Vegan Junk Food

I was in the mood for fatty food this weekend. Veggie dogs with tons of toppings are one of my favorite not-so-healthy, but delicious meals. There are few things that pair better than hot dogs + mac and cheese. I found this vegan version on Pinterest and made a few tweaks to it.

I am copying and pasting the recipe here, only to note the substitutions I made. Please visit Vegan Yack Attack, for tons of great vegan recipes. The substitutions I made are in italics.

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White Bean Cheese Sauce
  • 1- 15 oz. Can of White Beans (either Northern or Cannelini will work)
  • 1 C. Non-Dairy Milk (I used unsweetened soymilk)
  • ¼ C. Pine Nuts (I used cashews)
  • ¼ C. Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 2 tsp. Coconut Vinegar (I used 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 tsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1-1½ tsp. Sea Salt

This sauce was great! I also added in paprika, fresh cracked pepper, garlic powder and mustard powder for an extra kick. When I make this again, I will probably omit the tomato paste, it was a little too sweet for my taste, since I like my mac and cheese sauce to be more sharp.

10009126293_8382a702aa_o I piled my veggie dogs high with onions, pickles and jalapenos and also snacked on Kettle’s jalapeno chips. It was a great comfort meal!

 

Sage Pesto over Beans & Broccoli

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This recipe was inspired by one of the descriptions in Under the Tuscan Sun and the fact that I never make use of the sage, in my garden.

I made a sage pesto, by adding to the food processor:

  • A hearty handful of sage
  • A heaping handful of spinach
  • A few drizzles of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  •  A sprinkle of sea salt

The sage pesto had a nice, earthy flavor. It was not too different from my basil pesto, just a slightly diverse taste.

I used broccoli as the base for this dish, to try to save some calories from all the pasta I usually eat. I sautéed about 6 stalks of chopped broccoli in extra virgin olive oil and crushed garlic, seasoned with sea salt and pepper. I also added in 3 tablespoons of Sonnet’s Cashew Cream sauce, that I made earlier in the week.

Next, I warmed up one can of red beans and one can of white beans, while adding in another teaspoon of garlic.

I poured the pesto all over the beans and mixed thoroughly. I also topped with a few sun-dried tomatoes and vegan Parma.

This made about 6 servings, enough for dinner and lunch leftovers.

This was a flavorful meal that was not too heavy. I LOVE hearty, oily pastas with tons of ingredients, but, in an effort to shave some calories here and there, using veggies as a base was a great alternative.

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Mean Green Pasta

I will not take credit for this meal, but I definitely had to share.

I was a previous broccoli and brussel sprout hater. I would avoid them both and constantly announce my hate for them.

It turns out; I just never had them cooked properly. I thank my husband for showing me the error of my ways, and making me love both.

He boiled some broccoli and lightly sautéed brussel sprouts in some olive oil + loads of garlic.

He then topped of some of Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta with delicious homemade pesto (basil, spinach, olive oil, lemon, pumpkin seeds, sea salt and even more garlic-this was the theme of the evening), the brussel sprouts and broccoli. This came out to a powerful, vivacious green meal. It was incredibly filling and garlicky aromatic (which I wish was more socially acceptable).

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Have you re-discovered any foods you previously despised?

Tempeh Bacon

I am pretty skeptical when it comes to fake meats, there is a few I find tasty, but more often than not, I avoid them.

Tempeh is made from culture soy beans. I have had it a few times and my local health food store carries various flavors. I had been reluctant until this point to try the tempeh bacon, but curiosity got the better of me.

The tempeh is seasoned with various spices to give it a rich, smoky taste. I threw it on my indoor grill to bring out the flavors.

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First, I added it to one of my epic veggie dogs. I spread veganaise on the buns, and topped with mustard, ketchup, diced onions & olives and finally, the tempeh bacon. This was an amazing combination!

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I wanted to incorporate the leftover bacon into a pasta dish. I made a batch of my vegan alfredo sauce and topped it over some brown rice pasta. I also sauteed some mushrooms, spinach and diced bits of the tempeh bacon in olive oil. This was a great combination. There was a little bit of the smoky taste in each bite, which contrasted well with the creaminess of the sauce.

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I will definitely be thinking of more ways to use tempeh bacon!

Vegan Alfredo Sauce

Once upon a time, I would crave the comfort food of  mushroom ravioli from Macaroni Grill. This used to be one of my favorite ways to finish off the work week. We would go out to eat after work on a Friday evening and start with a bruschetta appetizer, plus a pitcher of sangria. I would always order the mushroom ravioli, the sauce was my absolute favorite part. It is so rich and creamy; perfect to slop up with their free, warm bread.

I would walk out of there feeling sluggish and heavy, having eaten my whole caloric count for the day. Thank goodness veganism has taken that meal out of the equation.

This past week, I was hit with a craving for creamy pasta that was hearty, without being too rich. I experimented a bit, and came up with a pretty decent substitute for Alfredo sauce.

I started off putting the following ingredients in my Vitamix. I adjusted the measurements here and there, the important part is to blend and taste, then adjust as necessary.

  • 1 cup of cashews (soaked in water to soften)
  • 1 cup of unflavored soymilk
  • 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of Vegan parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic (or 1-2 garlic cloves, depending on how much you like garlic)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • fresh cracked pepper

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After the ingredients where thoroughly blended, I transfered the mix to a sauce pan and added the following

  • 1 cup of dry white wine (I added this in first on low heat to reduce and seep into the sauce. I stirred regularly for about 10 minutes)
  • 1 tablespoon of flower (I whisked this in after the wine, to thicken it up)
  • 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance for a buttery finish

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I was very pleased with the results. I topped whole wheat penne with the sauce, along with sauteed garlic, onions, mushrooms and spinach.

I served it up with fresh basil, fresh, cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes.

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Since I still had sauce leftover, I used it on a pizza another night, with the same toppings as  the pasta, adding in sun-dried tomatoes.

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This definitely cured my craving!

Lemon Mushroom Pasta

I have another fast, weeknight meal to share. You can keep the ingredients few and simple, they still pack in tons of flavor or you can add in more to boost up the volume.

For this pasta, I started by sauteeing the following in extra virgin olive oil & 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance:

  • 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic
  • 1 bag of sliced mushrooms (from Trader Joe’s)
  • about 1/2 bag of baby spinach

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While this was cooking, I put my pasta in to boil.

Once the veggies were sauteed enough, I lowered the heat and used a white wine reduction, I simmered the veggies in the white wine sauce to boost up the flavor.

Next I added the following to a pasta dish:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • juice of 1.5 lemons
  • zest of 1.5 lemons

Once the pasta was finished cooking and drained, I tossed together the pasta, veggies and lemon/oil mix. I topped everything off with (adjust to taste):

  • fresh basil
  • cracked black pepper
  • sea salt
  • crushed red peppers

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This dish is fresh-tasting and light. It would probably also taste delicious with pesto or sun-dried tomatoes.

Post CSD thoughts

It has been a little over 1 week since the Crazy Sexy Diet (CSD) has been over.

I have managed to more or less, stick with the same way of eating. I cooked the same and packed similar lunches. I was able to still fit in exercise each day, except for Sundays.

Since I was away all weekend, I did not have time to do my usual prep. I did not have any fresh, veggie juice all week and instead had mostly fruit smoothies. I did not feel the same amount of energy that I usually get from juicing and I am definitely looking forward to getting more greens in this week.

I did have alcohol in Las Vegas, while at the Lady Gaga concert (which was super fun!), I did not get too out of control, but I definitely felt the difference the next day.

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  stage of Born this Way Ball

I made a few new recipes for this week. The first two are tester recipes for Joni Newman’s  new recipe book.

Guys, this book is going to rock. The recipes I have seen so far are so creative, diverse and packed with flavor. I love all the pungent spices and the fusing of culture specific foods for  innovative and fun dishes.

First up, I made a miso mustard cheese sauce. This was surprisingly simple to make and the stand out star of the next two dishes.

Next, I made these AMAZING “Notchows”. The best way to describe them is Chinese-style nachos. I used some similar ingredients for a Chinese stir-fry (broccoli, corn, onion, etc.) along with black beans over chips, and bound together with the miso mustard cheese sauce. I topped it off with fresh cut cilantro, avocado and sriracha. I do not have enough adjectives for how good this was. It felt like I was eating junk food, but all the veggies packed in the nutrients. It was packed with flavor and each bite had a fresh, original pop. This is one of those dishes you serve up to omnivores to showcase how amazing vegan fare can be.

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I then used the same miso mustard sauce to make a macaroni and “cheese” dish. I used penne pasta and baked it in the oven with breadcrumbs and roasted red peppers.

This dish was another winner. The only thing I wished was I had more sauce to top it off with and boost the creaminess factor. It would probably also taste amazing topped with fresh ribbons of basil.

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Last up was this recipe for “A Soup that Heals”. This soup was wonderfully synergistic and packed with power. It tastes like it is flooding your body with good health and wellness. I also added in chopped bok choy for more veggie power. I plan to eat this for lunch a few days this week.

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Does anyone else make big dishes to portion out for the week? I am always looking for new ideas. Please comment below if you have any to share!

Peace, healing and health