BBQ Vegetable Pita Pizza

Mozzarella or potato shreds? Well it looks like cheese shreds, but it’s potato which mimics the same look and texture to top the pizza. These personal BBQ pizzas were scrumptious! I roasted onions, cauliflower, zucchini, and mushrooms and used them to top a whole wheat pizza with sweet and spicy BBQ sauce. I added a sprinkle of shredded potato and a dash of nutritional yeast and popped them back in the oven to get crispy. I also made some extra pizzas with marinara for lunch the next day to switch it up and be prepared. I found a recipe for these on Pinterest, but they made their own sauce and pizza dough which I didn’t want to do. The Organic Brown Sugar BBQ sauce from TJ’s is so tasty and I like to use whole wheat pitas for pizzas because they’re a great size with no oil. You can use whatever vegetables you want to use to top these pizzas, but this combination was delicious!

BBQ Vegetable Pita Pizza

6 whole wheat pitas

Organic Brown Sugar BBQ sauce ( or your favorite)

1 small head of cauliflower in florets

10 oz baby Bella mushrooms, sliced

1 onion, sliced

1 large zucchini, halved and sliced

1.5 cup Frozen shredded potatoes, thawed

Nutritional yeast for topping

1. Preheat oven to 400* and roast vegetables with salt and pepper on two parchment lined pans for 30 minutes. Then turn oven up to 475*.

2. Combine all vegetables and on another parchment lined pan, lay out 6 pitas and top with 1-2 tbsp of bbq sauce each and spread.

3. Add a handful of the veggie mixture to each pizza and spread then add a little of the potato shreds to mimic cheese texture on top.

4. Sprinkle with a little bit of nutritional yeast and put back in the oven for 15-25 minutes until edges are golden and crispy.

Roasted Chickpea, Mushroom, and Kale Rice Bowl

Sometimes simplicity is key and when you have a few ingredients on hand you can easily make something filling, delicious, and healthy. I found a recipe for this on Pinterest and changed it up a bit for what I thought made it easier and it was! Instead of roasting just the chickpeas and sautéing the other veggies, I prefer the crunchiness of roasted kale so I added that to the oven as well and I added the onion, garlic, and mushrooms straight into my rice cooker to cook at the same time so it was an effort (and dish soap) saver. Instead of just a tbsp of soy sauce in the rice, I added some Vegetarian Better than Bouillon Beef flavor to the rice water to add a depth of flavor and richness in the dish. It reminded me of my lentils and rice, but it’s a great way to change it up and make a one pot meal that has minimal cleanup and time spent prepping.

Roasted Chickpea, Mushroom, and Kale Rice Bowl

2 cups dry long grain brown rice, rinsed

2 tsp Vegetarian Better than Bouillon Beef

1 tsp minced garlic

1 onion, diced

10 oz baby Bella mushrooms, sliced

Pepper to taste

4 cups water

1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed

Sprinkle of paprika, salt and pepper

4 cups chopped kale

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 400*

2. In your rice cooker, add the first 7 ingredients and press the brown rice setting, it takes a little over an hour.

3. On a parchment lined pan, spread the chickpeas on half the pan and sprinkle with named spices and place in the oven for 30ish minutes.

4. When you pull chickpeas out, give them a stir and add the kale to the other half of the pan and squeeze with lemon.

5. Put back in to bake for another 10-15 minutes until kale is crispy.

6. When rice cooker is done, add chickpeas and kale to rice mixture and serve.

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

Craving a creamy Alfredo-type pasta without all the dairy and fat? I compiled a few vegan Alfredo recipes together to make one that would be the best and it was delicious. It’s a cashew based sauce, but instead of using a cup of cashews, I used half a cup and added zucchini as a filler because it’s so calorie friendly. I also roasted a head of garlic to add into it for a wonderful Italian flavor and lemon to bring some acidity to the sauce. I used brown rice fusilli from Trader Joe’s and don’t worry, I remembered to rinse it well this time before mixing it into the sauce. I roasted some asparagus as a mix in with the pasta and baby spinach, but you can use whatever vegetables you like to make this pasta dish work for your family. I added chopped grape tomatoes on top of mine to bring some more color, and topped it with more lemon zest, pepper, and nutritional yeast.

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

1 lb Brown Rice Fusilli (TJ’s)

1/2 bag baby spinach

1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed

fresh basil

fresh lemon thyme

Vegan Alfredo Sauce

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked

1 large zucchini, peeled and chopped

1 head roasted garlic

1/3 cup vegetable broth

juice of 1 lemon

few pinches of lemon zest

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

  1. Soak cashews the morning of in hot water and let sit on the counter until you need to make the sauce.
  2. Preheat oven to 400* and cut the top of a head of garlic, spray with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt then wrap in tin foil. Bake for 35-45 minutes, I went ahead and made two heads so I can use one for roasted garlic hummus.
  3. Keep oven on and add asparagus spears with salt and pepper to roast in the oven for 10 minutes and then cool and chop into bite size pieces.
  4. While boiling pasta, you can blend everything for the Alfredo in your high speed blender. I used my Nutribullet and it worked great.
  5. Drain pasta and rinse if using rice pasta, then add baby spinach, asparagus, and Alfredo sauce and mix to combine. Add fresh torn basil and thyme and stir.
  6. Turn on medium low to heat the mixture back up and serve. If the sauce gets too thick, you can add vegetable broth to thin it out to the consistency you like.
  7. You can add tomatoes, if you like them, and sprinkle with pepper, lemon zest, and nutritional yeast.

Summer Meal Planning 6.4.18

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^ lobby of the Wynn, Las Vegas

We’re back from Vegas and after a lot of oily and more processed food than I’m used to, I’m ready to get back into my eating routine. Only a little more than month until Italy! It’s amazing how your body craves the food that you put into it and now my body was craving greens so bad that we went straight to get a salad on our way home to lighten things up. Believe me, the waffles and oily food was good going down but I feel so much better eating high carb low fat, so as much as I want to eat those things, I crave feeling good after I eat a meal. You don’t feel so weighed down and tired when you eat fresh, whole plant foods so I’m back to normal! Here’s what recipes I planned for the week while waiting in the airport to fly home yesterday. You can meal plan anywhere! You just need your phone, which everyone has with them at all times anyway and I went to Trader Joe’s this morning after I tutored.

Lemon Garlic Asparagus Pasta- I’m going to make a combination of recipes for a cashew cream sauce with a head of roasted garlic and fresh lemon, brown rice fusilli, asparagus, spinach, and fresh lemon thyme from my friend’s herb garden.

Kale, Mushroom, and Roasted Chickpea Rice bowls– This is a simple, healthy, and filling meal that will put us back in line with eating this way.

BBQ Roasted Vegetable Pita Pizzas– I’m going to roast mushrooms, zucchini, onion, and cauliflower and top a whole wheat pizza with BBQ sauce. I’ll top the pizza with the roasted veggies and a shredded potato to mimic the cheese texture and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Sesame Tofu and Broccoli- I’m going to crisp tofu in the oven and then make an oil free sesame sauce to add to the tofu and sautéed broccoli and serve over brown rice.

Mushroom and Eggplant Sloppy Joes– Chopped mushrooms and eggplant in a sticky sweet tomato based sauce on a toasted ciabatta roll and salad… what could be bad about that?

We usually eat out or order in one dinner a week usually Friday or Saturday, so I get enough meals for 5 or 6 dinners.

Happy meal planning everyone!

Vegans in Vegas, baby!

Bellagio

Bellagio

This past weekend we were in Las Vegas for my best friend’s wedding and I was really excited for more vegan options available for us to have. I did some research and asked others what restaurants were favorites, but unfortunately most of them ended up being off the main strip so we didn’t want to taxi or Uber there. There were definitely more vegan options than our area still, so that was a plus. I did know that the Wynn and Encore had a vegan menu for each of their restaurants because Steve Wynn is vegan so we learned it was easier just to take a (long) stroll from Caesar’s Palace to have a for sure meal option. If we ever go back to Vegas, I’d love to just stay there so that every restaurant will have an easy meal option.

When we arrived, we were starving and wanted to go somewhere in our hotel quickly before I went to the bride’s room to help, so we went to Beijing Noodle Co. It had big tanks of goldfish when you walk in, and we got vegetable spring rolls and I asked for them to make a tofu vegetable noodle bowl because I couldn’t find anything on the menu that I was looking for. It was really oily and the tofu just tasted like a sponge that absorbed water or oil, couldn’t tell. I of course ate it because I was so hangry at that point I was worried for other’s well-being if I didn’t, but it wasn’t as good as our local Chinese take out and for a lot bigger price.

Bejing Noodle Co.

Bejing Noodle Co.

For dinner, we walked around MGM for a bite to eat before going to the welcome party in a suite there. The more we walked around looking at places, the more confusing it got so we ended up going to a restaurant called Crush because I thought it looked romantic and pretty. They had a vegan menu but it had about 3 choices on it, so I asked if they could make a vegetable flatbread without cheese and they did. It was good! Not worth the price, but it did the job.

Crush MGM

Crush MGM

Suite at MGM

Suite at MGM

The next morning we woke up and decided to actually do more research before we spent that much money for food so we would have better luck and have more options, so we started walking to the Wynn. I found a vegan menu online for Terrance Pointe Cafe and I’m so glad I did because it was amazing! They had a vegan menu and the atmosphere was elegant and beautiful. We had a view of the pool and we got a vegan Belgian waffle with berries and spilt a side of breakfast potatoes and vegan sausage. I also got tea that was a cute little tea teepee from Tea Forté. It was the best breakfast we’ve had in so long!

Terrace Pointe Cafe

Terrace Pointe Cafe

img_2401That day Josh picked up Chipolte from the Venetian food court on our walk back so he could do school work in the room and I went to go get ready for the wedding with the bride and had some peanut butter crackers for a snack, which was poor planning because it was a late dinner. After a beautiful wedding in Red Rock Canyon, we went to a private dinner at Carmine’s at Caesar’s and my sweet friend had already called ahead to ask them for two vegan meals. They brought platter after platter of food, and by then everyone was chowing down. They brought out bread, and salad for us with oil and vinegar as dressing. Then they brought a platter of gluten free rotini in a chunky tomato sauce, and then a huge bowl of sautéed garlic broccoli. We ate SO much I felt like I needed to be rolled back to the room, so I’m glad there were so many speeches and it gave me some time to digest before walking back! I didn’t take picture because I didn’t want to be rude in front of a table of people.

The next morning we ended up walking back to the Wynn for breakfast to have a sure bet and we were eying the French toast the day before. There was a very drunk and disorderly guy who I think never went to bed the night before and came to breakfast ready to rage, so after almost knocking over a table and yelling fight songs, the staff talked to him and I’m pretty sure asked him to leave. He began pleading and said he would pay for everyone’s breakfast who was sitting around him who he disturbed. Score! We had vegan French toast with berries, breakfast potatoes and tea, thanks drunk guy! Delicious and maybe even better than the waffle. I’m glad I did carbo load since I ended up walking 26,400 steps that day!

Terrace Pointe Cafe

Terrace Pointe Cafe

I went to the pool for most of the afternoon so I skipped lunch and had some rice crackers in the room for snack that I brought and we got cleaned up and walked to the Bellagio and Cosmopolitan, then all the way back to the Encore for dinner at Wazuzu. We had a 30 minute wait so we threw some money in the slot machines and walked around, then we were seated and I was really excited about the great looking vegan menu options. We got the Gardein chick’n and cabbage pot stickers and shiitake roll with vegan eel sauce for appetizers and those were my favorites of the meal. For dinner I had the tofu drunken noodles, and I wasn’t super impressed. The amount of oil they had on them was too much for me and it wasn’t as flavorful as I was hoping for.

Wazuzu @ Encore

Wazuzu @ Encore

Wazuzu @ Encore

Wazuzu @ Encore

Wazuzu @ Encore

Wazuzu @ Encore

After dinner we walked back to the Wynn to meet friends for a drink before going back to pack and go to sleep before a busy day of travel. We went to the bar in the lobby and ordered Dakota’s favorite drink called The Dream. It has a candied hibiscus flower, St. Germaine liquor (my favorite), and champagne. For $22, it had to be good champagne! It was tasty, and after that we were ready for the walk back and part ways for the journey home.

The Dream @ Wynn

The Dream @ Wynn

It was an amazing time with beautiful friends and I’m so glad we got to witness such a meaningful and breathtaking wedding! The food of course wasn’t the focus, but it was really nice to try some new vegan selections while we were there and I wanted to tell you all about them in case you trek out that way. After a weekend in Vegas, I’m planning on napping for the next few days, so happy summer everyone!

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Grilled Vegan Pizza

Grilled Vegan Pizza

Grilled Vegan Pizza

Everyone loves pizza night! Think going vegan means you can no longer enjoy one of the world’s favorite foods? NO WAY! Pizza can be so easily veganized and it’s still very much enjoyed at our house. We went over to my parent’s house last night for family dinner on Memorial Day and decided to make pizzas. We could make several and everyone could add what they wanted and be happy! My dad fired up the Green Egg with coals and heated the pizza stone so it was super hot, which ensures a crispy crust, and I’m in charge of the prepping of the pizzas in the kitchen. I roll them out, top them with toppings of choice, and then he grills them for 6-8 minutes until they’re bubbly and crisp!  It’s a family event that everyone enjoys, and we slice them all up and wish we made them more often.

Grilled Vegan Pizza

1 ball of Italian pizza dough (we get ours in the Publix deli)

3/4 cup Rao’s marinara sauce

1 onion, diced

8 oz baby Bella mushrooms, diced

1/2 large bag baby spinach

1 tsp minced garlic

5 oz tempeh sausage crumbles (Recipe here)

fresh basil leaves, torn on top

sprinkled with nutritional yeast

cornmeal for rolling and nonstick

  1. Heat Green Egg Smoker/Grill to 600-700* and heat up pizza stone for 10-15 minutes.
  2. In a skillet, saute onions, mushrooms, spinach, and garlic until soft. Prepare tempeh sausage and set aside.
  3. Using corn meal, roll out dough until thin in a circular shape about the size of the pizza stone.
  4. Sprinkle paddle with corn meal so that the pizza will easily slide off the paddle onto the pizza stone.
  5. Add pizza dough to paddle and top with marinara sauce, veggies, tempeh sausage, and sprinkle with nutritional yeast and torn basil.
  6. Slide to pizza stone and cook with lid closed for 6-8 minutes until crisp and cooked through.

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Loaded Potato Bean Nachos

Loaded Potato Bean Nachos

Loaded Potato Bean Nachos

If you’ve never used thinly sliced, crispy potatoes as a base for nachos, do yourself a favor and try it out ASAP! This was so tasty! Potatoes were a great replacement for chips because they’re the same shape and can hold the toppings without the oil, but still have the crispiness. I sprinkled them with chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper before baking which packed them with more flavor than a chip.

I topped the nachos with a blend of black beans, pinto beans, bell pepper, and onions cooked in taco seasoning on the stove and then used lettuce, tomato, cucumber, scallions, guacamole, and salsa to top them with.

They were very flavorful, full of texture, filling, and a healthy way to indulge in nachos without all of the fat. Hope you like them!

Loaded Potato Bean Nachos

2-3 large russet potatoes, thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)

Sprinkle of chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 bell pepper, I used orange, diced

1 onion, diced

1 tbsp taco seasoning

Toppings: Lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumber, 1 scallion, guacamole, salsa

  1. Preheat oven to 400* and place potatoes sprinkled with spices on two parchment lined pans. Make sure they’re in one even layer and not overlapping so they get crispy. Bake for 30-40 minutes until crispy.
  2. In a large saute pan, cook onion and pepper until tender then add the cans of beans.
  3. Add taco seasoning to beans and a few tbsp of water and cook over medium until everything is warmed through.
  4. Take potatoes out of oven and let cook for a few minutes, they’ll get crunchier.
  5. Top with bean mixture, and whatever toppings you like for nachos. You might need a fork!