Vegan Test Kitchen: Lentil-A-Roni from “Isa Does It”

It’s no secret that Isa Does It is my favorite vegan cookbook, and that Isa Chandra Moskowitz is my favorite vegan chef.  I have made many, many dishes from Isa Does It, and today I’m sharing a Vegan Test Kitchen post on her Lentil-A-Roni!  This recipe is the BOMB.

Reasons why I love Isa’s Lentil-A-Roni:

  1. It’s so easy.  It uses only 8 ingredients, plus salt/pepper.
  2. It’s inexpensive. The main ingredients cost about $3 to $4 total.
  3. It makes a TON.  This could easily feed a family of four with leftovers.
  4. It’s easily modified to leave out the oil – just saute the onion in veggie broth or water instead!
  5. It’s creamy, velvety, and very filling.
  6. It’s kid friendly!  This dish is not spicy at all, so it’s perfect for your little ones.  It’s also perfect for my husband, who is not a fan of too much spice.
  7. One serving is approximately 330 calories.  I need more calories than that for dinner, so I eat two servings.  It’s nice not to have that be tons of calories.
  8. It’s beautiful.  The pale rose sauce is flecked with thyme and looks so inviting.

Lentil A Roni Isa Does itThe recipe calls for fusilli pasta, but I didn’t have any so I used penne instead.  Still fantastic.  I had all of the ingredients to make this already in my pantry and the dish came together in less than 20 minutes.  The Lentil-A-Roni is very saucy, which I enjoyed.  I simmered the sauce a few minutes longer than called for in the recipe to thicken it up to my liking.  It does make a giant pot of food.  I ate two servings, my friend ate two servings, and my husband ate one serving.  After that, there was still enough for two containers of leftovers!  Hello post-lunch pasta coma at work! 🙂
Lentil A Roni Isa Does it
Lentil A Roni Isa Does it

This Lentil-A-Roni recipe can be found HERE.

If you don’t have Isa Does It, you should buy it.  This is not a sales pitch.  If I was forced to give up all my beloved vegan cookbooks and only keep one, I would hang onto this one.  I’ve never made a recipe from it that disappointed me.  I’ve successfully fed Isa’s food to non-vegans on many occasions, including holidays.  It’s been very well received every time.  When I started cooking vegan food, I made quite a few terrible recipes that went straight in the trash.  Isa has never let me down.Lentil A Roni Isa Does it

Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.

Vegan Test Kitchen: Buffalo Hummus from “No Meat Athlete”

Hummus is a food group for vegans.  It’s tasty and versatile, and often it’s the only “vegan option” at parties.  It can be used as a dip for veggies, a salad dressing, a potato topping, or a spread on a sandwich or wrap.  I like to top my rice and veggie bowls with a generous scoop for extra flavor.  The only issue with hummus is that it is rather expensive if you buy it already prepared.  For the cost of one container of Sabra Hummus (generally around $4 dollars), I could make three batches at home.  The homemade batches also yield more hummus than the store bought containers.  Homemade hummus can be made without the added oils and preservatives found in prepackaged brands, which makes it a bit healthier.  All you need is a food processor.

I like flavored hummus much more than plain.  When I saw the Buffalo Hummus recipe in the No Meat Athlete book I knew immediately that I had to make it.  Spicy hummus!?  Get in my belly!
Buffalo Hummus No Meat Athlete

The Buffalo Hummus recipe is available HERE.

I truly loved this hummus recipe.  It’s spicy without being overpowering, and the roasted red pepper matches the smoked paprika and gives it such a depth of flavor.  It’s not incredibly spicy; it’s more of a background heat.  If you want more heat, just add some cayenne pepper or use more hot sauce.  I used two tablespoons of liquid from the canned chickpeas instead of oil, and I don’t think it affected the creaminess of the hummus at all.  An important point is to let your food processor run for a least a few minutes – I let mine run for five minutes.  The longer it runs, the smoother and creamier the hummus will be.  Be patient.  Check facebook or do some dishes while it whirs away.
Buffalo Hummus No Meat Athlete
Buffalo Hummus No Meat Athlete
I have tried the Buffalo Hummus as a dip for carrots and peppers, as a mayo substitute on a veggie sandwich, and as a topping for a bowl filled with yellow rice, green beans and tofu.  It’s perfect cold, but it tastes great warmed up as a topping for hot food also.  This is the first recipe I’ve made from the No Meat Athlete book, but I’m quite sure it will not be the last.  I bought the book for the running knowledge and tips on how to be a better vegan athlete.  The recipes were a bonus!  There’s many high protein and macro-friendly meals in this book, which makes it perfectly suited for athletes.  There’s also a few recipes for energy gels/snacks, and recovery drinks – items that are generally not that healthy when purchased from a store (like Gatorade).  I’m quite happy I purchased the book, as it’s a great resource.  You can also check out NoMeatAthlete.com to view all of the information they give away for free, including a great podcast.
Buffalo Hummus No Meat AthleteVegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.

Vegan Test Kitchen: Lentil Mushroom Meatloaf with Ketchup Glaze from “I Could Never Go Vegan!”

I have to be honest with you.  I seriously considered not writing this post.  So far on the Vegan Test Kitchen feature of this blog I’ve shared recipes with you that I’ve loved, gobbled up, and (for some of them) made multiple times.  I hate being disparaging, especially when I know someone has worked long and hard on a recipe.  BUT, Vegan Test Kitchen wouldn’t be very much of an actual test kitchen if I didn’t have some fails.  This recipe is one of those fails for me.

I tried the Lentil Mushroom Meatloaf with Ketchup Glaze from But I Could Never Go Vegan!.  I didn’t love it.  I didn’t even really like it.  That makes me especially sad because I’ve been reading Kristy Turner’s blog Keepin’ it Kind for several years now.  I’ve made many wonderful recipes from her website previously.  I love her voice, and she has done a lot to change people’s perspectives and help animals.  This is why I didn’t want to write this blog post.  I don’t want something I write to put Kristy or her work in a negative light.  But, I have to be honest and share what I really thought about this “Meat”loaf.
Lentil Mushroom Meatloaf with Ketchup Glaze from "I Could Never Go Vegan!"
My main problem with this recipe was that I couldn’t get the meatloaf to be the right texture.  It was WAY to liquidy.  I followed the recipe exactly, but it was so mushy it almost wasn’t meatloaf.  The recipe states that the mixture should be stiff enough to form into a loaf that will stand up and bake by itself on a baking sheet.  Even after adding an extra 3/4 cup of oats to my mixture, mine was still a very very soft blob.  I had to put it into a loaf pan.  I baked it for a half an hour longer than the recipe called for because it just wasn’t firming up on the inside.  Eventually I took it out of the loaf pan, cut it into slices and returned the slices to the oven on a baking sheet for an additional 15 minutes.  That crisped them up on the edges, but it was still very mushy in the middle.

Maybe it was operator error?  Maybe my carrots, celery, or mushrooms just had more liquid in them than hers did when she wrote the recipe?  Maybe my cooked lentils were too mushy to make meatloaf with to begin with?  Maybe I pulsed the mixture in the food processor for too long?  I don’t know.  The texture was just all wrong, and couldn’t really eat the middle of the loaf.  This is what the loaf looked like before it went in the oven.
Lentil Mushroom Meatloaf with Ketchup Glaze from "I Could Never Go Vegan!"
This is what it looked like when it came out and was cut into slices:
Lentil Mushroom Meatloaf with Ketchup Glaze from "I Could Never Go Vegan!"
The edges that crisped up were fairly tasty.  If the whole thing had been crispy like that, I think I would have liked the recipe.  To be fair, my husband and his friend (both non-vegan) said the meatloaf was tasty.  My husband did not like the texture.  His friend didn’t mind the texture issue and ate two slices.  I will say this – the ketchup glaze that was on top was excellent.  I could eat that glaze on everything.  The glaze with the crispy bits was yummy.  But, I didn’t finish my slice and the four leftover slices didn’t get eaten by anyone.  They sat in the fridge until they spoiled.

Overall, the flavor was good.  The texture is what didn’t work for me.  If you’re going to make this recipe, I recommend pulsing the ingredients in the food processor very carefully, and maybe starting with 2/3 of the veggies called for.

Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.

Vegan Test Kitchen: “BBQ Baked Tofu” from I Could Never Go Vegan

It’s Christmas season, and almost the New Year, and all I’m craving is barbecue and green things.  Maybe this is because of how much rich, heavy food I’ve eaten over the last month.  Or maybe it’s just because I love veggies and barbecue sauce!  Usually I slice my tofu thin, pan fry or bake it, and serve it with barbecue sauce for dipping.  It’s my favorite way to eat tofu.  So when I saw this BBQ Baked Tofu recipe from Kristy Turner’s But I Could Never Go Vegan! I knew it was meant to be.  Kristy blogs at Keepin’ It Kind, sharing her beautiful recipes and lovely voice for the animals.  I have read her blog regularly for the past three years.
BBQ Baked Tofu But I Could Never Go Vegan
I wasn’t able to locate this recipe online, so you’ll have to buy the book.  It’s a very easy recipe, but the payoff is fantastic.  I doubled the recipe and ate the leftovers four times.  I served the BBQ Baked Tofu with some lightly steamed sweet green peas and fresh asparagus.  Barbecue and green things.  <3
BBQ Baked Tofu But I Could Never Go Vegan
BBQ Baked Tofu But I Could Never Go Vegan
This is an easy weeknight meal, taking minimal prep time.  However, it does require an hour in the oven, so if you’re hangry you may want to choose something faster.  It requires only four ingredients, all of which can be found in any well-stocked pantry.  I highly recommend this recipe.  The ease of pairing the leftovers with any number of sides throughout the rest of the week just couldn’t be beat.

Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.

Vegan Test Kitchen: “Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne” from Isa Does It

Would you believe me if I told you that I’ve never cooked with wine before today?  It’s the truth.  This Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne has been on my list to make for two years now, but every time I read the ingredient list I would sigh and flip to another page.  Cooking with wine?  That’s just crazy talk.  That’s for fancy people with fancy kitchens, holding dinner parties and sipping Malbec with their (vegan) desert.  It couldn’t possibly be for a Monday night when you get home late, had a bad day at work, hurt yourself working out, and are basically starving to death.  Right?  Wrong!  This recipe is exactly for those days.  It’s on the table in less than 30 minutes, has a good dose of green veggies, and the wine imparts such a depth of flavor.

There’s a reason Isa Does It is my favorite vegan cookbook.  It’s packed full of recipes like this, that are ridiculously easy and still wildly sophisticated.  I’m not lying when I say that I have never made a recipe from this book that I didn’t like.  This meal was no different.  On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a 50.  Even my omnivorous husband who usually cooks his own food loved it and stole a huge portion off my plate while I was doing dishes.  Make the Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne.  Buy Isa Does It.  It’s the best $20 I’ve ever spent on a cookbook.
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Isa Does It
If you don’t own Isa Does It, you can find this fabulous recipe HERE at Matt Frazier’s No Meat Athlete Blog.  (By the way, his blog is an excellent resource for vegans who work out.)  Each serving is approximately 400 calories.  For a lower fat option, use half the cashews called for and replace the rest with a creamy plant milk.  Using whole wheat pasta is another great option to boost the nutritional value.  You can also use a cheap red wine.  I know this, because I did!
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Isa Does It
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Isa Does It
Just look at this creamy, saucy goodness.  I ate until I could barely move, and still wanted to keep eating.  And it’s completely guilt free!  The veggie powerhouse of basil, broccoli, and sun dried tomatoes make this a complete one-plate meal.  I can’t say enough good things about it.  I’m just excited I have leftovers to eat for lunch tomorrow!
Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Penne Isa Does It Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.

Vegan Test Kitchen: “Chickpea Spinach Stew with Lentils and Quinoa” from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen

Chickpea Spinach Stew Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen
An indian restaurant recently opened about 2 miles from where I live, and my taste buds have been begging me to visit it again and again.  I cannot get enough of indian food.  The flavors are so incredibly complex, and the meals so satisfying.  And spicy.  I love adding a kick to most dishes, but indian meals have the spice built in from the beginning.  There’s layer upon layer of heat, and the home cook can play with the levels.  Don’t want to melt your face off today?  Just leave out the chili or use a milder pepper.  Want even more spice?  Just add a bit more cumin or turmeric.  This Chickpea Spinach Stew with Lentils and Quinoa from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen is the perfect recipe to play with.

Richa Hingle, author of Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen and her wildly popular blog Vegan Richa has made indian food accessible to the home cook.  Most of her recipes are quick to prepare, but they’re still packed with all the flavors of restaurant quality food.  You don’t have to slave away over a stove for hours to have vegan indian food at home.  I bought her cookbook the minute it came out and spent several weeks just reading it.  Yes, I’m one of those people who read cookbooks like they’re novels.  Don’t judge me.  This Chickpea Spinach Stew with Lentils and Quinoa was the first recipe I tried.  I was blown away.  Not only did it get a rousing two thumbs up from my husband, I ate its leftovers twice after the initial meal and each time liked it even more!  As with all good spiced dishes, the longer it sits the more the flavors meld.
Chickpea Spinach Stew Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen
Chickpea Spinach Stew Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen
You guys are in luck, because Richa has shared this recipe on her blog HERE.  You don’t even have to buy the cookbook to try it out!  But I recommend you do.  The list of recipes I want to try from this book is so long – it’s basically the entire book.  So you’ll be seeing quite a few more reviews from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen here before long.

I think the secret to this dish is the red lentils.  Quinoa adds texture, the chickpeas bring a toothsome bite, and the savory aromatic broth imparts an out of this world flavor.  But the soft sweetness of the red lentils weaves a background of creamy togetherness through the entire meal.  Without the lentils, one part or another of the stew would be too strong.  With them, it’s spicy perfection.  This recipe also is full of greens, having several cups of spinach blended into the broth before cooking.  I highly recommend serving this meal with naan (there’s a recipe for homemade naan in her cookbook) or some soft, fresh pita.
Chickpea Spinach Stew Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen
A sprinkling of chopped cashews right before serving adds the last crunchy touch.  Then, NOM time.
Chickpea Spinach Stew Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen
Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.  

Vegan Test Kitchen: “Tempeh With 40 Cloves of Garlic” from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen

Tempeh is one of the ingredients that terrified me when I was a new vegan, much like tofu.  It comes in 8 ounce blocks, is generally brown, and looks like someone smashed a bunch of soybeans into a brick.  BECAUSE THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID, these magical tempeh makers.  Tempeh has a strong, nutty flavor and strangely tastes nothing like soybeans.  It’s an excellent ingredient to use in vegan meatballs, can be crusted and baked or fried, and if you boil it with spices it mellows out some of the nutty flavor.  I’ve been looking for new ways to use tempeh, and when I came across Tempeh with 40 Cloves of Garlic recipe from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, I knew it was meant to be!  Trust me, if tempeh makes you nervous, this is the recipe for you.
Tempeh with 40 Cloves of GarlicThis recipe is best served with a starch on the side.  For example, it would be divine with mashed potatoes.  You MUST try this recipe with mashed potatoes.  I didn’t, but only because I am out of potatoes.  I know, I know.  How does that even happen?!  Thankfully, I had some cooked barley in the freezer.   I tossed the barley with steamed french cut green beans (because those are fancier) and it was a perfect accompaniment to this garlicky tempeh.

Tempeh with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Tempeh with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Pros about this recipe:
-This recipe uses a lot of garlic!  It calls for 40 cloves.  I only had about 25, so that’s what I used.  Garlic is fantastic for you, and most people don’t eat enough of it.
-The tempeh is delicious.  SO GOOD.  It is my favorite tempeh recipe so far.  I’m going to make it again and again.
-This recipe is simple.  All you need is a large nonstick pan, some tempeh, lots of garlic, and a few ingredients that most people have in their pantry already.
Tempeh with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Cons about this recipe:
-This recipe uses ALOT of garlic.  Yes, this is both a pro and a con.  I have some kickin’ garlic breath right now.  I’ll have to be careful to pop a breath mint after lunch tomorrow when I eat the leftovers.
-Peeling all the garlic cloves is a labor of love.  To be fair, I’m just complaining.  You can totally buy those pre-peeled garlic cloves and save your time.
Those are the only two cons.  This recipe is SO GOOD.
Tempeh with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Tempeh with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Extra Thoughts on Tempeh with 40 Cloves of Garlic:
-I only made two modifications to this recipe.  I left out the parsley, because I didn’t have any.  I also left out the tablespoon of vegan butter, and the oil used for sautéing.  If you use a nonstick pan, and a spritz of cooking spray, you can save all the oil calories!
-DON’T skip the step where you brown the tempeh and garlic before adding the veggie broth.  It creates a depth of flavor that you just don’t want to miss, and also an amazing crust on the tempeh.  If you don’t use any oil whatsoever (including any cooking spray) you can brown the tempeh and garlic in a ceramic pan.  Just watch it carefully so that it doesn’t scorch.

I couldn’t find this recipe online, so you’ll have to buy the book (Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen)!  It’s worth it.  I bought the book, and I’m going to be making this Tempeh again and again.
Tempeh with 40 Cloves of GarlicVegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there

Vegan Test Kitchen: “Kate Middleton’s Pasta Alfredo” from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen

If you don’t know this yet, I love pasta.  Large pasta, tiny pasta, squiggly pasta and lasagna noodles.  My life would be a sad, terrible place without slurpy spaghetti and shells drowning in creamy sauce.  Pasta is for me what cheese is to most people.  I say things about pasta like, “I could never give it up” and “I would die without it!”  I’m always on the lookout for new recipes, so I was excited when I came across Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen.  Kate Middleton’s Pasta Alfredo immediately caught my eye.  I’m ever so glad it did.
Kate Middleton's Pasta Alfredo
The magical ingredient in the cream sauce is CAULIFLOWER.  I know, how crazy is that?!  I’ve heard of level 5 vegans making cream sauce from cauliflower before, but I never imagined it would be so simple.  All it takes is a little roasting and the cauliflower turns mellow and sweet.  The secret to roasting without oil is simple – parchment paper.  If you use foil, you have to apply cooking spray so that the veggies don’t stick.  Parchment paper eliminates the need for cooking spray, as well as any oil drizzle over the vegetables.
Kate Middleton's Pasta Alfredo
Kate Middleton's Pasta Alfredo
Kate Middleton's Pasta Alfredo
The recipe calls for brown rice pasta shells, but I couldn’t find any at my local grocery store.  What I got instead were these fun little pastas that look like thumbprints.  Their texture was just perfect!  Normally I use whole wheat noodles, but these looked so unique I couldn’t pass them up!
Kate Middleton's Pasta Alfredo
If you don’t have Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen, you can find the recipe for Kate Middleton’s Pasta Alfredo HERE.  I made a few modifications to the original recipe, which I’ve listed below:
-I used cashew milk instead of almond milk.  I find it has a more neutral taste and is my go-to milk for almost everything now.
-I added half a bag of frozen peas (steamed gently for a few minutes) and a few giant handfuls of spinach.  I can’t eat pasta without VEGGIES!
-I added a bit more salt and pepper than the recipe called for.  And a few small shakes of smoked paprika.  The sauce was a bit plain for my taste, like it was missing that extra “something” to make it sparkle.  Nothing a few dashes of extra seasoning can’t fix!
-The recipe calls for 12 ounces of cauliflower.  I tried to pick a smallish head, since I don’t have a scale.  It also calls for “one onion,” but doesn’t say what size.  I used two small yellow onions and the sauce came out just fine.
Kate Middleton's Pasta Alfredo
I would definitely make this recipe again.  The cream sauce is excellent with pasta, and the addition of peas and spinach made it a complete meal.  Another Vegan Test Kitchen success!
Kate Middleton's Pasta Alfredo
Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.  

Vegan Test Kitchen: “Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta” from the Oh She Glows Cookbook

Spring break is often a time for partying, getting crazy, and ignoring all responsibility.  I certainly had my share of spring break fun when I was in college (who am I kidding?  I spent my spring breaks in the library and volunteering.  I was super boring!), but nowadays spring break is a time for me to practice stillness and be thankful for the blessings in my life.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to enjoy a kaleidoscope sunset on a Tuesday night while eating a fancy “restaurant” meal.  High class pasta dishes usually come with a high price tag of calories and fat, and can be time consuming.  This Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta from The Oh She Glows Cookbook is one of the most sumptuous dishes I’ve had in some time, and it’s easy enough to make on a weeknight!
Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta from Oh She Glows
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Oh She Glows Cookbook when it was published.  I’ve been reading Angela Liddon’s delightful blog, Oh She Glows since before I even decided to transition into veganism.  Her photography makes my mouth water, and she shares her soul with her readers so beautifully.
Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta from Oh She Glows
Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta from Oh She Glows
If you have this cookbook, then you’ve probably eyed this Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta more than once.  If you don’t have the book, you’re in luck, because I found the recipe online HERE.
Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta from Oh She Glows
This Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta uses ingredients that most people have in their cupboards already.  The only thing I had to purchase was fresh basil.  I made a few modifications, which I’ve listed here:
-I omitted the oil called for in the recipe.  The oil is only used for sautéing the onion and garlic, so I simply used veggie broth instead.
-The recipe calls for almond milk to make the cashew cream.  I used cashew milk (because cashew milk is AMAZING) and I think it came out even creamier than it would have with almond.
-I didn’t bother to soak the cashews for two hours.  My Vitamix can handle unsoaked cashews.  If you don’t have a high speed blender, but forgot to soak the cashews, simply boil them on the stove for about 10 minutes.  They’ll soften right up!
-I used whole wheat pasta instead of white, for the extra health points.  The recipe also calls for 9 ounces of pasta, and I used the whole box (13.5 ounces).  There was plenty of sauce to cover all the noodles.
Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta from Oh She Glows
I can’t even describe how good this dish is.  I was making inappropriate sounds and eating right out of the pot the second it was done.  Angela Liddon knocked it out of the park with this dish.  I adore it, and I know I’ll be making it many times in the future.
Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta from Oh She Glows
So what are you waiting for!?  Go make this right now!  You’ll be so glad you did.

Vegan Test Kitchen is a way to share my collection of vegan cookbooks with you, my wonderful readers!  This way, you can “try before you buy” on many recipes from the best vegan chefs out there.  Do you have a specific recipe from the cookbook mentioned in this post that you’d like me to try?  Let me know in the comments!

Spring Break V

This post is part of Spring Break V, a collaboration among vegan and veg-friendly bloggers. Follow along on social media at #SpringBreakV. Want to learn more or become a contributor? Find out more here.

Vegan Test Kitchen: “Almond Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons” from Thug Kitchen

Caesar salad is one of those things people assume you can’t eat if you’re vegan.  Regular Caesar dressing usually uses anchovy paste for its characteristic salty kick.  Most vegan versions of Caesar dressing contain a fair amount of oil, making them extremely high in fat.  Thug Kitchen’s Almond Caeser Salad with Homemade Croutons is no different, with the dressing containing 1/4 cup of oil, and the croutons being tossed with 3 tablespoons of oil.  Each tablespoon of oil is 120 calories of pure fat.  Now, those calories taste delicious, but I’d personally rather spend them on something other than a tiny bit of dressing for salad.

I made the Caesar dressing without oil, and it didn’t affect the flavor one bit!  Capers give this dressing the extra pep that usually comes from anchovy paste.  I was not able to find the exact recipe online (I saw a few adaptations, but nothing with exactly the same ingredients) so you’ll have to check out Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook: Eat Like You Give a F*ck.  As I stated in my previous post, the Thug Kitchen blog has been famous for some time now for it’s colorful recipes and colorful language.  If you’re not a fan of curse words, DO NOT buy this book, or even click on the link to their website.  If you don’t mind, buy this book!  The recipes are worth it and it will make you laugh.Almond Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons1. Was the recipe easy to make?  Yes!  If you have a blender, a knife, and an oven, you can make this recipe.
2. How long did the recipe take? Total time was twenty minutes (plus time to pre-heat oven).  Not long at all!
3. Would I make the recipe again?  Yes, but I feel that I will mostly be making the dressing.  I’m the kind of girl who likes Caesar dressing on everything, so I may make it just as a handy sauce to have around.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetRecipe Comments:
-I used Ezekiel Bread to make the croutons.  I used the crusts as well, and it worked out just fine.  If you don’t have Ezekiel Bread or have another bread you like better, feel free!
-I made the homemade croutons both with and without a spritz of cooking spray.  The recipe calls for three tablespoons of oil, which is WAY too much.  However no oil at all will not help your spices stick.  After mixing the croutons with the seasoning, I quickly spritzed the croutons with organic cooking spray.  The non-spritzed croutons were quite bland since all the spices fell off.
-The recipe tells you to chop up your garlic.  If you have a high speed blender, don’t bother, because it can handle it.  Save yourself the step.
-For the dressing, I replaced the called for 1/4 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup veggie broth.  It blended just fine and didn’t affect the consistency or taste.  The only thing I noticed was that after sitting in the fridge overnight the dressing thickened up quite a bit.  So you might need to add a tablespoon or two of water the next day and give the jar a vigorous shake.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

For Caesar salad, this was pretty freakin’ good!  Like I said before, I’m most likely going to just keep the dressing around instead of making this recipe multiple times.  Just lettuce, croutons and dressing is pretty boring to me, but you can add any combination of veggies you like to this salad and it will work wonderfully!
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Do you have any recipes from Thug Kitchen you’d like me to try?  Let me know in the comments!