Chili Lime Jackfruit Tacos

I just love me some jackfruit tacos.  Look at these babies.  They look so amazing.  Actually, they would probably have been even prettier with tomatoes, but too late.  I already ate them.

This is the first time I have bothered to make a “recipe” because I usually just throw things together without paying a lot of attention to exact measurements. This particular brand has several flavors of jackfruit.  It is easily found at Whole Foods or online.  I picked Chili Lime Carnitas for tonight’s tacos.  I chose corn tortillas, because they are so tasty and also gluten free.

I threw the sauce together without a lot of measuring, but it came out pretty well.  The measurements below should be pretty close and you can adjust as you wish. I started with vegan mayo, vegan sour cream, lime juice, hot sauce, and fresh cilantro.  It didn’t have enough flavor, so I added a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.  That certainly spiced things up. Seriously, beware the jalapenos.

After that, I heated the jackfruit in a pan and browned the tortillas in a skillet. Keep an eye on your corn tortillas.  You want them to have a bit of a char, but not burn.

It doesn’t take long for either one to heat through.  While they were warming, I chopped some lettuce, and  added some cilantro, lime, salt and pepper to some rice for a side.

After that, start piling…sauce, lettuce, vegan cheese if using, jackfruit, and some fresh cilantro.

Recipe

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo
  • 1/4 cup Tofutti Vegan Sour Cream
  • 1/8 cup cut cilantro, fresh
  • Juice of one lime
  • Splash of hot sauce
  • 1 Jalapeño pepper in Adobo Sauce
  • Salt and Pepper
    • Combine all ingredients

Taco Ingredients:

  • Corn Tortillas
  • Chili Lime Carnitas Jackfruit
  • Lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Daiya Cheddar Cheese (optional)
  • Avocado, sliced (optional)
  • Fresh Tomato, diced (optional)
  • Sauce
    • Heat tortillas and jackfruit.  Add ingredients into tortilla as preferred.

Rice Ingredients:

  • Rice, cooked
  • Cilantro
  • Lime juice
  • Salt and Pepper
    • Combine.

 


Vegan Chick’n Sandwich

This sandwich makes a warm, satisfying lunch.  I got the idea from my bAlt recipe.  I figured it wouldn’t be hard to switch out the protein and still make a delicious sandwich.

It didn’t take long either.  The longest part was prepping the Gardein Chick’n patty.  I cut the time down by putting it into the microwave for one minute, then frying until golden brown on each side.

While that was going, I toasted the Eureka bread and slathered with Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo, by now you should know that is my favorite.  I sliced the avocado and tomato and added it to one slice, and put a big pile of organic lettuce on the other slice.  When your chick’n patty is ready, just add it on top.

I absolutely LOVED this sandwich.  Don’t forget to sprinkle your tomato with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Ingredients:

  • Grainy Bread
  • Gardein Chick’n Patty
  • Hellmann’s  Vegan Mayo
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Tomato, sliced
  • Organic Lettuce
  • Salt and Pepper

Prep Chick’n Patty using any method on package.  Toast bread.  Add mayo, avocado, tomato, and lettuce.  Salt and Pepper Tomato.  Add Chick’n patty.  Enjoy!

 


Vegan Sloppy Joes

Let’s be honest, sometimes we just need simple, easy meals that don’t require a lot of thought.  Yesterday was one of those nights.  We had hiked for a little over an hour.  I was tired and I just needed easy.  Thankfully, I keep certain staples in the pantry.  One of those staples includes a can or two of sloppy joe sauce.  Of course, soy crumbles in the fridge or freezer are also important.  You can use them for all kinds of things, so I keep them around.

I found some soft rolls at a quick stop, which happily were vegan, so Sloppy Joes were on the menu.  I had to dress my crumbles up just a bit, because it makes dinner just a bit more special.  I finely diced and sauteed some onions and then added garlic to the pan before I threw the crumbles in.

After that it was only a few minutes before I poured the can of Sloppy Joe mix over the top and let it simmer on low until heated through.

I served them on the soft rolls I had come across with corn on the cob as a side.

Bruce teases me about how I dress up my corn, but I don’t even care.  It’s delicious with all theses spices!

Vegan Sloppy Joe Ingredients:

  • Vegan Rolls
  • Sloppy Joe Mix
  • Soy Crumbles
  • Onion, finely diced
  • Garlic

Saute onion for 3-5 minutes, add garlic.  Cook another min.  Add Crumbles, saute 3-5 minutes.  Add Sloppy Joe Sauce, heat through.  Serve on Buns.


Vegan Mexican Tortilla Soup

Sometimes I know exactly what I am making, and everything goes just as planned.  Other times, recipes evolve as I am cooking and I end up with something completely different.  Tonight is a perfect example of that.  I planned to make a simple vegetable soup, but I wasn’t happy with the flavor of the broth.  The trouble was I already had the soup almost finished, but it just wasn’t right.

I really had started the soup well.  I grouped all my ingredients together. Then prepped them so the process would be nice and smooth.

I sauteed diced onions until they were tender, then added garlic.  After that, I added my carrots, celery and spices.

I poured my broth over my veggies and added potatoes and brought it to a boil.  The problem was, when I tested the flavor, broth was too bitter.  I knew Bruce wouldn’t love it, and what’s the point of serving something your partner doesn’t love?  I had to try to salvage it.

 

The trouble was, I wasn’t sure exactly how to fix it.  I decided to see what I had in my “pantry” (a plastic bin full of what most people keep in their actual pantry) and refrigerator.  I sent Bruce to the “pantry” to look for pinto beans and Rotel diced tomatoes, and set about making my soup edible.

Before I was vegan, I really enjoyed trying recipes from Ina Garten’s show “Barefoot Contessa”.  One soup I made was her Mexican Chicken Soup.  The interesting thing about that particular soup is that she added corn tortillas to the broth to thicken it.  It also added an amazing flavor.  It was the best part of the soup!  I had planned to use the tortillas in my original vegetable soup, but I knew they would work well with Mexican flavors.

I drained and rinsed the pinto beans.  I added the beans and the tomatoes to the pot, let them simmer for about 5 minutes, then added the sliced corn tortillas and let it simmer another 5 minutes.  The flavor was AMAZING.

So, what had started as Simple Vegetable Soup became Vegan Mexican Tortilla Soup.  My soup was saved, and I could happily serve it to Bruce.  I will admit there are some things I will change the next time I make it.  First off all, the potato, bay leaves, and curry do not really belong in a Mexican soup.  Secondly, I would add a can of corn, a bit of jalapeño, and some fresh cilantro, just to really kick up the Mexican flavor.  I didn’t have any of these on hand, but I have adjusted the recipe below to show those changes.

One more hint… make sure your beans go in when you put your tortillas in.  If not, they will get mushy.


Vegan Mexican Tortilla Soup

Ingredients:

Serves: 2-4 people    Time: 35 mins

Produce

  • 1 small Onion
  • 1-2 large cloves Garlic (or equivalent paste)
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 4 small stalks Celery, diced
  • 1/8 cup Cilantro, fresh leaves, optional
  • 1/2 Jalapeno pepper, optional
  • Fresh lime, optional

Canned goods

  • 32 oz. Vegetable Stock (or Broth)
  • 1 (10-ounce) can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 1 (16-ounce) can Pinto Beans
  • 1 (16-ounce) can Corn Kernels

Baking & spices

  • 1 tsp Coriander seed, ground
  • 1 tsp Cumin, ground
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Oils & Creams

  • 1 TBSP Olive oil
  • Vegan Sour Cream, optional

Bread & baked goods

  • 3 (6-inch) fresh white corn tortillas, sliced into 1 inch strips

Saute onion in oil until tender, add garlic. Cook one more minute.   Add diced carrots, celery and corn, saute another 3-5 minutes.  Add spices, cook another 30 seconds.  Add Broth.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn down to medium-low heat for 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes, beans, and tortillas.  Cook another 5 minutes until tortillas are mostly disintegrated.  Remove from heat.  Top with jalapenos, cilantro, a splash of lime, and/or vegan sour cream.

Enjoy!


Blueberry Turk’y Dinner Salad

If there is one thing I love it is a really big dinner salad with a lot of depth and layers.  They are easy to make, filling, and if done right absolutely delicious.  I will admit that I didn’t always love salad.  Even now, if there is no depth or protein, I am not really interested.

I want lots of organic baby greens mixed with herbs, sprouts, pea shoots, or spinach.  Top that with seeds, nuts, berries, fruit, and some vegan protein, and I am in salad heaven.  I have several varieties that I try, but I wanted to try something new today.

I always keep Gardein protein in the freezer and I was feeling turk’y.  I decided to see how it would pair with the blueberries, asparagus, and snow peas I had in the fridge.  I pulled the ingredients out and got started.  First, I topped my organic lettuce mix with baby pea shoots, blueberries, pistachios, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.  (I keep these nuts/seeds on hand at all times.  I use them for EVERYTHING. )

Then I got started on the Turk’y. I started the turk’y in the frying pan on medium heat with a touch of Earth Balance butter.  I chopped the asparagus into bite size pieces. This went into the pan with the snow peas when I flipped the turk’y patty.  I let them saute for another 5-7 minutes before removing from the heat.

The asparagus and snow peas go directly on top of your bed of greens.  I chopped the turk’y patty into strips, made a pretty pile, then drizzled with dressing and served.

I love hot protein and veggies piled right on top of my greens.  It adds such a great dimension and wilts the lettuce just a bit.  The blueberries added a sweet, tart pop of flavor, and the nuts/seeds add crunch.  The best bits are at the very bottom of the salad after all the lettuce is gone.

Ingredients:

  • Gardein Turk’y Cutlets
  • Organic Salad Mix
  • Pea Shoots
  • Asparagus
  • Snow Peas
  • Blueberries
  • Pistachios
  • Almond Slivers
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Annie’s Goddess Dressing

Top salad mix with shoots, berries, nuts, and seeds.  In a frying pan, prepare turk’y on medium heat (5-7 minutes), add asparagus and pea shoots when you flip the cutlet.  Saute another 5-7 minutes until cutlet is golden brown and veggies are crisp, tender.  Top salad with sauteed veggies.  Cut Turk’y into strips add on top.  Drizzled with Annie’s Goddess Dressing.


Double Layer Beefless Nachos

We love Mexican food.  Tacos, burritos, bowls, nachos…you name it, we like it.  As in, the whole family will eat it.  No one complains when I suggest a Mexican dish for dinner.  I like it because usually it ends up being a quick meal.  Last week, when we were visiting Sky in Saint Augustine, I wanted to cook for her as much as possible.  It’s the one thing I know she really misses about being away from home.  We threw some ideas around until I came up with Nachos.  Everyone jumped on board quickly, even Sky’s roommate up for it. I gathered up the ingredients and got started.  I am highlighting the olives because they are THE BOMB on nachos.  😀

 

I missed a few things in the photo above, because I had already started making the crumbles.  I added olive oil, finely chopped onion, and Beyond Beef Meaty Crumbles to a hot pan and fried until the crumbles were nice and brown all around. Then, added the Taco Seasoning per directions.  While Bruce stirred the crumbles, I chopped the tomato into small pieces.

Once your taco meat is ready, it’s time to layer your nachos.  I made two layers since it was for dinner and not just a snack.  Chips, meat mixture, shredded vegan cheese…then the same order again.  I didn’t use much of my shredded cheese on the bottom layer, so I went crazy on the top layer.  🙂

That pile of awesomeness goes into a 375 degree oven for 5 minutes.  Trust me, it doesn’t take long for vegan cheese to melt and the meat is already hot.

When it comes out, top it off.  I put tomatoes on the entire pile, but the black olives only on half.  Skylar doesn’t like them.  On top of that goes finely shredded iceberg.

That is one giant pile of nachos, but between the four of us, we finished it off.  I like mine with tofutti sour cream, but I leave that as a side, because not everyone in the family does.  Okay, so the photo on my plate doesn’t do the dish justice.  It may not look as pretty as I would like, but it tasted delicious.


Mandarin Chick’n Buddha Bowl

I have been seeing Buddha Bowls for years and have always admired how beautiful and healthy they look.  But for one reason or another, I never got around to trying them until this last month.  Honestly, I think the tipping point was all the amazing photos I have been seeing every day on Instagram.  I was literally liking ALL of the posts I saw, and finally decided to try making one for myself.  My go-to for recipes is always Pinterest, so I went in search of recipes and ideas to try.  This recipe is my first attempt with the concept.  I actually made this for lunch for myself last time I was visiting my daughter in St. Augustine.  She saw it and asked if I would make her one as well.  She must have really enjoyed it, because she requested it again while I was in town for Mother’s Day weekend.  This time I remembered to take photos of the process, so you guys could try it.

Buddha Bowl’s are called that because of the top of the bowl.  It’s supposed to be nice and rounded like a Buddha Belly.  In other words, don’t skimp on what goes in!  After looking around, I realized the concept isn’t hard and it makes for a quick, easy, and delicious meal.  You can also be super creative with your ingredients.  There are so many options to try!

You need 5 things to really make your Buddha Bowl tasty.  Here are a few ideas to start with:

  1. Starch: Rice, Quinoa, Sweet Potato, Rice Noodles, Couscous…
  2. Veggie Protein:  Tofu, Edamame, Tempeh, Gardein Chick’n, Peas…
  3. Veggies: Broccoli, Carrots, Asparagus, Avocado, Cukes, Lettuce, Sprouts…
  4. Toppings: Pistachios, Pine Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Cranberries…
  5. Sauce:  Eel Sauce, Goddess Dressing, Vinaigrette, Balsamic Glaze, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice…

I obviously have listed the tiniest bits of the available options.  If I tried to list them all, we would both be exhausted.  What I tried to do with this bowl, was to pick a theme and run with it.  The idea for this one came from two places.  First, I found the Ready to Serve Minute Rice in a two pack of individual serving sizes.  All you have to do is pop the top and microwave for 60 seconds (90 seconds for two).  I know, I know…not the healthiest way to make rice, but I need quick and easy sometimes.  Then, I saw the gardein Mandarin Orange Crispy Chick’n which I have been wanting to try, but haven’t.  I immediately put the two together in my head and decided to go in an Asian direction.

First step, prep ingredients according to package directions. I used the pan fry option.  Be sure to use medium low heat for the Chick’n or it will burn on the outside and still be cold on the inside.  Also, put the sauce in at the VERY end after the chick’n is browned on both sides and ready to come off the heat. If not, it sticks to the pan terribly.  I popped the rice and edamame in the microwave to prepare.  The edamame ended up a little wrinkly, so steaming would probably be a better option there.  I did steam the broccoli for a few minutes.

Once your ingredients are ready, start filling your bowl.  I chose to add a bed of spring mix lettuce on the bottom. I like what happens to lettuce when you add warm things on top.  The slight wilt actually makes it easier for me to digest.  Skylar, however, did not like the lettuce at all.  Use it or don’t, it’s all personal preference.  If you hate wilted lettuce, definitely don’t use it.

On top of the lettuce, I dumped the rice cups upside down.  I thought it actually looked pretty cool in that shape.  Around the rice, I added the broccoli, mandarin chick’n, and edamame.  After that I drizzled eel sauce over the top…eel sauce is vegan…who knew?  I just found out this month. I haven’t eaten it in years, so I was super happy to be able to enjoy it again.  At the very end, I sprinkled the top with sesame seeds, salt and pepper.

Remember, people eat with their eyes first, so try to make it look pretty.  Don’t just toss the broccoli in; set it so the floret is up and the stem is down. Pile the chick’n in a pretty pile, and when you put the edamame on, leave a bit of the rice showing through.  It looks pretty that way and people know exactly what they are getting.  And don’t just dump some sauce on top of your bowl!  Drizzle it…make a nice pattern.  Make it pretty, even if you are making one bowl just for yourself.  You deserve delicious looking and tasting food.

As always, leave a comment.  Let me know what you think.  Did you make any changes?  Did you explore an entirely different theme?  I am always looking for delicious new options, so your feedback is appreciated!

 

 

 


Fresh Crudites

Do you have those days where you are not that hungry so you don’t want a heavy meal or are just too busy to cook?  Or maybe those other days when you could happily eat everything in sight and then head to the refrigerator for more food? I have those days, but I figured out a solution that solves the dilemma.  Fresh crudites are a great way to make a light meal or snack between meals (when it’s one of those days).  They are healthy, filling, and so pretty!

 

I almost always include one or two types of hummus as a dipping sauce.  Everyone in the family likes hummus.  It’s dairy free and full of healthy goodness.  Our favorites include garlic, roasted red pepper, and pine nut.  Hummus not only goes well with fresh vegetables, it also tastes delicious with warm pita bread. (Set broiler on High, and broil store-bought pita bread for a few minutes on each side.)

You can make yourself a small snack just to get you through until your next meal…

or a giant platter for several people for a light dinner.  Add your favorite crackers for another texture.

You can also make an adult version of “Ants on a Log” with an English cucumber, hummus, thinly slice radishes, and fresh herbs.  Don’t be afraid to play with different flavor combinations.  I added sesame seeds on top of this one, because I used edamame hummus.

 

 


Cheezy Mac and Crabless Cakes

When things get super busy, I try to find find easy meals that will satisfy everyone.  This week is a little crazy at my daughter’s house.  I am training and implementing strategies for my business, and my daughter has finals.  Since I am running her to and from class, I don’t have large chunks of time to really get in the flow and get things done like I usually do.  Rather than feel overwhelmed about feeding both of us, I am searching for solutions like easy meals that we both enjoy and won’t take a long time to make.

I found Daiya’s new cheesy mac at Publix (in the gluten free section) last time I was there , and since I have some serious time constraints right now I thought it would be a good day to try it. I decided the best protein to make with it were these gardein mini crabless cakes, and I am glad I did.  The combination is fantastic.

Both cook up super fast.  I didn’t time myself, but I am going to say dinner was ready in 15-20 minutes.  It definitely didn’t take over 20 minutes from start to finish.  The flavor in the gardein crabless cakes perfectly complements the veggies in the daiya cheezy mac.  Next time I make this, I will add steamed veggies as a side, but this time it was just fine. The instructions for prep are on the containers, so I won’t get into that overly much.  Instead, I am going to just share my tips for speeding up the process while making sure everything is as tasty as possible.

As usual I had two burners going at once, that always helps.  It also ensures that everything is finished at the same time, and nothing sits and gets cold.  I can multi-task with the best of them, so when I cook I overlap prep as much as possible.  I even cheated a little bit with the crabless cakes.  While the water was boiling for the cheezy mac, I put the crabless cakes on a microwave safe plate and microwaved them for one minute before putting them into the frying pan. This ensured they would be warm in the center without ending up burnt on the outside.  From the microwave, they went into the frying pan and crisped up while I finished the mac.

I fried the crabless cakes on all sides.  I like them crispy all the way around the edges, not just on the top and bottom.  As you can see in the photos, I had to lean them against each other so they wouldn’t fall over while the sides were browning.  This TLC really does make them extra special.  Be sure to turn them regularly so they don’t end up with an extra brown spot somewhere.  This may have happened to me once or twice while making them.  Ijs.

I made the cheezy mac per instructions exactly.  The box comes with macaroni, a cheezy pack, and the dried veggies inside.  Instructions are very straightforward.  I ended up with a quick, comforting, and delicious meal.  Skylar gave it great reviews.  She said it was the best vegan mac-and-cheese she has ever had (thanks, kid), and really liked the crunchiness of the crabless patties.  She said she would totally eat it again anytime I wanted to make it for her.  I call that a win!

 


Tempeh B(a)LT

I love BLTs.  Let me rephrase.  I love vegan BLTs.  The idea of eating a BLT with actual bacon makes me a little queasy.  That being said a BLT with some crispy tempeh bacon is right up my alley.  While the classic BLT is delicious, I personally think it goes up about five notches when you add avocado to the mix.  I think it was Aristotle who said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.  Look, I know we are just talking about a sandwich here, but it applies, okay.

The key to this B(a)LT sandwich is really crisping up your tempeh bacon.  I specifically use Tofurky’s Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Strips for this sandwich.  They burn crisp up really nicely, which gives the sandwich a nice smoky flavor.  When you prepare the strips you will want to get your pan nice and hot.  Don’t smoke your kitchen out, but get your pan hot enough to get a good sear on your tempeh.  You can see from the photo that mine have some really nice charred spots on them.

You will also want fresh, crisp lettuce and ripe tomatoes.  There is a produce stand right up the street from my daughter’s apartment that sells big beautiful Ruskin tomatoes.  Ruskin tomatoes are nice and meaty and don’t have an overabundance of juice or seeds.  Look for something similar.  If you can’t find these, try an ugly ripe or another meaty tomato.  Tomatoes have the best flavor when they haven’t been refrigerated, so store them on your counter-top rather than your fridge.  I didn’t have any iceberg lettuce on hand, because I rarely eat it, but I had a salad mix, so I used that instead.  It gave a lot more flavor and nutrients, so I was winning all day with this one.

 

Putting the sandwich together was pretty easy.  I toasted up my bread, slathered it with Hellmann’s new Vegan Mayo (have you noticed that I am obsessed with this stuff?), then stacked my ingredients.  Let me reiterate, toast your bread!  No one wants a soggy BLT.  Toasting it also adds a nice crunchy factor.  Just trust me on this and toast your bread.

I layered my lettuce mix, tomato, and tempeh bacon on one side, and avocado on the other so you guys could see my layers.   You can layer your ingredients however you choose, just make sure you have all the layers on your bread.  Don’t forget to season your tomato and avocado slices with a little salt and pepper.  It’s the little things that take food to the next level.

After you have your sandwich assembled, dig in.  It’s going to be messy.  The avocado likes to slip out the sides.  I don’t even care, messy foods are the most fun to eat.  🙂

Ingredients:

  • Bread, toasted
  • Tofurky Tempeh Bacon Strips, charred
  • Fresh tomato, sliced
  • Lettuce
  • Vegan Mayo
  • Fresh Avocado, sliced