Bruschetta - The Vegan Rhino

Bruschetta - The Vegan Rhino 

Need something quick-and-easy to make for an upcoming party or friendly gathering? Nothing screams hors d’oeuvres for a party quite like bruschetta. Crusty sliced French baguette is drizzled with olive oil and baked to perfection. Each slice rubbed with garlic and topped with fresh tomato and basil salad with balsamic and oil. Keep an eye on these because they will disappear before you know it!

Bruschetta - The Vegan Rhino

Yield: 15

Serves: 5 (3 slices per serving)


1 French baguette, sliced diagonally

8 plum tomatoes

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 Tbsp. fresh basil, to garnish (chiffonade cut)

3 garlic cloves, minced (plus 1 peeled whole garlic clove)

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. avocado oil, extra for bread

1/4 tsp. Himalayan pink salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Slice baguette diagonally and place on baking sheet. Lightly drizzle each side with avocado oil and bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and scrape tops with garlic.
  3. Slice plum tomatoes in half and scoop out seeds. Slice into long strips and cube.
  4. In a bowl, combine cubed plum tomatoes, basil, minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and mix. Refrigerate until cold, roughly 30 minutes.
  5. Serve on toasted bread slices and garnish with basil.


Chef’s tip: For best flavor, make the tomato mixture the night before and refrigerate until ready to use.

Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe - The Vegan Rhino

Cacio e Pepe - The Vegan Rhino 

Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper) is an Italian dish consisting of 4 ingredients that make it thick and creamy. The key is to perfectly cook the pasta and retain that liquid once done for the sauce. The starch from the pasta water is critical to making this pan sauce so make sure not to skimp on this step. If you do, you most likely will not get the proper consistency once it’s finished.

Cacio e Pepe - The Vegan Rhino

Yield 3


1 lb. box tonnarelli or bucatini pasta

5 Tbsp. vegan butter, cubed

1 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1 cup vegan parmesan cheese

1 cup reserved pasta water



  1. In a large pot, bring 3.5 quarts water to a boil and season well with salt (should be salty to taste). Cook the pasta until al dente, roughly 10 minutes. Reserve pasta water before draining.
  2. In a skillet on medium heat, melt the butter and add the pepper, stirring around until toasted, about 45 seconds. Add reserved pasta water and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheese until melted and pour in the drained pasta, tossing to coat.
  3. Serve immedietly.


Chef’s tip: If the sauce seems dry, add more of the reserved pasta water to thin it out.

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto

Gourmet Mushroom Risotto - The Vegan Rhino

Earthy Mushroom Risotto - The Vegan Rhino

This creamy gourmet mushroom risotto is a real crowd pleaser and a must try! Making a creamy homemade risotto takes time but its well worth it. With just a few simple ingredients, you can turn plain rice into a delicious entree or side dish.

Earthy Mushroom Risotto - The Vegan Rhino

Yield 5 servings


.7 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth

2 Tbsp. avocado oil + 2 Tbsp. vegan butter

16 oz. sliced baby Bella mushrooms

1/2 cup shallots, chopped

1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 sprig thyme

2 Tbsp. vegan butter

1-1/2 cups Arborio rice

1/4 tsp. Himalayan pink salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup vegan parmesan 

Parsley, to garnish



  1. In medium pot, bring vegetable broth to boil and reduce heat to low. Add porcini mushrooms, cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove porcini mushrooms and slice.
  2. In large pot over medium heat, warm avocado oil and butter mixture. Add porcini mushrooms, baby Bella mushrooms, shallots and onions; cook for 6 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook another 2 minutes. Transfer mixture (including liquid) to bowl and set aside.
  3. In same large pot, combine 2 tablespoons vegan butter with uncooked rice for 1 minute (avoid browning rice). Add salt, pepper and white wine. Cook until liquid absorbs.
  4. Return mushroom mixture to pot with rice. Slowly pour in 1/2 cup hot vegetable broth and stir until mostly absorbed. Add another 1/2 cup and so on until rice absorbs all of the liquid (this step takes roughly 35 minutes). Remove thyme spring and stir in vegan parmesan.
  5. Spoon into bowls, garnish with fresh parsley and serve.


Chef’s tip: In step No. 4, make sure liquid absorbs completely before adding more hot broth. This is VERY important!

Vegan Italian Wedding Soup

Vegan Italian Wedding Soup - The Vegan Rhino

Vegan Italian Wedding Soup - The Vegan Rhino 

Italian Wedding Soup has always been one of my favorite soups, especially growing up as a kid. Thanks to SunFlower Family, I’m able to recreate some awesome meatless meatballs using their sunflower haché, while keeping it 100% vegan. It’s packed with protein and a great alternative to tofu, tempeh, or seitan.

Vegan Italian Wedding Soup - The Vegan Rhino

Yield 54


3 (16 oz.) vegetable broth

2-1/4 cups chopped escarole

1 cup Acini de pepe or pearl couscous


1 box Sunflower Haché

1 small onion, grated

2 Tbsp. avocado oil

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 4 Tbsp. filtered water, mixed

1-2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

1 Tbsp. Nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat air fryer or oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, soak the haché according to the box instructions. Combine the onion, parsley, egg replacer, garlic cloves, salt, breadcrumbs, and nutritional yeast. Using a Tbsp., shape the mixture into 1-inch round “meatballs”; Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil on medium-high heat. Add the acini de pepe, and escarole; Simmer on medium for 10 minutes, or until al dente.
  4. Using a 1 tsp. measuring spoon, roll meatless meatballs into rounds and place into air fryer.
  5. Cook “meatballs” for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Add to individual soup bowls with broth before serving.
  6. Serve warm


Chef’s tip: Add a can of mashed black beans or chickpeas! The meatballs will not hold together when cooking in the broth, so be sure to cook them in the oven.

Orecchiette Pasta Aglio e Olio

Orecchiette Pasta Aglio e Olio

Orecchiette Pasta Aglio e Olio

One thing I learned during my first few cooking classes growing up was this amazing dish, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. This traditional pasta recipe comes all the way from Naples and is made by lightly sautéing sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese. In my plant-based version, you will still get the authentic flavors that this amazing dish brings to the table. I highly suggest giving this recipe a try for this weekends Sunday dinner.

Orecchiette Pasta Aglio e Olio

Yields 8 ounces

Serves 2 people


8 ounces orecchiette pasta, cooked

1/3 cup avocado oil

4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup parsley, chopped finely

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Fine Pink Salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper


  1. In a large pot with salted water, cook the orecchiette pasta according to the directions on the box. Drain and reserve 3/4 cup of pasta water.
  2. Next, in a frying pan on medium heat, add your oil. One hot, add the sliced garlic and sauté until slightly browned (be sure not to burn the garlic).
  3. Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes and toss in the pasta, coating it completely. While stirring, slowly add the pasta water until you have achieved your desired consistency.
  4. Add the Parmesan, parsley and lemon juice.
  5. Serve immediately.


Chef’s tip: Be sure not to brown the garlic slices too much.

The Best Vegan Meatball Subs Ever

vegan meatball subs
vegan meatball subs

Not all meals have to be made with meat. These plant-based “meatballs” are made with farm fresh eggplant and other wholesome and nutritious ingredients. In this meatless “meatball” recipe, you’ll combine the ingredients in a food processor and let it all bake in the oven. They are seriously delicious! My favorite addition to this recipe would be the homemade sauce, it really makes this recipe extra special. Having a dinner like this brings back lots of good memories growing up in an Italian family. There’s nothing better than good food, company, and lots of laughs.

vegan meatball subs

Yields 4 subs


1 Eggplant “meatball” recipe

2 cups pasta sauce

4 hoagie rolls

1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese

1 Tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Slice the hoagies in half (not completely) and open them to insert 2-3 “meatballs”. 
  3. Top with sauce, vegan cheese, and place into the oven.
  4. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Chef’s tip: You can add mushrooms, peppers and onions to this sub!

Pumpkin Gnocchi 

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Pumpkin Gnocchi Making your own pasta can be tough which is why I have created this 3 ingredient gnocchi. To make this, you will just have to roast a pumpkin pie pumpkin and mash up the pulp into a smooth purée. The secret to this recipe is using fresh ingredients to elevate the ingredients into something mouth watering. Give this a try the next time you have some friends over for dinner or at your next family dinner. 

Pumpkin Gnocchi

Yields 4 servings


1 cup homemade pumpkin purée

1 small sweet potato

2-1/2 cup King Arthur organic flour

1 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer + 2 Tbsp. filtered water, combined

1 tsp. Vitacost Himalayan Pink Salt

Sage Butter:

1/4 cup Earths Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

1 garlic clove, minced  

7-8 fresh sage leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. On a small looking sheet, lightly oil it and place the sweet potato that has been cut in half onto it. Roast for about 20 minutes or until it is tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  3. On your counter, pour flour and crest a crater-like shape. Then add the egg replacer, pumpkin purée and roasted/peeled sweet potato and salt, slowly mixing the flour in until dough forms. Roll into a half sphere shape. 
  4. Slice dough into 8 segments. Roll out each segment into 12″ long pieces (like a ruler), cutting every 3/4-1in. to create smaller square shapes.
  5. Using the back of a fork, press the dough into the back of the fork while you press down (in a rolling motion). This will get the small line indents onto the gnocchi.
  6. In a pot of hot water, place your pumpkin gnocchi in and bring to slight boil. Stirring slightly, wait until it rises to the top. This will signify it is done and to be removed. Place the gnocchi in to a colander to drain.
  7. In a pan, place on medium heat and add your butter and brown for 3-5 minutes. Then add sage leaves and cook for 30 seconds. Next, add the pumpkin gnocchi (be careful not burn the butter). 
  8. Sprinkle with vegan Parmesan and parsley or choice of topping.

Chef’s tip: Feel free to make this with squash or a sweet potato for a different gnocchi.