Mexi-Flare Mini Pizza

pizza2Pizza is such a versatile food & definitely not something you need to give up when you go vegan! I really enjoy making different plant based pizzas, and it’s amazing how great they taste even without non-dairy cheese! This one is loaded with refried beans, tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh peas – much of which came from my local CSA share****link What’s not to love?

*Please note the nutrition facts may change based on the crust you use.

Snip20151027_9

Mexi-Flare Mini Pizza

Yield: 3 servings (1/3 pizza each)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made 9” vegan pizza crust
  • ½ cup refried beans
  • 1.5 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup fresh shelled peas

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven as directed on pizza crust package – if you are using raw dough, you may need to pre-bake the dough for a while before adding toppings.
  2. Spread refried beans thickly over entire crust
  3. Sprinkle zucchini, tomatoes, and peas over bean “sauce”
  4. Bake as directed on pizza crust package, or until crust begins to brown and veggies are soft.

I enjoyed mine with a few dashes of hot sauce on top; yum! Let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments below! Positive or negative, your feedback is always appreciated!

Softest Goey Pumpkin Cookies

Tomorrow marks 4 weeks vegan for me! Though I’ve been “vegan” on and off before, this is my longest stint to date & this time it feels permanent, which is AMAZING. Clearly, this is cause for celebration & what better way to celebrate than with two of my favorite things: pumpkins & cookies. I adopted this recipe from “Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies” posted on Crissy Page’s blog Parent Pretty found here (http://parentpretty.com/pumpkin-cookies-recipe/).

cookies1The original recipe was not vegan, but easily veganized by a few swaps: vegan buttery sticks for dairy butter, banana for eggs (helps keep them even more moist), and soy milk for dairy milk. I also used real pumpkin – from an actual pumpkin squash ~ oh my! – instead of the canned crap. My pumpkin yielded what I guessed was close to 3/4 of the 15oz can they suggested, so I reduced the other ingredients by 1/4 as well. I also chose to use less frosting than the recipe yielded, because my cookies would have been drowning in frosting if I’d used the entire batch. Yikes! All in all my recipe yielded about 40 cookies at around 160 calories a piece with frosting. How’s that for a miracle?!

If you’re limited to a toaster oven – like me – try halving the batch… otherwise you’ll be doing many, many trays in and out of the oven. Another helpful tip: place your butter on your stovetop/toaster oven while it preheats (or while you bake your pumpkin) to help soften it!

As always, comment, share, and most importantly… enjoy!

Softest Goey Pumpkin CookiesSnip20151027_2

Yield: 40 cookies

Ingredients (Cookies):

  • 1.5 cups vegan butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 small to medium sugar pumpkin
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Ingredients (Frosting): 

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • ground cinnamon sprinkled on top (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice sugar pumpkin in half & remove strings & seeds with a spoon, being careful not to scrape out the flesh. The seeds can be washed & roasted with salt & pepper for a tasty snack – don’t waste them!
  3. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Roast at 350 degrees for approx. 40 minutes. The pumpkin flesh should come out very soft, you may need to check it periodically if you’re using a toaster oven or if your oven cooks faster. When the pumpkin is ready, pull it out & set the tray aside so the pumpkin can cool. Keep the oven on to bake your cookies.
  4. Mash the 1.5 cups of butter with a fork until smooth. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg & beat until combined.
  5. Beat in banana & vanilla until combined. Then, using a spoon, scoop out pumpkin flesh from skins & combine with batter until smooth.
  6. One cup at a time, beat in flour until it’s reached a non-lumpy consistency.
  7. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto uncreased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until browning just slightly then remove & place on a cooling rack.
  9. For the frosting, place 1/4 cup of butter & brown sugar into a saucepan. Heat until melted & smooth.
  10. Pour butter/sugar mixture into a medium bowl & add milk & vanilla, mixing well. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until well combined & smooth.
  11. When cookies are cooled, drizzle a dollop of frosting over each & top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired.

Lemon Pepper Green Beans

NL_lempeppgreenOh, Pinterest, how I love thee so… Yet another Pinterest snag from: http://serendipityandspice.com/sautee-green-beans/#_a5y_p=1106900. I used frozen green beans for this one because I had an abundance, but the recipe would work fine with fresh ones, too. I also subbed in seasoning salt for Mrs. Dash. Again, easy & delicious; that’s how we do it around here! This recipe yields 6 servings.

Lemon Pepper Green Beans

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Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of frozen green beans (or fresh take about 10 minutes longer)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. lemon pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. seasoning salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet
  2. Add green beans, sprinkle with spices.
  3. Cook for about 10 minutes or until green beans get to desired softness.

5-Star Sautéed Carrots

IMG_0888To quote my best friend, “This is probably the best dish you make.” I’m taking that as a compliment that these are super good, rather than saying my other dishes are sub-par. In all seriousness though, these are probably the most delicious & easy way to prepare carrots that I’ve found. I make them at least weekly & my best friend requests that I make them every time we have dinner together. Not to mention I brought them to Easter & they were all gobbled up there too!

The seasoning that I usually use for them is Kirkland’s Signature “Rustic Tuscan Seasoning.” It’s a blend of roasted garlic, bell peppers, rosemary, basil, oregano, sea salt, black pepper, green onion & lemon. You could probably get similar results from adding those ingredients in one by one, but the pre-made spice mix is just so much simpler. Plus they sell it in large quantities, so it’ll last you forever! I have a 13.5 oz container that I’ve had almost 3 years & it’s finally on the last fourth. It’s a good spice to use on any vegetable, but I especially like it in mashed potatoes & on these carrots.

Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Kirkland-Signature-Seasoning-13-5-oz-plastic/dp/B00649KLRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428507500&sr=8-1&keywords=rustic+tuscan+seasoning

If you aren’t able to get ahold of that seasoning, try using some of the spices you have on hand! I’ve used random combinations of seasoning salt, lemon pepper, dried oregano, rosemary, & garlic salt in the past & they’ve all turned out great as well. This recipe yields about four 1/2 cup servings.

5-Star Sautéed CarrotsNL_5star

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. Kirkland Signature Tuscan Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. vegan butter (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of water as needed

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet to medium heat, melting butter in pan if using it
  2. Add chopped carrots, 1/4 cup of water & seasoning
  3. Cook carrots about 10 minutes or until they’ve reached desired tenderness, stirring occasionally & adding remaining water as needed to prevent sticking

Easy Vegan Pasta Salad

Sorry for the poor quality photo; we ate most of the salad before I remembered to snap a picture!
Sorry for the poor quality photo; we ate most of the salad before I remembered to snap a picture!

This recipe is so simple & delicious; definitely a must-have for BBQs & potlucks this summer! Another great find out of my Ten Talents cookbook (my #1 recommendation for plant-based recipes). The original recipe is called “Bow Tie Garden Pasta Salad,” but why limit yourself to one type of pasta? This recipe is verstile & I chose to use a tricolor rotini wheat-pasta, but use whatever pasta you have on hand! I do think that smaller pastas would probably work better than long ones – i.e. use rings, macaroni, bowties, penne over spaghetti, vermicelli, lasagna, etc. Also feel free to play around with the type of salad dressing & veggies you use.

I also added 1 cup of canned beans to the recipe to get some added protein in there for us plant-based eaters! Feel free to use any type that you like, I used organic salad beans which have a mixture of kidney, garbanzo &  pinto.

Easy Vegan Pasta SaladNL_easypastasalad

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. favorite pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup of favorite canned beans
  • 1 cup bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, minced
  • Vegan Italian salad dressing to taste (I used Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing)

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions & drain
  2. Rinse with cold water & drain again
  3. In a large bowl combine pasta with remaining ingredients & toss gently to coat
  4. Cover & chill at least 2 hours

Yes, it’s really that simple!

Creamed Curried Kale & Chickpeas

IMG_0960Yet again, we have another Pinterest find! Original post – http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2014/03/creamy-curried-kale-and-chickpeas.html . I am a huge, huge fan of Indian food & especially anything curried. I had the opportunity to travel to India for three weeks during the winter of my sophomore/junior year at St. Ben’s. My time there really opened my eyes to a whole new world of flavors & spices; my cooking has not been the same since!

This recipe calls for 8 cups of chopped kale with the stems removed, but I really hate just throwing out the stems. I decided to include them in my curry & mine still turned out great. The only advice I’d give is that you make sure your kale stems are thoroughly cooked & tender before blending the mixture in a food processor. Otherwise your curry may end up a bit lumpy & not as creamy.

I replaced a few of the spices with things I’d had on hand, so feel free to play around with them basedNL_chickpeacurrykale on the contents of your spice cabinet. Just continue to taste as you go & you’ll find flavors that are right for you. I also halved the amount of chickpeas because it seemed that one can was plenty for this size recipe.

This makes a large batch, so if you’re only cooking for yourself or two, consider halving it or using the leftovers in creative ways! It’s delicious over rice or served with naan. I also used our leftovers in a vegan quesadilla & on vegan pizza – sooooooo good. This recipe yield about 6 servings. Let me know if you try it out!

Creamed Curried Kale & Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  • 8 cups chopped kale (stems included!), packed
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened and beginning to brown, 4-5 minutes, adding water by the tablespoon if needed to prevent sticking.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger, and cumin –  cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining spices and cook for another minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in the kale and vegetable broth. Cover and cook until the kale is bright green and tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the kale is cooking, put the milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, and tomato paste in the blender/food processor and puree until smooth. When the kale is done, add it to the blender/processor and blend until smooth.
  5. Transfer blended mixture back to the skillet and bring to a simmer.
  6. Check seasonings and add more to taste. Stir in chickpeas and continue simmering about 10 minutes.
  7. Add salt to taste

Vegan Deviled “Eggs”

Finished & ready to serve Deviled "Eggs"!
Finished & ready to serve Deviled “Eggs”!

I have to admit it was QUITE the stressful journey to get these to work this past Easter Sunday. Of course, I waited until the morning before I needed them to make them so the fact that they weren’t working right away just added to the stress of my time crunch! Luckily, I figured it all out & now I’m delighted to share the recipe with you all!

I can’t vouch for how closely these resemble real deviled eggs in taste – because I’ve never actually had real deviled eggs – but I thought they were pretty darn good! I got a few of my relatives to try them out & they said they “weren’t bad,” but my family is not the most open minded when it comes to vegan food… My uncle, for instance, let me budge him in our buffet line so I could get my “rabbit food” out of the way.

Nonetheless, I think the texture turned out SPOT ON which was probably the most miraculous part of this recipe. The key to getting it perfect is the agar agar powder. If you’ve never used it before – like me – you’re in for a treat! Essentially, agar agar is made from algae & helps to make food more gelatinous (without using any animal products!). I was able to find some in the bulk section of my local health food co-op, but it’s also available on Amazon – though it’ll take forever to get it shipped to you in the US because most of it is sold from overseas.

I originally saw this recipe on Pinterest & knew it was something I wanted to try out at our family’s Easter gathering. I started by using this recipe: http://www.organicauthority.com/vegan-deviled-eggs-they-do-exist/ , but quickly ran into problems. I had blended the ingredients for the “egg whites” & they had been in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. I went to go pull them out so I could make the filling & put it in when lo and behold – they had not hardened at all! I quickly scanned through the comment section on the recipe page & found one lonely comment of a woman who’d made them & said that hers hadn’t hardened either… but she’d had hers in the fridge overnight! Whoever posted the recipe hadn’t even bothered to respond back. UGH!!!!

Needless to say, I needed to find another recipe! So I hopped back onto Pinterest and found this recipe: NL_devilegghttp://www.baked-in.com/2013/03/25/vegan-deviled-eggs/ . Essentially the differences in the recipe for the “egg whites” included adding more agar agar & boiling the mixture before pouring it into the molds. 30 minutes later, my “eggs” were firmed up in the fridge & ready for filling. OOFTA!

Once I got the right recipe, it was very simple to make. I did simplify it a little, however, by substituting in some kitchen staples for the fancier items it called for. I swapped table salt for kosher/sea salt & kala namak (black salt). I also swapped regular mustard for dijon & plain white vinegar for white wine vinegar.

This batch should make about 15 eggs at only 48 calories each for you to devour.

Let me know how this recipe works out for you.

Peace, love, & delicious appetizers!

-Chef Jamie Love

Vegan Deviled “Eggs”

Ingredients:

  • “Whites”
    • 2 cups unsweetened, unflavored almond milk
    • 2 tsp. agar agar powder
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    “Yolks”
    • ½ lb extra firm tofu
    • 2 Tbsp. vegan mayonnaise
    • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
    • 2 tsp. mustard
    • 1 tsp. vinegar
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • ½ tsp. turmeric
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste
    • Paprika, for garnish

Directions:

Hardened "whites" - spooned out & ready for filling.
Hardened “whites” – spooned out & ready for filling.
  1. Combine almond milk, agar agar, and salt in a small saucepan and whisk to combine.
  2. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat & pour into egg molds. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow to set.
  3. Combine tofu, vegan mayo, oil, mustard, vinegar, salt, turmeric, and pepper in a blender. Blend 30 seconds or until smooth.
  4. Use a half-teaspoon or melon baller to scoop out a small circle from the inside of each egg half.
  5. Use a piping bag or spoon to fill each egg with yolk.
  6. Sprinkle with paprika and serve.