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.
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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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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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Hearty n’ healthy veggie pita pizza

Recipe by Megan Stulberg

Now I wouldn’t call myself lazy, but I’m all about being able to skip a step or two whenever possible. Prime example: I was going to make personal pizzas the other day, and then stumbled upon gluten-free (!!!) and vegan (obviously) pitas in the grocery store. And boom, pita pizzas happened. No crust, no fuss. You’re welcome in advance.

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Ingredients…

  • 2 standard pitas (I used Aidan’s gluten-free)
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped coarseley
  • 1 cup pure tomato paste
  • 1 cup Daiya mozzarella-style shreds
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup black olives
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic (roughly 2 large cloves)
  • 2 tbsp cold-pressed EVOO

Directions…

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2.  Lie pitas down flat on baking sheet lined with aluminium foil.
  3. Use ice cream scoop to place heaping dollop of tomato paste onto middle of pita. Flip ice cream scoop over, using back of spoon to smooth paste evenly over pita. Leave room at edges to form crust. Repeat for second pita.
  4. Sprinkle daiya, arugula, black olives and pineapple evenly all over pita. Repeat for second pita. Feel free to substitute or add additional toppings if desired.
  5. Place in oven for 20 minutes.
  6. In a medium saucepan on high heat, let garlic sauté in olive oil. Once it has browned, add onion slices. Lower heat and let sauté 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, then cook until everything has browned and olive oil is all gone. Remove from heat.
  7. Remove baking sheet from oven. Add garlic, onion and mushrooms to pitas.
  8. Let cook in oven for an additional 5-10 minutes. Be sure to check on it every few minutes to prevent burning, as every oven is different.

Let cool 15 minutes before slicing. Serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings (1 individual pizza/approximately 4 slices each).

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Coast to Coast Coffee Roasters Review

Post by Megan Stulberg 

It would be understatement to say that I am a big fan of coffee. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that I am such a big fan of coffee, I got a tattoo in its honour. I am a pseudo-coffee fanatic: I love its taste and thoroughly appreciate its caffeinated qualities, but am not a snob about it. I don’t understand what things like “cortado” mean and I’ve never been to a cupping. But I do know what a good cup of coffee tastes like.

Coast to Coast Coffee is Canada’s local roaster. The beans are organic, fair trade and freshly roasted in small batches.
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DISCLAIMER: This is a paid product review.
 ——
I tried Coast to Coast’s Superior Dark Blend. It took me a long time to wean my way off of refined sugar and gradually switch to drinking my coffee black, but I’m glad I’ve crossed over to the dark side. I was pleasantly surprised by the deep, rich taste of this blend! Once you try a cup of full-bodied coffee, it’s really difficult to have anything but. I’d recommend drinking this coffee black, with a touch of maple syrup or served as a full-blown cappuccino — made with almond milk, of course.
I ground the Coast to Coast coffee beans immediately before brewing it in a french press (also known as a coffee plunger, but that sounds surprisingly gross). I like to use this technique whenever possible it keeps the coffee pure and concentrated, and its built-in filter produces less waste.
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Coast to Coast Coffee Roasters has a variety of unique and convenient ordering plans to choose from. You can order on a weekly, bi-monthly, monthly or one-time basis. All plans include free delivery to your mailbox, and same day roasting and shipping (literally the freshest coffee you could ever dream of). The plans are pay-as-you-go, and you can pause or cancel your plan at any time.
WANT A SWEET DISCOUNT? Use our code ‘vegangirlfriend5’ while ordering here for $5 off your first order when signing up for any recurring order (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) from now until the end of November! 
Coast to Coast Coffee Roasters has this killer home delivery program, which I experienced myself when they sent me samples. Coming home to a box of fragrant coffee beans? Yes please!

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Breakfast Hacks: Overnight Oats

Post by Aine Davis

Overnight oats are a healthy (and easy) way to enjoy breakfast on-the-go! Prepare the night before, and they’ll be ready in the morning. Just mix everything in a jar and leave in the fridge overnight.

PUMPKIN SPICE OATS: 

Top with toasted pecans and walnuts, if desired.

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CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE OATS: 

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup oats (same brand as above)
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp raw cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp blue agave or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Chop up your favourite granola or snack bar to act as a topping!

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Peanut Butter and Banana

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 whole banana

Serve with toasted pecans and your favourite jam!