Archives for posts with tag: vegan


This cooking adventure started with an old bag of frozen cauliflower. I knew it had been in the freezer way too long, so I decided veggie curry was the way to go. After getting the onions, potatoes and carrots started, I opened the cauliflower only to discover it had gone bad. Oops. So I had to venture out to the store despite my plans of having a lazy day at home. Oh well. It turned out for the best.


  • 2-4 medium potatoes, diced into small pieces (1 cm cubed)
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/2 cup carrots (chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (large or small is fine)
  • 16 oz bag of cauliflower
  • 3-4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • Diced tomatoes, 14 oz can, (optional)
  • Curry powder – 2-3 tbsp
  • Smoked paprika – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1 tsp
  • Garlic salt – 1 tbsp
  • Cinnamon 1 tsp (optional)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Coconut milk (14 oz can)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth


  1. Cook onions, minced garlic in the olive oil over medium high heat until onions start to clarify. (Use a large pot)
  2. Stir in all remaining ingredients EXCEPT the coconut milk and cauliflower.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until potatoes and carrots are soft. (30-40 minutes)
  4. Add cauliflower and continue to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  5. Add coconut milk, stirring in completely, before serving.
  6. ** Alternatively, put all ingredients (EXCEPT coconut milk) in a crock pot on high for 2-4 hours (until potatoes and carrots are soft). Stir in coconut milk before serving. Note: The cauliflower will get a bit mushy this way.
  7. Serve over basmati rice or with naan.


This is a recipe I tried a while back. Verdict: It’s delicious!

Because it was a cold pasta salad, it was also really great to take in my lunches to work. If I’m being honest, though, it rarely made it all the way until lunch time…


  • 1 8oz box of gemelli pasta
  • 3/4 cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup fresh green beans (cut)
  • 1/2 onion, finely minced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 small lemon, squeezed over the top
  • Garlic salt, black pepper, and thyme to taste
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped tomatoes (de-seeded, without juice) *Optional


  1. Cook pasta as directed on box, then set aside in a large bowl
  2. Finely mince the onion and garlic.
  3. Cut green beens into bite sized pieces
  4. *Optional: de-seed, de-juice, and finely chop the tomato
  5. In a small frying pan, saute 1 tbsp olive oil, the minced onion, and the minced garlic over medium heat until the onions are translucent
  6. Turn the heat up to medium high and add the pistachios and green beans until they are lightly seared. (*Optional: add the tomatoes at this point)
  7. Combine the nuts and veggies with the pasta and add the remaining olive oil, vinegar, and the spices to taste.
  8. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
  9. Optional: sprinkle with parmesan cheese.


  • I used salted, roasted pistachios. They were quite salty, so unless you really like really salty foods (as I do), I would recommend that you use unsalted pistachios.


I’ve been gone a long time. But I’ve missed having an outlet for non-work creativity, so I’m back. I’m now working for a university and loving my job. Newton and I have been keeping busy, but there’s still been time for some great food.

In the past 6 months, I had the pleasure of eating at some delicious restaurants I’d recommend:

  • The Chicago Diner (in Chicago, where else?). An all vegetarian cafe. Highly recommend the seitan Reuben!
  • The Electric Cheetah (Grand Rapids, MI). I’ve been multiple times and always get The Jimmy Wah Salad with spicy tofu. They also have amazing freshmade vinegar chips and hand cut fries. Best part: If you order a cookie – they’ll bake it fresh while you eat your meal!
  • BruBurger (Indianapolis, Indiana). House made ketchup. I would eat it on anything.

I’m sure there were other amazing places – but those were my top three!

Anyway, I hope you are all keeping cool this summer. Here’s a favorite smoothie of mine… for those days when I feel like indulging, without indulging my muffin top!

Vegan Chocolate Smoothie

Blend until smooth:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 fresh banana
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • Almond milk


  • I add enough almond milk to cover all the solid bits… but less will make it creamier and more like a milkshake.
  • I keep bags of peeled and cut banana pieces in my freezer at all times. I use them for smoothies almost daily. I try to wait til they start to brown to chop and freeze them, that way they are sweeter.
  • Be liberal with the cocoa powder! Mmmm… chocolate.

Crispy Sesame Tofu

This recipe was a long time coming, but there have been numerous reasons I was putting off making crispy tofu. First, there is a local restaurant that has crispy tofu in a ginger sauce that is so incredible, I didn’t want to try my own hand and be disappointed. Second, deep frying still kind of scares me (even after the battered eggplant from several months ago). And third, I’ve never cooked with tofu before.

How could I be a vegetarian and never use tofu at home? Or better question, why? Honestly, tofu kind of freaks me out. I think because it comes in a package with water and has to be pressed. But tonight, I decided to be brave. I’m moving in about a week, and I wanted to make a large batch of rice before I packed my rice cooker. I had some of store-bought sesame garlic sauce I needed to use, and this was the perfect solution.

All in all, it turned out very well, though I need to tweak the frying time on the tofu pieces a bit. I did two rounds, and the first was over done, the second under done. I also used “lite” tofu because I figured since I’d never cooked with it before I wouldn’t know the difference. And I didn’t!
Here’s the recipe – enjoy!

Crispy Sesame Tofu
Makes 3-4 servings
(Serve over white rice)


  • 14oz package of Lite Firm Tofu (I used Nasoya brand).
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • vegetable oil for deep frying
  • green onion
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup Iron Chef “Sesame Garlic Sauce & Glaze”
  • 1/4 cup water


  1. Remove tofu from water, and “press” between paper towels and 2 plates for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  2. Pat tofu dry with paper towel, then slice into pieces, whatever size you desire.
  3. In a bowl, toss the tofu in the cornstarch until lightly covered.
  4. Heat about 1 inch vegetable oil over medium high heat (350 degrees). When it’s ready, the oil will sizzle if you flick water drops over it.
  5. Drop pieces of tofu into the oil and fry for about 3 minutes.
  6. In a separate pan, toast the sesame seeds over high heat, then add the minced garlic and sesame oil.
  7. Then pour in the Iron Chef Sesame Sauce and the 1/4 cup of water. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes.
  8. Once tofu is done frying, add it to the sesame sauce, then serve over rice and enjoy!

** I add water to the sesame sauce because I think some of the flavors in this brand are a bit overpowering. This is also why I add the sesame seeds, sesame oil and garlic.

** Now the only problem is what to do with my leftover oil?

Baked Eggplant Parmesan Dippers

I always want to make large portions of food that are good as leftovers, thinking then I can have an easy snack the next day. These make excellent leftovers – just pop them in the toaster oven at 400 degrees for a few minutes and they’re good to go. However, I should warn you that they are so good I never manage to save them until the next day.

This recipe was modified from one that I found through pinterest. I left out the parmesan cheese (which she adds to the breadcrumb mixture). Also, it can easily be made vegan by leaving out the eggs as explained below. The original recipe can be found here:


  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1/2 – 1 cup Italian Seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten ****If vegan, substitute cornstarch paste mixture or milk alternative
  • Garlic salt or other Italian seasonings, to taste
  • Pam cooking spray
  • Marinara sauce, for dipping


  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the eggplant (optional) and slice into “fries.”
  3. Spray baking tray with pam, or brush with olive oil.
  4. Dip each eggplant piece in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs until fully coated.
  5. Place the coated pieces on the baking tray and spray with oil.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, flipping once.
  7. Serve with marinara for dipping.


Avocado Blackbean Wraps

This week I am in Michigan helping out with a wedding. I love Michigan for hanging out on beaches, having great craft beer, and seeing great friends. The only downside of such an extended stay is that I get really tired of eating out and eating badly. On Saturday, I was fortunate to hang out with two of my favorite friends on the beach, talking and learning how to paddleboard. Then for dinner, we went shopping for fresh food and made this wonderful meal.

This wrap is one of my all-time favorite things to eat in the summer. It is quick to make, very healthy, and oh-so-delicious! Also, when you buy the ingredients to make the wraps, you end up having just about the perfect amount for a week’s worth of lunches.


  • Large tortilla wrap
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels (fresh or canned and rinsed)
  • Handful of fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup black beans
  • Salsa, to taste

Peanut Sauce Salad

I’ll be the first to admit that most of the time, salads sound really boring. Maybe I just need more calories than other people, but I avoid ordering salads at restaurants because they never seem to fill me up… or satisfy my palate. My inner germaphobe is also really concerned about the potential bacterial breeding ground I’d be exposing myself to. I mean, I’ve worked in several restaurants, and I know cooks don’t usually change their gloves (if they are even wearing any) before making a salad.

But, it’s summer, and in the middle of especially hot days cooking over a stove or oven is pretty incomprehensible. So here’s a go-to salad I like to make that manages to capture multiple textures and a lot of flavor.


  • Greens (I like to use spinach)
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Asian Sesame Salad Accents
  • Bangkok Thai Peanut Sauce, to drizzle as dressing
  • Optional: Add chopped celery and green onion

** Tip: If you buy your avocados underripe, you can speed up their metabolism by storing them in a brown paper bag, preferably with another softening piece of fruit. This helps to concentrate their exposure to ethylene, the gas that speeds their ripening.

Mushroom Pizza Pocket

There are some days when all you want is some good old comfort food. This isn’t exactly a gourmet recipe, but it’s quick, easy and oh-so-delicious.

For these pockets, I just used pre-made pizza dough, but if you’re looking to make it homemade, I would recommend the Bobby Flay pizza dough recipe, which you can find on the Food Network website.

I made cheese-less pockets, but of course, you can add it in if you want to.


  • Pizza dough (13.8 oz)
  • Pizza sauce
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • Garlic salt, Italian seasonings, and onion powder to taste
  • 1 egg (optional), scrambled, for an egg wash.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Roll out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface.
  3. Cut into 8 rectangles.
  4. In a bowl, mix the sauce, veggies and basil.
  5. Spoon mixture into the center of each rectangle, then fold the dough over, pressing the sides firmly together to seal them.
  6. Brush each pocket with the egg wash and then sprinkle with the garlic salt, Italian seasonings, and onion powder.
  7. Put pockets on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Pan Fried Fingerling Potatoes and Veggies

This recipe was inspired by a frozen veggie bag that I occasionally buy. I finally decided it was too ridiculous to spend a lot of money buying frozen potatoes when I could just make them better, healthier, and cheaper from scratch. Also, as a bonus, I was able to use a lot of the leftover ingredients from the quiche I made earlier this week!


  • 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes
  • 6 stalks of asparagus, chopped
  • 4oz can of mushroom pieces
  • 1/3 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • Salt, pepper, parsley and paprika, to taste


  1. Wash potatoes and place in a pot of cold water (with a little lemon juice or cream of tartar).**
  2. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, or until mostly tender, then drain and cut potatoes into chunks.
  3. Wash and chop the asparagus, chop the onion, mince the garlic.
  4. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, garlic and onions, for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Makes 2 servings

**Cooking Tip: Add lemon juice or cream of tartar to the pot of water when boiling potatoes. This will slightly acidify the water to help keep the vegetables from breaking down while they cook.

Cookie Butter Puppy Chow (Vegan!)

If you haven’t heard of cookie butter you are seriously missing out. Think airplane cookies crushed up until they have the texture of creamy peanut butter. Yum. Slightly ginger-y.

I usually get my cookie butter from Trader Joes, Speculoos Brand, but lately I’ve seen it called “Biscoff Spread” in other brands at bigger grocery chains as well.

I like to eat it on fruit, on a spoon, on crackers, and even sometimes on cookies. I mean, what could be better than a cookie butter cookie sandwich? Bonus – it’s vegan!

Cookie Butter Puppy Chow

  • 9 Cups Chex Mix Cereal (Or 1 Box)
  • 1/2 Cup Cookie Butter
  • 1 Cup EnjoyLife Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 Cups Powdered Sugar, As Needed


  1. In a large saucepan, melt chocolate chips, vanilla, and cookie butter over medium-low heat being careful not to burn the chocolate.
  2. Once completely melted, remove from heat and add cereal.
  3. Stir until cereal is coated.
  4. Pour mixture into a large ziplock bag and add powdered sugar.
  5. Shake until coated.

**Of course, this isn’t really an original recipe. Sub the peanut butter back in for cookie butter and you’ve got the classic puppy chow. Still, it was so delicious I had to share.

**I haven’t tried the other Enjoy Life products, but the mini chocolate chips are great and completely allergen free and vegan!