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VeganMoFo #6: Vegan Dad’s Tempeh Burgers

I read Vegan Dad every day. I love that his recipes usually quick and kid friendly yet still imaginative. I appreciate a good fancy dish with twelve different steps that I have to start the night before, but those recipes don’t help me on a Wednesday night when I got home late from work and just want to eat something tasty as soon as possible before watching Project Runway. That’s one of the reasons I am completely in love with these tempeh burgers—they take fifteen or twenty minutes to make, start to finish. And they freeze well for even faster meals. But the real reason this is going into regular rotation? They’re freaking incredible. I’m so sick of making veggie burgers that fall apart in the skillet or on the plate. These hold together wonderfully, even if you make them really thin. In fact, the thinner you go, the better they get. Nice and crispy, and there’s more room for toppings! I know from experience that it’s a little difficult to cram half an avocado on a typical veggie burger. And what’s a burger without half an avocado and a smear of Veganaise?
I’ve changed up the spices in these based on what I’ve had around (and also because fennel seed is the work of the devil) and they’ve always come out tasty. Vegan Dad has changed the recipe since publishing this version, but as it includes homemade sausages that I’m ulikely to have around, these will remain the winner. Oh, and another plus? With one package of tempeh, a bit of wheat gluten, bread crumbs from the heels of a loaf of bread, and a bunch of spices, I can get six burgers, enough for two family meals. With a cheap meal like that as part of my grocery list, I might not cry the next time I have to pay nine dollars for maple syrup.

Mexican Pizza, or: What Happens When I Have to Shop at Jewel


Dan and I were on our way home from work and I had nothing planned for dinner. Completely out of character, we decided to go to Jewel. I’ll admit that I have an aversion to normal (i.e., not Whole Foods) grocery stores–something about the two aisles containing nothing but chips and soda–but I’m really against Jewel. It always smells funny. It probably comes from years of living in Wicker Park, home to Junkyard Jewel, which is a truly disgusting place. Plus, the lines are always super long. But at the Jewel I ended up, on a search for something to use as a pizza crust. I knew there wouldn’t likely be anything actually pizza-crust-like to be had, but I thought I’d at least find pita bread. Nope. No pita bread in the whole store. After walking up and down the “natural foods” aisle (gee, that’s a lot of cereal and soy milk) six or seven times, I spied some refried black beans (thank you, Amy), and the Mexican pizza was born. Another search turned up some flour tortillas with fewer than twenty ingredients–as well as a pile of super moldy tortillas. Yum. After an incredibly long wait in line, it was home to assemble the suckers. And you might look at this creation and say, “That looks like a tostada.” Yes, it does look like a tostada, but we wanted pizza, so it’s pizza. Refried black beans between two flour tortillas, topped with melted Teese, olives, red and yellow peppers, avocado, mango, and a lot of Cholula and baked until crispy and melty. Sure, it didn’t quite satisfy the pizza craving, but it was still pretty incredible. How can anything topped with avocado and mango be anything less?

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