Zucchini Noodles With Mushrooms and gardein’s Classic “Meatballs”

I cannot get over zucchini noodles. They are simply delicious and versatile. I must have shared so many experiments that adding a “zucchini” label might be a future option. Maybe exploring zucchini noodle desserts will be my newest venture– in a bread or pancake? Perhaps not.
Still, I love zucchini and spiraling is my favorite way of eating it.
In this latest dish, I pan seared zucchini with mushrooms (my other sacred vegetable affair) with garlic and onions whilst preparing gardein’s Classic Meatless Meatballs separately in a chunky tomato sauce. Once dinner looked spectacularly put together, I added a dollop of extra cashew-tofu ricotta (leftover from these amazing Eggplant Roll Ups) and a smidgeon of Italian Seasoning.

Zucchini Noodles With Mushrooms and gardein’s Classic “Meatballs” Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 chopped red onion
1/2 cup mushrooms (used sliced Portobello)
1/2 large zucchini, spiraled to desired consistency (I spiraled mine into thin ribbons, cutting between lengths)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

5 gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs
1 cup tomato sauce (homemade or favorite jarred)

First off, over stove top, cover gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs in tomato sauce according to package directions. They take fifteen minutes.

Eggplant Roll Ups With Cashew and Tofu Ricotta (From Coco Verde Vegan)

Although I’ve eaten eggplant at various restaurants in roasted vegetable salads, in Baba Ganoush (my absolute favorite), and as fries, I’ve never worked with eggplant before last night. The moment Coco Verde Vegan posted an enticing picture and recipe for Eggplant Roll Ups on Twitter (posted here), I was blown away, desiring at last to experiment, bring the vegetable into the home kitchen at last..

With a fulfilling side of Lotus Foods Forbidden Black Rice (which had been out of stock for quite a while), the roll ups are completely simple to make and incredibly delicious. One great trick from Coco Verde Vegan is if not having time to soak cashews overnight, you can boil them for twenty minutes instead. This makes cashews susceptible for traditional blending method in a quicker fashion. Thick, luscious cashew tofu ricotta cheese and chunky tomato sauce topping deliver a pleasing reminder of stacked lasagna flare. I had leftovers for lunch– still impressive and beautifully composed.

Eggplant Roll Ups With Cashew and Tofu Ricotta Ingredients and Preparation

1 large eggplant

2 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Cashew and Tofu Ricotta

1 cup cashews

extra firm tofu

2 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/4 cup aquafaba (canned chickpea water)

2 teaspoon garlic

1 teaspoon salt

tomato sauce (I used a jarred vegan Portobello Mushroom sauce)

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice eggplant vertically as thinly as possible– about 1/4 inch a piece.

Coat slices in olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Bake for 35 minutes, turning them around about 18 minutes in.

Whilst eggplant is roasting, cook cashews in water for twenty minutes. Drain. Pulse them in blender or food processor with tofu, aquafaba, garlic, and salt until rich and creamy.

Take eggplant from oven, which should be soft and “rollable,” spoon a generous bit of cashew tofu ricotta and roll. Repeat for each.

Heat up tomato sauce and pour over top of eggplant roll ups. Sprinkle Italian Seasoning.

Mac N Cheese With So Delicious & gardein

gardein makes an impressive burger. Last week, I just tried out their Ultimate Beefless Burger and believe it is one of the best versions existing right now. It is also reasonably priced, at about one dollar and some change per patty, while others are astronomically higher. Also, on the product front, I’m absolutely enjoying So Delicious alternative cheeses more so than originally conceived. I wasn’t sold on the idea, having been stuck on Field Roast Chao forever, claiming that as grocery store winner. Yet, my social media pals are singing the praises and I caved, attractive to the green packaged mozzarella.

It only made sense to blend these two products together in a sensational macaroni and cheese dish that reminds one of simple childhood pleasures– mashing a pan seared patty to smithereens and joining it with creamy macaroni and cheese.

Mac N Cheese With So Delicious & gardein Ingredients and Preparation

1 1/2 cup macaroni
1 cup broccoli
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup So Delicious Mozzarella Style Shreds
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 gardein ultimate beefless burger, cooked and chopped
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian Seasonings
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Prepare macaroni to package directions.
Add cooked broccoli.
Mix in olive oil, So Delicious mozzarella, almond milk, and nutritional yeast until melting evenly.
Combine remainder of ingredients together and serve.

Violife Blueberry After Dinner Cheese Review

Remember that time so long ago that I visited the all vegan grocery in Paris, Une Vegan Monde?

Well, I finished the cheese off weeks ago and find myself craving this unique treasure. I didn’t believe that fruit in a cheese would taste as amazing as Violife crafted. This is a soy, nut, and palm free cheese, which is great considering that most vegan cheeses do have palm oil.

Months prior, I had tried Violife’s original block, a purchase from Vegan Marks the Shop. Violife’s Blueberry After Dinner Cheese combines a burst of sweet, irresistible berries with the original recipe, letting flavors mingle along, not making it a sugared, unruly mess. This is an exceptionally delicious creation, definitely in my top favorites. I wish that I could have more. Sadly, through my research of various online vegan stores, the Violife Blueberry After Dinner Cheese is seemingly impossible to get shipped to the states– only available in the UK.
For now, I have the pleasant memories, still sharp in mind and tongue, dreaming that one sweet, kind friend will mail me a package or two in a care package.
Or maybe, I’ll find some yummy Violife Blueberry Goodness in Berlin….

Happy Single Awareness Day: Mushroom Stroganoff With Charred Brussels Sprouts

I made a pleasant Galentine’s Day dinner last night sans the originally planned dreamy chocolate cake. Yes. Yes, I had planned to make a fabulous moist chocolate cake with sliced cinnamon bananas and mountains of heaping So Delicious Coco Whipped Cream to go alongside my Buffy and Cold Case marathons. In fact, my mouth still waters at the sumptuous concoction still swirling around in my Willy Wonka-n imagination, especially on this day where chocolate should rule the day. Alas the energy dwindled from a long day of library books and drawing on my litho stone for my CE printmaking class.

After I returned home from hours spent in the print shop, I stood in the kitchen, reflecting on cooking memories.
Traditional stroganoff at my childhood home was a rarity. It was one of those Hamburger Helper box type situations where Mom just added the meat and extra sour cream. We didn’t eat it often. I must say, however, it was a favorite pasta dish of mine next to the Fettuccine Alfredo and mac and cheese. There was something deliciously appealing about the combination of al deinte ribbon noodles coated in a light creamy sauce.

Also, I didn’t have vegan sour cream for my rotini styled in a stroganoff fashion. I don’t think it is absolutely necessary, but for one who wants to mimic tradition as much as possible perhaps it would be beneficial to have that on hand. In the meantime, the dish turned out splendidly well with a lovely savory sauce and charred crispy edged Brussels Sprouts.
As for dessert, there is always tomorrow for chocolate cake.

Mushroom Stroganoff With Charred Brussels Sprouts Ingredients and Preparation

2 cup rotini (or noodles)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cup portobello mushrooms
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup almond milk (or any other nondairy alternative)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

olive oil
2 cup frozen petite Brussels Sprouts
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Prepare rotini according to package directions.
In a skillet combine olive oil, garlic, and mushrooms. Let cook for 5-7 minutes.
Add nutritional yeast. turmeric, onion powder, almond milk, salt, and pepper to seared mushrooms. Stir and simmer for an additional 7-10 minutes.
Remove from heat and blend with rotini pasta.

For Brussels Sprouts, bring them to a boil and drain.
Let skillet heat up with olive oil for a few seconds before adding the sprouts.
Add cumin, sea salt, and black pepper, turning them around every few minutes, watching for various sides to blacken.

Brown Rice With Lentils, Mushrooms, and Spinach Stir Fry

Mushrooms are a running trend– only because I wanted to eat them before travels. They’re no good after a certain period of time passes by. They were perfect in this amazing stir fry that leaves the body satiated thanks to fibrous brown lentils and brown rice, seasoned with garlic, and loaded with spinach.

Brown Rice With Lentils, Mushrooms, and Spinach Stir Fry Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cup mushrooms (Portobello, white button, shitake, any one you want)
2 cup brown rice (I used Tasty Bite’s 90 Second Pouch)
1 15oz can brown lentils (drained and rinsed)
2 1/2 cup spinach
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a hot skillet combine garlic and mushrooms, cooking this for three to five minutes.
Add cooked brown rice and lentils, evenly stirring together to prevent sticking.
Turn off heat and fold in spinach. Once the spinach has wilted add onion powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and black pepper.
Serve hot and steaming.

Mashed Chickpea Salad With Roasted Tomatoes And Avocado

Last Saturday, I had such a horrid moment, having missed my Greyhound bus to New York City to attend the Sixth Annual Black Comic Con at Schomburg Center for Black Research. I had in mind to see Toyin Ojin Odujah’s latest works at the Whitney Museum, visit the Studio Museum of Harlem in its current space for the last time, and eat at Beyond Sushi.

I left the Greyhound Station miserably. There were no other morning tickets. Well, quite honestly, I didn’t want to spend another twenty dollars on a ticket, then spend more money on getting a new NYC MetroCard, and plus spend more on comic books and food– this would be breaking the budget set for myself.
Thankfully, Mom’s Organic Market was near the sad, pathetic walk down the street, dismayed by my tardiness. At the grocery store, I picked up chocolate, chips, and roasted tomatoes– comfort food and ingredients to make comfort food.
One of my primary goals for the year is to lower my soy intake and chickpeas are a grand replacement for the things that I love– tofu scramble, “cold cut” tofu sandwiches, and tofu ricotta. I probably can’t make chickpea into cold cuts or ricotta just yet, but I’ve been perfecting the chickpea scramble and this salad is a cold version of my usual recipe. All the ingredients come together so beautifully despite the simple ingredients and blending– great in a sandwich or as a stand alone.

Mashed Chickpea Salad With Roasted Tomatoes And Avocado Ingredients and Preparation

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly
3 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup roasted tomatoes
1 avocado, ripened

Pulse chickpeas, water, cumin, turmeric, salt, onion powder, and crushed red pepper together in food processor or blender. Make sure it’s at a creamy yet chunky texture– do not make hummus.
Mix in red roasted tomatoes. Serve at room temperature with avocado.

Raw Zucchini Noodles For Meal Prep

This will be a simple, cost effective week, trying to focus on saving money (leaving for Toronto in exactly one month), and implementing more veggies and pure ingredients into my eating habits. It is good to know what you’re putting in. Although tomorrow, the forecast calls for Taco Tuesdays with gardein fish filets with cilantro and mayo…..
I prepped a menu for the week and the first to share is zucchini pasta. Alongside these lovely spiraled strands of green zoodles, I added herbed new potatoes as a side dish– a cheat sheet purchase from Whole Foods Market, surprisingly delicious served at room temperature, and a whole avocado with nutritional yeast.

Raw Zucchini Noodles With Diced Tomatoes and Avocado

3 zucchini, spiraled
1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (used 365 Brands Organic Italian Styled Diced Tomatoes)
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 avocado, ripened
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Toss zoodles with diced tomatoes, garlic, salt, and black pepper.
Top with ripened avocado and nooch.

Raw Almond Ricotta

I am super happy to share that the almond ricotta experiment turned out wonderful, especially in the three factors that matter– taste, texture, and look. Usually, tofu is my go-to when the ricotta craving hits. It’s definitely cheaper to make almond ricotta with tofu, just a few dollars less, but the almonds make for a lighter, fluffier concoction, a step closer to my memories of ricotta. I packed a tub of this newfound treasure and gladly sprinkled some cheer for the remainder of work week, the first full work week of the year (a few snow days and Martin Luther King Jr. holiday). Thus, it added an upscale gourmet feel to my packed lunches and thoughts on a future delicious lasagna.

Almond Ricotta Ingredients and Preparation

1 8oz package blanched and slivered almonds
1 1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
pinch of lemon juice

Soak almonds in water overnight.
Without draining the water, add nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and lemon juice and blend together.
Keep refrigerated in an air tight container.

Holiday Activities With Black Beans and Rice

I hope everyone had joyous beginnings to this holiday week and spent the most wonderful time with families and dearest friends whilst delighting in precious splendor of merry music, classic films, red, green, and gold decorations, and good food (please have people try something vegan, cruelty free– this can be hard yet achievable). I stayed in comfort clothes with scorching heater and teddy bear companion, watching every holiday related film/television episode. I didn’t make a huge dinner– mourned mac n cheese, stuffing, veggies, and gardein turk’y cutlets– but didn’t have the spirit to stay in the kitchen and “wait forever.” I suppose lonely days off in December are like that. However, I must say that over the weekend, I tried out the Vedge curated Whole Foods Market menu and the “cheesy” rutabaga and potato mash was excellent as was the mushroom and black lentil stuffing. I have added rutabaga as the one thing to play around with in the new year. At last, my black beans and rice. It’s a simple recipe that continues to get better for me as time wears on. I especially believe that black beans and cumin have this beautiful relationship that goes well with a pot of brown rice. Out of all the vegan cheeses, for me personally, Field Roast Chao’s Tomato Cayenne has the perfect amount of spice that goes along with the ingredients. Next time, I would love to add diced sun dried tomatoes just to remix things.

Black Beans And Rice Ingredients and Preparation

2 cup brown rice
1 15 oz black beans, rinsed
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
Field Roast Chao Tomato Cayenne, 3-4 slices, chopped

Cook brown rice according to directions. Lower heat and drain some of the rice water.
Mix in black beans, nutritional yeast, cumin, garlic, and salt, stirring continuously for seven to ten minutes.
Add Field Roast Tomato Cayenne Slices, letting them melt in.
Remove from heat.