post? Again!? Yes. Believe it. The Veganomicon has yet to let me down. After work the other night I was actually in the mood to cook, but definitely wanted breakfast-ish food. I always want breakfast food, so that’s no surprise. In digging through both the fridge and my recipe books, I knew I have everything to make the Greek Tofu Benedict and Diner Home fries, along with Dill-Tahini dressing leftover that I had previously slathered all over kale. These are two things you definitely NEED to make from this book.

This was the first time I roasted my own red peppers and broiled my own tofu (or even used the broiler for that matter. I was always somewhat scared of it for whatever reason. I think I have childhood memories of my mom frying steak to a crisp in it – scary on multiple levels). Roasting your own red peppers is amazing. They smell great and they just feel and taste more authentic. It’s great to have them still warm from the oven when you go to eat them as well. It takes some time but it is totally worth it.

The combination of the tofu, roasted red peppers, dill-tahini dressing and Gimmie Lean Sausage is to die for. It looks nice all stacked up, and they compliment each other better than you would ever believe. It is impressive looking and colorful, and others would think you put a lot more effort into it than you really did. I think it would be really good in sandwich form as well, if you really wanted to mix it up a bit, perhaps with a couple of avocado slices as well. And let’s not forget about the diner home fries as well. Ridiculously simple to make, they are so good, and really taste like something you would get at any good breakfast place.  I liked the colors of the roasted red pepper from the tofu benedict next to the green peppers in the home fries too. Would I make this again? In a heartbeat!

Make this!

Chickpea cutlets!

Chickpea cutlets - the favorite child of the Veganomicon

Even before making these, I had heard nothing but good things about them. Even the little blurb before them in the cookbook says how they (Isa and Teresa) are super proud of it. They have every reason to be. These are super easy to make (and you can make them fairly quickly too, which is makes them even better), they are extremely versatile, and a fabulous meat substitute. The texture of these is spot on, dense and slightly chewy, for a stand in for something like fake chicken, especially if you were to use seasoned or Panko bread crumbs instead of the plain ones. They smell delicious when cooking (I fried them in a pan, but they can be baked in the oven as well, which perhaps I will try next time), and even have a scary resemblance to their real meat counterparts. I think the best part of them however, is that they are absolutely fantastic whether or not you want them to be a stand-in for meat or not.

I can see these working perfectly in a chicken parm dish, which I can see myself making anytime now, smothered in sauce and vegan Parmesan cheese. This time when I made them, I served them alongside a string bean and potato casserole, and drizzled some left over tahini dressing on top of them (they went very well together!). I love this recipe so much. I like the idea of making my own meat substitutes rather than just buying Boca burgers and letting them do the job. Plus, it is more rewarding making them yourself, even if it does require a little extra time and effort.

Stuffed Shells staring tofu ricotta

 

An extremely convincing fake ricotta

 

I’ve wanted stuffed shells for a really long time. Being vegan for almost a year now, I haven’t had any since before I made the transition. In my mind, I never thought that there would be a good substitute for ricotta cheese. This was before I bought the Veganomicon and made the tofu ricotta recipe, which is fast and ridiculously easy.

Tofu Ricotta:

  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

The first thing you want to do is break apart the tofu until it’s crumbly. Then, add the garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and lemon juice. Mush the tofu again until it reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese (it really will look like it too!). Then add in the olive oil and nutritional yeast.

After I made up the tofu ricotta, which took maybe ten minutes at the longest, I cooked up half a package of Gimmie Lean sausage, crumbled it up, and mixed it into the tofu ricotta. As it turns out, this was an awesome decision because it tasted fantastic in the stuffed shells. While the sausage was cooking, I prepared my pasta (a prepared a whole box – I wanted a lot of leftovers so I didn’t have to cook after long work days if I didn’t feel like it), and when it had cooled I stuffed them with the tofu ricotta/sausage filling.

 

Even naked, they look tasty

 

I placed them in a casserole pan with a very thin layer of water on the bottom (to prevent drying out/hardening of the pasta) and covered them in spaghetti sauce. I placed them in the oven at 350 degrees and let them bake for around 25 minutes.

 

All lined up!

 

They were so good! There was enough to feed a small army, and I ended up having six meals from it, which is great, seeing as how it was quick, easy, and fairly cheap to make. The sausage really played well into the filling and added a great flavor to the stuffed shells. I really, really adore this recipe and would make it again (except not too soon – I don’t want to wear myself out on them!).

 

Devourment.