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5 Vegan Dishes Perfect for Spring!

Today is the first day of spring, and given the winter most of the US has just had, you’re probably as ready for it as I am. In honor of the vernal equinox, I give you Five Vegan Dishes that are Perfect for Spring!

Vegan Asian Spinach Salad

Asian Spinach Salad: If that picture alone doesn’t get you ready for warmer weather, then think about this: Crisp water chestnuts, sweet mandarin oranges, and crunchy bean sprouts. Added bonus? It’s fairly quick to make. Get outside for a walk after work, and you’ll still have time to throw this together for dinner!

Vegan Caprese Quesadillas

Caprese Quesadillas: Even if it’s still too cold where you are to fire up the grill, you can prepare these on the stove top and enjoy that light, sweet combination of tomatoes and basil. And cheese. Did I mention there’s cheese in there? Cheese.

Vegan Hummus & Veggie Melts

Hummus n’ Veggie Melts: Some of us <looks in mirror, sticks out tongue> spent the winter enjoying our favorite comfort foods. There’s nothing wrong with that, but with warmer weather comes the desire to lighten it up a little bit. These melts are light, healthy and delicious. And easy, so easy!

Vegan Tofu Buffalo Spring Rolls

Tofu Buffalo Spring Rolls

Buffalo Tofu Spring Rolls: No, these didn’t make the list just because they have spring in their name! These rolls embody everything that spring cooking stands for – They’re light, they’re fun, and if the weather is cooperating, you can cook them outside!

Vegan Lemony Couscous & Asparagus Salad

Lemony Couscous & Asparagus Salad: I know I just posted this dish a couple weeks ago, but its perfect for this round-up! Asparagus and sweet cherry tomatoes are what spring is all about. This makes a lovely side dish, and the leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day!

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Food For Life makes some really great products: Breads, cereals, even vegan meats! If you’re gluten-free, chances are you’ve tried their products. Even if you’re not GF, you probably have. I happen to love me some gluten, but I buy their Ezekial 4:9 bread on a regular basis. Easy Vegan Tostadas They recently sent me a couple packages of their Black Rice Tortillas to try. They’re a beautiful dark purple, and hearty and chewy like GF tortillas are. Because they’re GF they are more dry than the traditional flour version, but still very tasty. I didn’t put mine in the fridge right away like I was supposed to, and they got even drier, so I decided to skip trying to roll them (although if you put them in the microwave they do soften right up). Easy Vegan Tostadas I went for a super-easy-cheater-tostada instead! I simply heated a tortilla and covered with with vegetarian refried beans (I used the recipe from JL’s upcoming pressure cooker cookbook!), chopped tomatoes, enchilada sauce, vegan sour cream and smashed avocados. I said “easy”, didn’t I?


The Giveaway

One lucky reader will receive two free packages of Exotic Black Rice Tortillas from Food For Life.

This contest is open until Midnight (mountain time), Sunday March 23rd. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced the following day. Enter below.

Contest is limited to US only. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Breakfast Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Vegan Breakfast Stuffed Sweet Potatoes These Vegan Tofu Scramble Stuffed Sweet Potatoes make my stomach smile.  They combine my favorite breakfast food with something I love like crazy. I’m such a sweet potato fan! Anything with that much fiber, that many nutrients… and it tastes good? How can you go wrong? Wanna know a secret? I’ve never actually had these for breakfast! Just for lunch and dinner. When you’re making breakfast for dinner, these are a great option because they’re seriously filling and seriously healthy. Vegan Breakfast Stuffed Sweet Potatoes And you can totes play around with the toppings: Avocado? Absolutely. Salsa and sour cream? Fantastic idea! A big ol’ drizzle of maple syrup? Sign me up! The ones pictured here actually do have avocado on them, although it’s hard to tell.

After the miserable 7+ days I just had, I need good food like this. I woke up 2 Fridays ago with the flu, which grew to include bronchitis, laryngitis, a bacterial infection in my lungs, and two pulled muscles in my abdomen. I missed an entire week of work and life. I truly don’t know where the time went. I started feeling human again on Saturday, and have never been happier to do mundane tasks like laundry, or even coming to work this morning! Funny how illness changes your perspective, eh? Vegan Breakfast Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Now that I’m feeling a bit better I’m making the most of it. Yesterday I spent over an hour walking the dogs in the sunshine, then had a delicious Thai lunch with Jamie and Ems. There might have been a vegan blueberry cupcake from Whole Foods for dessert. Then it was back home to just sit in the sun with a book. Loving this warmer weather, and as far as I’m concerned, winter is over. So keep this nice weather coming, please!


Breakfast Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Yields 8
A whole new take on breakfast!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 batch Spicy Tofu Scramble (maybe add some extra peppers in there!)
  2. 4 medium/large sweet potatoes
  3. 1 tomato, diced
  4. 1 avocado, diced
  5. Vegan cheese shreds for topping
  6. Salsa, vegan sour cream, maple syrup, etc for topping...
Instructions
  1. Scrub the sweet potatoes and poke repeatedly with a fork or knife. Microwave until fully cooked, ~4 minutes per side. When they're finished, slice in half lengthwise, and scrape out the centers being sure to leave plenty of tater flesh along the skins so they don't tear.
  2. Fill each with the scramble and whatever else you're adding (tomatoes, avocado, etc). Top with the cheese and put under the broiler until melted. Top with sour cream, maple syrup or whatever other fabulous topping you're using, and serve.
Notes
  1. Not sure what to do with the sweet potato filling you scraped out? You could add it back into your scramble, or if you have happy little veggie-lovin' pups like I do, add it to their food!
Adapted from Damn Delicious
Adapted from Damn Delicious
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce

Please tell me you’ve been to (graduated from!?) Nasoya’s Tofu U! It’s a fantastic online resource where you can learn more about tofu, find new recipes, and even download coupons. As a member of Nasoya’s Dean’s List, I’ve had the opportunity to share recipes, thoughts and opinions with other tofu-lovers, and it’s been a blast. This is one of the posts I put together for them, and would *love* it if you could head over there and check out the site and some of the work I’ve done there!


Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce

I’ve always enjoyed a thick, rich, creamy alfredo sauce, and I bet you have too. Who doesn’t? The good news is that even if you’ve gone dairy free (or just trying to cut out the fat and calories), those sauces can still be part of your diet!

I know you’re shaking your head in disbelief right now, but it’s true! I would never lie about something as serious as alfredo sauce.  The fact is, Nasoya soft and silken tofu both make a wonderful substitute for the heavy cream many recipes call for.  To prove it to you, I’m going to share one of my very favorite recipes: Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce! Simple stir it over your favorite pasta (I like mine with whole wheat fettuccine!) and enjoy. Then, try it in your favorite recipe!


Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce
Yields 4
Dairy free? They'll never know!
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Ingredients
  1. ½ sweet onion, diced
  2. 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
  3. 1 package Nasoya soft tofu, drained
  4. ½ t chili powder
  5. ½ - 1 teaspoon sea salt (depending on your affinity for salt!)
  6. ¼ cup non-dairy milk
  7. ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  8. 12 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  9. Handful of non-dairy mozzarella (if desired… it makes the sauce a bit “richer”)
  10. Fresh basil
Instructions
  1. Water saute the onion and garlic in a good-sized pot for 6-7 minutes until soft, then place in a blender with the remaining ingredients (except the mozzarella).
  2. Blend until smooth then transfer back to the pan and place over low/medium heat, stirring often until it’s heated through. Stir in the mozzarella if you’re using it, and adjust the seasonings as needed.
  3. Pour over freshly cooked pasta, top with basil, and serve immediately.
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/

*I was provided compensation but the opinions are 100% mine!

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Lemony Couscous & Asparagus Salad

Vegan Lemony Couscous & Asparagus Salad

I have a wicked case of spring fever, which is being compounded by the fact that one day it’s almost 70 degrees, and two days later I wake up to a couple inches of snow in my yard. Lucky for me, this salad works in either of those scenarios! My Vegan Lemony Couscous & Asparagus Salad is guaranteed* to either make you appreciate the spring-like weather you’re having, or to cheer you up from the non-spring-like weather you’re having.

See? Win-win!

I just love asparagus, and for the past few weeks it’s been on sale at all my local grocery stores. I don’t think I’ve seen it for more than $1.99 a bunch, and often for much less.  Combined with fresh, crisp cherry tomatoes and a light seasoning, this just screams spring is almost here!

Plus it’s great as a side dish, or on it’s own as a quick n’ easy lunch.

Vegan Lemony Couscous & Asparagus Salad

You know what else is here? FRIDAY! It’s time to enjoy the weekend before our alarm clocks go off an hour early on Monday. I plan to get outside and enjoy some sunshine with my pups, maybe use my healed foot a little bit. And if you find yourself in the kitchen with a craving for a light, springy dish, I highly recommend this salad!

Vegan Lemony Couscous & Asparagus Salad

 


 

Lemony Couscous & Asparagus Salad
Serves 4
This side dish is like spring in a bowl!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 bunch asparagus
  2. 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  3. 8 oz Israeli couscous
  4. 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  5. 2 cups veggie broth
  6. Juice of 1 lemon
  7. 1/2+ teaspoon cumin
  8. Salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut off the woody ends of the asparagus, then cut the remaining into bite-sized pieces. Steam for 4-5 minutes. It's OK for them to still have a bit of crispness when they're done.
  2. Met the butter in a good sized pot, then add the couscous and allow to brown over medium heat, 3-4 minutes, stirring a couple times.
  3. Add the veggie broth, and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the liquid is gone and the couscous is al dente. Stir in the cumin, lemon juice, asparagus and tomatoes. Check for taste and add S&P. That's it!
Notes
  1. This dish is wonderful cold, room temperature and even slightly warmed!
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
*This guarantee is guaranteed to not stand up in court! :)

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Daiya Beer Cheese Nachos

Vegan Daiya Beer Cheese Nachos

As a brand advocate for Daiya, I’m lucky to be able to create delicious recipes using their fabulous products… and this is one of them! And believe me when I tell you, these Vegan Beer Cheese Nachos will knock your socks off!

Regular vegan nachos are faboo, don’t get me wrong… but when you add a little beer, it just makes it better. I’m not sure why, it just is. Want some more nacho porn?

Vegan Daiya Beer Cheese Nachos

That’s a whole lotta beer-cheesy goodness, isn’t it? And the best part is, once you get this beer cheese down, you can add any other toppings you want to make your dream nachos.

Mmmmm….. nachos….

We both know you want these for dinner tonight, so go ahead. Make them. I wont tell anyone.

Vegan Daiya Beer Cheese Nachos


Daiya Beer Cheese Nachos
So cheesy and sooo good!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  2. 2 tablespoons AP flour
  3. ~1/2 bag Daiya cheddar shreds
  4. 1/2 -3/4 cup your favorite vegan beer
  5. 1 small sweet bell pepper
  6. 1/2 yellow onion
  7. 1 jalapeno
  8. 3-4 dashes garlic powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon (or more!) chili powder
  10. Sliced vegan sausage (I used a bratworst-style sausage, and it tasted fabulous!)
  11. Your favorite tortilla chips
Instructions
  1. Chop your bell pepper and onion, and slice up the jalapeno. Water saute for 2-3 minutes, then set aside. Add the sliced sausage to the pan with a little non-stick spray, and fry until crispy on each side, then set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low/medium heat. Add flour and stir until it's basically a big glob. This is your roux. Stir in the beer and cheese until everything is smooth, and reduce heat to lowest setting. Stir in the garlic and chili powder, and taste test. Adjust as needed. Top your chips with the veggies, jalapenos, and sausage. Pour the cheese mixture over your chips, and serve immediately!
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/

*I was provided free product, but the opinions are 100% mine!

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Nasoya Recipe Contest and Giveaway!

This giveaway is now closed and the winner is… Katie!

Nasoya just launched their Think Outside the Block recipe contest, and you can win $500! Check out the ad below and then visit their Facebook page for more information. 

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But that’s not all! By participating in the contest (even if you just vote!), you’ll be entered here to win free Nasoya product coupons as well. Score!


The Giveaway

One lucky reader will receive two free product coupons from Nasoya.

This contest is open until Midnight (mountain time), Tuesday March 11th. The winner will be chosen randomly and announced the following day. Enter below.

Contest is limited to US only. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Vegan Creamy Portobello Mushroom and Kale Pasta

Holy crap was it cold in Colorado this weekend. Everyone was bundled up in their sweaters (and by “everyone”, I mean my dogs) and hunkered down in front of the fireplace. Well, except for on Saturday when we decided to venture out for lunch and a bit of shopping, and promptly got stuck in the traffic behind Denver’s 104 car pileup. We ended up having to do a little off-roading to get off the interstate (who needs a proper exit ramp? Not me!) and although we weren’t able to get to our intended lunch destination, we did discover a new (to us) spot: The Urban Roadhouse! Lots of vegan (or can-be-vegan-with-slight-adjustment) items on the menu (I’m thinking they deserve a spot on my Mile High Vegan Eats page), plus they had a full bar. I really needed a bar after that traffic. If you follow me on instagram you saw part of my lunch…

Vegan Creamy Portobello Mushroom and Kale Pasta

That was a veggie and hummus “unburger” and a quinoa salad. Healthy, delicious and satisfying. My favorite part was the quinoa… the perfect amount of seasoning that really allowed the veggies themselves to shine.  Oh, and if you need another reason to follow me on Instagram, I post A LOT of pictures like this:

Vegan Creamy Portobello Mushroom and Kale Pasta

That was the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger creation I made for dinner on Saturday. It was ridiculously good, and will be appearing on the blog soon. Promise! :)

And now, back to my  Creamy Vegan Portobello Mushroom and Kale Pasta!  It’s good. It’s reeaallly good! Creamy, hearty and it uses one of my very favorite spices: smoked paprika. Plus, it has kale, and I feel like combining kale with any sort of comfort food-dish is really a win.

Vegan Creamy Portobello Mushroom and Kale Pasta

I know spring is almost here (hopefully?), but you still have time to put on a sweater, make this dish and eat it in front of a roaring fire!


Creamy Portobello Mushroom and Kale Pasta
Serves 4
A creamy and delicious way to eat your veggies!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 sweet onion, diced
  2. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  3. 2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into thin strips
  4. 1 roma tomato, diced
  5. 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or a bit more if you really dig that flavor)
  6. 1 tablespoon flour
  7. 1.5 cups veggie stock
  8. 1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 3 cups cooked pasta (I love campanelle in this dish, make sure it's al dente)
  11. 3/4 cup vegan sour cream
  12. 2-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  13. S&P
Instructions
  1. In large skillet, water saute the onions and garlic for 4-5 minutes, then add the sliced mushrooms, tomato and paprika. Continue to cook over medium heat for another 3-4 minutes, adding an additional tablespoon of water if needed. Stir in the flour and cook/stir for one more minute.
  2. Pour in the stock, stirring well to make sure there are no flour clumps. Add the kale and the bayleaf, and let simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes. Stir in the cooked pasta and sour cream. If it's too dry, add a bit of the non-dairy milk. Oh, and make sure you pull out that pesky bay leaf!
Adapted from Bev Cooks
Adapted from Bev Cooks
That Was Vegan? http://www.thatwasvegan.com/
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Mile High Vegan Eats: Park & Co

There’s a reason Park & Co keeps getting the nod for best veggie burger in Denver (Park Burger is owned by the same folks and they use the same vegan patty)… the reason being, it’s super yummy! And, despite what you’ll read if you google “Denver’s Best Veggie Burger”, their patty is actually vegan. No egg or dairy in there! 

Mile High Vegan Eats: Park & CO

Unfortunately, there’s a caveat. You have to order the burger with no burger sauce, and specify no butter on the bun*. But, that’s a small price to pay for a burger that’s almost almost juicy. Not sure how they accomplish that, but the homemade patty is full of veggies and grains and even corn! They smash it down while it’s cooking, and it gets a little crispy. Very delicious on it’s own, and you can top it with all sorts of things including avocado. I forgot to order avocado on mine… <sads>

My favorite appetizer for sure is the roasted cauliflower with arugula and chimichurri. It’s crisp and flavorful and makes a perfect side for two people to share with their burgers. 

Mile High Vegan Eats: Park & CO

And, if you’re not in the mood for a burger (or just want something spicier), go for the Teriyaki Tofu Banh Mi! Another caveat (because, obvs), but you have to order it without the aioli. You can still get a bottle of Sriracha brought to your table though. And, I highly recommend combining this spicy beauty with a side of crispy sweet potato fries to help your burning mouth. One warning: Drink a lot of water. I think it’s the teriyaki-soaked tofu, but you’ll be very thirsty the rest of the afternoon. It’s worth it though. 

Mile High Vegan Eats: Park & CO

The ambiance? Very cool neighborhood bar. You could totally go here on a first date, or bring your kiddos for lunch.  Or, if you’re like me, go early on a Saturday afternoon and spend a few hours drinking at their very cool bar. Just be careful if you go on a Sunday, the brunch menu has very limited vegan options.  They also have some of those games- the kind where you spin around the little soccer players to kick the ball? I don’t know what it’s called… #duh

The next time I go, I’m totally trying the soba noodle salad!

*I’ve asked three times about the bun. Twice I was told it’s vegan. Once I was told it might have milk powder in it, so order at your own risk!

Want more Denver-area restaurant reviews? Check out my Mile High Vegan Eats page!

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Buffalo Chickpea Salad

Yes, another way to enjoy delicious buffalo chickpeas, and also another way to keep your salads interesting, so you don’t get bored!Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Salad

I had some leftover chickpeas, so I simply combined them with my favorite buffalo sauce (Franks, it’s vegan!), then used them to top a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. It really  doesn’t get any easier than this.

Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Salad

The only decision you need to make is whether you want your chickpeas warm or room temperature. I went for slightly warm, which was a nice contrast to the cool, crisp veggies.  I heated them in a small pan over low/medium heat for 2-3 minutes, but you could also just microwave them.

You can also play with how saucy you want the beans to be. I used about half a cup of sauce for a can of chickpeas (rinse them first!), but you could certainly add more.

And if you’re looking for other ways to increase the amount of wing sauce in your diet, check out these ideas:

Vegan Buffalo Chickpea Salad

Hey, have you guys checked out my post on the Elephant Nature Park yet? It was an incredible experience, and a lot of fun reliving it as I wrote that post. I’m still planning to write about the entire trip, and I’m thinking of breaking it down by country.

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