Vegan Mozzarella Sticks

Guest post by Amanda Spinosa

Processed with VSCO with fp8 preset

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
image2.jpeg

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.
Advertisements

Rice Bowl with Tofu in a Thai Peanut Sauce

Post by Megan Stulberg

My boyfriends works at PETA, which is basically a Vegan Girlfriend’s dream. He’s pretty great, for many reasons, but a bonus is that he used to do cooking videos for PETA2. I’m not going to link to it because he’d probably kill me, but there’s a super cute one he did about peanut butter a few years back and this sauce is in it. We made it together last month, and then I further modified it for this dish.

IMG_8531IMG_8543

INGREDIENTS: 

For the sauce…

  • 3/4 – 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup organic smooth peanut butter
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Black pepper and sea salt, to taste

For the rest of it…

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu (non-GMO if possible)
  • 1 cup texmati rice
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Lime slices, for garnish
  • 2 tbsp cold-pressed EVOO

IMG_8569DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare tofu by pressing tofu in paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  2. Bring a pot of water (1 3/4 cup) to boil. Add rice, lower heat, then leave covered to cook for approximately 15 minutes. Every few minutes, stir rice with wooden spoon to prevent sticking. Remove from heat once all water has evaporated and set aside to cool.
  3. While rice is cooking, slice tofu into bite-size cubes. In large saucepan on high heat, add olive oil and wait for it to sizzle. Reduce to low heat, then add tofu to pan. Let tofu fry, flipping occasionally.
  4. Begin the sauce! Add coconut milk to another saucepan on medium heat, then lime juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Stir peanut butter like CRAZY before adding it — seriously, this is important or else it’ll be a pain to combine! Also, make sure the peanut butter is room temperature, or even pop it in the microwave for a few to melt it a bit. Anyways, add peanut butter by the tbsp, stirring as you go. The end result should be a creamy, pourable sauce.
  5. If tofu isn’t browned yet, raise to high heat for a minute or so. Add tofu to the other saucepan and thoroughly coat tofu in the peanut sauce.
  6. Serve tofu on a bed of rice, topped with fresh cilantro and lime slices for garnish.

Yum! Makes 4 lunch servings or 2 big dinner servings.

IMG_8574IMG_8575IMG_8576

 

Asparagus and lemon-roasted eggplant fusilli with garlic bread

Post by Megan Stulberg

Having Celiac disease, it’s pretty rare that I’ll find myself wanting to eat a chewy alternative to wheat-heavy products. But catch me after discovering a gluten-free baguette that a) tastes like a “real” one and b) doesn’t use egg as a binding agent, then you’re going to see me suddenly go carb crazy.

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE PASTA…

  • 2 jumbo lemons
  • 1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and chopped into smaller pieces
  • 3 cups unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • 2 cups gluten-free fusilli (I prefer corn-based)
  • 1 cup chopped eggplant
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I use brown rice-based) or tapioca starch
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper

FOR THE GARLIC BREAD…

  • 1 Aidan’s baguette (Sold at grocers in the GTA, or can be ordered for delivery anywhere in Ontario)
  • 4 heaping tbsp vegan butter-style spread
  •  2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper

DIRECTIONS…

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In large bowl, coat asparagus evenly with olive oil and lemon juice.
  3. Line baking sheet with aluminium foil. Drizzle sheet with olive oil and evenly spread asparagus out.
  4. Bake asparagus for 15-20 minutes until browned, flipping halfway. Set aside, but leave oven on.
  5. On stovetop, bring large pot of water to boil. Add pasta, then let cook covered 15 minutes or until water is mostly gone. Pasta should be tender when tested with fork. Drain, then set aside in same pot.
  6. Sauté onion and garlic with dash of olive oil in saucepan on medium heat until golden. Add eggplant and additional olive oil if desired to pan. Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes. Add eggplant and asparagus to pot with pasta in it.
  7. In high-speed blender combine soy milk, rice flour, nutritional yeast, sage, salt and pepper to make sauce. If consistency is too thick, slowly add tablespoons of water and pulse blender again. Add sauce to pot and mix all ingredients together.
  8. Line baking sheet with clean piece of aluminum foil. Slice baguette in half length-wise. Mix together vegan butter, garlic powder and sage in bowl. Spread butter mixture on both baguette halves. If you think it needs more butter or garlic, add more! Go wild. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, and another dash of olive oil.
  9. On baking sheet, place baguette halves in oven and toast for 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy.
  10. While garlic bread is cooling, relight element on stove and heat pasta covered on medium-low for 5 minutes. A dash more almond milk may be necessary to mix in. Slice bread and serve immediately.

Serve hot! Makes 4 servings.


French Style Chickpea “Tuna Salad” Sandwich

Post by Megan Stulberg

For the first time ever, I found a gluten-free baguette (a rare find) that doesn’t also contain egg (an even rarer find). Needless to say, I went home and ate the whole thing in one sitting. I have no regrets.

IMG_5879 IMG_5880

INGREDIENTS…

  • 1 Aidans gluten-free baguette 
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance brand)
  • 1 1/2 cans chickpeas, rinsed
  • 3 nori (seaweed) sheets, crumbled
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayo
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 tsp dill
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS…

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Cut baguette lengthwise and spread each half evenly with vegan butter.
  3. On a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil, bake baguette in oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden in colour.
  4. While baguette is in oven, place chickpeas, seaweed, garlic powder, EVOO and dill in food processor and pulse quickly to loosely combine.
  5. Add onion, celery, sea salt and black pepper to mixture and combine with spoon.
  6. While baguette is still hot, fill one half with “tuna”. Add a couple big dollops of vegan mayo, place other baguette half on top, slice and enjoy immediately!

Makes 2 sandwiches and tons of leftover “tuna”.