once a week vegan – week 4

New to this? Check out what it’s about here. Past posts/recipes found here.

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All Things Beans!



I kind of hinted two weeks ago (no post last week as I was in study mode!) that I would be using beans. Although, I did use some, I didn’t use all that I had planned to use (ie: adzuki beans being the neglected ones). And by use I mean take dried beans, soak them and then cook them – we’re not talking opening a can here people!

I did manage to successfully go through this process for black beans.

If you don’t have the time to do all this prep to turn dried beans into cooked beans, I can see how much of a pain it can be. It can also be a huge pain if you forget to start the main step (ie: soaking the beans overnight because this is how long they need) to begin with – this for me was the mornings I woke up thinking ‘crap, I forgot to soak my beans last night!

So, as long as you commit (and don’t forget!) to doing the prep work, you can have amazing tasting beans in virtually no time – the actual work you put into turning dried beans into cooked beans is minimal; it’s just the waiting time that takes up this time frame!

And, you can’t beat the price. Seriously, a good cup or two of dried beans from the Bulk Barn cost me under $2.00!

Just to put it into price comparison:

  • 1 cup of dried beans turns into 3 cups of cooked beans –> approx. $1 (steep end) for that 1 cup of dried beans
  • 1 can of beans = approx. 1.5 cups –> price can be anywhere from $1-2 depending on whether you buy generic/brand/organic/etc.
  • Dried beans = approx. $0.33/cup vs. canned beans = $1.33/cup – so about $1 difference per cup!

That just shows you how you can save money by cooking your own beans. I know it’s not a huge price difference, but if you’re in a money crunch, dried beans can come in handy for the pocketbook

Now let’s get to some bean focused recipes!

Recipe #1: Black Bean Nachos


Not appealing? Jump to recipe #2.

There is no specific way to make good nachos – they just kinda happen! The way I like my nachos may not be the way you like your nachos, so for now, I’m going to go over what works for me.

My nacho add-ons:

  • corn
  • peppers (red or green or yellow)
  • sweet onion
  • jalapeno (sometimes deseeded, but I like the heat!)
  • Daiya cheese (omit until before baking – sprinkle on last)
  • black beans (my pre-soaked and boiled beans, but sub in canned if you like)

First, I combine all these chopped ingredients in a bowl, then add my mix-ins:

  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • lime juice
  • salt and pepper

There are no proper measurements – it’s all about taste! Once you get the mixture the way you want (give or take a few ingredients), spread your nacho chips out on a baking tray, add your mixture on top the of nachos (along with the Daiya cheese now) and back in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350F.

Once they’re done baking, dip in your sauces of choice. Mine are:

  • salsa
  • homemade “guacamole”

Homemade “guacamole”
There really is no secret to make guacamole. In fact, I can hardly call my guacamole, guacamole! I basically take 2 or 3 ripe avocados, mash them up in a bowl with a fork, add some lime juice and salt and pepper. If you have fresh cilantro on hand, it’s also a nice touch to chop in, but really, avocados are so good on their own (apparently an aphrodisiac?!), that they don’t need much to taste amazing!

Next, enjoy nachos with some wine and husband. If you don’t have either, don’t worry, you’re not really missing out 😛 I kid!


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Recipe #2: Refried Beans


Doesn’t appeal to you? Jump to recipe #3.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups soaked and cooked pinto beans (or 2 cans)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup water (+ more depending on thickness)
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder (I used hot)
  • 1/2 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 cooking onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
1. Take your soaked and cooked beans (or canned) and place in a food processor along with 1/2 cup of water. Combined until beans are processed and smooth.
2. Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium-high heat, place oil in plan and add garlic and onion. Fry for a few minutes.
3. Next, add processed beans along with spices + brown sugar and more water as needed. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes.
4. Add in corn. Once everything is heated through, transfer to a plate. Garnish with scallions and chopped cilantro.


Serve next to rice or make into a Mexican dish! Either way, they were fab…but you know what they say about beans!!

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Recipe #3: Fake Out Mac and ‘Cheese’


Recipe from here.

You’re probably wondering how a mac and cheese made it into the beans post…well I have news for you!

What I liked about this recipe:

  • Unlike ‘regular’ mac and cheese (I put regular in quotations because I really can’t justify how this could ever be good for anyone), this one actually packs nutritional value to it…
  • It contains sweet potatoes and beans – white kidney beans to be exact!
  • Has same saucy feel to it and same tang as cheese would give to the dish.
  • It taste delicious with vegan cheese melted on top and red chili flakes added.
  • It provides enough to have for leftovers.

To be quite honest, I can’t really compare this to other vegan mac ‘n’ cheeses because this is actually the first one I’ve ever attempted. Having said that, I’m glad it was the first one to try because it definitely has encouraged me to try more. Not only did I like it, but the husband enjoyed it too! Would I make it again? Yes, most likely, just because of how good the ingredients are (take a look for yourself by clicking on the link above), but I most definitely have another one in mind for next time!

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I also soaked and simmered some chickpeas this past week and have plans to use them – this dish came at the perfect time!

Sorry that I didn’t post last week, but now, I can officially say I am chem free! That, along with stats, assignments, labs and questions due put me a little off schedule, to say the least. I only have one more week to make it through before going on reading week (which I’m pretty sad to say that I’m not doing anything for it), and then I will have a lot more free time!

Wishing everyone a great weekend and good week ahead!


once a week vegan – week 1

Unfamiliar with what this challenge is all about?! Find out more here or here!

Ok, so here’s the deal: I’ve left three recipes below, where you can either choose one to prepare this week (or all three ;)) or if none appeal to you, then I encourage you to find one that speaks to you! [If you’re seeking your own recipe to try, I’ve left some good resources to make it easier!]

If you’re choosing to prepare one of the recipes I’ve left below, I left three super easy ones, where you most likely have 75% of the ingredients anyways (veggies, potatoes, garlic, oils).

One thing: don’t discount a recipe because it has something in it that you don’t particularly like. I suggest you make a swap for something more enjoyable to eat (vegan-friendly, of course)!

And for those unsure about making good/healthy swaps (or even what to swap), you could always email me. In the near future, I plan to create a new tab under the once a week vegan page which goes into more details about the types of vegan foods we’ll be working with and what alternatives are available (suitable to taste!).

One more thing: I’ve included one noodle dish and 2 soups – if you feel like soup is not a substantial meal to prepare for dinner, then try it for lunch or pair it with something else (say, a vegan recipe you found?!) to help make it more filling.

Your vegan protein swap-in’s this week are:

  • extra-firm tofu (organic)
  • green and/or yellow split peas
  • red lentils

Are you ready?

Like, really ready?

Start choosing your meal!

Recipe #1: Pan-Fried Tofu, Veggies and Rice Noodles
Original recipe from here.

This recipe doesn’t appeal to you? Jump to recipe #2!!

Note: If you’re in a hurry to make a meal, this one needs 30 minutes for tofu to marinate, so prepare in advanced (ie: place tofu in marinate before work and let it absorb the flavour all day long!)



Serves: 2.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 package of extra-firm tofu (buy organic – for one organic package, I pay $2.29, and that feeds 2 people…not expensive)
  • 1 head of kale (I buy organic – $2.29)
  • Any other veggies you like you – I normally add the following chopped ones, as well: 1/2 an onion, 2 stalks of celery, 2 carrots, 1 small bok choy, 1 container of baby portabello mushrooms
  • 1 package of rice noodles (so many varieties, so pick one and try it – last one I used was black rice noodles!)

Tofu Marinade

(ie: this is what you’re going to put your tofu in and let it absorb the flavour for about 30 minutes before actually cooking)

Suggestion: Prepare this and the dipping sauce at the same time as they both have pretty similar ingredients!

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari (I use tamari – $1.00 off coupon on this website for San-J brand)
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp of oil (I use canola, but any oil should work)
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (found in ethnic section of grocery store usually – around $3)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Sriracha or Hot Chili Sauce (a huge bottle lasts a long time and adds some nice heat, so if you like a little spice add more than 1/4 tsp!)

Dipping Sauce

(for the tofu once meal is prepared, or if you’re like me, you’ll just pour it on your whole plate!)

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp Sriracha (or more, like I do!)

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How to press tofu (the easy way):
If you’re new to tofu, I’m going to make this super easy for you to press it – I never take more than 2 minutes pressing my tofu and it always turns out amazing.

Tofu is like a sponge and it comes vacuumed in water. So when you first open the package, try and squeeze as much of the water out as you can (without breaking it), but it’s firm so give it a little press!

NEXT, take a few good sheets of paper towel (or a regular towel if you’re fine with getting one dirty) and wrap the tofu in it. Now that the tofu is wrapped, press down on it on a flat surface – give it a few good presses! The towel/paper towel should start to get damp as it absorbs the water that was in the tofu.

Voila, tofu is now pressed!
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Now cut up your veggies!

Directions:

  1. Prepare the tofu marinade in a large bowl (so that when tofu pieces is placed in it, there’s room for them all to get covered by the marinade). Whisk it all together.
  2. In small bowl, prepare the dipping sauce (ie: pouring sauce in my case) – same thing, whisk it together.
  3. Cut the tofu into triangles/cubes/circles/whatever! (I’ll normally do 8 large ones, or 16 small ones) and place in marinade. Put into the fridge and make sure to flip tofu to coat the other side about 10-15 minutes later. OR, if tofu was marinating on one side all day, same thing, give it a flip and let other side absorb for 10-15 minutes. Give tofu a good 30 minutes in marinade.
  4. Grab a medium-sized pot (for boiling rice noodles) and a large frying pan (for cooking tofu). Place both on stove.
  5. Boil water for noodles, check label to see how long they should cook for and cook them! Once done cooking, strain and run cold water over them to stop further cooking. Set aside until we’re reading to reheat them!
  6. Meanwhile, in frying pan, over medium to medium-high heat, add a little oil (canola is what I use), then place tofu pieces in it, let cook for 5-10 minutes per side. Along with the oil I add the tofu marinade to frying pan (add half the marinade to frying pan when tofu first put in, then once I flip the tofu, I add the other half of the marinade) – this makes them nice and crispy.
  7. Once tofu is done cooking, let them ‘rest’ on a plate while you fry up your veggies.
  8. To the same frying pan (heat and all) add all your veggies and let them cook for desired amount of time (my frying pan is usually overflowing with kale-which shrinks, like spinach as it cooks-plus, all the other goodies, so it takes about 10 mins).
  9. Once veggies are almost done cooking, add those cooled noodles to the veggies in the frying pan to get them reheated.
  10. Start plating the veggie/noodle combo and then I like to pour the dipping sauce over it, then add my tofu. Plus, use a little more Sriracha to kick it up more!

There you have it – meal #1! If this is the one you’re planning on preparing, please leave a comment or email letting me know your thoughts on it.

Personally, it’s one of mine and my hubby’s faves. We eat it practically every week…no joke!

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Recipe #2: Vegan Split Pea Soup
Found in the 30 Day Vegan Challenge by: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

If this doesn’t appeal to you, then go to recipe #3!

Note: Allow a good hour before ready to eat because the peas need to simmer and soften for about that length of time – go get your workout in while this cooks! 😉

Note: This soup is super easy and so delicious. It’s great if you want something easy for leftovers – sometimes the sole purpose of why I make it!

If you feel like it won’t be enough food for the meal, pair with a salad or anything non-animal based. But I’ll tell you this, it’s pretty misleading – this can fill you up pretty good!



source

Serves: 4 to 6.

Ingredients

Note: it may seem like a lot of spices going into it, but it builds the flavour so well! All I did before I made this for the first time, was go to the Bulk Barn to get them, which didn’t cost me much at all!

  • 2 cups green split peas (sometimes I do 1 cup of green split peas and 1 cup of yellow split peas – use what you can find in the store or if you have one over the other in your pantry)
  • 6 – 7 cups of water or vegetable stock (I prefer using veggie stock as it adds more flavour – try and get reduced sodium if using veggie stock – usually only need one box of it for the soup, if more is needed and you don’t have any, just use water)
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 2 yellow potatoes (I’ve used yukon gold and russet before), diced
  • 2 -3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke, optional –> but highly recommended – this reeeeeally makes the soup and I don’t stop at 1/2 tsp; I usually add a few TABLEspoons! (I found mine at my local health food store – here’s a link to get an idea of what it actually is + pic below of the one I use)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste




Directions:

  1. Rinse split peas, checking for any impurities (ie: just rinse in a strainer), such as stones/residue. Place all ingredients except salt and pepper in a large pot, and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook under peas are cooked – about 1 hour or longer
  2. Check and stir often to make sure water hasn’t completely evaporated (this has never been a problem for me – just make sure all the ingredients are covered in liquid before you start cooking and it should be fine!)

Soup should be thick and creamy, with split peas broken down and mushy after cooking for an hour. BUT, if you want creamier soup you could use an immersion blender to really blend it.

I’ve done both and I like it better without using the immersion blender. I like the chunks of potatoes, onions, carrots and celery, along with the mushy peas. Your preference though 🙂

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Recipe #3: Curried Red Lentil Soup
From Vegan Family Meals by Ann Gentry


Serves: 8 to 10 (makes about 10 cups)

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 cups red lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped (I don’t peel mine)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fine sea salt (any salt should do)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lemon, halved

Directions:

  1. Combine the water and lentils in a heavy pot. Bring to a simmer over high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the top. Decrease the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lentils begin to soften – about 5 mins.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, olive oil and the 2 tsp salt and cook – stir occasionally – until most of the lentils are falling apart – about 20 mins.
  3. Stir in cilantro, curry powder and cumin. Cover and cook until vegetables are very tender and soup thickens slightly – about 20 mins.
  4. Ladle soup (unless you’re me and still ladle-less!!) into bowls. Squeeze a few generous drops of lemon juice into each bowl of soup and serve.

The soup will keep for 2 days (mine actually kept longer – but if you don’t wanna chance it and have leftovers, just freeze it!), covered and refrigerated, or 1 month frozen.

To be honest, this one isn’t as good as the split pea but I found I really liked how the flavours developed in this after a few days. It also depends, too, if you like curry flavour (not that it’s overkill here) or a more savory smoky flavour – that’s if you were choosing between the 2 soups.

But, like I said, I’m not going to put recipes on here that I don’t like myself – that’s just cruel!

So, there you have it – your first 3 vegan recipes ready to go!

Remember to have fun while preparing them and leave any comments or questions you may have!

Happy week one of being a once a week vegan!