Vegan Meatballs

This recipe is from Chloe Coscarelli’s new cookbook “Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen”. The recipe is actually called “Mama’s Spaghetti and Meatballs”, but I only made the meatball part. I just used a jar of spaghetti sauce as a shortcut. These “meatballs” are so dang good! And they aren’t that hard to make! I ran out of brown rice and had to add some white. My grocery store was out of cremini mushrooms, so I used baby bella instead. I think this meatball recipe is similar to the slider recipe I made a little while ago. Really really good, really easy, and vegan!

rating: 9.5

Meatballs
(Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, Chloe Coscarelli)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, cooled
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
canola oil for frying

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and cook onion and mushrooms until soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook a few more minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Reserve the skillet for later use.
Add cooled brown rice, bread crumbs, flour, basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper, if using, to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture just comes together. If necessary, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix with your hands. Season to taste and let cool slightly Form the mixture into 1-to-2-inch balls.
Heat canola oil in the reserved nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and panfry meatballs in batches, adding more oil as needed. Rotate the meatballs with a wooden spoon so they are very well done. They should be browned on all sides with a nice crust. Remove meatballs from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

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Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Pie

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and it looked SO GOOD I knew I had to try it. It was pretty easy to make, but don’t forget about chilling the can of coconut milk overnight! That one kind of slipped past me, so I didn’t have as much coconut cream as the recipe called for. My kids loved this pie, and so did I! But for me, a little goes a long way.

rating: 8

Vegan Peanut Butter Cup Pie
(http://minimalistbaker.com/)

PREP TIME: 25 mins
COOK TIME: 15 mins
TOTAL TIME: 40 mins

Ingredients:

CRUST:

1 sleeve graham crackers (or sub similar gluten free cracker/cookie)
4.5 Tbsp melted vegan butter or coconut oil

PIE:

12 ounces firm silken tofu, slightly drained and patted dry
1/2 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or sub honey if not vegan)
1 14-ounce can (~ 1/34 cups) full fat coconut milk OR coconut cream, chilled overnight (no shaking the can! You want the cream and liquid to remain separate)

CHOCOLATE GANACHE TOPPING:

1 cup semisweet dairy-free chocolate chips
1/3 cup non-dairy milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly oil a standard glass pie pan (8 inches x 1 1/4 inches).
Add graham crackers to a food processor and process until you achieve a semi-fine meal. A little texture is OK, just remove any large pieces that didn’t get ground. Add melted butter and pulse to combine.
Add to greased pie pan and press down with your fingers to flatten. You can lie a piece of plastic wrap over the top when pressing down to ensure a more uniform layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
Add tofu, peanut butter, maple syrup or agave to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more agave for added sweetness or a pinch of salt if your peanut butter wasn’t very salted.
Next, scoop out the cream of our coconut milk or cream and whip into whipped cream in a large, chilled mixing bowl. Optional: sweeten with a little powdered sugar and vanilla.
Fold the peanut butter-tofu mixture into the whipped cream.
Pour filling over crust and pop in the freezer to chill. Once it’s fairly chilled and slightly firm (about 1 hour), prepare your ganache.
Add chocolate chips to a bowl and heat your non-dairy milk to a low simmer. Then pour over chocolate chips and don’t touch for 5 minutes to allow it to melt. Then stir gently with a spoon or rubber spatula until a smooth ganache forms. If it doesn’t quite melt, you can also heat it in the microwave in 10 second increments until smooth and melted.
Spoon over the top of the pie and spread in an even layer with a knife or spatula, working quickly as the ganache will get clumpy if it sets too long.
Top with crushed, salted roasted peanuts (optional) and pop back in the freezer to set. 20-30 minutes before serving, remove from freezer and serve. Alternatively, you can chill this in the fridge, but it is much more delicate to slice and serve, but just as delicious.
After the initial chill, make sure you cover the pie with plastic wrap to keep it fresh.

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Black Bean Flautas with Avocado Dipping Sauce

These flautas were really good! My 8 year old loved them! The avocado dipping sauce was okay, but I think plain ol’ guacamole would have been better. The flautas were relatively easy to make, but mine really wanted to come apart when frying! That onion mix that goes inside the flauta really makes A LOT, so next time I would cut that amount in half. I would make these again (with half the onion mix), and with guac instead.

rating: 9

Black Bean Flautas with Avocado Dipping Sauce
(http://ohmyveggies.com/)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: 16 flautas
Serving Size: 3-4 per person

Ingredients:

1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 large lime
1 (16-ounce) can spicy vegetarian refried black beans
16 white corn tortillas, warmed
Grapeseed, vegetable, or canola oil for pan frying
Avocado Dipping Sauce (see recipe below)
Chopped lettuce, cilantro, Cojita cheese, hot sauce, and lime wedges for serving

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the red onion, chopped cilantro, and lime juice. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally.
In a large heavy skillet, heat ¼-inch of oil over medium heat. Working with one tortilla at a time, spread 1 heaping tablespoon of refried black beans and 1/2 tablespoon of the onion, cilantro, and lime mixture evenly along one side of the tortilla. Gently roll the tortilla tightly beginning on the side with the filling. Use a toothpick to secure the flauta so it doesn’t unroll while cooking. (Corn tortillas have a tendency to dry out quickly and split, so I rolled 4 flautas then placed them in the hot pan and rolled 4 more while the others were cooking until they were all finished.)
Place the prepared flautas seam side down in the hot oil and cook, rotating with tongs, until they are golden brown and crispy on all sides, approximately 4-5 minutes per batch. Continue to cook the rest of the flautas in batches, adding more oil as needed. Remove the toothpicks after you have fried them and serve with Avocado Dipping Sauce, lettuce, cilantro, cheese, hot sauce, and lime wedges.

Avocado Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados, halved and pits removed, scooped from their shells
1/4 cup chopped red onion
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, chopped (for a less spicy version remove the seeds and ribs)- I omitted
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons water
Kosher salt to taste

Directions:

Combine the avocado, red onion, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, and water in a blender or food processor, then puree until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with kosher salt. Chill until ready to use.

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Roasted Vegetable and Tomato Soup

I asked friends on Facebook for some good vegan recipes, and this is one that my friend Terri suggested. It calls for grilled cheese sandwich croutons to go on top, but I just left those off. This soup was good, and tasted really creamy! My 8 year old did not like it at all, though. He said it tasted “too herby”, but you know what I think it was? The parsnip. I have decided that I also do not care for parsnips! They tasted like perfume to me! I really tasted them the next day at lunch when I reheated the soup, so I think that’s what he was tasting. Anyway, this soup is easy to make and is vegan!

rating: 8

Roasted Vegetable and Tomato Soup
(Everyday with Rachael Ray)

Ingredients:

1 small butternut squash, halved and seeded
1 bulb garlic, ends removed to expose cloves
A few sage leaves
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 to 3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped
1/2 pound celery root, peeled and chopped or 2-3 ribs celery with leafy tops
4 large beefsteak tomatoes cored and quartered
2 leeks, trimmed and quartered, rinsed and dried
2 tablespoons thyme leaves stripped from stems
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.
Place the butternut squash halves cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dress the garlic and sage with olive oil, salt and pepper, and wrap tightly in a foil pouch. Place pouch alongside the squash and roast until garlic and squash are tender.
Turn squash over and dress with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cool garlic to handle and press cloves from skins and paste; combine with sage.
Arrange carrots, parsnips and celery root or celery on another parchment-lined baking sheet and dress with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast to tender, 40-50 minutes, removing vegetables as they become tender and brown at edges.
Arrange the tomatoes and leeks on another baking sheet and dress with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast about 30 – 40 minutes.
Purée the vegetables, leeks, tomatoes, squash and garlic together in small batches with a little stock in a high-powered blender or food processor. Pour into a saucepot and thin with remaining stock; keep warm over low heat.
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Easy Cream of Asparagus Soup

There isn’t much to this soup, and it kind of tastes like it. I found it bland and boring. It was easy, I will give it that.

rating: 6

Easy Cream of Asparagus Soup
(Supermarket Vegan, Donna Klein)

makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

2 (15-ounce) cans asparagus, liquids included
2 (14-ounce) cans (3.5 cups) low-sodium vegetable broth
6-8 fresh pencil-thin asparagus, tough ends trimmed, tips separated from stalks, stalks cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup light coconut milk
pinch ground nutmeg (optional)

Directions:

In a food processor fitted with the knife blade, or in a blender, place the canned asparagus and their liquids; process or blend until smooth and pureed. Transfer to a medium stockpot and add the broth, fresh asparagus (if using), salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and add the coconut milk and nutmeg (if using); cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Serve hot.

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Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas

These were good, but nothing special. I have made quesadillas before, but going by the online reviews of this recipe I thought these would wow me. I thought surely that little bit of sugar added would be a game-changer, but nope.

rating: 8

Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas
(All Recipes magazine)

serves 8
time needed: 40 min.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup salsa
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons butter, divided
8 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

Directions:

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in beans and corn, then add sugar, salsa, and pepper flakes; mix well. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Melt 2 teaspoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet, sprinkle evenly with cheese, then top with some of the bean mixture. Place another tortilla on top, cook until golden, then flip and cook on the other side. Melt more butter as needed, and repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

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Product review: Simply Balanced Teriyaki Meatless Chicken

Target now has its own brand of meat substitutes! I have reviewed one so far, and here is the second one. I pan-fried the “chicken” and browned it a little, then added the sauce (that I warmed up in a bowl of hot water first- sauce was frozen in two packets). When I tried the first bite, I thought “wow, this is meaty!” But then the more I ate, the more I didn’t like it. The sauce was okay, but the texture got reallllyyyy chewy after awhile. My husband loved it.

rating: 7

target-Teriyaki-Meatless-Chicken

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