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!

“Clean Out Your Pantry” Chili + Banana Oat Cookies

Hey guys! I hope you’ve all been having a great week.

My boyfriend left for a conference in CA yesterday, but my parents are headed up to Boston tonight. Then tomorrow morning we’ll all head up to NH for a few days to see my dad’s family. It will be nice to get away for a weekend!

Unfortunately, the cold I had a week or two ago seems to have resurfaced as a cough/chest inflammation (most likely bronchitis). I drank at least 10 cups of tea yesterday (No, that is not an exaggeration) and that seems to have helped.

After I took some Advil this morning, I made it through my workout feeling pretty good and am still feeling fine now. Fingers crossed! I’m just hoping this won’t affect my running too much. Blech.

I also didn’t do a real grocery shop this week since both my boyfriend and I were both going away, so last night I decided to make a chili with whatever I had left in the fridge and the pantry.

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I found some sweet potato, white potato, cauliflower, and a tomato in the fridge, so I chopped them up along with some garlic.

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I then got out a can of black beans, vegetable stock, and spices and got to work.

I simply sautéed the garlic in some vegetable stock (I’m trying to experiment with oil-free cooking when I can!) I then added the spices (and a bit more vegetable stock) and cooked for another minute or so.

Then everything else went in: 4 cups vegetable stock, the rinsed black beans, and all the veggies.

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I brought the mixture to a boil and then simmered for 30 minutes.

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I can’t believe how good this turned out for a last-minute totally improvised chili!

On another note, I rediscovered this simple “cookie” recipe I’d been meaning to try. You just combine mashed bananas with oats & whatever flavoring you want, such as cinnamon.

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Form into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

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Bake for 20 minutes at 350, rotating half-way through.

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I just ate one and it was delicious! Obviously, this is not a dessert cookie, as it’s not super sweet, but I think this would make a great snack to keep around. Plus it only takes like 3 minutes to prepare, which I can’t say for any other recipe I’ve made.

Let me know if you make any :)