No-Cook Vegan Chickpea Salad

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The last check of the weather showed 99 degrees and rising! It’s supposed to reach 104 degrees today! I think I may be the only one who enjoys this weather and am looking forward to jumping in the pool after work!

On days as hot as today, who wants to spend time in a hot kitchen! So, I thought I’d share one of my favorite and super fast & easy go-to recipes on days that I just don’t want to cook!

Vegan Chickpea Salad

Ingredients:
1 can Chickpea (Garbanzo Beans), drained & rinsed
1 tablespoon Vegenaise or other non-dairy mayo
2 Celery Ribs
1 Carrot
1/4 teaspoon garlic power
1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend
1/4 tsp Paprika (optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:
In food processor, pulse carrot & celery rib until chopped. Add the chickpeas and pulse 6-8 times to break up. You want to leave it slightly chunky. If you don’t have a food processor you can finely dice the carrots & celery & mash the chickpeas in a bowl with a fork.

Remove from blender into bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Chill for at least an hour. Serve on wheat bread with spinach, wrap in lettuce leaves, stuff it in a pita, or serve with crackers.

Variations:
– Omit Mrs. Dash & garlic powder and add sweet pickle relish
– Add 1/8 teaspoon of poultry seasoning for more of a “chicken” taste.
– Add diced apples & grape halves
– Add 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

Vegan Green Smoothie

Last year I went to a seminar on healthy eating where Chef A.J. was going to be giving a cooking demo. For breakfast they were serving her recipe for vegan green smoothies. I had never had a green smoothie before and from the looks of it I didn’t even want to try it… it was green! I decided to pour my self a small taste and then picked up 5 other cups to take back to the others at my table. I didn’t know that someone else had picked up some for everyone as well so there were 5 extra smoothies plus my little swallow.

I watched everyone’s faces as they took a sip, they didn’t look disgusted, in fact, they were smiling! So I thought, what the heck and took the smallest sip….. WOW!!! It was so good that I ended up drinking 3 of the other glasses of smoothie and on my way home at 11pm I stopped at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients to make some in the morning!

If you haven’t tried a green smoothie I highly suggest Chef A.J.’s recipe, it’s so easy and delicious!

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Vegan Cheese Sauce | Vegan Macaroni & Cheese | Vegan Queso Dip

I made vegan cheese dip, aka vegan queso, yesterday for a gathering I had. A friend overheard me discussing it and said, “seriously, there’s no cheese in this? You can’t tell!” SUCCESS!

The cheese sauce is very versatile. Last weekend I used it to make a vegan mac & cheese. So far my husband has been very unimpressed with vegan mac & cheese recipes that are heavy on the nutritional yeast. This recipe only uses 1/8 cup. He loved it! He loved it again last night as the vegan queso, and will love it again today on a baked potato with broccoli & cheese sauce!

Not only is it delicious but it’s also easy! Just throw the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth then cook it in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler you can do what I did: Put a same size or bigger pot on top of a pot of boiling water. Voila!

Edit: I’ve become lazy and no longer do the double boiler method. I simply put it in a saucepan on medium-high heat and let it cook until desired consistency. Just make sure to whisk it consistently so it doesn’t clump or burn on the bottom of the pan.

Vegan Cheese Sauce Recipe | Vegan Queso | Vegan Macaroni & Cheese Recipe

Ingredients:
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
4 oz. pimentos
1/8 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp Mrs. Dash Table Blend
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp cornstarch
(Pepper to taste if using for mac & cheese)
1 vegan not-chicken bouillon cube. I use Edwards & Sons. If your grocery doesn’t carry it you can order it online here: http://www.edwardandsons.com/es_shop_bouillon.itml

1 cup non-dairy milk ( I use Rice Dream’s rice milk) or an additional cup of water.
1 lb cooked macaroni noodles

Directions:
Add cashews & water to blender & blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients except for the milk (or 2nd cup of water) and continue blending until mixed well.

Pour mixture into the top of a double boiler. Add the cup of non-dairy milk (or an additional cup of water) to the blender and swish around to remove remaining sauce and add to double boiler.

Heat until thickened, about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Toss with cooked noodles and season with salt & pepper to taste.