Need a quick, cheap dinner to throw on the table that will also use up those frozen veggies you stocked up on last March? Look no further. I’ve got your back with these simple, budget-friendly greens and beans, an adaptation of a traditional Italian recipe that is quick, simple, and sure to please.
I’m leaning into my millennial tendencies today when I proclaim to the Internet that I love brunch. Perhaps it is partly a millennial thing, partly a “I -was-raised-in-NJ-diner-capital-of-the-universe” thing, but I truly love nothing more than a cup of black (gross) coffee coupled with a stack of fluffy pancakes or French toast. But here’s the thing I have long struggled with in plant-based cooking: vegan French toast is difficult! Every time I attempt to make it, it sticks to the pan and creates a bready, goopy mess. Earlier this spring, I published a recipe for vegan challah bread (which I also subsequently turned into challah cinnamon rolls) and no matter how many attempts I made, I could not turn it into successful French toast. But digging back into my Christmas morning memory banks, a recipe came to me: Vegan French Toast Casserole.
This week, I had a little bit more energy to spare for kitchen adventures. I have been actively working on developing a more “normal” sleep schedule. You know, the kind that involves waking up early and doing this thing called work. Huh. Between the newfound hours in the day and a box of produce delivered right to my door, I had some wiggle room for a new kitchen adventure. That’s where these cauliflower tacos came into play.
I am going to sound like Oprah when I say this, but I LOVE lemon. I love lemon! I would have lemon Every. Single. Day. There is something about lemon zest that can bring freshness and life to most any dish, and as the weather begins to warm, I find myself craving it more and more. That said, this lemon asparagus pasta takes lemony to a whole other level. This is lemon times a thousand. This isn’t “lemon pasta” where you squeeze a tiny teaspoon of lemon juice over the asparagus and call it a day. Oh no. This recipe starts with a creamy roux and we build on it with lemon juice and zest for maximum lemon punch.
When I asked my mother what sort of dishes I should consider cooking for National Garlic Month, she immediately waxed poetic about the virtues of Pasta Aglio e Olio. For twenty minutes. This is a woman who hates to cook and here she is, telling me that I just have to make aglio e olio. You can eat it on it’s own, she said! Toss in leftover veggies the next day and you’ve got a garlic pasta primavera! It makes frozen veggies NOT taste like overcooked, watery mush! You’ve GOT to make aglio e olio! As it turns out, a plant-based version comes together in a snap.
I haven’t had a pizza with “real” cheese on it in over four years. Hard to believe that that much time has passed since I made the jump to plant-based foods, but I am so happy that I did. Plus, with this loaded veggie pizza I don’t miss the “regular” stuff even a little bit.
So, we are on quarantine day…twelve? Honestly, I am beginning to lose track of the days, as much as I attempt to give myself a schedule and a plan for each day. If I didn’t, I would surely go insane (it is a miracle that I have not yet already.) I imagine people with larger homes and living spaces have a slightly easier time of it. If you are bored or in need of a change of scenery, you can easily move to another room. Take in another scene. Tired the bedroom, go to the den! Fed up with the view from your living room window, move into the office. I have the immense fortune of being able to move five whole feet from the kitchen counter to the couch. And back. And forth. Such variety.
During these times, I need something grounding and warming. A balm to my unemployed soul. Truly, I do not think there is anything more warming and lovely during anxious and uncertain times than a big bowl of soup. This comforting tomato-basil soup is exactly that!
Don’t be intimidated by the length of the ingredients list in this one pot, easy vegan chili! Chili is one of the most forgiving foods in the culinary world, and if the thought of chopping this many vegetables sends you down a rabbit hole anxiety, don’t worry about it. Buy pre-chopped. Buy frozen. Keep a jar of already minced garlic in your refrigerator. I’m certainly not going to judge you. This is a safe, lazy, space. I promise.
This chili also has a secret: it causes those eating it to burst out into spontaneous, delighted laughter. No joke.
I have been a vegan for nearly three years, and in that time I have tried tons of different veggie burgers, both homemade and from the store. So many burgers crumble in my hands, are mushy, or are just so obviously vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good veggie burger. A smoky sweet potato and black bean burger was one of my go-to recipes in my first year of veganism, but it was not long before I just wanted a burger. I looked for something properly meaty that would hold it’s shape and stand up to toppings without flattening like a pancake. Enter: textured vegetable protein and these classic TVP burgers.
Confession time: Hot Dogs were my absolute favorite foods as a kid. Recreating the joy I used to experience eating them as a vegan is something I never thought would happen. I’ve tried vegan sausages and hot dogs before, but nothing came close to what I remembered until I tried Loma Linda’s Vegan Hot Dogs. Scroll down for my thoughts, whether or not I would purchase them again, plus a bonus recipe for a Kalamata olive relish that you can use at your own barbecues this summer!
In all seriousness, one of my parent’s favorite home movies features me at age two: I’m chomping down on a hotdog in a rest stop Roy Rogers, trying to talk about how good it is with my mouth full. Don’t ask me why, but for whatever reason they find it adorable. Hot dogs were an integral part of my childhood. The way they smell, their taste, their texture. When my family would make burgers I’d always turn them down, instead sitting happily with a hot dog. Or two. Or five. Who’s counting?