32. Coconut-Mango Muffins

Tropical and fruity spiced muffins!

mango muffin2

Well, these were just a joy to make. I love that I can whip up some baked goods in a half hour. Sometimes it’s the simplest recipes that taste the best.

What’s special about these muffins is that not only are they fruity and sweet, but they’re also spiked with a little spice. The ground clove and allspice work brilliantly with the toasted coconut and dried mango. I wouldn’t have thought to put those flavors together, but hey, I’m not a cookbook chef, am I??

I made these especially for my night class students, all of whom loved them! They all know I’m vegan and are super interested in what I can make that tastes good. Everything I make tastes good!!

mango muffin

giant chunks of mango

The recipe says that it will make 9 muffins, but I made 12 easily. Wonderfully crunchy on top and soft on the inside; that’s what makes the perfect little breakfast muffin.

Coconut-Mango Muffins

veggie oil spray
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 cup rice milk or other unsweetened milk
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond or coconut extract
3/4 cup chopped dried mango

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line 9 (or 12) cups of a muffin tin with papers. Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Toast for 3-5 minutes, until lightly browned. Let the pan cool on a rack and increase the oven temp to 375.

2. In a large bowl, mix together both flours, the sugar, coconut, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice, and cloves.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the milk, vinegar, canola oil, vanilla, and almond extract. Stir quickly into the dry mixture, and when almost combined, fold in the mangoes. Scoop into the prepared muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with no wet batter clinging to it. Let cool on racks. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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31. Fluffy Banana-Bran Pancakes

Breakfast for dinner, people.

Breakfast. For. Dinner.

banana pancake2

brinner is where it’s at

I have to admit this right up front: I’m spoiled when it comes to pancakes. I found the world’s perfect pillowy pancake recipe, and I have yet to make any other kind until tonight. Honestly, they really cannot be beat, but the Big Vegan ones came amazingly close.

They are fluffy and moist and have a banana bread-like texture. I’m actually wondering what’s the big difference between banana bread and these, but I guess it’s the liquid ratio. These pancakes use 2 cups of milk to make the batter.

There’s truly nothing like your own homemade pancakes; that scary stuff outta the box needs to just go away. Let’s put Bisquick out of business. This is way too easy.

Fluffy Banana-Bran Pancakes

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat bran
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 ripe, medium banana
2 cups vanilla almond milk (or unsweetened almond milk, then add 1 tsp vanilla)
2 tsp egg replacer
2 tbsp canola oil
vegetable oil spray
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or berries (optional)
maple syrup, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 200, so you can keep the cakes warm as you finish cooking the rest. In a large bowl, mix together both flours, the bran, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, mash the banana. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and egg replacer until frothy, then whisk in the canola oil. Add the mashed banana to the milk mixture and whisk to combine. With a spoon, quickly stir the liquids into the dry mixture, leaving some small lumps. (At this point, you can let the batter sit for about 10 minutes to let the baking soda cause the batter to rise, making your pancakes fluffy.)

2. Heat a large nonstick frying pan or griddle until hot. Grease the pan with the veggie oil spray and measure 1/4 cup of batter for each cake. Drop the batter onto the pan and quickly sprinkle 1 tbsp of nuts evenly over each cake; pat with a large spatula to sink them in. Lower the heat to medium and cook each side about 1 minute, until lightly browned. Place each pancake on an oven-safe plate or baking sheet and keep in the oven until all are done. Serve with maple syrup.

30. Trail Mix Bars

These would have been so handy yesterday.

trail mix bar

portable fun!

I just bought a new bike, and I spent all yesterday in the lovely 75 degree weather testing it out, and goodness these would have been nice to carry around. I love granola bars for their ease and convenience, but I don’t always love what’s inside. White sugars, preservatives, extra ingredients that I can’t control. So why not make my own?

trail mix bar3

scrumptious!

These bars were just about the easiest thing I’ve ever made, and they look complicated! If you’ve got some agave and pre-bought trail mix you can make these in 5 minutes, which is just what I did.

The trail mix I bought has everything from a variety of nuts and seeds to raisins, dates, and carob chips. You could even add some coconut flakes, too! The genius behind this recipe is grinding up whole oats to make a better bonding agent so these don’t fall apart. Love it!

trail mix bar2

yummy trail mix in every bite

Bring these on your next bike ride or hike and you won’t be hungry, I promise.

Trail Mix Bars

1 tbsp Earth Balance margarine, plus extra for the pan
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup brown rice syrup or real maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup rolled oats, ground
3 1/2 cups prepared trail mix

1. Liberally grease an 8-inch square cake pan with the margarine. In a 4-quart pot, mix together the agave and rice syrups, 1 tbsp margarine, and the vanilla. Bring to a boil over high heat, then monitor the heat as you stir the boiling mixture for 5 minutes; be careful not to let it boil over. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the ground oats and trail mix. Stir until coated, then scrape the mixture into the prepared pan. Flatten as well as you can with a greased spoon, then place wax paper on the top and press firmly into the pan. Refrigerate until firm. (About 30 minutes.)

2. Bring to room temperature to slice. Store in fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

29. Mac and “Cheese”

I promise, this did not come out of a box.

mac and cheese2

creamy cheesy goodness

Remember that orange stuff we used to call cheese before we knew what real cheese tasted like and then gave up for ethical or health-related justifications? Yeah, we all had it. And dang if it didn’t taste good. Here’s another one of those recipes that harkens us to our childhood years and brings a little comfort.

We all have those fond memories of a 5-minute dinner coming out of a box, set on the table in a bowl next to salad from a bag and red jell-o for dessert. Mine even used to have sliced up hot dogs mixed in if we were good that day. Suffice it to say that was one of my favorite childhood dinners.

But now I want something a little more grown up.

mac and cheese3

topped with bread crumbs and baked

This recipe certainly delivers on the nostalgia, but dials it up a notch. When I read the description saying it would remind me of the neon-orange mac and cheese, I was a little skeptical. Mostly because my pantry is all out of Yellow No. 5.

And then when I read I’d be steaming carrots and onions I was even more skeptical. Who makes mac and cheese with carrots?? Luckily you don’t taste them at all. After steaming them, they get blended with some soft tofu and this magical flour and almond milk mixture which thickens on the stove. Anytime I make a sauce like that I am mystified. It starts out a liquid and turns to a thick creamy sauce. Once you add a little nutritional yeast and some vinegar, bang! The color and taste of cheese sauce has been perfected.

This recipe gets a little grown-up touch by topping the macaroni and cheese with bread crumbs and then baking for about 20 minutes. It gives it a nice crunch to go along with the saucy pasta mixture. If you prefer the ideal re-creation of the box stuff, skip this step. It will taste just like you remember.

mac and cheese

Buy the book for this recipe: Big Vegan

28. Crunchy Protein Salad

It’s getting warmer, and we all know what that means. Picnic weather!!

protein salad

packable protein power

Growing up, picnics were my favorite. It combined my two great loves: eating and nature. I still love eating outside, and before I was vegan the normal picnic fare always included brie, aged apple cheddars, mozzarellas, fruits, olives, stuffed grape leaves, deli meats, and cream cheeses on any assortment of pitas or crackers. Notice a trend?? Cheese, people.

Now, if pressed, I will tell you the thing I miss most is brie, and picnic season is coming and I’m gonna need a replacement. I’ve read some interesting brie recipes for vegans that I might try out, but this crunchy protein salad will always be coming with me from now on! It’s a perfect picnic food because it’s good hot or cold, travels well, and is easily shareable.

This dish is born out of the 80’s potluck dinner fad, and especially for vegetarians it was filled with cottage cheese, mayonnaise, and cheddar cheese chunks. Not exactly suitable for our vegan world, so this version is perfect for us! It uses Veganaise, a commercial vegan mayo product that I can never seem to get rid of. I guess I just don’t ever think about using it so I always have some around.

protein salad2Make some for your next picnic gathering and I guarantee people will be requesting it every time you dine al fresco.

Crunchy Protein Salad

1/2 cup wheat berries, rinsed
1 1/2 cups shelled edamame, thawed if frozen
4 oz firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 large scallions/green onions
1 rib celery, chopped
1 small carrot, grated
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup Vegan mayonnaise
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp fresh dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

1. In a small saucepan, combine the wheat berries and 3 cups water. Over high heat, bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the berries start to burst and are tender, about 1 hour. Drain and let them cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine the wheat berries, edamame, tofu, cucumber, bell pepper, scallions, celery, and carrot.

3. In a small bowl, combine the parsley, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, dill, salt and pepper, and pour over the edamame mixture. Toss to coat (I used my hands), and serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

27. Maltagliati with Swiss Chard and Sage

Say that five times fast.

maltagliati

translation: badly cut pasta

Learned something new today! Maltagliati is a fun word meaning badly cut, referring to the irregular shapes of left over fresh pasta. Hey, it’s gotta go somewhere! We don’t just throw out good pasta, people.

Of course I faked mine. I have yet to make any fresh pasta, but I will eventually because the book has a recipe for it. These irregular shapes come courtesy of broken up lasagna pieces. And now that I have a bunch of leftover lasagna I will be making this more often!

The fresh taste comes mainly from the sauteed sage, which in my opinion is brilliant. It tasted so straight-out-of-the-garden and amazing, I don’t know why I haven’t thought to saute sage before. The flavors just explode. Besides a little garlic, that’s all there is to it! If you’ve got a garden in your backyard full of chard and a giant sage bush, you’ll never get tired of making this dish.

maltagliati2

You might be wondering what that little bit of crumbliness is on top there. That is actually Parma, a vegan parmesan cheese made from nuts and nutritional yeast. It tastes just like parmesan cheese, I’m telling you! Genius! Pick some up and you won’t be upset you did.

Maltagliati with Swiss Chard and Sage

6 oz dried lasagna noodles, broken into rough pieces
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh sage
4 cups chopped stemmed Swiss Chard
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 garlic cloves, minced
Parma for the finished dish, optional

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the noodles and stir well. Cook according to package directions, until the noodles are al dente. Drain them, and if holding for more than a couple minutes, toss in some oil to prevent sticking, but you can time this pretty well.

2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sage and saute for 1 minute. Add the chard, tomatoes, and garlic and saute until the greens have softened to taste.

3. Toss the pasta in the pan with the greens and serve topped with the Parma.

26. Korean Tacos

Easily the best-tasting taco I’ve ever made.

korean taco

sweet and spicy tacos

A blend of Korean and Mexican foods feels right at home in say, Los Angeles, but in Indiana we don’t see this too often. The melding of sweet and sour flavors with the tanginess of kim chee was so new to me. I’ve actually never had kim chee before (it’s not pictured), but I liked it! I bought the “not super crazy hot” kind. That kind scares me.

I loved using the rest of my mock beef for this recipe, and I wish I had a little more! I could have eaten so many of these. The marinade combines sesame oil, molasses, soy sauce and lemon juice for a unique sweet and salty taste. It made the seitan taste wonderful. Everyone at dinner was shocked at how much they loved these tacos.

korean taco2

ditch that sriracha for some kim chee!

Korean Tacos

2 scallions/green onions
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp peeled minced ginger
1 tbsp white sesame seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp molasses
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
8 oz (or more) seitan
vegetable oil spray
8 pre-fried taco shells
1 cup kim chee
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the scallions, lemon juice, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, sesame seeds, garlic, molasses, pepper, and cayenne. Thinly slice the seitan and chop it into strips, then into smaller pieces, about 1/2 inch long. Add them to the marinade in the bowl and toss to coat. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spread the seitan and marinade on an oiled baking sheet. Bake until crisped, about 15 minutes, stirring midway.

3. Wrap the taco shells in a stack in foil and heat them at the same time. Serve a heaping 1/4 cup seitan in each taco shell, along with the kim chee on top, and lemon slices alongside.

NOTE: This can also be cooked on the stove top. Add 1 tsp canola oil to a hot large frying pan or wok. Add the seitan and the marinade, cooking until the seitan is toasted and browned.

25. Asparagus Pasta

What a wonderful way to celebrate Easter and springtime! Springy colors and springy veggies!

asparagus pasta2

so fresh and colorful!

This pasta dish is a wonderful combination of springtime veggies: carrots, chervil, shallots and of course asparagus! Asparagus time is upon us and I love trying dishes that use it. I love it roasted, sauteed, blanched, you name it. It’s all over the grocery stores and it’s cheap and good for us!

Chervil is a delicate herb that first appears in springtime, but dies out quickly at any hint of summer heat. It is a relative of parsley, but contains mellow flavors of  liquorice or aniseed. If you don’t have any at your disposal, parsley stands in nicely.

The original dish calls for spaghetti, but I love using bowtie pasta for lunches. Spaghetti seems more like a dinner pasta; more formal somehow.

The unique thing, and what brings the biggest flavor profile, is a green olive paste. You can buy it already made at the store, but you can also grind up good quality olives in a food processor at home. It brought a nice salty texture to the delicate sauce of the dish. For Easter lunch I doubled the amount of pasta and asparagus, so the green olive sauce didn’t really show up too well, but it tasted wonderful.

asparagus pasta

If you can get your hands on some whole wheat bowtie pasta, go right ahead. Sadly, my grocery store was out.

Asparagus Pasta in Green Olive-Chervil Sauce

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large lemon, zested
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup green olive paste
8 oz whole wheat spaghetti or bowtie pasta
1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed and sliced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 cup fresh chervil or parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
fresh cracked pepper

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the shallot and garlic and saute until they are softened. Add the lemon zest and cook for a few seconds, stirring. Add the wine and raise the heat to high to reduce the sauce to a syrupy consistency. Add the olive paste and turn off the heat.

2. Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the package directions. Add the asparagus and carrots for the last 4 minutes. Drain well but do not rinse; the starch will thicken the sauce a tiny bit.

3. Dump the hot pasta into the sauce, add the chervil and salt, season with pepper, and toss well. Serve hot.

24. Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

our-growing-edge-badge Check out Bunny Eats Design and their Our Growing Edge Monthly Blogging Event, where they show off people trying new and exciting things! Like me and parsnips.

 

 

 

 

I had the most colorful Easter lunch!

roasted parsnips

Shameful admission alert: I had never had a parsnip until Sunday. I have been missing out! I had no idea they were so sweet tasting! It was almost like eating a sweet potato. I was so happy to discover yet another vegetable that I love.

I’ve always like roasting root vegetables. I think it brings out their very best flavors without making them mushy. This dish was so light and fresh tasting, and I love fresh thyme on anything! I can never get enough.

roasted parsnip2

look at all that roasted glory

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots with Thyme

12 oz parsnips
12 oz carrots, peeled
6 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tbsp fresh thyme
3 large bay leaves, halved
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the parsnips and carrots in half lengthwise if they are thick, then cut them into 1/2 inch slices. Put them in a large, heavy roasting pan with the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat all the vegetables well.

2. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Take the pan out, uncover it and turn the vegetables with a metal spatula. Cover again and roast for 20 minutes more. Uncover, stir, and continue to roast until the vegetables are browned, about 10 minutes. Toss them with the parsley in the pan, then transfer to a serving bowl. Serve warm.

23. Chinese “Beef” and Broccoli

I bet this dish would satisfy even the most regular meat eater.

chinese beef

Beef and broccoli is a classic Chinese stir-fry, usually with a brown sticky sauce over rice. This veganized version has a really flavorful sauce made with hoisin and rice wine. Using the mock beef that I made earlier this week, this was easy to put together. I love that the broccoli was still crunchy and the onions were almost caramelized. Love those flavors together.

chinese beef 2

so colorful!

Chinese “Beef” and Broccoli

1 cup brown rice
8 oz Mock Beef
1/2 cup veggie stock
1/4 cup shao xing rice wine
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp Sriracha sauce (optional)
2 tsp canola oil
1 1/2 cups julienned onions
1 medium carrot, julienned
1 1/2 cups broccoli spears
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped

1. Cook rice according to the package directions. After cooking, let the rice stand to steam, keep hot for the final dish.

2. Squeeze out the excess marinade from the mock beef, then slice it into 1/4 inch strips.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the stock, rice wine, hoisin, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, sesame oil, and Sriracha (if using) and reserve.

4. Put a wok or cast-iron frying pan over high heat until it is very hot. Add the canola oil and swirl to coat. Toss in the mock beef and stir, scraping the pan, until it is well browned. Add the onions and carrot and stir for about 3 minutes. Add the broccoli, garlic and ginger and stir for 2 minutes, just until the broccoli is bright green. Stir the sauce mixture and pour it into the center of the pan. Stir and toss the vegetables to coat with the sauce, cooking until the sauce is glossy. Serve over rice, topped with the peanuts.