Sometimes you want pasta for dinner but you don’t really know what you want, which is exactly what happened to me the other night. We have pasta in the pantry. Always. All types and shapes of pasta, but that doesn’t make the decision any easier.
So the other night The Hubs and I were both out of ideas for dinner. It was his turn to pick and didn’t know, which is usually something I enjoy because it means I get to choose what to make. But on this night I had no idea. I didn’t feel like anything in particular and I was just plumb out of ideas.
Until I spotted the bag of orzo in the pantry. It’s not something that’s widely available here in Romania so when Lidl had one of their specialty weeks–Greek week for this particular item–I knew I would find it.
So I grabbed a bag of mince, a mix of fresh and canned tomatoes, a chili pepper and then I was off to the races, as they say.
This spicy orzo with red sauce is full of flavor, easy to make and a great excuse to bust out the vegan feta cheese you just bought but refuse to eat with just a knife.
This is a quick and easy vegan meal that works especially well on those nights you don’t feel like making dinner or you have other things waiting for you. Enjoy!
So I don’t eat a lot of sugary stuff. It’s not because I have some big vendetta against sugar even though it really isn’t great for you, it’s just a matter of taste. I’d rather have popcorn or salt & vinegar potato chips instead of cake or muffins or anything.
And I made a cake because every once in a while I think that I want something sweet, like this Apple Crumble Coffee Cake. The operative word is think because I say I want it and then I go through the whole process of making something baked & sugary only to have a teeny tiny sliver of it. It’s pretty terrible actually and my hubs ends up eating it all and taking some of it to his parents.
But this dessert is different.
Okay, not so much.
One of my favorite cakes in my pre-vegan, fat girl days was Devil’s Food Cake. Now, I don’t mean the healthy version, oh no, I’m talking about the version with cocoa power, lots of oil and coffee and milk. It’s airy and fluffy and chocolatey and delicious.
At least it is until you plug those calories into a food tracker like Cronometer.
The great thing about this easy vegan meal is that you can switch it up and change it to whatever cuisine you like, or you can simply exhaust all options for Tex-Mex before moving on to something else.
But that all brings me to the point of today’s post and recipe. I had a craving for Bolognese but I also wanted Ramen noodles so I wondered to myself, how can I achieve combining these two things while keeping it healthy and vegan and delicious. My first step was to hit up the ol’ Google Machine to see what kind of ingredient substitutions I needed to make for the Bolognese ingredients.
My second step? Making sure I had those substitutions or something close to it so that I could make it NOW. This is the result. *Gong Gong*.
I don’t know, I felt like the Law & Order gongs were appropriate right here, or maybe I’m just stoked that the OG Law & Order is back on television. 🙂
So I’m going to tell you right off the bat that the ingredients list is intimidating but only at first glance. Stick with me and you won’t be disappointed.
Salads are…everything. They are a great way to fill your bowl with vitamins and minerals, making sure you get all the nutrients your body needs to stay fit and healthy. It’s also a low calorie way to sprinkle in some of the things you love–and miss–in your effort to eat better.
I love to make salad a mainstay in my diet, adding things like ramen noodles, quinoa, couscous and even bulgur (check out my Pesto & Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad recipe). You get the carbs and therefore the energy you need to satisfy your hunger, while still eating healthy. Or like today’s vegan recipe, you get to add something delicious like a spicy buffalo sauce on your favorite vegan alternative such as TVP, tofu, seitan or tempeh.
What I’m trying to say is that salads are a great way to have the best of both worlds, eating healthy and getting some of the foods you’ve put on your no-no list.
This vegan salad recipe is easy, relatively quick and wickedly delicious. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to add buffalo vegan chicken to salad. I must be crazy!
You know how it is when you find something you’ve been searching for a long time to get and then you find it and you use it and use it like it’s going out of style? Welcome to my life since one–just one–of the local grocery stores in Ploiești finally started to stock beluga lentils. Again.
One time, a long, long time ago, back when I still lived in the United States and had access to Food Network and all of my favorite professional chefs and cooks, I stumbled upon a recipe called Mulligatawny Stew (Enjoy my Southern Style Vegan Black Eyed Pea & Spinach Stew recipe). Now I’m not sure if the original or authentic version uses black lentils but this version did and I’ve been in love with them ever since. It’s a weird thing that happens, ya know? You don’t think about beluga lentils ever and then you have them and learn about them and now they’re all you think about.
I like to call it the red car effect. You don’t notice how many red cars there are on the road until someone tells you a piece of useless trivia about just how many there are, and now it’s like every other car is a red car.
Go figure, right?
Once again, welcome to beluga lentils.
Black lentils are the sturdiest of all the colors of lentils, even more so than the green ones which have a longer cook time and a more of a bite. they are delicious and because they are so hearty, they soak up more flavors which makes them absolutely perfect for soups and stews. So you already know, both by title and this super long intro, just what I did with them this time around.
Sick of the same old meals week in and week out? Yeah, I get that way sometimes too especially with things being the way they are and the limited vegan take out options in my adopted town. Despite all of my recipes on everything from sushi bowls to warm salad recipes, not to mention the wealth of vegan recipes available online, sometimes it feels as if I’ve made everything.
But that can’t be, can it? Of course not. That’s why when I get into a vegan cooking rut, I decide what I want to eat first. Am I in the mood for broccoli or mac & cheese or a Gnocchi Bake? And then I just do a little switch-a-roo. Take an Italian dish and turn into something else like, Asian style. It doesn’t always work, but it’s always worth a shot because when it does work…whoa boy!
Sunday night is the night before I hit up the grocery store so often I try to use all the odds & ends to make room for fresh items, mostly produce. I went through my spice rack and came up with a few things to make a Jamaican style curry and put it all in a bowl.
It looks like a whole feast, doesn’t it? Well it was and the other it was? Super easy to make.
If you don’t know the Arabic dish called Mujadara then you, my friend are missing out. Big time. This dish is a wonderful mix of grains and flavors that you can whip up to feed a crowd or keep for lunch the next day. For the past few years, this is one of my go-to comfort dishes because it has everything a good comfort dish needs, minus all the crap it doesn’t.
The first time I made this dish, I was a newbie and I followed the directions to the letter. The next time, I made a few small tweaks featuring cauliflower & soy, and today’s version is oil-free, vegan and uses beluga (black) lentils instead of your standard green or brown.
This dish is very simple, totally plant based if you decided not to add any meat alternatives to it, and very delicious. Very.
Pasta night. One of the best nights of the week. You get carbs, which let’s face it, are amazing. You get veggies and if you’re a person who struggled to get more vegetables into your diet, homemade pasta sauce is definitely one way to get it. You get sauce, which is great. And you can take one simple vegan pasta recipe and tweak it until you have enough pasta recipes to last for months. Check out my recipe for Vegan Seafood Pasta for a new way to enjoy mushrooms and pasta! Or go with my Lemon Broccoli & Vegan Salmon Pasta recipe!
This go round, I went with something simple yet slightly different. Same red sauce only with a spicy twist. Next time I might add capers or olives or even corn to change it up a bit.
While this isn’t a one-pot dish, it is oil free and vegan, but I guess if you were determined enough it could become a one pot vegan recipe.
I know what you’re thinking, that you don’t have time to spend all night in the kitchen making your own pasta sauce. That’s what you think, and would be wrong. I’m not suggesting you go Old World Italian Nonna and boil your tomatoes and all of that, which would be awesome if you did. And if you know how, hit me up because I could definitely use some tips. I am merely suggesting that you reduce your sugar intake and guarantee you get more veggies–and thus more nutrients–in your system by doing it yourself.
We all know how much I love salads and Buddha bowls (get my vegan sushi bowl recipe here). I can eat them just about every single day of the week without eating the same thing, or getting sick of them. But, that doesn’t mean that I’m not always trying to improve a recipe or improvise on existing recipes. The possibilities are endless and it’s important in general, but especially when you’re trying to eat clean and healthy, that you keep things fresh.
It’s easy to get sick of eating anything, but that is especially true of healthy, whole foods that aren’t fatty and addictive, that aren’t made to keep you coming back for more. So it requires some effort, not a lot, but some.
So a while back my niece made tabbouleh for me and the husband since we’re the only two vegans in the family. She was adorable, at fourteen years old, making this dish for us. So proud of herself and I was too, honestly. And when I was in need of a new vegan salad recipe, I thought back to Alex and her tabbouleh.
This is technically tabbouleh, but not in it’s traditional way. This is how vegans fancy up a simple salad.
Before we even begin, I’ll let you know that chickpeas aren’t a traditional ingredient in tabbouleh and I, of course, omitted the oil. Those are the major changes I made so if you’re still interested, keep reading for a unique twist on tabbouleh salad.