The Ultimate Vegan Comfort Food// What I Eat

What with all the snow and ice that has been plaguing my home turf lately, my need for warm and cozy comfort food has skyrocketed. This weekend I whipped up a pot of what I consider the ultimate vegan comfort food– vegan beanie weenies.

Wait, don’t run! I know I may have lost a few of you with those last few words, but trust me, this stuff is good! While I may not be much of a meat-eater by nature, I love me some hot dogs!! Crazy, I know, but what can I say. When I started living gluten-free several years ago, I was saddened to learn that most hot dogs, at least the good ones (Nathans…. sigh) contain gluten. Imagine how excited I was when I ran across a pack of TofuPups a while back; not only are they vegan, they are also gluten free!

Before I lose the rest of you with “tofu,” I should say that I am right there with you. I cannot stand tofu. You can make it taste like whatever you like, but the texture is what kills me. However, I have found that with the proper preparation method, this are actually not so bad. I doubt I will ever eat one on its own, in a bun, but fried and chopped up in a stew, they aren’t too bad.

I adapted this recipe from one from my current favorite cookbook, The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. So many yummy recipes in there, plus a great introduction to veganism for those who may be interested in finding out more about the why and the how of it. Her blog, The Kind Life, is also on my list of daily reads, you should check it out!

Vegan Beanie Weenies

Adapted from Hearty Pinto Bean Stew, The Kind Diet

1 cup dry pinto beans

2 cups tomato soup (The Kind Diet recommends Imagine, and so do I! It’s vegan and gluten-free.)

2 tsp Bragg Liquid Aminos

2 tsp olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Basil, fresh or dried

Dash of oregano

Pinch of red pepper flakes

4 TofuPups

Start by soaking the beans overnight in a pot of water. If you’ve never done this before, its easy: place beans in pot, cover completely with lots of water, done! When you get ready to make the stew, drain the beans and you are ready to go.

Combine in a large pot the soup, 1 cup of water, 1 tsp olive oil and the liquid aminos. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Add beans (don’t forget to drain them first!). Bring back up to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

The beginnings... doesn't look like much.

While the beans are cooking, chop the TofuPup into small round pieces. In a skillet, heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil and add “weenies.” Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until a little crispy on both sides and lightly brown, about 7-10 minutes. This will kill the tofu texture and produce something reminiscent of the fake meat that is found in real Beanie Weenies.

While waiting for beans to cook, you can also chop the onion and garlic, then even clean up whatever mess you’ve made in the kitchen so far.

Back to the pot. Add the chopped onion and garlic, the cooked TofuPup pieces, the basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Give it all a good stir, and place lid back on pot, leaving it slightly ajar. Simmer for 30-40 more minutes. May I suggest using this time to take a nice hot bubble bath.

After your relaxing soak, come back to the beans, which should be perfect by now. Serve up in a big bowl, sprinkle with some sea salt (if desired), and enjoy! These are best eaten while sitting on the couch, under a blanket, with a space heater nearby.