I have tried to make dirty rice and even dirty rice & beans, but so far I have yet to perfect it. Let’s just say that it is a work in progress and some days, it feels as if it might always be a work in progress.
The good news is that I’ve been practicing rinsing and soaking rice grains. Using different grain lengths, colors and shapes. It turns out, the issue isn’t the rice. It’s me. Or maybe it was me, because I think this one came out pretty good.
If you’ve never had dirty rice, it is a southern staple that’s filled with vegetables, herbs, spices and delicious meat alternatives. The first few times I tried to make vegan dirty rice, there was too much liquid. The next time, the rice was too sticky. There may (or may not) have been an instance of burned rice too, but we’re not here to talk about that.
As much as I complain about the temperature dipping below what I find naturally comfortable, there are two things that I truly look forward to when autumn hits; Halloween and soups. Okay, the changing of the leaves is also a beautiful sight to behold but nothing is better than soup.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a creamy bisque, a hearty curry, a veggie stew or a delicious Asian inspired vegan Pho, or any other variety of noodle soups I can come up with, I want it all and I want it every day. Soup is my go to in fall and winter, consider it my warm liquid salad for the half the year. I haven’t made too many soups because it’s only just getting chilly, but the apartment block we rent in Romania is old school…like so old school that it is made up mostly of cement. Add to that, our side of the building is NOT the sunny side and you can see why I am constantly cold.
But, I digress. We were talking soups, no?
For today’s vegan soup recipe, I went with a simple lemon and wild rice soup, though it doesn’t taste anywhere near as simple as it sounds. I swear.
Soups are always easy vegan recipes because mostly they are or can be one pot recipes as well, which this one is. Sometimes I will make the rice separately but this time I wanted every grain of wild basmati rice to soak up all the waste free vegan broth, the lemon juice and all the delicious herbs and spices.
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?
This is a one pot vegan meal that you add to the rotation because the ingredients are so simple.
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.
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.
We have all seen the vegan salad memes and if you’ve been vegan for even a few months, you know how true the meme is.
It’s kind of sad to think that only vegans are privileged enough to enjoy these delicious salads when they are so packed with nutrition, vibrant colors (which is also a clue to nutrition) and tons of raw, high fiber vegetables. But hey, if you need animals in your salad…
Today’s vegan salad recipe is kind of my own creation. In my mind, I love a good backyard barbecue and that probably stems from all the great cookouts spent at my grandmother’s house as a kid. But the reality of charcoal and lighter fluid, the awful smell and burnt food makes it less appealing.
So I decided to veganize and salad-ify the backyard barbecue.
One of the first lessons I learned when I became a vegan and a healthy (ish) eater, was that a salad can be just about anything. I always thought of salad as the pitiful thing you get at restaurants when the choice is soup or salad, you know two quartered tomatoes, iceberg lettuce and a few half-moons of cucumber. That can–and has–turned plenty of people of eating salad.
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?
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.
Have any of you noticed that it’s not as easy to find all the foods you need at one supermarket these days? I used to be able to hit up Kaufland and get most of what I needed, using a delivery service for the rest. But given everything going on in the world, it seems to be hit or miss with lots of things.
At the top of that list I would put lettuce. Romaine lettuce has been gone for months, which leaves very few options because I’m not a fan of bagged lettuce or salad mix. There have just been too many problems over the years so I try to stay away from those. But I LOVE to eat a big, hearty salad for lunch on most days.
So, what am I to do?
Improvise, of course.
This warm couscous salad with graffiti eggplant and zucchini fits the technical definition of a salad, and it was delicious to boot, so here we go!
I came across some beautiful graffiti eggplant and my husband asked me to get some because he loves the stuff. I, on the other hand, have just started to like eggplant and not out of necessity. Here in Romania there’s a dish called vinete, which is basically an eggplant dip. For me, it’s hit or miss but we were recently visiting Sinaia and I actually slathered it on two slices of bread…and ate them both.
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.
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.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have been working on upping my salad game and so, the trend continues into a new week. I had a dental appointment today which was, let’s just say, less than quick & easy. We went grocery shopping today because tomorrow is my release day for my newest novel, and it was 32 degrees Celsius all day.
So what else is an exhausted, overheated vegan, author and wife to do? Salad.
But I wanted to do something a little bit different from what I usually do, while also making a salad that was substantial enough to satisfy.
Enter, vegan sushi salad bowl. We probably need a better name, don’t we?
Yeah, but this is the name we got and I promise, the dish tastes much better than the title.
There are quite a few components to this vegan salad recipe, but it’s not difficult at all. Honestly, this recipe is all about the prep work. If you’re willing to prep, this is another easy vegan recipe you can add to your repertoire.