Foolproof Mega Lentil Burger
[Vegan & Gluten-Free]
We can assure you that this Foolproof Mega Lentil Burger is indeed foolproof. If you’re tired of mushy veggie burgers that fall apart, dry ones that taste like cardboard, or expensive store-bought ones with too many ingredients, then give this one a shot.
You do need a food processor for this, but not much else. So satisfying and nutritious, these protein-packed burgers are made with cooked lentils, brown rice, sweet potato, and onion; so it’s basically an entire meal in veggie burger form!
- 1 cup brown rice, cooked
- 1 3/4 cups cooked brown, green, or black lentils
- 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup sweet potato, skins left on and chopped
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/3 cup ketchup or tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Dijon or yellow mustard
- 3 tablespoons flax meal
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or black pepper
- 3/4 -1 cup coarse cornmeal, as needed
- Ideally, pre-cook your rice and lentils and let cool. If you have some in the refrigerator as leftovers, even better (the drier they are the better).
- If not, cook them up, remove from heat and set aside. Preheat oven to 450°F and lightly oil a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, combine onion, garlic, sweet potato, and walnuts. Process until finely chopped and uniform consistency.
- Add cooked rice and lentils and process once more, scraping down the sides as needed. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add ketchup or tomato paste, mustard, flax meal, salt, cayenne (or black pepper), and stir well.
- Add cornmeal until mixture is thick and you’re able to easily form a patty in your hands. Make small palm-sized patties. You can make them larger, but the smaller ones bake up a little better and have less risk of breaking apart.
- Place formed patties on baking sheet, evenly spaced apart so they have room to cook and be flipped. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then carefully flip over.
- Return to oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until both sides are evenly browned and they have a nice crisp coating.
- Serve on bread, bun, lettuce wrap of choice, or simply crumble over a salad. Top with your favorite burger fixings and save any for later.
How to Make Epic Vegan BBQ Tofu Wings
- Before I became vegan, my dream job was to be a Buffalo and BBQ wing reviewer. My plan was to travel the world and taste every single wing that existed and review them all in a Zagat-type guide.
- If I was ever in a restaurant that had appetizers, I would have to order the wings. Many people talk about how they could never “live without cheese” but for me, it was chicken I thought I couldn’t live without, especially Buffalo and BBQ wings.
- Then I learned the truth about where my food came from and changed the way I ate and lived. It turns out I can not only live without chicken but I don’t have to live without Buffalo and BBQ wings.
- It’s easy to make your own vegan wings at home using tofu, and even Buffalo Tofu Fries. There are several ways to make the wings and then the ways to coat them is endless.
Here is a quick primer on how to make epic vegan BBQ tofu wings at home.
1. Use Whole Tofu
- One way to make wings out of tofu is to cut a block of extra-firm tofu into shapes that resemble “wings” or fries. In order to get the best texture, I freeze the block of tofu, then thaw, press and drain it.
- I like to cut the tofu into shapes that are fries but shorter would make them even more stable. In a large resealable storage bag or shallow bowl, combine ½ cup flour (use chickpea flour or cornstarch to keep them gluten-free), 1 Tbs. onion powder, 1 Tbs. garlic powder, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. kosher salt, ½ tsp. black pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Add the tofu pieces to the bag or bowl and toss them around gently until the tofu is covered in the seasoned flour. Heat 3 Tbs. vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Shake off the excess flour from the tofu and cook them in batches in the pan until they are browned and crispy. This might take about 4-5 minutes per side. The 2nd batch will cook faster since the pan and the oil will be hotter.
- You could also bake the tofu in a 375 degree oven for 20 -25 minutes. When the tofu wings are cooked, transfer them to the sauce mixture and toss to coat.
- To become a tofu expert, check out 6 Tips that Will Make You Love Tofu and 7 Tips to Make the Perfect Tofu Dish.
2. Use Crumbled Tofu
- Another way to make wings with tofu is to crumble the tofu and add other ingredients to the mix. Again, you want to press a block of extra-firm tofu and if you have time to freeze it the day before, do that.
- Crumble the block of tofu in a large bowl and then add 1 cup of any of either cooked rice or steamed and crumbled cauliflower. If you are ok with eating gluten, you could add ¾ cup vital wheat gluten to the mix to add more “chew” to the texture.
- Season the mix with 1 Tbs. garlic powder, 1 Tbs. onion powder, 1 tsp. dried thyme, 1 tsp. kosher salt, ½ tsp. black pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
In a shallow bowl, add ½ cup non-dairy milk. In a second bowl, add ½ cup flour, ¼ cup cornmeal, ½ tsp. kosher salt and ¼ tsp. black pepper. Form the tofu mixture into wing shapes (or whatever shapes you want) and set them aside.
Dip each piece into the milk and coat it well. Shake off any excess milk and then toss it in the flour mixture. Coat it completely. Place the tofu on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and continue until you use up all the tofu mixture.
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, turning them halfway through. You could also choose to fry the wings if you wanted. Once they are golden brown, coat the wings in the sauce until completely coated.
3. Buffalo Sauce
Buffalo sauce is the classic sauce for wings. I love buffalo sauce so much, I am always looking for new ways to use it. Making Buffalo sauce is simple and quick.
Combine 1/3 cup of your favorite hot sauce (I use Frank’s Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce), 4 Tbs. vegan butter and 1 Tbs. agave nectar (optional) in a small saucepan and cook over low heat while whisking until the butter melts and the sauce is hot.
That’s it. If you love Buffalo sauce as much as I do, you will love these Buffalo Roasted Chickpeas and this Grilled Buffalo Tofu Po’ Boy with Apple Slaw.
4. BBQ Sauce
Maybe you don’t like Buffalo sauce and would prefer to coat your wings in BBQ sauce. No problem. My basic BBQ Sauce recipe is a bit more sweet than spicy, and I add some orange juice for a bright fruity note.
This will make more than you need but believe me, you will want extra! In a saucepan, combine 2 cups ketchup, 1 ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, ¾ cup maple syrup, the zest and juice of ½ orange, 3 minced garlic cloves and 1 tsp. black pepper.
Stir and heat over medium heat until it comes to a bubble. Lower the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes until it thickens. For another recipe, try The World’s Healthiest Barbecue Sauce.
5. Spicy Balsamic BBQ Sauce
When I want a BBQ sauce that has a lot more kick and richer, deeper flavors, I go for this one that gets extra heat from red onions and chiles. Using balsamic vinegar in addition to apple cider vinegar adds a rich, syrupy flavor that is just incredible.
In a small saucepan, combine 1 ½ cups ketchup, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, ¾ cup balsamic vinegar, ¾ cup maple syrup, 2 Tbs. brown sugar, 1 minced red onion, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 Serrano chile that has been seeded (if you want less heat) and minced.
Stir and let simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes until the sauce thickens. This is the sauce I use on my Balsamic BBQ Seitan and Tempeh Ribs.
6. Chinese BBQ Sauce
For Asian barbecue dishes, you can quickly whip up this sauce, which is sweet, salty, thick, and tangy. Combine ½ cup hoisin sauce, ½ cup mirin or sherry, ½ cup ketchup, 2 Tbs. minced ginger, 2 Tbs. brown rice vinegar, 1 Tbs. agave nectar, 2 tsp. Sriracha (or more to your liking), 1 minced garlic clove and ¼ tsp. of five-spice powder.
Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened. It should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir the sauce occasionally.
7. Dipping Sauce
Half the fun of BBQ wings is the dipping sauce. You can buy vegan ranch and blue cheese dressings for dipping or you can make your own.
I make a quick Vegan Ranch Dressing: in a bowl, combine ½ cup vegan mayo, ½ cup vegan sour cream, ½ tsp. garlic powder, ½ tsp. dried dill, 1 tsp. fresh chopped chives and salt and pepper to taste.
Mix well and keep refrigerated until ready to use. For another recipe, try this Low-Fat Tofu Ranch Dip. You can also make your own Vegan Blue Cheese Dressing: in a bowl, combine 1 cup vegan mayo, 1 Tbs. tahini, 2 tsp. white miso, the zest and juice of one lemon, 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar, ½ tsp. garlic powder, 1 Tbs. fresh chopped parsley, 2 tsp. minced chives, and salt and pepper to taste.
Crumble in ¼ block of extra-firm tofu that has been pressed and drained. Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.
If BBQ wings are something you’ve been missing, you are about to be reunited in a healthier and compassionate way. Maybe I’ll start a vegan wings review career.
Smoky Avocado Fries
If you’ve never had an avocado fry, you’re missing out. They will change your life. Below is my recipe for a vegan smokier version that can easily be made gluten free. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup plain flour or gluten-free flour blend
- 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- Egg replacer to replace 1 egg
- 1 avocado, cut into fairly large slices
- Vegetable oil to fry
- Get three shallow dishes or bowls ready. Put your milk in one bowl, then the flour, paprika, salt and pepper in another and in the final bowl mix up your egg replacer mixture.
- Get a frying pan or skillet hot and add in enough oil to coat the bottom. Heat on a medium heat.
- First dunk your avocado slices in the milk, then roll in the flour mixture, then in the egg mixture and then back into the flour. Make sure they are covered evenly.
- Repeat for the rest of the avocado.
- Fry the avocado slices in the oil for around 1-2 minutes each side or until crispy and golden.
- Enjoy! These go great with sweet chilli sauce or vegan mayonnaise.
Asparagus Potato Pizza with Kale Pesto
I have been dreaming of an asparagus pizza for months now, and I’d been dreaming of a potato pizza for even longer. Why not combine the two, I thought.
I love the idea of potatoes on pizza — in fact, there isn’t a better substitute for cheese, in my mind. Potatoes are just as satisfying as cheese, most people love them, and icing on the cake, they are far healthier with no cholesterol or fat to worry about.
Yes, they do have carbs but you are not eating so much potato here that you have to worry about that. In fact, there are just about four super-thin potato slices in each slice of pizza.
Besides, you have all that great healthfulness from the kale pesto that also goes on this pizza, making it super delicious and super good for you. In fact, this kale pesto is perfect not just for this pizza but for pastas as well. Try it and you’ll never stop making it.
For the Pizza Dough:
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 package (2¼ tsp) active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or sugar
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
For the Kale Pesto:
- 1 packed cup baby kale
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
For the Toppings:
- 20 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
- 4 red bliss or yukon gold potatoes, sliced very thin (1/8th of an inch). Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water and let them stand 30 minutes.
To Make the Pizza Dough:
- Combine the yeast, warm water and sugar or maple syrup in a bowl and set aside to activate the yeast.
- After five minutes, add the whole wheat flour and a cup of the bread flour along with salt.
- Knead by hand or on low speed in a stand mixer until the dough comes together. If needed, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time. You want a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Continue to knead for another five minutes.
- Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top. Cover loosely with a plastic bag or kitchen towel and set aside to rise and double, about 2 hours.
To Make the Kale Pesto:
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until they have broken down into a fairly smooth paste. Set aside.
To Prep the Veggies:
- Heat a large pot of water and add some salt to it, like you would for cooking pasta. Blanch the asparagus and the sliced potatoes by adding them to the pot of boiling water. Let them be for three minutes, then turn off heat, strain the vegetables and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
To Assemble and Bake the Pizza:
- If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it slightly to deflate, then let it rest for 10 minutes, covered.
- Roll out the pizza dough as evenly as possible to a diameter of about 15 inches. If the dough is too resistant, let it rest for a few more minutes, then roll.
- Transfer the pizza dough to a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or, if you have one, a pizza peel also sprinkled with cornmeal.
- Shape and stretch again with your fingers if the dough shrinks. Using your fingertips, make dimples in the surface of the pizza. This will keep the pizza from forming air pockets when it bakes.
- Slather the pesto on the pizza, then top with the blanched slices of potato and asparagus spears. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top, if desired and sprinkle some salt and pepper.
- Place the pizza directly on top of a pizza stone in the preheated oven or leave it in the baking sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is all crispy and golden.
- Remove carefully, slice, and serve hot.
Ooey-Gooey Baked Ziti
[Vegan & Gluten-Free]
My Ooey-Gooey Baked Ziti is just how I always loved it: ooey-gooey, creamy, cheesy pasta topped with a simple sauce that’s bursting with flavor and more melted cheesy goodness on top, along with some crunchy bread crumbs. It’s still one of my husband’s favorites, which makes his eyes light up. Just like Mom’s always did. Enjoy!
For the Lasagna:
- 1 pound gluten-free pasta (any shape you like)
- Kosher salt
- Simple Marinara Sauce (recipe below)
- Creamy Tofu Ricotta (recipe below)
- 1 1/2 cups vegan mozzarella shreds
- 1/3 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
For the Simple Marinara Sauce:
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Creamy Tofu Ricotta:
- 1 pound firm tofu, drained
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast or vegan grated parmesan
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
For the Simple Marinara Sauce
- Heat the olive oil in a medium size saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Sautee the onion and garlic for a few minutes until softened.
- Add the crushed and diced tomatoes and stir. Mix in the spices and herbs.
- Cover and let cook on low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
For the Creamy Tofu Ricotta
- Crumble the tofu in a bowl. Add the other ingredients. Mix until fully blended. (You can use a food processor but I prefer to use my hands and play with my food).
- To make the tofu ricotta creamier and more decadent, add vegan cream cheese. It’s soooo good, you could just eat it by the spoonful!
For the Baked Ziti
- Fill a large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, you can make the marinara sauce.
- When the water comes to a rapid boil, add a good amount of Kosher salt so that the pasta gets seasoned. Add the pasta, stir it around a bit and let cook until it is just shy of al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the creamy tofu ricotta. When the pasta is just shy of al dente, meaning it’s a little bit undercooked (remember it will cook further in the oven), drain it, reserving about ½ cup of the starchy cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot you cooked it in.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Add the ricotta to the pasta. Pour in the starchy cooking water and toss well. In a large baking dish, add a ladleful of the marinara sauce to line the bottom of the dish.
- Transfer the pasta-ricotta mixture to the baking dish and spread it out evenly. Top with a generous amount of the marinara sauce. You might want to reserve some to spoon on top when you serve the dish. Add a layer of the mozzarella shreds.
- In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the oil. Use your fingers to mix it. The bread crumbs will become moist and crumbly. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the mozzarella shreds.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melting and the sauce is bubbling. Uncover the dish and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until the bread crumbs are browned.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes or so. This helps the pasta to set.
- Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve with extra marinara sauce, if desired. Enjoy!
Raw Matcha Coconut Cream Pie
[Vegan & Gluten-Free]
The sweet flavor of coconut along with earthy matcha is simply heavenly! Which got me to thinking, a coconut cream pie with matcha would be amazing; I had to make one.
This pie is pretty simple. A classic raw pie crust, filled with a matcha-laced coconut cream and large flaked coconut like a classic coconut cream pie topped off with more coconut cream.
It was one of the best coconut cream pies I have made, and I have made quite a few.
For the Crust:
- 3/4 cup finely shredded dried coconut
- 3/4 cup sprouted, dehydrated buckwheat groats
- 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 cup soft pitted medjool dates
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
For the Filling and Topping:
- 4 cups fresh young coconut meat packed*
- 1/2 cup fresh coconut water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut nectar, or your choice of raw liquid sweetener
- 1/4 tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt
- 1/2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract and seeds of a vanilla bean
- 2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp raw coconut butter (warmed to liquid)
- 1 Tbsp matcha powder
- 1 cup large dried coconut flakes
- Additional matcha and coconut flakes for serving
- For the crust, combine all ingredients in the food processor until finely chopped and starting to hold together when squeezed (if it doesn’t you may need a few more dates).
- Press the mixture into a 6 inch pie pan or spring form pan greased with coconut oil.
- To make the cream, combine the coconut, coconut water, coconut nectar, sea salt, vanilla and process until smooth. Add the coconut butter with the motor running and process for a minute. Divide between 2 bowls.
- Whisk the matcha powder into one, then fold the coconut into it. Pour the matcha filling over the prepared crust and place in the freezer to firm up (about an hour).
- Place the other bowl in the freezer for about 45 minutes and chill until it is the consistency of whipped cream.
- Once the filling and the cream have chilled long enough, top the filling with the plain cream, dust with a little matcha powder, and top with more large flake coconut before serving.
If you do not mind this pie not being nut free, and coconut meat is unavailable, you may use 4 cups raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours and drained instead.
Banana Chocolate Caramel Ice Cream Cake
I dreamt about making this cake, so I figured I better do it in what we like to call “reality” as well. It consists of banana vanilla ice cream, date caramel, and avocado chocolate pudding.
I decorated it with bananas and a goji berry coulis for a color contrast, but that’s optional. The crust is also optional, it’s there to add another texture.
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup dates
- 1 cup dates
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 avocado
- 1/4 cup cacao
- 1 tablespoon nut milk
- 1/4 cup agave nectar (or 1/2 cup dates + 1/4 cup water)
Banana ice cream
- 3 frozen bananas
- seeds of one vanilla pod
Goji berry coulis
- 1/4 cup dried goji berries
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar
- 1/8 cup water
- Pulse the nuts in your food processor until they become crumbs, add the dates and process until combined and sticking together.
- Press into the bottom of a spring form pan and set aside.
- Process the ingredients in your food processor until smooth, thick and creamy.
- Place in a bowl and set aside.
- Follow the same instructions for the chocolate pudding and goji berry coulis.
- Blend the bananas and vanilla in your high speed blender until thick, smooth, creamy and white.
- It may take a minute but then it changes into ice cream really fast, so pay attention.
Assemble the Cake
- Spread the ice cream in the bottom of your spring form pan and then spread the caramel over that, mixing it into the ice cream a little with a spatula.
- Then carefully spread the chocolate pudding over this and put in the freezer overnight.
- When it’s ready, let it thaw for 20-30 minutes then decorate with the coulis and serve with bananas and other fresh, organic fruit.
This is a nice hearty dish. Meat eaters will appreciate the substance of this vegan take on shepherd’s pie. The portobello mushrooms give it a meaty texture that satisfies both meat eaters and vegans alike. There are a quite few steps to make this dish but the outcome is well worth it!
For the Mashed Potatoes:
- 2 pounds potatoes of any variety, cut into 1-2 inch cubes (930g)
- 8 cups of water
- 1/2 cup vegan butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
For the Filling:
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 carrots, cut lengthwise and then sliced
- 1 cup of vegetable stock
- 3 large Portobello mushrooms, sliced lengthwise 1/- inch strips and then cut across into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 dash of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon of rice flour mixed with 1/2 cup water
To Prep the Potatoes:
- Place 8 cups of water and the cubed potatoes into a large pan and bring to a boil.
- Simmer for 15 minutes and then turn off heat, cover with a lid and set aside.
To Prep the Filling:
- Melt the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the vegan butter into a soup pot.
- Add onions, celery and carrots.
- Stir and cook for 5 minutes on medium/low heat.
- Add 1 cup of broth and simmer for 15 minutes.
While the Vegetables are Cooking:
- Heat up 1 tablespoon of earth balance in a large skillet.
- Add mushrooms and stir.
- Sprinkle with a dash of salt, cover the pan and cook for 2 minutes.
- Take lid off and add tomato paste, thyme, salt, sugar, and nutmeg and stir.
- Cook for 1 more minute and turn off heat.
- Add the mushroom mixture to the vegetable mixture and turn the heat to low.
- Add the rice flour/water mixture and stir. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn off heat and set aside.
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F and start making the mashed potatoes.
To Make the Mashed Potatoes:
- Drain water from the potatoes.
- Place potatoes back in pot and mash with a fork or potato masher.
- Add vegan butter, dill, salt, and white pepper and stir potatoes until they are creamy and smooth.
To Make the Shepherd’s Pie:
- Lightly oil a 9-inch round casserole dish and add the filling.
- Add the mashed potatoes on top of the filling (do this gently, about a 1/2 cup at a time).
- Take a rubber spatula and smooth out the potatoes.
- Take a fork and lightly press into the potatoes and drag.
- Do this to the entire top of the casserole.
- This will allow some bits to get more cooked than other bits and proved nice texture.
- Place in the oven and cook for 40 minutes.
Co-editor and Creator: Akanksha S