It’s recipe time! I’ve picked out some of my favorite recipes from the last few weeks of veganism.
You’ll notice that I use almost no “fake meat” products, which is by design. My diet consisted of mostly unprocessed foods prior to my vegan adventure, so I didn’t want to introduce many of those in to my diet. I’ve tried a few meatless products before, and for the most part, I don’t like them. They don’t really mimic the texture of meat very well, and a lot of them are high in sodium.
Check out this article if you’d like some tips from the pros on incorporating more vegan products/recipes into your cooking repertoire.
Disclaimer: There are a few “recipes” that I have developed on my own. I apologize in advance because I don’t measure anything when I’m not following a recipe (actually I don’t measure much even when I do follow a recipe). So if you try something that you think you would normally like and find it repulsive, it could be because my estimations of ingredient amounts are off. Or it could mean that you don’t know what good food tastes like. Hard to say.
Citrus Poppy Seed Salad – I thought about using a substitute for the coconut oil because I didn’t have any, but decided to bite the bullet and purchase some. Totally worth it. The flavor of the coconut oil is so surprising when combined with the citrus, and it’s delicious. I used ruby red grapefruit, blood oranges, and navel oranges in my salad.
Barbecued Blackeyed Peas– Ok, so these take a lot of time to make, but it’s mostly hands off time, so you can do plenty of other things while these are soaking/boiling/baking. I also added a little brown sugar at the end, and it resulted in a sweet, spicy side dish.
Fruit Salad w/honey lime dressing– This is one of my favorite ways to add some flavor to a boring fruit salad.
2 cups of chopped fruits (You can really use anything, but I used mango, blueberries, and strawberries)
2 T canola oil
2 T honey
2 T lime juice
1 T roughly chopped basil/mint
Whisk together all of the liquid ingredients in a small bowl and mix in the basil/mint. Pour over the fruit, and enjoy!
Smokey Spicy Pumpkin Almond Soup– I know this link says butternut squash, but I didn’t feel like roasting and pureeing all that squash, so I used canned pumpkin instead. I couldn’t find dried chipotle peppers, so I used canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Oh my spicy! I substituted coconut milk for heavy whipping cream, and because the soup was so spicy, I just poured in a whole 14 oz can (instead of 1 cup) to calm it down some. I also added a little honey to sweeten it up. I ate this first with some cranberry walnut bread (from Sprouts) and then ate leftovers with a black bean and quinoa stuffed bell pepper.
Aztec Soup – My friend Jenn gave me this recipe, and I can’t get over how easy it was to make (only took about 30 minutes) and how tasty it was. The toasted nuts, avocado, and tortilla chips add so much flavor and texture. I also added in a can of cannellini beans (drained and rinsed) to get some more protein, and a couple teaspoons each of cumin, coriander, and oregano.
½ c pine nuts
½ c walnuts
2 TBS butter (or oil or vegan butter)
1 small onion-chopped
1 minced garlic clove
6 cups vegetable broth (I use a couple veggie buillon cubes)
2 cups diced butternut squash
1 package of frozen corn (10 oz.) or 1 can
1 avocado, cubed
½ c. pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Blue corn tortilla chips
Saute the pine nuts and walnuts in 1 TBS of the butter until golden, then set aside in a bowl
Saute the onion and garlic in the other TBS butter, then add the broth, squash and corn and boil until the squash is soft
Serve in bowl and add in avocado, nuts, pepitas, and crushed tortilla chips
Kale Avocado Wraps w/Spicy Miso Dipped Tempeh – There may be some words in there that you don’t recognize. Miso is soy fermented with a fungus to make a paste that is common in Japanese cuisine. It’s tangy and tasty. Tempeh is similar in that it is the product of fermentation of soybeans, but it isn’t tangy, and it makes a great, all natural meat substitute. All in all, this dish provides lots of probiotics from the fermented foods, which I’m all about, since I’m not getting my daily dose of probiotics from yogurt. I ate this yummy wrap with the fruit salad mentioned above and sweet potato fries.
Beany, Avocado, Cilantro Salad Surprise – This is one of my creations, which you could probably guess based on the stupid name I gave it. This salad could be eaten as a side or as a main dish, depending on how hungry you are. The recipe below yields about 4 cups of protein-packed salad.
½ can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
½ can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 avocado, cubed
½ cucumber, diced in large chunks
½ red bell pepper, diced in large chunks
~1 cup spinach, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
-Mix all that stuff together
½ cup packed cilantro
2 T lime juice
2 T orange juice
3 T olive oil
1 tsp agave nectar
salt and pepper to taste
-Blend all the dressing ingredients together (I used a Magic Bullet). Pour over salad and mix. Eat up!
Indonesian Cabbage Salad (another recipe from Jenn) – Holy crap. I can’t get over how amazing this salad is. It might be one of the best salads I’ve ever had. I love it. I love it so much. Plus, it’s very aesthetically pleasing. However, like the fool that I am, I forgot to buy bok choi, so I just added more carrots and bell pepper. Jicama might also be a nice addition. As you can see, I also ate this with vegetarian pot stickers (from Sprouts).
Mix together the following: 1/2 head of purple cabbage shredded or cut thin, 4 stalks of bok choi (sliced thin), 1 carrot cut thin, 1 red bell pepper cut in thin strips, ½ c. fine chop cilantro, ½ c. raw sunflower seeds.
Add this curry sauce:
½ c. almond or peanut butter
½ c. water
¼ c. rice vinegar
2 TBS miso
1 TBS cilantro
2 TBS maple syrup or honey
1-2 tsp red or green curry paste
1 tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp ground ginger
-Blend all of the above well and pour over veggies.
Red Quinoa Broccoli Salad w/Almond Honey Vinaigrette – This wasn’t a within-the-last-month discovery for me, but it is my favorite tofu dish, so it’s worth sharing. If you don’t have red quinoa, don’t fret! You can use normal quinoa (or rice)- it just won’t be as pretty. I also add dried cranberries/cherries to give it a little more flavor, texture, and color.
Vegan Alfredo – I know what you’re thinking. Alfredo is pretty much the antithesis of veganism. You are correct. And while this doesn’t taste exactly like alfredo, it is surprisingly close, which was shocking given the ingredients from which it is comprised. As an aside, the picture in this link has to be a lie. All of the ingredients are brown (cashews, soy sauce, mustard, nutritional yeast flakes, etc). I’m no artist, but from what I know, you can’t mix a bunch of brown colored things and get an off-white result. So no, it doesn’t look like alfredo, but damn it, it tastes good. I ate mine over whole wheat fusilli pasta with steamed broccoli. Delish.
Alright, you only get one treat because I’m tired of writing this post.
Honey-Almond Popcorn– I made my popcorn using actual popping corn, and not from microwaveable popcorn. It’s cheap (buy it in the bulk section), and it tastes better and is healthier than microwaveable popcorn. But if you only have the in-the-bag stuff, go ahead and pop it, skip the first portion of the recipe, and join back in for Part 2.
In a heavy bottom pot (I use my pasta pot), heat 3 T of canola oil (or any other oil with a high smoking point, NOT olive oil) over medium-high heat. If you want your popcorn salted, this is the time to add in the salt, as it will coat all of the popcorn as it pops.
Add in a couple of kernels of popping corn, cover the pot, and wait for the kernels to pop. This is how you know the oil is hot enough.
Remove the pot from heat and add in 1/3 cup of corn kernels (this will yield ~8 cups of popcorn) and count to 30. This step ensures that all the kernels and oil are at the same temperature.
Put the pot back on the heat, cover, leaving lid slightly ajar (this allows moisture to escape and keeps your popcorn crunchy instead of soggy). Let the popping commence. Once you’ve got a popping frenzy going, shake the pot occasionally so that nothing sticks to the bottom and burns.
When popping is reduced to ~3 seconds between pops, remove from heat.
Heat 1/3 cup of honey over medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat.
Add a heaping spoonful of almond/peanut butter to the honey and stir until well mixed.
Pour over your popcorn, mix thoroughly, and dive in!
Hope this gives you some ideas for vegan-friendly dishes! I also hope that this shows that eating vegan isn’t boring or restrictive. My diet is incredibly varied, and I’m never ever bored. Please leave a comment if anything isn’t clear or if you have questions!