Veg Sliders

We’ve discovered the perfect combo, the divine formula, the ultimate veg burger patty recipe, and we’re going to fork it over to you beautiful people. It tastes AHHHmazing and its texture is unbeatable. Beet burgers are not our idea; vegans have been shelling these babies out left and right because of their “beety” I mean “beefy” feel. But, there is so much that goes into to making a good burger, and we think it checks off all the boxes on our list.

Flavor is invariably the first item on our checklist and this burger has got it. We’ve packed in the flavor by working it directly into the mix. A dried herb mix of thyme, smoked paprika, and parsley lay down the earthy base for this burger. The zing comes from a healthy helping of whole grain mustard and a bit of apple cider vinegar. Onions and garlic are always a must, but a burger just isn’t a burger without umami flavor. To account for this missing link we added in mushrooms and vegan worcestershire (not all brands are vegan so double check).

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With flavor super well covered, we focused on texture. Just beets didn’t cut it for us in this case, even though we agree they are a necessary component. To get that bite we were looking for we mixed in some other veggies. Beets, zucchini, short grain brown rice, and slightly pulverised black beans composed the A-team that makes this burger moist on the inside, crisp and caramelized on the outside, and oh so satiating.

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The last box for us was structure. We HATE it when patties crumble apart and we knew there must be a way to get the burger to hold its shape. Good news is: these patties behave like burgers. We managed to get the patties to stick by adding in flax eggs and brown rice flour. It’s really that simple, but makes a drastic difference in the structural integrity of these slider patties.

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Ingredients:

(produces 16 slider patties)

Onion (2 cups, diced)
Garlic (4 cloves, minced)
Crimini Mushroom (1 cup, diced)
Short Grain Brown Rice (½ cup uncooked measure, prepared as per package directions)
Black Beans (1 16 oz can, drained and rinsed)
Zucchini (1 cup, grated, press out any excess liquid)
Beets (2 cups, grated)
Whole Grain Mustard (2 tbsp)
Vegan Worcestershire (2 tbsp)
Dried Parsley (1 tbsp)
Dried Thyme (1 tbsp)
Smoked Paprika (1 tbsp)
Flax Eggs (2, 2 tbsp ground flax seed + 5 tbsp filtered water)
Brown Rice Flour (½ cup)
Salt and Pepper (as desired)

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Saute onions, garlic, and crimini mushrooms in a splash of water until softened.
  3. To a large mixing bowl add the black beans. Smash them lightly with a fork making sure to leave a bit of texture.
  4. To the beans add the cooked short grain brown rice, grated beet, grated and pressed zucchini, sauted onion-garlic-mushroom mixture, all of the spices, and the flax eggs.
  5. Combine the ingredients (hands work best) while adding in the brown rice flour in two sessions.
  6. Once combined scoop into ¼ cup portions. Form each into a patty by rolling the mixture into a sphere, pressing it into a disk about an inch thick, then patting in the edges until smooth.
  7. Place onto the prepped baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes making sure to flip them over halfway through the cooking process.
  8. Top with your favorite burger fixings and…

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Dig in.

Zucchini Sticks

Italian cuisine inspired and simply delicious, these zucchini sticks will certainly crowd please, even when nonna is amongst the crowd. The magic is in the bread crumbs. They pack in the flavor and the crunch while remaining as simple as mixing together some dry ingredients. Big flavor lives in your spice cabinet, and we make extensive use of ours to get just the right taste going in these crumbs. Dried oregano, parsley, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper come together synchronously in this dish. Ezekiel toast is not essential (another type of bread can be substituted), but we really love the bran flavor it lends the dish. With flavor taken care of the next set of ingredients get the texture just right. The secret crunch factors are hemp seeds and corn meal. Hemp seeds add a uniquely satisfying bite while corn meal, if you didn’t know already, crisps up like crazy!

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To get this bread crumb concoction to get on and stay on the zucchini sticks we went for a simple flour and water mix. All purpose flour does work well, but the most even and uniform coating was achieved with a 1:1 ratio of brown rice flour to water. We also found that either mixture tends to dry out a bit during the coating mixture, but a tablespoon of water or so, along with a mix, fixes the batter right up.

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Bake time is a breeze falling under half an hour, but before you get munching heed our suggestion: serve with a good, warm marinara sauce or, oddly enough, with a sweet dijon mustard (try adding a touch of maple syrup to tangy dijon). There’s just something about sweet and acidic that pairs ideally with these sticks.

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Ingredients:

Zucchini (2, cut into sticks)
Ezekiel Toast (3 slices, toasted and processed into crumbs)
Hemp Seeds (2 tbsp)
Cornmeal (2 tbsp)
Dried Oregano (1 tbsp)
Dried Parsley (1 tbsp)
Smoked Paprika (1 tbsp)
Garlic Powder (1 tbsp)
Onion Powder (1 tbsp)
Red Pepper Flakes (1 tbsp, optional)
Black Pepper (1 tsp)
Salt (to taste if desired)
Brown Rice Flour (¾ cup)
Water (¾ cup)

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Wash zucchini well. Chop into sticks (no peeling required). Pat dry in between tea towels.
  3. Toast the Ezekiel slices. Allow them to cool. Process into fine crumb in blender.
  4. Mix into the breadcrumb base the hemp seeds, cornmeal, oregano, parsley, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.
  5. Mix brown rice flour and water until no lumps are left.
  6. Proceed to dip each zucchini stick into the batter, tap off the excess, then roll into bread crumbs.
  7. Placed prepped zucchini sticks on lined baking tray.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crispy.

Dig in.

Taco Soup

If cinco de mayo for you is anything like it is here in the Northeast, then you have chilly spring showers to get through. We personally like to get through these showers with bowls of hearty soup. This holiday spirit brought with it a little inspiration, so we put a Mexican twist on our soup dish. Not only were we pleased, but so were the family that we celebrated with. Due to its cinco de mayo success, its ease, and just how damn comforting this dish is, we thought we’d share.

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What really sets this soup apart from your typical tortilla soup recipe are the smokey flavors throughout. We achieve this by way of three components: fire roasted tomatoes, roasted bell pepper, and our secret weapon, ancho chili powder. For the sake of simplicity we used canned fire roasted tomatoes which worked perfectly, but you can certainly roast your tomatoes at home along with the peppers. We dry roast the peppers at a high heat to get a slight char on the exterior. This adds loads of flavor but, what we must attribute most of the smoky flavor to is the ever so glorious ancho chili powder. In the recipe we suggest 1 tbsp which is just on the cusp of where mild meets medium heat. Feel free to adjust to your specific heat tolerances.

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A soup, is a soup, is a soup until you spread out some fun garnishes for guests to sprinkle on and personalize. This soup is grounding and satisfying all on its own but wow is it fun to decorate, so here are some suggestions: cilantro sprinkles, avocado, vegan sour cream, and toasted corn tortilla strips do the godly trick and take this dish from couch potato food to party pleaser in no time flat!

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Ingredients:

(party size or “bulk” meal sizing; feel free to halve the recipe)

Yellow Onion (½, diced)
Garlic (4 cloves, minced)
Ancho Chili powder (1 tbsp + more to taste)
Sweet corn (30 oz. about 2 cans, drained)
Black Beans  (30 oz. about 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes (28 oz.)
Bell Pepper (1, any color, roasted and diced)
Red Cabbage (½, thinly sliced)
Cilantro (1 cup, diced)
Limes (juice of 2)
Vegetable broth (1 quart)
Black Pepper (to taste)

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 ºF. Remove seeds from bell pepper and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Dry roast for 15 minutes.
  2. In a heavy bottom pot saute onions and garlic until translucent adding vegetable broth in place of oil as needed.
  3. Add the ancho chili powder onto the alliums. Saute for about a minute until aromatic.
  4. Add sweet corn, black beans, roasted tomatoes, roasted and diced bell pepper, red cabbage, lime and cilantro to the pot and stir.
  5. Once combined add the broth and any extra water needed to cover the vegetables (for us it was about 2 cups).
  6. Bring to a boil, cover, and allow to simmer for 20 min.
  7. Add pepper and more lime to taste. Serve hot with garnishes galore!

Dig in.

Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

Pasta is easily one of the most comforting foods around, BUT it must be dressed properly to get that oh so comforting Italian grandma effect. Grandma effects are by no means easy to achieve, but with pasta in particular, we think we’ve found a nonna-esc dish that believe it or not  is easy to make. Here it’s all about the ingredients, no crazy techniques, just selective shopping.

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To get the nona effect in this dish you need a good marinara sauce. There are countless recipes out there that are great, but for this particular sauce we chose to leave the marinara to the professionals. We source our marinara from a local Italian specialty store that sells it fresh and oil-free. If there is nothing similar by you, make your way to your favorite pizza shop! Chances are if they have good pizza they have authentic marinara sauce. No matter how you get your hands on it, a good marinara base is really essential to making this dish exquisite.

The “cream” in this sauce is achieved via super powered soaked cashews. They add just the right amount of body to the sauce without weighing it down, and nothing really beats those adhesive nut lipids that keeps your sauce where it should be, on the pasta. If you want to get this dish going right now, and have no time for soaking these bad boys over night, here’s a shortcut that works just as well. Pour boiling water onto the cashews and soak for 30 minutes.

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The next must-have ingredient to source is some fresh pasta. Almost any shape will do but there is something about this sauce on fresh pasta that just takes pasta to a whole new level. We sourced our’s at the same local shop we’re so grateful to have available, but another alternative to fresh is frozen. Pasta that is more tender and soft then usual dried pasta adds a bite to this dish that should not be sacrificed. 

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This recipe is all about the sauce but we’d also like to briefly mention how we complete the meal a bit. We love adding in fresh, hearty, leafy greens to this dish alongside legumes. Our favorite combination thus far has been chopped, lightly sautéed swiss chard and chickpeas.

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Getting all this in one big bowl will be the highlight of any day, and it really comes together so easily, you just wait and see!

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Ingredients:

(makes 3½ – 4 cups of sauce)

Raw Cashews (⅓ cup, soaked overnight or use shortcut explained above)
Good, Vegan Marinara Sauce (3 cups)
Garlic (3 cloves, minced)
Shallots (2, diced)
Olive oil (1 tbsp)
Basil Leaves (⅔ cup, chopped)
Pasta Water (¼ cup)
Salt ( to taste if at all needed)
Fresh Pasta (1 small package, ~16 oz.)

Recipe:

  1. Soak cashews and boil pasta (reserve pasta water).
  2. Sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil until translucent.
  3. Transfer the sautéed shallots and garlic, soaked cashews, marinara sauce, basil leaves, pasta water, and salt into a blender.
  4. Blend until smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat for 5-10 minutes, covered, over a low flame.
  6. Coat your cooked pasta in this sauce.

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Dig in.

Sofrito

We are so excited to open up this door! Hispanic recipes have a very unique flavor profile due an unmistakable, and super lavish base. This base is called sofrito. It is the key component in the savor of any hispanic dish across the board. This stuff has lead to a whole new range of possibilities in our kitchen and that is why we are giddied to finally share this with you.  

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Sofrito is really easy to fall in love with. Once you have a jar full of this holy grail of seasonings in your kitchen you won’t want to be caught without it. The great thing is you really won’t have to. Sofrito is so easy to make, and just as easy to make in bulk. It lends itself well to a “do it once, have it forever” mentality because it stores so well in the fridge and gets even better with time.

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With sofrito on hand, adding intricate flavor to anything is a breeze. All you do is heat it up in a pan and add anything you‘d like. You can marinate with it, use it in soups, you can even throw it in sauces for an extra oomph; the possibilities are endless. It really does make any dish you cook incredible, as if you’ve spent hours preparing it. And, because it’s homemade you can rest assured you’ve only got what you want in there: pure, fresh flavor powerhouses that will aid you on your kitchen adventures.

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Ingredients:

(this makes a half gallon of sofrito so feel free to halve the recipe)

Bell Peppers (4, roughly chopped)
Scallions (5, roughly chopped)
Yellow Onion (1, roughly chopped)
Garlic (2 bulbs, peeled)
Cilantro (1 large bushel, roughly chopped)
White Vinegar (1 cup)
Dried Oregano (2 tbsp)
Salt (1 tbsp)
Pepper (1tbsp)

Recipe:

  1. Wash and prep veggies.
  2. Get all of the ingredients into a high speed blender. We suggest adding in half of the ingredients and liquefying, then adding in the rest for a smoother blending process.
  3. Transfer sofrito to a container with a tightly fitted lid and store in the fridge.
  4. Stay tuned with ways to use up all this sofrito!

Dig in.

Guacamole

Okay guys, it’s time for you to get to know us; really know us, on a deep, dark level… We have a fatal flaw, we’re GUACAHOLICS. Can anything be more scrumptious and perfect for any time of the day? No, we don’t think so. Guacamole is the dip of all dips, snack of all snacks. It’s the be all end all once it’s on the table.

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With that being said, our love for guac gives us a (self-proclaimed) qualification to know what’s best in terms of assembling it. For us that means s-i-m-p-l-e. Guacamole is at it’s prime when it’s done effortlessly. Just a couple of ingredients, and the least bit of prep, results in a straightforward guacamole that exhibits classically balanced flavors and overall freshness. Fresh guac is the best guac, and we find that freshness is sometimes due to what you leave behind. To preserve the freshness of the dish we don’t add the garlic or the oil that is often used in guacamole recipes, because we find that it really makes for the brightest tasting guac.

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What we do add into guac are pops of crisp flavors: red onion, cilantro, lime, salt and pepper. Those are the sole components that we believe make the perfect guacamole. The second thing we’ve micromanaged are the steps of assembly themselves. The logic behind the method is that you want everything to get mashed together just enough, but not too much. To ensure this we only mash the ingredients together once they are all in the bowl. This way the avocados don’t get over-pulverised, keeping all the creamy integrity they have to offer.

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Preferences always have their place in our kitchen. And if you’re thinking, “but what about ____!” then dont worry, this recipe does not end here. In the summer when we’re whipping up some of this guacamole and we’ve got a beautiful hot pepper or heirloom tomato on our hands, we can’t resist adding to this beautiful guacamole base. With a hot pepper we just finely dice and mash it in with the rest of the goods, but a tomato needs a little extra TLC. We feel it’s a must to de-seed tomatoes before they are added in. This prevents dilution of the creamy texture and crisp flavors in the guac with excess liquid. Because tomatoes are delicate we also make sure to fold in the tomatoes once the guacamole is already mashed up so that our plump tomatoes keep their shape.

Guac OCD and addiction is a part of us we deal with everyday… with smiles and tortilla chips that is!

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Ingredients:

(serves 2 of us, 4 normal people)

Perfect Base:
Hass Avocado (2 ripe, save the pits)
Red Onion (½, finely diced)
Cilantro (½ cup, finely chopped)
Lime (juice of ½)
Salt & Pepper(½ tsp each)

If you please:

Tomato (1 deseeded, diced)
Hot pepper (habanero or jalapeno are awesome, 1 finely diced)

Recipe:

  1. Prep all the ingredients.
  2. Score the avocado and scoop the cubes into a bowl. Toss in all of your other ingredients (except tomatoes).
  3. Mash all the ingredients together using a fork or any mashing tool you’d prefer.
  4. If you’re into it, fold in your diced tomato.
  5. Remember how we said to hold onto those pits? Pop them into the guac to slow the browning process until you’re all finished with the deliciousness.

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Dig in.

Caribbean Ackee Scramble

Ackee, the national fruit of Jamaica, is quite exotic, and can be intimidating to someone who hasn’t come across it prior. Our goal here is to make cooking ackee accessible to everyone and we think we’ve got it. This recipe is even simpler than cooking scrambled eggs (and WAY tastier too!).

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In this dish we used Caribbean spices typically used in jerked dishes to give the ackee fruit a full bodied flavor. What helps most to develop this well rounded taste is to create layers of flavor that build upon each other until the final product is established. This is a cooking technique that appears time and time again behind the scenes of ethnic cuisines, and it is no wonder why. Deep, complex flavor is generated this way with such ease.

Flavor Layer 1: Burnt Sugar

You’d think that burning anything whilst cooking is just a big NO-NO. In this case it’s a big ol’ YES. You can actually buy jarred burnt sugar, or even burnt sugar lollipops, but we opted against these options and just made it ourselves. It really just takes a couple seconds when it’s done our way. We just melted a tiny bit of coconut oil in a hot pan and added coconut sugar. Coconut oil, in this case, acts as a buffer, preventing the sugar from burning  too quickly. The signs that indicate whether the sugar is “burnt” enough are: that the sugar has melted (no longer crystallized), that the sugar appears shinier/amber colored, and that it becomes really aromatic. Anything past this point is too much. To stop the burning we went ahead and stirred in all of our fresh chopped veggies.

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Flavor Layer 2: Fresh Veg

We weren’t looking to add bulk to this dish, by means of veggies. We we’re aiming for veggies with tons of concentrated, stimulating flavors that would allow the texture of the ackee to remain in the forefront. So we reached for our alliums and our spicy peppers, and diced them finely. Onions, garlic, scallions, and peppers are all somehow infamous for being the background flavors for dishes across the board. These guys lay down a beautiful flavor background and mellow out during the cooking process to give way to those avant-garde flavors that give the dish character.

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Flavor Layer 3: Jerk-esc Spices

This layer consists of a blend of dried herbs and spices that are found together traditionally in jamaican jerk dishes. The caribbean character really comes together once this layer is added. Once the ackee is in the pan, we sprinkle the spices directly onto it. This just ensures that the flavor would really seep into the ackee itself rather than just dissolve into the background.

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Now, all of the flavors are in the pan bubbling together and getting acquainted, and you see that the tomatoes and onions have surrendered their fair share of liquid. All of this stuff is super flavorful so if you’re serving this with a starchy or dry root veggie, or even rice, we’d suggest to just leave the sauce and eat as is. If you’re serving this alongside something that can do without the sauce (in our case some maduros aka sweet plantains) we let the sauce reduce for a bit longer until our preferred consistency was achieved. The point of explaining this is that ackee can take the heat so don’t be afraid!

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**Expert Tip: Top with a fresh spritz of lime and garnish with cilantro.**

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Ingredients:

Burnt Sugar:
Coconut Oil (½ tbsp)
Coconut Sugar (¼ tbsp)

Fresh Veg:
Yellow Onion (¼ of a whole onion, finely diced)
Garlic (2 cloves, finely diced)
Scallions (2, finely sliced)
Tomato (1 medium, diced)
Scotch Bonnet Peppers (habaneros are pictured in this post and make a great sub, 1 finely diced)

Jerk Inspired Spice Mix:
Allspice (3 cloves, crushed or ½ tsp ground)
Nutmeg (½ nut grated, or ½ tsp ground)
Dried thyme (½ tsp)
Salt and Pepper (½ tsp of each + more to taste)
Turmeric (½ tsp, this added color which we loved but didn’t add much flavor, feel free to omit)

Ackee (1 can, drained)
Cilantro and Lime (garnishes)

Recipe:

  1. Prep your veggies and spice mix. Everything comes together rather quickly in the pan so have everything ready to party.
  2. Melt coconut oil in a hot pan then sprinkle the sugar onto it. Let it boogy in the pan until the sugar has melted (no longer crystallized), the sugar appears shinier/ amber colored, and it becomes aromatic.
  3. Add in your fresh veg. Stir and let saute for a minute or two until some liquid is released and the onion is softened.
  4. Add in the ackee then straight onto it the spice mix.
  5. Let this simmer for 3 minutes or more (stirring occasionally) until you have attained your desired consistency.
  6. Top with lime and a cilantro garnish.

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Dig in.

Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce

This recipe was created out of necessity. One night, wanting to cook up some baked beans, we scavenged around the house and found that we actually had all of the ingredients we needed. It seemed almost too good to be true, and it was. To our dismay the brand spankin’ new bottle of bbq sauce we had pulled from the back of the pantry was, you guessed it, expired! We (mostly pear) were torn up inside because only baked beans could complete a meal of sweet potato fries and slaw. Out of nowhere, an unadulterated determination to get baked beans on the dinner table whipped us up in a frenzy. The result was the best BBQ sauce we had ever tried (could ever imagine even). Completely homemade, vegan, refined sugar free and all made from ingredients we already had in the house. Continue reading “Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce”

Spring Salad + Avocado Fries + Soyamole

Spring is right around the corner, and a change in season means a change in eating! Warm weather always makes us crave light and colorful foods. The catch is, we still have BIG appetites and therefore need something substantial to hold us over so we can get outside and stay there. This salad does just that and is oh so gooddd. It’s so beautiful that it’s also perfect for entertaining (ahem, BBQ season anyone?) But seriously, it would make a perfect dish to bring to that potluck, or just to have for lunch. Continue reading “Spring Salad + Avocado Fries + Soyamole”

Not Your Average BLT

You see, you whip up a dill waffle. Then you stack onto it: shiitake Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato. You throw down some avocado and horseradish mayo for good measure. Seal in the glory with one more dill waffle. Take a palm full of this sucker. Admire it because it’s pretty damn beautiful. Then, take a bite into the most EPIC BLT imaginable.   Continue reading “Not Your Average BLT”

Road Trip Series: Chickpea Salad

This Road Trip Series is one we are so so soooo excited to start. If you’ve read our story  then you know a big part of this blog is sharing our foodie adventures as we travel, usually by reviewing the awesome vegan establishments we freak out about on the way. The road is our happy place, it’s our element, so we have developed this funny little “on-the-go” cuisine niche that is too delicious to keep to ourselves. The recipes we share in this series are quick, travel friendly, and comforting by nature. They keep us happy instead of hu-angry on the road. Recipes from this series can be easily translated to work, school, or just whenever-you’re-on-the-move type meals. Continue reading “Road Trip Series: Chickpea Salad”

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

If you haven’t yet read our Secrets of Professional Vegan Cooking demonstration review post (wow thats a mouth full) click on over for more background because this is basically an at home trial of what we learned there. If you just want to learn how to make the most gourmet version of spaghetti alla carbonara that just so happens to be vegan, read on. Continue reading “Spaghetti alla Carbonara”

Day After Inspired Sushi: SUSHI BOWLS!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: sushi is (not hard but… ) labor intensive, it just is. So whether you just had it last night and you’re just too over cooking right now, or you just need some sushi fast, we’ve got the solution for you: SUSHI BOWLS!!! This version gives you all the flavor of sushi without the extra step of rolling it up. Continue reading “Day After Inspired Sushi: SUSHI BOWLS!”

Inspired Sushi

Vegan sushi lovers can exist too! This is a start of a beautiful thing people. We were led to believe that uninspired avocado and boring carrot rolls were all sushi had to offer to vegans, but with a change in perspective and a little creativity we came to realize we were so so soooooo wrong. Looking at sushi through a vegan eye opened the door to a billion and one new possibilities. Let’s fall in love with sushi now… the right way! Continue reading “Inspired Sushi”