After speaking to a group of young writers, hubby and I visited Legume Kitchen and Bar in Fredericksburg, VA. We had meant to visit on Valentine’s Day but I wasn’t feeling well. We always meant to make the trip and since the restaurant was only 15 minutes away from the library, it was a perfect time to visit!
Although Legume isn’t a vegan restaurant, they had plenty of plant-based options available. We started off our meal with vegan nachos. For my entree, I ordered the Meatless Ball Sandwich and a side salad. It was a hearty sandwich made with garbanzo bean fritters, marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella. My husband ordered the coconut-green curry rice noodles meal with shitake mushrooms, tofu and bok choy. We ordered dessert, too: dark chocolate cake with rasberry torte and for him, a mango sorbet. Even though the chocolate cake wasn’t my favorite, I definitely indulged in a few bites. Everything was well-made and I am planning a trip back to Legume in the very near future.
I had a full day and when I stopped over at Whole Foods for lunch. While I was shopping, I saw Beyond Meat has started selling a few flavors of their “sausage”. I also spied an almond milk, soy an dairy-free version of ravioli by Kite Hill. I chose the Hot Italian flavor of the sausage and the spinach and ricotta for the ravioli. When I ate dairy products, cheese was one of my favorites so I have always been willing to explore the alternatives. Most brands get it wrong but I love what Kite Hill did with their nut cheese filling. The consistency and the taste were better than I expected. Tonight, I kept it simple. I boiled the ravioli and cooked the Beyond Meat sausages on a stick-free pan. I added some tomato sauce and basil and I was satisfied. As much as I love discovering new recipes, some nights call for discovering new products to cook quickly and have the rest of the night to yourself.
In our effort to do more gluten-free vegan dishes, I chose a vegan taco bake dish from buildyourbite.com. It was a relatively easy recipe that also did not use oil which I am also trying to get away from cooking with so often. Outside of the flavor of the dish, squeezing half a lime over it provided just the right amount of acid. I am so glad the recipe called for it. I would definitely bring this to our next vegan potluck. We also ate some broccoli to make sure we got our greens in tonight. Here’s the recipe:
1 large bag of tortilla chips (13 oz)
1 can of black beans, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika (see notes)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 of a lime, juiced
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups of salsa
sliced lime, for serving
In a bowl, add drained black beans, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and the juice of ½ of a lime
Stir ingredients until well combined
Get out a 9 X 13 casserole dish and lay down an even layer of tortilla chips
Spoon evenly half of the bean mixture over the tortilla chips
Cover with ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
Add 1 cup of salsa, spreading out evenly
Repeat steps of chips, beans, nutritional yeast, and salsa
Top with remaining tortilla chips, crushed into small pieces
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until browned
Serve hot with fresh lime juice squeezed on top
Be sure to reheat any leftovers in the oven for best results
This was such a life-saver tonight as allergies are currently sapping my energy. I am going to have to look into more recipes from buildyourbite.com.
This past weekend, Hubby and I went to another vegan potluck at a friend’s home. This time, it was a cookout complete with barbecued seitan ribs, corn on the cob, garden burgers, potato salad, pesto pasta salad, fresh cantaloupe slices and ice cream. Hubby even baked his chocolate chip cookies again.
My friend’s husband at the grill focusing on his seitan ribs
Pesto pasta salad
Since it was basically the same group, we had an amazing time yet again. I was pretty wiped out from attending 3 events and cooking before we even got there but we looked forward to seeing everyone and of course, it was all worth it. I also realized I had never been to an all-vegan cookout, either. We were all outside, talking, laughing, eating at picnic tables and watching the children run and swing. There’s really not much of a difference.
There’ s comfort in going to a place where you don’t have to explain why you eat what you do but by far, the comfort is always because of the people.
And the connections.
As I’ve written here many times before, it never stops being about the people and the connections.
Tonight, I decided to do things a little differently. Hubby and I are big smoothie lovers and I realized I’ve never featured any on my Meatless Monday posts. I decided to make pesto for the first time, too. I definitely had become a little too dependent on tomato and vegan Alfredo sauces so it was time to change things up. I got the recipe from greenevi.com and the Honeydew and Lime Smoothie was inspired by a YouTube video from Health with Kisha. I don’t remember her exact recipe but I remembered Honeydew melon and limes and I figured I could adjust according to my own taste.
We used a container of honeydew that was 1.17 lbs, the juice of 3 limes and blended it with ice.
Here’s Hubby hard at work juicing the limes for me:
We used organic red lentil penne pasta for our vegan pesto pasta. We love the Explore Cuisine brand for red lentil and black bean spaghetti.
Here’s the recipe:
Pasta of your choice
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
¼ cup of pine nuts
1 cup of fresh basil (tightly packed)
1 clove of garlic
¼ cup of olive oil
1-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
½ lemon (optional)
Prepare your pasta according to package instructions.
Meanwhile roast pine nuts in a skillet until lightly toasted.
Add basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to a food processor and blend until smooth. Mix pesto into pasta and add cherry tomatoes. Enjoy!
Hubby has already said he wants to me cook everything again next week. I fell in love, too. The honeydew and lime smoothie was incredibly refreshing. I can see making that regularly especially when summer hits.
Let me know in the comments if there are any new plant-based recipes you have tried or want to try.
I have been craving buffalo cauliflower ‘wings’ for a few days now. I’ve made them before and this time hubby baked them. This particular recipe came from gimmedelicious.com. We decided to pair it with spinach and Yukon gold potatoes (not pictured–we have it on the side). The only things I do differently is bake for 15 minutes longer to achieve the level of crispiness I enjoy and use a Texas Pete Wing Sauce.
Here’s the recipe:
1head of cauliflowerapprox. 4 cups of florets
1/2cupmilkfor vegan: use water or almond or soy milk
1cupall-purpose flourcan sub gluten-free rice flour
1tbspbutterfor vegan: use earth balance buttery spread
Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper or grease very well with oil. Preheat your oven to 425-450 F depending on your oven.
Wash and cut cauliflower head into bite-sized pieces/florets.
Mix the milk/water/flour and spices in a medium mixing bowl (set aside the hot sauce and butter for later). Mix until the batter is thick and is able to coat the cauliflower without dripping.
Dip the cauliflower in the batter. You can do this one by one or in batches. shake off excess batter before placing cauliflower on the baking sheet. Lay the cauliflower single layer on the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, flipping the florets over halfway through to get all sides golden brown and crispy.
While the cauliflower is baking, get your buffalo wing sauce ready. In a small saucepan low heat melt butter and mix in hot sauce. Remove from the heat just as it starts to melt. Stir together and set aside.
Once the cauliflower is done its first bake in the batter, remove them from the oven and put all the baked florets into a mixing bowl with the wing sauce and toss to coat evenly. Return cauliflower to the baking sheet and bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until reached desired crispness. Serve with ranch, blue cheese, or your favorite dipping sauce. Enjoy!
I have been holding onto this recipe from shelikesfood.com for a few weeks. I have never cooked with enchilada sauce so I was excited to try. I also have been a little rice and potato heavy so getting back to eating more quinoa seemed like a good idea. I definitely took longer than the prep time indicated but I dice vegetables slowly.
1/2 cup dried quinoa
4 cup cubed sweet potato, about 2 large ones
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup grated cheese, divided (I used vegan cheese)
2 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
Optional garnishes: cilantro, red onion, tomato, avocado, jalapeno
Rinse quinoa and place it in a small pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. On a large baking sheet, toss together the cubed sweet potato with 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bake sweet potato for 20 minutes.
While sweet potato is baking, add all the diced bell peppers, zucchini and onion to a bowl and toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Add the vegetables to the sweet potatoes, stir and make sure they’re in an even layer. Place back into the oven 10 minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes and veggies into a large baking dish and stir in the cooked quinoa, black beans, corn, 3/4 cup of the cheese, enchilada sauce, spices, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Top with the remaining 1/4 of the cheese and place back in the oven until heated through and cheese is melted, 10-15 minutes.
Hubby and I loved it! We chose to garnish it with avocado. It blended together well and it came out light. While we were eating it, I thought it would be interesting to add mushrooms, too. I definitely look forward to making it again.
Today, we were on the road back home from seeing family and we decided to stop at Ninth Street Bakery for lunch. It was a few blocks from Duke University. We almost tried the Luna Living Kitchen Chapel Hill location but then we both said it was best to try something new. I was intrigued by a bakery offering several plant-based options. As soon as we walked in, we knew we were in for a feast. The smell alone was enough to buy out the store. Trying to be gluten-free saved me in this bakery. I could have walked out with a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread under each arm. Anyway, on to what we ate.
I ordered the Thai curry bowl, the savory hand pie (don’t think the flour was wheat) and a side salad. Jeff had the dal lentil soup and the savory hand pie. We loved every bit of it. The freshness and the flavor impressed us both. We left feeling satisfied and didn’t think of eating for hours afterwards. It has been incredibly encouraging to find healthy, plant-based options out on the road. It totally dispels the idea that you can’t be responsible for your health even if you travel frequently.
We would definitely come back again. As for next Monday, I already have a recipe in mind that I am excited to try!
2cups chopped vegetarian chicken strips or 2 cups firm tofu, cut in tiny cubes
2pie crusts (either store bought or your own recipe)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Saute onion, celery, carrots and potatoes in butter for 10 minutes.
Add flour to sauteed mixture, stirring well Cook one minute stirring constantly.
Combine broth and half and half.
Gradually stir into vegetable mixture.
Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.
Stir in salt and pepper and tyme; add tofu and stir well.
Pour into shallow 2 quart casserole dish and top with pie shells.
Cut slits to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly and cooked through.
He added broccoli, mushrooms and cilantro, replaced the onion broth with vegetable broth and the half and half with almond milk (to make it vegan) but forgot to add carrots. We are trying to stay away from soy so tofu didn’t make it into our veggie pot pie. It didn’t matter. It was tasty..we probably should have let it sit a while longer before cutting into it but the flavor was all there. Definitely would try again!
I was out of town, specifically in Charlotte this past weekend visiting family. We knew we would be leaving in the afternoon and wanted to stop by a raw vegan restaurant I found online: Luna’s Living Kitchen.
Since we are just getting home, I knew I would be in no mood to cook a meal and eat late so I thought I would share our meal at Luna’s Living Kitchen located in the South Bend of Charlotte. Even though I prefer to cook these meals, it’s good to know there are options everywhere to eat plant-based and even raw vegan!
We started off by sharing a sweet potato sushi roll. I decide to get a cacao smoothie and Jeff chose a Mango Tango. It had a kick of cayenne which we both enjoyed!
Jeff had been eager to try the raw manicotti made with zucchini and cashew cream and tomato sauce. He added the lentil soup for warmth. The coolness of the manicotti threw him a little even though he was warned about it but neither of us could deny how tasty the cashew cream was and how well it mimicked the taste of ricotta cheese. I chose one of the warmer entree options: BBQ sliders. That was our favorite dish! The oyster mushrooms was such an amazing filler compared to mock meats like tofu, tempeh or jackfruit. When we come back to Charlotte, we are definitely coming back!