Quiche Bites

quiche

September 26, 2014 By

When it comes to my own recipes, sometimes I need to get Pinspired. I follow a lot of vegan recipe boards on Pinterest, which allow me to step out of my comfort zone and make something I’ve never made before. These recipes aren’t for my blog, though. It’s just for me to enjoy.

However, there are the rarest of occasions when I step out of the vegan realm, put on my big girl pants, and reluctantly creep into a scary world: the vague search option Food & Drink. Anyone who is vegan knows that just looking at the Food & Drink option on Pinterest without anything in the search bar is very, very difficult. The worst, even. Recipes oozing with cheese and countless amounts of other options I can’t indulge in flood my feed.

But there’s a method to my madness: the Barney Stinson in me is bored and wants to challenge himself by looking for something to veganize.

Sure enough, a few days ago, I came across this famous pin from The Kitchen is My Playground:

Quiche Cups 1

They’re called Individual Veggie Quiche Cups To-Go. Woah! That’s cool! My Gluten-Free Pancake Bites have probably been my most popular recipe to-date, so I am a huge fan of the cute little to-go breakfast treats! Unfortunately, the quiche recipe above has egg and cheese in it.

Challenge accepted, I told myself.

My first attempt at the recipe you are about to see was a huge success. Don’t you love it when that happens? Who knows… maybe I’m just getting better at this stuff!

Anyway, I’m very impressed with the taste and texture of these Quiche Bites. I can picture them as being an awesome hors d’oeuvre. I just relocated to a new Florida city, so I’m thinking about making these when I attend my first vegan potluck!

 

Quiche Bites

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40-45 minutes (depending on which oil you use)

Yield: 24+ mini quiches

 

Ingredients

For the food processor:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs grape seed oil or coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 12oz package of extra firm tofu, cubed

To (finely) chop:

  • 1 cup spinach (or any dark leafy green)
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup mushroom
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup green onion

 

Step 1: Blend the food processor ingredients.

You want to start out with the cashews. Just the cashews. My food processor is pretty weak, so here are the results it yielded:

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DSC_0005As you can see, the cashews aren’t ground into a fine pulp. Rather, it’s broken down to tiny little bits. It’s good for the texture we’re looking for.

After that, add all the other food processor ingredients (oil, milk, nutritional yeast, salt, smoked paprika) but the tofu. We’ll save the tofu for last.

As far as oil preference, I’ve found that different oils produced a different quiche. If you’re looking for a light, airy quiche, use  grape seed oil. The batch containing coconut oil was more moist and hearty, so if that’s what you’re all about, use coconut oil. The ones photographed here contained coconut oil, but I’ll admit that I prefer the taste/texture/results of grape seed oil in this recipe.

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Now, what I like to do with the tofu is plop in the cubes while the food processor is turning. I don’t know if it does anything special, but I like to think that it’s less overwhelming for my appliance.

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Once all the tofu is mixed in, you’re going to be left with a strange concoction: the base! Pour/gloop the base into a big bowl. Set aside.

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Step 2: Place chopped veggies in the bowl.

If you haven’t chopped your veggies yet, now is the time to do so.

I’m proud to share that my green onions are doing very well! I’m using them for today’s recipe. All of these have grown just by placing the white bulbs in soil… that’s it!

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Just to let you all know, you don’t have to do use these particular vegetables. You might want to take this opportunity to clear out the refrigerator by using veggies you have on-hand. In my previous batch, I used arugula instead of spinach, white onion instead of green, and didn’t use any mushrooms at all. It still tasted marvelous. Use whatever you’ve got, and I’m sure it’ll be yummy.

Once your vegetables are chopped, place them in the same bowl as your base. Mix.

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DSC_0053I know, it doesn’t look beautiful. Trust me, though; it really is.

 

Step 3: Pour and bake.

I need you all to know that I used a mini muffin pan for these Quiche Bites. Using a regular muffin pan will not yield the same fantastic results; it’s too heavy and thick, causing the quiche to fall apart. However, if you have a round pie dish lying around, you could probably yield some nice results from that.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Get out your mini muffin pan. I didn’t use muffin cups for this recipe, but hey, that’s up to you. Also, I didn’t grease my muffin pan, as the mixture has enough oil in it to moisturize the pan with minimal stickiness.

Take a tablespoon and try to neatly spoon your mixture inside the divots. Here was my best attempt at cleanliness:

DSC_0062Lol, I know. Horrible.

I really, really wanted to only do only one batch of these, so I stuffed and stacked them high. If you have enough patience to do another batch, by all means, do that. You’ll get to see my results in a few seconds, anyway.

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If you used olive oil or grape seed oil, your bites should be ready in 40 minutes.

If you used coconut oil, bake them for 45.

Take them out and let them cool down for 5 minutes. They’ll seem a little moist when you first take them out, but the cooling process will help them harden a bit.

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It's easy to see which quiches were overstuffed… oops!

It’s easy to see which quiches were overstuffed… oops!

 

Step 4: Spoon out quiche bites and enjoy!

Actually, I “forked out” my quiches (with a fork). It won’t be perfect, but that’s the glamorous life of someone who doesn’t like to buy cupcake cups!

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These little babies are SO GOOD! They’re the perfect breakfast treat for those of us who miss omelets!

If you decide to make the best decision of your life and try these out, make sure you let me know how your dish turned out! You can comment below, tell me on Facebook, or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl on Instagram. I update the blog once a week, but I post on Instagram several times a day. Also, you can follow my board on Pinterest. I post my own recipes there, but I also post other recipes that tickle my fancy.

 

Happy baking,

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

 

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The Best Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese!

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September 14, 2014 By

When I first became vegan, I tried to substitute a lot of food I was previously addicted to (namely cheese). I bought all the fake cheeses at the store, and almost every single one disappointed me. I tried to substitute the taste I missed so much.

Here I am, a year and a half later, and I don’t have those cravings anymore. I guess you can say I’ve weaned myself off of my former addiction to cheese. Although I make cashew cheese now (my latest obsession), I’ve accepted that they are two different tastes. In fact, I love the way my cashew cheese tastes, and I feel good about the benefits.

This recipe is an upgrade from my last macaroni and cheese entry, which I deemed to be “The Best Vegan Macaroni and Cheese.” No, lol. Just no. It was not the best macaroni and cheese. I know this now because THIS is the best macaroni and cheese. 

Here is a picture of my former macaroni and cheese, including a list of why it wasn’t the best:

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  • It was sticky. Macaroni and cheese shouldn’t have the consistency of white rice. It should be oozy.
  • It was processed. Adding the Tofutti cream cheese gave the mac n’ cheese a processed flair that I didn’t care for.
  • The flavor still had room for improvement. It could still afford to be cheesier.

Rest assured that this entry right here is the cure to all of your vegan mac ‘n cheese woes, including the ones listed above. To make the dish more oozy, I added more oil and milk and took away the water completely. I formerly used Tofutti cream cheese to improve texture, but it turns out that if I added more cashew cream, Tofutti wasn’t at all necessary. Finally, to improve flavor, I used some different spices, which includes a perfected medley of nutritional yeast, sea salt, and smoked paprika.

So come on down and try the best vegan mac ‘n cheese you will ever try in your life. Yeah, performed that song and dance before, but that was then and this is now. I guarantee you that this is the last time I will ever change this recipe, because now, it’s perfect the way it is.

 

The Best Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese!

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

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 full servings or 8 side-dish servings

 

Ingredients

In the skillet:

  • 1 cup russet potatoes, chopped (any white variety will do)
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 tsp grape seed oil

For the cashew cream:

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked** for 8 hours prior to use OR milled)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs of grape seed oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Other ingredients:

  • 1 pound of your favorite noodles (I use gluten-free quinoa pasta from Ancient Harvest)
  • 1 head of broccoli, de-stemmed and chopped

** If you soak your cashews, use 3/4 cup of raw cashews instead of 1 cup, as the cashews will expand.

Step 1: Cook the skillet ingredients.

Cut up the potatoes, carrots, and onion. Don’t peel your potatoes; keep those nutrients in! Place these items in skillet with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Initially, place the items on medium heat. Once the contents start crackling, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

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Step 2: Boil the macaroni noodles.

Don’t worry about cooking them al dente. I have found that the al dente noodles tend to get a little crunchy in the oven, so I always cook my noodles until they are squishy, but not mushy. Nobody likes mushy.

Once you strain the noodles, rinse them off with cold water. This prevents the noodles from cooking themselves longer from the heat they retain during boiling.

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Step 3: Prepare the cashew cream.

I have a NutriBullet, which has a milling blade that grinds cashews to a flour without the need for soaking. If you place the raw cashews in a strong food processor, blender, or coffee grinder, it will probably work. The result you’re looking for is the cashew pulp, seen below. For the non-soakers, blend your cashews first before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Pre milling

Post milling

For most of you, you will need to soak your cashews for 8 hours prior to making this meal. Once the soaking is over, drain your cashews. Make sure you have a strong blender or food processor to avoid chunks of wet cashews (ew). For the soakers, you’ll probably need blend the cashews and coconut milk first before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Once you have blended the cashews, add the rest of the cashew cream ingredients. It will look something like this:

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Step 4: Blend the skillet and cashew cream ingredients in a food processor.

Your skillet time should be up. Dump both the skillet ingredients and cashew cream ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

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Step 5: Mix the noodles, cheese, and broccoli together. Cook.

I cook for only two, so this recipe is excessive for us. We are huge leftover fans, so I put half of the noodles in one baking dish and half in another. I do the same with the cheese and broccoli. One dish will be cooked now; the other will be placed in the fridge and will be cooked tomorrow.

Splitting it in half

Splitting it in half

Yay for delicious leftovers!

Yay for delicious leftovers!

If you live in a house of 4 or more, you’re probably intent on cooking all of it at once, and that is a splendid idea! Oil your favorite baking dish(es) first. Place your noodles in the baking dish. Dump the cheese on top, sprinkle your broccoli pieces, and stir it all up.

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Place your dish(es) in the oven at 350º for 30 minutes.

See? No more sticky noodles. Only the yums.

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If you’re looking for more cashew cheese recipes, you can check out Quesadillas with Monterey Jack Cheese, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, and Balsamic Basil Chickun Wraps with Cashew Cheese.

Also, as always, make sure you let me know how your dish turned out! You can comment below, tell me on Facebook, or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl on Instagram. I update the blog once a week, but I post on Instagram several times a day. Also, you can follow my board on Pinterest. I post my own recipes there, but I also post other recipes that tickle my fancy.

Connect with me!

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Happy reinventing,

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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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

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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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Spicy Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

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June 24, 2014 By

Who out there can’t live without their food processor? Mine is perpetually in the dishwasher, being that I use it on the daily. Now that I’ve had one, I don’t think I could happily go on without one.

I regularly make hummus, broth, dressings, and drizzles with it. I’ve dabbled with ice cream-making and pie crusts with it, too. Surprisingly enough, this was the first time I’ve made pasta sauce with it, and I feel like I’ve found a key to a door that should’ve been opened a long time ago.

Pasta dishes seem so boring and cliche. Not to mention that the pictures are pretty unstimulating, as well. (Who has the energy to put the oregano leaves on top, and surround the final photo with the raw ingredients used? Hmm… real photographers, I guess. Complaining like a true amateur.) But trust me when I say that despite the dullness these photos may exude, this pasta sauce is easy to make and easy to fall in love with.

 

Spicy Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

 

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 Ingredients

Sauce ingredients:

  • a heaping cup of tomatoes
  • a heaping cup of red bell pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, squeezed
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbs fresh oregano, minced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Other ingredients seen in pictures:

  • gluten-free quinoa spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 cups baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup baby eggplants, sliced
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped

 

STEP 1: Mince the garlic and oregano.

I use my NutriBullet’s mincing blade to make these two as small as possible. I find that if I throw the garlic and herbs full-sized along with the other ingredients in the food processor, it doesn’t get the ingredients as small as I want it to be. The smaller it is, the more flavor throughout.

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Dat Purple Haze… just kidding. It’s oregano.

By the way, I would like to congratulate my oregano on its first appearance! It’s doing well in the herb garden.

 

STEP 2: Throw in all ingredients in the food processor.

Make sure it’s a strong food processor, as you want the sauce to be smooth. If not thoroughly mixed, this will not produce the “chunky” sauce you want.

Set aside when smooth.

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STEP 3: Chop up other ingredients you wish to feature in your pasta.

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I found these adorable baby eggplants at Nelson Family Farms in Fort Pierce, FL! There a bit longer than my palm. I’ve never seen these before! This variety of eggplant is easy to chop, perfect for bite-sized disks, and absorbs flavors like a dream.

I also chose to throw in onion and mushrooms. It was a medley of perfection.

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STEP 4: Cook pasta and chopped veggies.

I used two tablespoons of coconut oil to cook the veggies with. It takes about 10 or so minutes to accomplish.

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STEP 6: Simmer sauce and strain pasta.

Once the veggies are cooked down, set the stove to a low setting and pour in the spicy red pepper sauce. Mix and let it sit for a few minutes.

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Dish out the pasta noodles, pour the sauce on top, and enjoy!

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Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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The Best GF & Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

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April 20, 2014 By

I have improved this recipe! If you want to see it (trust me, you do), click here!

 

Vegan cheese is famous for sucking horribly. I wholeheartedly agree with the stereotype vegan cheese has unfortunately made for itself. Known for its texture of rubber and taste of plastic, vegan cheese doesn’t deserve to be called cheese at all. “BUT IT MELTS NOW!” Awesome. You know what else melts? Wax. Which is what vegan cheese tastes like.

In my opinion, the only acceptable vegan cheese is vegan cream cheese. Spot-on texture and accurate taste.

What’s worse is that vegan cheese is being used to make awful renditions of vegan macaroni and cheese. 99% of what you see on Pinterest labeled at Vegan Macaroni and Cheese is pure crap. Trust me, I’ve tried. I’m sorry, but nutritional yeast cannot perform vegan miracles.

I was in a dark vegan macaroni and cheese place. That is, until I finally found what I was looking for. No Daiya. No nutritional yeast. It was a vegan miracle. It was made by Alisa in Alaska. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

I’ve been making the recipe above for about six months, but the more I ate it, the more I realized that something was missing. It just wasn’t cheesy enough. Maybe it was a little too lemony. Whatever it was, I just needed to tweak it a bit.

It was then that I realized that I bet I could achieve the cheesiness I craved through vegan cream cheese. At that moment, the clouds separated and the sun shone through. I finally achieved the greatness I had chased for over a year.

Here is my rendition of vegan mac and cheese. It’s the best homemade vegan macaroni and cheese out there, guaranteed.

 

The Best Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 8oz box of elbow noodles (I use gluten-free quinoa noodles)
  • 1 cup sweet potatoes, chopped (russet potatoes are yummy, too!)
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/8 cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 tub vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, chopped (optional)
  • gluten free bread crumbs (optional)

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STEP 1: Cut up the sweet potatoes, carrots, and onion. Don’t peel your sweet potatoes; keep those nutrients in! Place these items in a pot with the 1 cup of water. Bring items to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

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STEP 2: Boil the macaroni noodles. When finished, strain and rinse with cold water.

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STEP 3: Mill/process the cashews, garlic cloves, salt, paprika, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.

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STEP 4: When your pot of veggies is done, pour the contents into a food processor (including the water). Grind until pureed. Add the cashew mixture and vegan cheese and continue to puree until fully incorporated.

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STEP 5: Get out your favorite macaroni dish, line with cooking oil, and add the noodles, “cheese”, and broccoli. Mix contents with a spoon.

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I’ve heard that breadcrumbs on macaroni and cheese is a southern thing. If so, it’s the best southern tradition I know. Sprinkle on your bread crumbs before sending your dish into the oven at 350° for 30 minutes.

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Thirty minutes later…

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Mmmm, finally. Edible vegan macaroni and cheese.

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Mexican Stuffed Peppers

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April 19, 2014 By

I’ll admit that throughout my life, I’ve never loved stuffed peppers. It was never made for me as a child. In fact, peppers in general haven’t been a member of my  craving palate.

That is, until recently. A friend of mine made stuffed peppers for me, and I liked it. No, I really liked it! Why were my previous attempts to enjoy stuffed peppers so sour? It was a food epiphany.

It was your traditional stuffed pepper, complete with a grain stuffing and tomato sauce on top. But after my friend told me she made Soy Sauce stuffed peppers once, it got my mind reeling of all the possibilities a stuffed pepper could become. I bet there could be a stuffed pepper for every type of cuisine, I thought. I got right to work.

The Mexican Stuffed Pepper was my first creation, and it was love at first bite.  I even got my nose-in-the-air anti-stuffed-pepper boyfriend to jump on board with it. We paired it with Fiesta Potatoes, which will be featured soon.

 

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour total

Yield: 4-5 stuffed peppers (the pictures feature 2 stuffed peppers, but I’ve done the kindness of doubling the recipe for you)

 

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 red peppers, cored and seeded
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 1 can of organic vegan refried beans (I use Amy’s)
  • 1 can of organic black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of grape tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of onions, chopped
  • 1 can of salsa
  • 1 avocado, chopped, as garnish (optional)

 

STEP 1: Prepare the quinoa by boiling 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa. Once at a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Do you do anything interesting with your quinoa? I always buy one package of white and one package of red to mix together. The red quinoa is more firm than the white, which provides a bit of variety in the texture when mixed together. Not to mention that the colors look awesome when mixed.

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STEP 2: Core and seed the peppers by making a round incision at the top of the pepper and taking out the innards.

After that, boil the peppers in a big pot for 5 minutes.

When ready, remove and allow to cool.

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Hey guys. Lookin’ hot. Want to come back to my place?

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“HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!”

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You need to loosen up a bit. How about a dip in the hot tub?

 

STEP 3: While the quinoa absorbs and the red peppers dance in the boiling water, prepare the beans, tomatoes, and onion.

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STEP 5: When the quinoa is ready, scoop out about 4 hearty tablespoons of refried beans in the quinoa. This will give the stuffing a thick texture, while providing a lovely contrast of moisture and saltiness.

While you’re at it, add the vegetables and black beans and stir.

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STEP 6: Stuff those babies and stuff ’em good.

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STEP 7: Place peppers on a tray and pour salsa on top. Place in the oven at 350° for 30 minutes.

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STEP 8: Garnish with avocados, slice in half, and dig in!

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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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Spicy Black Bean Burger Wraps

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September 29, 2013 By

I’m not anal retentive about much. In fact, I’m quite okay with disorder in my daily life. Just ask my car.

However, when I eat, I try to keep things as neat as possible. I try to not let any peas touch any of my mashed potatoes, or to let any toppings come out of my sky-high sandwiches. Furthermore, one can empathize with my frustration while eating black bean burgers.

I’ve found that black bean burgers can get a bit messy and crumbly. Therefore, I wanted to make the yummy black bean burger a little more enjoyable to eat, you know, to quiet the irritating voice in my mind. So, here’s a black bean burger all wrapped up.

This also seems to be a better option for the GF crowd, as well. Matt has seemed to have better palatable luck with GF wraps than GF burger buns, so hooray for the Spicy Black Bean Burger Wrap!

 

Spicy Black Bean Burger Wraps

Prep Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8 patties / 8 wraps

 

Ingredients

For the patties:

  • 1-15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 C cooked brown rice (1/2 cup dried with 1/2 cup water)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8-1/4 C gluten-free bread crumbs

Other ingredients:

  • 1 package of wraps
  • Condiments: mustard, ketchup, Sriracha sauce
  • Toppings: avocado, sliced tomato, kale/spinach, red onion, pickle

 

STEP 1: Cook the brown rice.

Brown rice takes forever to cook, so start that now. Use the package instructions to guide you.

 

STEP 2: Hand-mash the black beans.

While the brown rice is cooking, hand-mash the black beans. I like my patties to have a lumpy texture, not a mushy one, so go easy on the mashing. In other words, don’t think of something you hate (like the traffic you had to battle on the way home) while you mash these black beans.

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STEP 3: Food process the onion and garlic.

Place the onion and garlic in the food processor. Again, same mentality with this as the black beans; we want some texture, so don’t ground the poor onions to a pulpy soup. Give them a quick spin and they’ll be read to be placed on top of the black beans.DSC_0006

 

STEP 4: Mix all patty ingredients.

Place the food processed onion/garlic mix on top of the black beans, along with breadcrumbs, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir it all together with the cooked brown rice. Stir together, form into patties, and drizzle hot sauce (with salt & pepper) on top of them.

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STEP 5: Cook the patties.

Place burgers on the “grill” (or George Foreman). I placed mine on for about 20 minutes, flipping one time halfway in-between.

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies! … just kidding.

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STEP 6: Cut up all your fresh toppings.

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STEP 7: Assemble!

Get the wraps together, pile on the toppings, wrap it up, and enjoy!

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By the way, these wraps make EXCELLENT leftovers. In fact, the leftovers might even be better than the original dinner!

Place the patties in the toaster oven to be toasted for 5 minutes. This way, they come out a lot more crumbly, which gave a more ham-burgery, even feel.

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Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

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Portobello Sandwich with Spicy Garlic Mayo

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August 6, 2013 By

Oh, the mushroom. So juicy, so versatile, and so delicious.

And yet, so easy to mess up when it comes to something like a sandwich/burger.

You don’t want it too juicy, as it will turn your bread into undesirable mush. You don’t want to undercook it, as it has a dry texture and a lack of succulent flavor. Not to mention that portobellos have a habit of breaking, which can just ruin the presentation. (Don’t laugh… It’s important to me!)

Portobello mushrooms make a great meat substitute for sandwiches. They’re filling, luscious, and omit such a wonderful, one-of-a-kind flavor! I was determined to make the perfect portobello sandwich, but first, I had to think of the best way to cook those problematic portobellos.

And then, it hit me: I have a George Foreman grill! It sits out on my back porch and it’s a hassle to clean, so it barely gets any love. However, I knew that the grill would be the ultimate solution to my over-juicy mushroom problem.

 

OOOOH, a solution indeed. This sandwich is fantastic.

This sandwich is hearty, succulent, and tangy. It’s stacked high with flavors that complement each other beautifully. The mushrooms have just the right amount of juice & flavor without doing unpleasant things to the bread. It’s like a burger with class. It’s the perfect thing to pack for lunch, or could be a delightful addition to a vegan barbeque.

 

Portobello Sandwich with Spicy Garlic Mayo

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5-7 minutes

Yield: 1 sandwich

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of hearty bread (GF people, I’d recommend an Udi’s bagel)
  • 4-5 portobello slices (or 1 portobello mushroom, sliced)
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup alfafa sprouts
  • 1/4 spinach
  • 2 Dill pickle slices
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • mustard (optional)

 

Spicy Garlic Mayo Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs Veganaise
  • 2 tsp Tabasco sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, miced
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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STEP 1: Begin by heating up your grill to a medium high heat. On my grill, I put my setting on 4, with 5 being the highest setting. Basically, you want to hear your mushrooms sizzle.

Drizzle your portobellos with olive oil, salt, and pepper. After that, throw them on the grill. After 5 minutes, flip them over and let them cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Drizzle lightly; I swear mushrooms are more absorbent than sponges!

Drizzle lightly; I swear mushrooms are more absorbent than sponges!

 

Tsssssss!

Tsssssss!

 

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After cooking for 5 minutes, they reduce in size and turn golden brown.

After cooking for 5 minutes, they reduce in size and turn golden brown.

 

 

STEP 2: While the ‘bellas are sizzling away, start cutting up your veggies and creating your mayonnaise by mixing the mayo ingredients in a small bowl. I was surprised at how simple it was to make the mayo fit the desired taste I was looking for! Go me!

Take out the bread, spread on the mayo, and… ohp! The mushrooms are ready!

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Look how excited the bread is!

 

 

STEP 3: Gather your mushrooms and start building your masterpiece! The order of your stack can be the crucial difference between a firm sandwich and a jumbled mess, so choose your order wisely.

I started off with a spinach base with the mushrooms on top. (In hindsight, the tomato would’ve fit nicely underneath the portobellos, but that’s up to you to decide.)

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Next, I went with the avocado, followed by the tomatoes and onion. I only had grape tomatoes on-hand, which made things a bit more topple-y than I wanted, but whatever. Tomato, tomata.

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Finally, I added the alfalfa sprouts and topped it with the sliced pickle. NO REGRETS WHATSOEVER.

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I added mustard on the top slice before completing the sandwich, but it’s optional. The sandwich is still amazing without it.

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And voila! In 3 easy steps, you’ve got yourself a lovely gourmet sandwich.

 

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Happy devouring!

thisvegangirllogo

 

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