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.

My Vegan Junk Food Haul

I’ve made no secret on this blog about my attempt to eat healthier. I started a vegan lifestyle in May 2017 and since then I’ve lost more than 45kg, I have increased my muscle mass and have almost no jiggly skin remaining. Yay me.

But I’m not telling you this just to brag or clap myself on the back, I’m telling you because I have worked really hard to maintain a healthy diet at all times without going overboard. But, a person with more than 45 kilograms to lose has a clear love and/or addiction to food, right?

Soooo right.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy a little bit of junk every once in a while. And whenever there are new vegan products that hit the market, I try them out to see if they’re worth breaking the calorie bank. Newsflash: They usually aren’t.

But let’s dig in and see, shall we?

Before I get into my vegan junk food haul, let me tell you a little bit about the healthy things I do to keep the weight off and stay healthy & fit.

Vegan Chicken & Penne Arrabiata

When I’m not in the mood to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I go for something that’s simple and tasty. Not necessarily comfort food, but delicious home-cooked food that’s easy to make. Something that always satisfies.

Like pasta.

Whether you just like pasta or you want to try something new, enjoy this easy vegan fried chicken and penne Arrabiata.

If you love pasta, quick cooking times and delicious vegan tomato sauce, this is a dish you’ll love and add to your roster of old faithfuls.

Easy Gnocchi & Vegan Red Wine Beyond Bolognese

Depending on where you live, it might be hard to come by gnocchi. It took us forever to find an egg-free vegan option and whenever they’re in stock, I make sure to add a package to the shopping cart. I mean, what could possibly be better than potatoes masquerading as some kind of pasta?

Nothing, that’s what.

It’s great with tofu, with a vegan cheese sauce, or cheesy with meatballs. Take your pick!

The vegan bolognese is the star of this dish so however you make it, be sure to take your time and season it well.

Really well.

This dish has just two components, the gnocchi and the sauce. The gnocchi isn’t very time-consuming but you can cook it in a variety of ways.

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.

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!

Childhood Favorites Gone Vegan ~ Spaghetti & Meatballs

When I was a kid one of my favorite canned meals was spaghetti and meatballs. As a latch-key kid, there was nothign better than racing home from school to crack open a can of ravioli, spaghetti-o’s or spaghetti and meatballs. All of that tomato-y goodness that, in hindsight, wasn’t all that good, waiting to stain your lips and your microwave safe bowl!

Who could resist?

Not me, that’s for sure!

So, when I was walking the aisles of Lidl last week and noted that here in Romania they have started to up their vegan food choices game. I found Verdino brand meatballs and you know what I did, grabbed up the last package with a giddy smile. I knew then what I wanted.

What is that?

Well, let’s see. Combine my love of carbs, noodles and pasta with these vegan meatballs and what do you have? One of my childhood favorites, re-done for the fancy, grown-up vegan I am today.

This is one of those vegan dinner recipes that you can do the easy way or the tasty way. Just kidding, I’m sure your jarred pasta is super delicious, it’s just a little too sweet for my taste. But if anyone knows of any no sugar added options, I’m game to give it a try.

Linguine & Vegan Balls with Red Sauce

Spaghetti and meatballs, it’s pretty much a classic among pasta meals and it’s been a long damn time since I’ve eaten any variation of them. Part of it is because meatballs can be a really cumbersome task, more so when they’re vegan, at least that was the case when I first went vegan in Germany. The options were limited and getting them to hold their structure in the sauce was, well, a big ol’ mess.

But this is 2021 and times have changed for vegans the world over. Whether you’re looking for a nostalgic meal because you love pasta and vegan meatballs, or you’re looking for easy vegan meals for Veganuary, this is an excellent one to try.

There’s no need to go crazy with the vegan tomato sauce, if you don’t want to, but I always think we should all go a little bit crazy when whipping up a pasta sauce. Here’s a tip: don’t skimp on your herbs. Red sauce loves herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil or marjoram. Buy the little cheap-o packets in the herbs & spices section at the grocery store to test them out and see what you like.

You’ll thank me for this tip, but you don’t have to. Just knowing that you obeyed and loved it, is enough for me!

Other than herbs and spices you’ll need:

Vegan soy balls (or falafel, seitan, tempeh, or veggie balls)
Onion
Garlic
Linguine (or spaghetti or other long pasta)
Bell pepper
Tomatoes
Vegan Worcestershire
Cornstarch
Red chili flakes

If you cook with oil, you’ll want to sauté the onions, bell pepper and garlic in hot oil, otherwise use water or broth, added periodically to keep them from sticking to the pan, on medium-high heat. Add onions and bell peppers first, adding the garlic when the other vegetables are just about done.

Dice the tomatoes by hand or mix them in a food processor until you have a fresh tomato sauce without all the added sugar. Add the tomatoes and chili flakes to the sauté pan and bring to a boil, then simmer until the sauce starts to thicken. Add a cornstarch-Worcestershire-water mixture to thicken, and don’t forget to season your veggies or your sauce!!!

Cook the pasta according to instructions and when it’s done, scoop it straight from the pot to the skillet to toss with the sauce.

For the vegan meatballs, just season them and pop in the oven for 10 minutes or until warmed through and slightly crispy around the edges. Add to sauce until fully coated. If you want them extra crispy, put them in the air fryer for a few minutes and see what happens.

With a little bit of prep work, this is an easy vegan meal that can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.

The best thing of all about this easy linguine and vegan soy-balls dinner is that you can mix it up, however you want. Add almond milk and vodka for a nice vodka sauce. Or add spicy peppers for a type of arrabiata sauce. Add olives and capers for an upscale vegan Bolognese. The point is this is one of those easy vegan meals that you can switch up by adding different herbs, spices and pasta types to the dish.

What is your go to pasta dish when you have a carb craving and which kind of red wine do you drink with it?