We’ve been getting some nice Napa Cabbage from our CSA and I decided to use some of it to make an Asian slaw. We had also just cooked a batch of chickpeas so in a clash of cultures we served the slaw with falafel. Since we were frying the falafel anyway we also fried some tofu. A tahini dressing for the falafel and tofu rounded out the meal. Here’s the slaw recipe:
What you need:
1 head Napa Cabbage, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
2 Tbs. minced sweet onion
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. canola oil
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. sesame seeds, plus more for serving
What you do:
In a large bowl, mix together cabbage, carrot and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, oils and salt. Pour over the cabbage and mix well, then mix in the sesame seeds. If you have time, allow to sit for half an hour. If desired, sprinkle on more sesame seeds when serving.
We recently made an Ethiopian feast for dinner and Darlene had the fabulous idea to turn the leftover tofu wat into hand pies (or calzones if you like). Every culture has some sort of hand pie, though I’m not sure if you’d find something like this in Ethiopia. Regardless, they were awesome! Check out one of our previous pizza posts for a link to and discussion of the dough recipe. I don’t have a recipe for the tofu wat because I made it up as I went along but Google it and you’ll get some ideas. You could really fill these with anything though.
We had these hand pies with some beautiful collards from our Bellair Farm CSA. It’s so exciting to be starting off the CSA season again and we hope to showcase more of the beautiful produce we’ll be getting each week in our share. Our go-to method for collards is simply to chop a bunch of them into bite-sized pieces (removing any thick stems), then saute in a little olive oil for a few minutes. Then we add a minced clove of garlic, saute for another minute then add lemon juice. (The juice from half a lemon is about right for a large bunch of collards.) I also like to add a little sweetener – 1/2 teaspoon of agave or sugar does the trick.
When we got our Instant Pot we also got a copy of JL Fields’ Vegan Pressure Cooking and the recipe we’ve used the most so far is the Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches. We’ve only made it with jackfruit once or twice but the recipe works equally well with seitan or tempeh. Here we used seitan (from one of our favorite seitan recipes that I also mentioned last post). It’s really convenient to do this in the Instant Pot but you could easily do it on the stove top as well. Just saute a small diced onion and minced clove of garlic in a little oil, then add 3 Tbs. tomato paste, 1 tsp. vegan worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. cider vinegar, 1 Tbs. maple syrup, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard seeds and about 3/4 cup water. Mix in about 1 pound diced seitan the cook on high pressure for 3 minutes (or cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so on the stove top).
We often like to have coleslaw with our barbecue and I don’t usually use a recipe but this is what I did tonight. Just mix all this stuff together:
1/2 head green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, shredded
1/4 c. vegan mayo
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. cider vinegar
And we rounded out the meal with some sauteed kale. What we do with kale most often is just give it a quick saute in a little olive oil with garlic, then add salt and a bit of lemon juice.
A few months ago I read an interesting article about Beyond Meat. Around the same time I also happened upon a coupon Beyond Meat was offering for a free package of one of their products. We tried the chicken strips in a salad at Whole Foods once but had never cooked with the stuff. Since it was free I figured we’d give it a try and I picked up a package of the faux ground beef (retail price, $5,99 for a 12 oz. package). Then I put it in the freezer and didn’t pull it out until recently. I sort of forgot about it but also it’s probably been 20 years since I cooked with ground beef and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Finally one day Darlene suggested we use it to make tacos so that’s what we did.
First, the package was a bit small and I wasn’t sure we’d have enough so I added some homemade seitan we had in the fridge (we got this particular recipe long ago from the Real Food Daily cookbook and it’s posted here). Typically we might make tacos using only the seitan, or maybe some tofu or refried beans. I think people who are new to veganism (or are just trying to eat less meat) find these meat substitutes convenient because they’re not sure how else to make their favorite meals. That’s not an issue for us and it shouldn’t be for you either with just a little bit of experience (or just poking around on the interwebs).
So with a bit of experience and/or research on-line or in cookbooks, you can find plenty of fabulous meals to make without resorting to meat substitutes. To the extent that they provide a convenient alternative for people who might otherwise be eating meat, Beyond Meat and other similar products are fine with me. The main problem I have with them is the cost. The package of faux ground beef we used was $8 a pound and that’s a little much for us to be buying on a regular basis when there are so many less expensive alternatives. These products can also give people the idea that eating vegan is expensive when in fact quite the opposite is true. I applaud companies like Beyond Meat for bringing disruptive technology to bear in an attempt to change the world and I hope they’re successful. Until this stuff is selling at mainstream grocery stores for less than the cost of meat though that success will be slow in coming. I think they still have a long way to go because they won’t change the world with products that sell for $8 a pound at Whole Foods.
We’ve been experimenting with making our own yogurt for quite a while now and are making it more often now that we have our Instant Pot, which has a yogurt making setting. If you don’t have a yogurt maker though, no worries. When we started we were just wrapping our yogurt in a big insulating blanket and that worked alright. It’s been easy enough to make yogurt that tastes good; the challenge is getting the consistency right. We still have our ups and downs in the consistency department but this recipe comes out fairly thick and creamy.
What you need:
4 c. water, plus more for soaking
2/3 c. raw whole almonds
1/2 c. raw cashew pieces
1/3 c. cornstarch
3 Tbs. sugar
2 Tbs. soy or almond yogurt, or a package of yogurt starter
Note also that you’ll need a long stem instant read kitchen thermometer because temperature is key here.
What you do:
In separate bowls, cover almonds and cashews with water and soak for several hours. Drain the almonds then add to a blender with 3 cups water. Blend at high speed for a good minute or more then strain through a fine mesh sieve to filter out some of the solids. (You can use this leftover almond pulp in baked goods or in granola.)
Congratulations. You’ve just made almond milk. Now put the almond milk in a saucepan and whisk in the cornstarch and sugar. Heat on medium-high, whisking frequently, until thick and creamy then remove from heat. Now add the cashews to your blender with one cup of water. Blend at high speed until creamy and well blended. You don’t need to strain this mixture; just pour it into the almond mixture.
Here’s where you’ll need the thermometer. You’ll need to wait to add the yogurt or starter until the mixture is between 108 and 112 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the temperature frequently (stir it first) and when it gets below 112 you can mix in the yogurt or starter. If you’re using a yogurt maker you can get away with the temperature getting a little low because the yogurt maker will bring it to the right temperature and hold it there. If you don’t have a yogurt maker you definitely need to be vigilant about checking the temperature and adding the yogurt or starter when it’s on the high side of the range above.
You can culture your yogurt in whatever vessel works for you. We go through a lot of applesauce in our house and save the glass jars. They hold 24 oz. and two of them are just right for this amount of yogurt and also fit well into our Instant Pot.
Whatever container you’re using, just put them in your yogurt maker or wrap them in a big blanket or winter coat in the warmest part of your house. Don’t touch them for 8-10 hours then put them in the fridge without disturbing the yogurt. We’ve found that the yogurt will thicken a bit more if refrigerated for a while.
It’s not the most photogenic thing and I don’t have time to expound eloquently on its virtues but this split pea soup really hit the spot on a cold winter’s night. This is the first time I’ve made split pea soup in our pressure cooker and it worked out quite well. If you don’t have a pressure cooker this can easily be done on the stove top; it’ll just need to simmer for at least an hour, perhaps more.
What you need:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt or to taste (depends on how much sodium is in your broth)
fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
4 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
2 c. split peas
What you do:
Saute onions, carrots and celery in olive oil until they’re just starting to get soft. Add garlic, salt, pepper, coriander and paprika and cook another minute. Then add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Cover, bring to pressure and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes then allow for a natural release (though if you’re pressed for time a quick release should be fine). You could certainly do this in a slow cooker or on the stove top as well. We had ours over brown rice but you could serve it with any grain or just a nice piece of crusty bread.
Mac & cheese (or pasta with some sort of creamy cheesy sauce) is a staple at our house and one that the kids love. An old standby (pictured above) is the “Cheezee Sauce” recipe from Robin Robertson’s Vegan on the Cheap. It’s quick to make and we usually add some peas or frozen spinach and pour it over pasta – a quick weeknight meal. For this, just add 2/3 c. nutritional yeast, 3 Tbs. cornstarch, 1 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder to a saucepan. Whisk in 2 c. water or plain unsweetened soy milk and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened. Then stir in 1 Tbs. olive oil, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 2 tsp. cider vinegar and 1 tsp. mustard.
Another Robin Robertson recipe we just tried recently was the Butternut Mac and Cheese from Vegan Without Borders. This ups the nutrition with the addition of cashews and butternut squash. It’s slightly more involved because it requires a blender and it has to bake for a short time but it still came together quickly and was quite delicious.
I encourage you to give one of these a try or find your own favorite. Many vegan cookbooks have a faux cheese sauce recipe, or just Google “vegan mac and cheese” and you’re sure to find many options from which to choose.