Veggie Tacos or Lettuce Wraps

I love when meals are 100% success! With little kids this always feels like a big win all around! This was one of those times! Yeah!!! My kids LOVE guac and tomatoes and of course pretty much any toppings! So instead of assembling their tacos for them I opted to bring everything to the table in bowls, where we had fun constructing them (they used sprouted tortilla wraps and I had the lettuce wrap). They were happy, I was happy and the food was amazing! Life is Amazing! Then Michael came home and loved them too! Happy Wife & Mama! I have always loved ❤ lettuce wraps and this was a great family solution!

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Veggie Tacos or Lettuce Wraps
adapted from www.adventuresinanewishcity.com

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2-1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant (or 2 small), peeled & diced into 1/4″-1/2″ cubes
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced
  • 3 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 block of tofu, pressed & cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 head of Butter or Bib lettuce, leaves separated to make taco shells &/or tortilla wraps
  • toppings (we used Guac with jicama & jalepeno, Red & Orange Peppers, & Cherry tomatoes, quartered & for me hot sauce)
  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in garlic and lemon juice, and cook for 1-2 minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic. Add jalapeno and onion. Cook until onion softens, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir eggplant, mushrooms, and spices into the skillet. Drizzle remaining olive oil on top. Reduce heat to low, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant softens and reduces in size, about 15 minutes.
  3. In a separate pan add just a drizzle of oil and add the tofu. When sizzle to have a nice char on each side before turning, so a few minutes between stirs (I know this feels hard to do, but it makes for the best tofu!) Once good and seared, add to the eggplant mixtures and continue to cook for a few more minutes until ready to serve.
  4. Spoon mixture into lettuce “shells” and add any additional toppings.
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Eggplant Caponata over Pasta

I always love a bright and vibrant caponata as part of a anti-pasto platter. I figured why not cook one up and use it as a sweet sauce for pasta instead of just a dip. It came out super lovely! I also added garbanzo beans to make it a more substantial and complete meal.

You could also just serve this as a dip with pita wedges or chips.

Eggplant Caponata over Pasta

1 lb angel hair pasta, cooked
1/4 cup golden raisins
1-2 large eggplant, stem removed, and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of canola oil
2 shallots, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2-3 tomatoes, diced and seeded
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons capers
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

  1. Place the raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside.
  2. Pour the canola oil into a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the eggplant cubes and cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Turn heat down to medium and pour the remaining tablespoon of oil into the skillet. Add shallots and cook until soft, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 45 seconds. Then add the tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the eggplant back to the skillet and the garbanzo beans. Add the vinegar, raisins, and capers, stir cooking for 2 minutes to cook down the vinegar. Turn off the heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the parsley. Let it cool slightly before serving over pasta.

Before adding the garbanzo beans

Vegan Pizza with homemade dough

Who doesn’t appreciate a good slice, especially here in NYC where pizza is so very important and such a point of contention – even for vegans! Our favorite place to order from is Viva Herbal Pizzeria where we can get spelt or gluten-free crusts with daiya and even vegan sausage as toppings (our personal fave combo!) Pala Pizza also has great vegan options and that brick-fired pizza taste, yum!

Sometimes it is easy to buy dough and tomato sauce quickly whip up a pie at home, but if you are interested in making your own dough, here is a great recipe! My mom made the dough and I added the homemade sauce (thanks mom!!).  It was really very very good!

Check out here for some of my other fun pizza nights 🙂 Flatbread Pizza with hummus, green olives, cherry tomatoes and za’atar (this is a raw one and Well Worth the effort!), Raw Eggplant Pizzas and the quick at home whipped up kind with purchased dough.

Vegan Pizza with Homemade Dough & Daiya Cheese

Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon finely ground sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast (1 packet of dry yeast)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water
  1. Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees (if using a pizza stone – place in the oven to get hot and heat for an hour)
  2. Mix together the warm water, sugar and yeast. Put aside to get foamy. If it does not foam then the yeast is not good – redo this step.
  3. In a separate bowl mix all of the other ingredients. Add in the yeast mixture and mix well until dough forms a ball. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough – Use the palm of your hand and keep pressing in and folding it over and repeating for about 5 minutes.
  4. Divide the dough into 4 – one pound balls. Place these dough balls into containers and cover the container with anything that will keep the air out. Set the dough to rise in a warm spot for at least 45 minutes. (you can freeze any unused dough after rising*)
  5. Prepare your topping. Stretch out the dough and aim for it to be even thickness all around. Top your pizza and place in the oven. Bake for 8 minutes. Let it rest. Add any herbs to your pizza afterwards.

*If using frozen dough – allow dough to defrost in fridge 12 hours

  • Either use a jar of Marinara Sauce or make your own

Basic Sauce Recipe

  • 28 ounce pureed tomatoes
  • sugar to taste
  • salt to taste
  • 3-6 finely grated fresh peeled garlic cloves

Mix all the ingredients together.

Topping Suggestions:

  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Fresh or Roasted Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • Sweet Corn
  • Peppers
  • Olives
  • Fresh Tomatoes
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Grilled/Fried/Baked Eggplant
  • Grilled Zucchini
  • Roasted Red Pepper
  • Capers
  • Saute Spinach
  • Pesto Sauce
  • Artichokes
  • Soy Pepperoni or Soy Sausage or Tofu/tempeh
  • Daiya Vegan Cheese or other vegan cheese
  • Herbs

Unbaked Pizza

Vegan Eggplant and Ricotta Bake

Of course this is not Dairy Ricotta – but it is a deelish vegan alternative! You can use this mixture for lasagna or manicotti, etc.

It is also great to be able to bread the eggplant and and broil it (of course waaaaay healthier than frying them!) I bet this would have been extra insane with a sprinkling of daiya cheese on top…next time 🙂

Vegan Eggplant and Ricotta Bake

1 large eggplant, sliced medium thin
4 cups bread crumbs
3 Ener-G Eggs
2 cups tomato sauce
dried mixed Italian herbs

Vegan Cheese Ricotta

1 block extra-firm tofu
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
1 Tbs. garlic powder
3 Tbs. vegenaise
1 Tsp. Each dried Parsley, Marjarom, Basil and Chives

  1. Make the Vegan cheese ricotta. Crumble the tofu and make sure it is fine, no big pieces – looks like ricotta. Add the herbs and vegenaise, which makes it super creamy. Then add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt and pepper and mix well.
  2. In two separate bowls, put the bread crumbs (also, herbs and salt and pepper) and Ener-G eggs and take each slice and coat in the egg mixture and then in crumbs.
  3. You could fry the eggplant or to keep it Much healthier broil the coated slices for 2 minutes on each side.
  4. Use an 8×8 glass baking dish and layer some sauce on the bottom. Then cover the bottom with layers of eggplant and the tofu. Pour on a little more sauce and a drizzle of olive oil and repeat the process. When you have two layers, cover with tin foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Vegan Eggplant Pecan Pesto Dip

Ahhh Football Season!!! Ad my J-E-T-S!!!  are playing awesome! We have been really busy lately but this last Sunday, Michael and I got to hang out on Sunday and watch the games. Pure heaven! My hubby, football and super healthy & delicious Vegan snack goodness!

I had made a double batch of kale chips a few days before and then whipped up this insanely amazing and unbelievably low-fat dip! We served the dip with multi-grain pita chips and it was divine! The whole time we were eating it I couldn’t believe how good it was since I had just made it and knew what was in it and what was not in it! (fat!!!!) There is 1 cup of Pecans in this but there was no other oil or any other”creamy” ingredients. We really enjoyed the dip warm 🙂

Happy Snacking!!

Vegan Eggplant Pecan Pesto Dip
Makes about 3 cups
Recipe adapted from Dr. Neal Barnard

1/2 cup water, more or less as needed
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 large eggplant, peeled
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh basil
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2-4 tablespoons light miso
dash of salt

Heat water in a large non-stick skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut eggplant into 1/2-inch cubes. Add to onion, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until eggplant is very soft, about 25 to 30 minutes. If necessary, add a little more water to keep eggplant from sticking to pan. When tender, transfer eggplant mixture to blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and process until completely smooth. Mixture will be thick. Serve immediately while warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in refrigerator and reheat to serve.

Babaganush

During my Yoga Teacher Training I was obsessed with The Hummus Kitchen that was 1 block away. We would all go at least 2-3 times a week! As any of my friends can attest I won’t stop talking about it. I really only eat 2 dishes there but I am sure all they serve is wonderful. I always order The Hummus Kitchen (hummus sampler) which is 4 different kinds of super creamy and delightful kinds of hummus. You can have this served with regular pita or their amazing whole wheat variety. I also LOVE their Super-Healthy Salad, an Amazing salad of quinoa, apricot, walnuts, butternut squash & mint tahini sauce. Pure Yummyliciousness! This is truly the best Hummus in NYC! I am always up for going if anyone is interested!!

Recently I decided to make my own Babaganush. I served this with whole wheat pitas and store bought hummus and it was deelish. I did think it was more work than I figured but it was a really large portion and very yummy. I would suggest only using 1 eggplant instead of 2. Babaganush is super tasty and way less fat than hummus alone.

P.S. We are having a 2lb Chia Seed Giveaway that ends on 4/2 – so don’t forget to enter HERE!!!

Babaganush
Serves a crowd!

2 large eggplants
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup tahini
Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke several holes all over the eggplants and bake on a cookie sheet or shallow pan for 45 minutes
  2. Remove eggplants from the oven and place in a large bowl. Let cool for 5 minutes. Cut off the stem tips and slice each eggplant in half lengthwise. Scoop out the flesh and transfer to another bowl. Discard the skin.
  3. Cut the eggplant into inch size pieces. Place in a food processor. Add garlic, tahini, and lemon juice and pulse chop. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Polenta Vegetable Casserole

I love Polenta! (of course I do, it is made from corn and I love corn!!) It is such a comfort food for me. Adding veggies and cheese made this such a comforting and complete meal that we both really enjoyed! This is also super fast and something everyone will love. Plus there might even be leftovers to enjoy 🙂

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Polenta Vegetable Casserole
Makes 6-8 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium eggplant, chopped into small cubes
1 small zucchini, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 cup water
10 ounces baby spinach
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
14 ounces prepared polenta, sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella (I would use Vegan Mozz Daiya now 🙂)

1.Preheat oven to 450F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Heat oil in a large 12″ + nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, zucchini, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes. Add water and spinach; cover and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir marinara sauce into the vegetables and heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add in basil.
3. Place polenta slices in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, trimming to fit if necessary. Sprinkle with half the cheese and top with the vegetable mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until bubbling and the cheese has just melted, 12 to 15 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes before serving. ENJOY 🙂

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