Easy, creamy, mushroom stroganoff

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There’s something elegant yet comforting about stroganoff. This recipe has the bonus of being supremely fast and easy to make AND it’s good for you (unlike the butter, beef and sour cream laden traditional recipes, which are a cholesterol-fest in a pot).

I went very simple with this dish – mushrooms only. But, you could easily brown some Gardein “beef” tips or vegan meatballs and add them to the dish for a heartier meal.

 Ingredients

1 Tbsp vegan margarine

1 medium onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic minced

227g (about 1 pound) cremini mushrooms, chopped

2 Tbsp flour

1 cube of vegan bouillon (enough to make 1 cup of broth although you’re not making a cup of broth)

400ml (14-oz) can coconut milk

1 tsp ground mustard

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Pepper to taste (a few grinds)

1 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp miso (I used a dark, brown rice miso)

1 Tbsp cider vinegar

2 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp paprika

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Directions

Melt the margarine in a pot or large pan and add the onion and the garlic. Stir on medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms have released their liquid.

Sprinkle the flour over the sautéed vegetables and stir to heat the flour through. You want to get the raw flavour out of the flour. Your veggies and flour will likely bind up and make an ugly wad – don’t worry!

Add all the other ingredients and stir well. The veggie-flour wad will break up and you’ll have a gently golden sauce. Stir occasionally and allow to simmer (not boil) for 5-10 minutes.

Serve over pasta or potatoes.

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Effortless, eggless salad – kind comfort food

Egg salad far (2)For me, sandwiches are the ultimate easy, comfort food. They remind me of school day lunches, picnics and road trips. Egg salad was one of my favourites and I missed it terribly as a vegan. But no more. This egg salad sandwich tastes just as good as one made using chicken eggs and is actually faster and easier to make since there’s no egg boiling-cooling-peeling activity required.

Ingredients

7 oz tofu, sliced in half and pressed dry in a lint-free towel

2 – 3 Tbsp vegan mayo (I’m a Vegenaise fan) depending on how creamy you like your salad

1 green onion chopped

1 stalk of celery chopped

1 tsp prepared yellow mustard

1 tsp green pickle relish (optional – I like it but leave it out if it’s not your thing)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

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Directions

Put everything EXCEPT the tofu in a bowl and mix well. Crumble in the dried tofu and combine. Eat and enjoy!

Some notes about storage:  You can eat the eggless salad right away, but it’s even more delicious if it has an hour or two to sit in the fridge so the flavours can blend. This egg salad will last covered for up to 3 days in your fridge. You may find that some water escapes from the tofu if it sits – you can either stir that liquid back into the salad or drain it off.

Makes 2 very generous servings.

Vegan pulled “pork” – for real!

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Before I became a vegan, I used to say “the swine is divine” referring to all the tasty dishes made with pork. Now I still say the swine is divine because I’ve met pigs, I’ve hung out with pigs and chatted with pigs. Pigs are amazing and delightful creatures.

But vegan or not, people love salty, smokey, barbecue-y, chewy flavours and textures. Jackfruit to the rescue! This stringy fruit mimics the textures of animal muscle – everything from pigs to crabs – and readily absorbs other flavours, making it ideal for “mock” dishes like my pulled pork.

Ingredients

2 20 oz cans young jackfruit (or jackfruit in brine, but that’s salty!)
1 tsp olive oil
1 small onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika (I used smoky)
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
1 ½ tsp liquid smoke
1 cup vegetable broth
About ½ cup BBQ sauce. I used Clubhouse brand (check the ingredients)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400F.

Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Cut out the hard cores and any hard edges on the pieces. Run your fingers up each piece to pop out the seeds –this is oddly, highly satisfying. Tear up the pieces so they look like pulled pork and put in a bowl. Be patient. It’s going to take you about 10 minutes to go through each piece and pull it and pop those seeds out. If you miss some seeds, that’s okay- they won’t kill you, they’re just not very pulled pork-ish.

If you’re not familiar w/ jackfruit (as I wasn’t), I recommend checking a Youtube tutorial on pulling jackfruit and what the seeds etc. are (as I did).

In a large pan, saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

Spread the jackfruit onto a non-stick baking sheet. Put it in the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove and generously drizzle with BBQ sauce and give it a stir. Put it back in the oven for 10 more minutes.

Eat and enjoy!!

Creamy coconut rice with lentils and greens

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This is one of those oh-so-easy and fast, inexpensive, satisfying dishes that also has the “Wow!” factor to it. By “Wow!”  I mean a) you’re never going to find this pre-packaged in a bag on a store shelf, b) there’s a touch of the exotic and different, and c) your taste buds will be happy.

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice

1 (13 oz) can coconut milk

1 ½ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp salt

¾ cup cooked brown lentils (about ½ can)

½ cup fresh or frozen and thawed green peas

1 – 1 ½  cup chopped leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard etc.)

¼ cup toasted cashews and/or unsweetened coconut (Optional but delicious and why deny yourself deliciousness when life is so short?) *

Coconut Rice Close

Directions

Put the rice in a small pot. Add 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk (save the rest of the milk for later in the recipe), the chili powder, nutmeg and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until the rice is fully cooked.  Don’t lift the lid on the pot. Just let the rice simmer. When the rice is cooked, add the rest of the coconut milk and stir together.

Mix the cooked and now creamy rice in a large bowl with the lentils, green peas and greens.

Serve immediately sprinkled with the toasted cashews and coconut.

Enjoy!

*To toast cashews and coconut, heat your oven (I use my toaster oven) to 425. Spread the cashews and coconut in an even layer on a baking sheet or even piece of foil and toast for 4 minutes. Watch that the mix doesn’t burn, which can happen in a flash! Know they oven and do NOT leave the kitchen while the nuts and coconut are toasting.

Simply the best Indian-style curry ever

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Here it is, folks. The easiest, tastiest Indian-style curry I’ve ever tasted. It’s tasty, spicy, comforting, filling and super affordable with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. You’ll have curry in 30 minutes from start to finish. Let’s go!!

Ingredients

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4 potatoes – cubed and boiled until tender

2 Tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil

1 onion diced

3 – 4 cloves garlic minced

2 tsps cumin

1 ½ tsps cayenne pepper (or less – this amount makes quite a hot dish)

4 tsps curry powder

4 tsps garam masala

1 inch piece of ginger root peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)

1 ½ tsp salt

1 (14 oz or 397 ml) can diced tomatoes

1 (145 oz or 397ml) can chickpeas drained and rinsed (1 ½ cups if you’re cooking from scratch)

1 cup frozen or fresh peas

1(14oz or 397 ml) can coconut milk

Directions

In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté on medium heat until the onion is translucent.

While the onion, garlic and ginger cook, measure all the dry spices out into a small bowl or cup. You really want these ready to go so don’t skip this step.

Add all the spices and stir with the onion, garlic and ginger to heat through for about 1 minute.

Add the remaining ingredients and bring everything to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer and simmer together for 10 minutes.

Serve over rice or with naan or chapatti or roti.

See? Easy. Enjoy!!

Fudgy Thugsicles

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Whatcha gonna do with leftover tofu? I made Fudgy Thugsicles – named because the recipe comes from the first Thug Kitchen cookbook. These delicious beauties need just three ingredients and a popsicle mold, which you can buy at any dollar store.

I ended up with four Thugsicles, but I imagine I could have gotten five if I wasn’t licking this spoon so much.

And hear this – for all you people who feel the need to count protein grams, (Why?? I promise you’re getting enough protein if you live in the Western world) each Thugsicle has 9 grams of protein!  I give you permission to eat these for breakfast or after a workout.

You will need a blender for this recipe.

Ingredients

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (make sure they are vegan – look for things like whey or butter, though cocoa butter is okay!)

6 ounces firm tofu (that’s 1/2 of a block typically)

Directions

In a mug, warm the milk in the microwave just so it’s warm but not hot.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave — be VERY careful with this. Chocolate can go from looking not melted to scorched in a flash. I prefer melting chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, bring water to a boil water in a small pot. Switch the heat off. Put the chocolate in a metal bowl on top of the hot water. Stir the chocolate constantly – it’ll melt almost immediately.

Break the tofu into chunks and put it in the blender. Add the milk and chocolate and blend the hell out of everything until you have a smooth pancake batter type consistency. Pour the mix into the popsicle molds and put the molds in the freezer until the Thugsicles are completely frozen.

Enjoy!

At last – a Greek salad for vegans

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Last week I shared a vegan feta cheese recipe. My favourite way to use that cheese is in a Greek salad. I LOVE the mix of flavours, textures and colours in this classic dish and eaten with some pita bread (for sopping up all that delicious dressing and feta cheese) you have a complete meal.

Ingredients

For the salad

Salad ingredients

Vegan feta cheese – use as much as you want but half of the recipe should be more than enough

1 head of romaine lettuce – washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

½ of an English cucumber cut into half-moon slices

1 bell pepper (whatever colour you prefer) diced

2 tomatoes diced

½ of a red onion cut into half-moon slices

¼ cup sliced olives – green or black as you prefer

TIP: If you like an ingredient add more of it. If you don’t like something, leave it out. The beauty of cooking from scratch is you make it how you like it.

Salad Chopped

For the salad dressing

Salad Dressing ingredients

3 Tbsp good quality olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano (or about 2 Tbsp fresh)

1 ½ tsp dried basil (or about 3 Tbsp fresh)

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1-2 cloves garlic – minced or pressed

The juice from ½ lemon

1-2 Tbsp brine from a jar of lives – optional but it will make your dressing go further and make it salty if you’re a salt lover

Salad Dressing

Directions

Place all the salad ingredients in a large bowl. Place all the salad dressing ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake the jar well to mix the ingredients. Pour over the salad and toss everything to combine. The feta cheese will become creamier and almost dressing like. If you want the cheese more whole, add the dressing to the salad but leave out the feta. Mix the salad and dressing, then add the feta afterwards.

Enjoy!