Fast feta that’s salty, creamy and VEGAN!

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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

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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

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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!

 

 

 

Spicy pickled zucchini slices

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Everyone is humblebragging about their surprisingly massive zucchinis and fauxmoaning on what to do with this summer’s harvest. And we’ve all made suggestions. Now here’s something completely different. I grabbed this recipe from the Bon Appetit website and have been making Szechuan zucchini slices for a few summers.

These zucchini slices are pickled but require no special equipment, no canning savvy and pose no threat of weird botulism spores (real canning freaks me out just a little).

Hot, sweet and salty, these slices will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and make a pretty hostess gift.

Watch for these slices to appear in an upcoming blog post accompanying an Asian slaw and  orange-peanut sweet potato burgers.

Note you need to make these slices at least 24 hours before you plan to eat them.

Ingredients

1 zucchini – either green or yellow – washed and sliced into thin coins

2 Tbsp granulated sugar (make sure the brand you buy is vegan*)

1 Tbsp salt

1 tsp chili flakes

2 whole pieces star anise

½ cup water

½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar (do NOT use seasoned rice vinegar – it’ll over-flavour and salt the brine).

Directions

Put the sliced zucchini into a 2 cup (500 ml) canning jar. Drop in the star anise and the chili flakes.

Mix the sugar, salt, vinegar and water in a cup or jar until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour this brine over the slices, seal the jar and store in the fridge. Let the slices sit for at least 24 hours before eating. They will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

*What? What’s this about white sugar not being vegan?? Yup. That’s right. Many manufacturers of granulated white sugar filter the product through animal bone char to create snowy white sugar. Ugh. If you don’t want death at your door, check out the manufacturing process for the brand you buy (in Canada, Redpath is a vegan brand). Now you know why vegans with a sweet tooth love their agave, dates and maple syrup so much.

 

 

Real vegans fake it – rice paper bacon

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So my Facebook friend, Bob Kurtz, casually mentions to me in a chat “Have you tried rice paper bacon yet?” No, I had not. But once Bob showed me this video and pictures of his own creations, I was IN!

This is faux bacon made from rice paper and marinade. It’s ridiculously easy to make, inexpensive, tasty, crispy and gives you the salty, smoky, chewy flavour which is what any sane human is actually craving when they think they want bacon.

I googled a few different ways to make this bacon and this is my version.

Ingredients

8 sheets of rice paper

6 Tbsp nutritional yeast (Bob grinds his in a coffee grinder to get a fine powder)

2 Tbsp neutral tasting oil like canola oil

3 Tbsp soya sauce

½ tsp liquid smoke

½ tsp maple syrup (Bob and I both agree on this)

A pinch of smoky paprika

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Directions

Heat your oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine all the ingredients except the rice paper in a small bowl. Add about 2 Tbsp water to get a gravy-like consistency.

Cut your rice paper into strips about 1” wide. I had difficulty cutting the dry rice paper without it snapping so I took two sheets at a time and quickly ran them under tap water and cut them while damp.

When you have your strips cut in a double thickness (see video again), dip them in water once more, use your fingers like a squeegee to slip off the excess water and then coat them in your marinade.

Place each strip on your parchment lined pan.

Bake for 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Watch them. Just like pig-bacon, they can go from crisp to burnt quickly.

Bob fries his bacon as per the video and also lets it cool off on a baking rack so that that his strips have the classic wavy ripple to them.

I want to have breakfast with Bob some day.