The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook + Recipe

IMG_7110Last week I featured a vegan cookbook giveaway and a recipe, and I’m excited to be doing more of the same this week! This one is The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook, written by Victoria Moran and JL Fields. What’s awesome about this cookbook is that it features a variety of recipes from Main Street Vegan Academy coaches around the world. These coaches offer helpful tips alongside many of the recipes, which I find extremely helpful for when you’re making a recipe for the first time. I also love learning about ingredients, especially ones I don’t use often, and I think it’s great information to be able to pass along to others.

The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook begins with debunking some common myths about veganism. It’s not a diet or cult, anyone can be vegan regardless of their background, and vegans aren’t always alike (but that isn’t a bad thing). These facts help welcome diversity in the vegan community, which I believe is exactly what this cookbook is all about. I think for veganism to keep growing it’s important to listen to voices from all kinds of people, because there really isn’t one clear image of what a vegan is “supposed” to look like. 

IMG_7090Flipping through the pages of this cookbook makes me feel immediately inspired. It features a lot of recipes I don’t see very often in cookbooks and a handful of ones I haven’t tried before. It’s refreshing to see so many creative dishes, unique cooking techniques, and flavor combos that the different coaches have developed over the years. I’m excited to share the recipe for the Veggie Mac straight from the cookbook in this post, too! I made it at home and found it not only super easy, but I was also pleasantly surprised at how good a vegetable-based cheese sauce can be. If you enjoyed this recipe, don’t forget to head over to my Instagram after 12/19 and enter to win one of two copies of your own!

IMG_7086-2VEGGIE MAC from The Main Street Vegan Academy Cookbook 
Recipe by Britt LoSacco, VLCE, New York | Serves 4 to 6 

This vegan mac and cheese was inspired by a popular recipe from the online site of the iconic vegan magazine VegNews. My version honors the original by using vegetables as its base but is free of oil or dairy substitutes, achieving creamy deliciousness via nuts and seeds. This mac offers all the indulgent comfort you’d expect, but since it’s made from whole plant foods, you can feel extra good about going back for seconds.

  • 2 cups diced peeled russet or Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta cooking water
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound vegan elbow macaroni

IMG_70451. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat for the pasta
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the potatoes, onion, carrot, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes.
3. Combine the cashews, garlic, tahini, mustard, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder in the jar of a highspeed blender or food processor. When the veggie mixture is finished cooking, add it (water included) to the blender. Place a towel over the blender and puree on high speed until completely smooth. (The sauce will be very thick, so have your tamper ready if using a Vitamix.)
4. Once the large pot of water has reached a rolling boil, throw in a fistful of salt and add the pasta. Cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the large pot. Pour in the sauce and stir to combine.

Nut-Free Option: Substitute 2/3 cup soaked raw sunflower seeds for the cashews. Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free pasta

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A huge thank you to Main Street Vegan Academy and BenBella Books for letting me feature this wonderful cookbook (including this Veggie Mac recipe) on my blog. I’d love to hear in the comments below if you try making it for yourself!

The Colorful Kitchen Cookbook + Reuben Recipe

The Colorful Kitchen Cookbook This season is such a great time for new cookbooks, whether it’s for gifts during the holidays or with New Year’s resolutions to start making more home-cooked meals. I personally love looking through cookbooks any time of the year, there are just so many to choose from! My favorite cookbooks not only have high-quality recipes, but also stunning photos and easy-to-follow directions. Which is why I was so excited when I received Ilene Godofsky Moreno’s cookbook, The Colorful Kitchen! Follow along to learn a little more about this book, and keep scrolling for a recipe for a vegan Reuben sandwich that I can’t get enough of lately. Continue reading

Since I had been following Ilene’s blog for a while, I couldn’t wait to finally get my hands on this book. Everything from the cover to the outer edges of the pages (which form a rainbow in color), to the wholesome plant-based recipes inside inspires me to get more creative with new and vibrant dishes. Ilene’s cookbook is a reminder that the food we eat should be beautiful, fun, nourishing, and something to share with the people we care about. I’m excited to announce that I’ll be doing a giveaway over on my Instagram on December 12th for a copy of The Colorful Kitchen Cookbook (which is also when the cookbook comes out), but you can always pre-order (or purchase if you’re reading this after the 12th) as a gift to yourself or your loved ones.

Vegan Reuben SandwichAs for the recipe, when making this Reuben-ish I realized I don’t make sandwiches as often as I’d like to. They’re super easy to throw together and a great way to combine a lot of ingredients that  you likely already have on hand. I feel like vegan Reuben sandwiches in particular are kinda tricky to find, so as a sauerkraut and pickle lover I was so happy to stumble upon this recipe in The Colorful Kitchen Cookbook! It did take a little longer than it does to assemble a standard sandwich, but the extra steps are well worth it. I also really love the baked tofu recipe and Thousand Island dressing (both included below as well as in the cookbook), since I prefer to make my own ingredients as much as possible. The components all balance each other really nicely to make a tasty and hearty sandwich overall. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Vegan Reuben SandwichGRILLED REUBEN-ISH

TOTAL TIME: 15 MINUTES MAKES: 4 SANDWICHES
I spent a good chunk of my childhood in Jewish-style delis in New York and South Florida (the unofficial Jewish grandparent headquarters) noshing on bagels and lox, tuna melts, and black-and- white cookies. This sandwich is inspired by a favorite I used to order with my bubbe (a.k.a. my gran).

  • 8 slices of bread
  • 1 batch Thousand Island Dressing (see below)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 handful mixed greens
  • 1 batch Baked Tofu (see below), sliced
  • ¼–½ cup sauerkraut
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ¼ cup sliced pickles

Vegan Reuben Sandwich Spread

  1. Spread 4 slices of the bread with the Thousand Island Dressing. Spread the mustard on the other 4 slices.
  2. To assemble the sandwiches, layer the greens, Baked Tofu, sauerkraut, avocado, and pickles on 4 of the slices of bread. Top with the other 4 bread slices. Grill the sandwiches in a panini press* and enjoy warm.

NOTE: I don’t actually have a panini press, so I use an old electric grill that I rescued from my uncle’s basement. You can also press the sandwich on the stove by heating it in a pan and placing something heavy (like another pan) on top.

Baked TofuBAKED TOFU
TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR (PLUS TIME F OR PRESSING TOFU) ACTIVE TIME: 10 MINUTES MAKES: 4 SERVINGS

  • 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
  1. Cut the tofu into ½- to 1-inch slices. On a cutting board, layer the slices of tofu between paper towels or clean dishcloths. Place a heavy item (a teakettle filled with water works great) on top (or use a tofu press if you’ve got one). Let the tofu sit for at least 30 minutes (or overnight in the refrigerator for extra-amazing texture). This will remove the excess water from the tofu and give it a better texture.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  3. To prepare the marinade, in a medium bowl, stir together the olive oil, tamari, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and onion powder. Leave the tofu as slices or cut it into cubes. Toss the tofu with the marinade in the bowl and let it soak for 5 minutes.
  4. Spread the tofu out on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, then flip and bake for another 10–15 minutes (depending on the size of the pieces), until the desired crispiness is reached. Enjoy the tofu right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Vegan Thousand Island DressingTHOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING
TOTAL TIME: 5 MINUTES MAKES: 1 CUP

  • ¼ cup vegan mayo
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon pickle brine
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
  1. Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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A huge thank you to Ilene and BenBella Books for letting me feature this fantastic cookbook (including this wonderful Reuben recipe) on my blog. I’d love to hear in the comments below what kinds of colorful dishes you’d like to try out next!

Hemp Hearts All Day + Giveaway

IMG_6477As 2017 is coming to an end, I’m already eagerly anticipating the top superfoods for the new year. I’m confident that hemp foods will definitely be included on that list, for so many great reasons! I’m sharing my latest favorite ways to enjoy Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts, and giving you the chance to win a special prize pack of your own. Follow along for some easy recipe ideas and learn a little more about why hemp foods are a true superfood. Continue reading

IMG_6328Hemp has often been referred to a super plant, for the health benefits it offers while being a more sustainable option for farming. Hemp Hearts in particular are full of nutritional benefits, I was actually amazed when I looked at the nutrition facts label on the bag! They’re higher in protein and lower in carbs than other seeds like chia or flax, and they contain healthy fats (including those Omega-3 fatty acids that we’re always hearing about). I also find them to be a lot tastier, offering a light and nutty flavor that makes them versatile in both sweet and savory recipes. 

One recipe that I make a lot with Hemp Hearts is hemp milk, simply by blending 2 Tbs of these hemp seeds in 1 cup of water. You can also add your own sweetener, vanilla, or even cinnamon, but I like to use this as a base for smoothies, baked goods and pancakes.

IMG_6311Here’s a really simple recipe for these Hemp Hearts Pancakes (adapted from Running on Real Food). These serve about 2 people (or one very hungry person!). It’s a great way to get in some extra protein, fiber and fruit to start the day, and it doesn’t take too much time either!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup hemp milk (blend 2 Tbs hemp seeds with 1 cup water. Leave unstrained)

Method: Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Slowly add the hemp milk and mix everything together, adding a tiny bit of water if the batter is still too thick. If you’d like, add some sliced bananas or blueberries to the mix before heating. Scoop batter into a preheated pan over medium heat, and cook on each side for a couple of minutes until done. Top with fresh fruit, vegan butter (optional), maple syrup and a sprinkle of Hemp Hearts.

IMG_6408 IMG_6432For a savory recipe I decided to try out Hemp Hummus, and it’s probably my new favorite type of hummus! Manitoba Harvest has a great recipe on their website, that I modified only slightly by using extra tahini and water to make it oil-free. I could see this being a fun recipe to customize further by adding things like red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, eggplant, and additional spices. Hemp Hummus is a great way to get in some extra nutrients like protein and healthy fats that you don’t always get with most store-bought hummus.

This hummus is great when served with freshly cut carrots and bell peppers, but I also love dipping things like pretzels or crackers in it. I think it would make a great spread on sandwiches with lots of veggies, and when thinned out by blending it with more water it could definitely work as a sauce. I can’t wait to try this hummus alone in even more recipes!

IMG_6493One of my favorite recipes of all of these mentioned in this post happens to be this Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Hemp Hearts. You can definitely mix hemp hearts in pre-made sauce for some added protein and crunch, but I wanted to take it a step further and make my own creamy hemp seed-based sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 2 roasted red peppers (to save time, I used jarred peppers)
  • 4 Tbs Hemp Hearts
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • pinch of cayenne, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt

Method: Start to boil water for 4-5 ounces of your favorite pasta (I recommend penne), and make the sauce by blending all ingredients together until you get a smooth, creamy consistency. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little water to thin it out. Prepare pasta according to package instructions, strain and pour back into the pot over low heat. Pour sauce and add desired ingredients (I recommend spinach and cherry tomatoes), then mix together until warmed. Serve immediately and top with extra Hemp Hearts for added crunch.

IMG_3665So, I really hope you enjoyed this post about enjoying Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts all day long and the nutritional benefits of hemp foods. I feel like there are so many more ways that I can incorporate these superfoods, that these recipes are just scratching the surface. For a chance to win your own Manitoba Harvest Prize Pack, comment your favorite way to use Hemp Hearts, or how you’d use them in the future! Looking for more recipes ideas? Check out some of these for additional inspiration! You have until Sunday, November 19th to enter this giveaway and the winner will be announced on November 20th. Don’t miss out!

Update: The winner of this giveaway has been chosen, congratulations to MORGAN JOHNSON! A big thank you to everyone who entered this giveaway and as always, stay tuned for more in the near future!

Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Manitoba Harvest for this blog post, but all opinions expressed herein are those of my own and are not indicative of the opinions of Manitoba Harvest