Easy Vegan Thai Minced Pork with Holy (& Sweet) Basil – Pad Ga Prao Muu – in Lettuce Cups

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I live very close to the area in LA called Thai Town (Hollywood Blvd – essentially – east of Western).  It is an incredible resource for Thai & other Asian ingredients – like canned jackfruit, every manner of noodle & rice & some exotic spices.  The other day, at my favorite Thai market, Bangluck, I spotted these guys here:

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Vegetarian pork, duck & generic meat – in cans – for just over a dollar each.  The photos are not so appetizing but I could not resist trying them.  For whatever reason – I got two cans of the pork & decided to try them out today in this Thai dish.  Apparently, authentic Pad Ga Prao Muu uses only the Thai Holy (or hot) basil but I dd not have enough of that so I added some sweet Thai basil.  Here is how they look (holy/hot basil on top & Thai/sweet basil below with the purple flowers:

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The holy basil has serrated edges & the sweet basil does not.  They really do smell & taste very different but, I think, only a true aficionado of Thai food would know or care about the difference.  I used both & I was very pleased with the result.

Even more exciting – the canned pork!  Seitan, really.  Here are the details:

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Drained, it did not smell or taste funky.  AT ALL.  And even kinda looks like pork.  Any seitan would work for this recipe – stuff from your health food store or Whole Foods or homemade.  I posted some recipes with a recipe for seitan HERE.  The advantage o this canned stuff is shelf-life and COST!  It is so cheap & easy!  If you don’t have Asian grocers near you, the canned stuff is available online HERE.  I will report on the other two cans of stuff when I think of what to do with them.

As to this dish – crazy easy & outrageously delicious.  I like my food genuinely spicy so – if you do not – be sure to adjust the hot elements to suit your taste.

The seitan pork, though?  Totally convincing!  I think you could serve this dish to a meat eater & they would not question it.  You might want to call it chicken, if you have a real skeptic on your hands, because pork tends to be chewier than chicken but – whatever you decide – this will look like meat & taste like meat.  This recipe is killer!  And once your ingredients are prepped – it takes about 10 minutes.  EASY!

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Easy Vegan Thai Minced Pork with Holy (& Sweet) Basil – Pad Ga Prao Muu – in Lettuce Cups

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

20 oz (or so) seitan (or enough for 2 portions)

2 TBS coconut or olive oil

2 packed cups fresh Holy/hot and/or Thai/sweet basil

1-10 cloves garlic – chopped

2 shallots (or one small onion) – diced

4 red scallions (OPTIONAL!  I only used these because I had them) – sliced (bottoms only)

1 red bell pepper – seeded & sliced

1 cup carrots – matchsticks or sliced

1-10 red/green Thai chilies – split (I used 10 & this was very spicy)

1 serrano chili – diced (very optional)

2-3 TBS vegetarian oyster or mushroom sauce

3 TBS liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp dark soy sauce (optional)

1 tsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) OR 2 tsp brown sugar

Lettuce leaves for cups (I used romaine but butter lettuce is nice, too)

GARNISH – lime wedges, cooked rice

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DIRECTIONS

Prep everything because this comes together fast.  Whisk the liquid ingredients (oyster sauce, soy sauces) together.

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Add the shallots, chilies, scallions (if using), red bell, and carrots.  Saute until the peppers & carrots soften (maybe 5 minutes).

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Add the seitan & heat through.  Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add the liquids & combine.  Stir in the basil & once it wilts – you are ready to serve.

Serve in lettuce cups or with rice & garnish with lime wedges.

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Fennel, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale & White Bean Gratin (Vegan or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I get Farm Fresh To You deliveries every other week.  You are allowed to customize the deliveries but, sometimes, I forget and the result is that I end up with an infinity of leafy greens.  This week: two kinds of lettuce, Swiss chard & kale.  And fennel.  And more.  But thatsalotta greens!  Plus, I already had fennel from the last delivery & about 5 pounds of spinach.  So – I decided to make something that would use as many of the greens as possible – this dish.  The greens you use can vary but you need a lot of whatever you select because they reduce dramatically.

I used real Parmesan in this (because I had it) but vegan Parm – or even another vegan cheese (like mozzarella or cheddar) would work.  I used almond milk but I think a thicker milk might have been better.

NOTE – Also – you might want to add some cheese to the veggie mix.  I didn’t because I was trying to keep this dish on the light side.

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Fennel, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale & White Bean Gratin (Vegan or Not)

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

5 TBS vegan butter

2 small bulbs fennel – chopped

1 onion (I used 1 brown & 1/2 red onion) – diced

4 or more garlic cloves (I used 4 cloves & 2 stalks of green garlic) – chopped

1 bunch Swiss chard – ribs removed & chopped

1 bunch kale – ribs removed & chopped

2-4 cups spinach

2 TBS fresh thyme

3 TBS flour

1 cup Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) – optional – for adding to the veggies – see NOTE above

1 1/2 cup vegan milk (I used almond milk but a thicker milk might be better – or half & half, if you are not vegan)

2 14 oz cans white beans – drained & rinsed

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used Panko)

1 cup Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) – or other cheese (mozzarella or cheddar) for topping

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt TWO of the five TBS of butter in a large stock pot.  Add the fennel and onion & saute until soft.  Add thyme & combine.  Add the garlic & stir for a minute.  Add the greens – in stages – adding more as each bit wilts.

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Add the flour & milk & bring to a boil.  Reduce to low & simmer as it thickens a bit.  Add the beans & season with S&P.  If you are adding cheese to the veggies – do that now & stir to combine.

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Meanwhile – melt the remaining 3 TBS butter & toss with the breadcrumbs and 1 cup of cheese.

Treat a 9 x 13 casserole pan with cooking spray or oil & put the veggie mix in.  Top with the breadcrumb mix.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until breadcrumbs turn golden.

Let rest 10 minutes & serve.

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Bacon, Eggs (or Tofu) & Spinach Breakfast Pasta (Vegan or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Breakfast pasta is something I discovered in the 80’s at Hugo’s.   It is best made with homemade pasta or the fresh pasta you can buy at the supermarket (though that pasta is not typically vegan).   I had leftover dry pasta – so I used that but fresh pasta is really key to the magic of this dish – as is Parmesan & parsley.

The important revelation here is – I made this version VEGAN – using my most exciting new find – homemade VEGAN BACON made from rice paper!  Check it out!

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I made that this morning & it was easy, fast & delicious!  You simply must try it!

I also used tofu & vegan Parmesan in this dish.

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This dish could be made using Follow Your Heart’s vegan egg – but I think it takes bizarrely long to congeal & it kinda freaks me out but, if you like it, knock yourself out.

If you are vegetarian – you could use real eggs & real Parmesan.

I added turmeric to my tofu to give it that yellow color of real scrambled eggs – but I don’t think I will in the future.  I only used a bit but the flavor was very present in this dish & not perfectly suited to it.  Scrambled tofu is exactly like scrambled egg whites & that is good enough here – unless you are trying to fool someone into thinking they are eating real, whole eggs.

Breakfast pasta is like an omelet – in that – you can add anything you want to it.  So – if you like tomatoes, American cheese (or vegan cheese) & garlic in your omelet – add them to the pasta dish…and so on & so on.  Anything goes.  Any meat (vegan or otherwise), any veggies & any cheeses (vegan or otherwise) that you love.

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Bacon, Eggs (or Tofu) & Spinach Breakfast Pasta (Vegan or Not)

Serves as any as you care to feed

INGREDIENTS

Fresh pasta, cooked pasta or leftover pasta – cooked

Bacon (this  homemade vegan one or your favorite kind) – cooked

Parmesan cheese to taste

1/4 to 1/2 block tofu per person or as many eggs per person (2 eggs per would be plenty) as you like

1 tsp turmeric (very optional & really only here for color) – or just enough to get that light yellow color (curry powder would work, too)

Spinach (a big handful per person) – chopped

S&P to taste

Chopped parsley (not just a garnish but a delightful flavor so I go heavy-handed with it)

Sliced avocado – optional

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DIRECTIONS

Make the bacon, if you are using the recipe I posted.

Make the pasta & drain.

In a saute pan, add some cooking spray or a bit of olive oil & add the tofu (and turmeric, if you are using it).  Combine & then add the spinach & pasta & Parmesan.  I added a bit of water because my pasta was cold (leftovers) and needed some steaming.  Your pasta might not need that (if you just cooked it).  Season with cheese and S&P.   Crumble some bacon on it & combine.

Once it is heated through, serve on plates with more crumbled bacon, lots of parsley & some avocado slices – and maybe more cheese.

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Vegan Rice Paper Bacon

4 Comments

 

All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Photo credit: Veganer.nu

So!  The vegan world has been all abuzz recently about this new invention – rice paper bacon.  I admit to having held a deep skepticism about how it might taste but I researched photos & recipes.  THIS ONE seemed the easiest & looked very good – so I tried it.  And OH MY GOD!  Really easy, as fast as real bacon & damned convincing!   A revelation!

Vegan Rice Paper Bacon

INGREDIENTS

Rice paper sheets

2 TBS olive oil

3 TBS soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos)

6 TBS nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

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DIRECTIONS

Cut the rice paper into strips.

Mix the remaining ingredients.  Get a bowl of water.

Heat a frying pan.  I sprayed mine with cooking spray.  Soak the 2 strips in the water a few seconds until they soften.  Squeeze excess water off the first one & dredge it through your smokey paste.  Stick the other strip to one side of the dredged slice to make it a double thick slice (single thickness is too fragile in the pan).  Dredge the thicker slice again & fry it 2 minutes or so on each side or until it starts to get crispy but before it burns.  Drain on paper towels.   Repeat.

Taste.  Lose your shit.

Vegan Protein-Packed Red Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Arugula & Citrus-Balsamic Vinaigrette

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This salad is jam packed with protein (from the quinoa, black beans & chickpeas) and light & healthy & delicious.  The ingredients here are all optional – as is the case with all salads.   This recipe makes an enormous party-sized quantity so – either be prepared to feed a lot of people or to eat it every day for a while – or cut the recipe in half.  Do not dress the whole salad & do not add avocado until you are serving it.  That way – the salad will keep longer.  UPDATE 4-18-16:  Without the avocado & dressing on it – this salad stayed fresh in my fridge for a full week.

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Vegan Protein-Packed Red Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Arugula & Citrus-Balsamic Vinaigrette

Makes a boatload of salad – at least enough for 6 as an entree – more as a side

INGREDIENTS

for the salad

(these quantities are very flexible – so make your salad to taste)

3-4 cups cooked red (or other) quinoa (cooked according to directions & cooled)

1 English cucumber – diced

1 cup chopped cherry (or other) tomatoes (I used heirloom)

1 15-oz can black beans – drained & rinsed

1 15-oz can chickpeas – drained & rinsed

1/2 cup sliced black olives

1 red bell pepper – seeded & diced

3 scallions – sliced

1 cup corn (fresh cut from the cob is best but I used frozen)

1/2 red onion – diced

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Avocado (as much or as little as you like – I used 1/2 avocado per serving) – cubed & lime juice squeezed on it

Arugula (optional – as a bedding)

for the citrus-balsamic vinaigrette

5 TBS of juice from lemons & limes (use either one or a combo of both for a total of 5 TBS)

1-3 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS white (or other) balsamic vinaigrette

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 tsp cumin

S&P to taste

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DIRECTIONS

Cook & cool your quinoa.  You can even rinse it in cold water & drain it to cool it quickly.

Whisk the dressing together & season to taste.

Toss all the salad ingredients – EXCEPT the avocado & arugula – and stir to combine.

If using arugula – put some on plates.  Top with quinoa salad & drizzle with dressing.  Top with avocado.

Shove it in your face & feel strong & healthy!

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