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Vegan Food Hacks

Vegan Chick’n Nuggets

Vegan chicken nuggets recipe

Lots of people come to VegKitchen searching for vegan chicken so we thought we’d accommodate with this easy and tasty recipe for nuggets. If there’s a growing desire to avoid eating the bird (the chicken industry is beyond cruel, and terrible for the planet), we’re all in. And tasty nuggets are as simple as can be to prepare. Kids will love these with ketchup (wouldn’t you rather give your kids breaded tofu than “pink slime”?); adults will relish them with salsa, BBQ sauce, or other hot stuff. Truth be told, they’re great plain, too.

It seems trivial to open an entire can of beans to use 2 tablespoons of the liquid, but that’s the secret to getting the breading to stick to the surface of the nuggets. My favorite for this is none other than chickpea liquid, aka aquafaba, but you can use the liquid from any other beans instead.
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Puffed Peanut Butter Cereal Snack Bars

Peanut butter puff bars1

Low-sugar peanut butter puffed cereal gives these easy snack bars a fun look and really pop when you chew them! With peanut butter in them too, they’re double peanut-y — though you can use any other kind of puffed cereal (we used Nature’s Path Panda Puffs), like puffed rice. Taking minutes to make, these are no-bake; you just have to have some patience as they set up in the fridge (or you can speed things up by placing in the freezer). Continue Reading…

BBQ-Flavored Tofu and Chickpea Bowl

BBQ tofu and chickpea bowl

One of the annoying things we’ve noticed about bowl recipes in cookbooks and around the web is how complicated they’ve become. Something that started out as a super-simple way to enjoy variety in a meal has gone kind of crazy — sometimes 3 to 4 sauces have to be made with a plethora of spices, along with a myriad of ingredients that have to be prepped just so.

It’s almost a minimalist bowl recipe these days that has “only” 15 ingredients, and we counted up a bunch that have in the neighbor hood of 30 ingredients! And the concept behind this is supposed to be simple, one-bowl meals? We don’t think so. And we’re here to prove that it doesn’t have to be that way. Continue Reading…

BBQ Tempeh Salad & Sweet Potato Fries

BBQ tempeh salad dinner

When this delectable BBQ tempeh salad is the centerpiece of a meal, the notion of salad as rabbit food is turned on its head. As a light meal, it can stand on its own. Or, if you want to add a little something yummy on the side, organic sweet potato fries (readymade, if you’re as much into meal hacking as we are. If you’re a bit more ambitious, of course you can make your own fresh sweet potato fries. Or baked sweet potatoes just as they are — it’s all good.

There’s something so nice about the contrast of BBQ flavors (provided by the tempeh cooked in a good-quality barbecue sauce) and a creamy dressing. Vegan ranch isn’t always easy to find, so you can make your own; use vegan mayo and a little lemon juice; or the alternatives suggested, French or a tahini-based dressing, both of which are easy find in natural vegan versions. If you’d like a more formal recipe for the salad, see BBQ Tempeh Salad with Vegan Ranch Dressing. Continue Reading…

5 Simple Salads, 5 Ingredients, 5 Minutes

Berry Spinach Salad

When summertime rolls around, salads can be at their simplest, since the produce has so much flavor. And seriously, who needs formal recipes? Just choose a handful of companionable ingredients, drizzle in a flavorful dressing, and enjoy. Here are 5 simple salads ideas that each use only 5 ingredients and shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes to make. For these salads, the fifth ingredient is whatever dressing you choose (based on our suggestions or what you have on hand).

All of these are on a bed of crispy seasonal greens, and you can choose something other than what’s suggested, because, once again, no rules apply! Use these simple salad ideas as a template to create your own; mix and match, use additional ingredients. No specific quantities needed; make salad for one or for several. Continue Reading…

Stovetop BBQ Tofu Dinner

Stovetop BBQ Tofu Skewers dinner

When you see recipes and photos for (vegan) BBQ, are you bummed out that you don’t have a grill? To be honest, I’ve had various grills over the years, but I’m just too lazy to use them. Even an electric grill is too much godforsaken work to clean up afterwards. No worries — BBQ tofu is an easy hack to do right on the stovetop.

So these grills have gotten stashed and forgotten, or simply died from neglect. But still — there’s that delicious barbecue flavor. What to do? Fortunately, a bottle of good barbecue sauce does the trick, applied to a welcoming surface with heat on the stovetop or in the oven.

For the slightly less lazy, consider our Quick Vegan Barbecue Sauce. OK, you’ve gotta get the individual ingredients, but once they’re all on hand, it takes minutes to make and rivals any prepared sauce. Continue Reading…

Vegan Frozen Banana Strawberry Ice Cream

Frozen Banana Strawberry ice cream

Have you discovered banana ice cream? If not, it’s high time you did! Vegan frozen banana strawberry ice cream is made entirely with fruit — no dairy, no added sugar. Enjoy like soft serve or in scoops — a guilt-free treat for kids of all ages! For this, you don’t need an ice cream machine; it’s best made in a food processor rather than a blender. Photos top and bottom by Hannah Kaminsky.

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Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream

Banana peanut butter chocolate ice cream

Banana ice cream is amazing. It’s hard to believe that this frozen treat is based almost entirely on banana. In this vegan banana ice cream recipe, peanut butter and a touch of chocolate add up to the classic combo of flavors you enjoy just as much in other desserts. Enjoy this in a bowl or in a cone. It’s a treat you won’t mind serving your kids. Just make sure they leave some for you!

To make this and other banana ice cream recipes, you don’t need an ice cream machine; this is best made in a food processor. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. Continue Reading…

Apple-Pecan Tempeh Salad or Sandwich Spread

Apple-Pecan Tempeh Salad Sandwich Spread

 If you’re a new vegan (or an aspiring one) you might be missing the heartiness of chicken salad, tuna salad, shrimp salad, and the like. Don’t give in to temptation — try this delectable tempeh sandwich spread or salad. Spiked with apples, celery, and pecans, this has all that umami and none of the animal products. This just could be your lunch hour go-to!

Recipe reprinted with permission from  What’s for Lunch? Lunchtime Favorites from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen. ©2016 Dianne Wenz. Purchase your copy of the e-book here. Continue Reading…

Frozen Chocolate Banana Ice Cream Swirl

Frozen Chocolate Banana Ice Cream

When summer delivers ice cream weather, we turn to this brilliant three-ingredient recipe: chocolate banana ice cream — naturally vegan and low-fat. Just cut up the bananas, freeze and swirl with your favorite flavors. We have some real chocoholics under our roof, but you could use anything—frozen strawberries, blueberries or a little vanilla extract. Bonus — this is nut-free, soy-free, and gluten-free! Recipe from Frugal Vegan: Affordable, Easy & Delicious Vegan Cooking by Katie Koteen & Kate Kosbee, Page Street Publishing Co. © 2017, reprinted by permission. Photos by Allie Lehman. Continue Reading…

Blueprint for a Healthy Bean Salad

Basic Bean Salad

It’s time to build a better bean salad! It’s a perfect dish for parties and picnics, as well as for providing extra protein for your everyday plant-based meals. To make a tasty and healthy bean salad, you don’t so much need a recipe but a blueprint, and that’s just what we’re going to give you here.

Traditionalist and adventurous eaters alike can benefit from the same study base, constructing unique legume dishes to suit every occasion. Select each ingredient with intention rather than just slapping together the standard formula, and you’ll never be disappointed by the result. Infuse real flavor into the mix each step of the way for a fantastic side dish your summer cookouts, barbecues, and road trips. That said, bean salads can be a staple year-round dish. Continue Reading…

Polenta with Black Beans & Green Salad Dinner

Polenta with black beans

Prepared polenta offers great ways to add variety to the dinner repertoire. One of our long-time faves is pan-grilled polenta topped with a simple combination of black beans and spinach. In addition to being the main dish of a light yet satisfying dinner, this can also be a hearty warm appetizer.

There are a number of brands that offer tube polenta. You might find it in the Italian foods section of well-stocked supermarkets; near the flour products or gluten-free section of natural foods stores, and some Italian specialty markets. This kind of polenta is made only of cornmeal; some have a few herbs like basil to add a little flavor, but even unembellished it’s surprisingly tasty. If you like using it, you’ll love 8 Ways to Use Tube Polenta. Continue Reading…

Almond Joy Chia Pudding

Chocolate almond chia pudding

Chocolate chia pudding with almonds and coconut (that tastes like a candy bar!) is a super healthy treat that can be served for either breakfast or dessert. This combination of almonds and shredded coconut had me singing, “sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t,” like in the old candy bar commercials, so I’ve decided to call it “Almond Joy.” I like to make it in the evening right before going to bed so that it’s ready in the morning for breakfast. Recipe and photos reprinted with permission from What’s for Breakfast? Morning Favorites from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen, © 2017 Dianne Wenz. Purchase your copy of this e-book and Dianne’s other e-cookbooks here.
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Peanut Noodles & Broccoli Slaw Dinner

Peanut noodles dinner

What’s not to love about peanut noodles? And now, with flavorful Thai peanut satay sauce available almost everywhere, there’s more to love about them than ever. This delicious Asian-style dinner is made in a flash thanks to great shortcuts like the sauce, as well as pre-cut broccoli slaw and veggie spring rolls that come from your natural food store’s (or supermarket aisle’s) frozen foods section.

Even with all these healthy shortcuts, this meal is more economical than what the take-out equivalent would cost. And it’s off the scales as far as yumminess, and the kind of meal we love most — easy enough for weeknights, impressive enough for company. Continue Reading…

Sunflower Seed Butter

Sunflower Seeds for Sunflower Seed Butter

This is the easiest homemade sunflower butter recipe ever, and it’ll save you a ton of money if you’ve been buying your seed butters in jars. For some reason, sunflower butter is quite pricey, while sunflower seeds themselves are economical. Recipe from Sweet, Savory and Free: Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipe Without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens by Debbie Adler © 2017, BenBella Books. Reprinted by permission. Use some of this sunflower butter in Chocolate Pudding Pie with Seed Crust, also by Debbie Adler.

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Beany Jackfruit Taquitos

Beany Jackfruit Taquitos

Taquitos (or flautas) are essentially rolled corn-tortilla tacos that are fried. While taquitos are traditionally filled with beef or chicken, these vegan jackfruit taquitos use a plant-based ingredient that gets stringy and meaty when cooked. The addition of beans to the jackfruit boosts protein content and satiety. Look for canned water-packed jackfruit in Asian markets or online. If you don’t have an air fryer, see the oven-baked option after the recipe. Recipe and photos from The Vegan Air Fryer: The Healthier Way to Enjoy Deep-Fried Flavors © 2017 by JL Fields. Published by Vegan Heritage Press, reprinted by permission.  Continue Reading…

Rainbow Vegetable “Rice”

Rainbow vegetable "rice" in processor

Everyone’s raving about cauliflower “rice”, so why not give other veggies the rice treatment? Rainbow vegetable “rice” is a great way to cut carbs and use up vegetables that are languishing in the refrigerator.

There’s really very little involved to turn your vegetables into rice — just some judicious pulsing on and off in the food processor. Cauliflower can be part of the mix, of course, but here are a few other vegetables that work well: Continue Reading…

Vegan Antipasto Platter & Pasta Dinner

Vegan antipasto platter & pasta

If it’s summer, chances are that company will be coming at some point, and that you’ll have to gather your resources and brain cells to make a last minute-meal. Whether it’s the in-laws or friends you haven’t seen in forever, you’ll want that meal to be a crowd-pleaser, designed to impressed.

The dilemma is that it is summer, after all, and you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. A vegan antipasto platter can be the answer to your warm-weather entertaining quandaries. Served with fresh bread and pesto, it can make an almost instant lunch for four to six. Add a big pot of spaghetti or linguini with good store-bought sauce, and it becomes a fantastic dinner. Continue Reading…

Not-Nutella Nutty Cocoa Breakfast Spread

Nutella Alternative Breakfast Spread

This nutty cocoa breakfast spread is so delicious that no one will suspect it’s also good for them. It’s free of processed sugar and made with high-fiber, vitamin-packed beans and bananas (the riper, the better). I spread it on toast when I need a quick breakfast on the go. The key to a creamy spread is not to rush the pureeing in the food processor. Recipe and photos from The China Study Family Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Bring Your Family to the Plant-Based Table by Del Sroufe © 2017, BenBella Books, Reprinted by permission.

A note from VegKitchen: Think of this recipe as a healthy vegan Nutella alternative; who needs all that sugar, palm oil, and skimmed milk powder when you get even better flavor with beans and fresh and dried fruit? Continue Reading…

9 Amazing Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipes

Sweet potato vegan mac n cheese1

Mac and cheese is such a classic comfort food that it’s no wonder that the vegan version has become a classic, too. There are so many great ways to make vegan mac and cheese — some of which involve no (vegan) cheese at all. So indulge all you want — these recipes will please kids of all ages.

In Sophia Zergiotis’s Roasted Sweet Potato Macaroni and “Cheese” recipe (shown at top), the cheesiness comes from a combination of roasted sweet potato, mustard, and nutritional yeast. The result is a nostalgic mac and cheese with a grown up edge and a rich, creamy, and satisfying dish. Continue Reading…

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Vegan recipes by VegKitchen