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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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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Happy cooking,

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!
  • Add me on Facebook to see when new recipes are posted
  • Follow my board on Pinterest
  • Comment below!

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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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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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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Fennel Salad Pizza with Pesto Base

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August 24, 2014 By

I’ve been wanting to make a pizza with a pesto base for quite some time now. However, I just couldn’t seem to come up with ideal toppings for the pizza. I had found myself in a rut, using the same ingredients as toppings over and over. I decided to put off posting the recipe until I came up with the answer.

A week ago, we went to Clearwater, FL to celebrate Matt’s birthday with his parents. Matt’s mom, Gail, loves to cook, and she made him a spectacular dinner for his birthday. On the menu was this to-die-for fennel, red onion, and olive salad. The rest of the family had their salad topped with sea scallops, but even without, mine was incredible.

An Instagram photo of Matt’s birthday dinner. The winning salad is on the bottom left.

I kept thinking about that salad. I thought about it for the next week. I’m not a fan of fennel, or olives for that matter. Nonetheless, I kept thinking about how perfect it was.

It suddenly clicked that this winning salad combination might be my answer to my pesto base pizza woes. I acquired the recipe from Gail, put it on top of the pizza, and the result was out of this world. I always say this, but this time, I mean it; this is my new favorite pizza. Shh… don’t tell the others.

 

Fennel Salad Pizza with Pesto Base

Prep Time: 30-45 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: One pizza pie

 

Ingredients

For the Gluten-Free 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

For the Fennel Salad:

  • 5-6 fennel stalks OR 1 head of fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, rinsed with cold water to reduce raw harshness
  • 1 cup Castelvetrano olives, crushed and pitted
  • 2 tbs fresh or dried tarragon
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

For the Pesto Base:

  • 1-2 handfuls of fresh basil, rinsed
  • 1 handful of raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Step 1: Make the fennel salad.

The fennel salad needs to marinate for 20 minutes, so I think this should be numero uno.

I bought my olives at Whole Foods at their olive bar. Start by placing the olives in between sheets of parchment paper.  Mash the olives with the palms of your hand. If it hurts your hand too much, a potato masher will probably do the trick. Once all the olives are mashed, remove the pits, separate the olives into smaller bits with your hands, and place in a bowl.

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Ready!

Ready!

Next, chop up the red onion. Once chopped, place the red onion in a strainer, rinse off with cold water, and add it to the bowl of olives. Raw red onion is extremely harsh and has quite a bite to it, so we don’t need that type of drama here.

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My knives are an embarrassment to the world of cooking, as I am a starving artist. Therefore, I had to pulse my fennel in the food processor to chop it properly. Hopefully, you don’t have these problems and can cut your fennel like a normal human being. Nevertheless, feel free to use my method.

The three caballeros.

The three caballeros.

Place the rest of the salad ingredients into the bowl. Mix and set aside. Let it marinate for at least 20 minutes.

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Step 2: Prepare the gluten-free pizza crust. (optional)

Not everyone needs to make a gluten-free pizza crust. Not everyone wants to make a gluten-free pizza crust. However, if you do, I’ve found that Bob’s Red Mill’s website has provided the best recipe. View it here. (Substitute 1 tbs flax seed meal & 3 tbs warm water (mixed) for the egg to make it vegan.)

Your pizza crust should look like this when complete:

Pre precook

Pre precook

Gluten-free crust needs to be pre-cooked before adding any base or toppings to it. At 425º, cook the pizza crust for 7 minutes. Set aside.

 

Step 3: Food process the pesto base.

This is the easy part, and it’s the perfect thing to do while you’re waiting for your gluten-free crust to precook. Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix until creamy. Garlic bits are graciously accepted.

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Step 4: Spread pesto base on pizza crust and bake.

Scoop the pesto with a spoon, then use the back of the spoon to smooth out the pesto throughout the crust.

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Bake in the oven at 425º for another 5-7 minutes, until crust is golden brown.

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Why bake the pesto, you ask? I think it gives the garlic a roast-y taste, which I like.

Step 5: Strain the marinade and scoop contents on top of pizza.

Straining the marinade is crucial. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with the most greasy pizza of all time, and that’s not what we’re about here. Just stick it in a colander, let the oil drip out for a few minutes, and scoop the remaining salad on top of the pizza.

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I’d be surprised if you’ve had anything like this pizza before. It tastes so fresh. One thing I really like about this pizza is that the need for tons of salt is minimal, as the parsley and lemon take care of that. It throws so many flavors at you at once, but they all seem to complement each other so nicely. These flavors really have seemed to taken a liking to each other and get along so well. I think they’ll be friends for a long time to come, and my mouth isn’t complaining.

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If you’re interested on trying any of my other pizzas, take a look at the following:

If you happen to try making this pizza and are on Instagram, take a picture of it and use the hashtag #thisvegangirl so I can take a peek. I’d love to see how it worked out for you. Don’t forget to add me on Facebook, too, as I post all my blog updates on there.

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

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Tomato Basil Soup

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August 18, 2014 By

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

 

Ingredients:

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

Garnish

  • 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:

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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.

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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.

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Roasted and robust!

 

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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Fiesta Potatoes

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August 1, 2014 By

In Florida, it’s unfortunate, and a little surprising, that vegan and/or raw food restaurants are hard to come by. Cities give you more options, but finding a vegan restaurant in a little town? Fa getta bout it.

When I go to visit my parents in South Florida, it’s a miracle that we have Christopher’s Kitchen in Palm Beach Gardens. It’s a raw vegan restaurant with modern cuisine that my whole family loves. My sister and I always order the Iron Man smoothie, which inspired me to start adding cinnamon to my smoothies with yellow & orange fruit in it! (Seriously, try it.) Matt has a wide selection of gluten-free options, too. It’s just a fantastic restaurant.

When I bought my Prius back in March, we decided to try Christopher’s to celebrate and/or gorge ourselves afterward. For anyone who has bought a car from a dealership before, it’s a guarantee that you’re starving by the time you leave. Thus, we went a little crazy when we went to the restaurant.

We ordered an appetizer called the Fiesta Potatoes, and we fell in love. With Matt being gluten-free and me being vegan, he’s oddly obsessed with potatoes, and I’m oddly obsessed with avocados, so this side dish satisfies both weaknesses. We’ve been copying the recipe ever since!

 

Fiesta Potatoes

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes (can be done during cook time)

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 sides

 

Ingredients:

  • Petite red potatoes, quartered into 3 cups
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • 3 ripe avocados, mashed
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 tbs lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hot sauce (optional)

 

Step 1: Wash, cut, and bake your potatoes.

Use the olive oil on the baking pan, put the cut pieces of potato on top, and move the potatoes around the dish with your fingers until every potato is coated with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Potatoes before cooking

Potatoes before cooking

Potatoes after cooking

Potatoes after cooking

 

Step 2: Make the guacamole.

You have plenty of time to make the guacamole AND clean up the kitchen afterward!

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Once the fruits and veggies are cut, put all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. I love chunky avocados in guacamole on any given day, but for this side dish, you’ll want keep your guacamole mashed and on the creamier side. It’ll help your guacamole bind to the potatoes. Therefore, I’ll use my potato masher if I have to.

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When completed, set aside or put in the fridge until potatoes are finished.

 

Step 3: Mix potatoes in with guacamole.

Once the potatoes have finished cooking, dump the potatoes in your guacamole bowl, mix, and serve!

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Only three steps for a recipe?! That might be a This Vegan Girl record low!

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I love to pair this side dish with my Quesadillas with Monterey Jack Cashew Cheese! Click here to see the recipe.

If you make any of my dishes, take a picture and tag me on Instagram using #thisvegangirl to let me know how it went!

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Classic Hummus (Revamped)

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July 21, 2014 By

It’s a damn shame that after a year of blogging, I have yet to post a single hummus recipe. It’s better late than never, I suppose!

Ever since I’ve had a food processor, I have been stirring up hummus around once per week. It’s such a staple in my diet, I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it. I don’t think I’ve ever turned down hummus before, nor will I ever do such a thing. If I ever turn down hummus, please put me down to sleep, as I am bedridden, being fed by tubes, and most likely shitting my pants. I should put that in my will…

As I digress from that disturbing thought, let’s shift the topic over to something more pleasant: how easy it is to make hummus. Dump, mix, taste, mix some more, taste again, tweak, mix one more time, and serve. It’s the best snack/light lunch of all time.

I’ve been making the same recipe for a long time, involving chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, lemon, garlic, and salt. Simple, but it was a bit plain. Spices are a vegan’s best friend, so I decided to, ya know, SPICE THINGS UP A BIT. The result was WOW! It definitely had the kick that was missing for so long. Thus, the classic hummus routine had become revamped.

If you’re looking to revamp your classic hummus recipe, give mine a mix!

 

Classic Hummus (Revamped)

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Yield: 2 cups of hummus

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of organic chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 8 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 4 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • hemp hearts as garnish (optional)

 

STEP 1: Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

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STEP 2: Place all ingredients in the food processor.

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STEP 3: Mix.

STEP 4: Enjoy.

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Wow. That was the easiest entry I’ve ever written. Again, this is why hummus reigns supreme.

 

Don’t forget to add me on Instagram, which I update every day. Also, use the hashtag #thisvegangirl so I can see your renditions of my recipes you try!

 

Happy mixing,

thisvegangirllogo

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Creamy Dreamy Garlic Pizza

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July 1, 2014 By

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:

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

 

Ingredients

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

Pizza Toppings:

  • 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 hereIt’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.

 

Pre precook

Pre precook

Post precook

Post precook

 

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.

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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.

 

Milled garlic and cashews: The Bold and the Beautiful

Milled garlic and cashews: The Bold and the Beautiful

 

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.

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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.

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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!

Pre drizzle

Pre drizzle

Post drizzle

Post drizzle

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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.

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Be still my heart.

 

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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