Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 4: Don’t Order Me a “Vegan” Option, I’ll Go Ahead And Brown-Bag It

Ugghhh…the dreaded veggie wrap tray. Cold, moist, bland, barely edible. Crudites. The shittiest hummus you’ve ever bothered to eat. Cookies that definitely aren’t vegan but you might sneak a bite because you just want something that might taste OK, but then they taste like nothing.


I made that kind of stuff, but not so shitty that you don’t know how you’ll make it through the rest of this very long, very boring day.

First up, hummus. Instead of regular chickpea-based hummus, I went with white beans (cannellini, specifically, because it’s what I had on hand) and roasted a whole little head of garlic to throw in the blender with it. The remaining ingredients–olive oil, juice of half a lemon, tahini, salt and pepper–are pretty basic, because I really wanted that sweet, roasted garlic to sing. Served with fresh veggies for color and crunch. Easy-peasy.

Next, the veggie wrap. No mere crudites wrapped in a fucking tortilla, no sir. I started with baked tofu, seasoned simply with soy sauce and a dash of liquid smoke. Then I whipped up a quick massaged lacinato kale salad with a thick, creamy dressing made with herbed cashew cheese, nooch, more nuts, and red wine vinegar. I also wanted avocado, but I didn’t end up using much because they were not great when I cut into them. The big whole wheat tortillas I bought got a quick warm-up on a griddle pan before filling them with tofu and kale. Simple, but full of flavor and texture.

And you know I already had cookies from yesterday’s junk food post. Mmmm, cookies.

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Baked tofu with balsamic vinegar and green garlic, roasted rainbow carrots with thyme and asparagus, lemon parsley dressing, kale salad, and quinoa

The sauce was a riff on the creamy-cilantro lime dressing from Salad Samurai: lemon instead of lime, parsley instead of cilantro, and fresh spring onion instead of powder. The rest of the recipe includes cashews, a little light miso, garlic, and pepper, just add water and throw in the VitaMix.

Baking tofu in a mix of olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, green garlic, and fresh thyme sprigs is a pretty good base. The same ingredients – sub salt for the soy sauce – makes for good roasted carrots. Kept the asparagus simple with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt.

Food Blog None Vegan MoFo

Kale salad with kabocha squash and sprouted lentils (roughly based on the one from Isa Does It) and some shells and cheesy sauce on the side. Homemade sauce of roux, garlic, leftover cashew cheese, white wine, and nooch. So much whisking.

Food Blog None Vegan MoFo

Not entirely successful, but still pretty good

Not every meal is a winner. Sometimes things don’t quite gel. It happens. It’s still good. We all gotta eat.

Goddamn this is blurry. Like I said, nothing’s perfect.

This was a roasted tofu, kari squash, and red onion dish from Big Vegan by Robin Asbell. This is pretty tasty, though my squash took longer to cook in spots for reasons I can’t figure out. My oven usually does a good job.

To go with it, I attempted to combine a kale salad with soba noodles (by request). It didn’t work out as well. I didn’t dress it enough–should’ve made a sesame dressing instead of the simple rice vinegar and sesame oil drizzle–and the noodled clumped up when I tried to mix them in with the kale. Ah well. It does balance things out pretty well.

Food Blog None Vegan MoFo

Fabulous roasted purple cauliflower seasoned with oregano, red pepper, and nooch. Dino kale salad with shredded carrots, cabbage, and cherry tomatoes in an almond butter-garlic-lemon dressing. Pan-fried tempeh triangles with soy sauce. Yum.

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garam masala-spiced cashew butter and lemon

The sauce I make most often is a simple dressing that’s a variation on the following formula: nut butter + acid (vinegar or citrus) + seasoning + water to desired consistency.

Tonight I made a kale salad intended to eat alongside a warm channa masala (chickpea curry) and brown rice, so I wanted to tweak the formula to complement more cooling elements (kale and cucumber) but have a tiny kick.


  • About ¼ cup creamy cashew butter
  • Juice of one lemon
  • One garlic clove, microplaned
  • Few shakes of prepared garam masala spice blend
  • PInch salt

The dressing ingredients are whisked together in the bottom of a big metal mixing bowl. It takes a little roughhousing to break up the nut butter, often – tap the whisk against the side of the bowl, use it to mash the elements together, until you can really cream them together. It shouldn’t take too long. Once they begin to come together, add a little water and keep mixing until you get the consistency you want to dress your salad (or whatever). I find that for a salad that serves two I use about two tablespoons of water.


  • One bunch curly green kale, stem removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • One cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • Half a medium red onion, thinly sliced into quarter moons

Raw kale salad, if you’ve never had the pleasure, is made using a massaging technique to break down the tough leaves. Use your hands to squeeze and knead the leaves in the mixing bowl. Really work those things. As you do this, the dressing should be getting mixed around too, and it helps with the massage process (what good is massage without massaging oil?). The volume of the leaves will reduce by almost half. Don’t worry, they still have some crunch! Plus you’ll add other chopped veggies to keep things fresh.