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


Meatless Monday: Favorite Vegan Sides

Favorite Vegan Sides

When most people hear you are vegan they immediately envision a diet of all side dishes. It is hard for people who aren’t familiar with vegan options to understand that we eat a wide variety of foods, not all sides with a gaping hole on the plate where the main dish used to be. Most of the meals in our house are bowls, casseroles, tacos etc that don’t require side dishes. Occasionally we will need a side dish and I have 2 of my favorite vegan sides to share with you today.

GARLIC RICE

Favorite Vegan Sides

This simple Garlic Rice was inspired by a local Japanese restaurant, Blue Ginkgo, that we love. They started to make Garlic Rice and it is so delicious I have been known to just eat the rice with edamame for dinner.

Favorite-Vegan-Sides

I was sent a sample of Royal Basmati rice to try and it worked perfectly in this Garlic Rice. I cooked the rice both on the stovetop and in my pressure cooker. The pressure cooker rice turned out better, but that is because I have terrible luck cooking rice on the stovetop. Rice cookers/Pressure cookers are my friend! I’m looking forward to trying a few of Royal’s other products, especially this Basmati, Wild Rice and Quinoa blend.

Serve this rice with my Teriyaki Bowl or use it as a side for any Asian inspired meal. I’m planning to use this frequently now that we are approaching cold & flu season. Garlic is known as a potent antibacterial.

Garlic Rice
 
Fragrant garlic rice that works well as a side for Asian inspired meals or as the base of a Bowl.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1¾ cup water
  • 10 cloves garlic, whole
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Tamari
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
Instructions
  1. Soak rice for 15 minutes then rinse. Place rice, water and 10 cloves of garlic in saucepan. Bring to a boil uncovered. Once boiling reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until rice is cooked. This can also be done in a pressure cooker or rice cooker. Follow your manufacturers cooking instructions.
  2. Once rice is cooked heat a skillet to medium high over the stove. Add in sesame oil and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Heat for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant. Add in cooked rice, Tamari and scallions. Toss to coat the rice. Taste for season. Add more Tamari and sesame oil as needed for flavor. Remove skillet from heat and serve.

 ROASTED POTATOES AND AIOLI

Favorite Vegan Sides

Potatoes are one of my absolute favorite foods. I blame my Irish heritage. I love them roasted, mashed, in potato salad and as fries. One of my favorite restaurants in Oakland, Encuentro, serves roasted potatoes with a side of aioli for dipping, The aioli changes frequently but my favorite is the Lemon Herb Aioli. I love the tanginess of the lemon combined with the fresh herbs.

The aioli can be used on sandwiches and the like but I love copying Encuentro and using it as a dip for my potatoes. Toss small potatoes that you have cut into wedges with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of your potato wedges and potato type. Once they are done let them cool slightly and serve with this tangy, fresh aioli. These potatoes are a great accompaniment to veggie burgers and are also a hit at potluck meals.

Favorite Vegan Sides

Vegan Lemon Herb Aioli
 
Tangy aioli packed with fresh herbs. A perfect side for dipping potatoes or delicious as a spread on sandwiches.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise (see note*)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (parsley, dill, basil are a good start)
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a serving bowl. Once thoroughly combined refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Notes
*I prefer Wildwood Organics Zesty Garlic Aioli

* This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive a free sample of Royal Basmatic rice for review. All opinions are my own. This post does contain affiliate links.

5 vegan ways to use up your Summer Tomatoes

Summer TomatoesLately I have been buying tomatoes every week at the Farmer’s Market. They look so colorful and delicious, and I know they will be gone for Fall soon. Because I have been buying so many tomatoes I have been coming up with various ways to use up these end of summer tomatoes. Here are my 5 favorite ways to use up summer tomatoes:

Summer Tomatoes

Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce

I loosely followed this recipe. I mixed the garlic, dried herbs and red chili flakes with the tomatoes before they went in the oven. I love the flavor of roasted garlic! This sauce was simple and delicious over pasta.

Summer Tomatoes

Vegan BLT

The classic sandwich is a great way to use heirloom tomatoes. I use the vegan bacon from Sweet Earth (apparently this is available at Target now!) for my BLT. You may notice I have mustard in my sandwich…I don’t like mayo in my sandwiches…EVER. I also used arugula because I had some on hand after making my Apple Arugula Salad.

Summer Tomatoes

Bruschetta

I have been enjoying bruschetta all summer long. You can use either cherry, plum or heirloom tomatoes in the recipe. Also if you have basil left over make a quick pesto. Spread your toasted bread with pesto before topping with the bruschetta.

Summer Tomatoes

Fresh Pomodoro Sauce

I followed this recipe from Giada de Laurentiis. I loved the technique of grating large tomatoes into the sauce. I substituted cashew cream for the ricotta and just added salt to taste to replace the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Cashew Cream is 1/3 cup of cashews blended with 1 cup of water. Start with 1/2 cup of cashew cream in this recipes and add more to taste if needed.

Summer Tomatoes

Salsa

Fresh Salsa is a great way to use summer tomatoes…mostly because it means you get to eat more chips! I also use my fresh salsa on burritos, quesadillas and tacos. Pico de Gallo is another great summer tomato use up.

Summer Tomatoes

What is your favorite way to use up end of summer tomatoes?

Meatless Monday: Lemon Herb Vegan Pasta Salad

Lemon Pasta SaladWe had a block party recently and I wanted to bring a pasta salad. I was going to make my hearty pasta salad with Field Roast, but it was hot out and I decided I wanted something a bit lighter and fresher. I came up with a vegan pasta salad with a lemon vinaigrette and lots of fresh herbs. The salad was a big hit. It can be a Meatless Monday lunch or light dinner. The leftovers are fantastic.

Lemon Pasta Salad

The salad is a mix of cooked and raw components. I sauteed 4 squash in a hot cast iron skillet. The idea is to get the outside crisp without turning the squash to mush. You could also use a hot grill if you like.

Lemon Pasta Salad

For the herbs I used mint and parsley. Basil would also be delicious here, but unfortunately my basil had gone bad before I had time to use it. If you are like my sister, who hates anything mint related, you can leave out the mint.

Use shallots or sliced green onions if raw onions are too intense for you.

Lemon Pasta Salad

Any small pasta will work in this salad. I used some cute little gnochetti that I found at the store. I love how the little pockets in the pasta held onto the dressing.

Lemon Pasta Salad

Lemon Herb Pasta Salad
 
A light, refreshing pasta salad filled with end-of-summer vegetables and herbs.
Ingredients
  • Salad
  • 4 small Squash (mix of zucchini and yellow squash)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely diced
  • ¼ cup sliced green olives
  • ¼ cup minced mint
  • ½ cup minced Italian parsley
  • 12 oz short pasta, cooked
  • Dressing
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 TB white wine vinegar
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp dijon
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Slice squash lengthwise. Add oil to a cast iron skillet or large pan over medium high heat. Place slices of squash into pan. Heat for 2-3 minutes. Flip squash over and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan. Squash should be browned on both sides. Chop squash into a large dice.
  2. DRESSING: In a small pan heat ¼ cup of olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Do not brown, just warm, garlic. Add warmed garlic and oil to a large bowl. Add in white wine vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Stir together with a small whisk.
  3. In large bowl with the dressing add cooked squash, red onion, green olives, mint, parsley and cooked pasta. Toss with dressing. Start by adding half of the dressing, taste and add more as needed.

 

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 Falafel Wraps

Falafel WrapWhen I first became a vegetarian many moons ago I came up with these vegan falafel wraps. They are easy, flavorful and satisfying. As I read about veganism I remember saying to Harrison “I could never be vegan, the only vegan thing I make is those falafel wraps!”. Times have obviously changed, but I still love these falafel wraps. These are a fantastic Meatless Monday option if you are cooking for meat eaters wary of having a meal without meat. The falafel and hummus are familiar flavors and make a hearty meal.

Falafel Wrap

For the falafel I used to make my own. I like the falafel recipe from Appetite for Reduction in particular. These days I typically buy pre-made falafels from Whole Foods or the Farmer’s Market. Buying falafels makes this an incredibly quick meal. I tried these frozen falafels available at Whole Foods from Falafelim. They were just ok and I don’t think I would use them again. I much prefer the ones I can buy fresh at the Farmers Market.

The hummus is the same as the falafel. Feel free to make your own. This is my favorite homemade recipe from Dreena Burton. Typically I use Haig’s hummus since I always have it on hand.

Falafel Wrap

For the vegetables, or what we call the medley, I stir the following ingredients together in a large bowl:

  • 3 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups cucumbers, peeled, seeded & chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

I put our wraps in Lavash bread. Lavash is available at both Whole Foods and Trader Joes. You can also use pita bread, but I much prefer lavash wraps. I like that the lavash can crisp up and doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the ingredients.

Falafel Wrap

Assemble the wraps:

  • Put 2 Tablespoons hummus on the left hand side of the lavash
  • Add 1/4 cup of the vegetable medley on top of the hummus
  • Add 2-3 falafels – smashed a bit -next to the medley
  • Add a dash of hot sauce (optional)
  • Roll the bottom of the lavash up 1 inch.
  • Roll entire wrap from left to right
  • Place in a hot pan to crisp up each side
  • Serve!

Falafel Wrap

Keep these ingredients on hand and you will always be ready for a last minute dinner or lunch.

Meatless Monday: Vegan Teriyaki Bowls

Vegan Teriyaki BowlsTrey has been attending a camp this summer that offers lunch each day. Initially I was packing his lunch, assuming that the vegan options would be limited. Each day though there seemed to be plenty of vegan options that Trey was excited to eat. In particular he loved the Teriyaki they offered him. It was rice, tofu and snap peas in teriyaki sauce. Since he enjoyed it so much I decided to create Vegan Teriyaki bowls at home. In our teriyaki bowls I used a base of white rice, snap peas and broccoli and marinated tofu – all topped with teriyaki sauce. These bowls are a great Meatless Monday meal since many of the flavors are familiar and it can be ready to serve your family in 30 minutes or less.

For this particular recipe I used pre-made teriyaki sauce because I wanted this to be a quick meal. You can definitely make your own teriyaki sauce – it is not difficult and there are tons of great recipes available. I used a Teriyaki sauce from Organicville. I like that it doesn’t have any strange ingredients and flavor wise it isn’t overly sweet. I often find bottled teriyaki can be sickenly sweet. In this case it is the perfect balance of sweet, savory and spicy.

Vegan Teriyaki Bowls

To cook the tofu I used one of my favorite, low touch methods – broiling. I marinate the tofu for a bit and then broil it in the oven. I love the texture of broiled tofu. It is especially good for people who are new to tofu. It is not mushy at all and has a crisp outer layer. Be sure to use a super firm tofu, preferably one that is not packaged in a tub of water. I like the Trader Joe’s brand and Wildwood Organics. If you haven’t used your broiler before here is an easy how-to.

Vegan Teriyaki Bowls

The key for a good bowl is to make sure each component tastes delicious on it’s own. If you add one flavorless component, say plain steamed broccoli, it waters down the flavor of the whole dish. I saute the broccoli and snap peas with garlic and chili flakes. I also add rice wine vinegar to the rice to add a bit of flavor.

Do you have a favorite brand of teriyaki sauce or homemade teriyaki recipe that you love?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Meatless Monday: Vegan Teriyaki Bowls
 
Savory, flavorful bowl filled with vegetables, tofu and rice. An easy weeknight meal for busy families.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Tofu
  • Teriyaki Sauce, either homemade or store-bought
  • 2 teaspoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon Chili Flakes
  • 3 cups Broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 cup Sugar Snap Peas
  • 1 teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 3 cups White Rice, cooked
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
  • TOPPINGS
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Scallions, sliced
  • Cilantro, minced
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl or flat dish stir together 1 cup of Teriyaki sauce and ½ cup of water. Omit the water if your teriyaki sauce is already fairly thin. Slice tofu in ½ inch slabs. Place the slabs in the teriyaki mixture. Let tofu marinate for 5 minutes. You can marinate the tofu for up to 12 hours if you like. Move the oven rack to the highest possible position (about 3-4 inches from the heating element). Turn your oven on broil.
  2. While the tofu marinates, heat a large pan to Medium on the stove with olive oil. Add in garlic and chili flakes. Saute for 1-2 minutes. Toss in broccoli and snap peas and stir until the vegetables are coated in the garlic and chilis. Add in ¼ cup of water and cover pan. Let vegetables cook for 5 minutes, covered. After 5 minutes the water should be absorbed and the vegetables will be crisp cooked. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil.
  3. Go back to tofu while vegetables cook. Place slabs of tofu on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Place under the broiler and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes turn tofu over and broil for an additional 5 minutes. Watch this carefully as every oven is different - check to make sure you don't burn the tofu. Once the tofu is cooked you can cut the slabs of tofu into cubes or serve the tofu in slabs.
  4. Toss cooked white rice with Rice Wine Vinegar. Start with 1 Tablespoon and add additional Tablespoon to taste.
  5. Assemble: In each bowl place rice, diced tofu, and vegetables. Drizzle teriyaki sauce over each bowl. Top with Sesame seeds, scallions and cilantro. Serve warm.

 

Meatless Monday: Spicy Vegan Fajitas

Vegan FajitasWhen I was about Trey’s age my family moved to Dallas. In addition to the major culture shock (who knew 8 year old’s carried a purse!?!) we were introduced to Tex-Mex. My favorite Tex-Mex dish was fajitas. I loved the sizzling platter of food that arrived at the table and how you got to assemble each fajita on your own. Like most kids getting to add just the right amount of toppings for myself was ideal. I am always looking for easy weeknight meals that take less than 30 minutes to make, and vegan fajitas fit that bill. This Meatless Monday meal is a spicy, satisfying and quick meal for your family.

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Meatless Monday: Spicy Peanut Noodles

Spicy Peanut Bowl

I like weeknight meals that fall into one of two categories: Ready in less than 30 minutes -OR- Components can be made in advance and assembled quickly.

My Spicy Peanut Noodles fit into the later category. This is one of my favorite meals to make when Trey has a late practice. Early in the day I slice all of the veggies, cook the noodles and make the sauce. When we get home from his practice I toss everything together and we can sit down to eat 5 minutes after walking in the door.

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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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