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Tag Archives: plant-based

Perfect, Fudgey, Crispy Vegan Brownies

8 Dec Perfect, Fudgey, Crispy Vegan Brownies

When I first discovered aquafaba, I made several attempts at creating a perfect brownie. 5 to be exact, within the span of a week.  Unfortunately, aquafaba doesn’t set like eggs do in baking, so it wasn’t a perfect replacer.  I did find adding a little tofu to set worked pretty well and ended up with dense gooey brownies, but I knew I could improve.

Perfect, Fudgey, Crispy Vegan Brownies

And then came the VeganEgg. That’s right, this recipe is going to require a hard to find ingredient. In fact, you may have to order it online (Amazon and Vegan Essentials carry it.) Sorry about that, but I promise you it’s worth finding! The VeganEgg will perform that crucial task of ‘setting’ during baking, while aquafaba helps create that desirable shiny, crispy crust. You can read my review of VeganEgg here.

One of the keys to brownie perfection is cooling time before cutting. You can even speed this up by tossing them in the freezer. If you cut them too early, that nice crackly crust will tear, leaving you with jagged edges and crumbles. If that doesn’t matter to you, feel free to eat them up while they’re still hot.

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Aquafaba Ranch and Tartar Sauce

2 Dec

So apparently I’m a little late to this party, because people have been making mayo with aquafaba since April. Can you believe it’s only been in the past year that aquafaba has been discovered? It seems like I read about it everywhere now!

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While I’m a big fan of Just Mayo by Hampton Creek, I also love to be able to make things from scratch. Tonight we’re having a fish fry with Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Shrimp and Gardein Fishless Filets, so tartar sauce was a must. The ranch? Well, I’m saving it for pizza Friday. I know I’m not the only person who dips pizza in ranch, so stop giving me that weird look. Continue reading

Quiche with VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart

28 Nov Quiche with VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart

I’m still enjoying experimenting with the Follow Your Heart VeganEgg because as I’ve admitted before, I tend to get “committed” (read: obsessed.) It’s been sold out by most retailers, but it should be coming from back to Amazon and Vegan Essentials soon! I’ll be checking regularly with the rest of you, because I know I’m going to run out!
Quiche with VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart

The carton of VeganEgg contains a recipe for quiche florentine, but I wanted to put my own twist on it by using a hashbrown crust and vegan sour cream. This came out even better than my previous tofu quiche texture, and I usually never admit to improvement. I think I could eat this daily for breakfast and never get sick of it. Like a proper Midwesterner, we ate this with ketchup for dipping, because in the Midwest we put ketchup on everything. Or maybe that’s just me and I’m using my location as an excuse. I guess we’ll never know.

Quiche with VeganEgg by Follow Your Heart

I would highly suggest prepping this early by getting your cold water ready, or even preparing your filling and crust the night before if you want to serve it for breakfast.

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Review: Follow Your Heart Vegan Egg

24 Nov

Long before the ages of the new vegan cheeses, there was Follow Your Heart. Their vegan cheeses were some of the first I tried when my husband had gone vegan and I was vegetarian. I’ll be honest, as a vegetarian, I wasn’t impressed.

And then they went and revamped their cheeses.  Holy cow…Have you tried them yet? They are my new favorite cheese on the market. Seriously, put down your phone/computer/tablet and go buy some or order it online.

So naturally when I heard Follow Your Heart was coming out with a Vegan egg, I was intrigued. Anyone who has been vegan for a certain period of time has tried the tofu scramble or chickpea flour omelettes, but there’s just something intrinsically different about scrambled eggs that neither can emulate.

And that’s where VeganEgg comes in.

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Thanksgiving Stuffed Squash

21 Nov Thanksgiving Stuffed Squash| Avocados and Ales

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and traditionally we have a “post-thanksgiving thanksgiving.” This year I decided to cook early, since we won’t be picking up any discounted Tofurky’s after Thanksgiving.Thanksgiving Stuffed Squash| Avocados and Ales

I’ve seen the recipe for vegducken circulating around Facebook for a few weeks, but for me, Thanksgiving is mostly about the sides. I thought “screw Vegducken, I just want potatoes and stuffing!” And that’s how this dish was born.

Thanksgiving Stuffed Squash | Avocados and Ales

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Review: Gardein Fishless Filets

4 Nov Review: Gardein Fishless Filets

Once upon a time, a long time ago (read: before I had a baby) Gardein sent me a few coupons so I could review their products. Well, those coupons came and went, and I never posted a review.  At the time, I intended to do a review of the new Fish Filets, but they’re old news now. With the new Crabless Cakes and Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites, they have plenty of new offerings that there aren’t hundreds of reviews on already. (Or maybe there are, I haven’t read them!)

But, the fishless filets hold a special place in my heart and my freezer.  I grew up eating fish filets on Fridays during Lent and I loved seafood before I discovered how awful the seafood industry really is.Review: Gardein Fishless Filets

One thing I really appreciate about Gardein is that they don’t cut corners when it comes to “short on time” options. We all know that’s code for “too dang busy chasing a toddler to cook.” I usually bake these if I get a chance to, but there’s been many a day where nap time happens and I use the microwave method. True story-you can microwave them for 2 minutes and get away with eating it floppy.

Review: Gardein Fishless Filets

 

I obviously had to showcase my new cheddar cheese recipe and the classic veganized McDonald’s filet-o-fish was an imperative. Have I told you guys we have a view of McDonald’s from our living room window? It’s pretty classy and definitely adds to our real estate value.

Review: Gardein Fishless Filets

The filets themselves are extremely reminiscent to their omnivore counterpart. There’s a vaguely fish-y flavor to them that isn’t strong as nori, but definitely makes you think “I’m eating fish.” I’ve had a few “tofu fish” sandwiches and there’s just some things that aren’t perfectly replicated with nori and deep frying. I believe it’s the algal oil that contributes to the fish-flavor, but they probably have some other awesome secrets to the taste. The breading and texture are spot on, they even “flake” apart while you’re biting into them (assuming you don’t swallow them whole.)

I made a simple tartar sauce for the sandwich with vegan mayo (I like Just Mayo, but you can also make your own), pickle relish, dill, parsley, and a splash of vinegar.

 

Review: Gardein Fishless Filets

 

If I had a rating system, I’d give these a 9/10. The only reason they aren’t a 10/10 is due to the lack of a family-size package. We can easily polish off a bag of these in one meal and I’d love to have a package that lasts two meals instead of just one.

Aquafaba Cheddar

3 Nov Aquafaba Cheddar

“But how do you live without cheese!”

If you’re vegan (or lactose intolerant) you’ve probably heard that at least once, or a thousand times. Thankfully, there’s been some really amazing vegan chefs who have made our cheeseless existence quite tolerable. Miyoko Schinner, Jay Astafa, Somer McGowan, and Skye Michael Conroy, have all taught me some valuable tips on vegan-cheese making. I actually took the inspiration from this from Richa Hingle at Vegan Richa.  Her vegan cheddar cheese ball came across my feed around Halloween and I knew the flavors would be perfect for an adaptation of my mozzerella aquafaba cheese. The original recipe that I drew inspiration from for the cashew mozzarella was developed by Jay Astafa. You can watch the YouTube video here. I noticed he uses soy lecithin as an emulsifier, which aquafaba has been shown to do in recipes like Nina’s butter and Peanut Butter and Vegan’s mayo. This inspired me to make the cashew mozzarella using aquafaba as the emulsifier.
Aquafaba Cheddar

Vegan cheese doesn’t create casein protein strands like dairy cheeses do, which is why we use tapioca starch to create that stretchy texture. Some places may have it labeled at tapioca flour, but they should be interchangeable. I find mine at an international market for a cheaper price. I use vegan lactic acid powder to create that dairy-like tang in this recipe. It’s definitely worth the purchase, but if you cannot buy it, substitute a tablespoon of lemon juice instead. Since cheddar has a significant tang to it, I include apple cider vinegar as well as miso paste. Nutritional yeast also adds to the cheesy flavor. Refined coconut oil helps with firmness upon refrigeration and improves the mouthfeel and melt.

Most vegan cheeses use either agar or kappa carrageenan as a binder to be sliceable and shreddable. I choose to use kappa carrageenan, as I prefer the melt and mouthfeel it imparts. I am well aware that many people choose not to consume it and I completely respect that; this recipe may be possible with agar powder, but I have not tested it. If you do test it, please contact me with your results!

Aquafaba Cheddar

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out these other vegan cheese recipes:
Cheddar Cheese Ball
Another Cheddar Cheese Ball
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Cultured Cheddar

The Vegan Meringue group on is a great place for more aquafaba recipes as well.

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Soy Yogurt

10 Sep

So you want to make your own yogurt? I said the same thing a couple years ago and have tried many different methods, milks, cultures, etc. The great thing about yogurt is that once you have a culture going, you can keep culturing multiple batches. It’s kind of like friendship bread in that way. The first method I tried was using a slow cooker to heat the milk to just under scalding, then letting it come back down to culturing temperature and culturing in the pot in an oven. It worked quite well, but never got extremely thick. If you don’t have an Instant Pot or yogurt maker, I would highly recommend this method.

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Culturing needs to be done at 110°F, which is why an Instant Pot or yogurt maker will work best. I always sterilize all of my tools and yogurt containers before starting this. You can either use a dishwasher to sterilize or boiling water, whatever works best for you.

There are several different brands of yogurt culture available. I tend to use Belle + Bella, but Cultures for Health and any other non dairy yogurt can be used. If using non dairy yogurt, use somewhere 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup to start your culture.

I use either Westsoy Organic Unsweetened or Silk Unsweetened Soy Milk to make my yogurt, but try to use it upon first opening it. If you use it after it has already been open, there’s a chance that other bacteria can contaminate the batch and grow during the culturing.
You can also use homemade soy milk, if you want to go to that much effort. Other plant milks won’t thicken well because of the lack of protein, but the cornstarch can help them come close to the thickness of dairy yogurt.

If you don’t mind a little sweetness, you can add a little sugar which will help the yogurt culture quickly. You can also use a premade vanilla soymilk with added sugar if you want a sugary yogurt (it will still have less sugar than the store-bought kind.) The bacteria in yogurt use sugar as food, so the more sugar in the milk the quicker it will culture.

This yogurt can also me made without the cornstarch, but it won’t be as thick as pictured. I’ve found I prefer the texture of the thicker yogurt and straining with a cheesecloth has never helped me much.

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If your cornstarch clumps on you, and immersion blender can be used in the pot to break up the clumps. Cornstarch does tend to cause a skin to form, so be sure to give it regular stirs in the pot to avoid this. I use a regular instant read thermometer to check the temperature, but if you miss the 108-112°F window, you can easily heat it up a bit to get it to the right temperature.

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Eggplant Stacks

6 Sep

Our local farmers market runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays and I like to take my daughter with and pick out a few vegetables for meals during the week. Last week we found this pretty purple and white striped eggplants.
Eggplant Stacks

Tonight I wanted to combine the remaining eggplant and my favorite cheese recipe, from here.
It’s not quite eggplant parmesan, but you could easily fry these during the saute step! I served them with fettucine, but angel hair or capellini would be equally as beautiful here.
Eggplant Stacks

Our garden is still producing massive amounts of cherry tomatoes, so they’re making another appearance here. Substitute regular tomatoes if you don’t have cherry tomatoes.
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Pizza Hummus

4 Sep

If you’ve read any other recipes on this site, you’ll surely notice that I’ve mentioned my favorite foods are pizza and sushi.

A few weeks ago, someone shared a recipe for pizza hummus from Chocolate Covered Katie and I knew my next batch was going to have to be pizza flavored. Since the prompt for yesterday’s VeganMoFo was “quick, easy, and delicious” this recipe seemed like a great choice.

We’ve gone through a lot of chickpeas making aquafaba, but when I make hummus, I make a LOT of hummus. We eat all but a small portion, and then we don’t want hummus again for weeks. I like to use my chickpeas as protein in other recipes like this curry, this chipotle chickpea salad, and fried rice.

I haven’t had a beer recommendation in a while, but despite the hot weather, we’re already in pumpkin beer mode here. I’m currently drinking this Pumpkin Smasher from a local brewery in Illinois.

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(I borrowed this picture from their website.) I usually stick to the Pumpkin Ale from Schlafly brewery but this is a nice alternative. Speaking of Schlafly, I spent 2 hours on my birthday weekend touring the facilities with the owner. It was quite the birthday present and we got to try plenty of samples, straight from the tap.

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But back to hummus…I’ve found the key to silky smooth hummus is removing the skins. This takes forever, but is totally worth the effort and becomes kind of relaxing after a while. I suggest washing your hands thoroughly beforehand, as you don’t want any icky germs in your hummus.

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