Oh-So-Delicious Vegan Chili

Tonight was one of those nights when I was hungry but couldn’t quite seem to gather the energy or inspiration to make a multi-dish meal. After flipping through a cookbook for ideas (*see below*) I happily realized I had everything to make chili. Even better, I had the opportunity to experiment and make my own recipe. This chili turned out to be so good, I had to go back for seconds (and let’s be real, thirds, too!).


– 1 T Italian Dressing (I used an organic one)
– 1 T extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil
– 1 small onion, finely chopped.
– 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped (or 2 smaller cloves)
– 1 small zucchini, diced.
– 1 jar or 24 oz of tomato sauce
– 1 can or 15 oz diced tomatos
– 1 can or 15 oz garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed.
– 1/2 can or 8 oz black beans, drained and rinsed.
– 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh (use more if desired).
– 1 cup sliced bell pepper, frozen or fresh (use more if desired).


– 1 tsp cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
– 1-3 tsp chili powder, depending on preference.
– dash of parsley
– salt as desired


1. Over medium heat, sauté onion and garlic in olive oil and italian dressing until translucent.
2. Add the zucchini and pour half the jar of tomato sauce over the vegetables. Let this simmer for a couple of minutes.
2. During those few minutes, drain and rinse the black beans and garbanzo beans. Add diced tomatos, both beans, corn, and peppers.
3. Pour remaining sauce over the entire mixture. Turn the heat up to high and let mixture boil for a couple of minutes. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for at least 15-20 minutes, or longer. Be sure to check to make sure that chili is not burning to the bottom of the saucepan occasionally.


– Very versatile. Virtually any of the ingredients can be substituted, or new ones can be added, without any difficulty depending on your preferences.
– At a total of about $7.00 and considering it makes at least enough for 6 bowls (more sauce or diced tomatoes could be added to stretch the rest of the ingredients, to bring down the price per serving), this recipe is cost effective.
– The cinnamon is a touch that I prefer, because it adds depth to the flavor of the dish. It makes the chili taste warmer, but in a sweet spicy way, not hot.
– If I had other types of canned beans (kidney beans, for example) I would have added those as well. Feel free to use whatever beans you have at home.


This recipe is loosely based off of Allyson Kramer’s book,  Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats. Her Pumpkin Chickpea Chili recipe reminded me that I indeed had a long-forgotten can of chickpeas in the cupboard. I was delighted when I realized that I had open cans of diced tomatoes and black beans sitting my refrigerator just waiting to be used up. Her recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it out sometime. I just didn’t have everything necessary this time around. But thanks for the inspiration, Allyson! For those interested in learning more about her, this is her website: http://allysonkramer.com/.



Banana & Lemon Bread Muffins

These are probably one of the best muffin recipes I have ever created (gluten-free or otherwise). The muffins turned out fabulously!! They were moist, yet light and sweet, yet not overly sweet.


1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup earth balance buttery spread

1/3 coconut oil

4 free-range vegetarian-fed eggs

3 bananas

2 T lemon juice


1/4 cup soy flour

1/4 tapioca starch

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1 cup white rice flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 TSP – 1 TSP cinnamon

couple of dashes of allspice


Mix the first group of ingredients together very thoroughly. I used an immersion blender to get a very smooth consistency. Let sit while mixing the second group of ingredients together in a separate bowl. Combine mixtures and again, mix very well. Pour 1/4 cup of batter per one well-oiled muffin tin. Top with turbinado sugar for an added crunch.

Bake at 365° for 15-20 minutes. Let cool on a baking rack.

Makes 18 muffins

If preferred, pour into a loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes.

Finally, a vegan cheese success story: delicious lasagna.

It was a feat that I had once deemed impossible: baking a vegan gluten-free lasagna that actually tasted like regular lasagna. And I mean I wanted the lasagna I could eat to be almost exactly like the real thing. Especially the way the dairy cheese melts and oozes into gooey deliciousness; I wanted it all in a allergy-friendly version. Here’s how I finally achieved it:


– 1 package Daiya mozzarella style shreds. (find out what they are)

– 1.5 jars of sauce, or about 48 oz.

–  Seasonings of your choice: I used dried basil, parsley, and oregano. Plus the basic salt and pepper.

– 1 medium zucchini

– 2 roma tomatoes, finely sliced lengthwise.

– 1/4 small onion, finely sliced.

– 1 package of gluten-free pasta*

*I used penne. You may be asking yourself: but wasn’t this girl just raving about lasagna? Well, yes, sort of. I do have gluten-free lasagna noodles. But I only have one package and I bought them in Maine while my husband and I were on Christmas leave. I can’t find them in South Carolina. So, I wanted to make sure that this recipe was going to work out. I didn’t want to waste my lovely gf lasagna noodles on a so-so, only “okay” pasta bake. So, I used penne (which can be found in abundance in SC) so I wouldn’t be as devastated if this recipe, like many others that used other vegan alternatives to cheese, flopped.


1. Begin cooking gluten-free pasta as directed on package.

2. While pasta is cooking, prepare your vegetables. Slice the zucchini, roma tomatoes and onions into thin 1/8-1/4 inch rounds.

3. Remember that a lasagna-style bake is all about proper layering. This is very important.

4. For the first layer: Spatter a bit of sauce in the bottom of a 7×11 pan (this will prevent the pasta from sticking). Then place a layer of pasta on the bottom. Cover lightly with sauce. Generously toss a layer of the mozzerella style shreds. Sprinkle with seasonings according to your preference. Again, lightly cover this with sauce. I would place a spoonful at a time, smoothing it out as I went.

5. The second layer: Repeat the steps before.

6. After the second layer of the cheese and sauce, add a layer of zucchini*(instead of pasta). Lightly cover with sauce. Then layer the roma tomato slices and arrange the onion circles around the tomatoes. Cover the vegetables with cheese and then cover with sauce.

7. The last layer: Add a final cover of pasta. Spread sauce over the pasta, topping with a thinner layer of cheese and finishing with seasoning for presentation and added yumminess.

8. Bake at 375° F  for 20 minutes. Turn oven down to 325° F and bake for another 30-40 minutes.


– Total cost: $2.99 pasta, $2.79 sauce, est. $0.60 zucchini, est $0.75 tomatoes, est $0.25 onion, $4.99 daiya shreds = $12.37.

– Cost per serving 12.37/6 = $2.06

– Total time: 30 minutes prep time + 50-60 minutes bake time = 1 hour 25 minutes +/- 5 minutes.


– SO DELICIOUS! Especially for those who have been searching for a great dairy-free vegan alternative to dairy cheese.

– Incorporates more veggies that the average lasagna by substituting one of the pasta layers for zucchini.


– At a total cost of more than $12, this is one of the most expensive meals that I make.

– Takes a long time to prepare and to bake.

Peppered ginger chicken stir-fry

I am a huge fan of stir-frys and this one turned out very flavorful and well-rounded.


– 1/2 of a yellow onion (a smaller one), chopped

– 1 scallion, finely chopped

– 1 garlic clove, minced*

– 1/4 of an orange bell pepper, chopped*

-1/4 of an green bell pepper, chopped

– 1/3 cup peas (I used frozen)

– 2 small carrots*, thinly sliced

– 2 stalks celery hearts*, thinly sliced

– 1/2 of a roma tomato, chopped

– About 1/2 cup pre-cooked chicken*, cut into small pieces (maybe more)

– 1/2 cup of brown rice*, cooked.

* All ingredients marked with an astrick are USDA-certified organic products. I try to buy organic as much as a possible. (More on this topic in a future post) *


– 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (if preferred and to taste)

– 1 tablespoon soy sauce, gluten-free.

– 1 tsp ground ginger

– 1 tsp olive oil + 3 tablespoons water, to add to the pan.

– 1 cup water, for rice.

– pinch of salt, for rice.


1. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small pot. Once boiling, add rice and a pinch of salt and cover with the lid. Reduce heat to medium low so that the boil reduces to a simmer. Let cook for about 45 minutes, or as instructed on the package.

2. Place the olive oil and water combination a large pan over medium high heat. Add vegetables. Cook on high for a couple of minutes, adding 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 tsp of ginger, and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to very low, place lid on, and let it slowly cook for 45 minutes, or until the rice is ready.

3. Once rice is cooked, and has set for several minutes, add it to the pan with vegetables. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1/2 tsp of ginger.


• Inexpensive. And could be made even cheaper with frozen veggies.

• Versatile. Any vegetables could be swapped for the ones I used. Likewise, the chicken could easily be replaced with beef, shrimp, tofu, etc.

• Great use for leftovers. I used pieces of chicken from a whole chicken that I roasted the night before, and the vegetables that I had on hand.

• Easy. Aside from chopping the vegetables, this recipe takes minimal work.

• Healthy.

• Can be made in big batches.


• Takes a long time to prepare.

• Only serves 2. However, could serve more if recipe was doubled or tripled.

The "chewy granola bar" cookie

I have made this cookie many times since discovering on Pinterest (I believe). I simply changed a few ingredients to make it dairy-free, and since it’s naturally gluten free, this cookie gets two thumbs up for being easy to make and versatile. I especially like this cookie because you can switch out ingredients for whatever you have on hand. But first here is the recipe that I use:


– 1 cup of oats

– 2 TBSP peanut butter (I use creamy, but crunchy is also an option)

– 1 TSP baking powder

– 1 TSP vanilla

– 1 TSP cinnamon

– 1-2 TBSP brown sugar

– 2 packets of splenda (or you could use 2 TSP white sugar)

– A splash of milk (I use unsweetened Silk almond milk)

– 2 TBSP choc. chips (I prefer EnjoyLife dairy-free mini chocolate chips)

– 2 TBSP cranberries


In addition to chocolate chips and cranberries, you could add chopped walnuts or pecans. Although, any kind of nut would work well, too. Or you could nix the cranberries and add a different type of dried fruit to give it a different flavor all together.


Cook for 8 minutes at 350° on a lightly greased baking sheet. It is really that simple.