Easy Vegan Lasagna (Overnight)

Easy Vegan Lasagna Overnight PinThis overnight Easy Vegan Lasagna was inspired by our other overnight Vegan Gluten Free Lasagna recipe, but with a few changes to make things easier and cheaper. However, you can mix and match the main ingredients depending on your taste preferences and the amount of work you want to put into it.

Lentil Ground “Beef”

Let’s start with the “meat” mixture. Our original recipe uses Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles as the meat substitute. This meat sub is tasty, but it’s not available everywhere and it’s also a processed food with added canola and sunflower oil. If you’re an oil-free eater, this won’t do.

Amelia made us a delicious Vegan Lentil Loaf awhile back, so that gave me the idea to use lentils as the ground beef substitute. And they work great! I cook them in our pressure cooker, but you can also boil them on the stove.

Our pressure cooker instructions say to cook them for 9 minutes, but we’re at high altitude so I cook them for 12 minutes. They need to be slightly overcooked and a little mushy so you can mash them into a ground beef texture. Then I stir fry them without oil or liquid in a large skillet to smash them up more and dry them out a bit to give them more of a ground beef look.

Our pressure cooker instructions also call for 1 tbsp of vegetable oil to keep the lentils from frothing too much and clogging the steam vent, but we never do this and haven’t had any issues. To keep this recipe oil-free, we recommend skipping the oil. You just may need to clean your pressure cooker steam vent more often.

Tofu Ricotta

Now for the Tofu Ricotta. Our original recipe uses Cashew Ricotta made from our Vegan Cashew Cream recipe. While this is less processed than tofu, cashews are also a lot more expensive. You can buy a package of organic tofu for less than $2, but it’ll cost you about $8 to buy enough cashews for this recipe. If you’re soy-free, you can swap the Tofu Ricotta with the Cashew Ricotta.

This recipe has quite a bit of salt so if you have heart disease or high blood pressure, please omit the salt. Salt substitutes are also best to be avoided if you have these health issues or kidney disease.

Tomato Sauce

Now for the sauce. Our original lasagna recipe uses our homemade spaghetti sauce for the lasagna sauce. This sauce is delicious, but it also takes quite a bit of extra ingredients and time to prepare. To keep things cheap and easy, we’re using jarred of spaghetti sauce in this new recipe. We recommend using a fat-free variety like Prego’s Lower Calorie Light Smart Traditional sauce. But you can always make your own sauce from scratch if you want to.

The Easy Vegan Lasagna Part

Finally, we made our original recipe gluten-free by using rice lasagna noodles, but we just used regular wheat noodles for this recipe. We prefer a whole-grain noodle, but those options are limited here in Ecuador. To make it gluten-free, just swap the noodles for your favorite gluten-free variety.

Since this recipe doesn’t use vegan cheese (which is mostly oil), it has more than 100 fewer calories per serving than our original recipe. It’s also oil-free since we’re using lentils instead of the beefy crumbles.

Easy Vegan Lasagna

Like our original recipe, this one is also “overnight” so you don’t have to cook the noodles. It only takes about 15 to 20 minutes of actual work to prepare this Easy Vegan Lasagna, which is nothing compared to a conventional, non-overnight lasagna. It makes 8 servings so you’ll have lots of leftovers (unless you’re feeding the whole family).

It’s also a great option to take to a friend’s house since you prepare it the day before and just pop it in the oven for about an hour before you’re ready to eat.

Enjoy with a simple side salad and some Vegan Garlic Bread. Save some sauce and heat it up on the stove to pour over the lasagna just before you serve it. We didn’t do that this time, but we will the next time we make it.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Easy Garden Salad

Easy Garden Salad PinI make this Easy Garden Salad every 3 to 4 days. It makes enough for 6 to 8 large salads so it saves a lot of time in salad prep. It’s also highly nutritious and checks off several of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen boxes.

We used to make our salads individually, but we found that life often got in the way and we didn’t have time to make them. That’s when I came up with the idea to make a giant salad when I did have time, and store the ingredients in the fridge so they were ready when we wanted to eat them.

Save the scraps in a sealable container that you can keep in the freezer to make your Easy Vegetable Broth from Scraps. We have found that making our own veggie broth not only tastes better than store bought, it doesn’t contain oil or other preservatives, saves the packaging and makes great use of the scraps we were throwing away. We were using at least one veggie broth container per week so it saves us about $20/month.

Until recently, I put the greens and the toppings in the same container, but I found that all the tasty parts migrated to the bottom of the container making it difficult to dish out. To fix that issue, I now store the greens in a separate container from the colorful toppings.

When we’re ready to eat this delicious garden salad, we put a bunch of greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula, mixed greens, lettuce, etc.) in a large bowl and then scoop out a cup of the rainbow and put that on top of the greens.

Our rainbow usually consists of carrots, cucumber, peppers, corn, beets, red cabbage, artichoke hearts (in water), hearts of palm, garbanzo beans, red onion and tomatoes. We also like Golden Berries (Uvillas or Peruvian Ground Cherries) that we get here in Ecuador. They’re a little yellow cherry tomato sized fruit with a citrus flavor.

Easy Garden Salad

Then we top the salad with nuts, seeds, olives and/or avocado for some healthy fats to help us get at all those fat soluble nutrients in the salad. You can also top your salad with some Tahini Salad Dressing or other nut or avocado based homemade salad dressings, but it’s best to avoid oil-based salad dressings because oil isn’t a whole food; it’s a processed refined fat.

We usually eat our salads with lime juice and some form of vinegar (rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white balsamic vinegar). Sometimes we use soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.

Then we sprinkle our Easy Garden Salad with a generous amount of oregano and sometimes red pepper flakes and/or fennel seeds to get even more antioxidants.

Try different dark leafy greens, veggies and dressings in your salad to keep things interesting. According to Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Greger, Dr. Barnard, Dr. Kahn, Dr. Fuhrman and other plant-based doctors, we should all eat at least one large dark leafy green salad — every — single — day. So find things you like and try new things, too.

This recipe pairs well with any of our soups or sandwiches.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Vegan Enchilada Sauce

Vegan Enchilada Sauce PinThis Vegan Enchilada Sauce recipe is mildly spicy with delicious depth of flavor. It’s designed to go with our Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas, but it tastes great on lots of things!

Amelia makes us a large batch and we keep it in the fridge for up to a week. I like to heat up some leftover sweet potatoes and pour this sauce over them. You could also use this enchilada sauce on Vegan Nachos or as a dip for corn chips.

As with almost everything we make these days, this recipe is oil-free. There’s just no need for oil in most recipes except some desserts.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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White Bean Dip or Spread

White Bean Dip Spread PinThis White Bean Dip is great for dipping your veggies into, but it’s also a delicious and healthy spread for your sandwiches. It’s similar in texture to hummus, but it’s made with white beans instead of chickpeas. It’s a great option if you’re tired of regular old hummus (gasp!).

And Amelia says it’s “super easy” to make. You just combine all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse it until it’s the consistency that you like.

Since there’s no tahini in this recipe, it’s much lower fat and lower calorie than traditional hummus. Thanks to the balance of protein and carbs, it’s a great pre or post workout snack, too.

It has a mild flavor so it tastes great with a wide variety of veggies, especially when used as a spread on veggie sandwiches.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Vegan Mexican Stir Fry

Vegan Mexican Stir Fry PinThis Vegan Mexican Stir Fry is a great weeknight meal since it’s quick to make and amazingly delicious. Since this recipe only has about 89 calories per serving, you really need to eat it with something else. You can prepare some brown rice and refried beans ahead of time and heat them up to save time.

It takes only a few minutes to chop up some peppers and onions, and since most of the flavor comes from the salsa, you can easily have this ready to eat in under 10 minutes.

We make ours with my Grandpa’s Vegan Dipping Hot Sauce and Amelia’s Vegan Refried Beans, but you can just as easily use store-bought refried beans and salsa. Just make sure they’re oil-free and lard-free. A lot of canned refried beans have lard. Yuck!

This is one of our go-to recipes. We eat this one almost every week, especially on nights when Amelia has her belly dancing class at The Tribal Fusion House here in Cuenca, Ecuador. If you’d like to see her belly dancing, here’s a video. She’s in front on the right.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Summer Black Bean Salad

Summer Black Bean Salad PinThis Oil-Free Summer Black Bean Salad recipe was inspired by a recipe from Amelia’s Aunt Marie. It’s easy to make and full of color and flavor. It tastes great all by itself as a side dish, or over a leafy green salad.

Last time we were back in Atlanta visiting Amelia’s family, her mom Jane made us this dish and everyone loved it! Aunt Marie included olive oil and cheese in her recipe, so we just removed those and didn’t notice them missing. In fact, I’m guessing the cheese would overpower the mild flavors of the other veggies.

A friend of ours told us this recipe is similar to Cowboy Caviar. However, real Cowboy Caviar also has black-eyed peas, diced tomatoes, and several other seasonings. Aunt Marie’s recipe is certainly a lot easier to make with its fewer ingredients and most of the flavor coming from the salsa.

Amelia’s mom inspired us to make more dishes with salsa as the flavor enhancer. It’s a lot easier and faster to make a delicious dish when all you have to do is open a jar of salsa and pour it in. We generally use my Grandpa’s Vegan Dipping Hot Sauce instead of store-bought salsa because we think it tastes better and it also saves us about $3/jar.

This recipe makes a great side salad for your favorite Mexican dishes, like Vegan Tortilla Soup or Mexican Lasagna.

If you choose to eat this Summer Black Bean Salad over leafy greens, you may want to add some fresh lime juice and/or vinegar to the greens beforehand to give them more flavor.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Brown Rice Milk Recipe

Brown Rice Milk PinThis Brown Rice Milk Recipe is a quick and easy, money-saving alternative to store-bought non-dairy milk. It takes just a few cents of cooked brown rice, some water, and optionally your choice of sweetener. We also like to add a little vanilla to ours.

We really like making our own creamy brown rice milk because it saves us quite a bit of money, but it also saves a lot of packaging that either goes in the trash or must be recycled. And it doesn’t have any preservatives or other mystery ingredients.

You can make a quart (4 cups) of brown rice milk for about 50 cents. Compare that to more than $4 for your typical store-bought non-dairy milk and the savings can really add up over time.

We use agave as our sweetener, but you can use your sweetener of choice. Maple syrup, stevia or U-Sweet would also work.

Our friend Rosy from Fratello Vegan likes to add cardamon to her’s and she says her three beautiful daughters love it.

You may want to use more or less water to get your preferred level of creaminess. One cup rice to three cups water gives it a pretty creamy texture.

The key to getting it creamy is to blend it in a mixer for at least 3 minutes. There will still be some settling as it sits in the fridge, but you can shake or stir it to mix it back up. We’re not big milk drinkers so you may prefer the store-bought milks if you want to swig a big glass with your chocolate chip cookies, but this works great for cooking (it thickens as you simmer it) and in cereals like our Rolled Oats Breakfast or Vegan Muesli.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Tahini Stir Fry with Tofu

Tahini Stir Fry PinThis Tahini Stir Fry with Tofu recipe is one of our favorites stir fries. We used to eat this one almost every week because it’s fast, easy and flavorful. However, since I found out I still have high cholesterol, we’ve cut this one out for awhile.

We still eat stir fries similar to this one every week, but the tofu and tahini add 5 grams of saturated fat per serving, which is way more than I need to consume while trying to lower my cholesterol. It’s also not great for weight loss so if you’re trying to lose weight or lower your cholesterol, you’re better off eating our low-fat Easy Vegan Asian Stir Fry.

Greger might disagree with this advice, but I side with Esselstyn and Ornish on this one. They’re the experts in heart disease, which runs rampant in my family, along with cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity. With the deck stacked against me, Amelia and I have decided to err on the side of caution when it comes to foods high in saturated fat, like tahini.

With that said, the tofu in this recipe adds a nice meaty texture and contributes most of the 18 grams of protein. And it absorbs the flavors of the sauce and other ingredients so it’s very tasty. This recipe is also loaded with fiber, vitamin C, calcium and iron.

This is a nice one-pot meal (not counting the rice) so it’s also fast and easy to clean up.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Vegan Tortilla Soup

Vegan Tortilla Soup PinEven though I just finished eating lunch, my mouth is watering just thinking about this Vegan Tortilla Soup recipe! It’s that good!

While conventional tortilla soup typically uses chicken as the protein, we used white beans instead. Beans are loaded with protein and fiber, but contain no cholesterol nor measurable saturated fat. They’re also a good source of iron, magnesium and potassium.

There are several different types of white beans: navy beans, great northern beans, cannellini beans and butterbeans. We like navy beans in our soups because the starch gets released during cooking, making the soup creamier. However, you can use whichever beans you prefer or have on-hand for this recipe.

For the tortilla strips, we used two small corn tortillas made with only two ingredients: whole corn and water. Whole Foods carries organic corn tortillas that are made with corn, water and a hint of lime. When eating a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) no-oil diet, it’s important to look for minimally processed foods without added oils and sugars (or other mystery ingredients).

We cubed some avocado as a topping for our vegan tortilla soup, but if you’re trying to lose weight or lower your cholesterol, you may want to skip the avocado until you’ve reached your goal. Saturated fat, regardless of whether it comes from a plant or animal, will raise your cholesterol and can contribute to heart disease and weight gain.

This recipe pairs well with a nice Side Salad or some Corn Tortilla Corn Chips and Salsa.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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Oil Free Grilled Plantains

Oil Free Grilled Plantains PinThis Oil Free Grilled Plantains recipe is exceptionally delicious! Unlike most fried plantains, these are much lower fat due to a little trick Amelia thought up.

We bought some plantains and I was standing there staring at them while Amelia was making some hummus. I was complaining to her that without oil, it’s hard to get the browned look that we take for granted when cooking with oil, especially with traditionally fried items like plantains.

She had reserved the aquafaba from the chickpeas (aquafaba is chickpea juice) and suggested I use that as a browning agent. It was a eureka moment!

So I took 1/4 cup of the aquafaba and put it in a bowl. Then I added some brown sugar, fresh squeezed orange juice, a little water and a little cilantro to the bowl and stirred it up. Then I added the sliced plantains to the bowl and stirred to coat them. When I put it on our electric griddle, it browned just like it had oil on it. It was even crispier than I expected.

Plantains have a lot of calories: over 200 for one plantain. That’s twice the calories of a large banana. So with the added sugar, this isn’t a very low calorie treat, but it is pretty healthy otherwise. If you’re a sugar-phobe, you can try it without the brown sugar or replace it with another type of sweetener. However, the brown sugar did caramelize on the griddle, helping to brown the plantains and seal in the flavors.

Remember, brown sugar in the States is only vegan if it says it on the package, or if it’s organic. Otherwise, it could have a variety of animal derived products in it.

This Oil Free Grilled Plantains recipe works well as a snack (it’s very filling) or as a dessert with some vegan ice cream. You can also use it as a sweet and savory side dish. Yum!!!

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant-based eating.

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