July 1, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
I love experimenting with vegan pizza. This is my fourth pizza on the blog, officially making pizza the most versatile dish ever. It’s all about the base.
My other three pizzas include:
- the tomato base, Easy Ricotta Pizza
- the refried bean base, Mexican Pizza
- the hummus base, Hummus Pizza with Cucumber Cream Sauce
And now, the latest edition to the vegan pizza brigade: the creamy garlic base!
I’m proud of this one. The creaminess imitates the presence of cheese. I’m also thrilled by the fact that this is soy-free and free of processed ingredients!
Creamy Dreamy Garlic Pizza
Prep Time: about 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes (most can be done during prep time)
Yield: 8 slices
GF Pizza Crust: (see recipe here) (optional)
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 3/4 cup Water (warm)
- 1 tbs flax seed mixed with 3 tbs warm water
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1-1/2 cups GF all-purpose baking flour
- 2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
Cashew Cream Base/Drizzle:
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, milled (or soaked in water for 8 hours)
- 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1/8-1/4 cup water (depending on how thick you want it. I opted for 1/4 cup.)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 4oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 10 grape tomatoes
- 1 small handful of arugula
- 1 small handful of pine nuts
STEP 1: Make the pizza crust or knead your dough.
For all the glutards out there (don’t worry, guys… I’m a part of the community, so it’s cool), I have provided a great gluten-free recipe here. It’s from Bob’s Red Mill’s website. I have tried more than a handful of different pizza crust recipes, and that one is by far my favorite one.
GF pizza crust works way differently in terms of how it’s handled. Regular dough requires kneading to spread it onto a pizza pan. GF pizza crust is more of a smoothing process, as the dough doesn’t “bounce back” like normal dough does. A great tip for smoothing the GF dough onto a pan is to keep your hands wet. This prevents your fingers from transforming into those of a dough monster.
GF crust needs to go through a preliminary cooking stage before any toppings go on. Place the crust in the oven at 425 degrees for 7 minutes. Take out and set aside.
STEP 2: Prepare toppings that need to be cooked down beforehand.
After the mushrooms and onions are chopped, let them simmer in the coconut oil until they are sweating, which will take 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Spritz them with lemon juice during the last minute. Set aside.
STEP 3: Prepare the cashew cream.
This is a great step to tackle while Step 1 and 2 are cooking.
If you did not soak your cashews and have a very strong food processor or milling device (I use my Nutribullet milling blade. A coffee grinder will probably work, too.), mill the cashews and garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients. Mix until creamy and smooth.
If you did soak the cashews, drain the cashews and mix well in the food processor with the garlic. Once the cashews are completely liquified, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until creamy and smooth.
If you want a thick cream, opt for 1/8 cup of water. I wanted my base to be the consistency of a drizzle, so I measured out 1/4 cup instead. It’s all about preference.
STEP 4: Put the crust with base and precooked toppings in the oven.
Start with pouring the cashew cream on the crust and spreading it to the edges. Make sure to save some for the drizzle at the end! Sprinkle on the mushroom/onion mixture as the topping. Place in the oven for 6-7 minutes at the same temperature.
STEP 5: Chop and prepare raw toppings.
I love mixing fresh, raw toppings with cooked toppings on pizza! Grape tomatoes and arugula worked very well with this recipe. Complete this step while your base is still cooking.
STEP 6: Once the base is done cooking, dress up the rest of your pizza!
Add on the tomatoes and arugula, along with pine nuts and drizzle. Slice it up and enjoy!
So, I went to sit down in front of the TV to relish this tasty lunch I made when I found THIS. TWO SLEEPY BEEPY BABIES.
Be still my heart.
July 11, 2013 By This Vegan Girl
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.
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
- 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
- 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
NO FLEEGLE, you may not have any.
July 3, 2013 By This Vegan Girl
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
- 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.
STEP 1: Have a really cute animal nearby to help you out and brighten your spirit.
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.
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.
STEP 4: Using the spices and vegan mayo, create your Veganaise mixture. Sample the mixture throughout and cater to your own personal taste!
STEP 5: Mix everything together.
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.
MMMMMM! Perfect for summer and outdoor adventures!