Whole Wheat Vegan Spinach Lasagna

I had a go to spinach lasagna I made for years using ricotta. It took me awhile of vegan cooking to realize you can use tofu as a substitute for many dairy products. It may not sound appealing, but don’t knock it until you try it! This tastes nothing like tofu and everything like a hearty and filling lasagna! Fresh herbs like basil, oregano, and garlic take it to the next level, though I only used fresh basil this time around. I love this recipe because it keeps really well so that you can pack tasty lunches for the rest of your week 🙂

You need:

-1 box no boil whole wheat pasta

-8 oz tomato sauce

– 1/2 tsp garlic powder

– 1 tsp dried oregano

– 4 Tbs nutritional yeast

-Handful fresh basil

-Tofu, firm, 8 oz drained

-4 oz frozen, thawed, drained spinach

-1/2 tsp nutmeg

-1/2 tsp black pepper

-1 large zucchini 

-optional vegan cheese (my favorite is the chao original, but I only had 1 slice left!)

First put your tofu in a bowl and crumble it into small pieces. Then add pepper, nutmeg, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and cooked drained spinach to make your “ricotta” layer. 

Then pour some tomato sauce into the bottom of your baking dish and place a single layer of no-boil noodles on top. Then spread about half of your tofu spinach layer. Next place another layer of noodles, then more tomato sauce, fresh basil, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper. Next thinly slice your zucchini lengthwise to make a layer of zucchini noodles to lay flat across your lasagna noodles. Then add another layer of wheat noodles. Spread the rest of your tofu/spinach layer on, and then top with your final layer of noodles. Pour sauce liberally along with more dried herbs, nutritional yeast, and optional vegan cheese for melting. 

Bake at 350F for 40 minutes (adding cheese in lay 5 min), and enjoy!!!

Vegan Pumpkin Waffles! (with spiced apple compote)

Whether or not you had pumpkin pie yesterday, there is never a bad time for pumpkin waffles! The spices of fall combine with creamy pumpkin and a crunchy waffle bite, for a heavenly brunch food.   I cooked some chopped apples with vanilla extract, a little water, blackstrap molasses, and pumpkin pie spice on the stove until the apples became soft, for a spiced apple compote topping! Also pictured is serving simply with syrup and spiced pumpkin seeds. You could even add some cacao nibs or chocolate chips! So good!

You need:
1/2 cup pumpkin purée

1 banana, mashed

1tsp apple cider vinegar

2tbs ground flax

1.5 cup rice milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp each baking powder and soda

1/2 cup chickpea flour

1/2 cup oats

1 cup buckwheat flour
Simply mix all ingredients well in a bowl, then scoop into a hot greased waffle iron. Because of the thickness of the batter and the moist texture of the pumpkin, I let these stay in the waffle iron longer than typical waffles. When the green light would come in signifying they are ready, I checked and each time they were still doughy in the middle. So I closed it up again and let it cook until the green light came on again after a few more minutes. You can just check periodically until they are cooked to your liking!  Top with fruit, pumpkin seeds, syrup, cacao nibs, spiced apples, and enjoy!!!


Caramelized Sweet Potato Sage Pasta Salad

This is a rich amd savory vegan dish that could serve a side or a hearty centerpiece. The caramelization of onions, mushrooms, rosemary and sage in vegan butter gives this dish a richness of depth that sings of holiday festivity. Some sweet potato and green beans give it more thanksgiving reminiscence, and a bright citrus vinaigrette brings out the fall flavors via compliment! For those who want the umami of the season without the meat, this is for you. 

You need:

6oz whole heat penne pasta, al dente 

3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 red onion chopped

3 cloves garlic minced

Handful fresh sage

2tbs minced fresh rosemary 

Salt

Vegan butter

8oz mushrooms sliced

8oz green beans, blanched and cut

1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
For the dressing:

1 small mandarin or orange

Juice of 1 lemon

2tbs tahini

1tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp dried ginger
Blend dressing ingredient on high until creamy and frothy. I only ended up using less than half on this dish and saved the rest for use on other salads!

 Combine pasta, green beans, and chick peas with desired amount of dressing  in a large bowl. Set aside in the fridge.

Heat 2 tbs vegan butter over medium and then sauté onion and sweet potatoes on low until the onions start to become translucent. Add salt to taste, mushrooms, sage and rosemary until onions and sweet potatoes begin to caramelize. Then let cool.

Lastly add your sauté mixture to your bowl and toss all ingredients together well.

Garnish with cranberries, and enjoy!

Big Chewy Cookies

These were inspired by good ole Lenny&Larry. If you are not familiar with Lenny and Larry’s massive vegan protein cookies, well you’re welcome, or I’m sorry, depending on how you fare around giant chewy cookies. For me, I buy them, they are gone. They are dangerous, especially warmed up!  So I decided to make my own version of the chocolate chip variety, if for no other reason then to help my pocketbook! But these area also much less calorie dense, while remaining chewy and delicious!

You need:

1 Can garbanzo beans

Flax 2 tsp

Baking powder 2 tsp

Buckwheat flour 1/4 cup

Agave 1/4 cup

Almond milk 1/3 cup

Vanilla 1 tsp

Chocolate chips 1/3 cup
Throw all ingredients but flour and chocolate chips in a blender or food processor. Then pour into large mixing bowl to incorporate with flour followed by chocolate chips! Spoon onto a baking sheet and press down to make flat. 

Bake at 375 x 15min, and enjoy!

Mango Banana Nice Cream

I know it’s the middle of fall, but thanks to frozen fruit, take yourself to the tropics any time of year 🙂 This is like a creamy sherbet made of mango, banana, and avocado! Strange right? You don’t taste the avocado, only the velvety creaminess it affords this treat!
You need:

2 cups cubed frozen mango

2 frozen bananas

1/3 avocado

1/2 cup plant milk of choice đŸŒ± 
Simply blend on high.
Unbelievably creamy and delicious!

Balsalmic Butternut Noodles

Spaghetti that does not involve tomatoes, I know, what is this? But this time of year, with the butternut squash being perfectly in seas0n, lends itself to savory dishes that are not always predominantly seasoned by italian herbs. This one has a touch of asian flair with sesame oil and liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari), but tempered with some balsalmic vinegar so that when raw spinach is tossed in, it becomes one part pasta, one part pasta salad! Enjoy either warm or cold!

You need:

-Whole wheat pasta boiled and drained, about 1/2 a box

-Edamame, about 2 cups

-Raw spinach, about 2 cups

-Garlic, 4 cloves smashed 

-1 Onion chopped

-Sesame Oil, dash

-Balsamic vinegar to taste

-Liquid aminos to taste

-Tahini, 1-2 tbs

-1/2 lemon juiced

-Black pepper to taste 

-1/2 large Butternut squash, roasted, cooled, and cubed

-about 6 oz mushrooms, sliced
Sauté garlic, onion, mushrooms, and cooked edamame in sesame oil and liquid aminos until soft. Meanwhile boil spaghetti per package instructions and rinse with cold water, set aside and let cool. Then whisk or blend together your balaalmic, tahini, and lemon juice. Lastly toss all ingredients together in a large bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Farro Breakfast Bowl

One of my favorite things to do for breakfast is take whole grains leftover from dinner and turn it into a sweet breakfast! I had leftover cooked farro and purple potato to which I added fresh fruit, soy yogurt, flax/sunflower seeds, and blackstrap molasses! So simple and sooo tasty. This made for a nice hearty breakfast, and super satisfying! I love the nutty taste and texture of farro and the bright pop of color in the purple sweet potato and strawberries!

You need:

-Farro cooked, about 1/2 cup

-1/3 large steamed purple potato

-About 2/3 cup Nancy’s unsweetened plain soy yogurt (my fav)

-Flax

-Sunflower seeds/nuts

-Blackstrap molasses, 1/2 tsp

-Strawberries

-cinnamon
Simply assemble with a dusting of cinnamon on top, and enjoy!

Hydrate

Chewy Dark Carob Cookies 

Soft, chewy, chocolate, and full of super healthy ingredients!  I think the cobo of the molasss and buckwheat turn these carob cookies into something deep and dark, and this is a very good thing! Enjoy with a glass of almond milk, or use two cookies as to make a peanut butter and banana mini dessert sandwich (not pictured but definitely tested!). 😀

You need:

3/4 cup black soy beans (you could probably subs black beans)

1/3 large avocado

Carob 1/2 cup

Molasses 3TBs

Walnuts 1/2 cup

Flax 2 tbs

Buckwheat flour  1/4 cup

1 tsp almond extract

2 tsp quinoa milk (or plant milk of choice)

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp psyllium 
Throw all ingredients in a blender or food processor except for flour and psyllium; place those in a mixing bowl instead. Then pour contents of blender into mixing bowl and complete the mixing. Then scoop onto a baking sheet. 
Bake at 400F x10min and enjoy!

Banana Chip Nice Cream

The election is finally over! Let’s celebrate with a classic treat! While there are endless variations on making ice cream from frozen bananas, this one is classically awesome. The texture is simply perfect, and for whatever reason when frozen, the banana flavor is less dominant. You can amplify this not-banana-y feature by adding vanilla or other flavor extracts, and other flavors!  Today, a classic. I simply love the texture of the creamy base with the crunch of chunks of dark chocolate. Never gets old 🙂

You need:

2-3 frozen bananas

1/3 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 dark chocolate bar of choice

1 high speed blender
Blend all ingredients together on on high, adding the chocolate last– and enjoy!!

Creamy Leek and Peanut Soup

Creamy, warm, savory comfort food. Nourishing sweet potatoes, creamy leeks, warm turmeric and ginger plus crunchy peanut butter make this an awesome cold weather soup! Hibernating from the rain and watching the wind gusting across the street, I concocted this one:)

You need:

2 leeks, sliced

3 cloves smashed garlic 

About 3/4 cup rinsed split peas

1/2 large cabbage, ribboned

3 stalks chopped Celery

3 medium sweet potatoes, cubed

2tbs turmeric

1tbs ginger

1 tbs blackstrap molasses

1 tbs dijon mustard

1 tbs liquid aminos

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2tbs fresh thyme

8 cups water

2 Zucchini sliced

2 tbs Pb

Black pepper and avocado to garnish
Sauté your leeks, garlic, and celery with a dash of sesame oil until just softened.

Then add in your turmeric, ginger, molasses, dijon, aminos, crushed red pepper, ground black pepper, thyme and sauté a couple more minutes.

Turn off heat and add your sweet potatoes, split peas, cabbage, and water.

Then simmer for about 15minutes, until split peas and potatoes are softened. If you have and instantpot, use the bean setting for 15minutes!  Then add in zuccini and PB for the final 5 minutes of simmering, or for intstantpot just throw these in and replace lid on warm setting for about 10minutes.

Serve with rice or farro and enjoy!