VEGAN PUMPKIN MAC 'N CHEEZ
If you're craving a creamy pumpkin mac, look no further. This vegan mac 'n cheez uses the creamy texture of pumpkin combined with the traditional spices of mac 'n cheez to form a delicious fusion for the Fall season. Enjoy this dish for a Halloween potluck or as a casual dinner in the Fall.
Serving size: 1 cup of mac 'n cheez
Servings: 4 servings
Cook time: 20 minutes*
- 1 (10oz) package of dried pasta noodles (I like shells or elbows)
- 1/2 cup of canned (or fresh) pumpkin puree
- 1 cup of unsweetened plant milk (I used almond)
- 3 tbs of nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp of onion powder
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- 1/4 tsp of pumpkin pie spice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pumpkin seeds or other garnishes (optional)
Begin by preparing the pasta noodles according to the package. While the pasta is cooking, work on the cheez sauce.
In a high-speed blender, combine the pumpkin puree, unsweetened plant milk, nutritional yeast, and spices. Blend until thick and creamy.**
Transfer the cheez sauce to a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Once pasta is done, drain the water in a strainer. Add the pasta noodles to the pot of cheez. With a spoon or rubber spatula, combine the pasta and cheez sauce until every noodle is well coated. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds or other garnishes (optional). Serve warm.
*This dish takes 20 minutes if using canned pumpkin or 50 minutes if using fresh pumpkin.
** If making the pumpkin from fresh, take a 2-3 pound sugar pumpkin and cut in half. Scoop out the seeds. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the pumpkin face down on parchment paper. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the outside of the pumpkin is soft when you poke it. Remove from heat, and use a spoon to scoop out a 1/2 cup of pumpkin. Add to the blender.
VEGAN FRIED CAULIFLOWER "CHIKKIN"
If you miss your mama's fried chicken, you will love this recipe. This cauliflower "chikkin" recipe is used a traditional southern style batter recipe. We just removed the chicken and replaced it with cauliflower. You'll love how tender and chewy the cauliflower is underneath the crunchy and spicy batter. Bring this to your next soulfood dinner with friends and family.
Serving size: 1 cup of fried cauliflower
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 4 cups of vegetable oil (sunflower, canola, or corn)
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1 tbs of Adobo Seasoning
- 1 tsp of hot sauce (try my homemade hot sauce recipe here)
- 1 tsp of paprika (optional)
- 1 tsp of hot sauce (or more if desired)
Begin by rinsing and cleansing the cauliflower. Break apart the cauliflower into florets.* Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the almond milk and the hot sauce. Set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, mix together the flour, salt and paprika. Set aside.
In a medium or large saucepan, pour 1-2 cups of oil and set to medium-high heat. Make sure the oil is about halfway up the sides of your pan so the cauliflower will be covered.
With your left hand, take the raw cauliflower and throughly coat in the almond milk and hot sauce mixture. With your right hand, throughly coat the cauliflower in the flour mixture.** Repeat the first steps and proceed to redip the cauliflower bites in the liquid mixture and then the flour mixture.***
Fry half of the cauliflower in the hot oil. Turning every 1-2 minutes as the cauliflower reaches desired browness. Do not overcook or burn but also fry until you see the cauliflower reach a brown color.
When the bites reach their desired color and texture, place on a plate with paper towels and cover with aluminum foil or an additional plate to keep them warm.
About halfway through the cauliflower frying process, if the oil starts looking dirty, safely pour out the oil into a separate bowl and wipe the skillet clean. Refresh the pan with 1-2 cups of fresh oil and heat back up to medium-high heat. Change the oil as needed to reach desired freshness and crispiness.
Fry until the rest of the cauliflower is complete.
Serve warm with a side of greens or other dishes.
Bigger florets mean bigger cauliflower bites while smaller florets mean smaller cauliflower bites. I recommend medium florets.
** Keep your left hand and right hand separate. This will prevent the flour from getting clumps and will make your coating process much easier.
** Double coating will result in crispier and more chicken-like cauliflower bites.
GINGER CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
Made with ginger and butternut squash, this soup is thick, creamy and oh so delicious. Inspired by ayurvedic traditions, this soup is great for detoxing and adding antioxidants to your body. It's perfect for winter or spring when you need a warming and cleansing soup to bring you back to life.
Serving size: 1 cup
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 medium butternut squash (about 6 cups, peeled and diced)
- 1 tablespoon of unrefined coconut oil
- 2 cups of veggie broth
- 2 shallots
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 ½ tablespoon of curry powder
- 14-ounce can of full-fat coconut milk (use light if you want less thickness)
- ½ teaspoon of fresh ginger (peeled and minced)
- 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
- ¼ tsp of salt (add more or omit as needed)
- Black pepper (as needed)
A few sprigs of parsley (optional)
To begin, take your butternut squash and peel it. Remove seeds. Cut into ½ inch squares and set aside.
In a large soup pot, heat the coconut oil, then add the shallots and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes.
Add the butternut squash with the curry powder, ginger, salt and pepper. Thoroughly coat and cover with a lid. Cook for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.
Add coconut milk, veggie broth, and maple syrup.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to low, cover with a lid and let simmer for 20 minutes. Butternut squash should be tender and easy to poke with a fork.
Transfer to a high-speed blender and process for 1 minute until the soup is thick and creamy.
Return the soup back to the pot, add more salt or pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Garnish with parsley or another topping of choice.
BEST VEGAN NACHOS WITH CAULIFLOWER CHORIZO
These vegan nachos are sure to be a touchdown at the Super Bowl or football party. Creamy thick nacho cheez, seasoned cauliflower chorizo and fresh guacamole over a bed of tortilla chips will have your taste buds popping. No fumbles here!
Serving size: 1 medium bowl
For Cauliflower Chorizo:
1 head of cauliflower
2-3 tsp of Taco seasoning* (see notes to make your own)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs Olive oil
For Nacho Cheez:
2 cups of cashews
2 tbs of fresh lemon juice
1.5 tsp of turmeric powder
4 cups of water (adjust water to reach desired thickness)
3/4 cup of nutritional yeast (add more to taste)
1/2 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
10 medium ripe avocados (15 small or 7 large)
1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion (optional)
1/4 cup of chopped tomatoes (optional)
The juice of 2 limes
1/8 cup of chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
Begin by preparing the cauliflower. Chop your cauliflower into medium chunks and place in a food processor. Pulse until the pieces are small and resemble the size of rice. In a medium cast iron pan**, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once warm, add the cauliflower rice, taco seasoning and salt. Saute until a brown color is achieved***. Set aside.
While the cauliflower is cooking, soak your cashews in a bowl for 20 minutes in boiling hot water. Once soft, add the cashews to a blender with the remaining ingredients. Adjust the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and turmeric to reach desired color and flavor. Transfer the nacho cheez to a medium sauce pan and warm cheez over medium heat until desired temperature. Stirring frequently to avoid sticking. Once warm enough, set aside.
In a food processor or with a bowl and fork, thoroughly mash or process the avocado until desired texture is achieved. Stir in remaining ingredients. DO NOT MASH OR PROCESS TOMATOES OR ONION. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
In a personal or serving bowl, layer with tortilla chips, then cauliflower chorizo, drizzle with nacho cheez, top with guacamole and sprig of cilantro.
Serve warm and ready to eat.
* If you do not have taco seasoning combine 1 tsp of chili powder, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp of chili powder, 1/4 tsp of paprika, 1.5 tsp of ground cumin, and 1 tsp of salt. Mix in a bag or jar then take 2 tsp and add to cauliflower rice.
** I highly recommend a cast iron pan because it creates a nicer browned cauliflower. However, you can use a nonstick pan. Just make sure to stir often.
*** I like my cauliflower rice almost blackened. The darker the brown, the more flavorful in my opinion. However, if the cauliflower rice is about to burn, remove from heat immediately.
VEGAN GARLIC & HERB PESTO PIZZA
This delicious vegan pesto pizza will change your world. This soy-free recipe is plant-based, full of whole food deliciousness and is sure to satisfy. It's made with a delicious dough from Trader Joe's with kale, cashew and basil pesto topped with seasonal vegetables and drizzled with olive oil. Who wants pizza tonight?
Yield: 1 (12 inch) pizza
- 1 bag of Garlic & Herb Dough (Trader Joes) (or a plain frozen dough pre-stretched)
- 1/2 container of Vegan Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto (Trader Joe’s)
- 1 medium zucchini (cut length wise in 1/4 cm inch thick strips)
- 1/2 red onion (cut length wise)
- 1 small eggplant (quartered)
- 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 cups of flour (I used whole grain flour)
- Olive oil for drizzling
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lay out a large cutting board and coat with 1/4 cup of flour. Take the other 1 3/4 cups of flour and place in a large mixing bowl. Remove the Garlic and Herb dough from the bag and toss it in the large bowl with flour. Toss throughly. Place the dough on the floured cutting board and begin to stretch out the dough. If you are unsure of how to make pizza dough, you can look up several tutorials on Youtube. Or you can buy the frozen pre-stretched dough from Trader Joe’s.
Once the pizza is stretched, transfer to a pizza pan or a large, flat and circular oven-safe dish. Take 1/2 cup of the Vegan Kale, Cashew and Basil Pesto and spread evenly along on the bottom of the pizza dough. Add more or less to reach desired quantity.
Slice the zucchini in 1/4 cm thick slices length wise. Slice the red onion length wise. Cut the eggplant into circles then in quarters. Layer the vegetables in desired order. Top with sun-dried tomatoes.
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Checking every 10 minutes until pizza crust reaches desired crispiness. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve warm.
MARINATED PORTOBELLO STEAKS WITH CUBAN-STYLE RICE AND BEANS
This savory and smokey inspired recipe came from my love for steak and beans. The mushrooms are marinated to maximize flavor and give you a chewy, smokey and grilled steak experience. The black beans are Cuban-style with flavorful notes of vinegar and oregano. This is the perfect dinner for a date night or vegan steak lovers.
Serving Size: 1 portobello cap and 1/2 cup of black beans and rice.
For the Mushrooms
- 2 large Portobello mushrooms
- 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp of oregano
- 1/8 tsp of salt
- 1/8 tsp of pepper
For the Black Beans
- 1 (15 oz) can of black beans
- 2 cups of water
- 3 tsp of olive oil
- 3 tsp of red wine vinegar
- ½ green bell pepper (diced)
- 2 gloves of garlic (minced)
- ½ of a medium yellow onion (diced)
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- ½ tsp of ground cumin
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
Rinse the mushrooms of any debris. Combine the vinegar, oil and spices in a bowl. Whisk until combined. Split the marinade in half and pour into 2 ziplock bags or 2 deep Tupperware containers. Place one portobello mushroom into each bag or container. Shake and toss the mushrooms in marinade. Wait 15 minutes and flip the mushroom to marinate for another 15 minutes on the other side.
While the mushrooms are marinating, take your black beans and rinse thoroughly through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside. Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet. Saute the garlic, onions and bell pepper over medium/low heat until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are translucent. Add the black beans to the skillet. Add two cups of water and the remaining ingredients (spices, salt, pepper, and vinegar). Cover and simmer for a 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the beans are tender and tasty, remove from heat.
After marinating for 30 minutes, take your portobello and transfer to a panini grill. Grill at a 45 degree angle until desired charred marks are achieved. Rotate the mushroom to achieve charred marks in the other direction. About 2-3 minutes per side. Once done, remove from heat.
Serve with rice and avocado sprinkled with paprika, salt and pepper (optional).
FRENCH GREEN LENTIL SOUP
Try out this delicious and hearty lentil soup. The unique flavors from the fenugreek and cumin seeds bring a Middle-Eastern flavor to these delicious French Green lentils. Spice up your next dinner with this easy and healthy meal.
- 1 tbs of olive oil
- 1 tsp of whole cumin seeds
- ½ tsp of whole fenugreek seeds (or 1 tsp of fenugreek powder)
- 1 cup of dry french green lentils (or sub regular green lentils)
- 2 ½ cups of water
- 1 tbs of poultry seasoning
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ½ medium onion
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 stalks of celery sliced into strips
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Add onions and garlic. Saute until garlic is fragrant and onions are translucent. Add carrots and celery. Saute for an additional 3 minutes. While vegetables are sauteing, rinse the lentils in a strainer. Add the strained lentils into the pot and saute for 1 minute. Add poultry seasoning and saute. Add the water and bayleaf. Turn the heat up to medium-high. Bring to a medium boil. Put a lid on the pot, partly ajar, and turn the heat down to low. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to desired. The lentils should be tender but not mushy. Let cool for 10 minutes then serve.
MEDITERRANEAN FALAFEL WITH SPICY RED LENTILS
Begin by combining 3 cups of water, lentils, red pepper and red wine vinegar in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes or until all water had dissolved. While lentils are cooking, bring 2 cups of water, brown rice, and Earth Balance to a boil. Cover and simmer for 40-50 min* Preheat a conventional or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Place desired amount of falafel in over and bake for 12-14 minutes. Set aside with a paper towel or plate to keep warm. When lentils, rice and falafel are done arrange a plate with a small handful of spinach, grape tomatoes cut in half and a dollop of hummus. Serve hot.
Store lentils and rice in an airtight container for up to a week. Cook falafel as needed.
*Follow instructions on the back of packages for proper cooking time for lentils, rice and falafel.
- 1 package of Trader Joe's Fully Cooked Falafel (v)
- 16 oz of fresh spinach
- 1 pint of grape tomatoes
- 8 oz container of hummus (or homemade)
- 1 cup of red lentils
- 1 tsp of crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
- 1 cup of brown rice
- 5 cups of water
- 1 tsp of Earth Balance (v)
- salt and pepper to taste
RAW VEGAN AVOCADO PESTO ZUCCHINI PASTA
You're going to love this raw dinner. Made with fresh basil and avocados, this pesto over fresh spiralized zucchini noodles is a great raw, vegan and gluten free dinner.
- 2 large or 4 small zucchinis
- 1/2 cup of basil
- 2 avocados
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 3 tbsp of lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
Begin by spiralizing all of the zucchini noodles. Cut them in half length wise and three times width wise*
Prepare the avocado basil sauce by combining all other ingredients into a food processor. Process until throughly combined. Add more salt, pepper, garlic and lemon juice as needed.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sauce and pasta and mix into a creamy pasta blend or leave pasta raw on the side and sprinkle with pepper and lemon juice. Put a haerty dollop of the pasta sauce next to the pasta.
Store avocado sauce with a pit inside fora up to 3 days and zucchini pasta for 1-2 days in the fridge.
*Cutting the pasta this way will allow for a bite-sized pasta length.