June 25, 2010

Stringy Zucchini and Squash Pasta

1 pound of your favorite stringy pasta (I used fettuccine in this batch), cooked
2 Tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance preferred)
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, shredded
1 medium yellow squash, shredded
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 to 1 C nutritional yeast, to taste
(Any combination of your favorite Italian seasonings will work. Here's what I used...)
1 Tbsp all-purpose Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp basil
salt and pepper to taste
dash cayenne pepper
  • While your pasta is boiling away merrily, heat your olive oil in a large skillet. When it's nice and hot, but not so hot that it's smoking (big no-no!), toss in your garlic and saute for a minute or two, until it starts to just barely change color. 
  • Add your squashes, lemon juice and seasonings (except the "nooch") to the skillet and saute until squashes are soft and most of the water has evaporated, about 7 to 10 minutes. 
  • When your pasta is cooked, drain it and return it to the pot you cooked it in. Add the butter and toss to coat the pasta with it.
  • You can either toss the "nooch" in with your pasta and then ladle the zucchini mixture on the top when you serve, if you like the main ingredient to be visible (hey, some people dig that - nothin' wrong with it). Or you can just chuck everything into the large pot and stir it up. Salad forks work great for this.
  • Enjoy!

June 22, 2010

Lentil-Rice Burgers on Whole Wheat Buns

There are several versions of the lentil patty floating around the internet and, while they all have lentils in common, their remaining ingredients are often quite different. The point is that you can play with this recipe a lot and it's still going to taste great! This particular recipe is my own favorite version, but sometimes I spice it up with different ingredients like mushrooms or zucchini when I have extras laying around the kitchen.
My absolute favorite way to serve this burger is with homemade BBQ sauce and mushrooms sauteed in vegan butter and garlic salt ladled on top. It's sooooo good!

Here are the recipes for the buns, the burgers, and the sauce. Enjoy!

2 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 C, plus 2 Tbsp warm water from the tap (not too hot)
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/3 C vegetable oil
1/4 C agave nectar, or sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 tsp salt
2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of the warm water. Mix together with a whisk until bubbly.
  • Add oil and sugar, and whisk. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg replacer and remaining 2 tablespoons of water, then add it to the dough mixture.
  • Add the salt and the flour and mix together with a hand mixer, using the dough hook attachments. If you don't have dough hooks, you might just have to stir with a wooden spoon until dough thickens and then mix it the rest of the way with your hands.
  • Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
  • Divide into 12 equal pieces. I do this by rolling the dough out into a long snake formation and using a knife to make equal cuts, starting from the center.
  • Shape each piece into a ball and place 3 inches apart on 2 separate baking sheets.
  • Cover dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
  • While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bake dough for 6-8 minutes, or until desired "brownness" is attained. Watch out - the bottoms burn easily, so don't let them brown too much.
  • Remove to wire racks to cool.   
4 C water
1 C uncooked lentils
1 C uncooked brown rice
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 small onion, peeled and grated
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
a few shakes of liquid smoke, to taste
2 small to medium russet potatoes - peeled, cubed, boiled, then mashed1/8 C olive oil, or non-stick cooking spray
  • Place 4 cups of water, lentils and rice in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Allow to simmer on medium-low heat until lentils and rice are soft and water has evaporated, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • Once lentils have cooled, add your cooked potatoes and mix.
  • Add all remaining ingredients and stir well.
  • In a large skillet (preferably a well-seasoned cast iron skillet) heat the oil over medium.
  • Shape mixture into 12 equal-sized patties and cook in the skillet until nicely browned on both sides (can take up to 5 minutes per side). 
  • Be gentle with the patties when you handle them as they are fragile and can fall apart easily.
(enough for 12 burgers)
4 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp light brown sugar, or agave nectar
Dash of unsweetened cocoa powder
A few shakes of liquid smoke
  • Whisk all the ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to use.
Hope you enjoy the burgers!

June 21, 2010

Homemade Maple Syrup

I'm probably really late in discovering this phenomenon, but did you know that you can make your own homemade maple syrup at pennies on the dollar to the real stuff?
Of course it's not as "healthy" as real maple syrup, but it's a lot cheaper and it's a heck of a lot better for you than all the imitation syrups at the grocery store which are full of high fructose corn syrup and dyes.
Here comes the math...
For me, a jug of Target brand maple syrup costs $6.99. At 12 oz in the bottle, that ends up costing me 58 cents per ounce. Ouch!
The homemade stuff makes 2 cups (16 ounces) of syrup.
The sugar cost about $1.25 for four pounds (8 cups), and I only used 2 cups of that in the recipe, making the cost of the amount of sugar used in this recipe only 30 cents.
The water is incalculable, since I just used CowTown's finest, straight from the tap.
And the maple flavoring cost $1.99 for 1.5 oz. I only used half a teaspoon for the recipe. There are 9 teaspoons in one and a half ounces, so I only used about 11 cents' worth of flavoring.
Add it all up and the recipe cost only 41 cents to concoct, making each ounce of homemade syrup cost just over 2 cents.

The only drawback is that it's sugar! So, you have to watch your intake. I used a recipe calculator to determine that each tablespoon of the homemade syrup has about 50 calories. Drizzle lightly.
And enjoy!
Here's the recipe that came straight off the back of the maple flavoring box...

2 C sugar
1 C water
1/2 tsp maple flavoring
  • Dissolve 2 cups of white (or brown) sugar in 1 cup of water and boil 1 minute.
  • Cool syrup and add 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring.
  • For extra fine flavor add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla flavoring.
There are countless other recipes to be found on the internet. Literally, hundreds. So, feel free to search and experiment until you find your favorite combination of ingredients. And if you find (or invent) a really good one, post it here!

June 17, 2010

BBQ Black Bean and Tofu Wraps

I was brutally hungry and on the hunt for something quick and easy this afternoon. I went searching through my pantry and found a lone can of black beans just itchin' to get cooked up and go into my belly. And I'm a Texas girl who sometimes misses good barbecue, so I'm always looking for ways to quell that craving (it's not the meat I crave, it's the sauce. Nom nom, barbecue sauce... drool, drool...) Now, voila! I present to you a barbecue-licious tofu wrap. In the words of Han Solo, "She may not look like much, kid, but she's got it where it counts." The same applies to these little cuties. Try them out. You won't be disappointed.

Spritz of oil x2
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
A few shakes of liquid smoke
Salt and black pepper
1 15.5oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14oz block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 large tomato, chopped
2 tablespoons, give or take, fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
8 corn or flour tortillas

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, molasses, mustard, soy sauce, sugar, liquid smoke, and salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Heat a large non-stick or cast-iron pan, and spritz it with a light coating of oil. 
  • Add the onion, and saute until soft.
  • Add the beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and the BBQ sauce, stirring occasionally, until hot and well mixed. Set aside, cover, and keep warm. 
  • Cut the tofu into quarter-inch strips. Heat and spritz another pan with oil. Add the tofu and cook until golden brown, turning as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • If you have a cast-iron skillet, I highly recommend using it to warm your corn tortillas over medium low heat. I do each of mine individually as I dress the wraps, and it makes all the difference. 
  • To serve, divide the tofu strips among warmed corn tortillas. Spoon BBQ bean mixture on top, roll and enjoy! 

Vegan Barbecues and Buffets

June 11, 2010

Southern Style Breakfast Hash

You know how you occasionally get a craving to eat breakfast food at dinner time? Well, that's what happened to me tonight. I wanted hot, cowboy breakfast hash on a corn tortilla. I'd never attempted to do it vegan-style, so I was wary about what I was going to be able to come up with. But, oh man, it turned out great! I was so pleased. And it made a lot, so I get to have it for breakfast again in the morning. Woo hoo! Give it a try. Here's the recipe...

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/8 - 1/4 C water, as needed
1 14oz block extra firm tofu, drained, pressed, and chopped
2 thick slices vegan sausage, pre-cooked according to package directions
1/2 C cooked brown or white rice (I used leftover Chipotle rice in this batch)
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 15.5oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 C nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp all-purpose seasoning
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic. Saute over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add tofu, soy sauce and water. Saute over medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Add all remaining ingredients, except sausage, and saute until combined and hot. 
  • Add sausage and stir. Add more water, if needed, a Tbsp at a time, to prevent sticking.
  • Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until mixture is bubbly and all ingredients and nice and hot. 
  • I like to serve with warmed corn tortillas and vegan butter.
  • Enjoy!

June 8, 2010

One-Ingredient Ice Cream!

I ran across this article on The Kitchn today and I can't wait to try it!! 

How To Make Creamy Ice Cream with Just One Ingredient!


Yes, that's right; you heard us. Creamy, soft-serve style ice cream with just one ingredient — and no ice cream maker needed! What is this one magic ingredient that can be whipped into perfectly rich and silky ice cream, with no additional dairy, sweeteners, or ingredients needed whatsoever?


If you guessed BANANA, congratulations! You're right!
What? You didn't know that bananas can make some of the best ice cream? Well, I didn't either until last week, when my sister called me up and mentioned that she's been freezing bananas and then pureeing them into ice cream.
"That's the sort of thing you discover," she sighed, "when all your friends are vegan, gluten-free, dairy-allergic, and you're on a sugar-free diet." I'd deal with a list of dietary restrictions twice as long, though, if it meant discovering more treats like this one.


It turns out that frozen bananas are good for more than just dipping in chocolate. If you freeze a banana until solid, then whiz it up in a blender or food processor, it gets creamy and a little gooey, just like good custard ice cream. I was surprised at this bit of kitchen wizardry; I assumed that a blended banana would be flaky or icy. But no — it makes creamy, rich ice cream.
Some bananas, depending on their ripeness, have a bit of that green aftertaste. My sister has been experimenting with adding in another ingredient or two, like a tablespoon of peanut butter and another of honey. Delicious!
Have you ever tried frozen-banana ice cream? Try it! It's an easy way to stay cool and use up over-ripe bananas at the same time.

Want more detailed instructions and step-by-step photos?

Step-by-Step Instructions for One-Ingredient Ice Cream