Vegan Queso Dip + Ode to Gardein

Easy Vegan Queso Dip Recipe

best vegan queso dip

OK so not the best picture… everyone was in a hurry to eat!

Happy New Year veggies, aspiring veggies, part-time veggies, and new veggies of 2016! I’m hoping that this year, more and more people will make the switch to vegetarian or vegan.

I was talking to some vegan friends during the Holidays about how much easier it is becoming to be a vegan in this world. There are so many great vegan options, mock meats, and substitutes for pretty much everything…. and it only gets better every year!

One of my favorite mock meat companies is Gardein. They have a ton of great tasting options – everything from beefless tips and veggie crumbles to faux chicken tenders, fishless filets and even holiday roasts.

I use the Beefless Grounds a lot for tacos. They taste delicious right out of the package. Just thaw in a skillet for a few minutes, throw in a tortilla with your favorite toppings, and eat. No need for seasonings… they’re just that good! I also use them for spaghetti and stuffed shells (I’ll post a recipe soon, promise!), and this Vegan Queso Dip. They’re so good that people are surprised when I tell them that they’re vegan!

Companies like Gardein have made it so easy to leave meat off the plate. And, it can be found in most grocery stores such as Kroger, Scotts, Owens, Walmart, Meijer, and even Target! Thank you Gardein. Because I love you so much, I wrote you a little poem….

Ode to Gardein

You’re the chicken in my Cordon Bleu,
the Beefless Tips in my Mexican Stew.
The burger when I want to grill,
the protein in my meatless meal.

Vegan meatballs, crumbles, and barbecue wings,
no need to eat animals when you’ve got these things.
Plus they’re good and cruelty-free
the way a meal ought to be.

So thank you Gardein for such great food
and being easy to find in my neighborhood!

Now, back to the regularly scheduled recipe….

I’ve came up with this recipe a few years ago and tacked it on as a variation to my Vegan Macaroni and Cheese recipe. However, it’s been getting so much love that I thought it deserved it’s own page.

I make this for family potlucks and my Mexican non-veg family scarfs it down… sometimes while we’re waiting for the rest of the meal to be made. I made this for some non-veg friends one night and it received rave reviews. One even said “this is better than Velveeta!” Although, for me, it’s not hard to think something’s better than Velveeta, I took it as a great complement! Especially since I used to make queso dip using Velveeta cheese. My neighbor loved it so much that she made it for a work carry-in. She sent me a text that day and said that her co-workers were loving the dip!. I took this queso dip to a New Year’s Eve party and walked into the kitchen to a non-veg chowing down on the dip and telling someone that “this dip is amazing!”

So, I may be biased… but I think this is definitely the best vegan queso recipe. Other recipes out there use diaya cheese and way too much nutritional yeast –  I’m really not a fan of either. Mine uses cashews and just a small amount of nutritional yeast for the cheese sauce, the same sauce I use to make my vegan macaroni & cheese.

This dip can be made and eaten the next day. It keeps really good for 3-4 days in the fridge. And, it can be put in a crockpot to take to a potluck. Just be sure to keep it on the lowest setting to avoid scorching it to the bottom or turning it into lava!

Ingredients:

1 batch of vegan cheese sauce
1/2 pound vegan veggie crumbles or 1/2 package of Gardein’s Beefless Crumbles
1/2 package of taco seasoning. I use Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix
1/2 cup water
1 jar of your favorite salsa. I like On the Border Mild Salsa

Directions:

In sauce pan, make cheese sauce according to directions.

In separate sauce pan, combine water and taco seasoning. Add veggie crumbles and cook on medium-high until most of liquid is absorbed. Once cheese sauce is thickened, add taco “meat” and salsa to cheese sauce and stir to combine. Heat and eat with chips! Great on nachos too!

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Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Vegan Grilled Cheese with Peanut Butter

vegan grilled cheese

While in the midst of our home improvements, a pipe on our well pump corroded. We don’t know how long it was busted, but by the time we noticed it, the well pump closet was a mess and the carpets in one of the rooms in our basement was more like a lake! So, we’ve been dealing with this for the past few weeks, and tomorrow we finally get our carpet replaced! Yay for all new carpet, boo for all the extra work involved! And, now that we’re getting new carpet in the basement, we thought it would be nice to replace our basement windows and the basement door. So much for getting our house back in order anytime soon!

With all of the work being done, cooking is still not high on my to do list. We’ve had very little time to really make anything and have been surviving on grab and go foods and anything fast. So, this is less of a recipe and more of a ‘this is what I’ve been eating post’. But I highly recommend trying it!

Every since I was little (my pre-vegan days), my mom would make me grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches. As far as I know, I’m the only one who has ever had this combination of foods. I have yet to meet anyone else who is lucky enough to have tried this. It does sound like a weird combination, I know! I thought my days of a really good grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwich were over, that is until I found Field Roast’s vegan Chao “cheese” slices. They are by far the best vegan cheese I’ve ever had! Seriously so good that I’ll eat it straight out of the package. And, they make the best ever grilled cheese and peanut butter sandwiches! Welcome back GC&PB, get in ma belly!

Trust me, give it a try. The peanut butter gets all ooey, gooey, warm and melty and complements the cheese perfectly!

vegan grilled cheese peanut butterAnd there’s only 4 ingredients – bread, butter, cheese, and peanut butter. Easy!

If you try it, let me know what you think! And, if you’ve been lucky enough to have had this before, let me know so I know I’m not alone!

 

 

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Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

Looking for some delicious and easy vegan Thanksgiving recipes the whole family will love. With all of this goodness, there’s no need for a turkey! Here’s a recap of some of my favorites over the years.

Vegan Chickenless Noodles

Vegan Chickenless Noodles | Vegan Chicken & Noodles recipe

Perfect as either a side dish or the main course, traditional chicken and noodles has nothing on this cruelty-free version! Get recipe: Vegan Chickenless Noodles

Vegan No-Chicken Pot Pie

This veggie-filled vegan no – chicken pot pie is a perfect take-a-long the whole family will enjoy! Add diced tofu or quinoa for added protein. Get Recipe: Vegan No-Chicken Pot Pie

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole with Stuffing

broccoli and stuffing

This casserole is filled with quinoa and tender broccoli and topped with stuffing. Great for a side dish or main course any day! Get Recipe: Broccoli Quinoa Casserole with Stuffing

Vegan Corn Casserole

corn casserole - vegan

Love corn casserole? This cruelty-free version of the traditional corn casserole has all of the taste with non of the guilt! (pictured top right corner. sorry for such a crappy photo… I was in a hurry to dig in!) Get recipe: Vegan Corn Casserole

Have a happy, cruelty-free Thanksgiving!

 

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Corn Casserole Recipe – Better Than Paula Dean

Easy Vegan Corn Casserole Recipe

corn casserole - vegan

Every year for Thanksgiving my aunt makes corn casserole. Since becoming vegan, this was something that I thought I had to give up since it included egg and sour cream. However, this year while shopping at Meijer’s I found out that Jiffy makes a vegetarian boxed corn bread! So, I thought I’d try my hand at making the corn casserole for a Veg-giving party I was hosting. It turned out great, better than my aunt’s and better than Paula Dean’s …. because there’s no eggs or dairy! Cruelty-free and cholesterol free! Take that Paula Dean! (Shown above in my blurry picture with Tofurky roast and vegan green bean casserole.)

And, with only 5 ingredients, it was so easy to make!

IMG_3160

Easy Vegan Corn Casserole. This is how it looks before baking. – Vegan Butter not Pictured.

Ingredients:

1 – 15 1/4 ounce can of whole kernel corn
1 – 14 3/4 ounce can of cream style corn
1 box of Jiffy Vegetarian Corn Muffin Mix
1 cup of vegan sour cream, I like Follow Your Heart’s
1/2 cup of melted vegan butter, melted (not pictured), I like Earth Balance

Directions.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×13 casserole dish with non-stick spray.

Add all ingredients to large bowl and mix to evenly combine. Pour into prepared casserole dish and cook for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown.

Posted in Side Dishes, Thanksgiving, Vegan, Vegetarian | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Vegan Broccoli Quinoa Casserole with Stuffin

Broccoli Quinoa Casserole with Stuffing

broccoli and stuffing

This easy and delicious Broccoli quinoa stuffing casserole is similar to chicken and stuffing, but better, because there’s no meat! Instead there’s tender veggies and the quinoa is a great source of protein. Use it as either a main dish or side dish at any vegan or non-vegan Thanksgiving feast.

vegan broccoli stuffing casserole recipe

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. vegan butter, I like Earth Balance Original
4 cups non-dairy milk, I like Rice Dream Original
4 heaping tbsp white flour
2 Edward & Sons Not Chick’n Bouillon Cubes
1 lb frozen broccoli florets (or cuts)
1/2 cup quinoa rinsed
6-8 servings prepared stuffing – I use Pepperidge Farms Herb Seasoned Cubed Stuffing

Optional add-ins:
1 large carrot, diced
1 rib celery, finely diced

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

If using optional add-ins, which I do recommend, there are two ways to add them. My husband and I like our carrots and celery extremely soft, to the point where they dissolve in your mouth.

steamed carrots and celeryBecause of this, I place them in a covered steamer basket on top of a boiling pot of water and steam them for approximately 15-20 minutes until they’re tender.

Or, you could just throw them raw into the casserole with the rest of the ingredients. They should cook up pretty tender in the liquids. I just don’t like to take my chances!

 

Vegan Chicken Gravy

The sauce used in this recipe is the same sauce used for my Vegan Chickenless Noodles,  my Vegan Potpie, and a basic vegan chicken gravy, which are all great Thanksgiving dishes. In a large saucepan, add the 2 tablespoons of butter. Melt over medium-high heat. In a shaker bottle or jar with tight sealing lid, add 1 heaping tablespoon of the flour and 1 cup of non-dairy milk. Shake well leaving no lumps. vegan chicken gravyAdd to saucepan with melted butter.   Do this with the remaining flour and milk – adding it to shaker bottle 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 cup of vegan milk at a time and adding it to saucepan. Add 2 bouillon cubes. Cook over medium-high heat stir semi-frequently so it doesn’t form lumps while it’s thickening. Bring to boil and cook for approximately 15 minutes to thicken.

While the gravy is cooking, spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray. Add frozen broccoli and 1/2 cup rinsed quinoa. Once gravy is slightly thickened, pour over broccoli and quinoa. Add diced carrots and celery if using. Stir to evenly combine.

Place in oven on 375 for 1 hour or until most of gravy is absorbed and broccoli and quinoa are done.

Meanwhile, prepare stuffing according to package directions. Be careful when purchasing stuffing. Most stuffing is NOT vegan. The only stuffing I’ve found that is vegan is Pepperidge Farms Herbed Stuffing. Or, you could make your own. I follow the instructions to make 1/2 package – 6 to 8 servings.

After 1 hour of baking, remove casserole from oven and top evenly with stuffing. Place bake in over for approximately 20-25 minutes to brown the stuffing on top, being careful not to over cook.

Serve and enjoy!

vegan broccoli and stuffing

 

 

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Easy Taco Soup

Vegan Taco Soup

vegan taco soup recipe vegan soup recipe

Wow! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any recipes. I guess I’ve been a little busy and lately I’ve had a couple of companies over doing some home improvements and remodeling. With my hectic life, and working on a new weight loss program, I’ve really not had a lot of time to cook. However, tomorrow I invited some family over for lunch so was trying to decide what to make that was fast, easy, and something that everyone would enjoy, including my grandma who normally won’t try my vegan food. I remembered a couple of years ago I made some taco soup to take over to my grandma’s so my husband and I would have something to eat while the rest of the family ate Caldo (beef stew) (see my version of vegan caldo). I put some leftovers in a Tupperware and left it so my grandma would have something to feed my grandpa the next day and wouldn’t have to cook.

My mom emailed me this the following day:

Grandma just called all excited about your delicious taco soup. That’s what they had for lunch and had just a small bit left over. She said she was giving Grandpa chili for supper and she was finishing the rest of the soup. Asked me if I got any or tasted it. Wants the recipe—said it was delicious and filling. She called specifically to tell me that and ask for the recipe. Told her you would be glad to hear that.

Win! So here it is, the easy, delicious, grandma approved vegan taco soup:

1/2 (48 oz) jar great northern beans- drained
1 can fiesta corn or mexican corn (any corn with peppers) – do not drain
3 cups water
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes – do not drain
1 (15 oz) can kidney beans – drained
1 envelope taco seasoning mix – I like Ortega
1/4 cup quinoa or 1/2 cup of rice (Spanish rice would be really good in this soup!)

optional add-ins:
diced onions
zucchini
veggie burger crumbles

Mix all ingredients together and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until quinoa or rice is done and zucchini (if using) is soft. You can also throw it in the crockpot on low in the morning and come home to some warm, tasty soup!

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Vegan Lasagna Rolls with Tofu Ricotta

Easy Vegan Lasagna Rolls

Easy Vegan Lasagna Recipe | Easy Tofu Ricotta Cheese Recipe

Easy Vegan Lasagna Recipe with Tofu Ricotta Cheese

Who says vegans can’t enjoy lasagna? These vegan lasagna rolls, or lasagna roll-ups, using tofu ricotta cheese, make a vegan lasagna the whole family will love!

I like lasagna with veggies, the hubby likes his without… lasagna rolls makes it easy to please us both without having to make two separate pans!

easy vegan lasagna rolls with tofu ricotta cheese recipe

Lasagna rolls with or without veggies! 

Here I used zucchini and mushrooms, but you could also use spinach, chopped carrots, chopped broccoli, and/or chopped kale…or any of your other favorite veggies.  Just make sure to cook the veggies first! I cook mine using pam cooking spray with garlic, black pepper, and oregano and a some of my vegan parmesan cheese.

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce or homemade tomato sauce
  • 1 recipe tofu ricotta (see below)
  • favorite cooked veggies (optional)
  • vegan parmesan cheese (optional)

Tofu Ricotta:

  • 1 package firm tofu, drained
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients for tofu ricotta in food processor and pulse until mixture is smooth.

Spread each noodle with 2 heaping tablespoonfuls of tofu ricotta. If you’re using veggies, add them now. Drizzle some marinara sauce on top then starting at a short end, roll up each noodle.

Add a small layer of marinara sauce to the bottom of a shallow baking dish. Place lasagna rolls in dish and pour remaining sauce over noodles. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until heated throughout.  Sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese (optional).

 

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