Featured Recipe: Vegan Toast

Oh I know….today’s title is a little less than exciting. Vegan toast? Do you really need me to help you with vegan toast? No, not really. But I thought I’d offer up some suggestions anyways.

See, here’s the thing. I suck at breakfast. I have never been a breakfast person my entire life. I am not a big eater at breakfast and often I force myself to eat at least a little something. I know if I don’t I’ll pay for it later. But I cannot bring myself to cook at breakfast, and I am not at my most inventive or creative. This is how I end up eating a lot of breakfast bars.

Recently, I came across an Ode to Toast which presented me with four new ways to make toast. The one that looked most appealing to me was The Vegan Delight which includes hummus, avocado, slow-roasted tomatoes, hemp hearts, pepper, and sea salt. And while this looked totally delicious and easy to make, even I found a way to make it simpler for those of us who are just to lazy to care at breakfast.

I got myself some bread and hummus. I did not buy an avocado. The thing with avocados – which I totally love – is that they go bad real quick. Plus, it’s just me eating the toast so I’m not going to be eating a whole one at breakfast. However, my grocer sells Wholly Guacamole  which works well in place of an avocado. It comes in a tub, it lasts plenty long enough for me to eat it, and I don’t have to cut anything up in the morning. It is beautiful. I bought it. I also got myself a can of tomatoes and decided I didn’t care about hemp hearts. I later learned I am too lazy to open a can of tomatoes in the morning. That can has been sitting in the pantry for a solid week (maybe two).

But, here’s what I do with what I got. First, I have no toaster so I just pop the bread in the oven underneath the broiler. This works better than a toaster because I only let one side get toasty. I flip the bread over on my plate so that the soft side gets the hummus and what-not spread on it. This ends up making for a crunchy/soft combination that I love. I spread the hummus on and then I put my guacamole on top of it. I suppose I could add salt and pepper, but I don’t. The hummus and guacamole are plenty of flavor. I acknowledge I have tomatoes in a can and get to eating.

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This is the perfect thing to eat before I head out for a morning yoga class. If someone awesome in your life has made you tiny, adorable chocolate chip cookies that happen to be sitting in your kitchen those will work well as a side to the toast.

Take a look at the other ideas for vegan toast and let me know what you try!

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Featured Recipe: Spaghetti with Lemon & Parmesan

This is a vegetarian recipe that is Boyfriend approved. Actually, The Boyfriend is starting to catch on to the fact that my vegetarian and vegan cooking is very tasty and not at all terrifying.

I wanted to do a very simple dish that can be thrown together in a pinch. And I believe the author of today’s recipe  pretty much just invented the sauce based on things she saw lying around in her fridge. So you may already have what you need.

The thing to know about this recipe is that I read it a hundred times because I couldn’t believe I wasn’t supposed to heat the sauce. The recipe calls for you to make a sauce that includes:

1 cup (250ml) cream
3 cups finely grated Parmesan/Pecorino cheese
juice and rind of one lemon
1tsp Dijon mustard

However, nowhere does it say that the sauce is to be heated. You mix it all up and toss it onto cooked spaghetti. I had the cream, but I was too lazy to grate the parm. I just threw a block into the food processor. So this is what I got:

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You can already see I’m dealing with chunks here. I think I thought the chunks would melt when I put them on the hot spaghetti. They did not, and I got a meal that looked like this:

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Not bad – but chunky (and totally my fault). However, later on The Boyfriend made it again with leftover sauce. He heated the sauce and melted the cheese down. It was fabulous! So – if you are lazy like me and don’t want to grate, that’s fine. I don’t think you have to. However, I do recommend that you heat up the sauce. It was fine added directly to the spaghetti, but it was even better when it was heated up.

Ok – simple vegetarian spaghetti meal. What more could you ask for? Perfect for the winter.

Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Panini

I’m still working on trying out new vegetarian/vegan recipes. Recently, I went to Whole Foods and bought a log of goat cheese because Whole Foods is the most economical place to buy goat cheese – believe it or not! I was planning to make the goat cheese and caramelized onion pizza again when I remembered I had this recipe sitting around for a goat cheese panini.

The sandwich was super easy to make. It takes about all of 10 minutes from start to finish. First, get out your bread. I used sourdough that I bought at Target earlier that day, but you use whatever makes you happy. Put some goat cheese on one side and the olive tapenade on the other like so:

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Then, add your roasted red peppers and spinach. I used roasted red peppers from a jar (that makes things go faster). The recipe called for spinach. I did not have any so I used a piece of romaine lettuce. It worked. Unfortunately, I took the world’s worst picture of the pepper and lettuce being added so you will have to use your imagination here.

Get some butter (or Earth Balance or olive oil) going in your pan and toss your sandwich in. I used a plate with a soup can on top to smoosh mine down a bit.

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That’s tapenade on the plate. The soup can is not leaking.

Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, and you are done!

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This sandwich easily became on of my favorites. It is not yet Boyfriend approved, but that’s just because he hasn’t been around to try one. I imagine he would like it. It’s very filling and doesn’t need anything else to go with it. You could make one half this size and serve it with soup or a salad.

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

 

 

 

 

 

Featured Recipe: Lentils with Spinach

For the fourth Monday in a row, I bring you yet another featured recipe. You can thank The Boyfriend who has shown interest, excitement, and appreciation for me making vegetarian foods for him. I appreciate his willingness to give it a shot.

003The other day I came home from class and decided I was going to make something that had been sitting around in my pantry a long time: Tempting Lentils with Spinach. This was an impulse buy at the grocery store a long time ago (maybe two months? maybe longer). It had just sat around, and I decided it was time to get down to the business of cooking it.

 

Now, while this came from a box the ingredients are all things you have heard of. Basically lentils, spinach, and a bunch of spices. I tend to like to have stuff like this around for days when I need something quick or don’t feel much like cooking. I asked The Boyfriend if he wanted any, and he said no. He was not interested.

That was fine by me because it looked like I would have enough left over for lunch the next day. Bonus!

I started off by making some Basmati rice. Note that rice does not come with this. You’ll have to supply your own. I did cook the rice with actual butter making this dish vegetarian. You don’t have to do that. You could omit the butter or use Earth Balance (which The Boyfriend is a big fan of).

Once the rice had finished I started with what was in the packet. You just dump the contents into a pan and let it cook until it gets hot. Takes about 3-5 minutes. This gives you time to add more butter to the warm rice and let it melt in.

Then all you have left to do is put some rice in a bowl and put your lentils on top. So, how was it? I thought it was fine. I did find it to be a bit bland and would have liked it spicier. I suppose I could always make those adjustments myself.

The Boyfriend (who said he wasn’t going to be eating this) changed his mind once I had served myself and he took a look at it. He loved it and didn’t think it was bland at all. He ate his right up and then happily finished what was left of mine.

The Final Product

The Final Product

Would I make this again? Yes. First, The Boyfriend really enjoyed it. Second, while I found it to be bland it wasn’t that bad. It was quick to make and served its purpose.

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

 

Featured Recipe: Vegetarian Mexican Salad

I’ve gotten back into eating salads again. After about a week or so I turned to Pinterest to get some inspiration and jazz things up a bit. I did a search for Vegetarian Mexican Salads and found a great recipe for a burrito bowl. I wasn’t interested in putting rice as the bottom layer of my dish, but I used the rest of the recipe to create a great salad.

001I did make a few modifications to the recipe (besides omitting the rice):

1. No corn. I refuse to eat corn that isn’t organic. If it’s not organic you can bet it’s GMO corn. There was no organic corn available in cans. I told myself that this was ok as I had a bag of frozen organic corn at home. But it turns out that I am too lazy to heat up frozen corn after class. Plus, the rest of my salad was room temperature. I didn’t want warm corn in it. I am not sure I care enough to defrost it in advance and let it cool.

2. No avocado. Didn’t feel like it.

3. No cilantro. Hate cleaning it.

I am kinda lazy, right?

That said, corn, avocado, and cilantro would all be great in the salad! I did add red onions. While we’re at it, let me tell you a trick for making salads more enjoyable during the week….

When I’m on a Mexican salad kick I buy black beans and a red onion. I chop up the onion and mix it in a container with the beans. Add some salt and paper and then give it a good shake. Toss it in the fridge. This saves you the trouble of cutting up onions every time you want a salad. You just scoop out what you need.

I did add fresh salsa to the salad, and I included a bit of cheese and some sort of crispy/crunchy onion product I found next to the tomatoes at the grocery store. Do add cherry tomatoes. They are the bomb.

But you know what the real bomb is? The Chipotle Cream Sauce that is included in the link. It calls for chipotle paste, but I followed the directions using the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce which is listed as an acceptable substitute. This sauce is divine! I made enough for several salads, and it holds just fine. Give is a stir before you put it on.

So much potential

So much potential

The Boyfriend wasn’t interested in this the first time he saw me eating it, but he tasted it and thought it was good. The next day he asked me to make him one for lunch. He declared it to be amazing (and he ate most of my cream sauce). The Boyfriend also noted that the Chipotle Cream Sauce would make a good potato chip dip. He’s right.

I think the salad is filling without adding the rice, but that’s just me. As the author notes, there are plenty of ways to customize the salad. Have fun!

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

One Year Ago Today on MBYL

Featured Recipe: Couscous Salad

Can I just say that this whole pinning thing has gotten completely and totally out of hand. I have 200+ pins on my vegan board – or maybe it’s my vegetarian board – doesn’t matter. That’s more than a year’s worth of food when you consider some of this pins have multiple recipes in them.

I feel overwhelmed. I need to scale it back. I need to par it down to my essential dishes and then expand out from there.

I feel like deleting so many pins and starting from scratch, but what fun would that be? But seriously, I gotta start cleaning house with pinterest.

All that aside, I am happy to be getting back into the swing of trying some new vegetarian/vegan dishes. Recently, The Boyfriend asked me if I would cook dinner for him. He’s not a vegetarian. He most certainly is not vegan. He does not understand how to cook in ways that don’t feature meat (generally speaking). But he was open and willing to try some new things. So for awhile I will be bringing you some dishes that are BF approved.

Today, I bring you one of those dishes – a couscous salad with vegan sausage.

I didn’t use a recipe for this one. I was at the store one day and spotted some Israeli couscous and grabbed it. I love Israeli couscous. It’s a little bit bigger and rounder than what I normally use. I cooked it at lunch (takes about 15 minutes) because I wanted it to cool before dinner. I like this dish at room temperature.

I let the couscous cool for about three hours. Then I added in cucumbers, grape tomatoes, and feta. You could do this with or without cheese. I let it sit out on the counter and went to yoga.

004FYI: Cheese is actually supposed to be served at room temperature. You can leave it out like this in a salad for several hours with no worries.

When I got back from class, I took my shower and then made the vegan sausages. I used Field Roast Italian sausages.  The Boyfriend has already tried one of these several weeks ago and LOVED them. He was astounded by how much protein was in one (25 grams). He suggested I always have these on hand.

I prefer to cut up the sausages and cook them with olive oil. This enables me to get them nice and charred all around. It’s just a personal preference. I mixed in some of the sausage pieces with my couscous. The Boyfriend put his on the side.

I made two cups of couscous, and it was plenty for us both. It also provided leftovers. I had some for lunch the next day (minus the sausage), and it was fantastic. This is a dish that can work well for lunch or dinner.

Featured Recipe: Quinoa Chickpea and Avocado Salad

My days have gotten pretty busy lately leaving me little time to want to cook. If you feel the same, I suggest checking out this amazing Quinoa Chickpea and Avocado Salad. This dish is vegan and it will hold well in the fridge for a week. The dish takes about 30 minutes to make (this doesn’t count the time it takes for the quinoa to cool before adding it to the salad). I suggest making the quinoa in the afternoon then returning to finish off the salad when it’s at room temperature.

Because I wanted this recipe to last for multiple meals, I made a bit more quinoa than what the recipe calls for. Rather than make one cup, I made two and found it to be more than enough. The easy thing about this salad is that you can then adjust the remainder of the ingredients to your taste for however much quinoa you decide to use.

I had bought an avocado, but decided to not include it in the salad. Avocados drive me nuts. They go bad pretty quickly, and I hate dealing with leftovers and trying to figure out how not to get it to turn brown. So, rather than add avocado to my salad I whipped up avocado mayo (also vegan), and used it as a spread on some french bread.  It was delicious, and the mayo keeps for up to two weeks. This is a recipe to know as it is a great way to use up avocados and get some extended life from them. I always add in more garlic and onion powder than what is recommended. Just make it to your taste.

The salad does not get soggy. It travels well. During the last week, I took it with me to work for lunch and I had it for dinner after class. I am fine eating it straight from the fridge. A glass of white wine goes well with it. Enjoy!

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One Year Ago Today on MBYL

Two Years Ago Today on MBYL

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