Monday, July 29, 2013

Summertime play on an American Classic......Grilled Teese and Oven Roasted Poblano-Tomato Gaspacho

Who doesn't love grilled cheese and tomato soup?  Kid friendly, easy and very versatile.  You can make an elevated adult version by adding in truffle oil and roasted tomatoes. 

In my opinion, the bread used can make or break this simple sammy.  I chose to go with a rosemary bread to give it a nice fresh herbal touch to the sandwich.

Gazpacho is also quite versatile.  You can really make it any way you want.  You can go for the traditional tomato version or even a cooling, fruity version like a watermelon gazpacho.  But I was in the mood for something a bit smokier and spicier, so I opted for a Roasted Tomato-Poblano one.

Grilled Teese and Oven Roasted Tomato-Poblano Gazpacho

Poblano Peppers are usually pretty mild, but the ones that I bought were abnormally fiery!  So, what I did was removed the seeds and some of the flesh and roasted in the oven for about 5-10 min on each side.  Then make sure you let them sweat! 

For the Gazpacho:
4 vine ripe tomatoes
1 poblano pepper cut in half and seeded
1/2 red pepper chopped
1/2 cucumber chopped
1/2 red pepper chopped
2 garlic cloves peeled and finely minced
1/4 c chopped cilantro
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar or sherry vinegar

Put oven on broil and broil 2 of your tomatoes and the poblano pepper for about 5-10 minutes or until blackened or blistered.  Remove from oven and place the peppers and tomatoes in a plastic bag to sweat.  Keep in mind the poblanos will be done before the tomatoes, so keep an eye on them.
Once tomatoes and poblanos are peeled, chop them into pieces.  Take all of your ingredients and place 1/2 in a blender and keep the other half out to toss in.  Blend until smooth, add in the remaining ingredients and chill in refrigerator for at least 20-30 min.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Feeling Peachy!....Grilled Peaches and "cream"

There is an abundance of peaches at the store right now and I am loving it!  They are plump and juicy and just flat out delicious.

So fire up that grill, because we are getting ready to throw these juicy peaches on there and make the easiest summertime dessert ever!  Best part, only takes minutes and 3 ingredients!

Adding a touch of agave nectar to the peaches gives it a touch more sweetness and beautiful glaze!

Grilled Peaches and "Cream"

 The reason I use agave nectar is because honey technically is not vegan.  The term vegan has to do with the exploitation of animals.  Technically, honey bees are being subjected to cruelty in the honey making process.

If you are not a hardcore vegan or just want to stay away from animal products/bi-products, then you can definitely use honey instead!

Agave Nectar (or honey)
Coconut or Soy Ice Cream

Heat grill.  Wash peaches and cut in halves, removing the seed.  You can either leave them in halves or cut into slices.  Brush your agave nectar over the peaches and grill on each side until you have nice grill marks.  Remove and serve with your favorite vegan ice cream.  I prefer So Delicious Brand.

Told you that was easy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Detox!....Rainbow Summer Quinoa Salad with Herbaceous Sauce!!

I am thinking about making this quinoa salad at least once a week.  It is detoxifying and energizing.  A great meal for lunch or dinner to kick start your week or to energize you when you are feeling lethargic.

Packed full of protein with tons of veggies and fruit!  What more can you ask for?  Give your quinoa salad a little extra element with an herbaceous sauce!

Rainbow Summer Quinoa Salad


You can serve this salad warm or cold.  Tastes great either way!  My only tip is, if you serve it warm, just lightly toss in the herb sauce or eliminate all together.  The sauce is meant to be cool and refreshing.

Another great one for a summer outdoor get together!

for the salad (serves 4 if side dish, serves 2 if for entree)
1 c dry black/white quinoa
eggplant cut into cubes
1 red bell pepper pepper sliced
1/4 c black beans
1/4 c shelled edamame (thawed)
1/4 onion sliced
1 mango cut in pieces
1 clove garlic minced
1 lemon
1 lime

Start off with cooking your quinoa.  Bring 1 c quinoa with 2 c water to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 min or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is soft.  In meantime, saute garlic and red pepper in evoo for 2 min, then add in eggplant and saute until the eggplant is just soft enough (roughly 5 minutes). 
Take your cooked quinoa and throw in a bowl and drizzle in just enough evoo to lightly coat the grains.  Add in your sauteed garlic, red bell pepper and eggplant.  Add in your thawed edamame, black beans, onion and mango.  Squeeze in both lemon and lime and season with salt and pepper and everyday seasoning.

For the sauce:
1 tbsp evoo
2-3 tbsp water (depending on how you would like the consistensy_

throw in blender and blend until smooth.

To arrange, spoon sauce on plate and place a cup of quinoa on top!  Enjoy your heart healthy vegan and protein packed salad!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mancakes! Vegan Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Pancakes!

Looking for a satisfying vegan breakfast?  Well you have come to the right place!

I love the spin on these pancakes!  The peanut butter replaces any additional sugar you may add to your typical pancakes and replaces the eggs!  Plus, the sole fact of eating a peanut buttery pancake is mouth watering!

What really makes this dish is the apple cinnamon topping!  Once again, we are taking something that is traditionally yummy together (ie- apple and peanut butter) and pairing them together in a whole new atmosphere!

Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Pancakes with Apple Cinnamon Topping

Keep in mind that due to the peanut butter, these pancakes come out quite dense.  This is the way they should be, so don't get worried!

1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt

4 tbsp peanut butter
1 ½ cups almond mile
1 tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla

 In 2 separate bowls, mix the dry ingredients together and the wet ingredients together.  Then, combine the wet to the dry and mix thoroughly.

Heat a pan with a bit of vegan butter on medium.  pour in 1/2 c of the mixture.  Once the edges of the pancakes brown and the top starts to bubble, flip.  Cook for about 2 minutes on that side and check bottom to make sure done.  Repeat until you are out of batter.

For the Apple - Cinnamon Topping:
Chop one apple, toss in cinnamon and saute in vegan butter for about 5 minutes.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Just around the "korma"....Vegan Vegetable Korma

Have you ever been to an Indian Restaurant and had no idea what to order because you haven't a clue what all the menu items mean?  Well, that is pretty much me!  But by making some of these dishes at home, I am slowly learning much more about the cuisine!

So korma is a very popular menu item in Indian foods.  Korma is used to describe the braising of vegetables or meat/chicken in a stock and yogurt or cream.  But, clearly we aren't using yogurt or real cream!  But, I honestly don't think you can taste the difference in my recipe.

A quick description of this dish:  It is an array of braised vegetables and cashews in a mildly spiced tomato curry (of course when it comes to my plate, I add in an obscene amount of sriracha).

If you are weary about the cashew element in the dish, don't be.  For me, this is the best part of the dish!  I absolutely love the texture of the cashews after it has been sitting in the sauce for a while.  It's creamy and soft and flat out addicting!

Serve this with rice or naan and you are set!

1 potato peeled and parboiled (partially cooked)
1/2 yellow onion diced
2 large carrots chopped
1 small eggplant cubed
1 red bell pepper cut
2 tomatoes chopped
1 tbsp ginger minced
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 c cashews
1 serrano pepper chopped
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp vegan cream
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp brown sugar

In large pot, heat evoo and cook yellow onion, garlic, ginger and carrot for about 3 minutes, add in bell pepper, eggplant and serrano pepper and continue to saute for another 5 minutes.  Now add in all remaining ingredients.  If you need more liquid, add in more water.  Bring to boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Serve with rice or naan or heck, even both!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Curry Up!....Open Faced Baked Samosas!

So what's the secret to these light and non-greasy samosas?  Phyllo dough and an oven!

I love Indian food, but every time I eat out at an Indian restaurant, I walk out feeling gross and greasy.  I feel like a lot of the appetizers are fried and are doused in oil.  So I took the traditional vegan samosa and did just the opposite.

It's always fun to play around with a traditional dish and rework it and make it your own.  So I decided to do a somewhat deconstructed open faced samosa.  Using a cupcake baking pan is the perfect route to go!

Vegan Open Faced Samosas

These could be fun at a picnic and get together.  They are easy to eat with your hands.

And, of course, the sauces are amazing-balls.  The combo of both the mango chutney and mint-cilantro chutney along with a squirt of sriracha is like a flavor bomb went off in your mouth!

Ingredients/Directions: (yields 7 samosas)
for the samosa:
phyllo dough (thaw for at least 2 hrs before making)
1 peeled potato and quartered
1/2 onion chopped
1 carrot chopped
1/2 c peas (thawed)
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbsp ginger minced
1 scallion (both green and white parts)
1 tbsp curry powder (or cumin, tumeric, coriander, chile pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, red pepper,
cinnamon, bl pepper, saffron)
1 tbsp evoo
2 tbsp melted butter

Boil a pot of water and cook potatoes for 10 minutes or until soft.  Once done, strain and set aside.  In the meantime, heat a saute pan with evoo.  Add in onions and garlic until translucent.  Then add carrots, ginger and scallions and saute for another 5 minutes.  Add in curry powder and peas.  Coursely cut your potatoes in small pieces and add in.  Throw in more curry powder if needed and s+p.  Mix thoroughly until heated throughout and turn on low.

To form your phyllo cup, preheat oven to 375.  Carefully roll out the phyllo and cover with a damp washcloth because they tend to dry out and crackle quickly.  Take 2 at a time and cut in half.  With each half, brush melted better on each side, fold in half, and then in half one more time.  When this is done with both halves, carefully place in the cupcake pan.  Stacking one on top of the other.  Spoon in your samosa filling and repeat until filling is gone.

Bake for about 8-10 minutes.  Make sure you keep an eye on them.  Carefully take out of the cupcake molders and serve with mango chutney and mint-cilantro chutney!

A spicy, delicious bite!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Korean Seitan Bulgogi Sandwich with Kimchi and Sweet Slaw!!!

Oh my goodness!  This is just off the chain crazy good!  I don't know what inspired me to put all these flavors together today, but man oh man....was it a good idea!  You get the savory from the BBQ seitan bulgogi, the spicy from the kimchi and the tart sweetness from the slaw.  I mean, lets be honest, what else could you ask for?

Gluten Free?  No worries, replace the seitan with meaty portobella strips!  Either way this sandwich is going to be lip smacking good!  I made my own bbq sauce for this recipe that I took from

Never had kimchi or Korean food?  Don't be scared or shy!! Be adventurous!  It is 100% sooooo delicious!

Grilled Seitan Bulgogi Sandwich with Kimchi and Sweet Slaw!

 Tip to vegans and vegetarians:  kimchi usually contains fish sauce.  Though, you can find some that are 100% plant based.  I get mine at Trader Joe's.

And, if you are not familiar with kimchi, it is a korean fermented vegetable dish with a variety of spices.  It may not have the best odor, but is great, especially on this sandwich.

bbq sauce:
1 tbsp evoo or coconut oil
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 c chopped yellow onion
2 c ketchup
2 rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp sriracha (or hot sauce)
3 tbsp raw agave nectar
2 tbsp brown sugar
s + p

cucumber sliced
red cabbage
rice wine vinegar
agave nector

Heat grill.  blend all ingredients for the bbq sauce together and marinate the seitan strips in it.   Place the seitan on foil and cook for 10 minutes.  In the meantime, make your sweet slaw by combining the cucumbers, red cabbage, agave nectar and white wine vinegar.  On a sliced bun, load in the seitan, kimchi and top with the slaw.

Now that's a burst of flavors in your mouth!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mediterranean Style! Vegan Chik'n Picatta with Lemon-Caper Angel Hair

A delicious complete meal that is zesty and light.  The Gardein Style "chicken" is pretty versatile.  So far I have just done bbq chicken with skin with this product and it turned out to be delicious!  Why not try another one??

Mediterranean food is is one of my favorite cuisines.  It's such a fad now too because of all the health benefits.  I just love of the bright flavors and is definitely vegan friendly!

Vegan Chik'n Picatta with Lemon-Caper Angel Hair Pasta

Adding angel hair pasta to the chicken really makes it a complete meal. Just toss with great vegetables, olive oil and lemon juice and you are ready to go!

Gardein Chick'n Scallopini
2 tsp evoo
1/2 c white wine
1 can artichoke hearts (quartered)
1 tomato chopped
angel hair pasta

In a saute pan, heat 1 tbsp of evoo and saute chik'n breast for 3 minutes on each side.  Put chick'n to the side.  Add in white wine, capers and lemon juice and saute until the liquid reduces by half.  Return the chick'n to the pan and coat with sauce.
While doing this, boil a pot of water and cook angel hair pasta accordingly.  Careful because this pasta cooks quickly.  Once cooked, drain well and and your artichokes, tomatoes and capers and toss in 1 tbsp evoo and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Give your Burger a Kick! Portabello "Bacon" Burger with Chipotle "Mayo"

Time to reinvent the ultimate American burger into a healthy vegan bite!  Portabello mushrooms are often considered "the steak of the vegetarian world".  It's a great savory substitution that has the texture of meat as well.

Plus, portabellas and button mushrooms are among the least expensive mushrooms that offer a firm meaty texture and hearty flavor to take the place of meat protein. Shrooms are also a nutritional powerhouse.  According to Wikipedia, eating mushrooms can help strengthen the immune system. Mushrooms are loaded with antioxidants and are low in calories. They are also fat-free and are a source of dietary fiber, B-vitamins, and various minerals.

Play around with your burger!  I added vegan bacon and a spicy chipotle mayo to give my burger a kick!  When you take a bite into this bad boy, any thoughts of meat will be tossed out the window.

The trick to making your portabello really resemble meat is in the seasoning!  My marinade consisted of a touch of evoo, soy sauce, balsamic, mesquite seasoning and liquid smoke.

If you have never used liquid smoke, you are missing out!  It's a gem in the vegan world!

Portabello "Bacon" Burger with Chipotle "Aoili"
Portabello mushrooms, cleaned and destemmed
Vegan Bacon (I use Lightlife Smart Bacon)
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
soy sauce
balsamic vinegar
mesquite seasoning
liquid smoke

Heat grill (or oven) to cook your mushrooms.  In meantime, marinade your mushrooms with evoo, soy sauce, balsamic, mesquite seasoning and liquid smoke.  Place on grill and cook for about 10 minutes or until tendor.  In a skillet, cook your fakin' bacon and toast your bun.

for the sauce:
blend the canned chipotle peppers (with the sauce), 2 tbsp ketchup and 2 tbsp veganaise

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Raw Pad Thai!

Time to get raw again!  Such a great recipe on a hot and humid day!  Typically Pad Thai is greasy and unhealthy.  This raw version is light, fresh and rejuvenating!  You can seriously eat a huge bowl and not feel guilty or full!

To make the raw "noodles" you can use zucchini or yellow summer squash.  My little trick to making the texture more like noodles is to add salt to the shreds.  This allows the veggies to extract water and become softer.  Just make sure you drain out the excess water!

So break out your mandolin and lets get started!

If you don't have a mandolin, no sweat!  All you need to do is slice the zucchinis into matchsticks.  This may take a bit more time, but it's all worth it.

If you are using a mandolin, be careful and use the safety holder!  I had my fair share of run-ins with the blade, and they are never fun!

Raw Pad Thai

Once again, it's all in the sauce.  I used raw peanut butter that you can make yourself at a Whole Foods, or you can use raw almond butter as well. 

Ingredients/Directions (yields 4 servings)

for the "noodles" and base:
1 large zucchini or summer squash (sliced into matchsticks with mandolin)
1 cucumber (sliced into matchsticks with mandolin)
2 carrots (slice into shreds with vegetable peeler)
1 package bean sprouts
5 green onion chopped
1/2 c raw peanuts chopped
1 tbsp ginger chopped

mix all of the above together in a bowl.  Salt all of the vegetable and let sit for about 20-30 minutes to soften.  Drain out the excess water.

for the sauce:
blend the following:
1/2 c raw peanut butter
1/4 c agave nectar
1 lime juiced
1 tbsp tamari (raw gluten soy sauce)
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped ginger

Toss sauce over your vegetables and garnish with bean sprouts, raw peanuts and scallions.  Yummmmmm!

Monday, July 15, 2013

What's Better Than Pizza?....Grilled Vegan Pizza!!

Sounds weird, right?  Well it may be and may sound like there is no point, but on the contrary!  I would want grilled pizza every single freakin' time I have pizza!  The dough cooks quite quickly and you get such a great crust from the grill!  I really dislike doughy pizza- this one came out perfectly crisp.  I couldn't get enough.

What better way to enjoy a hot summer night than grill out by the pool?

 So lets just get into this recipe right away.
What you need:
dough (I used Trader Joe's)
vegan pizza sauce
vegan cheese (optional)
your veggies of choice (I used mushrooms, spinach, black olives, red onions, artichokes)

 So the first step is to fire up that gril and set it to about 600.  Now roll out your dough with flour.  Don't stress about having a perfect shape.  I mean shoot- mine wasn't exactly a shape of a flat bread or round pizza.  Once the grill is heated, brush oil on the grill and the on your dough.
Carefully transfer the dough.   Shut the lid and cook on one side for two minutes.

  After those two minutes, carefully flip the dough (I used two spatulas to do this).  Repeat the above directions.  Now remove the pizza from the grill and dress that baby.  Once you have your sauce, cheese, and veggies in place, throw back on grill for just about 6 minutes.  Make sure you check it time to time to make sure it is not burning.  And there you have it!  The best vegan pizza ever!

Grilled Vegan Pizza

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Low Carb Risotto!....Summer Squash Cauliflower Rice Risotto!

I think this is up there with one of my favorite recipes!  It is creamy yet fresh!  My favorite part about this risotto, is that you aren't full and full of guilt when you are doing eating it!

So, here is the trick...replace that heavy arborio rice with grated cauliflower.  It really does look like the real thing!  Since cauliflower is white, this tells you that it does have carbohydrates in it.  But, vegetable still has half the amount of carbs than rice!  So, why not try this healthy version of the Italian classic?

Summer squash is matched beautifully with the cauliflower!  I sometimes think that that vegetable is overlooked.  But, not this time!

Summer Squash Cauliflower Rice Risotto

 What I think really made the dish so delicious was the grated lemon zest that I added into the risotto and used for a garnish.  It really counterbalanced the richness in the dish and really brightened it up.

The sage and fried sage leaves added a quite unique twist on this dish as well.

Best part?  Gluten free, vegan, paleo, low carb!  What else could you ask for?

Ingredients (yields 4 servings)
1 head cauliflower (grated)
2 summer squash, sliced into quarters or halves
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
1/2 yellow onion chopped
fresh sage
1/3 c white wine
1/3 c almond or coconut milk
1/3 c veg broth
1-2 tbsp vegan cream
1/3 c nutritional yeast
s + p

in a large saute pan, heat evoo and saute garlic and onions for about 4 minutes.  Add in cauliflower rice and saute an additional 5 minutes.  Slowly add in all your liquids and nutritional yeast, bring to a boil, and then simmer.  Add in the sliced summer squash, sage and lemon zest once you start to see some of the liquid evaporate.  Simmer for an  additional 5-10 minutes.  Be careful, you don't want the cauliflower to get mushy!
Transfer to plate, garnish with fried sage and lemon zest and devour! 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Gluten Free Raviolis!.....Rice Paper Mushroom Raviolis with Vegan Brown Butter Sage Sauce!

Here's another gluten free, vegan goodie for all of y'all.  I usually stay away from big carbs, so I really enjoyed this recipe.  Replacing the pasta raviolis with rice paper wrappers made this dish light and yummy!  And, it really brought out the fillings, which sometimes hide behind the pasta and sauce.

It was fun to play around with the rice paper wrappers again!  I always new there could be multiple ways to use these little guys.  One thing to be careful with is that when they are in boiling water, they may start to disintegrate .  This is why I used a slated spoon for the raviolis and just hovered them over the boiling water, and dropping them in just for 10 seconds or so.

Rice Paper Mushroom Raviolis with Vegan Brown Butter Sage Sauce

This sauce is made with vegan butter (I used Earth Balance).  I just used a little to keep this dish on the healthy side.  The sage is so beautiful and fragrant.  Your kitchen will be aromatic in no time!

for the raviolis
rice paper wrappers
wild mushrooms of your choice (chopped)
1 garlic clove chopped
1/4 yellow onion chopped
1 tbsp vegan cream
2 tbsp dry white wine
for the sauce
1.5 tbsp vegan butter
fresh sage leaves
lemon juice

In a saute pan, saute garlic and onion in evoo.  After about 2 minutes, add in your mushrooms and saute for an additional 5 minutes.  Add in white wine and simmer until the wine has burned off.  Set aside.
With your rice paper wrappers, cut into squares by just cutting the circular parts off.  Doing one ravioli at a time, soak paper in warm water until soft (about 10 seconds), remove and place on surface.  In the center of the wrapper, spoon in about 1 tbsp of your mushroom filling.  Fold your raviolis to form a pouch.  Repeat until your filling is gone.
Boil a pot of water drop raviolis in for just 10-20 seconds and then steam with a slotted spoon.  Make sure you carefully watch to make sure they do not break.
Transfer to plate and pour vegan brown butter sauce sauce over.

Vegan Brown butter sauce Directions
In a sauce pan, melt vegan butter over median heat.  Add sage leaves and cook for 8-10 minutes.  Squeeze one slice fresh lemon juice.  Mix thoroughly and serve.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sweet with Spice and everything Nice....Spiced Vegan Brownies!

Who doesn't love chocolate?  Try giving it a little kick by adding just a touch of cayenne!  Just enough to give it a little punch, but not overwhelmingly spicy.  Try it once and you won't regret it!

If you don't feel adventourous, no worries!  This recipe is great for just vegan brownies (just eliminate the cayenne)!

When it comes to anything chocolate, always make sure that you are buying cocoa.  Clearly, stay away from "milk" chocolate- that is a given.  I like to use carob chips in my brownies as well.  When they melt, they give the brownie a creamy texture!


1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 c  flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup carob chips
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Preheat oven 350.  Lightly grease an 8x8 baking dish.  In one bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, cayenne and salt.  In another bowl, mix together applesauce, vanilla extract and oil.  Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in the applesauce mixture.  Mix until thoroughly combined.  Fold in carob chips.
Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes and cut.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Vegan Ricotta Cheese

 As I have said before, it ain't easy being non-cheesey.  And that is the truth!  Or, at least it was.  Mainly because I have yet to find a good fake cheese out there.  But, don't fret!  My ricotta cheese recipe is equally as delicious as the real thing!

Use this vegan cheese in your favorite italian dishes or try it in eggplant rollatini  (pictured)  or in stuffed shells


1/2 block soft tofu or 1 c soaked raw cashes
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
italian seasoning & salt
garlic powder

Combine all these ingredients in a blender.  Adjust seasoning.  Add in your favorite herbs and spices to make it your own!

Vegan French Food You say?....Vegan Vegetable Au Gratin with Vegan Bechamel Sauce!!!

Yummy, ooooey-gooooey and doesn't leave you feeling overindulgent and icky!  It may not be the most gorgeous presentation of food, but your taste buds would beg you to differ.

Granted, this is not one of the healthiest recipes on here, but you are featuring some powerhouse veggies!  I used swiss chard, broccoli, zucchini and cauliflower.  But you can use any vegetable that suits your palate or whatever is in you "plantry".  Kale would be absolutely fantastic in this dish!  Also, you don't always have to watch what you eat, especially when you are vegan.  Just make sure that you are getting a balance of everything your body needs.  If you are craving something, that usually means that your body is telling you something.

This recipe is great for left overs as well!  Tastes great when heated up!

Vegan Vegetable Au Gratin with Vegan Bechamel Sauce

Please do NOT get discouraged by the lengthy recipe.  It really only takes 45-60 minutes!  You won't regret it!

1/2 head cauliflower (keep in head form, do not cut into florets yet)
1/2 head large broccoli (keep in head form, do not cut into florets yet)
1 zucchini sliced with mandolin
1/2 yellow onion diced
2 clove garlic chopped
s + p
2 tsp cayenne pepper
"everyday" seasoning
1/3 c panko crumbs
shredded vegan shredded cheese (enough to sprinkle on top)
bechamel sauce (go to link of directions are below)

First you want to blanch both the cauliflower and broccoli heads (this is why you don't want to cut them into florets yet.  To do this, boil 1 large pot of salted water and set up and a bowl with water and ice.  Throw in either the cauliflower or broccoli in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer to the ice bath and leave in for 2 minutes.  Repeat with the next veg.  With your hands, break each vegetable into florets and place in strainer to dry. (you do not want un-needed liquids when you are baking this!)  In the meantime, saute garlic and onions in saute pan with evoo for 2 min and then add zucchini.  Season and saute for an additional 3 minutes and set aside.  Preheat oven to 375.

Now it's time to make the vegan bechamel sauce:
2 tbsp vegan butter or EVOO
2 tbsp flour
2 c unsweented Almond Milk
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard (optional)
4 tbsp vegan shredded cheese (I use Follow Your Heart Brand) (optional)

First, you want to start by making a roux.  This will work best if use vegan butter, but I am sure it is doable with EVOO.  Heat vegan butter over med heat and melt, then add in flour. 
When mixture thins and starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and cut back on the whisking. Cook and mix for about 5 minutes.  Slowly whisk in almond milk and bring to a gentle simmer.  Stir frequently and add in the last four ingredients.  Mix thoroughly and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Season with s +p to taste.
In a 9x13 baking dish mix in all your vegetables so that they are evenly distributed.  Carefully pour your sauce over.  Sprinkle the panko crumbs over and follow with the shredded vegan cheddar cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes.  Then turn to broil and bake for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit to cool for about 5-10 minutes.


Oh my.....Vegan Bechamel Sauce!

So bechamel sauce simply means a white sauce.  And because I'm saucey, I had to make a vegan version of this tastey sauce.  I know this may not be the healthiest recipe in my collection, but it is vegan and sure a heck of a lot better for you without those animal bi-products!

So, what do you do with this masterful sauce?  Well you have some options....a vegan white pizza sounds great (recipe to come) or a baked béchamel rigatoni (also coming in the future).  But, what I did with it was a vegetable Au Gratin (pictured).  Delicious!

So, here is how to make this:
2 tbsp vegan butter or EVOO
2 tbsp flour
2 c unsweented Almond Milk
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp dijon mustard (optional)
4 tbsp vegan shredded cheese (I use Follow Your Heart Brand) (optional)

First, you want to start by making a roux.  This will work best if use vegan butter, but I am sure it is doable with EVOO.  Heat vegan butter over med heat and melt, then add in flour. 
When mixture thins and starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and cut back on the whisking. Cook and mix for about 5 minutes.  Slowly whisk in almond milk and bring to a gentle simmer.  Stir frequently and add in the last four ingredients.  Mix thoroughly and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Season with s +p to taste.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cool Down With This!.....Watermelon Gazpacho

After our 4th of July party, we had so much left over watermelon.  I immediately thought to make a gazpacho with it.  What else is better on a hot summer day than a refreshing and light gazpacho??

This recipe appeals to everyone!  It is vegan, raw, gluten free and just damn good!  Even my husband, who dislikes the traditional tomato gazpacho, is a huge fan of the watermelon version.

 Watermelon Gazpacho

I am so excited about this recipe that I think I will play around with a few other fruits to see what else I can create.  I will keep everyone posted once a new variation has been created.

If you do make this, I suggest to eat it within 3-4 days.  Because everything is fresh and raw, it may start to spoil after a few days.

This would also be a fun, cute idea if you are having a spring/summer party.  You can put the gazpacho in little shooter glasses for a light and sexy little shot.

Ingredients/Directions: (yields 4-6 servings)
1/4 watermelon chopped
1 cucumber chopped
1/4 c chopped red onion
1 red pepper chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1 jalapeno (remove seeds and dice)
handful of chopped fresh parsely

In a blender, blend 3/4 of all the above ingredients.  Transfer to bowl, and add in the remaining chopped ingredients.  Add in salt and pepper to taste and chill until serving.

It's as easy as that!  Light, simple and sexy!

Monday, July 8, 2013

REGROW without a garden??

Hey all you vegans, vegetarians and veggie lovers.....

This is something I recently read about in the last few months and thought that it was pretty cool.  Clearly I had to try it  So here is the scoop:  almost everyone tosses the stump at the end of romaine, celery and the ends of scallions.  But wait!  Don't throw it, Grow it!

This is uber easy.  All you need is a bowl or container, a window with nice light, your scraps and water.  That's it!  Just put the ends of the veggies in about 1-2 inches of water and place it by a window with good light.  In a few days, you will start to see growth.  Change the water about once a day or every other day.  Note that you will need to discard the outer leaf from the romaine lettuce as it will start to brown and wilt after awhile.

*** Be patient and don't neglect the plant.  They will start to die if you forget to re-water.
*** This is perfect for those of us without a backyard or balcony or during those winter months!!!

Here are some pictures of the growing process featuring romaine lettuce and celery.  The celery takes about twice as long to grow.

 DAY 2




Greens and "Cream"!....Creamy, Garlicky Collard Greens

I love any and all leafy greens.  Makes a great side dish and accompaniment to almost all entrees!  Now that Paula Dean is on the outs, someone has to make delicious collards!

These are pretty close to the southern style creamed collards, but with eliminating the obscene amount of butter, cream and cheese.  Instead, I used just a touch of EVOO and soy cream (which can be found at Trader Joe's or in the "healthy" aisle of your local grocery store).

 Creamy, Garlicky Collard Greens

Many people like to boil their greens, but I prefer giving them a quick saute.  This way you are able to maintain a lot of the nutrients.  When you thoroughly cook something or boil veggies, you are killing a lot of those vitamins and nutrients .

Collard Greens
1 chopped garlic
1-2 tbsp soy cream
1/2 tbsp evoo
2 tbsp nutritional yeast

In a pan, saute garlic in EVOO for about 1-2 minutes, add the collards and saute for an additional 5 minutes.  Add in remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined and most of the "cream" has soaked into the collards.

That's it!!!  Enjoy this with BBQ "honey" chipotle-lime Chik'n Breast!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

What's the Skinny??.... Vegan BBQ "honey"-chipotle lime grillen Chik'n with skin!

Another gorgeous day in the city, which means another perfect evening of grilling!  What are some of people's favorite things to grill??....yup, you said it- Chicken.  And what do people love about chicken?  Yes, once again you are correct-  the skin!  So here is an amazing vegan chicken breast recipe with the "skin" attached.  I promise you, you will NOT be dissapointed.  Instead, you will truly be in aw and want to give me a big ole' bear hug.

Here's of a little preview of what is to come!  What's the secret to the "skin"?  Rice paper wrappers!  I have come to realize that these little guys have multiple uses.  You can use the rice wrappers for spring rolls, or even gluten free lasagna.

This is a definite must in my "plantry"

So let's see how to perfect this delicious...

 "Honey" Chipotle-Lime Chik'n with Skin!

Gardein Chik'n Scallopini
rice paper wrappers
mesquite seasoning
Honey-Chipotle-Lime marinade (recipe below)

The first step is to let the Gardein Chik'n Scallopini sit out to thaw a bit.  (you can find this product in the healthy frozen section of your grocery store).  This is the best frozen "chicken" product out there.  Be careful because Morning Star brand and Quorn brand have egg and/or milk products in them!  Season each cutlet with mesquite seasoning and salt/pepper

 Take your rice paper wrappers and soak in warm water for at least 10 seconds (make sure that they do not become too mushy, but are pliable).

Once your rice paper is ready to get, carefully fold it over your chicken cutlets.  If you do not want additional skin, trim the wrappers so that it perfectly fits around each cutlet.

 Now it's time for grilling!  Take those bad boys out to your grill and brush with the "honey" chipotle-lime marinade.  Don't be shy with your sauce!  The more the better.  Grill on each side for roughly 3-5 minutes.  Once flipped, brush with more sauce!

And, the best part is;  you don't have to worry about under-cooking the "chik'n"!

End product is to die for vegan bbq chicken!!!!....pair this fantastic recipe with creamy garlicky collard greens!

For the sauce:
1 can chipotle peppers in sauce
1/4 c agave nectar
1 lime, juiced

In a blender, combine all the ingredients above and adjust to your desire.

Not So Cheesy Balls!.....Baked Vegan Arancini

If you are not familiar with arancini, it is typically a fried rice ball coated with bread crumbs and filled with cheese or a ragu.  But, guess what?  We are rocking this recipe in a healthy baked and vegan way!

So you can do this recipe a few ways.  You can use your left over vegan mushroom risotto or you can make a fresh batch of arborio rice, white rice or brown rice.  I personally used white rice because there was an abundance of it in my plantry (don't be scared to sub your favorite kind of rice for this recipe!).

Baked Vegan Arancini

You can fill your balls with whatever you desire.  But, for this recipe, the stars were my vegan walnut pesto and daiya cheese.

Also, chose the size that you desire to make.  I opted for the oversized guy this time.  Though, if you just want to do little bites, I recommend at least 1/4 c of rice in order to stuff the arancini properly.

2 cups cooked rice (either arborio, white or brown)
vegan walnut basil pesto
shredded daiya cheese
2 tbsp substitute egg powder with water (mixed)
1/4 c flour
1/2 c panko
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
marinara sauce

Preheat oven 350.  Take your rice, and form into a ball- size of your choice.  Once formed, carefully cut in half and fill with a scoop of your pesto and a tbsp of daiya shredded cheese.  Press into the middle and then re-form into a ball.
Set up 3 different stations: one plate for flour, one for egg substitute dredge and then finally the panko/nutritional yeast.  Take your ball, roll in flour, then go down the line to the egg sub, and panko mixture.  Repeat all steps with each additional ball.
Place in baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.
Heat your marinara.  Transfer into bowl and place Vegan Arancini balls on top.

Yummy and gooey- with a surprise in the center!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Sub that heavy pasta!....Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce and Zucchini

It's a hot and humid summer evening and I really feel like pasta.  But, who wants to be weighed down with heavy carbs in the middle of the summer heat??  I sure don't!  Spaghetti squash is a great substitute that makes this recipe vegan, gluten free and low carb!

The sauce lightens up the dish even more!  There is something so great about fresh home made spaghetti sauce.  You can really taste all of those fresh vegetables and herbs.  So light and bright!  Your kitchen is going to smell so delightful that your taste buds will be salivating profusely. 

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce and Zucchini

Fun little fact regarding spaghetti squash:
It is not a vegetable, but technically a fruit.  I for one, never knew that!  And, here is a shocker:  when cooked, and you scrape out the meat, it comes out in ribbons or in the form of spaghetti.  Who would have ever thought???

Ingredients: (yields 4 servings)
For spaghetti:
2 spaghetti squash
1/2 tbsp evoo
"everyday seasoning"

For sauce:
6 vine tomatoes
1/4 red onion sliced with mandolin
1 small zucchini sliced with mandolin
3 garlic cloves finely chopped
pinch cayenne pepper
fresh basil chopped
3 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)

For the spaghetti squash:  Preheat oven 375.  Carefully but forcefully cut in half, length wise (this can be challenging, but try your best! I actually slammed in on the cutting board to finally get it into halves).  Scoop out the seeds and insides with a spoon and discard.  Lightly oil baking dish, lightly oil the insides of the squash, season and place upside down in the dish.  Bake for roughly 1 hour.

For the sauce:  Boil pot of water and have a bath of ice water ready.  While pot is coming to a boil, take each of your tomatoes and knife in a cross on the bottoms of each.  Once pot at a boil, throw the tomatoes in for 30-60 seconds.  Remove and place in ice water bath.  Remove from bath after a few minutes and peel of the skin.  Quarter each tomato and remove/discard the "juicy" part of the tomato, so all that you have remaining is the meaty part of the tomato.  Dice the tomatoes and put aside.
Heat a sauce pan with evoo and add in chopped garlic and red onions.  Saute for 3 minutes, add in zucchini for an additional few minutes.  Add in chopped tomatoes, seasonings (except for the basil) and turn to high until boiling.  Then cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add in fresh basil, cover for an additional 10 minutes.

Once your squash is done baking, let cool until ready to handle.  With a fork, scrape out the squash.  You should notice that they are in the shape of spaghetti.

Scoop in bowl and top with your beautiful sauce!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Get your roll on! Vegan Sushi Rolls!

I've been wanting to make sushi rolls for a few weeks now.  Such a light, yet filling dinner on a nice summer evening.  It can seem a bit daunting, but I came up with a few tricks to make it a bit easier.

Put in whatever you want to!  I made a variety of rolls.  Some with the seaweed on the outside and some with the rice on the outer layer.  Have fun and try a "specialty" roll similar to that you see in your favorite sushi restaurant.  My specialty involved sprinkling the tops with dehydrated onions and tempura crumbs and drizzling spicy "mayo" and sweet soy on top.  Trust me, you would even be happy to pay $16/roll for this baby!

So let's see how to make these guys!

Vegan Sushi Rolls

Cook 2 cups of brown rice in 4 cups water.  In the meantime, slice up your veggies.  I used:
Soy marinated mushrooms
soy/liquid smoke marinate tofu
oven roasted chopped yellow onion (oven at 250)
thinly sliced cucumber, carrots, green onion
tempura crumbs and roasted seaweed wrappers 

Set up your work station:  Have a bowl of water to dip your hands in each time you place down the rice.

Take our your sushi roll mat and cover with a large zip lock bag or saran wrap (this prevents the rice from sticking to the mat).
Place rice on top of the covered mat, then place down the seaweed.

Now the fun part!  Pick your fillings!  The decision is all yours, my friends.  Try something weird that you think may not work.  You might have a nice surprise!  You can even put a sauce on the inside of the roll as well!

Rolling can be tricky.  Just have patience.  Make sure you are squeezing the roll tight and equal throughout the whole length of the roll so all pieces will be the same size.

I hope these step by step pictures are helpful!!!

And.....the final product!!!!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Saucey saucey! Strawberry Sauce

This is a combo between jam and a sauce because I did not use a thickening agent.  It tastes so great and fresh!  Get those strawberries now because they are in season! 

This is great to pair with jalapeno popper!  Or on a piece of sprouted toast with some natural peanut butter!

Strawberry Sauce

 Pictured are the jalapeno poppers.  
The strawberry jam really offsets the heat in the poppers.  Simple delicious.


1 c quartered strawberries
1/2 c sugar
1 lemon juiced
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Heat on medium until the juice from the strawberries start to excrete, then turn on low and let sit for about 30 minutes, stirring once in a while.  Lightly blend if desired.

"Honey" Mustard

Technically honey is not vegan.  But, raw agave nectar sure is!  This is seriously the easiest sauce/dressing recipe out there!

All you have to do is mix:
equal parts yellow mustard and agave nectar.  Throw this on salads or use as as a dipping sauce!

Vegan "Honey"Mustard

Pictured:  Baked Zucchini/Sweet Potato Fritters

Vegan Walnut Pesto

I was never a fan of pesto, but this recipe changed my mind.  I realized I really disliked the flavor of pine nuts.  For some reason, they taste fishy to me (weird, I know).  So instead of the pine nuts, I use walnuts.  So much better!

Pair this with vegetable stacks, pastas or even as a shmeer on some bread!

Vegan Walnut Pesto

If you want to make a large amount, and run out of basil leaves, don't hesitate to throw in some baby spinach or any other leafy greens you have in your plantry! 


vegan pesto:
1 package basil
1 small package chopped walnuts
2 garlic cloves chopped
s + p
evoo (enough to your liking- I tend to use less than more)
nutritional yeast (optional)

Just blend all the above ingredients and you are good to go!

Jazz up those little green trees!....Zesty Lemon Broccoli

So simple and so delicious.  Broccoli is one of those veggies that I sometimes forget about.  But, when I revisit them, I remember how much I truly love these green little trees.

Granted just plan steamed broccoli isn't the most exciting thing.  That is why I like to jazz it up with fresh lemon juice and seasoning, with just a touch of olive oil. 

Quick, easy, colorful and most of all, yummy!

Zesty Lemon Broccoli

Want to give your broccoli and extra punch of flavoring?  Sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top to give it that "cheese" flavor! 

1 crown of broccoli
1 tbsp evoo
1 juiced lemon
"everyday seasoning"  (mustard seeds, peppercorn, onion, garlic, paprika, chili powder)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Steam broccoli for 4-5 minutes or until bright green.  In meantime, mix evoo, lemon juice, s+p and everyday seasoning together.  Place broccoli in dish, pour dressing over and top with nutritional yeast.

There you have it!  This is as easy as it gets!

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's Not Easy Being Non-Cheese-y.....Vegan Mushroom & Spinach Risotto

Well, I guess vegans can be cheese-y, because that headline certainly was.  But, there are ways to mimic that creamy, buttery and cheese-y goodness in risotto.   It is just as good and a hell of a lot better for your body!  It's called coconut milk and nutritional yeast.  Seriously my husband and I sprinkle that yeast on almost anything.  Heck, we even just eat it on its own.  It is or at least should be a staple in every vegan's "plantry".  So there you have it...the secret to living without cheese.

Vegan Mushroom & Spinach Risotto

A typical risotto uses arborio rice.  Instead of running to the store, I chose brown rice.  Both of these rices are gluten free!  Though, if you are not on a gluten free diet, you can even go with farro or barley.  Those could be funky little changes.

1 c brown rice
2 c water
1/2 c veg broth
1/2 c non fat coconut milk
1/2 c nutritional yeast (or use freely)
1 c chopped mushrooms (whichever kind you have handy)
1 small yellow onion diced
2 garlic cloves diced
handful of spinach
s + p

In a pot add your water and brown rice, bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  While the rice is simmering, add a dash of evoo to a med-hot pan and add in the mushrooms, diced onions, garlic and s+ p.  Sautee until the onions are golden brown.  Add in the coconut milk, veggie broth and nutritional yeast.  Bring to boil, then lower the heat.  Throw in the brown rice once it is done cooking.  Stir to coat all the rice.  Add more broth or coconut milk if need be.  And, add more nutritional yeast if you want to!  Add in the spinach and let wilt.  Serve in your favorite sexy dish!  I will bet if you fed this to a non-vegan they would have no idea it is dairy free!!

Craving Mexican Food? Best Vegan Tacos you will ever have!!

Lets be honest, we all crave some good, fresh Mexican food.  I'm not talking about those loaded nachos and burrito that you get at 2AM after a night of drinking.  I'm talking about just fresh and simple ingredients that are bright and burst with flavor.

In America I feel like there is a misconception of Mexican food.  This can actually be said about most cuisines.  We tend to go overboard and not showcase the beauty and natural flavors of the ingredients indigenous to that land.  It's not about the bigger and better.  Sometimes it's about the simple and delicious.

Vegan Tacos

In this case, I showcase all of Mexico's flavors, but substitute meat for either soy chorizo or a walnut blend (if you are gluten free and/or are raw). 

Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo
Homemade Guac (avocado, red onion, lime, jalepeno, diced tomatoes, salt)
chopped red onion (set half aside)
corn (it's up to you whether canned or shucked from the cob and cooked_
black beans
salsa (either homemade or store bought)
chopped spinach or romaine lettuce
soft corn taco shells

heat pan with evoo on medium.  saute red onions until soft, add in soy chorizo and black beans until hot.  Place your shells on a plate and warm in microwave for 10 seconds.  Add all your ingredients in your preferred order and have a fiesta!

No, I'm not being a tease....Vegan Mac and Cheese

I call it a "tease" because you will really think that this vegan mac 'n cheese actually contained real cheese, real butter and real milk.  On the contrary!  All you non-vegans and nonbelievers would be fooled.
I like to make this dish when craving something homey and comforting.  The best part about this recipe is that it is dairy free, soy free and has the option of being gluten free!  I will include the gluten free recipe, but give other options if this is not crucial to you.

Vegan Mac and Cheese

I like to add tomatoes on top when baking mac and cheese because it adds a nice balance to the richness of the dish.  The acidity in the tomatoes really gives you another taste profile, rather than being just one dimensional.

Ingredients:  (yields 4-6 servings)
2.5 c elbow mac (gluten free)
2 tbsp vegan butter
1 bag gluten free- soy free follow your heart brand vegan cheddar cheese shreds
              (if not gluten free, any vegan cheese shreds will do)
1/2 c nutritional yeast
1.5 c coconut milk (can use soy milk or almond milk as well)
1 tbsp cayanne
1 tbsp thyme
s + p
1/2 c panko crumbs
1/2 tomato sliced

Preheat oven to 375.  Boil your pasta for roughly 8 minutes.  Drain and return to pot.  add all ingredients to pot except for panko crumbs.  Stir until everything melted and equally distributed.  Transfer to a baking dish.  Cover with panko crumbs and any excess shredded "cheese".  Top with your sliced tomatoes and drizzle the topping with melted vegan butter or virgin oil.  Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Cool for about 5 minutes and serve!