Crispy Fried Mushrooms, A Dipping Sauce & Vegan Dirty Rice ~ Take 2.5

I have tried to make dirty rice and even dirty rice & beans, but so far I have yet to perfect it. Let’s just say that it is a work in progress and some days, it feels as if it might always be a work in progress.

The good news is that I’ve been practicing rinsing and soaking rice grains. Using different grain lengths, colors and shapes. It turns out, the issue isn’t the rice. It’s me. Or maybe it was me, because I think this one came out pretty good.

Vegan Cajun style dirty rice

If you’ve never had dirty rice, it is a southern staple that’s filled with vegetables, herbs, spices and delicious meat alternatives. The first few times I tried to make vegan dirty rice, there was too much liquid. The next time, the rice was too sticky. There may (or may not) have been an instance of burned rice too, but we’re not here to talk about that.

Vegan Fried Chicken Dinner

Am I the only one who has a handful of recipes that you can whip up with just about anything, no matter how badly you don’t want to cook? Just me?

Bummer.

Well I have a few of them. I can always go for ramen, soup or stir-fry or any other recipe I can justify. Potatoes are good any day of the week and I will build a meal around them if I’m not in the mood to cook. Pasta and sandwiches are always nice to whip up in a time crunch.

But the one meal my vegan heart goes to when I’m not in the mood to cook, or I’m just exhausted, is vegan fried chicken. There’s just something about this particular meal that is always satisfying. Vegan fried chicken. Corn on the cob. Mashed potatoes. Is there anything better?

Not that I can think of.

Vegan fried chicken with hot sauce.

Full disclosure, today’s particular meal didn’t come about because I wasn’t in the mood to cook. It does happen, but it’s rare. Actually I was browsing hot sauce options online because that’s how I roll, and I came across a giant multi-pack that I was beyond eager to try. They arrived and I needed to cook something that was the perfect test food for hot sauce.

Vegan Fall Soups – Creamy Carrot Bisque & Mushroom Croutons

Whenever the weather turns a little bit cold, it is just the excuse I need to put on a soup. On the stove top or in a Crock pot, I will make a curry, a stew, chili, or even a plain old noodle soup, as long as it’s got tons of veggies and piping hot liquid. Sign me up.

The only problem with being a vegan soup-a-holic, is that you have to think creatively if you don’t want to repeat the same seven soup recipes until you can’t stand the sight, the scent, of soup. You have to be willing to experiment with pantry staples, with seasonal items, all of it.

How do you think I came up with mushrooms croutons?

Creamy carrot vegan bisque

Sometimes as the summer tips to fall, the supermarket offers up carrots by the busload. Big packages for a good price means I’ll put those carrots to use with stir fry recipes, kimchi, and all manner of vegan salad. But as we are at the cooler stage in the calendar, I figured it was the perfect time for a bisque.

Quick & Easy Vegan Stir-Fry – Kale & Vegan Mince Stir-Fry

I don’t have much time for a post today but I did something recently that I swore I would never do again after a very bad experience when I was ten years old. Eat Kale.

Came across some beautiful looking kale at the market and I figured it was time to give it another try, and guess what? It was pretty damn good. Okay sure, the vegan mince (Naturli brand) helped, as did all the other veggies, but it was tasty (and bitter) and worked very well with the recipe.

Kale & vegan beef stir fry

If you’ve made one stir fry, you know how to make them all! Start with the veggies with the longest cooking time and work your way down, ending with the vegan mince.

Restaurant Style Vegan Beef & Broccoli

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Asian food? Because I do. A lot.

There’s no good Asian delivery options with vegan options so when we want it, we have to cook it ourselves. That’s just fine by me because then I can use Cronometer to make just enough for two people. Takeout Asian food always gives out so much, which I love…but I also don’t love.

There was a beautiful head of broccoli at the market this week and I knew immediately what I wanted. Vegan Beef & Broccoli but not just the kind you make when you’re being a lazy vegan, but the kind that comes in a thick, silky sauce filled with flavor.

Oh yeah…

There’s nothing better than finally getting a vegan beef & broccoli recipe right. Like, really right. This one, credit to my hubs, was Top 5 Vegan Beef & Broccoli, at least in my opinion.

Spicy Vegan Tuna Puttanesca with Orecchiette

When it comes to pasta, my motto is, the more the better. That’s right. Despite my efforts to eat healthier over the years, the one thing I refuse to give up is carbs. I love spaghetti, mac & cheese, ramen, bread…all of it. But I’m also not afraid to add any of them to a bowl of raw veggies to balance it all out.

But I’ve recently discovered a brand of vegan tuna called Unfished, and you know that meant I needed a do over from my last vegan puttanesca dish!

There are a lot of variations on what it means to make a true puttanesca but this is a vegan food blog so we already know there won’t be any anchovies or other formerly living critters in this recipe, and that’s all right because that’s where the vegan tuna comes in.

Easy vegan tuna puttanesca pasta.

This dish was pretty easy to make, especially if you already know the basics of building a good red sauce. Even if you don’t, you’ll find it easy…with a bit of prep work.

Easy Vegan Fall Soup Recipes ~ Lemon & Wild Rice Soup

As much as I complain about the temperature dipping below what I find naturally comfortable, there are two things that I truly look forward to when autumn hits; Halloween and soups. Okay, the changing of the leaves is also a beautiful sight to behold but nothing is better than soup.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a creamy bisque, a hearty curry, a veggie stew or a delicious Asian inspired vegan Pho, or any other variety of noodle soups I can come up with, I want it all and I want it every day. Soup is my go to in fall and winter, consider it my warm liquid salad for the half the year. I haven’t made too many soups because it’s only just getting chilly, but the apartment block we rent in Romania is old school…like so old school that it is made up mostly of cement. Add to that, our side of the building is NOT the sunny side and you can see why I am constantly cold.

But, I digress. We were talking soups, no?

For today’s vegan soup recipe, I went with a simple lemon and wild rice soup, though it doesn’t taste anywhere near as simple as it sounds. I swear.

Easy vegan soup recipes can be made with pantry staples.

Soups are always easy vegan recipes because mostly they are or can be one pot recipes as well, which this one is. Sometimes I will make the rice separately but this time I wanted every grain of wild basmati rice to soak up all the waste free vegan broth, the lemon juice and all the delicious herbs and spices.

Couscous & Tofu Salad w/Green Goddess Salad Dressing

It’s time for another vegan salad with all the delicious goodies you know and love, but this time the focus is on the vegan salad dressing.

Want a unique vegan salad? Check out my vegan sushi salad bowl recipe here!

When I first got on the Salad Train, I can admit that I wasn’t very imaginative, not with my ingredients and certainly not with healthy salad dressing options. I started with simple vinagrettes and then creamy dressings made with vegan yogurt, mustard and even Sriracha. But the oil is a real killer.

I know, I know, life isn’t just about calories. But when you’re trying to lose weight, which was my original goal, much of your eating life is about calories and oil comes in at 120 calories per tablespoon which is INSANE. Add in how much you need to use to make a proper vinaigrette and you can see why I started to explore other options.

So when the weather permits and when the supermarket or farmer’s market has them, I pile up on herbs. Dill, parsley, basil, mint, and pretty much whatever else green I can find. Except cilantro, it is not my jam and never has been.

So, let’s do this, shall we?

This is a hot & cold salad, which means you don’t need to cook everything but that also makes it versatile enough to eat during the hottest day of summer or as the autumn chill sets in.

Aloo Keema ~ Vegan Mince & Potato Curry Recipe

I love a good curry. Who doesn’t? I mean, you get tons of vegetables and rice steeped in delicious and vibrant flavors, sometimes spicy with your favorite vegan meat alternative and it’s just a big bowl of goodness. Unlike soup, I am never opposed to eating a curry in the heart of summer of the depths of winter.

And I recently discovered Aloo Keema, a dish that originated in Pakistan/Northern India that has the simplest of ingredients: mince, potatoes and rice with bread if you choose to double-carb it.

The flavors of the dish really appealed to me so I figured, why not?

Vegan Aloo Keema ~ Mince & Potato Curry

As far as vegan curry recipes go, this is a pretty easy one with a manageable list of vegan ingredients.

Vegan Bar Food ~ Oil-free Buffalo Cauliflower Nuggets

As a girl from Chicago, one of my favorite foods to eat is anything deep fried and drenched in hot sauce. When I switched over to a vegan lifestyle, that meant TVP in the air fryer and dunked in my famous Frank’s-based sauce. And then cauliflower had her glow-up.

Now I’m not like most people who used to hate on cauliflower as being the paler, less delicious form of broccoli. I’ve always been a fan and I don’t need it covered in cheese or breading, no matter how good it might be.

In fact, I made it a goal to find different ways to have vegan buffalo wings without all the oil and calories.

And I’m pretty sure this is the winner.

Oil free vegan cauliflower in buffalo sauce

So what’s the trick to tasty but oil-free cauliflower nuggets? High cook temperature.