Stephanie Dreyer, Author at Plant Based, Family Friendly Meal Planning by Stephanie Dreyer, Los Angeles

August 16, 2017
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I created this vegan caprese sandwich for my eldest daughter, Gaby, who loves everything Caprese! It’s her favorite and her go-to whenever we are anywhere that offers one on the menu. I went straight to Miyoko’s Kitchen’ VeganMozz for the perfect vegan mozzarella. It’s soft, salty, and creamy – everything a mozzarella should be! They now offer a Smoked VeganMozz! Dairy-free cheese dreams do come true!!

Vegan Caprese Sandwich

This vegan caprese sandwich is perfect for summer with bright juicy tomatoes, fresh fragrant tomatoes, and creamy dairy-free mozzarella cheese. My family is big on its bread, so don’t under think this ingredient. I chose a Ciabatta roll and toasted it before I layered it with the VeganMozz, basil leaves and fresh tomato slices. Heirloom tomatoes are gorgeous this time of year, so if you have those available, I highly recommend using those. I added a little something extra by spreading some vegan pesto on each slice of toasted bread. I make mine with basil leaves, garlic, walnuts, olive oil, and some nutritional yeast.

Vegan Caprese Sandwich

To kick this Vegan Caprese sandwich up further, don’t toast the bread, but layer everything onto the bread slices and press on a panini maker for a gourmet sammie! If you go the panini route, try swapping sun-dried tomatoes for fresh for a whole other flavor kick. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Vegan Caprese Sandwich
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Vegan Caprese Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1 Ciabatta roll , sliced
  • 4 slices plum tomato (or sun-dried tomatoes)
  • 3 slices Miyoko's Kitchen VeganMozz
  • 4 basil leaves , rinsed and dried
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegan pesto (purchased or homemade)

Instructions

  1. Toast the bread.
  2. Spread each slice with the pesto.
  3. Layer the bottom slice of bread first with the VeganMozz, then the tomato, and last with the basil.
  4. Place other slice on top.

Recipe Notes

* For a variation, don't toast the bread at the beginning, but compile the sandwich and press in a panini maker.

Vegan Caprese Sandwich

 

 


August 9, 2017
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August 10 is National S’mores Day so I am celebrating with this rice crispy treat riff on a traditional s’mores! Rice crispy treats are already full of marshmallows, so I only needed to add rich chocolate and crunchy graham crackers to achieve the campfire favorite trifecta!

These are simple to make with just five ingredients. I crumbled graham crackers between my rice crispy treats, but you could also add them on top of the melted chocolate. Is there really a right or wrong way to eat a s’mores?!!

S'mores Rice Crispy Treats

S'mores Rice Crispy Treats
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S'mores Rice Crispy Treats

Ingredients

  • 1 bag vegan marshmallows (such as Dandies)
  • 3 tablespoons dairy-free butter (such as Earth Balance)
  • 6 cups brown rice cereal
  • 1 bag vegan chocolate chips or chunks (such as Enjoy Life)
  • 1/2 box vegan graham crackers
  • vegan mini marshmallows (optional)

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a pan and add the marshmallows. Keep stirring until melted.

  2. Stir in the cereal 1 cup at a time until combined.
  3. Press into a greased 13×9 inch pan.
  4. Use parchment paper to press it down and spread it out.
  5. Refrigerate 1 hour. Once hardened, cut the treats into graham cracker sized squares. Cut each square in half width-wise to create two squares.

  6. Crush the graham crackers by hand, or pulse in a food processor to create crumbs.

  7. Melt the chocolate chips in a saucepan or microwave. Spread chocolate on top of of one square, sprinkle on the graham cracker crumbs, and top with another rice crispy square. Repeat for all the treats.

  8. Spread melted chocolate on top of each s'mores rice crispy treat and decorate with more graham cracker crumbs and mini marshmallows, if desired.

Vegan S'mores Rice Crispy Treats

 


August 2, 2017
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During these warm summer days, all I want to eat is salad! But, sometimes I crave something a little heartier from the salad family…which takes me back to my days by the pool as a kid. My aunt would fill a huge Tupperware bowl with a delicious pasta salad. It was full of raw veggies and my favorite – olives! She’d toss it all with Paul Newman’s Italian dressing and we’d feast on it all day.

This salad is my Mediterranean twist on the traditional pasta salad. I don’t need many reasons to whip up a spread, but give me some guests (even if they are impromptu), and you can guarantee that I will use it as an excuse to throw together a few appetizers or a meal for everyone to enjoy. That is exactly what happened when I created this recipe for Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad.

Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad

It was a weekend of busy. Wonderful busy – seeing friends, family popping in during an out-of-town visit, other family coming over to watch a movie. So much fun! We had just gotten home the night before so I knew I was going to have visitors for lunch, but had not thought about what to make. I settled on paninis (my favorite go-to lunch for feeding a crowd) and thought I would make my roasted vegetable orzo salad to go with it. I had a few zucchinis to use thanks to the bounty I was gifted from my dad’s best friend, which was one of the key ingredients. After checking my pantry, I realized I was missing a key ingredient – orzo – so I used pearl couscous instead. I also realized I had an abundance of cherry tomatoes to use (also from my dad’s best friend), and decided to roast those with the zucchini.

As I roasted those, I saw some artichoke hearts and kalamata olives calling my name, so the dish instantly transformed into a whole other recipe altogether. One of my favorite moves is the shredded parmesan cheese from Follow Your Heart. I use any excuse to sprinkle it on everything! That was the final touch to this recipe, and my Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad was born. I hope you enjoy this salad doing something fun this summer with lots of friends and family!

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Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 can quartered artichokes, in water (drained)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup basil, sliced in a chiffonade
  • 8 oz pearl couscous
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan Parmesan cheese, (such as Follow Your Heart)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning blend
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the zucchini, tomatoes and garlic on a baking pan. Drizzle on the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix the vegetables so that they are thoroughly covered with the oil and seasonings. Roast for 30 minutes.
  3. While vegetables are roasting, prepare the couscous according to package directions. Drain and cool when cooked.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and the Greek seasoning blend. Whisk together until well blended.
  5. Stir in the couscous, artichoke hearts, roasted vegetables (with juices), basil, and Parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad

 


July 26, 2017
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These Vegan S’mores Sundaes are my fun frozen take on the traditional s’mores sandwich you make around the campfire. With summer upon us, this cold dessert is perfect for backyard campouts and sleepovers. They are simple and fun to make too! Kids will love getting in on the action by just layering the ingredients on top of each other:

graham cracker crumbs

chocolate ice cream

marshmallows

chocolate chips

whipped cream

My favorite brands are So Delicious ice cream, Coco Whip whipped cream, Dandies marshmallows, and Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips. These can get messy just like traditional s’mores so consider yourself warned!! That is also part of the fun though, right?!!

 

Vegan S'mores Sundae
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Vegan S'mores Sundaes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup vegan graham crackers, finely ground or coarsely chopped
  • 2 scoops vegan chocolate ice cream
  • 1/4 cup vegan marshmallows, plus more for garnish
  • 4 tablespoons cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for garnish
  • Vegan whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Layer a glass or bowl first with 2 tablespoons of graham crackers, followed by a scoop of ice cream, then 1/8 cup of marshmallows and 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips.
  2. Repeat with another layer.
  3. Top with whipped cream and more marshmallows and chocolate chips for garnish.

Vegan S'mores Sundaes


July 19, 2017
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I don’t know what it is about a popsicle that makes me feel like a kid again, but I am almost giddy when enjoying a frozen pop. I remember the local ice cream truck singing through our neighborhood on summer afternoons. The rocket molds I used for these take me back to those red, white, and blue pops that were so popular. Remember those?!!

It is really easy (and healthier) to make your own popsicles. It is also a really fun activity to do with the kids. I came up with the flavor blend for these Pomegranate Berry Popsicles because my kids love pomegranates and berries. This is an easy formula that you can change up with whatever ingredients your family loves. Start with a cup or so of a liquid (fruit juice, water, non-dairy milk, or lemonade) and mix with a cup of fruit. Add in any other nutrient boosts (e.g. chia seeds, hemp seeds, spirulina), an optional sweetener (agave, maple syrup), and you’ve got a blend ready to pour into your favorite mold.

 

Pomegranate Berry Popsicles
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Pomegranate Berry Popsicles

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup frozen berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a high speed blender.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds.
  3. Freeze for several hours until completely frozen.

Pomegranate Berry Popsicles


July 12, 2017
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We love stuffed potatoes in our house. Just stuff them with whatever protein, green, and sauce you want and it’s a meal! I like to swap out Russets with sweet potatoes for added nutrition. I was inspired to make these BBQ stuffed spuds by a bag of Beanfields Snacks BBQ chips I had in the pantry. It got me thinking about all of my favorite things at family BBQs – baked beans, grilled corn…and this recipe was born!

I grilled the corn, but you could also use canned or frozen fire roasted. I love kale, but spinach would also be tasty. Make sure you serve with extra chips for scooping out your potato – added mealtime fun! I turned to my favorite spice company, Penzey’s Spices, to create a homemade dairy-free ranch dressing with their Peppercorn dressing blend, but you could simplify things by using your favorite store bought ranch (Hampton’s Creek makes a great one).

 

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BBQ Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • 3 kale leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup grilled corn
  • 1 15 ounce can baked beans
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 bag Beanfields Snacks BBQ chips
  • 1/4 cup dairy-free ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the garlic. When it is fragrant, stir in the kale and cook 5 minutes.

  2. Add in the corn, baked beans and salt. Stir to combine. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, wash and pierce 4 sweet potatoes with a fork all over. Cook in the microwave about 8-10 minutes.

  4. Slice the sweet potatoes in half. Mash the inside. 

  5. Spoon about 1 cup of the filling into each sweet potato. Top each potato with 3 chips broken into pieces. Drizzle with ranch dressing and serve with more chips on the side.


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Summer is here, and although I am excited for the break in routine in my kids’ school schedules, I am a bit nervous about how I am going to balance everything the next couple of months. I started working again in March after only working for myself the last 4 years. I used to work full-time and then, part-time with my kids until my youngest was 4. Fast forward today! My personal circumstances have caused me to jumpstart my freelance business and take on clients other than myself! It’s exciting but scary all at the same time!! After an overwhelming three months, I am back to full-time hours. I am grateful that as a writer, I can do my work from home, but it is an enormous juggling act with the kids. I am finding my way and will have to get creative this summer. I usually plan lots of outings and activities to keep the team enriched and un-bored, but I am going to have to rethink things this time around.

One of my strategies has been to think about how I can get the kids involved with some of my cooking projects. I love being in the kitchen with my kids and so do they! They don’t even want me in there with them most of the time so they can just do their own thing!!! My oldest, Gaby, just asked me last week to show her how to use the juicer and has started making her own juices. My middle daughter, Alex, started making morning smoothies earlier this month. Proud mama! I love seeing them experimenting in the kitchen.

As I was thinking about what I wanted to share on the blog this month, I had my kids on my mind. I try to make all of my recipes family-friendly and kid approved, but I was especially inspired to come up with some ideas this month that they would have fun making themselves…which brings me to popsicles! These Strawberry Lemonade Pops are double the fun! Not only are they easy for the kids to blend up on their own, but they are also pretty to look at. I’m thinking popsicle party!!!

I kept things all natural in this recipe by juicing organic lemons and Granny Smith apples together. No sugar added! This flavor combo is sweet success. Sliced strawberries are not only pretty in these picturesque popsicles, but they also add some extra flavor and texture.

I also made a variation of these by sliced cherries and dropping those in the molds first instead of strawberries – equally delicious results! These Strawberry Lemonade Pops are a delicious frozen alternative to glasses of freshly squeezed lemonade at the neighborhood stand this summer. I hope you’ll try them and let me know what you think. Who else is making popsicles this month?

 

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Strawberry Lemonade Pops

Ingredients

  • 4 lemons, peeled
  • 4-5 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced

Instructions

  1. Juice the lemons and 4 apples. Taste for sweetness/tartness and juice additional apples as necessary to achieve your desired flavor.
  2. Add 4 sliced strawberries into 10-12 popsicle molds.
  3. Pour in the lemonade, leaving about an inch of free space at the top of each mold
  4. Freeze for 5 hours.

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I am kinda late to the oatmeal party, but I am making up for it with this recipe for Blueberry Pistachio Oatmeal. I ate oatmeal lots as a kid, but have never been that into it as an adult. When I went vegan, that seemed to be my only option for breakfast when we were traveling or out for brunch and I turned my nose up at it. I owe you an apology, Oatmeal!! I have recently been playing with some fun mix-ins and fresh fruit that have yielded some delicious results!

My newest oatmeal ingredient? Setton Farms new Blueberry + Pistachio Chewy Bites! They’re 100% all natural and bursting with blueberry flavor from infused cranberries. I love pistachios so when Setton Farms asked me to come up with a recipe for their new Pistachio Chewy Bites, I couldn’t refuse.

Nuts and fruit seemed like an obvious flavor success to me so I gave it a try in this recipe for Blueberry Pistachio Oatmeal. The results were delicious. This recipe is a breakfast party-in-a-bowl. I cooked the oatmeal with almond milk, a tad of maple syrup, and chopped Blueberry + Pistachio Chewy Bites. I let it all cook together for about 10 minutes and then, topped with fresh blueberries and chopped Pistachio Chewy Bites.

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Blueberry Pistachio Oatmeal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 Blueberry + Pistachio Chewy Bites, chopped (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh blueberries

Instructions

  1. Combine the oats, milk, maple syrup and 1 chopped Chewy Bite in a sauce pan.


  2. Cook for about 10 minutes until desired consistency.


  3. Spoon into a bowl and top with the fresh blueberries and other Chewy Bite.

 


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I have been a little obsessed with Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger lately. They are delicious on their own, but I’ve been having fun playing with them in all kinds of recipes. My Italian Meatballs were my last creation, and today, I am excited to share this Italian Stuffed Ricotta Burger. Stuffed burgers are all kinds of fun! It’s a surprise inside an already tasty treat.

For this burger, I wanted something creamy and savory to sandwich between the Beyond Burger patties. Kite Hill’s Ricotta is the perfect salty filling for this recipe. I added a few ingredients to the cheese and formed it into a small ball and flattened it between the patties, so it would melt while it cooked. I added traditional Italian seasonings to the burgers with a special shout out to rosemary. I think it makes this Stuffed Italian Ricotta Burger!

To put the burger together, I used a ciabatta roll for a thematic twist on the hamburger bun (focaccia would be tasty too), some doctored up marinara sauce (although regular store-bought works just fine too), and fresh basil leaves. Read on for the recipe below and let me know what you think!

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Italian Stuffed Ricotta Burger

Ingredients

For the burgers

  • 1 package Beyond Meat Beyond Burger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the marinara sauce

  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon red wine
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 dashed Italian seasoning
  • 2 ciabatta rolls
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6-8 basil leaves

For the ricotta

  • 1/4 cup Kite Hill dairy-free ricotta
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 leaf basil, finely chopped

Instructions

For the ricotta

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well to mix all the ingredients. Form into two small balls and flatten.

For the burgers

  1. Combine the burgers and seasonings in a bowl. Mix well.

  2.  Flatten the mixture into 4 evenly distributed patties.

  3. Take one of the ricotta balls and place on top of one of the patties, flattening to spread it out on top of the burger.

  4. Place another burger on top and form together into one thick patty.

  5. Heat a grill or pan on medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

  6. Cook the burgers about 5 minutes on each side.

For the marinara sauce

  1. Heat the marinara sauce and remaining ingredients in a sauce pan.

  2. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

To assemble the burger

  1. Slice the ciabatta rolls in half. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

  2. Toast the bread.

  3. Spread marinara sauce on each slice of bread.

  4. Top with a burger and 3-4 basil leaves.

  5. Top with the other slice of bread.


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I find the simplest recipes are usually the most delicious. Just a few quality ingredients and some fresh herbs. That’s really all you need to make delicious food. These herb roasted potatoes are just that. They are hearty and filling, but with just a drizzle of olive oil, they aren’t greasy or fattening.

I sprinkle rosemary and thyme over the potatoes and butternut squash, but sage would also taste delicious. I use garlic powder in addition to fresh garlic because I like these garlicky! You could also use a lemon pepper to change things up. Garnish with fresh Italian parsley for a pretty presentation. Have fun with these and make them your own!

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Herb Roasted Potatoes & Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes , peeled and cubed
  • 1 package peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 2 Russet potatoes or 4 Yukon gold potatoes , peeled and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary , finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme , finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper , to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the potatoes and butternut squash on a baking sheet.
  2. Drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with the herbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.

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This homemade pico de gallo is super easy (and fun to make with the kids). I made a batch for Taco Tuesday last week and it went really fast…made me wish I had doubled the recipe. There’s really nothing to it, just a few ingredients chopped up and mixed together. It’s best eaten the same day, but can keep if sealed in an airtight container for another day or so. It’s a great option for your arsenal of Cinco de Mayo recipes.

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Quick & Easy Pico de Gallo

Ingredients

  • 2 Roma tomatoes , finely chopped
  • ½ yellow onion , finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro , finely chopped
  • ½ the juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well to combine. Taste and add more lime juice and salt, as needed.

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My kids went crazy for yuca while we were in Miami this past summer. Yuca is also know as cassava, and is a starchy plant that is tubular in shape, kind of resembling a sweet potato. It is commonly eaten as fries and popular in Cuban cuisine in the U.S. I decided to create a healthier version of the yuca fries my family has come to love. These baked yuca fries are surprisingly quick and simple to make with just 3 ingredients! Not only are they vegan, but they are also naturally gluten-free.

The hardest part of this recipe is peeling the yuca, which you do very carefully with a knife. A regular vegetable peeler won’t penetrate the skin, so you have to use a knife to pry a small piece off and then use your fingernails and a paring knife to pull it off.

Once you have the yuca peeled, slice it into fry sticks, toss with olive oil and seasoning, and then bake. Super easy! I served it alongside our favorite roasted chipotle salsa, which the kids loved.

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Baked Yuca Fries

A healthy alternative to French fries, using yuca (vegan and gluten-free). Write a reviewSave RecipePrint

Ingredients

  • 2 large yuca , peeled and cut into sticks
  • Tajin seasoning (or other favorite taco seasoning blend)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss the yuca with the olive oil and seasoning.
  3. Spread the yuca sticks onto a baking sheet and place in oven for 7-10 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Allow to cool and serve immediately with salsa for dipping.

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I recently discovered Gardein’s Golden Fishless Fillet and can’t believe how much it tastes like the real thing.  Well done, Gardein, although I am not surprised as every product they put out is high quality and tastes delicious.  I typically don’t eat these faux meat products often, but I will make an exception for these fillets!  Not only are they eerily tasty, but they are also flaky and consistent from a texture perspective too.  They’d make a great “fish and chips” dinner, but I decided to have some fun and turn them into tacos!

Upon my discovery of these fishless fillets, I also discovered Follow Your Heart’s Tartar Sauce.  Truth be told, I have been eyeing the jars of this sauce in my Whole Foods for months now, but didn’t have anywhere to use them…until now.  The creamy topping on these tacos is indeed, this tartar sauce.

This recipe is so simple that I am not sure I can even call it a recipe.  It’s really just opening a bunch of packages and jars, chopping, and then tossing them with a few things.  It’s a great meal solution for a busy weeknight after sports or activities and you only have about 30 minutes to get dinner on the table with no time to prep.  Try this recipe!

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Vegan Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw & Tartar Sauce

Ingredients

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 package Gardein Golden Fishless Fillets
  • 1 jar Follow Your Heart Tartar Sauce
  • 1 package shredded cabbage
  • 1 tomato , chopped
  • 2 green onions , thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • 2 avocados , sliced
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare Fishless Fillets according to package directions (bake 10-12 minutes at 425 degrees).


  2. While fillets bake, prepare the slaw: Toss the cabbage, carrots, green onions, tomato and the juice of 1 lime in a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and taste for seasonings.


  3. When fillets are ready, heat one tortilla at a time on a stove burner, until the tortilla becomes pliable. Chop the fillets into small pieces. Spoon some of the slaw into each tortilla with about half of one fillet. Add in a few avocado slices, and top with a dollop of the tartar sauce.


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I love this tempeh “chicken” salad filling! It’s great on sandwiches and also on top of a bed of greens. Recently, I fancied it up a level and made canapes using endive leaves. I served it as a side to a cup of soup for lunch, but wouldn’t it make a pretty appetizer too? Try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients

  • 1 8-0 z packages Organic Tempeh (such as Lightlife)
  • 4 stalks celery , minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot , chopped
  • 4 small dill pickles , minced
  • 2 scallions , chopped
  • 1 cup Wildwood Garlic Aioli (or vegan mayo such as Vegannaise)
  • 6 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • Tempeh Salad in Endive

Instructions

  1. Cut tempeh into chunks and steam for 10 minutes. Allow to cool and crumble with your hands into a bowl.
  2. Add all other ingredients and stir well to combine.
  3. Serve on sandwich bread, over salad greens, or atop crackers or veggies as canapes!

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Tropical Tempeh Kebobs and Macadamia Nut Rice

Ingredients

For the kebabs

  • 2 packages soy tempeh (I like Light Life)
  • 1 red bell pepper , cut into 2″ squares
  • 1 orange bell pepper , cut into 2″ squares
  • 1 pineapple , core removed and cut into chunks
  • 1 jar Soyaki Teriyaki sauce (available at Trader Joe’s)
  • 8 bamboo skewers (soaked in water at least 15 minutes)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil

For the rice

  • 1 package organic frozen basmati rice (Trader Joe’s freezer section)
  • 1 package organic frozen brown rice (Trader Joe’s freezer section)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts , coarsely chopped

Instructions

For kebabs

  1. Cut each tempeh block into about 12 1 1/2″ chunks. Place in a bowl and pour half the bottle of marinade over the tempeh pieces to cover. Allow to marinate at least an hour.
  2. Stack skewers with first, a pineapple chunk, followed by a tempeh cube, then a red bell pepper, a tempeh cube, a pineapple chunk, an orange bell pepper, then a tempeh cube, followed by a pineapple chunk.
  3. Heat oil in a grill pan. Place skewers in pan and grill on each side approximately 3-4 minutes. Baste with reserved marinade before turning the skewers.

For rice

  1. Cook rice in microwave according to package directions.
  2. Heat oil in pan. Add garlic and saute 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add rice to pan and add vegetables. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Heat a separate pan with no oil. Add nuts. Toast nuts until golden brown, approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from pan and stir into rice.

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Happy summer, everyone! I can’t believe it’s already halfway over. I love this time of year SO MUCH. My household is so much calmer and peaceful. Everything is effortless. Easy. Breezy. Fun. During the school year, I am a control freak, wrangling kids, keeping to schedules, and enforcing rules – all so chaos doesn’t ensue. Dinner is served strictly at 6:30PM so that everyone is fed and in bed by 8:30PM. Come summer and we’ve been eating as late as 8 o’clock as summer fun calls and I don’t start dinner until later. It means later bedtimes, but no one seems to mind, because as my eldest daughter says, “What do we have to get up for?” I LOVE SUMMER.

So, this salad! I love a good Caprese salad. I have taken some liberties with this recipe, by chopping things up instead of slicing the tomatoes and cheese in rounds as it is done in the traditional dish. But, this also isn’t traditional, as I swapped out the mozzarella with Kite Hill’s Ricotta. I love this creamy, salty cheese SO MUCH. It really is fantastic. Of course, you could keep things traditional with the equally awesome VeganMozz from Miyoko’s Kitchen.

This Caprese Chopped Salad gets it glory from the bounty of summer – heirloom tomatoes. Sure, you could make this any time of year with any kind of tomato, but why not make it now with all of the beautiful tomatoes available not only at the local farmer’s market, but also at the grocery store? Add in just a couple of other ingredients and you have a fresh salad that makes a great lunch or dinner, or is easily served alongside pasta or a bowl of soup.

This Caprese Chopped Salad couldn’t be any easier. If you don’t believe me, check out the video below to see what I mean!

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Vegan Caprese Salad

Instructions

  1. Slice tomatoes into wedges and lay out on a platter.
  2. Stack basil leaves on top of each other and roll together tightly. Slice the leaves into a chiffonade.
  3. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar over salad to taste.
  4. Crumble Kite Hill Cheese on top.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

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With summer here and the kids out of school, the Dreyer house seems to be a beacon for visitors! I don’t need many reasons to whip up a spread, but give me some guests (even if they are impromptu), and you can guarantee that I will use it as an excuse to throw together a few appetizers or a meal for everyone to enjoy. That is exactly what happened when I created this recipe for Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad.

It was a weekend of busy. Wonderful busy – seeing friends, family popping in during an out-of-town visit, other family coming over to watch a movie. So much fun! We had just gotten home the night before so I knew I was going to have visitors for lunch, but had not thought about what to make. I settled on paninis (my favorite go-to lunch for feeding a crowd) and thought I would make my roasted vegetable orzo salad to go with it. I had a few zucchinis to use thanks to the bounty I was gifted from my dad’s best friend, which was one of the key ingredients. After checking my pantry, I realized I was missing a key ingredient – orzo – so I used pearl couscous instead. I also realized I had an abundance of cherry tomatoes to use (also from my dad’s best friend), and decided to roast those with the zucchini.

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Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 zucchini , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 can quartered artichokes , in water (drained)
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives , sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup basil , sliced in a chiffonade
  • 8 oz pearl couscous
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan Parmesan cheese (such as Follow Your Heart)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning blend
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread the zucchini, tomatoes and garlic on a baking pan. Drizzle on the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Mix the vegetables so that they are thoroughly covered with the oil and seasonings. Roast for 30 minutes.
  3. While vegetables are roasting, prepare the couscous according to package directions. Drain and cool when cooked.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, 1/4 cup of olive oil, and the Greek seasoning blend. Whisk together until well blended.
  5. Stir in the couscous, artichoke hearts, roasted vegetables (with juices), basil, and Parmesan cheese.
  6. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Matzah Pizza

Ingredients

  • 4 matzah crackers
  • 4 tablespoons sauce
  • ½ cup shredded vegan cheese
  • Toppings of choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place each matzah cracker on a baking sheet and top with 1 tablespoon of sauce, your selected toppings and 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese.
  3. Bake about 5 minutes.

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Although chips and salsa are not a traditional Jewish or Passover, food, I am breaking tradition with this recipe for vegan matzah nachos. It’s fun, easy, and super tasty! I used Tofurky’s Chorizo, but of course, pick your favorite brand. As a chorizo alternative, you could also substitute chopped tempeh bacon for a smokier flavor. If faux meats aren’t your thing, simply omit it and add more beans.

I made a fresh pico de gallo for this dish. It brightens the flavors in the matz-os, but this recipe would be just as delicious with a store-bought fresh salsa, or even a jarred variety. I have found that Daiya shreds work the best for the melty texture you want on your matzah “chip,” but you could also melt down a cheese such as Heidi Ho and drizzle it over the nachos instead. Just omit the cheese from the first step and add it on in the second before the salsa.

Enjoy these vegan matzah nachos with the toppings I have suggested below or get creative with your favorite ingredients. For even more fun, set out a matz-oh bar as a fun first course to your Passover seder! Enjoy!

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Vegan Matzah Nachos

Ingredients

For the salsa

  • 2 Roma tomatoes , finely chopped
  • ½ yellow onion , finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons cilantro , finely chopped
  • ½ the juice of 1 lime
  • Salt to taste

For the lime crema

  • ¼ cup dairy-free sour cream
  • ½ the juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon chile lime salt

For the nachos

  • 3 matzah sheets
  • ¾ cup meatless chorizo (such as Tofurky)
  • 1 cup dairy-free cheddar shreds (such as Daiya)
  • 2 avocados , chopped
  • ½ cup black beans , drained and rinsed

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My kids love popcorn. Like really love popcorn. It’s the first thing they ask for when I pick them up from school, and usually what they want after dinner for another snack! My husband makes the BEST homemade popcorn and that is saying a lot. I was raised on my dad’s popcorn, formerly the BEST (sorry, Daddy), but Dave’s popped kernels are always a treat. We drizzle our corn with melted Earth Balance and dust it with sea salt and nutritional yeast. The BEST! It is truly a comfort food in our family, and a fairly healthy one at that.

We ditched the microwave bags a while ago after learning about how many chemicals are in them. Although easy and quick, we have replaced them with this microwave popper that yields about 4 cups of popcorn in about 4 minutes. It’s just a tad more effort then the Orville Redenbacher bags, but much healthier.

I have recently discovered Miyoko’s Kitchen’s European Style butter and highly recommend it as an alternative to Earth Balance that will blow your taste buds. I am kinda in love with it right now. Besides salt, I have been having fun with some other healthy popcorn toppings. The ones below are savory and salty, just what my family always craves. They also include some surprise superfood ingredients, kicking up the nutrition factor in this already healthy snack. Read on below and I dare you not to pop up a batch now!

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Kale Cheezy Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of lacinato kale , stems removed and torn into bite size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt (I used Penzey’s Spices Sandwich Sprinkle)
  • 4 cups of popcorn (see recipe below)
  • 3 tablespoons dairy-free butter (such as Earth Balance)

Instructions

  1. Toss the kale with the olive oil, seasoned salt and nutritional yeast.


  2. Place the kale in the basket of an air fryer at 370 degrees for 5 minutes. Do not overcook or the kale will become bitter. Crumble the kale into a bowl. 


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