Cajun Cakes & Dijon Broccoli Rice

Oh, Happy Herbivore. Just when I thought you couldn’t get more awesome, you decided to invent chickpea cakes. Well, maybe not invent, but certainly publish and share them.

These. were. sensational. Sort of like eating fried chicken, in that they were spicy and crunchy, but mostly like eating a really great falafel. I can imagine that the next time I make these, I’ll make them nugget-size and there will be BBQ sauce dunking. Oh, the dunking! I think I’ll actually try the chickpea tenders recipe, too, for a less spicy taste.

The dijon rice and broccoli was really good. I found the mustard flavor to be a little behind the scenes, so next time I’ll probably punch that up a bit. Or use some really great sweet and hot mustard I have, that I almost never get to use on anything.

Totally awesome (and really simple) dinner, provided by the Everyday Happy Herbivore.


Are You Sure This Isn’t Chicken?

Oh, Trader Joe’s. Is there anything you can’t do?

Because seriously–wouldn’t you think that was chicken? It has almost the exact same taste and texture as dark meat chicken. And while I didn’t really enjoy the dark meat before I became a vegan, it’s nice to have a little reminder of my former life now and then. My husband was completely fooled, except for the fact that he knows we don’t eat meat! It also has a really good health profile (high in protein, low in fat) and is unbelievably easy to prepare. Two minutes in the microwave! That’s it!

I also made the Easy Mac & Cheese from Happy Herbivore as a side, and then made my own version of her Dijon Green beans to go with it. The beans were SO GOOD. And also pretty easy!

Easy Dijon Green Beans (makes 4 servings as a side dish):

  • 3 cups of frozen green beans
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt to taste
  • 2 T white wine
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup veggie broth

Heat one tsp of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, until fragrant. Add the thyme, pepper flakes, and salt, stir for a few seconds. Add in your green beans, and cook until the frost comes off. Then, pour in the wine. When the wine reduces, add in the veggie broth & dijon and cook until the beans are hot all the way through and the sauce is no longer liquidy.

I really wanted to make biscuits to go with this, too, but I was too lazy!

VegNews Mac & Cheese…tested, and happily, approved!

I must be the only person on the planet who craves mac & cheese in 90 degree weather. With 100% humidity. Thanks, Kansas. Also, if you were wondering, my hair DOES look frizzy. So if you see me out on the street, just avert your eyes.

Anyway, I was interested in trying VegNew’s “best mac & cheese on the planet” because it’s nutritional yeast-free, even though I love the nooch and I’m always happy to have it in my life. Also, I was stubbornly confused about how potatoes, carrots, onions and cashews would make anything that looked passably like cheese. And you know what? THEY DO. This is the BEST faux mac I’ve had (not like I’ve had a ton, but still). I really like my Spicy Mac, but this is a pleasantly simple dish, for when you are craving mac and cheese in it’s purest form.

Notice the bread crumbs? I thought there were way too many, but it ended up tasting just right. Also, look a little closer…closer…yes…those are homemade crumbs! From homemade bread! *Pats self on back*

I think I’d be misleading you if I didn’t say that this dish is high in fat. It calls for a whopping 7 tablespoons of margarine, which equals about 80 grams of fat. UGH. Even when you split it into 8 portions like I did, it’s still a lot for the portion-size. And when I cooked it, I took about 3 tablespoons out (one from the breadcrumbs, two from the sauce). I think I could probably take even more out of the sauce by pureeing some white beans in with the veggies. I’d like to get this down to two or three tablespoons total, so I could eat a larger portion and not feel that heavy greasy ache in my stomach. Do you get that, too?

Despite the whopping fat content, this recipe is definitely a keeper, and will be on heavy rotation when fall and winter come. I’ll probably serve it then with some sweet potatoes, squash, or sauteed spinach. OOH! I can’t wait!


The Lazymen’s Lunch

Normally, I eat a lunch that’s even lazier than this–just leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. I just typed nicht instead of night, I swear to you it’s because I was just reading some Old English. Holy crap! My past is coming back to haunt me. Curse you, BA in English.

Anyway, back to my lunch. I had just gone to the grocery store, but since everything I buy is to be made into something else, I have no convenience foods except for hummus. So, behold, the laziest lunch I could think of! I mean…of which I could think.

The Lazymen’s Lunch (serves 1 lazy person):

  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 5-6 cherry tomatoes
  • 4-6 Kalamata olives
  • 1 T dehydrated onion
  • 2 T hummus
  • 1 T water
  • 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp agave (to taste–if your tomatoes are very sweet, you probably don’t need it)
  • salt & pepper to taste

Put the quinoa in a pot on medium-high heat with 1/2 cup water, and wait for it to boil. Once boiling, add the dehydrated onion, cover and turn down to a simmer. It should be done in 15 mins. In the meantime, take your handful of tomatoes and put them in the broiler (I have a little toaster oven for this). Broil them until they turn brown and the skins peel back. 

Now, mix the dressing ingredients: thin your prepared hummus with the water, and then add the vinegar, mustard, and agave (if you’re using it).

When the quinoa and onions are done, mix with the dressing. Add in the tomatoes and olives. Ta-da! A terrific lunch. I will say, it did feel like it was missing something green, so maybe some spinach? Or a little basil? What do you think?

Now That’s a Spicy Wiener

I attempted to make some sort of vegan Germanfest in my house, with mixed results. Step 1. Faux Italian sausage instead of faux brauts. Step 2. “Hot Dog” bun that looked like a mummy’s turd. Step 3. Enough dijon mustard on that sausage to make me feel like the back of my head was going to fly off, hit the ceiling, and then snap back on like it was attached with elastic. YIKES.

I’m going to say, right here, that you should not ever think to serve German side dishes with Italian sausage. The spices…so very, very, very wrong. And I’m totally going to salvage that sausage for a delicious Italian meal sometime in the future, don’t worry. And my sad, sad little roll actually ended up tasting sorta pretzely, so it wasn’t that bad. I need to figure out what the heck is wrong with my bread. I think that the bag of yeast I bought from Costco about four years ago is probably old. Though every time I say “I think my yeast is old!” to my husband, he can’t help but get the giggles.

Do you like my caramelized onions though? I am a hot shot with those! Here’s the easy way to do it!

Caramelized Onions:

  • 2 medium or one really large sweet onion (I like Maui onions), cut in half and then into slices
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup veggie broth

Spray a cast iron skillet (if you don’t have one, you should. Really!) with some cooking spray or heat up a little oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cover the whole deal with tinfoil (really nestle it on there). I check back with it when I either smell the onions getting brown, or about every 5 minutes. Once the bottom layer is browned, take the foil off and put in the wine and broth. Stir, and let them cook off until the liquid in the skillet is mostly gone. TA DA!

Also, I love sauerkraut. I cannot stress this enough. And since I can’t eat pickled eggs anymore, that sweet sweet kraut is getting me through.

Sausage recipes are in Vegan Brunch. And I’ve been working on chorizo, too, so you’ll see that soon!