Veggie/Vegan sausage and greens with pasta

One of my favorite dishes is orecchiette (little ears) pasta in a broth with garlic, hot sausage, and broccoli rabe. It’s Italian-American comfort food I first encountered in college. I’m happy to say my experiment doing it vegetarian/vegan was a success! This is a dish I’ve never known anyone to dislike.

A bitter green brassica-type vegetable is a requirement. Don’t substitute something mild like plain broccoli; it won’t work.

Any time you see a dairy product, just substitute your vegan version if you like. I did the first batch all vegan except that I added parmesan at the end. The vegan stuff was delicious all by itself, though.

Ingredients

2 links Field Roast brand vegan sausage. The chorizo works great, but so does the milder stuff. This fake meat is good and chewy

4 good-sized cloves garlic, minced

1 head broccoli rabe chopped into bite-sized pieces ~or~ same amount of chopped kale, fresh or frozen

3 cups veggie broth (reconstituted from powder, canned, or from your freezer bin of vegetable stock odds and ends)

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Salt to taste

Olive oil for sauteeing/dressing

Cooked pasta—the classic shape is orecchiette. Farfalle (bow ties) and penne rigate work, too.

Technique

Chop Field Roast sausage to desired texture. . .sorta like ground sausage. Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add sausage and brown to a crisp, stirring as necessary. Add 1/2 cup broth, scrape pan, then add in minced garlic and crushed red pepper. Reduce for about a minute.

Add greens and remaining veggie broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a medium simmer, and stir. Cover and cook for three-five minutes. Remove cover, taste broth, and adjust seasonings. It may want a squeeze of lemon juice and a glug of olive oil.

Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente and no softer. Drain, put back in pan. Add broth/veggie/sausage mixture to pasta and heat through quickly, stirring. It’s best to do this in portions, rather than putting all the sauce on all the pasta at once. That makes for soggy leftovers.

Taste and give final garnish of olive oil or salt if necessary. Vegetarians add parm/romano. Vegans add nootch and hot sauce.

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Golden Nuggets (frikkin’ scrumptious fake chicken nuggets)

Humans like fried foods, right? Vegans and vegetarians should not be deprived of this delicious treat. This is my version of the tastiest damned fake meat chicken nuggets I’ve ever had. My friend Sarah took me to this awesome vegan restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. They have hearty diner food down to an art. Seriously yo. If you have a Loving Hut franchise in your area, run, don’t walk. It’s seriously good and carnivores will love it.

Note—Loving Hut is a total hippy transcendental freak cult, but the food is great and the staff don’t push it. How awful can a freakish vegan cult of non-violence be anyway? LH is presided over by this lady who calls herself supreme master Ching Hai who publishes books of herself ‘shopped with all manner of lap dogs. Just sayin’.

Ingredients
Seitan (see basic seitan recipe)
1 cup flour
1/3 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat are great)
1 tbsp garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne or other hot pepper
1 Shit-ton of ground black pepper (this is the key to a “fried chicken” style breading)
½ tsp salt

Technique
Cut your seitan into strips, chunks, cutlets, whatever. Dunk in buttermilk, or plain milk, or water, then coat thoroughly in breading. Buttermilk—or yogurt cut with milk or water—gives a nice tang, but it’s not essential if you don’t have it on hand. Really press the seitan down into the breading and make sure it’s thoroughly coated.

Allow seitan to air dry for at least 20 minutes. This is key to a good, consistent crust that doesn’t flake off or get greasy.

Bring several inches of oil to frying temperature in a saucepan. Proper temperature is hot enough to crisp food and brown the breading all over in about five minutes, but without sucking up excessive oil and without smoking. You don’t need a thermometer. Here’s how to know if your oil’s ready. Drop a small piece of seitan in. It should start to bubble, but not too vigorously. It ought to take about 30-45 seconds for the piece to start browning. If it’s too fast or slow, adjust accordingly. With practice on your own stove with your own pans, you’ll get it.

Fry in small-medium batches, turning seitan over during cooking. Remove and drain/blot well on paper towels. Serve with dipping sauce.

 

Basic seitan (mock meat)

This stuff is the queen of fake meat, and it’s super cheap to make. Wheat gluten—often called “vital wheat gluten”—is the protein separated from wheat flour, in powder form. Find it at your health food or bulk food store.

A note on spices: This is the “chicken” version of seitan. The classic poultry/fowl spices are thyme, sage, and rosemary. Heavy on the thyme and sage. Build on variations of those to your taste or whatever’s in your cupboard. If you don’t have the exact ones on hand, improvise. No sage? Then substitute oregano for a more Italian flavor, etc. and so on. Few dishes will be RUINED if you ad lib a bit.

Use: This is best fried or sauteed to give it a crisp. Once you do so, you can use it in pasta sauces, sandwiches, cold salads (think seitan “chicken” salad), etc. Of course, you can fry it chicken-style and serve with mashed potatoes. Yum!

Ingredients

Dry:
1 and ½ cup gluten
3 tbsp veggie broth powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried sage
several grinds of black pepper
½ tsp MSG (Stop staring in horror. “MSG poisoning/headaches/toxicity” are not real. Really.)-sold as “Accent.”

Wet:
¾ cup water
2 tbsp tamari/shoyu/soy sauce
1 tbsp veggie broth powder stirred in
1 tbsp oil stirred in
Enough water in a pan to cover the seitan, with enough broth powder/stock in it to make a good salty broth.

Technique

Stir together dry ingredients in one bowl. Whisk together wet ingredients in another bowl. Stir in liquid into dry ingredients with a spoon into a loose ball. Turn onto a surface and knead the fuck out of it. Since this is pure gluten, it’ll be much stiffer and more rubbery than any bread dough you’ve worked. Just keep mashing it, folding it, turning it until it’s really elastic. Don’t worry about perfect technique cuz it doesn’t matter.

Let rest for 20 minutes.

Cut/shape into cutlets, stretching the seitan with your hands into the shape you want. Again, irregular shapes are just fine.

Two cooking options

Pot on the stove—bring salty broth (enough to cover the seitan, or about1.5 quarts in a 4-quart pan) to a simmer and add cutlets. Cover and cook for 1 and ½ hours, turning over occasionally. Remove from broth and let cool, draining liquid run off.

Pressure cooker—put broth and cutlets in cooker and bring to pressure. Cook 25 minutes and use any release method you like. Take cutlets out of broth and allow to cool.

Spiced Noodles

A great noodle dish that can be used as the base for other more complex recipes or as a great side or main course.

Ingredients

* 1/2 lb Spaghetti

* 2 tablespoon soy sauce

* 2 tea spoon ginger

* 1 teaspoon garlic (ground or minced)

* 1/4 cup diced mushroom

*1 table spoon butter

*2 eggs

* Asian Chili sauce

Prepare the pasta and strain it. Rinse well with cold water and let dry.

In a large high rimed frying pan or a wok lightly oil and preheat to medium. Put noodles in and add the butter atop of them. Stir until the butter melts into the noodles. Add the soy sauce, ginger and garlic while tossing and string the pasta regularly. Cook until the soy sauce is fully boiled away or absorbed into the noodles. Don’t over cook, you don’t want them to be crispy. Sprinkle in some sesame seeds and stir.

At the end put in a spritz of the chili sauce and stir, the sauce is very potent so you only want a little to add some kick. Put into a serving bowel.

Fry the two eggs and serve over the noodles.

*You can optionally change the recipe slightly by adding in diced beef, turkey or chicken as you add the soy sauce. Diced cubes of bean curd is also a great addition.

Count To Three Salsa

In my opinion a perfect mix of spicy but not over powering. It seems really mild but count to three and…

ingredients

1 jalapeno pepper

1 long hot pepper

1 baby sweet pepper

1/4 cup diced onion (optional)

2 cup diced tomato

1 Teaspoon brown sugar

1 sprinkling of chili powder

Dice each pepper into really really fine pieces (I personally use my slap chopper to quickly reduce them to tiny minced bits). Be careful with the Jalapeno, they are REALLY hot and should be used with a light hand. Wear gloves if possible and be sure to wash your hands. Mix ingredients together and sprinkle some chili powder in.  Enjoy cold with your favorite chips. Ideally it should come out with a sweet initial taste but a sudden burst of pleasant spice within three seconds.

 

I made mine because a full pepper was too much to spice my meat with for the Plantain recipe so I used half of those items to make the salsa

Tuscan-style bean soup with vegan sausage

You may be tempted to add carrot. Don’t. The sweetness isn’t right for this soup and it will disappoint.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dried beans (navy, pinto, white beans of choice)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped rough
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme (or fresh, use a bit less)
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 links Tofurkey vegan Italian sausage, chopped coarse
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil for sauteeing (not extra-virgin olive oil. It will smoke and turn bitter)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. liquid hickory smoke flavor
  • enough salt

Technique

Sautee  veggie sausage, onion, celery, thyme, rosemary, and red pepper in veg. oil in a dutch oven (or open pressure cooker) until  vegetables are translucent and sausage begins to crisp. Sprinkle with salt to draw out moisture in the beginning. Add garlic near the end of cooking and stir frequently.

Add 5 cups of water, bay leaf, and a fuckton of salt.

  • If using pressure cooker-bring to pressure, turn heat to low, and cook 25 minutes. Release pressure, check bean tenderness and water level, and return to pressure for another 20 minutes or so. Let your experience guide you. If you have none, don’t worry about overcooking. Allow pressure to release naturally at end of cooking time.
  • If simmering on stove top-bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover loosely. Stir occasionally. Simmer at least an hour and a half, adding time (and water, if necessary) until beans are very tender.

Take potato masher and mash beans until at least half of them are pureed and have thickened the soup and made it creamy. Stir vigorously and add first the lemon juice, then the hickory smoke liquid. Check for saltiness and add if necessary.

Serve with extra virgin olive oil to drizzle, black pepper, and pass parmesan.

 

Hummus

The most important staple. I’d rather run out of bread and milk before hummus. This version uses slightly less fat than commercial hummus, but it still tastes great. As always, adjust fat and seasonings to your taste. 

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces (2 cups) cooked chickpeas. Cooked-from-dry are superior in flavor to canned and they’re cheaper. 35 minutes in the pressure cooker, 2-three hours in a stock pot.
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Water to thin
  • Olive oil to garnish
  • Enough salt

Technique
Tip—Using a blender gives the best consistency, but it takes just a bit more time. Be ready to stir the chickpeas in between blending spurts and add a little water to keep the whole mixture flowing onto the blender’s blade at the bottom of the jar. Just stop the blender, take a spatula, and make a hole in the middle of the chickpeas into which you pour a little water. Stir with the spatula then blend more. It’s worth it for the creamy, non-grainy texture you’ll get. You can also use a food processor, but you’ll need to do all steps for a longer time to achieve the right texture.

Add tahini. lemon, garlic, cumin, and salt to blender. Puree. Add 1/3 of the chickpeas at a time, blend until creamy smooth according to above note, then add more chickpeas and repeat. Transfer to refrigerator to chill. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon wedges.

Variation
Add several tablespoons strained Greek yogurt for a creamier hummus.