Breakfast Fajitas

Recipe by Aine Davis

Honestly, I’m pretty boring when it comes to breakfast. Every morning I have granola and almond milk or granola and vegan yogurt, or if I’m feeling a little adventurous, hummus on sourdough. Exciting. Every day. Wow. But I recently had a friend stay with me for a few nights and I wanted to impress her with my ~cooking skills~, so I whipped up this quick and healthy breakfast in less than 30 minutes so we still had time to go see the beautiful blossoming Sakura Trees in High Park. Here’s my recipe for my quick and easy breakfast fajitas:

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp Adobo seasoning*
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions

METHOD:

  1. Slice bell peppers and onions into long, thick strips.
  2. In a large pan, heat avocado oil on high heat. Once the pan is very hot, stir in the bell peppers and onions. It’s going to be very hot so make sure to stir often so it doesn’t burn!
  3. Stir in soy sauce, adobo seasoning, garlic powder and juice of half a lemon.
  4. Once cooked to your desired texture (I like the peppers to have a little bite and to be a little blackened), remove from heat and top with cilantro and scallions.
  5. Serve on your favourite corn tortillas with favourite sauces! I like mine with Mad Mexican Chunky Guacamole and Valentina Hot Sauce. Enjoy!
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Spicy Italian Arrabiata

Post by Aine Davis

Full disclosure: I’m not Italian. Not even close. But I am #1 Big Time Italian Food Fan Extreme. That being said, this is one of my favourite Italian dishes, I learned it when I was in Italy and over the years its grown into my own delicious concoction. If you’re looking for a carb-filled splendor well then look no further, and feast your eyes on my spicy Italian Arrabiata.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 660ml strained, crushed, organic tomato puree
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil, divided in half
  • 1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 tbsp dry red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp dry thyme
  • 1 tsp dry parsley
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pasta of your choice, to serve 2

METHOD

  1. In a large, heavy bottom pot with a lid, over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. While the olive oil is heating, thinly slice the garlic cloves and rough chop the fresh basil.
  2. Once the olive oil is hot, add garlic, dry red pepper flakes, and freshly ground black pepper. Once the oil is fragrant and a little red from the dry red pepper flakes, add half of the fresh basil. Saute for about a minute.
  3. Add the tomato puree, olives, oregano, thyme, parsley and salt. Stir together until combined. Put the lid on the pot and simmer over medium-low heat, making sure to stir it every so often so that the bottom doesn’t burn.
  4. If you want extra yummy sauce, simmer for a few hours. If you’re in a time crunch, no problem! Prepare your pasta and by the time it’s ready, your sauce will be ready too.
  5. Once ready to serve, stir in the other half of the chopped basil. Serve immediately over pasta.

Enjoy! Serves 2.

Vegan Mozzarella Sticks

Guest post by Amanda Spinosa

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One of the first questions I am always asked when someone finds out I’m vegan is “Don’t you miss ____?” And the short answer is no. This is often a surprising answer because A. “How can you live without cheese?!” and B. I am a born and raised New Yorker living in a multi-cultural foodist’s mecca.

However, there are some foods that I don’t miss in a traditional sense, but rather the personal associations I have with them or the feelings I get from eating them, and one of those is mozzarella sticks. It’s one of the ultimate junk foods for people of all ages, and can make the worst marinara sauce taste great. I went to Champ’s Diner in Brooklyn, and to my obnoxious delight, they had mozzarella sticks on the menu! For me, vegan cheese is a hit or miss, so I was skeptical to say the least. To make a long story short, they were out of this world and I knew I had to try to replicate them. Here’s my recipe for delicious vegan mozzarella sticks
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 block vegan mozzarella*
  • 1/2 C flour + 1/4 C
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 C vegan seasoned Italian bread crumbs**
  • 1 C panko
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Neutral frying oil
* Although we all love Miyoko’s mozzarella, it’s too soft so I opted for Follow Your Heart
**Most seasoned Italian breadcrumbs contain milk, so be careful! If you can’t find vegan, just use panko in its place and give it some extra seasoning
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METHOD:

  1. Mix 1/2 C flour, water and corn starch in a large bowl to create a batter, then on a separate plate combine the breadcrumbs, herbs and spices. Place the remaining 1/4 C flour into a ziplock bag and set aside.
  2. Cut the mozzarella block into 1/2 inch sticks – I very annoyingly ended up with nine, so after it was fried I immediately ate it to make it an even number.
  3. Place all mozzarella pieces into the ziplock bag with the flour and give it a good shake to ensure they’re all evenly coated.
  4. Shaking off the excess flour, one at a time, dip each piece into the batter and allow the excess to drip off. Toss it in the breadcrumbs, leaving no breadless spots.
  5. Repeat step four until each mozzarella stick is breaded, lay them out on a small cookie sheet and place it in the freezer for at least one hour. I would imagine these can be prepped the night before.
  6. When it comes time to cook them, if you’re like me and don’t have a deep fryer, heat an inch of neutral oil (I used canola) in a deep pot. To see if it’s hot enough I like to throw in a few bread crumbs to see if they sizzle right away.
  7. Once hot, fry mozzarella sticks in batches for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown and a tiny bit of melted cheese peeks out, then place on a paper towel to drain off the excess oil. Keeping the oil hot is what keeps them from falling apart.
Serve immediately with hot marinara sauce. The cheese stretches like the real thing, so you’ll want to show it off to everyone. If you’re like me, it serves one, but I guess it could serve two people if you really want it to.

VIVA LA VEESTRO! Veestro Review

Post by Megan Stulberg

Let me just start this off by saying that this post is very important for you guys to read, because Veestro low key made my life *so* much easier for a week.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Veestro, listen up. It’s a 100% plant-based, organic, non-GMO food delivery service with tons of gluten-free options. You can get individual items a la carte, meal plans for convenience, meal plans for weight loss, they even have juice cleanses. They deliver nationwide, too.

So earlier this year, the good people at Veestro sent me a care package of 5 or so items to try out, and their timing couldn’t have been better. I was slammed with work and barely had time to eat, and every time I needed to — whether it was at home or at the office — I just walked on over to the freezer.

Scroll down for details about what I liked the most.

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The enchilada casserole was unreal! I’m not one for fusion food usually (Tim Horton’s poutine donut, for example, is…unappealing to me, to put it lightly) but I do love enchiladas and I do love casseroles. This bad boy’s layered with tofu, corn tortilla, red sauce and tons of veggies. I ate it while working from home one afternoon while taking a break to read a little Jack Kerouac and recharge. 10/10 great combo, would highly recommend.

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veestro 5Veestro’s red curry with tofu was my favorite item that I tried from their menu, hands down. I ate for dinner one day at the office, which means I had meant to eat it for lunch but forgot…we all have those days. I am, without a doubt, tofu’s #1 fan — but it tastes like paper way more often than I’d like. It all depends on how it’s prepared, and I was happily relieved with how good the tofu in this dish tasted. It also means that I’m going to be ordering more tofu dishes from Veestro in the near future now that they’ve got my tofu trust and tofu attention, like their soba noodles with peanut sauce and/or their breakfast burrito. How many times can I get away with saying “tofu” in a paragraph? One more, probably. Tofu.
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With this specific order I also tried Veestro’s golden chickpea stew, chocolate cheezecake and spanish torta. All were fantastic, and I’m so happy that vegan delivery services like this exist where the food is fresh and flavorful! If you’re a busy bee like I am (I’m writing this at a coffee shop right now and this iced latte is going to count as my lunch because I’m too forgone at this point), then check out Veestro’s meal delivery options. They deliver right to your door and life could not be easier.

*Disclaimer*: This is a sponsored post for Veestro, but all views are my own. For inquiries about sponsored posts, please email vegangirlfriend@gmail.com and/or megstulberg@gmail.com.  

Cheeseburger casserole (V, GF)

Recipe & Photos by Megan Stulberg

I created this cheeseburger casserole low key by accident, shhh. I was invited to a vegan potluck hosted by a friend and when I was asked what to bring, they said “burgers or something”. Being the plant-based Celiac disaster that I am, there was NO way I was going to get like, 30 gluten-free buns. So I found an alternative with a similar taste that’d be easier to divide amongst guests.

casserole 1casserole 4Ingredients:

  • 2 standard-sized boxes/approx 2 cups uncooked gluten-free pasta of your choice (I used rotini)
  • 2 bags Beyond Meat beefy crumble
  • 1 bag Daiya Cheddar style shreds 
  • 2 tomatoes, coarsely diced
  • 2 cups raw kale
  • 1/4 cup dill pickles, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and set a large pot of water to boil on stovetop.
  2. Cook pasta in boiling water until done al dente style (pasta should be a bit harder than usual, since it will be cooking more in the oven soon). Rinse with cold water and drain well.
  3. In large skillet, heat 1 tbsp EVOO over medium heat. Add the beefy crumble, then add the garlic, salt and pepper. Saute until cooked through and dark brown in color. Add kale and tomatoes, and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Stir in mustard, then remove from heat.
  4. Toss beefy crumble mixture with pasta in large bowl. Mix in handful of cheddar style shreds and diced pickles. I also added some extra mustard here for a more cheeseburgery flavor, but it’s up to you.
  5. Use 1 tbsp EVOO to coat bottom and sides of standard baking/casserole dish (roughly 9×13 inches) to prevent sticking. Spread pasta into prepared dish and top with the remaining cheddar style shreds.
  6. Cook in oven about 15 minutes or until cheddar shreds have melted.
  7. Sprinkle the rest of the diced pickles on top, and you’re ready to serve!

Serve hot. Makes approximately 6 meal sized servings or 12 side dish servings.

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Aubergine Ricotta Rolls

Guest post by Amily Blanch 

Valentine’s Day seems like it was just yesterday. The streets were flooded with energized romantics, toy hearts and chocolates of all shapes and sizes. At this time of the year, especially, we are all craving to surprise our loved ones with a delicious dinner. Who says you can’t do a belated version in March? 

In the vegan community it is quite difficult to find recipes that would truly make even a non-vegan fall in love, so I wanted to share a few tricks I have up my sleeve, as well as tell you how to prepare a healthy, heavenly starter.

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The dish itself is called Aubergine Ricotta Rolls and its overall making will take around 30 minutes and serve 4 people. This means, it’s perfect for a double date with your best friend and their significant other as well. 

INGREDIENTS…

What you will need for the vegan ricotta cheese: 

  • 7oz firm tofu
  • 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews, that previously had been soaked in water overnight
  • 1/4 cup of soy (or any other non-dairy) milk
  • Juice of one third of a lemon (around 2/3 tablespoons) 
  • Some salt and ground black pepper

What you will need for the rolls: 

  • 2 aubergines (also known as eggplants)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS…

  1. Start by making the ricotta cheese. Firstly place the (drained) cashews into a food processor along with the tofu. It is important to soak the nuts in water overnight because that helps break down the phytic acid, water stops the acid from being absorbed into our bodies, and therefore reducing a feeling of heaviness after the meal. Soaking nuts also neutralizes their enzymes, allowing proper digestion to take place.
  2. Add half of the non-dairy milk that you have prepared, blend, and then the second half.
  3. After it turns into a smooth paste, add the rest of the ingredients: lemon juice, salt and pepper (for which the proportions may vary depending on how flavorful you want the “cheese” to be).
  4. Once that is done, you can start preparing the aubergines by cutting them lengthwise into very thin, wide pieces.
  5. While the pan is heating add 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. For extra flavour and a more intricate taste, chop up one small clove of garlic and let it sit in the olive oil for some time, this will infuse it with slight pungency. It is up to you whether you want to keep the small pieces of garlic in the oil or remove them before adding the oil to the pan. Remember to not add TOO much oil, or else the aubergines will not be cooked properly and that will affect the taste.
  6. After the oil is hot, place the aubergines on the pan and wait for the pieces to turn a beautiful shade of brown, and then flip.
  7. Afterwards, place the aubergines on a cutting board and start spreading a thin layer of ricotta on each of them. Roll them up, however if you find that they do not stay in a roll, you can use a toothpick to stabilize them. (Make sure to take them out before serving the dish though.
  8. Different ingredients can be sprinkled on top of the ricotta in the process like some chopped chives or a drizzle of lemon zest, if you want to put your own personal spin of this dish.

After the preparation and decoration of this beautiful starter, you can make the main dish. There are millions of recipes that involve servings like vegan ratatouille pasta or quinoa dishes that would blow your significant others’ minds. To finish off the lovely evening, share an appetizing raw cake made out of bananas, cocoa powder, walnuts, dates and agave syrup.

Anyone, no matter vegan or not, will be ecstatic after tasting this aubergine dish, so make sure you try it as well! The best thing about a complete, vegan Valentine’s dinner is that it contains all the vitamins and proteins that we need to be our best selves and feel good in our bodies, as well as, leaves us feeling energized, satisfied and not bloated at all.

Nuts provide protein and the vegetables are overflowing with vitamins like A, D and C, so instead of feeling guilty after having a chocolate cake for dessert, you will be focused on your date and celebrating love.

About Amily Blanch: A longtime vegan, red wine advocate, and health ambassador. Member of a team of freelance writers from New York publishing recipes for the Secrets of Vegan Baking blog and product reviews for the Consumerion site.

Interested in submitting a guest recipe post for our blog? Hit us up at vegangirlfriend@gmail.com, and we can chat.

Portobello Mushroom Steaks (GF, V)

Post by Megan Stulberg

I probably shouldn’t remember this part of the evening, but on my boyfriend and I’s first date ever, we went to a vegan restaurant where I ordered a portobello mushroom steak. Considering how much I wouldn’t shut up about how amazing it was, I am truly very very very lucky that he’s stuck around this long. But I recently went back to that restaurant, ordered the same dish, and they brought me a cauliflower steak instead. What?! It still tasted great, but I must admit I was pretty disappointed. So I set off to make a version at home instead, because I make my own dreams come true. I made this for Christmas dinner and it ended up tasting exactly like I hoped it would.

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free.

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INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 1/2 cup flourless vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • Splash of red wine (make sure it’s vegan! check barnivore.com)
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat vegan butter in a large pan on medium until it begins melting.
2. Add garlic and onion. Pour half the broth, half the soy sauce and red wine into pan, mixing together.
3. Add mushroom caps to pan. Pour remaining broth and soy sauce directly on top of mushroom caps. Add the basil, thyme, salt and pepper at this point as well.
4. Let cook for 2 minutes, then flip. Continue to do this until both sides have browned, mushrooms are completely coated and there’s no more sauce in the pan. If the sauce evaporates before the mushrooms are fully browned, add a bit more broth and garlic, then keep cooking.
5. Remove from heat. Serve immediately with side dishes — I opted for shepherd’s pie with gravy and Hilary’s gluten-free holiday stuffing.
Serve hot. Makes 2 servings.