Posted in Asian Food, International vegan cuisine, Noodles, Plant Based, Soup, Vegan

Beyond Meatball Noodle Soup (Vegan)

Can we all just agree that it is incredibly difficult to rename dishes you’ve been using for a lifetime? It is probably one of the most difficult parts of writing this blog, and I constantly find myself using too many descriptors or not enough. Or you end up with the redundancy of saying “vegan” everything. But when it came to this particular meal, the name almost wrote itself.

Beyond Meat is only one of two vegan meat alternatives that are available to me here in Romania, the other is a local brand, Verdino and they only make mici, deli slices and salami. That made it pretty easy to use the word ‘meatball’ and have it accurately apply. But that’s enough about the name of this dish, right? Let’s get down this incredibly delicious vegan noodle recipe.

This is an easy vegan recipe that you can make in less than 30 minutes and you can use whatever you have in your fridge and pantry.

Start with the Beyond Burgers and just add: minced garlic and ginger, smoky paprika, Ancho chili flakes and soy sauce. Use vegan Worcestershire if you have it, but I am currently waiting on a shipment of items that include vegan Worcestershire…still. My brand comes from the UK but if any of you have recommendations, drop them in the comments section!

Mix everything together in a bowl and form into small-ish, bite sized cruelty free meatballs.

I was feeling lazy so i popped them in the oven on 225°C for about 15 to 18 minutes and as you can see, they became nice and crispy without losing any of that signature juiciness that defines them.

The soup part of the equation was simple: my new favorite thing, waste-free vegan broth! You might need to add a little of this and a little of that to get the right flavor profile, but it shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes.

As you can see, I made Udon noodles for my husband and Ramen noodles for myself because we have different tastes and it was no big deal to make two types. Cook the noodles according to the package, just using broth instead of plain old water.

Garnish with fresh scallions, lime juice and Sriracha and voila, a quick and easy vegan lunch guaranteed to satisfy your appetite.

Healthy tip: If you love Ramen noodles the way I do, then you probably REALLY love how calorie friendly they are, right? Well you’ll have to weigh the Ramen after you cook them to get the most accurate calorie count. Those little 60 gram packages total up to about 150 grams once cooked. Don’t take my word for it though, invest in a food scale. This is the one I have. It’s basic but it gets the job done. Oh, and it’s battery operated.

And if you’re feeling a little grown up, add a cocktail. I totally just used this opportunity to break out the new rum, though. It wasn’t completely necessary but appreciated and satisfying.

This was just ice cold rum with lime zest and brown sugar on the rim. It was delicious and refreshing, especially if you like a little heat with your favorite Ramen noodle soup.

What is your go to noodle soup recipe?


Posted in Herbs, Plant Based, Soup, Vegan

Waste Free Slow Cooker Vegan Broth

One of the things that is a constant struggle for me in the kitchen, is minimizing my waste. I use cloth towels more often than paper towels, I try to re-use any containers that I can and when I can buy in bulk instead of using more plastic, I will.

But the nuts & bolts of food waste is a place where I often fall short and to be honest, I don’t have a very good reason for it.

In fact, the only real reason is laziness.

But recently, that all changed and today I’m showing you my super easy, if you’re willing to spend a little bit of time each day, vegan slower cooker broth.

When I say this is easy, I’m not blowing smoke. I swear.

Preheat your slow cooker and get ready.

Step 1: Collect your food refuse from each meal you cook. Onion tips, mushroom steps, the root of celery or fennel, pretty much anything as you can see. Store it in an airtight container in the freezer until you have enough to get a broth/stock going.

Step 2: Add herbs, spices and seasonings of your choices. This is where you can get really creative, using peppercorns, cinnamon, anise, coriander or mustard seeds, plus your favorite spices. And don’t forget the water, I used filtered water just to be safe.

Step 3: Cook for 4 to 6 hours or until you get the flavor you’re looking for.

Let the broth cool and then drain it into airtight containers to store in the fridge.

I wish I could tell you how long it’ll keep in the fridge but the truth is we don’t keep it long enough to find out. It’s great for a quick vegan ramen soup, use it to make grains like couscous and rice or sauces & gravy recipes.

You’ve already bought the vegetables, why not get the most out of them and leave that too salty vegetable broth on the shelf?

Posted in Asian Food, Bowls, Grains, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Vegan

Quick & Easy Vegan Smoked Tofu Bowl

With what’s going on in the world lately, we all have to do what we can, right? That means some days or weeks I feel like a #vegan rock star in the kitchen, making my own seitan sausage and whipping up delicious meals while some days I just want something easy, delicious and nutritious. Like all of you, I’m complicated and that’s okay.

And yeah, sure that was my long winded way of saying this post is going to be short because this meal was delicious, easy to make and super fast.

This is one of the many reasons I love Buddha bowls, they are healthy and easy, two of my favorite things when I’m too busy or too lazy to spend time in the kitchen.

This particular bowl was SUPER easy, all you need is onion, bell pepper, garlic, smoked tofu and a grain of your choosing, the photo has bulgur in it. The sauce is a combination of tomato paste, soy sauce and Korean chili paste.

And don’t forget to hit up your spice rack to give this dish an Asian or Italian flair, or whatever you’re in the mood for.

Not every vegan meals needs to be IG worthy, but sometimes they accidentally are! (Hit me up at IndyJaxn if you want to see for yourself.)

What’s your favorite go-to vegan meal?

Posted in Sides

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!


Posted in Asian Food, Grains, International vegan cuisine

Easy Tofu & Broccoli Stir Fry Recipe

When you’re feeling lazy but you still need something tasty, fast and healthy to eat, I find stir fry is always a good option. It packs your plate with vegetables, tons of flavor and most important of all….carbs. And it does all that without becoming a calorie bomb, though that part is pretty dependent on the cook.

Grab whatever vegetables you have on hand, a bag of rice and throw open the doors of your spice cabinet so you whip up a delicious vegan stir fry in just 30 minutes.

The key for a simple meal is to minimize ingredients and choose foods that have a similar cook time. Since I didn’t feel like spending all night in the kitchen, I kept it simple with an ingredient list that included broccoli, red & yellow bell pepper, onion, ginger, garlic and tofu. Smoked or natural works well, just use what you have on hand. If you have mushrooms, seitan or tempeh, use it instead of the tofu. Again, this is a quick and easy vegan meal.

If you’ve never made a stir fry before, let me preface this by saying that this is in no way authentic, just my way of doing things.

I like to add the ginger to the oil or water first to let it start pulling out the flavor and scent, along with some of the dry spices like curry, lemongrass, cumin, paprika and garam masala. When the air becomes super fragrant, add in the tofu, onions and bell peppers. Broccoli cooks fairly quickly and we like it with some crunch, so it goes in later. With the garlic.

The comes the sauce. I like to keep this simple too with a quick mixture that includes soy sauce, Sriracha, tomato paste, ground ginger, water and cornstarch. Mix it well and pour it over the cooked vegetables. Give it a good stir and let it come to a boil before turning it down to simmer until the sauce thickens.

That’s it. Easy, right?

Serve on a bed of rice, whatever you like. I always have jasmine and brown basmati rice on hand because they’re my favorite but any rice will do.

And there you have it, a quick and easy vegan stir fry with no unknown or difficult to find ingredients.

If you do your prep work and get the rice started early, you’ll find this is an excellent lazy weekday dinner that you can make using any mixture of vegetables you have on hand.

Posted in Breads, Pizza, Plant Based, Vegan

Mushroom Pizza Pocket – Plant Based (and oil-free!!!)

One of the things that gives people pause about going vegan is they think it means eating healthy ALL THE TIME. Let me tell you that’s not true. It’s easy to eat crap while eating vegan…if you let it happen. But no matter how bad it is, it is always better than it’s animal-based alternatives. But that doesn’t mean you should shy away indulging your not-so-great urges, it means that you should be honest and understand that desire happens and ignoring it is a one way street back to Junk Food Junction.

Instead, make what you feel like–for example, pizza pockets–and make it as healthy as you possibly can.

What does that look like, exactly?

This recipe was pretty easy and it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients to get the job done. Let’s start with what’s on the inside:

Crimini mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms
Vidalia onion (1)
Garlic (5 or 6)
Bell pepper (1/2 red & 1/2 yellow)
Rosemary (fresh sprig if you have it lying around)
Thyme & Oregano
Salt & black pepper

Since I didn’t use oil, I cranked the fire up when the mushrooms & rosemary were first added to the skillet until there was a slight char on the edges, when the water begins to cook out of the mushrooms, add a pinch of salt and some soy or Worcestershire sauce but be warned, I’ve found it pretty difficult to get my hands on vegan Worcestershire. Add a little bit of liquid–as needed–to keep from sticking.

Once mushrooms have started to brown, add onion and bell peppers, cook for about 5 to 7 minutes and then add garlic and herbs.

For the pizza dough, I went the lazy route and bought a fresh one from the bakery because it turns out they use olive oil instead of butter so that was a win for me!

Lay out the dough, I did it straight on the parchment paper, and then fill it as you desire. I went with the big ol’ pizza pocket method because the kitchen was very warm and the dough was getting sticky. Lay it out, fill it and fold it up, sealing the edges with water and your fingers. I don’t think you need to brush the top with oil or butter, I just added some cayenne pepper and sea salt to the outside for color and flavor.

While the pizza pocket cooked in the oven, about 20-25 minutes with my oven, I whipped up a quick salad of tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, kalamata & green olives with a lemon mustard vinaigrette and I grabbed some murături from the fridge (okay, from my mother-in-law’s fridge) to finish off the meal.

Seems a little too simple, right?

I thought the same thing but with all the pizza dough, I figured we should go the fresh/raw route to complete the meal because you need that fresh, nutritious fiber in your life, plus all the benefits of eating fermented/pickled vegetables. If you’re curious, it’s cabbage, pickles and cucumber this time around.

If this all vegan mushroom pizza pocket is feeling a little too healthy for ya, I know the perfect way to fix that.

bon appétit!