Vegan Chicken Alfredo

Have I mentioned lately how much I love pasta and noodles? That I could eat it at least four times a week without getting sick of it even though I very easily and quickly get sick of dishes if I have them too often? Of course I have, it’s me we’re talking about!

I’ve already made a couple of different vegan alfredo sauces, one with lots of garlic and mushrooms and another with peas, chickpea alfredo sauce and vegan parmesan. Despite my love of pasta and alfredo sauce, I’ve made this dish again because I feel as if my vegan alfredo sauce gets better with every go round.

At first it was too think and clunky, then it was too watery. Whether I used a roux, processed tofu or early versions of mediocre vegan cheese, it was good but it wasn’t quite right. Thus began my Goldilocks method of perfecting my vegan alfredo sauce.

Today I kept it simple with this vegan chicken alfredo made with Naturli brand breaded schnitzel, which includes this particular dish in the easy vegan recipes column. Pop the schnitzel in the oven until crispy and sizzling, let it rest while you take care of everything else.

Easy vegan chicken alfredo with pasta.

If you think making vegan alfredo sauce from scratch couldn’t possibly qualify as ‘easy’, think again. Even the recipe list on this bad boy is fairly simple.

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Vegan Deli Sandwiches & Salad

One of the things that many of my non-vegan friends (which is most of my friends) think is that I spend a ton of time making meals because vegan meals are hard. I usually laugh and shake my head because nothing could be further from the truth. I spend time in the kitchen because I like to, also because losing weight requires that you take control of what you put into your body and that, sometimes, means experimenting or meal prepping, or cooking vegan food from scratch.

But there are times when I’m too busy working on my next Mustang Prairie novel, or (shameless plug) any of my other contemporary romance novels, to give my kitchen the love and attention it deserves. When that happens, I am like Joey from Friends (am I giving my age away?) and I just want a really good sandwich. A really incredible vegan deli sandwich filled with meat alternatives, lettuce, red wine vinegar and all kinds of other goodies.

This is an easy vegan sandwich that doesn’t require much work.

Vegan deli sandwich with the works.

The best thing about whipping up a good sandwich, is that it takes almost no time. There are also plenty of hacks that can decrease your time in the kitchen if you want a vegan sandwich for lunch because you work at home like I do, or you have a make a sandwich to take into the office. Just…do what needs to be done to eat as many whole foods as you can, while enjoying what you eat, and you’re good.

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”.

Spicy Vegan Cheese & Sausage Fries

As much as I try to eat healthy, enjoying big colorful Buddha Bowls, salads and other healthy vegan options, some days you just want something greasy and good. At least I do.

After a week of nonstop marketing and promotions across all time zones for my latest romance novel, Bared., I was in desperate need of some vegan comfort food. Other than a million different types of ramen, nothing says comfort to me like potatoes.

And what is greasier and more comforting than cheese fries? Vegan cheese fries with sausage, of course!

Potato & squash fries are the centerpiece of this vegan dinner!

With a few fun vegan hacks, you can enjoy this (mostly) guilt-free version of cheese fries, or you can make a few small adjustments and make comfort food light.

Lemon Broccoli Pasta & Vegan Salmon

I don’t know about you, my fellow vegans, but when I first went vegan I found it easier to just stick to a whole food, plant based diet. I was worried that eating too many vegan alternatives would make it harder to stick to this new way of life. It helped that 4 years ago there were not as many options as there are in 2021. Back then, there was tofu, vegan sausages and various breaded vegan chicken options and if we’re being honest, they were nothing to write home about.

In short, they were easy to pass on in favor of big fat veggie filled Buddha bowls.

These days? Not so much

Okay well, there are much better options. Beyond Burger, I’m talking to you! But, as a lover of food, I knew that I would have to venture outside of my comfort zone to test out all the vegan food options for loyal readers and foodies like you.

So when I happened upon this vegan salmon by Lord of Tofu, I knew I had to try it. Well, the truth is that I knew my husband would want to try it because he loved the vegan lox we got from the same maker.

Anyhoo…here we are.

Since we’ve been going pretty steadily on our Midnight Tokyo Diner thing, the hubs requested this meal. Lemon broccoli pasta with vegan salmon and that’s what I gave him.

Friday Night Vegan Pesto Pizza Brot!!

I don’t usually post on Fridays anymore because everyone is so busy planning for the weekend there isn’t much interaction but I just couldn’t resist with this easy vegan pizza recipe.

It doesn’t require a whole big thing, in fact that only difference is that I replaced pizza dough with bread.

Why?

Mostly because pizza dough is super high in calories and honestly, as good as pizza is, it’s just not worth it. But if you love pizza and want to enjoy it without an 800+ calorie meal, try out the different options at your local bakery, or if you’re like me bakeries.

Enjoy my Friday Night Vegan Pesto Pizza Brot!

This particular vegan recipe included: vegan mince, homemade pesto, bell peppers, onions, shallots & vegan mozzarella shreds.

Quatro Vegan Formaggio ~ Vegan Shells & Cheese

I’ll tell you up front that I was so excited about how well, and by well I mean cheesy this dish came out, that I dug right in and finished it all before I remembered the small matter of taking photos. Oops.

Forgive me?

Since the Hubs and I still do the Midnight Tokyo Diner dinner choices, our meal choices are at the mercy of that on any given night, which means some nights we have more not-so-healthy meals than others.

This is one of those nights.

He requested cheesy mac & cheese and I may have gone a little overboard, but here we are.

The truth is that I like to experiment with different vegan foods when they hit the market and well, my most recent haul included several different types of vegan cheese and since my husband LOVES mac & cheese, I knew this request would come, sooner or later.

So when he made his request, I had my marching orders.

Super Cheesy Vegan Meatball & Gnocchi Bake

I’ve made no secret over the years that one of the things from my old, pre-vegan life that I do not miss is cheese. I mean, cheese is good. It’s fine. It’s just no longer my jam since I’m not addicted to it. I’ve experimented with all types of vegan cheese brands and until the past few months, I’ve been underwhelmed. I’ve even done the alt-cheese thing myself, using white beans, a turmeric & nooch béchamel for pizza, a milk-based cheese-ish sauce, and even a carrot cheese. I have tried it all and made an informed decision that I can take or leave cheese.

And then, I did my semi-regular online order of vegan food from a source in Germany and…wow. This super cheesy vegan gnocchi bake was incredible. Ooey and gooey cheesy deliciousness, minus the need to keep eating and eating.

And eating.

Vegan mac & cheese requires the right vegan cheese, the rest is up to you!

If you know how to make mac & cheese then you know how to make this dish, but there are a few caveats since I got a little fancy with it.

Vegan Pancake Lasagna ~ Easy Vegan Meals for One

Do you guys watch a lot of YouTube or is it just me? I use it for many of my workout videos, my crime documentaries and most of all, recipes. I subscribe to vegan and non-vegan channels alike because sometimes non-vegan cooks have some really good ideas too.

One of my favorites is Chef John from Food Wishes. I love his corny dad jokes and even though there is always meat or dairy in his recipes, I love to veganize so many of them that it’s worth it. During one of my recent YouTube sessions, which its pretty difficult to call it a single session since it pretty much goes on and on for most of the day, especially since I pay for premium which means…no ads!

Sorry, Chef John and the Pancake Lasagna (recipe here and video here). So my partner and I watched this video together and we both pretty much had the same reaction. “Let’s make this. ASAP.”

So, that’s what we did.

The idea behind this vegan lasagna is pretty simple. Make the lasagna you love, only replace the pasta with thin, homemade pancakes. This idea appealed to me immediately because ever since moving to Europe, I have had a difficult time finding the long lasagna noodles that you boil so they’re nice and malleable no matter what size/shape baking dish you use.

Oil-Free Vegan Pesto – Recipe & Tips

When you think of pesto, you probably imagine the light green sauce we know as pesto alla Genovese, made with basil and pine nuts and usually some type of hard cheese. This is my go-to pesto recipe because the flavor of fresh basil is pretty incredible. When I talk vaguely about pesto, this is what I am referring to.

But, that isn’t the only way to make pesto. In fact, all you really need is the right leafy green and you can make pesto out of almost anything. I’ve used carrot greens, spinach, a mix of herbs, sundried tomatoes and now…ramsons!

Making pesto is pretty easy if you have a food processor but if you prefer the old school method that requires a mortar & pestle you’ll need a bit more muscle to get the job done. Either way will work, so pick your method and grab your ingredients.

Let’s start with basic ingredients for vegan pesto!

Vegan Basil Pesto Ingredients

Ingredients
Basil
Scallions (optional)
Lemon (juiced)
Garlic
Pine nuts (I like to lightly toast them)
Nutritional yeast (or vegan parmesan)
Water (if needed and added gradually)

That’s a super basic ingredient list, right? Pesto, for all its delicious flavors, isn’t a sauce that’s over-complicated and that’s certainly part of it’s charm. It’s so flavorful that a little bit goes a long way.

Tip: If you use more than a bunch or 2 of basil, give it a pulse or two on its own before adding the rest of the pesto ingredients. This is especially important if you choose to go oil-free because you won’t get that smooth chop that comes with adding 1/4 cup or more of olive oil to the pesto.

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl of the food processor and start with a gentle pulse until the ingredients start to blend. If you’re having trouble, add a tablespoon of water and crank up the speed of the food processor until you get the desired consistency.

Tip: Add half the lemon juice up front and the rest as you need more liquid to break up those leafy greens, and then switch to water or you’ll end up with a SUPER lemony pesto.

Tip: Add nutritional yeast a little at a time, tasting as you go. If you use vegan parmesan, please let me know your tips because I have some Violife Parmesan arriving in the mail…any day now today!

If you make a big batch of pesto, I recommend adding a teaspoon of oil after two days to make the batch last longer. If you make enough for one or two days, feel free to keep the pesto oil-free.

My mother-in-law recently returned from the local Farmer’s Market with a huge bag of ramsons, also known as wild garlic or ramps (pictured below) and once I got a whiff of that yummy garlicky scent, I knew this would be perfect for pesto. The first batch, which I didn’t photograph, was super garlicky because I added about 20 grams of roasted garlic to the pesto. It was delicious but very, very garlicky.

Very.

For the second batch, I decided to go with a vegan Ramson Pesto alla Trapanese style vegan pesto which means leafy greens, nuts and fresh tomatoes. I had some heirloom kumatoes that I hoped would work.

Organic Kumato

My Ingredients:
Ramsons
Lemon (juiced & zested)
Walnuts
Kumato
Mustard
Nutritional yeast or Vegan Parm
Tabasco sauce (just a few drops)
Water

Break up the ramsons with a few pulses in the food processor and then add the remaining ingredients, starting with a slow pulse and then giving them a good go ’round until you have a nice pesto consistency.

If the leaves aren’t broken up enough, add water or lemon juice to keep it an oil-free pesto, but if you don’t mind some extra fat, add oil one teaspoon at a time.

Refrigerate and add to your favorite pasta dishes, sandwiches or whatever else you fancy. In fact, tell me in the comments section how you like to enjoy your pesto. My favorite thing to do besides enjoy it on a toasted baguette or crackers, is to add some veggiegurt to it for a creamy, flavorful salad dressing.

Quick and easy oil free vegan pesto!

Next time you make pesto of any kind, I’d love to see it so hit me up on Facebook or Instagram with photos!