Tag Archives: protein

BBQ Mozzarella Black Bean Burger and Oven-Fried Potato Chips

27 Jun

Vegan junk food lives.

Vegan junk food lives.

As is the case with many recipes, this one was born out of a need to clean my refrigerator. I had some barbecue sauce leftover after making a dish of tofubacue, and an almost-empty bag of Daiya mozzarella shreds that didn’t get used up when I last made Alfredo sauce. What was I to do? Squeeze them into a burger, of course.

The result is a sweet, tangy burger (no cow required) that pairs nicely with a toasted bun or bread and a topping of  baby spinach or kale. Added plant-based bonus: black beans are a low-sodium, low-fat source of protein, and they contain bunches of essential minerals, including iron. Get wise to some more rad black bean benefits here.

Plus you can also make a bunch of these and freeze them (uncooked) for postponed munching (like say perhaps at a July 4 shindig, my fellow Americans).

BBQ Mozzarella Black Bean Burger
Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup vegan mozzarella cheese shreds (I use Daiya), plus a wee bit  more for sprinkling
  • Rolled oats, or breadcrumbs, as needed (probably 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup)
  • 1/4 small to medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 4 drops Liquid Smoke
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • A dash of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 4 tsps dried cilantro (or 1/4 cup fresh, minced)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegan BBQ Mozzarella Black Bean Burger Patty

An uncooked patty awaits its fate.

Ready? Set? Patty!

  1. Combine your liquid smoke, herbs, spices, cheese shreds, onions and black beans in a large mixing bowl, and smush the lot together until they’re combined, but the beans aren’t completely broken down.
  2. Add breadcrumbs to the mixture until it’s firm enough (and not too sticky) to shape into three patties.

To cook these little guys, you have two options. You can either go low-oil and bake them, or add a little bit more oil to the equation and fry them. Either way, your last step is to sprinkle a bit more cheese on top for the last couple minutes of cooking. I find they get much crisper when you fry them, but they taste great no matter the method.

Bake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the patties on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper (foil will  aid crispiness more so than paper).
  3. Spray the patties lightly with cooking spray (I use olive oil), and bake for 7 to 10 minutes on each side (be sure to spray them again when you flip), until they’re slightly crunchy on the inside and warmed through.

Fry

  1. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add the patties to the pan and fry them over medium-high heat until their bottoms are browned and crispy (should take about five minutes).
  3. Flip the patties and cook them for another three to five minutes until they’re crunchy on either side and warmed through.

And what good is a burger without a side of chips or fries? If you muttered “worthless” to your computer monitor, you’d be correct.

Not-Yet-Oven-Fried Potato Chips

Not-Yet-Oven-Fried Potato Chips

Oven-Fried Potato Chips
Serves 1-2

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 medium sized potatos
  • Oil spray
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How to Chip

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a mandolin, food processor, or your own skilled hand, slice your potato into thin chips (pick a thickness you like. I prefer mine to be about 1/16 of a inch thick. Note that skinnier chips will cook faster, so keep an eye on them).
  3. Place the chips on a baking sheet, spray them lightly with oil, and bake for about 10 minutes on each side, turning half-way through (yes, this part is a beyotch). Keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not burning.
  4. Transfer the cooked chips to a paper-towel covered plate to cool off for a moment or two before you start chomping away.

Bon appetit!

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The fastest chili mac casserole in the west, plus dairy-free chocolate milk

22 Jun

Delicious. No cows required.

Delicious. No cows required.

If you’re responsible for feeding one or more finicky children (or child-like adults), listen up, because these recipes are made for you.

My chili mac casserole and chocolate milk are omnivore requested, tested and approved, and possibly my most kid-friendly recipes to date. Plus, they both have the added benefit of being stupid easy to throw together, whilst harboring zero animal products or gluten. And, oh yeah, they taste fantastic. Amazing, I know. (Full disclosure time: I grabbed the gluten-free pasta off the store shelf on accident. But, you know what, it turned out yummy. So, there you go).

But before I launch into the recipes, allow me to drop some knowledge about one of the star ingredients in both.

Mmm...HFCS!When people find out someone in their vicinity no longer eats animal products, one of the most common concerns they feel the right need to voice is, “but where oh where do you get your calcium?!” (Because it makes complete sense to pipe up with nutrition advice when a fellow human is noshing salads and tofu, but when they watch you scarf down McGarbage on your way to a triple by-pass at 30, your diet is totally none of their business…) “Never fear,” I tell these folks, “well-rounded plant-based diets contain plenty of calcium. And one of my favorite sources is almond milk.”

It’s creamy, can be used exactly like you’d use cow’s milk in any recipe, and is devoid of lactose (an enemy of many tummies), growth hormones, cholesterol, and sneakily hidden sweeteners. Plus, unlike cow’s milk, almond milk is a rich source of magnesium and vitamin E, as well as selenium, and manganese. And calcium-fortified, unsweetened almond milk has 50 percent more calcium per serving than regular cow’s milk — yet only 30 calories per serving, compared to 90 calories in skim cow’s milk and 150 calories in fat cow’s milk.

Now, some of you might be wondering why I didn’t just drop a blob of Hershey’s chocolate syrup into my milk and call it a day. Because I think high fructose corn syrup is the devil’s sweetener, that’s why.

So let’s all calm down, eat some calcium-rich casserole, and wash it down with a nice, frothy glass of calci-yummy, better-than-moosual chocolate milk.

Chili Mac Casserole
Serves 4-5

Mmm. I wish I could embed scents. You're missing out.

Mmm. I wish I could embed scents. You’re missing out.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans vegan chili (I used Amy’s, medium-level spice. But if you’re less lazy than me, you can use about three cups of your homemade chili)
  • 3 cups spinach, chopped (you could use kale here, too)
  • 8 oz. pasta (I used gluten-free penne, but really, whatever floats your boat will work)
  • 1 batch of Aunt B’s Cheese Sauce (recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumb topping (optional)

‘Role it Up

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Follow the package instructions to cook your pasta (gluten-free pasta usually has a shorter cook time).
  3. While your pasta is cooking, mix up all the ingredients for the cheese sauce in a blender or food processor.
  4. Dump your drained pasta back in the pot and pour in the cheese sauce, chili, and spinach, and stir until combined.
  5. Pour the whole mixture into a lightly greased (I used olive oil spray) casserole dish.
  6. If you like, top with breadcrumbs for an added crunch factor.
  7. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes.
  8. If you can drum up enough patience, allow the casserole to cool a bit before serving. Or let the kids burn their tongues out of their skulls. That’ll teach ’em!

Non-Dairy Chocolate Milk
Serves 2

Thirsty?

Thirsty?

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsps organic, pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 drops vanilla
  • 2 heaping tsps pure cocoa powder

Simply blend all the ingredients together and chill in the fridge. If you don’t have a blender of food processor, you can use it whisk, but it might take a while.

Bon appetit!

How I broke up with McNuggets, plus a sweet mustard vinaigrette recipe

15 Feb

I can relate, Mr. Gorilla.

I can relate, Mr. Gorilla.

“How do you do it?” “But how do you get enough protein?” “But do you eat cheese?” “No cheese?! What are you, a communist?!”

I get asked a lot of questions about the way I eat. And occasionally I get yelled at in public (uh huh, that last quote is real). I get it. Being vegan is not the norm, and the not-norm is a curiosity. So, today is the day I answer some of those inquiries en masse.

The truth is, I previously loved me a McNugget. And a double-quarter pounder with cheese meal, too. So how did I end up chomping on kale and quinoa instead of burgers and chicken-like bits?

Well, I certainly didn’t develop some super-human level of willpower to resist good food. The two chocolate peanut butter cup cookies and Molly’s Cupcakes I massacred yesterday can attest to that. In actuality, my perception of what good food is shifted. How’s that, you ask? I give the deets here.

If you have any other questions for me, feel free to ask. You can even call me a commie, if you want. I won’t be offended.

And because I can’t leave you all high and dry without a recipe, here’s one for my favorite salad, courtesy of the cool dudes and dudettes at Chicago’s The Centered Chef.

Kale apple salad

Sweet, tangy green goodness.

Sweet and Tangy Kale Apple Salad

Serves 8

Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 2 ½ Tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ Tbsp grape seed oil
  • ½ tsp shallot, minced
  • ¼ tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp parsley, minced
  • sea salt, to taste

Salad Ingrediets

  • 9 cups kale, stems removed
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup red onion, cut into very thin strips
  • ½ cup green apple, diced
  • ¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Salad it UP

  1. Whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together in a mixing bowl and place it in the fridge to chill.
  2. Soak the kale under cold water for a few minutes to release any dirty bits, then rinse it under cold water before you dry it (in a salad spinner or with paper towels).
  3. Strip the leafy parts of the kale off the stems to use in the salad. You can keep the stems and chop them up really fine before you put them back in the salad, if you don’t want to waste them.
  4. Slice the kale into thin ribbons.
  5. Toss the vinaigrette with the kale, along with the cranberries and onions.
  6. Kale can be kind of a tough beyotch, so let it sit for a few minutes and soften in the dressing.
  7. Toss in the apple chuns, sprinkle on the walnuts and, voila, beautiful salad yum yums are yours!

Bon appetit!

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