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Vegan Food Hacks

Vegan Cheese Sauce

This classic Vegan Cheese Sauce recipe is extremely simple to make and can be refrigerated for up to one week. Meet your new favorite food.

Vegan Cheese Sauce
Serves: 1 cup
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cup Yukon potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • ⅓ cup carrots, diced
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cumin
Instructions
  1. Put the potatoes and carrots in a pot and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium heat.
  3. Simmer for 12 minutes. Drain.
  4. Put the potatoes and carrots in a blender. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix until it is smooth.

 

Snack-Size Cashew Fat Bombs

Snack-Size Cashew Fat Bombs

It’s always nice to have a sweet snack after a meal, and these Cashew Fat Bombs fit the bill. This recipe is not only delicious, but delicously simple.

 

 

Snack-Size Cashew Fat Bombs
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups raw cashew nuts
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1 pinch sea salt
Instructions
  1. Put all items in food processor and blend into a thin liquid consistency, as smooth as possible.
  2. Place the mixture in small muffin tins and place in the freezer for 1 hour.
  3. Serve.

 

Vegan Parmesan

Here is a recipe that will replace Parmesan cheese. Fast and very easy to make, this vegan parmesan does not contain any products of animal origin.

The taste is, of course, different from the traditional Parmesan, but once you get used to it there is no way you will put cow’s milk cheese on your pasta. This vegetable Parmesan is really delicious and you can use it on all your preparations. I added in some sesame seeds (rich in calcium) and yeast powder (naturally rich in vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, PP, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, protein and fiber, source of iron and vitamin B12).

 

Vegan Parmesan
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Servings: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of cashews
  • 4 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 pinch of pink Himalayan salt, otherwise your usual salt
  • 1 pinch of white pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender or a food processor
  2. Pulse and mix at regular intervals for a few seconds and not continuously. You must get a powder.
  3. Keep your Parmesan in a glass jar that you can close. Leave it in the fridge.
  4. To use on all dishes, instead of Parmesan!

 

How to Eat Dragon Fruit? There Are More Ways Than You Might Imagine

how to eat dragon fruit

Pitaya, better known as dragon fruit, is probably the most unique-looking edible fruit on the planet. The fruit itself has a bright pink outer skin with a kiwi-like inside. The taste is vaguely similar to kiwi, though it is more like a crossover between a kiwi and a pear. Pitaya is actually a cactus fruit, and the cactus stem gives it plenty of moisture and a very specific succulent taste.

Apart from the exotic look and taste, dragon fruit is also packed with immune-boosting nutrients like manganese, minerals, and vitamins. However, you might be wondering—how do you eat it?

Well, you shouldn’t be intimidated by the unusual look of this plant because it is surprisingly simple to eat. But before you actually eat one, you should know how to pick up the best dragon fruit.

Selecting the Best Dragon Fruit

Chances are that a well-stocked supermarket in your neighborhood will offer dragon fruit all year round. To get the best pitayas, you should aim for the period when the fruit is in season. Peak dragon fruit season begins in the summer and lasts until early autumn.

Generally, you should go for a pitaya that has a uniform bright pink color. It is OK to get a fruit with some blemishes. However, if there are a bunch of blotches on the skin, it indicates that the fruit is too ripe. You should also squeeze the fruit a little to make sure that it is neither too soft nor too firm.

It is also worth mentioning that dragon fruit is native to both Asia and Central America and that there are some small differences between these two fruits. Namely, the Asian pitaya is not as sweet as the Central American. Also, the kiwi-like flesh is red in the Central American fruit.

How to Eat Dragon Fruit Raw

Similar to most other exotic fruits, pitaya is best when eaten raw, though it can also be a great addition to smoothies, fruit salads, and even fruit kebabs. First, you should know how to properly extract the succulent flesh in order to avoid the bitter dragon fruit skin.

You need to do the following:

  1. Put your dragon fruit on a clean flat surface or a cutting board and cut it into two halves. It is quite easy to cut the fruit, but you should make sure to get a sharp knife for an even cut. Hold the fruit with your other hand so it doesn’t budge.
  2. After you cut it, you need to remove the skin from the fruit. If you’ve ever skinned an avocado, removing the pitaya skin should be plain sailing. Use a tablespoon to carefully get the flesh out and go around each dragon fruit half until you completely remove the flesh.
  3. Once you get the flesh out, you should check if there is any skin left on it. Peel or cut the leftover skin because it is not suitable for eating. Now you can cut the dragon fruit flesh any way you want and enjoy the specific taste of this exotic plant.

Some Extra Tips

If you have a melon baller, you can scoop out the pitaya flesh to create bite-sized balls. There is no reason not to eat the dragon fruit straight from the skin in a similar way you would eat an avocado. Just avoid digging in too deep because the skin might add some unpleasant bitterness.

There is also a way to filet the flesh out of the dragon fruit. Cut it into halves and then quarters and run your knife from to bottom between the skin and flesh.

Other Ways to Eat Dragon Fruit

At this point, you should have a perfect understanding of how to eat dragon fruit raw. However, there are some other ways to consume this healthy exotic treat.

Blending the dragon fruit into a mouth-watering smoothie might be the most common, but did you know that you can also grill it?

Here is how to eat dragon fruit on a kebab or as part of a smoothie.

Chili Powder Dragon Fruit Kebab

This recipe provides you with a taste few other kebabs can match. The sweet dragon fruit complements the pineapple, and both fruits are well-rounded with a chili powder seasoning on top.

Ingredients:

  • 1 dragon fruit
  • 1 pineapple
  • Some extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • A light pinch of salt

Preparation:

  1. Remove the skin from the pineapple and dragon fruit, then cut them into bite-sized cubes. Once you’ve finished cutting, put the cubes into a bowl and add the chili powder and salt. Toss the bowl a few times so you get an even seasoning all around.
  2. After you’ve seasoned the cubes, thread them onto a skewer. Each skewer should have an equal amount of pineapple and dragon fruit. Make sure to leave enough space at the bottom of the skewer so you can turn them on the grill.
  3. Put the fruit kebabs on a grill and turn until each side becomes light brown. You should brush the kebabs with the olive oil every so often so they do not stick to the grill. In about 10 minutes, your dragon fruit kebabs will be ready for serving.

Simple Dragon Fruit Smoothie

Dragon fruit mixes really well with most fruits and other vegan ingredients. This recipe gives you an idea of how to prepare a healthy and tasty smoothie quickly and easily.

Ingredients:

  • 1 dragon fruit
  • 1 banana
  • A cup of blueberries
  • A cup of soy milk
  • Sweeteners to taste

Preparation

  1. Cut the dragon fruit and the banana into chunks, put them in a blender together with the blueberries, and add a spoonful of your favorite sweetener.
  2. Pour a cup of soy milk and blend the fruits until you get the desired smoothness. You can add some extra soy milk to thin the smoothie.
  3. Once you are happy with the thickness, pour the dragon fruit into glasses and enjoy.

Endnote

These tips on how to eat dragon fruit are simple and very easy to follow. This special fruit works really well with a bunch of other fruits, nuts, and veggie ingredients, so you shouldn’t hesitate to experiment. And if you want the ultimate exotic vegan taste, you should give the chili powder dragon fruit kebabs a try.

How to Make Cashew Milk in Just a Few Easy Steps

how to make cashew milk

Plant-based alternatives for cow’s milk have been around for quite some time. However, their reputation has really grown in recent years, and they’ve become a staple on many store shelves. Of course, this coincides with the growing popularity of veganism, but non-vegans use milk substitutes as well due to lactose intolerance, cholesterol concerns, or simply taste preference.

Because of this, there is a rather wide range of options to choose from. Soy milk is likely the most popular, but rice, almond, and coconut milk also rate highly. However, a new contender has entered the race—cashew milk. It has quite a few things going for it and is definitely worth a try. What is more, it is very simple to make at home, so you can easily see its benefits for yourself.

To help you do that, this article will tell you everything you need to know about how to make cashew milk and why it might just be the best choice for you.

Why Choose Cashew Milk?

Cashews contain minerals such as magnesium and copper, along with plenty of vitamins. These benefits extend to cashew milk, which is also cholesterol-free. However, despite the nutritional goodness, the main draw is the taste.

As you may be aware, the taste of popular milk substitutes is not to everyone’s liking. For example, many find that soy milk has a “bean-like” flavor that not all can enjoy.

In general, milk substitutes tend to have an aftertaste that can be problematic. Additionally, they can also be very watery and thin. In essence they are really nothing like the liquid they are replacing. But that is not the case with cashew milk!

Instead, cashew milk may very well be the creamiest plant-based milk you can get. It is delicious, rich, and thick.

Now, while it is possible to buy cashew milk in some stores, it is not the easiest product to find. Thankfully, you don’t need to scour every supermarket in your vicinity, because you can just make it yourself. It requires a bit of preparation beforehand, but the actual work time takes only minutes.

In addition to the convenience, making your own cashew milk also gives you complete control over the end product. You can tweak the thickness to your liking, choose whether you want to add any sweetener, etc.

All you need to do is simply stick to the following steps and you will know how to make cashew milk that is just right for you.

How to Make Cashew Milk at Home: What You Need

Core Ingredients:

  • Raw cashews, 1 cup
  • Filtered water, 4 cups for blending plus what you need to soak the cashews

You also need a blender or a food processor.

Optional Ingredients:

  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Your sweetener of choice (maple syrup, vanilla extract, agave syrup, etc.)

You may also want to use a mesh strainer.

The quantities are here mainly for reference and you can make a bigger batch if you want to. However, this is an amount that most blenders will be able to handle, and it is best to only process this much milk at a time. If it’s your first time trying cashew milk, this is more than enough to see if cashew milk is for you.

How to Make Cashew Milk at Home: Step-by-Step

When it comes to the question of how to make cashew milk at home, the answer is: very easily. As you can see, the list of ingredients is quite short. If you want the purest taste, you just need cashew nuts, water, and a blender.

Consequently, the process itself is also rather simple. Even if you include the optional steps, the work you have to do is pretty much effortless.

Step 1: Soaking

The first thing you need to do is place the cashew nuts in a bowl of some sort and completely cover them with water (filtered works best). You’re doing this for two reasons.

First, it’s so the cashews will be easier to blend. Second, it helps remove the phytic acid from the cashews. Phytic acid makes it more difficult for your body to absorb minerals, and you may have heard people call it an anti-nutrient. By soaking the cashew nuts beforehand, you are ensuring that you get the healthiest milk possible.

The cashews need to stay underwater for at least four hours. However, it is best if you just put them in the fridge and leave overnight. Either way, drain them once they are done soaking and rinse thoroughly.

Step 2: Blending

Now, while the cashews are still wet, add them to your blender along with four cups of filtered water. Begin blending on a low setting, then switch to high after a bit. You are done when you have a completely smooth liquid with no traces of nuts. If you have a high-powered blender, this only takes a minute. If not, it’ll be a little longer, but it is still a quick job.

Here is one note about the water-to-cashews ratio: This proportion will result in a liquid that is similar to whole milk in terms of texture. You can adjust the creaminess by adding more or less water. Just make sure you don’t go too far either way. You can also add the water gradually until you reach a consistency you’re happy with. But for your first time, it’s best to stick to the 4-to-1 scale.

Step 3: Add the Sweetener and/or Salt (Optional)

Just before you finish blending, you have the opportunity to enhance the flavor, if you wish. You can add a little bit of salt or go the other way and make the milk sweeter. A huge benefit of making it yourself is that you can simply adjust the taste to your preferences.

Step 4: Straining (Optional)

A great thing about cashew milk is that you absolutely do not need to strain it. If you have a weaker blender, it is possible for some chunks to remain, though. You may also simply want the milk to be as smooth as possible. Either way, pour the milk through a strainer and stir the solid part if needed. You can even make two batches, strain one, and see which you prefer.

That’s all there is to it! Keep the cashew milk in the fridge until you’re ready to use it, and it should be good for at least three or four days. Just remember to shake it, because the ingredients can separate a bit.

As you can see, the entire process is very straightforward. The end product tastes great, has a wonderful texture, and can be used in a variety of situations. Now that you know how to make cashew milk on your own, there is no reason not to give it a try as soon as possible.

Hash Brown Waffles

Hashbrown Waffles by Hannah Kaminsky

Little more than piles of shredded potatoes, what separates superlative hash browns from the merely adequate hash browns all comes down to texture. Shatteringly crisp on the outside yet tender, even borderline creamy on the inside, it’s a fine balance that’s difficult to strike.

Using a waffle iron instead of a standard frying pan maximizes the surface contact for a far more satisfying crunchy crust, while the enclosure allows the spuds to essentially steam from within, ensuring perfectly tender bites through and through. Recipe and photos for Hash Brown Waffles  are reprinted with permission from Real Food, Really Fast by Hannah Kaminsky © 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing. Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

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.” Continue Reading…

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! Continue Reading…

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 versatile vegetable and nutritional superstar, bok choy (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.
Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

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.
Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

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! Continue Reading…

Vegan Butterscotch Blondies

Vegan Butterscotch Blondies

Butterscotch blondies, a childhood favorite, turned out to be one of the most difficult recipes for me to master. Really, it should have been a breeze to figure out this seemingly foolproof idea, and yet my first trial pan of raw batter literally exploded all over the oven. I wish I were exaggerating, but in all honesty, drippy streaks of sugar and margarine plastered the glass window from which I watched in horror.

Thankfully, though it took a while to perfect my approach, the following 5 or 6 attempts only resulted in a trash can full of unsatisfactory baked goods rather than more kitchen disasters. Now, I am happy to share my easy method for creating this sweet treat that I remember fondly from my pre-vegan days. It doesn’t require you to blow anything up, either. Recipe and photos by Hannah Kaminsky. Continue Reading…

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Vegan recipes by VegKitchen