There are few things I like better than comfort food on a cold winter's day, and what's more comforting than biscuits and gravy? I've been wanting to veganize a sausage gravy for years, but I was scared of fake sausage because I never could eat the chunks of real sausage in the gravy. Okay, okay, I was a weirdo. I liked the taste of the sausage gravy, but not the sausage, itself. I had some serious food texture issues when it came to meat. So, you can understand my hesitation to try something that had the potential for weirdness. But, my dearest pals, I have created a success. You should totally make this ASAP!!!
What I used:
2 1/4 cups almond milk
1/3 cup finely diced onion
7 ounces vegan sausage, its about half a tube. Then break into small chunks. (I used LightLife Gimme Lean- click here)
3 1/2 TB flour
1 TB coconut oil or your preferred cooking oil
2 TB Earth Balance or other vegan butter
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp fennel seed, partially crushed between your fingers
salt to taste
lots of pepper
What I did:
Heat a high-sided skillet (nonstick works best, take my word for it-- I've made it a lot of times) over medium heat. Add the coconut oil. Once hot, add the onion and crumbled sausage along with the red pepper flakes, sage and fennel seed. Stir regularly until the onions are transparent and the sausage is lightly browned. Once that is done, remove from heat and put in a bowl.
Now, return the skillet to the burner with the earth balance and the flour. Mix into a golden paste (aka- roux). Then slowly whisk in the milk. Use your whisk to scrape the bottom of the pan, loosening up the roux along with the little crusty bits from the onion and sausage. Add some salt and pepper to the milky mix. The cooking of the gravy will take 12-15 minutes total and requires a LOT of whisking. Once it starts to bubble, add in the sausage. Now you will want to whisk pretty much non-stop until it reaches your desired thickness. You don't even have to mix fast, just continually, so no milk or flour burns to the bottom of the pot. Also, the constant whisking keeps it from getting lumpy. Note to remember: gravy thickens more after it is removed from the heat, so once it gets pretty thick (mine took 13 minutes), remove the pot from the burner.
Let rest a few minutes to let the gravy thicken a bit more and generally get more awesome. It should look something like this (pardon the poor lighting in this one)
Now, You can serve it up however you want, but I definitely recommend biscuits. You are going to flip for this gravy.
I was really craving a smoothie this morning, as I do most mornings. So, I got adventurous and just threw a bunch of stuff in my VitaMix. It turned out quite ugly (brown-ish green), but it did taste pretty good. Just don't look at it when you drink it. Hey, remember those old Cocoa Wheats commercials where the kids wore blindfolds and bags on their heads because the food was so ugly? No? Perhaps this will refresh your memory:
Yeah. So. There you go. 1989. Awkward and strange.
Ugly smoothie ingredients:
1 medium carrot
1 cup kale
1/2 large red apple
2 small blood oranges
1 small banana
1-2 TB ground flax
1/4 cup cranberry juice
a few pieces of ice
I assume you know how to put this in a blender and blend the shit out of it. It's easy. Enjoy. Or not. Whatever you do, don't look at it.
So, yeah. It was one of those days. My half is the veggies-only half. The other half has onions and vegan pepperoni. It was awesome, dudes. To make it even better, I made my own herbed pizza crust. It went perfectly with the homemade (no-cook) sauce. Both recipes are below :)
2 cups flour
2 tsp coarse kosher salt (less if you use regular granulated salt)
1 TB sugar
1 TB oil (I usually use olive, but you can also use melted Earth Balance buttah)
1 cup water (warm, but not super hot)
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (equivalent of 1 packet)
1 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning spice blend
Mix the water, sugar and yeast in a bowl and let rest about 7 minutes, until the bowl is all foamy.
Put all the ingredients in your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Set the mixer to setting 2 and let it work until the dough is stretchy and just a smidge sticky. You can add a little more flour if needed.
Prepare a baking sheet with a large piece of parchment paper coated with a tiny bit of flour. Remove your dough from the mixer and shape it into a ball. Place the ball on your parchment and cover with some plastic wrap or a lightly damp tea towel. Let it rest and rise until doubled in size. Mine took about 30 minutes on my stovetop. Once it is poofed, gently pat it down into your desired thickness, slather on the sauce and then top.
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1-2 TB Italian Seasoning spice blend
salt and pepper to your taste
1 tsp sugar
Just mix it all up and let rest a few minutes. Then taste for seasonings. Just apply it to your uncooked pizza crust.
I will warn you up front, I don't love sloppy joes. Never have and likely never will. But, my fella made a request for sloppy joes made with tempeh. Since he almost never makes such requests, I was happy to oblige. I cheaped out and used a can of sauce because I was in a rush, but I did make some little changes. And, I made some homemade buns, which were super yummy. Here's the link to the recipe I use (skipping the "wash" and instead brushing on some melted vegan butter after baking to keep the tops soft). As much as I don't generally enjoy joes, I do plan to try some lentil joes because I'm determined to find some kind of joes that I might possibly enjoy. The fella LOVED these tempeh joes a LOT...and he considers himself to be a Joe Aficionado of sorts.
I used 1 1/2 blocks of tempeh. I cute it into cubes and steamed it about 8 minutes to take a little of the bitterness out of the tempeh. Then, I ran it through my food processor to cut it into little pieces. I minced 2 cloves garlic, diced 1/2 cup onion and 1/3 cup green bell pepper. I added those veggies into a skillet with a little oil and sauteed until the onions were transparent. After that, I added the tempeh to the skillet along with the can of sauce. Then I mixed in some garlic powder, onion powder, a pinch of cumin, some chili powder and a bit of sugar to mellow the tang of the sauce. Mix it all up and simmer for at least 5 minutes to get the flavors all mixed together. Serve with some mustard and tuck in. This should make about 6 large sandwiches.