Entrees

Plant-Based Instant Pot Lasagna Soup

It’s pretty common in my house to have leftover pasta sauce laying around. Sometimes I freeze it, but most times I try to incorporate it into a different dish to use it up without making our weekly “dinner list” too repetitive. Here’s a great way to do just that.

You can do a lot with lasagna soup to customize it, but here’s my favorite version. It’s simple yet delicious and has that “comfort food” feel to it.

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Oil-Free Vegan Portobello Mushroom Parmesan

To. Die. For.

Ok, so you used to love chicken parmesan. Or maybe even veal parm. And then you went plant-based. Yeah, me too. So what’s the logical move? Eggplant parm, right? Sure, except for a couple things. First, it’s usually fried in oil. Sure, we can fix that. Second, if you want to do it right, you need to slice the eggplant super thin and layer it. It can be a long process. If you make thick slices, you risk undercooking or overcooking and you either end up with tough cutlets or a mushy mess.

Enter the mushroom. I honestly never heard of or even thought of this (not sure why) until I saw it on the menu at a local sandwich shop. So I tried it and WOW. I had to make my own whole-food plant-based version. So here it is!

Hint: DO NOT SKIP pre-cooking the mushrooms. You have to cook the water out or this isn’t going to work well.

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Instant Pot Butternut & Bean Enchiladas

Taco Tuesday is a regular occurrence in my house, but I try to mix it up as much as I can. Let’s face it, tacos every week can get old pretty quick. So Taco Tuesday has really become Mexican Tuesday — hmm maybe I should move it to Monday…

Anyway, here’s a great enchilada recipe I found but then greatly simplified for people like us who actually have other things to do besides cook all day.

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Oil-Free Chickpea ‘Chicken’ Nuggets

This is one of our go-to kid-pleasing meals, as well as one of our “snacks for dinner” foods we pull out for Superbowl Sunday or New Year’s Eve. There are a bunch of similar “chicken” nugget recipes out there, but we like this one the best because of its texture and corn flake crumb coating. And they’re oil-free!

We love these nuggets because they’re crispy, delicious, and go great with your favorite dipping sauces like barbecue, honey mustard, honey, or even ketchup (why do kids put ketchup on EVERYTHING??).

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these as well. This is based on a recipe I found at Happy Herbivore.

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Non-Dairy Spinach Lasagna

Who doesn’t love lasagna? It’s one of those delicious stick-to-the-ribs comfort foods everyone enjoys. So who says you have to give it up just because you don’t eat cheese anymore?

A lot of plant-based or vegan lasagna recipes end up watery because of too many vegetables, or they use that shitty vegan ricotta and mozzarella cheese that’s mostly made of oil. Disgusting. This one is my doctored version of a recipe from The China Study Cookbook. We love it!

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Savory Oil-Free Vegan Fried Rice

One of the simplest, yet most delicious, versatile, and crowd-pleasing dishes is fried rice. If done well, it’s the star of the show at any hibachi restaurant. But it usually has a fatal flaw — it’s oily, and we’re trying to avoid oils as much as possible, right?

Enter Savory Oil-Free Vegan Fried Rice. It’s a bit different than your traditional fried rice, but its pretty damn good! With this dish, we’re straying away from the oily, salty flavors and moving toward a sweet/savory/nutty theme. This one is a hit with the whole family.

Note: I recommend following the recipe the first time, then tinkering until you get this the way you like it: less sweet, more salt, less nutty, etc. This one is pretty easy to adjust to your own preferences.

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Plant-Based Mushroom Stroganoff

**Note: After posting, I was informed that the mushroom bouillon I use isn’t completely plant-based — it has whey in it. If you can find a plant-based, oil-free mushroom broth, use that instead.

Growing up, one of my favorite dishes my mom made was beef stroganoff. I loved the rich and savory flavor of the creamy, gravy-like sauce. I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I came across a recipe for Tofu & Mushroom Stroganoff in one of my vegan cookbooks, Isa Does It. Unfortunately, Isa’s cookbook, as well as most of my other vegan resources, uses ingredients — mainly oil and oil-based products — that I’ve cut out of my plant-based whole foods diet. So I’ve adjusted her recipe and created my own version. And it’s so goddamn good!

Also, when I made this, I did it with tofu and mushrooms like she did. When we ate it, all four of us at the table decided it would be better without the tofu — just as mushroom stroganoff. So although you might see tofu triangles in the photo, I’ve left them out of the final recipe. Add them back in if you’d like, but we actually ended up picking them out and tossing them. The tofu just doesn’t mesh with the flavor of the sauce.

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Oil-Free Vegan Kung Pao ‘Chicken’ with Rice

When I was a kid, I loved to get Kung Pao Chicken from our local Chinese restaurant. The sweet and spicy sauce paired with the crunch of the peanuts and celery was perfection to me. So naturally, I wanted to come up with a healthier, plant-based version to make at home for the fam. Here’s my first attempt at it with some minor post-dinner tweaks.

When I made it, I had to leave out the optional spicy ingredients because I was making this for the whole family, including two kids, 7 and 3. I think it came out well, and my wife especially enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy it too, and let me know in the comments if you made any improvements and I’ll try out your version next time!

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Baked Vegan Broccoli Mac and Cheese

After I found this cheese sauce, I started actively searching for ways to use it, since everyone loved it so much. Since my kids were already addicted to dairy-based mac and cheese, I thought why not toss something together they’ll love and their bodies will love too? Enter Baked Vegan Broccoli Mac and Cheese.

It was a hit, and it’s easily customizable. I even doused my serving with Frank’s Red Hot to spice it up a bit. What else can we do with this? Old Bay seasoning maybe? Add some tomatoes? How about some beefless crumbles for a “meaty” flavor?

You’re welcome to experiment with this and let me know how it went in the comments! I’ll do the same.

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