A few weeks ago a friend asked me what my vegan recipe staples were – the tried and true meals that I cook every week because they’re easy and tasty. I love trying new recipes and more often make something new then something I’m familiar with. Oh She Glows is an inspiring source of new recipes. However, there are a few meals I do rely on. Most of them don’t have strict recipes. They’re more meal ideas that I can shape to the ingredients I have in my garden or fridge.
Tacos are quick, easy to make, and easily adaptable to the ingredients you have on hand. Be creative. Almost any vegetable tastes good in a taco. My basic taco has black beans, grilled vegetables, lettuce, and a spicy salsa. I also like adding avocado, pineapple, green onions, roasted beets, and shredded carrots. If you’re feeling adventurous, try making walnut taco meat or jackfruit pulled pork. For a cheesy flavour, you can add nutritional yeast, cashew sour cream, or Daiya.
- Stir Fry
A stir fry is another simple and versatile dish that can use almost any vegetable. There are a million stir fry recipes out there. My favourite ingredients are broccoli and eggplant. For a complete meal, add cashews, chickpeas, quinoa, or wild rice for protein.
- Roasted Vegetables
Another easy way to prepare vegetables is to roast them in the oven with a oil and spices. Potatoes, beets, yams, and garlic all taste great roasted. Cauliflower is amazing! Service it with a fresh salad and wild rice and you have a great meal.
- Quinoa Salad
Whenever we eat quinoa for dinner, I like to make extra so I can turn the leftovers into quinoa salad. to make an excellent Mediterranean salad, mix it with peppers, cucumber, tomato, olives, red onion, olive oil, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar. Massaged kale also goes well in a quinoa salad.
- Lentil Soup
I like making lentil soup because it’s fast, filling, and flavourful. It takes less than 30 minutes to make. The Rebar cookbook has an excellent recipe (available here) that I follow, minus the feta. The lemon juice adds a nice tang and brings out the flavour.
Sauerkraut is all the rage with nutritionists these days for its probiotic characteristics that aid in digestion. Emily was at a workshop on “Optimizing Your Plant-Based Diet” last week where, among other things, they encouraged people to eat homemade sauerkraut. It sounded like a fun experiment, so we gave it a go. We’ve made pickled vegetables before (cucumbers, beets, etc.) but never fermented anything.
It was really easy. We followed the instructions my Baba gave me and combined with ones I found on the internet.
- Shred cabbage thinly.
- Layer in a bowl.
- As you add each layer, add salt and knead the cabbage together. This will compresses it and release water.
- Mix in other veggies. We added carrots and garlic. The carrots were good and the garlic added flavour but didn’t soften enough to eat on its own. Baba suggested onion and pickling spices in a cheesecloth.
- When you’re done kneading the cabbage, you should have a good amount of water in the bowl. If not, keep kneading.
- Put a plate over the ‘kraut’ and place something heavy on top of it (we used a case of cat food). The water level should rise above the plate.
- Set it aside to ferment for a few days. We left ours on the counter, which gave off a nice, eastern European aroma. You can put it in the fridge. The temperature it ferments at will affect the taste (sweetness vs sourness).
- After 4 days ours was ready to eat. We packed it into jars and put it in the fridge.
The end product tastes pretty good. Sweeter than the sauerkraut you buy in stores and with more texture.
Our weekly vegetable basket from Fresh Roots CSA had a giant head of cabbage in it. What do you do with all that cabbage? As my Baba always says, when life gives you kapusta you make cabbage rolls. So, I invited a few friends over for a cabbage roll making / board game playing party.
I used this recipe for vegan cabbage rolls, but need to triple the amount of filling and only used a single head of cabbage. I also replaced the TVP with chickpeas. There was more than enough for 8 people to eat, plus leftovers for everyone to take home.
Added to What’s in the Box? #49.
Here’s my recipe for Mexican lasagna (or lazy enchiladas) that I cooked for a community potluck I went to last night. It’s completely vegan, soy-free, and gluten-free (and still quite tasty). I made up the recipe as I went along, so the measurements are not exact but I’ve tried to guess how much I used – feel free to add more/less of each ingredient or to add/remove ingredients entirely. It’s a forgiving recipe.
- onion, 1 diced
- zucchinis, 3 small diced
- red pepper, 1 diced
- green pepper, 1 diced
- garlic, 2 cloves minced
- corn, 1 cup frozen or canned
- pineapple, 1 cup cut into chunks
- cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup sliced in half
- black olives, 1/2 cup sliced
- black beans, 1 can
- greens (kale, spinach, chard, or even beet greens), roughly chopped
- cilantro, 2 tbsp chopped
- chili powder, 2 tsp
- paprika, 2 tsp
- cumin, 2 tsp
- cayenne, 1/2 tsp
- salt and pepper
Vegan Cashew Cheeze Ingredients
- cashews, 1 1/4 cup, soaked for a few hours in water and then drained
- nutritional yeast, 1/3 cup
- lemon juice, 2 tbsp
- olive oil, 1 tbsp
- apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp
- sauce, 2 cups of enchilada sauce or salsa
- corn tortillas, 12 small ones
- Daiya vegan cheese, preferably pepperjack
- avocado, sliced thinly
- Fry onions in oil. When browned, mix in spices. Add zucchini and cook for a few minutes. Add peppers and garlic. Fry until all your veggies are mostly cooked. Add pineapple, corn, tomatoes, black olives, and black beans. Add more spices if necessary. When cooked, remove from heat and fold in cilantro and greens (they don’t need to be fried).
- In a food processor, mix all the cashew cheeze ingredients together until they have a mostly smooth consistency.
- Cover the bottom of a large casserole dish with a thin coating of sauce. Add a layer of tortilla shells. Cover with 1/2 of the filling. Sprinkle with half of the cashew cheeze (it’s ok if it’s in little blobs). Cover with a some sauce. Add another layer of tortilla shells and repeat with the remaining filling and cashew cheeze. Cover with tortillas and a layer of sauce on top. *I didn’t put sauce on the top of mine, and the top layer of tortillas got a bit too crunchy.
- Sprinkle Daiya cheese on top and bake at 375 C for 30 minutes – covered for the first 20 minutes and then uncovered for the last 10 so the cheese melts.
- Remove from oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with sliced avocado on top.
When Emily and I were in Hoi An, we took a vegan Vietnamese cooking class at Karma Waters. Our instructor was excellent and even adapted the recipes to remove soy for me.
Here are the recipes our instructor taught us for phở (Vietnam’s famous noodle soup) and fresh spring rolls (salad rolls). They might look intimidating at first glance, but they’re not that complicated. The result is well worth it.
Continue reading Vegetarian Vietnamese Recipes – Phở and Spring Rolls
I didn’t go home to Manitoba for Christmas this year, which meant I missed the traditional Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner and the time spent playing board games in Baba’s basement. In an attempt to reproduce that in Vancouver, Emily and I hosted her family for a Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner. Ukrainian Christmas Eve dinner is traditionally a 12-course “vegetarian” meal (which includes fish), but we had the additional complication of making it vegan and gluten-free.
Our menu for the evening included:
- Holubtsi (cabbage rolls)
- Mushroom Gravy
- Pickled Garlic Scapes
- Maple Glazed Salmon
- White Beans
- Baked Apples
Continue reading Gluten-Free, Vegan Ukrainian Christmas Eve Dinner