I've been vegan for 7 years now, and if it's one thing I can't stand, it's how so many food companies think vegan = uber healthy sprouts and whole grains. I'm vegan for the animals, not because I have a granola fetish, and it's a very sad day when the only vegan snacks I can find are whole grain, fat-free, low sodium monstrosities. Give me something deep-fried!
For all the other deep-fried-loving, high-sodium-diet vegans out there, I want to share my greatest discoveries: vegan mozzarella sticks, chili cheese dogs and chili cheese fries.
Before I was vegan, mozzarella sticks were one of my favorite foods, and it's been a very sad 7 years since the last time I've had them. I got ahold of this new vegan cheese called Teese
, which is absolutely amazing. I haven't found it in stores where I live, so I had to order it online from veganessentials.com
. It was totally worth it. I've heard that this is the best fake cheese out there so far, and I can see why. After using some for pizza, I realized it would probably be a really good base for mozzarella sticks. I tried making some without a recipe, which ended in an oily disaster. Then I found this recipe for mozzarella sticks
. Apparently the trick is to double and even triple
dip the cheese sticks in the breading.
I followed that recipe almost exactly, doing three runs through the breading cycle, substituting the granola-friendly whole-wheat pastry flour for good, old fashioned plain white flour. I also used canola oil, which I use every time I deep fry something. Much less healthy, much more delicious.
They weren't gooey and stringy like real mozzarella sticks are, but the flavor is spot on, at least from what I remember they tasted like 7 years ago.
Another one of my recent favorites is chili cheese. My doctor chastised me for not getting enough fiber, and told me to try eating beans every day. She suggested chick-peas and hummus, but that stuff is WAY too healthy for me. So when I'm in need of a fiber kick, I go for chili cheese fries and chili cheese dogs.
Sorry, I eat the chili cheese fries too fast to have a picture, but I do have a picture of the chili cheese dogs I made a few nights ago. These are really really easy to make: I buy some chili beans in sauce from the store (make sure to check the ingredients! I use Fred Meyer brand), and heat them up on the stove. Meanwhile, I prepare frozen French fries or vegan hot dogs like normal. For the cheese fries, I generally grate some cheddar Vegan Gourmet cheese into the beans while they're heating up, and then after I've dumped the cooked fries in a bowl, I'll pour a bunch of the chili cheese on top of them. For the chili dogs, I cooked the beans separate and melted the grated cheese in the microwave. If you do it this way, you have to be really quick because the cheese only stays melted for a few seconds before it solidifies again.
If anybody else tries making the mozzarella sticks, I'd love to see more pictures and hear more thoughts on them. I've tried making mozzarella sticks with a bunch of other types of vegan cheeses, but I never had them turn out edible before.