Posted in Grains, Herbs, International vegan cuisine, Italian, Pasta, Plant Based, Sauces & Creams, Vegan

Vegan Risotto alla Bolognese

Is there anything better on a cold November day than some thick and hearty carbs smothered in a creamy sauce that just makes you feel better about being stuck in the house and cold as hell?

Not on this particular November day, anyway.

This vegan dinner was a request from my husband a la Midnight Tokyo Diner and I decided to go fairly authentic with the vegan bolognese sauce, so let’s jump right in to this vegan risotto alla bolognese recipe!

To make things easy for me, I made the risotto and the bolognese separately and tossed them together over low heat at the end, but here is the full ingredient list:

I will tell you up front that this wasn’t the most calorie friendly vegan recipe, coming in at just over 600 calories per servings, but holy moly was it worth every minute of working out the day of and the next day!

If you know how to cook risotto or if you have a preferred method, warm up your vegan broth and get it going. If you’re not sure the best way to cook risotto, check out this long ago recipe of mine!

Now…onto the vegan bolognese!

I used a mixture of onions and shallots to cook the risotto and for the sauce, so to get the vegan bolognese started, add a splash of oil to the pot along with the chopped onions, shallot, bell pepper, carrot and celery. Cook until it starts to soften and add the vegan burger meat. This was another new vegan product find for me from a company I was unfamiliar with, Naturli, but the burgers weren’t too greasy and it was very tasty, blended in perfectly with this vegan dinner recipe.

Next add the garlic for 2 minutes, then the fresh tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes start to break down, it should take a few minutes while you stir regularly.

Add tomato paste and some broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to thicken.

When everything is ready, toss together over low heat. Normally I would add some nutritional yeast to the vegan red sauce but it was perfectly seasoned and didn’t need it. See how I patted myself on the back right there? Don’t be afraid to do that once in a while…it feels good.

Now comes the tough question: to add or not to add vegan cheese?

The choice is yours! I didn’t think it was necessary but if you have a vegan cheese you love, feel free to add it and PLEASE drop a link below with your vegan cheese recommendation.

Be sure to season the sauce every step of the way or you’ll end up with bland red sauce. And if you don’t have any fresh tomatoes, canned/jarred crushed tomatoes work well but they are a little sweeter so you’ll have to be more diligent about seasoning.

And there you have it, a delicious vegan risotto alla bolognese. If you try it out, feel free to leave photos in the comments section or share with me on Instagram or Facebook.

Posted in Breakfast, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Potatoes, Sandwiches, Vegan

The Beyond Burger ~ 3 Nights of Vegan Eats

When it comes to being vegan I am mostly a pretty low-key kind of gal. I can get down with the odd protest or two, but I’m more likely to slide facts you don’t want to hear into everyday conversation in a way that’s guaranteed to make those facts impossible to forget. My friends love that about me, no matter what they tell you.

Why am I telling you this? Just to help you understand my feelings on Beyond Burger.

We found them at a local store called Metro and they only came in a box of ten patties, which meant we needed to be creative in how we used them because freezer space is limited.

We cracked open the box and took out two patties to thaw–at room temperature, not the microwave–and started with your basic, old fashioned hamburger.

Because I had no idea what to expect of the Beyond Burger, I decided to go for super simple lettuce, tomato, mustard and ketchup.

And…it was delicious. It doesn’t taste like meat, which I appreciate, but holy crap it SMELLS like real beef. So much so that I found it a bit unsettling. But what I will tell you, is that it tastes like what a burger should taste like without the tendons and fatty gross-ness common in fast food burgers. My one tip for cooking a regular Beyond Burger? Air out your place while you cook.

Once the regular burger was out of the way, the hubs added a slice of Violife cheese to the second round and he was a fan. I’m still having a tense relationship with vegan cheese so I opted out.

But then we were watching a YouTube video about old brands and there was a flash of people watching TV with TV dinners in front of them and it reminded me of a meal I loved as a child. Salisbury steak. The kind that came in the little aluminum pan and its own gravy. Whip up some mashed potatoes and green beans on the side and I was a happy little kid.

So why not try and recreate the magic in a healthier, vegan, 21st Century kind of way?

Okay so I traded the green beans for peas, but they were frozen peas and came out pretty terrible which only reminded me why I haven’t had peas in ages. Which do you prefer, canned or frozen, when fresh isn’t an option?

I also added a crimini mushroom and onion gravy, with a splash of Oatly to give it that creamy light brown color. It was delicious and much better than the last time I tried to recreate Salisbury steak. So far, the vegan recipe is the tastiest!

Don’t mind the photos, I’m still adjusting to my new phone.

Twelve or thirteen years ago I introduced my husband to another childhood favorite of mine; corned beef hash. We were living in Germany and accidentally stumbled upon the crappy canned stuff that we ate back then and I grabbed up two cans to show him this delicacy from my time in Milwaukee.

So of course when we got our hands on Beyond Burgers, he couldn’t wait to recreate it vegan beef & potato hash. It’s a simple dish of burgers, potatoes and onions, sauteed until crispy. And the thing that makes the Beyond Burger perfect is that it is very greasy (part of its appeal) and that helps everything get that delicious crispy edge that makes dishes like this so addicting.

This was probably my favorite use of the Beyond Burger so far. The edges got all crispy and crunchy and the greasiness was satisfying in a way that I’d forgotten about until I devoured this dish. Add an ice cold beer and you can have your own Lazy Sunday.

Have you tried the Beyond Burger? Drop a link or photo of your favorite Beyond Burger recipe below!


Posted in Beans, Grains, Herbs, Plant Based, Sandwiches, Vegan

Vegan Burgers ~ Two Ways

I love burgers. I always have and I probably always will.

What I don’t always love is the time and effort it sometimes takes to make a really good burger and double that for a really good grill-able burger. So the last time we had a burger night we made…a few. Okay, it was a lot. About 7 burgers that definitely had a shelf life. But the hubs and I both agreed that it would be ridiculous to eat burgers 3 days in a row. Or 3 meals in a row.

So we got creative.

The burger is made with black beans, garbanzo beans, oats, garlic, cumin, paprika (spicy & smoky), rice, nutritional yeast and…a bunch of other seasonings & herbs. When it comes to flavoring burgers, go with what you know and what you like. And of course, we had lettuce, tomatoes and grilled onions because, burgers.

And we can’t forget the fries! Don’t you love the thick steak cut fries but halved so their totally bite-able?

The key to this burger is to mash most of the beans, leaving some whole so you get that feel good texture on your tongue. You can use a food processor because its easier, but if you don’t have one a potato masher comes in handy here! Since there’s virtually no fat in this burger, make them as thick as you want because they won’t hardly shrink at all.

Enjoy burger night and all the things that go with it like ice cold beer, spicy barbecue sauce or get fancy with pesto or tapenade.

And when tomorrow rolls around, re-purpose those burgers into


If you’re up to the task you can leave the mixture in a bowl and season it differently so you get a completely different flavor or you can add a gravy or sauce. As you can see, we left them as is and paired it with mashed potatoes and peas.

Create your favorite meal from before you adopted a plant based lifestyle. This also makes a really good meatless meatloaf or meatballs for a nice sub sandwich. The point is that you shouldn’t shy away from making a big batch of burger batter because in one shot you can take care of several meals.

These patties were flattened a little bit and then pan fried until the edges started to crisp up and then I tossed them into a preheated oven for about 20 minutes. The inside was soft and moist and the outer edges crispy, very reminiscent of the Salisbury steak TV dinners I used to eat as a kid.

Except back then I couldn’t wash it down with an ice cold, moderately tasty, beer.

What’s your favorite vegan burger?

Posted in Beans, Plant Based, Sandwiches, Vegan

Kidney Bean Burger & Veggie “Fries”

Burgers make the world go round, at least this humble vegan thinks so. One of the things that just hasn’t changed as I made the transition to a plant based life is my love of burgers. Sure, it took some time before I found one vegan burger I could live with but now, more than 2 years later I’ve accumulated quite the stash of vegan burger recipes.

The idea for this burger came from The Minimalist Baker and their grill-able burger. The black beans worked like a charm and after having a wonderful kidney bean burger in Wurzburg, Germany, I knew it would be next on the list.

Making this burger is incredibly easy…after a bit of prep, so let’s start with the brown rice. You need to cook it first and let it cool so make it as early as you can and let it sit. And please, oh please, avoid the temptation to substitute white rice for this recipe. You’ll want that heft that comes from brown rice because it will make a difference.

vegan brown rice

While you’re waiting on the rice, drain and rinse the kidney beans before you pat them dry and toss them into a bowl. Mash them up with a potato masher until most of them have split, but not all. Set the bowl aside and prep the rest of the ingredients.

Saute an onion and split it up, using half for the burger mix and the other half as burger toppings.

Mix the rice, beans, sauteed onions, salt, black pepper, smoky paprika, garlic granules, cumin and a handful of walnuts. Run it all through the food processor until blended and dump into the burger mix. Form four thick-ish patties and you’re ready to go!

I did use some oil in this recipe, to brush over the panini press which is how I cooked these bad boys!

kidney bean burger w veg fries

Now, because I like to experiment in the kitchen and because burger buns have a tendency to take a perfectly reasonable calorie count and turning it into nothing but good intentions but hey, a burger isn’t a burger without a bun. Right?

That’s right, so I took 1 carrot and 1 large zucchini and cut them into fries, using garlic, walnuts, nutrition yeast and paprika to make a little bit of breading before popping them into the oven for about 20 minutes.

Vegan veggie fries

I just seasoned the vegetables with salt & pepper, then rolled them through the breading. Simple as that!

creamy guac mayo

For the hubs I made a quick avocado cream to top his burger with and it was super simple, an avocado, fresh minced garlic, lime and a spoon of vegan yogurt. It made about 5 servings.

The thing that took this burger over the edge for me, was the grilled onions. Sweet and slightly crunchy, they were perfect with this grilled vegan burger. Throw on the toppings you love and enjoy!

If you’re looking for ways to make the burger healthier or more calorie friendly, switch out the bun for lettuce, cut out the onions sauteed in onion or butter or minimize your ingredients for the basics. But this is burger night and you’ll need room for, what else?

An ice cold beer.

Vegan burgers & beer

Happy vegan eating!