Apple Cheesecake Crumble

I’ve been venturing more into dessert lately when I realized that I don’t have enough sweet stuff on here! Baking has always intimidated me because it seems easy to slip up and you can’t taste test things while they’re cooking. After trying a pumpkin cheesecake recipe from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen (which this is adapted from) I wanted to experiment with a different flavor and had a $2 bag of apples from the farmer’s market lying around. The apple topping and crumble is perfect because it’s like pie and cheesecake in one!

Vegan Apple Cheesecake Crumble

  • 8 oz container of vegan cream cheese
  • 12 ounces silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup light agave nectar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
 
  • 1 cup apple sauce (the unsweetened kind)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
 
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup light agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp melted Earth Balance
  • 1 large apple, peeled and thinly sliced
 
  • 1 store bought 8-inch graham-cracker pie crust(the non-hydrogenated kind!)

Preheat the oven to 350. Mix the first set of ingredients in a food processor until it’s thick and creamy. Remove a cup of the mixture and spread on crust. Add the next group of ingredients and process, then pour over the bottom layer on the crust.

In a mixing bowl, add the last set of ingredients except the apple and mix together with your hands until the flour is moist and crumbly, adding more flour if needed.

Layer the apple slices over the top layer and top off with the crumble mixture. Bake for 50 minutes then let it set in the fridge for at least 24 hours before serving so it can get firm.

Enjoy!

Cannellini Bean & Kale Quiche

One of my friends brought over a cannellini bean and spinach dip for Thanksgiving which was amazing, and I thought, this would be a good creamy filling for a quiche! Most recipes use silken tofu to get that consistency but I found the beans were just right. And having lived in France for 2 years, I miss quiche and have never tried to make a vegan version. I even made the crust from scratch, which was surprisingly easy and cheaper than a store bought crust.

For the crust

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 7 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp soy milk

Preheat oven to 400. Put all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and mix with a fork until all the flour is dampened, then press the dough against the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie plate, making sure it’s even and there are no holes. Cover with foil and bake for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 4 minutes until the dough is set.

For the filling
  • 1 cup cooked cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 1 12 oz jar artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup portabella mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup daiya mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • paprika
  • salt

Bring the temperature of the oven up to 425. In a processor, add all the ingredients except the onions, pepper, and mushrooms. Process it up until it’s creamy. Saute the remaining ingredients in a saucepan with some olive oil until the onions start to get translucent, about 4 minutes. Layer the bean mixture and onion mixture in the pie crust, adding a sprinkle of daiya cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean.

Bon appetit!

My Favorite Holiday – Vegan Style

Here’s a recipe I use for Thanksgiving every year because it’s always such a hit. The pic of my friend Franny licking her lips proves it. It was her first Thanksgiving (she’s British) and she LOVED my stuffing. It’s a little labor intensive if you start with raw chestnuts (jarred roasted ones were $15, compared to $5 for a bag of raw ones, so duh!) but it’s worth it, plus it’s Thanksgiving, so no shortcuts! And no Thanksgiving would be complete without the gravy. Mushrooms are a good base because they help it thicken up when you cook it down. This is also one of my staples. I even made some for my class this week and they begged me to post the recipe so here you go guys!

Chestnut Stuffing

adapted (makes about 15 servings)

  • 1 pound of tempeh sausage crumbles (2 8 oz packs of tempeh, and use fresh sage!)
  • 1 pound loaf of day old 7-grain bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 2 cups roasted chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Preheat your oven to 375º. Heat the vegan margarine in a skillet and add the onions, celery, and fennel. Cook until they start to become soft, about 7 minutes. Add the white wine to deglaze the pan, then add the sausage crumbles. Cook another minute, then add the chestnuts and cook until the liquid has evaporated. In a big mixing bowl, add the bread cubes, onion, sausage, fennel mixture, herbs, and broth, and mix well. Make sure the stuffing is moist but not too wet. Place the stuffing in a greased 4 quart baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 45 until the top is crispy.

*To roast the chestnuts yourself, preheat the oven to 425º and with a sharp knife, cut an X into each one. Put them in a baking dish with the X facing up and bake for about 3o minutes until the shells start to burst open. Let them cool and then they’re ready to peel.

Mushroom Gravy

  • 1 cup of baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 2 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
Cook the mushrooms and the onions in a skillet in the vegan margarine over medium heat until they start to get soft and the onions are translucent. Add the vegetable broth and soy sauce, and slowly add the flour while stirring making sure it doesn’t clump. Add the spices and turn heat down to medium-low and let cook for about 15 minutes until you reach the desired thickness.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

“Chicken” Guacamole Chard Wraps

I don’t usually cook with fake meat substitutes a lot but on one of my recent Chinatown dim sum lunch trips (at my favorite vegan kosher dim sum place!) I discovered this vegetarian market with tons of weird products that I’m just too curious to ignore. So my first purchase was some “chicken legs,” which I marinated and baked. But if you don’t have a Chinese vegetarian market near you, this would also work with seitan or tempeh.

“Chicken” Guacamole Chard Wraps (makes about 6 wraps servings)

For the guacamole:

  • 1 small hass avocado
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 plum tomato, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything up until you reach the right consistency

For the marinade, you’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/8 tsp anise seed
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper

Brush the marinade on your “chicken” and bake or brown in a saucepan until crispy. Cut the tough spines out of your chard leaves, add a dollop of guacamole and some chicken strips, roll it up, and pierce with a skewer or toothpick. Hooray for finger food!

Dilled Spaghetti Alfredo

A spontaneous weeknight dish that was super satisfying and comforting. We wanted spaghetti but were at a loss for what kind of sauce to use. But thanks to the versatility of nuts, voila a delicious creamy sauce with a little herby kick!  And everyone knows about the powers of quinoa. I always opt for quinoa noodles if I have the chance, for all the added nutritional benefits.  The ingredient list is a little long, but most was all stuff I had lying around in my cupboards and which every vegetarian probably has on hand.

Vegan Dilled Spaghetti Alfredo (makes about 4 servings)

For the sauce (makes about 3 cups):

  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup dill
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 3 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp tamari soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt, black pepper, paprika, and a pinch of nutmeg

Process everything up until creamy.

For the pasta, you’ll need:

  • 4 oz of quinoa spaghetti
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  • tempeh crumbles (I know I use these in like every recipe but they’re so good!)
  • 2 plum tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup of daiya mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil
  • a splash of white wine (for deglazing)
Start by cooking the onions in some olive oil over medium heat until they start to get soft and translucent. Add the green pepper and cook another 5 minutes. Add a splash of wine to deglaze and let it cook uncovered another 2 minutes. Add the onions and peppers to the tempeh crumbles and cook another minute. Toss all the remaining ingredients together with the spaghetti and about 1/2 of the sauce (more if you like it saucier!) Warm over low heat until the cheese melts. Sprinkle some sauce on top and serve!

Chickpea Herbed Patties

My first attempt at making my own veggie patty! I rarely ever buy vegan burgers because I just can’t find one that isn’t crazy expensive, full of sodium, and that I like enough to spend $6 a box on! These are super hearty and filling so I recommend having them on a lettuce leaf or another type of green instead of bread.

Makes about 6 patties

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (I pressure cook mine but canned is fine also, just don’t use as much salt)
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 3 small carrots, shredded
  • 5 small white potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • paprika, red pepper, and sea salt to taste
  • 5-6 leaves of kale, chard, or any kind of lettuce you can wrap around the patty
Preheat your oven to 400°. Boil the potatoes for about 10 minutes until they’re just starting to get tender. While that’s cooking, start cooking the leeks in a pan with some olive oil over medium-low heat until they start to become translucent, but not browned. When your potatoes are done and have cooled a bit, shred them into a mixing bowl, and add all the remaining ingredients. Toss everything together and form the mixture into 1/2 inch thick patties. Cook them over medium heat in a non-stick skillet until they are browned on both sides. Finally, put the patties in the oven for about 10 minutes until they become crispier and more firm. Wrap some greens around them and enjoy!

The $5 Challenge Dinner

I decided to take the $5 Slow Food Challenge and cook an easy, healthy, vegan, and most importantly, CHEAP meal for a few friends this weekend. This is a recipe from a previous post, Mexican Pizza but with black beans this time, and some leftover corn on the side. I chose it because it was the cheapest thing I could think of to make from scratch without having to buy too many ingredients, and everyone loves pizza (duh.) Plus, it went perfectly with my new Mexican tablecloth that I just got while on vacation last week!

The goal was to spend less than $25 to feed five people, and I was actually under budget if I don’t count the spices and olive oil that were already in the cupboard. The flour, cornmeal, and yeast were bought in bulk from the Bushwick Food Coop, which is why they’re so cheap. It pays to join a local coop!

I froze the bananas and put them through my champion juicer on the homogenizer setting to make a custard for dessert. I know not everyone has a juicer, but you could also just use a food processor or blender to make a creamier pudding.

Here’s a recap of what I spent, including for dessert:

  • 3 bananas – $0.93
  • 2 green peppers – $1.91
  • 1 bunch of cilantro $1.79
  • 1 avocados – $2.00
  • 1 bag black beans dry – $1.29
  • 1 tomato – $0.88
  • 1 bag yellow onions – $1.99
  • 4 ears corn – $2.67
  • 1 block tempeh $2.00
  • 1 cup cornmeal  – $0.36
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour – $0.68
  • 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast – $0.12
  • 1 can tomato paste – $1.29
  • 1 bag daiya cheddar cheese shreds – $4.49

And my total was just $22.40 (plus pizza leftovers for breakfast and lunch yesterday!) I did my best to use organic, local stuff, but I don’t get my CSA share until Wednesday so I went to my local grocery store for the veggies. Surprisingly, they had a small selection of local vegetables.

So all and all, success. And Paul got to toss the pizza dough.

Look how happy everyone is to eat a $5 vegan dinner. Take that, value meals!

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