Vegan Loaded Nachos

Hi Friends! I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus as my year has been busy so far, but I have some new recipes to share. Before we get to the recipe, I wanted to say that I have happily been volunteering quite a bit at a local no-kill animal shelter. If you have the time, consider finding a no-kill shelter near you where you can volunteer. It’s been really rewarding interacting with the animals and giving them a chance to get outside and play while they wait to be adopted. The hardest part is not taking them all home with you! This guy in particular was nearly impossible not to take home, but I can’t really have a dog right now. Luckily he got adopted by a nice family. So many of the pups are just so loving and sweet!

Kincaid

On to the recipe…I guess this isn’t as much of a recipe as a recreation of vegan nachos that I used to get at Rutherford Pancake House in Rutherford, NJ. When I lived in North Jersey this was my favorite brunch spot and we almost always got the nachos. Now that I live too far away, I make my own vegan nachos at home. These are perfect for sharing at a party or enjoying while binge watching Netflix. And when football season comes around again, you won’t have to feel left out at football parties! These are really dangerously yummy. If you have a favorite vegan nacho topping, let me know in the comments! I would love to get some new ideas to try.

As messy as nachos are, it's hard to make them look pretty when you pile on the chili, guacamole, vegan sour cream and more, but they are so yummy it doesn't matter! They will disappear quickly!

As messy as nachos are, it’s hard to make them look pretty when you pile on the chili, guacamole, vegan sour cream and more, but they are so yummy it doesn’t matter! They will disappear quickly!

Ingredients:

Tortilla chips
Daiya vegan cheese
1 can of vegan chili (I used Amy’s brand)
Guacamole
Salsa
Tofutti Vegan Sour Cream
Lettuce

Other Optional Toppings:

Corn
Tomatoes
Jalapeños
Refried Beans
Black Beans or Kidney Beans
Sautéed or Grilled Pepper and Onions
Veggie Bacon
Chopped Cilantro
Scallions
Lime Juice
Black Olives

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Fill a glass baking dish 2/3 full with tortilla chips. Sprinkle on a little Daiya cheese. Add the can of vegan chili on top. If you have leftover homemade chili, this is a great way to use it up.
  • Bake the nachos in the oven for about 15 minutes so the chili is hot and the cheese is melted.
  • Remove the nachos from the oven and top with guacamole, salsa, vegan sour cream, lettuce and any other toppings you like.
  • Dig in and enjoy!

Panzanella Bread Salad

It’s so hard to find good tomatoes these days. I’m not sure why that is. I remember summer tomatoes when I was a kid that were amazing. They were full of flavor and we would eat them on their own with a little sprinkle of salt. Of course, my parents grew tomatoes in their back yard so that’s probably why they were so good…they were perfectly fresh and ripened on the vine. The tomatoes that you find at the store or even at farm markets often don’t taste like much and don’t really compare to the ones I remember.

However, a little while back I did find some at Whole Foods that were grown at a local farm, and they were the best I’ve had in a long time. If you have some end of summer tomatoes and are looking for a good recipe, this is a classic dish that really showcases the tomatoes. It was also a good way to use up some of my basil. I grew it from seed and it’s finally growing well after staying kind of scrawny all summer. It’s in a sunnier spot now which it seems to enjoy. With bread, fresh basil, and tomatoes, it’s hard for this recipe to go wrong!

Panzanella

Ingredients:

1 small baguette (or about 2 rolls or half a loaf) of good crusty day old bread
olive oil
salt
pepper
garlic powder
2 tomatoes
1 cucumber
1/4 red onion
handful of fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic
balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Cut the bread into large cubes. If the bread it still soft (mine was even after a couple days), preheat the oven to 400°. Place the bread cubes on a baking pan. Drizzle a little olive oil over top and sprinkle on salt, black pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Bake the bread cubes for 5-10 minutes until they dry out a little bit. If your bread is still soft and you skip this step, the bread will be really soggy once it soaks up juices in the salad.
  • Chop the tomatoes, peel and chop the cucumber, and thinly slice the red onion and basil. Place all the veggies in a large mixing bowl.
  • Once the bread is finished toasting, add it to the bowl and mix it up.
  • Drizzle on a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle on some salt and pepper to taste. Stir so everything gets evenly coated and serve right away. This salad is best eaten the same day it’s made because the bread will get soggy in the fridge overnight.

Cucumber Dill Salad

Cucumbers have always been one of my favorite vegetables. My mom tells me that one of my first words was “More”. She would give me slices of cucumbers and peppers, and I would say “More!” I guess I was meant to be vegan! I’ve always loved veggies. This recipe definitely showcases cucumbers, which is probably why I like it so much.

Cucumber Dill Salad

When I used to work at a farm market, we made a cucumber salad very similar to this one. It’s a simple and fresh salad that goes perfectly with summery barbecues. If you’ve never had a similar cucumber salad, just imagine fresh pickles. The vinegar, dill, and sugar give the cucumbers a sweet and sour pickle taste while keeping the crunchiness of the fresh cucumbers. I found some pickling cucumbers at a local farmers market that looked really good, so I decided to use those, but you can use regular cucumbers as well.

Ingredients:

3 cucumbers
1/2 small white or yellow onion
3/4 cup vinegar
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp dried dill

Directions:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, and dill. Whisk until well combined.
  • Thinly slice the cucumbers. You can peel them first if you prefer, but I usually leave the peels on. Thinly slice the onion. Place the onion and cucumbers in the mixing bowl. Toss to coat with the liquid.
  • Let the cucumber salad sit for at least an hour or two and preferably overnight. The cucumbers will soften up a little and the flavors will seep in more if it sits overnight.

Vegan Matzo Ball Soup AKA Seitan and Dumpling Soup

Growing up, I loved matzo ball soup. It’s surprisingly hard to make matzo balls vegan though. If anyone has a good recipe, let me know. My friend Sarah sent me a recipe for a dumpling soup that was vegan, and it’s really, really yummy! Though it’s a little different than matzo ball soup, it definitely satisfies the craving. Sarah makes hers more like a stew, but I modified her recipe a bit to be as close to the matzo ball soup that I remember. This is definitely comfort food, but still a healthy meal. Perfect for a sick day or a cold rainy day…well really for any day!

As a side note, before we get to the recipe, I wanted to share a link. I don’t usually post anything political on this blog, but I wanted to share a video I created at my last job about Edie Windsor called Edie Takes on DOMA. Her case is being heard by the Supreme Court today. If you don’t already know the details, take a few minutes to watch this video. It gives a quick background on her situation. If you’re up for a longer watch, check out another segment I made about the Defense of Marriage Act, called Married But Not Equal. It goes through a few of the many ways that DOMA negatively affects LGBT couples. Okay, that’s it for the politics. I just wanted to share some background info in case anyone was interested. Now on to the recipe!

Soup Ingredients

1 box of Manischewitz Matzo Ball & Soup Mix or 6 cups of vegetable broth
1 bag of mini golden potatoes (about 2 cups) or 2-3 potatoes cubed
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 shallots
olive oil for sauteing
4-5 carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 container of seitan
Black Pepper
Dried Basil
Dried Thyme

Dumpling Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegan butter
3/4 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon dried or fresh dill (use a little more if using fresh dill)

Directions

  • If you’re using Manischewitz Matzo & Soup Mix, you only need the soup packet, not the matzo ball packet. Follow the directions on the back of the box for just the soup mix. It will tell you how much water you need for the mix you bought. If you’re using broth, bring the broth up to a simmer in a soup pot. I like to use the Manischewitz soup mix because it creates a broth that is similar to chicken broth, but it’s vegan.
  • If you’re using whole potatoes, peel and chop them. If you’re using mini potatoes, they’re already bite size, so there’s no prep work. Add the potatoes to the simmering broth.
  • Chop the onions and shallots, and press or mince the garlic. Saute them in a little olive oil until the onions are translucent. Peel and chop the carrots. Chop the celery. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery to the simmering broth.
  • While the soup simmers, make the dough for your dumplings.  In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the vegan butter using a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the soy milk and dill, and stir until the dough is combined.
  • Add the dough in rounded tablespoonfuls to the simmering broth. Sprinkle in dried thyme, basil, and black pepper to taste. Allow the dumplings to simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover the pot and simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  • While the dumplings are simmering, saute the seitan in a little bit of olive oil. Add the seitan to the soup at the end, right before serving.