vegansaurus!

10/15/2013

Recipe! Nelson family shrimp creole, veganized!   »

It was when I lived in Chicago about six years ago that I decided to go vegan. On that note, April is the month I consider my ‘Veganiversary” — six and a half years have gone by! (Where did it go, how has all that time passed?) Some of the hardest things about living in Chicago were missing my family in California, missing California, and missing the food I grew up on. I have since vegan-ized many of my mom and grandma’s recipes, making my lifestyle choice feel a little more familiar. Now that I’m back in the Bay Area, I get to see my clan on the regular and they have been more than helpful in pitching in on the vegan front! Butter has been replaced with Earth Balance or olive oil when cooking; plus there is always a jar of Vegenaise waiting for me in the fridge or a pint of coconut ice cream in the freezer. My favorite part of all of this is eating the food that tastes like home with the people I love most. 
One of my mom’s main go-to recipes when the family comes over is shrimp creole, which is a dish I remember her making since forever.* Luckily for me, it is easily veganized! This means I get to eat it sans shrimp with my family, instead of making a completely different dinner when we sit down to eat. But when you make it, you can add faux shrimp, chicken, beef, seitan, tofu OR SOY CURLS, OMG! 

Ingredients:

1 chopped yellow onion
8 chopped ribs of celery
2 chopped green peppers
4 minced cloves garlic
1/3 cup Earth Balance (for flavor) or enough olive oil to sauté above ingredients
1 tsp of salt (you may need to add more depending on taste)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Bay leaf
3 TBS flour
1 tsp sugar 
4 cans of 14.5oz diced tomatoes (try to find the ones with basil, oregano and garlic added for extra flavor!)
Up to 2 lbs protein of choice (this is completely optional, as I eat it without and it’s very tasty over rice)

Directions:

Make rice. 

Cook onions, celery, green pepper and onion, in oil or Earth Balance, until tender. Add garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and Bay leaf. Stir in flour, sugar and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for  20 minutes. Smother over rice. 

If  you are adding protein, there is an extra step! After you cook for the first 20 minutes, add protein of choice, cover and cook on low until protein is appropriately heated, probably another 10 — 15 minutes.

Another thing I like about this recipe is that it is pretty mild, so you being the wild, creative chef you are, you can doctor it up in oh-so-many ways! Some hot sauce or cajun spice could really take this dish to the next level! Of course, I like it as is, I just gotta remember to bring home the soy shrimp next time I’m visiting my family. 

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*My sister, being a budding cook herself, recently asked where our family recipes came from. Turns out many of them are from a gas station cook book, dating back to the ‘70’s. 

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