An Old Favorite Remade

Years ago Melissa found a recipe for what would become one of our obsession favorites. It was a play on the American classic meatloaf and Bacon Cheeseburgers. Combine them into one and you have one of the best dinners ever, literally ever. Now obviously having become vegan we can no longer eat beef or pork. Over the last few years I have made a few different versions of vegan meatloaf and have experimented with different cheeses and bacons. It never even dawned on my to try and make our old favorite once i had perfected all the different elements of it independently. Until now. I went for it and it was a great throwback to an old favorite.




Mushroom Bacon


  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly


  • 1) Preheat oven to 350. Place a silpat over a baking sheet, set aside.
  • 2) Combine all of the ingredients except for the sliced shiitake into a bowl. Whisk to combine.
  • 3) Add in the sliced shiitake, and stir gently to combine. Allow to marinate for 20 minutes to an hour.
  • 4) Place the shiitake in a single layer onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, then bake for an additional 15 minutes. Increase the heat to 375, then bake for 10 minutes more. Flip, then finish for 10 more minutes. Keep an eye on them towards the end to ensure they do not burn.
  • 5) Remove from the oven and place on paper towels to drain. As they drain, the edges will become crispy. Serve immediately.
  •  *Baking times will differ based on the thickness and type of shiitake you are using. After baking for 15-20 minutes, just keep an eye on them to prevent burning ingredients





  • ¼ -1/2 Cup Raw Cashews (soaked overnight)
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch (also known as Tapioca Flour)
  • 3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1½ teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
  • 1½ teaspoon White Miso Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Maple Syrup or Agave
  • ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  1. To soften the cashews: Boil them for 10 minutes until soft. OR soak the cashews for four hours or overnight. Drain before using.
  2. To make the nacho vegan nacho cheese: Add the softened cashews, water, and all the remaining ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth. It will be very watery.
  3. Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, while stirring. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you may want to pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into the pot, to remove any cashew bits that didn’t grind up. This will ensure a smooth cheese texture.
  4. As you stir it will start forming clumps, and then all of a sudden it will become a cheesy gooey mass of yumminess. This takes about 5 minutes. Continue to cook and stir for an additional 2 minutes to make sure it has firmed up completely.




  • 2-14 oz. cans or 3 1/3 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard


  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly oil a 9 inch loaf pan. Or I like to use a silicone pan since it’s easier to get food out of
  2. Place the chickpeas in a blender or food processor and pulse to break them up a little.
  3. Combine the water and flax, let sit until thick and egg like consistency
  4. Saute the onions, celery, and carrots until soft. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  5. Add the cooked veggies to the chickpeas and puree.
  6. Place puree in a bowl and add your flax, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, tomato paste, black pepper, mayonnaise, and salt
  7. Mix well
  8. Mix in 1 recipe of cheese. Gently fold on bacon. I made enough bacon for two packages of mushrooms. Mix in as much as you want if you love bacon. Theres no set amount of bacon here.
  9. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup and mustard. Stir 1/4 cup ketchup mixture into loaf mixture, reserving remaining ketchup mixture.
  10. Press meat mixture into a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan, or shape into a loaf and place on a rack in a broiler pan. Spread remaining ketchup mixture over loaf. Bake 50-60 minutes.
  11. When it’s done it will be a little soft and that’s ok. I like to let mine cool for a few hours in the refrigerator to firm up then slice it and cook it on a flat top to get a little crisp on the outside. Serve any way you want. If it’s soft and you can’t wait then put it in a bowl and eat with a spoon. The taste is all that matters here.

I like my meatloaf with a mash and some veggies so I went with some jicama and grilled bok choy. Again serve however you like.


Bon Appetite!

Chef Drew


When you crave a Meatball Hoagie, this is how you do it

A while ago I was having a huge craving for a fat meatball sub. So like anytime I am craving something, I sat down and started researching great methods to make the best meal for my craving. This is what I came up with: Sun-Dried Tomato “Meatballs” with vegan mozzarella, homemade marinara sauce and a side of vegan pretzel bites. It came out great and definitely satisfied my craving. This is the first time I ventured into mozzarella and pretzels. Anytime I experiment with something new it’s always exciting. I hope you enjoy and I urge you to try this. You won’t be disappointed.




Sun-Dried Tomato Vegan Meatballs

  • 1 Flax Egg (1 Tbsp flax seed meal + 2.5 Tbsp water)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for sautéing
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed chopped sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil)
  • 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • pinch each sea salt and red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
  • 2 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp (12 g) panko bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and prepare flax egg in your food processor or high speed blender.
  2. Heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and minced garlic. Sauté until slightly browned, stirring often – about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then add to food processor or blender with flax egg.
  3. Next add panko bread crumbs, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, vegan parmesan cheese, salt + red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Pulse/blend until small bits remain, scraping down sides as needed.
  4. Next add rinsed/dried chickpeas and blend/pulse until a moldable “dough” is formed, scraping down sides as needed. You don’t want the chickpeas to turn into a paste, but you also don’t want any left whole.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  6. Scoop out rounded 1 Tbsp amounts of dough and gently form/roll into balls – about 15 total. Then roll in additional vegan parmesan cheese-panko bread crumb mixture to coat.
  7. Heat the same skillet you used earlier over medium heat. Once hot, add enough olive oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of the skillet, then add meatballs in two batches, as to not crowd the pan. Add more oil as needed.
  8. Brown for about 5 minutes total, shaking the pan to roll them around to brown all sides. Turn down heat slightly if browning too quickly.
  9. Add sautéed meatballs to a bare baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.


Vegan Parmesan Cheese


  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 3 Tbsp (9nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix/pulse until a fine meal is achieved. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh. Lasts for several weeks.

Marinara Sauce


  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Yellow Or White Onion, Diced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 whole Large Carrots, Peeled And Finely Diced
  • 2 cans (28 Ounces Each) Whole Tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar (more To Taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Parsley
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste


In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and carrots and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour the tomatoes and juice in a large bowl and use your hands to gently squish/smush the tomatoes so that the juices are released and they are all broken up. Add the contents of the bowl to the pot and stir. Add tomato paste. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, and oregano (or other dried or fresh herbs). Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add minced fresh parsley at the end and taste/adjust the sauce for seasonings.


Gooey Vegan Mozzarella


  • ¼ to ½ Cup Raw Cashews
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 3 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons Tapioca Starch (also known as Tapioca Flour)
  • 1 Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder


  1. If you do not have a high-powered blender, you will first need to boil or soak the cashews to soften them. To Soak the Cashews: cover with water and soak for 4 hours or overnight. To Boil the Cashews: Cover with water and bring to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes until they are tender and can be easily broken between your fingers.
  2. Drain the cashews and add them along with the 1 cup of water and all the remaining ingredients to a blender. Blend until completely smooth. It will be very watery.
  3. Pour into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, and continually stir as it cooks. As you stir it will start forming clumps, and then all of a sudden it will become a cheesy gooey mass of yumminess. This takes about 5 minutes. Continue to cook and stir for an additional 2 minutes to make sure it has firmed up completely.

Vegan Pretzel Bites


  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses, or brown sugar
  • coarse salt
  • For the baking soda wash:
    1/2 cup boiling water
    1 tbsp baking soda
  • For the cornstarch (vegan egg) wash:
    1/2 cup water
    1 tbsp cornstarch


  1. Start the pretzel dough: put the warm water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Allow to stand for 5 to 10 minutes, or until yeast is foamy, then add the flour and salt. Pulse to combine, then process for about 30 seconds or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out into an oiled bowl and let rise for about one hour.
  2. * After the first rise, the dough can be refrigerated (or frozen) in a gallon size zip top bag and used later. Cold dough must sit at room temperature for at least two hours before moving on to the next step.
  3. Divide the dough into four pieces. Using your hands and a lightly floured surface, roll each dough piece into a long snake shape, about one inch thick. With a dough cutter or knife, cut the dough snake into bite size pieces, and set aside, keeping the cut pieces covered with plastic while you work and dusted with a little flour to prevent sticking. Continue with the other three pieces of dough.
  4. Let dough bites sit under plastic for about 20 to 30 minutes to puff up.
  5. Meanwhile, fill a large stock pot with about eight cups of water. Set over high heat to bring to a boil.
  6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Once pretzel water is boiling, add ¼ cup baking soda and molasses.
  9. Using a slotted spoon, drop the dough bites in a few at a time and scoop out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet once they float to the top of the water – about a minute. Continue with all the bites, scooping onto the baking sheet.
  10. Make the baking soda wash: Add baking soda to boiling 1/2 cup of water. mix and keep aside.
  11. Brush the pretzels liberally with warm baking soda wash. Let them sit for 2 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile Make the cornstarch wash: Mix the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of water, heat the water over medium heat until it thickens into a sludge. Brush the pretzels with the warm cornstarch wash. Sprinkle granulated salt on the pretzels.
  13. Bake the pretzels for 13 to 15 minutes, or until golden.

Now you are ready to serve and enjoy

Bon Appetite!

-Chef Drew

Stuffed Shells & Fried Ricotta Balls

Keeping this post quick and simple. Here is the recipe for awesome vegan jumbo stuffed shells and the first listing of my new favorite appetizer/side dish, my fried ricotta balls. Melissa thinks we should call them fried lasagna bites. I am open to opinions and suggestions for the name. Regardless of what we decide to call them, they are awesome and I could eat a million of them.



The basis for both these recipes begin with homemade vegan ricotta. This is a pretty simple recipe and it comes out super creamy and flavorful.


3 garlic gloves

one 14 oz block extra firm tofu drained (no need to press)

1/4 nutritional yeast flakes

1/4 tsp all spice

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp cayenne powder

1 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 black pepper


Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend the shit out of it until smooth and creamy.


I use one full recipe for the fried balls so if you are making both you will need 2 batches. I recommend making them separately rather than doubling the numbers per ingredient.


Fried Ricotta Balls (Fried Lasagna Balls)

1 batch vegan ricotta

1 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup bread crumbs

2 tbs corn meal

1 tsp corn starch

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp poultry seasoning

1/4 black pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt



Mix all ingredients expect the ricotta in a bowl. Scoop about 1 tbs of ricotta and roll into the flour mixture to coat evenly. Do this until all the ricotta has been balled. Set aside. Bring your favorite frying oil to a high heat, I like using sunflower oil. Make sure your oil is deep enough for balls to be completely covered. Oil is high enough when you drop some flour into it and it sizzles. Slowly drop your balls into the oil and fry for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel for a minute to catch extra oil. Serve with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.



Jumbo Stuffed Shells

1 Batch ricotta

1 onion diced

1/2 cup freshly chopped basil

1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley

1 box jumbo shells


Boil the pasta according to box directions. Be careful not to overcook as they will bake more later. You want them to be just al dente. Preheat over to 400. Sauté the onion in a skillet until soft. I use water rather than oil however you can use whatever you like to do this. Add the basil and parsley and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the ricotta and stir together until warm. Remove from heat. When the shells are boiled, remove and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Add 1 cup of marinara sauce to the bottom of a large casserole dish. When shells are cool enough to touch, start filling them with about 2 tablespoons of ricotta mixture and placing them into the dish. Once full, top shells with remaining 2 cups of marinara sauce. Cover with foil, poking holes to vent. Bake for 20 minutes.


Hope you enjoy!

-Chef Drew

Oh when the Saints, go marching in

I think it’s a pretty well known fact that some of the best foods and flavors come out of New Orleans. When we went on our honeymoon, Melissa and I got to spend a little time down in New Orleans near Bourbon St and I’m not gonna lie, I was more than excited to eat for those 4 days. Creole, raw bars, plenty of fresh seafood…..don’t even get me started on this list. Some of the greatest things I have ever tasted were on that trip. I instantly became obsessed with Po’Boys during that time, on top of already loving gumbos, jambalayas, and raw oysters. With that said, obviously a lot of these foods are focused on meats and proteins we no longer eat with keeping a plant based diet. But has that ever stopped me from learning to make things? Heck no! This last week I was seriously in the mood for some good Louisiana food so I planned two meals of Oyster Po’Boys and Vegetarian Gumbo. They both came out great and I wanted to really share them. The gumbo came out very hearty and filling, filled with lots of great veggies and that creole taste I was missing. The Po’Boys are made with oyster mushrooms and came out equally as good. I love a greta sandwich and these did not disappoint.



“Oyster” Po’Boys


  • 2/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup nondairy milk
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • dash of paprika
  • 21 oyster mushrooms



  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside
  2. In a small bowl, mix the cornmeal with the spices and set aside
  3. In another bowl whisk the milk with the cornstarch
  4. Place a clean bowl next to the cornmeal bowl and the milk bowl
  5. One at a time, dip the mushrooms into the milk mixture then place in the clean bowl. Use a dry hand to sprinkle the cornmeal mixture over the mushroom coating it completely.
  6. Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, flipping after 10 minutes.
  7. Serve on your favorite type of bun with some vegan creole mayo and your favorite toppings. I kept it simple with just some lettuce and tomato.


Slow Cooker Vegan Gumbo


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into thick half moons
  • 1 cup frozen sliced okra
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper, to taste



  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic and cook until softened and just beginning to brown, 8-10 minutes. Transfer veggies to a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
  • Return the pan to the stovetop and heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in it. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until it’s golden brown, about 4 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil; once the broth has come to a boil, transfer it to the slow cooker. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker except the hot sauce and cooked rice.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Once the gumbo has finished cooking, remove the bay leaf and add more salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve over rice.



Chef Drew


Today’s Letter is “Y”

As part of our New Year’s Resolution we decided to majorly branch out and try new things in 2016. Our goal is to go through the alphabet and try a new plant based product that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Some things we have tried before but have never cooked with and something will be entirely new. The other night I made a veggie loaf and to go with it, rather than mashed potatoes, I went for trying a Yucca root. Yucca root is very starchy and upon some research I found is commonly used in the same sense as potatoes ranging from mashed to french fried. I am not disappointed at all that I tried it. I may even like it better than regular mashed potatoes. They came out thicker and a little heavier than potatoes but were a lot creamier. I absolutely love how they came out. The veggie loaf I took from PlantPure Nation and as always, their recipes are top notch.



Beanie Veggie Loaf

1/2 low sodium ketchup

2 Tbs molasses

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

1 tsp chili powder

3/4 cup water

3 Tsp flax meal

1 onion, diced

3 celery stalks, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 green or red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup vegetable stock


1 1/2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup dry oats

1 cup bread crumbs

1 cup shredded carrot

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

2 Tbs chili powder

1 tsp dried oregano

2 Tbs vegan Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp black pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup, molasses, Dijon, chili powder, and 1/4 cup of the water. This will be your glaze for the top of the bean loaf. set aside.
  3. In another small bowl, combine the flax meal and remaining 1/2 cup of water and let stand while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
  4. Over medium-high heat, sauté the onion, celery, garlic, and bell pepper in the vegetable stock until tender.
  5. In a large bowl, smash the chickpeas. Add the sautéed vegetables, the flax mixture, and the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Spoon the bean mixture into the prepared loaf pan and even out the mixture with your hands
  7. Pour the glaze over top the loaf.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the glaze is caramelized and the loaf is solid.
  9. Let the loaf stand for 20 minutes before slicing.

For the Yucca root. Below is what it looks like.


The peel is very tough and waxy. Using a knife, peel the root and cut the root up into small cubes. Boil like you would potatoes for about 20 minutes. Drain and place into a food processor. Add about 1/4 cup unflavored nondairy milk (you can add more later if you like your puree thinner.) Add your favorite seasonings like you would potatoes. I used garlic powder, salt, pepper, and dill. Blend on high until it reaches your desired consistency.



-Chef Drew

Our Christmas Feast

The holidays are always a great time for cooking, and of course blogging. Everyone always goes out of their way to make great meals for all to enjoy. This was no exception in our house. I wanted to make great food for my wife and I to enjoy both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We had some awesome plant based food! To look for inspiration I turned to my obvious favorites, Plant Pure Nation and Forks Over Knives. One Christmas Eve we went for the French Dip sandwich (which was always one of my favorites as a meat eater) with some homemade sweet potato fries. This sandwich did not disappoint. Hearty, flavorful, delicious. Christmas Day we started with a little appetizer of Mushroom Tapenade on Polenta Squares and for dinner had Pumpkin Sage Pasta. Both were very yummy and filling. I think we really hit a home run with these dishes and just goes to show everyone, you can eat plant based and still make totally awesome holiday food that won’t have you feeling gross, overweight, and ashamed. Below are the recipes and pix of how I made them.



French Dip Sandwich


Horseradish Aioli (My wife hates horseradish so I left that ingredient out and instead put a pinch of cayenne in for a slight heat and it came out great)

  • 1 cup tofu cashew mayonnaise (recipe to follow)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 green onions, sliced

Au Jus Dipping Sauce

  • 2 cups low sodium mushroom stock
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • sea salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 onion, sliced into half rings
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 whole wheat sub rolls


  1. To make the aioli, blend the mayonnaise, garlic, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and green onions using a food processor. Set aside
  2. To make the au jus dipping sauce, whisk together the mushroom stock, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce in a saucepan over medium heat. Once the cornstarch is absorbed, turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste, Set aside.
  3. In a nonstick frying pan, saute the onion and mushrooms in 1/4 cup of the au jus dipping sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Toast the sub rolls and spread the aioli generously on each bun, then cover with the mushroom mixture. Serve with the warm dipping sauce on the side.

Tofu Cashew Mayonnaise


  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, boiled for about 10-15 minutes to soften
  • 7 ounces extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp tahini
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  •  1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp agave nectar
  • 2 tbs water


  1. place all ingredients in a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If you like yous a little thinner, add more water 1 tbs at a time until desired consistency is reached.




Mushroom Tapenade on Polenta Squares


  • 1 onion diced
  • 10 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • one 6 ounce can pitted black olives, drained
  • 2 tbp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh basil
  • 1 recipe polenta (recipe to follow)


  1. In a large skilelt over medium-high heat, saute the onion, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper in a little bit of water for 3-5 minutes, until softened stirring frequently. Add the wine and cook until absorbed.
  2. Transfer the mushroom mixture to a food processor. Add the olives, capers, and basil. Pulse until blended but still chunky.
  3. Cut the polenta into 2×2 inch squares and top with a spoonful of tapenade.



  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups non dairy unflavored milk
  • 1 1/3 cups polenta cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
  2. Bring the water and milk to a slow simmer in a pot over medium heat
  3. slowly stir in the cornmeal about a 1/4 cup at a time. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently and scrapping the bottom to avoid burning.
  4. The cornmeal is done cooking when it is smooth and thick. Stir in the remaining ingredients before removing from heat.
  5. Press the polenta into the prepared baking sheet until it is about 1 inch thick.
  6. Refrigerate until completely cooled.




Pumpkin Sage Pasta

  • 8 ounces whole wheat pasta
  • 1 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/3 tbs minced fresh sage
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Meanwhile combine remaining ingredients together in a saucepan and heat over low until thoroughly warm, about 5 minutes.
  2. Taste, adding more sage or pumpkin pie spice if desired, plus salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cover and let sauce rest for 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavor to merge and sauce to thicken slightly.
  4. Toss cooked pasta with sauce.




There you go, our holiday food. Try if you’d like and I hope you enjoy.


Bon Appetite

-Chef Drew

My Big Fat Plant Based Thanksgiving



This year was our first official Thanksgiving eating a plant based diet. As everyone is well aware, this is a holiday focused entirely around food. I was honestly pretty excited because it gave me a reason to make new things I have never made before. We also got invited to a friends house to do an island of misfits Thanksgiving. Any time I have the opportunity to make food for other people is a great day for me. I always love being able to show others how and why we chose to eat the way we do and hear feedback from them on how my dishes came out. Now these were all people on regular omnivore diets so there was plenty of meat and dairy dishes around the table but if I can show them an entirely plant based dish can be really tasty then it might encourage people to incorporate more plant based dishes into their regular meals. To me that’s the reward. I think I made some great things yesterday and people were complimenting them. We didn’t come home with really any leftovers, which disappointed Melissa, but made me pretty happy. I knew there was going to be a lot of food there we couldn’t eat so in an effort to provide enough alternatives I ended up making 3 different things. First was some great herb and cheese drop biscuits, next was a really good sweet potato and creamy kale tort, and lastly was a super bangin’ cornbread dressing which was my def favorite. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures to post with these recipes. I was too excited to get them baked in time and get to our destination to remember to take pictures. But I can assure you they all looked, smelled, and tasted awesome!


Herb and Cheese Drop Biscuits

2 cups all purpose flour

1 Tbs baking powder

1 Tbs natural cane sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp fresh minced rosemary

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/4 cup fresh minced parsley leaves

5.5 Tbs coconut oil, frozen

1 cup unsweetened and unflavored almond milk

1/4 cup vegan shredded cheese



  1. Preheat oven to 425F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Place coconut oil in freezer until solid, about 5-10 minutes. Place the cup of milk in the freezer to chill as well
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and garlic powder together in a large bowl
  4. Using a pastry cutter, cut the frozen coconut oil into the dry ingredients until it’s the size of small peas
  5. Pour chilled almond milk over the dry ingredients + coconut oil mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in the herbs and cheese
  6. Drop about 8-10 biscuits all over the baking sheet, leaving 2-3 inches between each biscuit. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes longer. Biscuits are ready when golden

I made these as a double batch by literally doubling each ingredient and got about 16 biscuits. They came out great and people really liked them.


Sweet Potato and creamy kale tort

For the dough I used the same recipe I always use as it is quick and simple. You can find the recipe here:



2 Tbs vegan butter

1/2 a cup finely chopped leeks

1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 small sweet potato

1 cup softened vegan cream cheese

1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese


  1. Make the crust according to the link above. Make sure you allow time for it to sit overnight or at least one hour in the refrigerator
  2. Roll the dough out and fir it to your tart pan. Pierce the dough all over with a fork
  3. Preheat the oven at 375F and prebake your dough for 10 minutes
  4. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped leeks and cook for about 10 minutes. Add kale, red pepper, and a couple drizzles of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another couple of minutes until kale is just wilted. Remove from heat.
  5. Peal your potato and slice very thin
  6. Add the cream cheese to the kale mixture until fully melted and incorporated
  7. Place a layer of sweet potato slices in the bottom of the tart shell. Spread the kale and cheese mixture evenly over that and top with another layer of sweet potato slices. Brush the top thoroughly with olive oil and sprinkle shredded cheese over tart. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown

Now I don’t own a tart pan and I wanted to make a double batch so I used a large casserole dish and doubled all the ingredients. The bake time was about 35 minutes and it came out great. Very tasty and filling.


Cornbread dressing

This was by far my favorite recipe of the day and maybe the month. I took the recipe from the chef on our local news network because it looked great and I’ve always wanted t make home made dressing but never had the opportunity. I replaced his cornbread recipe with my own because we love it so much and I knew it would make the dressing the best.


2 Tsp apple cider vinegar

2 cups almond milk

1 1/2 cups finely ground yellow cornmeal

1 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

6 Tbs cane sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

Preheat over to 400F. Whisk the apple cider vinegar and almond milk together vigorously and set it aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Add the oil to the milk mixture and then add the wet ingredients to the dry ones until totally incorporated. Line a 8×8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 35 minutes or until the top of the cornbread is firm and the edges are turning golden brown. Allow the bread to cool completely on a cooling rack before moving on to the dressing recipe.


1 recipe of cornbread from above

1 stick vegan butter

1/2 cup onion medium dice

3 stalks celery medium dice

1 poblano pepper minced

3 cloves garlic finely chopped

3 slices white bread torn into bite sized pieces

3 Tbs flaxseed mixed with 9 Tbs cold water

4 cups vegetable stock

salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbs poultry seasoning


  1. prepare cornbread according to recipe above
  2. preheat oven to 400F
  3. melt butter over medium high heat, add onion, celery, poblano and cook to soften, 2-3 minutes
  4. add garlic and cook for one minute
  5. remove from heat and allow to cool completely
  6. crumble cornbread in a large bowl, add white bread and cooked/cooled vegetables
  7. season with salt and pepper and poultry seasoning and gently mix to combine
  8. add flax mixture and stock and gently combine
  9. place in a large casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil
  10. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes, remove foil and place back in oven
  11. continue to cook until cooked through and set, 15-20 minutes


I apologize again for not having pictures to show but trust me if you make these you will not be disappointed. They made a great meal for us and great sides for everyone else’s meals.



-Chef Drew

You asked for it, you got it

I posted a picture of our dinner last night without the intention of blogging it. It wasn’t anything really over the top but turned out to be a great meal that I am pretty proud of so I threw the picture and description up. The results showed me there really are people I am friends with on Facebook that follow my posts and are interested in our recipes from time to time. Every post always gets a few likes but it’s hard to tell how many people click the link and read what I have to say and try to recreate our meals based off my recipes. When people actually comment requesting me to post the recipes it really gives me a great feeling to know people like what I make and want to try new things with less meat and dairy products. Even if it’s just the picture that sucks you in I’m glad to see you’re ready to experiment. So here it is, Spaghetti squash with broccoli, cauliflower Alfredo. The Alfredo was based on a recipe from Plant Pure Nation, but like any chef I modified a few things. These were pretty minor changes but I feel like they had a big impact on the overall finished dish.


When it comes to spaghetti squash there are a few ways to make it. I prefer baking mine as opposed to boiling it. To bake, simply preheat your oven to 350. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle a little olive oil on each half and season however you like. I usually use salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder. Place on a baking sheet cut side down so the steam stays underneath and cooks it through. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can pick it up to scrape the insides out with a fork.

Cauliflower Alfredo:

1 head cauliflower, broken into florets

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 cups nondairy milk

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cauliflower and boil for 15 minutes. Drain.
  2. Add all ingredients to a high powered blender or food processor and blend until creamy.

For my recipe I didn’t have regular Dijon mustard. I used a Whole Grain Dijon from trader Joes. It has a great flavor and the seeds aren’t fully ground. I think it added a great taste and texture to the Alfredo as opposed to basic Dijon.


Also, I like my Alfredo a little thicker so I only used 1 1/2 cups of Almond milk and it came out perfect. I would suggest starting with the same amount and if you like yours a little thinner, add the remaining 1/2 cup until it’s the consistency you like.

Scrape your squash with a fork once it is cool into a large skillet over medium heat. Saute with a little vegan butter for 5-10 minutes to reheat and give a little crunch. Toss in the Alfredo. Steam your broccoli florets for 5-10 minutes, I like mine with a good crunch still so I don’t steam it for very long. Once cooked to your preference, toss into the squash and Alfredo. Top with a little extra cracked pepper and serve.

Bon Appetite!

-Chef Drew

Take me back to the docks

When we became vegan we made the decision to count seafood as meat. Seafood has probably been the hardest for me to give up because there are so many great dishes and types of seafood. I love all of them and miss a great piece of fish or a big plate of clams and oysters. Last night I made New England Chowder and some zucchini cakes that literally took me back to the docks. It still amazes me the flavors you can create without ever using any kind of meat or dairy. This was a very hearty chowder and the cakes really reminded me of a crab cake. They were both packed full of great veggies and of course filling and extremely tasty. These recipes were both taken from Plant Pure Nation and everyone should be trying these, you will not regret it at all. If you’re looking to add more plant based meals into your diet this one would make a great addition to your weekly meal plan.


New England Chowder

2 quarts low sodium vegetable stock

1 onion diced

3 leeks, washed well and cut small

3 celery stalks, diced

1 carrot, diced

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

3 large Yukon gold potatoes, diced medium

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup flour

2 cups cashew cream (recipe to follow)

10 oz button mushrooms, chopped

1 Tbs lemon juice

2 sushi nori sheets torn into small pieces (kitchen sheers work great)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

  1. In a large soup pot over medium high heat add 1/2 cup of stock and saute the onion, leeks, celery, and carrot until tender. Add the red pepper flakes and cook briefly.
  2. Add the remaining stock and the potatoes, bringing them to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium and cook the potatoes until tender.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the water and flour and whisk until smooth. Add to the soup mixture.
  4. Add the cashew cream, mushrooms, lemon juice, nori pieces, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper. Simmer until the flavors are well blended and the consistency is creamy, stirring frequently.

Cashew Cream

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for 2-3 hours then drained

2 cups water

  1. Place the cashews and 2 cups fresh water in high powered blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy.


Zucchini Cakes

2 celery stalks, finely diced

1 onion, diced small

2 carrots shredded

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup flax meal

1/2 cup warm water

2 small zucchini, shredded

1 14 oz block extra firm tofu, drained and crumbled

2 cups panko bread crumbs

1 cup tofu cashew mayonnaise (recipe to follow)

2 nori seaweed sheets, finely chopped

1 Tbs old bay seasoning

2 tsp dry mustard

1 tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside
  2. In a skillet over medium high heat, saute the celery, onion, carrot, bell pepper, and parsley until soft but firm
  3. Mix the flax seed and water in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes
  4. In a large bowl, combine the sauteed vegetables, zucchini, tofu, 1 cup bread crumbs, mayo, seaweed, old bay, mustard, salt, and flax/water mixture. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Shape into 1/2 inch thick cakes. Carefully dredge the cakes in the remaining cup of bread crumbs to coat. These patties are delicate and must be handled gently to avoid having them crumble.
  6. Place the cakes on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Serve warm.

Tofu Cashew Mayonnaise

1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for 2-3 hours, then drained

7 oz extra firm tofu

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp tahini

4 tsp lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp white vinegar

1 Tbs dijon mustard

2 Tbs apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 tsp agave nectar

2 Tbs water

  1. Place all ingredients in a high powered blender. Blend until smooth and shiny.


Enjoy this great meal

-Chef Drew

I got two words for you…..Beer Brats!

A few weeks ago we went to our favorite vegan restaurant and their spacial of the day was a bratwurst so of course I had to get it. This got me thinking, as I usually do when I eat there, and I decided I needed to recreate this wonderful meal. After some research and picking the right ingredients I cooked me some awesome beer brats. When we ate meat, one of my favorite meals was a good sausage with pepper and onions or a brat and some kraut. This brought back some amazing memories and I will def be making these again and again and again. The only downfall is for anyone who is gluten free, you will not be able to eat these as they call for vital wheat gluten to act as a binding agent. If you are unfamiliar with this ingredient, it is basically straight powdered gluten. If you are interested in making vegan sausage of any kind, Bob’s Red Mill makes a version of vital wheat gluten and I found it in the baking aisle at Harris Teeter along with the other Bob’s flour products.



1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup wet hop beer, flat (I used a Hefeweizen from Olde Hickory because I love my local NC beer and I knew Hefeweizen would give my brats a great flavor)


2 Tbs olive oil

1/4 tsp liquid smoke

1/4 cup ground dried shitake mushrooms (found these in the grocery store with the dried beans)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp marjoram

1 tsp sage

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder

1/4 tsp caraway seeds

1 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten


1/4 cup nutritional yeast


  1. Finely mash your beans with a fork, then add in your beer, liquid smoke, and the spices, mix well.
  2. in a separate bowl mix together the vital wheat gluten, mushrooms, and nutritional yeast.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients. Knead for a minute to bring it all together.
  4. Divide into 6 pieces, shape into sausage form, then warp tightly like a tootsie roll in aluminum foil, twisting the ends. (when researching I found people had issues with theirs sticking to the foil when steaming so I put in a layer of parchment paper as well)


              5. Steam for 40 minutes. After steaming unwrap and grill for a few minutes                     on each side in some earth balance butter.

Serve and enjoy. I used some great homemade mustard and topped with some sauteed onions, red peppers, and mushrooms caramelized in homemade brown sugar and they were absolutely delicious. Served with a side of oil based homemade slaw.

Bon appetite

-Chef Drew