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.
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Loaded Nachos!

Recipe by Megan Stulberg 

Los Angeles has this crazy effect on me where all I want to do while I’m here is eat junk food and sleep in. That being said, making these nachos just had to happen! Super easy to make if you want a lazy but filling snack to share with a pal. Also, please note that I’m a total DUMMY and took these photos before adding the vegan sour cream, tomato, guacamole and green onions. Total food blogger faux-pas, derp.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-4 heaping cups lightly salted corn tortilla chips, organic if possible
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 package Beyond Meat “chicken” strips
  • 1/2 tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • 1/4 cup Follow Your Heart pepper jack and cheddar shreds
  • 2 heaping tbsp refried pinto beans
  • 2 heaping tbsp sliced black olives, canned is fine
  • Dollop of Tofutti sour cream (not pictured)
  • OPTIONAL: additional chopped tomato, green onions
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

    DIRECTIONS:

    1) Preheat oven to 400F.
    2) Line baking sheet with aluminum foil. Plop some sort of cooking oil (olive or coconut is best) to prevent sticking.
    3) Lay tortilla chips down in a relatively flat layer on aluminum foil.
    4) Sprinkle pepper jack and cheddar shreds evenly across chips.
    5) Add sliced black olives, refried beans and Beyond Meat.
    6) Bake in oven 15-20 minutes, or until all the “cheese” melts. All ovens will vary so check on nachos every few minutes.
    7) While nachos are baking, make the guacamole by mashing up the avocado with a fork and adding the lime juice, chopped onion, tomato, salt and pepper.
    8) Remove baking sheet from oven. Scoop nachos onto plate. Add guacamole, salsa verde, vegan sour cream, green onions and additional chopped tomato if desired.

    Enjoy! Serve hot hot hot. Makes 2 servings.

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Raspberry Matcha “Cheesecake” Bars (raw, gf, v)

Post by Alexandra Courts 

Matcha’s recent hype is well deserved! It detoxifies the body, boosts metabolism, calms the mind, lower blood sugar, prevent against diseases, lower cholesterol, and is rich in dietary fibre and antioxidants.

I whipped up a batch of raw treats with matcha cream, raspberry “cheesecake” filling and a chocolate cookie base. Keep reading for the recipe!
   Ingredients…

  • 3 cups raw cashews (soaked)
  • 2 cups dates, pitted and soaked overnight
  • 1 can of light coconut milk
  • 1 original K’s NRG bar
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup matcha tea powder
  • Optional: additional frozen raspberries for garnish

Directions…

  1. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with long strips of parchment paper.
  2. For the base: blend the almonds, cacao powder, shredded coconut, and dates until the pieces are finely ground and everything is thoroughly combined.
  3. Press and flatten this mixture into the bottom of the pan. Set aside in freezer.
  4. For the raspberry “cheesecake” filling: blend half of the soaked cashews with half the can of coconut milk, half of the maple syrup, and the raspberries until smooth.
  5. Pour, then spread the cheesecake layer out evenly on top of the chocolate base. Place back in freezer to allow layer to set.
  6. For the matcha layer: blend the remainder of the cashews with the matcha powder, as well as the remaining coconut milk and maple syrup, until smooth.
  7. Pour and flatten mixture overtop of the set raspberry layer.
  8. Allow this to set in the freezer for 1-2 hours or even overnight before slicing. Thaw in fridge at least 1 hour before slicing.
  9. Cut NRG bar into small bite-size chunks. You can either use a rolling pin to flatten the bar then roll into balls (as seen in photo), or use as is. Top each cheesecake slice with a few NRG chunks and frozen raspberries.
  10. Enjoy!

Serve chilled. Makes approximately 10-12 slices.

PROBAR Review

By contributor Alexandra Courts

Alright folks! We’re about to introduce you to one of the tastiest nutrition bars on the market, assuming you haven’t smartened up by trying them yet.

Facts: PROBAR is one of the leading providers of vegan, organic and non-GMO energy bars that are tasty, convenient, and healthy. They have a variety of products that range from energy chews to full meal-replacements. All vegan, most gluten-free. They have a wide variety of products to suit your individual preferences perfectly, and it’s easy to purchase them in local grocery stores or order online at www.theprobar.com.

PROBAR base bars have 20 grams of plant-based protein each (!!!) and come in a variety of delicious flavours: Cookie dough, brownie crisp, mint chocolate, peanut butter chocolate, and super greens. How good do those sound?! They’re disguised as desserts while actually being packed with healthy ingredients like flax seeds. These seemed to sit fairly heavily, so we’d definitely recommend having one after a workout.

PROBAR bite bars are a great on-the-go snack option that will give you the midday pick-me-up that your body is craving. Flavours include: Peanut butter crunch, chocolate cherry cashew, coconut almond, mixed berry, super fruit and greens, and peanut butter chocolate. Additionally, bite bars are soy-free.

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We were so excited to give the PROBAR base and bite bars a try! In terms of texture: the bars were not at all dry, like some of the nutrition bars that are currently on the market. Each one left the tastebuds delighted, satisfied hunger cravings, and provided energy to the body that lasted throughout the day.

Special thanks to the kind people at PROBAR for sending these delicious treats our way to review.  

(5)00 Kales of Summer: Creamy Dill Pickle Kale Chips

By Aine Davis

Whenever I go grocery shopping I can’t help but sneak a peek at the snack aisle and drool for a minute or two. It would be so easy to simply devour a bag of store-bought BBQ potato chips, but I know from experience that the consequences are heinous. Instead, I make a healthier version at home whenever possible! 

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What you’ll need:

  • Blender
  • Dehydrator (Alternatively, you can use this guide for oven-baked kale chips)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of kale
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions:

  1. Soak cashews in water for 1-4 hours. Drain. 
  2. Rinse kale and dry as thoroughly as possible.  
  3. Devein kale. Not sure what we’re talking about? Use this method. 
  4. Roughly chop kale into bite-size pieces. 
  5. Blend cashews, vinegar, dill, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt and pepper until liquid in consistency. 
  6. Toss kale in dressing, coating as evenly as possible. 
  7. Line dehydrator with wax paper and spread kale pieces out. Be sure to avoid any overlap. 
  8. Dehydrate for roughly 6 hours at 115 degrees, or following your dehydrator’s specifications. The longer you dehydrate for, the crisper your chips will be. 

Makes 2 servings. Extra dressing can be used as a raw veggie dip.