Friday, March 31, 2017

Creamy Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad

Creamy Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad
I'm not the only one pining over spring and summer. These long winter months are dragging and we all want something that will look, taste, and even smell like spring. I can't think of anything more spring and summer-like than Basil! The smell alone is the definition of spring, so fresh and sweet. Pesto makes it easy for anyone, in any season to enjoy spring and summer anytime. Now theres a twist to this recipe. You see a big bowl of pasta BUT its not what you think, its soybean pasta. Now I know what your thinking, "I've tried those pastas and I'm not a fan!". I would have said the same thing before but I recently discovered a NEW brand *GAFELL ORGANIC* that not only tastes like pasta, but the texture is so similar you can't tell the difference. No gummy pasta here! The benefits along sold me, 25g of protein in a single 2oz serving....WHAT?! So the next time someone asks you "Where do you get your protein?", tell pasta! BOOM!

This super easy recipe will give you tips and tricks on how to make the best vegan pesto and a super easy dish that you can make anyway of the week and enjoy for lunch or dinner and on the go. You won't feel guilty eating pasta everyday and you'll be even happier when you find out your family will love this recipe too. Don't believe me...just watch the videos and check out the pictures, I have 2 VERY satisfied customers! Enjoy!
Creamy Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad
  • 2 cups cherry/baby tomatoes, halved
  • 7 ounces box GAFELL Organic Green Soybean Fettuccine Noodles 
  • 5 Tablespoons Hampton Creek Just Mayo 
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup Pesto (Recipe Below) or use store bought
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped (oil or water packed or fresh/frozen work fine)
  • 1/4 cup Sub dried Tomatoes, minced 
  • 1/2 cup shredded Daiya Mozzarella (you can use any brand you like, I had this on hand. Miyoko' would be great in this also)
  • Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste 
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh or dried Parsley 
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced (2 Tablespoons) 
  • 2 Tablespoons to 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (optional) 

Optional Add Ins
  • Peas
  • Asparagus 
  • Vegan Chick'un
  • Vegan bacon 
  • Spinach (fresh or sauteed) 
  • Arugula 
  • Olives (kalamata) 
  • Vegan Feta instead of mozzarella 
  • Capers
  • Broccoli 
  • Beans (chickpeas or great north) 
  • Red peppers (fresh or roasted) 
  • 2 1/2 cups semi-packed, fresh basil leaves
  • 3-4 cloves roasted of fresh garlic, minced (2 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or sub raw walnuts, pistachios, or cashews (I like a mixture of pine nuts and walnuts or pistachios) 
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (depending on how salty your vegan cheese is)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 lemon, juiced (3 Tbsp)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Vegan Parmesan Cheese, you can add more to taste
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast 
  • 3/4 cup organic olive oil (extra virgin is best)
Make pesto by adding basil, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, vegan Parmesan cheese and salt to a food processor and blending to combine. Stream in the olive oil until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. If too dry, add a little water. It should be thick but pourable. 
Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity, vegan Parmesan cheese for cheesiness, salt for saltiness, or garlic for bite/spice. Set aside. 
*Any leftovers Pesto can be stored in the fridge or put in ice cube trays, topped with olive oil, and frozen for later use.*
Pasta Salad
In large mixing bowl add in your Pesto and Vegan Mayo, whisk to combine. Next, add in your lemon, herbs, seasonings to taste and whisk again. Once the pesto mixture is combines, prep your add ins and add them in as well. 

Once you're done with this process, you can set it aside and make you Pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous pinch of salt. Once boiling add the Soybean pasta (or whatever kind you like) and cook according to package instructions. 

You Can Find Gafell Organic on or visit them at

Packed with Vegan Protein!
*I cooked the Soybean pasta for 6-7mins to a softer texture so my little ones could enjoy it better. But you can try it as the instructions instruct for 5 mins.*

For PERFECT texture, 5-7 Minutes (6-7 for Babies)
Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
Add cooked pasta and the rest of the remaining ingredients to a mixing/serving bowl. Toss to combine and enjoy immediately or refrigerate and enjoy as a cool salad. 

Garnish with extra vegan Parmesan or mozzarella cheese (if desired) and/or fresh parsley or basil (optional). Pairs great with a vegan Chick'un cutlet, regular side salad, or on its own. Perfect for 
picnics, events, or a recipe for the week for lunches. So many options! Enjoy! 

Guess who enjoyed it too??

Kids Don't Lie! YUM!!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Vegan Pierogi Casserole

Vegan Pierogi Casserole

So I think we can all agree that when it comes to carbs we have a deep-seeded love affair. I mean what's not to love?! Its warm, hearty, and makes us glow with glee. You can't look at a lasagna or donut and be mad...if you do we need to talk it out and hug, I'll bring cookies!

This recipe came to be, how most do...a craving. Oh and being snowed in, that can drive anyone to have a carb fit. Now the other reason I made this recipe was because I was being see where I'm going here, carbs...lazy...snowed in...all a fat-vegan recipe for success. No good Comforting recipe started with lettuce. "Sorry lettuce I still love you!"

You are going to be beyond satisfied when this baby is bubbling away in your oven, smelling your cozy home up with hauntingly delish smells. I'll also give you some handy tips on how to handle vegan cheese, so you'll never have to say "It never melts well, the textures horrible!". You stop that vegan negativity, vegan cheese loves you. So strap on your sweatpants and hang on, we're about to get FAT-TASTIC! Enjoy!

Vegan Pierogi Casserole


2 (16 oz.) package frozen vegan potato & onion pierogis (see note for suggestions if you can't find vegan pierogies) 
2 cups Organic Sauerkraut, drained and squeezed dry (I prefer white for this)
1/2 cup vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti brand)
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese (I used Kite Hill, but choose your favorite)
2 Tablespoons Vegan Follow Your Heart Parmesan
1/2 vegan mayo (I used Just Mayo), I know it's weird but it works. Trust me!
2 cup unsweetened vegan milk (I used Ripple)
Salt & Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon Parsley, fresh or dried
4 strips vegan bacon, minced or chopped (optional)
1/8 cup nutritional yeast
Pinch each: Organic Onion Powder & Garlic Granules, to Taste


This is the brand that was used in this recipe:


So it may be difficult for some of you to find vegan pierogies. Now you can find some store brands that are vegan (plain, onion, or sauerkraut). Now if you can't find any in your area I have a solutions. You can instead use Cooked lasagna noodles and mashed potatoes, it's perfect with leftover mashed potatoes (with kraut & vegan bacon mixed it). You can layer the noodles and potatoes and then pour sauce over the top & top with vegan cheese. I hope this helps!*

1 1/2 cups Daiya vegan cheddar cheese shred (or your favorite brand)
1/8 cup Follow Your Heart Vegan Parmesan Shreds
3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1 Tablespoon oil (your choice)
1 Tablespoon Parsley, fresh or dried
Salt & Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Arrange the pierogies in a lightly greased (or nonstick), 9x9 inch baking dish and top it with your sauerkraut and vegan bacon.

At this point you can start your vegan cream sauce, it's super complicated so pay attention. Put all the remaining ingredients (except your topping) in a blender and mix until completely smooth and combine...phew that was rough, you still with me? Pour the vegan cream sauce mixture evenly over pierogies, BOOM complicated.


Now the biggest complaint I hear from vegans, especially with daiya products is that it doesn't melt right or the texture isn't right when it does bake. Now I use it like crazy and I've found a handy trick to ensure it melts and bakes beautifully.

The Vegan Cheese Tip List
  1. Make sure your cheese is cold out of the fridge or freezer.
  2. You can use the pre-shredded like I did but the grated blocks work best (I only had shredded on hand).
  3. I always pair it with nutritional yeast. They are a marriage made in heaven and in the below tips, you'll see that the yeast sticks to the cheese, helps it not clump together and creates a beautiful topping.
  4. When you make the topping, add all your ingredients in a bowl, including the oil and gently combine it together. I use my hands to make sure it's all massagingly (yes that's a word) mixed together. You can use a spoon, if you must.
  5. Season it with salt and pepper, more salt helps bring out that cheese flavor.
  6. When finished baking, I ALWAYS Broil it in low. The broil helps crisp the cheese up and make it a bit less gooey and more stable. Especially for cutting into. No one wants the topping oozing off. That's a sad Casserole or pizza.

Once you've got your topping mixed, add it on top of the layered Pierogis in an even layer. Top with more Parsley if you like. Because green mean healthy right! Yay green!

Cover with parchment and then foil, so you trap your steam inside and protect that cheesy topping. Bake for 1 hour or until bubbly and heated through. Your knife or fork should be able to poke with no resistance. Once it's done, I remove the covers and broil on low until lightly brown and bubbly.

Now you can let this cool like a normal person with patience or you can be like me salivating and too eager to wait. My recommendations, do what feels right. This pairs perfectly with a nice salad (when you want to feel good about yourself eating fat-tastic carbs) or on its own as the star of the vegan carb-show. Stores great in the freezer for leftovers, if you even have any and PERFECT for entertaining many or just yourself. Don't forget your sweatpants! Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Vegan Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Quick Vegan Chocolate Glaze


Vegan Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Quick Vegan Chocolate Glaze

I honestly can't think of anything more comforting than CHOCOLATE! Now as a certified Choco-holic, I can tell you that if I have a craving for anything, I go for the chocolate over anything else...well maybe tacos but hey a girl has plenty of options these days. I love the fact that you can also make so many different concoctions with it, from brownies, whoopie pies, pies, etc. but cake has got to be by far the most decadent as far as chocolate goes. Now if you go old school with it and cover it decadently in chocolate glaze, I think you have a marriage made in chocolate heaven. 

For those who don't know mayo was a very common ingredient in Cakes back in the day. I can remember my mom making my grandfather his favorite cake whenever he asked, and it was always Chocolate-Mayonnaise with Boiled 7 minute frosting. Now this is definitely a nod to that traditional cake our parents and grandparents had growing up. 

You may think why mayo? I'll tell you, you won't even know it's there. It acts as he oil obviously but also helps make it vegan without the eggs (using vegan mayo of course). You'll notice that I make this in a bundt pan, making it even more classic. When you pair it with the glaze, it makes for a very Chocolate-y experience and for any chocolate lovers like me out there, I'll accept your "Thanks Yous" now...You're welcome! So let's get down to the most important thing here...EATING CAKE! You can enjoy this on its own, but it's also great with vegan whipped cream or vegan ice cream...Drool! But of course you can just eat it on its own, if you have to I guess right? ;) 

I hope this settles any Chocolate craving you maybe having. Enjoy...and I won't tell anyone you licked the spatula repeatedly. 

Vegan Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Quick Vegan Chocolate Glaze


2 cups flour, sifted 
1 cup organic sugar or coconut sugar 
1/2 cup organic cacao powder or vegan cocoa powder (I used Navita's Naturals) 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Vegan Mayo (I like Just Mayo)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon organic pure vanilla extract (I used Frontier Co-op Organic Fair-Trade extracts) 

Recipe Add/Fix: I also added in 1 teaspoon vinegar (I used apple cider). It's not necessary but I like it in my baked goods, apples it a bit. Optionals


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a bundt pan by lightly greasing the interior with cooking spray. Next, lightly sprinkle some cacao or cocoa powder (or flour) around the interior of the pan, it should easily stick to the cooking spray. Do not over do it, you just want a thin layer around. Tap it out to shake off excess.



In your stand mixer, using a large mixing bowl and a whisk attachment. Combine together the sifted flour, sugar, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt until well blended. Add the mayonnaise to the flour mixture, along with the water and vanilla extract. Gentle whisk until well incorporated, no lumps of flour left behind. Careful not to over mix.  

Spoon the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. 



Check for doneness by inserting a wooden toothpick into the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean and the cake bounces back, the cake is ready. Remove from the oven to rest for 5 minutes and then flip out onto a cooling rack over a cookie sheet (that will come into play later). Allow to cool completely before glazing. 

*Note: You can skip the Glaze and enjoy it on its own OR frost this cake at this point and use it for any event you have in mind.*

Quick Vegan Chocolate Glaze


2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
3 Tablespoons Organic Cacao Powder
1 1/4 cups Organic Powdered Sugar 
3-6 Tablespoons warm water, as needed 
1 teaspoon organic pure vanilla extract 


Melt the coconut oil. Add all other ingredients. Stir until well mixed, shiny, and smooth. Add more water if you want it thinner at this point. Poor the ganache over the cake allowing it to flow evenly down the sides and into the centre of the classic bundt cake shape and drip down on that cookie sheet underneath (told you that would come into play). 


This will hardened up once you let it stand for 20 minutes or so, even quicker in the fridge. This will also shine nice because of  the coconut oil. Once it hardens, take it off the wire rack and place it on a nice plate or stand for serving. Serve with vegan whipped cream, ice cream, or by itself. Enjoy!