Sushi is probably one of my top 5 favorite foods. Ever. The problem is that good vegan sushi is very VERY hard to find. And if you do find it, it’s ridiculously overpriced considering you’re just eating rice and veggies.
This is what most of my meals actually look like. This is how I actually cook… After returning home from the farmer’s market, I realized I had a few items in my fridge that needed to be used up. Instead of cutting into my new produce, I decided to cook some quinoa and brown rice, and then lay out everything I needed to use on the counter. This video is the process and the result of what I did with those items. I was inspired by Well Your World’s quinoa and vegetable bake, however, since it was 110 outside when I filmed this, I decided to just eat it as it was. And it was amazing. Turn up the sound and enjoy.
Full disclosure: I hate jackfruit! Seriously. I’d had it a couple of times, once in a Reuben sandwich at a restaurant, and another time I tried to make jackfruit carnitas according to a recipe I found on YouTube. In both instances, I was beyond disappointed. The texture was mushy, and as Ben famously described it, “it feels like pineapple”. So, for the last year or so, whenever I would see jackfruit on a menu, I would avoid it. Even if the rest of the dish sounded good, the word jackfruit would immediately turn me off. I was convinced that it was a crap meat substitute. Period. Done.
However, on a whim a few weeks ago, I bought a can of jackfruit from Trader Joe’s. I had no recipe in mind, but I was determined to give it another shot. I had seen other YouTubers use it, and bake it, and it seemed, visually, to have a better texture that what I had experienced.
This recipe was inspired by a few things…. First and foremost, it was inspired by Ben, who constantly complains that they stuff I air fry doesn’t have the type of breading that he’s used to having on fired foods. Secondly, it was inspired by Ben criticizing my YouTube thumbnails for not being decadent enough. It’s his prediction that if I make a sloppy sandwich and take a sultry pic of it, then I’ll have a perfect YouTube thumbnail “hunger trap”. Third, it was inspired by Wendy’s discontinued Jalapeño Fresco Spicy Chicken Sandwich, which had a long run as Ben’s favorite fast food sandwich. Fourth? Yeah, fourth, it was inspired by my dinner at Donna Jean in San Diego, and Chef Roy Elam’s Nashville Hot Shrooms, which changed Ben’s mind about mushrooms, and change my perspective on vegan meat alternatives. Finally, it was inspired by Healthy Junk Food’s recipe for the aforementioned Wendy’s chicken sandwich. Combined, all of these inspirations have created a friggin’ impressive, although not at all healthy, and over-the-top spicy fried vegan sandwich.
Beef jerky was not one of those foods that was hard to give up when I went vegan. Sure, I enjoyed the occasional endless chewing sensation of some teriyaki flavored gas station jerky, but whenever I contemplated giving up animal products, I didn’t hesitate because of the inevitable jerky deficit in my life. And when I saw vegan jerky in stores, or online, I was never really tempted to buy it. How could they possibly reproduce the dry rubbery texture of dehydrated animal flesh? How could something plant-derived possibly give me that jaw-popping, tooth grinding sensation?
This video is the second in a series of “inspiration” videos. As a cook, I am way more inspired by produce that needs to be used up before it goes bad, or leftovers from the night before, than a I am scrolling through fully-stocked grocery store shelves. This video is to inspire you to look at what you have in a new way, and to make something delicious out of it.
In this video, I turn Olives for Dinner’s incredible carrot lox recipe into an impressive vegan passed hors d’oeuvre.
This video is the first in a series of “inspiration” videos. These are not so much intended to give you an exact recipe to follow, but to inspire you to play with your food a bit. If I were to consider myself and artist in any capacity, I would say that I’m the type of artist that hates to stare at a blank canvas. I prefer to work with something that’s already there; to improve upon something, or to alter something, as opposed to producing something from nothing. As a cook, I am the same way. I am way more inspired by produce that needs to be used up before it goes bad, or leftovers from the night before, than a I am scrolling through fully-stocked grocery store shelves. This video is to inspire you to look at what you have in a new way, and to make something delicious out of it.
The concept of the “smashed” cucumber salad showed up last week on one of my favorite food podcasts. The next day I heard about it on another food podcast. The third day, I stumbled across a picture of it online. Was the universe trying to tell me something? Was it in my destiny to make smashed cucumber salads?
No, I’m not drunk, or anything fun like that, and neither are these “smashed” cucumbers. They are actually SMASHED using a knife or even a frying pan. Originally a Sichuan dish, the practice of smashing cucumbers, salting them, and then vibrantly dressing them has gone mainstream.
Here are my two takes on the concept: One of them is a light, summery take on a Thai green curry. The the other one was inspired by a traditionally meat and dairy heavy Italian chopped salad.
Looking for anything in particular?
Welcome to Monson Made This
Vegan Food for Everyone!
Hi! I’m Michael, and I’m obsessed with cooking vegan food and developing vegan recipes. I love reinventing my childhood (and even my adulthood) favorite foods into vegan works of edible art. I’ve been vegan for just over two years now, so join me on this journey of discovery in the plant-based world of incredible food. Click the YouTube link above to watch all of my videos, and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram.