Category Archives: Recipes

Baked Vegan Macaroni Casserole


I made this macaroni casserole a couple of weeks ago to satisfy an urge for comfort food.  It hit the spot!  Although I will not claim that it is exactly like it’s non-vegan equivalents, it is pretty darn good all the same.  I served it with my Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup for the ultimate cozy Sunday afternoon meal.  Recipe below!

Baked Vegan Macaroni Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb cooked Macaroni noodles (I used whole wheat and it tasted fine in the casserole!)
  • ½ c raw cashews, processed into a powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium chopped potato
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 1 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 c non dairy milk
  • Juice of half of a lemon
  • 3 T corn starch
  • 1 tbsp oil/earth balance
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t Dijon mustard
  • ½ t tumeric
  • ½ t onion powder
  • ¼ t black pepper
  • 1/8 t cayenne
  • dash of soy sauce
  • **Garnish:  Paprika, bread crumbs, ground almonds
  • **Optional:  Peas and halved cherry tomates

Instructions:

  1. Grease a large casserole pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook your macaroni noodles according to the package instructions and drain.  Put in casserole pan and set aside
  3. In a food processor, blend the raw cashews with the carrots, potato, and garlic, and process until well combined.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the macaroni, the garnish, and the optional ingredients) to the food processor and process again until a smooth “cheese” sauce forms.
  5. Pour the “cheese” sauce directly onto the macaroni noodles and toss to coat the noodles evenly.  If you want to add optional ingredients to your casserole, now is the time to do it!  I added a bag of frozen peas and some spare, halved cherry tomatoes for color and nutrition.
  6. Top with paprika (for a little kick), bread crumbs, and crushed almonds (for some crunch).
  7. Cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Serve!  This recipe makes enough to serve about 4-6 people, depending on how hungry everyone is.

-Dominique

Advertisements

3 Commercial Break Snacks with Avocado


A small Italian market near my house always sells avocados (not really Italian, right?) for a dollar each, so I can never resist buying at least two a week.  Avocados are really filling and are loaded with fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, and they add a delicious creaminess to almost anything (soups, smoothies, spreads, pasta, and more!).  Plus, they just look cute, kind of like the Weebles of fruit.

All three of these yummy snacks can be thrown together in under 5 minutes.  I actually made the guacamole and soft serve during commercial breaks!  Can’t beat those quick, healthy, and delicious  snacks when you’re a college student.

Easy Guacamole

1. Cut one avocado in half, remove pit, and scoop flesh into a bowl.

2. Add spices and a few drops of lime juice. I used onion and garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand! My mom uses Old Bay seasoning, which is always delicious in guac.

3. Add a couple of spoonfuls of salsa (yes, from a jar)! If you want to make homemade salsa and add that, that’s awesome, but I didn’t have time. Jar salsa works great in a pinch to add more flavor and texture to your guacamole.

Avocado-Banana Soft Serve

Inspired by Averie’s Vanilla Avocado Banana Ice Cream

Throw a chopped banana, the flesh of an avocado, half a can of full fat coconut milk (this is what made the soft serve, in my opinion), a few drops of vanilla, some almond milk, a pinch of salt, and sugar (to taste) into your food processor or blender.  Blend, transfer into a tupperware container, and freeze overnight.

You Don’t Need a Recipe to Make Toast…

…but this toast made an amazing study snack.  I toasted some whole grain bread, and then layered three tasty, savory spreads.  First, homemade paprika hummus, then half of a mashed avocado, and finally some hot pepper jelly (from local company The Berry Patch, find them at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip if you’re in the area!).  So delicious and filling.

Those are just a few of the easy avocado snacks I’ve been eating in the last couple of weeks…what’s your favorite way to use avocado?

-Dominique

Quick and Easy Indian-Inspired Chili (Vegan) with Coconut Basmati Rice


Last night I had a bunch of produce that had just about outlived it’s fridge time so I decided to cook up an Indian-inspired chili to use it all up! The only part of this recipe that is time consuming is the veggie chopping, other than that you just throw everything in the pot and let it simmer away. It ended up being pretty spicy because I was a little heavy-handed with the crushed red pepper flakes (oops! I adjusted the recipe afterwards as to not kill anyone), so I paired it with some mellow coconut basmati rice.  It was really yummy and really filling!

Image

Spicy Indian-Inspired Chili

Yield: About 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½  each of garam masala, cumin, & turmeric
  • ½ t each of cayenne, nutmeg, ginger, & cardamom
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped (I did green, yellow, orange, because that’s what I had on hand)
  • 3 small or 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ½ jar of marinara sauce
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • olive oil

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sized pot, heat olive oil and garlic on medium heat.  Add the chopped onions along with all the spices and sauté until your kitchen smells like magic!
  2. Add in a little more olive oil (to cover the bottom of the pot) and toss in the chopped zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, corn, and beans.  Toss it around with a spoon so everything is combined.
  3. Add the marinara sauce and vegetable broth and mix.  Heat until the entire mixture boils, then turn down the heat to low.
  4. Simmer the chili on the stove for about twenty minutes (or more if you want, I just used this time to make the rice) to let the flavors meld.  FLAVA FLAVVVVE!!!
  5. EAT!

Notes:

  • If you like your chili to be spicier, add crushed red pepper flakes along with the other spices.  BE CAREFUL THOUGH! Once you put them in, you can’t take them out. (If you don’t heed this warning and your chili ends up being too spicy, salt it a bit and it will tone the spice down).
  • You can essentially use any vegetables or beans that you want in this recipe, or leave them out entirely.  I just used what I had on hand!  This is why chili is awesome.

Coconut Basmati Rice

Yield:  About 3 cups (6 servings, 1/2 cup each)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ c basamati rice, rinsed and drained until it doesn’t make the water cloudy (this took about 4 rinses for me)
  • 1 c coconut milk
  • 1 ½ c water
  • ½ t turmeric
  • pinch of salt
Instructions:
  1. Put everything in a rice cooker and mix so the turmeric and and coconut milk are well combined with the water.
  2. Turn the rice cooker on and let it do it’s rice cooker magic!
  3. EAT!
Notes:
  • If you don’t have a rice cooker (I actually don’t, but my lovely roommate Abbey let’s me use hers [and all her spices (THANKS ABBEY!)]) then you can easily do this on the stove following these basic cooking instructions.  Just use the same ingredients/water and coconut milk ratio above.
  • You can easily do this with another kind of white rice, I just had Basmati in my pantry.

Happy cooking 🙂

-Dominique

Spicy Homemade Falafel Recipe


Today, after I took my first final, I needed to relax and forget about studying for a bit!  For me, relaxing usually means whipping something up in the kitchen.

I wanted to make something that I could enjoy now, but also freeze and eat throughout the next week.  I was craving Middle Eastern food to go with some hummus I needed to use up, so I figured I’d try my hand at making falafel.  This isn’t the most traditional of falafel recipes; I usually find falafel to be pretty bland so I added extra cayenne and red pepper flakes to give it a little kick!  If you don’t like spicy food, omit the red pepper flakes and cut down on the cayenne to mellow it out a bit.  Also, I had a bell pepper that I needed to use, so I threw that in the food processor too!  Yum.

Spicy Falafel

Yield:  Between 18-24 falafel balls, depending on how big you make them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz) of rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • 1/3 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used an orange pepper, but whatever you have on hand is fine!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 7 T flour (or more, if it isn’t forming a doughy enough texture)
  • 2 T tahini
  • 2 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t coriander
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • 1 t baking powder
  • hot pepper flakes, to taste
  • oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except oil in food processor.  Pulse until it turns into a wet “dough”.  Some chunkiness is fine, depending on how you like your falafel.
  3. Put vegetable oil in a skillet and heat at medium.  While oil is heating, grease a large oven pan and flour an area next to the stove (you’re setting up your little falafel factory’s production line!)
  4. With some flour on your hands, start scooping falafel out of the (unplugged!) food processor and shaping it into patties or balls.  Set on floured surface.
  5. Drop falafel balls into the oil, cooking for about 2 minutes on each side to make the outside nice and crispy.  Don’t worry about cooking the falafel through, you’ll do that later!
  6. Transfer cooked falafel to lightly greased pan, and put it in the oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove falafel from pan, and use a towel to absorb excess grease.  Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If your falafel isn’t sticking together in the oil, add more flour to the “dough”.
  • If you have extra time, you can refrigerate falafel balls before frying them.  This may also help them stay together.  (I was impatient and took my chances, but it worked fine anyways)
  • If you don’t like to fry foods (it can be scary in a multitude of ways, hot oil freaks me out sometimes), feel free to bake these falafel balls or patties in your oven!  10 minutes on each side should do it.

Enjoy!

-Dominique

Dad’s New Milkshake: Peanut Butter-Cinnamon-Graham


In my family, my dad is famous for his love of dessert. He has such a sweet tooth, and one of his favorite treats are milkshakes! Every since I can remember, Dad’s been whipping up his famously sweet and sticky peanut butter and banana milkshakes. The last two years, he’s been trying to merge the flavor of his classic milkshake with another one of his favorites, cinnamon buns. One night we got to experimenting, and this is what came of it!

To make Dad’s New Milkshake, you will need CINNAMON honey grahams, vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream, milk, creamy peanut butter, some more cinnamon, a blender, and a spoon.

Ingredient Lineup

First add the milk and the ice cream, and then the peanut butter, and blend.

You may need to stop blending to push the peanut butter down into the blender a little bit to get the milkshake to be an even consistency.

Then, crush up the graham crackers. I put them in a Ziploc bag and smashed them with the heel of my hand. The consistency you end up with is completely up to you, I smashed some to a pulp and just cracked others up a little so there would still be some chunks in the milkshake.

Add the graham crackers and blend.

Pour and drink!

This was definitely the best milkshake my dad and I have made to date. The cinnamon really complements the peanut butter and adds a bit of complexity to the taste and the graham crackers add a doughy texture.

-Dominique

Let’s Chat!
What’s your favorite milkshake flavor?

Apple Pie Oats


Here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

I’ve been a little stressed/anxious/on overdrive, and craving some comfort food.  For me that means mac and cheese and ice cream!  Not quite diet material.  Instead I compromised and whipped up something a little bit more nutritious but just as comforting…apple pie oats!  I love having breakfast for dinner.

Just some steal cut oats cooked in 2 parts soymilk 1 part water (for extra creaminess aka comfort) with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a diced apple.  It was delicious, filling, and comforting indeed.

And of course I didn’t forget about dessert, which was banana sandwiches (banana with peanut butter and chocolate chips).  How perfect!

-Dominique

Let’s Chat!

  • What is your go-to comfort food?

Power-Up Breakfast #2: Raw “Cookie Dough”


As I mentioned in Power-Up Breakfast #1:  Fast Frittata, I strongly believe that every good day should start with a good breakfast!  One of my all-time favorite breakfasts that I discovered in the blogosphere is what people are calling “Vegan Cookie Dough” or “Raw Cookie Dough”.  I was skeptical that anything healthy could mimic cookie dough, but hearing everyone rave about it made me want to try it.  I’m so glad I did!  I probably make raw “cookie dough” for myself about 5 times a week now.  It is SUPER easy, quick, and filling.  When I eat it for breakfast at 8:30AM I usually am not even hungry until 2PM, which is a pretty big deal for me.

I’m going to show you how I make it, but what’s best about raw “cookie dough” is that once you get the idea behind it, it’s extremely easy to customize!  Like I said, I combined a lot of things I saw on different blogs, and my own preferences, to come up with my raw “cookie dough”, and I claim NO OWNERSHIP over this concept or this recipe!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • a couple splashes of liquid (I use Almond Milk, you can use water, soymilk, cow’s milk, etc.)
  • 1 scoop of Protein powder (I use vanilla flavored)
  • 1 spoonful of nut butter (I use almond butter)
  • Mix-ins of your choosing (this time i went with chopped walnuts for crunch and coconut flakes for extra sweetness!  other ideas include chocolate chips, dried or chopped fruit, or other nuts/seeds)

Ingredient Line-up

In my mind, ALMOND BUTTER is the star of this recipe!! I can't get enough of this stuff.

Although you essentially just have to combine all the ingredients and stir, I find it easier if I dissolve the protein powder in my liquid before adding any other ingredients, just so it doesn’t leave my cookie dough powdery!

ALMOND BUTTER, YOU SLAY ME EVERY TIME

All mixed up!

I like to chop a banana on top, it goes perfect with the cookie dough texture and taste!

And ready to go!

It may not look pretty, but if you like oats like I do, I’m sure you will LOVE it!
I like to make my raw cookie dough in a Tupperware container so that I can snap on the lid and take it with me to work.  Portable cookie dough!

What else do I take to work? Here’s was my lunch line-up this morning…

Lots of Water, Apple, Greek Yogurt, Veggies, and a BabyBel Cheese (another growing addiction)

It may not look like a lot, but like I said, the raw cookie dough keeps me full past noon!!

-Dominique

Let’s Chat:

  1. What mix-ins would go in YOUR raw cookie dough?
  2. Do you pack your lunch for work, or buy it there?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments 🙂