Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

I’m always skeptical when a vegan dish borrows the name from something that exists in the non-vegan world. Everyone knows what buffalo wings are – deep-fried chicken wings, coated in butter and hot sauce, and served with blue cheese dressing and sometimes celery. I have to say that these buffalo cauliflower bites completely deliver – so satisfying and flavorful, plus they’re baked and not fried! You can play with the proportions of the sauce ingredients… I chose to make them a little more kid-friendly, substituting BBQ sauce for some of the hot sauce! And the Daiya blue cheese salad dressing adds the necessary tang!

UPDATE: I added another delicious sauce to try as an alternative to the traditional Buffalo hot sauce. See Asian BBQ Sauce recipe below!

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees
Line baking sheet with parchment paper
Cut one head of cauliflower into florets

……..
Make batter for cauliflower.

Ingredients:
¾ c. flour (I used GF blend but any is fine)
¾ c. unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp paprika (optional)

Whisk until smooth.

……
Pour batter over cauliflower. Toss florets in batter until evenly coated.
Use slotted spoon to place on cookie sheet in single layer.
Bake at 450 for 20 min.

…..
Make sauce while cauliflower is baking.

Ingredients:
2 T. vegan margarine, melted
4 T. BBQ sauce
2 T. Crystal hot sauce
2 T. veggie broth or water

Stir until blended.

….
Remove cauliflower from baking sheet and place in glass or metal bowl.
Pour sauce over cauliflower and toss until
coated.
Spoon cauliflower back on baking sheet.

Bake at 450 for an additional 20 min.

 

Here is also an alternate sauce to try that I’ve made recently… it is sweet and sticky and totally yummy for a sweeter alternative:

Asian BBQ Sauce: (add at the same time as you would Buffalo sauce)
2 T Chinese black bean sauce/paste
2 T soy sauce (or tamarin)
1 T olive oil
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 T brown sugar
1 T molasses
1 T Dijon mustard
2 T ketchup
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Serve with Daiya dairy free blue cheese dressing!

Veggie Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

Lasagna is the ultimate comfort food! This veggie lasagna is easy and versatile! You can use any veggies for the veggie layer and the tofu ricotta is very simple to make with only a few ingredients. I used steamed kale in this version, but you can use any other pre-cooked veggies like spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini peppers, onions, etc. If you prefer to make it gluten-free (like myself!), you can use brown rice pasta lasagna noodles and it will turn out just as well!
Note: This recipe makes an 8″x8″ lasagna, but can be easily doubled  for a 9″x13″ pan.

Ingredients:
1 package lasagna noodles, cooked according to directions
3 cups (or 26 oz. jar) tomato or marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
2 cups pre-cooked veggies
1 batch tofu ricotta (see below)
1 Tblsp nutritional yeast (to sprinkle on top)

Tofu ricotta:
1/2 block tofu, firm or extra-firm, drained
1 T lemon juice (approx 1/2 lemon)
1 T plant-based milk/creamer
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder

To make tofu ricotta:
– First, press as much moisture out of the tofu as you can. I usually slice the tofu in 1/2″ slices and then press them all together over a bowl or sink, using even pressure to get out as much water.
– Combine tofu and other ingredients in a blender, food processor, or you can mash together with a fork. (I use my magic-bullet-style smoothie blender.)

To make lasagna:
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
– Spoon a little sauce in bottom of pan.
– Add 1st layer of noodles.
– Spread 1/3 tofu ricotta over noodles.
– Spread 1/3 cooked veggies over ricotta.
– Spread 1/4 tomato sauce over veggies.

– Repeat steps for 2nd layer (noodles-ricotta-veggies-sauce)
– Repeat steps for 3nd layer (noodles-ricotta-veggies-sauce)
– Add top layer of noodles.
– Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

Cover with foil and bake for 40 min. (or until heated through)
– Let sit 5 min. before cutting.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

Holiday Side Dishes – Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes

I love to cook big, plant-based dinners around the holidays! I always host our annual Compassionate Feast on Thanksgiving, and I also like to cook a similar meal around Christmas or New Year’s. I like to make lots of delicious side dishes using organic, local veggies! In this post, I’m sharing two of my favorites… Agave-Mustard Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Maple-Cumin Mashed Sweet Potatoes!

Agave-Mustard Roasted Brussel Sprouts:
1 bunch fresh brussel sprouts
2 Tblsp olive oil
2 Tblsp agave nectar (or you can use honey)
1 Tblsp spicy brown mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Few sprinkles of hot chili flake

hcv_holidaysidedishes-1Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Rinse and trim ends off brussel sprouts (Just keep any leaves that fall off)
Toss with other ingredients.
Spray large baking pan with cooking spray.
Add brussel sprouts in single layer.
Bake for 40 min or so, tossing occasionally, until tender and slightly crispy/carmelized.

Maple-Cumin Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
3 med sweet potatoes
2 Tblsp vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond like (or other plant-based milk)
2 Tblsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cumin or garam masala

hcv_holidaysidedishes-1-1Peel and chop sweet potatoes and place in boiling salted water.
Cook approx 15 min or so until fork-tender
Drain and add margarine and almond milk.
Mash with hand-masher until desired smoothness.
Stir in maple syrup and spices.

 

 

 

Finished dishes… so yummy!

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Here’s what the rest of our Compassionate Feast looked like this year (complete with Tofurky, mushroom gravy, roasted veggies, cornbread stuffing and homemade cranberry sauce!)

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Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I love fall squash, especially sweet, mild butternut squash! Roasting the squash first is an extra step, but definitely worth the time! It creates a much more caramelized, nutty flavor. As with making many pureed or creamy soups, an immersion blender is a invaluable tool!

1 med butternut squash, cut and de-seeded
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
2 T maple syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
Other spices – few dashes dried parsley, sage, thyme
Garnish – Toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped parsley

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Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare cookie sheet with olive oil or cooking spray.
Lay squash cut side down and prick with fork.
Bake squash for 40 min or until soft.
Let squash cool a bit and scoop out flash with a spoon.

 

 

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In a soup pot, add cooked squash, veggie broth, water, maple syrup and spices.
Bring to boil and simmer 15 min.

 

 

Puree soup with immersion blender (or food processor).

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Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and fresh parsley.
Enjoy this delicious, warming soup!

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Tom Yum Soup with Tofu and Mushrooms

One of my favorite Asian vegetarian restaurants serves the best tom yum soup! It has a delicious lemongrass-infused broth with just the right amount of heat. It also has sliced mushrooms and cubed tofu (great for protein!) in it. This is my attempt to capture the same flavors in my homemade version! Lemongrass can be found in Whole Foods, Asian or specialty markets.
(Note: You can also add 1 cup coconut milk at the end for a creamier soup!)

hcv_tomyumsoup-1-14 cups veggie broth/stock
2 cups water
1/2 med onion, minced (or 1/2 tsp onion powder)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1″ piece ginger, peeled and minced (or 1/4 tsp powdered ginger)
2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
2 Tblsp olive oil
3 Tblsp
Thai chili sauce/paste
5 stalks lemongrass, chopped in 1-2″ pieces
1/2 block extra-firm tofu, pressed and cubed
1 tsp salt
Cooked white rice (optional)

Garnish:
Lime wedges
Fresh cilantro

hcv_tomyumsoup-1In a soup pot, hear 1 Tblsp olive oil and add onions, garlic and ginger.
Saute a few min until soft.
Add another 1 Tblsp olive oil and sliced mushrooms.
Saute 5-10 min until mushrooms are cooked and slightly browned.
Add veggie stock and water.
Add chili paste, lemongrass and salt.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 12-15 min.
Add cubed tofu piece and simmer 5 min.
(Stir in some cooked white rice at end if desired!)

Garnish with lime wedge & fresh cilantro –
The fresh lime juice really brightens the flavors!

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Mom’s Stuffed Peppers

Let me just say, as far as comfort food goes… I love stuffed peppers! They are very easy to make vegan, and I’ve stuffed them with all types of fillings made from ingredients like beans, tofu, lentils, rice and veggies. But back when I was growing up, my Mom would make them the traditional way, stuffed with ground meat and rice. As much as I’m not a huge fan of faux meats, I really enjoy some of the Beyond Meat products, including their Beefy Crumbles (found in the frozen food aisle). They are soy-free, gluten-free and non-GMO, high in protein, and have great texture and seasoning. They are very versatile and can be added to all kinds of dishes! (Note: If you don’t want to use Beefy Crumbles, you can substitute 1 cup cooked lentils) 🙂

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3-4 large bell peppers (any color)
1 cup of rice (any style), uncooked
2 cups veggie broth
1 pkg white mushrooms, chopped
1 med onion, chopped
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup (or approx 1/2 bag) Beyond Meat beefy crumbles
Seasonings: Salt, onion powder, garlic powder, dried parsley

 

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Pre-heat over to 350 degrees.
Cut peppers length-wise and clean.
Arrange cut side up in baking pan.

Bring veggie broth and seasonings to a boil and add rice.
Cover and simmer according to type of rice (usually 15-17 min for white rice)

 

hcv_stuffedpeppersbeefycrumbles-1-1While rice is cooking, heat oil in a frying pan.
Add onion and mushrooms and cook until tender.
Add beef crumbles and saute a few more minutes.

 

 

 

hcv_stuffedpeppersbeefycrumbles-1-3Add saute mixture to rice and combine well.
Spoon rice mixture into pepper halves.
Top each pepper with some tomato paste.
Add 1/4″ water to bottom of baking pan and cover with foil.

 

 

Bake at 350 for 40 min covered and 10 min uncovered.
(Btw, they smell heavenly in the oven!)

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These are great served with a green veggie or salad!

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Fresh Corn Chowder

Corn chowder is a great summer soup and a nice change from just eating corn-on-the-cob! There are only a few ingredients and you can get creative with the toppings. Cutting the corn off the cob is easy if you have a sharp knife and a wide, flat bowl to cut it into. Just stand the husked corn cob on end and cut downwards. Also, an immersion blender is extremely handy to puree soup! This soup is creamy on its own from the pureed corn and potatoes!
Note: You can also use frozen corn if fresh corn is unavailable

HCV_CornChowder - 1 (1)2 cups veggie broth + 1 cup water
3 cups fresh cut corn (approx 4 ears)
1 small onion (or 1/2 med onion), minced
2 small (or 1 large) potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf

Topping suggestions:
Whole fresh corn kernels, reserved
Chopped avocado
Chopped tomato
Chopped bell peppers or hot peppers
Chopped fresh herbs like parsley or dill
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Chopped olives
Chopped roasted red peppers
Crumbled tempeh bacon

HCV_CornChowder - 1Heat olive oil in bottom of a soup pot and add minced onion. Saute for a few min until onion is soft.
Add veggie broth, water and seasonings and bring to a boil.
Add corn and potatoes, and simmer for 8-10 min.
Remove from heat and and puree soup, using an immersion blender or food processor (I like to puree it halfway and leave it a little chunky)

 

Add toppings of your choice and enjoy!

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Sweet and Tangy Coleslaw

This coleslaw is the perfect combination of tangy and sweet flavors! I love to serve coleslaw as a side dish to almost any meal, especially in the summer. I typically use green cabbage, purple cabbage and carrots in my coleslaw, but you can also add any other raw chopped veggies (e.g. broccoli or cauliflower). I also like the fact that this dressing is not too heavy! (Note: Most supermarkets carry vegan mayonnainse, either in the health food aisle or near the regular mayo. Vegan mayo is usually made with higher quality oils and does not include eggs.)

Approx. 5 cups shredded, chopped or minced cabbage (green or green/purple)
1-2 shredded carrots

Dressing:HCV_CreamyColeslaw - 1 (1)
2/3 cup vegan mayo (I use Follow Your Heart Veganaise)
3 Tblsp apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 Tblsp agave nectar (or maple syrup)
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp salt
Any other herbs you like (I use parsley & dill)

 

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Chop, shred or mince cabbage and carrots. Whisk together dressing ingredients.
Combine cabbage/carrots and dressing well.

 

 

 

Refrigerate and serve chilled! Enjoy!

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Roasted Beet Salad with Tofu “Feta”

This is a simple salad, but very delicious and filling! The sweetness of the roasted beets is offset by the saltiness of the tofu “feta cheese”! I used golden beets in this version, but any type of beet would work, as well as any other roasted veggies. The tofu feta is best after a day or two in the fridge, but can be used after a few hours. The tofu feta is also a delicious addition to other types of salads, such as a Greek salad!

Roasted beets:
3 med beets (red or golden), trimmed and cut
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp seasoned salt

Green leaf lettuce or any type of salad greens

Tofu feta cheese:
1/2 package (or block) of extra-firm tofu
2 Tblsp olive oil
2 Tblsp red wine vinegar
2 Tblsp lemon juice
2 Tblsp water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp black pepper

First, press out as much moisture from the tofu as you can. You can put weights on top of a plate to press it, but I usually don’t have the time or patience. Instead, I slice up the block of tofu in about 8 slices. Then, I take about half the slices at a time and press them together with my hands over the sink or a bowl. Repeat a few times and you can press out much of the moisture. Chop tofu into small, cubed pieces.

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Combine olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, water and spices in a jar with tight-fitting lid.
Add cubed tofu.
Shake gently and put in fridge.
Let marinate for a few hours or overnight.
(The longer in fridge, the more flavor it will absorb.
It will keep in the fridge for several days.)

 

HCV_BeetSaladWithFeta - 1Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Spray baking pan or cookie sheet with cooking spray.
Toss chopped beets in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt and spread in pan.
Bake for 40 min or until beets are tender.

Place roasted beets on top of some salad greens.
Top with some marinated tofu “feta”.

 

The crunch of the lettuce, the sweetness of the beets and the saltiness of the marinated tofu… Delicious!

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Quick and Easy Mexi-Melts

This recipe is so simple and great when you have to whip up a quick meal! Just a few ingredients, but very yummy, and kid-friendly too! If you haven’t tried Daiya vegan cheese, it’s very tasty, plus it melts nicely! I buy the block of Daiya cheddar in my local supermarket, and grate it myself. You can also use corn or flour tortillas (I used corn to keep it gluten-free). This recipe makes about eight mexi-melts.

1 can black beans, drained
1/2 cup veggie broth
1/2-1 cup cooked corn
Taco seasoning, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, onion powder

1 cup shredded Daiya cheddar cheese

1 package soft tortillas (corn or flour)

Choose any accompaniments that you like:
Chopped lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa, etc

Heat black beans, veggie broth and seasonings in a saucepan.
Mash beans with a potato masher, leaving some beans whole.
Stir in corn.HCV_EasyMexi-Melts - 1

Spray skillet with cooking spray and heat skillet.
Place tortilla in skillet and heat on each side for 30 sec.
Add a few spoonfuls of bean/corn mixture to one side of tortilla.
Sprinkle some Daiya cheddar on top.
Fold over other half of tortilla.
Heat for a minute, and then carefully turn over and heat on other side for a minute. Press down with spatula. Everything should melt together!

That’s it!
Serve with an toppings or accompaniments that you like!

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