Category Archives: side dish

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?

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


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


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?

Easy Baked Eggplant Fries

It wasn’t too long ago that I cooked eggplant for the first time.  And, yeah, I’m a little obsessed with it now. Neal even jokingly mentioned to me the other day — you know, you don’t have to put eggplant in everything right? So of course I then decided to make something that featured eggplant and only eggplant…muahahahaha!


These panko-crusted baked eggplant fries from Oh My Veggies were devoured by the both of us in less than an hour. These were soooo good. Yup. A quadruple “o” so good! That’s how good these eggplant fries were. They were also really simple to make. Think cutting-mixing-double dipping-baking simple. The only things I did differently to the recipe were as follows:

  • I used one large eggplant and peeled it. I know. I was scared ok? The skin still scares me a little…this love is still blossoming between aubergine and I.
  • I threw in a lot more seasoning in the flax egg mixture as well as in the panko bread crumbs (I used the same smoke seasoning mix that’s in this post).
  • I used more flax egg mixture (about 2-3X) and more panko because I had a bigger eggplant. Or I was being overzealous with it. Probably the latter.


I recommend eating these eggplant fries straight from the oven because that is when they are crispiest on the outside. Then for each lovely bite you will experience crispy seasoned panko followed by melt-in-your-mouth, roasty, earthy eggplant. I dipped mine in Isa’s Sanctuary Dip but truly they are delicious as is.

What other veggies do you use to make “fries”?

Creamy Mushroom and Eggplant Strudel that Tastes Stroganoffy

We recently discovered that we get the Food Network.  So I turn it on every now and then. As long as they aren’t showing something too overtly non-vegan, I can usually put on my vegan goggles and pretend everything they are making is vegan and cruelty free. It’s like vegan food cosplay.


The other day I saw Ina Garten making crab strudels using phyllo dough. It looked easy so I decided to make my own. Instead of crab, I used what we had in the fridge which happened to be shiitake mushrooms and an eggplant.


The creamy part of this comes from cashew cheese, though I think the roasted eggplant played a part too. When I began mixing everything together, it straight up looked like raw pork or sausage. I’m still not sure if this was cool because it wasn’t actually pig, or not-cool because it looked like it. *shrugs*.  I continued with it anyways because I was in too deep at that point. Kinda like Walt in season one of Breaking Bad.


This recipe makes two strudel logs (about 18-20 pieces) and was easy to make. The phyllo dough was a bit annoying at first until I said *screw it* and stopped caring if the layers weren’t perfectly placed over each other or if some pieces broke. It all worked out in the end.


The end result was pretty bad ass. Again, much like Walt from Breaking Bad. It tasted like cream of mushroom soup or stroganoff encased in a buttery flaky crust.  I couldn’t really pinpoint the eggplant in each bite…everything just kinda blended together into a comforting creamy and savory taste in my mouth.


Creamy Mushroom and Eggplant Strudel


  • 9 oz of shiitake mushrooms with tough stems removed (this is about 2 1/2 to 3 cups)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 of a medium yellow onion
  • small eggplant (peeled, sliced into disks and ends cut off)
  • 2 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 2 tbs cashew cheese (click here for the recipe)
  • 10 sheets of phyllo dough
  • melted vegan butter to brush on phyllo layers
  • bread crumbs



Throw the mushrooms, garlic, onion and eggplant into a food processor and pulse until it’s crumbly and resembles stuffing.  Stir in the green onions.  Transfer to a lightly oiled or buttered pan and cook on medium high for about 10-12 minutes cooking away most of the liquid. As it cooks, season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir in the cashew cheese. Let it cool so it can be handled safely. I stuck it in the fridge while I worked with the phyllo.

Lay out a piece of phyllo. Brush with melted vegan butter and then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Repeat this four more times, laying each phyllo sheet on top of the other. It’s okay if they aren’t perfectly lined up or if some crack. Then take the mushroom/eggplant mixture and form a log about an inch or so wide on one end and roll it up. Seal the roll with melted butter. Brush more melted butter on the outside and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Score the strudel into 1 1/2 inch pieces and bake at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes. The phyllo should be golden and crispy.


This would make a great party appetizer or snack. Or just eat it straight up by itself like we did.

Fluffy, Creamy…Mashed Cauliflower?

It’s time for us vegans to take veganism to the next level. Making vegan foods mimic non-vegan foods…we got that covered. Now it’s time to make plants taste like other plants. Cauliflower? Boom! It’s now mashed potatoes. Boo-yah!


I can’t take the credit for the idea.  I heard about it awhile ago through a few of my gazillion social media-app thingies. I just never got around to trying it out until now. The idea is simple. Instead of boiling potatoes and mashing them, boil cauliflower and puree them until they are mashed cauliflower posin’ as potatoes.

Why go to the trouble of trying to mimic a plant-based dish with, well, another plant? That’s a good question. One I don’t have the answer to.  But, it tastes delicious and it’s easy to make. That’s good enough for me (aside from the given that it has be cruelty free).


The texture of pureed cauliflower is similar to mashed ‘taters though it’s a tad lighter. Like I could eat more bowls of mashed cauliflower without feeling as stuffed as I would if it were mashed potatoes…ya feel?


To make my mashed cauliflower creamy, I added some cashew cheese and vegan butter. I think this is my new favorite way to eat mashed potatoes. Wait, no, cauliflowers.

Creamy Mashed Cauliflower


  • 1 head of cauliflower pulled or cut into smaller chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs of vegan butter + another 1 tbs
  • 2 tbs of cashew cheese (click here for the recipe)
  • 2 stalks of chopped green onions
  • salt and pepper
  • vegan bacon bits (optional)



Boil the cauliflower until tender (about 10 minutes) and then drain. While the cauliflower is boiling, sautee the minced garlic with 1 tbs of vegan butter on medium heat for about 30 seconds to a minute until you smell a garlicky aroma. Next add the drained cauliflower and the garlic butter to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add 1 tbs of vegan butter, 2 tbs of cashew cheese and salt and pepper to taste and blend some more. Move the mashed cauliflower to a bowl and stir in the chopped green onions. Taste. Add salt and pepper if needed. Garnish with green onions and vegan bacon bits.


Today it’s cauliflowers actin’ all potatoe-y. Next thing we know it’ll be corn going all squashy.

Georgia Peach-y Slaw

IMG_5937 _Snapseed

Dude, why are you buying peaches from South Carolina?– is what I should have said to the man buying peaches clearly marked as being from South Carolina at the farmer’s market.  Because right beside the South Carolina peaches were Georgia peaches. Hey guy, don’t cha know peaches are Georgia’s jam! Not like jelly jam but like that’s my jam JAM!

IMG_5842 _Snapseed

But I didn’t say anything. Maybe I should have. The only thing I did was buy a lot of peaches of Georgia origin.

This quick, one bowl, sweet and tangy peach slaw was a result of my passive aggressive peach buying. It works great as a stand alone side dish or atop bbq jackfruit in a sandwich.

Peachy Slaw


  • 1/8 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbs of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbs of maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 oz bag of pre chopped cole slaw mix (don’t judge)
  • 4 medium peaches, chopped
  • 1 cup of cooked corn
  • 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro (or more…I just threw some in because we had some in the fridge)


  1. In a big bowl mix/whisk the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper.
  2. Throw in the cole slaw mix, chopped peaches, corn and cilantro.
  3. Give it a good stir. I find folding it works best.
  4. Taste it. Add more salt and pepper as needed.

This makes quite a bit, way more than Neal and I could eat. It can be eaten immediately if desired or stored in the fridge, though I think it is best to eat this within a day for that crispy slaw crunch.

IMG_5979 _Snapseed

Sweet Potato Salad with Tangy Ancho Chili Sauce (Virtual Vegan Potluck)

Hey vegan potluckers! We are thrilled to be participating in the third virtual vegan potluck!

One of my favorite dishes is the classic potato salad. But Neal won’t go near it because most versions have vegan mayo in them and he detests mayo. Even if the potato salad is mayo-less, he won’t go near it because he associates it with mayo. Challenge accepted! IMG_5164 _Snapseed

This potato salad is a twist on the classic version. Instead of russet and/or red potatoes, I used sweet potatoes.
IMG_5070 _Snapseed

And instead of the classic mayo, onions and pickle relish mixture, I used Mexican inspired ingredients like dried Ancho chili, cilantro, lime juice, harissa (technically, this ingredient is Moroccan)IMG_5127 _Snapseed

and black beans.IMG_5161 _Snapseed

The tangy sauce is cashew based and comes out nice and creamy but not in a mayo kind of way. IMG_5156 _Snapseed

Sweet Potato Salad with Tangy Ancho Chili Sauce

Ingredients (approximates)

  • 4-5 medium to large peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-1 tbs chopped dried ancho chili
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp harissa
  • 2 1/2 tbs lime juice (+ a couple of splashes at end)
  • 3/8 cup of water
  • 14.5 oz can of rinsed and drained black beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Boil sweet potatoes until tender (about 5-7 minutes in boiling water). You want them tender but not too tender that they turn to mush. Drain and let cool.
  2. In a small blender or food processor (I used the small cup with my magic bullet), pulse the garlic, salt and ancho chili.
  3. Add the raw cashews and blend until it’s powdery/pastey.
  4. Add the olive oil, harissa, lime juice and water and blend until smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, add the sweet potatoes, black beans, cilantro and all the sauce. Gently fold ingredients until the sauce is incorporated.
  6. At this point, I tasted it and ended up mixing in a few more splashes of lime juice (to up the tang factor) as well as some salt, pepper and more harissa.

This salad is great warm or cold, by itself or inside a tortilla! If you want it more spicy, add more ancho chili. It is super tasty and best of all, it passes the Neal test. Finally. A potato salad that he will eat!

IMG_5193 _SnapseedStill hungry? There are more good vegan eats in the Virtual Vegan Potluck. Click the button below to see the dish before mine by Farmer’s Market Vegan.


Click this button to see the dish after mine by The Vegan Gypsy.


Or if you’re just joining in, click below to start from the beginning with our gracious host, Vegan Bloggers Unite.


Happy virtual eating!

Cheese is my weakness

Just like kale, cashews will always have a special place in my kitchen.

As of late, I’ve been experimenting with making cashew cheese without rejuvelac, and have found a recipe I like. This came from the fabulous Mighty Vegan. The recipe is simple, it just takes planning ahead because you have to soak the cashews, then blend it up, let it sit, bake and then chill. Most of the work (as the Mighty Vegan points out) is “inactive” and the time commitment is sooooo worth it!

I let mine sit in the fridge for a full 24 hours to firm up after baking and then rolled one in dill and the other in a combo of paprika and pepper. I also found that mine had the best consistency if I let it sit in the fridge for another couple hours after rolling them around in the herbs. This is a sampling of what I’ve been eating it on.

Seriously, this is an incredibly tasty sliceable and spreadable cheese! I have no more adjectives to describe how awesome and amazing this is. This will be one of those recipes I make over and over again. Thanks Mighty Vegan!

Chick-peace salad

I used to love, love, love (!) tuna salad pre-vegan days.  Luckily somebody discovered that mashed chickpeas, seaweed and some other stuff gives the same taste without the murder and mercury. There are a ton of recipes for chickpea salads out there in the internets. Here’s what I did with what I had in my fridge and pantry.

I used a fork to roughly mash/flake a can of drained chickpeas (15 oz?). (Note to self, try making chickpeas this way next time)

I threw in about 2 stalks of chopped celery, 2 stems of chopped green onions, 1-2 tbsp of freshly minced dill, 1-2 tbsp of vegan mayo, 1 tsp of dijon mustard, 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice,

and 1 heaping tbsp of nori roll flakes.  To “make” nori roll flakes,  I took about 2 sheets of seaweed, ripped them up and put them in the magic bullet…voila…seaweed flakes.

I stirred it all up and added salt and pepper to taste.  I started to eat it straight out of the bowl because it was so nom, but since it was 8pm and I hadn’t eaten dinner I thought “better do up something a little more substantial like a sammich”.

Alas, there was no bread in the house (sad face).  So instead, I spread some out on some nori rolls and had little salad rolls using up some leftover veggies in the fridge (happy face).

I used cucumbers, carrots, sprouts and avocados in my rolls.  (For more creative ideas for salad rolls, check out Turning Veganese’s salad rolls, yum!).

I made about 3 large salad rolls with my chickpea salad and I had enough leftover for a small afternoon snack the next day!

I’ve made this salad numerous times, and each time has been slightly different depending on what I had on hand.  The key to this salad for me is the seaweed and the dill…without that, it doesn’t quite have that “tuna salad” taste.  If I don’t have fresh dill, I sometimes use the pickle relish.

N never liked tuna salad pre-vegan days (b/c of the mayo), so this one’s all for me…holla!

Yes I can Colcannon

N’s parents bought us a subscription to the New York Times for the holidays and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying both the print and online version of it. Recently, there was a post in the “Dining and Wine” section about an Irish dish called Colcannon.  I have no idea as to the correct pronunciation of this b/c all my searches gave me different answers.  The way it sounds in my head is “coal-can-un”, which I’m sure is incorrect.

Colcannon is an Irish dish that is traditionally made with mashed potatoes and cabbage or kale and is usually eaten with ham bacon pig. Regardless of its non-vegan traditions, I thought it sounded interesting and anything with kale piques my interest.  Two days after seeing the NY Times article, I stumbled upon a Colcannon recipe from veganyumyum.  I took that as a sign that maybe I should try this dish out for myself.  The following is based primarily on veganyumyum’s version.

N made the mashed potatoes like he normally does.  He boiled about 4-5 yukon golds until tender, drained them and then mashed them with Earth Balance, plain soy milk, and salt and pepper to taste.

As N worked the potatoes, I sautéed the kale (1 bunch with the stalks removed and shredded) with Gimme Lean sausage (crumbled into chunky bits), freshly minced garlic and a splash or two of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (think, a healthier version of soy sauce) until the kale was super tender and the sausage was browned. (The pic below was near the beginning of the sautéing process).

N then took my kale and sausage mixture and stirred it all in with his already mashed and flavored potatoes.  It was a little messy.

More salt and pepper were added to taste and the finished product….

was hearty and delicious!  Who am I kidding?  Anything with kale and potatoes is going to be good as long as it’s vegan!  I like that this dish had my carbs, my veggies and my protein all in one (though its hard to see the sausage in the pic).  This dish was so incredibly easy to make and I can already imagine so many variations of this dish that I could make in the future…..I’m thinking I could add leeks and scallions or maybe even fennel….I could use spinach instead of kale, oooh I wonder if red cabbage would be good….