Cooking vegan dishes has been a passion of mine. I use tons of spices, methodically chop my veggies, and eat them in a particular way that makes them taste so delish. My meals are really simple, affordable, only involve plants, and anyone can prepare them! You won’t need crazy ingredients that you can’t find at your local grocery store. I also eat a lot of the same things every day, just in a different way. Enjoy.
Mango Salad Dressing + Spicy Thai Black Bean Quinoa + Baked Cauliflower + Sauteed Veggies
Inspired by Amber‘s photo and Your Vegan Mom
Mango Salad Dressing:
Mangos have been on sale at my grocery store (2 for $1!). So, I stocked up on a bunch of them and have been finding great uses for them (including making ice cream … RECIPE COMING SOON!). The recipe is so simple, and I had everything in my cabinet. You will need: 1 whole mango (about 2 cups), juice from 1 fresh lime, 1/8 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 Tablespoon of agave nectar, 1/4 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I used my blender to mix this on the “Blend” setting. This recipe makes enough for 4 of my salads.
For the actual salad, I thinly shredded carrots & parsnips, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, spinach, and romaine lettuce. You can use any vegetables that you prefer to eat raw.
Spicy Thai Black Bean Quinoa:
Prepare the black beans (see Garbanzo Beans recipe below) and quinoa (see recipe for quinoa below). Mix 1/4 cup of beans with 1/2 cup of quinoa in a small sauteeing pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray or add a teaspoon of vegan butter. Add and mix in a teaspoon of Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste. Stir in the pan of low to medium heat. You just want to gently heat it up so that the curry paste mixes well throughout. Add thyme, cumin, and salt to taste.
Cauliflower has also been on sale at my grocery store (2 for $3!) – SCORE. So, my favorite thing to do with it is to bake it into a crunchy delightful treat! I start by cutting the cauliflower properly. Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet and the cauliflower with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle rosemary seasoning on the cauliflower. Depending on your taste, how much cauliflower you are baking, and altitude, you can bake the cauliflower anywhere from 7-15 minutes. It gets crispy, and a little brown on the edges that are touching the pan. When it comes out of the oven, sprinkle some salt to taste. I will say that cauliflower is VERY filling, so don’t expect to be able to eat a whole lot of it even though you will want to!
You can use ANY veggies that you want here. I used what I had on hand - sweet potatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, bell pepper, and two large cloves of garlic. Spray the vegetables with non-stick cooking spray, and sprinkle pepper all over them if you’d like. Cook on low to medium heat. This allows for them not to be overcooked and for the flavors to really marinade. Sprinkle thyme, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt on them to taste. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until they become tender but not overcooked.
Smoothie In A Bowl
The great thing about smoothies is that you can make them any way you want! You can use frozen, dried, or fresh fruit and vegetables. Whatever floats your boat, will make a great smoothie for you.
My boat was floated by this recipe: 2 cups of fresh baby spinach, 1.5 cups of frozen blackberries, 1 cup of frozen mango, 1/2 over ripe banana, a splash of ice cold water. I poured the smoothie into a bowl and it filled it up perfectly! I topped the smoothie with my new favorite vegan cereal. It’s by Uncle Sam, and it’s only $2.30 at my grocery store. Grape Nuts cereal or cinnamon quinoa would be great on top of this also.
Fresh salad, sauteed root vegetables, and spicy garbanzo quinoa.
I begin by soaking my quinoa for 1 hour. I soak 1 cup dry quinoa in 1.5-2 cups of filtered water. Then, I bring the quinoa to a boil, and quickly reduce to simmer. Be careful, because if you let it boil for more than a minute, it will overflow and get stuck under your stove top. This makes for a gross clean up! The quinoa will take about 15-20 minutes to finish cooking. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of your pan.
I used to buy my beans in a can. They are cheap, it only takes a few seconds to open a can, and they are so soft! I’ve since learned some uncool things about canned anything. So, I’ve been cooking my beans lately. And it’s actually cheaper this way. And really easy! Okay, start by adding a cup of raw garbanzo beans to a saucepan. Add enough water to the pan so that it covers the beans up to 2 inches. Boil the beans for 2 minutes, cut the stove top off, and then cover with a lid for 1 hour. I usually cook the beans at the same time as the quinoa (in separate saucepans) .
Sauteed Root Vegetables:
For this meal, you can use butternut squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, carrots, and parsnips. Chop them up to be about the same size. This increases the flavor absorption (in my opinion). Spray the sauteing pan with non-stick spray. Add the vegetables, and coat with Light Olive Oil. (If all you have is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, that is fine too.) You shouldn’t use but a teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle rosemary, whole thyme, salt, and cracked pepper on top. Occasionally stir the veggies. Don’t over do the stirring, because they need time to soak in the flavors and cook. Cook on medium heat. Average cook time is about 5-10 minutes, depending on your desired texture. If you like them to be softer, cook them closer to 10 minutes.
When preparing a salad, it is essential that you chop up most of the vegetables to be about the same size. This is not only prettier, but it makes it easier for people who are not so big on the taste of vegetables to eat them. In my salad, I used spinach, tomato, strawberries, cucumber, radishes, cauliflower, broccoli, and avocado. To dress the salad, squeeze half of a lemon and half of a lime over it. I also prefer to sprinkle some salt, cayenne pepper and whole thyme on top.
Spicy Garbanzo Quinoa:
Once the beans and quinoa have finished cooking, drain the beans and rinse them with tap water. The quinoa will have soaked up all of the water, so it doesn’t need to be drained and rinsed. Combine as much of the beans & quinoa as you would like to eat into the same pan that you cooked the root veggies. Spray with a little non-stick spray, and add 1 tablespoon of butter. (I use Smart Balance Light vegan butter.) Sprinkle a GENEROUS amount of ground thyme on top. We’re talking a good 1-2 teaspoons. Ground thyme works better here than the whole thyme we used earlier. Add 1 teaspoon of ground cumin. And a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, depending on how HOT you like your foods. And a little salt makes it that much better. Stir all of the spices together with the beans & qunioa. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes.
The perfect light meal before a workout:
I love a smoothie for breakfast or lunch. This one is really simple. In a blender, combine 1/2 cup of cold water, 1 banana, 1 tangelo or orange, 3 dates or plums, 1 cup of frozen mangos, and 1 cup of frozen strawberries. Blend until smooth. Then, add 2 large ice cubes and set your blender to the “chop” setting.