Week 2: Vegan Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Glaze – A Compassion is the Secret Ingredient Thanksgiving

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Week 2 is here and it’s time to take on sweet potatoes, but first, a confession… sweet potatoes aren’t my jam! I have a crazy-obsessive love for normal potatoes but that love never extended to the potatoes cousin, the sweet potato. I am well aware however, that no Thanksgiving feast is complete without ’em, and so, I knew that I needed some kind of sweet potato recipe in my Thanksgiving series!

Now, growing up, there was always a small dish of mashed sweet potatoes on our Thanksgiving table. (The dish was small because my mom was the only one who enjoyed eating them.) On top of the dish, a thick, toasted, gooey layer of mini marshmallows created a blanket that I wished I could have been under. I always thought to myself though, why do we need two mashed things? That was the starting point for this recipe.

These little babies are roasted which gives them a great texture. They are also coated not once but twice in a cinnamon glaze which has just the right amount of sweetness but is still savory and full-flavored. Right before serving, I like to add in some dried cranberries for a tart, chewy element, and a little more color, as well as some pecan halves for a little bitter, nutty crunch -but of course, each these are totally optional. Whether you choose to fancy ’em up with toppings or not, I’m sure you’ll find that this recipe is quite delicious and perfectly suited to replace any ol’ mashed sweet potato recipe that normally adorns your table. And dare I say, I may actually have enjoyed these… #ConvertInTheMaking

It all gets started with the making of the cinnamon glaze! In a large bowl, maple syrup gets combined with some melted vegan “butter,” olive oil, cinnamon, dried thyme, low-sodium tamari, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. The whole mixture gets a good whisking and then it gets set aside for a moment while the sweet potatoes are being prepped.

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4 medium size sweet potatoes get washed up well then completely peeled and cut into pieces that are about 1-inch square.

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Once all of the sweet potatoes have been cut up, dump them into the bowl with the glaze in it. Fold/stir everything around so that each piece gets coated with the glaze. Using a slotted spoon so as to not remove any glaze which remains at the bottom of the bowl, scoop out the sweet potatoes and transfer them to a large sheet pan lined in parchment paper. (Make sure they are flat on the pan in a single layer and not all bunched up or piled onto each other.) Reserve the glaze that remains at the bottom of the bowl once all of the sweet potatoes have been scooped out -it will be added to the sweet potatoes after they’ve cooked a little. Pop the sheet pan into a preheated 400 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes.

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After 25 minutes, pull the pan from the oven and gently flip around the sweet potatoes to ensure even cooking. With what you reserved earlier, glaze the sweet potatoes again by simply pouring the glaze over them evenly. Return the pan to the oven and bake for a final 20 minutes or until fork tender.

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To serve, transfer the sweet potatoes to a bowl or dish and top with a sprinkling of dried cranberries and pecan halves (optional).

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Vegan Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Glaze

  • Servings: 6-8
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 generous tablespoons vegan “butter,” melted
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 generous teaspoon dried thyme, crushed in palm of hand
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium tamari
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, washed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Dried cranberries, to taste (optional)
  • Pecan halves, to taste (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare a large sheet pan by lining it in parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the maple syrup with the “butter,” olive oil, cinnamon, dried thyme, tamari, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Whisk this mixture well then set aside. Prep sweet potatoes, if you haven’t done so already, by washing them, peeling them, and then cutting them down into 1-inch pieces.
  2. Toss sweet potato pieces into the bowl with the glaze and stir/fold everything around so that each piece gets coated with the glaze. Using a slotted spoon so as to not remove any glaze which remains at the bottom of the bowl, scoop out the sweet potatoes and transfer them to the sheet pan you prepped a moment ago. (Make sure they are flat on the pan in a single layer and not all bunched up or piled onto each other.) Reserve the glaze that remains at the bottom of the bowl once all of the sweet potatoes have been scooped out -it will be added to the sweet potatoes after they’ve cooked a little. Pop the sheet pan into your preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  3. After 25 minutes, pull the pan from the oven and gently flip around the sweet potatoes to ensure even cooking. Pour the glaze you reserved earlier over the sweet potatoes evenly then return the pan to the oven and bake for a final 20 minutes or until fork tender. To serve, transfer the sweet potatoes to a bowl or dish and top with a sprinkling of dried cranberries and pecan halves (optional). Leftover sweet potatoes will keep in an airtight container in fridge for up to 3 days.

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Week 1: Vegan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Vegan Thanksgiving Gravy, and Vegan “Turkey” – A Compassion is the Secret Ingredient Thanksgiving

Week 1 of my Thanksgiving series is here y’all and this week I’m talkin’ “turkey,” tackling the gravy of your (vegan) Thanksgiving dreams, and fancying up some mashed potatoes! Remember, if you make any or all of the recipes in this series for your Thanksgiving gathering, use #aCITSIthanksgiving if you post a pic on social media! Now, let’s get started with the “turkey!”

When it comes to the “turkey” on my Thanksgiving table, I trust other folks to make it for me! Yup, that’s right, I do not make my own vegan “turkey” substitute! Instead I go with Gardein’s Turk’y Cutlets! These things are flavorful, crunchy on the outside, have a really great “meaty” texture, and yes, they taste just like the real thing. I suggest you account for 1-2 cutlets per person at your Thanksgiving table. Most people will likely only eat 1, because their plates are going to be filled with lots of other yummy stuff too, but people with bigger appetites or those who eat less sides might want 2. The cutlets come 4 to a bag and I pay about $4 a bag at my local WF.

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So Gardein recommends that you bake the cutlets and I do too if you need to make more than 2 or 3 bags worth but, if you’re only making a couple bags, I suggest you fry them! Shallow frying them in a large skillet will give them even more crispy crunch and flavor, and it just takes about 3-5 minutes per side over medium heat to prepare them this way.

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When they come out of the pan I like to let them rest on a paper towel for a minute or two to let any excess oil drain off and then they’re ready to enjoy. But wait, you say, what about the gravy that come with the cutlets?? Well, you could use those 2 little packets but there really isn’t much in them. A better idea is to toss that pittance of gravy back into your freezer for use another time and make your own from scratch! Why, here’s a mighty fine looking scratch-made gravy right here…

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To make your own gravy from scratch, you must first make a roux. (Remember, all a roux is, is “butter” and flour cooked together!) Once the roux is starting to look a little foamy, you’ll then add in some low sodium vegetable stock, give everything a good whisking, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, boil for 3 minutes to thicken, whisking occasionally. After 3 minutes you can turn off the heat and add in all of the flavorful goodness that makes this gravy so delicious.

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Now, here are all the details (in legit printable recipe form) for the gravy but be sure to continue scrolling after this because I’m going to delve into the mashed potatoes in a moment!

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Vegan Thanksgiving Gravy

  • Servings: makes about 2 1/2 cups
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons vegan “butter”
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons low sodium tamari
  • 1 generous teaspoon dried thyme, crushed well in palm of hand
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt “butter.” When melted, add in the flour and whisk to combine. When the mixture becomes slightly foamy, add in the vegetable stock and increase heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes to thicken, whisking occasionally.
  2. After 3 minutes, turn off the heat and add in the remaining ingredients. Whisk or stir until everything is well combined. If serving right away, carefully transfer to serving container or gravy boat. If not serving right away, leave in pan for up to 1 hour, covered, and before serving reheat for 1 minute over medium-high heat, while whisking, to bring back to temperature and to remove any skin that may have formed at the top while the gravy was sitting. Leftover gravy can be kept in an airtight container in fridge for up to 4 days.


So we have the “turkey,” and we have the gravy, now we need some mashed potatoes! These mashed potatoes are so good that you can enjoy them without gravy if you wish. What makes them that good? A magical little thing called roasted garlic! It sounds super hard to make but it’s actually quite easy.

To make roasted garlic you’ll need a big ol’ whole head of garlic and some olive oil. Cut about a quarter to a half of an inch off the top of the garlic head, discard that little hat piece, then peel off some of the looser outer layers from the remaining chunk. Place the garlic head on a sheet of aluminum foil and then drizzle it with about a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Bring the edges of the foil up and squish them all together to create a completely closed foil packet around the head of garlic. Pop this onto a small sheet pan and then bake it in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45 minutes. When the timer is up, remove your roasted garlic from the oven and let it rest for about 15-25 minutes so that it’s cool enough for you to handle. When it’s cool, unwrap the foil and retrieve the garlic cloves from the head using the point of a small sharp knife. Set the cloves aside for a moment while we get the potatoes started.

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To get the potatoes for our mashed potatoes going, we need to do some prep! Wash 2 1/2 pounds of red potatoes then, using a knife or potato peeler, remove the ugly bits, if any. We want as much of the skins on as can remain on so try to remove only what is absolutely necessary. Next, cut each potato down into about 1 1/2″ square pieces and toss those pieces into a large pot filled about halfway with some water. Pop the pot onto your stove and boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes or until they are fork tender.

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When the potatoes are done, drain them then dump them into the bowl of your stand mixer. (If you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a large bowl and your hand mixer or a potato masher instead.) Add in the roasted garlic cloves you made earlier, some vegan “butter,” “sour cream,” salt, and pepper, then mix until smooth.

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To serve, I like to garnish the top of the potatoes with some fresh chives.

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Vegan Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • Servings: 6-8
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of garlic, whole
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, washed but not peeled (it’s okay to remove any ugly bits with small knife or potato peeler)
  • 1/2 a stick of vegan “butter”
  • 1/4-1/3 cup vegan “sour cream”
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh chives, finely chopped (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off a quarter to a half of an inch at the top of the garlic head, exposing most of the cloves inside, discarding the cut off piece. Peel off some of the looser outer layers then place the garlic head on a sheet of aluminum foil and drizzle it with about a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Bring the edges of the foil up and squish them all together to create a completely closed foil packet around the head of garlic. Pop this onto a small sheet pan and then bake it for 45 minutes. When the timer is up, remove your roasted garlic from the oven and let it rest for about 15-25 minutes so that it’s cool enough for you to handle. When it’s cool enough to handle, unwrap the foil and retrieve all of the garlic cloves from the head using the point of a small sharp knife. Set the cloves aside for a moment while we get the potatoes started.
  2. Cut each potato down into about 1 1/2″ square pieces and toss those pieces into a large pot filled about halfway with some water. Pop the pot onto your stove and boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes or until they are fork tender. Drain the potatoes when done.
  3. In a stand mixer (or a large bowl with your hand mixer or potato masher), combine the potatoes with the roasted garlic cloves, “butter,” “sour cream,” and salt and pepper to taste. Mix just until smooth then serve topped with fresh chives (optional). Leftover potatoes will keep in an airtight container in fridge for up to a week.


Well, y’all, that wraps up week 1 in my Thanksgiving series! Come back next week when I take on sweet potatoes!

 

 

Vegan Coconut Cornbread

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For those of you who don’t know this already, I have a brother named Thomas. He’s a couple years younger than me and we are two very different people. He’s a tech-savvy gamer-geek and I’m a crystal-loving, cow-hugging, artsy-fartsy free spirit. With that said however, there is one major thing that we have in common and that’s our love for food. We both enjoy cooking and baking (and eating) so our conversations are often very food centric. (Thank goodness you don’t gain weight just by talking about food!)

Our food centric conversation last week was about his upcoming birthday. I, as usual, offered to make him anything (vegan) that he wanted for dinner and he, as usual, said tofu scramble because he really loves my tofu scramble. Here’s the thing though, we both eat tofu scramble like all the damn time, so I told him that he should pick something that he doesn’t eat on a regular basis, something special, and that’s when he said he’d like some cornbread. (Of course I’ll be adding some main course to go with the cornbread, since cornbread alone isn’t dinner in my book, but I digress…)

Now, cornbread isn’t the most interesting thing ever, and y’all know I love to add my own special little twist to things, so I started to think of ways that I could jazz it up for my brother’s birthday dinner. He loves all things coconut, and I’m on a low-carb diet, so I thought that perhaps I should add in a little coconut flour. Then I thought that I should also add in coconut shreds, as well as coconut milk, to really amplify the coconut flavor. Then I remembered that I had some leftover amber ale in my fridge and figured, Why the hell not? It sounded crazy. It looked crazy on paper as I was writing it all down. But then I tried it, and had some other people try it, and there was no doubt that this crazy-ass recipe was crazy good.

My brother may not get to eat it until his birthday next week but y’all can try it right now! The first thing we’re going to do is prepare the egg replacer. For this, and most of my recipes, I use Ener-G egg replacer. In this case I took some of the egg replacer and mixed it with a little amber ale and a little water to create my “eggs.” Don’t worry if it’s a little clumpy, we’ll work those clumps out later when we add this to our cornbread batter. For now, just mix it as best you can then set it aside.

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Next, in a large bowl, you’re going to combine the cornmeal with the coconut flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Whisk these dry ingredients together.

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Now we are going to add in the wet ingredients which are coconut milk, vegan “butter” (melted), the egg replacer we made a moment ago, and a little bit of sugar. Whisk everything together once more and then we’re going to trade out our whisk for a silicone spatula.

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Toss in the frozen corn kernels and coconut shreds then fold them into the batter using a silicone spatula. Be gentle and don’t overwork the batter but do make sure that there aren’t any clumps of frozen corn.

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Generously grease an 8-inch square pan then pour the batter in and flatten the top, if needed, with the spatula. Pop this baby into a preheated oven and in just 30 minutes you’ll have coconut cornbread! You’ll know it’s done when the top is a lovely medium shade of golden brown and a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. Honey butter fan gone vegan? Try mixing a little agave with some vegan “butter” and smear that on a big ol’ piece of this cornbread for something so good your tongue will be crying tears of joy. #YoureWelcomeTongue

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Vegan Coconut Cornbread

  • Servings: 6-9
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Ener-G egg replacer + 3 tablespoons amber ale + 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (13.66-ounce) can of coconut milk
  • 6 tablespoons vegan “butter,” melted
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2/3 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Coconut oil for pan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and prepare an 8-inch square pan by generously greasing it with coconut oil. Prepare egg replacer, if you haven’t already done so, by combining it with the amber ale and warm water. Stir with a fork or mini whisk to break up as many lumps as you can then set mixture aside for a moment.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, coconut flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Add in the coconut milk, melted vegan “butter,” egg replacer mixture, and sugar. Whisk just until batter is smooth and all of the dry ingredients have been fully incorporated.
  3. Toss in frozen corn kernels and shredded coconut then fold everything together making sure to break up any clumps of frozen corn.
  4. Pour batter into greased pan and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. You’ll know cornbread is done when top is medium golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Will keep in airtight container in fridge for up to a week but is best hot out of the pan.

Vegan Broccoli Coleslaw

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Coleslaw is so gross. Coleslaw was so gross.

If you’re anything like me then you’re not a fan of cabbage and the only coleslaw’s that have ever come my way in life were cabbage based. #Ew

However, a new grocery store opened up by my house a couple months ago and, while browsing the produce section, I stumbled upon a little thing called broccoli slaw. (I’m sure this stuff has been around for a while but I’ve never once seen it and let me tell you, I spend a lot of time in the produce section!) Inside the clear clamshell package I saw a mixture of shredded broccoli stems, carrots, and the teeniest bit of purple cabbage. I got excited because I knew this was it, my chance to enjoy (nearly) cabbage-less coleslaw. I’m sure I looked strange as I stared into the chilled case with a smile on my face and excitement in my eyes but hey, we vegans can be a little strange sometimes. I snagged the last 2 packages in stock and, upon getting them home, immediately began the process of recipe making, tweaking, and perfecting.

My coleslaw is creamy, light, and full-flavored without being overpowering. It also has some interesting ingredients that not every coleslaw has -you’ll find out about those in a minute. Once made, you let it rest in the fridge for at least 1 hour to let the flavor to really come together, but letting it rest overnight is preferable.

It all gets started with some prep. Since we’re using a store bought broccoli slaw mixture there are really only 3 elements that require you to bust out your favorite knife and cutting board: the green bell pepper (green for its mild, not too sweet flavor), the onion, and the fresh parsley. Not every coleslaw recipe features these ingredients but mine does and it’s more fabulous because of them. You’re going to mince the bell pepper, finely mince the onion, and then rough chop the parsley. After you’ve done all of this, set this stuff aside for a moment to get the liquid for our coleslaw ready.

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For the liquid part of our coleslaw, in a large bowl combine the vegan mayo with the white wine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and mustard. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and creamy looking.

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To the liquid mixture you’re going to toss in the broccoli slaw along with the bell pepper, onion, and parsley you prepared a moment ago. You’re also going to add in some salt, black pepper, and celery seed then mix everything together to coat the added ingredients with the liquid.

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Cover the mixture tightly with some plastic wrap and then place the whole thing into your fridge for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to develop and meld. If time allows, keep the mixture in the fridge overnight (as in prepare it the day before you need it) for the best final product. Stir once more before serving.

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Vegan Broccoli Coleslaw

  • Servings: 6-8
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1/4 of a green bell pepper, minced
  • 1 generous tablespoon white onion, finely minced
  • A small handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 (12-ounce) package of broccoli slaw (preferably one which also contains carrots and purple cabbage)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon celery seed

Directions

  1. Mince the bell pepper, finely mince the onion, and rough chop the parsley, if you haven’t already prepped these ingredients. Set these aside for a moment.
  2. In a large bowl, combine vegan mayo with white wine vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and mustard. Whisk vigorously until smooth and creamy. Add in broccoli slaw mixture, the bell pepper, onion, and parsley you prepped a moment ago, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Stir/fold the ingredients together to evenly coat the added ingredients with the liquid.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop and meld. If time allows, keep the mixture in the fridge overnight (as in prepare it the day before you need it) for the best final product. Stir once more before serving. Coleslaw will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Vegan “Buttermilk” Fried “Chicken”

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In case you weren’t aware, writing recipes is quite the process indeed. Throughout said process, I’ll oftentimes end up with a sheet of paper that frankly looks as though someone who was possessed (and had a pen) got their hands on it. Now, I can only really focus on so many recipes at a time so most of the these chicken scratch papers end up getting tossed into a big ol’ pile waiting for their day to be perfected and shared with all y’all. Well, the other day, one recipe that’s been sitting in that pile since I started my blog finally got it’s day to shine.

When I hit the 10 pounds lost mark last weekend, I decided that I was going to give myself a cheat day and there was only one thing on my mind: fried “chicken.” This recipe, like I said a minute ago, had been in the pile o’ recipes since I started this blog in January. It just kept getting left behind in favor of other recipes which were a little less daunting. I mean, homemade vegan “meats” of any kind are serious business -fake meats have got to deliver. Despite my consternation though, I so desperately wanted to get it done for my cheat day so I got busy tweaking the recipe to perfection. A few batches later I had done it and was able to eat what I was craving for my cheat day. #DeliciousDeliciousSuccess

My fried “chicken” recipe is very traditional. You have your “chicken” pieces (made mostly of textured vegetable protein and vital wheat gluten for comparable protein values to actual chicken), a buttermilk-esque bath, and then a dredge (flour with salt, pepper, and just 2 other seasonings). Once coated, each piece is fried then finished off in the oven. The end result is something that has a nice meaty mouth feel and is perfectly seasoned. I could definitely see (if I wasn’t dieting) pairing up these fried little lovelies with my white gravy, biscuits, and mac-n-cheese for a picnic, or with waffles. #Drooling

It all gets started with some prep. The textured vegetable protein (aka TVP) is going to get plumped up with a little vegetable stock so that it’s ready for us in a moment when we make our “chicken.”

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We also need to prep the buttermilk-esque bath as well as the dredge. The buttermilk-esque bath is simply a combination of unsweetened almond milk and vinegar -use either normal vinegar for this or white wine vinegar. The dredge is all-purpose flour with some salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder mixed in. Whip up the bath and the dredge each in their own bowl then set them aside for a moment so that we can make our “chicken” mixture.

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For the “chicken” mixture, stir the TVP, vital wheat gluten, and seasonings together just until combined. You’ll want to make sure that you’re not overworking this mixture otherwise your “chicken” will be a little tough and chewy and ain’t nobody got time for tough and chewy “chicken.” Let this mixture to rest for a moment to allow the gluten to properly set.

Now would be a great time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prep a small sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper. You will also want to get a frying pan (cast iron is best for heat retention) ready by adding enough oil to shallow fry -about a half of an inch. Get the oil heating up to about medium heat (low to mid 300s). While the oil is heating up you can start forming your “chicken” pieces.

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Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out some of your “chicken” mixture and plop it down into your hand. Using your fingers and palms, press and work the piece just for a moment to compact it and form it into a flattened ball about an inch and a half thick. Dip the piece into the almond milk mixture we made earlier, making sure it’s been nicely coated with the liquid, then roll it in the flour dredge to cover the piece entirely. Repeat to make the first 4 (of 8 total) pieces -I’ll explain this in just a second.

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Before you gently place your pieces into the frying pan using a fork, test that the oil is at the correct temperature by dropping in a pinch of of your plain “chicken” mixture. If it begins to bubble and sizzle immediately, without quickly fading, then the oil is ready. If it doesn’t do any of that then you’ll need to turn the heat up just a little.

Once the oil is ready you may begin frying. Place no more than 4 pieces into the oil at a time so as to not crowd the pan. Fry each piece for about 5 minutes on each side then, when done, place onto the sheet pan you prepped earlier. Repeat the scooping, forming, dipping, dredging, and frying process until no “chicken” mixture remains.

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Once all of the pieces have been fried and are on the prepped sheet pan, bake them for 20 minutes, flipping the pieces over at the halfway point. When done, let cool for 5 minutes (off the pan) then serve immediately for the best eating experience.

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Vegan 'Buttermilk' Fried 'Chicken'

  • Servings: 8 pieces (enough for 3-4 people)
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP) + 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk + 2 teaspoons vinegar (normal or white wine)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour + 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • oil for frying (canola oil works great)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine TVP with vegetable broth, stir then set aside. In another small bowl, combine almond milk with vinegar, stir then set aside. In 1 more small bowl, combine flour with 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, stir then set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the re-hydrated TVP with the vital wheat gluten and 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder to create the “chicken” mixture. Stir mixture with a fork just until combined. Allow mixture to rest for about 3 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a small sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper. Prepare a frying pan (cast iron is best for heat retention) by filling it with enough oil to shallow fry -about half an inch of oil. Get the oil heating up to about medium heat (low to mid 300s). While the oil is heating up you can start forming your “chicken” pieces. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop out some of your “chicken” mixture and plop it down into your hand. Using your fingers and palms, press and work the piece just for a moment to compact it and form it into a flattened ball about an inch and a half thick. Dip the piece into the almond milk mixture we made earlier, making sure it’s been nicely coated with the liquid, then roll it in the flour mixture we made earlier to cover the piece entirely. Repeat to make the first 4 pieces -we will only be frying 4 pieces at a time so no need to make all 8 pieces at the moment.
  4. By now the oil in your frying pan should be at the correct temperature but test the oil to be sure by dropping in a pinch of of your plain “chicken” mixture. If it begins to bubble and sizzle immediately, without quickly fading, then it’s ready. If it doesn’t do any of that then you’ll need to turn the heat up just a little before placing your “chicken” pieces in. Once the oil is ready you may begin frying by gently placing your “chicken” pieces down into the oil using a fork or spider skimmer. Place no more than 4 pieces into the oil at a time so as to not crowd the pan. Fry each piece for about 5 minutes on each side then, when done, place onto the sheet pan you prepared earlier. Repeat the scooping, forming, dipping, dredging, and frying process until no “chicken” mixture remains.
  5. When all of your “chicken” pieces have been fried and are on the sheet pan, place the sheet pan into your preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, flipping the pieces over at the halfway point. When done, let the pieces cool for 5 minutes (off the pan) and then serve immediately for the best eating experience. Any uneaten pieces can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. To reheat, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 3-5 minutes -just until warmed throughout.

Vegan Bourbon Whiskey Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

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Here’s the 1st of 2 declarative statements in this post: I hate pineapple upside-down cake.

Yeah, you read that right! My mom, on the other hand, loves it. It’s one of her favorite desserts so it was high time I set about making her a vegan version that would take the cake -pun intended! Now here’s the thing about my mom, it takes a lot for her to call something, “great,” or, “perfect,” but those were the exact words she used to describe this cake so you better believe it’s something to try -if you’re a fan of pineapple upside-down cake, I mean.

Ready for the 2nd declarative statement of this post? Here it is: I don’t drink alcohol -like ever.

While I’m not a drinker (by personal choice) I do like to cook and bake with certain adult beverages from time to time. I find that they can really help amplify flavor, and add complexity, when used in moderation. Now I say moderation not because you’re going to get your family and friends plastered if you use too much (the alcohol does actually cook out), but rather because people tend to not enjoy super boozy recipes. Too much alcohol, just like too much salt or any other ingredient, can ruin a recipe in a heartbeat.

“But, Heather,” you might be asking, “if you don’t drink then how do you even know what flavor you’re adding to your recipe in the 1st place?” It’s called Google, my friends. There are plenty of sites out there which help break down the flavor complexities of things like champagne, red wine, and bourbon whiskey. Some even go so far as to tell you which flavors pair well with the adult beverage you’re looking into. I also happen to be surrounded by people who absolutely are willing to take a swig of something and tell me all about it. Sounds a little sketchy, I know, but it all absolutely works and this lovely little cake is proof of that!

To get started, we need to whip up some egg replacer (my favorite, Ener-G) so that it’ll be ready for us to use in a minute. Normally I’d be telling you to follow the instructions on the box, which says to use warm water to hydrate the Ener-G, however this time we’re doing things a little differently -a little more badass, one might say. We’re hydrating the Ener-G with bourbon whiskey! Oh yeah, you can do that, and we just did. #MicDrop

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Next, in a mixing bowl, the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) get whisked together until smooth. Then I add the almond milk, sugar, pineapple juice (stolen from our can of pineapple slices), egg substitute, and the vanilla, and stir to combine. Now set the cake batter aside for a moment to prepare the pan for it.

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For this cake you’ll need a 10-inch round pan. Spray it generously with nonstick spray and then, while holding the pan upright, sprinkle a little flour around the edges of the pan. The goal here is to have the bottom of the pan greased and the sides both greased and floured to prevent the cake from sticking.

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In the bottom of your prepared pan you’re going to pour in some melted vegan butter. Swirl it around the pan to make sure it sits evenly in the bottom then add in the brown sugar ensuring that it too is even across the pan. On top of that goodness, lay down the pineapple slices and, in the center of each, a maraschino cherry.

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Now grab the batter we made earlier and gently pour that into the pan. Get your cake into a preheated oven and bake it for about 45 minutes.

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You’ll know it’s done when the edges are pulling away from the sides of the pan and the top, soon to be bottom, is golden brown. Let the cake rest in the pan for 5 minutes.

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After 5 minutes has passed, it’s time to turn that bad boy out! My preferred method for doing this is to sandwich the cake pan in between to large sheet pans with the sheet pan the cake is about to be flipped onto lined in parchment paper. Pinching the sheet pans tightly together so that the cake pan cannot move in between them, give the whole thing a quick flip then carefully remove the top sheet pan and the cake pan to reveal your upside-down cake!

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Vegan Bourbon Whiskey Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

  • Servings: 1, 10-inch round cake, serving 6-8
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Ener-G egg substitute + 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1 1/2 cups flour + more for pan
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice (from can of pineapple slices)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 7 slices of pineapple (a 20-ounce can will provide more than enough slices and juice for this recipe)
  • 7 maraschino cherries
  • Nonstick cooking spray for pan

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare egg substitute by combining Ener-G powder with bourbon whiskey. Stir well then set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour with baking powder and salt. Whisk until smooth then add in the almond milk, sugar, pineapple juice, egg substitute, and vanilla. Whisk to combine then set aside.
  3. Prepare a 10-inch round pan by spraying it with nonstick spray then, while holding the pan upright, sprinkle a little flour around the inner edges to coat just the edges (not the bottom) lightly with flour. Shake out any excess flour.
  4. Pour melted vegan butter into pan. Swirl it around in the bottom of the pan to ensure an even layer and then sprinkle in the brown sugar, by hand, also making sure that it is even across the bottom of the pan. Lay down a layer of pineapple slices (7 slices to be exact) in the bottom of the pan and then place a maraschino cherry in the center of each pineapple ring. Gently pour cake batter into pan then bake for 45 minutes. The cake will be done when edges are pulling away from pan sides, cake top (soon to be the bottom) is golden brown, and a toothpick stuck halfway down into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Let finished cake rest in pan for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn cake out being very careful as it will still be very hot. (Read in post about how I prefer to do this!) Cake will keep in an airtight container on counter for up to 3 days.

Vegan Southern-Style Biscuits & Gravy

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About a month and a half ago I shared with y’all my recipe for Vegan Southern-Style Biscuits and my-oh-my did they become beloved in a hurry. Now of course they’re delicious all by themselves but there is one particular way that I enjoy eating them and that’s under generous amounts of glorious gravy -can I get an Amen?! In making my gravy I like to use a little something special to boost the flavor. What is that little something special you ask? Magic!

(Hilarious side note speaking of magic: I once had a dream that me and David Blaine were set to be married but he wanted to bail on me so we went to the Dr. Phil show to have him help us with our premarital problems. Dr. Phil got David to admit the reason why he didn’t want to marry me and that was because he felt that I wasn’t “magic enough.” #OhTheCrazyShitIDreamAbout #MrsDavidBlaine #OrNot)

Okay… now back to the real magic. Magic in the form of Bragg Organic Sprinkle, that is! This stuff has literally everything in it, 24 herbs and spices in total, and it’s really good. It takes what could have been just a basic gravy and transforms it into anything but basic. Now even though the Sprinkle makes this gravy pretty flavorful for a white gravy, it’s not overpowering so you’ll still be able to taste those big beautiful biscuits underneath.

As for said biscuits, you’ll need to click on over to that using the link above. There you’ll find pictures of the process, and of course the recipe, so that you can whip up the 1st part of this 2 part dish. The 2nd part, the gravy, is right here…

To get started on the gravy, put 1 stick (yes, you read that right) of vegan butter into a large saucepan, or large cast-iron skillet should you want to get really southern with it, and let it melt down over medium heat. Once melted, add some flour (exact measurements are in the recipe below) and then whisk the mixture until bubbling and kind of foamy looking. (If you’ve seen some of my recipes thus far then you’re more than familiar with this process!)

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The next step is to add the almond milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for just about a minute or so and then reduce the heat to simmer.

You should be whisking or stirring the mixture the whole way through this process, just so you know. A gravy should never be left unsupervised or it’s likely to act out or burn. It’s naughty like that.

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As the mixture begins to thicken, add in the seasonings being sure to crush the Sprinkle good in the palm of your hand, or in a mortar and pestle, before adding it.

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Cook the mixture a little longer and that’s pretty much it -you’ve got gravy! Plop it over some biscuits and enjoy!

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Vegan Southern-Style Biscuits & Gravy

  • Servings: 7 biscuits & about 4 cups of gravy (that's a little over a half of a cup of gravy for each biscuit)
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Credit: Compassion is the Secret Ingredient, http://www.citsiblog.com

Ingredients

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt vegan butter. Once melted, add flour and whisk mixture until bubbling and kind of foamy in appearance, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in almond milk and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, boil for about a minute whisking or stirring frequently. Reduce heat to simmer and add crushed Bragg Organic Sprinkle, black pepper, and salt. Continue to cook mixture, stirring occasionally, on low-med. heat for another 10-15 minutes.
  3. When gravy is done, serve over biscuits. Gravy will keep in an airtight container in fridge for up to 4 days, biscuits will keep in an airtight container on counter for up to 3 days.