Vegan Nacho Dip

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I guess this is more of an idea than a recipe, just because the possibilities are endless! This is my husband’s most favorite thing to eat, so I make it almost every week. It’s one of those meals that keeps getting better everyday, so, it’s very convenient to throw together and pre-bake, then just scoop out what you want and reheat. Not to mention, it makes so much, it feeds us for several meals! It’s also colorful, which is something I like in a meal. 😀

I’ll list what I have in mine, but get creative and add/subtract things that align with your tastes! 😉

Vegan Nacho Dip

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Here’s what I used:

  • 2 cans Vegan Refried Beans (Be aware that many contain lard, which would not be vegan!)
  • 3 Avocados – mashed & mixed with 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups cooked Brown Rice seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion flakes, cumin and chili powder
  • 1 cup Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce (Blend together: 1 c cashews (soak overnight if not using a high powered blender), 1/4 c almond milk, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 T Vinegar, 4 T Nutritional Yeast, 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder, 1/8 tsp Turmeric, 1/8 tsp Black Pepper, 1 Can Tomatoes and Green Chilies)
  • 2 cans Black Beans – drained and rinsed
  • 1 Onion – chopped
  • 2 Green Onions – sliced
  • Handful of Grape Tomatoes – quartered
  • 5 Small Bell Peppers – chopped (I use the mini multicolored packs of bell peppers)
  • 1 Small Can Black Olives (drained and rinsed)
  • 3 T Jalapenos – chopped
  • Handful of Pumpkin Seeds

Here’s what I do:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Layer 9×13 baking dish with ingredients starting from the top: refried beans, avocado, brown rice, vegan nacho cheese, black beans, onion, green onions, grape tomatoes, bell peppers, black olives, jalapenos, pumpkin seeds.
  • Bake for 45 minutes or until bubbly.
  • Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Scoop and enjoy with tortilla chips, brown rice tortillas, on top of a salad, or just on its own! ❤

I’d love to hear what variations you used!

 

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Vegan Chili Mac

One of our favorite meals before we became vegan was Chili Mac. Over the weekend, I veganized it! It turned out really great, so I thought I would share! We had wanted to try this new shredded cashew cheese that we found at our health food store (for all you locals, it was Village Foods). It was made by Parmela Creamery, and had far less ingredients than Daiya, so of course we wanted to give it a taste! Let me tell you… this stuff is DELICIOUS!

This is so super easy to make and it makes a lot! It’s one of those meals that’s even better the next day. 😀

Vegan Chili Mac

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Here’s what you need:

  • 8 oz Package of Gluten Free Brown Rice Elbow Pasta (I used Field Day Organic)
  • 2 Cans Pinto Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 14.5oz Cans of Tomatoes and Green Chilies (I used Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Medium Green Chilies)
  • 1 Package Beyond Meat Feisty Crumbles
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1-2 tsp Sea Salt (depends on your taste)
  • 1-2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 T Chili Powder
  • 1 Package Shredded Vegan Cheddar Cheese (I used Parmela Creamery Aged Nutcheese Shreds)

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the pinto beans, tomatoes with green chilies, the package of Beyond Meat Crumbles (I tossed them in frozen), and all of the spices.
  • Cook pasta for approximately 7 minutes. Since it will be baking, it doesn’t have to be completely done.
  • Drain pasta and rinse with cold water.
  • Add pasta to the other mixture and stir well.
  • Pour into a 9×13 baking dish and put in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes uncovered.
  • Remove from the oven, and sprinkle the cheese all over the top.
  • Place back in the oven until cheese is melted -or- if you like it a little crispy on top, put it under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until it’s as crispy as you like it.
  • Let it cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
  • Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup

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It’s about to get cold again…yuck! I’m ready for Spring!

This is one of our favorite soup recipes, especially during cold weather. It’s really versatile and you can easily add a little more of everything to make enough to last you several days. This is one of those meals that actually tastes even better the second and third day. I usually make some Vegan Gluten Free Bread to go with it!

Vegan Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup

 Here’s what you need:

For the Soup

  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 32 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (Be sure to look for cans with a BPA free liner!)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste (Be sure to look for cans with a BPA free liner!)
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 8 ounces brown rice pasta (penne works well, or lasagna sheets cut into squares after they are cooked)

Cashew Ricotta

  • 1 ½ cups cashews, soaked*
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • fresh parsley for topping (optional)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Place all of the ingredients for the soup (minus the pasta) in the slow cooker, stir together, cover with the lid, and cook on high for 6 hours.
  2. To make the cashew ricotta, drain and rinse the cashews then add them to a food processor or high speed blender along with the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth, but still thick in texture. You will have to scrape down the sides in between blending.
  3. When the soup is done cooking, bring a large pot of water with 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, then add to your soup and stir.
  4. Serve with a dollop of cashew ricotta on top and enjoy! 🙂

 

Notes

*Soak cashews in a large bowl covered with a few inches of water for at least 6 hours. If you’re in a hurry, you can soak them in boiling hot water for 30 minutes. If you have a Vitamix or other high speed blender, you won’t need to soak them.

Spinach Pesto Lasagna Rolls with “Cream Sauce”

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So, my Mom, Husband and I have all gone Vegan. I’ll write more about the “why’s” later. Until then, check out: Forks Over Knives, What the Health and Eating You Alive. So eye-opening!

I’ve been posting pictures of our meals on Facebook, just to show how yummy Whole Food Plant Based meals can be (gluten free also). Since I’ve had some requests for the actual recipes, here’s the one for the Spinach Pesto Lasagna Rolls with “Cream Sauce” that I made last night. They were SO good! 😀 ❤

 

Spinach Pesto Lasagna Rolls with “Cream Sauce”

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Here’s what you need:

10-12 brown rice lasagna noodles

“Cream Sauce”:
1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pesto:
2 cloves garlic + 1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups fresh basil, loosely packed
1/2 cup shelled pumpkin seeds + extra for topping
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Ricotta:
1 1/2 cup cashews, soaked at least 2 hours
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Spinach:
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz baby spinach

Here’s what you do:

Cream Sauce:
Drain cashews. In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until completely smooth.

Pesto:
Place all ingredients in a blender  and blend. It should not be completely smooth. Thin with water to get it into a spreadable consistency. Reserve half for the inside of the rolls and half for topping.

Ricotta:
Drain cashews. In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

Spinach:
In a large cast iron skillet, saute garlic in olive oil for about 1 minute, then add about 8-10 oz of the spinach (setting aside the rest) and cook until wilted.

Make the noodles:
Cook noodles according to instructions on package. You want them to be more al dente. Once cooked, drain them in a colander and run them under cold water to make them suitable for handling.

Assembling:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish or line with parchment paper.
  • Spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each lasagna noodle.
  • Spread about 1-2 teaspoons of pesto on top of the ricotta mixture of each lasagna noodle.  (Alternatively, you could mix half of the pesto with the ricotta to cut out this step.)
  • Line about 3 tablespoons of spinach mixture over the ricotta/pesto mixture.
  • Use the rest of the fresh spinach to cover the top of the mixtures of each lasagna noodle.
  • Carefully roll each noodle up and place them seam side down in the casserole dish.
  • Pour the white sauce all over the rolls.
  • Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until edges are lightly browned and white sauce is thickened.
  • Remove from oven, spread on the remaining pesto and sprinkle extra pumpkin seeds on top.
  • Place under broiler until the tops and pumpkin seeds are golden brown. This doesn’t take long, so watch it carefully!
  • Remove, serve and enjoy!

 

Fall is Coming Chicken Soup

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I got a little excited this past weekend because of the cool front that came through. Lows in the upper 50’s was something to celebrate, even if it did get up to 85 during the day. I mean, that’s cool weather for us Texans, right? We wanted something “fall-ish” for dinner, but nothing too complicated because we were busy outside (had to get those fall decorations out!). I figured a nice chicken soup would do! Now, when it comes to soups and stews, I don’t do measurements. I just start dumping things in until it tastes good. 😀

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2lbs Chicken (I used chicken breasts, but whatever cut you prefer will do.)
  • 6-8 Celery Stalks, chopped into roughly 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Small Bag of Carrots, chopped into roughly 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Bell Peppers (any color is fine), chopped
  • 2 Onions, Chopped
  • 2 Shallots, Chopped
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Chopped
  • 1 Big Handful Fresh Baby Kale
  • 1 Big Handful Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 T. Coconut Oil
  • Herbs & Spices to taste: Salt, Pepper, Thyme, Rosemary, Garlic Powder, Sage, Basil, Bay Leaves

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • Put chicken in a stock pot (I believe mine is a 10qt.) and cover with water. (Leave about 2 inches at the top.)
  • Add in your Herbs and Spices.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 1 hour.
  • Add Celery, Carrots, Bell Peppers, Onions, Shallots, Garlic and Coconut Oil.
  • Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat back to low, cover and simmer for about 30-45 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.
  • Remove Chicken and shred with a fork, then put it back in the pot.
  • Add in your handfuls of Kale and Spinach, and simmer for about 10 minutes more.
  • Remove from heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then serve.

Enjoy!

**This makes a lot, and tastes even better the next day!

Savory Beef Stir Fry

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The other day at the grocery store, I noticed Michael loading up on something while we were in the produce section. He was excited that the hatch chili’s were in season, so he was quickly filling up that plastic baggie with his find! We’ve been finding various ways to use them, so, I thought I would spice up some stir fry, and they gave it just the right amount of heat. 😉

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1lb Beef Cut for Stir Fry, or Top Round Steak thinly sliced
  • 2 Hatch Chili’s, sliced
  • 1 of each: Green, Yellow & Red Bell Peppers sliced (alternatively, I have found pre-sliced bell peppers and onions in the freezer section at Kroger. It’s much cheaper, faster and easier! 1 bag would do the trick.)
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, minced
  • 2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 T. Sesame Seed Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Sesame Seeds for Sprinkling
  • 2 Cups Long Grain Brown Rice, Cooked (This takes about 40-45 minutes, so I always get that going first.)

Here’s what you’ll do:

  • In a small bowl, mix together the beef, balsamic vinegar, sesame seed oil, garlic, salt & pepper & set aside for about 15 minutes to marinate.
  • Grease a skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat on medium-high.
  • Toss in your beef and marinade and saute until the beef is browned.
  • Add in your hatch chili’s, bell peppers and onions and cook until they are soft.
  • Serve on top of your cooked brown rice & sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Enjoy!

**Makes 4 Servings.**

Salsa Chicken Salad

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I’m going to give you the easiest way to make lots of tasty chicken, with almost zero effort. Ready? Here it goes:
Take 4-5 chicken breasts and 1 jar of green salsa (make sure there’s almost 0 sugar!), toss it all in the crockpot and let it go, let it go!!! 4-5 Hours on High or 6-8 Hours on Low. Once it’s done, you just take two forks and shred it all up. Easy, right? 🙂
You can eat this on its own, put it over brown rice, or in a whole wheat tortilla. The possibilities are endless. I put mine over a salad for a super healthy lunch or dinner.
Salad Mix:
• Spinach
• Romaine Lettuce
• Purple Cabbage
• Shredded Carrots
Toppings:
• Salsa Chicken
• Raw Sunflower Seeds
• Kalamata Olives
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing:

Mix the following in whatever size glass jar or container you might have. I use an old olive oil bottle and it works perfectly:
• 1 Cup Olive Oil
• ½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
• 1 tsp. Salt
• 1 tsp. Pepper
• 1 T. Garlic Powder or Chopped Garlic
• 1 T. Italian Seasoning (i.e. Oregano, Basil) Even better, use chopped fresh oregano and basil.
Shake it all up!

Enjoy!