Panzanella Bread Salad

It’s so hard to find good tomatoes these days. I’m not sure why that is. I remember summer tomatoes when I was a kid that were amazing. They were full of flavor and we would eat them on their own with a little sprinkle of salt. Of course, my parents grew tomatoes in their back yard so that’s probably why they were so good…they were perfectly fresh and ripened on the vine. The tomatoes that you find at the store or even at farm markets often don’t taste like much and don’t really compare to the ones I remember.

However, a little while back I did find some at Whole Foods that were grown at a local farm, and they were the best I’ve had in a long time. If you have some end of summer tomatoes and are looking for a good recipe, this is a classic dish that really showcases the tomatoes. It was also a good way to use up some of my basil. I grew it from seed and it’s finally growing well after staying kind of scrawny all summer. It’s in a sunnier spot now which it seems to enjoy. With bread, fresh basil, and tomatoes, it’s hard for this recipe to go wrong!

Panzanella

Ingredients:

1 small baguette (or about 2 rolls or half a loaf) of good crusty day old bread
olive oil
salt
pepper
garlic powder
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1/4 red onion
handful of fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Cut the bread into large cubes. If the bread it still soft (mine was even after a couple days), preheat the oven to 400°. Place the bread cubes on a baking pan. Drizzle a little olive oil over top and sprinkle on salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Bake the bread cubes for 5-10 minutes until they dry out a little bit. If your bread is still soft and you skip this step, the bread will be really soggy once it soaks up juices in the salad.
  • Chop the tomatoes, peel and chop the cucumber, and thinly slice the red onion and basil. Place all the veggies in a large mixing bowl.
  • Once the bread is finished toasting, add it to the bowl and mix it up.
  • Drizzle on a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle on some salt and pepper to taste. Stir so everything gets evenly coated and serve right away. This salad is best eaten the same day it’s made because the bread will get soggy in the fridge overnight.

Vegan Seitan Pot Pie

My mom used to make chicken pot pie while I was growing up and it was one of my favorites. It’s really easy to veganize and perfect for feeding a big group or bringing to a pot luck. It’s a crowd pleaser! I made it for a family gathering of vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores and everyone seemed to like it.

Seitan Pot Pie

It also makes yummy leftovers the next day. You can make the filling and dough a day ahead of time if need be, and assemble it right before you bake it. This can help ease your work load if you’re cooking for a holiday or have family and friends over.

Seitan Pot Pie

Ingredients:

Pie crust
1 3/4 cups veggie broth
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup soy milk
2-3 potatoes chopped (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen pearl onions
5 carrots
2-3 stalks of celery
3 shallots
4 cloves garlic
1/2 yellow onion
1 8 oz pack of seitan
1-2 Tbsp vegan butter
1 1/2 cups frozen peas or mixed veggies
salt
pepper
rosemary
thyme

Directions:

  • Follow the directions from my pie crust post to make a vegan crust for the top of the pot pie. Since you only need a crust for the top of the pot pie and not the bottom, you can cut the recipe in half. Add fresh herbs into the dough if you like. Place the dough in the fridge while you prep the filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 425°.
  • Bring the veggie broth to a boil in a large pot. While you’re waiting for it to boil, peel and chop your potatoes into small pieces.
  • Reduce the broth to a simmer. Whisk together the flour and soy milk and add it to the veggie broth. Whisk to combine.
  • Add the potatoes and pearl onions to the stock and allow them to simmer while you prep other ingredients.
  • Peel and chop your carrots. Chop your celery. Finely chop the shallots and onion and mince or press the garlic.
  • Saute the shallots, onion, and garlic in a little vegan butter.
  • Add the carrots, celery, shallots, onion, garlic, and frozen peas/veggies to the broth. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes. If the sauce doesn’t seem to be thickening enough, you can whisk up a little more flour in soy milk and add it to the broth. Add salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary to taste. Pour the filling into a casserole dish.
  • Roll out the pie crust on a floured surface. It should be about 1/4 inch thick and a little larger than the shape of your casserole dish. Place the crust on top of the casserole dish. Fold over the edges of the dough and press them down crimping along the edge of the dish. Remove any excess dough.
  • Poke some holes in the dough using a fork so steam can vent out.
  • Bake the pot pie for 45 minutes – 1 hour until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. If the crust is getting too dark you can place tin foil on top during part of the baking process.

Post Punk Kitchen Recipes – Summer Seitan Saute With Cilantro & Lime, Tofu Omelets

I recently tried a couple of really yummy recipes from Post Punk Kitchen, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s website, that I wanted to share. The first is called Summer Seitan Saute With Cilantro & Lime. I make stir fries with seitan pretty often for dinner and was looking for a way to change it up a bit. This was perfect! Most of my stir  fries are Asian inspired…soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, etc. But this one is more Mexican, almost like a deconstructed burrito. Very yummy! You can find the recipe here.

LimePepperOnion

I stuck to the recipe pretty closely, but instead of jalapenos, I used a sweet bell pepper. I don’t like food to be too spicy, but I might try it with the jalapenos sometime, since they’re usually milder than other peppers, especially without the seeds. I also left out the mushrooms, as I seem to be the only vegan who hates mushrooms! Next time I will also increase the quantity of cilantro, because I just really like cilantro.

StirfryCooking

This recipe is definitely worth a try, and we’ll be adding it to our usual dinner rotation. Play with the flavors to make it your own!

LimeSeitan

The other recipe that I tried from Post Punk Kitchen was Tofu Omelets. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture, because we ate them up too quickly! She’s got a great photo on her website though. They were really yummy and pretty simple to make. Again, I pretty much stuck to the recipe with the exception of black salt. I couldn’t find it at the store, but I will keep my eye out for it to use in the next batch. I was surprised by how much these looked like actual omelets. The taste and texture weren’t quite the same as eggs, but pretty close. They were really yummy as their own thing.

Has anyone else tried some recipes recently that they really enjoyed? I’m always on the lookout for new dinner ideas to keep things interesting!

Seitan Marsala AKA Vegan Chicken Marsala

When I ate meat, which was quite a long time ago, I remember liking Chicken Marsala. It has to have been well over 10 years since I had it last, and I never tried making a vegan version. I’ve been sort of stuck in a rut with seitan, making the same meals again and again, so I thought, why not try to replicate an old favorite?

This recipe came out really well and will definitely be one that I return to often. Dipping the seitan in flour before pan frying it, gives it a really nice texture and the flour helps thicken the sauce. I think this is a recipe that both vegans and non-vegans will enjoy, which makes it a good choice if you’re having guests over and are wondering what to make.

Ingredients

2 packs of seitan (each pack is 1 lb)
1/4 cup of the broth that the seitan is packed in
1/2 small onion
1 bell pepper
1 shallot
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups Marsala cooking wine
4 Tbsp vegan butter
1/2 to 1 cup of flour
sea salt
ground black pepper
dried parsley
dried rosemary

Directions

  • Drain the seitan, reserving 1/4 cup of the broth that it’s stored in. Place the seitan and 1/4 cup of broth in a medium sized bowl. Pour the marsala cooking wine over the seitan and allow it to marinade while you prep everything else.
  • Thinly slice the onion, pepper, and shallots. Press or mince the garlic. Place two tablespoons of vegan butter in a skillet on medium high and saute the veggies.
  • Remove the seitan from the marsala wine. When the veggies are done sauteing, add them to the marsala wine and set the liquid aside for now.
  • In a medium sized bowl, place 1/2 cup of flower and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. You may need to top up the flour, salt and pepper as you go. Dip each piece of seitan in the flour to coat it.
  • Place two tablespoons of vegan butter in the skillet and pan fry the seitan on medium high heat until golden brown and crispy.
  • Add the wine and veggies to the seitan in the skillet. Add a pinch of dried parsley and dried rosemary. Allow this to simmer about 10 minutes so the sauce reduces and thickens.
  • If the sauce isn’t thick enough by the end, you can sprinkle in a little flour or a little corn starch to thicken it. Start with just a sprinkling so it doesn’t get too thick.
  • I served the seitan marsala with a side of garlic and shallot mashed potatoes. You could also serve it with your favorite veggie – broccoli or asparagus would go well.

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.

Agave Citrus Roasted Vegetable Quesadillas

I’ve been on a roasted veggie kick recently. I’m not sure why, but I can’t seem to get enough! I used to make Honey Lime Roasted Veggie Quesadillas with pepperjack cheese before I became vegan. I’ve adapted that recipe by replacing the honey with agave, the pepperjack with Daiya, and regular sour cream with Tofutti Vegan Sour Cream. The vegan version is just as tasty! Feel free to add in your favorite veggies and toppings.

Ingredients:
1 red pepper
1 yellow onion
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
1 shallot
3 garlic cloves
1 cup of frozen corn
5 limes
1 Meyer lemon
3 tablespoons agave
tortillas
Daiya Pepperjack cheese
Tofutti vegan sour cream
fresh salsa

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 450°.
  • Chop the red pepper, onion, zucchini, and yellow squash into small chunks. Thinly slice the shallots and garlic cloves. Place all the chopped veggies and the frozen corn in a roasting pan with sides.
  • Juice the limes and lemon. Add agave and stir with a whisk. Pour the agave juice mixture over the veggies and toss so they are well coated.
  • Roast the veggies for about 30-40 minutes.
  • Once the veggies are done roasting, place a tortilla on a skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle an even layer of Daiya pepperjack cheese on the tortilla. Don’t use too much cheese. Let the Daiya melt on the tortilla, and then place the tortilla on a plate.
  • Toast a second tortilla without cheese. It helps if the tortillas get a little crispy on the skillet because it will make the quesadilla easier to eat (and tastier!).
  • Place a layer of veggies on the first tortilla on top of the Daiya. Sandwich the second toasted tortilla on top.
  • Cut the quesadilla into quarters and top with vegan sour cream and fresh salsa.

Cauliflower and Potato Masala

My sister made this when she was visiting for the holidays. It’s adapted from a Burmese cookbook called hsa*ba by Tin Cho Chaw. The original recipe calls for chicken, but my sister substituted cauliflower and potatoes to create a vegan version that turned out quite well.

Ingredients

3 onions
9 cloves of garlic
6 dried whole chilies, soaked in water
1/3 – 1/2 cup peanut oil
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground tumeric
3 tsp salt
1 head of cauliflower – chopped
Approximately 2 pounds of golden potatoes – chopped
1 1/2 cups of water

Directions

  • Roughly chop the onion. Put the onion, garlic, and chilies in a food processor and blend until it becomes a rough paste. If you don’t have a food processor, you can chop everything very finely.
  • Heat the oil in a sauce pan and cook the onion paste over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until it starts to caramelize. Stir it occasionally.
  • Once the onion paste is caramelized, add the spices and stir the mixture until the spices are fragrant. Add the cauliflower, potatoes, and water, and bring it to a boil.
  • Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 45-60 minutes. Check occasionally to stir or add more water if needed. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Seitan Udon Noodle Stir Fry

I had a request for a seitan recipe, so here is one that I make pretty often. Every time I make this, it comes out a little different because I’ll use different veggies based on what I have on hand or what I’m in the mood for. You can use different types of noodles like soba or lomein or you can use rice instead. Seitan, can be switched out for tofu or some other kind of protein replacement. There’s a lot of room for creating your own variations here. There are certain ingredients I use every time – onion, shallots, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar. These ingredients pretty much ensure that whichever veggies, protein and starches you use, it’ll be tasty!

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion – chopped
2 shallots – finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic – pressed or minced
sesame oil
1 head of baby bok choy
1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets
udon noodles
1 package of seitan
1 cup of snow peas
soy sauce
rice vinegar

Directions:

  • Prep your onions, shallots, and garlic. Saute them in sesame oil until the onions are translucent and a little golden. Set aside.
  • Pull the leaves off the bok choy and rinse them throughly. Cut off the base where it’s tougher, but still leave some of the white part. Rip each leaf up into 2-3 pieces so they’re a bit more manageable to eat.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and steam the broccoli florets and bok choy for a few minutes, just until tender. Don’t over steam them or they’ll get mushy. You can also cook your noodles in the water while the veggies are steaming if you have a set up that works that way. Prep your noodles according to package directions. The udon noodles I made only needed to boil about 4 minutes.
  • Drain the seitan and rip it into bite size pieces. Saute the seitan in sesame oil until the edges get golden and crispy. Add in the snow peas to saute for a minute – they don’t need very long.
  • Combine all of the veggies and seitan into a pot and add soy sauce and rice vinegar to taste. Start by adding a little and taste, then add more as needed. I always end up  needing more than I think I will, but it’s good to start light since the soy sauce is a strong flavor.
  • Place a portion of noodles in a bowl and add the veggie and seitan stir fry on top. Add more soy sauce or rice vinegar as needed. Sometimes I will add the noodles straight to the veggies and mix everything up in the pot first, allowing the noodles to pan fry a little bit. You can also top with toasted sesame seeds if you like. Enjoy!

Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas – Mom’s Stuffing Recipe

Here’s one more Thanksgiving recipe for you before the holiday, and it’s one of my very favorites. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without my mom’s stuffing. This is the recipe my mom makes every year. Other holiday recipes may come and go, but this is one we can’t seem to be without on Thanksgiving.

I guess I lucked out growing up in a house where stuffing was always made from scratch. I don’t actually know if I’ve ever had stuffing from a box, but I know that’s how many people make it. I would definitely recommend making stuffing from scratch, but if you are set on making it from a mix, Whole Foods now sells a Vegan Stuffing Mix. I did buy one, but haven’t tried it out yet. But really, this recipe is so tasty and not very hard to make, so it’s worth the effort! Thanks Mom for sending me the recipe!

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil plus more if needed
1 large loaf of white sandwich bread
1 carton of vegetable stock
salt
black pepper
dried thyme
dried sage
dried rosemary

Directions:

  • Rip up the loaf of bread into small pieces (roughly 1 inch or so).
  • Heat a very large skillet (cast iron or heavy weight stainless) to medium heat. Pour in enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan (about 3 tbsp). Saute the onion and celery until the onion is slightly golden brown
  • Add half of the bread pieces, about 1/4 tsp salt, several grinds of black pepper, and 1/2 tsp each of dried thyme, sage, and rosemary. Pour enough stock evenly over the bread to moisten the it, but not make it soggy (about 1 to 1 1/2 cups to start with). Stir until mixed well.
  • Add remaining bread cubes and mix well. Add more stock, a little at a time, until it is all blended and moist, but again not soggy. The stuffing will be in clumps, not sticky or wet.
  • Continue to brown the stuffing, adding a little more oil if necessary to keep it from sticking to the pan. Scrape the browned bits from the bottom and turn the stuffing to brown it some more. Taste and add more thyme, sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper as needed. If it gets too dry, add more stock a little at a time.
  • The stuffing is finished when it’s browned and looks a little drier. You can serve it right away, or if you need to keep it warm, turn it into a casserole dish or baking pan. Cover it with a lid or foil and keep it in the oven to stay warm. If you make it ahead of time you can cool it and refrigerate it until you are ready to reheat. Reheat the stuffing in the oven with the cover or foil on until warm, then take the cover off and let the top brown a bit before serving.
  • If you want, you can use the leftover stock to make a vegan gravy to put on top of the stuffing. Mix a little bit of cornstarch or flour with cold water to dissolve it. Bring the stock to a boil and add the flour/cornstarch and water mixture until it reaches your desired thickness. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a minute or two.
  • Vegan Thanksgiving Ideas – Turkey Replacements

    With Thanksgiving only a week away it’s time for vegan Thanksgiving recipes! Thanksgiving can be a tricky holiday for vegans. I’m lucky to have a vegan friendly family and most of the food we make for the holiday is vegan. But more traditional Thanksgiving dinners aren’t usually particularly vegan friendly.

    Leading up to the holiday, I’m going to dedicate my next few blog posts to sharing some of my ideas about how to have a vegan Thanksgiving. If you need to bring a dish with you to a family dinner or if your relatives are asking what they can make you for Thanksgiving, try out some of these suggestions. Or, if you’re not vegan, but need to feed a vegan on Thanksgiving, you’ll know just what to make! I’m curious to hear about your Thanksgiving ideas and traditions as well. How do you celebrate a vegan Thanksgiving?

    Okay, let’s start with the Turkey. I don’t think you necessarily have to have a fake meat replacement for the turkey. It’s not my favorite part of the meal, and I wouldn’t miss it. But if you or your family want to have a vegan alternative to turkey, I would suggest the Celebration Roast by Field Roast.

    The Celebration Roast has a layer of vegan roast/meat with stuffing in the middle made with butternut squash, apples, and mushrooms. All you have to do is slice and pan fry it with a little bit of oil so it’s gets a little crispy. They also have Original Field Roast loaves in various flavors, which I haven’t tried, but are essentially the roast without the stuffing. You can pick up Field Roast products at Whole Foods.

    I have also tried Tofurky Thanksgiving roasts, but I don’t think they’re as good as the Field Roast brand. They also have a vegan roast/meat exterior with stuffing in the middle. It’s not as convenient to cook. You have to baste it and it cooks in the oven for 1 hour and 35 minutes thawed, or 2 hours and 35 minutes frozen. I don’t think the taste and texture are as good as the Celebration Roast, and the Celebration Roast only takes 10 minutes at most to slice and cook.

    Try out the Celebration Roast for yourself! It’s a tasty vegan alternative to turkey and not much hassle to prepare. And check back for more vegan Thanksgiving ideas over the next week. Up next is Cranberry Citrus Wild Rice. Yum!