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Category Archives: Vegan Recipes

Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie and Cranberry-Raspberry Compote

So, it has been a really long time since I have posted.  During my pregnancy, I just overwhelmingly didn’t feel like posting anything.  Now, of course, with a 4 month old, I have very little time to write anything.  In the beginning, I was sleeping while she slept, like everyone suggests, but these days I try to get stuff done or get ready for work while she’s sleeping.  While she’s awake, though, I want nothing more than to stare at her little beautiful face and blow raspberries on her little baby belly.  She’s such a doll and I’m so happy to have her in my life.  She’s got such a personality and is generally a very, very happy and very perceptive baby.  We are really very lucky.

Charlotte | A Vegan in Progress

I happen to have this week off (my office is closed), so I thought I would try to get my momentum back.

I made this Oh She Glows Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie for this past Thanksgiving and it was so popular with my family that it was requested I make it again for Christmas.  Luckily for me, it’s pretty simple, especially with a tweak for the lazy.  I simply got store-bought pie crust from the frozen section (they came two to a package – more pie!) rather than making my own.  This pie is very likely the best vegan dessert I have ever had, let alone made myself!  Don’t let the coconut cream scare you away if you aren’t a huge coconut fan.  It’s not the overwhelming flavor of the dessert – that would be yummy, yummy chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Pie | A Vegan in Progress

Rather than make the strawberry vanilla compote from the Oh She Glows website that I’m sure is delicious, I felt that a cranberry-raspberry compote would be more fitting for the season.  I did a quick google search, then chose a recipe that looked the easiest (that’s usually how I work) and ended up with this one originally from Bon Appetit.  I would make this 100 times over – it was that good.

Easy Vegan Pot Pie

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I haven’t been cooking a lot lately.  The main reason is that I’m pregnant and, in case you haven’t heard, pregnant women can be lazy.  I’m sure that women who are raising children while pregnant just fight through the nausea and exhaustion because they have kids to take care of, but I’m not there yet.  A full work day or even a long day of shopping makes me just want to lay on the couch for hours before finally going to bed.  Eric has been really great about taking care of me and picking up food to go because most of the time I feel like doing nothing.  However, I’ve been feeling pretty guilty for all my laziness and I understand the importance of cooking in advance so that I have food ready to just warm up when I’m feeling famished.

I searched Pinterest for interesting, but easy-looking recipes.  I have always loved pot pie.  I love the combination of the veggies, flaky pastry, and gravy-like filling.  So, when I saw this “Cheater” Vegetable Pot Pie, I decided to give it a try.  I left out the mushrooms because I don’t like those and I added a little vegan chicken bouillon for flavor and some of Trader Joe’s vegan grilled “chicken” strips.  I liked the recipe a lot, the only problem was how bland the filling was.  The non-dairy milk, flour, and veggie broth mixture definitely needed some major seasoning like vegan gravy might have.  We ended up just adding a lot of salt as we ate.

We will definitely make this recipe again, just trying some different ingredients using trial and error.

Easy Vegan Pot Pie | A Vegan in Progress

Pot Pie Filling

Pot Pie Filling

The slightly edited recipe below makes 7-8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon vegan butter
  • 2 red potatoes, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • half cup of non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 2/3 cup frozen sweet peas
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry crust, thawed and rolled out (Pepperidge Farm is vegan)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegan chicken bouillon
  • Trader Joe’s vegan grilled “chicken” strips – use however much you like

Directions:

  1. Water saute the onion, kale, and carrots for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, potatoes, bell pepper, and celery and cover with the heat on medium/low for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the flour into the veggie mix, mixing until it’s all combined, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Pour in the veggie broth, almond milk, and vegan chicken bouillon.  Keep stirring until there are no flour lumps, then bring to a simmer.  It’ll start to thicken up in about 4-5 minutes.  Add the frozen peas, then remove from heat.
  5. Add Trader Joe’s vegan grilled “chicken” strips and a bit of sea salt and freshly ground pepper, then stir.  Spray your 8 x 8 baking dish with some non-stick spray, then pour in your delicious veggie mixture. (I ended up making a couple of smaller individual pot pies and one larger one to share – this recipe makes a lot!)
  6. Cover with your puff pastry and cut slits in the top to vent.  Bake at 375 until the crust is golden brown, 15-20 minutes (or maybe more depending on  your oven).  Let cool for a few minutes, then serve.

Exciting News

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It has been well over a month since I have posted anything and there’s a good reason.  I am three months pregnant!  Eric and I decided we were ready and succeeded on the first try!  This is our first baby and the first grandchild on both sides, so it’s a very exciting event for everyone.  My first trimester was a little rough.  I had a lot of fatigue, nausea, and heartburn, but I’m starting to feel much better.  I was coming home from work every day, throwing together some kind of meal, then laying down on the couch and staying there pretty much all evening.  I hadn’t felt the drive to write at all, so the blog has been quiet.  I plan to step it up now while I still can, before the third trimester and the arrival of our little munchkin, when I’ll have no time whatsoever.

Oh, and an important note.  When talking with my Certified Nurse Midwife about eating healthy during the pregnancy, I told her I was vegan and she was very pleased to hear it.  She kept saying that I was eating a very healthy diet, so all should be well.  I did admit I had been eating a lot of bread lately, because it helps settle my stomach.  She told me that the first trimester is pretty much a free pass because you eat what you can.  All blood tests so far have come out great – further confirmation that a vegan diet is nothing but healthy.

Anyway, that’s my news!  I’ll report back on being vegan while pregnant!

Slow Cooker Moroccan Eggplant and Artichokes

This is a slow cooker recipe with good flavor that adds some variety to our standard evening meal rut.  It’s from Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson.  My only complaint is that I’m not a fan of slow cooker recipes that require 30 minutes of prep and cooking before even putting the food in the slow cooker.  It’s not absolutely required, but the cook book says that cooking it in advance gives it the best flavor.

Moroccan Eggplant and Artichokes | A Vegan in Progress

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 large eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen artichoke hearts or 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup pitted and halved kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins or chopped dried apricots (I didn’t add these)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, for garnish (I didn’t have any)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, for garnish (I didn’t add this)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked chickpeas (optional – I am definitely adding those next time)

 

Directions:

  1. For the best flavor, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 1 minute longer.  Add the eggplant and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.  Sprinkle on the coriander, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, and cayanne, and stir to combine.  Alternatively, omit the oil and saute these ingredients in a few tablespoons of water or combine them in a microwave-safe bowl with a little water, cover, and microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Transfer the onion mixture to the slow cooker.  Add the artichokes, bell pepper, olives, raisins, and chickpeas.  Stir in the broth and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook on Low until the vegetables are tender, 4 to 5 hours.
  3. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.  Serve hot, sprinkled with the lemon juice, parsley, and lemon zest.
  4. Serve over couscous.

Vegan Recipe – Spaghetti Squash “Pasta”

In the new year, I have been trying to increase the amount of whole foods that we consume.  To me, this means coming up with creative ways to eat less processed food and re-think traditional meals.  I have already experimented with (and found that I love) cauliflower rice, so I decided to try spaghetti squash pasta next.

I followed these instructions from Colorful Eats for preparing the squash.  First you bake it a bit, then you cut it open and clean it out a lot like preparing a pumpkin on Halloween.  Then you use a fork to scrape out little shavings from the inside of the squash.  This took a whole lot of wrist strength, to the point where I felt that I maybe undercooked the squash.

Preparing Spaghetti Squash | A Vegan in Progress

Cleaned squash on the left, Squash shavings on the right

Once I was done preparing the spaghetti squash shavings, I mixed them with everything I would put in a typical Italian pasta bowl.  I added kalamata olives, tomatoes, basil, garlic, and just a little bit of a red pepper spread.

Spaghetti Squash Bowl | A Vegan in Progress

It has a little bit of a crunch in comparison to spaghetti, and the pieces are obviously shorter, but it’s got the feel of a bowl of pasta without the guilt.  Eric happily ate the leftovers on another night.  He said that he would eat it again, and so would I, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort.  It was kind of a pain to prepare, especially in comparison to the incredibly easy cauliflower rice.

Vegan Recipe – Spicy Eggplant Tofu

Eric and I recently tried a Thai restaurant that’s walking distance from our place.  I ordered a yellow curry with tofu entree the first time, which was your typical yummy curry.  The second time, though, I felt adventurous and ordered the Spicy Eggplant and Tofu dish.  I’m so glad I did because it was fantastic.  The crispy sides of the tofu cubes combined with the soft eggplant were perfect.  After ordering it a couple of times, I thought I might try my hand at making it.  I’ve already been successful in making the best Kung Pao ever, why not Spicy Eggplant Tofu?

Spicy Eggplant Tofu | A Vegan in Progress

I turned to my favorite recipe search engine, Pinterest, and found this blog post from Made Weekly.  I wouldn’t call it a recipe, it was more like a meal guideline.  I love the way she took the photo of the ingredients.  The photo and the simplicity of the meal over the other ones I found were what made me go with this particular one.

This was a complete hit.  Because I added a little extra cornstarch, the sauce was thicker and a little sticky.  It even looked sort of restaurant-quality.  It was super flavorful and filling and went perfectly with cauliflower rice.  Eric, my resident non-vegan loved it and looked really sad when I said there wasn’t much more.  When planning our dinners for next week, I asked if he would like it again and got an enthusiastic affirmative.

Below is my adapted version of the Made Weekly Eggplant Tofu Stir Fry.  There weren’t any measurements, and I threw it together without really measuring, so these are mostly estimates.  I was out of miso, basil, and ginger, so I went without and it was still great.  This made enough for two large servings, with a little bit left over.  Next time I would likely double it for more delicious, delicious leftovers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of firm tofu, pressed and cubed (My mom recommended popping it in the freezer for half an hour to an hour before slicing it and it really does hold its shape in the pan better that way.)
  • 1 eggplant, cubed (I had never cooked with eggplant before and didn’t know how to approach it.  I don’t know what I was worrying about, because I just cut the ends off, cut it in half, and cubed the rest with no problem.)
  • Approximately 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic
  • Approximately 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (Use only 1 Tablespoon if you want a thinner sauce.)
  • Approximately 1/3 cup sesame oil (This is totally optional and not mentioned in the Made Weekly post.  I just didn’t have any miso, which I knew was a major flavor contributor for this dish, so I used some sesame oil, but didn’t want to overpower the meal, so I also used grapeseed oil.)
  • Approximately 1/3 cup grapeseed oil (or any basic cooking oil)
  • Approximately 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • Approximately 1/2 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • Some red pepper flakes if you like it spicy
  • Miso to your liking (I didn’t use it.)
  • Basil to your liking (I didn’t use it.)
  • Ginger to your liking (I didn’t use it.)
  • About 1/2 a head of cauliflower for cauliflower rice

Directions:

  • First, soak the eggplant in salt water for about an hour to reduce bitterness (a trick from my sister, Alli.
  • Drain, press, freeze, and cube tofu (see above for why I recommend freezing it for a bit).  Heat cooking oil with a little sesame oil for flavor.  Add tofu cubes to the oil and drizzle liquid smoke lightly over all of the tofu cubes.  This is my tofu trick.  It smells amazing and makes the tofu a really interesting addition to the meal, rather than a bland hunk of protein.  Stir it continuously so it doesn’t burn until the tofu is brown and crispy, then set aside.
  • Whisk together garlic, miso (if you’re using it), soy sauce or tamari, vinegar, a splash of water, and cornstarch.
  • Fry eggplant, ginger (if you’re using it), and garlic in oil (I used the same oil from cooking the tofu) until it begins to soften.  Add soy/tamari sauce mixture and stir until sauce thickens and eggplant is fully cooked (it will look yellowy-brown rather than white).
  • While the eggplant is cooking, chop your 1/2 head of cauliflower into floret-sized chunks so that the food processor will be able to handle it.  Pulse the food processor until the cauliflower bits are about rice or bulgar-sized.  Place cauliflower into a microwave safe container with a lid.  DO NOT ADD WATER.  Pop one corner of the container so that steam can escape.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes or until it’s all warm enough to eat.
  • Add tofu and toss it all together.  Mix in red pepper flakes (or allow each diner to add it at their discretion, as we have to do it in my house) and basil.
  • Eat your seriously delicious meal!

Vegan Recipe – Slow Cooker Quinoa Chili

As part of our non-traditional Christmas dinner this year, I offered to bring chili over to my parents’ house.  I found this recipe on Hangry Tales through Pinterest.  It was relatively easy to make and the extras froze well for satisfying lunches.  The chili was smoky and flavorful and absolutely awesome with some vegan scoop-shaped corn chips.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped (1 3/4 cup)
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 (4 ounce) cans diced green chiles
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 (15 oz) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro

I know that seems like a lot, but hang in there!

Directions:

  1. In a large crockpot, add all ingredients except for the quinoa and cilantro.  Stir until very well combined.
  2. Turn it on at high heat for at least 5 hours, depending on the type of crockpot you have. I did 8 hours and then kept it on warm until it was eaten.
  3. Stir in the quinoa and cilantro at the very end, (and I topped it with a little quinoa for looks) and serve warm.
  4. It will keep well in sealed containers in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.