Category Archives: gluten free

Parsnip Fries: Not French, Not Fried and Not Potatoes

Poor potatoes. Getting replaced by other vegetables. First there was cauliflower going all mashed tater-like. And now parsnips are acting all like french fries!  At least we’re set if we ever find out potatoes are sentient. Always look on the bright side of life, right Mrs. Spud?

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

I’ve never had parsnips. Ever. Until now. Anxious to try them, I excitedly took a bite of one right when these made it to my kitchen counter. I read that you could eat them raw. Um, anticlimactic much? They didn’t really taste like much. There was a hint of carrot-like sweetness and the teensiest hint of something else bite-y. Almost like a radish. But mostly it was just kinda bland. Almost like biting into a raw potato but a little better. Based on that bite, eating them raw was not gonna be a thing I did.

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

So I poked around on the internet to find out what else I could do with them and found that they could be made to resemble the classic French fry. Perfect! Roasting veggies is my favorite lazy-girl method!

All I did was cut the parsnips into strips that resembled “fry shapes”. I left the cleaned skins on because ain’t nobody got time for dat! Then I lightly coated them in olive oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper. I roasted them at 450F for about 20 minutes, tossing them halfway. When they were done, I sprinkled a little more salt and pepper all over and topped it with some freshly chopped parsley.

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

Roasted parsnips are much better than raw parsnips. I think the roasting helps bring out the sweetness some and makes it more of a delightful texture. The texture and taste are very similar to, well, a tender french fry but with a tad more sweetness and that very subtle hint of something mildly bite-y that I just can’t put my finger on. Some describe it as a “woody” or “earthy” taste. I’ll just call it that parsnip swag. Because it’s that swag that makes these parsnip fries stand out from regular old French fries.

Parsnip Fries - Luminous Vegans

Although these parsnip fries are perfectly pleasant on their own, I couldn’t help but recreate the whole French fry experience by dipping it into ketchup. I demolished the whole plate all by myself.

Have you eaten parsnips before? Can you recommend other ways to cook and eat it?

Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti Squash

I’ve always wondered about the first person who decided that squash were edible. I’m talking about any kind of squash. Most are hard on the outside and could probably be used as a zombie head-bashing weapon if needed. They come in all sorts of shapes and various colors. Some have bumps. Some have squash butts. Some are as smooth as porcelain. 

Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti Squash- Luminous Vegans

But for each various type of squash out there, just think….someone said— yeah, this is probably something I can eat. How did they know? Did they try to just bite into it, skin and all? Or did they hack it in half first? Maybe it was all just some pleasant accident.

In any case, I’m thankful to whoever ate the first squash. Because of them I’ve enjoyed butternut, delicata (or sweet potato squash), acorn squash and kabocha. The most recent squash in my I’m-gonna-eat-all-the-different-squash-out-there phase is spaghetti squash.

Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti Squash- Luminous Vegans

Spaghetti squash is named for exactly the reason you think. It looks like spaghetti on the inside. You know how most squash have some stringy-ness involved? Well this squash’s stringy-ness is pasta-like. Even though I looked at like every single spaghetti squash picture online. It wasn’t until I actually scraped out the insides of my first spaghetti squash that I kinda gasped and was like — whoa…so that’s why you’re called spaghetti squash. 

I was inspired by Allyson Kramer to pair the light and delicate strands of spaghetti squash with a heartier, creamy mushroom sauce. Creating a surprisingly rich comfort food. The base of the sauce is nearly identical to the one I used for this “cheesy” vegan alfredo.  It’s an easy meal to put together as the sauce can be made while the spaghetti squash is in the oven.

Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti Squash- Luminous Vegans

Spaghetti Squash with a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

serves 2, print recipe here

Ingredients

Squash:

  • 1 medium to large spaghetti squash
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup unroasted cashews (soaked for a couple of hours or overnight if not using a high speed blender)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbs chicken-free broth concentrate (I used Better Than Bouillon brand)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces of chopped button mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbs chopped chives + extra for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375F. Cut the squash in half and scrape out seeds. Coat it with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 50 minutes until you can pierce the inside of the squash easily with a fork. 

While the squash roasts, make the sauce by blending together the almond milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and chicken-free broth. Set aside. In a pan over medium-high heat, sauté the onion and garlic in a little oil for about 2-3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for about another 4 minutes, until mushrooms are tender. Add the chives and parsley and cook for another minute. Then add the set aside sauce. Let the sauce simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Salt and pepper it to taste. 

Creamy Mushroom Spaghetti Squash- Luminous VegansWhen the squash is done, scrape out the inside “noodles” into serving bowls, top with mushroom sauce and garnish with extra chives. 

I’ve roasted spaghetti squash whole and by cutting it in half before sticking it into the oven. Hands down, I prefer cutting it in half first before roasting. This results in squash strands that are moist, but not soggy. Which is perfect for this creamy not-pasta dish. 

Do you like spaghetti squash? What is your favorite squash during squash season?

Apples with Roasted Beet Tartare, Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts - Luminous Vegans

When I heard that this month’s Virtual Vegan Potluck featured ingredient was beets. I went against every instinct I had and signed up to bring an appetizer that uses beets. I don’t eat beets often. I don’t cook beets. And I rarely make appetizers. What can I say. I like a challenge.

But I do enjoy eating beets. That has to count for something right? My experience with beets growing up is all canned. So this month was the month of learning how to cook beets. Not to mention learning how to handle beet “blood”. Oh yeah, when dealing with beets….there will be beet “blood”. Just imagine Daniel Day Lewis saying that.

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts - Luminous Vegans

What I’ve learned is that beets don’t need a lot of finessing. They have a great rich and earthy taste on their own. I’ve also learned to use parchment paper when cutting beets. Because beet blood on a wood cutting board is a nightmare. But beet stained hands aren’t that bad. Sure, I could use gloves. But having beet stained hands is somewhat satisfying to me.

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts - Luminous Vegans

This appetizer is a deconstructed beet and apple salad (without the salad-y part). Fresh, tart slices of granny smith apples are topped with creamy cashew cheese and roasted beets coated with a sweet lemon dressing. It’s all sprinkled with crunchy, candied walnuts and chopped chives.

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts - Luminous Vegans

All the goodies are on one end of the apple slice. The other end is for holdin’. I like to eat it all in one bite so all the flavors and contrasting textures meld together. But making it a two-bite deal works also.

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts - Luminous Vegans

Even though there are multiple components to this app, it came together easily because I made the components in advance. So all I had to do was assemble it before you guys came over. It can be served cold or at room temp (my preference).

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts - Luminous Vegans

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad

Adapted from Martha Stewart. Makes about 25-30 apple slices.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium beets, roasted and peeled (I used this method)
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 tbs maple syrup (for walnuts) + 1 1/2 tbs maple syrup (for beets)
  • 1/2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs lemon juice + extra for dipping apple slices
  • 2 granny smith apples
  • 1 cup cashew cheese
  • handful of chives, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts - Luminous Vegans

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts - Luminous Vegans

Directions

Toss the walnuts with the 1 tbs of maple syrup, brown sugar and pinch of salt. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and stick them in the oven at 400F for 5 minutes (I did this when I roasted the beets to save oven power). Take them out and give them a shake and put in for another 4-5 minutes. Let them cool and then store in an air tight container if not using it right away.

Cut the roasted beets into small cubes and put in a mixing bowl. Make the beet dressing by mixing the olive oil, lemon juice and the 1 1/2 tbs of maple syrup together. I put it all in a little jar and shake it up. Coat the beet cubes with about HALF of the sweet lemon dressing. Save the other half for drizzling over the finished serving plate.

Slice the apples into pieces that are about 1/4 inch thick. Then cut those slices in half so you have bite-size pieces as shown. Dip both sides of the apple pieces in a small bowl of lemon juice mixed with a little water to prevent them from browning.

Now it’s time to assemble. I put about 1/2 tbs of cashew cheese on the end of each apple piece, followed by some beet cubes and then a sprinkling of crushed candied walnuts and chives. When plating, drizzle more of the dressing on top.

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts - Luminous Vegans

I was worried that the beet juices would drip everywhere making this a nightmarish appetizer. But the juices just kinda settled into the thick creamy cashew cheese.  But don’t worry if you spill a little. Because that’s how we roll in this house (aka, the pups will eat it up).

Deconstructed Apple and Beet Salad with Cashew Cheese and Candied Walnuts - Luminous Vegans

Hungry for more? If you just happenstanced on this post, there is so much more vegan food to be had. Go back and check out what Cadry is serving over at Cadry’s Kitchen.

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Or hop on forward to Ashley’s place at A Cook in the Making.

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Or start from the very beginning (at Vegan Bloggers Unite) and work your way through 100+ delectable vegan beverages, appetizers, salads, side dishes, main dishes and desserts!

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Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the Virtual Vegan Potluck!

 Do you like beets? What’s your favorite way to cook and eat them?

Asian Noodle Soup with Mushroom Balls and Yam POWER

Easy Asian Noodle Soup - Luminous Vegans

Have you taken the time to explore your local Asian market yet? We have several that we frequent. I love to go when we have time to explore each aisle thoroughly. It’s during these times that I find gems like this.

Mushroom Balls- Luminous Vegans

Vegetarian Imitation of Mushroom Balls! So let me get this straight. They’re imitating mushrooms in this veggie ball with the POWER of yam. Hey, that’s cool! I’m all about having different veggies imitate other veggies. However there’s still mushroom up in there. Something lost in translation maybe? Either way, I love that it also includes exotic ingredients like white and black PAPPER*.

I am inspired by visuals, so the picture on the package of the mushroom balls made me think to use this in a soup.

Rice Noodles - Luminous Vegans

Lately, I don’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen and easy hands-off, throw-together meals are my jam.  This tasty and warming Asian noodle soup comes together easily. It simply involves making some noodles, simmering a broth with chopped veggies, and pouring the broth over the noodles. There’s also some optional accompaniments.

Easy Asian Noodle Soup - Luminous Vegans

The following is a rough estimate of what I did. It doesn’t have precise measurements but soups are forgiving like that. And it’s adaptable to your preferences. That’s what makes it so much fun!

Easy Asian Noodle Soup - Luminous Vegans

Easy Asian Noodle Soup (with optional Mushroom Balls)

Ingredients (estimates)

Soup ingredients

  • handful of rice noodles
  • 5-6 cups vegan broth (I used the vegan no-beef broth pictured above)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder (this is a mix of cinnamon, star anise, fennel, ginger, cloves, white pepper and licorice root)
  • 2-3 cups of roughly chopped veggies of your choice (I used a combo of the mushroom balls and oyster mushrooms)

Accompaniments

  • bean sprouts
  • cilantro
  • lime slices
  • Sriracha

Directions

Prepare the noodles according to the package and set aside. Making the noodles usually involves soaking it in hot or boiling water. Next pour the vegan broth in a big pot and mix in the Chinese Five Spice. Bring it to a boil. Add the veggies. Cover and let simmer for 25 minutes or so, until mushrooms are tender. Taste the broth and stir in more Chinese Five Spice and/or add salt and pepper if desired. The broth I used is very flavorful, so I didn’t add any more spices. Portion out some noodles in a bowl and pour the broth with veggies over it. Squeeze in a little lime juice and top with the other accompaniments.

Easy Asian Noodle Soup - Luminous Vegans

A couple of notes. If you’re using a lot of different veggies, the simmer time might vary. For example, carrots might require longer to get tender. Also, you may have to throw in the veggies at different times depending on what veggies you’re using and how much time it takes for each to cook. I didn’t have to worry too much about that because the mushroom balls were already cooked and just needed to heat. Oyster mushrooms also get tender quickly.

Easy Asian Noodle Soup - Luminous Vegans

Change this up to meet your preferences. Like it less soupy? Use less broth. Want it more chunky? Add more veggies. Don’t like noodles? Leave ’em out. Throw in some cubed tofu or shredded seaweed at the end. Get creative and use what ya got!

What’s the wackiest thing you’ve found at an Asian market?

 *Just in case it isn’t clear, I get that yam power is yam powder. And that black and white papper are not “exotic” ingredients. It’s just pepper. Regular pepper.  
 
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Roasted Delicata Squash: A Squash to Squash all Squashes

I feel like I’m always late to the food party. There always seems to be tasty food stuffs that everybody knows about. Except me. First there were kale chips. After I discovered them and realized they didn’t require a dehydrator, I started buying multiple bunches of kale on my farmer’s market trips instead of just one. Next came roasted chickpeas. But now I make and devour them on the weekly.

Roasted Delicata Squash -Luminous Vegans

And now my latest “how did I not know about this amazing delicious snack?” discovery…roasted delicata squash! I had seen delicata squash popping up all over my instagram feed and on blogs. However, I kept bypassing it at the farmer’s market. I didn’t want to fall in love with another squash that could only be broken into by hacking away at it like Michonne hacking zombie heads on The Walking Dead (Anyone see the most recent episode? Can I get an “omg” about Carol?).

Delicata Squash -Luminous Vegans

But then I started hearing this crazy rumor that it wasn’t hard to cut. In fact, I heard you could even eat the skin. Shut the front door! And the back door! Shut all the doors! I don’t even know what that means, but it somehow seems appropriate for this amazing delicata squash. A squash that won’t leave me crying in a corner because I hacked at it all crooked. A squash that lets my lazy-girl shine through because I don’t have to peel it.

Delicata Squash -Luminous Vegans

After slicing, deseeding and roasting this beautiful squash. I am left with a sweet, almost caramelized squash snack with an oh-so slightly crisp skin. I have yet to explore this squash beyond just roasting. I keep thinking I’ll try something different with the next delicata squash haul. But roasting it really highlights the wonderful sweet delicata squash flavor. And right now, I am just enjoying it on its own.

Roasted Delicata Squash -Luminous Vegans

Roasted Delicata Squash

Ingredients

  • as many delicata squash as you want (here, I am using one)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400F. Wash the outside of the squash. Use a sharp knife and cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Cut it into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. Coat lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (or whatever herbs you want!). Roast for about 30-40 minutes, flipping them half way.

I leave mine in on the long end because I like it more caramelized and kinda burnt. But like the good burnt. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper straight out the oven if desired.

Roasted Delicata Squash -Luminous Vegans

So I know I’m late to this tasty roasted delicata squash. But I’m posting this in case there are other lost souls out there like myself. Perhaps they’ll stumble onto this page. If just one person learns about delicata squash from this post, then I’ll be happy. 😉

How do you like to eat delicata squash? What’s your favorite squash?

The Vegg: Vegan Egg Yolk so Realistic I Was All Whoa

I never thought I would get a chance to try this incredibly realistic and tasty vegan egg yolk called the Vegg. But Rocky, the creator of the Vegg, graciously sent it (and a free Vegg cookbook) out to any vegan bloggers who asked during Vegan MoFo.

The Vegg is a completely vegan egg yolk made of fortified nutritional yeast, sodium alginate, black salt and beta carotene. For a complete list of ingredients, visit their website.

Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies - Luminous Vegans

Upon opening the package, it just looks like straight-up nutritional yeast. But when blended with water, this stuff magically turns into a vegan egg yolk that smells and looks so realistic that after blending it I was like —whoa — Joey Lawrence style. Then I ran to show Neal. Then I dipped a spoon into the “yolk” and licked it. Repeatedly. (Note: I went vegan for the animals, not because I didn’t like the taste of eggs, meat or cheese. I’m all for replicating these tastes in my mouth as long as it’s done compassionately.)

I wanted to make the fried egg from the cookbook but it required some odd ingredients (calcium chloride) and a spherification cooking technique. Huh? So I made a lazy version of fried vegan eggs with what we had on hand. For the white part of the egg, I thinly sliced firm silken tofu and fried it with oil, black salt and pepper on a pan with a terrible non-stick coating. Do you see where this is going? Holy fried egg mess, batman!Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies - Luminous Vegans

They came out kinda broken and stuck to the pan and I had to scrape a bunch of crispy bits off. BUT. After I drizzled the Vegg yolk on it, it totally reminded me of fried egg after the yolk is pierced and the egg yolk is running all over. And with the black salt and Vegg going on, it really tasted like a delicious fried egg to me. We had it atop roasted potatoes, tomatoes and green beans.

Lazy Girl Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies

Roasted Veggies

  • 3 red potatoes, roughly chopped
  • half a yellow onion sliced
  • 3/4 pound green beans, stems removed
  • 4 large slices of tomato, halved
  • oil (I used olive)
  • salt and pepper

Fried Vegan Egg

  • one box of silken tofu (Learn from me. Use extra-firm, maybe not silken tofu and a GOOD non-stick pan)
  • oil (I used canola)
  • black salt (Kala Namak)
  • pepper
  • 2-3 Vegg yolks (2 tsp Vegg powder blended with 1/2 cup of water. It has to be blended with a machine to get this stuff to “eggify”. I used my magic bullet since it was such a small amount).

Directions

Coat the potatoes and onions with oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast them in the oven at 425F. Let them roast for about an hour but ~30 minutes in, stir in the beans adding more salt/pepper/oil as needed. 50 minutes in, place the tomato slices on top. After ~60 minutes, the tomatoes had broken down. I stirred it so everything was slightly coated in a roasty tomatoe-y flavor.

While that was roasting I fried thin (sometimes broken) slices of tofu in oil on medium heat. I fried them about 3-5 minutes on each side. Each side of tofu also got a generous dose of black salt and pepper.

Then I just piled the tofu on the roasted veggies and poured the Vegg yolk (warmed in the microwave) all over!

Fried Vegan Egg with Roasted Veggies -Luminous Vegans

I really like the Vegg so far. We used it here in french toast and I still have several uses in my little packet. The Vegg website shows where you can buy this both at brick and mortar stores and online. I’m considering buying a full jar because it seems like a decent deal at about $12 for a container that makes over 99 egg yolks. I could see it lasting me a long time since I wouldn’t be cooking with it all the time.

Have you tried the Vegg? What do you think of it? How have you used it?

Easy Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup with Apples and Sage

Easy Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup with Apples and Sage - Luminous Vegans

I’m ready for fall. Yet Atlanta still seems to be desperately clinging onto the remnants of summer. That doesn’t stop me from wearing hoodies even when it’s still in the 80s (F) outside. Of course, I’m inside most of the time so it’s not like I’m actually sweatin’ up some pit stains. But that’s beside the point.

The point is I am not going to let something like the weather dictate what should be fall. Bring on the cozy slippers, hoodies, warm apple cider and cinnamon. And I WILL eat all the orange foods. I’m looking at you sweet potato and pumpkin.

This no-recipe sweet and savory soup is easy to make and customizable. Mine was full of roasted sweet potatoes, onions and pumpkin puree. To add a little sumpin’ special, I topped it with sautéed apples and sage leaves and a sprinkling of vegan bacon bits. This no-recipe was inspired by a pumpkin soup from FoodNetwork.

Easy Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup with Apples and Sage - Luminous Vegans

So the first step is to roast chopped veggies coated with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. I roasted three sweet potatoes with one onion at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. You could also use butternut squash, acorn squash or whatever roasty veggies you have on hand.

Easy Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup with Apples and Sage - Luminous Vegans

The next step is to soupify the veggies in a blender. I put 1/2 – 2/3 of the roasted veggies in the Vitamix (I didn’t use all of it because it was too much) and added ~1/2 cup of canned pumpkin puree. Then I turned the blender on and slowly added vegan chikin broth until I got a consistency that I liked. I used about 3-4 cups of broth. I wanted this soup on the thicker side.

Easy Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup with Apples and Sage - Luminous Vegans

Now it’s time to heat the soup while adding in some seasoning. Heating is important for dried herbs as it releases flavor. The blender I use heats as it blends so I did this directly in the blender (because dishes). Stirring herbs into the soup over the stove top is just as good.

I used dried tarragon, a pinch of nutmeg, maple syrup, salt and pepper all to taste. Thyme, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and cloves are just a few other spices that would work well. Not sure how much of each spice to use? Start with small amounts, blend (or stir) and taste. Keep adding in small amounts until your tastebuds are happy.

For the soup topper I sautéed a cubed apple and ribbons of fresh sage leaves (about 3)  with vegan butter and sugar until the apples were soft. I used a Granny Smith apple because that’s what we had but I think a sweeter apple would work even better.

Easy Sweet Potato Pumpkin Soup with Apples and Sage - Luminous Vegans

To recap: roast veggies, blend with broth and pumpkin puree, heat and season and top with stuff. Pretty simple right? I also topped my apple topper with vegan bacon bits. The soup topper is totally optional but adds a nice fruity, crunchy and salty bite to everything that complements the sweetness of the soup.

So it may not be fall outside just yet but at least it is where it counts. My belly.

What are your favorite fall flavors?