Vegan Watermelon Feta Balsamic Salad With Tofu Feta + Mint

Watermelon goes surprisingly well in salads. I still remember the first time I had watermelon in a lettuce salad. It was at LPQ right when I moved to NYC to start at NYU. It was served with arugula + feta + mint and seriously good balsamic.

watermelon_feta_arugula_salad_vegan_kbaked

My mom and I adored this meal. To us, the flavor combo was new. Now, you see this stuff all over. But at the time, it seemed like a fun, wild treat to us. Something I totally would have Insta’d. But that was an age where people didn’t Insta their food. Strange to think about, I know.

Vegan_arugula_salad_watermelon_feta

Anyways, when watermelon is in season, I have thrown it into salads ever since that day. I love it.

Now I’m plant-based mostly, and rarely have feta around. Even when I wasn’t plant-based, I rarely bought cheese because it was rare I’d use cheese for more than just a garnish. I was never a huge cheese eater.

arugula

But it adds such a nice a lovely saltiness and a bit of staying power to the salad. So here we are. I used this homemade tofu feta, but you can totally use conventional feta or purchase a plant-based feta at the store.

Arugula provides a nice peppery green, but you can also use baby kale or whatever green you want.go together surprisingly well together. I also often add avocado to this salad. Because avocado. Duh.

watermelon salad ingredients

Also, it’s essential to use a good balsamic. I mean, really you don’t have to, but it will truly kick it up a notch. And if you haven’t experienced a really good balsamic yet in your life, you should. They are sweet and sticky and wonderful.

I used this one from Trader Joe’s, which I’d highly reccomend.

balsamic_arugula_salad_watermelon_vegan

Speaking of Trader Joe’s, I need to hit it up tomorrow. This week has been crazy busy. I started 2 new jobs, did a lot of freelance, and took a day trip to Chicago, which I’ll be sharing soon.

Stay tuned!

Tofu Feta

Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Servings: 1 as entree or 2 as side, easily doubled or tripled

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups arugula, baby kale, or spinach
  • 1 cup watermelon, cubed
  • 3/4 cup tofu feta or conventional feta, or plant-based store-bought feta
  • 1/2 large avocado, sliced (optional)
  • roughly 1/4th cup fresh mint
  • 4 tablespoons high quality balsamic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Assemble greens, avocado, watermelon, mint and tofu feta in a bowl. Drizzle with desired amount of balsamic and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Serve with crusty bread and enjoy.

 

 

Herby Tofu Feta

Feta: a cheese I never really purchased, but enjoyed when it was used as a seasoning. Tofu: something I have always adored plain and/or manipulated. Tofu feta: a fun experiment I simply had to try one day and have loved ever since.

Tofu_Chopped_Kbaked

So here we are: Herby marinated tofu feta. Are you ready for this? I hope you’re ready for this.

Tofu_Feta_Katherine_Baker_Kbaked

Simply to prepare, and full of flavor, this stuff is good on salads, pasta, pizza, sandwiches, avo toast — you pretty much can’t go wrong.

Tofu Feta Kbaked

Does it taste like authentic feta? No. And I’m not going to lie to you about that. This isn’t really a good substitute if you’re craving hardXcore cheese. For that I’d reccomend buying an aged plant-based cheese or actual feta.

Tofu_Feta_Kbaked_vegan

This IS a delicious, protein-packed, flavorful way to eat tofu and something I am going to be making regularly from now on.

I used Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute as a shortcut. If you’ve never had it, it is delicious. I add it to so.many.things: like vinaigrettes and roasted veggies. SO GOOD. If you don’t have it, I listed easy swaps.

Feta_herbed_tofu_kbaked

 

Make this and add it to your next salad or Greek salad. Then HMU on Insta and let me know what ya thought!

Herbed_Tofu_Feta_Kbaked

Tofu Feta

Prep Time:  minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes, but at least 2-4 hours for chilling
Servings: about 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 12-16 ounce package tofu
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute (or, 1/4 tablespoon) garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, and 1/2 tablespoon dried basil)
  • pinch sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Drain and press tofu with a paper towel. You want to remove excess moisture.
  2. Cut tofu into small cubes.
  3. Combine lemon juice, water, vinegar, nutritional yeast, olive oil, oregano, sugar and sea salt.
  4. Place tofu into marinade and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours, or longer if desired.
  5. Serve on top of salads or with pasta. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Easy Vegan Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

So I have this weird habit of making some recipe, taking photos of it, uploading the photos onto my computer, putting them in a folder on my desktop, and then forget to ever post the recipe and photos. Like, it happens way more often than it should. WTF.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 4.06.24 PM

Or maybe I didn’t post this recipe because the photos aren’t great. I took some on my phone (ie one above) and forgot to DSLR anymore of the finished project. Probably cause I was eager to eat them. Sometimes I wonder why I pour so much time and energy into the stuff I do for other platforms that consistently under or don’t pay me and so little on my own site. I am actively changing this RIGHT NOW. So I’m gonna creep around my desktop, find some old (but new to you) recipes, and post ’em. Starting with this one.

I made these on Easter when I had a baking bug in my pants and wanted a sweet treat but was limited on baking supplies. I also didn’t feel like going to store, so I crept in the freezer, found a bag of frozen strawberries, and got busy.

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I was craving a sweet, oaty bar, and googled “oatmeal strawberry bar,” and was directed to one of Ree Drummond’s recipes. Related: low key love watching the Pioneer Woman. Yes, I know I’m a non-meat-eater of 17 years and the Drummonds live on a tycoon cattle ranch and raise animals for the purpose of human consumption. And yes I know Ree makes a bunch of stuff I would like, never want to touch with a 10 foot pole.

But you can’t deny there’s something eerily enchanting about that show. And that the violin theme song is perfect. And that you love  learning what’s happening on the ranch that day. And most importantly, you can’t deny that Ree has some good trips and tips for cooking, no matter what your dietary pattern or preference.

So these easy bars were inspired by her. I looked at her recipe, adapted it, veganized it, healthified it a little, and proceeded to watch The Pioneer Woman while baking. It was a lovely Easter indeed.IMG_3756

These bars are lightly sweet, oaty, chewy, and gushing with strawberries (in a good way). I made the jam for the filling using only frozen strawberries and chia seeds. This works tremendously. You just let them jell up. It’s wonderful.

Anyways, enjoy this recipe. More life update type post tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

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Easy Vegan Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Adapted from pioneerwoman.com

Prep Time:   10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: about 12 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 8 ounces non-dairy butter
  • 1 cup oat flour (you can make oat flour by pulsing rolled oats in a food processor until a fine powder forms)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Method:

  1. Thaw frozen strawberries in the microwave by warming for about 1-2 minutes until soft. Mash with a fork. Add chia seeds, mix well, and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 12×12 pan.
  3. Combine oat flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix well.
  4. Cut cold non-dairy spread or butter into small bits. Then add to flour mixture. Using a pastry cutter, back of a fork, or your fingers, crumble butter into mixture until coarse crumbs form.
  5. Divide mixture in half. Pack slightly more than half of the flour mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  6. Spoon strawberry jelly mixture over the packed flour mixture into the pan.
  7. Crumble and sprinkle remaining flour mixture over the top half of the strawberry mixture.
  8. Place pan in oven for 35-40 minutes, until lightly golden.
  9. Allow to cool, slice, and enjoy.

Easy Homemade Pico

Got another one for ya. Something to pair with those chipsIMG_5497

I’m pumping out some adapted recipes I’ve shared on Spoon on the blog while I’m working on some other content projects I’m SUPER excited to share over here and on another platform/medium that I’ve been wanting to try for so very long!IMG_5481

I’m excited and nervous and finally ready to explore a new medium of creativity, and really give it a shot. Any guesses what format? 🙂 IMG_5478

Other life updates: So about 10 years ago at poms camp someone stepped on my big toe and ripped off the big toe nail completely. It’s never been the same. It’s cracked off a few times since then, and has always been kind of discolored and funky.  Last week my toe really started to swell and get painful. Like,all around the nail it was like elevated and puffy and it hurt to put on shoes or walk.IMG_5503

Cue me going to a walk-in clinic feeling like a hypochondriac. Turns out I wasn’t a hypochondriac. Next thing I know, I’m in podiatry getting my big toenail removed and nail bed dug out (there was a lot of scar tissue and pus down there). IMG_5487

I opted to watch the mini surgery. I regret watching the mini surgery. Anyways, they put me a giant dose of antibiotics and I’m pretty sure my gut flora is not pleased. I honestly JUST got off antibiotics for a throat infection 4 days prior to this experience, and I’m kinda worried I will have no good flora left by the end of this course (in like….another week and a half -__-). At least it’s an excuse to buy ALL the booch? 🙂HomemadeBakedTortilalChips_KatherineBaker

Anyways back to pico. Because I bet that story DEFIANTLY made you hungry. For some fresh tomato-y pico. Tehehe #sorryiovershareeverythingIMG_5494

Other notes/truth time: the herb in these photos is not actually cilantro. It’s parsley. Don’t tell anyone. It’s what I had on hand. That’s also the case for this entire series, and somehow thankfully, no one has ever noticed and come for me after it. Which means I don’t think anyone noticed. Since people on the internet are very quick to be mean.

Without further adieu, here is modified pico from my post for Spoon University:

Easy Homemade Pico De Gallo

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Servings: 2-5 ? Eat what feels good to you

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh diced tomatoes (about 2 medium or 1 small container cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 small red or yellow onion, or 1 shallot
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped finely
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeño peppers (optional)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sriracha (optional)

Method:

  1. Dice tomatoes and onions into small pieces. If you like bigger tomato chunks (I do) feel free to leave ’em a little bigger
  2. If you’re fancy, chiffonade the cilantro. If you’re not fancy, just chop it up into really small pieces. Add to bowl.
  3. Remove stems and if you’re sensitive to heat, remove seeds from jalapeños.Dice jalapeños and add to bowl.
  4. Juice one lime and add to bowl. Add a generous amount of salt. Mix well.
  5. If you’re like me and a spiciness fanatic, feel free to add a squeeze of Sriracha to up the spice game.
  6. Enjoy. Maybe with these chips.

 

Vegan Salted Coconut Milk Caramel

Caramel! Do you say it “CARA-uh-mel” or “CAR-uh-muhl” or “KAR-mul?” I say it “delicious,” and something I enjoy swirled into my ice cream or as a dipping sauce for a hot doughy pastry (hello, mini churros).yummy-vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

So once upon a time I found and fell a bit infatuated with these vegan caramels made from coconut milk. Me being me, I instantly starting working on how I could recreate something similar.

I typically make my vegan caramel from dates, which is delicious, but this was a fun new challenge and I can’t wait to bake with this stuff and incorporate it into other fun desserts and treats.coconut-milk

What are you up to right now? As I’m typing up this post, I’m watching Vanderpump Rules. It’s the best worst show ever.

Life is still a bit of a doosey for me lately. I’m experiencing multiple transitions and am exploring new platforms for freelance, and in the meantime I find I have a lot of create energy and am unsure where to place it. It feels like I’m going to pop creative juice all over the carpet. So when this happens I end up baking breakfast cookies and making homemade vegan caramel. I need a life. Or a friend who will eat my food that isn’t my dog.vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

In other news, I am experiencing a really adorable adult acne breakout. This acne does not help me in the she-looks-like-a-teenager-don’t-take-her-seriously-department. Which is starting to get a wee bit frustrating. But that’s okay. I recently read a tweet from a vlogger I follow about letting people who doubt you and try to take advantage of you be your motivation to succeed. So I’m going to try to go this route. Which I guess means caramel, among other things.

Enough of my talking. On to the caramel:delicious-vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

It’s easy, delicious, and has a lovely coconul undertone. It’s wonderful swirled into yogurt, on top of ice cream, AND in the recipe I am going to post next (stay tuned ~ I’m really excited about this one).

Oh, and if you’d like the mini vegan churros recipe here it is: 1) Go to Trader Joe’s. 2) Buy frozen mini churros. 3) Eat.

Prep Time:  2 mins
Cook Time: 35-40 mins
Total Time: ~40 minutes
Servings: ~1/2 cup caramel sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk and sugar.
  2. Heat mixture to a boil over medium heat. Maintain slow boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, roughly 35-40 minutes. Stir in coconut oil and vanilla and remove from heat.
  3. Transfer caramel sauce to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Vegan Gluten-Free No-Bake Cookie Dough S’mores Bars

I should be writing my thesis. Really, that’s what I should be doing. Not baking, not rearranging my apartment to put my table by the window to take pictures of my baked goods, and definitely not blogging about them either. But here we are.
Vegan S'mores Bars Cookie Dough

Finishing this thesis has been like so meh. I’ve never been so good at procrastinating anything in my life. So many other things just seem important right now. Like frantically finding a job. And signing up for a free barre class and arriving wearing sticky stocks to realize that you and your friend missed the memo that it’s actually a free HIIT/cardio kickboxing class. And then doing that class wearing sticky socks. And then trying really hard not to roll your eyes while biting your tongue listening to their partner “holistic nutritionist” talk about “good molecules” for your body after. Phew. Stay calm, Kathy.

Vegan S'mores Cookie Dough Bars  Gluten-Free

Anyways, part of me procrastinating editing my thesis involved S’mores bars. I know right? Vegan, GF S’mores bars. Now what if I told you that these are also better-for-you. Like the cookie dough layer is actually pretty healthy.

Vegan Cookie Dough Healthy

Shut the front door, right? Right. But this magic is REAL.

Vegan Marshmallows

So recently Trader Joe’s debuted their vegan and gluten-free marshmallows for $2.99. G’bless you TJs for real. Normally, vegan marshmallows are like $6 for no apparent reason. And thus I’ve refrained from buying them and haven’t had a damn marshmallow in like 3 years. Until these puppies hit the shelves and like a dream come true.

Vegan Marshmallows Trader Joe's

Speaking of dreams, you could take a nap of one of these marshamllow-topped bars. Marshmallows are fluffy, just like pillows. Except then you’d have crumbs and chocolate in your hair. But if you surround yourself with the right types of people they may actually dig that sort of thing.

Vegan Gluten-Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

Back to the bars: what do I dig about these? Well, they have all the things I look for in a dessert: they are carby and sweet but not too sweet, and they have chocolate, and they have a graham cracker crust, and when you eat them they don’t make you feel like you just ate a garbage truck.

Vegan and Gluten Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

In fact, marshmallows aside, these puppies ain’t bad for you. The middle layer is full of whole grains, protein, and plant-powered goodness. And dark chocolate is rad, too.

Vegan Gluten Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

The graham crackers and the marshmallows? Well, those are for fun. Which is allowed when you’re eating. Because eating should be fun and not boring. In fact it should be s’mor-ing. <—I’m the worst. Kudos to you if you’re still reading this post and putting up with me being a cluster.

Vegan &amp; Gluten Free S'mores Cookie Dough Bars

Now let’s do this.

Vegan S'mores Cookie Dough Bars Gluten-Free

Ingredients – Crust:

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about a sleeve and a half)
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Ingredients – Cookie Layer:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour or other flour (you can make oat flour by pulsing oats in a food processor or blender until a flour forms)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated white sugar (can sub coconut sugar, etc)
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Ingredients – Topping:

  • 12 ounce bag vegan gluten-free marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking sheet.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together graham cracker crumbs and coconut oil. Press into baking sheet to form a bottom layer. Store in the freezer for at least 10 minutes to set.
  3. In a food processor or blender, puree chickpeas until a smooth paste forms. Add vanilla extract and pulse again. Transfer to a bowl and add oat flour, rolled oats, sugars, and mix well. Then add chocolate chips and pecans and mix again.
  4. Transfer cookie dough into pan and press on top of graham layer.
  5. Top with chopped marshmallows, chocolate chips and pecans. Torch with a fancy kitchen torch, or broil in your oven for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the marshmallows.
  6. Cut into squares and enjoy. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola

Homemade granola makes me so happy. It’s so easy and fast and sounds impressive, but is a super quick thing to throw together and munch on all week long.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan && Gluten-free

I would categorize granola as something that definitely is worth making at home. There are certain things I think are definitely easier to buy. An example of this would be hummus and almond butter. I try my best, but I can never get the texture as good as the ones from Trader Joe’s. I’ll keep working on this. In the meantime, I’ll keep cranking out granolas by hand, whether they be of the Puppy Chow variety, Nutty Gingerbread Granola, or Carrot Cake Granola. Or, in this case, Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola:

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan & Gluten-free!

But homemade granola is noticeably better than store-bought. First off, it just tastes so darn fresh and wonderful. It’s also easy to customize. I like that I can add a boatload of nuts because I like a  boatload of nuts in my granola. I can also make it extra-cinnamony and not-too-sweet. And it’s wonderful and perfect and has a magnificent crunch and makes the house (or studio apartment) smell absolutely wonderful. It’s actually a staple of mine to snack on and keep around the house, which is why when the Recipe Redux challenge for May was to share a DIY household kitchen staple, I knew I had to share a recipe for granola. Easy to make, more than worth the effort, and always a delightful snack to have on hand. Yums.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan and Gluten-free

Today I was running very low on maple syrup because my mom used like, all of mine without my knowledge. I try to remind myself that she paid for my food for 18 years of me growing which couldn’t have been cheap. But then I’m usually still sad because I am emotionally attached to all of my foods. Regardless, I ended up trying to use applesauce to replace some of the syrup. I actaully really liked the result. It gives it a nice texture and good clump-age (sounds sexy, right?) and acts as a wonderful binder without giving too much sweetness to the stuff. I’d do it again.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan and Gluten-free!

So in a way it ended up being a good thing that I was low on maple syrup. Except then I ended up at Trader Joe’s on an off day (again) which is getting embarrassing. Sometimes a girl just needs to get her homemade granola fix.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan && Gluten-free

So here we go with this Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola. It’s a great combination of flavors. I really love almonds and cherries and they pair together quite well. Vanilla adds a warmth and sweetness to tie it all together.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy

makes about 4 cups granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cups almonds  (I used slivered, because it was what I had, but you can use whatever)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (can sub honey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, optional coconut shreds, and salt. Mix well.

3. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, apple sauce, brown sugar, vanilla and maple syrup. Mix well.

4. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and mix until well combine. The oats should all be a little wet. Transfer to a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Place into the oven for 30-35 minutes until nuts and oats have browned. Add cherries and almonds about 15 minutes into baking and mix well (this is optional, if desired you can add them from the get-go, I just prefer my nuts and dried cherries a little less toasted, especially if the nuts are slivered, but you can easily add them before baking). When it is done, it will still be sticky. Take it out of the oven anyways. It will harden as it cools. Enjoy 🙂

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan & Gluten-free!

For more DIY Kitchen Staples from fellow Recipe Redux members, click around below: