Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 6: I’m Nuts for Vegan Cheese


Yeah. OK. So finally, there’s vegan cheese that doesn’t gross me out, and it’s made out of nuts. But it’s also super expensive, so I usually just make some vegan cheese. Cashew ricotta is quick and easy for a creamy filling/topping; nutty nooch is just nuts/seeds of my choice–usually almonds or walnuts and hemp seeds–whizzed in the spice grinder with nutritional yeast for a parmesan sub. But the best ones are cultured.

I’ve made the herbaceous cultured cashew spread from Vegan Eats World a whole bunch of times, and it’s a dang winner. Well, I do not bother with sauteeing any garlic or shallots; I just add raw garlic (BOOM) and lemon zest along with the herbs. It is awesome on bread. It is excellent as pasta sauce. It’s not bad in a salad dressing.

But really, a simple presentation is the best one. Something carby. A little tomato. Delicious.

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Jamaican-style curry with plantains and squash, plus collards and red rice

Another week, Vegan Eats World recipe. This is a nice, spicy coconut curry with some sweeter elements–pumpkin, plantain, allspice. I thought it needed a nice green veggie, so I prepared simple ribbons of collard greens in coconut oil with red onion, ginger, and garlic. And a mix of red rice and brown rice to tie everything today. Hearty and delicious, I expect it will make excellent leftovers.

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Millet mango peanut salad and spicy black-eyed pea patties

Continuing my Vegan Eats World tour, tonight’s dinner is the millet mango peanut salad with black-eyed pea patties on the side. I don’t cook millet often, and usually mango is reserved for the boyfriend’s snacking needs, but these sounded like a lovely combination. And–besides the mango and all the dry ingredients–the veggies and aromatics were all available at the farmers’ market. Yum. The picture above is a “snack” portion: I’m headed to Pilates tonight, and Pilates on a full stomach is a bad idea, but I wanted to make sure everything was tasty.

These recipes both made so many portions, you guys. I am expecting mega-leftovers, which is good, since I am on my own for lunch nowadays and these dishes both seem like they’ll keep well. They’re spicy and bright with citrus tang and fresh herbs and onion and have great texture. The patties are a little bit like baked falafel, but softer, since black-eyed peas are decidedly mushier than chickpeas. Plus, the colors! I love a colorful plate.

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Curry laksa with oyster mushrooms

This week I actually planned ahead – at least three meals from recipes I haven’t tried before, using some ingredients I don’t normally cook with. Tonight it’s laksa, a (typically nonvegan) Southeast Asian specialty featuring a rich curry broth with rice noodles and herbs. I followed the recipe from Vegan Eats World, so it’s probably more “inspired by” than anything, but I did make everything from scratch.

The first layer in the soup bowl is gently wilted and very roughly chopped baby bok choy flowers and tops. Very tender greens and stems. I nuked it briefly to help it cook quickly once the hot broth hit it.

Next we add rice noodles. Continuing my tendency to evade “authenticity,” I opted for some forbidden rice ramen-style noodles, which are a beautiful purple color and nice texture.

Then I added slices of pan-fried tofu. The recipe calls for tofu puffs, but I had really nice fresh tofu, so I just cooked it up so it’d at least get a bit of a ‘puffy’ crust.

Bean sprouts are a necessary last minute addition. Actually, the recipe suggested napa cabbage as an alternative, which keeps a lot better, but strangely enough, I didn’t see any at the market.

After the soup has simmered for a while, it’s ladled over all of the above. Bright yellow and rich with coconut milk and aromatics, plus the oyster mushrooms.

Topped with chopped cilantro and mint, because that makes everything better. Unless you hate cilantro, I guess.

The recipe didn’t call for it, but I added a quick squeeze of lime juice to my bowl. It’s nice and spicy and chewy and crunchy. I bet the broth will taste better tomorrow–if there’s any left…

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Just spent an hour going through some cookbooks I like but don’t cook from often enough, looking for recipes I wouldn’t normally attempt because they have ingredients I don’t regularly buy and/or seem super complicated and time-consuming. I’ll try to make a few of these every week while I can. I’ve got recipes from Isa Does it, Vedge, and Salad Samurai, but half the list is from Vegan Eats World, which I think is a pretty underrated book! I’ve cooked a lot of things from it and had many hits, and still feel like I don’t know it that well. It might be my stealth favorite, simply for ambitiousness and inspiration.