Sunday, February 26, 2012

Easy Almond Alfredo

Easy Almond Alfredo

Serves 1
  • 1/4 cup of almonds, soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • a dash each of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and nutmeg
  • your choice of pasta and veggies (I used whole wheat penne and broccoli/baby spinach)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Drain the soaked almonds and transfer to a food processor. Add almond milk, nutritional yeast and Dijon mustard and blend until as smooth as possible. Add spices. You can be liberal with the garlic and onion powders, but be very careful with the nutmeg and paprika. Add a tiny amount of each, blend, and adjust to taste. Too much nutmeg can break this dish, trust me. Steam your vegetables in water until cooked, then toss cooked pasta, veggies, and almond Alfredo in a frying pan over medium heat until warm. Serve immediately.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sweetcrisp Quinoa

Sweetcrisp Quinoa

Makes about 4-1/2 cups
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 medium honeycrisp apple, rinsed (or whatever type you've got)
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp agave nectar (could substitute maple syrup)
  • a dash each of garlic powder, onion powder, and ground ginger
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Combine quinoa and 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cover. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the germ has separated from the seed. While the quinoa is cooking, wash the sweet potato and poke holes in the skin with a fork. Pop it in the microwave over a paper towel and nuke for four minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes once time is up. Cut the cooked sweet potato in half with a sharp knife. The idea is to not smush the sweet potato, so cut it like an avocado: in half, then make crisscross cuts in each half, then pull the skin from the back. Core and cut the apple into small pieces. To make the dressing, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, agave nectar, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground ginger. Stir well. Once the quinoa is done, combine it with the apples and sweet potato in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss thoroughly. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

All Veggie Shepherd's Pie

All Veggie Shepherd's Pie

  • 1 portobello mushroom cap, washed and with the stem removed
  • 1 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen spinach (you can use fresh, obviously)
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, and italian seasoning, to taste
  • a few pieces of sun dried tomato (optional)
Steam the cauliflower pieces in water until they are soft and slightly overcooked. Transfer to a food processor and add almond milk, Earth Balance, and a dash each of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Blend until smooth; set aside. Fill a frying pan with about 3/4 inch of water and cook the portobello cap on high, flipping occasionally. About halfway through frying, add a dash each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Once most of the water has been absorbed, the portobello should be done. Remove it and set aside. Place carrots, onions, and spinach in the frying pan and steam with water until the spinach is cooked and the carrots are fork tender, seasoning as desired. Top the portobello cap with the vegetables (pour all the leftover liquid from the pan on there too, yum!) and then the mashed cauliflower (you may need to reheat the mushroom and/or cauliflower). Garnish with sun dried tomatoes for an unexpected pop of flavor!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Slow Cooker Aztec Chili

Slow Cooker Aztec Chili
  • 1 28-oz can peeled plum tomatoes, pureed in the food processor
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils
  • 1/2 cup black-eyed peas (I used frozen)
  • 1/4 cup canned pinto beans
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans
  • 1 cup raw cauliflower, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 cup ground beef-style textured vegetable or soy protein (I used Trader Joe's Beefless Ground Beef)
  • 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • a dash each of ground cinnamon, ground ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper
Combine all ingredients in your slow cooker and stir. Cook on low setting for eight hours or longer.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Key Lime Pie Overnight Oats

Key Lime Pie Overnight Oats

Serves 1
  • 1/4 cup uncooked steel cut oats
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 packet stevia sweetener (~1 tsp raw turbinado sugar or agave nectar can be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp vegan cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh or bottled lime juice, plus more to taste
Separately combine dry ingredients (oats, stevia, chia seeds) and wet ingredients (almond milk, cream cheese, lime juice), making sure to mix the wet ingredients until the cream cheese is fully incorporated. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir well. Place in a glass and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit overnight. In the morning, stir again and add more lime juice (I used another full tbsp because I like very tart key lime pie) and sweetener to taste. Garnish with fresh lime slices! Crumbled vegan graham crackers would also be a good topping. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Serves 1

For the gnocchi:
  • 1/2 a large (or 1 medium) sweet potato
  • about 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for the counter and your hands
  • 1 tbsp chia seed egg replacer (I'll explain below)
  • a dash each of salt, pepper, and dried thyme
Poke holes in your sweet potato and place over a paper towel in the microwave. Microwave on high for four minutes, turn, and microwave for another four minutes, or until fork tender. (You can also bake your sweet potato, but I was too hungry to wait.) In the meantime, make your chia seed egg replacer. Combine 1 tbsp chia seeds with 3 tbsp water, and allow the mixture to thicken for 10-15 minutes. (This makes more than one tbsp, but you can use the rest in a smoothie or in some baked goods.) Once the sweet potato is tender, let it cool, and then peel and mash it in a mixing bowl. Allow the smashed sweet potato to cool to room temperature. Add 1 tbsp of chia seed egg replacer and the thyme, salt, and pepper. Add flour gradually, kneading with floured hands. The dough will be very sticky at first. Just add more flour until it's workable. A little stickiness in the final dough product is fine though. Flour the counter and separate the dough into two sections. Roll each section in between your palms until it becomes a long rope. Place on the counter and form the dough into a uniform 1-inch thickness. Cut each rope into small sections using a very sharp knife. Fill a pot 3/4 of the way with water and salt lightly. Bring the water to a boil and drop the gnocchi in. Once the gnocchi floats to the top, remove with a slotted spoon. 

For the sauce:
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite vegan marinara (Trader Joe's tomato basil is awesome)
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 3 tbsp almond milk
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • large handful of baby spinach
Combine corn starch, almond milk, and nutritional yeast in a bowl and mix until the corn starch is fully incorporated. Pour the mixture in a saucepan over medium heat and allow to thicken. Add the marinara sauce and baby spinach and stir until the marinara is incorporated and the spinach is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the gnocchi to the pan to warm it and toss. Garnish with oregano or some vegan parmesan if you've got it. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Apple and Onion Whole Wheat Turnovers

Apple and Onion Whole Wheat Turnovers

Makes 4 turnovers
  • Four small balls of dough (I just used my frozen pizza dough for this. The recipe is here. It makes a large ball of dough which I separated into eight portions and froze a few weeks ago. For this recipe, I cut one portion into four small pieces.) 
  • 1 small gala apple, cored and diced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp whole grain Dijon mustard
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat your oven to 495 degrees, grease a baking sheet with olive oil, and shape your balls of dough into spheres. Place onions in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté, adding water as needed so that the onions become soft and do not stick to the pan. After the onions are soft, add the apples and nutmeg. Sauté for a few minutes, adding more water as you go. In the meantime, combine cornstarch and 1/2 tbsp of water in a bowl and stir until the cornstarch is incorporated. Add Dijon mustard and maple syrup and stir again. Add the cornstarch mixture to the apples and onions, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper and taste test! Take the frying pan off the heat so that the apples and onions won't burn, then roll out (or manhandle, as I did) your dough into four flat pancakes. Drop an even amount of apples and onions onto one side of each slab of dough. Fold the other side of the dough over and close the ends. Add texture to the ends with a fork and cut slits in the top of each turnover. (You may have a little bit of apples and onions leftover. If this happens, grab a spoon and go at it!) Bake in the oven for six minutes, or until the ends are crispy and browned. Be careful: these will burn easily. Allow the turnovers to cool for a few minutes before enjoying. 

Clean Green Wrap

Clean Green Wrap

Serves 1
  • 1 whole grain/whole wheat wrap or tortilla
  • 1 tbsp hummus of choice 
  • 3 oz extra firm tofu (you can also use another protein source, such as a vegan burger, a few pieces of seitan, or 1/2 cup beans)
  • 1/2 medium carrot, grated
  • 2 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup kale, with stems removed
  • small handful baby spinach
  • 1/4 fresh avocado
  • 1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
Place tofu in a frying pan over medium heat and pour soy sauce over it, then cut it into small chunks with the edge of a spatula. Add mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes, allowing the mushrooms to soften and the tofu to brown. Add kale and spinach, then add a small handful of water to the pan to steam the greens. While that's cooking, microwave your tortilla or wrap for 50 seconds to soften it, then spread the hummus over it. Top the tortilla with the frying pan contents and then add fresh carrots and avocado slices. Roll up your wrap and slice down the middle; enjoy immediately.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake

Happy Valentine's Day!

This year, I decided to make my valentine a cheesecake. But not just any cheesecake. A cheesecake that completely catered to his dessert needs, which are as follows:

1. Peanut butter. Lots of peanut butter.
2. Sweet and salty.
3. Crunchy and smooth.

So I made a peanut butter chocolate chunk cheesecake with chocolate pretzel crust and raspberry icing.


I admit that I didn't allow my hopes to get very high for this dessert. It seemed like quite a hodgepodge of flavors and textures, and since it was my first foray into the realm of vegan cheesecakes, I didn't know whether it would turn out completely awesome or completely terrible.

It. Turned. Out. Amazing. So amazing that my boyfriend could not stop saying things like, "Wow!", and "This should be in restaurants!" after every bite. No joke. And completely vegan! Swoon.

Here ya go, the money shot:

So good, so decadent.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cheesecake with Chocolate Pretzel Crust and Raspberry Icing (long name, but it's worth the time it takes to say it)

For the crust:

  • 1 8 oz. package of Oreo-type chocolate cookies (I used Newman-O's chocolate variety, which can be found at Whole Foods, but regular Oreos are actually vegan!)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pretzel nuggets
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
  • 2 tbsp almond milk or other non-dairy milk

1. Place cookies and pretzels in food processor and blend until you have smallish crumbles. Don't over blend however, you want to preserve some crunch from the pretzels.

2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the Earth balance, then knead with your hands until you have clumps. Add the almond milk and knead more until the mixture is sticking together in a large ball. Add more almond milk if necessary.

3. Drop the ball into a 9-inch pie dish and press with your hands so that the crust coats the dish. Make sure to work it up the sides evenly. Your crust should look like this:

I made my crust ahead of time and let it sit overnight in the fridge, so that's an option if you want to save time. 

For the filling:

  • 14 oz. silken tofu (I used Nasoya)
  • 4 oz. vegan cream cheese (I used Trader Joe's variety, but I hear Tofutti is also very good)
  • 2/3 cup turbinado sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy salted peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips or chunks (if using chunks, chop lightly beforehand)


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place silken tofu, vegan cream cheese, and peanut butter in a food processor and blend until completely smooth, scraping the sides and checking for lumps of tofu. 

Love this peanut butter from Trader Joe's. Yum. Can you tell that I frequent TJ's?

At this point, your filling mixture should look like this. 

3. Add raw sugar and cornstarch to food processor and blend for a few minutes. 

4. Once all ingredients are fully blended, transfer the batter to a mixing bowl and fold in the chocolate pieces. 

5. Pour into your prepared crust and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove and let cool to room temperature for at least two hours. After the cheesecake has cooled, it should be chilled in the refrigerator. I let mine chill for about 9 hours, and it was pretty perfect when I sliced into it. 

Fresh out the oven. 

Now you're ready to decorate!

For the icing:

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar. Make sure it's an organic type made without bone char! (Wholesome Sweetener's brand is bone char free)
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
  • 2 tbsp frozen raspberries


1. Combine sugar and Earth Balance in a mixing bowl and whisk vigorously until smooth. 

2. Place raspberries in a microwave safe bowl and nuke for about a minute so that the raspberries release their juice. Strain the raspberries to get a nice, natural red food coloring.

3. Add to mixing bowl and whisk to incorporate. 

4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm the icing so that it won't run on the cake. Also, make sure that the cheesecake is chilled before decorating!

You can decorate to your heart's desire. I used fresh raspberries, raspberry icing, and a cute little banana slice to make it Valentine-y. 


Shot with some roses I got from my boyfriend!

I always try to outdo him with gifts, but it never works. Although my cheesecake was bangin', there's no way I could compete with this:

Club box tickets to the Chili Peppers! Sigh. He always wins. 

I'll leave you now with one more mouth-watering photo. 

Last bite. So sad. 

Make this cheesecake for someone and they will love you forever, I swear. Also, this is a great recipe to trick your non-vegan friends into eating animal-free! Sneaky sneaky. ;)

Love peace and non-chicken grease, 


Monday, February 13, 2012

Barbecue Chicken-less Mini Pizza

Barbecue Chicken-less Mini Pizza

Serves 1 
  • Pre-made pizza crust (Mine is whole wheat; I made it a few weeks ago and froze single-serving balls of dough. Here's a pretty good pizza crust recipe if you need one.) 
  • 8-10 pieces of chicken-style wheat gluten
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp your favorite marinara sauce + 2 tbsp your favorite barbecue sauce, mixed together
  • small handful of kale
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast 
Preheat oven to 495 degrees and grease a flat pan or cookie sheet lightly with olive oil. Combine wheat meat strips, onions, and nutritional yeast in a frying pan over medium heat. After the onions are all browned up, add the mushrooms and kale and sauté for a few minutes. I didn't cook in oil, so I continually added small amounts of water to the pan to ward off the burnt onion effect. Feel free to add some olive oil though! Also, besides a touch of cumin I didn't add any spices; I was in it 100% for the barbecue flavor. Feel free to spice it up if you'd like. Roll out your pizza dough. This is where things got interesting. I don't own a rolling pin, so I had to get a bit creative with it. I did pretty darn good though, and wound up with super thin, super awesome crust. Spoon the marinara/BBQ sauce onto the dough and spread evenly, conserving a little bit of it. Top with your sautéed strips and veggies and drizzle the rest of the sauce on top. Cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes, checking every so often to be sure that the crust doesn't burn. (If you're using a thicker crust, you might want to increase the cooking time.) Serve and enjoy immediately. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Tofu Scramble a la Lilly

Tofu Scramble a la Lilly

Serves 1
  • 3 oz. extra-firm tofu (1/5 of a block, I use Trader Joe's organic)
  • 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tablespoon Dijon mustard (I use whole grain, but any variety is fine)
  • a liberal sprinkling each of garlic powder, onion powder, ground turmeric, and ground cumin
  • a handful of fresh baby spinach (or any other quick-cooking veggie of choice, I also use kale)
  • 1 slice of your favorite bread
Slice your tofu. I recommend pressing it first. I don't use any fancy pressers, I just wrap the block in a few paper towels, slap it on my cutting board, and press down with my frying pan for about a minute. You don't need to press it much; with the tofu scramble, a little moisture is your friend. Put the tofu in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Divide it into small chunks with the edge of your spatula. Meanwhile, toast your bread of choice. Mine is Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sesame Bread. Put down that Wonder Bread and try it. It's delicious. Add the nutritional yeast and Dijon to the pan and toss with the spatula to make sure that the tofu is well coated. Repeat with the spices. Once your tofu mixture is nice and hot, add the spinach and mix it in, allowing the leaves to wilt. See those crispy bits of charred spices stuck to the pan? Scrape them with the spatula and mix them in too, they're so flavorful! Assemble by placing the tofu scramble atop your bread. So easy, so good. Let's get a close up.