Tag Archives: vegan

Sauerkraut Kielbasa Soup

vegan sauerkraut kielbasa soup

Ingredients:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
2 carrots, thinly sliced
3 cups cubed potatoes (yukon gold or red)
1 package Tofurkey Kielbasa – sliced lengthwise, then into 1/2-inch pieces
16 oz sauerkraut, drained (I like Hengstenberg, it’s made with white wine)
10 cups water
3 tbsp + 1 tsp Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken broth concentrate
1/4 tsp ground marjoram
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/4 tsp fresh-ground black pepper, or more to taste

Directions:
In large pot or dutch oven over medium heat, saute onion until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add sliced kielbasa, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.

Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boiling, cover, reduce heat and simmer 45-50 minutes (or longer), until carrots and potatoes are tender.

Makes about 12 servings.

Quick Raw Vegan Pecan Pie

datesHere’s a recipe for the easiest raw vegan pecan pie you’ll ever make:

Replace the pit of a medjool date with a pecan half. Done.

How funny… I came up with the same recipe too! I have it for dessert whenever I have both dates and pecans on hand. Sometimes I go a little crazy and use an almond instead. Whoo-hoo!

This recipe is from The Date People. I hope they don’t think I’m infringing on their copyright by reprinting it. I just think everyone should eat dates, or eat more dates. As The Date People say on their Facebook page:

“They are extremely nutritious, higher in potassium than bananas, also rich in iron, calcium and vitamins. If you are looking to balance your acid/alkaline state, dates are more alkaline than almost any other food.”

If you’re like me and enjoy something sweet after a meal once in a while (or all the time), a couple of dates seems like a good dessert.

Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

This Lemon Poppyseed Dressing is yet another great way to use my immersion blender. I needed to find a tart, savory, and sweet-but-not-overly-so dressing for spinach salads that contain fruit and nuts. It’s my favorite salad combination, and I’m all over the place with apples, berries, grapes, pomegranate seeds, and all sorts of nuts. Today I was in a hurry, so it was just spinach and red grapes, which was still very tasty.

I used extra-virgin olive oil, which I reduced to 1/2 cup instead of 2/3, and I think I could have used a less flavorful oil like grapeseed. I also added some freshly-ground black pepper because I like that addition, even for a sweet dressing. (Hint: try some strawberries with freshly-ground black pepper. Seriously.)

Chicago Vegan Mania 2011

VeganMania

Last weekend, we packed up the car and made a stop at one of the premier vegan events in the area: Chicago VeganMania. This year, the third Chicago VeganMania was held at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse. One of the things that stands out the most about my experience is that they need a MUCH larger venue for this event! It was difficult to walk through the exhibit halls, and next to impossible to find seating and enjoy some of the delicious food offerings.

The first 100 people to enter the building scored a goody bag packed with mostly literature, but also some treats like applesauce, an energy bar, and Dandies vegan marshmallows from Chicago SoyDairy. I hope “Meat-Free” Mike enjoyed the sample I brought to last week’s show. It was just enough to make a snack-size rice krispy treat. Lance and I enjoyed our bag over a game of Uno.

There were some good samples offered in the exhibit area. My favorites were Tiny But Mighty Popcorn, and mildly-spicy nacho Teese from Chicago SoyDairy. And both Lance and I tried kombucha for the first time. For those of you unfamiliar with this beverage, it is basically an effervescent, fermented tea. Its benefits (or detriments) to health are somewhat controversial. (Thanks for the video link, Linda.) As you can see from Lance’s reaction, he probably wouldn’t drink it again either.

Lance tries kombucha, picture 1.

Lance tries kombucha, picture 2.

We made our way into the dining area early. Dave and Lance enjoyed lunch from Arya Bhavan. There was a samosa which disappeared too quickly to photograph,which contained black caraway seeds. I had just picked up some black caraway seeds, hoping the universe would show me how to use them. Once again, fate seems to put me where I need to be. There was also some of THE BEST channa masala we’ve ever had – also too swiftly devoured to photograph.

Lance managed to get an oh-so-flattering picture of me nomming on a huge cheesesteak from the Vegan Food Truck / Ste. Martaen. (Thanks.) They were selling some delicious-looking pecan pie too, but I didn’t have room.

Cheesesteak. In my face.

Overall, it was a fun event, and I was pleased to see so many vegan and non-vegan people show up. No rides in the vegan rickshaw, though!

Vegan rickshaw

 

Cupcake Overload

For my birthday this year, I decided to run the Chicago Half Marathon. I finished, and it was fun. Those were my two goals. Running down Lake Shore Drive with about 20,000 other people on my birthday, which also happened to be the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, was quite an experience.

I was unsure of vegan cupcake availability on a Sunday in Chicago. We also detest city driving, even if it’s for cupcakes. So I brought along some cupcakes from Strawberry Fields here in Urbana, and took them on the road to share with the rest of the family.

These were serious cupcakes – enormous, jumbo-sized, and loaded with enough sweet frosting to send anyone into a sugar coma. They were delicious, but I’m surely not going to order as many of them next year! One half of a giant cupcake per person would be plenty!

Carrot Cake Cupcake

 Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

German Chocolate Cupcake

German Chocolate – we detected a hint of coffee flavor in this one

Hazelnut Cupcakes

Hazelnut – my favorite. Very hazelnutty, throughout the cake and frosting.

Lemon Citrus Cupcake

Lemon Citrus

Sushi and pizza: the birthday weekend begins.

Round one of birthday weekend food started with Thursday night sushi.

sweet potato sushiSweet potato, grilled tofu, green onion, avocado, cucumber, sesame seeds. Served with sweet-hot pepper jelly. I love hot pepper jelly.

grilled tofu sushiGrilled tofu, sriracha, cucumber, daikon, avocado, sesame seeds, cilantro leaves.

On Friday night we made homemade pizza with a lot of improvisation. First, I ran out of semolina flour for my usual crust recipe, so I substituted garbanzo bean flour. It worked! Then I ran out of Daiya mozzarella, so I decided to make a Mexican pizza and use the cheddar I had.

Mexican pizzaIt’s topped with smoky oaxaca salsa, seitan chorizo, onions, portabella mushrooms, avocado, cilantro, and Daiya cheddar. It was delicious.


 

C-U Vegan Meetup, August Edition: Brunch

August’s Meetup for the C-U Vegan Meetup Group featured the most underrated meal of the day: brunch. Our small group gathered at Jason’s house to admire his staghorn fern (vegan taxidermy!), discuss how it gets watered, contemplate restroom fixtures and the people who love them, and enjoy some delicious vegan brunch dishes.

vegan chorizo scramble

Amber scrambled up a delicious combination of Soyrizo, tofu “eggs”, potatoes, peppers, and onions. I could eat this every day.

raspberries and cucumbers

Dana found a great sale on red raspberries and shared the bounty, along with some cucumbers from her CSA.

masala spiced donut bites

Dana also made Masala Spiced Donut Bites from Meet the Shannons. She did not disclose the calories per bite, which she actually dared to calculate. They’re baked, but rolled in melted Earth Balance and spiced sugar, resulting in deliciousness.

Amelia's coffee cake

Amelia baked a delicious coffee cake, filled with cinnamon streusel and walnuts. It contains yogurt, and was extra rich and tasty.

vegan diner herbed sausage patties

Amelia and Chase also brought delicious Herbed Breakfast Sausage Patties The recipe is from Vegan Diner, and the author, Julie Hasson, is a genius with seitan. I need to make these at home NOW since I found vegan English muffins last week. Veg McMuffin, anyone?

I missed getting photos for my own Biscuits and Sausage Gravy, but Dana managed to get great photos of some other yummy dishes, including baked french toast, tofu scramble, carrot and raisin muffins, tofu frittata, homemade tomato bagels topped with Parma!, roasted potatoes, and vegan egg rolls.

And on top of all this goodness, this weekend I found the scribbled-on-a-post-it recipe I made for Seitan Gyros! So now I just need to find some sumac and give it a little tweak, then unleash it upon the world. I’m contemplating shaping it into a big cone and steaming it that way for a little more authenticity.

 

Random Eating: Aug. 28 – Sep. 3

seitan fajitas

Seitan Fajitas: Simple Seitan from Veganomicon (similar recipe on Post Punk Kitchen), sauteed with taco seasonings (chili powder, paprika, cumin, onion, garlic), water, and vinegar. I was going for a chorizo-type flavor. It was very tasty, but I’m not sure about the texture of simmered seitan. I like it more chewy, like what you get from the Julie Hasson steaming method.

peaches and greens smoothie

It was still hot this week (it’s September already!) so I had a few smoothies. This is a Peaches and Greens Smoothie: coconut milk, agave nectar, kale, frozen bananas, frozen peaches.

ukranian borscht and waldorf salad

Lunch at work: red peppers and basic homemade hummus, grapes, waldorf salad (granny smith apples, black raisins, walnuts, cinnamon, low-fat Vegenaise), with Ukranian Borscht from Common Ground Co-Op.

portabella steak dinner

Portabella steak dinner: steak sauce-marinated mushrooms, yellow basmati rice, sauteed zucchini.

zaatar

This week I finally tried Za’atar. I am SO addicted! I’ve seen this many times at World Harvest foods, always sold in what seemed like very large bags, and wondered… who would need that much of a spice? Now I know.

Za’atar is a mixture of thyme, oregano, sumac, sesame seeds, salt, and other spices that you can mix with olive oil and use as a spread, dip, or condiment. I like it mixed with olive oil on bread. I sprinkled it on some spring mix salad. It’s also good with hummus.  I should make some chapatis for dipping.

channa masala with zaatar

Here is more za’atar, with basmati rice and channa masala.

mobile crockpot unit

Despite the 90 degree heat this week, I made a big hot crock pot of vegan chili to share with colleagues. Everyone liked it. I’ve made chili twice in the last two weeks, and I’m a little tired of it, so I think I’ll freeze the leftovers for later.

Random Food: Aug. 20-27

vegan firm tofu banh miFirm Tofu Banh Mi from Xinh Xinh Cafe. Cucumber, daikon, onion, carrot, super-hot jalapeños, cilantro, and delicately fried slices of tofu. There are herbs embedded in the tofu. I don’t understand how this is done, and I can’t question the deliciousness.

veggie fried spring rolls with riceVeggie fried spring rolls with rice.

vegan "Big Mac"-style Gardein burgerVegan “Big Mac” Gardein burger. Special sauce, lettuce, homemade pickles, onions, tomato.

pretzel rollsPretzel rolls from Serious Eats, made without the egg white-brushing step.

Vegan Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

vegan biscuits and sausage gravy

The phrase “stick to your ribs” comes to mind here. If you like hearty, peppery cream gravy (without the cream), this is a breakfast (or lunch or dinner) for you. Feel free to add as much pepper as you like.

The flaky, buttery biscuits come from the Veganomicon recipe for Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits (pg. 172) and they’re so easy to make. Just make the biscuits as directed, cut them into circles, and bake on a cookie sheet in a 425 degree F oven for about 10 minutes. Everyone in my house loves these biscuits. And I love Veganomicon! Everything from this book has been fantastic.

The sausage gravy recipe makes enough for a crowd. You can half the recipe, or refrigerate or freeze the leftovers. Add a little more soy milk when reheating to thin the gravy to a consistency appropriate for serving.

Vegan Sausage Gravy

Makes about 8 cups, so I hope you’re hungry!

Ingredients:
1 tbsp canola oil
1 pound LightLife Smart Ground sausage
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (2 sticks)
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/4 tsp ground sage
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp white pepper
dash of nutmeg
1-2 shakes Tabasco
2 tsp vegetable bouillon concentrate (I like Better Than Bouillon)
7 cups unsweetened soy milk

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add olive oil. Crumble in Smart Ground sausage and fry until golden, breaking up into small crumbles. Season with coarsely ground black pepper. Remove sausage from pan and set aside. *

Melt Earth Balance sticks in the saucepan. When fully melted, add flour and whisk until fully incorporated. Add sage, onion powder, garlic powder, nutmeg, Tabasco, and bouillon concentrate. Cook over medium low heat (mixture should be bubbly), stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until flour is toasted.

Add soy milk and whisk mixture until flour incorporates with milk. Bring to a simmer, and stir frequently until mixture thickens, about 15-20 minutes. Add a little more soymilk if mixture becomes too thick. Just before serving, add sausage back to mixture, and season to taste with salt and more freshly-ground black pepper. (We like it peppery!)

* Tip: I have tried making the roux right in with the sausage, as I have done for non-vegan sausage gravy, but it doesn’t work with Smart Ground, which absorbs liquid and becomes rather flabby when simmered in sauce. If you want a really close texture to actual sausage, add the Smart Ground back to the gravy right before serving.

buttery flaky vegan biscuitsHere are the biscuits flying solo. So light, flaky, and fluffy.

vegan biscuits

This biscuit looks a little worried! He’s about to be eaten with homemade blueberry jam. (Another one of Lance’s creations.) These babies are also great with a little amber agave nectar.