by Andrea Banerjee
I wanted to pop on here and share some vegan food ideas (I hesitate to call some of these recipes!) that we’ve been loving now that the colder weather is here 🙂 All of these are easy to make, use plant-based ingredients, and completely hit the spot for cozy late fall weather!
Vegan Chocolate Dirt Cups
I know I’m a little late with this one, but on Halloween I wanted to make a cute treat as a weeknight dessert. Small problem: I forgot that the pudding definitely needs a full overnight setting time, so we enjoyed this the day after Halloween.
We actually didn’t love the pudding. I think I’d try to adapt the recipe a bit next time or use a richer cocoa (it didn’t taste chocolatey whatsoever). But the result was creamy and tasty with the added decorative sweets! The texture was spot on, the pudding just tasted entirely like coconut milk. If you don’t mind that, here’s the recipe I followed for Easy Paleo Vegan Chocolate Pudding. Top with Oreo crumbs and your favourite vegan gummies!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (and Soup!)
We carved a jack-o-lantern this year, which prompted me to toast some seeds for snacking. I forgot how tasty these are! If you’re doing any cooking with pumpkin (here’s a recipe for a tasty Vegan Pumpkin Soup), be sure to save these and make yourself a snack. The seeds are also a perfect topper for a soup or salad. I just rinsed mine, drizzled them with a vegan butter and salt and baked at 375C for about 20 minutes. The best!
Vegan Apple Crisp
One of my OG vegan recipes, this apple crisp is in frequent rotation throughout the fall and winter in our kitchen. Crisps are easy to adapt if you’re looking to keep things lower calorie. You can reduce the sugar, skip any ice cream toppers, or adjust your apples-to-crumble ratio. We like to go all out with cinnamon cashew ice cream on top 😉
Pear and Toasted Pecan Salad
It’s a great idea to bring some greens to a family Thanksgiving, Christmas or potlock as a way to lighten up the menu and add a pop of colour. I tried this out last year with a pretty pomegranate salad that was a hit. This year, for a dinner party at my cousin’s house, I made a simple salad with an arugula/spinach base. I pan-tossed pecans with vegan butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, before mixing them into the greens along with pears, pita chips, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and an oil/vinegar dressing. I halved my salad and added a goat cheese to the non-vegan version, but a nut cheese would be delicious on this salad too.
P.S – If you have butternut squash sitting in the fridge like I do, check out this Sauteed Date and Squash salad recipe, which could easily be adapted to be dairy-free!
Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
This was a loose recipe from a friend that I made a few weeks ago – and I love that you can just eyeball your quantities and include ingredients that you like. 🙂
To start, you need to make vegan mashed potatoes which is the most time consuming part. My husband took care of this! Cashew milk and margarine helped to make them extra buttery. We also softened our veggies before baking the pie. I tend to do this with most recipes by steaming or flash-boiling cut vegetables to cut down on oven time.
We did a mix of carrots, yellow onion, bell peppers and mushroom. When we had our veggies and potatoes ready, we simply layered our pan in the following order:
- mushroom gravy (we use a store-bought one)
- TVP (textured vegetable protein) or Yves/Tofurkey ground round as your “meat”
- veggies and any desired seasoning
- mashed potatoes
Bake until heated through and the gravy starts to bubble at the sides. Your potato “roof” will firm up as well. You can top with vegan cheese or chives and stick back in the oven for an extra minute or two! A great winter dish for sure – and it packs nicely for lunches. I was very impressed at how well the slices lifted out and held together!
I’d love to know what meals you’re enjoying at this time of year. Thanks to the internet’s library of recipes, I also recently made a vegan lentil loaf, squash mac and cheese and an amazing peanut sweet potato bowl that I hope to share soon! 🙂 Bon appetit!