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.
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.
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.
I’m not here for a long post today, just to share a few quick photos of our most recent vegan brunch!
It was simple and easy; vegan eggs, sausage, toast and hash browns. It’s more food than we would normally eat but I just got the vegan sausage and the eggs, so I had to try them out.
The spinach sausage from Verdino was surprisingly delicious but the other…not so much. It came wrapped in an inedible casing and the flavor was off-putting. The “eggs” were oddly good and not all that eggy.
Very rarely do things shock me. Maybe that’s because I’m wise or perhaps because I’m cynical, either way I find it refreshing when people or things surprise me.
Self-driving cars surprised me. The season finale of For All Mankind surprised me. My husband’s latest dinner request, surprised the hell out of me.
Mongolian Vegan Beef…but with mashed potatoes instead of rice or noodles.
Yep, you read that right.
It took me a moment of deep thought and then I smiled, totally up for the challenge.
One of the best things about this kind of vegan fusion dish, is that it’s pretty simple to make the right substitution. Peel and boil the potatoes as you would for any vegan mashed potato recipe, but with a flare.
Me. I love potatoes and I could eat them every single day and not having them the same way. Whether its sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes, fries or home fries, I am here for POTATOES. So when I found these vegan mici (Romanian word for “little ones” or “small ones”) I knew it was the perfect way to over-indulge in potatoes.
Just a little, anyway.
And since I’m (still) editing like my life depends on it, I’m going to make this a quick-ish post.
This was kind of a hodge-podge meal, as you can see with just a few mushrooms because there were only a few leftover as it was almost grocery day. Again.
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. 🙂
Most days I know what I want to eat for lunch and that usually consists of some type of vegan salad. I’m not talking about your basic iceberg lettuce-tomato-cucumber combo, either. I’m talking a nice salad loaded up with vegetables, colors, vitamins and nutrients, but not with calories.
If you like quinoa, here is a salad for you. Do you prefer bulgur? Here is one for you. Get plenty of tips on how to make glorious vegan salads here.
But some days I’m not sure what I want and one of those days recently, an idea fell into my lap. We had just come from the grocery store where I found turnips with some lovely greens on top so I yanked the tops off of a few more bunches because that’s totally allowed here (and its free) and decided I would make some turnip greens at some point in the future. Then my mother-in-law showed up with a big bag of Monk’s Rhubarb, which I had honestly ever heard of before. But my father-in-law had already rinsed them so I nibbled on a leaf and realized I could add them to the turnip greens for more dark leafy greens.
From there, this vegan soul food lunch plate was born.
Why is it a lunch plate? That’s simple. If you find a soul food restaurant near you, chances are good there will be a lunch plate special that allows you to mix and match your favorite soul food menu items for one yummy lunch. In some areas, you might even find a entrepreneur offering them up around the neighborhood for a very good price.
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.
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.
Way back in the day when I was a kid, my favorite thing to have for breakfast on Saturday morning was corned beef hash. No one made it better than my grandmother and I really just couldn’t get enough of it. In college, it was my go to donation during any mid-morning breakfast event.
I was even happy to introduce this weird concoction to my international friends.
Then, my eating habits started to change. Long before going vegan, I started to make changes that included less fried foods, fewer processed foods and a lot more vegetables. And dishes like this slowly faded away. And then I moved to Europe and you just can’t find that weird corned beef stuff there.
But after going vegan and getting comfortable with my new way of life, I started to experiment.
And today I think I have a vegan corned beef hash that recalls the flavors of the original, minus the cruelty and the greasiness.
This is a pretty easy vegan recipe because the base ingredients are: potatoes, bell pepper, vegan mince (or a vegan burger chopped), onion, water/broth & nutritional yeast. Pick the flavor profile you want using the herbs and spices available to you.
Some days you know exactly what you want for vegan dinner goodness and then there are those days when you’re just hungry but you have no idea what you want. We’ve all been there and where I live vegan takeout isn’t really an option so we have to do something.
Oh, the pressure!
So when one of us doesn’t actually know what we want for dinner but it’s our night to choose, we’ll just toss out a few ingredients, like say; pesto, mushrooms and potatoes. From there, the world is the cook’s #vegan oyster. You can do whatever you want as long as it contains the aforementioned ingredients.
This vegan dinner recipe is the result of one those nights.
Crispy Tofu, Smashed Potatoes & Mushrooms with Carrot Green Pesto
The other great this about this is that it is a super quick and easy vegan recipe, with most of the work being done by kitchen appliances. But before we get to that, let’s get to the ingredients.