Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup

So, pre-vegan, I used to LOVE Panera Bread’s Broccoli Cheddar Bread Bowls…that thick, creamy, cheesy, broccoli goodness…yum.  Well, I found myself craving some the other day and decided to go ahead and take a crack at it.   This soup actually has no cheese…and no faux cheeses…which means no processed foods.  It has the same delicious taste of a traditional broccoli cheddar soup, but produced with all whole foods and plant based ingredients.

In good old Panera tradition, I like to eat mine with bread as my spoon, but feel free to do your own thing.  I hope you enjoy

Alt=”Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup”

Ingredients:

Broth

  • 6 cups vegetable broth  (I use Edward and Sons No-Chicken Broth)
  • 1 medium sweet potato, baked and skinned
  • 1 medium red potato, baked and skinned
  • 1 can great northern beans, 15 oz, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch

Vegetables

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tablespoon thyme, fresh, chopped
  • ½ cup carrot, matchstick
  • 2 cups red potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 8 cups broccoli, washed and trimmed into bite sized pieces

Directions:

1. To prepare the broth, put 6 cups of your favorite broth in a large pot and heat over medium high heat.

2. Place the baked sweet potato, baked red potato, northern beans, nutritional yeast, and salt in a blender or high powered mixer. Add 2 cups of the broth from the pot and mix on high until the puree is smooth. Add the mixture to the remaining pot of broth and stir well to combine. Add the red pepper flakes and bay leaf. Continue to heat over medium heat, bringing to a boil.

3. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup of cold water and the cornstarch and whisk thoroughly. Slowly pour the mixture into the broth and continue to boil on low, stirring occasionally.  This serves to thicken the soup.

4. Heat a medium pot over high heat. Add the olive oil and onions. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another few minutes stirring often. Add the thyme, carrots, and potato and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into the pot of broth. Add the broccoli. Reduce the head to medium/low and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are soft. Serve hot.

(Serves 6-8)

Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe Card

Alt=”Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup”

Alt=”Vegan Broccoli Cheddar 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!

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

Inspiration strikes at the most random of times.  For me, it is usually in the produce section…go figure…it’s always about food.  I saw the most beautiful artichokes the other day and just had to have them, probably like how most women feel about a new pair of shoes.  So there I stood in the check out line, in a six year old pair of plastic white (now grey) flip flops that are being held together by a safety pin, clutching my beloved artichokes.  And I couldn’t have been happier.  Although, I’m pretty sure I do need to suck it up and buy some new shoes sometime soon.

Normally, I just boil my artichokes and eat them plain or with a bit of lemon butter, but I felt like getting a little fancy so I decided to make some spinach artichoke dip to have with it.  I am so happy with how it turned out, especially since it is made with actual real food ingredients, as opposed to using a vegan based cream cheese or other processed replacements.  The base of the dip is a combination of cauliflower, beans, cashews, and artichoke hearts and is flavored with nutritional yeast, salt, and sautéed onions, leeks, and garlic.  This recipe can easily be made oil-free by sautéing the onions, leeks, garlic, and spinach in water or broth.  Did I mentioned each serving has 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and less than 1 gram of saturated fat?  Guilt-free comfort food.  Yes, please.

Alt=”Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip”

Alt=”Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip”

You can serve this dip pretty much however you want.  My favorite is either on a french baguette or inside the artichoke itself using the outer leaves to scoop.  The latter is fairly easy and makes for a beautiful presentation.  All you need to do is trim an artichoke, boil until soft (a butter knife can easily pass through the bottom stem), drain, then hollow out the center.  Click here to learn how to prepare an artichoke for boiling if you are new to working with them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium caulflower, chopped and boiled
  • 1 cup cannellini beans
  • 1 cup cashews, raw, soaked
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium leek, approximately 5 inches of white end, washed and chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • ¾ cup non dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts, quartered in brine, drained and chopped
  • 8 cups fresh spinach

Directions:

1. Place cashews in a bowl of water and allow to soak during your prep work. Trim, wash, and chop a medium cauliflower. Bring a pot of water to boil and boil cauliflower until soft.

2. While the cauliflower is boiling, chop the onion, wash and chop the leek, and mince the garlic. Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the onion, leeks, and garlic and sauté until soft, approximately 5 minutes. Set aside.

3. When the cauliflower is soft, drain and place in a high powered blender or food processor. Add the sautéed onions, leeks, and garlic along with the beans, drained cashews, nutritional yeast, 1 can of the artichoke hearts (drained), non dairy milk, and salt. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

4. Reheat the frying pan over medium high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, spinach and two pinches of salt. Sauté the spinach until wilted, approximately 5 minutes. Place the spinach on a cutting board and chop well. Add the spinach to the mixing bowl.

5. Open and drain the remaining can of artichoke hearts. Place on the cutting board and roughly chop. Add the chopped artichoke hearts to the mixing bowl.

6. Stir all ingredients until well mixed. Serve warm. Great with veggies, chips, bread, or artichoke leaves.

(Party size recipe – Serves 20 – approximately 6-8 cups)

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe Card

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!

Alt=”Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip”

Oil Free Asparagus Soup

Lately I have become a bit lazy with my eating habits.  I was on work travel, then came home with a killer ear infection, which led to a loss of hearing, ringing, and some pain.  Then hubby was gone on work travel for a week.  Between juggling two kids and doctors appointments to try to figure out this whole ear thing, and working full time, I turned to frozen Amy’s meals, processed snack foods, and pretty much all the vegan junk food that was easy and fast.  Not really the best idea when you are trying to heal your body.

I had an ENT appointment that eased some of the ear trouble and decided I really needed to get back on track.  My body was craving fruits and vegetables.  I could almost hear it screaming, “What the heck are you doing to me,” every time I popped something in the microwave.  In the grand scheme of things, my life is not that hard…my problems miniscule in comparison with what others deal with, but I did know I needed to get back on track.

I wanted something clean and pure, so when I passed a display of perfect asparagus at the market, it clicked.  If you follow my Facebook, you may remember I made this once and forgot to clean the asparagus first and ended up with dirt soup.  Don’t make that mistake.  Clean your veggies!  Hauled back to the store to get another bunch and started over.  I didn’t want to add any more than I had to to this soup so I opted for an oil-free recipe.  The onions and garlic are sautéed in water.  I also used an oil-free vegetable broth.  If you can’t find one, no worries, just use your favorite brand.  After just one bowl, my body felt energized and happy.  It is so easy to make, it may just be a staple in my fridge.  I haven’t experimented with freezing and re-thawing yet, but I’ll update if I do.

Alt=”Asparagus Soup”

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons water
  • 1 bunch asparagus, washed, trimmed, and cut into 2 inch pieces, yields approximately 4 cups
  • 2 cups oil free vegetable broth
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

1. In a medium non-stick pan, add 3-4 tablespoons of water and the chopped onion.  When the onion begins to soften, add the garlic.  Continue to sauté until fragrant and soft. Add another tablespoon of water if the pan becomes dry.  Do not let onions brown.

2. Add the asparagus and broth to the pan, stir and cover for approximately 5-10 minutes, until asparagus are cooked through.  Stir occasionally.

3. Remove pan from heat and place contents into a high powered blender or Vitamix, reserving one or two pieces of asparagus for garnish if desired.  Blend on high until soup is smooth and creamy.  Salt to taste.

(Yields approximately four cups.  Two large servings, or four small servings)

Asparagus Soup Recipe Card

Alt=”Asparagus 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!

Cauliflower Tabouleh

So, if you know me at all, you know cauliflower is one of my favorite foods.  I can hardly go a day without it, sad, right?  And don’t get me wrong, I like the traditional tabouleh, but this version made from cauliflower is so good, not to mention it cuts down on most of the the carbs.  It is a very easy recipe to make and takes almost no time at all!  It makes a great side dish to almost every outing…barbecues, birthdays, and holidays, but I make it every few weeks just to pack in my lunch.  I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium cauliflower, pulsed in a blender, yields approximately 6 cups
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 grape tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cucumber, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 lemons, juice from. Yields approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Clean and core cauliflower. Chop to medium sized pieces. Place in a blender or food processor and pulse until chopped to a consistency close to rice. Set aside in a medium sized bowl.

2. Add chopped garlic, tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and parsley. Stir to mix well. Adjust salt, olive oil, and lemon juice to your taste.

3. You may serve right away, but I prefer to let the flavors meld for a few hours in the fridge before serving.

Cauliflower Tabouleh Recipe Card

Alt=”Cauliflower Tabouleh”

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!

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!

Vegan Calamari with Creamy Old Bay Sriracha Sauce

Football season is upon us…finally!   I love college football and everything that comes with it, especially tailgating.  Tailgating = eating ALL the food.  You should fully expect a slew of vegan tailgate recipes in the next few months.  This one is my favorite, hands down, no question.

This tastes so much like real calamari, it’s incredible.  Trumpet mushrooms are very versatile and have thick meaty stems with a mild neutral flavor that lends itself perfectly to this recipe.  The stems can easily be manipulated to form the ‘O’ (see below).  Cutting the ‘O’s can take a little extra prep time, but sooo worth the labor of love.

The calamari flavor primarily comes from the breading.  The nori and garlic powder add a fishy oceany (I know…not a word) taste.  In the instructions, I suggest to begin frying at medium high heat, as opposed to high heat.  By doing this, the mushrooms cook a bit longer in the oil creating a more rubbery texture that mimics real calamari.  If it comes out too rubbery, increase your heat setting.

I have paired the calamari with a yummy creamy old bay sriracha dipping sauce that is super easy to make.  After living in Maryland for a few years, I can’t help pairing ‘seafood’ with old bay, but there are so many sauces that would work here.  My husband requested either a cocktail sauce or sweet and sour for next time.

Enjoy!

Alt=”Vegan Calamari with Old Bay Sriracha Sauce”

Ingredients:

Calamari

  • 4 trumpet mushrooms, washed
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 ½ cups non dairy milk
  • 10 ounces panko bread crumbs
  • 1 sheet nori
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • vegetable oil

Old Bay Sriracha Sauce

  • cup vegan mayo
  • ¼ teaspoon sriracha
  • ¼ teaspoon old bay seasoning
  • teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

1. Wash the trumpet mushrooms carefully removing all dirt.  Pat dry.   Slice the stems into 1/2 inch thick coins. Set the caps aside. With a sharp knife, carefully create a calamari ‘O’ by removing the center of the stem. The ‘O’ ring should also be 1/2 inch thick. If your mushroom stem is very large, you may be able to get two ‘O’s from each coin.  Although the ‘O’ may seem too thick, it will shrink when frying to the perfect size.

2. Repeat step one for all the mushroom stems and set aside in a large bowl adding the small coins created from the center of each ‘O’ and the caps.

3. Place the bread crumbs, nori, garlic powder, and parsley in a food processor and pulse until the nori and parsley are finely chopped.

4. To prep your fry station set out three bowls, a large pot, paper towel, salt, and tongs. In one bowl, place the flour. In the next bowl, add the milk. In the last bowl, place the bread crumb mixture. Pour vegetable oil into the pot until it is approximately 1/2 inch deep. Lay out paper towel to drain the calamari.

5. Heat the oil over medium high heat. Test the heat level by tossing in a bread crumb. If it begins to bubble, the oil is ready.

6. Place one mushroom in the flour bowl and toss to coat. Then place the mushroom in the milk and dunk until fully wet. Finally, place the mushroom in the bread crumb bowl and cover with the mixture. Move the mushroom to the side of the bread crumb bowl. Repeat until 8 – 10 mushrooms are ready to fry. With the tongs, carefully move the mushrooms from the bowl into the oil. Fry until golden brown, turning occasionally.  By frying over medium high heat, as opposed to high heat, the mushrooms cook longer creating a more rubbery texture that mimics real calamari.  If it comes out too rubbery, increase your heat setting.  Remove from the oil, place on the paper towel and salt to taste right away. Repeat until all mushrooms are fried.

7. For the dipping sauce, combine the mayo, sriracha, old bay, and garlic powder in a small bowl and whisk until fully mixed.

Vegan Calamari with Old Bay Sriracha Sauce Recipe Card

Alt=”Vegan Calamari with Old Bay Sriracha Sauce”

Alt=”Vegan Calamari with Old Bay Sriracha Sauce”

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 Jalapeño Dip Two Ways

A chilled jalapeño dip and a creamy baked jalapeño dip, this is what happens when I can’t make up my mind.  Not only are both of these so very delicious, but they are super easy, essentially throwing everything into a food processor.

The chilled dip has a cool, fresh, mellow flavor with some heat rising on the back end that doesn’t linger too long.   The creamy baked dip has a bit more of a robust flavor with a more intense heat.  I like spicy and I think it’s perfect.  My husband is not always a fan of spice and he thought it was great and not too overpowering.  Of course, you can always adjust the amount to your taste.

Jalapeño Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 jalapenos, whole, with seeds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cube not-chick’n bouillon (I use Edward and Sons brand)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Soak cashews in 2 cups of water for 2-3 hours until soft. Drain.

2. In a food processor or vitamix, combine drained cashews, milk, whole jalapeños minus the stem, garlic, bouillon, juice of one lemon, thyme, rosemary, nutritional yeast, and salt. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth.

3. Refrigerate until chilled. Serve with crackers, pita chips, bread, or veggies.

Jalapeno Dip Recipe Card

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Alt=”Jalapeno Dip”

Alt=”Creamy Baked Jalapeno Dip”

Creamy Baked Jalapeño Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • jalapenos, whole, with seeds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 1/2 cube not-chick’n bouillon (I use Edward and Sons brand)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup silken tofu
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella, shredded

Directions:

1. Soak cashews in 2 cups of water for 2-3 hours until soft. Drain.

2. In a food processor or vitamix, combine drained cashews, milk, whole jalapeños minus the stem, garlic, bouillon, juice of one lemon, thyme, rosemary, nutritional yeast, salt, tofu, and mozzarella, setting a pinch of cheese to the side. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth.

3. Place the mixture in an oven safe bowl. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until it bubbles and cracks. Serve hot with bread or crackers.

Creamy Baked Jalapeno Dip Recipe Card

Alt=”Creamy Baked Jalapeno Dip”

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!