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Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole – Vegan

This  Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole is vegan and easy to make.  It is full of fresh vegetables, is dairy free, and does not use added oils (except what you will find in the tortillas and if you choose to add vegan butter to the potatoes.   It is super easy to throw together because you use frozen mixed vegetables, jarred salsa verde, boxed mashed potatoes, and canned beans. The only vegetable you will have to cut is your zucchini of choice (I used Mexican Gray Squash).

*Affiliate links – This post will contain Amazon affiliate links.  If you scroll through you will see products I used that you can purchase on amazon.com. If you click on and purchase through one of these links, Veggie Fun Kitchen might receive compensation at no extra cost to you. 

FOR THE VEGETABLE LAYER:

Start by cutting the zucchini into small bite-sized pieces.  My favorite type of zucchini is the Mexican Gray squash.  I like the flavor and the texture when it cooks up.  Give it a try if you haven’t!

zucchini diced for Mexican Casserole
Cut your pieces about the size of a dice or smaller.

Vegetables sautéing for Mexican Casserole

 

 

Line the sauté pan with enough vegetable broth to cover the bottom.  We don’t need to cook with added oils! Just watch your pan so that it doesn’t dry up and begin to stick.  Add a little more broth if necessary.  Sauté for about 3 minutes or until the zucchini begins to soften.

 

 

Add in the mixed frozen vegetables, and chili beans. Do not drain the chili beans.  You will want that yummy flavored chili sauce!

Frozen mixed vegetables for Mexican Casserole
Use 16 ounces of frozen mixed vegetables
Chili beans for Mexican Casserole
Make sure to use the chili beans/black beans and do not drain.

Add in the onion powder and garlic powder.  Continue sautéing for a few more minutes or until the vegetables are softened and the flavors have mixed. Set aside.

FOR THE POTATO LAYER:

Now start working on the mashed potatoes.  Did you think you would be using mashed potatoes in a Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole?  We use the mashed potatoes along with a “secret ingredient” to give a cheesy flavor to this vegan dish – without having to use the fake oily vegan cheese!  You can use real potatoes if you prefer. But we don’t always have time for that and because this recipe is categorized as Quick and Easy, we used the dehydrated potato flakes.

Mix your mashed potatoes using the directions for four servings. For reference, four servings is 1 1/3 cup potato flakes each. Follow the cooking directions on the package BUT do use vegetable broth instead of water and unsweetened plant milk rather than dairy milk. I did not add in the salt because the recipe is plenty salty as is – but do adjust for your taste preference. You can choose to add the vegan butter or not.  I have not found any vegan butter that is oil-free. If you feel you need it for taste, just be aware that you are adding in oil. I use Earth Balance Buttery Spread – but use what you typically use.

And now for the secret ingredient: Nutritional Yeast!  Nutritional yeast is NOT the same as brewer’s or baker’s yeast so DO NOT substitute either of those.  It adds a cheesy tang to your recipe and is really a staple in a plant-based kitchen. In fact, we plant eaters have a nickname for it – NOOTCH!  It can be a little challenging to find.  At the grocery store, I have found it in the “health food” or gluten-free section.  I’ve also found it with the grains…so no real consistency.  I usually just buy mine from Amazon.  It’s cool because I can just ask Alexa to order me some more and she does it lol!

Here are a few different brands of nutritional yeast I’ve used.  Sometimes you have to experiment a little to find the one you like.  Not everyone likes the flavor of nutritional yeast at the beginning.  It can be a learned taste…

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER:

Now for the fun part – layering and putting it all together.  This is really more like a lasagna – you need to layer in a particular order for best results.  Just follow along with me and it will be perfect! The directions will be numbered in the printable recipe.

Salsa Verde for Mexican Casserole
I use mild salsa. If you prefer more spice, you can use a medium or hot.

 

 

In a 9×13″ casserole dish, spoon about third a jar of salsa verde on the bottom of the pan for the first layer.  Spread it evenly.

Next, lay two tortillas on top – breaking apart to cover the salsa layer.  You will be using about nine 10″ tortillas in the recipe.

Tortillas layered in the pan for Mexican Casserole
Tear the tortillas to form and fully cover a single layer.

 

Then layer in one half the vegetable mixture. Top again with two more tortillas – again, breaking apart for full coverage.

Tortillas and vegetables layered in the pan for Mexican Casserole
Layer in order according to directions.

Now you carefully drop spoonfuls of the mashed potato mixture on the top of the tortilla layer and press/spread until the tortillas are evenly covered. This is the middle layer and so you are half-way done!Mashed potatoes in Mexican Casserole

Cover the potato with 1/3 jar of salsa, spreading evening, covering with another layer of tortillas, followed by the rest of the vegetables.  Finally, you cover the second vegetable layer with tortillas and top with the remaining salsa.

Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole - easy and vegan

 

 

Cover and bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes.  I let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting into it.  This recipe for Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole makes six generous servings.  You can top with cilantro or some avocado if desired.  This recipe works great for meal prep.  Just portion out into six meal prep containers. 

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Easy Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole - Vegan

Easy Vegan Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole on the plate

Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole - Vegan

This Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole is meat and dairy free. It is full of vegetables and flavor.  It is easy to through together because you use frozen vegetables, jarred salsa and canned beans. 
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Easy Vegan Salsa Verde Mexican Casserole
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 314kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

Vegetable Layer

  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth you will use more in the potatoes
  • 1 Mexican Gray Squash
  • 16 ounces frozen mixed vegetables
  • 15.5 ounces can chili beans - black beans
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mashed Potato Layer

  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tablespoons vegan butter do not add if wanting to eat oil-free
  • 3.4 cup plant milk (such as soy or almond) unsweetened
  • 1 1/3 cup potato flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

Putting it all Together

  • 20 ounces salsa verde I used mild.
  • 9 10" round tortillas I used whole wheat

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°

The Vegetable Layer

  • Chop zucchini/Mexican Gray Squash into bite-sized pieces.  Set aside. 
  • Add enough vegetable broth to line the bottom of sauté pan. Sauté zucchini for about 3 minutes or until it begins to soften. Watch the bottom of your pan so that the broth does not dry out or pan begin to stick.  Add more broth if necessary.
  • Add the frozen mixed vegetables, black chili beans, onion and garlic powders.  Do not drain the chili bean liquid/sauce from the can, but add it to the mixture.  
  • Continue sautéing a few more minutes or until vegetables have softened and the flavors have mixed well. Set aside.

The Mashed Potato Layer

  • In a sauce pan, bring vegetable broth, vegan butter (if using) and plant milk to a gentle boil.  Remove from heat.
  • Stir in dehydrated potato flakes and nutritional yeast.  Add salt if desired.

Putting it All Together!

  • Layer and spread in a 9x13" pan in this order:
     1/3 jar of salsa verde,
    two tortillas - tear to fit and cover the salsa layer,
     1/2 vegetable mixture,
     2 more tortillas - tear to fit and cover the vegetable layer,
    mashed potatoes - use all of the potatoes. Carefully spread over vegetable layer,
    1/3 jar of salsa verde,
    2 1/2 tortillas - tear to fit and cover the salsa layer,
    1/2 (remaining) vegetable mixture,
    2 1/2 tortillas - tear to fit and cover the vegetable layer,
    1/3 jar (remaining) salsa verde
  • Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1705mg | Potassium: 1159mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 103.1% | Vitamin C: 35.6% | Calcium: 22.4% | Iron: 18.1%

Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, Plant-Based

Plant-based cooking can be super challenging with recipes that call for a long list of ingredients and have many steps.  It doesn’t have to be though.  As long as you are willing to take a few simple short cuts and use a few canned/boxed ingredients, your life can still be easy and your food still delicious.  This Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie is just that: easy AND delicious! This is a recipe for which you won’t even have to chop a single vegetable!

Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie

*Affiliate Links* – This post will contain Amazon Affiliate links.  This means that if you click on and purchase through one of these links, Veggie Fun Kitchen may receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

Shepherd’s pie was always one of my favorite comfort foods growing up.  I loved the creamy potatoes and savory vegetables but honestly – even back before my plant-eating days – I would pick the meat out and throw it in the trash when my parents weren’t looking. Shepherd’s pie has been around for centuries.  According to Jamie Oliver’s page, it should only be called shepherd’s pie if it contains lamb and cottage pie with any other meat. And meatless pie should be called ”Shepherdless Pie”…whatever.  I might have rather called it “Gardener’s Pie” or “Kindness Pie”; but then you might not have been able to find it when you googled!  Let’s just call this a really tasty easy shepherd’s pie with filled with good-for-you vegetables and lentils!

Easy Lentil Shepherd's PieStart with a few simple ingredients.  I like to buy my lentils already steamed. They can often be found in the produce section of the grocery store. If you aren’t able to find pre-cooked lentils, they are actually pretty easy to make on the stove-top.  Follow the package directions for a yield of 2 cups, cooked.

As promised, you won’t have to chop a single vegetable for this recipe!  That’s right, just use a 16 ounce package of frozen mixed vegetables and dehydrated minced onions.  Line the sauté pan with a little vegetable broth to keep the vegetables from sticking.

Easy Lentil Shepherd's PieAdd the dried minced onion and stir around for a minute so that the onion begins to rehydrate.  Then add the vegetables on top and sauté for about 5 minutes in the vegetable broth so that the vegetables have mostly thawed. (You will want to watch your pan carefully and add more broth if the vegetables begin to stick.)  Add in the cooked lentils and the cup of vegetable broth, arrowroot starch (can sub corn starch) thyme and salt. Stir until well mixed and bubbly. The “gravy” should begin to thicken as well.

Pour into a 7″x11″ baking pan and set aside.  This is really the best size pan for the recipe.  If you don’t have that though, a 9″x9″ deep pan will probably work. Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie

 

Some people would shudder at the idea of using potato flakes to make the mashed potatoes.  Others would shudder at the thought of actually boiling the potatoes and mashing them.  On days when I don’t have a lot of time or patience, I definitely go with the boxed potato flakes.  By adding nutritional yeast to the potato flakes, you get an almost cheesy flavor.  

Do follow this recipe but look on the back of the package directions for four servings. They should be the same. This should be 1 1/3 cups flakes. 

Sub in vegetable broth for the water and unsweetened plant milk for the dairy milk. The directions call for butter.  I use my favorite vegan buttery spread.  If you are trying to eat oil-free, then leave out the vegan butter; but add in the salt.

When I cook this recipe for Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, I do not add salt to the potatoes.  The nutritional yeast and buttery spread make it plenty salty for my family.  Do taste though, and add salt if desired.

After you mix your potatoes, carefully spread them on top of the vegetable/lentil mixture.  Sprinkle a little paprika on top and cook in a preheated 375° oven for about 20 minutes or until the casserole is heated through and the potatoes are slightly browned on top.

This Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie works great for meal prep.  It only makes four though, so double it and cook in a larger baking pan if you will want more. Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie
Great for meal prep!

These are some items I found helpful in making this recipe.  Amazon Affiliate Links:

Pin now to save for later:Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie

Easy Lentil Shepherd's Pie

The Easy Lentil Shepherd's pie is plant-based and uses frozen and boxed ingredients for a quick delicious recipe. 
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 276kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

Vegetable/ Lentil Mixture

  • 2 Tablespoons Dehydrated Onion Flakes
  • 1 16 ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
  • 2 cups cooked lentils brown or green
  • 1 cup vegetable broth plus extra for sautéing
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch can sub cornstarch

Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 Tablespoons vegan butter leave out if trying to eat oil-free
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened plant milk
  • 1 1/3 cup potato flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

Instructions

Vegetable/Lentil Mixture

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Line a sauté pan with vegetable broth.  Add the dehydrated onion flakes and stir around will rehydrate. 
  • Add frozen vegetables and continue stirring until vegetables are mostly thawed.
  • Add cooked lentils, seasonings, starch, and vegetable broth.  Stir until heated through and bubbly.  The sauce should begin to thicken.
  • Turn into a small (7"x11") baking dish.  Set aside while preparing potatoes. 

Mashed Potatoes

  • Bring vegetable broth and vegan butter to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan.
  • Add potato flakes, nutritional yeast, and plant milk.  Stir until well mixed.  Taste and add salt if desired.
  • Gently spoon mashed potatoes onto the vegetable/lentil layer and spread evenly with a spoon.  Sprinkle a little paprika on top and bake at 375° for about 20 minutes or until heated through and potatoes have firmed up and slightly browned on top.

Nutrition

Calories: 276kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1310mg | Potassium: 746mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 14.2% | Vitamin C: 21.4% | Calcium: 7.9% | Iron: 24.3%

Potatoes Bruschetta – Oil Free

Do you crave the bruschetta taste but don’t want the oil and refined carbs? If so, then this Potatoes Bruschetta recipe is for you!  It is a meal – not a snack.  The bruschetta sauce is made without oil. Instead of carby white bread, you layer the bruschetta onto seasoned roasted potatoes and chickpeas, which sit on top of a layer of baby spinach.  Yum! And healthy too!  Finish it off with with a sprinkle of my cashew parmesan “cheese“, and you’ve got yourself a fully plant-based and oil-free dish exploding with flavor!

potatoes bruschetta

*Amazon Affiliate Links* This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you click on and purchase through one of the links, Veggie Fun Kitchen may receive compensation at no additional cost to you.

Preheat your oven to 380°.  Wash four medium russet potatoes, taking a minute to get rid of any “funny” parts.  You will be leaving the skins on, so make sure the skins are as free from blemish if possible. Cut the potatoes in half and then half again.  Wedge each piece into three so that each potato yields 12 wedges. potatoes bruschetta

potatoes bruschetta

Soak the cut potatoes in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes.  This will get some of the starch out and make for a less soggy potato.

 

While the potatoes are soaking, you can make the bruschetta sauce.  It will need to sit for about 40 minutes to an hour after cooking so that all the flavors meld nicely together.  You can roast the potatoes and chickpeas while it is sitting.

 

potatoes bruschetta
The oblong grape tomato is easy to cut in half.

 

 

First I cut the little tomatoes in half and then set aside.  I like to use grape tomatoes because they are an oblong shape and easier to hold and cut.  feel free to sub with cherry tomatoes is that is your preference. I know that some bruschetta recipes call for deseeding the tomatoes.  That would be impossible (and silly) to do with the little grape or cherry tomatoes.  I love the strong tomato flavor these tiny tomatoes lend to the recipe.

 

Press the garlic clove with a flat knife to easily peel away the “paper”.

 

If you have followed Veggie Fun Kitchen for any amount of time, you know that I’m all about taking shortcuts.  This usually means jarred and pre-chopped garlic.  Not this time…I want all the garlic flavor to come through in this recipe! Chopping garlic can be time-consuming, messy, and leave your fingers smelling – well, garlicky.  One trick I use is to lay the handle end of the knife on to the garlic clove and press down hard. The paper usually peels away fairly easily after that.  (I’ve added an affiliate link below for a hand soap that I can’t live without.  It does a great job washing away the strong food smells, including onion and garlic.)

Add the chopped garlic to a pan along with minced onion.  I do take a short cut here and use dehydrated minced onion.  It does need to be finely minced and I am never able to to do that well enough by hand. Plus, we are adding vegetable broth to the pan, so the onion will easily hydrate as it is cooking.

You can use this short cut.
potatoes bruschetta
Line the bottom of the pan with enough vegetable broth to keep garlic and onions from sticking.

 

Add enough vegetable broth to cover the bottom of the pan.  We don’t need to use oil in this recipe to get the bruschetta flavor.  Sauté the garlic and onions for a few minutes until the garlic has softened and the onion is fully rehydrated.  Watch your pan carefully and add a little more broth if necessary to ensure the bottom doesn’t stick.

Add the cut tomatoes and stir until just softened – about 3 minutes.  Take the mixture off the heat and add the balsamic vinegar and fresh basil.  Salt to taste.

potatoes bruschetta
Stack the basil leaves together and cut into thin strips.

potatoes bruschetta

 

This bruschetta sauce is powerful and seedy – and I’m not even mad at that!

Set the bruschetta sauce  aside while you are finishing the your potatoes.  That will take about hour and that’s about the right amount of time.

 

 

Drain, rinse and pat dry the potato wedges and put into a bowl.  You can use the same bowl they soaked in but make sure it’s rinsed and dried.  potatoes bruschetta

Save the liquid from you can of chickpeas to make aquafaba. Will keep for a couple of days.

 

Time to open a can of chickpeas – otherwise known as garbanzo beans.  Drain but reserve the liquid from the can.  This is called aquafaba.  You’ll be using a two Tablespoons in this recipe.  You can save it in an airtight container for a couple of days and make fabulous vegan desserts out of it! (Enjoy this Article all about aquafaba  by Minimalist Baker!)

 

 

Add the chickpeas, diced red pepper, spices, balsamic vinegar and 2 Tablespoons of liquid from the can to the potatoes and gently stir to coat well.  (If you neglected to save the liquid, then use water instead.) One of the seasonings you’ll be using is nutritional yeast.  This is different from bakers or brewers yeast and is a staple of the vegan kitchen.  You can often find it in the health food section in grocery stores.  I buy mine from Amazon (affiliate link below.)potatoes bruschetta

Turn the mixture onto a silicone-lined baking sheet (super important to have your pan lined with something as you are not adding oil and it will stick.)  The silicone sheets are a must-have in my kitchen.  I’ve put a link at the bottom.

Place the pan in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are softened.  I pull it out about half-way and turn the potatoes so that they are evenly baked.

Look for this handy gadget with the affiliate links below.

After the potatoes are done, turn onto a serving dish lined with baby spinach and top with the bruschetta sauce.  A sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese perfectly finishes this dish!

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Things I found helpful for this recipe (affiliate links):

Potatoes Bruschetta

Potatoes Bruschetta- Oil Free

Get all the flavor of bruschetta without all the oil!  This Potatoes Bruschetta meal is oil free, plant-based, and is bursting with flavor!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Potatoes Bruschetta, Oil-Free
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 5
Calories: 198kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

Potato Chickpea Mixture

  • 4 Russet Potatoes wedged
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas drained, but save liquid
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar Will also use the same amount in the sauce
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar can sub maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid from chickpea can aquafaba
  • 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast do NOT sub bakers yeast

Bruschetta Sauce

  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth to line the pan
  • 24 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • 20 leaves fresh basil cut in strips
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • salt to taste

Plate it Up

Instructions

Potatoes/Chickpeas

  • Preheat oven to 380°
  • Cut and wedge four washed brown russet potatoes.  Each potato should yield 12 wedges. Do not peel 
  • Soak potato wedges in cold water for 30 minutes. You can prepare bruschetta sauce while potatoes are soaking. 
  • After the potatoes have soaked, rinse and pat dry.  Return to a medium/large sized bowl. 
  • Open can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans).  Drain but reserve some of the liquid. Add to the bowl of potatoes.
  • Dice 1/2 red bell pepper and add to the bowl.
  • Add all other ingredients (vinegar, agave, Italian seasoning, onion and garlic powders, salt, nutritional yeast, aquafaba - liquid from can) and stir to coat well. 
  • Turn onto a lined baking sheet and bake at 380° for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.  Open the oven and turn potatoes about half way through. 

Bruschetta Sauce

  • Cut grape/cherry tomatoes in half and set aside. 
  • Stack washed basil leaves together slice thinly.  Set aside.
  • Chop four cloves of garlic and add to a sauté pan along with the dehydrated diced onion.
  • Line the pan with about 1/2 cup vegetable broth and sauté for about 3-5 minuets or until onion is rehydrated and garlic has softened.  Watch your pan carefully and add more broth is necessary to keep garlic from sticking. 
  • Add cut tomatoes and continue stirring until tomatoes have softened - about three minutes.  
  • Remove from heat and add vinegar and fresh basil.  Salt to taste. Let sit while potatoes are finishing - about 60 minutes. 

Plate it Up

  • Line a large serving dish with 2 cups of washed and dried baby spinach.
  • Place cooked potato mixture on top.
  • Spoon bruschetta sauce on top of potato mixture.
  • Top with vegan parmesan cheese if desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 6g | Sodium: 364mg | Potassium: 1170mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 46.6% | Vitamin C: 73.2% | Calcium: 7% | Iron: 18.6%

 

 

 

 

 

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

By the end of summer, my garden-loving friends are usually begging me to take “just a few” zucchini off their hands.  In fact, August 8th is National Zucchini Day, probably in an effort to get cooks thinking about ways to use the overwhelming amount of zucchini that comes with the late summer harvest. So what do we do with all of the zucchini that abounds this time of year? One of my favorites is zucchini boats!

Is it even possible to make a plant-based Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boat? When I think of Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats, the first thing that comes to mind is cheesy, gooey, and  sausage stuffed. We don’t want this when eating vegan or plant-based!  These zucchini boats don’t use  the fake meats or cheeses but you’ll still get all of the flavor.  They are plant-based, vegan, and oil free. They are perfect for meal prep or can be served as a main dish dinner with crusty bread and a robust soup.

Since we aren’t using cheese in this recipe, a very important component will be the Italian Marinaded Chickpeas recipe.  I’ve included the ingredients and directions in this recipe below, however, it is a stand-alone recipe that can be used for other things such as in salads or on pizza. Italian Marinated Chickpeas

You’ll want to make the Italian Marinaded Chickpeas ahead of time – even the day before.  Consider about 2-3 hours minimum to marinate before using in the zucchini boat recipe.

You will be topping this dish with some sort of vegan sausage crumbles. For a truly plant-based dish, forgo the the fake vegan sausage and make my Sausage Tofu Crumbles instead.Tofu Sausage Crumbles  You’ll want to grab the recipe here and have it made ahead of time.

The Sausage Tofu Crumbles recipe is not included in the Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boat recipe below since it is optional.

You will be using five zucchinis in this recipe.  I always buy an extra or two though, because I often end up ruining one when scooping out the flesh. Use medium-sized zucchinis.  If you are meal prepping then measure the length of your container, understanding that the zucchini is going to need to fit inside.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and then start carefully scooping out the flesh.  I use the small end of a melon baller. (And this is the step during which I usually break a zucchini boat…)

Save the insides you scoop out.  You will be using  later to stuff your zucchini. Set the scooped out zucchini halves in an extra large prepared baking dish.

Sautéing Zucchini

 

Sauté the zucchini pieces with a little bit of vegetable broth, checking the pan and adding more if necessary. You will only be sautéing for 5 minutes – not to make it mushy but to just take the crunch off.  If there is any liquid remaining in the pan, drain it off and discard.

 

Deseed and dice two Roma tomatoes and set aside. You will need to deseed them, otherwise your zucchini boats will be seedy and soggy.

Mashing ChickpeasMash the chickpeas up some, leaving many of them whole or mostly whole. You aren’t making hummus after all, and will want it a little chunky.

Chickpeas Mashed

Add the mashed chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and tahini to the pan with sautéed zucchini and mix well. After mixing, sprinkle the panko bread crumbs on top and then fold in.  The recipe calls for 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs.  If the mixture is still soggy and runny, add more breadcrumbs. The mixture should loosely hold its shape when pressed together.

Carefully stuff and mound mixture into each zucchini boat.  Cook uncovered in a 350° oven for 35 minutes or until heated though.  Take out of oven and cover each boat with a pasta sauce of choice.  I usually just buy a compliant marinara sauce.  If you would like to make your own, try this recipe.  It is oil free and sugar free.Zucchini Boats in the Pan

Sprinkle the vegan sausage crumbles on top and return to the oven for 10 more minutes or until sauce is heated.

Serve right away or to use in a meal prep dish, carefully placing two zucchini boats into each meal prep container.

Sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese if desired.  You can quickly make my vegan parmesan cheese recipe with raw cashews and nutritional yeast.

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Italian Zucchini Boats

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

These Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats are vegan, plant-based, and oil free.  They work well for meal prep or serve as a main dish with a crusty bread or hearty soup. 
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: meal prep, Plant-based, vegan
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 5
Calories: 122kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

Italian Marinated Chickpea Salad

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas drained, not rinsed
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers from a jar, chopped

Zucchini Boats

  • 5 zucchinis medium, halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth more if necessary
  • 2 roma tomatoes deseed and diced
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

Topping

Instructions

Italian Marinated Chickpea Salad

  • Combine marinade, chickpeas, and roasted red peppers together.  Put into an airtight container and let marinade for 2-3 hours.

Zucchini Boats

  • Heat oven to 350°. Prepare an extra large baking pan by spritzing the bottom with oil or use a silicon baking pan.
  • Slice zucchinis in half lengthwise.  With the small end of a melon baller, carefully scoop out insides, setting aside to use later.  Set the scooped out zucchini halves into an extra large prepared baking pan.
  • Line a saute pan with vegetable broth and sauté zucchini for about 5 minutes.  Add more broth to keep pan from sticking.  When finished, drain any remaining liquid.
  • Mash around the marinated chickpeas, leaving some whole or almost whole. 
  • Add mashed chickpeas, diced and deseeded tomatoes, and tahini to pan and stir to combine.
  • Spinkle breadcrumbs on top and incorporate allowing breadcrumbs to absorb liquid. If it is still a little runny then add more breadcrumbs.  
  • Spoon mixture into mounds on zucchini halves.
  • Cook in 350° oven for 35 minutes.  

Finishing It Up

  • Take out of oven and top with marinara sauce and vegan sausage crumbles. Put back into oven for 10 minutes. Top with vegan parmesan cheese.

Notes

This works really well for meal prep.
Carefully place two halves into a meal prep container. 
When choosing your zucchini, measure your container and ensure your zucchini will not be too long to fit.

Nutrition

Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 968mg | Potassium: 1051mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 22.4% | Vitamin C: 58.9% | Calcium: 10.4% | Iron: 19.5%

 

Italian Marinated Chickpeas

These versatile little Italian Marinated Chickpeas can be eaten as a snack, used as a salad accoutrement , thrown on top of a pizza, or mashed up as a filler in my Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats.  They are vegan, plant-based, and oil free.  Plus they really are tasty!

Start with a can of chickpeas…otherwise known as garbanzo beans.  Drain but don’t rinse.  Chop up some bottled roasted red peppers.  Make sure they are marinated in water or brine – not oil.  This is an oil free recipe!

Italian Marinated Chickpeas Ingredients Add to a marinade of red wine vinegar, seasonings, and the special ingredient: nutritional yeast.  Nutritional yeast is used to give a cheesy savory flavor to many plant-based recipes and really is a staple of the vegan kitchen.  This is not the same as brewer’s yeast or baker’s yeast.  It’s sometimes hard to find in the grocery store but can sometimes be found near the “healthy” or “gluten-free” or “natural” foods.  I just order mine online. I should probably have it on auto-ship, I use it so much lol.

Stir everything together and put into an airtight container.  Refrigerate for a few hours – the longer it sits and marinates, the tastier your little chickpeas will be!   While the chickpeas are marinating, I usually give the container a little shake and flip to make sure they are all evenly flavored. chickpeas

If you use these Italian Marinated Chickpeas in a salad, or in my Italian Zucchini Boats, there is no reason to drain.

If you top a pizza with the chickpeas, please drain – otherwise your crust will get a little soggy. Just saying…

Chickpea Topped Pizza

Oh yes! This pizza was delicious!  It is topped with the Italian Marinated Chickpeas, arugula, pepper rings, and vegan cheese shreds.

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Italian Marinated Chickpeas

Italian Marinated Chickpeas

These versatile little Italian Marinated Chickpeas can be eaten as a snack, used as a salad accoutrement , thrown on top of a pizza, or mashed up as a filler in my Italian Zucchini Boats. They are vegan, plant-based, and oil free. 
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad, Snack, Topping
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Plant-based, vegan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 21kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast

Putting It Together

  • 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper from a jar, chopped

Instructions

Marinade

  • Mix all marinade ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

Putting it Together

  • Drain but don't rinse chickpeas.
  • Chop roasted red peppers.
  • Combine all ingredients. Put in an airtight container and marinade for a few hours.  Will keep in refrigerator for several days. 

Notes

Use jarred roasted red peppers.  Make sure they are not bottled in oil.
Not necessary to drain if used in salad.  
Drain if used to top pizza.

Nutrition

Calories: 21kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 413mg | Potassium: 90mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 1.8% | Vitamin C: 4.9% | Calcium: 4.4% | Iron: 6.5%

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

This Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette has a tangy sweet dressing to tickle your tastebuds.  Even though is it a “salad”, it’s really a main course meal and works well for dinner or lunch.  Pair it with a crusty bread or soup for  a heartier meal.  The Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette is vegan, plant-based, gluten and oil free. The roasted cauliflower salad works well for meal prep as well.

(This post may contain affiliate links and Veggie Fun Kitchen may earn compensation when you click on the links at no additional cost to you.)

I first saw a similar recipe on Sweet Peas and Saffron and made a few adaptations.   Sweet Peas and Saffron is not a vegan or plant-based food blog but has many recipes that are or that can be easily adapted.  It is also a great resource for meal prep ideas.

Coconut Aminos

A “secret ingredient” often used in plant-based cooking is coconut aminos.  (Affiliate link.) Coconut aminos have a sweet soy sauce  taste but is much lower in sodium than soy sauce.

Start by making a “paste” to coat your uncooked cauliflower  with the coconut aminos, tahini, and nutritional yeast – ah many of the powerhouse special ingredients used in vegan cooking! Toss with  three cups of cauliflower, that have been cut into bite-sized pieces.

Roast in a 400° oven for 35-45 minutes until softened and browned. When it is done, take it out and allow to cool  before assembling the salad.Roasted Cauliflower on the Pan

 

 

While the cauliflower is roasting, you can make the dressing and set aside. Dice the orange bell peppers and red onion, making sure to dice  into every small pieces -you will be eating these raw.

onions and peppers

I use 2 cups of cooked rice in this salad.  I almost never make my rice, but buy it precooked instead.  I used a brown and wild rice mixture for this recipe. If you need to make your rice, this is the time to do it as well.

After the cauliflower is cooled enough to assemble into the salad, toss all ingredients together, including the baby spinach and the dijon dressing.

Top with roasted cashew pieces.  Mine were  salted so I didn’t need to salt the salad further.  Adjust yours according to your taste.

Serve now or keep for later.  Even tossed with the dijon vinaigrette, this recipe keeps for a few days.  This recipe also works well for meal prep as well.  Roasted Cauliflower Salad meal prep

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

This Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette has a tangy sweet dressing to tickle your tastebuds. It is plant-based, vegan, and oil and gluten free.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Plant-based, vegan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 358kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

Roasted Cauliflower

  • 3 cups cauliflower floretts
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini

Dijon Vinaigrette Dressing

  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 2 Tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 Tablespoon tahini
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Putting it Together

  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper diced
  • 2 cups brown and wild rice precooked
  • 2 cups baby spinach washed and dried
  • 1 15.5 ounce can chickpeas drain and rinse
  • 1/2 cup cashews roasted

Instructions

  • Set oven for 400°.

Roasted Cauliflower

  • Cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.
  • Mix together 2 T coconut aminos, nutritional yeast, and tahini into a large mixing bowl.
  • Toss in cauliflower, coating well.  Turn onto a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper covered baking sheet.  
  • Cook in a 400° oven until softened and brown.  Remove and set aside to cool.

Dijon Dressing

  • While cauliflower is roasting, mix together the vinegar, coconut aminos, agave, tahini, dijon mustard, and ground pepper. Set aside.

Putting it Together

  • If you are cooking your rice, cook while the cauliflower is roasting.  Set aside to cool.
  • Dice the onion and orange bell pepper.
  • After cauliflower and rice are cooled, assemble salad ingredients.  In a large mixing bowl, toss together roasted cauliflower, rice, vegetables including baby spinach, drained chickpeas, and salad dressing.  
  • Top with roasted cashews.
  • If you are using this for meal prep, portion into four  3-cup meal prep containers.  

Nutrition

Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 315mg | Potassium: 847mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 37.4% | Vitamin C: 73.6% | Calcium: 8.8% | Iron: 24.2%

 

 

Sausage Tofu Crumbles (Vegan)

This recipe for  Vegan Sausage Tofu Crumbles only looks and tastes like sausage. It is 100%  plant-based and oil free too!  When tofu is pressed and seasoned, it takes on the flavor of any seasoning or spice you mix in with it.  The Sausage Tofu Crumbles are light enough in flavor and seasoning that you know you aren’t getting the “fake” vegan meats that are full of oil and sometimes just a little…weird.

To Make the Sausage Tofu Crumbles Recipe You Will Need:

  • Extra Firm Tofu
  • Tahini Paste
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Various seasonings including smoked paprika and fennel seeds.

 

How to Use Sausage Tofu Crumbles

You can use the Vegan Sausage Tofu Crumbles in dishes like my Breakfast Potato Hash, as a topping on pizza, veggies, avocado toast,  potatoes or pasta. These sausage tofu crumbles are also a major ingredient in my Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats recipe.  In our house, we may or may not sometimes just eat them with a spoon…sausage tofu crumbles

Read the tips and tricks section so that you can make this recipe for Sausage Tofu Crumbles and it will be as delicious and full of flavor as mine is!

Tips and Tricks for Making Sausage Tofu Crumbles

  • A “secret” ingredient is the fennel seeds. Fennel seeds lend a distinctive slightly sweet/bitter taste.  They have been used for years to flavor Italian dishes including meat such as sausage.  Fun fact: fennel is related to a carrot!  If you’ve ever seen a carrot seed, you’ll understand – very similar.fennel seeds
    • To get the full flavor effect, put the seeds between a little paper and crush slightly to release the oils. They smell a little bit like licorice! fennel seeds crushed
  • Another ingredient that gives this dish a savory taste and “full mouth taste”  is tahini.  Tahini is ground sesame seeds and really is a staple in a plant-based kitchen.  It is considered a healthy fat (check your label to make sure it only contains sesame seeds and no added oil).  Oil doesn’t actually add a lot of flavor when you cook with it, but helps to carry the other flavors and gives that “mouth full” texture. When we don’t use oil in our cooking, we aren’t missing out on flavor but on a texture and mouth-feel we’ve become accustomed to. Using tahini instead of oil solves this problem.  Tahini Paste
  • Drain and press the tofu.  Using a tofu press (affiliate link) is really the easiest and quickest way to do it.  You can be preheating your oven and prepping your other ingredients while the tofu is pressing and so no time is wasted.  Tofu Fully Pressed
  • If you don’t have a tofu press, put between plates and weigh down – with actual weights!  You will need to add about an hour to your prep time though if you use the weighted method and not the tofu press.
  • Crumble the tofu by hand into your bowl of already mixed ingredients.  It takes a few minutes but hand-crumbling will give you the best size crumble that looks more “natural” than if you cut into small pieces.

Tofu Hand Crumbled

Baking the Tofu

  • When the seasonings and tofu are well mixed and the tofu is evenly coated, turn onto a silicone baking sheet – or baking sheet lined with parchment paper – and spread evenly.
  • Put in a 375° oven for a total of 35-40 minutes.  You must open the oven and stir and turn the tofu at 15 minutes and then at 30 minutes.  Move the more dried outer edges to the center and the center pieces out to the edges. After 30 minutes, check every two minutes to make sure it’s not drying out too much.
  •  The tofu crumbles are done when the little pieces are a little browned and somewhat dried. Note: The Sausage Tofu Crumbles will not brown as much as they would if they were really sausage – because lucky for us this is a clean and cruelty-free dish! No “real” sausage included:)
  • If you liked these Vegan Sausage Tofu Crumbles then you should try my Trail Mix Tofu Crumbles! They are salty-sweet, full of flavor and great to use as a topping too! Or, for a plant-based topping or filler for Mexican dishes, try my Tofu  Taco Crumbles.

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Items I found useful in making this recipe:

*Affiliate Links* I am an Amazon Affiliate.  This means that clicking on one of these links and purchasing may earn Veggie Fun Kitchen compensation at no additional cost to you. 

Recipe for Sauage Tofu Crumbles:

Thank you for reading through this post.  I hope that your sausage tofu crumbles turn out as great as mine did. If you liked this recipe, drop me a note below. Five stars would be deeply appreciated! Cindy

Tofu Sausage Crumbles

Sausage Tofu Crumbles

These Sausage Tofu Crumbles are vegan and plant-based.  They can be used as a topping on pizza, pasta, vegetable or potato dishes.  Try in my Breakfast Potato Hash.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack, Topping
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: sausage tofu, tofu
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
tofu press: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 171kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces tofu extra firm
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce low sodium
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable broth
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper less or more to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Press and drain tofu, pouring of liquid as necessary.  This will take about 10 minutes using a tofu press. If pressing between plates with weights, it might take up to an hour.
  • While oven is preheating and tofu is pressing, stir together all other ingredients into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  • When tofu is fully pressed and drained, crumble into small pieces directly into the mixing bowl with other ingredients.  Toss and still to evenly coat.
  • Turn onto a silicon baking sheet - or baking sheet covered with parchment paper and put in oven for 35-45 minutes, checking at intervals (see next instruction).
  • After putting in oven, set the  timer for 15 minutes.  Open the oven and turn and stir, moving the more dry tofu on the outer edges to the center and the center out to the outer edges. Put back in the oven and check again in 15 minutes.  
  • After stirring the second time, put back in the oven and check every 2 minutes for 5-10 minutes.  This tends to dry out fast. It will be done when it's a little browned and dried.  

Nutrition

Calories: 171kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 823mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 4.9% | Vitamin C: 0.4% | Calcium: 16.2% | Iron: 12.8%

 

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce (Stovetop)

This Chili Cheese Sauce is vegan!  It’s dairy free, oil free, and gluten-free.

Who doesn’t love a good chili cheese sauce?  This recipe is for the stove top version of my Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce (Instant Pot).  I honestly prefer the cheese sauce prepared in a pressure cooker over the stove top. They take close to the same amount of time from start to finish, but the flavor and texture in the instant pot is just a little different – even using the same ingredients.  No matter!  Not everyone has jumped onboard the pressure cooker craze! It’s still creamy cheesy plant-based deliciousness prepared on the stove top!

If you look at the ingredients, there is only goodness – vegetables, raw cashews…and some other “vegan” stuff.

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce Ingredients

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce Rough Cut Vegetables

 

The directions call for “rough-cutting” your vegetables. This is because it’s not necessary to cut them smaller as they will be cooked and blended.  Just make sure they are somewhat uniform.  I wash but don’t peel my carrot or potatoes.  Again, it isn’t necessary.

 

 

 

Put all the vegetables and cashews into a boiling pot of water, using enough water to cover.  After about 15 minutes, when the potatoes and carrots are tender, it’s done and you can drain the water. You just make sure to reserve 1 cup of water to add to the blender.  Transfer all vegetables to the blender along with 1 cup of water and the other ingredients except for the chili beans and optional items.  You’ll add those later to your personal taste.

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce in Blender

 

Blend until smooth.  Pour into a bowl and add chili beans with sauce, and hot sauce to taste.

Deliciou Nacho Cheese

I have a secret ingredient that really bumps the cheesy flavor up a notch.  If you can get your hands on it, go ahead an add a tablespoon.  This is Deliciou Nacho Cheese flavoring.  It is vegan and can be ordered through this link.  If you can’t get ahold of it, your cheese sauce will still be fabulous!

 

 

 

 

Serve with chips if you want or make nachos. I have a great nacho plate I put together as well as a potato nacho dish.  Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce with Chip

 

To go all out plant-based, my favorite way to serve this Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce is with a scrumptious plate of vegetables!

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce with Vegetable Plate

This Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce is as good as it looks!  Enjoy!Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce with Carrot

Pin now to save for later!Chili Cheese Sauce vegan and oil free

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce with Vegetable Plate

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce (Stove Top)

This Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce is dairy free, oil free, and gluten-free.  This version is made on the stove top and is cheesy delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Plant-based, vegan, Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 73kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic no need to chop
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, large roughly chopped, no need to peel
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, medium roughly chopped, no need to peel
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white miso
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Mexican/taco seasoning
  • 1 15.5 ounce can black chili beans in sauce undrained
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce (I use Frank's) optional, to taste
  • 1 4 ounce can green chilis optional
  • 1 Tablespoon Deliciou Nacho Cheese Seasoning optional, to taste

Instructions

  • Wash and rough- cut your vegetables - no need to peel the carrot or potatoes.
  • Add along with the garlic and raw cashews to a  boiling pot of salted water. Boil for about 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Drain reserving 1 cup of water from the pot.
  • Add to a high speed blender along with all other ingredients except for the chili beans in sauce, hot sauce, and other optional items. Blend until smooth.  Only if necessary, add some unsweetened plant milk - one Tablespoon at a time.  You shouldn't need more than one or two Tablespoons.
  • Pour into a large serving bowl. Add chili beans in sauce, hot sauce and other optional items to taste. 

Notes

Contains nuts! Safety first.  You must disclose to anyone you serve this to that this recipe includes nuts as nuts aren't normally found in cheese sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 73kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 275mg | Potassium: 280mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 24.1% | Vitamin C: 16.1% | Calcium: 1.8% | Iron: 10.8%

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce – (Instant Pot)

 

 

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce – Dairy Free, Oil Free, and Gluten Free!

Who doesn’t love a good chili cheese sauce!  Chili cheese sauce can be used as a dip for chips or veggies.  You can slather it on nachos or baked potatoes. It  can even be used as a topping for chili itself!  This one is vegan!  It’s dairy free, oil free, and gluten-free.  Tell me, is there anything in these ingredients that is really “bad” for you?

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce Ingredients

This Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce is made using the Instant Pot or other pressure cooker and a high-speed blender.  You can make it on the stove top too – click here for the stove top version.  Both recipes take about the same amount of time from start to finish – but honestly, I like the end results when made in a pressure cooker better. The flavors just blend better.

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce Rough Cut Vegetables

 

The directions call for “rough-cutting” your vegetables.  This is because it’s not necessary to cut them smaller as they will be blended after they are cooked.  Just make sure they are somewhat uniform and small enough to manage.  I wash but don’t peel my carrot or potatoes.  Again, it isn’t necessary.

 

 

When everything is cut, put in a pressure cooker along with the garlic, raw cashews and one cup of water.

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce Ingredients in Instant Pot

 

 

 

Set your pressure cooker on high for five minutes. This is the “old” Instant Pot Pressure Cooker I’ve used and loved. It seems like every year they come up with fancier features too!  The 6 quart version (affiliate link) works best for my family but my college-age son uses the 3 quart.

Instant Pot Five Minutes Quick Release Instant PotAfter the five minutes is up, do a quick release.  I use a measuring cup to protect myself from the steam.

 

Put everything, including the water from the pot and the other ingredients in the blender and whirl for a few minutes until everything is smooth.  If you need to add a little extra moisture, use an unsweetened plant milk and only add 1 tablespoon at a time.

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce in Blender

Pour into a medium-sized bowl and add the chili beans and hot sauce to taste. You don’t want to drain your chili beans because the sauce will add to the flavor.

If you like things a little spicier you can add diced jalapeños or green chiles.Hatch Chiles

Deliciou Nacho Cheese

 

I have a secret ingredient that really bumps the cheesy flavor up a notch.  If you can get your hands on it, go ahead an add a tablespoon.  This is Deliciou Nacho Cheese flavoring.  It is vegan and can be found online.  If you don’t have this on hand, your cheese sauce will still be fabulous!

 

 

Serve with vegetables or chips. If  you want to get fancy and make nachos. I have a great nacho plate I put together as well as a potato nacho dish.  Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce with Chip

 

To go all out plant-based, my favorite way to serve this Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce is with a scrumptious plate of vegetables!

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce with Vegetable Plate

This Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce is as good as it looks!  Enjoy!Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce with Carrot

 

Pin it to save for later:Chili Cheese Sauces Instant Pot

 

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce with Vegetable Plate Close Up

Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce (Instant Pot)

This Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce is diary free, oil free and gluten-free.  It's made with vegetables and cashews - all the good stuff!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Vegan Chili Cheese Sauce
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 98kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

  • 1/2 orange bell pepper seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, medium roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, large roughly chopped - no need to peel
  • 4 yukon gold potatoes, medium roughly chopped - no need to peel
  • 1 clove garlic no need to chop
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon white miso paste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast This is different than baker's or brewer's yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Mexican/taco seasoning
  • 1 15.5 ounce can black chili beans (in sauce) un-drained
  • 1-2 Tablespoon unsweetened plant milk to thin cheese if necessary
  • 1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce to taste
  • 1 4 ounce can green chilis optional
  • 1 Tablespoon Deliciou Nacho Cheese Flavor optional

Instructions

  • Wash and rough-cut all vegetables. No need to chop garlic clove.
  • Add all vegetables, cashews, and water to pressure cooker. 
  • Set pressure cooker to high for 5 minutes. After it comes to pressure it will cook for 5 minutes. When done do a quick release.
  • Cool slightly and transfer entire contents, including liquid, from pot to blender.
  • Add remaining ingredients except for chili beans and optional items (hot sauce, green chilis, and nacho cheese flavor).
  • Blend on high speed until sauce is smooth.  Only if necessary, add a little unsweetened plant milk to get the right consistency. (If you need it, you will not use more than 1 or 2 Tablespoons.)
  • Pour into a large bowl. Don't drain chili beans. Stir in.  Add other optional ingredients to your desired taste.
  • Serve warm on Mexican dishes, baked potatoes, nachos, or chili. Use as a dip for chips or vegetables. 

Notes

Contains Nuts! Safety first. You must disclose that this recipe contains nuts if you serve to anyone as cheese sauce typically does not contain nuts. 

Nutrition

Calories: 98kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 314mg | Potassium: 456mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 24.1% | Vitamin C: 23.2% | Calcium: 3.1% | Iron: 18.5%

 

Parmesan Cheese with Cashews (Vegan)

Vegan parmesan cheese?  Say what? The one thing a lot of non-vegans say holds them back is the cheese.  Some things you just eventually realize you don’t need – you “get over” it.  Other food items you don’t want to get over.  A particular food might  hold an important memory, taste or texture that you truly don’t want to live without.  For me, parmesan cheese was one of these!  What is Italian food without parmesan cheese?  The pasta? Pizza? The Lasagna?

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Fortunately for plant-based eaters, there are parmesan cheese options that don’t use dairy or oil.  It is so easy to whip up a vegan parmesan cheese made with cashews, a little garlic and salt, and the secret ingredient: nutritional yeast! (Nutritional yeast is not the same as brewer’s or baker’s yeast and can often be found in the health food section of grocery stores. You can also get it on Amazon.)

Ingredients for cashew parmesan vegan cheese

 

There are many recipes for vegan parmesan cheese on the internet.  Some use other nuts such as walnuts.  I like cashews because the flavor of the cashew lends blends perfectly with the flavor of the nutritional yeast to give that cheesey flavor.  It’s important to use raw cashews to get the right texture. I have used roasted cashews before and it is a little coarser.  If you do use roasted cashews, try to find unsalted  – or don’t add the salt to the recipe; otherwise you will have an overly salty product.

It’s very important to start with a very dry blender!  If any moisture gets into the blending process,   your cashew parmesan cheese will end up more like a savory nut butter…and while I tried to like this particular flavor…it was nope for me!  (Yes, I speak from sad experience.)

Vegan Parmesan Cheese in Vitamix

 

 

Put all your ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and pulse a few times till you get the texture you like.  If you pulse too long you’ll get too fine a powder.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese in the Blender

 

I like to put mine in a fancy shaker!  This is delicious sprinkled on any Italian dish!  (To be honest, I’ve been know to just shake it in my mouth…really…)

Vegan Parmesan Cheese Next to Pizza

Vegan parmesan cheese with cashews is the perfect topping for pizza!  I use this vegan parmesan cheese to top:

Italian Potatoes, The Little Potato Company potatoes, Pasta Salad, Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats, Stuffed Shells, and more!

Vegan Parmesan Cheese Shaken on Pizza

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Vegan Parmesan Cheese Shaken on Pizza

Parmesan Cheese with Cashews (Vegan)

This easy to make vegan parmesan cheese has a big bold cheesy flavor but is made with cashews and nutritional yeast.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Keyword: Plant-based, vegan, Vegan Parmesan Cheese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 20
Calories: 37kcal
Author: Cindy Rainey

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashew nuts raw
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in a dry high-speed blender.
  • In short bursts, blend or process a few times until mixture resembles a slightly chunky parmesan cheese.  
  • Put in sealed container to store.  

Notes

This recipe contains nuts.  Safety first! If you serve to others you must disclose that this recipe contains nuts as parmesan cheese typically does not contain nuts.  

Nutrition

Calories: 37kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 117mg | Potassium: 53mg | Calcium: 0.2% | Iron: 2.6%