Thai Ginger Peanut Soup (Vegan!)

Thai Ginger Peanut Soup (Vegan!)

This slightly spicy soup is bursting with flavor from Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth, a hint of peanuts, almost 10 oz of mushrooms, chunks of tofu, and handfuls upon handfuls of spinach. And, it’s ridiculously easy to make! This soup is hearty and can be served as a main dish that’s ready in under 20 minutes! Makes about 6-8 servings.

What you will need:
oil for sauteing (I highly recommend coconut oil)
4 oz shittake mushrooms
32 oz carton of Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth (kudos to Swanson for that one, by the way!)
3 well rounded spoonfuls of chunky peanut butter (not creamy!)
16 oz of Trader Joe’s super firm tofu (if you can find it. It goes above and beyond the calls of extra firm tofu. Trust me.)
3 oz enoki mushrooms
2 oz beech mushrooms
large handfuls of spinach (I used about 5)

In a medium or large pot, melt the coconut oil. Remove most of the stem from the shittake mushrooms and cut any of the larger mushrooms in half. Add them to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut the tofu into small cubes and remove the woody ends of the enoki and beech mushrooms. Add the spoonfuls of peanut butter to the soup along with the tofu, enoki, and beech mushrooms. Then, start adding the handfuls of spinach, letting each handful wilt a little bit before adding the next, until you have your desired amount of spinach. Serve garnished with chopped peanuts or scallions.

Warm Lentil Salad

Warm Lentil Salad

This warm salad is an easy, one pot, recipe that will be done and ready to eat in less than 25 minutes. It makes for a great lunch or dinner on the go (just throw it in a container and grab a fork!), and you can switch up the seasons to your liking. And, you can always freeze the leftovers! The measuring is up to you, so make as much or as little as you want, measuring isn’t important here!

What you will need:
lentils
kale
carrots
celery
onion
seasonings (I used a few twists of the lemon pepper grinder, a pinch of green curry powder, Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids and garlic powder. Other great suggestions- yellow curry sauce, bbq sauce and hot sauce mixed, a cube of vegetable bouillon, or Italian seasoning.)

In a medium size pot, bring water to a boil and add lentils. Chop the kale into small leaves and chop the carrots, celery, and onion and add to the pot of lentils. Continue to boil for 20- 25 minutes or until the lentils are cooked. If there’s any excess water, drain it. Add seasonings and serve!

Mushroom, Lentil and Kale Stew (Vegan!)

SAM_4809This hearty stew is full of fresh veggies like onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and kale. And it’s vegan, too! Lentils are full of fiber that will help keep you fuller longer and help keep you warm on those chilly winter nights. I like to make this stew with intentions of freezing half of it for when I don’t have time (or don’t want) to cook. This recipe yields a lot of stew, so I’d recommend freezing some of it if you don’t have intentions of eating it throughout the week. This is also a great recipe to make on the weekend when you have a Saturday afternoon free since this crock pot recipe is time consuming.

What you will need:
a large crock pot and medium pot
8 oz crimini mushrooms
1 T vegetable oil
1 c red lentils
1 c green lentils
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
1/2 of an onion
5 c vegetable broth (preferably mushroom based)
1/4- 1/2 lb of kale

Turn crock pot on high heat and start to melt the butter. Cut the crimini mushrooms in half and add to the crock pot, stir and continue to cook for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring water to a boil and add the red and green lentils to the pot. Cook for 20 minutes and drain any excess water. You can also chop the onion, celery and carrots while the lentils cook. Set lentils aside. Once the mushrooms have cooked for 45 minutes, add the onions, celery and carrots and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop kale into thin slices, then cut those slices in 3rds. Add 5 cups of vegetable broth to the crock pot and add the kale and cooked lentils. Continue to cook for about another hour and a half or until the kale has wilted and the carrots and celery have softened. Serve with crusty, buttery toast on a chilly winter day.

Vegan, Gluten Free Mushroom Gravy

Vegan, Gluten Free Mushroom Gravy

This hearty and savory mushroom gravy holds its own against it’s meaty counterparts. Arrowroot powder substitutes flour in this recipe and also makes it safe to eat for anyone with a gluten intolerance or gluten allergies. Cornstarch would also be a great alternative if you can’t find arrowroot powder. So vegans and the gluten intolerant, don’t spend another holiday meal suffering through dry mashed potatoes! Smother them with this gravy that both meat eaters and vegans alike will love! Makes 2 cups of gravy.

What you will need:
medium to large pot
10 oz of your favorite mix of mushrooms (I used crimini and shiitake), sliced or chopped. If using shiitake or oyster mushrooms, remove the stems as well.
1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tbs earth balance buttery spread
1 1/2c vegetable stock
1/2c almond milk
3 tbs arrowroot powder
1/4c nutritional yeast
2 tbs Bragg’s liquid amino acids
1 tbs Italian seasoning
a twist or two of the lemon pepper grinder (if you don’t have this ingredient, that’s ok)
fresh sprig of rosemary
liquid smoke

In a pot over medium heat, melt earth balance buttery spread. Add your sliced mushrooms and onions and continue to cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to reduce and release some of their liquid. Add your minced garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add your vegetable stock. Turn the heat on high and let the gravy start to boil. While continually stirring, slowly add the arrowroot powder, making sure to not let it stick and clump together. Once the powder is mixed in, turn down the heat and continue to stir. Add the almond milk, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, Bragg’s, lemon pepper, rosemary and a couple of drops of liquid smoke and stir until all ingredients are combined. Serve over mashed potatoes or any other part of your holiday dinner.

Vegan Mac and Cheese Sauce with Gluten Free Quinoa Pasta

Vegan Mac and Cheese Sauce with Gluten Free Quinoa Pasta

This vegan “cheese” sauce is made with cashews and orange cauliflower, giving it a rich, creamy taste, along with nutritional yeast to give it a slight “cheesy” flavor. This recipe definitely hits the nail on the head when it comes to comfort food, while still being a healthier alternative to fatty cheese sauces filled with lots of heavy creams and butter. And there’s so many different ways to use it, it’s not just limited to mac and cheese! Top off chili with it, enjoy it with your favorite veggie dog, load up a baked potato with it, or pour it over broccoli with some hot sauce! The possibilities are endless! Makes about 6 cups of sauce. Any leftover sauce can be kept in the freezer.

What you will need:
a food processor and large pot
1 head of orange cauliflower (about 4 cups.) if you can’t find orange cauliflower, white will work just the same
1/2 c cashews (salted or unsalted)
1c almond milk
3/4 c nutritional yeast
1/2 c water
4 tbsp earth balance
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp yellow mustard
salt, to taste
fresh herbs to garnish. I used rosemary. Thyme, dill, sage or basil would also be great, too.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil and add cauliflower florets. Boil until very soft and tender, about 15- 20 minutes. Drain water, remove from pot and let the cauliflower cool. In food processor, combine the rest of the ingredients, aside from the garnish, and blend until creamy and smooth. Serve over gluten free quinoa noodles, rice, or any other comfort food that’s in need of a creamy, cheesy sauce.

Vegan Corn Chowder- Soup Week!

Vegan Corn Chowder- Soup Week!

Tis the season for sweet corn! Well, at least it is in northern Ohio! The sweetness of sweet corn and red bell pepper really complements the touch of smokey, spiciness in this chowder that comes from sriracha and liquid smoke. If you are planning on making this chowder, please use fresh ears of corn. Frozen or canned corn just won’t cut it, and the corn cobs are what makes the flavor of this broth. This also makes for an amazing chilled soup. Makes about 4-6 servings.

What you will need:
food processor and large pot
6 ears of corn on the cob
3/4 red pepper
1/2 onion
3 c vegetable stock
1/2 c almond milk
1 1/2 tbsp earth balance
a couple drops of liquid smoke
sriracha to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and roast all 6 ears of corn for 30 minutes. While they’re roasting, chop the red bell pepper and onion. Once the corn is done, carefully remove the kernels from 5 of the ears of corn with a knife and set aside in a bowl (I’ll tell you what to do with that 6th ear in a minute). Add the corn cobs to the pot, along with chopped peppers, onions and vegetable broth and cook over medium low heat for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, take the kernels from the 5 ears of corn and add to the food processor along with almond milk. Pulse and blend until creamy and smooth, about a minute or more.

Once the broth and veggies have cooked for 20 minutes, use tongs to remove the corn cobs and discard them. Remove the corn from the remaining corn cob and add it to the pot along with the corn and almond milk mix from the food processor. Add just a couple of drops of liquid smoke and sriracha to taste, just for a little kick. Stir and continue to cook on medium low heat for another 5 minutes. Pour into bowls and serve with bread or a tasty cheddar jalapeno scone, like I did.

Vegan “Meat” Balls

These vegan “meat” balls pack a whole lot of flavor and protein without using egg or any animal by-products. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) and kidney beans make a great, meaty base for these vegan meatless meat balls. These can also easily be formed into patties to make veggie burgers! Makes about 12 meatless meatballs.

What you will need:
a food processor, mixing bowl and skillet
about 4 oz crimini mushrooms
1/2 red onion
1 can kidney beans
2/3 c TVP
1 tbsp bruschetta seasoning (pictured below)
sea salt to taste
oil for sauteing

Clean mushrooms and onions and chop into small pieces. In a large skillet, heat oil on a medium heat and add mushrooms and onions. They should sizzle once they hit the pan. Cook for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, reconstitute the TVP by adding about a 1/3 c hot water and set aside. It should only take about 7 minutes to reconstitute. Once mushrooms and onions are done sauteing and the TVP is reconstituted; in food processor, add drained and rinsed kidney beans, half of the onion and mushroom mix and half of the TVP and blend until smooth. Then, in the large mixing bowl, mix in the rest of the TVP, sauteed mushrooms and onions, blended kidney bean mix, seasonings and salt and mix. Start forming your bean ball mix into balls while heating oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add balls to skillet (you want them to sizzle when they hit the pan, or else they will start to fall apart) and cook until brown on all sides. Use them along with your favorite pasta, or make a meatless meatball sandwich. Freeze any extra for later use.

Tofu Salad- Vegan Faux Egg Salad

Tofu Salad- Vegan Faux Egg Salad

This vegan twist on egg salad will have your taste buds dancing. Crisp, flavorful veggies and fresh herbs really give this dish a bright and delicious flavor. This recipe yields quite a bit of tofu salad, so if you aren’t feeding a lot of people or don’t plan on eating it for days on end, it’s really easy to cut the recipe in half.

What you will need:
2 packages of 14 oz extra firm tofu drained and pressed
2 celery stalks cut into 3rds lengthwise and chopped
1 c chopped red onion
1 large carrot cut into 4ths lengthwise and chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 c chopped parsley
dill to taste (I usually end up using a lot. dill is one of my favorite herbs)
1/2 c vegenaise
a generous splash of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
1/8- 1/4 c yellow mustard
2 spoonfuls of whole grain dijon mustard
juice of half a lemon

In large mixing bowl, crumble drained tofu into the consistency of scrambled eggs with a fork or your hands. Add all chopped veggies and herbs, along with all your liquid ingredients and mix. Spread over multigrain bread for a delicious sandwich or stuff into mini sweet peppers for a quick, finger food snack.

Vegan Eats In Downtown Cleveland

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There’s a great little restaurant in the heart of downtown Cleveland, where everything on the menu is vegan. That’s right. Completely vegan. At The Flaming Ice Cube, you can order anything from gooey, “cheesy” quesadillas, to vegan bakery. They even have a page filled with their handmade veggie burgers, voted one of America’s top veggie burgers by VegNews. I jumped at the chance to go there today when one of my fellow vegetarian friends said she wanted to try it out for the first time. I decided to try one of America’s best veggie burgers, and let me tell you, they did not disappoint! I ordered the Hula Burger, topped with grilled pineapple (yum!), green peppers, “cheese”, and vegan mayo. My friend, Lena, ordered the Pesto Burger and she was equally impressed.

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Whether you’re a vegan or a carnivore, I guarantee you’ll find something you’ll like! If you live in the Cleveland, Ohio area and haven’t checked out The Flaming Ice Cube, I highly recommend it!

Spicy Pineapple Habanero BBQ Tofu (Vegan!)

Spicy Pineapple Habanero BBQ Tofu (Vegan!)

This recipe is great for summer BBQ’s and potlucks. It’s a slow cook recipe that allows the sugars from the pineapple and BBQ sauce to caramelize the outside of the tofu while the inside stays moist and chewy. It’s also the recipe that convinced my mom that tofu is not a horrible, non-edible, awful thing.

What you will need:
2 lbs. extra firm tofu
1/8- 1/4 c pineapple habanero sauce (add more or less depending on how spicy you want it) this is the sauce I used: http://www.robertrothschild.com/product/product-details.aspx?prodid=561
1 18 oz. bottle of BBQ sauce
1/4 c nutritional yeast (if you don’t have nutritional yeast, you can leave it out)
sriracha to taste
olive oil for pan frying

This recipe is a little time consuming. It will take a at least half an hour to prep and 2 hours to cook.

For this recipe, you will need to freeze and thaw tofu to give it a more “meaty” texture and to help it absorb the flavors of this dish better. Read my post on how to do that here: https://theveggieslaughterhouse.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/how-to-freeze-and-press-tofu-for-its-best-texture-and-flavor-absorption/. Follow the directions on how to prepare the tofu, then pan fry in olive oil. This step is very important because it prevents the tofu from drying out in the oven. Then, mix together the BBQ sauce, nutritional yeast, sriracha and pineapple habanero sauce in a bowl and completely coat the tofu in it. Arrange on a non-greased cooking sheet with just enough space between the pieces of tofu so they’re not touching. Cook for two hours at 300 degrees without turning the tofu over. Remove from oven and munch!