Quick and Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese

Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese PinAfter my first attempt to make a Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese, Amelia improved upon it. While my version (featured in our Vegan What We Eat In A Day video on our VegansAbroad YouTube Channel) was a little easier and a one-pot bolognese, Amelia’s was more flavorful and closer to a conventional bolognese.

Some people recommend cooking the lentils in the same pot as the sauce, but we weren’t happy with how they turned out. We simmered the sauce with the lentils for about 45 minutes and felt like they still could have cooked longer. So in Amelia’s version, we cooked the lentils in a separate pot for about 30 minutes and that worked much better. We’re at high altitude here in Cuenca, Ecuador, so things take longer to cook here. Red lentils at sea level will probably cook in much less time.

We served our bolognese over regular linguine pasta, but it’s better if you use whole wheat pasta. Whole wheat vegan products can be difficult to find here, so sometimes we’re stuck with the regular pasta.

This recipe pairs well with our Easy Garden Salad.

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 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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Vegan Pasta Salad

Vegan Pasta Salad PinThis Vegan Pasta Salad is oil free, delicious and easy to make. It’s a great summer dish to take on a picnic or to a family gathering.

Pasta salad has always been one of my favorite side dishes. We always used the store-bought mix before going WFPB, but it has lots of additional ingredients, preservatives and uses lots of oil. So Amelia decided to make our own and added some more colorful veggies while she was at it.

Amelia used cauliflower, grape tomatoes, cucumber and black olives, but it would also be great with artichokes, broccoli or your other favorite veggies.

You can use your favorite Italian salad dressing, but we used my oil-free creation, JP’s Italian Salad Dressing. This salad dressing is also easy to make so the hardest part of this recipe is chopping the veggies.

It’s easy to make this recipe gluten-free, too. Just use gluten-free pasta instead of the flour-based rotini that we used.

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 Garlic Bread

Vegan Garlic Bread PinThis Vegan Garlic Bread recipe doesn’t get much easier. Slice up a baguette, spread some vegan butter on the slices and sprinkle with a little garlic salt and dried parsley. It’s fast, simple and delicious.

If you’re looking for a oil-free option, Dr. John McDougall recommends coating the bread with fat-free Italian salad dressing instead of vegan butter. We haven’t tried it this way, and usually avoid prepackaged salad dressings, but a lot of people swear by it. Here’s a video that shows you how to make it.

You can also use aquafaba in place of vegan butter for a low-fat whole-food alternative. Aquafaba is the juice from your can of chickpeas. Make some Vegan Hummus as an appetizer and save the juice to baste on your bread. We use this technique for grilled sandwiches and our Oil Free Grilled Plantains, too.

For a cheesy flavor, sprinkle with some nutritional yeast before baking.

Vegan Garlic Bread goes well with our Vegan Spaghetti Sauce with Spaghetti Squash, Vegan Tomato Cream Sauce Spaghetti with Kale or as a simple appetizer.

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 Mushroom Risotto with Chia Seeds

Vegan Mushroom Risotto Chia Seed PinThis Vegan Mushroom Risotto with Chia Seeds recipe is a decadent and filling treat. It pairs well with a Hearty Side Salad, Roasted AsparagusSteamed Broccoli or anything green to add some color to your rich and creamy risotto.

Risotto is a traditional dish from Northern Italy made with Arborio rice. This type of rice is starchier than regular white rice, and the starch is released while cooking, giving the dish its creamy texture. Don’t use regular rice for this recipe or it won’t come out right.

Chia Seeds are a good source of Omega 3 so we try to mix them in whenever we can. According to Dr. Greger, a tablespoon of chia seeds or flax seeds is all you need to get your daily dose of Omega 3 fatty acids (sans saturated fat, cholesterol and mercury found in the most recommended source of Omega 3’s: fish). This recipe gets you halfway to your daily amount. We also like to throw half a tbsp of flax meal in our Rolled Oats Breakfast, too.

Note: Remember to soak your cashews ahead of time so your Vegan Cashew Cream is ready when your risotto is finished.

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 Tomato Cream Sauce Spaghetti with Kale

Vegan Tomato Cream SauceThis Vegan Tomato Cream Sauce over spaghetti and topped with kale is rich, a little spicy and completely delicious. It’s also very nutritious with 11 grams of fiber, 15 grams of protein, 208% RDV Vitamin A and 171% Vitamin C. That’s pretty darn healthy for a tomato cream sauce!

We used Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Supergrain Pasta™ Spaghetti noodles for this recipe since gluten bothers Amelia. To be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference. If anything, this pasta is a little richer than regular wheat pasta. If you’ve never had it, give it a try. You might like it better and it has more nutritional value.

You’ll need the Vegan Cashew Cream recipe for this dish. Remember to soak the cashews 2 hours before you’re ready to start cooking.

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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JP’s Italian Salad Dressing

Italian Salad Dressing Pin After realizing the store bought salad dressings are loaded with added sugar and oil, I decided to invent my own Italian salad dressing without sugar or oil. As you can see from the picture, I still use the old glass container that I’ve always used, just without the accompanying packet of mystery ingredients.

When I was a kid, I didn’t like salads. At least not the ones my mom made. But when we went to Villa Capri in Overland Park, KS, I loved their salads. The difference was their house-made Italian salad dressing, which my parents eventually bought so I would eat salads at home.

It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I realized why I liked their salad dressing so much…enough to get me to eat salad as a kid. Their Italian salad dressing has two ingredients that make all the difference: red wine vinegar and crushed fennel seeds. I think these two ingredients are what makes my dressing almost as good.

Like most Italian salad dressings, Villa Capri’s has a lot of oil, but I’ve omitted it. To be honest, I like it better without the oil. It doesn’t leave that oily, filmy residue in my mouth and I can taste the seasoning’s much better. Plus, skipping the oil took this recipe from 90 calories per serving all the way down to 5 CALORIES PER SERVING!

You don’t need the bottle to make your own seasoning. Just mix the ingredients in any sealable container, shake well and serve. The crushed fennel seeds and red wine vinegar give it an extra Italian-y taste and licorice aroma. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving to allow the seasonings to absorb the liquid.

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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Balsamic Salad Dressing

Balsamic Salad DressingThis Balsamic Salad Dressing recipe is Amelia’s favorite salad dressing. It’s simple to make and very tasty. The agave gives it a little sweetness and the garlic…well, it’s garlic. You can’t go wrong with garlic.

Balsamic vinegar has a delicious, savory flavor. Amelia prefers white balsamic and I prefer it dark, but both are very flavorful. Sometimes we just put plain balsamic vinegar on our salads, especially if we’re trying to reduce our oil intake.

This balsamic salad dressing will go well on our Hearts of Palm Salad or any side salad. It only takes a couple minutes to throw together with ingredients found in most kitchens.

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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Eggplant Fries

Eggplant FriesThese delicious eggplant fries are shaped like fries, but they have the taste and texture of Calamari. If you dip them in marinara sauce or vegan cocktail sauce, you might not know the difference. You can eat them plain, but we ate them with leftover Vegan Ranch Dressing.

Eggplant is a good source of fiber and potassium, as well as Vitamin B6. According to the National Institutes of Health, “Vitamin B6 in coenzyme forms performs a wide variety of functions in the body and is extremely versatile, with involvement in more than 100 enzyme reactions, mostly concerned with protein metabolism.”

We used half the eggplant for these fries and the other half for our Grilled Eggplant Sandwich. We ate the sandwich for lunch and the fries as a side dish with dinner. Nothing goes to waste in our house!

These eggplant fries pair well with our Chickpea Kale Salad Sauté.

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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Herbed Tomatoes

Herbed TomatoesMy mom made these Italian herbed tomatoes for me as a kid and I loved them! This was one of the first veggie dishes I ate. It has a lot of flavor and she peeled the tomato skins off, which my childhood palette really appreciated. As an adult, the skins don’t bother me and they pack a lot of extra phytonutrients so leave them on if you want to.

Mom made these with lots of olive oil, but now that we have a much better understanding of how oil harms our arteries, I changed the recipe to omit it. That will change the flavor a bit, but your heart will thank you.

You can serve these tomatoes as a standalone side dish or serve them over your leafy green salad as a delicious dressing.

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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