Category Archives: Main Dishes

GAZPACHO!

Sounds funny, tastes delicious… This is a simple cold summer soup that is loaded with good nutrients and packed with flavor. It should be a staple in your diet whether you’re vegan or not. Ours is made from the following ingredients:
2 bell peppers, stems and seeds removed (I like 2 different colors, in this case yellow and red)
1/2 cup of cilantro stems
2 cucumbers
juice from 1 lemon
5 tomatoes, stems removed
1 jalapeño (optional for the brave)
6-8 scallion onions, chopped just as the bulb turns green, stems diced
4-5 strawberries (optional)
hot sauce and salt to taste

Brent cut up the vegetables into sizes that fit easily in our food processor. The skins can be left on the cucumber for a richer flavor if they’re organic, otherwise I remove most of it if not all.


The tomato, cucumber, peppers, strawberries, lemon juice, scallion bulbs and cilantro stems all went into the processor and was blended until smooth. Afterward I added salt and hot sauce to taste, garnished with scallion onion (you can use cilantro too, if you like). and served with grilled cashew cheese sammiches. It hit the spot after a day in the muggy Florida heat. Let me know what you think!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Mushroom Spinach Risotto

I admit I’ve been delinquent in my duties as a blogger. We had to move (our former land lady disagreed with us on an appropriate time frame for air conditioner repair in Florida in the summer). I can’t find my camera, but that’s no excuse. I’ve got a phone. Brent is pretty awesome and cooks for both of us when I’m too exhausted from work or moving or all the bologna that goes with all of that, so I wanted to treat him for being so proactive in the kitchen with some comfort food.

I started by making some creamy cashew cheese.

3/4 cup of dry cashews soaked overnight in water (hemp hearts can be a suitable substitute if you’ve got a nut allergy)

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp herbes de provence

1 pinch salt

I blended this up until it was creamy and put it into the fridge until I was ready to make my risotto. We ate a lot of it with crackers. Oopsie!

To make the risotto I assembled the following additional ingredients.

1/2 cup arborio rice (this is more than enough for 2 people)

2 cups spinach (our was frozen)

1 and 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms

1 cup of white wine (I like chardonnay for this recipe, but I used pinot grigio because we had it)

1/2 tsp herbes de provence

1 quart of water

1 cube of vegetable bouillon

1 onion, diced

1/2 tsp garlic paste or chopped garlic

1 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

I started by microwaving the bouillon and water, stirring to dissolve the bouillon cube.


I then put the rice into my pan with the wine and herbes de provence over low heat until the wine cooked off and some of the liquid was absorbed. I continued to add the broth while I started to sautee the onion in the olive oil.

After the onion was soft I added the mushrooms. Once they started to soften, I added the spinach and turned off the heat once it was wilted.

Once the rice had absorbed most of the broth and was mostly translucent except for a little opaque bit in the middle of the rice grain, I added the nutritional yeast, garlic paste and then combined that with the sauteed vegetables.

Then I stirred in 1/2 cup of my cashew cheese and adjusted the salt and pepper to taste. Hey, guess what… it’s ready. The addition of cashew cheese makes this dish more reminiscent of the cheesy delightful artery clogging dairy rich dish but it’s way better for you and super ultra mega tasty.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Vegan Kare Kare 2.0

I haven’t cooked in awhile (I’m a lazy vegan, remember?) but I had a serious craving for kare kare last week. I think it was triggered by seeing the beginnings of my Dad’s garden this summer, particularly the eggplant. I’m so spoiled by the garden! Alas, there are no veggies yet. Thank goodness for grocery stores.

I previously made kare kare using soy curls and it was good, but I wanted to try something different this time. I didn’t want to drop a meat substitute altogether even though all-veggie kare kare would be satisfactory. I didn’t want to use tofu. I didn’t want to use mushrooms. I didn’t want to use squash.

So I used jackfruit — young, unripe jackfruit.

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You can find canned young green jackfruit at any Asian grocery store. Make sure you get the jackfruit in brine, not syrup! It’s not to be confused with ripe yellow jackfruit, which is sweet (and delicious in halo halo… yum). I’ve seen unripe jackfruit used in savory dishes. Luminous Vegans has a great BBQ Jackfruit recipe that’s like a vegan pulled pork sandwich. My Mom adds it to dishes. There is a plethora of vegan Jackfruit ‘Carnitas’ Taco recipes on the Internet. With the shred-like texture of the jackfruit, some imagination and an open mind, the possibilities are endless.

Kare kare always seemed really complicated to me when I was younger and I realize now that it’s because of the meat component. You need to boil the oxtail. Sometimes, you need to boil it forever or use a pressure cooker, otherwise it won’t get tender and it’s just nasty. You need to skim out the garbage that shows up when you boil meat. And it takes a long time!

For vegan kare kare, you’re looking at maybe 15 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cook time.

Vegan Kare Kare with Jackfruit

1 can young green jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
eggplant, cut into 2″ chunks (enough to make approx 2 cups, any eggplant will do)
1 cup sitaw (Chinese long beans), cut into about 2 inch pieces — regular green beans are fine, too
bok choy (3 babies or 1 adult)
2-3 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp achiote powder (optional)
oil
salt, to taste

Rinse and chop up all your veggies. for the jackfruit, I cut the chunks that came out of the can in half or in thirds, depending on how big they were. I made them about the same size as the eggplant pieces.

Heat up the pan and saute the onion and garlic in oil. When it gets fragrant, add the jackfruit, eggplant, and 1 cup of water. Mix it a bit, cover, and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sitaw/beans and bok choy, cover, and let it all cook for another 3-5 minutes.

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Isn’t it pretty? The thing in the bottom middle is a piece of jackfruit.

When the veggies are just about cooked, stir things up a bit, being careful not to mash up any of the veggies. Then, make a well in the center of the pot and put in the peanut butter. The PB should melt completely. Add salt to taste. Add achiote if you want. It will give the dish a more reddish color. I didn’t add it this time around.

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Serve with white rice and bagoong (not vegan!) or a bagoong substitute. If you have the green-floral-border Corelle plates that every Filipino-American seems to have, use that for sentimental value. Follow it up with some halo halo with sweet jackfruit if you can. I’m so hungry now.

I’m pleased with my kare kare and jackfruit experiment, but I have to say that I think jackfruit would work better in sinigang (another Filipino dish) instead. I have yet to try it as BBQ or in a taco. Looks like I’ve got a lot of cooking to do! –Melissa

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Tunaless Melt!

This could have made an amazing sandwich but it made an awesome wrap. I’ve been missing tuna melts, not for the fishy tinned tuna but for the melty goodness and crunchy celery. To make the filling I combined the following:

1 32oz tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp vegan mayo

1 cup of chopped celery

1/2 chopped onion

a generous pinch each of tarragon and thyme

1 tbsp marmite or vegemite

salt and flake red pepper to taste

I started by adding the celery and onion and microwaving it until the onion was soft.

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I actually used a fork to mush the chickpeas. I liked the texture it provided since it reminded me more of real tuna that way. Once it was all mixed together, I microwaved it until it was hot and then adjusted the seasoning.

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We combined this on a wrap with some Daiya cheddar which we melted by microwaving and then topped with some spinach and tomato. It hit the spot, EXACTLY!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Cuban can be vegan too!

Miami is immersed in Cuban culture. From the coffee to the art, Cuba’s heartbeat is felt in this city. We decided to honor our love for Cuban contributions (namely a colleague of mine who recently got his American citizenship!) by creating a Cuban inspired vegan meal; black beans, pork, rice and plantains are stereotypical in local cuisine.

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For the black beans, all we did was drain a tin of black beans and combine with some roughly chopped peppers, onions and tomato.

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We prepared some frozen Goya maduros in our oven. They’re basically fried mature bananas. They’re SUPER tasty.

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We made Vigo yellow rice.

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Instead of pork, we had maple bacon tempeh. A traditional preparation of pork in Cuban cuisine might be topped with sauteed onions and cheddar cheese. We decided on the rest of those peppers instead. All of this was really easy. It took less than an hour to prepare everything and it was also delicious, nutritious and satisfying.

Thank-you to our neighbor to the South for the inspiration and a good friend who is finally official!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Chickenless Salad Wraps

This was an inappropriately easy dinner. We’ve been busy trying to find a friend for our bunny so we haven’t had a lot of time to make anything elaborate. All we did was combine the following:

2 cups soy curls

1 cube bouillon

1/2 tsp herbes de Provence

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We covered them in water and microwaved one minute at a time until the water was absorbed. Then I added 2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise and a generous squeeze of lemon juice.

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We added it to a wrap with some spinach (I added that after I took this picture), home-grown sprouts, tomato and bell pepper.

It was sweet, savory, crispy, chewy, and satisfying.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Spicy Peanut Chili Pizza!

This was our first in a line of experiments involving some of our favorite ingredients: PB2, Sriracha and tofu. We wanted pizza but didn’t have any of he traditional ingredients so we decided to wing it and make something Thai-inspired. We used a pre-made gluten-free pizza crust from the ZenCat bakery but you can use a storebought variety or make our home-made crust.
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For the sauce, I combined the following in our blender:
1 block of silken tofu
3 tablespoons of Sriracha or suitable substitute (or to taste)
2 Thai chilis, I used one red and one green (I also buy them in bulk and freeze them)
2 tbsp PB2 or regular peanut butter
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I blended it until it looked smooth while Brent prepared some soy curls.

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We topped it with some sliced tomato and Thai basil (cilantro would work well too) and then baked it until it had started to brown around the edges.

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A sprinkling of chopped peanuts (or cashews) really made this pizza interesting but it won’t suffer if you leave it off. It was creamy, spicy and decadent. It felt a lot naughtier than it was in terms of nutrition. The next time we do this, I’ll probably add some fresh cilantro or Thai basil after baking. I just love the cinnamon flavors it adds.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Breakfast Wrap

This particular item more resembles dessert than breakfast but the nutritional profile doesn’t disappoint. All I did was take a flax gluten-free tortilla and topped it with the following

1 tbsp chocolate peanut butter (I used Peanut Butter and Co. but really any vegan nut butter will do)

2 tbsp dried blueberries (dried cranberries or raisins would work well too)

1/2  banana, sliced

1/4 apple, sliced

1/4 cup granola (I used Cascadian Farms)

I microwaved it for 20 seconds so it would soften and then ate it… It kept me full until lunch time. The crisp acidic apple and the soft sweet banana were perfectly balanced with the chewy blueberries and nutty chocolate crunch of the granola and peanut butter. Next time I might add some slivered almonds.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Chipotle Cheddar Wraps!

A wise soul recently pointed out that you can’t have too many wraps so we’re sharing another one. You’ll need the following:

1 ripe avocado, we’re using Flordida green skin but Haas is perfect too
1 block of silken tofu

1/2 lime

1 tin of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

spring mix or spinach

Daiya cheddar wedge

1/2 cup dry soy curls per wrap per person

bouillon

flake red pepper and salt to taste

Avocados are beautiful this time of year so they’re going to appear a lot over the next few months. Our avocado tree is also blooming. YES!

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Brent set about making the soy curls according to the package directions using some flake red pepper and a cube of bouillon for seasoning.

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Meanwhile I threw a block of silken tofu into the blender with 3-4 of the chipotle peppers and a spoon full of the liquid from the can, a pinch of salt and the juice from half a lime. I blended it until it was smooth and creamy.

IMG_2468We sliced up the Daiya cheddar and placed it into the wrap along with some soy curls. We microwaved this for 20 seconds to get the cheese melty and soften the wrap. We added the avocado, greens and a generous helping of he creamy chipotle sauce.

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This wrap is AMAZING! We ate it for 2 meals that weekend. If you’re sensitive to soy, use seitan instead of soy curls and cashew cream instead of silken tofu. Let me know if it works out as well as this did. YUM!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Leftover rescue: Veggie Fried Rice!

We ordered some Thai food and were left with huge quantities of leftover rice. I’m not one to waste food so we decided to make it into a delicious meal. Usually we throw all of our leftover veggies into a lasagna but rice gave us a good reason for change.
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I combined some carrots that we shredded in our food processor with some flake red pepper, chopped onion and a couple of teaspoons of corn oil. I stirred it in our wok (thanks to my big sister for the awesome gift!) until the onion became translucent.
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Then I added some soy curls (use seitan if you’re sensitive to soy) and shitake mushrooms that Brent had reconstituted in our microwave with some bouillon and some frozen peas and julienne zucchini. When that had all gotten hot and steamy and the zucchini was soft.

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Then I dumped in our rice and seasoned it to taste with teryaki and tamari sauce.

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It made a great dinner, leftovers and might benefit from some pseudo-shrimp and sesame seeds when we make it again. It was so easy, I don’t think we’ll be able to resist the urge.

This is Christie and Brent, signing off!

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