Entrees

Summertime Avocado-Lime Linguine

Here’s another versatile dish where you can swap out veggies for really whatever you like. I found this to be best when kept simple with some broccoli and spinach, allowing the sauce and avocado to be the stars of the show.

I love this in the summertime, when you’re not looking for something super heavy, but of course it’s great year-round!

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Better-For-You Vegan Bibimbap

The first time I ever had Korean food I was on my way to the Phillippines on a business trip. I was on a flight from San Francisco to South Korea, and the flight attendant handed me a dinner menu. One side of the menu was American food and the other side was Korean (in English, thankfully). I saw something called Bibimbap on the menu and it sounded intriguing, so I thought, “why not?”

What was put in front of me was the best food I ever ate on an airplane. I’m sure as far as bibimbap goes, it sucked (I mean, it was on an airplane after all). But after that, I was obsessed. The sweet and savory flavors together with the spice of the gochujang paste mixed in… I was hooked.

But then we went plant-based and bibimbap was out of my life. Until now. While this doesn’t use a traditional bibimbap marinade (that would contain sesame oil), a good oil-free teriyaki glaze will do the trick.

Change out the veggies for anything you prefer. This is a versatile dish.

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The Ultimate Oil-Free Vegan Garbage Plate

For those who weren’t aware (or were thrown off by the Phillies cap), I’m from Rochester, NY. If you’re from the Western NY area or have ever visited, it’s likely you’ve been introduced to, or at least heard of, the Garbage Plate. The dish began at the famous Nick Tahou Hots in Rochester and has become a local delicacy for wobbly patrons stumbling out of local bars at 2am, as well as famished foodies who can’t get enough of this pile of picnic provisions.

While the term “Garbage Plate” is reserved for official menu items from Nick’s, variations exist at nearly every greasy spoon or burger joint in the area — trash plate, rubbish plate, sloppy plate, or just plain “plate.” If you say “plate” here, everyone knows what you mean. There’s even a local vegan restaurant with a Compost Plate and an upscale restaurant with a Plat De Refuse — be sure to stick your nose in the air when you say that one.

Ok so I’m not from there. What the hell is a Garbage Plate?

So glad you asked! A traditional Garbage Plate starts with a thick paper plate or styrofoam takeout container. On it, you’ll find a heap made up of two selections from the following: home fries, french fries, macaroni salad, or baked beans. On top of that, you’ll normally have two hot dogs (red or white), two hamburgers, two cheeseburgers, or any combination of those. There are more options for the protein (sausage, chicken, even fish and more) but those are the most common. Finally and most importantly are the condiments — deli mustard, diced onions, and a ton of Rochester-style meat hot sauce. If you want ketchup, at Nick’s you have to add it yourself. Oh yeah, and you get two slices of stale Italian bread with it — that is literally stored behind the counter in a black garbage bag. Thanks to this awful bread, I’m fairly certain Rochester leads the nation in discarded slices of bread per capita.

So it probably goes without saying that the Garbage Plate is super unhealthy, albeit delicious, so after switching my diet to whole food plant-based (WFPB), I was determined to recreate this local phenomenon as WFPB-compliant as possible.

So after some tinkering and quite a bit of sampling, I present to you the KevCooksPlants version — the Plant-Based Plate!

The Vegan Garbage Plate Recipe

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Zucchini Crabby Cakes

Despite my oldest son’s claim that he “doesn’t do seafood” (even though he’s never really had seafood), the whole family, including the kids, love these veggie versions of crab cakes. They’re fairly simple to make, healthy, and delicious!

Enjoy these as a main dish or even a side, in a sandwich or just by themselves. I like to dress these up with a dollop of my vegan mayo, while my wife prefers cocktail sauce. The kids go with ketchup, because well, kids love ketchup. There really needs to be a study done on why kids have such a fondness for ketchup…

Anyway… I’ve recently found that after these crabby cakes come out of the oven, they’re even better with a quick sear from the grill (you’ll want to use foil or a grill mat though). Enjoy!

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Savory Risotto with Squash and Cranberries

Before I made this recipe from one of my vegan cookbooks, I think I’d had risotto only once or twice in my life. But I knew that my wife was a big fan, and this recipe seemed decent, so I thought I’d take a crack at it. And WOW. I’m so glad I went for it! The original was from Isa Does It, but I’ve adjusted it to remove oil and simplify the instructions, as well as make it bit less expensive (most risotto is made from Arborio rice, which is pretty pricey).

While this may appear to be a long process, its really not too bad once you get started. If you’re looking to save time, you can even roast the squash the day before and store it covered in the fridge.

Oh yeah, and it’s freakin’ amazing! The whole family raved about it. I hope yours does too!

Note: Next time I make this, I’ll try it with brown rice and if it works out, I’ll update the recipe to keep it completely WFPB. Since this was the first time I was making risotto, I didn’t want to stray from the recipe that much with such a main ingredient!

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Bhindi Masala with Black Eyed Peas

I enjoy curry and similar Indian-inspired dishes, but they’re not always easy to get “kid approval” on because they’re either too spicy or too weird. I was looking through some of my vegan cookbooks and came across this one that I thought I could modify to take out the oil, simplify the process, and mute the heat if needed so the kids would dig it. Success!

Thanks to Isa Does It for the original recipe.

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Bell Pepper and Thyme Fettuccine

This is a recipe I found in People magazine when they were featuring recipes submitted by celebrities. As a Dolphins and Eagles fan (and Patriots hater), I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit the original recipe was from Tom Brady. I can’t even type that without a shudder. But anywho…

I revised the recipe to remove any processed oil and converted the suggested process of roasting the peppers over an open flame (oh please, Tom, we don’t all have personal chefs!) to cooking the peppers in the Instant Pot and it works perfectly! So yeah, take that Tom Brady. Stick to deflating footballs and whining to referees.

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Amazing Vegan Stuffed Avocados

Folks, I’m speechless. I wish I could eat this every night. With most of the work done in the Instant Pot, these stuffed avocados are not only healthy and delicious, but they’re pretty easy to make too!

I came up with this recipe based on a non-vegan stuffed avocado dish I had at a local Mexican restaurant. That was years ago, and it’s been on my mind to recreate it ever since. I finally did!

There are no unhealthy processed foods in this recipe — no crappy shredded congealed oil passing off as cheese, no oils, no fake stuff.  Guilt-free and incredible. So let’s get on with it…

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Super Easy Instant Pot Lentil Loaf

When we made the switch to plant-based eating, one of the first recurring recipes in our house was a lentil loaf. But this was way back before we ever heard of an Instant Pot! So now I’ve converted our original lentil loaf recipe to the IP and shaved off about 20 minutes of cooking time!

I hope you enjoy this replacement for the meatloaf you probably grew up eating. It’s a real stick-to-your-ribs comfort food kind of meal!

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