Rainbow Beet Salad with Sesame Dressing

First of all, when your ingredients look like this, you know you’re onto something amazing…

Alt=”Rainbow Beet Salad with Sesame Dressing”

This salad is so beautiful.  The fresh beet flavor really shines and is enhanced with the light sesame dressing.  A truly divine plant-based dish!

The prep work is hard and can get messy…those red beets can make your kitchen (and your hands) look like a murder scene!  I am prepared now, though, and line my workstation with paper towels and use gloves while grating.  Your hard work will pay off, though, when you finally get to sit down and enjoy a yummy bowl of goodness

Ingredients:

Salad

  • 3 medium red beets, washed, trimmed, peeled, and shredded (yields approximately 2 cups)
  • 3 medium golden beets, washed, trimmed, peeled, and shredded (yields approximately 2 cups)
  • 4 medium carrots, washed, trimmed, peeled, and shredded (yields approximately 1 cup)
  • 2 cups kale, washed and chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, roasted, white and/or black

Dressing

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 1 small shallot, grated or finely minced

Directions:

1. Make the sauce first to allow time for the flavors to meld. Grate the garlic and shallot over a small bowl.  I prefer to grate, which allows them to dissolve into the sauce, but it you don’t have a grater or microplane, a fine mince will do.  Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, sesame oil, and maple syrup. Stir well.

2. Wash all veggies to remove any dirt. Trim, peel, and shred the beets and carrots. Place the shredded veggies in a cheesecloth or paper towel and squeeze to drain excess moisture. Trim and chop the kale. Slice the green onions. Place all veggies into a large bowl and toss to mix well.

3. Pour the sauce over the salad and toss to coat the veggies. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Alt=”Rainbow Beet Salad with Sesame Dressing”

Did you make this recipe?  Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Refreshing Pita Pizza

This is pretty much one of the most perfect meals…it has protein, fruits, veggies, and carbs, not to mention it is delicious.  It will fill you up, but is light and won’t weigh you down.  Not too much more to say about this one…it’s one of my favs.

Alt=”Pita Pizza”

Ingredients:

  • 1 pita
  • 3 tablespoons hummus
  • 6 kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • 2-3 strawberries, sliced
  • 1 stalk of heart of palm, sliced
  • green onions, to garnish
  • balsamic glaze, drizzle to garnish

Directions:

Spread hummus evenly over pita bread. Top with olives, strawberries, and hearts of palm. Sprinkle with green onions and drizzle with balsamic glaze to garnish.

If you can’t find a vegan balsamic glaze in your grocery store (many of the ones I have seen have milk…why??) you can easily make your own.  Mix 2 cups of balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until glaze is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Glaze should coat the back of a spoon.  Easy enough!

Make this your own.  Add more of, or less of, whatever you like.  I am a little piggy and sometimes double the amount of toppings 😛  Don’t like hearts of palm (although you really need to try them if you haven’t!)?  Try artichoke hearts instead.  Cilantro would be a good replacement for the green onion.  Add some sun dried tomatoes if you’re so inclined. Have fun with it.  Eat it by yourself or make a bunch and bring them as an appetizer to a party.  No matter what…just try it!

Alt=”Pita Pizza”

 

Did you make this recipe?  Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Easy Four Ingredient DIY Sugar Cookie Facial and Body Scrub

I’ve been making my own skin care products for well over a year now.   Like so many others, for years I would blindly buy products promising to give dramatic results and didn’t give any thought about what was in it or how it was tested as long as my skin was radiant and as smooth as baby’s bottom.  After I became vegan, I began doing some research on beauty products for the sole purpose of separating the vegan and cruelty free companies from the others.  This was a great start, but then led me to further research the ingredients. (This post isn’t about animal cruelty, although I do implore you to do a google search on animal testing in beauty products)

Vegan product or not, there are some disgusting things in beauty products, many you probably don’t know are there.  Just to name a few:

  • Formaldehyde – a tissue fixative and embalming agent.  Low levels of formaldehyde have been found to cause irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin.  The National Toxicology Program’s June report classified formaldehyde as a carcinogen under conditions with high or prolonged exposure and in 2011, the US National Toxicology Program described formaldehyde as known to be a human carcinogen.
  • Triethanolamine – used primarily as an emulsifier.  It is a reactionary byproduct of two toxic substances: ethylene oxide and ammonia and proved hazardous short term and long term effects ranging from skin and eye irritation, to damaging the respiratory and immune systems and inciting cancer
  • Hydroquinone – used as a skin lightener.  Studies have shown that hydroquinone has some carcinogenic effects when applied to skin. It is considered cytotoxic (toxic to cells) and mutagenic.

Other than vowing to never buy products that have been tested on animals again, I also decided that I wanted to stay away from unnecessary chemicals and preservatives.  After all, your skin is your largest organ and it really does matter what you expose it to.

There are so many ways to make your own face washes, toners, scrubs, lotions, etc.  My recipes vary with the seasons and my mood.  Of everything I make, this scrub is one of my favorites.  I use it on my face a few times a week and on my body about once a week.  It is so easy to make, requiring only four ingredients, and leaves your skin smooth and hydrated, not to mention smelling yummy.  There is something calming knowing that I am exposing my skin to pure, natural ingredients…not to mention saving money making it myself rather than buying something from the store.

Alt=”Sugar Cookie Body Scrub”

Alt=”Sugar Cookie Body Scrub”

Sugar Cookie Facial and Body Scrub

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup cold pressed unrefined coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix until fully combined using either a fork or your hands.  Store in a glass jar at room temperature.

2. To use, wet skin with warm water.  Scrub and massage area well and rinse with warm water.

Alt=”Sugar Cookie Body Scrub”

Did you try this?  Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Vegan Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

Have you ever gone out to eat, ordered something and thought…I bet I can make that better?  That happened to me today and of course I felt compelled to recreate and perfect it immediately just to see if I could.

My family received a gift certificate for Christmas to a local veg friendly restaurant that I have been really looking forward to trying.  I subjected myself to an early morning, horrifying, torturous, and completely embarrassing, hour and a half hot yoga class at my favorite studio which is just across the street from the restaurant and arranged for the hubby, kids, and mother to meet me there after class to go to their Sunday brunch buffet.  Nothing compliments a crazy workout like unlimited food, right?  I will say…it was good.  Darn good.  And not to mention so refreshing for me to be able to go somewhere and eat pretty much anything I wanted from the menu…usually unheard of in my case.  We will definitely go back, but that being said…on the menu was vegan biscuits and gravy.  I am not typically even a fan of biscuits and gravy, but since there was a vegan option, I felt inclined to try.  Now, while it wasn’t bad…it wasn’t great, and my mind immediately began racing thinking of all the ways I could try to make it better or really just re-vamp the whole thing altogether.

So naturally, I got home and went to work.  I pretty much force-fed my family biscuits and gravy until they agreed it was as delicious as I thought it was.  Sorry, Loves!  I have said this before and it rings true for this recipe as well…usually I don’t have an issue swapping out ingredients, for instance, using rice milk instead of almond, etc., but for the success of this recipe it is imperative that you use the ingredients listed, particularly the bouillon and sausage.

I believe I have already professed my undying love for all things Edward and Sons many times over.  I literally buy cartons of the bouillon cubes from Amazon to keep my pantry stocked and panic if I open my last box without ordering another carton.  Seriously, try them.  Life changing.

I have used the Lightlife Sausage in other recipes and it is pretty much my go-to for any recipe that requires a sausage replacement and can be found in most grocery stores.  I have tried many vegan sausages, but I really like this one a lot.  First, the flavor is super yummy.   Obviously.  It also browns well and has a good texture.  Most importantly, it maintains moisture when it cooks, unlike so many other brands that can become dry and hard when sautéed.  Please see the end of the article for a bit more info about Lightlife.

Ingredients:

Biscuits

  • 1 cup non dairy milk (I use Rice Dream Enriched Rice Milk)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, juice from approximately one half of a lemon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons Earth Balance, 4 tablespoons cold, 1 tablespoon melted

Sausage Gravy

  • 2 cups cashews, raw, unsalted
  • 1 package Lightlife Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage, approximately 14 ounces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons for sausage, and one for roasting garlic
  • 1 ¼ cups non dairy milk (I use Rice Dream Enriched Rice Milk)
  • 1 bulb garlic, yielding at lease 1 1/2 tablespoons of roasted garlic puree
  • 1 cube Edward and Sons Not-Beef Bouillon
  • 2 teaspoons organo, fresh, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary, fresh, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, plus extra to taste

Directions:

1. Place cashews in an bowl and fill with water. Let soak while prepping the rest of the recipe.

2. To roast the garlic, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove all cloves of garlic from the bulb, trim and remove the skin. Place the cloves in tin foil and drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the cloves. Close the foil around the garlic and oil creating the closest you can get to an air tight seal. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes (place a cookie sheet on the rack underneath the foil bowl to catch any leaking oil or place the tin foil bowl in a small pyrex casserole dish). Roast until the cloves are soft enough to skewer with a fork. Once soft, open the tin foil bowl to expose the cloves and bake for another 5 – 10 minutes until golden brown then remove from heat. Once cool, mash to create a paste.

3. To begin preparing for the gravy, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high in a large frying pan. Add the Lightlife Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage and with a spatula, break up the sausage into small pieces. This will take some time and effort to break them down to size. Continue to break up the large pieces and sauté in the oil until the sausage browns, approximately 10 minutes, at which point remove from heat and set aside.

4. Once the garlic is finished roasting and has been removed from the oven, increase the heat to 450 degrees and begin to prepare the biscuits. Combine the milk and lemon juice and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to mix well. Add 4 tablespoons of cold earth balance and use a knife and fork to ‘cut’ the butter into the flour mixture. Continue to ‘cut’ the butter into the flour until the mixture looks crumbly like sand. Slowly pour in the milk and stir until combined and a sticky dough is formed.

5. Grease a medium cookie sheet. Divide the biscuit dough into 10 portions and place onto the cookie sheet making two rows close enough to each other so that they touch. Press into the middle of each dough ball creating a small indent. Use the remaining tablespoon of melted Earth Balance to brush the tops of the dough balls. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown.

6. Drain the cashews. In a high powered blender or Vitamix, add the cashews, milk, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the roasted garlic paste, the Edward and Sons Not-Beef Bouillon cube, 1 cup of the sautéed sausage crumbles, oregano, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Blend on high until the mixture is creamy and smooth. I like my gravy thicker, however if you prefer a littler thinner, add a bit more milk. Pour the gravy into a serving bowl and add the remaining sautéed sausage crumbles and mix well. Add additional pepper to taste. Heat in a saucepan or microwave until warm.

7. To serve, cut a biscuit in half and spoon the sausage gravy on top. Enjoy!

(Serves 10)

Vegan Sausage and Gravy Recipe Card

Alt=”Vegan Biscuits and Sausage Gravy”

Lightlife Products have been dedicated to making great tasting vegetarian food since 1979 and since origination, giving back to the community has been a priority.  The Company contributes 5% of their profits every year to organizations that support their mission of providing vegetarian food options to the population as well as promoting eco-friendly products.  The Company also makes numerous different kinds of plant based meat substitutions such as tempeh, sausages, hot dogs, deli meats, breakfast meets, chicken, beef, and burgers.

Did you make this recipe?  Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Hummus Salad

Hummus salad is one of my favorite things to eat.  You get a little bit of everything;  your veggies, fruits, nuts, some protein, a little bit of fiber…and it is so good.  I probably have this at least twice a week since we tend to keep most of these ingredients in the house at all times.  It is also easy to make a salad jar to-go to take for lunch, instructions and photo below.

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We have a running joke in the house about my BIG salads.  My husband laughs every time at both the size and process.  From what my husband tells me, most normal people get a normal bowl, make their normal size salad and go along their merry way.  When I make a salad, I go to the cupboard and find the biggest glass mixing bowl I can find, plop all my ingredients into it, stir it properly for a few minutes to make sure there is an equal amount of dressing on every item in said bowl (OCD much?), at which point I am then able to proceed to devour my ‘giant, ridiculous’ salad.  This picture truly depicts how I eat them.  These cutesy blog photos of a small bowl with perfectly placed toppings is more for your benefit and appealing visuals.  The sloppy mess below is my reality.  Hubby is a lucky guy, huh?

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups lettuce, mixed greens
  • cup hummus
  • 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • 6-8 strawberries, sliced
  • cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • ¼ red onion, sliced
  • cup walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions, chopped

Directions:

1. Place lettuce, cucumber, strawberries, olives, onion, walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and green onions in a bowl and toss to mix. Spoon hummus on top and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

2. To-Go Salad Jar: In a small bowl combine hummus and balsamic vinegar until fully mixed. Pour hummus dressing into the bottom of a large mason jar. Carefully layer the cucumber slices over the dressing to act as a barrier to the other ingredients. Next layer the onion, olives, strawberries, tomatoes, walnuts, and green onions, then top with the lettuce. The goal is to layer the wet ingredients on the bottom and the dry ingredients on top to keep everything from getting mushy.  Toss it in your lunch bag and go!

(Serves 1)

Alt=”Hummus Salad Jar”

Did you make this recipe?  Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Why Vegan?

I have had quite a few people ask me lately why I am vegan, or why I have “gone so far” as to be vegan, or why I can’t just be a vegetarian. I read a book that perfectly sums up the response I’d love to give, but am not eloquent enough with which to respond.

*Some sensitive language below:

“A great many vegetarians are concerned chiefly with their health and are prepared for animals to be killed to produce leather, cheese, margarine, etc., so as long as they do not actually eat the carcass. In our opinion, it matters not one jot to the innocent creature whether it is to be slaughtered for human food, medicine, clothing, sport, or such luxuries as ivory ornaments, horn, bone or tortoiseshell knick-knacks, crocodile handbags, or exotic perfume. Sudden death in the prime of life, or the lingering agony of pain and starvation in a steel trap, must be as terrifying for the field-mouse, stoat or rabbit as for the hunted tiger, whale or stag. What at first may appear to be a quick death for one creature often means a slow starvation for her young ones as well. Sometimes it is the baby, or rather its skin, which is coveted by man. What the parent seal feels as she grieves over the bloody remains of her clubbed and quickly skinned pup, is probably no different from the anguish of the domestic cow on losing her newly-born calf. Anyone living near a farm or slaughterhouse has learned the pitiful cries of both mother and calf….of all the “food animals” the cow suffers far more than beef cattle. For the whole of her life, this soft-eyed, docile animal is regarded simply as a milk machine. She is kept going with drugs and “steamed up” with hormones, injected with antibiotics, and still has to suffer the horrors of the slaughterhouse when she has at last become unprofitable.”

Here’s Harmlessness: An Anthology of Ahimsa

Ahimsa is Sanskrit for non-killing, non-injuring, non-harming; defined in modern life as Dynamic Harmlessness. There are so many cruelties that happen everyday that so many are ignorant to, not necessarily due to their indifference, but rather to the lack of education on where our products come from and how they are made.

Why am I vegan and not vegetarian? I do not want to contribute to suffering. I do not want to condone indifference. I want to promote love.  I want to help educate. I want to be healthy. I could go on… But ultimately, it breaks my heart to walk through the grocery store seeing how much animal cruelty lies in each aisle, and further, how normal is it for us to not even realize it. When there are so many other delicious alternatives to animal products, there is no need for me contribute to the cruelty. I understand some see me as odd, extreme, a burden at dinner parties or what have you, but this is me, trying to do what I think is right.

Power Smoothie

Shakes and smoothies can be a great way to load your body up with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  I tend to make a batch of smoothies and have one for breakfast for the week.  The below recipe makes 6-8 cups and will last the whole week.

I prefer to make my own at home rather than order them somewhere, mostly to save money, but also because you never really know what is in them.  My recipe changes week to week depending on what I have in the house, but I always include both fruits and veggies.  It’s also a good way to get your kids to eat veggies, since all they see is juice.  This one is my favorite.  I hope you enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup kale, chopped
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 cup broccoli, approximately 3-4 florets
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, approximately 1 inch portion the root
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 lemon, juice from
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup mango, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, optional
  • 4 tablespoons protein powder, optional (I use NutriBiotic Raw Organic Rice Protein Vanilla)

Directions:

1. In a high powered blender or Vitamix, add the kale, spinach, broccoli, ginger, carrot, lemon juice, blueberries, mango, and strawberries. Add three cups of water and blend on high until the mixture is smooth. Add more water to create the consistency you like.

2. If you’d like a bit more sweetness, add maple syrup.

3. Another optional addition is protein powder, if you so desire.

(Makes 6 – 8 cups)

Alt=”Power Smoothie”

Kale and spinach are a good sources of vitamin A,vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin E, folate, manganese, riboflavin, iron, fiber, calcium, and potassium.  Broccoli provides excellent vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as several B vitamins.  Carrots are a great source of beta-carotene antioxidants.  Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and contains antioxidant compounds such as gingerols, beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid, curcumin and salicylate.  Lemons are rich in vitamin C and potassium.  Blueberries are considered a superfood that have proven to benefit the cardiovascular system and help regulate blood sugar as well has contain cancer fighting nutrients.  Mangoes provide vitamin C and alkalizes the body with its richness in tartaric acid and magic acid.  Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and are a very good source of dietary fiber, iodine, folate, copper, potassium, biotin, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6 and omega-3 fatty acids.  Overall, this smoothie is a great way to start your day and your body will thank you!

You can add protein powder, I typically do.  My favorite is NutriBiotic Raw Organic Rice Protein Vanilla.  I like the subtle vanilla flavor, but I love the fact that it doesn’t leave my shake tasting chalky, like many can.  NutriBiotic also makes a pea protein powder that I have yet to try.

Did you make this recipe?  Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Vegan Pastitsio

Pastitsio is a Greek baked casserole with layers of pasta, meat sauce, and béchamel that is savory with a hint of sweetness.   It is one of my all-time childhood favorites and brings back memories of going into Detroit’s Greektown for a big family dinner when our Greek relatives came into town.

Creating a vegan version of this recipe as a bit harder than you’d think.  Sure you can replace the meat for vegan meat, but creating that distinct pastitsio flavor is tricky.  And how to find a way to replicate that creamy melt-in-your-mouth béchamel is even more challenging.  Usually, I don’t have an issue swapping out ingredients for others, for instance, using rice milk instead of almond, but for the success of this recipe it is imperative that you use the ingredients listed.  Not just any old egg replacer will work here, you need to have the Follow Your Heart VeganEgg.  You also need a beef flavored bouillon, rather than a veggie flavored.  I recommend the Edward and Sons, since that is always my go-to.

Pastitsio truly is a labor of love.  If you have the time, you need to try this vegan version of a Greek traditional classic.  I hope you enjoy.

Alt=”Vegan Pastitsio”

Ingredients:

Pasta

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, dried
  • 1 egg Follow Your Heart VeganEgg, prepared

Meat Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch parsley, rinsed and chopped
  • 6 cups vegan beef crumbles
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup diced tomato, canned
  • 2 ½ cups crushed tomato, canned
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 3 cubes not-beef bouillon, Edward and Sons
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground clove
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Bechamel Sauce

  • 1 cup Earth Balance
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 3 ½ cups non dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon clove
  • 2 pinch salt
  • 4 eggs Follow Your Heart VeganEgg, prepared

 

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and reduce heat to medium low. Remove from water when the pasta is al dente, as it will cook longer in the oven.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. While the pasta is boiling, prepare the meat sauce. Heat a large pot over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and onion and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the parsley, beef, fresh tomatoes, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon, cinnamon, clove, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring well. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low, cover and stir occasionally for 20 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. To begin the Béchamel, bring a medium sauce pan to a medium heat and add the Earth Balance. Once fully melted, remove from the heat and whisk in a tablespoon of flour at a time. You should end up with a small tacky ball of dough once all the flour is added. Place the pan back on the stove at medium low. Slowly whisk in the milk a half cup at a time. Add the nutritional yeast, nutmeg, clove, and salt and stir well. Remove from heat and place in the refridgerator.

5. Prepare 5 Follow Your Heart VeganEggs, setting one aside.

6. When the Béchamel has cooled down, slowly whisk in 4 Follow Your Heart VeganEggs. Be careful not to add the eggs to the mixture if it is still hot. Although they are not ‘real’ eggs, they will still curdle at high heat.

7. Add the one VeganEgg that was set aside to the cooked pasta and stir well. Place the pasta in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

8. Pour the meat sauce over the pasta creating an even layer that covers the pasta.

9. Pour the béchamel over the meat sauce creating an even layer that covers the meat sauce. Sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg and clove on top.

 

10. Carefully place the uncovered casserole onto the middle rack of the preheated oven and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, or until the sides are bubbling and the top begins to brown. Place a baking sheet on the bottom rack to catch any drips.

11. When the pastitsio is finished baking, cover and refrigerate. Once cold, cut into squares and reheat to serve. Pastitsio is traditionally chilled before cut into squares to maintain the structure.

(Serves 12)

Vegan Pastitsio Recipe Card

Alt=”Vegan Pastitsio”

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Cabbage Soup

I love this time of year. Families are bundling up and heading to the pumpkin patch, jumping in piles of fallen leaves, taking wagon rides in adorable costumes…it’s fall!  I don’t know about where you are, but here it seems that our hot and humid weather has turned cold and wet overnight.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the changing seasons and all that comes with it, but it sure is nice to get home, change into pajamas, and warm up.  Some prefer a fire, or a blanket, or a cup of hot chocolate, but since all I do is think about food, I prefer a nice hot bowl of soup.

Cabbage rolls are the epitome of comfort food, but sometimes I am just too darn lazy to do all that work.  Enter cabbage soup.  Same great flavors, simply deconstructed and much easier.  Pretty much you just throw everything into the pot till it’s done.

You can enjoy the soup in its pure veggie form or add the optional sausage for a more traditional cabbage roll flavor.  For me, it depends on my mood.  I used the Lightlife Veggie Sausage which comes in a 14 ounce tube.  When browning, you need to break it up into small pieces with your spatula which does require a bit of work, but worth it in my opinion.  I have tried many vegan sausages, but I really like this one a lot.  First, the flavor is very good.  It also browns well and has a good texture.  Most importantly, it maintains moisture when it cooks, unlike many other brands that can become dry and harden.  You can certainly substitute your favorite brand, some already come in crumbles to save you some work.

Alt=”Cabbage Soup”Alt=”Cabbage Soup”

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head green cabbage, chopped into 1 – 2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups tomato sauce, canned
  • 2 cups crushed tomato, canned
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cubes not-beef bouillon (I use Edward & Sons brand)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon brown sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup brown rice, dry

Optional

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 ounces vegan sausage, approximately 2 cups crumbled

 

Directions:

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil to medium high and add the onion. Sauté until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for a few more minutes. To the pot, add the cabbage, tomato sauce, crushed tomato, tomato paste, water, bullion cubes, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, cinnamon, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring well. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice, stir, and re-cover allowing the soup to simmer for another 30-40 minutes or until the rice is cooked and cabbage is soft.

2. Optional: Heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat in a medium frying pan. Add garlic and sauté until soft. Add vegan sausage and sauté until golden brown. Set aside.

3. When the rice is cooked and cabbage is done, remove from heat and remove the bay leaves. If you prepared the sausage, add to the soup and gently stir. Serve hot.

Cabbage Soup Recipe Card

Alt=”Cabbage Soup”

 

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!

Grilled Eggplant Sliders with Garlic Horseradish Aioli

As promised, more tailgate food.  Although, I suppose these sliders are not just for tailgates, as they would be just as good at a backyard barbecue…or anytime you have access to a grill really.  Easy to mass produce and quick to make, these are perfect to serve when expecting a crowd…and they disappear quickly.

My family was checking out a new ‘country store’ that opened down the street a few weeks ago.  It has a large aisle full of spices, in which, of course, I spent way too much time.  I saw the powdered horseradish and knew immediately what I wanted to do with it.  I love how the aioli came out, creamy and garlicy with a bit of a horsey kick (I know, I’m lame, but still laughing at my dumb joke anyway).  It pairs very well with the eggplant.  The slider itself is very plain…bread, arugula, eggplant, aioli.  It’s not topped with a whole lot of stuff, simply because it doesn’t need it.

I recommend grilling only one side of each piece of bread.  I love a toasted sandwich, but hate when it is overdone, which is easy to do when toasting both sides of a thinly sliced french bread.  It can feel like eating a sandwich between to crostinis, not what I’m going for here.  By toasting one side, you get the crispness on one side, but the other stays nice and soft and warm.

Mayo or Miracle Whip?  Everyone has their own opinion.  Vegan mayo is no different.  Different brands can taste completely different, in fact for years I thought I didn’t like vegan mayo.  Every one I tried I didn’t care for.  Until I found ‘the one’.  I love Earth Balance Olive Oil Mayo and almost never use anything different.  The kind of mayo you choose really really makes a difference.  Choose wisely.

I included my own basting sauce recipe, but you can probably use a variety of different sauces depending on what you prefer.  I’ve used bottled barbecue sauce in a pinch.  Just as long as it pairs with the aioli, you’re good.  Happy grilling!

Alt=”Eggplant Sliders with Garlic Horseradish Aioli”

Ingredients:

  • 1 french baguette
  • 1 cup arugala
  • 2 baby eggplants

Eggplant Basting Sauce

  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • cup soy sauce
  • cup water
  • ½ tablespoon roasted sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon agave nectar
  • ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • pinch salt

Garlic Horseradish Aioli

  • ¾ cup vegan mayo (I use Earth Balance Olive Oil Mayo)
  • cup non dairy milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons horseradish powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • teaspoon onion powder
  • teaspoon tumeric
  • pinch salt

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients for the eggplant basting sauce in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

2. Combine all the ingredients for the aioli in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

3. Wash the baby eggplant and trim off the tops and bottoms. Cut 1/2 inch steaks. Repeat for the second eggplant. Each eggplant should yield approximately five 1/2 inch steaks.

4. Slice the baguette into twenty 1/2 inch thick slices.

5. Lubricate the grill with sesame oil and heat to medium high. Place the eggplant steaks on the grill and generously brush with the basting sauce. Flip the steaks and generously baste the other side. Flip and baste every few minutes until the steak is done. It will be softened, but not mushy, and have crisp dark grill marks. Meanwhile, lightly toast one side of the bread on the grill.

6. Place a dollop of aioli on each of the non-toasted sides of two slices of bread. To assemble the slider, place one slice of bread toasted side down, top with the arugula, eggplant, and the other slice of bread. Repeat for the remaining nine sliders. Skewer the sliders with a fun or decorative toothpick. Serve on a platter with the remaining aioli for dipping.

(Makes 10 sliders)

Grilled Eggplant Sliders with Garlic Horseradish Aioli Recipe Card

Alt=”Eggplant Sliders with Garlic Horseradish Aioli”

Alt=”Eggplant Sliders with Garlic Horseradish Aioli”

Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista.  Can’t wait to hear from you!