Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Black Bean Soup over Brown Rice

Black Bean Soup over Brown Rice

I've been making a ton of soups lately and this one turned out especially well. I made a few adjustments to the original recipe by adding a little smoked salt and some bac'un bits when the soup was almost finished. You don't have to add these things and the soup will still be delicious. It is awesome served over hot brown rice. Gluten-free vegan, soy free (without the bac'un bits), nut free.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • chopped cilantro and avocado slices (optional)


  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery, carrots and garlic for 5 minutes. Season with chili powder, cumin, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in vegetable broth, 2 cans of beans, and corn. Bring to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, process remaining 2 cans beans and tomatoes until smooth. Stir into boiling soup mixture, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve over hot brown rice and garnish with fresh cilantro and avocado slices.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tofu Noodle Soup

We had a few sick kids in the family the past few weeks. They all seem to have gotten over things quite quickly. Maybe it was the magic in this soup! I adapted this recipe from this blog. I don't like to use a lot of oil in recipes so that was all I had to change here. It was a very flavorful tangy soup. It is always better to use fresh ginger in recipes when possible not only for the taste, but also for the health benefits. Ginger has long been used as a natural treatment for colds and the flu. Many people also find ginger to be helpful in the case of stomach flus or food poisoning, which is not surprising given the positive effects ginger has upon the digestive tract. We topped our soup with fresh green onions and bean sprouts. Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, contains soy.

Tofu Noodle Soup
This yields about 4 quarts.
 olive oil spray
3 large celery stalks, diced small
4-5 carrots, peeled and diced small
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2t. minced or grated fresh ginger
1 yellow onion, small, diced
8c water
2 boullion cubes (or broth equiv)
1t dried dill
1t. oregano
1t. basil
1/4 to 1/2t. paprika
1t sea salt
1t black pepper
1t tumeric
1/2t thyme
green onion and bean sprouts (optional)
8oz thin rice noodles broken into 1.5" sticks
8oz firm tofu cut into small cubes and placed on an oil sprayed baking sheet at 350 for 5 minutes then turn and bake for another 5 minutes

Method: In a large stockpot (I use 6 quarts), heat olive oil spray and add carrots, celery, onion, garlic and ginger. Heat on medium and add 2T of water. Put a lid on and let it "sweat" for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Carefully take the lid off (the steam is quick and hot) and turn up the heat. Add the boullion or broth, water, and all the spices. Bring to a rapid simmer and then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the veggies are soft. Take the lid off, increase the heat again but not as high, and add the noodles. Cook them 5-8 minutes, until al dente. As soon as you throw the noodles in is a good time to start baking the tofu see instructions above. The noodles should be soft but not mushy now. Lower the heat even more, add the tofu. Stir, serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mango BBQ Beans with Cilantro Lime Smashed Potatoes

It has been rainy the last few days. Thunder and lightning too! This kind of weather needs some warm comfort food. I found this recipe from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook. I made some changes. The potatoes replaced the yucca just because I already had potatoes on hand. It was a perfect rainy day meal. I topped mine with some ancho chili flakes. The mango in these beans give it a tangy and sweet flavor. It’s a known fact that Mango is rich in Iron. People who suffer from anemia can regularly take mango along with their dinner. Mangoes are useful to children who lack concentration in studies as it contains Glutamine acid which is good to boost memory and keep cells active. This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free.

Mango BBQ Beans
1 tsp olive oil spray
1 onion chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 mango, seeded and chopped small
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you want less heat)
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1 (25-ounce) canned or fresh kidney or pinto beans, drained and rinsed (cooked from dry is always better I cook them in the crock pot over night no soaking required)
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 to 3 tbsp agave nectar
Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Spray and saute the onion and garlic in the with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes until translucent.
Add the mango, tomato sauce, broth, red pepper flakes, coriander, salt and kidney beans. Turn up the heat to a rolling boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot, leaving a little room for steam to escape, and let cook for about 45 minutes, stirring often. The sauce should thicken and the mangoes should cook down a great deal.
Turn off the heat, mix in the agave nectar and liquid smoke, and let the beans sit for about 5 minutes. Taste for sweetness and more agave if needed. Adjust the salt and seasonings, and serve.

Smashed Potatoes with Cilantro and Lime
1 1/2- 2 lbs pounds potatoes I used russet, peeled and chopped into 2 inch chunks
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 tsp earth balance
1/2 tsp salt
Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water until submerged. Add a big pinch of salt, cover the pot, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes, until very, very tender. Turn off the heat.
Reserve about a cup of the hot water by carefully dipping a heatproof mug into the pot. Drain the potatoes, then return it to the pot. Add the lime juice, cilantro, oil and salt. Mash well with a potato masher. Stream in the reserved hot water, little by little, mashing as you go along. You may need up to 1/2 cup. Mash the potatoes until nice and creamy and then serve immediately with the beans.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Blue Plate Diner Veggie Burger (from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives)

After watching an episode of watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, I wanted to attempt this burger. I found a version of the recipe here and decided to try it out. This recipe was very lightly adapted. My daughters loved them so much we ended up having them two nights in a row.

 To watch the episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives you can check it our here :

We topped our burgers with green leaf lettuce, Follow your Heart vegan Thousand Island, Vegan Gourmet cheddar cheese, onions and tomatoes. YUM! This recipe contains sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds contain a wide variety of nutrients that can help support the immune system and body while also keeping the nervous system calm and strong. The nutrients in sunflower seeds can even help improve brittle fingernails, weak hair and poor skin.
This recipe can be made gluten-free, vegan, soy-free contains sunflower seeds.

Blue Plate Diner Veggie Burger

1 can Garbanzo beans, thoroughly drained
1 can Black beans, thoroughly drained, liquid reserved
1 c quick oats
2 c water
1 c Japanese Panko or Gluten-free bread crumbs
1 c flour whole wheat or gluten free all purpose
½ Tbsp Chili powder
1 Tbsp Lawry’s garlic with parsley
½ Tbsp granulated onion powder
1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1/8 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
½ c chopped celery
½ c chopped onion
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds


1- The garbanzos take more time in the food processor to break up than the black beans.  Pour drained garbanzo beans into food processor.  Pulse until broken up.  Add a little bean juice if needed. 

2- Pour in black beans and pulse until broken up.  Pour both in large bowl.
3- Cook ¾ cup oats in 1 ½ cup water.  Cook per package directions, about 5 minutes for quick cooking oats.  Add oats to bowl with beans.
4- Add flour, Panko, and seasonings.  Mix thoroughly. 

Add celery and onion. Stir to combine.

5- Add celery and onion.  Mix well.
6- Form thin patties the diameter of your bun
Allow patties to brown at least moderately before carefully turning. Personal photo.

7- Fry patties in a hot pan with oil or spray. 


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Carrot Jalapeño Soup

A friend of mine gave me this recipe to try from her cute blog girlincraftyworld.blogspot.com . It was easy to make this soup vegan. It was so awesome I may have had... 3 bowls of it for lunch. This soup contains lots of delicious carrots. The health benefits of carrots include reduced cholesterol, prevention from heart attacks, warding off certain cancers and many others. Most of the benefits of carrot can be attributed to its beta carotene and fiber content. This root, which has a scientific name of Daucus Carota, is a good source of antioxidant agents as well. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and potassium.
This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, contains soy and cashews (optional)
  • cooking spray
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1.5 cups chopped onion
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 lbs carrots
  • jalapeno depends on desired heat (I use 2.5-3)
  • 1 cup soy cream
  • dash salt and pepper
  • 3 tbs raw cashews soaked over night (optional for added creaminess) 
Spray pan saute onions, (peeled) carrots and jalapeños saute 3-5 minutes . Add thyme and bay leaf and  stock bring to a boil. Reduce heat and slow cook partially covered until carrots are tender- approx 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf.  Puree in blender or use hand held blender add cashews if desired (food processor does not get it to right consistency)  Whisk in cream with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat without boiling.  Serve hot topped with cilantro and soy sour cream.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Olive Garden® Zuppa Toscana (my vegan version)



Sometimes ,when you go vegan you day dream about that one thing you miss from your meat/dairy eating days. Don't get frustrated...just get creative. I have yet to find something I can't make in a similar vegan form. A friend of mine asked me to make a vegan version of this soup. I have never had the Olive Garden version but, if it is anything like this soup it is fabulous! We don't use a lot of meat substitutes. Every once in a while I can see it working in a dish. With a little research I came up with this version. I do believe if you served this to a die hard carnivore they too will gobble it up. This recipe contains potatoes. Mmmm... potatoes. Potatoes are a very good source of vitamin C, a good source of vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, and dietary fiber.
Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. Among these important health-promoting compounds are carotenoids, flavonoids, and caffeic acid, as well as unique tuber storage proteins, such as patatin, which exhibit activity against free radicals.
This recipe is gluten-free (when using gluten-free soy sausage), vegan, contains soy and cashews.


                                    Olive Garden® Zuppa Toscana


  • 1 lb ground soy sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 4 Tbsp bac'un pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 tsp of better than bouillon vegetable or 5 cubes vegetable  bouillon
  • 1 cup soy cream ( I used Fresh and Easy brand)
  • 1 lb peeled sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale
  • (optional) 3 Tbsp of cashews soaked over night in water for added creaminess
  1. Spray pan and sauté sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot.
  2. Clean bottom of pan then cook onions and garlic over low-medium heat for approximately 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
  3. Add  bouillon, bac'un and water to the pot and heat until it starts to boil.
  4. Add the sliced potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
  5. Add the cream and just cook until thoroughly heated.
  6. (optional) blend 2 cups of soup with three Tbsp cashews and add to the rest of the soup
  7. Stir in the sausage and the kale, let all heat through and serve. Delicious!

             You can find these @ Whole Foods in the seasonings isle.
    This brand is vegan but not gluten free. Found @ whole foods.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sweet Potato Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping

Sweet Potato Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping

I really need my photographer back but she just started 7th grade and has been a little busy. So, the photo wont do the dish an justice. It was a Delicious fall dish that we all enjoyed. It is creamy yummy vegan comfort food. The original recipe from Veganomicon uses pumpkin but we only had sweet potatoes on hand.  Gluten-free, vegan, contains cashews and soy.

Sweet Potato Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping

3/4 lbs uncooked (gluten free or whole wheat) ziti or penne pasta
2 onions, sliced very thinly
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
white pepper and cayenne
2 cups pureed sweet potato or pumpkin or 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 cup vegetable broth

Sage Bread Crumbs:
2 1/2 cups gluten free or whole wheat bread crumbs, preferably fresh and homemade
1/3 cup walnut pieced chopped in a food processor until resembling coarse crumbs
1/4 cup Earth Balance
2 tsp dried, rubbed sage
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp ground paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cashew Ricotta:
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces soaked over night in water is best (approx 4 oz)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves fresh or roasted garlic
1 lb firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp salt


To make the Cashew Ricotta: In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic until a thick creamy paste forms. Add the crumbled tofu to the food processor, working in two or more batches in necessary, until the mixture is thick and well blended. Blend in the basil and salt.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 11-inch lasagna type baking pan with olive oil, or use two smaller pans.

Prepare the ziti according to the package directions, about 10 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. Set aside.

While the paste is cooking, make the caramelized onion: preheat a large heavy-bottomed pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Saute the onions in oil until some onion bits are very brown and caramelized, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

Place the Cashew Ricotta in a large bowl and fold in the sweet potato or pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne, and vegetable broth and mix. Add the cooked ziti and caramelized onions, stirring to coat the pasta. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press lightly with a rubber spatula to level it.

Make the sage breadcrumbs:
Melt the Earth Balance in large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Stir in the bread crumbs, walnuts, dried herbs and paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Stir constantly until the mixture is lightly coated, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle evenly over the ziti.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until the top of the ziti is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vegetable Pot Pie


This was my first attempt at a vegan gluten-free pot pie. I must say it was an utter success. I looked at a few recipes online and made some adjustments to veganize it and take the wheat out.  You don't have to stay with the traditional vegetables. I added some cubed butternut squash in there. They are not in season right now so I used some from the freezer. Butternut squash provides an abundance of vitamins and nutrients known for preventing a wide variety of diseases. Its deep, golden color is a sign that it is packed with carotenes, an important antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of a number of life-threatening conditions. These winter squashes are easy to cook, making them an even more of appealing part of healthy diet.

It was a very comforting healthy meal.  Gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free

                                                              they're all in there

                                                                 Vegetable Pot Pie

1 medium onion, diced coarsely
2 large carrots diced
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch chunks (I used Russet potatoes; I washed them, but I only peeled one)
1 cup diced butternut squash
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp ground thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp peppercorn medley, ground
2 1/2 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
1 cup frozen baby peas
1 cup diced celery
2 tbsp earth balance divided
1/3 cup gluten-free flour mix (or whole wheat)
1 cup milk substitute (I used almond milk)
1 cup gluten-free flour mix (or whole wheat)
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 1/4tsp baking powder
slightly less than 1 cup milk or non-dairy milk (I used full-fat coconut milk)

In large, deep skillet or Dutch oven, or wok heat cooking spray and add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, potatoes, parsley, thyme, oregano, sea salt, and pepper. Allow to cook on medium-low or medium heat until vegetables are softened.
Add  broth and bring to a boil. Allow it to simmer about 2 minutes, then add peas and cook until tender.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Meanwhile, in a saucepan, mix the 1/3 cup flour and 2 tbsp earth balance until blended, and heat on medium-low a minute or two until thickened. Add the milk gradually to make a white sauce. When the mixture is almost thickened, add to the vegetable mixture. When all is thickened nicely, pour into a greased casserole dish or pie plate. (I used a glass deep-dish casserole dish.)

In same saucepan, whisk together crust ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, and milk. Pour over top of filling in casserole dish or pie plate.  Even out the topping with a spatula, not quite going to the edge of the dish (leaving this space allows venting, if needed). Place pot pie into preheated oven and bake for 30 – 45 minutes, until crust is lightly browned.


Easy Red Beans and Rice with Cornbread


      Coming back from our last minute camping trip we made this dish for lunch. It does have a little spice but my kids gobbled it up anyway. I like adding a little extra spice. I cooked the beans from dry after a quick soak. If you have never tried slow cooking beans, you need to! They have a really delicious taste when fresh.

  Beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein and other healthy substances. They should be a part of every one's diet whether that diet is a vegetarian one or not. Opening a can of beans is easy and inexpensive, but cooking dried beans is even less expensive. The health benefits of dried beans exceed those of canned beans, also. Canned beans have more sodium, less fiber and may contain sugar in the form of corn syrup. Whenever possible, cooking dried beans is the healthiest way to go.  In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, kidney beans can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy.

This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, contains soy

Easy Red Beans and Rice with Cornbread

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

* 1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice

* 1 can of red kidney beans

* 1/2 soyrizo

* 1 TBSP gluten-free vegan Worcestershire (i like pick a pepper sauce)

* 1 TBSP liquid smoke

* 1/2 diced onion

* 1/2 diced green pepper

* Vegetable stock

*2 chopped celery stalks

Spray  a large skillet. Add the onion, celery and pepper over medium heat. Saute the mixture for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add Worcestershire and liquid smoke to the pan and stir into the vegetables. Add the rice, beans, and chorizo to the pan. Add vegetable stock in splash increments if it seems too dry for you liking. You may also add dabs of liquid smoke depending on how Cajun you like it. Cook the mixture on low for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Top with some hot sauce. YUM!


For the cornbread we used Bob Red Mills and cooked as directed. I replaced the egg with egg replacer powder and the milk with almond milk.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mac and Cheese with Greens

Mac and Cheese with Greens

We were out all day running errands and I lost track of time. We had to run home real fast for lunch before piano practice. I made This with some new gluten-free penne pasta corn/brown rice blend. I wanted to try with a quick and cheesey sauce. I threw some mixed greens in there for good measure .
Eating more of these dark, leafy greens means you will get more vitamins A, B, C, E and K. Vitamin A helps with your vision, B increases metabolism, C with your immune system, E reduces free radicals, and K can help with osteoporosis just to name a few benefits. It was a simple in a rush lunch. I'm thinking this would also work well in lunch boxes when school starts. It is Gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free   

 Cheese Sauce  Recipe
•1/4 cup nutritional yeast
•1/4 cup gf flour (i used bob mills gf blend) or unbleached wheat flour
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp onion powder
•1/8 tsp ground mustard
•1/4 tsp sea salt
•1 cup water
•1 tbsp vegan margarine (ex. Earth Balance)
To Prepare:  Mix all dry ingredients together in a small saucepan (except water and butter).  Mix water and butter together and microwave for 2 minutes to melt and combine.  Slowly pour water and butter into saucepan with dry ingredients while whisking (to avoid lumps).  Heat saucepan on the stove top over medium heat until thickened – keep whisking!
Pasta:1 12oz package of pasta cooked as directed. I used Heartland gluten free penne pasta. When Pasta is almost finished stir in a good handful of dark leafy greens. I used Southern mixed greens which had mustard greens,  kale and collard greens. Drain pasta and greens and add the cheesey sauce. Mix well. Enjoy!                                                                                                                                          

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup

Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup

We are still happily chipping away at the monster zucchini. This recipe was very simple. I had almost everything on hand so we decided to try it out. It seemed like a fresh and simple recipe. I guess my expectations weren't very high. I was so wrong! This soup was loved by my even pickiest of eaters. We will definitely make this soup again. Perhaps for lunch today :) This recipe is from fatfreevegan.com. I made no adjustments to this recipe. It is gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, contains cashews.              

                                                     Creamy Zucchini and Basil Soup

2 pounds zucchini (about 5 small to medium)
1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
3 tablespoons raw cashews
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
additional salt & pepper, to taste
Set aside one of the zucchini; trim and coarsely chop the rest.
Cook onion in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the chopped zucchini, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the broth and simmer until zucchini is tender, about 15 minutes.
Pour into a blender (in 2 batches, if necessary) taking care to avoid burns by not filling the blender more than halfway. Add the basil, cashews, and nutritional yeast and blend until smooth.
Return soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm. Shred the remaining zucchini with a spiral slicer, mandolin, or grater. Pour soup into bowls and sprinkle grated zucchini over top.
Servings: 6
Yield: 4-6 servings
                                                        Our picky eater chowing down

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vegan "Crab" Cakes

                                                          Vegan "Crab" Cakes

I'm trying to make a dent in the 3 lb zucchini we got from the market so I added some into this recipe and WOW it was amazing. My daughter took pictures but her camera is having issues right now so I had to borrow this photo. Ours looked awesome too. These crab cakes use tempeh, which I normally am not a big fan of. I guess I wasn't using it right because these were so good. It freaked my husband out a little because the texture and taste was so similar to crab. Every one of my kids loved these.

One serving of tempeh contains more fiber than most people consume in one day. Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive tract as well as preventing many chronic diseases Rhizopus moulds produce natural, heat-stable antibiotic agents against some disease-causing organisms. Indonesians who eat tempeh as a regular part of their diet recognize it as a medicine for dysentery and rarely fall victim to the intestinal diseases to which they are constantly exposed. In addition, tempeh had calcium, protein and iron. BTW tempeh is made from soy beans. We get ours at Trader Joe's or Whole foods.

These are gluten-free (when using gf bread crumbs), vegan, nut-free, contains soy. We served these with some roasted garlic smashed potatoes and some lightly steamed southern greens.

10 cakes
For the Cakes:

1/4 cup shredded zucchini
8 ounces tempeh (use the nori tempeh if you can find it, but plain soy tempeh is fine, too)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon braggs, gf tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon old bay
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard (stone-ground Dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup very finely chopped red bell pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs or your favorite Gluten-free crumbs, plus extra for dredging
1 finely chopped nori sheet or 1 tablespoon kelp granules (optional, if you like a little fishiness, which I do)
Oil for panfrying
For the Remoulade:
2 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard (stone-ground Dijon works, too)
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons capers (try not to get too much brine)
For Serving:
Lemon wedges
Make ahead: Make the entire mixture and the remoulade the night before. In the morning, form into cakes and panfry.
First we’re going to steam the tempeh to get the bitterness out and also to give it some flavor with the soy sauce. Crumble the tempeh into a saucepan in little bits. Add the water, soy sauce, oil, and bay leaf. The tempeh won’t be fully submerged, but that’s fine. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let boil for 12 to 15 minutes, until most of the water has evaporated. Stir once during boiling.
Transfer contents to a mixing bowl, remove the bay leaf, and mash with a fork. Let cool for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to hasten the cooling process. Make sure the tempeh is barely warm before you proceed, or the cakes may fall apart when you cook them. Add the zucchini, Vegenaise, mustard, hot sauce, vinegar, bell pepper, ginger, oregano, old bay, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add the breadcrumbs and nori, if using, and use your hands to incorporate.
Once you are ready to form the cakes, preheat a thin layer of oil in a heavy-bottomed, nonstick skillet (cast iron is great) over medium heat. Pour a few tablespoons of breadcrumbs into a bowl. Scoop a little less than 1/4 cup batter into your hands and form into a ball. Flatten between your palms and then roll the sides gently to smooth them. You should have ten 2 1/2- to 3-inch patties. Press them into the crumbs to lightly coat. They don’t need to be thoroughly covered, just a little bit for some texture.
Fry a batch of five cakes for 4 minutes on one side and flip when dark golden brown. Fry for 2 minutes on the other side and transfer to a paper towel or paper bag to drain. Do your second batch and in the meantime make your remoulade by mixing all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Adapted From the book Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cheesy Squash and Potato Casserole

                                               Cheesy Zucchini and Potato Casserole

This recipe is probably the epitome of vegan comfort food. It is not a low-fat dish but, at least there are vegetables in there right? Also.. 0 cholesterol. It has a mix of green and yellow zucchini. I love getting a few at the market each week and finding new ways to prepare them.Zucchini contains Vitamin C and lutein, both of which are known to be good for the eyes.The vegetable is a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, manganese and a lot of other nutrients. Eating zucchini is known to help the body in supporting the arrangement of capillaries. Regular consumption of the vegetable can help protect the body against colon cancer. I added some Kale into this too. You can really add whatever vegetables you have on hand and the cheesy sauce will compliment it well. I want to try broccoli next time.This recipe was adapted from  onesweetvegan.com. Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free. Contains Soy

Cheesy Squash and Potato Casserole

1 lb. squash (I use a combination of zucchini and yellow squash)
1 lb. red potatoes
1/2 cup red onion
1-2 handful of torn up kale or whatever greens you have on hand
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (i.e.Vegenaise)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup shredded vegan Cheddar cheese (Daiya or vegan gourmet)
1/3 cup vegan butter, melted (i.e. Earth Balance)
2 cups organic corn flakes

Dice potatoes and boil oil until soft.
 Slice squash into bite-sized pieces and dice onion (plus any other veggies you might want to add). Steam together until soft (5-8 minutes)
To make the sauce, mix  together vegan mayo, salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutritional yeast in a bowl until blended.
Pour cooked onion, squash, and drained potatoes into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Pour bowl of sauce on top, along with 1/2 cup shredded vegan Cheddar. Stir together until the vegetables are coated.
 In a separate bowl pour corn flakes in and add melted vegan butter. Stir until the corn flakes are coated.   Spread the corn flakes on top of the vegetable mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ricotta Stuffed Baked Squash Blossoms

                                             Ricotta Stuffed Baked Squash Blossoms

I think I have a new favorite dinner! I was so happy to see these beautiful edible flowers at our local fresh52 farmer's market. I have never eaten or tried making them before so, it was a new and exciting experience. I had to put a few different recipes I found together and they turned out amazing! The flowers really don't have a strong taste but it is a nice way to make a ravioli type dish. Plus it is fun to tell your kids they are having flowers for dinner. The ricotta is so delicious. It is made from soaked raw cashews. Cashews are rich in iron, protein, magnesium ( beneficial for bone growth),  antioxidants, copper (good for flexibility in bones, joints and blood vessels), they also have been proven to protect against heart disease. I served this over quinoa pasta shells with a light tomato sauce. Any type of pasta would work . Gluten-free, vegan, contains cashews and  soy.

Batter Ingredients:
1. 2 cups Gf or wheat bread crumbs
2. 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
3. sea salt and black pepper to taste

The Filling: Ricotta nut cheese
Vegan Ricotta Cashew Nut "Cheese" by: kblog.lunchboxbunch.com
makes 2 1/2 cups

2 cups of soaked raw cashews/pinch of salt, drained
2 tsp garlic powder or 3 fresh garlic cloves
1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer (for richer flavor)
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice
*you can also use red wine or balsamic vinegar's if you prefer those flavors
1 Tbsp dried Italian herb blend
1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup (or honey)
1/3 cup fresh chives or 1 green onion
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp minimum)
garnish: handful of fresh chopped chives or 1 green onion


1. Add raw cashews to a big bowl of water, add a pinch of salt. Soak in fridge overnight or at least for about 2-4 hours. More soaking, smoother texture.

2. Drain soaked cashews. Add them to a food processor.

3. Add in the vinegar or lemon juice, soy milk or creamer, agave and EVOO.

4. Blend on high until smooth. This may take a few minutes depending on the strength of your food processor. If your ricotta is looking too dry, add more soy milk and/or more EVOO. I used soy creamer which made my ricotta nice and creamy.

Batter Ingredients:
1. 2 cups Gf or wheat bread crumbs
2. 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
3. sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350. Take your cheese mixture and pipe it into each blossom gently ( I used a pastry filler). With your fingers or tongs, carefully dip each flower in non-dairy milk of choice then into the bread crumbs with salt and pepper. Repeat until all of your blossoms are filled and breaded. I had 10 with left over cheese. Spray a baking pan or use parchment paper under the blossoms. Bake at 350 for 12-15 mins. Serve over your favorite pasta with a drizzle of warm marinara. I made my own sauce with the recipe below.

Tomato sauce:
1 clove chopped garlic
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tbs olive oil
1 1/2 tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp sugar

Cook garlic and red pepper flakes in a 2 quart sauce pan over medium heat, stirring until garlic is golden, about 30 seconds. Add all other ingredients and cook until sauce has thickened (around 25 mins).

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kale Chips

                                                                  Kale Chips

Don't be afraid of little green things! These chips are so tasty. You may find yourself eating a whole batch (like we did). That's okay... they are really good for you. Kale is an excellent source of calcium, lutein, iron, and Vitamins A, C and K. The Icing on the Kale" is the naturally occurring all important phyotochemicals which research suggests may protect against cancer. All in a light crispy chip. They are so easy to make too! Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, soy-free.

1 bunch (around 6 ounces) kale
1 TBS olive oil
Sea salt to taste (don't over do it you can always add more after they bake)

Preheat oven to 300. Rinse and dry the kale, then remove them stems and tough center ribs. Cut into large pieces, toss with olive oil and salt. Arrange leaves in a single layer on a large baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Chipotle Hummus

I love hummus! On sandwiches, burgers, raw veggies or corn chips. Here are two recipes. One traditional and one chipotle. You can cook your chickpeas from dry or use canned. It tastes much better to use freshly cooked chickpeas. If you use canned use water in place of the cooking liquid. These hummus recipes are my favorite from melomeals.blogspot.com Gluten-free, vegan, soy-free contains sesame seeds

Chipotle Hummus
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 t Tony’s creole seasoning
  • ¼ t cumin
  • ¼ t coriander
  • 2 c HOT chickpeas (reserve ½ c cooking liquid)
  • 1-2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 T tahini or peanut butter
  • 2-4 T chickpea cooking liquid as needed or Olive Oil if you aren't watching  your calories
  • Juice of 2 limes ( around 3 T )
  • ¼ c chopped cilantro (optional)
  • Salt/pepper to taste

  1. Pulse garlic and tony's in food processor until garlic paste is formed
  2. add the rest of the ingredients and puree until totally smooth
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add more lime juice if needed. 

8 cloves garlic
2 t salt
1 t chili powder
4 c hot chickpeas
¼ c tahini
1/3 c lemon juice
Chickpea cooking water to thin if necessary

Method: Cook chickpeas and reserve cooking water.
In a food processor, add the garlic, salt and chili powder. Pulse until garlic is a paste. Now add the chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice. Puree until totally smooth. Add chickpea cooking water to thin mixture if desired.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chocolate Covered Banana Sandwich

                                                     Chocolate Covered Banana Sandwich

I found this yummy chocolate flavored peanut butter at Fresh and Easy. It is all natural! It also works well with sliced strawberries or raspberries. Fresh fruit > Jam. Gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, contains peanuts.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Chickpea Salad Sandwich


                                                           Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Don't ask me how this works but, somehow smashed up chickpeas dressed as tuna salad is amazing! You don't really need a recipe for this because you can add whatever you usually add to your tuna salad. I made mine with some low-fat vegan mayo, brown mustard, relish, celery and cucumber. I drain then pulse a can of chickpeas together with the other veggies and then add the wet ingredients. Add lettuce, tomato, onion (whatever you prefer) and make it a sandwich. It works well stuffed in a bell pepper, a hollowed out cucumber or a lettuce wrap. It is so easy and the kids love it. Gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free.

 2 slices whole wheat bread or hollowed veggie
 1 can  drained chickpeas
 1 tsp brown or yellow mustard
 1/3 cup (or less)  vegan mayonnaise
 2 tbs pickle relish
 1 rib chopped celery- optional (cucumber, green,onion or mix of all)
    lettuce, optional- i like the spring greens mix
    tomato slices, optional
    fresh ground pepper

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sloppy Joes

My 10 year old son requested Sloppy Joes for dinner. I was reluctant but decided I was up for the challenge. They turned out great! My husband and I ate ours in a lightly roasted red bell pepper with a drizzle of non dairy cheese sauce. They are made with textured vegetable protein. This stuff has a great texture and is very similar to ground meat. Gluten-free, vegan, contains soy.

•2-3 tbsp olive oil or olive oil spray
•1 onion, diced
•1 green or red bell pepper, diced
•1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
•1 cup gf bbq sauce
1 cup ketchup
•1 tbsp chili powder
•1 tbsp gf soy sauce
•dash hot sauce or tabasco sauce (optional)
•1 tbsp sugar
•1 1/2 cups TVP
•salt and pepper to taste
•5-6 hamburger buns
In a large skillet, sautee the onion and peppers in olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until onions are soft.
Reduce heat to medium low and add the remaining ingredients (except buns) and stir well to combine. Allow to simmer for at least 15 more minutes.
Spoon onto hamburger buns or roasted bell pepper and serve hot. I roasted a bell pepper cut in half @ 350
 for 10 minutes with a little water in the pan.

Nutritional Yeast Cheese Sauce  Recipe By: dailygarnish.com
•1/4 cup nutritional yeast
•1/4 cup millet flour (gluten free) or unbleached wheat flour
•1/4 tsp garlic powder
•1/4 tsp onion powder
•1/8 tsp ground mustard
•1/4 tsp sea salt
•1 cup water
•1 tbsp vegan margarine (ex. Earth Balance)
To Prepare:  Mix all dry ingredients together in a small saucepan.  Mix water and butter together and microwave for 2 minutes to melt and combine.  Slowly pour water and butter into saucepan with dry ingredients while whisking (to avoid lumps).  Heat saucepan on the stove top over medium heat until thickened – keep whisking!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Chilled Gazpacho soup

Chilled Gazpacho soup


  • 1 hothouse cucumber, halved and seeded, but not peeled
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
  • 4 plum tomatoes (we used 2 large celebrity)
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 23 ounces tomato juice or vegetable juice (3 cups)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • avocado and a bunch of cilantro (optional)


Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped. Do not over process! You can also hand chop the vegetables. I like doing this because I like a chunkier soup.

After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add the garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, ,salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill before serving. Top with a few sprigs of cilantro and some ripe avocado. I also like a little hot sauce to give it kick. The longer gazpacho sits, the more the flavors develop.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Black Friday Melt

                                                             Black Friday Melt

I have to start out by noting this recipe does contain wheat. Transitioning from a animal based-diet to a plant-based  can be difficult for people. There are a lot of different products you can use in place of meat which are minimally processed, much healthier than animal products and they taste great! My husband asked if I could veganize one of his favorite sandwiches from a restaurant in Portland we love. This sandwich will blow your mind it is so damn good. My measurements aren't exact because I just threw it together but you can stack it as wide as you can open your mouth. Tofurky is used in place of turkey. Contains wheat, soy, vegan, nut-free

- Ingredients-
-2-3 slices of tofurky oven roasted or smoked lunch meat
-2 slices of whole grain bread
-sprinkling of vegan cheese (i used daiya mozzarella)
-2 tablespoons of natural cranberry sauce ( i like Fresh & Easy brand cranberry orange relish)
- 1/4 of an onion cut into strips
-1/4 cup of chopped mushrooms
-earth balance buttery spread

Spray medium frying pan. Cook onions and mushrooms over medium heat until soft. Once cooked (3-4) minutes set aside in a bowl. Lightly butter utter each side of bread and lightly pan grill each side until golden brown. Arrange the tofurky and mushroom/onion mixture on one side of bread, sprinkle with a little (or a lot) of cheese. Spread one side of remaining bread slice with cranberry sauce. Bring the two slices together to make a sandwich. YUM!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our Favorite Smoothie

                                                      Our Favorite Smoothie
I drink a lot of smoothies. One almost every day. They give me a great amount of energy and the fact that I can sneak greens into my kids breakfast is a plus! They are very versatile and we like to change them up with whatever fruit/veggie is in season. This one is the smoothie we had this morning. Gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free.

1 ripe banana
1 cup fresh or frozen fruit (e.g., berries, mango, kiwi, peach,pear, anything you prefer or a mixture)
1 cup greens (i used kale and chard) I add a lot more but you can start with just 1 cup to get kids used to it
1/2 cup fruit juice (pear, mango or berry nectar is nice)
1 tsp spirulina powder (optional)
1/4-1/2 cup filtered water

* for a creamier smoothie you can substitute non-dairy milk for water
Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Flax Seed Apple Butter French Toast with Berry sauce

I'm not a big breakfast person. We usually do something simple like oatmeal  or yogurt with granola and fruit for the kids. I like to have a green smoothie in the morning (which reminds me..I need to put that recipe up too). My kids were begging me for french toast so... here it is! It can be made with your favorite gluten free bread too! I used some leftover french bread. French toast recipe is from bettyconfidential.com. The yummy simple berry sauce is from vegalicious.org.  Gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut free.

Flax Seed Apple Butter French Toast with Berry sauce

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
3 tablespoons apple butter
3/4 cup non-dairy milk of choice
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon non hydrogenated oil
4 large slices gf bread of choice, about ¾-inch thick ( we used a left over french loaf)

for the berry sauce-

2 cup berries (any kind) I used strawberries and blueberries

1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cane sugar or agave

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon corn starch

nonstick spray

To make the french toast:
Combine ground flax seeds, apple butter, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a blender and mix until smooth. Transfer to a shallow bowl.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat and add oil. Dip both sides of the bread into the batter and transfer to the hot pan. Repeat for remaining slices. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
Serve with the fruit compote.

To make the berry sauce:
  1. Place the mixed berries in a saucepan.
  2. Add the water, sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon.
  3. Stir well to dissolve the cornstarch.
  4. Place on a low heat to simmer until the berries soften and the sauce thickens

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Garden Vegetable Lasagna w/ Ricotta Nut Cheese and Marinated Mushrooms and Zucchini

Recipe adapted from lunchboxbunch.com.This dish requires a bit of prep time but it is WELL worth it. You have to soak the cashews 2-4 hours or overnight. Again, so worth it. My kids happily had thirds. It is delicious with out the veg cheese too. The nut ricotta is amazing on salads if you can save a few spoonfuls. It is gluten free, vegan. Contains soy and nuts.

Garden Vegetable Lasagna w/ Ricotta Nut Cheese and Marinated mushrooms and Zucchini
vegan, makes one 9-11" lasagna

1 large ripe tomato, sliced into thin rounds
2 cups marinara sauce (or homemade recipe)
1 large zucchini, sliced into thin flat strips
1 cup mushrooms, sliced thin, any variety
1/4- 1/2 cup non-dairy cheese, I used Daiya
2 cups fresh leafy greens
*I used Kale, spinach, etc work too.
1 box gf no-boil lasagna noodles
*you can choose the boil method if you'd like
optional: 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped - chopped basil

1 1/2 cups Chive Nut Cheese Ricotta
Vegan Chive Ricotta Cashew Nut "Cheese"
makes 2 1/2 cups

2 cups of soaked raw cashews/pinch of salt, drained
2 tsp garlic powder or 3 fresh garlic cloves
1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer (for richer flavor)
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice
*you can also use red wine or balsamic vinegar's if you prefer those flavors
1 Tbsp dried Italian herb blend
1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup (or honey)
1/3 cup fresh chives
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp minimum)
garnish: handful of fresh chopped chives

optional: 1 Tbsp Vegenaise

note on salt: If you are adding this ricotta to a recipe with salty ingredients (like a tomato-sauced lasagna) go easy on the salt. The ricotta should add a texture/taste component to the dish and not a salty one. However, if you are using the ricotta raw on salads, as a dip or dessert - you may want to increase the salt and even sweetener content a tad to suite your tastes.


1. Add raw cashews to a big bowl of water, add a pinch of salt. Soak in fridge overnight or at least for about 2-4 hours. More soaking, smoother texture.

2. Drain soaked cashews. Add them to a food processor.

3. Add in the vinegar or lemon juice, soy milk or creamer, agave and EVOO.

4. Blend on high until smooth. This may take a few minutes depending on the strength of your food processor. If your ricotta is looking too dry, add more soy milk and/or more EVOO. I used soy creamer which made my ricotta nice and creamy.

Zesty Garlic Marinade
1 Tbsp garlic powder OR 5 chopped garlic cloves
3-4 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup red wine, apple cider or balsamic vinegar (I used balsamic/red wine)
*see vinegar note below
2-3 Tbsp dried Italian herb seasoning blend
1 tsp black pepper
optional: 1/4 cup fresh basil - chiffonade

*vinegar note: if using apple cider or red wine vinegar you may want to add a splash of agave/maple syrup to sweeten your marinade up a bit. The balsamic vinegar should have enough sweetness on its own.


1. Gather your ingredients.

2. Make your marinade by combining all ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Prep your veggies. Slice you ingredients very thin so that the marinade absorbs quickly.

4. Place your sliced ingredients (zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, greens) into your marinade bowl. Toss gently. Add more EVOO/vinegar if needed to cover ingredients. Allow to marinate at least 20 minutes. Otherwise you can prep this part for overnight marination.

5. If you haven't made your Chive Ricotta Lasagna in advance - do it now. Set aside.

6. Begin building your lasagna. Basically, sauce, noodles, sauce, greens,  sauce, noodles, sauce, mushrooms, noodles, ricotta, noodles, sauce, cheese, fresh tomatoes, chives, black pepper. And done! You can really build a lasagna however you'd like though. There are very few rules.

Before Baking:

IMPORTANT TIP: Be sure to put a sauce layer on at least one side of each noodle layer - since you are using the no-boil noodles you want your lasagna to be extra extra moist before baking.

And I actually poured a bit of my extra marinade over top to use as an extra moisture adder for my lasagna. Worked beautifully.

7. Cover your lasagna and store in fridge until ready to bake that day. Or bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes. Note: if baking lasagna from a chilled fridge, your baking time will be longer since the temp will be colder.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Summer Potato Salad

Summer Potato Salad
This Recipe was a lot of fun and really delicious. I found a bag of mixed potatoes at Trader Joe's and used two bags for this. The purple potatoes are a little alarming because the are REALLY purple. Inside and out. Gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, nut-free

3bs red potatoes
1/2 cup veganaise
1/2 cup dijon mustard
2 stalks fresh celery with leaves
1/2 white or yellow onion
3 fresh green scallions
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 fist full kosher salt
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh thyme leave

Cooking Directions

1. Quarter and boil potatoes for about 20 minutes, until tender with a fork.

2. Finely chop the celery, onion and thyme leaves, and mix together with mayo and mustard in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper, and paprika.

3. When potatoes are cool to the touch, dress them in the mixture and cover. Let ingredients set up together for an hour. Eat!