vegan recipes

Vegan Meals for Kids

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Let’s face it, getting kids to eat anything can often be a challenge, so putting a plate full of veggies and legumes in front of them might seem downright impossible.

There are a tons of ways to make this process of meal time with kids easier, but one of the best ways to lessen the stress is to make a single meal for everyone. In other words don’t prepare a Plan B dinner for the picky eaters. What you make is what they get! The only exception to this might be when the adults are craving a lot of spice in their meal because that just isn’t fair to their young and sensitive pallets. I know this one size fits all when it comes to dinner, is easier said than done, but insisting they at least taste the meal, together with watching their parents enjoy the meal, will work out in the end. And besides, who has the time to prepare separate meals for their family?!

Another helpful tip is to have kids be part of the process. Have each child choose one meal a week; if they are old enough, have them help prepare at least one part of the meal; let them pick one or two of their lunch time snacks from your approved choices; include them while you are shopping (just kidding); and most importantly have conversations about why you are including them in a plant based lifestyle. Kids are very empathetic, so if you explain to them, you are doing this for the animals and the planet, they will be more likely to want to participate.

When introducing a new food, a great way to get them to try it is to offer them a very, very tiny sample. I mean like one pea or a single grain of rice. When they do taste this new item, offer them a reward of something they love to eat.

If you just can’t deal with your children going to bed hungry, you can put together a back-up plan for the days when they absolutely refuse to eat the meal you prepared. My suggestion is to offer only a single option like a smoothie or toast with nut butter, that way you know they are still getting something. This last straw option, shouldn’t change. If you decide the alternative is toast, then it is always toast.

Of course, this isn’t always an easy path with many kids but taking the opportunity to teach them about living a plant based life will help them to develop an identity around healthy foods, gain skills in the kitchen, and understand how food choices affect their health, animals and the planet.

With special planning a vegan diet can be healthy for all ages including toddlers. I have put together some recipes to get you started but with everything, check out your own resources or speak with a nutritionist to see what works best for you.

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Since most parents don’t have a lot of time to prepare breakfast, especially on a school morning, here are some great breakfast options that are quick, nutritious and delicious:

- Bagel or whole wheat toast with the following toppings:
- Nut butter with thinly sliced apple or banana
- Vegan cream cheese with sprouts
- Mashed avocado and a thinly sliced tomato
- Oatmeal with fresh or frozen berries
- Vegan waffles topped with fresh fruit and maple syrup
- Breakfast Burritos with the following fillings (many of these can be made up ahead of time and frozen:
- Scrambled tofu with vegan cheese and as much of their fav veggies as you can stuff
- Mashed black beans with mild salsa and vegan cheese
- Healthy cereal with sliced fruit and nut milk
- Smoothies are one of the fastest and easiest ways to get nutritional food into your kid’s mouth
- 1 C of nut milk, 1 small banana, 1/2 C of frozen fruit, 1/2 C frozen veggies, 1 tsp hemp or flax seeds and 1 tsp nut butter. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until really smooth. If it is too thick add more nut milk. This make about 2 servings.
- Here are some other flavor combinations: Milk, banana, blueberry, spinach, hemp seeds and cocoa powder; Coconut milk, avocado, mango, pineapple, flax seeds and sweet potato; Milk, avocado, strawberries, beets and maple syrup

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As far as lunch goes, if your kids are at school, you will probably have to make their lunches school safe, meaning no nuts. The good thing is there are loads of choices for them and if you use leftovers from the night before it can make this task a little easier.

- Quesadillas, sandwiches or wraps with the following ingredients:
- Hummus, chopped tomato and vegan cheese
- Mashed pinto beans, mild salsa, grated carrots, finely chopped spinach
- Mashed black beans, corn, chopped tomatoes, ground cumin, vegan cheese
- Cooked sliced mushrooms, chopped spinach, mashed avocado, garlic salt, vegan cheese
- Tofu scramble, finely chopped kale, any type of chopped veggies, barbecue sauce
- Sun butter with sliced bananas and hemp seeds, add jam if you like
- Pasta, quinoa or barley salad with chopped fresh veggies and vegan dressing, top with pumpkin seeds
- Pita or bagel pizzas with pizza sauce, thinly sliced veggies and vegan cheese
- Chopped fruit or veggies with dips like hummus or dairy-free yogurt
- Pretzels, dried fruit, granola, dry cereal
- Nut milk or coconut water

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As I mentioned, dinners are made much easier if you make just one meal for everyone! This works as long as there are no food allergies or the adults want to add a lot of spice to their meal - even then you can remove the kid’s portions before adding the spice. Here are a few ideas that are a little more kid friendly:

- Pasta with tomato sauce and you can blend in spinach, kale or any other cooked veggies, top with nutritional yeast for a cheesy taste
- Pasta with avocado - here is my fav recipe
- Carrot or mushroom soup with a vegan grilled cheese - here is a really easy recipe
- Stuffed mushrooms - here is the recipe which uses potatoes as the stuffing but you can switch it up and use sweet potatoes or squash
- Fish tacos - here is the recipe
- Veggie Pizza, the sky is the limit with toppings - here is one easy recipe
- Noodle bowls can be adapted using any type of veggie your kids like. Here is a quick and easy recipe
- Roasted cauliflower bites - you can make these as spicy or mild as your kids like. Here is the recipe
- Gardein has some great crispy chicken and fish fingers that you can serve with mashed potatoes and a fruit or veggie salad


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Snacks are something that kids are always asking for and as parents we do our best to give them the healthiest versions. Here are some easy and healthy choices.

- Organic air-popped popcorn – you can top with spices to bump up the flavor
-   Hummus with baby carrots for dipping
-   Organic tortilla chips with 1/4 cup of salsa
-   Kale Chips - Add about 1 C of kale (remove stems) sprinkle with a teaspoon of olive oil and lightly salted, baked at 400 degrees until crisp
-   Mini pretzels with 1/2 teaspoon of mustard for dipping
-   Organic grapes, blueberries, raspberries, sliced kiwi, watermelon
-   Chocolate almond or soy milk
-   Vegan yogurt with sliced fruit
-   Celery sticks with almond butter
-   Dates stuffed with almond butter – add a slice of banana




Vegan Shopping Guide - What to Stock Up On

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Whether you are new to a plant-based diet or you are just beginning to consider a vegan life, getting started can sometimes seem daunting. Being prepared makes the transition and the meal prep so much easier, because like they say before anything else, preparation is the key to success. And you don’t have to worry about not having enough choices because there are literally thousands of different types of fruits and vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

I put together some basic grocery items that will make eating and snacking easy and delicious. I always stock up on pantry and frozen items that go on sale, whether or not I need them right away as it helps with the budget in the long run. And frozen fruit and veggies are a great way to keep them around without having to worry about spoilage. You can add frozen fruit to your morning smoothie or oatmeal and frozen veggies to your fav broth for a quick soup. Remember that everything you may have been eating in the past can easily be replaced with a plant-based option, just make sure to read the labels to be certain it is a vegan product.

To make things easier, I separated the shopping items by suggested meals and snacks, but these are just recommendations so add whatever you like best! Check out the rest of our Food Section to find a bunch a easy recipes.

Breakfast:
- Oatmeal, Cereal, Bread (bagels, muffins)
- Fruits - fresh - bananas, apples, oranges, grapefruit, berries, mango, and frozen fruit
- Veggies - avocado, sprouts, kale and spinach
- Nut butter* - peanut, almond, cashew
- Maple Syrup, agave nectar
- Non Dairy - nut milk (almond, cashew, nut, hemp), dairy free yogurt, vegan butter
- Chia, hemp hearts and flax seeds (you can add these to your oatmeal, cereal or smoothies)
- Nuts - almonds, cashews, walnuts
- Tempeh and tofu
*Check to make sure they don’t contain unsustainable palm oil.

Lunch:
- Wraps, bread
- Grains - couscous, quinoa, rice
- Canned beans - chickpeas, black, kidney, pinto and lentils
- Veggies - fresh - lettuce, celery, avocado, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, and frozen veggies
- Tofu
- Vegan luncheon meats and cheese
- Canned soups and broths
- Spreads - mayo, mustard, ketchup, hummus, salad dressing

Dinner:
- Barley, quinoa, pasta, rice, lentils
- tortilla wraps, naan bread, pita’s,
- Veggies - spinach, kale, onions, garlic, peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, green beans, mushrooms, cauliflower, squash, corn and zucchini
- Tofu and tempeh
- Non-Dairy - plant based cheese, vegan sour cream
- Canned - broth, soups, tomatoes, coconut milk, beans
- Sauces - stir fry, soy sauce (make sure it is vegan), curry sauces/pastes

Snacks:
- Olives, pickles, kimchi,
- Fruit - grapes, cherries, dates, bananas, apples, berries and dried fruit
- Veggies - carrot, celery, cherry tomatoes, radish, cucumber, avocado, edamame and broccoli
- Nuts and seeds
- Crackers* and dips
- Popcorn*
- Vegan ice cream
- Rice cakes
* Check to make sure they don’t contain unsustainable Palm Oil.

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Other:
- Spices (fresh or dried) - Basil, Cayenne, Chili powder, Cinnamon, Cumin, Curry powder, Garlic, Ginger, Onion powder, Oregano, Pepper flakes, Rosemary, Thyme, nutritional yeast
- Oils - olive, sesame, avocado, and coconut
- Dried Fruit - raisins, cranberries, dates and figs
- Seeds - sesame, pumpkin and sunflower, flax and chia
- Canned/Jar - tomatoes, tomato paste, veggies, jackfruit, soups, broth, coconut milk, pineapple, hot sauce, sriracha, vinegar, and salad dressing

Super Easy and Quick Plant Based Lunch Recipes

Whether you are working from home or taking a bagged lunch to the office with you, fast and easy is the key to avoiding take out meals or skipping lunch altogether. Using ingredients like canned beans and broths or frozen veggies are great little cheats that help you get great tasting fast meals into your mouth. I put together a few of my favorite recipes that you can easily make ahead and take with you or throw together in minutes and enjoy right away.

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Chickpea and Avocado Sandwiches (makes 3-4 servings)

- 1 small can of chickpeas (13 oz/400 ml), drained and rinsed
- 1 small ripe avocado
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 Tbsp of vegan mayo
- juice of half a lime
- salt & pepper to taste
- a few drops of hot sauce (optional)
- bread of your choice
- toppings: sliced tomato, lettuce, sliced cucumbers

Directions:

- Throw all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
- Spread on bread and top with your fav toppings.

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This delicious soup is made quick and easy by using Vegan Pho broth and either fresh or frozen veggies. If you can’t find Pho broth you can sub with Veggie broth and add a couple of pieces of garlic and ginger, a couple of whole star anise and cloves, a stick of cinnamon and a few drops of soy sauce. Heat up over medium high heat for about 10 minutes and remove all of the spices before add the veggies to your soup.

Easy Vegan Pho (makes about 3-4 servings)

- 1 container of Pho broth (30 oz/900 ml)
- 2 C of frozen, canned or fresh veggies (some good choices are shelled Edamame, julienned carrots, sliced mushrooms, peas, bean sprouts)
- 1 small package of extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 8 oz of rice noodles
- toppings: sliced jalapeno, chopped green onions, fresh cilantro or basil, lime wedges

Directions:

- Pour the broth into a large pot and heat over medium high heat.
- While the broth heats up, cook rice noodles according to package.
- Next, add all veggies to your broth and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- While veggies are cooking, add a small amount of oil to a fry pan and add cubed tofu. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove and place on paper towel.
- Divide noodles and tofu into bowls and top with broth. Serve with the toppings you like.

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The great thing about salads is you can thrown almost anything you like into them. This recipe takes advantage of canned beans and frozen veggies.

Black Bean and Corn Salad (make 4 servings)

- 1 small can of black beans (13 oz/400 ml), drained and rinsed
- 1 C of frozen corn (can sub with 1 small can of canned corn)
- 1 small ripe avocado, diced
- 1/2 C each: diced onion, diced red pepper, halved cherry tomatoes and diced celery
- juice of 1 lime plus 1 Tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 tsp each: ground cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp of diced jalapeno (optional)
- 1 Tbsp of chopped cilantro (optional)

Directions:

- Toss all of the ingredients together and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

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This super quick vegan chili tastes amazing and can be easily frozen. Feel free to switch up the veggies to whatever you like.

Vegan Chili (make 4 servings)

- 1 large can of chopped tomatoes (28 oz/ 830 ml) with juices
- 1 small can (13 oz/400 ml) drained and rinsed each: black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans
- 1 C frozen or canned corn
- 2 C of diced fresh or frozen veggies (good choices: onion, zucchini, mushrooms, celery, carrots, sweet peppers)
- 1 C of tomato juice, veggie stock or water
- 1 tsp each: ground cumin, chili powder, cayenne, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper
- Toppings: diced avocado, sliced green onions, chopped cilantro.

Directions:

- Throw all ingredients into a large pot over medium high heat and cook for about 20-30 minutes or longer if you have the time.
- Top with diced avocado, green onions and/or cilantro.

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Wraps are one of those versatile foods that you can add almost anything to. If you are making these up ahead, make sure to keep the sauces to a minimum so you don’t end up with a soggy wrap. You can even pack the sauce separately and dip your wrap when lunch time comes. This recipe calls for prepared satay sauce and bagged coleslaw or spinach, making your prep easy and fast.

Baked Tofu Wrap with Satay Sauce (makes 1 large wrap)

- 1 large wholewheat wrap
- 1/2 C of prepared coleslaw or fresh spinach
- 1/2 C of baked tofu strips
- 1/2 C of sliced red pepper
- 2 Tbsp of prepared Satay sauce
- chopped cilantro and chopped peanuts (optional)

Directions:

- For each wrap, spread some satay sauce almost to the edges. Arrange some of the slaw, peppers, and tofu more or less down the center - add optional toppings.
- Then fold two edges part way over the ingredients and roll up.

Yes, Your Fur Babies Can Eat Vegan Too!

What my dogs eat is probably one of the top 5 questions I get asked on social media. The answer is my dogs eat only vegan food and they love it. I have been feeding them a plant-based diet for years and they are all doing extremely well! And even though many dog owners believe that their dogs must eat animal products, research shows this is simply not true. Dogs are the same as humans, they are omnivores, meaning they do not have to eat meat! You should also know that apart from fleas, the leading cause of skin allergic reactions in dogs is food allergies. These allergies frequently come from meat like beef, chicken, or lamb. A vegetarian or vegan diet that eliminates animal food sources will help to handle the allergic reaction and other health issues of your furry friends like liver disease and kidney stones.

My routine usually includes a home made breakfast for all my pups and vegan kibble for the remainder of the day. I do this because after a ton of research I know that the vegan brand dog food that I feed them has absolutely everything they need for a balanced diet but I also like to switch it up for breakfast so they don’t get bored with their food. My fav brand and my doggies fav brand of plant-based dog food is V-Dog (click here to see their products).

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Before you decide to make your own home made recipes for your dog family, remember you should always do your homework! There is a ton of reliable research available on the net so take some time and learn. You will also need to watch your pet closely in the beginning. Anytime you change their diet, you should watch and make sure they aren’t having any type of allergic reaction to their new food. If your dog has specific health issues, you can speak with your vet, but from my experience most know very little about plant-based diets. Also, there are a number of common foods you should never use in dog recipes. Some of these are: alcohol, apple seeds and the pits of most fruits, avocados, candy and chocolate (particularly anything containing Xylitol - a sweetener), coffee and tea, garlic, grapes, gum, onions and onion powder, raisins, rhubarb leaves, salt, walnuts, Xylitol (very toxic to dogs), and yeast dough. This is not a complete list and you should always check before preparing any dog food at home.

So, back to feeding our fur babies - I usually take a Sunday afternoon and make up a large batch of the home made stuff, then freeze it for the week. My dogs are all quite small so freezing the food in ice cube trays and then transferring to reusable plastic bags works for me but for larger dogs you can freeze larger portions.

These two recipes below include all of the essential amino acids as well as vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pet. You can use your slow cooker or a large pot on the stove. You can also cook the ingredients separately or put them together at once into a pot, just leave out the seeds, yeast, kale, peas and spinach until the end to avoid cooking the nutrients out of them. In these recipes, I use cooked ingredients and mix them up at the end.

Lentil Chickpea Dog Food (makes about 4 cups of food)

- 1 C of cooked red or green lentils
- 1/2 C of cooked chick peas, unsalted and rinsed well
- 1/2 C each of: cooked sweet potato and cooked peas
- 1/2 C each of fresh chopped kale and apple
- 1 Tbsp each: Chia seeds, flax meal, ground or whole unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp each: turmeric, thyme, and rosemary**
- Taurine (buy on amazon and add according to the dosage on the package)
- CBD Oil (Optional-dosage per the brand)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional-1 tsp per 20 lbs of dog weight)
- Water if mixture is too thick.

Directions:
- Mix all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Add small amounts of water if the mixture is too thick.
- If you are cooking for smaller dogs, you can mash it up with a potato masher.
- Freeze in proper sealed portions.
- A the time of serving, let the portions thaw and mix in taurine, CBD oil and olive oil (if using).

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Quinoa Carrot Dog Food (makes about 4 cups)

- 1 C of cooked Quinoa
- 1/2 C of cooked black beans, unsalted and rinsed well
- 1/2 C each of cooked: diced carrot, green beans
- 1/2 C of chopped fresh spinach and apple
- 1 Tbsp each: hemp seeds, flax meal, ground or whole unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp each: turmeric, thyme, and rosemary**
- Taurine (buy on amazon and add according to the dosage on the package)
- CBD Oil (Optional-dosage per the brand)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional-1 tsp per 20 lbs of dog weight)
- Water if mixture is too thick

Directions:
- Mix all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Add small amounts of water if the mixture is too thick.
- If you are cooking for smaller dogs, you can mash it up with a potato masher.
- Freeze in proper sealed portions.
- A the time of serving, let the portions thaw and mix in taurine, CBD oil and olive oil (if using).

A couple of notes: Even though Taurine is not an essential amino acid, it is added to most pre-made dog foods and I include it in my recipes but I add it at the time of feeding so each dog gets the correct dosage. I also do this with CBD oil - adding it at the time of feeding so each dog receives the proper dosage. If your dog has winter dandruff or dry skin issues you can add olive oil at the time of feeding as well. Also, if your fur baby doesn’t like a particular fruit or veggie, switch it up to something else or hide it in the food. My dogs don’t really like kale or spinach so I pulverize it in a food processor first and then add it at the end to my recipe. Lastly, cut the ingredients up to suit the size of your dog - if you are feeding a German Shepherd there is no need to cut your carrots up too small.

**there is a lot of conflicting information regarding rosemary as an ingredient in dog food. If you are at all worried make a small batch to see how your dog reacts, or if you prefer, leave the ingredient out.

Easy Ways to Veganize Your Christmas Dinner

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What if Christmas doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. - Dr Seuss

Holidays are not about the presents, decorations or the food. They are about spending time with those you love, and your family and friends will love you no matter what you serve for a holiday meal! So why not start a new tradition? A vegan Christmas Dinner. It is delicious, healthy, easy and not a single animal will be killed in the process!!

I am going to show you easy changes for each part of a traditional meal.

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Appetizers and starters are so easy when it comes to vegan based options. Here are some great ideas for home made recipes, but serving simple treats like fresh veggies with hummus or tortillas and salsa will be loved by all your guests.

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Turkey or Roast Beef:

  • There are so many ready-made options in the stores today. Gardein is one I use and it is so easy and delicious. For real convenience, you can even buy it with the stuffing and gravy included. Other brands include: Beyond Meat, Tofurky, Yves, Trader Joe’s, and many others.

  • If you would like to serve home-made options, try my Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms or my Stuffed Pepper recipes here. There are also thousands of other recipe ideas all over the internet.

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Side Dishes:

  • Mashed potatoes are easy to prepare without animal products. Use either vegan butter or olive oil in place of butter. Adding roasted garlic or fresh herbs like Rosemary or Thyme is another great flavor booster.

  • All of your veggie dishes can easy be made using vegan butters, oils and fresh herbs. Your friends and family won’t taste any difference! Here are some easy recipes that include all of the traditional fav’s along with some new ones to try.

  • Stuffing is another dish that tastes even better when you take out all the animal products. Replacing meat broths with veggie or mushroom broth is easy and add loads of veggies, herbs and vegan butter or oil. Here is my favorite recipe, but the great thing about stuffing is you can add just about anything you like.

  • Gravy may seem like a difficult thing to make without using animal products but it is so easy and tastes even better than the traditional gravies. You can either make it yourself or many stores offer Vegan Gravy options. If you prefer a home made version here is a great recipe that I make myself.

    - 2 C of chopped fine mushrooms – any type you like
    -  2 cloves of garlic, diced small 
    -  ½ onion diced small
    -  2 C of mushroom stock (or vegetable stock)
    -  ¼ C of AP flour
    -  2 Tbsp of oil (or vegan butter)
    -  1 tsp each: salt, pepper and thyme (dried-if using fresh use triple the amount)

    DIRECTIONS:
    -  Heat up the oil or butter over medium high heat in a large saucepan.
    -  Add mushrooms, onion and garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes (or until soft).
    -  Add flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.
    -  Slowly whisk in stock and cook for about 2-3 minutes (until it thickens).

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Vegan desserts have come a long way! You can now buy just about any type of dessert made without animal products. Here are some of my personal favorite recipes and pre-made products that will put the delicious finishing touch on your meal.

After putting together your first Vegan Christmas dinner, you will see how simple and delicious it is. Your health, the planet and especially the animals will thank you!

Remember if your store doesn’t carry vegan items, always ask them for it. Our food dollars control what is offered.

Blessed Protein Double Chocolate Pancakes

These vegan pancakes are so quick and easy and are especially delicious with the Blessed Protein Chocolaty flavor!

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Blessed Protein Double Chocolate Pancakes (Makes about 12-14 pancakes)

- 2 cups non dairy milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup mashed bananas
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted + more for frying
- 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp Blessed Protein Chocolate Coco Flavor
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup vegan chocolate chips

 Dirtections:

- In two separate bowls, mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients whisking just until the lumps are gone.
- Mix in the choc chips.
- Heat frying pan on medium heat with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Add about ½ cup pancake batter onto the pan to form each pancake.
- Cook until the bubbles at the top to collapse about 2-3 minutes.
- Flip with a spatula and cook on other side for an additional 2 minutes.
- Continue until all batter is used up. Serve warm and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Plant Based Main Dishes

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Cooking a Thanksgiving feast shouldn’t be stressful. Most of the recipes listed here can be partially made up a head of time and then finished right before dinner, leaving you to be with your family and friends.

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (Makes 8 servings)

- 8 large Portobello mushrooms (stems and gills removed)
- 2 pounds of potatoes, chopped
- 1 large package of baby spinach
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 C vegan cheese shreds (I used Daiya mozzarella)
- 1 C bread crumbs*
- 3 Tbsp vegan butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp each: salt and chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp pepper

Directions:

- Cook the potatoes and garlic in a medium pot for about 15-20 or until soft. Drain and add salt, pepper, rosemary, butter, and mash until they are the consistency you like. Stir in the spinach.
- While the potatoes are cooking, remove the mushroom stems (you can chop these and add to the potato mixture if you like). Remove the gills with a small spoon. Wash and dry the mushrooms and brush them with oil. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Heat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit and cook the unstuffed mushrooms for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
- Using a large spoon overfill each mushroom with the potato mixture. Then top with 1/8 of the cheese and 1/8 of the bread crumbs. (at this point you can cover the tray and wait until you are ready to cook).
- Cook the stuffed mushroom for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown.

*You can use seasoned croutons and crush them with a rolling pin or put in a food processor.

OPTION:

- You can replace the potato/spinach mixture with about 4-5 cups of uncooked vegan stuffing. Recipe follows:

BASIC VEGAN STUFFING
- 2 Tbsp of olive oil or vegan butter
- 2 of each, chopped: celery stock, carrot and onion
- 1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup each: cooked rice and dried out bread cut into cubes
- 1 cup of vegetable or mushroom stock
- 2 tsp each: ground sage, thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS
- Heat up oil or butter in a large pan on medium heat, add celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms and spices.
- Cook for about 5-6 minutes.
- Place rice, bread and veggie mixture into a large bowl and add as much stock as you need to make the mixture moist. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Put the mixture into a baking dish that has been greased with oil or butter. Cover with foil and cook at 375 for about 30 minutes. 

OPTIONS
- The sky is the limit with stuffing, add nuts, dried fruit or other vegetables.

Stuffed Sweet Peppers (Makes 8 servings)

These stuffed pepper are so easy and taste amazing. If you don’t like barley, you can easily replace it with rice, quinoa or any other grain you prefer. Also, changing the veggies to whatever you like or have on hand is perfectly fine. Just make sure you keep the total amounts close to the recipe.

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- 8 medium to large green, yellow or red sweet peppers
- 2 C cooked barley (see package for instructions)
- 1 C each: chopped mushrooms, onions, zucchini and spinach
- 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 Tbsp each: Thyme, Parley
- 1 tsp each: salt, pepper and chili powder
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 C of tomato or spaghetti sauce
- 1 C of non dairy cheese shreds (optional)

Directions:

- Rinse the bell peppers. Cut off the tops and carefully remove and remove the seeds and pith. If they wont stand up, cut a small slice off the bottom of the pepper.
- In a large pan, add the oil and heat to medium. Add vegetables, garlic, spices, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-6 minutes or until soft. (if you are using other veggies that are firm, you may need to increase your cooking time).
- Stir the barley into the vegetables and mix until completely combined.
- Pour 1 C of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold 8 peppers (or two dishes if you need to).
- Add the barley/veggie mixture to each pepper and place in the baking dish.
- Top the peppers with the remaining tomato sauce and top with cheese shreds if using.
- Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes uncovered.

We don’t all have time to make everything from scratch. Today there are quite a few tasty options available to serve as a main, that will please everyone at your table. Gardein has some great options that come with the stuffing, gravy and cranberries, making your job easier. 

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Almost anything you can think of is now available in a plant based recipe and at your local supermarket. Remember, if you don’t see what you are looking for, ask for it. The more we demand these products, the more our grocery stores will stock them.

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Easy Thanksgiving Starters - All Plant based and All Easy!

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We are starting new traditions! A delicious plant based Thanksgiving dinner that everyone will love! 

Here are a couple of starters that can be served for a casual dinner or can be adapted to serve a large group of your friends and family.

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Spiced Pumpkin Soup (Serves 6 - 8)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups medium chopped onion
- 2 tsp. each: minced ginger and garlic
- 1 tsp. each: ground cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, salt and pepper
- 4 cups low vegetable stock
- 2 x 15 oz cans pumpkin puree or 4 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin purée*
- 1 C coconut milk
- Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional - for garnish)
- Pomegranate seeds (optional - for garnish)

Directions:
- In a large stockpot heat oil and add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then add ginger, garlic and spices. Cook over medium heat until onions are soft – about 4-5 minutes.

- Add stock and pumpkin puree. Increase temperature and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.

- Stir in coconut milk and cook for another two minutes.

- Top with toasted pumpkin and pomegranate seeds.

* If you are making your own pumpkin puree, cut your pumpkin in half, remove seeds and place cut side down in a microwavable container. Add about 1 cup of water and heat on high for about 15 minutes (or until soft). Cool and then puree in a blender or food processor.

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This salad is easy to put together and you can change it up and add your fav ingredients. Also, use a bottled vegan salad dressing if you are in a hurry.

Spinach Salad with Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds (6-8 servings)

- 1 large package of baby spinach
- 1 C of dried cranberries
- 1 C of roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 C of drained mandarin oranges
- 1/2 C thinly sliced onions

Dressing:
- 2 Tbsp each: Olive oil, Apple Cider vinegar, honey, water
-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp each: cinnamon, salt and pepper
- Mix all ingredients together is a container with a lid - shake well before dressing the salad.

Directions:
- Combine spinach, cranberries, oranges, onion and pumpkin seeds and toss with salad dressing.

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Here is a classic vegan cornbread that is both delicious and very easy to make. This recipe is dense and not too sweet, so if you like your corn bread sweet, just increase the maple syrup.

Vegan Corn Bread (8 - 10 servings)

- 2 C organic cornmeal
- 1 C all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp each: salt and cayenne powder
- 2 C nut milk (your choice)
- 1/2 C melted coconut oil
- 2-3 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together milk, coconut oil, vinegar and maple syrup in a large bowl. Taste and add more maple syrup if you like it sweeter.
- Combine all dry ingredient and mix well, then add to wet ingredients and stir until combined.
- Pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 pan lined with parchment paper, and cook for about 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown.

Start A New Tradition - A Plant Based Thanksgiving!

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Over 70 million turkeys are killed in the US and Canada each year - just for Thanksgiving! The conditions they are placed in while they await death, are abhorrent!  We need to end this now.

This year, I am going to inspire you to start a new Thanksgiving tradition! A plant based feast that will be the talk of all your friends and family.

The first of our vegan recipes will be some appetizers and snacks. And as always, feel free to switch up the recipes to suite the ingredients in your cupboard and your taste.

If you don't have time to make up your own appetizers, the stores are filled with some great options like hummus, veggies and dip, vegan cheeses and more!

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Warm Spiced Cashews (make about 2 cups - 10-12 servings)
-  1 Tbsp oil - Olive, Safflower or Grapeseed
-  1 Tbsp of dark brown sugar
-  1 tsp each: cumin, chili powder, garlic salt
-  1/2 tsp each: pepper and cayenne
-  2 cups of unsalted roasted cashews

Directions:
- Heat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Toss all ingredients really well and add to baking pan in a single layer.
- Cook for about 6-7 minutes. Allow them to cool slightly before serving. Store in airtight container.
 

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These sweet potato crescent rolls are easy peasy and taste amazing. You can make the filling up a head of time and bake when you are ready to serve.

Sweet Potato Crescent Rolls
- 1 package of vegan refrigerated crescent roll dough (most are vegan but check)
- 1 cup each: finely chopped mushrooms and onions
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tp each: salt & pepper

-  2 medium cooked sweet poatoes
-  1 Tbsp each: vegan butter, maple syrup and nut milk of your choice
-  1 tsp each: chili powder, salt & pepper

Directions:
-  Heat oven to 375 Farenheit
- Add oil, mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper to a frying pan over medium heat and cook for about 5-6 minutes. Set aside.
-  Add cooked sweet potatoes, milk, butter and spices to a large bowl and mix well.
-  Separate the dough into 8 pre-cut pieces.
- Spoon 1 1/2 Tbsp of the potato mixture and the mushroom mixture onto the large end of the dough and roll the pastry starting at the long end. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet (or an oiled baking sheet).
-  Cook for about 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned.

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This easy and delicious dip can be served with raw veggies, crackers or even some fresh baked bread. If you don't have white beans on hand, you can replace with most types of caned beans.

White Bean Dip (makes 2 cups)
-  2 x 14 ounce cans of white beans, drained and rinced
-  1/4 C of fresh lemon juice
-  1 Tbsp of minced fresh garlic
-  2 tsp of mustard (whatever type you like)
-  1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper and cayenne
-  1 Tbsp of nut milk (you can add more for a thinner consistency)

Directions:
-  Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
-  OPTIONAL: top with a splash of olive oil and chopped parsley.