March Recipe and Meal Finds

I can’t believe it’s almost April. I’m so excited for Spring, more and more outdoor running, and those crazy fresh fruit cravings that always return once the weather heats up. Even with that weather on the horizon, I’m still craving warm, comforting food at the moment and have been cooking up lots of pasta, chili, potato dishes, and casseroles.

While I’ve cooked up some dud recipes, others have been definite keepers. Here’s a review of my favorite new recipes from March.

Butternut Mac via Veggie Inspired Journey

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You’ve probably realized by now that I love trying out new mac and “cheese” recipes. Going vegan suddenly made me obsessed with mac & cheese. This one was quite good, and while similar to another recipe I love, Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta, I found it to be less sweet, lighter, and smokier. I reduced the amount of noodles and added roasted broccoli & cauliflower to this recipe, which was fantastic. I used to add veggies to the boiling pasta to cook for a few minutes, but it’s so worth it to roast them instead. Not only do they taste way better, but they retain more nutrition! Double win.

Ginger & Lemongrass Infused Thai Soup with Tofu & Rice via Sobremesa

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I actually didn’t love this recipe when I had it fresh. It was edible, but the broth lacked flavor. Then I heated up the leftovers the next day, and they were awesome. I guess the broth just needed to sit in the fridge overnight to let all the flavor infuse. I’m going to experiment with this dish a bit to see if I can make it taste better right up front, but I’ve decided to mark it as a keeper for the time being.

Spicy Buddha Bowl via Crazy Vegan Kitchen

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Bowls are all the rage now, and I’ve decided to embrace it. I also figured they would make great portable lunch options, especially since they can often be eaten both hot and cold. I left the spinach uncooked in this recipe to add volume, which was definitely the right move. I also played with the amounts of each element in the recipe, increasing the amount of all the veggies and using less rice, chickpeas, and sauce to make it more like a salad. The spicy tahini dressing is really good, as are the cooked chickpeas. All other elements can be easily traded out for your favorite veggies and grains. I immediately divided what I cooked into 5 bowls, so that I had lunches to go for the next few days, and the bowls held up really well.

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Fat Free Vegan Cheese Sauce via The Vegan 8

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Yup, another mac & cheese recipe. I used linguine and added a ton of roasted broccoli in with this sauce recipe. I thought the dish was quite good, but not amazing. My boyfriend, on the other hand, really enjoyed it and said he would definitely eat it again. All right then, it went into the keeper pile. I think this would have been better with penne or macaroni noodles; I used linguine because that’s what I had left over in my cabinet. I also might use slightly less water and increase the amounts of garlic powder & lemon juice in the recipe to see what happens. I’ll keep you updated!

As you can see, I didn’t manage to find that many great new recipes this month. I remade a bunch of my favorites, including Vegan Potato Curry, Tempeh and Kale Enchilada Casserole, Bombay Potatoes and Peas, and Butternut & Bean Chili. I also had quite a few improvised or “clean-out-the-fridge” dinners that turned out quite well.

First up, I made this Tofu Scramble for brunch one Saturday. I used my recipe as a starting point, but added more veggies and spices, soy sauce, cayenne. It was good, but it’s still missing something. I’ll keep working on it…

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Next up, I made this Yellow Curry similar to my recipe but with different veggies and no tofu. So delicious. Whipping up a Thai curry is my favorite way to use up leftover veggies, as it’s easy, fast, and guaranteed to be delicious.

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This dinner was thrown together with NO planning whatsoever, but I loved it. I whipped up half a batch of ginger peanut sauce from My Darling Vegan’s recipe. I then stir-fried our leftover veggies: sweet potato, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, and kale. I threw the sauce in at the end for about 3 minutes to thicken up. So yummy, and it always feels amazing to eat a whole bowl of veggies.

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Lastly, I’ll leave you with this picture of the Viet Bowl at the all-vegan Whole Heart Provisions in Allston.

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Every week, my vegetarian/vegan running club plans a run near a vegan/vegetarian/vegan-friendly brunch place around Boston, and then we eat together. This week, I was excited to see that our run would take place near Whole Heart Provisions, as I’ve been wanting to eat there for a long time. I ordered the Viet Bowl with a base of arugula and marinated kale, which had roasted broccoli, smashed cucumber, blistered green beans, cured tomato, basil, peanut crumble, and spicy peanut dressing. It was really delicious, and I can’t wait to go back and try out all the other amazing-sounding menu items!

There are new vegan places popping up in Boston all over the place, and it’s been really exciting. Just in the past week, I discovered that by Chloe, the popular fast casual vegan restaurant in NYC, will be opening up a branch in Boston this summer, and that a vegan pizza place called Veggie Crust will be opening up next door to my favorite vegetarian Indian restaurant, Dosa ‘n’ Curry. I love that vegan food is becoming more mainstream!

Meal Plan {2/29/16} in Review

Last week, I only tried 2 new recipes, a Kale & Quinoa Burrito Bowl and Ultimate Tempeh Chili. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a big fan of either. Sad, but the failed recipes always make the victories that much sweeter.

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The above kale & quinoa bowl was edible, but I found that the dressing tasted odd. While I did make quite a few changes, such as adding sautéed onions & peppers, adding tomatoes, and leaving out the pico, I don’t think I would have enjoyed it much more if I had made this meal according to the original recipe. I would not recommend this or make it again.

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This tempeh chili had potential, but simply wasn’t flavorful enough for me. I like spicy chilis though, so if you don’t, this recipe might be for you. I added more vegetables to the recipe (bell pepper, carrot, and celery), which I think improved it, but I also accidentally added the tempeh cubed rather than crumbled. While I would probably enjoy this chili if I doubled the amount of spice, it wasn’t unique enough for me to add to my already quite large collection of delicious chili recipes.

Of course, I enjoyed some of my old favorite recipes, including this Bombay Potatoes and Peas. 20160303_190348

The previous week, I also did manage to discover some awesome new recipes. Despite my terrible photos, I assure you these really are delicious. (Maybe one day I’ll have an apartment with real lighting and a real kitchen…)

First up was this Veggies and Lentils in Peanut Sauce. So yummy! Vegan Richa is my favorite new vegan food blog find.

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Next up was this easy Avocado Black Bean Burger that I placed over a salad with Avocado dressing. I officially love having a veggie burger over a salad. Much more interesting (and healthy!) than eating it on a bun.

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And lastly, I made a few trays of these delicious Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies as refreshments for my a cappella concert last weekend. They were so good I’m ashamed to say how many I ate.

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I’m headed home for a few days tomorrow, where I plan to cook my favorite recipes for my parents, so I probably won’t be trying anything else new this week. I am, however, looking forward to having more people to cook for, as that always makes the whole process more enjoyable.

If you try any of these recipes out, let me know how you like them!

Meal Plan {2/29/16}

Hi guys! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend.

As I mentioned in my previous post, every week I make a meal plan consisting of 3-4 new dinner recipes to try and 1-2 old favorites, depending on how often I anticipate eating out or having leftovers for dinner during the week. At the end of each week, I decide which new recipes were good enough for me to want to make again, and they get saved. Check out my Pinterest board of Recipes I Love to see my successful recipes from the past few months.

So onto this week’s meal plan!

Monday: Kale & Quinoa Burrito Bowl (Plus onions, peppers, & cherry tomatoes instead of the pico)

Tuesday: Ultimate Tempeh Chili (Plus bell pepper, carrot, celery, and spinach)

Wednesday: Bombay Potatoes & Peas (doubled)

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Thursday: Roasted Broccoli & Cauliflower; Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Refried Beans, Salsa, and Lime

Recipe for this below!

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: TBD Leftover Pasta & Veggies with some sort of Cashew Cream sauce

As you can see, I often like to add extra veggies to dishes, especially pasta dishes and chili. I am constantly trying to increase the amount of fruit and veggies I eat every day. I probably average about 6-8 servings per day, but 10 or more would be ideal. In particular, the more veggies that I eat daily, the better I feel. Let’s see how I do with that this week.

I’ll be back at the end of the week to report on the new dishes I cook up!