Our Vegan Thanksgiving Recap: Recipe Hits and Misses

I thought of beginning this post with ‘I can’t believe Thanksgiving has already passed!’, but looking at the amount of holiday leftovers that have overrun our fridge in the past week, I can’t help but believe that Thanksgiving 2014 is already behind us. So today I decided to post a recap of all of the delicious, cruelty-free vegan Thanksgiving recipes both Rob and I made to celebrate this holiday. This year, it was just the two of us at our Thanksgiving celebration. Because both of our families are too far away – Rob’s on the East Coast, mine in Russia – and the fact that we both are very introverted to make new friends easily, we realized early on that this Thanksgiving wasn’t going to be too crowded at our house, and made peace with that. However, I wanted to pull all the stops and cook a lot of traditional dishes anyway. This is … Read the rest of the post

Easy Vegan Pasta Primavera Recipe

The other day I was making this Pasta Primavera for dinner when it hit me: this dish embodies everything I believe vegan food should be – easy, quick to make, tasty and healthy – so it would be unfair to not share this recipe here on the blog! In fact, I’ve been making some variation of this pasta quite regularly because this recipe always saves the day whenever I’m too tired/lazy/pressed for time to make a more elaborate dinner. Plus, Rob being half-Italian is a big fan of pasta! The hands-down awesomeness of this recipe is that it’s very customizable depending on what ingredients you have on hand. I like it with spaghetti, but any pasta shape will do. Fresh veggies are great, but if you don’t have a lot of them, you can easily use a bag of assorted frozen vegetables in a pinch. Store-bought pasta sauce will work … Read the rest of the post

Bruschetta Pasta – the Quickest Dinner Recipe I’ve Ever Made (A Great Dinner Before a Running Race Too!)

We’ve all been there: after a long, busy day making an elaborate, time-consuming meal sometimes is the last thing we want to do. This is when a dish like today’s vegan bruschetta pasta comes in very handy. Not only is it easy to make, it’s also light and filling, and can be easily prepared with no oil! To say that this recipe for bruschetta pasta is quick to make is an understatement. I mean, cooking the sauce takes less time than boiling the spaghetti! Actually, even ‘cooking’ is too loud of a word here: diced tomatoes just get warmed up in the pan and then are taken off the heat right away. The inspiration for this dish came to me one day when I was trying to recreate Capellini Pomodoro from Olive Garden at home – it used to be one of my favorite dishes there, but I’m not sure if they … Read the rest of the post

How to Make Vegan Sausages at Home: a Recipe Review from Happy Herbivore Cookbook

Today I’m going to do something I haven’t done previously on my blog: I’m going to review someone else’s recipe, namely the recipe for Spicy Sausage from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes by Lindsay S. Nixon. I’ve mentioned this cookbook a few times before for a good reason: I’m a big fan of Lindsay’s simple and tasty recipes that call for everyday ingredients, and the layout of her book is very user-friendly, from the detailed table of contents to a very convenient recipe index. This was one of the first cookbooks I bought when I switched to a vegan diet, and it saved my day many times on occasions when I didn’t have any ideas about what to make for dinner. The Happy Herbivore Cookbook is the first cookbook Lindsay published (in 2011). Since then, she released three more cookbooks that I would love to get at some … Read the rest of the post

Roasted Butternut Squash Two Ways: Curried or Italian-Style

Roasted butternut squash is one of my favorite side dishes in the winter. It complements just about any vegan dinner very nicely. Butternut squash is naturally on the sweeter side, and the flavor and texture falls somewhere in between sweet potatoes and pumpkin. However, it’s less starchy than sweet potatoes (not that I’m afraid of starches!), and I find it tastier than pumpkin – I’m sure that a lot of you will agree with me here. A lot of people stay away from butternut squash because it’s quite hard to peel and cut up. Some people buy pre-cut butternut squash in grocery stores to avoid the drama of having to chop it themselves, but we all know that prepped vegetables are more expensive to buy, plus you often get less food for more money. If you follow the directions I’ve outlined in the recipe below, you’ll prep a whole butternut … Read the rest of the post

More Holiday Running Streak: Weeks 4 & 5 (Days 19-32), Plus How I Managed to Keep Running Every Day and Eat Vegan While Traveling

Christmas morning in Huntington, NY Wow, I can’t believe how fast the last couple of weeks flew by! As I continued my Holiday Running Streak making sure to run daily for at least a mile (usually more), I also got a chance to get out of my comfort zone during our trip to New Jersey and New York for Christmas to visit my husband’s family. What was so “out of my comfort zone” about our trip? Well, I’ve gotten very used to my daily routine at home where I could go for a run in the morning in fairly warm South Alabama winter weather, and then follow it with the enjoyment of playing around in my own kitchen fully stocked with plant-based vegan ingredients to make whatever foods I felt like… yep, quite an enchanted lifestyle indeed 😉 . During our six-day out-of-state trip, I wasn’t the one making the rules about our … Read the rest of the post

Stuffed Italian Rice Balls: How I Veganized My Husband’s Family Recipe for Thanksgiving.

Did everyone have fun this Thanksgiving? We sure did! This was our first Thanksgiving since going vegan. As if this wasn’t challenging enough, we also traveled to our friends’ house in Panama City Beach, Fla. What was the challenge, you might ask? Well, I had to make sure my husband and I had plenty of vegan food choices at the overall non-vegan Thanksgiving table our friends were planning to have. To make that happen, I spent the entire afternoon on Wednesday cooking one vegan dish after another, and then packing the entire spread to travel. I know, people do that all the time for Thanksgiving, but honestly, this was my first time of doing that, so it seemed challenging. Did we end up having enough vegan food? More than enough! Clockwise from top left: sautéed kale, stuffed rice balls (today’s recipe!), curried butternut squash, stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamy mushroom gravy, Hippie Loaf … Read the rest of the post

Easy Vegan Kale & Cashew Pesto Recipe

Pesto is one of those delicious and versatile Italian condiments that can brighten up any dish, from sandwiches and wraps to pastas and soups. This vegan Kale & Cashew Pesto is flavorful, easy to make, and packed with healthy ingredients! The classic pesto recipe calls for pine nuts and parmesan cheese. I’m one of those people who doesn’t tolerate pine nuts very well, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that raw cashews make a great substitution for pine nuts while adding to the creaminess of the final product. As for parmesan cheese, I didn’t miss it at all in this recipe. I used to be a huge fan of cheese even though dairy made my stomach misbehave and my skin break out pretty bad. Switching to a vegan diet about six months ago helped me overcome all of those issues as well as recalibrated my taste buds. No cheese … Read the rest of the post

Mushroom, Kale and Tofu Lasagna – a Basic Vegan Lasagna Recipe

Lasagna is the ultimate Italian comfort food for a lot of us. Multiple versions of vegan lasagna recipes can be found online, and if you’ve switched to a plant-based vegan diet a while ago, you’ve probably tried at least one or two of them. Vegan lasagna recipes can vary in their level of difficulty, so today I’ve decided to share a fairly simple lasagna recipe that I came up with not long ago. Like most of my recipes, this version of lasagna has a lot of vegetables and no added oil. I was born in Uzbekistan (a country that used to be a part of the Soviet Union) and grew up in Russia, and for a very long time we had little to no idea about Italian cuisine. Obviously, Italian people were not that eager to move to the Soviet Union and teach us the tricks of Italian cooking! Growing up, I heard … Read the rest of the post

Eggplant Rollups with Black Bean-Potato Stuffing

Are you familiar with that sweet feeling that you get when you’re experimenting with a new recipe for dinner, and your newly invented dish turns out to be a success? Well, not all of my inventions come out great the first time I make them, but the other night I was just that lucky! That dish is on today’s agenda – Eggplant Rollups with Black Bean-Potato Stuffing. Boy did these come out great! Not only they are fully vegan, they also have no added oil in the recipe. My only wish was that I had bought two eggplants instead of one to have some leftovers! UPDATE July 2015: This recipe has been approved by Dr. Michael Greger of Nutrition Facts.org to be a part of his healthy plant-based recipe directory! I’ll admit that the idea of using roasted eggplant instead of lasagna noodles in Italian-inspired dishes is not new. I’ve seen some recipes online, … Read the rest of the post