Last day of Vegan Mofo 2014, I’m sad! Here are some too-good baked goods-Chamomile Lavender Cupcakes

Ugh, I’m so sad Vegan MoFo is over. This was a great month for me and my blog. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to pull it off, as I started a new college program at the same time. I did it though! And my blog got featured on the Vegan MoFo Roundup, mid way through. I had met all the success markers I had set for myself in participating in this, including over 500 views. I actually doubled that amount! This was my most successful month of blogging to date, which is not surprising as MoFo provides a lot of the ability to be successful by participating in it. The trick is to a stress-free MoFo while being quite busy, I found, is to plan it out early. I made a calendar of recipes in advance, tested them, photographed them and did not stray too much from that!

I met and interacted with a lot of great bloggers that I haven’t been able to before, which was really nice. I have a bunch of new vegan blogs to follow now full of awesome people!

I have a lot of exciting things planned in the coming month as well, so don’t stop checking out my blog! Tonight I am going to be testing out a recipe for spinach raviolis with butternut squash and sage filling which I hope to post soon. I may even be doing a cooking demo for them in RI. October is my Birthday month, and I have a birthday cake waffle recipe I’ll be sharing soon! There will be other posts too that relate to my vegan education project for new vegans or people interested in becoming vegan, in which I’ll be addressing common concerns and how to deal with them. If you have any suggestions for things you’d like to see me cover, be sure to comment here or in the future.

Now, without further ado, let’s get the final Vegan MoFo recipe for Chamomile Lavender Cupcakes out!

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Makes a dozen regular sized cupcakes.

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 tea bag worth of chamomile tea opened up, contents removed
  • 1 tbsp dried culinary lavender
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted not solid
  • 1 cup unflavored (plain) almond milk
  • 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:

  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp and a few drops coconut creamer
  • a couple drops of lavender extract (optional)
  • vegan red and blue food coloring to make a lavender hue (optional)

Decoration (optional):

  • Dried Chamomile flowers

Directions for the cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with twelve cupcake liners.
  2. In a food processor, blend the sugar, chamomile tea and lavender until ground well and very fragrant. Be careful upon opening the food processor, as there will be powder coming out…don’t inhale!
  3. Melt the coconut oil.
  4. Whisk the sugar and herb mix, almond milk, and coconut oil in a medium large size mixing bowl.
  5. Mix in the baking soda and powder.
  6. Incorporate the flour in.
  7. Add vanilla extract and stir until everything is mostly smooth. The batter will be a bit clumpy with the coconut oil and that’s okay.
  8. Place about 2 tbsp of the batter in each muffin tin.
  9. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cupcake.
  10. Wait 5 minutes and then place on cooling racks. Allow to cool completely before decorating with the icing.

Directions for the icing:

  1. With a small whisk, mix up the coconut oil and powdered sugar in a small bowl until large crumbs form.
  2. Add the coconut creamer and whisk until smooth.
  3. Add the optional extract and food coloring and mix until satisfied.

For assembly:

  1. Use a frosting spatula and place a thin layer of the icing on each cupcake.
  2. Decorate with dried chamomile flowers.

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Bye, Vegan Month of Food 2014! See you next year in 2015! I already cannot wait!

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Vegan MoFo 2014: Day 6! Jackfruit Chick’un Noodle Crockpot Soup!

Saturdays are Soup, Salad, and Sandwich days! Here’s the first entry for a soup recipe!

This soup is the perfect sick day soup. The jackfruit shreds in the soup just like I vaguely remember the real deal to be like. You can add vegan oyster crackers and some nutritional yeast flakes into the soup like I did if you wish. It’s made in the crockpot to make it less time consuming and easier. It takes 6-7 hours to finish, so make sure you time it appropriately.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can young green jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed, chopped slightly
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 10 baby carrots cut into thirds
  • 1 large onion cut into rings
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp ground black pepper)
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary crushed between fingers
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 5-6 sprigs worth of leaves from fresh thyme
  • 1/2 lb noodles of choice (I used spiral noodles)
  • Vegan oyster crackers or saltines (as a side or to stir into the soup)
  • Nutritional yeast (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place jackfruit, celery, carrots, and onions in bottom of crockpot.
  2. Pour olive oil on top and stir.
  3. Add all the spices and herbs except for the thyme and mix with a spoon to coat the veggies.
  4. Add broth and water.
  5. Add thyme leaves and give it a good stir.
  6. Turn the crockpot to low and simmer for 6-7 hours. Go about your business until then.
  7. When your soup is pretty much all ready, add the noodles and turn the crockpot to high heat, let it cook for about 10-15 minutes until the noodles are tender.
  8. Turn the crockpot off, taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
  9. Serve the soup in big soup bowls with saltines or oyster crackers, with some nutritional yeast sprinkled on top if desired.
  10. You can easily freeze this in a big container for when you get sick or want it in the dead of winter but don’t feel like cooking…just defrost and reboil or even place back into the crockpot until it’s boiling on high…

Enjoy! Hope everyone’s Vegan MoFo 2014 is going well! Thank you for commenting and being so kind. I try to look at other people’s blogs who are participating but I just started going to school full time and so I don’t have the most time to do that/remember. But I hope to be able to keep discovering more blogs that I like when I do have time! 

I’m back with a new recipe! Vegan Quinoa Jambalaya

Hello there,

There are lots of new things happening in my life lately. I have lots of new ideas for this blog. I am planning on changing the content I post a bit, to be more informative about food and nutrition, post more of my recipes, and also talk about other vegan, health, and wellness related topics.

Unfortunately my last semester at my community college where I will graduate with my associate’s degree and planning for the next step of working towards my bachelor’s degree has had me quite busy lately. I hope to be able to find more time to write here though soon. By Summer there should definitely be more time.

Today I made a recipe though, and am sitting down to type it up and share it in this post.

Before I was vegan, my mom used to make Jambalaya with a seasoning mix and rice, chicken, shrimp, and sausage. I liked it even though it came from a box. I had been thinking about it lately, and how to veganize it.

I wanted to make it with quinoa because I am not the biggest fan of having rice all the time. Plus quinoa has more protein in it, which I like.

This recipe used store-bought meat substitutes for the vegan chicken and sausages, but you could find recipes to make your own if you desire. For the vegan shrimp, I had a plain batch of leftover shrimp seitan  that I froze and defrosted from when I made the vegan shrimp bao recipe. It is not gluten free because of the shrimp seitan, but there may or may not be other vegan shrimp alternatives that are gluten free that you can find in stores if that is important to you.

I do not know for sure if this is very authentic jambalaya, but since it is inspired by it, that is what I am calling it. It is really yummy though, that is for sure!

Image Recipe for Vegan Quinoa Jambalaya

Makes about 10 1 cup servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Vegan shrimp (either store bought or made from scratch via this recipe)
  • 2 Tofurky Italian Sausages, sliced into rounds
  • 3 pieces Gardein Chick’n Scallopini chopped into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit more to cook the veggies
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 small-medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz canned tomato sauce (I used a no-salt added brand)
  • a splash to 1/4 cup of vegetable broth (I used Trader Joe’s Low Sodium broth)
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more if you like salt)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Before you really start to cook, combine the spices in a bowl or little ziplock bag and set aside. Also cook the quinoa in advance, if you wish. It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook, so either way is fine.
  2. Cook each vegan “meat” in a frying pan on medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil separately, one at a time, until slightly brown or golden. You can use the same pan for each of them, but I think it works best to cook one at a time, and then set it aside on a plate while you cook the next one.
  3. After the “meats” are cooked, heat a little more olive oil into the pan. Add the onions and peppers, and cook until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook for a bit longer, stirring a bit.
  5. Add a splash (or more) of vegetable broth, the spice mix, and tomato sauce. Make sure the spices and ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, then fold in the quinoa and the vegan shrimp, sausage, and chick’n. Stir to incorporate everything together.
  7. Allow to heat thoroughly. Adjust seasonings as desired.
  8. Eat! Enjoy!

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Baked Vegan Mac ‘N Cheese Bun Sliders–I am sharing the recipe!

I have so much I want to say about what went into creating this recipe. I have broken them up into sections so that if you do not want to read a ton of text before you get to the recipe, but some of my ideas and advice may be of interest to you, you will be more apt to read the pertinent ones.

My Inspiration

First of all, this was an attempt to recreate and veganize this recipe that I was originally alerted to on Pinterest. I had been saving it for a long time, waiting for the right moment in time to do it, and I decided the other day to try.

Nutrition Information

I was recently doing poorly with my B-12 intake food-wise (I take a vegan B complex vitamin but typically also try to get enough from nutritional yeast added to my food as well. As vegans the food we eat does not naturally have this essential vitamin in it, so it is crucial that we take a supplement and/or eat fortified foods in order to be able to do the awesome work we vegans do for our health, animals, the environment, etc. Not doing so can cause many health issues, such as Anemia.) and my nutrient tracking showed me I needed to improve on that (I use sparkpeople.com to track my food and other health/wellness/goal related things). So I decided to make this, because I knew it’d have a lot of nutritional yeast in it, and it definitely does. It helps me meet that goal exceedingly well!

I also did not want to further bread with flour and breadcrumbs and then deep fry the mac and cheese buns for my recipe. If you want to, go ahead! But I feel this fits with more with what I wanted and that step is unnecessary. It is still sinfully delicious (albeit maybe a bit less crispy and might not stay together as well).

The calories (if that concerns you) can vary a lot. I definitely don’t recommend attempting to fry the mac and cheese buns if you are concerned about them. I used a calculator to determine and tweak the amount of servings and such, but it will vary a lot most likely for everyone depending on how big you choose to make the burgers, the mac and cheese buns, etc. The way I made it, though, It comes out to be approximately 465 calories.

Making it gluten free

It has the potential to be gluten free if you use certain substitutions. I think a whole grain gluten free elbow pasta would work fantastically, as I think it might lend itself to being a bit more thick and sticky which will be pretty helpful in the long run for getting the buns to stay together more. Use a gluten free flour instead of the whole wheat pastry flour that I used. I think the rest of the ingredients I used should be gluten free, but please make sure you check further with people more knowledgeable than I am about gluten free ingredients if making it for yourself or others who have sensitivities or allergies.

This recipe is really kid friendly (not just because of the taste!)

I had a lot of fun making this recipe, not just to create conceptually, but also to prepare. When I was setting up the mac and cheese buns, and making the burgers, I felt like a kid again. It is ooey and gooey in certain parts, you can use your hands a lot to touch slimy and fun textures, can make some funny noises, and get dirty. When I was a kid, these were all qualities that made me interested in helping my mom with cooking, as well as the characteristics of a task that made me want to do it (my earliest “culinary” experience involved me making “mud cookies,” putting them in my outdoors “oven” and then proceeding to convince my younger brother they were actually edible…) so you may really want to have your kids help at certain parts of the preparation! I would recommend having them help you especially while making the mac and cheese and laying it out in the pan, and also making the burger mix! Unless they’re much older, I would say that setting up the mac and cheese buns after they have set and need to be shaped into the buns will be much safer, and less frustrating and wasteful if an adult does that part. It takes a bit of finagling, craftiness, dexterity, and a lot of patience to do that part.

Some other helpful tips:

Do not make this at the last minute. You will need to make the macaroni and cheese at least the night before so it sits for awhile and sets really well in order for the buns to stay together. I probably let it sit in the fridge for more than 24 hours though.

Adjust the burger servings to the amount of buns you make. This may require making the burgers bigger or reducing the ingredients, or just plan to have lots of leftover burgers!

Making them into the buns requires a bit of patience and skill, don’t get frustrated, it will still taste just as delicious with falling apart buns or even just as a side to the burgers with some ketchup on it.

My non-vegan brother was a bit thrown off by the taste of the Mac ‘N Cheese. If this is something you want to make for someone who is not vegan, and is unfamiliar with vegan cheesy tastes, it may not go over so well. I thought it was delicious because I love vegan Mac ‘N Cheese, and I haven’t had real cheese in ages.

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The recipe!!!!

(Makes anywhere from 5-10 complete burgers, depending on how large you want to make the veggie burger piece, you will have leftovers. I made 18 veggie burgers for a small slider size and it worked really well. I recommend saving the leftovers, maybe even freezing them for later, and putting them in other types of buns, or doing this again! Or you could just half the recipe for the burgers…)

Ingredients:

For the Mac ‘N Cheese (it’s great as a stand-a-lone or typical baked Mac ‘N Cheese if you want to eat it by itself and not make it into the buns!)

  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or substitute gluten free flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
  • 2 slices Daiya cheddar cheese (what I used) or 1/4 cup Daiya cheddar shreds
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 box elbow macaroni (you can substitute it with gluten free or whole wheat elbows if desired)

For the Burger sliders:

  • 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unflavored veggie-based protein powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke (if you can’t find a gluten free brand, maybe use extra smoked paprika and use gluten free tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos instead)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup or chili sauce (the kind that’s sort of like ketchup, I used it and think it tastes a bit better than ketchup)
  • 1 tbsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or regular if not available…I buy my smoked paprika at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp salt-free italian herb blend
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Salt, to taste (optional…I try to cook with no added salt lately)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup whole wheat (or gluten free) bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (can omit if necessary)

Directions:

For the Mac ‘N Cheese buns:

  1. Prepare the elbow macaroni according to the directions on the package. Note: I would suggest you don’t drain it immediately, and let it sit a bit to get a bit stickier, but don’t wait horribly long. You can definitely start the cheese sauce while you are cooking the pasta, and then let it sit until you are almost done with the sauce.
  2. Prepare the cheese sauce by pouring the almond milk into a large sauce pan.
  3. Place the margarine  into the pan, and turn the heat to medium.
  4. Stir somewhat frequently until the margarine is melted, and the almond milk is hot but not fully boiling.
  5. Add in the flour, and stir with a whisk until smooth.
  6. Stir the nutritional yeast until combined.
  7. Add the cheese, stir until melted.
  8. Continue to stir if possible, and fold in the salt, onion powder, paprika, turmeric, and mustard.
  9. Pour the drained elbow macaroni into the sauce, mix until every bit of pasta is completely covered.
  10. Spray a large casserole dish or baking sheet (it needs to have sides, though…) with a small amount of oil.
  11. Place the mac and cheese on top. If you are working with kids (see my note about kid friendliness up top) I would say it would be really  fun to use your bare (clean) hands. But if you do not like making funny squishy noises and getting your hands really messy, then take a piece of plastic wrap that covers the pan completely, and squish down, making it as compact as you can.
  12. Place in the fridge to set, at least 6 hours, preferably overnight or longer.
  13. When set, preferably after you have cooked the burgers (see below for instructions), preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  14. There are several ways to make the bun shape. I used a drinking glass. But you could also use a biscuit cutter, or a ramekin, or whatever else you think may work like that.
  15. In my case with the drinking glass, I pressed the opening lip into the mac and cheese, wiggled it in a circular motion a bit, and pulled up. It might (and did for me) get stuck inside the glass (that is actually a good thing for the final product, I believe!) What I did to correct this is to take a knife and un-wedge the pasta circle by sliding the knife around the edge between the glass lip. Work slowly and carefully, and be ready to place it down onto another baking sheet sprayed with a small amount of oil before you get it unstuck.
  16. Repeat until you are out of Mac ‘N Cheese to make into buns. Or you can save some of it to eat on it’s own, along with the potential mangled reject mac buns which are very likely to end up existing.
  17. Place in the oven until crispy. This takes about 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your buns and also your oven.

For the slider burgers:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil along with the chopped veggies until soft, somewhere around 5 minutes in a large frying pan. Let sit for a bit to cool before placing into a food processor. Do not discard the pan as it will be used for cooking the burgers.
  2. In the food processor, blend the beans along with the condiments, spices (except for mustard seeds), and protein powder until they are no longer resembling whole beans, and the other ingredients are uniformly mixed.
  3. Add in the veggies, blend until combined, but not to the point where they are complete mush.
  4. Take out the mixture and place in a large bowl.
  5. Add the bread crumbs and brown rice, and combine with a spoon or (better yet) use your hands to mix it really well.
  6. Add the mustard seeds and follow the same procedure as the last step, making sure they’re spread evenly throughout.
  7. Spray the frying pan with a lot of oil so it is heavily coated. Heat on medium.
  8. Place the burgers into the pan carefully, in batches if necessary.
  9. Heat each side about 3 minutes, or until completely cooked and lightly browned.

To assemble the whole burger:

  1. Take one Mac ‘N Cheese bun, place the smooth side up.
  2. Place the burger on that side.
  3. Add any desired condiments, it tastes delicious with just some chili sauce or ketchup on top, and some salad on the side.
  4. Carefully place the other bun on top,  smooth side down. You may want to use a toothpick in the middle to help it stick together.
  5. It’s going to be a bit difficult to eat the whole way through in tact, but definitely take a few bites out of the Mac ‘N Cheese Bun burger before it falls apart!
  6. Eat, enjoy, and have fun!

 

 

 

 

Foodie (Photo) Friday #6-Philly Cheese Jackfruit Steak, Jalapeno Poppers, and Garden Vegetable Bechamel Lasagna

Well, well, well. It’s another edition of Foodie (Photo) Friday! I’m having some technological difficulties so the photos will be larger than normal, because when I try to resize them within wordpress I am getting a blank screen.

I have some good ones to share with you this week! I also just started the process of making some cupcakes for my birthday weekend, but those aren’t photo-ready yet.

First off, is this amazing Philly Jackfruit Cheesesteak sandwich from the “V” word blog. Recipe here. Image

This recipe really had a “wow” factor. I’m now officially in love with jackfruit after seeing how versatile it is! I may have possibly had a cheesesteak once or twice as a non-vegan, but it never was much of my thing anyhow. But now that I am a vegan this was a fun thing to make, and it was delicious in it’s own unique way. The spices were spot on I thought, I would not even know what spices to use to recreate this dish were I the one creating the recipe. The onions are also perfect. I think I cooked it all for a bit less time than suggested because I do not like too strong of a blackened flavor, and perhaps my stove gets too hot, but the steps worked out great to get a really crisp yet chewy texture out of the onions and jackfruit. I will definitely be making this again when I have more cans of jackfruit. I only made two servings because I wanted to only use one of my two cans. Oh well…

ImageI definitely give this recipe:

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The Jalapeno Poppers were from the cookbook The 30 Minute Vegan.

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They were supposed to be a healthier version of the classic snackfood/appetizer. I am not sure how unhealthy typical poppers are nutritionally, but after calculating the calories and other information for these, I wasn’t all that impressed really with the numbers. But I wanted them so I ate them anyways. These are baked, not fried. They certainly fulfill any craving you may have for this sort of food. I had never worked with 10 jalapenos at a time though, and scooping out the seeds and veins with a serrated knife was not exactly easy. I kept breathing in some of the fumes and gagging/coughing/sneezing. So if you make these, remember to use caution with the peppers haha. The coolest part of these is the way you attach the bread crumbs to the outside of the pepper so it can stick when baked. You coat them in a mixture of tahini, soy sauce, and water. It works amazingly. However, for the cheese filling, I highly recommend you use at least 2 tbsp of vegan cream cheese to help the cheese and spice mixture meld together more easily inside the peppers. Otherwise the daiya falls out really easily. I didn’t add the red onion to the cheese mixture because it sounded weird, but oh well.

I rate this recipe:

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It was really good but had some flaws.

Finally, the Garden Vegetable Bechamel Lasagna. Oh.My.Gosh.

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This was delicious. I first made the tofu herb ricotta. I tasted it and could barely stop myself from eating it all before I even made the lasagna. I was really skeptical of the idea of including butternut squash in this. I usually hate butternut squash, but had never tried it roasted, so I did that. I tried a piece of just the squash when it was finished roasting, and I actually liked it! So that’s a plus for this recipe: discovering how I like butternut squash cooked!

There are also caramelized onions, garlicky spinach, daiya cheese, the bechamel sauce, and nutritional yeast, along with the lasagna noodles of course. This took me a long time to make. So many dishes were used. I would recommend this dish for when you really want to impress someone, and not as an everyday dish, because it’s so elaborately time consuming. It is totally worth every bite, however. I had trouble fitting all three layers that you were supposed to do into the dish, so I just made two layers which worked out fine. I wouldn’t have had enough stuff to make a third layer, and even then, it was towering over the dish.

This is so deserving of a 5 good banana rating.

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That’s all for today! Stay tuned next friday to see what I cooked up!

Vegan Salad of the week: Vegan Mediterranean “Chicken” Salad with vegan Caesar dressing

Okay, so I’m setting a goal again to eat a large salad for one meal a day as part of my health goals. This easily helps me get enough (or more than enough) servings of veggies daily, and keeps my caloric intake for trying to lose weight easier to manage.

I’ve been experimenting with healthy salad dressings and somewhere down the line someone clued me into this online list of oil free dressings: here. I’m going to experiment with salads based on some of these dressing recipes in the next couple of weeks.

At first when I started making salads, I would stick as many vegetables in it as I could but it took me about 45 minutes to chop everything myself, and was sometimes difficult to force myself to eat with full servings or more of cucumber slices, carrots, etc. It would take me an hour or longer to chew everything, as well, haha. So eventually I reduced the amount of vegetables and went for easier salads.

My favorite salad for the longest time was 2 cups of lettuce, 3-4 sliced sweet gherkin pickles, 4 sliced pickled beets chopped up even smaller, a baked boca “chicken” patty, 1/8 cup raw almonds, and this dressing. But eventually I ate that salad so many times that I’m probably not going to eat it any time soon!

So that’s what lead me to decide to try and invent a new salad every week! Here’s this week’s creation.

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First I made the Caesar dressing from Sexy Tofu, except I added 2 extra tbsp of nutritional yeast because I’m having difficulty meeting my b-12 intake without extra nooch. I try to add more whenever I can, and I don’t think it made it taste bad or anything, it’s still super delicious.

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I’m posing with the croutons while being photographed making the salad, haha

I was going to make my own croutons, but in my search for a good vegan bread to make them out of I got discouraged and also was hungry and planning to make the salad for my next meal, so I gave up and bought some Mediterranean herb flavored croutons that happen to be vegan. I got them from a local grocery store called East Side Market in Providence, it seems to have a good selection of kosher and middle eastern type foods, I think this is why they carry them and that they’re vegan too. They’re actually a product of Israel. They have a distinct taste, are a great, crunchy texture and the spices really give it that distinct kind of Mediterranean taste. I put 4 tbsp of the croutons (they’re very small making it possible to fit them in a tablespoon easily) in the salad.

Basically, the salad is:

2 cups chopped lettuce

2 tbsp of the caesar dressing

4 tbsp mini Mediterranean herbed croutons (if you can’t find this style of crouton, it’d be awesome to make your own croutons, and it’s really easy and delicious. All you do is take a half a loaf of bread of your choice–rye or pumpernickel or a mix works really well, or any bread that isn’t really soft–Cut it up into small chunks, stick in a plastic bag, drizzle some olive oil into the bag, shake to coat the bread with oil, add whatever herbs and spices you like, shake the bag of bread and oil again to coat, and stick in a 275 degree oven, checking every 15 mins until the croutons are completely crunchy!)

1 roasted red pepper chopped small

8 whole black olives

Fake chicken of some type. I bet beyond meat would be really good. I just use a baked boca chicken patty that I cut up small

1/2 tsp vegan parmesan (Okay, so you can make your own in various recipes found in cookbooks and online but I really doubt any of those will taste as parmesan-y as Galaxy Food’s Go Veggie Vegan alternative. I don’t know how they do it but it really does have that sharp parmesan flavor. It’s also a really fine texture which I believe would be difficult to duplicate on your own. But yeah, if you’ve found a good homemade version, let me know! Here’s what it looks like:

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make sure you see the yellow “vegan” text in the right hand corner, because I believe they do make other kinds that are dairy free but not vegan

So that’s my salad I’m eating for this week.

Stay tuned next week to see what new salad creation I come up with. It’ll probably get posted on Monday or Wednesday, but I’m not completely sure yet.