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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Buffalo Quinoa Salad (new and improved!)

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August 31, 2014 By

If you care about something, you want to improve it and make yourself better, right? For me, this blog is a constant reminder of that. I get to see how far I’ve come with not only vegan cooking, but cooking in general. In fact, some of my earlier posts are a bit embarrassing for me to look at.

On that note, here is a specific recipe in particular that I’ve made slight improvements to over the past year, and that’s the Buffalo Quinoa Salad recipe. This is a staple recipe in our household, as it’s one of Matt’s favorites. This version is less processed, less work, and more delicious. You can’t argue with that!

 

Buffalo Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes (mostly completed during cook time)

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the Tempeh Tenders

  • 1 8oz package of tempeh, diced
  • 4 tbs Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/3 cup GF vegan breadcrumbs

Other Ingredients

  • 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • your favorite hummus
  • Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce (for drizzling and such)

 

Step 1: Prepare and roast chickpeas.

STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain the chickpeas and pat them dry. Get an oven pan oiled and ready, place chickpeas onto the pan, and dress them with 1 tbs of olive oil. The ONE TABLESPOON is crucial, people. If you add more, your chickpeas will turn out either too mushy or burnt. Move your fingers along the tops of the chickpeas until every chickpea is coated with a bit of oil.

Now, you’re ready to place them in the oven for about 50 minutes. Your result should be crunchy, roasted chickpeas. It’s a great GF crouton, and way more nutritious!

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The roasted chickpeas in their roasty state. It's the perfect GF crouton!

The roasted chickpeas in their roasty state. It’s the perfect GF crouton!

Step 2: Prepare and cook tempeh tenders.

Here is a step that I’ve changed about the previous recipe that will save you lots of time, is less messy, and produces better-quality results. Plus, it’s more fun this way, as dancing with food is involved.

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The best GF vegan breadcrumbs I have ever tried!

The best GF vegan breadcrumbs I have ever tried!

Take your diced tempeh and place it in a tupperware container. Next, pour in the buffalo wing sauce and GF bread crumbs. Put the top on the tupperware container and shake it up! Dance and have fun with your tenders.

When you open up your container, perfectly-coated nuggets will be revealed, without getting a single finger messy!

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Perfection.

Grease a baking sheet, pour the tempeh tenders on top, and place in the oven for 30 minutes. It’s okay to share the oven with the chickpeas. I do it all the time.

Step 3: Cook the quinoa.

Two cups of water and one cup of quinoa will go into a pot. Bring the pot to a bowl, lower the heat to simmer, and cover the pot for 15 minutes.

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Step 4: Cut the vegetables.

With three things cooking at once, you’ll have one more task: cutting the vegetables. CHEF STATUS! Lol, just kidding. Real chefs start prepping their food at 8am.

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Step 5: Combine ingredients in a big bowl.

As things start finishing up, start placing them in a big bowl. Mix it all together.

I like to save the hummus for “garnish” in my own bowl. I like to use Publix’s Jalapeño Cilantro hummus in this dish, as it amps up the kick. However, I’m sure every hummus, store-bought or homemade, works just fine here. Add a heaping tablespoon of your favorite hummus in your own bowl, mix, drizzle some hot sauce on top, and enjoy this heavenly dish.

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Add a heaping tablespoon of your favorite hummus in your own bowl, mix, drizzle some hot sauce on top, and enjoy this heavenly dish.

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I hope you all give this improved version a try!

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Lentil Soup in a Homemade Veggie Broth

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February 9, 2014 By

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Central Florida. After a rainy, disgusting week, it’s sunny and beautiful, with a high of 71 degrees. Oh Florida, it’s great to have you back!

After a stellar morning involving a morning run, yoga in the park, and some partner yoga with my best friend, I came home wanting a great lunch. We haven’t had a big grocery run in about a week, and we need to clear out the ripe veggies in the fridge to make way for the new ones. “Perfect for soup!” I thought.

Much to my dismay (initially), I realized that my stash of vegetable bouillon was all gone. What started out as a soupy defeat quickly turned into a chance to be creative. I didn’t have an hour to simmer my veggies to make stock (who does?), so I decided to use the same approach as I did to make my instant cashew cream: mill it up!

In order to successfully make this soup, you’ll need a really powerful food processor, or some type of milling device. If not, you’ll end up with a chunky broth, and nobody wants that.

This soup was tasty, quick, fridge-clearing, packed with nutrition, and didn’t take a lot of ingredients!

 

Lentil Soup in a Homemade Veggie Broth

Prep and Cook Time: 20 minutes combined

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

Broth:

  • 2 cups ripe tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes that were getting a bit wrinkly)
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbs sea salt
  • 1 cup water

Other Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of organic lentils, strained and rinsed
  • 8oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup white onion, chopped
  • 4oz quinoa pasta – OPTIONAL – (I used Ancient Harvest Garden Pagoda quinoa pasta)

 

STEP 1: Create the broth.

Prep your stove by setting your pot on medium-low heat. That way, when your broth is ready, you can make it instantly hot.

Take the broth ingredients, except the water and salt, and put them in your food processor. Mill those ingredients together until it has become completely smooth liquid.

Once your veggies are smooth, pour your soup onto the pot. Add the water and salt.

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STEP 2: Strain and rinse your lentils.

Add the lentils to the pot.

Why the canned lentils? I’ve tried raw lentils a countless amount of times through soaking, simmering, adding baking soda, and a combination of all three. No matter what I did, I couldn’t ever seem to get my lentils to be that puffy, soft consistency. They would ALWAYS turn out a bit crunchy. I finally gave in and bought organic lentils, and I haven’t looked back since! It doesn’t hurt that they’re also quick and easy.

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STEP 3 (optional)Prepare the pasta.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add in 4oz of quinoa pasta to boiling water, allowing the pasta to boil for 6 minutes. Strain and add to the pot when ready.

 

STEP 4: Add chopped veggies to the pot.

While the pasta water is heating up, increase the stove to medium heat. Chop the onion and mushrooms and add the two to the pot. Cover with a lid until you add in the pasta, about 6-8 minutes.

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STEP 5: Ready to eat!

We prepared Schar Gluten-free Ciabatta Rolls to dip into our soup.

By the way, it’s REALLY difficult to get a great picture of soup. Here is my best attempt.

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Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Rasta Pasta Salad

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January 12, 2014 By

Happy New Year, everyone! I officially went vegan on January 1, 2013, so here’s to 1 full year of veganism!

Pasta salad is an easy go-to for anyone. It’s perfect for big groups and entertaining. You can arrive with a vegan pasta salad to an event and no one will bat an eye. It’s a wonderful “clear the fridge” dish, too, as it is so versatile. Every time I make pasta salad, different veggies go into it, depending on what’s chilling (literally and figuratively) in my fridge.

For a long time, I was going through a trial-and-error period with my pasta salad recipe, particularly the dressing. In the past, I’ve tried to make the dressing from scratch, but something always went wrong. Too lemony. Too tart. Way too much balsamic. Too creamy. Too salty. Too bland. For someone who loves pasta salad so much, I couldn’t seem to get it right. It was a dark place.

Then, my sister and I decided to cook it together one day, and it was PERFECT. Who knew that the answer to my pasta problems was someone so close to home?

Cooking with others is so fun. I always come out of it feeling like I’ve learned something new. So here is the product of collaboration and deliciousness.

Oh yeah, and the Rastafarian thing? This is definitely not an authentic Rastafarian dish by any means. It’s only based on the matching flag colors. 😉

 

Rasta Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients

Pasta Dressing:

  • 8 tbs EVOO
  • 1 1/2 tbs white wine vinegar (In a pinch, any vinegar will do, really. I used Apple Cider.)
  • 2 heaping tsp Veganaise (or as I like to call it, “goops.” Two goops of Veganaise.)
  • 2-3 tbs Agave Nectar
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed and minced

Other Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of Quinoa Pasta (gluten-free deliciousness; so much better than any GF pasta out there)
  • 1-2 cups of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup of carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 can, or 7.5 ounces, chickpeas
  • salt/pepper as garnish

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STEP 1: Cook the pasta.

Start boiling that water and get the pasta started! When your pasta is finished cooking, strain it and run it under cold water. Pasta salad shouldn’t be hot, so cooling off your pasta right after cooking keeps it cool and firm. Set aside or place in the fridge if you are still working on the meal.

Mmm… I love the Garden Pagodas!

Mmm… I love the Garden Pagodas!

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STEP 2: Create the magic sauce!

There’s a science behind the sauce, so don’t throw in everything at once and mix.

In a bowl, mix the olive oil and balsamic first. Whisk it quickly for about 30 seconds. This will allow the two opposing ingredients to blend. Add the Veganaise next and whisk, but not like a crazy person this time. Just normal whisking. After that, you may add the other pasta sauce ingredients in any manner you’d like.

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STEP 3: Chop up those veggies!

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STEP 4: Mix all ingredients.

The fun part! Get a great, big bowl and mix the pasta, pasta sauce, veggies, and chickpeas all together! Add more salt and pepper as needed.

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RASTA!

 

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Extra pepper on mine, please!

 

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Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Gluten-Free Coconut Curry Wrap

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August 25, 2013 By

I’m back after a two-week hiatus! It’s been a crazy time for me: BACK TO SCHOOL!

For teachers, back to school week can be a whirlwind of never-ending to do lists that never seem to get finished, questions without answers, and yawn-induced trainings/meetings.

It’s not all bad, though. It’s also an exciting time to get creative, get organized, and start anew!

 

Speaking of starting anew, I am in need of fresh, cutting-edge lunch ideas. Canned soup and PB&J’s should NOT be on my lunch menu everyday this school year. Being vegan means I mostly take leftovers from the night before, but sometimes, no leftovers are to be had. I need an easy lunch that is nutritious, will fill me up, and most importantly, can be made in a snap.

I decided to remake a restaurant favorite: Coconut Curry Wrap.

Matt, my gluten-free boyfriend, and I both indulged in this flavor-packed wrap! His wrap contained egg, so I enjoyed a spinach wrap. This wrap can be enjoyed hot or cold, which is perfect for a great lunch for work.

 

Coconut Curry Wrap

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Yield: 2 wraps

 

Ingredients:

  • wrap (Goodbye Gluten! wraps are a yummy GF option, however, not vegan)
  • about 10oz of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1 handful of leafy greens
  • 1/2 cup Veganaise
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

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STEP 1: Cut up your tofu into cubes.

I cooked my tofu cubes on a tabletop George Foreman grill. I sprayed the grill with olive oil and cooked the cubes for about 8 minutes, flipping the cubes occasionally.

Since my George Foreman acts like a giant panini press, it helped drain out some of the inner tofu juices while cooking. If you plan on pan-frying your tofu, I suggest lightly pressing your tofu with a paper towel before cooking in order to infuse it with olive oil instead.

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STEP 2: While your tofu snaps, crackles, and pops, combine your glorious creamy mixture of Veganaise, a garlic clove, coconut shreds, curry powder, agave nectar, and salt. When the tofu is finished grilling, add it to your Veganaise bowl and mix it all together. Set aside.

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STEP 3: Cut up your celery, walnuts, and dried cranberries.

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What a beautiful color combination.

 

STEP 4: Begin to build your tasty creation! Lay out your wrap and add your tofu, celery, walnuts, and cranberries, while topping it all of with your leafy greens. (I topped mine with kale, my personal favorite.)

Matt's GF wrap to the left, my spinach wrap to the right.

Matt’s GF wrap to the left, my spinach wrap to the right.

 

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Wrap it all up tightly and cut in half so you can enjoy the satisfying visual of the inner contents!

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Happy lunch-packing!

thisvegangirllogo

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Buffalo Quinoa Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

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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.

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A hand model BY NO MEANS.

 

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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…

 

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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.

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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

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Gluten-Free Tempeh Chili

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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)

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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.

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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.

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Before…

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.
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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

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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!

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NO FLEEGLE, you may not have any.

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… don’t give me that face.

Happy cooking!
thisvegangirllogo

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Chickpea Salad Sandwich

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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STEP 5: Mix everything together.

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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.

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MMMMMM! Perfect for summer and outdoor adventures!

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

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