I’d Love to Go Vegan, But I Don’t Have Time To Cook!

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So what do Vegans eat for lunch, anyway?

No human who works or has a life really has time to prepare fantastically gourmet meals three times a day. Being a vegan is actually really simple, not scary at all, and doesn’t require ridiculous or foreign-sounding ingredients lists. Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of ways to play with food, and the 10 million vegan bloggers out there all do a fantastic job of demonstrating the culinary prowess and bravado that goes with making really fantastic food.

Of course there are cooks all across the world who upstage little old me in that department.

But this is what happens when an average girl wants to eat a normal lunch and doesn’t have 40 minutes to make it happen. It’s healthy, balanced, vegan, and easy.

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I mashed up some tofu in a bowl with a little dried onion soup mix and some breadcrumbs, then fried it up like a burger until it was warm and crispy. About 5 minutes.

Then I topped it with basil, black beans, tomato and avocado. It was basically building a sandwich, minus the bread.

Sliced apples and sunflower butter on the side.

Done!

And no oven required. Bon appetit.

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Roasted Apple and Carrot Salad with No-Carb Deep Dish Veggie Lasagna

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Today’s dinner was good exercise for my cutting board. Embracing the cooler weather, I was craving something hearty, warm and included the fresh local apples my mom recently brought back from the orchard. I was also not particularly picky about how much prep time went into this, because it was basically all chopping. Not that I mind, I find it therapeutic (interestingly, although I’ve been chopping my own vegetables since about first grade [I know!] I’ve only cut myself once, and that was last year). This was a two birds, one stone scenario. What a delicious way to blow off steam.

The resulting dish was a delicious warm roasted carrot and apple salad with dried cherries & cranberries, walnuts, and a horseradish & apple cider dressing.

roast salad

Basically take baby carrots, three apples, and 2 oz each dried cherries and cranberries and toss them in a bowl with salt and pepper to taste.

Then mix in 2 Tbsp. horseradish, 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, and 4 Tbsp. olive oil.

Next roast in the oven at 450 for 20 minutes.

Finally add in some walnuts (you may toast them separately if you like, I didn’t want them to burn in the oven) sprinkle with garnish of choice, and promptly consume. Or wait until a deep-dish vegetable lasagna is finished getting all hot for ya.

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A cheese-less, noodle-less vegetable lasagna is constructed by layering eggplant, orange bell peppers, tomatoes, pesto and “tofu cream” in a deep pan. After alternating a sufficient number of layers to fill the pan, top it with some vegan mozzarella, bread crumbs, italian seasoning, and a drizzle of olive oil.

lasagna

Bake at 450 for 40 mins to achieve the following:

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I livened up the visuals of mine and added another layer of flavor with some fresh basil on top (to make it more italian?).

Altogether, I’m not sure I’ve ever consumed such a wide variety of vegetables in one dinner before. The flavors were so vibrant, fresh, unique and perfect for the season.

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The only way to follow up such a dinner of course, was with some apple crisp lovingly prepared by mom last night. She even specifically looked for a vegan recipe!

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We’re starting to understand each other.

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Bon appetit.

P.S. Tofu cream is made by food-processing some firm tofu with a 1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar, some salt and pepper, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1/2 Tbsp. sugar or sweetener and 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast. This is a delicious ricotta alternative, but can also be used as an excellent dip.

Tofu Scramble

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Tofu is like the misunderstood hipster kid of the mainstream food world. It’s odd, difficult to figure out how to work with, and most people don’t like it the first time they try it. After two or three meetings however, tofu grows on you, and slowly your world is widened to include all of the magical things this mushy white blob can morph into. And that is why to the vegan world, tofu is the most popular kid in school.

Example a) Tofu Scramble. Seasoned with a variety of spices, sauces, vegetables and condiments, there are as many possibilities here as there are with eggs. This is not to say that they taste exactly the same, actually far from it, but the technique and concepts are so familiar that it’s easy to whip up a delicious meal with minimal effort or thought.

Perfect for beginners, or lazy bums like me. Bon appetit!

Ingredients

2 servings of firm tofu

.5 tsp. cumin

.5 tsp. sage

1.5 tsp. nutritional yeast (I like mine very nutty!)

Dash of red pepper flakes

1 tsp. steak sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Tofu Breakfast Scramble

Method

Cube tofu and mash in a bowl

Add spices, nutritional yeast, steak sauce and salt and pepper to taste

Stir all ingredients together

Fry in a hot oiled skillet for about 3 minutes (this recipe will turn golden brown!)

Voila! Consume with whatever you like for breakfast. Serving suggestion: In a warmed whole wheat tortilla with 1/4 of an avocado, vegan mozzarella, hot sauce, fruit on the side, and chopped chives for fun.