Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vegan recipes of the week

Thank you, everyone, for your helpful and supportive comments on my last blog post!  I’ll have more tips coming soon on tips for eating healthfully and organically on a budget.  Today I’d like to share with you a couple of new vegan recipes I made in the last week. 

Vegan French Toast
French toast is one of my favorite breakfasts, especially on cold weekend mornings.  I used two types of bread I from Zingerman’s, whole-wheat farm bread and cinnamon raisin.  What I like about Zingerman’s bread is that they are made with whole-wheat flour and contain no additive.  The cinnamon raisin bread contains honey, but hard-core vegans could make cinnamon raisin bread with another natural sweetener such as agave nectar, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup.

I’ve replaced eggs in this recipe with ripe bananas, which naturally sweeten the French toast and lessen the need to add sugar to the batter or a ton of syrup on top.

•    12 thick slices day old bread
•    3 super ripe bananas, mashed
•    1 cup soymilk
•    2 tsp. cinnamon
•    Fruit sauce, maple syrup, or fruit butter to top (optional)

1.    Spray a large skillet with cooking spray or lightly oil.
2.    In a large bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, soymilk, and cinnamon. 
3.    Dip slices of bread into banana-milk mixture for a minute or two, allowing the bread to absorb the liquid.  Remove bread from mixture and use a fork to scrape off any excess banana mixture stuck to the bread (this will allow the French toast to cook more efficiently).
4.    Cook bread slices over medium-high heat for approximately 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
5.    Serve immediately with topping, if desired.

My boyfriend makes a delicious fruit sauce that is a perfect topping for French toast or pancakes that I’ll include here:

•    1 package frozen berries
•    Sweetener, optional and to taste

1.    Place frozen berries into a medium saucepan.  Add water to cover. 
2.    Boil fruit at medium-high heat.
3.    Add sweetener, if desired, and continue stirring until most of the liquid evaporates and a sauce forms.
4.    Serve at any temperature!

Vegan Spinach Pie
This is a lighter version of traditional spinach pie, or spanakopita, which is usually laden with butter and cheese.  I used firm tofu here as a substitute for the cheese, and used only a little bit of olive oil brushed between the sheets of phyllo dough.

•    ½ of a 16-oz. package puff pastry dough, thawed overnight
•    1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
•    3 cloves garlic, minced
•    Salt and pepper, to taste
•    1 16-oz. package organic frozen spinach, thawed and drained
•    ½ brick firm tofu, mashed
•    8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
•    1 tsp. lemon juice
•    Olive oil

1.    Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly oil a 9-inch pie tin or spray with olive oil cooking spray.
2.    Cook garlic and onions in a large frying pan with a little olive oil over medium-high heat until the onions turn transparent.
3.    Add mushrooms, spinach, tofu, and lemon juice and cook until any excess liquid evaporates.  Set aside
4.    Line the pie plate with half of the puff pastry sheets.  Place the spinach mixture on top of the puff pastry.  Cover the spinach mixture with the remaining puff pastry sheets, brushing a small amount of olive oil in between some of the pastry sheets. Tuck the excess pastry into the pie plate.
5.    Bake for 45 minutes or until done.  Serves 4 as a main course.

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