Recipe: Creamy Low Fat Broccoli Soup [Vegan, HCLF]

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Calling all soup lovers! If you like broccoli and cheese soup but don’t want the dairy or processed fake cheeses, this recipe is for you. (Especially my fellow high carb, low fat vegans!)

Although we don’t get to experience much of a real winter where I am in California, I still can’t help but love soup season. I’ve been experimenting with spicy lentil, roasted tomato, and sweet potato soups over the last few weeks, but I keep coming back to this broccoli one. Yukon gold potato lends the soup its creaminess, and the cheesy flavor comes from nutritional yeast, along with onions, garlic, and a few cashews. It’s also flexible and fun to customize: you can add whatever veggies you have on hand, and vary amounts as you please and it’ll still turn out great.

It’s packed with nutrients (and even quite high in protein!), it’s quick and easy to make, and it’s especially delicious when paired with toasted sourdough!

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Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yukon gold potato (about 200g)
  • 2-3 cups broccoli pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 4-5 large mushrooms
  • 2-3 handfuls of kale or spinach
  • 1 tsp vegetable broth powder (or a vegetable bouillon cube, or veggie broth)
  • 2 tbsp cashews (omit for lower fat)
  • 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted bread (especially sourdough) for serving

Instructions:

  1. Boil or microwave potato until soft.
  2. Roughly chop the garlic, onion, celery, and mushrooms. They’ll all be blended later, so just chop them enough so they have some surface area for cooking.
  3. Dry-sauté garlic and onion over medium heat until the garlic toasts slightly, then add the water, broccoli, celery, mushrooms, potato, and kale or spinach. Simmer until soft.
  4. Remove from heat, and add to blender along with cashews, nutritional yeast, and almond milk. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add more water and/or almond milk as necessary to get soup to the consistency you prefer.

Serve with freshly toasted bread, and enjoy!

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Nutrition information (for half the recipe):

Calories: 250 | Fat: 6g | Carbs: 35g (5.5g fiber) | Protein: 14.5g

 

Side note: I've been in LOVE with this broth powder. Finally, a broth-maker that is both oil free and lasts indefinitely!

Side note: I’ve been in love with this broth powder since I discovered it a month ago… finally a way to make broth that is both oil free and lasts indefinitely!

 Recipe: Creamy Tofu Tikka Masala (Vegan)

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Ever since I came to Berkeley three years ago, the biggest obstacle to being 100% vegan was an Indian restaurant called Biryani house. Berkeley is teeming with vegan options, but this place had the absolute best food I’d ever tasted in my life. And that’s a big deal for me, because I’ve had the good fortune of eating at a lot of great restaurants.

I used to go there with friends a couple of times a month to gorge myself on their freshly baked aloo naan, perfectly spiced vegetable biryani, and most importantly, their decadent paneer tikka masala. Unfortunately, my vegan aspirations were dashed due to the fact that their tikka masala not only sported paneer (cubes of Indian cottage cheese), but was also likely drowned in heavy cream.

(Fun fact: my weight seemed to fluctuate along with how often I went there.)

When I finally got more serious about being 100% vegan last year, I had to stop going there. And as if to enforce my self-discipline, it actually closed just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons. A bittersweet moment.

Anyways, getting to the point: I’ve been trying to recreate that tikka masala for quite awhile now. After a few tries–all of which were delicious, but not decadent like theirs–I finally came up with a recipe that tasted almost the same. It’s creamy, spicy, much healthier than its restaurant counterpart, and most importantly, vegan. And I’m pretty darn excited about it.

Now to work on aloo naan recipes!

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Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 400-500g super firm tofu (the kind that is vacuum sealed instead of water packed, and has the density of a block of cheese–I use Tofu Yu. If you can’t find that, try freezing an extra firm block then thawing it out and using it as you would super firm.)
  • 80g cashews (a little less than 3/4 cup), soaked overnight or for a few hours
  • 15oz can of plain tomato sauce
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1-2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 + cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk (as needed)
  • Handful cilantro
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (more as desired)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika (more as desired)
  • 2 pinches of amchur powder

Directions:

1. Cut up the onion and garlic, and combine them with the tomato sauce in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the cumin, cardamom, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, paprika, and amchur powder, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

2. While the sauce is simmering, cut your tofu into cubes, and fry until golden (I used a teaspoon of coconut oil, but you could also do it dry). Remove from heat once golden.

3. After 15 minutes, remove the sauce from heat. Allow to cool (if necessary; I didn’t have to for my vitamix) and blend with the drained cashews until smooth and creamy. Add unsweetened almond or cashew milk as needed to get it to your desired consistency.

4. Combine tofu with sauce in a serving bowl, and serve it with jasmine rice, naan, your preferred grain, or enjoy it solo!

Nutrition info: 

  • Calories per 1/5 of recipe: 230 calories
  • Carbs: 17g (3g fiber)| Protein: 15g | Fat: 13g

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Thanks for reading!

Michelle

 

Recipe: Piñata Burrito Bowl [Vegan]

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I’m starting to fall in love with bulk cooking. Not only am I free from prepping food and dish-washing each and every night, but it leaves me more time and energy for the gym. Talk about a win-win!

For my second bulk dish, I went with a burrito bowl since I’d had burrito cravings for days. The reason I’m calling this particular recipe a piñata bowl is because it’s a bit of an explosion of color–with lots of green, red, and yellow–and is rather pretty to look at. And more importantly, it tasted AMAZING. It lasted me five nights, and I found myself looking forward to it every night. I was sure I’d get bored of eating the same thing even three nights in a row, let alone 5, but this bowl has proven me wrong!

Not only is it delicious, but it’s got plenty of protein and fiber and can be made nearly fat free if you omit the avocado. Perfect for those on a high carb lifestyle, and for those looking to eat a giant burrito equivalent for way fewer calories!

It’s also versatile, since you can substitute veggies as you’d like, as well as brown rice for the quinoa, or other types of bean/protein for the black beans.

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Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dry (uncooked) quinoa
  • 1 cup dry black beans (or a can of black beans)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one medium lime
  • 3 small summer squashes
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2/3 white onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5 big kale leaves
  • 6 fire roasted red peppers (I used piquillo)
  • 1 – 15oz can corn
  • Cumin, salt and pepper
  • Chili powder/cayenne/paprika/chipotle powder (only need one)
  • Avocado, tomato, shredded romaine, and hot sauce/salsa for topping

Directions:

1. Prepare the lime-cilantro quinoa: cook the quinoa according to instructions on the package. It should take less than 15 minutes. Also, rinsing before cooking is recommended to wash off the saponin, which can cause reactions in sensitive people. As it cooks, chop up the cilantro. Once the quinoa is done, combine it with the cilantro and half of the lime juice and salt to taste. Set aside.

2. Prepare the black beans according to instructions on the package. For dried beans, this generally calls for soaking them overnight, draining them an hour before dinnertime, covering them with an inch of water and bringing them to a boil, and gently simmering for one hour. You can also try quick-soaking or just cooking without soaking, but it will take longer. Season with salt.

3. Prepare the veggies: chop up the squash, zucchinis, onion, kale, and peppers. Mince the garlic, and sautee it in a medium-large pot with onion until it begins to turn translucent, over medium heat. Then add the squash, zucchini, and kale. Sautee until tender. Add the peppers and corn, and remove from heat. Add the juice from the other half of the lime, along with 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2-1 tsp of either chili powder, cayenne, paprika, or chipotle powder. (Or mix and match as you like!) Season with salt and pepper.

4. Prepare toppings: slice up 1/2 avocado and 1 small roma tomato per serving; if serving all at once, use 2.5 avocados and 5 roma tomatoes. Chopped/shredded romaine is also a nice addition, about 1/4-1/3 cup per bowl. Add hot sauce or salsa as desired.

5. Combine the the quinoa, black beans, veggies, and add the toppings. Eat them separately or mix them all up–it tastes great either way!

Nutrition info: 

  • Calories per 1/5 of recipe: 350 calories (450 with 1/2 avocado)
  • Carbs: 65g (14g fiber)| Protein: 16g | Fat: 3g (13g with avocado)

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Recipe: Vegan Pasta Bolognese (with lots of veggies)

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Lately, I’ve been on a mission to simplify my life in the food department. As much as I’ve loved coming up with new recipes every day, it can get exhausting and takes up a lot of time. So a few weeks ago, I decided to do something drastic: make a dinner that would last me for more than one night, rather than making some whole other new dish the next night like I usually would.

And it was a success! Instead of spending an hour cooking an entirely new dinner the next day, I spent that time reading a book and relaxing after a day of midterms. I could get used to this.

The pilot meal was a pasta bolognese, and it was delicious! It’s a super simple weeknight dinner, with leftovers that seem to keep getting better and better. I stored the pasta and veggies separately, and each night just had to combine them with the marinara and “beef” crumbles.

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4oz dry pasta (I used ancient grain penne)
  • Mushrooms, garlic, kale, broccoli, and any other veggies you’d like
  • 1.5 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup Beyond Meat beef crumbles

Directions:

1. Prepare pasta according to directions on the package–will vary by type.

2. Prepare your veggies as you’d like: I roasted brussels sprouts and broccoli in the oven at 400 degrees for ~10-15 mins, and sauteed mushrooms and kale together with garlic.

3. Combine cooked pasta and veggies, marinara sauce, and Beyond meat beef crumbles, and serve hot.

Nutrition info: (using 2 cups of broccoli and kale)

  • Calories per 1/2 of recipe: 420 calories
  • Carbs: 67g (9g fiber)| Protein: 25g | Fat: 7g

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Enjoy your quick and easy weeknight dinner!

Vegan Chipotle Twice Baked Sweet Potato

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In case you couldn’t already tell, I’m a huge fan of sweet potatoes. Not only are they delicious in their own right, but they’re incredibly packed with vitamin A, which always seems to help out my skin. I used to have them almost every morning in my favorite maple mashed form. I’ve fallen in love with breakfast smoothies, however, so I started looking for more quick, savory recipes to put my beloved sweet potatoes in.

That’s when I came across the “twice baked sweet potato” concept, and now I’ve come up with a new favorite lunch that only takes 15 minutes or less to make. And it tastes amazingly gourmet! The beauty of the recipe is that what you add in can be varied a lot to your preferences or what you have on hand; the amounts below are just my favorite version. You could make it sweet, italian style, asian style, or tex-mex style like I did. You can add in protein sources like beans, or throw in all sorts of veggies. The options are endless!

Eating them open face sandwich style also makes it a fun meal; I personally love the skins, and they’re really good for you!

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Makes 1 serving. Calories: ~250

Ingredients

  • 1 medium (~5″ length, 2″ diameter) or 1/2 large sweet potato with skin
  • 1/3 medium white onion
  • 1 big leaf of kale (optional)
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheddar, chopped or shredded
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions

1. Remove the eyes and blemishes from the skin, and bake it. You can bake it in the oven, but I prefer to use the microwave method for speed: pierce the potato on all sides with a fork or knife, set on a paper towel, and microwave for about 4 minutes, or until tender. (Giant potatoes like the one in my photo may take up to 8 minutes.) You may want to flip midway.

2. While it’s baking, saute the onions and kale over medium heat until the onions are translucent and the kale is tender. Remove from heat, and add in the cheese, chipotle powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.

3. Once the sweet potato is tender, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out enough of the flesh to leave a “rind” of ~1/2 inch. (See third picture below.) Mash the scooped out flesh, and mix it with the onion-cheese mixture until fully combined.

4. Scoop the entire mixture back into the potato-skin shells, and microwave until the cheese is melted and everything is fully heated.

5. Eat it open-face sandwich style, or with a fork and knife.

And enjoy your vitamin A packed meal!

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Method photos (Note that I cut my potato in half first because it was giant.)

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Thanks for reading!

Michelle

 

Recipe: Vegan Garlic-Ginger Tofu Spring Rolls

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Yesterday was my first day of spring break. Usually I’m pretty oblivious to the whole “seasons” concept–I live in San Diego, where the weather is essentially 70 degrees and sunny year round–but I couldn’t help but notice how much it really feels like springPerhaps it’s because I’ve been trapped in a somewhat grungy urban environment for so long, but something about the rustling leaves, the chorus of chirping birds, and the lizard couples darting around my backyard was oddly intoxicating.

I was originally planning to make a coconut butternut squash soup for dinner, but decided it had to be put off for another day because it simply wasn’t spring-y enough. I’d been craving spring rolls for awhile–I’d never before worked with rice paper–and the name made it a painfully obvious choice to end the day. I also decided I wanted to come up with my own recipe by winging it, and tweaking things until it tasted best! (It actually works a surprisingly large percentage of the time.)

It was also my first time using frozen tofu: when I left San Diego after winter break, I had an unopened package of tofu in the fridge. Instead of throwing it away, I just stuck the whole thing in the freezer so it’d be there for spring break. Thawing it out from the big cube of ice and tofu was an odd experience, however, so if you ever plan to freeze your tofu, I suggest preparing it first by squeezing out the water and storing it in a freezer bag!

Anyways, back to the rolls: they were even more suited to my tastes than the ones I’ve had at restaurants, largely because I marinated the tofu for a bit. They were like an insanely flavorful salad, but all nicely wrapped up in the delightfully chewy rice paper–if spring had a taste, I’d imagine it’d be similar to these!

Also, don’t let the ingredient list scare you away: the last 2 parts use most of the same ingredients! In fact, I just used the leftover marinade in the peanut sauce.

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Makes ~4 rolls.

Time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients

These amounts are estimates, so change things up depending on your tastes/what you have on hand!

For the rolls:

  • 4 or 8 sheets of 8.5″ (22cm) rice paper, depending on how thin they are. (Mine were thin, so I had to double them up)
  • 1/2 cup cubed or about 4″x 1/2″ x 1/2″ extra firm tofu, with water pressed out
  • 1/2 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 cup cucumber, julienned
  • 1/2 cup kale, steamed or boiled until tender
  • 2/3 cup bean threads or vermicelli noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 1/4 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup basil, sliced
  • 1/4 cup mint, sliced

For the marinade:

  • 2 tbs soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1 tbs rice vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger (or sub ginger powder)
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic

For the peanut sauce:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/6 cup water
  • Splash rice vinegar
  • Splash soy sauce (For this and the vinegar, you can instead just use any marinade that the tofu didn’t soak up)
  • Dash powdered ginger (or sub finely minced fresh ginger)
  • Dash powdered garlic (or sub finely minced fresh garlic)

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Directions

  1. Pan-fry the tofu, preferably without oil, until golden on both sides. While they’re frying, prepare the marinade in a medium sized bowl by mixing the soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and ginger. Pour in the cooked tofu, and stir occasionally so it absorbs the marinade evenly.
  2. Fill a pan the size of your rice paper with about an inch of water. Set over low heat, until water is just barely steaming. Turn off the heat.
  3. Dip a sheet of rice paper into the water and hold it under for 5 seconds (depending on the directions on your package), then carefully set on a plate, ensuring it doesn’t fold over itself. If you’re doubling the rice paper (recommended), then prepare another sheet, and lay it directly on top of the first sheet, aligning the edges as well as you can.
  4. Lay 1/4 of each of the fillings in a line in the center, leaving at least 1.5″ margins at the ends of the rice paper. I recommend doing a single line/layer each of the basil, cilantro, and mint, as adding too much could be overpowering.
  5. Fold it together: first, fold an edge of the rice paper parallel to the filling line as tightly as you can over the filling. Then, fold in the short ends so they stick to the part you just folded over. Then, roll towards the last remaining edge (across from the side you started on). Unfortunately I have yet to get photos of the process, but here is a great guide to one method!
  6. Prepare the dipping sauce: combine peanut butter and water over low heat, or in the microwave for 20 second bursts. Heat until melted and combined, then add in ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar.
  7. Cut rolls in half and serve with dipping sauce.

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And taste the spring!

Thanks for stopping by,

Michelle

Recipe: Spaghetti Squash alla Norma [Vegan]

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Lately, I’ve been trying to avoid gluten as much as I can. Although I know it isn’t inherently unhealthy, I sometimes get the sneaking suspicion that I might have a sensitivity to it, as I often feel bloated and sluggish after consuming it. Cutting it out is nearly impossible when you spend as much of your time baking for people as I do, but I try to come up with alternatives when I cook for myself.

My latest addiction has been nature’s version of pasta: the shockingly tasty, insanely low-calorie spaghetti squash. The fact that it’s not only gluten free, but also only 30 calories a cup (compared to the 400 calories in its processed counterpart) makes it the holy grail of healthy carbs for me; I have trouble believing I’m actually eating vegetables and not pasta. I’ve dressed it up a number of ways–including pesto, curry, cauliflower alfredo, and marinara, which I’ll be sharing with you guys in the future–but have found that it’s delicious even with just a little bit of olive oil or Earth Balance and salt.

The first time I made spaghetti squash,  I was in awe at the way the flesh naturally comes out in the form of spaghetti strands–no work required. All you have to do is bake it, scoop it out of the shell, and put your favorite sauce on it!

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Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 spaghetti squash
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large eggplant, chopped
  • 1 large zucchini, chopped
  • About 10 cremini or baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans of diced roasted tomatoes, with garlic or other herbs for extra flavor
  • 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 2 pinches of basil powder, or 3-5 fresh leaves; oregano; or thyme
  • Salt and pepper

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Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut your spaghetti squash in half. If you’re on the not-so-strong side of the spectrum like I am, you may want to microwave it for about a minute to soften it up. I stuck a cleaver into the side of the spaghetti squash, turned it upside down so the knife was supported by the table, and used the squash’s own weight to hit it down onto the cleaver until it split. Whatever strategy you use, be careful not to cut yourself!

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2. Clean out the seeds and slimy strings from the squash using a spoon. If you’ve ever carved a pumpkin on Halloween, you probably have experience with this! Scrape away until the bright orange part is gone, and only the uniform yellow flesh remains. (Refer to 2 photos above for what they look like once mostly cleaned.)

3. Lay one side onto a pan rind-down, brush the flesh with olive oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. If only making one half, wrap and store the unused half in the fridge. Bake in oven for about 35 minutes, or until tender, which can be tested by sticking a fork into the flesh.

4. Make the sauce: combine eggplant, zucchini, mushroom, onion, garlic in a pot over medium heat, season with salt, and saute until they shrink and start to become tender. (You can use oil if you want, but I prefer to dry-saute.) Add tomatoes and spices, and simmer until the vegetables are tender and cooked through. Salt and pepper to taste.

5. Remove spaghetti squash from oven, and cool slightly, or until you can handle it without burning yourself. Using a fork, scrape the flesh from stem to bottom and place the resulting strings in a bowl; it should fall into strands with very little pressure. If you get any resistance, the squash needs to be cooked more.

6. Top the “spaghetti” with as much sauce as you want, and enjoy!

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Bon Appétit,

Michelle

Recipe: Miso Veggie Soup [Vegan]

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After a long week of eating huge meals at restaurants at least once (but often twice) a day, I decided I needed to do some serious “cleansing;” or at least control my calorie intake, and cut out the treats and fatty foods I’ve been eating all week. In my quest to come up with healthy but light dishes, I ended up making what may be the lowest calorie soup possible. But at the same time, it’s somehow filling. I had a lot of leftover miso paste from making a faux goat cheese dip I’ll be sharing with you guys later, so I decided I had to finally try making miso soup from scratch. However, being me, I had to throw in as many veggies as possible; plain miso soup just doesn’t count as a meal to me!

This soup is perfect for a diet/cleanse/however you’d like to refer to it. It’s clean, vegan, delicious, ridiculously easy to make, and has the proteins and veggies I’ve been trying to incorporate. Unless I find an even better soup, this one is probably going to be my go-to diet soup from now on! (Although my mushroom and tomato concoctions are a close second.)

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Ingredients

All of these are approximates; play around with the amounts according to your preferences! Also, any vegetables you like can be subbed for the carrots, celery, and mushrooms. Or, you can omit them for a classic miso soup.

  • 1/5 container firm tofu, sliced into small cubes
  • 2-3 tbs red miso paste, to taste (if you use yellow, you may need more)
  • 4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • Handful of kale or seaweed, ripped into pieces
  • 1-2 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 5-7 baby carrots
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 3-4 mushrooms
  • Dash of sriracha sauce (if you like spice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Directions

1. Combine miso paste and water/broth in a pot over medium heat.

2. Chop your veggies and tofu as the soup heats, and add them to the pot as you go.

3. Simmer until veggies are tender, and season with sriracha and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve and enjoy!

Note: If you let it sit for long enough, the miso will cloud up in the center. This is normal for miso soup; just give it a stir and you’re good to go!

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Enjoy your light and delicious meal!

Michelle

Recipe: Vegan Caprese Mac n Cheese

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Sometimes, you just need comfort food. After a long day of shooting products for a client, I decided it was time I treated myself to one of my favorite splurges: rich, creamy mac n cheese. I had a bag of Daiya mozzarella I had to use up, so it seemed like the most natural choice of dishes. But instead of just slapping some cheese on pasta and calling it a day, I decided to put a spin on it like I did with my avocado mac n cheese; this time I went caprese style. One of my favorite Italian starters, caprese is a simple mix of tomato, mozzarella, and basil that is almost impossibly delicious considering how few ingredients are involved.

With a few cherry tomatoes, some basil leaves, and some red pepper flakes for that hint of spice I’m always craving, this gourmet vegan mac n cheese ended up being quite an amazing way to splurge. Also, since I already had my lights set up for the product photography, I decided to get some studio-lit shots of the final product!

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Serves 2; about 500 calories per serving

Ingredients

  • 4 oz of your favorite pasta (I used whole wheat fusilli)
  • Salt and water according to your pasta’s directions
  • 1 tbs vegan margarine
  • 1 tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk, preferably unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup water (plus more if you need to thin out your sauce)
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella (I used Daiya’s shreds)
  • 2 large basil leaves, sliced or chopped
  • ~20 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • (Optional) Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • (Optional) Pinch of garlic powder

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Directions

1. Bring the pasta water to a boil, add salt as the package directs.

Prepare the sauce:

2. Melt the vegan margarine over medium heat, then add the flour. Stir until flour is puffed and beginning to brown.  Add in the milk and water, stirring until incorporated.

3. Mix in the cheese, and continue stirring until fully melted, and stir in spices if desired. Turn heat to low to keep it warm until you’re ready to serve. Stir in more water if it becomes too thick.

4. Cook the pasta, and prepare the tomatoes and basil.

5. Drain the pasta, place in a bowl, and pour the cheese sauce over it. Stir until well coated, garnish with the basil and tomatoes, and serve warm.

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And enjoy your vegan-yet-creamy meal!

Michelle

Recipe: Vegan Avocado Mac n Cheese

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I’ve been trying hard to stick to my 90% vegan plan, which means I’ll only eat animal products in a social setting: in restaurants where they’re hard to avoid, and when I bake/cook for other people (which is going to change once I get some more vegan recipes under my belt!). So, when I cook for myself, I satisfy all my cheesy cravings with cow-friendly alternatives.

One day, I had an intense desire for mac n cheese. After spending my week eating mostly vegetables, tofu, and beans–despite how delicious they are–I was in the mood for some serious creamy goodness. I also have a bit of an avocado addiction, so of course I had to incorporate them.

What resulted was better than most mac n cheese I’ve been served throughout the years. It was creamy, gluten-free, and featured some good fats as opposed to just cheese. And, best of all, no animal products to feel guilty about!

Veganized from this recipe.

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces dry elbow macaroni (I used gluten free, and I couldn’t tell the difference!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegan margarine
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 2 cups shredded Daiya Pepper Jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh avocado chunks, for garnish, if desired
  • Add-in options: I used some roasted broccoli florets for a crunch, but I’d imagine that cherry tomato halves, corn, bell peppers, or other vegetables would also taste good in it!

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Directions:

1. Cook your macaroni according to the instructions on the package; it differs by type.

2. While the pasta is cooking, make the avocado sauce by placing the garlic, avocados, lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper into a food processor or blender. Blend until the sauce is smooth and creamy; add more liquid if it looks too thick to pour.

3. To make the cheese sauce, place margarine in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once it’s melted, whisk in flour to create a paste. Whisk in milk until smooth. Stir with a wooden spoon until the sauce starts to thicken. Add in Pepper Jack cheese and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is creamy.

4. Place macaroni in a large bowl. Pour the avocado sauce  and cheese sauce over the macaroni, and stir until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm. Garnish with fresh avocado chunks, if desired.

And, it keeps well for a few days! (The lime juice helps keep it looking and tasting fresh.)

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Enjoy!

Michelle