The Vegan Ferret

Vegan Food, Restaurants, Experiences from a Newly Vegan Ferret Lover

Week 4 – Veggie “Cheeses”, Southwestern Crostini, Stir Fry

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Wow!  I can’t believe it’s already been a month of eating and living vegan.  Though there have certainly been challenges, mishaps, and let-downs, this past month has been a blast.  The challenge of living a vegan lifestyle has been more of an adventure than a hassle and it has motivated me to learn how to cook amazing meals without a recipe book.  Where I used to avoid the grocery store, I now find myself going 2-3 times a week.  The grocery store has transformed from a nuisance to a creative space where I can explore vegan ingredients and products, my mind running wild with ideas.

Though I’m still not an expert chef, I must say, I have made some kick-ass meals in the past month.  And not one of them contained an animal product.  Truly epic.

So before I share my awesome recipes from this week with you, I just want to gab about something real quick – veggie “cheese”.   Here goes:

Okay, you have to be super careful about products that advertise as dairy free, lactose free, place themselves right up next to the vegan “cheeses”, coyly disguising themselves as an animal-product free delicacy.  For instance, Go Veggie has vegan products, but a lot of the products they sell (especially in stores like Acme, Shoprite, Albertsons – your basic food stores) are dairy free, but not animal-product free.  Look out for casein.  It’s a milk product and if your cheese, milk, sour cream, etc. has casein in it, it’s not vegan.  BUT I have found some amazing veggie “cheeses” that are completely vegan. Follow Your Heart has the most delicious veggie “cheese”.   They have so many types too!  My two favorites are the pepperjack and smoked gouda.  HEAVEN!

Okay, now for recipes!

Two of my favorite meals I made this week were my Southwestern Crostini and my Stir Fry.  Stir Fry is super easy to make vegan and it’s always fun to explore with different ingredients since there are basically a million ways to make it.  The Southwestern Crostini idea evolved from having tons of Mexican-style ingredients and being stuck inside from a snowstorm, unable to run to the store.

Stir Fry (Julie Style)

stirfry

What you need:

  • Olive Oil (1/2 cup tops)
  • 1 tbsp Garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp Ginger (minced)
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1 Serrano Pepper
  • About 5 oz Broccoli
  • About 5 oz Cauliflower
  • About 6 oz Yellow Squash
  • About 6 oz Zucchini
  • About 12 oz Portabello Mushrooms
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/4 cup Low sodium soy sauce
  • Hot Sauce (so much hot sauce) – this is completely dependent on how spicy you like your food.  We probably used about 1/4 of a 6 oz bottle.  We like our food reallllllly spicy.
  • 2 tbsp Flour
  • Dash Maple Syrup

Putting it together:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan, add ginger, let simmer for a minute.
  2. Add garlic, let simmer for a minute.
  3. Add onions and peppers, let simmer until soft/ onions are transparent.
  4. Add cauliflower, let simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add soy sauce, maple syrup, onion powder, garlic powder, hot sauce.
  6. Add squash, zucchini, let simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Add broccoli, let simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Make sure all the vegetables are pretty close to the softness you’d want to eat them at, then add the mushrooms.
  9. Taste to make sure it is the right spiciness/ sweetness for your particular tastes!  Adjust accordingly.
  10. Add flour.
  11. Satisfy your hunger.

Southwestern Crostini

crostini

What you need:

  • Sourdough  bread (make sure it’s vegan)
  • 15 oz Vegetarian Refried Beans
  • 4.5 oz Chopped Green Chiles
  • 1 Serrano Pepper
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Hella Hot Sauce
  • 1 Package Vegan Chorizo
  • 1 Avocado
  • 3 tsp Cilantro
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Onions
  • 1 Tomato (optional)
  • Trader Joe’s Cilantro and Jalapeno Hummus (optional, but so good, don’t miss out on this)
  • GUAC

Putting it together:

  • Heat refried beans on the stove, add 1/4 cup onions, a dash of onion powder, dash of garlic powder, dash of chili powder, hot sauce (how much depends on your addiction to spicy foods), tsp of cilantro, and half the can of green chiles.
  • Put sourdough bread in the oven on 350.
  • In a separate pan, warm up the vegan chorizo, add dash of onion powder, dash of garlic powder, hot sauce, tsp of cilantro, and the other half can of green chiles.
  • When the sourdough bread is browning and getting crispy (about 20 minutes), spread bean mix on top, add chorizo crumbles and put back in the oven.
  • After about 5-10 minutes (monitor), remove and add sliced avocado, chopped onions, cilantro, and chopped tomato if desired.
  • Plate and add a dollop of guac and hummus on the side for dipping!

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