Mock tuna salad

I was lucky to meet a couple of people from Nasoya when I was at the vegan bloggers conference in May. I was given a friendly challenge of making a couple of recipes using their products. Challenge accepted!

Two jars arrived in the mail a few days after I said I’d try my hand at some cooking: Nayonaise and Nayo Whipped. They’re both healthy, vegan alternatives to mayo and are a great source of B12 and omega 3s.

Nasoya

For this first challenge, I tried a recipe from their site called Tu-Na Salad. I have to say, it’s was quick and easy to make. Like five minutes quick. That’s my kind of prep time!

True to my rebellious nature, I altered the recipe a bit. But only because I have fresh chives growing in my garden. So I used those instead of the green onion the original recipe called for.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Nayo Whipped
  • 1 (19 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained
  • Fresh dill
  • Celery, chopped
  • Green onion, chopped (chives, in my case)
  • Sea salt, to taste

Preparation:

Use a food processor or potato masher to break up the chickpeas until they are crumbled. Do NOT over process.

I mashed the chickpeas (AKA garbanzo beans) until the mixture was flaky. Just enough to break up each pea, not so much that it created a purée. I toasted some hearty bread (Dave’s Killer Bread–my fav!), spread some Nayo on it for good measure, and piled on the tu-na.

mashing chick peas

Wow! Was it ever delicious! The Nayo Whipped is tangy and lemony and added a great flavor to the topping. I’m going to use this recipe regularly from now on. I haven’t had actual tuna in a lo-ong time, but I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t fool someone in a blind taste test. It does, however, hold its own as a great tuna substitute. True test: hubby. He loved it too–and had seconds!

tu-na sandwiches

Next time I’ll stuff this blend in a pita or roll it in a wrap and add tomatoes and lettuce. Mmm.

This recipe makes enough for four sandwiches. Let me know if you try it. And come back soon for a little Nasoya giveaway I’m planning!

Mac-and-cheesey dinner in a hurry

I was short on time and ingredients when I decided to whip together a quick meal before heading out. Drinking on an empty stomach isn’t a good idea–and hubby and I were off to meet friends for a glass of wine.

Two veggie burgers, a pack of frozen veggies, and some noodles later and dinner was done. It took about ten minutes and what saved the day (or at least the meal) was the jar of Heidi-Ho Chia Cheeze Sauce in my fridge.

heidi-ho cheeze dinner

This vegan cheese made from chia seeds, is meltable, and a bit spicy. It’s a great nacho cheese style sauce and would be a great way to make, well, nachos. I stirred a couple of generous scoops into my pot of drained pasta for a mac-n-cheese style side dish.

To hide the fact that I just boiled up frozen vegetables, I quickly sautéed them with soy sauce and sesame seeds. Not-vet-vegan hubby gave the meal one thumb up–only because I made whole wheat pasta and he’s still not on board with the texture and flavor. I admit, it took me a while to warm up to that too when I first switched. Easing in with 50% whole wheat is a good way to transition.

On a side note, I got to meet Heidi (of Heidi Ho Veganics) when I was at the Vida Vegan Con Gala. Very cool!

Quick quinoa dinner

By the time I thought about dinner this evening it was 8 pm. I’d been so busy enjoying the rare Seattle Sun, walking my dog, and hanging out with hubby, that time just got away from me.

I whipped up a couple of bowls of quinoa from a package that included spices. The box recommended letting the quinoa sit covered after it was done absorbing the water I’d boiled it in. Before I set it aside, I chopped up a bunch of cherry tomatoes and added them (and a dollop of olive tapenade) to the pot.

quinoa, tomatoes and beefless tips

As the quinoa mix was sitting aside, I fried up a few “beefless tips” by Gardein and threw them in the mix. The result was a tasty, easy dinner that was filling, satisfying, and nutritious.

Hubby (a not-yet-vegan) wanted to see Forks Over Knives so we sat down with our plant-based meal and watched the documentary. It was even better than I’d remembered. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.

Burger and fries the healthy way

Sometimes I just crave simple, tried and true favorites. Like a burger and fries. I haven’t had a hamburger in 30 years, but with so many vegan patties on the market (not to mention the ones you can make from scratch), what’s to miss (besides cholesterol, fat, and cruelty)?

I made this quick meal using prepackaged ingredients. (I’ve never professed to be a chef!) But this is proof that you can have delicious, healthy premade meals in a snap.

masala burger

I baked up a batch of sweet potato fries from Trader Joe’s. I love the color they add to the plate. And the flavor is unique too. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamins B6, C, D, as well as iron and magnesium.

Then I made masala burgers, also from Trader Joe’s. These don’t look like fake meat. They’re full of veggies and have a nice spicy taste. I added lettuce, tomato and avocado, and sprinkled on vegan parmesan and a bit of black pepper.

The whole thing took 10 minutes–perfect for a quick, healthy meal at the end of a busy week.

I joined up with Veggie Nook for Healthy Vegan Fridays. Have a look at all the other delicious meal ideas!

Roasted veggies and Gardein

I’m a bit of a rogue in the kitchen. Here’s another recipe-less meal I recently made: Roasted veggies and chipotle-lime “chicken” strips by Gardein.

roasted veggies

First I diced potatoes, a rainbow assortment of carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. I tossed them into a glass dish with garlic and a bit of soy sauce for flavor and baked it until done. It took about 40 minutes to cook the veggies. The Gardein instructions called for a 10-minute bake so I added them to the oven (on their own rack) 3/4 of the way through.

dish of veggies

I based this meal around some fascinating carrots I found at the grocery store. Have you ever seen such wonderfully colorful carrots?

carrots

I’ve joined up with Healthy Vegan Fridays at The Veggie Nook. Be sure to check out all the other delicious meals that people have made.

Spinach and lentils with pita

Here’s a meal I made on the fly. I didn’t have a recipe in mind when I started but I had a package of Trader Joe’s lentils. They’re ready to serve–hot or cold–and easy to use at mealtime.

spinach and lentils

I had a package of frozen spinach so I cooked it briefly (blanched?) and sautéed it with the lentils. I added a touch of garlic and served it up with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan. I toasted some whole wheat mini pitas and added a dollop of sundried-tomato hummus on the side.

This meal took less than 15 minutes to prepare, was filling and satisfying, and after serving up two plates, I had enough lentil-spinach mix left for lunch. I’m going add diced tomatoes to the leftovers and use the mix as a filling for a tasty wrap.

pita and hummous on the side

Lentils are a legume, and are high in fiber and protein while being low in fat. they have folate and B6 and magnesium. They’re a complex carbohydrate (the good kind!) and supply lots of energy. Spinach is a good source of vitamins A and C as well as iron.

Healthy, nutritious, and cruelty-free!

I’ve linked up to my first ever Healthy Vegan Friday and I’m looking forward to discovering lots of other vegan recipes. You should check it out too!

Rotini with cherry tomatoes

I’m not a great cook. In fact, I don’t really enjoy cooking. But I do like eating, so sometimes you’ll find me in the kitchen. Here’s a simple dish I made after work recently.

rotini and tomatoes

I cooked and drained whole wheat pasta and tossed it with olive oil, cherry tomatoes, a touch of soy sauce, and garlic paste. I had store-bought paste in a container, but fresh, sautéed garlic would be better. Add salt and pepper to taste and you’re done. For more flavor, you could add zucchini slices, mushrooms, and tofu.

As with most of my dinners, I paired it with wine–a pinot gris blend in this case.

I liked how this got me out of a pasta and red sauce rut. The olive oil was a nice change–and you can chill this meal if you want a salad!

If you’re not sure about whole wheat pasta, you can buy pasta that’s 50/50. But I encourage you to work up to whole wheat. It tasted different to me at first–the texture was rougher–but I like it now. Whole foods are vital and staying away from refined sugars and flour is healthy.

I’m not on the gluten-free train. I don’t think most people need to avoid it. Fill up on fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes and add whole grains into the mix and I think you’ll be fine.

Of course, I’m not a nutritionist, so I can only relay what works for me and what I’ve read.

Do you have any quick vegan go-to meals?