Balsamic Basil Chickun Wrap with Cashew Cheese

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September 7, 2014 By

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

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

Other ingredients:

  • spinach
  • 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.

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My green Organix pan!

My green Organix 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.

Golden brown goodness. These are ready to go.

Golden brown goodness. These are ready to go.

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.

Beauty

Beautiful basil

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Step 3: Combine the tofu and tomatoes in the vinaigrette.

Toss. Smell. Swoon. Set aside.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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DSC_0031I 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:

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First, cashew cheese.

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Then, spinach.

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Finally, topped with the tofu vinaigrette.

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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.

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I hope you can use this recipe to spruce up your lunch routine a bit. Enjoy!

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Colombian Burger Wrap

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October 25, 2013 By

Since becoming a vegan, I haven’t looked back… much.

As much as I love being vegan, there are a few things that I miss. (The smell of) fried chicken. Cheese. And most of all, Junior Colombian Burger.

Oh, you don’t know Junior Colombian Burger? That’s because it’s a local Orlando, FL favorite. Starting off as a food truck, it upgraded to a tiny, hole-in-the-wall location across the street from Universal Studios. Because of its local popularity, it now has 3 locations in Orlando. Most recently, its location near UCF made its grand opening just two days ago.

A friend of mine posted a picture of it on Instagram, and ever since, I’ve been thinking about Junior Colombian Burger. I’ve missed it so. Not enough to throw out my vegan beliefs, but enough to do some burger research as to how to veganize it and make it my own.

What sets Junior Colombian Burger apart from its competitors? It contains the usual suspects of a patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, ketchup, and mayo, but stands out with its potato chip crumbles, garlic sauce, pink sauce, and pineapple sauce. Trust me when I say that these things make THE PERFECT BURGER.

I asked myself: “Why do I have to miss out on this grand opening, huh? Why can’t I make my own vegan Colombian Burger?” Hence, the vegan Colombian Burger Wrap was born!

This is by far the best vegan burger of all time. I’m that confident. Don’t let the ingredients list scare you; it’s mostly sauce ingredients, which makes it seem less overwhelming. I invite you to open your mind up a little bit and give it a try. It has more than 20 different flavors to create the perfect tangy spin on a classically delicious dish.

 

Columbian Burger Wrap

Prep Time: 30 minutes (can be done during cook time)

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Yield: 8 wraps

 

Ingredients

Basic Ingredients:

  • wraps
  • potato chips
  • ketchup
  • toppings: tomato, leafy greens, onion

Burger Patty Ingredients:

  • 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

Garlic Sauce Ingredients:

  • 3 tbs Veganaise
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbs fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • agave nectar, as needed

Pink Sauce Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons salsa
  • 1 tablespoon vegan sour cream

Pineapple Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup crushed pineapple + juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger (fresh)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or Tamari for a gluten free option
  • 1/4 cup water

 

STEP 1: Cook the brown rice.

Brown rice takes forever to cook, so start that now. Use the package ingredients 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 sprinkle  salt & pepper on top of them.

Put them on the grill and cook until they’re a deep golden brown. I like them crispy on the outside, being that the inside will be a bit mushier.

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STEP 5: Make your sauces.

Whenever you’ve got some spare time (either by cooking the black beans or grilling the patties), start making your sauces!

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Garlic sauce, the teacher’s pet.

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Pink sauce… the laid back, go-with-the-flow one.

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Pineapple Sauce, the stubborn, yet unique, one.

With the pineapple sauce, put half of the sauce in a blender. Put the rest of the sauce in a saucepan. Once the sauce has been blended, add the blended sauce to the saucepan, mix, and put on low heat for about 5 minutes.

 

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STEP 6: Build.

Get your toppings prepared and build your masterpiece!

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Here’s the icing on the cake. DO NOT forget this crucial step.

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Put it all together and whadda ya got?
ALL OUT DANKNESS, THAT’S WHAT.

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Enjoy my favorite burger ever!

 

Happy cooking,

This Vegan Girl Logo

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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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Gluten-Free Coconut Curry Wrap

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August 25, 2013 By

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Coconut Curry Wrap

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Yield: 2 wraps

 

Ingredients:

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

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STEP 1: Cut up your tofu into cubes.

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

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

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

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

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What a beautiful color combination.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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Happy lunch-packing!

thisvegangirllogo

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Gluten-Free Balsamic Veggie Wrap

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July 12, 2013 By

Members of the gluten-free community get the crap end of the stick sometimes.

At Publix in Florida, they sell Goodbye Gluten wraps (not vegan, so I don’t eat them, but he enjoys them.)  Here in Mississippi, Matt and I spend quite a good chunk of time searching for gluten-free wraps at our local grocery store. We were really disappointed when we didn’t end up finding what we were looking for.

You know, sometimes, people in the GF community don’t feel like spending hours in the kitchen creating things that “normal” people find 20 varieties of in the grocery store, like GF wraps. If I’m feeling especially lazy that day, shouldn’t I have at least one option that I can just fall back on? It’s very frustrating sometimes.

With this recipe, we ended up settling with Corn Tortillas. It wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, as I wanted something bigger and with a more flour-y taste, but at least we had something.

 

Despite the initial dilemma, these ended up tasting amazing. It tasted like sweet, sweet summer! The flavors blended nicely. These would be perfect for a picnic lunch, or perhaps a light dinner.

 

Gluten-Free Balsamic Veggie Wrap

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5-10 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

 

Wrap Ingredients:

  • 1 package of your favorite tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 peach
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup grape tomatos, quartered
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 1 handful of natural almonds, halved
  • 1 handful of kale, chopped
  • vegan cream cheese (optional)

 

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs balsamic glaze
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

 

STEP 1: Begin by boiling your edamame. No exact measurements here. I just boiled some water and threw a couple handfuls of edamame in there. Boil for 3 minutes, drain, and set aside.

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STEP 2: Cut up all your fruits, veggies, and nuts!

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STEP 3: Create your balsamic glaze and whisk it up!

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STEP 4: If you’re using corn tortillas like I did, start a non-greased skillet on the stove with medium-high heat. Throw on your corn tortilla for 10 seconds on the first side, flip, and 5 seconds on the second side. Don’t get cocky with this or you’re tortilla will get burnt!

But don’t worry, there’s 50 more tortillas in the bag anyway, so play around with it and see what works for you and your stove.

Quick as a snake, swift as a deer.

Quick as a snake, swift as a deer.

 

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Good tortilla!

 

BAD tortilla!

BAD tortilla!

 

STEP 4: Begin building your masterpiece! If you’re looking for a more wholesome wrap, leave off the cream cheese. However, if you don’t mind splurging a bit, the cream cheese is an lovely addition.

 

Without cream cheese:

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With cream cheese:

 

Double Trouble! (glued with cream cheese)

Double Trouble! (glued with cream cheese)

 

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MMMMMMMM!

 

 

If you love the pet pics, here’s one I got while I was making my wraps. This is Nala, my roommates’ Rottweiler puppy. It’s so difficult to get a picture of this fiesty, wiggly girl, but here she is!

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“I can’t have a wrap?” 🙁

 

 

Happy cooking!

thisvegangirllogo

 

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