This week is crazy busy for me so I’ll keep this post short without skimping on the details or photos of the finished product. This weekend my partner and I went out for a long walk that became super abbreviated about halfway through, thanks to an impromptu rain storm. It didn’t last long but we were proper chilled when we made it back to our place and all thoughts of cold salad were out the window in favor of soup.
I found FRESH wood ear mushrooms and I was so excited to recreate these pickled mushrooms I had at one of the few Asian style restaurants in Ploiesti. But wood ear mushrooms aren’t a meal, especially when you only have 200 grams of them. So then I thought of soup. And then ramen.
And that’s how I ended up with this vegan restaurant style Asian lunch for two.
For the soup: Ginger, garlic, lemongrass, scallions & nori with my waste free broth. Simmered for 20 minutes and then ready to go!
The first time I ate Indian food, I was at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. and I hated it. The food was bland and boring and left such a bad taste in my mouth that it took me about three years before I tried it again. That time, well let’s just say that in our house, Indian food is on the menu at least once a week.
The dish was lamb vindaloo (sorry lamb!) and it was everything I had been promised Indian food would be. Well-seasoned, flavorful as hell, and spicy. It blew me away and from that moment on, I was hooked. The addiction was formed.
And it was that memory that inspired me to re-create the Kartoffel Vindaloo in all it’s spicy glory.
You’re probably wondering why I named this recipe Kartoffel Vindaloo intsead of regular ol’ potato vindaloo? The simple answer is that after spending almost a decade living in Germany, I’ve decided that I prefer the word kartoffel to the word potato, that’s all. 🙂
Today I thought I would do something a little different. Instead of a traditional recipe, because you can add whatever you want to your favorite vegan taco salad, I just want to talk about what I did and how I did it.
I’ve made no secret about how much I love tacos, or taco salads and even taco bowls, so feel free to use any of those for inspiration.
I made corn, mushroom and mince taco salad inside a tortilla salad bowl. Let’s start there.
Before we get into the nitty gritty of what makes a good vegan taco salad bowl, let’s talk about what you can put in your salad bowl.
I have really been enjoying this way of choosing meals that my partner and I have undertaken for more than a year now. Inspired by the Netflix show, Midnight Tokyo Diner, the deal is simple: choose whatever you want to eat and the other person will make it as long as we have the ingredients. Substitutions and your own twist are allowed.
Cooking this way not only allows each of us to stretch our creative muscles in the kitchen, but it allows for unique twists on old favorites. And for us, it’s nice to recreate dishes we haven’t had since going vegan. Trust me when I tell you that it’s an exciting way to cook because you go to the grocery store, buy a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, vegan alternatives and the like, and each night you get a surprise.
Given how life has been for the past 12-14 months, this is a great way to keep things from getting stale in the kitchen, especially if you have the unfortunate luck of living some place there aren’t a lot of vegan takeout food options. You have to do it yourself and we’ve become pretty good at it.
This night, the request was Cajun sausage and rice, one of my favorite dishes as a child. It has everything a good meal needs, rice, spice and a little bit of protein.
As you can see, the ingredient list for this vegan sausage and rice dish is quite simple.
I know, I know. Beans and sausage are both proteins and totally unnecessary in one desk. I know. Really, I do. In fact, most nights of the week I’ll be the annoying vegan making that argument. But a deal is a deal and when we decided, ages ago, that as long as we had the ingredients and the know-how, we would make the dish the other person requested to the best of our ability.
And we’d just bought some Verdino brand vegan sausages, and there are ALWAYS beans in the pantry, so I had no excuse not to do it. Other than being difficult, of course, which I am always happy to do.
But, I didn’t. Bummer.
But, life goes on.
He asked for Sausage & Bean casserole with mashed potatoes and this is what I came up with.
Before we get to the yummy smells and full bellies, we need to gather our ingredients.
Ingredients: Cannellini beans Vegan sausage Onion Garlic Potatoes Bell pepper Dried chili peppers Red wine Tomatoes (fresh or crushed) Vegan butter Plant milk (I used almond, unsweetened) Thyme Bay leaf
You can cook the vegan sausages in the pan to start if you’d like, but I cranked the oven up and cooked them in there, turning every 3 to 5 minutes until good & crispy on all sides. It’s a good way to multi-task and a better way to make this a no oil added vegan dish.
Take a minute to get your potatoes boiling so everything finishes around the same time.
Next, heat up the skillet and add the onion, dried chilies and bell pepper, cook until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and thyme, cook until fragrant.
Then, add the red wine and simmer until it starts to reduce.
Add beans and cover, simmer 10 to 20 minutes, or until a thick sauce starts to form.
When potatoes are tender, drain and reserve some of the starchy water in a measuring cup. Add the vegan butter to the same hot pot you used to boil the potatoes until it sizzles. Toss in the minced garlic until brown & fragrant, turn down heat and remove the pot to a sturdy, flat surface so you can give the potatoes a proper mashing.
Use plant milk and starchy water to get the consistency you’re going for and return to heat until its warmed through.
Take the vegan sausages from the oven and toss with the bean sauce, serve on top of the potatoes.
This meal is perfect when you want red wine in your dinner instead of with it, when the weather gets cold, which it seems be doing whenever it feels like for the past few weeks, or when you’re in the mood for a protein-heavy vegan meal. It’s pretty much perfect any way you look at it.
Enjoy and if you try this recipe, I’d love to hear/see it, so hit me up on Instagram.
These days I’m loving the mix & match meals that my partner and I have been enjoying. What is a ‘mix & match’ meal, you ask?
Easy, it’s a meal that can actually be two separate meals but you decide to put’em together to create something vegan and delicious. Some people, fancier people than me, might call it fusion but it’s not meant to be a modern statement on any particular cuisine type or anything like that, just a way for the greedy vegan in you to enjoy two things at once.
My hubs wanted Mongolian style vegan beef and fire noodles, and he asked which one would be easier to make and since he was so sweet to ask…I made them both.
The recipe name might not be pretty and to be honest, my photos leave A LOT to be desired. But what you really want to know is, was it delicious?
Hell yeah, it was!
You might think that making two separate dishes is more time consuming, but it’s not. Well, not as long as you do a little bit of prep work.
Step one: Gather your ingredients
I made enough for two adults who eat proper portion sizes, so use that as your best estimate for how much to use, or sign up for Cronometer or any other calorie tracking app. If you’re not there yet, consult the nutrition information on the package.
Step Two: Hydrate the TVP Obviously if you’re using tofu or seitan or tempeh, you can just follow those instructions, but I used TVP so if you do that, I recommend getting it going as early as possible.
Step Three: Cook ginger, onion, chili pepper, garlic & scallions I didn’t use any oil, just a bit of water to get it going before seasoning, but cook your veggies how you like.
Step Four: Add TVP to air fryer I wanted the soy to be nice and crispy before adding it to the vegetables and sauce, if you want it less crispy, drain the TVP and toss it right in once the vegetables are done.
Step Five & Six: Make the SAUCE The Mongolian sauce is soy sauce based with brown sugar and a cornstarch slurry to thicken. I added chili peppers and Korean chili flakes to spice it up, but you can add ketchup or bbq sauce or premade teriyaki sauce if you like.
For the fire noodles, I used Korean chili paste, butter, tomato paste, spicy mustard and water to thin out the sauce just enough that it was easy to toss the ramen noodles with it.
and there you have it, a quick and easy vegan dinner that will satisfy your craving for noodles, Mongolian beef or just Asian food in general. Don’t be afraid to improvise and taste as you go along.
I don’t always use meat alternatives when I cook, in fact I try not to use them too often just because you can’t go wrong with a plate full of whole food foods. But times are rough and sometimes your self-care just has to be a bigger priority without sacrificing healthy choices, and when that happens you need a lazy but tasty vegan dinner.
Lazy meals don’t necessarily mean vegan comfort food so just get thoughts of vegan pizza or deep fried cauliflower wings out of your head right now. Lazy mostly, for the sake of this vegan food post, means quick and easy.
Not a lot of prep time.
Not a long list of ingredients.
And it doesn’t get easier than this. Okay, yeah it does but you’re an adult and you still need to eat your veggies.
So. Eat. Your. Veggies.
All you’ll need is: vegan meatballs, rice, broccoli, onion, red bell pepper and whatever you want from your herbs & spices.
Some days you just feel like getting weird with it and on those days, well, you get weird with it.
I recently bought some new hot sauce, Crazy Bastard brand hot sauce, and so you know I had to indulge my love of all things spicy and delicious. I couldn’t go completely crazy because my partner does not handle the super hot foods all that well and I love him, so I guess I have to take it easy on the fella.
We still had some really good looking oyster mushrooms in the fridge and I knew exactly what I wanted, something simple so the hot sauce could be the star of the meal, and something to take the heat off if necessary. (It was totally necessary, btw)
So, if you’re ready to get hot & spicy, grab your favorite vegan meat alternative, mushrooms, bulgur and bok choy leaves and let’s do this! Oh, and let’s not forget the hot sauce.
Let’s start with the mushrooms because I like to put mine in the oven and let them get crispy on the edges while keeping the moisture in the big part of the cap. Dust off the dirt and grime with a wet napkin or towel, and trim them before you weigh them (if that’s your jam, but it’s totally mine).
I don’t know about you guys, but I love to cook. I don’t have a problem with blasting some music or listening to a true crime podcast while I get busy in the kitchen. Whether it’s making my favorite dessert from scratch–brownies–or any other thing that’s asked of me, I’ll do it.
But that doesn’t mean I’m all that creative in the kitchen. I will mix and match with the best of’em. For example, I recently made Jerk Cabbage Ramen and it was delicious, if I do say so myself. But vegan cooking isn’t my main job, or even my second job. It’s more of a passion so when it comes to creativity, I have no problem looking to others for inspiration.
One of my favorite vegan food blogs is Rabbit & Wolves because they have tons of unique vegan recipes and they’re just complicated enough to be challenging without pissing me off. So a few weeks back I was scrolling through recipes in search of something delicious and made with mushrooms, and most importantly, something I hadn’t eaten in the past, oh I don’t know, six months.
And that’s when I spotted it. Sticky. Apricot. Mushrooms.
Yep, you heard me right. I was like, “what?” And then I immediately knew what I wanted my partner to make on our next Midnight Tokyo Diner night. But when that night rolled around, there were no apricots and no apricot jam anywhere in the house, because who the heck keeps apricot jam on hand?