It's great bein' vegan

Jan. 31, 2011, 11:20 p.m. | By Molly Nicholson | 13 years, 3 months ago

A four-course menu in honor of all vegans

Americans seem to be in a health food craze. Whether people are cutting some meat or all meat out of their diets, a large number of people are becoming vegetarians or pescetarians (can't resist the fish). This trend isn't just for animal rights anymore; it's about getting healthy and living healthy. However, there is a health group that is normally forgotten: vegans. Those with the self-control of a seasoned athlete are able to cut out every animal-made product and should be applauded. In honor of these healthy eaters, this SCO vegan expert is here to provide all interested with a full course soup, salad, entrée and dessert on which to feast.

Creamy Caesar salad with croutons

All of the recipes require a large amount of spices and herbs to provide rich, luscious flavor.  Photo courtesy of Molly Nicholson.

- Blender
- Medium-size bowl
- Baking sheet
- Large bowl

For salad:
- 4 ounces firm tofu
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 whole garlic gloves, peeled
- 2-3 tablespoons of capers
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Water or olive oil, as needed
- 2 heads of lettuce
For croutons:
- 2 cups bread cubes
- 1/2 teaspoons dried oregeno
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon group paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation and Cooking
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all crouton ingredients in the medium-sized bowl and toss well.
3. Spread breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake for 15-25 minutes or until bread is crisp and dry. Check halfway through and flip the bread to evenly cook them.
4. To make the salad, in a blender, blend tofu, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, pepper and salt. Add olive oil to thin out dressing, as needed. Look for creamy, but not so thick it cannot be poured out.
5. Once the croutons are ready, tear lettuce into bite-size pieces and add to a large bowl. Add dressing and croutons, and toss to combine.

Prep time is approximately 25 minutes. Makes about 4 servings.

Quick Caribbean black bean soup

The most memorable aspect of black bean soup is the slight tang and spice that is acquired with every spoonful. Photo courtesy of Molly Nicholson.

- Large saucepan or medium stockpot
- Spoon

- 1 can low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 can diced tomatoes with jalapeno chilies, juices included
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1 can refried vegetarian black beans
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preparation and Cooking:
1. Place the broth, tomatoes and their juices, and water to a boil over high heat in the large saucepan or medium stockpot.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in coconut milk, beans, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the beans are blended together.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer with the top covered for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
4. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Cooking time is about 20 minutes. Soup is best when served hot. Makes about 4-6 servings.

Tempeh and Eggplant Pot Pies

- Knife
- Cutting board
- Large sauté pan
- 2-3 spoons
- Steamer (If you do not own a steamer just put about an inch of water into a medium sized pot, bring to boil and then add eggplant and tempeh until soft.)
- Large mixing bowl
- Small ramekins


Pot pies are a great way to incorporate different varieties of vegetables. Plus, any leftover dough is great for biscuits in later meals.  Photo courtesy of Molly Nicholson.

For filling:
- 2 cups diced eggplant
- 1 package tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small-size yellow onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped evenly
- 1 to 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 can/jar (15 ounces) tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
For biscuit dough:
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup nondairy milk (soy, rice, almond, hazelnut, hemp, or oat)
- 1/3 cup non-dairy, non-hydrogenated butter (such as Earth Balance), melted

Preparation and Cooking:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Coat 4-6 individual ramekins with oil and set aside
3. To make filling, steam eggplant and tempeh for 10 to 15 minutes (eggplant should be soft). At the same time, add oil to sauté pan and cook onion and celery until soft.
4. Add capers and balsamic vinegar and sauté for 1 minute. Then add tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, and cooked tempeh and eggplant. Stir until all ingredients are covered with tomato sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. While that is cooking, prepare biscuit dough. Place flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl, and stir together.
6. Pour nondairy milk and butter over the dry items and mix until everything is evenly moistened. The dough should be lumpy and sticky.
7. Remove sauté pan from heat after 10 minutes and season filling with salt and pepper. Divide filling evenly between previously prepared ramekins. Drop bits of dough over each ramekin and spread dough so it evenly covers the filling.

Bake pot pies until crust is brown, which is about 15 minutes. Check to make sure dough is cooked evenly through by putting a toothpick through the potpies. If it comes out clean they are ready. Makes about 4-6 servings.

Apple pie (It can be done!)

- Pie pan
- Rolling pin
- Mixing bowl
- Apple peeler
- Baking sheet
- Food processor

For filling:
- 5 to 6 medium-large apples, peeled, cored and sliced
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons nondairy, non-hydrogenated butter, cut into small pieces
For pie crusts:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 nondairy butter
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water

Believe it or not, vegan apple pie is manageable in a couple of easy steps!  Photo courtesy of Molly Nicholson.

Preparation and Cooking:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
For the pie crust:
1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor for 10 seconds. Scatter the butter over the dry ingredients and then pulse for a few seconds.
2. Drizzle the ice water over the ingredients and pulse until there are no dry spots. Be careful not to over work the dough; it should be in a few small balls.
3. Divide the dough into two pieces. Roll out one of the pieces to cover the entire bottom of the pie pan. Trim off the overhanging dough. Put the other half into the refrigerator until it is time to cover the filling.

For the filling:
1. Combine the sliced apples with the sugar, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Let the apples soften for about 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Pour the mixture into the bottom crust and level it out with the back of a spoon. Use the entire filling. Dot the top of the apples with pieces of nondairy butter.
3. Now take the top crust out of the fridge and roll out until even and large enough to cover the whole pie. Crimp the edges with your fingers (or a fork). Using a sharp knife make five slits from the center of the pie out toward the edge of the pie to allow steam to escape.
4. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the top. Slip a baking sheet under the pie to catch any extra juices and reduce over temperature to 350 degrees.

Preparation time is 30 minutes. Cook pie for 30-45 minutes. Cool for 3-4 hours to allow the filling to thicken properly. To serve warm put pie in 350 degree for 15 minutes and serve. Makes about 8-10 servings.

For more great vegan recipes check out Colleen Partick-Gourdreau's The Vegan Table.

Molly Nicholson. GO RAVENS! I would want nothing more than to be sitting on a beach watching the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl. More »

Show comments


No comments.

Please ensure that all comments are mature and responsible; they will go through moderation.