Completely Board Post #14: Mini Sausage-Cheese Scones

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014

I had a hard time deciding how to name this post because I set out to make one thing and ended up with something completely different.  Here’s the story…

I was inspired by this pin that was on Panda With Cookie‘s old blog.

Pin of Vegan Sausage Balls

It led me over to the I-40 kitchen for a recipe for Sausage Balls. I remember going to oh-so-many church events growing up that had the non-vegan version of these on the table.  Ten year old me thought she could live on these.  Thankfully, no one let me try.

So, I set out to re-create this treat from my childhood.  I didn’t get them.  But, I ended up with something that I think I liked even better.

First of all I had to overcome the bisquick problem.  There is a gluten-free bisquick, but there’s something in it I can’t eat (I think it’s a soy product, but I don’t remember).  So, I searched the web for a gluten free substitute.  I found this one.  Just a heads up that it actually makes a little more than 3 cups.  (For the potato starch/corn starch, I actually used a combo of those two)

Then there were the sausage and Worcestershire ingredients.  I don’t know of any vegan versions of these items that are both gluten and soy free.  So I set off to find alternatives.

For the sausage, I used the beefy variety of Beyond Meat Crumbles.  As I browned it, I mixed in 1/2 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp ground fennel, and a pinch of cayenne to give it a more sausage-y taste.

For the Worcestershire, I once again relied on my handy Google skills and found this site of substitutions which said to use “2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice,1/4 teaspoon sugar and a dash of hot sauce for every tablespoon Worcestershire the recipe calls for.”  I used my usual substitute for soy sauce — Coconut Aminos.

So, I had all my ingredients, and I began to mix up my sausage balls.  It was SOOO dry.  John at the I-40 kitchen warned they’d be a little crumbly but would come together soon. I mixed for a couple minutes and still just a dry crumbly mess. Where did I go “wrong”?  Well, it could be that I browned the crumbles first which could have made them a little drier.  It could have been that gluten free flours are just often a little drier than all purpose flour.

Whatever happened, I knew the only way to come out with anything was to add liquid.  Out came the trusty almond milk.  I ended up using 3/4 cup before I got anything that would stick together.

What I didn’t think of is Bisquick+milk=biscuits.  I proceeded to brush a little olive oil on top to help with browning (it didn’t help that much) and pop those bad boys in the oven.  I did not end up with the greasy little sausage balls of my childhood.  What I did end up with was something remarkable: tiny little round scones.  Yes, the were sausagey and cheesy and biscuity.  Scones, I tell you, savory scones.  Next time, I may change them into a flatter shape so they look like a scone instead of being a poser sausage ball, but I won’t change anything else.  They were delicious!
Sometimes accidental food is the best food.  Ok, not usually.  But this time, it was completely true.  Below is the final recipe so that you don’t have to go through the notes above if you want to try them.

Gluten-Free Vegan Sausage – Cheese Mini Scones

Makes 35

Gluten Free Vegan Sausage Mini Scones

In a big bowl, combine:

2 c Daiya cheddar shreds
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 – 11 oz package Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles, browned with 1/2 tsp sage, 1/2 tsp ground fennel, and a pinch of cayenne (or cayenne to taste if you want more kick)
3 c gluten free bisquick substitute (despite the note on the recipe – it makes more than 3 cups)
1 t sage
1 t vegan Worcestershire (my sub = 1 tsp of this mixture — 2 teaspoons coconut aminos, 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice,1/4 teaspoon sugar and a dash of hot sauce)
1 t onion powder
a few drops liquid smoke
black pepper to taste
3/4 cup unsweetened original almond milk

Line baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F.  Mix all ingredients except the almond milk and 1 Tbsp olive oil until well combined.  Add almond milk and mix to make a nice dough. Roll into balls (I haven’t tested flattening them into little biscuits yet, but I think that would work too to make them look more like scones) .Brush tops with remaining olive oil.  Bake 25-30 minutes.  They won’t brown much, but there’s a tiny bit of browning on the bottom and the biscuit dough will be thoroughly cooked.

Completely Board Post #7: Cheesecake-Filled Strawberries, the “nailed it” edition – or Strawberries and Daiya Cream Cheese Creme

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014


You know those photos floating around the web labeled “nailed it.”?  In case you don’t, it’s usually a photo of an absolutely beautiful dish and then someone’s *completely* flubbed attempt at that gorgeousness.  That’s what this was for me.

The original wasn’t a vegan dish, so I won’t post it here, but you can see the photo and recipe here if you want.

Herein lies part of the problem:  The pin boasted a cheesecake-filled strawberry.  The filling was fluffy and creamy while having enough body to stand up in the strawberry.  Perfect party finger food.  But, when I clicked through to the pin, it was an almond/heavy cream filling.  I wanted cheesecake filling.  So I set out to do it on my own.

I made a concoction of Daiya cream cheese, lemon juice, powdered sugar, and a little almond milk.  It was too thin.  I added more powdered sugar.  It was now bordering on super-sweet.  It was still too thin.  I put it in the freezer for a little while.  It was still too thin.  I added some arrowroot.  I added more powdered sugar.  It was still a little thin.  And super sweet.

At this point I was thinking, if only I had more cream cheese that wasn’t already earmarked for the jello pretzel salad.  I let it sit a little while and decided it was thick enough to put through the pastry bag and into the strawberries.  As you can see, it wasn’t.  Well, I mean, it went in.  It just didn’t stay there.  It was an ooey gooey mess.

Strawberries and Daiya Cream Cheese Cream


So, I just put the creme all over the strawberries and surrounding it on the plate.  It was messy.  It wasn’t particularly pretty.  But at least it tasted good.  I think it tasted better to the super-sweet-eaters at my house. I could have just called them strawberries and Daiya Cream Cheese Creme and they’d have been fine.  But compared with the fluffy yet substantial filling I was shooting for, I “nailed it.”

I realized there wasn’t much I could do about them (besides help to eat them), so I put them aside and went to the refrigerator to get out the peppers for the stuffed peppers that were next on my list.  I found the other half of the carton of Daiya I hadn’t actually used despite the fact I wrote down that I had.  ::sigh::

Completely Board Post #5: Jello Pretzel Salad

Veg-am's Completely Board - Vegan Month of Food 2014


You know how are there some foods that you think probably should disgust you, but for some reason you just can’t make yourself not want them?  They’re usually born out of the 60s and 70s, the decades of all things processed being thrown into a casserole dish together.

For me this Jello Pretzel Salad falls into that category.  I feel like I shouldn’t have wanted it.  I tried not to want it.  I couldn’t stop wanting it.  I wanted it so badly that even though the pin I pinned initially went to just a photo, I hunted down the recipe that went with the photo.  I found it over at The Girl Who Eats Everything (consider this your non-vegan site warning).  She posted the recipe noting a source of Lisa Poulsen.  There was no link to her site if she has one.

As in Septembers past, I like to have a little something sweet for my veggieversary (7 years today!).  I was initially planning on making a cake for today and saving this post for later in the week, but plans change and I just didn’t get to the cake yet.  It will be coming later in the month.   But for now, let me introduce you to a vegan, gluten-free, soy-free “jello” pretzel salad.

Vegan "jello" pretzel salad

We’ve had some nasty weather this week, and it’s already not the most photogenic of dishes so the picture isn’t as pretty as I wish it were. But, let me tell you, the photo does not do the tastiness of this dish justice.  My lovely testers had seconds the first night and there have been third (and possibly fourth helpings since then).  It’s kinda labor intensive and pricey, but it’s a great treat that will show up again.  Our household of three gives it six very enthusiastic thumbs up.  We decided it would be perfect to take to a pot luck or cookout.

The real difference between the original and this one is that I didn’t have anything to use for Cool Whip (although I hear that So Delicious is coming out with one soon).  So, I made a homemade vanilla pudding/filling that I’ve made before and mixed that with the cream cheese and sugar.  Instead of a fluffy center, this one had a cream cheesy-custardy center.  Honestly, I think I liked that better than I would have the other anyway.

So here ya go…

Vegan “Jello” Pretzel Salad


  • 1  – 8 oz bag of gluten free pretzels (i used the little round ones from Ener-g. It’s the only one I know that’s soy-free), chopped/crushed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy free earth balance
  • 1 pkg Simply Delish strawberry dessert jel  (I found it at this great little local store that carries a lot of gluten free & vegan items.  I’ve seen similar items at my local Asian market)
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, washed, capped, and sliced
  • 1 carton Daiya plain cream cheese
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 recipe Vanilla Filling (recipe follows)


  1. Combine pretzels, brown sugar, and melted Earth Balance and press into a greased 9 X 13 pan. You can use more EB if the crust isn’t sticking together and make the pretzels more crushed than I did. Bake @ 350 for 10 minutes.  (those instructions about not sticking together came from the original recipe, but even though mine didn’t look like it would stay together, it did…i like the slightly bigger pieces of pretzel for crunch – you can see the size i used in the photo)
  2. Make vanilla filling (recipe follows). Let cool for a minute or two but not so long that it starts to set more.
  3. Beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in vanilla filling. Spread mixture over cooled crust make sure you spread completely to the edges to create a seal so your jello doesn’t leak through. Cover the filling layer with a piece of parchment paper so it doesn’t form a pudding skin. Refrigerate.  (it will need to set about 30-40 minutes before you add the strawberry layer)
  4. Make dessert according to directions and stir in the strawberries. Refrigerate until partially set (mine took about 30 minutes) *If it is not set enough it will leak through your cream cheese layer and make your pretzels soggy.
  5. Pour/spread strawberry layer over the vanilla layer.  Refrigerate until completely set.


Vanilla Pudding/Filling

3 cups almond milk, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan, combine 1 cup of almond milk and cornstarch with a fork until cornstarch is dissolved.

Whisk in the remaining milk, the sugar and salt.

Whisking occasionally, bring mixture to a boil over medium heat.

As soon as the mixture boils, reduce heat to low and begin whisking continuously until it filling has thickened. This should take about 7 minutes.

Stir in vanilla.


You Can Thank My Mom for This Post: Veggie Calzones

Years ago before my going vegan/gluten-free, my mom and I used to go to this little pizza place for lunch regularly. But we rarely got pizza. We almost always got the calzones. The crust is crispy, but still soft. It was saucy and cheesy and full of all kinds of yumminess. But the day I had to go gluten free, those lunch trips stopped. I haven’t had a calzone since. Until today.

My mom, sister and I regularly have Friday night dinner together. During MoFo, it’s been assumed that I was cooking Friday night. So, yesterday when I was talking to mom, she said “How about calzones? Those are stuffed.” Well, to be honest, calzones were on my brainstorming list, but somehow got dropped from the schedule (I use that term very loosely).  There wasn’t really a reason for it.  I like them.  It would be something new and different for me to make, but I just hadn’t thought about it much.

Mom was pretty emphatic about it though.  I acquiesced.  It went something like this…

Mom: “What would you put in it?”
Me “Onions, tomatoes, peppers for me and B…”
Mom: “And, mushrooms?”
Me: “Really?  Of course, I’ll put mushrooms!”  (hehehe…my plan is working)

That nailed it.  Mom wanted to try mushrooms another way.  Third time in a week after being a mushroom hater previously.  I’m so proud of her spirit of trying things in the name of MoFo!

“Ok, mom, I’ve never made them before.  But, I make pizza sometimes, so I’ll try them.”

I don’t remember the last time I was so glad that I cooked something just because someone else wanted it.  Gone are the days of missing our pizza shop lunches.

Veggoe Calzone Cut Open

Veggie Calzones

Makes 3

  • 1 recipe of calzone dough (below)
  • 3/4 recipe of veggie calzone filling (below)
  • 4½ – 6 oz Mozzarella Style Daiya Shreds
  • Olive oil for brushing
  • 3 pinches of garlic salt

Preheat oven to 500F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 3 equal balls.  Using garfava flour, lightly flour your hands and the outside of each ball of dough so that it’s easier to work with.  On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll out 1 ball of dough into a circle about 1/8″ thick (approx 8-9 inches in diameter).  After you’ve rolled your circle, take it off of the parchment paper and turn it over (This is just to ensure that it’s not too sticky to come off the paper.  Wouldn’t want to lose dough after you filled it, right?)

Put filling on 1/2 of the dough, leaving some room around the edges for closing it up.

Filling the Calzone

Put 1½-2 oz of Daiya on top of vegetable filling.  Fold dough over and pinch the edges closed.  Get as tight a seal as possible.

Pick up the folded calzone and put it on the parchment-lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the other two calzones.

Brush the top of each calzone with a thin layer of olive oil and sprinkle on a pinch of garlic salt (or more, to taste).

Calzones ready to go in the oven

Bake for 9-11 minutes on a middle rack (or slightly below middle, but not all the way at the bottom) until golden brown.

Veggie Calzone


Veggie Calzone Filling:

  • 1 large red onion, sliced in thin half moons and separated into strips
  • 8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 8 oz grape tomatoes
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut in strips
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 oz fresh spinach, chopped
  • Double batch of Vegetarian Times’ Quick Pizza Sauce

Preheat oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

Place all vegetables except spinach on baking sheet.  Drizzle the olive oil over vegetables.  Toss to coat evenly.  Roast for 30 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, make the sauce.  (When the sauce is ready, it’s a good time to start making the dough so it can rise)

After roasting for 30 minutes, take the vegetables out of the oven.  (Depending on the time you have left for your dough, you can either turn your oven off and then back on to preheat for the final calzone baking or you can turn it up to preheat to 500F)

Mix the roasted vegetables and chopped spinach into the sauce until well combined.

Calzone Dough:

This is a very slight variation of my pizza dough (and would work great for pizza) that I adapted from this recipe.

1 cup garfava flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour
3 tbsp almond meal (see note 5 below)
1 Tbsp gluten-free yeast
4½ tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water (around 110F)
1½ tsp canola oil
1½ tsp apple cider vinegar

Add all dry ingredients together in a kitchen stand mixer with a dough hook or food processor with S blade and combine well.  Add in liquids and mix until a stiff dough forms.  Using your hands, gather all the dough together.  (At this point, it will probably be a blob)  The dough is a bit sticky so put a very small amount of garfava flour on the outside as you form it into a ball.  Flatten it into a thick disc (about 2 inches).   Let the dough sit on a small piece of parchment or waxed paper 20-30 minutes to let the yeast work a little magic.  You won’t see as dramatic a rising as you might expect from a gluten dough, but it makes a big difference in the texture of the crust.


1. I find rolling pizza/calzone dough a little easier with one of those little handheld pastry rollers, but a regular rolling pin should work just fine.

2. The dough recipe only makes 3, but there’s enough filling for 4. This was my first time making them so I didn’t know exactly what I needed. But that filling takes exactly 2 recipes of sauce. I’m thinking the leftover would be really good thinned down with pasta water and served over pasta. Or you might want to make just 3/4 of the veggies that I made, and mix it with 3/4 of the sauce. Then thin out the remaining sauce a little for dipping.

3.  Yep, that’s a full size dinner plate.  I couldn’t eat it all at one sitting.

4.  Mine opened up just a little bit at the seam while baking.  I could have probably prevented it with a bit less filling, but I thought it was perfectly filled.  So make your own call on whether you want more filling or none of the filling peeking out.

5. I’ve always used the store bought almond meal from Trader Joe’s in my pizza crust and it works fine.  But, it leaves little brown specs. I made my own from blanched slivered almonds tonight and the crust is prettier.  It’s just an aesthetic thing, but if it matters to you, buy the meal from blanched almonds or make your own.

6.  This is a very thick dough.  I always use my food processor.  Don’t use a hand mixer.



Reality Check: Microwave Spinach Quesadilla

Before you get the crazy idea that I spend hours in the kitchen every day and don’t ever make anything super quick and easy (and that would be crazy talk), I’ve decide to post a little bit of every day reality. The microwave spinach quesadilla is a good ol’ standby in my kitchen.

Microwave Spinach Quesadilla | Veg-am


Microwave Spinach Quesadilla

  • 1 Brown Rice Tortilla
  • Fresh Spinach, chopped (or just torn by hand works too)
  • Mozzarella Style Daiya (or whatever non-dairy cheese you like)
  • Hot Sauce, optional

Notice there are no quantities.  The point is to make it the fast and just the way you like it , so just use what feels right.

Lay out the tortilla on a plate.  To prevent the spinach from drying out, put a little water in it, and then squeeze out the excess.  (I usually just take a handful of spinach and run water from the tap over it.  If you don’t use your tap water, you can put it in a bowl of water for a  a short bit and then squeeze out the excess).  Put spinach on half the tortilla.  Top with non-dairy cheese.  I use 2-3 oz, but again, use what you want.

Leaving the tortilla open, microwave until cheese is melted but not crispy.  For me this is 1:00 to 1:30, but it varies with microwave.

Add in a couple dashes of hot sauce if desired.  Texas Pete is my hot sauce of choice.

Microwave Spinach Quesadilla | Veg-am

Fold empty half of tortilla over cheese.  Cut into 4 wedges and you’re good to go.

Reality check #2:  I don’t usually bother with cutting in wedges.  That was just for you.  I usually just take it whole and tear it into pieces as I eat.



A taste of NYC: Chickpea Salad “Tuna” Melt

I went on vacation to NYC a few weeks ago.  It was my first time going, but I have the sneaking suspicion it won’t be my last.  One thing I have to do before I go to an unfamiliar area is research food options.  It’s usually hard to go into a new place and just randomly find meals that are vegan and gluten/soy-free. I try to make sure there’s a grocery store nearby.  It’s even better when there’s a Whole Foods Market nearby because they always have good options on their hot bar and salad bar.  I was in Manhattan for 4 days and never once had to eat from a grocery store!

With the help of the New Yorkers on the PPK, my trusty Google skills, and some research by my friend Matt with whom I got to visit while I was there, I was able to find some great options: pizza by the slice at Viva Herbal (picture below), a vegan, raw mallomar at One Lucky Duck, pasta at La Pasta in Eataly, cherry sorbet also in Eataly, sushi at The Green Roll,  banana almond crepe at Bar Suzette, and a roasted yellow plum pop at People’s Pops.

Then there was the place I went to the most while I was in the city: Terri NYC. I would recommend it to anyone, but if you’re vegan and gluten and/or soy-free, it is a God-send.  I ate there 3 times.  I had a roasted vegetable sandwich on gluten free bread and a delicious cupcake that I could actually eat that didn’t crumble to bits. But the one thing that really got me, was the chickpea salad “tuna” melt wrap.  Look at this bad boy:

Chickpea Salad "Tuna" Melt - Terri NYC

It doesn’t have a tuna flavor like the name would imply.  But I didn’t miss that a bit.  What it did have was 2 brown rice tortillas fully-stuffed with warm chickpea salad, fresh tomatoes, smooth soy-free Vegenaise, and ooey-gooey Daiya cheddar.

What amazed me the most though was the fact that the tortilla didn’t crack. I like the flavor of brown rice tortillas, but they always crack on me.

Three weeks later and I was seriously missing that sandwich.  To be completely honest, I was missing that sandwich the day after I got home.  It was part of the reason I decided on the Stuff, Wrap and Roll theme.  I just had to recreate it at home.

Yesterday, it was time.  I decided to make a smaller version, because that is a seriously big sandwich.  On days where I’m not walking all day, it would be too much. I thought I could get the flavors pretty close (though I used less Vegenaise). But, the big question was, can I make it without that tortilla cracking?!  The answer ended up being a big, fat YES.

What’s the problem with the tortilla that makes it crack?  It’s cold and dry.  The trick must be to give it moisture and heat.  I did that by infusing a little steam, and voila – great wrap material. So here it is, my version of the chickpea salad “tuna” melt.

Chickpea Salad "Tuna" Melt | Veg-am

Chickpea Salad “Tuna” Melt Wrap

  • 1 recipe of chickpea salad (recipe below)
  • 2 Thin slices of fresh tomato, thinly sliced and cut in half moons
  • Daiya Cheddar Wedge (about 3 slices across the wedge, more than 1/8″ but less than 1/4″ thick)
  • Soy Free Vegenaise – about 1/2 Tbsp
  • 1 Food for Life Brown Rice Tortilla
  • Olive Oil for brushing pan

Prepare the chickpea salad, tomato and cheddar pieces and set aside.  They need to be ready when the tortilla comes off the pan so that you don’t lose the flexibility from heating it up.

Preheat a cast iron griddle or skillet over medium heat. Brush the tortilla with water on one side.  Place the tortilla, water side down, on the griddle pan, until the tortilla is warm and  flexible (about 15-30 seconds).

Remove the tortilla from the heat.  Put the chickpea salad in the middle third, leaving enough room on the bottom to fold up the tortilla a little bit.  Top the chickpea salad with the tomato and Daiya.  Fold up the bottom of the tortilla and wrap one side over.  Place the Vegenaise near the edge of the other side of the tortilla and fold over.  The Vegenaise acts as the “glue” that holds it all together.

Brush a very thin layer of olive oil on the pan. Put the wrap, seam side down on the pan.  Cook until golden brown, flip the sandwich and cook the other side until golden brown, about 3 minutes on each side.  Three minutes gives it a little crisp on the edges, so if you don’t want that,  cook it a little less, but give the Daiya long enough to get melty.

Sit back and enjoy a brown rice wrap that doesn’t fall apart!  Meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying memories of a fun vacation :)

Chickpea Salad (enough for one wrap like above)

  • 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 Tbsp fresh red onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp soy-free Vegenaise
  • 1/2 tsp dry parsley
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork.  Some pieces and even whole chickpeas are ok.  Mix in the remaining ingredients.

Here’s a bonus inside view of the wrap: Chickpea Salad "Tuna" Melt | Veg-am


Just in case you’re interested, here is a small sampling of vacation photos:

Inside Chelsea Market, home of the Food Network and the location of The Green Roll, Bar Suzette, People’s Pops and One Lucky Duck.IMG_4312

The pizza from Viva Herbal on 2nd Ave.  This was vegan, gluten free and soy free.  It was ready by the slice, no special ordering.  ::shock::  You could even pick these slices up and fold it like you’re supposed to be able to do with New York Pizza! Note that I couldn’t wait to taste it until after I took a photo.20130819_192941

A view from the High Line.IMG_4283

As the older Latina lady walking by said, “Hola, Libertad”IMG_4231

Steps leading up to Lincoln CenterIMG_4071

Obligatory taxi shot.


Musicians in Central ParkIMG_4093

My favorite light display on the ball.IMG_4132


Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Rockefeller CenterIMG_4053

Just a glimpse of the lovely wrought iron in “my neighborhood”



Labor Day: Monster “Cheddar”-Stuffed BBQ Black Bean Burgers

Happy Labor Day!  For a lot of us that means a day off from work and the official end of summer.  It also means a day where we’ve traditionally had burgers. So in keeping with my theme, I made these cheddar stuffed burgers.  For an extra flavor punch, I bbq’d them up (thanks to my sister, Brenda, for the idea!). These are a softer texture burger since I didn’t use any gluten or soy in them.  My mom, who isn’t veg, isn’t used to the texture of a non-meat burger, but she said it was really good.

Served here with homemade slaw and sweet tater tots, and some garden-fresh tomato, these burgers are a great way to send summer on its way.  Now, if the temperatures would just follow suit.

Monster "Cheddar"-Stuffed Black Bean Burger |  Veg-am

Monster “Cheddar”-stuffed BBQ Black Bean Burgers
(makes 4)

Please note: These are really big burgers so if you want bun-size burgers, you might want to make 5 instead. But I don’t particularly like softer burgers on a bun so I went for the big size.

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for frying the burgers
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 carrots, grated
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups black beans, cooked (equivalent of one can drained)
1-1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup BBQ sauce (bottled or homemade, just use your favorite)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup parsley leaves, lightly packed
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 oz cheddar style wedge Daiya, cut in small rectangles (about 1×1.5″, 1/8″ thick, you’ll break them more anyway)

In a large skillet, on medium-high heat,  saute the onion & carrots in the 2 tsp EVOO until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute, stirring often so the garlic doesn’t stick and burn.  Place all other ingredients, except Daiya, in a food processor with the onion mixture.  Process until well blended, but not smooth.  You should still see bean pieces and some rice grains.

BBQ Black Bean Burger Mix

At this point, you could go ahead and start forming the burgers, but if you have the time, the mixture is a little easier to work with after letting it sit, covered, in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Divide the burger mixture in 8 equal sized balls.  Working on waxed paper, make 4 thin patties (remember they’ll only be about 1/2 the thickness of the finished burger) from 4 of the balls of burger mixture.   Top each with 1/4 of the Daiya pieces, being careful not to get too close to the edge.

Monster Cheddar-Stuffed BBQ Black Bean Burgers - putting the Daiya in the middle | Veg-am

Using one of the remaining balls of burger mixture, make a patty the same size as the bottom patties.  Lay the patty over the Daiya on a burger on the wax paper to cover the cheddar.  Seal the edges by pushing them together.  At this point it will probably look more like a little mound than a burger patty, so push the burger from the top to make it look like a thick patty.  This helps set the cheddar into the burger and will help it to cook more evenly.  Do this to all four burgers.  (If you end up with a little cheddar peeking out of the top, just pinch a bit of burger mixture from the side of the patties and fill in the spot, then reshape the side a little.  It’s not a science, just make sure they’re relatively flat on top and bottom and that the cheese is enclosed.)

Preheat a large skillet brushed with olive oil to medium heat. Place two burgers (or all 4 if you have room) into the skillet, cook 6 minutes on one side until nicely browned.  Brush a thin coat of olive oil on the top and then gently flip the burger to cook 6 minutes on the second side.  Repeat with remaining burgers. Serve.

I would normally serve these without cutting it in half to put it on the plate, but for this post, I wanted you to see the ooey gooey goodness.  YUM.

Monster "Cheddar"-Stuffed BBQ Black Bean Burger | Vegam



Girls’ Night In (Pizza and a Movie)

Entertaining Thought #2:

If you’re having an informal event like girls’ (or guys’) night in, movie night, a slumber party, game night, etc, a make-your-own bar fits the bill.  It’s laid back, fun and less prep work for you.  You can set up a bar for baked potatoes, sundaes, tacos, salads, sandwiches and more. Make up some cute little labels for the ingredients and let your guests have a good time creating.


Last week I was hosting a girls’ night in at my house with one of my favorite movies,

and a few of my favorite girls.  We had a make your own pizza night.

And here they are putting on the toppings…

Makes 4 “rustic” pizza crusts

1-1/3 cup garfava flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup almond meal
2 Tbsp gluten-free yeast
2 Tbsp xanthan gum
1-1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1-1/3 cup warm water
2 tsp. canola oil
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar

    Add all dry ingredients together in a kitchen mixer or food processor and combine well. Stir in liquids while beating on medium speed. A stiff dough should form. Divide the dough into four equal pieces.  Let the dough sit 20-30 minutes to let the yeast work a little magic. You might not see much change in the size, but the finished product makes this worth the wait. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and roll out 4 rustic shaped crusts as shown in the picture.  It would of course work for round pizzas too, but with the rustic shape, we could fit two on the pan at a time.
    Move oven rack to bottom position.  Preheat oven to 500

    Let each guest put on the toppings s/he desires and then bake the pizzas on bottom rack for 10-12 minutes until crust is golden brown. 

    Toppings we had to create from:

    • Pizza Sauce
    • Olive Oil (helpful if you provide a brush)
    • Black Olives
    • Onions
    • Banana Peppers
    • Portobello “Sausage” (Slice thin and then cut in bite size pieces, cook in frying pan with a bit of oil – adding water as necessary to keep from sticking, until mushroom has soaked up all the water and gotten a little chewy – about 7 minutes – then add a little more water with sage, fennel, salt, garlic powder, crushed red pepper to taste.  Let portobello soak up all the water and seasonings and then remove from heat.)
    • Fresh Oregano
    • Fresh Basil
    • Fresh Chives
    • Navy Beans
    • Daiya Mozzarella
    • Eggplant (sliced thin)
    • Sweet Potatoes (cubed and steamed)
    • Pine Nuts
    • Roasted Red Peppers
    • Green Bell Peppers
    • Sliced Tomatoes
    • Pine Nut Cheese (recipe follows)

    Topping labels…

    There’s a pdf below that you can print out to set up your own pizza bar.  If you just want blanks so you can write in the toppings, just print out page 4 (go to scribd and download in order to print)

    For some reason, “the other Dawn” didn’t look so sure about these going in… I think it might have been her reaction to the Daiya before it was cooked. She liked it ok after cooking though. Btw, a good tip for people not used to Daiya: use about half of what you would use if it were dairy mozz. Too much will mess with the texture.

     I bet it’s pretty obvious which one is mine.  Yes, I pile on the toppings!

    Here are a couple straight out of the oven.  Look how beautifully that crust browned!


    Pine Nut Cheese (adapted from a recipe from Dr. Ben Kim)

    1 cup pines nuts, soaked for 1 hour then drained
    1/4 cup olive oil
    juice of 1 lemon
    1 small garlic clove
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    water to desired thickness (I use about 1/2 cup – it does thicken in the fridge)

    Put all ingredients in the food processor and process for 7-8 minutes until creamy.  Refrigerate for at least an hour so all the flavors can meld together.  Drop by spoonfuls onto pizza.

    Pizza Topping Labels


    1 food 5 ways, Sweet Potatoes, Way #4: Sweet Potato – Black Bean Nachos

    These are arguably the best nachos that I’ve had since going vegan. Granted, I don’t make them much, and I don’t usually branch away from the ordinary, but I really liked these. The ingredients were inspired by all the colors I think of for Halloween: orange, black, purple and green. By the time it all cooked up, it was close to the same color except for the guac, but it was Halloweenish going in.
    Sweet Potato-Black Bean Nachos
    Serves 2
    6 blue corn tortillas
    1 Tbsp Canola Oil
    Salt, optional (I actually used yummy smoked salt)
    Preheat oven to 400. Brush both sides of the tortillas with a little bit of oil. Sprinkle on salt if desired. Bake on a pan until crispy, about 8 minutes. I use my big pizza pan so they all fit on one pan.
    Sweet Potato-Black Bean Topping
    2 tsp Canola Oil
    1/2 cup red onion
    2 cups shredded sweet potato
    1-1/2 cups black beans
    1-1/4 cups water, plus extra to desired doneness
    Your favorite Taco Seasoning, to taste
    Preheat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium to medium high heat. Add onions and cook about 5 minutes until beginning to turn translucent and brown a bit. Add the sweet potato, 1-1/4 cup water and taco seasoning. After sweet potato is well coated, add the black beans. Cook until the water has mostly cooked out, but nothing is sticking yet. Check the doneness of the sweet potato. If it’s not done enough for you, add 1/4 cup water and cook until it’s almost done again. I ended up doing this twice (adding a total of 1/2 cup of water) for sweet potato that wasn’t mushy, but wasn’t crunchy anymore either. Total cooking time was about 20 minutes.
    Other Ingredients:
    Daiya (or your favorite cheese or cheese sauce)
    Assemble by putting chips on the plate, topping with some of the sweet potato-black bean topping, then daiya, then more sweet potato-black bean topping then a dollop of guac. Really, assemble it how you want, but that’s how I did it.
    1. For the taco seasoning, I used 2 Tbsp of this one and to me it was on the hot side. If I were serving it to others in my family, I would probably just use 1 tbsp)
    2. I thought the Daiya would melt when I put some of the hot filling on top. It didn’t. I liked it fine unmelted, but if you want the cheese melted, you’ll need to put your nachos in a pan and heat in the oven or put it on a microwave-safe plate and melt it that way.
    3. If you don’t want to make your own chips, use store bought. Blue is great for Halloween, but yellow or white would taste the same.
    4. Here’s my guacamole, but make it however you like.
    Well, there’s one recipe left! Yes, I know you think there are supposed to be two because I still have way #5 for both navy beans and sweet potatoes. But, the plan is to celebrate the last day of the Vegan Month of Food by getting a little crazy and combining them! Let’s see how it works…

    Portobello Margherita and Pasta

    I love Italian food. It’s been a while since I’ve made any. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve cooked much of anything. My entire body knows it. It’s been screaming, “more vegetables. stat!” Today it finally got it’s wish. After a yummy lunch of spaghetti squash, scallions and spinach in Fatfree Vegan’s peanut sauce, I decided to try a couple recipes I found on the Weight Watchers site for dinner: The Grilled Portobello Margherita and the Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce. They are both big winners and will be made again — a lot.

    The only substitution I made in the sauce was grape tomatoes instead of campari. I even got to use fresh basil from my herb garden. (The basil and the mint are the only ones that are flourishing, so you might see more of them.) I know. I can hear you now, “But you hate basil. You say it every chance you get.” I don’t know what’s happened. Maybe it’s really another ingredient that’s commonly used with basil that I don’t like, or maybe I was just so proud to be using something I’d planted myself that my hatred melted away. I’ve never thought of using a “sauce” that hadn’t been cooked, but since it was already room temp when I put it on the hot brown rice pasta, it warmed up quite nicely.

    I made two subs for the Portabello Margherita: Mozza style Daiya for the cheese and real olive oil brushed on the mushrooms instead of using spray (beware of soy in the sprays!). I also cooked it in a cast iron skillet with a glass lid over it instead of on a grill or grill pan. Since I’d already made the sauce, I just put a little of that on top of the mushroom instead of slicing another tomato.

    Of course as with any Italian dinner, I made a big tossed salad.
    These may be “diet” recipes, but even if you’re not trying to watch your weight, you’ll want to dive right in. The worst part of the meal is that I’m not used to eating cheese and I burned by tongue on the Daiya. The best part of the meal is that I get to have it all for lunch again tomorrow! Hopefully, I’ll be more careful :)
    If you happen to be following the WW plan, the entire meal (1 serving of the portabello w/my subs, 2 servings of the sauce on 1 cup of brown rice pasta, and a large tossed salad) was only 7 points. The spaghetti squash (1 medium – abt 2 cups), scallions (abt 1 cup), spinach (about 1 cup) and peanut sauce (1/4 cup) was only 6.5.

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