Tag Archives: Vegan

Squashed Spaghetti

I’m down to the home stretch. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Only a few more days in this vegetable desert! But for now, I’m still here, and I’ve gotta eat. So I’m still trying to mix things up a bit. Though at this point, everything is starting to taste the same.

My mouth is watering as I think about what’s coming. My friend, whom I’m walking in this desert with, will be cooking cheesy chicken enchiladas to celebrate the end of our diet. You better believe I will thoroughly enjoy them! I can almost taste their melty gooey cheesy goodness right now! I will, for sure, include a recipe for my own cheesy enchiladas when I make some for myself. As absolutely delicious as they are, they are extremely simple to prepare. You can watch for that.

For now, seeing as how my culinary canon is still in effect, I’m going to attempt to recreate a staple of any family’s dinner menu – spaghetti. “But you can’t have pasta!” you might be screaming right now. And you’re absolutely right. This is why I’ll be utilizing the often overlooked spaghetti squash!

Spaghetti-SquashFor those of you who don’t know what this is, the spaghetti squash is an oddity of nature. When you slice this squash in half and bake it, the flesh of the spaghetti squash comes apart in strands, resembling spaghetti noodles, and it has a slight buttery flavor. It still has the texture of squash, but if you close your eyes and imagine real hard, it’s almost like eating real spaghetti. It’s a great spaghetti substitute for those who are vegans, alergic to gluten, folks on a low carb diet, or even for those looking for a healthy and light alternative to the high-calorie traditional spaghetti.

It’s good with a little butter and Parmesan or Romano cheese, and an Italian meat sauce. Since I can’t partake of any of that, I’ll have to settle for a tasty homemade marinara with mushrooms. And instead of meatballs, I’m cooking up some chopped zucchini and yellow squash. … O meat, how I miss you so!

SpaghettiSquashAs it turns out, this is one of the better meals I’ve prepared during this diet. I think it ranks up there with my quinoa lettuce wraps.

One of the guests at our Monday night group – the event for which I prepared this delicacy – told me that no one has ever convinced her to eat squash before (she’s not a fan apparently). She liked this dish though, which is surprising, seeing as how it’s made up almost entirely of squash. It just Goes to show you that with the right combination of flavors and textures, you can turn anything into a delicious meal! Though she did pick out all the mushrooms (apparently not a fan of those either)…

If you’d like to try your hand at this squashy spaghetti facsimile, you can find the recipe in the recipes section of the blog.

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Monday Night Quinoa

Every Monday night, my friend and I host a weekly dinner and discussion group. We meet at her house, and most of the time I cook dinner for everyone. It’s a fun time. We all gather around the kitchen and talk about life while I cook dinner, and then we get to enjoy a lovely meal together. There are a few of us that are there fairly consistently, and when you share a meal like that every week, you begin to know each other like family. I love it!

It’s one thing to walk through this veggie desert by myself, but when I’m cooking for other people as well, I feel a particular pressure to make something that everyone will enjoy, even if they’re not eating a vegatarian diet. So I did what I always do when I need to cook something that needs to be tasty and fun. I cooked something I’ve never cooked before. Not only that, I cooked with ingredients that I’ve never used before. It’s a risk, I suppose, but over the years I’ve become confident in my culinary gifting.

QuinoaLettuceWrapTonight, I cooked up some lettuce wraps, using quinoa as a base. Quinoa is a grain, similar to rice. But when it’s cooked, it has a texture similar to couscous. I’ve never cooked quinoa until tonight, and I’ve only eaten it a couple times. I don’t have a whole lot of experience with it. Fortunately, like rice, it’s pretty easy to work with. To be fair though, I didn’t actually prepare the quinoa. My friend, at whose house we host this dinner discussion group, prepared it in her steamer. So I can’t take all the credit.

Anyway, this is what I ended up with. It turned out very nicely.

It’s a quinoa lettuce wrap with tomatoes, carrots, fresh green chillies, red bell pepper, sweet red onions, black beans, peaches, lime and cilantro with fresh avocado. It was quite a cacophony of flavors. Oh, and it was topped with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The vinegar mingling with the peaches, oh what flavor! Top it with some avocado and a slice of lime… Delicious! Plus, if you try you can make it look very pretty. Pretty is always a plus when it comes to food.

If this is something you’d like to try for yourself – I recommend it – you can find the recipe over on the recipe’s section of the blog. It was pretty simple to prepare.

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Vegan Buffalo Wedges

I was out the other night with some friends at a local bar, playing a game of competitive trivia, when one of the guys that was with us came back after being gone for a little while with box full of Buffalo wings. My eyes got wide and my mouth started to water, but then almost instantly I was punched in the tastebuds when I reminded myself, I’m still doing this three week no meat no dairy, fruits and vegetables only diet.  But they’re Buffalo wings!  Right there in front of me!

But allas, Buffalo wings contain both meat, and dairy – Buffalo sauce is about half butter – and are usually fried. Three strikes. All I could do was stare longingly at my friend’s Buffalo wings as I sat in the bar with my cohort, drinking my cup of water. All the while my stomach is screaming at me ‘Why!? Why are you doing this to me!? WHY!?’

All that to say, since that night I’ve been craving Buffalo wings, but I’ve got two more weeks to go with this diet. Two more weeks in this meatless, cheeseless vegetable desert. It’ll be worth it though. I’ve done this before, and I know that at the end, I will feel so incredibly healthy. It will be good, even though I have to give up Buffalo wings for while.

Anyway, Fast forward a couple days to me lying in bed, and an idea pops into my brain. I’ll bet I can make a buffalo sauce without using butter. And I can’t have chicken, but I can have potatoes! So I determined myself to find a way to make vegan Buffalo potato wedges.

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And I did. Instead of using butter, what I ended up doing was using butter beans. If you’ve never seen these, they are large pale beans that, when they’re heated up, the insides become very squishy, almost like butter. They’ve got a very nice, almost creamy texture. So I boiled them in some water, mashed them with a fork, and strained out all the bean skins. What I was left with was a kind of sloppy, cream-like bean paste. Add a bit of vinegar, a good amount of Frank’s RedHot, and some seasoning and bring it to a simmer. Boom. Butter-less Buffalo sauce!  Add a green pepper and guac salad to go along with it. That’s a good lunch right there!

When it was all said and done, the sauce was more like a paste, but the flavor was dead on. I was craving Buffalo wings, but my alternative – vegan Buffalo potato wedges – kicked that cravings ass!

If you’d like to try your hand at this, you can find the recipe on the Recipes page.

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