You guys! I’m kinda sad that Vegan MoFo is coming to an end. The creativity shown by so many bloggers this month has been mind-blowing and I know that I only scratched the surface, as far as what I read. Bloggers are awesome people, not referring to myself (ha ha!), and watching them put all of their effort into their theme or what-have-you this month is just so cool. I feel like I’m straying a little from the pack by not posting a round-up today, but I may do it tomorrow. Who knows?
What I’ve done here is saved one of my favorites of this month for last. When I was thinking about the execution, look and recipe of this dish I knew that it’d be crazy, and probably pretty tasty. But, I had NO idea how much I was going to love it. I mean, I LOVE the Buffalo Chickpea Mac, but I think this may be tied with it. (Gasp!)
I was really stoked to have finally used a trick that I learned about last year, from a friend that was a Chef at Mohawk Bend. He had made this amazing-looking vegan French Onion Soup and I remember the picture of the bowl and its cheese topper looking impeccable. So, I had to ask, “Mike, what was that?!” and he proceeded to tell me that if you blend cashews with Daiya it totally changes the texture and takes away some of the starchy-ness.
I don’t know why the hell it took me so long to try this out, but I’ve done it, and will damn sure do it again. It was a total success and was a key player in the pizza! Oh yeah, this was also my first time making a deep dish pizza, so that should tell you how easy it was. There’s not too many ingredients and really, letting the dough rise takes the most time; even then, compared to most doughs, it’s pretty short.
Let me start off by saying that I miss the “real” world! I’ve been out here in Indio for two weeks and am so insanely busy. I have more and more posts saved up for you, but no time to get them up! And, cooking is out of the question, so I have almost 2 more weeks until I’m back in my kitchen at home and cooking up awesome dishes.
For those of you that didn’t hear, I’m on the inventory team in the merch tent for Coachella/Stagecoach, so I’m pretty much stuck in the desert for an entire month. What IS a relief is that I have some really great vegan options when it comes to show-day eats. Right now, there’s a Brazilian vegan booth with some great combo plates (including plantains!), a vegan Indian booth with lentil dahl, savory chutney and saffron rice, plus a RAW VEGAN booth! Pretty incredible to see veganism grow to change your typical food court booths, and even better to see it being a popular choice; even with Ruth’s Chris’ booth only a couple of stops over.
You may have heard that National Grilled Cheese day was this past Friday, and this here sandwich is my contribution to all of the great posts from that day. I tried out a new, vegan cheese substitute with this one and loved how it turned out. Plus, I absolutely adore buffalo anything, as long as it’s vegan; so this ended up being a magical combination. To make it slightly healthier I added some kale to the sautéed tempeh, which also adds great color and texture contrast. Don’t you love it when food looks as good as it tastes?
This recipe really comes together in almost no time at all, save for the sauteing of the tempeh. It’s pretty flexible as well; you can switch out the kale for almost any other green, and adding some diced red onion may just take this sandwich to another level! Maybe you prefer sourdough over seedy wheat breads, which sounds so good, or adding some tomato and avocado. Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my keyboard.
People, it’s Friday! Woo hoo! I don’t know a lot of people who don’t like Fridays, with the exception of people in the restaurant industry perhaps; so let’s celebrate. For years, when I was a kid, my family and I would eat pizza every Friday night. It was THE tradition, order or pick up some delicious pizza and watch TGIF on ABC. (ha ha!) I used to love watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch, especially when the Violent Femmes guest spotted on the show. Uh oh, now you can probably pin my age down! Not like it matters. 😉
Well, how about instead of the usually very greasy and carb-filled pizza, you try this recipe out. Using a spaghetti squash as opposed to a crust, you can put your favorite pizza toppings all up in this dish to make it your own. I’m also thinking about making a Mexican-themed one like this, and the wheels are a turnin'; so many options!
I tried out a new product with this recipe, and that was Gimme Lean’s Ground Sausage. I wasn’t sure what to expect, because I have made my own seitan sausage crumbles before and I didn’t know what the texture of this would be like. When you first open up the tube, it’s soft and tacky with some small lumps in the mixture. It smells good, and the traditional way to prepare it would be to cut it into patties and pan fry them; in this case I separated the sausage more and made them small chunks (as seen below). Overall, I like them and would definitely use them again; especially if I didn’t have time to make my own.
Servings: 4-6 (depending on how much restraint you have ;))
- 1 Large Spaghetti Squash, Mine was roughly 8″ long x 5″ wide
- 1 Tube Gimme Lean Ground Sausage Style
- 4 Cups Diced Tomato
- 1/4 Cup Tomato Paste
- 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups Daiya Shreds, I used half Cheddar & half Mozzarella (Save 1/2 cup for topping with)
- Optional: Black Olives, Bell Peppers, or any other pizza-like topping
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Clean the squash, slice it in half, scoop out the seeds/pulp and place both halves face down into a baking dish. Fill the baking dish 1/4″ full with water and poke holes in the rinds with a fork. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
- In the meantime, break apart the ground sausage into smaller pieces in a large pan over medium heat. Brown the pieces on all sides until they are slightly crispy.
- Add the diced tomato and tomato paste to the sausage pieces, stir together and simmer over low-medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the Italian seasoning, red pepper flake and sea salt into the pan mixture; simmer for an additional 2 minutes and taste it to see if you want to add any more herbs to the sauce and decrease to low heat.
- Next, wait until the squash is done baking; test the squash by pushing on the rind with a spoon to see if it’s soft. Leave the oven on, and scrape the squash with a fork into the sausage mixture until the rinds are empty, making sure to not puncture the rind.
- Fold the spaghetti squash and 1 cup of the Daiya shreds into the sauce until fully incorporated and the shreds are melted.
- Spoon the pizza filling back into the two squash halves, top with the remaining Daiya shreds and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Serve warm, and pair it with a refreshing salad of greens.
I dare you to try not eating the amazing pizza stuffing straight out of the squash rind. I tried so hard, alas… Who am I kidding? I didn’t try to resist at all! I’m so glad that I didn’t because it was absolutely delicious.