Vegan Brunch Bagels

Vegan Brunch Bagels

During the week, it’s too chaotic in our house to all sit down and have breakfast together. Anyone with small children understand how difficult it is to get them to sit down and eat. And, if you get to sit down and eat, then you are one lucky parent! So, on the weekends when everyone is home we like to share our first meal of the day together.
However, we don’t just have plan bagels. That would be so boring. I used a good quality Everything Bagel for this yummy dish.

This isn’t exactly a recipe with measurements, instead a suggestion with ingredients that are to taste. It could easily be modified to each persons taste and preferences. Personally, we like meals that are heavily seasoned so I add a descent amount of the spices. Modify it to your liking!

Vegan Brunch Bagels
Good quality Everything Bagels (or other flavor you like), sliced and toasted
Vegan Cream Cheese
Tomatoes, sliced
Sweet Onions, chopped
Avocado, sliced
Italian Seasonings
Spike Seasoning (I use the original)
Salt and Pepper

Spread each side of the bagel with cream cheese. Lay down tomato slices and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Italian Seasoning. Sprinkle onions on top. Lay avocado slices and sprinkle with Spike seasoning.

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie

I have made Shepherd’s Pie several times in the last few years. To be honest, it has never come out right, which is a shame since it’s a meal that I’ve always liked. The whole “meat” and potatoes thing still appeals to me. I may not want the animal, but I still like the flavor and texture. In this day and age, finding a way to make or buy the “meat” is fairly easily, but it’s only half of the equation in a Shepherd’s Pie. The other half is the gravy. I know you were thinking I was going to say potatoes, but that’s an illusion. 🙂 The real trick is to get the gravy to taste like real beef. It should almost taste like a Salisbury Steak gravy. So how in the world do you get Salisbury Steak gravy from something that has no meat in it? Well, I’ll tell you my secret….Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone. It’s called Kitchen Bouquet. When I was a kid, my family used it to add to the gravy to give it a darker color and add to the flavor. What I didn’t know was how much flavor it actually added and that it has no animal products in it!

Kitchen BouquetBottle of Kitchen Bouquet

It is very concentrated!! A little goes a looooong way! The result is a gravy that is the perfect meat-tasting gravy and super easy to make!! In fact, this whole dish is fairly easy and doesn’t take as long as its meat counterpart. You can also double the recipe and have more leftovers, without too much additional effort. That is, unless you eat it all in one night. And for my family, it was hard not to. My son kept asking for more and I had to cut him off because I was afraid he was going to get a stomach from eating too much. By the way, my son HATES gravy, but he loved this and that’s saying something.

Of course the potatoes have to be right also or the whole things is going to be a flop. Most people who really know me, know that my all-time favorite food is mashed potatoes. The one thing that not everyone adds to their mashed potatoes is sour cream. It makes them so much creamier!! Of course, you still need the milk and margarine to complete the flavor and texture though. Once all three components are put together and baked the results are scrumptious!! My mom, who is not a “meat and potatoes” kind of person also thought this was delicious. So, this Vegan Shepherd’s Pie a winner for everyone!! Perfect for a potluck!!

Shepherd's PieSpread out the potatoes evenly before baking

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Cooking Spray
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 pkg. Gardein Beefless Tips
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen peas

1 1/2 TBSP olive oil
2 TBSP unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp Kitchen Bouquet
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried rosemary

Mashed Potatoes:
4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 TBSP vegan margarine
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
2-4 TBSP almond milk
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

Spray a large saute pan with cooking spray, add onions and carrots. Cook on medium heat until softened. While the onions and carrots are cooking, boil potatoes in a large pot. When potatoes are tender, drain and return to pot and cover to keep warm. After onions and carrots are tender, add peas and carrots. Cook until corn and peas are defrosted, then remove to a 9×7 (or similar size) baking pan. Spray saute pan again, if needed. Add Beefless Tips and brown on all sides. When done, remove to cutting board and slice into smaller pieces. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In pot with potatoes, add vegan margarine and mashed into potatoes till melted. Add vegan sour cream and continue mashing. Add milk 1 TBSP at a time, until the right consistency. Add garlic powder and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. To make gravy, return to saute pan. Whisk together oil and flour, over medium heat. Slowly add broth and Kitchen Bouquet, continue whisking until thickened. Whisk in garlic and rosemary. If it gets too thick, whisk in a little water. Add gravy to vegetable mixture and mix well. Spoon potatoes on top and spread out evenly. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 mins or until potatoes are golden brown.

Makes about 6 servings

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“Eggs” Florentine

Before I started my vegan diet, my favorite breakfast was Eggs Benedict. My mom turned me on to this delicious dish when I was a kid. On certain occasions we would go out to breakfast, and if the restaurant had Eggs Benedict on the menu I ordered it, without hesitation. I would always order it with extra Hollandaise sauce so that I could pour it over my hash browns too. Hollandaise sauce is usually made with loads of butter and egg yolks. Neither of which is good for the heart or the waist line!

Even though I don’t want the unhealthy stuff anymore, I do want the rich, creamy, and tangy sauce. And, I want that sauce over my “eggs”, “bacon”, and English muffin. I also want a little to put on my hash browns (which I have learned to make in the oven so that there is less fat. But, that’s another blog). Now, I also add spinach to make it a little healthier and adds to the flavor.

This breakfast takes a bit of time to make, but it’s still very easy. I recommend it for the weekend or a late morning breakfast. Or, if you’re really adventurous you could have it for dinner!

“Eggs” Florentine

1 block of extra firm tofu
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1 package of Smart Bacon
About 1 1/2 cups of fresh spinach
6 English muffins, cut in half
6 servings of Hollandaise sauce

Preheat oven to 450. Drain and squeeze as much water from the tofu as possible. Cut tofu into 6 equal slices. In a small bowl, mix vinegar, oil, turmeric, garlic powder,onion powder, salt and pepper. Dip each piece of tofu in the mixture, gently pressing the mixture into the tofu. Allow the excess mixture to drip off the tofu before putting into a baking pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Flip tofu, cover again, and bake for another 10 minutes.While the tofu is baking, brown the bacon in a pan, toast the English muffins, and prepare the Hollandaise sauce. To put together, put two halves of an English muffin on a plate (spread vegan margarine on top, if you desire). Layer bacon, spinach, and egg. Then pour Hollandaise sauce on the top.

Makes 6 servings

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Hollandaise Sauce

Hollandaise Sauce

1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground mustard
2 cups water
3 TBSP vegan margarine
2 TBSP lemon juice

In a small saucepan, mix all ingredients together. Whisk over medium-low heat, until
thickens to desired consistency. If it get to thick, whisk in a little water. Adjust
seasonings, if necessary.

Makes 6 servings

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Black Bean Burgers

I have always liked bean and veggie burgers. The flavors are always so rich and the burger is moist. I’ll be honest, I’ve made a few different ones, but I usually end up deciding that the ones I got in the store were better. They were certainly easier to make. Just take them out of the packaging and heat. No matter how good they are I still get into a mood where the store-bought ones don’t satisfy my craving, I want something homemade. That was certainly the case with these. I also had a craving for black beans and a veggie burger. So, what’s the best to satisfy that craving? Make a black bean veggie burger! The result was a seriously good, rich and moist, burger.

There are two things a good veggie burger has to be: flavorful and moist. There is nothing worse than a dry and tasteless burger. The black beans offer the burger a rich taste and a smooth texture. The veggies allow the beans to stay moist, while also adding to the flavor. So, it is the best of both worlds! Not to mention that it is super easy to whip together! I think it took me all of 30 minutes. While the burgers were cooking, I cut up my toppings and toasted the buns. If you wanted to serve this to a large crowd or have leftovers, you can easily double this recipe. I also served this with my Baked Beans recipe and Corn-on-the-cob. Yum!!

Black Bean Burgers

1 (15oz) can of black beans
1 tsp tamari
1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 cup carrot, grated
1/4 cup onion, grated
1/8 cup red bell pepper, grated
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
Cooking Spray

Drain and rinse black beans. In a high-speed blender, add beans, tamari, and liquid smoke. Blend until smooth with some small bits. Transfer bean mixture to a medium bowl and blend in the rest of ingredients. Form into 4 patties. Spray a frying pan with cooking spray. Brown patties on both sides on medium heat, for about 5 minutes per side. Top with your veggies and condiments!

Makes 4 servings

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Baked Beans

Last week I had a sudden craving for baked beans and then I realized that I haven’t had them since going vegan in 2008! I’ve never found baked beans in the can that didn’t have bacon (or pork of some kind) in it. So, I decided that I would try to find a recipe that was sans bacon online. I was surprised that I didn’t find a vegan version of this treat online that seemed worthy of the time that goes into making it. Even though it’s not labor intensive, it does take time for it cook properly.

The biggest obstacle to making a dish like this is of course, a lack of bacon. While I don’t want it in my food doesn’t mean that I don’t want a similar flavor though. Through the years of trial and error with vegan recipes I have found that there are animal-free ingredients that mimic the flavors of things that I thought I’d have to give up forever. In this case, it’s a combination of Tamari (or soy sauce, if you can’t get Tamari) and liquid smoke. When the two are mixed in a dish, it is remarkably close to the flavor you would expect from bacon. Don’t ask how or why it works, it just does!

This recipe has the same sweet taste that I remember. The beans become a little crystallized from the sugar. The beans are surrounded in a delicious sauce that does thicken slightly as it stands. These are probably the best baked beans I ever had, if I do say so myself. 🙂

Baked Beans

2 cups dried navy beans
1 cup onion, diced
3 TBSP molasses
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 TBSP Tamari
1/4 tsp dijon mustard
2 TBSP liquid smoke
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar

Place beans in a large soup pot and cover with water. Boil for one hour, checking to make sure the water level doesn’t get low. Drain. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place 1/2 of the beans in 2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup onions, add rest of beans and sprinkle with rest of onions. In a saucepan, heat molasses, salt, pepper, tamari, dijon mustard, liquid smoke, ketchup, and brown sugar to a boil. Pour over onions. Add water to casserole dish until beans are covered. Bake for an hour covered. Remove cover and bake for another hour, stirring to keep from drying out.

Makes 6-8 servings


Yellow Split Pea Soup

When I was a teenager I had my first experience with Ethiopian food. It was an experience unlike anything I’d had before! I had gone with my mother and one of her friends to a local Ethiopian restaurant. I remember we sat on the floor on pillows and there wasn’t any utensils on the table, instead we used a special bread to pick up our food. It was so much fun!! For those of you that haven’t had the opportunity to experience this special treat, let me explain a little about how this works. An Ethiopian meal comes on a large plate (or platter, if the whole table is sharing, which is encouraged) with several different dishes placed on top of their special bread. There is additional bread that is served on the side to use to pick up the food. In this process, some of the dishes merge with others and new flavors are made. If you’ve never had Ethiopian food, I highly recommend it! The flavors are simply amazing. They use  unique combinations of spices with different beans and vegetables.

Now, as an adult, I still enjoy going to a restaurant that isn’t far from my house, with my mom and son. My son regularly asks me to take him there. Sometimes when I need a night off from cooking, we head there for the special food. The first of my favorite dishes is made with yellow split peas, lemon juice, and garlic. The second dish is made with potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, and turmeric.

One of these days I will get up the courage to make an authentic Ethiopian meal at home. Until that day comes, I have this soup. I combined the flavors of two of my favorite Ethiopian dishes to make this soup and it didn’t disappoint! It has a great combination of subtle and bold flavors that is neither too bland nor too strong. It is very easy to make and doesn’t take a long time to cook. It’s perfect with a salad and a slice of crusty bread!

Yellow Split Pea Soup

1 TBS olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
10 cups water 1tsp cumin
1 tsp tumeric
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp mustard
14oz pkg of dried yellow split peas
1 1/2 cups carrots, cut at a diagonal
1/2 head cauliflower
3 1/2 TBSP lemon juice
2 cups yukon gold potato, cut into chunks

In a soup pot, heat oil on medium heat and add onion. Saute until softened. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Immediately add the water and turn the heat to high. Add cumin, turmeric, mustard, salt, pepper, and split peas. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer for about 20-30 mins or until peas start to become tender. Don’t let the peas break down to much or they become mushy. Add carrots, cauliflower, and lemon juice. Simmer for about 10 mins. Add potatoes and cook additional 5-10 minutes or until potatoes are soft.

Makes about 8-10 servings

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