Archive for vegan cooking

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Healthy Vegan Egg Substitutions

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I realize that many people starting a plant-based diet do not know how to avoid eggs, without eliminating food with eggs in them completely. Baking was a challenge for me for a long time when I first switched to using no animal products. I used egg whites in pancakes and cookies for a long time because I did not know what else to do and I thought that egg whites were probably not that bad. I was thinking in terms of fat and cholesterol. Well for some reason I did not think about eating the animal protein, which is 4 grams.  Since I don’t want any animal protein in my body, I totally eliminated eggs from my diet. However, I have found some GREAT substitutes that are cheap and VERY easy to use in place of eggs. So for folks that still use the whole egg, let me share a few reasons why you may want to choose otherwise. Besides the animal protein in your body, which is so harmful and you can read in detail about that here. Eggs also have an enormous amount of cholesterol, a whooping 211 mg for one large egg. And 5 grams of animal fat with 6 grams of animal protein. If you need some perspective on that, the McDonald’s Big Mac, has 79 mg of cholesterol! Less than half of one egg. Yes, you get less cholesterol from eating two Big Macs than from one single egg. Yuck! So, lets get on with the substitutions.

The first substitution that I found years ago, was something in a box called Egg Replacer. It is mostly potato starch and tapioca flour. The great thing about this is that you can find it in most grocery stores and it is easy to use. You just mix 1 1/2 tsp. of this powder with 2 tbsp. of water. This replaces one large egg and it works great especially for baking. This box will sit on your shelf and last forever.

The next substitution I found was flax seed meal mixed with water. One tbsp. of flax seed meal mixed with three tbsp. of water equal one large egg. So easy. If you don’t have flax seed meal, just put one tbsp. flax seed in your blender and puree. Flax seed and flax seed meal are sold in most health food stores. Flax seed is so great for your health as you will see in a minute.

The last substitution that I use is chia seed and water. This is also called chia gel. One tbsp. of chia seed mixed with 1/4 c. water is equal to one egg. A lot has been written about the nutrition of chia seeds over the last few years. Both flax seeds and chia seeds are loaded with Omega 3’s and soluble fiber, plus they have cancer fighting agents in them called lignans. You can read about that here.

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These are especially great for baking, but don’t forget that tofu is amazing for replacing eggs in recipes like scrambled tofu, and omelets, which I will post about in the next few days.

So remember that eggs are very harmful to your body and now you don’t have to wonder what to use instead to make a healthier recipe.

 

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love to make these cookies because they are fast and delicious! Just a few ingredients makes them easy to put together. When I make cookies, I do experiment with using different flavors of chips and I found that these are especially good with cinnamon chips.

Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 c. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 c. sucanat

1/3 c. canola oil

1/4 c. water

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. choc. chips ( or any kind you would like)

1/2 c. chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350

Mix the dry ingredients together then mix the wet ingredients together well and then mix together until just wet. Line a cookie pan with parchment paper and spoon 1-2 Tbsp. of dough onto pan. They only take about 8-10 minutes to cook, but I take them out before they look done because they stay soft and chewy. If they are hard, they have cooked too long.

 

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

I usually find inspiring recipes that I want to change in some way to contain less fat, or sugar, or some other thing that I want to embellish, but this recipe from OhSheGlows, is so good that I do not change a bit, except to maybe double the recipe. This is truly a hit with anyone I place it before. So yummy it makes for a special treat when you are in the mood.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Crust

1/2 c. + 2 Tbsp. graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)

1 1/2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup

1 Tbsp. coconut oil (or Earth Balance)

2 1/2 tsp. cocoa powder

Filling

200 grams soft silken tofu ( I used firm silken and it worked great)

1/4 c. Peanut Butter

1/2 c. sucanat

1 Tbsp. almond milk

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Shell

2 1/2 Tbsp. dark choc. chips

1 1/2 tsp. coconut oil

Directions

Add all crust ingredients in a food processor til crumbs are a bit damp. Divide and put about 2 Tbsp. of mixture into custard cups and press down lightly. I usually use 5 or 6 cups.

Wipe out the processor and add the filling ingredients and process til silky smooth, scraping down the sides. Divide and add 3 Tbsp. or so to each cup.

Put cups in freezer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.

Melt choc. chips with coconut oil in microwave or cooktop. Just about 1 minute in micro. and stirring for a few minutes seemed to do the trick. Be careful not to burn the choc. Add about 1 tsp. to top of each cup and turn cup sideways around to coat. They look delicious and they are. You can chill them briefly or eat them on the spot!

 

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Pumpkin Ravioli

My kids love ravioli, and so do I, but it is really hard to find vegan ravioli, so I started searching for a recipe to adapt and found one! This not only tastes great, but is not too difficult. We eat these plain, or with any red sauce. Tasty with a green salad on the side.

Pumpkin Ravioli

2 c. pumpkin

3 Tbsp. Earth Balance, softened

1/2 c. panko bread crumbs

1/2 c. grated cheese, our favorite is the Lisantti brand

wonton skins

salt and pepper to taste

Process the pumpkin, and Earth Balance in a food processor. Put mixture in a bowl and add the breadcrumbs and cheese, and salt and pepper. Mix it together well.  Put 1-2 tsp. of filling in the middle of a wonton skin, wet two of the sides and seal it together. I put them in water that is not boiling too hard, so as to not tear them open. They take about 3-5 minutes to cook. I put a lot in the pan to cook at once, so as to speed up the process. When they are done, I put them in a bowl with a little olive oil, or sauce so they don’t stick together and then eat them right away.

 

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

Back when we first decided to eat vegan, there were very few recipes in our reportoire. We started to make our own refried beans and then we started experimenting with other bean dishes. This one was inspired from The Moosewood Cookbook. We love to eat this with corn chips, or with brown rice wrapped up in a tortilla, or as a taco salad starter. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos

2 1/2 c. peeled, cubed, sweet potatoes

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. canola oil

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed, and minced

1 tsp. chipotle pepper, minced (add more or less to taste)

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. coriander

2 cans black beans, rinsed

1 32 oz. crushed tomatoes

1/2 to 1 c. water

1/2 c. chopped cilantro

1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

salt to taste

Saute onion in oil until salft, add garlic and cook for another minute, add chipotle pepper and spices and cook for a few minutes. This will be quite dry. Add tomatoes and water, stir and then cook until onion and tomatoes are very soft. Use a stick blender or food processor to puree mixture. Return to pan and add sweet potatoes. Stir occasionally and cook until they are almost tender. Add more water if it gets too thick. Add beans and cook for 5 more minutes. Add cilantro and lime juice just before serving. Salt to taste.