Vegan Food Hacks

6 Ways to Use Pre-grated Carrots

Asian flavored quinoa wraps

Carrots are a fantastic vegetable to incorporate into your daily diet — filled with Vitamins A and C, they’re also a great source of fiber. Most kids and picky eaters don’t object to carrots even if veggies aren’t their thing. Whole carrots, baby carrots, grated carrots — they’re all good. Grated carrots can go into so many kinds of dishes or star in other, but if you’re not inclined to peel and grate whole carrots, take advantage of pre-grated carrots from the supermarket.

In our Vegan Food Hacks kitchen, we love them, and even when other kinds of carrots are in the fridge, as they usually are, there’s often a bag of them on hand to toss into all manner of dishes or as a foundation for simple salads. Here’s a sampling ways to use pre-grated carrots. more→

Super-Quick Grain-Stuffed Peppers

Farro-Stuffed peppers3

Stuffed peppers seem like such a fancy thing to make, something you’d serve at a special occasion or a holiday meal. And yes, they can be all that. But quick grain-stuffed peppers can also be made for everyday meals with little fuss. The secret is using tasty, all-natural pilaf mixes, which have so much flavor that there’s no need to measure and mix a multitude of seasonings; no need to do anything other than follow package directions.

Once you stuff these pilafs into prepared peppers, you need not even cook or bake them any further. For this dinner hack, we used a delicious porcini-flavored quick-cooking farro pilaf mix, but you can also use quick rice or couscous pilafs (not all are vegan so check labels). more→

Easiest Peanut Satay Noodles Dinner

Easy Peanut satay noodles dinner

World’s Easiest Peanut Satay Noodles is one of our favorite Shameless Shortcut Recipes, so we’ve worked it up into a full dinner that’s as easy as it is festive.

Central to this dinner hack is using good bottled Thai peanut satay sauce which ideally will contain all the exotic ingredients that would be a pain to find and use individually — tamarind sauce, lemongrass, red chili, and more. Some peanut satay sauce brands include A Taste of Thai, and Thai Kitchen; look for them in your supermarket’s Asian foods section.

To complete this easy meal, add readymade vegetable dumplings (or alternatively, spring rolls) and pre-grated carrots dressed in sesame-ginger dressing. more→

Quick and Easy Vegetable Curry

Quick and easy Vegetables masala dinner

This quick and easy vegetable curry is flexible; use the vegetables recommended, or see the variations below the recipe. Complete this easy meal with lentil chips or papadum, and a cool cucumber salad with coconut yogurt and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.

Gone are the days when the laziest among us make a curry dish by dumping in some curry powder. Now, for homemade curries that have truly authentic flavors, a number of Indian simmer sauces from jars are at our disposal.

Please note that a number of varieties are vegetarian (containing dairy) rather than vegan (which are often based on coconut milk. In our Vegan Food Hacks kitchen, we love Maya Kaimal Indian Simmer Sauces (our review here, where you can see which varieties are dairy-free). There are other good brands that you can explore in the international foods aisle  Because much as we love authentic Indian flavors, we’re way too lazy to roast and grind and measure and mix the proper way.

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Vegan Chick’n Nuggets

Vegan chicken nuggets recipe

Lots of people come to VegKitchen searching for vegan chicken so we thought we’d accommodate with this easy and tasty recipe for nuggets. If there’s a growing desire to avoid eating the bird (the chicken industry is beyond cruel, and terrible for the planet), we’re all in. And tasty nuggets are as simple as can be to prepare. Kids will love these with ketchup (wouldn’t you rather give your kids breaded tofu than “pink slime”?); adults will relish them with salsa, BBQ sauce, or other hot stuff. Truth be told, they’re great plain, too.

It seems trivial to open an entire can of beans to use 2 tablespoons of the liquid, but that’s the secret to getting the breading to stick to the surface of the nuggets. My favorite for this is none other than chickpea liquid, aka aquafaba, but you can use the liquid from any other beans instead.
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Puffed Peanut Butter Cereal Snack Bars

Peanut butter puff bars1

Low-sugar peanut butter puffed cereal gives these easy snack bars a fun look and really pop when you chew them! With peanut butter in them too, they’re double peanut-y — though you can use any other kind of puffed cereal (we used Nature’s Path Panda Puffs), like puffed rice. Taking minutes to make, these are no-bake; you just have to have some patience as they set up in the fridge (or you can speed things up by placing in the freezer). more→

BBQ-Flavored Tofu and Chickpea Bowl

BBQ tofu and chickpea bowl

One of the annoying things we’ve noticed about bowl recipes in cookbooks and around the web is how complicated they’ve become. Something that started out as a super-simple way to enjoy variety in a meal has gone kind of crazy — sometimes 3 to 4 sauces have to be made with a plethora of spices, along with a myriad of ingredients that have to be prepped just so.

It’s almost a minimalist bowl recipe these days that has “only” 15 ingredients, and we counted up a bunch that have in the neighbor hood of 30 ingredients! And the concept behind this is supposed to be simple, one-bowl meals? We don’t think so. And we’re here to prove that it doesn’t have to be that way. more→

BBQ Tempeh Salad & Sweet Potato Fries

BBQ tempeh salad dinner

When this delectable BBQ tempeh salad is the centerpiece of a meal, the notion of salad as rabbit food is turned on its head. As a light meal, it can stand on its own. Or, if you want to add a little something yummy on the side, organic sweet potato fries (readymade, if you’re as much into meal hacking as we are. If you’re a bit more ambitious, of course you can make your own fresh sweet potato fries. Or baked sweet potatoes just as they are — it’s all good.

There’s something so nice about the contrast of BBQ flavors (provided by the tempeh cooked in a good-quality barbecue sauce) and a creamy dressing. Vegan ranch isn’t always easy to find, so you can make your own; use vegan mayo and a little lemon juice; or the alternatives suggested, French or a tahini-based dressing, both of which are easy find in natural vegan versions. If you’d like a more formal recipe for the salad, see BBQ Tempeh Salad with Vegan Ranch Dressing. more→

5 Simple Salads, 5 Ingredients, 5 Minutes

Berry Spinach Salad

When summertime rolls around, salads can be at their simplest, since the produce has so much flavor. And seriously, who needs formal recipes? Just choose a handful of companionable ingredients, drizzle in a flavorful dressing, and enjoy. Here are 5 simple salads ideas that each use only 5 ingredients and shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes to make. For these salads, the fifth ingredient is whatever dressing you choose (based on our suggestions or what you have on hand).

All of these are on a bed of crispy seasonal greens, and you can choose something other than what’s suggested, because, once again, no rules apply! Use these simple salad ideas as a template to create your own; mix and match, use additional ingredients. No specific quantities needed; make salad for one or for several. more→

Stovetop BBQ Tofu Dinner

Stovetop BBQ Tofu Skewers dinner

When you see recipes and photos for (vegan) BBQ, are you bummed out that you don’t have a grill? To be honest, I’ve had various grills over the years, but I’m just too lazy to use them. Even an electric grill is too much godforsaken work to clean up afterwards. No worries — BBQ tofu is an easy hack to do right on the stovetop.

So these grills have gotten stashed and forgotten, or simply died from neglect. But still — there’s that delicious barbecue flavor. What to do? Fortunately, a bottle of good barbecue sauce does the trick, applied to a welcoming surface with heat on the stovetop or in the oven.

For the slightly less lazy, consider our Quick Vegan Barbecue Sauce. OK, you’ve gotta get the individual ingredients, but once they’re all on hand, it takes minutes to make and rivals any prepared sauce. more→

Vegan Frozen Banana Strawberry Ice Cream

Frozen Banana Strawberry ice cream

Have you discovered banana ice cream? If not, it’s high time you did! Vegan frozen banana strawberry ice cream is made entirely with fruit — no dairy, no added sugar. Enjoy like soft serve or in scoops — a guilt-free treat for kids of all ages! For this, you don’t need an ice cream machine; it’s best made in a food processor rather than a blender. Photos top and bottom by Hannah Kaminsky.

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Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream

Banana peanut butter chocolate ice cream

Banana ice cream is amazing. It’s hard to believe that this frozen treat is based almost entirely on banana. In this vegan banana ice cream recipe, peanut butter and a touch of chocolate add up to the classic combo of flavors you enjoy just as much in other desserts. Enjoy this in a bowl or in a cone. It’s a treat you won’t mind serving your kids. Just make sure they leave some for you!

To make this and other banana ice cream recipes, you don’t need an ice cream machine; this is best made in a food processor. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. more→

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