Vegan love

Now I’m sure some of you are reading this hoping for some kind of hippy dippy peace and love-fest revelation, or erotic plant-based relationship advice. Really??

No, this post is the first of many, I’m sure, sharing my love of vegan food.

You know, going vegan hasn’t been that difficult for me as I was never a big meat eater, I dislike milk (dairy) and I made the shift to soya milk and yoghurt some years ago. Giving up eggs and cheese hasn’t been too difficult, although a pizza without delicious gooey melty cheese isn’t quite as delicious. Vegan cheese substitutes are variable in their appeal; vegan cream cheeses are amazing, vegan feta is good but don’t melt it on a pizza as it oozes everywhere, vegan parmesan is pretty good too. If the aim is to replicate a non-vegan recipe then you may be disappointed but if you’re happy just to get some kind of cheese-flavour in your meal then all is good.

Having found a few cake recipes that work well without eggs, which feed the weight gain as well as non-vegan cakes, I had hoped this week to focus on healthy (weight loss) food. But I think that next week is good for that too!

At the weekend, we went into Liverpool to a Vegan Fair and in the goody bag of samples was a copy of Vegan Life magazine. One recipe in particular grabbed my attention, and so yesterday I started the preparation for it. As far as making sandwiches goes, I’m generally a fan of simplicity, the quicker I can throw something together the better, so quite why I wanted to make this more complex sandwich is a mystery.

Pesto Mayo and Smoked Tofu Club Sandwich (from Vegan Life)

First the tofu. Generally I use Cauldron Foods tofu which requires pressing to firm it up, however for this recipe I used Tofoo brand tofu which doesn’t need pressing. Slice the tofu thinly and marinade in soy sauce, maple syrup and smoked paprika, after 30+ minutes shallow fry the tofu strips until crispy and magic! You’ve created tofu ‘bacon’.

Now, I have to say I was pretty impressed by this fake-bacon but moving on I didn’t think the egg(less) mayo would be as successful. Drain a tin of chickpeas (reserve the liquid), lightly mash the chickpeas and mix with vegan mayo, lemon juice, onion granules, garlic granules, turmeric, and kala namak (which apparently is black salt, never having heard of it, I left it out)… and somehow this mix actually works as a good substitute for egg mayo.

To assemble the sandwich – toast three slices of bread.
On the bottom slice put the ‘egg’ mayo (I also put sliced tomato), lay the second slice on top and layer the ‘bacon’ and spinach leaves, spread the third slice with pesto mayo (I used sun-dried tomato pesto) and place on top of the spinach. Slice and enjoy!

I’m not kidding this sandwich was EPIC!

Then with the liquid reserved from the chickpeas (it’s called aquafaba apparently) it’s quite simple to make vegan meringues. Whisk the aquafaba for about ten minutes until it’s thickened, slowly add sugar and keep whisking, then bake at a low heat for a long time!
~ here’s a BBC Good Food recipe if you’re interested ~ tomorrow I will decide what to serve with the meringues but I can tell you that licking the beaters knowing that there’s no raw egg in the mix was a good thing!

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