Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vegan Meatball Recipe

This vegan meatball recipe is made using a few simple ingredients. In fact, I really wanted to make vegan meatballs but I did not have the proper ingredients for any one recipe. I made my own version using ingredients we had in the house. I was pretty nervous it wasn't going to work out, but Rich and I both loved them!

I have been wanting to make vegan meatballs from scratch for some time because I am against the fake meat products. I don't mean seitan, tempeh or tofu. I feel those foods are not trying to be a food they are not (although people can make them into dishes that resemble meat products). I don't like fake vegan products because they are not very healthy.

In order to make vegan food taste like meat, additives (sodium, natural and artificial flavorings, etc) must be used to get the meat-like flavor and consistency. When I make vegan burgers or meatballs, they don't taste like the meat-filled alternative because they are not filled with meat! They taste like something earthier and healthier that is a food all on its own.

When I first started eating more vegan food, I bought vegan meatballs and chopmeat for tacos. They both tasted so artificial! I assumed they were healthy when I bought them because they were vegan. When I looked at the nutritional value upon arriving home, I was appalled. They were very processed, sodium filled, and had lots of artificial flavors.
Homemade vegan meatballs
These vegan meatballs went really well with spelt pasta and lots of red sauce. You could also make a vegan meatball sandwich by placing them on some bread and adding sauce.

Yield: 24 meatballs
Cook Time: 45 minutes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon blak pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dill
1/2 cup oats
3 cups cooked chick peas
2 medium carrots
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4-1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh parsley

"Raw" vegan meatballs cooking

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat.
2. Finely chop 1 large onion.
3. When the oil is hot, add the onion and minced garlic. Saute the onion mixture until it starts to turn brown. Then add your spices and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove this pan from heat and set aside.
4. If you are making pasta, put up your water now so it will be ready on time.
5. Place 1/2 cup of oats in a blender or food processor. Blend until they are finely ground. Remove the oats from the blender and place in a large bowl.
6. Place the chickpeas in the blender and pulse until they are mashed (this should take less than 1 minute).
7. Add the chickpeas to the bowl.

Cooked vegan meatballs
 8.Add the grated carrots, nutritional yeast, and 1/4 cup water. Mix by hand until the mixture is well combined and wet but sticky. You may need to add up to 1/2 cup of water to get the desired consistency. When you have the right consistency, add the parsley and the onion mixture.
9. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, roll the chickpea mixture into ball of your desired size and cook them until browned on each side.
10. Enjoy hot on pasta or a sandwich!

I shared my fake vegan food pet peeve……fake meat products. Do you have one to share? 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Homemade Vegan Cracker Recipe

I have been wanting to make homemade crackers for some time. Yesterday Rich surprised me and got me my favorite vegan cheese. I really wanted some crackers to go with it, but the gourmet corner store wanted to charge me $5 for about 12 crackers that had half of their calories from fat. I couldn't justify it on so many levels. I decided this would be a great opportunity to finally make my own!
My favorite vegan cheese - made in Brooklyn!
This recipe was amazingly simple and I was pleasantly surprised by the crackers! They were light and savory. The whole wheat flour gave them a hearty flavor. The herbs and salt added the savory taste. The black pepper also made them a little spicy. My only complaint was they were a little thick, next time I will try to roll them thinner.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from SpiceFoodie.

Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 24-30 crackers

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (plus a little more for rolling and dusting)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons italian herbs (mixed rosemary, thyme, oregano)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
4 tablespoons olive oil

1. Pre-head the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Vegan cheese, apples, and homemade crackers!
2. Add all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well.
3. Make a well in the center and add the water and olive oil. Stir until the flour is no longer visible.
4. Sprinkle flour on the place you will roll them out. Add more sprinkled flour to the top or your dough and dust your roller with flour.
5. Roll the dough so that it is about 1/8 inch thick and transfer to a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
6. Use a pizza slicer to cut the crackers to the desired size and shape.
7. Bake for 12-14 minutes and then remove from the oven.
8.  Move the crackers to a cooking rack and give them about 8 minutes to cool.
9. Sprinkle with a little salt and/or herbs.

You can really get creative with the herbs and spices added. What kinds of herbs will you try?

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is simple, tasty, and much healthier than regular chocolate chip cookies. They are made of whole wheat pastry flour, so you are not consuming "empty" white flour calories. They have only 1/4 cup of sugar in the whole batch compared to 1 1/2 cups in the classic Nestle Toll House Recipe**.

I often make these cookies for non-vegans who are impressed by how tasty they are. A few years ago, I had an incentive in my classroom that resulted in my baking for them at the end of the week. These cookies were among their favorites!

One problem can be finding vegan chocolate chips. Whole Foods sells them guaranteed vegan. Trader Joe's used to sell a dairy free version. Last I checked they still don't have dairy added, but are not guaranteed dairy free.  You can also buy the Chocolate Dream Chocolate Chips at a health food store. Finally, some people (unfortunately I am not one of them) enjoy carob as a replacement for chocoalte. You can easily use carob chips in this recipe.

Cook Time:
Prep 8 minutes
Cook 10 minutes

Yield: 24 cookies

2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup raw sugar (try to find a version that is finely ground. If you cannot, let the sugar sit in the milk for a few minutes to dissolve).
1/2 canola oil (or any vegetable oil)
1/3 cup soy or any non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.Place the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a whisk  until well combined.
3. In a smaller bowl combine the sugar, oil, soy milk, and vanilla. Mix until well combined with a whisk.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a cookie spatula until the flour is completely mixed in.
5. Roll into small balls (about one inch) and place on parchment paper or a greased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 10 minutes.
7. Place the cookie tray on a cooking rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing cookies and placing them on a cooking rack.

**The Nestle Toll House Recipe yields about twice as many cookies. Therefore, to compare more equally Nestle's recipe would require about 3/4 cup of sugar to make the same number of cookies.

Leave a note to let me know how they turned out!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Vegan Quesadillas with Grape Salsa

We decided to go for a Mexican theme this weekend. We had non-vegan visitors and figured that it would be something that everyone would enjoy. It proved to be a tasty and enjoyable meal!

The grape salsa added a spicy and sweet flavor to the savory quesadillas. The quesadillas were filled with spinach, shallots, mushrooms, black beans, and vegan cheese. The guacamole added a nice burst of citrus to everything. Best of all, this meal was very healthy and we all felt good about it. Enjoy!


2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots
4 cups of spinach
2 cups of mushrooms
4 whole wheat tortillas
1 1/2 cup of black beans 
1/2 teaspoon of cumin 
1 clove of garlic
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1 cup Diaya Cheese

Grape Salsa
1/2 onion
1 jalapeno 
4 cup of cherry tomatoes
3 cups of red grapes
1 cup of cilantro 
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cloves of garlic
3 ripe avocados
1/3 cup lime juice


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan.
2. When the oil is hot, add 2 diced shallots and cook on medium until they are slightly browned. 
3. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for another 8 minutes. 
4. Add the washed spinach and cook for about 2 minutes, or until the spinach is all wilted (you may need to add a little spinach at a time to fit in all in). 
5. Place the vegetables in a bowl and set aside. 
6. In a separate pot, heat the black beans on medium heat and add the cumin, garlic, cayenne, and black pepper. Stir until the beans are warm, then cover and set aside.
7.  Clean the large pan or skillet. Turn the heat to medium and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil. When the oil is warm, make sure it is spread evenly around the pan. 
8. Place 1 tortilla on the pan. Add a layer of the veggies, beans, cheese, and the other whole wheat tortilla. Be careful to not put too much in the tortilla at once or it will be difficult to flip. 
9. Cook on medium heat for about 6 minutes. Brush the top of the tortilla (facing up) with olive oil before flipping. Then cook for 6 more minutes on the other side. 
10. Repeat with the second tortilla. 

1. Get a large mixing bowl. 
2. Dice the onion and jalapeno. Add them to the bowl. 
3. Cut the tomatoes and grapes into quarters and add them to the bowl. 
4. Take the leaves off of the cilantro and add them. 
5. Squeeze limes until you have about 1/3 cup of lime juice and add the juice to the bowl. 
6. Add the salt and mix well. 

1. Get a small mixing bowl.
2. Mince the garlic and add it to the bowl. 
3. Add the avocados and mash until they are broken up. 
4. Add the lime juice and mix well. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake is one of my all time favorite vegan things to make and eat! I made it this past weekend for my dad's birthday. It was enjoyed by vegans and non-vegans alike!

The cake itself is chocolate and moist. There is a little sweetness, but the overwhelming flavor is chocolate with a hint of coffee. The frosting brings it all together. The frosting is sweet and chocolatey with a peanut butter flavor. Together, the frosting and cake make for a delightful after dinner (or anytime as we proved with the leftovers) treat.

This cake is inspired by a Moosewood Cookbook favorite.

1 1/2 cups of unbleached white flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons of freshly ground coffee
1/2 cup oil (you can use coconut or vegetable oil)
1 cup of cold brewed coffee
2 teaspoons of vanilla
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

6 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup soy milk
1 cup confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 Degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
3. In a small bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, sugar, and coffee together until well combined.
4. In a large bowl, combine oil, coffee, and vanilla.
5. Combine liquid and dry ingredients.
6. Add vinegar and combine without over-stirring.
7. Bake for 25-40 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
8. Let the cake cool.

The cake cooling
9. Melt the chocolate over medium-low heat until melted.
10. In a food processor or with an electric mixer, combine peanut butter and soy milk until smooth.
11. Add confections sugar and the melted chocolate.
12. When the cake has cooled, spread the frosting on the cake.
13. Sprinkle with coconut and coco powder.

Leave a note to share what toppings you could add!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Vegan Mother's Day - Earl Gray Tea Cookies

Have you been searching for the perfect vegan treat for Mother's Day tomorrow? These cookies were fantastic, beautiful, and easy to make. You probably have all of the ingredients in your house now!

This recipe was inspired by Martha Stewart.

2 cups of white flour
2 tablespoons finely ground Earl Grey tea leaves (about 6 Twining's bags)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup of Earth Balance (at room temperature)
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon of lemon rind grated


1. Whisk flour, salt, and tea in a small bowl.
2. Place the Earth Balance, sugar, zest, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for about 3 minutes. Make sure everything is well-combinded.
4. Add the flour mixture in three parts, until the batters are combined.
5. Divide the dough in half and place each on a large piece of parchment paper.
6. Spread the dough out so both are in long thin pieces.
7. Roll the parchment about 1-1 1/2 inches in diameter. I flatten the sides before putting the dough in the freezer.
8. Let dough freeze for 1 about hour.
9. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
10. Cut logs into 1/4 inch slices. Line the cookie trays with parchment paper. Space 1 inch apart on the cookie tray.
11. Bake the cookies for 13 to 15 minutes until the edges start to turn gold.
12. Let cool before serving with some early gray tea!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ways to Eat Kale: Sauteed Kale

sauteed kale

As I shopped for the essentials like everyone else pre-Sandy, I was surprised to find one of my staples was sold out. Along with the batteries and water, kale- my favorite leafy green- was also gone from the shelves. Luckily I still had some reserves back home.

raw kale

What is kale anyway and why is it so popular? Kale is a green and leafy vegetable that is jam packed with nutrients and fiber. Although it is often used in salads, kale is actually more closely related to cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower than it is to lettuce.  Kale has grown so popular, mainly among foodies, because of its high nutritional value. 

According to WebMD:

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Naturally, with stats like that I want to eat as much of this superfood as I can! I try to have a little everyday in my green smoothie. Today, I made a lovely dish of sauteed kale. It made for a nutritious lunch after a long run in the rain. It would also make a great a great side dish.

The shallots gave the dish a sweetness that was a nice contrast to the earthy kale. The garlic added a savory aroma and taste which left me wanting more. I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I did!

2 cups of fresh kale
1/2 shallot
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 lemon
1 clove of garlic
pepper to taste

1. In a pan on medium, heat the olive oil and add 1/2 chopped shallot.
2. After 3 minutes add garlic and saute for another 5 minutes until the shallots start to brown.
3. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon.
4. Add the kale with the lemon on top.  Put the lid on the pan and cook for about 3-5 more minutes.
5.  When the kale color becomes a deeper shade of green, you know you are done.
6. Season with pepper and enjoy warm!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Asian Noodle Stir Fry

This Asian Noodle Stir Fry is one of our new favorite dishes. It has lots of flavor and always leaves us wanting more! We make a few variations of this recipe, mainly depending on what is in the house and who is cooking dinner. Rich added a whole grated carrot to the top of each dish the other day and it was really good!

1 package organic udon noodles
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1 head of broccoli
1 red pepper
1 package of bunch of enoki mushrooms
1 bunch of bok choy
2 ears of corn
1/2 cup veggie broth
1/4 cup sweet chili dipping sauce
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1. Cooke the udon noodles according to the directions on the package.
2. While the udon noodles are cooking, place the olive oil in a large pan on medium high heat.
3. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the shallots are slightly brown.
4. While the onions are cooking, steam the broccoli in another pot. This should take about 3 minutes once the water has boiled. I find that steamed broccoli is better in this dish and requires less oil to cook. When it is done, set aside.
5. Add the chopped red pepper and chopped mushrooms to the large pan with the onions.
6. After about 5 minutes add the corn and bok choy. Cooke for about 5 more minutes.
7. Bring the large pan to warm. Add the broccoli, stir, and place the lid on to keep warm.
7. In a mixing dish combine lemon juice, veggie broth, and chili sauce. Stir well.
8. Add the noodles to the mixing dish until well combined.
9. Place the noodles on a plate, top with the veggie mixture and the broccoli.
10. Serve warm.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffed Rice Bars

I have been craving chocolate all weekend. First I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies but I ran out of time. Then I wanted a vegan chocolate chip cookie sandwich at Crazy Burger but I was too full.

I wanted decided to make something sweet but somewhat healthy. I found an awesome recipe for puffed quinoa cookies on Pintrist that inspired me to make these bars. These bars were very easy, quick, and delicious!

This recipe is great because it doesn't use sugar but maple syrup. I am trying to stay away from using sugar, especially refined sugar, in my desserts as much as possible. The chocolate went really well with the Kumquats!

1 tsp vegan butter (Earth Balance)
1 cup of vegan chocolate chips
1 cup of homemade peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/8 cup of soy milk
3 cups of puffed rice

1. Heat 1 tsp of Earth Balance on medium low heat until it melts evenly.
2. Add the chocolate and mix consistently until all the chocolate is melted.
3. Mix together the peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup, and soy milk together until well combined.
4. Fold in the puffed rice until the peanut butter mixture is evenly distributed.
5. Line a 8X8 baking dish with parchment paper.
6.  Pour the rice mixture into the baking dish and press down.
7. Pour the chocolate mixture over the top and spread with a spatula so that all of the rice is covered.
8. Put the baking dish in the freezer for about 2 hours. You can leave it in for longer if needed.

Before Freezing
After Freezing
9. When you take it out, let the pan sit for about 5 minutes before cutting so the chocolate doesn't crack.
10. Your treat is ready to eat!