Vegan Fish & Chips Take Two: His Turn

You all know that I’m not one of those vegans who needs to recreate my meals to taste like the old version that involves suffering. I don’t miss the taste of meat or fish or cheese, but I do enjoy experimenting to see how to make those dishes fit for any kind of vegan.

For this version of #vegan fish & chips though, my husband took his turn at bat. You’ll remember my own F&C recipe, which didn’t turn out so well visually but the taste was delicious…if you love nori which I kind of do not.

As you can see, he took a different route than I did, deciding to wrap the nori around the TVP first and then he added the breading, which included a beer batter! It worked out much better and the added lemon and vinegar really decreased the overpowering taste and smell of nori sheets. Maybe it just worked out better because he doesn’t shy away from frying foods the way I do!

This is the point I wanted to make about experimenting with your old pre-vegan days recipes, you can find something really awesome that isn’t exactly as you remembered, but it is something better. Healthier.

Without the cruelty.

I’ll tell you right up front that if you’re expecting it taste like fish & chips, you will be sorely disappointed. But the flavors added provide a nice brine-y sea flavor, and the beer batter meant I was getting something greasy and friend and delicious. I see no problems with that, do you?

And yeah, okay so the “chips” aren’t technically chips but there’s no fish in this dish either, so who cares? But the potatoes were tossed in about 4 grams of oil and tons of herbs & spices, then baked for about 30 minutes. Crispy and delicious and not nearly as fattening as the version that includes actual fish.

You can’t have vegan fish & chips without some kind of tartar sauce, can you?

Not in my book!

We went to our old favorite, veggiegurt, because that’s what’s available to you as a vegan in the part of Romania where we are…if you have a hate-hate relationship with mayo of all types, which I do. Use whatever vegan yogurt or mayo you prefer, just make sure you read the ingredients and the nutritional information.

For the vegan tartar sauce you will need: yogurt/mayo, dill, lemon, salt, pepper, ground fennel. Stir and then refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. For those of you who love a little bit of heat, I like to add a few drops of hot sauce or Tabasco to the tartar.

You’ll notice the plate is much lighter than it normally looks, but that’s because oil has LOTS of calories and frying anything means you have to make room for that in your diet. We did, but you don’t necessarily have to.

But if you do want to add some extra calories, consider an ice cold beer. Maybe a Jameson on the rocks?

Crispy Cauliflower Wings & Fries

When you want something that’s easy to make but seems really complicated, try these cauliflower wings! You can make whatever sauce you want, spicy or sweet, or go crazy and make it spicy-sweet!

This dish is easy but it does take time for the prep work. I couldn’t find bread crumbs so I used some day old bread, which I ripped up and seasoned with salt, garlic, pepper, smoky paprika and oregano. When the bread cooled, I added it to the food processor to break it up evenly and put it in one bowl. Mix in a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast and more seasoning if desired.

In the other bowl was vegan yogurt, Sriracha, mustard and lime juice. Feel free to add other wet flavor creators here.

Coat the cauliflower in they yogurt mixture first and then the bread crumbs before laying them out on a baking sheet. Crowd the sheet if you must just don’t double up or it will take FOREVER to cook. Spread them out evenly and pop in the oven for 35-45 minutes.

While the cauliflower cooks, get started on your side dishes and your sauces.

Since we like different spice levels, I didn’t want to toss the cauliflower. I made a hot sauce for me, using vegan butter, rice vinegar and plenty of spicy stuff. For him I used a tablespoon of the spicy stuff and added it to more yogurt and we were both happy because there was enough sauce for the vegan wings and the fries!

This requires a lot of oven work so make sure you time it right. The last thing you want are cold or overcooked cauliflower wings. I started with the cauliflower and when it started to brown, I put the potatoes in on the bottom shelf.

This was easy and delicious and even with the bread crumbs it was calorie friendly, at least as far as this vegan is concerned!

Greasy Vegan Pub Fare

When most people think vegan they equate it with healthy, which is great and often, true. But vegans are people and even those of us who took up a plant based lifestyle mostly for the health benefits, occasionally have a taste for something less than healthy. Whether it is my absolute favorite, salt & vinegar potato chips, or a thick slice of brownie with walnuts, I feel the need to eat naughty once in a while.

Recently when the mood struck the Hubs and I decided to go all out and have a vegan pub night. At home.

I’ll warn you now that we fried EVERYTHING, so if you’re expecting my usual healthier version of your favorite greasy, naughty foods, you shall be disappointed.

We kept the menu pretty basic: fried tofu nuggets, French fries and fried shallots.

Since it’s not overly complicated I won’t bother you with too many details.

For the tofu, I recommend you press it while you get to work rinsing, peeling and chopping everything else and then season it. The seasoning consisted of garlic granules, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt & pepper and onion powder. It was the main flavor profile of just about everything. Toss the tofu in the seasoning and then into a bowl of seasoned flour, then fried it up until golden crispy brown, between 5 and 10 minutes.

Season the potatoes and toss in a teaspoon or oil, then pop in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes and you’re almost ready to get your vegan pub night on!

The shallots were a bit trickier because my husband wanted to make something akin to onion rings without breading and deep frying since we shallow fried the tofu to keep the calorie count from getting TOO ridiculous.

Halve the shallots and slice them, coating lightly in seasoned flour and dropping them in the shallow oil until the edges start to curl and become transparent. All in all, it took about 30 minutes of cooking plus about 15 minutes of prep time, which is about how long it would take at an actual pub…if that pub served vegan food.

This is the perfect meal for a cheat day and it was super delicious. Just add some ketchup or barbecue sauce and you’re good to go, and wash it all down with an ice cold beer.

Happy Friday & pofta buna!