Caramelized Onion Gravy

I love serving this gravy over roasted garlic mashed potatoes or poutine (which – for those of you who may not know about this Canadian delicacy – is fries, gravy, and cheese curds). Obviously we ain’t cooking with any cheese curds here, but I’ve tried it with homemade vegan mozzarella as well as store-bought Violife feta and both are fantastic!

I’d absolutely bring this to a holiday get together or a potluck – you’d never know it’s vegan! Plus gravy boats are adorable and now you have an excuse to use one.

Taste this recipe as you go. You may not like it quite as salty as me, so you can always start with less soy sauce/vegan butter.

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Fun fact about poutine that I just found via cottagelife.com: “The traditional story is that poutine originated in the 1950s in Warwick, Quebec, at a restaurant called Le Lutin qui rit. Upon being asked to add cheese curds to a customer’s fries, owner Fernand Lachance responded, “Ça va faire une mauditepoutine,” or, “That’s going to make a dreadful mess.”

And what a delicious mess indeed!

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Prep time: 5 minutes – Cook time: 1 hour – Serves: about 6 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 small red or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter or olive oil
  • 1 tsp organic sugar (I used coconut sugar)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • a few cracks of fresh ground pepper
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Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat, then add in the diced onion.
  2. Spread the onions in an even layer in the pan and let cook for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t stir too often or they won’t brown enough to caramelize! You may want to stir in a teaspoon of sugar after about 10 minutes to speed up the caramelization process. If they start to brown too quickly or are drying out, add a splash of water and turn the heat down a bit. If they aren’t caramelizing quickly enough, turn the heat up a bit.
  3. Add the flour to the now caramelized onions and stir to mix well. It should be a paste-like texture.
  4. Slowly whisk in the vegetable broth, pouring small amounts in at a time. Then whisk in the soy sauce as well.
  5. Raise the heat to medium and allow the mixture to come to a simmer.
  6. Stir often and reduce heat if necessary until you’ve reached a gravy consistency of your liking. It’s usually about 5-10 minutes for me.
  7. Crack in some fresh ground pepper, and voila! Serve over mashed potatoes, poutine, or any other gravy vessel.

Note: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. You can reheat the gravy in the microwave or pour in back into a sauce pot on the stove. It may need a splash of water depending on how much it’s thickened.


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!


Brazilian Coconut Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

Before going vegan, there was this dish I really liked called Brazilian Shrimp Soup. I loved the creaminess of the coconut milk and heartiness of the rice and tomatoes. I realized that the shrimp in the dish wasn’t even the best part for me, and thought “duh – who needs shrimp anyways?!” Chickpeas are way cooler. (insert sunglasses emoji)

This vegan version is so

tasty

creamy

hearty

and animal-free! Yay!

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The chickpeas add a delicious crunch and savoriness to this soup.

They make it heartier and healthier, too, of course!

I totally recommend serving the soup with some crusty bread to soak up all that creamy, tomatoey goodness.

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15 minutes prep time – 35 minutes cook time – Serves about 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used half a red and half a green for color)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes (15oz, no salt added)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz, no salt added)
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1/2 can full fat coconut milk
  • 2-3 cups of vegetable broth (depending on how thick you want it)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • The juice of half a lemon (about a 1 1/2 tbsps)
  • Green onion, chopped (to add on top at the end)

For the chickpeas:

  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz) drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • a couple cracks of fresh ground pepper
  • optional: cayenne pepper to taste (I added a couple dashes)
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Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt and sauté for a few minutes. Then add the bell pepper and cook for another couple of minutes until the onions are translucent and soft. Next, add the garlic and sauté until fragrant (about a minute).
  2. Add the rice, petite diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, and vegetable broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let it cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is done.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and cook for another 5 – 10 minutes.
  4. Finish by adding in the lemon juice. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your preferences.
  5. Serve in bowls and top with the roasted chickpeas and green onions. And some crusty bread if you’re so inclined!

For the chickpeas:

  • Preheat your oven to 400F.
  • Drain and rinse the chickpeas and add them to a parchment lined baking sheet (you could also use a silicon mat).
  • Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, salt, fresh black pepper, and ground cayenne pepper.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, making sure to stir halfway through to ensure they’re evenly cooked.

Notes:

You’ll want to put the chickpeas in the oven around the time you’ve reduced the heat from a boil for the soup.

Adapted from JoCook’s Brazilian Shrimp Soup Recipe


Vegan Dumpling Dipping Sauce

This dipping sauce is sweet, sour, and delicious. It’s super simple, too – you probably have most, if not all, of the ingredients in your kitchen already. Hurray!

I especially love this sauce with pan-fried tofu and vegetable dumplings, but it’s good on rice and with spring rolls as well.

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Ooooh

Ahhhh

I’ve called for garlic and ginger powder, but definitely try it out with fresh minced garlic and grated ginger if you have them!

This make enough sauce for 15-20 dumplings, so double it if you’re in need of more.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp agave
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
  • a pinch of garlic powder
  • a pinch of ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp sesame seeds
  • sliced green onion (optional)

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients.
  2. Top with the chopped green onions.
  3. Get to dippin’ and enjoy!

Notes:

If you’d like to make this a spicy vegan asian dipping sauce, go ahead and stir in a pinch or red pepper flakes or a squirt of sriracha!


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!

The Yummiest Black Bean Soup

Y’all… I love black bean soup. It’s so perfectly

creamy,

spicy,

and hearty.

My mother would make it fairly often growing up and I always loved ordering it out at restaurants, so it’s a dish that has been with me for a while! I’ve tried out so many different recipes over the years and I’ve finally found my own way of making it that I like best.

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Come to mama. See how pretty those red onions on top are?

Ready for the pot! Yes, that is my compost scrap bowl. Yes, I thought it was pretty.

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So colorful! Time to add in the beans, broth, and cumin. Then let that baby simmer!

This soup is so flavorful and filling, and I love having it whether it’s hot or cold out. Serving it over some rice (perhaps some cilantro lime) is also a good way to bulk this meal up and add some lovely texture.

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The soup after using my immersion blender.
I suppose I’m in my blue period or something.

And voila! Topping this soup with some fresh red onion is probably my favorite thing to do. I love the contrast in flavor of the raw onions and the cooked ones, and they add a really nice crunchy texture! You could also top with some fresh cilantro, which I would’ve done if I wasn’t out.

It stores well, too, and becomes even more flavorful overnight in the fridge! So this is the perfect recipe to make a lot of and eat throughout the week. Anyways, here’s the recipe:

Creamy, tangy goodness!
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Prep Time: 15 minutes – Cook Time: 40 minutes – Serves about 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely diced
  • Half of 1 large red onion, diced (reserve a bit for topping later)
  • 1 bell pepper (any color would be good, but I like using red)
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (any neutral flavored oil, like avocado would be fine)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 cans (15oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • The juice of 1 lime (about a tablespoon of red wine vinegar can be used in place of it)
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Instructions:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy pot. Add onion, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the bell pepper, cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add in the jalapeño and garlic, and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant.
  4. Pour in the black beans, vegetable broth, and cumin. Stir and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 25 minutes.
  6. Add in the lime juice and salt.
  7. Use an immersion blender, a hand masher, or transfer about 2 cups of the soup to a blender, then re-add to soup. You want it blended just enough to get that creamy texture, while still having some visible pieces of beans and veggies floating about.
  8. Taste and adjust salt and pepper to your preferences. Serve on its own or over some rice, and top with reserved diced red onion. Some cilantro would also be great!
  9. Enjoy!

Notes:

If you like things a little spicier, add in 1/4 tsp (or more) of red pepper flakes when you add in the lime juice. (I do this!)

A cup of corn would also make a yummy, colorful addition to this soup!