Livin' La Vida Vegan!

Korean Japchae

korean 2

Another great recipe from cooking class at work.  This is very similar to the Sesame Noodle recipe I posted on September 6, 2013 but even better.  There are more vegetables such as chopped zucchini and yellow squash plus a spicy Korean red pepper paste that really added some nice heat!  Follow the original post recipe and add in the new veggies (one chopped zucchini and one yellow squash plus chopped carrots instead of matchstick).  Also add in one or two teaspoons (depending on how much heat you like) of red pepper paste for a nice bite!  We used Cochujang Hot Pepper Paste, can be found in any Asian market or on Amazon.

Easy and delicious — my husband said it reminded him of being in Korea!

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Lentil Relish

lentil relish

Another great side salad from the executive chefs at the hospital!

First cook eight ounces of split red lentils per package instructions and let cool.  Add the following and mix well:

1/2 cups of fine diced red, green, and yellow peppers each.  1/4 cup of fine diced jalapeno peppers, 1/2 cup of fine diced red onion, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp white pepper, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar.

We loved the bite of this relish with the jalapeno — a colorful and healthy side for the summer, enjoy!

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Quinoa Tabouleh

quinoa tabouleh

I’ve been enjoying monthly cooking classes with the executive chefs at INOVA Fairfax Medical Campus where I work — they are funny and informative.  I’ve enjoyed playing with their expert knives and I even got to keep the chefs hat they handed out!

One of their yummy summer side dishes was a Quinoa Tabouleh.  I tweaked it a bit and even suggested adding dried cranberries, the chefs agreed they made the dish even better — everyone in the class started adding them too.  I also thought the recipe called for too much lemon juice and I added sugar so below is my version of their recipe:

Cook eight ounces of quinoa per package instructions and set aside to cool.

Chop up the following and add to the cooled quinoa:

1/2 cups fresh parsley, mint, cilantro, and chive each.  1/2 cup finely minced red onion, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp white pepper, 1/2 cup olive oil, and 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries.  Mix well and enjoy.

Perfect side dish for a summer barbeque!

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Happy Cow

We are loving all the vegan choices in Northern VA!  The Happy Cow App is our new best friend, simply click on the type of food you want and several vegetarian and/or vegan restaurants will be listed.  In the last week we tried two different Vegetarian Indian places — Saravana Palace for their outstanding lunch buffet and Woodlands for a delicious dinner.  Both places we loved and can’t decide which we enjoyed more!  We recommend each of them — both in Fairfax.

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Soy Curl Mac & Cheese

soy curls

Full disclosure, I didn’t really like this dish but my husband enjoyed it — he did say that the Fettuccine Alfredo I created was much better though.  Recreating a cheesy sauce is just not as successful without the cashews.  I hesitated even sharing this recipe but some of you may love it and it was quick and easy.  It was very creamy and tasted a lot like homemade mac and cheese but I didn’t like the soy curls so next time I’ll try making it without.  Soy curls are a textured vegetable protein often used in place of chicken but they were not appetizing to me.

This recipe comes from the book, “Vegan Pressure Cooking” by JL Fields so you know it’s a quick meal!

Start by re-hydrating the soy curls by placing them in a large bowl and covering with 2-3 cups of water for ten minutes.  Drain the excess liquid and set aside.

Using the saute feature of the pressure cooker, heat two tablespoons of vegan butter and saute one chopped onion with two minced cloves of garlic for about three minutes.  Stir in the re-hydrated and drained soy curls along with two tablespoons of vegan chicken-flavored seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper.  Saute for another five minutes.  Add one cup of spelt elbow pasta (I used quinoa shells) and two to three cups of water (I used veggie broth/water combo), enough to cover the pasta and soy curls.  Next stir in two tablespoons of nutritional yeast.

Cover and bring to pressure — cook at low pressure for five minutes and use a quick release.  Remove the lid and add 1/4 cup of shredded vegan cheese (I used Daiya and I also added vegan parm).  Let sit for five minutes to allow to set for firmer consistency.  When ready top with chives and fresh ground pepper.

This recipe is supposed to yield two servings but we had more than enough left over for another meal.  We served it with a salad and Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute with warm mushroom gravy (see 1/1/15 post for roast).

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Chia Seed Jam


This jam is super easy and healthy!  Why buy jam with preservatives when you can make it healthy in a few simple steps?  Start by putting two cups of your fresh fruit of choice in a blender — I used blackberries because they were on buy one get one free at Harris Teeter (my new favorite market).  Add in two tablespoons of chia seeds and two tablespoons of vegan honey or maple syrup.  Blend well, pour into a container, and keep over night in the refrigerator — when you wake in the morning your jam will be ready!

Chia seeds are rich in omega three fatty acids and full of fiber so this jam is the perfect way to start your morning.

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Miso Mushroom Zucchini Ramen Noodles


My husbands birthday is tomorrow (Happy Birthday John!) so I asked him what he’d like for dinner and he said that this soup is his favorite meal of everything I make so I thought I’d post it again — so delicious and healthy, enjoy!

From August 2014: Oh boy this soup is good!  Seriously a new favorite and it doesn’t get much healthier than this!  For the recipe follow the link below, I doubled it and it was plenty for my husband and I — I’d recommend cutting the red pepper flakes in half though unless you enjoy the heat!

Gather the following then click on the link below for the instructions:

  • one tablespoon olive oil
  • one cup sliced button mushrooms
  • one and 1/2 cup chopped bok choy
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • four cups Pacific Foods mushroom broth
  • 1/2 cup miso paste
  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized
  • 1/2 cup diced scallions
  • one cup water

You’ll need a fun tool for this recipe — a spiral vegetable cutter.  My mother-in-law got me a Veggetti for my birthday so I was all set.

Now let’s talk about the healthy aspects of this soup — it’s made with miso paste which is just about the healthiest food on the planet!  The most octogenarians per capital live on the tiny island of Okinawa, Japan and they eat miso daily.

I found ten scientifically researched benefits of eating miso on

  1. Contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
  2. Stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.
  3. Restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.
  4. Aids in the digestion and assimilation of other foods in the intestines.
  5. Is a good vegetable-quality source of B vitamins (especially B12).
  6. Strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid.
  7. Reduces risk for breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers.
  8. Protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.
  9. Strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.
  10. High in antioxidants that protects against free radicals.

Just typing this up is making me crave it again — gotta run to the market to get the ingredients!

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Caramelized Onion, Spinach, & Avocado Quesadilla


Quesadillas are an easy and satisfying meal — I’ve made them many times in different varieties.  I found this vegetarian recipe and made it vegan by replacing the cheese with Teese, a new melt-able vegan cheese I found.

Follow the below link for the recipe — quick and easy meal in minutes.

I’m in Florida for the weekend to finish packing and loading the truck — close on the house Monday then back to Virginia!  I miss Florida…

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Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

banana cookies

My husband was searching through Hulu one night and came across a vegan channel – he watched what he said was an attractive young woman with her mother making these cookies.  He wrote down the ingredients without the source so my apologies to the original creator for not giving you credit!

Mix one ripe banana per 1/2 cup of quick rolled oats — we had two bananas so used one cup of oats.  The rest of the ingredients are portioned for three bananas so adjust as necessary.  One tablespoon of bee pollen (this is of course not vegan so not sure why a vegan cooking show used it but I replaced with pure maple syrup), a dash of cinnamon, and 1/4 cup of vegan chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown — effortless, the way I like it!

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Fried Rice with Yum Yum Sauce

yum yum

We used to love fried rice with yum yum sauce and we thought, why not make it vegan?  We found a bag of frozen Vegan Japanese Fried Rice with edamame, tofu, and hijiki seaweed at Trader Joe’s — it was a store brand and quite tasty.  Eventually I’ll learn how to make fried rice from scratch but this worked great.

I found a recipe for yum yum sauce on the Internet and made it vegan then tweaked it a bit for our taste.

Mix together 1 1/4 cups of Just Mayo, 2 teaspoons of sugar, 1 pinch of cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup of water, 1 teaspoon of ketchup, 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance butter, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspooon of paprika.  Make sure to let it sit overnight for the flavors to blend.

We were happily surprised that it tasted just like the version we used to enjoy at our favorite sushi place — so easy to make your favorites vegan!

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