Shameless Shortcut Recipes

20-Minute Salsa Black Bean Soup

Salsa black bean soup

There are those times — and it doesn’t have to be in the dead of winter — when you crave a really hefty, hearty, satisfying soup. A rainy day, a sudden head cold, and you want some soup NOW. This delicious salsa black bean soup is yours in not more than 20 minutes. Seriously. And it’s made with common ingredients you can find anywhere.

The only thing I urge you to splurge for — and it’s not much of a splurge — is organic canned black beans. That’s because the liquid they come in is a lot more like broth than like slime-water, making a lovely thick base for the soup. And the fact that many brands of organic beans come in BPA-free cans is a bonus as well. A jar of good salsa gives the soup a huge flavor boost. Thanks to VegKitchen contributor Hannah Brown for this tasty idea. more→

Chinese-Style Cauliflower Fried Rice

Chinese cauliflower fried rice

I’m all for rice, especially brown rice, but lately, I’ve fallen for cauliflower rice. Or, to be more precise, cauliflower “rice.” If you haven’t discovered it yet, it’s nothing more than cauliflower chopped down into rice-like pieces. Much as I like brown rice, it can feel heavy; cauliflower rice becomes a lighter substitute. Chinese-style cauliflower fried rice shows how well it works; and it makes the dish even quicker to prepare — no need to take the 30 to 40 minutes to cook brown rice.

Cauliflower rice makes any classic rice dish lighter, and is a fun and tasty way to get an additional serving of vegetable into your daily fare. For slothful food hackers like myself, the availability of frozen cauliflower rice is a huge bonus! If you like this as much as I do, explore our other cauliflower “rice” and “couscous” recipes. more→

Peanut Satay Zucchini Noodle Bowl

Peanut satay zucchini noodle bowl

Who doesn’t love zucchini noodles? They make a perfect base for ever-popular vegan bowls, too. We love them not because there’s anything wrong with regular pasta noodles. But in the same way as cauliflower “rice” has gotten to be such a big thing, it’s just another very cool way to eat more veggies. But what if you don’t have a machine — how do you make zucchini noodles without a spiralizer? You buy them already spiralized, that’s how. And then this peanut satay noodle bowl will be ready in a flash. more→

World’s Easiest Peanut Satay Noodles

Easiest peanut satay noodles

I’ve made peanut noodles dozens of times in my time as a mom and a cook, and I can attest that a homemade peanut sauce isn’t the hardest thing to make. Everyone likes it, even the pickiest of eaters (aka kids). But I’ve gotten to the point where using a bottle of Thai peanut satay sauce makes more sense (and is cheaper) than getting all the authentic ingredients (tamarind sauce, lemongrass, red chili …) and making a mess with the food processor. And so, we give you — the world’s easiest peanut satay noodles!

For this recipe, I used my supermarket’s organic brand — so tasty, and surprisingly low in calories for a sauce whose main ingredient is organic peanuts! Per 1/4 cup (the label serving size of 1 tablespoon isn’t realistic) it’s only 100 calories and 4 grams of fat. more→

Instant Vegan Taco Filling

Instant vegan taco filling

This instant vegan taco filling (delicious for sloppy joes, too), has just two ingredients; three if you count the little bit olive oil used for heating. And it’s so tasty that it may have you standing at the stove sneaking tastes out of the skillet before it makes its way into tacos.

This clever taco hack uses good-quality vegan burgers, which are already packed with flavor and good ingredients (especially if you steer clear of those made mainly texurized soy protein, a kind of plant-based junk food). We used Amy’s California Burger for this batch (main ingredients are vegetables), but we’ve also tried it with various Dr. Praeger varieties. Here’s a great rundown on some of the best vegan store-bought veggie burgers. more→

Brilliant 4-Ingredient Gazpacho

4-ingredient gazpacho

Once the weather starts warming up, I start to crave gazpacho, the classic Spanish cold soup that’s tomato-y, spicy, and totally uncooked. Though it’s not that complicated to make, there’s an awful lot of very fine chopping, something I don’t always feel like doing.

The brilliant secret to this 4-ingredient gazpacho is to use fresh salsa! Not the typical kind that comes in jars, but variety that’s in the refrigerated section of supermarket produce departments. The tiny bits of tomatoes, garlic, chile peppers, and herbs are uncannily close to the ingredients in gazpacho. more→

How to Make Vegan Parmesan Cheese — Easiest Ever!

Vegan meatballs on pasta with vegan parmesan cheese

Most recipes for homemade vegan Parmesan-style “Cheese” are downright simple — basically a combination of nutritional yeast plus cashews or almonds, ground down in a food processor. This formula for how to make vegan Parmesan cheese is the easiest ever — made in minutes, and no food processor needed. Just two key ingredients combine in one delicious and nutritious topping for pasta, grains, salads, stews, and more.

Huge bonus for vegans — a tablespoon or two of this vegan Parmesan provide you with a good dose of Vitamin B12. Nutritional yeast is one of very few plant-based sources of this valuable vitamin.  more→

Laughably Easy Vegan Meatballs

Easy vegan meatballs

You might laugh out loud when you see how little effort it takes to make these easy vegan meatballs. You might also ask, if we’re already hacking vegan food, why not just buy ready-made vegan meatballs? Good question. Many, if not most brands have as their first ingredient textured soy protein (TSP or alternatively TVP), which isn’t the healthiest of vegan ingredients. And while it wouldn’t hurt to have TSP on occasion for a meaty meatless experience, some of us would just rather not. more→

“Beefy” Vegan Nachos Grandes

Easy vegan nachos grandes

Vegan nachos grandes can be a fantastic party snack, appetizer, or emergency dinner. They might also convince your skeptical friends to take a walk on the veg side. You can use burger crumbles — or crumbled veggie burgers to make these “beefy” and very easy nachos.

Nachos are usually made with beans; nothing wrong with that — this “meaty” version is just a nice change of pace. If your crowd likes the really beefy meat subs, try something like Beyond Beef’s burger crumbles. But, as noted below, you can use beans, and these vegan nachos grandes will be just as tasty.  more→

Avocado Black Bean Wraps

Avocado black bean wraps

Here at Vegan Food Hacks, we’re very fond of wraps. There’s something about everyday healthy ingredients enclosed in a soft wrapper that makes them yummier and more appealing.Case in point, these avocado black bean wraps.  And for those who find salad a big yawner, here’s a news flash — many wraps are really salads in disguise, but we wont tell anyone.Just a few ingredients to a tasty and healthy lunch or light dinner. more→

Portobello Mushroom Wraps with Creamy Coleslaw

Portobello and coleslaw wraps

Portobello mushroom wraps with creamy coleslaw are so packed with flavor that adding anything else would be gilding the lily. That being said, if you like a bit of spice, you can add a strip or sriracha or spicy mustard to the mix. Even with the quick sauté of the mushrooms — which lend a “meatiness” to these wraps, these should take no more than 10 minutes per wrap to make. more→

Baked Tofu & Peanut Satay Wraps

Baked Tofu & Peanut Satay wraps

Sometimes, two shortcuts are better than one, and that’s definitely true for these tasty baked tofu and peanut satay wraps. Using precut coleslaw and prepared peanut satay sauce means that these can be ready to eat in 10 minutes or less. You don’t need a formal recipe; just follow the simple steps and see how the ingredients are arranged in the photo of the open wrap, below. more→


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