Friday, February 27, 2015

"Popcorn" Mixed Veggies (Vegan)

I found the recipe for popcorn broccoli on Pinterest, and decided to try and make a vegan version for myself. I love broccoli but it can be a bit plain alone. After following the directions in the original a few times, I figured out a better method for preparing the broccoli and was very happy with the results. You can eat this as a side dish, a snack, or you can eat it like a warm "salad" before a meal.

1 cup broccoli, washed and chopped.
1/4 cup chopped cauliflower
Carrot chips, snap peas, garbanzos, etc. (feel free to choose your own veggies)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp vegan parmesan cheese. My dairy-eating friends can use real cheese if they like
1 tsp garlic powder or garlic salt
ground pepper to taste (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400, and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. I have a convection oven and no stove, so I put the tinfoil right on the rack.
2.Pour the olive oil into a small bowl or cup and dunk your veggies in it to get a light drizzle on each piece.
3. Mix your spices and the cheese on a plate. Pick up each vegetable and dip them into the cheese/spice blend. You want all your veggies to have a very light coat of this "breading."
4. Place your vegetables on the cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Flip all your veggies over so they can cook evenly on all sides, and pop back into the oven for another five or ten minutes.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Mac ‘n Cheese (vegan)

  1. 1 to 1 ½ cup prepared spaghetti squash[1]
  2. ¼ cup almond (or soy, or coconut) milk. I use the unsweetened original flavor but I guess you could make it work with the vanilla or sweetened original flavors. Also, if you drink cow (or goat’s) milk that will work too.
  3. ½ Tbsp rice or coconut flour (white or whole wheat flour will work too but then this recipe wouldn’t be gluten free and I’m trying to work GF items into my cook book these days.
  4. ¼ cup shredded vegan cheese (I used Daiya variety Jack Cheddar but there are others out there. Make sure you get a cheese which will melt).
  5. ¼ cup diced broccoli, carrots, peas, and/or bell peppers
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Grease (or line with tinfoil and put the squash strands in the shell) a small baking dish, add the squash and put it aside for later.
  2. Heat the milk in a small pan (or a microwave safe baking dish) over a medium heat and mix in the garlic.
  3. Whisk the flour into the milk/garlic mixture
  4. Turn off the heat but leave pan on the burner and add the majority of your cheese to the mixture.[2]
  5. Stir thoroughly until the sauce is nice and creamy.
  6. Mix the cheese sauce with your squash.
  7. Add the veggies, mix, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of your dish to create a nice crust.
  8. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Watch the shredded cheese to make sure it doesn’t burn or harden. The heat from the oven and the moisture from the sauce will cook your vegetables and make the squash soft but not mushy.

I took a picture of the dish before baking it so you could see how realistic the cheese shreds look, and because when I first tried this recipe, there was too much cheese (I used half a cup) and it came out looking like a bowl of nacho cheese dip. Here’s a picture of it. 

I have been making loads of spaghetti squash dishes lately, and will be posting a recipe for spaghetti squash with Thai peanut sauce in a week or so. I am absolutely in love with this squash. It’s got fiber and vitamins, is super low calorie, and it only has ¼ the carbs of regular pasta. Lastly, most, f not all, the recipes I will be posting from here on out will be vegan. I am now egg-free, mostly dairy free, and going for the full vegan ASAP. If you are a big dairy person, you can replace whatever I suggest with cows milk or whatever.

[1] If you don't know how to prepare spaghetti squash, I’ve been using this website they have great instructions. One additional tip, pop it in the microwave for one minute before cutting the squash, to soften it up.

[2] If you can’t find melting vegan cheese just pour the milk/flour mixture onto your squash and add all of the cheese to it.