Eggplant parmesan sliders

August 7, 2011 | 7 Comments »


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I’m sorry for all of the eggplant posts. Are y’all sick of them yet? Dierbergs is selling lots of homegrown produce and when I walked by all of the eggplant I couldn’t resists getting a few. I used to just slice it up very thin, bread and then fry it. But I really wanted to learn some new ways to enjoy eggplant. So I’ve spent this past week experimenting. It’s been a lot of fun. Eggplant might just be my favorite veggie now.

My latest experiment is my own veggie burger. The Farmhouse Veggie Burger was amazing. But it was pretty soft. All of the veggie burger recipes I’ve followed in the past were always pretty tasty, but I was always left with a very soft burger. I’ve always wanted something a little firmer. So I took my Eggplant Meatball recipe and tweaked it a bit.

I decided to make siders because they’re fun and cute. Instead of topping them off with mustard and greens I decided to go full on Italian and turn them into eggplant parmesan sliders topped with marinara and mozzarella.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant, peeled, diced (about 3 cups)
  • 2 tbsp onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp vegan parmesan (or you can use nutritional yeast)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash black pepper
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer for 2 eggs

Directions

  1. Combine the panko, parmesan, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until fine and well combined. Dump into a medium-large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet saute the onion for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Place in food processor and allow to cool while you cook the eggplant.
  3. Using the same pan saute the eggplant for about 15 minutes or until soft and gray in color. Allow to cool.
  4. Dump the eggplant into food processor with the onion and garlic and process until smooth and sort of pasty. Add to breadcrumb mixture.
  5. Add the quinoa and egg replacer and mix well. Form into mini burgers. This mixtures makes about 10 small, but thick burgers.

You can cook these burgers as is on a non-stick skillet lightly sprayed with cooking spray on low-medium heat for 5 minutes on each side. Or you can do what I did and bread them. To do this set up 3 small bowls. 1 for flour (about 1/4 cup), 1 for coconut milk (or any non-dairy milk, about 1/2 cup) and 1 for panko breadcrumbs (about 1 cup). Dredge each patty in the flour mixture, then dip into the coconut milk and then dredge in panko breadcrumbs until nicely coated. Then lightly fry in a little olive oil on low-medium heat for 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 5 minutes at 400°. Take about 8-10 slider rolls (depending on how many patties you ended up with), slice them in half, top the bottom half with the eggplant patty, top with 1 tbsp of your favorite marinara sauce and top that off with a sprinkle of your favorite vegan mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is nice and melty and rolls are nice and toasty. That’s it!

These burgers really do taste just like eggplant parmesan. It’s way healthier if you skip the breading and frying, but truthfully I think it tasted better breaded. It was nice and crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. This is my new favorite veggie burger! Pop two of these sliders on your plate with a side salad and you’ve got yourself a meal.

In case you’re wondering about the nutrition information I happened to punch it into MyFitnessPal so that I could share it with you. This is for 10 sliders/5 servings.

Calories: 151 Carbs: 31 g Fat: 1 g Protein: 5 g Sugar: 3 g Sodium: 157 mg

This ISN’T including the rolls, marinara and mozzarella. Only because I have no idea what rolls, marinara and mozzarella you’ll be using. It’s also NOT including the breading.

Enjoy!

Sweet corn tamale cakes

August 6, 2011 | 8 Comments »


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Back in my vegetarian days Juan and I visited The Cheesecake Factory quite often. Even though the Sweet Corn Tamale Cakes was listed as an appetizer I would almost always order it as my meal. Seriously, I loved them! After I went vegan I tried making them on my own. I ran across this recipe and used it whenever I was craving these delicious cakes. It tastes VERY similar to the real thing. But after a while I started to worry about all of the calories. Even splitting the recipe in half I was still consuming 1/4 cup of butter. GROSS!

I reworked this recipe SO many times. I tried using applesauce at first, but the texture was way off. The cakes turned out rubbery. Then I tried using vegetable stock. That too yielded a rather rubbery cake. This time I decided to try the applesauce AGAIN, but added one tablespoon of butter, left out the flour and cut back on the cooking time. Perfection! The cakes aren’t as tender as they would be if you were using all butter. However, they’re still somewhat tender, FAR from rubbery and a little sweet.

Enough of the boring stuff. Onto the good stuff!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen corn, from about 2 ears if using fresh
  • 7 tbsp applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup masa harina (corn flour)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a small saucepan melt the 1 tbsp butter. Add the applesauce and stir until well combined. Remove from heat.
  2. Place corn in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the applesauce/butter mixture, sugar and salt. Process until well combined. The mixture should be fairly chunky.
  3. Dump corn mixture into a medium-large mixing bowl. Add masa harina and mix well.
  4. Separate the dough into 6 even pieces and shape into balls. The mixture will be wet, but still manageable. Place the shaped balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper lightly coated with cooking spray. Using the bottom of a glass flatten the balls into cakes. I wet the bottom of the glass before flattening each ball to prevent the dough from sticking.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip cakes and cook for another 3 minutes.

Pico De Gallo

  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 tbsp onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.

Guacamole

  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 1 tbsp onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp jalapeno, seeded, finely diced (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.

Salsa Verde

  • 4 tomatillos, quartered
  • 4 oz mild green chilies
  • 2 tbsp onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp jalapeno, seeded, finely diced (optional)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

To plate this I spread a few tablespoons of salsa verde on a plate, topped it off with 2 or 3 corn cakes then topped each cake off with 1 tablespoon of guacamole and 1 tablespoon of pico de gallo. You can also add some sour cream if you like. I chose to leave it out. I wanted to keep it as clean as possible.

Eggplant meatballs

August 3, 2011 | 28 Comments »


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I’ve been meaning to try making my own meatballs using eggplant ever since I heard about it on America’s Next Great Restaurant from Joey ‘Saucy Balls’. Have any of you seen that? I thought it was pretty interesting. Anyway, after making the eggplant burgers I figured it couldn’t be that hard to finally whip up some saucy balls of my own. So I got to it.

Before getting started I drained the eggplant for about an hour. To do this I placed the diced eggplant and 1 tsp salt in a strainer and placed the strainer in a large pot to catch the liquid that dripped through. Before sautéing I squeezed out even more liquid with my hands and tossed the eggplant into the pan. I’m not sure if this step is even necessary, but I didn’t want to end up with mushy meatballs. If you choose to do this, you might not want add the salt to the breadcrumb mixture.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized eggplant, peeled, diced
  • 2 tbsp onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp vegan parmesan (or you can use nutritional yeast)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Ener-G Egg Replacer for 1 egg

Directions

  1. Combine the panko, parmesan, oregano, parsley, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until fine and well combined. Dump into a medium-large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet saute the onion for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the eggplant and continue to cook for about 15 minutes or until eggplant is soft and gray in color. Allow to cool.
  3. Dump the eggplant mixture into food processor and process until smooth and sort of pasty. Add to breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Add the egg replacer and mix well. Form meatballs using a measured tablespoon and roll into balls.
  5. Place meatballs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper lightly sprayed with cooking spray. I sprayed the tops of the meatballs as well. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375° flipping half way through to ensure even browning.

This recipe makes about 17 meatballs and comfortably serves 4. I served these with my quick and easy sauce. Here’s the recipe for that.

Ingredients

  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • dash crushed red pepper

Just combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook until heated through. Pour over eggplant meatballs and serve with pasta or on a roll. Yum!

A few notes here. These are nothing like the other vegan meatballs I’ve tried. Some vegan meatballs tend to dry out when you bake them. I found no difference in taste or texture when I baked and pan fried them. They’re not mushy, but they’re not exactly firm either. It has a nice light chewy texture. They’re pretty moist too. They sort of reminded me of eggplant parmesan, but in meatball form. These are definitely my new go-to meatball. They’re even a hit with my super picky six year old.

I’m going to try using gluten free breadcrumbs next time for a gluten free version. I’ve been trying to eat more gluten free foods and have been experimenting with substitutions here and there. I bet you wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference.

Also, I found that these tasted way better and had a firmer texture the next day. After forming the meatballs I placed them on the baking sheet, covered them and refrigerated them over night. The next day I popped them in the oven and smothered them in sauce. Delish!

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