Catching Up in My Vegan Kitchen…from Romania!

It’s been awhile and I know it. I’m sorry. I hope everyone is safe, indoors and finding fun ways to keep busy.

The truth is that I have been cooking, quite a bit lately, I’ve just been very lazy about writing up posts and selecting photos. Some days I just forgot to take photos altogether, but I don’t want that to turn into a habit, so let’s play a little bit of catch up, shall we?

I rarely posts desserts, not because I don’t make them because I do…a lot. But I am not a good food photographer, not yet anyway. But this little creation was chocolate biscuits (#accidentallyvegan), ripe bananas, peanut butter, cocoa powder and dark brown sugar with orange zest on top. Layered. It’s pretty to look at and it was a crowd-pleaser for vegans and non-vegans alike.

I know it’s spring time and not really the season for soups but one night my husband chose French onion soup as his Midnight Tokyo Diner option which meant I had to make it because sneaky man that he is, made sure there were heaps of yellow and white onions in the pantry.

I think it came out pretty well, probably the best I’ve made so far even thought it was greasier than I would’ve liked. Soon I’ll do a post with the full recipe because I think you might like it.

Gyro night!!! This was a fun night and yeah, you bet your sweet little booty that it was also time-consuming. Making seitan is never a quick endeavor but this was SO worth it. So. Worth. It.

As I always tell my non-vegan friends, proteins are always about the seasonings. Try to eat any protein without salt & pepper. Or any type of sausage without garlic or cumin or caraway. This seitan gyro loaf was no different. I used fennel, garlic, smoky paprika, cumin, fenugreek, ancho chili pepper and a bunch of other spices to get the loaf just right. To round the vegan gyros out, I used mushrooms and onions sauteed with the seitan after it’s simmering session.

Balsamic salad on the side with a vegan lemon and cucumber yogurt sauce, and this vegan gyro night was super fun!

And no list of what I’ve been cooking is complete without some type of Asian creation and this time we have Pho. I used TVP which, in my opinion, is a feat of genius. Seriously, I call it Star Trek meat, a name that never fails to make my husband laugh. It takes on the flavor of whatever you want it to so easily, in this case the yummy spices of a vegan Pho broth. Soy and balsamic soaked crimini mushrooms and generic ramen noodles round out this dish.

The real question is…what have you been up to? Cooking? Relaxing? Trying not to freak out?

Mushroom Gyro Bowl & Vegan Yogurt Sauce

One of my favorite things to eat as a teenager was a gyro. There was this great little shop within walking distance of our house that sold fried catfish, barbecue chicken and gyros…mostly. Or maybe that’s all I remember because that’s mostly what I ordered.

Every. Single. Time.

Recently I was watching a cooking show that featured different takes on the gyro and I was inspired. So I went to my own personal favorite vegan meat replacement. Mushrooms.

Sure, I like seitan and tofu and even lupine, but nothing is as tasty or as versatile as mushrooms. And best of all, they only require strategic cuts and proper seasoning.

Before you get worried that this is a time heavy dish, don’t. There are just four components and they are all SUPER easy.

The first thing is the rice and I used a basic basmati because its one of my favorites. Follow the instructions and voila, done.

Next you need to tackle the mushrooms because they’re going to take a bit of time to get crispy and even if you don’t want them crispy, you don’t want them mushy. Clean and trim the mushrooms, slicing them fairly thick so you get 3 to 4 slices per crimini mushroom.

Now you’re ready for the spice mixture:

Cumin

Garlic granules

Coriander

Cinnamon

All spice

Smoky paprika

Spicy Paprika

Oregano

Thyme

Salt & pepper

Jerk Seasoning (pinch)

Cook the mushrooms as desired. I like to cook them on high heat for a minute or two so they water cooks out and then I cover them to get ALL the water out…well most of it. Then I uncover and let the water evaporate before I add oil and then onions so they all crisp up together. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how patient you are.

Once the onions and mushrooms have reached desired done-ness, you’re just about ready.

Grab a handful of lettuce, about 50 grams, one juicy tomato and a few olives. Thin slice the lettuce, dice the tomatoes and rough chop the olives. Add them into a small dish with salt, pepper and a dash of balsamic vinegar.

It may seem like an unnecessary step but this little salad is a few fresh veggies for the day plus it adds the perfect amount of freshness to the vegan gyro bowl.

You can’t have a gyro without tzatziki sauce, at least I can’t.

And this is an easy sauce to make that is always worth it, especially if you have a blended spice household. I like it spicy and he doesn’t but when there’s a yogurt-dill-cucumber-mint sauce around, I can make it a little spicier.

Layer it from the bottom: Rice, Mushrooms, Salad, Tzatziki.