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.

Vegan Burgers ~ Funkink Burgers, Bucharest, Romania

So recently we were feeling a hint of cabin fever and decided to get out, only all the fun places in the mountains and the countryside were packed with others who had the same idea, so we ventured into the city.

Which city, you ask?

Bucharest. It’s only about 75 kilometers from Ploiesti so within an hour–give or take for traffic–we can be there with the frustration of city driving behind us. The day was nice and sunny, we got there just late enough to bypass rush hour traffic and parked quickly, so it was mostly an easy journey.

ARCUL DE TRIUMF, Bucharest, Romania

I’ll tell you later all about my new tattoo, complete with vegan, cruelty-free vegan ink. For now, let’s talk food.

Funkink Burgers, formerly known as Sarah’s Burgers, is a fully vegan establishment. The cool thing about this place besides their artisan burgers? It’s a collaborative effort with an NGO, Romanian Vegan Association, to “promote a vegan lifestyle and reduce the consumption of animal products for ethical, economic reasons, to protect health and the environment.”

Pretty cool mission statement, if I do say so myself.

After sitting on a stool for hours until my butt was numb, all I could think about was burgers. Vegan burgers and fries, and homemade vegan dipping sauces. Sign me up. Now.

Funkink Burgers view, Bucharest, RO

The walking path to get to Funkink was a lot like wandering the side streets of Paris, basically a labyrinth of cobblestone streets that feature bars and eateries from around the world. I spotted an American style sports bar, an English pub, several German pubs because Germany is a HUGE influence in this country, and even a Scottish pub that promised “authentic Scottish fare”.

One Pot Vegan Italian Sausage Bake

We have to eat. It’s a necessity for all that messy breathing, heart beating, brain function stuff. But that doesn’t mean we always have the time, the mental or physical energy to spend thirty minutes in the kitchen whipping up something nutritious and delicious.

You can opt for nutritious only, but what would be the point?

One of my favorite things to create when I’m not in the mood to cook, is a one pot meal. You can prep as you go, rinsing, chopping and weighing the food before tossing it into a casserole dish. Season everything together and toss, then all you have to do is pop it in the oven.

Alternately, you can cook any one pot vegan meal on a baking sheet if you want to diversify the flavor profile of the different vegetables.

Either way, it’s a lot less dishes and the oven does all the work. Where’s the flaw in that vegan recipe?

vegan sausage and potato veggie bake

This is a one pot vegan meal that you add to the rotation because the ingredients are so simple.

Easy Vegan Dips ~ Shallot & Banana Pepper Relish

Hummus.

Salsa.

Pesto.

Spinach & artichoke.

Romesco.

Tapenade.

Vegan queso.

What do these yummy dishes all have in common? They are delicious vegan dips!

I don’t know about you guys, but I am always looking for different things to dip-ify. My favorite is salsa, followed up with hummus but I can totally get down with a nice tapenade if the olive selection is appealing enough. But any one of these vegan dips can get boring after a while and I find it’s nice to switch things up once in a while, so when my father-in-law brought A LOT of white plums back from a trip to the Romanian countryside, it was the perfect time to improvise.

White plums are not just for sweet vegan dishes

To be fair, white plums are not all that delicious on their own. The texture is very similar to the plums you can find in most supermarkets around the world, but the taste is so mild that it’s almost nonexistent. If you give them a day or two after they’re perfectly ripe, they are much sweeter and perfect for this vegan relish I created. Well…maybe someone else created and I just made it up in my head. Either way, this one is mine and I’m claiming it.

Quick & easy vegan dips don’t have to be complicated. Just add chips!

The ingredient list on this vegan dip is super simple. All you need is: banana pepper, shallot, white plums, fresh lemon juice and rice vinegar. The only seasoning I added was salt, black pepper & garlic granules.

Nothing else.

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Start with the shallots, because you want to give him a little bit of pickling so they don’t overpower the other ingredients. Dice the shallots and add them straight to a bowl, along with salt, pepper, lemon juice and vinegar. Give it a little stir and let it sit while you chop the banana peppers and plums.

I used jarred banana peppers because that’s what I had on hand, and truthfully I don’t think I’ve seen any fresh banana peppers since moving to Romania. Add the banana peppers to the bowl and give a good stir before moving on to the plums.

For the white plums, you can peel the skin off but I kept them on because, you know, fiber. Give them an even dice and add to the bowl. Give everything a quick stir and refrigerate. I let them sit in the fridge for a few days so the flavors could get together and have a little party, but you can dig right in if you want.

And now you have another easy vegan dip added to your repertoire.

And what’s even better? It is SUPER calorie/figure friendly!

cronometer.com

I know what you’re thinking. What the hell do I do with this weird vegan relish?

I’m glad you asked.

Shallot, banana pepper & white plum relish with tortilla chips

You can use this dip in a number of ways

*Mix it with your favorite brand of vegan tuna and make a sandwich

*Grab tortilla chips and nosh away

*Pita chips or pita bread, naan, rustic bread etc…

*Add a few tablespoons to your favorite vegan yogurt or sour cream and make a creamy dip

*Add it on top of your favorite vegan hot dog or sausage, Chicago style

If you’re feeling really hungry, grab a spoon and let go, but I recommend a healthy dose of carbs to go with it.

Southern Style Vegan Black Eyed Pea & Spinach Stew

I know, I know, it’s barely September and here I am with a stew recipe. The weather is still nice but has cooled dramatically after the super warm summer we’ve had all over Europe (and home in the US too, no?), which makes it the perfect time to hop on the stew train. Or if you prefer, the soup train?

Not to mention the fact that black eyed peas are very difficult to find here so when I found them (jarred, boo) I grabbed them, held on tight and knew I had to make a southern style vegan bean stew.

Why? Both of my grandmothers have southern roots–Alabama & Tennessee, respectively–which means I have eaten my fair share of bean soups, stews and the mysteriously named soup beans. Sometimes, when my longing for time with my grannies gets too strong, this is one of my go to recipes. Or when it’s a little bit chilly and I’m making an excuse to eat soup. Or just because the mood strikes.

Black eyed peas are perfect for vegan stews or slow cooker vegan recipes

This is a very hearty stew which means, in my opinion, it doesn’t require bread or crackers or anything else on the side. You’ve got spinach for dark leafy greens, onions and potatoes for fiber and tons of other nutrients. Just season well and let this big bowl of vegan goodness do it’s thang.

Ben & Jerry’s Vegan Ice Cream

I’ve shared my adventures with you before, about living in Romania. Being vegan in Romania.

For the first year, it was hit or miss, finding fun and delicious vegan items that it seemed like the rest of the world had at their fingertips. To be honest, I was a bit envious of my vegan friends all around the world.

On the upside, I became a better vegan cook in my own right. I learned to appreciate the value, the taste and the health benefits of a whole food, plant based diet. I learned how to make seitan sausages, gyros and ribs. So I’m not too salty about it.

In the past 2 years, Romania is really stepped up its game and I’m proud of the manufacturers and all the other vegans in this small country for making them see we are a forced to be reckoned with.

All that, is my long-winded way of telling you about the most magnificent new vegan find of the week.

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream…nay, Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice cream.

It was tasty, as far as ice cream goes, but my Hubs really appreciated it. I did too, but I’m half way through the container and I have yet to find a salty pretzel!

Vegan Backyard BBQ Salad Recipe – Smoked Tofu, Sweet Potato & Corn Salad

We have all seen the vegan salad memes and if you’ve been vegan for even a few months, you know how true the meme is.

loaded vegan salads

It’s kind of sad to think that only vegans are privileged enough to enjoy these delicious salads when they are so packed with nutrition, vibrant colors (which is also a clue to nutrition) and tons of raw, high fiber vegetables. But hey, if you need animals in your salad…

Today’s vegan salad recipe is kind of my own creation. In my mind, I love a good backyard barbecue and that probably stems from all the great cookouts spent at my grandmother’s house as a kid. But the reality of charcoal and lighter fluid, the awful smell and burnt food makes it less appealing.

So I decided to veganize and salad-ify the backyard barbecue.

Easy vegan salads and homemade vegan salad dressing
Fresh cut corn, smoked tofu & herbed veggiegurt vegan salad dressing

One of the first lessons I learned when I became a vegan and a healthy (ish) eater, was that a salad can be just about anything. I always thought of salad as the pitiful thing you get at restaurants when the choice is soup or salad, you know two quartered tomatoes, iceberg lettuce and a few half-moons of cucumber. That can–and has–turned plenty of people of eating salad.