Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New Hippie Vegan Bolognese!

I was thrilled to finally find a gluten free meat substitute to add a little variety to my cooking as far as vegetarian protein sources go. Beyond Meat (they don't pay me) has a few tasty gluten free, vegan options to choose from. I bought the beef crumbles and was inspired to create a kind of traditional Italian Bolognese sauce that might even fool carnivores. The fennel gives it a bright and fresh sausage-y taste. This sauce came out so amazing I challenge you to try this out on anyone who eats meat and see if they can tell. It's delish on pasta or in baked lasagna. So good, vegan and gluten free!!

Vegan Bolognese Sauce:

  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 cans San Marzano peeled tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 pouch Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves torn or chopped
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  1. Saute onions in olive oil in a large saucepan for 5-6 minutes under medium heat until translucent but not browned. 
  2. Add the garlic and beef crumbles and saute until crumbles are lightly browned and garlic is fragrant, about 7 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, fennel, basil, salt and pepper and stir well. Reduce heat to low and simmer sauce for 45 minutes to an hour. 

(This recipe makes a large batch of sauce. You can halve it if you just need enough for one meal for four).

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Balsamic Roasted Tofu!

I think the food I get asked about the most being a vegetarian is tofu! It seems many people, especially veggie newbies, have trouble getting used to our friend the soybean curd. That being said, it's one of my favorite products and I eat it almost daily. There are definitely a few tips to getting this versatile product flavorful. It has a pretty bland flavor on it's own so it's ready to take on whatever flavor profile you can dream up. The texture can also be off putting for many. I prefer to use the freshest tofu I can get my hands on, preferably the firm variety by a company called The Bridge which you can usually find at health food stores and Whole Foods. It's very clean and fresh tasting on it's own and has a beautiful firm texture. I also advise draining tofu very well and pressing it between paper towels to improve the texture even further. Try it roasted in this tasty balsamic based marinade. Perfect with your freshly picked summer tomatoes and basil! Yummy.

Balsamic Roasted Tofu:

  • 2 cubes Extra firm tofu such as The Bridge, drained, pressed(see above) and cut into matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup aged Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 10 leaves basil(I used opal)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • dash agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper 
  1. Place all ingredients besides tofu into a food processor and blend on high until well mixed and chopped.
  2. Place tofu sticks in a large flat dish and cover with marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to an hour. 
  3. Place marinated tofu on a baking sheet covered in tin foil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.
(I used the remaining marinade as a dressing to drizzle over the tofu, fresh chopped tomatoes and basil)
Serves 6

Monday, June 15, 2015

New Hippie Summer Strawberry Cocktail!

Happy Summer everyone!! I dreamed up this refreshing summer cocktail while lying in the sun gazing into the lovely Long Island Sound last week. I can't get enough fresh strawberries this time of year since they're at their peak here. This really simple strawberry syrup can be used for anything from pancakes to iced cream and cocktails galore(yes, I cheated on my diet for this). Perfect for that Dad's Day brunch you're planning for next week. Enjoy while lying in the sun with an awesome book! Cheers!

New Hippie Summer Strawberry Cocktail:

  • 2 cups organic strawberries, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bottle Prosecco, chilled

  1. For the syrup: place first four ingredients(including vanilla bean pod and seeds)in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. 
  2. Turn heat to low medium and simmer for about 15 minutes until berries are mushy and losing their color. 
  3. Drain syrup in a fine mesh strainer pressing solids to release as much juice as possible. Discard solids. 
  4. Place syrup back in saucepan and simmer for an additional 10 minutes on medium heat until syrup thickens and sticks to the back of a wooden spoon. Allow to cool.
  5. For the cocktail: in a pitcher or decorative bottle, pour cooled syrup, lemon juice and Prosecco and stir well. Serve chilled with sliced strawberry garnish.