Tag Archives: dinner

Vegan White Sausage Gravy & Biscuits

When the weather starts to get chilly, there is nothing like a big bowl of biscuits & gravy to warm you up from the inside out. I wish I could bring this to everyone affected by the early winter weather storms we’ve had this year. Hopefully you don’t think biscuits and gravy are just a “southern thing”… If you’ve never had a good meal of biscuits & gravy, you are missing out on one of the best comfort foods out there!

This is a meal packed with protein that both kids and adults can enjoy. It makes a great breakfast, lunch or dinner when served over these vegan buttermilk biscuits.

Vegan Sausage White Gravy (“Scarborough Fair style”)

(‘Scarborough Fair style’ contains parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme)

  • 1 tube Lightlife GimmeLean Soysage
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil (to saute soysage and onion)
  • 2 Tbsp soy margarine (like Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 large yellow or white onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 cups soymilk, plus up to another cup (to thin gravy as it thickens)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp each parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

1) Brown the soysage in a big skillet over medium-high heat with a little olive oil by chopping it into bits with your spatula while it cooks. Once it is chopped into bits and browned,  move it into a separate bowl and set aside.

2) In the same skillet, saute the chopped onion in a bit of oil until translucent. Then add the soysage back in there with the onion and mix them together.

3) Add in the flour and soy margarine to the skillet, mixing well until everything is mixed together thoroughly. Turn heat down to medium.

4) Add in 3 cups of soymilk and stir. Add the herbs & spices. Continue cooking and stirring while it thickens, adding in the last cup of soymilk bit by bit as necessary, until desired thickness is achieved (though once the gravy is pretty hot and getting thick, turn down the heat down to simmer/warm).  Serve over top of these buttermilk biscuits.

Mmmmm…. gravy!

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! I know most of us are looking forward to making (or eating!) our Thanksgiving day meals. Perhaps you are making your tried and true recipes, or perhaps you are looking to try something new… either way, I hope we all remember that the point of this upcoming holiday is to bring us all together, to overlook faults & shortcomings and to simply enjoy each others company as we share time on this precious earth together. 🙂

In my opinion, a really good Thanksgiving meal is about enjoying a collection of many different dishes… maybe the turkey is a big part of that to you, but in my family, we celebrate our gratitude by acknowledging that for us, a sacrifice is not a necessary component  on the table. The way I see it, there are enough sacrifices that each of make in our daily lives… this is one day we shouldn’t have to sacrifice anything! It is a day to enjoy, appreciate and be grateful for all that is in existence… every plant, every animal… and every person! That being said, Thanksgiving recipes will be forthcoming!

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Noodles with Sesame-Peanut Sauce

What is your favorite Disney movie?  Okay… wait.  I’m going to stop myself right there. That may just be an impossible question to answer. Let me say it this way – is there a Disney movie you’d like to see featured on Your Vegan Neighbor’s Dinner and a Movie night?

Last night for our Dinner and a Movie, we watched Disney’s Dumbo and we made a delicious noodle bowl with a sesame-peanut sauce. Read all about our movie night and get the recipe right here!

Vegan Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

Well, Valentines Day is tomorrow.  You know, when someone puts their time and energy into making a homemade meal, there is nothing that could be better or more loving, at least in my opinion. I would much rather enjoy a delicious homemade meal for Valentines Day in the privacy of my own home than to sit in a crowded restaurant with (often) over-priced food.  Maybe that’s just me, but there is something extremely sexy about a man (or woman) cooking in the kitchen for their loved one.

Valentines Day is also one of those occasions where you may want to consume a small (or large) amount of wine – I would like to use Sir Paul McCartney as my example here, when he sings, “I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I gotta have a belly full of wine”… well, who wants to stop ole Paul from saying that?! And what better a day than Valentines to say or hear those words ‘i love you’… without also hearing an “Uh oh, my dear – we are being pulled over”!  Yes, Valentines Day is a great opportunity to stay home and have a nice candle-lit home cooked meal… and to indulge a bit 😉

So, one of my favorite meals EVER is lasagna. There is nothing in the world like a good lasagna.  There are many things to love about lasagna.  I love how versatile lasagna is.  I love how yummy it is.  I love how you have leftovers.  I love that my kids love it.  I love how you can basically make it out of whatever veggies you have in the fridge.

When I make lasagna, I usually stick to the basics… onion, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash.  Combine those with some noodles, a good sauce (homemade is best, but sometimes you gotta go with the jar), and a good ricotta recipe and you will find yourself content.  Make that very content.

Now I would like to share with you my delicious homemade ricotta recipe.  It is SO easy, and SO good, you better just prepare yourself!

~ TOFU RICOTTA ~

This is my original delicious tofu ricotta recipe.  This is enough for one lasagna. Simply blend until desired consistency in the food processor – be sure to pulse in the basil last so your ricotta wont turn green!

  • 1 block extra firm tofu (drained)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup Vegan Gourmet mozzarella cheese, shredded (you will need one entire block to have enough to shred some on top)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (pulse in last)

ricotta necessities (minus basil and tofu)

blending up the ricotta in my food processor

Heres how much basil I used - please note that this amount of basil is for two lasagnas.

TO MAKE (ONE) LASAGNA:

You will need:

  • at least one jar of sauce
  • lasagna noodles (1-2 boxes)
  • veggies of choice (my last lasagna contained: 1 onion/ 1 cup chopped mushrooms/ 2 zucchini & 1 squash, quartered/ 2 cups packed spinach).

Start by cooking your lasagna noodles al dente.  I like to saute my veggies about 5 minutes to soften them up, then I just stir them right into my ricotta to save a step for easy lasagna stacking. Assemble lasagna as shown below in a 13 x 9″ pan and bake for an hour, covered, at 350.  Sometimes I like to broil it uncovered for 2-3 minutes at the end, just to get the top cheese meltier.

(That last step of broiling is unnecessary if you use Daiya cheese, though I LOVE the flavor of the Vegan Gourmet so much, I have actually never tried to make lasagna using Daiya, though I bet it would be just as fabulous. You maybe would need two bags though, since it comes pre-shredded.)

  • shredded cheese on top
  • sauce
  • noodles
  • sauce
  • ricotta/veggies
  • noodles
  • sauce
  • ricotta/veggies
  • noodles
  • layer of sauce on bottom of pan

These are my favorite noodles

dont forget to wash your veggies!

I like to lightly saute all the veggies

Here I am, building up the layers...

Here is one of them about to go in the oven... I would've liked to have a bit more cheese on top but I ran out!

Voila! This slice for my daughter came out beautifully!

I like to eat mine with some good buttered bread on the side! You gotta have bread to wipe up all that extra yummy sauce and ricotta that falls out!

Our family was part of a “food tree” where we signed up to bring a home cooked meal to a friend who just had a baby, hence the two lasagnas.  If you ever have the opportunity to participate in one, sign up!  It feels so good to help people! And you parents (especially you new parents) know how good a nice meal can be when you don’t have to throw it together yourself while the baby is napping!  (And just so you know, they said the lasagna we brought them was “the bomb”!)

Lemon Maple Sweet Potatoes

With Thanksgiving looming tomorrow and the meal planning & Muppet Movie release today, I’m assuming we are all pretty busy the next two days!  😉 This recipe was actually submitted to a magazine by Jennifer Garner (yes, the actress) and it is quick, easy & delicious. I have made this table pleaser several times (I’m sorry I don’t currently have a picture – I will remedy that soon!).  It’s a great side dish!

Lemon Maple Sweet Potatoes (serves 6-8)

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ x 2″ chunks
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss potatoes with olive oil, salt & pepper in a large glass baking dish.  Cook until almost tender, 25-30 minutes.

Whisk syrup & lemon juice in a small bowl.  Drizzle half the mixture over the potatoes.  Gently stir and bake 10-15 minutes until golden brown and tender.  Drizzle remaining liquid and serve!

Butternut Squash Soup

Lately time has been passing by so quickly.  I really can’t believe that Halloween is almost here and then we will be heading towards Thanksgiving… & then Christmas!! Well, I’m glad the holidays are coming up.  I am definitely the kind of person that actually enjoys being with family for the holidays.  In that sense, the holidays can’t come fast enough. Speaking of holiday gatherings, I made this soup at my family’s last Thanksgiving feast. Need I say, it was a huge hit.  I think this soup is perfect for holiday gatherings.  The kids loved it, it is easy and can be made rather quickly. If you have a emulsion blender (the stick-like blender you “stir” with, if you will) it is even faster to make this as you wont have to dirty up your food processor to purée.  One thing you surely won’t have to wash are the serving bowls – they will be licked clean!

~Butternut Squash Soup~

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • olive oil (2-3 Tbsp)
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp dry ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups soymilk
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot flour

First, cut the butternut squash in half, de-seed it & lay it flat side down on a baking sheet (I usually cover the baking sheet with tin foil and lightly oil it first).  Roast at 400 F for 50-60 minutes until soft. Once it is done, remove the squash from the oven and let it cool while you assemble the rest of the soup.

Saute the onion in 2-3 Tbsp oil in a large stockpot & set aside.  Add the broth to the stockpot.  (NOTE * If you do not have an emulsion blender, you will want to puree the sautéed onion first in the food processor with about 1-2 cups of broth.) Next, add all the other ingredients (except the squash) to the stockpot.

When the butternut squash is cool enough,  scoop the yummy out of the shell. If you are using a food processor, puree the squash before adding it to the stockpot.  If you are using an emulsion blender, just plop the butternut squash into the stockpot, & puree away.  Heat until ready to serve & ENJOY!

Mmmmm... I think I can hear it calling me!

This soup is gluten-free and can be made soy-free as well if you use a different non-dairy milk, such as almond milk. Honestly, I haven’t ever tried it that way, but I’m sure it would be just as delicious! Oh – I almost forgot to tell you – this soup freezes well… and yes, I suppose I have ‘a thing’ for orange soup! 🙂

Rita’s Vegan Chili

So… Did you know that October is Vegetarian Awareness Month? October 1st is actually World Vegetarian DAY – and of coarse, since we’re talking vegetarian (& since eggs, dairy & cheese is included in the vegetarian diet) there’s NO excuses to not do your part for the Earth by saying no to meat for ONE day! YOU CAN DO IT!!  Hopefully you will want to shoot for all 30 nights of meat-less meals (or more)!!

I have been wanting to share this recipe for a while, which is (like all of my recipes) 100% vegan.  I have had many rave reviews on my vegan chili and I hope I can add yours to my comments below!  Did I mention that my kids really love it too?!  They usually arent crazy about spicy stuff, but they make an exception for this mildly spicy delicious chili!

I like using Lightlife Smart Ground in my chili, but there are many different kinds of vegetarian crumbles you can find in the grocery store! Look in the freezer section if you can’t find it by the tofu. (Boca makes frozen crumbles but they may contain eggs if I recall correctly…  that is also typical of Morningstar Farms varieties.  (Unless you are vegetarian, look for the vegan symbol on the box.)  Get one or two boxes depending on how “meaty” you like your chili!

Mmmm! There's nothing like some good homemade chili!!

~Rita’s Vegan Chili~

First, crumble and brown the “meat” in a non-stick pan in a little olive oil. (I don’t even know if this step is really necessary, but for some reason, I always felt weird about just dumping it into the pot… but since there’s no chance of e-coli or anything, you could honestly probably just do that & save a step if you wanted!)

  • 2 packs of Lightlife smart ground (or “mock-crumbles” of choice)

Saute everything in a little olive oil and combine it with the “meat” in a large stockpot – or the biggest pot you have!

  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Stir in all other ingredients and cook until heated through!

  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 2 (15 oz) cans red kidney beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 (15 oz) can white kidney beans, rinsed & drained (or you bump it up to 3 cans of red kidney beans)
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 (28 oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp each oregano, basil
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar

Cover and simmer.  The longer it cooks together, the better the flavor!  Top with soy cheese & vegan sour cream if desired! Serve with crackers or cornbread (my personal fave)!  This chili also freezes great!

OPTIONAL: You can even add 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup each chopped carrot, celery, or corn to the mix to throw in some more veggies, but allow some extra cooking time to soften those carrots!

Roasted Vegetable Stew

Cooler weather is fast approaching and so begins the start of the season’s wonderfully delicious fall harvest!  There is nothing more inviting than walking into your home on a chilly day and smelling an amazing soup simmering on your stove top!  Roasting vegetables is a great way to enjoy fresh seasonal produce in an easy way and at the same time make your house smell AMAZING!

This simple stew brings the flavors of sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, and eggplant together into one giant bowl of nutritious delicious LOVE! Even though this recipe contains neither meat or potatoes, I decided it was more of a stew than a soup because it is thick, hearty & filling!  I personally think it pairs wonderfully with a grilled cheese sandwich! Mmmm!

Note: I realized after making this soup that I forgot to add the garlic!  Ideally, I would have like to have added 2-3 cloves in with the roasted vegetables, so I included that in the recipe below. This only took me an hour and 20 minutes from start to finish (including baking time)! I also used 4 japanese eggplants instead of 1 big eggplant – either works beautifully! (Japanese eggplants are long and skinny as opposed to the pear-shaped traditional eggplant.)

~ Roasted Vegetable Stew ~

  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled
  • 5-6 good-sized carrots, peeled (about 1 lb)
  • 1 butternut squash, halved and de-seeded
  • 1 eggplant, peeled
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dry parsley (opt)
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil for roasting
  • fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish (opt)

Here are the veggies getting ready to be roasted!

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Cube all the vegetables (except the butternut squash) to roughly 1″ chunks. Put them all on a large baking sheet and drizzle generously with olive oil, & a little salt and pepper & mix around.  Place the butternut squash (flat sides down) on a separate oiled baking sheet (I like to put mine on a sheet of oiled tin foil).  Cook vegetables until soft, about 30-35 minutes but leave the butternut squash in the oven an extra 15 minutes.   (I put the veggies on the top rack and the squash on the bottom rack of the oven.) .  Once the butternut squash is done, set it aside to let it cool slightly.

After roasting... don't sneak too many bites! You'll need them for the stew!

Once the butternut squash is cool enough to handle, scrape it out of the shell and puree.  Pulse/puree the roasted vegetables with the broth in batches in your food processor.  Combine it all together in a large stock pot and add parsley, salt & pepper to taste. Continue to simmer until ready to serve and garnish with fresh herbs if desired. Enjoy!

This stew is great with bread... and it's even better with a grilled cheese on the side for dipping!