Posts tagged gluten free

Favorite Vegan Macaroni and Cheese All-In-One Casserole

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Welcome Fall!

It’s my favorite time of the year for comforting and flavorful meals.

Piping hot casseroles, stews and soups. I’m all for it!

I know you and your family will love my revamped vegan Macaroni and Cheese recipe that I want to share. This is an update to the  3-Way Mac-n-Cheese post from forever ago.

Even though there are ten thousand delicious vegan mac-n-cheese casseroles already out there, this is my default recipe now. Why? Because it is simply a meal in itself. It’s fast and convenient. You don’t have to soak the cashews or thaw the frozen veggies, which makes this so easy to throw together.

That’s right, veggies are involved and smothered in cheese sauce, so 8 year olds gobble it down without complaint. You can even add Gardein Chick’n strips or Beyond Meat grilled or lightly seasoned strips… hence the “all-in-one”.

This recipe always leaves leftovers for our family of three, which I love. Some weeks we get lucky and one night we’ll do a leftover buffet from a few previous meals. Isn’t that the best? As much as I like cooking, I love NOT cooking!

You can serve this with a side salad as you may find you won’t be able to stop eating this casserole. A salad may help to slow you down.

I usually use a lot more broccoli than pictured, but I ran out for this round. I decided it was time to blog it anyway.

In my old post, I talked about not being able to eat nutritional yeast… well, I didn’t realize that as a newer vegan, when I tried nutritional yeast, it was too potent with fiber that my body was not used to. I wrote it off then, but THANKFULLY I gave it another chance after being vegan for a while, and now all is fine in my intestinal world… We can’t get enough of it now. High protein, high fiber, B-12 and cheesy goodness!

You can make this dish gluten free by using brown rice noodles, which we usually opt for. We like Tinkyada brand. For this dish pictured, I used mini wheat elbows for something different (not gluten free). I really like the look of this casserole with a brown rice Fusili noodle, which is mostly what I use. I know I said it would soak up too much liquid in my other post, but we take our chances and it works out fine. I even cut back the liquid from the original recipe in order to make it a thicker sauce. You can always keep it at two cups and add more cashews if necessary.

You’ll have to play around with this recipe depending on your preference and baking dish. I know you’ll make this more than once!

With that said, please take note of the casserole dish I am using, because I feel it needs to be a deeper dish in order to keep the casserole from potentially drying out.

Keep me posted in the comment section if you make this recipe. I look forward to hearing from you.

By the way, if you are looking for more recipe ideas or daily inspiration, the best place to follow me is on Instagram at karmatarian, or Facebook. I also have a few recipes over on Pinterest. I usually follow back on Instagram if you aren’t a private user.

Be sure to sign up for email notifications for future blog posts as I post when the mood strikes.

…and it would not be my post without a sarcastic comment about how much I hate the dairy industry!  I’ll leave it to Dr. Klaper and his now famous words from the must see documentary “Cowspiracy”. Listen to what he has to say about baby calf fluid…

 

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

Favorite Vegan Macaroni and Cheese All-In-One Casserole

Ingredients

  • 1 -16 oz Box or Bag of preferred Pasta Noodles
  • 1 plus 3/4 Cup Non Dairy Milk, Plain
  • 1 Cup of Raw Cashews
  • 2 Tbs Soy Sauce (I usually useTamari)
  • 1/2 Lemon – (Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp of Jarred Crushed Garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4-1/2 Cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 of a 16 oz bag of frozen Broccoli (guesstimate on the frozen veggies because you can add as much or as little as you like)
  • 1/2 of a 16 oz bag of frozen Green Peas
  • 1/2 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs, Gluten Free Bread Crumbs or Panko Crumbs
  • 1 Tbs Melted Coconut Oil or Grapeseed oil
  • Optional Paprika to sprinkle on the top

Directions

Heat oven to 375 degrees

Boil  water and cook pasta according the the directions.

While pasta is cooking, add the next 11 ingredients to a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings. It should taste bold as flavor will dissipate a little among the noodles and veggies.

When noodles are finished, drain and pour into a 2.8 Liter oval casserole dish

Mix in the frozen veggies

Mix in optional cooked chick’n (I don’t usually do this, but it is an idea)

*Make sure all ingredients are at least level with the top of the casserole and not overflowing, because you want the sauce to cover everything, or at least have coated the top later.

Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and veggies and mix well

In a small bowl pour bread crumbs and 1 Tbs oil and then use a fork to blend well until nice and crumbly.

Sprinkle the coated bread crumbs evenly over the casserole. Sprinkle with a little paprika if desired.

Pop the casserole into the oven uncovered and bake for 20 to 25 mins. Bread crumbs should brown nicely.

Enjoy!

Christa

~The Karmatarian

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Chewy Cranberry Crunch Energy Bars

chewy cranberry crunch energy bars

These bars have a crunchy, sweet and creamy thing going on that was totally inspired by an energy bar I found at Home Goods. Yes, of all places.

I swore I would re-create that energy bar at home one day, and I finally did. Of course, I added my own flare to it and came up with what I call an adult version of a rice crispy treat that will give your teeth a workout. But in a good way! I really do like to chew. Most vegans still do ;)

Pre-packaged protein bars can really break the bank after a while. Not to mention they have a long list of ingredients especially that whatchamacallit ingredient that happens to still be vegan, but not ideal. I’m growing tired of falling into that trap, so I’ve been on a mission to make so many things at home this year. I’m saving money and I’m in control of the ingredients.

Ya know, most of the stuff is SO EASY to make. It’s a shame we all got duped. It really is.  Sometimes I wish I lived among friendly vegan neighbors who all made their own stuff with simple ingredients and we all swapped. There are quite a few things to make at home but you just can’t do it all at once. I’m noooo Martha. I guess I’ll keep dreaming because it seems to me the only thing some neighbors swap… are partners… bah dun dun dun if you know what I mean. Aaand we ain’t goin’ there. Ever.

Because I’m making my own everything these days, I have to tackle the mindset just like I do each grocery trip, where I try something new I haven’t tried before. This is the same way I transitioned into veganism… each week I tried a new vegan recipe until I had so many that I liked, I couldn’t even keep count. Now, each week I intend to make something homemade rather than buy pre-made and so far I have tackled a lot!

I say, just put your mind to it and walk in that direction. Intention draws experiences toward you and builds momentum. When you put your mind to the fact that you will be vegan, vegan people, places, things start showing up for you. Then before you know it, 8 years go by. It’s pretty amazing.

About this chunky crunchy energy bar…

I soaked my almonds just because those can be tougher to chew when raw, plus I leave them whole in this recipe. I left the millet unsoaked because I wanted insane crunch. And insane crunch I got.

I don’t have but a few taste testers. My husband gave these an enthusiastic thumbs up. Just looking at the picture makes me want to make these again. I only really share successful recipes, but everyone has their own tastes and opinions.

Definitely let me know about your experience with this recipe. I also want to hear about the things you are making at home instead of spending oodles of cash on at Whole Foods.

Please share!

chewy cranberry crunch energy bars

Chewy Cranberry Crunch Energy Bars

 

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup of Almonds (Soaked Overnight)
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Millet (I didn’t soak these. I wanted the extreme crunch)
  • 1 Cup Rice Puffs  – (I used Enjoy Life’s brand Crunchy Rice)
  • 1 Scoop Garden of Life- Raw Protein Powder, Vanilla flavor
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Butter Melted (30 seconds in the nuker will do it)
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 Tbs Brown Rice Syrup
  • 3 Tbs Dried Cranberries
  • 2 Tbs Raw Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas)
  • 2 Tbs Sunflower Seeds

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Line your pre-sectioned brownie pan with saran wrap and pour mixture into each square. I layer another sheet of saran wrap over everything and press the mixture into the pan using my hands, this way my fingers don’t get stuck to the sticky bars. They also pop out easier. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour. These bars need to stay refrigerated or cold until ready to eat, to keep their shape.

Enjoy

Christa

~The Karmatarian

 

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Mandarin Coconut Dressing Over Spring Salad

Mandarin Coconut Dressing

Let me tell you about a fabulous little discovery, which is totally not news to some of you. I discovered coconut flour!!! Yes!!!

Coconut flour is something that I heard about long time ago. The seed was planted and then I just had to buy some. And there it sat…. waiting in my pantry… waiting… and waiting. I didn’t really know what to do with it. I figured I would get around to it. Well. Let me tell you. Now that I have, this stuff is amazing!

There are not many things I eat these days that don’t make me stop and think… “what is this doing for me?” “What are the benefits?”. With coconut flour, you get a low carb, gluten free, fiber packed, low glycemic protein boost… along with lauric acid – an immune booster. Coconut flour is simply coconut meat, dried and ground into flour form! A little goes a long way, as it soaks up moisture quickly and expands. There is a texture that is notable. You can’t ignore it, but I like it! You’ll adjust. Just be careful. Sometimes it can be a bit dry. There are ways to get around that.

Check out this fantastic page over at Nuts.com because there you can find out more information about coconut flour and have it delivered right to your front door!

There are many ways to try coconut flour, you can bake with it, thicken sauces, bind foods and so on.  Do the research upon baking as it does act different than other flours.

Oh! Let me share something that will rock your vegan gluten free coconut flour baking world! Forget the eggs! So many coconut flour recipes call for lots and lots of eggs (just stab me in the heart… that’s easier to handle) due the dry nature of the flour. Two words – AQUAFABA BABY! If you don’t know what aquafaba is, I suggest you Google it. It’s the vegan miracle of 2015! Egg replacer extraordinaire. Ah the creativity of the vegan kitchen. Love it!

Right now, there are a few things I like to do with coconut flour. I add a small amount to my green smoothie to thicken and add bulk. The extra fiber keeps me fuller longer. I bind protein bites and bars with coconut flour and I also made an amazing two ingredient coconut pudding that my family went crazy for the other night. It took all of 3 minutes to make. I decided that it should be my next post since I’m on a coconut kick. It’s so simple that it almost feels silly to post about it, but just wait. It changed my life last week ;) It could change yours too.

Let’s talk about salads and how I incorporated coconut flour for a healthy boost. Being that Spring is here, my salads are changing with the season. I like my salads lighter, fruitier and sweeter this time of year. I always prefer no oil dressing and I usually, most often times, make my own. It’s too EASY with a Vitamix!

Right now, we have Mandarin oranges coming out the Wazoo! Don’t you? Take advantage of these while you can. I am pretty happy that my son loves these mandarins because I couldn’t get a steady flow of vitamin C into this kid to save my life. He is quite picky. Or, he just likes to give me a hard time.

mandarin orange

Mandarin orange slices

I decided to make myself a quick dressing using a few of these mandarins along with white balsamic, that like the coconut flour, has also been sitting in my pantry… just waiting.

This turned out fantastic! Use more or less coconut flour depending on your consistency preference. Creamy is relative, because I wouldn’t call this smooooth creamy… I would call this a textured creamy. But I know what it’s doing for me and it tastes great to boot!

This is a recipe for about one to three servings. For every 2 tablespoons of coconut flour you get 5 grams of fiber, 8 carbs and 2 grams of protein, 2 grams fat. Coconut flour is also high in Iron. For 2 tablespoons it’s 10% of the daily value. I see why athletes are going crazy for coconut flour.

Mandarin Coconut Dressing

 Mandarin Coconut Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 Mandarin Oranges
  • 1/4 Cup White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Coconut Flour (start with 1 Tbs. I used 2, but think most people would prefer 1 to 1 + 1/2)
  • 1 Tablespoon Agave or  1/2 Tablespoon of Agave 5
  • Dash of Sea Salt

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients in a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Blend on high until smooth. Adjust salt and consistency.

Spring Salad

Ingredients

  • A few handfuls of Power Greens such as a blend of Baby Spinach, Baby Kale, Red and Green Chard
  • Chickpeas
  • Pistachios
  • Fresh Raspberries
  • Cooked and Cooled Red Quinoa
  • Favorite type of Sprouts

Directions

Toss the above ingredients in the desired quantity and top with fresh made Mandarin Coconut Dressing!

Enjoy!

Please share your Spring salad and dressing ideas with me. I’d love to hear them!

Christa

~The Karmatarian

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Roasted Winter Squash Over Garlic Fettuccine with Baked Vegan Cheese

Baked Cheeze and Roasted Squash over Garlic Fettuccine

Crazy me, I thought I could get back to blogging again, but crazier me decided that I was going to knock something off of my bucket list and enter a bodybuilding/bikini competition this year. Yep. CRAZY crazy me.

So far, training has been awesome. I have 21 weeks under my belt of working out 5 days per week and HARD! I am very proud that I haven’t missed one workout. Not one! Now if I could just be as dedicated of a blogger… I know :( There’s something about knowing that I’ll be 41 years old, half naked on a stage and competing against girls half my age that really lights a fire under my @ss!

The good news is that I only have four weeks until show time and then it’s back to cooking and baking things I can eat without a care. It’s like, do I wanna be a chef or an athlete? It’s a total dilemma! But in all honesty, it hasn’t been that bad. I still eat most things I want. It’s the beauty of already having developed a healthy lifestyle. Back in my old “bodybuilding” days it was chicken, chicken, a side of chicken, tuna, eggs and more chicken. YUK. I can still smell it. Now that I’ve opened my mind, I can eat wonderful meals with diversity, colors and flavor. No more chicken. Bleh.  “GASP – But WHERE do you get your protein???” I was recently asked this question by a very shocked figure competitor who’s eyes were as big as saucers when I told her I was vegan. I LOVE IT!!!!

My favorite thing about this competition is knowing that I won’t be the girl on show day who is constipated, crabby and tired as all hell. Nope. I’ll be feeling great and all CARBED UP! GO VEGAN!

This recipe I’m sharing goes way back, B.V. – Before Vegan – to when my husband and I lived in Raleigh, NC. We shared great times and great dinners with some truly wonderful friends. We miss you Nic and Carrie! It’s hard no to think of our friends every time we serve this. We are thankful they introduced it to us and thankful most anything can be veganized! IT’S AWESOME!

Try this dish and attach some of your own memories to it. If serving to friends or family, they will be impressed. We were! It’s straightforward, simply beautiful and pairs great with a colorful side salad.

Gluten Free? I use brown rice fettuccine noodles and I “bread” the vegan cheese with finely ground cashews instead of bread crumbs in order to make this a wonderful gluten free dish.

Right now, I’m going to give you a good tip: Buy the Butternut squash already peeled OR pierce it with a knife and microwave it on high for about 4 minutes BEFORE peeling with an INSANELY sharp peeler. Your thumb will thank you. Don’t worry, it’s all good now. I healed just fine ;)

Baked Vegan Cheese and Roasted Squash Over Garlic Fettuccine

 Roasted Winter Squash Over Garlic Fettuccine with Baked Vegan Cheese

Ingredients

  • 6 Cups Cubed, Peeled Butternut Squash (1 inch)
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 TB Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt, divided
  • 1 tsp or more chopped fresh Rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 package of Teese Vegan Mozarella Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup dry Organic Bread Crumbs or 1/2 Cup finely ground Cashews
  • 1 Package Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta Fettuccine
  • 1/4 tsp crushed Red Pepper (I put it on the table as an option)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°.

Add butternut squash and bell pepper to a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon oil; toss well. Arrange mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan.  Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and black pepper. Bake at 425° for 40 minutes, stirring once.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Return pasta to pan; add reserved pasta cooking water, remaining 1 1/2 Tablespoons oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and garlic. Toss to coat.

Cut the Teese cheese crosswise into 8 equal rounds. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Either dip the rounds into oil (or water, if watching oil intake) and dredge each round in breadcrumbs; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 6 minutes. Check after 4 minutes to be sure it isn’t melting all over the place. You want it to stay round and somewhat firm.

Place 1 1/4 cups pasta in each serving bowl and top with about 1/2 cup squash mixture and 1 Teese cheese round. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, if desired. Serve with crushed red pepper as an optional condiment.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Spinach Pesto Portobellos with Cranberry and Mint Quinoa Salad

Spinach Pesto Mushroom with Cranberry Mint Quinoa Salad

Alright, Alright…. I know you are tired of seeing that Turkey rescue post every time you come to my blog. My friends, you have spoken, I have heard you… and I am back. Yes, I ditched this blog. For many reasons. I really didn’t intend for that to happen, but it did. I will fill you in about the soul searching journey I have been on this year so far, and my new take on veganism. That’s for my next post. Right now, let’s eat…

Spinach pesto portobello mushrooms with cranberry and mint quinoa salad. This was our delicious dinner yesterday! I threw this together pretty fast. Don’t you just love when that happens!? I really liked this combo. Try it and be sure to let me know what you think.

I haven’t made portobello pizzas in a long time. I usually like them with red sauce as in my other mushroom pizza recipe on the blog. I tend not to do pesto too often because of the large amount of basil needed.  Basil costs a lot it seems, and it goes bad quickly for me. Maybe it’s just me? I don’t buy it too often. I prefer to grow it, but I don’t have any right now. I always have a huge tub of fresh spinach on hand, so I thought I would try a spinach pesto. This one is not fat free, it contains olive oil.

Before I share the recipe, let me tell you where I’m at with oil right now. The cleaner I eat, the more obvious it is that my body doesn’t like certain oils. Canola, Sunflower and Safflower oil for sure. I can feel the inflammation take hold. Gee, I wonder… could it be all the GMOs and the fact that I’ve eaten it my whole life? Manufacturers put in in EVERYTHING!! No more of that! I read all labels now and avoid canola and sunflower as best I can. I made a commitment a while back to cook whole foods plant based style, and that is… little salt, no sugar and no oil, nothing processed. I do this 4 nights per week. I have been doing this steadily for about a year and a half now. The other few days of the week I like to have fun. There might be a little oil, or lightly processed vegan foods combined with whole foods. These recipes happen to be more fun to post. Anyone can pick up a Forks Over Knives cook book. This is my go-to book! I’ll admit, it was intimidating at first, with few pictures, but now I just usually open the book and wherever I land, that is what I will try. Who said I’m not adventuresome?

If I do use oil, I prefer olive, grape seed or coconut oil. If I want to do a fat free pesto, I use veggie broth, tofu, water or soaked nuts in place of the oil.  The mixture just needs something to wet it down a touch in the food processor. I have to get dinner on the table every night. I do balance out the oil/no oil/ fat/no fat recipes over the course of a week. I definitely have a family with differing needs in the calorie department. The oil of course, helps to make this dish rich and creamy. It sure makes it good and we enjoyed it!

Here are the recipes…

Spinach Pest Portobellos

Spinach Pesto Portobellos

Ingredients

  • 5 Portobello Mushroom Caps (I used 2 very large and 3 medium/small)
  • 5 Cups Fresh Spinach Leaves, packed
  • 1/4 Cup Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Organic Olive Oil
  • 4 Small Garlic Cloves (I don’t know what they are doing to garlic these days but the cloves are HUGE. Have you noticed?)
  • 1/4 -1/2 tsp Salt, or to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tsp of Lemon Basil dried herbs or just plain dried basil. If you have a little fresh basil on hand, use that
  • Lemon Juice – Half Lemon, Squeezed
  • Squirt of Agave (Optional. I did this because mine was a bit too salty. Be careful with your salt.)

Directions

Add all of the ingredients (except the portobellos of course) in the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash and dry the mushroom caps and remove the center stem. Fill the mushrooms with pesto sauce and place them in a glass baking dish (non greased). Bake for 25 minutes until the juices of the mushroom start to run. Let cool slightly to set, before cutting.

Cranberry and Mint Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Tri-Color Quinoa, cooked according to package directions, and cooled or cooled mostly
  • Lime Juice – 1 Lime, Squeezed
  • 1/2 – 1 Whole Lime Zested (start with 1/2 and adjust to taste)
  • 2 tsp Agave
  • 1-2 Tbs Orange Champagne Vinegar (or a little orange juice plus more lemon juice and a dash of apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Mint
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Fresh Parsley
  • 2 Scallions, Chopped ( I included the whites. Why not?)
  • Handful or 2 of Chopped Dried Cranberries

Directions

Mix all of the ingredients together and toss. Taste and adjust.

Enjoy!

~ The Karmatarian

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Portobello Pizzas

Vegan Portobello Pizza

I love Portobello Pizza. It’s one of the easy, fast, low fat staples in my recipe rotation. It’s the kind of meal that let’s you have dessert afterward without guilt.  I usually serve this with a side salad and wild rice blend that is cooked up in veggie broth with a little added nutritional yeast. Or… whatever leftovers I might have on hand. In just 30 minutes, Dinner can be served!

Sometimes I add basil and extra garlic or spinach leaves. Sometimes I fill these with a vegan pesto. Either way, they are fast and good.

This idea of Portobello Pizza isn’t new to me and probably isn’t new to you, either. However, I used to make this pizza with dairy cheese (pre-vegan) and then went on to make it with vegan cheese. I found that in both scenarios, the texture of the mushroom paired with sauce AND slimy cheese, was well… too slimy. I can’t think of a better word. Maybe slippery? I mean, the whole topping just slides right off the mushroom if you aren’t careful.  Maybe you can relate?

I like to change up textures and flavors all the time in the kitchen and Portobello anything is a nice change of pace.  As for the pizza, I finally found a good combination that is very pleasing and complimentary. I now use a crushed cashew “cheese” topping that I have used before in other recipes, and it happens to be perfect for the mushroom pizza. You have to try it!

This can be a low sodium, oil free and gluten free meal depending on your sauce and your side dishes. It can be VERY hard to find a jarred pasta sauce without oil, a ton of sodium and sugar. Good luck to you! The last sauce I used was from Trader Joe’s, you know the fat-free organic one they usually hide waaayyyy down on the bottom shelf. I don’t know why? If I had the jar here now, I could tell you the sodium and sugar content but my guess is that it’s not great. I was just happy it was OIL FREE and ORGANIC. I’ll double check it next time I’m there. You probably can’t believe I let that slip by. I try to choose my battles over here and I tend not to fight them all at once. Things usually balance out over the course of the day.

I do know there is a brand of oil free and low sodium pasta sauce out there which my dad recently found and likes. It will most likely have to be ordered on line. I will get back to you with the name of it.

 

 

Portobello Pizzas

Ingredients

  • Large Portobello Mushroom Caps (the amount is up to you, I usually make 5 or 6 – 2 for each adult and one for my little guy)
  • A Jar of Your Favorite Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Cup Raw Cashews (this depends on how many pizzas you make but I always make extra topping to keep in the pantry
  • Optional – Other toppings you might enjoy, such as fresh basil, minced fresh garlic, spinach leaves

Directions

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees

Wash the mushroom caps gently, remove the stems and pat dry with paper towels

Fill the mushrooms with sauce and extra optional toppings and place in a shallow glass baking dish (I usually use a 9 x 13)

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until the juices begin to flow (if the juices aren’t flowing, they have not finished cooking)

While the mushrooms are baking, pulse the cashews in the food processor until desired texture (I like a semi-fine Parmesan cheese-like texture mixed with chunky bits of cashew)

Remove the pan from the oven and top pizzas with ground cashews and bake again for 5-10 minutes longer… but watch closely. Cashews should be barely toasted. If you are brave, you could broil on low for a minute.

I would love to hear your reviews, topping ideas and more. Feel free to comment below.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

There are a million vegan egg salad recipes out there! I have tried a few, and I thought I had it figured out. Then one day, I combined a few different recipes along with a twist of my own and came up with what I think is the perfect vegan egg salad. I really enjoy this and I know you will, too.

I don’t fear a little tofu

If you don’t already know… Organic tofu is alright with me.  Ever since going plant-based and focusing on whole foods versus processed foods, I don’t fear soy. I am in control of how much soy comes into my life. I make my own meals and rarely eat out. If I were still consuming mostly a standard American Diet and still eating soy and tofu along with all of that soy lecithin and soy oil and soy fed animals, etc… I would be worried about it.

Soy is a highly genetically modified food, I believe somewhere around 90% of the crops are GMO. You have to be very careful. Only choose organic tofu from a good responsible brand you recognize or research.

Another reason that I don’t fear tofu or fermented soy is knowing that Dr. T. Colin Campbell can turn his cancer patients around on a plant-based diet that has some tofu and whole food/fermented soy involved. So why be so afraid? It certainly helps add fun to the vegan diet. Btw, I am not talking soy protein isolate here.

I remember a great interview I watched with Dr. Christine Horner talking with Dr. Mercola, and she really explained breast cancer and estrogen and the difference between plant estrogen and the evil estrogen that actually contributes to breast cancer. It is eye opening and nice to relieve the fear. You can watch the video or read the article here.

Here she talks about flax and soy falls into the phytoestrogen category as well:

“I hear from patients, “Oh! My oncologist told me not to take flaxseeds, because they’re estrogenic,”” Dr. Horner says.”They don’t understand how plant estrogens or “phytoestrogens” work.

There are all sorts of different strengths to estrogens. Let’s say estradiol, which is the strongest, most abundant form– if it hooks on to the estrogen receptor, it may cause a thousand cell divisions. But if a plant estrogen hooks on, it may cause one. When you flood your system with these plant estrogens, I’d say it’s kind of like a game of musical chairs. There are only certain numbers of receptors, and whoever gets their first, gets it. They’re blocking the strong estrogens from getting on, so that’s why it has an inhibitory effect.”

~ Dr. Christine Horner

If you read that article – Just for the record – I don’t agree with Dr. Mercola about eating grass fed beef. Grass fed, organic or pampered like a family member before slaughter… Meat has No fiber, No disease fighting phytochemicals and is still too high in calories and fat and lowest in nutrients compared to other foods, so why bother? Not to mention, all cows headed for consumption have to stand in this line.  Why tap into fear and anxiety energy? By consuming it, we become it.

Fiber

It’s one of those things I always thought only old people had to worry about. Little did I know fiber is SO damn important for all of us at any and every age. It helps to rid the body of toxins and excess hormones as well as help with weight management.  I choose not to get excess hormones from dairy. Yes, even organic and raw milk has natural growth hormones. A lot of them!  Being that I have less hormones to remove from my system, I don’t see soy as a big threat.

I have realized that beef and meat Agri-giants have something to do with a lot if not most of the negative studies that come out against soy. They have the money to fund ’em and push the ones that have miniscule findings against their end goal. They make money when you eat more beef, not more soy. If you eat all the soy, what in the world will they feed their cows and chickens? Oh my!

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Let’s get back to the recipe!

A few things to note… I tried fresh lemon juice and zest in this and it’s OK… I don’t like lemony egg salad. If you love lemon and have to add it,  just add a touch to bring out flavor, but I think you will find this is flavorful enough on it’s own.

I also ran out of regular Dijon this last time and used whole grain Dijon. Wow! It really added quite a spicy kick. It was good though!! If you like that sort of thing, great.. if not pay attention to your Dijon and maybe add less to start, even with the regular Dijon. This is where the dash of agave came to play… it cuts the spice and rounds things out. I prefer it in the recipe.

Instead of using vegan mayo to mix things up… my special twist that makes this so creamy and hearty is cashew cream. When I have it on hand, I remember to make this salad. I love cashew cream for topping so many things, from baked sweet potatoes, to burritos, to chili… I used to use Tofutti but I rarely ever do now that I make cashew cream. I even use this as a sandwich/wrap spread from time to time. I love it more than vegan mayo that I usually make, as I can cut back on the soy/ tofu and enjoy it other places… such as in this egg salad!

Black Sea Salt – You have to have this on hand to make “egg” dishes taste egg like. I use The Spice Lab brand.

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Perfected Eggless Egg Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 – 12 oz Package of Organic Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1/2 Cup Carrot, grated
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, diced very small
  • 3 Stalks of Celery, diced very small
  • 2 Tbs Sliced Almonds (2 heaping Tbs)
  • 2 Tbs Chives or Green Onion, chopped small
  • 2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Agave
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp or more of Black Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Cup, (plus 1 or 2  if needed) Tbs Cashew Cream (See Below)

Directions

Drain the Tofu while preparing the other ingredients. Line a plate with paper towels, place tofu on top and cover with the paper towels. I like to put a clean kitchen towel on top at this point. Place something heavy on top of everything so that the weight pushes the liquid out of the tofu. I like to use a stack of  large heavy plates. You can also buy a tofu press. I really need to order one!

Place all of the ingredients in to a medium sized bowl and crumble in the drained tofu while squeezing out any excess liquid that remains. Mix and fold all ingredients with a spatula until well blended and evenly colored (turmeric).

Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Refrigerate to chill and incorporate the flavors.

Cashew Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 + 1/4 Cup Cashews
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp Curry Powder ( I don’t always add this, but lately I have. More flavor!)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan Sea Salt (Pink Salt)
  •  Favorite Non Dairy Milk or Filtered Water

Directions

Soak the Cashews in purified water for 2 hours + or overnight. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and place them in your high speed blender or Vitamix along with the other ingredients except for the milk or water. Blend until creamy. Use the non dairy milk or filtered water a little at a time to adjust the dressing to your preferred consistency. Adjust the seasonings and it’s ready. Also note that it will thicken a bit when refrigerated.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Spinach and Tomatoes in a Garlic Wine Sauce

Simple. Light. Perfect for a Summer evening dinner out on the patio. It’s gluten free, vegan and low fat (oil free), but you will need to finish off that bottle of white wine… but who’s complaining?

My summer is picking up and I’ve really been enjoying it. I hope you are enjoying yours. I managed to style 15 updo’s for Cirque du Soleil performers and staff a few weeks ago with the help of a good friend. We got to enjoy the show from very good seats and my little guy LOVED it! It made me so happy. Also happy that no animals were involved. I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it was to discover the abuse that goes on toward such majestic elephants and wild animals for the traditional circus. I recommend watching Earthlings if you haven’t yet. And boycott the old circus at all costs! The Dralion or any Cirque show is worth saving up your money and taking your family out for a memorable day.

… Another happy vegan moment. Finding cute cowboy boots – man made material! I have been looking for a pair for a few years and unfortunately it was tough, so I stopped looking. Last week, I ran into a cute little store here called Francesca’s Collections and I spotted them, they actually fit, and off I went to a country concert…. Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney! Brothers of the Sun tour. Who wouldn’t have a fabulous time seeing these two hotties perform?

Next on the agenda, we rented a cute little lake house for some fun in the sun…. I hope to take some time to evaluate life and set some goals for the future in a quiet natural setting.  There’s no chance of getting on the computer as I was told there is no internet access. This might be really interesting to see how addicted I honestly am to technology. I might just go a little crazy, but maybe not? We’ll find out, won’t we?

Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Spinach and Tomatoes in a Garlic Wine Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 – 16 oz Package of Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta (gluten free)
  • Vegetable Broth (approximately 2 cups but I just had a carton on hand and freely used it as needed)
  • 8 oz container of Baby Bella, white or Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup chopped Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 package of fresh Spinach leaves (about 2-3 large handfuls)
  • Your choice Tomatoes, either  3 chopped Roma or 1/2 container of sliced Grape Tomatoes (I made it both ways and liked it either way)
  • 1/2 Cup of good White Wine (that you will enjoy drinking with your dinner)
  • 1/4 Cup of Nutritional Yeast
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

Heat a large shallow pan over medium to high heat and add a splash of vegetable broth. Once heated, add mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes until soft adding vegetable broth as needed. Remove mushrooms to a medium bowl.

Add more broth (just enough to cook) to the pan if necessary, return to heat and add the onion, cook until translucent and stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes more adding broth as it cooks so not to burn or stick to the pan. Remove these to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Return the pan to the heat and add more broth, heat and add spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

Bring back the mushrooms, onions and garlic to the pan with the spinach and add the tomatoes. Add more vegetable broth if needed and add the white wine and cook until slightly reduced, add about a cup of vegetable broth (or how much you prefer) and cook for 5 minutes until everything is heated through and tomatoes are softened. Add nutritional yeast and the salt and pepper to taste…. stir and heat through.

Top the pasta with sauce and veggies and enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

A few fun pics….

Fun with the girls at the Brothers of the Sun concert… check out my vegan boots! (I’m on the right) :)

Me and my little guy at the United Center to see Cirque Du Soleil – The Dralion

… and Michael Jordan’s “legs”… lol

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Sweet Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

“Thoughts of lack manifest as limitation. Thoughts of abundance manifest as success and happiness. Failure and success are but two ends of the same stick.”

~Ernest Holmes

Happy Friday everyone! No, this quote doesn’t have much to do with chickpeas unless you think about all the creative ways in which chickpeas can be used in a plant-based diet. Plant-based eaters tend to think abundantly! After all, we have so many wonderful foods to choose from, it’s hard not to. I also believe the standard American diet tends to lend a hand in people not thinking about their food at all. Not caring where their food comes from and certainly taking it all for granted. At least this used to be me and it’s what I observe in others. Now I savor everything and appreciate the hell out of it! I appreciate colors, flavors, textures and good ethics that go along with creating it.

So have you ever heard of roasted chickpeas? I recently discovered this idea online and so I made these a few weeks back for the Forks Over Knives movie review and discussion I hosted. I didn’t exactly make them correctly, yet one of the guests couldn’t stop eating them! She even took them to go! So even if you screw them up a bit, like I did. They will still taste good. Practice makes perfect, but I think if you follow the directions you won’t screw up. I was in a bit of a hurry.

The key is to roast them until crispy on the outside. I didn’t quite get them that crispy on the first try because I was afraid of burning them. You just have to keep tossing them while baking. I used my toaster oven the second time around which seemed to help. I could see them a little better. Less distance. Maybe I need more Vitamin A for my eyesight?!

Chickpeas are a staple food in a plant-based diet. Think hummus. I do have a wonderful homemade fat-free roasted red pepper hummus that I will be posting soon. YUM! We go through hummus like water around here!

I like that we can switch things up regarding chickpeas. I actually used a chickpea oil blend in place of eggs for gluten free brownie recipe and it was amazing! They were like brownie protein bars! But in regards to this recipe, think about all the different spice combos to be tried. Many fun possibilities.

Roasted chickpeas, especially the spicy, salty ones, remind me of bar nuts, minus the musty bar smell, neon Miller sign and beer goggles.

Not only fun to eat, here is what you can expect from a cup of chickpeas: 14 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber, 45 grams of good carbs. Of course lots of vitamins and minerals… not going to get into details because it’s Friday. Just trust me. It’s all good.

Sweet Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Chickpeas, rinsed and drained, (patted dry with a paper towel) and laid out to dry on a towel for at least 30 minutes
  • 1 Tablespoon of melted Coconut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Raw Organic Sugar. I used Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
  • Dash of Sea Salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly mist with oil.

Mix the sugar, cinnamon and dash of sea salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Coat the beans in melted coconut butter and sprinkle evenly with the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Spread the beans out evenly onto your baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, tossing every five or ten minutes, all while checking that they are not burning , just getting nice and crispy on the outside.

Let cool and enjoy. Have a great weekend!

~The Karmatarian

Ps. I certainly want to hear your comments, especially if you make these!

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Gluten Free – Spinach and “Cheese” Lasagna Bites

“Genetics account for a very small percentage of health issues – habits run in families and habits determine health outcomes” ~Pam Popper, Ph.D., N.D.

Recently, I heard about a nutritionist who ate vegan for many years and now claims that she developed diabetes because of it. She isn’t vegan anymore. I am very disappointed to hear this as this person, who is held in high regard by her clients, tells them what to eat, but shys away from telling them to omit animal products from their diet.

Omitting animal products can save lives and can reverse such things as type 2 diabetes. But you have to eat properly regarding the rest of your diet! Her deep rooted fear and negative experience is now rippling out and doing a lot of damage. She could very well be helping to cut some unlucky person’s life short! After discussing this with my former mentor from the T. Colin Campbell foundation, I felt better, but just a little. It was, however, good to talk with someone of sound mind.

We discussed the fact that ALL credible nutritional science points to a whole foods plant based diet for optimal health. A high fat diet and fat in our cells can help to trigger diabetes, which is why it is important to limit our fat and oil intake and reject sugar, refined, processed, and animal products.

This nutritionist is not admitting what her old diet consisted of, but I can place bets that it contained a lot of processed food, sugar and fat. Not to mention supplements and gimmicks. She happens to work in the “health store” industry. If she told us to eat our fruits and veggies and that all of our problems would disappear, as far as she is concerned, her business would disappear.

To quote myself and my famous phrase: Any diet can be a bad diet if you don’t understand nutrition, especially a vegan diet.

The moral of the story is, be careful who you seek advice from. Do they have ulterior motives? Are they healthy? What do they eat? Do they have a lot of stress in their lives? Finally, are they a person with positive or negative energy? If you notice the latter, RUN! Don’t give these people your time or money.

It’s important to find someone who’s ethics align with that of your own. You won’t do yourself any favors if you seek out someone who is all for meat and dairy if that’s not what you want to be recommended. Not many people including doctors and nutritionist have the will power to let food be thy medicine.

It would be wise not to talk to people who lack the ability to understand where you are coming from, or where you want to go. Don’t take advice from those who don’t have the will power themselves to seek out alternatives to their own problems. Look for mentors and advisers who are up to speed on latest nutritional science, who are of sound mind and have positive energy and will not project their own fears onto you. 

If there is a will, there is a way. Too often, people look for excuses and justification to give up. If you are not careful, you will attract this type of advice into your life which can totally ruin a good thing.

Nutrition can be a dense and hard topic made very simple with a whole foods plant based diet. The reality is, many people don’t want a simple answer to their problems, just as a lot of people don’t want to be drama free, even though they say they do. Life would be far too easy going. Who in the world would want that?!

There are two fantastic books are out about reversing and even curing Diabetes. They are a must read for you or a loved one that may be suffering from this disease. Visit my store to see these titles.

On to the recipe… This dish was fun and delicious! I made it for Easter. I think it could easily be made oil free by subbing water to make it more blend-able, maybe a little lemon juice? You’ll just have to play, because I did add oil to this one.

These are party friendly! My cousin made a similar recipe as stuffed shells, (she’s the one who gave me this idea, thanks D!) and it was a hit among everyone. But I can’t seem to find large gluten free pasta shells anywhere, and since I was bringing these for family who prefer a gluten free diet, lasagna bites they became.

There are no gobs of melted dairy cheese on top like in the days of old. Now it’s texture and flavor without all of that heavy fat and cholesterol.

Gluten Free – Spinach and “Cheese” Lasagna Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 Jars of your favorite Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Package of Tinkyada’s Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles
  • 1/2 – 1 Cup of Crushed Cashews

Cheese Filling

  •  2 Cups Soaked Cashews
  • 1 Cup Spinach. Use Frozen, Thawed and Squeezed of Excess Liquid
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 + 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Plain Almond Milk
  • 3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Italian Herbs
  • 1Tbsp Agave
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Chives
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • Sea Salt to taste

 Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Give the cashews, for the topping, a whiz around in the food processor, so that there are multiple textures, fine and chunky. Set aside.

Boil the Tinkyada noodles until done but still remaining firm. (For whatever reason I never boil this brand as long as the directions say, or they get too mushy.)

While the pasta is boiling, blend all of the ingredients for the cheese filling  *except the spinach* in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt if needed, then gently mix in the spinach by hand.

Layer the bottom of two 9 x 13 pans with a few spoonfuls of pasta sauce.

When the noodles are done remove them from the boiling water, drain and let them cool enough to touch. Take each noodle and cut it into thirds crosswise.

Fill each section with a spoonful of filling, roll and place seam side down. Line them up in two columns in the prepared 9 x 13 pan.

Cover with lots of pasta sauce and sprinkle each with crushed cashews, cover both pans with tin foil and bake for about 30 minutes, remove tinfoil and continue to bake 5 -7 minutes longer, until cashews are a light golden brown.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Let’s Stay Together Veggie Burgers

Let’s Stay Together Veggie Burgers

Lately, I have been experiencing some good kitchen mojo. Two recipes posted in one week!? Why not? Lucky me and lucky you!

Summer is coming, and you (and I) absolutely have to have a great veggie burger recipe. Trust me, I have been looking around the web for good recipes for a long time. Most disappoint in either texture or flavor and they always fall apart while cooking. Frustrating! I am sure that I’ve been looking in all the wrong places because the technique I use in this recipe, which I discovered is KEY for a stay-together burger, has to already be out there somewhere, I just never found it.

So in creating this amazing burger that retains it’s shape while cooking and is easily re-shapable if need be, I believe I found my new burger base! I have some good ideas for variations, which I can’t wait to try.

You can omit the oil and skip the frying. Just grill or bake and save yourself a few fat calories. However, I used one Tablespoon of oil, just barely enough to fry. My oven was already in use, see below, but when this weather heats up here, I’ll be grilling.

For a side dish, I cut up and oven roasted small red potatoes that I bathed in low sodium veggie broth and sprinkled with fresh rosemary.

Note: To make these gluten free, use gluten free oats. Omit the Worcestershire sauce and try using organic gluten free Tamari Soy sauce instead. Perhaps with ketchup instead of barbeque sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 Can of Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 3/4 Cup Frozen Veggie Medley, Thawed ( I used Organic Foursome from Trader Joe’s, with peas, corn, carrots and green beans)
  • 1 C Short Grain Brown Rice
  • 1/4 C Oats
  • 2 Tbs Barbeque Sauce or to taste (No high fructose corn syrup. I used Trader Joe’s Bold and Smokey Kansas City Style)
  • Dash of Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (The Wizard’s brand)
  • Dash of Liquid Smoke
  • 1/4 tsp  or more Minced Garlic (jarred or fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 Tbs Grape Seed Oil

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients, mix, taste and adjust the seasonings. You can do this and not die of E.coli poisoning… that’s the beautiful thing about plant based cooking! Anyway, spice these up how you like ’em!

Take a potato masher and mash some of the red beans, just so you have a mix of texture in your burger

Then, take half of this mixture and put it into a food processor. Pulse, until well blended and mushy, but still with remaining texture. Add this back to the bowl with the other half of the mixture and blend well together. Now it should resemble raw ground turkey burgers or raw hamburger with veggies in it. Shape the mixture into patties and pan fry, grill or bake! Voila.

If your kids (like my little guy, who is going through an anti-bean phase) or significant other, hates beans, you can combine everything on the ingredient list but the beans, put half of the mixed ingredients into the food processor along with all of the beans and process (this way, you blend all of the beans so you don’t see ’em).

A little Al Green for your entertainment…

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Power C Tempeh Over Minted Tricolor Quinoa

My cousin Rocks! She started researching food production and she took her new shock and awe and did exactly what I did… she turned that energy into something productive. She is very much on board with the vegan/raw movement and she is making the important and necessary changes for the health of her family. I am so proud of her!

Hard at work in the kitchen, she’s experimenting and trying new dishes that not only taste good, they are good for you. The best part is, she shares her good finds with me. She is an awesome cook! How exciting that I could just relax at her family parties, knowing I can graze on anything at the table! Could there be a family raw/vegan restaurant in our future? We might just change our family’s reputation from the family of Hair Stylists (although she isn’t a Hair Stylist, she escaped that gene, lucky her) to the family of passionate and healthy foodies. I am all good with that! My other cousin, sister and dad are also on the right train… My dad being very much vegan now, and wow did he turn his health around!

Recently, my cousin served this Tempeh recipe she found, at her daughter’s birthday party. It was so delicious! I went home and had to make it, but of course I didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand… so this is the twist I came up with. It got rave reviews!  At least I hope my husband wasn’t just being nice. He happens to be a great taste tester (and sport) for my recipes. Some days he gets a little luckier than others! And we are still talking about the food here.

Power C Tempeh over Minted Tricolor Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1- 8 oz package of Tempeh
  • 1 Cup Tricolor Quinoa (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 tsp Concentrated Vegetable Broth (I like Better than Bouillon brand)
  • 1 Cup Naked Brand Power C Smoothie
  • 1 Tbs Grated Ginger
  • 1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Tamari
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1-2 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Lime
  • Handful of Chopped Mint Leaves
  • Sea Salt

Directions

Fill a medium saucepan with 2 cups water. Rinse quinoa well in cold water and add it to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and add concentrated vegetable broth. Stir, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook down until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, add the Power C smoothie to a bowl. Add the grated ginger, Tamari, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ground coriander and garlic. Mix this and set it aside.

Cut the Tempeh into 3rds, then diagonals, then turn pieces on their side and slice in half again to make thinner triangles. You could even cut these again to make them more bite sized.

Heat the coconut oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat. When heated, add the tempeh and cook 5 minutes per side until golden brown.

Add the Power C mixture and simmer for 10 minutes, being sure to turn the tempeh while simmering.

Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and add a handful of chopped mint to taste

Serve the tempeh over the minted quinoa,  spoon the sauce over the top and finish it off with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of sea salt, which really helps to bring out the flavors in this dish. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

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Vegan Deviled Eggs

Vegan Deviled Eggs! Or as I like to call them… Angel’ed Eggs

Why would I want to make “eggs”, you ask? Well we certainly didn’t go vegan because we hated the taste of the old diet! What my husband always tells people who can’t believe he eats vegan, is that it isn’t the meat, dairy, etc… that people are worried about missing, it’s the flavors. But if they would just realize that there are so many similar flavors plus so many newly discovered ones to be enjoyed when you finally go vegan, that you do not miss much, if anything at all. Of course there are a few exceptions, such as deviled eggs, but cry no more! Vegans have mastered the deviled egg and there is now even another new  product out there taking the place of egg yolks too called “The Vegg”, for your French toast of course!

About a week ago, my good friend Jinny posted this blog find on how to make vegan deviled eggs. I couldn’t believe it! I had to try this right away. Being too late in the game to gather all of the necessities, recreate it, and share my results before Easter so that you can do it too, I am letting you know now that these were dynamite! We still can’t get over how close to the real thing they are. Pretty darn eggsciting! I want to share my results with you because there are many more holidays and picnics ahead that will give you the opportunity to prepare this old family tradition… the vegan way!

So if the idea of eggs, and all that you have learned about them since being vegan hasn’t grossed you out of your mind and you can still enjoy the flavor of eggs, then it’s your lucky day! As far as deviled eggs go, I can live without the whites. It’s the filling that’s da bomb! This filling recipe alone is so good, that putting it on top of a water cracker or even crostini would be just as wonderful without having to turn your kitchen into a science lab. However, I am totally exaggerating here because the whites of these deviled “eggs” are ridiculously simple to make. You should really try it!

Since I happen to love a project and a challenge, I jumped right onto Amazon and ordered my egg molds and black salt. I didn’t order the Agar Powder because I was in a hurry to get everything. With my Prime membership, I could get everything before the holiday except for the most important ingredient, Agar Powder, only because they wanted some ridiculous 50 bucks for Prime (they have cheaper versions, but it comes snail mail) and I thought OH HELL NO. So instead I searched a few Asian markets nearby and the local Whole foods all to no avail. I ended up breaking the recipe’s rule, and tried the Agar flakes, which I found at Whole Foods Market. It did work, but only with my newly concocted measurements and the fact that I used the coffee grinder to grind down the flakes smaller and denser. I don’t have a mortar and pestle, and now I realize that I really need one! Anyway, my results had the whites turn out with a bit more texture than I preferred, but I continued on, and the final product was still amazing!

The other thing I need to tell you about is the egg mold. When it arrived I was so MAD. I was wrong about the math and these were FAR bigger than I wanted… What was I going to do? Luck has it, I married someone of Danish descent who suggested that I use our Aebleskiver pan. Brilliant!!!! I didn’t let the molds that I bought go to waste, we made gluten free vegan Easter egg cakes, converted from a cupcake recipe from my favorite cupcake book, “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World”. Those were AWESOME!

So, lightly oiling the Aebleskiver pan, I poured in the mixture and set it in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. When it was done, I just whipped up a second batch and did it again. If you want an entire platter of “eggs”, you may want to make these ahead of time so you can make batches, unless you have better luck finding a small half egg pan that makes a lot at once. Please let me know if you do! Turns out, our Aebelskiver pan that was collecting dust, was the the perfect size for these “eggs”. After these set, I used a butter knife to loosen and remove them and I used a tiny metal scoop to scoop out some of the white before filling them. I made sure to scoop a little off center, this helped the end result to look more egg like!

For the whites, I used:

  • 1 Cup Plain Soy Milk
  • 1 T Ground Agar Flakes
  • ¼ tsp Black Salt

I followed the recipe exactly for the “yolk” filling and let me tell you, you could eat this in it’s entirety by the spoonful!

Click here for the recipe, Maresa’s Vegan Deviled Eggs

You just have to try these if you were once a deviled egg fan! They are so much fun and would make a fun addition in texture and shape for a vegan party spread!

Having the black salt on hand in your pantry will be wonderful to use as an addition to tofu scrambles, “egg” salad sandwiches or even raw, coconut meat scrambled “eggs”. This gives a true egg flavor, (sulfur) but without the horrible smelling gas that you get from eating real eggs, not to mention ruining everyone’s otherwise pleasant atmosphere! Lol, just imagine all the people right now after Easter with this lovely egg farting problem! Well not I :) …I am also happy to report that I didn’t overdose on Peeps either. I feel so lucky that I don’t find those wretched things appealing!

So when I attempt these vegan deviled eggs again, I will be sure to follow the directions exactly, and use Agar Powder. I can only imagine how perfect they will turn out when I don’t break the rules! I will be sure to update my post with a new pic.

Good luck on your vegan adventure, have fun with your projects and take it on as a challenge. Remember, it’s about having fun with flavors!

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

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Gluten Free Sweet Corn Muffins

Gluten Free Vegan Sweet Corn MuffinsGluten Free Sweet Corn Muffins

You know what? Not bad for a gluten free vegan corn muffin! I made these yesterday with my Fast, Friendly & Vegan Big Game Chili. A little early, yes, but that’s what I had a taste for. I’m not sure what we are doing for the Super Bowl this Sunday. I am actually in the midst of a big move to a new house and as exciting as that is, it’s nuts over here and I’m overwhelmed! I should really pack. I guess Madonna is the half time show so I definitely want to at least catch that. To be 11 years old again with black jelly bracelets up to my elbows and a rag bow tied in my ever stiff, aqua net sprayed hair.

Nope. Glad those days are over.

My recipe was inspired by a Forks Over Knives recipe. Check out the other Super Bowl food ideas they offer. These muffins became gluten free when that was the only corn meal mix I could find around here. But so many people are looking for gluten free so I figured I’d share this recipe… and because it turned out! Gluten free is not always easy. My four year old gobbled these down and told me before he fell asleep last night that I was the best mommy ever for making him yummy muffins. Gotta love that!

Well, if it is chili you decide to make for this weekend, I sure hope it’s vegan! If it’s my recipe you make, you can omit the vegan ground meat and add extra beans or veggies to make it an entire gluten free meal along with these GF corn bread muffins. 

Unless you have another favorite chili recipe to share? I would love to hear it… although I really do like my fast prep chili recipe. Have you tried it yet?

Happy Super Bowl everyone! I hope your Sunday is fantastic.

Gluten Free Sweet Corn Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 Tbs Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup, Grade B
  • 2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Frozen Organic Sweet Corn Kernels

Directions

Heat oven to 375

In a bowl, combine the ground flax seed and almond milk and set aside.

In another bowl, blend the maple syrup with the applesauce and add it to the ground flax seed mixture.

In a larger bowl sift together the gluten free cornbread mix, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt (or do what I do and put these ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to “sift”…. Idk? It works for me).

Add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry while mixing to incorporate well but do not over mix!

Fold in the frozen corn kernels.

Spoon into a lined muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes until they turn a light golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

*Note: I tend to like my cornbread a little sweet. I think these could use added agave because they are not as sweet as the title makes them sound. If you really like sweet, try adding a sweetener of your choice.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Tempeh Coconut Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Asparagus

Ahhh, feeling like a college kid again. There’s a lot of studying going on over here! My hair is pulled back. I’m sporting my glasses. I’m hanging out in my comfy clothes. My schedule for just about everything is all messed up and I’m staying up late… well past 1 a.m. to read and research, every night.

I’m quite discombobulated regarding time lately. This could easily be someone’s normal life and schedule but certainly not mine. I like routine. A bit boring… but. My effort and temporarily crazed schedule will be well worth it! Education to expand your brain… Priceless. What am I doing? I’m in the midst of obtaining a certification in plant based nutrition! The program is much more in depth than I anticipated which is a pleasant surprise. I couldn’t be more impressed by what I am learning so far and I’m proud of myself for making the time and commitment to better my understanding of this life saving, modern nutrition we call… plant foods. Who knew something so natural, so basic, could save lives? I did, I did, but please… play along!

My outdated, conservative, structured and funded by the meat and dairy industry nutrition education, aka… my nutrition and dietetics degree from a big state university (to tell you how I really feel. Lol) plus thankfully my many years of life experience researching nutrition and trying many different diets personally, I  finally arrive right where I should have started out. I just happened to take a scenic detour through the trendy hair industry to get to this point. Life experience is never a bad thing. I’m here where I belong and I’m that much smarter. This new class helps me feel absolutely justified in why I do what I do. My intuition and path has lead me here for good reason. I have plans. Big Eeeevil plans! Whah-ha-ha-haaa-haaaa!

On to the recipe…

So I guess you are looking for a recipe here… it’s a pretty good one!  I recently cooked up this delicious hearty dish and then whipped it up again for a pot luck party. I was asked for the recipe by several guests… That’s how I know it’s a keeper. I was inspired by a recipe I found on the Whole Foods website and I played around with it and tweaked it using what I had on hand. I changed it enough to post it here but feel guilty taking complete credit.  You can find the link to the original recipe at the bottom of this post. I made this recipe again the original way and I didn’t care for it as much. 

Don’t be fooled by the curry, this dish isn’t that spicy – even my four year old loves this one! We do more flavorful around here over spicy. I sauteed the Tempeh which makes for better color and a nutty flavor. I use whole coconut milk for this because I like a rich sauce and I’ll be honest, I’ll eat a salad for lunch if I am eating this for dinner! It’s worth it! If you are watching your weight, or are unfortunately experiencing strict orders trying to avoid or overcome illness, you can stay away from the oil and whole coconut milk. You can use low fat coconut milk and steam the Tempeh instead of saute! The original calls for green beans but I think asparagus makes this dish fancier, it has more of a gourmet feel…

Tempeh Coconut Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 C organic Brown Rice
  • 2 C Water
  • 1  (8 oz) Package of Organic Tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 Sweet Potato, large, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 large bunch fresh Asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 1 + 1/2 C low sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Shallot, large or 2 medium, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs freshly grated Ginger
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can regular Coconut Milk (or light if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbs Curry Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 C chopped Parsley, divided
  • Sea Salt

Directions

Bring rice and water to a boil in saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid is completely absorbed, about forty minutes or so.

While the rice is cooking, saute Tempeh in coconut oil making sure to turn pieces so they brown on all sides.

Next, bring 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth to a simmer in a large deep skillet. Add shallots, garlic and ginger, cook 5 minutes until shallots are translucent and tender. Stir in curry powder and cumin and cook another minute. Add coconut milk and sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook until potatoes are almost tender. Add cut asparagus and tempeh and 1/8 cup chopped parsley and cook until everything is tender. Add sea salt, about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp or to taste. Enjoy served over brown rice and sprinkled with remaining parsley for garnish.

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

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Original recipe of inspiration

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Teese-e Caprese Salad

As far as rules go. There are none. We only place rules upon ourselves when it comes to choosing “vegan”. We shouldn’t let others define us. Do what is in your heart as you become more educated about what or ‘who’ is on the end of your fork. What is comfortable for you? Do you jump in to a plant-based diet or make an easy transition? First you have to Un-learn all you have in order to Re-learn a new way of living. Give yourself time. Set yourself up for success. Everyone is spiritually expanding at different times. Welcome to wherever you are! Just do yourself a favor and keep seeking growth and expansion. Desire to be the example you wish to see in the world. And then be it. Unless of course, you don’t give a crap.

As I struggled through the ups and downs about what choosing vegan means to me, in the end I realize that we make up our own definition.  I make my own choices despite the influence of many opinionated vegans out there. Don’t get me wrong, I do understand why they have that opinion. But I am not perfect. I transitioned slowly and when I still ate animals, I felt that I was still a compassionate person who eventually would get to a greater place where my ethics and taste buds would finally align. Now it feels truly amazing to be in that place. I feel genuinely compassionate. I have a deep sense of release from guilt and moral schizophrenia having to do with our animal ‘friends’. I didn’t let someone else’s opinion of how or what I should do take away the satisfaction of achieving my goal. I did it! And in my own time.

I do what feels right for me and my soul and my soul’s growth for wherever I am on this journey. But I am one to think about it. Not a lot of people do. It’s about expansion. I always strive for more. Learn more, grow more. I am a spiritual seeker. And I’m real with myself. I do walk the path less traveled as do other vegans, raw foodists and spiritual seekers and it isn’t all that easy, let me tell you. The beautiful thing is that my character has really grown and strengthened due to the contrast I have been faced with as I have been choosing a vegan diet. Funny isn’t it? Choosing a kinder way and there’s an opposition felt from friends and family as you show nothing less than strength to do what they only wish they could.  But I don’t judge. I will educate and be the light. Show people how much better it is… over here. I’ll be the example I wish to see in the world and I will get in that kitchen, and serve them up something yummy!

All these deep thoughts stemmed from a conversational thread on Facebook today. I meant to start this blog post with something like “what the hell are you going to do with all of those juicy little tomatoes you have growing in the garden?” So on that note… I have an entire counter filled with tomatoes that I just picked from my garden and basil coming out my wazoo! So I threw together a vegan Caprese salad like I made for my Son’s birthday party a few weeks back. Great as a side dish to say, what I had tonight- Gardein Chick ‘n Scallopini over quinoa with fresh asparagus.

This was a salad I thought was a goner until I found the ‘cheese’ I was looking for that could be sliced and eaten like a regular hunk of mozzarella. It tastes a little different,  because it is different. Still no complaints from my party goers who helped eat the whole bowl. 

Teese-e Caprese Salad

Ingredients

2 Cups of Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1 Cup fresh Basil Leaves

1 Garlic Clove, minced

1 10 oz package of Teese brand mozzarella vegan cheese using 2/3 package, diced into 1/2 inch cubes

1/2 – 1 Whole Lemon, juiced (depending on your preference)

1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Himalayan Sea Salt and Pepper to taste… I use about a 1/2 tsp of sea salt and 1/8 tsp or so pepper

*Note Teese vegan cheese is gluten free!

Directions

Toss sliced tomatoes and minced garlic in a bowl. Stack basil leaves, roll and thinly slice across the roll. Add basil and the cubed Teese cheese to the tomatoes and garlic and toss lightly. In another bowl add freshly squeezed lemon juice and olive oil, whisk until well blended. Add Salt and pepper to taste. Add dressing to the salad and toss lightly. Taste and adjust flavor if necessary and serve.

Enjoy,

The Karmatarian~

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Maple Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash with Tofu, Raisins and Walnuts

It’s been in the teens and single digits for days here in Chicago. I’m cold. I have a bad case of cabin fever and I’m craving some sort of comfort food. I was looking around the kitchen wondering what to do with that butternut squash just sitting over there… waiting for me. Stuck inside as it snowed yet again, it was a good time to be creative.

I was very impressed with the aroma’s that filled the house while this was roasting. I’m going to keep this in mind for a beautiful dish to present to guests. One whiff and they are sure to feel special.

Maple Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash with Tofu, Raisins and Walnuts

Ingredients

1 Medium Butternut Squash

1 14 oz Package Firm Organic Tofu, drained well and cut into 1/2″ cubes. I used Wildwood organic, high protein/super firm, no drain.

1/2-3/4 C Red Onion sliced in rings or largely diced

1/2 C Raisins

3/4 C Coarsely Chopped and Toasted Walnuts. I toasted mine in the toaster oven at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes

Prepared Quinoa or Short Grain Brown Rice for serving

 

Marinade

3/4 C Olive Oil

1/2 C Organic Grade B Maple Syrup

1/4 C Rice Vinegar. I used Trader Joe’s Seasoned Rice Vinegar

1/4 C  Organic Soy Sauce. If you want this recipe to be gluten free, be sure to use gluten free soy sauce

1 tsp Jarred Crushed Garlic. You can use Fresh, 2 cloves, minced.

1+1/2 tsp Fresh Rosemary. I used fresh that I had previously frozen.

1 tsp Dried Thyme

1/2 – 1 tsp Cinnamon. I used 1 tsp

 

Optional

Sea Salt, Pepper, Agave. I added 1/8 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt and 1 tsp Agave. A dash of freshly ground Pepper.


 

Directions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

First drain tofu ~ While tofu is sitting and draining, make your marinade. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Keep in mind that roasting will bring out the sweet maple flavor and the salty flavor ends up a little more diluted. I added salt just in case.

Cube your tofu and add to the marinade, cover and refrigerate for about a half hour. Preferably longer.

Next, while the tofu is marinating, toast the walnuts and set aside. Peel the butternut squash. Be sure to use a good peeler to prevent an unnecessary headache. This is where  I grew frustrated in the past and would hesitate to make squash recipes. I recently found an awesome peeler called the Titan, that really does the trick! Cut the peeled squash in half lengthwise, clean and then cut into 1/2 inch cubes. The smaller the pieces the faster it will roast. You want bite size pieces for this dish.

When the marinade is ready, add the cubed squash, red onion and raisins to the tofu marinade and fold gently to coat everything. Be careful not to break apart your pretty tofu cubes. Once coated, transfer to a very shallow baking pan. I used a Jelly Roll pan. You can pour on every last drop of marinade or use a slotted spoon *see note below. Spread out evenly and put on middle rack of the preheated oven and roast for 12-15 minutes. Remove and carefully use a spatula to flip over as best as you can and put it back to roast for another 12-15 minutes.

When done roasting, transfer it all to a beautiful serving dish. Serve alone, over Quinoa or Brown Rice and top with the toasted walnuts for delicious added texture.

I divided my soy sauce in half with Bragg Liquid Aminos to reduce sodium.   You can use all Soy, all Braggs, Tamari, or Nama Shoyu or whatever you prefer. After all, cooking is your art.

*NOTE: You can make a side of Quinoa or Short Grain Brown Rice for this dish. Or it tastes great on it’s own. I added 1/4 cup more oil to equal 1 cup and made sure to use every last drop of marinade to roast this so I would have extra sauce to serve over brown rice, which gives an Asian feel or Quinoa for a modern comfort food feel. If you prefer to eat it alone, you may consider using a slotted spoon to lay it out on the roasting pan so it won’t end up too saucy or oily in the end.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad Over Red Quinoa with Cilantro Dressing

I made this new dish tonight that was very inspiring! You can enjoy this as an appetizer or main dish. Cinco de Mayo is around the corner, and this dish would be perfect for a party.

This dish was adapted and altered from the back of a Trader Joe’s Organic Red Quinoa box. Thank you Joe! The dressing recipe was altered from a Betty Crocker recipe I found. Thank you Betty! This could be served as a salad or as a main dish like I enjoyed it tonight. The warm red quinoa was amazing. This dish is beautiful, different and deliciously vegan!

Updated on 6/24/13 – to make life easier. I just made this dish again over the weekend and tweaked the measurements and rewrote the directions to make it simpler to follow. I am happy to report, this dish was a hit as usual!

Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad Over Red Quinoa with Cilantro Dressing

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup Red Quinoa, cooked in vegetable broth (above)
  • 1, 15 oz Can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Cups Frozen Sweet Corn Kernels, thawed
  • 1 Avocado, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 Cup Red Onion, finely diced
  • Zest of 1 Lime
  • 1/3 Cup Cilantro, chopped
  • Cilantro Dressing (recipe below)
  • Sea Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • Chopped Cilantro for garnish – optional

Directions

Cook quinoa with broth according to package directions.

While quinoa is cooking, combine beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion, lime zest and cilantro. Add the Cilantro dressing (recipe below) and toss gently. Taste, and add sea salt as needed to bring out the flavors. It may not need much more. I added a little over 1 tsp more.

When quinoa is cooked, drizzle with olive oil, mix and spread evenly onto a large platter and top with the bean salad. Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired. 

Cilantro Dressing

  • 1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Finely Chopped Cilantro
  • 3 Tbs White Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 – 3 tsp Agave Nectar

Place all the above ingredients into a container with tight fitting lid and shake. Taste and adjust.

Let the quinoa cool before topping it if serving as a salad, or top it and eat it warm right away! Mmmmm. Mmm


 

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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