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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Reunited with "Vegan With a Vengeance"

When I first became vegan, my mom borrowed Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan With a Vengeance (VWAV) cookbook from the library that she works at. Having been so overwhelmed with new information about veganism at the time, I only made one or two recipes from the cookbook. I had been resisting purchasing any cookbooks over the past few months since my mom works in a library, but I finally caved recently and bought both Vegan With a Vengeance AND Veganomicon. I started the week with one of my favorite recipes of all time from VWAV, "Tempeh and White Bean Sausage Patties." These do not really resemble breakfast sausage patties, but they taste far superior!  I have gotten my family members to try this recipe, and I now have to hide the patties from them if I want to keep any for myself. I have made this recipe over half a dozen times and I've tweaked the recipe to perfection:

  • 8 oz. package tempeh, crumbled into bite-sized pieces (Lightlife Tempeh with Wild Rice is best)
  • 1 -3 tbs. soy sauce or teriyaki sauce (I use a blend of tamari soy sauce and Soy Vay Hoisin Garlic Marinade)
  • 2/3 can cooked black beans (sub white beans)
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seed, crushed
  • 1/2 tbs. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh sage (about 5 leaves)
  • pinch cayenne pepper (sub paprika)
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbs. hummus (sub tomato paste)
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ (sub bread crumbs)
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • dash salt/pepper
  1. Place tempeh into a saucepan and just barely cover with water (some tempeh can peek out); add 1 tbs. soy sauce, cover and bring to boil; simmer for 15 min or until most of water is absorbed; drain remaining water and transfer tempeh to a large bowl
  2. Add beans to the bowl of tempeh, give a quick stir, and set aside to allow the beans to heat up 
  3. Give the saucepan a quick rinse and dry; saute garlic and fennel seed in 1 tbs. olive oil over low heat, just until fragrant (about 1 min); add remaining spices and stir constantly for 30 seconds; add to the tempeh mixture along with hummus and remaining tbs. of soy sauce
  4. Mash everything together with a potato masher or fork, until it’s  just a bit chunky and there are no whole beans left (you don’t want it pureed, you should still see some beans); add wheat germ and nutritional yeast and combine well with fork; taste for salt and spices and adjust as needed; let sit for 15 min to allow flavors to meld
  5. Form into patties, using about 3 tbs. of mixture; heat remaining tbs. of olive oil over medium heat; cook the patties until brown, about 3 min each side; you may need to add a little more oil when you flip them over
  6. Serve with tahini or rolled in a wrap with hummus
The tahini drizzle is a must for this recipe! For those of you who have never heard of tahini, I'm sure you've had it in hummus and never realized! Tahini is a paste made of sesame seeds, and it is usually sold in a peanut butter-sized jar in the nut butter section of the grocery store. It's also the base for hummus that makes it creamy and a bit tangy.

I also tried a new recipe from VWAV: "Curried Split Pea Soup." If you're picturing your grandmother's green split pea soup with chunks of ham, think again! This split pea soup is pig-friendly and is flavored with a blend of Indian spices, onions, garlic, and fresh ginger. It is so easy to make--just throw the ingredients into a pot, bring to a boil, and simmer for an hour! This recipe resembles one of my favorite Indian inspired recipes that I would make in college with yellow split peas. I used to serve it with brown basmati rice or pita bread for dipping. Don't be intimidated by the long list of spices and herbs that I used in both of the recipes listed above! If you will be cooking a lot of vegetarian and vegan dishes, spices and herbs will give your dishes fantastic flavor, color, and health benefits. Most of the spices listed above can be found at your local grocery store. Buy the smallest containers that you can, and they will usually last you the whole year. Many of these spices can be purchased cheaper in bulk at health food stores and ethnic grocers. As for herbs, I grow most of my own outdoors in summer and dry them or freeze them for winter. You can do also dry or freeze fresh herbs purchased at the store to have on hand all year. 

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