The Vegan Egg

Yes it’s true! Follow Your Heart recently created a product called The Vegan Egg. It’s a plant-based egg replaces that works well in baking or on its own. I decided to test it’s ability to mimic a scrambled egg: The true test.

The Vegan Egg is packaged in a small egg carton. The shape is universally recognizable as an egg carton. Inside, however, is a bag of yellow powder. I whisked a bit of the powder with cold water, as instructed on the package. It sure looked like an egg.

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I pushed it around the pan until it was fluffy. It took longer than it takes an actual egg to cook (10 minutes probably).

I tasted a bit. The texture was spot on! It wasn’t as “eggy” in flavor, which I found was a good thing. If you like more egginess, add a bit of kala namak (black salt from an Indian grocery).

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I put my egg in a taco with crumbled Field Roast Sausage and Parmela Creamery aged vegan cheddar shreds because I recently bought The Taco Cleanse cookbook and met real taco scientists and tacos seems like a great way to start the day.

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So what is the egg made of? Algal. That’s a type of algae. It’s got fiber and complete amino acids and is nutrient dense. My only complaint is that it’s over-packaged. It could be sold in a small bag and would be cheaper and less wasteful. I realize that the packaging is part of the draw. Maybe online reorders could be no frills.

I’ll make a quiche next!

Miyoko’s Kitchen: A vegan cheese game-changer

It happened again. I served Miyoko’s Creamery to a vegan friend today and:

“What is this? Where can I get some? Oh wow!”

miyoko's on a cracker

On New Year’s Eve, the same thing happened. I brought a wheel to a party and the omni host declared it the best thing she’s ever eaten. She promptly went in on an order with me.

Let me take a step back. Miyoko Schinner is a gourmet vegan food goddess who literally wrote the book on Vegan Artisan Cheese. People have been making and raving about her delicious vegan cultured nut recipes, but like many good things, they take time to make. Cheese doesn’t age in a day!

Luckily for people like me, who crave instant gratification, Miyoko began selling her creations.

miyoko's creamery

Every time I serve Miyoko’s, people gobble it up. It’s a great way to show non-vegans that vegan food is delectable. The vegans who try it are happy to have a cruelty-free savory cheese in their lives once again. It truly is a game changer.

When I share a wheel of Miyoko’s, I usually pick a spreadable style like Classic Double Cream Chive or Double Cream Sundried Tomato Garlic. I think these are my favorite. They’re very versatile. In addition to tasting great on a cracker or bagel, they make the best cheesy mashed potatoes or mac and cheese. I used Miyoko’s in the recipe for this dish.

mac n cheese made with miyoko's

Rustic Alpine is a sharp, harder cheese that I ate on crackers and crispy, toasted bread. The Smoked Chive Farmhouse is a smoky hard cheese that, while not bacon-y at all, will get you over any bacon cravings. The satisfaction is in the wood-smoked flavor. French Truffle is a real treat. It’s earth and mushroomy and tasted great spread of a cracker. Or, like I did with half a wheel, make a mushroom stroganoff dish.

pasta with Miyoko's

Those are only five of the flavors you can find on Miyoko’s site. She has others too that I will definitely be trying. Miyoko’s ships throughout the continental US. Orders arrive in two days, icy cold and safe in an insulated box. You can freeze the cheese, which is a great incentive to stock up.

The trouble is, you might eat it all right away!

Vegan mac and cheese

I’ve been to a few potlucks recently and I was running out of ideas for simple, delicious dishes to bring. So I thought about veganizing a traditional baked mac ‘n’ cheese casserole. I started off following the directions on the package of pasta and strayed wildly–with great success!

Ingredients:

16 oz elbow pasta
2 cups vegan cheese*
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 slice of bread
2 tbsp. margarine
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
salt to taste

Directions:

First, I brought a large pot of water to a boil (4-6 quarts). Then I added an entire box of elbow noodles and cooked them to al dente (firm).

While the pasta was cooking, I turned half a slice of bread (I used Dave’s Killer Bread) into bread crumbs in my food processor and set it aside for the topping. Then I crumbled 2 cups of vegan cheeses in the food processor and set it aside too.

food processor

* I combined five types of cheese to create the two cups needed for this recipe: Field Roast Chao Cheese Slices in Coconut Herb; Field Roast Chao Cheese Slices in Tomato Cayenne; Daiya Jalapeno Havarti; Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds; and Sundried Tomato from Miyoko’s Kitchen. Use whatever brands and flavors of vegan cheese you prefer.

In a small pot, I melted 2 tbsp. of Earth Balance margarine and added 2 tbsp. of flour and 2 cups of vegetable broth (I used a bouillon cube to create the broth). I added chili powder, turmeric, and black pepper, set the element to low, and whisked the mixture until it thickened.

The blend of spices and spicy cheeses gave this dish a nice kick. If you don’t like a lot of spice, you can use plain cheeses and less pepper.

broth and spices

When the pasta was ready, I drained it into a colander and poured the broth mixture into the big pot where the pasta was. I added the cheeses and stirred until it was mostly melted. Then I added the pasta back into the post and mixed it up well.

Finally, I scooped the whole thing into a 9′ x 9′ glass casserole dish, sprinkled the bread crumbs over the top, and baked it uncovered on 450 F for 10 minutes.

vegan mac n cheese

I let it cool a bit, covered it up, and took it to Christmas dinner with friends. Everyone loved it–even the non-vegans. One omni even said she would have been fooled if I hadn’t told her it was vegan. A compliment for sure!

Vegan Thanksgiving options

Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to give up Thanksgiving. In fact, a big portion of the dinner is probably vegan–or could easily be made vegan. As for the turkey? Swap out the carcass with a delicious vegan loaf!

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of sharing precious time with family and friends. There’s no better way to show people how easy and delicious being vegan is. And if you can share your vegan food with others, they’ll know so much more about how to be vegan.

Here are some options for the holiday:

Host a dinner

Having dinner at your place guarantees you can make it an all-vegan meal and show others the joy of eating cruelty-free.

Mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, soup, sweet potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie are all dishes that are vegan or easily can be. Substitute butter and milk with dairy-free options and you’re set. You can find lots of vegan recipes online–even for things like gravy.

 

Field Roast, made from seitan (a wheat protein), and Tofurkey (made from soy beans), make delicious prepackaged loaves that easily take the place of a turkey on the table. Doing an online search for “vegan turkey loaf” will return great recipes for a DIY version.

Attend a dinner

There are two types of dinners I’ve attended. My favorite are ones hosted by vegans. I get to try all the food, and I get to spend time with like-minded people.

Attending a dinner with people who aren’t vegan is a great opportunity to bring a dish and show people you can still enjoy holidays and that vegan food is awesome! If being around a murdered turkey is too disturbing, plan to arrive for dessert–with your favorite vegan sweets!

Go to a vegan restaurant

Sometimes vegan restaurants will offer a Thanksgiving meal. You’ll likely have to make reservations in advance, but it will be worth it. It’s also a great chance to take friends who still eat meat and show them vegan options.

 

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No matter how you plan to celebrate the holiday, have fun, be safe, and enjoy the vegan food!

 

Touring the Field Roast HQ

I love the vegan options in Seattle. In addition to tons of vegan restaurants, we’ve got a vegan grocery store, and a thriving group of activists.

Well, did you know that Field Roast is a Seattle company? It is, and I visited their new location in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood for an open house and BBQ.

Field Roast HQ

Field Roast prides itself on making great products using grain meat. Grain meat got its start in 7th Century China. Seattle chef David Lee honed his recipes using barley, wheat and oats and adding a more European flavor to his foods. Foods like sausages, roasts, deli slices and burgers.

The tour was fantastic (no photos were allowed inside though). I arrived at the same time as a few other friends so we walked through the facilities together. I bet you wouldn’t enjoy seeing the inside of a typical sausage factory. But Field Roast is different; it was more like a bakery. We saw an immaculate series of rooms with industrial equipment like mixers and ovens. It smelled like all the wonderful spices in the Field Roast products.

We saw how the food is cooked, packaged and frozen for shipping. We toured the warehouse, test kitchen, and offices. I especially liked the sports wall–look at all the stadiums that carry Field Roast products!

sports wall of fame

Then, we were treated to an all-vegan BBQ!

Field Roast BBQ

I use Field Roast products a lot. I’ve blogged about how their sausages are great for making traditional recipes vegan. And their soft herbed cheese will win over omnivores every time. When I eat at Blue Star Café and the Georgetown Liquor Company, I order items made with Field Roast. Even the cafeteria at my work offers Field Roast!

Field Roast burger

After eating my delicious burger (like the one pictured above–that was one I had at Blue Star), the Seattle Cookie Counter arrived to give us dessert. Their a brand new vegan ice cream sandwich company that sells delectable treats out of a vintage VW bus!

cookie counter vegan ice cream sandwich

I’m so grateful to have had a chance to see how Field Roast is made. I’m especially pleased to support a local, vegan company (they employ 65 people) that is ethical and progressive. Barbecuing might be an American pastime, but Field Roast will help make All-American Vegetarian the new way to think about BBQs.

Have you tried Field Roast products?

 

Nacho time!

Why haven’t I made vegan nachos before? This meal wasn’t even planned, but you can bet I’ll make it again.

I had company last weekend and was left with an abundance of tortilla chips. I “lamented” to a coworker today that I had too many chips. He said, “why not make nachos?” Best idea ever!

vegan nachos

And by a stroke of luck, I had all the ingredients I needed for my 8-layer nachos:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Pico de gallo salsa (mine was store-bought but you can make your own)
  • Daiya vegan cheese shreds
  • Vegan ground “beef” (I used Tofurky Chorizo style)
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1 tomato, diced

Place a layer of tortillas on a plate, sprinkle tomatoes over them. Add a layer of ground “beef” and top with Daiya shreds. Add another layer of chips, sprinkle with salsa or pico de gallo, add a layer of ground “beef” and top with Daiya.

Microwave for 1.5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Use avocado as a dip.

I made individual portions, but you could make one platter and serve as a side dish. You could also stick a load of these in the oven and bake them. They’d be perfect for book club or watching the game.

This would be great with other things on it as well, like green peppers or black olives. Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream would be a nice, cool dip.

You can’t go wrong with nachos. Super easy and delicious!

nachos for dinner

Simple tabouli and grilled cheese lunch

Mealtime doesn’t have to be complicated. I don’t always have time to make an elaborate meal–and sometimes I don’t even want one. Simple comfort foods are always welcome.

tabouli and grilled cheese

Grilled cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods. I hadn’t had grilled cheese for several years after going vegan. Then I found vegan slices. Perfect for melting. More recently, I discovered Daiya vegan cheese. It melts really well and is delicious too.

I like my grilled cheese on whole grain–I’m not a carbophobe, but I do value complex, carbs over simple ones. Whole grains have B vitamins, protein, fiber and are really healthy.

In addition to the sandwich, I nibbled on grapes and a hearty tabouli salad. Tabouli is a bulgar and is high in protein and fiber. This one was from a box, complete with parsley and seasonings. I added beans to it for flavor and nutrition.

A meal like this provides a variety of flavors and health benefits and can be made in under 15 minutes.

Do you have any quick and easy vegan meal ideas?