Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Vegan Pizza

This is one of the fastest and easiest vegan meals. We had a busy day on Sunday and quickly threw this together. With a salad, it makes a filling and healthy meal. It is actually a great post-run meal, which is how we enjoyed it on Sunday!

1 prepared whole wheat dough (we get ours at Trader Joe's or the Park Slope Food Co-op)
1 shallot
1tsp olive oil
1/2 can of organic red spaghetti sauce
2 cloves garlic
1/2 package of Diaya mozzarella vegan cheese
A handful of fresh basil

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit
2. Let the dough sit out in order for it to rise a little.
3. While the dough is rising, chop 1 shallot and saute it on medium-high heath until it begins to brown.
4. Place some oil on your cookie sheet so that the pizza doesn't stick.
5. Stretch out your pizza dough so that it will fit on your cookie sheet.
6. Place the pizza dough on the cookie sheet.
7. Add the sauce and evenly distribute.
8. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and evenly distribute onto the sauce.
9. Sprinkle with the vegan cheese.
10. Add the basil.
11. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until when you lift the dough with a spatula it is firm and slightly brown.

Enjoy! I will post my home-made pizza dough recipe soon. That is a little more time consuming and better for the winter months when I am inside more.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hummus from Dry Beans

Hummus and Red Peppers

Hummus is one of my favorite foods and one I really enjoying making from dry beans. It wasn’t always this way. I made many hummus recipes that failed miserably before I found a combination that had the consistency and flavor I enjoy. I also really like this recipe because it is lower in fat that most hummus recipes. I use only a little tahini and I don’t add any olive oil at all.

I have learned that there are two tricks to creating good hummus.

1. Baking soda
2. The saved liquid from the boiled chickpeas

You are probably wondering, why would anyone use baking soda in hummus? You don’t bake anything. The baking soda should go in with the hummus when you are soaking the chickpeas. This helps soften the chickpeas overnight.  

Below is the recipe to my most successful hummus! I use this recipe over and over again. I share it with friends who have be equally as stumped when trying to make their own hummus.

1.   2 ½ cups of dry chick peas
2. 1 teaspoon of baking powder
3.  1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
4. 1/3 cup tahini
5. 1/3 cup lemon juice
6.  1 cup of the chick pea water (see method step 5)
7. 2-3 cloves of garlic
8. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
9. 1 teaspoon paprika
10.      ¼ teaspoon cumin
11.  1 teaspoon salt
12.   1 teaspoon black pepper

1.   Rinse the dry chickpeas and look for any rocks or bad beans mixed in with the beans.
2.  Soak the chickpeas in 8 cups of water overnight (or for 8 hours) with 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
3. Drain the water and rinse the chickpeas.
4. Place the chickpeas in a pot of water on the stove and bring them to a boil for 5 minutes. Bring the pot down to medium-low heat (a little more than a simmer) for 1 hour or until the chickpeas are smooth and creamy when pressed between two fingers. There should be no starchiness to the texture. If the bean is crumbly when pressed between two fingers, they are not done yet. This is the hardest part; I used to always think I overcooked the beans because they would be crumbly. Just be patient and eventually you will get the right consistency!
5. When the chickpeas are done, place a bowl underneath your colander to catch the liquid from the boiled chick peas (catch about 1 ½ cups and let the rest go down the sink.  
6. Place the chickpeas (it will yield about 5 cups) into a food processor. Blend until there aren’t any whole chickpeas left.  
7. Add the lemon and tahini first along with ½ cup of the chickpea water. Blend together.
8. Slowly add the next ½ cup of the chickpea water until you have your desired consistency. For me, it is usually 1 cup exactly
9.  Now that you have your desired consistency, it is time to flavor your hummus!
10. Add the vinegar, garlic, paprika, cayenne, cumin, salt, and black pepper to your liking. The recipe measurements above are my favorite combination, but don’t be afraid to change them!
11. Enjoy with veggies, on a greek pizza, or in a falafel! 

A variation of Greek Pizza

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are easy, delicious, and vegan! The dough and the cookies are equally as amazing. They are more traditional than my other vegan peanut butter cookies, with the fork crisscross on top. These cookies are not too sweet and have a strong peanut butter taste. They make a great snack or dessert!

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 dash salt (if using unsalted peanut butter)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup of organic peanut butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup oil (canola, palm or coconut)
1/2 cup soy or almond milk

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon) together in a large bowl.
3. Mix the peanut butter, sugar, vanilla, oil, and milk together in a small bowl.
4. Add the small bowl ingredients to the large bowl and stir until well combined.
5. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
6. Let cool on the cookie pan for 5 minutes before moving to the cooling rack.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

This weekend I visited Serendipity Bed and Breakfast upstate. The owner made us baked oatmeal which was amazing! I decided to try to make my own the next day. I added apples, cinnamon, and pecans. It was delicious! A word of warning, this recipe does have eggs in it. Hey, it was the weekend. Sometimes I am not completely vegan on the weekend (in fact this weekend I was definitely not vegan). I will try to make a vegan version in the future. In the meantime, this recipe was sweet, crunchy, and it made a filling breakfast.


3 cups oatmeal
2 tsps cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk
2 eggs
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup raisins
½ cup pecans
2 granny smith apples 

1. Combine oatmeal, cinnamon, cloves, and baking powder in large bowl.
2. In a small bowl combine milk, whisked eggs, and sugar. 
3. Mix the wet and dry ingredients until combined. 
4. Mix in raisins, pecans, and granny smith apples. 
5. Place in a greased 9 in square baking dish (I like to use Earth Balance). 
6. Bake for 40-45 minutes. 
7. Serve warm!
8. Mix in raisins

Friday, April 12, 2013

Homemade Peanut Butter

This recipe is so quick and easy. You don't need to add anything to the peanuts at all and they still taste delicious. I cannot believe I didn't start making my own peanut butter sooner. It is so inexpensive and fresh. It is also healthier with no added sugar or salt. It looks great in mason jars and makes a lovely gift!

6 cups of unsalted organic peanuts

1. Mix the peanuts in a food processor 2 cups at a time. Be patient, my first few batches were not very creamy. Depending on the strength of your processor I would leave them in there for 5-8 minutes. If you notice the nuts are getting stuck on the side, stop the processor and scrape the sides. Continue until your peanut butter is creamy.

I prefer it completely raw but you can add a little salt or honey to adjust the flavor at the end. Enjoy!

Vegan Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I wanted to make a different variation of my usual Whole Grain Bread recipe. I made a cinnamon raisin bread that came out delicious! It was not as sweet as most cinnamon breads, which I really liked. The jumbo raisins and molasses provided a more subtle, natural sweetness.  The whole wheat flour made it hearty and healthy. It is best served warm. We couldn't stop eating this bread!

1 cup soy milk (almond milk also works)
2/3 cup water
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp salt (you can use a little more if you like saltier bread)
1/4 tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon 
3 ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup old fashion oats
1 cup of jumbo raisins
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast

1. Place the wet ingredients in the bread machine
2. Add flour, oats, and raisins. Make sure the raisins are separated (sometimes they stick together). 
3. Make a hole in the flour (see picture above) that is not too deep to touch the liquid.
4. Add the dry yeast in the hole. This is to keep the yeast from rising if you are setting your bread maker to start a little later. I love to set it for 3 hours before I wake up so I wake up to the smell!
5. Set your bread maker on the “whole wheat” setting.
6. Try to wait patiently for 3-4 hours, depending on your bread maker. Let cool for 15 minutes.

We used this bread to make tempeh reubens. The sweetness really added to the flavor. It was also great when warm with vegan cream cheese. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Vegan Spring Recipes!

Flowers at the Prospect Park Farmers Market

Spring is here and instead of root veggies I want more fresh greens and fruit. I am officially ready to move into my spring recipes and say goodbye to my winter recipes until next year. Below are some of my favorite spring recipes. I will continue to add to them so stay tuned for more.

Vegan Spring Salad
This salad if full of spring veggies. The radishes, broccoli, cucumber, celery, and snow peas add a lot of crunch to a salad of mixed greens.

Get Your Greens Smoothie
This is one of my all time favorite smoothies. The
spinach and pineapple give it a sweet flavor while the kale adds a little earthy taste. I could eat this smoothie every morning!

Nothing says warm weather is coming like some fresh pesto. This pesto is flavorful and goes great on bread or your favorite pasta.

Pita Pizza

These pesto pizzas are light and go great with a nice big green salad. They are also quick and easy so you can spend more time outside enjoying the warmer weather.

No Bake Strawberry Pie
This is one of my all time favorite desserts. It is incredibly healthy, low in sugar, and very fresh tasting.

Baked Pineapple Tempeh
Pineapple Tempeh goes great with a fresh green salad or as a side. The sweet pineapple reminds you that winter is ending and sweeter fruits and on their way.

Vegan Pita Pizzas

Last weekend I used my home-made pesto to make some vegan pesto pita pizzas. I got some fresh pita from Zaytoons in Prospect Heights. It was very easy to make and very rewarding to eat! The vegan cheese was warm and creamy melted over the flavorful pesto. The grilled onions added a little sweetness, the sun dried tomatoes a little salt, and the pepperoncinis a little spicy kick. It is something I will make again soon!

1 onion
1 tsp olive oil
2 large pita breads
1/3 cup of pesto
1/2 cup of Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese 
4 sun dried tomatoes
3 pepperoncinis
fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Grill one chopped onion in a teaspoon of olive oil until the onion is slightly browned.
2. Chop pepperoncinis and sun dried tomoatoes.
3. Spread the vegan pesto over the pita.
4. Sprinkle the vegan mozzarella cheese on top.
5. Add the onion, sun dried tomatoes, pepperoncinis, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15minutes or until the cheese is melted. Be careful not to overcook or the pita will get hard.
6. Add some fresh ground pepper and enjoy warm!

Next time I might try some other toppings to mix it up. I might add some avocado, roasted garlic, or grilled mushrooms!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vegan Pesto

One of my all time favorite things to make in the spring and summer is pesto. The Park Slope Food Co-op has incredibly fresh basil. I bring it home and put it in a vase to keep it fresh. I always try to eat it in a day or two. I ate this one on homemade bread and sweet potato gnocchi. I also really like it on a vegan grilled cheese sandwich.

While I was making this recipe, I realize I didn't have enough of my usual pine nuts. I had a bunch of almonds and used those. It came out great. When I made the recipe again a few days later, I just used almonds. It tasted great (I didn't notice a difference) and almonds are much less expensive than pine nuts. My friend told me you can also use walnuts. I will have to try that another time.

The final product is very fresh tasting. The mixture of the garlic and lemon leave you with a powerful taste that will make you want more. I like to add a little lemon for garnish.

4 cloves of fresh garlic

4 cups of fresh basil
1/2 cup pine nuts or almonds (or a mix of both)

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Pesto Ingredients

1. Place the garlic in the food processor and blend until it is finely chopped.
2. Add the almonds and blend.
3. Add the basil and blend until everything is mixed.
4. Add the lemon juice and blend.
5. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and blend.