Meatless Monday: Vegan Pasta Salad

As a vegan when you are invited to parties and BBQ’s the item you bring will often be the only item you eat. I’ve learned the hard way that bringing only a dessert backfires since you won’t have anything to eat for dinner. I like to volunteer to bring a salad and a dessert to parties. I developed this vegan pasta salad to work both as a complete meal for vegans and as a side dish for other guests. The pasta salad includes sautéed Field Roast sausage, bell peppers, tomatoes, basil and parsley.  The Field Roast and vegetables are tossed with a short-cut pasta and a tangy vinaigrette. Make this at home for a Meatless Monday summer entree or bring it to a party to share.

Vegan Pasta Salad

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Spicy Grilled Corn Salad

Trey fell in love with corn on the cob last summer. Up until then he had never been a big fan of corn. My mom made him grilled corn on the cob and he loved it. Just goes to show you really do have to introduce new foods to kids over and over again before they make their final decision! Unfortunately for Trey his falling in love with corn on the cob was closely followed by his getting braces. As anyone who has had braces can tell you corn on the cob + braces = bad combo! I came up with this corn salad so that Trey could enjoy the fresh corn on the cob flavor while his mouth is still full of metal.

Spicy Grilled Corn Salad

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Vegan Apple Pie Muffins

My favorite dessert flavor is cinnamon sugar. I love the combination in most any form…cinnamon sugar toast, donuts, coffee cake or apple pie. I once had a vegan churro made by the team at Timeless Cafe and I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  I recently took my coffee cake recipe and made a muffin version that is a bit less sweet. I added apples and apple juice, inspired by one of my favorite recipes from Isa Moskowitz. Her Apple Crumb Muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance (a vegan cookbook must have) are a long time favorite. The resulting Vegan Apple Pie Muffins have that tasty combination of cinnamon and sugar, along with the spices and apple flavor reminiscent of apple pie.

Vegan Apple Pie Muffins

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Meatless Monday: Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl

I am thrilled to join the Meatless Monday team of bloggers. Meatless Monday is a movement that started in 2003 and encourages people to give up meat 1 day a week. I love the idea of encouraging people to become more aware of how what they eat affects their bodies, the environment and animals. The idea of going vegan or vegetarian is overwhelming for many people. A movement like Meatless Monday shows people they can change their eating habits without feeling deprived. Hopefully they feel good eating vegetarian food and they start to incorporate more and more animal-free meals into their diet.

We moved to our suburban area from a larger city almost 2 years ago and while we love most things about it, we do miss the food options in the city. Last year a new small chain restaurant, Spice Kit, opened up nearby and thankfully it is delicious. They offer lots of options for every style of eater (paleo, gluten free, vegan, omni etc). My favorite item is their Vietnamese bowl with tofu. The tofu is marinated in a sweet and spicy soy sauce. The bowl is served with white rice, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro and chopped peanuts. I decided to recreate my own version that I could enjoy at home. This spicy tofu rice bowl was a huge hit with Trey and Harrison and makes a great Meatless Monday meal.

Spicy Tofu Rice Bowl Pintrest

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Vegan Poppy Seed Cake

If you have ever been a guest in my parents home you have had poppy seed cake. Poppy seed cake is my Mom’s go-to dessert, and has been my whole life. The smell of the sherry cooking in the cake batter is the ultimate smell of home for me. I once had a friend say, “Whenever I think of your parent’s house I think of poppy seed cake and jarlsberg cheese” (clearly in my pre-vegan days). My parents have moved to a mostly vegan diet and my Mom asked me to create a vegan version of poppy seed cake for her. The original recipe uses cake mix and a lot of eggs. It took me several tries, but I’ve come up with a vegan poppy seed cake that is as delicious as the original.Vegan Poppy Seed Cake Pintrest

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Vegan Nachos for Game Day

We love to have sports parties in our house. During football season we have football parties, basketball season brings basketball parties etc. Lately we have been having lots of basketball parties as we watched the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Finals. Congrats Warriors! During these sports parties the 3 of us pile on the couch and eat snacks and/or dinner while we watch the game. Trey’s favorite game time food in vegan nachos. On Sunday night we watched the game with a big platter of vegan nachos. I make my own cheese sauce with Beyond Meat crumbles (recipe below) and pour it over warmed chips, melted Daiya shreds and black beans. On top we add salsa, olives, guacamole, vegan sour cream and pickled jalapenos. It is great game day food, whatever game you are into.

Vegan Nachos Pintrest

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Vegan S’mores Minus the Camping

I hate camping. I know, I know…camping is great, kids love it, you can enjoy nature, its so beautiful etc etc. As hard as I try I just hate the whole idea of camping. Sleeping outside or in a camper when I have a perfectly good home and bed is totally unappealing to me. Harrison has been trying for years to convince me that camping with Trey and the dogs will be great. It sounds like a complete nightmare. The roasting marshmallows for s’mores part of camping does seem fun, although I’d rather just do that over a fire pit in someone’s backyard. I decided to make vegan s’mores cookies so I could enjoy the one appealing part of camping without having to sleep on the ground.Vegan S'mores Pintrest

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Vegan Taco Salad for Breakfast?

Do you ever eat salad for breakfast? I know some people love to eat a fresh salad for breakfast, but what about leftover salad from the night before? This is one of my Mom’s favorite breakfasts, especially leftover taco salad. She loves it cold out of the frig with her coffee. While I can’t say I would ever eat this for breakfast I do love my Mom’s taco salad. It is the perfect mix of healthy green salad and tasty crushed chips. It has taken me many iterations to get a vegan version of this taco salad that tastes as good as my Mom’s. My version is made with Beyond Meat Crumbles, romaine hearts, tomatoes, chips, Daiya cheese, diced red onions, cilantro, chips and sliced green olives tossed in a salsa vinaigrette.  We top the vegan taco salad with avocado and sometimes Tofutti sour cream. It is delicious and still has that mix of fresh greens with crunchy chips.

Vegan Taco Salad Blog Pintrest

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Talking to Kids about Veganism – Ruby Roth Books

“Mom, I don’t like anything about Hooter’s.” This is what Trey, my 8 year-old, tells me last week as we drove past a Hooters on our way to his friend’s birthday party.  My first thought was “Thank God!”, but I decided I should inquire further.  “Why don’t you like Hooter’s?” I ask.  Trey says “The sign says they have wings, shrimp and burgers. All dead animals.” One point for veganism and one additional point for the fact that he doesn’t know about Hooter’s other selling points!  His comment made me laugh, of course, but it also made me glad that Trey knows why we are vegan.  Since he was tiny I talked to him about why we don’t eat animals. One of the things that really helped those discussions was Ruby Roth’s appropriately titled book That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals.

Ruby Roth Books

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Rustic Vegan Calzones

What does the word rustic mean to you?  When I hear a food is rustic I immediately think it will look like crap, but taste good. So I consider my vegan calzones very rustic. They are completely delicious, and don’t look like anything special. We like to dip them in warm marinara sauce. These vegan calzones are delicious fresh out of the oven and also freeze well.  I make a large batch and freeze half for future meals.

Vegan Calzones Pintrest

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