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.


Vegan Garlic White Pizza Sauce

So, I have a story from my middle school days that involves white pizza (the salt and ice burn challenge makes an appearance), but I’ll refrain from writing that novelesque recipe intro. Anyways, I used to order white pizza at my local pizza & deli all the time growing up. I still haven’t found a vegan white pizza out in the wild, but who cares – now I make my own!

I know I titled this “pizza sauce” but this creamy white garlic sauce is delicious on pasta as well!

Now that I’ve repeated the word pizza so many times that it sounds like an alien language (the phenomenon is actually called semantic satiation), here’s the recipe:

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Prep Time: 5 minutes – Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked or boiled if you don’t have a high-powered blender)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil (optional)
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Instructions:

  1. Blend cashews, vegetable broth, garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast together until very smooth to make the cashew cream.
  2. Melt butter over medium/medium low heat in a medium saucepan, sauté onion for a few minutes until soft and translucent, whisk in flour.
  3. Slowly whisk in the cashew cream. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until it’s thick and creamy. Stir in the parsley, basil, and black pepper. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Go forth and sauce!

Notes:

This recipe makes lots of sauce, so you might want to halve the recipe if you aren’t making multiple pizzas. The leftover sauce is amazing with pasta!

The featured pizza is topped with caramelized onions, artichoke hearts, vegan sausage from No Evil Foods, vegan parmesan, and fresh parsley.


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.

Vegan Penne alla Vodka

Penne alla Vodka was one of the first recipes I ever made in my first apartment, around 5 years ago. Mind you, I wasn’t vegan at the time so I didn’t know about the wonders of cashew cream. But now I do and here we are.

This dish is simple, creamy, hearty, and delicious – what more could you want?

So why vodka?

“Along with the penne pasta, this dish generally contains cream sauce mixed with marinara sauce or tomato paste, which are a combination unusual in Italian cooking because the acidity of the tomatoes tends to make the oil in the cream separate. The ethanol (vodka) serves as an emulsifier, allowing the water and lipids to remain mixed together.”

“Ethanol is also thought to solvate certain flavors from the tomato that would otherwise be inaccessible in water. This is seen in other vodka sauces, as well.”

Pretty neat! Read more about the origins of the dish here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penne_alla_vodka

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Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 35 minutes Serves about 4

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight*
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1/2 a large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • A generous pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 1 (28 oz) can of crushed or petite diced tomatoes (sometimes I’ll do a 15 oz can of each for a more interesting texture)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Penne, cooked according to box instructions
  • Fresh parsley or basil for serving (optional)
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Instructions:

  1. Add the cashews to a blender along with the nutritional yeast and water, and blend until very smooth.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in butter for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté another 2 minutes until the onions are soft and slightly browned, and the mixture is very fragrant.
  3. Pour in the vodka and let cook for about 5 minutes, until the alcohol has cooked off.
  4. Add the tomatoes, stir, and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes until thickened – you may need to lower the heat some.
  5. Stir in the cashew cream and cook for about 10 more minutes, until the sauce is thick and creamy.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste (I usually end up not needing any), and mix well.
  7. Serve over penne cooked according to box instructions, top with parsley or basil, and enjoy!

Notes:

*If using a high powered blender, you don’t need to pre-soak your cashews to soften them. If you’re short on time, you can immerse the cashews in boiling hot water for 15 minutes (don’t keep the water boiling, just make sure it’s very hot when you put the cashews in, and then let them sit)


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.