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.

RECIPES + TIPS TO BE VEGAN ON A BUDGET

Post by Megan Stulberg

One of the most common things I hear when I tell people I’m vegan is something along the lines of, “I want to go vegan too, but I can’t afford it”. I hate to call people out, but that just doesn’t make any sense! My diet isn’t a luxury, or the sign of a lavish lifestyle. Truth be told (and despite what our Instagram feed looks like) I eat very basic dishes 90% of the time. Meat and cheeses are expensive, tofu and veggies are not. Sure, if you’re buying organic cold-pressed juices and take-out vegan meals every day, then yeah. It’ll be expensive. But it’s not hard to do at all, as long as you do it right. Think of it like skipping a step — instead of feeding cows and pigs what they need to get big enough to be slaughtered and eaten, why not eat what the cows and pigs are eating instead? That way you save energy, water, money, and oh yeah. Lives.

Anyways, what I’m saying is stop making excuses. I went vegan when I was a broke ass university student, and you can too. Here are some staple recipe ideas to get you started that are balanced, cost-efficient and able to be prepared in bulk. 

Still have questions? You can always ask us! Here to help. Hit me up at vegangirlfriend@gmail.com.

SIMPLE PASTA BOLOGNESE:

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Ingredients Needed:

  • Pasta (I use corn-based)
  • Jar marinara sauce
  • Beyond Meat “beef” crumbles
  • Go Veggie vegan parmesan “cheese”
  • Dried herbs and spices like basil, thyme, garlic powder, onion, black pepper

Steps:

  1. Make the pasta.
  2. Heat the sauce, sauté the “beef” crumbles. Combine.
  3. Coat pasta evenly, top with parmesan and serve.

Servings: 2-4

SIMPLE CURRY:

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Ingredients Needed:

  • White rice
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Frozen veggies (optional)
  • Curry powder, chill powder, garlic, onion, salt, black pepper — whatever spices you like pretty much, the only one you really need here is the curry powder.

Steps:

  1. Make the rice. I am not going to write step-by-step instructions out for you. You should know how to make rice. If you don’t, well…*gestures to door*. 
  2. Heat the coconut milk on stovetop. Add the spices.
  3. Heat the chickpeas, sauté the veggies in olive oil, dump everything together and serve.

Servings: 2-4

SIMPLE SUSHI: 

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Ingredients Needed:

  • Sticky rice
  • Seaweed
  • Cucumber
  • Avocado (optional)
  • Gluten-free or regular soy sauce (optional)

Steps:

Follow our existing recipe here and just omit the meat substitute.

Servings: 2 servings, approximately 4 rolls.

SIMPLE MAC & CHEESE: 

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Ingredients Needed:

  • Pasta (I used corn-based)
  • Daiya cheddar cheese shreds
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Almond, soy or coconut milk
  • Garlic, onion, thyme, salt, pepper

Steps:

  1. Cook pasta.
  2. Heat non-dairy milk on stovetop. Add Daiya shreds and wait for it to start melting, stir until completely combined into pourable sauce. Add nutritional yeast and spices, stir until mixed.
  3. Combine pasta and sauce. Serve with topping of your choice (ketchup, coconut bacon, veggies)

Servings: 2.

SIMPLE EVERYTHING-BUT-THE-KITCHEN-SINK BOWL: 

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Ingredients:

  • A grain or starch (white rice, brown rice, potatoes, quinoa, pasta, whatever you have)
  • A protein (fake meat, lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh)
  • A vegetable (lettuce, peas, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale)
  • A sauce/oil (marinara, pesto, olive oil, lemon juice)
  • A seasoning (nutritional yeast, garlic, onion, chill flakes, rosemary, basil, salt)

Steps:

Don’t worry about it! Cook whatever you have, in the way that you think is best. Sometimes it might seem a bit strange, but sometimes you’ll come up with something super amazing that’ll become a staple in your weekly meals. I mean, that’s how I figured out you can make personal pizzas by baking corn tortillas. Keep an open mind and embrace the experimental process.

SNACKS!

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  • Ants On A Log. But modified, because nobody likes celery. Apple slices, peanut butter (I buy organic, sugar-free jars of this at Whole Foods for $2.50 — seriously, such a kitchen staple) and raisins.
  • Smoothies. Seriously! This isn’t a dumb thing to say is a snack! Healthy, filling and cheap. Buy those marked down, bruised bananas on sale in bulk. Chop them up, freeze them, and blend them with frozen spinach, almond milk, and a touch of maple syrup (optional). You can do this to make nana ice cream as well.
  • Popcorn. Buy the actual kernels and not the microwavable bags, it’s a much better deal this way. Add coconut oil and salt, maybe a little nutritional yeast, you can even do something crazy like melt chocolate on there.

OTHER TIPS!

  • Instead of buying fresh garlic, fresh onion, etc. — opt for the powdered versions. They won’t go bad and will basically last forever.
  • Buy frozen produce whenever possible, unless you’re really really really really good at eating everything in your fridge before it goes bad. Which I doubt. Sorry for the lack of trust, but I’m probably right.
  • Stock up on “cheap” proteins. Beans, lentils, tofu and peanut butter make the world go round.
  • Buy nutritional yeast in bulk. It’s super high in B12 and has a great cheesy taste to it. You’ll start putting it on everything, trust me.

Baked Mac & Cheese Cups

Post by Megan Stulberg 

Another dish I whipped up for American Thanksgiving last week! These were a big crowdpleaser — and by that, I mean everybody ooh’d and ahh’d over them but I ended up eating most of the batch myself. Can you blame me, though? These cups are so good, both as a side dish or an appetizer. These baked mac and cheese cups are gluten-free and vegan, FYI.

And oh look, we made another video! Watch below and then subscribe for more on YouTube.

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Ingredients…

  • 1 box standard gluten-free macaroni
  • 1/2 bag cheddar style shreds (I used Daiya)
  • 1 cup almond milk, roughly
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tbsp corn meal
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions….

  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Dump that box of pasta on in. Cook accordingly, then drain.
  3. While pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Put almond milk in smaller pot and heat on medium. Add cheddar style shreds, stirring regularly until pieces melt. Add nutritional yeast, sea salt, thyme, red pepper and garlic powder. Once thoroughly combined and slightly bubbling, remove from heat.
  4. Drain pasta, then slowly add sauce to larger pot. You’ll probably have some leftover sauce, but add a bit extra as you’ll want extra moisture for baking.
  5. Add flour and cornmeal to pot, then mix to coat pasta evenly with sauce.
  6. Prevent oven to 350F.
  7. Coat muffin tray in coconut oil. Scoop mac and cheese by the spoonful into each cup.
  8. Sprinkle additional cornmeal for crunch, nutritional yeast and thyme on top.
  9. Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until slightly browned on top. Ensure that all liquid has evaporated when you remove them from the oven — this is crucial or else the cups won’t stay together.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool.

Serve warm, with dip or sauce of your choice. Makes 12 cups.

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Vegan Girlfriend’s Online Shop Soft Launch

UPDATE: SHOP IS CLOSED FOR FUTURE NOTICE! We had fun while we did, we just didn’t make any money and it was really time consuming lol. ❤

If you follow us on Instagram then you know that VGF Megan Stulberg  has been designing some vegan-themed goodies. And finally, it’s here! We have just soft launched our Etsy shop. Since we are *just* getting started, everything is in pretty low quality — but let’s stick with marketing it as “limited supply” or ooh! Even better: “limited edition”. More designs will be produced soon as well.

You can get…

  • Tofu enamel pins for $8 USD
  • Kale holiday postcards w/ envelopes 5 pack for $10 USD
  • Blood & pus milk carton sticker for $3 USD
  • Plants heart sticker for $3 each
  • “Hey” donut sticker for $3 eachWe’re don’t really expect to turn a profit or anything with these, we just want to promote veganism and also add more cute to the world. Money from sales will simply go back into making more of ’em. We’re still figuring out shipping and pricing so numbers may bop around a bit in our shop — if anything seems off to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us at vegangirlfriend@gmail.com.

Visit our Etsy shop here, and order soon in time to get cute things before the holidays! We ship to US and Canada. We can potentially ship elsewhere off of Etsy, for international orders please chat to us directly at the same email above. ^

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Crunchy “Chicken”, Avocado and Cucumber Sushi Roll (Recipe + Video)

Post by Megan Stulberg 

Back in high school, one of my favourite things to do with friends was get all-you-can-eat sushi. I always felt like I was going to barf after, but in the best way possible. I still love eating it — all sushi places will have at least a few vegan options, and making it at home is super easy once you get the hang of it. I’ve made sushi tons of times before but this roll is by FAR my favourite one yet. The fried “chicken” pieces make it taste like a crunchy roll, making me barely miss tempura. This recipe is obviously vegan and also gluten-free.

Also, this is my first time making a video 100% by myself! Filmed it, made the food, and even edited it. Go me. Watch the video (and subscribe plz n’ thx) on YouTube at:

Photos & recipe below:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sticky sushi rice, organic if possible
  • 4 nori seaweed sheets
  • 1 255g bag Beyond Meat chicken strips  or alternative fake meat of your choice
  • 1 medium avocado, halved and sliced
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into long thin strips
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Gluten-free soy sauce, for dipping
  • Other supplies you’ll need: One standard bamboo rolling mat, large knife, water, plastic wrap, cutting board and chopsticks.

 

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Directions:

  1. Wash rice in cold water thoroughly until it runs clear. Bring hot water to a boil with the rice already in the pot. Cook covered for 20 minutes until water has been entirely absorbed and rice is sticky in consistency, stirring occasionally. If the rice is too hard, add water by the teaspoon and continue cooking. Fluff cooked rice with fork and set aside to let cool.
  2. In medium saucepan, heat EVOO until it sizzles. Add all “chicken” strips  and pan fry until crispy, adding additional olive oil while flipping. Set aside.
  3. Line your bamboo rolling mat with plastic wrap, then place on a larger cutting board or clean flat surface.
  4. Lay the rolling mat flat, and place a sheet of nori on top. Add a couple spoonfuls of rice onto the middle of the sheet. Wet fingers (or use a spoon if this grosses you out) and pat rice lightly down into a thin even layer. The rice doesn’t have to go right to the edges — basically, try to create a rectangular section of rice within the rectangular piece of seaweed 1/4 inch from the edge.
  5. Align the chicken strips, avocado and cucumber into a very thin horizontal line at the bottom of the rice on the seaweed sheet. Be careful not to overfill or else your roll will likely fall apart.
  6.  Tightly roll the seaweed sheet from the bottom, using the mat to press it together. Keep going, squeezing the roll to prevent it from falling apart. Dab a bit of water on the edge of the seaweed to seal it.
  7. Use a sharp knife to slice the rolled roll (lol) into bite-size pieces. Wet the knife between cuts to keep it clean. Having trouble doing this right? Use this easy guide here to help.
  8. Repeat steps 4-7 with the remaining sheets, rice and fillings.

Serve with gluten-free soy sauce and eat with chopsticks.

Makes approximately 4 rolls (2 servings).

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Cups

Post by Megan Stulberg

Peanut butter and chocolate has been my favourite taste combination for *literally* (read this in a Chris Traeger voice) as long as I can remember. Seriously! I always got my mum to buy them in bulk around Halloween so I could eat all the extra ones after trick-or-treaters came and went. Now that I’m a fully functioning adult member of society, however, I’ve come up with a healthier version out of necessity.

Get cho’ fix! These babies are gluten-free, vegan and no-bake. You can easily make them raw, too, by switching peanut butter to almond butter.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter, melted or room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt

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DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line muffin tray with paper baking cups.
  2. Use a high-speed food processor or blender to combine 1/2 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup pure maple syrup and 1/2 cup raw cacao powder together until a liquid consistency is reached. If you don’t have a food processor or a blender, use a microwave instead: stop to whisk together every 30 minutes to prevent burning, then keep melting.
  3. Spoon 1 heaping tbsp chocolate batter into bottom of muffin cups so they’re approximately 1/4 of the way full. You should have about half of the mixture left.
  4. Set muffin tray aside in freezer for time being.
  5. In medium mixing bowl, “whip” the peanut butter together with 2 tbsp coconut oil and a touch of salt until as smooth as possible. If you have to…you can pop this in the microwave as well. Shhhh.
  6. Once the chocolate layer is frozen solid (or at least firm), Place a dollop of peanut butter on top of each. It will spread out to the edges, flatten then put baking tray bake in freezer.
  7. Wait for peanut butter layer to set. This should take about 30 minutes.
  8. Pour all remaining liquid chocolate on top of the peanut butter layer to finish off the cups.
  9. Let set in freezer overnight to set.Makes approximately 6 servings. Serve directly from freezer – they should be chilled when serving as they melt easily and you can still bite into them when they’re cold.
    Enjoy!

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Banana French Toast (V, GF)

Post by Megan Stulberg

French toast makes me think of the happy, sleepy Saturday mornings from my childhood. Whisking eggs myself to impress my mum, reading the comic strips in the newspaper, and inevitably taking a nap in front of the TV as the result of a sugar coma.

I figured this was something that’d be hard to veganize, but it was actually really easy! The hardest part was getting the gluten-free bread to stay together, TBH. Banana makes an excellent egg replacement and adds some extra flavour.

Watch the video to accompany this recipe filmed and edited by Zachary Risinger below, then get cooking.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 slices gluten-free bread (I used Food For Life)
  • 3 small/medium bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup organic maple syrup + additional for topping
  • 2 heaping tbsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp black chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Coconut oil, for cooking
  • Fresh fruit of your choice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In medium mixing bowl, mash banana.
  2. Add almond milk, maple syrup, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Whisk together until 100% liquid in consistency. You may need to keep mashing to get rid of all the banana chunks.
  3. Taste test batter at this point — you might want to add a splash of extra vanilla for a more prominent taste.
  4. Add two pieces of bread to bowl. Soak in batter approximately 2 minutes, then flip over and let soak again. If you can wait longer then do so — you really want the bread to soak up the batter as much as possible.
  5. Heat a splash of coconut oil in frying pan at high heat. Once it sizzles, lower heat a tad.
  6. Add both pieces of soaked bread to pan. Let cook in coconut oil. While bread is frying, let two more pieces soak. Flip bread every minute or so to ensure both sides are evenly browned and to prevent burning. Remove cooked pieces from pan, set aside, add additional coconut oil to pan and add next set of soaked bread slices to bowl. Repeat with remaining slices.
  7. Stack french toast evenly between two plates. Top with maple syrup, fresh fruit (I chose bananas and strawberries) and chia seeds — and any other toppings of your choice! Chocolate chips and coconut-based whipped cream would also be great with this.

Serve warm. Makes 2 servings.

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