Tag Archives: easy cooking

Greek Pizza

Sometimes you just need pizza. Sometimes you take all the scraps in your fridge and turn it into pizza. Sometimes it ends up becoming Greek Pizza!

After making tofu souvlaki earlier this week, I got on a crazy Greek food kick. I also have been craving pizza. Out of my bizarre food cravings and refrigerator leftovers came this recipe!

For the pizza, I ended up making my own mozzarella AND feta cheese, but bought a pre-made pizza crust. Feel free to use store bought vegan mozzarella (violife and myokos are my fav brands), but I DEFINITELY recommend making your own tofu feta. It is incredible! No really, it’s actually incredible in both flavor AND texture…PLUS it’s an excellent source of protein!

The recipe for the feta comes from Bianca Zapatka. Click the link to her blog to learn more, but I’ll also summarize below. If you are making this recipe, I HIGHLY recommend making the feta the morning of or night before. The longer the flavors get to marinade- the better!!!

PS: she also has a super simple pizza dough recipe if you want to make that yourself too!

The mozzarella recipe came from www.groenteboertje.com (their name means Green Grocer in Dutch). Click the link for a video of how they made it!

Greek Pizza

  • Servings: 2 pizzas
  • Difficulty: easy
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An incredibly flavorful pizza you'll want to eat again and again


Links to creators of mozzarella, and feta recipes in blog post above.

Ingredients

  • 2 pizza crusts (pre made, or make dough from recipe linked above)
  • 6 oz jar of marinated artichoke hearts (1/2 a jar for each pizza)
  • 1 small package of sliced mushrooms (or if buying loose a few handfuls and slice)
  • 1 small jar kalamata or black olives (pitted, sliced, use as much as you like)
  • 6 tbsp pizza sauce (3 tbsp per pizza: I bought a small jar from the supermarket in the sauce aisle)
  • 1 small red onion or 1/2 large onion, minced
  • 2 small tomatoes or 1 large, diced
  • Optional: fresh basil

Directions

  1. The ingredients listed above are to be split between the two pizzas. If you’re only making one pizza you’ll only need half of these ingredients.
  2. Take the pizza crust or rolled out dough, spoon on about 3 tbsp of pizza sauce per pizza (or as much as you need to cover the dough in a thin layer).
  3. Layer on mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, red onion, and tomato to your liking.
  4. If making your own mozzarella, it comes out thick, gooey, and sticky. I took a spoon and just drizzled it across in stripes. If using store bought vegan mozzarella, grate and sprinkle on top to your liking.
  5. Sprinkle on tofu feta and fresh basil last. Bake pizza according to dough or crust instructions. Pizza will come out extra crisp if baked directly on an oven rack (no pan underneath) and then allowed to cool on a wire rack after.

Mozzarella Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews soaked in 1 cup boiling waterer 30 min and strained (or soaked >2 hours room temp water and strained)
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water

Directions

Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until completely smooth. Cashews must be soaked prior to blend in properly. Pour ingredients into a small sauce pan on medium heat, stir with whisk frequently until thickens into a gooey “cheese.” This takes about 5-10 minutes. The longer you cook, the thicker it gets.

Tofu Feta Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 package extra firm tofu (press between dish towels to squeeze out liquid and cut into small cubes)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1/2 cup cashews soaked in 1 cup boiling waterer 30 min and strained (or soaked >2 hours room temp water and strained)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions


Mix oil and spices together and pour over tofu in a small container. Cover and let marinade in the refrigerator as long as possible! (I marinaded mine about 4 hours and it was stellar)

My husband gave this recipe “10 stars out of 5” and said “I could eat this every day.” You really have to try it! Drop a comment and let me know what you think 🙂

Easy Veggie Chili

Today I was lucky enough to have a day off before heading to Long Island for a quick weekend trip. I decided to take the time to make a giant veggie chili I could freeze that would last me for lunches throughout next week.

I absolutely love this chili recipe because it’s the first vegan meal I really perfected. I have always loved cooking chili and was in need of a meat replacement more than just beans! This combination of vegetables turned out to be a tried and true winner, better than any meat based chili I’ve ever tasted. It’s sweet, savory, loaded with flavor, colorful, and incredibly easy. It’s also great to throw in a crock pot or instant pot if you have one!

The secret weapon in this chili recipe is using a can of salsa. It really makes the flavor complex and unique. I also love having sweet potato and corn in here to add sweetness, green bell pepper to balance to the sweeter flavors, and mushrooms to add a “meatiness” so that you don’t need multiple cans of beans.

PS: in my recipe I suggest serving with a spoonful of vegan sour cream (it’s already mixed into the chili in the photo). I find it creates an amazingly creamy texture and tastes FAR better than cheese ever did! I can’t believe I ever wasted my time by putting cheddar on my chili in the dairy days. Once it melts in, the flavor gets masked! Sour cream somehow permeates the entire dish in both flavor and texture. Squeezing a fresh wedge of lime at the end really takes it up a notch too!

This recipe freezes great and tastes even better as leftovers!

Easy Veggie Chili

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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An incredibly flavorful, incredibly easy veggie chili that's more than just beans!


Feel free to customize this chili to include any ingredients you like! I absolutely LOVE adding in a spoonful of tofutti (vegan sour cream) and a squeeze of lime when serving. When I have lime flavored tortilla chips on hand (which is almost always) I like to throw some of those on top too!

Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper (diced)
  • one small package of cremini or white mushrooms (or if buying loose about 1/2 pound/a few handfuls)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz can kidney beans (or bean of choice)
  • 1 can salsa (any brand)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp chili powder (depending on how strong you like your chili to taste)
  • 1-2 tsp cumin (depending how strong you like your chili to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Optional: fresh lime and vegan sour cream to serve with

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp oil on medium heat. Once oil is hot, add the onion and sauté until fragrant and translucent (2-4 minutes)
  2. Add in the garlic and spices and stir until fragrant (1-2 minutes)
  3. Add in the veggies and canned ingredients, stir, and bring to a low boil.
  4. Once bubbling, turn down to a simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally at least 30 minutes for veggies to cook, but the flavor will mature better the longer you simmer it. I prefer to leave it for an hour if on stove top. If using an instant pot- there is a button for bean chili! Either hit that button or set to pressure cook for 30 min on “normal.”
  5. Enjoy! Serve by itself, with tofutti sour cream, fresh lime, tortilla chips, and/or over rice! Sometimes I get really wild and serve it over vegan mac and cheese

Do you guys have any favorite chili ingredients, tips, or tricks? Drop a comment below to let me know what you think!

Pasta Primavera with Vegan Parmesan

This is one of my favorite summer recipes that my parents made when I was growing up. It’s incredibly simple, light, and is perfect for using up leftover veggies! It also is a fantastic meal prep because it makes a huge batch and reheats well throughout the week. My parents used to make it with shrimp and chicken, but if you add a decent variety of veggies and a can of cannellini beans (or navy beans or great northern beans), you don’t miss the chicken one little bit!

Primavera means “Spring” in Italian. This dish is all about celebrating the growing season and welcoming back fresh garden vegetables to the dinner table.

The absolute best part of a primavera, though, was always drowning it in parmesan cheese. When I went vegetarian, I made this all the time, but when I ditched the dairy, I missed the way that parmesan complimented the dish so much that I actually abandoned it! Since then, I have found a few halfway decent vegan store-bought parmesans, but today I finally tried making my own and it did not disappoint!! (Recipe from the Minimalist Baker)

Today I used chickpea pasta (rotini) for extra protein (Banza brand), but feel free to use whatever style you like! Today’s veggies included red onion, garlic, broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, tomato, great northern beans, and spinach. I also love using mushrooms and carrots but didn’t choose them today. If you are making this at home, I encourage you to definitely use at least three kinds of vegetables in addition to your onion and garlic and make sure you have a protein source like beans, chickpeas, edamame, or green peas.

Pasta Primavera with Vegan Parmesan

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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A simple Italian pasta classic. that does not disappoint


The vegetables I used here are just a suggestion, feel free to use any kind you like. I do recommend at least three types of vegetables plus a plant based protein source like cannellini beans

Ingredients

  • extra virgin olive oil (4-6 tbsp)
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 crown of broccoli
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste (but at least 1/2 tsp salt)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • Optional: 1 fresh lemon
  • For the parmesan (Recipe from the Minimalist Baker, see link in post):

  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Because it can take a while for a large pot of salted water to come to a boil, start by heating up the pasta water while you chop the veggies into bite sized pieces.
  2. In a second large pot or dutch oven, warm up 4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil on medium heat. When oil is hot, add the onion first and sauté until fragrant and translucent.
  3. Next, add garlic, broccoli, and a dash of salt and pepper (at least 1/4 tsp salt). Stir to combine and allow to sauté with the lid off for approx 5 min until broccoli begins to soften.
  4. Add the red peppers and zucchini, stir to combine, and sauté until slightly softened (approx 2 minutes), then add the beans and tomatoes, plus another round of salt and pepper to taste (at least another 1/4 tsp salt).
  5. The water is likely boiling at this point, go ahead and cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  6. Turn down the heat on the veggies to low. Leave the lid off of the veggies to ensure it doesn’t get too watery. If you are making your own parmesan, now is a good time to whip it up while you wait for the pasta to cook. (The only instruction is to combine all parmesean ingredients in a food processor and mix/pulse until combined into a fine meal)
  7. After the pasta is drained, combine with the vegetables and fold in the spinach. Check out the consistency of the combined dish. Th pasta should have a slick consistency. If not slick, go ahead and add another 1-2 tbsp of olive oil (or as much as needed so it is all lightly coated in olive oil). If adding fresh basil, fold it in now as well.
  8. Enjoy! Feel free to fold in a hefty amount of parmesan, plus save extra for sprinkling on top. If you like an extra bright flavor, slice up a lemon and sprinkle some lemon juice on top as well.

What are your favorite pasta primavera variations? Drop a comment below!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Tostadas With Avocado Sauce

Above all else, my absolute favorite kind of food is Mexican. Not Tex-Mex. Not Taco Bell. Actual Mexican food from Mexico. It is simple, delicious, and typically uses just a few ingredients. Because Mexican food features so few ingredients, it’s incredibly easy to veganize.

You might be thinking “but what about the sour cream! And cheese!” For those of you who are not familiar with authentic Mexican cuisine, you might be surprised to hear dairy is actually an extremely small part of Mexican cooking. Perhaps a sprinkling of cheese here and there, maybe a drizzle of crema at a restaurant (a more runny version of American sour cream), but that’s about it. It isn’t central to any dish, and can easily be replaced by a squeeze of lime or some avocado without compromising the integrity of the dish.

And yes, I understand that sweet potatoes aren’t Mexican, but I do LOVE how they taste with black beans and they are just so good for you. How can I NOT Mexicanize them?

Tostadas are one of my favorite Mexican dishes to eat. A tostada is essentially a tortilla that has been baked until it becomes a giant round tortilla chip. They are a creative way to reduce food waste (they’re made from tortillas that are just starting to go stale). The revamp is both useful and delicious. I love tostadas because the open faced style allows you to enjoy the flavors of what’s on top in a different way than if it were wrapped up inside of soft shell tortilla. In a taco, you would taste the shell first and get the flavors of the filling on the back end. In a tostada, you get all the flavors at the same time, plus a nice crunch and a little extra flavor from the baked shell.

**Tip for the Avocado Dressing: make ahead the day before or a few hours before serving if you can. Although it tastes great fresh, letting the flavors marinade together makes them REALLY blend as one. The best part about the avocado dressing? Even if you make ahead, it stays green!

PS: this is a great recipe for meal prepping. Instead of tostadas, put the potatoes and beans on a bed of lettuce, rice, or wrap it up in some tortillas for tacos or burritos. The sky is the limit!

Sweet Potato Black Bean Tostadas

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A flavorful, fun Mexican-inspired recipe perfect for Taco Tuesdays


Ingredients

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2-4 tbsp salsa
  • tostadas (or small tortilla shells if making your own)
  • oil of choice
  • optional for topping: shredded lettuce, diced tomato, fresh lime, fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Peel and dice the sweet potato and red onion into small pieces. If making your own tostada shells, begin pre-heating the oven to 350.
  2. Put 2 tbsp oil in a sauce pan and turn to medium heat. Add onion first and sauté until fragrant, then add sweet potato. Stir and cover with lid.
  3. While sweet potato and onions are cooking, drain and rinse the black beans and begin measuring your spices.
  4. Once the sweet potatoes begin to soften, add the spices, salsa, and black beans. (The salsa will help add moisture to the dish. If you don’t have any on hand, add a few tbsp water instead).
  5. If making your own tostadas, take out a baking sheet and either lightly brush or spray both sides of tortillas with oil of choice. Sprinkle a dash of salt on one side of tortillas. Bake for approx 10 minutes. Tostadas are ready when the edges begin to curl up and the tortillas are slightly brown.
  6. My favorite way to top these is the traditional way. First, a bed of finely shredded lettuce, then the protein, then some finely diced tomato, cilantro, avocado, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Today I made an avocado dressing that combined all of my favorite usual toppings…I have to say I HIGHLY recommend it! I will definitely be using this on many more Mexican dishes to come.

Avocado Sauce

  • Difficulty: easy
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This dressing is incredibly easy. If you like cilantro, lime, avocado, and all things Mexican NEARLY as much as I do you will seriously love it!

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/3 cup vegan sour cream (or plain unsweetened yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (I actually just used half a bunch)
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients in a blender, blend until liquified.
  2. Add more liquid if you want a runny salad dressing, use less if you want a dip or thicker topping more like the consistency of sour cream.
  3. Enjoy!

What do you think? Leave a comment below if you’ve tried it or have a suggestion for something I should try!

Mexican Quinoa Meal Prep

Hey everyone! This is a super busy week for me, I am working two 13 hour shifts and one 14 hour shift (which is pretty typical), but my day off between shifts is going to be taken up my errands, packing, and cleaning and on Friday I’m off to Austin, TX!

I’m still working on convincing my husband that vegan food can be something he enjoys eating all the time, daily. He really loves simple, plain food and I love food with bold, rich flavors. Don’t get me wrong, he’s open minded, super supportive of my plant based lifestyle, and happily eats whatever I put in front of him…but along the course of my adventurous experiments, I think I accidentally convinced him that vegan food is spicy, rich, and heavy. If he could eat lunchables for the rest of his life, he would, so some of these experiments have scared him a little. This week I needed to make a big enough meal prep that would supply lunches for both of us since I’m working on brainwashing him.

The key to ANY good meal prep is simplicity. My favorite way to do it is to pick two-three veggies that go together and a grain. I often roast the veggies and cover with the same seasoning while the grain is cooking stove top. Combine and throw a wedge of lemon, lime, or pour a little vegan dressing on the side to make it interesting. The combinations are endless and the sky is the limit.

Here is one of my favorites! The base recipe is a super simple Mexican Quinoa Bowl. Sometimes during the week we turn it into a burrito or make it a super fancy bowl and add lots of ingredients. When it comes to weekday survival though, simplicity is the name of the game. This recipe is super simple. It’s designed to please the pickiest eaters, the vegan doubters, and the busiest people.

Yes, food CAN be healthy, quick, easy, compassionate, AND delicious.

Mexican Quinoa Meal Prep

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Incredibly easy, two pan dish, no chopping required (unless you want to, of course!)

This is the base recipe for a quick, easy meal prep. If you want to add more veggies like fresh diced tomatoes, red onions, and avocado, you won’t be disappointed with the extra time spent!

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: salsa, tofutti (“sour cream”), vegan cheddar, fresh lime wedge, cilantro

Directions

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer. Place in a sauce pan with 2 cups of water or veggie broth for extra flavor, bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed (approx 15-20 min). Turn the heat off, leave the cover on and let it sit in its steam 5 min before taking the lid off to fluff quinoa.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, coat the bottom of a pan with 1-2 tbsp oil and put the stove top on medium heat. If you are cooking with onion, add it when the oil is hot and cook until onion is fragrant and translucent (2min). If you didn’t feel like chopping an onion, go straight to the next step.
  3. Add the corn, black beans, and spices. Sauté until veggies until the spices are fragrant and the veggies are warmed (approx 10 min)
  4. That’s it! I almost always top with salsa, cilantro, tofutti, and lime. Sometimes we get wild and wrap it in a tortilla or add avocado. Enjoy!

Let me know what you think! There are a million ways to do this recipe. Drop a comment below and let me know your favorite version!