Shameless Shortcut Recipes
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→
Is this you: Are you someone who vows to eat more salad? Are you always promising yourself that you’ll do better at eating some fresh raw foods with lunch or dinner? Making a simple salad isn’t a big deal most of the time, but there are times when chopping a bunch of veggies can be less than appealing — whether you’re hurrying to pack your lunch or coming home tired after a long day. Our no-chop power greens salad comes to the rescue. There’s nothing to it other than layering a few veggies (and seeds) that need no prep at all. And it’s easy on the eyes, too.
With this salad, there’s also no need to measure. Use as much as you need to make one salad or two, or more. more→
Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry is a traditional Indian dish that combines two tasty and high-protein legumes. And while it usually doesn’t need to be veganized, in our minds, it needs to be simplified, as the typical recipe has 15 to 20 ingredients — a great percentage of them spices. Lots and lots of spices.
We couldn’t have been more thrilled when an array of full-bodied Indian simmer sauces burst on the market — you can have your pick whether at a natural foods store or in the supermarket’s international aisle. From mild coconut-based blends to hot jalfrezi sauces, many are also vegan (at least an equal number contain dairy, so check labels. more→
I’m not sure who invented that Buffalo wings combo that contrasts spicy BBQ flavors with celery and creamy dressing. It’s kind of weird, but obviously there’s something about it that people love, because there are hundreds of vegan variations, let alone thousands of the non-vegan variety. In plant-based versions, cauliflower or tofu stand in for “wings.” However, even in the ones labeled “simple” or “easy” there are usually between 15 and 20 ingredients.
In ours, the easiest Buffalo tofu bites ever, we use Nasoya’s chipotle flavored baked tofu. It has a great flavor and texture for this so-called recipe. Full-fledged lazy and full flavor become perfect partners. You can even find precut celery (or celery and carrot) sticks in the produce section of your supermarket. They cater to slackers like us these days. more→
A vegan shepherd’s pie is a wonderful choice as a holiday centerpiece — especially Thanksgiving and Christmas — or as a dish to take to a potluck. To prove the point, our Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie is one of our most popular recipes. And though it isn’t at all difficult, judging by how many people have made it and served it, it’s admittedly a bit of a project. For holidays and special occasions, that’s fine — we like to pull out all the stops and put our best foot forward.
But these days, we’d like to cater to the extremely time-crunched (and okay, the very lazy) who’d like to make and share such satisfying dishes, so here’s a brilliant shortcut vegan shepherd’s pie, which cuts out the most time-consuming step — peeling, dicing, cooking, and mashing the traditional potato topping. Instead, we’ll use frozen cauliflower and just whip it up in a food processor or blender. Using lentil soup instead of plain canned lentils adds more flavor. more→
This almost-instant cauliflower rice sushi bowl features a typical trio used in veggie sushi — carrots, cucumber, and avocado. You get all the flavor of sushi with the lightened-up base of frozen riced cauliflower. Serve as a light dinner with a simple tofu dish, or pack in a container for a change-of-pace lunch. more→
Gnocchi, in case you haven’t discovered them, are an Italian specialty that are mainly made of potato flour, with a little wheat flour. In other words, a bit of starchy comfort heaven. You use them the same way you’d use a chunky pasta; they’re especially good enveloped in marinara sauce. We like gnocchi with beans and greens — all adding up to a classic Italian trio.
Some cooks like to make their own gnocchi, but no thanks, not us. The project takes a good hour or two and makes a floury mess of the kitchen. There are a number of vegan brands, one of which we depict below, and being the food hackers that we are, we’d prefer just opening the package and letting that be the beginning and end of it. more→
This dish featuring cold shirataki noodles will remind you of Asian summer rolls — without all the soaking, rolling and fuss. Combined with crisp lettuce and bottled sweet chili sauce, this is a 5-minute salad that pleases both the palate and the eye.
First of all, what are shirataki noodles? If you haven’t discovered them yet, you’ll be pleased to know that they come ready to eat (no cooking!), and they have zero calories. If you’re gluten-free, you can check that box off, too, Shirataki noodles are made with a yam-like tuber called devil’s tongue, and have a firm, pleasing texture. Sometimes tofu is added to them (hence: tofu shiratake), but you can get them soy-free, too. more→
Pizza is such an easy go-to meal, but if it’s warm weather or you want a lighter version, you’ll enjoy these little pesto or hummus flatbreads that can be grilled right on the stovetop. And as quick as homemade pizza can be these days, with prepared crust, sauce, and vegan cheese, these are even quicker, since you don’t have to wait until the oven gets hot and then the baking time, all of which can easily add up to 30 minutes. And while that’s certainly not an eternity, how does 10 or 15 minutes sound? Even better, right?
These fun little flatbreads can be varied in a number of ways. As a change of pace from tomato sauce, we used a vegan artichoke pesto on some and hummus on others. You can use classic basil pesto as well, of course, purchased or homemade if you have an abundance of basil. more→
This is the easiest Asian slaw recipe ever, since it requires a bare minimum of chopping (just the fresh herb!), and starts with pre-cut fresh vegetables. You can also shortcut your way to a flavorful dressing by using a good bottled brand of sesame-ginger, but if you want to make your own, by all means! This simple salad adds color and crunch to Asian-style meals, of course, but honestly, it goes with so many other dishes, like sandwiches, veggie burgers, wraps, soups, and more. more→
There are plenty of pulled jackfruit sandwich recipes around the web, but this miracle food is so amazing that we just had to have one of our own. This super-easy pulled jackfruit sandwich recipe relies on flavorful BBQ sauce to envelop the starchy fruit. In its unripe state it has that kind of stringy texture provides an animal-free way to enjoy a “meaty” treat. Pairing it with coleslaw gives the sandwich a cool crunch.
- Two 20-ounce cans young green jackfruit in water (see Note)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 to 1 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite brand or homemade)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons barbecue seasoning such as mesquite (see Note)
- 2 cups or so pre shredded coleslaw
- 1/4 cup vegan mayo or other creamy dressing
- 4 whole-grain buns
1 Drain and rinse the jackfruit. Cut away and discard any core portion, then chop the jackfruit roughly.
2 Heat the oil in a large skillet, then add the jackfruit and 3/4 cup barbecue sauce. Heat up over medium-high heat until the sauce bubbles, then turn down the heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Stir from time to time.
3 Uncover and mash with a potato masher or large fork to create string-like “pulled” texture. Add a little more BBQ sauce if the jackfruit has gotten dry, then stir in the BBQ seasoning to taste. Cook for 5 minutes or so longer.
4 In the meantime, combine the slaw with enough vegan mayo to coat.
5 Divide the pulled jackfruit among 4 buns (you may have excess), top with a little coleslaw and the top of the bun, then serve.
- Make sure to get jackfruit in water, not brine or syrup. If you can’t find canned young green jackfruit at a natural foods store near you, it’s available online at Amazon.com.
- Barbecue seasonings are available in the spice section of most supermarkets
Photos: Evan Atlas
- See more of our Shameless Shortcut Recipes
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→