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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Chunky Tomato Sauce w/ Vegetables Over Pasta

Chunky Tomato Sauce w/ Vegetables PinThis Chunky Tomato Sauce w/ Vegetables is an Amelia special. She threw a bunch of vegetables we had on-hand in a skillet and sautéed them with a little vegetable broth. Then we served them over some whole grain pasta. Delicious and easy!

We used 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes (6 medium sized) that we got at the mercado for the “chunky tomato sauce” part. I cored them and cut X’s on the bottom, then brought them to a boil and let them simmer for about 5 minutes. Then I drained them, added cold water to the pot and let them sit for a few minutes to cool. This makes the peels come right off. Then I chopped them up and handed them off to Amelia.

You can also used canned diced tomatoes to save time and effort, but we really like using fresh ingredients and it only takes an extra 10 to 15 minutes.

We used whole wheat spaghetti for our recipe, but you can use your favorite pasta, including gluten free if that’s your thing. Just try to use a whole grain variety.

This is a great one-dish meal or would pair well with a side salad and some fruit for dessert.

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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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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Cauliflower Quinoa

Cauliflower Quinoa PinThis Cauliflower Quinoa recipe is a real palate pleaser. It’s savory and delicious, with lots of protein and other nutrients, but without many calories. One cup is only about 183 calories. That makes it a great weight loss recipe.

Due to its high protein content and nutritional value, quinoa has risen in popularity over the last few years, which has also led to an increase in its price. Quinoa can be quite expensive now, but Whole Foods has a Super Grains blend that’s much less expensive. Feel free to substitute that for pure quinoa.

This is a great one dish meal for lunch, or paired with a soup or side salad if you have a bigger appetite.

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 Pot Roast with Portobello

Vegan Pot Roast with PortobelloThis Vegan Pot Roast with Portobello is hearty and delicious…perfect for a cold winter day. The portobello mushrooms have a meaty texture to compliment the carrots and potatoes. They’ll keep your mouth busy and happy.

With only 158 calories per serving, this dish is perfect for your weight loss goals. The potatoes and carrots are very filling, providing 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per serving. You’ll also get 139% of your RDV of Vitamin A.

According to Dr. John McDougall, author of “The Starch Solution,” we should be eating a lot more potatoes and root veggies. They’re loaded with fiber and proteins so they keep us full longer, which means we won’t feel the need to snack as much between meals.

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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Sautéed Spaghetti Squash with Kale and Tomato

Sautéed Spaghetti SquashYou can eat as much of this Sautéed Spaghetti Squash as your stomach can hold. It’s full of fiber and nutrients, but only has 85 calories per serving. If you’re trying to lose weight, this recipe will help you achieve your goals without sacrificing flavor.

This is another recipe that Amelia whipped up one day with some spare parts we had laying around the kitchen. We love to eat spaghetti squash because it’s low calorie but very filling so she’s always thinking about how we can utilize it in new and interesting recipes.

This Sautéed Spaghetti Squash is a great main dish for lunch, or side dish with your Balsamic Portobello Mushroom Steaks.

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 Soup w/ Garlic and Basil

White Bean SoupThis hearty, delicious white bean soup with garlic and basil is full of flavor and nutrition. It can stand on it’s own with a slice of bread, or it pairs well with a side salad. With 14 grams of fiber, 13 grams of protein and 33% RDV of potassium in each serving, it’s packed with nutrients that your body craves.

This white bean soup is very filling but only has 231 calories so it’s a great soup to help with your weight loss goals. It only takes 30 to 45 minutes to prepare and cook, so you can whip it up quickly when you get home from work.

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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Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad PinThis Oil-Free Broccoli Salad is one of Amelia’s all-time favorites and now it’s one of mine too. It certainly fits Amelia’s fresh and delicious requirements, but it’s also nutritious. It has 4 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein and 161% of your RDA of Vitamin C.

Broccoli is considered by many to be a superfood. A controversial term, I know, but if there is such a thing, broccoli would be it. According to Dr. Greger, “Broccoli can be considered a dark green leafy vegetable, and may help lower the risk of mouth throat, lung, breast, ovarian, endometrial, cervical, and prostate cancers. Raw broccoli specifically may also help bladder cancer survival. Broccoli may even protect against DNA damage, affect gene expression, and boost liver function.”

Broccoli is best consumed raw or lightly steamed to maximize the nutrient value. We like to lightly steam the broccoli because we don’t like it as much raw. Plus, steaming brings out the bright green chlorophyll colors!

This cruciferous vegetable is also loaded with sulforaphane, which is an important phytonutrient that has been shown to help prevent and fight several forms of cancer. However, the sulforaphane appears to be deactivated by cooking unless you chop the broccoli into small pieces about 40 minutes before cooking.

Broccoli Salad

That requires a little extra planning, but it’s not difficult. You can chop the broccoli during your fruit and veggie prep and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to make it, or just chop it up about 40 minutes or so before you want to start cooking and leave it on the cutting board until you’re ready.

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage and brussels sprouts are potent immunity boosting and cancer fighting foods so it’s a good idea to consume a least some of them every day. We put kale in our Easy Garden Salad, and broccoli would be a nice addition to that recipe, too.

If you have a discerning eye, you may notice that we used walnuts instead of pecans for our photos. We prefer pecans in this recipe, but we haven’t been able to find any here in Ecuador. Plus, walnuts are very affordable here compared to most other nuts, so we eat them far more often. Feel free to use your favorite unsalted, raw or dry-roasted nuts in this recipe.

We love this Broccoli Salad on a hot summer day with fresh broccoli and tomatoes, but it’s good all year round. We generally eat it as a side dish with something like a Vegan Lentil Burger, but it’s great as a lunch meal with a slice of bread or a small bowl of White Bean Soup followed up with some fresh fruit.

Broccoli Salad Cooking Video

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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 Gluten Free Lasagna (Overnight)

Vegan Gluten Free Lasagna PinSimply amazing, guilt-free vegan gluten free lasagna. This lasagna tastes like the real thing without any meat or cheese. The only difference is you won’t have the typical post-lasagna gut bomb. You’ll want to trick your non-vegan friends with this one.

This is the easy way to make lasagna. By assembling everything in a baking dish and placing it in the refrigerator overnight, you don’t have to boil the lasagna noodles. And that saves a lot of time and hassle.

To make it even easier, use two 26 oz jars of marinara sauce instead of making the sauce from scratch. That saves a TON of time! Sometimes, I let the sauce cook down too much and we run short so I make up the difference with a jar of marinara sauce. It’s also good to heat up some marinara on the stove to ladle over the top of the lasagna when you serve it (as shown in the pictures).

We used rice noodles in this recipe to make it gluten free, but you can use whole-wheat lasagna noodles if you like. It works the same either way.

We also used Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles as the ground beef substitute. It adds some good flavor and texture without saturated fat. However, it does contain oil, so you can skip it or try using cooked and mashed brown lentils instead. If you skip the cheese and the Beefy Crumbles, this is an oil-free recipe.

We made another version of this recipe called our Easy Vegan Lasagna using lentils and tofu ricotta. It tastes just as good but it’s a lot cheaper (tofu is much less expensive than 2 cups of cashews) and completely oil-free.

Prepare the Vegan Cashew Cream 2 to 4 hours before you’re ready to assemble the lasagna. You’ll use this to make the Cashew Ricotta Cheese.

This vegan gluten free lasagna recipe was inspired by an old family friend, Helen Breitenstein, who passed away back in 1993. She was a tiny Irish woman with a huge personality. She made this lasagna the typical way with conventional meat and cheese, but I’ve veganized it for your ethical eating pleasure. I’ve included her “hints” below the recipe.

Vegan Gluten Free Lasagna

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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