Saturday, March 29, 2014

Vegan Sausage and Peppers over Creamy Polenta

Creamy polenta is a nice substitute for mashed potatoes and pairs nicely with the spicy vegan sausage and slightly crispy peppers.  Same color peppers can be used but I love the combination of colors and the sweet flavor the red and orange peppers add to the dish.  Happy Saturday!

Vegan Sausage and Peppers over Creamy Polenta
Inspired by on-line recipe from

4            vegan sausages, I used Italian Tofurky, slice in big chunks
1            large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
3            cloves garlic, minced (or use garlic infused oil)
1/4         cup Red Wine
1/2         red pepper, sliced
1/2         green pepper, sliced
1/2         orange pepper, sliced
1/4         teaspoon fennel seeds

4 & 2/3  cups water
1            teaspoon Kosher Salt
1            cup cornmeal
1/2         cup vegan cream cheese
2            tablespoons soy Parmesan
1            tablespoon vegan butter (optional)

Sausage and Peppers:
In a medium skillet,  add oil and then add sausage. Cook until browned, 10-15 minutes.  Take out of skillet and set aside.

Over medium-high heat, sauté onion in garlic infused oil or regular oil.. Cook until tender, add garlic if not using garlic infused oil.  Add peppers to the onion, salt and pepper and cook until tender.

Add wine to empty sausage pan, break away the brown bits. Pour into onion and pepper mix.  Add cooked vegan sausage, give a good stir and simmer a bit.


Add 4 and 2/3 cup water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt to a medium sized saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil and add the cornmeal, whisking to break up any lumps.  Lower the heat and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or less.  Remove from heat and stir in the vegan cream cheese and vegan parmesan.  Serve immediately on the side or under the stir fry.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Breaded Vegan Calamari -Gluten Free

One of my cookbooks has a few recipes that include vegan calamari or shrimp.  I found the vegan products on-line and decided to do a little product testing.  The vegan calamari was pretty good but had to be eaten quickly because if it sat around too long it tended to get a bit rubbery.  Not sure I’d pay to have them shipped again so I’m trying to figure out what else I can use to dip in the amazing Cocktail Sauce!

Breaded Vegan Calamari from Sophie’s Kitchen (GF)
Purchased at

Cocktail Sauce

3/4          cup ketchup
2 & 1/2   tablespoons prepared horseradish
2             tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2          teaspoon coarse salt

1/4          teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Breakfast Chia Seed Pudding

Kevin is not a huge fan of soy yogurt but loved this version.  We like the contrast of strawberries and Kiwi but you can use whatever fruit is your favorite.  The almond milk and chia seeds gives this pudding such a nice texture and flavor, a perfect start to the morning.

Breakfast Chia Seed Pudding
Modified Giada recipe

****Needs to set overnight

1          cup unsweetened almond milk
1          cup soy yogurt (I could only find strawberry flavored)-if you use plain, add 2 T. of maple
                                                                   syrup to mix)
1          teaspoon vanilla extract           
            pinch of salt
1/4       cup chia seeds
            sliced almonds
            maple syrup

In a medium bowl, gently whisk the almond milk, soy yogurt, vanilla extract, and salt until just blended.  Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes.  Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, in a medium bowl, toss the strawberries and kiwi with a bit of maple syrup.  Mix in the almonds.  Makes 2 good size servings or 4 small.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Smoky Butternut Squash Sauce with Pasta and Greens

Another winning recipe from Oh She Glows!!  Since I didn’t change anything to her recipe I included her link instead of typing out the recipe.  I’ve been trying to keep the gluten out of our kitchen whenever possible so I’ve been experimenting with all sorts of GF pasta.  Target has a good GF brand as well as the Quinoa GF pasta at Trader Joe’s.

Smoky Butternut Squash Sauce with Pasta and Greens

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Skillet Scalloped Potatoes

Skillet Scalloped Potatoes
Modified recipe from

1+          tablespoon vegan butter
2            large russet potatoes, washed and thinly sliced
1/2         large red or yellow onion, or 1 medium, small diced
1 & 1/2  or more tablespoons Gluten Free flour
              salt and pepper to taste
1+          cup nut or soy milk
              nutritional yeast  (optional)
              turmeric  (optional)
              parsley for serving

In an iron or non-stick skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon vegan butter.  Off heat, spread half of potato slices in the skillet and top with 1/2 onion. 

Sprinkle on half the flour, salt and pepper.   Layer wit remaining potato slices, onion, salt and pepper and dot with remaining butter.
Pour nut/soy milk over potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat.  Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and turmeric.  Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. 

***Check halfway through, may need to add a little more soy/nut milk.  Spoon some of the liquid over the potatoes then return to cooking.

Serve with a sprinkling of parsley.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Italian Bean Balls & Spaghetti Squash Noodles

These are fantastic!  Next time I make them I’m going to form patties and serve as Bean Burgers.  They are just so flavorful and filled with goodness.

Italian Bean Balls & Spaghetti Squash Noodles

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cranberry Walnut Chickpea Salad Sandwich

There are many ways to make Chickpea salad.  I like this recipe because it's a bit sweeter than the normal "faux tuna" version I do.  I imagine you could make this with Thanksgiving cranberry relish leftovers too.  Love this as a salad or sandwich - either way, you can't go wrong. Check out The Simple Veganista blog for more pictures and recipes!

Cranberry Walnut Chickpea Salad Sandwich

2            cans garbanzo (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1            cup celery, diced
1/2         cup dried cranberries (chopped fresh would be great too)
1/2         cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
1/2         cup green onions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
              salt and pepper to taste

6            tablespoons tahini or vegan mayo (I used vegan mayo)
4            tablespoons champagne, white wine or cider vinegar
2            tablespoons water (only needed if using tahini)
2            teaspoons pure maple syrup

Mix your dressing in a small bowl.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, add your garbanzo beans and roughly mash with a strong fork or potato masher.  Add celery, cranberries, nuts, scallions, salt, pepper and the dressing.  Mix well.  Serve as a salad or as a sandwich.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Quinoa Red Lentil Stew

Quinoa Red Lentil Stew

1/2       cup raw quinoa
3/4       cup raw small red lentils
            olive oil
2          medium carrots, diced
1          stalk celery, diced
1          small butternut squash (or 2 medium potatoes or small head cauliflower)
1          cup chopped green beans
            olive oil for cooking
1          bay leaf
6          cups water or vegetable stock
2          teaspoons ground fennel seed
1          teaspoon ground coriander
1/2       teaspoon cumin
1/2       teaspoon turmeric
1/2       teaspoon paprika
1/2       teaspoon dried thyme
            salt and pepper
2          cups chopped fresh greens: kale, chard, or spinach

***The original recipe is for crock pot cooking but I cooked on the stove top.

Rinse the quinoa and red lentils in a bowl then drain into a colander. 
Dice the carrots, celery, squash and green beans..

Saute vegetables in soup pot until tender.  Add stock or water  and quinoa and red lentils.  Add spices and cook on simmer until lentils and quinoa are fully cooked and puffed up, approximately 15 minutes.  Add fresh greens at end of cooking and stir around.  Remove bay leaf before serving.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Chop-Chop Salad

Chop-Chop Salad
Live Raw Cookbook by Mimi Kirk

For the Salad:
***This is the original recipe master veggie list.  I used (green pepper, red cabbage, Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Broccoli)
Yellow Squash
String Beans
Red Cabbage
Fennel Bulb
Green Pepper  (I Used)
Fresh whole herbs such as mint, tarragon, sorrel and dill for garnish

**Chop all vegetables into small, even pieces.

For the Dressing:
*** This dressing made way more than I needed for the salad but I just stored it in the fridge for other salads.

1/2            cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2            cup tahini
1/4            bunch of fresh parsley
1/4            cup apple cider vinegar
1/3            cup cashews
3-4            tablespoons lemon juice
2               cloves garlic
1/4            cup  tamari
                 Himalayan salt to taste
                 Fresh pepper
2-3            tablespoons agave or sweetener of choice
3/4            cup ore or less water, added slowly while blending

Finished dressing should be a smooth, creamy, thick pourable dressing.

Place dressing ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.

Place all salad ingredients in a bowl, and add desired amount of dressing.  Some people like a small amount and others like it very wet.  The vegetables hold up very well with dressing. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Red Cabbage Soup

I made this soup because I had left over red cabbage and didn’t know what to do with it.  You can switch it up by adding beets and celery. 

Cabbage Soup
Inspired by recipe found on

1            medium/large baking potato, washed and diced
1/2         red onion, diced
2            medium carrots, diced
1/2         red cabbage, thinly sliced
4            cups vegetable broth
1            8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2         teaspoon dill
1/2         teaspoon caraway seed
              salt and pepper
1            tablespoon cider vinegar
1            tablespoon agave

              vegan sour cream for topping  

Add olive oil to large pot, sauté onion, carrots, potato and cabbage until veggies are starting to get soft.  Add broth, tomato sauce, dill, caraway seed, cider vinegar and agave.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook around 30 minutes on simmer.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Mustard Portobello Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I've been dying to make Gnocchi and was a little intimidated by the whole process, but not anymore.  I chose Choloe's recipe because of its Sweet Potato base vs. regular potatoes.  You can use any kind of sauce you'd like, her recipe called for a vegan butter and sage sauce which I may try next time.  Since this was a side for the Portobello Mushrooms, I wanted a sauce with a little more zip.

Mustard Portobello Mushrooms and Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Sauce inspired by a Nigella Lawson recipe
Sweet Potato Gnocchi:  Choloe’s Kitchen recipe by Chloe Coscarelli

2            large Portobello Mushrooms, cleaned and stem removed

2            teaspoons oil
2            garlic cloves, minced
1/2         cup hard cider (or apple juice with a splash of apple cider vinegar)
1            tablespoon whole-grain mustard (I used mustard w/horseradish sauce)
1/2         soy creamer
              salt and pepper

****play around with the amounts.  I wanted extra sauce so I probably added a bit more of everything and seasoned to taste.

Grill the Mushrooms in a sauté pan in olive oil tops down.  Brush inside with a bit of oil and sprinkle salt and pepper.  I turned my mushrooms over one but ended  up with topside down. 

Sauce:  Add oil to a separate sauce pan, add garlic cloves, hard cider/juice, mustard and creamer.  Let simmer and thicken a bit.  Add seasoning.

Add sauce to mushroom pan and heat through.  Add cooked Gnocchi to pan and sauce, cook a few minutes until sauce really works into Mushrooms and Gnocchi.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi
***Uncooked gnocchi can be made in advance and kept frozen for up to 1 month or refrigerated for 3-4 days until ready to boil.

2            large red-skinned sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
1            teaspoon sea salt
1/2         teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4         teaspoon black pepper, plus extra for serving
2  & 1/2 to 3 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork, place in a baking pan, and bake until fully cooked, about 45-60 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.

Using a sharp knife, cut the potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh out of each sweet potato into a medium bowl.  Thoroughly mash the sweet potatoes while they are still warm, then set aside or refrigerate to cool completely.

Add salt, nutmeg, and pepper to the sweet potatoes.  Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well with a spoon to combine.  Once a soft, slightly sticky, dough has formed, divide it into six portions.  Generously flour the work surface and your hands.  Roll each portion of dough into ropes about 1/2 inch in diameter.  Each rope will be approximately 7-9 inches long.  Dip a sharp knife in flour and cut each rope into 1-inch pillows.  If desired, roll each pillow on fork tines to make decorative ridges.

Fill a medium saucepan with heavily salted water and bring it to a boil.  When the water is boiling, reduce heat to a gentle simmer and gently drop in the gnocchi about 20 at a time.  The gnocchi will float to the surface in about 4 minutes.  Continue to cook about 30 seconds more.  Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer the gnocchi to the skillet with the mushrooms and mustard sauce

***Uncooked gnocchi can be made in advance and kept frozen for up to 1 month or refrigerated for 3-4 days until ready to boil.