Hello, my beautiful people. Today we have another quick and easy recipe because I am–still–knee deep editing Mustang Prairie so I can get it off to the editor as soon as possible. I promise not to skimp on details for this delicious weeknight vegan dinner, but I’m also not going to give you some long backstory on the recipe.
But there will be a short backstory, lol.
Does anyone watch Love After Lockup? Anyway someone suggested it and I decided to give it a shot this season and one of the former inmates blew off the girl that had been waiting for him for over a decade while he was in prison, to go to a strip club which isn’t the worst part of the story, if you can believe it.
His excuse? The strip club has “bomb ass shrimp alfredo”. Yep, you read that right. he blew her off for strip club alfredo, which is what I named this recipe in my Cronometer App but for reader, Google and SEO purposes, I’ve switched it up.
This is a quick and easy vegan recipe that doesn’t require soaked cashews, coconut cream or any of that. This is the perfect vegan dinner when you want something delicious that won’t take hours in the kitchen.
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!
Pasta is a staple in this house because when either one of us is feeling a little too lazy to be creative, pasta is one of our favorite go-to recipes. You can pair it with just about anything, like King Oyster Scallops. Take your favorite vegan meat alternative, sauce and vegetables and make some fabulous. It’s easy and almost always tasty, so I usually keep a few different types of pasta in the pantry.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love pasta and noodles? That I could eat it at least four times a week without getting sick of it even though I very easily and quickly get sick of dishes if I have them too often? Of course I have, it’s me we’re talking about!
At first it was too think and clunky, then it was too watery. Whether I used a roux, processed tofu or early versions of mediocre vegan cheese, it was good but it wasn’t quite right. Thus began my Goldilocks method of perfecting my vegan alfredo sauce.
Today I kept it simple with this vegan chicken alfredo made with Naturli brand breaded schnitzel, which includes this particular dish in the easy vegan recipes column. Pop the schnitzel in the oven until crispy and sizzling, let it rest while you take care of everything else.
If you think making vegan alfredo sauce from scratch couldn’t possibly qualify as ‘easy’, think again. Even the recipe list on this bad boy is fairly simple.
When it comes to pasta, my motto is, the more the better. That’s right. Despite my efforts to eat healthier over the years, the one thing I refuse to give up is carbs. I love spaghetti, mac & cheese, ramen, bread…all of it. But I’m also not afraid to add any of them to a bowl of raw veggies to balance it all out.
But I’ve recently discovered a brand of vegan tuna called Unfished, and you know that meant I needed a do over from my last vegan puttanesca dish!
There are a lot of variations on what it means to make a true puttanesca but this is a vegan food blog so we already know there won’t be any anchovies or other formerly living critters in this recipe, and that’s all right because that’s where the vegan tuna comes in.
This dish was pretty easy to make, especially if you already know the basics of building a good red sauce. Even if you don’t, you’ll find it easy…with a bit of prep work.
I don’t know about you, my fellow vegans, but when I first went vegan I found it easier to just stick to a whole food, plant based diet. I was worried that eating too many vegan alternatives would make it harder to stick to this new way of life. It helped that 4 years ago there were not as many options as there are in 2021. Back then, there was tofu, vegan sausages and various breaded vegan chicken options and if we’re being honest, they were nothing to write home about.
Okay well, there are much better options. Beyond Burger, I’m talking to you! But, as a lover of food, I knew that I would have to venture outside of my comfort zone to test out all the vegan food options for loyal readers and foodies like you.
So when I happened upon this vegan salmon by Lord of Tofu, I knew I had to try it. Well, the truth is that I knew my husband would want to try it because he loved the vegan lox we got from the same maker.
Anyhoo…here we are.
Since we’ve been going pretty steadily on our Midnight Tokyo Diner thing, the hubs requested this meal. Lemon broccoli pasta with vegan salmon and that’s what I gave him.
When I was a kid one of my favorite canned meals was spaghetti and meatballs. As a latch-key kid, there was nothign better than racing home from school to crack open a can of ravioli, spaghetti-o’s or spaghetti and meatballs. All of that tomato-y goodness that, in hindsight, wasn’t all that good, waiting to stain your lips and your microwave safe bowl!
Who could resist?
Not me, that’s for sure!
So, when I was walking the aisles of Lidl last week and noted that here in Romania they have started to up their vegan food choices game. I found Verdino brand meatballs and you know what I did, grabbed up the last package with a giddy smile. I knew then what I wanted.
What is that?
Well, let’s see. Combine my love of carbs, noodles and pasta with these vegan meatballs and what do you have? One of my childhood favorites, re-done for the fancy, grown-up vegan I am today.
This is one of those vegan dinner recipes that you can do the easy way or the tasty way. Just kidding, I’m sure your jarred pasta is super delicious, it’s just a little too sweet for my taste. But if anyone knows of any no sugar added options, I’m game to give it a try.
Whenever I think of tetrazzini, instantly I’m propelled back to the 90’s when my former step mother would make this dish with leftover dry chicken (or turkey if it was just after Thanksgiving) and mushrooms and some cream-type style. It wasn’t my favorite dish back then, other than the fact, you know, that pasta is delicious.
In fact, I’d argue that pasta is a lot like pizza. Even cold and a day old, it’s pretty damn good.
So why on earth did I request mushroom tetrazzini when it was my night to choose what we would have for dinner?
But here we are, or rather, there we were.
Just so we’re clear, this is a bastardized version of whatever ‘traditional’ tetrazzini is supposed to be, but it’s close enough in my opinion that I’m called it a vegan mushroom tetrazzini, whether you like it or not.
What do you do when your latest order of vegan food arrives in the mail and vegan bacon is inside? You make some version of vegan carbonara, but you don’t call it carbonara because all the Italian food purists will throw a giant hissy fit.
My partner made a simple request, vegan pasta carbonara and I got a little creative with the ingredients, including broccoli and my own vegan bechamel-style cheese.
The ingredients for this vegan pasta (not) carbonara is pretty simple: pasta (I used linguine), broccoli, nutritional yeast, vegan bacon, plant milk, garlic, shallots and peanut oil.
Just for the sake of clarification, I should tell you that I am not a tradititonalist when it comes to recipes. I will take something that looks interesting and try it once to decide how I like it, and then I will tweak it to fit my palate, ingredients and desires. But I will totally keep the name.
So when my partner requested “a type of carbonara” I knew exactly what he meant; give me some kind of creamy pasta dish.
It’s a pretty simple vegan pasta dish if you’re ever in need of a quick weeknight dinner, or like me, those nights when you end up writing until ten at night and forget all about dinner.
This is a pretty easy vegan recipe to execute. Cook the pasta according to the box instructions, but I recommend that you cook it 1 or 2 minutes shy of the box recommendation because you’ll add it to the hot vegan carbonara sauce and it’ll cook a little more. But if you like very soft pasta, do you.
I like my mushrooms with a bit of a bite so I cook them until the moisture is gone and they start to crisp around the edges, and then I add the onion (cook 5 to 7 minutes) and the garlic (another 2 or 3 minutes, until fragrant). Slice the seitan sausage and add it with the garlic, cooking until the edges start to crisp.
That brings us to the carbonara sauce, which I know is nothing like the authentic Italian carbonara mostly because this is a vegan carbonara which means NO ANIMALS. Instead I used unsweetened almond milk, black pepper, garlic and nutritional yeast. The yeast will help the sauce thicken and give it depth of flavor, but you might want to try your hand at a thick and creamy vegan bechamel (get my recipe here) if you don’t possess enough patience to wait for the sauce to thicken, which it will.
When the pasta is done, add it straight from the water into the pot with the mushrooms, onion, garlic & sausage and pour the vegan carbonara sauce over it, tossing over low heat until combined.
Serve and garnish with fresh ground black pepper and vegan parmesan cheese. I use ParVeggio because it is literally my only option here in Romania, but it is tasty and creamy and salty, and it smells much better than the canned crap I used to eat.
The next time you need a quick and easy vegan pasta dish, consider this creamy, plant based carbonara.