Vegan Sugar Cookies

So I know, these are conspicuously Christmas colored and it’s January, but what can I say, I got behind on blogging over the holidays! But here’s the thing, these tasty sugar cookies can be decorated for any holiday, say Valentine’s Day, or Chinese New Year, or just roll them in cinnamon/sugar to make snickerdoodles, these are amply customizable. So, if Christmas is so last year, or you do not celebrate it at all, just imagine whatever color you prefer in lieu of the red/green sprinkles! These are that awesome mix between crunchy yet chewy, and just taste like cookies, not vegan cookies, just cookies!! 

You need:

1 cup vegan butter or shortening (I used a nutivia variety that is bright yellow to simulate that buttery look)

1.25 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup stevia

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

2.5 cups flour (I used a sprouted wheat flour)

Sprinkles or coconut flakes, or cinnamon/sugar (optional)
Mix all ingredients (except sprinkles) well, form into 1 inch balls, press balls flat into round cookies with a spoon, then press into sprinkles. If doing snickerdoodles, roll balls into cinnamon/sugar before pressing them out flat. These don’t expand or rise that much, so just shape them how you want them to be out of the oven. Place on parchment paper and bake at 375 for 9 minutes. Let cool and then enjoy!

Crispy Tofu Nuggets

Wow, I just realized I eat these at least once a week and yet the last tofu nugget recipe I posted had eggs in it, which i no longer use! So here is my standby version, my weekly staple recipe! What I love about this recipe is the crispy texture, the ease of making, and the downright comfort food nature! PurĂ©ed chicken parts be gone, I’m much more comfortable eating smushed soybeans instead 😀  The other great thing about using tofu, is that its already moist nature means you don’t need an egg wash or any other kind of coating to make your breading stick. Just gently blot the sliced tofu rather than pressing out all the moisture, and you are ready to press it into the breading!
You need:

-Firm to extra firm tofu, cut into your favorite nugget size/shape

-Masa harina flour or fine cornmeal

-Seasoning (I use an all-purpose seasoning mix that includes onion/garlic/pepper/parsely/basil/thyme etc..)

-(optional) Panko bread crumbs

-(optional) Crushed red pepper flakes.
Preheat oven to 375F and cut your tofu into little nuggets. Gently blot off excess moisture but don’t press all the liquid out; you need some to make your breading stick!  Next, mix your herb seasoning with your masa harina, I recommend a 1:2 ratio of herbs to cornmeal. Sometimes I mix in a little bit of panko crumbs and crushed red pepper flakes, so feel free to play around with your favorites, but I find this works best if the the fine cornmeal or masa harina flour is the breading ingredient you have the most of!  Place breaded nuggets on a lined baking sheet (parchment paper or silpat recommended so you don’t even need an oil spray) and bake for 20 min. If you like extra crispy, you can then flip and bake another 5-10 minutes, but I usually just take them out after cooking for 20 minutes on one side only. This results in crispy edges but a soft inside!

I love to bake some sliced potatoes or sweet potatoes simultaneously for a wonderfully healthy fast food-esque meal, that is quick, easy, and best served with ketchup!

FYI, my favorite ketchup brand to have with these is Muir Glen. I also like to put the tofu nuggets (and potato fries) inside butter lettuce leaves like little crunchy comfort food tacos!  Simple, satisfying, done. Enjoy!!

Chocolate Berry Mini Muffins

If you follow this blog, you know I love chocolate. I’ve made chocolate muffins before, but here’s a recipe with a berry twist. Using purĂ©ed fruit is a simple substitute for shortening or oil, and also adds some natural sweetness and flavor. This is a one blender recipe, all you have to do is stir in the cacao nibs after blending everything together, fill the muffin tins, and pop em in the oven. I like to use mini muffin tins for faster cooking and easy snacking!

You need:

Agave 1/2 cup 

Molasses 1/4 cup 

Cacao nibs 1/2 cup

Carob powder 1/2 cup

Vanilla 1 tsp

Cinnamon 1 tsp plus dusting on top 

1.5 cup mixed berries

Soymilk 2/3 cup

Wheat bran 1/2 cup

Oat flour 1.5 cup

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Baking powder 1 tsp
Bake 375 x16 min for mini muffins. Let cool and enjoy!

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!