Saturday, September 1, 2018

Sexy Vegan Mama's Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

 Confession: I've been slacking on lunches.

In fact, I often work through lunch, and forget to eat, or I just throw something together, and keep on moving.

It's been a while since I've actually sat down to enjoy a lunch, so I made a point of doing so, today, and it was totally worth it.

Even with the kids running around, crashing into things, yelling at each other, and generally being kids.

Probably because this sandwich was delicious, and has all the hallmarks of comfort food from years past.

Maybe also because I left the kids in the house, and sat outside in the sunshine to enjoy it.


In any event, this recipe is quick and easy to put together, and it packs a lot of protein between those bread slices... You know, so I can have the energy to keep up with those bundles of energy I abandoned in the house.

Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

1 - 15 oz. can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), drained
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/4 t onion powder
1/8 t smoked paprika
1 medium carrot, grated
2 large dill pickles, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/4 c vegan mayo
1 T yellow mustard
1 1/2 t apple cider vinegar

Your choice of bread, and any of the following (or your favorite) veggies:
  • sprouts
  • sliced cucumber
  • avocado
  • tomato
  • beets
  • radish
  • lettuce
  • spinach
  • onion (fresh, grilled, or caramelized)
  • grilled peppers

In a medium to large bowl, roughly chop the drained chickpeas. I use a pastry blender for this, but you may also use the tines of a fork, or lightly pulse them in a food processor to achieve the desired texture.

Add minced garlic, black pepper, onion powder and paprika. Mix well.

Stir in grated carrot, and diced pickle and celery.

Add vegan mayo, mustard, and apple cider vinegar, Stir until everything is evenly mixed.

Pile onto your favorite multi-grain or gluten-free bread, and add your choice of veggies.


"Like" Sexy Vegan Mama on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram! Don't forget to swing by The Gonzo Mama's place to see what she's up to. Get my vegan dessert cookbook (co-authored with William Maltese), Get-Real Vegan Desserts: Vegan Recipes for the Rest of Us, on Amazon!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Perfect Vegan Picnic Potato Salad

My baby brother got married a few weeks ago. It was an awesome weekend for my siblings and I to spend time together, especially since we're a bit spread out, geographically. The evening wedding was followed by a raucous late-night karaoke party, and a barbecue the following day.

In case you're wondering, I sang Chumbawamba in a shameful performance during karaoke.

While my brother-in-law smoked and grilled game he procured himself, I set about making killer vegan salads and sides, which I hoped would make believers out of my omnivorous siblings.

Two of my brothers, in particular, consider themselves connoisseurs of potato salad, and their standards are pretty high. My older brother exuded palpable anxiety over whether a vegan potato salad would measure up, and the anticipation appeared excruciating for him as we waited for guests to arrive.

When he was finally able to dig in, the smile on his face -- and the second and third helping -- were all the response I needed.

My other siblings agreed, and the potato salad (along with the coleslaw and marinated bean salad I'd prepared) was a hit. I wasn't surprised, naturally. I've been making my recipe for decades, and it never fails.

I hope your family enjoys this easy recipe as much as mine does!

Perfect Vegan Picnic Potato Salad

10 large potatoes

1 medium to large onion, diced
1 t oil

3 stalks celery, chopped
5 to 6 large dill pickles, small diced (save brine)
1 1/2 c vegan mayonnaise (I like Just Mayo)
1/3 c plain mustard
1/2 c pickle brine
1/2 T garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t black pepper
1/2 t smoked paprika (optional)

Optional add-ins:

sliced green onions
sliced olives
sliced water chestnuts
celery seed
a dash of sweetener
sesame seeds

Scrub potatoes and place into a large stock pot. Add enough water to cover potatoes, and bring to a boil. Continue to boil potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork -- about 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes, and your desired tenderness.

Remove potatoes from heat and drain. Set aside to cool.

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and add diced onion. Sauté onions until soft, and just beginning to brown. Remove from heat and dump into a large mixing bowl.

Add chopped celery and diced pickles to bowl and toss to mix.

Use a paring knife to slide skins off cooled potatoes, and large dice into bite-sized pieces. Add to bowl.

Add mayonnaise, mustard, pickle brine, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and paprika and mix well. 

Garnish with a sprinkling of additional paprika, if desired, and chill well before serving.

Makes a lot of servings, because my family is huge. Perfect for potlucks, holiday gathers, and more!

"Like" Sexy Vegan Mama on Facebook! Don't forget to swing by The Gonzo Mama's place to see what she's up to. Get my vegan dessert cookbook (co-authored with William Maltese), Get-Real Vegan Desserts: Vegan Recipes for the Rest of Us, on Amazon!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Southern Comfort Espresso Baked Beans

I hope everyone had a blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving, filled with love, laughter, and a ton of delicious food.

We sure did.

I posted a series of photos of our vegan meal on Facebook, and had many requests for several of my recipes -- most of which were already here, on

Then, I got a few messages and a phone call, asking for my baked beans recipe.

Now, growing up, we didn't eat a lot of baked beans, that I can recall. Maybe a few times at picnics and barbecues, I might have had a bite or two of some humdrum baked beans, but nothing that really stood out. Most of these beans were pretty bland, and had bacon or ham in them.

As I understand it, baked beans also come in a can? Who knew?

But, once I became an adult and started cooking for my own family, I went on a quest to create flavorful vegan versions of standard picnic, potluck, and large family gathering meal staples.

Included in that list was baked beans.

To be honest, I didn't know beans about baked beans, so I went to some old-school sources -- like vintage cookbooks and family recipes which have been passed down for generations -- for inspiration, and used what I found as a jumping-off point for my own recipe, which you'll find, below.

Now, y'all know how Mama loves her Southern Comfort, and this recipe features that rich, decadent liquid gold as an ingredient.

And, of course, I can't function without my espresso, so I threw some of that in there, too.

Toss your sad cans of baked beans, because these homemade beans can't be beat!

Southern Comfort Espresso Baked Beans

1 lb dried pinto beans
6 c water

2/3 c cane juice crystals or natural sugar
1/4 c water
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 t ground black pepper

1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t celery seed

1 - 12 oz can tomato paste

1/2 c brewed espresso or strong black coffee
1/4 c Southern Comfort OR gluten-free bourbon or brandy of your choice (Southern Comfort is not gluten-free, according to the manufacturer)

1 onion, thinly sliced

In a large saucepan, heat dried beans and water until boiling. Boil for 5 minutes, cover, remove from heat, and let the beans soak for one hour.

Add more water to cover beans, if necessary, and bring back to a rigorous boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer on low heat about one hour to an hour and a half, or until beans are tender.

Drain off bean liquid and reserve.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, 1/4 cup water, vinegar, and spices. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil until sugar is dissolved.

Add tomato paste, and combine thoroughly.

Remove from heat and stir in espresso and Southern Comfort.

In a 9" x 13" casserole dish, spread half the drained beans, and cover with half the Southern Comfort mixture and half the reserved bean liquid. Layer half the onion over the top, and spread the rest of the beans over that. Layer the rest of the onion.

Pour the remaining Southern Comfort mixture and bean liquid over the top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for one hour at 350 degrees F.

Uncover, stir beans, and bake an additional 45 minutes.


"Like" Sexy Vegan Mama on Facebook! Don't forget to swing by The Gonzo Mama's place to see what she's up to. Get my vegan dessert cookbook (co-authored with William Maltese), Get-Real Vegan Desserts: Vegan Recipes for the Rest of Us, on Amazon!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Korean Chickpeas & Lentils

Let me tell y'all... I had a hell of a day, a couple days ago.

First, the bathroom sink backed up to high heaven, and after hours of plunging, pleading, and crying, it still wouldn't drain. I had blisters on my hands, funky water from head to toe, and nothing was working.

In desperation, I locked the bathroom door, and began to pretend that room didn't even exist.

We can pee and shower in the laundry room. No problem.

Then, I had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting at the school for one of our foster kiddos. Things have been particularly tense between the special education staff and me, since I wrote a blog post about objectionable language used by the school psychologist over on, and the post accidentally went sort of viral. Whoops.

So, there was a lot of anxiety leading up to the meeting, on my part, and I didn't expect it to be pleasant. To top things off, Mr. Wright had got himself lost while out taking photos of some homes, and was late getting to the appointment, so I had to begin without him.

As it turns out, the meeting went pretty smoothly, but I was a hot firetrucking mess by the time I got there to start the meeting, alone.

And when we got home, the sink... well, it was still backed up, and I begged Mr. Wright to just deal with it, because I was in. no. mood.

Then, I headed into the kitchen to prepare some serious comfort food. I wanted sweet. I wanted spicy. I wanted warm. I wanted filling.

I wanted it all, and I didn't want to have to wait too long for it.

I used some basic Korean sauce recipes as a basic jumping-off point, and came up with the recipe below.

By the time it was done, all was well in the world. The issue with the sink was caused by a small toy being forced through the drain, and effectively blocking it. Life with kids... gotta love it.

Korean Chickpeas & Lentils

1 t. sesame oil
1 small onion, diced

4 c. water
1/4 c. liquid aminos
1/4 c. plus 2 T. agave nectar
2 t. sesame oil
2 t. ground ginger
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
2 c. dried lentils

1 - 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

Brown rice to serve over

Green onions and white sesame seeds for garnish.

In a large saucepan, heat one teaspoon sesame oil over medium heat.

Add diced onion, and saute until soft, tender, and beginning to brown slightly.

Add water, liquid aminos, agave nectar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, cayenne, and lentils.

Increase heat and bring to a rolling boil.

Cover pan tightly, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed.

Stir in chickpeas, and heat thoroughly.

Serve over brown rice, and garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

"Like" Sexy Vegan Mama on Facebook! Don't forget to swing by The Gonzo Mama's place to see what she's up to. Get my vegan dessert cookbook (co-authored with William Maltese), Get-Real Vegan Desserts: Vegan Recipes for the Rest of Us, on Amazon!

This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Pumpkin Pecan Energy Bites

I have this friend. Well, okay, he was Mr. Wright's friend, first, since they went to school together, but I'm claiming him as my veryownpersonal friend, because we share something Mr. Wright does not:

Craig and I both eat an entirely plant-based diet.

So, who is this guy, anyway? Well, for starters, he's the creative brain behind Craig Olsen Interior Design, but he's also a fantastic actor, and he's working on an explosive documentary about one of Hollywood's best-kept secrets.

Beyond that, he's a fabulous human being, and a joy to know and be around. And he loves friends! You can connect with him on his Instagram page.

Anyway, so Craig posted photos of these really yummy-looking pumpkin energy bites on his Facebook page, and I just had to have the recipe. I offered to barter my Pumpkin Spice Mini Cupcakes with Maple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting recipe, and my Pumpkin Pecan Pie recipe in exchange.

He sent the recipe, and it wasn't long before I was in the grocery store, messaging him, Is it weird if I want to put dried cranberries in it?

No, he said. He'd thought about adding cranberries, too.

I made a first batch, and found it was too "spiced" for my kiddos, so I cut the amount of spice. (Craig's original recipe called for pumpkin pie spice, but I make my own blend, and adjusted accordingly.)

Then, I reflected on that Pumpkin Pecan Pie recipe, and thought... These would be fantastic with pecans! So, pecans got added to the mix.

The end result is fantastic, and it's yet another lesson in how we can use recipes as a jumping-off point for our own creativity.

These energy bites boast not only 2 grams of protein each, but are also high in vitamin A!

Here's my final version of the recipe, inspired by the inimitable Craig Olsen:

Pumpkin Pecan Energy Bites

1 - 15oz can pure pumpkin
1/2 t. allspice
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. ground cloves
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. unsweetened applesauce
1/2 c. raw pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. vegan vanilla protein powder (I use Arbonne Vanilla Protein Shake mix)
1 1/2 c. rolled oats
1/3 c. vegan chocolate chips
1/3 c. chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Drop small balls of dough -- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon -- on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.

(These bites won't bake "out," so you don't need to leave much space between them.)

Bake for 30 minutes.

Makes about 48 energy bite cookies.

"Like" Sexy Vegan Mama on Facebook! Don't forget to swing by The Gonzo Mama's place to see what she's up to. Get my vegan dessert cookbook (co-authored with William Maltese), Get-Real Vegan Desserts: Vegan Recipes for the Rest of Us, on Amazon!

This post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust & Cashew "Cheese" Sauce

Pizza... pizza... it's like its own food group, right? And when your house is home to a bundle of kids, there's no escaping it. However, I'm always on a quest to make it healthier, more nutritious, and less processed.

Until recently, we've used Daiya Deliciously Dairy-Free "cheese" shreds for our pizzas, and I stand by them. They're awesome!

However, I've been trying to create more from-scratch ingredients, and cut down on processed foods for the kids. Daiya shreds are great time-savers, but this cashew "cheese" sauce recipe contains more protein, more iron, more fiber, and far less sodium.

Bonus: It's totally less expensive!

And... let's talk about gluten. For those of us who aren't diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or another gluten allergy or sensitivity... we may not see a need to eliminate or reduce our gluten intake, but for some of us with autoimmune disorders, it may be worth taking a look at.

In our house, we have family members with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Alopecia Areata -- both autoimmune disorders.

Several prominent doctors have written about the relationships between gluten and inflammation, and between inflammation and autoimmune disorders. Could it be possible that eliminating gluten could give relief to those of us suffering from autoimmune disorders? Maybe. There's still a lot of research to be done, but anecdotal evidence certainly seems to point to relief coming from a gluten-free diet.

While the doctors and scientists figure it out, let me just say it might be worth it to do a trial run for six or twelve weeks. What do we have to lose?

Anyway, that brings me to the pizza crust... I really struggle with bread-like gluten-free recipes, because I don't yet understand the chemistry of gluten-free flours, and so many recipes call for eggs to bind it all together, so I'd pretty much given up on ever finding a gluten-free pizza crust recipe my family would love.

But then, a friend of mine on Facebook talked about a "two-ingredient pizza crust" that was made with just quinoa and water. That's it. Two things. And, she said, it was delicious, chewy, and fantastic!

Well, you know me... I can rarely leave a recipe alone, so I enhanced it a bit, but the resulting crust was amaaaaaaazing!

Ready to make your own? Here we go!

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

1 c. uncooked quinoa
1 c. water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend, pausing occasionally to scrape sides of container. Continue until a thick, spreadable paste is created.

Cover a baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper, and spread crust mixture over paper. Crust should be about 1/4" thick.

Bake for 12 minutes, then flip over, and bake for an additional five minutes.

Remove from oven and set aside for assembly.

Cashew "Cheese" Sauce

1 1/2 c. raw cashews, soaked for one hour
1/3 c. HOT water

Drain cashews, and put in blender with all remaining ingredients. Blend well, pausing occasionally to scrape sides of container. Continue until a thick sauce forms.

If a thinner sauce is desired, add more water until desired consistency is achieved.

This sauce is great over pasta, or served as a dip or fondue. Simply adjust the consistency to serve your needs.

You can also add in the following, to provide different flavors:

Here's how we assemble our pizza:

  • Spread cashew "cheese" sauce over the baked crust.
  • Spread pizza sauce over that. (Optional. My friend doesn't use pizza sauce at all; just the cashew sauce!)
  • Pile veggies/toppings on top.
  • Thin out some of the cashew sauce, then drizzle it over the top.
  • Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

"Like" Sexy Vegan Mama on Facebook! Don't forget to swing by The Gonzo Mama's place to see what she's up to. Get my vegan dessert cookbook (co-authored with William Maltese), Get-Real Vegan Desserts: Vegan Recipes for the Rest of Us, on Amazon!

This post contains affiliate links.