Even More E2: 3 Bean Chili, Two Ways

I realize as I type this that I still need to make the E2 meatloaf. I just get side tracked! And this week I was put off my meal planning by the GIANT ENORMOUS POT OF CHILI that I made from this recipe. It says that it feeds 6 to 8. 6 to 8 what? Obviously not humans. Maybe professional wrestlers. Or Hulks. But this made easily 8+ servings for us, plus 2 quart-size freezer bags of leftover chili. I’m pretty sure that my grandchildren will be eating that chili someday.

As you can plainly see, this chili is not sexy (which begs the question: can chili be sexy?). But it is packed with basically every form of protein they could think of, with three different beans and a whole pound of tofu. As for taste? It has a lot of ground coriander, but no cumin, so it doesn’t exactly taste like traditional chili. It’s sweet from the addition of carrots, apple (see? What isn’t in this chili!), and molasses. It’s not something I would necessarily make again–probably because if you’ve made it once, you have enough leftovers to never need to make  a second batch!

To use up even more of this chili, I decided to make chili dogs for dinner this week as well. Because the texture of the original version is so…chunky…I ran it through the blender a bit to get it the right texture for hot dog chili. Behold!

The daiya really made the difference, giving it an authentic chili dog flavor. And I made the buns myself, using the same recipe for rolls from Thanksgiving. I’ve made that bread twice since we had it on November 24th, so you know I love it. Or I just love carbs. Whatever.

Recipe from the Engine 2 Diet.

Advertisements

E2 Week: Mushroom Ginger Soba

Engine 2 food is undeniably some of the prettiest food I’ve ever made. I don’t get it–is it the technique? Because I’ve made dinners with all these ingredients before: soba noodles, baby bok choy, carrots, kale, mushrooms–but they weren’t as startlingly lovely as this.

The flavorings: a smidge of mirin, tamari, and rice vinegar weren’t quite enough to make this not bland, however. The garlic and ginger added something (and I tossed in red pepper flakes for fun), but I still needed to spice this up with Sriracha at the end. I’d love to make this again, but it needs a little flavor bump: maybe sautéing the garlic and ginger with the mushrooms would provide a flavor boost. Maybe even a dash of miso. Or just less broth, since the sauce calls for a full cup and a half.

At least now I have a lot of black sesame seeds. That should be fun! Now to remember to roast them first…

 

E2 Week: Enchiladas

It was only a matter of time before I started looking into the Engine 2 Diet, right? For one, I like them because they aren’t all vegany vegan, wanting you to give up honey and such. I also enjoy that they are all super manly, which helps get my supportive but occasionally reluctant husband more fired up about our plant-based diet.

For a long time, I thought E2 was just a weird fad diet, like the vegan Atkins, or Zone, or any of that nonsense. But we watched Forks Over Knives (you have to, or they take away your vegan card), and Rip convinced me to look into the book a little more. That, and my husband actually being able to climb a pole (at the playground) using only his hands while saying, “Real men eat plants!” If you’ve seen Forks Over Knives, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, I’ve picked out a few recipes to showcase this week (though we’ll probably cook more from it, I’ll note when we do). The first is enchiladas, because it seemed delicious and somewhat representative of most of the recipes in the book.

You’ll probably be able to tell that I added black beans to the original E2 recipe. I happened to have some on hand, and I was slightly worried about the protein content of this dish, because it’s mainly spinach. Is spinach protein-y? I’m still not sure. Anyway, this was both easy and awesome. My only slight complaint is the hash browns, and it’s because I know better. You can’t just throw hash browns into a skillet and expect them not to stick. Especially when you don’t use oil. I mean–it won’t work. I should have just baked them for 10 minutes while the oven was warming anyway.

I also found it very difficult to locate vegan enchilada sauce. I located one from Frontera, but many of their products are not vegan. Carefully check the label! If you’re a vegan you know that already. That’s like saying, “hey, you! Remember to breathe!”

Swedish Meetballs

Man, back in the day Swedish Meatballs were my jam. I used to make them all the time, with a recipe that would horrify anyone, not just vegans. First–bag of premade frozen meatballs. Add to that a jar (A JAR) of premade beef gravy, and a cup of sour cream. Throw in some instant rice and you have yourself a meal. Also, please let me state that I was a teenager when I was doing this, so I obviously didn’t know better. And you should be happy that I was at home making hideous Swedish Meatballs instead of…whatever it is normal teenagers do.

Anyway, now I’m a vegan and I know better, so I’ve made delicious Swedish Meetballs for you to enjoy guilt-free. No cans of gravy for you, mister!

Swedish Meetballs (serves 4):

  • One half recipe of Happy Herbivore’s Meatless Balls (teehee) or any recipe you like that makes 12 meatballs. You can even just cook some undoctored Gimme Lean in ball form and call it a day.
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup veggie broth (or more, if you like a thinner sauce)
  • 1 T liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 T vegan Worcestershire sauce (I usually make the Happy Herbivore version)
  • 2 T cashews (they don’t need to be raw, you can use whatever)
  • 2 T onion flakes
  • 1 T red wine vinegar
  • 2 T vegan mayo
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 T cornstarch (use two for a SUPER THICK sauce)
  • 3/4 cup water

First, make your meatballs. I usually just make a ton and then freeze them in useable amounts, so I already had meatballs ready when I started this tonight. Easy!

Now, assemble the sour creamy secret sauce: take the cashews, onion flakes, and water, and place them in your food processor/blender. Let them sit for about 15 minutes. Now, add the red wine vinegar, mayo, nutritional yeast, and cornstarch. Blend until really smooth. The sauce should still be quite thin, that’s what you want. It’ll thicken when you add it to the mushrooms.

Okay! Now start your mushrooms. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a large-ish skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for about 3 minutes, until soft. Add the thyme, salt and pepper. Now, add in your mushrooms. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the veggie broth and liquid aminos and lower to a simmer for about 10 minutes. With the heat on low, add the creamy sauce to the mushroom sauce and stir until thickened to your liking.

Serve over rice or noodles, with the meatballs on top. I like to have asparagus with this dish, too, or some bread. Or if you’re feeling all IKEA that night, have some lingonberries!

Horseradish & Cranberry Salad

I found mâche! Thanks, Trader Joe’s!

I’ve made this salad before, so I’m not sure I need to go into every detail about how delicious it is–though it is super delicious! Adding white beans makes it a meal–though I think adding white beans is now how I make every meal.

I think it’s important to note that mâche really makes this salad taste excellent, and it’s worth seeking out. I’d never had it before, and I found it delicate and peppery–like a cross between arugula and baby spinach.

Cherry Sage Sausage Two Ways

Oh, Vegan Brunch! I love your sausages. And since I’ve figured out how to make them not so darn tough (secret: lower the vital wheat gluten to 3/4 of a cup) I’ll be making them all the time. ALL THE TIME. Sausagefest! (Someone is going to come here googling “sausagefest” and not like what they find).

So, I made the Cherry Sage Sausages the first time with Chickpea gravy (Appetite for Reduction), and they were pretty good. I think that sausage needs a little doctoring, because it was on the bland side. However, the next day, it tasted fantastic.

Then, I decided to try it with some spinach, onion, garlic and mushrooms over sliced polenta. So, so good. My husband smothered this in red pepper flakes, and announced it delicious.

This also makes a really pretty presentation, and polenta is so cheap, good for you, and low in fat and calories–it’s like the perfect food! I think if you had a little vegan parmesan it would go perfect on this. Also, easy. SO EASY.

 

 

What? I can eat pot roast again!

Squee! Thank you, Happy Herbivore!

First–like actual pot roast, this takes a bit of time and effort. Second–like actual pot roast, this tastes fantastic. But it doesn’t make you feel queasy, like pot roast always used to do to me! I was really surprised at how close this was to the “real thing”–not in texture, but in taste.

Texture is the only place you’re going to be let down–the roasted seitan has that spongey, seitan texture that we all know and love. I think it would be better, instead of baking it, to cut it into chunks and sauté with mushrooms–then you can also make a really easy gravy, too.

Bonus tip: when you do make gravy with the cooking liquid, add about 1 tsp of blackstrap molasses to it. It’ll give you that awesome brown gravy color you’ve always wanted. Ta da!