Sassy Vegan Sausage and Salsa Roll-Ups (Stupid-Easy and Simply Beautiful)

Sassy Sausage and Salsa Roll-UpsYield: 4 servings

With a couple of grilled vegan sausages left over from testing my Vegan Sausage with Curried Peach and Kale Quick Compote and my husband’s leftover tortillas from “date night” at a Mexican restaurant late yesterday evening,  the idea for these super simple sausage and tortilla rollups sprang into mind for my lunch today.

The deal was sealed by some tasty commercial pineapple salsa in the fridge which I spruced up with beautiful try-color artisinally grown tomatoes.  A dollop of sour cream and a sprig of fresh herbs (I chose mint to complement the pineapple salsa) was the only embellishment needed to creat a quick, lovel,y and satisfying restaurant-quality lunch (that is certainly filling enough for dinner and special enough for guests).

Ole!

4 cooked vegan sausages or hot dogs, still warm (I like to grill them on an indoor grill pan)

4-6 to 8 inch flour tortillas, barely warmed (so that they are pliable)

Optional: 4 strips of vegan cheese

1 generous tablespoon vegan butter or vegetable oil

1/2 cup salsa, prepared or homemade

Optional: Approximately 16 cherry tomatoes, halved (a tri-color blend is nice)

1/4 cup vegan sour cream

4 sprigs fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, etc.)

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, melt butter or heat vegetable oil.  If desired, split sausages lengthwise, insert a piece of cheese, and sandwich back together.  Wrap one tortilla around each sausage and place into skillet seam-side down.  Griddle for about 1 1/2 minutes on 4 “sides” to create a golden brown crust all around.  Serve immediately topped with 2 tablespoons salsa, 8 cherry tomato halves if desired, a tablespoon of sour cream and a sprig of fresh herbs.

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Vegan Chili-“Cheese” Dog–A Thai-Influenced Tofutti Exclusive!

Chili-Cheese Dog with Bandana on RightYield: 4 “dogs”

I created this recipe as a Tofutti Brands exclusive in honor of National Dog Day!

These are not your mama’s Chili-Cheese Dogs!  The chili refers to the red chili peppers in Thai Red Curry Paste (readily available at Asian markets and the international aisle of many grocery stores).  And the “cheese” refers to Tofutti’s delectable Better than Cream Cheese.

These two ingredients combine with a  very few others to make a knock out “sauce” for you dog, while juicy crunch is provided by a Fresh Cucumber-Carrot Slaw.  

You will want these Thai-American top dogs to “sit” and “stay” at all your picnics, indoors or out!

Cucumber-Carrot Slaw (recipe follows)–make first and set aside

4 lightly oiled and grilled or toasted hot dog buns (I chose potato rolls)

4 grilled or broiled vegan “hot dogs” (widely available on the organic aisles in grocery stores)

Thai Chili-“Cheese” Sauce (recipe follows)

Garnish:  4 teaspoons lightly roasted, salted and chopped cashews or peanuts plus 4 fresh Thai basil sprigs (widely available in Asian markets)

To assemble each dog, squirt or spread about 1/8th of sauce onto a grilled or toasted bun.  Layer with 1/4 of the slaw, and top with a grilled dog.  Then zig-zag about another 1/8th of the sauce over the top–squirting or drizzling–and garnish with about a teaspoon of chopped nuts and a Thai basil sprig.  Serve immediately.

 

Fresh Cucumber-Carrot Slaw:

*1 medium cucumber, seeded, but not peeled, and julienned or shredded

*1 medium carrot, julienned or shredded

**2 tablespoons finely chopped Thai basil

2 tablespoons vegan “fish” sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a  medium non-reactive bowl and allow to sit for 5 or so minutes.  Transfer mixture to a strainer or sieve, and place over the same bowl.  Allow to drain while you continue with recipe.  Gently press on the vegetables with the back of a spoon before using.  Save the juice for another purpose because even though the sauce calls for the same ingredients, here they are diluted with vegetable juice and, hence, not potent enough for the sauce.  *I use a food processor with a grater attachment for these tasks.  **Note, you may use Italian basil, but it will not have the pronounced anise-like flavor of Thai basil.  

Thai Chili-“Cheese” Sauce:

3 tablespoons Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese, softened

3 tablespoons Tofutti Better than Sour Cream

2 tablespoons vegan “fish” sauce (sold as “vegetarian” in Asian markets)

1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Thai Red Curry Paste

In a small non-reactive bowl, whish together all ingredients until very smooth.  I like to transfer to a plastic squirt bottle from the dollar store for dispensing.

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Pet Handicap Ramp

I thought that vegan readers and other dog lovers would appreciate this photo of our new pet handicap ramp and short story: our 16 year old mutt, Webster, has pretty severe arthritis in his hips, despite chiropractic care, Glyco-Flex, Tramadol, Fish Oil (sorry!), etc. He still loves to walk–almost as much as he loves to eat–though it’s slow going and our house-sitter refers to the way his hips give out as causing him to “bounce” along.

Our house is built on pilings, so there is no way in except up a few stairs. Traversing the stairs has become a challenge for Webbie, some days more than others. Though I can pick him up because he only weighs 50 lbs. and change, he really doesn’t like it.

So, after a recent incident almost causing Web to injure himself, Doug Barnes, a retired neighbor and genius wood-worker agreed to build and install this beautiful ramp system at an unbelievably reasonable price. Webster can now live out his last days with something closer to the independence he has always enjoyed.

Thanks, Doug!

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Vegan Fancy Franks–Perfect for the Fourth of July

Yield: 8 hot dogs

You’ll love my “twist” on the traditional hot dog just in time for Independence Day in the U.S. Think “Pigs in a Blanket” kicked up a notch with the help of puff pastry dough. Once baked, they look really cute served upright in a wine glass, but they didn’t photograph too well like that. Regardless of how you serve them, guests of all ages will salute you. For adults only, I recommend accompanying them with Margarita Mayo and Pina Colada Catsup. It’s true that mayonnaise isn’t a traditional condiment for dogz, but something about the buttery “bun” contrasting with the tart lime makes for a delicious combination in this case. I also tried a Mojito Mustard, but lime, never mind mint, isn’t too tasty with mustard. A Mango Mustard, however, sounds marvelous. If you experiment with sauces, please share your results. Happy Fourth of July!

8 vegan hot dogs
1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat sheet or apply nonstick spray sparingly. Slice puff pastry into 8 equal strips. Working with one dog at a time, wind and spiral the dough down the length of the frank making sure to gently press the ends of the strip of dough against the underside of the dog at both ends. You may need to slice about an inch off of each piece of dough, depending on the size of your hot dogs. Place the dog on the baking sheet and repeat with remaining franks and dough, leaving a couple of inches between each one. Bake for approximately 22 minutes or until golden, but start checking after about 15. Serve warm or at room temperature with the condiments of your choice. I particularly like the following:

Pina Colada Catsup

1/4 cup catsup
2 teaspoons Cream of Coconut
2 teaspoons pineapple juice
2 teaspoons rum (I used a golden variety)

Whisk all ingredients together and serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Margarita Mayo

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons tequila
2 teaspoons VERY loosely packed lime zest (approximately the zest of one small lime)
pinch salt

Whisk all ingredients together and serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Note: for a pretty and authentic Margarita presentation, you can dip the rim of a small glass or glass bowl in fresh lime juice and then in salt before filling with the mayo.

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