I love watching cooking shows and reading food magazines but when I began my weight loss plan, I had to learn how to make lower-calorie, healthier versions of the recipes. They needed to be “Weight Watcherized,” if you will. That meant using low-fat or fat-free versions of ingredients, cutting the amounts of oil in half or more, and making the portion sizes more reasonable. Then I became a Vegan and my recipes needed to be made over yet again. Now when I watch cooking shows, I automatically substitute seitan, tofu or tempeh for whatever “protein” the chef is using, non-dairy spread for butter, vegan cheese for dairy cheese, soymilk for cow’s milk, flaxseeds for eggs, whole wheat pastry flour for white flour….you get the idea.
For me, making recipes cruelty-free is fun and exciting. Honestly, I don’t know why all those professional chefs on the reality cooking shows (Yes, I’m talking to you, Top Chef Masters!) got so bent out of shape when they had to prepare a delicious Vegan feast. You would think these “artists” would embrace the challenge to create new and different masterpieces to add to their gallery of fine cuisine. Anyway, I love Veganinzing recipes, almost as much as my husband, Tom, loves tasting them.
Since I enjoy savory a gazillion times more than sweet, I was excited to find a recipe for spicy chile-cheese muffins featured in the September 2009 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray. Here is my Veganized version along with the nutritional information I obtained using one of those nifty online NI calculators.
2 ½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or you could use half flour/half corn meal)
1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup frozen corn, thawed (or fresh, if in season)
One 4 oz. can diced roasted green chiles, drained
¼-cup nutritional yeast
4 Tbs. grated vegan parmesan cheese (optional; you could use just nutritional yeast)
¼ cup ground flax seeds
1 ½ -cup soymilk (or almond or whatever you like)
½-cup vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Stir in the corn, chiles, nutritional yeast, flax, and 3 tbs. parmesan.
Stir in the milk and mayonnaise. Add vegan cheddar cheese. Mix until batter is the right consistency. Note: you may find you need more milk to get the batter to the right consistency. Whole-wheat pastry flour tends to need more liquid.
Spoon the mixture into non-stick muffin pans (you may want to spray a bit of oil here just to avoid stickage).
Bake for 15 minutes, and then sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbs. parmesan. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Remove from muffin tins and let cool. Enjoy as is, warmed up with some vegan spread or even dunked in a rich, creamy mushroom gravy (my favorite).
You could also put the entire batter into a larger pan for a cornbread rather than muffins.
Nutritional Info: Makes 12 muffins.
Each muffin contains:
Fat: 6.7 g (O sat)
Sodium: 291 mg