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.

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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.

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.

Raw Chocolate Avocado Mousse Tarts 

Post by Megan Stulberg, Alexandra Courts and Aine Davis

We’re back! With another video, you lucky dogs you.

Remember when we made that pad Thai? And those mimosas? Well we made raw chocolate avocado mousse tarts afterwards, and filmed that too. These are the perfect “something sweet” to enjoy after an afternoon of food and fun with your best gal (or guy, or non-binary) pals.

These tarts are raw, gluten-free, vegan, soy-free and artificial sugar-free. They’re SO easy to make too! All you need is some handy ingredients, a blender, a muffin tray and a freezer. Being fuelled by mimosas is also beneficial, but not a requirement.

Watch the video, then follow our recipe! Enjoy.

 
 INGREDIENTS:

For the Tart Bases…

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

For the Mousse…

  • Flesh (lol gross) of 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup 100% maple syrup or blue agave
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Line a muffin/cupcake tray with plastic wrap or strips of wax paper, as shown in the video.
  2. Blend the dates, raw almonds, shredded coconut, raw cacao powder, and pink Himalayan salt until mixture is fine in texture and thoroughly combined.
  3. Press the tart mixture into the base of each muffin base. 1/4 inch of the way full is ideal. Set aside tray with tart bases in freezer for time being.
  4. Blend all ingredients for the mousse together until smooth and creamy in consistency.
  5. Spoon the filling overtop of each tart base until each muffin cup is full. Pat down mousse with back of spoon for a flat look.
  6. Allow the tarts to freeze for 1-2 hours before serving.
  7. Garnish with your toppings of your choice. We chose frozen raspberries and raw pecans.

Serve chilled. Makes approximately 8-10 servings.

Pulled BBQ Tofu and Dijon Coleslaw

Post by Aine Davis

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I’ve always loved BBQ sauce but kind of low-key thought that unless you’re putting it on meat, it’s off-limits. But dang, it’s so good and is usually vegan-friendly! Just check the ingredients first if you opt for a store-bought version.

This is my favourite thing to make in the summer. Eat it outside, pair it with a cider and you’re good to go.

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FOR THE BBQ TOFU…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 standard pkg extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup organic ketchup
  • 3 tbsp wheat-free tamari
  • 2 tbsp crunchy dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha or hot sauce of your choice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 dashes liquid smoke
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Press tofu to remove any excess water.
  3. Cut tofu into thin, rectangular slices.
  4. Mix remaining ingredients together to make BBQ sauce.
  5. Marinade tofu in half of BBQ sauce for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Once tofu is done marinading, place slices on greased pan and bake for 20 minutes.
  7. When tofu is done, remove from oven and rough chop into much thinner slices.
  8. Mix in remaining BBQ sauce, let cool.

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FOR THE DIJON COLESLAW:

INGREDIENTS…

  • 1 head cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups purple cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup crunchy dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha or hot sauce of your choice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS…

  1. Whisk vegan mayonnaise, crunchy dijon, Sriracha, lemon juice, salt and pepper in bowl until sauce-like consistency is reached.
  2. Mix chopped cilantro up together with chopped cabbage.
  3. Pour the sauce over the cilantro and cabbage. Mix together well. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

TO SERVE: 

Serve equal parts BBQ tofu and coleslaw up on your favourite gluten free (and vegan) bun.

Makes 2 servings.

Vegan Girlfriend’s Tofu Pad Thai!

Post by Aine Davis, Megan Stulberg and Alexandra Courts

We all live very busy lives (Megan works full-time as a social media specialist, Aine’s a sketch comedian and Alex has her own no-bake dessert company), so it’s a rarity that the 3 of us get to produce content for Vegan Girlfriend as a group. But, lo and behold, we managed to whip up this delicious tofu pad thai together!

We even created a video to accompany the recipe, which you can watch here. A huge thank you to our friend Andrew Olivares for filming and editing this video for us! We’ve also *finally* set up a YouTube account, we’ll have toooons more videos coming your way soon, so subscribe to us here.


INGREDIENTS:

For the sauce…

  • 1 cup organic peanut butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup wheat-free tamari
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha or hot sauce of your choice
  • Juice of 3 limes

For the rest…

  • One package of organic nigari firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • One package of rice noodles, prepared as per package’s directions.
  • 1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup bok choy, washed and broken apart
  • 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Handful cilantro

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Prepare rice noodles by placing on large bowl full of boiling water.
  2. In a hot skillet, heat coconut oil. Add garlic. Sautée until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add in chopped mushrooms.
  4. Once mushrooms have reduced in size, add in cubed tofu.
  5. Squeeze the juice of one lime over mushrooms and tofu. Cook evenly on all sides, flipping throughout.
  6. To make the sauce… In a pot, boil one cup of water. When the water reaches a rolling boil, whisk in peanut butter, tamari, sriracha and lime juice. Reduce to medium heat.
  7. Once all the ingredients have been combined, pour half of the sauce into skillet with tofu. Sautée the mushrooms and tofu in the sauce until the tofu is slightly crispy.
  8. While mushrooms and tofu saute, heat bok choy in separate skillet on medium heat until slightly wilted.
  9. Serve tofu over warm rice noodles. Use ladle to coat with sauce. Top with cilantro, bok choy, green onions, and lime slices. Voila!

Makes approximately 4 meal-sized servings.

 

Mushroom Gravy Poutine (Vegan, GF)

Post by Megan Stulberg

I’m Canadian. Like, grandparents-are-from-Nova-Scotia Canadian. That being said, I don’t mess with boring poutine! This poutine recipe is a delicious, healthy alternative to the OG dairy version.

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Ingredients…

For the gravy:

  • 2 cups gluten-free vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chopped cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground sage
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter-style spread
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Cold-pressed EVOO, as needed

Other:

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 1/2 bag shredded vegan mozzerella “cheese” of your choice (I used Daiya)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, throughout

DIRECTIONS…

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Scrub and wash potatoes to remove any dirt, then peel. Cut length-wise into long, thin strips. Toss in 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Line a baking pan with aluminium foil or parchment paper smothered in olive oil to prevent burning and sticking. Lay fries out in an even layer on baking pan.
  4. Bake in oven for around 35 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes or so.
  5. While the fries are baking, prep the gravy:
  6. Heat EVOO in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Add onion and saute for 3 minutes until browned. Add sage, garlic, mushrooms, almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms are browned, stirring regularly.
  8. Add vegetable stock and vegan butter-style spread, lower heat to simmer. Once most liquid has evaporated, add vegetable stock and brown rice flour. Stir occasionally and cook for an additional few minutes. For thicker gravy, feel free to add additional flour by the tbsp.
  9. Reduce heat to low simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep gravy warm.
  10. Remove fries from oven and wait to slightly cool. Plate the fries, take a handful of vegan “cheese” and sprinkle it on top, then pour the hot gravy over everything.

Serve hot! Makes approximately 2 servings.

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