As we’re sliding in on the end of 2016, I’m checking in with some easy vegan meals from a lazy day. In my “what vegans eat” series I offer snapshots from one ordinary day of vegan eating. People sometimes imagine that making plant-based meals is complicated or arduous. But really, vegan breakfasts, lunches, and dinners can come together every bit as quickly as their non-vegan counterparts.
For a while, I did one of these posts every month, but after I hit 12 months, I decided to just pop in with them occasionally. To see more easy vegan meals, check out this round-up of A year of vegan meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
Our furnace was on the fritz, and so we had someone coming to look at the heater on short notice. So while I often go for breakfast burritos on days in which I have nowhere to be, this day I needed something quicker (or else I’d be answering the door in Christmas pajamas). So I took tofu scramble leftovers from the day before, and repurposed them.
This quesadilla is made with a kale & onion tofu scramble stuffed into whole-wheat tortillas. I added a couple slices of smoked non-dairy gouda for sticking power, and on the side, salsa. The whole thing was ready in just 5 or 10 minutes, and our heater is fine now.
(If you don’t have leftover scramble at the ready, Denver Omelette Quesadillas are a fast & delicious similar option.)
Near the top of my Christmas wish list was an air fryer, and David… I mean, Santa came through. I’ve been excited to give it an inaugural run, but I couldn’t decide where to start. If you’re not familiar with air fryers, they basically blast hot air around food, making it crisp without adding a bunch of oil or needing to buy parchment paper for the oven. (Although, a spritz of oil is often used for extra browning and non-stick needs.)
I’ve been following along with Becky’s air fryer recipes and YouTube videos, where she’s highlighted air fryer recipes many times. I decided to go with something foolproof and use the air fryer for Trader Joe’s spring rolls from the freezer. Unlike cabbage-heavy spring rolls, they’re stuffed with all kinds of good things like kale, edamame, tofu, and mushrooms. They kind of remind me of the Trader Joe’s pot stickers, but in spring roll form. I served them with Chinese mustard for dipping.
I learned from Becky that to make frozen foods in an air fryer, you bring the heat to the same temperature that’s listed on the package, and then set the timer for half of the time. That meant I had piping hot spring rolls – straight from frozen – in just 8 or 9 minutes. I was really impressed by the light, flaky, and crisp quality from the air fryer. I’m excited to try more! (Do you have any favorite air fryer recipes? Let me know!)
To go with the spring rolls, we had leftover salads from the night before. They’re topped with peanuts for crunch and creamy cashew dressing.
When dinner rolled around, we decided to make pizza. At our local co-op, they have pizza dough that’s made in house and kept in the frozen section. It’s great because they use the exact same ingredients for it that I would buy there, except that I don’t have to futz with yeast and worry about the results. I just let the frozen dough thaw in the refrigerator, rise in a bowl, and it’s ready to go for dinner that night. Plus, it’s crazy delicious.
(If you don’t have access to pre-made dough, freezer-friendly cornmeal crusts are also great.)
I browned the following ingredients in a skillet one at a time for optimum browning – shredded Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced yellow potatoes, and caramelized onion. Then I quickly sautéed minced garlic in olive oil for the topping instead of marinara. On David’s side, he added cherry tomatoes, and because I need pickled jalapeño slices at almost every meal, they made an appearance on my side. So good!
We finished the night with something sweet. My favorite candy bar is Eli’s Earth Dream Big Bars. They’re kind of like Snickers, but better and totally vegan, of course. Unfortunately, they’re nowhere to be found locally, and even when I travel, it’s rare that I find them. So I occasionally place an order for them from Rabbit Food Grocery in Austin or Food Fight Grocery in Portland.
I ordered a few for David’s Christmas stocking, and now we’re trying to ration them out, so that they last as long as possible. That meant we both got half of a candy bar for an after dinner treat. With layers of rice milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts, and peanut butter, they almost have a chocolate turtle or peanut caramel cluster quality.
I hope you are enjoying this calm after the storm and having some relaxed easy days as the year winds down.
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