Vegan “Scallops” And Risotto

I’ve written before about how much I loved shellfish before I went vegan, and how that was one of the only food groups I found difficult to give up. Previously, I’ve shared a recipe for vegan “scallops” with white wine cream sauce. The recipe featured “scallops” made from king oyster mushrooms with a decadent pasta bathed in white wine cream sauce. I really enjoy using oyster mushrooms in this application. When marinated well they provided a close approximation to both the taste and the texture of scallops. I created this new recipe with fine dining in mind. Nothing says fine dining quite like scallops. To keep the upscale feel I prepared it with a creamy herb risotto, pomegranate gastrique, and a garnish of fresh micro-greens.

I feel like there’s a misconception that “fancy” food is difficult to make, but it’s really minimalist and quite simple. Consider this one for your next date night in, or dinner party. This recipe doesn’t take too long to put together, and will impress even your carnivorous friends. The most time consuming part of it is stirring the risotto while the broth cooks out. Don’t skip out on making a gastrique for this dish. If you’ve never made a gastrique it may seem tricky, but it only takes a few minutes to throw together. The gastrique adds a light touch of citrus and pomegranate that adds some freshness to the scallops.


Vegan Scallops and Risotto

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: intermediate
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Scallop Ingredients

  • 5-6 large king trumpet or king oyster mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth, or water mixed with vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup vegan white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive or caper juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • additional white wine to deglaze the pan
  • 2 tbsp earth balance or other vegan butter

Risotto Ingredients

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup blend of chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage
  • 1/2 a yellow onion
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cube not chick’n bouillon
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegan white wine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp follow your heart grated vegan parmesan
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Gastrique and Garnish Ingredients

  • 1 cup of fresh micro-greens
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • seeds from one pomegranate
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • juice from 2 oranges
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegan white wine
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Cut down king oyster mushrooms into large scallop sized chunks excluding the caps. Score the “scallops” if you’d like (this helps add flavor), and set them aside.
  2. Dice the caps, and set them aside. You can cook these down and add them to the risotto for a nice textural element.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the marinade ingredients. Add the Oyster mushrooms to the marinade, and place into the fridge for at least an hour.
  4. Dice the onion, and mince the shallots and garlic for the risotto. In a large pan, or sauce pan, simmer the shallots, onion, and garlic in the olive oil. Add the diced mushroom cap, so that it can cook down.
  5. Add the arborio rice to the pan, and let it toast for about two minutes.
  6. Add the 1/2 cup of white wine, and let it cook down while stirring periodically.
  7. Add a cube of not chick’n bouillon to four cups of water. Microwave on high, and whisk to dissolve.
  8. Add the broth to the risotto one cup at a time. Allow it to cook down in between adding each cup.
  9. The risotto should be almost completely done cooking when you add the final cup of broth. When you add the final cup allow it to cook down half way, and then add in your fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, and vegan parmesan. If you can’t find vegan parmesan sub two additional tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
  10. While your risotto is cooking start the gastrique. Aim to start it about halfway through the cook time on the risotto to allow everything to finish around the same time.
  11. To make the gastrique cook minced shallot in butter in a small sauce pot until it becomes translucent.
  12. Add pomegranate seeds, orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, wine, and vinegar. Whisk periodically.
  13. Allow gastrique to cook down to about half the volume it originally was. Remove from heat, and strain. The sauce should thicken up as it cools, but if it still seems thin you can cheat a bit by putting it back on the stove, and adding a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a teaspoon of water to get it to thicken up.
  14. Once the gastrique and the risotto are fully cooked you’ll want to make the scallops. They only take about five minutes to cook, so just cover the other dishes to allow them to stay warm. In a separate pan heat some butter. I saved some herbs, shallot, and garlic to season the scallops with, and if you’d like to do this too add them in now.
  15. Once the pan is hot enough, you should hear it sizzle when you put the scallops down, add all of your scallops to the pan on one of the flat sides. You can add drip some of the marinade on top of them as they cook for added flavor.
  16. Keep a close eye on the scallops as they cook. Once they have a nice sear on the bottom immediately flip them. Once a nice sear is starting to develop on the final side deglaze the pan with a bit of white wine, and lemon juice. Top them with some sea salt and pepper, and then remove from heat.
  17. Plate your scallops, risotto, and gastrique up nicely with a side salad of undressed micro-greens. For our dishes we brushed on the gastrique, loaded the risotto into a small bowl to shape it, and placed it on the plate. We arranged the scallops neatly around the risotto, and garnished with citrus slices and micro-greens. Enjoy.

General Tso’s Cauliflower

I love to cook for myself, but some days there’s no better feeling than getting takeout when I’m feeling lazy. One of my favorite takeout places in the area is Thai Gourmet. If you live in Pittsburgh, go there, they’re great. They’ll make pretty much everything on their menu vegan if you ask, and everything I’ve had there is delicious. I know General Tso’s is not Thai, but they serve General Tso Tofu. I get it often, because it’s delicious and nostalgic for me. I really wanted to recreate something close to that to make at home, but also incorporate more veggies, so I made General Tso’s Cauliflower. My own recipe for the dish wasn’t quite as good as Thai Gourmet’s (they’re hard to beat), but it was still pretty great.

We made this with white rice, and vegetable gyoza from Trader Joe’s. The veggie gyoza are a great TJ’s find from the frozen section. I’ve been buying these regularly since I first went vegan three years ago. Dumplings have always been a favorite food of mine. You can’t go wrong with well seasoned food wrapped in dough. No matter what culture the dumpling originates from I’m into it, but a good Gyoza dipped in a mix of tamari and spices is the pinnacle of dumplingage. These Gyoza do not disappoint. They’re filled with fresh tasting veggies, and incredibly easy to prepare.

The rice we used is just steamed Jasmine rice, but feel free to use brown rice or other grains. If you’re looking to incorporate even more veggies into this dish you can steam some broccoli to serve as a side. This General Tso’s Cauliflower is a healthier solution to tackling your takeout cravings this week. When they come back a few days later you can get some takeout from Thai Gourmet, or your own local favorite if you’re not from Pittsburgh.


General Tso's Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • one head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oat milk
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup of white rice, or grain of your choice (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup tamari
  • 1/2 cup dried chilis, crushed
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp water

Directions

  1. Clean and dry the cauliflower head. Break it down into bite sized florets.
  2. Set up two bowls for dredging your cauliflower. In the first bowl mix together equal parts flour and oat milk. In the second bowl add plain panko bread crumbs.
  3. Dredge each floret in the flour mixture, coat it completely in panko, and then place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once all of the florets are dredged you can spray them with a little bit of canola oil if you’d like to help them crisp up in the oven.
  4. Bake the breaded florets in the oven for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
  5. While the cauliflower is baking put together your sauce. Toast up the crushed chili peppers, ginger, garlic, and some of the green onions in a pan with some sesame oil. You can add more or less chili flakes than directed to adjust the dish to your spice preferences.
  6. Once the mixture of garlic, ginger, green onion, and chili flakes becomes aromatic and slightly toasted add in the tamari, vinegar, and maple syrup. Whisk periodically.
  7. In a small bowl combine water and cornstarch. Mix in to a slurry. Once your sauce comes to a light simmer, add in the cornstarch slurry while whisking vigorously.
  8. Your sauce should thicken up withing ten to twenty minutes. Dip a spoon into it to check. If the sauce coats the spoon, instead of just dripping off, your sauce has probably reached the consistency you’re looking for.
  9. Prepare rice according to package directions, and any other sides as desired.
  10. Once the florets are done baking remove them from the oven, and place the in a large mixing bowl. Slowly drizzle the sauce over them while stirring with a spatula to evenly coat them.
  11. Serve with desired sides, and top with green onions as garnish.

Eggy Tofu Scramble

High protein and eggy vegan tofu scramble! This hearty vegan breakfast (or lunch or dinner) is very satisfying, filling, and super easy to put together. It will also really satisfy any cravings for scrambled eggs that you might have, without any actual eggs involved. It’s also just as versatile as a non-vegan scrambled egg dish, since once you get the flavor down, you can mix in pretty much any veggies that you desire, as well as vegan cheese shreds if you like. Just like scrambled eggs, this scramble goes great alongside some fresh toasted bread or a bagel.

This scramble makes use of black salt (also called Kala Namak) which imparts an incredibly eggy flavor and is predominantly used in South Asian foods, so if you can’t find black salt at your local supermarket, you may need to try looking at an Asian grocery, or ordering some online. It is worth noting now, that a little bit of black salt goes a long way. I think that 1/4 tsp is plenty to use in this recipe and recommend using no more than that at least the first time that you make this, though you may want to experiment with using a little more as you make more scrambles.


Eggy Tofu Scramble

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Scramble Ingredients

  • 14 oz. Firm/Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 1 Bell Pepper, Diced
  • Tbsp. Vegan Butter
  • Sliced Green Onions (For Garnishing)

Seasoning Blend Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
  • 3/4 tsp. Turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp. Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 3/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Black Salt
  • 1/3 cup Non-Dairy Milk
  • Directions

    1. Dice onion and bell pepper into half inch dice. Drain tofu, but do not press. Place tofu in a bowl and mash with a fork, leave some larger chunks. Should have similar texture to scrambled eggs.
    2. Add nutritional yeast, turmeric, paprika, dijon mustard, garlic powder, black salt and onion powder to a bowl. Then add non-dairy milk(we used oat milk, though you can use whatever you prefer) and whisk until smooth.
    3. Preheat frying pan over medium flame, once warm add vegan butter and coat pan, then add pepper and onion sauté until onion starts to turn translucent, 2-3 minutes. Then add tofu and fry until lightly browned. Be cautious that you do not to break up tofu too much when moving it around the pan.
    4. Add the sauce and fold it in. Fry it until you’ve achieved desired consistency, the tofu will absorb the sauce so you can have it as wet or as dry as you like.
    5. Top with some black pepper, chopped chives, vegan cheese shreds and hot sauce, salsa or ketchup if desired. Serve alongside toast or a bagel.

    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.

    Three Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

    All of my life I’ve been a major sweet tooth. I love all dessert, especially chocolate. As we move through June and the temperature rises I find myself searching for lighter no-bake desserts. We recently created this simple three ingredient mousse to fulfill my chocolate cravings without heating up the kitchen.

    This mousse is light and airy, but still feels indulgent with the richness of the chocolate. With only three ingredients it’s quick and easy to make, and easy to add your own flair to. Add your favorite nut butter, or sub fruit for chocolate. A strawberry mousse with fresh in season strawberries sounds incredibly refreshing, doesn’t it?


    Three Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

    • Servings: 3
    • Difficulty: easy
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    For this recipe you’ll need a blender, and three ramekins. If you don’t have ramekins you can use some small wide mouthed glass jars, or use some juice glasses as mousse glasses.

    Ingredients

    • 1 block (12 oz) soft silken tofu
    • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips, or baking chocolate
    • 2 tbsp maple syrup, or other preferred natural sweetener

    Directions

    1. Add silken tofu and maple syrup into a blender, and blend until well integrated.
    2. Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring well in between cooking, so it does not burn.
    3. Once the chocolate has fully melted add it directly to the blender while it is still warm. Blend until fully integrated.
    4. Pour the blended mousse into three ramekans, juice glasses, or small jars.
    5. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
    6. Add your favorite fruit and non-dairy whipped cream before serving, if you desire.