Thursday, May 28, 2009

veggie and kraut pizza

pizza has long been one of my favourite foods. another one my favourites is sauerkraut, and when i went vegan, i found that kraut made a tasty substitute for cheese on pizza. it's not exactly apples to apples in terms of taste, mind you, but it's really worth giving it a shot (if you like kraut). the best part - it crunches up perfectly on the edges.

  • 1 batch of pizza crust
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced and halved
  • 5-6 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup vegan sausage crumbles
  • 10-15 black olives, chopped
  • 1 cup of sauerkraut, drained
for the pizza sauce:
  • 1 small can tomato paste (6oz)
  • 3/4 small can tomato sauce (6oz)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons black pepper
  • pinch of salt
jessy of happyveganface recently blogged about her whole wheat pizza dough and i had been dying to give it a shot. the verdict - absolutely perfect! i will definitely use this dough more often.

the pizza sauce recipe listed is my go-to recipe when i haven't really 'planned' on making pizza. i prefer a nice combination of fresh and sun dried tomatoes for my sauce, but sometimes a girl just doesn't have all the fresh ingredients she needs. and it's simple - just whisk up all the ingredients in a bowl. also, i really love black pepper in my sauce. i learned this from my italian grandmother, who i once watched make pizza sauce with a heavy hand of black pepper. her sauce tops mine of course, but i haven't forgotten the special black pepper ingredient. :)

i think everyone knows how to make pizza, so i'll just skip to the best part. after layering your sauce and veggies, drain and hand-squeeze your sauerkraut. spread it thinly over the top of your pizza - much like you would with shredded cheese. if you want the kraut to crunchify, make sure you can still see the veggies below. i've tried it both ways, and i say 'thin to win'...

pop it in the oven at 425°f, and let cook for at least 12 minutes. usually i just eyeball it after this, depending on how thick it is, and how crispy you like it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

broccoli and white beans

this was a side dish i whipped up when we needed something to go with our main course and the pantry was pretty bare. originally, i wasn't sure about the crunchiness of the broccoli with the texture of the creamy white beans. however, by the end of the bowl, i was looking forward to each green floret as it really created a nice contrast.

  • 1/2 head of fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked white beans
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
whisk the apple cider vinegar, sesame oil, garlic and ginger and pour over the chopped raw broccoli florets. allow broccoli to marinate for at least 4 hours, tossing occasionally.

in a large saucepan, add the two cups of cooked white beans and nutritional yeast and bring burner to medium heat. add the broccoli and marinade and cook entire mixture for about 10 minutes. the dish will be slightly creamy, but the broccoli should still have a bit of crunchy texture. add a dash or two of hot sauce if you like heat. serve as a side dish - about 4 servings.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

POM wonderful green smoothie

to pom or not to pom... that was my question. many may know that POM (makers of the flavourful POM wonderful juice) once had a shady past with animal rights. thankfully, through the urging of PETA and many other animal lovers, they decided to cease those practices. i originally wasn't sure if was ready to accept them back, but i believe that they deserve kudos for changing their ways. i once ate meat, and i would hate to be punished for my former transgressions. so, thanks POM! now let's drink!

  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 6-8 strawberries
  • 1½ cups baby spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup POM Wonderful juice
as with my typical green smoothies, you could use any other green, but i like the baby spinach most often because it doesn't overpower the fruit. however, when i'm feeling up for a more 'green' juice, i'll use kale, romaine, etc.

put everything in a blender for about 45 seconds. so easy! i find that this recipe is so filling that when i mix it up for lunch, i'm not hungry again until dinner. beyond awesome!

Friday, May 15, 2009

baked cabbage rolls

i'm a long time cabbage fan - in fact one of the first recipes i posted on this blog was a cabbage salad of sorts. i came up with this recipe after we received a head of cabbage from door to door organics and i wanted something warm, filling and fairly healthy. my first instinct was to stuff them with rice, but we didn't have any. luckily i found some yellow split peas laying around, and they made the perfect substitute.

  • 12 cabbage leaves
  • 1/2 pack of tofu, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon low sodium soy
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth
  • 5 button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 whole carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cup cooked yellow split peas
  • 1/2 tablespoon adobe seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz)
  • 1 small can tomato sauce (80z)

there are a number of ways to get your cabbage leaves. my method involves de-coring the cabbage, and placing the whole head in a steamer for about 10-15 minutes. after it cools a minute, then i peel off the leaves and they are pliable enough for wraps. you could also peel the leaves off without steaming, but i find that they rip less when slightly cooked.

heat the sesame oil in a large skillet on high. dump in the crumbled tofu and fry for about 7-8 minutes until it starts to brown on all sides. turn your heat down a notch to medium-high and add in the onion, garlic, salt & pepper, and soy. continue sautéing for a few minutes to really season the tofu.

next, pour in the veggie broth and rest of the vegetables. do not add the last two spices or canned tomatoes yet. cook your mixture on medium high, stirring frequently, until the liquid runs low. now add in the canned tomatoes - partially drained. to 'partially drain' my canned tomatoes i usually open the can 95% with the lid still attached, turn over once and let drain, but i don't press the lid to force any more liquid out. add the tomatoes to the mix, along with the curry and adobo seasoning. simmer for about 2 mintues until most of the tomato juice has been absorbed.

in an 8x11 casserole dish, spread 1 tablespoon of the canned tomato sauce in the bottom to prevent the cabbage rolls from sticking. then wrap each leaf like burrito, stuffed with your veggie mixture, and place in the casserole dish. once all the leaves have been assembled, pour the remaining can of tomato sauce over the top.

bake at 375°f for 25 minutes, remove and sprinkle vegan parmesean on top. i just used nutritional yeast as i didn't have any vegan parm.

Monday, May 11, 2009

peta's vegan college cookbook (review)

i don't always make my own recipes. i own a number of vegan, vegetarian and raw cookbooks that i love. sometimes i make the recipes exactly, and other times i'll thumb through them for inspiration. i was recently given the opportunity to review peta's vegan college cookbook, and i'm very happy to add this one to my collection.

this book is very different than any other vegan cookbook i have. why? the recipes are simple and straightforward - in a good way. there aren't a lot of unusual ingredients. most of the recipes call for a combination of 4-6 things total, and then a microwave. no stove, oven, crock pots, steamers, etc... things your typical college student wouldn't have access to. everything is quick and easy to make. and for the college vegan, time is precious.

and the recipes are good. they are things i like to eat now, and i'm long out of college. there are great recipes for burritos, pizza, sandwiches, chili, breakfasts, etc. and for those who don't sustain themselves on comfort foods while in college, there are also healthier recipes for salads and dressings, smoothies and one my favourites - skinny chick chickpea salad. another selling point for me - a section devoted completely to peanut butter. i lived off peanut butter in college... this would have been perfect!

the only thing i noticed is there are a lot of recipes for pre-made vegan ingredients - vegan burgers, chicken strips, burger crumbles, soy milk, etc. this isn't a 'bad' thing, but i didn't have a lot of money in college, and i wouldn't have been able to stock up on these ingredients. however, there are lots of recipes in the book that call for things like ramen, canned beans, potatoes, etc. - things i could afford and had lots of.

in general, this book is great for the college vegan and beyond. it's informative, and written in a fun and inviting way. there is nothing intimidating - i thumbed through the book and felt totally comfortable with tackling any of the recipes. and in fact, i know there will be times after work when i am too tired to cook and i'll pull a recipe out this book. i love that it's easy and doesn't require much time or effort to throw a pretty good meal together. if you don't have an idea for the high school (or even college) graduate, this cookbook would be unique and thoughtful.

congrats on a job well done, peta!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

sautéed morels

i have fond memories of morel hunting with my family when i was a little girl - taking off into the woods in all directions, eyes peeled, hoping to find the prized fungi. to this day, i still go morel hunting, and this year was fairly generous. it is quite a rush when you catch a glimpse of one hiding among the underbrush... especially when you know how yummy it will taste later!

  • 5 -6 large morels, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (smart balance)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup white cooking wine
heat butter and garlic in non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. add in morels, and saute for 5 minutes. remove the morels from heat, and combine the spinach and cooking wine in the skillet. as the spinach starts to wilt and the wine has mostly cooked off, add morels back in and continue cooking for another 1-2 minutes. when spinach is completely wilted, serve.

for those that have never been morel hunting, here is what you are looking for. this was from my last trip out... i finally remembered to bring the camera.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

creamy avocado dressing (raw)

i'm always looking for healthy homemade salad dressing recipes - i'm sort of over the bottle stuff. a lot of the recipes that are non-oil based call for fruit juices like orange, but i'm just not a fruit-dressing kind of girl. i don't mind fresh squeezed lemon juice though. here is a raw creamy avocado dressing that i ad-libbed and really liked!

  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 haas avocado
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of bragg liquid aminos
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried kelp
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
soak sunflower seeds in water for at least 4 hours. then just toss everything in a magic bullet and whir. seriously, i couldn't live without my bullet. thin with water if so desired. serve over your favourite bed of greens - here with kale, tomatoes and zucchini.

to keep it raw, make sure your kelp is sun-dried, not roasted or toasted!