Vegetarian Cravings: Buffalo Sauce

Over the weekend, I made black bean and sweet potato Chilaquiles, which called for taco-sized corn tortillas. For some reason the package always comes with a ton of them, so I was left trying to figure out what to make with what remained. Last time I had leftover corn tortillas I made flautas, so I decided to make them again… this time with a twist.

In conversations I’ve had with other vegetarians, I’ve found that the majority of us do in fact miss some meat related things from time to time. One food that seems to always come up is the buffalo wing. I was never a huge chicken fan myself (probably because we had it so much growing up), so I know it isn’t the meat I miss. Instead, I think it’s that crispy and crunchy texture, and the flavorful sauce it’s coated in. There have been quite a few vegetarian-friendly things coming out of my kitchen within the last few months smothered in buffalo sauce (lasagna, stuffed shells, grilled cheese, dip), so I figured Veggie Buffalo Taquitos would be my next adventure.

The great thing about these taquitos, I think, is that you don’t miss the meat. My carnivorous dining partner enjoyed them sans-meat, and I think you will too. But, if you just can’t get behind the idea of a buffalo sauced dish without chicken, you can definitely add shredded chicken into the mix! And it could easily be made vegan by using dairy-free cream cheese, or a tofu and nutritional yeast combo. The dish also winds up being gluten-free thanks to the corn tortillas, so almost anyone can enjoy it. The filling for the taquitos comes together in a matter of minutes, so this is perfect for a busy weeknight (served with veggies, of course!), a quick snack, or a party dish. I paired mine with a giant salad and roasted veggies, but you really can have it with almost anything.

Veggie Buffalo Taquito

Vegetarian Buffalo Taquitos
– makes 10 taquitos – 

10 taco-sized corn tortillas
1 15oz can white beans
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella or a blend works)
1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot (or other buffalo styled sauce)
Cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine the white beans, cream cheese, shredded cheese, and Frank’s in a medium sized bowl. The beans don’t need to be smashed, but some will get smashed from the combining of the ingredients, which is fine. 
3. Wrap the corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 40 seconds. This helps prevent them from cracking when you roll everything together. 
4. Take two tablespoons of the buffalo mixture and spread it down the middle of a tortilla. Roll the tortilla to completely cover the mixture (just like you would a burrito, except you don’t tuck in the ends). Secure with a toothpick. 
5. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, and line it with the taquitos.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. There will be some oozing of cheese, which just means it’s extra delicious! 

Buffalo Bill

Well would you look at that, TWO references to It’s A Wonderful Life within two posts this month (you know, when Mary and George are on their way home and they’re singing?). Must just be the time of the year! For those of you that were thinking about Silence of the Lambs and got freaked out, don’t worry, we aren’t talking about lotion or anything. Instead, we’re talking about Buffalo Stuffed Shells!

There hasn’t been much going on in my neck of the woods aside from working, running, and enjoying the Holiday season… which is more than okay by me! It’s definitely been interesting to navigate the Holidays as an “official” vegetarian, which I have been for almost 5 months now. I get asked the typical questions such as “why?” and “do you eat chicken? at least fish?,” and sometimes odd questions like, “you mean you don’t eat bacon?!” The easiest way I’ve found  to combat the weird looks is to make delicious food that everyone can eat – then I don’t have to worry about eating just chips for dinner, or inconveniencing anyone with my dietary needs. Plus, it’s making me cook more which is something I want to do in the coming year. I’ve cooked a lot, but most of it has been things from Pinterest or things I’m comfortable making. I decided to start early with this recipe and hopefully I can keep it up!

Despite being on the vegetarian train, I still have cravings for things like cheeseburgers and buffalo wings, with my favorite substitute for wings to date being this buffalo cauliflower. I’ve also made buffalo lasagna  and figured I’d try my hand at buffalo stuffed shells. I love stuffed shells (especially the Mexican variety), so I hoped the shells would work with a buffalo flavor – and they did. While I used ricotta cheese, this could easily be made vegan with tofu and a dairy-free shredded cheese. And if you aren’t vegetarian, you could definitely add some shredded chicken to the mix.


Vegetarian Buffalo Stuffed Shells
– Serves 4 – 

14 jumbo pasta shells
8 oz. low-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup Frank’s Red Hot buffalo sauce (or other “wing” sauce)
1/2 cup smoked cheese, shredded (I used applewood smoked gruyere)
1/2 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella or a cheddar mix works)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook the pasta shells according to the package. I like to throw in a few extras in case some fall apart/break while cooking.
2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup of the Frank’s, and smoked cheese.
3. Once the shells have cooked and cooled enough so you can touch them, fill each shell with 2-3 tablespoons of the cheese and Frank’s mixture. Put the shells into a greased 8×8 dish.
4. Top the shells the remaining 1/4 cup of Frank’s and 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Another Week

It’s been a week since superstorm Sandy touched down in the greater tri-state area and wreaked havoc. A week of working from home, running as much as possible, and trying to keep up with the news while simultaneously trying to keep my tears at bay. It’s hard to believe that places I grew up and know so well have been forever changed; and more importantly than that, the friends and family that have had their lives changed as well. As I mentioned last week, I was lucky enough to retain power through the storm and not to suffer any damages myself. My office, as well as my parents, however, haven’t had power since late Sunday, with reports of it not coming back until the end of this week. While it’s easy to get angry at a lack of heat and power, in the grand scheme of things, it could be much worse.

That being said, even though our oven isn’t working, I’ve been cooking up a storm. My most recent creation was vegan buffalo lasagna. All my GI woes have gotten a little better, and while going gluten-free didn’t seem to make a difference, my doctor has suggested I lay low on dairy. I’m still eating dairy, just a lot less. At my last appointment when trying to figure out why I wasn’t getting much better, I just so happened to mention that I loved cheese, and I watched my doctor immediately scribble that information on his legal pad, with exclamation points to follow the statement. Things have been going better, but I’ve also upped my medicine, so we’ll see what happens when I start to dial the medicine back. So, to cater to my new reduced dairy diet and vegetarianism, this particular recipe is dairy and meat free! You can use regular cheese and dressing (and of course add in chicken), but you should give this version a try!

Vegan Buffalo Lasagna
– Serves 4 –  

1 block firm tofu
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 cup Frank’s red hot
1 cup vegan Ranch dressing (i.e. Follow Your Heart)
8 oz. vegan shredded mozzarella cheese (i.e. Daiya)
9 “no boil” lasagna noodles

1. Press the tofu to get out as much water as possible.
2. Meanwhile, combine the Frank’s and ranch dressing together in a bowl.
3. In a separate large bowl, break up the tofu using a fork until it resembles ricotta cheese.
4. Add in the nutritional yeast and 1/2 cup of the dressing mixture, stirring to combine.
5. Take 4-6 tbsp of the dressing mixture to generously coat the bottom of your slow cooker.
6. Layer 3 no boil noodles, followed by 1/3 cup of the tofu mixture, and a 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat.
7. After adding the last 3 noodles, pour the remainder of the dressing mixture, being sure to coat everything. Top with the remaining cheese.
8. Cook on high in the slow cooker for 2 hours.

Master Marinade

As a member of Foodbuzz and an eager Tastemaker, I was excited to receive a bottle of KC Masterpiece’s Hot Buffalo Marinade. Having just made buffalo tofu tacos, I wasn’t sure exactly what to whip up with the delicious sauce. I remembered back to my buffalo chicken pizza fail, and wanted to do something more than just grill up some marinated chicken. Enter the buffalo chicken calzone!

One of my very first posts here on the blog was about buffalo chicken pizza, so it’s clear I really enjoy it. I was hoping that by putting it in calzone form, I would have more success than my attempt at recreating the pizza. There are a few reasons for my thinking, mostly dealing with the fact that I could add copious amounts of cheese. My husband loathes blue cheese, though, so it’s always tricky when a recipe calls for that or Gorgonzola (since they taste somewhat similar). Instead of trying to add just a bit and hide the flavor, I omitted it completely this time, and replaced it with feta. I realize the tastes are different, but the consistency is somewhat the same, and feta is creamy when melted.

This was definitely a win. As I was putting it together, my husband insisted that it was more of a stromboli than a calzone, but it looked delicious regardless. I’m not one for technicalities, so I’ll stick to calling it a calzone. But either way, it was delicious. A perfect reward for making it through a Monday.

Buffalo Chicken Calzone
– Serves 2 –

1 package pre-made pizza dough (I used Wegmans whole wheat)
1 can diced chicken
3 Tbsp KC Masterpiece Buffalo Marinade
2 Tbsp ranch dressing
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup feta, crumbled

1. Marinade chicken with buffalo sauce for 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3. Roll out dough, and layer one half first with cheese, then onion and celery, and finally chicken.
4. Spread the ranch on the other half and around the edges. Fold that half over the first, and curl the edges to keep it closed.
5. Bake for 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serve with additional buffalo and ranch for dipping!