Pesto & Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad

We all know how much I love salads and Buddha bowls (get my vegan sushi bowl recipe here). I can eat them just about every single day of the week without eating the same thing, or getting sick of them. But, that doesn’t mean that I’m not always trying to improve a recipe or improvise on existing recipes. The possibilities are endless and it’s important in general, but especially when you’re trying to eat clean and healthy, that you keep things fresh.

It’s easy to get sick of eating anything, but that is especially true of healthy, whole foods that aren’t fatty and addictive, that aren’t made to keep you coming back for more. So it requires some effort, not a lot, but some.

So a while back my niece made tabbouleh for me and the husband since we’re the only two vegans in the family. She was adorable, at fourteen years old, making this dish for us. So proud of herself and I was too, honestly. And when I was in need of a new vegan salad recipe, I thought back to Alex and her tabbouleh.

This is technically tabbouleh, but not in it’s traditional way. This is how vegans fancy up a simple salad.

Pesto & chickpea tabbouleh

Before we even begin, I’ll let you know that chickpeas aren’t a traditional ingredient in tabbouleh and I, of course, omitted the oil. Those are the major changes I made so if you’re still interested, keep reading for a unique twist on tabbouleh salad.

Vegan Kabuli Pulao ~ Afghan Rice Pilaf

If you’ve visited this blog on more than two or three occasions you already know that I am a HUGE fan of international cuisine. I love Asian food the best of all, from fried rice to curry to vegan katsu, but I am also a fan of Mexican food, Cuban, Hungarian and German too. Pretty much, I am a fan of world cuisines, which means I am always on the look out for something that I haven’t tried.

I once ate vegetable stew and Palinca (Romanian spirits) inside a restaurant in Poiana Brasov that was FILLED with animal furs and horns and skulls. Yuck, I know, but the truth is that you’d be hard-pressed to find a restaurant without these particular decorations in the mountain regions of Romania. The stew was good, if plain, because this is not a part of the world that caters to eaters who don’t consume animals.

In fact, you’d find it difficult to find a place unlike this in Hungary too.

But I’m a culinary adventurer so I always like to see what new dishes I can go home and veganize.

Lately though, I haven’t done a lot of traveling so I have to rely on the beauty of the internet to take me away and this week it took me to Afghanistan. Whoa, right?

Well I started simple with a dish that was–relatively–easy to veganize. Afghan rice pilaf, called Kabuli Pulao.

If you’re interested, Google the dish name and you’ll see just how much it relies on animals, so making it vegan was truly a challenge.

Vegan Kabuli Pulao. Afghan rice pilaf.

This dish has a relatively simple list of ingredients, especially for vegans. Start with replacing the lamb, which for me meant TVP (textured vegetable protein) because it’s the most versatile. Then you’ll need rice, carrots, raisins (yuck, I skipped this part), onions, cardamom and almonds. I also skipped the almonds, for calories but also because I didn’t have any on hand.

Hot & Spicy Vegan Sausage Jambalaya

When it comes to making a one pot vegan dinner, few dishes are easier or tastier than jambalaya. And my favorite part of making a good vegan jambalaya is that there are just so many options. You can switch out meat alternatives like vegan chicken and vegan sausage and use beans. Or multiple types of beans. Or even go with tofu or tempeh, the choice is yours are there are so many of them.

You can switch up the different types of rice available at your local markets, switching up basmati for jasmine, wild rice or black rice or even red rice. Just remember that different grains mean different cooking times and you’ll have to adjust your vegan recipe to suit that.

You can even turn your jambalaya into a Cajun style casserole with or without cheese, or even topped with your favorite spicy peppers.

Easy vegan sausage jambalaya recipe.

Since this is a one pot vegan recipe, you will have focus on prep before you do anything else, so if you’re a spontaneous sort of home chef who grabs this and that from the cabinets at the last minute, prepare yourself for a lot of “oh crap” and running to stir to prevent things from sticking to the pan.

Lazy Vegan Meals ~ Greek Spiced Veggies & Orzo

Let’s be honest, no matter how much you LOVE spending time in the kitchen, creating new recipes, veganizing old favorites, some days you’re just not in the mood.

Takeout is always an option but if you live someplace that doesn’t have a lot of (good) vegan options, you still have to get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible…without compromising the nutritious deliciousness that’s going on your plate and in your belly.

My favorite combination when I’m feeling lazy is to just do an easy paint by numbers lazy vegan recipe.

That’s how I came up with today’s recipe.

Greek spiced veggies & green olive orzo

Lazy vegan meals are super easy to create, just follow this simple formula: Veggies + protein + grain = YUMMY.

Simple, right?

Bourbon Vegan Chick’n & Mushrooms w/Barley

Way back in the early 2000’s, I lived in Boston and worked for a progressive non-profit organization. It was my second “real” job straight out of college so the hours were long and the pay was crap, but it was Boston, a city me and a very close friend had talked about living in during grad school.

I was there and the reality didn’t quite match the dream. Don’t get me wrong, the city was incredible. It was beautiful and old, with marks of history featured everywhere from the roundabout roads to the brick-paved streets downtown, Fenway Park and all that good stuff. Unfortunately I was (mostly) too busy working to see much of the city and surrounding area until after the election was over.

But one of the things that still sticks in my mind, years later is this freestanding food court off the Downtown Crossing exit on the orange line. There was all of your basic crap from burgers & fries, to greasy fried rice, fried chicken, smoothies and the like. But there was this one place, tangentially New Orleans themed, and they had the most amazing bourbon chicken.

I loved it. I devoured it. I ordered it all the time. Just a simple dish of chicken breasts, pan fried until crispy and coated with a delicious sauce and served on a bed of rice. You could sit in the food court to eat it, but it came in a totally not sustainable foam packaging that–unfortunately–made it perfect to eat at your desk while trying to dispense payroll for sixty offices located around the country.

So it became one of my favorites.

Over the years I have tried to recreate this dish with varying measures of success, but this time I think I’ve finally gotten it right.

Boo-ya!

Vegan bourbon chickpeas & mushrooms

Like I said, I’ve tried this recipe plenty of times even in my vegan life, using everything from tofu, smoked tofu, Quorn filets and even seitan, and they come out good but not quite the same. Ya know?

Vegan Egg Roll in a Bowl

Hello fellow foodies! I’m going to keep today’s post short and sweet because like my American followers, I am gifting myself with a vegan Thanksgiving feast. It’s been a few years since I’ve done the whole Thanksgiving meal but my Romanian in-laws are excited-ish so I have a bit of work to do.

But first, Egg Roll in a Bowl.

Why?

That’s simple. It has been an uphill battle to find vegan egg roll wrappers at stores here and online. Okay, they are abundant online but as much as I love egg rolls, I don’t need 125 wrappers. Then I stumbled upon thousands of vegan recipes for egg roll bowl and egg roll in a bowl and I thought to myself, “Why not?”

So now you are all caught up.

Easy vegan egg roll bowl

The best thing about having all the yummy goodness of an egg roll but in a bowl on a bed of rice? No deep frying, no air frying, no frying involved. At all.

So how do you make this deconstructed vegan egg roll recipe?

Vegan Breakfast Recipes ~ Vegan Sausage & Potato Hash

I’m going to let you guys in on a little secret. I don’t eat breakfast. I drink about half a liter of water in the morning before I have my single cup of coffee (with brown sugar and almond milk), and a little later I pop a few vitamins. That’s it.

I know “they” say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but is it? I mean, most breakfast food isn’t really all that conducive to getting a productive start to your day. Pancakes or waffles? Tons of protein in the form of vegan eggs, meat alternatives, various types of vegan bacon which often include added fat and sugar to anything, whether it’s carrot bacon or mushroom bacon. Then there are potatoes, which can honestly do no wrong in my book, but who wants to feel sluggish and lethargic before you’ve even fired up your laptop to start working?

Not me.

I guess you could say that I am an intuitive eater, though not consciously. If the hubs makes the coffee a little too strong and I need something to settle my coffee, I’ll eat something. If I’m hungry, I will eat something. Otherwise, I skip the first meal of the day and I usually eat what I call ‘day meal’ and ‘evening meal’ with a snack or two tossed in there somewhere.

Do what that information what you will.

*Shrugs*

Now, does that mean i turn my nose up at all breakfast foods? No way, man! I have very fond memories of the days of brunch, and boozy breakfasts in college and my absolute favorite breakfast food in the world, the breakfast burrito. It just means that I don’t eat it first thing in the morning.

Breakfast for dinner is one of the greatest creations since the smartphone and e-books, and let me just tell ya, it is my JAM! American style breakfast, English breakfast, vegan corned beef hash or any other type of breakfast, it’s all right by me as long as it’s not in the morning.

So, let’s dig into this easy vegan breakfast recipe that you can eat for any meal you want because you’re an adult and you can do what you want.

Track Your Nutrition & Health Data with cronometer.com

Now the first thing I want to tell you about this easy vegan recipe is that it is SUPER easy to make. You don’t have to love to cook, be a proficient home cook or any of that jazz. All you have to do is collect four basic ingredients, raid your spice cabinet and you’re good to go.

Moroccan Style Vegan Chicken & Couscous

One of the things I’ve learned over the past year of nonstop cooking, is that you can have a simple meal that’s full of flavor and doesn’t require a lot of hard work. How?

Simple, you just have to step outside of your cuisine comfort zone. For me, that’s no problem. I lived in Los Angeles for many years where I was able to take advantage of all that Mexican and Mexican-American fusion cuisine has to offer. Then there was Germany, which gave me a great appreciation for sauerkraut that I didn’t have before. No to mention the flammkuchen, the beer and all the myriad ways there are to enjoy the King of vegetables, potatoes (click here for my potatoes two ways recipe). And now there’s Romania, where I’ve had plenty of exposure thanks to living with a Romanian born man for more than 17 years, but being here in the country, it’s different.

My long-winded point? Trying new things is good for the palate and good for you. How else can you take a simple dish like texture vegetable protein and couscous, and turn it into a mouthwatering dish?

All you need is the will to try and a fully stocked spice cabinet.

Tasty vegan chick & couscous, Moroccan style

The ingredients in this dish are pretty simple: TVP, couscous, cauliflower, peanut oil, onion and bell peppers. Open up your spice rack and let the herbs and spices do the rest.

Vegan Fusion Recipes ~ Asian Style Risotto

I don’t know about you guys but sometimes I get tired of the same old recipes. I mean, really tired. To the point that if I have something other than ramen noodles, mashed potatoes or French fries too often, it will be a LONG, long time before I’ll even want it again. Yeah, I can be picky like that.

But with this new crop of fusion recipes that seem to pop up every single day, that’s become less and less of a problem for me. Take the other day, for instance. I had no idea what I wanted and it was my night to choose what we had for dinner. Then I thought about rice, but we’d just had rice the other day so I thought, “Risotto”. I love risotto (try my vegan risotto Bolognese recipe!) but there’s only so many times you can have mushroom risotto or vegan risotto Milanese. Right?

I thought so, anyway, so I wondered if there was a way to mix risotto with my favorite type of cuisine. Asian.

Guess what? There was!

And so this broccoli and king oyster mushroom risotto with Asian flavors was born. Or rather, it was born to me because the internet was chock full of recipes of this style.

King oyster mushroom & broccoli risotto

If you know how to make risotto, then this recipe will be super easy for you. If you don’t, grab a box and read the instructions. I learned and perfected my risotto recipe thanks to Rachel Ray and Tyler Florence years ago on Food Network.

Vegan Sandwich Recipes ~ Spinach & Artichoke Open-Faced Sandwiches

I used to be a sandwich snob. The kind of snob who thought that open-faced sandwiches were an abomination. A way to eat a sandwich without actually enjoying it. I don’t know, there’s just something about biting into two pieces of bread filled with goodness and hoping like hell that the insides don’t fall down your shirt.

Ah, good times.

I still contend that closed sandwiches are superior, but I am doing my best to become a better human, to expand my horizons, and to learn to love open-faced sandwiches. Progress, as they say, comes in teeny tiny baby steps.

Easy vegan spinach and artichoke sandwich recipe

Do you love spinach & artichoke dip? You know filled with vegan mayo or veggiegurt, with red bell peppers, tons of spinach and artichokes and garlic, topped with cheese? Well this is one of my favorite dishes to recreate into pasta dishes, dips, stuffed mushrooms, pizza and pretty much anything that can be spinach and artichoke-d.

If you do, this vegan sandwich recipe is right up your alley. It gives you all the goodness that you get from the dip, only now it’s a hearty and satisfying meal perfect for any weather, the pickiest eater or just for your beautiful self.