Quick and Easy: Creamy Tomato Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 servings of pasta
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8-oz sliced mushrooms (2-3 cups)
  • 1-1.5 cups canned diced tomatoes, to taste
  • 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4-1/3 cup nutritional yeast, to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in your pasta and cook until Al dente, about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onion in the olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until translucent.
  3. Stir in the sliced mushrooms and diced tomato and cook for another 8-10 minutes or so over medium-high heat, until some of the water cooks off.
  4. Stir in the fresh basil, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes. Add salt to taste. Simmer for another 5 minutes or so and adjust seasonings to taste if desired.
  5. Drain pasta and add back into the pot. Stir in the pasta sauce, heat, and serve immediately with garlic or crusty bread if you’d like.

Vegan Biscuits

Sometimes, you just need a quick recipe for a staple food that you can make in a hurry. Whether it’s for breakfast or to go with a bowl of soup, I think these are the kind of recipes that are good to memorize so you can whip up a batch whenever the need arises!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp vegan margarine (or try something like Olivio Coconut Spread)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk

Directions:

  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to cut the margarine into the dry ingredients until small particles form and there are no large lumps.
  2. Add the soy or almond milk and mix with the fork just until the mixture is lightly moistened and begins to stick together.
  3. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Fold in half for maximum flaky biscuit results and roll dough out to 1/2″ thickness.
  4. Cut into rounds using a biscuit cutter or floured drinking glass, balling up extra dough and re-rolling to create more rounds. Place on a greased cookie sheet.
  5. Bake biscuits at 450º for 12-17 minutes until lightly brown. Serve hot with margarine, jam, vegan gravy, maple syrup, etc.

via: The Vegan Kitchen

Spicy Vegan Chili

It’s getting cold out there, so here’s an basic, fast and delicious vegan chili recipe to get you through the coming cold months.

Ingredients:

  • approx. 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 medium onion, chopped
  • approx. 6 tablespoons chili powder (yeah, a lot!)
  • two 14 1/2-ounce can Mexican recipe stewed tomatoes with juices
  • 16 to 24 ounces frozen veggie crumbles, thawed
  • 2 cup canned red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • at least 1/2 cup water
  • salt to taste


Directions:

  1. In a large soup pot, saute garlic and onions for about a minute and add veggie crumbles and chili powder so they take on the flavor
  2. After onions, etc are tender, add tomatoes, beans, some salt, cayenne and about 1/4 C. water.
  3. Simmer for about 20 minutes (the longer the better, but not too long to avoid it getting mushy). Add water, little by little, if needed.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

I’ve always been a fan of the Halloween holiday. I think it has more to do with the Fall season than the actual holiday itself, but it’s one of my favorite times of the year. As a kid, one of the traditions we had was to carve pumpkins and then roast the seeds to eat as snacks. I wouldn’t have thought much of it back then, but in addition to being a great snack, pumpkin seeds are also extremely healthy for you. They are high in zinc, fiber, magnesium, and healthy fats along with several other supposed health benefits. But, all that aside, they are just really tasty! This year, when you’re scooping out your pumpkins, save the seeds and give roasting a try.


Ingredients

  • Pumpkin
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Scoop out the inside of your pumpkin, and separate seeds from pulp. Don’t worry if there’s a little pulp left on the seeds when you roast them—it only adds flavor. Just remove the biggest pieces so that the seeds are easy to toss. Give them a good rinse.
  2. In a bowl, toss the seeds with the olive oil, coating thoroughly. Add salt and seasonings.
  3. Spread a thin coat of olive oil over the bottom of a roasting pan. Spread the seeds out over the roasting pan, all in one layer. Bake on the top rack at 350° until the seeds begin to brown, maybe 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the seeds. You may want to stir them around a little so they cook evenly. When browned to your satisfaction, remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack. Let the seeds cool all the way down before eating. You can eat them with the shells on, it’s extra fiber!

Optional seasonings (approximate measurements, but adjust to taste):

  • Sweet: use 2 tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and a pinch of salt
  • Orange ginger: mix 2 tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. ground ginger and orange zest
  • Spicy: 1/2 tsp. paprika, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, dash of ground cumin, dash of chili power (try some or all of those together)
  • Indian spiced: healthy pinch or two of salt, 1 tsp. garam masala
  • Other ideas: lime juice and salt, Sriracha or tobasco sauce, cajun seasoning, or Italian herbs.

Back to School Special

With Fall right around the corner, students will be heading back to school in the coming weeks. For many college students, the task of cooking can be a challenge, especially with financial and time constraints. In fact, these days, most of us are faced with those same challenges when it comes to cooking healthy, quick and cheap meals. So, I wanted to toss out a few vegan meal ideas to get your school year started off on the right foot! These are also good ideas for younger students to try out or for those of us who just need something cheap and fast on those busy weekdays.

It can also be helpful to think about your budget when it comes to food. You can eat fresh food on the cheap if you just do a little planning. Produce can seem expensive when compared to processed food, but if you plan to make larger batches and eat leftovers, it’ll really help. Plus, fresh(er), nutritious food will make you feel much better during a time when you’re already putting your body to the test with sleep deprivation, academic stresses, and the “occasional partying”!

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Beans and Rice

This was my personal staple food in school and got me through countless long nights of studying.

Ingredients:

  • Cooked rice (I like brown rice, myself)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 can black beans (drained)
  • 1 small can whole kernel corn (drained)
  • green or red pepper (optional), cut into strips
  • red onion (optional)
  • garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Optional spices: dash thyme, dash (or more) cumin, salsa

Directions:

  1. The quickest version of this involves mixing the brown rice, diced tomatoes, black beans, corn and cumin together. It’s great when topped with salsa!
  2. For a slightly more complex version, saute the garlic, red onion and pepper strips in the olive oil in a deep pan on high heat for a quick few minutes.
  3. add tomatoes, corn and black beans along with the thyme and cumin. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  4. spoon the mixture over cooked brown rice and top with salsa. Enjoy!

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Veggie Ramen

I know ramen noodles are the quintessential collegiate food, but there are easy ways to make it much better. First, make sure to check your label for ingredients to make sure it’s vegan-friendly. You mostly want to check the noodles, though, because I highly recommend tossing that seasoning packet in the trash.

Standard veggie ramen: Toss noodles, frozen or fresh veggies (peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, corn, etc) into a large pot with water and bring to a boil on the stove. Boil for 2-3 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked. Drain water (or keep, if you want a soup) and top with soy sauce and/or sriracha sauce. Done!

Curried veggie ramen: Same as above, but instead add some red thai curry paste to the water while boiling (no soy sauce). Check ingredients on that curry paste for fish sauce.

Italian veggie ramen: Same as above, but just top with spaghetti sauce or fresh tomatoes and basil.

Optional ramen toppings: canned black beans (drained), sesame oil, green onions, tofu cubes, etc.

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Potatoes

Potatoes are nice to have around because they’re cheap and keep a long time. There are different ways to cook them, but a quick way is just to use the microwave. There are also lots of different kinds of potatoes, so experiment with different ones. Sweet potatoes are also very healthy and easy to make.

Basic baked potato: Prick the washed potato with a fork and place it on a microwave-safe dish in the microwave on high for 5 minutes. Turn it over and microwave again for 3-5 minutes and add 1 minute bursts if it’s still hard.

Baked potato topping ideas:

  • avocados, black beans, salsa, cumin, green onions
  • Steamed cauliflower, curry and cumin
  • Sloppy joes (see recipe below)
  • Red pepper, spinach, black olives, olive oil and ground black pepper
  • Pizza sauce, green peppers, mushrooms and black olives
  • the possibilities are endless!

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Sandwiches

This is a no-brainer, but they’re easy to carry with you or eat in a hurry. I always liked the “comfort food” feeling of a nut butter and banana sandwich on wheat bread!

Hummus sandwich: Spread some hummus on wheat bread, ciabatta roll or bagel and top with lettuce, cucumber, shredded carrots and purple cabbage (can be bought in bags), tomatoes, and/or red onion. You can find hummus in most stores or make your own.

Veggie burgers/dogs: If you want a fast source of protein and don’t mind meat substitutes, veggie burgers and dogs are really easy to microwave and are filling. There are a million different kinds out there, so shop around and find one you like. Try adding avocado slices or other veggies to the burgers for some extra nutrients.

Vegan Sloppy Joes: I will often make up a big batch and eat it on rolls or with crackers when I’m in a hurry. It’s a little extra prep time, but make a lot and you’re set! Also good with dill pickles. The full recipe is here.

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Breakfast

It’s so easy to sleep until 5 minutes before you have to be out the door, but if you can make an extra few minutes in your schedule, breakfast can be an awesome meal. We all have our favorites, but here are some of mine:

  • oatmeal - add cinnamon, almonds, bananas, berries, soy milk
  • bagel with nut butter
  • Soy or coconut milk yogurt
  • Granola and/or granola bars (check for honey)
  • fruit
  • roasted potatoes - toss in the oven with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary for 40 minutes or so. Great if you have a little extra time!
  • Smoothies of all kinds - try blending a frozen banana with some berries/fruit and soy milk.

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Snacks

When you’re rushing around, it’s tempting to just grab for snacks instead of meals. That’s fine as long as you’re not eating chips all day long. Here are a few things that I like to keep on hand when I’m munchy.

  • Pretzels (try dipping in mustard or nut butter!)
  • Popcorn (check ingredients or use an air popper with some soy sauce and/or nutritional yeast sprinkled on top)
  • Crackers and nut butter (graham crackers are good if you need something sweet)
  • Spend a free hour on the weekend cutting up a bunch of vegetables (carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, etc.) and store them in a container in the fridge. I’m always much more likely to eat them if they’re already cut up.
  • Fruit - apples, oranges and bananas are very portable, too!
  • Hummus and pita, pita chips or veggies to dip
  • Granola bars (check for honey on those)
  • Grab a tortilla and toss in some refried beans, shredded carrots, jalapeno slices, and salsa.
  • Tortilla with nut butter and a little cinnamon and/or bananas.

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Ditching the kitchen

There will certainly be times when you’ll want to ditch the pots and pans and order out. It’s not the cheapest route, but it sure is fun after a hard week. I’ve been really impressed at how easily it is to order veggie pizza without cheese on it. I’m told that there are so many people who are lactose intolerant or are cutting fat out of their diets that this is a common request. In the dozens of times I’ve done this (with no questions asked, even in the middle of Kansas) I’ve only had 2 or 3 mixups. You can even do a half pizza without cheese if you’re in a group, so don’t be afraid to ask.

There are also so many sandwich/burrito places that let you custom order your food at the counter that it extremely easy to eat out. Also consider exploring your city, especially if you’ve recently arrived, and support local restaurants that are vegan friendly!

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Lastly, I’ve been tagging my posts that cover quick and easy recpies so I have a growing list of additional ideas there. I hope these ideas help you get started this Fall and be sure and let me know if you have any favorite meals to include in the list. Good luck!

Kale Tabbouleh

This is an interesting version of tabbouleh that was submitted to me by Hannah. It looks really fresh and healthy which is definitely what I’ve been craving with Spring around the corner! Her post here has photos of the process. Thanks for the submission!

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From Hannah (with a few edits):

Ingredients:

  • Kale (6 stalks or so)
  • Parsley (bunch)
  • Mint (bunch)
  • Tomato (1 medium)
  • Cucumber (1 large or 2-3 mini)
  • Green Onion (you could use red onion too - I forgot)
  • Lemon(Juice) + Olive Oil + Salt + Pepper (There are hella different versions for the dressing used that you can google around for)

For those that don’t know/have never dealt with Kale before.. you wanna de-rib them. I don’t know if ‘de-rib’ is the actual word… but take the leafy part off the stem. 

If you have a juicer or a good blender - keep the stems for later.

Now you wanna chiffonade the leaves.

I ended up with this pile of ribboned/chiffonade-d Kale. (which I pronounce shif-fo-nAHd) btw. 

Then, because Kale is such a tough green, I always think it’s best to let it wilt some before eating raw. So I put it in the mix of olive oil and lemon and salt & pepper. I squished it around in my hands in order to make it less tough. 

Then I chopped Parsley. Half curly & Half Flat… and some mint too.  I used about a third of each of the bunches.  Oh and those mini cucumbers are the ones I used. I chopped two of them, and one medium sized red tomato. 

Mix it all up.. 

I like mine with breakfast. That’s how I had it this morning, and how I usually eat Tabbouleh when I buy it. (with morningstar breakfast sausage and slices of avocado)

(editor’s note: I think this would also be great with bulghur wheat or couscous mixed in).

Quick and Easy Vegan: Spinach and Orzo Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked orzo pasta (I like to use whole wheat)
  • 1 (10 ounce) package baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (fresh would be good, too)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

Suggested, but optional, additions:

  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • sliced black olives or artichoke hearts
  • diced cucumbers

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in spinach, onion, basil, salt, pepper and optional ingredients. Toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Note: If you’re unfamiliar with Orzo pasta, it’s small, rice-like pasta that looks like this.

    petezapartee asked:

    My favorite way to eat uncooked tofu is as a tofu "egg" salad! Just crumble tofu and mix with veganese (or another vegan mayo), a little mustard, some chopped celery and salt and pepper. You can add other things like carrots, raisins, apple, etc. to your taste! Quick, easy and delicious. Serve on a bed of lettuce or between two slices of toast.

    What a great idea and so easy! I’m going to have to try that this weekend. Thanks!

    alien-666 asked:

    any good easy tofu recipes? Im 14 and need to make something for myself for dinner, has to be easy and yummy, nothing too complicated thanks!

    With tofu, I have a couple of things I always do. One is to buy the firmest tofu I can find for most everything except desserts (like pudding). It just falls apart otherwise. The other tip is to wrap it in a paper towel or cloth to soak up some of the water before using it. Here are a couple of quick tofu ideas that don’t involve cooking it:

    1. Cut up a block of firm tofu and add it, uncooked, to your favorite can of vegetable or bean soup (I like lentil!) It’ll add some fast texture and protein.
    2. Try this quick recipe for beans and rice and then add cut up tofu on top (try marinating the tofu cubes in salsa for an hour or two first).
    3. Cook some brown rice, add some microwaved frozen veggies and cubed tofu with some soy sauce and/or Sriracha sauce.
    4. Make a soft taco with canned beans, cubed tofu, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, avocado etc. wrapped up in a tortilla.
    5. Uncooked tofu can also be good in small cubes on a salad.

    The main problem with uncooked tofu is that it’s pretty plain unless you add sauce or marinate it. If you are a little braver, you can cook it a ton of ways. Once it’s cooked, you could add it to any of the suggestions above, too. A few easy ways to cook it are:

    1. Cut the tofu into slabs, add a little olive oil (optional) and toss it onto the barbeque grill. Serve the grilled tofu like a burger (extra good with lettuce, pickles and barbeque sauce!)
    2. This recipe is another one of my favorites and it involves frying the tofu in a little oil, so be careful! So, so good.
    3. Tofu is really great baked in the oven. Here’s the basic method and you could try this recipe and bake it. Serve it up with sweet potatoes!

    I hope that helps and thanks for the question!