vegan pizza

Pizza, mio amore! I have always loved you: feeling lucky to eat Hungry Howie’s in elementary school for Friday lunches, making pizza on a grill in the summer, eating Domino’s drunk and late at night in college, discovering pizza rosa on the streets of Rome. It never occurred to me to order or make pizza without cheese, but even before trying to be vegan was a twinkle in my eye, I often peeled the cheese off pizza, a habit that baffled and even disgusted most people who saw me do it. But I am here to say that cheese-less pizza is delicious! Without cheese, the sauces and toppings get to be in the spotlight (and your sauces and toppings will be so good that you don’t need cheese to enjoy pizza!). No cheese makes for a different pizza experience, but I think it’s exceptional. Below is my favorite pizza dough recipe, favorite sauce recipe, and favorite toppings. Enjoy! Continue reading vegan pizza

a vegan’s guide to eating in omaha

I came to Omaha last August for a year-long position at a nonprofit organization.  As my year wraps up, it seems like a nice time to write about the amazing food I’ve had here. I know most people who live elsewhere don’t think much of this city, smack dab in the middle of the country, surrounded by the Dakotas, Iowa, and the rest of Nebraska. Well, I have news for all of you! Omaha is awesome! I mean, as awesome as any small to midsize city. It has a lot of very serious problems that other cities also face: a mayor who loves the police a little too much, racial segregation, people who hate reproductive rights, people facing severe economic injustices, pollution, police brutality and militarization, and pipelines galore. But Omaha is not whatever empty wasteland people from the coasts (and even from snobbier parts of the Midwest!) imagine. It has a rich culinary community, and there are plenty of wonderful places to eat if you’re vegetarian or vegan. Here are some of my favorites: Continue reading a vegan’s guide to eating in omaha

portobello poblano tacos

I love mushrooms and am always looking for more things to do with them! Go to an amusement park, rollerblade in the park, grab a drink at that new, cool bar in town…Ha ha just kidding, I meant I’m always looking for new ways to eat them!

Anyway, I made these tacos, and they were delicious! They are also very easy to make, and don’t take super long. They are deeply savory, salty, a little spicy, and not too heavy while still being filling! I ate them with a corn and bean salad (just corn, beans, red onion, lime juice, and spices). I watched an episode of Chef’s Table while I ate and felt inadequate, which didn’t feel as nice as the taco I was inhaling. I do not recommend Chef’s Table as a media pairing with this meal, or any meal for that matter. It will just make you feel bad.

Anyway, happy summer! Pepper season (and the season of most delicious things) is nearly upon us, and all of us who work in offices all day have increased staring out the window time by 50% (only some of us are daydreaming of peppers though). Enjoy the tacos and the sunshine, fellow Northern Hemisphere folks! Continue reading portobello poblano tacos

miso chicken ramen

I had my first bowl of ramen in March 2016. I could not believe I had gone 21 years without ever having ramen that wasn’t Maruchan instant noodles! It was a shockingly different dish from the salty, thin broth-ed soup of my youth. As I had more experiences with ramen and became more interested in cooking, I was excited to find a recipe for ramen that I could make. LOL! If anyone else has looked into making ramen from scratch at home, they know it is a long and fussy process. Fortunately, there are versions of ramen in between traditional and instant. This is one!

Though I aspire to eat entirely vegan, I also prioritize wasting as little food as possible, which means that I sometimes eat meaty leftovers that no one else wants. In this case, I had some shredded chicken on hand from a friend who was going out of town and wouldn’t be able to eat it. I was craving something warm and comforting, and decided to try my hand at a ramen-y noodle soup. It turned out to be really delicious! The broth was rich, savory, and salty, and everything else was nice and simple. I think this could pretty easily be made with tofu or mushrooms if you want to make it vegan-friendly. Otherwise, everything else is vegan! It was really satisfying, and very easy to make. I’m excited to look around for more pseudo-ramen recipes. If you’re looking for a vegan, full-on ramen experience, though, here’s a recipe that I haven’t tried but that looks delicious from Serious Eats. Enjoy! Continue reading miso chicken ramen

vegan baozi with savory miso-mushroom filling

I think we can all agree that “savory, filled dough pocket” is the most delicious food category on this beautiful planet we call home. Empanadas, gyoza, ravioli, pierogies, samosas. They’re all so different, but they all take me to sweet, sweet ecstasy! I especially love bao, soft, puffy steamed buns with savory fillings. I’ve been intimidated by them for a while because they require a yeast dough, but they ended up being pretty easy! They just require some time and patience. They can be filled with anything your little heart desires. This filling was very delicious– savory, rich but not heavy, and salty with a bit of bite from the vinegar.

I synthesized two recipes from the Kitchn and Food52. Good luck and enjoy!!!! (Also, for active dry yeast users, the Food52 recipe uses that kind of yeast. Very easily adaptable.) Continue reading vegan baozi with savory miso-mushroom filling

cucumber toast / the best dressing in the world

Since I was very young, I’ve loved cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese. When I started eating fewer animal products, I stopped eating cream cheese, and the grocery stores near me don’t sell vegan cream cheese. RATS! No more delicious cucumber sandwiches for me, I thought.

But then I realized cream cheese isn’t the only delicious thing in the world.  For instance, my mom makes a really yummy dressing in the summer, when her garden explodes with cucumbers.  So I’ve started eating a lot of cucumbers on toast with this dressing to get my cucumber and cream cheese sandwich fix. It’s not exactly the same, but the dressing is creamy and tangy, so it hits the spot.

The dressing uses mayo, which is not vegan, but it’s possible to buy vegan mayo, and it’s really easy to make yourself! I will put a few recipes for vegan mayo below. This dressing goes really well as a sauce on other sandwiches too, and tastes great with roasted artichokes and green salads. Enjoy!

Continue reading cucumber toast / the best dressing in the world

recipe test: shiitake bacon

Recently, I made a soup that called for small chunks of ham. Instead of ham, I decided to try making shiitake bacon to top it. I’d had it at restaurants, and it’s incredibly good: smoky, crispy, caramelized, and salty, it makes an effective and delicious vegan vehicle for umami.  It’s also truly simple and quick to make!

No, it does not taste exactly like bacon, but it can replicate some of the key things that bacon brings to a dish: the crispy meaty texture, the smokiness, the saltiness, and the umami-ness. I chose to use it to replace the small amount of ham because it was comparable in size and texture; a larger ham hock, for example, would also give you some gelatin from the bones, so this would not be a good replacement for a larger, meatier meat.

This was was a great complement for my tangy, creamy soup (I will post that recipe soon!), and would be great on a salad, on sandwiches, mixed with roasted veggies like brussel sprouts, or in an omelette/scramble-type dish. And probably in a lot of other things too! It’s so yummy!  Continue reading recipe test: shiitake bacon