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lazy vegetarians are everywhere. this is a collection of easy recipes and tips for dining out for vegetarians with little time or effort.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baked seitan

There is a recipe for seitan that is making its way around the food blogs called Seitan O'Greatness, so I figured I had to give it a try as well.  I found what I think is the original at Post Punk Kitchen.
It is a little time consuming, but very easy to make.  The majority of the time is the 90 minutes it has to bake. 
Start by turning your oven on to 325.
You just want to combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix each bowl well separately, then pour the wet into the dry and mix. 
Once it forms a dough, knead it for about a minute. 
Roll it into a cylinder about six to eight inches long.
Wrap it tightly in foil and twist the ends.  Bake this for 90 minutes.
Let it cool and then slice it as you use it. 
This can be used in pretty much any recipe where you want chunks of seitan, but is also tasty just sliced and eaten.
I haven't tried it, but many people seem to like it fried and a little hardened on the edges, and then mixed into their favorite recipe.
It has a little spice to it, but a tomato-ish flavor from the tomato paste.  So it's pretty good crumbled over pasta.

1.5 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp pepper (I use 2 tsp)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you can use 1/8 tsp if you like it less spicy)
1/8 tsp allspice
2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 cups water
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp vegetarian Worcestershire sauce

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Vegan Worcestershire sauce

There are a lot of recipes that call for a tablespoon or two of Worcestershire sauce. This is a problem for vegetarians, since there is usually anchovies or anchovy paste in the brands you buy in the store.

There are a couple of them out there without, but they are hard to find.

I found this recipe on and just tried it.

You just take all of the ingredients and mix them in a sauce pan. Let it boil while stirring constantly.

Simmer it for another minute and then let it cool.

The recipe doesn't yield a whole lot, but it's not like we're using it to marinate a steak, so it is perfect when you need a little bit for a recipe, then store the rest in the fridge for another recipe.

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pasta with some spice

I found this recipe for arribiata sauce over at and decided it looked easy enough to try.

Making homemade tomato sauces seems like such a daunting task that I've never even attempted it before.  This sauce calls for canned tomatoes and some fresh spices, so it seemed like something I could handle. 
The first step is to chop the parsley and crush the garlic. 
Heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan over a med-low heat.  Once hot, cook the parsley and garlic in it for about five minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in the chopped onions and mix this several times during ten minutes over this heat. 
Next you'll want to dump in the  oregano, red pepper flakess, basil, salt and pepper.
Then put in the tomato paste.  Stir this mixture constantly for about two minutes. 
Break up the tomatoes as you stir them into the saucepan and mix in both cans of tomatoes and the juice they come in. 
Let this simmer, still over the medium-low heat for about 45 minutes uncovered. 
Stir the sauce frequently and don't over cook it, or the tomatoes will become kind of bitter. 
This makes a pretty large batch of sauce, so you'll have enough for a few different meals.  You can separate this into one quart containers and freeze it until you're read to use each batch. 
Dump the frozen sauce into a pan and stir in some cooked pasta for a quick and easy meal down the line. 

1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
4 crushed garlic cloves
4 onions, coarsley chopped
5 1/2 oz. can tomato paste
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 - 28 oz cans whole tomatoes w/ sauce

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Zucchini Parm: lets make something healthy into something bad for you!

I love zucchini parmigiana.
My mom used to make it for my siblings and I in a probably attempt to just sneak some vegetables into our stomachs.
The recipe is pretty simple, but takes a little time.  You can make it a bit quicker if you deep fry the zucchini, but it's slightly healthier to bake it.  
It's not vegan friendly, but you can probably sub in an egg replacement in the breading step and some vegan mozzarella in the final part and do just as well as the non-vegan way.
Preheat your oven to about 350.
The first step is to select a nice big zucchini.  This also works with eggplant, but my favorite is zucchini.
Slice the zucchini on a slant to create longer slices, so you have more surface to bread.
Coat a baking dish (the one I use is 9x13 Corningware) with butter or margarine (Earth Balance will make this step vegan) and set it aside. 
Crack the eggs into one bowl, and stir with a whisk or fork.  Fill another bowl with bread crumbs and a little Old Bay, stir and set the two bowls next to each other.
Dip the slices into the bread crumbs, then into the egg, then bread crumbs again. 
Place them in the baking dish.  I used a couple of baking dishes for the first bake so that all of the slices can bake evenly, then layer them when I add the sauce and cheese.
Once all of the slices are neatly arranged in the dish, put a generous amount of the butter or margarine throughout the dish and bake it for about ten minutes.
Take out the dish and flip them over.  If it looks a little dry, add some more margarine. 
Once both sides are golden brown, take it out and get the cheese and sauce.
Cover the zucchini with sauce and cheese leaving a nice layer of cheese on the top.  Mix in your favorite Italian seasonings to the sauce just to liven it up a little.
Bake this again until the cheese is toasted nicely. 
You can eat it just like this or serve it over spaghetti for an easy dinner.   The leftovers re-heat well, too, so just sprinkle some shredded cheese on each serving and pop it in the microwave later in the week.

1 large zucchini or multiple smaller ones
3-4 eggs
bread crumbs
about 1-2 sticks of margarine (depending on taste and how unhealthy you are willing to make this)
1 jar of marinara sauce (i like to use a tomato and basil sauce for this to add some flavor or sometimes arribiata sauce to make it nice and spicy)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded or sliced

Monday, October 19, 2009

Banana Muffins

Another recipe that is rarely made with any type of meat, but this one plays right into the lazy aspect of my recipe collection.
I'm not much of a baker, even though I love to cook, so baking from scratch has to be an easy recipe for me to even give it a shot.  Cooking is an art, while baking is a science
These banana muffins are really easy to make if you have a few bananas that are starting to get too brown for eating. 
The recipe is from and I made these for the first time the other day to rave reviews. 
Preheat the oven to 375 and ready your muffin pans (light grease or papers, whichever you usually use).
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in one bowl and mix them together a little.
In another bowl, mash the bananas and add the plain sugar, egg and melted butter until it looks evenly mixed.
Combine the two bowls into one just until the flour is moist, then spoon it into the muffin pan. 
Mix the brown sugar, 2 Tbs of flour and the 1/8 tsp of cinnamon with 1 Tbs of butter (I used a little more butter and brown sugar to make a little more topping) then sprinkle this mixture over the muffins.
Bake for 18 minutes and check them with a toothpick in the center.
These are great cut in half and then quickly grilled and served with some butter.  If you top them with some cream cheese icing, they become banana cupcakes. 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Thursday, October 15, 2009

French fries are always vegetarian...

I'm aware that there are very few ways to make fries that are not vegan, or at least vegetarian, but there is an art to making really good french fries from scratch. 
It seems pretty simple, but the easy way out makes good fries.  The more complicated way make amazing fries. 
You start with potatoes.  Clean them.  Peel them if you want, or leave the skin on if that's what you want.  Cut them into fries.  Keeping them kind of thick makes for a nice texture or soft potato inside a crunchy exterior. 
The complicated way: 
Put the sliced fries into a large bowl and cover them with cold water.  Leave them in the fridge for at least an hour, up to 12 hours.
After the soaking, drain the fries and pat them dry with a clean cloth or paper towels.
Heat up some vegetable or peanut oil in a heavy pot (dutch ovens work best, or any heavy bottomed pot) over a med-high heat. 
Heat small batches of fries for about five minutes.  This is step one, so the fries will not be heated all the way, just drain them and set them aside. 
After they are all heated the first time, raise the temp of the oil to high.
Put the fries back in the fryer for 5-10 minutes until the outsides are golden brown. 
Drain on paper towels and add salt and pepper to taste.  A coarse sea-salt is always my favorite for fries.
The easy way:
Skip the soaking and the first round of cooking.  Just cook each batch until they are golden brown on the outside and enjoy. 
The more complicated way will give you a better flavor and texture to the fries, but the easy method will also deliver fries that are way better than the bags you buy in your freezer section. 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wegmans hits Upper Providence/Collegeville

The supermarket chain that has made adoring followers of so many is now in our side of Montgomery County, with two more locations come soon. 
Their Collegeville store opened Sunday to an epic draw of bargain hunters, curiosity seekers and already loyal Wegmans customers. 
I've been hearing good things about Wegmans for years as far as the selection of vegetarian items and variety of organic foods, but I've never had a chance to shop at one.
The new location, while I didn't shop since I was there covering it for work, seems to be fulfilling all of those promises. 
As I made my way through packed aisles and dodged errant children and shopping carts, I did notice that there were several sections on the shelves that had a wide variety of vegetarian staples that most supermarkets carry these days, but also an expanded selection of each familiar brand.  Like many stores have a few Taste Of India entrees (they have a lot of veg-friendly meals in boxes) I noticed a whole shelf section.  And most carry Morningstar Farms, Wegmans had a whole freezer door filled with those green boxes. 
I might not want to deal with the crowds that were there Sunday, but after it calms down to normal grocery store busy I definitely will be going back there to stock up.  They have a good variety and their prices are mostly lower than the bigger chains who treat vegetarian items as luxury pieces and charge more just because they think they can. 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New stuff from Morningstar Farms

Morningstar Farms has a fairly new product out: Chik'n Patties.

They are basically a breadless version of their breaded Chik'n patties. They taste good and work well on sandwiches. Also work well heated up and chopped over a salad, or just diced and mixed with some rice and smart balance with salt and pepper. 

I will always recommend the pan prep over the microwave prep because it takes a couple more minutes, but yields far better results.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vegan gravy

This recipe is from and is simple and quick.  It does call for a lot of ingredients, but the result is worthwhile.  Once you have all of these odds and ends, you can make this quickly at any time.  


3/4 cups Water
2 tbsp Unbleached flour
1 tbsp Tahini
1/4 cup Soy milk
2 tbsp Vegan margarine
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp Garlic salt
1 Vegetable bouillon cube or 1 tbsp vegan broth powder
1/4 tsp Ground coriander
1 tbsp Nutritional yeast


Combine the water, flour and tahini in a small jar. Shake the contents until the tahini dissolves.
Pour the mixture into small sauce pan and add the remaining ingredients.
Heat, stirring constantly, until gravy thickens. Do not let it boil.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mock-Tuna salad sandwich

This recipe comes from originally, but I added a couple of minor adjustments. 

It helps to use a potato masher to crush the beans.  If you use a brand of chick peas that is a bit softer, that's better to make the consistency a little softer.  Harder beans make either a chunkier salad or more time spent mashing.

After you crush the beans, stir in the other ingredients and mix until everything is blended.  Keep covered in the refrigerator until time to use.

My favorite way is to toast the bread first, then put a little extra mayo on with the cheese and lettuce and tomato. 

Ingredients: "tuna" salad
1 (19 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
and mashed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise or vegan mayo
2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
2 green onions, chopped
1 stalk of celery, chopped
Chili powder, sprinkle
salt and pepper to taste

sandwich parts:
wheat bread
slice of cheese
sliced tomatoes
romaine lettuce

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vegan red-skinned potato salad

This is just a vegan replacement of an easy potato salad recipe.  It's simple to make as is, but it's also easy to add some unique touches to make it your own.  If you're not vegan, use real mayo and add some chopped hard-boiled eggs.  Vegans can add some peas or shredded carrots.  Bacos are an interesting touch.  Make it your own and have fun.

Boil potatoes until soft, drain and let cool.

Cut the potatoes and leave the skin on.  Toss in a large bowl with enough room to stir in all the ingredients. 
Dump in the mayo, mustard, onions, celery and seasonings.
Cover and put in the fridge for at least an hour to allow the flavors to mingle and set in to the potatoes.

5 pounds clean, scrubbed new red potatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
4 cups vegan mayo
salt and pepper to taste
Mustard to taste
Cajun seasoning or Old Bay

Friday, October 2, 2009

Accidentally Vegan has a great list of items available commercially that are vegan, whether they were designed that way or not, they are.  
Accidentally Vegan is an informative site with all types of interesting stuff.
Some of the odd ones were Baco's brand bacon bits, Shake and Bake, Manwich sauce and Hershey's Syrup. All vegan. 
Also, you'll all be glad to know that Red Bull is actually vegan.  That puts to rest the rumors that taurine is made from bull semen. 

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The easiest garlic bread

I know garlic bread is near impossible to make non-vegetarian, but this is one of the easiest recipes ever.
The most important thing is that you need good bread. 
A big loaf of Italian bread from your local supermarket will be great, but you can do this with hoagie rolls or something along those lines.
Cut the loaf lengthwise, but make sure to keep it in one piece so you can close it back up.
Butter both sides of the loaf with your favorite butter, margarine or vegan butter (Smart Balance light is vegan and works well for this).
Sprinkle generously with garlic powder.  Don't use garlic salt, you'll regret it.  I learned that the hard way a long time ago.
A little bit of Parmesan cheese adds a nice bit of flavor to this, but it's good without it too. 
Wrap it in foil and bake at 375 for ten or fifteen minutes. 
Slice it while it is still hot.  Serve and enjoy.