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July 2, 2001

Greetings,

Summer is here, and even though I've been a vegan for over 10 years, I still get invitations to attend non-vegan barbecues and picnics. Sometimes I accept and sometimes I don't, and through the years I've come up with a few tricks for surviving these types of events while keeping my vegan beliefs intact. So for all of my vegan friends out there, before you start to get those invitations from friends and family this summer, consider this advice:

- Most picnics are pot-luck, so bring a couple of vegan side dishes, at least you will be guaranteed to have something vegan to eat. Most hosts appreciate the gesture, and many people are curious as to what "vegans eat" and will usually give them a try and enjoy them too.

- Pre-cook your own veggie burgers at home, wrap them individually in several layers of foil, and they can then be reheated on the host's grill without fear of cross contamination from whatever else may be on the grill.

- Bring your own veggie sandwiches or wraps, plus a few extras for other curious people to try.

- Since vegans usually have few options at these types of events in regard to desserts, why not bring a vegan dessert such as a pie, cake, or other baked good that can fully be enjoyed by yourself and others, and you may even open a few eyes to how delicious vegan food really can be in the process. And I find that people are more receptive to the idea of veganism after they experience firsthand how delicious vegan food is, and who knows how many seeds will be planted as your non-vegan family and friends enjoy the food you bring.

Below are some recipes that you can use to help make your summer outdoor get-togethers more delicious. As always, be good to one another, and remember... eat your veggies! :-)

 
 

Pepper Divider

 

Simple Summertime Strawberry Lemonade

1 pint strawberries, hulled
1 3/4 cups unbleached sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups lemon juice
ice

In a blender or food processor, place the strawberries, and puree until smooth. Pass the pureed strawberries through a sieve to remove the seeds and set aside. In a large pitcher, place the sugar and water, and stir well to dissolve the sugar. Add the lemon juice and strawberry puree to the mixture and stir well to combine. Chill. Serve in ice-filled glasses.

Yield: 2 Quarts

 

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Baked Two Potato Chips

2 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed well and peeled
2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed well and peeled
safflower oil, for oiling the cookie sheets
choice of toppings: salt, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder

Using a food processor or hand slicer, thinly slice the baking potatoes and sweet potatoes, and keep them each separate. Place each of the sliced potatoes in a separate bowl of ice water and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Drain well and pat the sliced potatoes dry with a clean, lint-free towel. Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) two non-stick cookie sheets. Keeping the two kinds of potatoes separate, and working in batches, begin with the slices of baking potatoes. Place the slices on the prepared cookie sheets without overlapping them. Brush or spray the tops of the slices with a light mist of oil, if desired, or leave plain for a low fat snack. If desired, season the chips with salt, onion powder, garlic powder, or chili powder to taste. Bake at 425 degrees for 7 minutes, switch the placement of the cookie sheets on the racks of the oven, and bake an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown. Repeat assembly and baking procedure for remaining slices of the baking potatoes and for the sweet potatoes. Keep an eye on the slices as they bake, as the slices of sweet potato may take more or less time than the baking potatoes. Gently combine the two types of potato chips and store in an airtight container.

Serves 8-10

 

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Granny's Apple Slaw

2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
3 T. rice wine vinegar, divided
1/2 cup Mori-Nu silken style tofu, firm or extra firm
1 cup soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. Sucanat
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. ground ginger
3 cups cabbage, shredded
3 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 cup carrot, shredded
3/4 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup green onion, thinly sliced

In a medium glass bowl, place the diced apple, sprinkle with 1 T. rice wine vinegar, toss well to thoroughly coat the apples with the vinegar to prevent discoloration, and set aside. In a blender or food processor, place the remaining rice wine vinegar and tofu, and blend for 30 seconds. Add the soy milk, lemon juice, mustard, Sucanat, salt, and ginger, and blend for 1 minute or until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over the apples and toss gently. Cover the apple mixture and chill for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. In a large bowl, place the remaining ingredients, pour the apple mixture over the top, and toss gently to combine. Allow to chill briefly or serve immediately.

Yield: 1 1/2 Quarts

 

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Italian Bow Tie Pasta Salad

12 oz. dry bow tie pasta (or other pasta of choice)
1 - 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained, and rinsed
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1 cup zucchini, cut into quarters lengthwise, and thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup sliced black olives

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water or vegetable stock
3 T. red wine vinegar
3 T. freshly chopped parsley
2 T. nutritional yeast flakes
1 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. garlic, minced
1 1/2 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, cook the bow tie pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain well again. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large bowl, add all of the vegetables, and toss well to combine. In a small bowl, place all of the dressing ingredients, and whisk well to combine. Pour the dressing over the top of the pasta mixture and gently toss together. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour or more to allow the flavors to blend. Toss gently again before serving.

Yield: 3 Quarts

 

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Rosy Red Potato Salad

1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
8 sun-dried tomatoes
3 lbs. red skin potatoes, washed well, unpeeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup tofu sour cream
2 T. white wine vinegar
3 T. freshly chopped basil
2 T. freshly chopped dill
1 T. garlic, minced
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly chopped black pepper
1 1/2 cups celery, diced
1 cup green pepper, diced
3/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced

In a small saucepan, place the water and sun-dried tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside for 15 minutes to allow the sun-dried tomatoes to rehydrate and cool slightly. In a large pot, place the cubed potatoes, cover them with water, and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until just tender. Drain the potatoes (save the cooking liquid for use in soups or sauces), transfer them to a large bowl, and set aside to cool. In a blender or food processor, place the rehydrated tomatoes and their soaking liquid, along with the tofu sour cream, vinegar, basil, dill, garlic, salt, and pepper, and blend for 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and sun-dried tomato mixture to the cooled potatoes and toss gently to combine. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or more to allow the flavors to blend.

Yield: 2 Quarts

 

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Ode to the Mad Cowboy Baked Beans

3/4 cup navy beans, sorted, and rinsed
3/4 cup baby butter beans, sorted, and rinsed
3/4 cup red beans or pinto beans, sorted, and rinsed
water, for soaking beans
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 cups onion, diced
2 T. safflower oil, divided
1 1/2 cups green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
2 T. garlic, minced
1 - 8 oz. pkg. multigrain tempeh, crumbled
2 T. tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/3 cup molasses
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 T. Dijon or brown mustard
1 T. chili powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 t. cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, place the navy beans, butter beans, and red beans, add enough cold water to cover the beans by one inch, place the bowl in the refrigerator, and leave to soak overnight or for several hours. Drain the beans and discard the soaking liquid. Transfer the soaked beans to a large pot, add the 6 cups water and bay leaf, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the beans for 1-1 1/2 hours or until just tender.

Meanwhile in a non-stick skillet, saute the onion in 1 T. safflower oil for 5 minutes to soften. Add the green pepper, jalapeno pepper, and garlic, and saute an additional 3 minutes or until the onions are lightly browned. Transfer the sauteed vegetable mixture to a small bowl and set aside. In the same skillet, saute the tempeh in the remaining 1 T. safflower oil for 7-8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the tamari and saute an additional 1-2 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove the skillet from the heat.

When the beans are tender, remove the bay leaf and discard it. Transfer the beans to a 2 1/2 Quart ovenproof casserole dish or Dutch oven. Add the reserved sauteed vegetable and tempeh mixtures, along with the remaining ingredients, and stir well to combine. Cover the casserole dish with a lid or aluminum foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour, remove the lid or aluminum foil, and bake an additional 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

Serves 8-10

 

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Sesame Seed Buns

1/3 cup sesame seeds, divided
6-7 cups unbleached flour, divided
1/4 cup unbleached sugar
2 pkgs. active dry or quick rise yeast
1 T. salt
1/3 cup Spectrum Spread non-hydrogenated margarine
1 cup warm water (120-130 degrees)
1 cup soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
safflower oil, for oiling bowl and cookie sheets
cold water, for brushing on tops of buns

In a small bowl, place 2 T. sesame seeds, and set aside. In an upright mixer or food processor, place the remaining sesame seeds, 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt, and pulse a few times to combine. Add the Spectrum Spread and pulse a few times to combine. Add the warm water and soy milk and blend for 1 minute. Add 2 cups flour, blend for 1-2 minutes to fully incorporate it, then add an additional 2 cups flour, and blend 1-2 minutes or until the dough comes together to form a ball.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, knead in the remaining 1 cup flour, as needed, to form a dough that is smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Drizzle a little safflower oil into a large bowl, transfer the ball of dough to the bowl, and roll the dough around the inside of the bowl to thoroughly coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and place it in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) two non-stick cookie sheets, and set aside. Punch down the dough. Transfer the dough to a work surface, divide it into 18 equal pieces, and roll each into a ball. Transfer the balls of dough to the prepared cookie sheets and press dough on each, slightly, to flatten. Brush the tops of each with a little cold water and sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds. Cover them with towels and leave to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom and top. Remove the buns from the cookie sheets and allow them to cool on a rack. Use as buns for your favorite veggie burgers or sandwiches, or as rolls.

Yield: 18 buns

 

Pepper Divider

 

Quick California-Style Ketchup

1 cup onion, diced
1/3 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 t. garlic, minced
1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. coriander
1/8 t. nutmeg

In a food processor or blender, place the onion, apple juice concentrate, and garlic, and process for 1-2 minutes to form a smooth puree. Add the remaining ingredients and process an additional 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one month. Use as an accompaniment on sandwiches or use in place of store-bought ketchup in your favorite recipes.

Yield: 1 Cup

 

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Sweet Horseradish Mustard

1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
1 T. maple syrup
1 T. prepared grated horseradish
1/2 t. salt

In a small bowl, place the white wine, vinegar, and mustard seeds, cover, and leave at room temperature overnight or for several hours. Transfer the mustard seed mixture to a food processor or blender and process for 2 minutes or until creamy with a slightly grainy texture. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse 3 times to combine. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to one month. Use as an accompaniment on sandwiches or use in place of store bought mustard in your favorite recipes.

Yield: 1 1/3 cup

 

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Rad Ray's Veggie Sub Sandwiches

6 Italian rolls, or Sesame Seed Buns (see recipe below), or other rolls of choice
6 romaine lettuce leaves (or other lettuce of choice), washed, and patted dry
1 1/2 cups red onion, sliced
2 cups green pepper, julienned
2 cups cucumber, peeled, and sliced
olive oil, to taste
red wine vinegar, to taste
dried oregano, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 slices vegan mozzarella cheese, or other vegan cheese of choice

Begin by assembling all of the ingredients. Split the Italian rolls or buns in half, open them up, and place them on a large cutting board. Dividing the vegetables evenly among the rolls, place them in the order listed, on the bottom half of the rolls. To taste, drizzle a little olive oil and red wine vinegar over the vegetables, and then season them generously with the oregano and pepper. Place a slice of vegan cheese on top of each and replace the top half of the roll or bun. Slice each sub sandwich in half and serve.

*Variation: add additional vegetables and seasonings, as desired to suit personal tastes. Also good with a little mustard and crushed red pepper flakes for a spicy twist.

Yield: 6 sandwiches

 

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Real Roman Burgers

1 cup onion, finely diced
1 T. olive oil
1/2 cup carrot, finely diced
1/2 cup red pepper, finely diced
1/2 cup zucchini, finely diced
2 T. garlic, minced
1 1/2 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. rubbed sage
2 - 15 oz. cans Roman beans, drained, and rinsed
3 T. tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg Liquid Aminos
3 T. ketchup
2 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
olive oil, for oiling skillet
8 Sesame Seed Buns (see recipe above) or whole grain buns, split
lettuce, onion and tomato slices, or other toppings of choice
condiments of choice

In a non-stick skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil for 1 minute over medium heat. Add the carrot, red pepper, and zucchini, and saute an additional 3 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, oregano, and sage, and saute an additional 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside. In a large bowl, place the Roman beans, and using a potato masher or spoon, roughly mash the beans. Add the tamari, ketchup, mustard, salt, and pepper, and stir well to combine. Add the sauteed vegetables, fold them into the bean mixture, then add the oats, and stir thoroughly to combine. Wipe out the non-stick skillet with a clean, lint-free towel, and reuse for cooking the burgers.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a plastic 1/2-cup measuring cup, portion out 8 burgers on to the parchment paper, and press the burgers with a burger press or your hands to flatten them slightly. Chill the burgers for 30 minutes. Using a little olive oil, lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) the non-stick skillet. In batches, cook the burgers until well browned on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. Add more oil to the pan, if needed, to prevent the burgers from sticking. Serve on buns with your choice of toppings and condiments.

*Note: you can make these burgers in larger batches, pre-cook them, and freeze them for later use. Then simply reheat them in the oven or in a nonstick skillet until heated through.

Yield: 8 burgers

 

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Almond-Chocolate Chip Blondies

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2/3 cup Mori-Nu silken style tofu, firm or extra firm
1 1/3 cups unbleached cane sugar
1/3 cup Spectrum Spread non-hydrogenated margarine
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 cup sliced almonds
safflower oil, for oiling the pan

Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) a non-stick 9x13-inch baking pan, and set aside. In a large bowl, place the flour, baking powder, and salt, stir well to combine, and set aside. In a food processor, place the tofu, and process for 1 minute to form a smooth puree. Add the sugar, Spectrum Spread, vanilla, and almond extract, and process an additional 1-2 minutes or until very smooth and creamy. Add the tofu mixture to the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and almonds, and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 24 bars.

Yield: One 9x13-inch pan or 24 bars

 

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Non-Dairy Strawberry Ice Cream

2 cups apple juice
3 T. agar-agar flakes
2 - 12.3 oz. pkgs. Mori-Nu silken style tofu, extra firm
1 1/2 cups soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice
1 cup unbleached cane sugar (or brown rice syrup or maple syrup), or to taste
2 T. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen sliced strawberries

In a small saucepan, place the apple juice and agar-agar flakes, and simmer for 5 minutes to thoroughly dissolve the agar-agar flakes. Meanwhile, in a food processor, process the tofu for 2 minutes to form a smooth puree. Add the agar-agar mixture, soy milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt, and process for 1-2 minutes or until very smooth and creamy. Taste and add additional sweetener or vanilla, if desired. Add the strawberries and pulse 3 times.

If you have an ice cream maker, transfer the mixture to the ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Or, pour the mixture into a large shallow pan, and place it in the freezer. Stir the mixture every hour or so to give it a smooth texture. When completely frozen, remove it from the freezer, and allow it to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container, return the mixture to the freezer, and freeze until solid. Serve as an accompaniment to cakes, pies, desserts, or as a refresher.

*Variation: for a Strawberry-Banana flavor, substitute 1 mashed banana for half of the sliced strawberries. Or if you don't mind the extra fat, adding a couple of tablespoons of a mild vegetable oil to the mixture before freezing will result in a rich and creamy texture. Feel free to experiment with the recipe by adding additional flavorings, or chopped fruit or nuts.

Yield: 1 1/2 Quarts

 

Pepper Divider

 

Citrus Kissed Shortcake

3 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup unbleached cane sugar
1 T. orange zest
1 T. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1/3 cup Spectrum Spread non-hydrogenated margarine
1 1/2 cups tofu sour cream or soy yogurt
1/3 cup orange juice (or soy milk, rice milk, or other non-dairy milk of choice)
1/2 t. vanilla
safflower oil, for oiling the cookie sheet

Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) a non-stick cookie sheet and set aside. In a large bowl, place the flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and stir well to combine. Using a pastry blender, cut in the Spectrum Spread until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, place the remaining ingredients, and stir well to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, pat the dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch star-shaped cookie cutter (or any shape of choice), dip the cutter in a little flour, cut 12 stars out of the dough, redipping the cutter in flour as needed, and transfer them to the prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 350 degrees, and bake an additional 5 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Yield: 1 Dozen

 

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Red, White, and Blue Mixed Berry Shortcake

1 pint strawberries, hulled, and sliced
1 pint blueberries
1 pint blackberries
1 pint red raspberries
2 T. freshly chopped mint (optional)
2 T. unbleached cane sugar
1 recipe Citrus Kissed Shortcake (see recipe above)
1 recipe Non-Dairy Strawberry Ice Cream (see recipe above)

In a large glass bowl, place all of the berries and mint, sprinkle the sugar over the top, toss gently together, and set aside for 1 hour to allow the berries to macerate. To serve: split in half one of the Citrus Kissed Shortcake, place the bottom half in a bowl or on a plate, top it with some of the macerated berries, replace the top half of the shortcake, and serve with a scoop of Non-Dairy Strawberry Ice Cream.

*Variation: or if desired, top the shortcake with pureed silken tofu that has been sweetened with a little fruit juice or mashed berries.

Yield: 12 servings

 
 

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