2020 has been one of the weirdest years of my life and probably the majority of peoples’ lives. I didn’t think that anyone would bother celebrating the holidays this year. I guess I was wrong because slowly I am starting to see Halloween candy in the grocery stores, holiday recipes pop up on my Pinterest feed, and pumpkin spice everything.
So I don’t feel that I will be coming out with a lot of holiday recipes this year but I do have a few good ones in-store. These pumpkin oatmeal bites are good for breakfast or just to have sitting out for a quick and healthy snack. They are also gluten-free and oil-free.
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My goal was to make this recipe healthy, quick, and most importantly easy to clean up. So, you only need one large bowl to mix all of the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
The most important step in this recipe is preparing your chia eggs. One chia egg is 1 tbsp of chia seeds mixed with 2 and a half tbsp of water. The chia egg will then need a couple of minutes to sit so that the chia seeds can expand. For this recipe, you will mix 2 tbsp of chia seeds with 5 tbsp of water. Once you have done this you can set it aside to sit.
Combine all of your dry ingredients; oat flour, coconut sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
I always make my oat flour by putting rolled oats through a food processor. So my oat flour is not as fine of texture as if you were to buy it from the grocery store.
Once the dry ingredients are blended, add all of the wet ingredients; pumpkin, nut milk, and the chia eggs.
Distribute the batter between 10 to 12 baking cups depending on how big you want the bites to be. These will not rise too much.
Bake for 20 minutes, let cool, and they are ready to eat! There is no need to store these in the fridge. They can be left out or stored in Tupperware.
With all that’s happening in the world right now, going to the grocery stores can be stressful. If you’re anything like me your anxiety level is at an all-time high. Or it might be that you just don’t have the time to search the aisles for vegan staples and goodies. Whatever your reason may be, Amazon offers a variety of vegan options. These are 10 of my favorite vegan pantry staples on Amazon.
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1. Lotus Foods Organic Ramen Noodles
Normally I buy this at Costco. But if you don’t have a Costco card or you don’t feel like making the trip this can be found on Amazon. I love ramen noodles and I go through these so quickly. This is why I buy the 12 pack.
I am not strictly gluten-free but it is convenient that these noodles are both gluten-free and vegan. Plus, they are really easy to cook and you wouldn’t guess that they were gluten-free. I have an easy ramen recipe on the blog where I use these noodles. They are also really good in a stir fry with veggies and a vegan meat replacer.
I like to bring these on hikes or pack them for trips. What’s great about Larabars is that they are usually less than 6 ingredients and every ingredient is recognizable (meaning you can easily buy all of the ingredients at a grocery store).
There are also a variety of flavors all made with dates, fruit, nuts, and/or chocolate. Not to mention they are delicious and a lot of the flavors even taste like dessert.
I love Bob’s Red Mill! They have a variety of products meant for vegans and celiacs (or if you just have an intolerance to gluten). A lot of the products are meant for cooking but they also have items like oatmeal cups, energy bars, and protein powders.
Before I became vegan I didn’t actually care for pizza or pasta too much but I did love mac and cheese. In my past five years as a vegan, I have tried my fair share of vegan mac and cheeses from boxed to homemade.
The first boxed mac and cheese I found that I really loved is by Daiya. But unfortunately, for me, Daiya can be heavy on my stomach. I also love Annie’s Vegan Mac and Cheese, but it doesn’t taste like traditional mac and cheese. My cousin introduced me to Modern Table and I fell in love. It is vegan, gluten-free, and has minimal ingredients. The bonus is it tastes like the mac and cheese I am used to.
If you love mac and cheese as much as I do then you might as well buy it in bulk to keep in your pantry.
It is worth it to keep vegetable broth or bouillon seasoning on hand. I recommended this particular one because they have vegetable, beef, and chicken flavoring. All vegan!
Soup seasoning can be used for so much more than soup by the way. Let me explain.
I took a six month abroad program where I lived with a large group of people. Almost every night we would cook together but we didn’t have a large variety of food. I ended up stir-frying a lot of veggies and sauces (including curries and tomato sauces). Everyone loved most of what I made. My secret was soup seasoning and sugar in everything! I admit it is not the healthiest but at the time it worked.
I think that this is the most beautiful starter spice set!
Before I became vegan I didn’t really cook and there wasn’t really a reason for me to use so many spices. When I started really cooking I experimented with spices a lot. I definitely encourage you to do the same.
Spices are expensive in general so it is sometimes better to buy them in packs if possible. If you are going to start cooking your own tofu and sauces spices are key.
I thought this was a fun one. Amazon offers package deals for soy curls. The only ingredient in soy curls is whole non-GMO soybeans. That’s it.
Okay, but what are they? I know this is what you are asking. They are vegan a meat replacer. You can season them to taste like beef or chicken. Use them in stir-fries, soups, or tacos. The options are endless with soy curls.
I don’t know if this is true for everyone but I don’t like having to buy (non-dairy) milk every single week. It is more convenient to me to buy multiple of the boxed ones that you don’t have to store in the fridge until opened.
I usually purchase almond milk or oat milk from Costco but Amazon offers it too.
My goal this past month was to make a really good raw vegan cheesecake. That hasn’t happened yet. But in the process, I did make this delicious raw frozen strawberry dessert!
So instead of calling this a cheesecake failure I decided to call it something else and make it a recipe post.
The very first thing I would do is prep. Start by soaking cashews. You can soak these overnight but I think I only soaked them for 10 to 20 minutes. I suggest soaking the cashews while making the crust.
You will also pit and soak the dates. You don’t need to soak these for very long. Maybe 10 minutes? You just want them to be soft. It’s also helpful to soak them in warm water.
Blend the dates and walnuts in a food processor. It doesn’t need to be perfectly blended. There can still be date and walnut pieces
Spread evenly on an 8 by 8-inch pan. The crust layer will be thin. If you want a thicker crust double the recipe.
Place in the fridge to cool while you make the filling. Also, no need to be wasteful and use parchment paper like I did. Dates are surprisingly easy to clean off, so I don’t know what I was thinking.
To make the filling drain the water form the cashews and add to a food processor with all other ingredients. You have the option to wait to blend in the strawberries if you want more strawberry “chunks”. I used 10 strawberries but you can also use more.
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Spread the filling over the crust and freeze. Thats really it.
This recipe is easy to make with minimal mess. It just takes a little extra waiting time. Waiting for the dates and cashews to soak and then waiting for the dessert to cool down in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Sometimes you just need a break from hot meals. I love to eat raw foods because the meal is usually fresh and light (raw meaning that the food is uncooked). One of the best foods to eat raw, in my opinion, is zucchini. So this is why I am giving you 3 ways to eat raw zoodles (plus a bonus recipe at the end).
Zucchini noodles or “zoodles” are a great gluten-free and vegan alternative to pasta. The best part is that you can eat them hot or cold. Of course, you have the option to heat up the three sauce recipes I am providing.
So obviously you need some sort of vegetable spiralizer. I personally don’t think that you need to spend so much money on a fancy spiralizer, unless you are using it every day. I use this one shown in the picture below. It’s compact, does the job, and doesn’t break the bank.
The picture below is an affiliate link. Any purchase made by you through this link may result in me earning a small commission or credit from the sale, at no extra cost to you! I only recommend products that I use and love!
Having dietary issues and food intolerances myself, I am consciously making an effort to consider most diets when curating my recipes. So all three of these sauce recipes are vegan, gluten-free, and oil-free. Okay, here are 3 ways to eat raw zoodles!
The tahini tomato sauce, as shown in the first photo, can be stored in the fridge and heated up.
If you do not like garlic, I suggest leaving out the garlic altogether. If you are okay with garlic, be careful not to use too much. I used a very small clove and that was enough.
10Cashewsoptional to replace with sunflower seeds or pine nuts
Spiralize zucchini and set aside.
Place all ingredients (except zucchini) in a food processor or blender.
Blend until creamy.
Pour sauce over zucchini noodles and serve!
Might need to add a little water depending on your food processor.
Cheesy Spinach and Mint
This one might be my favorite. It is really cheesy and you can barley taste the spinach. It is a great way to sneak some extra greens and iron in! Also, the mint is very light but definitely worth including.
This recipe can be stored in the fridge and heated up.
I wasn’t planning on posting this recipe because of this reason. It was just a creation from the leftovers I had in the fridge. But, the lasagna turned out so good that I had to make a blog post about it and share it.
Fortunately, even with the extra steps, it is all very easy to make. It just takes some time including prep, cooking, and baking. So this is great for a family dinner or a get together with friends. Even just for yourself if you have time to kill. But I promise you that the result is worth the extra time and work.
Start by making the tofu turkey meat and cheese sauce. Let the cheese sauce sit in the fridge and it’s okay to just leave the turkey meat in the pan you cooked it in until you need it.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (218 degrees Celsius). I used an 8X8 metal baking pan. I did not use any non-stick spray or butter and I didn’t have a problem with clean up.
To Start Vegan Zucchini Lasagna Recipe
Slice the zucchini as thinly as you can. I happened to have this handy tool that you see in the photo but you can just use a knife or potato peeler if you have one. Keep in mind the thicker the zucchini is the longer it will take to bake.
I had half of a very large zucchini from a neighbor’s garden for this recipe. I would say it was the equivalent of two large zucchinis you would find at the grocery store. So I think two large zucchinis will be sufficient for this recipe.
Now you can start to layer the zucchini pieces, the tofu turkey meat, and the pasta sauce. I used Roa’s Marinara Sauce but you can use your favorite pasta sauce. This is not sponsored by Roa’s but the sauce is pretty good if you want to give it a try. It’s also in a variety of grocery stores and easy to find hence why I chose to link it.
Note: Leave out the cheese sauce until the end because this cheese sauce does not bake well.
Place in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The time depends on how thick your zucchini is. When you can easily pierce the zucchini with a fork then the lasagna is done baking. I accidentally had some thicker pieces so it did take a little longer to bake.
Turn off the oven. Take out the lasagna and put the cheese sauce on top. Then put the lasagna back in for one to two minutes for the sauce to heat up.
Take it out and it’s finished. This lasagna is good hot or cold and you can freeze it and just reheat it in the microwave too.
When I was younger my mom would buy turkey meat as an alternative to red meat. I guess it’s healthier? Usually, she would buy ground turkey meat to use instead of ground beef and turkey bacon because we didn’t eat pork.
She would always make a really good baked ziti with the ground turkey that I have been thinking about “veganizing” for a while. So now this tofu turkey meat takes me one step closer.
This recipe was an accident. Do you know when you find yourself in a situation where you have tofu but no sauce? So you kind of just throw every spice in the pantry on it? Well, that’s pretty much what happened. But, what makes this recipe work are the exact spices and measurements that I put into it. Unfortunately, if you waver from the recipe, your tofu will not taste like ground turkey meat.
I recommend pressing your tofu first so it will fry in oil easier. This is when you squeeze out the majority of the liquid from the tofu. A lot of people will use a tofu press to do this. Luckily, you do not need a tofu press to press tofu.
I have a post on how to press tofu without a tofu press here:
After pressing the tofu, crumble it up so it resembles ground beef. You can use your hands or a fork to do this. Reference the photo here. I left some big chunks because when you fry the tofu those chunks will get broken down even more.
Spices and Oil
Now we can talk about spices. You will be surprised to find that this recipe does not require a big variety of spices. For this recipe, I use Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cumin, Nutritional Yeast, Salt, and Pepper. That’s it!
Line the bottom of your pan with vegetable oil. I cannot stress this enough but it has to be vegetable oil. I tried it with olive oil and it changed the flavor. However, I have not tried it with any other oils. So, if you happen to use a different oil and it works for you that’s great!
And don’t be shy, leave a comment and let me know…
What also might affect your tofu is the pan you use. Here I use a cast iron. It worked well for this recipe but it is annoying to clean. Also, I am aware that not everyone owns a cast-iron pan. So, maybe use a non-stick? The tofu just might take a little bit longer to cook. Oh, and it’s best to use a larger pan when frying!
Once the oil is hot enough (I put the burner at medium-high heat) add the tofu and spices together.
To see if the oil is hot enough you can hover your hand a couple of inches (Maybe five inches? Just be safe!) over the pan and if you can feel the heat on your hand then it is hot enough.
Just stir the tofu and spices around occasionally with a wooden spoon. Like you would with ground beef. It’s important to keep your eye on the stove.
You cook it until the tofu is brown, dry, and crispy. You can reference the first photo at the beginning of this article. Cook time took me about 5 to 10 minutes.
Now it’s ready to be enjoyed. A great meat substitute for taco and pasta recipes!
Before becoming vegan I didn’t eat a lot of different foods. I had never tried kale or tofu, let alone try to cook them. I bought the same items at the grocery store in college consisting of frozen chicken, the same veggies, ice cream, white rice, and microwave dinners. So I pretty much bought whatever was the easiest to cook and what was compatible with soy sauce. Maybe you can relate?
When I made the change to a vegan lifestyle I had no idea what to eat. It was easiest to just buy a ton of vegetables and order salads at a restaurant. I lost 10 pounds because the only thing I was eating was vegetables. I had to start getting creative and also, leave my comfort zone.
So, me buying new foods led to me having to learn how to cook. And trust me, I was not good at it. I burnt a lot of pans and made meals that did not taste good at all. Sometimes I still do. So this leads me to the mystery of how to cook (fluffy) quinoa.
The rule that I follow is the 2 to 1 ratio. What does this mean? For every part quinoa, you use 2 parts of water. So if you use a 1/2 cup of quinoa you will put in a cup of water or if you use 1 cup of quinoa you will use 2 cups of water. I don’t know if you noticed but it’s the same rule when cooking rice.
I like to put the quinoa and water in the pot and then heat it up, opposed to heating up the water and then adding the quinoa.
So in this recipe, as an example, I am using a cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water. I add the quinoa and water to the pot along with salt and 3-4 tbsp of olive oil. Oil is optional but I feel that it adds more flavor to the quinoa.
I am also using a small to a medium-sized pot. You don’t want to pot to be too big but also leave enough space in order for the quinoa to cook properly.
Place it on the stove and set the heat to high. Once the water starts to boil turn the heat down to simmer and cover the top.
Leave it for 20 minutes. I found that 20 minutes exactly works every time for me.
Note: I am also cooking 1 cup of quinoa every time. If you are cooking more or less just be sure to check on it every couple of minutes. You will know it’s done when the water is completely gone.
After 20 minutes your quinoa will be ready. It should look like all the water has been absorbed but the quinoa isn’t burnt or stuck to the sides of the pot. Turn off the heat and fluff it with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Tofu is like a Sponge. It holds a lot of water. So when we are making a recipe that requires us to fry tofu in oil, we press the tofu first.
This will get rid of a lot of the water. As a result, the cooked tofu will come out dry and crisp.
Should I buy a Tofu Press?
No, you do not need to buy a press. You can if you would like to but it’s not necessary. All you need is a towel and a heavy household item.
For example, a book or a pan. Or a pan with a book on top of it. I found that a medium size cast iron pan worked best for me, but not everyone owns a cast iron so just use what you can find around the house.
Note: The item should be light enough as to not break or crush the tofu, but heavy enough so that there is still enough pressure to get rid of a lot of the moisture.
What Kind of Tofu Should I Use?
In my opinion, it is best to use firm or extra firm tofu when you plan on frying it. Here I use extra firm tofu.
Wrap the tofu in the paper towel. (The paper towel is optional. You can just use a clean cloth towel if you are okay with it touching your tofu.)
Then, wrap that in the cloth towel.
Now, put the wrapped tofu on a surface that you do no mind getting a little wet. For example, I am using a cutting board.
Place your heavy item on top of the wrapped tofu. Reference the picture below. It is a little odd to look at, but it does the trick!
And let that sit for about 30 minutes.
Then you can carefully unwrap the tofu.
You will see that the tofu is flatter and denser and that the towel has soaked up a lot of the water.
Now it is ready for frying!
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Here are 5 different ways to spice up your hummus! I use my original hummus recipe as a base for these different flavors linked below.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Use three small red peppers or one regular sized red pepper. I just happened to have the small peppers on hand.
First you will want to set the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit (246 degrees Celsius) and then loosely wrap the peppers in aluminum foil.
Let them sit in the oven until they are soft and starting to brown. Check them frequently until they looked ready. You can reference the pepper in the photo above.
The peppers should cool down before you blend them into your hummus.
Can you guess that this one is my favorite? It’s super simple to prepare too!
Just add about half of an avocado to the original hummus recipe and a little bit more salt to taste. Then that’s it!
I would recommend putting this one on sandwiches or toast.
Kalamata Olive Hummus
For this one I removed the pits of kalamata olives and blended them in. Don’t over blend the olives, just enough so there are still chunks of the olives in the mixture.
I used about five olives because they pack a lot of flavor, but you can also try different types of olives too if you’d like. Even blend in a vegan tapenade. I am sure any type of olive will be equally delicious.
Pizza Hummus (Tomato and Basil)
I am calling this one pizza hummus, but really, it’s just sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil.
Use a couple of leaves of fresh basil and sun dried tomatoes from a jar. I was surprised when I had to use a good handful of them. Start with a third cup of sun dried tomatoes, then go from there.
Once again you can keep adding ingredients until you are happy with the flavor.
Lavender & Rosemary Hummus
This hummus flavor is definitely the weirdest one I came up with. I most likely will not eat this on a daily basis but it is a fun one to bring to parties.
A couple of mistakes I made that I don’t want you to make:
Only use like 1 tsp of lavender, because he flavor is crazy strong.
Grind the lavender before you put it in the hummus, but don’t worry about it if you don’t have a food processor.
I didn’t use fresh rosemary and I wish I had because the flavor didn’t come through enough.
Finally, just skip all of these steps and blend in some herbs de province. Then, call it a day.
I hope that you enjoyed these recipes on how to make hummus in 5 different flavors. If you liked the recipe please pin it, share it, and subscribe to get email updates on my latest recipe posting! Also, let me know if you make one of these flavors!
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So you want to learn how to make hummus from scratch ? Don’t worry, because hummus is as easy as it gets! You can eat it with bread, veggies, or spread it on a sandwich. It is also super healthy and a great source of protein.
This recipe in particular is meant for you to use as a base, so that you have the freedom to experiment and add what you would like to it. It’s also delicious on its own. Just top it with some olive oil and paprika!
I always rinse my beans! I am not sure if it’s scientifically proven but it is suppose to help reduce gas. You might notice that this is a problem for you when you start incorporating more beans and plant based foods into your diet, but don’t worry, because this usually goes away as your body gets used to these foods.
Tip: You can also save the chickpea water from the can and use it as an egg replacer in other recipes. This liquid is called aquafaba.
I then like to remove the skins of the chickpeas in order to have smoother and creamier texture.
They are really easy to remove and just slide right off. This step can be a little tedious, though. Because this takes some time, this step isn’t necessary if a bumpy texture doesn’t bother you.
After you’ve removed the skins go ahead and add all of your ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. You’ll notice that I don’t include tahini as an ingredient. This is because I personally don’t like tahini in my hummus but definitely try it out yourself. You might like it!
And that’s pretty much it. Once your ingredients are fully blended it’s done. Once again you can top it off with more olive oil and salt!
This is an affiliate link. Any purchase made by you through this link may result in me earning a small commission or credit from the sale, at no extra cost to you! I only recommend products that I use and love!