vegan salad recipes

Supreme Vegan Salads

We all know the jokes about vegans eating nothing but grass or lettuce or any other leafy green, right?

To a certain extent that’s true for this vegan, but that’s because once you open your mind, salads are damn good. They aren’t just delicious though, they are also packed with vitamins and nutrients that keep you healthy and beautiful! Besides all that, you plenty of natural fiber to keep everything in working order.

Let’s not forget, for those of us looking for a calorie friendly way to satisfy our appetite, salads are super calorie friendly!

So yeah, we vegans definitely know how to do salad right.

vegan salad recipes

Of course you can always make salad with pretty much anything you want, but I prefer to add a bit of beans & grains for a little heft to go along with all the fresh, raw goodness of traditional salad veggies.

My go to salad ingredients are: lettuce, tomato, scallions, cucumber, radishes, olives & sprouts

If I’m feeling creative or if I have some extra time I’ll add shredded carrots, apples, cranberries, fennel, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes or kohlrabi. The point to making delicious vegan salads for lunch or for dinner, is to get creative. Don’t be afraid to test out a vegetable you think you don’t like or don’t know how to cook. You have your phone, never be afraid to whip it out in the middle of the grocery store and type in “how to cook/eat” a particular food item. Phones are tools too, people!

vegan taco burrito bowl

Another thing I love about salad? Adding lettuce to an otherwise super caloric meal is an awesome cheat. Feel like tacos or a burrito? Add the all fixings on a bed of lettuce and you can eat it guilt-free, in addition to cruelty free! And with the addition of grains, you can easily turn a taco salad into a taco bowl…and you can even add your favorite vegan cheese too!

One of my favorites is a Chipotle style burrito bowl and you can make it so many times without repeats!

Feeling too lazy to make a big ol’ dinner? Mix your lettuce with some shredded cabbage to fill you up and toss in fifty grams of cooked tofu or TVP and you’ve got a vegan chicken salad that will satisfy your appetite.

I have a cabinet filled with vinegar and there’s always veggiegurt (vegan yogurt) in my fridge for salad because some days I feel like a vinaigrette and others I want something creamy. The options are endless, so the next time someone cracks a joke about vegans eating nothing but lettuce, sit back with a smug smile knowing they if they knew what you now know about salads, they’d be halfway to changing their lives!

creamy vegan pesto salad dressing

And if you find yourself running out of ideas, consider some of your favorite dishes butt salad-ized! (Is that a word? If not, it totally should be!)

Think about it, pasta salad…nix the pasta and add lettuce instead. Take your favorite antipasti ingredients and toss it with a cup or two of Romaine, Spinach or Arugula, whatever tickles your taste buds.

Check out this soy & steak fries salad!

Eating healthy and eating vegan NEVER ever means you have to have a boring meal. All you need is a bit of desire and tons of creativity.

Pofta buna!

Roasted Aubergine & Zucchini Vegan Buddha Bowl

Buddha Bowls. What more can be said about them that hasn’t been said already?

They are packed with nutrients, but only if you pack’em.

They offer the spice of life…variety.

They can help you get your daily amount of grains, proteins and vegetables.

Personally, I LOVE Buddha Bowls. I love making them and I really love eating them.

So here we are, for another round of #vegan Buddha Bowl fun!

Chances are good that you’re aware of all the nutritional and health benefits of these fun bowls, but you’ve probably strayed away because they seem time intensive. Let me tell you that it’s really not all that time-consuming, at least not with a little bit of planning.

For this harissa roasted Buddha bowl, the oven will do all the work for you.

First thing you have to do is choose your: Veggies + Grain + Protein

I chose carrots, zucchini (for me) and eggplant (for him), cut into ‘steaks’ + Quinoa + Chickpeas

You’ll notice a little bit of blackness on the eggplant and other vegetables but rest assured, it’s because of the marinade which included: smoky paprika, oregano, salt & pepper, olive oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, curry, garam masala, spicy paprika and thyme. Whip it all up into a bowl and pour it all over the (scored, doesn’t it look so pretty?) veggies.

Roast in the oven on 200°C/400°F for about 20 minutes, or until they reached your desired level of tenderness or crispiness.

Cook your grain according to the packaging, I used a total of 100 grams of quinoa for 2 adults.

Now it’s time for the protein. CHICKPEAS!!!

Don’t you just love this wonderfully delicious and diverse legume? It makes great dips, falafels, goes excellent in salads or you can even season them and bake them up like nuts for a crunchy snack.

I made another spice blend using cayenne pepper, turmeric, smoky paprika, curry, salt, white pepper and a masala spice blend. But the only way to get the perfect bake is to make sure you dry the chickpeas completely after you’ve rinsed them. Then coat them with the spices and bake for about 25 minutes, less if you want less crunch.

Since each element of this vegan Buddha bowl was SO flavorful, I decided to skip the sauce this time around and let me tell you, the sauce would have taken away from the carefully planned spice profile.

Whenever I’m at a loss over what to make for dinner, I just grab a little of this and a little of that, and 45 minutes later you have a bowl full of yum!

Vegan Fish & Chips Take Two: His Turn

You all know that I’m not one of those vegans who needs to recreate my meals to taste like the old version that involves suffering. I don’t miss the taste of meat or fish or cheese, but I do enjoy experimenting to see how to make those dishes fit for any kind of vegan.

For this version of #vegan fish & chips though, my husband took his turn at bat. You’ll remember my own F&C recipe, which didn’t turn out so well visually but the taste was delicious…if you love nori which I kind of do not.

As you can see, he took a different route than I did, deciding to wrap the nori around the TVP first and then he added the breading, which included a beer batter! It worked out much better and the added lemon and vinegar really decreased the overpowering taste and smell of nori sheets. Maybe it just worked out better because he doesn’t shy away from frying foods the way I do!

This is the point I wanted to make about experimenting with your old pre-vegan days recipes, you can find something really awesome that isn’t exactly as you remembered, but it is something better. Healthier.

Without the cruelty.

I’ll tell you right up front that if you’re expecting it taste like fish & chips, you will be sorely disappointed. But the flavors added provide a nice brine-y sea flavor, and the beer batter meant I was getting something greasy and friend and delicious. I see no problems with that, do you?

And yeah, okay so the “chips” aren’t technically chips but there’s no fish in this dish either, so who cares? But the potatoes were tossed in about 4 grams of oil and tons of herbs & spices, then baked for about 30 minutes. Crispy and delicious and not nearly as fattening as the version that includes actual fish.

You can’t have vegan fish & chips without some kind of tartar sauce, can you?

Not in my book!

We went to our old favorite, veggiegurt, because that’s what’s available to you as a vegan in the part of Romania where we are…if you have a hate-hate relationship with mayo of all types, which I do. Use whatever vegan yogurt or mayo you prefer, just make sure you read the ingredients and the nutritional information.

For the vegan tartar sauce you will need: yogurt/mayo, dill, lemon, salt, pepper, ground fennel. Stir and then refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. For those of you who love a little bit of heat, I like to add a few drops of hot sauce or Tabasco to the tartar.

You’ll notice the plate is much lighter than it normally looks, but that’s because oil has LOTS of calories and frying anything means you have to make room for that in your diet. We did, but you don’t necessarily have to.

But if you do want to add some extra calories, consider an ice cold beer. Maybe a Jameson on the rocks?

Not Another Buddha Bowl ~ Featuring Crispy Eggplant Frites

At this point I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all got the hang of Buddha Bowl’s, right? I mean you take your favorite 5 to 7 vegan ingredients and turn it into a yummy and nutritious bowl.

I know you’re probably wondering how in the hell did I get to another Buddha Bowl with our whole Midnight Tokyo Diner theme as of late? That’s a pretty easy answer and not a very interesting story, actually. The Hubs had one directive for his meal: eggplant. Again, this probably goes without saying but eggplant is not my favorite vegetable, in fact I would argue it is in my top 5 least favorites. Along with avocado and beets too!

So I decided to do something I could taste–eggplant fries–along with a bunch of ingredients we both LOVE.

So…another Buddha Bowl.

My secret for a perfectly seasoned and crispy piece of eggplant? Veggiegurt. Toss the eggplant in yogurt, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic and smoky paprika and set aside while you blend the crispy breading. For these fries I used a 70-30 blend of flour and cornmeal because I wanted the emphasis on the crunch. Pop in the oven for about 30 to 40 minutes and you have a delicious snack with your bestie.

The rest of the recipe is pretty straight forward: mashed sweet potatoes with butter and nutmeg. Steamed broccoli and a mixture of onion, bell peppers and TVP strips made this a perfectly healthy vegan meal, but one that feeds your inner fat girl.

If you’re feeling brave, feel free to add a quick cooling yogurt sauce, which is what I did. It was veggiegurt, basil and parsley along with a few other herbs & spices.

You don’t have to be a chef or even love to cook to whip up a healthy vegan Buddha bowl for you and your loved ones, all you need is a few vegetables, a nice spice rack and a willingness to learn.

Enjoy!

Spicy Braised Tofu & Gnocchi

Things are a little crazy around here because first of all, my book is done! Yay! But that means promo and all the rest and things have been busy and crazy and crazy-busy! You might have noticed by the sporadic posts and the emphasis on quick and easy vegan meals, which has been our specialty lately.

But I chose braised tofu as my meal this night and it was my only request, which meant the Hubs could do whatever he wanted. Just gimme my spicy tofu was my mindset and when this weird-ball dish landed in front of me, I was more than pleasantly surprised.

I was expecting regular plain natural tofu when I made the request because that’s usually how I make it, but using smoked tofu added a nice depth of flavor that I found surprising. It paired really nicely with thee spicy Korean chili flakes. Very nicely.

And this is a pretty easy recipe that we originally got from Maangchi and tweaked to veganize it and adjust it to a spice level we both agreed upon. Crisp up the tofu in a deep skillet with a little bit of oil until it’s nice and crispy. Whip up the sauce on the side and pour it over the tofu, using the old boil then simmer method to thicken.

Then, move on to the gnocchi while your tofu is ‘braising’.

I loved this dish because it was so simple but it didn’t taste that way. There’s so much flavor with the garlic and ginger and scallions mixed with all the spicy stuff.

The gnocchi was a nice twist I didn’t expect and it only serves as a reminder that we shouldn’t ever get too comfortable with how things are supposed to be. It was delicious and satisfying and most of all, I didn’t have to wait too long to eat it!

Quick & Easy Vegan Dips

Things have been a little hectic around here because–yay!!!!–I’ve finally finished my next novel. I’m feeling good but that’s only the first step so my work load had kind of tripled so I’m keeping today’s post pretty simple.

Dips, for me, are the perfect low calorie snack that can easily be made to fit a vegan diet. I never really gave dips much thought when I consumed animals or really until I started taking my weight loss seriously. But in my search for something more than salt & vinegar potato chips which are my absolute favorite to eat when I get a snack attack, I turned more and more to vegan dips.

I’ve got two easy dips, a garlicky hummus and a anti-pasti dip.

These recipes are really easy as long as you have a semi-decent food processor, and you can mix up herbs and spices to your own liking and play with them as you get more comfortable making them.

For the hummus, drain a can of chickpeas (or grab 2 cups of cooked dry beans) and rinse them, setting aside the liquid in case you need it to thin out the dip later. Add in any of the following: tahini paste (I think this is a must but do what you like), 1 head of roasted garlic, pine nuts, roasted red pepper, a few drops of hot sauce, 1/2 lemon, juiced, and run it until smooth. Add salt, pepper and cumin powder. I also added some tikka masala pepper powder for some extra smokiness.

Season it until you’re satisfied, adding water if you want a thinner hummus that’s perfect for dipping.

The anti-pasti dip, as named by me, was kind of an on the fly thing. The hummus was made and I had quite a bit of roasted red pepper left over, which got me to thinking what else could throw together for a–likely–delicious dip?

From the fridge, I grabbed: capers, black olives, green olives, basil leaves, scallions and garlic.

Toss everything in the food processor and pulse until the pieces are nice and small. Keep going if you want a full-on paste, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Season it to taste and top with a swirl of balsamic vinegar. And the best part? It’s less than 60 calories per 100 grams, which is a snack-a-licious dip that puts a smile on my face.

Now let’s talk about dippers, what do you prefer? I like crackers, just about any kind but my favorite are the regular unsalted Saltine crackers. But I also like water crackers, rice crisps and all the rest. Carrots and celery also make excellent dippers. Or pita bread. Naan bread. Sandwich bread even, if you toast it up a little.

My husband will tell you that you can eat dip with a spoon but if you listen to him then you’d both be wrong.

Happy dipping!

Crispy Cauliflower Wings & Fries

When you want something that’s easy to make but seems really complicated, try these cauliflower wings! You can make whatever sauce you want, spicy or sweet, or go crazy and make it spicy-sweet!

This dish is easy but it does take time for the prep work. I couldn’t find bread crumbs so I used some day old bread, which I ripped up and seasoned with salt, garlic, pepper, smoky paprika and oregano. When the bread cooled, I added it to the food processor to break it up evenly and put it in one bowl. Mix in a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast and more seasoning if desired.

In the other bowl was vegan yogurt, Sriracha, mustard and lime juice. Feel free to add other wet flavor creators here.

Coat the cauliflower in they yogurt mixture first and then the bread crumbs before laying them out on a baking sheet. Crowd the sheet if you must just don’t double up or it will take FOREVER to cook. Spread them out evenly and pop in the oven for 35-45 minutes.

While the cauliflower cooks, get started on your side dishes and your sauces.

Since we like different spice levels, I didn’t want to toss the cauliflower. I made a hot sauce for me, using vegan butter, rice vinegar and plenty of spicy stuff. For him I used a tablespoon of the spicy stuff and added it to more yogurt and we were both happy because there was enough sauce for the vegan wings and the fries!

This requires a lot of oven work so make sure you time it right. The last thing you want are cold or overcooked cauliflower wings. I started with the cauliflower and when it started to brown, I put the potatoes in on the bottom shelf.

This was easy and delicious and even with the bread crumbs it was calorie friendly, at least as far as this vegan is concerned!

Spicy Tofu & Red Quinoa Bowl

Been busy finishing up my latest book but I wanted to share another Buddha Bowl with you. The thing I love most about them, aside from all the healthy stuff, is that you get a little bit of a variety of foods. After a tough workout or just because I’m feeling really hungry, I crave them.

So when I found this organic red quinoa at the nearby Kaufland, I knew it would go nicely with the beautiful broccoli florets that were already in the shopping cart. Okay, the truth is that I had a vegan Buddha bowl on the menu but I wasn’t sure which grain I would use until I checked out what was in stock.

I’m pretty new to the quinoa bandwagon so I put them on first, adding  salt and turmeric to the water when it started to boil.

Next came the onions and bell peppers because I wanted to pop them into the oven to get a little char on’em. As you can see, I got a little more than I wanted but some of that was because of the spice rub I used. Same with the tofu.

Put together your favorite spice blend for the tofu, I used a tandoori spice blend with sumac and baharrat and some other stuff, with a few drops of oil and tomato paste. Rubbing it on both sides of the tofu and pan fry it or pop it in the oven when the onions & bell peppers start to cook.

Steam the broccoli and toss with your favorite seasonings. I used vegan butter and minced garlic. Easy peasy.

Feel free to make a sauce if you like. I thought about it but after tasting it all, I didn’t think it needed it.

This was a quick 30 minute vegan meal that you can use over and over again. Take your spice cabinet around the world and mix up the veggies for an endless supply of easy vegan recipes.

Vegan Sausage & Peppers

You know how sometimes you can go years, decades even, without thinking about something and then you see something that triggers a memory or a smell that brings a smile to your face, and suddenly you can’t stop thinking about it? Well that’s what happened with me and sausage and peppers.

Back in my pre-vegan days, I loved a good sausage and peppers dish. Whether it was a sandwich from Portillo’s, a super delicious sandwich joint in Chicago or my granny’s spicy sausage and peppers with rice, I used to LOVE this dish.

And apparently…I still do.

The first thing you need is to figure out your sausage situation. If you live somewhere with a big vegan population then you can probably pop on down to the market and get a variety of vegan sausages. If, like me, you’re living vegan in a place with a pitifully small vegan community–even temporarily–then you’ll have to take the sausage situation into your own hands.

Get my vegan sausage recipe here and switch up those herbs and spices to fit any dish you want. I used a Cajun blend with chili powder, ancho chiles, smoky paprika, garlic granules, onion powder/granules, thyme, oregano and a pinch of cumin because I love it.

Next, grab a few of your favorite peppers and a couple onions, some garlic and herbs and you’re ready to go. I recommend a blend that features bell peppers and spicy peppers. I seeded and diced a jalapeno and rough chopped a long red pepper to go with the green & red bell peppers. It’s a nice sweet & spicy blend to go with the sausage.

Add some seasoning, herbs and a splash of water if you want it saucy…and lay it over whatever carb, um I mean grain you want and pofta buna! I served it over polenta because it’s been a while since I’ve had it and I really wanted it. Badly. But you could serve it over rice, bulgur or couscous, put it on a roll or in a wrap. Whatever floats your boat, baby!

This dish was easy because I made the vegan sausage with seitan a few days before and I cooked the onions and peppers in the oven (an easy way to make your vegan dish oil-free) so it was a low-key, stress free meal that was super delicious. And if you’re feeling funky or adventurous, add some vegan cheese to the polenta for a creamier flavor.

Pair it with beer or wine and enjoy!

 

Vegan Barbecue & Broccoli Bowl

One of the hardest things for me to get over during my first year or so as living vegan, was how I thought of meals. I was so conditioned ot think of a meal, especially dinner, being protein, vegetables and starch or grain. Period. End of story. Eat up and to go to bed.

But when there’s no animal protein to act as the star of the meal, you had to be a little more creative. At least that’s how it feels today compared to when I became a vegan in 2017. But that’s about the same time I discovered the elusive Buddha bowl, which was kind of fortuitous if you think about it.

I mean, Buddha bowls provide you with a lot of food and a lot of variety, plus tons of nutrients. What’s not to love?

Seriously, can you think of one thing?

This beauty was made by my hubs. It’s barbecue tofu steaks, turmeric rice, steamed broccoli along with oven roasted carrot & onions. Probably the only thing that might be a turn off about this meal is that everything has to be prepped and prepared separately. The good news is that the rice takes no time at all, depending on what type and style of grain you choose. The carrots and onions get a quick seasoning and tossed in the oven until they’re cooked through. Steaming veggies is something most vegans–and adults–can do in their sleep so really, the biggest focus will be on getting the tofu steaks seasoned juuuust right.

Let’s just take a moment to admire the beautiful vibrant color of that broccoli…

Okay. The barbecue sauce was sweet and tangy with a hint of heat and soy sauce. It was delicious and oven baked, which means you don’t have to stand over the stove for forty-five minutes watching your vegan barbecue sauce reduce and thicken.

Use any blend you want to create the sauce, but here’s a tip: cook the tofu how you want it and toss it in the (warmed through) sauce until coated right before serving. That way it isn’t soggy, but sticky and hot.

Vegan Buddha bowls are, in my opinion, the perfect autumn meal. They are hearty without being too overwhelming or caloric, they offer a variety of foods so your taste buds never get bored and you can mix and match in thousands of ways. You can use whatever you have on hand, or plan it out.

This is one of our go to vegan meals because as long as you have grains an vegetables on hand, then you’ve got a meal to feed your family.

You can add sauces or creams, salsa or anything else that whets your appetite. The point is when it comes to vegan bowls, change it up. Try something you think you don’t like and make it in your favorite style. No one thought buffalo cauliflower wings could be as delicious as they are yet…

What’s your latest food obsession? Drop a comment down below!

Vegan Frikadeller & Mash

Frikadeller. Let that word roll around on your tongue for a minute. Got it? Okay. I call them ‘frika’ for short and they are delicious. I fell in love with them when I lived in Germany, especially the way my mother in law makes them with little strips of carrot and onion. I would eat them piping hot fresh from the stove or ice cold in the middle of the night.

I was kind of a huge problem for a while.

Then I adopted a vegan lifestyle and bye bye frika. It was no great loss because I wasn’t having cravings for them and when I first went vegan I had lots of yummy (processed) vegan foods to choose from in Germany. There were several types of burgers and other patties, but no frikadeller.

Then Mama came to visit after we went vegan and brought vegan frika with her. Did you hear me? Vegan. Frika.

They are crazy delicious and something she often makes for us, usually after we’ve been hiking or traveling.

Last week something I like to call ‘Must Season’ has begun. Must (pronounced: moost) is a fermented grape drink and it is insanely good. It tastes like if grape jelly was a boozy drink. The grapes, loosely translated as strawberry grapes, are very sweet and tart and when they ferment you get a little bit of a buzz.

Now is the time the grapes are picked and you can find Must everywhere. Went to a fruit & veg festival, which was oddly more filled with animal products than produce, and it was for purchase there!

To celebrate the first batch of fermented Must with grapes from the farm on which my father in law grew up, Mama made vegan frika, Must and my favorite kind of buttery vegan mashed potatoes: a lot!

Making the frika is pretty simple, shred some vegetables, these are filled with carrots, onion, garlic, zucchini and crimini mushrooms, mixed with flour and mustard and water, then shallow fried in oil until they start to crisp. Then because she knows how we try to eat healthy, she popped them into the oven to get a good crisp around the edges.

The usual dipping sauce is mustard but I like to add a bit of Sriracha to my mustard for dipping.

We also had beet salad and pickled red cabbage for a bit of roughage.

This was a wonderful way to welcome autumn and enjoy the first–of many–bottles of Must to come.

Simple Vegan Dinner

When I cook a simple meal, I try to make sure that I still get some fresh veggies in the mix and of course, potatoes.

Sometimes simple means letting someone else do the hard work, which is exactly why I ended up with these delicious vegan chicken sticks that are oh so delicious. It cuts down on time in the kitchen and that doesn’t mean you have to eat cereal or a cold sandwich. It means you keep it simple, nutritious and tasty.

I am an admitted potato-a-holic and I never pass up an opportunity to enjoy them. In any form.

A quick boil and you can mash these up with any seasoning you like. I chose vegan butter, salt, pepper and roasted garlic because nothing goes better with ANY type of potatoes than roasted garlic.

If you’re not in the mood for broccoli or salad or anything overtly healthy, may I recommend mushrooms? They are delicious, low calorie and you can add a little bit of extra fat to get them good and tasty. I sauteed oyster mushrooms with onion and bell pepper. Add some Worcestershire sauce and herbs, and you’re almost there.

Nothing makes my mouth water more than buffalo style anything. Chicken sticks, tofu or cauliflower, I’m not picky. Just fry it up, or bake it extra crispy and toss it in something spicy and buttery and we’re in business.

It’s not fancy but it was tasty and calorie friendly and let’s be honest, some nights that is about as good as it gets.

Right?

Greasy Vegan Pub Fare

When most people think vegan they equate it with healthy, which is great and often, true. But vegans are people and even those of us who took up a plant based lifestyle mostly for the health benefits, occasionally have a taste for something less than healthy. Whether it is my absolute favorite, salt & vinegar potato chips, or a thick slice of brownie with walnuts, I feel the need to eat naughty once in a while.

Recently when the mood struck the Hubs and I decided to go all out and have a vegan pub night. At home.

I’ll warn you now that we fried EVERYTHING, so if you’re expecting my usual healthier version of your favorite greasy, naughty foods, you shall be disappointed.

We kept the menu pretty basic: fried tofu nuggets, French fries and fried shallots.

Since it’s not overly complicated I won’t bother you with too many details.

For the tofu, I recommend you press it while you get to work rinsing, peeling and chopping everything else and then season it. The seasoning consisted of garlic granules, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt & pepper and onion powder. It was the main flavor profile of just about everything. Toss the tofu in the seasoning and then into a bowl of seasoned flour, then fried it up until golden crispy brown, between 5 and 10 minutes.

Season the potatoes and toss in a teaspoon or oil, then pop in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes and you’re almost ready to get your vegan pub night on!

The shallots were a bit trickier because my husband wanted to make something akin to onion rings without breading and deep frying since we shallow fried the tofu to keep the calorie count from getting TOO ridiculous.

Halve the shallots and slice them, coating lightly in seasoned flour and dropping them in the shallow oil until the edges start to curl and become transparent. All in all, it took about 30 minutes of cooking plus about 15 minutes of prep time, which is about how long it would take at an actual pub…if that pub served vegan food.

This is the perfect meal for a cheat day and it was super delicious. Just add some ketchup or barbecue sauce and you’re good to go, and wash it all down with an ice cold beer.

Happy Friday & pofta buna!

Quick & Easy Spicy Drumsticks

It’s been a while since I brought up the pre-made vegan food products the Hubs and I occasionally buy online to pique or curiosity or just because we’re having a greasy, junk food craving that can’t be satisfied by firm tofu alone. But I’ve saved the best of the most recent batch for last. Vegan drumsticks, y’all!

Okay so there is a teeny tiny chance that maybe I’m over-selling these, but I’m not. Yes, they are a little bit greasy (15g of fat per 100 grams) but honestly that is a MAJOR part of the charm since we all know I keep my oil intake to a minimum when I can. I’m glad there were just a few in the package because they were THAT GOOD.

As you can see, I really tried my best to keep this meal what I like to call “sane” in calories. The entire package of vegan drumsticks was 250 grams, with each drumstick weighing in at 50 grams a piece. We had 2.5 each and when combined with the corn on the cob and the herb baked potatoes, the meal was delicious, satisfying and calorie friendly.

The packaging wasn’t much to look at but I appreciate that about Vantastic since vegan products can be a bit higher priced than their animal-based counterparts.

Now on to the business. Since all I did was add salt & pepper and vegan butter to the corn on the cob, and a fresh rosemary, salt, pepper & lemon zest for the potatoes, there’s no point wasting your time with that! But here’s a tip to keep this meal quick and easy: prepare the potatoes first and get them started in the oven while you shuck & clean the corn, and make the sauce for the drumsticks.

Did I mention I like spicy things? Well I do.

A lot.

I mixed up a nice blend that contained:

Chili powder

Smoky paprika

Garlic granules

Onion granules

Worcestershire sauce (yes, there are vegan brands out there!)

Gochujang

Lemon juice (half a lemon)

Cumin

Cornstarch

Water

Mix it all into a bowl and then toss drumsticks in the bowl, OR toss it in small baking dish so you can pop it in the oven when you put the corn in there.

If you want to make buffalo style sauce with this, be VERY careful with the butter portion of the sauce because if you look very closely you can see how much grease cooked off the drumsticks.

The cute little sticks are bamboo and edible too!

This photo didn’t come out as impressive as I’d hoped but that’s okay, I just wanted to give you an idea of the size of this meal, which ended up being 478 calories per plate, which isn’t a lot but this was plenty satisfying.

Okay, fine, full disclosure: I made a cocktail with this meal so I had to make sure there was room leftover for Cucumber-Elderflower gin & tonic with lime. It might seem weird but it was delicious and the hubs thought it was a nice help to take some of the spice off the fiery drumsticks.

The oven did most of the work, for which I am eternally grateful, and it took about 30 minutes which was mostly the time it takes for potatoes to get and crispy.

Even though I am not a huge fan of these products, these vegan hanchensticks were a big win for me and yes, I did order more here. (Not a paid endorsement just a shout out for a yummy product…but I am open!)

Easy Vegan Sandwiches

It took me a long time to get creative about making sandwiches to fit my new vegan lifestyle but now I’ve finally figured it out. Once I stopped thinking that sandwiches equal meat, my sandwich game stepped up considerably.

Here’s the secret: put whatever you want on the dang sandwich!

I know, it’s crazy but trust me, nothing tastes better than the crazy stuff your mind comes up with when a sandwich craving strikes.

There aren’t many rules but generally there should be some type of bread, roll, sub, wrap, slices or whatever else floats your boat, and something that goes inside of it, preferably a lot of somethings. Sauces and condiments are optional, of course.

Behold, my deli style tofu sandwich! Just kidding, but it was delicious. I used some carrot greens and basil to whip up a rustic pesto, mixed a bunch of Indian spices on the crumbled tofu and added some tomatoes and cucumbers. It was DELICIOUS!

One of the ways I started to come around on having sandwiches again was to take my favorites and replace the meat. Duh, right? I know, but one day I got a craving for my favorite sandwich from Portillo’s, in Chicago. Dipped Italian beef. As a teenager it was my favorite and I used giant crimini mushrooms to replace the beef and it was delicious.

So, I decided to try completely replacing the bbq beef/pork sandwich with mixed vegetables, of course!

Yeah, I totally popped in a photo of my first attempt at big batch vegetable pickling. They were WAY too vinegary but there are some cucumbers working away in the kitchen as I type.

Or if you feel like feeling healthy when you eat a sandwich, add a wrap.

This spicy tofu, potato & onion wrap (those flecks are chia seeds) was delicious and the jalapenos are totally optional.

My point is, do what you want when it comes to sandwiches. There are no rules for it, trust me I’ve checked.

If you’re not quite that brave yet, take someone else’s idea and make it your own.

Check out my Smoky Tofu Scramble

Or if you want something lighter…my Vegan Lobster Roll

More vegan sandwiches

Or this muffuletta if you’re feeling brave!

Spiced Cauliflower Salad with Peanut Sauce

I’m not one to follow trends, per se, but the upside to a particular food being ‘on trend’ means there’s a flood of new recipes to make you rethink your stance on, say…cauliflower.

Now I was never a cauliflower hater but I’ve always preferred broccoli. Then I adopted a plant based lifestyle and that began to change. Slowly. One night The Hubs made cauliflower buffalo wings and they were INCREDIBLE. So crispy and spicy and surprisingly delicious and that made me look at cauliflower in a whole new light.

And now I’ve begun experimenting with my own recipes, like today’s spiced cauliflower salad with peanut sauce. I’m calling it a salad but this is a cooked dish, served warm (or hot if that’s how you like it).

The first thing you’ll want to do is preheat the oven to 175c/350f so you can get the cauliflower going. Toss it in herbs and spices with just a pinch of olive oil so you get a little bit of crisp around the edges. I used: cumin, smoky & spicy paprika, garlic granules, ras el hanout, harissa, salt & pepper and tumeric. Toss and bake about 35-40 minutes, until nice and crispy.

Then put the water to a boil for rice and follow the package instructions. I used a basmati and wild rice blend because it’s tasty and pretty.

Okay, on to the easy part. Chop onion, ginger and garlic and add to a skillet with a splash of oil if you want. Cook until brown and then add peas, we used frozen peas because they taste better than the canned ones in my opinion. By the time you’ve done all this, the cauliflower should be done and ready to toss in the skillet.

Get a big serving spoon or a giant wooden spoon and stir in the cauliflower and rice until everything is blended.

Okay, two more things.

First, the peanut sauce. It’s simple. All you need is soy sauce, coconut sugar, powdered or grated ginger, peanut butter and lime juice. Stir in hot water, a tablespoon at a time to get the sauce to a thin enough consistency to drizzle. Once the food has been plated, just drizzle on this on top.

Second thing is…green garnish. Thin slice a scallion and a few tablespoons of mint together with a few peanuts and sprinkle on top for the final garnish.

Now, get your grub on!

We really enjoyed this dish. A lot. It was flavorful and satisfying and very calorie friendly. It’s something I’ll definitely add into the rotation.

The only thing missing was an ice cold beer or maybe some kind of tea-based cocktail.

I’ll keep you posted.

Tofu Steaks with Chimichurri

When it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping, I am a champ. I mean, not to toot my own horn but I’m pretty great at it because I take the time to be. I subscribe to different recipe blogs both vegan and non-vegan because let’s face it, inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes it comes from my love of cooking shows, a spark of an idea and sometimes I just re-create the recipe as is…mostly.

Before I went vegan I wasn’t much of a steak eater because my dad is a HUGE steak eater and we ate it too much growing up. So when I became an adult, I shied away from red meat altogether which means I never got to really and truly enjoy chimichurri sauce. Okay, so I never even tried it.

But I saw a recipe for steak with chimichurri and thought, why the heck not, right?

One reason jumped out at me immediately. Oil. Chimichurri contains a ridiculous amount of oil so I figured I’d follow the recipe, mostly and use the oil as needed. If you’re a purist, you’ll hate this recipe…fair warning.

The tofu steaks were pretty simple, just press them and then marinate before you do anything else so that when you’re ready to put them in a hot skillet, they’re ready. Use whatever seasonings you want, I kept it simple to highlight the chimichurri.

I stuck to the recipe pretty closely using: parsley, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, piri piri peppers, fresh oregano, green olives, lemon juice and red wine vinegar. Toss it all into the food processor and it’s ready to go. I used lemon juice to help get everything blended instead of olive oil and sure, it wasn’t as liquidy as traditional chimichurri but I’d argue the taste was more powerful without 1/4 cup olive oil.

The great thing about a meal like this is that the tofu steaks and chimichurri are so flavorful that you can go light and easy on the side dishes or even just make a simple salad like the bulgur salad below.

To feed 2 people there was about 50 grams of bulgur, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber and scallion, tossed together with a dill mustard sauce and ta-da, you’ve got a healthy and delicious meal!

Want even better news? This recipe came in at less than 400 calories per serving!

Eating healthy and vegan doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming.

Don’t be afraid to take a meat/dairy recipe and make it your own!

Vegan Sausage & Kraut…German Style!

It’s no secret that I’m not much on processed foods, mostly for health reasons but also because I’m one of those people who just doesn’t trust corporations all that much. But for the sake of my own curiosity and this blog, I occasionally indulge and this is one such instance.

I found a German website that sells tons of vegan products and one of the things I bought were these jackfruit and tofu “Grillers”. I was skeptical but I’ve had (mostly) good experiences with jackfruit and since going vegan, tofu has become a favorite and a staple so I thought, why not?

Best of all? These suckers come in at about 160 calories per link!

Here’s a close up image so you can see what they look like. Inside is just as I said, jackfruit and tofu. The dots are from the soy sauce, mustard and seasonings listed in the ingredients section.

Since it hasn’t even been a year since we left Germany, this was the perfect opportunity for a throwback meal with sauerkraut!

I opted to go with the bun-less sausage & kraut with fries instead of the more traditional application where the potatoes are cooked with the onions and kraut.

But what I did do was saute a large onion before adding the kraut along with some white wine to reduce the acidity of the vinegar in the kraut. If you find that sauerkraut is too sour for you, give it a good rinse before you cook it or eat it.

Add a cut half of corn on the cob and you’ve got a meal that’s 537 calories per serving! That’s a win in my book!

As you can see, my Griller got a little broken up when I tried to remove it from the pan, but it was my own fault. After grilling them (prior to cooking the onions & kraut), I set them aside and then sat them on top of the kraut to stay warm while the fries baked in the oven. This one got a little too soft and since I cooked them, I took it.

The Grillers were good but a little bland. If not for the kraut and the fries, this would have been a pretty forgettable meal. But it was a nice little indulgence and a fun experiment.

Who has a favorite vegan sausage you think I need to try? Let me know in the comments!