Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

So for the past few months I have had a major sweet potato obsession. Mashed, baked, stir fried, hot, cold - I simply cannot get enough of these delicious, nutrient packed vegetables. However, my favorite - and easiest - recipe for them that I've tried to date is this one. It might not seem like much, but I assure you it is positively addictive.
This is really great with avocado too, so if you have one on hand, dice it up and toss with the sweet potatoes right out of the oven.

Savory Lime Sweet Potatoes

1 small to medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
2-3 TBS lime juice
1 TBS olive oil
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp onion powder
salt and white pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix all ingredients except the diced sweet potato in a large bowl. Add potato and toss to coat.
  3. Spread out on a baking sheet, flipping potatoes after 15 minutes. Let cook another 15-20  minutes. Great served on a bed of lettuce with some fresh lime juice.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who doesn't love chickpeas?

Hello everyone! Sorry for the bit of absence again from my last post, but it's difficult to find time to update when you're enjoying warm Miami weather in December.
As far as the trip went, it was great to be in another climate and try out dishes with a bunch of ingredients I can't find up north. Those Florida avocados are truly dreamy.
However, now that I'm back in cold, snowy Ontario, it's back to making warm, hearty meals. This is one that is almost too easy to make, and quite easy on the budget regardless of where you live.

Tomato, Spinach, and Chickpea Delight
1 can chickpeas
1 can fire roasted or seasoned diced or halved tomatoes
3/4 bag or 1 package thawed and drained frozen spinach
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 large red onion, diced
4 green onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder1/2 tsp white or cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp tumeric
  1. Sautee garlic and onions in a medium, heated skillet with oil for three minutes.
  2. Add lemon juice, chickpeas, and tomatoes. Heat five minutes.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stirring until spinach has wilted and mixture is thouroughly heated.
  4. Serve over rice for dinner, or by itself for lunch.
Serves: 4 - 6

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Simple appetizer for the holidays

Hello everyone!
To begin, I have to apologize for the long absense of updates here. I had a very busy month that included travel to sunny Miami where I'm currently staying. You can certainly expect regular updates once again.
I've tried out a lot of recipes recently, including a few Peruvian and Thai dishes. However, my personal favorite for the past little while is a simple mix of mushrooms and spinach that I've been putting on sandwiches and crostini. It's simple but really delicious and makes a great appetizer for the holidays.

Served here with herbed home fries for a filling meal that's not too pricey.

Simple Spinach and Mushrooms
4 medium sliced crimini (or your personal favorite) mushrooms
1 cup tightly packed spinach, chopped
4 TBS roughly chopped red or white onion
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS white wine (optional)
1/2 tsp dried or 1 tsp fresh rosemary (optional)
  1. Over medium heat, add olive oil to your skillet. Once heated, add mushrooms. Sautee 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add onion and heat until softened. Add white wine to deglaze.
  3. Remove from heat and quickly add spinach and rosemary. Stir until spinach has wilted. Heat on low if necessary, but be careful not to overcook spinach to the point that it lets out too much liquid.
  4. Serve on crostini or baguette slices for an appealing appetizer with salt and freshly ground black pepper, or with hummus and marinated tofu for a great sandwich.
Serves 1-2 but can easily be modified to make more.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Delicious Green Curry Paste

I've always really enjoyed Thai food, however I haven't really ventured to make it at home very often. Which actually isn't very good, since Thai restaurants in Canada are usually rather expensive and making the recipes at home are really quite cheap! Since my boyfriend has recently become a Thai curry junkie and I'm quite a fan myself, I decided to get started on making some curry pastes.

Green Curry Paste
1 stalk lemongrass, prepared and minced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 (or more) green thai chilie, sliced (check asian markets, otherwise jalapeno peppers work)
4 TBS diced red onion
4 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS lime juice
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch chunk ginger, minced
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 TBS coconut milk
  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Simply blend until an entirely smooth consistency is reached.
  2. To make a curry for topping rice, simply heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok or medium skillet. Add 2 - 3 TBS curry paste and heat until fragrant. Add about 3/4 - 1 cup coconut milk and whatever veggies and/or tofu you desire. You could also include about 1/2 cup veggie stock for more flavor. Serve over rice - I prefer brown coconut rice. Preparing it this way should make two servings.
Makes enough for about 6 servings of curry. It should keep for about a week in the fridge.
Note: This makes a lot of curry. The picture was taken for apperance only - I definitely added more of the curry on top before I ate it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I've been rather sick today and decided my first meal of the day (at 4pm) should be a nice bowl of soup. I was given a big container of baby spinach (free food is always a plus) that was about to expire soon, so I decided a cream of spinach soup would be a great idea. Little was I expecting it to be so outstandingly delicious! This is really simple and quick to make, and if you don't have fresh spinach, frozen would work too.

Cream of Spinach Soup
3/4 cup water
1 vegetable bouillon cube
2 cups tightly packed chopped spinach
2 TBS minced red onion
2 TBS vegan margarine
2 TBS all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk substitute (I used soy)

  1. In a small saucepan, heat water and boullion until completely dissolved. Add spinach and onion and heat until tender.
  2. Melt margarine in a medium saucepan, stir in flour. Slowly whisk in milk substitute. Stir constantly until it begins to thicken.
  3. Stir in spinach mixture. If preferred, blend for a minute before serving.
For extra richness, I included a heaping tablespoon of tofutti cream cheese after adding the milk. If you have some on hand, try it out!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Who doesn't love creamy, perfectly ripe avocado slices? I had a couple of these perfect avocados that I needed to use up within the day, so of course I decided to go with my absolute favorite avocado salad recipe.

The best Avocado Salad you'll ever have
2 ripe avocados
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar
Note on ingredients: Avocados can usually be found on sale at most grocery stores every few weeks, so be sure to check your flyers.
Umeboshi vinegar is often really marked up at grocery stores, but I have found big bottles at natural food stores for less than $5. It will last you awhile, and I've used it in stir frys and salad dressings with great results.

  1. In a good sized bowl, place onion and garlic. Add lemon juice and vinegar, and stir to cover. Let marinate for 10 minutes.
  2. Peel and slice avocados and add to the bowl.
  3. Pour olive oil on top, and mix gently to blend. Serve immediately.
Serves 2

Friday, November 13, 2009

Miso in love with soup!

Sorry about the pun, but it felt appropriate. Anyhow, I picked up some miso the other day with the intention of using it in another recipe I've yet to get around to. However, there's a lot in a container so I decided to use up the vegetable broth in the fridge and make some miso soup with rice noodles.
Note: Since miso can often be quite costly at some supermarkets and natural food stores, try visiting your city's asian markets or Chinatown. You can usually find it much cheaper in one of these places (and be sure to pick up some rice noodles on your visit!)
Miso Soup
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 medium sized carrot, shredded
4 TBS chopped onion
3/4 cup extra firm tofu, cubed
1/6 package of rice noodles
1 clove garlic, minced
3 TBS miso paste

  1. In a medium sized sauce pan, add broth, carrots, tofu, garlic and onion. Heat on medium high for about 4 minutes.
  2. Add rice noodles and stir them in as they begin to soften.
  3. Meanwhile, dissolve miso paste in 1/4 - 1/2 cup warm water.
  4. When carrots and noodles are tender, remove pan from heat. If it had been boiling, let it cool, then add the miso/water mixture. Stir well and serve.
Serves: 2

This is really easy and quick to put together, and while miso soup is usually served as an appetizer, the rice noodles bulk up the recipe to make it the perfect lunch or light dinner. Plus, miso is packed full of B vitamins and protein, so it's a great addition to your daily diet!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stuffed Peppers with Garden Fresh Salsa

Even though I am typically not a big fan of bell peppers, I've been meaning to come up with a recipe for stuffed peppers for awhile. While I was initially hoping to use poblano peppers instead of bell, I was unable to find what I desired after trips to several grocery stores. Despite the setback, I really loved how these turned out. The best part? These are incredibly healthy and low in calories, so they make for a great lunch or light dinner.
The salsa also yields quite a lot, and is great with tortilla chips - or for using in my cheeseless burrito recipe!
Garden Fresh Salsa
1 lb roma or vine tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
6-8 garlic cloves
1 green jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
1 small or 1/2 medium sized white onion, chopped
1 lime, juiced
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

  1. Mix all ingredients in the blender until well mixed and smooth in texture. Don't over blend.
  2. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Super Stuffed Peppers
1 bell pepper
4 crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 chopped white onion
1 handful spinach, chopped
1/8 cup zucchini, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 2 TBS tofutti "cream cheese" (optional, but recommended)
  1. Begin by roasting pepper in a dry, hot skillet, moving peppers around regularly.
  2. When softened and all sides are darkened, remove from heat and immediately place in a plastic bag and seal. Let sit at least 5 minutes.
  3. Heat onion, mushrooms, garlic, and zucchini in the same pan with a bit of oil for 5-10 minutes, or until well cooked. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  4. Add tofutti and stir well into the mix. Remove from heat and add spinach, mixing well.
  5. Cut around the top of the pepper, and cut away the seeds from the top and insides.
  6. Scoop all the stuffing mixture into the pepper and replace the top.
  7. Place pepper on a cookie sheet or another oven-safe dish and heat in the oven another 8-12 minutes.
  8. Serve on top of your Garden Fresh Salsa!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A new favorite

This is one of my favorite recent recipes that I threw together because of it's simplicity, great taste, and extremely filling nature. This recipe easily makes 4-6 servings. Even if you're just cooking for yourself, just save the leftover fillings in the fridge and throw them together in a tortilla the next day. Just remember to wait to cut the avocado up until then!

Tip: When it comes to choosing coconut milk, never get the 'light' versions. All it means is that there is added water, something you can do at home (essentially giving you 'extra' coconut milk.)

Who needs cheese? Burritos
    1 cup brown rice
    1 cup coconut milk (if you don't have any coconut milk, vegetable broth works too)
    1 cup water
    1 TBS curry powder
    Cayenne pepper to taste
    1 can refried beans
    1 small plum tomato
    2 ripe avocados
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    3 green onions, sliced
    Diced red onion, as desired
    Medium spicy salsa, as desired (try making your own - a recipe will be posted here soon)
    1/4 cup corn kernels (optional)
    3-4 heaping TBS of a creamy cheese alternative such as tofutti (optional)
    4-6 large tortilla wraps (make your own and save a couple dollars)

  1. Begin by bringing coconut milk and water to a boil. Add rice, and simmer for 45 minutes or until cooked. Add curry and cayenne.
  2. When the rice is close to being finished, warm refried beans over medium-low heat with 1 clove garlic, corn kernels and cheese alternative if you choose to add them. Be sure not to overcook. Reduce heat as necessary until warmed.
  3. Preheat oven to 250 F. Slighty mash avocado with remaining garlic and salsa. Spread on tortillas, then add as much diced red onion as you'd like.
  4. Mix rice and bean mix together, then pile equal amounts on each tortilla. Top with slices of tomato and green onion.
  5. Roll into burrito form and place on a cookie sheet in the oven. Warm them up for 4-8 minutes, until nicely warmed and tortilla is soft (not too long or it will get crunchy.)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Fresh Start

Ah, introductions. How tricky you can be.
Well, I would first like to welcome all readers to the Economical Vegan and will briefly explain exactly what I am hoping to accomplish.
Even though I have been a vegan for around four years now, I still remember the difficulties of transition - and the severe dent it can leave in your pocket - even after being a vegetarian for several years. All those fancy, ready-made products in the health food aisles - tofukey this, tofutti that - come at a very hefty price. Not only are they heavy in cost, but also often in fat, calories, sodium, sugars, and other additives. Besides, the taste often leaves much to be desired in many of these products.
So, I have decided to begin sharing my recipes with all of you. I hope to inspire you in the kitchen, as well as myself, since this will give me motivation to continue coming up with tasty yet frugal vegan dishes.
To be clear - these recipes are NOT limited to vegans!
Sure, that's the primary target, however vegetarians and omnivores alike are sure to enjoy the meals that will be posted here. Try out a recipe (or two, or three..) and see how easy, delicious - and affordable! - adding a few vegan meals to your diet every week can be.

I've decided on a simple recipe to start this off. Although the ingredients can tend to be pricey, this makes for a nice, light lunch packed full of nutrients that can be thrown together in minutes.

Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Toasted Pine Nuts
1 cup loosely packed spinach
4-5 strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 TBS olive oil
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Note: Pine nuts are found cheaper in bulk, and you can definitely use less (1 - 2 TBS) in the recipe and it will still taste great.

  1. On medium low heat, heat oil and pine nuts in a small skillet until the pine nuts are golden brown.
  2. Immediately pour hot oil and pine nuts over the spinach.
  3. Add balsamic vinegar and pepper.
  4. Top with sliced strawberries.


However, taking a different (more sugar-filled) route, why not try out the recipe for these incredible cookies? Be sure to eat in moderation though, these wonderful treats are far from a health food.

Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies
1/2 cup softened vegan margarine
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 TBS vanilla
2 TBS soy (or rice or another nut) milk
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
4 TBS cocoa powder
2 egg substitute equivalent
2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate or carob chips

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together margarine, apple sauce, vanilla, egg substitute, and milk until well mixed.
  3. Add sugars and mix fully.
  4. In another bowl, mix flour, cocoa, and baking powder. Add to wet and mix well.
  5. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.
  6. Spoon onto lightly oiled cookie sheet and cook for 10 minutes or until done.
Serves: Depends on cookie size, typically 12 large or 24 small.

Check back soon for more recipes!

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