Vegan Squash & Lentil Stew

For the past few days the weather outside has left much to be desired. It’s been gray and rainy, which means the hard work of editing takes even longer. My energy is low and even getting through my workouts takes more effort and focus than usual. It’s the end of May but it feels as if Spring has only just arrived.

So what’s a girl to do when it should be bright and sunny and warm outside, but instead it’s gray and dreary and chilly?

Make soup.

By some odd stroke of luck, I found a squash at the market and after getting caught in the rain while loading groceries, I knew what had to be done.

Squash & lentil stew.

This soup is thick and creamy and though it make taste and look like a complicated vegan bisque recipe, the truth is that this is an easy one-pot vegan soup that anyone can make at anytime.

Pickled Wood Ear Mushrooms & Vegan Snow Pea Ramen

This week is crazy busy for me so I’ll keep this post short without skimping on the details or photos of the finished product. This weekend my partner and I went out for a long walk that became super abbreviated about halfway through, thanks to an impromptu rain storm. It didn’t last long but we were proper chilled when we made it back to our place and all thoughts of cold salad were out the window in favor of soup.

Sort of.

I found FRESH wood ear mushrooms and I was so excited to recreate these pickled mushrooms I had at one of the few Asian style restaurants in Ploiesti. But wood ear mushrooms aren’t a meal, especially when you only have 200 grams of them. So then I thought of soup. And then ramen.

And that’s how I ended up with this vegan restaurant style Asian lunch for two.

Vegan mince & snow pea ramen, Nori & scallion soup & pickled wood ear mushrooms

For the soup: Ginger, garlic, lemongrass, scallions & nori with my waste free broth. Simmered for 20 minutes and then ready to go!

Easy Vegan Soups ~ Red Lentil & Ramen Veggie Soup

One of my favorite things to make when it’s cold outside is soup. Or stew, or a delicious combination of the two that I liked to call, stewp.

Give me a bunch of veggies and a handful of grains served with a delicious broth and I am good to go.

At least, that’s what I tell myself. But one day after a particularly grueling workout, I couldn’t decide if I wanted ramen soup (which I LOVE) or lentil soup. They couldn’t possibly go together, could they?

Could they?

Turns out, just about anything is possible with the right motivation, and what better motivation than hunger?

Don’t be afraid to load your soup up with a small amount of a large variety of vegetables, especially this season when you need all the vitamins and minerals possible to keep you healthy.

Catching Up in My Vegan Kitchen…from Romania!

It’s been awhile and I know it. I’m sorry. I hope everyone is safe, indoors and finding fun ways to keep busy.

The truth is that I have been cooking, quite a bit lately, I’ve just been very lazy about writing up posts and selecting photos. Some days I just forgot to take photos altogether, but I don’t want that to turn into a habit, so let’s play a little bit of catch up, shall we?

I rarely posts desserts, not because I don’t make them because I do…a lot. But I am not a good food photographer, not yet anyway. But this little creation was chocolate biscuits (#accidentallyvegan), ripe bananas, peanut butter, cocoa powder and dark brown sugar with orange zest on top. Layered. It’s pretty to look at and it was a crowd-pleaser for vegans and non-vegans alike.

I know it’s spring time and not really the season for soups but one night my husband chose French onion soup as his Midnight Tokyo Diner option which meant I had to make it because sneaky man that he is, made sure there were heaps of yellow and white onions in the pantry.

I think it came out pretty well, probably the best I’ve made so far even thought it was greasier than I would’ve liked. Soon I’ll do a post with the full recipe because I think you might like it.

Gyro night!!! This was a fun night and yeah, you bet your sweet little booty that it was also time-consuming. Making seitan is never a quick endeavor but this was SO worth it. So. Worth. It.

As I always tell my non-vegan friends, proteins are always about the seasonings. Try to eat any protein without salt & pepper. Or any type of sausage without garlic or cumin or caraway. This seitan gyro loaf was no different. I used fennel, garlic, smoky paprika, cumin, fenugreek, ancho chili pepper and a bunch of other spices to get the loaf just right. To round the vegan gyros out, I used mushrooms and onions sauteed with the seitan after it’s simmering session.

Balsamic salad on the side with a vegan lemon and cucumber yogurt sauce, and this vegan gyro night was super fun!

And no list of what I’ve been cooking is complete without some type of Asian creation and this time we have Pho. I used TVP which, in my opinion, is a feat of genius. Seriously, I call it Star Trek meat, a name that never fails to make my husband laugh. It takes on the flavor of whatever you want it to so easily, in this case the yummy spices of a vegan Pho broth. Soy and balsamic soaked crimini mushrooms and generic ramen noodles round out this dish.

The real question is…what have you been up to? Cooking? Relaxing? Trying not to freak out?

Vegan Cauliflower Tikka

When the weather turns unexpectedly cold, I want something hot, spicy and heart as hell. In my house, that usually means curries, Asian soups or chili. This week, it meant Tikka.

If you think you’re not a fan of cauliflower, I recommend you try it in a dish like tikka masala or a curry, where all those strong, vibrant flavors seep into the cauliflower (which is crazy low in calories and an excellent source of vitamins C & K). Just to be sure, I coated the cauliflower with a salt & pepper, curry & powdered ginger layer and popped them in the oven to crisp around the edges. This gave the dish a heartier, deeper flavor.

cauliflower tikka masala vegan

The thing I like best about a dish like this, is that you can use what you have on hand. For me it was cauliflower, potatoes and garbanzo beans, with the basics like ginger, onion, garlic and turmeric. Oh and tomatoes. I used a can of diced tomatoes and added in a few fresh tomatoes as well with an oat cream to thicken it. Coconut milk or cream will work here too, but that’s a matter of taste and preference so do what you want.

One of the reasons I use oil when I cook a dish like this is to infuse all the flavor I can in the dish but adding all the spices while the oil heats up before adding the first batch of vegetables. It’s a trick I learned from a friend and it works, let me know if you agree!

I made the mistake of buying store bought papadums and they were not very good. I forgot how oily they can be and I didn’t use enough oil so they ended up half cripsy & oily and half crunchy but not in a good way. I should have just skipped the papadums and added rice on the side.

Sprinkle some sliced scallions on top and you’re good to go. And if you really like it, have a second bowl.

If you make this dish, tag The Spicy Spatula on social media!