How To Make An Amazing Vegan Reuben Sandwich

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This special needs Reuben has pickled beet juice seitan!

According to Wikipedia, “The Reuben sandwich is a hot sandwich of corned beef, Swiss cheese, with Russian or Thousand Island dressing, and sauerkraut. These are grilled between slices of rye bread.” Well fuck you, Wikipedia*, cause there are vegan Reubens, and our Reubens are better than your Reubens! Here in LA, you can order them all over the place from Follow Your Heart Cafe** to Locali to Native Foods to Flore to Golden Mean to Real Food Daily. But, maybe, just maybe, you live somewhere else?  Somewhere where there doesn’t happen to be a plethora of slammies (slammin’ sammies, a term courtesy the fine folks of Food For Lovers).

Well here’s how I make ‘em– it’s easy, I swear on Wikipedia that you can do it, too:

1. Make some cashew cheese. My recipe is HERE. Make it ahead of time, like day-ahead cause it it gets better once it’s been fully fridged. Disclaimer: this does not taste even a little bit like Swiss cheese, but it is darned delicious. You will want some in your fridge, always.

2. Make some One Thousand Island Dressing. Maybe even 1,001. This is simple: get a bowl. In that bowl put:

  • 1 TBSP Vegenaise or vegan mayo of your choice
  • 1 TBSP ketchup
  • 1 TBSP relish

In other words, equal amounts of the three ingredients, then STIR until it’s well combined. You can do more or less of one ingredient if you prefer it that way. There is no way you can eff this up (that was not a challenge).

IMG_2513

This special needs Reuben has veggie pâté!

3. Choose your “meat.” I have tried everything (I’ve made a lot of vegan Reubens) and it’s always good. You can use deli slices, like Tofurky or Yves, you can slice up hot dogs or sausages, you can get seitan, you can even buy vegan corned beef or pastrami! My favorite is to make my own seitan from scratch, slice it thin and pickle it in beet juice for a couple days so that it is a nice red color and flavor (Seriously, there was a year where I pretty much made one for lunch every single day. It was some kind of ’tism, I think). Today, I used veggie pate that I made (want that recipe? Just ask!). If you want to, you could buy your favorite pre-made meat simulacrum and then pickle it in beet juice, but that would also need to be done ahead of time.

4. Choose your bread. Obviously, rye is traditional. I hate rye and I have trouble understanding how anyone with taste buds likes it, so I usually use sourdough or a nice whole wheat sourdough.

5. Sauerkraut. You need some. And however much you think you need, add a little more.

6. Margarine. I like Earth Balance, but whatever you pick, I approve.

7. A cast iron griddle like this one, or if you don’t have one or want one, a frying pan will do. For extra credit, a grill press makes things extra everything. Actually, now that I reminisce about my Year of Reubens, I made almost all of them in a George Foreman Grill, so you could use that or a panini press, too.

Once you have gathered your supplies it’s time to create!

  • Put your griddle pan (I use the flat side, not the ridged side) on the stove and turn it on– to about the 4 mark. That’s medium, to you. Put your griddle press on top of the griddle so it warms up, too.
  • Margarine-up one side of both slices of bread. Just a thin coating, no need to bathe it, but this step is crucial, don’t skip it, and if you do skip it, don’t be mad at me when your sammie sucks. Once it’s done, put the marg’d-up side DOWN– these are the outsides of your sandwich, i.e. the sides you touch when you hold it whilst eating.
  • On one piece of bread, on the DRY side (not margarine’d), slather on some 1,001 dressing.
  • On the other piece of bread, on the DRY side (not margarine’d) slather on some cashew cheese.
  • Add some sauerkraut on top of the cashew cheese. Squeeze as much liquid out as you can though, before you place it.
  • Add your “meat” on top of the 1,001.
  • Put each piece on the hot griddle, no need to combine them yet. Let it cook for a few minutes (5ish), or until the bottom of the bread gets nice and toasty. Do not let it burn!
  • Using a spatula, place the cheesy/sauerkraut toast on top of the 1,001/meaty toast. Just take a deep breath and flip it over quickly, don’t worry, it’ll be fine.
  • Put the grill press on that sucker and let it work its magic. If your dressing goes from 1,001 to 980, do not worry, just slide your sandwich around and let the fallen islands absorb into your bread. If you don’t have a grill press just push down a li’l with your spatula. Just a minute or two more, or until you just can’t wait any longer, and voila! Reuben!

Please do let me know in the comments if you try it, or if you have a less Ikea instructioney way to Reuben up your vegan life.

*That was just for effect. I love you, Wikipedia.

**Hot Tip: If you order the vegan Reuben at Follow Your Heart Cafe, but ask for it on bread other than rye, which I’d like to remind you is disgusting,  you will actually get TWO sandwiches for some wonderful reason I can not explain.

This was originally published on SuperVegan!

The Best Salad Ever! Cashew Cheese! Coconut Bacon! Spiced Roasted Golden Beets!

Food always tastes better when someone else makes it … except today. I made a salad of such epic proportions that it is now regarded in my household as The Best Salad Ever Eaten. For full disclosure, it took awhile, but only because of all the components– none of which are particularly difficult. It’s got spinach, avocado, spiced roasted golden beets, cashew cheese croutons, coconut bacon, and a vinaigrette dressing. It’s full of Umami and will make you happy, handsome, and another adjective that starts with ‘h’. Try it! It’s better than it looks, promise.

CASHEW CHEESE

First, make the cashew cheese, a day before even, as it gets better once it’s been fully fridged.

In a Vitamix or food processor mix the following ingredients (liquids first!) together until smooth and creamy:

1/4 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup lemon juice
1 TBSP soy sauce/Braggs
1/2 Cup water
1/4 Cup sesame seeds
2/3 Cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 Cup cashews (I like salted, some people like raw)
1 1/2 tsp ground flax seeds
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
pepper (I put in about 3 or 4 dashes)

Spatula it all into a sealable container and shove it in the fridge overnight!

COCONUT BACON

This can also be made ahead of time, but it’s so good it might not last till salad time!
Turn your oven on to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl stir together:

4 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP maple syrup
1 TBSP liquid smoke
1 TBSP nutritional yeast

Add 2 cups of large unsweetened coconut flakes and stir until all the flakes are well sauced.

Spread the mixture into a baking dish (one with sides is best so the liquid doesn’t drip into your oven and make a smokey mess) and bake for 10 minutes. Don’t go far, this stuff can burn in an instant. After 10 minutes, stir it up and bake for 3 minute intervals until the bacon gets slightly crispy and darkens a bit. Be vigilant! It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes total. Take it out and let it cool, that’s when the real magic happens. It crisps up and gets hit with the delicious stick (which is invisible).

SPICED ROASTED GOLDEN BEETS

Turn your oven up to 400 degrees.

Wash, trim and chop 3 large golden beets into bite size chunks. You can peel them if the skin is hairy or gross.

Put the chunks in a big baggie and add:

1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1-2 TBSP coconut oil

Seal the bag and shake it up really well, until all the beets are evenly coated. Pour the beets onto a baking dish — sides are still good though, so the oily goodness doesn’t drip down and create toxic smoke.

Roast for 30 – 40 minutes, or until they seem even more golden and done. It’s a good idea to flip them around half way through.

DRESSING

In a small bowl whisk together:

2 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 TBSP olive oil
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Voila! Dressing! (This dressing is really good on lentils, too.)

You’re almost done! Just a few more steps before you feast:

- Toast a piece of your favorite bread. Get it really crispy and then let it cool. Once it has, spread a generous amount of the cashew cheese on it and cut into croutons.

- Prepare one bunch of fresh spinach. Rinse the leaves well, trim the stems, dump it in a salad spinner and dry it.

- Cut up a ripe avocado. Don’t skip this step, avocado is what I call The Money Food — it adds infinite deliciousness.

- Put all the spinach in a large salad serving bowl. Add the avocado, the roasted beets, some coconut bacon (1/2 cupish) and just a wee bit of the salad dressing. You really don’t need too much, and can always add more. The reverse does not hold true. Toss, add the croutons, get a fork, and eat! Hope your mouth likes it as much as ours did.

Got an even better salad? Let me know in the comments!

This was originally posted on SuperVegan!

I Have Officially Become A Vegan Missionary. Ew!

According to UK psychologist Cliff Arnall, Monday was the most depressing day of the year. I tend to agree with him. His reasons include soupy weather, holiday debt, and New Year’s resolutions that have failed before February. For me, Monday was the day my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Before you feel so bad you stop reading, her prognosis (so far) is quite good. They caught it early, and it doesn’t appear to have spread. But I’ve already lost one parent to cancer, and I’m not ready to be Orphan Andy just yet. So I did what I could do: I gave her a copy of Forks Over Knivesdropped a bill or two at Whole Foods, and While You Were Out-ted her kitchen into a vegan one.

Ordinarily, I would never ever do this. To anyone. Ever. I’m happy to share my beliefs (exhibit A: this blog post), but I have never been a proselytizer, nor have I ever judged anyone else’s eating habits. Actually, that’s not true– I make fun of my boyfriend all the time, but that’s because he exists on a steady diet of jerky, Oreos and soda and he’s not twelve. But I digress. People have to come to these sort of life-changing decisions for themselves, or else they won’t stick. But I know my Barbara (your mom’s name is Barbara, too? Crazy!) and sometimes she needs help to get going (exhibit 1: she’s been on Nutri-System for years). I should also note that she has always been super supportive of me and my eating habits, loves her veggies, and has expressed interest in becoming a vegetarian before, so it wasn’t 100% crazy, only 97%. That’s a percentage I can work with.

So, if you or someone you know needs a vegan starter-kit, here’s what I got:

whole foods bounty

In addition, I also made her my favorite veggie pâtè (let me know in the comments if you want the recipe), some homemade pesto (her fav! Let me know in the comments if you want this recipe, too), and shared some ground flax seed.

Then I confiscated everything I could find that does not adhere to a plant-based diet:

contraband

  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Kakuana Port Wine Cheese Spread
  • Kraft Cheddar Slices
  • A gross of String Cheese

When she walked in the door, the surprise greeted her in aromatic form; the smell of dinner cooking– a pesto lasagne with a filling of Tofurky Italian Sausages, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and green beans, topped with a generous dollop of hummus (did you know pesto and hummus are amazing together?) and a sprinkling of arugula. It was pretty darn tasty, evenifIsaysomyself, and there were lots of leftovers for her.

So, how’s she doing? It’s only been a couple of days, so she still has cancer (it’s veganism, not magic).

But, “Us vegans be doin gooder!” she says.

Yes we be, Barb. Yes we be.

This was originally published on SuperVegan!

Insanely Delicious Vegan Quiche Recipe

If you like things that taste really really really good, then make this!

Special Needs Quiche

Here’s how! You’ll need:

INGREDIENTS

1 (9 inch) unbaked Vegan pie crust
1 bunch of broccoli, chopped
some sliced mushrooms (I used 1/2 a carton of baby bellas)
1 Gardein Breakfast Patty, crumbled
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
5 or 6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 brick of extra firm tofu, drained
1/2 cup “freaky milk” i.e. the non-milk milk of your choice
1/4 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper (adjust to spice wimpyness)
black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Then do this:

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 Degrees C). Bake pie crust in preheated oven for 10 – 12 minutes.

2. Place broccoli in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water, and cover. Cook until tender but still firm, about 2 – 6 minutes. Drain.

3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and carlic until golden. Add breakfast patty and mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms start to sweat. Add the broccoli stir together and set aside.

4. In a blender combine freaky milk, mustard, salt, nutmeg, red pepper, black pepper, parsley, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and tofu; process until smooth. Add it to the skillet and combine with the broccoli mixture. Pour into pie crust.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until quiche is set and the top is a nice golden brown. Snack on something else in the meantime.

6. Dig deep and find a little more self-control and patience and allow to stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

6.5. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Originally published on SuperVegan!

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro Is One Of The Best Meals You Could Ever Eat.

Attention Special Needs Eaters Everywhere! Stop what you are doing and read me now! Sage Organic Vegan Bistro in Echo Park, California is one of the best meals you could ever eat. Don’t trust me? Ask Insufferable Vegan, my lunch mate. Don’t trust words? Lookee at our spread (we maaaaaaaaay have ordered just a wee too much):


Top Row: Bistro Po’ Boy with German Potato Salad, Close up of the Po’ Boy, Close up of the Potato Salad. Middle Row: Root Vegetable Tacos, Mac and Cheese Ball, Quinoa Corn Cake. Bottom Row: Pesto Croissant Club Sandwich, Close up of the sandwich, Mashed Potatoes.

I am still recovering. Not sure what to eat from now on, as this place has raised the bar on face-stuffing ever so high! My favorite thing was the club croissandwich. I.V.’s favorite was the Po’ Boy. Everything else was a close second. I mean, who would think that root vegetables, kale and Hollandaise would make for a good taco? And now that’s all I can think about.

There’s also a Kind Kreme inside, which I found out is owned by the daughter of the Cafe Gratitude proprietors! I guess that soybean didn’t fall far from the stalk. As you can guess, there was not even space enough in our tums for a taste.

Make a Vegan pilgrimage to this place at once!

This was originally published on SuperVegan!

Four Seasons Beverly Hills Vegan Menu For Classy Vegans

Looking for a place in Beverly Hills to be Vegan, eat yummy things, and be swanky? Put on something smart casual and head over to Windows Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel! Their lovely chef has created a whole slew of Vegan items just for people like us, but classier, so go take advantage whilst simultaneously impressing normal people.

Take a look at the spread they put in front of my face!

Top Row: Cocktail, Jicama Tostada, Hand Made Quesadilla with Corn and Mushrooms
Middle Row: Special Mushroom Crostini, Pommes Frites, a Special Tofu Dish
Bottom Row: Young Hollywood Salad, Farmer’s Market Heirloom Tomato Crostini

Everything was tasty, especially the things with ‘shrooms, and look at that cute copper cup my cocktail came in! Nothing’s fancier than one lady eating seven dishes.

This was originally published on SuperVegan!

Special Needs Eating On Holiday (To Portland!)

Happy New Year, Special Needs Eaters!

The SNE HQ packed-up the ol’ Prius and headed north for the holidays. We ate a lot of truly delicious things along the way. Here’s our foodiary:

First stop was Sunnyvale, CA. We celefeasted at Great Vegi Land, whose owner stayed open late just for us, so we ordered half the menu! This is the kind of vegan restaurant that also abstains from onions and garlic, two of my favorite things:

great vegi land

We sandwich’d at Ike’s and then tweeted with the man himself about getting a location for ourselves in LA:

ikes

We ate until all the food was gone at Merit Vegetarian, my fav:

Merit

We left Sunnyvale and continued north to Hiouchi, where the food paled in comparison to the trees. We went on a hike through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and found Grove Of The Titans, a secret trove of trees the size of skyscrapers.We actually had a couple other dishes, but they were so good I forgot to photograph them!

titan

Then our pilgrimage to vegan Mecca began: PORTLAND!

We had sweet and savory vegan waffles from The Heart Cart:

heart cart

We were Hungry Tigers Too!:

hungry tiger too

We had Chili Pie at The Bye And Bye:

bye and bye

And a Brussel Sprout Bowl, too.

We had approximately 4 doughnuts each at Voodoo Doughnut:voodoo

Check out some video of their revolving doughnut display of doom!

We finished-out 2012 with two exceptional meals, the first was at Blossoming Lotus:

blossoming lotus

And the second was at the dimly lit and hard to photograph Bamboo Sushi:

bamboo sushi

An amazing way to ring in the new year!

We started 2013 off right with some pizza at Sizzle Pie:

sizzle pie

And a new pair of kicks! Some Movmt sneakers while listening to MGMT courtesy The Shoe Store, which has a fabulous vegan footwear selection.

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Sadly, we had to leave Vegadise (vegan paradise) and begin the long journey home. Don’t worry Portland, Jason and I will be back to eat the rest of you during the Vida Vegan Con in May! There was some emergency Taco Belling, but there was also this lovely Summer Harvest Salad (in the middle of winter) with oriental sesame dressing at the Black Bear Diner in Mt. Shasta:

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And a tasty lunch at The Plum Cafe in Sacramento.

plum tree

And after approximately 80,000 hours in the car and one last run for the border, we made it home only to find that our waistlines hadn’t.

This was originally published on SuperVegan!