Friday, December 28, 2012

Easy Greek (vegan) Salad Dressing Recipe

It is simple and it tastes good (not bland).  The large amount of spices stands up well to the strong flavor of extra virgin olive oil - so you can use this omega-3 rich healthy oil instead of a milder (omega-6 laden) alternative oil.

Easy Greek (vegan) Salad Dressing

blend together:

3/4 cup + 2 T extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup + 2T red wine vinegar (or other)
2 t. dijon mustard
2 t. garlic powder
2 t. dry oregano
2 t. dry basil
1.5 t. salt
1.5 t. onion powder
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. black pepper

Refrigerator for 1 hour before using to let flavor develop.  Keeps in refrigerator for a long time

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Vegan 'Ground Beef' Recipe (Gluten Free)

When my wife developed a sensitivity to gluten we could no longer use Boca brand crumbles so I developed this recipe.  I started out trying recipes I found on the web but most of them were VERY BLAND.  Sometimes it is easy to mimic texture and look but flavor is compromised.  It took some trial and error but we have been very happy with the results and now use this for tacos, chili, etc.

Vegan 'Ground Beef'
makes about 2 cups

1 cup dry TVP (textured vegetable protein)
2 T. nutritional yeast
1/4 t. ground black pepper
1 t. smoked paprika
1 t. garlic powder
2 T. Bragg's liquid aminos (or gluten free tamari)
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup peanut oil (or other oil for frying)

1.  In a microwave safe bowl mix spices, water, and Bragg's.  Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
2.    Stir in TVP.  Let sit for a minute or so until TVP has soaked up all of the liquid.

3.  Heat oil in a large skillet (large enough so the TVP can be spread into a thin layer) and fry TVP on medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until TVP has browned to your liking (about 4-7 minutes).

Note about using TVP:  I have found that TVP tastes best when it is rehydrated with flavored liquid such as vegetable stock or the spice mixture above.  If you rehydrate with plain water it will never absorb flavor the same way an always taste a little bland.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cilantro and Lime Bean Salsa

A salsa that you can make a meal out of - serve with any kind of corn tortilla chips.

1 28 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn, frozen
1 14 oz. can tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 small onion, minced
3 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cinamon
salt, pepper, cayenne pepper to taste
1 Tbsp extgra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp white or cider vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and chill thoroughly before serving.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Vegan Red Beans and Rice


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium bell peppers (any color), chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces seasoned tempeh, cut into 1-inch pieces, recipe follows
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce (Tabasco or other)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 quarts water
1 pound red kidney beans, rinsed and picked of debris


Place the vegetable oil in a 7-quart dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, celery, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions and celery are semi-translucent and the bell peppers are tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the seasoned tempeh, bay leaves, thyme, hot sauce, cayenne pepper, water and beans to the pot and increase the heat to high. Cook, stirring frequently until the mixture comes to a boil, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 1-1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened. Use a potatoe masher to increase the creamie texture to your liking.

Serve the beans over rice (short grain brown rice works well.)

Seasoned Tempeh

2 tablespoons Braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup white or apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
12 oz. tempeh

Mix all of the ingredients except the tempeh and vegetable oil. Pour the mixture into an 8x8 baking dish. Cut the tempeh into enough strips to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Marinate for at least 1 hour, turning the tempeh strips several times. Remove tempeh strips from marinade (reserve for later) and fry in vegetable oil, turning frequently, until tempeh becomes firm and browned. Pour remaining marinade over tempeh then remove from heat, allowing the tempeh to absorb the marinade. Once tempeh has cooled chop into 1-inch or smaller pieces (the spatula works well for this, you may want to cut it as you are cooking it.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Vegan BBQ Fried Rice

Yeeeeeee-Haw! This is wild west inspired comfort food. It is a fairly frugal main course - it really stretches a bag of 'steak strips'. And it shouldn't be too scary for the meat and potatoes crowd.

Vegan BBQ Fried Rice
Serves 6

> 3 cloves garlic - chopped
> 1/2 medium onion - minced
> 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
> 3 cups cooked long grain rice - cooked in vegetable stock
> 1 bag Morningstar Farms Veggie Steak Strips
> 15 oz. can kidney beans - rinsed and drained
> 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
> 1/4 c. KC style barbecue sauce
> salt to taste

1. Fry garlic and onions in oil for about 20 seconds
2. Add 'steak strips' and cook while cutting them into tiny pieces with your spatula.
3. Add rice, beans, and crushed tomatoes and mix thoroughly.
4. Simmer for about 2 minutes
5. Add barbecue sauce and salt and mix thoroughly.

My notes for this recipe...

1. The "KC" in KC style barbecue sauce stands for "Kansas City." It is characterized by a distinct molasses flavor. You can buy "KC Masterpiece" brand sauce for about $3, or look for a "KC style" generic sauce - I got a bottle at Fred Meyer for $.79.

2. Rice that was cooked the day before and has dried out a little bit always works best for fried rice.

3. If the leftovers are too dry you can add a splash of water and re-heat in the microwave in a covered dish.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Idaho Dutch Oven Stew Recipe (vegan)

This stew is a childhood memory. My mom used to make a non-vegan version of it when I was a kid. We both happen to be vegan now. She still had the recipe so I decided to modify it and 'dutch oven' it. A barbecue isn't the only way to cook in the back yard.

If you want to make this while camping you will probably need to make the sauce ahead of time since it requires a blender. My mother-in-law just aquired a hand crank blender. I haven't had a chance to test it yet - maybe it would do the job.

I cooked this on a day when temperatures were in the 50s and there was a moderate wind. You can see from the third photo that I attempted to make a wind shelter with some patio pavers. Even with that precaution my cooking temperature was affected. The weather can have a dramatic effect on temperature when you are dutch oven cooking. You can read up on it over at the dutch oven dude. See my notes following the recipe for temperature advice.

Do you want my biased opinion? this stuff is G-O-O-D, even if it doesn't bring back childhood memories for you. My kids thought it was great. Their favorite part was the little corn on the cobs.

Idaho Dutch Oven Stew
Serves 6

>1/4 cup vegetable oil
> 16oz Morningstar Farms Veggie Steak Strips
> 2 medium potatoes, cut into 6 pieces
> 2 large carrots, cut into 6 pieces
> 2 large ears of corn, quartered

sauce ingredients...

> 28 oz. canned tomatoes
> 1 small red onion, chopped
> 2 garlic clove,minced
> 4 oz. canned green chili peppers, drained, halved, and seeded
> 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
> 1 tsp coriander
> 1/2 tsp. salt
> 1/2 tsp. black pepper
> 1/2 tsp. chili powder
> 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1.) First make the sauce. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

2.) Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Add the veggie steak strips and fry until browned.

3.) Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer gently for 35 - 45 minutes.

4.) Stir in the potatoes, carrots, and corn. Cover again and continue simmering gently for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Adjust the seasoning before serving.
My notes for this recipe:

1. Keep in mind that a batch of briquettes will typically stay good and hot for about 35 - 45 minutes. You probably need two or three batches to get this stew cooked.

2. I was stewing in a 12" dutch oven, shooting for 325 degrees F. According to the dutch oven dude's calculator that requires 21 briquettes. It was too cold of a day - I should have used extra. It took more than 1 hour for the vegetables to get tender.

3. You could get it to cook faster if you cut the vegetables smaller, but there goes the coolness factor.

4. This is best served on a plate with a fork - so you can smash the large chunks of vegetables before eating.

See Also...

Vegan Dutch Oven Pot Pie Recipe

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Vegan & Vegetarian Options at Fast Food Restaraunts

As much as I try to avoid it I find myself eating at fast food restaraunts and popular chain restaraunts once in awhile. And sometimes I am in the mood for a little more thand fries and a Coke. There is a handy webpage that I use when I know I will be going to a restaraunt ahead of time:

Vegetarian & Vegan Options at Fast Food Restaraunts

Most restaraunts provide a certain amount of nutritional information on their websites but typically don't go as far as listing ingredients. You can always call the local restaraunt with questions. This has been hit and miss for me. Sometimes I get someone willing to find the package of seasoned curly fries and read the ingredients to me over the phone. Other times the person on the other end doesn't know, doesn't want to know, doesn't care if I know, hates his/her job (who can blame them for that?), etc.

The information provided on the webpage above appears to be pretty well researched. I have no idea how often it is updated. But you may find it useful. There are a lot of restaraunts listed that I would not consider to be 'fast food'. Here is the complete list:

Applebee's - Arby's - Atlanta Bread Company - Au Bon Pain - Auntie Anne's - Baskin-Robbins -Bob's Big Boy - Bojangles - Boston Market - Bruegger's Bagel - Burger King - Carl's JR - Checker's Drive-in Restaurant - Chi-Chi's Mexican Restaurant - Chili's - Chick-Fil-A - Chuck E. Cheese's - Church's Fried Chicken - Country Kitchen International - Cracker Barrel - Dairy Queen - Del Taco - Damon's - Denny's - Domino's Pizza - Dunkin' Donuts - Eat'N Park - El Chico's - El Pollo Loco - Fazoli's - Fresh Choice - Fuddruckers - Godfather's Pizza - Golden Fried Chicken - Gold Star Chili - Hardee's - Hot Stuff Pizza - Jack in the Box - Kentucky Fried Chicken - Krispy Kreme - Little Caesar's - Long John Silver's - Manchu Wok - Manhattan Bagel - Mazzio's Pizza - McDonald's - Miami Subs - Moe's - Nathan's - Olive Garden - Panera - Papa John's - Perkins - Pizza Hut - Pizzeria Uno Chicago Grill - Popeye's - Rally's - Rita's Italian Ices - Round Table Pizza - Shakey's - Sonic Drive-in Restaurant - Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes - Steak Escape - Subway - Swiss Chalet - Taco Bell - Taco John's - Taco Time - TCBY - Tim Hortons - T.G.I. Fridays - Tony Roma's - Wendy's - Western Sizzlin's - Western Steer - Whataburger

Now you know, and knowing is half the battle. Are there any fellow nerds out there who can tell me where they have heard that before?