Green Sandwich with Vegan Pesto Cream Cheese

Making this pesto cream cheese is as simple as locating your favorite brands of non-dairy cream cheese and vegan pesto. Yep, most pestos aren’t vegan (or even vegetarian) due to the inclusion of parmesan cheese. Authentic parmesan cheese is made with animal rennet, an enzyme that’s found in the lining of a goat or calf’s stomach… But it’s easy to find a great vegan pesto at a variety of stores, or you could always make your own if you find yourself with lots of basil and a bit of time.

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Not sure which non-dairy cream cheese to buy? I’ve tried a bunch over the years, and am always here with the recommendations! Since you’re mixing it with pesto, you can get away with a cream cheese that’s good but not your favorite. Ultimately, you just have to explore a bit with vegan options to find what you like! Hate one brand? Try another next time it’s on sale, or mix up how you’re serving it. If you have been eating dairy cream cheese on plain bagels your entire life, it’s going to be a bit hard to find a vegan cream cheese that replaces that experience 1:1 at first. Try it on a bagel sandwich with lots of fresh herbs, capers, veggies, red onion, vegan deli slices, carrot lox if you’re feeling adventurous, or whatever tickles your fancy. Or, duh, mix it with pesto and make this!

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Ingredients:

  • Sliced bread
  • Non-dairy cream cheese
  • Vegan pesto
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Arugula

Instructions:

  1. Toast your bread. While it’s toasting, whisk together equal parts cream cheese and pesto, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a few cracks of pepper. Adjust amounts depending on how many sandwiches you’re making.
  2. Spread pesto cream cheese on bread, top with veggies, and eat!


Vegan Roasted Garlic Aioli with Shoestring Parsnip Fries

It’s parsnip season! If you’ve never cooked with parsnips, they’re very closely related to carrots. They have a sweet taste like carrots, but with an earthy nutty flavor.

I say aioli in a cheater’s sense, because this recipe uses prepared vegan mayo. Traditional aioli is made from egg yolks emulsified with olive oil.

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For the Roasted Garlic Aioli:

  • 1 small head of garlic
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Cut the top off the head of garlic to expose the cloves and place on a square of aluminum foil, drizzle lightly with olive oil. Wrap the foil tightly over the head of garlic, then roast in the oven at 400F for 30-40 minutes or until very soft.
  2. Allow it to cool and then remove the cloves (I squeeze them out) from the skins, and place them in a bowl. Mash into a paste with a fork and mix in with the vegan mayo, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and salt.
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For the Parsnip Fries:

  • 2-3 large parsnips, cut into shoestring pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss the parsnips with olive oil and salt.
  2. Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway

Vegan Colcannon

Ever put cabbage in your mashed potatoes?

If you’re not sick of mashed potatoes from last week (who am I kidding?), then make this vegan colcannon!

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish of creamy mashed potatoes with crunchy kale or cabbage. Here I used cabbage (partly because I had one of massive proportion in my fridge), but I like it with kale just as much!

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Ingredients:

  • 5 yukon gold potatoes, quartered
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegan butter, 1 reserved for later
  • 3 chopped green onions, some reserved for garnish
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup unsweetened/unflavored plant milk (use one you like the taste of!)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
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Instructions:

  1. Quarter potatoes, add to a pot, and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan and sauté green onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage and cook another few minutes until tender.
  3. Stir in the milk and pepper, bring to a simmer, then add in the potatoes. Coarsely mash with the back of a fork and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Transfer to a bowl, make a small well in the center to place the reserved tablespoon of butter in, and sprinkle extra sliced green onions over top.

Vegan Pumpkin Mac & Cheese

Okay, hear me out! This doesn’t taste like pumpkin or pumpkin pie – just cheesy deliciousness. Pumpkin purée makes this vegan mac and cheese SO creamy, plus it’s just 9 ingredients and ready in only 15 minutes.

And PLEASE, for the love of GOD! Use pure pumpkin purée and NOT pumpkin pie mix!

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Yes, I did put in on a burger with pickled jalapeños. I post things like this on my Instagram (@plantsinmypants) at least 3 times a week!

Prep time: 4 minutes | Cook time: 11 minutes | Serves: about 4

Ingredients:

  • 16oz cooked pasta of choice
  • 1 cup raw cashews, softened if needed*
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (or black), optional
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Instructions:

  1. Blend sauce ingredients (cashews through garlic).
  2. Stir sauce into cooked pasta, along with 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper if using.
  3. Serve immediately.

Notes:

*if not using a high-powered blender: soften cashews by soaking in water overnight or by placing in hot water for 15 minutes prior to use


Buffalo Cauliflower & Ranch Coleslaw Pretzel Hoagies

Crispy buffalo cauliflower and creamy herb ranch dressing, all rested on a buttered and toasted pretzel bun. Put that on your plate! Okay, I’ve been watching too much Mrs. Maisel. But really, put this on your plate!

I deliberated over what to call this for way too long. Is it a roll? A po’ boy? A… sub? I almost settled on sandwich. But nay, it is no simple sandwich – it is a hoagie! (Still open to suggestions from any sandwich connoisseurs out there.)

Every time I make buffalo cauliflower, I feel like I’m left with SO much batter. I think this recipe makes the perfect amount of batter for a small or medium head of cauliflower.

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Serves: About 4 – Prep Time: 10 minutes – Cook Time: 45 minutes

For the Buffalo Cauliflower:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower (about 3 cups), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3/4 cup plant milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (I like Frank’s RedHot)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter, melted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Whisk together batter ingredients (all but cauliflower, hot sauce, and butter) in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. Evenly coat each piece of cauliflower in the batter, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, being careful not to let the pieces touch.
  4. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, flipping halfway. If the batter is falling off, just bake them a bit longer before flipping.
  5. Whisk together melted butter and hot sauce. Pour mixture over the cauliflower and lightly toss to coat with tongs or a spatula.
  6. Bake for another 20 – 25 minutes, flipping again halfway, until crisp.
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For the Herb Ranch Dressing & Coleslaw:

Make this while your cauliflower is baking!

  • 1 cup vegan mayo
  • 3 tablespoons plant milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 16 oz coleslaw mix (one large bag)

Instructions:

  1. Mix ranch ingredients (all except for the coleslaw) together in an airtight container.
  2. Stir 1/2 cup of the ranch dressing into the coleslaw mix. Taste and add more dressing or salt/pepper if you’d like. I like having lots of this ranch leftover to drizzle on top of the sandwiches, or just to save for later.

Assemble the Hoagies:

Butter and toast your bread*, scoop in the ranch coleslaw, and top with buffalo cauliflower. Finish with sliced green onions, parsley, more ranch, more hot sauce, or whatever ya fancy. Enjoy!

*You don’t have to use pretzel buns, but Pretzilla makes vegan ones that come in a 4 pack. I’ve been able to find them at Whole Foods and Publix!


Crispy Potato Tacos with Spicy Cashew Lime Sauce

Will we ever get tired of tacos? Hmm, I don’t think so.

These ones are loaded with crisp, seasoned potatoes, black beans, chopped tomatoes, and crunchy lettuce – all with a generous drizzle of vegan spicy cashew lime sauce over top.

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For the Potatoes:

  • 2 medium-sized russet potatoes cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F while you chop the potatoes.
  2. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss potatoes with the spices (cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper if using).
  3. Bake for about 35 minutes, stirring halfway, until potatoes are crisp. Oven temperatures vary, so you may need less or more time.
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For the Spicy Cashew Lime Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, softened*
  • 1/2 cup plant milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until very smooth.
  2. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

*If you have a high-powered blender, you don’t need to soften your cashews. You can soften them by letting them soak in a bowl of water in the fridge overnight, or by placing the cashews in very hot water for 20 minutes before blending.

Assemble your tacos with the crispy potatoes and any other desired toppings such as black beans, baked tofu crumbles, chopped tomatoes, salsa, avocado, lettuce, guacamole, vegan cheese, or cilantro. Top with a drizzle of the spicy cashew lime sauce.


Spicy Roasted Chickpea Avocado Toast

Here’s a great way to mix up the classic avocado toast breakfast while adding some extra nutrients and a delicious crunch.

You can also get creative and switch up the spices to your liking. It’s encouraged!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Sourdough or ciabatta bread sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Olive oil
  • 1 large avocado
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Flaky sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste, optional
  • Fresh parsley, optional
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Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F
  2. Place chickpeas on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Season with salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Mix to combine.
  3. Bake for 16-18 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. After you’ve stirred the chickpeas and placed them back in the oven, slice your bread and drizzle a bit of olive oil onto each slice. Toast.
  5. Slice your avocado and mash onto the toasted bread. Top with the roasted chickpeas, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, flaky sea salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red pepper, and parsley.

Vegan Sausage and Potato Breakfast Skillet

Crispy potatoes for breakfast is always a good idea. Combine that with some veggies and your favorite vegan breakfast sausage, and you’ve got one comforting meal!

Sausage not your thing? You can totally sub for black beans or just leave it out entirely in favor of extra potatoes.

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Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes Serves about 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium russet potatoes, cut into cubes (about 1/2″)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • Vegan breakfast sausage of your choice*
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • kosher salt, to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 green onions, sliced

*I used 5 links of Field Roast’s Apple Maple Breakfast Sausage (not sponsored, just the truth!)

Instructions:

  1. Boil potatoes until fork tender, and set aside.
  2. Warm olive oil in a large skillet/pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes until starting to soften, then add the boiled potato cubes. Crisp the potatoes up for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the sausage, bell pepper, vinegar, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook another 5 minutes or so, stirring often, until peppers have softened and sausage is browned.
  4. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Add to serving bowls and top with sliced green onions.
  5. Serve with ketchup, hot sauce, or whatever your heart desires!

Carrot and Tomato Cashew Bisque with Old Bay Croutons

I feel like the title of this recipe is explanation enough, so I’ll just say that this bisque reminds me of ordering a cup of crab stew or lobster bisque in little mom and pop restaurants growing up. We no eat crustaceans or dairy anymore, and that’s not an issue at all with this creamy and delicious vegan bisque!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2-3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 (14 oz) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water, adding more as needed
  • 1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Old Bay crouton recipe follows
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Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat and add carrots, onion, celery, and garlic. Cook 5-7 minutes, stirring, until vegetables have softened. Mix in the flour and continue stirring until incorporated and flour begins to brown.
  2. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Make the cashew cream while that cooks. Add cashews (softened if not using a high powered blender*), water, and nutritional yeast to a blender, and blend until very smooth.
  4. Add the cashew cream to the pot after 20 minutes, then simmer another 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf. Allow the mixture to cool some.
  5. Pour the soup into your blender in batches until the whole pot is smooth and creamy.* Add freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste. Ladle into bowls after making these Old Bay croutons, toss some on top, and enjoy!

For the Old Bay Croutons:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Slice up half a baguette into crouton-sized pieces and add to a large bowl. Mix together 2 tablespoons melted vegan butter, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, and 1 tablespoon garlic powder. Toss croutons in the butter and spice mixture, add to a parchment or silicone lined baking sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, stirring/flipping halfway through.

Notes:

*Soften cashews by soaking in water overnight, or soaking in hot water for 20 minutes.

*Unnecessary, but potentially interesting side note: I am lazy and don’t want to add multiple cups of hot liquid to a blender or wait for the whole pot to cool, so I’ll sometimes use an immersion blender instead to get things as smooth as possible. Then I’ll take 1.5 cups out, let it cool a bit, blend that until completely smooth, then stir it back into the pot. The texture achieved by this is similar to rustic lobster and crab bisques I had before going vegan, so I really like it.


Coconut Curry Lentil Soup with Tomatoes & Kale

I figured now is the perfect time to share one of my absolute favorite soup recipes, what with COVID-19. Most if not all of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry and fridge/freezer, and they all have long shelf lives. And it’s one-pot. Aren’t those always the best kinds of recipes? Anyways…

Stay safe y’all (and make this hearty soup while you’re self-quarantining)!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • thumb of ginger (about 2 tablespoons), minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and picked through
  • 1 (14 oz) can unsalted petite diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 (14 oz) can coconut milk
  • 2 – 3 cups vegetable broth, depending on desired thickness
  • 2 cups packed kale*
  • Fresh cilantro, optional
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

* You could also use frozen kale.

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Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat, sauté onion and carrot with a pinch of salt for 5 – 7 minutes until soft and beginning to brown.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, curry powder, crushed red pepper, and tomato paste. Cook 1 – 2 minutes until fragrant, then stir in lentils.
  3. Pour in tomatoes, coconut milk, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 – 40 minutes until the the flavors have melded, and the lentils are cooked and soft.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in kale, cilantro, lemon juice and season to taste with salt (if needed) and fresh ground pepper.