Tag Archives: olive oil

Vegan Smoked Salmon

Sophie’s Kitchen has been making assorted vegan versions of beloved seafood for a while now when I noticed their vegan smoked salmon.

We tried it with Tofutti cream cheese and some home-made teff bread (a new house favorite; the recipe is a work in progress) and the flavor was there. It isn’t smoked salmon but it was smoky, salty, oily and fishy. The texture wasn’t what I expected; the konjac fiber dominated but wasn’t offensive. The ingredients were unobjectionable but highly processed. As far as vegan comfort food goes, it didn’t wow me, but I think it’s worth a try for the rest of you out there.

I don’t think it will convince most carnists, but was a welcome change from regular Tofutti cream cheese on toast. Let me know what you think.

This is Christie, signing off!

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Vegan Paella, for real this time

I made paella once before and a Latina colleague informed me that unless it contains meat, paella is merely veggie rice. I don’t think she’d be able to argue with this vegan paella, though.

We used Vigo yellow rice instead of making our own. Brent and I have become big fans of this vegan rice mix because it’s tasty, easy and costs less than $2. If you get to try it, it gets a little toasty on the bottom of the pan and don’t worry because this improves the flavor significantly.
IMG_2441I started by sauteeing some onion with a little olive oil and some flake red pepper. While that was cooking, Brent was cutting some Brussel’s sprouts and thaw the Ocean’s Best vegan shrimp.We also threw in some black olives that I cut in half.


These all went into the pan until everything was steamy and hot and the onion was soft and the sprouts had begun to soften. I turned off the heat and added the red pepper. I put a lid over it and allowed it to steam until the pepper was just barely hot. I find bell peppers get bitter when cooked so I avoid cooking them completely unless the skin has been removed.
We scooped some rice onto our plates and arranged the veggies to make the paella look delicious and that didn’t take much effort. It was really good and the shrimp definitely added what was missing from my last paella effort. Next time I might add daikon as an answer to sea scallops. Savory olives (instead of mussels), sweet bell pepper, herbal Brussel’s sprouts all brought out the light flavors in the saffron rice and sweet shrimp. YUM!

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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Brown Bag Vegan Lunch: Tofu & Tomato Salad

I’m really proud of myself, you guys, because I brought coffee, breakfast, and lunch to work everyday this past week. It’s a huge deal for me because I had grown accustomed to buying coffee and lunch everyday (I would buy coffee or soy lattes twice a day most days) and either skipping breakfast or eating junk from the cafeteria. So, here’s what I know about myself: while I don’t mind leftovers, I don’t want to eat the same thing for lunch and dinner for a week, which is pretty much what happened when I made the pasta bake, and I still had some left after that. In order to keep this up, my challenge will be to prepare and plan ahead so that lunch can be easy and not boring.

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One of the lunches I brought this week was a tofu and tomato salad. It took minimal effort, but did require some planning ahead. Here are the ingredients I used:

1 block extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
dill (fresh is great but I keep a bottle of Litehouse Freeze-Dried dill which is the next best thing)
salt and pepper to taste

I’d like to note that if I was eating this at home, I would have added some onion, but I didn’t want to offend anyone with my onion breath. Also, hot peppers or red pepper flakes would be a nice addition to this.

First, I had to make sure to press a block of tofu. I put my tofu in the TofuXpress before going to bed one night. Then, the next night, I drained it, cut it into cubes, and put it in a bowl with the chopped tomatoes. Then I mixed in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dill, and salt and pepper. I then placed all of it in my lunch container and put it in the fridge. In the morning, I grabbed the container, put it in my reusable lunch bag, and took it to work. All I had to do when it was lunchtime was grab a fork and chow down!

Not only was this really easy and about as effortless as lunch can be, it was totally vegan, raw, healthy, and a perfectly substantial lunch. It was also a lot cheaper than anything I would have bought for lunch. Yay! –Melissa

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Pasta a la Fauxlognese

As a kid, spaghetti bolognese was a favorite. It’s a rich meaty sauce wth lots of tomato and onion served with whatever pasta you tend to fancy. In this case, we’re using shirataki noodles and no meat. Shirataki noodles are great for those who are concerned about gluten and calories. If you use regular noodles, your fauxlognese will be more attractive than ours but just as tasty. You’ll want the following

1 onion, diced

3.4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

1 16oz tin of diced tomato

1 cup of TVP (reconstituted with water) or soy crumbles (Marion tofu crumbles work well here), chopped mushrooms can be substituted for those sensitive to soy

1 cube of “beef bouillon”

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cumin

salt and flake red pepper to taste

olive oil


Add a dash of olive oil and the onion and garlic to your pan and saute until the onion starts to carmelize, stirring occasionally. Add the tofu crumbles or TVP and the dry spices.


When everything is hot and fragrant, add the tomato. Mix it all up, stirring occasionally until hot and adjust the seasonings to your taste.


Your sauce should look deceptively meaty. Top with some vegan parmesan, shredded basil or Daiya or just serve as is.


This is a very kid friendly preparation of vegan fare, tasty and healthy to boot. I hope you get to try it!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Pasta with a side of protein, please…

I like pasta. It’s easy to make and easy to request with no meat or cheese at restaurants. The problem with veganizing pasta (other than the obvious, which is doing your best to ensure that the actual pasta is vegan) is that it very often will lack a good amount of protein. I like having some Italian sausage or ground turkey or meatballs or chicken or fish with some pasta. I love hot dogs in my spaghetti! But I’m vegan now. I had a pressed block of tofu and some vegan spaghetti waiting for me in the fridge, so I had to get creative.


I “ground” up the tofu with a fork and mixed it together with the following:

1/2 tsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
minced garlic
Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste


I took my leftover spaghetti out of the fridge, put some on a plate, topped it with some of the tofu and heated it up in the microwave.


Mix it up a little and it just looks like there’s some cheese in there! It was delicious on the pasta and also on its own. I’ll be making this tofu mix again. –Melissa

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Lasagna; Comfort Food and Crowd Pleaser

It’s the day after thanksgiving and you probably can’t eat anymore of those greasy garlic smashed potatoes and decadent Tofurkey roast and are wishing for something light and easy. Well, here it is.

I posted about lasagna a while ago and didn’t give instructions because I consider it a self-explanatory free-form dish. Now that the concept is out there I figure I should give you an idea of what I do so you can weigh in and offer your improvements.

You’ll need the following for the layers:

2-3 zucchini, sliced into long thin strips or 1 large eggplant sliced thin and sauteed

1/2 lb spinach, fresh or frozen

For the tofu ricotta:

1 package of tofu, any kind will do (use a cup of dry cashews, soaked if you’ve got a soy allergy)

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 tbsp onion powder

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

1 pinch salt

For the filling:

1/2 cup chopped mushrooms, dried or fresh

1/2 cup of textured vegetable protein or TVP (use lentils if you’ve got a soy allergy)

1 cube of bouillon, I like “beef” for this recipe

1 tbsp cumin powder

1/2 tbsp coriander powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1 pinch nutmeg

1 pinch chili powder

1/2 onion, chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced


pasta sauce (a href=”http://theveganshusband.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/the-worlds-best-pasta-sauce/”>I like this one

Daiya or other vegan cheese


salt and pepper to taste

olive oil as needed

Below is my first layer.

I sprayed my pan lightly with olive oil and then arranged my eggplant on top and then covered it with spinach. I buy fresh spinach for salads and freeze whatever is leftover at the end of the week so we usually have some in the freezer.

I put a little olive oil, the onion and garlic into a pan and sauteed them until the onion started to soften. Meanwhile I prepared the bouillon in a cup of water by heating it in the microwave. I added it to the pan along with the mushrooms, TVP and spices for the filling. I heated it on low until the mixture had absorbed most of the moisture.

I added it to the baking dish, poured some sauce over it, put down another layer of spinach and prepared the tofu ricotta.

The tofu and spices went into a bowl and mooshed to conformity!

I didn’t make quite enough so maybe I’ll double the ricotta next time. It’s kind of important to the recipe to have copious ricotta or this will more closely resemble a vegetable casserole than veggie lasagna.

After adding the tofu, we added another layer of eggplant and spinach and then topped it with pasta sauce and Daiya.

I baked it at 350F/170C for an hour and then we accidentally the whole thing. Top with chopped black olives and shredded basil if you want something pretty AND delicious. Yay!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Celebrating Our One Year Anniversary With Easy Penne!

Some of my favorite recipes are the ones that are the result of desperation: there’s lots of little things leftover in the fridge, half a box of pasta, nothing new or exciting, just random ingredients and your brain!


I cooked some about a cup and a half of penne. Then, I heated up some olive oil, garlic, onions,  and about 2/3 cup of marinara that I had leftover. I added a bit of balsamic vinegar and then I seasoned it with crushed red pepper and Italian seasonings and topped it with some capers. It was easy and delicious and I was able to finish off some of the things I had sitting in my kitchen and fridge.

On another note, today is the one year anniversary of our first post on Turning Veganese! It came up really fast and it’s been a wonderful year of learning and bonding with friends and cooking and eating and getting healthy. We have an exciting giveaway coming up to celebrate this fantastic year! But first, we shall celebrate the US Thanksgiving holiday. We at Turning Veganese are grateful for YOU! Thank you for your support and for all the fun.

Love you guys! –Melissa

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Potato Wedges with Aioli

Friends and family should be arriving soon so here’s a local and personal favorite for entertaining. We’ve got a lot of Spanish influence in Miami and something that they’ve created that’s right up my alley is Catalan Allioli or aioli. It’s a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, water and sometimes egg yolks. There won’t be anymore talk of eggs today.

I chopped some sweet potato (because it’s that time of year), yam and russet potato into wedges ranging from finger to thumb thickness and length. I tossed them in a mixture of the following:

2 tbsp corn oil (corn oil is important because it has a high flash point and won’t form carcinogenic substances as easily when baking at high temperatures)

1/2 tbsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 generous pinch of paprika

1 pinch of nutmeg

garlic salt to taste

I tossed the potatoes until they were coated with the spice and oil mix and them laid them out on a metal baking sheet lined with waxed paper. I baked them at 375F/190C for one hour.

While you’re waiting on your potatoes, it’s time to make some dipping sauce. I made 2 sauces.

One was my chipotle lime sauce and the other is the aioli. Combine the following:

1/2 cup of vegenaise

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

2 tbsp water

1 tbsp olive oil

It is possible to mix this in a food processor or blender but I don’t recommend it: it can be very thick and you’ll forever be scraping sauce off the walls of your blending device. Mix these well using a fork in a shallow dish, prepare for dipping satisfaction!

This is Christie, signing off!

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Tahini-Soy Chickpea Salad

Life is thus that I am basically a Lazy Vegan 24/7 and haven’t had a chance to sit and plan and be creative with my cooking. I really want to turn things around, so I decided to make a different sort of chickpea salad to eat with my Boca Chik’n Patty sandwich.

Tahini-Soy Chickpea Salad

1 15 oz canned chickpeas (I would have used dry beans if I had planned ahead)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of one lemon

I drained the chickpeas and set them aside. I then mixed all the other ingredients together in a bowl.

I mixed the beans with the dressing. Note: I only used about half of the dressing.

To make things a little more interesting, I added some grated carrot, sesame seeds, ground coriander, and dried parsley flakes. I’m sadly lacking fresh herbs at the moment and certainly would have added fresh cilantro or parsley instead.

I added some crushed red pepper after plating the salad. This ended up being a delightful and hearty meal! –Melissa

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Penne Puttanesca

Puttanesca is terribly underrated and we were cleaning out the fridge this particular day. I started simply and got some of my favorite pasta sauce and a bag of rice pasta. Brent is in charge of making pasta so I was saucy!

I diced an onion and sauteed it with some flake red pepper and basil olive oil. It smelled SO amazing I wish I could make a scratch-n-sniff post.

I added 2 cups of sauce and threw in

1 tin of olives that I drained

1 cup of TVP (omit if you’re sensitive to soy)

1 tbsp cumin

1 tbsp coriander

1 tin of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 tin of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

I stirred it up until it was hot and fragrant and when Brent was done making the pasta we mixed it all together and devoured it.

I guess we do this kind of pasta a lot and don’t always post about it. Capers, mushrooms, garlic, basil leaves and just about everything else gets throw into this dish. I recommend it for families with kids who will find the hunt for all the different veggies and beans entertaining.

This is Brent and Christie, signing off!

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