Ginger Sesame Stir Fry with Seitan

I was in the mood for ginger and a healthy dose of veggies and this is the dish that resulted. It turned out really well especially for being a bit improvisational. Sometimes that’s the best way to cook! I make stir fries pretty often, but it was good to change things up and throw in some new flavors and veggies. It’s quite a colorful dish too. This is a quick and easy recipe that you can make on a weeknight, and the leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day!

Ingredients:

1 yellow squash
About 1 cup of French beans (or green beans)
1 red pepper
1 leek
1 yellow onion
1 or 2 shallots
5 cloves of garlic
1 heaping Tbsp of fresh grated ginger
sesame oil
1 package of seitan
1/4 – 1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/4 – 1/2 cup of rice vinegar
garlic powder
ground black pepper
sticky rice or noodles
sesame seeds

Directions:

  • Prepare your rice or noodles according to the package directions. I used sticky rice for this dish which worked out well. While the rice or noodles are cooking, prepare the rest of the dish.
  • Chop the yellow squash, french beans, red pepper, leek, yellow onion, and shallots. Press or mince the garlic and grate the ginger. Saute these ingredients in a large pan with some sesame oil.
  • In a separate pan saute the seitan in sesame oil so the edges get crispy.
  • Add about 1/4 of soy sauce and a 1/4 cup of rice vinegar to the veggies and let them simmer for a little bit to soak up the liquid.
  • Once the seitan is crispy, add about an 1/8-1/4 cup of soy and 1/8 to a 1/4 cup of rice vinegar. Start with less and add more to taste. Continue to saute so the seitan soaks up the flavor.
  • Combine the seitan with the veggies. Season with some garlic powder and ground black pepper to taste.
  • In a small pan, toast some sesame seeds over medium-low heat. It doesn’t take long for them to toast so keep an eye on them.
  • Once your rice or noodles are finished, spoon some into a bowl. Top with the veggies and seitan. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top.

Virtual Vegan Potluck Hosted By An Unrefined Vegan

I moved this weekend, so I didn’t have much time to do a new post. I have a couple lined up, so new recipes will be coming soon! In the meantime, I wanted to share a project that one of my fellow bloggers An Unrefined Vegan is coordinating. It’s a Virtual Vegan Potluck.

Contributers will all post vegan recipes on May 12th in one of 9 course categories: Beverages, Appetizers/Starters, Savory Breads, Sweet Breads, Soups/Stews, Salads, Sides, Main Course, Desserts. The posts will link to each participating blog as a way to share in a virtual vegan feast. There should be lots of great recipes!

If you want to join in and post a recipe, contact Annie from an An Unrefined Vegan by emailing her at anunrefinedvegan@gmail.com. I will definitely be participating, but I’m not sure what I’ll be making yet. For more details go to the Virtual Vegan Potluck page. Everyone is welcome to join in!

Vegan Spanakopita and Raspberry Chocolate Walnut Phyllo Pies

After having one of the spinach phyllo pies from the Cinnamon Snail, I was inspired to try making a vegan version of spanakopita. I’d never worked with phyllo dough before so it was a learning experience. The filling made enough for one large pan plus a smaller pan. I made a large pan first and the smaller pan the next day so that I could learn from any mistakes in my first attempt.

I did learn a few things, such as not to skimp on vegan butter or olive oil between the layers of phyllo. For my first attempt, I tried to go really light on the olive oil in an effort to make it healthier. I sprayed it on and didn’t get the layer very even. Unfortunately the oil seems to be what holds the phyllo dough together, so it turned out very, very flaky. It was still tasty though.

On the second attempt, I used vegan butter. I put more between the layers and made sure there was an even coat across the phyllo. This seemed to work a lot better. The phyllo held together more and turned out how I expected it to. Looks like this is one dish I’ll have to accept isn’t so healthy, but is very yummy! I’m including photos of both, so you can see the difference in how they turned out. The first attempt that turned out flaky is actually more photogenic than the second, but the texture on the second is much better.

I had a little leftover phyllo, so I decided to try experimenting with a dessert pastry just to see how it turned out. I didn’t even measure, but mixed together some raspberry jam, chopped walnuts, vanilla, cinnamon, a dash of ginger, a dash of nutmeg, and some chocolate chunks. I layered the phyllo with butter the same way I did for the spanakopita and spread the filling in the middle. It was a tasty way to use up the leftover phyllo!

Ingredients:

1 pound pack of vegan phyllo dough (I used Fillo Factory)
20 oz. frozen spinach (thawed)
1 onion
1 shallot
3 green onion stalks
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill leaves
olive oil or vegan butter
1/2 lb of firm tofu (about 1/2 a block)
salt and pepper
paprika
nutmeg
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Directions:

  • Follow the directions on the phyllo dough package for thawing. The kind I used was frozen. (The Fillo Factory has some tips and recipes.) I moved it from the freezer to the fridge overnight and then took it out 2 hours before using it so it could warm to room temperature. Once it’s out of the packaging, you need to keep a damp towel or paper towel on top to keep it from drying out. Leave your spinach in the fridge to thaw overnight.
  • Chop the onion, shallot, green onion, and the parsley and dill leaves. Press or finely mince the garlic. Saute all of the these in olive oil or vegan butter for a few minutes over medium high heat.
  • Drain and crumble the tofu. Thoroughly drain the spinach. Add the spinach and tofu to the pan and continue sauteing for a few more minutes. Add a dash of paprika and nutmeg and the nutritional yeast. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
  • Preheat your oven to 350° F.
  • Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish. Cut the phyllo in half (or whatever size will fit your baking dish). Layer the phyllo dough one sheet at a time. In between each sheet, use a pastry brush to coat the dough with olive oil or vegan butter. It should be a thin, but even coating. Continue layering phyllo and melted vegan butter until you’ve layered 10 sheets of dough.
  • Spread your spinach filling on top of the phyllo dough in an even layer.
  • Layer 10 more sheets of phyllo dough on top of the spinach, spreading melted vegan butter in between each layer. Put a light coating of melted vegan butter on top of the last layer and sprinkle paprika on top.
  • Bake the spanakopita for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top. Let it cool a few minutes, slice it into squares, and enjoy!

Homemade Vegan Naan

I was inspired to try making my own vegan naan after seeing this recipe posted on the blog Bacon is Not an Herb a while back. She originally found the naan recipe on PETA’s website. I didn’t change anything (besides adding a little salt and garlic powder during cooking) because it’s a simple recipe and it came out well. I’m just sharing in hopes that you’ll feel inspired to make some too!

A lot of times naan that you find in restaurants or stores isn’t vegan, so it was really nice to make my own. I was really missing it from my pre-vegan days! Thanks to Terri from Bacon is Not an Herb for posting this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 tsp. active dry yeast (about a 1/2 package)
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. soy milk
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4-2 cups bread flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and garlic powder optional

Directions:

•In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy.

•Stir in the sugar, soy milk, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough, between 1 3/4 to 2 cups.

•Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface or until smooth. Place in a well-oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

•Punch down the dough then roll into golf ball-size pieces and place on a baking sheet. Cover with a towel and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

•Preheat a pan to high heat and lightly oil. Roll each ball of dough into a thin circle then add to pan one at a time. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbles begin to brown and brush the top side with additional oil. Flip the bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on the other side. I tried sprinkling a little garlic powder and salt on top before flipping and it turned out really well. Continue until all the bread is cooked.

Feisty Green Beans from Heidi Swanson

This is a recipe that my sister made for us over the holidays (yes I know it was four months ago!). I’m a little late in posting this, but I wanted to share. The recipe is called Feisty Green Beans and you can find it on Heidi Swanson’s blog 101 Cookbooks. These were really tasty and with the inclusion of tofu, it packs some protein into your veggie side dish! Thanks to my sister for making these for us!

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, thinly sliced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
3 bay leaves
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2  tsp or less of crushed red pepper flakes
6 ounces extra firm tofu, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
2 tbsp vegan butter
1/3 cup vegan sour cream
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the green beans for about a minute. Then dunk the green beans in cold water to stop the cooking, drain, and set them aside.
  • Place the raisins in a small bowl and pour scalding hot water over them. Let them sit for five minutes, drain, and set them aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Then add the oil, garlic, onion, and bay leaves. Cook for 5 minutes until the onions and garlic start to brown slightly. Then add the wine and cook until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
  • Remove the bay leaves and stir in the spices – paprika, cumin, coriander, curry powder, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes.
  •  Stir in the tofu cubes and the raisins and cook for another minute. Then add the vegan butter and green beans, stirring until the vegan butter melts.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the vegan sour cream. Add most of the almonds and most of the cilantro, setting some aside. Add salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, top the dish with the remaining cilantro and almonds.

Vegan Breakfast Month – Odd n’ Ends Breakfast Tips

My vegan breakfast themed month is nearing an end. Hopefully some of the recipes I’ve posted have given you some inspiration for new vegan breakfast options. I’ll wrap up the theme with a few odds n’ ends vegan breakfast tips that didn’t seem worthy of a entire blog post individually.

Pancakes:

I didn’t include a pancake recipe in the breakfast month, because vegan pancake recipes are pretty abundant and easy to find. I like making regular pancakes from scratch as well as various flavors like banana, apple oatmeal, etc. It’s pretty easy and quick to make pancakes from scratch, but if you want them even quicker, try out Cherrybrook Kitchen’s vegan pancake and waffle mix. It really can’t get much easier, and they turn out pretty well.

 

For veganizing baked goods recipes, I usually just switch out Ener-G Egg Replacer powder for the eggs, soy or almond milk for the milk, agave for honey, and Earth Balance vegan butter for butter or margarine. Most of the time recipes can be easily veganized using these or other substitutes.

Soy or Coconut Yogurt Parfait:

Making a parfait out of soy or coconut yogurt, some defrosted frozen berries, and your favorite granola is a simple and satisfying vegan breakfast. I like to pack this up to take to work with me. I put the frozen berries in with the yogurt. They keep it cold and are mostly defrosted by the time I get to work. Keep the granola in a separate container so it doesn’t get soggy. I’ll also sometimes eat this as a dessert when I want something sweet, but don’t want to eat something more sugary like ice cream or cookies.

Bagels:

Bagels are easy to grab on the go or take with you. If you haven’t already tried Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, it’s definitely worth a try. It can also be used in dessert recipes that call for cream cheese. The best bagels, in my opinion, come from NYC. If you live in New York or are here for a visit, I would recommend getting a bagel at Ess-a-Bagel. They have the best bagels I’ve ever had, and they also offer a variety of tofu cream cheeses including scallion, vegetable, raisin walnut, herb, and others. Another good bagel place is Russ & Daughters. It’s a small little store that was packed when I went, but they are surprisingly efficient. We were in and out really quickly. They also offer tofu cream cheese in plain, scallion, and vegetable.

Smoothies:

I’ve lost count of how many blenders I’ve broken trying to make smoothies, but they are tasty and a good way to start the day. My biggest tip is to use frozen fruit, and no ice. The frozen fruit won’t break your blender and won’t dilute the taste of the smoothie like ice will. Play with your favorite fruit or veggie combinations, add some soy or almond milk or some soy or coconut yogurt, a little peanut butter or almond butter, and throw in some vegan protein powders like hemp or soy protein for an extra boost. I would strongly advise not using pea protein. It just doesn’t taste very good, and it’s very dominant and difficult to mask.

Hot Cereals:

Oatmeal is a great staple for a vegan breakfast, but you can also branch out and try other hot cereals like cream of wheat, grits, rice, and other mixed grain cereals. Add some nuts, a little brown sugar or maple syrup, some raisins, and you have a filling and fairly healthy vegan breakfast.

Granola Bars:

If you need something quick that’s easy to take with you, a vegan granola bar is a good choice. There are two brands that I like, NuGo Organic and Pro Bar. These are also great to pack on a trip where vegan options might be limited. If you need a quick snack because you can’t find any vegan options, they’re great to have on hand.

Vegan Breakfast British Style – Beans on Toast

I had never heard of Beans on Toast until my friend Donna made it for me a few years ago. I don’t know much of the history, but from what I’ve read it’s a typical British meal that’s often served at breakfast or lunch. Essentially it’s exactly what the name implies, baked beans on toast, but there’s room to be creative by adding various spices, onions, etc. It seems baked beans are often a part of a British breakfast, which isn’t something you really find in the US.

I have to admit, Beans on Toast is one of those things that just sounds a bit odd before you try it, but it’s actually really good. It’s not a bad way for a vegan to start the day since beans offer some protein. It can be served on it’s own, or as a side, and it’s really quick and easy to prepare. I don’t know about you, but I resemble a zombie in the morning until I’ve had some coffee or tea. It’s nice to have something that’s so simple to prepare in the morning. If you’re feeling ambitious you can make your own baked beans, but canned are quick and easy.

Ingredients:

1 or 2 slices of your favorite bread
1 can of vegan baked beans (regular baked beans usually contain bacon or pork fat)
1 yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
olive oil
garlic powder
black pepper
salt
paprika

Directions:

  • Chop the onion and mince or press the garlic. Saute them in a little olive oil.
  • Add the baked beans to the onions and garlic. Heat on medium high. I should note, traditionally the British version uses British style Heinz Beanz which are less sweet and in a more tomato-y sauce, but I use the regular maple-y American kind and it comes out well. Some people insist the British style ones are best. It seems like it’s all relative to what you grew up with.
  • Add garlic powder, black pepper, salt, and paprika to taste. You can get creative and add in other things if you like. I’ve seen some variations that include mustard or mustard powder, tabasco sauce, and even whiskey.
  • Toast the bread. Once the beans are hot throughout, spoon them over the toast.