VZ 282: 8 Simple Vegan Turkey Substitutes That Don’t Suck

turkey alternatives

It’s That Time of Year Again! Yes, the holiday season is officially upon us! So many holiday traditions are based around amazing food, and being meat-free doesn’t mean that you need to miss out. In fact, there are so many meatless alternatives to the traditional “holiday roast” and meat-based sides these days that you might […]

VZ 280: Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Vegan Chickpea Recipes That Aren’t Hummus!

When most people think of chickpeas they likely think of good-for-you, great-tasting hummus, without knowing exactly how healthy they are. Read on for to learn more about chickpeas, including their nutritional value, health benefits, and recipe ideas.  What are Chickpeas? The chickpea is a member of the legume family. Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are high […]

VZ 268: The Peas and Carrots Society Presents – 5 Favorite Vegan Cookbooks


Recently, one of our Peas and Carrots Members, Michelle Wilkinson, asked, “If you could only recommend one vegan cookbook for families that want easy fast recipes, what would you choose?” Meal planning can be challenging in general but learning to cook healthy vegan meals for you and your family can take time and money.  Because […]

Adventures in Vegetarian Cooking for One

adventures in vegetarian cooking for one https://www.vegetarianzen.com

When you’re a vegetarian or vegan “flying solo” at mealtime it doesn’t matter whether it’s because you’re single, your family doesn’t subscribe to the veg lifestyle, or your spouse is out of town on business.  You just need smaller portions of healthy, plant-based food. While the most efficient way to do this is probably cooking […]

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.

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.

Vegan Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe

Vegan Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies - www.vegetarianzen.com

Today we’re celebrating Peanut Butter Cookie Day by sharing a terrific recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies.  Yep, I said flourless!  Sounds weird, I know, but removing the flour actually makes these cookies super light and delicate.

I made this recipe vegan by using Ener-G Egg Replacer, but you can easily substitute one egg in place of the Ener-G and water.

My challenge to you, my cookie-eating friends, is to whip up a batch of these amazing peanut-buttery treats right now and enjoy them before Peanut Butter Cookie Day passes you by!