What is up, all of my lovely peeps!? I’m taking a minute today to write about something that I don’t talk about a lot. (On purpose) And that thing is…. drumroll… being Vegan. Ugh, welp, that’s out there. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say right off the bat that I am what I call “dirty vegan”. Many people have difficulty distinguishing the difference between “vegan” and “vegetarian”. Here’s the diff. Vegetarian = No meat. Vegan = No animal products at all, whatsoever. This includes dairy. The term “dirty vegan” refers to someone who is vegan most of the time, but will occasionally make an exception with eggs or dairy. I prepare all of my food at home completely vegan. The recipes I post here are 100% vegan. However, if I go out to eat and there is butter in something, I’m not going to throw a hissy fit. Because, well… you just can’t always do that. And let me also state that if I find myself on a farm, where I see the farmer gently collecting milk and see the chickens roaming free and sitting on their nests, I have ZERO problem with consuming the eggs and milk that comes from this, but most of you probably (at least slightly) know… that’s not what happens before these things hit the shelf at your local grocery store. I have had people say to me, “I’m vegetarian, too! I don’t eat any red meat, but I still eat chicken and fish.” At the risk of sounding condescending… PEOPLE! STOP! PLEASE! Look up “vegetarian” in the dictionary because I’m pretty sure chicken and fish are still meat. Like, that’s not even a gray area. The term “pescatarian” actually refers to someone who does not eat other meats, but still eats fish. There is your Biology 101 lesson for the day. Anyway… I digress…
The reasons for my lifestyle choices are many, and that’s a post for another day. But coming from a family where, if you can’t go out back and shoot it or chop its head off yourself, it ain’t food… Let’s just say I have grown accustomed to not always being understood. I am, however grateful and extremely blessed that my family tries so hard to accommodate and accept my personal choices. However, I just moved to the South about a year and a half ago, where “vegan” feels like a bad word. I cannot tell you how many times I have been sick ALL night because someone said there were no animal products in something, when they clearly didn’t know… Or, I’ve requested something with no meat and it comes back with bacon in it… What??? Okay I get it… I’m the minority. So, I try to keep my personal food preferences to myself and of course you all, when sharing recipes. I also have learned to eat at home most of the time. However, after soooo many questions/comments of “how”, “why”, and “I could never”, I think it’s high time to answer some of these concerns. The biggest being how I’m able to maintain my training and build muscle when I don’t eat meat… I mean, “Where do I get my protein!!?” (My personal fave.) So, let’s talk about it!
I absolutely love cooking for family and friends during the Holidays! But when you have a strict “no animal products” policy when it comes to your diet, it can be difficult to make a Holiday dinner that will be enjoyed by not just you, but loved by all. The next time you find yourself in this difficult scenerio, try my veggie lasagna recipe. My family loved it… and I hope yours will, too! 😋🍴
2 packages of Daiya cheese in flavors of your choice
1 onion, chopped
1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 head broccoli, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
2 jars pasta sauce
2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles
16 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
Note: to save time with the spices, I often just use Mrs. Dash Italian or Extra Spicy Seasoning Blend. It already has most of the spices you will need for this recipe and they are already blended together perfectly. For this recipe, I used a little over a tabllespoon of the Extra Spicy blend and nixed the cayenne as well. It worked out PERFECTLY!
Preheat oven to 400 ° F. Saute the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liquid. Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan. Saute the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl. Saute the peppers until just beginning to soften. Add them to them to the vegetable bowl. Add spices to the vegetable bowl and combine.
Cover the bottom of a 9×13 inch casserole with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy. Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles, and add about half of the cheese. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce. Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce. Cover the lasagna with the remaning cheese. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Well, I don’t know about everyone else… But I’m starting to feel like winter is NEVERRRR going to be over! We are experiencing teases of spring one day and arctic blasts the next. If you’re like me and you need some comfort food to spice you up on those below zero days, try this recipe! You can make this as a casserole, use it as a dip with chips, or you can roll it up as traditional enchiladas… whichever you prefer. I may or may not have eaten mine straight out of the dish… 😉 MMM MMM Delish!!
1 cup quinoa
1 can (10-ounce) enchilada sauce
1 can (4.5 ounce) chopped green chilies, drained
1/2 cup canned corn kernels, drained
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 cup shredded Daiya (vegan) or regular cheddar cheese, divided
3/4 cup shredded Diaya (vegan) or regular mozzarella cheese, divided
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
1 Roma tomato, diced
Salt & pepper to taste
In a large saucepan of 2 cups water, cook quinoa according to package instructions and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly oil an 8×8 or 2 quart baking dish or coat with nonstick spray
In a large bowl, combine quinoa, enchilada sauce, green chilies, corn, black beans, cilantro, cumin and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
Spread quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish.
Top with remaining cheeses.
Place in oven and bake until bubbly and cheeses have melted. (About 15 minutes)
Serve immediately, garnished with avocado and tomato, if desired.