Easy Vegan TV Dinner ~ Beyond Salisbury Steak & Gravy

Remember those TV dinners from back in the day? They came with fake mashed potatoes, frozen veggies and they were overall pretty terrible. And I loved them. Okay, maybe in my memory I loved them and that’s where today’s recipe comes from, but I do have fond memories that I guess involve eating a frozen aluminum tray of mediocre-ness.

Anyway, those skewed memories are what brought us here today.

In my memory, my favorite TV dinner was the one with Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes and green beans. Why? Mostly because the gravy was so plentiful that you could spread it on everything else and give it a little more flavor than just the salt and black pepper required.

This vegan TV dinner recipe doesn’t have green beans because unless they are frozen or canned, it’s been pretty hard to find fresh green beans except for a few weeks in the Spring. So we have a vegetable that I only learned to love as an adult, Brussels sprouts.

Beyond Salisbury Steak, gravy & roasted veggies.

The best part about turning a TV dinner into a grownup vegan meal is that you can create little hacks to make the process go by quickly.

Vegan Fried Chicken Dinner

Am I the only one who has a handful of recipes that you can whip up with just about anything, no matter how badly you don’t want to cook? Just me?

Bummer.

Well I have a few of them. I can always go for ramen, soup or stir-fry or any other recipe I can justify. Potatoes are good any day of the week and I will build a meal around them if I’m not in the mood to cook. Pasta and sandwiches are always nice to whip up in a time crunch.

But the one meal my vegan heart goes to when I’m not in the mood to cook, or I’m just exhausted, is vegan fried chicken. There’s just something about this particular meal that is always satisfying. Vegan fried chicken. Corn on the cob. Mashed potatoes. Is there anything better?

Not that I can think of.

Vegan fried chicken with hot sauce.

Full disclosure, today’s particular meal didn’t come about because I wasn’t in the mood to cook. It does happen, but it’s rare. Actually I was browsing hot sauce options online because that’s how I roll, and I came across a giant multi-pack that I was beyond eager to try. They arrived and I needed to cook something that was the perfect test food for hot sauce.

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.

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.

Quick & Easy Vegan Dinners

It’s no secret that I love to spend time in the kitchen, whipping up vegan recipes from around the world. For me, cooking is another creative outlet that allows me to stay healthy and fit, while forcing me to take a much needed break from my excessive daily screen regimen.

But some days I am just too busy with writing for clients, publishing my books, catching up with family back home in the U.S., and even just doing stuff for me. Days are long and days are busy, but that doesn’t mean I want to crack open a frozen pizza and call it a meal. But there is something in between vegan junk food and elaborate vegan dinners.

Right?

For me, yeah.

So today let’s take a look at a very simple vegan dinner that doesn’t require even an hour in the kitchen. What is this mythical vegan recipe, you ask?

Easy. Vegan falafel balls with a delicious barbecue sauce and one of my favorites…vegan garlic mashed potatoes!

Even the photos look as simple as this meal is to make, which means there is no reason to reach for takeout menus that probably don’t have enough vegan offerings to satisfy your hunger. Do it yourself.

It’s easy, I swear.

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.

Vegan Summer Salads ~ Broccoli, Sweet Potato & Chickpea Salad

With this unbelievable and sometimes, unbearable, heat, I have been working to up my salad game.

We’ve all heard the vegan jokes about munching on lettuce nonstop to fuel our malnourished bodies, but the truth is that if I’d known how amazing I could make salads in my pre-vegan days, my life might be very different today. Thank goodness, I didn’t figure it out until now.

This is what my friends think I eat.

Nothing wrong with this…as a side salad.

But this is what my salad actually looks like.

Sweet potato, chickpea & broccoli salad

See the difference?