food

vegan shakeology balls

I’ve been drinking shakeology pretty consistently for over two years now – and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to make these!  I recently bought some delicious peanut butter protein balls from a local juice shop I routinely give all of my money to, so I decided it would be worthwhile to figure out how to make my own at home.

Lately there have been a few mornings I’ve been ready to hit the road (*cough*disneyland*cough*) and decided I didn’t have time to make the shake I had planned, so this will be a great way to just grab a few balls from the fridge and take my shakeology to-go!

Ingredients
  • 1/4 vanilla shakeology
  • 1/4 oats
  • 1/4 shredded coconut
  • 1/4 c peanut butter
Steps

Literally just mix all of the ingredients above in a bowl!  I started with a spoon, then switched to hand-kneading to really get in there.  When you’re done mixing, it’s ok for the finished product to have some slightly crumbly bits, as you’re going to smoosh them back together when you make your balls.  At this point you might want to do a taste-test, and if it’s a little too dry or not as sweet as you’d like, go ahead and add a little liquid sweetener such as agave or vegan honey.  Shape into bite-sized balls and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.

food

marinated sesame tofu

I’ve been vegan for nine years, and I’ve been paying too much for overpriced salad bar tofu for about as long.  Not anymore, buddy!

I almost never marinate my tofu.  Who wants to sit around and wait for their tofu to be ready?  But it turns out that having this prepped for the week was actually a huge time saver, and for about $2 per serving compared to $7 per serving at the salad bar, I might be able to learn to be patient.

Get Pressed:  You’ll want to press your tofu before you start working with it.  Here’s a quick tutorial video if you’ve never done that before!  I’m a super lazy presser and usually just squeeze mine a bit over the sink, before wrapping it in paper towels and pressing it by hand.  I think I’ve only placed a heavy object on my tofu once or twice in my life!

Marinade Ingredients

This was enough for me to marinate three pounds of tofu (one pound at a time), and I probably could have squeezed in one more.  I don’t suggest cutting the marinade amount though, as you’ll want enough volume for your tofu to actually, um, marinate in.

  • tofu (firm or extra firm)
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 2 T coconut sugar
  • 1 generous T minced or crushed garlic
  • 3 T toasted sesame oil
Stir-Fry

For this version, I cubed my tofu and marinated it somewhere between 4-12 hours on each side; honestly I just let it do it’s thing in the fridge until I felt like dealing with it, but an hour should be plenty.  It’ll soak up a lot of the marinade, which is why I recommend this method for a stir fry — all that flavor your tofu just absorbed is going to explode out onto your veggies.  I stir-fried my veggies in a little oil first and set them aside, then cooked to the tofu, then added them all together for a couple more minutes (I usually add a big squeeze of lime here).

Cooking the tofu separately should help it keep its shape: more cubey and not so scrambley.  Cooking time depends on your texture preference, but you probably want your tofu lightly browned on all sides so don’t forget to flip!

img_5381

Baked

Baked tofu is definitely my favorite, because you can cook it plain and decide how you want to use it later.  For this batch, I baked first, then marinated once it was cool.  It won’t be as spongy this way, and takes on flavor in a way more similar to marinated chicken.  Since more water cooks off with baking, your tofu will be more firm — and if you slice it thin like the photo below, you can get a slightly chewy, meatier texture.  If you’re not into that, you can also do cubes, sticks, or thicker slices.  Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a 400° oven for about 20-30 minutes on each side.  Again, cook time will depend on your preferred texture and the thickness of your tofu.  Marinate for about an hour on each side, then use it however you like.  Served below over jasmine rice, with Sriracha, sesame seeds, and Saucy Lips zesty cilantro.

47816129-f28a-4183-8276-5be22b322dd3

food

basic vegan chicken salad

One of my goals with this blog is to provide easy vegan recipes that don’t require a lot of ingredients or skill to make.  Something I hear often is, “I would love to eat more vegan food – but I don’t know how to cook!”  (I used to feel that way, too.)  But that’s fine, because this is barely cooking!  All you really have to do is put ingredients in a bowl, and your friends or partner or stomach will think you’re a genius.

Ingredients:

  • Beyond Meat Beyond Chicken Strips (1 package)
  • vegan mayo (1 generous tablespoon)
    • I like Trader Joe’s brand – pictured below – or Just Mayo
  • green onion (1 stalk)
  • pickle juice (1-2 tablespoons)
  • Mrs. Dash (a few shakes)

About Beyond Meat:  I’ve always been loyal to the grilled variety of Beyond Meat chicken since because they’re super basic and can be used in any recipe.  I got lightly seasoned this time because, uh, to be honest I don’t think I was paying attention.  But they did add a nice flavor to the chicken salad, and I will definitely try them in more recipes in the future.  I could be a convert?  These babies are gluten free, and have 20g of plant-based protein per 3-oz serving.

Preparation:

If you can cook a frozen product according to package instructions, congratulations — the hard part is over.  Sauté your Beyond Meat in a little oil until warmed and slightly browned/crispy on the outside.  Remove from pan and allow to cool for a bit; honestly 10 minutes at room-temp is probably long enough if you’re trying to eat this ASAP, or wait a little longer/refrigerate if you’d like.  Cube your chicken and add green onion, vegan mayo, Mrs. Dash (or seasoning of your choice), and pickle juice.  Mix and serve.

About Pickle Juice:  Listen, not only is this recipe not fancy, it includes probably the most not-fancy ingredient you will ever use.  Start with a little, and add more until the dressing is the consistency you want.  I love pickles but I’m very picky – my personal pickle picks are Claussen Kosher Dills, and Sonoma Brinery Wild West Dills.  It doesn’t really matter what kind of juice you use, low-end or gourmet, but I would go for something tangy or spicy over sweet.

I ate this as lettuce wraps this week, but it’s great on sandwiches, crackers, salads, or all by itself.  Enjoy!

food

baby’s first spaghetti squash

A few weeks ago I was out grocery shopping with my dad when I decided that, finally, the time had come for me to buy my first spaghetti squash.  I saw them stacked on an endcap in the produce section, and just as I was about to walk over and put one in the cart, I pictured the conversation that would follow:

“What is that thing?  Have you ever had one before?  Do you know how to cook it?  What are you going to make?”

“Spaghetti squash.  No.  No.. I don’t know.”

To preserve my culinary pride, I decided to go home, do some research, and come back to buy my own spaghetti squash in private.  Then, I would cook the shit out of it and pretend I had been an expert all along.  Like you do.

Preparation:

  • the exterior can be tough to cut through, so help yourself out by stabbing a dotted line along the equator (length-wise) where you’ll eventually cut.  then, throw that sucker in the microwave for about 3 minutes.
  • now that it’s a bit softer, you can cut it in half.  don’t worry about the stem – just cut the rest, then break the stem when you crack it open.
  • scoop out the seeds – I’ve found it’s easiest with a fork.
  • brush the inside with olive oil thenplace cut-side down on foil covered cookie sheet.
  • bake at 425° about 45 mins.  you’ll know it’s done when you can pierce the outer shell.
  • fork it:  use a fork to pull the meat from the skin, working width-wise.  it’s ok to be a little aggressive to get all the squash out, you probably won’t break the skin.

I kept it simple by adding mixed veggies I had already roasted, a dab of store-bought vegan pesto (Sprouts, $2.99), and a shake of lemon pepper.  The leftovers got dressed up a bit more with all of the above plus veggie meatballs, avocado & nutritional yeast.

Processed with VSCO with av4 preset

for the veggies:
pan 1  halved brussels sprouts, orange bell pepper, olive oil, herbes de provence
pan 2  broccoli, red bell pepper, olive oil, mrs. dash

bake at 425°

30 minutes for the broccoli, a bit longer for the brussels

I kept things pretty basic this time, but I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe with peanut sauce, and this one for spaghetti squash lasagna.  Do you have a favorite spaghetti squash recipe?  Let me know!

Another reason I kept it basic?  To share with the pup!  You could simplify things even more by omitting the oil; the squash has enough moisture to cook itself without drying out.  So, essentially I just gave you instructions on how to cut a vegetable in half and stick it in the oven.  You’re welcome.

Processed with VSCO with av4 preset