Category Archives: Vegan

Meatless Monday: Vegan Philly “Cheese Steak” with Mushrooms and Chipotle Garlic Mayo

Vegan Philly “Cheese Steak” with Mushrooms and Chipotle Garlic Mayo, Field Roast, Cooks in the Field 2015, Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

For the most part, if you were to browse through all the recipes on this blog, you’d probably assume I am a longtime vegetarian.  Save for a few seafood recipes and the occasional meat-centric photograph while eating outside of our home, the recipes here are vegetarian. I’ll occasionally cook fish or shrimp, but for the most part my cooking IS vegetarian and has been for a good seven or so years.

I enjoy working with new plant-based ingredients. There have been times I’ve attempted to challenge myself to keep certain recipes vegan, using no dairy whatsoever, which is often the hardest ingredients for me to omit. I like cheese. Like REALLY enjoy cheese.

When I saw Field Roast’s Chao Slices, I was curious about this vegan coconut “cheese,” seasoned with a traditional Vietnamese fermented soybean curd. The most difficult thing about vegan cheeses has often seemed to be the weird aftertaste, which certainly doesn’t seem like “real” cheese (and why should I expect it to?!) as well as the lack of melting. However, this Chao Cheese is both delicious and melty!

My instant thought was VEGAN CHEESE STEAK! Because… why not? These sandwiches are FILLING. As in you cold probably divide the filling into six sandwiches rather than four, but I live in a house filled with hungry boys who thoroughly enjoy eating. Either way, you won’t be disappointed by the quality or flavor in these cheese steaks or feel like you missed out by opting for a vegan version of a Philly classic.

Vegan Philly “Cheese Steak” with Mushrooms and Chipotle Garlic Mayo, Field Roast, Cooks in the Field 2015, Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

Vegan Philly “Cheese Steak” with Mushrooms and Chipotle Garlic Mayo

Serves 4 (hefty servings)

2 tablespoons oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon dried parsley
smoked sea salt and pepper to your liking

2 white onions, halved then sliced thinly
1 large (or 2 small) green bell pepper, sliced in thin strips
3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

3/4 cup Vegenaise
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
juice from 1/2 a lemon
pinch of smoked sea salt and pepper

3 packages Field Roast Smoked Tomato Deli Slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices Field Roast Chao Creamy Original Vegan Cheese
2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced about 1/4-inch thick
1 pound sourdough baguette, cut into four equal portions

Vegan Philly “Cheese Steak” with Mushrooms and Chipotle Garlic Mayo, Field Roast, Cooks in the Field 2015, Vegan Philly Cheesesteak


Prepare the mushrooms: Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 20 seconds. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender but not mushy (4-5 minutes). Toss with the parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside, off the heat, until needed.

Vegan Philly “Cheese Steak” with Mushrooms and Chipotle Garlic Mayo, Field Roast, Cooks in the Field 2015, Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

Prepare the onions and peppers: Heat the three tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat (you can use the same pan you cooked the mushrooms in). Add the onions and cook until nearly translucent (4-5 minutes). Add the strips of bell pepper, teaspoon of salt, and half teaspoon of pepper. Sauté until the peppers are tender (4-5 minutes). Set aside until needed.

Prepare the sauce: Whisk together the Vegenaise, chipotle peppers, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper until well combined. Set aside until needed. (Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

Prepare the veggie meat: Roughly chop the deli slices into un-uniform bite size pieces. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped deli slices to the pan and sauté until lightly brown. Add the mushrooms, onion and peppers, along with four torn up Chao slices. Toss to evenly distribute the ingredients until the Chao begins to melt. Place the remaining four slices of Chao over the mixture, in a single layer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover, allowing the Chao to melt.

Vegan Philly “Cheese Steak” with Mushrooms and Chipotle Garlic Mayo, Field Roast, Cooks in the Field 2015, Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

Meanwhile turn your oven on to broil. Slice each of the baguette portions lengthwise. Place the bread under the broiler, cut-side up, until lightly toasted.

To make the sandwiches, spread some of the chipotle mayo on each of the baguette halves. Top with the deli slice mixture (1/4 of the filling per sandwich). Top with slices of tomato, close the sandwich and serve immediately.

Vegan Philly “Cheese Steak” with Mushrooms and Chipotle Garlic Mayo, Field Roast, Cooks in the Field 2015, Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

Vegan Philly “Cheese Steak” with Mushrooms and Chipotle Garlic Mayo

Vegan Philly “Cheese Steak” with Mushrooms and Chipotle Garlic Mayo, Field Roast, Cooks in the Field 2015, Vegan Philly Cheesesteak

  • Disclaimer: All opinions on these ingredients are my own. I was not paid or sponsored by Field Roast or any other company to use these products.

Meatless Monday: Creamy Vegan Coconut Pumpkin Soup


Things I especially love about this time of year are plentiful.  While the days are noticeably shorter, there is still daylight. And in that daylight, there are still  warm hours of the day. I can still get by with wearing tank tops and shorts without feeling like a crazy person. The leaves have been vibrant shades of orange, red and yellow, for a while now. Our fall has been mild so far; it’s obviously here — the trees are threatening to go bare, while brightly colored leaves litter the street; the mornings and evenings are cold enough for light sweaters and we’ve turned the heat on a few times now. Today has been wet and overcast, seeming ominous about the winter that slowly approaches.

Soup weather. I have never been someone who gets really excited about soup. Its taken almost three decades to grow any appreciation at all. Yesterday, however, it’s precisely what felt needed and the anticipation of cooking something that would bring warmth into the house and fill our home with the scent of homey, earthy food seemed necessary. Since our friends Ray and Janet shared some of their homegrown pumpkins with us again this year, I knew I wanted to experiment with a pumpkin soup (although I say every year that I will not succumb to the pumpkin-flavored-scented-whatever-everything-anything).

This soup is creamy and filling while remaining completely vegan. The beans add a fullness to the soup, while the coconut lends a bit of sweetness. It’s perfect for this time of year!


Creamy Vegan Coconut Pumpkin Soup

Serves 8 – 1o people.

One 4-pound cooking pumpkin
1/4 cup coconut manna
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1- 15 ounce can cannellini beans
4 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1- 13.66 ounce can full-fat coconut milk



Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and membranous threads. Cut each half into four or five strips, following the natural vertical stripes along the sides of the pumpkin. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to peel the outer skin from the pumpkin. Dice into 1-inch cubes.

In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil and coconut manna together over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent (5-7 minutes).

Stir in the salt, coriander, pepper, cubed pumpkin, cannellini beans, broth and bay leaf. Cover and cook until the pumpkin is fork-tender (15-20 minutes). Once the pumpkin is fall-apart tender, remove the bay leaf and then puree the soup until smooth (you may have to do this in batches if working with a smaller blender or food processor).

Return the pureed soup to the stove over low heat. Stir in the coconut milk and vinegar, heating until the soup reaches your desired serving temperature. Serve while hot, topped with fresh black pepper and/or a bit of plain yogurt or sour cream (dairy-free versions of either of those will keep this soup completely vegan).


Ethiopian Food, Part 4: Atkilt Wat

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I’ve shared a number of Ethiopian recipes with you, and this is the last one to round out all of those dishes.

I am not a huge fan of cabbage. As a kid, I distinctly remember my mom cooking it periodically… The only two versions I liked included corned beef and cabbage around St. Patrick’s Day (as a gesture towards my Irish heritage, which came from my dad’s side of the family) and stuffed cabbage in a slightly spicy tomato sauce. However, this cabbage dish is one I also added to my “enjoyed cabbage dish” list when I had Ethiopian food for the first time.

The cabbage is accompanied by some potatoes and carrots, making the dish a bit more filling. It’s comfort food that just so happens to be filled with vegetables and good-for-you spices such as cancer-fighting ginger and turmeric.

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Atkilt Wat (Cabbage, Carrots, and Potatoes)

Recipe adapted from Food & Wine

Yields about 4 servings.

2 1/2 pounds green cabbage, cored then cut into 3/4″ pieces
1/2 pound carrots, peeled, quartered, then cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1″ squares
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
1″ piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste


In a large casserole pan, heat the olive oil. Add the minced onion and cook over medium-high heat until soft and just beginning to brown.

Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, salt and pepper, cooking until everything is fragrant (5 or so minutes).

Add the carrots, potatoes and water, cooking over medium heat. Occasionally stir until the carrots and potatoes just begin to soften (5-7 minutes).

Stir the cabbage in, in large handfuls. Let each batch wilt slightly before adding more. Drizzle in a bit of water if the pan starts to dry out.

Once all the cabbage has been added, cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is soft and tender (30-40 minutes). Serve with injera.


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Ethiopian Food, Part 3: Mesir Wat

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For a little while, I thought I was just going to share a slew of Ethiopian food recipes with you. We got started… then life happened and somehow today is October?! With school in full swing, football and water polo both also heavily in effect, time seems scarce. We’ve been traveling a lot, mostly relative to the kids’ sport events, but typically this means a very fast paced drive out of town, rush to events, drive back to town, drive to more events… and by the end of those three or so day stretches, the last thing my brain is coherent enough to do is write down recipe that make any sense.

Regardless, here we are! And I’m bringing you a delicious Ethiopian lentil stew that is perhaps one of my favorite dishes when it comes to such cuisine. Lentils are super easy to deal with and pack a good bit of nutrition. They help lower blood cholesterol due to high amounts of soluble fiber (such fiber also being excellent for preventing digestive disruptions). They’re great for folks with diabetes, as the same soluble fiber traps carbohydrates, which stabilizes blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion. They have a decent amount of proteins and iron, too!

There are many different types of “wat” or “wot” when it comes to Ethiopian food, which basically translates to a stew or curry. When it comes to mesir wat, red lentils are cooked until thick and creamy with berbere spice, creating a very hearty and comforting dish. The addition of berbere makes this dish slightly spicy, but mainly very flavorful.

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Ethiopian Food, Part 3: Mesir Wat [Pureed Red Lentil Stew]

Serves 4-6 people.

1 1/2 cups dried red lentils
2 cups water
1 large onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons berbere spice
salt and pepper


Place the onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor or blender and puree. Add a little water if necessary.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the berbere spice, rapidly stirring, enough to color the oil and cook spices through, about 30 seconds.

Add the onion puree and sauté until the excess moisture evaporates and the onion loses its raw aroma, about 5-10 minutes, being sure not to burn the mixture. Add the lentils and water to the saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the lentils are cooked through, falling apart, (30 to 40 minutes). Add water if necessary to keep the lentils from drying out.

Stir in salt and pepper to taste and then serve.

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Ethiopian Food, Part 2: Ingudai Tibs


Although its taken a couple decades, generally I can appreciate mushrooms these days. Most often it’s on pizza like this one but when we had Ethipian food for the first time, there was a mushroom dish that was pleasantly spicy, savory, and delicious. Probably my favorite from that entire meal.

When I decided to make Ethiopian food at home, I knew I wanted to recreate some version of that dish. I researched traditional dishes and didn’t find what I wanted. There were many recipes for tibs, a dish that typically refers to cubes of meat such as beef, poultry, or lamb. There’s room for differences recipe to recipe, including the amount of spiciness, the inclusion or submission of vegetables, the cuts of meat used.

The meatiness of mushrooms makes them a great substitution for meat in vegetarian recipes. I like crimini mushrooms a lot, as they are essentially tiny portabello mushrooms and withstand sauces while maintaining some texture. This dish is spicy, but if you’d like less heat, you can decrease the amount of berbere used. Next week I will share a couple other dishes you can pair with these ingudai tibs to serve with injera for a delicious vegetarian Ethiopian meal.


Ingudai Tibs (Mushroom Tibs)

Serves 5-6.

3 tablespoons oil
1/2 an onion, julienned
10-12 medium sized crimini mushrooms, sliced into strips
1/2 a large tomato, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, minced fine
one 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled then minced fine
3 tablespoons of berbere spice
1 tablespoon water
salt, pepper, dried or fresh parsley

In a pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the julienned onion, tossing to coat with the oil. Cook just until the onions starts becoming tender (1-2 minutes). Add the sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms start turning color (1-2 minutes), then add the tomato wedges. Add the minced garlic and ginger.

Stir together the berbere spice and water, until you form a thick paste. Stir the paste into the mushroom mixture, until everything is evenly coated.

Add a pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, and a generous pinch of parsley. Cook for 10-15 minutes until the mushrooms are fully cooked. Serve with injera.