So there are the obvious food stuffs ( like Tofu and Potatoes ) that all us vegans usually keep a well stocked supply off. . . and of course the staples - the Flour and the Brown Sugar ( a great substitute for white sugar in cookie recipes to keep them chewy ) . . . BUT these are the REAL gems! The 4 Products that can make a vegan kitchen step out from behind the Granola Lentil Loaf Stigma and amaze even the most meatiest of haters.
In no particular order :
- Nutritional Yeast : Yes -An unfortunate name that keeps many people from trying this little bit of heaven turned into a yellow powder that is the perfect replacement for Parmesan cheese ( I mean seriously sprinkle it on pizza, salad, popcorn - whatever ). It is also the key ingredient to the best Mac & Cheez ever ( see below ) and making a vegan gravy that you'll want to eat like soup.
- 3 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup ( 1 stick ) vegan margarine
- 1/2 cup flour
- 3 1/2 cups boiling water
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- Pinch of turmeric
- 1 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- A few dashes of liquid smoke
- Paprika & Black Pepper, to taste
• Preheat the oven to 350°F.
• Cook the elbow macaroni according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
• In a saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat. Whisk in the flour.
• Continue whisking over medium heat until smooth and bubbly.
• Whisk in the boiling water, salt, soy sauce, liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder, and turmeric - add a few dashes of black pepper to taste.
• Continue whisking until dissolved. Once thick and bubbling, whisk in the nutritional yeast flakes.
• Mix 3/4 of the sauce with the noodles and place in a casserole dish. Cover with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the paprika.
• Bake for 15 minutes.
• Broil for a few minutes until crisp.
- Liquid Smoke : A substance produced from a variety of wood smoke passed through water that can be found in any grocery store and added to any recipe you want to add a smoky cheddary flavor to ( see above ) and to any mock meat or tofu to add a grill or meatier flavor to. . . Also what I plan to name my first child . . . I love you Liquid Smoke.
- Morningstar Farms Grillers Chik'n Veggie Patties : Yes - They are vegan ( but it is Morningstar so read the package to make sure they haven't changed the recipe ). We have been eating veggie burgers for years. It is the perfect easy meal after work or summer BBQ staple. . . but these mix it up a bit and you can even shake and bake them for fried chik'n. . . also try mixing together some Olive Oil and Liquid Smoke and bake. . . Healthy and you can cut them up to put on top of a salad or in a sandwich.
- Wine : A nice glass while you cook is always a good rule to live by but cooking with the wine can make a recipe unique and healthier at the same time. Cooking up Tofurky Italian Sausage in some olive oil and red wine can add a bit more flavor to a Marinara or Summer sauce and make it so you can use less oil . . . a splash of white wine can make a vegetable or potato soup more flavorful without adding salt. It may take some experimenting BUT so worth it!
Thank me later - with cookies!