appetizers

7 Layer Bean Dip

374E99E3-0479-44B1-A91C-C8073EDB5079Ok, So I’m going to be real honest here. Growing up, dad wasn’t really around. So football parties and get togethers weren’t a huge thing around our house. BUTTT for whatever reason… Superbowl parties always took place at our house! If I had to work during the game I found myself so bummed! I realized shortly after this behavior that it wasn’t that I was bummed to miss the game, but I was bummed to miss the party and eat food. LOL. Yes, it bummed me out to miss the food. I want good food too ok?! I was always in charge of making the dips. Bean dip, Onion dip, and Ranch dip. Of course, as you can probably imagine, 7 layer bean dip isn’t traditionally made vegan. So naturally I had to veganise it.

I am pretty sure I ave said this to you all before. When you are first transitioning, find a few of your favorite dishes and make them vegan! When your comfortable making something its so much easier to make it healthier with different swaps. So that is exactly what I did. I think Tofutti Brand makes a nice “sour cream” and for the cheese on top, Earth Island, formerly known as Follow your heart, makes a good shredded cheese. You do need to check your refried beans and make sure that they are also vegan. I was actually surprised that many refried beans still contain lard or other animals fats in them. I get it, they make it taste better, i guess… But they have been time and time again been called out for being unhealthy. But whatever, not trying to call anyone out here right now. I am just saying, check your beans at every meal.

If you wanted to keep it super wholesome and real, you could make a sour cream out of nuts, homemade, and you could take some black beans and spices and blend them into a dip to make “refried” beans. That is totally fine with me and I actually encourage it, I just know not everyone has the time to do that or learn it, at least perhaps not at this present moment.

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7 Layer Bean Dip

-1 can refried beans

-1/2 package taco seasoning

-1/2 package of sour cream (I like Tofutti)

-Home made or store bought guacamole 

-1/2 package of vegan cheese (I like Earth Island or Daiya)

-6oz Can of sliced olives 

-3 tomatoes chopped 

-4 scallions finely chopped

Method:

-Mix almost the entire half package of taco seasoning, save a little to sprinkle over the sour cream later, then save the other half package for next time you make this. 

-It’s a pretty easy layering game. Put the ingredients into a square Pyrex dish in the order the list goes. 

-Serve immediately, or cover and place in the fridge to set for a few hours. You can keep this dip up to 3-5 days. Bring this to a party and don’t say it’s dairy free, see if anyone says anything…

entrees

Creamy Alfredo Sauce

39A6CA8F-130B-4AEB-BFB6-52975BA9AD27I am a sucker for anything creamy! Cheese, dips, sauces, anything. Unfortunately so many options today have dairy in them. I love Italian food and when I first started eating plant based, the easiest things for me to create and cook were things I was use to eating and making . I suggest any of you looking for healthier plant based options, to just find a few dishes you really love and then veganize them! Stick to what you know and are somewhat comfortable with! I think my first few recipes I learned how to make over and over again we’re Caesar salad, pasta recipes, taco salad, and tacos! There are so many possibilities.

Nuts are really the star in cheesy and creamy recipes. Cashews and macadamia nuts are the creamiest, but almonds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, etc., work just as well. As you dive into using different nuts to make different meals, you’ll start to get use to which ones work best for you and the many recipes you’ll be making. You’ll notice which ones have certain consistencies that end up working better for different recipes as well…. In this recipe, cashews take the win. If you or a loved one have a nut allergy, you can try raw and soaked sunflower seeds in place of cashews!

As much as I tell you about what brands have great dairy free options, I like to try eating as close to the source and as homemade, if possible. Even though plants are healthier, by over processing we sort of miss the point as well. So eventually, after you find your swaps and get comfortable with what you can use instead of actual dairy, I urge you to try getting even closer to Whole Foods like using nuts for creaminess and using beans or lentils instead of fake meats. But that is for another time, for now let’s just make some really yummy Alfredo sauce!

So as I said, there are so many options that you can exactly swap for another, especially in the dairy department. For example, to make a traditional Alfredo sauce that uses butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese as the main ingredients, you can find the vegan versions of those and be fine. I took it a step further to make it from unprocessed and whole food ingredients to bring you an even healthier version. Let’s get cooking towards some yummy and creamy goodness, shall we????

Creamy Alfredo Pasta

-1 package of Store bought Zoodles or spiralize 2 large zucchini. (You can spiralize other squash 94 sweet potato too)

-1/2 medium onion (chopped)

-1 Garlic Clove (minced, I put mine through a garlic press)

– 12-14oz package of Brussels sprouts or 1 head of broccoli, or really any veggie you would like to add (chopped)

Creamy Decadent Alfredo Sauce

-1/2 C Cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours)

-1-2 Cloves Garlic (I used my garlic press)

-1/2 C Water

-1/3 C nutritional yeast

-1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan salt

-1 teaspoon lemon juice

-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Method:

– Place chopped onions in a pan and heat on medium for about 3 minutes with a pinch of salt. Then add the minced garlic and stir for 2 minutes.

-Add your veggies and sautée them until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the zoodles and let them warm with the veggies for about 4 minutes.

-While stirring and sautéing the veggies, you can make the Alfredo sauce by placing all the ingredients in a high speed blender or if you don’t have a good blender, a food processor should work just as well. The consistency should be somewhat thick. If you like your Alfredo a little more runny, add a little more water.

-Then add the Alfredo sauce and coat all the zoodles and veggies and let it warm together for about 3-5 minutes and Viola!!! Now please don’t burn your mouth as you hurriedly scoop the pasta onto your plate and devour!!

***Optional: You can use gluten-free pasta noodles or any other zoodle pasta instead of zucchini, such as sweet potato or carrots, etc…too. And you can use any variation of veggies or no veggies at all if you want to keep to just a simple Alfredo pasta.

***Remember, my recipes are just a guideline to the magic you can create in the kitchen. 😍😍😍😍

 

 

 

 

 

 

appetizers

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

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I love cauliflower! It is so healthy and so versatile in cooking. So many people have gotten crazy creative with how to use it in cooking and baking. It is so great!!! You can steam it and then throw it in a blender in order to add creaminess to a non dairy soup. You can also make rice or mashed potatoes out of it. Some people are using cauliflower as a pizza crust and many vegan restaurants are making buffalo cauliflower appetizers, which is probably one of my top favorites out there! If you haven’t tried buffalo cauliflower bites, that is a total must!

Cauliflower yields some great nutrients and antioxidants! It is very high in vitamin C! One medium size head is more than your daily intake of Vitamin C needed and is about 11g of protein! It is also high in Vitamin B-6, Potassium, Magnesium, and calcium. Cauliflower contains a good amount of fiber. Fiber is important for digestive health and can even reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, especially those relating to your bowels. It is also high in fiber and antioxidants which are great in helping your body and cells combat disease, such as cancer.

To be completely honest, growing up, I did not care much about cauliflower. I thought it smelled bad and when I grew up it took me a while to get around to cooking it. I had memories from childhood and was slightly scared of it because I didn’t even know where to start in trying to cook this awkwardly hard and  rough plant. Once I got over the hump and cooked it once, I decided it wasn’t so bad. Moral of the story, if you’re like me, and have never cooked with it and are a little frightened, just try making it once or twice and you’ll get the hang of it. The first time I attempted to cook it, I steamed in for about 9 minutes and then threw it into my high speed blender to make a creamy soup. Now, I also enjoy baking it in the oven or chopping it up small and sautéing it. The other night, I finally tried the cauliflower pizza from Trader Joe’s, AND IT CAME OUT BOMB!!! Anyways, we’re talking about baking it, so shall we get to that portion??

Recently, I went to this really great Italian restaurant with some friends. The Cauliflower appetizer, minus the butter it normally would be cooked in, was one of the things I could eat on the menu. Normally it’s made drizzled in butter so I asked the waiter if he’d mind asking the chef to use oliv oil instead. He said, “YES!!!” So the way they prepped it was with chili, oil, and capers. Myself and my non plantbased friends thoroughly enjoyed it. My friends even said they thought it was the best thing out of everything on the table they had eaten! Win! Well… Naturally, I had to make this at home, IMMEDIATELY!! And I did. It’s pretty simple. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy my beautiful friends!!

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Spicy Roasted Cauliflower: 
-1 Head Cauliflower
-3 Tablespoons olive oil
-1 Tablespoon Chili Sauce (I used sambal) you can also use 2 Tablespoons for you spicy lovers!!
-1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt
-1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Method:
-Preheat oven to 425.
– While oven preheats, wash and cut the cauliflower. The way I do it, is by sticking a knife slightly slanted at the base where the root is, almost as if to cut a hole in the bottom. You’re basically trying to take the root out. Once you’ve done that, you can break the pieces off and cut the big pieces into smaller pieces.
-Throw all the pieces into a bowl adding all the ingredients and mix it well to evenly coat the cauliflower. Sometimes adding half the ingredients and mixing, and then adding the rest works a little easier for coating!
-Once the cauliflower is coated, oil a baking pan or dish and put in the oven. Roast for 25 minutes.
-Cauliflower should feel a bit softer. If you like it crunchier, check it at 15-20 minutes.
-Take it out and let it cool. Then top it with capers for an added flavor burst.
-Enjoy.
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appetizers, entrees

Pasta Salad

97C40395-84C4-4B85-9858-3EA2C9596699Im going to be quite frank with you… I LOVE PASTA!! I could eat it with an oil based sauce, such as vegan butter or olive oil, I could do red sauce, pink sauce, cheezy sauce, pesto sauce, etc… So which genius decided to make it cold and add vegetables and serve as a lunch or side??!! I’m going to say, probably a wonderful Italian woman! Maybe I’m wrong, correct me, contact and tell me!!

Anyways, pasta salad… It is a great side dish or even served as lunch! I had it for lunch today and it was super satisfying. It’s been really hot in Southern California and I am not seeing the fun in cooking and baking during the day, so most of my dishes during the day are left overs from the night before, salads, or smoothies and nice cream, hehe.

I made this pasta salad last night and let it sit in the fridge to develop all of the flavors. Sitting overnight with any food is truly my favorite, it soaks up the flavor more and it’s always so easy to place out to eat or warm up, in this case, just get it out of the fridge, it’s suppose to be cold.

The flavors of the Italian dressing and crispy raw vegetables go together so great! The slight tang from the vinegar and flavor from the Italian seasoning is wonderful! I suggest you try this recipe and if you’d like to add anything you’re more than welcome. I mean, at the end of the day, this is a salad and who is to yell you exactly what you can or can’t put in it…???

I love olives and I messed around with a few different kinds. I think my favorite combo was black olives and kalmata olives. Either or would be fine too! If you’d like to add a little vegan cheese or some garbanzo beans for extra protein, GO RIGHT AHEAD! Create that shizzzz!

 

Pasta Salad

-1/2 package Spiral pasta

-3 Green onions or 1/4 white onion

-1 small can Black olives or 1/2 jar Kalmata olives

-1/2 Bell pepper (any color you want)

-5 Tablespoons Italian dressing

-Salt & pepper to taste

*Optional: vegan cheese, kidney beans or garbanzo beans.

Method:

-Cook pasta to package directions, then let it cool down or run it under cold water. 

-While the pasta cooks, chop all the ingredients and place in a bowl and toss with the dressing.

-Once your pasta is cold, toss it with the other ingredients and if you can’t wait, then serve it right away, ORRR for better results, let it sit for 4 hours or overnight.

***If you decide to add the other options I listed, make sure you add those as well! Beans add healthy nutrients and protein!

AND remember: Tag me with your creations, I LOOOOOVE seeing your recipe creations! Peace and Love my friends. ❤️💜🌱🥦💋

 

 

recommendations

Maya Kaimal

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Maya Kaimal is a brand created by a wonderful woman who wanted to bring people together through eating. Growing up, it was very important to her family to socialize together and eating was always part of that. Though cooking can be therapeutic and fun, sometimes in our lives we feel we are too busy or don’t have enough time to create a full meal from scratch. It can be time consuming and that means less time with the ones we love. Maya has made it super simple to not only be able to eat a healthy meal, but to also have time to socialize and be around our loved ones.

There are many different products Maya Kaimal offers! Not all the products are vegan, but many are, and the others are vegetarian. Don’t you worry, she still took just as much care and love creating the vegetarian items as the vegans items.

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For example, she has made some amazing shelf stable simmer sauces. I truly enjoyed making my Indian Nachos with the Madras Curry sauce. I have yet to try a few of the other vegan flavors, and I cannot wait! They’re so simple and so flavorful, all you have to do is chop a few of your favorite veggies, you can even throw in some beans/lentils/ or tofu, pour the sauce over them in a pan, and simmer. Viola! You have a quickly home made and amazing dish that your guests will love, and you’ll have more time to spend with them instead of spending so much time cooking. Plus, not all of us are wizards in the kitchen, able to make amazingly spiced Indian food, lets be honest…

There are also some Chickpea chips and pita chips. They are yummy, crunchy, and made with tons of love. I used the chickpea chips for my nachos because they are gluten free, but Pita chips would probably be so yummy too, for those of you that don’t mind eating gluten.

Now for the Everyday Dal packets. Oh my goodness, the pouches are are a flavor punch and basically a full meal. Most would add some rice or quinoa to make it seem more hearty. I was on a camping trip and easily tore open the pouch, poured it into a sauce pan, and heated it on the gas burner for just a few minutes. Again, the meal was easily made, ready quickly, I knew it was healthy, and that I would be eating tons of loving vibes. I think the Red Lentil Butternut Squash Dal so far has been my favorite, but again, I truly enjoyed all the flavors. Go check them out, love on them, and I am sure they would love to hear from you.

You can check them out on their website or follow their Instagram at:

http://www.mayakaimal.com/

@Mayakaimalfoods