Vegan Challenge – “Mayonnaise”

I have discovered the magic ingredient used among many vegans….Aquafaba a.k.a. Chickpea (or any other bean) water. Whether you’re cooking or baking, aquafaba has similar consistency of egg/egg whites. Hence…vegan mayo!


Vegan “Mayonnaise” (original recipe herefrom the New York Times)

Ingredients:

• 1/4 cup Aquafaba (1 can of chickpeas will yield about 1 cup)

• 1 teaspoon white vinegar

• ½ teaspoon fine salt

• ½ teaspoon sugar

• 1 teaspoon lemon juice

• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or mustard powder)

• ¾ cup sunflower oil

Directions:

1. Drain the chickpeas, reserving the bean liquid. (Save chickpeas for another use.) Measure out 1/4 cup of the bean liquid (aquafaba) in a large glass measuring cup. Add vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice and dry mustard.

2. Using an immersion blender, mix until combined. With the blender running, very slowly drizzle in the oil in a thin stream. It should take at least 5 minutes to add all of the oil. The mixture will emulsify and thicken.

Enjoy!

Your,

Natural Groove Gal


Next week: Crispy Veggie Wontons


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Vegan Challenge – Korean BBQ “Meatballs”

So we are pretty much vegan except for honey. Initially we had said we’d allow ourselves a bit of eggs and yogurt but we decided to go all out. My granola bars have honey so we agreed to keep that.


Here’s one of the recipes I tried this week keeping in line with our 30 Day Vegan Challenge. I finally found a vegan “meat” recipe that actually closely nails it on texture – and let’s face it the flavours can always be created but the TEXTURE is the tricky part!!

Meatless Meatballs (original recipe by Oh My Veggies)

Ingredients:

• 7 ounces extra firm tofu (half of a 14 ounce package), drained

• 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs

• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

• 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1 small onion)

• 2 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

• 2 tablespoons unflavored nut milk

• 2 tablespoons soy sauce

• 2 tablespoons rice vinegar

• 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

• 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and lightly oil or spray a baking sheet.

2. Start by making the tofu meatballs. Place the tofu, panko breadcrumbs, walnuts, onion, garlic, ginger, milk, soy sauce, vinegar, liquid smoke, flaxseed, and black pepper into the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S-blade. Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped and well-mixed, being careful not to overdo it!!

3. Roll the mixture into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls (you should get about 20) and arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray or brush the balls with a thin coat of oil.

4. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until lightly browned, turning the meatballs about halfway through baking.

5. While the balls are baking, heat up whatever sauce you’re using. When ready drizzle sauce over balls to desired taste (have some extra on the table too if you want) **DO NOT TOSS! The heated sauce may break up the balls**

6. Serve with rice and veggies or whatever you want! “Meatball” subs, “meatball” pasta…the list goes on.

Enjoy!

Your,

Natural Groove Gal


Next Post: Vegan Mayo


Going Vegetarian (almost Vegan!)

So we have come up with the idea to go vegetarian (almost vegan) for one month to find out two things:

1. How this will change our bodies and how we feel.

2. Challenge ourselves to come up with new recipes and stick to a meal plan.

Obviously this will take some planning and persistence. We have given ourselves one day a week where we can venture beyond the restrictions (if we feel the need). Otherwise here is our restriction list:

Eliminiate: Meats (beef, pork, chicken, game etc.); Seafood (fish and shellfish) and some Dairy (cheese, milk, cream, yogurt) and Eggs

Limit: Honey

Focus: Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Seeds, Legumes and Grains

We are both excited to try this out and I’m looking forward to writing about this to all of you! We have a BBQ with friends on February 17th so we have agreed we will start this experiment on February 18th.

***Please share with us some of your favourite vegetarian/vegan dishes!!***

I will update at the end of every week with examples of recipes we used 🙂

Your,
Natural Groove Gal


Next Post: Vegan “Meatballs”


Make Ahead Snack – Granola Bars

I initially wanted to make granola but stumbled upon this recipe this morning. Copy-cat Nature Valley Oat & Honey Bars!

This is a super simple recipe and only 5 ingredients…

Ingredients

• 2 1/2 cups of Quick or Rolled Oats

• 1/4 tsp Baking Soda

• 1/8 tsp Salt

• 1/4 cup Coconut Oil

• 1/3 cup Honey

• splash Vanilla (optional)

Directions

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line 8-inch square pan with cooking parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on 2 sides.

2. Place 2 cups of the oats in large bowl. Add remaining 1/2 cup oats to blender or food processor; pulse into a rough flour. Add oat flour to bowl of oats. Add baking soda and salt to bowl of oats; stir.

3. In a saucepan heat coconut oil until just melted. Stir in honey (and vanilla). Add to bowl of oats. Stir well to coat oats completely. Spread mixture evenly in pan; press down firmly and evenly.

4. Bake for 20 minutes. Oats should be golden and smell of honey. Cool on rack 10 minutes.

5. Remove from pan using parchment overhangs. Cut into 8 rectangles while still warm. Cool completely before wrapping. The bars will firm and crisp up as they cool.

That’s it! Super simple right? Thanks to Betty Crocker for this recipe. I modified it a bit – cutting out the white sugar. You can also throw in some additions such as nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, dried fruit… the list goes on!

Two batches of these covers us for about one week. 16 bars at a fraction of the price of the originals 🙂

Enjoy!

Your,

Natural Groove Gal

Roasted Parsnip and White Bean Soup

New Year starting off with a fantastic winter soup recipe to keep you warm during this extra cold and snowy January!

I decided I would make my own vegetable broth for this soup. A nice slow process to go with my “slow down and relax” theme of 2018…not everything should be rushed all the time. I am using cooking as a way to help myself do that.

Super simple process here. Chop up your standard veggies for broth (onion, carrots and celery aka ‘mirepoix’). And I mean chop coarsely no need to be fancy here. Leave those onion skins on too. More flavour and goodness. I threw in some peppercorns, fennel and fresh parsley but it’s not necessary.

Add water until veggies are well covered. Bring to a boil and then turn down super low and let simmer overnight, uncovered! Yes I said overnight, uncovered. You want the liquid to reduce leaving the flavours.

Et voila! This is after 12 hours. Time to strain.

After scooping out the large pieces I fine strained the spices out. This broth turned out darker than I thought but still a great veggie broth. I had enough for this recipe plus 3 more litres that went into the freezer for future use.

And now for the main attraction:

Roasted Garlic, Parsnip and White Bean Soup

Ingredients:

• 4-6 large cloves Garlic, skin intact, left whole

• 1lb Parsnips (about 4-5), cut into 1-inch pieces

• 1 Onion, cut into rough pieces

• 2 tbsp extra-virgin Olive Oil, plus more for drizzling

• 1 tbsp dried whole or fresh Rosemary

• Sea Salt and Ground pepper, to taste

• 1 can (approx 15oz or more) White Beans, drained and rinsed OR 2 cups cooked white beans

• 6 cups no salt added Vegetable Broth

• 1.5 tbsp lemon juice (about ½ – 1 lemon)

• Pumpkin seeds, to serve

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss garlic, parsnips, onion, oil, rosemary, salt (to taste), and pepper. Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until garlic and parsnips are tender and turning golden.

2. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from skins into a large pot along with roasted vegetables, beans, broth, and lemon juice and purée with an immersion blender. Alternatively add all ingredients into a blender (this may need to be done in 2 batches) and purée until smooth, adding more water or broth if too thick (depends on dryness of parsnips).

3. If you used a blender, transfer blended soup to a large pot. Heat over medium, stirring frequently so bottom doesn’t scorch. Season with additional salt, if desired. Serve hot with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and drizzle of olive oil.

Thank you to Yummy Beat for this wonderful recipe! We served it with warm bread and cheese. Certainly warmed us up for movie night on the couch 🙂

Your,

Natural Groove Gal

Spring Recipe #2: Shrimp Fajitas 

Ingredients

• 1 Bell Pepper, sliced
• 1 small Onion, sliced
• 2 handfuls Mushrooms, sliced

• Shrimp (around 24 for 2 people)
• 2 Tbsp Olive oil
• 2 cloves Garlic
• 1 tsp Chili powder
• 1 tsp Basil
• 1 tsp each Salt and Pepper

• Avocado Dream Dressing (recipe here)
• 1 Lime, wedged
• Tortillas

Directions

1. Sauté veggies on med-high heat until softened, set aside
2. In a bowl mix shrimp, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, basil, salt and pepper. Sauté on med-high heat and stir until just cooked, set aside
3. Serve veggies and shrimp along side with limes, dressing and tortillas and let everyone build their own 🙂

Enjoy!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Spring Recipe #1: Chicken Lettuce Wraps 

So my first spring recipe is Chicken Lettuce Wraps. A nice light, low carb meal. Perfect lunch in the sun 🌞

*There are no measurements for the ingredients. Just use your own judgment depending on how many people you’re feeding :)*


Slaw

• Brussel Sprouts
• Green Onions
• Red Onion
• Tomatos
• Fennel
• Ginger, grated
• Rice Vinegar
• Olive Oil

1. Thinly slice all the veggies
2. Toss with ginger, rice vinegar, olive oil
3. Set aside (can be made a day ahead)

Chicken
• Chicken Breasts
• Coconut Oil
• Rosemary
• Sage
• Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350°F
2. Brown both sides of chicken breasts in coconut oil on med-high heat, 2-3 minutes each side
3. Place in a lined baking tray. Bake for 30 minutes
4. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes
5. Slice and serve immediately for wraps (or refrigerate for next day use)

Toppings
• Creamy Asian Dressing (recipe here)
• Mint Leaves, chopped
• Hot Sauce (optional)
• Boston Bib Lettuce

Take your veggies, chicken and toppings and combine them in your bib lettuce. 

Warning these get pretty messy but are so worth it. Have the napkins handy!

Enjoy 🙂

Your,
Natural Groove Gal