Broccoli Cheeze Soup
I'm big on comfort food. Growing up my favorite food was mashed potatoes with gravy, and I ate them as often as I could. Lucky for me, I grew up in a state where some counties took the month of September off from school to harvest potatoes! They were on the table 5 nights a week, and I just learned to love 'em. I try to eat more of a variety of a color palette now, but I still LOVE comfort foods. And this week, I've been feeling pretty under the weather. As a nanny, I get sick nearly every time the little ones do, no matter how much vitamin C I've consumed, and this week I went down hard. Some combination of tummy trouble/ chills/ sore throat + an awful cough had me down and all I wanted was a warm, creamy, cheesy bowl of soup to make me feel better. This soup is perfect. The carrots and celery add great flavor and the potatoes keep it creamy, and the addition of cayenne kicks it up just a bit. Just serve with fresh parsley, a bit of crusty bread, & a Netflix marathon and call it an afternoon.
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
3 small potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 heads broccoli florets with stems removed (about 4 cups), chopped
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon each salt & pepper
1 cup vegan cheese (we used Blode Kuh's White Cheddar, but any cheeze capable of melting should work here!)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic with onions, celery, and carrots in a mirepoix until they begin to soften. Add potatoes and broccoli florets and sauté all together for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender. Remove from heat, add the cheese, and blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender in batches to desired creaminess. We like to leave some chunks! Stir in the freshly chopped parsley, then serve. Makes 6-8 servings, and lasts up to a week in the fridge. Freeze for long-term saving. Enjoy!
Mediterranean Pesto Wrap
We're still trying to keep the New Year reasonable healthy, and have been munchin' on this wrap for about a week now. We had to share. Simple in construction, the flavors mingle and POP! We used falafel as the main protein in these wraps, but you could easily substitute veggie burgers, 'meat'balls, beans, tofu, or go all veggie to keep it simple! It's really all about the pesto, olives + creamy avocado. I've been making two wraps at lunch time each day- one to eat then & there, and one to eat for dinner at work. Its a great way to pack a bunch of veggies into one meal without really realizing it, and adding a protein- like the garbanzo based falafel, is a great way to stack off snack-y hunger all afternoon! And while we like lavash bread for its shape, softer texture, and ease-in-wrapping, you can use whatever wraps (gluten-free, perhaps?) you prefer. Pro-tip: warm up your lavash/ wrap/ pita on low heat in the oven for a minute before filling it. Makes it a little easier to wrap-up and gives the whole sandwich a very cozy, drippy pesto thing that is just too good to miss. Let's eat!
1 piece lavash bread (or your favorite wrap or pita)
2-4 tablespoons garlic hummus
4 falafel (or one of the protein replacements from above!)
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1 small cucumber, cut into thin spears
1/4 of a small onion onion, thinly sliced
1/4 of an avocado, sliced
5-8 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
1 tablespoon roughly chopped cilantro
handful of mixed greens
sprinkle of hot sauce (optional, but recommended)
Heat your oven on low to prepare to heat your lavash bread.
Bake/ heat your falafel or prepare your protein of choice. While your protein cooks, cut up your cucumbers, onions, avocado, olives, and cilantro.
Place your lavash bread in the oven for a a minute to warm it up. Heat it TOO long and the wrap will become too hard to fold and wrap easily, so just let it get warm, then pull it. On you've pulled it, lay it on a work surface, like a large cutting board. Spread hummus evenly around the middle of the lavash. Top with falafel (or veg burger, tofu, whatever!), then pesto. Arrange cucumber, onion, & avocado around falafel width-wise (like shown below). Sprinkle with sliced olives, chopped cilantro, and hot sauce. Finally, toss on a hearty handful of greens. Starting at one end of the lavash bread, begin to roll the wrap up away from you, tucking the innards in to the bread under as you roll to form a tight wrap, which'll help keep your ingredients in. If you prefer to tuck the ends in around the roll, more 'burrito-style'- go for it. I'm just not great at it, and don't mind open-ended wraps. Once its rolled up tight, use a serrated knife to slice the wrap in half at a slight angle. Serve, enjoy! (Makes one wrap- but there are two halves, if you're a good sharer. If not, double the recipe!)
Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash Bake
When I started brainstorming this recipe, it came from a combination of laziness (I'm not ashamed) and a desire to cut my own work load. Cooking a spaghetti squash, shredding it, and then warming up spaghetti sauce, chopping up tomatoes and basil from our garden, stirring, and serving....well, it just seems like a lot! And the dishes it produces- far too many, if you ask me. I knew I could make it easier on myself. How exactly? Well, think of this as a 'one pot' meal, where all you really need is a squash. And maybe a baking sheet.
The beauty of this is that you really do just throw all the ingredients into your hollowed squash halves and bake for about an hour- easy peasy! Once its ready just remove it from the oven, shred the squash with a fork, and serve. Your guests will love the taste, and you'll love the easy clean-up. Its healthy, light. and full of fresh (from our garden, in this case) veggies. So lets give three cheers for a lack of dishes and more time to eat, 'cause thats the ultimate goal. Lets do it!
1 medium-sized spaghetti squash
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup basil, chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the stem off the top of your squash, then turn on it side and slice it in half lengthwise. Remove seeds and innards, and toss in the compost. Drizzle each half with olive oil, a little over a tablespoon each, and sprinkle each side evenly with minced garlic. Pour about 1/4 cup of sauce into each half, then top each side evenly with sliced cherry tomatoes, basil, salt & pepper. Cover in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet to catch any drippings. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until mixture is bubbling and squash is fork tender.
Once ready, remove from oven and use a fork to separate squash strands. If you want, you can scoop mixture into a bowl and stir, if you like more room to work. Otherwise, use a fork to toss the squash pasta and tomato basil mixture together right in the squash halves, and serve immediately. Sprinkle with fresh basil and nutritional yeast to garnish. Makes 6-8 servings. Saves well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!
The Best Spicy Vegan Chili
I make the BEST chili. Alex and I voted, and thats what we decided. I mean it! There were a few years when we started dating that we were pretty poor and could really only afford to buy bulk rice and beans and occasionally some veggies. Spices are cheap enough, so chili became our meal of choice. Sometimes it seemed like there were weeks when all we ate was chili scooped form a huge dutch oven for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But that was okay! We bonded, we lost some weight, and we learned to really appreciate good food. There have lots of variations of this recipe depending on what we have in the fridge and in our wallets, but this is my favorite, most adaptable version.
It's full of veggies and three different kinds of beans, kicked up with cumin, chili powder, and spicy serrano peppers. It's yummiest with a squeeze of lime and some cilantro, and tastes great scooped up with salty tortilla chips. Let's eat!
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
3 bell peppers, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 serrano peppers, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
2-15 ounce cans diced tomatoes
1-6 ounce can tomato paste
1-15 ounce can kidney beans (about 2 cups)
1-15 ounce can pinto beans (about 2 cups)
1-15 ounce can black beans (about 2 cups)
1 can vegan refried beans (optional-for a thicker chili)
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt
In a large pot or dutch oven melt oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic, onion, and peppers (bell & serrano) until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in the sweet potatoes and cook about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour in the diced tomatoes and paste, plus all the beans- including refried if you're using them. Stir to combine. Add spices and simmer over medium heat 20-30 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are fork-tender and chili has thickened. (If you want to add water or vegetable broth to make the soup less thick, feel free to add up to 1 cup at this point.) Remove from heat and serve with a squeeze of lime and cilantro or fresh avocado slices. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated as needed for up to a week. Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!
Magic Vegan Bacon Greens
When Alex first told me he had seen a product online called 'Magic Vegan Bacon Grease', I laughed. He has crazy awesome ideas sometimes, and I thought maybe this was just one of them in the making. But NOPE! Its a real thing. A delicious, heavent sent, better-than-any-oil-for-frying I've ever tried thing. When I first opened the jar, I remember asking Alex "Would it be weird if I bathed in this? Can we get more?!" Apparently, it would be. But man oh man, would I smell delicious!
Because if there's one thing I love (and you may already know this), its COCONUT BACON. Our recipe, the one I still consider best above all the rest, the one featured on Post Punk Kitchen's Best of 2014 (#14!!), is a staple in this house. Lucky for us, Magic Vegan Bacon Grease HAS chunks of homemade bacon- just made out of TVP, instead. Which frankly, holds up much better when you're frying it. Plus, this magic grease is virtually guilt-free: coconut oil based and free of hydrogenated oils & GMOs, its consistency when hardened (unlike below- damn So Cal heat wave) is that of REAL lard...only its 100% vegan. It can be used for cooking, frying, or baking, and is made with 11 very pronounceable ingredients (Coconut oil, soy protein (TVP), sea salt, demerara sugar, black pepper, onion, garlic, torula yeast, natural hickory flavor, & maple extract). We loved it to spice up these simple greens. It added all the flavor and richness they needed, and gave them a great 'meaty' flavor. Check 'em out on their website for more info. In the meantime, lets get our grease on!
2 tablespoons Magic Vegan Bacon Grease
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 small heads of bok choy, ends removed & roughly chopped
3 small zucchinis, halved and sliced
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt & pepper (to taste)
In a large skillet, heat the Magic Vegan Bacon Grease over medium heat. Sauté garlic for 2-3 minutes. Don't let it brown- burnt garlic tastes very bitter. Add in chopped bok choy and zucchini and cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes- or until the veggies are softened but not soggy. Season with smoked paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper & cook a minute more. Remove veggies from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with a sprinkle of Homemade Coconut Bacon. Saves well in the fridge for several days, but is best enjoyed immediately. Dig in!
Southern Fried Zucchini Fritters
Zucchini season is in full swing, and we've been eating it up any way we can. I'm a sucker for tender, buttery zucchini dishes and anytime its been roasted. I eat it chopped, cubed, sliced, and diced. But I rarely eat it grated. It was Alex's idea, really. He wanted potatoes AGAIN for breakfast, and I didn't think I could do it. But then he had a brilliant idea- COMBINE 'EM! And deep fry 'em! I was sold. We grated up our favorite veggies and added some homemade chia egg and flour to thicken it up, then threw in some spices to kick up the heat and flavor. Topped with a squeeze of lemon and some fresh cilantro, this desperate breakfast turned into a weekday favorite at our place. Healthiest recipe? Nope. Most delicious? Quite possibly. Let's eat!
2 cups potatoes, peeled and grated
2 cups zucchini, grated
1/2 cup onion, grated
1/2 cup water + 3 tablespoons chia seeds, blended
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup coconut oil (for frying)
lemon/ lime wedges, cilantro, and hot sauce for garnish & serving
Grate peeled potatoes, zucchini, and onion into a large colander. Let drain over a sink for about 5 minutes, using a paper towel to gently squeeze out ay excess water.
While draining, heat 1/2 cup coconut oil in a large cast iron pan (or frying pan) on medium heat. (Oil that isn't hot enough won't cook the fritter well and too hot will burn it. Aim for between 325- 400 degrees, if you have a thermometer. Also, use coconut or another HIGH HEAT oil is substituting. Anything less will smoke & burn!)
Once veggies seem to stop draining, transfer them to a large mixing bowl. Add blended chia seed mixture & garlic, and stir to combine. Next add in the flour, baking powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, salt & pepper, and stir to combine again. Scoop 1/4 cup amounts of mixture into the heated oil and press gently with the back of a spoon to slightly flatten. Let cook for for a couple of minutes, until golden brown, before flipping. Once fritter is crispy and golden, use a spatula to move it to a paper-towel lined plate, where it can absorb the excess oil. Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon (or lime!), come chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of sriracha. Mmmm. Freeze leftovers or refrigerate for up to a week. Makes 10-12 fritters. Enjoy!
Southwestern Black Bean Salad
It's summertime and livin' is WARM! Seriously, it's hovered around 100 degrees most of the week and that makes it hard to eat anything warm or heavy. Let this simple, light Southwestern Black Bean Salad help you fight off hot-day hunger without overfilling you. Its perfect on its own but great with tortilla chips, too. Packed with protein, a 1-cup serving will give you half the amount of your daily protein needed. Pack it for lunch or a picnic, or enjoy while staring straight into the air conditioner. Best sprinkled with freshly chopped cilantro and a dash of hot sauce. Let's eat!
2 cups cooked black beans OR one 15 oz. can black beans, drained
1 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (any color)
1 medium sized avocado, pitted and diced
2-4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lime, freshly squeezed (about 2 tablespoons of juice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1-3 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Cut up all veggies and toss together in a large mixing bowl. Mix in cilantro & garlic and drizzle with lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, smoked paprika and hot sauce (if you like it spicy)! Toss to coat everything evenly. Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a side of corn chips. Last well up to 3 days in the fridge. Keeps longer if you add the avocado only as needed instead of in the entire batch. Makes about 4 cups. Enjoy!
Wild Mushroom Bruschetta
I love bruschetta. Before experimenting with this recipe, I'd only had tomato-based versions, but I always loved them. Bruschetta is a great appetizer, party dish, or snack all by itself. And served on a warm, crunchy-crusted baguette? Ooh, man. Plus, its so easy to make! A little chop-chop-drizzle and you're good to go.
Well, I'm here to share with you the BETTER THAN TOMATO version, something I hardly believed possible. It takes a little longer to prepare than the original, but I promise- it's worth it. Mushrooms, onion, and garlic flavors are highlighted by a little white wine and black truffle sea salt. This is the kind of recipe I would make to impress Alex's mom (hi, jen!) and I think it would work. Scoop onto some crusty bread or crackers or serve over pasta for a seriously satisfying savory snack. Yep, that just happened. Enough chit chat, let's eat!
4 cloves of garlic diced, 1 halved and set aside
1/4 cup olive oil
10 ounces mixed wild mushrooms (or your favorite grocery store type. We used oyster & crimini.)
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup white wine
1/8 teaspoon each salt & pepper
1/8-1/4 teaspoon black truffle sea salt (optional-but worth it!)
1 crusty baguette, sliced (use a gluten-free baguette or skip this ingredient to keep it GF)
parsley, for sprinkling
Toast the baguette slices on a baking sheet under the broiler, then rub each side with the sliced garlic halves and drizzle with a bit of olive oil. Keep warm in a low heat oven.
Wipe any dirt off the mushrooms, and slice them if necessary. If they're small, go ahead and leave 'em whole. Heat half of the butter (1 tbs) in a skillet, then add the mushrooms and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and place pan in the warm oven alongside the sliced baguette to keep warm.
Heat the second tablespoon of butter in a separate skillet, adding the onion and garlic, and cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until soft. Add the wine and stir well, letting the mixture bubble for 2-3 minutes, until reduced & thickened.
Add the mushrooms to the onion & wine mixture and stir until heated. The sauce should be thick enough to glaze the mushrooms. Shut off the heat, and pull the bread out of the oven.
Pile the brushetta on top of the baguette slices, sprinkle with chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately, and enjoy!
*Leftover brushetta can be refrigerated in a sealed container and reheated as needed.
Hemp Seed Basil Pesto
Before we get started today, I wanted to announce the WINNER of our Rawsome Vegan Baking cookbook giveaway! And the lucky winner of their very own copy is...Veggie Loops! (Assuming thats your real name...hehe.) I've emailed you and look forward to sending your your copy of Emily's raw-mazing book! Thanks to everyone that entered, and to Emily for letting us be a part of her book tour. We love ya, Em!
Having a jar of pesto in the fridge is pretty much the same as having a pile of expensive jewelry in the closet- its mealtime gold. Throw it on a pizza, in pasta, or as a sandwich spread and you're halfway to solving the weeknight dinner conundrum! Plus, it whips up in a flash and lasts a few weeks in the fridge, so you can make several meals out just one batch. Alex loves this recipe and uses it every time he makes pasta, adding some chopped tomatoes and vegan mozzarella to make his own capresé salad. I'm a sucker for just putting it on bread with veggies and having a panini for lunch, but either way- its a crowd pleaser.
Plus remember that annoying, "Where do you get your protein from?" question we discussed last time? Well, hemp seeds are a complete protein, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids and are a great source of protein, magnesium, iron & fiber for vegans . They're one of the greatest superfoods you can find! And they're easy to sneak into healthy recipes. The hemp seeds add a slightly nutty flavor that contrasts the slight bitterness of the basil in the recipe, and makes for a super healthy sandwich slather.
This recipe is also super easy to manipulate to your own liking; hate hemp seeds? Try replacing them with flax seeds or your soaked nut of choice. Out of lemon juice? Try lime juice or apple cider vinegar. Only have black truffle sea salt on hand? Throw it in! The experimentation is all up to you. That being said, the original is pretty goddamned good. So, lets eat!
3 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup hemp seeds (shell-free)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup olive or grapeseed oil
Rinse basil and separate leaves from stems. Toss the stems in the compost and the leaves in a food processor or high speed blender. Add the hemp seeds, lemon juice, garlic, salt & pepper. Blend until smooth. Add oil and blend again until evenly incorporated. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 2 cups. Enjoy!
Picante Black Bean Hummus
You know what is the most frustrating thing about being a vegan? When people ask "Well, where do you get your protein?" Like we vegans can only get it from meat. Ick. Protein can be found in all kinds of foods (not just meat- but since you're here you already knew that), and recent studies have shown that we really don't need nearly as much protein as most of us get, anyway. But that's a lame answer.
Next time, just shove this recipe in their face and watch 'em drool. The black beans in this hummus provide you with 2.6 grams of protein for every tablespoon of them you consume. And I don't know about you, but for me that's like maybe two dips. Nom nom.
Plus, this hummus is damn good. As you may (or may not) know, 'PICANTE' is Spanish for 'SPICY', and this dip has a little kick. The cilantro is fresh with hints of citrus, balanced out by the smoky flavor of the paprika and highlighted by the fresh lime juice. It comes together quickly and is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Need a bigger batch? This recipe is easily doubled or quadrupled. So, lets eat!
1- 15 ounce can OR about 2 cups cooked black beans, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
After draining beans, combine then in a high-speed blender or food processor with all other ingredients. Blend on high about 30 seconds, until all the ingredients are combined.
Serve with a dash of smoked paprika and a sprinkle of green onions, or all on its own with chips, veggies, or on pita bread. Saves well, covered, up to a week in the fridge. Enjoy!