Tag Archives: easy vegan meal

Guest Blogger: Ordinary Vegan – No Bake Vegan Ricotta Lasagna

26 May

Hurray for new VBU! contributors! Please meet Nancy M – author of Ordinary Vegan. Nancy has a fantastic recipe for a No Bake Vegan Ricotta Lasagna. Doesn’t that sound delicious? I’m also digging the ‘no bake part’. Here is Nancy in her own words, “I’m Nancy M – A free-spirited music loving girl who just wants everyone to get along. The movie, “Forks Over Knives” inspired me to live a vegan life. My hope is to inspire others by sharing my experiences, tips and recipes to make it as easy as possible for you to choose a a plant-based diet. Be forewarned – becoming vegan will change your life forever! Welcome to Ordinary Vegan.”

You can find Nancy on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter. Let’s welcome Nancy to VBU!

 

 

no bake vegan ricotta lasagna 680

“The steeper the climb, the greater the view”
Vegan Actor, Musician, Jared Leto

This week I was thinking about my hard won epiphany. It was the moment I realized that I can survive and be happy without something I always thought I needed to exist. I could never have experienced that spiritual awakening had I not changed my diet three years ago. Before I became vegan, I always felt like I was walking around a jungle with a machete in my hand, carving my path one underbrush at a time. After I became vegan, I didn’t need that machete anymore. The jungle dissolved and I could see everything I needed to know about the world. I wasn’t alone anymore. My existence was interconnected to everything around me.

It all began when I started to feel my energy change. It was probably about 3 or 4 months into my vegan diet. My first inkling of things to come was when I started to get rid of that scared part of myself. That part of me that used to hold me back. But that wasn’t the only thing. My diet provided me with energy, peace, contentment and more love for all sentient beings. It took me awhile to understand how it all tied into veganism, but when you ditch eating animals, not only does your health improve, but you are making a powerful connection to the world by saving animals and the planet. You can’t help but become more evolved.

I believe no matter where you are in your vegan journey, full-time or part-time, you can experience this same spiritual growth. Every plant based meal you consume or serve to your family is cultivating compassion for the world. The more plant based meals you eat, the more powerful the results.

Now on to food. Oh my goodness! This no bake ricotta lasagna was so clean, fresh and yummy. You can use whatever vegetables you desire, and cook them (or not) in whatever way you want. There are certain vegetables I like to blanch and certain vegetables I like grilled. So these are personal choices. You can also make your own vegan ricotta or do what I did. I used a commercial (no oil) vegan ricotta provided to me by those two awesome young women, Susana and Marika, from Avellena who were trying to raise money for their cheese through Indigogo. The good news is they raised enough money and met their goal so hopefully we will see this yummy cheese on store shelves soon. My assistant and I shared this vegan ricotta lasagna for lunch and her quote was:

“If all vegan cheese tasted like this, I could definitely go vegan”

Hands down, Avellena is winning the #vegancheesewars so far. Hope you enjoy this plant based recipe as much as we did. Wishing you a compassionate week and thanks for being part of our plant based community.

 

No Bake Ricotta Lasagna with Zucchini, Spinach, Asparagus & Tomatoes
Recipe Type: Main
Author: Ordinary Vegan
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
I used vegetable broth instead of oil to saute the garlic and tomatoes. If necessary, keep adding more to keep the vegetables from sticking.
Ingredients
  • 8 Asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced (preferably on a mandoline)
  • 3 cups mixed red & yellow cherry tomatoes, halved (approximately 2 pints)
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth plus 2/3 cup divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 fresh ground black pepper
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup vegan ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup fresh basil, chopped (& some for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Fill a large non-stick skillet with water half way up. Bring to boil and add asparagus. Cook for 3-5 minutes making sure you don’t overcook and it still has a bite. Remove from simmering water.
  2. Add spinach and blanch for one minute. Set aside.
  3. Heat a non-stick small grill pan. When it is very hot add the zucchini and grill on each side for one minute or two. Just until it has some good grill marks. (Or you can just blanch or eat raw if you don’t want to go through the trouble of grilling.)
  4. Pour out the water in the large non-stick skillet, wipe dry and heat the 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth. Add the garlic and cook until soft about 1-2 minutes. Add 2 cups tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until soft. About 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock. Simmer about 1-2 minutes. Add remaining cup of tomatoes and cook until warm, another 2 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook lasagna according to package instructions until it is al dente. Drain
  6. Toss pasta in skillet to coat. Stir in the basil, reserving some for garnish.
  7. Divide pasta among 4 plates. Add a teaspoon or two of ricotta and some spinach leaves onto each lasagna sheet. Roll up each lasagna sheet. Top each plate evenly with the asparagus, zucchini and cherry tomato mixture. Sprinkle each plate with fresh basil and fresh ground black pepper. Serve. Don’t worry if it cools down, this dish tastes great at room temperature.

 

Guest Blogger: ZenFans – Delicious and Nutritious Green Bowl

3 Mar

Ted from ZenFans is back! You may remember Ted from his first post called Kale Almighty. Check out his newest obsession – Green Bowls! Follow ZenFans on social media channels: TwitterFacebookPinterest and Instagram. Welcome back Ted!

greenbowl

Green bowls are my latest obsession, I’ve been making them almost daily now for the past few months. It’s super healthy and super delicious, I know this because even my 3 year old loves it. We’ll often have it for breakfast and even as an after dinner dessert. Salad for breakfast and dessert, who’d a thunk it?

green bowl for the family

I’m not sure where I originally saw this done (sorry for not giving credit where credit is truly due…found it, see below). No, I wasn’t creative enough to come up with this on my own, but I am happy I stumbled upon it and happy to share it with you now.

EDITED: I have seen many green bowl recipes, but I was originally inspired by Mckel Hill at NutritionStripped.com. Her recipe can be found here. I love her blog with so many great, healthy recipes and beautiful photographs to entice you!

So grab these items, (organic of course), start blending and be prepared to be swept off your feet:)

Big handful of kale
Big handful of romaine
Big handful of spinach
2 or 3 stalks of celery
1 big apple
1/2 cucumber
Juice of one lemon
A splash or two of coconut water
Blend on high for a minute or so, then…
Add several ice cubes and one or two frozen bananas
Blend on high until mixture has an ice cream consistency (if too soft, add more ice cubes and/or frozen bananas)

Pour into your bowls
Top with your favorite superfoods, I use:
Nature’s Path Coconut Chia Granola
Goji Berries
Cacao Nibs
Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Chia Seeds

What will you add?

Let me know how you and your family like it. Wishing you well on your journey to awesome health and vitality!

Peace,

Ted

Guest Blogger: Gormandize with A-dizzle and K-bobo – Vegan Bean and Mushroom Jambalaya

21 Jan

Our friend Keely from the blog Gormandize with A-dizzle and K-bobo. Keely has contributed before with a recipe for Chai Banana Loaf. You can follow her Blog, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest account. Welcome back Keely!

A month of American food wouldn’t be complete without my favourite American dish – jambalaya, a Louisiana speciality. Discovering this delicious dish essentially made me want to go to Louisiana! This jambalaya uses field mushrooms and vegetarian sausages instead of the traditional meat. Traditional jambalaya is also laden with green capsicum, however, I’ve left this out because it makes me sick – but if you are partial to a bit of green capsicum feel free to add it in, although I don’t think it needs it!!
I’ve also made this recipe using brown rice instead of white, it was also fantastic. You just need to increase the amount of water by about 2 cups and increase the cooking time by at least 20 minutes.
Ingredients
5 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 field mushrooms, washed and chopped in large chunks
3 vegetarian sausages, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups basmati rice
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tin diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tin cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tin Kidney beans, drained and rinsed
(More hot water, as required)
To Make
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot. Sauté the onions and celery for 2-3 mins. Add the mushrooms and veggie sausages and sauté until the veggies are cooked.
2. At this stage you’ll notice the bottom of the pan is getting all brownish from frying the veggies. So – deglaze the pan by adding the sherry (you’ll notice all the browny bits come right off the bottom and make your dish a lovely rich colour). Add the tomato paste as well and heat through.
3. Add the uncooked rice and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, tinned tomatoes, bay leaves and all herbs and spices. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring very frequently for about 30 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through, you may need to add more water as you are going to stop the rice sticking onto the bottom depending on how thirsty your rice is.
4. When the rice is almost cooked stir the tinned beans through. When the rice is fully cooked serve.
Serves 4.
This month I’m featuring lots of delicious food from
Southern USA!
Check out my other recipe posts:
 

Guest Blogger: V is for Vegetables – Lentils and Basmati Rice with Caramelized Onions and Spiced Pita

15 Nov

Please welcome back Vanessa, author of V is for Vegetables. You can read her previous post here a recipe for Zucchini Boats. Check V is for Vegetables on Twitter as well. Please welcome back Vanessa!

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My new iPhone finally arrived in the mail. Can you believe the camera on it? I love how many different uses the iPhone has and the camera might be my favorite part on the new one. The camera has facial recognition technology on it which is nothing new but I loved how it kept finding faces in the rice. Do you see a man’s face to the left of the center onion ring? I didn’t see it at first until I realized my phone was trying to tag him as a person. The phone is almost too smart.

This Middle Eastern dish is often called Mujadarah which is a fancy way of saying “rice, lentils and onion.” I adapted this dish from Veganomicon, the excellent cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. The one downfall of this cookbook is the lack of pictures. When I first made this dish, I thought, “No wonder there are no pictures… This looks like kitty litter.” With a little garnish, this dish ends up looking as delicious as it tastes.

Ingredients for rice, lentils and onion:

  • 3 large red onions, peeled and sliced into thin rings
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup long-grain basmati rice (brown or white), rinsed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • Basil leaves for garnish

Directions for rice, lentils and onion:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Lay the onion rings flat and separated in a large roasting pan. Toss in olive oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes until translucent and slightly burnt.

3. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Add rice, cinnamon, allspice, and cumin. Return to a boil then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

4. Uncover and gently stir in the lentils. Bring to a boil again then lower heat, cover and simmer. Cook until all water is absorbed. For me, this takes 12-15 minutes. Allow the dish to cool for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork.

5. Fold in the caramelized onions, garnish with basil leaves and serve with pita bread.

Ingredients for spiced pita:

  • 4 whole wheat pitas
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil for brushing
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions for spiced pita:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Slice the pita bread into 1/8ths like a pizza.

3. Combine olive oil with the seasonings. Brush the mixture onto the insides of each pita crisp.

4. Spread the pita crisps out on a baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until light brown.

Serves 4-6

Slightly adapted from: Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

Guest Blogger: Fried Tofu – Vegan Bolognese Sauce

17 Oct

New bloggers almost every day! Thank you everyone for coming together, this is exactly what VBU! is all about – yay us!

 

Please meet Susan, blogger of Fried Tofu. Here she is in her own words.

Susan

“Hello, my name is Susan. I reside in Chicago, IL with my husband and my dog. I once was a competitive swimmer, turned runner (2 marathons, check!), turned corporate professional, turned wine-o (due to the job), turned Vegan, turned blogger. I am type A, but my husband and best friend (Morgan, my fellow blogger) do a great job of balancing me out. I love to travel. I grew up with two supportive parents and two uniquely awesome sisters. I ride my bike to work (almost) everyday. I have a strange obsession with air planes and still find air travel to be an amazing feat. If I’m not in my kitchen, you can find me at a concert.

Fried Tofu is a blog about two friends with different views on food, coming together on one blog. Susan, the Vegan, Morgan, the not-so-Vegan, working to share recipes, travel experiences, totally awesome products and much more. The main focus is recipe Face Offs, where we put our own spin on one dish. Morgan makes a non-Vegan dish and I Veganize it. We post a Recipe Face Off every 2 weeks.” Please follow Susan and her adventures on her blog, Facebook and Twitter. Welcome Susan!

I made a “real” bolognese sauce about 6 or 7 years ago that my husband went crazy over. I never wrote down the recipe and of course I could never repeat what I had created the first time around. I like to believe that the Vegan Gods were the cause of my forgetfulness. Well Seitan, you won… Continue reading

Guest Blogger: Vegan Miam – Veggie cevapcici

12 Jun

Our air port loving friend Vegan Miam is back with a post about a faux meat that strikes a chord with my childhood; veggie cevapcici. Vegan Miam travels often and has great adventures in vegan food. Please welcome back Rika!

After living in Austria & Germany, I recognised a vegan German brand, Viana (also known as Tofutown.com GmbH) at Whole Foods in Portland, Oregon (as well as Boston) which came out this year. Viana products use “wheat, soybeans and fresh organic vegetables into delicious meat alternatives, tofu products, soy and rice drinks and fine soy creams” (Viana Biography). These products are also found “throughout Europe and even in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and now in North America.” Viana products include seasoned and delicious veggie gyros, veggie döner kebab, chickin fillets, chickin nuggets, veggie cevapcici, cowgirl veggie steaks and finally Soyatoo! vegan creams! I had tried nearly all of them whilst living in Germany and Austria for couple of months and it is finally so nice to have these products in the U.S.

This is the veggie cevapcici I had with fresh and homemade Israeli bread and seasoned tahini paste served with arugula-Persian cucumber-salad (dressed in lemon juice & olive oil & sea salt). This is probably my favourite meat alternative compared to veggie gyros (they tend to be saltier, but it vary on one’s taste). I found the seasoned tahini paste at a kosher Jewish shop, “The Butcherie” in Brookline, MA. You can find “seasoned ACHVA Tahini Paste” online as well, good luck!

You can thinly slice veggie cevapcici as “gyro” in any ways from burritos to wraps to pitas. Some prefer less meaty or some prefer bulky type. You can use Trader Joe’s Habanero Lime Flour Tortilla with tahini paste and your choice of red hot chili sauce.

To see other post on Viana gyro meat, read more here.

About Rika

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Rika runs an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents on vegan cuisine, groceries, airports, products, especially home cooking. You can find her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Guest Blogger: The Vegan Kat – Ginger Sesame Stir Fry with Seitan

24 May

Please welcome Kat, she is the author of The Vegan Kat.  She has been a vegan for nearly 4 years, and was vegetarian for about 6 years before going vegan. Her blog, The Vegan Kat, is her way of sharing recipes and showing that it’s not so hard to be vegan. Kat: “I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking, so it’s good inspiration to continue trying new recipes and new foods.” Visit The Vegan Kat’s Facebook page here. Please welcome Kat!

I was in the mood for ginger and a healthy dose of veggies and this is the dish that resulted. It turned out really well especially for being a bit improvisational. Sometimes that’s the best way to cook! I make stir fries pretty often, but it was good to change things up and throw in some new flavors and veggies. It’s quite a colorful dish too. This is a quick and easy recipe that you can make on a weeknight, and the leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day!

Ingredients:

1 yellow squash
About 1 cup of French beans (or green beans)
1 red pepper
1 leek
1 yellow onion
1 or 2 shallots
5 cloves of garlic
1 heaping Tbsp of fresh grated ginger
sesame oil
1 package of seitan
1/4 – 1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/4 – 1/2 cup of rice vinegar
garlic powder
ground black pepper
sticky rice or noodles
sesame seeds

Directions:

  • Prepare your rice or noodles according to the package directions. I used sticky rice for this dish which worked out well. While the rice or noodles are cooking, prepare the rest of the dish.
  • Chop the yellow squash, french beans, red pepper, leek, yellow onion, and shallots. Press or mince the garlic and grate the ginger. Saute these ingredients in a large pan with some sesame oil.
  • In a separate pan saute the seitan in sesame oil so the edges get crispy.
  • Add about 1/4 of soy sauce and a 1/4 cup of rice vinegar to the veggies and let them simmer for a little bit to soak up the liquid.
  • Once the seitan is crispy, add about an 1/8-1/4 cup of soy and 1/8 to a 1/4 cup of rice vinegar. Start with less and add more to taste. Continue to saute so the seitan soaks up the flavor.
  • Combine the seitan with the veggies. Season with some garlic powder and ground black pepper to taste.
  • In a small pan, toast some sesame seeds over medium-low heat. It doesn’t take long for them to toast so keep an eye on them.
  • Once your rice or noodles are finished, spoon some into a bowl. Top with the veggies and seitan. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top.

Guest Blogger: *Vegan Sparkles* – Green Spaghetti recipe

21 May

Hello everyone! We have a new guest blogger to join the VBU ranks, please meet Rebecca, the author of Vegan Sparkles. Here she is in her own words, “My name is Bex, Rebecca or Sparkles, depending on who you ask and I’m a fairly new vegan (8 months now!), blogging about love, life, laughter and vegan adventures around Perth, Western Australia.” Connect with Vegan Sparkles on Facebook. Please welcome Rebecca!

Did you know that all food tastes better if you dance while you make it? Seriously, it does. I don’t make this stuff up.

When there’s a heat wave outside, though, and your moves are smokinnnn inside, it can get a little too hot in the kitchen…

Sometimes it’s smarter to call the raw food back into play.

I experimented last night and used my Green Spaghetti recipe but replaced the pasta with zucchini noodles and used fresh snow peas for a little extra crunch! I also used only one garlic clove in the pesto, because sometimes it’s nice to dance with vampires.

And the verdict? WOW, the raw version kicks the cooked version’s butt on the dancefloor!

If you have never tried zucchini noodles before, prepare to be amazed! The consistency is delicious and they are the perfect pasta – raw, fat and gluten-free!

Give it a whirl. I’m pretty confident you won’t be disappointed. :-)

* Glitter optional but highly recommended. *

For 2- 3 servings:

1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
1 clove Garlic
2 cups fresh Basil leaves
3 tbsp Pine nuts
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 large Zucchini
3 handfuls of Snow Peas or Sugar Snap Peas, thinly sliced

  1. Blend the oil, nutritional yeast, garlic, basil leaves, lemon juice and pine nuts in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  2. Make noodles out of the zucchini by using a mandolin or Julienne vegetable peeler to carefully slice the zucchini lengthwise, starting at one end and ending at the other. As you work through the zucchini, turn it over and start again on another side, until there are only the seeds remaining.
  3. Discard the zucchini seed cores and place the zucchini noodles in a large bowl.
  4. Mix the pesto and snow peas with the zucchini noodles.
  5. Season with salt & pepper and enjoy!

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