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

Editor’s note: This post includes affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.

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The Open-Faced Sandwich I Didn’t Know I Was Missing

I’ve never been a fan of mayonnaise. I’ve never been one to slather it thickly on a sandwich or sneak a spoonful of it or use it, heaven forbid, as a dip. Blech! Even recipes that rely on large amounts of it for creaminess (potato salad; slaw) make me nervous. I don’t want to taste it, I just want to use it as a glue on a sandwich or as the otherwise unnoticeable base of a salad or slaw.

But then I discovered the tomato-mayo open-faced sandwich. I could ask where it’s been all my life, but I already have the answer: in the American South, served up on a hot day, probably alongside a pitcher of sweet tea.

That’s why I — Yankee by birth, Midwesterner by college/first-job choice, Mid-Atlantic…er… by current situation — was unfamiliar with it. But man, I was missing out. Because when you take delicious, quality bread, toast it gently, spread it with mayo, heap on freshly sliced tomatoes, and sprinkle a little salt on top, you get a transcendent summer sandwich.

The return of warm-weather lunches. 🌱🍅😍 #whatveganseat

A post shared by Kelly (@kelmishka) on

Now, tomato-mayo sandwich purists might balk at my usage of anything but grocery store white bread, but come on, that’s not my style. I used a white sourdough here and it was perfection. I recommend something neutral in flavor; this isn’t the place for your seven-grain swirled rye masterpiece.

In case you’ve never made one before, here is my take on this summer delight. I can’t wait till I have my own garden-fresh tomatoes to use in it. Come on, summer!

Vegan Tomato-Mayo Sandwich

Serves 1

  • 2 pieces neutral-flavored bread
  • 1-2 TB vegan mayonnaise (I like Just Mayo)
  • 1 tomato, thickly sliced
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Pepper flakes (optional; I like piment d’espelette)
  • Sprouts (optional)

Method

Lightly toast bread. You want it just a bit crispy, but not at all blackened. Spread mayo on one side of each slice to taste, then layer on the tomato slices and sprouts (if using). Sprinkle sea salt and pepper flakes (if using) on top. Eat and enjoy.

PIN ME!

Vegan open-faced tomato-mayo sandwich // govegga.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Favorite Sandwich + a Savory Marinated Tofu Recipe

VeganMoFo 2015 banner

Day 5: Best sandwich ever.

I love and hate today’s prompt. Love, because a good sandwich can be sublime. When quality bread meets fresh veggies, a savory protein, and a spreadable fat, beautiful things happen. Hate, because best ever?! How am I supposed to decide? I haven’t tasted all the sandwiches! It’s too much pressure! I can’t do it!

What I can do, however, is share my absolute favorite go-to sandwich, the one I make when I have a little prep time. It doesn’t sound like much more than a glorified TLT, but the flavor profile is totally different thanks to sauerkraut and Dijon mustard. This “recipe” is also flexible; you can modify it based on whatever veggies and toppings you have in the house. Just make sure to include the marinated tofu!

Marinated Tofu Sandwich

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Quality bread. Homemade is great, but today I’m using Trader Joe’s sourdough pane. I usually prefer a grainier bread, but this is what I have!
  • Spread. Vegan mayonnaise and a good Dijon mustard work perfectly here. Don’t use anything with too much unique flavor, like pesto.
  • Sauerkraut. It adds such a perfect tang!
  • Sprouts. I used home-sprouted mung beans. You don’t need anything fancy; these were only sprouted for a day! I use a Handy Pantry stacking sprout garden and love it, but you can go old-school with a jar and cheesecloth.
  • Marinated Sandwich Tofu. See below! You can make this in advance and use it cold, or eat it hot off the pan. Mmm.
  • Veggies. Sliced fresh tomatoes and a few pieces of lettuce are my go-to. I’ll also add some avocado if I have it!

Marinated Tofu Sandwich

Marinated Sandwich Tofu

Serves two to three

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu (14-16 oz), pressed for at least an hour (if you have time)
  • 2 T low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • Scant 1/2 T vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp hot sauce like Frank’s (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup or maple sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Dash liquid smoke (more if you’re particularly fond of the flavor)

In a large container with an airtight lid, whisk together all the marinate ingredients (everything except the tofu). It might not look like much marinade, but it’s enough!

Prep your pressed tofu by laying it down on a cutting board and cutting it in half. Turn those two halves on their sides and slice them into four wide slices each, for a total of eight large slices.

Using a fork, poke a few shallow holes in each slab of tofu. Don’t poke too deeply; you’re not trying to go all the way through. You just want to create a few more nooks and crannies for the marinade to penetrate.

One slice of tofu at a time, place each side of the tofu in the marinade so all sides are coated. Depending on the size of your container, you might have enough room for all the tofus to lay flat. If not, you can stack them once they’re coated on each side. Cover the container and refrigerate it.

Marinate for at least 30 minutes, gently flipping the container over halfway through.

When you’re ready to cook the tofu, heat a little vegetable or olive oil in a heavy pan on low-medium heat — I like to use cast iron — and cook as many tofus as fit comfortably at a time. Don’t overcrowd it, though, or you’ll break a tofu! Cook for about 4 minutes on either side, but you can cook for longer if you want a crispy crust.

To assemble the sandwich, toast two slices of bread per sandwich very lightly. Spread liberally with mustard, mayo, or whatever spread you’re using. Place two slices of tofu on one slice of bread and a pile of sauerkraut on the other, being sure to let the sauerkraut drain for a second before adding it so the sandwich isn’t too watery. Then pile on the other ingredients, smoosh together, slice in half, and get your nom on!

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Sandwich

It’s one of the great thrills of my life to hear someone (usually S!) exclaim “Mmm!” after biting into something I’ve made from an original recipe. (Cue the jokes about my boring life.) Truly, though, the sensation of pride and pleasure I feel when I’m feeding someone delicious animal-free food is a unique delight. Last week, I made this amazing pumpkin bundt cake for a coworker’s birthday celebration, and I reveled in the sighs of happiness I heard from my well-fed coworkers. And tonight, when S gave a loud and enthusiastic “Mmm!” after trying this cheesy, tomato-y sandwich, I was similarly pleased.

I’ve been mulling over the idea of a thick, bean-based cheesy sandwich spread for a few weeks. Happy Herbivore has a cheesy spread that makes a decent grilled cheese, but it’s not particularly filling. I wanted to create something with a little more nutritional oomph. Enter the beans! This sandwich combines the classic pairing of grilled cheese and tomato soup into a thick, savory spread that doesn’t taste at all beany. I love it on sourdough, but you can use your favorite sandwich bread.

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Sandwich

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Sandwich
Serves 3 or 4, depending on your spread thickness preferences!

  • 15 oz. Great Northern beans
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 slices bread per sandwich

In a blender or food processor, combine the beans, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and tomato paste until the beans are pureed and spreadable. Add the remaining ingredients and continue processing or blending until you have a thick, uniform spread.

Transfer the spread to a small saucepot and heat on low. In the meantime, prepare the bread the way you like it best. I like to butter it on both sides and toast it in a pan, but you can also use a toaster or toaster oven. Once the spread is heated through and the bread is toasted, add a few tablespoons of spread to the bread, make the sandwich, and enjoy!

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup Sandwich

Truth be told, I’ve never been a huge tomato soup fan, but as part of a cheesy sandwich spread? I dig it!

What’s your favorite sandwich spread or grilled “cheese” recipe?

Vegan on the Go: O’Happy at O’Hare!

DUDES. I discovered the most amazing thing in O’Hare airport this morning! Check it:

O M G!

Initially I was a little confused as to why that banner was there – it was on one of those closed-off, in-construction type areas where they were obviously building a new eating establishment, so originally I thought it was saying that this was a “coming soon” type of thing. But then I realized that it was right across from the actual/current location of Cibo Express, so I realized it was an advertising tactic. Anyway, it worked – I could not resist investigating a vegan option! Not being a Portland native with vegan options hitting me in the face every time I turn a corner, I still get giddy and excited whenever I see the word VEGAN in the rEaL wOrLd.

And OH MY WORD! I was so thrilled to discover that Cibo had tons prepared, ready-to-eat, veg foods! Fruit cups, [various types of] sushi, packages of hummus and veggies, even [an admittedly tiny] KALE SALAD! And sandwiches GALORE, all explicitly marked as vegan! They had a jerk tofu one that looked particularly good, along with more varieties that I can’t remember. I think all the sandwiches are made in a local Chicago restaurant and then sold at the airport, which is cool. And there were tons of yummy organic and healthy drink options, too. There were also some non-veggie items, but we won’t talk about that. ;) Here’s what I ended up getting:

Hey there, vegan yumminess!

I purchased this at 7:30 in the morning on my layover in O’Hare, thinkin’ I’d eat it on my flight from Chicago to Madison. For some reason the idea of a “chicken” salad sandwich, as boring as it might seem, was really appealing; since it was early, I didn’t want anything too spicy. But the Chicago-Madison flight is so short – and I was so busily knitting – that I didn’t end up eating it until I was back home, maybe around 10:45. Still, it was reallllly tasty, totally like the chicken salad of yore. My only complaint was that the bread was a little soggy, but maybe that’s because it was sitting in my giant purse for two hours. Oops. The iced tea was also delicious; I’d never seen that brand before but I enjoyed it; it was subtly flavored and very refreshing.

Needless to say, I’m thrilled to know that decent vegan eats exist at O’Hare; you can find Cibo Express between terminals 1 and 2, by the big plane that’s sort of suspended in an odd corner in some sort of display (clearly I wasn’t awake enough to absorb any more detail than that). I’m also thrilled that my company will reimburse me for this meal. ;)

Anyway, that’s all for the moment – I’m quite exhausted after this trip!* I still have one more on-the-go type post to share, but I’ll save it for later. And now I need to catch up on all the awesome MoFo posts I undoubtedly missed during the past few days – don’t be surprised if y’all receive boatloads of random comments tonight!

Have you ever found a surprise!vegan option at an airport or similar travel-type location?

* Proof: I originally typed “O’Hair” instead of “O’Hare” in this post. The Irish version of Hair, perhaps? Now I’m picturing lots of freckly redheads running around nakie and singing hippie songs. Hee hee hee.

Simple Saturday Sandwich

Hey-o! This poor ol’ blog is a bit dusty. I have tons of food pics from the last couple of weeks in iPhoto just waitin’ for their moment in the spotlight, but instead I’m just gonna post one from today. :)

Why, yes, I frequently put my plate on the living room floor... cough, cough.

That right tharrr is my Saturday lunch. Inspired by this Voracious Vegan post re: delicious marinated tofu, I whipped up a similar marinade of my own (lemon juice + soy sauce + a bit o’ balsamic vinegar + a small glug of olive oil + Bragg’s + a dash of curry powder). After letting a couple of pre-pressed tofu slices soak up that liquid for half an hour, I cooked ’em up and then made a simple sandwich of tofu + a tiny bit of Vegenaise (which I very rarely use) + ARUGULA FROM MY GARDEN. First harvest of the season, woo! With a side of carrot sticks and TJ’s tomato-basil hummus*, this made a delightful summer Saturday lunch, and the bottle of Fat Squirrel was the perfect accompaniment. Oh, Wisconsin, I love you and your local, vegan-friendly breweries!

*Kinda not a fan of this hummus. I usually prefer hummus of the simple garlic type, but sometimes I forget that and get distracted by the idea of more exciting hummus. Next time I will put on my blinders and make a beeline for the straight-up chickpeas + tahini + garlic variety.

Anybody else have a simple yet delicious Saturday meal?

Three Degrees of Experimental Failure

Today has been a day of experimentation, with – I’m sorry to say – generally dismal results. It began this morning when I decided that my typical Green Monster (banana/soy milk/kale/soy protein powder) was getting a little boring. Spotting a couple of kiwis sitting abandoned in the fruit bowl, I decided to conquer my fear of the fuzzy fruit and throw one in. I’m not sure why exactly I have an aversion to kiwis, to be honest. When I was young my mom used to cut them up for my siblings and I during the summer, and although VeggaSis and VeggaBro loved them, I… didn’t. But I’m all for giving food a second chance, so into the GM it went.

GM of dooooom.

Well. This GM was kiiinda nasty. First of all, the kale refused to blend nicely. Second, it tasted gross. At first I blamed the kiwi and set about gulping down the Monster, since I hate wasting food. But as I continued drinking – grimacing all the while – I realized that the disgusting taste was more along the lines of an unripe banana than anything. I don’t know about you guys, but there’s something about unripe bananas that makes me want to vomit. Actually, bananas in general have always been troublesome for me; as a kid I hated their texture, and their taste didn’t excite me enough to make me enjoy eating them. These days I can stomach ’em okay (well, most of the time), but today the unripe banana flavor in my GM defeated my willpower and after I gagged and nearly vomited (TMI, I know), I just couldn’t finish this Monster. At least I only had about half a cup left. MAJOR FAIL.

My next ‘speriment looked pretty innocent from the outside.

La la la, I am an ordinary sandwich...

Seems like your average peanut-butter-on-whole-wheat-flatbread sandwich, right? INCORRECT. Let’s reveal the secret ingredient that made this sammie so memorable!

SURPRISE!

Yes, folks, that is a peanut butter and onion sandwich right there. At some point during my web surfing this morning, I saw someone mention enjoying pb&o sandwiches and I had to learn more. A quick trip to VegWeb opened up the wide world of bizarro peanut butter sandwiches. Being a curious lady, I decided to give this rather unorthodox pairing a shot.

Honestly? I wasn’t feeling it. To be fair, it wasn’t nearly as disgusting as I’d anticipated; the flavors really did sort of cancel each other out. But overall it was just kind of odd. I didn’t toast it as the VegWeb “recipe” suggests, but I kind of doubt that would’ve made much of an improvement. So although it wasn’t utterly repulsive and I didn’t run to the toilet screaming after taking my first bite, I don’t anticipate trying this combo again any time soon. The flavor was just not worth having my mouth taste like onions for the rest of the afternoon. ;) MINOR FAIL.

My third and final experiment should’ve made up for my past two failures. The blog world has been raving about Gena’s banana soft serve for a couple of weeks now, so I thought it was high-time I gave this treat a go. Despite the fact that banana flavoring is not my top choice for any sort of icy treat, I was totally prepared to be amazed by the soft serve.

And, um, I was amazed, but in a terribly, terribly bad way. I was – and am – amazed that the frozen banana chunks appear to have killed the family food processor.

Ooops.

I haven’t told my parents about this yet, as it happened merely half an hour ago. But as soon as I turned on the food processor, it started jumping around and then stopped completely a few seconds later. All subsequent attempts to get it to work failed. I fear the worst. Again, MAJOR FAIL.

Sigh.