Meatless Monday – On demand

After rave reviews on my Father’s Day strawberry cheesecake, I decided to share the recipe here. It is vegetarian but a straight substitution with a good quality vegan cheese, some agar agar in place of the egg, coconut oil instead of butter and vegan graham crackers should make it sufficiently vegan.

Serves two for a couple servings each but recipe can be doubled to serve a small crowd.

Ingredients 

  • 1 package (1 cup/200g) cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons/30 mL yoghurt
  • one-third/76g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup/40g graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon each of semolina flour and rolled oats
  • 2½ tablespooons/37g melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon/14g icing sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • strawberry jam

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Put cream cheese and egg on counter to warm slightly before mixing. Room temperature ingredients makes for a smoother batter.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the crust by melting the butter then mix it with graham crumbs, icing sugar, salt, semolina and oats. Press into slightly greased pan. A springform pan is ideal.
  4. In bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar together. When uniform, add egg and vanilla and continue stirring until smooth. Add in cornstarch and stir until blended in.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared pan and place in oven to bake about 30 minutes.
  6. The centre will be slightly jiggly when done. Let cool to room temperature then place in fridge to cool further a minimum of 4 hours; overnight is best.
  7. When completely chilled, remove from pan and top with strawberry jam.
Photo by Kimberley (c)2017

Meatless Monday – Zucchini delight

I’m a big fan of portable and healthy treats that are also quick to prepare and require minimal clean-up. Enter the chocolate zucchini muffin, otherwise known as my post-workout snack.

The addition of vegan protein powder makes them a loaded snack. Not only do you get your veggies in the zucchini (it was determined somewhere that chocolate could be a vegetable if it contains beet sugar) but also fruit (technically chocolate comes from cacao beans which are contained within the fleshy fruit of the pod of cacao trees), carbs (all that flour) and protein (protein powder and any nuts or seeds you see fit to add).

You can whip up a batch of these muffins in less than one hour. And now the ingredients.

Dry

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup of natural and fair-trade cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup soy flour
  • 1 ½ tablespoons each of vegan protein powder and hemp flour
  • a sprinkling of tapioca starch and guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar, fair-trade

Wet

  • ¾ cup of rice milk with a tiny squirt of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup of grapeseed oil

Star ingredients 

  • 1 medium-size green zucchini, grated
  • ½ cup of fair-trade dark chocolate chips (about 70% cacao)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Fill muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Combine dry ingredients with a whisk.
  3. Combine wet ingredients with the same whisk.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients into uniform mixture. Add the zucchini and chocolate chips and stir until mixed in. Use a medium-sized ice cream scoop into muffin tin.
  5. Bake 25 minutes. But are they done? The telltale signs: They should emanate a warm chocolatey smell when done. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean; test a few muffins that way.

Tips

  • You can replace all of the flour with a gluten-free blend.
  • No hemp flour, no problem. Simply omit and replace with an equal portion of regular flour or other flour of your choice.
  • If you prefer you can use 2 whole eggs. Just omit the tapioca starch and guar gum and reduce the milk to ½ cup.
  • You can substitute with your choice of milk and protein powder.
  • For a sickly sweet muffin, you can use up to 1 cup of sugar. For less sweetness reduce to 1/3 cup at the absolute minimum.
  • You can use a chocolate chip with less cacao content but make sure it is fair-trade.
  • Avoid using Dutch-process or alkalized cacao powder. Keep it natural for a better flavour and result.

Meatless Monday – Soup’s on

Winter temperatures are back and I made soup. Today’s Meatless Monday is my recipe for alphabet soup.

  1. Heat on medium 2 teaspoons of a neutral-tasting oil (eg grape seed) in a large pot.
  2. Chop finely 1 medium onion and 1 large carrot. Cook in the heated oil along with a pinch each of cayenne powder and dried oregano.
  3. Mince 3 cloves of garlic; set aside.
  4. To the pot add the 2 cups each of water and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then add 1 jar of pizza/pasta sauce and the minced garlic.
  5. Turn heat down to medium and cook until carrots are tender, about 25 minutes.
  6. Turn heat off and let the soup cool. With hand blender, purée the soup.
  7. Add 1½ cups cooked navy beans, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast and 1 cup of water to the pot. Bring to a boil.
  8. Add 1 cup dried alphabet pasta to the pot. Turn heat to medium for 5 minutes. If pasta is still hard, turn heat to low and simmer a few more minutes.
  9. Season with salt to taste.

This soup is almost stew like and goes well in a thermos for a hearty and warm lunch at work/school.

Tips:

  • Substitute beans with kidney or cannelini.
  • Aim to get a whole grain alphabet pasta. I managed to find kamut. Or substitute with other small whole grain pasta.
  • No pizza/pasta sauce? Use 1 cup of crushed tomatoes and increase the dried oregano to 1 tablespoon.