Showing posts with label soy free. Show all posts
Showing posts with label soy free. Show all posts

Feb 15, 2011

baked eggplant over scampi pasta

Italian Night

Over the MoFo I made a Chick'n Scampi pasta dish from Olive Garden. This dish impressed Mikel so much he requested it again. I wanted to change it up somewhat, so I married Eggplant Parm and the Scampi dish and came up with this course: Baked Eggplant over Scampi Pasta.

As the name implies, Scampi includes lemon and garlic.

I baked the eggplant which turned out just as crunchy as frying it, but without the obvious oily texture. You can add some Daiya to it at the end to get the Parmesan effect.

The pasta sauce is soy free, using cashews as the base of the creamy sauce. Mikel's only complaint was the size of the peppers. Therefore, I have adjusted the recipe since the picture to reflect his concern; dice the peppers and not slice them.

I served these over rice pasta so if you are using gluten free pasta, make sure not to over cook it; it'll turn to mush.

Cost Breakdown:

eggplant, bread crumbs, spices: $4
cashew, nutritional yeast: $2.50
pasta, lemon: $3.50
garlic, pepper, onion: $3
Total to make 4 servings:

Feb 8, 2011

seitan and cheese enchiladas

Continental Night

On Saturday nights I like to make something from the Western Hemesphere, North American or South American.

Enchiladas are a wonderful way to present some of these dishes in a most delicious way. Another Enchilada dish I blogged about before had vegan cheese and spinach in a blue corn tortilla. This one has seitan, pan seared, and a combination of Daiya and Follow Your Heart. Melting the cheeses on the stove top first and then rolling them in the tortillas is the best way to make sure that your vegan cheese melts.

I made Red Rice for the enchiladas, using brown rice and baking the whole thing until the rice was tender. This took a little trial-and-error, having to add more water and then baking it some more, but I think I have the water to rice proportion correct now.

The refried beans are just pinto beans, with some sauted onions, garlic, cumin and water to thin the beans.
The enchilada sauce is just as simple using, chili powder, flour, water, tomatoes and onions.

This does not dissapoint. If you want to add sauted vegetables or tofu instead of seitan, it is all very workable and will taste great. Just make sure not to overfill the tortillas.

Cost Breakdown:

beans: $2
tortillas: $1
rice: $.50
tomato, onion, garlic, jalapeno, pepper: $3
seitan: $2
vegan cheeses: $5
herbs, spices: $1
Total to make 5 complete servings:

Jan 17, 2011

harissa spiced sandwich

African Night

Harissa is a staple in North Africa, a hot pepper sauce. You can buy harissa or make your own using fresh hot peppers, oil, and other optional ingredients such as garlic, cumin, red pepper, coriander, etc.

Tonight's meal, Harissa Spiced Sandwich, was inspired by a recipe by Marcus Samuelsson using harissa coated lamb. I used rehydrated textured vegetable protein (TVP) instead of the lamb, but next time will definitely use either tofu or seitan - the TVP retained too much liquid (because of rehydration and being marinated) to crispen properly.

Using tofu (pressed or wrapped) or seitan, coating them with the harissa marinade and then browning them, is totally delicious. The protein is then cooked in a sauce with chickpeas and is then served with hummus and pita. A little extra harissa on the side is nice, too. 

Even using the TVP the dish was phenomenal and using solely chickpeas or using tofu or seitan will garner a better result. 

Cost Breakdown

TVP (use tofu or seitan instead): $2
tamari, harissa, broth: $1.50
onion, garlic, lemon, spices:
chickpeas: $2
tomato: $1
pita: $1.50
hummus: $1
Total to make 5 servings:

Nov 22, 2010

pizza hut (MoFo 13)

Pizza Hut today. I had to pick a pizza to do and so I chose one that my mom and I would order on Friday nights after work. I have mentioned that we owned a Hungarian restaurant (or 6 or 7, just not at the same time), and there is only so much Beef Goulash and Chicken Paprikas one can eat. Vegetarian was not on the menu, unless you happen to be one of those people who think that fish and chicken are vegetables; there is an amazing amount of people that unfortunately do.

We used to order Pan Pizza - crispy crust, fluffy inside, cheese and all the veggies Pizza Hut would pile on. This was my favorite pizza until I moved to Chicago and had Johnny D's.

Today I began with the Breadstick. This made the kids happy because the toppings are parmy-cheesy and herby. Accomplish this using Parma (walnuts and nutritional yest) and a bunch of herbs.

Naturally I had to make the Pan Pizza, but first I began looking around for something unusual by Pizza Hut. Wings? Yeah, but that is coming up on the Anchor Bar post. Pasta? Been there, done that. Then I found a whole bunch of people pretty upset that Pizza Hut is no longer making their Triple-Decker Pizza. This is a pizza with two thin layers, cheese between, sauce on top, more cheese and then the toppings. Okaaaay.

The most difficult thing about making this is the thinness of the crusts. Using very little yeast and a long, cool proofing, and then forking the rolled out dough before baking, makes this possible. Voila - Triple-Decker Pizza Hut Pizza. Why they call it Triple is a mystery to me, though, since there are only two crusts. Perhaps Pizza Hut doesn't employ math inclined folks.

Finally, the Pan Pizza is making a showing. I made one as an original Pan Pizza, but I also made one a little more upscale. David came shopping with me and chose wild mushrooms for his topping. Fabulous! I sauteed the mushrooms with garlic, topped the pan pizza with a porcini-cream sauce and finished it with truffle oil.

No, Pizza Hut never offered this, but I can see it on the menu at Millennium.

Cost Breakdown:

flour: $1.50
yeast, sugar, salt: $.50
soy milk powder: $.50
Parmo, herbs: $1
Total to make 5 app servings:

dough: $2
Daiya vegan cheese: $2
sauce: $1
pepperoni: $1
Total to make a 15 inch pizza:

Pan Pizza:
dough: $2
sauce: $1
Daiya vegan cheese: $2
topping: $1
Total to make a large pizza:

dough: $2
porcini-cream sauce:$2.50
wild mushrooms, garlic: $4
truffle oil: $1
Total to make 15" pizza:



Pan Pizza

Truffle Pizza

Nov 14, 2010

red robin (MoFo 9)

Red Robin is an American Burger joint which happens to be all over the U.S. While not veg they do serve Boca burgers (vegan) and Gardenburger (vegetarian). While all that is well and fine, sometimes a stomach gets to hunger for one of those fancy-pants burgers, sans dairy and eggs but with the authentic flavors still intact.

As an appetizer, we are quite partial to jalapenos and making them into golden little Jalapeno Coins is very appealing. I mean, who doesn't want a few extra coins to toss around? I made mine with pickled jalapeno slices, but you can use fresh jalapenos or ones that aren't pickled. I made a simple tempura-beer batter (anything with beer is better, right?) and fried them to a crisp. Yumm.

Choosing the burger was more challenging, they have so many, but I picked one that isn't really a burger, even by their definition, but a chicken sandwich. I replaced the chicken with an Amy's Quarter Pounder (a little sweeter than the Bocas - be warned) and made the Bruschetta Chicken Sandwich into a Vegan Bruschetta Burger. This one has a pesto-aioli, tomato, onion and basil salsa, cheeze (Daiya in this case), balsamic cream on a ciabatta roll. Yumm.

Going to Red Robin is not really complete without those aromatic Garlic Fries. Make the steak fries as you would make any crispy fries (using the double fry method) and coat it with your premade garlic oil. Yumm.

Lastly, since it has been so long since I've made anything sweet, I made the Mountain High Mud Pie. Unfortunate Red Robin customers can only get this dessert with chocolate and vanilla ice cream, but us brilliant vegans can use any combination that we find tasty. I used Prailine Crunch Almond Dream and Chocolate Almond Dream. In addition to the ice cream, it has a layer of crushed cookies, peanut butter and chocolate syrup. I used Rice Whip for the whip cream but you can do without it. This was a double Yumm.

Cost Breakdown

jalapenos: $3
flour: $1
beer, baking powder: $1
Total to make apps for 4:

Amy's burger: $6
Daiya: $2
lettuce, tomato, onion, basil: $2
veganaise, vinegar, pine nuts, garlic: $1.50
ciabatta: $4
potatoes: $3
Total to make 4 burgers:
(each of these sandwiches at RR is $11.50)

Almond Dreams: $8
cookies: $2
chocolate: $1
peanut butter: $1
Rice Whip: $3
Total to make 5 giant servings:

Jalapeno Coins

Bruschetta Burger

Mountain High Mud Pie

Nov 13, 2010

mother's cafe and garden (MoFo 7)

Mother's Cafe and Garden is located in Austin, TX. Anyone who has traveled through the great beef state knows that Austin is the haven for vegetarians in a sea of meat-aholics. I even think they have their burgers with a side of beef.

Anyway, that is what it was like back a decade ago when we lived there. As with all places things change and there were some unfortunate turn of events concerning the veg establishments there. One was that Mother's Cafe burned down. Since then they have rebuilt, but after being open since 1985, they had to keep their doors closed for eight months during the refurbishment. Boy, we're gone for a few years and the whole place falls apart!

This was the very first place we frequented as newly indoctrinated vegans. Although the place is vegetarian, they have very strict sanitary practices regarding segregating vegetarian instruments and cooking vessels with vegan ones. Looking back now, I realize we were the 'vegan police,' and such vigilance is best reserved for omni restaurants, but for what we were looking for then, they certainly fit the bill.

They are not high end, have reasonable prices and pretty good food. So if in Texas, you know what city to aim to get to.

Starting with a drink, the Iced Hibiscus-Mint tea is a must. Hibiscus not only is reported to lower blood pressure, but tastes refreshing with the mint. No sweetener was ever required by me - the complimentary flavors of the tea were enough without having to mask it with sugar.

On to the Garden Patch Salad. This was my first taste of sunflower sprouts and it made me try to grow them myself. Not as easy to grow as alfalfa sprouts, they are worth the extra effort. Let me tell you about the Cashew Tamari dressing! I must have spent at least a pound of cashews trying to get the flavor just right so we can have it at home (we weren't exactly next to Mother's, you see). 

The Chili Rellenos alas were filled with cheese and we never got to try them, but that is only extra impetus to make them vegan. Rellenos are poblano peppers (usually) that have been roasted, skinned and seeded. They are then stuffed with cheese, covered in an egg batter and fried. I stuffed mine with Native Chi's that I made for Native Foods menu mixed with black beans. The Native Chi's melted (yay!), but you can use Daiya or Follow Your Heart or any cheese from the Uncheese Cookbook. They will melt. I advise against using only cheese (even dairy) since it is just too much. 

The batter is really the most challenging part. It has fry light and not leave the relleno oily. My version was very good and I was very happy that we could have a relleno again. I think it does need more testing since the authentic version uses whipped eggs and just like flan or sunny side up eggs, eggs are eggs and I am not mother nature. Although, I certainly pretend to be sometimes!

Lastly, I couldn't omit my oldest daughter's favorite dish at Mother's: Sage Mashed Potatoes. Go light on the sage since it can be overpowering, but make sure not to add so little that the flavor is not evident.

Cost Breakdown:

hibiscus tea, mint: $1

carrot, cuke, tomato, onion: $2
lettuce, purple cabbage: $3
tamari, cashew, balsamic, oil: $2
sprouts: $2
Total to make 4 servings:

poblano: $4
cheese: $1
tomato, onion, garlic: $2
black beans: $2
ener-G, cashew, flour: $1.50
Total to make 4 servings:

Potatoes, milk, sage: $4

Hibiscus-Mint Tea

Garden Patch Salad

Chili Relleno

Sage Mashed Potatoes

Nov 10, 2010

olive garden (MoFo 6)

Olive Garden - When you're here you're family!
Unless you are vegan, then you should consider yourself in-laws.

Olive Garden is an Americanized Italian, family, commercial restaurant that is not so much Italian as American fast food that overcharges and is not vegan-friendly. True to that credo, veganizing Olive Garden has been a frustrating quest. Not so much because their food is so unique that transforming them to vegan is difficult, but because my pictures of the food weren't turning out quite right. Then, I needed to streamline the recipes and hone the flavors. All in all I spent waayyy too much time on Olive Garden, making the following dishes more often than my family cared to partake of, over and over again for the past few days.

Enough whining! 

I chose Fettuccine Alfredo because once you can make the Alfredo sauce you can make practically half the menu and I love Primavera Alfredo - an Alfredo based pasta with spring vegetables. The vegan-Alfredo sauce is easy, tasty and soy-free. It thickens as it sits for a few minutes so don't stress if you don't see it thickening in the pot. Pour it over the Fettuccine like Olive Garden does and then mix it in at the table.

My second choice was Chicken Scampi
Shrimp Scampi was absolutely one of my faves when I worked at seafood places, but now I can't imagine for the life of me why I ate bugs. Yes, folks, shrimp, lobster and crab are arthropods, sharing the same kin as the roach. I'm now good with seitan, thank you very much. Looking back I am sure I loved it for the garlic and lemon. Yeah, that's it. This dish has lemon and garlic, too, making it an authentic scampi.

Lastly, my kids have been bugging me for Tiramisu. Olive Garden's tiramisu is not quite as complicated as one from  a true Italian kitchen, so it makes it easier for us home-cooks to veganize.

Of course, the bread sticks, salad and soup are what vegans go for at Olive Garden. Naturally we have to get the bread naked, the salad undressed and the soup without the cheese. While I ran out of time adapting the bread sticks and dressing (which I am working on!), the Minestrone Soup I have already blogged about and the Spinach-Artichoke Dip is another one already in the arsenal. Check those out for more Olive Garden clones.


As for the cookbook, Vegan Vittles, winner, has chosen comment #1 as the winner. I will try to find your address, but if you'd like to make sure the book gets to you asap, email me at with your address! Thanks everyone for participating! Another book contest on Friday.

Cost Breakdown:

cashew, nutritional yeast: $2.50
pasta, garlic: $3
Total to make 2 large servings:

cashew, nutritional yeast: $2.50
pasta, lemon: $3.50
seitan, flour: $3
garlic, pepper, onion, spices: $1
Total to make 2 large servings:

flour, Earth balance: $1
cashew, almond: $2
starch, flour, extract: $1
maple syrup, sugar: $2
cocoa: $1
TotL to make 6 servings:

Chick'n Scampi

Fettuccine Alfredo


Nov 8, 2010

native foods (MoFo 5)

Native Foods is the brain child of Tanya Petrovna, who opened the first Native Foods in 1994. She will be opening the seventh very soon! That is impressive; a vegan restaurant that will be celebrating another grand opening. What is more impressive, though, is the food. I am literally licking the plate that I served the Azteca Ensalada on - that Mango-Lime Dressing rocks!

Another impressive feat is the preparation of her tempeh. While she actually makes the tempeh on the premises, my store-bought version did not suffer any using her technique. Delicious! If you are one of those tempeh-phobes this is the recipe for you. If after having tempeh this way you don't like it, then you never will and you may fearlessly throw in the proverbial towel. 

To the recipes...

Let's face it, nachos are good. Most any nachos. But these Native Nachos are great! Chef Tanya shares her Native Chi's recipe that go on this and the taco 'meat' is TVP. You can freely use seitan ground, however, or omit it at will and double the beans. Nothing processed. Even the cashew sour cream I have on there is very easy to make. THIS is one loaded nacho plate and go ahead and customize it to your palate.

Now for that salad I was drooling over in the beginning - assorted greens with tomato, onion, jicama or apple or asian pear, cucumbers, cilantro, mango, raisin, pumpkin seeds, quinoa (superfood!) and that outrageous Mango-Lime Dressing and you not only have a complete meal but a little piece of heaven.

The last item on our tasting menu is the Gandhi Bowl - two kinds of rice, steamed greens, curry sauce and that tempeh of hers - blackened. Cajun-meets-Asian. Another out-of-the-park dish. She is batting a thousand.

The only real criticism I have is that she is inundating the east coast with her restaurants and is leaving the mid and west coast to suffer without her culinary contributions. Pure selfishness.

Cost Breakdown:

chips: $3 
cheeze, cashew sour cream: $3
TVP, beans: $4
tomato, onion, olive, pepper: $3
Total to make apps for 8:

greens: $4
Asian pear, tomato, cuke, mango: $4
mango, lime, oil, cilantro: $2
raisin, pumpkin: $1
quinoa: $1
Total to make 4 servings:

rice: $1.50
curry, coconut milk: $2
tempeh: $3
greens, cauliflower: $3
Total to make 5 servings:

Native Nachos

Ensalada Azteca

Gandhi Bowl

Nov 6, 2010

cafe flora (MoFo 4)

Cafe Flora is a Seattle  based vegetarian restaurant that opened in 1991. They built their restaurant environmentally minded, to reduce the their impact on the world community as well as their neighbors. They claim that part of their job is to help shift the consumption of animals to a more plant-based diet. They do not want, or expect, everyone to switch to vegetarianism, they do want more people to make it a viable and a more frequent choice to include plant-based meals into their meals. This is logical and very doable. Think about it: if everyone ate meatless meals on, say, ...Monday, how many animals would not have to be in the great animal husbandry industry?  How many less animals would have to be killed weekly? How many people would be so much better off with just one day a week of meatless meals? How would the earth be impacted by this one simple action?

If you haven't included Meatless Mondays into your week, I encourage you to do so this very coming Monday. Breakfast is a no-brainer. Lunch is very easy - soup, salad, sandwich - and for dinner come back here and pick something to make. Recipes are posted, pictures can help you decide and the food is good. Walking to work, changing your light bulbs and recycling are not the only things you can do to help the environment. And a Meatless Monday helps you as well as the animals. A triple whammy!

To help you get started, I am giving away a new copy of a Vegan Cookbook - Joanne Stepaniak's Vegan Vittles. This was one of the first cookbook I picked up ten years ago and it is one of the simplest, easiest to follow, containing very tasty recipes and a great way to introduce yourself to vegetarianism. Leave a comment and let me know what your thoughts are on Meatless Mondays. Contest is open to North American and UK residence and no, you do not have to be an omnivore to enter. Please enter by the end of Monday, Nov. 8. Winner will be announced Tuesday, Nov. 9.

On to today's recipes.

A signature appetizer of Cafe Flora's is the Coconut Tofu with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce. This was nice and coconuty, but not quite as flavorful as I was hoping. The tofu was a little bland, but the crust was great. I think making this with seitan would add more to the flavor. The breading is flour, coconut milk and ground coconut flakes.

Another more successful one was the Lentil Pecan Pate Platter. I know that as a vegan it is not likely that a Liver Pate would be on your Top 100 list of foods to recreate, but I am Hungarian and my dad was a great one for mixing together a chicken liver pate or beef get the gist. We had pig feet in aspic as the New Year meal... yeah.

So forgive me that I have been looking to make liver pate vegan. If you are one of the other dozen or so people in the known universe who is vying for this very thing, look no further than this recipe. You will need red lentils, mirin (rice wine), umeboshi paste (sour plum paste) light miso (Japanese fermented bean paste) and pecans. This is the real thing without liver.

As their signature dish, Cafe Flora presents Oaxaca Tacos with Black Bean Stew. They only make this veg so I adapted it to vegan. It is incredible how some mashed potatoes and black beans can be transformed to this delectable dish. They use real cheese, but I used a recipe adapted from Stepaniak's Uncheese Cookbook to make this soy-free and processed-free. This meal has many components, but they can all be done separately: Black Bean Stew, Smoky Muenster Cheeze, Mashed Potatoes, Salsa, optional feta adapted from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Feta recipe.

Cost Breakdown:

Coconut Tofu
ginger, seaweed, tamari, rice vinegar, miso: $1.50
flour, coconut: $1
coconut milk: $.50
oil: $2
chili, sugar:$1
Total to make apps for 5:

lentil: $1
onion, garlic, spice: $1
mirin, umeboshi, miso: $2
pecan: $1.50
onion, garlic, balsamic, sugar: $2
crackers: $2
Total to make apps for 8:

tortillas: $2
potato: $2
cheeze (cashew, agar): $3
black beans, corn, garlic, spices: $3.50
tomato, pepper, lime: $2
Total to make 5 servings:

Coconut Tofu with Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Lentil Pecan Pate Platter with Onion Confit

Oaxaca Tacos with Black Bean Stew

Oct 28, 2010

chicken fried seitan

Happy Birthday, David! 

His Birthday has finally come! He certainly has been taking advantage of this week - but, that's okay. 

For his birthday meal, he requested Country Fried Steak...or is that Chicken Fried?

Well, no real difference between the two, except that Country Fried can be served with brown gravy (with onions) and can be simmered in the gravy before serving. Which means I made Chicken Fried Seitan.

Yes, this is a repeat , but I have made a few variations and they should be noted! This is, after all, a learning process.

First off, the seitan is just vital wheat gluten, nothing extra added. Mix 1 c gluten with 7/8 c water (1 cup of water with 2 T of water removed). Cook it in any seitan simmering liquid.

Then cut the seitan thin - about 1/4 inch thin. This makes the final product even crunchier without drying it out. We aren't going for shoe pleather.

Third,  the coating liquid could be cashew cream, making this dish soy free. In the original recipe I used yogurt to replace the buttermilk, which still works, but try to make sure it is the thickness of buttermilk by thinning it out with a nondairy milk.

Fourth, I double-dipped it this time. I didn't last time because I think I made my yogurt too thick and double -dipping it in the flour created too much of a coat. Having the dipping liquid be thinner allowed two coats of flour and a crunchier crust.

This turned out even better than the last time and again, no surprise, another fried meal came out on top.

Happy Birthday, my love!

Cost Breakdown:
seitan: $3
flour, oil, cashews: $4
potatoes: $4
almond milk: $2
Total to feed 6 people well: