Recipe: Pink power ranch dressing! I love pink! »
You can make this with a different-colored onion, and it’ll be totally normal ranch dressing. But pink is my favorite color, and I had too many red onions, so here it is.
Pink Power Ranch Dressing
makes around 3 cups
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
6 oz. firm silken tofu (vacuum-packed rules!)
1/2 small red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup nondairy milk
juice of 1 lemon (or about 2 Tbsp. for you bottle-users)
2 tsp. mustard (I used whole-grain dijon, but I don’t give a damn if you use French’s; it’ll still probably be awesome)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce (here is a good recipe if you can’t find it or don’t want to buy it)
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. dried dill (or 3 Tbsp. fresh, if you’re fancy, which I’m not)
Throw everything but the dill in your food processor or blender. Process/blend forever and ever, or about a minute, until your stuff looks totally combined and there are no big chunks of onion left (nast).
Add the dill, and blend again for maybe 10 seconds this time, so you can still see little green flecks.
Transfer to a covered container of some sort, and store in the fridge for a couple-few hours before serving. This allows the flavors to blend, amateur.
Then dump it all over an otherwise healthy salad, celery sticks, buffalo “wings,” pizza crusts, and pound cake. I mean, what?!
Ask a Vegansaur, vol. 02 »
Hello again, my dear vegan, vegetarian, and veg-curious readers! It’s time for another round of answers to your amazing questions. I’m answering in the order received, more or less, so if you emailed me a question, be patient. I promise I’ll get to it, unless it was jerky/annoying. LET’S DO DIS.
Jon asks: Do you have any animosity toward us megans/meatitarians? Because you can have my salad if I can get your steak.
I think our Megan would have some sort of clever retort re: your dietary classifications, but that’s irrelevant. Personally, I don’t have any animosity. Do I wish you’d pick healthier options that are better for the planet (ahem—vegan)? Of course. But that doesn’t mean I want you to die. I will, however, take your salad because I’m running low on Metamucil this week. GO FIBER!
Damian asks: Why are things with unsourced white sugar considered vegan by many vegans? Answer without the phrase “doing the best they can.”
Damian, you’re, like, Ask a Vegansaur MVP. That’s an excellent question, although I’m not a fan of the restriction on my answer because that would be my (simple) answer. However, playing along: As the use of bone char to filter sugar becomes less and less common, the chances of that unsourced sugar being strictly vegan rises. It’s clear that someone who identifies as a vegan will make every effort not to consume obvious animal byproducts (meat, dairy, eggs), but how far down the line is anyone willing to police the less-obvious ones? When we make veganism seem ever more daunting by pointing out that, for example, anything with refined cane sugar cannot be trusted, we lose our new friends to the “ex-vegetarian” crowd that seems to be all over the internet. They stop making vegan choices that have more of an impact than unsourced sugar. Would it not be a better use of time to relax when a vegan eats an Oreo so that fewer animals are used overall for the bigger byproducts? The goal of veganism, to me and many others, is a mindset that chooses compassion as often as practically possible. I’m not saying that we should pretend things are vegan when they are not or that we shouldn’t try to eliminate as many animal byproducts from our diets as possible. But when veganism stops being practical, it stops seeming fun or even possible, and that’s a major reason people quit.
Tim asks: What about sci-fi, vat-grown meat that doesn’t have a brain?
What about it? If you’re asking whether I would eat it, I say, “Hell to the NO, boyfriend,” and then I would z-snap. The main reason I started eating vegetarian a decade ago was because I hated the taste and texture of meat, so unless lab-cultured meat is reminiscent of tofu, that ain’t happenin’. But if you’re asking whether I think it’s a good idea, I respond in the affirmative. I’m pro-food science (that’s the reason we have Daiya, y’all!), so if people want meat, I’d prefer that it come from a lab where an entire animal didn’t have to die to bring the masses their cold cuts. Ideally, the agriculture industry will allow test-tube meat to catch on, and factory farms will cease to exist. Hey, it could happen, McWorld.
Want to Ask a Vegansaur a question? Email me, and try not to be a jerk!
Vegansaurus does an Organic Avenue juice cleanse! »
Last week I embarked on a five-day Organic Avenue Lovedeep juice cleanse. I did it for a number of reasons: I wanted to “reset” my body and system after developing some bizarre and detrimental habits (daily venti coffee, unreasonable affinity for sugar and candy, pigging out at night and not eating anything in the morning, etc.); I wanted to observe the effect it had on my body and my training regimen (muay Thai, running, Bikram yoga, four jobs); and of course sheer curiosity. I consulted with the folks at OA and told them my intention was to maintain my usual life/training schedule during the cleanse, and after their approval, I booked the dates and kept my fingers crossed. I went to the pick-up location near my office on Monday and picked up a big silver box of fresh-pressed fruit and veggie juices. Inside were six 16-oz. fresh juices and one chlorophyll shot, my food for the day. Organic Avenue also sent me a daily email explaining the benefits of each juice, and offering a suggested drinking schedule and words of encouragement.
I didn’t finish the juices; I couldn’t stomach all of that juice every day. And since I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t necessarily need them. I’d usually keep them and enjoy them the following day, and I have three leftover juices now that the cleanse is over, which I definitely intend to drink before returning my bottles! The juices themselves ranged from totally scrumptiously delicious—orange, ginger lemonade, grapefruit, pear—to borderline undrinkable—chlorophyll shot, Young Love (spinach/celery/cucumber). Pick-up/drop-off was easy, the staff was cheerful and accommodating, and the simplicity of the whole process really made it run smoothly.
The first day was the toughest; my moods swung like crazy and I was impatient and irritable for most of the afternoon/night. I had a brutal headache from Starbucks withdrawal, craved salt, and generally felt unlike myself. I made it through the workday without too much drama, but that evening’s seven-mile run was undoubtedly tougher than usual, and I realized I’d need to take it easier in the gym over the week. With no carbs in my system I wasn’t my usual Energizer Bunny self. I got home from the gym that night and passed out on my bed before I could even take my shoes off.
I was definitely a little out of it when my alarm went off, but I packed up for the gym and sipped a cucumber juice on the way. Muay Thai class wasn’t too bad, though again I noticed my stamina wasn’t up to par. The following run, this time five miles, wasn’t as rough as the previous day’s, but I was huffing and puffing more than usual. Once at work I was actually feeling good; though still a bit foggy I was in better spirits and enjoyed the juices. I wasn’t nearly as cranky or tired when I got home, though I still slept like a rock.
I woke up feeling decent, made it to work and coasted through what was to be the best overall day of my cleanse—no hunger pangs, no headache, no mood swings, decent energy throughout the day—I’d even say I was chipper! There was an orange juice on the menu that day, and after living on spinach, orange juice is the GREATEST THING EVER. I felt like I was cheating! Feeling great, I made it into the gym that night and blasted through five rounds of full-contact sparring and an advanced conditioning class. I felt tired when I got home, but that’s normal for me on a Wednesday night.
I woke up feeling clear-headed and was off to the gym. I took it easy in muay Thai, having noticed a significant drop in my stamina and endurance, but I made it through just the same. My run was, again, grueling: I took walk breaks and was certainly not as fast as usual. Though my patience was wearing a little thin at this point, my mood was good. Work was busy and I stayed focused through the day, and enjoyed the delicious grapefruit juice. Into the evening, I was having elaborate, borderline-romantic food fantasies; I missed my precious food! Got home that night a little grumpy, but as usual passed the heck out swiftly.
While I generally sleep until about 1 or 2 p.m. on my Fridays off, this time I was wide awake soon after 11 a.m. Feeling great, I got ready to run some errands and packed a few juices along with me in my gym bag. I made it through the day feeling really good; my energy was up, I felt clear and enthusiastic and focused, and my body felt rejuvenated from the good night’s sleep. When I started that night’s training, however, everything changed. My run was dismal; I could barely keep it up for more than five minutes at a time, taking frequent walk breaks and watching other runners leave me in the dust. Muay Thai was equally pathetic; though I made it through three hours of training, I felt like I didn’t have a shred of life left in me. I got home that night and did my best to get a juice down as fast as possible before passing out.
Breaking the Fast
OA sent me an email with directions for my first day after the fast: I could eat as much as I wanted of one fruit of choice, and enjoy a big green salad for lunch and another for dinner, adding some roasted veggies if I so desired. I had some water, then enjoyed CRUNCHING into an organic Fuji apple before heading to the gym again. That day’s training was the worst of them all—I barely survived the run, and opted for a beginner muay Thai class. Even still, I was wiped out by the end and couldn’t wait to get home for my salad. I took a quick nap before I ate, and truly enjoyed every forkful of greens and tomatoes and beets and kale. It felt so good - almost scandalous!—to chew mouthfuls of food again.
I made it through five days of juicing without any major adjustments in my work/life/training schedule. I didn’t cheat once, I followed my plan, and I feel great. Though my stamina and endurance in the gym were significantly lower, my energy levels were the same and I really wasn’t tempted to cheat very often. Hunger was never a problem—if I craved food it was its flavor, texture, familiarity. My skin never broke out like crazy and my digestive system didn’t react too violently at all. I’m so glad I had the experience and I feel pretty great. I learned so much about my body and the fuel I put into it, the importance of complex carbohydrates and balanced proteins, the benefits of a raw organic diet, and how fuel affects mood. I am excited to make changes to my old habits. No, I won’t be cutting caffeine out of my life—I am a sincere and dedicated coffee-LOVER—but it will be decaf for the most part. When I crave something sweet I’ll opt for organic pineapple or fresh berries instead of Twizzlers and Swedish Fish. And I’ll fuel my body on a more regular basis rather than that abusive binge-and-starve pattern. This was an incredible, educational, rejuvenating experience and I can absolutely recommend it to anyone interested in a kick-start to good habits. Organic Avenue offers many different levels of cleansing, and supports you the whole way through. If I can do it, anyone can: you just have to want to!
[Organic Avenue provided me a five-day cleanse free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion. You can order your own cleanse on their website or by calling 212-358-0500. First image via Organic Avenue. Also, check out how Maria did on the Blueprint Cleanse. Vegan cleanses galore, people! Now, back to your regularly scheduled binging!]
Morty’s Deli in the Tenderloin: nice sandwiches you got there! »
First of all, I love me a nice sandwich, and I love me vegan options in SF’s Tenderloin. I also love that Morty’s Deli’s motto is “…a nice sandwich,” and its logo is a basset hound. Hilarious! Plus they have beer on tap! WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT?
Morty’s is a kick-ass deli with more vegan options than the menu appears to have. You just have to ask; for example, the No. 174 can be made vegan with marinated tofu, even though the menu doesn’t say it. Tim, the handsome face behind the menu, says he recently started leaning toward veganism himself for health reasons. Go, Tim!
The vibe is coffeehouse-meets-deli, and the beer is free-flowing on weekdays till 8 p.m., so maybe look into weekend hours? The people demand beer and sandwiches on weekends!
Now I love to eat, so I ordered a whole lot. Of course, I started with a salad.
because salad is all vegans eat, AM I RIGHT?!
But on the realio, the lettuce, tomatoes, and tangy dressing were all crisp and fresh, and the homemade croutons were top-notch. (Not pictured: french fries, because I ate them too fast.)
Then came a Soy Reuben. I was super-pumped for this sandwich, maybe overly so, because sauerkraut makes me rather damp in the crotchal region.
It was tasty, even though we had to sub dijon mustard in for the Russian dressing. However, might I suggest pressing the tofu a little more? I know tofu preparation can seem formidable, but it really doesn’t taste right to me unless it’s good and dry before you marinate and cook it. Juicy seitan? Good. Juicy tempeh? Excellent. Juicy tofu? Kinda gross and floppy. However, the flavors were good, the sauerkraut (UNGFDHGFDNGFGHT) was crunchy and tart, it came on real rye bread, and I would order it again.
The winner of the day was the Garden Sandwich (order without cheese). It was super-amazing: hummus and veggies, including ARTICHOKES and avocado and greens, on an onion kaiser roll. The hummus was supremely flavorful and added just the right amount of creaminess to the crunch of the veggies. It’s a basic sandwich, but it was my favorite.
Other options: daily made-from-scratch vegan soup (and the french onion soup is vegan if you order without cheese, HUGE bonus to me), Shroomin’ Sandwich, build your own sandwich, gluten-free bread, beer, delivery (HELLO SANDWICH BUDGET), and did I mention BEER?
Another thing I like about Morty’s is you don’t have to be like, “Does this have mayonnaise on it?” or “I want that without cheese,” because you can just say, “Make it vegan” and they totally know what that means. Seriously, get in there. N.B. I tried to pay for at least some of my huge order, but Morty’s was having none of it. Thanks, Morty’s! I’ll be back, not in a Terminator kind of way.
Guest recipe: A professional chef’s perfect spring meal »
I never used to like salad until I worked at Parc. They paid way more attention to their salads than any vegan place I’ve worked at and you can tell—the dozens of hours I spent learning to cut herbs and shallots cleanly and efficiently, and then the seasoning conferences over a five-gallon bucket of sherry-shallot vinaigrette. Often a sous chef would taste each individual salad for seasoning before sending it out. There are salads on a level beyond that, too.
The crazy thing is that the difference between a sweet/greasy/goopy bowl of lettuce for two people and a great meal in salad form can be some chump change and maybe 10 to 15 minutes’ worth of work. While it is currently green almond season, I haven’t found them growing around Philadelphia, so here is a recipe for a cold spring soup and salad both using last year‘s almond crop and some of this years best baby vegetables:
1 clove garlic
½ lb. blanched almonds (you can either get these pre-blanched or you can do it yourself by putting raw almonds in a pot of boiling water for about two minutes, then putting them in an ice bath and rubbing the skins off.)
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
½ cup plus one Tbsp. olive oil
1 oz. of rustic bread
½ oz. slivered almonds
2 oz. olives
1/4 oz. shallots
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar (or just use more lemon juice)
1 bulb baby fennel
2 small radishes
2 baby carrots
1 big crimini mushroom
1 baby beet
1 cup small flavorful greens—arugula, pea shoots, purslane, etc.
8 leaves parsley
½ bunch chives
We start with the soup.
A lot of people are familiar with tomato gazpacho, a cold soup of Spanish origin. Tomatoes have only been in Europe since the 1500s, but Spain is home to another great soup served cold that predates that by a long-shot, sometimes called white gazpacho. This is an almond-based soup, creating creaminess from the delicious fats and proteins found in almonds, as well as from stale bread and olive oil which is added in. While non-dairy milks and creams are common now, they (and their close relatives like this soup) are also common throughout history, all over the world—from Chinese soy milk to Spanish almond cream, and hickory nut milk of the Creek Native Americans. One thing common to all of them is the fresher they are, the better. I’ve taken the basic soup recipe from Jose Andres’ Made in Spain where he makes it with figs and marcona almonds instead of the salad.
- One day before making this soup, cover your almonds with 3 cups of water and let them soak overnight. Starting things a day in advance is something I really like—it’s so un-american. Because I don’t like America [.pdf].
- The next day, bring a small pot of water to a boil and toss in your garlic. Boil for about a minute, then drain and let the garlic cool.
- Put the almonds with their soaking water in a blender with the garlic, sherry vinegar, olive oil and your bread. Puree until smooth, at least two minutes. I find a lot of people think that like 15 seconds in a blender is enough—maybe for your low-fat triple banana goji berry smoothie, but not for most things. Salt to taste—this recipe will take a good deal of salt so start with 2 tsp.
- Pour this through a fine mesh sieve. At first, not much will come through. If you have a chinois you can push the liquid through. If not, instead of pushing (which will push the grainy stuff through as well) tap the side of your strainer with a spatula. The liquid will dribble through. This is the only annoying part of this recipe as it can take a good five minutes of tapping. The result will be worth it.
The vinaigrette (you can make this up to 3 days ahead):
Unlike the soup, you will want this vinaigrette to be chunky, so either use a food processor or mince these things with a knife.
- Spread your slivered almonds on a sheet tray and toast them in the oven at 325 for about six minutes, till golden (you can do this another day in advance, too). Let them cool. Pulse them through a food processor or just crumble them in your hands. Put them in a bowl.
- Drain (and pit if necessary) your olives and put them in the food processor until they are pretty evenly minced, scraping down the sides with a spatula if need be.
- Mince your shallot and juice your lemon.
- Mix the almonds, olives, lemon juice, vinegar (if using), oil and shallots in a bowl. Whisk together. Season with salt and pepper and adjust your oil and lemon juice/vinegar as necessary.
- Using a mandolin, a sharp knife, or a vegetable peeler, shave your fennel, mushroom, radish, and carrot as thin as possible while maintaining evenness.
- Then shave your beet, keeping it separate.
- Pick your parsley leaves. Mix your non-beet vegetable shavings with your parsley and greens and dress with the green olive vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste as you mix.
Ball up one portion of salad (1 medium handful) to place in the center of each bowl try to get some height. Pour ¾ cup of soup into each bowl, around the salad. Place 3 or 4 beet shavings on top of each portion. Mince your chives. Drizzle your soup with olive oil and sprinkle it with chives and coarse sea salt. Serve with toast or, preferably, fresh grilled bread.
Mark Tinkleman is committed to a radically better future for all of humanity. He is a cook by profession, was trained at the Natural Gourmet Institute, and has worked at award-winning vegan and omni restaurants in New York and Philadelphia. He lives with his beautiful partner and their cat in Philadelphia. Go Philly!
This giant bowl of Mediterranean salad by Lizanna comprises mixed greens, cucumber, parsley with garlic, lemon, pepper, salt, and of course olive oil. Heaven knows I hate a salad, but this looks really tasty.
Tasty vegan recipes from non-vegan blogs! Holla! »
Apparently “The American People” (shittiest expression ever) aren’t eating produce anymore. WELL WHY??? Vegansaurus to the rescue! The recipes below leave you no excuse for not getting your 5-Alive. Do it up, fatties!
Bay Area Bites wants us to make apple butter (DO IT!), and The Paupered Chef has some Mexican food snacks that aren’t deep-fried (don’t hold it against them!). You could easily veganize this Avocado Milkshake over at The Kitchn by subbing coconut creamer (yum!) for condensed milk. Have you ever had an avocado milkshake? It’s like a party in your mouth meets a party in your pants and everyone wants to do it with each other. GNARLY MAGIC. Seriously, make one! Or, if you’re too lazy, buy one! And if you’re into doing it in the raw (NO COMMENT), check out Blisstree's Sun-Dried Tomato and Sunflower Seed Burgers. I’m only 1/4 hippie, and those look damn good to me!
Finally, because you’re all a bunch of fucking lushes, you should probably check out The Acadian from Beretta. SFist has the recipe and it’s so easy to just replace the honey with agave and have a par-tay. Haven’t tried absinthe? Well, you’re in for a hallucinogenic treat! Also, get some vegan pizza while you’re there—it’s the shiz!
Also, if you’re eating downtown in the FiDi, our Megan Allison says that the Siam salad (sub avocado for cucumber DO IT UP, FATTY) at Mixt Greens is the only food that does anything for her anymore. She ain’t mad atchu, lemongrass vinaigrette. Also funny that at salad place Mixt Greens, that’s the only salad that’s vegan by default. AMERICA!
[photo by Nick Kindlesperger of The Paupered Chef!]
Eating a build-your-own salad at Brassica Supperclub right now. <3 LML, bitches <3