Friday, February 24, 2012

Gluten Free Friday: Vegan & Gluten Free Lentil Loaf

Full Disclosure: I am a true newbie to the Gluten-Free world. I am not g-free at all and don't ever plan to be. However, I am finding more and more people are. So whether you are doing it as part of the new "diet" trend, or you or a family member actually has a gluten intolerance, I decided to jump on the gluten free bandwagon for YOU!

I will scour the internet looking for the BEST of the BEST G-Free recipes, try them myself and share them with you... starting with this one!

Vegan and Gluten-Free Lentil Loaf by Tasty Yummies
(all pictures are courtesy of Tasty Yummies)

I have made "meat" loaf using lentils before, but this recipe is a winner! Beth, the loaf creator, found that pureeing the cooked lentils into a smooth and thick paste helped keep the loaf together. That, plus the flax-"egg", gluten free oats and almond flour all come together to create a beautiful consistency.

I love this quote from her blog regarding this recipe: "I honestly was so excited about finally conquering this lentil loaf that I found myself dancing around the kitchen while taking the photos. I love when that happens. As awful as it feels when you fail at a recipe, and you find yourself so bummed out, there is absolutely NOTHING like that feeling of accomplishment when you figure it out and master it. I live for that feeling!"

The flavors are hearty, "meaty" and very satisfying. Serve with roasted or baked potatoes and a big green salad.


Optional: Make this easy spicy BBQ sauce from scratch and avoid buying expensive organic BBQ sauces filled with high fructose corn syrup.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and take some time to check out some of Beth's other recipes and posts on Tasty Yummies, too!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Toddler Tuesday: Macadamia Nut Crusted Tofu Sticks

Who says macadamia nuts can only crust the outside of Mahi Mahi?

Well... not sure anyone really says that, but in dining my experience, it's pretty common to find fish with a mac-nut crust.

Well, I say that marinated extra firm tofu can also be coated with delicious macadamia nuts. I chose to cook them in toddler-friendly sticks for easy eating, but it would look beautiful as a tofu filet served over whole wheat couscous and garlic sauteed kale. Good thing my husband said this recipe is a repeat!

Tofu sticks getting ready to grace the oven.

My crust is simple: Mac nuts, nutritional yeast and a little bit of salt. Next time I will add some fresh herbs; parsley perhaps. And due to my last minute creation, I failed to dip the tofu into something that would allow the nut mixture to stick.

The marinade is also simple: Ponzu sauce, dijon mustard and maple syrup. I let it marinate in the fridge for 5 hours, but I'm sure the flavors would be even more enhanced overnight.

Kaden digging in...

Macadamia Nut Crusted Tofu Sticks

Ingredients

1 10oz package vacuum sealed super firm tofu (not water packed)
1/2 cup ponzu sauce
1 TB dijon mustard
3 TB pure maple syrup
1/2 cup raw unsalted macadamia nuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt

Directions
Prepare tofu by cutting in half, lengthwise, and then cutting into strips. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together ponzu, dijon and maple syrup. Pour marinade into a large ziplock bag and add tofu to coat. Put in the fridge for 3-5 hours, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor, combine macadamia nuts, nutritional yeast and salt. If you have some fresh parsley, chop and add 1/4 cup.

On a non stick baking sheet, or one lined with foil, place your tofu sticks in a single layer. Top each stick with some macadamia nut mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned.

Reader Q&A: Adding (Healthy!) Fats to Your Toddler's Diet

I thought this would be fun to post a question I recently got from a reader about how to add a variety of fats into her baby's diet. My response is included in this post, but PLEASE comment below if you have other suggestions or feedback regarding this topic!

Hello, MGAB! I'm a young mama who's been vegan for several years now. However, many of the recipes I make or find online are very low fat which is fine for me, but I am now embarking on the task of feeding my 16-month-old daughter and I am finding it hard to "fatten up" some foods. We've done baby-led solids where she feeds herself and she does well, but she does not have many teeth yet(4 in front and currently working on her top molars), so my options are a little limited. Avocados have been my go to for healthy, unprocessed fats for her but, she goes through phases where she will love avocados and then other times, like now, when she won't touch anything that is touching an avocado. I also try to add flax meal wherever I can, but she doesn't love it on everything... The only other "fatty" thing I have tried on her is pure extra virgin coconut oil but not only do I feel guilty about giving her spoonfuls of processed "empty" calories, but she will rarely eat it more than a couple times a week. This leaves me panicking about whether she's getting enough. She does still breastfeed quite frequently, so I'm not awful concerned just yet, but I feel I need to up her fat intake in her solids anyway. Sorry this has been such a long babbling email. I'm just really looking for some ideas on good recipes for little ones or any ways I can add fat to her portion of some of my recipes. I've just recently begun really getting into cooking(before I had my daughter, it was mostly simple soups, spaghetti, or stir-fry... I was very repetitive and needed to branch out! I have found TONS of great websites like yours and now cook something new every week!), so I'm not quite sure which ingredients taste good w/what... I'd like to try some nut/seed butters and other stuff, I just get so overwhelmed and lost! Can you please help me?! :) -Forever Grateful

Here was my response to this wonderful Mama:

I know exactly what you mean about many vegan recipes being low fat or fat free! Great for us, but not so great for our little ones. Here are some of the foods I use on a daily or weekly basis to increase the fat in Kaden's diet (other than avocados!)

- Tofu & Tempeh 5g/7g fat per 1/2 cup
- Hemp seeds 4g fat per TB
- Hemp milk and Coconut milk 7g/5g fat per cup
- Linwoods makes a great product. Its ground flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame seeds and goji berries. 4g fat per TB. So far I only add this to his oatmeal, smoothies and pancake batter. But I am going to make some muffins soon and it to the mix.
- Earth Balance (it is processed, but I do spread it on toast)
- Almond butter (he doesn't like peanut butter, but loves almond butter) 8.5g fat per TB
- I make a homemade cashew ricotta cheese and make stuffed manicottis, lasagna, or just use it as a dip or spread. The recipe is on the blog.
- Dr. Prager makes an AMAZING frozen California Veggie Burger (all veggies and grains). It's 5g of fat per patty.

That's about it I guess. If I remember or think of anything else I'll be sure to send you an email. Otherwise, make sure you subscribe to receive my blog posts via email so when I come up with something that works for you, you wont have to search for it!

Here's an idea: You could try and grind up some macadamia nuts in a food processor or high powered blender and use it a crust (along with other spices and stuff) for baked tofu... OR maybe I'll just come up with a recipe for that and post it on the blog :)

Hope that helps!!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pureed Purple Cauliflower and Red Quinoa

I know what you're thinking...

Trust me, it works. The combination of sweet and tender squash, smooth and savory pureed purple cauliflower and the delicate nuttiness of red quinoa come together in an unexpected, yet delicious way.

Recipes don't always have to be complicated with a long list of overwhelming ingredients. In fact, some of the best meals are simple foods, simply prepared.

Roasted acorn squash tastes great all by itself.

Cauliflower also come in an orange and purple variety. The only difference between these and the white variety are some of the vitamins and antioxidants. The purple cauliflower, which I used for this recipe, contain the same antioxidant as purple grapes and purple cabbage.

Sadly, there is no nutritional difference among different colors of quinoa. Red and white alike have high concentrations of complete protein, Vitamin E, B vitamins, calcium and phosphorus. But it does look pretty. And its gluten free, for those of you who need to know.

So that's it... 3 (ish) ingredients!

Serves 4
2 Acorn Squash, halved and seeds removed
1 large purple cauliflower (or white if you can't find it)
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
1 TB vegan butter (earth balance)
1/4 cup non dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, hemp, etc)
pinch salt

Directions
Preheat oven to 400.
Place prepared acorn squash cut side down on a non stick or sprayed baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until soft. If a fork goes through the skin after 30 minutes, its done!
White the squash is cooking, combine quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all water has absorbed.
Wash and steam cauliflower until soft. Transfer to a food processor and blend until chunky. Add the vegan butter, non dairy milk and salt and blend until smooth and creamy.

Scoop prepared cauliflower into squash and top with quinoa. That's it!! My 17 month old ate almost an entire half tonight. Big win for Mommy!

3 Ultimate Vegan Super Bowl Party Snacks

My husband is very serious about two things: Football and Food. For the past few years I've held the job of "veganizing" some of his favorite snack foods. This year is no exception and the three recipes I have for you will be a hit at your Super Bowl party, too!

Check out my Spicy Buffalo Bites, Spinach Artichoke Dip and Cheezy Mashed Potato Quesadillas!

Of the three, the Buffalo Bites do require a bit more work. After some experimenting, I made the decision that they should definitely be made the day before and sit in the fridge overnight to generate the desired texture. The "dough" for the nuggets is called is made from Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, which you can easily find at most health food stores. And unfortunately for a few of you, they are not gluten-free friendly since they are made almost entirely from gluten!

But they sure are delicious...

Vegan Spicy Buffalo Bites
Adapted from Vegan Dad

Ingredients for the Dough

1/3 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced white button mushroom
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp Poultry Spice
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup water
1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten Flour

Ingredients for the Breading
Dry:
1/2 cup finely ground corn flakes
1/2 cup flour (I used whole grain spelt flour)
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
Wet:
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Buffalo Sauce (melt and combine small in saucepan)
1/3 cup vegan butter (earth balance)
1/2 cup hot sauce (I used Cholula)
1 TB white vinegar
1 TB ketchup

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with oil.

Combine mushrooms, onion and garlic into a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add oil, poultry spice, salt and water and blend until a smooth, thin paste. Add gluten and process until you get a dough. Remove dough from food processor and roll into a long cylinder. Cut into 1 inch pieces and roll those into a cylinder shape, then flatten slightly. Pour 2 tsp oil into a shallow dish and coat your dough pieces.

In two separate bowls, add your ingredients for your dry and wet coating.

Take each dough piece and dip into dry coating first, then wet, and then dry once more. Line on baking sheet when done. Bake in the oven for 10 min, flip and bake 10 min more. Add all but 1/4 cup of your buffalo sauce to your bites and cook for 10 min more until bubbly. Use the rest of your sauce to coat after done cooking. Allow to cool before putting in the fridge overnight.

Spinach Artichoke Dip
I really miss going to a restaurant and ordering the hot and bubbly spinach artichoke dip. Unfortunately for non-dairy eaters, and even health conscious ones, most restaurant versions contain more fat laden sour cream, cream cheese and cheese than the spinach and artichoke! Lucky for you I have an unbelievable alternative for you.

Ingredients
6 garlic cloves... yes 6. Use them all. And peel and chop them of course.
1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, packed in water (drained and chopped).
1 lb bag frozen chopped spinach
2 TB vegan mayo (veganaise)
2 TB vegan cream cheese (i used follow your heart)
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup mozzerella style Daiya Vegan Cheese
pinch salt

Directions
In a large saute pan over medium high heat, add a small amount of oil or vegetable stock. When heated, add your garlic and cook until slightly browned. Add the artichoke hearts and cook for a few minutes more. Add the entire bag of frozen spinach and combine well. Stir often for about 10 minutes so most of the water can evaporate from the spinach.

Transfer spinach artichoke mixture to a food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Blend until well combined and enjoy with chips, bread or sliced veggies.

Cheezy Mashed Potato Quesadillas
What could be better than creamy, cheezy mashed potatoes inside a grilled tortilla? Maybe spicy buffalo bites or spinach artichoke dip?

Ingredients
2 russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
5 green onions, chopped (white and very beginning of green parts only)
1 TB vegan butter
1/4 cup non dairy milk
1/2 bag cheddar style Daiya vegan shredded cheese
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
6 corn tortillas
vegan butter, for spreading on the tortillas

Directions
Boil your chopped potatoes until soft (fork tender). Drain and return back to pot. Mash with a potato masher or fork and add remaining ingredients (except tortillas... but I hope you already knew that!).

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Butter one side of each corn tortilla and fill half of the other side with potatoes. Fold in half. Cook quesadillas for 5 minutes on each side or until browned.

Now that you have your food covered, who are you hoping will win?? Lets hope for a good game... and good commercials!