I want you to know that I'm working on a post about PROTEIN, which seems to be a big discussion topic whenever someone hears the word vegan. I want it to be as informative as possible, so I'm doing my homework and researching this one as best I can (in the few free minutes I have here or there). I am a bit passionate about the topic of protein, and don't want the post to sound judgemental and/or bitchy. So give me a day or two to do my work and then I'll have some good info for you.
In the meantime, I've got some recipes to post for you. Give them a try and let me know your opinion. Actually, if you've tried any of my recipes (or other good vegan recipes) let me know. I'm curious what kinds of things you like/dislike. I'll do my best to write for my audience if there are things that work better for you. Enjoy these!
HOMEMADE VEGGIE PITA PIZZA
Whole-Wheat Pitas (whole, not cut in half) or your favorite pizza crust
Pizza sauce or your favorite marinara
(we used spinach, marinated artichoke hearts, olives, roasted red peppers, tomato slices, mushrooms and caramelized onions)
Season with fresh basil or Italian seasonings
Bake directly on oven rack at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. Time will vary depending on your oven and type of pitas, so keep an eye on them. If you want to grill them, just brush the bottoms of the pitas really well with olive oil so they don't stick to the grill. Keep an eye out that these don't burn! But they turn out really tasty on the grill.
Personally, I don't miss the cheese. And I don't really care for "fake" cheese. But Eli mentioned it might be better if it had some cheese on top. : )
We were out of pitas last night, so we used a Boboli crust from the store. It worked well, but it was not vegan. This brand is made with cheese in the crust. Still, it's far better for you than ordering out. And the kids love to make the pizza! It was a fun family night meal to make together and eat during our movie night.
BANANA ICE CREAM
This one is difficult. Pay close attention.
You will need:
Bananas and a blender
Slice your bananas and put them in a ziplock. Then freeze them. When they are frozen, puree them in the blender. Be sure to work them in the blender for about 3-5 minutes (depending on your machine) to make them really creamy. Put the puree back in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until set. It actually turns out really creamy and totally satisfies my ice cream craving.
Just a note: you need a good blender to do this. My good blender died one night when it overdosed on margaritas. (A moment of silence, please, for there is no greater gift a blender can give.) Anyway, my old blender doesn't handle the frozen bananas as well, so I add in a little almond milk or coconut milk just to get it rolling. Feel free to add in a little sugar or honey or maple syrup and/or vanilla if you want to sweeten it a bit more. Shave on some good, dark chocolate when you serve it. It's really good. My kids and daycare kids love this one (well, not the one that's allergic to bananas, but the others do). I plan on making banana pops this summer!
BAKED POTATO TOPPERS
Our family loves a baked potato bar. But how do we make it vegan? Everyone knows the best things on a potato are butter, sour cream and cheese. But these are not so vegan. I have some toppers that are good, vegan options if you are craving a tator for supper.
First, there are many ways to bake a potato. Some people microwave them, some wrap them in foil. My favorite is to clean it, rub it with olive oil and salt it well with a coarse sea salt. Then bake it directly on the oven rack (or a cookie sheet) at 400 degrees for 40-60 minutes (depending on size of tator). The skin gets really good and crisp and it's like eating steak fries. The inside is soft and creamy. Good stuff, Maynard.
But no matter how you bake it, there are a million ways to top it. I like to use Earth Balance vegan butter (sticks or spread) to start. Then top away! Here are 10 ideas each for white tators and sweet tators/yams. I'm sure there are a million more topping ideas, so let me know if you've got a good one!
WHITE BAKED TATOR TOPPERS
1. Salsa, jalapenos, and then slices of avocado.
2. Baked beans (vegan, of course)
3. Saucy black beans or black bean soup, sprinkled with green onions or jalapenos on top
4. Your favorite curry sauce
5. Broccoli sauteed in a little olive oil, with lots of crushed red pepper
6. Fresh/frozen peas sauteed with fresh basil and olive oil (I sooooo love me some peas and potatoes!)
7. Earth Balance butter and chives
8. Taco toppers: beans (black or refried), tomato, lettuce, taco sauce (the world's greatest condiment)
9. Chili (vegan)
10. Grilled veggies and fresh herbs
SWEET TATOR TOPPERS
1. Earth Balance butter and brown sugar
2. Maple syrup
3. Honey and cayenne (some vegans don't eat honey, but I do)
4. Maple glazed pecans (a little EB butter and maple in a small pan, toss pecans in it and cook slowly to toast the nuts, or toss them in maple and butter and then bake them on a low setting, stirring often for about 45 minutes)
5. Cinnamon and sugar (some vegans don't eat sugar, but I do)
6. Orange EB butter (butter blended with orange juice until smooth, about 2:1 butter to juice, in food processor for a while--it looks like it won't come together, but you'll be able to see it as it gets creamy)
7. Honey EB butter (same process)
8. Maple EB butter (same process)
9. Jalapeno EB butter (same process)
10. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves (pumpkin pie seasoning works in a pinch) with EB butter
(My real computer is down, so I'm posting on a borrowed laptop. Sorry I don't have pics to add today, but I'll try to add them later.)