I was never a fan of chorizo, even in my meat-eating days but I do like a little spice especially when the weather gets colder. In this dish, I use Field Roast brand plant-based sausages. Field Roast actually makes a chorizo-style sausage which you can use in this dish. I’m partial to their Italian style but either one will work.
The black beans add to the heartiness of the soup and bring in lots of fiber to keep you full and healthy. While oregano is not a spice I use often (unless I’m making pizza), it works well in this soup and the cumin gives an authentic Mexican flavor.
I know if I say it’s cold here in Southern California (sometimes as low as 40 degrees in the morning) my East Coast friends will laugh at me, but it’s all relative. I am in full-blown soup mode this time of year and I can’t get enough of incredibly healthy meals disguised as comfort foods. I also can’t get enough of Gardein products like their beefless tips. They can be used as a beef substitute in your favorite recipes and still give you that satisfying “full” feeling with healthy plant-based proteins.
I find this dish to be comforting, even though it is not heated, because it combines beautiful seasonal colors and the creamy goodness of nut-milk to give you that same feeling of love you get from a bowl of cooked oatmeal. Muesli is ideal for busy people because it can be made in five minutes. We know that oats help us reduce cholesterol and that’s always important at this stage of life. The crunch nuts and creamy coconut milk will remind you that healthy food and comfort food can go hand in hand. You can add type of dried or fresh fruit and nuts your heart desires. These are a few of my favorites because they make me think of the holidays. Sometimes I also top this with blackberries and pomegranate arils. Enjoy.
I love Gardein brand because their products are all vegan, the quality is excellent and while they taste perfect on their own they can be the basis for building a masterpiece of your own. These orange chick’n wraps start with a hearty protein base from the Gardein product which includes a perfect orange sauce that can be heated in three minutes. You’ve just saved some serious time.
Then just chop and add fresh, colorful toppings like carrots, cilantro, green onions, and you’ve brightened up the flavor and color of your dish. The chick’n product tastes like the real deal and has a great crunchy coating right out of the oven. You can also pan fry it, but you save calories by baking it. I added a can of water chestnuts (drained, rinsed and chopped), a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat and slivered almonds for crunch. So when you’re short on time–and who isn’t–go for an “almost homemade” meal and prepare to impress.
Because I can eat tacos every day of the week, I always look for new ingredients to put into a corn tortilla. Make sure you purchase organic, non-GMO corn tortillas. Also, because I am using Field Roast brand Apple Sage sausage, I added chopped fresh green apple garnish – it adds crunch and sweetness and is an unexpected delight on a taco. Top it off with colorful purple cabbage and a squeeze of lime, and you’ve got a nutritious, high fiber meal that will keep the digestion process in motion after your post-Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy!
What I love most about this recipe is the contrast of the hot Gardein brand beef-less tips and the cold crisp salad, not unlike an autumn day in Southern California that starts of cold and crisp, then turns warm and toasty as the day progresses. In other words, the best of both worlds.
To me, the term “almost homemade” means purchasing a quality prepared ingredient, then making it my own with fresh produce, herbs and spices. You can easily customize this Gardein product by using any seasonings you choose and because it’s a top quality product, you don’t have to “mask” the flavor in any way. By simply adding salt, pepper, garlic and green onions, you can make this a perfectly seasoned protein, perfectly matched to the kale, one of the more hearty salad greens. The texture is perfect. The cranberry vinaigrette adds a surprising fresh flavor and acidity.
Another dressing I’ve tried with this salad is so simple. I take leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving and add cranberry juice. Blend it with a blender or food processor until it is the consistency of dressing – it’s so delicious with little or no fat depending on how you make your cranberry dressing.
These ingredients work together beautifully in terms of taste, color and texture. It’s the perfect salad for an autumn day. Enjoy.
In short, it’s Thanksgiving in a shell. The good news is to cut down on time, you can make everything except the pasta shells the day before. You can also buy items that are already prepared, such as vegan gravy, cranberry sauce, etc. So you can make this as homemade or “semi-homemade” as you wish. It’s a delicious combination of flavors and it looks beautiful on the plate – bright red cranberry drizzle, brown gravy, green garnish and orangey sweet potatoes. I hope you enjoy this special meal.
If you have leftover stuffing from a meal, such as a Thanksgiving lunch, all you need to do is keep about 1.5 cups of stuffing to make this recipe, which serves two. The cornbread is a great complement to the soup and helps keep the Thanksgiving celebration going into the next meal. I hope you enjoy it.
Cheese – if there’s one thing that keeps people afraid of going vegan, this is it. I’ve heard so many people say, “I can’t become vegan because I could never give up the cheese.” It’s an understandable lament because cheese is so much a part of our childhood and our comfort food dishes. But vegans and wanna-be vegans alike can rejoice. There are several cheese on the market that taste like the real thing. One of the most amazing cheese substitutes is from a company called Miyoko’s Creamery. My biggest issue with this product is that I want to eat the entire box in one setting. In this recipe, I use their double cream chive product, made from cashews. The creaminess and flavor will astound you. You can literally eat it right out of the package and be satisfied, but you will, as I was, be tempted to use it in recipes. This is my first recipe using the product and the results are so delicious. While I do make my own vegan cheese, let’s face it, it takes time which many of us don’t have. The other big benefit to vegan cheese is that it has no cholesterol. If you’re over 40, you want to keep that number below 200. Miyoko’s Creamy is helping us to eat delicious food while being healthy at the same time. If your store doesn’t carry the brand, you can order online. I have a feeling, however, that this product is going to be in mainstream supermarkets very soon. And while you’re using this great spread, make sure you use a quality bread. Another favorite brand is Genesis 1:29 bread, boasting 16 grains and seeds from 13 lands. Your mouth is going to be very happy.