VZ 274: 5 Big Take-Aways from the Forks Over Knives Cooking Course

forks over knives cooking course review

I Graduated from The Forks Over Knives Cooking Course! About 90 days ago, I started a new adventure by taking the Forks Over Knives Cooking course. I will admit I was a little nervous since I was not the primary cook in the house, but I knew we needed to improve our overall cooking skills. […]

Vegan Mexi-Dogs

Vegan Mexi-dogs with vegan cheese sauce https://www.vegetarianzen.com

Looking for a quick vegan lunch, an afterschool snack, or a game-day treat? These yummy tortilla-wrapped hot dogs may be just the thing you’re looking for.  They’re simple, they’re satisfying,…they’re vegan mexi-dogs!

We use Tofurky brand hot dogs, but any vegan hot dogs would work for this recipe.  The tortillas are our absolute favorite ones…Food for Life’s sprouted corn tortillas.  They taste amazing, they freeze really well (I usually buy three or four packages at a time so we won’t run out), and they make incredible tortilla chips.   If you want to learn how we make ours, check out our recipe for Chile-Lime Tortilla Chips.

vegan Mexi-dogs ingredients https://www.vegetarianzen.com

Once you’ve made your Mexi-dogs, you’ll need to dress them up!  Vickie likes to dip hers in warm vegan cheese sauce.  You can probably buy it at Whole Foods or other specialty stores, but delicious plant-based cheese sauce is really simple to make.  Here are a couple of recipes to try:

Other serving ideas:

  • salsa
  • pico de gallo
  • guacamole

Feeling adventurous?  Try spreading a thin layer of warmed vegan cheese sauce, refried beans, or salsa on the softened tortilla before rolling up your hot dog.

Question: Did you create your own add-in or serving variations to our Mexi-dogs recipe? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Stress Less Smoothie Recipe

stress less smoothie recipe https://www.vegetarianzen.comWondering why this green smoothie is called “Stress Less”?  Not sure how drinking a delicious smoothie may help you to chill?  Let’s take a look:

Potassium in bananas and avocados helps to reduce blood pressure.

Soybeans and dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and chard contain magnesium, which can help to combat headaches & fatigue (which can either be direct result of stress, or can make stress worse).

The Omega-3 fatty acid contained in flax seeds can actually help to keep stress hormone levels low.

Healthy doses of Vitamin C will keep your immune system strong and allow you to cope better with stress.  This smoothies packs a Vitamin C punch with dark leafy greens and strawberries.

Vegetarian Lasagna (with Vegan Options)

vegetarian lasagna (with vegan options) https://www.vegetarianzen.com

I love this Vegetarian Lasagna recipe, not only for it’s healthy yumminess, but also for it’s versatility.  It can easily be made vegan (you will see VEGAN options in parentheses).  You can also substitute vegetables: yellow squash for zucchini, spinach for kale…you get the idea.  Get creative!

If you are making homemade sauce, it’s a good idea to make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use.  The Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe I use takes a couple of hours start to finish, and it’s just easier to do it ahead of time.

(Adapted from Vegetarian Lasagna on food.com)

Lemon Chick’n with Mushrooms and Broccoli Recipe

www.vegetarianzen.com Lemon Chick'n with Mushrooms & Broccoli

One of the tastes I miss since becoming a vegetarian is tart lemony chicken.  I don’t actually miss eating chicken, of course.  It’s more the “taste memory”, I guess.

In our house, we really don’t eat much “faux meat”.  We have the occasional Tofurky roast or veggie burger.  I think that many of these products are just “trying too hard” to replicate meat, which they just can’t.  I’ve yet to find a faux bacon that isn’t just awful.  Plus, these foods can be pretty highly processed.  So we just don’t eat them.

The exception is Quorn’s chick’n products.  Ok, yes, they’re processed food so we don’t eat them all the time.  But for a recipe like this Lemon Chick’n with Mushrooms & Broccoli, they are amazing.  This dish is relatively simple to prepare, and goes well with rice or noodles.  When I make it, we never have leftovers.

Because I like super-extra-lemony things, I usually end up making some extra sauce to serve on the side.

Nana’s Molasses Cookies Recipe

Nana's Molasses Cookies Recipe - https://www.vegetarianzen.com

I loved my Nana.  She was strong and steady.  She was practical and smart.  She played a mean game of Scrabble.  And boy, did she hate to cook (a fact I didn’t learn until years after she died).

Nonetheless, she was amazing at it.  She made great pot pie (I’ve adapted her chicken pot pie to a vegetable version here: Vegetable Pot Pie Recipe).   My grandpa was a farmer, and Nana was always canning something.  Her creamed potatoes were to die for, and we ate her blackeyed peas like they were going out of style.

WhNana & me - Nana's Molasses Cookies Recipe - https://www.vegetarianzen.comen I would go spend summers with my Nana and Papa, there was usually a canister of these cookies on the kitchen counter.  She made them in the tiny oven of their white porcelain 1930s Chambers gas range.

Today I make them in my modern-home-standard-issue electric oven using  her old recipe.  I take a bite and find myself right back at that kitchen table, squared off  against a robust gray-haired lady bent on my ultimate Scrabble destruction.  Miss you, Nana.

Red Wine Marinade Recipe

red wine marinade recipe - https://www.vegetarianzen.com

Red wine marinades lend themselves particularly well to vegetables you are planning to grill.  In this version, the bold flavor of the wine blends perfectly with the more subtle flavors of soy sauce, garlic, lemon and basil.  For best results, use a good-quality red, rather than a “cooking wine”.

Great vegetable candidates for grilling include:

  • Mushrooms (button, cremini, portabella) – skewer small mushrooms whole; grill portabella flat
  • Yellow squash, zucchini & eggplant –  cut into large cubes and skewer, or slice thickly and grill flat
  • Cherry tomatoes & pearl onions – skewer whole
  • Asparagus – place spears cross-ways on the grill to prevent them from falling through

For additional tips on grilling vegetables, check out Vegetarian Zen Podcast Episode 057 – How to Grill Like a Vegetarian.

Taco Seasoning Recipe

Taco seasoning recipe - www.vegetarianzen.com

At our house, we have crunchy tacos at least once a week.  And the fact that we are vegetarian doesn’t mean we’re eating yucky-tasting fake-meat tacos, either.  We create our taco filling with Gardein Beefless Ground and this homemade taco seasoning.

By making our own taco seasoning we are avoiding added gluten, chemical preservatives and sugar.  It is so quick and simple to make and we use it so often I make my batches in bulk.

If you like more spice in your taco seasoning, add in a little ground cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.  If you are watching your salt intake, you can reduce the amount in this recipe without significantly changing the taste.

Quinoa Bites Recipe

Quinoa Bites Recipe - www.vegetarianzen.com

For being such a tiny little grain, quinoa really packs a nutritional punch.  It contains all nine of the amino acids essential to the human body, making it a complete protein.  It is fiber-dense, which helps promote bowel health, prevent heart disease, lower cholesterol, and keeps you feeling full longer.  Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium and manganese.

These little bites are simple to prepare.  Serve them in place of fries the next time veggie burgers are on your menu.  They make a great side dish, but can also be the main attraction, with steamed or grilled vegetables on the side.

*Recipe adapted from Quinoa Tater Tots on Plant Based on a Budget.