Tuesday, December 30, 2008

vegan lasagna

our traditional christmas dinner is lasagna, and for years my mother and i have stood side-by-side in the kitchen on christmas morning assembling our italian dishes. this was the first time i attempted a vegan one, which brought on quite a few changes - from the mozzarella to the ricotta to the parmesan. below is my recipe. also, i tend to like my lasagna really saucy, so just make modifications to the amounts as you prefer.

  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 6 cups mom's mushroom pasta sauce**
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 large head of broccoli florets, steamed
  • 16 oz. vegan mozzarella, shredded
  • 6-8 tablespoons vegan parmesan
  • 1 batch vegan ricotta (see recipe below)
**if you don't have a favourite sauce, add mushrooms to this recipe

for the ricotta:
  • 12 oz. silken tofu
  • 6 oz. tofutti sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 5 fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 5-8 baby spinach leaves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • salt & pepper to taste
to make the ricotta, blend tofu, sour cream, tahini, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor. after mixture is creamy (add more oil or lemon juice if necessary), mix the rest of ingredients in by hand. chill until ready to use.

to assemble lasagna:
in a 8x11 glass or ceramic casserole dish, spread about 2 tablespoons of the sauce in the bottom of the dish to prevent noodles from sticking. place 3 noodles across the bottom, then use a spoon to spread about 1/3 of the ricotta evenly. now layer about 1/4 of the sauce in the dish, followed by 1/3 of the spinach and the broccoli. sprinkle a mozzarella layer and a parmesan layer, and then place another set of noodles in the dish. repeat the process, building up the lasagna until you have used up all ingredients. make sure to save enough sauce and mozzarella for the final top of the dish.

a few notes: make sure you buy vegan lasagna noodles (no egg). also, for the mozzarella, i used veganrella this time as i often have a hard time getting fyh vegan gourmet cheeses to melt. veganrella's cheddar cheese is really good, but the mozzarella was just average. i think next time i will try using tofutti mozzarella slices... just a thought.

bake lasagna at 375
°f for about 45 minutes. the top cheese layer should be browning and the sauce should be bubbly. makes 6 large pieces of lasagna.

Friday, December 19, 2008

creamy potato soup

as i mentioned in my last post, i'm a sucker for crock-pot cooking in the winter. i think it's because i'm home more, and have time for all-day-cooking recipes. this next recipe is the first time i have ever made homemade soup (besides cabbage). gasp, i know! i worked out quite nicely, though - creamy and flavourful.

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 veggie bouillon cubes
  • 5 cups potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons hickory bacon salt
  • 2 tablespoons bragg's aminos
  • 14 oz soy milk
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
wash and cube potatoes into bite sized pieces. dissolve the bouillon cubes in 8 cups of boiling water. put all ingredients except milk/flour/corn starch into a crock pot. stew on high for 8 hours or more. about 45 minutes before serving, put milk, flour and corn starch in a contained and shake vigorously. add to the soup and cook for 45 mins-1 hour.

i served with imitation bacon bits on top.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

smokey white bean chili

winter definitely gets me in the mood for crock pot cooking. this year i decided to switch up my typical chili recipe, and went for a smokey white bean flavour. it turned out rather good, i thought, for an ad-libbed recipe.

  • 2 ½ cups cooked great northern beans
  • 3 cans (14 oz/ea) stewed tomatoes
  • 1 cup green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 cup yellow carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons hickory bacon salt
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
  • salt & pepper to taste
cook white beans according to directions on bag. put everything in a large crock pot. turn temperature to high and let stew for 6-8 hours. be sure to stir every once in a while so nothing burns, especially when you are closer to the 6 hour mark.

serve with cornbread. yum!

Friday, December 12, 2008

black bean, rice & veggies bowl

a hearty dish made from random things in my pantry. it turned into a hodge-podge meal that's part mexican, part veggie medley. i used westpac asparagus stir fry veggies. fresh would be better, of course, but frozen is what i had.

  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked
  • 1/8 cup cilantro, finely minced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 bag of frozen veggies (about 6oz)
  • 1 cup black beans, cooked
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1/3-1/2 cup salsa
cook rice, beans and frozen veggies. then mix all ingredients except salsa in a large bowl. add salsa last, adding in enough to coat the ingredients like a dressing.

make about 3 or 4 medium-size bowls.

Monday, December 8, 2008

seitan holiday roast

when i was vegetarian, we would buy the quorn turk'y roast for thanksgiving meals. since that isn't a vegan option, i opted to get my hands wet and create a homemade 'faust' this year. not to mention, it was the first time i ever worked with seitan. i used the very basic ingredients from vegan with a vengeance, but apart from that, it was a miss v creation. not too shabby, i must say.

for the roast:
  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, sage & rosemary mix
  • 1½ cups veggie broth
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 celery stalk, minced
  • 1/8 small onion, minced
for the broth:
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, sage & rosemary mix
  • 1/2 celery stalk, minced
  • 1/8 small onion
optional: 4 baby red potatoes

for the roast, mix up the the first four dry ingredients. for the spice mix, just throw in whatever tastes good - i used thyme and sage as they remind me of thanksgiving flavours. mix the rest of the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. for the onion and celery, i used a magic bullet to mince them up as i didn't want large chunks in my roast. slowly combine the wet into the dry ingredients, kneading as you go. knead for at least 2 minutes, and then divide into two small roasts.

put the roasts into a 1.5 quart baking dish. if you want, cut up the baby potatoes to bake with the roasts. mix up the broth ingredients, and pour half into the baking dish with the roasts. bake at 395°f for about 25 minutes. at this point, most of the broth will have evaporated. pour in the second half of the broth and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 340°f. serve warm.

as a side note, i cut my roasts into slices before i baked the second time. this allowed the juices to really get in and marinade the roast. but that's completely optional.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

fresh cider cucumbers

so i'm still full from thanksgiving feast-week. and the jeans are starting to reach that all too critical tightness - when you know it's time to lay off the heavy meals for a while. here is a cider vinegar cucumber "salad" that i've been eating for light lunches. i had something similar to this at my aunt's house over the summer, but there were onions in it (which if you read my blog, you know i don't like). but i've never had better cucumbers!

  • cucumbers, washed and sliced
  • raw apple cider vinegar (bragg's)
my aunt mixes one part vinegar to one part water, but i prefer a stronger vinegar taste. cover the cucumbers and let chill for several hours.

drain the vinegar before serving and enjoy the guilt free eats!

Monday, December 1, 2008

blog mom's zucchini custard pie

don't let the zucchini part fool you - this pie is delicious. a faithful reader of mine, lynn, sent me this recipe to try. she has supported my blog since the very beginning, sending me emails of encouragement and comments on my recipes. i now affectionately call her 'blog mom,' and she convinced me that this zucchini pie recipe would knock my socks off. she was right - it was a perfect sweet treat for the holiday and got rave reviews from everyone!

the original recipe called for 1 cup of evaporated milk and 1¼ cups sugar... below is what i used as substitutes. thanks lynn!!

  • 2 cups zucchini, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup soy milk, mixed with 4 tablespoons soy milk powder
  • 2/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 egg replacer (i use ener-g)
  • 2 tablespoon softened vegan butter
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 nine-inch pie shell
boil the cubed zucchini until tender. drain and put in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to cool. drain again. in a food processor or blender, combine zucchini, soy milk mixture, sugar, agave nectar, butter, flour and vanilla. blend until creamy.

i did not make my own pie crust because of time restraints, but be sure and check that your store-bought ones are vegan. pour the mixture into a pie crust and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. bake at 325f° for 60-70 minutes or until a knife comes out clean (i ended up baking mine for about 80 minutes). the end result should still be creamy and custard-like.

blog mom noted that the 1/2 teaspoon measurements on the cinnamon and nutmeg weren't nearly enough, and that i should sprinkle the entire pie generously. moms know best, because this was what really set the pie off and gave it a gooey crème brûlée type taste.