World’s Best Pasta Salad

In the summertime, my mom always made large batches of pasta salad for us to bring to barbecues and to eat while camping. I always used her recipe and while delicious, it wasn’t very vegan friendly. I had to experiment quite a bit to get the right seasoning combination to make it flavorful. I finally found it and I had to share!! This is my “go to” recipe when it comes to side dishes I am supposed to bring to cookouts with friends. It’s always a hit!!

It’s also perfect for those veggies you have in your fridge that are about to go bad. The ingredients listed below are just what I had on hand, feel free to add whatever veggies you have in your fridge.

Here it is, enjoy friends!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package of organic tri-colored pasta, cooked al dente
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Fresh basil, chopped
  • Fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 tsp. dried Thyme 
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • Seasoning salt (msg free) to taste
  • 5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • Green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cucumber, chopped
  • Your favorite vinaigrette

Directions:

  1. After you have cooked your pasta, drain it and run cool water over it
  2. Put pasta in a bowl, add seasonings and add the veggies.
  3. Pour your favorite dressing over the top until all noodles are evenly coated, mix all ingredients well.
  4. Let it chill in the fridge for a couple hours. Now it’s ready to enjoy!

Vegan Mexican Mashup

When you combine beans and rice, you get all of the 9 essential amino acids, making it a perfect meal. It’s also high in fiber, good source of iron and even the pickiest of eaters usually love it. It is easy for this meal to get monotonous though. So here is something I threw together for dinner tonight and it turned out pretty good.


What you’ll need:

  • 1 red onion, chopped 
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cans vegetarian refried beans (I prefer Amy’s organic, I mixed refried pinto and refried black beans)
  • 2 cups rice of your choice (I had organic brown rice in my cupboard so I used that)
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green chile, diced
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • Cajun spices to taste
  • Tortillas

Directions:

  1. Cook rice according to package label, add 1/2 of the chopped red onion, tomato paste, cajun spices, tomatoes and green chile while it simmers so the flavors bake into the rice as it cooks.
  2. Meanwhile, on low heat cook the refried beans with the other 1/2 of red onion, red pepper and cajun spices to taste. After it’s warm add the chopped cilantro and mix in.
  3. Warm tortillas on non-greased skilled, each side for 10-15 seconds. 
  4. Spoon the rice and refried beans onto the tortillas and top with your favorite toppings. Enjoy! 

This recipe adds a lot of flavor naturally to an otherwise bland meal. It’s quick, cheap and the kids will love it!

Vegan Lettuce Wraps

This recipe has been my favorite so far for a quick easy dinner. It honestly tastes like restaurant quality lettuce wraps, plus it was pretty easy to make. 
 
 
 
The original ingredients:

 

  • 16 Boston Bibb or butter lettuce leaves
  • Green onions (3-4)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp minced pickled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • Asian chile pepper sauce (optional)
  • 1 (8 oz.) can of water chestnuts, drained, finely chopped




My Ingredients:

  • 16 butter lettuce leaves
  • 1 package of Gardein ground “beef” (you can use tofu instead, which would be healthier and just as yummy, but if you’re just trying out being vegan I recommend the Gardein brand or LightLife’s Smart Ground, both GMO-free)
  • Green onions (3-4) 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (Bragg’s liquid aminos is best)
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp minced pickled ginger (I used ground ginger and it worked just fine)
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar and it was good)
  • 2 tbsp Asian chile pepper sauce
  • 1 (8 oz) can of water chestnuts, drained, finely chopped. I don’t like them so I used bamboo shoots (finely chopped) which was amazing!
  • 2 tsp dark sesame oil


Directions:


  1. Rinse whole lettuce leaves and pat dry, being careful not tear them. Set aside.
  2. In a medium skillet over high heat, brown the ground “beef” in 1 tablespoon of oil, stirring often on medium heat. Set aside to cool. Cook the onion in the same pan, stirring frequently. 
  3. Add the garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar, and chile pepper sauce to the onions, and stir. Stir in chopped water chestnuts, green onions, sesame oil, and cooked “beef”; continue cooking until the onions just begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.
  4. Arrange lettuce leaves around the outer edge of a large serving platter, and pile meat mixture in the center. To serve, allow each person to spoon a portion of the meat into a lettuce leaf. Wrap the lettuce around the meat like a burrito, and enjoy!