Archived entries for vegan & vegetarian

Vegan Mock Chicken Nuggets

Are you sick of seeing the picture of the PINK GOO they use to make chicken nuggets?  I am. Its gross.  Well, here’s a way to skip the goo as well as the genetically modified hormonal chickens with their beaks broken off etc.  Lets just make some guilt free vegan MOCK CHICKEN nuggets!

Photo courtesy of

Mock Chicken Nuggets

  • 1 lb. raw gluten
  • 2 c. nutritional yeast
  • 4 Tbs thyme
  • 2 Tbs curry powder
  • 2 Tbs garlic powder
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/4 c. salt
  • 1/8 c. BBQ sauce (optional)


  • 1 c. cornmeal
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbs paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbs garlic powder

Add all ingredients except gluten into the water and bring to a boil.

Cut gluten into 4-6 inch pieces. Form pieces into small balls and drop into boiling water.

Stir occasionally until water comes to a second boil. Do not cover.  Cook for 1 hour on medium heat.

Remove from heat and cool.

Remove gluten from the water and cut about 1/2 inch thick slices like steaks.  Coat nuggets in batter mix and brown in lightly oiled skillet.

Serve with BBQ sauce.

Yes We Can: Caning Peaches

Canning peaches is easy and fun.  Because of their high acid content, they can easily and safely be preserved  through the water boiling canning method using a sugar syrup as a preservative.  So, come on…lets get canning!

Canned Peaches

  • 2 peaches per pint/ 4-6 peaches per quart (approx)
  • medium syrup (makes 7 cups)
  • 3 1/2 c. sugar
  • 5 c. water
  • Poach peaches in boiling water and then soak in cold water.  Skins should come off easily.

    Remove pit and cut in half. Treat to prevent darkening.  ( soak in 1 gallon water: 1Tbs salt: 1 Tbs vinegar or use fruit fresh powder).

    Make syrup: combine sugar and water, bring to a boil.  Bring down to a simmer.  Simmer peaches in syrup for 3 minutes.  Remove peaches and pack into clean hot jars.  Pour syrup over peaches.

    Seal jars.  Process in boiling water.  Pints for 20 minutes, quarts for 25 minutes.

    Forkable Favorites: For a quick dessert, use one pint of peaches in our Deliciously Easy Peach Cobbler

    Left-Over-Remix: Poor Man’s Enchilladas

    I love dinners which can be described as everything but the kitchen sink.  I had a collection left overs from the Rice and Beans we had for dinner the other night I wanted to use up but, I also had friends coming over, so I needed to serve something appealing.   To top this off, I was also in a very lazy mood and not wanting to fuss much as well as not spend much money on more groceries.

    Here’s a list of what I had available:

    • left over white rice and re-fried black beans
    • oversize burrito tortillas
    • salsa
    • sour cream

    I decided with a quick trip to the corner store for a few veggies and cheese, I could whip up a quick vegetable enchilada dish.  As I said, I didn’t want to fuss, so by mixing a bit of  the sour cream into the salsa, I could make a quick creamy enchilada sauce.  Here’s what I came up with.

    Poor Man’s Vegetable Enchiladas
    prep time: 20-30 minutes  bake time: 30 minutes  total: 1 hour

    • 2-3 c. cooked rice
    • 2 c. re-fried beans
    • 2 onions, sliced
    • 1-2 peppers or chilies sliced
    • 2 small zucchinis sliced
    • 1 lime
    • 1-2 c. salsa
    • 1/4 c. sour cream
    • 8 oz. bag shredded cheese
    • hot sauce

    I started out by preparing some vegetables. You can use whatever vegetables you want.  I decided some caramelized zucchini would be nice, so I sliced them up, coated with oil, salt and pepper and broiled them until they were a light brown and a bit crispy, about 15 min.  After removing the zucchini, I turned the oven heat from broil to 350 to bake the enchiladas  Meanwhile, I sliced my onions, an orange pepper and a red chili and sauteed them over medium heat.  When the onions were transparent, I squeezed half a lime over the onions and peppers and let them cook for a minute or two before removing from heat. I then mixed the zucchini in and seasoned the veg mix to taste with a bit more salt.

    Next, I assembled my enchiladas.  I heated up the rice in the microwave for a minute or two, just so they wouldn’t be so firm.  Laying out my three gigantic tortillas, I layered them with a smear of re-fried beans, topped with a layer of rice, and then the vegetables.  I sprinkled about 1/4 c. shredded cheese on top as well as a dripped a bit of hot sauce over the fillings.  Wrapping them up I placed the three rolls in a baking dish.  I took the salsa I had left, and quickly mixed in about a 1/4 c. of sour cream, and then coated this on top of the tortillas.  To finish it off, I sprinkled the rest of the shredded cheese.

    Finally, I baked the enchiladas. Those pups got thrown in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350.  And then, it was dinner time!  A quick garnish of avocado and yum yum.  My favorite kind of dinner, quick, cheap and easy!  Oh yeah, and TASTY!

    Quick and Easy Spinach Pie

    Sure, I love a traditional spinach pie in its flaky filo dough package, but who has the time time to make them?  Sure I could find a spare afternoon here or there, but lets be honest.  It won’t happen often.  That’s why I love this quick and easy spinach pie recipe, off of the Martha Stewart website.

    Its basically just a spinach quiche with a crunchy filo dough topping.  It only takes an hour to make and is sooo delicious.  Plus, I was able to continue with operation freezer clean-up, by substituting two bags of frozen swiss chard for half of the spinach!  Good deal.  You can click the link above for the full recipe, but I am going to repost it here with a few alterations.  She gives the recipe enough for two pies, one which you can freeze (which I have done before and recommend), however, here is the halved recipe for just one pie.

    Spinach Pie
    prep time: 20-30 minutes, bake time: 30 minutes, serves up 8-10

    • 1 large onion chopped
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 3 packages frozen chopped spinach, (10 ounces each), thawed and squeezed dry
    • 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
    • 1 tbs fresh grated lemon zest
    • 1 tsp dried dill or 1 Tbs fresh dill
    • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 4 ounces frozen phyllo sheets, thawed and thinly sliced

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Prepare filling: Defrost spinach and squeeze out excess juice.  Chop onions and garlic.  Saute in about 1 Tbs olive oil over medium heat until translucent.  Transfer onions and garlic to a large bowl, mix with spinach, feta, parmesan, bread crumbs, lemon zest, dill and 1 tsp of salt. Mix and season with pepper to taste.  Add eggs and fold into mixutre.

    Prepare pie: Pack filling into a 9″ spring form pan.  Thinly slice filo dough.  In a bowl, coat with olive oil until all pieces are lightly covered.  For one pie, you will only use maybe up to a quarter of a box of filo.  You can freeze the rest for another purpose.  Place the filo topping over pie until it is completely covered.

    Bake Pie:  30 minutes in oven at 375 degrees.

    Serve warm.  Here’s my slice garnished with lemon zest and with an accompanying cup of Avgolemono soup.  Yum!

    Left Over Remix: Black Bean Salad Becomes Soup

    Meena and I planned WAY too much food for our friend’s bachelorette party.  I knew we were overdoing it a bit, but when we arrived to find out we had planned for almost 2 times as many guests as were coming, we had a bit of left overs.  We had a large amount of a bean salad to take home with us.  It makes a great side dish, but the amount we had would last a long time for two people.  I decided it was left over remix time!

    I love left over remixes because it takes something which you’ve eaten but is been there/done that and turns it into a new exciting dish.  It got cold this past week, so soup is on the menu again!  (I eat so much soup in the winter, I’m sick of it by summer.  But when the cold weather comes creeping back in, so does my desire for bowls of steamy  stewy soups!)

    I pulled out all the items I had in the fridge, which included a bag of bean salad and half a jar of roasted salsa left over from the party.  I had some vegetable stock from making seitan and a jalapeno and some shredded cheese for making the jalapeno poppers left over from our launch party.  The stock along with some milk in the fridge pureed into the beans would make a hearty soup.  The salsa along with some tomato paste would sweeten the beans and spice it up along with the jalapeno.  Its soup time!

    Black Bean Soup

    • 4 c. left over bean salad
    • 1 can black beans
    • 1 can pinto or kidney beans
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
      -added to-
    • 1/2 c. salsa
    • 1 medium onion diced
    • 1 jalapeno diced
    • 1 8 oz. can tomato paste
    • 1 c. milk
    • 1 quart (4 c.) soup stock- whatever kind you prefer
    • shredded cheese to garnish.
    • optional: fresh lime

    Making soup is pretty easy and I usually follow the same steps regardless of the ingredients.

    Start with sauteing the onions.  I added the jalapeno as the onions were becoming translucent to reduce the heat a bit with a quick saute.

    Next I added the beans as well as the salsa and let them saute for a minute or two.

    Next I added the stock and allowed it to come to a quick boil and reduced it to a simmer.  The canned beans are already cooked, so I could use my immersion blender to puree the soup right away (instead of simmering until all vegetables were cooked).   If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can pour it into a regular blender, or use a food processor.

    I tasted the puree and seasoned as necessary.  I added some shredded cheese and a bit more milk to make it more creamy and a bit of fresh lime to punch it up.  But you should taste and season to your liking.  A bit of honey helps sweeten or a few drops of hot sauce can help spike up the spice.

    I made some quick quesadillas with the shredded cheese and a few tortillas, garnished with fresh cilantro, and bam: Bean Salad became Bean Soup!

    Brinner: Eggy Eyeball.

    Its time for dinner, but you want breakfast. It happens. We can take care of this problem quick and easy.

    Uova Di Pomodoro (Eggs Baked in Tomatoes)
    From the Silver Spoon Cookbook

    • vine ripened tomatoes
    • same number of eggs
    • 1 tsp of olive oil for each tomato
    • dried oregano
    • salt and pepper

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

    Cut off the tops of the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds.

    Sprinkle the inside of the tomatoes with salt and lay upside down on a paper towel to allow to drain for 10 minutes.

    Put 1 tsp of olive oil in each tomato and sprinkle the insides with a pinch of oregano and pepper.

    Bake tomatoes for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and add egg to the center of each tomato. The eggs will sizzle in the hot oil.

    Place the tomatoes back in the oven for 5-7 minutes.

    I sprinkled the tops with Parmesan cheese and dried dill. Don’t they look like little eggy eyeballs? Is that unappetizing?

    I sided the tomatoes with the left over potatoes and broccoli from our Easter Dinner. Boom, 30 minutes later and its brinner time.

    Asian Miso Risotto with Avocado

    I hate making risotto; it’s a pain in the ass. I know there is probably some secret to it, but for me, it always involves an hour at least standing in front of a stove, stirring rice. Its just boring and my inpatient nature wants to pull it from the burner before its completely done.

    To cut out all the fuss, I often make a microwave risotto by reheating pre-made rice with vinegar and miso then mixing in a fresh avocado to create a creamy vegan sauce. Its been a while since I tried to make risotto the proper way, so I decided to try the authentic technique with these Asian ingredients to see if all the hassle is worth the fuss and to test if it can hold up to my quick microwave method. Here is the recipe I made for the taste off.

    Miso Risotto with Mushrooms and Avocado

    • 1/4 c. olive oil
    • 1 small red onion, chopped
    • 1-2 c. mushrooms
    • 1/2 tsp powdered mustard
    • 1/2 tsp coriander
    • 2 c. short grained sushi rice
    • 1/4 c. white wine
    • 4-6 c. vegetable stock
    • 1/2 – 1 c. rice vinegar
    • 1-2 Tbs miso paste
    • 1 large ripe avocado

    In a large sauce pan, saute onions in olive oil until translucent.

    Add spices and mushrooms, and saute until mushrooms are soft but not totally cooked (5 minutes or so).

    Separate mushrooms out and set aside.

    Add rice to onions and saute until rice becomes partially translucent (7 minutes or so). Keep stirring rice while it sautes. While sauteing, microwave wine for 30 seconds to heat.

    After 7 minutes or so, and rice is partially translucent, reduce heat to low and add heated wine. The wine is heated so it doesn’t shock the rice (or so I am told). Allow to cook until the wine is completely evaporated while stirring rice to keep it from burning to the bottom of the pot.

    Add a cup of stock to the rice, and stir allowing it to cook into rice. Continue to add a cup of stock to the mixture as the liquid cooks into the rice. After the third cup of stock, add 1/2 c. rice vinegar along with 1 Tbs of miso and stir in.

    When rice is feeling soft, taste to see if the rice is completely cooked. If not, add more stock and for gods sake, keep stirring. Once rice tastes nice and soft, add avocado and stir until fully mixed. You can now rest your aching arm. Season to taste and serve. Finally.

    I served the risotto with roasted eggplant discs. Small sheets of nori made wonderful wrappers.

    This dish was so wonderfully creamy and smooth, it leaves my microwave “risotto” far in its wake. The constant stirring weaves the flavors together while the rice slowly cooks. While absolutely irritating, it is worth the time. But only when you have the time. Otherwise, you can just heat up a bowl of pre-made rice, with vinegar, miso and soy, stir in an avocado until creamy and eat within 5 minutes. I just had some and it was OK.

    Death Proof Chili

    While meat may be a treat for some, for others its just plain icky yuk gross. When making a more traditional tomato based chili, who needs meat when you’ve got all the beans and veggies and deliciousness to fill up the bowl. So all you cows and chicken out there can breath a sigh of relief cause you’ve earned another week on the farm. Today we’re directing our butcher knives the poblano pepper way. Watch out veggies, you’re about to get cooked.

    Vegetarian Chili with TVP

    • 1 c. tvp
    • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp cumin powder
    • 1 onion chopped
    • 1-2 jalapeno peppers chopped
    • 1 Tbs lime juice
    • 1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
    • 1 12 oz. can of tomato sauce
    • 2 large poblano peppers
    • 1/4 raisins or dried cranberries
    • 1 can of black beans
    • 1 c. corn, fresh if possible, but frozen will do
    • 1-2 oz of dark chocolate
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Ingredient notes: Tvp or textured vegetable protein and nutritional yeast can be bought in the bulk dried foods section at your local health food store or at Whole Paycheck ahem, I mean our evil friend, the Walmart of green living, Whole Foods. I like to use Tvp in my chili because its cheap, easy to make and adds just a bit more texture and protein (especially good for vegans). The only problem with Tvp is, it doesn’t taste like anything, so we have to spice it up.
    I use nutritional yeast as well as other spices to infuse some flavor into the tvp. Nutritional yeast , a staple for any vegan pantry, comes in handy for making a lot of dishes like vegan mac and cheese. If you don’t have nutritional yeast, you can use salt, but the nutritional yeast also supplies a nice nutty flavor.

    Rehydrate TVP with a ratio of 1 part hot/boiling water: 1 part tvp. In a bowl, mix dried tvp with nutritional yeast, chili powder and cumin. As we said above, adding spices to the tvp helps give flavor. Boil 1 cup water on stove top or in microwave. Pour boiling water into bowl and stir into tvp. Allow to sit for 15 – 30 minutes until tvp is hydrated.

    Saute tvp. Mix hydrated tvp with chopped onion and diced jalapeno. Saute in 1 Tbs of olive oil until crispy. Add lime juice and continue to cook for another minute until lime juice is basically evaporated.

    Roast poblano peppers on gas stove top or under broiler until skin is charred. Peel charred skin away and roughly chop into 1/2″ squares.

    Add tomatoes and cook down
    . Combine tvp mixture with cans of tomato, chopped poblano peppers and raisins in a soup pot, bring to a boil and lower to simmer until tomatoes cook down about 20 minutes.

    Quickly roast corn. If you are using frozen corn, char quickly under broiler while chili is cooking. Place frozen corn on a baking sheet and broil until charred and crispy about 15 minutes. You can skip this step if you want, but the corn will be mushy. Corn on the cob can be quickly roasted over gas burner.

    Season chili to finish. Once tomatoes have cooked down, add corn, chocolate and remaining spices. Season to taste. I also add a bit of pomegranate syrup if I feel like the chili needs a bit more sweet.

    I like to garnish with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese and serve with corn bread. Fresh Jalapeno slices and cilantro make an excellent vegan garnish.

    No animals where hurt during the making of this dish, except my dog who felt emotionally abused because I wouldn’t let her chomp on the corn bread. Oh well.

    Basic Butternut Squash Soup

    Now that we have our delicious chicken stock, lets use it. This time of year with Thanksgiving approaching, nothing can be better then a delicious butternut squash soup. This is one of the very first things I learned to cook. I used to be one of those people who couldn’t make instant brownies, so that will tell you just how easy this recipe is!

    Butternut Squash Soup. Originally uploaded Flickr user ImeldaNZ

    Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


    • 1 large butternut squash or 2 small ones
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2-4 Tbs cut maple syrup
    • 2-4 Tbs brown sugar
    • 2 onions
    • 4-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into 2″ cubes (approx. you don’t need to pull out the ruler)
    • 1/2 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp curry powder
    • 1-2 Tbs minced ginger depending on your preference
    • 1 can coconut milk
    • salt and pepper to taste

    I begin my soup with roasting the squash. This caramelizes the sugars in the squash and helps heighten the flavor. To roast:

    Squash with seeds removed ready for butter, sugar and syrup. Found on Flickr.

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds in both sides. Place squash on a cookie tray flesh side up. Using a fork, pierce the squash multiple times throughout flesh. Place a Tbs of butter in the scooped out area of each squash along with 1-2 Tbs of maple syrup and brown sugar. Place in oven and let roast for about an 30 minutes to an hour or until flesh is tender and is easily pierced with a fork. The time will depend on how big your squash is. When the squash is done, take out of oven and allow to cool.

    In a large soup pot, saute onions until clear. Add ginger, curry, and paprika and saute for a couple more minutes to infuse flavors. Add potatoes and chicken stock, bring to a boil and then bring down to a simmer. The amount of stock depends on the amount of squash you have as well as how thick you want your soup. If you want it thicker add less, if you want it to be more soupy add more.

    Allow to cook for 15 minutes or so until the potatoes are soft. Using a spoon, scoop butternut squash out of skin and slop into the soup and add the coconut milk. Cook for 10 more minutes. Using an immersion blender, a food processor or even a regular blender puree soup until smooth.

    Look at this amazingly decorative garnish made by adding a thick cream in a spiral. Using a knife drag outward from
    the center in different directions. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup uploaded by Flickr user Bigbabe715.

    Taste your soup and season with salt and pepper accordingly. Taste again and feel free to add more brown sugar and maple syrup to flavor. You can also add more paprika or curry to spice it up. Garnish with sour cream or heavy cream as pictured above and something green like parsley or chives.

    Left Over Remix Recipe: Lentil Soup

    Lentil Soup with Hummus Leftovers

    • 2 Tbs olive oil
    • 1 Tbs aniseed
    • 2 large onions sliced
    • 1/4 lb bacon
    • 2 quarts chicken stock
    • 1 cup red lentils
    • 4 pears sliced
    • 2 tsp coriander
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp salt
    • ~1 cup hummus or 1 can garbanzo beans and 2 Tbs tahini
    • 1/2 c. orange juice
    • juice of two lemons
    • 1/4 c. chopped parsley


    • 1/2 c. milk
    • 1 Tbl pomegranate syrup or brown sugar for sweetener.

    Heat oil over medium high heat until slightly smoking. Turn down burner to low and add aniseed to toast. When seeds begin to turn brownish color, add onions. Stir occasionally to keep from burning but allow onions to caramelize into a nice brown color.

    Caramelized onion with bacon and toasted aniseed.

    In a separate fry pan, saute up bacon until crispy and drain grease. In a soup pot, add to onions: bacon, chicken stock, pears, lentils, coriander, cumin and salt. Allow to cook over low for 30-45 minutes until lentils are falling apart and pear has disintegrated. If pear still is slightly whole, take a fork and break apart.

    Once lentils are cooked and dd hummus, stirring to mix. If you don’t have any hummus, you can add a can of garbanzo beans and tahini. Add orange juice and lemon juice to add a tart citrus flavor. Add salt to taste and fresh chopped parsley right before serving. For optional taste you can add milk which will give the soup a creamier flavor and/or Pomegranate syrup or other sweetener according to taste. Garnish with yogurt, preferably labna and parsley

    This recipe is based off the premise of a simple lentil soup recipe which is just lentils, onions, stock, and lemon. A lot of the ingredients I used in this recipe because I had them around the house, such as the orange juice and the pomegranate syrup. I added milk because I added too much salt and needed to tone down the taste.

    I always say my ingredients are approximations, but I don’t want this to scare anyone off from trying my recipes. I add this disclaimer as an attempt to empower you to understand if you don’t have one or two of these ingredients its OK. Experimenting with substitutions is a great way to explore food and make a recipe your own by changing it slightly to match your taste. Keep tasting your food as you go along and augment it to whatever you may need: if its bland, add some spice, if its flat, add some body like more stock of bullion, if you accidentally added too much salt, add a bit of cream to tone it down. Just have fun and trust your own tastes.

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