Easy Vegan Pesto

I tend to only make pesto in the summertime – otherwise there is no way I would be willing to spend the money on 2 cups of basil, know what I mean? This year I have 3 huge basil plants thriving in my garden. Each week I pick off a couple of cups of basil. Because I don’t want it to go bad I have to come up with something to use all of it. I’ve made vegan pesto lasagna and stuffed shells from The Accidental Vegan cookbook a few times, and they were both great, but I thought I’d try just a regular pesto. This is what I came up with, and it’s really good!

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EASY VEGAN PESTO

2 Cups Basil

2-3 Cloves of Garlic (chopped)

1/2 Cup Olive Oil (the best you can afford, it makes a big difference)

1/4 Cup Walnuts or Pine Nuts (I use Walnuts because they are cheaper, both are good though.)

3 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast

Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS

Combine everything but the oil, sea salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse until it is fairly smooth. I don’t like mine completely puréed, but it’s up to you. Stir in your oil and add your spices.

Serve over cooked pasta, use as a spread for bread, use as a condiment for sandwiches. Get creative, it’s delicious!

Enjoy!

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Mexican Quinoa Salad

I know I said a few posts back that I don’t make a lot of healthy things, and I love my comfort foods… but I may throw you off by throwing in a pretty healthy recipe every now and again – but it will definitely be a rare occasion.

I took this Mexican Quinoa Salad to an Easter get together a few weeks ago, and all of my husband’s omni family seemed to enjoy it just as much as anything else.

Here it goes…

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MEXICAN QUINOA SALAD

Serves 4

Salad

1 cup Dry Quinoa

1 Sweet Potato

1 can Black Beans (rinsed and drained)

1 Avocado

Dressing

1/4 cup Olive Oil

2-3 Tbsp. Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

1/4 tsp. Chili Powder

Pinch of Cayenne Pepper

Salt (I use Pink Himilayan)

Black Pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Wash and peel your sweet potatoes. Cut into small cubes (1/2 in. x 1/2 in. or so). Spread on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil of your choice (I like olive oil). Place in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes. Toss them around a bit half way through the cooking time.

2. If you have never cooked quinoa before, it is similar to rice. You want to put double the amount of water than you have quinoa. This recipe calls for 1 cup quinoa, so you would use 2 cups water. Got it? So in a small pot bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add your quinoa, turn your heat to low, and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes. Watch closely to make sure the water doesn’t run out. If you check at 20 minutes and there is still water in the pot, gently stir, put the lid back on and watch for another couple minutes.

3. While your quinoa and sweet potatoes are cooking, mix your ingredients for the dressing, drain and rinse your black beans, and cut your avocado into small cubes.

4. One the quinoa and sweet potatoes are finished, add your black beans, avocado, dressing, sweet potatoes, and quinoa to a big mixing bowl. Gently mix everything together.

Serve warm.

Enjoy!


$$$

Approximately $.70 per serving.

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

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I have been working on this recipe for a couple of years now. Spinach artichoke dip has always been a favorite of mine; when I was an omnivore, vegetarian, and vegan. It’s amazing!

This recipe is by no means healthy, besides the actual vegetables in it… but it’s worth the calories. You will learn that this is not a health food blog… as much as I would like to eat all those beautiful salads and such, I just love my comfort food.

Here it is.

Enjoy!

VEGAN SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP

Serves 6 (at least!)

2 C Daiya Mozzarella Shreds (1 bag)

16 oz. Tofutti Sour Cream

8 oz. Tofutti Cream Cheese

1/2 C Earth Balance Buttery Spread

10 oz. Frozen Spinach (thawed, drained, squeezed)

14 oz. Can Artichoke Hearts (drained, rinsed, chopped, leave a little chunky)

4 oz. Can Diced Jalapenos (It is a little spicy, 1-2 oz. for less spice, or not at all)

2 Cloves Garlic (minced)

1/4 tsp. White Pepper

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Melt sour cream, cream cheese, and butter in a medium sized pot on medium heat. Whisk together until combined.

2. Add your cheese. Daiya melts best at higher temperatures. Temporarily increase your heat while whisking until cheese is melted.

3. Lower heat to low-medium. Add in the rest of your ingredients. Whisk until combined.

4. Let cook on the stove, while stirring frequently, for at least 15 minutes. The longer the dip cooks/sits the better the flavor comes out.

5. Serve with chips, crackers, on sandwiches, in wraps, or however you please!

TIPS

I highly recommend you do not substitute brands ever on my blog. If I give a specific brand it is because that is what I used to make it. I make no guarantees otherwise.

The first time I made the dip I ate it right away and it didn’t have much flavor, but the next day it did. This last time I made it, I let it cook on the stove longer, and the flavors came out right away.

This dip is a little spicy! I love it that way. If you don’t like spicy, then you could do 1/2 the jalapenos, or none at all. It is still good without the jalapenos, but I still highly recommend them. It is definitely too spicy for the young kiddos with the jalapenos, unless they happen to like pretty spice stuff.


 

$$$

This dip is not cheap to make. But it makes a ton, and it’s worth it – you’ll see.

Approximately $2.92 per serving.

HINT: Tofutti will mail you coupons if you email them and ask. You can also get Daiya coupons through their FB sometimes.

(I’m all about saving money, you’ll learn more about that later…)

Easiest Cheesiest Vegan Mac & Cheese

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Okay… so it’s not always mac and cheese, it’s more like spirals, shells, penne, farfalle, bowtie, whatever you want – and cheese… but you get the idea right?

My husband actually created Vegan Machine’s original mac & cheese recipe several years ago, but we have since simplified and improved. Basically, we have the cheesy vegan sauce down to a science. We use this general recipe, or some form of the recipe, in so many different ways. We make nachos, alfredo, queso, cheesy cornflake potatoes (Utah folk call ’em Funeral Potatoes), cheese sauce for veggies, and much more.

So here it is… the best (not that healthy, but delicious) vegan mac & cheese out there! (OK, maybe that’s just my opinion, we’ll see)

VEGAN MAC & CHEESE

Serves 2 (generously)

2 cups (uncooked) pasta of your choice

1 cup Daiya Cheddar Shreds (1/2 a bag)

1/2 cup (prepared) Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Broth

1/2 cup Tofutti Sour Cream (red and blue container)

Small Squirt of Sriracha (Huy Fong brand)

Black Pepper (a few shakes or grinds)

DIRECTIONS

1. Boil water, cook pasta to your liking. I do mine for exactly 10 minutes every time. Strain and set aside.

2. In same pot on medium heat, add your prepared broth, sour cream, sriracha, and pepper. Whisk together completely.

3. Add Daiya Cheddar Shreds. Turn your heat up a bit and continuously whisk until it is all melted. This may take a few minutes.

4. Once mixed, turn your heat back down to medium. Add you strained noodles and stir until even heated.

5. Serve and enjoy!

TIPS

1. I super strongly advise that you use the exact brands I have listed in the recipe, otherwise I make zero guarantees. The broth and cheese are the most important. You could get away with using Follow Your Heart sour cream or even Tofutti’s Sour Supreme, but I don’t recommend it.

2. Don’t overcook your pasta. Why? That’s just gross.

3. It’s not great warmed up. It kind of tastes like the cheap Kraft boxed mac & cheese used to when you used to warm it up before you gave up dairy. Remember those days? Not great right?

4. Daiya needs higher heat to melt. Watch it closely. Let it bubble up, but don’t scorch or burn.

5. The sriracha shouldn’t make it spicy (unless you like it that way, then add more). I give my little girl this recipe with the sriracha with no worries about it being too hot. My husband also hates spicy stuff and doesn’t think this is spicy. But, if you don’t have sriracha, you can leave it out. But really… just get some, it’s the best.

6. If you want a tiny bit healthier, lower in calories, and cheaper version – you can just leave the sour cream out. It won’t be super creamy, but I make it this way sometimes too, it’s still pretty good.

7. The broth is your salt. If you use a different kind you may need to add in some extra.


$$$

Approximately $1.85 per serving.