My Favorite Vegan Meals

My Favorite Vegan MealsPeople are always asking me what I eat and what my favorite meals are, so I wanted to share my top 5 favorite meals.

To be clear…there are 2 categories of favorite meals, my favorite FAVORITE meals are all from restaurants, which are…

1. Vegan Saag
2. Panange Curry
3. Vegan Sushi
4. Vegan Spring Rolls
5. Veggie Burrito from Roberto’s

I have tried making each of these at home and they turn out OK.

So here are my 5 favorite “at home” meals…

The ingredients are pretty specific so I have included some alternatives if you don’t have my “first choice” ingredients at your local store.

1. Grilled “Cheese”

This is my #1 fave! My most comfort food. I have to be careful because it’s also a trigger food and I can easily eat an entire loaf in one day! Plus my bod doesn’t love bread so this is reserved for special occasions or serious bribery!!

  • Dave’s Power Seed (my fave) or another seeded bread like Rudi’s.
  • First choice “cheese” is Field Roast Original, then Field Roast Herb, then Follow Your Heart Provolone, the Follow Your Heart Cheddar, then Daiya Cheddar. Daiya is now in most grocery stores, the other 2 are only in Whole Foods or some other specialty health food stores.
  • Earth Balance “margarine”…I get whichever flavor is on sale. They all taste the same to me. Luckily Earth Balance is now in most regular grocery stores!!
  • No sugar added organic ketchup. Hard to find. If you can’t find it at least go with one sweetened with sugar or agave, not corn syrup!! OR…if you have a high speed blender you can make your own with tomatoes and sea salt!

I love dipping my grilled cheese in ketchup, but if that doesn’t sound good to you, skip the ketchup!!

2. Vegan Ravioli w “Ricotta”

This one may be hard unless you live near a Whole Foods as all the ingredients I have ONLY found so far at WF. But it is worth the trip when you find one!!

  • Vegan Ravioli. The ones I get are handmade and in the refrigerated section. There may be other vegan raviolis out there but I haven’t seen them. Just make sure there is no egg in the pasta part and no dairy in the filling.
  • Kite Hill Ricotta, I haven’t ever seen any other vegan ricotta anywhere. I’m sure there are recipes to make it, but that seems like a lot of work to me  and I can’t promise it will be as amazingly delish as Kite Hill’s. Here is a map of where they have their stuff… http://www.kite-hill.com/find.html
  • Fresh Garlic. I use 2 cloves, but I’m wild! You can use more or less depending on your love for garlic…and what you have going on after!
  • Fresh Basil. Again, I use a ton, use however much you think you would like.

Cook the ravioli, mix in the ricotta, garlic, and basil.

PS…I make my hubby’s with red sauce. I just cook his ravioli, mix in the red sauce and add ricotta as a topping instead of the main stuff.

3. Mashed Potatoes

  • 8 Red Potatoes
  • 2 tbsp Vegenaise
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance
  • Sea Salt to taste

Cut the potatoes in quarters, put in a pot, cover with water, turn stove on high and start timer for 30 minutes. When timer is done, mash potatoes, add all the other stuff.

4. Vegan “Burger” Salad

This is another one I love and eat often as my hubby LOVES the vegan burgers I get so I can make him a burger “normal” style (with bun and such) and I can make this for me!

  • Vegan Burger (my fave is BY FAR Field Roast Hand Packed burgers. You can get them at Whole Foods in the refrigerated section with vegan cheeses, vegenaise and such)
  • Vegan Cheese (check out my faves above)
  • Crinkle Cut Potato Chips (I like either Boulder Chips or Kettle Chips with Sea Salt only)
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • Avocado
  • Vegenaise optional

You can grill your vegan burger, I’m lazy so I just put mine in the microwave with the cheese for 1 minute and then cut into small pieces.

Cut up 2 tomatoes, cut up the avocado, and then put EVERYTHING on top of a bed of Potato Chips. If you want it gooey-er or juicy-er, add vegenaise.

5. Grape Salad

Ahhhhh…the old family favorite made vegan! Just a note, my non-vegan, junk-food hubby LOVES the previous 4 meals, he won’t get behind this one, but it’s one of my faves. I rarely make it because it’s another trigger food and I end up eating the entire batch!

  • 1 lb rice pasta shells
  • giant bag of green grapes
  • vegenaise
  • Potato Chips (same as above is my first choice)

Boil the noodles until al dente, drain, cool, mix in grapes and enough vegenaise to moisten the mixture.

Cool completely in fridge. When ready to eat, take a scoop, mix with enough vegenaise to make it gooey like potato salad or coleslaw, and then smash up potato chips and sprinkle on top.

That’s it! Those are my 5 faves. As you can see I am a simple “cook”. I consider myself more of a “throw-together” vegan but it works for me. Hope you like these as much as I do!

More easy vegan meals…

www.youtube.com/vegandivakir

Hundreds of AMAZING vegan recipes (some easy, some not so much)…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/7DayVeg/

Join our 7 Day Vegan Challenge…

https://www.facebook.com/groups/VeganWeek/

And share your fave vegan meals with me here…

https://www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

See you next week!

My Fourth Raw Monday | Raw Salad Recipes

My Fourth Raw Monday | Raw Salad RecipesIf you are looking for weeks 2 and 3, don’t bother. They were a lot of learning and lessons that can be summarized here…

1. I was making eating raw WAY TOO DIFFICULT

2. I was making eating raw WAY TOO EXPENSIVE

3. I was making eating raw WAY TOO CALORIC

So here I am at week 4 and here are my NEW “Raw Monday Rules”…

1. I only make ONE meal from a recipe

2. The other meals/snacks are either fruit, veggies, salad, or nuts

3. I eat primarily whole foods and not store bought raw packaged stuff

4. I look for meals where the MAJORITY of the meal is fruit/veggies

5. I look for meals with lower caloric count (unless it’s dessert I make raw that day of course)

6. If the meal does call for large amounts of nuts, dates, oil, or other calorically dense foods, I use a tad less

Armed with my new rules and lessons I have learned over the past month, I feel confident in my raw journey ahead.

So today I made a DELICIOUS recipe from rawmazing.com…

Curry Carrot Salad

4 cups grated carrots, (approximately 10 medium carrots, grated)
2 cups snow peas, sliced into 1/2-inch long pieces
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1/2 to 1 cup raisins
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin

Curry Dressing

1/2 cup cashews, soaked for at least 6 hours and drained
1/2 cup fresh almond milk (you can use water but it won’t be as flavorful)
2 teaspoons sweet yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon nama shoyu
1 tablespoon liquid sweetener of choice
Himalayan salt to taste

I also added cilantro to the “salad” and garlic, turmeric, and ginger to the “dressing”

1. Toss carrots, snow peas, pineapple, raisins and scallions together in a large bowl.
2. Place all dressing ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
3. Pour dressing over salad and mix through to coat all pieces.

This salad is seriously AMAZING, the only problem is that is serves 6 and I ate the whole thing. YIKES!!

So now the only RAW MONDAY issue I am having is over-eating. Any suggestions?? I have been posting recipes and pics here…

www.facebook.com/FoodFitnessFinanceFun

I would love to get some raw-dvice from any experts out there!!!

Crockpot Meal 3: Sweet Potato Masala

crockpot-recipe-sweet-potato-masala-veganI am super excited to make this because one of my favorite meals at a restaurant I love is Sweet Potato Masala!! This may be one of my most successful vegan recipes yet!

Tuesday 10am: Grocery Shopping…10 mins…only needed a couple things I didn’t already have…

  • 2 Large Sweet Potatoes $2.85
  • Large Can of Crushed Tomatoes $1.19
  • 2 Cans of Low fat Unsweetened Coconut Milk $3.58
  • Cilantro $.34
  • Basmati Rice $5.29 (and will last me all week for sure)

Ingredients I already had…

  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 3 Cloves Crushed Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. Cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp. Turmeric
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 1⁄2 tsp. Cardamom
  • 1⁄2 Tbsp. Chili powder
  • A few Cloves
  • A few Fennel Seeds
  • Salt to taste

Spices are pretty expensive up front, but last a long time. Even the Cardamom that was like $12 only comes to pennies each serving. So I would guess for this meal all the spices would total $2-$4.

Tuesday 11am: Prep time 10 minutes

Combine the ginger, garlic, tomatoes, coconut milk, spices, and cubed Sweet Potatoes in your Crock Pot.

Cook on high for 3 hours and then low for 3 hours. Or high for 4 or low for 8 or whatever combo works with your schedule.

Tuesday 5pm: Made Basmati Rice…took 20 minutes total

Let it cool a bit and sprinkled cilantro leaves on top.

My Taste Test…8 out of 10. I thought it was DELISH! And very spicy which I love. I didn’t really measure my spices out, I just tossed them in so not sure which of the spices actually made it spicy but it’s perfect for me.

Hubby’s Taste Test…8 out of 10…WHAT??? I may be a good wife yet!! He said if it was creamier it would be a 10. The recipe I adapted mine from had yogurt and corn starch in it to thicken and cream it up. I live in a small town and there wasn’t vegan yogurt at our store and for some reason corn starch scared me, so I just omitted them both. I will try it again next time with the vegan yogurt for my hubby! YAY!

Total Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cost: $16.25

We each had 2 giant bowls of it for each meal and it fed us a total of 6 meals (3 each) so we paid $2.71/meal

Like I have said before, we eat twice as much as a normal person so you guys could probably get it done for about $1.35/meal.

YAHOO!

Crockpot Meal #2: Saag Paneer

Crockpot Meal Saag PaneerI am super excited for this vegan crockpot recipe because Indian Food is my FAVORITE and we spend about $50 every time we eat out (which used to be a couple times a week, but now we have scaled back to once a month). MAN…I hope this is good!!

Ingredients:

4 large garlic cloves, chopped…already had but prob cost about $.50
3 tbsp. minced ginger…$.40
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce…$1.49
1 tbsp. garam masala…couldn’t’ find it so I skipped it
1 tbsp. ground coriander…$2.99 for bottle
1 tbsp. ground cumin…already had, but approx. $.10
1 tsp. salt…already had but prob like $.01
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper…already had, approx. $.05
1 can low fat coconut milk…$1.59
3 10 oz. boxes of spinach, thawed…$4.17
1 bag fresh baby spinach…$3.59
12 oz. firm tofu, chopped into cubes…$1.69
Basmati Rice…$5.59 for enough to feed a small army!!

Instructions:

  • Add everything to the slow cooker except for the fresh spinach and tofu
  • Cook on low for 3 hours.
  • Open and add the fresh spinach. Cook for 1 more hour.
  • Blend everything using an immersion blender or blending batches. Return to the slow cooker.
  • Add the tofu and cook for 1 more hour. Serve over quinoa, rice, or with Naan.

Recipe from Healthy Girls Kitchen

Sunday 5pm: Shopping for ingredients (20 minutes)
Sunday 6pm: Prep time 10 minutes max
Monday 2pm: Finished Prep (10mins)
Monday 7pm: Made Basmati Rice (30 mins)
Monday 7:30pm: EAT!

My Taste Test…this was a CHALLENGE for us as our favorite food ever is Saag Paneer from a local Indian Food restaurant. I thought it was GOOD as long as I didn’t compare it to our fave. I would give it a 6 out of 10. It was a little bland but I don’t know Indian spices enough to know what to add.

Hubby’s Taste Test…he ate it but didn’t like it. He won’t eat leftovers like I will. He said it was bland and even though I told him NOT to compare, I know he did. He gave it a 1 out of 10.

I added cilantro to one of my servings and that helped give it some zip! I would love to hear from experienced Indian Food peeps as to what other spices I could add to help!!

Total Prep Time: A little over an hour
Total Cost: $15.27 new stuff+ $.66 ingredients I already had on hand=$15.93
Lasted us 7 meals (and we eat a LOT so you will probably get double that)
Total Cost per Meal=$2.28

YAY!

So far my biggest “complaint” about cooking all these vegan crockpot recipes is cleaning all this mess up!!

Crockpot Meal #1: Vegan Chili Recipe

Crockpot Meal #1 - Vegan Chili RecipeHow to make amazingly delicious Vegan Chili in your crockpot. Check out this Vegan Chili recipe including costs and ingredients.

Monday 5pm: Went to grocery store and bought ingredients… (time shopping 10 minutes)

  • Bag of Red Beans $1.39 (used half the bag)
  • Bag of Pinto Beans $1.39 (used half the bag)
  • Can of Organic Diced Tomatoes $2.69 (regular ones were $1.19)
  • Yellow Onion $1.07

Already have at home…

  • Quinoa (cost about $5.00)
  • Garlic (cost about $.50)
  • Spices (cost about $4.00 for an average jar of spices that can last for a very long time)

The spices I used this time were…

  • Pepper
  • Sea Salt
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Chili Powder
  • Tumeric

Sunday 6pm: Soaked beans in water overnight (time prepping less than five minutes)

Monday 2pm: Sautéed Onion and Garlic in Olive Oil (time prepping was five minutes)

Put half of each type of bean in the crock pot and added onion mix, can of diced tomatoes, an extra can of water, and spices and stirred it together. The thing that took me the longest was digging out the crock pot! Poor fellow hasn’t been used in years!!

Turned it to HIGH until I have to leave in an hour and then will turn it to LOW until I get home tonight…

Monday 7pm: I got home and was TOO hungry to make our quinoa so I had a packet of Microwaveable Brown Rice so 90 seconds later dinner was served.

BOO! Not ready! Beans were still hard-ish, I’ll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday 7pm: UGH! This was silly for me to start this journey during the Summer. It’s hot out and the thought of eating chili doesn’t even sound good! Oh well…I’ll do it anyway!

Making Quinoa…this took 25 mins with boiling and cooking, but I made the entire box which will last all week!

My Taste Test…DELICIOUS!! It is SOOOO good. Even had seconds! I like it with the quinoa WAY better.

I’ll give you my hubby’s opinion when he gets home. I’m too impatient to wait for him…Hubby’s Taste Test…He LOVED it…had it 3 dinners in a row. He gave it a 7 out of 10. That is a HUGE success in my book! Oh…and BTW…he doesn’t lie to make me feel better. He has told me numerous times how crappy my cooking is !!

Total Prep Time: Under an hour

Total Cost: $5.15 new stuff+ $9.50 ingredients I already had on hand=$14.65

Lasted us 6 meals (and we eat a LOT so you will probably get double that)

Total Cost per Meal=$2.44

YAY!