windowbirdvegan

Today was a delightfully busy Saturday which involved work, poetry readings, and exchanging pleasantries with friends. Before I knew it, I was home at 9:30 pm and realized I completely bypassed dinner! Needing something quick to make, I scoured my cupboards and came up with this easy One Pot Mac n Uncheese. This recipe includes only ingredients that happened to be in my pantry, and I stirred it all up in one pot. This made only a couple servings which was fine as I am one single lady and eat my comfort food all to myself. You could double this recipe to use a full pound of pasta, if you are cooking for a larger group or would like more leftovers! This is seriously so god damn easy you’ll think this is a trap.

Ingredients:
8 oz pasta noodles (and appropriate water amount according to directions)
1 tbsp earth balance
1.5 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp paprika
Splash of coconut milk or other plain, unsweetened nondairy milk.
Salt and pepper to taste.

*Optional: a handful of green onions, chopped cherry tomatoes, broccoli, or kale is one of my favourite additions to vegan mac!*

Instructions:
1. Following pasta cooking instructions (durrr), boil appropriate amount of water with a little bit of sea salt. Do not add oil to the water, this actually causes coatings to slip off of pasta! In the above picture, I used shells but also love elbows, spirals, anything with a bit of shape to hold the sauce. This recipe is gluten free if you use pasta made from quinoa, corn, rice, etc.
2. When pasta has cooked, strain thoroughly and add back to pot. Remove from heat, and stir in Earth Balance. (Had I any coconut oil, I’d had used it. Coconut oil is awesome.)
3. Once Earth Balance has been melted in, feel free to squirt in lemon juice. Then add nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powder, spices, and a little yellow mustard. Stir so that pasta is thoroughly coated. From here, use your discretion as to how much “milk” you would like to add. I poured in just about a tbsp or two of coconut milk to make this dish nice and creamy. You can use any kind of dairy alternative.
4. Toss in any vegetables at this point, if adding! At this point I like to grind way too much pepper onto my food, and then I’m done!

This recipe seriously took like three steps, and required no pseudo cheese storebought products, which is something I’ve been avoiding lately. The ingredients are mostly staple items that can usually be found in the kitchen of any vegan! Enjoy. :)

Vegan Caesar Salad

WHAT IN THE HELL?! YOU’RE A VAY-GUN AND YOU WON’T EAT A DAMN CAESAR SALAD? IT’S JUST LETTUCE!

This is a sentiment often expressed to me when I turn down a Caesar Salad at most dinner parties (best read in a redneck Albertan voice). Aside from the obvious bacon bits and parmesan often accompanying one of North America’s favourite salads, most caesar salad dressings typically also include egg yolk and even anchovy paste. I have spent more time than I care to admit seeking the perfect Caesar dressing recipe, but most recipes I’ve come across have included soft tofu which gives me the willies. Finally, through experimentation with various dressings and recipes, I think I’ve found something that works. It might not be perfect as I have not eaten a “proper” Caesar salad in about 13 years, but I enjoy it.

Ingredients:
1 head of Romaine Lettuce

For dressing
¼ cup water
juice of one lemon (about 3-4 tbsp)
2 tbsp braggs
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2.5 tbsp slivered almonds
2 cloves garlic
1.5 tbsp Dijon mustard

For homemade croutons:
½ baguette, or 4-5 slices of french bread, ripped up into little cube-ish shapes.
2 tbsp of melted Earth Balance
1 tsp each garlic powder, dried rosemary, dried thyme

Instructions:
1. Start with the croutons because they will take longest. Toss bread cubes into melted earth balance and add herbs and garlic powder.
2. Spread croutons in a single layer on a non stick pan, and bake at 300 degrees farenheit until they are nice and crisp. Baking time depends on thickness of cubes and what kind of bread you use, but mine normally take roughly 25 minutes :)
4. For dressing, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. If you don’t have one of these fancy devices, no worries! Simply replace the slivered almonds with blanched, ground ones, and shake everything up in a tightly sealed mason jar! My favourite way to make dressing. Pleeeease don’t omit the almonds- they do so much for the texture of this dressing.
5. Once croutons have cooked, toss dressing and croutons with torn romaine lettuce.

To dress this salad up, or to turn it into an entree, I often add some tofu or tempeh rilled with a little braggs and liquid smoke on top for protein. This recipe is also perfect if you’ve just so happened to make Veganomicon’s Chickpea Cutlets, (http://www.theppk.com/2010/11/doublebatch-chickpea-cutlets/), and feel like cutting some up and throwing it over a salad! Happy eating! :)