Vegan French Bread Pizza

Vegan French Bread PizzaDid you eat that fancy microwave French Bread pizza in your youth? I don’t remember having it at home, but when I went to college I bought it to eat in my dorm room. The picture on the box always looked so delicious, but the flavor and texture never quite measured up for me. It was always a soggy, sad mess when it finally hit my plate. Last week I decided to use a loaf of bread from the Farmer’s Market to make a worthy vegan french bread pizza. Topped with Field Roast sausage, fresh olives and Follow Your Heart cheese this was a huge hit. Huge hit is probably an understatement. My husband and son inhaled their pizza and I should have made double the amount that I made. Lesson learned…make big portions of vegan french bread pizza!

Vegan French Bread Pizza

There isn’t a recipe for this pizza, more of a methodology. You can use any toppings and vegan cheese that you like. Cook the pizza at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes until the cheese is getting melty and the bread toasty. I turn the broiler on at that point to add some color to the cheese and really crisp the edges of the bread.

Tips for delicious vegan french bread pizza:

  • Use a light, airy french bread – really dense french bread makes a pizza that is difficult to bite into and the bread to topping ratio is hard to get right because the bread is so dense.
  • Cook your Field Roast (or veggie meat of choice) before you put it on the pizza and in the oven. This lets the veggie meat get crisp without burning your whole pizza.
  • Use a good quality pizza sauce. My favorite is the fresh sauce from Whole Foods. It is inexpensive and has great flavor.
  • Use good quality olives from the olive bar. These will up the flavor of your pizza.
  • After cooking for 7-10 minutes, pull your pizza out of the oven. Turn on your broiler. Spray the top of the pizza with a little canola oil spray. Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes…watch carefully to prevent burning! The oil helps the cheese melt and get good color.

Vegan French Bread Pizza


Vegan Tortilla Casserole

 

Vegan Tortilla Casserole

Confession – I don’t only read vegan blogs. I’m often inspired looking at blogs that feature food I wouldn’t eat. One of my favorite non-vegan blogs is Pinch of Yum. It is beautifully written and photographed by Lindsay Ostrom. Her food looks delicious and the recipes include plenty of spices to get my creative juices flowing. She recently published a recipe for a vegetarian tortilla casserole. She actually uses tofu in her filling, so you can see why I like her! I set out to make a vegan tortilla casserole after seeing her post. Mine is made with black beans, green chiles, homemade enchilada sauce and vegan cheese.

Vegan Tortilla Casserole

The homemade enchilada sauce recipe is simple and can be made in just a few minutes in the blender. The recipe makes 4 cups and you will only use 2-3 cups in your casserole. I’ll be showing you a recipe for vegan beef and cheese burritos soon where you can use any leftover sauce. This recipe is delicious with homemade enchilada sauce, but I have also made it with canned sauce. I like the Hatch brand and the Frontera brand.

Vegan Tortilla Casserole

One thing I did not change from Lindsay’s original recipe was to cover it with her Magic Green Sauce. This sauce is everything I love – spicy and tangy with a bit of texture. We have used it in falafel bowls and sandwiches, as well as on tofu. If you like herby sauces with a kick be sure to try this sauce drizzled over the casserole. It is magic!

Vegan Tortilla Casserole

The casserole is great to make ahead and doubles really well for a large group. The leftovers are also delicious.

What are your favorite food blogs? I’m always looking for new recipes and inspiration.

Vegan Tortilla Casserole
 
Spicy, soul soothing black bean vegan tortilla casserole. Delicious right out of the oven and equally tasty for lunch the next day.
Ingredients
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1 TB garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 4 oz can diced green chilies
  • 2 15.5 oz cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 8 oz vegan cheese shreds
  • 3 cups enchilada sauce - homemade or store-bought
  • Black olives (optional - for topping)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole dish. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add chili powder, cumin, salt and diced green chilis. Stir to combine and then add in black beans. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  4. In greased casserole dish spread ¼ cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish. Layer pan with 4 tortillas. Take half of the bean mixture and spread over the tortillas. Sprinkle ½ cup of cheese over beans. Pour 1 cup of enchilada sauce over the cheese. Now repeat process - layer 4 tortillas, top with remaining bean mixture, ½ cup cheese and 1 cup of enchilada sauce.
  5. For final layer top with remaining 4 tortillas. Pour the remaining cup of enchilada sauce over the tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and top with black olives if desired.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and wait 5 minutes before serving.

Enchilada Sauce
 
Easy, spicy enchilada sauce made in your blender.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups tomato sauce - make sure no salt is added
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 TB garlic
  • 3 TB chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder (optional - leave out for a milder sauce)
  • 1 jalapeno (seeded if you want the sauce less spicy)
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 TB tamari
  • 1 TB agave
Instructions
  1. Add everything to your blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

 

Meatless Monday: Indian Tacos

Indian-TacosYears ago one of my closest friends, Elisa, spent Fourth of July with my extended family. We were in the middle of nowhere so each night one of us cooked dinner for the group. Elisa made delicious Chana Masala style tacos. Recently I decided to create my own version, inspired by her original. I made these Indian Tacos with a creamy coconut curry featuring chickpeas and kale. I served them in warmed corn tortillas with homemade mango chutney and vegan raita. These are delicious for a Meatless Monday dinner and the leftovers make a tasty, filling lunch.

Indian Tacos-3

For the greens I used a bag of baby kale that I bought at the Farmers Market. Any green will work here, but do slice the greens thin so they cook completely in the 10 minute timeframe.

 

For the raita I used the homemade yogurt I have been making every week. This worked much better than raitas I have tried in the past using store bought vegan yogurt. I think the key is to add white wine vinegar – that really seems to diminish the aftertaste some vegan yogurts can have. This was a cool, creamy topping for the spicy tacos. If you don’t want to make raita you can also use vegan sour cream.

Indian-Tacos-Chutney

For the chutney I followed my favorite recipe from Curtis Stone. I used Mangos in this version. I have used peaches and nectarines in the past. This recipe is very versatile and is the perfect mix of sweet fruit, spicy red peppers and tangy vinegar. The only change I made to the original recipe is that I used a hand blender to puree the chutney since I like mine to have a smoother texture.

Indian Tacos-7

Give these Indian Tacos a try the next time you are in the mood for a flavorful, satisfying weeknight dinner.

Meatless Monday: Indian Tacos
 
Spicy and satisfying Indian Tacos. Creamy coconut curried chickpeas and greens topped with tangy chutney and cooling vegan raita in a warmed corn tortilla.
Ingredients
  • TACOS:
  • 2 teaspoons Coconut Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Mustard Seed
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Curry Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 small Tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup Coconut Milk
  • 1 bunch Kale, remove stem and slice thin
  • 2 cups Chickpeas, cooked
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 8 Corn Tortillas, warmed
  • RAITA:
  • 1 small Cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 cup Vegan Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Mint, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Lime Juice
  • 1 small clove Garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon White Wine Vinegar
Instructions
  1. TACOS: Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add in Coconut Oil. Once it has melted add mustard seeds. Cook for about 60 seconds until the mustard seeds start to pop.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in onions. Saute for 5 minutes until onions are translucent. Add in garlic and ginger. Saute for another 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in curry powder, cumin, red pepper, garam masala and salt. Add in tomatoes to deglaze pan. Stir in coconut milk and let mixture cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in kale and chickpeas. Cook for an additional 10 minutes until kale is wilted. Stir in lime juice (start with 1 Tablespoon) and taste for salt.
  4. Serve in warmed corn tortillas with chutney and vegan raita.
  5. RAITA: Grate the cucumber into a large bowl. Add remaining raita ingredients, stir to combine. Taste for salt. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

Meatless Monday – Vegan Pesto

Years ago I made the mistake of telling Harrison I thought basil “smelled like summer”. I have no idea where that line came from, but it was so lame and so unlike me that he has never let me live it down. If he smells basil anywhere in his vicinity he stops, smells the air and says “Wait a minute. Is it just me or does it smell like summer?”. So bad. Pesto is the ultimate way to use up summertime basil. I like to make batches all summer long and freeze the extras in ice cube trays. My go to vegan pesto recipe uses cashews and lots of lemon. I like to make it very thick and then thin it out as needed depending on how I’m using the pesto. Having pesto on hand makes Meatless Monday meals a snap.

Vegan Pesto Pintrest

The idea to use cashews in pesto instead of traditional pinenuts comes from Dreena Burton. She has a delicious Lemony Cashew-Basil Pesto recipe in Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. Once I started using cashews in my pesto I never went back. Cashews make the pesto very rich so I don’t end up needing as much oil. Cashews are also considerably less expensive than pinenuts.

Vegan Pesto

Trey loves pesto in any dish. Recently I have been adding it to his grilled cheese (made with Follow Your Heart slices). He can’t get enough. His favorite way to use pesto is definitely in pasta. The kid loves his pasta! When I use the pesto in pasta I always take out 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water and set it aside. Then when I mix the cooked pasta with the pesto I add the water in small amounts to thin the sauce to the right consistency. The starch from the pasta water helps the sauce stick to the pasta.

Vegan Pesto

 

 

Other favorite vegan pesto uses:

  • Top a lackluster store-bought vegan pizza with pesto to add creaminess and a punch of flavor
  • Use pesto as the base of vegan pizza – works especially well if using a cornmeal crust
  • Add more oil and vinegar for a unique salad dressing or to drizzle over sliced tomatoes
  • Use pesto as a base spread for bruschetta appetizers
  • Use as a spread for vegetable sandwiches
  • Add to soup (either store bought or homemade) – my favorite is to stir pesto into minestrone

What are your favorite ways to use pesto?

Vegan Pesto
 
Versatile vegan pesto that can be used on top of pasta, on pizza, as a sandwich spread or in bruschetta. The possibilities are endless.
Ingredients
  • 1 large bunch Basil
  • ½ cup Cashews
  • 2 small or 1 large clove(s) garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Instructions
  1. Pick basil leaves off the stems. Place in the food processor with cashews. Pulse until cashews and basil are finely chopped.
  2. Add in remaining ingredients and run food processor for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. The pesto should be fairly smooth. Add more water or olive oil if needed. Taste for salt.

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Meatless Monday: Tofu Fried Rice

Tofu can be a very confusing ingredient for people who are new to eating without meat. Most people are curious about how to use tofu, but they also usually have a horror story of some awful dish they ate in the past with tofu that still haunts them. The key with tofu is to understand the different types of tofu and use them in the correct dish. I’ll break down the different tofu options and their best uses. I also have a new recipe using tofu to make a vegan fried rice. My tofu fried rice is a complete meal, full of veggies and protein. When you use leftover rice it is a quick and easy Meatless Monday meal to add to your rotation.

Tofu Fried Rice Blog Labeled

Tofu Types:

One of the confusing things about tofu is all of the texture and packaging options. There are many great guides that focus on the different textures (Super Firm, Firm, Soft, Silken) of tofu. While the labeled texture is important, I think the biggest differentiator is how the tofu is packaged.

ASEPTIC SILKEN TOFU

Tofu that is stored on the shelf in the grocery store, normally in the Asian food aisle, is packaged in an aseptic box. This tofu has a silken texture and is very soft. I use this type of tofu when I make dessert. It blends into dishes really well, but won’t hold up to stirfrying etc. Many people also use tofu stored in aseptic containers if they are using tofu as an egg replacer in baking.

Tofu Fried Rice - Mori-Nu

photo credit Mori-Nu

WATER PACKED TOFU

This is the tofu you see in the refrigerated case at most grocery stores. The tofu sits in a small tub of water. Regardless of the labeled texture, this type of tofu is going to be full of moisture. Many people like water packed tofu for scrambles, since the additional moisture keeps it from drying out. I rarely use this type of tofu because I find the texture way too mushy for my liking. If this is all you can find in your area be sure to press the tofu to remove the excess water before adding it to your dishes. Here is a quick overview on how to press tofu.

Tofu Fried Rice - Water Tofu

photo credit Wildwood Organics

VACUUM PACKED TOFU

Vacuum packed tofu is my favorite variety for making stir fries, scrambles, curries etc. This tofu is vacuum sealed with a very small amount of water. I find this tofu to have the best, most firm texture. I never need to press this kind. The brand I normally see is Wildwood Organics. It is sold at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

Tofu Fried Rice - Vacuum

photo credit Wildwood Organics

To make my Tofu Fried Rice I advise using the Vacuum Packed Tofu if you can. In my dish I quickly pan fry crumbled tofu before cooking any of the veggies. By adding a little turmeric the tofu looks like the egg it is replacing in traditional fried rice.

Tofu Fried Rice - Tofu

Once the tofu is cooked and removed from the pan you can work with any veggies you like. Make sure they are cut small so they cook quickly. This Tofu Fried Rice is a great way to use up vegetable odds and ends in your refrigerator.

Tofu Fried Rice - Veggies

I like to top my rice bowl with Sriracha for a hit of spice. Skip the Sriracha and consider a sweet chili sauce if you are looking for a milder dish. The leftovers are fantastic for lunch the next day.

Tofu Fried Rice 2

Tofu Fried Rice
 
Tofu fried rice is a complete meal in one bowl. A Meatless Monday favorite packed with veggies and protein.
Ingredients
  • 2 teaspoons Sesame Oil, divided
  • 8 oz Tofu
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ cups Broccoli Florets, finely chopped
  • ½ cup Carrots, peeled and shredded
  • ½ cup Zuchinni, shredded
  • ½ cup Scallions, sliced thin
  • 4 cups Rice, cooked
  • 3 Tablespoons Tamari
  • ¼ cup Cilantro, minced
  • Sririacha, optional
Instructions
  1. Add 1 teaspoon sesame oil to a large non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Crumble in tofu. Add in turmeric and salt. Mix until turmeric is completely combined in tofu. Saute for 10 minutes over medium low heat. Add splashes of water if needed to prevent sticking. Once tofu has cooked for 10 minutes take tofu out of the skillet and set aside in a separate bowl.
  2. Add remaining teaspoon of sesame oil to same skillet over medium heat. Add in ginger and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add in broccoli and 2 Tablespoons of water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in carrots, zucchini and scallions. Cook for 2 minutes, mixing frequently.
  3. Add rice and Tamari to the vegetable mixture. Stir until well combined. Add in tofu. Cook over Medium hit, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Serve warm, topped with cilantro and Sriracha.

 

Meatless Monday: Quick Curried Chickpeas

Chana Masala is my favorite meal to order when I go to a new Indian restaurant. I love the spicy, complex flavors and how each restaurant’s is slightly different. I wanted to create something similar to chana masala that I could make quickly at home. The result is this 30 minute meal that is an ideal Meatless Monday option. In my version I don’t include tomatoes, because Trey does not like chunks of tomatoes. I also include coconut milk to add some healthy fat and creamy texture to the dish. I looked at many curried chickpea recipes in books and online as I created this dish. I was inspired by recipes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Richa Hingle and Ree Drummond. Above all I wanted this dish to be fast and flavorful. It turned out to be just that and I am thrilled to have another 30 minute meal in my repertoire.
 Quick Curried Chickpeas Labeled

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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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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 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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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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