Vegan Food Hacks

20-Minute Vegan Mushroom Barley Soup

20-Minute Vegan Mushroom-Barley Soup

When cold and flu season is in full swing, or if it’s simply a bone-chilling winter day, sometimes you need a big pot of comforting soup and you need it now! One of the most soothing bowlfuls ever is mushroom barley soup, and this shortcut vegan version takes at least an hour off the process. Case in point, our Classic Mushroom Barley Soup, which is about an hour and a half or more, from prep to finish. There’s not a lot of work time, so when you have more leisure to cook soup, give it a try!

This fast version shaves off the time by using quick-cooking barley and precut fresh veggies. It’s just as good as the original, and gets more flavorful as it stands. Look for quick-cooking barley (sometimes called 10-minute barley) in the grains or dried beans section of well-stocked supermarkets and natural foods stores. Trader Joe’s has their own brand, too. Or you can search for quick-cooking barley and order online. more→

Vegan Grilled Cheese Sandwiches 5 Ways

Vegan grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup

A sign of the uncomfortable times we live in is the cultural craving for comfort food. These days, grilled cheese is hot, so to speak. There are even restaurants devoted almost solely to them. Some even offer vegan grilled cheese sandwiches, not wanting to leave anyone out (see listing at the end of this post). Here we showcase vegan grilled cheese sandwiches 5 ways, that you can make in minutes.

There’s no big revelation here, we’re not going to hand-craft our cheese or anything like that. But grilled cheese one of those things that many non-vegans still think needs to be sacrificed in a plant-based diet, like pizza. All photos by Hannah Kaminsky. more→

Tofu and Green Beans Teriyaki Dinner

Tofu and green beans teriyaki dinner

If you’d like to complete our Practically Effortless Tofu and Green Beans Teriyaki as a full vegan teriyaki dinner, here’s a fun way to do so with hardly any more work. Add store-bought veggie sushi and a few raw veggies and you’ve got a crave-worthy meal. When my partner is out of town and I’m dining solo, I daresay that this is one of my favorite vegan dinner hacks!

About that sushi — you didn’t think I expected make veggie sushi rolls from scratch, did you? Making rolls at home is a time-sucking food project, not to mention messy. It’s not called sticky rice for nothing, and we’re not messing around when we call these dinners “hacks.” more→

10 Warming & Easy Vegan Soups in 20 Minutes or Less

Udon noodle soup with crisp vegetables

Nothing satisfies like a comforting bowl of soup when you come home feeling tired and chilled, or need a remedy for a cold. But lots of chopping and long wait times for simmering don’t have to be part of the equation. Here are 10 warming and super easy vegan soups that combine fresh veggies and shortcuts that result in a good-sized portions. It’s no accident that more than half of these aree Asian-style soups, which as a matter of course require little cooking. But they’ll all have you saying “Soup’s on” in 20 minutes or less! more→

Seared Baby Bok Choy

Seared baby bok choy

Baby bok choy is at its best in the late winter and early spring, though it’s available most of the year round. A nutritional superstar, this vegetable (which can honestly be called “cute”) offers a healthy dose of Vitamins K, C, A, and is a great source of calcium.

Seared Baby Bok Choy is a super-quick way to prepare it, showing off its flavor and visual appeal. This is not so much a recipe as an idea, but what a fun idea it is. There’s so little prep involved, and no other ingredients to use, so you’re on your way to a great vegetable side dish in minutes.
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20-Minute Asian Vegetable Noodle Soup

20-minute asian vegetable noodle soup

When it’s cold and damp outside, or when you’re sick with cold or flu, there’s nothing like a piping hot bowl of Asian vegetable noodle soup. Perhaps you’re tempted to send your significant other to pick up some soup from the local Chinese eatery, as we used to do on such occasions. It was usually something called Bean Curd Vegetable Soup. The veggies were never very vivid or interesting, but still, it provided instant comfort.

This fresh homemade version is ready literally in the time it takes to heat up. Not only do the ingredients take almost no time to cook, they’re best if not overcooked. more→

21 Vegan Hot Beverages for Cold Weather

hot beverages

When the days start getting shorter, and the temperatures start to drop, it is nice to have a nice warm mug in your hands. Hot beverages are a large part of that cozy feeling in cold weather. Many of the popular coffee house drinks are not vegan, but you should not have to miss out on these treats when the chill hits the air. That is why we have collected this list of vegan hot beverages for cold weather. Whether you need to cozy up with a book and a blanket, or you are having a family get together for the holidays, this list will have the hot beverages that you need.
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Super-Quick Aloo Gobi

Quick aloo gobi

Aloo Gobi is a delectable Indian specialty that features cauliflower, potatoes, and usually peas in a mild, tomato base. I’m not sure my family has ever placed an order, whether eat-in or carry out, that didn’t include it as one of our choices. And fortunately it’s almost always already vegan, which means it doesn’t need to be modified. It’s great to be able to make super-quick aloo gobi at home, now that we’ve found the way — incredibly tasty Indian simmer sauces.

Ever since this new generation of Indian simmer sauces hit the market, we’re doing a lot more Indian-style meals at home. Our favorite is the Maya Kaimal line of sauces, but use what’s available to you. You’ll find Indian simmer sauces at natural foods stores and in the international foods aisle of well-stocked supermarkets. more→

Almost-Instant Fruit and Nut Rice Pilaf

Instant fruit and nut rice pilaf

A fantastic side dish for many kinds of meals, especially Indian specialties, what makes this fruit and nut rice pilaf so fruity and nutty is trail mix! Most trail mixes have a nice variety of dried fruits and nuts. As for the rice, you have options. Do you have already cooked rice in the fridge and need to dress it up? Leftover rice from your last Chinese food order (there’s always so much of it)? If not, you can use quick-cooking rice or the newest entry into the field of ready-cooked rice that just needs a quick spin in the microwave.

No matter what you choose, this great side is ready in minutes and adds color, texture, and tastiness to any plate. We love this with Super-Quick Aloo Gobi as a complete (and really easy) meal. more→

Baked Bananas

baked bananas

There are three great things to do with overripe bananas — one, bake them into breads or muffins; two, freeze them to make banana ice cream or blend into smoothies, and this is the third — bake them. Apply high heat to the very ripe or overripe fruit. Baked bananas become super sweet, with the consistency of pudding. Add some nondairy ice cream and berries, and you’ve got an impressive dessert that takes almost no effort to prepare. more→

Quick Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry Dinner

Lentil and Kidney Bean curry dinner

Not long ago, we presented a delicious shortcut recipe, Instant Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry, inspired by the classic combo from Indian cuisine. One of the many full-flavored Indian simmer sauces available these days makes the meal a breeze to prepare — no need for the zillions of individual spices that gives the dish an authentic character. From mild coconut-based blends to hot jalfrezi sauces, the choice is yours. If vegan is important to you, check labels, as many of the varieties of these sauces contain dairy.

Completing this high-protein dish as a meal is a great idea, and that’s just what we’re going to do here. Brown rice and a refreshing cucumber salad are just the right companions. This meal is a bit light on vegetables; okay, quite light on vegetables, so we recommend fresh fruit or simple fresh fruit dessert (Pineapple-Orange Ambrosia, for instance) to make up for that. more→

Vegan Ravioli with Pink Beans

Today, we’re going to learn to make authentic vegan ravioli from scratch, starting with growing our own artisanal wheat. Just kidding, of course! There are quite a number of yummy delicacies that I love, but that fall into the “life is too short” department when it comes to from-scratch cooking. One of them is vegan ravioli (followed closely by sushi).

Which is why when the mood strikes, we get a package of these dumpling-like cuties from the frozen foods section of our natural foods store. Then we’re well on the way to a hearty meal that only needs a salad to complete it. A can of pink beans gets us close to the finish line, then all that’s needed is a good sauce and a sprinkling of fresh basil and nooch (aka nutritional yeast) or vegan Parmesan. Let’s get started! more→

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