Peanut Chews and Cruciferous Veggies | VeganMoFo 2019 Day Five

Well. Happy Monday. :) I’m feeling a bit more collected after yesterday’s rage-fueled rant, thanks to the curative powers of The Office and someone cooking dinner for me and Brooklyn 99 and puppy snuggles and a bite of chocolate ice cream.

And mid-day peanut chews.

I’d never had these little nuggets of chewy, chocolatey, peanutty goodness until I moved to Maryland six years ago (!!!) and started my current job. A former coworker (since retired) was known around the office for passing out peanut chews as little edible kudos, producing a handful from a pocket and sharing them with all and sundry. Not only are they accidentally vegan, but they’re also made locally(ish). The flavor is probably not to everyone’s tastes; rather than relying on a traditional caramel for chewiness, they use molasses — an ingredient well documented on this blog as it’s one of my favorites. I dig it, and I dig them.

Anyway, I grabbed a packet of peanut chews from the vending machine today because sometimes you just need a little chocolate to soothe your soul.

(Side note: Although I generally favor chocolate recommended by the FEP list, I just wanted something fast and easily available today. Looks like Goldenberg’s is on the “Cannot recommend but are working on the issues in various ways” list. I’m not perfect.)

An equally delicious thing I ate today was dinner, even though it was ridiculously simple: a huge skillet of cabbage, sautéed with Earth Balance and topped with salt, pepper, and some generous gratings of my precious Violife parm. I also made some spicy pan-sautéed kale with black-eyed peas for protein. I attempted to cook ye olde failed chickwheat by dicing it and lightly frying it, but… instead of getting crispy and edible, it became soft and mushy. Vom-o-rama. Steven kindly took some of the pieces I fished out of my bowl, but even he gave up after a while. I’m really trying not to let my failed chickwheat go to waste, but dang. It’s nasty.

Anyway, the rest of dinner was a delight. All crucifers benefit from high heat and a decent amount of cooking time, in my opinion, and sautéed cabbage is one of my favorites. It’s also a great foil to the salty parmesan. A perfect combination.

We’ve just gotten back from the gym, so hopefully those exercise endorphins will further buoy my mood. :)

(P.S. No update on my catbird friend. I emailed the rehab to check in but haven’t heard back yet. (They specifically requested emails rather than phone calls.) Sigh. Keep those fingers and toes crossed.)

Roasted Harissa-Tahini Cauliflower Wrap with Peppers and Lime Slaw | VeganMoFo 2017 Day One

VeganMoFo 2017

Week One: Changing Vegan Perspectives
Re-inventing the veggie option: Think of a boring, bog-standard veggie option like nut roast or risotto and give it a makeover.

It is, perhaps, one of the most dispiriting events to experience while dining out as a vegan. You’re at a restaurant that touts itself as vegan-friendly. The menu arrives, and your eye runs down the page, looking for that familiar V or a little leaf-shaped icon. Finally, towards the end of the list, you find the mark… only to see it paired with an abysmally un-creative item. It’s a portobello mushroom wrap or penne with red sauce or, alas, a roasted veggie wrap. You sigh and order it anyway.

We’ve all been there, right? We’ve all put on a smile when facing the waiter or our omnivorous dining companions, pretending we’re totally fine with the laziest and most boring vegan option imaginable. But inside, WE ARE NOT FINE. Is it too much to ask for a creative, thoughtfully prepared and executed vegan dish?! When the internet and hundreds of vegan cookbooks are bursting with inspiration, it’s disappointing that chefs and restaurant owners rely on tired veg staples from the ’90s.

Perhaps that’s why I love today’s prompt: It gives us all the chance to take one of those tired staples and breathe new life (and deliciousness!) into it! I opted for that hated roasted veggie wrap, an option particularly despised by my partner Steven. In lieu of bland roasted veggies, a tasteless tortilla, and — god forbid — hummus, my vegan roasted vegetable wrap relies on a battery of flavor-packed elements. I start with a homemade garlic-cumin flatbread, spread with a little harissa mayo. In it, you’ll find:

  • Harissa-tahini roasted cauliflower with lime (inspired by the charred cauliflower starter at True Food Kitchen in Bethesda, Maryland)
  • Simple but flavor-packed roasted banana peppers
  • A clean, crisp, simple lime cabbage slaw

Vegan Harissa-Tahini Cauliflower Wraps // govegga.com

Now, let’s be clear: This does require a bit more work than dumping some hummus on a tortilla, stuffing it with quick roasted veggies and calling it a day. But each element is relatively simple to pull together, and you can make any of them ahead of time to assemble on the fly. (The flatbread wraps are best fresh, however!) Eat it hot, warm, cold, or anywhere in between, and up the harissa content to meet your personal spice threshold.

Roasted Harissa-Tahini Cauliflower Wrap with Peppers and Lime Slaw

Makes 6

For the lime slaw

  • Half head green cabbage, sliced into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the harissa-tahini cauliflower
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon harissa paste
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
For the roasted peppers
  • 3-4 banana peppers or other peppers of your choice, sliced into thin strips
  • Drizzle olive oil
For the garlic-cumin flatbread wraps
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba
  • 1/4 cup nondairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon oil
For the harissa mayo

Method

Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

First, make the slaw. Mix the shredded cabbage with the salt, sugar, and lime juice, and use your hands to coat thoroughly. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Next, prepare the veggies. Put the sliced peppers on a baking sheet, then drizzle them lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt. Whisk the tahini, harissa, and lime juice in a small bowl, and then toss this mixture with the cauliflower in a larger bowl. Pour onto a prepared baking sheet (either lightly sprayed with oil or lined with parchment). Put both pans or trays of veggies into the oven and roast for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the veggies are cooking, prepare the flatbread. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (flour to salt). Whisk together the aquafaba, milk, and oil in a smaller bowl, then add to the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the wet into the dry until combined, adding extra flour if the mixture is sticky. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Divide the dough into six balls. Pour a little oil into a nonstick or cast-iron pan and heat it to medium-low.

(At some point while you’re working on this, the veggies will be done. I like them soft and a little blackened, but you can cook to taste. Remove from the oven and set aside. You want them warm but not hot when you eat.)

While the pan is heating, use your hands or a rolling pin to roll one dough ball into a rough circle or oval, about 4 inches in diameter. (I like to roll them out one at a time; I’ll roll one while the other is cooking. If your pan can accommodate more than one flatbread at a time or you prefer to roll them all out in advance, that’s fine too.)

When the pan is heated, add the first flatbread and cover the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the pan is steamy and the bread has a few bubbles. Remove the cover and flip, cooking the other side for another 2-3 minutes until cooked through. Repeat for the remaining flatbreads.

When all flatbreads are cooked, mix up mayo and harissa to taste and assemble your flatbread sandwiches. Start with a layer of harissa mayo, then top with the lime slaw. Add roasted peppers and cauliflower, gently fold the flatbread, and eat!

PIN IT

Vegan Harissa-Tahini Cauliflower Wraps // govegga.com

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Fully Loaded Vegan Colcannon

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week One: Treat Yourself (and others)!

Treat yourself… to mashed potatoes for dinner!

Vegan colcannon: fully loaded mashed potatoes // govegga.com

If you’re anything like me, you relish any opportunity to chow down on mashed potatoes. I think it’s unfortunate that they’re typically treated as a side dish instead of a main or a meal in their own right. Enter colcannon, the Irish dish featuring mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage… or both! My version of colcannon is chock-full of veggies, with just enough vegan butter and plant milk to make it nice and creamy. I also add a few tablespoons of vegan mayo. Sounds crazy (and kinda weird), but you don’t taste it at all, and it ups the creamy factor. You can certainly leave it out if you’d prefer. Either way, these vegan mashed potatoes are a meal unto themselves. Treat yourself!

Vegan colcannon: fully loaded mashed potatoes // govegga.com

Fully Loaded Colcannon

  • 2.5 lbs of your favorite mashing potatoes, chopped roughly
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 head cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 5 large kale leaves, roughly shredded or sliced into ribbons
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 T vegan butter
  • 1 T vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Measure out the almond milk and let it come to room temperature while you cook.

Add water to a large stockpot and heat on the stove. While the water is coming to a boil, chop the potatoes. You can peel them first, but I like to leave the skins on. When they’re ready, add them to the stockpot (whether it’s boiling or not). When it comes to a rolling boil, reduce the heat and let gently boil for 15-20 minutes.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the shallots and sauté for 3-4 minutes, just until they start turning golden. Add the cabbage and a sprinkle of salt and stir to coat with oil. Cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the cabbage starts getting tender. If necessary, add a little water to the pan to prevent the cabbage from sticking. Add the kale to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.

Check the potatoes. When they’re fork-tender, drain them and add to a large mixing bowl. Using a potato ricer, masher, or your favorite tool, mash away! Add the butter early on so it melts right in, then add the almond milk and vegan mayonnaise once everything starts getting creamy.  Add spices to taste; you can also add more butter, milk, and mayo to taste. Finally, fold in the kale and cabbage mixture. Taste for salt and pepper and season as necessary.

Enjoy for dinner, and have the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Notes

  • Your average Idaho or russet potato works beautifully, but I’ve used golden potatoes and they work just fine.
  • Feel free to mix in seitan or bacon bits for added flavor and protein.
  • Go wild with the creamy ingredients to taste. I won’t judge!
  • You can reserve the cooking liquid to add back in as you mash. I don’t do this often, but it certainly works for a less fatty option.
  • Colcannon is traditionally eaten by itself, without gravy, but if you want to add some, I won’t tell. Opt for a recipe with lots of umami.

PIN IT!

Vegan colcannon: fully loaded mashed potatoes // govegga.com

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Cajun-Spiced Cabbage ‘n Kidney Beans

LVV MoFo 2014 main

 

My goodness, y’all. This dinner. I made it in the middle of a thunderstorm after cleaning up unholy amounts of gag-inducing dog mucus, a pee puddle, and a lone hardened turd.* (Related: I will be SO HAPPY when Luna Bug is healthy and can come to work with us!) As I was chopping cabbage, I kept noticing a hint of rotting fruit scent. A short investigation of the nearby fruit bowl revealed a grapefruit that looked whole and healthy from the top, but was green and fuzzy underneath. Delightful.

…my household hygiene issues aside, this meal itself caused me very little heartache. Aside from a decent amount of chopping, it’s a one-pot dish that’s pretty simple to prepare. Cabbage, bell peppers, tomatoes, and kidney beans join forces with a healthy dose of Cajun-inspired spices for a fresh-tasting dish with a kick.

Cajun-Spiced Cabbage & Kidney Beans

And guess what? It’s damn healthy. Each of the five servings offers up about 10 grams of protein, 23% of the recommended daily value of iron, and lots of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Not bad for a bunch of veggies and a can of beans! And if you serve it over brown rice, like we did, you can add a few more grams of protein and fiber to your totals.

Cajun-Spiced Cabbage & Kidney Beans
Serves 4

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced small
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 head cabbage, chopped
  • 2 cups diced tomato in juice
  • 1 cup tomato puree or sauce
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans

Spice blend:

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooked brown rice or your grain of choice to serve.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and add minced garlic. Let simmer for about a minute, then add the celery and green bell pepper. Cook until they start to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage, diced tomato, tomato puree, and spices. Bring to a low boil then turn down the heat. Cover and cook until the cabbage is softened, about 15-20 minutes. Mix in the kidney beans and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over a bed of brown rice or your favorite grain.

Cajun-Spiced Cabbage & Kidney Beans

She may not be the most beautiful dish, but she sure is tasty. And healthy!

What’s your favorite spice blend or flavor profile? 

* S helped. In fact, he did most of the cleaning. Thanks, darlin’.