Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles

Sometimes, nothing can make me happy except dessert. However, I tend to have an absurd sweet tooth, and my indulgences can very often end up being rather excessive–picture the entire pint of ice cream instead of a scoop. It’s one of my goals to try and reduce my sugar cravings, but man, it’s hard. I love dessert!

So, what treat do I turn to when I need something rich enough to satisfy my cravings, but still semi-healthy, and with built in portion control?

Truffles, of course.

These truffles are so delicious, and they come together in a snap. The cayenne doesn’t make the truffles spicy–instead, you get a nice warming heat in the back of your throat. Rich, creamy, and decadent, these little guys go perfectly with a cup of coffee. Plus, if you split the truffles with someone else, then you only eat six. That’s not bad, right?

Chocolate and chili are one of my most favorite combos. If you haven’t tried it before, then have a go at these! I promise you’ll fall in love with them.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Truffles

You’ll need:

  • 7 ounces dark chocolate
  • 5 tablespoons coconut milk (from the can, not the carton)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Cocoa powder

1. Break up the chocolate into a bowl. Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan and pour over the chocolate.
2. Let the coconut milk and chocolate sit for a few minutes, then stir. If the chocolate isn’t completely melted, pop in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until you have a thick, smooth mixture. Add in the cayenne and cinnamon.
3. Put the mixture in the fridge and let set for about 2 hours.
4. Once the mixture is firm, scoop little balls and roll in your palms to make smooth truffles. You should get about 12.
5. Toss the truffles in some cocoa powder.

And there you have it! Tasty, spicy truffles, perfect to satisfy your biggest cravings. Happy Thursday!

Taco Soup

When I’m feeling particularly homesick, I crave Mexican food. Nothing can soothe my soul like enchilada sauce and avocado. When I moved to London, it was with a bag of Santa Cruz chili in my suitcase, and I break it out whenever I’m missing the desert.

This soup is full of all the best flavors of Mexican cuisine. It’s spicy, warming, and so easy to make. It also lends itself well to a variety of toppings, which makes dinnertime extra fun. Nothing gets me excited for soup like the option to customize each bowl!

This recipe makes a big batch, but the soup keeps well in the fridge and gets even better over time. Serve with lots of hot sauce and your favorite beer, and you’ll be dreaming of the desert, too!


Taco Soup, Serves 4

 

 

You’ll Need:

 

  • ½ a large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 14 ounce cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 14 ounce can black beans, drained
  • 1 ½ cups frozen corn
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • Avocado
  • Tortilla chips
  • Cilantro

 

  1. Dice the onion and garlic. Saute the onion for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add the taco seasoning and chili powder.
  3. Pour in the vegetable broth and water. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the black beans and corn and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  5. Serve with diced avocado, tortilla chips, cilantro, and whatever other toppings you desire!

    This soup is such a snap, I guarantee it will become part of your weekly menu. If you make it, Instagram a photo and tag @aveganinthecity–I’d love to see your creations! Happy January 🙂

Rigatoni with Blistered Tomatoes and Basil

 

I almost feel guilty sharing this recipe.

On the one hand, it is insanely yummy. I think I’ve eaten it at least once a week for the past month. On the other hand, it is shamefully easy to make. I can barely call it a recipe, it’s that simple.

But then, I remembered what this blog is all about. Insanely easy, affordable, and delicious vegan food. This recipe happily checks off all those boxes! And you’re going to fall in love with it, I promise.

This recipe comes together in about ten minutes. Normally, I prefer my tomatoes as a sauce that I can drown my pasta in. I tend to find pasta with only pieces of tomato as rather dry and boring. However, I discovered that blistering the cherry tomatoes brings all the juices to the surface, so that each little guy becomes a sauce bomb. Seriously, it’s so good.

This dish is light and refreshing, the perfect thing for cleansing your palette before all of the heavy dinners coming your way this holiday season. However, if you tend to eat three servings of pasta at once (like me), then it becomes less light. But hey, you do you.

Rigatoni with Blistered Tomatoes and Basil


You’ll need:

  • One package of rigatoni
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • One bunch fresh basil
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1. Boil your rigatoni.
2. In a separate skillet, toss the cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cover and let saute until the tomatoes are soft and the skin is blistered. Remove from heat and sprinkle with the chopped garlic.
3. Chop the basil.
4. In a bowl, top the rigatoni with tomatoes and basil. Drizzle with a little more olive oil and some salt and pepper.

Seriously, that’s it. And it is so, so good. It might be my new favorite way to eat pasta, and I hope it becomes yours, too.

Happy November, everyone!

Hey There, Pumpkin!: A Cobbler Recipe

Something you probably don’t know about me is that I like to mark the months with flavors. In September, everything I eat has apples. In November, it’s all cranberry-centered; December, peppermint. October, however, is my favorite flavor. It’s apparently everyone’s favorite, because suddenly, every coffee shop, bakery, and bar has food and drink highlighting this most wonderful squash.

Have you guessed my October flavor yet? Unoriginally, it’s pumpkin.

However, I have run into two unexpected hangups here in lovely London. The first one I was prepared for–I have no oven. And that’s fine. I might be missing out on pumpkin muffins, but I can make pancakes, and they’re almost as good. The second obstacle was one that completely knocked me off my feet–there is no canned pumpkin in London.

Every store in America has canned pumpkin sitting happily on the shelf. I spent most of my Monday in a panic, taking the bus from store to store, only to be met with the same confused expression when I asked, somewhat wildly, “Do you have any canned pumpkin?” No one knew what I was taking about. I despaired.

Luckily, I found a few cans tucked away in the back of a shelf of a Waitrose, the fifth store of my search. I bought all of them. So while my pumpkin panic is slightly abated, I decided to create something fun, seasonal, and different. It should hold me over until I have to go pumpkin hunting again.

Pumpkin cobbler might sound unusual, but it has all the goodness of a pie and much less preparation. Plus, it’s made in a slow cooker, so you can slap it together in the afternoon and forget about it until you’re curled up with Netflix that night. Serve with your favorite non-dairy ice cream (I used Almond Dream’s Praline. So good.)

Pumpkin Cobbler

For the Pumpkin Layer:

  • 15 oz pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the Crust Layer:

  •  1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup melted vegan butter
Easy as 1, 2, 3!

1. Mix all the ingredients for the pumpkin layer together, and then scoop into the bottom of your crock pot.
2. Mix everything except the melted butter together for the crust layer, and pour on top of the pumpkin layer. Drizzle the melted butter over the top of the crust layer.
3. Set on low and let cook for 4 hours. The top with get puffy and golden. Serve and enjoy!

So easy, right? This recipe is for a smaller crockpot, around 1.5 litres, so if you wanted to make it bigger, this easily doubles. Enjoy pumpkin season, my friends!

Mushroom Stroganoff

Here in London, it’s starting to get a little chilly. The sky is cloudy, the wind is brisk, and the leaves are just turning red at the edges. This weather is a far cry from the hundred-degree heat of my desert hometown, and it’s got me in the mood for autumnal food. Since I figure it’s probably still too early to break out the pumpkin muffins and gingerbread, I decided to make something that is fitting for any season, while still having those warm notes of fall.

Time to get excited, ’cause we’re making stroganoff.

Seriously, how good is stroganoff? It’s comforting, savory, and just a little spicy. And you get to eat noodles! Nothing warms up a brisk evening like a big plate of stroganoff. Red wine provides the depth of flavor normally found in beef, and varying the cuts of the mushrooms brings fun texture to the sauce.

Now, I know that this recipe has a soy substitute. I try very hard to make sure that my recipes don’t use substitutes, but in this case, I just couldn’t think of anything else that would provide the creaminess the sauce needed. There are so many wonderful soy-based creams out there; I promise you won’t be able to taste the difference. Plus, if you have always felt a little hesitant about trying vegan alternatives, soy cream is the best way to test the water. Be adventurous!

Mushroom Stroganoff

  • 16 oz. portobello mushrooms, some sliced, some chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  •  1/4 cup red wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth (or 3 cups water and a veggie bouillon cube)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 16 oz noodles
  • 3/4 cup soy cream
  1. Saute the mushrooms and onions with the red wine until soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2.  Put the noodles on to boil. If you fill the pot with hot water first, it helps to cut down on boiling time.
  3. Meanwhile, in a smaller pot, bring the broth to boil (or the water and cube). Whisk in the flour until thickened.
  4. Stir the thickened broth into the pan with the mushrooms and onions, then stir in the cream. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  5. Drain the noodles. Pile noodles and sauce on your plate, and top with paprika and parsley if you’re feeling feisty.

And you’re done! Talk about easy. This a deeply satisfying meal that comes together in a snap; perfect for weeknight cooking. Pair with the rest of that red wine, and you are set! Have a wonderful weekend, friends.

Movie Night Madness

I am a passionate lover of terrible movies. Sharknado, Piranha 3D, Tranformers…basically, if it’s got a robot or a monster, I’m in. What better way to view some glorious creature feature than with a movie night? Gather your friends and turn off the lights, ’cause the show’s about to start!

When I think of movie night snacks, ‘indulgent’ is the first word that comes to mind. However, buying all of the popcorn and candy your heart desires at a movie theater is a serious punch to the wallet. Making snacks at home is cheaper, (slightly) healthier, and you can put booze in it!

No movie night is complete without a little booze, after all.

 

My menu hits all the flavors you crave while watching a giant robot and a massive sea creature come to blows. Sriracha Lime Popcorn is a little spicy and very addictive–make sure to have more than one bowl on hand. For the main attraction, I present the Salted Butterscotch Bourbon Float. This treat is a monster on its own, complete with ice cream, cream soda, coconut whipped cream, and salted bourbon butterscotch sauce. Truly, a dessert for the ages.

While the float seems to have a lot of steps, it is quite easy to put together. Just make the butterscotch sauce and pop the coconut cream into the fridge the night before; once it’s showtime, plop everything into a glass. Add some of your favorite candies, and there you have it!

Sriracha Lime Popcorn

You’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1/4 cup coconut or canola oil

1. Put the salt, Sriracha, and lime juice in a small bowl and mash it together with a fork.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot with three popcorn kernels. Cover with the pot lid but leave a space to vent steam.
3. When the three kernels pop, pour in the rest of the popcorn and remove the pot from the heat. Count to thirty. This allows all the kernels to come to temperature so that you’ll have no burned or unpopped kernels.
4. After thirty seconds, place pot back on heat. Remove once the popping has slowed considerably and pour into a bowl. Top with the Sriracha lime salt. Enjoy!

Salted Bourbon Butterscotch Floats

You’ll need:

For the Float:

  • Non-dairy vanilla ice cream of your choice (I love Soy Creamy from Trader Joe’s)
  • Cream Soda
  • Bourbon

For the Salted Butterscotch Sauce:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons agave syrup
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

1. Mix coconut milk, agave syrup, vanilla, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Be patient, because this part takes a while. As it simmers, it will darken and reduce.
2. Once it looks like thin pudding and is bubbling, stir the bourbon and cornstarch together to make a slurry. Pour into the coconut milk mixture and whisk until thickened. Use immediately or pour into an airtight container to store.
3. If you want to reheat the sauce, float its container in some hot water for a few minutes. Don’t microwave, as this sauce can break.

For the Coconut Whipped Cream:

  • 1 can coconut cream (I use Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Let the coconut cream sit overnight in the fridge. The next day, scoop the cream into a mixing bowl and leave the coconut water behind.
2. Beat the coconut cream and the powdered sugar with a mixer until creamy and fluffy.

Assembly:

1. Place scoops of the non-dairy ice cream into a big glass. Drizzle with butterscotch sauce.
2. Pour in the cream soda. Add a shot of bourbon if you’re feeling saucy.
3. Top with whipped cream and even more butterscotch sauce.

 

Enjoy these tasty treats while watching your favorite movie–Pacific Rim, for example. That’s the best movie of all time–everyone says so. Or at least, I say so.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Photos by the marvelous Rachael Pace

Easy Entertaining: Easter Brunch

When thinking about what to eat on Easter, ‘vegan’ is not the first thing that comes to mind; after all, the Easter Bunny is notorious for leaving eggs around. I did a lot of internet searching to come up with an easy and cheap brunch menu, but everything I found was full of ingredients from a specialty store or relied heavily on tofu or soy substitutes.

First rule of serving vegan food to your non-vegan friends? Leave the tofu in the fridge.

Now, I’m not saying that tofu isn’t great. It is. However, if you are trying to make an accessible meal for your friends and loved ones, then it’s just not the best way to go. Keep your menu familiar, and people will be excited to come and eat at your house.

So, I had a challenge in front of me. To me, brunch has a potato dish, an egg dish, bread, and a drink. How was I to make an egg dish without using eggs or tofu? I was stumped. After thinking about it for a while, I realized that I’d have to get creative. Eggs are usually the creamy, fatty component to a meal. Once I began brainstorming flavor profiles, the answer came to me: sweet potatoes. This way, I had a potato dish that also hit the same notes as a creamy, rich egg dish. Perfect!

My Easter brunch menu has all of the flavors you’d expect, with none of the animal products. The entire menu comes together in about an hour or less, and you can find everything you need in your regular grocery store. So easy it hurts.

 

 

Carrot Cake Scones, Sweet Potato Hash, Fruit, and Blushing Mimosas

Carrot Cake Scones (Recipe adapted from here)

These scones are light, fluffy, and taste just like the quintessential cake. I added vanilla and raisins to bulk up the flavor.

You’ll need:

  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 6 tablespoons room-temp coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 6 tablespoons almond milk

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices in a bowl. Sprinkle in the vanilla and add the coconut oil. Cut together with two knives until the mixture looks like course crumbs. Add the almond milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.

2. Stir in the carrots and raisins. Pat the dough into an 8-inch circle, and cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges on a baking sheet and bake for about 11 minutes. Watch them carefully, because scones have a tendency to burn!

3. Let the scones cool for a half hour. Meanwhile, combine powdered sugar, almond milk, and vanilla to make a glaze. Drizzle over your scones, and you’re done!

Sweet Potato Hash

I love sweet potatoes; I probably eat them three times a week. Don’t be put off by the baby kale in this recipe–it looks and tastes like spinach once it’s cooked.

You’ll need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 bag baby kale
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

1. Place the potatoes in boiling, salted water and simmer until you can pierce them easily with a fork. Drain.

2. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, then add the sweet potatoes and let them sizzle for a few minutes. Add the paprika and some salt and pepper to taste. Dump in the black beans and the baby kale, and cover so the kale can wilt. Stir to combine, and you’re done!

Blushing Mimosa

This simple and easy cocktail is a nice twist on a traditional mimosa, and the pink hue makes it perfect for Easter.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons grenadine
  • Champagne

1. Combine the juices and the grenadine. Fill a glass about a quarter to a half with the juice mixture, and top with champagne. Voila!

This menu is pretty, delicious, and perfect for any springtime brunch–not just Easter. I hope this weekend finds you all happy!

Photo Credit: Rachael Pace. Check out her work here!