Tag Archives: comfort food

Cheesy Vegan Alfredo with Peas and Kale

I’ve never met a creamy, cheesy vegan sauce that I didn’t like. My predilection for “creamy, cheesy” dishes is even mentioned on my “recipes” page . If I ever become allergic to nutritional yeast (i.e. the cheesy part of vegan cheese sauces and cheeses), I think I would die. I kid.

Mostly.

Nutritional yeast – or “nooch”, has some seriously magical transforming powers. With a little vegan cooking science magic, this stuff can go from dry yellow flakes to rich, creamy-cheesy sauce.

cheesy vegan alfredo with peas and kale - Luminous Vegans

It also kicks-ass on it’s own. I may or may not be known to eat nutritional yeast straight from the container. A more um, “proper” way to eat it straight up is  to sprinkle some on freshly popped popcorn for a cheesy vegan snack. I buy our nutritional yeast in bulk at Sevenanda or in little tubs from our local farmer’s market.

For this dish, I mixed quite a bit of nutritional yeast with cashews and almond milk (and other stuff) and the result was a creamy-cheesy vegan alfredo-like sauce. It’s an easy sauce to blend up any night of the week and requires just a little heat to thicken it up. We had it with pasta and sautéed peas and kale because those are things we typically have on hand. There’s probably other delicious ways to use it though—drizzled over roasted veggies, just mixed with cooked spinach or kale…

cheesy vegan alfredo with peas and kale - Luminous Vegans

Cheesy Vegan Alfredo with Peas and Kale

serves 2

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of pasta
  • 1/2 cup of peas (I used frozen)
  • kale leaves from 4 large stalks (torn into smaller pieces)
  • 2 cloves of garlic clove (one should be minced, the other can be whole)
  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews *
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbs of chicken-free broth concentrate (I used Better Than Bouillon)
  • salt and pepper

* I used a high speed blender to blend the sauce so I didn’t soak the cashews for this dish. Depending on the strength of your blender/food processor, you may need to soak the cashews in water for a couple of hours to help break them down and get them creamy.

Directions

Cook the pasta according to package. Now on to the peas and kale mixture. In a lightly oiled pan with a lid, sauté the minced garlic clove until soft on medium heat. Then add the kale leaves and stir in a couple of tablespoons of water or stock so that about a 1/4 inch of liquid sits in the pan. Add the frozen peas. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and then put the lid on and turn to medium-low until the liquid mostly evaporates. I let it simmer with the lid while I make the sauce. It’s good to check on it and give it a good stir adding more liquid if needed. You don’t want the kale sitting in the pan without liquid while it’s actively cooking.

cheesy vegan alfredo with peas and kale - Luminous Vegans

For the sauce put the almond milk, cashews, nutritional yeast, whole garlic clove, lemon juice, onion powder, chicken-free broth concentrate in a high speed blender or food processor and blend until very smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat the sauce in a pot large enough to hold everything (sauce, pasta, peas and kale) over medium-high heat. Make sure to stir/whisk the sauce constantly while heating. It should thicken up pretty quickly (~3 minutes). Remove from heat. Add the pasta, peas and kale. If there is extra liquid in the peas/kale mixture, make sure to drain it out before adding it to the pot. Salt and pepper everything to taste and then dig in!

What are some of your favorite ways to cook with or eat nutritional yeast?

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

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?

Vegan Chicken Pot Pie with a Flaky Phyllo Crust

vegan chicken pot pie | Luminous Vegans

Everybody needs a little comfort now and then. Especially when the government shuts down. Actually, I didn’t really know what a government shutdown meant or how it started until I found sites that were basically “government shutdown” for dummies. Um, is it just me or does this feel like a squabble between parents that only makes the kids suffer?

This vegan chicken pot pie is comfort food to the max and despite the scary phyllo crust is easy to put together. The more I work with phyllo, the more I love it and realize how forgiving it is despite how much it folds and cracks when I’m assembling it. Oh government, you could learn a thing or two from phyllo.

vegan chicken pot pie | Luminous Vegans

The phyllo dough (inspired by Ina Garten) makes a crispy yet light buttery crust for the creamy inside which is filled with onions, carrots, peas, thyme and tarragon. For the chicken I used the lightly seasoned Beyond Meat chicken-free strips (which we stocked up on when they were 2 for $5 recently).

Chikin Pot Pie with a Phyllo Crust

Ingredients

  • 1/2 large yellow onion chopped
  • 8-10 baby carrots chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup of peas (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 package (6 oz) of Beyond Meat chicken-free strips thawed and cut into cubes**
  • 1 heaping tbs of vegan butter
  • 3 tbs chickpea (garbanzo) flour
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp chicken-free broth concentrate (I used Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Base)
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried tarragon
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 sheets of phyllo dough with enough melted butter to brush on each
  • 8 inch round baker’s pan, lightly greased

I was worried that I would have too much filling for the pan when I made this but it was just enough. There’s room to add more peas, carrots and/or chicken-free strips (or tofu) if you want it really full.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375F. Sautee the garlic, onions and carrots in a little oil on medium heat. When the carrots are mostly tender (~8 minutes) add in the peas and Beyond Meat chicken-free cubes and toss with a little salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.vegan chicken pot pie | Luminous Vegans

Now onto the sauce, which starts with a mini-roux to make it thick. Using a whisk, melt the butter with the chickpea flour in pot over medium-low heat. It will be super clumpy and thick, but keep whisking until the butter and flour are incorporated well into a paste. Then slowly whisk in the almond milk. Add the chicken-free broth, thyme, tarragon and salt and pepper to taste. Continue whisking over low heat until the mixture simmers and thickens. Stir this mixture into the set-aside sauteed veggies and chicken-free cubes.

Place one sheet of phyllo in the pan and brush with butter. The edges will hang out. Layer another sheet down alternating how it is placed and brush with butter. Continue until all sheets are used. Pour filling in the middle. Fold the hangy off phyllo edges into the center of the pan and brush the top with butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 375F. Crust should be golden.

vegan chicken pot pie | Luminous Vegans

Let cool a little before digging in.

vegan chicken pot pie | Luminous Vegans

Perhaps I should send some to congress. It’s hard to argue when you have delicious food in your mouth.

vegan chicken pot pie | Luminous Vegans

**Pressed tofu cubes can replace the chicken-free strips, though I would increase the amount of seasoning if I used tofu and probably saute the tofu separately before adding to the veggies to get a nice crispy outside on it.

What foods make you feel like you’re getting a giant comforting hug on the inside?

PS There’s still time to enter the VeganDish Pottery giveaway. You have until midnight (EST) on Friday to enter.

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Easy Banana Pudding Cups

banana-pudding-cups

I grew up eating traditional Thai food. But there were several American (mostly Southern) dishes that we would eat on occasion. This was probably due to my pa. He didn’t cook a lot, but there were a handful of American dishes that were his jam.

One of these dishes was sweet banana pudding with Nabisco vanilla wafers. I can’t actually remember if he made this or if he was just a champion at eating it. Either way, this banana pudding dessert was something we both really enjoyed.banana-pudding-cups-8220-1

I’ve made it before using store-bought vegan vanilla pudding packs. This time I wanted to go all Martha Stewart on the pudding and make it from scratch. A couple of recipes from An Unrefined Vegan and The Vegan Cookbook Aficionado got me thinkin’— oh yeah, I forgot cashews can be used for more than just cheese! So the banana-y creaminess of this pudding is amped up with raw cashews.

Layered with organic vanilla snaps (storebought—I don’t have time to Martha Stewart everything!) and fresh banana slices, this dessert is a fresher animal-friendly version of the yellow stuff I grew up with. Yet it still remains creamy, decadent and full of banana-vanilla flavor.

banana-pudding-cups

Banana Pudding Cups with Vanilla Cookies

Ingredients

This makes about 1 1/2 cups of the banana pudding. When layered with cookies and bananas, it fills two 8oz cups as shown.

  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight (at least 6-8 hours) and drained
  • 4 tbs coconut cream
  • vanilla beans scraped from one inch of a vanilla pod
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 ripe bananas  (if you don’t want your dessert turnin’ dark due to banana oxidation, lightly soak the bananas in a little lemon juice mixed with water before blending or assembling)
  • 6-8 vanilla wafers (I used these or make your own)

Directions

Blend the cashews, coconut cream, vanilla beans, maple syrup and 2 bananas in a high-speed blender or food processor until silky smooth. Set aside. Slice the remaining banana. Now, assemble. You can do the layers however you wish. I was pretty random but I think I did cookie, pudding, banana slices…until I reached the top of each cup (about 3 pudding layers). Cover the cups with saran wrap and let it sit in the fridge for at least 3 hours so the cookies soften from the pudding and the pudding firms. Then when it’s ready, crush some more cookies on top and dig in!

banana-pudding-cups

What dessert from your childhood do you still love to eat?

Wayward Vegan Cafe in Seattle

As Neal prepares for the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, I am reminded of the last time we were there which was after Vida Vegan Con.  We could only hang around for one meal because our final destination was Whidbey Island and we had a ferry to catch.

So of course we had to make our Seattle meal epic, which is why we chose Wayward Vegan Cafe. This place has a menu that is FIVE full pages of diner comfort food. They have everything from Belgian waffles to Country Fried Steak….talk about tough decisions. wayward-0772-2

At one point, I had so much trouble deciding that I was going to employ the “waving finger and random stop” method to help me. This is where I wave my finger randomly all around a menu and then have Neal randomly say “stop”. Wherever my finger lands when he says “stop” is what I order. This method is also good for choosing vacations, movies, what to wear, etc.

Given the sheer quantity of menu items I wanted to try, I’m impressed that I didn’t have to resort to this primitive decision making app. I chose the Crunch Wrap Supreme Master–Ground “beef”, refried beans, diced tomatoes, diced red onions, shredded cheddar cheese, and crispy lettuce on a crunchy tostada round and wrapped in a warm flour tortilla.

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It was served with cilantro sour cream, salsa fresco and my choice of a potato salad side.

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Neal got Suns Over Seattle–Grilled ham slices, American style cheese, and their signature tofu scramble sandwiched between golden buttery sourdough slices and served with hasbrowns.

wayward-0776-3So. Good. All of it. This is the kind of place where you discreetly leave with one button undone (I hope I’m not the only person who does this).

Neal is going to be pretty busy working the festival this weekend. But hopefully he will get a chance to drop by Wayward Vegan Cafe or perhaps some other vegan eats. If you’re gonna be at the Bumbershoot festival, he’d love for you to drop by and visit him (Epic Problems) at Flatstock in the Armory.

Dump-it-in Chili

As much as I love to eat, I don’t always have the time to get cray-cray in the kitchen, especially weekdays after work. This is a great meal for when I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen because “ain’t nobody got time for ‘dat!“.

It starts with the crock pot. I turned it to high and sprayed the insides with oil. Then I dumped in a 28oz can of chopped tomatoes, a 14oz can of kidney beans and a 15oz can of black beans. I only drained the beans, but I didn’t rinse them. 
IMG_4420 _Snapseed

Next I dumped in a cup of frozen corn.IMG_4422 _Snapseed

And one small chopped onion and one zucchini.IMG_4430 _Snapseed

Then I dumped in approximately: 1/2 tbs chicken broth concentrate, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp chili powder, a dash of harissa and a 1/4 tsp black pepper. I didn’t really measure it out. I just tasted it with my mouth to see if it was seasoned to my liking.

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At the last-minute I decided to throw in these Gardein beefless tips. We had a boatload of these because of a “buy one get one free” sale at Publix (Thanks A, for giving me the heads up on that one!).

IMG_4444 _SnapseedThen I stirred it all up and let it do its thing while I did other important life stuff, like watch youtube videos and take a nap.

We ate about 2.5-3 hours later. Depending on when you get home from work this could make for a late dinner but this works for our house because we usually don’t eat until 9pm anyways.

So the moral of the story is I let my crock pot do the work. My mouth couldn’t tell the difference and I got my internets fix. Its a win-win!

IMG_4447 _Snapseed

Virtual Vegan Potluck

Hey-o! How’s the virtual vegan potluck (November edition) going? We hope you’re not too stuffed yet to enjoy what we have made here at luminous vegans!

Today we are veganizing a butternut squash lasagna recipe from the food network. Veganizing it was quite simple. We subbed almond milk for the dairy milk, Daiya for the cheese and Earth Balance for the butter and we didn’t use parm.

The first step is to simmer the butternut squash with salt and pepper.

Next, we blended it up with cookies. Instead of amaretti cookies, we used vegan oatmeal cookies.

A creamy sauce was made next with almond milk, flour, Earth Balance, nutmeg and salt and pepper. Half of this was blended with some basil…

and then reincorporated.

Then we built us some lasagna using no-boil noodles.

Lasagna noodles first, then butternut squash

then some Daiya

then some creamy-basil sauce…we repeated this layering several times and topped the whole thing with more cheese.

Ours was a little flat because our pan was a little big, but the taste was not flat at all! It was an all out  flavor explosion in my mouth! I do love butternut squash and all things creamy. I am looking forward to having these leftovers again tonight.

Are you just jumping in to the virtual vegan potluck? You can go to the very beginning of the potluck by visiting our gracious host over at Vegan Bloggers Unite.

Visit the dish before ours by clicking the button below:

See what comes after our dish by clicking the button below:

Have fun!