Instead of baking them myself, these zesty nacho kale chips from Trader Joe's are awesome! And even better, they are vegan, have no preservatives and are raw. Yeah, TJ's dehydrated the chips.
Say hello to one of my new favorite vegan dishes, Farro Tabouli! And the cool thing is that this takes about 10-minutes to cook because it's an assembly dish.
First, I bought about 1/4 lb. regular pre-made tabouli salad at a local Mediterranean deli. You can find pre-made tabouli in almost any grocery store usually in their deli section.
Trader Joe's has these new 10-minute whole grain bags in Farro, Bulgar, and Barley. The Farro is so easy and fast to cook, and health-wise it is a whole grain packed with protein. Farro has a nutty flavor and if you have never tried it before, please do! If anything, it's something new to try.
Cook the farro and then combine it with the tabouli salad and voila. Enjoy!
Happy New Year! I'm still in holiday mode and don't have the motivation to cook anything from scratch, but did want to start off the new year eating healthy things. For dinner, I made these vegan Thai peanut noodles which took 10 minutes to make because everything came from a packet or a bottle.
For the noodles, I used Trader Joe's organic gluten-free, brown rice spaghetti noodles. These noodles are the best gluten-free pasta I've tried. In fact, my folks thought they were eating regular wheat spaghetti noodles. These spaghetti noodles cook in 9 minutes. I made about 2 cooked cups worth.
For the peanut sauce, I used Whole Foods 365 brand organic peanut sauce. This sauce is vegan but not gluten-free. If you can find a bottled peanut sauce that is gluten-free, then you can make this whole dish gluten-free friendly.
Voila! Ready to eat in 10 minutes. If you want to make this dish from scratch, here is a recipe I did back in April.
When I took this pizza out of the oven my parents thought the pie was made with real chicken and dairy cheese. Nope, it's vegan! I'm kinda proud of myself for finding a way to make the cheese look like real melted mozzarella. I shall share my secret in a moment.
One of my beefs (no meat pun intended) with most vegan pizza I've tried or seen is that the cheese doesn't look melted or tastes like you would imagine vegan cheese to taste. I've been doing experiments with different vegan cheeses, and this experiment proved successful.
This is only the second time I've ever made pizza at home. The first time was a disaster because the baking pan I used burned the outside of the crust and left the inside a bit gooey. This time I bought a pizza stone, and what a difference. I bought my stone at Cost Plus World Market for $12.99, and what a great investment.
My crust turned out fat because I didn't roll out the dough thin enough, but that's okay. We can be creative and call it fat crust versus thick crust like we did it on purpose. I like my pizza topping heavy, so as you can see I loaded up on the stuff. The crust is a darker brown because it's made with whole wheat.
This entire pizza is made with pre-made ingredients I purchased from two stores: Whole Foods and Trader Joe's.
From Whole Foods:
From Trader Joe's:
Daiya also has a Jack Wedge which is another nice looking cheese that is white like mozzarella, but it doesn't have as much flavor as the Havarti. If you like mild, try the Jack. Although the Havarti has Jalapeno, the heat is really mild to almost non-existent, at least to me.
If you don't have a Whole Foods nearby, Trader Joe's also has pre-made pizza dough and vegan chick'n strips. I really like the Beyond Meat Chicken because it shreds like real chicken. With the barbecue sauce, the Beyond Meat Chicken comes very close to the taste and texture of real chicken. Remember my Beyond Meat chicken salads?
I used the coconut flour instead of wheat flour to help roll out the dough and to make shreds with the Daiya Havarti wedge because loose wheat flour can burn. Cornmeal is also recommended.
Here's the secret to making my melty looking vegan cheese. I combined two different vegan cheeses, the Trader Joe's vegan mozzarella and the Daiya Havarti wedge which I turned into shreds. Daiya does make mozzarella shreds, but I do not care for the taste and I don't like how it melts. The Trader Joe's vegan mozzarella by itself doesn't melt that great in my opinion and is not that tasty.
The Daiya Wedges have the best melt I have seen of any vegan cheese on the market to date. My vegan grilled cheese sandwich and cheesey vegan Cheddar Mac & Cheese are classics that I still cannot believe are dairy-free!
When you mix the Daiya and Trader Joe's cheese together some magic happens!
The trick to making Diaya Havarti shreds
I tried making shreds with the Daiya Havarti wedge straight on a handheld cheese shredder and it was a disaster because the havarti is too soft and clumps so you end up with a sticky ball. What works better is to cut about a 1/4 of the whole wedge, coat it with some coconut flour or cornmeal, and put the wedge into the freezer for about 90 minutes so the cheese hardens but is not rock solid.
The semi-frozen havarti will now make some nice shreds that won't stick together. As you shred, periodically stop and sprinkle some of the coconut flour on the shreds and mix them around so the shreds coat with the flour. This will help prevent the shreds from clumping together. In a bowl, blend the Trader Joe's vegan cheese and Daiya Havarti together.
An important point about the cheese
Save the shredding of the Daiya Havarti until the very end. Rolled out your pizza dough to your desired pizza size, and top your pizza with the BBQ sauce, Beyond Meat Chicken, mushrooms, red onion, and basil. Blend the TJ cheese and Daiya Havarti together and top at the very end because the Havarti will warm up fast and start clumping together. The key is to keep the Daiya as frozen as long as possible.
I baked my pizza on the stone for 15 minutes at 450 degrees rotating the pizza about 90 degrees every five minutes. Another good tip is to pre-heat the stone for about 10 minutes before you put your pizza on top of it.
Now that I have discovered a cool way to make melty looking vegan cheese on pizza, I cannot wait to try other flavor combinations. Are there any tricks you've used to make melty and better tasting vegan cheese for pizza?
I experimented and combined hummus with salsa and bam! I found myself a new favorite dip. Besides, a palate win, this hummus salsa requires zero cooking! I just used pre-made hummus and bottled salsa, and mixed the two together.
I've never seen a hummus salsa before because it almost seems odd to combine the two dips together. I think the key to my palate success was the flavors I combined.
For the hummus, I used Tribe brand Sweet Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. Whole Foods has a similar hummus. For the salsa, I used Trader Joe's brand bottled Spicy, Smoky, Peach salsa. I love that peach salsa because of the sweet and mild heat combo. The flavors of the Sweet Roasted Pepper with Spicy, Smoky Peach combined together is just awesome. I love using this dip as a sandwich spread as well.
To make my hummus salsa, I used 1 part hummus to 2 parts salsa. As an example, that would be something like 1 tbsp hummus with 2 tbsp salsa. To make the hummus salsa a little thinner, I'll add more salsa.
The chips in my photo are Late July Organic and Sweet Potato Multi-grain chips which are also, gluten-free, vegan, peanut/tree nut-free, soy-free, and GMO-free. I like that there are Chia seeds in these chips.
Have you ever had a hummus salsa? What flavors did you try?
Happy Halloween! Make today a 20% eating day and enjoy the candies you want. Today should be about ghoulish treats not diet tricks. Tomorrow is a new day where you can get back to your kale and quinoa.
For Halloween treats, we're enjoying these gluten-free and dairy-free Dark Chocolate Nutty Bites from Trader Joe's packed with almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and pistachios with a hint of Fleur de Sel. The dark chocolate is 60% cacao, very yum!
What treats are you enjoying today?