Tag Archives: healthy recipes

Samosa Wraps, mmmm

1 Feb

Hey cuties! I’m back from Jan Term break, and ready to get cookin’!

Here’s a simple yet intensely flavorful recipe I found on Fat Free Vegan Blog. Samosas are maybe my favorite part about Indian food, so when I stumbed across these Samosa Wraps I knew I had hit the jackpot. Potatoes, tofu and frozen peas are the meat of this dish (pun intended). Obviously I added extra jalapeños, just for that needed punch of spicy. Enjoy this relatively quick meal! I know I did!



Samosa Wraps

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan Blog

  • 1 pound (450 g) red or gold potatoes (about 2 medium)
  • 14 ounces (390 g) extra-firm tofu, frozen for 24 hours and thawed
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 cup (236 ml) frozen green peas
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 – 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 whole-grain tortillas

Cook the potatoes, unpeeled, in boiling water until they’re tender (pierce easily with a fork). Remove from water and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (6mm).

Squeeze tofu to remove as much water as possible. Cut into 1/4-inch cubes.

Heat a deep non-stick skillet and add the onion. Cook on medium-high until onion begins to brown. Add peas, tomato, ginger, jalapeno pepper, and 2 tablespoons water. Cook, stirring, until peas thaw.

Add potatoes and tofu to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, salt, curry powder, coriander, cumin, cayenne, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Remove cover and cook until most liquid has evaporated. Check to see if more salt or lemon is needed.



Day 13 – Experimentation is Key! (Featuring Sloppy Joes)

18 Jan


Song of the Post – Informer by Snow

Oh, what’s up buckets upon buckets of snow?


Yeah, looks like it’s getting pretty chilly out there.  Walking places is no bueno these days with all the giant snowflakes coming at my eyeballs.  Driving is not an option, since A. my car won’t start and B. its slick as heck!  Guess my only option is to stay at home and try to warm up.  But I wonder… however could I achieve such warmth in this snowy wonderland?

I have a great idea!  Curry!

Here’s a painfully simple recipe I found for curry chickpeas.  It comes from an extremely helpful website called Budget Bytes.  So far, I’m in love with this blog!  It informs you just how inexpensive her recipes are, down to each serving.  Nice!

So, midway through cooking this delicious dish I decided that quick curried chickpea soup sounded better.  To make this happen, I added the same amount of water called for but didn’t simmer it as long.  With that discovery fueling my ingenuity, I threw in two tomatoes (chopped up), one cup of frozen corn and a few handfuls of spinach.  I’m very happy with how this chickpea chili curry turned out!  Scrumptious, spicy and filling; baby that’s my kind of meal.

Quick Curried Chickpeas

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 half medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 heaping cup spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (optional)
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)

Cook the onion and garlic in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat until softed.

Add chickpeas to the pot, as well as the tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, water and curry powder. Stir until everything is evenly mixed. Bring the mixture up to a simmer over medium heat.

While the chick peas are simmering, rinse the spinach. Roughly chop the leaves and add them to the pot. Give everything a stir and continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced to a soupy or thick consistency (about 20 minutes total). Stir the pot every few minutes to prevent the sauce from burning and sticking to the bottom.



This next recipe is my treasure, my knight in shining armor of meals.  The very first moment I saw this online, I knew I had to make it.  There are about 1 million ingredients, but dedication and patience have finally brought me to this delightful meal.

Experimentation also had a huge role in creating this meal.  The first ingredient on the list is TVP, or for those who don’t speak veganese, textured vegetable protein.  I opted out of buying an eight dollar bag of TVP, since I haven’t seen any other recipes that call for it, and chose to use the remaining half of a firm block of tofu.  Wary as I was, I figured tofu was a low-maintenance ingredient that would pick up the overall flavor of the mix.  This assumption turned out to be true, and the tofu was a crumbly, almost ground-beef like texture alongside the variety of veggies.

But wait – there’s more!  You see, I went to the store with one mission – obtain sweet potatoes to use for sloppy joes.  I rushed home, peeled and boiled my sweet potato, grinning at how prepared I was.  Then, I checked the recipe.  Alas, there was no sweet potato to be found.  This did not stop me!  I added half of a large SP to the sloppy joe mix near the end of its sautéing.  Let me assure you, the results were stellar.  Moral of the story: feel free to add whatever sounds good!  Next time I’m chucking in some eggplant, or maybe zucchini if I’m feeling wild.

With a swipe of stone ground mustard (I don’t have veganiase yet) and handful of crisp spinach, this hot sandwich is ready for you to chow down on.  Enjoy!



Garden Veggie Sloppy Nellys 

(as adapted from Healthy Happy Life)
makes 6 burgers

  • burger buns, warmed in oven

Sloppy Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups TVP or 1 firm block tofu, crumbled
  • 1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
  • 14 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes, crushed
  • 14 ounces water
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups green bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced (use seeds for spicier flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp vegan buttery spread
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled, diced, boiled and mashed a bit (optional)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional – adds smokiness)
  • 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional – adds savory flavor) *I highly recommend it
  • salt/pepper to taste (I like a heavy hand of fine pepper)

Add the vegan butter and oil to a med-high x-large nonstick skillet.  Add onions, bell pepper, mushrooms to pan. Sauté until onions turn translucent.

Add in the tomato paste, water and TVP (or crumbled tofu).  Stir until TVP absorbs liquid and thins paste (if using tofu, stir for a few minutes). Now you may add in the remaining ingredients.

Turn heat to medium and sauté for about 5 minutes until the ingredients become flavorful and the mixture thickens well. Add nutritional yeast and liquid smoke as desired. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fill buns with sloppy mix – slather buns with vegenaise or other condiments – and maybe a few leaves of fresh spinach or romaine for extra green flavor. Serve hot.



[Not the cutest thing I’ve ever cooked – but DANG it is tasty.]


Day 11 – Tortilla Casserole & Almond Cheeze

16 Jan


Song of the Post – Municipality by Real Estate

Happy MLK Day!

Martin Luther King day has a special place in my heart.  My brother’s birthday is January 15th, and it was so unbelievably cool to have the Monday following his birthday off from school.  So now, a decade or so later, I still think of being so psyched to play in the snow with my little brother.

With those cozy thoughts in mind, let us dive into a warm and toasty meal!

My original aspiration for dinner night with the guys was lofty.  I’ve been craving a big juicy burger ever since day 1 of this vegan challenge, so I suggested homemade veggie burgers.  Upon realizing I had absolutely none of the ingredients necessary, I switched to a much more low-key recipe: Tortilla Casserole.  Also, when I showed up with to the guys’ house I couldn’t find the recipe online – it was bookmarked on my laptop but nowhere to be found on the world wide web!  Overall, it’s pretty difficult to mess up a black bean/tex mex casserole.  It turned out excellent, without the dang recipe!

So, this is the original recipe from VegKitchen.com.  I added sautéed onions and mushrooms to the mix.  The result was a fantastic, low maintenance casserole perfect for any spontaneous get-together.  Also, when the fellas were dressing up the casserole with cheese, Stephen surprised me with a stash of almond cheez!  My meal was indeed vegan, and I lived happily ever after!

We all enjoyed this dish very much, and I hope you do too!



Super Easy Tortilla Casserole

  • One 16-ounce can pinto or pink beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • One 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies (optional)
    or 1 to 2 small hot fresh chilis, seeded and minced
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced small
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups grated nondairy Monterey Jack, cheddar, or jalapeño cheese
  • Salsa for topping
  • Vegan sour cream for topping, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Sautee onions and mushrooms until soft.

Combine both kinds of beans, tomatoes, chilies, corn, scallions, cumin, and oregano in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Lightly oil a wide, 2-quart casserole dish and layer as follows: 5 tortillas, overlapping one another; half of the bean mixture; half of the cheese. Repeat layer, adding the onion mushroom mixture on top.

Bake the casserole for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand for a minute or two, then cut into wedges or squares to serve. Pass around salsa and optional vegan sour cream to top each serving.


Do not be alarmed!  The white cheese is provolone, and the carrot-looking stuff is actually almond cheez.  It didn’t taste like much, but I was happy to be included in the cheese gang!

Days 9 & 10 – All Around the World

13 Jan



Song of the Post – Portrait in Black and Blue by King Krule

Hello to all! I hope everyone’s long weekend is off to an amazing start.

Once my conquering-tofu high subsided, I turned to my newly vegan-ized Pinterest page. It was time to start experimenting again! I searched high and low for the perfect recipe (read: one that lacks crazy veg ingredients) and decided on an incredibly flavorful one that would warm me up. Tortilla soup! This particular version includes all types of vegetables, creating an absolutely beautiful and colorful meal. The variety of veggies also keeps this soup from being monotonous – every bite is different. Yellow and red peppers, green celery, fresh cut tomatoes and corn… my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Next time I have to cook for someone, I’m pulling out this recipe.

Another obvious addition to this dish is tortilla chips! After five weeks (when I’m not on this anti-flour diet) I’ll be sure to whip up some tortilla strips. For now, I’m perfectly content with just this piping hot bowl of goodness.

Notes: I switched out zucchini for mushrooms and threw in a coarsely chopped tomato – it did not disappoint. I also added sriracha to the list of ingredients, because I live for spicy!

Tortilla Soup

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cups chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 ear fresh corn (or half cup – 1 cup frozen corn)
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp crushed red chili pepper
  • One 15-oz can crushed tomatoes (or 2 medium tomatoes, diced)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1 can chopped green chili peppers, drained (optional)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1.5-2 cups cooked black beans (or beans of choice – I used a tri-color blend)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

In a large pot over medium to low heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the peppers, zucchini, green onion, and remove corn from cob. Add the veggies into the pot and sauté for another 5-10 minutes.

Add in the crushed tomatoes, cumin, broth, and chia seeds. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low-medium heat for 25-30 minutes.


This next recipe comes from a lovely girl who sits next to me in my Jan term class. Molly’s blog wannabetrending.wordpress.com is super helpful – she recounts the top 5 trending topics of the day and informs all of us why they’re so important. Check it out!

With all the enthusiasm in the world, Ian (from Young and Hella Vegetarian) and I embarked on another culinary exploration. This time our mission was Palestinian Lentils and Rice. What I didn’t realize is that our mission involved feeding us and five more dudes! These are college boys, mind you, and man are they hungry. Luckily we had plenty of supplies, so we doubled the recipe and ended up more than enough. Let me tell you – cooking for a ton of people can be intimidating, but it’s very inspiring when everything comes together. The boys loved this dish, and I never got tired of all the ‘compliments to the chef’!

We all agreed: the key to this meal is ONION. Lots and lots (and possibly even more) sautéed onion is what makes this dish pop. The rice and lentils combo is hearty, just what we needed on a below-freezing winter night. Mix in some nice, big onion chunks and you’ve got yourself heaven in a bowl. Enjoy – there’s no way you can’t love this meal!

Palestinian Lentils and Rice

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Sauté onions in oil until translucent, or very brown and crisp. Remove onions to a bowl and set aside.

Turn heat to med-high and add lentils and rice; sauté quickly in oil, add cumin and salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of water to rice and lentils and bring to boil. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes. Fluff up rice and lentils and top with onions.




One more thing – the title of this blog post brought me right back to 1997. That’s right baby, I’m talking Sugar Ray.  Have a blast this weekend everybody, and remember that Iiiiii just wanna fly!

Day 8 – Surprising Successes (& Tofu!)

10 Jan


Song of the Post –  Cake by Keepaway 

Hey bloggies!

Are you ready for a whirlwind post full of unconventional ingredients and spectacular results?  I trust you are, and here we go!

Starting in the beginning – breakfast.  I subscribe to the weekly newsletter from PCC Natural Markets (my favorite grocery store in the world), and this last week’s edition featured delicious hot cereal options.  Quinoa, almond milk and a sprinkling of raisins come together to create a warm and cozy breakfast, perfect for frosty winter mornings.  Enjoy and be happy from the inside out!

Hot Quinoa Cereal

  • 1/3 cup whole quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk or nut milk
  • 1 /2 cup filtered water
  • Pinch of unrefined salt
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • Generous pinch of pumpkin pie spice (Trader Joe’s brand)

Place all ingredients in a small pot and soak overnight in the refrigerator.

To cook the cereal, place it on the stovetop, covered, on low heat.  Let it simmer slowly for about 20 minutes (up to 1 hour for the rice cereal), stirring occasionally.  Add extra water if the cereal is too thick.  Mix in raisins and pumpkin pie spice and enjoy warm.


Now that you’re full and happy from a piping hot breakfast, it’s time for a crisp, refreshing lunch.

Here’s a Lauren original – Cucumber Spinach and Guac Pita.  It was so good that I forgot to take a picture until I was halfway done!  The combination of cool cucumber slices, powerful red onion and creamy avocado makes for a perfect midday meal.  Also, I’m a sucker for onions… so I added extra red onion slices on top.  Yum!

Cucumber Spinach and Guac Pita

  • 3 avocados, mashed
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 whole wheat pita
Mix avocados, onion, tomato and salt to make the guacamole.  Spread guac on pita bread, add cucumbers and spinach.  Munch and enjoy!


And now, the main event.  Ladies and gentlemen, I conquered one of the most terrifying and misunderstood vegetarian ingredients of all time – TOFU!  After a few hours of research, I decided that there are two things necessary for creating exceptional tofu – it must be baked and it has to have a lot of flavor.  Peas and Thank You is a lovely cooking website, and I’m convinced they have the best tofu marinade recipe of all time!

My fear of tofu has vanished completely after trying this simple and fantastic dish.  Crisp, spicy and colorful – I am seriously shocked at how delicious it was!  The trick is maple syrup.  It gives the tofu an interesting taste mid-bite!  Anyways, I swear by this recipe and encourage everyone to try it out.  Tofu is my friend, and it wants to be your friend too!  Go for it.

Spicy Baked Tofu

  • 3 T. soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s Aminos
  • 1 T. maple syrup (or agave)
  • 3 T. water
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • 1 block of tofu, cut in 1/4 inch thick slices

Prepare your marinade in a large container with a sealable lid by whisking together all ingredients.  Carefully add your tofu. And even more carefully, place the lid on the container and give it a gentle toss.  After at least a couple hours, your tofu should be evenly coated and will have absorbed most of the liquid.

Preheat the broiler and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or a light mist of oil. Arrange tofu slices on the baking sheet and drizzle any remaining marinade over the top.  Broil the tofu on one side for 5-6 minutes, flip the tofu over and return it to the oven to broil for an additional 5-6 minutes on the opposite side.  Serve as taco filling, on top of salad, or as a meal of its own.



Days 3 & 4 – Strength in Numbers

6 Jan


Song of the Post – Runaway by Kanye

Day 3 already? This being vegan thing is a breeze!

…just kidding. It’s really tough, especially when your roommates constantly make delicious and tempting treats like chicken pot pie and chocolate chip cookies. Be strong, Lauren!

Luckily, I have pals to accompany me on this dietary journey. Ian (who also has a blog – youngandhellavegetarian.wordpress.com) and Monte have committed to being vegetarian for the month of January. So, naturally, we joined forces last night to create a healthy and tantalizing meal. I have about one hundred recipes bookmarked for my 6 week challenge, most which involve one of my favorite things – curry!

The chickpea curry was superb. We found out the hard way that brown rice takes ages to cook, but the end result was well worth it. Also, 1/2 cup of chickpeas has 7 grams of protein. Vegans and vegetarians: do not underestimate the power of garbanzo beans!

No matter what dietary restrictions I put on myself in the future, I will always return to this hearty curry recipe.



Chickpea Curry

(As adapted from theveganstoner.blogspot.com)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups of plain soy yogurt
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons curry power
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1/4 cups water

Start cooking the rice.

Toss chopped vegetables, chickpeas, garlic, yogurt and curry power in a pot. Heat on low-medium. When the mixture starts to look dry, add the water. Cook until vegetables are soft. Serve on top of rice.20120106-093746.jpg

Ian, myself and I anticipating the delicious meal!


Days 1 & 2 – Blind Enthusiasm and Cauliflower Cream Soup

5 Jan

Song of the post – Silvia by Miike Snow

Greetings to the elusive and mystical world of veganism!

This blog will document my fervent attempts at creating scrumptious vegan meals. As a former dairy and meat devotee, I am finding myself astounded by the variety and possibilities that fruits and veggies have to offer.

The specific dietary plan I am embarking on is the 6 week challenge from the Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman, which focuses on eating as much raw foods as possible and eliminating processed foods, sugar, white flour and oils. Although it may sound equally parts terrifying and challenging, but it’s my bold New Year’s resolution and I’m determined to make it nutritious and enjoyable!

I’ll admit it, my first day was rough. First the mountain of fresh fruit for breakfast, and then lunch consisting of a whole head of romaine lettuce with veggies; it seemed like I was doomed to forever crunch. Dinner was much more eventful – Golden Australian Cauliflower Cream Soup! It was hearty and quick, less than 20 minutes cook and prep time. Plus, the combination of cauliflower, carrots and celery is a delicious way to eat nutritious vegetables.

Yesterday, Day 2, turned out to be worlds better!  I prepared an old favorite of mine, but substituted carb-heavy pasta for whole wheat pita bread.  The result was a fantastic (and gorgeous) meal.  Additionally, my online research led me to an excellent non-dairy ranch dip dressing.   What a tasty way to add variety to raw veggies!



Golden Australian Cauliflower Cream Soup

(adapted from Eat to Live by Dr. Fuhrman)

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Mrs. Dash seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash extra spicy blend for extra flavor)
  • 2 cup carrot juice
  • 4 cup water
  • 2 clv garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 5 cup kale, or organic baby spinach

Cover and simmer all ingredients, and kale or spinach, for 15 minutes or until just tender. If kale is being used, steam until tender.

Top individual servings with a handful or two of spinach. Spinach will wilt in hot soup.

Quick Veggie Stuffed Pita

  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • water
  • 1 whole wheat pita pocket

Heat oil in skillet on medium high heat, and cook onion for 5 minutes.  Add peppers and mushrooms, cook until tender.  Transfer vegetables to the pita.  Heat spinach in the same skillet, add a small splash of water and stir until all the spinach is wilted.  Transfer spinach to pita.  (Optional: I spread a decent amount of vegan ranch dip on the pita before adding any veggies – this adds a bit more texture to the dish!)

Ranch Dip

  • 1/2 block tofu
  • 1/4 cup unflavored soy milk
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients.  Serve with raw veggies.