Vegan Hot Dogs

Yes! You can enjoy hot dogs and still be vegan!

Some of the brands on the market have gluten in them, so if you are strictly gluten-free, look for brands without.

Just like hamburgers, usually what we love about hotdogs are all the accoutrements: mustard, ketchup, relish, etc.

This recipe uses a wrap, instead of a bun but there are several gluten-free buns out there. I just personally prefer a wrap.

Whether you use a grill or pan, splitting the veggie dog down the middle, For more surface area, makes a big difference. I like to char both sides And then place on top of a gluten free wrap that I have lightly toasted, On both sides.

The accompaniments make all the difference…You need to find what you love.

I love chopped dill pickle (Bubbies are great…), chopped red onion and a little Bit of minced jalapeno. I also like to use yellow and Dijon mustard along with Ketchup…and then I wrap it all up like a burrito.

I’d love to hear about your favorite version!

The Best Darn Lasagna Ever (Vegan & Gluten Free)

The Best Darn Lasagna Ever (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Ingredients

  1. 1(10 1/2 ounce) package firm tofu, well-drained
  2. 8 ounces vegan cream cheese (I like Kite Hill)
  3. 1(10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well-drained
  4. 1 large white onion, chopped
  5. 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  6. 2 teaspoons  basil (dried or fresh)
  7. 2 teaspoons  parsley(dried or fresh)
  8. ground pepper
  9. salt
  10. 9 gluten free lasagna noodles, cooked (you can also use the “no boil” kind but I’m not a fan…)
  11. 20 ounces  tomato sauce (I like to use Arrabiata)
  12. 12 ounces frozen faux beef crumbles (I like Beast Burger)
  13. 2 cups  mushrooms, chopped
  14. vegan parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

In olive oil, sauté chopped onions and garlic, Stir in mushrooms, basil and parsley and sauté for a few more minutes.

In a bowl, combine sauté pan contents with well-squeezed/drained tofu and vegan cream cheese.

Add well-drained spinach to sauté pan and heat briefly to remove any remaining moisture in spinach, Incorporate into "cheese" mixture, salt and pepper liberally.

Cover bowl and let sit in fridge for at least 30 minute, preferably over night-The longer it sits together, the better the flavors meld, (This is also nice because you get 1/2 the prep done the night before and can throw your lasagna together in minutes the next day).

Heat the faux beef crumbles in pan with some of the tomato sauce, about 1/2 to 1c.

Cook lasagna noodles according to package (usually 12 minutes), Add oil to salted boiling water to keep noodles from sticking to one another.

Spray 9x13 dish w/ non-stick, Layer 3 noodles, layer half remaining tomato sauce, layer half of "cheese" mixture, 2nd layer noodles, layer all "ground beef" mixture, layer second half of "cheese" mixture, 3rd layer noodles covered with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle top liberally with vegan parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake at 400°F for 30 minutes, and uncovered for another 10 minutes.

Let sit for 5+ minutes before serving. Its even belter the next day, stores well in the fridge and freezes well.

This has become one of our family’s favorite dishes! Someone gave me a stained, torn copy of the recipe. I later discovered it on www.geniuskitchen.com I love making it before the holidays because it feeds a hungry house with something very different than we will be having for the holiday! It stores well and provides a hearty lunch, dinner or snack for the whole brood. I’ve also used the filling in my Eggplant “Cannelloni. The filling itself also freezes well.

I can’t say that EVERY ingredient is a health food but most of them are and using gluten free noodles and faux cheese and meat make it a much healthier option that traditional meat and cheese lasagna. There are many faux cheeses and meats on the market that are actually quite nutritious: made from nuts and plants. These are the brands that I choose.

Spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, garlic and tofu are superfoods that I love getting into my diet as often as possible and putting them into a dish as delicious as this lasagna makes it a no brainer! I won’t lie, this is a time-consuming dish to make, but so worth it. The biggest tip I can give is to make the filling one day and assemble it the next. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Wild Rice

This is a simple recipe that you can play with and add things you like: nuts, cranberries, celery, greens, etc. If you really want to the dish to have the unique, earthy flavor of wild rice, don’t mix with other rice, as so many recipes call for!

Wild Rice

Ingredients

  1. Rice
  2. Earth Balance (or oil)
  3. Garlic (chopped)
  4. Onions (chopped)
  5. Crimini Mushrooms
  6. Parsley (optional)
  7. Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

Bring 5 cups water to a boil. Stir in 1 cup wild rice, then reduce heat so liquid is just simmering. Cover and cook until grains are chewy but not broken open about 40 minutes. Drain excess liquid from rice and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt a little Earth Balance or oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic and onions until translucent and then quartered or sliced crimini mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released their liquid and are golden brown, about 8 minutes; remove from heat and season with the salt and pepper, to taste. I like to add chopped parsley or other fresh herbs. (you could experiment with using dry sherry or wine in this step)

Mix mushrooms into prepared rice and season again with salt and pepper.

You can serve this as a lovely side dish or have as the “main event” at any meal. The high protein content (24 g per cup!!) makes it a satisfying dish, indeed. Pair with a salad and/or some vegies and you have a flavorful, healthful and hearty meal! Wild rice is actually considered a “water grass seed” not a rice and is one of the only 2 grains native to North America.

Native Americans valued “wild rice” as a nutrient dense, protein-rich staple they could travel far distances with without fear of spoilage and many believe allowed the vast expanse of the continent to be used as “homeland”.

Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

Ingredients

  1. 1 bunch Tuscan kale (for ex: black or lacinato)
  2. Two handfuls good, homemade coarse gluten free breadcrumbs
  3. 1/2 garlic clove
  4. 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch
  5. 1/4 cup (or small handful) grated “faux” cheese (optional)
  6. 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  7. Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon (scant 1/4 cup or ~50ml)
  8. 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  9. Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

Trim the bottom few inches off the kale stems and discard.

Slice the kale into 3/4-inch ribbons. You should have 4 to 5 cups.

Place the kale in a large bowl..

Using a mortar and pestle or a knife, pound or mince the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine.

Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves).

Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with the bread crumbs, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil

Joy Makes Plant-Based Burgers and Fries!

Some of us have specific foods that we really have a hard time giving up when adopting a plant based, gluten free diet. Burgers and Fries can definitely fall into that category but by making some “tweaks”, we can satisfy our craving and still make a health-ful choice! Making your own bean burgers, rather than buying pre-made store bought versions, is simple and allows us to avoid fillers and additives we want to avoid. The recipe is flexible so play around until you find your favorite ways to make. The “Fries” are really baked and are a really great way to round out this meal, along with a green salad or just so many toppings that your burger “looks” like a salad! Enjoy!

Joy Makes Plant-Based Burgers and Fries!

Ingredients

  1. 14 oz can Kidney Beans (rinsed, well- drained & hand-mashed)
  2. ½ C raw oats
  3. ½ C cooked brown or red rice
  4. 2 T Tomato Paste (or other tomato product: salsa, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc.)
  5. 2 t mixed spice
  6. Whole, white potatoes (russets best)
  7. Granulated onion
  8. Freshly ground pepper & salt.
  9. (Optional other spices that you prefer)

Instructions

Scrub potatoes and bake at 400 for approximately one hour.

While they are baking, prepare the burgers All of the burger versions start with the basic ingredients listed above. The other variations (below) substitute one or more of the other ingredients but the 14 oz can of kidney beans remains a constant so the other ingredients get doubled and the yield is, of course, doubled.

Simply mix the ingredients loosely and then flatten into patties and bake at 400 degrees on a parchment paper lined cooking sheet until tops are brown, flip and cook the other sides.

You will find the relative “done-ness” you prefer.

Cut the cooled potatoes into ½ inch slices then ½ inch strips, which resemble fries.

Arrange on a parchment lined cooking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, other chosen spices and lastly, the granulated onion.

Place under broiler until the tops turn brown, flip and repeat.

We then use gluten free buns & all the standard burger toppings: onion, lettuce, tomato, avocado, pickles, mustard, ketchup, , etc.

Other variations include Falafel (sesame seeds, garbanzos) & Breakfast “Patties” (poultry seasoning.).

Variations

(all use kidney beans & another type of bean so all ingredients get doubled)

Mexican: Kidney & Pinto Beans, Salsa and Mexican spice (nice taco filling )

Indian: Kidney & Garbanzos, Oats and sweet potato (instead of rice) tomato paste & curry

Italian: Kidney & White Beans, Diced tomato, rice, barley and Italian spices. (can use as meatballs)

Southwest: Kidney & Black beans, oats & rice, bbq sauce, corn, southwest spices.


Why is this recipe good for you?

Really, do I need to address this? If we can substitute beans for beef (or even turkey) we are greatly reducing calories, saturated fat and all the chemicals associated with animal production.

All beans contain lots of fiber, antioxidants, high levels of plant protein, vitamins and minerals and low-glycemic index carbohydrates. All of these components make beans ideal for:

Improving Heart Health

Lowering Cancer Risk

Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

Managing Weight

Boosting Energy

Improving Digestion & Gut Health

On top of the delicious, nutritious beans, we also get oats, rice (or other grains) high in B vitamins and fiber, the antioxidants from whatever tomato product we use and all of the veggies that we use as toppings. It’s such a delicious way to load up on veggies with a classic comfort food made better for us! Yay!

Of course getting rid of “frying” our “fries”, eliminates the danger of eating this delicious treat. Potatoes have gotten a bad rap over the years but are actually very good for us if we eat them without all the fats that most people often put on potatoes. Visit my episodes on Twice Baked Potatoes or Potato Rounds to get all of the details.

Arugula Salad

Arugula Salad

Ingredients

  1. Arugula
  2. Avocado
  3. Tomato
  4. Walnuts
  5. Lemon
  6. Garlic
  7. Fresh Pepper
  8. Sea Salt
  9. Olive Oil

Instructions

Put the arugula, tomatoes, chopped or crushed garlic and avocados together and then squeeze the lemon over the top. I really like Pampered Chef’s lemon juicer for this.

Then add the fresh pepper and sea salt….not too much! The taste will intensify as it sits.

I sprinkle a tiny bit of olive oil….about ½ of the cap full for 2 of us.

Add the walnuts and let it sit while I make whatever else we’re eating. Refrain from thinking you need lots of oil and salt; a little goes a long way. The less of these 2 ingredients you can use and still love it, the better. Yum!

About the Recipe

This is a very “individual taste” recipe. You have to find the proportions that you like. I used to buy arugula in the prepackaged bags because I am lazy and hate to have to wash and clean greens and I would use ¼ of a bag per person, for a normal sized salad, and ¼ avocado, 8 to 12 cherry tomatoes, ¼ lemon, one good sized garlic clove and about a tablespoon of walnuts; all per person. You will find the proportions that you and your family find yummy. Now I grow all my own arugula aeroponically and I don’t have to wash it and its WAY better than anything store bought!

The tomato, avocado and lemon make the salad really juicy so #1, you don’t need very much oil…just a splash and #2, it can get soggy, so make it right before you’re going to eat it.

The freshness of the ingredients really makes a difference. I like to use super juicy tomatoes; either the little organic cherry or grape ones or the smallish ones, still on the vine. (if you have Trader Joe’s near you, you know what I’m talking about.) I like them cut into quarters for maximum surface area. If you’re using the ones on the vine, of course, you’ll want to think about that size. I cut the avocados in smallish cubes and chop the walnuts…not super fine; sometimes I’ll just crush them with my hands. See what you like. Some people like to toast the nuts.

The Benefits of Arugula

Arugula, also known as rocket and rucola, is a less recognized cruciferous vegetable that provides many of the same benefits as the better-known vegetables of the same family – broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Arugula leaves are tender and bite-sized with a tangy flavor. Along with other leafy greens, arugula contains very high nitrate levels (more than 250 milligrams/100 grams).

High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise, and enhance athletic performance. Wow! Eat more arugula! I like to put it on pizzas, sandwiches…really most dishes. It’s also great in a morning smoothie. Let me know how YOU like to use it!

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Sage

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Sage

Ingredients

  1. 5 c (low sodium) veggie broth
  2. 3 T olive oil
  3. 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  5. 1 c Arborio rice
  6. 1 c canned pure pumpkin puree
  7. 1 t sea salt
  8. ½ tsp nutmeg (I like freshly grated)
  9. freshly ground pepper
  10. ½ T chopped fresh sage

Instructions

First, bring the broth to boil in a saucepan and then let simmer, while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Sautee the onion in the olive oil until soft…3-4 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for a minute and then add the rice and 1 c of the hot broth, reducing the heat so that the mixture simmers. Stir often and, as broth gets absorbed, add another cup. Continue with this process, until all the broth has been absorbed. (About 20 minutes)

Stir in pumpkin, salt & nutmeg (if using fresh nutmeg, use a fine grater).

Season with fresh pepper, top with fresh sage. (After making this, I think it would be better with the sage stirred into the mixture and I would probably use a large onion and at least 2 more cloves of garlic)

This delicious recipe was adapted from a recipe from Chloe Coscarelli.

A Little about this Dish!

Okay, first of all…this is a fabulous fall dish! Now that I’ve made it, I’m going to have it as the first course of our Thanksgiving dinner. It’s really simple and the taste PLUS health benefits are fantastic!

People are a little confused about Risotto. Many confuse Arborio rice with Orzo…shaped similarly but Orzo is a wheat product and Arborio rice is a type of rice whose nature makes it super absorbent without it becoming soggy so makes it really easy to imbue with intense flavors. The other thing about risotto is that most recipes call for cream, butter and cheese…not the healthiest nor weight friendly way to make it but THIS recipe is completely vegan and the addition of pumpkin, sage, garlic and onion, really pack a super nutritional “punch”!

Arborio rice is high in protein, good carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Of course brown rice has a better nutritional profile but as an Italian choice, it sure beats pasta.

Pumpkin is super high in beta-carotene (the highest of any vegetable), which converts to vitamin A…great for eyesight & cardiovascular protection, potassium: fantastic for recovery from exercise (higher than bananas!) and vitamin K, a cancer fighter. Sage has been found to have flavonoids and polyphenols beneficial to brain health as well as anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Top this off with the anti-viral, anti-bacteria, anti-cancer properties of onion and garlic and we’ve got a winner! (a little side note about onions: the outer layers are highest in the anti-oxidant quercetin, so be careful not to “over-peel”)

Vegan, Gluten Free Gnocchi

Pre-made gluten free gnocchi: check out your local health food-type store. (We actually order gluten free gnocchi online, unfortunately, as it is hard to find locally which is ironic because gnocchi is just supposed to be made from potatoes!).

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