Holiday Lentil Loaf 

What does a vegan who is nursing a toddler who’s allergic to soy, wheat, and cashews have for Thanksgiving? Lentils! I actually had this last year too before Jack developed his food allergies, because it’s that good!

I posted a lentil loaf recipe before, and I still make that one often. It’s more of a meatloaf than a holiday dinner.

I should have posted this last week, but life got in the way. My apologies! But this is good for any holiday as a poluty substitute. I actually assembled the loaf the night before and baked it the next day. It is very allergy-friendly and tastes great! Even my  meat-loving husband took several bites!

Holiday Lentil Loaf IMG_0439
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups brown lentils
2 carrots, chopped fine
2 stalls of celery, 
chopped fine
1/4 finely chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, 
minced
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, 
minced
1/4 tsp fresh sage, 
minced
1/4 tsp thyme, minced
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 gluten-free flour
1/4 nutritional yeast
1/2 cup coconut aminos
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste 

Cook lentils according to directions on the package.

Cook lentils according to the directions on the package.

While those are cooking, sautée the carrots, celery, and onions in a little bit of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Then remove from heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, add all remaining ingriedents, expect the salt and pepper, and whisk together.

Drain both the lentils and quinoa, add to a large mixing bowl.

Add the sautée vegetables and mix well.

Add the liquid mixture and also mix well.

Spray a roasting pan or baking sheet with cooking spray. Form a loaf on the pan with the lentil mixture.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until heated through and a light crust forms.

Cut off a slice and top with some vegan gravy. Enjoy a taste of the holiday season everyone can enjoy!

Spaghetti and Beanballs

15 - 2

My husband and son love my meatball recipe. When I make them, I often just have some roasted mushrooms or buy frozen vegan meatballs. But last night I decided to make my own—same recipe as the ones I make the boys, just minus the meat. I wanted to use lentils, but couldn’t find any in my pantry. I did find pink beans so went with those. Pink beans look like small pink kidney beans, but taste closer to pinto beans. They are very popular in Caribbean cooking. I bought a bag awhile ago to make a Caribbean dish and forgot about them.

Also, I always make my own pasta sauce. I like knowing what’s in it for sure, and that it’s not loaded with sodium. This is just a basic recipe, feel free to doctor it up as you like. Or use a jar of your favorite sauce, too.

This recipe makes 5-6 servings.

Spaghetti and Beanballs

1 bag of pink beans
Olive oil15 - 4
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
28 ounce can of tomato puree
14.5 can of diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
12 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup water, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
A bag of your favorite pasta

Soak your pink beans in cold water overnight if possible, they will cook a lot faster.

Place your soaked beans in large pot filled with enough water to cover them with an inch of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook as long as directions on the package say (mine took about 45 minutes). Add more water as needed. Cook until they are soft but not mushy. Drain well and set aside.

While those are cooking, you can work on the sauce…

In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat.

Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.

Add the tomato puree, diced tomatoes, water, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Cook for a half an hour, then season with salt and pepper as desired.

Remove from heat and set aside for now.

While the sauce is cooking  you can start on the beanballs (assuming your beans are cooked now)….

In a large bowl, mash up the beans. Leave a few chunks for texture.

Add the oil, nutritional yeast,  bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, sage, and fennel. Then season with salt and pepper as desired.

Add a little water at a time to help it all come together.  You want it to still be soft, but be able to hold shape.

So you could make them into balls and pan-fry them in olive oil until they are golden on the outside. That was my original plan until I realized all my burners were being used (I was making lemonade at the same time as this).

I oiled up a ceramic pan and made them into little mounds. Then I baked them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, and broiled on low for 3 minutes.

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Then I scooped them out with an ice ice cream scoop to keep the ball shape.

Lastly, cook your pasta according the directions on the package (I did this while beanballs cooked).

Add your pasta to the sauce and toss together well.

Plate up the pasta, top with some beanballs, top with your favorite vegan cheese, and enjoy!

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The fennel and sage really give the balls that sausage meatball kind of taste. Pair with a nice salad and you have a satisfying complete meal.

This recipe makes a lot of beanballs. You can freeze them or cut the recipe in half, too.

Taco Pasta

Yesterday evening while waiting for my son to wake up from his nap, I was browsing on Pinterest. I came across this pin for Taco Pasta. Noodles with a Mexican-style meat sauce. It looked so good and I hadn’t had an actual home cooked dinner since my mom left a week ago. So I decided to quickly make a vegan version of it before Jack woke up.

I did not use a taco seasoning packet like in the original recipe. I never buy spice packets like that, too high in sodium and you never know what else in there exactly. Just make your own spice blend with your own fresh spices.

Taco Pasta
5 oz Penne 
Olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped fine 
1 clove if garlic, minced 
1 package of vegan ground beef (I used Tofurky Ground Beef Style
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/2 tsp garlic powder 
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano 
1/2 tsp paprika 
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1 tsp chili powder 
1 cup salsa (I used pico de gallo) 
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese ( I used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/2 cup vegan sour cream 
Vegan cheddar cheese, optional 
Cook the pasta according to the direction on the package. 
While that cooks, add a little olive oil to a large skillet. Heat over medium heat. 
Add the onions and sauté until soft. 
Add the garlic and the ground “beef”. Cook until the “beef” is slightly browned. 
Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, cumin, and chili powder. Cook until fragrant.
Turn the heat to low. Add the salsa, cream cheese, and sour cream. Mix well and cook until heated through. 
Once the pasta is ready, drain and return to the pot. 
Add the “meat” sauce to the pasta and stir together well. 
Serve it up and add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top if you wish.

Michael was really happy to have a home cooked meal and so was I. This was so filling and tasty after several says of frozen food and sandwiches. I love the tang from the sour cream.

German Potato Salad

Last weekend Michael was a groomsman in a college friend’s wedding. That meant a trip to Lake Tahoe! I went there for the first time in March for his sister’s wedding and instantly fell in love with the area. We are already trying to plan a camping trip back there soon. The day before the wedding they had a BBQ at park right on the lake and requested everyone bring something to share.

Brunt Cedar Park in North Lake

I instantly thought German Potato Salad. My mom found the recipe in Cooking Light years ago and made it often when I was a kid. It’s WAY better than traditional potato salad. Light, but still creamy. Salty, but a little tang. However, the real recipe for German Potato Salad has bacon and uses the bacon fat to make a sauce. I still wanted it, so I decided to make a vegan version. I figured if it did not come out right, we can always just buy a veggie platter on the way to the BBQ.

I decided to use Bac-O Bits ( they are made from soy, check out my Mac and Cheese post) instead of bacon. However, I had some trouble deciding what to use instead of the bacon fat. Normally you cook the bacon, reserve the fat and use it to make a roux for the sauce. I thought about adding some olive oil instead, but the flavor would be wrong. And the more I thought about it, what is the point of making this dish healthier if I was going to load it up oil? Good fats are an important part of healthy diet, but there would be plenty of other food with adequate fat at the BBQ. No need to add more. So I decided to just skip oil all together and just use some water.

This recipe makes 15 servings.

German Potato Salad
5 lbs bag of red potatoes, washed and quartered
1 small onion, chopped
1 container of Bac-O Bits
1 cup water (add more as needed)
3 tbs flour
2/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbs brown mustard
4 stalks green onions, sliced
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Fill a large pot with cold water. Add the quartered potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook until the potatoes are soft enough for a fork to easily pierce.

While that cooks,  saute the onions until soft (I did this was just a little water, but you can use a little oil).

Add the bacon bits and cook for a minute, just to warm them up.

Next add the water and flour. It should make a lose paste. Stir out any clumps.

Add the vinegar and mustard. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Once the potatoes are cooked, drain and return to the pot.

Add the sauce and mix well to coat every potato.

Add the sliced green onions, mix well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Let this sit for at least 2 hours, overnight would be better. I actually made this two days beforehand (mainly because there was no way I could make it at the hotel) and it was prefect.

This dish is served room temperature, and it has no dairy so no need to worry about it spoiling in the sun during your BBQ.

Veggie burger, water melon, chips, and German Potato Salad!

Everyone liked my potato salad, the Step-Mother-of-the-Bride thanked me for bringing it!

Beautiful weather, wonderful view of the lake in the distance.

Congratulations Jeff and Rachel! Your wedding was beautiful and I wish you a long, happy life together!

"Cheesy" Pasta with sliced "Hot Dogs"

I do not believe that majority of children are natural picky eaters. I believe it is parents themselves setting the bad example of not eating their veggies. Why would they want to eat something that their parents do not want to eat? And, of course it will be hard to break them of bad eating habits later. If they are used to eating fatty, oily, high carb foods, they will resist wanting anything else. So it is important to teach kids from an early age the importance of whole foods like fruits and veggies—-and eat them yourself to set the good example.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with making healthy versions of the things all humans are love: carbs, protein, and fat. All animals crave carbs because they fill you up, protein because it sustains you, and fat because it has calories to keep you going. But, we are evolved animals with big brains that we can use to make smart choices about our cravings.

This recipe is healthy version of a kid friendly dish, mac and cheese with sliced hot dogs. It uses soy cheese, vegan butter, and soy hot dogs. I used star stelline, a star shaped pasta, to make it more fun for kids.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Cheesy Pasta with Hot Dogs Slices
8 oz stelline pasta (I used Barilla)
4 vegan hot dogs (I used Smart Dogs)
2 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese (I used Daiya)
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Add the pasta and cooking according to the directions on the package.

While pasta cooks, heat the hot dogs. You can either microwave or pan fry them according to the directions on the package.

Cut the hot dogs into desired sized slices. Make sure you cut them small enough so your child does not choke. Check out this link for advice.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot.

Add butter and cheese. Mix together well.

Add the hot dog slices and parsley. Mix together well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Quick and easy lunch that kids (and you) will love!

Roti Pizza

You can make mini or personal pizzaz on anything you like—tortillas, english muffins, and even slices of bread. I wanted a crunchy, cheesy lunch the other day, but working in a Southwest cafe made me want anything but a tortilla. Luckily I had roti in the fridge and thought I would give them a try. I discussed my failed homemade roti attempts before so I buy pre-made dough now.

I topped mine with tomato sauce, Daiya cheese and cut up tofurky sausage. You can top with whatever pizza toppings you desire. This makes two small pizza, but can be easily multiplied.



Roti Pizza
2 uncooked roti
1/4 cup pasta sauce
1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
1 Tofurky Italian Sausage, cut into slices
Dry parsley and basil

Pre-heat the oven 450 degrees.

Place the roti on a baking sheet, without them touching.

Spread the pasta sauce evenly between the two roti.

Sprinkle the cheese on evenly between the two roti.

Lastly, top each roti with sausage slices.

Bake for 5-10 minuntes, until the cheese is melted. Like I have said before, vegan cheese does not get bubbly, so do not bake it for too long or it will burn.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the dried parsley and basil.

Let it cool a little before you enjoy!

Thin, crispy and light but topped with plenty of cheesy goodness. I have made an Indian pizza before and I think I am going to make a new version on roti soon.

Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast

I originally wanted a Tofurky Roast, but I did not find find any at Trader Joe’s. I did not feel like going to another store so I just settled for Trader Joe’s brand. While I still like Tofurky better, this roast was fantastic. It comes with its own gravy too. I served it over roasted veggies. Only a few people tried it for dinner, but those who did said it was good too. This would be a great options for those transitioning to vegetarian or veganism.

Before the oven, I accidentally forgot to take photos of it cooked…opps!

This recipe will work with any other alternative roast, just adjust the temperate and bake time as needed.

Turkey-less Roast
Olive oil
4 stalks of celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
4 large carrots, cut into 1 inches pieces
4 large parsnips, cut into 1 inch pieces
Handful of brussels sprouts, cut in half
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
1 tbs herb de provence
Salt and Pepper
1 Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast
1 cup vegetable broth, divided in half

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Coat the bottom of a roast pan with olive oil.

Prep and chop all the veggies accordingly.

Add the veggies to the pan, plus the herb de provence and the salt and pepper. Mix together to coat everything in olive oil.

Remove the roast from the packaging and place on top the veggies.

Pour half the vegetable broth over the roast.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, until the veggies are thoroughly roasted and roast is heated through.

Heat up the gravy packet that comes with the roast, pour it on, and enjoy a healthy and meat-free meal!

Copycat Wienerschnitzel Chili

In celebration of the Giants making it to the World Series, I told Michael I would make him whatever he wanted to eat during the game. He eagerly requested I make a version of Wienerschnitzel‘s chili cheese dog and chili cheese fries. So I did some research on the web and found a copy cat recipe. I made a few small changes, and used soy protein crumbles instead of ground beef for mine. This recipe is proof that vegans don’t just eat boring salads!

This make 4 servings of chili, enough for chili cheese fries and a chili dog for two people.

Copycat Wienerschnitzel Chili
1/2 of tube of Lightlife Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style
3 cups of water
1/8 cup corn starch
1/4 cup flour
1 tbs tomato paste
4 tbs chili powder
5 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tbs white vinegar2

In a skillet over medium heat, crumble up and brown the ground beef.

In a small bowl, whisk together the water, corn starch, flour, and tomato paste.

Add to the browned ground beef crumbles.

Add the remaining ingredients and cook until the sauce is at desired thickness.

Put the chili on some fries and a hot dog—or anything else you want! And don’t forget to add a little vegan cheese too.

This was soooo good. And WAY healthier than the real stuff.

Bac’n Mac and Cheese

Guess what other American classic is actually vegan? McCorkmick’s Bac’n Pieces! It is made from soy. Once again, it is a processed food and needs to be eaten in moderation. But it can provide that “meaty” flavor to your favorite dish on occasion. I decided to add them to my mac and cheese, along with some veggies.

I have posted a recipe for mac and cheese awhile ago that uses Daiya Cheese and nutritional yeast. This recipe only uses nutritional yeast because I was trying to cut down on calories and processed ingredients.

Bacon Bits Mac and Cheese
8 ounces macaroni
1 small onion, minced
2 carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups soy milk
1 tsp mustard
1 tbs soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot, sauté the chopped onions, carrots, and celery in the 1/4 cup of butter.
Once the veggies are soft, add the nutritional yeast. Mix together until it makes a lumpy paste.
Now add the soy milk, mustard, and garlic. Whisk to get the lumps out.
Add the cooked macaroni and the Bacon Bits.  Mix it all together and season to taste.
Now you have bacon mac and cheese without all that cholesterol!

Sloppy Joes

This morning that commercial for an “unsloppy joe” recipe came on. Michael and I both turned to each other said we wanted sloppy joes for dinner.

Don’t bother with pre made sauces in a can. Sloppy joes are just as easy to make on your own. It is really just tomato paste and seasoning. I used Gimme Lean Ground Beef Style in place of beef. And I added bell peppers for more nutrition.
This makes about 4 sandwiches.
Sloppy Joes
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeño, minced (optional)
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tbs agave
1 and 1/4 cup  water
Salt and pepper to taste
Buns or Rolls
Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Saute the chopped onion and bell peppers until tender.
Add the jalapeños and “ground beef”.  Cook until heated through.
Add the tomato paste, agave and seasonings. Mix together well.
Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens slightly.
Serve on the rolls or buns.
I made coleslaw with a light vinaigrette as a side dish. This was exactly what we wanted, so good!