Mushroom Rosemary Fettuccine

I used to hate mushrooms. It was a vehement hate until one day when I was 21 somebody forced me to try a mushroom rosemary cream sauce. I was instantly hooked, quickly thereafter obsessed and now I can’t imagine my life without mushrooms. This recipe is reminiscent of that creamy sauce that seduced me so many years ago. I’m sure there is a way to make this a delicate, silky sauce but I much prefer it potent and full of garlic.

Mushroom Rosemary Fettuccine

2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tbsp earth balance
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups of crimini or white mushrooms
2 cups of soy milk
2 rosemary stalks, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup of nutritional yeast (optional)
dash of cayenne (optional)
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper

5-6 ounces of fettuccine, cooked according to package directions

1) Warm oil and earth balance in a heavy skillet over medium high heat.
2) Add garlic and toss for 30 seconds.
3) Add mushrooms, stirring constantly until cooked down more than halfway.
4) Add chopped rosemary and a fair amount of salt and fresh pepper to the mushrooms.
5) Add soymilk and reduce heat to medium.
6) Once soymilk is warm, add lemon juice. This will cause the soymilk to curdle and thicken.
7) Stir in the nutritional yeast and cayenne, if using.
8) Once sauce is warmed through and lightly bubbling, add cooked fettuccine. Toss to coat, adding more soymilk if necessary.
9) Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes
Servings: 3-4




Nutritional Yeast Popcorn

The first time I was offered nutritional yeast on popcorn I looked at my friend like he was crazy. What on earth was that weird yellow stuff and why are you putting it on my food?! Upon first taste I swallowed my words and an enormous bucket of popcorn. Ever since I have been obsessed with all things nutritional yeast (a peek through my blog will testify to this) and have been working on perfecting my popcorn recipe. I personally prefer the stove top method to the air popped variety as I prefer a bit of oil to make it richer (read: fatty goodness).

Nutritional Yeast Popcorn

2 tbsp of grapeseed oil
1/2 cup of yellow or white popcorn
a spritz of olive oil spray
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
1 tsp of sea salt
dash of cayenne (optional)

Place oil and kernels in a heavy pot with a tight-fighting glass lid on medium-high heat. Using oven mitts, shake pot to coat the kernels with oil. Continue shaking every 20-30 seconds, never letting it rest on the heat for more than 30 seconds.  After all kernels are popped transfer to an extra large bowl. Lightly spritz with olive oil spray and start shaking in the salt and nutritional yeast. Repeat this process as you continue shaking the bowl until all contents are evenly coated. Top off with a dash of cayenne (if using) and give it a final shake. Throw on a movie and enjoy!

Prep time: 10 minutes




Top 10 Lists

It’s the end of the year and Top 10 Lists are dominating all publications. I’ll play along and create a few of my own.

Top 10 Condiments I Cannot Live Without
Nutritional Yeast          Vegan Mayonnaise    
Soy Sauce            Dijon Mustard        Olive Oil        
Fresh Black Pepper              Earth Balance
Cayenne                Coconut Milk          Miso
Top 10 Things You Will Always Find In My House
Garlic            Onions             Olive Oil
Jasmine Rice       Chick Peas        Tofu
Canned Tomatoes       Black Peppercorns
Hot Peppers    Nutritional Yeast
Top 10 Favorite Soups
Indian Style Lentil      Cuban Black Bean      Miso
 Green Split Pea    Corn Chowder      Tom Yum
        Spicy Chili      Vietnamese Pho

Spicy Tomato Cilantro Soup

So many of my recipes are born out of an abundance of ingredients I have to use before they go bad and/or leftovers that need to be combined to make a new meal. I happened to have an open container of tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, some leftover brown rice and a craving for soup and thus this creation was born. This particular combination was so warming and delicious, I plan to make it all winter long as it was simple, quick and satisfying.

Spicy Tomato Cilantro Soup

3 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
2 celery sticks including the leaves
2 carrots
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 small can of tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp of evaporated cane juice
2 cups of rice milk (or dairy-free milk of choice)
large pinch of paprika
large pinch of cayenne
fresh pepper and sea salt
2 cups of cooked brown rice (optional)
a bunch of chopped cilantro

Warm olive oil in a soup pot and add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Saute on medium heat with a bit of salt until fragrant and softened. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar and cook partially covered for at least 10 minutes or until flavors are combined. Using an immersion blender, puree soup contents until smooth. Add rice milk, lower heat and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add dried spices and rice, if using. Cook until warmed through. Add cilantro and serve.

Servings:  5-6 large bowls
Prep and Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes




Miso Gravy

A savory gravy can pull together a simple meal and transform it into a taste explosion worthy of licking the plate. Whenever I don’t feel like cooking, I usually make nutritional yeast tofu and/or mashed potatoes. These simple creations were begging for a savory topping but making gravy can be time consuming and it doesn’t seem worth it for a single person meal. Enter this miso gravy. Though I love a gravy with fresh onions and garlic, I decided to create this one with a prominent miso flavor that I can whip up easily with ingredients I always have on hand. Make sure you add the miso after the the gravy is no longer boiling so you don’t destroy the nutritional benefits.

Miso Gravy

1/3 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
2 tbsp garbanzo bean or spelt flour (or flour of your choice)
2/3 cup plain rice milk (or other non-dairy beverage)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp white miso (or other light miso)
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp fresh pepper
1/8 tsp dried sage
2 tsp arrowroot powder, dissolved in water (optional)

1. Heat Earth Balance in a medium saucepan over medium heat
2. Add flour and stir constantly until fully dissolved
3. Add rice milk and continue stirring until gravy thickens
4. Reduce heat to low and add nutritional yeast, stirring constantly
5. Add miso and rest of ingredients and continue to stir
6. If gravy is not thick enough, add some arrowroot powder and remove from heat
7. Serve immediately

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2-4




Ranch Dresssing

Once upon a time when I lived in Boulder, Colorado, I used to live across the street from the local vegan shop named Three Little Figs, owned by two lovely ladies. I was addicted to their ranch and was sad when not only did I move but they also closed. The owner agreed to give me the recipe and swore me to secrecy. She felt safe that I would be living all the way in Portland and couldn’t possibly betray her recipe. Little did she know that someday I’d have a blog. Out of respect for her, however, I will only post the ingredients I used and not actual amounts. I did alter the recipe , naturally, so this is mostly an homage to the original.

Ranch Dressing

Silken tofu
Vegan mayonnaise
Grapeseed oil, or other neutral tasting oil
Lemon juice
Lemon zest
Apple cider vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Garlic granules
Onion granules
Dried dill
Dried parsley

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor. Refrigerate before serving.

Prep Time: 10 minutes


Spicy Buffalo Wings

I recently attended a potluck with an ‘un-chicken’ theme, in anti-honor of National Chicken Month. Everybody made fantastic dishes such as chicken salad, chicken and broccoli bake, chicken and corn chowder, and chicken croquettes, to name a few. The versatility, originality and tastiness of the dishes presented a hell of case for giving up our innocent fowl friends. As The Spicy Vegan, I naturally had to bring a spicy chicken dish. What’s better than spicy Buffalo wings? Nothing.

The idea was presented to me by the hostess Janessa, The Epicurious Vegan, and I welcomed the challenge to create one of my favorite dishes from my pre-vegetarian days, one that I missed for its delicious spicy sauce. The first challenge was figuring out what to use as a base. I went to our local Asian Market, Fubonn, and bought VegeUsa dehydrated soy protein nuggets from Taiwan. The trick to using these is getting rid of the cardboard taste. I decided to hydrate mine in vegetable stock instead of water. Next step was creating the Buffalo wing sauce. I didn’t measure anything, so you will have to adjust according to personal taste

Buffalo Wing Sauce:
Frank’s red hot sauce
earth balance
vegan worcestershire sauce

I did a roughly one to one ratio of hot sauce and earth balance, followed by a healthy dash of worcestershire sauce and a heavy handed sprinkle of cayenne and paprika. I simply put all ingredients in a sauce pan and simmered them together until well incorporated. Next, I tossed my newly dehydrated wings in the sauce and marinated overnight. In the morning, I baked the marinated nuggets at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Then I took them out of the oven, tossed them again and baked for another 15 minutes. Once I arrived at the potluck I tossed them again and baked for another 15 minutes. You can repeat this step endlessly as it will only continue to seal in the flavor.  The final step was tossing them one last time but leaving them slightly saucy. Serve with your favorite dressing (I used a homemade ranch– recipe to follow), carrot and celery sticks and voila! You are now ready to blow some minds.





Strawberry Cleopatra

Back when I was a teenager I used to work in the mall near an Orange Julius. I was completely obsessed with their drinks, particularly the Strawberry Julius. It was always the highlight of my day yet one of the many things I gave up when I turned vegan, as they use milk powder in their blend.
This morning I was out of bananas but really wanted a smoothie. I decided to make a milkshake instead with fresh strawberries and some Temptations Strawberry Ice Cream from Chicago Soy Dairy I had in the freezer. I was weary when I took my first sip yet was more than pleasantly surprised to find that not only was it fantastic but it tasted just like the strawberry Julius drinks from my youth! I was downright giddy the rest of the day. Enjoy!

Strawberry Cleopatra
7 fresh strawberries, tops cut off
1 to 1 1/2 cups of rice milk
1/2 pint of strawberry ice cream

Blend all ingredients together, adjusting the rice milk to your thickness preference. Serve immediately.

Prep Time: 5 minutes




Vegetable Stock

Every vegan or vegetarian cookbook worth owning has a vegetable stock recipe, all recommending different vegetables and styles of creating a delicious and nutritious base for soups, beans and grain dishes. I adapted my recipe to provide a versatile yet basic flavor while incorporating the types of ingredients I always have on hand. I am a fan of freezing my stock in ice trays and storing them in a gallon freezer bag for quick availability when in a hurry. If you don’t have room in your freezer, you are eating too many frozen foods. You should only have ice, vegetable stock, a few back up fruits/vegetables and maybe a decadent frozen treat in your freezer.

I am not going to include the quantity of ingredients in this recipe, as I think personal preference should play a big part in your stock creation. Some may prefer a stronger onion presence, others may like the taste of fresh herbs and yet others may prefer making it saltier. Mine tends to be light on the saltiness (added by soy sauce) so I have room to modify salt in the recipe calling for stock. I never run out of places to use stock (I prefer it to water in most savory creations) so feel free to make more than what you need for a recipe and simply freeze the rest if you aren’t planning on using it within 3 days. I also tend to keep a gallon freezer bag around as I cook to catch my vegetable ‘scraps’ such as the cut off end of garlic, top onion layer, carrot top ends, etc… I then supplement a stock with the scraps or sometimes even make the whole things with only scraps, though that tends to produce a less consistent flavor. I’ll always take stock over no stock so it works for me.

Vegetable Stock

Garlic, coarsely chopped (skin optional)
Onion, coarsely chopped (skin optional)
Carrot, coarsely chopped (peeling optional)
Celery, coarsely chopped (ribs and leaves)
Bunch of parsley (stems and leaves)
Fresh thyme sprigs (dried can be substituted)
Bay leaves (I use about 3)
Black peppercorns (I use about 10-15)
Whole cloves (I use about 5-10)
Soy sauce (I use a few dashes for mild saltiness)
Nutritional yeast (I use about 2-3 tbsps)
Olive oil (optional)

1. For a richer taste, saute onions and garlic in warmed olive oil in a large soup pot for a few minutes, add carrots and celery for an additional few minutes and then add the rest of the ingredients (except soy sauce and nutritional yeast). Add water to cover by about 3 inches and bring to a light boil.
2. To cook without oil, simply place all ingredients (except soy sauce and nutritional yeast) in a soup pot, cover by about 3 inches and bring to a light boil.
3. Once vegetables are gently boiling, reduce heat and simmer partially covered for at least 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours.
4. Add soy sauce and nutritional yeast and stir to blend well.
5. Strain the vegetables, making sure to catch all small items such as peppercorns.
6. Use the stock in soups, bean dishes, grain dishes or simply drink it warm as a nourishing and comforting beverage.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hour




Vegetable Rice Pilaf

I had a craving for a simple yet tasty rice with vegetables that could serve as a light dinner. I looked through a few recipes but none appealed to me so I created my own and I am super glad I did because this rice came out fantastic! The annatto powder gives the rice a reddish color and subtle flavoring. Preparing and cooking this dish takes a bit longer than you would expect a light dinner or side dish to take but I promise it’s well worth it.

Vegetable Rice Pilaf

2 cups of long grain white rice, rinsed thoroughly and drained well
1/4 cup Earth Balance
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks of celery, minced
1 med onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, seeds and stems removed, minced
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup diced baby carrots (about 10)
4 cups of vegetable stock (substitute water if necessary)
1 tsp annato powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped

1. Heat earth balance and olive oil in a large heavy rice pot on medium high heat
2. Add rinsed rice and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until it lightly begins to brown
3. Add minced onion, garlic, celery and jalapeño mixture (I used my small food processor) and cook with rice for 5 minutes, stirring often.
4. Add baby carrots and stir for 3-5 minutes. Add peas and corn and mix well.
5. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed. Do not over stir once liquid has been added.
6. Brings contents to a light boil, stir one last time, lower heat to medium low and cover tightly for 25 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Do not stir or lift lid while rice is cooking.
7. Lift lid, stir contents and remove from heat.
8. Cover for an additional 5 minutes and then serve.

Prep and Cooking Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 4-6