Victoria Vegan Pasta Sauces: The Vegan Alfredo-Lover’s Dream! »
The lovely family over at Victoria Vegan recently sent me a variety of their pasta sauces for review, and so review them I happily will!
They sent me their Arugula Pesto Alfredo, Artichoke Alfredo, Vodka sauce, Roasted Bell Pepper Alfredo and Original Alfredo to try. I invited my sister over for the fun, as pasta is her favorite food. We called it our “Marinara Tasting Party”, though our party was dominated mostly by Alfredo sauces!
Clockwise from top left: My plate, my sister’s plate, sautéed spinach with vegan bac’un bits and my niece Audrey enjoying the Original Alfredo sauce with pasta! I made my sister and I the garlic bread and spinach (veganized), because those were staples on pasta night when we were growing up.
I had tried the Roasted Bell Pepper sauce a little while ago, so I already knew I was a fan of this brand! It was exciting to be able to sample so many varieties, and though I really enjoyed them all, my personal favorite was the Arugula Pesto. The Artichoke Alfredo definitely came in at a close second. They were so interesting and full of flavor; I thought the creaminess of the Alfredo complimented both the Arugula Pesto and Artichoke so well! My sister’s favorite was the Vodka sauce, so I sent her home with it. (She’s always open to trying vegan food, and it feels like such a victory when we find things she likes.) Audrey just had her 18 month check-up earlier that day, in which she was given the okay to finally introduce nuts in her diet. That was a good thing because Victoria Vegan Alfredo sauces are cashew based (it’s more of a fruit, I know, but you can never be too careful with nut allergies)! The sauces are also non-GMO and gluten-free! REJOICE! Sometimes they are soy-free as well, but be sure to check the labels on that.
After my sister left, I had four open, full jars of sauce to figure out what to do with! Things got creative over here. I had some jumbo shells I was waiting to do something special with, and having the Arugula Pesto sauce was the perfect reason to finally make them!
I filled my shells with sautéed mushrooms, garlic, onions and kale. I also added pinches of nutritional yeast, bac’un bits and salt. I was quite pleased with the results!
By this time I was getting tired of eating pasta, and was racking my brain for something fun to make. I thought fried mac and cheese sounded good, but not quite what I was in the mood for. So instead, inspired by this recipe, I fashioned baskets out of phyllo dough. It’s not as hard as it sounds, I swear! I made mac’n cheese with sautéed onions, mushrooms and spinach, again with a pinch of bac’un bits and nooch. I used the Orginal Alfredo for these, but any of the white sauces would be perfection! [Ed. note: DAMN GIRL GIMME THAT!]
Phyllo dough is not impossible or overly intimidating to work with, I swear! My mom’s secret is to keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out, but with a dry towel instead of a wet one. I greased a muffin tin, and then stuffed one folded sheet of dough into each hole. I then filled the dough with a spoonful or two of mac’n cheese, brushed the edges of the dough with olive oil and baked it at 350 until the edges were lightly browned. EASY, SEE?
All in all, I am a big fan of Victoria Vegan Alfredo sauces! If you see the Arugula Pesto, I’m telling you, pick it up! You can’t go wrong with any of the varieties and seriously, don’t be afraid to dress them up a little when you make them! I don’t live near a Whole Foods right now, but I was daydreaming combining any of the sauces with these ravioli (I can almost taste it!).
Full Disclosure: Victoria Fine Foods sent me these jars of sauces, free of charge, to review. All opinions stated above are solely my own.
CLOSED: The Oh She Glows Cookbook giveaway! With a sneak peek recipe! »
I got to make and review The Eat Your Greens Detox soup from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, now it’s your turn! Not only that, but we are hosting a giveaway for you to own a physical copy of this gorgeous, full-color cookbook!
Eat Your Greens Detox Soup:
1 1/2 tsp coconut oil or olive oil
1 sweet onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups sliced cremini or button mushrooms
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups chopped broccoli florets
Fine-grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
11/2 to 3 tsp grated and peeled fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
5 cups vegetable broth
2 large nori sheets, cut into 1 inch strips (optional)
2 cups torn kale leaves
Fresh lemon juice, for serving (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the mushrooms, carrots, and broccoli and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes more.
Stir in the ginger, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add the broth and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the vegetables are tender, 10 to 20 minutes.
Just before serving, stir in the nori (if using) and kale and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, if desired.
I can’t stress enough how great this soup is if, like me, you sometimes put your body through the ringer. It’s both warming and so healthy; really great for all seasons.
That’s not all though! We are giving away Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Cookbook to one lucky Vegansaurus reader! To enter, please link to your favorite Oh She Glows blog recipe in a comment on this Vegansaurus post! It’s okay if you haven’t tried it yet, link one that looks especially scrumptious to you (I want to know what the people think is scrumptious!). Facebook comments don’t count! The winner will be picked Monday, April 14th, around 5pm Pacific. Please, only one entry per reader.
Eat Your Greens Detox Soup reprinted with permission. Reprinted by arrangement, with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright @ GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.
It’s been a pretty chilly 67 degrees in SoCal, so I needed a little something to warm up! AHAHAHAHA, just kidding, I wear tank tops everywhere, only to be met with a concerned, “Aren’t you cold?” NO WAY! I JUST MOVED HERE FROM SAN FRANCISCO! (And before that Chicago! And before that, Humboldt County! This is the eternal summer phase of my life! But yeah, actually, I could’ve used a light sweater, I just didn’t bring one, me having so many assumptions about southern California and everything.)
The truth is, I’ve been eating out with my family at a bunch of restaurants that serve clam chowder and it’s left me with a hankering for a vegan version. So thank you, Isa! This Glam Chowder, as with all of your recipes, is awesome. Plus, I’m super into it being soy and gluten-free to boot! My pal Amanda texted me awhile back, letting me know this recipe was bomb; I just want to say “Thanks, girl! You were right! Hey, can you send me some of your future-award-winning jalapeño mac’n cheese? It would be so greatly appreciated! XoXo.”
New Vegan Product Alert: Beyond Meat Crumbles!!! »
Let’s get ready to CRUMBLE!!!!!!
Beef-Free Crumble “beefy” flavor. “Without the Bull” GET IT?!?
Bonus that they are both GLUTEN FREE and SOY FREE, thanks to the power of pea protein!
I was lucky enough to go to the Beyond Meat headquarters for their holiday party in December, where Chef Dave Anderson, owner of the late Madeline Bistro, showcased the Beefy Crumble in a Shepherd’s pie. Holy beefless-roni, it was good!
Don’t feel like seasoning these little love crumbles yourself, no problemo!! Beyond Meat’s got you covered for a lazy taco night with the Beef-Free Crumble “Feisty” flavor.
Beef-Free Crumble “Feisty” flavor: killing it in tacos without killing anyone.
I don’t think there are enough exclamation points to truly show how excited I feel about this. (See what I did there???)
Get crazy with smoothies for Nativas Natural’s “Smoothment!” Plus: smoothie recipes! »
On Saturday (that’s tomorrow!), Nativas Naturals is launching the Back-to-Basics Smoothment—a smoothie movement! From what I gather on social media, a bunch of you hippies are into this kind of “healthy milkshake” thing. You’re in luck—Nativas has got your back. Just head on over to the website, and sign on up! It’s all free of charge, and you’ll gain access to instructional videos, receive free recipes and even get discounts on featured raw, organic products. Just the incentive you needed to plug in that blender, isn’t it?
When it comes to smoothies, I like to think of my friend Caroline as the professional between the two of us. I prefer my blended drinks at a tiki bar, but Caroline actually drinks smoothies for breakfast. I thought that’s what coffee was for? Silly me, I have so much to learn! For all of our sakes (mine especially), I recruited Caroline as Vegansaurus’ own Miss Smoothment! Armed with products and a blessing sent to us from Navitas, Caroline agreed to share a couple of her own recipes with us, to kick off the occasion. Take it away, girlfriend!
“Anyone who follows me on Instagram is well aware that I’ve been obsessed with smoothies lately (I mean, why eat your food, when you can drink it?), so I wasn’t totally surprised when Jenny asked me to help review some of the Navitas superfood products.
You may have seen the colorful Navitas packaging in your local health food stores—I’ve definitely used some of them before (namely the chia seeds and cacao powder—great for raw desserts). Needless to say, I was STOKED when I had a whole box of their goodies to play with.
I usually start my day with a protein smoothie of some sort (using a vegan protein mix and my kitchen staple, the immersion blender), so I did what any excessive American girl would do — I mixed all the powders together for the mother of all breakfast smoothies. I wanted to see how this stood up to my “rigorous” morning workout (hello, I’ve got to be at my best when working out beside the retirees in the San Francisco Presidio Y). I also wanted to see how it compared to the more “performance”-oriented mixtures that I’ve been using. The verdict? I felt totally energized (as much as I can at 8 a.m.), and wasn’t hungry afterward. Not to mention, it was super delicious! (Bonus that all their products are organic—I’m not a fan of drinking chemicals and pesticides in my smoothies—raw, and gluten-free.)
Here’s what my typical morning smoothie looks like:
Serves 1 (6-foot girl)
2 Tbsp raw Hemp Protein powder
1 Tbsp sprouted Flax Seed powder
1 Tbsp Freeze-Dried Acai powder
1 tsp raw Maca powder
1 Tbsp raw Cacao powder
12 oz almond milk (or a mixture of half-almond, half-rice)
Handful of blueberries
Handful of ice
Lately I’ve been having a smoothie for lunch—again, why go through the hassle of chewing your food? Below is the recipe for one of my favorite combinations. I added a few of the Navitas superfoods to the mix, and felt extra pumped. (My boss has a Vitamix, which I try to put to use as much as possible.)
Lunchtime smoothie, serves 2:
3 Tbsp raw Hemp Protein Powder
2 tsp raw Maca Powder
12 oz almond milk
Handful of baby spinach (kale is good, too)
1/2 of an avocado
Handful of raspberries
Handful of strawberries
3 Tbsp organic peanut butter
Handful of ice
I shared this with a friend of my boss and she said it was the best thing she had ever tasted. Not bad for a testimonial, eh? I totally agree—why else would I drink this almost every day?
Since I’m already armed with so many of Nativas amazing products, I have no choice but to participate in their Smoothment. I also can’t stand not joining things (only child syndrome). Perhaps you’ll give it a whirl, too (Get it? Bad smoothie puns!).”
As usual, please share your personal recipes with us! Don’t forget to follow my girl Caroline on Twitter and Instagram (@wakeupcaroline)—I can’t wait to see all the smoothie talk that will ensue, while wondering if rum is also a suitable ingredient in your icy beverages.
What is this we have here? It’s a squash blossom quesadilla from Cadry’s Kitchen! The queso is made with cauliflower and white beans—how interesting! I know what I’m making for dinner tonight. I don’t know what squash blossoms are, but I’m determined to find them (or just use spinach, as Cadry suggests). I want all the vegan queso this world has to offer (with more ideas of what to make with it). Thanks, Cadry!
Raw dessert is basically negative calories, being made of fruit and nuts. Make sure you tell everyone that as they dive in. I know I do. Raw dessert for every meal!
Recipe! Mostly raw, totally vegan, ranch dressing! »
When I’ve turned to vegan ranch dressings in the past, I’ve always been disappointed. So I’ve taken it upon myself to make one that reminds me of Hidden Valley. What can I say? That is what my palate wants.
Let’s do this.
1 1/2 cup soaked cashews
3/4 to 1 cup water
2 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white rice vinegar
1 tsp pepper
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. agave nectar
The juice of half a lemon
Blend all ingredients until you get the smoothest product you can! I use a Vita-Mix. I’m sure you can use a blender or food processor to pulverize these ingredients, but you may need a nut milk bag handy to strain any chunks.
Taste. Make sure it’s a flavor profile you expect from ranch. Add more salt, pepper or vinegar to you liking. Remember, this is your base, and you are the star of this recipe.
After blending, add 1 tsp. Italian herbs and 1 tsp. dill, and mix by hand.
This is recipe that tastes best when it sits (in the fridge) for a couple hours, even better overnight. Perhaps you like your dressing a little more dill-ish? Add more! You are the chef! More salt and pepper? DO IT!
Serve and watch your party guests go crazy. I love to serve my ranch with a faux meat product (homemade seitan) because my friends are always like, “Hey, I think I could go vegan if everything tasted like this!” More potlucks, more dinner parties, because THIS IS WHAT VEGAN TASTES LIKE!
How to, yo: Cashew Cream! »
In my recipes, I use cashew cream a lot! It’s soy and gluten-free, which I think is important when cooking and eating on a vegan diet. Gluten and soy are in EVERYTHING! I need a break. Plus, some of my friends have allergies—nobody gets left out when I’m cooking.
Here is my basic cashew cream recipe. We’ll come back to this one a lot in the future, when I post my recipes for green bean casserole, vodka cream sauce, ranch dressing, and Hawaiian macaroni salad! Those are intense, but if you got the cashew cream down, you’re golden!
First of all, let’s talk about the cashews:
- You want to use dry, unsalted, raw cashews. I usually buy mine from Trader Joe’s, but they are available at Safeway, Whole Foods, and most health food grocers.
- The cashews need to be soaked! 1/3 heaping cup dry cashews, when soaked, equals 1/2 cup of soaked cashews.
- How you get to the ‘soaked’ part is up to you! If you have the time, or are making a raw recipe, soak them in water for at least six hours at room temperature. Any longer and you will want to refrigerate them. Make sure the water covers them, plus extra for what the cashews absorb. However, if you don’t have the time, boil them on medium heat for about 20 minutes, or until soft.
- Always dump the water they were soaked or boiled in and then rinse the cashews off!
Now, to make the cream!
1/2 cup soaked cashews
3/4 cup water
Blend!* This will equal about 1 cup cashew cream! If you add a little salt and vanilla extract, it makes a delicious coffee creamer.
*I use a Vita-Mix, which is one of the greatest kitchen tools ever invented. Of course, a blender or food processor will work too, but you may need to strain any chunks.
Homemade BBQ seitan wings and a dollop of cashew-based ranch dressing!