Perogies for Thanksgiving

Perogies on a plate with fall decor

Perogies, Pyrohy, Piroshki, etc., etc. Delicacy of Eastern Europe, particularly of Ukraine. Western Canada is perogy-land, having been settled by a large number of Ukrainians over the last century.

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They often make an appearance at old-school buffets, and many community halls hold perogy dinner fundraisers. Many people I know also include them at the Thanksgiving table.

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I learned to love perogies when our family moved away from the prairies to the maritimes, and my mom had to make them from scratch. It was a special-occasion meal because it was more labor intensive. When we moved to Alberta when I was a teenager, perogies beam a convenience food, cooked from a bag from the freezer aisle.

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It wasn’t until I lived on my own that I tried making perogies from scratch myself, but they’re worth the effort (I say that a lot on this blog!!). This recipe is one loosely based on a recipe from the Vegetarian Times cookbook. It’s also a good recipe to make with friends, as many hands speed the assembly stage. Our friend Matt came over when we last made these, and is the lovely hand model in the photos.

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Vegan Cheddar and Chive Perogies

An Agent Minty original recipe

Makes approximately 45 perogies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked 4 hours to overnight
  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp miso paste
  • 4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 + 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sundried tomato, soaked in water and cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2-3 Tbsp chopped fresh chives

Instructions:

Prepare components:

  1. Peel and cube potatoes, cover with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, process together drained soaked cashews, until coarse.
  3. Add almond milk, miso, and vinegar and puree for 3-5 minutes until perfectly creamy.
  4. Set aside cashew cream for now.
  5. Once potatoes are cooked until very tender, drain, reserving potato cooking liquid in a bowl.
  6. Mash potatoes until smooth.
  7. Combine 2 1/2 cups of flour with cream of tartar and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  8. Mix 1 3/4 cups of mashed potato with 3/4 cups of potato cooking water and the oil.
  9. Add mixture from step 8 to the flour-salt mixture and stir well.
  10. Either kneading in the bowl by hand, or using your mixer’s dough hook attachment, start kneading the dough.
  11. Add remaining flour in 1/4 cupfuls every minute or so, until the dough is no longer very sticky.
  12. Continue kneading for about five minutes.
  13. Cover dough with plastic wrap to rest while you prepare the filling.
  14. Blend together 1/4 cup of cashew cream from step 4 with remaining mashed potato. Add in remaining ingredients and puree or stir until creamy.

Cut and fill perogies:

  1. Using a generous amount of flour, roll out 1/3 of dough to 1/8-inch thick.
  2. Cut 3-inch circles, and fill each with 1 Tbsp of filling.
  3. Moisten the edge of the dough with water, fold over, and press together with a fork.
  4. Transfer all finished perogies to a tray covered with plastic wrap to keep them moist.
  5. Scraps from cutting dough can be reused.
  6. After all perogies have been cut and filled, bring a pot of water to boil.
  7. Cook perogies in boiling water for 5-8 minutes.
  8. If desired, lightly sauté in oil before serving.
  9. Serve with remaining cashew cream, fried onions, and vegan “bacon” bits.
  10. Leftover boiled perogies store well in the fridge for a week.Perogies-3

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Make-Ahead Bean Burritos

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I have had a crazy schedule this semester. Working late hours in the lab, often followed by evening tutoring appointments as undergrads panic over finals. The only thing I really have the time and money to grab on campus for dinner is a burrito at the place across the street. Unfortunately, the cost of this adds up. After buying a few frozen vegan burritos from the grocery store as a cheaper alternative, I realized (duh) that I should just make them myself.

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These burritos have way more protein than your usual store-bought vegan option. I paid about $16 for enough ingredients to make 11 burritos. $4 of that was for store-bought vegan cream cheeze, of which I only used a third of a tub, so if you make cheeze yourself or omit it entirely they will be even cheaper.

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I now have a healthy option for dinners at work that will fuel me for my bike ride home. They freeze well, and warm up in the microwave fine whether taken straight from the freezer or left to thaw for several hours in a lunch bag.

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Make-Ahead Bean Burritos

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Makes 11 burritos

One note: to make a lower-fat option, use oil to steam-fry veggies, and do not add to beans. Do not, however, remove oil when cooking the ground round.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of black-eyed peas
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cube vegetable bouillon
  • 1+1+2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 peppers, finely diced
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 package (approximately 1lb) of vegetarian ground round/rehydrated TVP
  • 1 pouch taco seasoning
  • 11 small (8-inch) whole wheat tortillas
  • 1/3 package Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese or similar

Instructions:

Prepare fillings:

  1. Combine beans, water, bouillon cube, and 1 Tbsp of oil in a large pot. Bring to a boil.
  2. Turn heat to medium-low, cover, and allow to simmer.
  3. Cook until beans are softened and mostly split, and most of the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
  4. Using a potato masher, mash beans until most are broken down.
  5. Turn off heat from beans, but allow to sit uncovered on still-warm stove.
  6. Sauté pepper and onions in 1 Tbsp oil on medium-high until tender, about 8 minutes.
  7. Remove vegetables from frying pan and set aside.
  8. Without cleaning the frying pan, heat up remaining 2 Tbsp of oil on medium heat.
  9. Crumble in ground round and cook, stirring frequently, until crumbles start to separate and dry slightly.
  10. Sprinkle taco seasoning over ground round and stir to combine for about 1 minute. If food is sticking to the pan, add a few tablespoons of water and scrape up with a spatula.
  11. Remove ground round to the same  dish as the vegetables and stir to combine.

Assemble burritos:

  1. Lay out all tortillas on your work surface.
  2. Spread each tortilla with 1/2 Tbsp cream cheeze.
  3. Divide bean mixture evenly between tortillas.
  4. Divide ground round and vegetable mixture evenly between tortillas.
  5. Roll up each tortilla and wrap in plastic or waxed paper.
  6. Store in a larger bag in the freezer.
  7. Thaw by heating at 70% power for about 3 minutes, seam side down.

Nutrition Information: Per Burrito: 317 kCal, 11g fat, 8g fibre, 4g sugar, 13g protein, 50% RDA Vit.C, 25% RDA Iron.

Vegan Savoury Pie, or Non-Quiche

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Vegan quiche sounds impossible. What about the eggs, the cheese? In the words of a non-vegan critic, Where does all the flavour come from?

Well, if you can’t make something plant-based and flavourful, you just need to work a little harder. There is some vegan cheeze in here, as this is the second instalment of recipes that can be made with cheeze, but a lot of the favour also comes from the roasted peppers and seasonings, not to mention a rich pastry crust. At the request of Mme. Minty, I’m not officially calling this a quiche, as “eggs are gross,” so savoury pie it is. A perfectly indulgent dish for wintertime.

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Vegan Savoury Pie

An original recipe by Agent Minty

One note about the tart tin: I used a 9-inch quiche/tart tin than separates into two pieces. If you only have a traditional style pie plate, that will work too, as the crust recipe makes more than enough dough.

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup (80g) Earth Balance or other hard maragarine
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water

Filling:

  • One red pepper
  • 1/3 head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 block (170g) traditional/medium tofu (not pressed)
  • 2 Tbsp chickpea/Besan flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/8 tsp smoked sea salt (if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp regular salt
  • 1/2 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sage
  • generous dash of black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup of cubed non-dairy cheeze (soft or meltable is best), or shredded Daiya

Instructions:

Prepare the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Whisk together salt and flour in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Drop in Earth Balance by spoonfuls or as cubes.
  4. Cut flour into fat with a pastry cutter until the largest pieces are smaller than peas.
  5. Combine water and vinegar and pour over flour mixture.
  6. Mix water in by cutting-motion strokes with the edge of a spatula.
  7. Mix until the dough holds together, and turn out onto a floured countertop.
  8. Knead a few times until you have a smooth-ish ball.
  9. Roll out to about 5mm thick.
  10. Cut a circle slightly larger than the bottom of your pan and lift into the bottom of your tart pan.
  11. Cut rectangular strips about 50% wider than the walls of your pan. Use these to line the walls, pressing to join with the bottom. Using multiple overlapping strips is fine.
  12. Fold excess top edge of pastry into the pan and press to reinforce.
  13. Prick bottom of pan all over with a fork.
  14. Completely line pan with a sheet of foil (I find crinkling it first makes it easier to work with), and fill with dried beans, marbles, or other weights.
  15. Bake for 12 minutes. Set to cool on a rack for 5 minutes before attempting to lift out foil filled with hot weights!
  16. Let cool completely while preparing the filling.

Raw to cooked!

Prepare vegetables for filling:

  1. Cut pepper in half and remove seeds and stem.
  2. Place cut side down on a baking sheet or piece of foil.
  3. Switch oven heat source to broil.
  4. Cook in 450F oven until skin is blackened.
  5. Meanwhile, blanch broccoli and shock in cold water.
  6. Chop broccoli finely – After preparation, you should have about 1/3 cup.
  7. Let roasted red pepper cool or run under cold water for a few minutes to cool quickly.
  8. Peel skin off of pepper (even non-burnt regions) and chop one half of pepper finely.

Prepare filling:

  1. Turn oven temperature down to 350F.
  2. Puree tofu in a food processor until smooth, about one minute.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except baking powder. Pulse until combined, scraping walls occasionally.
  4. Add baking powder and blend briefly.
  5. In a mixing bowl, stir together puree, broccoli, and pepper.
  6. Fold in cubed cheeze.
  7. Pour mixture into pastry shell and level out.
  8. If desired, decorate with herbs and shapes cut from remaining roasted red pepper.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes.
  10. Cool at room temperature for at least one hour, to allow filling to set.
  11. Can be re-warmed before serving.

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Amazing Vegan Mac

Growing up, my favourite meal was homemade macaroni and cheese. It had four ingredients: boiled elbow noodles, shredded cheddar, skim milk poured all over everything, and crushed potato chips on top. Talk about simple. And man, what an overload of dairy.

I’ve made a recipe to share with you that has the comfort food spirit of my childhood favourite, but with a little more flavour and zero animal products. Ooey, gooey, creamy, cheezy. This is my first follow up to my Vegan Cheeze post, and uses Daiya shredded Pepperjack and some Kick-Ace cheddar spread. This makes a large batch – be sure to use a very deep 9×9 dish, or a larger casserole dish will also work. It is amazing as leftovers, too.

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Amazing Vegan Mac – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups dried elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp margarine
  • 2.5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup plus 2/3 cup almond or other non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup prepared Kick Ace cheddar
  • 1/3 cup plus 2/3 cup Daiya Pepperjack shreds
  • 1/4 cup parsley flakes
  • Optional: a handful of rippled potato chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and generously spray your casserole dish.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook macaroni until al dente, while preparing the sauce.
  3. Melt the margarine and oil together in a heavy-bottomed pot on medium-low heat.
  4. Whisk in the flour and stir vigorously until it starts to foam and thicken slightly.
  5. Gently sprinkle in a few spoonfuls of the wine and whisk vigorously until combined with the paste.
  6. Drizzle in the remaining wine while whisking vigorously.
  7. Stir in 1 cup of milk while continuing to whisk.
  8. Take the pot off of the heat and whisk in the kick-ace cheddar and 1/3 cup of the daiya shreds.
  9. Return to medium-low heat and stir until cheezes are melted.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in drained, cooked noodles.
  11. Fill casserole dish with alternating layers of 1/3 of cheezy noodles, 1/3 cup reserved daiya, and 1 Tablespoon of parmesan, until all are done.
  12. Bake in centre of oven for one hour.
  13. Top casserole with crushed potato chips, if desired.
  14. Broil casserole for 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
  15. Cool out of the oven for at least 5 minutes before serving.

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Meatless Meatballs for the Somewhat Lazy

I’m not a huge lover of mock beef – for me, its only uses are in tacos, lasagna, and as meatballs.

 

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These meatballs, in particular. Soft enough to break with a fork after being soaked in sauce, yet tough enough to not break down in sauce, either. A tasty addition to your favourite spaghetti recipe. This winter, I’m going to try serving them in a sweet-and-sour sauce like my mom did when I was an omnivore kid – I’ll let you know if it works.

 

The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is. Mix stuff together, bake in oven. You’ll need only about 10 minutes of hands-on time, so it’s perfect if you want something hearty but are feeling lazy, or want something that you can make with your kids. Keep in mind that when I say that you have to bake this for a long time, I really mean it – 40 minutes is needed, even though they’ll look “done” after 20.

 

Vegan Meatballs – recipe by Agent Minty

Makes approximately 2 dozen 1-inch balls

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (12oz/340g) vegan “ground round” or similar
  • 3 Tbsp red wine
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 7 Tbsp (well packed) gluten powder

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 390F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except gluten powder, and mix well.
  3. Add half of gluten powder, and stir well.
  4. Add last of gluten powder tablespoon by tablespoon, stirring between additions.
  5. After adding last of gluten, knead with hands for about two minutes, until it starts to ball together.
  6. Form into 1-inch balls.Uncooked Meatballs
  7. Place balls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  8. Spray balls generously with cooking spray (I used an olive-oil baking spray), or brush with oil.
  9. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes, shaking sheet halfway through to turn over the meatballs.
  10. Turn off the oven and let meatballs cool inside for at least 10 minutes.
    Meatballs will have shrunken noticeably by this point!Meatballs (1 of 5)
  11. Store in a sealed container for a few days as is, if desired.
  12. Add to hot spaghetti sauce and simmer for 10 minutes before serving.Meatballs in sauce