Italian Sausage and Peppers

Photo Cred: Jermaine Bullard

This easy sausage and peppers recipe will be the new house favorite at dinner. This classic meal is hearty and can be made several ways. You can either serve this in a hoagie Italian-style with your tomato sauce or you could place the sausage and peppers over white rice and serve with the sauce on top. Either way, the choice is going to leave your belly full and your mouth smiling.

Photo Cred: Jermaine Bullard

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients

Vegan Sausage:

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Bean Flour

1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten

4 oz tofu firm, drained but not pressed

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 tsp Simply Organic oregano

2 tsp. Simply Organic fennel seeds, optional

1 Tbsp. fresh basil

1 tsp liquid smoke

1 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/2 tsp Spicely Organics ground black pepper

1 cup authentic homemade italian tomato sauce

Peppers and Onions:

1 medium red bell pepper

1 medium green bell pepper

1 large yellow onion

1 garlic cloves

1/2 cup authentic homemade italian tomato sauce

1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp Simply Organic oregano

2 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

pinch Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

pinch of Spicely Organics ground black pepper

Directions

Peppers and Onions:

  1. In a frying pan, drizzle olive oil and place your thick onion slices (do not cube) and sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Then add the peppers,  salt, pepper, and oregano. Allow to slightly brown, 10-15 minutes. Add garlic and cook for additional 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

Vegan Sausage:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until dough like mixture has formed and is well combined.
  3. Using parchment paper, cut into 4 squares depending on how large or small you want to make the sausage links. Grab some of the mixture and roll it into the shape and wrap it up in the parchment paper (twisting the ends to seal).
  4. Bake sausages for 20-25 minutes.
  5. To crisp up the outside, drizzle of olive oil to coat a pan. Turn on medium-high heat and pan fry sausage for 3-5 minutes.
  6. To assemble, place the peppers and onions in a hoagie with the sausage on top. Drizzle some homemade sauce on top and add some parsley or vegan parmesan cheese.

Chef’s tip: You can rub a clove of garlic on the bread and smear with vegan butter. Top with parmesan cheese and bake at 375 degrees F to get it nice and crispy!

Spicy Vegetable Pizza

Vegetable Pizza

A crispy pizza topped with colorful plant-based ingredients. Now that is a pie! Instead of using normal marinara sauce, this pizza is drizzled in hot sauce to make one of the simplest veggie pizza’s. After letting the dough rise and pressing it down into a circle or rectangle shape, you get to decide what you will top it with. This part can be totally up to you and what you have on hand or buy. I went with what I had and made this supreme hot sauce veggie pizza. After making this, you will be flipping dough in the air in no time! Make sure to give this a try the next time you are craving some pizza.

Yields 8 slices 

Ingredients 

Dough:

2 1/4 tsp. Red Star Active Dry Yeast

1 tsp. Simple Truth organic sugar

1 cup warm filtered water

2 1/2 cups King Arthur organic flour

2 Tbsp. Vitacost certified organic extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

Toppings:

2 mushrooms

1/2 cup eggplant, cubed

1/4 cup red onion

4 small garlic cloves, whole

1/4 cup red hot sauce 

Sprinkle vegan cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, dissolve yeast, sugar, and warm water. Allow it to get foamy on top, roughly 5-7 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Stir in the flour, oil, and salt to form the dough. Allow to rest for 20 minutes covered. 
  4. When dough is done resting, then out onto a lightly floured surface to roll pizza into circle or rectangular shape.
  5. Pour hot sauce over dough and then add your toppings.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes and then rotate- cooking for an additional 5-10 minutes or until desired browness is achieved. 

Chef’s tip: To crisp up the sides and top of the pizza, place under the broiler after baking for 2-3 minutes. This will get you a nicely colored crust and crispy-gooey cheese. If for any reason the bbq sauce it too spicy, you can add 1 Tbsp. vegan butter to mild it out.

Jackfruit Taco

Taco’s can be a great dinner on any night, however, they are especially better on Taco Tuesday! If you have yet to have a taco with jackfruit, this is your time to try. This homemade version will spice up your night with just the right kick, making your taco night a whole lot better!

Yields 4 tacos

Ingredients

1 small jackfruit, halved

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

pinch of cilantro, garnish

 

Directions

  1. In a pot, place the halved jackfruit and cover with water to boil on medium heat. Simmer for 45 minutes or until tender.
  2. Take the pods (they are surrounding the seeds) as well as the stringy flesh portions between the pods and skin. You will use all of this meat for the taco filling.
  3. In frying pan, place on medium heat and add olive oil. Once warm, add jackfruit meat and all seasoning, stirring until well combined.
  4. Serve immediately with choice of toppings: lettuce, salsa, guacamole, corn salsa, etc.

Chef’s tip: To make your own hard corn taco shells, take a muffin tin and place it upside down. Take 3 corn tortilla shells and stand them up. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-14 minutes, careful not to burn.

 

Baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Ahoy there, matey! These spaghetti squash boats are a staple dish in my weekly meal prep. The reason being because they are extremely universal in how you can create them. Here, we have a baked lasagna, using my homemade tomato sauce and some other freshly picked veggies from Bedner’s. One of my favorite things about making these dishes is that its always a 2-for-1 deal. You get to make the spaghetti squash boats and then later use the seeds for granola, roasting, or even gardening!

Yields 2 servings

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup cooked TruRoots Organic Sprouted Green Lentils

2 cups homemade tomato sauce

4 cups of baby spinach (2 handfuls)

4 oz. baby bella mushrooms

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 tsp Simply Organic Thyme Leaf

1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped

1 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt

1 tsp Spicely Organics Ground Black Pepper

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Remove and transfer seeds to paper towel or cloth to dry. Scoop out slimy flesh.
  3. Transfer squash halves onto pan—inside facing up. Lightly drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes or until tender.
  4. Meanwhile sauté garlic, mushrooms and onions in pan to make the filling. Mix in spinach to wilt. Add cooked lentils and continue stirring.
  5. When ready, use fork to scrape down the spaghetti squash to create “noodles.” Transfer to separate bowl and set aside.
  6. Pour sauce into the wells of each squash boat followed by the “noodles.” Then layer on lentil mixture. Repeat until boats are filled—ending with a layer of “noodles.” Optional: Sprinkle nutritional yeast and/or vegan mozzarella on top.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until top is golden and sauce starts to bubble. Remove from oven and sprinkle with fresh basil and parsley. Serve immediately.

 

Chef’s tip: Top layers with vegan cheese if you would like or you can use nutritional yeast.

Authentic Homemade Italian Tomato Sauce

Before I realized how easy it is to make my own mouthwatering pasta sauce, I opted for store-bought varieties. The downside to pre-made sauces is that they’re often tainted with preservatives to maintain longer shelf lives—no thanks! Now, I use homegrown tomatoes from my garden (or local farm when necessary!). With organic, fresh and local ingredients, it’s easier than ever to sneak in some added nutrients (think fresh herbs such as thyme and basil!). Italian lover? This sauce is the perfect addition to pizza, lasagna and beyond!

Photo Cred: Jermaine Bullard

Ingredients

10 medium tomatoes, cut into quarters 

3 cloves of garlic, smashed 

1 small white onion, chopped roughly

1 Tbsp. Simply Organic Oregano

1/4 cup  fresh basil leaves 

1 1/2 tsp. Simply Organic Thyme Leaf

1 tsp Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt- Fine

1 tsp Spicely Organics Black Peppercorns Tin

3 quarts water

 

Directions 

  1. In medium saucepan, heat tomatoes, garlic and onion. Fill with water 2-in. below brim of pot.
  2. Add oregano, basil, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to boil on high heat. Boil for 10 minutes until tomatoes and onions soften.
  3. With hand immersion or blender, combine until everything is broken up. Pour back into pot and bring back to a boil.
  4. After boiling, reduce to simmer for 3 hours. Once time has elapsed and you’ve reached desired thickness, remove from heat and let cool. Serve immediately or can sauce for longer shelf life.

To learn how to can the sauce you have just made, click here.

 

Chef’s tip: Great for Pizza, Spaghetti, and lasagna! Fresh and homemade is a much better choice than store bought.

Wisam’s Infamous Falafel

Ground up chickpeas, parsley, onion, and cumin are just a few of the already short list of ingredients to make this falafel. The best part is that you throw all of it into your food processor and let it do its thing. Once you have mastered this recipe, you will be able to make many different things such as: falafel salads, burgers, and sandwiches.

Yields 10 Falafel

Ingredients

16 oz. Vitacost Garbanzo Beans, soaked overnight

3 Tbsp.  Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 small white yellow onion, chopped

1/2 small jalapeño, chopped and de seeded – to taste

1 tsp Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt- Fine

1 tsp Spicely Organics Black Peppercorns- Tin

1 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Ground Cumin

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions

  1. In your food processor, add your chickpeas, parsley, garlic, onion, and jalapeño. Pulse until slightly smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a medium mixing bowl, stir in the salt, cumin, baking soda, and baking powder. *Option to add 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice for added freshness. Allow to set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Form into 1″ balls- and place onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Flipping periodically to brown all sides.
    • *Option to fry your falafel, place pot over medium-high heat and fry falafel until browned- 2 to 5 minutes per side.
  4. Serve on sliced open pita bread with diced cucumbers, onion, tomato, and Raw Creamy Cucumber Dressing.

Chef’s tip: To add more spice to your falafel, you can add the jalapeño seeds. Also, make sure you do not cook your chickpeas after soaking them overnight, your falafel will not turn out as well.

Falafel Sandwich

Looking at these pictures right now is making me want to make this all over again! This falafel recipe was inspired from my wonderful co-worker who spoils us on occasion with many different treats. One being, Wisam’s Infamous Falafel. After making them over and over, I finally was able to create my own measurements and flavor profile. She still rains supreme, however, I have really enjoyed playing with the ingredients to see what works and what does not- and that is what cooking is all about. I could not be more excited for you to try these as I was to show her these pictures. She inspired me to try something outside of what I have never done and for that I am grateful. Challenging yourself to do something new is really awesome, especially in creating a meal. Now.. start soaking those chickpeas and get prepared to make the best falafel sandwich of your life!

Yields 2 Sandwiches

Ingredients

16 oz Vitacost Garbanzo Beans, soaked overnight

3 Tbsp.  Flat Leaf Italian Parsley, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 small white yellow onion, chopped

1/2 small jalapeño, chopped and de seeded – to taste

1 tsp Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt- Fine

1 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Ground Cumin

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Spicely Organics Black Peppercorns- Tin

Directions

  1. In your food processor, add your chickpeas, parsley, garlic, onion, and jalapeño. Pulse until slightly smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into a medium mixing bowl, stir in the salt, cumin, baking soda, and baking powder. *Option to add 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice for added freshness. Allow to set in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Form into 1″ balls. Place on to lightly oiled baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Flipping half way through.
  4. Serve in a pita with tomato, onion, lettuce, cucumber, and Raw Creamy Cucumber Dressing or a tahini dressing.

Vegetable Teriyaki Lo Mein

We all know how easy and delicious it is to order Chinese Delivery, however, the next time you feel inclined to place an order for take-out, give this a try instead. One of the main benefits from cooking at home is in controlling what ingredients you use. Some times it may be hard to find vegan dishes at a Chinese restaurant due to fish oil or other ingredients being used. This stir-fry is flavorful with fresh and local ingredients from Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market- you can get these ingredients at your local farm as well. Grab your wok and chop sticks and get cooking with this recipe.

Yields 3 servings 

Ingredients 

Stir fry:

1 red bell pepper 

1 yellow bell pepper 

1 green bell pepper 

4-5 baby Bella mushrooms

1 small baby boy choy

2 garlic cloves

Tofu:

8 oz extra firm tofu

1 Tbsp. Vitacost Maple Syrup

1 tsp Frontier Co-Op Organic Garlic Powder

1 Tbsp. Tamari 

Pinch of Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt- Fine

Pinch of Spicely Organics Black Peppercorns Tin, freshly ground 

Teriyaki Sauce:

1/4 cup Kikkoman Organic Soy Sauce

1 garlic clove

1/4 tsp ginger, freshly grated

1 Tbsp. Spicely Organics Black Sesame Seeds Jar

2 Tbsp. saki 

3 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Light Brown Sugar – Non-GMO 

2 tsp rice wine vinegar 

1/2 tsp Spicely Organics Black Peppercorns Tin, freshly ground

1 tsp corn starch

 

Directions 

  1. To begin, you will need to drain your tofu between pieces of paper towel. Lightly press and allow to drain as much water as possible. Boil noodles you are using according to package instructions. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place tofu into a bowl and add maple syrup, tamari, and garlic powder- mix till coated. Pour onto a baking sheet that has been lightly oiled and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  3. In a sauce pan, mix together all sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Once brown sugar has melted, add sesame seeds and corn starch and stir until slightly thickened. Pour sauce on top of your cooked noodles, stir until combined. 
  4. In a frying pan, add your sesame oil and turn on high heat. Then toss in bell peppers, garlic, and onions, cooking until slightly browned. Salt and pepper to taste. 
  5. Turn heat to medium and add in the mushrooms- cook 5 more minutes. Once baby bok choy has wilted, take off heat and serve. 

 

Chef’s tip: You can add either black or white sesame seeds to this dish. I used white sesame seeds in the teriyaki sauce and I topped the vegetables with black sesame seeds. 

Cashew Tofu with Teriyaki-Peanut Sauce

What’s a hungry veghead to do when you have a fridge full of fresh local veggies? You slice, dice and sauté! Stir fry dishes are easy go-to meals. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and you’ve got a delicious bowl of goodness for dinner (and for lunch he next day if you prepare enough!) This one-pan recipe (or one-wok, if you will), calls for crunchy cashews and protein-packed tofu. What’s even better is that you can prepare this meal without producing any waste (opt for farmers market produce and bulk nuts when available!).

The best part about this recipe is that in can be easily modified to please your palate. Swap the veggies in this recipe for your favorites. You can even use peanuts instead of cashews. That possibilities are endless! Pair this Asian-inspired veggie medley with a mound of fluffy white rice and a savory, nut-based sauce. Oh, and I can’t forget about my top-secret ingredient: organic Japanese cola. Pour some into the wok for a tasty finish you won’t believe you prepared yourself!

 

Yields 3 Servings 

Ingredients 

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 cup basmati white rice

1 1/2 cup water

1 celery stalk

8 oz. Nasoya Organic Cubed Super Firm Tofu

3 cloves of garlic

1 tsp. of finely chopped fresh ginger 

I medium green bell pepper, chopped

1/4 lb. baby bok choy, coarsely chopped

1 handful of Vitacost Organic Whole Raw Cashews Unsalted Large

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt- Fine

1 Tbsp. La Tourangelle Delicate Avocado Oil

Teryaki-Peanut Sauce:

3 Tbsp. Kikkoman Organic Soy Sauce 

3 Tbsp. Edward & Sons Organic Teriyaki Sauce Gluten Free

3 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Light Brown Sugar – Non-GMO 

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar 

2 Tbsp. Vitacost Certified Organic Crunchy & Unsalted Peanut Butter – Gluten Free and Non-GMO

 

Directions

  1. Get rid of any leaves that are discolored and place the baby bok choy in a colinder. Rinse until clean and pat dry. Repeat this process with the celery stalk, red onion, and green bell pepper. To prep your tofu, cut a small slit in the package to release the liquid. Pour tofu onto paper towels and allow to drain.
  2. In a small pot, combine rice and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with lid; simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove rice from heat and fluff with fork. Set aside.
  3. On medium heat, add the oil to a saucepan along with your onion, celery, bell pepper and cashews. Sauté for 6 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and allow to cook for 2 minutes. 
  4. In a seperate bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, and peanut butter together; stirring until combined. 
  5. Pour sauce mixture into pan and allow to bubble and thicken. 
  6. Lastly, add the tofu and baby bok choy. Remove from the heat and mix together to combine. The baby bok choy will wilt as it is mixed into the sauce and vegetable mixture. 

 

Chef’s tip: You can put black sesame seeds and fresh green onions on top of your white rice.