In case you needed some toast inspiration this week, here’s a delicious open-faced sandwich that involves one of the best foods of all: avocado. Avocado is one of my all-time favorite foods, and not just because you can make guacamole out of it. It’s creamy and just has a fantastic flavor even plain. Toast is also one of my favorite foods, so spreading avocado on it is pretty much a recipe for success in my book.
This delightful little open-faced sandwich is one that my dad taught me how to make. This recipe certainly isn’t rocket science, but I hope that you can enjoy it as much as I have. Or use it as a jumping off point to make your own toasty open-faced masterpieces.
The Avocado Tomato Open-Faced Sandwich
2 pieces of bread
1/2 of an avocado
1 small tomato
A pinch of salt
Several slices of vegan cheese (optional)
First, put two pieces of toast in the toaster. Then, slice your tomato and avocado.
Then, lay out half of the avocado slices onto a piece of toast.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt onto the avocado slices and spread them across the piece of toast.
Lay several slices of tomato on top of the toast.
At this point, you can either dig in, or, if you have it on hand, lay a few slices of vegan cheese on top of the tomato. The cheese adds a little extra deliciousness, but the fresh fruit (it’s weird that both of those are fruits, I know) is fantastic on its own. Enjoy!
Hi all! Welcome to the new blog! I’ve been busy working on transitioning my blog from Blogger to this fancy new WordPress site. I hope you like it! I’ve also been busy in the kitchen lately and plan to update the blog regularly — at least once a week, preferably on Fridays — throughout the coming months. This week I’ve got a vegan reuben recipe for ya! I got the idea for a vegan reuben from this delightful little cafe inside a health food co-op where I occasionally get lunch.
For a faster and easier version of this sandwich that doesn’t involve cooking your own tofu, you can also make this using Tofurky deli slices (preferably the Roast Beef style) and a little vegan cheese (my favorite brand is Daiya).
The Vegan Reuben
Makes 6 sandwiches
1 14-ounce package firm or extra-firm tofu
12 pieces of bread (traditionally rye, though in these photos I use sprouted-grain bread)
Russian Dressing (see below)
Russian Dressing Ingredients:
1/2 cup Just Mayo
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons dill relish
2 tablespoons horseradish mustard
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. If possible, press your tofu for 10-15 minutes. If you don’t have a tofu press
or you’re short on time, you can also just give the tofu a firm squeeze over the sink to expel as much water as you can without crumbling the tofu. Cut the tofu into slices and line out on a baking sheet.
Next, top the slices of tofu with salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary.
Bake the tofu for 15-25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Finished tofu will be golden on both sides.
While the tofu is cooking, heat up a nonstick or lightly-oiled pan to medium or medium low. Spread a hearty amount of dressing on each piece of bread. Place a spoonful or two of sauerkraut on one side of bread. You may want to drain the sauerkraut either in a strainer or just using a fork so that the sandwich doesn’t become mushy. Put both pieces of bread on the pan and cook until each piece is golden brown on the bottom.
Assemble the sandwich by placing two slices of baked tofu on one side and tomato on the other.
Today, I made my favorite food, a dish that stems from my Cuban heritage. From the title, I bet you can guess what my favorite food is. That’s right, Cuban Black Beans. These beans with their unique mix of flavors are right up there with homemade whole wheat bread as one of my ultimate comfort foods. And even if you haven’t been raised eating Cuban Black Beans on a weekly basis, you’re bound to enjoy this delicious recipe that puts other black beans and refried beans to shame.
The recipe for Cuban Black Beans was given to my mom by her mother-in-law: my dear grandma Gloria Maria, who has since passed on. You see, I think my grandma knew that if the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, the quickest way to a Cuban’s heart is through homemade black beans, so knowing how to make black beans when married to a Cuban would be pretty essential.
Over the years, my mom has adapted this recipe somewhat, and you may wish to adapt it to. As my grandma once said, some people like “cumin beans” and some people like “cilantro beans.” I tend to enjoy them most when they’re a little heavy on the cilantro.
When preparing these, you can use my family’s recipe below, or you can adjust the seasonings to suit your personal tastes. That’s one of the best things about these beans, they seem to always come out tasting delicious, no matter how you adjust the proportions of the various ingredients.
Cuban Black Beans
1 pound dry black beans
1 medium white or yellow onion
1 medium green bell pepper
1 fist-sized bunch of cilantro
2-3 large garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon agave nectar or sugar
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
First, soak your black beans overnight. If soaking them that long isn’t a possibility, at least soak them for a few hours. This step is important not only because it makes the beans easier to cook, but because during the soaking process, the beans will lose some oligosaccharides, which will make the beans easier to digest. So, essentially, if you don’t want your dinner guests to experience gas after eating your delicious Cuban Black Beans, please, by all means, take the time to soak them. Trust me, it’s worth it.
When you have finished soaking your beans, discard the dirty oligosaccharide-ridden water you just soaked them in and give them a good rinse. Then, place them in a pressure cooker or slow cooker, depending on whether you want to eat them soon, or have them cook all day while you’re away. (I use my Instant Pot on the pressure cooker setting). Cover the beans in water, using enough water to just cover the beans.
Next, chop your onion, bell pepper and garlic and throw them in on top of the beans. Then, grab about a fistful of cilantro, chop it loosely, and add it to the top. Finally, toss in your bay leaves.
In the Instant Pot, select the Manual button and cook for 16-18 minutes (I have used both the quick release and natural pressure release methods when making these and both have worked fine). When your beans have finished cooking, they should resemble bean soup. At this point, you’ll want to find the bay leaves and remove them, as they don’t dissolve. If you have picky eaters, you may want to put the beans in a food processor or blender to get rid of any vegetable lumps and make them more the consistency of refried beans. Some people like to leave them soupy. My favorite is kind of a mixture. You can achieve this by mashing the beans with a potato masher a few times, or by processing or blending part of the beans and mixing them back in with the rest of the batch. Making the beans this way helps them hold together better if you decide to put them in a burrito or a taco, while also keeping some of the whole beans intact. At this point, you’ll add the sweetener and seasonings, as well as the optional olive oil. Feel free to adjust the seasonings to suit your taste buds.
Cuban Black Beans are typically served with rice. In fact, a common nickname for this dish in Spanish is “Moros y Cristianos,” which means, “Moors and Christians” (the “Moors” referring to the beans and the “Christians” to the rice). As you can guess from this name, the rice typically served with black beans is white, though for today, I made a Mexican-style rice because I like the flavor. I also made guacamole to go with the beans and rice, because, really, what could be better?
You can eat the finished product out of a bowl, or you can use your beans and rice as the primary ingredients in a standout burrito or taco. Enjoy!
Vegan crepes. The combination of these two words translates to me as just “Mmm.” I’ve always loved pancakes and waffles, covered in real maples syrup or my mom’s homemade strawberry syrup, but only recently have I decided that I love crepes even more. The light, delicate texture of these crepes makes the subtle flavors of coconut, cinnamon and vanilla even more noticeable. I enjoy eating these plain, filled with fruit, topped with vegan yogurt, or—my personal favorite combination—filled with chopped bananas and pecans with a drizzle of maple syrup on top.
Without further ado, here’s the recipe!
Makes 9-10 Crepes
3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
3 tablespoons agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup soy or almond milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Whisk together the coconut oil and honey, then add in the other wet ingredients one at a time. You can combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add them to the liquid ingredients, or you can simply whisk them in, being sure to mix well enough to eliminate any salt lumps.
Preheat a nonstick or seasoned skillet to a medium-low heat. For each crepe, pour about three tablespoons of the batter on the skillet and cook for several minutes on each side.
When the crepes are done, roll them up with chopped fruit on the inside or cover with your favorite syrup or vegan yogurt. Enjoy!
Since my last post in February, life has been crazy! I got engaged to my then-boyfriend of 2.5 years in March and married in May! Now that I’m no longer planning a wedding, I promise to be a lot more regular with the posts. Especially since I received so many wonderful gifts of cookware, bakeware and appliances that have motivated me to spend even more time on my experiments in the kitchen.
Well, to start this one off, I’ll just tell you that if there’s one thing I enjoy, it’s a good breakfast. Though, I don’t always eat breakfast in the morning. I often find myself eating the delicious breakfast foods I crave for lunch or dinner. So it was today. After deciding to make a standard tofu scramble (which I can’t believe I haven’t posted on this blog yet, oh well), I saw some leftover chickpeas in my fridge and I thought to myself, “I wonder what I could do with those.” As my mind became busy trying to find a way to add chickpeas to my breakfast-lunch, I was struck with the idea of adding chickpeas to a standard vegan tofu omelette (which I’ve experimented with before).
The result was thoroughly pleasing. Though, I wish that I’d had some nutritional yeast on hand to add to the mix. Despite that, I felt that the flavor of the tofu and chickpeas, combined with the seasonings, made for a very delicious, though time consuming, breakfast item.
To start off, I seasoned my stainless steel skillet, thinking that cooking omelettes would be the ultimate test to see if seasoning a skillet would really make it “non-stick.” Thankfully, it worked! There was no sticking and I only used paltry amounts of oil with a few spritzes of my Misto sprayer (which I highly recommend).
Vegan Chickpea-Tofu Omelette
Makes 5-6 Omelettes
1 14-ounce package of silken tofu
1 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
(Note: I imagine that this would also work great with a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast!)
Sliced mushrooms, bell peppers and onions, or vegetables of choice, for filling.
I began by slicing up a few veggies—mushrooms, mini bell peppers and part of an onion—and throwing them in a skillet. You can also throw some vegan sausage in if that’s your thing. I added a little because the hubs really likes the stuff.
Next, while preheating your pan on a medium-low heat (though, how high of a temperature you need can vary greatly depending on what kind of pan you’re using), add the rest of the ingredients to a boss food processor or blender. If your appliance isn’t super heavy duty, you can add a little plain soymilk or water to help it blend. But don’t put too much extra liquid or it might not be thick enough to solidify into a beautiful omelette. And that would be a real shame.
Then, scoop some of this mixture onto your heated skillet (I put about 3/8 cup per omelette).
Now comes the waiting game. While your omelette is cooking, cover it for a few minutes to help cook the omelette all the way through. If it starts to seem like it’s steaming it too much and making it soggy, though, remove the cover. Cook until it is pretty solid, about 10 minutes.
Then, place your filling of veggies and/or veggie sausage on the omelette.
Use your spatula to fold the omelette over the filling.
Cook for a minute or two more and voila! A delicious omelette! Repeat these steps for more delicious omelettes! Enjoy!
Tonight something happened in my household that rarely occurs: a surplus of ripe bananas. Normally, we go through bananas like water thanks to my brother, N. I decided to take advantage of this unprecedented plethora of bananas and bake a banana-themed dessert. This recipe is one of my favorites because of its simplicity, and because it lends itself so well to vegan baking. Bananas are a natural binder, which makes them an ideal replacement for eggs in baking. Also, the bananas add a really nice level of sweetness so you don’t have to go overboard with the sweetener. Oh, and did I mention that the finished product tastes fantastic? I hope you enjoy this incredibly simple recipe for healthy, delicious banana bread or muffins. (All photo credit goes to the amazing Tori Johnson).
Vegan Banana Bread + Baby Muffins
4 ripe bananas
1 to 1 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Optional: blueberries or walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350. Mash the bananas in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir together the dry ingredients in a separate, smaller bowl. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet mixture. Add blueberries or walnuts, if desired. Measure into bread pans or muffin pans and bake until done (the time varies greatly depending on whether you are baking muffins or bread).
I’ve found that this recipe works best in mini bread pans or a muffin pan so the inside can bake thoroughly without the outside getting too brown. My absolute favorite thing to make with this recipe? Baby muffins. As Jim Gaffigan would say: “I’ll just have one or twelve.”