Vegan Penne Primavera

Recipes

I’ve almost reached 2 whole months of eating vegan, and I gotta say, I like how it’s going. The food is delicious, made of fresh ingredients, and I don’t feel like crap after eating it. This particular recipe is going to be a new favorite in my house because I always seem to have random unused veggies and pasta (usually gluten-free or whole wheat). I love how the aroma of the vegetables filled the house and went so beautifully with the herbs. It was super easy to make too. The most time consuming part is chopping all the veggies, but so many grocery stores sell these pre-sliced now you could always go that route if you wanted to save even more time.

Feel free to sub in whatever veggies you have on hand for this dish. Just be sure to add them at the right times for cooking. For example, I added the broccoli first since I knew that would take the longest and the roma tomatoes last since I knew I really only wanted those warmed and not super mushy. You can also use whatever type of pasta you prefer. I like penne because it’s easy to get a good bite with pasta and vegetables in it all at once. This particular penne was gluten free so you could always do that as well, or heck make some zoodles if you’re looking for something without any carbs. Lastly, feel free to leave the oil out of this as well and instead add a small amount of water when cookies the veggies. I did use oil in this dish this time. I have been leaving oil out of my food for the last three weeks or so, so I didn’t feel like a tablespoon or two of good olive oil would hurt. I hope you enjoy!

Vegan Penne Primavera

12 oz of your favorite penne – cooked and drained

1 zucchini, halved and sliced

1 squash, halved and sliced

1 head of broccoli, chopped

2 carrots, thinly sliced

2 roma tomatoes, halved and sliced

1 Tbsp olive oil (or water for cooking the vegetables)

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Non-dairy mozzarella for topping, if desired

  1. Add the broccoli and the carrots to a large skillet over medium high heat with olive oil (or water) and let cook covered for about 5 minutes
  2. Add zucchini, squash, and garlic and cover. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until vegetables reach desired consistency.
  3. Add roma tomatoes at the end and stir to combine. Add thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Once all vegetables are cooked, mix in the penne pasta.
  5. Top with non-dairy mozzarella or parmesan if desired.
  6. Enjoy!

Vegan Applesauce Ginger Oatmeal

Recipes

Oatmeal is an easy and filling breakfast staple. Mix it with fruit and you’ve got yourself something really tasty. This particular version uses my Easy Sugar-Free Applesauce recipe, or you can use your favorite applesauce instead. I do add sugar as well but if you prefer to leave that out feel free to do so. I love the kick of the ginger especially as a morning pick-me-up and the almond milk added at the end gives this oatmeal the perfect creamy texture. The portions here make about 4 servings so adjust as necessary for your family. It also keeps well as leftovers in the fridge for a few days if you enjoy meal-prepping.

Vegan Applesauce Ginger Oatmeal

1 cup old fashioned oats

2 cups water

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup applesauce

2 tsp brown sugar

Pinch of salt

Almond milk, or other milk alternative for topping

  1. Bring water and oats to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and allow oats to cook fully.
  2. Add all ingredients except almond milk and mix well.
  3. Make sure all ingredients are warmed through.
  4. Serve in a bowl and top with desired amount of milk alternative.
  5. Enjoy!
roasted stuffed sweet potato

Vegan Oil-Free Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Recipes
roasted stuffed sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite ingredients. They are versatile, easy to cook and inexpensive, making them a great option for any meal. This particular meal is great because you can eat it any time of day depending on what ingredients you use. I used this recipe for lunch for the last couple of days and it is so filling and delicious! The other great part is that this recipe does not use any oil making it an especially healthy plant-based dish.

Like I said before, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can sub out whatever ingredients and spices you like and use them to stuff your sweet potato. These particular ingredients were what I had on hand which made it super easy to make for a somewhat quick and healthy lunch. I’ve seen breakfast variations as well that include almond butter and bananas and maple syrup and definitely think I will have to try that next.

Vegan Oil-Free Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

2 medium to large sweet potatoes, washed

1/2 red onion, diced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can corn, drained

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 large tomato, diced

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

Juice of 1 lime

Salt & pepper

Toppings: guacamole, Fritos, cilantro, vegan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Poke sweet potatoes all over with a fork and roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until soft when stabbed with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, cook onion in a pan over medium-high heat until soft.
  3. Once cooked add beans, corn, spices, lime juice and quinoa and mix until well combined.
  4. Cook ingredients until warmed through.
  5. Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and once cool enough, cut them in half.
  6. Place one half in a bowl and top with quinoa mixture.
  7. I topped mine with homemade guac, some fritos and some vegan cheddar cheese. Top with whatever you like or have available! Enjoy!

Vegan Sweet Potato and Portabello Fajitas

Recipes

Fajitas are easily in my list of top five easy dinners. They are quick, they are cheap and they are absolutely delectable. These particular fajitas are also great because the ingredients are so versatile. Don’t like mushrooms? Add more sweet potatoes. Not a sweet potato fan? Add more mushrooms! Or heck, go get some Beyond Meat chicken strip thingies and leave both out if you prefer, but I hope you won’t! Because the sweet potatoes and Portabello mushrooms are absolutely divine in this recipe. Especially when mixed with some fresh smashed guacamole. Mmm, mm, mmmmmm. Okay, honestly, everything is delish with guacamole – am I right?

When I made this recipe, I cooked the mushrooms separately from the rest of the veggies because hubs doesn’t like them, but you can totally cook all veggies in the same pan to save time. Another tip is to always wrap your sheet pans with foil before roasting veggies. This makes for super easy clean up at the end – you’ll thank me later. Another tip that’s helpful if you’re not super familiar with Portabellos (like me), is to scrape the gill looking portion of the portabello caps out before slicing and cooking. The gills area very dark brown and can turn whatever else is in the pan with them dark brown as well making it look less than appetizing. They are easy to scoop, just use a small spoon and carefully scrape the bottoms of the mushroom caps. You can then rinse if you’d like or go to straight to slicing. They are super delicious cooked up and in these fajitas! You won’t be sorry! (Also, sorry for the poor image quality – I took videos and forgot to take photos so these are crappy screenshots)

Vegan Sweet Potato & Portabello Fajitas

3 Portabello mushroom caps, scraped and sliced into about 1/2″ wide pieces

2 Sweet potatoes (or garnet yams), cut into wedges

1 green, 1 red, 1 yellow bell peppers, sliced

1 yellow onion, sliced

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

Salt and Pepper

Olive oil

Guacamole or salsa for topping

Tortillas

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Place sweet potato wedges on a prepared sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil and half the cumin plus salt and pepper. Once preheated, bake sweet potato wedges for about 25 minutes or until cooked to desired consistency.
  2. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, heat 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan and add veggies (or you can cook them separately for picky eaters).
  3. Season with cumin, garlic powder and salt and pepper.
  4. Once potatoes and veggies are cooked, you can add them all to the same pan for easy serving.
  5. Add a scoop of veggies and potatoes to a tortilla, top with guacamole or salsa if desired and enjoy!

Vegan Black Beans and Greens Meal Prep

Recipes

Sunday is meal prep day! And today I made delicious protein and fiber-packed bowls that I can’t wait to eat throughout the week. This recipe is also super simple to make, inexpensive, and extra filling. The ingredients are also available pretty much year round making this the perfect meal prep for any season.

Black beans and rice are a protein-packed combination. Add the broccoli, zucchini and mushrooms to that and you’re adding even more fiber as well as a calcium boost. I love heating this dish in the winter time or eating it cold in the summer months – both ways are delicious! My favorite part is definitely the dollop of hummus added at the end. Simply mix the entire bowl together to create a delicious comfort food feeling meal. Let’s show you how to make it.

Vegan Black Beans and Greens Meal Prep

2 zucchinis, sliced

3 small crowns of broccoli, chopped

1 box of baby Bella mushrooms, sliced

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup of brown rice (cook to package directions)

Garlic powder (if desired)

8 Tbsp Hummus

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

  1. Cook 1 cup of brown rice according to package directions. My bag says that 1 cup of dry rice makes 5 3/4 cup servings. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. While rice is cooking, prepare a baking sheet (I like to use foil for easy clean up), place all vegetables and beans on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and season with garlic powder and salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through.
  3. Once everything is cooked, place even portions into 4 food containers (or more if you want smaller portions).
  4. Top each filled container with 2 Tbsp of hummus.
  5. Place lid on container for eating throughout the current week. Enjoy!

Vegan Lasagna

Recipes

Lasagna is one of my favorite foods of all time. Who am I kidding, pretty much any type of pasta is my favorite food. Carbs, basically, just all the carbs. This lasagna is awesome because it’s completely vegan while still packed full of nutrients and yumminess. It combines a homemade ricotta, spinach and artichoke hearts with the classic red sauce that you can either make at home or buy premade. I did use gluten-free oven-ready lasagna noodles for this particular recipe which I didn’t care for – I didn’t care for the oven-ready part, the gluten-free part was fine. I would recommend using normal or gluten-free noodles you’ll have to boil first, but trust me it will be worth it.

This is also posted on my Instagram account (@melissaroserambles) under my Food highlights if you’d like to see this recipe in action!

Vegan Lasagna

Cooked lasagna noodles, at least 8

5 oz of fresh baby spinach, chopped

1 7.5 oz jar of artichoke hearts, chopped

1 8 oz bag of vegan mozzarella shreds

1 4 oz container of vegan parmesan

1 24 oz jar pasta or marinara sauce

1 batch of vegan homemade ricotta (recipe below)

Vegan Ricotta

Place all items in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F and grab a 13″ x 9″ glass baking pan.
  2. Mix vegan ricotta mixture with chopped spinach and artichoke hearts. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Pour a layer of sauce in the bottom of your pan and layer two noodles. After the noodle layer, add a ricotta mixture layer, a mozzarella and parmesan layer, and then repeat each layer until you run out of noodles and other mixtures.
  4. Top entire lasagna with remaining vegan cheeses and cover with foil.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, remove foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
  6. Once finished baking, remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!

Easy Sugar-Free Applesauce

Recipes

I love apples and I love quick and easy recipes so this sugar-free apple sauce is one of my favorite things to make after apple-picking. Lucky for me, my mom has an apple tree so I have almost unlimited access to apples all autumn long. This allows me to play around with recipes to my hearts content. This recipe is by far one of the easiest and probably healthiest dessert recipes around – at least I eat it for dessert. There is no sugar added, just cinnamon, because the apples are sweet enough. You can make this on the stove or in a crockpot, but I really do prefer the stove method because it is faster and makes the house smell so yummy. Happy Fall Ya’ll!!

Easy Sugar-Free Applesauce

4 medium sized apples, peeled and cut into chunks

A few Tbsp of water

1/4 tsp cinnamon, or more to taste

  1. Add your apple chunks to a medium sauce pan and add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan but not cover the apples.
  2. Place on the stove over medium-low heat and let simmer until the apples are soft
  3. Using the back of your spoon or a potato masher, squish those apple chunks to your desired consistency. If you like super smooth apple sauce you could always use an immersion blender here to really whip it up.
  4. Add cinnamon and mix completely.
  5. Pair with a scoop of your favorite non-dairy vanilla ice cream or enjoy by itself!

Vegan Biscuits and Gravy

Recipes

Do you ever wake up in the morning knowing exactly what you want for breakfast? And not just knowing, but absolutely craving one particular thing? That was me this weekend. I lay in bed drooling over the idea of a big plate of biscuits and gravy. I scoured my phone for vegan breakfast joints to no avail. I couldn’t even find a place that offered a vegetarian version. I was crushed. But then, I realized that I actually had the exact ingredients I needed to get my butt out of bed and make my own. Seriously, though, Sacramento, you need a vegan breakfast place, or at least a vegetarian one, or maybe even just a place with more than just one veggie option for us plant-eating peoples. Anyway, I jumped out of bed and got to the kitchen, hubs got the coffee going and I got ready to make some biscuits.

Now you may think of making biscuits on a Saturday morning as a chore, but I say nay! Especially not with the super easy and delicious vegan biscuit recipe from one of my favorite cooking sites – Minimalist Baker. Their Best Damn Vegan Biscuit recipe is super easy to follow, quick to make and perfect for a Saturday morning. They paired deliciously with the rest of this dish and were even amazing the next day with some vegan butter and strawberry jam. Since I got this biscuit recipe from their site, I won’t repost it here. Simply visit the link above to make your biscuits before heading into my recipe for vegan sausage and gravy.

Not all vegan sausage is created equal – at least in my mind. For this recipe, I recommend something that crumbles up nicely like a ground sausage typically would. I used the Gimme Lean Sausage from Lightlife and love how it turned out. This sausage is also a great option for breakfast because not only can you crumble it, but if you want to use the rest for later you can cut it into patties too! Anywho, you’ll only use about half of the 14oz pack for this recipe, but obviously if you like more or less sausage than me you can adjust that how you’d like. I also used almond milk for this recipe, but I imagine you could use whichever dairy-free substitute you prefer. Let’s just go ahead and get into it, all this typing is making me hungry!

Vegan Biscuits and Gravy

**Make biscuits using the Best Damn Vegan Biscuit recipe here.**

1 package of Lightlife Gimme Lean veggie sausage

4 heaping Tbsp flour

1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

Oil of choice for cooking sausage

  1. Cook the sausage according to the package directions using oil of choice.
  2. Once sausage is cooked, dust over the top with the flour and stir to combine.
  3. Add the almond milk slowly, while stirring to the sausage-flour mixture. The milk will not thicken all at once, so simmer for a while and continue to stir frequently until you reach your desired consistency. If it becomes too thick, add more milk and if too thin add more flour.
  4. Pour gravy sausage mixture over your homemade biscuits and enjoy!

Vegan Caramel Corn

Recipes

Caramel corn is a necessity in our house around the holidays. Every year my husband’s mom makes loads of it and gives us each a giant bag at Christmas time. This year, I thought it would be fun to make some a little early for a Halloween treat exchange at my work, and I thought it’d be even more fun to try and make it vegan. Although, I’m not really sure what my MIL’s recipe is, maybe hers is vegan too, but I digress. This recipe is super easy to make, and even easier if you can list an extra pair of hands (thanks, honey!). You see, caramel corn is a delicate process. Caramel can burn quite quickly if you’re not careful, so having someone else helping in the kitchen can make the whole process a little less stressful.

The first batch that I made of this I used regular white sugar. Now, the first batch didn’t turn out bad so if that’s all you have on hand it’ll totally work. Just keep in mind that the white sugar will make it a bit more like kettle corn than caramel corn. On my second batch, I decided to go with brown sugar instead and this was where I hit the sweet spot. The brown sugar caramelized perfectly and became even more delectable after baking it in the oven for a bit. It came out perfectly crunch with just the right amount of sweet and chewy. Nobody wants to be digging caramel out of their teeth for hours. This recipe would make a great Christmas gift for family and friends or stuff it into little baggies for kid’s school functions or holiday parties. Now I won’t be making it for that purpose since my MIL makes it every year, but best believe as soon as I run out, I’ll be heading into the kitchen to make some more!

Vegan Caramel Corn

Approx. 10 cups of plain popped popcorn (for me, this was right around 2 batches in the air popper)

2 heaping Tbsp of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

1/2 tsp table salt

2 Tbsp plain unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)

1/4 cup organic 100% maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp baking soda

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F and prepare two baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone baking mats (I used one of each and both came out the same).
  2. Add all ingredients except baking soda to a pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
  3. Stirring constantly, add the baking soda and reduce heat to low. Stir for about a minute or until you see the mixture change to a dark caramel-y color.
  4. Dump your popcorn into paper bags and evenly pour your caramel mixture into the popcorn.
  5. Shake the popcorn vigorously until well coated (this is where the extra set of hands comes in!!)
  6. Spread the coated popcorn evenly out onto your baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the popcorn reaches a nice golden brown color.
  7. Remove from the oven and lay out on a either a new piece of parchment paper, a clean baking sheet or I used a couple of clean cutting boards. This cooling process will allow the popcorn to become crispy and delectable.
  8. Store in large ziploc bags or sealed containers until you’re ready for some seriously delicious snacking!

Vegan Baked Peaches

Recipes

Today’s post is taking me back to colder days at the middle of September. Weather has been weird here in northern California, and we’re actually back to days in the high 80s late into October. I’m not loving that summer doesn’t seem to want to end. It makes me miss warm and cozy recipes like these easy baked vegan peaches. These are seriously so simple, I think the most difficult part was cutting the peaches in half.

These use a vegan butter substitute and some basic sugars. If you’re a super hardcore vegan you could also sub for coconut sugar or whatever you prefer. I also used yellow peaches, which in my experience with baking peaches, work best for this type of recipe. The white peaches are too tough and don’t soften correctly in the oven. Without further ado, let’s throw back into cooler temps and yummy desserts.

Easy Vegan Baked Peaches

2 large ripe yellow peaches, cut in halves and pitted

2 Tbsp vegan butter

4 Tbsp brown sugar

Cinnamon for sprinkling, if desired

  1. Place peach halves in a baking dish and preheat the oven to 375°F
  2. Add 1/2 Tbsp of vegan butter to the center of each peach, followed by 1 Tbsp of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the peaches are soft.
  4. Top with your favorite dairy free ice cream and enjoy the lovely smells and the warm feelings from these incredibly easy and delicious peaches!