Happy Vegan MoFo, everyone! I'm proud to say that I'm participating again this year. I hope to contribute some solid recipes while following the prompts (somewhat, due to scheduling and general interest). I couldn't, however, ignore the first day! I love this idea: re-inventing a standard vegetarian option. All too often, as many vegans know, the "veggie option" consists of a boring salad and possibly french fries if you're feeling frisky (or a baked potato, you health nut).
When I first became a vegetarian in high school, the first meat product that I substituted was the burger. I wasn't a huge fan of burgers to begin with because I just wasn't too fond of beef in general. Luckily for me, veggie burgers were pretty easy to come by at the time (exactly 10 years ago). Today, I find top quality veggie burgers at my local super market. I usually look for burgers that are made with as many "whole food" ingredients as possible. The ones that are coming out lately are eerily similar to ground beef in taste and texture, which is exciting but also unsettling for someone who doesn't like the idea of eating meat. I just like that the products like the Impossible Burger and the Beyond Beef patties are marketing themselves towards all consumers, not just plant eating hippies like me! They offer a sound meat substitute for those who like the taste and feel of beef burgers. Whatever gets the job done, right?
The veggie burgers I whipped up today were a little bit of a mashup between "meaty" and "health food". I mimicked the texture of chewy and earthy meat with grated mushrooms and tempeh. The resulting burger is one of bite, chew, deep and smokey flavors with autumnal herbs laced through. This is a great fall treat, but you can switch the herbs around to be more bright and summer appropriate for the BBQ times! I nestled these burgers between some gluten-free and vegan buns that I found. They're quite pillowy and light, which I loved. Feel free to also garnish these with your favorite sliced vegetables, slaw, spreads, and what-have-yous. I kept it simple and seasonal with some local sliced tomato, red onion, sauteed spinach and some extra fresh rosemary.
This recipe yields about 5 decently sized burgers. I had lunch for the entire week when I made them! To make the burgers soy-free, substitute the tempeh for your favorite bean with slightly varied results. Play with it and make it yours!
Happy Mofo again, all! Dig in!
Herbed Mushroom & Tempeh Veggie Burgers
Yield: Approx. 5 burgers
Free from: Gluten, Nuts
Fusion food day is here!
Last year, I made some risotto with a Mexican twist. It was quite magical. For some reason, I can't stay away from that theme so here I am again. I'm fusing the burrito and spicy chipotle flavor with the Philly staple: the cheesesteak.
Cheesesteak was always something I disliked, even when I ate meat. The ones they served in elementary school for lunch always put me off...something about the gross fake cheese. 😖
Now, I figured I should give cheesesteak another go, but with some conditions: no cheese, no steak. Sounds great! 👍 I replaced the steak with nutritious portabella mushrooms. You can also use a vegan meat substitute if you like. I tried to keep this recipe as clean and healthy as possible. I also love the meaty and earthy taste of mushrooms. I can't get enough of them.
The cheese sauce is made with sweet potato for extra flavor and nutrition. I think it makes a wonderful counterpart to the spices in the mushrooms. I wrapped the whole mess up in a gluten free tortilla. This would also be wonderful on bread...or on rice...or any old way, really.
Dig in and try to forget about the election. I know I haven't, but this food might help me get there a little. 😜🌶🌯🍄
Chipotle Portabella Cheesesteak Burritos
Free from: gluten*, refined sugar
Yield: About 3-4 servings
Sweet Potato Cheese Sauce Ingredients
Where do I want to eat when I want someone else to cook for me?
The answer for this post didn't come easily at all, but if I had to pick...
I would absolutely have to pick The Tasty. Debuting earlier this year as a highly anticipated Philly vegan diner, The Tasty has gained momentum and is now traveling at warp speed into the realms of plant based deliciousness. They've expanded their already amazing offerings to specialty coffee drinks, baked goods, and seasonal specials. Everything on their menu echoes what one would find at a regular diner in and around the area: sandwiches, waffles, omelets, breakfast sandwiches, pancakes, salads and appetizers. It's immensely satisfying to be able to go eat brunch or breakfast somewhere when, as a vegan, eating those meals out is very difficult at mainstream restaurants.
I can only picture my sad breakfast options at other diners: fruit cups, dry toast, bagels, and maybe oatmeal if it's made without milk or butter. I guess you can technically count hash browns, but they are so often contaminated by shared cooking surfaces that they don't really appeal to me anymore. 😥
So when I visit The Tasty (pretty often), I usually go for veganized omelets or tofu scrambles of delicious veggies, non-dairy cheese and vegan meat subs. These aren't items I use at home very often, so I figure why not go all out if I'm not cooking? 😏
I snapped a photo for you of their spinach and soysauge omelet. It's absolutely to die for if you like savory spices, caramelized onions, and fresh spinach glued together by vegan mozzarella and pillowed by the most soft and fluffy egg-free omelet you've ever dreamed of. I think it's a mixture of chickpea flour and tofu judging by the texture, but I could be wrong! 😜
If the omelet isn't enough food, they pile home fries on the other half of the plate for good measure. They're crispy and soft at the same time, just the way I like them. They're also seasoned with something wonderful, so every bite you take is going to be a good one. There are many more amazing dishes on the menu that I've had before. Here are a few of them to tempt you: vegan mozzarella sticks, Caesar salad, breakfast burrito, PB&J french toast, biscuits and gravy, tater tots...you get the idea.
Heading over to Philly yet? I'll be back next week. 😉🐷
I had to give you some close ups...mmmm.
The second photo shows a huge glorious piece of caramelized onion. 😍👄
There are also lots of awesome things to look at inside and outside of The Tasty. Their sandwich board is always on point, which you can see from the first photo I featured. They also have a parade of dogs walking outside when it's nice out. You can't beat that.
Inside, there are whimsical decorations that seem to be things that you may find in either your grandmother's house or your friendly punk's house. There are also some cute handmade art pieces like this adorable clock.
The winking toast is everywhere, too. I like to think that they're congratulating me on my meal decision. 🍞😉
They also serve coffee in mismatched mugs that you might find in your own cupboard, which is a nice homey touch. The staff and owners are very friendly too, so make sure you say hi and ask for their recommendations! This place is just about as comfortable as going to a friend's place for brunch (or whatever meal you choose).
Next time you're in Philly, make sure to give The Tasty a try. Try not to order the whole menu at once. 😜
For my rainy/snowy/generally dreary day meal, I'm going to make some broth and put stuff in it.
I love soups of all types, all year round. The best time for soup, though is the fall and winter for me. I love coming inside from the cold to a bowl (or sometimes cup!) of piping hot liquid with deliciously seasoned veggies in it.
Soup is always great, too because its flavors become more concentrated as time goes by. I love to eat soups the day after I make them, when the ingredients have had time to marinate and become more rich. There's nothing better to make you feel at home!
I also love to eat sandwiches and soup together. I like sandwiches by themselves, too, but much more if they're next to a bowl of soup. There's something about eating bread and soup together...it's such a classic combination. I'm going to throw together a sandwich from ingredients that I have on hand, so definitely do the same if you're into the idea! I didn't include a recipe for the sandwich because I think it's a fun thing to play with depending on the ingredients you have at your house and what's in season near you. For me, it's early Autumn and I decided to go a little sweet and savory with sliced apple, caramelized onion (reserved from the soup!) and vegan cheese. You need to indulge every now and then, people! ;)
This prompt was interesting because I really had to think about what ingredients I had in my house already. I always keep certain things in my fridge, like miso, onions, etc. I figured miso soup would be a great thing to make since I almost always have the ability to make it! I tried to make my miso soup a tad different than the normal scallion and tofu combo. My grandma taught me to make miso with whatever I had to put in it. If you have daikon, put that in it. Potato? Put that in. Onion? Yup! So, I figured, what's something cool I can do with onion? Uh, caramelize them! And leeks too? Why not?! =D
This soup recipe is meant to feed approximately 4 people. You can make it stretch if you serve everyone a smaller portion. For a small crowd, though, I'd double the recipe. Plus, leftovers!! ^_^
Caramelized Leek & Onion Miso Soup
Yield: About 4 servings
Free of: Gluten, Nuts, Sugar
My sandwich was:
If President Obama came over for a meal, I'd like to think I'd keep it real. (Sorry, didn't mean to rhyme!)
I voted for the guy twice, I think he's a rad dude, and he seems pretty down to Earth. I also think he has a cool family and some cute dogs. =P
Political opinions aside, you have to see what I'm talking about right? I don't think President Obama would be one to expect some fancy five-course meal from me. Well, if he did, he would have to say so. ;)
I came up with a dish that the adults and kids would enjoy. I also wanted to create a flavorful dish that was also healthy, since Michelle seems to promote healthy eating awareness. I thought a nice jackfruit dish would be nice...it's something not a whole lot of people have heard of/eaten in this country and it would be nice to introduce to such an influential family something different yet fairly accessible.
I had never heard of jackfruit being used in vegan cooking until I saw the Seabirds food truck on the Food Network a few years ago. They were serving jackfruit in tacos at the time and I was thinking, "Fruit?! WHAT?".
Then, I finally found out how jackfruit can be prepared to be used as a pulled meat substitute when I attended cooking school. The jackfruit itself is best used from a can, as it is already soft and easy to work with. I found some at my local Asian market, and I'm sure you would be able to purchase it online.
Right out of the can, jackfruit seems pretty bland. However, once you chop it up, season it with spices and cook it, it's pretty delicious! The result is a somewhat light but meaty texture that resembles pulled meat. I like that it isn't very heavy like tempeh or seitan. That way, you can garnish it with all the veggies, non-dairy cheese or beans you want and it isn't overwhelmingly filling! Well, unless you want it to be. ;)
Look out, Mr. President! I've got some jacked up tacos for you! ^_^'
Pulled Jackfruit Tacos
Yield: 2 large soft tacos
I'm not a huge fan of sandwiches.
I always like the idea of sandwiches, of course, but I find that I get really full from the bread before I can enjoy any of the goodies on the inside. Sometimes I like to take all the stuff out of the sandwich, eat it, and then have dessert to fill my stomach. That method has worked for me countless times. ;)
However, I went to college in New Brunswick, NJ and I did have a brief affair with sandwiches at that time. Eating as a vegetarian in college left me with few options for food that wasn't salad or pretzels. I always had something to eat at the dining hall, but it was rarely healthy. Did that stop me? Of course not.
One of the foods that my friends and I would grab routinely after every semester as a celebration would be the infamous fat sandwiches from the grease trucks. These bad boys are sandwiches with everything you could ever want (or not want) to eat on them. Protein? Yes. Veggies? Yes. Sauce? Of course. French fries? Duh.
I always got one of three sandwiches there. One had a veggie burger on it, one had some mozzarella sticks and the other had falafel. The last one I ever ate had falafel on it. ::drool::
I decided that if I was going to make a vegan sandwich for Vegan MoFo this year I had to go all-out. So, I went the extra mile and made from-scratch rolls and fried up some cauliflower. This sandwich is going to be the most complete sandwich experience of your life. And you won't need to eat another. Ever.
Makes 3 large sandwiches. You can always make less and save the fillings for salads or snacking later!
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Good morning, Everyone!
I'm so excited to be participating in Vegan MoFo for my second year! Last year was a bit of a loose participation since I didn't have any prompts. I liked picking my own theme, but I definitely could have posted more. It's tough to make yourself post every day when you run out of recipes. =I
This year is different, though and I'm so stoked about it! I loved all the prompts that were thrown at us this year, even if some were a bit difficult. This first one was a gift, though. Breakfast? Endless possibilities. I chose to recreate a delicious on-the-go version of biscuits, gravy and sausage. I used to love fast food sausage biscuits when I was a little kid.
Little did I know how absolutely disgusting they were! I haven't had one since. Although, I have had vegan sausage and gravy dishes from places like Lamplighter Espresso and I absolutely fell in love. I feel much better about eating this version of this dish, even if it isn't the healthiest thing in the world.
I've tried to make this as wholesome as possible in my own kitchen. I took the gluten out of the biscuits, replaced the regular white flour with my own blend of flours and used good fats. I also made my own meat-free sausage using tempeh, which is one of my favorite soy products. I try to eat fermented soy more often than not. Tofu is always an easy option, but it definitely doesn't give much texture to a dish unless it's drained properly.
This tempeh came together wonderfully after I par-cooked it in a saucepan with some water and salt. After that, I mashed it into a wonderful mixture of spices and formed it into sausage patties. Well, here's what I did in picture/recipe form. Please try this out if you have the time. It's not a very long process and you will have sausages and biscuits for a few days! Oh, the possibilities! <3
Happy MoFo, Bloggers and Vegans! Let's kill it! ^_^/
Gluten-Free & Vegan Sausage Biscuits
Yield: 5-6 biscuits
Adapted from: Better Homes & Gardens
*If using coconut oil, add 1/4 tsp more salt
Servings: About 4
About a month ago, my boyfriend and I took an amazing trip to Colorado and Utah. We only dabbled in Utah for a short while and mostly stayed in Colorado. Most of our trip consisted of driving which is why my photos are landscapes, landscapes and more landscapes! Since it was my first time exploring the inland part of the Western U.S., I was a bit in awe of the drastic differences in climate that I experienced. I remember experiencing some form of snow at least once a day during the week that we were traveling. Some days would drop 20 degrees and then spike back up again. Rain followed us through the mountains and often turned to snow or sleet. The desert was the most interesting, as it was dry, sunny, and hot with a cold breeze. I loved it!
I also ate some pretty interesting food while on the road. We stayed in a different place for each night, which gave us plenty of opportunity to explore local food options (or, eat Asian fusion for 3 nights in a row because that was the best vegan option in town). Luckily, we found some awesome markets (and the ever-faithful Whole Foods) on the road that supplied us with breakfast, snacks, etc. I'm glad I can highlight some of the food gems that we found on our trip for you. Hopefully this will entice you to visit the area one day...it's amazingly beautiful. It's definitely somewhere I'd love to go again.
Vegan Adventures in Colorado & Utah
The Beet Box Bakery & Cafe
The Beet Box is such an amazing cafe which quite an unassuming appearance. When I first found their menu online, I freaked out. "This is what I would make for my own cafe!" Boy, was I totally right.
The pastries the Beet Box keeps in their case are different from day to day. They always make everything fresh and in house, including their breads. The first thing I got was a sandwich as I was famished from not eating on the plane ride (yes, this was our first stop after getting off the plane!).
Yes, I was quite pleased with my decision. This is a delicious sandwich that I wish I had created. Gluten-free bread, hummus, onion, radish, apple, cucumber and butter lettuce. My God.
Among the other delicious things we ate there (a total of two trips, I promise!) were cinnamon scones, a strawberry fruit tart, roasted beet sandwich, curry cauliflower croissant, and a cashew cheese mushroom panini. Definitely a spot I would hit up any time of day if you're in Denver looking for vegan eats.
Happy Leaf Kombucha
Up next is a small kombucha bar and cafe in Denver called Happy Leaf Kombucha. Their cafe was amazing in its aesthetic. Their bar and tables were all rustic woods. The art on the walls was the most impressive that I've seen for sale locally in a long time. We stopped in here to get a light snack and some kombucha, since I'm a big kombucha fan. I'm used to drinking GT Dave's , which is delicious, but it isn't on tap!
I must say I was a huge fan of Happy Leaf's product. The kombucha was totally clear and very easy to drink. It didn't sting as much as any other bottled kombucha I've had before. The flavor was subtle as well without too much sweetness.
We ate some homemade hummus while we were there, which was delicious and fresh. They had a soup on special that day as well. It was spicy, smooth, and not too overpowering. A great find.
City O' City
One of the most impressive vegetarian restaurants I've ever been to, hands down, is this wonderful place. City O' City had a great vibe. It was hip, casual yet smart, modern yet comfortable, and inventive yet accessible in their food and beverage offerings.
We went here for dinner the very first night we spent in the city after coming in on the plane that morning. We had received a recommendation for this place and we were so hungry that we went over immediately. After dark, the restaurant dims the lights for a very private sensual feel. This place is kind of magical; I just don't know what else to say.
The first time I ate at City O' City, I got a savory waffle for dinner because why not?! Waffles are things that I seldom make for myself, but I really do love them. I was definitely not disappointed. This waffle was insane. It was a dense, almost cornbread-like batter with thinly peeled spring vegetables on top that had been sauteed lightly. To top the whole thing off, they poured a vegan cheese fondue over everything. The cheese was thin in texture so it didn't overwhelm the dish at all. Genius.
The second time (yes, we went here twice as well) we went to City O' City was the very last day on our trip. We stayed in Denver for the entire day because our flight was overnight, so we took our time with breakfast. Always a treat.
I couldn't help myself. I got a waffle again! This waffle was the WoW (waffle of the week!!!). It was a cinnamon raisin waffle topped with granola, vegan cream cheese, and orange peel. Absolutely to die for. Oh, and we also found Sasquatch. This place has everything you could ever want, so just go and enjoy. <3
During our travels through the mountains and desert, we had to eat on the go a lot. I'm sure you all know how tricky this can be for plant based eaters and those with dietary restrictions. We had a surprisingly easy time finding things! There were an abundance of Asian restaurants in every major town we drove through, which always had at least a few vegetarian options. Some places were better than others. These summer rolls were one of the better things we found. ^_^
We also had to make some stops while driving for snacks. We were so lucky to find small and big businesses that offered vegan options for quick food. Oddly enough, we consumed a lot of freshly pressed juices on our trip. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to eat many vegetables while on the road. What a worry wort.
I also grabbed a fair amount of kombucha from the store in addition to those that I got on tap. What can I say? I'm addicted to it.
My boyfriend is kind of a barista (like, kind of). ;)
So, while we traveled, we tried different coffee shops in search of delicious espresso and coffee to keep us energized. Just like with the Asian restaurants, some of the coffee shops were better than others. We found some surprisingly good cups of coffee while on the road, though. It was such an exciting moment to find one that really hit the spot. Some of the notable shops we found were Corvus Coffee and Deja Brew among others.
About a year ago, I visited my very fist Voodoo Doughnuts location in Portland. I am certianly a lucky gal to have the pleasure of visiting another location a year later. The Voodoo in Denver seemed to have a slightly larger selection of vegan doughnuts, although it could have just been the time of day that we dropped by. My boyfriend got a fruit loops doughnut (I mean, genius again) and I got a maple cream filled doughnut. I was a bit overwhelmed so I didn't finish the whole thing, but man did I enjoy it!
Overall, I'd say my first experience in Colorado was a success. I got to eat a lot of amazing food, spend time with an amazing guy, and see some amazing natural sights. I climbed stuff, soaked in a hot spring, met some buffalo and horses, met up with some friends, and generally had one of the greatest trips of my life. I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
Here's until the next time that I travel! I won't keep you out of the loop, I promise! In the meantime, go to Denver. It's a rad place. ;D
Cinco de Mayo was never much of a holiday for me. Once I became vegan, however, I began to eat a lot more Mexican influenced food. I've always loved tacos, but I never knew how versatile they could be. I love to stuff things in tacos that I normally would never think of before.
Vegetarian Times has a recipe that pretty much sums up what I'm talking about. PB&J a whole new way! ^_^'
Or, if you're feeling sassy: S'mores Burritos
(minus the bacon, obviously, and vegan marshmallows...or, you could use coconut bacon! =O...)
I smell a future post in the works. ;)
As for last night, I decided to embellish a recipe I found by Mark Bittman. If you haven't watched his cooking show, The Minimalist, you really should. I used to watch it in the early mornings on the Cooking Channel while I ran on the treadmill. He is so dry and witty. His approach to cooking is something magical yet so hard for some to appreciate: simple and to the point. He doesn't fuss with his ingredients too much. He prepares them as simply as possible so as to bring out of the best in their flavor and nothing more. He's also really entertaining to watch because he's very nonchalant about his cooking. He takes his time casually putting his dishes together while making jokes here and there. He seems like an awesome guy. Oh, and he advocates being vegan/vegetarian for those who aren't subscribed to the lifestyle, which really means a lot. Way to go, Mark!
For Cinco de Mayo, I had to make a taco recipe with a punch of flavor. I found one of Mark's recipes online and decided to amp it up a little. I beefed up the filling (no pun intended) with some chickpeas and cauliflower. I also threw in a few more spices and, oh yeah, tequila! I browned the filling and deglazed with some cuervo...twice. ^_^'
I used the remnants of tequila for some spiked green juice. It's the healthy way to get buzzed! I must say I enjoyed that drink a little more than my male companion. More for me!
Tempeh Chorizo Tacos
adapted from Mark Bittman's VB6 Cookbook recipe
Yield: 4 Servings
Cooked rice for serving (1/4 cup per person), opt.
1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Stack the tortillas on a large square of foil and wrap them loosely.
2. Heat the coconut oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the spices into the pan and stir to combine with the vegetables. Add the cauliflower to the pan. Crumble the tempeh into the pan and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the skillet occasionally, and adjusting the heat as necessary (I kept mine at a steady medium-high). Brown the tempeh for a few minutes and then add in the chickpeas. Keep stirring the ingredients until everything is evenly browned. Once the mixture is dry, deglaze with a splash or two of tequila. Wait for the liquid to burn off before proceeding.
4. When the filling is almost ready, put the tortillas in the oven. Let them warm for about 5 minutes. Add in splashes of tamari to the filling mixture and fully incorporate.
5. Squeeze the citrus juice over the filling when it's finished cooking. Garnish with cilantro and/or spinach, and serve with the tortillas. and rice.
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.