Hawaiian Stuffed Shells

DSC_0055

July 26, 2013 By

Well, I’m back in Florida. Ah, finally, I have been reunited with Pubilx, my Nutribullet, my crockpot, and my food processor!

Matt will come home in a few weeks, so I have a few weeks to have a little bit of glutenous freedom with my dishes! Desserts to come, but for now,  let’s talk about the stuffed shells.

First off, let me say that it’s insane that I haven’t found any gluten-free versions of jumbo shells! If any of you have found this gem, please let me know.

After creating my Ricotta Cheese recipe, there were several items I had in mind to use with the invention, and stuffed shells was one of them.

I don’t know if it was the Florida vibe or the fact that summer will be wrapping up soon, but I’ve been craving something tropical. You know, like a Hawaiian pizza, wrapped up in a fancy presentation. Thus, the Hawaiian Stuffed Shell was born!

Your customary stuffed shell might be traditionally Italian, but I liked how unique this tasted! If you like coconut and pineapple, then you’ll love these shells. They were sweet, tangy, and fun. If you’re feeling up for a bit of an tropical adventure, give ’em a shot!

 

Hawaiian Stuffed Shells

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of jumbo shell pasta
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 ball of ricotta cheese (see recipe here)
  • 4oz tempeh, diced (half the package, but if you want a “meatier” stuffed shell, add more)
  • 1 package of mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup spinach, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup pineapples, finely chopped
  • 2 tbs shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 3 tbs warm water
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 2 tbs tamari sauce
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • salt/pepper to taste

 

STEP 1: Prepare, prepare, prepare! If you haven’t made your ricotta cheese yet, I suggest making that first. See the recipe here on how it’s done.

DSC_0032

 

Start a pot of boiling water for your jumbo shells. You won’t need all of them, but it’s up to you whether you boil the whole box or not. Make sure you take a few minutes off of the cook time on the shells, since they will continue to cook in the oven. The box on my shells said to boil for 14-15 minutes, so I cooked mine for 12 minutes.

 

When the shells are done and strained, you might want to run them under cold water for a few seconds to cool them down. You’re going to stuff them a few minutes later, and I’m sure you don’t feel like burning your hands off today.

DSC_0027

 

STEP 2: Start a small skillet on medium for your tempeh. Use the 2 tablespoons of oil to start. Once you have placed the tempeh on the hot skillet, drizzle the tamari sauce and lemon juice onto the tempeh. Keep the tempeh on until about golden brown on both sides, which should take 5-7 minutes total.

DSC_0030

 

STEP 3: Prepare your oven pan by spraying cooking spray onto a 13 x 9 pan. Place the sliced mushrooms on the bottom of the pan.

I don’t like placing the mushrooms into the shells, as they tend to get a bit juicy when they cook, which might make the ricotta cheese do some funny, undesirable things. However, when it’s placed on the bottom of the pan, it gets the perfect amount of cook time to where it’s plump, juicy, and perfect!

DSC_0035

 

STEP 4: Place the cooked tempeh, pineapple, ricotta cheese, shredded coconut, and salt/pepper into a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the 1 tablespoon of chia seed with the 3 tablespoons of water, let it sit and magically form into its sticky goo, and combine it into the mixture. Stir it up!

DSC_0001

DSC_0043

 

STEP 4: Let’s stuff some shells, baby. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of mixture and stuff it in a shell. Stuff at your own discretion, but remember, it might change your serving size. This is the amount I stuffed mine with:

DSC_0045

 

STEP 5: Pour the whole jar of your favorite pasta sauce on top of your shells. Then, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.

DSC_0053

 

STEP 6: After baking, uncover and enjoy! Unless you would like to burn the ish out of your tongue, I suggest that you patiently wait just 5 minutes longer to let them cool down. Or, do what I do and impatiently dive right in, blowing the crap out of every bite prior to putting it in my mouth.

DSC_0055

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

Read More...

Buffalo Quinoa Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

DSC_0059

July 17, 2013 By

There is a new and improved version of this recipe. To view it, click here!

 

The idea for this recipe developed from two inspirations: my favorite local vegan restaurant & Pinterest.

At Dandelion Communitea Cafe in Orlando, FL, they have a variety of vegan and gluten-free options. I try to avoid getting in the rut of ordering the same thing every time, so recently, I ordered the Buffalo 66, a quinoa salad with tempeh tenders, veggies, and “blue cheese” dressing. When I tried this dish, my mouth was exploding in a flavor-war between the heat of the buffalo and the chill from the blue cheese. You know the devil & angel on your shoulders, pulling you in either direction? It was like that… but in my mouth, and delicious. The freshness of the veggies and the absorbency of the quinoa really pulled this dish together to make a truly exquisite dish.

Afterward, I told myself, “I have to make this!”

Flash forward to last night. It was time.

 

As for Pinterest, who isn’t inspired by the ideas people bring into this world on a daily basis? It took a bit of research to find a good “blue cheese” dressing. It wasn’t until this popular pin by PETA that I felt like I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

So, with a combination of ideas, as well as specific options that were found in my local grocery store, I created this mouth-watering, scarf-worthy, and heavenly dish! Seriously guys, it might be the best thing I’ve ever made. Oh yeah, and Matt helped, and his help made this dish even more awesome! It’s true that it takes one to have a good idea, but 2+ to make a good idea great!

 

Buffalo Quinoa Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Prep Time: 30 minutes (can be done during cook time)

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (to boil quinoa in)
  • 1 bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce (use as needed)
  • 1 cup GF Seasoned Coating Mix
  • 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (will become roasted, drizzle with Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce)
  • 1 package of tempeh, sliced (8oz)
  • 1 cup of carrots
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • ½ small onion

For Blue Cheese Dressing:

  • 1 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp tahini
  • 1/4 tsp agave nectar
  • a dash of garlic powder
  • 1/8 block of firm tofu, drained and pressed

 

 

STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain chickpeas and pat dry. Get an oven pan oiled and ready, place chickpeas onto the pan, and dress them with 3-4 tbs of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce. Move your fingers along the tops of the chickpeas and place them in the oven for about 60 minutes.

DSC_0018

A hand model BY NO MEANS.

 

DSC_0019

 

STEP 2: Tempeh time! After slicing your tempeh, gather 2 bowls and an oiled oven tray to create an assembly line. In the first bowl, pour some buffalo wing sauce. In the second bowl, pour some GF Seasoned Coating Mix. When everything is ready, dip your tempeh into the buffalo wing sauce, followed by the seasoning, and place it on the tray. Place in the oven with the chickpeas. They should cook for about 30-35 minutes.

Atten-TION!

Atten-TION!

DSC_0039

DSC_0041

 

STEP 3: Time to create the dressing! Gather your ingredients and mix them all into a small bowl, except for the tofu. You will drain and press your tofu, then crumble it up (I did this by taking a spoon and flattening out the tofu). Mix in with the dressing, cover, and place into the fridge until ready.

DSC_0004

DSC_0009

 DSC_0014

 

STEP 4: With 20 minutes left on the chickpeas/tempeh, get your quinoa ready. I used 1 cup of quinoa. Use the 2 cups of water to boil your quinoa, then let it simmer (covered) for 15 minutes.

DSC_0031

 

STEP 5: You’re cooking 3 things at once, yet you have one more task! Get a big bowl ready, cut up the carrots, celery, and onion, and place them in the bowl.

The perfect medley of freshness!

The perfect medley of freshness!

 

STEP 6: When everything is done cooking, mix the steaming-hot quinoa and chickpeas in the bowl with the veggies. Gather your rather large helping (your stomach won’t let you get a small one, I promise you), place your tempeh tenders on top, and garnish with a little more buffalo sauce and your dressing.

Chickpeas are done!

Chickpeas are done!

DSC_0057

Tempeh tenders are done!

The tempeh tenders were fantastic. In fact, they’re amazing by themselves! I might make them as a finger food one day… hmm, perhaps the Superbowl…

 

DSC_0059

DSC_0062

There was no way to make the dish look cute with this clumpy dressing.

There was no way to make the dish look cute with this clumpy dressing.

DSC_0065

Anyway, this dish is tantalizing and all-out amazing. Stop what you’re doing and make this today. Your tastebuds, and your audience, will thank you.

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

Read More...

Gluten-Free Meatballs

DSC_0029

July 16, 2013 By

I don’t feel comfortable calling these meatballs. I tried a few different spelling variations, like meitballs, “meat”balls, or my personal fave, meetballs, but the latter seemed a little too risqué.

So, it will just be meatballs, and people will get the picture when they see that the name of the website is “This Vegan Girl.”

 

So, what makes the perfect meatball? To me, the perfect meatball must encompass the following attributes:

  1. Firm enough to hold it’s own (doesn’t crumble)
  2. Moist, not dry
  3. Has absorbed the outside tomato juices (comes from slow cooking)

Now, I can say that these meatballs you are about to see fit in the first and second criteria. I’m not sure about the third, as I did not cook these meatballs in a crockpot.

The meatball’s main ingredients are tempeh, chia seeds, and a little bit of GF all-purpose flour. The tempeh made it firm, while the chia seeds and GF flour work together to really hold this thing together and gives it its moistness.

For those of you who prefer to use flax seed as an egg substitute, I’m not sure if that would work in this recipe. You need a really firm and sticky binding agent for this recipe, and I think flax seed might be a bit too goopy.

 

These meatballs are packed with nutrition! Between the tempeh and the chia seeds alone, you are getting a good source of protein, omega-3’s, phosphorous, fiber, and calcium! Not only that, but chia seeds contain Tryptophen, the same amino acid found in turkey that makes you so sleepy after eating it. Eat my meatballs and prepare for the ultimate post-meal coze*!

 

Gluten-Free Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35+ minutes

Yield: 12 small/medium-sized meatballs

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of tempeh (8oz)
  • 2 tbs GF all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 3 tbs warm water
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • GF seasoned coating mix (to coat meatballs)
  • 1 jar of marinara/pasta sauce

 

STEP 1: Prepare your chia seed by combining the chia seed with warm water in a small bowl. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Almost like magic, the seeds grow and become sticky and gelatin-like!

DSC_0001

 

STEP 2: While your chia seeds are doing magical things, prepare the rest of your meatball mixture. Start by cutting the tempeh into tiny pieces. I did not use a blender or food processor to ground up my tempeh, but I’m not knocking the idea.

Cut the onion into tiny pieces as well (do NOT use a food processor for that step… we don’t want a watery mess!) Add those ingredients, including the GF flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, in a bowl.

 

STEP 3: Using your (clean) fingers, mix it up! Create a giant ball so you know that it will bind well. If your meatball is not sticking, I’d add a tiny bit of water.

Next, start creating your meatballs. My mixture made 12 small-to-medium-sized  meatballs.

One giant meatball!

One giant meatball!

DSC_0013

 

STEP 4: Place your meatballs on a plate with your GF Seasoned Coating Mix. My GF seasoned coating mix was from Hodgson Mill, and the ingredients seemed simple: “Brown Rice Flour, Salt, Natural Spices, Extracts; and Herbs.” When I placed my finger in it, it was salty and had a good taste. Sounds good to me!

Your meatballs should be slightly sticky to the touch. If not, coat your fingers with water and move your fingers along your meatballs. Then, move the meatballs in circles through the seasoning and around the plate until they are fully coated.

DSC_0012

Nervous meatballs on the sidelines, anxiously waiting for their turn.

DSC_0016

DSC_0017

STEP 5: Place meatballs on an oiled-up pan and put them in the oven at 375°F for 30 minutes. Halfway through cooking, move them around a bit so they cook at a different angle.

DSC_0022

 

STEP 6: Take out your meatballs and place them in a pot with your favorite pasta sauce. On low-medium heat, cover your meatballs for 5+ minutes. I say + because I think the longer they cook, the better they will taste. This is completely up to you, though.

DSC_0023

 

STEP 7: Remove with a ladle and prepare to enjoy! These would be great on top of spaghetti, but we just ate ours by themselves. They were great!

DSC_0032

DSC_0029

DSC_0033

 

*coze

[kohz] cozed, coz·ing, related to the adjective cozy

verb (used without object)

  • to be in a comfortable, snuggly position. Let’s coze together.

noun

  • a comfortable, snuggly position. This is such a coze.

 

 

Happy cooking!

This Vegan Girl Logo

 

 

Read More...

Gluten-Free Balsamic Veggie Wrap

DSC_0046

July 12, 2013 By

Members of the gluten-free community get the crap end of the stick sometimes.

At Publix in Florida, they sell Goodbye Gluten wraps (not vegan, so I don’t eat them, but he enjoys them.)  Here in Mississippi, Matt and I spend quite a good chunk of time searching for gluten-free wraps at our local grocery store. We were really disappointed when we didn’t end up finding what we were looking for.

You know, sometimes, people in the GF community don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen creating things that “normal” people find 20 varieties of in the grocery store, like GF wraps. If I’m feeling especially lazy that day, shouldn’t I have at least one option that I can just fall back on? It’s very frustrating sometimes.

With this recipe, we ended up settling with Corn Tortillas. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, as I wanted something bigger and with a more flour-y taste, but at least we had something.

 

Despite the initial dilemma, these ended up tasting amazing. It tasted like sweet, sweet summer! The flavors blended nicely. These would be perfect for a picnic lunch, or perhaps a light dinner.

 

Gluten-Free Balsamic Veggie Wrap

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5-10 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

 

Wrap Ingredients:

  • 1 package of your favorite tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 peach
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatos, quartered
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1 handful of natural almonds, halved
  • 1 handful of kale, chopped
  • vegan cream cheese (optional)

 

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs balsamic glaze
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

 

STEP 1: Begin by boiling your edamame. No exact measurements here. I just boiled some water and threw a couple handfuls of edamame in there. Boil for 3 minutes, drain, and set aside.

DSC_0009

 

STEP 2: Cut up all your fruits, veggies, and nuts!

DSC_0016

 

STEP 3: Create your balsamic glaze and whisk it up!

DSC_0024
 

STEP 4: If you’re using corn tortillas like I did, start a non-greased skillet on the stove with medium-high heat. Throw on your corn tortilla for 10 seconds on the first side, flip, and 5 seconds on the second side. Don’t get cocky with this or you’re tortilla will get burnt!

But don’t worry, there’s 50 more tortillas in the bag anyway, so play around with it and see what works for you and your stove.

Quick as a snake, swift as a deer.

Quick as a snake, swift as a deer.

 

DSC_0019

Good tortilla!

 

BAD tortilla!

BAD tortilla!

 

STEP 4: Begin building your masterpiece! If you’re looking for a more wholesome wrap, leave off the cream cheese. However, if you don’t mind splurging a bit, the cream cheese is an lovely addition.

 

Without cream cheese:

DSC_0044

 

 

DSC_0046

 

DSC_0049

 

With cream cheese:

 

Double Trouble! (glued with cream cheese)

Double Trouble! (glued with cream cheese)

 

DSC_0055

DSC_0061

DSC_0062

 

MMMMMMMM!

 

 

If you love the pet pics, here’s one I got while I was making my wraps. This is Nala, my roommates’ Rottweiler puppy. It’s so difficult to get a picture of this fiesty, wiggly girl, but here she is!

DSC_0043

“I can’t have a wrap?” 🙁

 

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

Read More...

Gluten-Free Tempeh Chili

DSC_0135

July 11, 2013 By

Growing up, my mom made two things that really rocked: meatballs and chili. Surprisingly, she wasn’t even a beef person, really, but she cooked it damn well. Her ingredients were simple and her recipes weren’t complicated. I think the secret to her success was her crockpot.

Oh, the crockpot. It was such a glorious day when I inherited that crockpot from her (when I moved out). Along with it, she gave me her recipes for those two marvelous things she made. And soon, I too became good at cooking meatballs and chili.

chili

The old Shoemaker chili, back in the beef & cheese days.

But the day came when I became vegan, and I gave up my meatball and chili dreams…

… until now.

I had lost all hope until I visited one of my favorite local vegan restaurants, Dandelion Communitea Café. They feature a “famous chili,” vegan of course, yet it had a curious ingredient I had never had before: ~TEMPEH~

At the time, I was baffled. Especially when I went to the store and checked the packaging. What the heck (keeping it nice) is this stuff? It looks like a brain, I thought.

Of course, now, I know tempeh pretty well, as most vegans do. It’s a great beef substitute. It’s firm, has a nutty flavor, and can be sliced into strips, diced into chunks, or ground up. It’s perfect for chili.

Unfortunately for me, since I’m in Mississippi on vacation, I don’t have my crockpot. ☹

So I did it the old-fashioned way and put a big pot on the stove, which is OKAY, I GUESS. However, if you’re lucky enough to have a crockpot, lug that thing out of the shadows and put it to work!

 

Gluten-Free Tempeh Chili
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time – 4 hours
Yield – 4-6 servings

ESSENTIALS

  • 1 package of tempeh (8oz)
  • 1 15oz can stewed tomatoes, halved
  • 1 can of white beans
  • 1 can of kidney beans (dark or light)
  • 1 cup of onions, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 packet/mix of chili
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs fresh or dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • salt/pepper to taste

OPTIONALS

  • ¼ cup celery
  • ¼ cup carrots
  • ½ cup green/yellow/red pepper
  • 1 avocado, sliced (garnish)
  • a dollop of vegan sour cream (garnish)
  • tortilla chips (as a pairing)

DSC_0096 

STEP 1: Start cutting up your tempeh into diced pieces. I love cutting tempeh because I feel like I can make the perfect little squares out of it! Throw it in a bowl with 2 tbs olive oil and the oregano, garlic salt, salt, and pepper. Mix it up with your hands.

DSC_0089 DSC_0091

STEP 2: Heat a skillet to medium-low heat with 2 tbs olive oil. Once heated, throw the tempeh in the skillet for 5-10 minutes, stirring often. Watch it carefully, as it can burn easily. When finished, place chili in your crockpot or a big pot on your stove.

WARNING: Tempeh tends to get a bit crumbly when you’re cooking. Those little crumbles will become burnt while the rest of your tempeh is still cooking. Do NOT add those burnt pieces to your chili, as it will give your chili a bitter taste.

DSC_0092

Before…

 

DSC_0099

After

STEP 3: Rinse and drain your beans.

As for your stewed tomatoes, we want those tomato juices in our chili, so don’t drain the stewed tomatoes! A personal preference of mine is to cut them in half, but my mother would tell you otherwise. Do as you want with them.

Dump everything in the pot when finished. Use your stewed tomato can to add water to your chili. Fill up your can twice and pour it in the pot.

DSC_0114 DSC_0105

 

STEP 4: Cut up your garlic, onion, & optionals!

Chili is awesome because you can really throw in any kind of vegetable you’ve got laying around. I like seeing a few colors in my chili, so I try to include a pepper and something green. Corn is a nice addition, too, if you have it. Get creative!

Place everything in the pot when finished.

DSC_0104

 

 

STEP 5: Mix in chili mix and get this party started.

I had always used your basic 99¢ chili mix in my pre-Matt days, but all of those have gluten in them. Hmm… who knew?

So now, I use Carroll Shelby Chili Kit. I’ve seen it at most grocery stores for a little over $2, but it’s so worth the extra money. The ingredients aren’t scary and don’t leave anything to the imagination. Also, you have the power to make your chili as salty, spicy, and thick as you want!

DSC_0109

DSC_0110

Included in the kit are packages of Chili Spice, Salt, Cayenne Pepper, and Corn Masa Flour (for thickness).

Since I like things hot and Matt likes things salty, I threw in all of the chili spice, salt, and cayenne pepper. I even threw in a little additional salt for safe measure. Save the corn masa flour for the end, when the chili is done cooking.

The box has a nice set of instructions on the back to help you with your packets.
DSC_0112

 

STEP 5: Stir up your pot, cover it, and let your chili cook on low heat for at least 4 hours. Some crockpots get extremely hot even on low heat; if this is the case with yours, you might want to add a little extra water for some added measure, as you don’t want all of your liquid to evaporate and your contents to burn. DSC_0117

DSC_0118

Bye! See you in a few hours!

STEP 6: There should be an amazing aroma wafting through your house right about now. Unveil your chili, marvel at it, and add your corn masa flour to desired thickness. I added half of my packet, but you decide. Cover your chili and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

STEP 7: Have some sliced avocado and vegan sour cream ready. Unveil your chili again, marvel at it again, and spoon it in a bowl. Top with your garnishes and enjoy!

DSC_0124 DSC_0134 DSC_0135

NO FLEEGLE, you may not have any.

DSC_0128 DSC_0127 DSC_0126
… don’t give me that face.

Happy cooking!
thisvegangirllogo

Read More...

Mexican Pizza

IMG_6865

July 7, 2013 By

Do you want a dish that will make even the biggest vegan skeptics begging you for more? Look no further than this Mexican Pizza!

This is adapted from Vegan Richa, who has incredible recipe ideas! (Thank you!)

I adore this recipe because it’s really easy. It’s unlike any kind of pizza most people have ever tasted. You can make it as mild -or hot- as you want. I’ve made this pizza for almost every non-vegan I know and they always seem blown away at how delicious and flavorful it is.

In fact, I’ve made it so many times that I’ve kind of made my own adaptations to the recipe.

 

Mexican Pizza

Soak Time: 8 hours/overnight

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1-2 pizza dough balls

1 can of refried beans (I do Old El Paso Fat Free refried beans, as it is the only one without lard)

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 red onion

1-2 avocado

1-2 tbs olive oil

1/2 lime, squeezed

a small bunch of kale, chopped

salt/pepper to taste

 

Lemon & Lime Crema Ingredients:

1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for 8 hours/overnight

1/2 tsp salt

1-2 garlic cloves

1/2 lemon, squeezed

1/2 lime, squeezed

lemon/lime zest

 

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 400° F. Spread your pizza dough out on your cooking pan. Spread the refried beans on top of the dough. Place in the oven when ready. It should cook for about 20 minutes.

IMG_6860

 

IMG_6862

 

 

STEP 2: Create your lemon/lime crema. Drain your soaked cashews and place them in a food processor. Slowly fill up your food processor with water until it barely covers the top of your cashews. Turn your food processor on high. It might be a few minutes until they  become creamy.

After that, mix in your other ingredients. It may seem like a ton of flavor now, but you’ll thank me later when it’s on top of the pizza! Place in the refrigerator to cool.

 

Soaked cashews.

Soaked cashews.

 


IMG_6859

 

 

 

STEP 3: Prepare your pizza toppings. In a bowl, combine the fruits/vegetables, oil, juice, and seasonings into the bowl and mix.

IMG_6863

 

 

STEP 4: By this time, your dough should be ready! Take out the dough, spread out your toppings, and pour the Lemon/Lime crema on top!

IMG_6865

 

 

STEP 5: Get to this thing as fast as possible before it’s all gone.

 

I LOVE to smother the heck out of this bad boy with hot sauce. It pairs so well with the coolness of the Lemon/Lime crema.

 

I’m drooling just looking at this thing. Stop what you’re doing right now and make this insanely tasty pizza!

 

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

Read More...

Gluten-Free Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

DSC_0085

July 7, 2013 By

Matt and I haven’t been together for a long time (only over a year), but it didn’t take but a few months to realize that he seriously needed to amp up his gluten-free diet.

His go-to meal would be steak, potatoes, asparagus… steak, potatoes, asparagus… STEAK, POTATOES, ASPARAGUS! I mean, he was damn good at making steak, potatoes, and asparagus, but God, eat something new once in a while!

For Christmas, I decided to get him a really great gluten-free cookbook. No, not like some of them out there that have recipes on How To Make a Really Good Salad! Ugh, that just boils me. Celiacs and gluten-free intolerants have had enough of going to restaurants and only being able to eat a salad (without croutons!). I didn’t need an ignorant cookbook.

What I wanted was a cookbook that could make gluten-free miracles: muffins, cookies, and pancakes. After a bit of searching, I found THIS: The Healthy Gluten-Free Life by Tammy Crendicott.

At the time of purchase, I was NOT vegan, so I was a bit confused about the whole dairy-free, egg-free, and soy-free recipes and why it was so relevant. Imagine my delight when a month after he opened up his gift that I became vegan, and how wonderful this cookbook truly is.

This cookbook does contain meat recipes, as it is NOT a vegan cookbook, but the breakfast entrees and desserts (the recipes without meat) are just marvelous. We use it all the time, especially to satisfy our sweet teeth!

So, here’s a modified version of the cupcakes and frosting The Healthy Gluten-Free Life has presented. These cupcakes are so moist, so lemony, and so scrumdidlyumptious!

 

 

Gluten-Free Lemon Poppyseed Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

 

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup teff flour
  • 1/3 cup millet flour
  • 1/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 3 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 heaping tbs poppyseed

 

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 3/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs baking powder (to mix with applesauce)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened organic applesauce, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup warm water

 

Lemon Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance butter
  • 2 tbsp pure lemon extract
  • lemon zest
  • 1 lb organic powdered sugar

 

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Take out your colossal gluten-free flour collection and get to work whisking all the dry ingredients together (except the poppyseed).

DSC_0051

 

 

STEP 2: In a large bowl, mix the applesauce and baking powder together. Then, add all of the rest of the wet ingredients (except the warm water).

DSC_0050

 

 

STEP 3: A little at a time, start adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time until all the ingredients are mixed together. Then, take your water and add it a little at a time until you’ve got the consistency of cake batter.

DSC_0054

 

 

STEP 4: Add poppyseed! Mix on high for 1 minute. Or if you’re like me and have no mixer in Mississippi, get your boyfriend to use his ~manly strength~ to mix it really fast for you for a whole minute.

DSC_0060

 

 

STEP 5: Pour your mix into cupcake cups. Gluten-free mixes don’t rise like all-purpose flour does, so if you want your cupcakes at/above the liner line, fill your cupcake cups about 3/4 full. Place in the oven for 15-17 minutes.

DSC_0068

 

 

STEP 6: In the meantime, make your icing! Gather your icing ingredients. For the best, fluffiest results, blend the butter, extract, and zest first. Then, add powdered sugar a little at a time until it has the desired frosting consistency.

Me? It was 10:00 at night and I got lazy and dumped/stirred everything in at once. The icing ended up having awesome flavor, but it wasn’t as fluffy as I would’ve liked. Oh well… it was still finger-licking good.

DSC_0074

 

 

DSC_0079

 

 

STEP 7: Take your cupcakes out of the oven, admire how lovely the look, and let them cool.

DSC_0075

 

 

STEP 8: Don’t bake your cupcakes at 10:00pm like I did, or else you won’t let them cool down fully and you’ll frost them when they’re still a bit warm in the middle. It melted my frosting a teensy bit (on top of me being lazy with the mixing of the frosting), but nonetheless, these were still FINGER-LICKIN’ DANKNESS. Garnish with a bit more poppyseed and you’ve got yourself some delicious cupcakes!

DSC_0086

 

DSC_0085

 

 

Happy baking!

thisvegangirllogo

Read More...

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

DSC_0106

July 3, 2013 By

Ever since turning vegan, there are certain foods that I find myself gravitating toward time and time again. For me, that food is the chickpea. Can we agree that chickpeas are the #1 vegan food?

 

I find myself using chickpeas to create a multitude of substitutions. Whether mashed, cooked, or raw, these beans are something I can always count on for good texture.

 

I don’t know about you, but every now and again, I find myself craving a salad sandwich. You know, egg salad or tuna salad.  It’s not an every day craving, but its one I have maybe about once every 2 months or so. Well, leave it to chickpeas – once again – to save the day in a time of a vegan craving crisis.

 

Here’s my take on a chickpea salad sandwich. It’s gluten-free, so Celiacs can use GF bread or GF crackers to make this thing happen for them, too.

 

 

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Yield: 3-4 sandwiches

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained, washed, and patted dry
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 5 petite pickles, thinly sliced
  • 8 baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • ¼ – ½ sweet or white onion, diced
  • ¼ cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup Veganaise*
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • ½ of a lemon, squeezed for juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • dash of sweetener (if using Veganaise, in order to really make those flavors pop!)
  • fresh spinach (optional)
  • your favorite vegan and/or gluten free bread (make sure it’s thick… this sandwich can get heavy!)

 

 

*SIDE NOTE: I’m visiting my boyfriend in Mississippi, and there was NO Veganaise to be found at the local grocery store! If you are in this predicament as well, I substituted So Delicious Coconut Milk Plain yogurt. It’s a bit on the sweet side, so I used lots of tart spices in the yogurt to even out the taste.

DSC_0087

 

 

 

STEP 1: Have a really cute animal nearby to help you out and brighten your spirit.

DSC_0085

DSC_0086

DSC_0091

Peeking-around-the-corner boy!

This is my baby Fleegle. He’s a one year-old cockatiel, and he’s my sunshine. He injured his little foot recently, so that’s why his foot is sticking up like that :(. Don’t worry though; with the help of my vet, Fleegle is on the road to recovery!

 

 

STEP 2: Cut chickpeas in half.

DSC_0084

You see why you need an animal to brighten your spirits? It’s because cutting these little chickpeas is tedious and annoying. A whole chickpea is a bit thick, so cutting them in half really helps to spread that taste throughout. This step alone takes about 10 minutes, but I promise you it’s worth it!

 
STEP 3: Cut up the rest of your vegetables.

DSC_0096

 

 

 

STEP 4: Using the spices and vegan mayo, create your Veganaise mixture. Sample the mixture throughout and cater to your own personal taste!

DSC_0093

 

 

STEP 5: Mix everything together.

DSC_0100

 

 

STEP 6: Place some fresh spinach at the bottom of one of your bread slices. Then, scoop some chickpea salad and place it on top of the spinach layer. Finally, top of your sandwich with your other bread slice.

DSC_0102

 

DSC_0105

 

 

DSC_0106

 

DSC_0110

 

 

MMMMMM! Perfect for summer and outdoor adventures!

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

Read More...

Fried Gluten-Free Chickun Nuggets

DSC_0073

July 3, 2013 By

There’s a vegan restaurant named Ethos Vegan Kitchen in my area. They have so many dishes that inspire my recipes. (Stop by if you’re ever in the Orlando area!)

 

I had my first taste of “chickun” at Ethos. After indulging in a bite, it took me a second to make myself believe that it was actually vegan. It seriously tasted “just like chicken,” as the saying goes.

 

Since becoming vegan, my tofu adventures have always turned into tofu disasters. Well, not today, I’ve decided. I am going to MAKE that tofu taste like chicken, dammit. Since the 4th of July is in a few days, I wanted to make something that is fried, crispy, and all-out delicious. This meal is not the most nutritious, but hey, we vegans gotta keep it real and have fun sometimes.

 

An old friend of mine (a long time friend, not a 60 year-old friend) assisted me in making my chickun nuggets. They turned out just the way I wanted them to; the nostalgic fried-ness was crispy on the outside and chicken-like on the inside.

 

Get some friends together and make gluten-free chickun nuggets today!

 

Fried Gluten-Free Chickun Nuggets

Yield: 3-4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of super firm cubed tofu (frozen, then de-frosted)
  • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs pepper
  • 1 tbs poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 cups canola oil

 

STEP 1: Place the oil in a deep skillet on the stove. Turn the heat on to a medium-low setting (a 3 or 4 on most stoves).

 

STEP 2: Gather all your ingredients. In one bowl, mix the gluten-free flour and all the seasonings. In a different bowl, combine the chia seed and warm water. Allow the chia seeds to absorb the water and get gooey, which takes about 5 minutes. That is your “egg batter.”

DSC_0049

 

 

 

STEP 3: Form an assembly line! Take some tofu cubes, place them in the chia seeds, and then place them in the flour mixture.

DSC_0043

DSC_0050

DSC_0059

For added measure, I did that process 2x. I placed the tofu cubes from the flour mixture back in the chia seed pool, followed by another dip in the flour. By doing this, I could tell that the batter was thicker and more secure.

 

STEP 4: When you’ve breaded all your cubes, it’s time to place your cubes in the oil. Take a spatula, gather as many cubes that will fit on it, and place it in the oil GENTLY. (No splashing – it hurts BADLY.) When the nuggets are in the oil, occasionally mix the cubes around for about 3-5 minutes, until the cubes look a crispy golden brown.

DSC_0061

DO NOT DO THIS! YOU WILL BURN THE F OUT OF YOUR HAND!

DO NOT DO THIS! YOU WILL BURN THE HECK OUT OF YOUR HAND!

 

DSC_0075

 

 

STEP 5: Using the spatula, take out cubes and place them on a plate lined with paper towels.

DSC_0073

 

 

 

Get your favorite dipping sauce (I’m an old-fashioned ketchup girl myself) and get to enjoying your chickun nuggets!

 

DSC_0070

Look at that texture! Just like chicken!

DSC_0079

DSC_0080

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

 

Read More...

Rainbow Salad

DSC_0036

July 1, 2013 By

Quinoa/wild rice bowls are kind of a go-to for my boyfriend and I, as I’m sure it is for most vegans. There are many benefits in preparing a salad like this: it’s either a chance for you to show off your creative side (the possibilities are endless), or you have a ton of random fruits & vegetables that you need to use before they begin to rot.

 

For me, the best thing about a quinoa/wild rice bowl/salad is that I try to make it as nutritious as possible. When I cook for others, I often get complaints that I incorporate TOO MUCH vegetables, but for this dish, it’s perfectly acceptable.

 

One day, I was making a quinoa salad, and I noticed all of the nutritious colors in my bowl. I said, “Hey, it’s like a rainbow in here!” Thus, the Rainbow Salad* was born.

 

*Disclaimer: You may call it the Rainbow Bowl, but you sort of sound like a toddler that hasn’t quite learned to say his/her R’s yet.

 

 

The Rainbow Salad is basically at least one representation of every color of the rainbow, plus black & white (optional). For me, it’s ideal for me to incorporate every color into my day, and this salad makes it easy to do. This salad is extremely nutritious, and it’s difficult to fathom how many combinations you can create.

 

 

Below, I have offered my favorite options to throw into a Rainbow Salad. You will see that lots of common & nutritious fruits and vegetables are not seen here. It’s a personal preference; it’s difficult for me to imagine putting certain fruits/veggies in a salad in combination with all of the other colors:

 

  • red: red bell pepper, tomato, pomegranate seeds, strawberries
  • orange: carrot, orange bell pepper, orange tomato, mangoes, tangerine, oranges, apricot, walnuts
  • yellow: garbanzo beans, pineapple, golden apples, yellow peppers, corn
  • green: asparagus, avocado, celery, edamame, broccoli, kale, kiwi, spinach
  • blue: blueberries, blue grapes
  • violet: organic raisins, grapes, red onions, plums
  • white: quinoa, tofu, onion, mushroom, shallot, white beans
  • black: black beans, black quinoa, wild rice, black flax seed

 

 

 

Rainbow Salad

  • red: 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • orange: 1 mango
  • yellow: 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (will become roasted)
  • green: 1 avocado
  • blue: ½ cup blueberries
  • violet: ½ red onion
  • white: 1 cup quinoa

 

For Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced
  • dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia, organic sugar)
  • salt & pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil OR
  • your favorite salad dressing!

 

 

STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400° F. Place garbanzo beans on a pan, dry them off with a paper towel, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Move your fingers on top of the beans to mix the olive oil all the way through. Throw in the oven for 45-60 minutes.

DSC_0013

 

DSC_0014

DSC_0015

 

 

 

Halfway through cooking time, take out the beans, shake the pan around to move the beans, and place it back into the oven.

DSC_0026

Halfway there!

 

 

The result is a crunchy bean that is a great addition to the Rainbow Salad. It’s like a gluten-free crouton!

DSC_0034

Mmm mm mm mm mm… crunchy!

 

 

 

STEP 2: While the chickpeas are roasting, begin cutting up all your vegetables and placing them into a giant serving bowl.

DSC_0024

Waiting patiently… Patient Fruit. Get it? Sucky joke? Okay, I’ll shut up now.

DSC_0028

 

 

STEP 3: Create your vinaigrette in a small bowl on the side and mix well.

OR

If you got lazy like I did, get a yummy, tangy salad dressing and wait to add it on until the end. I took a chance with this Mango Poppy dressing, and it’s delicious in this salad!

DSC_0018

Mango Poppy, ya’ll!

 

 

STEP 4: With about 20 minutes left on the chickpeas, start making your quinoa. Place 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa into a small sauce pan. When it hits boiling point, cover the sauce pan, turn down the temp to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.

DSC_0031

 

 

STEP 5: When everything is finished, place quinoa, roasted chickpeas, and vinaigrette into the bowl. Stir up and enjoy! (Enjoy hot or cold!)

DSC_0036

Did anyone else notice that perfect Green Bay Packers symbol on that blueberry? It’s quinoa and it’s perfect.

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

 

 

P.S. Here are some other Rainbow Salad combinations in the past that I’ve enjoyed:

 

Wild Rainbow Salad

red: 1 red bell pepper

orange: 1 cup orange grape tomatoes, halved

yellow: 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (will become roasted)

green: 1 cup edamame

blue: ½ cup blueberries

violet: ½ cup organic raisins

black & white: 1 cup wild rice blend

 

Rice Prep (this will become part of your vinaigrette later, since brown rice can be a bit watery)

Replace water with:

1 ¾ cup vegetable broth

2 tbs Earth Balance

lemon zest

salt & pepper to taste

 

Remaining Wild Rainbow Salad vinaigrette

2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced

dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia, organic sugar)

salt & pepper

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of hot sauce (optional)

 

 

 

 

Mexican Rainbow Salad

red: 1 red bell pepper

orange: 1 orange bell pepper

yellow: 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (will become roasted), drizzle with hot sauce

green: 1 avocado

blue: ½ cup blue grapes or blueberries

violet: ½ red onion

white: 1 cup quinoa

black: 1 15oz can of black beans

 

For Mexican Salad Vinaigrette:

¼ cup lime juice

2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced

dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia, organic sugar)

salt & pepper

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of hot sauce (optional)

 

 

 

 

Sweet Rainbow Salad

red: 1 cup strawberries, sliced

orange: ½ cup walnuts

yellow: 1 cup corn

green: 1 cup kale

blue: ½ cup blue grapes or blueberries

violet: ½ red onion

white: 1 cup quinoa

black: 1 15oz can of black beans

 

For Sweet Rainbow Vinaigrette:

¼ cup lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced

dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia, organic sugar)

salt & pepper

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

 

 

Read More...