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Vegan Calzone (Photo by Essay Kay)

Years ago, there was a friend of mine who would always say, “If you are going to sin, sin big, because all sin is sending you the same place.” If this is your theological stance, you are entitled to it, but I would advise that you do not apply that mantra to your eating habits.

I fell off the healthy eating wagon while on vacation, and I must admit, it really has been a journey trying to get back to where I was. I have come to realize that although eating unprocessed foods and cutting out sugar and flour give me the best results, I am much happier and successful when I make some compromises. The results are not as mind-boggling, but they are still good. By refusing to go to either extreme, that is, going cold turkey or “sinning big” by giving up altogether and eating whatever suits my fancy, I am able to be more consistent in my weight loss, and more importantly, my health overall.

This brings me to today’s compromise. An hour before going to the gym for Body Pump, I ate fruit, fish, some vegetables, and drank some herbal tea. When I got home, I was ravenous. I usually plan my next meal, but I had not had the energy for such foresight today. I was craving carbs, but was not in the mood for the usual fare. I decided to sin, but with modifications.

I snacked on some nuts to start the rebuilding process of my muscles and got to work on my carbohydrate compromise . . . vegan calzones. By making the dough from scratch without high fructose corn syrup and a million and one preservatives, and making some healthy substitutions, I was able to get my fix with less guilt.

Here’s the recipe, just in case you are also in need of a carbohydrate compromise:

The completed calzone halved. Note that only 5oz of spinach was used for this one. It is after making this that I realized the filling would have been much better if I had doubled the spinach to 2 5oz packs. (Photo by Essay Kay)

VEGAN CALZONES

INGREDIENTS

Dough

1 cup rolled oats or quick oats

1 Tbsp Land O’ Lakes Olive Oil & Sea Salt butter or olive oil

½ cup honey

1 ½ tsp salt

2 cups boiling water

½ cup warm water

1 Tbsp active dry yeast

2 cups premium bread flour and 2 cups premium whole wheat flour

(or 4 cups whole wheat or whole grain white flour)

Extra flour for kneading

Filling

1 14oz pack of firm tofu (drained and crumbled)

1 cup homemade mayo

10 oz chopped spinach

¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes

2 Tbsp Chicken-like Seasoning

Onion powder and garlic powder to taste

 

Home-made Tofu Mayonnaise/Dressing

14 oz soft tofu

1 cup raw cashew nuts

¼ cup lemon or lime juice

1 ½ Tbsp honey

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

 

Topping

1 teaspoon honey

2 Tbsp water

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

1 Tbsp chicken-like seasoning

 

  1. Make the mayonnaise a few hours before to give it a chance to thicken. Mix all of the ingredients and blend until completely smooth. Makes about 3 cups. Put in container and chill in refrigerator.
  2. Start the process for the dough. Soak the oats, honey, butter/oil and salt in the boiling water for about an hour.
  3. Fifteen minutes before the oat mixture’s hour is up, activate yeast in the warm water for about 10 minutes. Will look creamy.
  4. Add the yeast mixture to the oat mixture. Mix then gradually add the 4 cups of flour. This will make a soft and sticky dough.
  5. Empty ½ to a cup of flour on a flat surface, then carefully empty the dough on to it. Sprinkle the ball of dough with flour and knead for about 20 minutes. The dough will still be soft, but less sticky, more smooth and elastic.
  6. Separate the large ball of dough into 8 balls, then roll each one flat.
  7. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  8. Remove homemade mayo from refrigerator and mix all of the filling ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  9. Divide the filling evenly among the 8 squares of dough, not allowing filling to touch the edges. Brush dough edges with water then fold the squares in half diagonally, making triangles. Press the edges firmly then reinforce the seal with a fork, which will also add a pattern to the edges.
  10. To prepare topping, mix yeast flakes and seasoning in one bowl, and dissolve honey in the water in another.
  11. Spray baking sheet with olive oil and arrange calzones on it. Brush the calzones with the honey water mixture then sprinkle with the nutritional yeast-chicken style seasoning mix.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Best always,

Essay Kay