Smoky Vegan Black Bean Chili

This is a recipe that truly surprised me. After a whirlwind long weekend with family in town (my mom, my sister, and my two adorable—but energetic!—little nephews), I wanted to make something quick and easy for dinner last Monday night after our houseguests rolled out. Chili seemed like just the ticket. Without much fanfare and without trying to fancy it up, I quickly whipped up a batch of black bean chili. And it turned out to be one of the best chilis I’ve made in a while, despite having minimal ingredients. Smoky, hearty, richly flavored and beautifully textured, this chili is going to become a mainstay in my dinner repertoire.

Smoky, Spicy Vegan Black Bean Chili // govegga.com

The secret? Two simple techniques:

  • Use fewer spices, but more of them—lots of cumin and coriander provide rich flavor.
  • Don’t rinse the beans! Instead, leave them in their aquafabulous coating. This makes for a gorgeously thick sauce that holds everything together and binds the flavor.

My only regret? That I didn’t have enough ingredients on hand to make even more chili! This is a small batch, so feel free to double it. (I’d recommend not immediately doubling the serrano pepper and chili powder; instead, taste for spice and go from there.) You could also omit the mushrooms if you’re not a fan, but I really enjoyed how their soft texture played against the beans.

Smoky Vegan Black Bean Chili

Makes about 4 servings

  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8-10 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 serrano chili, minced
  • 1 heaping tsp cumin
  • 1 heaping tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoky chili powder
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 15 oz fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 32-oz can black beans (Drain (and save!) the aquafaba, but do not rinse the beans themselves; you’ll add them directly from the can with whatever aquafaba remains)

Method

In a large stockpot, heat a tablespoon or so of olive oil over medium heat, then add the onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Add the mushrooms and let cook for another 3 minutes, then add the garlic and serrano chili. Sauté for another 3 minutes, then add the spices (cumin, coriander, oregano, and chili powder) and stir to coat. Cook for another 30 seconds, then add the tomato sauce, fire-roasted tomatoes, and black beans. Bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Taste for spice and salt, then serve with your favorite chili toppings!

Notes

  • I used piment d’espelette, a really lovely chili powder my brother and his girlfriend got me for Christmas from a Seattle spice shop they frequent. You can find piment d’espelette on Amazon or just use whatever chili powder you have on hand.
  • I didn’t add extra salt because the tomato sauce and fire-roasted tomatoes I used contained salt. Your mileage may vary; check your brand of tomatoes and adjust salt accordingly.

PIN IT

Smoky, Spicy Vegan Black Bean Chili // govegga.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my links, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

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Oven-Baked Sweet Potato and Kale Patties

Happy 2017, pals! After the craziness of Vegan MoFo in November, I went 100% radio silent in December. What can I say? The holidays are always so busy, and since November was a mad rush of cooking, baking, recipe-writing, photographing, and blogging, I was pretty much spent when it ended. Let’s just call it a hiatus and move on!

I nearly always enter a new year with a few weeks of vegan cookie binging behind me, ready to incorporate just a little more good green food into my diet. It’s not that I don’t eat healthy foods during the holidays (I think I’ve eaten my weight in clementines in the past month!), but I tend to also eat lots of baked goods and indulgences. January seems like a natural time to re-calibrate and reset my eating patterns. Is it a resolution? Nah, just an intention to include more nourishing ingredients in my meals.

So in that spirit, today I bring you some simple oven-baked veggie patties, inspired by the sweet potato and mung bean croquettes I made a few years back. This recipe again features sweet potatoes as a base, but it also incorporates a handful of steamed kale and some crumbled tempeh for extra protein. I kept the flavors simple — fresh ginger, soy sauce, and curry powder — but you can add whatever spices appeal to you. The final step (brushing the patties with melted coconut oil and broiling for a few minutes) adds a little crunch and some extra flavor, but it’s totally optional; feel free to omit it if you’re cutting down on added fats.

Baked Sweet Potato and Kale Patties // vegan // govegga.com

Baked Sweet Potato and Kale Patties

Makes 12 patties

  • 1.5 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 block tempeh, crumbled into small pieces
  • About 2 cups kale, chopped finely (measure loosely after slicing)
  • 1/3 cup scallions, sliced thin (measure after slicing)
  • 1/4 C coconut flour (or other flour; coconut adds a little nutty flavor)
  • 1.5 T freshly grated ginger
  • 1.5 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 T curry powder
  • 1/2 T coconut oil, melted (optional)

Method

Begin by steaming the tempeh and the chopped sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. While they’re steaming, you can finely chop the kale and slice the scallions. Set both aside.

When the potatoes are done, add them and the tempeh to a large mixing bowl. Let them cool slightly while you steam the kale just until soft, about 3 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400˚F and spray a baking sheet with oil (or line with parchment paper).

Using a wooden spoon, mash the sweet potatoes and tempeh mixture. Add the scallions, ginger, coconut flour, soy sauce, curry powder, and kale, and mix thoroughly. Then use your hands to form about 1/4 cup of the mixture into patties about 2″ across and 3/4″ thick; you should have enough of the mixture to make 12 patties. Place on the prepared sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes, then brush the patties with the melted coconut oil and broil for 5 minutes, just until they start to brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.

~~~

These soft fork-tender patties are best eaten drizzled with your favorite sauce, alongside a big helping of veggies. You could try this peanutty coconut sauce or this similar curried version.

PIN IT

Baked Sweet Potato and Kale Patties // vegan // govegga.com

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my links, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

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Veganized Pepper Steak

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Four: Memories and Traditions

One of last year’s MoFo prompts was to veganize a family recipe. Pressed for time, I didn’t actually make the recipe I chose: pepper steak. It’s been on my to-make list for literally a year, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to it — till now.

Original pepper steak recipe

A frequent fixture at family dinners, pepper steak reads to me like a retro ’70s throwback: not very fancy, maybe a little odd (ketchup + soy sauce), but total comfort food. We always served it over mashed potatoes, where the brown sauce could shine.

It’s been more than 10 years since I’ve eaten meat, and at least that long since I had pepper steak. I was curious whether the vegan version would bring me back to those childhood meals in my grandparents’ dark wood paneled kitchen. It did, 100%. And Steven — who’d never tried this retro delicacy — enjoyed it too.

Vegan pepper steak // govegga.com

As you can see by comparing the recipe card and my recipe, I had to modify the method a bit to accommodate vegan beef strips, which don’t exactly stand up to an hour in a pan of hot liquid. But that just means this recipe comes together much quicker than the original — you’ll get it on the table in less than 30 minutes. (If serving over mashed potatoes, you can easily make them in this amount of time — just get the potatoes boiling before you start the pepper steak.)

Vegan Pepper Steak

Serves 2-3

  • 1 T neutral oil, like canola
  • 1/2 white onion, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 large green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 package vegan beef strips (Gardein, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans)
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 C ketchup
  • 1/2 T cornstarch whisked with 1 T cold water
  • Mashed potatoes to serve

Method

In a large saucepan, heat the oil on medium. Sauté onions for about 3 minutes, then add peppers. Sauté for another 5 minutes, then add the beef strips. (Pour in a little vegetable broth if the pan gets dry.) Cook for another 5 minutes, then add the wet ingredients and simmer for ~7 minutes. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce to thicken, then turn heat to low. Once the sauce has thickened slightly, serve over mashed potatoes.

PIN IT

Vegan pepper steak // govegga.com

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Gratin

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Four: Memories and Traditions

Memories and traditions! An appropriate theme this week. Today I bring you a recipe that’s not quite a tradition, but does hearken back to a dish my family served pretty frequently at holidays: scalloped potatoes. But this version features squash instead of potatoes, and a creamy cashew-based sauce instead of cheese.

Sometimes I think that squash varieties don’t quite match their names. With gorgeous, ethereal names like butternut, delicata, and pattypan, you expect something light and, well, delicate. Instead, you get an oddly thick, bulbous, often warty fruit that is decidedly not delicate. But it’s what’s inside that counts, and squashes lend themselves so well to dozens of applications.

Creamy vegan butternut squash gratin // govegga.com

This savory butternut squash recipe would not be out of place doubled and served as a side for Thanksgiving dinner. Roasting squash brings out its inherent sweetness, and seasonal herbs (sage, thyme) add a complementary savory note. A beautifully simple yet complexly flavorful cashew cream sauce elevates the dish, and a sprinkling of toasted panko adds just a little crunch. Thanks to the coconut milk and cashews in the sauce, this dish is surprisingly filling and nutrient-rich; you might be surprised that you’re full after a small helping! Eat straight out of the oven for optimal deliciousness.

Creamy Butternut Squash Gratin

Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish

For the squash

1 butternut squash
5-7 fresh sage leaves, rolled and sliced into ribbons
2 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 tsp salt
fresh black pepper
1.5 – 2 T olive oil (start with less and add more if needed for a larger squash)
2-3 T panko

For the cashew cream sauce

1/2 cup whole raw cashews, either soaked for 6 hours ahead of time or boiled for 15 minutes
1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 large clove garlic
2 T nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt (or more, to taste)

Method

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Using a sharp knife, cut each end off the squash, then cut it half both vertically and horizontally. Stand each piece on end and use your knife to cut off the peel, then scoop out the seeds with a fork. Slice the squash into half-moon shapes about 3/4″ thick.

Combine the olive oil, sliced sage, thyme, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper to a large mixing bowl, then add the squash slices. Stir to coat evenly, then add the squash to a 9 x 13″ glass casserole dish.

Bake for 20 minutes while you prepare the cream sauce.

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend/process until you have a smooth, creamy sauce. It will be fairly thin — that’s okay. Taste and adjust for salt. Set cream aside while the squash bakes.

At the 20 minutes mark, use a fork to check whether the squash is done. You want it just about tender. Remove from the oven and pour the sauce over the squash; aim to drizzle it and don’t worry about coating each piece.

Return the dish to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle the panko on top; you want a nice layer. Broil the casserole for 2-3 minutes and remove just as the panko begins to turn golden brown.

Let sit for about 3 minutes, then serve.

 

Easy Greens and Grains Bowl

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Three: Rainbow Week

This is a bit of a cheat post. I haven’t really got a new recipe for you, just a template for making a filling, healthy greens ‘n grains bowl. Mine featured steamed kale from the garden (hoorah for cold-weather produce!), lots of quinoa, five-spice toasted tamari almonds, and a miso-maple sauce to pull everything together.

Greens & Grains Bowl // govegga.com

This pretty, colorful bowl was delicious, and it took me 50 minutes to eat because I’m the world’s slowest chomper. (I know it was 50 minutes because I watched an entire episode of The Fall while eating dinner. Normally I’m not a fan of eating in front of the screen (iPad, in my case), but Steven’s out of town and hey, you gotta live it up when you’ve got the house to yourself.)

I don’t eat bowls like this often enough. I do love simple meals, like a giant plate of roasted veggies and baked tofu, but bowls haven’t made it onto my dinner rotation — and that’s a shame. They’re endlessly versatile and eminently healthful, and I’d love to hear your favorite combinations. This template provides the perfect balance of greens, grains, and a crunchy topping.

Greens & Grains Bowl Template

Serves 1; easily doubled

  • Large handful hearty greens, like kale or chard
  • ~1/2 cup uncooked grains, like quinoa, bulgur wheat, or millet
  • 1/3 cup your favorite sauce, like maple-miso
  • 1/3 cup toasted nuts, like tamari almonds

Method

Start cooking grains according to package (or internet!) instructions. While they cook, make toasted nuts according to the recipe you’re using.

Wash and tear the greens into bite-sized pieces. When your grains are about 10 minutes away from being cooked, put a pot of water on to boil. Steam greens for about 5 minutes or until desired level of tenderness. Whisk together the sauce while the greens are steaming.

To serve, layer the greens at the bottom of a large bowl and scoop in the grains. Pour on sauce, top with nuts, and enjoy.

PIN IT

Greens & Grains Bowl // govegga.com

Hearty, Protein-Rich Veggie Stew

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Three: Rainbow Week

A coworker recently asked for suggestions of bulk lunch ideas — things she could make and freeze and have ready. I’ll admit I was stumped for a minute. What do I even eat for lunch!?  Sure, I have a few sandwich recipes, but my typical workday lunches are much simpler, usually a cobbled-together assortment of snacks or leftovers. But then my brain jump-started itself and I realized that most of my lunches are exactly what she was looking for: recipes made in bulk(ish), often for dinner, then saved and eaten as leftovers for lunch. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Hearty, protein-rich vegan veggie stew // govegga.com

Take, for example, this hearty veggie stew (that just happens to be bright red — perfect for rainbow week). I grabbed a few fridge and pantry items and combined them to make a super-filling, protein-rich stew that keeps you surprisingly satiated, thanks in part to bulgur wheat and TVP. It’s a versatile recipe you can adjust based on what’s in the house, though I highly recommend adding the whole cherry tomatoes if you have them — they add a beautiful pop of acidic flavor. (My tomato plants soldiered on well into this unusually warm fall, and I’ve still got some sitting on my counter!) It’s a disarmingly simple stew, but the addition of sharp paprika gives it a nice little kick.

This is one of those simple meals that I tend to overlook when planning dinner (and its resultant leftover lunches).  After all, it’s “just” a vegetable stew. But it’s also incredibly nutritious and immensely flavorful. Just the ticket as we move in to the winter and start craving warmth.

Hearty Veggie Stew

Serves 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced roughly
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Half a cabbage, sliced into ribbons about 2″ long
  • 5-6 cremini mushrooms, sliced or chopped into chunks (optional)
  • 3 large carrots, sliced into half-moon rounds
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can white beans
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup TVP
  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat (or additional TVP)
  • 1 cup veg broth (I use Better Than Bouillon Reduced-Sodium Vegetable Base)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (depending on the saltiness of your veg broth)

Method

Heat oil in a large stock pot over low-medium heat, then add the garlic. Sauté for a minute but do not let burn. Add the spices and stir to coat the garlic, then add the cabbage and carrots. Turn the heat up to medium and sauté for another 5 minutes before adding the crushed tomatoes and white beans. Cook for another 3 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients except salt and pepper. Simmer the stew for at least 15 minutes, but ideally longer, until all ingredients are soft. Salt and pepper to taste, then eat.

Notes

  • Feel free to sub other veggies for the carrots and cabbage — this is just what I had on hand. You could also add some leafy greens at the end if you’d like.
  • For a spicier stew, add a dash of cayenne pepper.
  • To stretch this recipe and bulk it up even further, add 1 – 1 1/2 cups cooked small pasta to the finished stew. Ditalini works great!

PIN IT

Hearty, protein-rich vegan veggie stew // govegga.com

Sweet Potato Pie in a Pecan-Date Crust (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Three: Rainbow Week

A few years back, the phrase “sweet potato pie” would’ve made me pull a face and retch theatrically. I became a sweet potato fan in my early to mid twenties, after side-eying them dubiously for much of my life. (That ol’ sweet-when-it-should-be-savory distaste again.) But after going vegan and encouraging myself to try foods I thought I didn’t care for, I found that with the proper preparation, even previously off-limits ingredients like squash and sweet potatoes could be quite enjoyable.

So today I’m bringing a beautiful toasty orange color into rainbow week with a creamy sweet potato pie ensconced in a nutty pecan crust. Sweetened by dates and maple syrup, this pie elevates the humble sweet potato to Thanksgiving dessert status. If time isn’t on your side or you’ve got someone with a nut allergy at the table, feel free to substitute your favorite regular ol’ pie crust. (And pardon my cake tin in the photos below — I don’t have a “real” pie pan!)

Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan-Date Crust // govegga.com

This pie comes together surprisingly easily after you’ve measured out the ingredients and pitted the dates. You actually won’t need any mixing bowls: the crust ingredients are whizzed up in the food processor, while the pie filling gets combined right in your blender. The hardest part is probably waiting for it to cool! But make sure you do; you want it to solidify so it cuts well and doesn’t melt onto your plate.

Bonus: Assuming your oats and cornstarch are certified gluten-free, you’re on your way towards making a beautiful vegan, gluten-free sweet potato pie sure to please everyone.

Serve with your favorite vegan whipped cream (coconut, aquafaba, Soyatoo) for a decadent treat. <3

Sweet Potato Pie in a Pecan-Date Crust

For the crust
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates (about 16 dates)
  • 2/4 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 T coconut oil (solid)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the pie
  • 2 cups sweet potato, baked and mashed (measure after baking)
  • 1/3 cup aquafaba
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 T coconut oil
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp ginger (depending on how much of a kick you like)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash cloves

Method

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

First, make the crust. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until crumbly. The mixture should hold together if you scoop it into a ball and press it between your hands. Prepare a pie pan by spraying liberally with oil, then use your hands to press the crust into the pan, pushing it up the sides by 1/2″ to 3/4″.

Next, prepare the filling by blending all ingredients in a high-speed blender. (A regular one will likely work, but I’d recommend soaking the dates first.) Pour into the crust and use a spatula to spread evenly, then bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is set. Chill for at least three hours before serving.

Notes

  • If maple syrup breaks the budget, feel free to substitute agave nectar instead. Brown sugar would also likely work, though I haven’t tried it.
  • I recommend baking the potatoes a day in advance to save time. Just put them in the oven alongside anything else you’re cooking, then on the day you make the pie, they’ll be cool and easy to pop out of the skins.
  • I got the idea to use aquafaba from another blogger who made a pumpkin pie using it, but I can’t recall who it is. Thanks for the tip!

PIN IT

Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie with a Pecan-Date Crust // govegga.com

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

Thai Curry Stuffed Poblano Peppers

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Three: Rainbow Week

Welcome to rainbow week, where the focus is on colorful foods that span the spectrum! Though today’s recipe would be equally at home during international week: tender roasted poblano peppers stuffed with a Thai curry-inspired quinoa filling. But once I assembled these little beauties and saw how vibrant and colorful they were, I knew they’d fit perfectly during Rainbow Week. Just look at them, pre-oven:

Vegan Thai Curry Stuffed Poblano Peppers // govegga.com

Gorgeous, no? And not so difficult to make, either. You’ll cook up some quinoa in a mix of water and coconut milk, adding more coconut milk towards the end to keep the filling nice and creamy — and to help it stay together. Think of it as more of a risotto than your traditional light and fluffy quinoa preparation. Mix in some sauteed ginger, garlic, and jewel-bright orange peppers, stuff everything into halved poblanos, and roast to perfection.

In the meantime, you’ll whip up a dead-easy sauce with just three ingredients: coconut milk, peanut buttery, and Thai curry paste (plus salt if you’d like). Drizzle it on just before serving and call it a day.

Vegan Thai Curry Stuffed Poblano Peppers // govegga.com

Thai Curry Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Peanut-Coconut Sauce

Serves 2-3 as a main

For the peppers
  • 1 C quinoa
  • 1 1/4 C water
  • 1 C + 1/2 C coconut milk, separated
  • 1 T Thai red curry paste (more if you like extra heat)
  • 1/2 T coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T ginger, grated
  • 1 orange or red pepper, diced
  • 4 poblano peppers
For the sauce
  • Scant 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 T Thai red curry paste
  • Dash salt (to taste)

First, start preparing the quinoa. Add the quinoa, water, 1 cup coconut milk, and Thai curry paste to a medium saucepot and heat on medium-high. Stir to incorporate the paste. Heat until boiling, cover, then turn down to medium-low and cook for 10 minutes or until all liquid is soaked in, stirring occasionally.

While the quinoa is cooking, heat the coconut oil in a small pan on low and add the garlic. Sauté for a minute, watching closely so it doesn’t burn, then add the ginger. Stir to combine and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the diced pepper and turn the heat up to medium-low. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the pepper is soft. Turn off stove and remove from heat.

When all the liquid is soaked in to the quinoa, remove cover, turn heat to low, and stir in the extra 1/2 cup coconut milk, adding a few tablespoons at a time and stirring when you add it, until just absorbed. Turn off heat.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚F, grab a 9″ x 9″ baking pan,  and prepare the poblanos for stuffing. Slice them in half, shake out seeds, and remove any pith.

To stuff the peppers, it’s easiest to squeeze them in one hand while using your other hand to spoon in the filling. Press down with the spoon to spread it throughout the pepper. Fill just to the top. (Reserve any extra quinoa for spooning over the cooked poblanos later.)

Place stuffed poblanos in a baking dish (see photo), cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for another 10 minutes.

While baking, make the sauce. Whisk all sauce ingredients in a small bowl, salting to taste, and set aside.

When the peppers are tender, remove from the oven and let sit for a minute or two. Drizzle with the sauce and serve.

Notes
  • For a less spicy version, use four green bell peppers instead. Slice the tops off, remove seeds and pith, and stuff.
  • Feel free to add additional veggies to the quinoa mixture; just be sure to chop them small.

PIN IT!

Vegan Thai Curry Stuffed Poblano Peppers // govegga.com

Chai Hot Toddy

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Two: International Week

It’s Friday, and I’m still bummed (understatement of the month) about the election. Given that last Friday I featured an alcoholic drink, I decided that I’d do the same thing this Friday. New MoFo tradition! And a way to salve my aching soul! So today I bring you a vegan chai hot toddy: the perfect beverage to sip on a cold night as you wonder what the hell went wrong and/or make plans to enact your vagenda of manocide.

How does this relate to international week, you ask? According to my sources (read: things I found on the internet), the hot toddy is a drink of British extraction by way of India. (Apparently there is an actual “toddy” palm tree, and the sap featured in the earliest of these drinks.) Today’s hot toddy differs quite a bit from its earliest form, and not just because we omit the toddy palm sap these days: the original British toddy was not hot at all, and was in fact served cold.

Vegan chai hot toddy // govegga.com

I think we can all agree that chilly November nights call for something warm, however, and you’d better believe that my hot toddy is gonna be piping hot. I typically make them with black tea, but today I decided to make it with chai as a nod to the toddy’s Indian heritage, and the warming spices are a perfect addition. I used a pre-made chai blend — this Bhakti Fiery Masala Chai is my current favorite. If you prefer a DIY version, try this chai masala blend. Feel free to adjust the sweetener to taste; depending on how fiery your chai is, you might want a little more agave.

Chai Hot Toddy

Serves 1

  • 8 oz hot water
  • 1 serving chai (tea bag or loose-leaf blend)
  • 1 T agave nectar
  • Dash vanilla extract (about 1/8 tsp; optional)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz. blended whiskey (don’t use your fancy single-malt here!)

Method

Pour the hot water over the tea bag and stir in the agave nectar and vanilla extract, if using. Steep to your preferred strength, then add remaining ingredients, stir, and enjoy.

Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

Welsh Cakes — Vegan Welsh Griddle Cakes

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week Two: International Week

After featuring an Irish recipe on Monday and an English recipe on Tuesday, I figured it was incumbent upon me to hit all the nations of the British Isles. Today we go to Wales for a disarmingly simple treat: Welsh cakes. Traditionally baked on a cast-iron griddle over a fire, these subtly sweet biscuits typically feature currants. Given my lack of an open flame (well, other than my living room fireplace!) and dislike for raisins, I opted for dried apricot-filled cakes baked on the stove in a cast-iron pan. Close enough? Close enough.

Vegan Traditional Welsh Cakes // govegga.com

Many traditional recipes also use a smidge of mixed spice, a spice blend not too common in the United States. Since the amount of spice in these recipes is so small (1/4 – 1/2 tsp), I opted instead to use a dash of a few spices. If you’re the type of person who panics when you see “a dash” or “a pinch” in a recipe, use a 1/8 teaspoon and fill it about halfway. If you don’t have all of these spices, again, no worries. Just use what you’ve got.

I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been to Wales — it’s my last UK nation to visit, and trust me, it’s on my list! (Hello, have you seen how beautiful this country is?!) I’ll have to find some vegan Welsh cakes once I get there.

Vegan Welsh Cakes

Makes 14-16 cakes

  • 1 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (measured loosely)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pinch each of ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and mace
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter
  • 3 T vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried fruit (I used dried apricots, chopped small)
  • 1 Ener-G egg made according to package instructions, then whisked  with scant 1/4 C almond milk

Method

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your clean fingers, rub in the vegan butter and shortening to make a crumbly mixture.

Next, stir in the sugar and dried fruit, then add the egg and milk mixture. Combine to form a stiff dough, kneading with your hands if necessary. Tip onto a clean, floured surface and roll until about 1/4″ thick. Use a biscuit cutter or glass to cut out cakes.

Preheat a cast-iron pan on medium-low and add a small pat of butter. When melted, add 5-7 cakes (depending on the size of your pan) and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes, until golden-brown. Flip and cook for the same amount of time on the other side. Make sure that your cast-iron pan doesn’t get too hot and be sure to adjust the temperature between batches. If the cakes cook too fast on the outside, the middle will still be doughy.

Best eaten piping hot off the pan, with butter and a little sugar drizzled on top.

Notes

  • I opted for a commercial egg replacer (Ener-G) in this recipe because it seemed like a flax egg would be too obtrusive. Feel free to give it a try, though!
  • I used a vegan butter and shortening blend because some Welsh cake recipes require both butter and lard, and I wanted to provide a few different types of fat. (I like Spectrum Naturals shortening.) You can use vegan butter only, if you’d like.
  • Don’t let my personal issue with raisins/currents prevent you from trying the more traditional dried fruit!

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Vegan Traditional Welsh Cakes // govegga.com

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