Lemon Pesto Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

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September 6, 2015 By

Sometimes, I find myself in a pasta rut. During this time, I’ll rely too much on pasta to get by. How can I not? Just add vegetables to sauce and you have yourself a solid dinner and a filling lunch for the next day.

Well, the truth about pasta is that it can get repetitive. Sometimes, it’s fun to switch it up. That’s why I’ve created this recipe in the style of a sandwich. It’s a fun way to eat eggplant Parmesan, vegan style. You can eat it as a sandwich, burger, or even a sub!

This recipe can be a hybrid of other recipes and my own combined. For the “Parmesan” cheese, you have two options. If you have Chao cheese at your grocery store, using a slice on your sandwich is easy and delicious! If Chao cheese isn’t sold at your local grocery store of if you’d prefer to create something homemade, I have attached a moxarella cheese recipe, as seen by My Wife Makes and inspired by Vedged Out.

 

Lemon Pesto Eggplant Parmesan Sandwiches

Click here for a picture-free print out version of this recipe!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Yield: 4 patties for 4 sandwiches

 

Ingredients

For the eggplant patty:

  • one large eggplant, sliced
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, gluten-free and vegan (I use the brand Gillian’s Breadcrumbs)
  • 4 pieces of rice paper
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the lemon pesto:

  • 1 juice of a small lemon, squeezed (3 tablespoons of lemon juice)
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 pinches of salt

Other ingredients:

  • grape seed oil, as needed
  • bread of your choice (sandwich bread, sub rolls, buns)
  • Chao cheese slices (or homemade Moxarella cheese recipe, seen here)
  • your favorite marinara sauce
  • any other sandwich add-ons (onion, tomato, spinach, etc.)

 

Step 1: Slice the eggplant and decide what you are doing with it.

Cut your eggplant into thick slices. When cooked, eggplant loses its volume a bit, so cutting it a bit thicker will work out nicely in the final product. I suggest cutting up to 6 inch/15 centimeter slices.

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After that, you have a big choice to make. Are you going to fry your eggplant or bake it? DECIDE NOW.

If you are going to fry your eggplant, see STEP 2.

If you are going to bake your eggplant, go down to STEP 3.

 

Step 2: Precook the eggplant in the oven.

Ah, so you’ve chosen to fry your eggplant. A fine choice for the taste buds. While taking photos of this entry, I chose to fry my eggplant as well.

You’ll want to precook your eggplant in the oven to make it softer before frying it. Preheat the oven to 350º F / 176º C. Coat your baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of grape seed oil and bake for 15 minutes. Allow the eggplant slices to cool before Step 3.

 

Step 3: Wrap and bread your eggplant.

Without egg, it can be difficult to keep breadcrumbs on whatever you’re trying to cook. My favorite solution is to first wrap it in sticky rice paper, which will hold breadcrumbs beautifully. Plus, rice paper has a fantastic texture that can hold any flavor.

Speaking of flavor, on the list of ingredients, I put “salt and pepper, to taste”. The breadcrumbs are where you really get that flavor in. Your breadcrumbs might already have an amazing flavor; in this case, you don’t need to add anything to it. In my case, the breadcrumbs I buy don’t have any flavor, so I need to add salt and pepper on my own. Feel free to get creative here. You can amp up your breadcrumbs by also adding garlic powder and/or Italian herbs.

Set up an assembly line for your work station: a large, flat dish filled with warm water, a plate to wrap the eggplant, a dish with the breadcrumbs, and a dish to place your finished patties on. To assemble, first submerge one piece of rice paper into the warm water for around 10 seconds. Next, transfer the softened rice paper onto the wrapping plate. Strategically fold the wrapping paper so all sides of the eggplant are equally covered. Lastly, take the patty onto the breadcrumb plate and cover the rice paper with breadcrumbs. Continue this process until all patties are complete.

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Step 4: Cook your patties.

If you are baking your eggplant: Cook your patties at 450º F / 232º C for 20 minutes, flipping the patties about halfway through.

If you are pan-frying your eggplant: In a deep skillet, coat the bottom with 4 tablespoons of grape seed oil at medium heat. Once the oil is heated, use a spatula to gently place the patties in the skillet. You may have to turn the heat down to medium low, depending on your stove. Flip patties over when they have cooked to golden brown (5-10 minutes). Cook the other side of the patty for 5 minutes. When both sides are golden brown, place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil.

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If you created the homemade moxarella cheese, the patties taste delicious if the moxarella cheese is browned. After the patties are done cooking, add the moxarella cheese into the oven on broil. Cook for 3-5 minutes, keeping your eye on it to prevent burning.

 

Step 5: Prepare other toppings, including the lemon pesto.

If you haven’t done so by now, begin to heat up your marinara sauce in a saucepan on the stove. Cover and stir occasionally.

If your bread is gluten-free and vegan, you probably need to thaw and toast. This bread by Food for Life is expensive, but so delicious!

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If you are adding any vegetables to your sandwich (such as onion, tomato, or spinach), prepare.

To make the lemon pesto, put all lemon pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender. Spread it on your bread when ready.

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Step 6: Assemble and enjoy!

Put it all together, and you have delicious sandwiches!

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If you tried it and liked it, tag me on social media. Also, add me!


 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Spring Rolls

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July 3, 2015 By

I used to think that spring rolls were too intricate for an amateur cook like me to make. It turns out that assumption was false; spring rolls are actually a fancy imposter. A spiffy poser, if you will. A sophisticated con artist.

Despite what the spring roll’s bright colors and flawless presentation lead you to believe, spring rolls are incredibly easy to make. You can assemble 8 spring rolls in about 20 minutes from start to finish if you’re working alone. Although rice paper isn’t raw, the veggies inside will be, making this a mostly raw delight.

 

Spring Rolls

For a picture-free printable version of this recipe, click here!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 spring rolls

 

Ingredients

Spring Rolls:

  • a package of rice paper / spring roll paper (found in the International aisle or Asian section of your grocery store)
  • nori sheets (found in the International aisle or sushi-wrapping section of your grocery store)
  • 1/2 large cucumber, cut into strips
  • 2 carrots, skinned and cut into strips
  • 1-2 hass avocados, cut into strips
  • 5-10 green onions, cut in half to shorten length
  • one bunch of sprouts or frisée
  • 8 romaine lettuce or cabbage leaves, cutting out thick ribs
  • vegan cream cheese (optional)
  • sesame seeds (as garnish)

Dipping Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Wasabi powder

 

Step 1: Prepare the veggies.

For the nori flakes, I take a package of nori sheets, put it in a blender/food processor, and blend until the nori is milled. These flakes make a great seasoning!

Nori sheets

Nori sheets

Nori flakes

Nori flakes

Cut your cucumbers, carrots, and avocados into 3-4 inch (7-10 cm) strips. The green onions can stay intact. Cut out the thick ribs from the lettuce; if you leave them in, your roll might look like it has weird bones sticking out of the sides, making it harder to assemble.

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Step 2: Assemble the spring rolls.

Have an assembly station ready: rice paper, a large bowl or pie pan filled with warm water, a plate for creating/rolling the wraps, and a plate to place your rolls when they are done.

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When ready, place a sheet of rice paper in the warm water for 10 seconds. The paper will start to soften. Next, place the softened rice paper on the assembly plate. In the middle of the paper, spread your cream cheese (optional), sprinkle a pinchful of nori flakes, and place on your cucumbers, carrots, green onion, avocado, and sprouts. As for the lettuce, if you are using romaine, try to compact it on top of your veggies as much as possible to make rolling easier.

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Roll your spring roll like a wrap; take a horizontal edge and wrap it around the vegetables, fold the sides in, and continue to wrap until everything is secure. I always thought rice paper would be delicate, but it actually can take a slight beating. Rice paper is clumsy finger approved!

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Tip: The rice paper should be wet, yet sticky. If it takes more than a minute to assemble your roll, you’ll find that your rice paper will start to become DRY and sticky, which makes it impossible to wrap. In other words, don’t drag your ass.

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You can choose to cut them in half to see the beautiful contents in the middle, or leave them whole for easier eating!

Step 3: Make the dipping sauce.

I find a lot of Asian sauces to be too much, so I make something simple: Wasabi powder, minced garlic, and Tamari (or soy sauce). Whisk together and place in a bowl.

 

Step 4: Garnish and enjoy!

Sprinkle those sesame seeds on your savory blankets of rainbows and chow the f down.

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They see me rollin’. They hatin’.

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Happy rollin’,

thisvegangirllogo

 

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Tomato Moxarella Melts

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February 26, 2015 By

I used to make a non-vegan version of this back in college. My old roommate, Petito, introduced it to me. He was one of those people who didn’t cook often, but when he did, it was surprisingly magical. By the way, we call him by his last name, for those of you who are curious. Doesn’t this sound like a recipe that a guy named Petito would show you?

After veganism, I thought I had said goodbye to the delicious Petito tomato recipe. But then, out of the woodworks of Pinterest, I saw something I had never seen before: Vegan Pizza Margherita from the incredibly talented duo over at My Wife Makes. I saw clumps of ooey gooey mozzarella, and I needed to find out what in all the heck it was about. It turns out that they modified the cheese recipe from Vedged Out’s Vegan Margherita Pizzas with Homemade Moxarella Cheese. Thank you to all the gifted chefs who taught me how to make mozzarella cheese happen in my life again.  (Click the pictures below to see the original recipe.)

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I modified the moxarella cheese, too. I’m a nutritional yeast freak. Picture Tony Montana surrounded by cocaine, except replace it with nutritional yeast. That’s me. Therefore, I added a few more tablespoons of it than My Wife Makes did.

Enjoy this beautiful side item, vegheads!

 

Tomato Moxarella Melts

Click here for a print-out version of this recipe!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: side item for 2-4 people

 

Ingredients

For the Moxarella Cheese:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for several hours and then drained IF you don’t have a high powered blender)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4  teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

All Other Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 “globe” tomatoes, each sliced into 4 pieces (firm, yet slight give when squeezed)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • garlic salt
  • coconut sugar
  • grape seed oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced (garnish)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (garnish)

 

Step 1: Prepare tomato slices for the oven.

Cut each tomato into 4 vertical slices. If you want to pile on the moxarella cheese, use 3 tomatoes (shown in pictures). However, if you’re making this dish for 4 people, I suggest using 4 tomatoes, using less moxarella cheese per slice.

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Spread the tomatoes on a greased baking sheet and begin to decorate with vinegar, garlic salt, coconut sugar, and grape seed oil.

You’ll notice that I didn’t measure out amounts for the balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, coconut sugar, and grape seed oil. Drizzle the grape seed oil on all slices. If you must know an exact amount of balsamic vinegar, I suggest 1/4 teaspoon per slice. As far as the garlic salt and coconut sugar go, just grab a pinch and conservatively sprinkle a bit of it on each individual slice. Set aside.

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Step 2: Create moxarella cheese.

The moxarella cheese is high maintenance and needy, so it requires your full attention. That’s why the tomatoes must sit and be patient during this process.

Start by placing cashews in a blender. I have a 600-watt blender (NutriBullet), and it can grind the cashews to a pulp. If you have this kind of power or more, skip the soaking process and just grind the cashews alone first. After that, throw all the other ingredients in the blender and mix.

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Place the liquid in a small saucepan on the stove at medium high heat. Stir constantly for about 4 minutes. Once you see clumps start to form, reduce your heat to medium and continue stirring for another 2-3 minutes. Once your liquid transforms into a solid, stringy clump, remove from heat.

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Now, take a tablespoon and spoon out clumps of cheese onto your tomatoes. If there are any mistakes (maybe cheese dripping off the side of a tomato), no need to worry! You can fix mistakes by simply picking up the cheese and placing it back onto the tomato. It’s fool proof!

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Step 3: Bake and prep.

With your oven set to 350ºF / 176ºC, place your tomatoes in the oven for 20 minutes. You’ll notice that this is mostly for your tomatoes to roast, as the cheese doesn’t go through many changes during this period.

When the 20 minutes are up, crank up the oven to 500ºF / 260ºC and put a timer on for 3 minutes. This will help your cheese brown juuuust a little. Keep in mind that I live in Florida, where 3 minutes is perfect for my subtropical sea-level climate. If you live in a different climate, I suggest you keep an eye on it. Three minutes might be too long for someone, say, in the mountains.

 

Step 4: Garnish and serve.

When the tomatoes are fresh out of the oven, place them on a serving dish and sprinkle the oregano on top. As far as the basil leaves go, I like to put several smaller leaves on top of each tomato. For larger leaves, you may have to cut them into quarters with your fingers.

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If you have balsamic glaze, feel free to drizzle that shit all over these babies. I’m regretting that I didn’t do that for my pictures. Damn. Maybe later.

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thisvegangirllogo

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Savory Green Beans

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February 19, 2015 By

You’re probably here reading this because you love green beans as much as I do. I love this versatile… vegetable? legume? Who cares? Green beans are delicious and so adaptable. They can stand alone as a side dish or be mixed in with a main dish. They can be heavy or light. Salty, spicy, or sweet. Green beans are the ketchup of the vegetable world (by American standards, anyway).

This is my go-to recipe if I need a scrumptious side dish. It’s packed with flavors you love and it makes your house smell amazing. It also looks pretty, which impresses guests. Ultimately, perhaps the best thing about this side dish is that it only takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

 

Savory Green Beans

Click here to print out this recipe!

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: side item for 2-4 people

 

Ingredients

  • 12oz of fresh whole green beans, stems removed
  • 4 tablespoons grape seed oil OR melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoons of soy sauce or Tamari (gluten-free)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Shaved almonds (garnish)
  • Sesame seeds (garnish)

 

Step 1: Boil and blanch the green beans.

Green beans are delicate, meaning that it is imperative that the cook time is taken very seriously. If not, you’re either going to end up with an under cooked, uncomfortably crunchy green bean; or an overcooked, unattractively limp, and mushy green bean.

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Boil a pot of water. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, add the green beans, boiling for 4 minutes. While the green beans are boiling, prepare a large bowl full of ice water.

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Once the green beans have finished boiling, place the beans in a strainer, strain the hot water, and immediately dump the green beans into the ice water. If you’re new to the green bean scene, placing the hot green beans in ice cold water is called blanching. The reason for blanching is to halt the cooking process of the vegetable, as the heat from the green bean will continue to cook the green bean after you remove it from the boiling water. Blanching leaves you with a perfectly crisp result.

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Step 2: Create the savory sauce.

This step can be done while the green beans are boiling. Heat up a skillet on the stove at medium heat.

After that, combine the oil, Tamari (or soy sauce), garlic cloves, and sesame oil in a small bowl. To bind the oils and Tamari, whisk the ingredients quickly for 30 seconds.

Look what happened when I tried to take a photo of this!

Look what happened when I tried to take a photo of this!

Step 3: Pan fry the green beans.

Once the green beans have been blanched and the savory sauce is ready, place the green beans and pour the sauce into the skillet. Have the green beans cook for 7-10 minutes, moving the contents around with a spatula every few minutes to avoid sticking/burning. Your end result should not yield limp green beans; however, you are wanting the green beans to have absorbed some of the liquid.

Step 4: Garnish and serve.

Once the green beans are finished cooking, serve. Garnish the beans with sliced almonds and sesame seeds for added crunch, flavor, and beauty.

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Mushroom-Walnut Tacos with Queso

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January 29, 2015 By

The idea for these tacos came in bits and pieces. I guess it started a few weeks ago  when my soon-to-be brother-in-law was telling me how mushrooms are the umami, or savory part, of vegan dishes. He’s right! Mushrooms have volume, can easily absorb flavors, and ooze juices when cooked just right.

Fast forward to that special time of month when my stomach becomes a dumping ground from all the crap I stuff my face with. Okay, I’m exaggerating a tad, but the cravings were a bit out of control this month. I was obsessed with this Dairy-Free Dorito Popcorn recipe from Whole New Mom.

I thought about that perfect spice blend nonstop that week. Then, it came to me: “This would be a delicious taco seasoning.” That thought, plus the thought of the savoriness of mushrooms, led me conceive this dreamy meal. The “meat” here is full of flavor and has a great consistency!

Don’t get me wrong; I looove black bean tacos. However, it’s difficult to incorporate taco seasoning in black beans. They’re just not the absorbent type.

Try this recipe and you will not be disappointed. In fact, you might be obsessed like I am.

 

Mushroom-Walnut Tacos with Queso

Click here for a print-out version of this recipe!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10-20 minutes

Yield: 8 tacos

 

Ingredients

For the Mushroom-Walnut Meat:

  • 2 large portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, crushed (but not minced)
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

For the Queso:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, milled in the blender or food processor
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/8 cup grape seed oil

Additional Ingredients/Toppings:

  • Taco shells/tortillas (I used mini corn tortillas to keep it gluten-free)
  • tomatoes
  • red onion
  • spinach
  • avocado

 

Step 1: Prepare the toppings.

I’m trying to get more organized in the kitchen by chopping the little stuff first.

I got an EXTREMELY rare, beautiful picture of my cockatiel Fleegle here. I was taking pictures of my chopped fruits and veggies, and Fleegle flew over to see what was going on. As soon as I snapped this picture, he flew away, leaving me with a lovely picture of his wingspan! I’ve never seen the details of his underwing, and it’s so beautiful!

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Step 2: Blend/mix/cook the meat.

I like to start with the spices. Since nutritional yeast is made with flakes, I like to put all the spices in the blender together at once. That way, all the spices are evenly distributed and fused together.

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After that, throw the mushrooms in the food processor until the mushrooms are in tiny pieces.

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Are your walnuts crushed yet? If so, do that now. Make sure your walnuts are decent chunks. I lightly crushed mine with the handle of my cutting knife.

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Mix the spices, mushrooms, and walnuts together in a bowl. There’s your meat!

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Throw the meat on a skillet set at medium heat. Stir/flip the meat every minute or so for about 10-12 minutes. You’ll start to see the meat become more crumbly; this is jackpot, people.

No, you're not looking at poop in a ramekin. It's deliciousness in a ramekin.

No, you’re not looking at poop in a ramekin. It’s deliciousness in a ramekin.

Step 3: Blend your queso.

The queso can be made in 5 minutes while the taco meat is cooking (as long as you keep stirring the meat every minute or so).

Start by placing only the cashews in the blender/food processor. Blend until the cashews are in tiny bits or like cashew meal.

 

Post milling

Post milling

After that, toss or pour the rest of the cashew cheese ingredients in the blender/food processor and blend until all ingredients turn into liquid gold.

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Step 4: Prepare your taco shells.

If you’re using corn tortillas like I did, you’re going to need to fry them on the pan on medium heat. I used a tiny bit of coconut oil for every tortilla I used. The tortillas fried for about 2 minutes on each side.

For those of you that are baking your tortillas in the oven, follow the packaged directions to do that.

For those of you eating soft flour tortillas, you may happily be on your merry way to Step #5… asshole. What? I didn’t say anything. Okay, I’m just super jealous, alright? Sorry.

 

Step 5: Assemble your tacos.

Oh yay! This is the fun part! Will you put on the leafy greens first, or the meat? Who cares? It’s up to you!

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If you like what you see, you might want to do the following:

  • Follow me on Instagram @thisvegangirl. I post my day-to-day meals there. If you try one of my recipes, I love when you post a picture and tag me!
  • Like me on Facebook for quick updates on new recipes.
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  • Comment below!

 

¡Olé!

thisvegangirllogo

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Carrabba’s Dipping Oil Pasta

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January 27, 2015 By

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I do my best to support local family-owned restaurants. However, most of the restaurants I go to are vegan; therefore, when it comes to eating out with omnivorous family and friends, sometimes the easiest decision is to go to a chain restaurant. I have been impressed the past few times I’ve been to Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

For those of you who have been to Carrabba’s, have you ever had to consciously tell yourself to put down the bread and step away from the dipping oil full of herbs? I swear I could make that dipping oil my entire meal.

This pasta is inspired by the dipping oil at Carrabba’s. I basically made my own dipping oil with tons of herbs, added some tomatoes, olives, spinach, and homemade cream cheese, and mixed in some pasta. It’s so, so good and has lots of health benefits:

  • Oregano – has both antibacterial and anti fungal properties that make it effective against some forms of food-borne illnesses and even some antibiotic resistant infections
  • Thyme – full of antioxidants, which prevent cellular damage that can boost overall health and help prevent cancer, inflammation, signs of aging and more
  • Parsley – contains chlorophyll, myricetin,  and vitamin K, which can help prevent cancer  and diabetes, as well as improve bone health
  • Basil – reduces inflammation and swelling, contains anti-aging properties, and is rich in antioxidants
  • Garlic chives – helps prevent prostate, esophageal, and stomach cancer, as well as regulating sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory; folate, found in chives, also helps prevent excess homocysteine, which helps with depression and production of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.

 

Carrabba’s Dipping Oil Pasta

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh garlic chives, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Must-haves:

  • 1 pound of pasta (I used GF Ancient Harvest quinoa rotelle)

Optional add-ins (all highly recommended!):

  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut into thirds
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, cut into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons of 5-minute cream cheese (recipe here)

 

Step 1: Chop the dressing ingredients.

I picked all the herbs straight from my herb garden. Here in Florida, all these herbs are easy to maintain as long as they are watered a few times per week.

Place all the herbs, and other dressing ingredients, in a large boil with the olive oil, mix, and let it sit and relax in there. The idea is to mildly infuse the flavors into the oil.

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Step 2: Start boiling the noodles.

Boil your noodles of choice according to packaged directions. When the pasta is finished boiling and it’s time for straining, I like to spray cold water on the noodles for a lukewarm pasta salad experience.

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Step 3: Chop/add optional ingredients.

While the noodles are boiling, chop/add the optional ingredients you would like to add to your dish. This might be the perfect time to make your 5-minute homemade cream cheese. I love adding this stuff to pasta!

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Step 4: Mix and serve!

Once all ingredients are in finished, add all ingredients to the large bowl, mix, and serve!

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If you love what you see, you might want to:

  • Check out my Instagram @thisvegangirl to see what I eat every day. I love to see you guys making my recipes, posting it to IG, and tagging me in the picture!
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Happy cooking,

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Greek Cucumber Noodles

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December 25, 2014 By

I love eating raw food! Raw food never drags me down or changes its mind on how it wants to behave that day. Raw is fresh, bold, and gives me a healthy energy boost.

Cucumber noodles are an excellent alternative for anti-pasta people. It’s a lighter choice that packs a ton of that cool, crisp cucumber flavor that you know you love.

I love eating this recipe for dinner, as it doesn’t make me feel like a heavy sack of shit when I’m lying in bed.

You can serve this recipe on top of toast, with corn chips, or simply by itself. It doesn’t matter. It would probably be good if eaten off the sidewalk, for Christ’s sake. Try it for yourself!

 

Greek Cucumber Noodles

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the dressing:

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

Other ingredients:

  • 2 large cucumbers, spiraled
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, cut into thirds
  • 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  • 2/3 cup red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 avocados, pitted and diced
  • 2 cups of spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of Cream Cheese with Chives (click for recipe), optional

 

Step 1: Spiral your cucumber noodles.

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To turn your cucumber into noodles, you will need a device or appliance. I bought the Vegetti, available at Bed Bath and Beyond for a good price. This is one of those items that actually is as easy as it looks. It takes only a minute to transform the cucumber into those healthy, raw noodles. You can also use one of those spiral peelers used for apples or potatoes, too, but you’ll spend more and it’ll take up more space.

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Once your noodles are made, take some kitchen scissors and cut the noodles into smaller pieces. You might think it’s cool that they’re long, but trust me, there’s no reason to have a 6ft-long noodle. Place your noodles in a large bowl and set aside.

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Step 2: Mix dressing ingredients in a separate bowl.

Start with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice in a separate bowl. Whisk those ingredients together quickly for 30 seconds until contents aren’t separating from each other. (This step can also be done in the food processor.) Add the minced garlic, oregano, and salt to the dressing.

Let the dressing sit for a few minutes, letting all the flavors fuse together. You may want to return to the bowl at least once to whisk the ingredients together.

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Step 3: Chop up all veggies.

Do this step while the dressing is sitting. When finished, place all ingredients, including the dressing, in the large bowl with the noodles. Mix and serve!

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If you like what you see here, why don’t you try doing one/some/all of the following?:

  • follow me on Instagram @thisvegangirl, where I post my day-to-day meals. I love when readers try my recipe, take a picture of it, and tag me or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl so I can see it. It’s so exciting!
  • like me on Facebook to get updates on new recipes posted
  • follow my board on Pinterest to see what’s inspiring me
  • comment below!

 

Thanks for your love and support. Happy Holidays!

 

Love,

thisvegangirllogo

 

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Vegetable Lo Mein

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December 23, 2014 By

This dish took years to perfect. Yes, YEARS. I’ve been so annoyingly critical of this dish every time I’ve sat down to eat it. Too salty. Not enough flavor. The wrong flavor.

I think I’ve finally found it, though. The secret ingredient is nori, otherwise known as the seaweed that keeps your sushi tucked in so nicely. I bought a pack of nori, milled it up in my blender, and sprinkled some in this sauce. The result was nothing short of a vegan miracle; I was tasting that glorious flavor of the ocean that I haven’t tasted in years. As someone who used to love seafood, it was marvelous to acquire that taste again without harming any of our ocean friends.

Combining the fishy taste of nori, the natural sweetness from coconut oil, and the saltiness of Tamari (or soy sauce), you’ll be on your way to making this delicious vegan lo mein!

 

Vegetable Lo Mein

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of nori, milled
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of carrots, diced
  • 1 cup of celery, diced
  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pound of rice noodles
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped, for garnish
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

 

Step 1: Chop and cook your vegetables.

The vegetables don’t HAVE to be the ones mentioned above. In fact, use this opportunity to get rid of whatever you have available. I like to use this dish as a fridge-clearer. Nonetheless, the ingredients above are my favorite ones to use.

Set 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a wok/deep skillet on medium heat. Once the oil is melted, add in the celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Stir occasionally. After about 5-7 minutes, your vegetables should be cooked down properly. Reduce to low heat.

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Step 2: Create the sauce in a blender.

While your veggies are cooking down, start by milling up the nori into a pulp in your blender or food processor. I usually mill the entire nori package at once and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for future uses.

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Once the nori is milled, combine all the sauce ingredients in the blender until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add this sauce to the vegetables on low heat. Cover the wok/skillet.

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Step 3: Cook the rice noodles.

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Boiling the noodles isn’t normally the final step, but lo mein is a little different. The noodles need a chance to cook in the sauce for a bit; therefore, the sauce already needs to be ready. This will ensure that your noodles will be full of all the delicious flavors of the vegetables and sauce.

Start a pot of boiling water on the stove. Once the water is boiling, place in your noodles. Whatever the package of your noodles recommends for cook time, think about reducing that time by a few minutes. Drain, add the noodles to the wok, stir, cover, and let it cook for another few minutes. The idea is to start cooking the noodles in boiling water and to finish them off by having them soak up the flavors in your wok.

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Step 4: Garnish, serve, and enjoy!

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If you like what you see here, don’t forget to:

  • take a picture of this meal, upload it to Instagram, and tag me @thisvegangirl or #thisvegangirl so I can see how it turned out for you
  • add me on Facebook
  • follow me on Pinterest
  • comment below with feedback/results

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Cream Cheese with Chives

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December 14, 2014 By

I was out of cream cheese. I realized this when I was already toasting my toast and slicing my avocados. I was making avocado toast, and unless I could come up with cream cheese quickly, our avocado toast would be uncomfortably dry.

I came through, though. I came through like a super hero who treated bad meals like crimes.

With things I already had in my kitchen, I whipped this up in 5 minutes. I saved breakfast that day.

Now, it’s time for me to teach you what I learned that day. I learned that I don’t need processed ingredients that I don’t understand in my store-bought vegan cream cheese. I can have the same great taste in something I can quickly make at home; no fancy kitchen appliances required.

If you’ve been feeling weird about eating processed cream cheese lately as I had, I encourage you to give this a try. I hope you love this as much as I do.

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Cream Cheese with Chives

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chives, minced

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Step 1: Mix the milk and apple cider vinegar.


Something science-y happens when you mix these two ingredients. The milk begins to experience its very beginning stages of coagulation. When you don’t mix these two ingredients together aside from the other ingredients, the bound flavor won’t happen the same way. Whisk these two ingredients together for about 30 seconds.

By the way, the apple cider vinegar is the unsung hero in this recipe. Surprisingly, this odd ingredient is the key to achieving that cream cheese flavor.



Step 2: Mix the remainder of the ingredients.

Add the oil, almond meal, salt, and fresh chives to the milk.

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Depending on what kind of consistency you’re looking for, you can use different utensils to mix these ingredients together. If you’re after a light and fluffy consistency, use a fork to mix and fluff. If you would rather have a smooth consistency, use a spoon to mix and press the ingredients together.

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Step 3: Serve and/or store!

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It was great with crackers and salad on top! As mentioned earlier, this was also fantastic on toast. Use it for breakfast or lunch; I don’t care!

If you have any fun ways to use your herby cream cheese, I’d love to see your creations. You can tag me on your cream cheese photo on Instagram @thisvegangirl or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl. You can also add me on Facebook or comment on this pin on Pinterest. Better yet, comment below! It’s so exciting to hear from you guys.

 

Happy inventing,

thisvegangirllogo

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Linguini Puttanesca in a Meat(less) Sauce

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November 21, 2014 By

As a vegan, you sometimes have to take a deep breath and go to a normal restaurant. I met up with my sister at a local restaurant in Stuart, FL at a restaurant in the downtown area called Eighteen Seminole Street Italian Bistro. Italian restaurants are almost completely safe for vegans, as you can always settle for spaghetti and veggies if they don’t have much to offer.

They had a dish called Linguini Puttanesca, which was the only menu option I could eat. I’ve never had it before. Linguini alla Puttanesca is literally “linguini of the whore” in Italian. Well, smack my ass and call me a whore, because this dish was fantastic. It was salty and tangy, which was a fun change from the plain ol’ spaghetti sauce I’ve been eating for 25 years.

Here is my version, “fattened up” with some lentils to give it a meaty texture. This one is A+ husband/boyfriend approved. It’s so easy to make: in fact, this recipe is only broken up into 3 steps! Enjoy!

 

Linguini Puttanesca in a Meat(less) Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the food processor:

  • 4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 oz, or 1/2 cup, tomato paste
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs, or 1 sprig, fresh oregano
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Other ingredients:

  • 1 pound of pasta (I use Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Quinoa Linguini)
  • 1 15oz can of lentils, drained
  • 1 cup of Castelvetrano olives, pitted and cut into thirds
  • 2 tsp capers
  • basil, for garnish (optional)

 

 Step 1: Make the tomato sauce.

Throw in all the food processor ingredients into your food processor. Mix until fully incorporated.

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Traditional Italian cuisine dictates that Puttanesca is made with olive oil. However, since Puttanesca is a salty dish, I decided to use coconut oil instead of olive oil. The coconut oil has a subtle sweetness that can help offset the tang a bit, so it complements the sauce well. Not only that, but apparently, olive oil doesn’t do well in high heat, but coconut oil does. I’ve been trying to mix up my recipes to only use olive oil in raw dishes.

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Once your sauce has been mixed, pour the sauce into a sauce pan set at medium heat. When the sauce starts bubbling, set heat to low.

 

Step 2: Cook your pasta.

In a separate pot, boil your pasta until cooked. Strain and rinse your noodles when finished. Set aside, if necessary. Normally, my everything seems to be finished by the time the noodles are finished cooking, so I jump right in and serve!

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Step 3: Add the olives, capers, and lentils to your sauce.

I’m an olive snob; I only buy my olives from Whole Foods’s olive bar. These were the olives that turned me on to liking olives in the first place, so it’s been hard to endure low-quality olives when I’ve already had the best. Therefore, I refuse to buy my olives anywhere else. Their Castelvetrano olives are out of this world!

I also buy my lentils canned. It sounds sketchy as f, but it’s actually not that bad! The lentils are organic and come in a non-BPA lining can, so I trust the source. A sad amount of attempts were made (years of trying) to try and transform dried lentils into that texturally-perfect plump consistency, but it never, ever worked for me. Ever since I’ve found organic canned lentils in my local grocery store, it has changed my life. It’s quick, easy, delicious, and perfect for a perpetual lentil failure like me.

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Anyway, add in the olives, capers, and lentils. Mix. Cover the sauce and let it sit until your pasta is ready.

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Step 4: Serve!

Pour some sauce on top of the pasta, garnish, and serve!

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Before you go…

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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