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Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

3 Aug

Garlic is perhaps one of the most popular seasonings used to flavor savory dishes, and just the sheer aroma alone is enough to make your mouth water. A relative to the onion, garlic is low in calories and free of fat, cholesterol and sugar (source). Want to know more? Check out my All About Garlic post.

When garlic is roasted, its pungency is reduced while its flavor is brought to the forefront. This makes it an excellent inclusion for sandwiches and wraps. In addition, you can kick up your salads by incorporating garlic into your dressings. Check out this recipe for Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing. Almonds lend themselves to this recipe by providing a nice, creamy consistency, all while providing a healthy dose of potassium, dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron and magnesium (source).

Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing

Creamy Roasted Garlic Salad Dressing
Yields approximately 1-1/2 cups

1/2 cup whole blanched unsalted almonds
1 cup + 3/4 cup filtered water, divided
1 bulb fresh garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Place almonds in a bowl and cover with 1 cup filtered water. Set aside and allow to soak for 8 hours, or overnight.

After almonds have soaked, preheat oven to 400° F. Cut off top quarter of garlic bulb and place on a piece of aluminum foil approximately 12″ by 12″ in size. Drizzle garlic with olive oil and wrap in foil. Bake garlic, cut side up, in preheated oven for 40-60 minutes, depending on flavor preference. Remove and allow to cool. Garlic should be very fragrant and golden brown in color. Once cooled, squeeze garlic cloves out of their skins and place in the bowl of a blender.

Drain and discard water from almonds. Add soaked almonds, 3/4 cup fresh filtered water and remaining ingredients to blender and puree until smooth, approximately 30-90 seconds, depending on your type of blender.


Easy Egg-Free Mayonnaise

20 Jul

Mayonnaise (or mayo for short) is a staple in households all over the world. Said to have originated in Spain, this creamy white condiment is used in various dishes both savory and sweet (source).

In traditional mayo, the lecithin contained in egg yolks serves as not only a thickener but an emulsifier, which stabilizes the mixture, allowing it to hold its shape. In other words, when something is emulsified, it allows two naturally repelling liquids (i.e. oil and water) to stick together. So how does one go about making an egg-free mayo? The answer: use alternative sources of fat and lecithin. Oil may be used in place of the fat. With regard to lecithin, various foods such as raw cauliflower and mustard naturally contain lecithin, but perhaps the most concentrated sources are soy and sunflower lecithin. These alternatives serve as excellent stand-ins and flawlessly replace the eggs.

This super easy Egg-Free Mayonnaise is made in under a minute. The result is a light, creamy, cholesterol-free mayonnaise that looks and tastes like it came straight from the grocery store. If you’re feeling fancy, you can easily flavor your mayo with whatever you choose such as garlic or fresh herbs.

Egg-Free Mayonnaise

Easy Egg-Free Mayonnaise
Yields just over 1 cup

1/2 cup organic unsweetened soy milk
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid soy lecithin*
1/2 scant teaspoon salt
1 cup organic canola oil

Using a blender with a 2-piece lid, combine first four ingredients and purée until smooth, approximately 10 seconds.

With the blender still running, carefully remove center part of lid and slowly add oil in a steady stream. Watch mixture closely and stop blender once mayonnaise becomes thick. You will know it is ready when the mixture no longer blends. This should take approximately 5-10 seconds. Be careful not to over-blend as doing so will result in a runny mayonnaise.

Scoop mixture into an air-tight container and store in refrigerator. Mayonnaise should keep for 2-3 weeks.

*If preferred, you may substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard in place of the soy lecithin. Resulting mayonnaise will have a slightly yellow color and may not be as thick.

Garlicky Mashed Potato and Stuffing Pierogi

17 Nov

Thanksgiving should bring with it the requirement for stretchy pants as it never fails…you finish your Thanksgiving meal and your pants are über tight from the mass amount of food you just ate. You then find a cozy place to rest while the uncomfortable feeling of fullness subsides. Why subject yourself to such torture? Because you’ve waited all year to eat this vast expanse of food, and this special day only comes once a year! Totally worth it!

With so many flavors and such a large variety of food, the gluttony that ensues during Thanksgiving is coupled with a time of thanks alongside loved ones. This holiday is a day that brings people together, and with it, compassion. Why not celebrate it by showing compassion for the turkeys and other animals? Below is a dish I created to encompass many people’s favorites: garlicky mashed potatoes and stuffing, enveloped in a fresh pasta shell, then drizzled with a savory brown gravy.

Pierogi are traditionally boiled, then baked or fried in butter and onions. To save you some work, however, I’ve just included the boiling step as they are delicious as is! If you want to fry them up after boiling, feel free to do so as this would contribute an added dimension of flavor. These pierogi are worth the time and they freeze well if you want to prepare them in advance.

Thanksgiving Pierogi

Garlicky Mashed Potato and Stuffing Pierogi
Yields 60-65 pierogi

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup non-dairy sour cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup + 1-2 tablespoons water

2 peeled and cubed russet potatoes
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
1-1/2 cups unflavored dry stuffing mix
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup regular unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

For the dough, mix together flour and salt in a bowl; set aside. In a separate large bowl combine sour cream and olive oil; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Add dry ingredients and stir until mixture becomes crumbly. Slowly add water, 1 cup, then 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir just until mixture comes together into a non-sticky ball.

On a lightly floured work surface, knead dough until elastic and slightly firm, approximately 5 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes while preparing the filling.

For the filling, place cubed potatoes in a large pot of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain, discarding water.

In a large bowl, combine cooked potatoes, vegetable broth and garlic salt, mashing until smooth. Fold in dried stuffing and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add celery and onion, and cook for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, sage, rosemary and thyme, and continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add to potato mixture and stir to combine; set aside.

On a clean, flat, lightly floured work surface, roll out dough until approximately 1/8-inch thick. Using a circular cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut out 3-inch circles. Place a tablespoon of filling into the center of each circle, allowing at least 1/2-inch of dough around. Moisten the outer edge of each circle with water, and fold dough in half over the filling. Using the rim of a glass or a fork, crimp the rounded edge of each circle to seal the pierogi.

For the gravy, heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently for 1 minute. Add flour and stir to form a roux; mixture will be dry and crumbly. Whisk in vegetable broth, almond milk, soy sauce, and vinegar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, stirring continuously for 2-5 more minutes, or until gravy has thickened slightly. Remove from heat.

Bring a large pot of water and 1 teaspoon olive oil to a gentle boil over medium heat. Carefully slide the pierogi in and boil for 7-9 minutes, or until all pierogi float to the top. Remove pierogi with a slotted spoon and allow to cool slightly. Drizzle with gravy and serve.

NOTE: To freeze pierogi for future use, prepare a cookie sheet by covering with a piece of wax paper. Place pierogi 1-2 inches apart on cookie sheet and store in freezer for 15-20 minutes, or until solid. Store frozen pierogi in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Thanksgiving Pierogi

Cheesy Pesto Pizza Bites

8 Jun

Galaxy Nutritional FoodsGalaxy Nutritional Foods is at it again! Having introduced their fabulous cream cheese in 2011, they’re showing no signs of slowing down with their latest debut, their Vegan Shreds, available in Mexican and Mozzarella styles. Perfect for those avoiding gluten and soy, these “cheeses” are not only free from gluten and soy, but also hydrogenated oils, saturated fats, trans fats, preservatives and GMO ingredients.

Upon first trying these new “cheese” shreds, I noticed a slightly buttery, but mostly smokey flavor. If you like smoked cheeses, I would think you will enjoy these, and they are nice in a variety of dishes. Galaxy’s shreds are great on veggie burgers and melt wonderfully (just as advertised) when baked. The cheese even stretches nicely! Furthermore, 1/4 cup of these babies provides 25% of your daily calcium intake! Who says vegans don’t get enough calcium? Pssshhh!

Following is a recipe I created that utilizes Galaxy’s Vegan Shreds:

Cheesy Pesto Pizza Bites

Cheesy Pesto Pizza Bites
Yields approximately 20 pieces

1 french baguette (approximately 2-3 inches in diameter and 20 inches long)
1/2 cup prepared vegan pesto (recipe below)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 – 1-1/4 cups non-dairy shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods’ Vegan Shreds)

Vegan Pesto:
4 ounces fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 medium cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Process basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add olive oil and salt, and continue processing another 10-15 seconds, or until oil is incorporated.

Next, preheat oven to broil and prepare a baking sheet by either lightly greasing with oil or lining with aluminum foil. Set aside.

Meanwhile, slice baguette into 1-inch slices. Place in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and spread approximately 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pesto on each slice. Next, top each with approximately 1-2 teaspoons tomato sauce, then sprinkle with cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese has melted. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before consuming.

NOTE: The Vegan Shreds used in this recipe was a free sample provided by Galaxy Nutritional Foods, Inc. The views and opinions expressed herein are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

Restaurant-Style “Crab” Rangoon with Sweet and Sour Sauce

21 Sep

Cream cheese is one of those food items that vegans didn’t have until recently. The deliciously smooth and versatile properties of this product offer a variety of options and allows us to have our cheesecake and eat it too!

Galaxy Nutritional FoodsJust the other day I tried the newly debuted cream cheese by Galaxy Nutritional Foods, Inc. and I must say…I really like it! They currently have two flavors available: Classic Plain and Chive & Garlic. Both have a taste and texture amazingly like the traditional dairy version and, in my experience, hold up wonderfully when baked. I really don’t have anything negative to say except that I feel the Chive & Garlic needs a little added kick, like a subtle zing of garlic flavor.

Below is a recipe for “Crab” Rangoon which reminds me of the traditional restaurant-style version I used to have back when I ate meat. I LOVED this stuff. Vegan crab can be difficult to find in stores, but is available from online retailers such as Pangea and Vegan Essentials. Galaxy Nutritional Foods’ cream cheese, however, is available at Whole Foods as well as other natural food stores and many local supermarket chains. Developed so that the “crab” is optional, the following recipe is complete with a simple recipe for Sweet & Sour Sauce.

"Crab" Rangoon

Restaurant-Style “Crab” Rangoon with Sweet & Sour Sauce
Yields 20-25 pieces

Sweet & Sour Sauce:
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon arrowroot
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons tomato paste

Crab Rangoon:
peanut oil for frying
1/4 pound vegan crab (optional)
1 (8-ounce) container plain imitation cream cheese, at room temperature (I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods)
2 teaspoons green onion, finely minced
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (1 teaspoon if not using crab)
20-25 wonton wrappers*, thawed

Begin with the sauce by combining pineapple juice and rice vinegar in a small saucepan. Whisk in arrowroot until dissolved. Add sugar and tomato paste, and stir until combined. Cook over high heat, stirring continuously until mixture boils. Continue to cook and stir until sauce thickens slightly, approximately 30-60 seconds. Set aside and allow to cool.

Heat peanut oil in a medium-size saucepan until approximately 375º F.

Meanwhile, begin putting together the “crab” rangoon by combining “crab” (if using), cream cheese, green onion, garlic, sugar and soy sauce. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each wonton wrapper and moisten the edges of each wonton wrapper with water. Gather all four corners together at the top and pinch gently to seal, ensuring that all sides are sealed.

Add 1-2 rangoon at a time to the preheated oil and fry until golden brown, about 15-20 seconds. They may need to be turned over and held down so that the tops are browned as well. Remove with a heat-resistant slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all rangoon have been fried. Allow to cool before serving.

*Many wonton wrappers contain eggs or other animal products so be sure to read the ingredients. The brand I use is Twin Marquis which is available at Asian grocery stores as well as online. Click here for a photo.

NOTE: My intention with this blog is to spread the good word about vegan food and to share my personal recipes. I occasionally receive free samples and will sometimes use and mention them here on Vegan Food Addict in an effort to help further promote a plant-based diet and the variety of foods available. The cream cheese noted in this recipe was a free sample provided by Galaxy Nutritional Foods, Inc. The views and opinions expressed herein are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

Beer-Battered Tofu Sticks with Ranch Dressing

9 Jul

If you ask me, beer-battered anything is delicious…even beer-battered pie! Well, maybe not, but you get my point. These fun, crispy tofu sticks are tasty by themselves, but are even more tasty when paired with a creamy, buttermilk-like ranch. They can easily be made gluten-free by substituting gluten-free all-purpose flour, beer and bread crumbs, respectively, in place of the gluten ingredients mentioned below.

Beer Battered Tofu Sticks with Ranch

Beer-Battered Tofu Sticks with Ranch Dressing

Tofu Sticks:
1 (14-ounce) package extra firm tofu
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup beer (preferably ale)
1-1/2 cups panko
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 rounded teaspoon black pepper
canola oil for the pan

Ranch Dressing:
1 cup imitation mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise)
1/3 cup imitation sour cream
1/4 cup regular unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Drain tofu and wrap in a towel. Press excess water out of tofu by placing a couple of plates on top of it and allowing to sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the ranch dressing by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Cut tofu into 3/4-inch wide sticks. Pat dry. In a small mixing bowl, mix together flour and beer until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together panko, salt, paprika and pepper.

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Dip each tofu stick into the wet mixture, then the dry mixture, turning to coat all sides. Carefully place into preheated pan and fry until golden brown on all sides. Add additional oil if needed. Using a slotted spatula, remove the tofu sticks and place on a couple of paper towels to remove excess oil. Repeat until all tofu sticks have been prepared. Serve with ranch dressing.

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