While I love today's prompt for "deconstructed" dishes, I didn't want to get too "fancy" with it. I'm all for fancy food, but not when I'm deconstructing something. I like deconstructing dishes into their individual star ingredients and just preparing them differently. I also love to eat food out of bowls, though. I'm not a huge fan of plates because I feel as though I have to work to eat my food off of a plate.
When there are multiple elements to a dish, I find they are best enjoyed layered on top of one another. The only time I like to eat off a plate is when I'm eating a sandwich type food that is already contained. The hummus quinoa I made today would be TERRIBLE on a plate. Especially since quinoa likes to go everywhere. Whenever I make quinoa, I always find little grains on the counter no matter how careful I am while using it. This bowl is my answer. Keep that quinoa on the bottom and pile the stuff on top so it stays put! It also creates a soft little bed for everything to nestle into!
I made the chickpeas the main star of the dish, of course, but I roasted them whole rather than their usual role in hummus as the puree. I love roasted chickpeas because they become nutty and almost "cheesy" if I can say that ("buttery" perhaps is a better description). Although they're the main component, I must say my favorite part is the sauce I made...
Tahini is used in hummus often to create a creamy texture and add flavor. I used tahini here as a drizzling sauce mixed into whipped aquafaba. The resulting sauce is an oil-free (but not fat free, of course) aioli-type sauce. It holds up but isn't too thick. The flavor is delicious and nutty with a hint of mellow sweetness from mirin. Garlic is everywhere in there too, because garlic is one of the best parts of a good hummus. To keep this dish truly oil-free, you can omit wherever it calls for olive oil. It won't change your results too much at all.
Deconstructed Hummus Quinoa Bowls
Yield: about 5 servings
Free from: Gluten, Soy, Nuts
Garnish (optional): dry/fresh herbs, paprika, olive oil, raw cut veggie slices
I think as vegans, we can all relate to Lisa Simpson on one level or another. Whether you're at work, with friends or family, or at a wedding (ugh), you can bet that you will be in the dietary minority (unless you're only around fellow vegans all the time, which, congrats). I get strange looks all the time from people when I politely decline their food and start to drink green juice instead. I've also gotten positive reactions from chefs willing to accommodate me to acquaintances asking insightful questions pertaining to the reasons why I went vegan, etc. Navigating social landscapes is definitely something that can be challenging but also rewarding as someone who lives this unique lifestyle.
The most challenging dish to sell to people who aren't keen on vegan (or just "healthy" food in general) is plain old salad. Hence this...
Yep. I feel her pain. (#same)
The funny thing about salad is, though, it can be just as easily mind-blowing as it can be boring and unappetizing. This rule applies to every food, though, in my humble opinion. Omnivores throw fried meat, potatoes and tons of cheese on their salads and say it makes them "tasty", so why can't vegans do their equivalent of the same?
I love salads. They're great all year round. I love that they can consist of cooked and raw vegetables alike. I also like to mix pickled and fermented vegetables in mine to add flavor, texture and nutrition. A great, quick and easy lunch is some salad greens, chopped seasonal vegetables and some make-ahead protein to throw on top. When I'm feeling lazy, I'll throw beans on top that are barely seasoned. However, for VeganMofo, I decided to do something a little more involved and special...
I made some oven-fried cornmeal crusted tofu. Not only did I make delicious and crispy tofu, but I made a Japanese bulldog sauce to go on top of it. What's bulldog sauce, you ask? Well, it's basically a sweet and sticky BBQ sauce that's usually served with tonkatsu (or fried pork cutlets). This is a classic and homey Japanese meal that I enjoyed as a young kid. I definitely recommend making a vegan version of the cutlets if you can (Here are a few ideas from some fellow bloggers: Vegan Ronin | Lazy Cat Kitchen). They're coated in panko breadcrumbs and are wonderfully addictive.
The sauce itself is interesting because it has fruit purees in it that lend their sweetness. Along with the fruit, bulldog sauce has tomato paste in it as well as carrot. Instead of trying to automatically recreate the sauce itself, I decided to create my own vegan version with household ingredients that most people have already or can find easily at the store. I added a kick to mine by throwing some Frank's Red Hot sauce in there! You can definitely sub sriracha and that would be an excellent idea. The resulting sauce is slightly spicy, tangy, thick with a depth of sweetness from molasses and mirin.
If you can't find mirin, you can always sub maple syrup or your favorite liquid sweetener. This sauce goes very well with the tofu and works as a dressing for the salad on its own. You can also dress your veggies with your favorite dressing if you'd like. I don't care for a lot of dressing so I left mine alone with the exception of a splash of apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper!
The only thing I will tell you is this: if you're trying to impress someone with tofu, salad and your sauce making skills, use this recipe! There's no way anyone can deny that eating a vegan salad is a good time if you serve them this. (If they don't like it, then more for you!) Go out there and make some friends! 👯🥗
Bulldog BBQ Tofu Salad
Yield: About 5 Servings
Free from: Nuts, Gluten
Preheat oven 400 F.
I know, I know...today is supposed to be "junk food forever" themed. Nachos are a classic party food that can be as junky as you want. Having nachos drowned in dairy cheese, sour cream and other fattening ingredients is junk, for sure. I decided to take today's prompt and "de-junk" nachos so that I could eat them and not feel absolutely terrible afterwards. If they're too "healthy" for you, feel free to either
A. Fry those tortillas OR
B. Buy store bought chips and vegan refried beans
I won't judge you! There are days that I do just those things. But, that's the beauty of making nachos at home: you can choose your own ingredients. I made these as healthy as I could by baking the tortillas (sprouted ones, thanks to Food for Life) in the oven with no oil until they were crunchy and delicious.
There's good fats in this meal from the raw cashews in the "queso" sauce. I used a tried and true recipe of my own and I will link to one in the recipe below. But, feel free to use your own preferred vegan cheese sauce recipe. If you are unable to consume nuts, I recommend checking out these recipes out for your sauce: Cashewless Queso by The Minimalist Baker and Nut-free Nacho Cheese Sauce by Vegan Richa. If you're going for a store-bought option, you can always buy a pack of Daiya or So Delicious shreds and melt them on top of your chips! The real star of these nachos are the black beans, anyway...
Whatever you choose to do with these nachos, just enjoy them with all the delicious toppings you can! Nachos aren't nachos if they aren't loaded with fresh veggies. I topped mine with chopped avocado, tomato, green and red onion and roasted spiced black beans. The queso just holds everything on the chips from the plate to your face! Feel free to use whatever type of bean you like. I wouldn't mind trying azuki beans, myself....
Sprouted Spiced Black Bean Nachos
Yield: 1 Serving
Free from: Soy**, Gluten*
*Use all corn tortillas for Gluten-free option
**Use appropriate cheese recipe for soy-free or store bought
Spiced Black Beans
Preheat oven 300 F.
I'm finally back into the blog grind! After the holidays, I needed a break from everything. Although I didn't stop making delicious food, I just didn't have the energy to post. Fortunately, I have some more free time and the will to eat healthy foods for the new year.
I always thought of myself as a generally healthy eater, but when the weather gets cold I tend to get lazy. I always fall back on easy, warm meals. Lately, I've been noticing that I've been eating more processed vegan foods than I really want to. Although they're delicious and easy, they aren't a good "all the time" food. So, to remedy my poor choices, I've started eating more whole plant foods. I've been making sure to stock my kitchen with as much produce as I can. In the winter months (it's almost spring, but still pretty chilly here), I usually choose produce that has a longer shelf life. My favorites as of late have been root veggies, onions, apples and pears, and so on. When I buy more delicate vegetables like greens, I try to eat them as quickly as possible so they don't go to waste. Salads for days, in other words.
Anyway, I've made my own salad dressing for a very long time. For the most part, I always hated buying dressing from the store because it was always too much. Am I every going to really use all of that ranch? No. And now, I don't even like ranch.
There were always at least 3 bottles of old, opened salad dressing in my fridge growing up. My mom would buy some when we needed it, and then we would eat salad for a while and it would sit. Forever. When I moved, I swear I threw away 8+ year old dressing. 😷😖
After that, I made a promise to myself that I would just make dressing if I ever needed it. The great thing about salad dressing is that it literally takes 2-3 ingredients to make (plus salt and pepper if you're doing it right). Those ingredients are staples every kitchen should have: fat (oil/nut butter/"mayo"/non-dairy product) + acid (vinegar/citrus juice) + binder (mustard/seeds/nuts/pureed fruit or veg).
You can even get away with leaving the binder out. I like it because it thickens the dressing and helps it bind to whatever your putting it over. In this recipe's case, I used chia seeds because they're delicious, healthful, and add some texture to the salad. They helped thicken the dressing really well after sitting for only 10 minutes. If you don't have them, ground up flax would also work. You can also omit them if you want. They're pretty optional.
These are the basics of my dressing: apple cider vinegar (which I lovingly refer to as ACV, the miracle liquid), pomegranate juice (you can sub any other juice if you wish), and Just Mayo (or any preferred vegan mayo option/non-dairy yogurt). Then, the chia!
If you sub the vegan mayo for non-dairy yogurt, you may want to scale back the vinegar. The vinegar makes this dressing taste like yogurt when it's completed, so if you add the entire amount, it may be too "tangy" for your liking. If you like tang, dump that ACV in there! 💃
I used this dressing for a simple apple salad with mixed organic greens topped with cranberries and nuts. It was perfect for a light lunch. The dressing made it look adorably pink. Feel free to use it on any salad you desire and enjoy! 💝
Chia Pomegranate Salad Dressing
Yield: 1 serving
Free from: Gluten, Nuts, Refined Sugar, Soy*
*Use a soy-free product
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.