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I’ve Moved!

Hi! I’m just announcing that I have moved to a new site: vegango.net

All of my content will be transferred over, and I will continue to post more interesting stuff!

Pizza Tofu

 

IMG_0382.JPGThis is hands down the best tofu I’ve ever had. It’s so good, it blows all of the delicious barbecue and buffalo tofu I’ve had away. In fact, this idea came about because of those other varieties, but this one for me just tops them all.

Yesterday I was making crispy barbecue tofu and I ran out of barbecue sauce so I added a little hot sauce to even it all out and it smelled like pizza, and the idea just hit me. Pizza tofu. And bringing it to life was actually incredibly easy! I cut the tofu into fairly large shapes because I wanted it to be like  pizza, but the real key here is the sauce. I opted for a homemade sauce but you can use a store bought one. The method for cooking this tofu, is like most and will yield a crispy tofu, but I found that the sauce soften it a little, so it’s a firm, slightly crispy, saucy tofu that really quite like the texture of pizza.

My boyfriend said this was a 5/5 and it’s actually pretty easy. So instead of just talking about this I’ll get to the recipe

serves 2-4 Ingredients

1 block extra firm tofu
2 tsp -1 tbsp olive oil
Store bought pizza sauce or this one listed
For the Pizza Sauce
4-5 small or medium vine tomatoes
1/3-1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 tsp salt or more to taste
several dashes of black pepper
4-5 sun dried tomatoes (optional)
1-2 tbsp hot sauce (optional)
1/4 tsp with extra dashes or to taste or dried oregano
Toppings for serving: handful of fresh basil chopped (optional)
nutritional yeast (optional)
any toppings you might put on pizza

Instructions

In a large pot, add the vegetable broth. Start around the 1/3 cup. Dice your tomatoes, removing the stems and hard part at the centre, then and them to the pot also.

Heat to medium-high and let these cook. The water should boil furiously, and the tomato chunks should soften and fall a part considerably. Stir every so often, watching that it doesn’t burn. Add in the salt and pepper. Let it cook on this heat for at least 5-6 minutes. You may need to add more broth if the tomatoes are sticking, but be careful not to exceed half a cup because you want the broth to evaporate mostly. If your broth isn’t evaporating, give it a minute or two longer on this heat.

Next reduce the heat to medium and add the sun-dried tomatoes. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes then add to a blender. Blend until it is smooth.

Pour the sauce back into the pot and heat on low, adding the oregano and hot sauce as desired. Stir occasionally, then remove from the heat after about 5 minutes.

Next start on the tofu, by washing it. You can press it but it’s not needed here because it will be so thin. Cut the block in half, so it goes from being a big rectangle into two smaller squares. Next, cut those into thin square strips. You can cut them into whatever spare you want, but make sure they’re very thin. This method will leave you with 9-10 squares.

Add the oil to a frying pan and heat on medium, then add in the tofu. The pan will likely be very full so you’ll want to move the pieces around a bit as some parts of the pan are hotter than others and they’ll cook better. Flip all of them once the first side is golden with a few charred bits. Cook the same way on the next side. This whole process will take at least a good 10 minutes, but it depends so keep your eye on it, and you’ll know it’s ready when it has a nice crispy look.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in half a cup of the sauce, then stir it all around to coat each piece. After about 20 seconds or so, add in another half cup of sauce and again stir it up. Let this cook for at least 30 seconds remove from heat.

For serving, you can add fresh basil, nutritional yeast or whatever topping you might use on a pizza.

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Guacamole

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I love guacamole. Partly because I’m such a lime lover, and when I make guacamole I love to looooad up on the lime. But don’t worry, I realize not everybody loves lime that much. That’s why this guacamole is a very basic and adaptable recipe, so you can add whatever spices or add-ins you think of. Feel free to change the amounts suggested, as everything is just suggested. Guacamole is feel as you go type of dip so if you don’t like lime, reduce it, and if you love tomatoes, add another one in.

Ingredients

4 ripe avocados
juice of 1-2 limes (I like at least 1 1/2 )
1 medium to large garlic clove (optional)*
1-2 roma tomatoes (for a fun twist try adding 1-3 sundried tomatoes)
1/4 cup to 1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro (or two handfuls)
1/8-1/4 tsp salt or more to taste
dash or two of black pepper
dash or two of cayenne or more to taste
1-2 tbsp hemp hearts (optional)

Instructions

Try to prepare all of your ingredients before you cut your avocados, however if you feel forget use a tupperware container to make the dip so you can put a lid on the avocados while you get the other ingredients ready.

Try to add the lime juice first, as it will help maintain the avocados’ freshness.

When you cut your avocados, you can dice them, or simply add them into the container and mash them or not depending on the texture you want.

Mince the garlic, dice the tomato, chop the cilantro and add them to the avocados along with the lime juice and spices and hemp hearts.

Stir everything around, again making sure to be mindful of the texture. Fold all the ingredients in carefully if you want it chunky, but stir it all up and it will mash up quite a bit.

Serve as soon as you can with tortilla chips, or whatever else you can think of. Store in a container, but don’t expect it to last long in the fridge as avocados turn brown fast**. IT’s best for a party, or a wild night of watching Big Brother or the Bachelorette!

*I sometimes find uncooked garlic can be a bit overbearing, so feel free to skip it if the taste is strong for you, or if you’re giving this to kids.

**I love guacamole, but the only hold back I have in making it is that it doesn’t last. As long as you know this, you will be fine, it’s just good to plan ahead before you make it.

 

Oil-Free Pesto

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I’ve very excited about this pesto. It’s easy, oil-free and nut-free and so much more. Be careful when using it because a little goes a long way. That being said, it should satisfy all your pesto needs and multiple uses you may decide for it.

Ingredients

1 (40g) package fresh basil (or about 3/4 cup loosely packed)
2 tbsp lemon juice (or juice from one whole small lemon)
2-3 small to medium garlic cloves
1 tbsp tahini
1-3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tbsp vegetable broth (or water)
1/4 tsp salt or to taste
4-5 dashes black pepper or to taste
dash of cayenne (optional)

Instructions

Slice your garlic first. Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Store or serve.

It works well with pasta, and I used it on spaghetti here. The entire sauce will cover at least 3-4 servings of pasta.

*you can also add a little spinach to bulk it up. I recommend 1/2- 1 cup

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Breakfast Cookies

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These cookies are so simple to make and so satisfying. I called them breakfast cookies because they’re actually quite healthy, but they’re perfect as a snack anytime. I love them with a smoothie to fill out a breakfast. If you’re like me, a smoothie does not fill you up as a breakfast. There’s something about drinking, and maybe it’s just a mental thing, but no matter what I add and the calories in a smoothie, just drinking something is not enough. These cookies add the solidity the smoothie lacks.

Lately, my boyfriend has been trying to lose weight and as a result has been avoiding all the baked goods I’ve made recently. That’s another reason why I wanted to make a wholesome cookie, so he can have them as well. Divided into 12 cookies, each has about 4.8 grams of protein, which is always good to know. I made some with chocolate chips and some without, and both options are great. The cookies have a nice light almond flavour and the chocolate chips do make for a special treat if you’re feeling indulgent. Enjoy them any way you like any time of day.

makes 12-14 cookies Ingredients

1/3 cup natural almond butter (or other nut/seed butter)
3 tbsp non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 1/2 cups oat flour (made from blended rolled oats)
vegan chocolate chips or cacao nibs (optional- you may need around 1/4 cup with a little extra, or as desired)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper

Using a food processor, blend your oats into a flour. You will need 1 1/2 cups of flour, so make sure to measure after blending.

In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients and stir until it’s incorporated. Add as many chocolate chips as you see fit.

Shape the dough into balls around the size of 1 large tablespoon and place on the baking sheet. Flatten them with your hand as they do not spread. This will yield around 12-14 cookies depending on how you size them.

Bake for 10-11 minutes, Remove them from the oven and they will cool, they  should be soft on the inside but firm outwardly.

Serve or store as you see fit

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*I adapted this recipe from the base of my s’mores bars

The Easiest Vegan S’mores Bars

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One of the quintessential summer treats has to be s’mores. The chocolate and fluffy marshmallows are entirely irresistible and obviously the only way to enjoy this is cruelty-free! So, in the spirit of the season I decided to make this super easy variation of the typical s’more. I’ve seen these bars displayed in non-vegan restaurants and I wanted to make a home version that’s  quick and delicious. There’s no need to freeze these bars, as they only require half and hour to an hour of refrigeration for the chocolate to settle. However, if you like gooey, melty chocolate you can enjoy them right away, or reheat them for  a few seconds in the microwave after  letting them set.

Ingredients

2 cups gluten-free oat flour (you can grind rolled oats in a food processor for this)
2/3 cup natural almond butter
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp non-dairy milk
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 heaping cup vegan chocolate chips
2 tbsp vegan butter (use soy-free)
1 tbsp non-dairy milk
pinch of salt
as many vegan marshmallows as it takes to cover the top (I love the Dandies brand)

Instructions

Line a small baking dish or even cake pan with parchment paper (you can use a small pan for thicker bars) and preheat oven to 375 F

In a bowl, mix the almond butter, milk, syrup and salt until well combined. Next, mix in the chia seeds. If you’re using rolled oats, use a food processor to grind them into a flour. Next, add the flour in and stir until they are combined.

Scoop out this mixture into the baking dish and press the dough with your hands so it fills out the pan and has no holes or gaps. Place in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Remove the pan and let it cool. Next, add the chocolate chips and vegan butter to a microwave safe bowl and heat until it is melted. The times may differ depending on your microwave but this worked for me: heat for 30 seconds, remove and stir. Heat again for 15 seconds, and remove and stir again. I repeated this for 15 more seconds and again for 10, then added the non-dairy milk and salt and stirred and it achieved a smooth texture. Do not overheat the chocolate by microwaving it until it looks smooth. When you takes it out some chocolate chips should be mostly intact and they will liquefy when you stir them.

Pour the chocolate over the base and top with marshmallows. This part is based on preference but I recommend making sure the top is mostly covered. It’s not about being perfect but making it delicious for you.

Next, you can refrigerate for half an hour to an hour, then slice and serve. Or you can just eat right away…

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Coffee Oatmeal

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Alright so if you haven’t tried it yet, whether it’s not available in your area or you’ve just passed by it at the store, I highly recommend you give Califia Farms almond beverages a go. My favourite flavour is the xx espresso, but the mocha is also delicious. They have many other varieties but I love the coffee flavours because they make for a special treat. Lately I’ve been trying to eat more oatmeal because oats are all around nutritious, but I unfortunately have a tough time with oatmeal, and very few please me. However, the other day I was struck by the idea of adding Califia Farms to my oatmeal, and it helped make it delicious!

I’m a huge coffee lover and can’t get enough of anything coffee-flavoured. So with that being said, if you can’t find the suggested Califia Farms beverages, feel free to add around *1/2 cup (or more or less depending on your preferences) of black coffee to your oatmeal. So, for example, you would use 1/2 cup coffee, and 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk. You want 1 3/4 cup of liquids so change the measurements based on your preferences.*

*This is not a paid endorsement

serves 2 Ingredients

1 cup Califia Farms Coffee-Flavoured Almond Beverage (ie xx espresso or mocha or sub for black coffee)
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp natural almond butter
pinch of salt
1 cup rolled oats (gluten-free)
banana for serving, optional
chocolate chips for serving, optional

Instructions

Add all ingredients minus the optional toppings to a pot and heat on medium. Stir everything to incorporate well.

As it begins to cook, stir frequently. Oatmeal has a tendency to stick, so make sure you stir often and keep an eye on it, reducing the heat to medium low if needed.

Cook this for around 10 minutes, or a couple extra if it’s not appropriately thick to your liking. If it dries out too fast then add a little more liquid.

Once the time is up, you can either store it or serve it, and top with anything you like.

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Mocha Brownies

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This is a super special recipe today! Mocha brownies that are vegan and fall-apart fudgy! The mocha part is optional, but I’m a coffee lover so I felt like doing something a little different and non-traditional. And, in addition to being vegan and soy-free they are gluten-free! I don’t always have the best results using oat flour in cakes as they’re supposed to be fluffy and oat flour tends to be dense. However, when it comes to brownies, the texture actually works because brownies of course are meant to be much denser. So, just sharing this recipe in case anyone else happens to be on a brownie kick…

Ingredients

2 tbsp ground flax and 6 tbsp water
3 tbsp coffee ground (If you like the bitter taste of coffee add 4 tbsp. I added 5 because I love the bitterness, but I recommend starting with 2 or 3 for a good coffee flavour or omitting it if you want regular brownies)
6 tbsp non-dairy milk
2/3 cup and 1 tbsp natural almond butter
1/2 cup and 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (for a less sweet brownie remove 2 or so tbsp of syrup)
1/2 cup vegan brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup and 3 tbsp coca powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp tapioca starch
2 cups and 2 tbsp gluten-free oat flour (add 2-3 extra tbsp of flour if you omit coffee grounds)
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven 350F and line a pan with parchment paper or grease it. Add the flax and water to a large bowl and stir well and let it sit for 1 to 2 minutes. Next add in the coffee grounds (if using) and the non-dairy milk and stir well. Let this sit while you prepare your flour and grab other ingredients.

If you are using oats, grind them in a food processor until it forms into flour. Or you can use store bought flour.

Add the almond butter, vanilla, syrup, and sugar into the bowl with the flax and stir until they are all well incorporated.

Next, add in the salt  and cocoa powder and stir until it is blended. Next, add in the starch and flour and stir until everything is mixed, then fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour this batter into the dish and spread it out so it fits well in the pan. You can spread it with a spoon or spatula or whatever works for you.

Insert this into the oven and bake for at least 27-32 minutes. This is a very thick batter so it needs to bake for a long time. I left mine at 27 minutes which left them soft and fudgy. Leave them in for longer if you want them to be firmer. If you want them to be tougher, bake them in for longer than suggested.

When you remove them from the oven leave them in the pan for at least 30 minutes or more to let them cool. When you remove them from the pan (and this is where the parchment paper comes in handy because you can pull it all out at once) you can transfer them to a cooling rack or simply a plate to let them cool. Give this a good 10 minutes at least, and then they should be good to cut.

Slice into as many squares as you like and store in a container when you’re not eating them.

 

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Barbecue Lentil Soup

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I knoooooooowwww!!!!! Soup in the summer? What am I thinking? I’m crazy enough as is, but this soup isn’t the reason. I made this the first time several months ago using simple ingredients I had on hand. It was for supper and I decided on lentil soup because they are super good for you and I added blackstrap molasses on a whim because it’s high in iron. I generally have low iron so it’s important to me to get in as much as I can in as many ways.

Now I know this way seem like a strange time to share this recipe because soup isn’t generally a summer food, but in this case I have to disagree. This soup is actually a great summer meal and here’s why: 1. Soup is super easy to make, and low maintenance so one it’s simmering you can leave it alone while you do whatever else you want 2. If it’s rainy where you are like has been here this summer the warmth will give you that warm feeling you’re supposed to have in the summer 3. It also means you don’t have to turn on your oven which really helps cool things down. So I hope I’ve convinced you because this soup is super easy and very nutritious. Not to mention the molasses cooking will make your kitchen smell wonderful.

serves 4 Ingredients

1/2 large sweet onion
4 large garlic cloves
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup green lentils
5 cups water
3 tbsp blackstrap molasses
4 dashes of black pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
2-3 dashes paprika
dash of cayenne
4-5 dashes of turmeric
2 dashes of cumin

Instructions

Dice your onion and mince garlic and add them to a large pot along with the olive oil. Cook on medium heat stirring occasionally. Continue for 4-5 minutes.

Wash your lentils and add them to the pot along with the water, molasses and spices and stir well to incorporate. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil and let it cook here for 4-5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium low and leave the pot uncovered and let it simmer on this heat for around 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally but other than that you can leave it alone for the most part.

Serve when you’re ready or store in the fridge for 5 days.

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