Friday, May 25, 2007

Vegan "mac and cheese" with red wine

It's Friday night of a holiday weekend! Woo! No work till Wednesday (I took Tuesday off)! Yay! To celebrate, I knew I wanted to have comfort food for dinner, so when I saw this recipe talked about earlier this week on, I knew I wanted to give it a try.

After reading the reviews on, I knew not to expect this to taste like Kraft or any other mac and cheese recipe. What I didn't expect was the distinct, yet yummy, taste and the richness of this dish. Wow! As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I never knew vegan food could be so rich and decadent!

Per suggestions on the reviews, I did make some modifications to this recipe... I only used 1 tsp of salt as well as 1 tsp of garlic powder. In addition, I used 2 cups plain soy milk and no water for fear the sauce would be too runny. It certainly wasn't! Mine turned out thick and creamy. So much so, that in the future, I may add in some of the water instead of omitting it. I also used fusilli pasta (I always think of Fusilli Jerry from Seinfeld!) because I found a package of it hidden in the back of my cupboard.

Overall, this recipe is definitely deelish and a keeper. The taste is soooooo unique. I personally haven't tasted many recipes like this. So rich. I couldn't eat very much of it because of the richness. Next time I make it, I'm definitely making a nice salad to go along with it. I think it'd be great with a side of fresh veggies. :)

I thought about halving the recipe as suggested on VegWeb, but with the holiday weekend ahead, I didn't mind the thought of leftovers in my fridge so I wouldn't have to cook as much this weekend. Hope it tastes as good reheated, or I'm in trouble! Cuz the recipe as stated makes a lot of pasta. When I do reheat, I think I'm going to try adding in veggies to help counteract the richness of this dish.

Along with this meal, I had some yummy vegan Frey red wine. Call me stupid, but I just learned recently that wine-making process often involves animal products like eggs, casein or gelatin. Who knew? I didn't. But now that I do, I've been patronizing Frey and buying their wine. I think it's important to support businesses who make an effort to show compassion toward our animal friends. :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Catching up: Lemony Asparagus Pasta

Sorry for the lack of posts. It's been busy since getting back from Michigan's lovely U.P. I made this recipe a few days ago and am finally getting around to posting it.

Very easy and quick recipe. I chose this one in particular because my folks gave me and my sister A LOT of fresh asparagus that they got recently from a local farm. I hate wasting food, so I knew I needed a recipe where asparagus was the focal point, and this one was the winner because it seemed uber easy... and it was! The recipe called for whole wheat Penne pasta, but I used whole wheat Rotini because it was what I had on hand.

Five stars for ease of preparation, but I dunno... seemed like it was missing something to me. If I make this again, I may add in other fresh veggies, too, for variety. Really mix it up!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Veggie Patty @ Subway

I didn’t realize the Subway restaurant chain offered a hot sandwich option for vegetarians until yesterday, when the lady diligently adding onions, tomatos, peppers and condiments to my cold Veggie Delite pointed it out to me. “I’m not vegetarian, but I think they’re pretty good,” she said, gesturing to the oblong veggie burgers sitting there under the glass, next to all the cold cuts. My interest was definitely piqued.

Subway is often my fast food of choice, especially since one of them opened within walking distance of my office. However, sometimes, I’m just not in the mood for a cold sandwich. Some days, I like it hot! Eating Subway two days in a row wasn’t ideal, but I couldn’t resist going back for another round today, specifically to try the veggie patty.

My understanding is that the veggie patties are not available at all locations. The store I patronize, where the patties are listed under the “local favorites” menu, just recently started carrying them, according to the lady behind the counter, who didn’t know the ingredients of the patty. Therefore, I used the customer service form at Subway’s Web site to inquire about the nutritional/ingredient information. I received a reply from a customer care representative named Peggy within a matter of hours, detailing ingredients and nutritional info on the chain’s Gardenburger and VegiMax menu items.

Gardenburger ingredients: Mushrooms, brown rice, onions, rolled oats, part-skim mozzarella, cottagecheese curd, egg white, cheddar cheese, bulgar wheat, natural seasonings and spices, autolyzed yeast, sea salt, olive oil, tapioca starch, and vegetable gum.

Gardenburger nutritional information: Calories 390, Protein (g) 19, Carbohydrates (g) 66, Sugar 6, Fat (g) 7, Sat. Fat (g) 2.5, Cholesterol (mg) 5, Sodium (mg) 960, Dietary Fiber (g) 9.

VegiMax ingredients: Vegetables (mushroom, water chestnuts, onions, carrots, green and red bell peppers, black olives), textured vegetable protein (soy protein consentrate, wheat gluten), egg whites, cooked brown rice, rolled oats, corn oil, calcium caseinate, soy sauce (water, soybeans, salt,wheat) Contains 2% or less of the following: onion powder, cornstarch, salt, hydrolyzed corn, soy and wheat protein, sucrose, soy protein isolate, spices, garlic powder, dextrose, jalapeno pepper powder, celery extract.

VegiMax nutritional information: Calories 390, Protein (g) 24, Carbohydrates (g) 56, Sugar 7, Fat (g) 8, Sat. Fat (g) 1.5, Cholesterol (mg) 10, Sodium (mg) 1030, Dietary Fiber (g) 7.

Additional notes provided by the rep: The above values include wheat or white bread, a 3.0 oz patty, and all the standard vegetables. Cheese or other condiments are not included. The above information is for a 6 inch sub which is a local product. However, the nutrient value may vary depending on the store’s manufacturer.

I haven’t made an additional inquiry yet about the natural seasonings listed in the e-mail, but those who wish to may want to try this form, which is what I used to ask about ingredients.

Overall, I thought the Subway veggie patty was pretty good… but no different in taste than any other veggie patty, really. It’ll cost you more than the Veggie Delite–$1.20 more at my local store. But, I do give Subway some credit for adding another menu option for vegetarians. Even if it is just a standard veggie burger, aside from the funny oblong shape to fit on the 6-inch subs. I hope the veggie patties grow in popularity and become a regular menu item at the chain nationwide.


NOTE: Last week, I was away on vacation in Michigan’s upper peninsula, which is beautiful overall, but not that big on veggies. I took notes and plan to share my experiences as a vegetarian traveling through meat-loving Yooperville in a future blog post. Look for it soon!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Simply Asia, simply OK

OK, so I didn't actually cook this, but since it's vegetarian food and I ate it for lunch today, I figured I could talk about it here. :) I like eating in for lunch at work. It saves me money and I think I eat healthier, too, because of it. I prefer to keep a few 'stock' items in my desk drawer at work, in case I'm rushed in the morning and can't prepare a lunch. Items from the Thai Kitchen work well cuz they are pretty cheap, easy to prepare and heat up in no time. In the past, I've purchased the Thai Peanut rice noodle dish. And, those are ok but they don't really fill me up. :( So, I thought I'd give the Simply Asia bowls a try since they were labled vegan.

I thought the more robust noodles filled me up a bit better than the original Thai Kitchen dishes. And the sauce for the sesame teriyaki was good. Overall I felt it was skimpy on the vegetables though, and a thumbs down for the bowl not being recycleable in my area.

I would buy this again, but probably not that often. I like to save dishes like this only for times when I'm in a pinch.

NOTE: I'll be on the road traveling this coming week, so no blog posts about my homemade meals until at least May 15. I will, however, be taking notes about some of the food I eat on the road and report back to my blog readers regarding the challenges of eating vegetarian while traveling. Have a good week!