We recently committed to a vegan diet for about 2 weeks and have to admit, it was delicious!  We had done this once before, but enough time had passed that we wanted to try some different foods and see how we could handle meals without any meat, once again.  We both lost weight, our bodies felt great, and we enjoyed creating recipes.

It might be surprising, but some types of food you already eat are vegan, like pasta, if you skip the cheese and use a red sauce.  If you’re up for the challenge, I recommend starting with a week of vegan eating.  If it works out well, try for another week.  Baby step your way into it!  We don’t plan on going vegan by any means.  We love food too much and would miss some of our favorite meals!  BUT… we do plan on incorporating more vegan meals into our daily lives.

I want to share the recipes we tried and talk a little about each one.

 

Chickpea and Tomato Salad with Fresh Basil is exactly what it sounds like!  It’s a salad the encompasses chickpeas, fresh sliced tomatoes, and fresh chopped basil, tossed with a homemade dressing.  It’s incredibly light and refreshing yet fills you up.  I love the fresh flavors and crispness of this dish.  It make a great salad for lunches.

The recipe can be found here.

Start by draining and rinsing the chickpeas.  Then slice the tomatoes in half and chop the basil.  Add these 3 items to a mixing bowl along with minced garlic, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, sugar, and salt.  Toss everything to combine.  (You can substitute the sugar with honey if desired, but it will no longer be considered a vegan dish)

Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to chill and let the flavors combine.  Enjoy!

The recipe can be found here.

Edamame Salad is also light and refreshing.  It’s a great summer salad or an easy to make salad for lunches or to serve as a side dish.  There is crunch in every bite and it’s incredibly colorful.

The recipe can be found here.

Start by cooking the edamame and corn according to package instructions.  Then chop the bell pepper, onion, green onion, and cilantro.  Add these items to a mixing bowl and toss to combine.

In a separate bowl, combine the lime juice, avocado oil, red wine vinegar, cilantro, sugar, salt, pepper, and cumin.  Stir to combine.  You can also use a dressing shaker, if preferred.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill and let he flavors combine.  Serve cold with additional chopped cilantro on top as a garnish.  Yum!

The recipe can be found here.

Cranberry Walnut Chickpea Salad is incredibly satisfying!  It’s similar to chicken salad but instead of using chicken, you substitute chickpeas.  The walnuts add a nice crunch and the cranberries add a little tang to each bite.  I like to eat this as a salad, but you could easily make it into a sandwich with a little spinach or arugula to top it off!

The recipe can be found here.

Start by making the dressing by combining the tahini, apple cider vinegar, water, and syrup.  Whisk together and set aside.

Drain and rinse the chickpeas, then add to a medium bowl and mash together.  I like to use a pastry cutter, but you can also use a potato masher.

Add the celery, cranberries, walnuts, scallions, salt and pepper to the same bowl.  Mix to combine.

Pour the dressing over the top and toss to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for up to one hour before serving.  Enjoy as is or make a sandwich.  It’s incredible how much this salad tastes like chicken salad!

The recipe can be found here.

Pineapple Fried Rice is a healthy fried rice option with Thai-inspired ingredients, a blend of sweet and savory flavors, and is ready in about 30 minutes.  This dish has great flavor and you can cater the veggies and sauce to your taste.  For example, you could skip the carrots and add peas or skip the carrots and use 2 bell peppers.  Make this dish your own!

The recipe can be found here.

Cook the rice according to package instructions.  You can also make the rice the night before and store in an airtight container in the fridge once cooled.  It won’t compromise the taste of this dish 🙂

Chop the onion, bell pepper, and green onions.  I like to use matchstick carrots because they are already sliced but if you choose to buy un-chopped carrots, make sure to chop them now.  Also, mince the garlic.

In a large pot or skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté until translucent.

Add the garlic, carrots, and bell pepper.  Continue to cook until the carrots and bell pepper are tender.

Add the rice and stir to combine.  Then add the salt, pepper, soy sauce, and curry powder.  Stir to combine.  Add more soy sauce to taste.

Next, add the pineapple, green onion, cashews or peanuts, and red pepper flakes, and stir to combine.  I like to use canned pineapple, but fresh cut pineapple works great!  Taste the rice and adjust the seasoning, if needed.

Serve warm with fresh chopped cilantro and additional cashews or peanuts.  Add additional soy sauce as needed, to taste.  So good!

The recipe can be found here.

Roasted Tomato Sandwich with Vegan Aioli is hands down my new favorite sandwich!  It’s served warm and has a (Vegan) buttery crust, roasted tomatoes, fresh avocado slices, and crunchy arugula.  It’s basically some of my favorite foods combine to make a sandwich.

The recipe can be found here.

Start by preheating the oven and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Then slice the tomatoes into 8 slices and place on the baking sheet.  Drizzle with avocado oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oregano.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until tender and completely roasted.

In a small bowl, combine the vegan mayo, lemon juice, garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.  If you think the aioli is too runny you can add another small spoonful of mayo.

Heat a skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Spread vegan butter on one side of each slice of bread and place the bread, butter side down, on the skillet.  Cook until the bread is browned and crispy.

Spread the aioli on each slice of bread – add as much as you want!  Then place 4 slices of tomato, ½ of the avocado (sliced), and 1 large handful of arugula on one slice of bread.  Place the other slice of bread on top and slice in half.

Serve warm and enjoy!  This sandwich is life changing it’s that good!

The recipe can be found here.

Potato, Carrot, and Leek Soup is great for cold weather and makes the perfect comfort food.  It’s packed with cooked potatoes and carrots and has a lovely broth.  Plus, it makes a ton so you will have plenty left over for a few meals or to freeze for later.  I like to add a few splashes of hot sauce to my bowl before eating.  It adds a little heat to each bite 🙂

The recipe can be found here.

Rinse, peel, and chop the potatoes.  I like to use a combination of Yukon and red potatoes.  Add the potatoes to a large pot and fill with just enough water to barely cover the potatoes.  Bring to a boil.

While the water is coming to a boil, chop the onion, carrots, green onion, and leeks.  Add the carrots to the boiling water.

Once the potatoes are cooked (tender and fall apart when you stir or poke with a fork), add the white onion and leeks.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Then add the coconut milk, almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.  Continue to simmer for about 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, tops with green onion, and possibly a few splashes of hot sauce, and enjoy!

The recipe can be found here.

Vegan Mac & Cheese is full of tender noodles tossed in a “cheese” sauce.  It’s very creamy and remarkably cheese-like with a very similar taste and texture to regular mac & cheese.  I couldn’t believe how delicious this mac & cheese is!

The recipe can be found here.

Rinse, peel, and chop the potatoes and carrots.  I like to use a combination of Yukon and red potatoes.  Add the potatoes and carrots to a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook until soft.  Reserve 1 ½ cups of the water and drain the rest.

Let the potatoes and carrots cool slightly, then add to a blender.  Also add 1 cup of the starch water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper.  Blend until smooth.  If you think the cheese is too think, add the additional ½ cup of starch water and blend again.

While the potatoes are carrots are boiling, cook the pasta according to package instructions in a separate pot.

Drain the pasta and place it back into the pot.  Pour about ½ the cheese sauce on top and toss to coat.  Add more cheese as needed.

Serve warm.  You can season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.  Sometimes I like to add a few drops of hot sauce to add some heat.  The leftover cheese sauce is great for nachos, baked potatoes, etc.

The recipe can be found here.

Bruschetta Pasta is a very simple and flavorful dish that is ready in less that 30 minutes making it an easy weeknight dinner.  It’s full of fresh ingredients like onion, tomato, and basil.  If you are not vegan or don’t want this to be a vegan dish you can add some grilled and sliced chicken to this dish.

The recipe can be found here.

Start by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and cooking the pasta according to package instructions.  Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.  I like to use angel hair pasta, but any noodle shape will work.

Add olive oil to a pot or large skillet and heat over medium heat.  The skillet needs to be large enough to hold all the pasta.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant but be careful not to burn it.

Add the red pepper flakes and cook for about 30 seconds.  Then add the red onion and tomatoes.  Cook until the onions are tender, and the tomatoes appear to be roasted.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water and toss to combine.  Make sure to heat through before serving.  Once ready to serve, scoop a heaping pile of pasta onto a plate.  Top with chopped basil and enjoy.  It’s very refreshing and will leave you wanting more!

The recipe can be found here.

Do some research to learn about a Vegan lifestyle and what food are / aren’t allowed to eat.  You might be surprised by some of the information you find.  It’s a great learning experience and very eye opening to see an alternate way to lead a healthy lifestyle through food!

Happy Cooking!

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