Vegan Greek No-gurt and Granola

Closeup Vegan Yogurt

I am exceptionally proud of this recipe. This will be a game-changer to those of you who love the creaminess of yogurt but choose to go animal-free. This is better than the chalky stuff that was available six years ago. This is creamier than the lumpy cultured soy product that’s been around for years. This is on par with the current coconut and almond yogurts, but with less sugar, refined and plant-based starches, and way more protein.

Don’t believe me? See the bottom of this post for a detailed nutritional comparison…. I won’t put it here to bore the people just looking for vegan food porn.

I’m working on a cultured version right now, but this stuff tastes just as good anyway.

Imagine it layered with fruit and cereal for breakfast. Smeared onto tacos instead of sour cream. Swirled into soups for awesome creaminess. Dive in!

No-gurt and granola

I have also included a protein-packed granola recipe to go with it. It uses a hearty mix of seeds, grains, and nuts to keep you full.

A few notes about special ingredients:

The yogurt uses agar-agar, which I also used in my previous marshmallow recipe. This is an animal-free gelatine-like product, commonly used in asian desserts. It can be found at asian grocery stores, or at organic foods stores. You can buy flakes or powder. I prefer powder, as it is more precise to measure. My measurements are using powder, so if you can only get flakes, go by weight. It is assumed that you can use 3x the volume when subbing flakes for powder, but I have not personally tried this.

I use Soya Flakes, also called Rolled Soya, as a major ingredient in the granola. I’ve seen it online from Indian import stores, and from a british muesli store. If you’re Canadian and can get to a Bulk Barn, this is your best bet. If you can’t find soya flakes, no sweat. Use more old-fashioned oats, or try rolled Kamut flakes for a heartier crunch. I haven’t posted nutritional information for this recipe, as I suspect everyone’s choices will make macronutrient values vary.

Vegan Greek No-Gurt

An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package traditional tofu (340g), not pressed
  • 1/4 cup coconut cream from a can – if you want less fat, use light canned coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp +1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp (4g) agar-agar powder

Instructions:

  1. Puree tofu in a food processor or high-speed blender for at least one minute.
  2. Stir, scraping down sides of bowl, and process for at least another minute, until it is completely smooth to touch and taste.
  3. Add coconut milk, 3 Tbsp of almond milk, lemon juice, and maple syrup.
  4. Process for one more minute, scrape down bowl, and puree for another 10 seconds.
  5. Whisk agar powder into remaining 1/4 cup almond milk in a small saucepan.
  6. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally, until it comes to a gentle boil.
  7. Turn down heat and whisk continuously for another two minutes until the agar is completely dissolved.
  8. Take a spatula and scoop out approximately 1/4 of the tofu mixture into the agar mixture. Whisk well.
  9. Heat mixture for another 30 seconds, whisking continuously, then add another scoop of tofu mixture to the pot as before.
  10. Remove agar-tofu mixture from the heat. Start running food processor.
  11. Slowly transfer the warmed mixture into the running food processor.
  12. Process for another two minutes, until smooth and slightly cooled.
  13. Place the mixture into the refrigerator for 20-40 minutes (I just place the bowl of the food processor straight into the fridge).
  14. Once the mixture has solidified, return to the machine and process for 30-60 seconds until smooth.
  15. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to ten days.

High-Protein Granola – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 2.5 Tbsp fine, unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 6.5 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, broken into smaller pieces
  • 1/4 roughly chopped raw almonds
  • 2/3 cup rolled soya flakes
  • 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (If not vegan, can substitute half volume for creamed honey)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. Combine oats, soya, coconut, seeds, and nuts in a large bowl.
  3. Combine coconut oil, maple syrup, spices, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl.
  4. Microwave oil mixture on medium power for 30-60 seconds, until it is runny.
  5. Stir liquid mixture briefly, then pour over dry oat mixture.
  6. Mix with a wooden spoon until all dry ingredients are lightly coated.
  7. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  8. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until mixture is fragrant and nuts/seeds are lightly toasted.
  9. Cool for an hour before breaking granola into small clumps.
  10. Store in a sealed container at room temperature.

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 Nutritional Comparison

My No-gurt:

125 mL (1/4 of recipe) has:

  • 120 calories, 7g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 6 g carbs, 4 g sugar, 7 g protein, 13% RDA Calcium, 10% RDA Iron

A popular brand of coconut yogurt (using full-fat coconut cream):

125 mL (calculated from 175 mL serving on label) has:

  • 100 calories, 3.6 g total fat, 3.2 g saturated fat, 16.4 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 1.4 g protein, 25% RDA Calcium, 4.2% RDA Iron

A popular brand of almond yogurt:

125 mL (calculated from 175 mL serving on label) has:

  • 71 calories, 4.3 g total fat, 0.4 g saturated fat, 9.3 g carbs, 5 g sugar, 2.1 g protein, 28.6% RDA Calcium, 2.8% RDA Iron

A popular brand of cultured soy product:

125 mL (calculated from 170 mL serving on label) has:

  • 107 calories, 2.1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 17.9 g carbs, 10.7 g sugar, 3.57 g protein, 10.7% RDA Calcium, 1.1% RDA Iron

Yes, mine has more calories and more fat than the others, but it tastes awesome… and the protein is great if (like me) you’re trying to put on muscle in the gym!

Winter Sunshine Rainbow Bowls

Six more weeks of winter. Technically, only four until it’s “spring”, but in Alberta we get snow and cold weather lasting until April. However, today was a fair day with lots of sunshine, and it put me in a good mood. I decided to make sunshiny lunch bowls filled with a rainbow assortment of healthy foods to keep me going all week.

Rainbow bowls (3 of 4)

Sometimes called Abundance Bowls, these meals have a grain base combined with legumes, vegetables, and seeds. Mine contains steamed broccoli, quick-pickled red cabbage, roasted red peppers, and lentils, topped with a peanut-sesame-lime dressing. For extra protein, I’ve included quinoa and pumpkin seeds. For the calorie curious, one bowl has 395 calories, 57g carbs, 12g fat, and 19g protein. To make ahead for the week, I prefer to prepare each set of ingredients and only combine the night before.

Winter Sunshine Rainbow Bowls – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • Grains and Lentil Mix (Recipe Below)
  • Red Cabbage Quick Pickle (Recipe Below)
  • 2 red peppers, roasted, with skins and seeds removed
  • 2 heads of broccoli, stems and florets diced and steamed
  • 5 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • Peanut-sesame-lime Dressing

Instructions:

  1. Spoon 1/5 of the grains and lentil mix into each bowl.
  2. Arrange on top 1/5 each of the cabbage, sliced roasted peppers, broccoli, and pumpkin seeds.
  3. Drizzle dressing on top and enjoy.

Rainbow bowls (2 of 4)

Grains and Lentils Mix

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dried quinoa
  • 1/4 cup dried red lentils
  • 1/2 cup cracked wheat

Instructions:

  1. Wash quinoa well and combine with 2 cups of water.
  2. Bring to a boil on high and simmer with lid on for 7 minutes.
  3. Stir in the lentils, and turn down heat to medium-low for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in cracked wheat and 1/4 more water.
  5. Allow to return to a simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off heat.
  6. Sit, covered with a lid, for at least 10 minutes.

Red Cabbage Quick Pickle

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 red cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and sit at room temperature at least one hour.

Peanut-sesame-lime Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha (reduce if you dislike spicy things)
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

I’m going to enjoy this bit of brightness and sunshine in my days all week – I hope you have a good week, too!

Rainbow bowls (4 of 4)

Messy Kitchen!

I’ve been a busy person lately. In the kitchen, too, making some recipes to share with you, but I haven’t had time to finish all of the photo processing and recipe typing. While I work on other things, here’s a recap of some of the mess I made in my kitchen today:

Noodly!

One of my 2015 resolutions is to try to incorporate more vegetables into every meal. Last week I tried making Serious Eats’ Instant Noodles with Miso-Sesame Broth. They were so good I’m making a jar for every workday this week! My version includes pressed tofu pan-fried in olive oil (as the first layer after the sauce base), fresh mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, snap peas, and udon noodles. I switched to using freeze-dried chives instead of chopped scallions after my office was left with a lingering smell of green onions.

I’m also trying to improve my early-morning preparedness. For three breakfasts this week, I made a big batch of high-protein oatmeal that I’ll keep in the fridge and reheat before eating. For two other meals, I’ll make VegMcMuffins – I’ve already prepped the tofu and “meat”, all I’ll need to do is toast an English muffin and add slices of pepper and tomato.

Dirty Kitchen (2 of 2)

I made a batch of cookies but didn’t take pictures. They were a cashew variation of Nephew Cookies, to give to a neighbour. It was like he was psychic – as I was convincing myself to bundle up and drop them off, he same over with some Vegan chili he had made for us. Awesome!

Finally, I made a big pot of minestrone, like we do every month. This will last in leftovers for a few dinners this week, or be frozen as extra lunches for days when we don’t have time to make anything fresh but want something healthy and delicious.

Dirty Kitchen (1 of 2)

A few hours of work made me food for at least twelve meals plus more to share, with lots of healthy ingredients and flavour. Yum!

Goldilocks oatmeal muffins

Making the perfect oatmeal muffin has been quite a challenge for me.

Stack of oatmeal muffins

I want it to have a little texture, but not be too coarse. I tried several variations on my original recipe, each one being disappointing for different reasons: Too sweet, too dense, or too rough. I felt like Goldilocks raiding the bears’ muffin stash!

Muffin on a plate with jam

Finally I’ve struck my ideal: fluffy, oaty, and not-too-sweet. Perfect with jam for dessert or with peanut butter for a snack at work. Pulsing the oats in the blender at the beginning gives these muffins a finer texture without sacrificing fibre or oat flavour.

Milled oats

These are also relatively high in protein, but aren’t too calorie-dense. For those of you who are into that sort of thing, one muffin has approximately 140 calories, 6g fat, 4g protein, and 5g sugar. Compare that to a Nature Valley trail mix bar, which has 140 calories, 4g fat, 2g protein, and 12g sugar. But enough about nutrition, as I don’t purport to be a healthy living blog, just a blog with delicious, wannabe-vegan recipes.

Muffins and apple on lunch sack

A few more technical notes about these muffins:

1. Even with the nutritional info listed above, these are lower fat than traditional muffins. I have found that muffin recipes with less than 1/4 c fat will stick to paper liners once they have cooled, so I would recommend just spraying your tin and pouring in the batter directly.

2. These muffins do have a coconut aroma, which is how I can get away with so little sugar. I know at least one person who hates coconut (hi Lia!), and have subbed out coconut oil for canola or olive oil in other recipes with a fair amount of success. Since canola doesn’t have the same melting point as coconut oil, I would recommend 1 Tbsp of melted margarine of butter and 2 Tbsp of liquid oil. If you do this you may wish to up the white sugar content by 1-2 Tbsp.

muffin batter in tins

3. You really do want to stir these muffins more than most recipes. The oatmeal needs to hydrate before baking, and if you stir just until mixed/slightly lumpy like with traditional muffins, you will get very uneven batter and resultantly clumpy muffins.

 

OK, long spiel aside, here we go:

 

Goldilocks oatmeal muffins – An Agent Minty original recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats (not instant), pulsed in the food processor until fine
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown rice protein powder (if you don’t have protein powder, use more almond meal)
  • 2 Tbsp almond meal
  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup almond milk or other milk of your choice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Instructions:

  1. Pulse oats in a blender.
  2. Add all other dry ingredients and mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice and milk, stirring until the milk curdles.
  4. Microwave for about 30 seconds so that the milk mixture is not very cold. Otherwise the coconut oil will harden when added.
  5. Add remaining liquids, stirring briefly.
  6. Pour liquid mix onto the dry ingredients.
  7. Stir gently but thoroughly until no dry lumps remain and the batter is smooth.
  8. Sit at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 400F.
  9. Divide batter between greased muffin tins.
  10. Bake in centre of oven, rotating once, for 18 minutes. If you prefer muffins that are crispy on the outside, bake for 20 minutes.

Sorta-healthy blueberry muffins

Mrs. Minty summed up the current feeling perfectly a few days ago: “I am sick of treats.” While the homemade candy and cookies we have been eating all December were delicious, the feeling around here is that it’s time to get back to real food. I wanted to make something with a little fibre and nutrition in them, but still sweet enough to satisfy my over-stimulated sweet tooth.

In tin logo

Blueberry muffins. Nothing too fancy, and almost everybody loves them.

Perfect for breakfast, or smeared with peanut butter as an afternoon snack. Light enough to feel like an easy start for anyone who has resolved to eat healthier in 2013.

Plated muffins logo

Sorta-healthy blueberry muffins – by Agent Minty, very loosely based on the Reduced-Fat muffins in Joy of Cooking

Makes 12 medium muffins

Pro tip: when making low-fat muffins, don’t use paper liners or the cooled muffins will stick to the liners and break apart when you try to unwrap them. Just bake them straight in the (well-sprayed) pan.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour of your choice
  • 6 Tbsp white sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3 Tbsp ground flax
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg replacer whisked well into 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp melted margarine
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries (I like wild blueberries as they are smaller and distribute more evenly)
  • Cinnamon-sugar mix (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, flax, and salt.
  3. Whisk up egg replacer and set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine melted fats with a little bit of milk, stir, and add remaining milk.
  5. Add egg replacer mixture and vanilla to milk-oil mixture.
  6. Pour liquids into dry ingredients and stir with a spatula a few times until the mixture is moist but still very lumpy.
  7. Add blueberries and stir until evenly distributed. The dough will still be somewhat lumpy.
  8. Drop into greased muffin tins.
  9. If desired, lightly sprinkle tops of muffins with cinnamon sugar.
  10. Bake in centre of oven for 25-30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

 

Happy new year, everyone! I hope you’re working towards whatever positive changes you want to make in your life!