Vegan Cheeze!

IMG_2509Yesterday I hit the jackpot with finding vegan cheeses. I love Tesco’s Free-From cheeses (I purchased smoked, jalapeño cheddar and Italian style hard cheese) and Cheezly (I have not seen this one yet this visit). I also found “Follow your Heart” pepper-jack slices. Last night and this morning we a had a cheeze fest.

Last night we had vegan NACHOS! This is one of Sophie’s favorite meals at home so I was pleased to find all the needed elements in my store by store investigations of ingredient availability in Ealing.

I was able to find 1 brand of tortilla chips (called Nachips), black beans, an adorable tiny jar of mild salsa, and I added lightly sautéed mushrooms, red peppers, some leftover roasted potatoes and scallions seasoned with southwest seasoning (Penzey’s brought from home), as well as grated jalepeño & chilli cheddar Free-From and some sliced garlic. For cold toppings, we had the salsa and a mixture of chopped avocado, lime, cherry tomatoes and cilantro. Yum! Recipe below.

This morning we had a quesadilla made with hummus, jalapeno & chilli cheddar, fresh spinach, chopped scallions, cilantro and avocado.

My lunches are often some variety of leftovers plus something new. Today, I made a salad with the last handful of spinach, a ¼ of an avocado, a ¼ of a large cucumber, a small piece of smoked tofu topped with balsamic vinegar crème (I learned about this stuff during my travels in Greece). It is basically a thickened balsamic vinegar. Store bought versions have some preservatives and thickeners, but a cleaner variation of it can be made by cooking down balsamic vinegar to about 1/3 its original volume. Then paired that with a big bowl of steamed cauliflower with curried vegannaise dip (see photo).

Yummy Vegan Nachos in Ealing

1 bag tortilla chips (Nachips at the Coop)
1 15-ounces black beans, drained
¼ cup mild salsa
½ teaspoon ground cumin
8 to 10 chestnut mushrooms (cremini), thickly sliced
½ sweet red pepper, deseeded and chopped
4 scallions, whites and greens chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
½ teaspoon favorite seasoning (I used Penzey’s Southwest Seasoning)
½ cup of leftover or other finely chopped vegetables (optional)
¼ to ½ cup of slivers or crumbles of vegan chorizo (optional–I used Wheaty chorizo vegan slices)
1 cup grated vegan cheese (I used Free From chilli & jalepeño cheddar)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

Toppings, if desired:
1 avocado, peeled and finely chopped
6 sweet cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
juice of ½ of a lime
salt, to taste

Turn oven to 200 degrees C (at home I use 425 degrees F). Drain black beans and put into a small bowl. Mix in salsa and cumin. Set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté mushrooms, red pepper, scallions and other vegetables, if using, for a about 5 minutes until the soften and begin to brown at the edges. Stir in the seasoning mix. Take off the heat and set aside.

On a cookie sheet or similar large flat pan spread out ½ of the tortilla chips, top with ¼ to ½ the beans, ½ the sautéed vegetables, ½ the chorizo, if using, and about 1/3 of the grated cheese.

Then add the rest of the chips, as much more of the beans as you desire (I only used about half of the full can), the rest of the sautéed vegetables, the sliced garlic and the grated cheese.

Put the nachos in the oven and make the avocado and tomato topping. In a small bowl mix together the avocado, tomato, cilantro and lime. Add salt to taste.

Cook nachos for about 10 minutes in the hot oven until the top begins to brown. Remove and transfer to a serving dish. Serve with cold salsa, your favorite hot sauce (chili sauce), and the avocado/tomato mixture.


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