Entree

15-Minute Plant-Based Bowls

By the Gracious Vegan

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Bowls aren’t always the fastest meal to make. You have to be very strategic to cook everything for a bowl in 15 minutes. Here are my suggestions. With a buddy in the kitchen, 15 minutes is definitely doable. Even with one cook it’s possible, but not as fun.  

Quick cooking grain 

  • Whole wheat, regular, or tri-color couscous (pour boiling water, amount equal to couscous, over it, cover, wait 5 minutes, stir, wait another 5 minutes)

  • Bulgur (boil 10-12 minutes with twice as much water as bulgur) 

  • Buckwheat groats (boil 10-12 minutes with twice as much water as groats)

  • Quinoa (boil 10-12 minutes uncovered with twice as much water as quinoa, then cover and let sit 5 minutes)

  • Cauliflower or broccoli rice (microwaving is the fastest way to cook these)

  • Prepare frozen or shelf-stable brown rice

 Protein

  • Beans (broil them with the vegetables) *

  • Broiled tofu or seitan *

Vegetables

  • Broiled zucchini *

  • Raw diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions

  • Boiled/microwaved corn, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, and/or other

Sauce

Toppings

  • Green onions

  • Shredded red cabbage

  • Olives

  • Pepitas or other seeds

  • Cilantro

  • Lime zest

  • Garam masala

* Easy basting sauce for broiling vegetables and proteins: 

  • 3 Tablespoons water

  • 1 Tablespoon miso (your choice of color/strength)

  • 1 Tablespoon tahini

  • 1.5 teaspoon lemon pepper or other spice mix

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Pasta e Fagioli

By the Gracious Vegan

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“When the stars make you drool, like a pasta fazool / That's amore.” This stew is worth singing over! I started with an Olive Garden copycat recipe I found, then I had to take out the oil and meat and build up the meatless flavor. It works! The fresh basil and the combination of oregano, thyme, and garlic give this a classic and satisfying taste. Topping with vegan parmesan adds more layers of flavor and texture and is so worth it.

Makes 7.5 cups (5 servings)

Put the following ingredients in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, until vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes. 

  • 1 small onion or half large onion, diced or chopped

  • 2 small/medium carrots, diced or chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, diced or chopped

  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water

Add the following ingredients and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, partly covered. 

  • 2 cans (15-ounce) of cooked beans (I like one can each of pinto and small white beans, but any kind works well), drained and rinsed

  • 1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced or petite-diced tomatoes

  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

While the stew is cooking, cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions; drain well and set aside.

  • 1 cup (dry) small pasta (ditalini is a common choice, but choose any kind you want)

After the stew is cooked, add the following ingredients, stir, and serve. 

  • The cooked pasta

  • 1/3 cup (well packed) chopped or sliced fresh basil (or 1.5 teaspoons dried basil added earlier with the other spices, but fresh works better)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Optional topping:

If there are leftovers, the pasta will swell up and absorb some of the liquid. You can add water or more tomato sauce. 

Timing: about 45 minutes

Nutrition: whole food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if made with gluten-free pasta

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Classic-Style Vegan Enchiladas 

By the Gracious Vegan

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I grew up in Southern California when you couldn’t get authentic Mexican food everywhere. No food trucks, no pop-ups, no regional Mexican cuisines. I love all the new dishes you can get, but I still love the flavor of classic red enchilada sauce. Over the last couple of years I’ve tried so many types of fillings that I’ve lost count. Finally a combination clicked — mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and corn. I use a little tofu, with spices, to bind them together so the rolling is as easy as possible. I hope you find these as satisfying and delicious as I do.

Makes 16-20 enchiladas

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

Water-sauté (start with 1 Tablespoon water) the following ingredients in a large skillet or Dutch oven until the vegetables are tender and all the liquid released by the mushrooms is evaporated, 10-15 minutes. 

  • 4 cups diced mushrooms (about 10 ounces)

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 red pepper, diced

  • 1 green pepper, diced

After the vegetables are tender, add the corn and cook for a few minutes to incorporate and thaw it, if frozen. Take off the heat. 

  • 1 cup corn (fresh, canned, or frozen)

Separately, blend the following ingredients in a mini chopper or with an immersion (stick) blender or whisk until smooth.

  • 1/2 cup silken tofu (any kind)

  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the tofu mixture into the vegetables for your filling.

Use one or two shallow casserole or glass baking dishes. Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish. Pour a cup of sauce into a pie plate where you can cover the tortillas with sauce. Briefly microwave a few tortillas at a time so they are as soft as possible. Dip each one into the pie plate with sauce and turn it over to coat it. Then lay it down (in the casserole dish) and put 3-4 Tablespoons filling at one end and roll it up. Place it at the end of the casserole dish. Continue with the rest of the tortillas and filling. Top with more enchilada sauce. 

If you like your enchiladas to stay very moist, cover the casserole with foil and bake at 375°for about 20 minutes. If you like them drier, bake for about 25 minutes, uncovered. In both cases you should hear some sizzling, which tells you they’re baked through. 

Serve with any/all of the following.

Timing: About an hour

Nutrition: Whole food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free

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Oven-Roasted Vegetable Fajitas

By the Gracious Vegan

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Don’t be alarmed by the number of spices. They are common spices, easy to find, but they add up to an uncommonly great flavor. The oven-roasting means you can skip the oil and still get that one-of-a-kind fajitas effect of charred edges and a velvety softness to the vegetables. The toppings finish the drama: the more the merrier!

Makes 6 servings

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Toss the following ingredients together in a large bowl.

  • (optional) 4-8 ounces seitan, tempeh, or extra-firm tofu, sliced thin (about 1/2”), then cut at various angles

  • 4 bell peppers (a mix of colors is nice), sliced

  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 small zucchinis, sliced

  • 1 onion, sliced thin or chopped

  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Mix the following ingredients together in a bowl or jar, then pour over the vegetables and protein and stir. 

  • ¼ cup lime juice

  • 2 Tablespoons tahini

  • 1 Tablespoon water

  • ½ Tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Divide the mixture onto the two sheet pans and spread out the contents into a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes, then stir and flip the vegetables. Roast for 10-15 more minutes, until the vegetables are tender, the liquid is evaporated, and the edges of some of the vegetables are brown. Serve with your choice of:

Timing: About an hour

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free tortillas and your omit the seitan

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Yellow Thai Curry with Potatoes and Green Beans

By the Gracious Vegan

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Yellow curries are in the medium range of spiciness in Thai cuisine (green is the hottest, then red, yellow, and then Massaman). This curry is super-satisfying in part because of the potatoes and green beans, vegetables that most people like. I replaced coconut milk with cashew milk and coconut extract in order to decrease the significant saturated fat that coconut milk brings with it. Over rice, this is a great entree any time of the year.

Makes 4 servings

Start the cashews soaking if you don’t have a high-speed blender. Soakcashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes.

  • 1/3 cup raw cashews

Vegetables. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 4 minutes. Leave them in the pot. 

  • 1 pound red-skin or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed

Add green beans and cook another minute.

  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

Add peas and cook 3 more minutes. Drain vegetables.

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

Cashew liquid

Drain and rinse the cashews (if you soaked them) and combine with the following ingredients in the blender. Blend until the cashews are dissolved (from 30 seconds to several minutes). Set aside. 

  • 2 cups water

  • 2 pitted dates (or two teaspoons brown sugar)

  • 1 Tablespoon cashew or peanut butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Putting it all together.In a Dutch oven or other large pan, water-sauté the following ingredients for about 5 minutes, until they begin to get tender.

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Stir in curry paste. Cook 2-3 minutes, so that the paste cooks a bit.

  • 2-3 Tablespoons Penang or yellow curry paste (I like Maesri brand yellow curry paste)

Stir in all the other ingredients and simmer about 8-10 minutes. 

  • Potatoes, green beans and peas

  • Cashew liquid

Add final ingredients and cook 2 minutes more. 

  • 2 Tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves (Thai or regular basil) 

  • 3 kaffir lime leaves or 1 Tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice. 

  • Chopped fresh cilantro

Nutrition: whole-food plant-based; WFPBNO

Timing: About 50 minutes

Gluten-free

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No-Oil New York-Style Pizza Sauce 

By the Gracious Vegan

Vegan pizza with No-Oil New York-Style Pizza Sauce,  Gracious Vegan Ricotta Cheese , onions, and mushrooms, cooked on a pizza stone at 500 degrees.

Vegan pizza with No-Oil New York-Style Pizza Sauce, Gracious Vegan Ricotta Cheese, onions, and mushrooms, cooked on a pizza stone at 500 degrees.

What makes a sauce “New York-style” is the fact that it’s relatively heavily seasoned and it’s cooked. It is different from Neapolitan-style, which is an uncooked sauce, usually consisting of tomatoes and garlic only. For this version, I eliminated the oil (and some recipes use butter too). It certainly doesn’t lack flavor or substance without the oil. It more than holds its own with tasty toppings and cheeses.

Makes about 2.5 cups, enough for 4-5 medium pies

Combine the ingredients in a large saucepan (not a Dutch oven – too big). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 1 hour.

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, grated or minced

  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

  • A pinch red pepper flakes

  • 2 (6-inch) sprigs fresh basil with leaves attached

  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and split in half

Once the cooking is done, discard onions and basil stems. Allow to cool. It lasts up to two weeks in a covered container in the refrigerator or for several months in the freezer.

Timing: hands-on time 10 minutes; total time, 1 hour 15 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

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Scalloped Broccoli and Potatoes

By the Gracious Vegan

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I’ve come to prefer pre-cooked potatoes for scalloped dishes. It removes the risk of undercooking the potatoes even when the sauce is bubbly and brown. In this recipe, you get the goodness of potatoes and broccoli. They bring different nutrients, textures, and taste to the party, resulting in a very satisfying dish. 

Makes 8 servings

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a large low-sided casserole dish with spray oil. 

Vegetables. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the potato slices. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, then simmer for 4 or 5 minutes, until potatoes are just tender. Spoon them out of the water with a slotted spoon or spider strainer into a bowl or colander. 

  • 2 pounds red-skin or Yukon potatoes, peeled (or not, if you prefer) and cut into 1/4” slices

Now put the broccoli slices into the water for 3-4 minutes, or until just tender. Spoon them out into a separate bowl or colander.

  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, sliced into 1/4” slices, not florets (about 7-8 cups)

White sauce. Make white sauce.

Seasoned bread crumbs for topping. Combine these and set aside.

  • 1/3 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano

  • Large pinch of salt 

Layer and bake. Begin with one layer of the potatoes, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with salt. Add a thin layer of sauce. Add a layer of broccoli, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with salt. Add a thin layer of sauce. Repeat as many times as the ingredients last. Be sure to lightly salt each layer of potato or broccoli. Finish with a good layer of sauce. Top with seasoned bread crumbs.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375°for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 12-15 minutes, until filling is bubbly and crumbs are golden. If crumbs aren't toasted by that point, set under broiler until just toasted, just a minute or two. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

 

Timing: hands-on time 30 minutes (assuming white sauce is already made), total time: 70 minutes       

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 193 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat. fat, 34g carbs, 301mg sodium, 5mg fiber, 7g protein 

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free flour in the white sauce and gluten-free bread crumbs

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Stuffed Potato Skins

By the Gracious Vegan

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This one’s for all of us who love the skin on oven-roasted baked potatoes. These stuffed potato skins make for great appetizers or can be served as an entrée for an informal meal. They’re so versatile, the foundation for many different kinds of fillings.

Makes as many as you want

Preheat oven to 450°F. Lightly pierce each potato in 5-10 places with a fork. Place them directly on the oven rack or in a metal or glass pan (potatoes not touching each other) and bake until tender when pierced with a knife or cake tester, about 40 minutes. (The microwave will result in less crispy potato skins.)

  • Small or medium russet potatoes, well washed and dried

Let stand until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Cut each potato in half* lengthwise, and use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop out insides, leaving about 1/4-inch shell all around. Reserve insides for another use. Place the halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Spray the bottoms and tops with cooking spray or olive oil from a mister. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Cooking spray

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Bake until crisp and edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Stuff the halves with one or more of the following toppings, or make up your own. 

Stuffing ideas

*  If the potatoes are large, you could cut the skins in half again, but note that you won’t be able to stuff them with fillings that could drip or fall out (like chili or diced vegetables).  

Nutrition: depends on stuffings

Timing: Hands-on time 10 minutes, total time about an hour (timing does not include stuffings)

Gluten-free

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Thai-Inspired Peanut Sauce

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A good peanut sauce is quite versatile. You can use it over roasted or steamed vegetables, with baked potatoes (white or sweet), with pasta, grains, seitan satay, or as the finishing touch for bowls. Peanut sauce makes everything taste better.

Makes about 1.5 cups

Whisk together the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Cook uncovered on low for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a little water if needed to reach your desired consistency.

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • 2 Tablespoons soy or tamari sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon date paste or 1 teaspoon sugar or agave nectar

  • 1.5 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon roasted sesame paste or sesame oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

  • Sriracha sauce or cayenne pepper to taste

If it is too thick, stir in more water. Serve on noodles, rice, baked potatoes, vegetables, or as a dip for anything. Freezes well. 

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed if you use date paste and roasted sesame paste; WFPBNO

Timing: about 20 minutes

Gluten-free

 

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Autumn Gravy Bowl

By the Gracious Vegan

This bowl can go in so many different directions. The beauty of it is that you can use all sorts of leftovers. The gravy pulls it together. 

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Makes: Varies

Base

  • Sweet, white, red, or Yukon gold potatoes—roasted, mashed, etc.

  • Wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, millet, or other grains

  • Leftover bread dressing

Cooked Vegetables (roasted, steamed, etc.) 

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Corn 

  • Green beans

  • Lima beans

Protein

Toppings

  • Dried cranberries

  • Walnuts 

Drizzled with

 

Timing: Hands-on time varies; total time varies

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed (WFPBNO)

Nutritional information per serving: Varies, depending on what ingredients you choose.

Gluten-free possibilities

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Potato-Vegetable Bake with Gravy

By the Gracious Vegan

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This is a variation on the British “Bubble and Squeak,” a dish using potato and cabbage leftovers, fried with butter, bacon, or other fats. Adding other vegetables and baking instead of frying result in a healthier dish with tons of savory goodness, especially when topped with gravy. Baked beans also go well with this dish.

Makes 7 servings 

You’ll need peeled, cooked potatoes. The fastest way to cook them is by placing potato chunks in a microwave-proof casserole or bowl, adding a couple tablespoons of water, covering, and cooking on high for 5-10 minutes until tender, stirring once halfway through. Timing will depend on your microwave and the chunk size. If you have leftover baked potatoes, they would work fine as well.

  • About 1.5 pounds russet, red, or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks

When the potatoes are done, put them in a large bowl and use a potato masher or pastry cutter to coarsely mash them. 

Separately, in a large microwave-proof casserole or bowl, cook the following in the microwave with a little water, until all the vegetables are tender, stirring once or twice, about 5-10 minutes. Add them to the bowl with the potatoes.

  • 1 large onion, chopped or thinly sliced

  • 4 large mushrooms (any kind), chopped or sliced

  • 1 red pepper, diced

  • 6 cups mixed chopped or shredded vegetables (cabbage, carrot, Brussels sprouts, broccoli slaw mix) 

Add the following ingredients to the bowl and stir well.

  • 1.5 teaspoons dried sage 

  • 1.5 teaspoons dried thyme leaves 

  • 1.25 teaspoons salt 

  • Freshly-ground black pepper

  • 1.5 cups cooked beans (if using canned, rinse and drain them) (optional)

Taste the mixture for salt and pepper and adjust if needed. Scoop it into the greased casserole dish, smooth the top, and press down a bit so things hold together. Spray lightly with oil on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until you can hear it fizzing, and the top has some nice brown bits on it. Serve with Gracious Vegan Easy Gravy.

 

Timing: Timing: Hands-on time 30 minutes, total time 50 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed (WFPBNO)

Nutritional information per serving (with beans, without gravy): 152 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat. fat, 33g carbs, 466mg sodium, 7mg fiber, 6g protein 

Gluten-free

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Baked Tofu

By the Gracious Vegan

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. 

Take tofu out of package. Dry it well, pressing on it, with paper towels.

  • 16 ounces extra firm tofu (not the shelf-stable vacuum-packed kind)

Slice it into 1/2” slices and lay the slices on the parchment paper.

Mix the following ingredients together in a small bowl.

  • 1 Tablespoon water

  • 1 teaspoon tahini

  • 1 teaspoon miso (white or yellow recommended; red if you like tangy miso)

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Added spices appropriate to your dish (e.g., thyme/rosemary/sage, smoked paprika/chili powder/garlic powder)

Brush both sides of the tofu slices with the mixture. Put the pan into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the slices. Then bake 15 minutes more, until both sides are golden. It will firm up more as it cools. 

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 45 minutes

Gluten-free with wheat-free tamari instead of soy sauce

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Moo Shu Vegetables

By the Gracious Vegan

Makes 6 servings

Every cuisine has some kind of wrap, and Moo Shu vegetables are a delicious Chinese-inspired wrap. The hoisin sauce is the key. It’s available at most grocery stores, and certainly at all Chinese-oriented Asian markets. It’s sweet and tangy, not spicy-hot. There are moo shu wrappers you can buy at Asian markets, or you can use flour tortillas. If you haven’t tried moo shu before, you’re in for a tasty surprise.

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Water-sauté these vegetables in a Dutch oven or other large open pan. The vegetables should be tender to your liking, and all the liquid should be evaporated.

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or minced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced.

  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced

  • 8 mushrooms (any kind), sliced or chopped

  • 1 small head of green cabbage, shredded, or use bagged coleslaw (1 pound)

  • 1 carrot, grated (if your bagged slaw has a lot of carrots, you can omit this)

Stir the following ingredients and briefly heat the entire mixture together. Test for seasoning adjust with salt and pepper if needed.

  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce (will need more below)

  • 1.5 Tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1/2 Tablespoon Chinese rice vinegar (or other kind, but not balsamic)

  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame paste

  • 2 teaspoons water

  • 1 teaspoon sugar or agave syrup (or 2 teaspoons date paste)

Stir in the tofu

  • 6-8 ounces baked tofu, cut into small pieces (use my Baked Tofu recipe, or you can buy already baked tofu in many stores)

Remove mixture from heat. Warm your wrappers of choice. Spread about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce on each wrapper. Divide filling evenly into wrappers and top with a bit of sesame seeds. 

  • 12 small or 6 large whole wheat flour tortillas or rice flour wrappers

Extra hoisin sauce

Nutrition: Mostly unprocessed (the hoisin has sugar in it)

Time: 25-30 minutes

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No-Oil Roasted Sweet Potatoes in Bowls 

By The Gracious Vegan

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Sweet potato cubes can be roasted on parchment paper without oil and will bake up nicely. The approach here is different. The tahini mixture coats the sweet potatoes and browns as the sweet potatoes roast. You get closer to a roasted look and feel but without the oil. 

Makes: 4 servings

Roast the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Whisk the following ingredients together in a large bowl. 

  • 5 teaspoons water

  • 4 teaspoons tahini

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Pinch of smoked paprika

Add in the cubed sweet potatoes and fold with a spatula until all the cubes are coated. 

16 ounces sweet potatoes, 1-inch cubes

Pour the sweet potato cubes onto the parchment paper. Roast for 15 minutes, then flip and roast for 10-15 minutes more, until desired tenderness is reached. If needed, switch to broiler mode and broil the potatoes 1-2 minutes to get the tops brown.

Ideas for bowls

Lebanese-inspired

Garbanzo beans; Cucumber, tomatoes, onions; Tahini Sauce; green onions, Greek or green olives

Greek-inspired

Black beluga lentils; Tomatoes, onions, zucchini; Vegan Tzatziki; green onions, Greek olives

Mexican-inspired

Black beans; Corn, peppers, tomatoes; Vegan Crema and/or salsa; California olives, pepitas, cilantro

Thai-inspired

Baked/broiled tofu, tempeh; bell peppers, zucchini; peanut sauce; cilantro, lime zest

Indian-inspired

Baked/broiled tofu, tempeh; green beans, cauliflower, bell peppers; curry sauce; cilantro, garam masala

Timing: Hands-on time 20 minutes; Total time 45 minutes                                                

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving (roasted sweet potatoes only): 126 calories, 3g fat, 1g sat. fat, 23g carbs, 355mg sodium, 4mg fiber, 3g protein

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Baked Sweet Potatoes with Easy, Tasty Toppings 

By The Gracious Vegan

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Easy baked sweet potatoes can make for a quick lunch or dinner. Combine them with leftover soup or salad, and you’ve got a meal. 

Makes: Adjustable

Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven, microwave, or Instant Pot. Wash, dry, and pierce each sweet potato in several places with a fork or pointed knife. 

  • Sweet potatoes (as many as you want)

For oven-baking, place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Baking times can vary depending on potato size.

For microwave-baking, wrap each sweet potato in a paper towel (it doesn’t need to be moist). Microwave for 3 minutes, check it, then cook for a minute at a time until just tender (they will continue softening). Baking times will vary depending on your oven, how many potatoes you bake together, and the size of the potatoes.  

For Instant Pot, put 1 cup cold water in the pot, insert the steamer rack that came with your Instant Pot. Slice each sweet potato in half the long way. Pile the sweet potato halves on the rack, putting the fattest halves on the bottom and facing all the cut sides up. Set on “Steam” for 4 minutes. Use natural release method (10 minutes). 

Suggestions for toppings

  • Black beans and salsa (Guacamole optional)

  • Chili beans and Vegan Crema (ditto on Guacamole)

  • Cowboy caviar (a mixture of black-eyed peas, corn, avocado, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, a little vinegar and salt)

  • Chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and cucumber with Tahini Sauce

  • Leftover chili

  • Cooked vegetables with leftover sauce (peanut sauce, creamy tomato sauce, white garlic sauce, creamy pesto sauce, gravy)

  • Vegan Crema, pomegranate molasses, and an interesting dried spice like urfa biber, za’atar, or Aleppo pepper

Timing: Hands-on time 10 minutes; Total time 10-60 minutes                                             

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving (one 8-ounce sweet potato without toppings: 192 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat. fat, 46g carbs, 128mg sodium, 7mg fiber, 3g protein 

Gluten-free

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Sweet Potato Cakes

By The Gracious Vegan

Sweet Potato Cakes with  Vegan Tzatziki

Sweet Potato Cakes with Vegan Tzatziki

This recipe looks a little fussy at first glance, but it results in beautiful, tasty sweet potato cakes with a light texture, and if you make it a few times, it will become routine.

Makes: 16 cakes (5 servings)

Preheat oven to 425°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray the papers with cooking spray. 

Microwave one of the sweet potatoes (poke it with the point of a knife in a few places to allow air to escape; cook on high for about 5 minutes or until soft). Scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash it. 

Grate the other two raw sweet potatoes. 

  • 3 sweet potatoes totaling around 1.5 pounds 

Make a vegan "egg" by blending the following ingredients together with a stick blender in an appropriately sized container (e.g., a two-cup measure). Blend on high until the mixture is thick, about a minute. 

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened nondairy milk

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric

Combine the mashed and grated potatoes, the “egg,” and the following ingredients in a medium/large bowl and stir together. 

  • 4 green onions, greens and whites, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (whole wheat crumbs work well)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Create potato cakes by taking 1/4-cups of the mixture, flattening them, and laying them on the sprayed parchment paper. Spray tops with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes, then flip them over. Bake another 6-8 minutes until golden. 

Serve with Vegan Tzatziki or a gravy or sauce.

Timing: Hands-on time 25 minutes; Total time: 55 minutes                                                

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 147 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat. fat, 33g carbs, 679mg sodium, 5mg fiber, 3g protein

Gluten-free if using gluten-free flour

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Gracious Vegan Tahini Sauce

By the Gracious Vegan

tahini sauce horizontal.jpg

I worked hard to get these proportions right. This comes out right every time, at least for my tastebuds. This works on everything: falafel, baked potatoes (sweet or white), all sorts of vegetables, and cooked grains as well. It is fast to make and lasts about a week in the refrigerator.

Makes 1.5 cups

Blend these together (food processor, blender, or stick blender). Add more water if needed.

  • 3/4 cup tahini

  • 1/2 cup warm water

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Timing: About 10 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food, unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information (per Tablespoon): 46 calories, 4g fat, 1g sat. fat, 1g carbs, 49mg sodium, 1mg fiber2g protein

Gluten-free

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Classic Red Enchilada Sauce

By the Gracious Vegan

Enchilada fads come and go. I grew up in California I the 1960s and 70s and like classic red enchilada sauce. I know it may not be as authentic as others, but it’s familiar and comforting, and it doesn't have the sugar, oil, and preservatives you might find in canned sauces. You can add cayenne pepper if you want more heat. 

Makes 4 cups

Water-sauté the onions and garlic in a large frying pan or medium-large sauce pan.

  • 2 cups chopped onion

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

Add the following ingredients. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes.

  • 4 cups tomato sauce

  • 1 cup vegetable broth

  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder

  • 1.25 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoon cumin

  • 2 teaspoons oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

When cooled a bit, use an immersion blender to create a smooth sauce, or leave it chunky, as desired.

Timing: about 25-30 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information (per cup): 86 calories, 1g fat, 0g sat. fat, 19g carbs, 1096mg sodium, 5mg fiber, 4g protein 

Gluten-free

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No-Bake Corn-Pepper-Spinach Enchiladas

By the Gracious Vegan 

Corn-Pepper-Spinach Enchiladas.jpg

If you’re good at multi-tasking, these enchiladas take only about 30 minutes, even if you make the crema and homemade enchilada sauce at the same time (although both freeze well, so you could build up a stash of them in the freezer for times like this). These beauties are as delicious as they are fast. The colors and flavors pop in your mouth!

Makes 6 servings

Start the vegan crema and enchilada sauce if you choose to use homemade (highly recommended). 

Filling. Sauté these ingredients in a large skillet with a Tablespoon or two of water, stirring frequently. (Or cook in the microwave for 4-6 minutes.)

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 red, green, or yellow pepper, diced

  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced, grated, or finely chopped

Add the following ingredients and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until spinach is reduced and soft, and corn is tender.

  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach, or 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed, with water squeezed out

  • 2 cups corn, fresh (from 2 large ears), frozen (thawed), or canned

  • 1/2 Tablespoon chili powder

  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Drain mixture if there is excess liquid and cook a bit longer to make sure the mixture is dry. Then add the crema and stir it in. Set aside. 

  • 1/4 cup vegan crema (see my Gracious Vegan Crema), 1/4 cup silken tofu (whipped until smooth), vegan sour cream, cream cheese, or cashew cream

Tortillas. Heat 1.5 cups of the sauce in a medium skillet over low heat. Dredge both sides of each tortilla in the warm salsa using tongs, and stack the tortillas on a plate.

Place a large skillet on low heat and pour about 2/3 cup of enchilada sauce into it. Spoon a twelfth of the filling onto one side of the first tortilla. Fold it in half and place it at the edge of the skillet on low heat. Repeat for the remaining tortillas, arranging them in an overlapping row, and make sure they all heat up to serving temperature. Serve and top with 

  • Additional sauce

  • More crema (use a squeeze bottle for nice presentation)

  • Finely diced bell pepper, chopped onion, sliced olives, and/or cilantro

Timing: Hands-on time 30 minutes; Total time 30 minutes         

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 203 calories, 4g fat, 1g sat. fat, 38g carbs, 1028mg sodium, 7mg fiber7g protein 

Gluten-free

 

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Old-Fashioned (but Vegan) Scalloped Corn

By the Gracious Vegan 

Old fashioned but vegan corn scallop.jpg

Some dishes are just homey and good. Scalloped corn, like its close relation scalloped potatoes, is one of them. Blended cashews made into a white sauce provide an excellent (superior, in my opinion) substitute for a traditional dairy-based white sauce. This is a great side dish, or a “co-entrée” with stewed tomatoes, a substantial salad, a soup, and/or anything else you think would go well with it. 

Makes 6 servings

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

White sauce. Soak cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes. (You can skip this step if you have a high-speed blender.) 

  • 3/8 cup raw cashews

Put cashews in a blender, add these ingredients, then blend until cashews are completely smooth (1-4 minutes). 

  • 1.5 cups water

  • 1/4 cup tofu (any kind)

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil slowly, stirring frequently. Once it boils, allow it to thicken for a minute or two, then remove from heat. Stir in the bread crumbs and set aside.

  • 1/4 cup dried bread crumbs (whole wheat works well)

Vegetables. In a large microwave-safe dish, microwave the following ingredients until the onion is transparent and soft, about 4-6 minutes.

  • About 3/4 cup chopped onion

  • About 3/4 cup chopped green pepper

Add corn, stir, and cook until the corn is just tender (will vary depending on your corn and microwave).

  • 4 cups corn, fresh (from 5 ears), frozen (thawed), or canned

Stir in the white sauce. Spoon the mixture into an ungreased medium casserole dish. Sprinkle with

  • 1/8 cup bread crumbs

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly and the bread crumbs are golden. 

Timing: Hands-on time 25 minutes; Total time 60 minutes         

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 217 calories, 7g fat, 1g sat. fat, 34g carbs, 273mg sodium, 5mg fiber7g protein 

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free bread crumbs

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