September 26, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
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:
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!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40-45 minutes (depending on which oil you use)
Yield: 24+ mini quiches
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
September 7, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
Recently, I’ve been seeing a trend of food blogs taking a “less is more” approach with their ingredient lists. The idea behind it is the less ingredients a passerby sees, the more likely they’re going to say, “Hey! I can do this.” I suppose a long list of ingredients can seem a bit daunting to, say, a busy mom who wants to whip up something fast and yummy on a hectic Thursday night. It’s a cool concept.
I don’t know why, but these blogs made me feel a little down about my own work. I was noticing that some of my entries had the daunting long list of ingredients, and it made me feel like my blog, and its content, wasn’t good enough. I began to try and simplify my ingredients in order to compete.
A few weeks ago, I saw that cooking movie The Hundred Foot Journey. You know, the one about the Indian restaurant that moved across the street from a snooty French restaurant. I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying that movie. Aside from the love story and giggly scenes, I was relieved to see how much they emphasized bold flavor, lots of spices, and a variety of ingredients. The chef in the movie was first criticized by the amount of flavor he used, but was then adored for it once he was given the chance.
As silly as it sounds, I don’t feel so bad about my own creations after seeing that movie. In fact, I’m proud of my flavors, regardless of how many ingredients are involved. Good taste isn’t always simple; sometimes, something complex is what makes someone say, “Mmmm! Wow, what’s in this?” I encourage you all to not be intimidated by ingredient lists, but be inspired to try something you’ve never tried before.
Anyway, back to the recipe at hand: this wrap is amazing and you need to make it today.
Balsamic Basil Chickun Wrap with Cashew Cheese
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes (can be done during prep time)
Yield: 4-6 wraps
Ingredients for Cashew Cheese:
- 3 handfuls (almost 1 cup) of raw cashews
- 3 tbs tahini sauce OR hummus
- 2 heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
Ingredients for Tofu Viniagrette:
- 6 tbs olive oil
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbs fresh basil
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 15oz container super firm tofu, pressed and diced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- wrap or bread
Step 1: Chop and cook the tofu.
We’re aiming for a chicken-like texture here, so we’re going to pan fry the tofu. I have a green nonstick pan, so I didn’t add any oil to my tofu. However, if you’re afraid of a sticky disaster, use 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or grapeseed oil onto the pan.
I set my temperature a little higher than medium heat, tossing the tofu every couple of minutes. Your tofu will be complete when it’s golden brown, as seen below.
Step 2: Prepare the vinaigrette.
While your tofu is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Chop the basil until it’s minced. Place the basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, and salt in a bowl. With a whisk, whip it up quickly for about 10-15 seconds. The idea is you want the oil and vinegar to blend, so it has to be fast.
Step 3: Combine the tofu and tomatoes in the vinaigrette.
Toss. Smell. Swoon. Set aside.
Step 4: Create cashew cheese.
It’s really easy. With a food processor, you’ll want to pulse your cashews to be chunky. Not whole, not milled, but a little in-between, like this:
After that, toss in the rest of the cashew cheese ingredients, and stir until contents are fully mixed together. Use the back of your spoon to press down on the mixture to truly blend the ingredients.
You might have some questions about the tahini sauce. It’s not your regular tahini. I get it from Trader Joe’s, and it looks like this:
I like its paste-y texture, unlike traditional tahini, which is more liquefied. I totally understand if you have never heard of tahini sauce, let alone have it available at your local grocer. If it’s not available, hummus works exactly the same. I’ve tried both, and I enjoyed them equally.
Step 5: That’s a wrap!
Assemble the wrap. This is the order I did mine:
First, cashew cheese.
Finally, topped with the tofu vinaigrette.
For those eating a gluten-free diet, you may or may not have a yummy wrap you can rely on. For those who don’t, you can always go the open-faced sandwich route, which Matt did for this particular meal.
I hope you can use this recipe to spruce up your lunch routine a bit. Enjoy!
August 25, 2013 By This Vegan Girl
I’m back after a two-week hiatus! It’s been a crazy time for me: BACK TO SCHOOL!
For teachers, back to school week can be a whirlwind of never-ending to do lists that never seem to get finished, questions without answers, and yawn-induced trainings/meetings.
It’s not all bad, though. It’s also an exciting time to get creative, get organized, and start anew!
Speaking of starting anew, I am in need of fresh, cutting-edge lunch ideas. Canned soup and PB&J’s should NOT be on my lunch menu everyday this school year. Being vegan means I mostly take leftovers from the night before, but sometimes, no leftovers are to be had. I need an easy lunch that is nutritious, will fill me up, and most importantly, can be made in a snap.
I decided to remake a restaurant favorite: Coconut Curry Wrap.
Matt, my gluten-free boyfriend, and I both indulged in this flavor-packed wrap! His wrap contained egg, so I enjoyed a spinach wrap. This wrap can be enjoyed hot or cold, which is perfect for a great lunch for work.
Coconut Curry Wrap
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Yield: 2 wraps
- wrap (Goodbye Gluten! wraps are a yummy GF option, however, not vegan)
- about 10oz of extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1 handful of leafy greens
- 1/2 cup Veganaise
- 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened coconut shreds
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
STEP 1: Cut up your tofu into cubes.
I cooked my tofu cubes on a tabletop George Foreman grill. I sprayed the grill with olive oil and cooked the cubes for about 8 minutes, flipping the cubes occasionally.
Since my George Foreman acts like a giant panini press, it helped drain out some of the inner tofu juices while cooking. If you plan on pan-frying your tofu, I suggest lightly pressing your tofu with a paper towel before cooking in order to infuse it with olive oil instead.
STEP 2: While your tofu snaps, crackles, and pops, combine your glorious creamy mixture of Veganaise, a garlic clove, coconut shreds, curry powder, agave nectar, and salt. When the tofu is finished grilling, add it to your Veganaise bowl and mix it all together. Set aside.
STEP 3: Cut up your celery, walnuts, and dried cranberries.
STEP 4: Begin to build your tasty creation! Lay out your wrap and add your tofu, celery, walnuts, and cranberries, while topping it all of with your leafy greens. (I topped mine with kale, my personal favorite.)
Wrap it all up tightly and cut in half so you can enjoy the satisfying visual of the inner contents!
July 17, 2013 By This Vegan Girl
There is a new and improved version of this recipe. To view it, click here!
The idea for this recipe developed from two inspirations: my favorite local vegan restaurant & Pinterest.
At Dandelion Communitea Cafe in Orlando, FL, they have a variety of vegan and gluten-free options. I try to avoid getting in the rut of ordering the same thing every time, so recently, I ordered the Buffalo 66, a quinoa salad with tempeh tenders, veggies, and “blue cheese” dressing. When I tried this dish, my mouth was exploding in a flavor-war between the heat of the buffalo and the chill from the blue cheese. You know the devil & angel on your shoulders, pulling you in either direction? It was like that… but in my mouth, and delicious. The freshness of the veggies and the absorbency of the quinoa really pulled this dish together to make a truly exquisite dish.
Afterward, I told myself, “I have to make this!”
Flash forward to last night. It was time.
As for Pinterest, who isn’t inspired by the ideas people bring into this world on a daily basis? It took a bit of research to find a good “blue cheese” dressing. It wasn’t until this popular pin by PETA that I felt like I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel.
So, with a combination of ideas, as well as specific options that were found in my local grocery store, I created this mouth-watering, scarf-worthy, and heavenly dish! Seriously guys, it might be the best thing I’ve ever made. Oh yeah, and Matt helped, and his help made this dish even more awesome! It’s true that it takes one to have a good idea, but 2+ to make a good idea great!
Buffalo Quinoa Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing
Prep Time: 30 minutes (can be done during cook time)
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water (to boil quinoa in)
- 1 bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce (use as needed)
- 1 cup GF Seasoned Coating Mix
- 1 15oz can of garbanzo beans (will become roasted, drizzle with Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce)
- 1 package of tempeh, sliced (8oz)
- 1 cup of carrots
- 1 cup celery, sliced
- ½ small onion
For Blue Cheese Dressing:
- 1 cup vegan sour cream
- 1 lemon, squeezed
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp tahini
- 1/4 tsp agave nectar
- a dash of garlic powder
- 1/8 block of firm tofu, drained and pressed
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain chickpeas and pat dry. Get an oven pan oiled and ready, place chickpeas onto the pan, and dress them with 3-4 tbs of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo wing sauce. Move your fingers along the tops of the chickpeas and place them in the oven for about 60 minutes.
STEP 2: Tempeh time! After slicing your tempeh, gather 2 bowls and an oiled oven tray to create an assembly line. In the first bowl, pour some buffalo wing sauce. In the second bowl, pour some GF Seasoned Coating Mix. When everything is ready, dip your tempeh into the buffalo wing sauce, followed by the seasoning, and place it on the tray. Place in the oven with the chickpeas. They should cook for about 30-35 minutes.
STEP 3: Time to create the dressing! Gather your ingredients and mix them all into a small bowl, except for the tofu. You will drain and press your tofu, then crumble it up (I did this by taking a spoon and flattening out the tofu). Mix in with the dressing, cover, and place into the fridge until ready.
STEP 4: With 20 minutes left on the chickpeas/tempeh, get your quinoa ready. I used 1 cup of quinoa. Use the 2 cups of water to boil your quinoa, then let it simmer (covered) for 15 minutes.
STEP 5: You’re cooking 3 things at once, yet you have one more task! Get a big bowl ready, cut up the carrots, celery, and onion, and place them in the bowl.
STEP 6: When everything is done cooking, mix the steaming-hot quinoa and chickpeas in the bowl with the veggies. Gather your rather large helping (your stomach won’t let you get a small one, I promise you), place your tempeh tenders on top, and garnish with a little more buffalo sauce and your dressing.
The tempeh tenders were fantastic. In fact, they’re amazing by themselves! I might make them as a finger food one day… hmm, perhaps the Superbowl…
Anyway, this dish is tantalizing and all-out amazing. Stop what you’re doing and make this today. Your tastebuds, and your audience, will thank you.
July 3, 2013 By This Vegan Girl
There’s a vegan restaurant named Ethos Vegan Kitchen in my area. They have so many dishes that inspire my recipes. (Stop by if you’re ever in the Orlando area!)
I had my first taste of “chickun” at Ethos. After indulging in a bite, it took me a second to make myself believe that it was actually vegan. It seriously tasted “just like chicken,” as the saying goes.
Since becoming vegan, my tofu adventures have always turned into tofu disasters. Well, not today, I’ve decided. I am going to MAKE that tofu taste like chicken, dammit. Since the 4th of July is in a few days, I wanted to make something that is fried, crispy, and all-out delicious. This meal is not the most nutritious, but hey, we vegans gotta keep it real and have fun sometimes.
An old friend of mine (a long time friend, not a 60 year-old friend) assisted me in making my chickun nuggets. They turned out just the way I wanted them to; the nostalgic fried-ness was crispy on the outside and chicken-like on the inside.
Get some friends together and make gluten-free chickun nuggets today!
Fried Gluten-Free Chickun Nuggets
Yield: 3-4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
- 1 package of super firm cubed tofu (frozen, then de-frosted)
- 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
- 2 tbs salt
- 1 tbs pepper
- 1 tbs poultry seasoning
- 1 tbs garlic powder
- 1 tbs chia seed
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 cups canola oil
STEP 1: Place the oil in a deep skillet on the stove. Turn the heat on to a medium-low setting (a 3 or 4 on most stoves).
STEP 2: Gather all your ingredients. In one bowl, mix the gluten-free flour and all the seasonings. In a different bowl, combine the chia seed and warm water. Allow the chia seeds to absorb the water and get gooey, which takes about 5 minutes. That is your “egg batter.”
STEP 3: Form an assembly line! Take some tofu cubes, place them in the chia seeds, and then place them in the flour mixture.
For added measure, I did that process 2x. I placed the tofu cubes from the flour mixture back in the chia seed pool, followed by another dip in the flour. By doing this, I could tell that the batter was thicker and more secure.
STEP 4: When you’ve breaded all your cubes, it’s time to place your cubes in the oil. Take a spatula, gather as many cubes that will fit on it, and place it in the oil GENTLY. (No splashing – it hurts BADLY.) When the nuggets are in the oil, occasionally mix the cubes around for about 3-5 minutes, until the cubes look a crispy golden brown.
STEP 5: Using the spatula, take out cubes and place them on a plate lined with paper towels.
Get your favorite dipping sauce (I’m an old-fashioned ketchup girl myself) and get to enjoying your chickun nuggets!