A friend recommended a restaurant to me, “They have vegan options!” We didn't get a chance to check it out for a few months. We don't go out to dinner very often. Mostly, during the hockey season as we travel around for my son's games. I get really tired of black bean burgers and veggie wraps, but my friend promised this place had different options. Do you get a little nervous eating at new restaurants? I do! But isn't it amazing when you find a diamond in the rough?! If you live anywhere near Olean, NY you have to try this place out: Four Mile Brewing!! Not only is their food spectacular, the beer is delicious! I had a mango wheat Belgian white and it was so good. BUT not as good as the vegan philly cheese steak!! Oh my gosh, this wrap was spot on! They make their seitan (re: fake meat) in house and it is the BEST I have ever tasted! It came with a side of broccoli slaw that was equally as delicious! So GO, try this wrap and get a beer while you are there!
Of course, I wanted to try to recreate that amazing sandwich...my version didn't taste the same, but it was just as delicious and I wanted to share the recipe with you! It is a little time consuming; however, it is easy and so worth it! I've made it super easy to follow along with pictures so you can see exactly what each step should look like!
While the veggies are sauteing, work up the "cheese sauce". The Cheese Sauce is super easy and delicious:
1 Medium Sweet Potato (peel, dice-1/2 cubes, and saute in water for 15 minutes until softened)
-when the sweet potatoes are cool add to a blender with:
1/4 cup of non-dairy milk
3 Tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast
1 Tablespoon of Oil
2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice
1/2 Tablespoon of Sriracha
1/2 teaspoon of Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt
-Blend until Smooth
I choose broccoli slaw as my side. This is one of my favorite sides; especially during the summer! Here is the dressing recipe:
You could choose any veggies you like, but I like this one with Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Shredded Carrots. I chopped the broccoli and cauliflower very small.
Stir it up! I served the Philly Cheese Steak on whole wheat tortillas, but you could choose any roll or wrap you like!
Seriously, make this!! It is so freaking delicious!!
Peace, Love, Plants,
Recipe Adapted from The Edgy Veg
Vegan Philly Cheese Steak
Manly meat is so hard to give up! When I went vegetarian in December 2015, my boys declared “We will never give up meat! We love meat!” I prepared the same meal for all three of us, just adding in a little chicken, beef, or fish for them. When I decided to go vegetarian, it was plain and simple; “I don't like meat, why am I eating it?” So, I stopped. Easy Peasy. I ate eggs everyday, mostly, because we had chickens and we had a lot of eggs to use. I also LOVED cheese. My manly-men needed their meat! Once I started studying holistic nutrition and learned about the plant-based lifestyle and it's ability to reverse disease, I was SOLD! I'm a type A personality. You've heard me say this before, I'm an all or nothing kind of gal. My poor husband, he loves me anyway!
I started sharing all the information with my boys, educating them on the amazing health benefits of a plant-based life...they were not as excited as me, but I'm happy to say they were a little frightened by what they learned about animal products. *cue evil laugh. I told them that if they wanted meat, they had to cook it themselves. Well, that was easy because no one cooks around here but me. I win, again!! So, that was it, no more meat. That's where we started and then, eventually, weened off of the cheese and eggs. Well, eggs were not difficult for us to cut out of our diets after an eye-opening article that described the chicken's egg as part of their menstrual cycle!! REALITY CHECK! GROSS!!
Our transition consisted of some “fake” meats...meats made with soy protein, vegetable protein, and/or vital wheat gluten. These are not health foods and I would never want to advocate for that as they are highly processed foods. However, they made our transition A LOT easier. These “fake” meats have helped us get on track and stay the course.
Vital wheat gluten, when used to make vegan meat, is referred to as Seitan. I have practiced with this numerous times coming up with some pretty delicious and fun recipes like “chicken” and bbq “ribs”. It's actually really easy to work with, but takes a while to cook. Confused as to what vital wheat gluten is?
My son has always loved pepperoni. After eliminating meat from our diets, he would say “I'm craving pepperoni”...he's a weirdo. Well, being that I love him so much, I went in search of a plant-based pepperoni and came upon the Fat Free Vegan Blog. I haven't adapted her recipe at all, other than subbing what ever nut butter I have on hand when she calls for cashew butter (I have never had cashew butter so I have used peanut butter, almond butter, and sunflower butter on separate occasions.) This recipe is spot on for the “taste” of pepperoni!! The texture is a off...I would describe it as soft and maybe a little doughy. My son likes the softness, but I have tried adding more time to the baking time and have had success with a firmer and drier pepperoni; play around with the baking time and see what works best for your taste buds. I shared this with our nutrition workshop participants and everyone seemed to really like the flavor! Even some of their kids gave it a thumbs up. So, if you are already plant-based give this one a try for some new meatiness, but even if you're not plant-based, yet, give this a try and maybe we can convert you!!
Here are a few tips:
-Get your hands in there and work the dough! It will be too tough to use a spoon.
-The recipe calls for a 7 inch log, this will give you about a 1.5 inch in diameter slice of pepperoni. If you want smaller slices (like you'd find in regular pepperoni), you can create (2)-7 inch logs with the logs being narrower in circumference. Just wrap them separately in foil and decrease baking time by 10 minutes.
-You may prefer a drier pepperoni...just add a little time to the recommended baking time
-I always double the recipe...it lasts for about 2 weeks when sealed in the refrigerator.
-Eastyn's favorite is a pepperoni and mustard sandwich!
Peace, Love, Plants,
Veggeroni (Seitan Pepperoni)
From the Fat Free Vegan Blog
As I'm sitting in the hotel room waiting for my son's next hockey game to start, I'm thinking, what are we going to eat when we are done?! Sometimes it feels like such a battle; especially, when my family can't make a decision. We grabbed something quick at Whole Foods earlier, but I'm sure the team is going to want to go to a restaurant together. Quite frankly, I'm tired of black bean burgers!! That's usually our only “vegan” option on most menus. There are so many variations of the black bean burger so, it can be fun to taste what the different restaurants have to offer.
We went to this interesting restaurant called “Melt”. Have you heard of it? It has a retro vibe, with old signs and every kind of holiday décor imaginable! It had super cool energy, I love it! Anyway...It specializes in grilled cheese with a crazy amount of options in all things grilled and cheesy. But here is the best part: they offer vegan cheese as an option!! So fun!! They also had THE.BEST tofu wings, EVER! If you are open to it, it is really fun to discover new places and foods.
After the hockey game, we went for a treat at Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt and a treat it was!! It serves organic locally made yogurt, but also several vegan varieties (made with coconut milk)!!! It offered tons of self-serve toppings with at least 15 vegan options including fruit. It is so exciting!!
Let's talk about those black bean burgers though. I'm not knocking black bean burgers because we eat them all the time and we love them. Black bean burgers are a very quick and very nutritious meal. With that being said I thought I'd share with you a few options to try. Friday is our “burger” day so I try to play with them and make it fun. Here is a quick and easy base that you can add a million different varieties to:
Preheat oven to 400. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. Put ingredients in blender and mix until blended (you could also mash everything up in a bowl if you find that easier). I like to reserve a handful of black beans to stir in after they are blended just for effect. Shape them into patties (about 4). Bake 12 minutes, then, flip them and bake another 12 minutes or until they are browned and crusty on the outside (the inside will remain soft). Put them on a beautiful bun with your favorite toppings and ENJOY!
See, a quick and easy meal that is super healthy and kind of fun to play around with! I also really like this next recipe from the Minimalist Baker. The cook time is a little longer than the previous burger recipe as you have to prepare sweet potatoes and rice or quinoa. I have made a few adjustments from her version to make it work for me. Don't be afraid to play around with recipes to make it work for you and your family! They aren't a set of rules, but suggestions! Give this one a try:
SWEET POTATO BLACK BEAN BURGER
Adapted from the Minimalist Baker
Share your favorite black bean burgers! Do you have any favorite vegan restaurants?!
Peace, Love, Plants,