Vegan Lasagna with Lemon-Basil Cashew Cheeze

Vegan Lasagna with Lemon Basil Cashew Cheese

A meatless lasagna that will knock your socks off. The star of the show is the Lemon-Basil Cashew Cheese Sauce, which is incredibly creamy and flavorful. Vegans and meat-eaters alike love this recipe. And it’s so easy to make!

Summer Fruit Galette (v/gf)

Vegan Summer Fruit Galette

Was that you at the farmer’s market the other day? The one who was spellbound by nature’s bounty? The one who bought entirely too many cherries, peaches, plums, berries? I know, I know. They were calling your name and you simply could not resist. Lucky for you, I have just the recipe to make use of that delicious summer fruit.

Summer Fruit Galette (vegan, gluten-free) 03

Confession. Somehow I managed to survive 38 years on this planet with no knowledge of the galette. For those of you in the same camp, a galette (French) or crostata (Italian) is a free-form, rustic version of a tart, with the dough edges folded up around the filling. They can be sweet or savory. As it turns out, they can also be vegan and gluten-free! This galette crust recipe is buttery, flaky perfection. A plant-based pastry that can rival the best of them. Strap on your apron, channel your inner Julia Child and get ready to make an amazing dessert.

Summer Fruit Galette (vegan, gluten-free) 04

Summer Fruit Galette (vegan, gluten-free) 05

Just one note before you begin. While cooking is forgiving, baking is not. Measurements should be precise for consistent results. It’s a good idea to use a kitchen scale when measuring flour. One cup of flour weighs 140 grams, so you’ll need 350 grams for this recipe. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, then at least spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level it off with a knife. If you scoop the flour straight out of the bag using a measuring cup, it will result in too much flour. And as with any recipe, read through the entire recipe before you begin. There is some refrigeration/freezer time involved with this crust.

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Chopped Kale & Quinoa Salad (v/gf)

Vegan Chopped Kale And Quinoa Salad

So, about today’s recipe. When we were in California last fall, we had lunch at a place in Sausalito called The Trident. I had their Kale & Quinoa Salad minus the cheese and it was amazing. I was craving it when we got back, so I attempted my own version. Since then I’ve made it several times and it has evolved into one of my favorites. I’ve made it for others as well, and the reviews are always great. So, grab some kale, let’s get started.

Vegan Gluten Free Chopped Kale & Quinoa Salad

Chopped Kale & Quinoa Salad - Gluten Free and Vegan

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Broccoli & Chickpea Rice Bowl (v/gf)

Vegan Broccoli and Chickpea Rice Bowl

I’m back! I’ve missed you. How are you? I hope your new year is off to a good start. If you resolved to start eating healthier this year, then you’re in the right place. Today, I have an especially healthy, nutritious recipe for you. It’s vegan of course, and also gluten-free. The flavor is light and refreshing, but it’s also a hearty, filling dish.

Broccoli Chickpea Rice Bowl (vegan, gluten-free) 06Often I’ll make a big batch of brown rice at the beginning of the week. It makes recipes like this one so quick and easy. Reheat the rice, steam the broccoli, whip up the dressing and toss it all in a bowl. Done. See, this is what drives me nuts. This is such a cheap, quick, easy meal—why can’t I find something like this on the menu at most restaurants? Maybe it’s just where I live—rural midwest America. But that’s about to change.

Broccoli Chickpea Rice Bowl (vegan, gluten-free) 05

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Pumpkin Pecan Cake (v/gf)

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Cake

It’s pumpkin-everything season. Pumpkin Spice Latte. Pumpkin Pie. Pumpkin Soup. Pumpkin carving. Pumpkin candles. And my latest obsession, Pumpkin Cream Rooibos Tea. And here’s one more for ya—Pumpkin Pecan Cake. This is a have-a-friend-over-for-coffee kind of cake. She’ll never guess it’s vegan and gluten-free. She’ll ask you for the recipe. You’ll top off her coffee (or pumpkin cream tea) and chat away.

Pumpkin Pecan Cake (vegan, gluten-free) 8The best way I can describe this dessert is a cross between carrot cake and coffee cake. It’s very moist and has a pumpkin seed-pecan crumb topping that steals the show. With about 300 calories and 17 grams of fat per serving, it’s definitely a TREAT. People too often assume vegan equals healthy. Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean you should have a second piece. A single piece is definitely worth the splurge, though.

Pumpkin Pecan Cake (vegan, gluten-free) 5

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Quinoa Kale Bowl with Mushrooms & Asparagus (v/gf) + Butcher Block Giveaway!

Vegan Quinoa Kale Bowl with Mushrooms and Asparagus

I’ve been struggling with food lately. For health reasons I’d rather not discuss right now, I was put on a gluten-free, anti-inflammatory, low-fat, nightshades-free diet. Plus I’m vegan. I felt like there was nothing left to eat. (Side note. I got about zero results when I googled recipes with these restrictions. Which is why I’m a huge fan of this idea. For $25, you can get 3 months access to their new site, plus 2 holiday eCookbooks. Sweet deal.) For several days, I ate brown rice with steamed vegetables. And fruit. And gluten-free oatmeal. I made a vegetable soup that was okay, but I grew tired of it quickly. Finally, I started to experiment.

Quinoa Kale Bowl with Mushrooms and Asparagus (vegan, gluten-free) 09Using a base of quinoa and finely chopped kale, I came up with a couple of recipes that I quite like. One is an awesome salad that I’ll share with you soon. The other is this Quinoa Kale Bowl with Mushrooms and Asparagus. It’s very healthy and nutritious, but it’s also hearty and flavorful.

Quinoa Kale Bowl with Mushrooms and Asparagus (vegan, gluten-free) 10This recipe requires a fair amount of chopping and slicing. Fortunately, I welcome these tasks due to a love affair with my new 14″ round walnut butcher block chopping block from McClure Tables. When McClure offered to give away two butcher blocks (one for me, one for you), I jumped at the chance to team up for this giveaway. Little did I know it would become my new favorite tool in the kitchen. Both beautiful and functional, it looks great on my counter even when not in use. And it makes a gorgeous serving piece.

Walnut Butcher Block Chopping Block from McClure Tables

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Kale Salad with Blackberries and Toasted Coconut-Pecan Clusters (v/gf)

Vegan Kale Salad With Blackberries And Toasted Coconut Pecan Clusters

I used to think kale was only used for garnish. I mean, really, who eats that stuff?! I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of plain ol’ raw kale. It’s bitter and tough and has a terrible aftertaste. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to transform this super nutritious leafy green. A little lemon, a little olive oil, some salt/pepper and of course, TLC in the form of massage (yes, that’s right—massage) and suddenly kale is not only tolerable, it’s delicious. Especially when you toss in fresh blackberries and toasted coconut-pecan clusters. Now we’re talkin’.

Kale Salad with Blackberries and Toasted Coconut-Pecan Clusters #vegan #glutenfree (3)My aunt Gloria has always been the queen of gardening. Recently she told me about her abundance of kale—then she asked me what to do with it. So I rattled off a few ideas…add it to smoothies, salads of course, soups, finely chopped and “hidden” in burgers, casseroles, tacos, etc. Honestly, you can sneak kale into just about anything. If I have extra kale, I wash it, dry it, de-stem it, tear it into bite-sized pieces it and freeze it. Then I can toss a handful in a smoothie. Or toss the whole bag in a pot of soup. It’s great for juicing, too—stem and all.

So, Aunt G, this salad is for you. I hope you like it.

For those of you who are totally anti-kale, try spinach instead. And if blackberries aren’t readily available, try raspberries, strawberries or blueberries—or all of the above. Dried cherries would be great as well. No pecans on hand? Walnuts will work, too.

Kale Salad with Blackberries and Toasted Coconut-Pecan Clusters #vegan #glutenfree (5)Toasted Coconut-Pecan Clusters #vegan #glutenfreeThese toasted coconut-pecan clusters are amazeballs. In fact, it’s kind of hard not to eat ’em all right off the pan. Sweet, salty, nutty, and perfectly crunchy. More, please. They would make a great hostess gift during the holidays. Fill up a small canning jar, tie on some festive ribbon and you’re good to go. Oh, and your house will smell heavenly while they are baking.

If you have trouble finding unsweetened coconut flakes, try your local health food store or order online.

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Fried Ice Cream (v/gf)

Vegan Fried Ice Cream

I generally try to keep it pretty healthy here. Not today. This recipe for vegan fried ice cream (with a gluten-free option) is all about SPLURGING. It’s a special occasion dessert. One to pull out for birthdays, anniversaries and such. Or maybe you’ve just had a really bad week and you could use a little food joy.

Fried Ice Cream #vegan #gluten-free  (6)During college, I was a server at a Mexican restaurant chain called Chi-Chi’s. Fried Ice Cream was a popular menu item. If you’ve ever been a server, then you’re familiar with the term “sidework”. Sidework is a term for the tasks servers are assigned to do in addition to their basic duties. There was no worse sidework than cleaning the dessert station. I HATED it. Imagine a freezer full of crispy coated ice cream balls next to a station with a deep fryer and containers of strawberry sauce, chocolate sauce and honey. Plus the whipped cream, cherries, and cinnamon-sugar fried tortillas. By the end of the day, it was always a giant sticky mess. And it took forever to clean. Maybe that’s the reason I never made fried ice cream at home. Until now.

Fried Ice Cream #vegan #gluten-free  (8) Fried Ice Cream #vegan #gluten-free  (5)The process itself really isn’t too bad. It’s the freezer time that makes it so involved—a two step freezing process that requires some patience. The frying step takes the least time, but is essential to creating a warm, crispy shell. Obviously, if you have a deep fryer, it will come in very handy for this recipe. If you don’t, you can use a large pot, which is what I did.

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Cherry Chickpea Wrap (v/gf)

Vegan Cherry Chickpea Wrap

Finally. I got some things checked off the to-do list last weekend. Stuff like transitioning Hubs’ old office into a dedicated photo studio/prop room. Hubs’ office is now a small dresser—LOL. Whatever. He barely used it. This room now has a freshly painted table, two book shelves full of props (plates, linens, utensils, etc) and various photo equipment. There are a lot of windows, so it’s perfect for using natural light in my food photos. Maybe I’ll snap some pics of it one of these days and share.

So, about this vegan, gluten-free Cherry Chickpea Wrap. This is a dead ringer for chicken salad. I swear, is there anything chickpeas can’t do?

Cherry Chickpea Salad Wrap with creamy cashew dressing  #vegan #glutenfree (1)

This is a perfect summertime meal. A cool, crunchy, creamy wrap that requires minimal effort and zero cooking. You can even take a shortcut and use vegan mayo instead of making the cashew dressing. Dress it up with any extras you like—lettuce, avocado, sprouts, tomato, pickles, onions, you name it. It’s great in a lettuce wrap or served on crackers, too. Or you can do what I do—eat it straight out of the bowl.

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Curry Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli and Cashews (v/gf)

Vegan Curry Sweet Potatoes With Broccoli And Cashew

What a gorgeous holiday weekend it was here in West Michigan. We had perfect weather. A long bike ride, a BBQ/fireworks bonanza with neighbors, a lazy beach day, dinner with friends, a late night movie, sleeping in—we took full advantage of the long weekend. The party didn’t end there. Last night we got together with friends for a potluck. We sat on their deck, enjoyed the company and ate great food. I took a bit of a risk when I decided to make a dish I’ve never made before. Fortunately, it was a winner.

Curry Sweet Potato Salad with Broccoli and Cashews #vegan #gluten free (01)

I can’t say I’ve always loved curry. For me, it was an acquired taste. Hubs loves it. These days, I’m pretty crazy about it, too. This recipe is an adapted version of one I found in Terry Walters’ cookbook, Clean Food. Hers called for tempeh, but since I was the only vegan at the potluck, I thought it best not to freak ’em out with fermented soybean “meat”. I opted for sweet potatoes and broccoli instead. Then end result was fantastic.

Curry Sweet Potato Salad with Broccoli and Cashews #vegan #gluten free (06)

Curry Sweet Potato Salad with Broccoli and Cashews #vegan #gluten free (08)

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Coconut Lemon Tart (v/gf)

Vegam Coconut Lemon Tart

I wonder if other countries get carried away with national flag-themed food the way we do in the U.S. Do a search for “Fourth of July desserts” on Pinterest and you’ll get a smorgasbord of inventive red, white and blue creations. I’m gonna take a wild guess and assume we do this better than anyone else. Because we are obnoxious Americans. We are loud and proud. We love our flag. And we love food. So what’s better than food that resembles our flag? (The answer is a lot of things are better than that, but let’s go with it for today.)

Coconut Lemon Tart (5) - vegan, gluten-free

The raspberries and blueberries on this Coconut Lemon Tart are a subtle nod to Old Glory. A simple, understated reflection of our national colors that doesn’t require layering vanilla ice cream, raspberry sorbet and blue cake. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

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