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.

20140525-IMG_3292

 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!

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Dream Date Cookies

As the stores are already littered with Valentine’s Day displays, memories come to mind of my childhood ideas about what “romance” meant. Flowers, dinners in fancy restaurants, and, for some bizarre reason, having a date who would appreciate it when I wore pantyhose (I think I associated it with being grown up). And of course the mysterious lover would be attractive, sweet, think I was funny.

I did and up marrying someone I love, who is sweet, beautiful, and has a sense of humour. Sure, flowers and fancy dinners happen sometimes, but the love and romance stems from more than that. Coming home during a stressful week and her playing an album on the stereo that I told her I’ve been thinking of for a while. Picking up her favourite candy when I’m out running errands. Taking the time to learn about and become interested in each others’ hobbies. After nearly a decade, love still isn’t boring. Making cookies for each other helps, too.

Dream Date Cookies (4 of 5)

These cookies could be described as a cross between chocolate shortbread and a trail mix cookie, with lots of chocolate flavour. Share them with whomever you love.

Dream Date Cookies (5 of 5)

Double-Chocolate Dream Date Cookies – An original recipe by Agent Minty

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 2 Tbsp finely grated coconut
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup soft margarine
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp egg replacer + 2.5 Tbsp water, mixed well
  • 1/2 cup chopped dates (cheap ones are fine)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Process rolled oats in a blender or food processor until they are a coarse, uniform flour (think bran flake size).
  3. Combine oat flour in a bowl with salt, flour, coconut, cocoa, and baking powder.
  4. Cream together margarine, brown sugar, and white sugar.
  5. Add in vanilla and “egg” and beat until fluffy.
  6. Mix in dry ingredients.
  7. Stir in chopped dates and chocolate chips.
  8. Drop in 2-Tbsp piles on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 12 minutes in the middle of the oven, rotating sheets halfway through.
  10. For best texture, cool completely before eating.

Dream Date Cookies (3 of 5)

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.

What do I eat for breakfast?

Oatmeal!!

Bowl of oatmeal

I mentioned a few posts back that I’m trying to eat protein-packed, inexpensive meals all day long.  I love eating oatmeal in the morning, but have had to tweak the recipe so that I don’t feel hungry soon after. I got the idea from Sprint 2 the Table to add TVP to my oatmeal for low-calorie, high-protein breakfast. TVP, or Textured Vegetable Protein, is dehydrated soy protein crumbles. If you’re a habitual oatmeal eater, and are familiar with the taste/smell of TVP already, this might taste a bit weird to you at first, so start by adding lots of fruit and spices (frozen blueberries are excellent). I found after a week or so of this, I got used to the taste. Mrs. Minty, wo doesn’t have oatmeal as often, didn’t even notice the addition when I made her a bowl of steel cut oats plus TVP.

Note: you can use rolled oats instead, but I find steel cut ones have a closer texture to the TVP and so everything blends together nicely.

Again, this is super cheap (about 50 cents per serving, not counting whatever fruit you might add).

While I won’t assume you’re incapable of figuring out how to make oatmeal, I’m going to post how I make it in case you’re curious:

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp steel-cut oats
  • 1 c water
  • 1/4 c TVP
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • shake of cinnamon and nutmeg

1. Combine the steel-cut oats and water in a small pot. Bring to a simmer.
2. Simmer for 10-15 muntes, until the oats are tender.
3. Add the remaining ingredients. Cool until the water is absorbed and the TVP is soft, 2-5 minutes. Stir frequently. You may need to add more water to prevent the oats from sticking to the pot.
4. Serve with fruit (in the photo above I have added a chopped apple), brown sugar, and almond milk.

This is also pretty good made the night before and heated up at work the next morning.

Diet FYI: the combo listed above (without milk, sugar, or apple) has 280 cals and 19g protein.