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Vegan Chocolate Milkshake

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I’m very excited because today I have a delicious milkshake to share, and like like everything I love, it’s vegan. I’m a huge fan of So Delicious products and it’s rare that I go a week without some form of their ice cream. My absolute favourite is their Mocha Almond Fudge bars, which are made with coconut milk. I also love their chocolate flavour. That being said you can use any kind of vegan chocolate ice cream for this, I’m just recommending what I use. This milkshake is super easy to make and heavy on flavour!

*I’m not being paid for this post, simply sharing my preferences.

serves 2-3 Ingredients

1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I recommend coconut milk, but not the kind that comes in the cans- instead go for the cartons*)
1 1/4- 1 1/2 cups vegan ice cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 tsp liquid sweetener
2 tsp cocoa powder

Instructions

Put everything in a blender and blend until just combined. Top with anything you like.

 

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*In case there’s any confusion this is what I mean when I say carton coconut milk. I find the canned coconut milk is just too rich for me and when I have a lot of it at once I feel sick. Also, I topped mine with some GoGo Quinoa cookies because they are delicious.

Ultra Soft Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

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I feel like the title says it all for this recipe… these are slightly different from your basic peanut butter cookies. They’re super soft rather than crumbly and crispy, but if you’re into soft cookies this is for you. The amount of chocolate chips really depends on your preference; I LOVE Enjoy Life chocolate chips (I honestly think they may be the best chocolate I’ve ever had) so I added a ton to this batch.

makes 12-13 Ingredients

1/2 cup natural peanut butter
2 tbsp non-dairy milk
2 tbsp liquid sweetener
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp gluten-free oat flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup- 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips.

Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl add the peanut butter, non-dairy milk, syrup, salt, sugar, and vanilla and stir well until it’s all together.

If you are using rolled oats, blend them into a flour in the food processor. Add in the flour and stir it into the wet mixture.

Next, add in you desired amount of chocolate chips. If you like a modest amount stick to 1/3 cup, but if you want a lot in every bite add 1/2 cup. Stir these into the batter.

Now, wet your hands and pull out small balls of dough (around 1- 1 1/2 tbsp each) and place them on a baking sheet and press down to flatten them. This process works best with wet hands.

Once you run out of dough place them in the oven and bake for 10-13 minutes. I took mine out at 10 and that gives you a super soft cookie.

Let these cool after you take them out from the oven for a good 10-15 minutes on the baking sheet. They will be very soft and likely to fall a part when you first take them out so be patient if you can.

By the way that’s a glass of Ripple in the background there. It’s a plant-based milk and it just came to Canada and I am so glad because it’s great! Their chocolate milk is out of this world. Just saying it goes perfectly with cookies…

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Easy and Sweet Quinoa

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So breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And of course, starting your day off with a healthy meal is sure to make you feel good and is the proper way to take care of yourself. I know all of these things, and yet I find it incredibly difficult to eat breakfast. Part of it comes from not being overly hungry when I wake up and just that weird morning feeling that makes foods unappealing. I’m trying to reconnect with breakfasts and that is really what this post is all about. I feel like for weekday breakfasts, the priority is time. They need to be super quick and easy, am I right? Or it needs to be easily made in advance. That is why I turned to quinoa here because it is relatively inexpensive, super healthy, quick to cook and easy to jazz up a bit. I have a tumultuous relationship with oatmeal, and I find that the texture of quinoa is a nice change from the general gloppiness of rolled oats. Aside from the quinoa, this breakfast is made to be almost identical; the swap just serves as change to liven up the ritual.

serves 2-3 Ingredients

1 cup dry quinoa (or 3 cups cooked)
3 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup
2 tbsp nut butter
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp applesauce (optional)*
pinch or two of salt
non-dairy milk as needed (you may be using a couple splashes to around 1/3 cup)**
chocolate chips and/or cacao nibs for serving (optional)
1 banana mashed or chopped
fresh fruit (ie strawberries)

Instructions

Cook the quinoa as the package directs you or just take out the precooked quinoa you have. If yours has been sitting in the fridge you can heat it up in the microwave if you would like it to be hot.

After cooking it, add the syrup, chia seeds, nut butter, cocoa powder, applesauce if you have it and salt. Stir this all up. It will likely be tough to stir, and if you find you don’t like this texture, follow the next listed step. If you like the thickness, simply add the chocolate chips, banana and fruit if you’re using them and serve.

The texture you desire here is really based on personal preference. If you would like the quinoa to be a little less thick, but not necessarily milky, add in a splash or two of non-dairy milk and stir it to incorporate. If you want it to be liquidy add in more non-dairy milk. Once the milk lines the top or parts of the top of the quinoa, you’ll know you’ve added enough for this texture. I didn’t add any measurements here because every batch will cook differently, and even if you add a little too much, it will likely evaporate so don’t stress over how much you add or bother to pull out a measuring spoon because this is supposed to be easy.

Add in your banana and fruit and chocolate chips if you want them and serve.

You can also store this overnight and have it the next morning cold. If you plan on keeping it overnight, add in the non-dairy milk, fruit, and chocolate chips just before serving.

*I included the option simply because it’s one way to use up applesauce. If you’re like me, and purchase applesauce for one specific recipe then have no use for it after that you’ve probably let a few jars go to waste in the fridge. And we can’t have waste, so if you’ve got it feel free to add it in, and add as much in as you want. If you don’t, don’t go out and buy a jar, it’s really not a big deal.

**As explained in the steps, it’s not necessary to measure out your non-dairy milk but the reason I included the 1/3 cup measurement is to give you an idea, just in case these instructions are non clear enough. I tend to be lazy and do things without measuring when I cook, but not everybody is like that, so this measurement should give you an idea of what to aim for but do not be limited by it.

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Absolutely Loaded Apples and Almond Butter

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I first learned about the combination of apples and almond butter from Travis Barker. He’s not only on the list of greatest drummer’s but is also a vegan, so you know he’s someone special. This has become one of my boyfriend’s favourite snacks and it’s super easy to make so I wanted to dress it up a bit in case you are in the mood for an indulgent snack. This is really an anything goes recipe (which I love and hope you do too) so feel free to decorate your apple as you see fit. I used Honeycrisp here but use whatever kind you like.

serves 1-2 Ingredients

1 apple (the choice is yours)
2 tbsp natural almond butter
4 tbsp vegan chocolate chips (optional)
2 tsp non-dairy milk (optional)
1-2 tsp coconut sugar (optional)
any optional toppings you might want to add like cacao nibs, vegan marshmallows, whatever you can think of

Instructions

Cut your apple into whatever shape you desire.

Scoop out the amount of almond butter you need onto a plate, or just take it from the jar as you go. Spread a little bit onto each piece, coating it as thick as you would like.

Next, if you’re using the chocolate, measure it out and put it in a microwave safe bowl and heat it for about 30 seconds. Add in your non-dairy milk and stir then microwave it for about 20 more seconds. Stir it again and if you need to, microwave it for 10-15 seconds more.

You can dip your apples in the chocolate or drizzle it on top. Next add the coconut sugar by sprinkling it on top. Add in whatever other toppings you would like and serve!

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How to Make Next Level Daiya Cheezy Mac

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It’s obviously super important to have easy and quick meals you can throw together in under 20 minutes. Pasta can fit into that category, but not if you’re making your own sauce. For that reason, I love the Daiya Cheezy Mac. It’s so simple and perfect for inexperienced cooks; the only thing that puts some people off is the taste. Personally, I like the taste of Daiya, and I love the fact that products like this exist even more. However, I do understand that the taste isn’t for everyone. It’s tricky making vegan “alternatives” because the taste will always be compared to the counterpart and rather than enjoying the unique taste of the vegan dish and appreciating it for it’s own deliciousness, it’s rated by comparison. For that reason I’ve put together this post, because I think Daiya needs to be enjoyed.

My goal in jazzing up Daiya, is to first and foremost elevate the flavour to gourmet levels (my boyfriend can confirm that this recipe goes to 11) and to accomplish this using basic ingredients you will likely have on hand. In addition, this needs to be made in the same time it takes to cook the macaroni normally. I think this is super easy, and if you weren’t a fan of Daiya before, I hope this gives you an idea of how to add and make it perfect for you. Please don’t give up on it if you’ve had a bad experience because it doesn’t have to be disappointing. All this recipe really does is add a few spices for the most part, so once you try it, feel free to change it up whatever way you like. I’ve included measurements here but don’t feel pressured to break out your measuring spoon; if you feel comfortable, add in the ingredients free hand. This should just give you a general idea of how much, just so it’s not overdone, but I encourage you to toss aside the measuring spoon if you can as that’s just another dish to wash.

serves 2-3 Ingredients

1 box of Daiya Cheezy Mac
1/8 tsp of cayenne (or more to taste)
2 dashes of paprika
several dashes of black pepper
around 3 leaves of fresh basil
2-3 tbsp of nutritional yeast (and more for serving if you would like)
1 clove of garlic (optional)
any other vegetables add-ins you would like (for example: onions, spinach, peppers, etc, all optional)
vegan parmesan (optional)

Cook the pasta according to the box’s instructions. While this is cooking, chop your basil. If you choose to use garlic, mince it and either cook it in a frying pan for 2-3 minutes in about 1 tsp of olive oil. Alternatively, you can add it to the water and cook it with your pasta.

Once your pasta has been drained and put back in the pot, add in the sauce and stir it around until it covers or mostly covers the pasta. Next, add in your spies, basil, yeast and any of the optional add-ins you wanted. Stir these all around to incorporate them.

Serve and top with more nutritional yeast if you would like, or with some vegan parmesan.

Perfect Fries

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Perfecting fries is not as easy as it sounds (at least it hasn’t been for me). The first time I tried making fries I started chopping the whole potato and did my best to get something close to a fry shape, but really, it was just a mess. Not the mention the insides were still a bit hard after cooking. After doing a bit of research I learned, and now I finally have my own go-to recipe, It makes me feel almost guilty, posting a recipe for fries considering there are so many out there and really everyone is copying everyone. This is what I’ve found works for me, so thank you to the innumerable authors who have taught me how to make fries and given me inspiration. So here it is, homemade fries, as good as it gets!

Ingredients

2-3 large (or 4 small/medium) Yukon gold potatoes
4-5 tsp olive oil (or as much as you need to coat the potatoes)
1/2- 1 tsp or to taste chili powder
2 pinches of salt (or to taste)
4 dashes of black pepper (or to taste)

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 430F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Wash your potatoes and leave the skins on. You can slice them any way you want, I sometimes like to cut them from one end to the other, making medallions.Or simply cut them into the traditional fry shape, choosing your desired thickness.

In a large bowl or tupperware container, add your fries and then your oil, followed by the chili powder. Using your hands, toss these all around in the bowl. This gives the fries the best coating of oil and seasoning, which helps them cook effectively. Don’t worry about adding your salt and pepper until after you have placed them on their baking sheets. Once you have done so, add as much salt and pepper as desired. I hate to tell you how much because it depends on the amount of chili powder you use and your personal preferences. You’ll likely use a good 1/4 tsp of salt, and a little under that for the black pepper. Because of the chili powder, I recommend not using a ton of pepper as you don’t want to overpower your fries.

Try to make sure your fries are spread out, but don’t panic if there’s a little overlap.

Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, depending on how thin your fries are. You likely will be using two racks in your oven, unless if yours rack is large enough to hold two baking sheets at the same time. *If you are using one rack, when you flip your fries, switch the position of the pans, making sure they are on different sides than they started. If you are using two racks, the pan on the bottom will cook better, so it is important that you switch those pans to help even out the cooking.

Flip your fries then bake for 12-16 minutes more, until they reach your desired crispiness.

That’s it, you can eat them

Note: If you have an issue with chili powder, you can add salt and pepper or whatever seasonings you like.

 

Buffalo Tofu

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It seems like almost everyone can appreciate a good buffalo sauce, and if you peruse the internet, you’re bound to find many delicious vegan dishes using this sauce. I think it seems to be so popular because the sauce is already high on the list of favourites for most people, so when vegan foods are coated in buffalo sauce and still taste good, they make for  convincing dishes to serve to non-vegans to hopefully persuade or please them. One of the most popular and probably the most nutritious version is buffalo cauliflower. If you haven’t tried it I suggest you do. While I love my cauliflower this way, I also like buffalo tempeh and I have recently discovered I also love buffalo tofu. Tofu is the most popular vegan alternative, and somehow I’ve yet to see a buffalo tofu recipe. The simplicity of tofu makes it yet another perfect base for this sauce. This recipe is super quick and I think my favourite thing about it is that it still tastes good when you reheat it after a couple days in the fridge. Good sauce with a genuine leftover option? What’s not to like?

1 block of extra-firm tofu
1/2 cup hot sauce
1 tbsp (or as much as needed) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp and 1 tsp agave syrup
2 tbsp and 1 tsp nondairy milk
2 tbsp flour (any)

Instructions

Open and wash your pack of tofu You can press it or buy pre-pressed tofu. I just give mine a quick press down, but if you have the time feel free to press it for an extended period.

The shape you cut it into is optional, but I recommend slicing it so that it is thin. I did some into thin cubes and some into thin strips, but the size is really a personal preference.

In a very large frying pan (you may need to do this in batches) add the oil and heat it over medium heat. Add the all the tofu or as much you can. I’m super lazy so I add it all at once and the whole brick will just fit, but this does effect the cooking time. If you choose to go this route you will need to flip and rearrange the position of the tofu every couple of minutes because certain parts of the pan will not get as hot as others and this will help ensure even cooking.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, add the hot sauce, agave, milk and flour and whisk it together. There may be a few lumps of flour but that is ok as they will disappear when you add it to the tofu.

The process of cooking the tofu, if you do it all at once may take around 12-15 minutes. The key is to cook it until each side is mostly golden in colour, with even a few charred parts on some. If you decide to cook this in batches, I recommend flipping the tofu every 2 minutes or so onto the other side until you reach these same results.

After your tofu starts to look delicious, add in about half the sauce and stir it all around to get each piece covered. Continue to mix it around and let the sauce cook into the tofu for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, then add the rest of the sauce and stir again, leaving it on the heat for about 30 more seconds. *As a note, the sauce mix will thicken when you add it to the pan and will even become a bit gloppy, which may cause some pieces to be grouped together. This is ok; this texture is what helps the sauce coat the tofu, and when I say group together it’s really the sauce, not the tofu. The end result isn’t going to be chunks of tofu feeling like their glued together, but a thick sauce covering all of the chunks.

Next you are ready to serve this or store it in a container*. I recommend serving this with fries, for which you can find the recipe here:

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*I normally hate leftover tofu, but this one I found amazing! Tofu becomes more rubbery, or tough when you leave it in the fridge, and that texture actually compliments the leftovers, so in this case I recommend not shying away from the leftovers.

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Spicy Maple Chickpeas

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This is such an easy and delicious chickpea recipe, if you love hot sauce and maple syrup I encourage you to try it. I am what you would call a hot sauce enthusiast. I can high heat and I throw cayenne on everything I can. Conversely, I haven’t always been a maple syrup lover, but it has grown on me. Now I use it on everything, particularly in baked goods. It compliments the chickpeas so well  and helps to form this ultra simple sauce that gives them a flavourful coating. It takes only a couple of minutes for these to cook which is partly why I love them. Chickpeas are amazing. I liked them before I went vegan, but my love for them has become overwhelming since. If you are the same, or at least on the level of like, I hope you would try these as a snack or a side to your meal.

serves 1-3 Ingredients

1 can of chickpeas (15g or so) or about 1 and a half cups cooked
3 tbsp and 1 tsp hot sauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp tamari
2 tsp olive oil

Instructions

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and chickpeas after you drained and rinsed them. Do this over medium heat and cook them for around a good 5 minutes, stirring them around occasionally.

While this is going on, in a bowl, add the hot sauce, maple syrup and tamari and stir it all up. After 5 minutes of cooking, add it to the chickpeas in the frying pan. This will be runny at first so you’ll need to stir it to coat the chickpeas.

Cook this until all or almost all of the sauce is covering the chickpeas. This will take a good 2-3 minutes so stir them around every so often.

You can serve alone or as a side. Enjoy!

Vegan Versatile Savoury Oatmeal

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Hello to all, and I hope you’re doing well.

Today’s recipe is a simple one and offers many options and variations, because I know you may want to customize this basic idea with whatever you have on hand and fit it to your taste buds. I recently discovered the savoury oatmeal innovation and I’m sorry I didn’t before. Admittedly I have been an oatmeal hater and I find it’s the sweetness I have a hard time with. I find the only way I’m able to enjoy a sweet oatmeal is with steel cut oats. That being said rolled oats are so easy to make, I knew they had to be the base here. While this idea may sound ridiculous to you, trust me it’s good. You just take all of your favourite savoury flavours and add them in. One thing I have learned about oatmeal is that it is better (or at least I prefer it) if there is a chunky element. That’s why I added in lots vegetables to give it texture rather than leaving it at gloppy oats. It’s still as easy to prepare as regular oatmeal, so don’t worry.

Like many of my recipes, this is super simple and can be adapted in many ways, so I hope you find it to be accommodating. It’s also very budget-friendly as oats are relatively inexpensive and you can add whatever vegetables are in season and on sale.

serves 2 Ingredients

1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten-free if you need it)
1 cup vegetable broth (or water)
1/4 of one large sweet onion
2-3 cloves garlic
half a red pepper
large handful of fresh spinach (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
2 dashes black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp of tomato sauce or salsa if you have it (optional)
Optional add-ins:
dash of cayenne
dash of cumin
dash of paprika
three dashes of oregano
dash of turmeric
a few leaves of fresh basil if you have it
1 sprig of fresh thyme if you have it
whatever other spices, herbs, or vegetables you want

Instructions

Dice your onion and red pepper and mince garlic. Add it to a medium sized pot with the oil and cook on medium heat for a good five minutes. You’ll want your onions to be mostly clear and everything to be soft.

Next, add in your oats, broth, followed with the spices and sauce/or salsa. Stir this all up and cook on medium heat for around two minutes, stirring often as it will bubble plenty.

Reduce the heat to medium low, continuing to stir often, and chop your spinach and basil if you’re using. Add these in along with the thyme (removing the green bits from the stem) and stir to incorporate. All of these add-ins are just suggestions, so you’ll want to raid your spice rack. You can add in whatever you want or have on hand*.

You’ll want to cook this for at least a good 6 minutes on low heat, stirring often. Because every stove is different and some people prefer different consistencies, you will most likely need a good 8 minutes to cook, or even 10. Just make sure to watch it and stir, adding in more liquid if you need it. Once it is to your desired thickness, remove from the heat and serve.

You can top with whatever you like. Really, the possibilities here are endless. In addition you can also store the leftovers in a container and reheat them when needed.

In this recipe I included the spices I used I try to avoid using specific measurements because I don’t want you to have to remove the lid from your spice jars and stick a spoon in, as this is extremely annoying. A dash is a much more natural (in my opinion) way of adding spices and easier.

*For example, if you wanted to make a Mexican oatmeal, you can add in a dash or two of cayenne, paprika and cumin and salsa and top with some fresh cilantro. It’s all up to you and the possibilities are limitless.

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