Raw Pasta with Spinach/Cilantro Pesto

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Say hello to the star of the show ladies and gentlemen! WOW! Now, I have made some tasty meals in my day, but this is one of the top 5 ever! Not just top 5 while trying to eat more raw foods, just top 5 out of everything ever! Please go make this, you will be licking the bowl clean, I promise! It is a raw pasta made from zucchini strips drenched in a thick, delicious pesto made from bright cilantro and spinach, but with a deep garlic ‘cheeziness’ from the nutritional yeast. The marinated bell peppers and onion add a warmth and a tang that compliments the heavy pesto sauce perfectly. The zucchini strips are so mild you really do feel like you are eating a big bowl of pasta. It is STELLAR!

Raw Pasta with Spinach/Cilantro Pesto

Ingredients

2 LARGE zucchini (I really mean LARGE, like the size of your lower arm.) peeled into thin strips with a potato/vegetable peeler (once you peel down to the seedy center, just set the centers aside for use in a green juice later, don’t peel them)

1 large red onion, sliced into paper thin strips
2 bell peppers, sliced into paper thin strips
drizzle of olive oil
juice of one lemon

2/3 cup ground raw pine nuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped very small
1 bag of baby spinach leaves, chopped very small
3 cloves garlic, diced very small
juice of 2 small lemons
pinch of salt and pepper
olive oil

- Set the zucchini strips aside

-Combine the red onion strips and bell pepper strips in a bowl and toss them with the juice of one lemon and a small drizzle of olive oil and allow to marinate for 1 hour

- Combine the pine nuts, nutritional yeast, spinach, cilantro, garlic, juice of 2 lemons, salt and pepper (I don’t have a food processor so just chop everything very well!)

- Into the pine nut mixture drizzle in olive oil slowly while stirring until everything is combined and to the consistency that you like. I prefer mine fairly thick, but loose enough to cover my veggies.

- Combine the marinated onions and bell peppers with the zucchini slices and top with the pesto sauce. Enjoy!

Vegan Hot Wings

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Have you made an extra huge batch of my super scrumptious Chicken Fried Seitan and now you have a plate of leftovers?

Well, if you want sticky, spicy, hot wings follow this simple recipe and you will be drooling over a plate of lip smacking goodness in no time!

Ingredients
1/3 cup molasses (or maple syrup)
1/3 cup vegan butter
TONS of hot sauce, as much as you can handle!
pinch of salt and pepper
pinch of garlic salt and cumin

- Melt all the ingredients in a pan together

- Take the leftover chicken fried seitan out of the fridge and toss it in the liquid mixture (if you have made seitan patties, you might want to chop them up into chunks)

- Bake the liquid coated seitan in the oven on 300 degrees for 10 minutes (this step not only reheats the cold seitan but also lets the yummy hot sauce mixture soak in!)

- Remove the seitan from the oven and dip it one more time in the liquid mixture and then serve and enjoy!

I serve mine with a side of vegan ranch dressing…or vegan blue cheese dressing…I can’t decide which it tastes more like. (Did you know how versatile and super healthy cashews are? I’ve made so many wonderful things with them over the past week and I am quite impressed.)

Ingredients
1 cup raw cashews
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
several teaspoons of dried dill, to taste
pinch of salt and pepper

- Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor and dip and dunk to your heart’s content!

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“Cheezy” Quinoa Un-Casserole

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When I started planning this dish I had been pleased that it was heading to become so wholesome, and that I will be utilizing up elements we currently had in our kitchen, but I in no way imagined I will be blown away by it is absolute delicious taste. I mean, I knew it will be hearty and wholesome (it’s filled with super foods quinoa, nutritional yeast, and spinach) and be fresh and nutritious, but I did not anticipate to become shocked by its sheer cheezy yumminess! Actually, I had been heading to bake it in the oven, I had been envisioning a casserole, but as I had been ladling it into the casserole dish I tasted a little of it and was so pleased I did not wish to danger altering a point. So, it’s an un-casserole!

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Ingredients

2 and 1/2 cups of quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to directions on package
1 yellow onion, chopped small
3 bell peppers, chopped small
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach leaves
salt and pepper
pinch of cumpin, paprika, red pepper flake
1 can corn, drained
1 can pinto beans

-Saute in olive oil the onion, bell peppers, and garlic

-After 10 minutes or so add the spices and continue cooking for another 10 minutes until everything is tender

-Turn off the heat and wilt in the spinach

-Combine with the cooked quinoa and corn and beans

Cheeze Sauce
Ingredients

4 cloves garlic, diced
2 Tbsp vegan butter
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp mustard sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
3 cups water
pinch salt and pepper, cumin and turmeric
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp pickled jalapenos chopped
2 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes chopped
3 Tbsp cilantro

-In a frying pan saute 4 cloves of garlic in a drizzle of olive oil until crispy

-On very low heat add 2 Tbsp vegan butter, stir slowly until completely melted

-Slowly add in the 3 Tbsp flour, stirring constantly until completely combined into a roux

-VERY SLOWLY drizzle in the 3 cups of water, stirring constantly until the mixture is completely combined and there are no clumps of flour (Seriously, go slow and never stop stirring. Your patience is the key to your cheeze sauce having a nice smooth texture, you don’t want any clumps do you?)

-Add the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, lemon juice, and dried spices

- Add in the nutritional yeast and turn off heat, stir completely

- Add the jalapenos, sun dried tomatoes, and cilantro

Pour the cheeze mixture over the quinoa and veggies, stir it up completely, and enjoy!

Vegan Carne Guisada

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I invested two many years of my existence residing deep in the heart of South Texas, 90 miles from the Mexican border. Residing on the outskirts of a tiny town of less than 2,000 individuals with 2 traffic lights and far more cows than people, I had close to constant culture shock and never fit in. I did, however, love the expansive, open vistas, the feeling of freedom and the delicious, down home, unpretentious ‘throw in what you got’ Tex-Mex cowboy cooking.

My really favorite cowboy dish was carne guisada, that is usually a chopped meat covered in a quick gravy served with a side of buttered bread. Sounds so much much less impressive than it actually is. I veganized the dish easily and it tastes precisely like what I utilized to eat all individuals years ago in the Lone Star State: peppery, buttery, filling and Great. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Cooked TVP chunks, chopped small, 2 cups worth
1 large onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, diced small
2 Tbsp vegan butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups hot water
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper (lots of pepper!)
1 tsp cumin
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (this is not a cheese sauce so go easy on the yeast!)

-In a drizzle of olive oil saute the onion and garlic on medium heat for about 10 minutes
-Add 1 tbsp of butter and allow to melt completely
-Add in the 2 tbsp of flour and stir continually until combined
-Slowly drizzle in the 2 cups of hot water, stirring continually till you reach a thick creamy consistency
-Add the soy sauce and balsamic vinegar
-Add the spices and the nutritional yeast
-Add in the last tbsp of butter, stir completely
-This whole process should take about 5 minutes, still cooking on medium low heat
-Finally, add in the 2 cups of chopped TVP and add a bit more salt and pepper, allow to heat through and serve with 2 pieces of buttered bread. Enjoy!

Cilantro & Lemon Yellow Lentil Soup

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What could be better than a creamy bowl of savory soup? Lentils are so delicious when their earthy sweetness is paired with the tart bright tang of lemon and cilantro. It is thick and creamy, but I added more liquid than I would if I was just making a dense dahl because I wanted this to be lighter and more soup like. Every bit of this soup is perfectly balanced in your mouth, which only leads to you eating more and more and more! But go ahead and enjoy because this dish is as healthy as it is tasty.

This soup was the first time I had tried cooking with Kalonji Black Onion Seeds and WOW – these are what has been missing every time I cook Indian food. Yes, your meal can be great without them, but they pack such a subtle, aromatic mouthful of flavor in each tiny bite you should really try to find them. They are what always made me go ‘hmmm…what is that?’ every time I ate Indian food. Just a few days ago we went and ate at my favorite Indian restaurant Anand Bhavan and I closely examined every dish and found these tiny black seeds studded throughout everything! Now I know and they will be an indispensable part of my kitchen from here on out!

Ingredients
1 yellow onion – diced fine
4 cloves garlic – diced fine
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp kalonji black onion seed
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups lentils rinsed
6 and 1/2 cups of water
3 cups of unsweetened soy milk
1 Tbsp vegan butter
2 lemons zest and juice
3/4 cup cilantro chopped

-On medium heat in a large soup pot in a drizzle of olive oil gently saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes

-After 5 minutes add the lentils and all of the spices and cook and stir for another 3 minutes

-After 5 minutes add the water and the soy milk to the pot and simmer gently for 20 – 30 minutes until the lentils are soft but still have a bite to them. This part of the process is really subjective. I like my lentils still a bit firm, you might want them completely soft. I wanted my soup not too thick and broken down, you might. Just adjust the heat/water amount/cooking time and have fun with it.

-Once the consistency and lentils are to your liking, around 25 minutes, add the butter and stir though.

-Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest and the cilantro and serve with a side of naan, chapati, or paratha bread. Enjoy!

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Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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This is the world’s best grilled cheese sandwich ever! Seriously! It isn’t just the best VEGAN grilled cheese sandwich, it is the best grilled cheese sandwich period. I love these things, can you tell?

Crispy, salty on the outside and creamy and spicy and CHEEZY on the inside!

Ingredients (makes 4 sandwiches)
1 yellow onion diced
3 cloves garlic diced
2 Tbsp vegan butter
2 Tbsp flour
1 cup hot water
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp miso paste
1 Tbsp spicy mustard
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos chopped
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
8 slices of bread
butter to spread on the bread

-Saute the chopped onions on medium high heat for 8 minutes, until they are soft

-Add the chopped garlic and continue cooking for another 2 minutes

-Lower the heat to low and add the 2 Tbsp of vegan butter and stir until completely melted

-Add the 2 Tbsp of flour and stir for a minute till the flour is completely combined with the butter, garlic and onion

-Slowly add in the 1 cup of hot water, stirring continually until the flour and butter break down and form a thick creamy consistency with the water

* At this point the mixture will look a bit liquidy and not gooey enough to form a good grilled cheese sammy, have no fear! Once you add the nutritional yeast later on it will thicken up into a thick, cheesy consistency.

-Add the salt, pepper, cumin and jalapenos

-Add the lemon juice, miso paste, soy sauce and mustard

-Slowly stir in the 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast and stir and cook for another minute

-Remove cheese sauce from the heat and allow to come to room temperature while you spread butter on the outside of each piece of bread

-Spoon some of the filling onto a piece of bread NOT on the buttered side, then top with another piece of bread

-On medium high heat in a drizzle of olive oil cook the sandwiches buttered side down until they are brown and crispy. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt and enjoy!