Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vegan Product Review: So Delicious Mint Chip Frozen Dessert (No Sugar Added)

You all know how much I love So Delicious products, so as new ones come out I can't help but try them. (I'm still waiting for the Greek Yogurt coming out in the summer...)

Please note that I did get some coupons from So Delicious to try some of their new products for free. But honestly if I don't like it I certainly won't tell you I do. Luckily So Delicious seems to have product developers that are after my heart! 

Like other products by them, this is soy-free and gluten-free. You need to check the labels for each flavor for other allergens. This one is nut free unless coconut counts as a nut. Thinking about that makes my brain hurt, so if you know the answer please leave me a comment.

It's the usual 2 cup package with 4 1/2 cup servings. Each serving is 120 calories and has 11 grams of fat. It's sweetened with a combination of monk fruit and stevia extract. There was absolutely no bitterness from the stevia which happens in some products. I don't know much about monk fruit, but you can get more info at monkfruit.org

I didn't think it tasted like a sugar-free product at all. And by that I mean it tasted very good. Their other "ice creams" are sweetened with agave syrup and are 170 calories a serving with 9 grams of fat. I thought the texture and richness was the same between the two.

Why am I using a stock image? Because when I was down to the last serving I added some unsweetened coconut milk and mixed it with a fork to make a thick and creamy milkshake. I used my favorite glass straw and drank it straight from the carton. I just didn't want you to see me (or the carton) like that. But it was very, very good. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beyond Easy Vegan BBQ Tofu Pizza Topping

This seems too simple to even write down and to call it a recipe is a stretch. So, if you are looking for a culinary challenge you may want to move along.

However, if your week is overwhelming and you're just too tired to make dinner -  this is perfect for you. I was lucky enough to get a dinner invite on my hectic Monday. My friend, Brit, was experimenting with pizza dough and I was also invited to bring my own topping if I wanted. She was providing the pizza crust!

I definitely wanted to make my own topping. I have a special place in my heart for bbq pizza. It's actually close to an obsession, but at least Mellow Mushroom has bbq tofu on their menu. But this is so much cheaper it's ridiculous!

If you are avoiding soy you could certainly use seitan or add extra veggies in place of the tofu. To make it gluten-free simply buy or make gluten-free pizza shells. This is also good on English Muffins, flatbread, and light toasted tortillas.

BBQ Tofu Pizza Topping

Makes about 4 mini pizzas or 1 large

1/2 block tofu
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped 
1/4 to 1/2 cup Pepper Jack Daiya (more if you want)
Approx. 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your favorite bbq sauce (use more or less depending on how saucy you like it)

Press the tofu to get all the water out and give it a very firm texture. Chop the pressed tofu, red pepper, and pineapple. Add to a bowl and mix together. 

You can either put the Daiya on top of this mixture on your pizza or mix it in before hand. I think Daiya melts best with a little liquid so I mixed mine in.

Spread topping on pre-made crust(s). Bake in oven at 425 until crust is done. Time will vary wildly depending on the thickness of your crust.

If you are bringing this to a make your own pizza party make a little for the non-vegans. They will be curious and want to try some. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Vegan Carrot Dogs with Oh So Delicious Cole Slaw

This may sounds like one of my weirdest recipes, but trust me, it really works. I ran across the concept on one of my research binges. I read about someone eating a carrot dog on a vacation and they raved about it. I was fairly skeptical, but I loved the idea of having carrots in place of the much processed veggie dog.

Obviously a carrot is the same shape and close enough in color to make a decent hot dog substitute. But the real question is about the taste. The marinade really takes it to the next level. I think the sesame oil does it, but the vinegar gives it that "cured" flavor too.

Marinated Carrot Dogs
soy-free gluten-free

Serves 4 but can be easily doubled or even tripled.

4 carrots

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons coconut aminos (can sub soy sauce but use unseasoned vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1/2 clove garlic minced)
a dash or two liquid smoke
pepper to taste

Fill a pot about half-way full of water, heat it on high until it boils. Turn down to medium heat and add the carrots. Cook until you can just pierce it through with a fork. You want it to still have a snap when you eat it. Run cold water over them to stop them from cooking more.

Combine the other ingredients to make the marinade. Use a container that has a tight lid so you can easily shake it without spraying it all over your kitchen. Not that it ever happened to me... ; )

Put the carrots in the container and marinade for a few hours to up to a few days. If you marinate them longer they take on more of the vinegar flavor. If the carrots are very skinny I would not marinade them for more than 1 1/2 days so they don't taste too sour.

To serve heat the carrots in a 350 degree oven or on in a grill pan on a hot grill until heated through. It should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve in a toasted hot dog bun with your favorite toppings. They're great topped with cole slaw! Prep these on a weekend and you're ready for the night you don't really want to make anything.

Oh So Delicious Cole Slaw Dressing
soy-free gluten-free

1/2 cup vegan mayo
1/2 cup Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut milk
1 teaspoon agave
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk everything together and mix in with shredded cabbage and carrots. I used a yellow carrot with green and red cabbage. You can vary the veggies to make your own version. Try Swiss chard, collards, or even kale.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Super Easy Vegan Almond "Parmesan" Cheez

This year summer moved spring aside like a grade school bully. It's just June, the beginning of June even. It's been 100 degrees in North Carolina the past few days. It makes me very afraid of what the hot part of late July and most of August will feel like!

When the temperature rises I become very lazy and won't go outside until the sun goes all the way down. I put together the easiest dinners I can think of. This week I found myself craving my favorite college dish - pasta with Parmesan, herbs, and olive oil. (Back then it was dried herbs, who knows what kind of oil, and very cheap Parmesan.)

I've tried a few vegan Parmesan substitutes and haven't found them that tasty. They can also be ridiculously expensive. This recipe is so easy to make and isn't very expensive (especially if you have the almonds on hand already). I love the way it tastes and you're guests or picky eater won't even be able to tell it's vegan.

Vegan Almond "Parmesan" Cheez
soy-free and gluten-free*
Makes about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (the ones without the skins)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • a small amount of olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to your taste)

I use my small food processor to make this. I think it holds 3 cups. Put the almonds, yeast, and garlic powder in the food processor.  Pulse until it looks like a grain. I add a drizzle of olive oil and processor more until the granules became very small (note: pic is zoomed in).

Taste, add salt, blend - repeat until it's just the way you like it. I like to make mine very salty because I use the mixture instead of salt in recipes.

Honestly, you want it to look like that Parmesan grated topping you used as a kid. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

To make the pasta simply boil up some whole wheat angel hair, toss it with some olive oil and a handful of finely chopped herbs, and a handful of the Vegan Almond "Parmesan" Cheez. I used oregano, thyme, parsley, and one leaf of rosemary this time, but I just grab whatever I have the most of in the garden.