Vegan Broccoli Slaw and Grilled Seitan Sausages

Remember the seitan italian sausages that I posted a few weeks ago? Well, I pulled a few of the extra out of the freezer and grilled them last night. Yum! I can’t decide if I like them better smothered in peppers and onions or dipped in yellow mustard? Next time we are going to go with sauerkraut and buns!

The real star of the meal was the broccoli slaw. Meijer had little baggies of mixed broccoli slaw on sale last week and I was inspired. I threw 3 of those, a cup of raisins, a cup of roasted and chopped peanuts, and the dressing together and viola! Vegan broccoli slaw salad! The dressing consisted of 3 tablespoons of Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Mayo (which happens to be super cheap and vegan!), 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar. The vegan version of Broccoli slaw is so much lower in calories and fat than the ones made with real mayo or Marzetti’s coleslaw dressing. Trader Joe’s reduced Fat mayo is only 35 calories per tablespoon- added bonus.

I have been dying to try Happy Herbivore’s “bacon” bits for a while and thought it would be a great topping for the salad. Smokey sweet TVP crumbles were a perfect fit. They will be super tasty the next time we make a cobb salad!

Roasted Red Pepper and Green Bean Salad

I mentioned the amazing weather in my previous post. The warmer weather makes me want less crock pot and casserole meals and more salad like dishes. Green bean salad! I had the pleasure of enjoying this salad at a friend’s BBQ last summer. She was kind enough to share the recipe (since I probably ate half of it at the party).
It is also good practice for roasting your own peppers. Please do not get lazy and purchase the overly expensive jar of roasted red peppers. They are not even close to the real thing and taste so much different. And you need the practice. Once you roast your own- you will find yourself making them for all kinds of dishes. Humus, pasta sauces, scrambled tofu/ or eggs, and sandwiches. EVERYTHING! Just do it, you won’t be sorry.
Ingredients
5 red bell peppers
3 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sherry or balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds green beans
1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped
1. Preheat the broiler. Roast the peppers under the broiler or over a gas flame, turning a few times, until charred all over; transfer to a work surface and let cool. Discard the skin, stems and seeds and cut the peppers into 2-by-1-inch strips.
2. In a small bowl, combine the shallots with the garlic, red wine and sherry vinegars and a large pinch of salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and spread out on a large baking sheet. Let cool to room temperature.
4. In a large bowl, combine the peppers with the beans, tomatoes, and parsley. Add the shallot dressing and toss well. Sprinkle with the almonds and serve.

Grilled Artichokes

Here in Michigan, we are about to start peak artichoke season. They are available at every grocery store and usually very inexpensive to purchase. I picked up 2 yesterday and we grilled them for dinner last night. They may look scary, but whole artichokes are like candy to us. Here is how to grill an amazing whole artichoke:
Ingredients
1 whole artichoke
2-3 garlic cloves chopped
1 lemon (1 teaspoon of lemon zest and the juice of the lemon)
1 teaspoon of black pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of melted butter (real butter or Earth Balance)
Directions
Fill a large stock pot with water (more than halfway) and bring to a boil. Trim the artichoke stem; leaving 1 inch. Cut the artichoke in half. Take a paring knife and cut just below the choke (the little hairs inside). Take a spoon and scrap out the choke. Add the de-choked artichokes to the water and boil for 20-30 minutes.
Take the artichokes out and let them drain. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Grill at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, marinating the artichokes with the lemon and garlic mixture.

*We did not bother to trim the leaf prickers, but you may want to.

Seitan Gyros!

Looks like the real thing huh? (But without the grease, calories, and oh a lamb didn’t die).
If you have never tried seitan, this may be the dish for you. It is really easy to make and very inexpensive. Vital wheat gluten (the main ingredient) runs about $3.99/ lb around here. I used 3 cups for this recipe (because I doubled it). The mostly veg husband likes it because seitan offers the same amount of protein as a beef filet- ounce for ounce. Also, seitan is nearly fat-free, with only 2 grams of fat per 4-ounce serving and almost no saturated fat. Like all plant-based foods, seitan has zero cholesterol content. Another bonus? My kids eat it!
I started with a basic seitan “log” but added insane amounts of Greek seasoning:
Ingredients:
1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 -2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
¾ cup water or beef flavored veg. broth
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon tamari
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3-4 heaping tablespoons of McCormick Greek Seasoning
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°. In a large mixing bowl mix dry ingredients. Mix the rest of the ingredients (liquid ingredients) in a smaller mixing bowl. Whisk well until mixed. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well, then knead for a minute or two. it doesn’t need long. Form into a log (6-8″ long), wrap tightly in foil, twisting ends. Bake for 90 minutes. When done baking, unwrap and leave out to cool all the way. Then wrap it foil or plastic and refrigerate. Slice to use as desired. Serves 6.
I made a Tzatziki type sauce out of a peeled and slice englished cucumber, plain yougurt, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, and a dash of garlic powder. Served on a pita. The only thing missing was red onion slices. That would have made for a perfect mock gyro.

Stay tuned this week. I am trying out a few new dishes. I am still on the fence about St. Paddy’s Day though……….we need to have more than Jameson Irish Whiskey shots.

Vegan Italian Sausages

We finally tried Isa’s Seitan Italian Sausages last night!(http://www.theppk.com/2012/01/vegan_sausage/). Soooo good! I left the pepper flakes out of the sausage mixture (for the kids), but added them back into the green peppers and onions.

1/2 cup cooked white beans (great northern or navy), rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth 1 tablespoon olive oil *or* 1 tablespoon tomato paste (tomato paste is a great fat replacement)
2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon granulated garlic *or* 2 cloves fresh garlic, finely grated
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed *or* 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Several dashes fresh black pepper

Before mixing your ingredients, get the steaming apparatus ready, bringing water to a full boil. The rest of the recipe comes together very quickly.

Have ready 4 square sheets of tin foil. In a large bowl, mash the beans until no whole ones are left. Throw all the other ingredients together in the order listed and mix with a fork. Divide dough into 4 even parts (an easy way to do this: split the dough in half and then into quarters). Place one part of dough into tin foil and mold into about a 5 inch log. Wrap dough in tin foil, like a tootsie roll. Don’t worry too much about shaping it, it will snap into shape while it’s steaming because this recipe is awesome.
Place wrapped sausages in steamer and steam for 40 minutes.

These came together so much easier than I expected. Next time, I will be putting the pepper flakes into the mixture and using tomato paste instead of olive oil. I froze half the batch we made. They are going to be great on the grill!

I found another recipe from the Happy Herbivore (http://happyherbivore.com/recipe/vegan-italian-sausages/) that calls for TVP, beans, and vital wheat gluten. I am going to try that recipe next time. The mostly vegetarian family likes Isa’s sausages, but I am not fond of the texture of wheat gluten. The flavor was great though!

I am making Broccoli Daal tonight. Mmmmm Indian……………

Wheat Berry Salad

Back On Track Wheat Berry and Bean Salad

Adapted from Alive Magazine and http://ohsheglows.com/2010/12/28/back-on-track-wheat-berry-and-bean-salad/.
Yield: 7.5-8 cups
Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry wheat berries, cooked and drained
  • 2 cups/500 ml cooked navy beans (I was out so I used chickpeas!)
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, diced with large stems removed
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • Kosher salt + pepper, to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, to taste (I used 2 tbsp)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp hot mustard (I used regular)
  • 1 tbsp Tamari
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions: In a medium bowl, soak the wheat berries overnight in cold water. The next day, drain the wheat berries and place in a medium sized pot, covered in 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 hour. Drain and cool.
In a large bowl, mix together the diced vegetables (cucumber, red pepper, tomato, minced garlic, parsley, green onions). Add in cooked and drained navy beans (or other bean of choice) and stir.
In a small bowl whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, Tamari, fresh lemon juice). Set aside.
When the wheat berries are ready, drain and rinse and then stir into the salad. Add the dressing just before serving and stir well. Now season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with additional parsley if desired.

This was my first “go” with wheat berries. If you have not tried them, they are delicious! They are similar to brown rice in flavor. They remind me of mini barley pearls. This salad turned out fantastic and will be my lunch for the next few days.

Boycotting Valentine’s Sweets

I don’t bake much but I hear that coconut oil is all the rage in vegan baking and cooking. Since this mostly vegetarian family is also trying to save money, I can’t really justify “trying” just any coconut oil. But then, I saw that Trader Joe’s recently started carrying some. I hear it averages $5.99 for a pint. I can handle that, since it is a substitute for Earth Balance and extra virgin olive oil. (I have also been told that you can use it for eczema. So I can stop using my crazy expensive prescription goop). So, I called my closest store (Rochester, MI) and they laughed at me! The person who answered the phone told me that they can’t even stock the shelves fast enough. So I am thinking this must be good stuff? Now I really need some.
I intended on making some tasty Valentine’s sweets, with coconut oil, for the mostly veg husband and the little vegetarians. I needed to know what all the fuss was about so I started researching some uses for coconut oil. Interesting enough, here are some other uses:
-Eczema – in addition to taking it internally, many have success applying it externally (sounds good to me! Will I smell delicious like coconut?)
-Fitness – coconut oil has been proven to stimulate your metabolism, improve thyroid function, and escalate energy levels, all of which help decrease your unwanted fat, while increasing muscle ( I didn’t see any links to any studies that proved this. Seems kind of high in calories but what do I know?)
-Use 1 cup to 1 cup ratio when replacing other oils/butter in recipes with coconut oil. (This was my initial goal. To use in some really cute baked donuts using the recipe from http://peasandthankyou.com/recipage/?recipe_id=6016706)
-Replacement for butter/lard/Crisco/PAM in it’s solid form – greasing pans, pie crusts, etc. (or maybe a chocolate tofu mousse pie with coconut oil used in the crust).
-Lubricant – it is an all natural, perfectly safe personal lubricant. Not compatible with latex! (Holy cow! Seriously? Who came up with this? I don’t want to know, but it is almost Valentine’s Day. Someone might need this for that.)
So now I am intrigued and unable to get my hands on Trader Joe’s coconut oil. I am going to boycott baking until I can get some.
Has anyone used coconut oil and what were your findings? (Keep it clean, I don’t need to know about the last use I mentioned people!). Or if you work for Trader Joe’s; send me some!

Vegan Protein Powder

I have been really busy with sick little people and obscene amounts of laundry. I have also spent a large amount of time on the couch cuddling the little people who have not felt well in almost a month. The oldest one (we are now calling the Ebola monkey) continues to bring home wicked nasty germs to share. First it was a cold, then the cough, then vomit. I think the vomit (mostly projectile) was my personal favorite.
The littlest mostly vegetarians in the family are finally on the mend. That means that I can get back to work on this blog (and cooking). We have greatly diminished our freezer stockpile now. I have been unable to plan, shop, or cook for quite some time now. I think everyone is tired of lentil soup and chili.
On a side note, I have spent a lot of time on my iPhone. It seems to be my only link to the outside world. I decided to download a free app to keep track of my food intake. It also summarizes your daily nutrition. I found several things interesting. My sodium intake is far lower than the USDA recommended amount (probably due to the minimal amount of processed foods). I also appear to ingest the recommended amount of protein on a vegetarian diet. My vitamin intakes are off the charts without taking any supplements at all.
So according to the USDA, I am eating healthier than their recommendations (both calories and nutrition) on a vegetarian diet. I had a theory that I was getting the “right” amount of nutrients and didn’t need a vitamin supplement. I guess I was right. I might need an occasional protein boost on my heavier workout days. That is what lead me to SunWarrier. They even sent me a free sample to try before I purchased any.
I blended my packet with a frozen banana and some unsweetened almond milk. Very tasty. Not too gritty. It blended well. It has 15 grams of protein in one serving. I think I will have to pick some up!

Vegan Ribs, Cuban Black Bean and Jerk Asparagus Review

 The finale score on the Vegan Ribs, Cuban Black beans, and Jerk Asparagus? 8.5. The beans could have been better. I believe they are missing something (lime maybe?). The seitan ribs were the best wheat gluten fake meat we have made EVER (and fast). As you can see, we opted to dip our’s in BBQ sauce, instead of basting them. The star of the meal? Jerk Asparagus. It was amazing!!!!!!
Check back with yesterday’s post for the links to the recipes to all 3.
What did you other vegan/ vegetarian bloggers have? Did you go with traditional chili or switch it up like we did?

Vegan Ribs, Cuban Black Beans, and Jerk Asparagus

A year ago today, my husband and I were on the warm beaches of the Dominican Republic. We watched the Superbowl on a giant screen on the beach, drinking Brugal Rum.

Mmmmm…..I miss this.
The mostly vegetarian husband had a brilliant idea; make a Caribbean inspired dinner for the Superbowl! Genius. He even found Brugal rum! So here is what is on tap (besides the rum):
Dragonfly’s Vegan Ribs (http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=7589.0)
Cuban Black Beans and Rice (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/cuban-black-beans-i/)
Jerk Asparagus (This recipe is from the vegan cookbook Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.)
Since I have not made any of these items just yet, I will share them tomorrow. In the meantime, the husband and I are enjoying looking at the photos from our trip and reminiscing. Here is a photo of an abandoned home. It was beat up pretty badly in the last hurricane. The husband and I said that we will be back someday to restore it and retire there.

We can dream right? We were on vacation and probably enjoyed too much rum? Maybe our brains were fried from all of the vitamin D? Who cares!? It was a great trip.
Oh and GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!