Easy, creamy, mushroom stroganoff

Stroganoff use this one.jpg

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

Closest.jpg

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.

Advertisements

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

egg salad toast (2).jpg

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.

Creamy coconut rice with lentils and greens

Coconut Rice Closer.jpg

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 a piece of foil and toast for 4 minutes. Watch that the mix doesn’t burn, which can happen in a flash! Know thy oven and do NOT leave the kitchen while the nuts and coconut are toasting.

Fast feta that’s salty, creamy and VEGAN!

IMG_20170603_115756

I used to eat Greek salad all the time until I went vegan, but I just couldn’t find anything to replace feta cheese. ‘Til now that is.

This recipe is the bastard child of a far more superior recipe developed by friends of mine – Katie and Christine. Their feta cheese actually gets firm and will crumble. BUT it also takes more time to make and needs lactic acid (that’s what creatBowl of fetaes the great, firm texture).

My version, lazy vegan that I am, provides immediate gratification with very straightforward ingredients.

Having said all that, I bow to Katie and Christine and their incredible culinary skill!

You will need a food processor to make this recipe.

 

Ingredients

IMG_20170703_171521_hdr.jpg

½ block (7 ounces) of extra firm tofu.

¼ cup olive oil

4 tsp fresh lemon juice (about ¼ of a lemon)

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 ½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp onion powder

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried marjoram

½ tsp dried oregano

Feta Semi Close

Directions

Slice the tofu lengthwise and press slices in a lint-free towel to remove much of the moisture.

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until thoroughly blended. You can store the feta in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

The feta cheese will firm up a bit in the fridge but it will remain creamy and spreadable. If you didn’t press the tofu well, a small amount of white liquid may separate out, which you can just drain off.

I use this cheese in wraps, as a spread, tossed with tomatoes, pasta and basil, and of course, in Greek Salad!

 

 

 

Vegan pumpkin risotto

squashrisotto

Oh, this dish just oozes comfort and joy for the fall and winter season. It’s creamy, sweet, satisfying and impresses the heck out of people you serve it to.

So, think your risotto won’t be any good without cheese or butter? Try this!

If you have 30 to 90 minutes you have time to make this dish and wow yourself and a friend. The risotto takes just 30 minutes to make, but you do need about 40 minutes to roast the pumpkin or squash, which you can do the day before.

Making risotto is a bit of an exercise in faith. You just have to believe it’s going to work because halfway through the process, the pan will look like a messy failure. But it always turns out.

This recipe makes 2 generous servings or 3 appetizer size servings.

Ingredients

1 cup Arborio rice (must be Arborio rice)

3 cups vegetable broth

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp vegan margarine

1 large shallot finely minced (or 1 clove garlic minced and ½ onion minced)

1/3 cup (or so) of dry white wine (optional – but it’s an excuse to crack open the wine!)

½ tsp cumin

I small pumpkin or squash. I love thin-skinned heirloom squashes that don’t need to be peeled. For this recipe I used a honeynut squash.

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 to 1 tsp ground black pepper

1 -2 cups fresh spinach chopped finely.

squashrisotto2

Directions

Prepare your squash. Heat your oven to 400F. Wash the squash and cut it in half. Remove the seeds and place the squash halves on a cookie sheet cut side up. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast the squash for 40 minutes until it’s fork tender and golden brown in spots. Remove from the oven and let the squash cool. If you’re using a thin-skinned squash, just cube the squash. If you are using any other type of squash, remove the skin and then cube the vegetable.

Heat the broth in a saucepan so it’s at a low simmer.

In a large frying pan or skillet, heat the olive oil and margarine.

Add the shallot (or onion and garlic, if that’s what you’re using) and sauté until translucent.

Add the rice and stir until it’s coated with the margarine and shallots and turning a light golden colour.

Add the cumin and the white wine (if using) and stir together.

Now the magic. This step will take about 20 minutes.

One ladle at a time (about ½ cup), add broth to the pan of rice.

Stir the rice until the broth is all absorbed by the rice. At first the rice will quickly absorb the broth and at the same time it will release its starch, creating a creamy base. As the rice cooks, the broth will absorb more and more slowly. Patience. Listen to music. Ladle. Stir. Ladle. Stir.

In about 20 minutes your rice will be done and all your broth should be used up. The rice will be al dente. Stir in the nutritional yeast.

Stir in the chopped spinach and the cubed, cooked squash and stir together. Serve up and enjoy!

 

A creamy, beany Southwest-style salad

Salad1.jpg

Sometimes I just need salad. Not often, but it happens (I have to consciously choose to eat my leafy greens). This salad is colourful, crunchy, hearty enough to eat as a meal or fun to serve as a side with Mexican food.

Ingredients

The salad

1 head of lettuce, chopped. Use a sturdier lettuce such as romaine or even kale

1 green, red or yellow pepper, chopped

15 ounces (1 ½ cups ) black beans – drained except reserve 1 tablespoon of the brine for the salad dressing

½ a small red onion, chopped

1 cup corn niblets (I use frozen corn and just let it defrost).

2 tomatoes chopped

 The dressing

1 avocado

1 clove garlic

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp brine from the canned black beans

2 Tbsp pickled jalapenos

1 Tbsp brine from the pickled jalapenos

2 -3 Tbsp cilantro

The juice from one lime

Directions

Add all dressing ingredients to a blender, blend until smooth.

Add all the salad ingredients to a large bowl. Toss with the salad dressing and enjoy.

If you do not dress the salad or add the tomatoes, this salad will last covered in the fridge for 2-3 days. Just add the dressing and tomatoes before serving.

Omit the lettuce and this salad makes an amazing creamy, beany salsa to eat with natchos.

My recipes is closely based on one I read on Buzzfeed, but I modified it to lower the fat in the dressing and turn up the heat.

 

Buffalo “wing” salad

BuffaloWingSalad.jpg

Buffalo wings are one of those things that people go gaga over. I don’t think folks are actually that excited about the sad, bony, cartilaginous bits of chicken death, but rather they love the hot and spicy wing coating and the creamy and crunchy blend of dip with celery and carrot sticks.

I’ve recreated all the goodness of Buffalo wings with hot sauce, ranch dressing, celery and carrots and added fibre, minerals, micronutrients and a big old dose of compassion. Try this!

Ingredients

For the salad

5 -6 cups of kale washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (that’s one big bunch of kale)

2-3 carrots sliced into coins

2-3 ribs of celery sliced

 

For the buffalo chickpeas

1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (that’s one 15 oz can), rinsed and dried

½ cup Frank’s hot sauce

1 Tbsp neutral tasting oil (I use peanut oil since it can take high heat)

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp garlic powder

 

For the ranch dressing

1 cup vegan mayonnaise

1 Tbsp plant milk

2 tsp cider vinegar

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill*

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley*

Optional garnish – slices of avocado

BuffalowWingSaladSide.jpg

Directions

Turn the oven on to 400F. Mix the hot sauce, garlic powder, oil and salt in a bowl and toss the chickpeas in the dressing until they are coated. Turn them out onto a cookie sheet. Do NOT pour any remaining dressing that’s in the bowl onto the chickpeas, but just set it aside.

Bake the chickpeas for 20 minutes. Remove them from the oven, give them a stir, pour the remaining hot sauce dressing on them and then return them to the oven for another 40 minutes.

When they are done, just let the chickpeas cool on the cookie sheet.

You can make the roasted chickpeas ahead of time and store them in a sealed container in the fridge for 1-2 days.

While the chickpeas are baking, mix the kale, carrots and celery in a large salad bowl. Add the roasted chickpeas.

In a small bowl, mix the dressing ingredients. Taste. Swoon. Add all or some of the dressing to the salad (depending on how creamy you want it). Toss everything together and serve up your Buffalo wing salad. Enjoy!

*Here’s how I always have “fresh” herbs on hand. Store your fresh, clean herbs by the bunch in the freezer in freezer bags. Whenever you want fresh herbs for soups, sauces, stews, dips or dressings, just take some from your frozen supply. You won’t even need to chop – just crumble the frozen herbs. Frozen herbs do not work well as garnishes.