Sweet Potato and TVP Chili Recipe

Since we are about to embark on a cross-country move from Alabama to Washington state, lately I’ve been trying to cook through all of the dried and canned food in my pantry. Okay, maybe not all – it’s unlikely that I’ll go through about 10 pounds of dried beans of all sorts, but at least I’m trying! One of the long-forgotten things in my pantry that I’ve stumbled upon the other day was a bag of textured vegetable protein, or TVP as it’s known in the cooking world. I bought it to make these vegan sausages from Lindsay Nixon’s Happy Herbivore Cookbook. The sausages were delicious, but I haven’t made them again since then, and the bag of TVP got pushed all the way to the back of my pantry. Once I rediscovered it the other day, I set myself for a challenge to use it. Enter this vegan chili recipe I came up … Read the rest of the post

Vegan Kitchen Simplified Series. How to Replace Butter and Eggs in Baked Goods and not End Up with Cardboard.

Welcome to the third episode of Vegan Kitchen Simplified series! Today we are going to talk about vegan baking. I’ve always been a huge fan of homemade baked goods thanks to my mom: she used to bake delicious (but not vegan) treats all the time when I was little. As I got older, I embraced baking at home myself but rarely tried to experiment with unfamiliar recipes. Once I became vegan, a whole new world of amazing vegan baking opened up to me. I was surprised to find out that vegan baked goods could be not only much healthier than their conventional versions, but also quite delicious! I mean, why do people even bother baking with butter and eggs if the same desserts can be successfully made without them?! What Butter and Eggs Do in Baking, and How We Can Replace Them Here’s the deal: butter/margarine/shortening and eggs are widely used in conventional, non-vegan … Read the rest of the post

10 Healthy Food Combinations to Maximize the Benefits of Your Plant-Based Vegan Diet

A few months into my near-constant research of the plant-based vegan diet I developed a list of easy food tweaks that allowed making my newly adopted plant diet even healthier. Since I was constantly on the lookout for ways to eat better, I was glad to find out that we can bring out the healthy potential of some foods by combining them with certain other foods (I’m going beyond the protein-combining myth here!). Today I’m going to share with you my list of 10 plant-based food combinations that made a difference for me. Interestingly, I use these tips  almost on autopilot these days because they are so easy to implement in my daily routine. Even if you’re not a vegan and just randomly stumbled upon this post, you can still reap the benefits of these little tweaks! 10 Healthy Plant-Based Food Combinations 1. Beans and lemon juice. Think it’s an odd combo? Quite the opposite: … Read the rest of the post

Classic Russian Borscht, Veganized! – Virtual Vegan Potluck, November 2013

I am superexcited to be participating in my first Virtual Vegan Potluck – an online event that unites over a hundred food blogs in an awesome chain of all-vegan recipes, from appetizers to beverages to entrees to desserts! VVPs happen twice a year, and for this month’s event on November 16, my blog is being featured in the Soups category. Welcome Virtual Vegan Potluckers! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by my blog! To check out the rest of the Potluck, scroll down to the end of this post and click the ‘Go Forward’ or ‘Go Back’ buttons – they’ll continue to work even after November 16. To see the full list of participating blogs, click here. I was thrilled to find out that the featured ingredient for this November’s potluck is BEETS! This has become a great incentive for me to finally share my recipe for the world-famous Russian soup called BORSCHT – completely veganized, … Read the rest of the post

How to Cook Dried Beans 101: the Healthy, Tasty and Cheap Way to Prepare Beans from Scratch.

Let me say this loud and clear: I LOOOVE BEANS! I love them so much that the majority of the recipes I make at home feature some kind of beans. My tender feelings towards these protein-loaded gems have led me to devote today’s post to the secrets of their optimal preparation. Beans spark creativity! (To make Mr. Bean Man here, I used chickpeas, blackeye peas, black lentils, mung, lima and speckled butter beans.) First off: why should we eat more beans? Beans and legumes contain large amounts of plant proteins, B vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium, and various phytonutrients. Beans are much lower in fat than meat and dairy while providing good amounts of protein: one cup of lentils contains 17 grams of protein and only 0.75 grams of fat with no cholesterol. Beans contain two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber enters our bloodstream and brushes out cholesterol … Read the rest of the post

Black Bean-Potato Stew with Kale

Just before we left Alabama, I made this black bean and potato stew on a night I was craving something warm and comforting with no added oil. This dish turned out to be one of those one-pot wonders that don’t require a lot of attention an can be prepared well within an hour. I usually add kale to soups and stews in the last couple minutes of cooking (or even as I take the pot off the stove) because I don’t want it to wilt too much. If you prefer your kale more wilted, feel free to add it 5-7 min before the dish is done. You can also use other leafy greens instead of kale, bearing in mind that more tender varieties like spinach will take even less time to wilt. You may have noticed that I use very little oil – or omit it completely – in my recipes. … Read the rest of the post

Vegan Minestrone Soup with a Twist!

Another heartwarming healthy vegan soup is on today’s agenda: this time it’s minestrone, a classic Italian vegetable soup. This version of plant-based minestrone is relatively simple and quick (don’t be scared by the long list of ingredients!), and you can customize it by using different vegetables and their amounts. FYI: In modern Italian language, there are three words that relate to the English word ‘soup’: zuppa, which refers to tomato-based soups or fish soups; minestra, referring to a more substantial vegetable soup or ‘dry soup’ such as pasta; and minestrone, which denotes a very substantial or large soup or stew. While there is no set recipe for minestrone soup, cooks agree that a classic version should include beans, pasta, and an array of vegetables, such as potatoes, tomatoes, celery, onions, zucchini, etc. Non-vegan versions often call for bacon, meat, or some kind of meat-based stock, but they are unnecessary if you want to … Read the rest of the post

Three Bean Barley Chili

Chili is supposed to be a wintertime meal, a perfect dish for those long, dark evenings when you’re all cozy on the couch with a hot steaming bowl of this velvety goodness … Well, I’ve never been a fan of limiting deliciousness, so why not give it a try in the summer? I first read about the idea of adding a hearty grain to a vegan chili recipe in Scott Jurek’s book, Eat and Run. In the book, Scott admits to never having liked chili before until he tried a chili recipe with grains. According to Scott, they can give a vegan chili that heartiness that meat chilis have. He provides a recipe that he calls Minnesota Winter Chili and suggests using bulgur wheat along with beans and other ingredients. I’ve had my own chili recipe for a few years when I was still eating meat. It always came out perfect … Read the rest of the post