A-Pinch-of-This-and-a-Pinch-of-That

Recipes from a Southern Vegan

I grew up with a mother from a deep, deep southern Alabama country family.  Everything was cooked in lard or had some type of pig fat in it.  But she loved her greens, beans and breads.  We ate a lot of turnip or collard greens with biscuits or cornbread.  I can still smell her biscuits hot out of the oven.  She made the best biscuits in the world!  I was not a fan of greens but now am so glad she introduced us to them because now I love them!  It has not been that hard for me to transition to plant based by just removing the animal fat from the foods I love.  As I get older I feel nostalgia for the foods my southern mama cooked and am learning to recreate those without animal products.  I do wish I could learn to can however, and that may be one of my new goals.  I miss her canned preserves and pickled peaches!  As a child I peeled bushels of peaches and shelled tons of beans and peas!

People often ask me for the recipes for the foods I eat to lose so much weight so quickly.  I don’t really follow, or use, recipes.  I do take inspiration from recipes as ideas for what to cook.  But I make it my own by seasoning to my taste and I never measure anything unless I am baking, which I rarely do.  When cooking things like soups, stews, chowders and chili, I use the “pinch-of-this-and-a-pinch-of-that” method.  So I will share here some of the things I like to cook.  You can adjust quantities to fit your taste and family needs.  I hope you enjoy some of my favorite recipes, I will be adding to this list as I become more adventurous in the kitchen.

For easy, low calorie plant based meals that require no recipe, are less than 400 calories per meal, and take less than 5 minutes to prepare, visit my page Guide to Going Plant Based.  This is how I got started.

Disclaimer: The measurements are estimates.  I don’t measure unless it is pastry that requires precision.  Feel free to adjust the amounts to your specific taste. 🙂

Carmelized Onion, Spinach and Lentil Stew

Carmelized Onion, Spinach and Lentil Stew
4 yellow onions
6 small cloves garlic
6 cups veggie broth
1 can lentils
1 can mushrooms
2 bunches fresh spinach
Seasonings (to taste):
Thyme
Rosemary
Tumeric
Salt
Pepper
Liquid Smoke
Red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar to saute onions, or just use broth

Saute onions in liquid of choice until brown, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. While the onions are carmelizing, prepare the garlic and spinach. When the onions are cooked down, add garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add broth and spinach. After the spinach is starting to wilt, about ten minutes, add remaining ingredients and season to taste. Cover and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes.

Crispy Orange Tofu with Broccoli and Cashews

1 block of extra firm tofu, pressed
3/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour (I didn’t have any corn starch)
1 Tbsp orange marmalade
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp minced ginger
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and marinate tofu for 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove tofu and drain. Air fry at 350 for ten minutes, shaking or turning half way thru.  If you do not have an air fryer you can crisp it in the oven or in a skillet.
While tofu is cooking, put sauce in a saucepan over medium heat and stir to reduce. Add cooked broccoli, I used the steam in bag type, and toss in the sauce. Remove the tofu from the air fryer and toss in the sauce. Throw in a handful of cashews. You can serve over rice if you prefer. Enjoy!

Taco Casserole

This is yummy and satisfying!  I kind of used bits and pieces of other recipes and created my own version.

  • 1 diced onion, or frozen diced onion
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, crumbled
  • 1 pkg taco seasoning mix (I make my own blend in batches using cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and smoked paprika)
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1/2 can Rotel
  • 1/2 cup picante sauce or salsa
  • 1 package vegan cheese shreds
  • 1 package corn tortillas
  • 1 small can black olive slices (optional)
  • 1 diced tomato (optional)

Cook the onion in a small amount of veggie broth or water until translucent.  Crumble the tofu into the skillet and stir over medium high heat, adding the taco seasoning.  Once the onions and tofu reach the desired doneness, add the beans, corn, salsa, a quarter of the cheese and 1/3 of the tortillas cut into 1 inch squares.  Continue cooking over low heat until well combined.  Line the bottom of a baking dish with cut up tortillas.  Spoon the mixture from the skillet into the baking dish.  Top with the remaining tortilla pieces and the rest of the cheese.  Cover with foil and bake in a 350 preheated oven for about 30 minutes.  Let cool slightly and top with olives and diced tomato.  You could also add guacamole and other toppings of your choice.  Enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies

I have been thinking about the raisin spice cookies my mother and I used to buy in the 60s.  I can’t remember the brand, but I remember what the box looked like and that it was on the bottom shelf on the cookie aisle at the grocery store we shopped at.  So I decided to try and replicate that taste, but in a healthier way.  So this is my newest cookie invention.  Just came out of the oven and smell heavenly!

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground pumpkin spice (didn’t have any all spice)
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Bake at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes depending on how you like them, I like mine kind of crunchy.  Mother and I used to eat spice cookies with peanut butter.  Can’t wait till time for dessert after dinner tonight!

Easy Tofu Bacon

Ingredients
15 oz.(one block) extra firm tofu drained and pressed
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Oven Directions
Preheat the oven to 400F. Arrange the tofu in a single layer on a non-stick or oiled baking sheet. Make sure that before you put the tofu on the baking sheet, you let the excess marinade drip off. Extra marinade in the pan will give you soggy bacon. Bake 35-45 minutes, flipping halfway. Your tofu bacon is ready when it’s mostly crispy – thicker pieces will take longer to cook. Some soft spots are OK.
Air Fryer Directions
Transfer the tofu to your air fryer basket. Air fry for 15-18 minutes at 400F minutes, shaking gently every 5 minutes or so. Your tofu bacon is ready when it’s mostly crispy.
The photo above shows a sandwich using the tofu bacon, the whole wheat bread recipe below, avocado, tomato and Daiya cheese.

Banana Pineapple Bread

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour or flour of your choice.
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups over ripe mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple drained
  • 1/2 cup of pure maple syrup or agave
  • 6 tbsp plant milk of your choice
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Optional chopped walnuts and shredded coconut, about 1/4 cup of each

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan or line with parchment. Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl adding shredded coconut and nuts if desired. Mash bananas with a fork until smooth. Add all remaining ingredients, stir to form a batter but do not over mix. Pour into prepared pan. Bake on center rack for 25 minutes, then do not open the oven door but turn off the heat and let sit in the closed oven an additional 10 minutes. If it’s still undercooked turn the oven back on and continue baking checking every 5 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Vegan Whole Wheat & Seed Bread
I got the recipe here, but made some changes.

https://lovingitvegan.com/easy-no-fail-wholewheat-bread/

Easy 5-ingredient whole wheat bread. You just don’t get easier than this no-fail recipe. Hearty, wholesome, nourishing and delicious!

INGREDIENTS
4 cups (520g) Whole Wheat Flour* (I reduced the flour by 1/2 cup and added 1/2 cup total of a mixture of toasted flax seed, chia seed and hemp hearts to make the total 4 cups)
1 Packet (11g) Instant Yeast (~1 Tbsp)*
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Maple Syrup*
2 cups (480ml) Warm Water
INSTRUCTIONS
Add the flour to a mixing bowl with the yeast and salt and mix together.
Dissolve the maple syrup in the warm water and then add to the dry ingredients.
Mix – don’t knead – until you have a sticky well combined dough.
Transfer to a greased 9×5 loaf pan. You can also line the bottom with parchment paper if you think there will be any chance of it sticking.
Cover and leave to rise for 20 minutes.
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 390°F (200°C).
After 20 minutes when the dough has risen, bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Absolutely BEST when fresh, but will keep for a day or two in a closed container. After which you can make the most delicious toast.

Banana Oat Raisin (or Chocolate Chip) Cookies

Dairy free, egg free, gluten free and sugar free!  The picture is my second batch fresh out of the oven.  I used dairy-free chocolate chips.  So delicious!

  • 3 over ripe bananas, the blacker they are the sweeter they are
  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup raisins (or dairy-free chocolate chips!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional, or use your favorite nuts)
  • 1/8 cup flax seed (optional)
  • Vanilla extract to taste
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Mix well and drop with a spoon onto parchment covered baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • You can modify this with any fruit or nuts of your choosing to make different varieties.

 Potato & Corn Chowder

  • 3 – 5 lbs of potatoes, your preference, I like yellow, boil and rough mash to your preferred consistency.  I like it a little chunky.
  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn
  • Non-dairy milk (I prefer almond milk) as needed, at least two cups
  • Vegetable broth to achieve correct thickness, about 2 cups
  • Season to taste, I like thyme, onion, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least an hour
  • This can easily be turned into a potato soup by omitting the corn and adding more almond milk.  You could even add broccoli and vegan cheez!

  Pineapple Fried Rice w/ Crispy Tofu and Cashews

  • Leftover brown rice (I cook a whole pound of brown rice and use the leftovers)
  • 1 can pineapple chunks (you can use crushed pineapple if you prefer  smaller pieces)
  • 1/4 lb cashews, whole or pieces
  • 1 lb crispy tofu (see tofu instructions below)
  • Minced garlic
  • Soy sauce to taste (be sure you taste as you add, it is easy to add too much)
  • Other seasonings to taste, I use ground ginger, onion powder, salt and pepper
  • For crispy tofu – buy a block of extra firm tofu and press to remove the excess water.  Cut into bite size pieces and marinate in soy sauce, a couple Tbls sesame oil, minced or ground ginger, minced garlic and onion powder for at least 15 minutes while air fryer is preheating to 350 degrees.  If you don’t have an air fryer you can either brown in a pan or bake in the oven. Cook in air fryer for 10 to 15 minutes or until desired crispness.
  • Mix all ingredients, season to taste and add vegetable broth if need to achieve desired consistency.

Vegan Coleslaw

  • 1 bag shredded coleslaw mix or shred your own
  • 2 heaping Tbs Hellman’s Vegan Spread
  • 2 heaping tsps sweet pickle relish
  • Mix and enjoy!

Fishless Filet Sandwich

Not actually a recipe, but one of my favorite and frequently consumed dinners.  SO GOOD!

  • 2 Gardein Fishless Filets, I cook mine in the air fryer but they are just as delicious in the oven.
  • 2 Slices Simple Truth Organic Thin Sliced Sprouted Grain Bread (you can use Ezekiel or Dave’s Killer, or any bread of your choice)
  • 1 tsp Hellman’s Vegan Spread (you could make your tartar sauce instead)
  • 1 large slice tomato
  • 1 serving Vegan Coleslaw (see recipe above)

Vegan Potato Salad

Sometimes when I boil the potatoes for my chowder I use some of the potatoes for potato salad.

  • 5 – 6 large potatoes, boiled and cubed
  • 2 Tbs Hellman’s Vegan Spread
  • 2 Tbs sweet pickle relish
  • Mix and enjoy!

Easy Vegan Chili

  • I package Gardein beefless crumbles (or you can use crumbled tofu)
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can red beans (you can substitute any beans for either of these)
  • 1 package McCormick chili seasoning mix (whatever heat level you like)
  • Freshly chopped onion and minced garlic
  • Other seasonings to your taste (I add cumin, salt and pepper)
  • Sweat the onions and garlic in a few tablespoons of veggie broth (or healthy oil if you are not doing oil free like me)
  • Add the beefless crumbles and lightly brown.
  • Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer.
  • Taste periodically and add a pinch-of-this-or-a-pinch-of-that to taste.

Easy Vegan Cornbread (you can’t have chili without cornbread, right?)

  • 1 box of Jiffy VEGETARIAN corn muffin mix
  • 1 can of cream corn
  • Mix together and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes
  • This is also great with any kind of greens or beans (or both!)

Fat Burning Cabbage Soup

  • I head of cabbage, your choice of color (purple makes a beautiful soup)
  • 1 onion, your choice, I like sweet yellow onions
  • Minced or fresh garlic, your preference of how strong you want the garlic flavor
  • 1 large can of diced tomatoes, you can add more or use whole stewed tomatoes (I also add 1/2 can Rotel for a little kick)
  • About 2 cups of vegetable broth, you may need to add more as it cooks down
  • Seasonings of your choice to taste.  I use ground thyme, ginger, turmeric, black pepper and salt.
  • I sometimes add fresh carrots if I have any on hand.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for at least an hour.