Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

It was kinda' cold here yesterday and those hot vegan chili beans & cornbread that I brought really hit the spot. I knew it was going to be cold again today, so I got to thinking about nice hot comfort food and wondered if there was something else that I could bring for lunch that would be really yummy on a nice cold day. Then it came to me. How about vegan grilled cheese sandwiches? YUM!

I made these using the recipe from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak. It's probably my most favorite thing in that whole cookbook. There are actually a couple of recipes in there for grilled cheese sandwiches, and these are the "ooey-gooey" ones, or something like that. I remembered making these a little over a year ago when I was first making the transition to veganism. At that time, it was my first experience with nutritional yeasty things, plus I was still in the withdrawal process from breaking my addiction to dairy products, so it tasted kind of strange to me at that time. It wasn't bad, I just wasn't sure that it was cheese-like enough for me. I know now that all of that had to do with the fact that I was indeed physically addicted to cheese (just do some searching on the internet and read about the opiate effects of milk proteins). Once that addiction was broken though, after a few weeks, nutritional yeast based cheese replacements started to taste just fine to me. And now I love them.

Way back then, when I tasted this, it seemed sort of foreign to me. Now when I taste it, it just tastes like what I remember a big old gooey grilled cheese sandwich tasting like. It's yummy. I will give you a heads up on this though, a lot of the recipes in that cookbook are a little heavy on the lemon juice and/or mustard for me. They might not be for you though. But when I make things from that book now, I cut the amounts of lemon juice and/or mustard in half. It makes it come out just exactly the way that I like it. Now I am just amazed at how you can stir together a few ingredients in a pot on the stove, and sometimes, like in this case, not even add any fat to it, and end up with something that, once you've broken your dairy addiction, substitutes amazingly for cheese.

In fact, the only fat in these sandwiches is in the Earth Balance that I grilled them in. And Earth Balance is proven to improve your cholesterol, so there you go. I also like eating these sandwiches because I know there's none of the nasty stuff in them that is found in all dairy products. I won't even say it here because it's almost lunch time and I don't wanna' spoil my appetite.

The lunchbox was looking kinda' bland as far as color goes, so I just through a couple of lettuce leaves and some black olives up there to liven the place up a little bit. Lame, I know, but I am easily amused. As you can see, I fit one whole sandwich in there on the bottom and then I had to stack the one in the back. That worked out good though because it allows you to get a good look at the cross section of the vegan grilled cheese. These sandwiches are pretty thin, so it was no problem closing the lid. In fact, if you were really hungry, you could even sneak a third sandwich in there on top of the one in the bottom section. Two will be enough for me though.

It's been more than 48 hours since I ate some Rosemary Roasted Potatoes, so I threw some of those in, along with some blueberries for dessert. I actually froze these last Summer after a friend picked them at a farm not too far from where I live. I just noticed them in the freezer there last night and thought the idea of eating blueberries in the middle of Winter seems interesting. Why not?

So there's lunch for Tuesday. It just goes to show again that there is a vegan replacement for just about anything that you can think of. And once you lose your taste for (and addiction to) all of the nasty things that are in the animal versions of these foods, the vegan versions are every bit as yummy, if not more so. Plus, you'll feel better about eating it because you'll know that it's healthier for you and that no one had to suffer or die to make it. How can you beat that?



NightOwl said...

Everything looks wonderful! I love the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, it keeps me vegan. :) You are totally right about the lemon juice though. I'm going to try halving it next time. Thanks for the tip!

Vegan Knitting said...

I don't have that cookbook, partly because I'm allergic to nuts. but that sandwich looks so yummy that I'm going to make grilled cheese for lunch using Vegan Gourmet.

Veg-a-Nut said...

I have this book on my to buy list. I think I need to buy it soon. I already bought Vive la Vegan this month so will have to wait until February. "I HOPE I CAN" lol.. thank you for the lemon juice tip. I made the garbanzo bean gravy from VwaV and it had too much lemon in it for me. Next time I will cut back on that too. Have you had that problem?

kennyboy said...

Hey veg-a-nut.

I like the amount of lemon juice in the VwaV Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy but I have heard other people say that they would prefer, and use, a little less lemon. So no, I've never had a problem with the amount in that gravy.

If you think that's too much in that gravy though then you will definitely want to cut back on the uncheese recipes. I cut it in half for these sandwiches and they still had plenty of WHANG! to them.