Shameless Shortcut Recipes

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→

Super-Easy Pulled Jackfruit Sandwiches

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

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.

Pulled jackfruit

  • 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)

The rest

  • 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.

Notes:

  • 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

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich recipe

Photos: Evan Atlas

Super-Quick Grain-Stuffed Peppers

Farro-Stuffed peppers

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→

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.

more→

Baked Polenta Casserole with Zucchini & Spinach

Polenta Zucchini casserole

This easy baked polenta casserole uses prepared polenta (the kind that comes in a tube) layered with zucchini and spinach. Smothered in marinara sauce and topped with melty vegan cheese, it’s almost so embarrassingly easy to make, but such a crowd-pleaser. Use a really flavorful prepared marinara—roasted tomato, garlic, mushroom, or chunky vegetable. Adapted from Vegan Express by Nava Atlas. more→

Salsa Verde Quinoa Pilaf

Salsa Verde Quinoa Pilaf

In this simple quinoa pilaf, salsa verde (tomatillo salsa) makes a bold flavor statement. If you’ve never used it before, this green salsa variety is shelved along with the standard kinds. It has a somewhat smoky flavor that adds a distinctive character to dishes, and of course, it’s also perfect as a dip for tortilla chips. Just 5 ingredients (not counting salt and pepper) add up to a super tasty quinoa dish! more→

5-Minute Vegan Artichoke Dip

Vegan sour cream artichoke dip

If you like artichokes, you’ll love this tangy vegan sour cream artichoke dip. And being to make it in 5 minutes flat makes it even more appealing. We used Follow Your Heart vegan sour cream, but you can use any brand your natural foods store carries. (when you have more than 5 minutes to spare until snack time, there’s also a link to a recipe for homemade vegan sour cream in the ingredient list). Serve with veggie chips, tortilla chips, or raw vegetables. more→

Easy Vegan Batter-Dipped Cauliflower

Vegan batter-dipped cauliflower

Whether you enjoy this vegan batter-dipped cauliflower as a simple side dish or a veggie-based snack, you’ll find them completely addictive! And because we’re all about easy here at Vegan Food Hacks, we start with a bag of frozen cauliflower. Kids and adults — even picky ones — often approve of cauliflower. And what about the egg batter usually used to make this kind of recipe? A chickpea flour batter is the perfect swap.

Fresh cauliflower is great, but sometimes you don’t feel like dealing with the mess required to chop it down into cute little florets. No worries, frozen cauliflower may not be as good as fresh, but it does retain most of the nutrients, and is already in perfect-sized pieces for this recipe. more→

Nearly-Instant Vegan Miso Soup

Vegan Miso Soup recipe

If you’re vegan, you need to know that miso soup served in a Japanese eateries is often made with fish stock, so do ask when ordering. It’s a warming treat that’s a shame to miss, it’s nice to know that making traditional-style miso soup at home (minus the fish) is quite easy. Lately, though, I’m not fond of what kombu (a sea vegetable) does for the soup. It has a fishy flavor (after all, it comes from the ocean), a weird slippery texture, and it’s expensive. Fortunately, this vegan miso soup recipe is just as good without it.

Like its more traditional counterpart, it’s incredibly easy to make and cooks up in minutes. The green leafy aspect of the kombu is replaced with dark green lettuce leaves. more→

Vegan 7-Layer Bean Dip

Vegan 7-layer bean dip

7-layer bean dip (aka 7-layer Mexican dip) is one of those delicious concoctions that probably has little to do with Mexican cuisine, in the same way that many “Chinese food” dishes are nowhere to be found in China. But it’s a heck of a party dip, so we’ll take it. This all-vegan 7-layer bean dip is super easy to make and you need not measure precise amounts, just build the layers, make it look nice, and serve with plenty of chips.

This is a fun snack to serve for Cinco de Mayo, Super Bowl and other sports gatherings, or any time you need an accompaniment to margaritas, mojitos, and sangria. more→

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