Friday, May 24, 2013

Greek Style Gnocchi With Vegan Feta



While wondering through a grocery store with a friend recently, something strange caught my eye. Gnocchi. Apparently everyone in the world was aware of Gnocchi but me. If you are like me and did not know what this is then here you go: Gnocchi is used in Italian cooking and they are small dumplings usually made of potato and served with sauce. I obviously had to get down with this. I decided to make Gnocchi greek style and make some vegan feta to sprinkle on top. We'll start with the feta because it needs to marinate and takes a little bit of additional time.

Vegan Feta Ingredients: 
  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup olive oil    
On a cutting board cube/cut the tofu into whatever size you desire. I like mine to be a little on the smaller side but with some chunks still remaining. In a separate bowl combine the water, red wine viegar, salt, basil, oregano, and olive oil. Whisk well.




Place the tofu in a large bowl and pour the marinade over the top. Allow to sit in room temperature for about an hour, then drain and store in the fridge.




Greek Gnocchi Ingredients:
  • 3 tomatoes cut in half (I didn't have any so I used 1 10 oz package of fresh grape tomatoes.
  • 2 red bell peppers, quartered, seeds removed
  • 2 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • Olive oil, to drizzle
  • 1 package potato gnocchi
  • 1 package fresh spinach (usually 9-10 oz)
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley 
*Preheat oven to 400 degrees F *


Place tomato, capsicum and garlic on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and season lightly if desired. I used black pepper, sea salt and oregano. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until soft. 



When cool enough to handle, remove garlic skin. Place garlic, tomato,bell peppers  and juices in a food processor. Process until smooth and season to taste.


Cook gnocchi according to packet instructions (usually 3-4 minutes.) During the last minute add the spinach. Carefully drain everything and return to pan. Add sauce, olives and parsley, and stir to combine. Serve with crumbled vegan feta.


Enjoy :) XO 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Eating Vegan in New York City

So. I haven't posted in like a month. I do, however, have a really good excuse. Between finals and going to New York City to get married I have honestly been super busy. Here's a picture of me and my new husband (Sam.)



I will admit that besides getting married, my main goal while in the city was to eat as much delicious vegan food as possible. There are a lot more options there than in Salt Lake City, and needless to say I was very successful.


Our first stop was Buddha Bodai which we were lucky enough to accidentally find since our hotel was in Chinatown


Veg. Steak and Chinese Broccoli
Sweet & Sour Veg. Chicken






The next place we ate was my personal favorite. It was a delicious raw restaurant called Pure Food & Wine. I had made reservations here about a week before we arrived because I really wanted to make sure I was able to eat here.


Plate of Assorted Cultured Dr. Cow Tree Nut Cheeses and Rosemary Crisps


Philly Roll of Avocado, Kim Chee and Creamy Cashew Cheese
tatsoi, hijiki, scallion, sweet chili sauce

Zucchini and Local Greenhouse Tomato Lasagna
basil pistachio pesto, sun-dried tomato marinara, macadamia pumpkin seed ricotta

Curried Vegetables with Sprouted Quinoa Poppadom
coconut cumin, cilantro mint, and tomato tamarind sauces

While exploring Central Park we found a fast food joint that was vegan friendly and couldn't have been more stoked, it was called Otarian (seriously check their website out.) We were impressed to say the least, the food was delicious, fast, and honestly pretty cheap. My picture of the food here isn't the hottest, but you'll get the point.


Potato Spinach Burger with Fries...And Veg Curry




While in Brooklyn, our friend introducaed us to a delicious Venezuelan spot. Sam had these amazing plantation banana chips with some guacamole, I was a little bit more hungry than that haha.

Plato Vegetariano: Baked Tofu, guasacaca, white rice and black beans paired with leek, onion, and tomato stew


All in all...my eating in NYC experience was definitely a good one! Has anyone else eaten at any of these places? Or better yet, one not listed? I'd love to hear about it!!!


XO RACH

Saturday, April 20, 2013

No Noodle Zucchini Eggplant Lasagna

So...this may be a bit of a cliche by now, but I keep hearing about this noodle-less lasagna hype and I've been dying to give it a try and make this recipe my own. I'm a huge fan of Italian food plus I'm always down for a veggie alternative of a classic meal! Instead of lasagna noodles I used thinly sliced eggplant and zucchini... in substitute of ricotta, I used tofu, very similar to my pasta bake I did a couple of months ago, except for this time I didn't use cashews and it was over all a lot more basic.

Ingredients 

- 2 large zucchini (ends trimmed and thinly sliced long ways)
- 1 eggplant (ends trimmed and thinly sliced long ways)
- 1 24 oz can of pasta sauce
- 1 pound fresh sliced mushrooms 
- 3 cups baby spinach 
- 1 16 oz firm tofu (pressed) and cubed
- 2 cloves garlic minced (or about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons parsley
- 1 tablespoon oregano 
- shredded vegan cheese (optional) 
 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Place cubed tofu in a large bowl and use your fingers to slightly mash it. Mix in the garlic, parsley, oregano, and pepper until completely blended. It should look something like this...



Take all of your ingredients and divide them into 3 sections. This doesn't have to be exact, I just eyeballed it. Grease a glass baking dish and pour 1/3 can of pasta sauce in the bottom. Arrange 1/3 of your eggplant and zucchini slices, followed by 1 cup of spinach, 1/3 of your mushrooms, and 1/3 of the tofu mixture. My first layer looked like this...


For the second layer, repeat exactly what you just did. Using 1/3 of all ingredients in the same order...Sauce, "noodles", spinach, mushrooms, tofu mixture. For the third layer, we switch up the order of ingredients. First sprinkle on the rest of the spinach, then the mushrooms and tofu, with noodles added on the top. Pour the remaining 1/3 can of sauce left over the top and voila!



Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and sprinkle cheese over the top at this point if you choose to do so. I used the rest of some Daiya pepper jack shreds that I needed to use up from a previous recipe... but it definitely isn't a necessity for this dish. Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes uncovered.

The end result looks a little something like this...

 
Enjoy XO

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pasta With Avocado Sauce

So... I'm always trying to use avocados whenever possible. One of my favorite avocado creations so far was definitely pizza sauce so I decided to make something very similar to that for pasta and it turned out delicious! It's really very similar to the pizza sauce I've made previously but I added almond milk to thin it out a bit and make it creamier (aka more sauce-like.)

You can use any type of pasta that you want, I used these...this brand also makes fettuccine and spaghetti noodles and they're all super good and cheap. I have bought them at Smith's (Kroger) and Wal-Mart. Don't ask why I was ever at Wal-Mart.

 

Sauce Ingredients:

- 3 avocados
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup almond milk 
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt

Combine in a food processor until smooth, then spoon the sauce into a small pot on medium heat until warm. Serve over pasta! P.S one time I made this sauce with  artichoke hearts in it and it was amazing!


Enjoy! xo

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Guacamole Portobello Burgers

Okay...so I experiment with different types of vegan burgers quite often. I love a good veggie or black bean pattie...but this portobello burger is definitely my favorite so far. I was originally going to make some stuffed mushrooms for dinner (and I still probably will soon) but while shopping for produce I changed my mind and decided to make these! So glad that I did, not only are they delicious and healthy...but they are really quite easy! 

Ingredients:

- 2 portobello mushroom caps (stems removed)
- 2 whole wheat buns
- 2 slices of vegan cheese (optional, I used Tofutti mozzarella)
- Guacamole (I used this simple recipe)
- Fresh jalapenos, red bell peppers, and onions
- Sliced tomato 
- fresh spinach
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder



Heat 1 tablesppon of olive oil in a pan and fry the onion, jalapeno, and red bell pepper. There's no specific amount needed, it really just depends on how many burgers you are making and how much you'd like on them. 



Meanwhile, spray a large pan with not stick spray and warm over medium heat. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic powder in a bowl and then brush the mushrooms evenly with the garlic oil and fry on each side for 5 minutes. If using cheese, place the slices on top of the mushrooms for the last minute. Serve on toasted whole wheat buns with guacamole, tomato, onion, bell peppers, jalapeno, and spinach.


In case you couldn't tell, these burgers are extremely messy. You have to get mast your manners in order to eat it and just go crazy. In my opinion, that's not a bad thing :)



Enjoy! xo

Friday, March 29, 2013

Vegan Tofu Manicotti

Second to Indian food...my absolute favorite is definitely Italian. I love all pasta, especially manicotti! I was really pumped to create a vegan version, and it turned out super good!!!



Ingredients:

- 1 box manicotti (the one I bought came with 14)
- 1 package extra firm tofu
- 1 24 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
- 1 10 oz bag of fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup chopped mushrooms
- 1 carrot peeled 
- 1 small yellow squash
- 1 tablespoon Bragg's nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 cloves garlic

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees 


Boil the manicotti for 7 minutes. It should be Al dente (firm but not hard.) Drain and lay out on a plate to cool. In the meantime, cube the tofu and mash with a fork, exactly like we did in my tofu scramble post. Peel the carrot and squash and cut into large chunks, place them in a food processor with the garlic cloves and chop finely. Add the raw spinach and mushroom and pulse a couple of times. It's not necessary to cook either first.

In a large bowl combine the tofu, veggie mixture, nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice, and oregano until completely mixed together.

 
Pour half the jar of spaghetti sauce in a large glass baking dish. Stuff each manicotti with the tofu veggie mixture and place in the dish.


Pour the other half of your spaghetti sauce over the top. Cover with foil so that the manicotti doesn't dry out. Bake for 30 minutes. When done it will look something like this...


I forgot to press the tofu to remove excess moisture so my sauce turned out a little watery in the dish, but it didn't affect the recipe in any major way. What's your favorite vegan pasta dish? I'd love to try it out!


ENJOY xo

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

African Groundnut Stew..I Still Love You

So I actually made this stew last week. A girl that I work with brought something similar to a potluck once and I loved it so much that I wanted to make my own version. I was super pumped about this until my boyfriend tried it and went on and on about how gross it was. He actually still brings it up. He said something like "it's not your cooking...it's my palette." Hmmm...the good ol' "it's not you it's me" approach. Now that I've licked my wounds of this incident, I've decided to share anyways because I still like it and I think you will too! Maybe we'll consider this a #laterblog or something, I'm not sure ha.

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped onions
2 carrots finely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pressed garlic clove
2 cups chopped kale
2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cubed (about 1 inch)
1  6 oz can tomato paste
1 cup water
1 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon salt
2 chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup peanut butter




Saute the onions in oil in a large pot over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, kale, and sweet potatoes. Continue to saute, covered, for a few more minutes. Meanwhile, combine the water and tomato paste in a medium sized bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the tomato mixture to the pot along with the apple juice, carrot, and chopped tomato. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, the sweet potatoes should be pretty tender but not mushy. Stir in the peanut butter, remove from heat, and serve!



 I garnished mine with peanuts and it turned out great! xo