Super duper easy vegan fried ravioli

A few weeks ago we did our annual «find all the pumpkin drinks in Ohio and consume them with friends» evening. We just started this a few years ago and it’s basically an excuse to indulge on my favorite pumpkin beers while stuffing my face with some vegan goodies. And hosting. Because I love hosting.

So instead of scrounging up a bunch of pumpkinish foods to go with this extravaganza, I decided to make whatever my little heart desired, and by heart I mean stomach.

Fried ravioli. It’s something I’ve had VERY few times since going vegan because who wants to fuss around with all that pasta and breading and making tofu ricotta? I mean right? So I decided to dress up one of our favorite vegan frozen raviolis, and holy moly was it amazing.

We’re talking minimal effort, but a serious reward. These fried raviolis were delicious, prep was super fast and the presentation was pretty sweet if I do say so myself.

AND they were a hit with our nonvegan friends (which is 99% of our friends)!

You can probably use YOUR favorite vegan ravioli, but I’m going to throw out the products we used because they came out stupendously.

Your next football party thanks me.

Vegan Fried Ravioli
(makes around two dozen fried raviolis)
Ingredients:
1 12-oz bag of bite-size Tofutti «cheese» ravioli
2 cups of your favorite vegan marinara sauce
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups vegan bread crumbs
2 cups plain almond milk
1 TBS Ener-G egg replacer
Italian seasoning
Go Veggie vegan parmesan cheese
Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:
First off, keep the raviolis frozen. Don’t do anything crazy like thaw them. Grab medium-size bowls or containers and pour the milk in one, the flour in one and the breadcrumbs in another. In the bowl with the milk, use a fork and blend 1 TBS Ener-G egg replacer until fully mixed. In the bowl with the flour, add 2 tsp Italian seasoning and mix it up.

In a large frying or saute pan, heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable on medium heat. While this is heating up, it’s time to start breading our raviolis. Make sure to have a large plate to place them on. I set my assembly line up like this: flour container first, then milk, then breadcrumbs, then plate. So you’re gonna grab a frozen ravioli, dip it in the milk mixture, then the flour mixture, then the milk mixture, then the breadcrumbs mixture. Place on the plate. Repeat 23 more times.

Once your raviolis are breaded and your oil is hot, it’s time to start frying. Grab a plate and place some paper towels on it to help soak up excess oil. Have your parmesan ready to go over there, too. Gently place these bad boys in the oil and cook on each side about two-three minutes or until a golden brown color. (I was able to do 8 at a time in my gigantic pan). Using a spatula or whatevs you want, take them out of the oil and place on paper-towled plate. Sprinkle parmesan on while still hot, add some more Italian seasoning if you want to get really wild and crazy. Repeat until they’re all done.

Let them cool and then serve with your favorite marinara sauce and listen to everyone rave about how they can’t believe it’s vegan!

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Vegan Philly cheesesteak bites

It’s football season again.

(And all the people rejoiced)

I celebrate football season for two reasons: the FOOD and the Carolina Panthers (more specifically, Cam Newton).

It’s no secret I’m a lover of parties, hosting and all the fun food concoctions that come along with it, so to me, fall is the perfect time to take all your favorite meals and make them bite-sized.

We kicked off our first football Sunday with our own vegan version of Philly cheesesteak bites. Pinterest is a plethora of awesome ideas, but there aren’t very many vegan ones. And when it comes to some recipes, it’s a lot of trial and error in terms of finding the right vegan swaps.

Luckily, this one is A LOT of reward and very little effort.

Now, I won’t lie. This probably isn’t the kind of thing you want to eat every single day. It may be vegan, but it does utilize some fake meat products and vegan cheese. But I’m an «everything in moderation» kinda gal, so when we want to settle down and have some oh-so-delicious-but-bad-for-you vegan grub, we will, unapologetically.

We ate these with an Asian coleslaw (that’s gotta be healthy, right!), but had enough to freeze and eat as a quick on-the-go snack or a moms-too-busy-for-dinner kind of meal!

Vegan Philly cheesesteak bites
(makes 24 «cups»)
Ingredients:
2 rolls of Pillsbury crescent dough sheets
1 package Tofurky peppered lunch «meat»
8 ounces (1 cup) vegan cream cheese
1/2 cup Vegenaise
1 package Daiya provolone slices
1 package vegan mozzarella cheese shreds
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, cut up vegan provolone slices into small pieces. Cut up or tear Tofurky peppered lunch «meat» into small strips. Stir in vegan mozzarella cheese shreds, Vegenaise and vegan cream cheese. Dice up onion, green pepper, and sliced mushrooms, add to creamy mixture. Stir in garlic powder and olive oil. Set aside.

Roll out the crescent roll dough. Cut into 12 pieces. Grease your muffin pan and spread one piece per cup. (They won’t cover the whole cup, it’s more like get the four corners to tough the top. Check out the picture if you need a visual for this). Repeat until you have two muffin pans filled.

Spoon the creamy mixture into the cups (about 2/3 full) and then bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cool and take out of muffin pans! Top with pizza sauce, banana peppers or mustard if you’re feeling wild!

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Creamy vegan alfredo and zucchini noodles

I probably should have been born Italian. I have an immense love for any and everything they put on their pasta and pizzas, not to mention, the pasta. THE pizza. I am a lover of all things carbs. It’s not a healthy love. In fact, it’s probably been a catalyst to what made me not quite as healthy as I should be. 

One of the things that rivals my love of carbs, is the ooey-gooey, melty, creamy, liquidy-heaven alfredo sauce that you PUT on said carbs.

Mmmm alfredo sauce.

I’ve been in search of making the ultimate vegan version of this sauce for years now and I finally feel ready to share it with y’all. This recipe is like eight years in the making folks. That’s a lot of years.

I’ve tried the tofu-based alfredo sauce and couldn’t get past the semi-sterile taste it seemed to have. It’s not a secret that I don’t really have a love affair with tofu, however. I also tried the sauce using oodles of fake cheese, which while it was better than the tofu version, still seemed to complicate the very delicate balance of garlic, cheesy, creamy, simple goodness that a truly amazing alfredo has.

Finally, between a little vegan cheese, a simple white sauce base and some nutritional yeast, we have mastered the perfect alfredo sauce at the Chubby Vegan household!

Because of my unhealthy obsession with carbs, we purchased a veggie spiralizer from Williams Sonoma and have been using it to make veggie noodles. And seriously, they’re so delicious and this little gadget was so worth it.

We also added some sautéed tempeh to give it a little more bulk and protein. We have made this multiple times since, and it has yet to disappoint!

Creamy vegan alfredo sauce:
(Serves 6)
Ingredients:
3 TBS vegan butter
6 TBS all purpose flour
1.5 tsp salt
2 cups plain almond milk

1/3 cup no chicken broth (we use Imagine brand)

4 slices vegan provolone cheese (We use Daiya)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 TBS minced garlic

1 TBS Italian seasoning

Optional: Tempeh, cubed and sautéed in olive oil with a sprinkle of italian seasoning. Pasta or five zucchinis, spiralized and sautéed on medium heat for 10 minutes with some olive oil. 

Directions:
Melt vegan butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Once it’s melted, stir in all purpose flour. Whisk until it makes a runny paste. Whisk in plain almond milk and no chicken broth. Add nutritional yeast, blend well.  

Tear up vegan cheese slices and stir them into the mix. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and then lower heat to a simmer and stir, for three to four minutes. Add in garlic and Italian seasoning. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Pour over pasta, veggie noodles or anything, because it’s delicious. Top with tempeh or some veggie chicken strips. 

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Kickstart your fall with this vegan lasagna soup!

In case you haven’t heard of it, September is the Vegan Month of Food! For the last three years I’ve participated in it and it has been a blast. Unforunately this year, because of vacation, softball, work, home life, it just wasn’t in the cards for me to sign up and give it my all.

But fear not — I’ve still got some killer recipes headed your way that I’ve been holding onto for a while. I kicked it off with a killer recipe for vegan maple butter bacon cupcakes, which, you might want to run out and make now if you haven’t already. Because they’re that good.

This week I’m going to let you in on my latest secret — vegan lasagna soup. You may not know this about me, but I’m a fan of making soups out of complicated casseroles and dinners. What can I say? I adore lasagna, but all that layering, saucing and noodling just makes me go bonkers. So after having a lasagna craving for the last few weeks, I decided it was time to address it.

And because fall is just a week away, this might just be the perfect hearty soup to help you welcome it’s perfect temperatures, hoodies, leggings and cute boots with open arms (Warning: I’m pro-leggings. As long as you’ve got something to long on top to cover those unseemly lines, I say rock the leggings like pants all ya want. And I do).

This soup is super delicious. And hearty. And so so so filling. And I promise you’ll want to make it again. And again. And maybe again.

Vegan lasagna soup
(serves 8-10)
Ingredients:
1/2 box (or 8 ounces) of your favorite pasta
1 LARGE (we’re talking the 28oz variety) can of diced tomatoes
1 24-oz jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce (or your own homemade recipe, whatever floats your boat)
2 cups white sauce (see recipe below)
1 package of Gimme Lean vegan sausage
1 8-oz package of mushrooms (white or baby bella, whatevs)
1 large sweet onion, diced up
1 small bag frozen carrots (cut in coins)
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 big can (46 oz) vegetable juice, we opt for the low sodium variety
1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (we used Daiya)
1 TBS Italian seasoning
1 TBS minced garlic
Splash of olive oil for sauteing

White sauce ingredients & instructions:
2 TBS vegan butter
4 TBS all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups plain almond milk

Melt vegan butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Once it’s melted, stir in all purpose flour. Whisk until it makes a runny paste. Whisk in plain almond milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and then lower heat to a simmer and stir, for three to four minutes. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Prepare first and set aside.

Soup instructions:
In a large pot, bring vegetable juice to a boil. Add pasta and reduce to medium heat, stirring consistently so the pasta doesn’t stick. Add carrots. Tear Gimme Lean vegan sausage into small chunks and add to pasta and vegetable juice. Try to keep your hands damp as it helps to keep sausage from sticking to you.

In a large skillet, saute kale and garlic in a little olive oil on medium heat for five-seven minutes. Add mushrooms and cook another five minutes. Add entire contents of this skillet into soup mixture. Take your white sauce and add it to the soup mixture along with spaghetti sauce. Add diced onion and Italian seasoning. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in one cup of Daiya vegan cheese. Cook for another five minutes and you’re DONE!

You can «garnish» this soup with more Daiya shreds, vegan parm or vegan ricotta (Tofutti makes a pretty solid one!), or serve all by it’s lonesome and prepare to have your socks rocked.

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Vegan pretzel dog bites and beer cheese (we’re knee deep in baseball season)

It’s the most magical time of the year again! No, I’m not crazy and stuck in a winter wonderland, it’s baseball season folks.

Every baseball season my husband and I try to celebrate it with some of our favorite ballpark foods — veganized of course. One year we did chili cheese fries, the next chili cheese dogs, heck, we even ate peanuts out of the shell once (we’re dedicated, what can I say).

So this year it was kind of challenging trying to come up with something to top all our other favorites. Instead of focusing on just traditional ballpark fare, why not try to go a little more upscale on our first-pitch favorites. (Bet you’re wondering how many cliche baseball references I can squeeze into this one recipe, aren’t ya?)

Well, lucky for you, I’ve got plenty more under my ole’ cap, and this is actually going to be TWO recipes in ONE blog post.

I know, right?

OK, all kidding aside, if you’re a fan of America’s favorite past time, if you just like hot dogs rolled up in pretzels or hell, maybe you like eating food made of beer, I don’t know; you should really, really, really give this recipe a try. Total moment of honesty here: I’ve never made my own pretzels before, let alone shoved a hot dog in the middle of one.

But this was much easier than I ever dreamt it could be and the result was SO so SO so good. I was seriously leery of even attempting my own pretzel dough because, well, sometimes I don’t have the best luck with dough. Crazy, right? And when I started reading more about pretzel dough and how you achieve it’s pretzelness, I was seriously confused. But I promise you. Just follow these directions and you will be so happy you have these little bites a shot!

Partner them with the ever-sophisticated beer cheese dip and you’ve got yourself the perfect pair to take you out to the ball game (you can even have some Cracker Jack after because they’re accidentally vegan)!

Vegan pretzel dogs and beer cheese dip
(serves 3-4)
Pretzel dog bites ingredients:
1 cup warm water
1/2 stick of vegan butter (we use Earth Balance)
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBS light brown sugar
2 tsps active dry yeast (or almost the entirety of one little package)
2 tsp salt
1 package vegan hot dogs (we used the Lightlife Smart dogs, the regular ones, with 8 in a package)
Oil to lightly coat bowl
Water to boil
1/2 cup baking soda
Coarse kosher salt to top pretzel dogs

Beer cheese ingredients:
1 bottle beer (I chose Eurotrash Pilz)
3 cups shredded vegan cheese (I used cheddar Daiya shreds)
8 ounces vegan cream cheese (we used the Trader Joes variety)
1 TBS garlic, minced

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, stir together warm water, melted vegan butter, brown sugar and yeast. Mix in stand mixer or with hand mixer until fully combined (a couple of minutes usually). Add salt and flour (cup by cup), either stir by hand or on low with your stand mixer. Repeat until all the flour is added. Knead the dough until it pulls away slightly from the bowl. If the dough is too sticky and damp, add 1 TBS of flour until you achieve the stretchy, doughy consistency we want.

Set your dough aside in a ball-shape and lightly oil a clean bowl. (Just a thin coating). Place your dough ball in it, cover with a damp kitchen towel and place in a war spot for 45 minutes. The dough should double in size.

Once your dough is ready, boil a medium or large pot of water on high (I think I used around 8 cups of water). Stir in the baking soda until it’s dissolved.

While you’re waiting on your water to come to a boil, cut your hot dogs into thirds. Next, tear your dough ball into four different smaller dough balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll your dough into a large rope. You’ll cut this into six different pieces. Take one piece and wrap around a vegan hot dog third. Make sure to pinch the beginning and end of the pretzel dough together on the dog. Repeat with all the dough balls until all your hot dog bites are covered.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Next, drop your hot dog bites into the boiling water (I did about four at a time) and leave them in for about 30 seconds. You’ll notice they’ve puffed up some. Take them out and place on a greased baking sheet, sprinkling with coarse salt while they’re still damp. Bake them in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until they achieve the brown-doneness you like in your soft pretzel! Take out and let cool.

The beer cheese is ridiculously simple. In a medium saucepan, bring the bottle of beer to a simmer. (Note, a full bottle of beer in this recipe WILL leave a strong beer taste. If you don’t like that I suggest halving it and adding a couple tablespoons of butter to substitute.) Next, stir in the vegan cream cheese until smooth. Add in the shredded vegan cheese and mix until creamy and silky.

Share and impress all your friends or fight with your loved one over the last dog!

Regardless of what you do, this recipe is sure to be a home-run! (Hey I had to sneak one more in there!)

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Whole roasted cauliflower in a spicy vegan yogurt sauce

For some reason our family has been on the world’s longest cauliflower kick in the history of all time. Well, I know the reason, it’s basically because it’s awesome.

Seriously, I used to hate on cauliflower a lot. I was a die-hard broccoli lover and while I used to tolerate cauliflower, I basically that it was a wannabe vegetable.

And then I found out how damn versatile cauliflower can be and my life has never been the same. Anything from cauliflower rice to «cheesy» cauliflower breadsticks, it can, has and will be done.

So when my mom came across this idea to roast the entire head of cauliflower, I decided we needed to try our hand at this too.

Normally I just roast it in some seasoning and olive oil, maybe a little barbecue sauce if I’m feeling particularly lazy. This time though, with some vegan plain coconut «Greek» yogurt just wasting space in our fridge, I decided it was time to whip up a killer sauce.

Even though you roast the whole head, the florets end up really tender. The inner stem area gets a little tougher as you get deeper, but it’s adds a nice texture and the juices from the sauce drip down enough to give it a really subtle, mellow flavor!

This dish came out absolutely magical. It was super no-fuss and the presentation is killer. Even our cauliflower-snubbing daughter wanted to get her hands on a quarter of this decadence!

Spicy whole roasted cauliflower
(Serves 4-6)
Ingredients:
1 large head of cauliflower, washed and leaves removed
1 container of vegan coconut plain Greek yogurt (we used So Delicious, it was 6 oz)
2 TBS dijon mustard
2 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS horseradish
2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet and set aside. After you’ve washed and cut the leaves off your cauliflower, set aside. In a medium bowl, whip together spicy vegan yogurt sauce. Blend vegan yogurt, mustard, horseradish, agave nectar, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper. Stir in lemon juice. Place your entire cauliflower head on the baking sheet. Using a basting brush (ours is silicone), slather the whole cauliflower head (except the bottom side touching the pan) in your sauce. If you have some leftover just set it aside.

Roast on 400 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour. If you have leftover sauce, pull the cauliflower out at 30 minutes and redress with the sauce. (If you don’t have leftover sauce because your cauliflower was huge it’s no big deal, I just don’t like wasting anything, sauce included!) After 45 minutes to an hour, the sauce will be a deep yellow (try not to let it «brown» too much). Allow it to cool and then cut in half and quarters to serve. Impress friends with how cool it looks. Or eat the whole damn thing yourself. Whatev. No judgement here.

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Vegan corned beef … get your St. Patrick’s Day ON!

I went to college in Cleveland. It was one of the most magical times of my life (short of becoming a mother and getting married and all that jazz). Mainly because of the softball I got to play up there and the amazing friends I made, but partly, because it’s got SO much amazing food places to visit!

From Little Italy to West Side Market, this city has got it’s fair share of anything you could ever want! Including the most awesome corned beef sandwich in the history of the world. Every St. Patrick’s Day we would pregame — er — stop and get our grub on at this little sandwich place that had the MOST perfect corned beef sandwich you’ve ever had.

What was in it? I don’t know. Magic. And unicorn kisses. And hugs, definitely some hugs. And maybe a splash of awesomeness.

I haven’t had a corned beef sandwich of any kind since going vegan some seven or so years ago. In fact, I never even considered the idea of making our own vegan version since I had absolutely no clue what went into the thing, just that it was peppery and salty all at once.

But my husband and I started talking about it and I had already planned on making a seitan roast this week, so I started toying around with the idea of attempting a vegan version of this classically-consumed-on-St-Paddy’s-Day fare.

And I am utterly pleased to report back how freaking amazing this thing turned out, which not as much effort as I thought would be required!

So, ready to make one of your own? Heck yes you are!

Don’t let the idea of making your own seitan roast scare you off! If you’ve got a crock pot and access to vital wheat gluten you’re pretty much on your way to the most delicious and easiest thing you’ve made yet!

Vegan corned beef
(serves around 6)
Ingredients:
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
4-5 bay leaves
2 TBS garlic powder
2 TBS onion powder
2 TBS paprika
1 TBS peppercorns (I bought one of the handy ones that comes in grinder form)
2 tsp salt (I used pink himalayan, it was magical)
2 tsp all spice
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
2 TBS ketchup
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 cup vegan steak sauce
1 2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups veggie broth

Directions:
Pour veggie broth into crock pot and turn it on low. In a medium mixing bowl, combine vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ground peppercorns, all spice, cloves and ginger. Add liquid smoke, ketchup, steak sauce and water. Mix together and then knead with your hands once it becomes doughy. It’ll be a strange, sinewy, damp dough. It’ll look something like this:

Next, you’re gonna smush this down to a rectangle shape, about 1.5 inches thick. Toss it in the crock pot and grind a little more peppercorns on top (to your taste) and sprinkle some of the pink salt. (Throw in a veggie if you want, I did baby carrots, but it’s not required). Add the bay leaves to the broth. Let it cook for two hours on low.

After two hours, you might notice your loaf looks a little gigantor. It’s cool, that’s what it should do. Go ahead and flip this roast onto the other side and sprinkle some more salt and peppercorns on it. It’ll feel a little spongey to your touch and that’s fine.

Now you’re going to let it cook on high for two hours.

Once you’ve got about 10 minutes left of cooking time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet down with spray. When your roast is done in the crock pot, we’re going to proceed to the second method of cooking, this is going to help us achieve that totally odd, but somehow perfect texture corned beef has. You know, how it’s kind of dry and moist at the same time?

You’ll take out your roast and place it on a cutting board. (I put a towel under mine because this bad boy was juicy and I didn’t want it getting everywhere). Don’t worry about «spilling the juices,» we’re going to bake this and want to take out some of moisture. Cut into thin slices (the thinner you get the better). Mine were about 1/8 of an inch or so big.

Once this are sliced up, you’ll lay them out on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with a little more peppercorns and salt. Throw these in the oven for about 10 minutes (if you get them thinner than I did check them a little sooner), then pull em out and serve them with your super favorite sides. We opted for red-skin potatoes, cabbage and carrots.

We have every intention of eating these leftovers as reubens today, I have no doubt that they’ll be utterly perfect!

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Vegan ‘cheesy’ cauliflower bread sticks

Somewhere over the rainbow I found a recipe on Pinterest for cheesy cauliflower bread sticks. And over the last few months I’ve made this recipe, wishing, hoping and praying for it to turn out.

Don’t get me wrong. Regardless of how it’s «come out» each time, it’s been delicious. It’s just, it’s never been quite bread stick blogworthy quality. 

Until now.

You see, the non-veganized version of this recipe is really simple. It’s basically cauliflower, eggs, cheese, spices. Kaboom! But because egg, in conjunction with the cheese, works as the primary bonder in this recipe, it makes it a little trickier than your run-of-the-mill «replace the egg» veganization. (I’m just making up words ALL over the place). 

So I’ve tried a lot of different methods. I’ve used the «vegg» egg replacer (if you haven’t gotten on this bandwagon yet, you should, order it from whatever store has it and enjoy an almost-too-realistic egg experience). Unfortunately, the Vegg is more yolky than egg whitey, so it didn’t really suffice in these bread sticks. 

Next up I threw together my go-to replacer, some flaxseed and water. Yeah, that basically made this taste all flaxseedy and stuff. So that was a no go. 

Then there was that time I tried to use some silken tofu, blended up super well in my food processor. That was really, really close visually, but when you went to cut it it was more crumbly than stick-like. So back to the drawing board we went. 

Finally I scoured the internet, trying to figure out what people use in doughy recipes if they don’t have egg. The main suggestion I found? Garbanzo bean flour. I’m basically convinced it doesn’t exist. I mean, I know it does because I’ve heard my friends talk about it, but I’m pretty sure there’s a law against selling and buying it in Ohio. I went to SEVEN (count them), SEVEN stores looking for this mystical flour and I had absolutely no luck. So I hop on my trusty cellular device and ask it, «OK Googies (I have a Google Nexus phone and I like to confuse it by calling it Googies when I want to search something. I think it can tell I’m a smart ass), what can I use instead of garbanzo bean flour?» And wouldn’t you know it, trusty Googies has an answer for me. Can’t find garbanzo bean flour, Amanda? Maybe you should try:

FAVA BEAN FLOUR. 

CHICKPEA FLOUR.

BEAN FLOUR.

Hey thanks, thanks a lot for that. We don’t have garbanzo bean flour, but chickpea flour, didn’t think about that! Silly me! (Please note the sarcasm). 

So after going to seven stores and being betrayed by my sweet, sweet Googies, I decided to say eff it and buy some random ass kind of flour. I started reading the different kinds and looked at what «recipes» were included on the packaging. I settled for Bob’s Red Mill, Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour. It was gluten free and it didn’t cost an entire year’s tuition at Harvard (I’m looking at you quinoa flour and xanthan gum), so basically a win-win in my book.

And well folks, that book was finally right. So after this incredibly long-winded story, I present to you the vegan version of that pin you’ve probably drooled over 1,000 times already.

 

Vegan ‘cheesy’ cauliflower bread sticks

(Makes a quarter baking sheet of goodness, so like four servings)

Ingredients:

One large head of cauliflower

8 oz shredded vegan cheese (I opted for Daiya’s mozzarella)
1/4 cup whole grain brown rice flour
2/3 cup water

2 TBS Italian seasoning blend (I’m lazy, I work 40 hours a week and have two kids. I don’t have time to have all those separate spices!)

1 TBS minced garlic

1 TBS olive oil

Vegan pizza sauce for dipping (we used about one cup of it for the whole pan of bread sticks)

Optional — vegan Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (we use the Go Veggie Vegan variety)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 

Take 1/4 a cup whole grain brown rice flour and mix it with 2/3 cup water. Let it sit (it gives it a chance to thicken some). 

Cut your head of cauliflower into small chunks (florets). Place in a large, microwave-safe bowl, splash a tiny bit of water on it and heat for six minutes. Take it out and place in a food processor and pulse into small, rice-sized pieces. Mix in your vegan cheese, spice blend, minced garlic, olive oil and whole grain rice flour/water «egg» mixture. Stir until well-blended. 

I lined a baking sheet with parchment paper because I felt lazy and didn’t want to scrub the pan later. I recommend doing this too, but if you really like cleaning make sure to grease that cookie sheet up! Spoon your mixture on and spread it out. Mixture should be much thinner than a dough, but thick enough to «sit» and spread on a pan. Top with some vegan parmesan cheese and then bake for 25-30 minutes (or until edges brown and you can’t leave it in any longer because you’re going to scarf it all down). 

Let it sit and cool for five minutes and then cut into strips. Dip into vegan pizza sauce for some extra pizzazz.

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Vegan stuffed peppers for dummies (in casserole form)

Have you ever made stuffed peppers?

They’re amazing, aren’t they? While I’ve never followed a «strict» stuffed pepper recipe, I’ve always stuck to the basic components of it: peppers (tops off, ribbed and seeds removed), some sort of ground «meat,» some form of liquid tomato, onions and rice.

And while they’re always delicious (regardless of what ingredients I end up tossing together), the peppers themselves are kind of drama queens. It’s not like you just cut the tops off and throw some stuff in them, oh no, you’ve got to take things out, put things in, cook them just the right amount of time so they’re done but not mushy.

This past week I was at the grocery store picking out some carrots and I started drooling over the peppers. What can I say, sometimes I get weird hankerings. I contemplated making stuffed peppers for about three seconds before I decided they were way too much work, especially if it was just going to be myself, my husband and our two kids eating them. There’s no need to impress them with the presentation.

And then I was inspired by a dumbed down cabbage roll recipe I did a few years back and decided it was time to make this happen. This takes hardly any effort at all (if you really want to skimp on time just grab some frozen diced up veggies and you’ll really be set) but it tastes JUST like the tedious stuffed peppers you used to make.

You’re welcome.

Vegan stuffed pepper casserole
(serves 8)
Ingredients
3 medium green peppers, diced (you can do 4 if you really like peppers, or use red, yellow or orange if you want to get really crazy!)
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 cups cooked lentils (just follow your lentil instructions)
3 tomatoes, diced
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
2 TBS vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp basil
2 TBS minced garlic
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup vegan cheese (optional, we used Daiya Mozz because we had that on hand)

Directions:
Cook your lentils and brown rice. (Just follow the instructions on their packaging). Preheat your oven to 385 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together your cooked lentils, brown rice, black pepper, salt, thyme, basil and garlic. Add vegan Worcestershire sauce and tomato sauce. Stir in diced onion, peppers and tomatoes. In a greased, large casserole dish (9X12 or whatever), pour stuffed pepper mixture. Top with vegan cheese if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese starts to melt and brown a little.

Serve with your favorite salad, veggie or garlic bread! Contemplate never stuffing a pepper again!

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Gilligan’s coconut curry soup, straight off the island: Throwback Thursdays

Well friends, this isn’t my usual early post. Life happened and my Thursday was absolutely swamped.

But never fear, we had a delicious dinner inspired by a very, very popular throwback show: Gilligan’s Island!

While I wasn’t exactly an avid fan of the show myself, I know it was a big hit and and I know the gist of what it was about. Adults, stranded on an island, with goofy ole Gilligan bumbling stuff up at least once an episode. While they never officially made it off the island in the television series, there were made-for-tv movies which got the group off the island, only to wind back on it again, off again and eventually they turn it into a resort and call it home.

This coconut curry soup we made is probably something they’d serve at the resort. It’s got an awesome, mild flavor thanks to the yellow curry and the veggies and rice make this a filling soup for dinner!

Gilligan’s coconut curry soup
(Serves four)
Ingredients:
1 regular-sized can full-fat coconut milk (you want the creaminess, don’t skimp out for fewer calories)
2 cans of veggie broth
1 cup water
1 8oz bag of shredded carrots (you could use coined or just whole carrots, I had shredded in the fridge)
2 red bell peppers
1 medium onion
1/2 a head of broccoli
1/2 a head of cauliflower
1 cup cooked brown rice
3 yellow curry bouillon cubes (we used Edward & Sons)
Sprinkle of salt/pepper to taste

Directions:
In a stock pot, cook coconut milk, veggie broth and water on medium high heat. In a small saucepan, boil your carrots until they’re super soft (about 15-20 minutes for shredded carrots), set these aside. In another saucepan, cook brown rice. Once warm, stir in three yellow curry bouillon cubes. Dice up all your other veggies (pepper, onion, broccoli, cauliflower) and toss it in the liquid. Continue to cook on medium heat. Stir in rice once it’s done. Take your boiled carrots and puree them in a food processor. Stir this into the soup, it’ll help give it some thickness. Sprinkle in pepper and salt to taste.

Serve with a splash of hot sauce if you want to get really wild and crazy!

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