Shameless Shortcut Recipes

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→

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→

No-Chop Power Greens Salad

No-chop power greens salad

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→

Instant Lentil and Kidney Bean Curry

Lentil and Kidney Bean curry

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→

Easiest Buffalo Tofu Bites Ever

Buffalo Tofu bites

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→

Shortcut Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Shortcut Vegan Shepherd's Pie

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→

Cauliflower Rice Sushi Bowls

Cauliflower rice sushi bowl

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→

Quick Gnocchi with Beans and Greens

Gnocchi with beans and greens

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→

Cold Shirataki Noodles with Lettuce and Chili Sauce

Cold shirataki noodle salad

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→

Pesto or Hummus Flatbreads

Pesto or hummus flatbreads

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→

Easiest Asian Slaw

Easiest Asian Slaw

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→

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