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.

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.

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.

Jalapeño Cornbread

Post by Aine Davis

There’s a flavour in Mexican cuisine that I’ve always loved, but have never been able to fully figure out. I feel like I’ve been searching for that flavour my whole life, and I was beginning to believe I never would find it. That is…until I decided to experiment with a new cornbread recipe. I had a leftover jalapeño in my fridge and at the very last minute, I decided to put it in the cornbread, and guess what? I done did it! I had found the flavour I had been searching for! Turns out it was jalapeño the whole time, who knew it was that simple?! I love it so much that I’ve made it every day for the last week (I’m not even exaggerating). I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp warm water)
  • 1 1/2 cups organic corn flour
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Set oven to 400°f.
  2. Whisk together almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together ground flax seed and warm water to create flax egg. Set aside to let thicken.
  4. Combine remaining dry ingredients separately. Whisk together until they are completely incorporated without any lumps in the mix.
  5. Once the flax egg has thickened, whisk it in to the almond milk mixture as well as the vegetable oil and agave syrup. Whisk until oil is completely combined.
  6. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not over mix.
  7. Fold in the jalapeños until evenly distributed.
  8. Pour cornbread mixture into a bread tin. Bake in oven for 30 minutes until golden on top.
  9. Set to cool, and enjoy!

Makes roughly six slices.

SERVING TIP:

I like to fry the cornbread in a little bit of oil to crisp up the edges and serve with my Pulled BBQ Tofu and Dijon Coleslaw! Combo of champions.