Grilled Avocado Sandwich

Tomato soup has a new BFF and doesn’t have cheese.  Glorious avocado steals the show in the tasty grilled sandwich.  Yea, yea grilled cheese sandwiches are awesome but this isn’t trying to replace it.  It is its own kind of awesome and it also pairs exceptionally well with tomato soup.  Of course you could add other things to the sandwich but I like to keep it simple, just a little S+P, maybe a dash of garlic powder, and all that rich, buttery avocado. Pair with some of this yummy tomato soup and enjoy!

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Makes one sandwich

Ingredients

2 slices of bread

3-4 Tbsp mashed avocado (about 1/4 of an avocado)

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash of garlic powder (optional)

Earth Balance vegan butter spread, room temp

Method

Heat skillet over medium heat (I use a cast iron skillet). Mix your mashed avocado with salt, pepper and garlic powder if using.  Spread butter on a slice of bread, on the other side spread on your avocado.  Place the other slice on top and spread with butter.  Cook in skillet for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

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Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 heaping cup of grape tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt and Pepper

2 Tbsp live oil

1/2 large onion, diced

Pinch of salt

3 large garlic cloves

1 tsp dried thyme

1 28oz can whole plum tomatoes

2-3 cups vegetable broth

1 cup fresh basil leaves (or about a handful)

Salt and pepper to taste

Crushed red pepper for heat (optional)

Method

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss grapes tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add to parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.

While tomatoes are in the oven, add olive oil to saucepan and heat over medium-low.  Add onion and pinch of salt and cook 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme; cook 2 minutes.

Add whole can of tomatoes with juice, 2 cups of the broth and basil. Break up the tomatoes slightly with a wooden spoon.  Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes.

Let cool slightly and add to a blender along with roasted tomatoes.  Puree, add more broth if you like a thinner consistency.  Transfer back to pot and season with salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper to taste.

Zesty Italian Vegan Meatballs

No these don’t taste like regular meatballs, but these bad boys are pretty tasty.  I used some vegan Italian sausage that I had so it gives them a nice zesty flavor and then you don’t have to worry so much about adding a bunch of seasoning.  I had a Field Roast link that I cut up and threw in the food processor until it was crumbly.  Uptons Naturals also makes a great Italian sausage and there’s isn’t a link but instead more “ground” texture.  I highly recommend either of those.  Some other brands out there just don’t taste good.  If you don’t feel like cooking lentils, black beans will probably do.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)

1/2 small onion, diced (about 1/4-1/3 cup)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup crumbled Italian vegan sausage (chop or use food processor if needed)

3/4 cup cooked green or brown lentils

1 Tbsp soy sauce

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 2 Tbsp water)

Salt and pepper to taste, if needed

Method

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet and add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat about 3 minutes.

Add onions, garlic, sausage, and lentils to a food processor.  Pulse several times until mixture starts to come together, drizzle in the remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Pulse and once combined (not pureed) add to a mixing bowl.  Add bread crumbs and flax egg.  Mix to combine.

Roll mixture into tablespoon size balls and lay onto a parchment line baking sheet or dish.  Chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

Pan-fry

Add enough oil to coat the bottom of a cast iron or nonstick skillet.  Heat over medium high.  Lightly dust each meatball with flour and add to skillet.  Add to skillet (should be hot enough to sizzle) and cook about minutes or until golden brown (turning half way through).

Bake

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  With meatballs on a parchment line baking sheet, spray or brush with olive oil.  Bake 20-25 minutes.

Lemon Garlic Kale

Glorious green kale! Simply sauteed with just olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Spritzed with lemon before serving.  One tip: don’t cook the hell out of it since we want to preserve some of those wonderful nutrients kale has to offer.  Just a few minutes until it lightly wilted is all it needs!

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Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

Olive oil

1 bunch of curly kale, large rib removed, torn into pieces

3 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced or chopped

Water

Salt and pepper to taste

Juice of about half a lemon

Method

Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the a large skillet or sauce pan and heat over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute about 3 minutes.

Add kale and 2-3 tablespoons of water, cover and allow to steam just 2 minutes.  Remove lid and toss kale around to cook evenly.  If needed, return lid and let steam additional minute.

Season with salt and pepper, transfer to a dish and toss with lemon juice and also a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

10 Vegetable Soup

A hearty, veggie packed with soup with carrot, celery, onion, tomato, potato, cauliflower, zucchini, kale, peas and lima beans (I guess these are technically a legume but I’ll just count them as a vegetable too).  This soup will freeze well too! I created a batch with 6 servings and for some of the vegetables I only used smaller amounts so here are some tips to getting the most out of some of the fresh vegetables:

Carrots:  With a bunch of whole carrots cut up the extra for snacking or use baby carrots.

Celery: I get it off the salad bar because I never end up using a whole bunch.

Zucchini: I also got this off the salad bar but if you don’t use a whole zucchini, saute extra with olive oil and add to pasta and sauce.

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Serves 6

Ingredients

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 small onion, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 cup diced zucchini

1 small yukon gold or red potato, cubed (about 1/2inch)

1 can diced tomato w/ juice

4-5 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 cup small cauliflower florets

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen lima beans

1 large kale leaf, rib removed, chopped into small pieces

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Add oil to a large soup pot and warm over medium heat for a minute.  Add onion, celery and carrot with a pinch of salt.  Cook 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and basil and cook another 2 minutes.

Add zucchini, potato, cauliflower and toss to coat; cook for a minute.  Add tomatoes and 4 cups of broth.  Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add peas and lima beans, cook 10 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in kale. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Pecans

I showed these brussels sprouts a little extra love by adding in the dried cranberries and pecans.  A simple, perfect fall veggie side dish.  It makes a perfect vegetarian and vegan side dish for Thanksgiving too! You can even go simpler and just do these basic Roasted Brussels Sprouts without the cranberries and pecans, and they will still be awfully tasty.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 16oz bag of brussels sprouts

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans

Method

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

In a bowl toss brussels sprouts with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Turn oven off and take brussels sprouts out.  Add in cranberries and pecans and toss everything together.  Return to oven for 5 minutes or until cranberries are soft, then serve.

BEFORE

Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce

I’ve used my got-to cashew cream in lieu of heave cream to make a rich, creamy pasta sauce that no one would ever know was dairy-free.  The sage makes this super savory but it can be strong so if you want to lighten up the intensity just simmer a couple whole leaves in the sauce, then remove.  Add in more pumpkin if you you like or even sub with mashed butternut squash.

Makes enough sauce for 2 good-sized portions of pasta

Ingredients

1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked 4-8 hours (go with 8 if you don’t have a high powered blender)

2/3 cup water

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 small shallot finely chopped

1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage

1 Tbsp vegan butter

1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree

Pinch of nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Add soaked cashews and 2/3 cup water to a blender.  Puree until smooth.  Should be the consistency of heavy cream and should yield about 1 cup of cashew cream.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add shallot and sage.  Saute a 3-4 minutes.

Stir in vegan butter, then pumpkin and add the cashew cream.  Simmer about 5 minutes or until it thickens slightly.

Add in nutmeg, salt and pepper and serve over pasta.

Sweet Potato Apple Hash

I first published a recipe for this years ago but it desperately needing updating, both with the method and the photos (see original pic at the bottom – it makes me cringe).  So about this dish, simply put it is all about Fall with my favorite 2 produce items of the season!  It only has a few ingredients and it’s easy to make so that’s a big win in my book.  I like the red onion in this for a little color but any onion will do.  Also, a favorite of sweet potatoes or yams (what is the difference anyway? Read this) is the Garnet Yam!

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Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 in cubes

Olive oil

1 apple, cored and diced

1/2 red onion, diced (about ½ cup is good)

1-2 Tbsp vegan butter (optional)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Heat iron skillet (or nonstick skillet) over medium heat with enough olive oil to coat the bottom.  Let warm for a few minutes.  You don’t want to throw your sweet potatoes into a cold skillet with cold oil – it should sizzle a little bit.

Add sweet potatoes and stir around a little to coat in the oil.  Let cook untouched for about 5 minutes.  Then give them a toss, bottoms should be a little browned, and cook another 5 minutes.  Add additional oil in needed to keep them from sticking.

Add onion and apple, cook 4-5 minutes until everything is tender and the sweet potatoes are browned.

Stir in butter if using, give a toss to melt it and coat everything.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

This was the original picture I posted in 2011 – I mean who would want to make that!?!  Thank goodness for today’s amazing iPhone cameras!

meal.

Quick Avocado Veggie Rollups with Hummus

 Here’s a super easy, fun vegetarian and vegan lunch idea. They go great with soup or have them as a snack.  They’re great for using up some veggies, so just use what you have on hand.  I just wish I had filled mine a bit more so next time I’ll add some more veggies.
Ingredients
Tortilla
Hummus
Whole Romaine Lettuce Leaves
Sliced Avocado
Matchstick Carrots
Thinly Sliced Red Onion
Method

Slightly warm your tortilla in the microwave.

Spread a layer of hummus over the entire tortilla.  Top with one layer of romaine lettuce, then top with remaining ingredients.  Roll up tightly then slice into sushi size pieces.