vegansaurus!

05/29/2012

Recipe: Hawaiian pasta salad!   »

Living in California is the best, because you can theoretically BBQ during all of the seasons, and BBQs are my favorite! Just put on a sweatshirt, it gets chilly at night. Once it starts warming up, nothing beats inviting all your pals over to drink some brewskies and grill some food. What’s not to love?

Actually, if I can be honest with you, I’m not having quite as much fun as I should, grilling my food these days. Tell me what you grill—I’m bored of veggies and faux meat.* My favorite part of BBQs has turned into making (and chowing down on) the side dishes! (There has to be more. Tell me there is more than this.)

Here’s my version of a Hawaiian pasta salad. People love this salad. It’s refreshing and creamy. I use penne in it, but I have a feeling most people prefer macaroni. I like to think penne adds an elegance to traditional macaroni dishes! Plus, wikipedia says the shape and design makes for more sauce absorption. See, I’m not completely out of my mind!

Ingredients
1 lb. macaroni noodles (or elegant penne!)**
2 cups cashew cream (I’m assuming you can sub unsweetened soy creamer, cup for cup. It’s very rich and creamy!)
2 cups vegan mayo
1 Tbsp. agave nectar
1/2 cup mild vinegar (I use white rice)
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, grated or chopped. I usually chop.
1 celery rib, thinly sliced
1/4 red onion, diced small
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
If you are making your cashew cream and mayo from scratch, do that ahead of time, to cut down prep. I never do, but it really is a great idea in theory!

Boil your pasta. Now, I love over-boiled, puffy pasta and everyone turns their nose up at it, but I’ve finally found a recipe that recommends you overcook the pasta, because it’s better able to absorb the dressing. Take that, haters!

Boil until super fat and puffy. Also, throw in some salt, because it flavors the pasta. My friend told me you want to salt it enough that the water tastes like the ocean. I usually toss in a small palmful.

Over-boiled pasta, a.k.a. DOING ME.

While your pasta is boiling, make your dressing. Whisk together 1 1/2 cup cashew cream, 1 cup mayo, 1 TBS agave nectar, 1 tsp salt and 2 tsp pepper in a bowl.

Whiskin’ up some dressing.

Once the pasta is boiled, turn off the heat and drain it. Then put it back in the pot. Add the vinegar and toss until completely absorbed. Now let it cool for about 10 minutes, then add the dressing. Transfer to a bowl and try to let cool completely. Since I am impatient, I wait about a half hour.

Ever so creamy, vegan style!

Add the rest of your cream, mayo, the veggies and mix together. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and place in fridge for at least an hour. Overnight is best, this is the kind of salad that gets more terrific as the flavors meld! I like to garnish it with some sliced green onions, but I bet a hodgepodge of green onions, thinly sliced celery, and red onion, plus slivered or grated carrot, would look really pretty!


Everyone’s favorite pasta salad, no joke!

*OK, kind of an exaggeration. I am having fun grilling homemade seitan. But even that is getting a little old. I need new ideas, and so I’m turning to you for help!
**You can make this salad gluten-free so easily! Just sub gluten-free pasta!

03/27/2012

Recipe: The Haight-Ashbury eggless tofu salad!   »

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Back in the day, when I was an omnivore, I loved egg salad. Actually, I loved anything mixed with mass amounts of mayonnaise because I’m an American gross! So, of course as a vegan, I took it upon myself to come up with an eggless tofu salad! I know there are a million and a half variations upon which to make one’s tofu salad, which is why I’m calling mine ”The Haight-Ashbury” (upper Haighters, represent). I hope that you like it, and please, share your versions in the comments; I would love to know how you make yours! I know dill is quite popular in this kind of dish, but I’m not a big fan. (Except when it’s in here!)

Ingredients
1 batch homemade vegan mayo (or 3/4 - 1.5 cups of store-bought)
1 block of tofu (I used Wildwood super protein, 20 oz.)
1 Tbsp. mild vinegar (red wine, white wine or rice vinegar)
2 tsp. salt (I used black salt)
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. turmeric
3/4 - 1 tsp. cumin
2 dollops of yellow mustard
3 ribs of celery
2/3 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup chopped green onion

Instructions
In the future I will use the extra-firm tofu, as opposed to extra protein, as I like a softer consistency in my salad.  Extra firm has to be drained, for which I use the best, most genius technology known as the Tofu Xpress (but I totally used to do the paper towel technique—you know, wrapping up tofu in paper towels and stacking cans of beans on top to drain the water out!)

Once the tofu is drained, I crumble it into very small pieces, till it’s practically a mush. Next, finely chop celery and red and green onions. Now add all the ingredients and mix!

You can eat immediately, but I like to let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, even  overnight. It’s one of those foods that tastes best after it marinates, like potato and pasta salads!
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I may have a had a few libations when I “plated” this. However, I can report back from experience, that it makes a great late-night snack!

03/07/2012

How-to, yo: Make vegan mayonnaise!   »

Store-bought mayo is expensive! I mean, it probably won’t break the bank, but if I could give you a cheaper alternative, you’d be into it, right? Right! Let’s get started! Summer is coming, and we need mass amounts of vegan mayo for all of our potato salads!

Ingredients
1 10 oz. package silken tofu
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. rice or white wine vinegar
Juice of half a lemon

Take these ingredients and process until smooth in your pulverizing equipment of choice. I used a food processor, but a blender works too! That’s all there is to it—now you have mayo! Get to making your sandwiches, potato salad or tofu “eggless” salads!

This recipe yields about 1.5 cups mayo, and I usually end up doubling it. This should last about five days in the fridge.

Remember when Laura showcased all the upcoming Vegenaise flavors? You can make them at home! Add some pesto, garlic, chipotle sauce, bbq sauce, or horseradish to this basic recipe—your options are endless!

05/19/2011

Hellmann’s expands cage-free recipes, becomes slightly less terrible  »


Mayonnaise company Hellmann’s has been making light mayo with 100 percent cage-free eggs since last year, but now it has two more recipes for which to be proud of itself: Canola Cholesterol-Free Mayonnaise and Reduced Fat Mayonnaise with Olive Oil. So thanks, mayo-ingesting people of the world, for making the first attempt at humaneness on such a grand scale so popular!

All that comes out to 5.6 million pounds of eggs, impacting 177,000 hens. Since Hellman’s claims to be moving toward cage-free eggs for its entire product line, the number of hens feeling just a bit better about life will increase to 1.8 million. That’s a lot of hens!

Why is this good news? Because it’s better than nothing. It’s harder for average omnis to disavow all animal products at once than it is for them to pay more attention to what they’re eating and where it comes from. I know “cage-free” doesn’t mean the hens have great lives, but American Humane Certified eggs (as Hellmann’s are) come from a henhouse with clean and sufficient food and water, limited stress, resting area, etc. So while it’s not perfect, can we not agree that it is progress?

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