I’ve tried a TON of different vegan meat options, and I’m honestly not a huge fan of most of them. Either the texture is weird or the taste is off….but something turns me off about them. I had just about given up when I found these guys:
I pretty much spent my entire freshman year of college living off of chicken tenders, cheese fries and ice cream (I gained the freshman 15 and then some!), so I was super excited to find a tender alternative that wouldn’t make me have to buy a new wardrobe! These little guys get super crispy in the oven and have a great texture – I usually cook them up and dip them in hot sauce, with a side of greens. I got creative one night and threw them on a wrap with some veggies and cheese….BOOM! My new favorite snack wrap was born!
I have always been a glutton for Italian food…I grew up having it at least once a week at home (my dad is Italian). We always got to choose our birthday dinner, and without fail, I always picked ravioli. I looked forward to holidays because my grandma would make baked macaroni (different than baked ziti) and lasagnas that would blow your mind! I was worried that I would lose the ability to have all of my favorite things when I became plant-based, but that was the furthest thing from the truth! In fact, I didn’t make my first lasagna until after I became vegan!
I found a great lasagna recipe that I really like and have tweaked to make it mine, but I decided to try something a bit different this time around. Who doesn’t like to play with their food? Instead of making a whole pan of lasagna and having it sit in the fridge, I wanted to try making roll-ups. They are much more portable (perfect to pack for lunches), take up less space in the fridge and you can make as many or as few as you want. Really, there isn’t much difference in the ingredients, though I did choose to leave the mozzarella cheese out…but you can easily add it in if that’s your taste.
Layer and roll…it’s that easy!
You can mix up your tofu ricotta while the noodles cook, whip up a quick sauce, then layer, roll, and bake! The trick is to make sure that the rolls sit snuggly in the baking pan so that they do not fall apart.
Aren’t they cute?
I didn’t add any extra veggies, but you definitely could – I was just craving that simple lasagna taste, without all the fuss and muss. Here’s exactly what I did:
1 package of firm or extra firm organic tofu, pressed
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups of baby spinach, rinsed
½ white onion, diced
The juice from 1 lemon
2 cups of fresh basil, cut into ribbons
1 cup of nutritional yeast
Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
Oil to saute (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Boil a large pot of water, and cook lasagna noodles according to directions on the package
While lasagna noodles are cooking, prepare tofu ricotta: mix together crumbled tofu, 1 minced garlic clove, lemon juice, ½ cup of chopped basil, and nutritional yeast. I like to use a potato masher to really break up the tofu, but a fork will work as well. Once mixed, season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside in the fridge.
Prepare sauce: heat oil (for oil free, use veggie stock or water to saute) in a pan over medium heat. When it is hot enough, saute diced onion and remaining garlic. Once the onions are translucent, add crushed tomatoes and simmer, seasoning to taste.
Once sauce is ready, put a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan
When the noodles have cooked, drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process and to make them easier to work with. Lay them out on a flat surface (countertop or cutting board)
In very thin layers, add sauce, ricotta, and spinach to each noodle.
Roll noodles from one end to the other, as tightly as you can without breaking them and place them into the baking pan side by side.
Pour remaining sauce on top of rolled noodles and cover pan with foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until rolls are heated through.
Garnish with remaining basil and red pepper flakes (if desired)
These rolls came out looking and tasting fantastic – definitely a great dish to share, or to devour by yourself. Guess which one I did?
If you know me, you know I love quick and comforting meals that still have some sort of nutritional value. I have no idea what made me decide to build a pizza on a big ol’ mushroom cap, but darn it if it wasn’t super tasty! These beauties were created a few months ago, but I saw the picture tonight and I definitely want to make them again this weekend….I just happen to have all of the ingredients in my fridge! =)
1 cup to 1½ cups of your favorite shredded vegan cheese (I used Teese and shredded it myself)
1 cup of fresh basil, cut in ribbons
Red pepper flakes to taste
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees
Wash and dry your mushroom caps
With the tops of the caps facing downward, add a layer of sauce, a layer of spinach, a layer of cheese, then top with basil and red pepper flakes
Place mushrooms in a cake pan and cover with foil. Do not use a cookie sheet because the mushrooms lose liquid as they cook, and it will make a huge mess!
Heat mushrooms in the oven for 10-15 minutes. You want the cheese to be melted, but you don’t want a mushy mushroom (hehe)…the center of the mushroom should still be slightly firm.
Want to add more veggies? Toss ‘em on there! Thinking about making a ‘bella pizza tower? Stack ‘em up! There are so many things that you can do with these little guys….as long as it ends with you devouring them, it’s all good!
I had no idea that breaking out into dance to Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” in the middle of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia for a stranger’s wedding proposal could help me to accomplish a goal AND be so much fun! Seriously though….I don’t know why I haven’t done this sooner!!
Making the decision to be a part of a flash mob is the easy part…I just needed to FIND one! I literally googled “I want to join a flash mob” and found Flash Mob America. They organize flash mobs all over the country and all you need to do is pick your location and fill out a form…super simple!
Once I signed up, they sent me two videos – one of the full dance, and one that broke down the dance into steps so that I could learn it. After we had some time with the dance, FMA asked everyone to reconfirm their commitment to attend. We had one practice the morning of the flash mob, and that was it! It was awesome getting to meet the groom-to-be at the practice and seeing his excitement, along with everyone else’s…there were a TON of people participating, and most didn’t know the couple. The energy in the room was really incredible!
I don’t know how it happened, but I wound up being one of the few people to really get the flash mob started in the middle of the park….super intimidating, but I’m SO GLAD I got to. It made the experience so much better! It was a gorgeous day, and thankfully, the dance was recorded. The video is below…I’m the girl to the right of the guy in the middle, wearing jean capris and a white tank with sunglasses. Enjoy my awesome moves!
Today was my first day back teaching – the kids were great, everything went smoothly, but I am SO exhausted! It always takes a few days/weeks to really get back into the swing of things every year, and I definitely could not bring myself to make a complicated meal tonight.
Admittedly, I have been doing some stress eating and I’m feeling the effects – if you weren’t aware, Oreos are vegan! I had more of them this past week than I have in the last year of my life…NO BUENO! My goal is to move towards more whole and raw food in the next few days. Even though this meal still has some processed items, it is still chocked full of fresh veggies! And the best part? There’s enough for lunch tomorrow, too! =)
Look at those colors!
One of the great things about a meal like this is that you can use whatever is in your fridge – toppings are super customizable! Below is the recipe that I used:
6-10 tostada shells (I bought pre-packaged, but you can make your own)
2 cups of kale, stems removed and cut into small pieces
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
½ avocado, cut into small chunks
½ can of black olives, sliced
½ pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
Hot sauce to taste (I used Tobasco)
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
Heat a small amount of oil in a pan over medium low heat. If you would prefer to go oil free, you can use veggie stock or water. When oil is hot, add Mexican crumbles and heat through.
Put your tostada shells in the oven on a cookie sheet and heat for 3-5 minutes.
While the crumbles are heating, rinse and cut all of your produce.
Top your tostada shells with a layer of kale, a layer of crumbles and then your toppings. Add hot sauce to taste.
I didn’t use any salsa, sour cream or cheese this time around, but those would all be great additions. You could also layer the tostadas to make a beautiful, crunchy tower of yumminess! Don’t be afraid to get messy…whatever is left on the plate will make an awesome salad afterwards!