This is a quick, easy, yummy dinner to throw together. You toss some cashews and cheesy sauce ingredients into a blender, boil the pasta and broccoli in the same pot, and then mix it all together. Plant-based mac & cheese is a new favorite at our house! It’s also comforting for people who used to eat dairy. Thanks to Isa for inspiration.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and yours.
Ingredients ($9 for a large pot)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight – $2.00 1 cup vegetable broth – $0.50 1/4 cup nutritional yeast – $0.40 1/4 tsp turmeric – $0.07 1 tbsp lemon juice – $0.10 1/4 tsp paprika – $0.07 1 tsp garlic powder – $0.28 3/4 tsp salt – $0.04 1 pound curly pasta (or your favorite shape) – $2.99 1 bunch broccoli or baby broccoli, chopped – $2.79
Directions for Plant-Based Mac & Cheese
1. In a blender, measure out the soaked cashews, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, turmeric, lemon juice, paprika, garlic powder, and salt. Blend until the sauce is very smooth.
In a large pot, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, then add in the pasta and broccoli. Cook for about 10 minutes or according to package directions, then drain the pasta/broccoli and return to the pot.
Pour the blender sauce onto the hot pasta.
2. Stir it all together in the pot and serve immediately, topped with plant-based parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy your bowl of plant-based mac & cheese, so easy and filled with love!
This is the kind of dish where you say “how can it taste THIS good?” Layered potatoes in creamy sauce with a crunchy topping. What’s not to like? I will now be making vegan scalloped potatoes for every family holiday feast. Thanks to Isa for this particularly special gem.
As I wash the potatoes, I say a mindfulness verse to myself that reminds me of how interconnected we are with the Earth and other living beings:
In these potatoes I see the sunshine, the rain, the soil, the bugs, and the farmers. This food is a gift of the whole universe coming together to make our meal possible.
I hope you enjoy this recipe, which is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and yours.
Ingredients ($7 for a large pan)
4 large russet potatoes (about 3 pounds), thinly sliced – $2.70 2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20 1 onion, chopped – $0.50 1/2 cup breadcrumbs – $0.13 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight – $2.00 1/4 cup nutritional yeast – $0.40 2 cups vegetable broth – $1.00 2 tbsp lemon juice, squeezed from 1 medium lemon – $0.20 Salt and pepper to taste
Directions for Vegan Scalloped Potatoes
1. Arrange your sliced potatoes in an oiled, rectangular, glass baking dish.
In a medium pan, cook the onions in the olive oil over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes until they’re brown, stirring frequently. Add in 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and stir into the onions, cooking for 2-3 more minutes to darken them up.
Drain the cashews and put them in a blender with the nutritional yeast and vegetable broth. Blend until the mixture is very smooth, then pour it into the pan with the onions. Turn the heat down to medium and add in the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring, to thicken up the sauce.
2. Pour the sauce over the potatoes and lift up the potato slices with a fork to let the sauce get in between all the layers. Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs over the top and give the top of the casserole a quick spray with olive oil cooking spray (if you have it).
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 400F for 40 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 20 more minutes until the potatoes are soft and the top is brown and crunchy.
Cut into it and enjoy your feast of vegan scalloped potatoes! We enjoyed ours with some balsamic maple glazed tempeh and some veggies. Leftovers are fantastic the next day too.
We eat some variation of superfood salad every day for lunch, so one day we decided to do something crazy. A different plate of raw greens! With grapes!! Shocking. Actually, this kale caesar salad turned out to be pretty fantastic. Why not give it a spin?
Thanks to Isa for inspiration, and to all of you for being part of our delicious, mindful, planet-saving family! 😍
Ingredients ($7 for 3 lunch-sized salads)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled – $0.15 3/4 cup cashews, soaked – $1.50 1/4 cup nutritional yeast – $0.40 1 lemon, squeezed for juice – $0.20 3/4 cup water – free 1 tsp of spicy brown or dijon mustard – $0.08 1 tsp salt – $0.05 Freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 bunch lacinato kale, washed, stems removed, and chopped into bite-sized pieces – $1.99 1 bunch Thompson green grapes, washed, stems removed – $2.99
Directions for Kale Caesar Salad
1. If you have time, soak the cashews in water overnight first. If not, cover them in water and microwave for 2 minutes, then soak for 15 minutes at room temperature. This will make them easier to blend into a nice, creamy sauce. Next, use your blender to chop up the garlic cloves with several high-speed pulses. Add in the soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon, water, mustard, salt and pepper. Blend until it’s very smooth.
2. In a large bowl, mix the washed kale with the dressing and massage the dressing into the kale with your hands for a couple of minutes – this is the super fun part, and it will also soften the kale leaves so they’re not chewy to eat raw. And voila! Couldn’t be easier. Serve your kale caesar salad in lovely bowls and top with the grapes for a bit of sweetness. Happy lunching! 🥗
Everyone here loves pasta. But as delicious as it is, I can get bored making the same tomato sauce, beans, and greens variety all the time. So I keep trying to come up with variations that are interesting and totally yummy, like this cashew-cheezy, hearty-lentilly pasta dish of comfort for any family dinner. It’s inspired by Isa Does It‘s Lentil-a-roni.
This is part of our 1,000 Food Experiments to create sustainable meals for our family and hopefully yours, because if we don’t have a planet to live on, nothing else matters.
Ingredients ($9 for a large pot)
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in water for extra creaminess – $1.50 1 1/2 cups cooked brown lentils – $0.69 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth – $0.75 2 tbsp olive oil – $0.20 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped – $0.15 1 tsp salt – $0.05 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil – $0.56 Black pepper to taste 28-oz can crushed tomatoes, blended for extra smoothness – $1.59 1 tbsp brown sugar – $0.03 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (optional) – $0.10 1-2 lbs green and yellow beans – we picked these free from the farm 1 lb of your favorite pasta – $2.99
1. Prepare your ingredients. Soak the cashews overnight (or for at least 2 hours) in water at room temperature, then drain the water. This will make the cashews soft and easy to blend.
Cook the lentils according to package directions (I would usually use a 3:1 ratio: boil 1 1/2 cups of water for 1/2 cup dry lentils). Wash and trim your green and yellow beans.
Blend the cashews and vegetable broth together in a blender until it’s very smooth with no chunks.
2. Make the sauce. In a large pan over medium high heat, cook the garlic, salt, oregano and basil together in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to brown. Next, add the lentils and mix well. Use a fork to mash up some of the lentils.
Add in the blended tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add in the cashew mixture and keep cooking for 3-5 minutes more until it’s as thick as you like. Taste and adjust for salt/sugar/acid/pepper.
3. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add in your pasta. Set a timer according to package directions for how long the pasta will need to boil. When about 7 minutes of cooking time are left on the timer, add the green beans into the water with the pasta.
Drain the pasta and green beans, then pour the sauce over it and give it a good through mixing. Grab yourself a bowl of comforting, nourishing deliciousness!
3/4cupraw cashewssoaked overnight for extra creaminess
1 1/2cupscooked brown lentils
1 1/2cupsvegetable broth
1tspsaltplus black pepper to taste
28 ozcancrushed tomatoesblended for extra smoothness
1-2lbsgreen and yellow beans
1lbyour favorite pasta
Prepare your ingredients. Soak the cashews overnight (or for at least 2 hours) in water at room temperature, then drain the water. This will make the cashews soft and easy to blend. Cook the lentils according to package directions (I would usually boil 1 1/2 cups of water for 1/2 cup dry lentils). Wash and trim your green and yellow beans.Blend the cashews and vegetable broth together in a blender until it's very smooth with no chunks.
Make the sauce. In a large pan over medium high heat, cook the garlic, salt, oregano and basil together in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes until the garlic starts to brown. Next, add the lentils and mix well. Use a fork to mash up some of the lentils.Add in the blended tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then add in the cashew mixture and keep cooking for 3-5 minutes more until it's as thick as you like. Taste and adjust for salt/sugar/acid.
While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add in your pasta. Set a timer according to package directions for how long the pasta will need to boil. When about 7 minutes of cooking time are left on the timer, add the green beans into the water with the pasta.Drain the pasta and green beans, then pour the sauce over it and give it a good through mixing. Grab yourself a bowl of comforting, nourishing deliciousness!
I’ve been afraid of laminated pastry for a while. So many steps, and trips to the fridge, and what if the butter all leaks out into a mess? But Megan was brave enough to take up the challenge, and she made these amazingly flaky, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, AND dairy-free croissants with vegan butter and homemade marzipan. I would happily eat these chocolate almond croissants anytime she wants to make them. Thanks to Food52 for inspiration.
1. Make and do the first lamination of the dough: In a small non-metal bowl, gently mix the yeast, brown sugar, and hottest tap water. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to form a thick foam on top. In a large metal bowl, mix the flour and salt.
Add the yeast mixture, softened vegan butter, and soy milk to the flour mixture, and stir it together into a ball of dough. Knead with your hands for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Flatten the dough into a disk, put it on a lightly floured plate, cover with cling wrap and rest in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, slice the cold butter up into thin chunks, lay them out in a square between two pieces of parchment paper, and use a rolling pin to flatten it out into an even square of butter. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out on a floured board – it will be nice and smooth.
Put the butter square on top of the larger dough circle, and fold two opposite sides of the dough in towards the middle, then fold the other two edges in towards the middle, pinching along the way to make a nice seal and keep the butter tucked away well inside the dough.
2. Laminate away! Use a floured counter and flip the dough regularly. Gently and evenly roll out the folded up butter-in-dough into about an 8×12″ rectangle, or as big as you can get it without the butter squeezing out through the dough. Fold it over in thirds, cover, and store in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Repeat this rolling, folding, covering, and fridge-ing 2 more times, then on the last one leave it in the fridge overnight again.
3. The next morning (2 days after starting this recipe!), roll the dough out as thinly as you can on a clean and floured counter. Make long cuts at angles to create a thin triangle pattern (see photos below). Roll each croissant up from the long end to the pointy end, and tuck the pointy end underneath the croissant so it doesn’t pop up when it bakes.
Before you roll them up, you can add chocolate chips or homemade marzipan (made by mixing all the marzipan ingredients listed above together into a paste). Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let rise in a slightly warm place for 1 1/2 hours.
Brush the croissants with the beaten egg. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack or enjoying them hot from the oven.
They freeze well in a sealed container if you’re not going to eat them the same day. Enjoy the flaky, layered pastry goodness of your chocolate almond croissants anytime you want a treat. Bon appetit!
Korovai is a braided, decorated fruit bread often served at Russian or Ukrainian weddings. This one is filled with raisins, orange peel, cranberries and hazelnuts. The entire bread is lovingly smothered in apricot jam after baking. We adapted the recipe from the Great British Bakeoff cookbook.
Dough: 4 tsp active dry yeast – $1.60 1 tsp brown sugar – $0.01 1 cup + 1 tbsp hottest tap water – free 7 tbsp softened margarine – $1.09 1 egg – $0.29 1 tbsp vanilla extract – $0.70 1 tbsp almond extract – $0.70 4 cups flour – $0.64 1 1/2 tsp salt – $0.08 1/4 cup apricot jam, warmed and stirred well – $0.64
Filling: 1/2 cup margarine – $1.24 1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.26 2 cups raisins – $2.00 1/2 cup dried cranberries – $0.96 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts – $1.75 1/2 cup chopped orange peel – free leftovers
Directions for Korovai
1. Make the dough: in a small non-metal bowl, mix the yeast, 1 tsp brown sugar, and water. Let it sit to form a thick foam for about 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix the 7 tbsp margarine, egg, vanilla and almond extracts. And in a larger metal bowl, mix the flour and salt.
Once the yeast has bloomed, add the yeast mixture and the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to bring it into a ball of dough, then knead with your hands for about 5 minutes. Cover the dough in the large metal bowl with cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled.
2. Make the filling and assemble the breads: In a medium bowl, cream the margarine and sugar, then add the dried fruit and hazelnuts.
When the dough has risen, split it into two balls, 1/3 and 2/3 of the mixture. Roll the larger ball out on a floured board to about 8×12 inches. Cover it evenly with 2/3 of the fruit and nut mixture, then roll it up tightly from the long side into a baguette shape. Cut this down the middle with a sharp knife, then twist the two halves around each other and join the ends together to make a braided circle. The fruit and nuts will end up around the outside.
Repeat with the smaller dough ball, rolling it out to about 6×9 inches and using the remaining 1/3 of the fruit and nut mixture. Cover and let the two braided rings rise in a warm place for 1 hour until about doubled in size.
3. Once the dough rings have risen, bake them at 425F for 10 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 more minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and smother in the warm apricot jam. Sprinkle with any remaining hazelnut bits. Place the smaller ring of your korovai on top of the larger ring and cut into this delicious breakfast or teatime treat.
Malai kofta is a classic Indian comfort food – think of tender dumplings in a creamy sauce. This recipe is a plant-based delight that blends cashews, coconut milk, and spices to create a rich sauce without all that dairy in it. The dumplings have garbanzo beans, almonds, and zucchini in them, and we added some peas and rice noodles to round out a complete and satisfying meal. Thanks to Isa who inspired this vegan malai kofta.
1. Make the kofta: mix all the ingredients in a medium bowl, stir well to combine, and refrigerate the mixture for half an hour to firm it up. Shape them in your palm into about 18 oval shaped balls. Return to the fridge until you’re ready to cook them.
2. In a blender, add all the sauce ingredients and blend together until relatively smooth, then pour it into a large pan.
3. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Cook the kofta for several minutes, turning them around gently with a form to brown as many sides as possible.
Add the peas and fresh pad thai noodles to the sauce and warm to a boil. Follow package directions for how long the noodles need to cook.
Serve your vegan malai kofta in bowls over top the noodles and curry sauce. Enjoy it hot from the stove. You’ll be left with a very warm and happy tummy.
These delicious chocolate peanut butter cookie balls take a few minutes to whip up and don’t need to be baked. No refined sugar, no white flour, no dairy, just amazing flavor and decadent enjoyment. It’s a sweet plant-based treat that’s also good brain fuel for home learning days. Inspired by the Oh She Glows cookbook.
2 tbsp coconut oil, room temperature – $1.10 2 tbsp natural peanut butter – $0.29 1/4 cup maple syrup – $0.95 1 tsp vanilla – $0.20 1 1/2 cups oats, blended into a powder – $0.18 1/2 cup almond flour/ground almonds – $0.63 1/4 tsp salt (only if unsalted peanut butter) – $0.01 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips – $0.75
Directions for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Balls
1. In a medium bowl, mix the coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla until smooth and well combined. And in your blender, make sure that the oats are blended up into a flour-like powder.
2. Add the oats, almond flour, salt, and chocolate chips to the wet ingredients. Stir it up well to make a thick dough with chocolate chips evenly distributed and no pockets of oat or almond flour.
3. Use your hands to form the dough into about 18 chocolate peanut butter cookie balls, if you can keep yourself from snacking on the dough as you roll the balls! Eat them as is or chill them in the fridge or freezer for a refreshing treat.
Apricot Bakewell tart is a British dessert that has a crunchy pastry crust, sweet jam filling, and chewy almond cookie topping. It’s usually made with cherries but I love apricots more! We saw it on the Great British Bakeoff as a technical baking challenge and wanted to give it a try. You can use any jam flavor you like if you don’t have apricot on hand.
Pastry: 1 cup flour – $0.16 1/3 cup cold margarine – $0.93 2 tbsp cold water – free
3 tbsp apricot jam – $0.48
Almond frangipane topping: 2/3 cup margarine – $1.86 1/2 cup brown sugar – $0.26 1 cup ground almonds – $1.26 1 egg – $0.28 1/2 tsp almond extract – $0.14
Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top
Directions for Apricot Bakewell Tart
1. Make the pastry: in a medium bowl, mix the flour and cold margarine. Rub it together with your fingers to create fine crumbs, then add the cold water and mix it together to make a dough. Chill the dough for 1/2 an hour in the fridge.
Once it’s chilled, press the dough evenly into a 9″ circular baking tin, pressing it up the side of the tin too to make a nice edge. Put some dry beans on a piece of aluminum foil inside the pastry shell, and blind bake it at 400F for 15 minutes. Remove the beans and save them for reuse.
2. Make the almond frangipane: In a small pot, melt the margarine over medium heat. Remove from heat and mix in the brown sugar. Add the ground almonds, egg, and almond extract, and stir well to combine.
3. Spread the apricot jam over the pastry shell, then pour the almond frangipane mixture over top. Make sure it doesn’t spill over the edge of the pastry.
Bake at 400F for 35 minutes. Cool and sprinkle your apricot bakewell tart with icing sugar before serving.
This Thai soba bowl is a very comforting mix of soba noodles, tofu, cabbage, and a creamy gingery Thai peanut sauce. I would eat this any day of the week, and we all went back for a healthy second bowl. The sauce is inspired with gratitude by Oh My Veggies.
1. Prepare for the stirfry: In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the sauce together and stir well to combine. Chop up your tofu and cabbage.
2. In a large pan, wilt the cabbage over medium heat with a small drizzle of olive oil or water. You can add the tofu anytime during the wilting, which will take about 5-10 minutes. Stir frequently until the cabbage gets nice and soft but still bright green. You could also use other veggies here too that you have on hand.
Cook the soba noodles in boiling water according to package directions, then add to the tofu and veggies. Mix briefly to combine.
3. Scoop the tofu veggie noodle deliciousness into your bowl and top with the thai peanut sauce you made. Serve hot. Be prepared for some serious enjoyment!