Vegan Ranch Dressing

Its no secret that most people have a tendency to indulge in too many fattening foods and drinks over the holidays. I know I certainly did! I even combined dessert with my drinks by having rum and coke floats! Now that the dust has settled its back to eating properly again. The good news is it won't be hard to enjoy your veggies if you have them with some ranch dressing. 

You can use ranch dressing for so many things. I like to use it in place of vegan sour cream on burritos and over Mexican rice bowls. I also use it on a salad the consists of baby spinach, chopped iceberg lettuce, chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumbers and pinto beans.

1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp fresh dill or dill paste*
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

2 Tbsp chives or green onion chopped (optional for garnish)
fresh ground pepper (optional for garnish)

Mix everything together in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow flavors to blend. The longer the better.

*Instead of using fresh dill I use Trudeau Farms Dill Seasoning Paste. 

Variation - Replace the dill with fresh cilantro or Trudeau Farms Cilantro Seasoning Paste to create a cilantro style dressing perfect to go over any Mexican dish.

Cheesy Broccoli Soup

I have to say this is probably one of the best soups I've ever had! Big thanks to Connoisseurus Veg for this wonderful recipe. What intrigued me to try it was that it used miso. Miso does not increase blood pressure like regular salt does. Making it a great soup for my husband who I cook low sodium meals. Since he has had problems with high blood pressure. I was also curious to know how adding hot sauce to broccoli soup would turn out. 

I only made two changes. First, I blended all the broccoli. Secondly, the most important change is I lowered the hot sauce from 1/4 cup to 2 Tbsp which I though made it the perfect amount. It was not overly hot or over powering. If you have small children or don't like hot flavours's then try only adding 1 tablespoon. I would not leave it out entirely because it does add to the favour and it's not just to create heat. You can always add more hot sauce near the end, if you wish. 

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, grated
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth (I use Imagine)
1 medium russet potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews or almond slices (no need to soak first)
4 cups broccoli florets (about one large crown)
1 cup vegan milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp vinegar based hot sauce (like Franks hot sauce)

3 Tbsp white miso paste (do not leave out)*
salt and pepper to taste

Coat bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place over medium heat. When oil is hot, add onion and saute until soft and translucent. Add garlic and continue to saute for one 1 more minute.

Add vegetable broth and stir in potato, carrot and cashews. Raise heat and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Add broccoli for the last 8 minutes. Cook until everything is tender. 

Working in batches if needed, transfer the mixture along with the cooked broccoli to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return mixture back to pot and stir in milk, nutritional yeast and hot sauce. Using high heat bring everything to a boil. Them lower and allow to simmer for 7 minutes. Allow to simmer until the soup thickens up a bit. Then add miso and stir. If you would like the soup to be even thicker transfer a small amount of soup into a bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons of gluten free flour and 1 tsp cornstarch until smooth, then stir flour mixture back into the soup. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. 

* When making this the second time I took a taste near the end and it did not taste as good as the first time I made this then I realized I forgot to add the miso at the end. It's an important flavor ingredient so please don't leave it out. If you do not have miso you could try 1 1/2 Tbsp of tamari but I'm unsure how this will work. It was a suggestion that the original creator of this recipe made to someone in the comments section.

Chickpea “Potato Egg” Salad

Meet my new addiction! I've seen many chickpea salad recipes on-line and I would have tried them sooner if I had know they were going to taste similar to potato salad! But unlike potato salad its much easier to make and its better for you! The recipe I used came from To My Bowl. I did adjust the ingredients used but the main change is I added black salt to give it a nice eggy taste. You don't have to use that ingredient thought to enjoy this recipe.

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1/3 cup almond slices, loosely hand crushed
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
several cracks of freshly ground pepper
black salt (kala namak)*

4 cups (2 cans 19 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Add mayonnaise, red onion, almond slices, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt, poultry seasoning and pepper to a large bowl and mix. Add chickpeas to a large bowl; remove one cup of chickpeas and put aside (keep them whole). Mash the rest of the chickpeas with a potato masher or fork. I add them to a food processor and pulse. Then add the mashed chickpeas and the whole chickpeas to bowl with mayonnaise mixture and mix well. Chill in fridge for several hours. The longer it gets to chill the better it gets! Spread out on a plate with lots of freshly ground pepper and lightly sprinkled black salt on top. Keeps up to 7 days.  Serves 4

* Black salt is pink grey in color and can be found in Indian grocery stores. DO NOT BUY pink Himalayan salt that just tastes like regular salt. It does not give an eggy flavor like black salt.

Sweet Potato Enchiladas & Spicy Chipotle Enchilada Sauce

The cooler weather will soon be upon us. With that in mind I thought I would share this delicious recipe. Guaranteed to warm you up after a chili fall day. 

The burrito filling came from a cookbook called Vegan Burgers and Burritos (read note on bottom of this post). Changes I made from the original recipe were....I used chopped sweet potatoes instead of canned pumpkin. I'm not a fan of canned pumpkin and I thought it would make the burritos too soft and mushy inside. I also added some vegan cheese. 

I didn't like her enchilada sauce so I came up with my own. I know it may be tempting to just open up a can of pre-made enchilada sauce but please don't. Once you make it homemade you will never buy canned again. It's also really quick and easy to make.

 Enchilada Filling:

2 1/4 cup black beans, rinsed & drained
2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped then cooked
1 1/4 cup baby spinach
3/4 cup vegan mozzarella, shreds
3/4 cup corn, frozen, thawed
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
3 Tbsp pickled jalapenos, chopped (I use 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt


8 gluten free tortilla (I use the ones made by Toufayan)  
green onions, chopped for garnish
cilantro, chopped for garnish
enchilada sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven 350F. Add all the ingredients to a very large bowl. Mix well with your hands. Add some filling into the center of a tortilla then form in wrap and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat filling other tortilla wraps. Bake for 20 minutes or until crisps. Carefully flip them over using a spatula and bake for 5 minutes more until their crisp on the other side.

Remove enchilada from oven and top with lots of hot enchilada sauce. The original recipe tells you to now place them back in the oven and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes and let the additional cooking heat up the sauce. I don't do this additional baking but left in in case you prefer your enchiladas softer. Once cooked garnish with green onions and cilantro. Serve immediately. Serves 8

Chipolte Enchilada Sauce:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
3 cups water
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp chipotles in adobo sauce, blended or more to taste
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp onion powder

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in flour until a thick paste forms. Cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the water, while stirring often. Heat for a few minutes until it thickens. If any lumps form break them up against the side of your pot with your stirring spoon. Once tomato sauce is totally blended with flour add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring sauce to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Makes about 4 cups.


The first recipe I made from Sophia DeSantis's recipe blog I really liked and I posted a variation of it on my blog Sweet & Spicy Power Bowl. I bought her cookbook even thought that recipe originally had 2 problems with it. The dressing for the rice bowl called for 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil. I use 1 teaspoon and that was perfect but anymore than that and all I would have tasted was the sesame oil. Also her rice wasn't right she had the water to rice ratio at 1:1. That's not enough water to make rice. The only time you would use that amount was in an instant pot and she was not using one of those. I made many recipes from her cookbook and they did not turn out. Often the problem would be adding too much of a seasoning ingredient such as her Big Fat Greek Burger which called for 2 tablespoons of oregano. I used 1 Tablespoon and it was plenty of oregano. She received many positive reviews on Amazon so I'm with the minority that had a problem with her cookbook. Many people mentioned that her sauces were great. In all fairness I never made any of them because most of them required cashews for their base. Cashews are very expensive, so I very rarely buy them. I just wanted to mention how I felt about her cookbook because I wanted to give her credit for the enchilada filling that I use but I don't want someone buying her cookbook because I mentioned it and then being disappointed, as I was.

Simple Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

There are a lot of vegan scalloped potato recipes on-line which call for various ingredients....vegan margarine, vegan milk, herbs, garlic, nutritional yeast, vegetable stock one recipe used miso paste and lemon that's different. I'm sure their all delicious but if you want yummy, creamy, vegan scalloped potatoes you really don't need all those ingredients.....


2 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup raw, almond slices
2 Tbsp all purpose gluten flour
1 1/2 tsp salt

3 large potatoes, thinly sliced (using a mandolin)
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (using a mandolin)

Soak almonds in the 2 1/2 cups boiling water while you slice potatoes and onions. 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray or grease 9 X 13 casserole dish (non - aluminum). Add potatoes and onions in the baking dish. Toss until lightly mixed.

Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth (no almond pieces are visible). Pour almond milk mixture over the potatoes and onions.

Cover baking dish with parchment paper, then with aluminum foil. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until potatoes are tender when poked with a fork, but not mushy. Top with freshly ground pepper and salt. Serves 6

Sweet and Spicy Power Bowl

When I first make this Sweet and Spicy Power Bowl I made it pretty much as it was written except for the miso sauce. I only used one teaspoon instead of one tablespoon of sesame oil. I love sesame oil but I felt that amount would just be too overpowering. I also added tahini to thicken up the sauce because it was thin like water. Then the sauce was perfect. I love that this sauce has an Asian flavor without using soy sauce. Which is an ingredient I try avoid because my husband has had problems with high blood pressure in the past. Instead miso is used which doesn't affect his blood pressure.    

The day before grocery shopping day I always have left over veggies I want to use up and various types of cooked beans. Amounts too small to make any recipe with. That's when I realized how versatile this dressing was. It goes with pretty much every vegetable and bean. So I skipped making it Sophia's way (although it was delicious) with the cooked kale, mushrooms and onions and just loaded up my bowl with lots of raw veggies. It's hard to believe something so yummy is also good for you. Although, I don't have it everyday like I do my Kale Caesar Salad I do have it quite often. I was tempted to rename this recipe end of the week rice bowl but I just didn't think it sounded as appealing as sweet and spicy power bowl.

One of these day I will get some nice large bowls for this recipe and stop calling a plate a

Veggies: (you choose)

baby bok choy
spinach, chopped
kale, chopped
green onions or red onions, chopped
carrots, matchsticks
red or yellow peppers, chopped
salad blend mix (Mann's power blend is my favorite)


brown rice, cooked
black beans or kidney beans, rinsed & drained or edamame*
sriracha (optional)
toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Miso Sauce:

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup white miso (gluten free)
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp garlic, grated

1/3 cup tahini

Put all the miso sauce ingredients into a blender of food processor and blend till smooth.  Add to a container and refrigerate. Sauce will thicken once chilled in the fridge.

Assemble....Add heated rice then beans to a bowl. Then add veggies. If using edamame instead of beans I would add them on top of the veggies. I just think the bowl looks prettier that way. Pour miso sauce on top and a little sriracha and sesame seeds if you like.

*In a frying pan over medium heat cook 1 cup of frozen edamame in 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon tamari for 5 minutes.

Asian Mac n Cheese

This recipe comes from Hot For Food, Lauren calls it Mac & Peas. This doesn't taste like traditional mac & cheese, nor is it meant to mimic it. It's truly an original and its awesome! The soy sauce and the miso give it an Asian flavor and the nutritional yeast give it a cheese flavor. That's why I gave it a new name....Asian Mac and Cheese. I didn't think the peas went well with the dish so I didn't add them. While writing this it occurred to me that a nice add to this dish would be some cooked edamame on top. It goes so well with Asian dishes and they would not have that mushy texture that peas have. You'll be bumping up the protein and then all you will need is a vegetable dish to go with it for a complete meal. This dish is also easy and super quick to make.

When I have this it's usually just for myself. I store the sauce and pasta separately in the fridge. I believe it prevents the pasta from getting mushy. When lunch time comes I reheat the pasta and some of the sauce then add them together, stir and serve. 

Changes made...I added more tahini, olive oil, garlic and thought it needed some Dijon mustard and I reduced the amount of water recommended and took out the lemon juice. 

Edamame: (Optional)

1 cup edamame, frozen
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp tamari


5 cups cooked spiral or penne noodles (gluten free)  
1/4 tsp sea salt


3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp tahini
2 Tbsp olive oil 
1 Tbsp white miso (gluten free)
1 Tbsp tamari
3/4 tsp garlic, grated
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard

3/4 cup water (reserved from pasta water)

In a frying pan, over medium heat, add frozen edamame, sesame oil and tamari. Cook for 5 minutes then put aside.

Bring a large pot of water and salt to a boil. Once water is at a rolling boil add in pasta and cook for approximately 10 minutes until al dente. Drain pasta. Reserve 3/4 cup pasta water. Do not rinse pasta and put back into pot.

In the meantime, add sauce ingredients into a small pot. Once pasta water is cooked add a 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water to the sauce. Heat sauce over low heat until warm and miso has dissolved, stir often. Add sauce to pasta pot and heat over low heat, stir to allow noodles to get coated. Don't heat for longer than 2 or 3 minutes. Add more of the reserved water if needed. Once plated add some edamame on top of the pasta.

Deli Bean Salad

Nothing beats a quick and easy bean salad for picnics and potlucks. I always make a bean salad to go with pasta dishes because they may taste great but their not very filling.

2 cups fresh green beans, blanched cut into 1 inch pieces or frozen & thawed*
1 can (19 ozkidney beans, rinsed & drained
1 can (19 oz) chickpeas, rinsed & drained
sweet pepper, orange, yellow or red, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (Redpath brand is vegan)
1 tsp garlic, grated
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl with a lid or 2 smaller bowls. Cover bowl then shake to mix well. Re-shake during marinating time. Chili for at least 4 hours before serving. The longer you can leave it marinading the better, overnight or even longer would be GREAT! Serves 6

*I never use to buy frozen green beans because I though they would be tasteless and mushy once they had thawed. Not so, I buy the store brand, Compliments and their thin green beans are great! I'm sure other brands will be too, not sure if buying the THIN ones makes a difference or not. Frozen as opposed to fresh green beans can be a better choice because they are frozen when they are fresh and don't have to travel a great distance before getting to you.

Angela Liddon's Shepherd's Pie

One of my friends gave me the cookbook Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon for my last birthday. Oh how I love cookbooks. It's been years since I've bought one, I was a little addicted to collecting them at one time. I'm going to make the exception this year and buy Lauren Toyota's Cookbook Vegan Comfort ClassicsMany of her recipes I use on a regular basis. The very first recipe I decided to try from the Oh She Glows Every Day cookbook was her Shepherds Pie because I just didn't have a real good recipe for Shepherds Pie. I've tried many recipes on line and they weren't that good but this one is defiantly a winner!!!!  I did make some changes.....for the seasonings I used 1/2 tsp less of the dry seasonings and I use 2 seasonings she did not use. I also added more green beans to the frozen vegetables. The important change I made was making instead mashed potatoes rather than making mashed potatoes from scratch next following paragraph  explains why.....

The first time I made this recipe it turned out perfect, I used instant mashed potatoes instead of using her recipe to make mashed potatoes from scratch.  The second time I made it I was out of instant mashed potato mix so I made it from scratch using Angela's recipe and it was a disaster. Once the Sheppard's Pie was cooked the mashed potato topping was so dry, it ruined the whole dish...grrr. The liquid measurements were WAY too low. So please just use instant, this recipe does take extra time to make, so take some short cuts and its not only quicker you will end up with prefect mashed potatoes every time. 

She does suggest making her own Cozy Gravy to go with it but seriously who has the time. Mashed potatoes by hand, the Sheppard pie filling and making homemade gravy wow I'm retired and even I don't have time to do all of that.. I don't even think I like anyone enough to do that much 

The following was written by Angela  Liddon........"This is one of those special occasion recipes that requires a bit more prep time than usual. But its so worth it when you are feeding a crowd or just want a special Sunday night dinner with your family. It's bursting wit bursting with the rustic and comforting flavors of rosemary and thyme. The red wine give it a sophisticated flavor but feel free to swap out the wine with more broth if you like to avoid adding alcohol. Using bags of frozen veggies is my little secret here, it saves a ton of time and prep work!"  

Mash Potato Topping:

instant mash potato mix
vegan milk

Final Topping (optional)

vegan gravy


2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups onion, diced
2 heaping Tbsp garlic, grated
2 cups mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cups frozen, mixed vegetables (corn, carrots, peas & green beans)*
2 Tbsp potato starch
3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup red wine 
1/4 tsp red pepper chili flakes (optional)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp basil
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils*

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly oil a casserole dish. Cook mashed potatoes as directed on package. Once cooked put aside. Cook the lentils. Meanwhile in a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and a couple pinches of salt. Stir to combine and saute until onions are softened about 5 minutes. Add garlic the last minute. Add the mushrooms, stir and increase the heat to medium high. Saute until much of the liquid released by the mushrooms has cooked off 10 to 13 minutes. (This is important, as it ensure the filling won't be too watery.)

Add the bag of frozen vegetables (no need to thaw beforehand) and saute for a few minutes, until heated through. Stir in the potato starch until combined. Add broth and wine and stir to combine. Simmer the mixture over medium to high heat until it thickens slightly. Add the red pepper flakes, salt, marjoram, thyme, basil and lentils. Saute for a couple of minutes longer. 

Spoon the filling into the prepared casserole dish and spread it out evenly. Using a spoon (and a lightly oiled had, if necessary) spread the potatoes out over the filling in an even layer. Sprinkle some paprika oven the top of the mashed potatoes. 

Bake for about 25 minutes, then switch the oven to broil and broil for 4 to 7 minutes, until bubbling around the edges. Watch closely to avoid burning. Serve with vegan gravy which is Angela Liddon's choice, ketchup is my husbands and I thinks its just great on its own. Keeps in the fridge for 4 to 5 days.


*To cooked lentils add 3/4 cup rinsed lentils and 1 1/2 cups water to a pot. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat to a gentle simmer. You should only see a few small bubbles and some slight movement of the lentils. Cook, uncovered for 20 minutes or until tender. Add water as needed to make sure the lentils are just barely covered.

* I used 1 cup frozen veggies (carrots, peas & corn) & 1 cup frozen green beans.

*The original recipes seasoning mix was 2 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 tsp dried and 2 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried.
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