Firstly, just to clarify, "vegan take" means that the take on the food is vegan, not myself. It's not "A vegan's take", it's "vegan take". I just want to clarify that so no one thinks I'm claiming to be full vegan when I am not.
I consider my diet "plant-based". And I mean that in the sense that, it is quite literally based upon plants/vegetables; and everything else comes after. I've wanted to go full vegan in the past but there are certain things I haven't been able to give up; as well as the fact I do not ALWAYS have the opportunity to eat at home, which where I live, makes veganism almost impossible. Buying vegetarian-friendly food here is itself almost impossible.
Anyways, in the past I've made a garlic parmesan cabbage dish. I am always trying my best to inch myself further and further towards veganism, so when I was looking in my fridge, refusing to go to the grocery store and telling myself I had to create something with the few items I had, I decided to sautee up my cabbage, add what vegetables I had left, and try making a more exciting, vegan version of my old dish.
Vegan Garlic "Cheese" Cabbage
I think just about anyone who uses, or has even tasted, nutritional yeast can agree on it's similarity in taste to cheese. Particularly something such as parmesan. I had both; and while looking at my parmesan, I remembered this similarity and decided I would see how it goes with nutritional yeast.
A little bit ago I purchased two bunches of asparagus when I very clearly only needed one. I don't know why I did that as I really don't eat asparagus all that often; solely because I find my usual methods of preparation time-consuming and messy; or just "a shitshow", which is how I would typically describe it. They must have been on sale where you needed a certain amount for a discount. Regardless, I hadn't been intending on using asparagus in this but I thought of the texture and thought it would actually go really well. And it did!
As is becoming my new recipe style, I will simply be telling you what I did rather than formatting this in a "you should do this" kind of way. That's because all my cooking is improvisational and meant to be altered. You can put whatever you want in this dish; vegetables, spices- anything. Even meat if you're so inclined. Just pay attention to the order in which you do so as this is a one-dish meal, and you'll want to consider the textures when thinking about what goes on the pan when.
What I used
- 1/2 head of red cabbage
- 2 carrots
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 red onion
- half a bunch of asparagus(maybe 10 stalks)
- a good chunk of ginger
- leftover cilantro(about 1/4 bunch)
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- ground black pepper
- sea salt
- red pepper flakes(maybe 1 TBSP; didn't measure)
- Merken (1 TSP? Again, didn't measure)
- 1 TSP onion powder
- 1 TSP chili powder
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast(roughly)
- (a dash of soy sauce- optional)
You'll notice I'm a little unsure of how much of what I put in. And honestly at the moment I'm having a hard time remembering! For example; I don't necessarily even remember putting in the chili powder. But it's outside the cabinet and as I'm eating leftovers(I made this last night) I can taste it and feel the heat. So I definitely did- although everything was kind of on the fly. And that's up to you. Chili powder or no. All of it is completely up to you.
- You can chop everything before you get going or do it on the fly. I did a bit of a compromise between the two. I chopped up the items that I knew were going to be a little more time sensitive(onions, garlic, and carrots) and then started heating my oil. BUT, if you're a confident chopper; I'd say step one is put that oil in your pan and put it on some heat!
- I sliced my red onion into medium-thickness slices. My cooking apparatus is rather narrow and I had a fair amount of cabbage so I figured I'd play it on the safe side in case some things stayed on the bottom too long throughout the process. I also cut my garlic into decently sized chunks- still "diced", but a more lenient "diced". Ditto for the ginger. For the carrots, I peeled as much as I had the patience for and then made the remainder into sticks; and maybe shoved some into my mouth because I got tired of peeling them.
- (3) At this point my oil was hot and I felt like I had avoided the time sensitive stuff. I put in my onions for a few minutes and then added my garlic. I kept those movin around the pan for a few minutes; until the garlic was aromatic and the onions were beginning to become more translucent. I then threw my carrots in and got started on my asparagus.
- (4) I wanted to get the asparagus in there somewhat early because I tend to like a nice, softened asparagus. My usual method is roasting in the oven, and adding it to sautees is not something I do frequently. So I was a little nervous about this part and threw it in as soon as I had it chopped into ~1-inch(2.5 cm) pieces. I continued to stir and tried to separate that pesky mess you get with peeled carrots.
- (5) I tried to get the pieces of asparagus a little closer to the heat and the carrot ribbons more towards the top. In hindsight, maybe I should have thrown in the carrot "sticks" first, and the ribbons after. But, in terms of taste, with this dish I have no regrets. So let it fly.
- (6) While the pan was continuing to cook, I got to work slicing my cabbage. I threw slices of the "heart" right in there and tried to keep them on the heat as well; and they honestly turned out to be one of the best parts of the dish. After splitting my attention between stirring the already-cooking ingredients and cutting the cabbage, I threw it all in there and continued my efforts of mixing it all together in my too-small pan and separating the carrot tangle.
- (7) After I mixed it up pretty good, I threw in my red pepper flakes, my spices- minus the yeast. I chopped up my cilantro and threw it in, and mixed that all together. I continued to let it cook, stirring often and trying to keep the cabbage hearts flat-based on the bottom. Throughout the process I continually would try different pieces to judge the texture; mainly the cabbage. Everything else had achieved a near-perfect, mouth watering taste and texture; so it was now just up to the cabbage.
- (8) Once you're satisfied with the cooking level of your vegetables, turn off the stove. Add your nutritional yeast-however much you want! Mix it in as well as possible(remember it doesn't have that "melt" feature that parmesan (kind-of) does) and remove the pan from heat. Shovel a portion into a bowl and chow down!!
This was a total improv recipe and I'm really happy about the way it came out. Now, I wasn't doing this for aesthetics and I think my nutritional yeast method exemplifies that. It is, of course, a rather dry condiment; so it doesn't really "blend" into the vegetables the way in which something like parmesan does. I would like to try mixing the yeast with some sort of oil or vinegar in the future; we'll see if I ever do.
I ended up eating one bowl with a touch of soy sauce.. after the cooking process, of course. I wasn't sure if that would improve or ruin it. It turned out to really improve it, in my opinion; but also, I'm weird, so use your judgement on that one.
So there you have it. Herbert tries to cook vegan, yet again. I love how much this community has inspired me to eat better- honestly without the motivation and incentive to record my recipes(and even make a little money off of it), I'd probably be eating frozen pizzas and pre-made salads. Or shitty sandwiches. I truly love cooking but I get lazy and I always make a tremendous mess. But lately my fridge has never looked better :)
Hope you all are having a lovely weekend!! Happy Hive-in' <3