February 26, 2015 By This Vegan Girl
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.)
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
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Yield: side item for 2-4 people
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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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December 25, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
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
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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Thanks for your love and support. Happy Holidays!
September 7, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
Recently, I’ve been seeing a trend of food blogs taking a “less is more” approach with their ingredient lists. The idea behind it is the less ingredients a passerby sees, the more likely they’re going to say, “Hey! I can do this.” I suppose a long list of ingredients can seem a bit daunting to, say, a busy mom who wants to whip up something fast and yummy on a hectic Thursday night. It’s a cool concept.
I don’t know why, but these blogs made me feel a little down about my own work. I was noticing that some of my entries had the daunting long list of ingredients, and it made me feel like my blog, and its content, wasn’t good enough. I began to try and simplify my ingredients in order to compete.
A few weeks ago, I saw that cooking movie The Hundred Foot Journey. You know, the one about the Indian restaurant that moved across the street from a snooty French restaurant. I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying that movie. Aside from the love story and giggly scenes, I was relieved to see how much they emphasized bold flavor, lots of spices, and a variety of ingredients. The chef in the movie was first criticized by the amount of flavor he used, but was then adored for it once he was given the chance.
As silly as it sounds, I don’t feel so bad about my own creations after seeing that movie. In fact, I’m proud of my flavors, regardless of how many ingredients are involved. Good taste isn’t always simple; sometimes, something complex is what makes someone say, “Mmmm! Wow, what’s in this?” I encourage you all to not be intimidated by ingredient lists, but be inspired to try something you’ve never tried before.
Anyway, back to the recipe at hand: this wrap is amazing and you need to make it today.
Balsamic Basil Chickun Wrap with Cashew Cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes (can be done during prep time)
Yield: 4-6 wraps
Ingredients for Cashew Cheese:
- 3 handfuls (almost 1 cup) of raw cashews
- 3 tbs tahini sauce OR hummus
- 2 heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
Ingredients for Tofu Viniagrette:
- 6 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbs fresh basil
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 15oz container super firm tofu, pressed and diced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- wrap or bread
Step 1: Chop and cook the tofu.
We’re aiming for a chicken-like texture here, so we’re going to pan fry the tofu. I have a green nonstick pan, so I didn’t add any oil to my tofu. However, if you’re afraid of a sticky disaster, use 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or grapeseed oil onto the pan.
I set my temperature a little higher than medium heat, tossing the tofu every couple of minutes. Your tofu will be complete when it’s golden brown, as seen below.
Step 2: Prepare the vinaigrette.
While your tofu is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Chop the basil until it’s minced. Place the basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, and salt in a bowl. With a whisk, whip it up quickly for about 10-15 seconds. The idea is you want the oil and vinegar to blend, so it has to be fast.
Step 3: Combine the tofu and tomatoes in the vinaigrette.
Toss. Smell. Swoon. Set aside.
Step 4: Create cashew cheese.
It’s really easy. With a food processor, you’ll want to pulse your cashews to be chunky. Not whole, not milled, but a little in-between, like this:
After that, toss in the rest of the cashew cheese ingredients, and stir until contents are fully mixed together. Use the back of your spoon to press down on the mixture to truly blend the ingredients.
You might have some questions about the tahini sauce. It’s not your regular tahini. I get it from Trader Joe’s, and it looks like this:
I like its paste-y texture, unlike traditional tahini, which is more liquefied. I totally understand if you have never heard of tahini sauce, let alone have it available at your local grocer. If it’s not available, hummus works exactly the same. I’ve tried both, and I enjoyed them equally.
Step 5: That’s a wrap!
Assemble the wrap. This is the order I did mine:
First, cashew cheese.
Finally, topped with the tofu vinaigrette.
For those eating a gluten-free diet, you may or may not have a yummy wrap you can rely on. For those who don’t, you can always go the open-faced sandwich route, which Matt did for this particular meal.
I hope you can use this recipe to spruce up your lunch routine a bit. Enjoy!
August 18, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
I’ll admit that I never cared about making this soup until I had an intense craving of grilled cheese sandwiches, which I made here (vegan and gluten-free, y’all!). With my mind now on grilled cheese sandwiches, my next thought was, “How am I going to pull off making my own tomato soup?” Honestly, HOW on EARTH can you make grilled cheese sandwiches without the tomato soup?
The tomato soup is the elegant hero here. Without it, what would we have? Just cheese and bread? Horrible. Homemade tomato soup gives class and nourishment to an otherwise disgustingly boring, nutrition-lacking meal.
Oh, this soup makes my heart sing. The basil really gives the soup a superior taste. Dipping my grilled cheese into this soup and placing it in my mouth might have been the highlight of my week. The best part is that most of these ingredients are ones you probably already have in your kitchen! Woo hoo!
Tomato Basil Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 3-4 cups of soup
For the oven:
- 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
- 2 tbs grape seed oil
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tsp garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp coconut sugar
For the stove:
- 1 heaping cup grape tomatoes
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 heaping tablespoons basil, minced
Step 1: Prepare the tomatoes for the oven.
Preheat the oven to 400º. Slice the tomatoes, leaving the stem part out. I cut mine out, as shown below:
Grease your baking sheet and place the tomatoes on the sheet. Pour/season the tomatoes with the grape seed oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic salt, and coconut sugar.
Place the tomatoes in the oven for 30 minutes. They’ll be nice and roasted by the time they’re done, and your house will smell AMAZING.
Step 2: Cook your stove-top ingredients.
Start off your frying pan with coconut oil with your chopped onion and grape tomatoes on medium heat. There’s no need to cut your grape tomatoes, as they will burst with flavor as soon as they food processed. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, when the onions are sweating and the tomatoes are slightly browned. Throw in the minced garlic cloves and cook for an additional minute. YUM!
After that, pour in the vegetable stock*, stir with a ladle, and let it sit on medium-low heat until the roasted tomatoes are done.
*NOTE: For those of you who use bouillon instead of stock (as I did), I used 4 cups of water for 2 teaspoons of vegetable bouillon. In a separate pot, I mixed the two ingredients and brought the mixture to a boil. After that, I poured the broth into the frying pan with the tomatoes and onions. Done!
Step 3: Combine the roasted tomatoes and stove-top ingredients in a food processor.
When the roasted tomatoes are finished, it’s time to turn all these ingredients into soup!
Dump the stove top ingredients and the roasted tomatoes in the food processor and mix it up! My food processor isn’t the greatest, so my soup was slightly chunky. You know what, though? I ended up liking it that way.
Once all the ingredients are mixed, place the soup back on the stove on low heat and take a deep breath: the hard part is over!
Step 4: Add fresh basil and serve.
Cooked basil sucks, which is why the last-minute addition is the way basil needs to be served.
Mince your basil as much as possible, making sure you can gather two heaping tablespoons of the yummy stuff. Do not skip this crucial ingredient! Put the tablespoons of basil in the big pot, give it a big mix, and serve!
Remember, don’t forget to pair the soup with my gluten-free vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I’m telling you, these two make the perfect pair.
If you try making this soup, don’t forget to take a picture of it, post it on Instagram, and use the hashtag #thisvegangirl so I can see it. I’d love to see how you present your grilled cheese and tomato soup. Speaking of Instagram, follow me! I post my day-to-day meals, if anyone gives a crap. I’m also on Facebook, too. Thanks for all your support!