Tag Archives: whole food plant based

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!

Greek Tofu Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce

One of my favorite restaurants in the world is this little Greek place from my home town. It’s family owned, quaint, and consistently delicious. My family has been going here since I was a kid. As a teenager, my friends and I would order it for take out, and then drive our cars to the bay and chow down while we watched the waves crash on the shore. To say I love Greek food is an understatement.

It’s been pretty sad for me to give up Greek food. Sure, I have falafel and hummus, but I missed tzatziki. Today I decided to veganize one of my all time favorite Aegean-inspired meals. Chicken souvlaki –> Tofu souvlaki. It honestly turned out better than I could have imagined!

To start, I bought extra firm tofu, pressed it to squeeze out the liquid, chopped it into cubes, and seasoned it. It’s super important to really press tofu if you want it to get firm and crisp. Do not skip this part or else you will end up with mushy, bland blocks of tofu!

My trick is to take two dish towels, fold each of them in half 3x, put the tofu block between the towels, and then place between two plates. (Dish towels are better than paper towels because they will absorb more liquid- not to mention more eco friendly). Press down on the top plate and squeeze it out! Place something heavy on the top plate and return to the fridge to finish chilling and draining. Alternatively, if you are good at planning ahead, pressing and then freezing tofu 24 hours in advance (and subsequently defrosting) does wonders for the texture as well!

Greek Tofu Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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A classic Greek favorite that's not falafel


I recommend pressing the tofu before you do anything else, then making the tzatziki sauce so you have time for it to drain.

Ingredients

    For the Souvlaki:
  • 1 package of extra firm tofu
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • For the Sandwich:
  • 1 small red onion or 1/2 of a large red onion
  • 1 large or 2 small tomatoes
  • 1 bunch of spinach or lettuce
  • 1 package of pita bread
  • 1 small cucumber or 1/2 large cucumber
  • For the Tzatziki:
  • 2 cups of plain, unsweetened, plant based yogurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • 2 tsp white vinegar or 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped dill or mint
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

  1. Start with the tofu. Drain the water out of the package and press the tofu between two folded up dish towels and place between two plates to squeeze out as much water as possible. Place a heavy object on the top plate and return to the fridge to continue draining while you make the tzatziki.
  2. If using an oven to bake the tofu, begin pre-heating the oven to 400 degrees. To make the tzatziki, begin by peeling the cucumber. Either grate the cucumber over a bowl OR coarse chop the cucumber and place in a food processor and pulse until it is ground into fine pieces. Take the ground cucumber and strain through a cheese cloth, thin towel, or stack of paper towels. Squeeze the cloth to get out as much liquid as possible, then add the grated cucumber to a large mixing bowl and add the yogurt, oil, garlic salt, pepper, dill (or mint), and vinegar (or lemon). Stir to combine and place in fridge while you return to the tofu.
  3. Now that you are done with the tzatziki, the tofu should have had enough time to drain. In a small bowl, combine the onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and oregano. Chop the tofu into small cubes and sprinkle on both sides with the dry seasonings. If baking the tofu, it will likely take 30 minutes to get firm and dry, depending on your oven. Check on the tofu every 10 minutes and flip each time. The tofu is done when it is golden brown and slightly crisp on all sides. If using an air fryer, set to 400 degrees as well. You will likely need only 20 minutes depending on your air fryer. Remember to turn halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  4. While the tofu is baking, chop the vegetables to combine in the pita. I actually forgot to get an extra cucumber today, but I do recommend it to balance out the sharpness of the red onion!
  5. When the tofu is complete, combine your veggies, greens, and tofu on the pita and drizzle with tzatziki. Enjoy!

I hope you love it as much as I did. Drop a comment below if you try it!

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!