Recipe: Vegan Fudge Brownies

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In case it wasn’t already obvious, I’m a huge fan of animals. After some time here at Berkeley, I finally found a club for animal activism, and joined as soon as I discovered it. A few times each semester, the group sponsors a vegan bakesale at our local student food collective, which is essentially a place for all things locally produced, organic, and green, and one of my favorite places to buy groceries. Naturally, I always have to contribute something to the bakesale when I have time.

Being relatively new to vegan baking by the time the first bakesale rolled around, I decided to make something I thought would be simple: vegan brownies. Scouring the internet, however, seemed to produce only fat-filled, bland recipes. So I came up with my own… and I sure am glad I did.

They’re dense, fudgy, only moderately fatty, and flavor-packed; it’s hard to tell they’re free of eggs and dairy. Which satisfies my vegan baking goal: making things that taste so good that my non-vegan friends can’t even tell they’re animal-friendly. They got rave reviews at the bakesale, and I’ll certainly be making them again!

Bonus: apparently my neighbors could all smell the chocolately goodness for hours after the baking was done!

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Makes a 13×9″ pan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 + 1/2 cup white sugar (make sure it’s vegan! Brands like C&H use bone char to process their sugars.)
  • 3/4c cocoa powder
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3c applesauce (about  1 small snack-pack worth)
  • 6 tbs vegan margarine, melted
  • About 1 + 1/2c water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp coffee grounds
  • 1/3-1/2c vegan chocolate chips plus more for the top

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a 9×13″ pan.

2.  In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cocoa powder, and coffee.

3. In a 2-cup measure, melt the butter. Add the applesauce. Then, add enough water so that it fills up to the 2 cup mark. Add vanilla.

4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then stir in desired amount of chocolate chips. Spread evenly in pan.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the oven, or until the top is clearly set. The toothpick test can also work, although you have to make sure you aren’t just getting melted chocolate chips out. If it’s batter, it’ll have a more crumbly appearance.

6. Remove from oven, and spread additional chocolate chips on top. I usually use about 1/4 – 1/2 cup, but it all depends on how much frosting you want. Once they’ve melted, spread them around to form a ganache frosting. Once it sets, it’ll add a wonderful texture and extra chocolate punch to the top, as well as lock in moisture.

7. Put in fridge to speed cooling/setting of frosting. Once completely cooled, cut into bars.

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Happy baking!

Michelle

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Recipe: Miso Veggie Soup [Vegan]

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After a long week of eating huge meals at restaurants at least once (but often twice) a day, I decided I needed to do some serious “cleansing;” or at least control my calorie intake, and cut out the treats and fatty foods I’ve been eating all week. In my quest to come up with healthy but light dishes, I ended up making what may be the lowest calorie soup possible. But at the same time, it’s somehow filling. I had a lot of leftover miso paste from making a faux goat cheese dip I’ll be sharing with you guys later, so I decided I had to finally try making miso soup from scratch. However, being me, I had to throw in as many veggies as possible; plain miso soup just doesn’t count as a meal to me!

This soup is perfect for a diet/cleanse/however you’d like to refer to it. It’s clean, vegan, delicious, ridiculously easy to make, and has the proteins and veggies I’ve been trying to incorporate. Unless I find an even better soup, this one is probably going to be my go-to diet soup from now on! (Although my mushroom and tomato concoctions are a close second.)

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Ingredients

All of these are approximates; play around with the amounts according to your preferences! Also, any vegetables you like can be subbed for the carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Or, you can omit them for a classic miso soup.

  • 1/5 container firm tofu, sliced into small cubes
  • 2-3 tbs red miso paste, to taste (if you use yellow, you may need more)
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • Handful of kale or seaweed, ripped into pieces
  • 1-2 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 5-7 baby carrots
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 3-4 mushrooms
  • Dash of sriracha sauce (if you like spice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Directions

1. Combine miso paste and water/broth in a pot over medium heat.

2. Chop your veggies and tofu as the soup heats, and add them to the pot as you go.

3. Simmer until veggies are tender, and season with sriracha and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve and enjoy!

Note: If you let it sit for long enough, the miso will cloud up in the center. This is normal for miso soup; just give it a stir and you’re good to go!

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Enjoy your light and delicious meal!

Michelle

Recipe: Vegan Caprese Mac n Cheese

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Sometimes, you just need comfort food. After a long day of shooting products for a client, I decided it was time I treated myself to one of my favorite splurges: rich, creamy mac n cheese. I had a bag of Daiya mozzarella I had to use up, so it seemed like the most natural choice of dishes. But instead of just slapping some cheese on pasta and calling it a day, I decided to put a spin on it like I did with my avocado mac n cheese; this time I went caprese style. One of my favorite Italian starters, caprese is a simple mix of tomato, mozzarella, and basil that is almost impossibly delicious considering how few ingredients are involved.

With a few cherry tomatoes, some basil leaves, and some red pepper flakes for that hint of spice I’m always craving, this gourmet vegan mac n cheese ended up being quite an amazing way to splurge. Also, since I already had my lights set up for the product photography, I decided to get some studio-lit shots of the final product!

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Serves 2; about 500 calories per serving

Ingredients

  • 4 oz of your favorite pasta (I used whole wheat fusilli)
  • Salt and water according to your pasta’s directions
  • 1 tbs vegan margarine
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, preferably unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup water (plus more if you need to thin out your sauce)
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella (I used Daiya’s shreds)
  • 2 large basil leaves, sliced or chopped
  • ~20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • (Optional) Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • (Optional) Pinch of garlic powder

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Directions

1. Bring the pasta water to a boil, add salt as the package directs.

Prepare the sauce:

2. Melt the vegan margarine over medium heat, then add the flour. Stir until flour is puffed and beginning to brown.  Add in the milk and water, stirring until incorporated.

3. Mix in the cheese, and continue stirring until fully melted, and stir in spices if desired. Turn heat to low to keep it warm until you’re ready to serve. Stir in more water if it becomes too thick.

4. Cook the pasta, and prepare the tomatoes and basil.

5. Drain the pasta, place in a bowl, and pour the cheese sauce over it. Stir until well coated, garnish with the basil and tomatoes, and serve warm.

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And enjoy your vegan-yet-creamy meal!

Michelle

Recipe: Peach Banana Breakfast Smoothie [Vegan]

My favorite part about smoothie making is the ability to completely improvise, and still end up with an amazing smoothie. This time, I happened to have some peach slices on hand in addition to my usual bananas and berries, so I experimented with a new combo. I thought it turned out so well, I wanted to share it with you guys! (I usually keep most of my various smoothie concoctions to myself since they seem more obvious than this particular combination.)

If you’re interested in a more fall-inspired flavor, check out my pumpkin banana smoothie recipe!

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Makes one large glass.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Banana
  • 1/2-1 peach
  • Handful of strawberries
  • 1/4-1/3 cup soy yogurt
  • 1/3 cup soy, almond or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • Pinch of ginger (fresh or powdered)
  • 1-3 ice cubes (optional)

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Directions

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Add more liquid (milk or yogurt) or solids (oats or fruit) as necessary until the smoothie is at your desired consistency.

3. Pour into glass, and garnish it with fruit, oats, or nuts if you want to.

And enjoy!

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Thanks for stopping by,

Michelle

Recipe: Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Muffins

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Last summer, before I was as committed to building up my vegan recipe arsenal as I am now, I shared a recipe for banana crumb muffins. Yesterday, we had some leftover bananas lying around, and I felt like making something as healthy and as portable as those muffins, but that would be vegan and just as tasty. Instead of thinking of something completely new, I just decided to veganize them! I didn’t put the crumb topping on this one, but that could easily be whipped up with some flour, cinnamon, and vegan margarine.

I actually ended up liking them more than the originals, and my vehemently non-vegan friends and family members couldn’t tell that they were egg and dairy-free. That’s my usual strategy for vegan recipe-testing: if unbiased (or biased in the opposite direction) tasters find them to be as good as my non-vegan items, they’ve passed the test!

These muffins passed with flying colors, and I’ll definitely be making them frequently. They’re easy to whip up in a pinch, and they’re low on fat!

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Makes a dozen.

Serving size: one muffin. Calories per serving: 220 (oil), 180 (applesauce)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup canola oil (Use applesauce instead for lower fat)
  • 1 cup soy, almond, or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2c vegan chocolate chips (Can be replaced with blueberries)
  • Optional: 1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease or line a 12-cup  muffin pan. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl: flours, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. Mash the banana, and mix it with the oil or applesauce, milk, water, and vanilla. Stir this into the dry mixture until combined.

3. Add oats, chocolate, chips, and walnuts if desired. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full, and bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

4. Allow to cool for 3 minutes in the pan before moving them to a wire rack.

And enjoy your (nearly) guilt-free treat!

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Recipe: Classic Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

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Although I’m usually into making healthier foods these days, there are always occasions that call for a splurge. This time, it was New Year’s eve. I wanted to make something fun and festive, and had just happened to pick up blue and red cupcake holders–so naturally I had to make cupcakes! This recipe gives fluffy, moist cupcakes that taste just like their non-vegan equivalents I’ve made.

As I always say, my ultimate test for vegan recipes is whether or not one can actually taste the lack of eggs and dairy. If nonvegans can’t tell that it’s cruelty free and end up coming back for seconds–and thirds, and fourths, as happened with these cupcakes–then the recipe passes the test!

I used this recipe, and for once, I only had to change one thing! (as it called for non-vegan sugar)

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Makes a dozen.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar or vegan white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (may sub 1/3c applesauce for lower fat)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • Optional: Chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup) for a simple chocolate frosting/coating

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Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fill a 12-cup muffin pan with paper cupcake liners. If you want to make a cake instead, just use a cakepan–you will have to bake it for longer, though.

2. Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: vegetable oil, vanilla, white vinegar, and water.

4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk until smooth. Fill cupcake cups about 2/3 full, or in such a way that all 12 are filled evenly.

5. Bake for 15-25 minutes, using a toothpick to test for how done they are once they looked puffed up and dry. (If the toothpick comes out with batter on it, they need more time.)

6. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

7. Optional: Prepare chocolate topping by melting chocolate chips in a bowl, and spreading it on the cupcakes. It should harden to form a nice shell, making these cupcakes easily portable and mess-free!

Hope your New Years was fun (and delicious)!

Michelle

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