Archive for August, 2011

Super Easy Bean Tacos with Plantains

I got this recipe from Your Daily Vegan. I started following her on Twitter and she posted the recipe. It sounded so simple that I just HAD to try it! I made a couple adjustments, mostly just so I could make enough to serve 5 people.

Taco Ingredients: serves 5

  • 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of whole corn, drained
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 jar of salsa
  • taco shells or wraps – if the wraps are large, just cut then in half to make two!

Dump the beans, corn, onion, and 1/2 of the salsa into a skillet pan and cook on medium to high heat until the onions are soft, stirring often. The original recipe calls for 1/2 a jar of salsa, but I poured more like 3/4.

I added pico de gallo, lettuce, and guacamole (recipe below) to top them off.

Plantain Ingredients:

  • 3 plantains – plantains should be yellow with brown/black spots
  • oil

Peel the plantains, cut them in half length-wise. Cut each half into four chunks. Fry them on a skillet on low to medium heat. As they cook, they’ll soften so you can mash/flatten them. Flip them so they are browning on both sides.

I also made guacamole. Usually I include onion and tomato in my guac, but I whipped this one up quick with 2 avocados, garlic powder, a squirt of lime juice, and a dash of cilantro. I love to taste the garlic in my guac, so put in however much you like.

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August 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm Leave a comment

Vegan Cooking: Favorites & Flops

This weekend, I went to Barnes and Noble in search of vegan cookbooks. I’ve decided to take the plunge to veganism and do the best I can. Avoiding meat is a lot easier in the sense that you know it’s there on your plate. You don’t always know when eggs or dairy are on your plate, or maybe you pop a Cheez-It in your mouth and remember after the fact. Cooking vegan is the best way to ensure that I’m eating vegan!

I needed cookbooks because I’m inexperienced in the kitchen. I need step by step instructions with complete lists of ingredients, and even then it sometimes doesn’t work. Thankfully, I found two great recipe books: Veganomicon The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero, and Vegan Bites: Recipes for Singles by Beverly Lynn Bennett.

Both books do a fantastic job of explaining different foods to use in place of non-vegan ingredients, as well as healthier or more natural options. Plus both go over the tools you’ll need, or would at least be helpful to have stocked in your kitchen. They also both have a whole, long list of vegan pantry staples, which I find really helpful. A checklist is always going to work for me and it’s comforting to know that I have the basics stocked. Veganomicon even explains various ways of cooking several different kinds of veggies. Reading through it, I felt that this was all relevant and helpful information not just for an inexperienced, but willing chef, but also for the inexperienced vegan chef.

I just bought these books yesterday and haven’t had a chance to cook anything from them, but I looked through the recipes and am happy with what I’ve seen. Both offer quite a few recipes that play off of what meat eaters are used to eating, like meat loaf, tuna sandwiches, and sloppy joes. That doesn’t mean that they’ll taste or look the same – they might be better! Or, they might be awful, but at least it got you experimenting with vegan ingredients!

So far, I’ve eaten a lot of flops. For 4th of July, I made BBQ Seitan sandwiches, which were supposed to mimic BBQ beef/pulled pork. I also made BBQ sauce and marinated tempeh in it to grill. I made my own burgers out of mushrooms and they were ridiculously greasy and crumbly. All of it was bad, just BAD! And I was discouraged by those experiences, but I won’t give up, especially after tonight’s dinner, which proved that this way of life can truly be tasty and satisfying!

What cookbooks do you go to for recipes or inspiration? Have you tweaked any meat meals you used to enjoy to accommodate your vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. Share your favorites and your flops!

August 22, 2011 at 11:27 pm Leave a comment

Monday Night Dinner

Well, it started off rough. I cut all the veggies and had them “cooking” on the stove for at least ten minutes, periodically seasoning and stirring only to eventually discover that I had turned on the wrong burner. The rice was “cooking” for about twenty minutes in the steamer when I realized that I plugged it in, but failed to turn it on. Double whammy right there, but it all worked out!

The recipe was inspired by a dish that my boss shared with me. It was so simple, yet still so flavorful. She made her dish with chicken, which I omitted.

The ingredients:

  • summer squash
  • zucchini
  • long grain brown rice
  • broccoli
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • minced onion
  • 1 lemon
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

I thought about adding kale and/or tofu, but I’m still getting used to tofu and I’d like to be better at cooking it before giving it to the family. For the seasonings, I tasted the veggie as they cooked and just added in more pepper and garlic to add more flavor.

I cooked the veggies in oil and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I definitely underestimated the flavor impact of lemon, so the veggies were almost too lemony, but it still went over well. After everything was cooked, I mixed it with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. Just as good as soy sauce, but so much less sodium!

I’ll put the recipe up soon for you to enjoy!

August 15, 2011 at 11:11 pm 2 comments

Vegan Crock Pot Chili

This chili is so delicious and so simple to make. Thanks to my friend Christine for introducing it to me. Even the meatiest of meat eaters can’t deny how good it is! One great thing about it is you can make it as spicy as you’d like by mixing in a mild, medium, or hot chili mix, or with cayenne powder/hot spice of your liking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 28oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28oz canned petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 12oz canned corn, drained
  • 1 12oz canned black beans, drained
  • 1 12oz canned red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 12oz canned cannelli beans, drained
  • 1 packet of chili seasoning – varying levels of spicy-ness
  • 1 bag of “meat” crumbles – check ingredient label to make sure it contains no egg or milk products; in that case, it’s vegetarian
  • dash of cayenne powder, if you like it spicy

Directions:

  1. Pour oil of your liking or water into skillet pan & fry chopped onion until lightly browned/soft
  2. Drain and dry the black beans, kidney beans, cannelli beans, and corn.
  3. Pour both cans of tomatoes into crockpot, followed by all beans and corn.
  4. When onion is done, add it to crockpot mixture.
  5. Pour bag of “meat” crumbles into crockpot, making sure to mix it well and break apart any large chunks of “meat”
  6. Mix in packet of chili seasoning
  7. Cook on high for 3 hours, stirring occassionally

August 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm 2 comments


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