Tempeh Reuben

Growing up my mom made a lot of German food. When I was a kid I hated sauerkraut with a passion. It made the whole house stink, and I hated just being around it. As I got older I started to tolerate eating a little bit on things like hotdogs and sausages at New Years. I would suffer through that about once or twice a year, but I still didn’t like it. It wasn’t until I was introduced to the Reuben Sandwich as a teenager that I really started to enjoy sauerkraut. As I transitioned to a plant based diet several years ago I gave up the Reuben, not thinking that I’d ever have the opportunity to have one again. I wasn’t thinking very creatively then, and still thought that a plant based diet was restrictive instead of being incredibly freeing. When you think about it eating an omnivorous diet is so meat-centric in our culture. If meat is the focal point of the dish there’s only so many cuts of meat you can eat, and really that’s pretty limiting compared to having thousands of vegetables to choose from to make the star. Since that realization I’ve made vegan Reubens with a number of different meat alternatives, but today I’m going to share with you the Tempeh Reuben.

Tempeh might not be as uncannily similar to corned beef as seitan, or prepackaged vegan roast beef deli slices, but it is one of my favorite ways to enjoy a Reuben. I have to say I actually like it better than the version I remember having as a kid with corned beef. Maybe that’s just because I used good regionally fermented sauerkraut instead of the Snow Floss brand kraut which I deeply detest, but is what every restaurant I’ve been to seems to use on their Reubens. I think that definitely has something to do with it, sure, but I think tempeh is texturally better in this application than something the texture of corned beef.

This recipe is a quick and easy new take on a nostalgic sandwich. We used Cleaveland Kraut’s roasted garlic kraut on this sandwich. If you can get your hands on it, I highly recommend it. It’s super flavorful, and has a great texture. We picked up standard marbled rye bread from the supermarket bakery. As always double check, and make sure there’s no whey or other animal products in the bread. Worcestershire sauce often contains anchovies, so it’s important to make sure you check the label. Sometimes vegetarian Worcestershire can be difficult to find, but Lord Sandy’s is a good option if you can find it.

Tempeh Reuben

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cube of no beef bullion
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of onion powder

Russian Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp finely diced white onion
  • 3 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp franks red hot (make sure it’s not the kind with butter)
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

Sandwich Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of marble rye bread
  • 1/4 cup sauerkraut
  • 2 blocks of tempeh
  • 1 block of vegan swiss cheese, or another similar white vegan cheese

Directions

  1. Combine one cup of water with one cube of no beef bullion in a glass measuring cup, or other microwaveable container. Microwave for at least a minute, or until bullion can be dissolved when you whisk it.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the bullion stock, tamari, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, liquid smoke, black pepper, and onion powder. Whisk together.
  3. Cut blocks of tempeh in half, and then slice each piece end from end creating a thin filet of tempeh. Add these to the marinade. Refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably several, to develop flavor.
  4. Prepare the Russian dressing. Mix together mayo, ketchup, diced onion, horseradish, red hot, Worcestershire, and chili powder in a bowl. Refrigerate until you are ready to use it.
  5. Fry tempeh in a pan with some olive oil. Add some of the marinade, and let it cook down until there is a nice caramelization on the outside of the tempeh.
  6. Assemble the sandwiches. We did this by slicing the bread in half before assembling the other ingredients, essentially making two half sandwiches per serving. We’ve tried it without doing this, and I’d highly recommend it, because otherwise you lose a lot of your sandwich ingredients as you eat it. We put Russian dressing on each side of the bread, stack a piece of the tempeh on the bottom piece of bread, top with a spoonful of sauerkraut, grated cheese, and then an additional drizzle of Russian dressing and top with the top bread.
  7. Preheat the oven to 275. Line a baking sheet with parchment, and place the sandwiches on it. You can place toothpicks through the center of the sandwiches to prevent anything from sliding off if you’d like. Bake the sandwiches for about ten minutes, or until the bread becomes warm and crisp. Serve alone or with a side of french fries, chips, or side salad.

Butternut Squash Pizza

When Nick and I first started dating he lived in a suburb just outside of the city. There weren’t a lot of vegan options nearby, so we’d normally cook food at his apartment. When we did go out we would go to a local brewery called Mindful Brewing. They also didn’t have a lot of vegan options, but they used to have this one butternut squash pizza that was phenomenal. It had chickpeas, red onions, and a balsamic reduction. We’ve attempted to recreate this pizza several times over the past three years. It may not be exactly the same, but it’s really good.

I’m not sure exactly what they put in the butternut squash puree to flavor it, but we kept ours pretty simple. We’ve tried cooking the sauce down before applying it to the pizza as well as applying it uncooked. I would definitely recommend taking a few minutes to cook it down with some maple syrup and spices. It adds a lot of flavor. The water content is a bit too high if you don’t cook it down, and it makes the crust a little too soft for my taste. It’s been a while since I’ve had the pizza at Mindful, but I’m pretty sure it had cilantro on top. We used parsley instead, because we simply don’t like cilantro. I can tolerate it as a garnish, but generally prefer to sub something else in. Feel free to use either ingredient if you are a cilantro lover.

This pizza calls for a hearty, thick crust. I don’t recommend buying a pre-baked pizza shell from the super market. If you don’t want to make your own pizza dough you can buy balls of pizza dough at some supermarkets. We recommend the dough from Trader Joe’s. You can also find dough at a number of regional supermarkets. If you do want to make your own we have a great recipe that we’ve been using for a few years.


Butternut Squash Pizza

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Squash Puree Ingredients

  • one butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Balsamic Reduction

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Topping Ingredients

  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 1 16oz can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Squash Puree Directions

  1. Peel and break down squash. Remove the seeds and strings, and chop into small, equal pieces. If you purchased prepared squash you can skip this step.
  2. Boil squash in a large stock pot full of water for thirty minutes, or until fork tender.
  3. Drain, rinse with cold water, and place into an ice bath to halt the cooking process. Drain again, and put the squash into a food processor.
  4. Blend squash until it is a smooth puree. One large squash will make enough puree for about four pizzas. Add about a cup and a half to a sauce pot, and store the rest in the fridge or freezer to use in other dishes.
  5. Add maple syrup, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper to the squash puree in the sauce pot. Cook down for about ten to fifteen minutes.
  6. Add sauce to the top of the pizza crust once the crust has been pre-baked.

Balsamic Reduction Directions

  1. In a small sauce pot combine balsamic vinegar with maple syrup.
  2. Cook on medium heat for about fifteen minutes, or the liquid has reduced to half of its original quantity. Whisk frequently to prevent burning.
  3. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool while you assemble the rest of the pizza.

Topping Directions

  1. Drain and rinse chickpeas, and place them in a bowl.
  2. Toss chickpeas with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Top pizza with desired amount of chickpeas.
  4. Slice onion into thin slices, and top the pizza with them.
  5. Chop parsley, but wait to add it to the pizza until the end.
  6. Bake pizza for about 25 minutes. When the pizza looks to be about done top it with the parsley, and drizzle some of the balsamic reduction on top. Bake for an additional 2 minutes.

Slowcooker Chili

Soup season is upon us in Pittsburgh as the weather cools and the leaves change colors. While chili may not technically be a soup, it still makes for a hearty, warm bowl full of comfort on a cool day. It is also a great vehicle for seasonal veggies and it’s relatively healthy too. This is also a super easy recipe that doesn’t require a ton of work outside of prepping the veggies that will have your home smelling delicious.

This recipe makes several servings and freezes well, but can also be halved if less chili is desired. Leftover chili is also great served over macaroni and cheese (which you can find a great recipe for here).


Slowcooker Chili

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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8 hour cooktime is based on cooking on low setting, if you would like to cook faster, cook on high for 4-6 hours.

Ingredients

  • 1 large Japanese sweet potato
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 cups dry beans, soaked
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 5 medium jalapeõs
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups TVP
  • 2 Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon Cubes
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Wash vegetables, scrub and peel Japanese sweet potato and carrot. Dice potato, bell peppers, onions and jalapeños (remove ribs and seeds for a milder flavor).
  2. Use a grater to shred carrot and celery over crock pot.
  3. Press garlic into a paste and add to crockpot.
  4. Add canned tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes to crock pot, as well as soaked beans (for this recipe we chose to use a mix of 1 cup black beans and 1 cup of kidney beans, though you can mix it up if you’d like to).
  5. Add TVP, 2 Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon Cubes and 2 cups water as well as ground cumin, dried oregano, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
  6. cook in slow cooker on low for at least 8 hours. check on your chili every hour or two and if it starts to look too dry feel free to add some additional water to the pot.
  7. Serve in bowls with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, and green onions as a garnish.

Fall Harvest Pizza

Vegan, Gluten Free, and Paleo Friendly When Made With CorEats Pizza Dough

This week we’re featuring another local Pittsburgh company in our recipe! We made this beautiful fall harvest pizza with fresh organic produce, and CorEats Pizza Dough Mix. CorEats sells a line of wholesome, easy to make dry mixes that cater towards just about every dietary restriction. All of the products they sell have simple, whole ingredients, and no weird artificial junk that you need to read a scientific research paper just to figure out what it is. Not only does CorEats carry savory mixes, but they have a ton of dessert mixes as well. If you love fresh baked sweets, but don’t always have the time to bake they’re a great option.

Luckily I don’t have any form of gluten intolerance or allergy, and I rarely eat gluten free. To be completely honest, as a lover of bread, gluten free can often times be a little lack luster for me. I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and consistency of the CorEats Pizza Dough. It had a light, doughy texture for a gluten free crust. Normally I expect gluten free breads to be pretty dense and chewy. The dough mix also contained Himalayan Pink Sea Salt which added a nice balance to the over all flavor.

We really wanted to stay in line with the mission of CorEats, and create a recipe that showcased wholesome food that everyone can enjoy. Using fresh organic vegetables, and a lot of warm, fall spices, we created an incredibly flavorful fall harvest pizza. This pizza is vegan, gluten free, and paleo. At our local farmers market, and food co-op, we found some lovely beets, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. We prepared each ingredient with care in its own special blend of spices, and served them on top of a roasted red pepper sauce, topped with delicious pesto. If you live in a different region, feel free to sub in your own local seasonal autumn veggies.


Fall Harvest Pizza

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 package CoreEats pizza dough mix
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 beets
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 cup shredded Brussels sprouts
  • 1 tbsp spicy mustard
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic

Directions

  1. Wash and dry all of the produce.
  2. Cut peppers, tomato, and onion into large chunks. Add them into a large stock pot with four cloves of pealed garlic, two tablespoons olive oil, dried basil, dried rosemary, dried oregano, dried thyme, and red pepper flakes. Cook down for about a half hour.
  3. While the red pepper sauce is simmering prepare the toppings and crust.
  4. Peel the beets, and mandolin them into thin slices. Place them in a bowl and coat them with about a teaspoon of olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. I like to think of these as little beet pepperoni that satisfy the craving for something crispy, and salty.
  5. Break down cauliflower into florets. Place them in a bowl and coat them with curry powder, turmeric, and paprika. This warm blend of spice adds to the fall feeling of the dish.
  6. Cut down Brussels sprouts into thin slices. Add them to a mixing bowl, and then add both types of mustard and apple cider vinegar. Make sure they are well coated.
  7. In a food processor or high powered blender prepare a pesto sauce to top the pizza with. Combine fresh basil, two tablespoons olive oil, and two cloves of garlic. Blend on high until it reaches a pesto consistency. Set aside in a bowl, or a squeeze bottle.
  8. Prepare the CorEats pizza crust as directed on the packaging. Pre-bake crust for about 15 minutes at 375.
  9. Once the sauce has had about a half hour to simmer remove the pot from heat. Give it a few minutes to cool, and then transfer to the food processor. Process until sauce is smooth. In lieu of a food processor you can use an immersion blender directly in the stock pot.
  10. Prepare the pizza by applying the sauce to the pre-baked crust. Top with beet slices, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
  11. Bake pizza for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and top with pesto sauce. Return pizza to the oven for a minute or two to warm pesto if desired. Enjoy.

Butternut Squash Curry

It’s been a truly dreary, rainy week here in Pittsburgh, and I’ve found myself craving hearty, filling food. I made this recipe combining two of the most craveable fall favorites; curry, and squash. Although this curry is far from a one pot meal, it is relatively easy to make. All you need is some curry paste, coconut milk, fresh produce, and an empty stomach. It is unbelievably filling. I don’t know how I ate as much as I did, or whether I should feel impressed with myself or ashamed. That being said, this curry makes a lot of servings that you can set aside and freeze for the next time you’re craving it on a rainy day.

While you can make your own curry paste we used a store bought one for this recipe. Just be sure to check the label. Some curry pastes contain fish sauce, so it’s worth a quick once over. You can top your curry with anything you want, but I happened across these adorable little beech mushrooms at the food co-op and knew that I had to use them. They honestly ended up being one of my favorite parts of the curry. Trust me, that’s saying a lot, because I loved every part of the curry. The beech mushrooms just ended up being little salty flavor bombs, almost akin to bacon. It cut through the sweet, spicy, and fatty flavors of the curry giving it an additional dimension that was just perfect. I highly recommend using the beech mushrooms, or any kind of small mushrooms that you can find to marinate as directed in the recipe.

We served our curry bowls with noodles as a base, but it’s also good with rice. Though I’m sure it’s far from traditional you could try it with other grains like farro, or quinoa if you wanted. Even serving it alone without any grains should be fine. It’s super dense and starchy with both the squash and the Japanese sweet potato.


Butternut Squash Curry

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegan red curry paste
  • 1 cup butternut squash puree
  • 17 oz coconut milk (two standard sized cans)
  • 1 Japanese sweet potato
  • 8 oz KaMe Ramen Noodles (you can sub any vegan noodles, or rice)
  • 2 jalapeños, cut into rings
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon grass, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp green onion/scallion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 3 limes
  • 4oz beech mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 6 tbsp sesame oil

Directions

  1. Clean and prepare all produce items. Peel and cube sweet potatoes, cut jalapeños into rings, grate ginger, mince garlic, finely chop lemon grass and scallions, and cut tofu into pieces. We cut them into large triangles for aesthetic, but you can cut them however you’d like. If you have a whole butternut squash you’ll need to peel it, cut it down, de-seed it, and boil it for about 30 minutes before adding it to a food processor to puree it. It sounds like a lot of work, but you get a lot of additional squash to freeze and use for other recipes. If you don’t want to do all of that you can purchase squash puree.
  2. In a large stock pot add a few tablespoons of sesame oil. Once the oil is hot add garlic, lemongrass, ginger, scallions, and some of the jalapeño rings. Set aside a few rings for garnish.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of the curry paste to the pot to toast it, and then add in the butternut squash puree. Stir the two until they are well integrated.
  4. Add the juice of one lime, followed by the coconut milk.
  5. Put the sweet potato cubes in the pot, so they have plenty of time to cook until they are fork tender. Bring curry to a simmer for at least an hour. Stir often.
  6. In a small mixing bowl add beech mushrooms, the juice of one lime, maple syrup, tamari, liquid smoke, and a pinch of white pepper. Stir to combine. Cook down in a separate pan with some sesame oil. Make sure they are cooked thoroughly, and then set aside. Beech mushrooms can be very bitter if they are not cooked completely.
  7. In a separate pan fry up tofu in sesame oil until it is a nice golden brown on both sides. Set aside.
  8. Bring water to a boil in a separate pot, and cook noodles, or rice, according to package instructions. If you are cooking noodles be sure to run them under cold water after they become al dente, so that they don’t over cook. In this recipe we use the noodles or rice as a bed for the curry. The curry should be hot enough after more than an hour of simmering to heat them back up.
  9. While you’re waiting for your curry to finish simmering cut down the limes into wedges for garnish, and to squeeze directly on top of the curry bowl.
  10. After about 90 minutes of simmering check your potatoes to see if they are fork tender. They should be very soft at this point. If they are done remove the curry from heat, and serve.
  11. To serve add noodles or rice to a bowl, top with curry followed by tofu, beech mushrooms, jalapeños, and some green onion. Add a squirt of lime juice to the bowl for added flavor.

Veggie Packed Mac & Nocheez

The vegan scene in Pittsburgh has been growing at an impressive rate. It’s great to have so many options, and I love to support local businesses that help promote a lifestyle of kindness and empathy as well as health. I was ecstatic when I was contacted to do a feature on Notcho Nocheez. This is a product that I first encountered when I attended VegFeast, which is a local vegan thanksgiving event hosted by Justice for Animals. While it doesn’t look like VegFeast is going to be happening this year due to Covid-19 I’d highly recommend going in the future if you live in the ‘Burgh. It’s a great way to meet like minded people, and share some excellent vegan Thanksgiving food prepared by local businesses. Each table at VegFeast had a jar of Notcho Nocheez to try, and we loved it! Nick is allergic to pretty much every nut besides almonds, so we were thrilled to find a nut based “cheese” product that we could both eat. Notcho Nocheez self-describes as an “almond spread” on it’s label, but it’s so much more than that.

It comes in three different flavors; Tangy, Hot, and Classic. We’ve had every flavor, and really enjoy them all. If I had to pick a favorite I’d probably say it’s the Classic. The Classic flavor is good on its own, but its milder taste allows it a lot of versatility when adding it to recipes. Notcho Nocheez is great as a dip, and a spread. Use it straight out of the jar on your nachos, totchos (tater tot nachos), vegan chili cheese dogs, and so much more. I like to get creative, and make new recipes using the Nocheez as a base. I don’t use a lot of prepackaged products in my cooking, I like to cook from scratch generally, but this is one of the few that I make an exception for. It makes a great substitute for cheese that combines easily with sauces, and tastes better than the oil based vegan cheeses on the market that can be difficult to melt down. If you’re local you can pick up some Notcho Nocheez at one of the many retailers listed on their website, and if you’re not so local you can have it shipped to you.

This recipe is a hearty, starchy baked mac and cheese based off of a recipe my Grandma Doris would always make at the holidays. I made this recipe for Thanksgiving a few years back, and everyone loved it. Even my uncles, who I’m not so sure understand what a vegan diet is, came back for seconds without questioning what it was made from. When devout meat consumers don’t even question where the dairy products are I consider that a success. I’ve packed this recipe full of fresh fall seasonal veggies, and of course, Notcho Nocheez.


Veggie Packed Mac & Nocheez

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe makes a lot of servings, and is great for sharing or freezing extra portions. If you’re short on storage space and would like to scale it down just halve all of the ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a butternut squash (approximately 2 cups cubed)
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 medium russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup Notcho Nocheez Classic
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 16 oz elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary

Directions

  1. Clean and peel squash, carrots, and russet potatoes. Save half of your squash to use in other recipes. Chop everything into cubes of about the same size.
  2. Boil squash, carrots, and potatoes in a large pot full of water for 30 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. Cool the ingredients, and add them to a food processor. Add in Notcho Nocheez, peeled garlic cloves, onion powder, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red chili flakes. Blend until it is the consistency of a smooth sauce.
  4. Cook your elbow macaroni a few minutes shy of the package directions. We cooked ours for about 7 minutes, until it was just shy of al dente. If you cook the noodles to al dente in this stage they’ll get a bit overdone in the oven.
  5. Once cooking is complete drain the pasta, and run it under cold water to halt the cooking process.
  6. In a large bowl add the sauce, and the elbow macaroni. Stir to thoroughly coat the macaroni. If you don’t want to make a baked macaroni you can put it on the stove top and warm it up. This sauce is just as good for a creamy stove top mac as it is for a baked mac.
  7. If you are following the recipe directly, and baking your mac, add the noodles into a large glass baking dish. A 4-5 quart baking dish should hold all of the pasta.
  8. In a separate bowl combine panko, nutritional yeast, parsley, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Mix dry ingredients together so they are well integrated.
  9. Top the macaroni with the breadcrumb and herb blend.
  10. Preheat oven to 375, and bake uncovered for 30 minutes. The top should come out crispy.