This is one of my go-to dinners to make during the week. It’s flexible, in that I can use different vegetables and beans depending on what I have on hand. It’s filling and very satisfying.
- 2 Portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and de-stemmed
- 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 c olive oil
- 3 crushed cloves garlic (no need to mince, just bruise it up a bit)
- 1 T mustard (I like spicy brown)
- 1 t oregano
- pinch salt, pepper
- hot water
Whisk all the ingredients together except the water. Add cleaned portobellos and cover with hot water. Marinate for at least an hour. Feel free to add different spices like cumin or crushed red pepper for some zip.
Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the mushroom caps and pour a little of the marinade over top. Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Let cool a few minutes and slice up.
- I can of beans (I use white beans, pinto or black beans - my favorite is actually white beans with the portobellos)
- 1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 t cumin
- pinch of salt
Saute the onion, tomato and garlic in olive oil with a pinch of salt and cumin. Add the drained beans and keep on low heat until ready to assemble taco.
Use a heated soft taco or burrito shell (microwave or toast in the oven for a minute). Add the beans and slices of portobello mushroom. Top with fresh veggies (I like red peppers and crunchy romaine). Add taco sauce and/or sour cream to finish.
Save the marinade for up to 7 days to use on other veggies or tofu.
A while back I posted what I claimed was the best vegan brownie recipe ever. Well, I lied. I found a better one. It is a whole lot less complicated. My aunt turned up at a family Christmas party with these vegan treats for my brothers and me, and needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure where she got the recipe, but she shared it with me, and now I’m sharing it with you. This recipe is easy to modify, for example, you can add chocolate chips, marshmallows, dried fruit, peanut butter swirl, or whatever to it. You could also switch the water out for coffee or espresso to make mocha flavored brownies…the options are endless.
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 cup water
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Create a well in the middle and add the water, oil and vanilla. Stir until well combined.
Pour into a greased 9x13 baking pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
This is one of my favorite things to make when I have a frustrating day. It holes you up in the kitchen for a little bit and all of the methodical chopping is relaxing. It’s a warm and hearty dish that is always comforting. I know it looks like a lot of ingredients but you can always sub the veggies with anything that you have on hand, including canned or frozen ones. This dish is really a cross between Spanish rice and Paella to tell the truth. It takes a little bit of time, but most of it is passive so your hands are free to bake some cookies or something!
- 2 T margarine
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper (any color), diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 cup mushrooms (about half of a 16 oz package), sliced
- jalapeno, minced (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 t paprika
- 1/2 t oregano
- 1/2 t basil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 c dry brown rice (to make this recipe quicker use white rice)
- 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 - 3 c vegetable broth
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/4 c chopped parsley
Melt the margarine in a large saute pan on medium high heat. Add the onions, pepper, carrot and mushroom. Stir so that the veggies are evenly coated with margarine. After about 3 minutes add the minced garlic, jalapeno and spices. Stir to evenly disburse the spices. After about 3-5 minutes add the rice and tomatoes. Stir. Start with just 1 cup of vegetable broth, add more as needed while the rice cooks. It should take about 40 minutes to an hour for the brown rice to cook completely. White rice should take between 30-40 minutes. Keep adding liquid as needed. Once the rice is cooked, squirt the juice of half a lemon on top, being mindful of the seeds, and stir in the chopped parsley.
YIELD: 4 servings TIME: about 1 hour
Like most foodies, I have an affinity for Food Network. I know I can’t eat 95% of what they are making, but I really have learned a lot from all of the hours I’ve logged watching it. I think it’s really about watching people who respect food and have a passion for what they do create some really amazing stuff (i.e. Iron Chef). Every time I watch Cupcake Wars I am inspired to whip up a batch of fancy cupcakes. This is partially due to the disappointment I feel after every episode, I feel like I could do it so much better (probably not in reality), and partially due to my love of cupcakes. I decided to share the success of my Cupcake Wars “vintage meets modern” self challenge with you - everyone deserves a slice of this cake.
For the cake:
- 1 (semi-heaping) cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 3/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c almond milk
- 1/3 c canola oil
- 1 t vanilla
- zest of one orange
- 1 1/4 c flour
- 1/2 t baking powder
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- 1/4 t ground cloves
- 1/4 t ground nutmeg
- 1/4 t ground ginger
- 1/4 t salt
Whisk the pumpkin, sugar, milk, oil, vanilla and zest together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, “sift” (whisk) together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 2 or 3 batches. Mix batter. Pour 1/4 c of batter into a lined cupcake tin. Bake for 25 minutes.
For the icing:
- 1/2 c margarine (I use Earth Balance)
- 1/2 c vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti)
- 3 1/2 to 4 c confectioner’s sugar (about 1 small/regular sized bag - ssh don’t tell but I never measure powdered sugar)
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced in half and scraped
Beat the margarine and cream cheese together until well combined. Add the sugar about 1 cup at a time and mix after each addition until just combined. Add the inside of the vanilla bean with the last batch of sugar and beat for about 5 minutes. Cover with a damp towel until ready to frost onto cupcakes.
For the orange peel:
- 1 orange
- 1/4 c water
- 1/4 c sugar
Cut the orange peel into strips using a microplane or a knife. Add to a small saucepan with the water and sugar. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes so that the consistency becomes syrupy and there is a strong orange aroma.
Pipe or frost the cream cheese frosting onto a cooled cupcake, sprinkle with cinnamon and top with a few pieces of orange peel! Then eat them!
This is a surprisingly easy, beautiful, and nutritious entree or side dish that will compliment any meal. I was inspired to make this dish after having something similar at a local cafe, Cafe Helios, in Raleigh, NC.
Warning: this recipe contains three parts, which means more dishes.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 1/4 c water or vegetable broth
- 1 t cumin
- 1/2 t paprika
- 1/2 t chili powder
- 1/2 t salt
Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, covered, until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. This should take about 20 minutes. I always use my rice cooker to cook quinoa, just follow the same instructions as you would for rice.
- 1/2 c beans (any kind you like), drained
Simply warm up your beans by either placing them in a steam basket on top of the cooking quinoa in the last 5 minutes or using a separate sauce pan. The microwave works too, but I try not to use mine.
- 1/2 lb extra firm tofu
- 1 T flour
- 1 T nutritional yeast
- 1 t turmeric
- 1/2 t salt
Using a circle cookie cutter about 2 1/2 inches in diameter cut a cylinder out of your brick of tofu. Cut that cylinder into 3 equal pieces. You end up with three circular pieces of tofu.
Heat a saute pan with about 1 T of oil to medium high heat.
Mix the flour, nutritional yeast, turmeric and salt. Place the tofu into the dry mixture and coat it evenly all over. Fry the tofu in the heated pan. It should take about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Place the same circle cookie cutter that was used for the tofu on a plate. Use a spoon to scoop the cooked quinoa into the cookie cutter and pack it down. I suggest a 1/4 to 1/3 c per serving. Carefully pull the cookie cutter off the plate. The quinoa should stay in place.
- Spoon 1 to 2 T of the beans onto the quinoa.
- Gently place the tofu onto the beans.
- Finish with a sprinkle of paprika on the sides of the plate to add a splash of color.
YIELDS: 3 servings PREP TIME: 5 minutes COOK TIME: 20 minutes
My most successful recipes are created when one of two things happens: 1. I realize that I don’t have an integral ingredient (and/or finding a vegan version of it is not readily available) or 2. I refuse to buy myself groceries and have to make do with what I have. Since I’m going away next week for almost two weeks I haven’t been able to justify a full grocery trip in a while. Here is how I made my dinner exciting (perhaps my life is super boring if lentil soup is exciting, but hey, it’s yummy):
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 C chopped carrots
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 t garlic powder)
- 1 1/2 t italian seasoning (or dried basil, oregano, parsley and thyme)
- salt (to taste, check veggie broth for sodium levels before adding your own salt)
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 c rice
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 c veggie broth
- 1 to 2 cups baby spinach (optional)
Saute the onion, carrot and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat. Add the spices and saute another 2-3 minutes. Stir in the rice and lentils and allow to toast for a few minutes. Add the bay leaf and the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add the spinach. Allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the rice and lentils are tender. Remember to remove the bay leaf before eating. The longer this sits (the older it gets) the thicker it will become, it’s still good, but it’s less of a soup. Add more broth if you want a more soupy consistency.
Here is an easy recipe using vegan pantry staples that’s perfect on a last minute soup or a quick dip for unannounced guests.
- 1 package aseptic silken tofu (12 oz)
- 2 T canola oil
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- 1 T agave nectar
- 1/2 t salt
Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until well combined and creamy. Add fresh herbs or garlic for a more flavorful variation.
French onion dip: saute onions on low heat with a tablespoon of sugar or agave until caramelized. Once cooled, add to sour cream and blend until combined.
I was thinking about our Thanksgiving menu the other day, and then started thinking about carbo-loading for my race this weekend, and this recipe was born. This is a low fat, high carb dinner that’s filling and warm - great for a the end of a stressful day at work.
- 1/2 lb pasta
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 c chopped mushrooms
- 1 apple, diced
- 1 t sage
- 1/2 t oregano
- 1/2 t parsley
- 2 t vegetable bouillon
- 2 c pasta water
- 3 pieces toasted bread, cubed (or about 1 c bread crumbs)
- 1 c chopped nuts (I used macadamia, but walnuts, cashews, and/or almonds would be great)
- 2 T nutritional yeast
- salt/pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350F. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Throw in the bay leaf, a little salt and 1/2 lb of pasta. Cook al dente according to package directions. Don’t dump your pasta water, drain it into a bowl and save it for the rest of the dish.
In a separate pan, saute the onion, celery, mushroom and garlic in a little oil. Add the spices and cook until the veggies are soft and onions are translucent. To save time, toast and cube the bread, chop the nuts and apple while the veggies are sauteing. Add the diced apple and about 1 cup of pasta water. Stir in the vegetable bouillon. Add the pasta and stir until well combined.
Pour pasta mixture into an oven safe dish. Top with the toasted bread, nuts and sprinkle with nutritional yeast. Pour the second cup of pasta water over the dish and bake for 25 minutes.
YIELD: 4-6 servings PREP TIME: about 5-10 minutes (chopping time) COOK TIME: 35 minutes (boiling/sauteing and baking)
This is a recipe I adjusted from one of my childhood friends, I had to veganize it because I just couldn’t go a holiday season without these delicious cut-out cookies. If you’re not feeling up to all the rolling and cookie cutter-ing you can make these as a drop cookie too.
They are delicious plain, but I frosted some with some leftover cinnamon buttercream (see pumpkin moonpie recipe) and drizzled agave on some too.
- 3/4 c soft shortening (room temp)
- 1 c sugar
- 1 1/2 t egg replacer plus 2 T water (egg replacer for 1 egg)
- 1/4 c molasses
- 2 c flour
- 2 t baking soda
- 1/4 t salt
- 1 t cinnamon
- 3/4 t cloves
- 3/4 t ginger
Beat together the shortening, sugar, egg replacer mixture and molasses. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate about 1 hour. If you are baking this recipe as a drop cookie you can skip the refrigeration period and just drop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto a lined cookie sheet and bake 6-8 minutes at 350F.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Break off a chunk of dough and place it on a floured surface. Roll it out so that it’s a little less that 1/4 inch thick. Using cookie cutters cut shapes out of the dough and place on cookie sheets with about 1/2 inch in between cookies. Bake 5 minutes (I know this doesn’t sound like much, but the cookies will continue to bake for a minute or two on the cookie sheet when removed from oven and will be overly crunchy if you leave them in the oven longer!), remove from oven and let sit 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool and frost as desired.
*These would make great ice cream sandwiches.
I guess soft polenta is really just grits, but being a Northern girl I would much rather eat something called soft polenta than something called grits. And this soft polenta isn’t like Southern grits doused in butter and cheese and milk and any other source of cholesterol you want to throw in there. This is a warm, filling lunch or dinner that is really comforting and delicious.
- 2 c vegetable stock
- 1 t slat
- 1/2 c polenta (corn grits - not the pre-made tubes you buy in the produce section)
In a medium saucepan bring vegetable stock and salt to a boil. Add polenta, stirring while adding. Lower heat to simmer. Allow polenta to simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until thickened.
This is sort of a mushroom gravy, but not in the technical sense. So if you want to save the time you can buy a vegan mushroom gravy and heat that up instead of making this mushroom saute yourself.
- 1 c diced mushrooms
- 2 c vegetable stock
- 2 T oil
- 2 T cornstarch
- 1 t salt
- 1 t mixed spices (I used italian spices, but you can use whatever spices you feel like)
Heat oil in a pan and add mushrooms. Add the salt and spices and let mushrooms brown. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Whisk in cornstarch and spices. Let it simmer and thicken, stirring occasionally.
Scoop a good portion of the hot polenta into a bowl and pour the mushroom “sauce” over it.