Recipes

Easy Creamy Tofu and Pea Curry (aka Matar Paneer) – Vegan, WFPB

 

As life gets busier (between quarantine ending and closing on a house), my BIGGEST cooking goal these days is to come up with super simple recipes that are both healthy and easy to make in bulk. And my latest favorite creation that fits the bill is this super simple tofu & pea curry!

It has all the creamy, comforting goodness of the authentic Indian version (called Matar or Mutter Paneer), but without any of the cheese, cream or oil. The only source of fat in this recipe, in fact, are cashews! (And if you want to get fat free with it, you could omit the cashew cream. But then… it wouldn’t be creamy anymore. 😉 )

And bonus, this version is high in protein!

This recipe is super simple, because the ONLY chopping required is cubing the tofu–everything else is just chucked into the blender.

I also cook this in bulk by doubling the recipe below (cooking times are the same)–it takes me about 30 mins of prep time for 8 meals’ worth of food!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 16oz block super firm tofu, cubed
  • 1.5 cups frozen peas
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 1″ ginger
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 green chili pepper (can also use ~1 tbsp canned)
  • 3/8 cup water
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (or sub powder)
  • Half a 15oz can tomato sauce (or pureed fresh tomato)
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp coriander
  • Heaping 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt, more to taste
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder, or to taste*

Cashew cream:

  • 2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 1/2 cup water

*This will depend on the chili you use. When I use my spicier homegrown chilis, I omit the cayenne. If you use canned mild chilis, you’ll probably want to keep the cayenne in.

Directions:

  1. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, and 3/8c water to your blender, and blend until smooth. Let sit for a minute or two before opening it, as the chili will be airborne for a moment!
  2. Meanwhile, saute the cumin seeds with a splash of water until they start to turn brown, 1-2 minutes. Add the pureed onion mixture, and boil for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomato sauce, coriander, turmeric, and salt, and boil for another ~5 minutes.
  4. Add the cubed tofu and peas and stir them in gently, just as much as needed to combine everything, so as not to break the tofu.
  5. Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 2 mins, and let it release naturally for 10-15 minutes. (For stovetop version: simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the peas are tender but not mushy. Stir it occasionally.)
  6. While the curry is cooking, blend the cashew cream ingredients, and set aside. Once the curry is done cooking, gently stir in the cashew cream.
  7. Serve with rice, paratha, or naan, and enjoy!

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Recipes

Easy Thai Red Curry Lentils (Vegan, WFPB)

In my neverending quest to find recipes that are quick & easy to make, super healthy, AND also budget-friendly, I’ve found that lentil-based recipes often check all those boxes. Especially for bulk cooking, which really cuts down on the time needed per meal.

These lentils may be one of my easiest recipes yet… especially considering how flavorful they are. I know it sounds unusual to use Thai curry paste with lentils, but they taste really good together. These lentils work well on their own as a stew, or paired with rice to make them last even longer.

(I will admit, I have made even faster meals on occasion: when I needed a 5-minute lunch to bring to work on especially busy weeks, I used to just toss lentils and rice in my rice cooker, and add frozen spinach and seasoning salt. But that’s not delicious enough to write a whole post about 😉 )

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups dry brown or red lentils, washed
  • 5 cups water
  • 15oz can coconut milk
  • 10oz bag frozen spinach
  • 10oz sliced mushrooms; I used frozen
  • 4 tbsp red curry paste (make sure it’s vegan–I use this kind)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Add the lentils and water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer until the lentils are soft and most of the water is absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Optional: sauté mushrooms in a separate pan with a splash of soy sauce (or water + salt) until they start to get tender. (If you don’t feel like sautéing them, you can just add the mushrooms raw in the next step)
  3. Stir in the coconut milk, frozen spinach, mushrooms, curry paste, and tomato paste to the pot with the lentils. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed and it’s a curry-like texture, for about 20 minutes.
  4. Serve on its own or with rice, and enjoy!

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Recipes

Baked Bean Mac n Cheese Bowls (Vegan)

I’m working on building a repertoire of recipes that my more junk-food-vegan leaning husband loves and that fit in with my unprocessed preferences. They tend to take a little more effort, but are as delicious as junk food while also being healthy.

This recipe is our favorite hybrid so far. (In case you can’t tell, I generally only share my favorite recipes with y’all!)

It’s a southern-inspired feast that has 3 parts, and they go SO well together. It takes me about two hours to make, which isn’t bad given it results in 5 nights’ worth of dinner for two–and given it tastes as good as our favorite restaurant food and is packed full of veggies & beans. It also happens to be low fat, with the only overt fat being some cashews in the sauce.

Want to make it fat-free, and skip the macaroni? Try the baked beans + kale over a baked potato. That was actually the original version of this recipe for us!

(This recipe is for a bulk amount because feeding my 6’6″ bodybuilding husband with low-calorie-density food requires a LOT of food.)

Serves 8-12

Baked beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • Pinch of allspice
  • 4 cans navy beans, rinsed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add onion to a pot over medium-high heat, and saute for a few minutes until they start to get translucent. Add garlic and saute for a few more minutes.
  2. Turn off the heat, and add the rest of the ingredients to the pot and stir until well combined. Pour mixture into a 13×9″ pan, cover with tinfoil, and bake for 45 minutes.

Cheese sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups roughly chopped gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I use soy)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • Dash of cayenne (optional)

Directions:

  1. Boil the potatoes, carrots, and onion until tender.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add more salt and lemon to taste.

Pasta & Kale

Ingredients:

  • 24oz dry macaroni, cooked according to package directions
  • 32oz frozen kale (or use raw kale that is about 32oz when cooked)
  • 5 large cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Add the kale and garlic to a pot over medium heat. Saute, stirring regularly, until the kale is tender. Add lemon juice and salt to taste.
  2. Make the final bowl: put the macaroni in a bowl, top with cheese sauce, then baked beans, then kale, and enjoy! (And, possibly, become as addicted to it as we are)

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Recipes

Vegan Black Bean Plantain Burger Recipe (WFPB)

Confession time: I’ve never been a fan of veggie burgers. Especially grain or bean-based burgers.

When I first went vegetarian 15 years ago, vegetarian burgers weren’t anything like they are today. Having to eat them at every school function or barbecue got a bit tiring, and I never found a very satisfying recipe for veggie burgers. Then the Beyond and Impossible burgers came on the scene, and since then I’ve pretty much just eaten those whenever I have a burger craving.

But, I love to eat whole food plant based (aka unprocessed food) most of the time. So I decided to try coming up with my own recipe that would be good and unique enough that it could have its own role at the table, besides just trying to replace a burger.

I went with a Caribbean vibe, and was inspired by empanadas since black bean & plantain are a match made in heaven when used in empanadas… so why not burgers? I also made an avocado lime spread for it, and the combo is so good that I actually enjoy just having the patty + spread at times, without a bun or anything.

Makes 4-6 patties

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 ripe plantain, sliced
  • 6 tbsp corn grits (or cornmeal)
  • 6 heaping tbsp whole cilantro leaves
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

Directions:

  1. Sauté plantain and red onion together over medium-low heat until plantain turns golden brown and onion begins to turn translucent.
  2. In a food processor, add all the ingredients and process until the mixture still has some small pieces remaining, but holds together well. If it is too dry to stick together easily (if you’re using more absorbent cornmeal, for instance), add a tbsp of water at a time until it sticks together.
  3. Form mixture into 4-6 patties about 1” thick. Sauté over medium-low heat for 5-8 minutes per side, until they are lightly browned. Alternatively, you can put them in the oven at 375 degrees: bake 10 mins, then flip, then bake another 10 minutes, or until both sides are crispy.
  4. Top with avocado lime spread and your favorite burger toppings, and enjoy!

Avocado lime spread:

  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 tsp dried chipotle powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
Mash together all the ingredients until it has a guacamole-like texture.

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Recipes

Vegan BBQ Chickpea Salad with Avocado Ranch Recipe (WFPB)

Something about planting seeds for my vegetable garden (which I’m starting this week!) puts me in a salad mood. Just imagining all the organic greens and veggies I’ll be harvesting in a few months makes me start craving fresh veggies right away!

My favorite salad ever is still my addictive Mexican-style salad, but this BBQ ranch one is a very close second. It’s easy, super healthy, totally versatile with any extra veggies you might want to include, and goes well with every type of green I’ve tried so far! (Especially mixed greens or romaine.)

Serves 2-3 as a full meal

Ingredients:

Salad:

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 6-8 cups mixed greens (or romaine, or spinach)
  • 6 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2c finely diced red onion 
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1/2c barbecue sauce 
  • 1/2c halved cherry tomatoes (optional)

Avocado Ranch:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/8 tsp dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened non dairy milk (cashew milk preferable)
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Toss chickpeas with salt and paprika. Optional: air fry chickpeas for 10-15 mins at 350 degrees until crunchy, or bake in a single layer in the oven for 20-30 mins at 350 until crunchy, shaking occasionally. 
  2. Make the avocado ranch: mash the avocado together with all the other ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add more liquid as desired if you’d like a thinner texture.
  3. Rinse and drain greens, and add them to your salad bowl. Top with celery, red onion, corn, chickpeas, and any other veggies you’re using. 
  4. Then top with the barbecue sauce and avocado ranch, toss, and enjoy!

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Recipes

Healthy Vegan Pumpkin Risotto (Oil-free + Instant Pot Friendly)

I’ve used the same 7-dish Thanksgiving menu for the last two years (because it has gone over SO WELL with vegans and omnivores alike), but this year I decided I wanted to come up with something new and unique to add.

Enter this healthy pumpkin risotto: it’s savory, it’s slightly sweet, it’s simple to make, it’s creamy. It’s a nice healthy contrast to some of the more oil-laden Thanksgiving classics, but still goes over well with more classic palates. And as a bonus, it’s easy to have it cooking in the background while you make the more complicated dishes, since it doesn’t need more than ~15 mins of really active prep time.

And as a bonus bonus, it’s Instant Pot friendly too. (That’ll help free up my limited supply of pots.)

If you want to make it completely whole-food-plant-based friendly, you can also try subbing brown rice in for the arborio. You will want to add more water and cook longer to achieve a risotto-y texture, though. You can also easily sub in other types of squash instead of pumpkin!

Serves 4 as a full meal; serves 8 as a side

Ingredients:

Blender:

  • 3 – 15oz cans pure pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 apples, quartered
  • 2 tsp yellow or white miso paste
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp dried sage
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth

Saute:

  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 3.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups arborio rice*
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Directions:

  1. Put all the “Blender” section ingredients into a blender or food processer, and blend until pureed. Set aside until step 5-6.
  2. Add the chopped onions to a pot over medium heat–or your IP’s saute function–adding splashes of broth (from your 3.5c of broth) as needed to saute them until translucent.
  3. Add the rice, and saute for 3-4 minutes. Then add the white wine, and saute another 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the remaining broth, and push all the onion and rice grains down the sides of the pot so they are submerged.
  5. If using a pressure cooker: cook on low pressure for 6 mins, and release pressure immediately after. Add the blended pumpkin mixture, and turn on the saute setting. Saute, stirring frequently, until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy but not runny.
  6. If using a pot on the stove: cover pot and bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 15 mins. Add the blended pumpkin mixture, then simmer uncovered, stirring regularly, until the rice is tender and the risotto is creamy but not runny.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with more sage or fried sage leaves and cashew cream, if desired.

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Recipes

Vegan Healthy Chocolate Blender Muffins (Made with Nuts and Oats!)


I’m a big fan of muffins. And when I’m craving muffins, I also tend to be in a lazy mood. Something about weekend mornings…

But, I also strive to make my diet as high in whole, unprocessed foods as possible.

These muffins solve both of those problems. They’re oil-free and *almost* all whole foods (besides the sugar), are packed with nutrition from nuts & oats, flexible with the type of ingredients you use, and are super easy to make. Literally less than 15 minutes for prep & dishwashing time. You don’t even need a bowl–just a blender or food processor!

Makes one dozen muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats*
  • 3/4 cup nuts–I do half walnuts half cashews
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 6 tbsp vegan white sugar or brown sugar**
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 & 3/4 cups water
  • Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, chopped nuts

*If you have oat allergies, you can substitute rye flakes

**If you want to try substituting the sugar out for more syrup to make them more wfpb, I bet it would work great, just use less water!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add all ingredients (besides the optional add-ins) to a blender or food processor and blend until the oats are in tiny pieces–about the size of breadcrumbs. The batter will be very thin, like pancake batter.
  3. If using add-ins, stir them into the batter.
  4. Distribute batter evenly in a greased 12-cup muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, and enjoy!

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Recipes

Vegan Jamaican-style Beans and Greens with Coconut Rice

This is one of my proudest recipes: cooked completely off the top of my head on a whim, using what I had on hand. And it’s one of my favorites now too. It’s hearty, it’s comforting, it’s nutritious. Not to mention, it’s really simple, doesn’t require many ingredients, and ingredients can be easily substituted (a quarantine must!): instead of the kale you could try collards, chard or other greens, and you could use black beans instead of red kidney beans.

I never found a Jamaican red beans and rice recipe I really liked, but I knew I could find one someday because I’ve loved it in restaurants before… all it took was randomly combining things myself! And the best part is, this was the perfect way to use up kale from my garden that had gotten really big. This recipe really made the kale shine!

Now my Caribbean beans have some competition for my favorite bean recipe.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white long-grain rice (or brown rice, but add an extra cup of water)
  • 1 can of coconut milk, with 1/2c of it set aside
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cans red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 medium-large onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves minced garlic, 2 cloves set aside
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and chopped
  • 2 tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 1 tsp chick’n bouillon (or veggie bouillon)*
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*You can also sub chickenless seasoning or other umami seasoning, but you probably won’t need a whole teaspoon of it if you do.

Directions:

  1. Make the rice: add the rice, water, and 1/2c of coconut milk to a rice cooker and start it. (Or make it using your preferred method, but substituting 1/2c coconut milk for 1/2c water)
  2. Add the onion to a pot over medium heat and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 cloves minced garlic and saute 3 more minutes. Add water or oil if necessary to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the beans, the rest of the can of coconut milk, Jamaican spice mix, and chick’n bouillon to the pot. Bring it to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. While the beans are simmering, prepare the kale: add the chopped kale, 2 cloves minced garlic, a splash of water or oil, and 1/4 tsp salt to a pan over medium heat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted and tender, about 8 minutes. Taste it and add more salt if needed–it should be a bit too salty to want to eat it on its own. (But that’s what makes it extra amazing in the beans!)
  5. After the beans have simmered for 10 minutes, smash some of them in the pot with the back of a wooden spoon. You want about half of them to be whole beans, half broken/smashed.
  6. Continue simmering until the beans are tender and melt in your mouth, about 5-10 more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, erring on the side of undersalted. Add broth if they have dried out too much; you want them to be a similar consistency to the pictures here. Then stir in the kale.
  7. Serve with coconut rice, and top with additional sauteed kale if you have extra! (The more, the better, honestly.)

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Recipes

3 Ingredient Baked BBQ Cauliflower Wings Recipe (Vegan!)

I went a bit overboard on cauliflower in my grocery delivery last week, so I needed a seriously cauli-heavy recipe to use up a few heads before they went bad. (You can only pickle so much cauliflower!)

I was scrolling through recipes for inspiration when I decided that buffalo cauliflower wings would be the perfect way to use them up! But… I was all out of buffalo sauce. And I didn’t want to use up a bunch of other ingredients. (Quarantine problems.)

So after looking through a few recipes for general strategies, I decided to try my own thing: 3 ingredient baked BBQ cauliflower! They’re fat free and super easy. They’re not quite crispy like buffalo wings: they’re sticky and chewy and oh so good.

And, because I know all of us are running out of ingredients right now–I bet these would work great with teriyaki sauce or other marinades too.

And I bet they would be crispier in an air fryer… I’l let you know once mine finally gets delivered next week (after a month of waiting!). 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water
  • ~1/4 cup barbecue sauce* (I used Carolina Gold)

*The amount of sauce you need depends on how thin/strong it is–you want the cauliflower to have a nice even coating without dry spots, but you don’t want it to be overwhelming either.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Rinse cauliflower and chop it into florets.
  2. Combine the flour and water, and add a dash of your barbecue sauce. Add more water or flour as necessary to create a thick glue-like consistency–you want it to be a bit thicker than pancake batter. It should easily coat your cauliflower without running off much.
  3. Coat the florets in the batter, spread them out on a baking sheet, and bake for about 15 minutes or until they start to get golden brown.
  4. Now toss the cauliflower in your barbecue sauce until they’re evenly coated. (I suggest trying one at this stage to make sure they have the amount of barbecue flavor you want!)
  5. Place cauliflower back on the baking sheet and bake for 10-15 more minutes, or until they start getting browned again. The goal is to get them somewhat crispy/firm at this point!
  6. Remove from oven and eat as soon as they’re not too hot! Serve with more sauce, or vegan ranch!

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Recipes

Vegan Cornbread Muffin Recipe [Oil free]


I’ve been quarantining for two weeks now, and I have been eating a *lot* of beans. (Like this chili recipe from a little while back.) For both lunch and dinner. Don’t get me wrong—I’m grateful to have had a supply of beans since the stores have been out, but it’s nice to add some variety sometimes.

Luckily Goode Foods sent me some of their canned corn awhile back, and I already had corn flour on hand, so I made this cornbread to bring some excitement to my daily beans 😛 When I was a kid my favorite cornbread had whole corn in it—it adds such a delicious crunch to it. So to this day I always make it with whole corn kernels! 

The best part about these is they’re super versatile. Not only do I have them alongside chili, but I have them for breakfast with vegan butter + maple syrup, or jam!

Featuring my protein-packed chili recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups corn flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seed & 1 1/2 tbsp water)
  • 1 1/2 cups nondairy milk (I used soymilk)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 can whole kernel sweet corn, drained

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add the flax to the water to make the flax egg, and let it sit.
  2. Mix the milk and the vinegar in a separate, medium-sized bowl and let it sit–it will curdle and turn into a buttermilk substitute!
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, corn flour, baking powder, nutritional yeast, and salt.
  4. Add the flax egg to the buttermilk bowl, along with the maple syrup.
  5. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients bowl along with the can of corn, and stir just until combined.
  6. Spoon mixture evenly into a greased 12-cup muffin tin, and bake for 12-13 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool for 15+ mins before trying to remove them from the tin.
  8. Eat plain, serve with chili, or top them with vegan butter, maple syrup, and/or jam!

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