I’m not sure if it’s the unusual weather or the winds of change, but I’ve recently felt some creative kitchen urges. Although David and I are no longer 100% vegan, we still eat that way most of the time, with occasional forays into raw cheese for my continued tooth health. Goshen offers so few places we can eat that we’ve become “the best diner in town” with all our vegan versions of traditional foods. We each have our specialties. David makes some mean vegan Sloppy Joe’s and chili, and we both enjoy gluten free vegan pizza and various Italian creations served over lentil pasta. I tend to experiment more, since working from home gives me more time to play in the kitchen.
Some recent favorites:
Gluten-free, Soy-free, Vegan Mac ‘n’ Chz
I adapted this recipe from Organic Authority’s “The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe: Comfort in a Bowl.” I changed some key ingredients, though, so I’ll post my recipe here, especially since I know quite a few blog readers now grow my favorite (and prolific!) White Scallop Squash, which features prominently in my version. The original recipe uses potatoes, which require some extra cooking care. In addition to a more forgiving method, the White Scallop Squash also adds a lot of fiber, vitamin C and using the lentil pasta results in a low carb comfort treat.
8 oz. or 16 oz. lentil or other gluten-free noodles (depending on how many people you have dining. 16 oz. for four people; 8 oz. for two hungry people, and then you’ll have leftovers with a fresh batch of pasta another day)
2 cups white scallop squash (peeled yellow squash could also work)
1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
2/3 cup unsweetened hazelnut milk (almond milk could also work)
1/3 cup organic safflower and/or olive oil (you might need more, but only add if needed)
1 lemon, juiced
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 TBSP chick pea flour
1 TBSP ground chia seeds
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
Shred or cube the squash, or use frozen squash from a bumper crop harvest. Peel and chop carrots, then steam or cook in a little water until warm and slightly softened, 5-10 minutes, depending on size of squash and carrot pieces and whether or not the squash is frozen.
While veggies cook, get hot water started on stove for pasta.
Drain and put into a Vitamix or other high-speed blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.
Cook pasta according to instructions. Drain and then smother with the “cheese” sauce.
We like our Mac ‘n’ Chz, well, cheesy, so I doubled the sauce recipe to pasta ratio of the original recipe. (The amounts I listed are what I make.) We find it just right for 16 oz. of pasta, but because gluten-free pasta does not hold up well in leftovers, we prefer to make the sauce recipe and then only the amount of pasta we plan to use for the first meal. The sauce reheats nicely, so leftovers only require a new batch of pasta to go with the sauce. Your mileage may vary. Lentil pasta holds up better than brown rice pasta.
I was never a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese fan, but this really does have that color and consistency — just filled with fresh veggies and no food coloring. It might even fool a picky eater and definitely tastes much better than the boxed faux mac ‘n ‘ cheese you find in health food stores.
Cauliflower Hot Wings with Raw Vegan Ranch
Even though we don’t have cable TV and don’t watch football, David wanted a Superbowl Sunday vegan special. These amazing cauliflower hot wings were tasty, crispy, and they reheated well the next day. You can find the main recipe I used for the wings here at Gimme Delicious. I subbed hazelnut milk and olive oil for the recommendations in the original. I also noticed that the time allotments seemed very optimistic. It took me at least twice as long to make this recipe as stated. Maybe I’m a kitchen klutz, or maybe the Gimme Delicious folks just chop and flip way faster than I do. If you’re not a whiz with the chef’s knife, please plan accordingly.
For the sauce, I decided to go for ranch dressing with a raw cashew base.
Raw Vegan Ranch Dressing or Dip
I did not really measure, since I added as I went, but here is an approximate recipe:
1 cup soaked cashews
2 – 4 TBSP lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar, but it will taste a little different)
2 TBSP (or more) dried dill (more if using fresh dill)
2 cloves garlic
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
optional splash of olive oil
enough water to thin to desired consistency (less if you want a dip, more if you want dressing)
You can add agave nectar or honey if you feel want a little sweetness.
Pre-soak the cashews in water for several hours to soften.
Blend everything together in a Vitamix or high-speed blender.
Refrigerate for one hour for best flavor, but you can also serve immediately.
Fakin’ Bacon BLT’s
We usually serve these scrumptious sandwiches open-faced during peak tomato season and with home grown lettuce, but David was craving some BLT bliss. We used my very last, finally ripe tomato from a late fall harvest, plus two store-bought tomatoes and some store-bought Romaine lettuce. Below, you can see the ingredients lined up for gluten-free vegan BLT’s:
The Fabanaise is our favorite vegan mayo, made from chickpea soak water, and we use a millet-brown rice-flax bread for our toast. Lightlife’s smoky tempeh is our favorite faux bacon when we bake it crispy in the convection oven, then toast the bread the last few minutes. You can’t beat these in summer with those juicy heirloom tomatoes, and nothing tastes quite like lettuce you harvested three minutes ago. For an early February craving, these worked well, though.
We’ve made lots more comfort food in recent weeks, re-inspired by our trips to Kalamazoo, where we can actually eat out. Maybe a little too much eating out, LOL! Next week will feature a lot more fresh green juice.
Wishing you and yours some kitchen fun!