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.


Buffalo Chickpea Kale Caesar Wraps

Excuse how stereotypically vegan this next statement is: I am obsessed with kale. Now that that’s off my chest, I figure the title of this recipe is explanation enough. Buffalo. Chickpea. Kale. Caesar. Wraps!

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– Makes about 4 large wraps –

Ingredients:

For the buffalo chickpeas:

  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of your favorite vegan buffalo sauce

For the kale caesar salad:

  • 4 cups curly or tuscan/dinosaur kale, chopped
  • desired amount of vegan caesar dressing (recipe below)
  • vegan parmesan of your choice (optional)

For the vegan caesar dressing:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or in hot water for 15 minutes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or extra water)
  • the juice of 1 small lemon and its zest
  • 1 tablespoon vegan dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire
  • 1 heaping tablespoon non-pareil capers
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of parsley flakes for color (optional)
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Instructions:

  1. If making your own caesar dressing, add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Toss chickpeas with smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add them to your baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring once halfway through. When they are done roasting, toss with buffalo sauce.
  3. Assemble the wraps. Add kale tossed with caesar dressing and buffalo chickpeas to a whole wheat wrap. Top with vegan parmesan, extra buffalo sauce, fresh ground pepper, avocado slices, or whatever else you’d like. Fold and enjoy! Makes about 4 large wraps.

One-Pan Easy Mexican Quinoa

This Mexican quinoa is one of my favorite lazy (yet tasty and nutritious) meals! It comes together in about 30 minutes and uses ingredients you likely already have in your fridge and pantry – plus they’re pretty cheap! Hello, Rotel?

You could absolutely make a big batch of this quinoa at the beginning of the week and use it in salads, tacos, burritos, or eat it on its own – it’s an awesome prep-ahead dish! I’ve made variations of this dish over the years, but this is definitely my favorite way to do it.

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Serves: 6-8 – Prep Time: 10 minutes – Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or sauté in water for oil-free)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced (I used red but like yellow, too)
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or vegan chicken broth)
  • 2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10 oz) can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies*
  • 2 cups frozen or canned corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • The juice of 1 lime

*(or try the Rotel HOT tomatoes with habaneros!)

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Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and bell pepper in oil for 5 minutes or until soft.
  2. Add the garlic and sauté another minute, until very fragrant.
  3. Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, black beans, Rotel tomatoes and chilies, corn, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until quinoa is soft.
  4. Mix in the lime juice, taste, and add additional salt/pepper to taste.
  5. Serve and enjoy! I recommend topping with guacamole and salsa, or adding to salads, burritos, or tacos.

No Mayo Chickpea Salad (Vegan, Oil-free)

So, I’ve made countless chickpea salad recipes over the years. I always end up heavily modifying each one, so I decided to pull my favorite parts of my favorite recipes together to create one chickpea salad to rule them all.

This chickpea salad is packed with so much flavor, texture, and goodness. I hope ya like it!

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For the above pinwheels: I spread some dijon mustard on a spinach wrap, then the chickpea salad, and topped with lettuce. Tightly roll the wrap into a log and use a bread knife to cut 1/2 inch pinwheels. Stick them on a plate and enjoy as a meal or serve them as appetizers.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon agave (alternatively, maple syrup or coconut sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon capers, chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1/4 cup finely diced celery
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion (green onion would work here, also)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dill (I used dry)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (I’ve also used Old Bay here)
  • 1 tablespoon roasted sunflower seeds (optional)
  • the juice of half a large lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste
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Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a fork or hand-masher until there are just a few whole chickpeas left.
  2. Mix all of the other ingredients in with the mashed chickpeas, taste, and adjust seasonings to your preference.
  3. Add the chickpea salad to a sandwich with lettuce and tomato, roll into pinwheels, add to wraps, have it with crackers, or just eat it out of the bowl!

Savory Baked Tofu Crumbles

You only need 5 ingredients for these crumbles and they’re so easy to make. If you’ve got some tofu in the fridge, skip the store-bought and make these for way cheaper instead!

I love adding these crumbles to:

a big pile of nachos,

tacos and enchiladas,

spaghetti or bolognese

a hearty bowl of chili

You name it!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 14 oz block extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 to 4 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. To a medium sized bowl, add the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, olive oil, and liquid smoke. Whisk together.
  3. Crumble the tofu into small pieces and stir it into the liquid mixture.
  4. Spread the crumbles out on a parchment-lined baking sheet in an even layer and pop that tray in the oven.
  5. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. (I usually will first stir it after about 20 minutes, and then every 5 to 10 minutes until it becomes nice and brown and crispy.)
  6. Go forth and use the baked crumbles however you desire!


Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Fusilli

Oh man… Have I mentioned my love for sun-dried tomatoes before? Yes? Well I’m gonna say it again – that intense, sweet-tart flavor is everything!

Some lovely sun-dried tomatoes along with sautéed onions and garlic, white wine, baby spinach, and a cashew cream sauce make this vegan pasta dish so creamy and flavorful!

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The fusilli pasta really grabs as much of the sauce as possible – it’s awesome.

Cook up this dish and be amazed as your multiple cups of spinach are reduced to what seems like a tablespoon. We’ve all been there, am I right?

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Caution: be sure to cook enough for all parties present because your house will be smelling heavenly. Thank you onion, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Anyways, let’s get to it:

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Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 15 minutes – Serves: About 4 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or use this quick boil method*
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water (if using water, you may want to add a bit more salt)
  • 1 tbsp of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 of one medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 – 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3/4 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes in oil, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup white wine (I used a vegan pinot grigio)
  • 3 – 4 cups of baby spinach, optional
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • pasta water to thicken if needed
  • 16 oz fusilli pasta, cooked (you could also use bowties, penne, fettuccine, you name it)
  • vegan parmesan for topping (optional)
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Instructions:

  1. Begin boiling the water for the fusilli pasta and cook according to package directions.
  2. Make the cashew cream by blending cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and vegetable broth until very smooth.
  3. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan and sauté the onion with a pinch of salt. Cook until tender and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.
  5. Then, toss in the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes.
  6. Pour in the wine and simmer for a few more minutes until the wine has reduced by half. Add spinach, if using, and cook until wilted.
  7. Stir in the cashew cream and a few cracks of fresh ground black pepper until combined. Cook to thicken. If it gets too thick, stir in small amounts of the pasta water until desired consistency is reached. Add in the pasta noodles and stir again to coat.
  8. Top with vegan parmesan if you’d like, serve, and enjoy!

*Quick-boiling cashews: If you’re not someone who plans out far enough ahead to soak cashews overnight, you can add the cashews to a small sauce pan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Once it starts boiling, remove from the heat immediately, cover with a lid, and let sit for 10 minutes to soften.


Baked Black Bean Burgers

No matter how many vegan meat alternatives come to market (like Beyond and Impossible), I’ll always love a good black bean burger. They pack so much flavor, and really spice up a plain ol’ burger in my humble opinion.

They’re great for any occasion, but I’m posting these on the 4th of July because Amurica, amiright? Make these for your guests and show off your thoughtfulness and the yumminess of vegan burgers, wahoo!

This recipe is loaded with spices and it makes me so happy. Making my own veggie burgers has been one of my recent favorite things to do. I love selecting and actually seeing all of the ingredients that go into the patties.

You can also make a large batch and freeze them! Way less expensive than spending $8 on a pack of 4 sad veggie patties in the freezer section.

Anyways, let’s get to it:

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Burger contestant #1: The Mexi-Burger. I topped this one with cashew queso, pickled jalapeños, pico de gallo, and hot sauce. I’m not going to tell you what kind of hot sauce to use, because that is a personal choice not to be taken lightly. Some guac or avocado would have also been fabulous on this guy.

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Burger contestant #2: The Classic American, sans red onion because the patty is already filled with them, ya know? You could definitely still add some fresh red onion for some color, crunch, and added onion-y-ness. In the realm of condiments, I just went with ketchup but usually am a fan of spicy mustard and some vegan mayo on my classic style burgers. This is about the patties, though, the patties.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 24 minutes Makes 6 to 7 large patties

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 of one small onion (red or yellow)
  • 1/2 of one red bell pepper
  • 2 (14oz) cans of black beans, or 1 20oz can (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup oat flour or panko
  • 1/4 cup corn
  • flax egg (1 tablespoon flax meal + 2.5 tablespoons water, mixed in a small bowl and left to thicken for 5 minutes)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • a few cracks of fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
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Instructions:

  • Sauté onion over medium heat for 3 minutes (either with a small bit of oil, or water for oil-free), add the bell pepper and cook for another 3 minutes or so until the onions are translucent and the peppers are tender but not mushy.
  • Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mash or use a food processor to mix. You want to still have some whole beans in there, so don’t go overboard with the mashing/mixing.
  • Form about 6 to 7 large patties, packing each one tightly.
  • Bake at 350F on a parchment lined baking sheet for 24 minutes, turning them halfway through.
  • Serve with your favorite burger toppings and enjoy! They’re also delicious crumbled in a taco salad.

Note:

To freeze these patties, place them on a baking sheet and stick them in the freezer for about 45 minutes. Then you can add them to a freezer bag or container and save for a later date. I like to add a small piece of parchment paper between each patty to prevent them from sticking together in the freezer. I’ve baked them thawed and from frozen, and both work just fine!


Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Bowls

As I’m sure a handful of people close to me would tell you, this is basically my go-to meal. On the semi-rare occasion that I’m cooking only for myself, this recipe is such a staple!

Not only is it really tasty, it leaves my body feeling good afterwards.

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This Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Bowl is:

crunchy

savory

tangy

healthy

and delicious!

The variety of flavors and textures come together so nicely in this easy to make, quick to clean up meal. I make my own little hummus dressing for it, but you can use whatever!

Place the chickpeas and broccoli on your parchment-lined baking sheet, then season and toss. You could use a silicone baking mat in place of parchment paper, of course!

Make sure all of the chickpeas and pieces of broccoli are spread out some and touching the parchment paper. This will help them roast evenly and get crunchy.

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While the chickpeas and broccoli are in the oven, whip up this simple hummus dressing. It consists of: hummus (duh), lemon juice, water, black pepper, dijon mustard, and garlic powder. Bet you have all those things at home!

If not, you can use a dressing you already have or just skip it altogether. The chickpeas are already very flavorful, and I’d recommend squeezing some lemon juice on the broccoli when it’s done. Or sprinkle it with some lemon pepper seasoning before baking.

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When you’ve finished baking them, add the chickpeas and broccoli to a big bowl and throw in any other good stuff you have laying around. Then drizzle it with the hummus dressing and enjoy!

Sometimes I’ll add a few handfuls of baby spinach, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, kalamata olives, or some cherry tomatoes like I did this day. I’ll make some roasted potatoes to throw in as well if I’m extra hungry or am serving it to more than just myself.

Bowls like this are a good way to get some additional nutrients, eat your colors, and use up whatever odds and ends you have sitting around in your kitchen.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (15oz), drained and rinsed
  • A few handfuls of frozen broccoli florets
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

For the hummus dressing:

  • 1 tbsp hummus
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp dijon or stone ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • a crack of fresh ground pepper
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Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Place chickpeas and frozen broccoli on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Add garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt to the chickpeas. Sprinkle the broccoli with salt. Toss everything to coat with spices. No need for oil!
  3. Bake for 25 minutes, making sure to toss halfway through the cook time.
  4. Eat a chickpea and examine your broccoli. Are they roasted and crunchy enough for your liking? If not, add them back to the oven for another 5 minutes.
  5. Assemble a nice little bowl with the chickpeas, broccoli, and whatever yummy odds and ends you’d like. I threw in some cherry tomatoes.
  6. Crack some pepper and drizzle the hummus dressing over top. Then enjoy!

Notes:

  • Sometimes I’ll add a few handfuls of baby spinach, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, kalamata olives, or some cherry tomatoes like I did this day. I’ll make some roasted potatoes to throw in as well if I’m extra hungry or am serving it to more than just myself!