I have been a vegan for about 12 years now. Cutting out dairy and eggs was a pretty easy transition from my previous vegetarian lifestyle. As any vegan knows the hardest part is trying to explain ourselves to our family and friends. So, instead of talking to them about my decision, I began cooking for them. To their surprise, they really enjoyed what they were eating. They loved the flavors and textures. And they kept coming back for more. Now, the only questions I get are…. what are you having for dinner and what’s YOUR favorite vegan food recipe?
I think this last question is the hardest to answer. There are so many wonderful recipes out there and so many fabulous chefs. I must have at least 100 vegan cookbooks, each one has inspired me to be a better, more creative cook. I have personally veganized Betty Crocker recipes, too, which is a lot of fun. Of course, owning a B&B, breakfast is the most fun meal to make. It’s the meal that starts your day and wakes up those taste buds. And for me, it’s the meal with a very lively conversation and lots of friendly smiling faces. As you can imagine, I have a busy day. So, the best time for me to sit and relax and have a super delicious meal is later in the afternoon. My favorite meal is what I call “Linner.” It’s not lunch and it is not dinner, and it usually takes place at 3 pm. Even my friends have caught on to this marvelous “invention.” They’re always asking me, “What are we having for Linner?” Well, I think comfort food makes a perfect late afternoon meal. I like texture, flavor, creaminess and it has to be hardy because it’s usually our last meal for the day. Sometimes, we have a light snack with a glass of wine at about 6 pm.
I could have written about all the great breakfast recipes I’ve served my friends and family and guests, but I want to share one of my favorite dinner recipes.
I was inspired by the author of “The Oh She Glows Cookbook,” Angela Liddon. My 2014 edition is well used with many splatters across the pages, which is a sign of a well-loved cookbook. My favorite is located on page 159 and it has “Excellent” written in my handwriting across the bottom of the page. There are a few quinoa splatter marks, too. Take a look at her book, page 141, has THE best cream of tomato soup I’ve ever eaten. She also has a great falafel recipe, her enchiladas are amazing, and my husband loves her portobello fajitas. But, it’s her “Broccoli & Cashew Cheese – Quinoa Burrito” that gets me so excited. It’s the combination of broccoli and tomatoes that makes this recipe so delicious and hardy. And it’s actually one of my most favorite food combinations. These two ingredients have great flavor and colors, so it’s a perfect dish to eat any time and also beautiful enough to serve to guests.
I have made some alterations to the recipe, no offense to the author, but we all have our own preferences.
Here is my version, Delicious Broccoli Creamy Quinoa Salad
For the Cashew Cheese Sauce:
1 cup of raw cashews
1 clove of garlic
3/4 cup of non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
For the Quinoa Salad:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
¾ cup diced celery
2 cups broccoli florets and sliced stems
½ cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
First, we soak our cashews for at least 4 hours. I usually just soak them the night before and rinse them before use. If you have never used cashews before in your recipes, then you are in for a real treat! Soaking them makes them soft and blended with foods gives the recipe a creamy cheese-like consistency. Soak the cashews with fresh cool water, covering them completely with the water, and place them in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to use, simply rinse the cashews and place them in the blender or food processor.
Using a food processor, combine the cashew cheese sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.
Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package, instead of using water, I use vegetable broth for added flavor.
While your quinoa is simmering, heat a large pan with the oil and start sauteing the garlic and onions. I like to cook them until the onions have started to brown.
Stir in the celery, broccoli, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook them until the broccoli is just tender.
Now, combine the cashew sauce and quinoa and broccoli mixture, cook for a few minutes more until heated through.
The original recipe says to spoon the mixture onto tortillas, wrap and serve. However, I like to eat mine over mixed greens with a drizzle of balsamic glaze. You will absolutely enjoy this dish no matter what way you choose to eat it.