Tag Archive for easy vegan recipes

Vegan Scallops

I am Top Chef obsessed. Always have been. I’ve watched them all. My favorite, of course, were Top Chef Canada, because I loved seeing my local chefs (whose work I was a big fan of) shine on a national level.

The Top Chef Canada franchise only lasted 4 seasons, sadly, but just recently, they brought it back, with Top Chef Canada All Stars.

vegan scallops

A couple years back, I got to attend a Top Chef event that featured the food of the ladies who had competed. One of my faves on the show was Lauren Marshall, who has been the only vegan, as far as I know, to compete. There was this one episode where she made a vegan scallop dish, and we got to try it that night. It was amazing.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when I got invited to a lunch at Diva at the Met. Now, we have some great restaurants here in Vancouver, but weirdly, Diva was a place I had never eaten at, and upon reflection, I’m not sure why. The food was wonderful, and they represent all the things I love: they cook locally, in season, and they strive to make as much as possible in-house (including these incredible chocolates made by their pastry chef!).

scallops diva at the met

One dish that was served at the lunch was a scallop atop a kind of salsa made from avocado, hearts of palm and cucumber. I was determined to veganize it.

The key to vegan scallops are King Mushrooms. I had to go to a few places before I found them, but I eventually found them at a little Korean produce store in my ‘hood. When you slice the stems into rounds, they look exactly like scallops. They even have that slightly rubbery bite that you get with scallops. They are dead ringers.

Given that rhubarb is so in season right now, I wanted to incorporate it into the recipe as well.

You could serve this on a platter (like the Diva version) or as I did, in individual portions on spoons. Either way, it’s an elegant starter for your next party. In fact, I think I’ll serve this at my book launch!

Shameless plug: my cookbook, Aquafabulous!: 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba is now in bookstores! You can also order it from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com and Chapters-Indigo.

Vegan Scallops with avocado salsa

Vegan Scallops

Ingredients

  • 4 king mushrooms
  • 1-2 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2″ squares
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (preferably apple cider)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into 1/2″ squares
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into 1/2″ squares
  • 1/4 cup edamame beans or fresh corn
  • fresh chives or green onion

Method:

  1. Quick pickle the rhubarb. In a small saucepan on the stove, heat together the water, vinegar, sugar and salt until they are all melted together. Bring just to the boil. Place the rhubarb in a heat-proof bowl and pour the pickling liquid over it and allow it to stand while you do the rest of your prep.
  2. Chop the avocado and cucumber, and place in another bowl. Add the edamame and stir well.
  3. Top and tail the king mushrooms. Set aside the caps and ends for another use. Cut the mushroom in half and then each half into halves, giving you 4 circles of mushroom stem.
  4. Heat a heavy frying pan over medium-high heat, and add oil to the pan. It’ important that the pan and oil are hot to get a good sear. Place the mushrooms into the pan, and allow to cook for about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and a little garlic powder. Once they are caramelized on one side, flip, and allow to cook to a similar doneness on the other side.
  5. Drain the rhubarb, reserving some of the pickling liquid. Add the rhubarb, a little of the pickling liquid and some olive oil to your salsa, and stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Place the salsa on a plate in a pile, and then top with “scallops.” Garnish with sliced green onions or chives.

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Vegan Egg Substitutes

When I first started writing my cookbook, I got pretty deep into the whole vegan egg substitutes scene.

Oh, yeah, it’s a scene.

So, here’s the thing about eggs: you might think of them as those little protein bombs that you eat for breakfast (and they are, unless you’re vegan). But eggs in baking serve an important purpose which makes them difficult to omit.

First off, eggs bind. They’re wet and a little viscous, and those qualities help to bind dry ingredients like flour and sugar together, and make a smooth and homogeneous mixture. Secondly, eggs (especially egg whites), help to leaven baking. Leave the eggs out, and you’re often faced with heavy, brick-like baking, which is exactly nobody’s favorite.

So, when you are baking vegan, you can’t just leave the eggs out and proceed with the recipe. You really need to replace the eggs in your recipe with something.

Here are some options:

  1. Banana: ripe, mashed banana has a similar consistency to eggs, it actually works pretty well as a binder.
  2. Seeds + water: you have a few different options here. Ground flax and chia seeds both work really well; just take 1 tbsp of the seed and mix it in a small bowl with 3 tbsp of water. Mix it well together and then pop it in the fridge for about 15 minutes. It will create this kind of gummy paste that works really well for binding dry ingredients. I also use psyllium husk for this sometimes, when I have a more delicate dish that I want a finer mouthfeel for.
  3. Aquafaba: duh. I mean I wrote the book on this one. Literally. I use aquafaba in two ways: I’ll add a few tablespoons of it, straight-up to my recipe as an egg replacer. I use it in this way in recipes like cookies or brownies. If I am baking something that requires some ariness, like a cake or waffles, I whip the aquafaba first, then carefully fold it in at the last moment. It basically acts like a meringue.

Here’s a cool infographic I found with some other ideas you can use for egg substitutes.

By the way, my book,  Aquafabulous!: 100+ Egg-Free Vegan Recipes Using Aquafaba (Bean Water) will be published later this month! It’s jam-packed with tons of yummy, delicious vegan recipes featuring Aquafaba.

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