Blog Archives

Beloved Seitan

Seitan is one of those foods I didn’t try for the longest time because I wasn’t really sure I needed to. I mean, I already had tofu. Then I tried tempeh and was very impressed. And I had no idea how to cook it.

But when I dined at Ramsi’s Cafe on the World over the summer (one of many times) I decided to finally give this seitan (say-tan, not Satan, haha) a try.

139That’s a vegan seitan parmesan sandwich on cuban bread with roasted potatoes 🙂

I liked it so much that when I went back to Ramsi’s the next time, I tried the Jamaican seitan sandwich, which I posted about back in August.

I can’t really describe seitan, other than to say I find it just as delicious and versatile as tofu and tempeh. But I still have yet to purchase and cook any seitan myself at home. Maybe someday!

Have you ever had seitan? Do you cook with it at home? What are your favorite recipes to use it in?

The Swan Dive

Have you ever heard of The Swan Dive?

I’m sure many of my vegan and foodie friends here in Louisville have. But, if you don’t fall into either of those two categories, you may not have. In fact, Josh thought I was going to a place where there were literally swans diving. Hmm…

Anyway, as my friend Courtney says The Swan Dive is exactly what it says…a dive.

Finally! :)

But they also just so happen to have a 100% vegetarian menu, a good portion of which is also vegan or can be made vegan.

I can’t believe in my year as a vegetarian I had never been to this establishment. But, I finally made it there on Wednesday night!

They had a lot to choose from and it was really hard to narrow it down but in the end, tempeh bacon won me over! 🙂

Vegan BLT

Sorry for the gritty picture — bad lighting!

I got the vegan BLT (which comes with tempeh bacon and Vegenaise) which came with a side. They had vegan mac ‘n cheese and french fries, but I went with a side salad specifically because they have Goddess dressing, ha ha!

For “bar food” I did not find anything to be greasy at all. What I ate was really tasty and fresh. And it was so nice to have so many options that fit my dietary preferences.

I loved it and I can’t wait to go back. Just got a few other places to try first! 🙂

Earth Balance and Fakin’ Bacon

When I decided to go vegan back in October, I learned that Smart Balance Light was a buttery spread that fit right in with my dietary preferences so I have been using that for a while now.

I mostly use it on sweet potatoes, some veggies, on warm toasted bread. Like 1 tsp at a time! So containers last me forever. I also occasionally use it in what little baking I do these days 😉

But recently, my last container of SBL ran out and I decided it was finally time to try what I hear so many of my vegan blogger friends brag about…EARTH BALANCE!

I was amazed at the variety there was to choose from (even at Walmart!) but I decided to start with the basic natural buttery spread. It is soy free, vegan and a good source of Omega 3’s.

Earth Balance has more calories per serving than Smart Balance Light, but it also has fewer ingredients. And I have found the two to be quite different!

I first used Earth Balance on a sweet potato I had with dinner one night this week.

I was amazed at how well and quickly it melted. Plus it had a very light “buttery” taste (for lack of a better word).

I next tried it on an English muffin, which I also topped with some preserves.

It tasted so good and the preserves didn’t cover it up at all. It melted on there perfectly.

Okay, so here’s what I have determined: Smart Balance Light is a vegan substitute for MARGARINE. Earth Balance is vegan BUTTER. There is a difference and your personal preference will determine which one you use more of.

I think I’m sticking with this one for a while. It melts better, tastes better and you can cook with it. Smart Balance was always so hard to blend in with baking ingredients.

Oh! I almost forgot…wondering what that bacon-like food is up there?

You guys remember how I recently tried tempeh and loved it so much (that I haven’t had tofu since then)?

Well, my friend Sam highly recommended that I try the Fakin’ Bacon which are smoky tempeh strips that you cook on the stove and serve up with breakfast (or in vegan BLTs, which I’m so going to have to try next).


They kind of fell apart on me a little bit and I wasn’t able to get them very crispy but that was because I got impatient and wanted to eat them!

They tasted great though and I think next time I will just cook them a little longer to desired crispiness. I love tempeh!!

Trying tempeh

This might be hard to believe, but I have been vegan for 8 months now (plus vegetarian off and on for a couple years prior) and until Monday night, I had never tried tempeh!

Well, I’m sure I’ve had it in some dishes before without realizing it. But I’ve never purchased or made it myself at home before now.

What is tempeh?

Tempeh, or tempe in Indonesian, is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form. Tempeh is unique among major traditional soy-foods in that it is the only one that did not originate in China or Japan. It originated in today’s Indonesia, and is especially popular on the island of Java, where it is a staple source of protein. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but tempeh is a whole soybean product with different nutritional characteristics and textural qualities. Tempeh’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole bean give it a higher content of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin. It has a firm texture and strong flavor. Because of its nutritional value, tempeh is used worldwide in vegetarian cuisine; some consider it to be a meat analogue.

Thank you, Wikipedia! The nutritional profile is also outstanding — tempeh is a good source of protein and fiber!

I happened upon this package of tempeh which was on sale at Whole Foods over the weekend.

041

And since I had some veggies in my fridge to use up, I decided to make a stir fry.

043

Thanks to my friend Carrie for supplying me with some delicious, local, organic snow peas from her CSA! 🙂

I also threw in my own mix of peppers and onions that I had thawed from the freezer. Also, I drizzled on some soy sauce as I cooked everything.

Et voila!

044

I absolutely adored the tempeh! I might even go as far as to say I liked it better than tofu. It’s just an entirely different texture and I liked how much easier it was to cook!

Now I just need to figure out what else to make with it, since I only used half the package. 😉

Have you tried tempeh?