Vegan Sweet Chipotle Tofu Fingers

entrees, snacks | October 27, 2016 | By

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When I was a kid, my dad would experiment with different chicken wings. He would make up a bunch of different sauce combinations, and toss a few wings into each and give them a try. My dad loves to cook, and experiment, and from a very young age, he inspired me greatly. He instilled in me how amazing it is to eat whole foods, non processed junk and to eat all my veggies! In the 80’s and 90’s, everyone was always so impressed that my dad loved to cook, was raising kids by himself, had a full time job and still managed to make most of our meals from scratch. My dad is a hardworking bad ass, who is madly in love with chicken wings, and this recipe is dedicated to him.

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One of the best sauces my dad made, was his sweet and spicy sauce. However, from what I remember, he used ketchup and sugar. So, probably not the healthiest choice, and then there is the matter of the chicken. I thought about what I could get to be crispy and firm without frying, and tofu was my answer. Yes, these babies are baked not fried, with a refined sugar free sauce. I felt pretty guilt free downing a couple of these tofu fingers.

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I dried and pressed the tofu for a good amount of time first, also pro-vegan tip, salt the tofu before you press it, it will draw out even more moisture! Then I baked the tofu sticks at a high temperature for a while, and bam! Super crispy, crunchy, so amazing, no one will know it isn’t fried tofu fingers! Then I tossed it in the best damn sauce you have every tasted, dunked it in some vegan ranch and holy crap! You will never look at tofu the same way again. Boring old tofu, hell no!

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So, to make these tofu fingers so crispy and dreamy, besides the baking at a high temperature, the dredging process is key. Three bowls, three steps, vegan buttermilk, flour with salt and pepper and panko bread crumbs. My pro tip for this process, and to keep your sanity, use one hand for the wet and the other hand for dry ones! Makes life so much easier. I promise this is not a complicated process, easy peasy, and you are on your way to one of the greatest things ever.

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Yum, yum. In the oven they go. The sauce is a quick process done in a small sauce pan heated for a few minutes until thickened and you are ready to go! Hope you enjoy!

Vegan Sweet Chipotle Tofu Fingers

  • Prep Time: 1h 30m
  • Cook Time: 45m
  • Total Time: 2h 15m
  • Serves: 6
  • Yield: About 20 tofu fingers
  • Category:

Ingredients

Tofu Fingers

  • 1 Block Extra firm tofu
  • 1 c All purpose flour
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 2 c Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 c Almond milk
  • 1 tsp. Lemon juice
  • 1/4 c Coconut oil

Sweet Chipotle Sauce

  • 1/2 c Tomato sauce
  • 1/2 c Agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp. Hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Chipotle powder
  • 1/3 c Cold water
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch

Instructions

  1. Cut tofu into sticks, salt and press in between paper towels for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With three large bowls, put flour and salt and pepper in one bowl, panko in another and almond milk with lemon juice in the last one.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread coconut oil or oil of choice on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Dip each tofu stick into flour,then almond milk mixture and then into panko. Make sure they are fully coated. Place each stick onto the baking sheet and repeat until all are breaded. Bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes. Flipping over each tofu stick half way through the cooking process so they brown on both sides. They are finished when brown and crispy.
  5. While the tofu is baking, in a small sauce pan, whisk all the sauce ingredients together, except the cold water and cornstarch. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and in a small bowl, mix together the cold water and corn starch. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce pan and whisk. Simmer for about five minutes until the sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  6. Once the tofu is done, toss in the sauce and serve! I recommend a vegan ranch dressing to dip in, but plain ones are mighty fine as well!

Vegan Sweet Chipotle Tofu Fingers

October 27, 2016 | By

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Vegan Apple Crisp Shortbread Tart

desserts | October 25, 2016 | By

 

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Tis the season for apple crisps, right? I have seen so many apple crisp recipes flying around the past few weeks, I thought I would take a crack at it. Lauren style.  I love a good apple crisp, I just wanted to make it as easy and delicious as possible, while of course making it all plant based. This literally tastes like Fall became a food, and it really wants you to eat it! I also really love apples, they are one of the only foods  on the planet that I can always eat. There are so many different varieties, sweet, crisp, tart and all are oh so beautiful! You can use any kind of apple for this recipe, I just went with the tart Granny Smith flavor because I thought it would pair well with the sweetness of this incredible shortbread crust.

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I started with a moist, yet crisp and flaky shortbread crust, first because it is easier than any other crust to pull of. It gets crumbly and then you can just press it into the pan of your choice. Secondly, because it is my favorite. So, buttery and sweet. The perfect accent to any dessert. You can use this basic vegan shortbread crust for any recipe you want! I then put not only one layer of brown sugar crumble, but two. First, I put it on top of the crust, a layer of apples, and then, you guessed it, more crumble. The apples are tossed in a really simple flour mixture to flavor them and keep them from getting too liquidy.

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All of this comes together to create the perfect treat. It did not make it through the night in my house, and I bet the same would happen to you. I brought this over for a family gathering, and there is literally nothing better than sitting outside on a crisp Fall evening enjoying vegan apple crisp with my loved ones. Some people added some vanilla ice cream to it, I just ate a slice out of my hand and loved every single minute of it!

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Crispy, sweet and tart. Go pick some apples and get started on this incredible vegan dessert immediately. Fall will be over before you know it. I wait all year to work on pumpkin and apple recipes, it makes my heart so happy. I really throw myself into this season, it is my very favorite. We still have so many exciting Fall things to look forward to, but this should definitely be on your to do list!

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I hope you enjoy!

Tools I used:
OXO Good Grips Adjustable HandHeld Mandoline Slicer
Fox Run Preferred Non-stick Rectangular Quiche Pan w/ Removeable Bottom, 14″ X 5″
Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls by Finedine (Set of 6) Polished Mirror Finish Nesting Bowls ¾, 1.5,3,4,5 and 8 Quart – Cooking Supplies

 

Vegan Apple Crisp Shortbread Tart

  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 50m
  • Total Time: 1h 15m
  • Serves: 6
  • Yield: 1 Tart
  • Category:

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust

  • 1/2 c Vegan butter( I use Earth Balance)
  • 1/4 c Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 c All purpose flour

Apple Filling

  • 3 Apples, sliced really thin
  • 3 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp. All purpose flour

Brown sugar crumble

  • 1/2 c All purpose flour
  • 3/4 c Brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. All spice
  • 1/4 tsp. Cloves
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 c Vegan butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Make the crust. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the vegan butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the salt and flour. Mix together until fully combined. Press into a prepared tart pan. You can use a long rectangle, a square or a circle. It’s up to you!
  3. Poke holes in the crust with a fork and bake by itself for 10-15 minutes while you prepared the filling and crumble.
  4. Prepare filling, slice apples really thin, if you have a mandoline, that works best! Toss apples with remaining filling ingredients, and fully coat all the apples. Set aside.
  5. Prepare crumble, Mix all the dry ingredients together and pour melted vegan butter over and stir. Then crumble with your fingers.
  6. When crust is mostly baked, it won’t be completely done, take out of the oven. Put a layer of crumble on top of the crust, then layer the apples in a whatever pattern you would like, I just laid them slightly on top of each other. Then more crumble on top of that.
  7. Put back in the oven and bake at 350 for another 30-35 minutes. Enjoy with some vegan vanilla ice cream, or vegan whipped cream or just plain, you won’t be sorry!

 

Vegan Apple Crisp Shortbread Tart

October 25, 2016 | By

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Vegan Molten Chocolate Mug Cake

desserts | October 21, 2016 | By

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One of the biggest complaints I hear from people trying to permanently adopt a vegan diet, is that they can’t cook or bake, and there are no ready made options for them. So they fall of the wagon because they crave something and can’t make it themselves. Well, I want to change that. As well as my more advanced recipes, I really want to start working on lots of options for those who either don’t know how to cook or bake, or just don’t have the time. This is one of those recipes. I have been brainstorming about things anyone can make, even with a tiny kitchen or a college kid trying to stick to a vegan life living in a dorm room. This takes five minutes, anyone can do it, and all you need is a microwave.

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Chocolate is my weakness, my kryptonite. I have to set myself up for success, and that is knowing, I need something a little sweet after dinner. That can be fruit or something really healthy, but sometimes I just need some chocolate cake. I need a quick healthy option, so I don’t have a serious craving and go really crazy and eat something that will make me feel sick and regret all of my decisions! I know myself and my body and brain, and how they work together, and sometimes the best idea for me is to have plan. A plan for the times that I really, really need chocolate!

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Not only is this a super moist and fluffy cake, I took it up a notch by adding some dark chocolate to the center, and when your spoon dives into the middle of this amazing cake, you get an extra special treat, with a beautiful lava flow of dark sweet goodness. I can’t tell you what a dream come true this is for me, I have been dying for a quick luscious dessert that will satisfy any craving. Plant based and refined sugar free, this is something to enjoy and not feel guilty about. I threw some vegan vanilla ice cream on top, and holy crap, your taste buds will never know this was a five minute vegan dessert! You literally mix everything in a mug, throw it into the microwave for a couple of minutes, and out pops magic, I swear, it must be magic!

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I dare you to find an easier dessert! I would like to also suggest that it is one of the best chocolate cakes as well. I was just glad I decided to make this a single serving, because I would have eaten more! This also takes me back to my single days living by myself and trying to figure out how to make fantastic meals for one. Here is a good way to take care of yourself, have your cake!!! I hope you enjoy! Adapted from The Food Network.

Vegan Molten Chocolate Mug Cake

  • Prep Time: 3m
  • Cook Time: 2m
  • Total Time: 5m
  • Serves: 1 perspn
  • Yield: 1 mug cake
  • Category:

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. Vegan butter( I use Earth Balance)
  • 3 tbsp. Coconut cream ( I use Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 Flax egg ( 2Tbsp. Flax meal+3 Tbsp. water=1 egg)
  • 3 tbsp. All purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp. Coconut sugar or other sweetener of choice
  • 2 tbsp. Cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1 oz Dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Make your flax egg and set aside.
  2. In a large mug, melt the vegan butter in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. Let cool just a bit and stir in the coconut cream and flax egg. Make sure it is combined well.
  3. Stir in the flour and sweetener. Then stir in the cocoa, salt and vanilla.
  4. In the center of the batter, place a 1 oz. chunk of dark chocolate(or more if you want)
  5. Microwave for 2-2 1/2 minutes. I ended up doing about 2 minutes and 15 seconds. Throw some vegan ice cream or vegan whipped cream on top and enjoy!

 

Vegan Molten Chocolate Mug Cake

October 21, 2016 | By

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Vegan Apple Cider Pecan Cookie Cake

desserts | October 19, 2016 | By

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Apples and pecans are a super legit combo. I feel like most things that are in season at the same time go pretty well together. However, I think I found one of the most legit combinations of flavors. This mix of spiced apple cider and pecans in cookie cake form is amazing. I made it even more delicious with the edition of the vanilla frosting, but just the wonderful marriage of apples and pecans is to die for.

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My husband and my anniversary is next week, we have been married for five totally awesome years. Where am I going with this? One of my husband’s all time favorite desserts is any type of cookie cake. So in honor of our upcoming fifth anniversary, I got to thinking about how much I have learned about him and what it takes to have a successful happy relationship. I also began to think about the things my husband loves. So, cookie cakes were on my mind, as well as of course FALL!!!!!!

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Thus, I have brought together two of the greatest things of all time, cookie cakes and Fall! This is light and fluffy while maintaining it’s moisture. The contrasting textures between the soft cookie and the crunchy pecans is glorious. Warmed up and served with some vegan vanilla ice cream, forget about it! The apple cider gives it a light apple flavor making the pecans shine and giving it a similar taste to a pecan pie, which I am also totally in love with and will be working on some more pecan pie type recipes very soon!

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Now I know I say most of my recipes are easy to make, even if you aren’t an experienced cook or baker, but I think this one might be the most simple recipe I have made. You can do this very quickly, without much hassle or clean up. I am quite certain, anyone can make this recipe, and look like a super bad ass (which is my goal in life). My husband loved the cookie cake inspired by our five years as a married couple! I hope you enjoy!

Vegan Apple Cider Pecan Cookie Cake

  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 30m
  • Total Time: 45m
  • Serves: 8
  • Yield: 1 large cookie cake
  • Category:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c Vegan butter( I use Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 c White sugar
  • 1/4 c Brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 Flax egg( 2 Tbsp. flax meal+3 Tbsp. water=1 egg)
  • 2 c All purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 c Apple cider ( Trader Joe’s has an amazing spiced apple cider)
  • 3/4 c Pecans, chopped

Vanilla Frosting

  • 1/2 c Vegan butter
  • 1/2 c Vegetable shortening
  • 3 c Powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, or stand mixer, cream together vegan butter and sugars. Add the flax egg and vanilla.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together.
  4. Start adding the dry mixture and apple cider to the vegan butter and sugar mixture, alternating until everything is combined.
  5. Stir in the pecans, and press into a circular pan prepared with non stick spray.
  6. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
  7. While the cake cools, make the frosting. Beat all the ingredients on high until light and fluffy. Decorate when the cookie cake cools and eat!

Vegan Apple Cider Pecan Cookie Cake

October 19, 2016 | By

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Vegan Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Scones

breakfast, snacks | October 18, 2016 | By

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Spinach and Artichoke is amazing, I feel like we can all agree upon that. This is right here is a way you can have that flavor for breakfast, or I suppose anytime. These babies taste exactly like spinach  and artichoke dip, with all it’s cheesy goodness in a portable package. I toasted one and threw some vegan butter on it, holy crap!

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How my brain works, and what my thought process is, is taking flavors I love that are almost never vegan and turning them into delicious plan based treats! In the 90’s, spinach and artichoke dip became really popular. My mom would make it for every special occasion where we would have people over. She would put it in a bread bowl and use the inside of the bread for dipping purposes, it was glorious! I knew when guests were coming I could count on that happening, and I was always super pumped. It was the first thing she would set out, and I would sneak my fair share before people got there.

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These savory scones are so reminiscent of my childhood favorite it is uncanny. This is a really easy one bowl recipe, that is great for a quick portable breakfast! So cheesy and delicious! If I don’t have something ready to eat in the morning, I will forget to eat. I have very busy mornings and need something to grab quickly. I made these in the evening, and had them ready for everyone in the morning. My husband made an vegan egg sandwich with one, and I was pretty jealous of it! There are many options, great for a snack or anytime. These are light, fluffy, flaky and insanely delicious! I hope you enjoy!

If you have any questions or feedback, I would love to hear from you!

Tools I used:

Winco 5 Blade Pastry Blender, Stainless Steel
OXO Good Grips 4-inch Pizza Wheel and Cutter
Cook N Home Marble Rolling Pin with Wood Base, 18″, White

Vegan Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Scones

  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 15m
  • Total Time: 30m

Ingredients

  • 3 c All purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1/2 c Vegan butter (I use Earth Balance),cold
  • 1/4 c Nutritional yeast
  • 1 c Frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 3/4 c Artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 c Almond milk
  • 1 Flax egg (2 Tbsp. Flax meal+3 Tbsp. water=1 egg)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together.
  3. Cut the cold vegan butter into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter or fork until the vegan butter is in pea sized pieces.
  4. Add the nutritional yeast, artichokes and spinach and stir to start combining.
  5. Whisk together the almond milk and flax egg, then add to the rest of the ingredients and stir to start combining.
  6. Begin to knead with hands until everything is fully combined.
  7. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and form a ball. Pat out or roll with a rolling pin into a disk about two inches thick. Cut into eight triangles, and place onto a prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with melted vegan butter.
  8. Bake at 400 for 15-20. Enjoy with vegan butter, other spreads or just plain!

Vegan Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Scones

October 17, 2016 | By

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Vegan Cheesy Spinach and Artichoke Scones
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