Tasty Vegan Pizza

I have dabbled with vegan eating and plant based living for some years now, and find myself again moving in this direction. On a plant based diet, I find myself substituting meats and dairy for whole grains instead, and am loving the carbs and the bread I can easily incorporate! I have realized that with enough flavor and seasoning, and a delicious fresh crust, I like pizza so much better without cheese! It becomes a meal that nourishes, rather than making me sleepy and heavy. I taste the seasonings, fresh baked crust, and vegetable flavors when not blanketed in cheese. Feel free to use any kind of tomato/marinara sauce of your choice, but using plain tomato paste and adding your own seasonings is a way to avoid added salt. It has taken me time to realize carbs at not my enemy and that they (especially from whole grains) are a much better substitute for meat/dairy/fats. I know there are MANY opinions out there, but this is what I am finding energizes me and helps me meet my health goals:)

You simply need:

-1 whole wheat pizza crust (I will have to try one from scratch soon, but Whole Foods and Trader Joes have nice crusts in the refrigerated section ready to roll out and bake)

-1 small can tomato paste

-Oregano (fresh or dried, liberally applied)

-Basil (same as oregano)

-Garlic, about 3 cloves minced or to taste

-Onions, 1/2 large onion chopped

-Crushed red pepper, to taste

-Mushrooms (about 4oz, sliced)

-Kale (one large stalk, washed and shredded)

Optional: vegan cheese or nutritional yeast, additional veggies of choice
Bake at 375F for approximately 15 minutes, depending on your oven and how crispy you like your pizza. Just keep an eye on it, then enjoy!

This keeps well and the slices make a great packable lunch to take to school or work!


Buttery Vegan Carob Chip Cookies

I don’t usually use much overt fat and honestly don’t know that last time I baked with any kind of shortening, but I was generously gifted some fancy organic vegan shortening that looks exactly like butter! I was wracking my brain for what people use butter for in baking and recalled that most people bake cookies using butter! These turned out delicious, and are perfect for those who like a nice crunch to their cookies. A tasty recipe to share!

You need:

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1 cup honey flavored agave

2/3 cup vegan shortening (or coconut oil)

1 tbs flax

1.5 T cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup carob chips

1/2 tsp almond extract 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, starting first with your sweetener and shortening. If you are mixing by hand, soften your shortening a bit before mixing. Mix untill well incorporated, then add all other ingredients, carob chips last. 

I recommend refrigerating the dough for an hour or so just to make them easier to form into balls, but is not required.

Roll into balls and place on parchment paper, sprinkling with a touch of sea salt on top!

Bake at 350F for about 7 min, let cool and enjoy!

Yields 8 large cookies

One Pot Red Lentil Curry 

Super simple and delicious, lentils are a powerhouse of protein, iron, and other nutrients, and sustain many people all around the world! These soft, flavorful, savory lentils are like a comfort food that sticks to your ribs and satisfies! For this recipe I used an Instant Pot, but this would be easy on the stovetop too.

You need:

6 tomatoes

1.5 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained 

1 onion chopped

 4 cloves garlic crushed

4 zucchini chopped in largepieces 

3 stalks kale washed and chopped 

Celery 2 lg stalks chopped

Optional additional veggies like peas or potatoes

1 jalapeño minced

Water to cover lentils

Turmeric 1 tsp

Cumin 1/2 tsp

Coriander 1/4 tsp

Clove 1/2 tsp

Curry powder 1 tsp

Black pepper  1/4 tsp

Almond milk 2/3 cup

Parsely to garnish 

Method: 

Sauté garlic and onion in a large pot until soft ana fragrant. You can use oil of choice or simply some water to sauté them in. Then all all your spices and jalapeño. You could add a dash of salt too if desired. Sauté for another additional 2-5 minutes. 

Next add all your veggies, except zuccini. Since those get soft so quickly, we will add them later. Let them cool down over medium heat until kale is wilting slightly. 

Then add your lentils, almond milk, and water to cover the lentils. Now we can either use the instant pot bean setting for 15minutes, or simmer  on stovetop for the same amount of time, or until lentils are soft, adding in the zucchini for the last 5 minutes of simmering until just tender.

Then you have a giant pot of goodness that can last you for some meals. Serve over rice, serve in a bowl with whom rain bread for dipping, or serve in romaine leaf “boats” for a lighter but very nutritious meal or snack. 

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Vegan Vanilla Cake (with chocolate almond frosting)!

This was literally my first cake attempt ever, and I went for gluten free and vegan, because hey, a challenge is fun, right? Sure was. I gathered inspiration and loose ratios for a vegan gluten free cake from Here, and improvised! The texture turned out soft, springy, and fluffy, and the frosting the perfect companion to a basic vanilla flavor–though in truth I could (aka did) eat some cake plain, since it is nice and moist!

Wet ingredients:

2 small ripe bananas

1/2 cup agave syrup

2tbs vanilla extract

3tbs vegan butter/shortening/coconut oil

1.5 cup warm water

1/4 lemon, juiced 
Dry ingredients:
1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1tsp xanthan gum

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup Xyla (sugar substitute)

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1/2 +1/8 cup tapioca starch

2tbs ground flax
Method:

Warm coconut oil or vegan butter untill soft. Combine vanilla and bananas with soft shortening in a food processor and blend until creamy. Then mix with all other wet ingredients.

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl well, then mix wet ingredients in with the dry ones. Pour into greased cake or cupcake tins.

Bake at 375F for  15 min for 6x 2 inch mini cake pan , 20 min for oversized cupcakes (6 to a pan). Let cool in a windowsill (that is if you live in SF and outside is cooler than inside).

These turned out so soft and springy!
Almond Chocolate Frosting:

3/4 cup coconut milk canned

6 dates softened (let sit in warm water then drain)

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1tsp almond extract

4tsp vegan shortening

1/6 cup Xyla (or sugar)
Throw all icing ingredients into a food processor and whip until creamy. Once cakes are cool, frost, decorate with fresh berries, and store in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!!

Chocolate Cinnamon Protein Granola

When it comes to sweet foods, I usually say that if it doesn’t have chocolate, what’s the point! However, I make an exception to this when it comes to cinnamon. Cinnamon rolls.. Will have to work on a recipe for those. In the meantime, I wanted to try COMBINING chocolate and cinnamon in this granola recipe. The combo of having both cinnamon AND chocolate is so good!  As you have probably noticed with many of my sweet recipes, I like using ripe bananas for a natural sweetener and oil substitute in one! If you don’t like bananas or have an allergy, you could subs applesauce, but it won’t be as sweet naturally as the bananas and you might need to add another sweetener.  
You need:

-about 3 cup mix of gf oats/seeds/flaxmeal/puffed cereal of choice

-2 bananas, ripe

-1 tsp vanilla

-chocolate protein powder, 1/2 scoop

-2tbs cinnamon

-1/3 cup cocoa powder 

-1 Tbs each melted coconut oil and sunflower butter

Put all liquid ingredients in a blender. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, then pour liquid ingredients into dry and mix well.

Spread onto cookie sheets lined with parchement paper. If you want crumbly granola, spread this mixture very thin, but I make mine fairly thick and then get bigger granola pieces that I can pick up and munch!

Bake at 325 F for 45min, sprinkling more cinnamon on once removed from oven. Let cool and break into pieces. Super crunchy, tasty, nutritious. Enjoy!

Store in air tight container or ziplock.

Vegan Jalapeño Cornbread Muffins

I grew up in Tennessee, so despite 11 years now in California, my tastebuds still crave me some homestyle Southern cornbread! I love spicy foods and the balance of the sweet corn with the spicy jalapeños is sooo tasty! I used a blend of regular medium grain cornmeal, and the more finely ground corn flour that is masa harina. This is what is used to make corn tortillas, and this blend turned out great. Serve with anything you like, be it chili or salad! Corn is a staple food in many cultures around the world, and when not over processed is quite nourishing and satisfying! Makes me want to lounge in a porch front rocking chair.

You need:

1.5 cup cornmeal

1.5 cup masa harina

2 cup soymilk

1tbs vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1.5 chopped jalapeños (seeds discarded)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast 

2 tsp baking powder

3 tbs agave sweetener 

1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients well in a large bowl.

Turn into greased or lined muffin tins. I made one batch of mini muffins and another of larger standard sized muffins
Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 7 minutes for mini muffins, 15 minutes for regular muffins. Let cool slightly and enjoy!

I’m Baaaaack: Simple Kale Salad!

Boy it has been a hot minute since I posted here!  Time to get back on track with a nice cool summery salad!! I made this kale salad today and it was so tasty, so healthy, low fat and vegan.  I have been dabbling back and forth for awhile but have been cooking to eat only vegan food for the past few weeks. I still cook meat for my guy, but most of the time I make my vegan noms and he partakes, supplementing with some sardines or something 🙂 But back to the salad. Lets get to it.
You need:

Kale- 1/2 of a large bunch, washed and stems removed, chopped (I used curly kale but any kind you like works!)

Black pepper, to taste 

1/2 large lemon squeezed

1/2 avocado, chopped

1/4 lb mushrooms chopped (about 7)

Green onion tops (about 8) sliced

1/2 jalapeño chopped

1/2 large cucumber chopped

Simply toss all ingredients together!!  That is all.
– optional suggested additions would include garbanzos, cooked squash/pumpkin chunks, sunflower seeds…
Serve as is, on the side of some rice/legumes, in a wrap, or with bread and hummus (and green bamboo rice) like I did!
(bread pictured is a vegan wolverine roll from Aridmendi Bakery, FYI)
Enjoy!