Tag Archives: vegan

Delicious Dairy-Free Lasagna Roll-Ups

Last week a craving for lasagna hit. We’re talking Garfield style craving. I hit two issues though. The first issue was that a pan of lasagna, even eaten as leftovers, is simply way too much for the two of us. The second issue was that I really needed to find a way to make it dairy-free (reasons why I limit dairy found here).

Lasagna RollupWhile looking for dairy-free alternatives, I started seeing a lot of lasagna roll up recipes. Excuse me?! I had not only never heard of them, I had never thought of making them. I knew this was perfect because it meant I could make only as much as Andy and I wanted. As far as dairy-free, that turned out to be a bit more difficult. A lot of recipes used processed vegan parmesan and other “cheeses”. Then I came across multiple blogs mentioning cashew cream and I bonked myself on the forehead. Cashew cream is incredible for both sweet and savory purposes. It’s simply cashews (soaked if you have a regular blender) and water thrown in the vitamix into a smooth velvety mixture. Add chocolate and you have a chocolate like mousse / pudding. Add basil, a little garlic, Italian seasoning and you get an absolutely delicious spread for lasagna or just to put on top of pasta as is.

DSC_8974The cashew cream really added a delicious velvety texture and awesome flavor. In addition, the cream really helped the fillings stick while rolling.

Speaking of fillings I did both a vegan filling and a meat lovers filling using local hot italian sausage from Farmers Gate Market here in Maine. The best part is that you can put whatever you want in these roll ups, just like any other lasagna you would make. I sweated down some onions, garlic, spinach and mushrooms. On the vegan ones I left as is, on the meat ones I simply crumbled already cooked sausage on top. Because these typically are just heating up in the oven for a short period I would definitely make sure any meat is thoroughly cooked.

DSC_8977When it came to rolling up I first put down a layer of cashew cream on the noodle, then topping, and then rolled it up. Note on rolling, as you roll press in to make sure it’s tight. Some of the filling might fall out but that’s okay. I found if I kept an inch or two of noodle at the end filling free it helped it all hold it together easier.

DSC_8979DSC_8984Once I finished rolling I topped them with tomato sauce, put in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes, and then served! So incredibly easy, and so incredibly tasty.

DSC_8986These are definitely going to become a staple in our house. I know the cashew cream might sound odd if you’ve never made it before but I definitely encourage you to try it—even if you’re a regular dairy eater! I’m going to be honest, I actually liked the flavor of these better than when I’ve had lasagna with cheese which I certainly didn’t expect.

Dairy Free Lasagna Roll-Ups
A delicious dairy-free lasagna roll-up using cashew cream.
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Ingredients
  1. Few handfuls baby spinach
  2. 1/2 large onion, diced
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1/2 container small mushrooms
  5. Lasagna (as many noodles as rollups you want)
  6. 2 cups raw cashews
  7. 1 cup water
  8. Italian seasoning (to taste)
  9. Salt (to taste)
  10. Dried or fresh basil (to taste)
  11. Spaghetti sauce
Noodles
  1. Cook according to directions. Noodles should be al dente.
Filling
  1. Add onion to a hot skillet, cook until translucent
  2. Add garlic & mushrooms to the skillet
  3. Add spinach and cook until wilted
  4. Remove filling to bowl
  5. Add meat to skillet and cook thoroughly if using
Cashew Cream
  1. If using a Vitamix or other high powered blender, add raw cashews, spices and enough water to create a smooth paste. If using a regular blender, soak raw cashews overnight before using.
Rolls
  1. Drain noodles and slightly cool.
  2. One noodle at a time smear with a heaping tablespoon of cashew cream. Spread leaving 1-2 inches of noodle bare at the end.
  3. Add vegetables in a thin row and meat if using.
  4. Slowly roll the noodle tightly around the filling
  5. Place each roll, seam side down, into a rimmed baking pan for cooking
Bake
  1. Top the rolls with spaghetti sauce
  2. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Notes
  1. Fillings should be whatever you love best in a regular lasagna. Our favorite is spinach, onion, garlic, mushroom and local sausage. Meat should be thoroughly cooked before using as stuffing. Vegetables should be reduced properly as they will not cook down in the oven.
Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
Roll ups – win.
Cashew cream – win.

xo,

Heather

 

Hearty Avocado Open-faced Breakfast Sandwich

DSC_8744-01 I love a hearty breakfast, but I like a hearty breakfast which leaves me feeling awake and ready to go. For me, unfortunately, animal products tend to leave me feeling a big sluggish. While this means the recipe below is a plant-based (vegan) breakfast, before you write this off, try it! Even if you’re a meat eater, this is not disappointing. For those who’ve never eaten tempeh, it’s wonderful, high in protein and very good for you. I tend to use the whole grain and/or flax one but use whichever looks best to you.

There are three things I prefer in a good breakfast: carbs, lacto-fermented veggies, and greens. I tend to have more energy, and overall feel better throughout the day. Oh, and one last thing, I need a quick breakfast. Even on weekends I don’t like to spend a ton of time in the kitchen in the morning. It’s delicious too.

Secret’s out though – it’s also great for lunch or dinner.

P.S. Husbands out there – my chainsaw wielding, carpenter, all around Maine man thinks this is delicious too.

Hearty Avocado Open-faced Breakfast Sandwich
Serves 2
A delicious plant-based, vegan breakfast sandwich which carnivores will love too if they give it a chance.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 thick slices hearty bread
  2. 1 block tempeh
  3. 1 large handful baby kale
  4. 1 avocado
  5. Garlic powder
  6. Splash soy sauce (optional)
  7. Splash mirin (optional)
  8. Green salsa (optional)
  9. Lacto fermented veggies (Kimchi works great with this)
Instructions
  1. Heat dry cast iron skillet on medium heat.
  2. Add two slices toast & weight down with a plate or sandwich press to get a nice toast on either side.
  3. While bread toasts, cut tempeh into four equal squares (standard tempeh block cut in half, and each half block halved again length wise).
  4. Place tempeh in a bowl and a splash of soy sauce and mirin. Gently ensure each piece gets coated.
  5. Remove toasted bread from skillet and set aside.
  6. Add tempeh & large handful of kale to the dry skillet
  7. Flip tempeh when browned and brown other side, stir kale and cool until wilted
  8. Cut avocado in half, remove seed, scoop out flesh with a spoon and cut into slices
  9. To toast, add two tempeh squares, topped with kale, a sprinkle of garlic salt, and avocado.
  10. If using green salsa drizzle on top of avocado
  11. If using kimchi either place to the side, or on top of avocado
Notes
  1. Photo includes kimchi and lacto-fermented beets from Gracies Garden, a Maine company.
Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
 xo,
Heather

Supreme Vegan Nachos

The other night all I wanted was loaded nacho’s for dinner. I can only think of one other time in my life I craved loaded nacho’s, and I’m pretty sure it was a couple drinks in on a Thursday night in college. I knew this time around I wanted to make a healthier dairy and meat free version (i.e. vegan).  Note – healthier does not mean healthy. If you take out of the processed vegan chipotle meat I used crumbled on these it would be significantly healthier but hey – I wanted fake meat so I used fake meat.

DSC_7911-01I was wondering how to tackle the dairy on nacho’s because vegan “cheese”‘s fall short for me. From “Feta” made with tofu, to cheese slices at the grocery store made of oils and chemicals to melt like cheese, I just don’t love them. I’ll eat them once in a while, but I don’t love them. The one “cheese” I like a lot is a vegetable based cheese from Maine based Little Lads which is great on sandwiches. That said, it doesn’t melt at all and forget about it on nacho’s.

I wanted to find a veggie based, low oil, cheese that I could drizzle on nachos.

Something I could dip veggies into.

Something I could eat and not feel like I just ate a pile of chemicals.

I’m not a vegan; I eat meat and I eat some dairy once in a while. I prefer vegan things to be called what they are and not some substitution of something they taste nothing like. It’s not that marinated crumbled tofu isn’t good, but it’s not feta. It’s nothing like it.

Needless to say, I was hopeful but a little skeptical of this nacho “cheese” recipe from Vegan Yumminess. It’s a carrot and potato based recipe (keep reading, I promise). It looked legit. I have to say, it taste pretty darn good to but let’s be frank – this does NOT taste like the Velveeta pumped cheese you get at the ballpark on corn chips. It tastes DELICIOUS though and is as close as I’ve ever tasted from a vegan “cheese”.

Next time I make this I am likely going to add in just a little more salt, some cumin and some cracked red pepper to make a spicy vegan nacho “cheese”, but damn if it isn’t delicious the way it is. Note that once you pour the cheese into a container it will form a thin skin on top of it, but just pull it off – no problem.

Supreme Vegan Nacho's
Quick and easy delicious vegan supreme nachos.
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For the Cheese
  1. Visit the "Adapted From" link above.
For the Nachos
  1. Organic blue corn chips
  2. Re-fried beans (most already are vegan if you read the ingredients, so you likely don't need to splurge on the vegetarian/vegan versions which are more expensive)
  3. Onion
  4. Green Pepper
  5. Fake meat of your choice (optional)
  6. Cumin
  7. Chili
  8. Avocado
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Lime juice (couple teaspoons)
  11. Other veggies/legumes as you like.
For the Cheese
  1. Follow the direction on Vegan Yumminess (link above)
For the Nacho's
  1. Dice the onion and pepper. Add a little water, or oil (NOT BOTH) to the pan. Saute together in a pan with cumin and chili powder to taste. Add salt if preferred. Once translucent and slightly browned remove from the pan.
  2. Add a few teaspoons of water to the pan to loosen browned veggie bits, and add your fake vegan meat to warm through if using.
  3. Dice the avodado into small bits and toss with a little cumin and lemon juice. Set aside.
  4. Dice a couple tomatoes. Set aside.
  5. On a baking pan, layer the chips with re-fried beans, some of the onion/pepper mixture, diced tomatoes, and the fake meat. Drizzle with vegan nacho "cheese". Add a second layer (optional).
  6. Once you've completed your last layer, drizzle with the rest of the nacho cheese and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, just to heat through.
  7. Remove from oven and top with avocado.
  8. Eat!
Notes
  1. These are nacho's, not rocket science. Add whatever you'd like to the nacho's. Black beans would be great. Grated carrots would give a sweet crunch. Love taco spice? Add it! These are nacho's - the only requirement are chips and delicious delicious nacho cheese—go to town!
Adapted from Cheese from Vegan Yumminess
Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
 I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. This “cheese” is definitely sticking as a regular in our house. Though I have to admit, I think I satisfied my nacho craving for another couple years.

xo,

Heather

Vegan Gluten-Free Creamy Tomato Soup {I Swear It’s Delicious}

When I was in college my good friend Meg used to make an absolutely incredible tomato soup, which was perfect on a cold winter night. What I most appreciated about this version of tomato soup is that it actually tasted like tomatoes. It didn’t taste sweet or fake like the stuff from a can, and it was so comforting.

As much as I love the original version, I just can’t eat as much dairy as I used to. I am a lover of cheese and cream and all the good things, but cheese and cream and all the good things are not a lover of me. Too much dairy generally means I get congested and slightly nauseated. It’s not exactly the greatest feeling in the world. Hard cheese don’t bother me as much, but aged cheese and high-fat dairy like cream are definitely something I only eat rarely.

I had been craving Meg’s tomato soup for a very long time so I finally asked her the recipe knowing I could alter it to make the recipe Heather friendly, which turned out to be vegan friendly. It did not disappoint. In fact, it greatly satisfied. I am so happy with how this turned out. Perfectly creamy, and none of the dairy.

DSC_7546-01Vegan Tomato Soup (adapted from a cook-book recipe, I’ll try and find out the name)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, earth balance, or other preferred vegetable oil
  • 1 lb plum tomatoes (or any other) roughly chopped
  • 2 – 3 medium potatoes or 1-2 large potatoes
  • 3 3/4 cups vegan vegetable stock (I used a bullion)
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 2/3 cup rice, hemp, flax or other unflavored milk of your choice
  • 2 tbspn fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel and skin potatoes and cut into cubes.
  2. Chop tomatoes
  3. Add olive oil in a large pot. Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add tomatoes to pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add stock and simmer until potatoes can be pierced with a fork easily.
  6. While stock and vegetables are simmering, toast the ground almonds under the broiler. This goes very quickly, so keep an eye on them. 1-2 minutes should suffice under a low-broiler heat.
  7. Place the hot stock and vegetables and ground almonds in a blender (vitamix works great) or add the almonds to the hot stock and vegetables in the large pot, and use an immersion blender. Blend until smooth.
  8. Cook for a minute or so longer (you may want to cook longer if you used other tomatoes besides plum and it’s really watery. I cooked mine down an additional 10 minutes or so).
  9. Shut off and stir in basil and seed/nut milk of your choice

Notes:

Some people prefer to add in just a little bit of sweetness to this. The original recipe uses 1 tsp. of regular sugar if you are so inclined.

Eat and be merry!

xo,

Heather

Basil Cashew Cream Sauce

Hey, friends! It’s been a while since I posted a savory recipe, and I’m going to try to get on this more for a few reasons. The first reasons is I love sharing (duh) and getting people to try new things they normally wouldn’t. Second, we’re back to a mainly plant based diet and I need to have a good way of remember what we liked and how to make it again more or less.

A few weekends ago, when we were up in the mountains of Maine, Andy’s aunt who has been on a whole foods plant based diet for two years brought up some homemade basil cashew cream she made and we went nuts. This stuff is incredibly good and is awesome on pasta, for dipping veggies in, for dipping tortilla chips in and whatever the heck else you think sounds good. It really is super versatile, though we love it most on a good pasta. I had heard about cashew cream for desserts, but I had never made it or heard about it being made savory. I’m hooked.

This is a super duper simple dish that anyone with a blender, and I’m guessing a food processor, can make. It takes four ingredients and two spices and is incredibly hard to screw up. That’s it, unless you choose to do more to it.

  • Basil
  • Raw cashews (don’t use roasted or salted)
  • Garlic
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Pepper

DSC_7069-01Here’s how it goes:

Put all items in blender. Blend and add more of whatever until it has the taste and consistency you like. I would say I did about 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews, 4-6 handfuls of basil leaves, a whole bunch of garlic (we love it around here) and enough water to make sure it still had a nice thickness to it so it would really cling to garlic. Think hummus thickness, only slightly thinner.

DSC_7070-01Most important of all, just have fun with it as I think we should do with all cooking. Add your garlic slow, add your basil slow, add your water slow, add your salt slow and you’ll be fine. I don’t like a lot of salt, so I use very little and let Andy salt to his taste. I love pepper though, so I use very little and then pepper to my taste on my own plate. 

DSC_7073-01When all is said and done, use it however you would like. I put mine in masons jars since I made in the afternoon, and we used one jar over pasta that night, and one jar over pasta last night. 

DSC_7082-01DSC_7091-01This is officially a staple in our home. It’s simple, it’s clean, it’s easy, it’s worth the 2 minutes it takes to throw together, and it’s very good for you. I never thought I would say it but as much as we love pesto in this house, we’re actually going towards this delicious cashew cream on a regular basis. Crazyness.

xo,

Heather

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