Vegan Lunch #4 – Thursday – The Many Hues of Hummus

DSC_0721Oh hummus – you are perhaps the perfect food!  You are healthy, easy to make and so much fun to flavor and embellish in many different ways!  You are often there at restaurants for vegans when there is nothing else to order.  You are loaded with protein and all good things and you are great on your own, in sandwiches, in salads or used as dip for crudite or crackers.  I just can’t get enough of you!

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Now that I have paid homage to hummus – I can continue and post my basic hummus recipe and all the different variations that I love.  It is so much fun to give it to my kids for lunch because they never know what color or flavor to expect!  And actually, hummus is without a doubt my son’s favorite food – so this post is dedicated to him!

Basic Hummus

ingredients for basic hummus recipe

ingredients for basic hummus recipe

  • 2 15 oz boxes or cans chickpeas, drained – but reserve liquid
  • 3 T tahini
  • 1/2 t salt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/4 c of the reserved liquid

Place all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and process/blend until creamy.  (I love my vitamix for making hummus).  You may need to add a bit more of the reserved liquid, 1 T at a time, to get the consistency you want.  Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

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For this lunch, I added kale, tomato and avocado to the sandwich and served it with a banana and some brownies.

I love this basic hummus just as it is.  It really doesn’t need anything more at all!  However, it’s always fun to spice it up!  So, here are some ideas for unique and really tasty additions.

DSC_0750To make these hummus varieties, add the following to 1/2 c of basic hummus (I use an immersion blender to do this, but you can use a food processor.  The blender, however, will not work for this because the amount is too small, unless you are flavoring more than one 1/2 c serving at a time.

Herbal Hummus

Herbal Hummus

Herbal Hummus – add a handful of greens – basil, cilantro, parsley, spinach, kale (I used kale and parsley tonight) – or any combination of them – you can’t go wrong.

Black Truffle Hummus

Black Truffle Hummus

Black Truffle Hummus – add 1/4 t black salt (available at specialty stores) and 1/4 t truffle oil.  For this variation, you can omit the salt in the basic recipe.

Dill Pickle Hummus

Dill Pickle Hummus

Dill Pickle Hummus – add about 5 pickle slices and 1 t fresh dill or 1/4 t dried dill

Beet and Sage Hummus

Beet and Sage Hummus

Beet and Sage Hummus – add 1 1/2 t beet juice and 1/8 t ground sage

Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Hummus

Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Hummus

Sun-dried Tomato and Roasted Garlic Hummus – add 4 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, and about 1/2 bulb of roasted garlic – note: my family loves garlic – if you want it milder, add less. To roast garlic, cut the top off a bulb of garlic to expose the cloves.  Rub it with a little olive oil and salt and wrap in aluminum foil.  Bake in oven on 400 for 40 minutes.

Garlic Ginger Hummus

Garlic Ginger Hummus

Garlic Ginger Hummus – add 1/4 t ginger powder, 1/4 t garlic powder, 1/4 t sesame oil and 1/2 t soy sauce

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Vegan Lunch #3 – Wednesday – Bean and Cheez Quesadillas

DSC_0708A few days ago I saw a post on facebook about a newly vegan mom who was seeking advice on transitioning her husband and stepdaughter to a vegan diet.  I was trying to think of the best way I could help her and that inspired me to post these vegan lunches.  When I first became vegan I remember sifting through tons of new recipes to make for dinner every night.  There were so many out there and I was never at a loss for something new to try.  From seitan, to bean casseroles, to tempeh and tofu dishes, variety was no problem.  Lunches for my kids to bring to school, however, were more of a challenge for me.  I was so used to making tuna salad, egg salad, chicken salad, and even, I hate to admit it, deli meats.  Now that it has been 4 years, I have recipes that they enjoy even more than all those lunches I used to make.  I have already posted my recipes for mock tuna salad and faux chicken salad.  Tonight I made a nutritious and cruelty-free bean and cheez quesadilla.  It has plenty of protein, is simple to make, and tastes great!  Thanks to Daiya cheddar style shreds, the texture is just perfect!  Daiya is now available in many supermarket chains such as Shoprite, as well as specialty stores like Whole Foods.  It is actually possible that I have tried every vegan cheese on the market, and I can assure you that Daiya melts the best, just like dairy cheese.  Really!  If you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for?

Bean and Cheez Quesadillas

ingredients for bean and cheese quesadillas

ingredients for bean and cheese quesadillas

  • 1 15 oz box or can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1/2 c mock sour cream
  • 2/3 c shredded cheddar style vegan cheese, preferably Daiya
  • 2 t chopped chives
  • 2 T chopped onion
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1/8 t garlic powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 t chili powder
  • 4 tortillas

DSC_0696Preheat oven to 425.  In a small bowl, combine the mock sour cream with the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder and chives.  Place two tortillas on a very lightly oiled baking sheet. 

DSC_0702Spoon half of the sour cream mix over each tortilla.  Top each one with half of the beans.  Sprinkle half the onion on each and then the cheese.  Place another tortilla on top of each one and place in the oven for 8 minutes.  Turn the oven to broil and watch carefully so they don’t burn but get golden brown – about 3 minutes.  Let cool a few minutes before cutting each into 4 wedges.

Makes 8 wedges, which is good for 4 lunches.

DSC_0707With the quesadilla, I gave them some pineapple and a piece of vegan chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  If you want the recipe for the cake, just let me know and I will post it soon! 🙂

Vegan Lunch #2 – Tuesday – Faux Chicken Salad

faux chicken salad sandwich with tomato and kale

faux chicken salad sandwich with tomato and kale

So it’s time for lunch number 2 – faux chicken salad.  I used to love chicken salad.  In my pre-vegan days, it’s what I always ordered whenever I went out to lunch.  However, I was often sorry that I did because not that infrequently, I would bite into a piece of fat from the chicken and I would lose my appetite.  I have to wonder why I kept ordering it, but for some reason I did.  I guess I just liked the taste, even though the occasional pieces of fat grossed me out.  This brings to mind one of my favorite things about being vegan – NO animal fat in my food!!  Now when I eat, I love savoring every single bite, knowing that nothing gross is in it!

It’s not just me that loves this faux chicken salad.  My kids love it so much they eat it as I’m making it, probably because it is just as delicious warm as it cold in their sandwiches the next day.  Tempeh has both a satisfying texture and flavor.  Lots of recipes call for steaming the tempeh first to remove any bitterness, but I never taste any bitterness at all.  I don’t know who could want real chicken after eating this.

Faux Chicken Salad ingredients

Faux Chicken Salad ingredients

Faux Chicken Salad

  • 2 8 oz. packages tempeh
  • 1 t safflower or canola oil
  • 1/2 c vegan mayo
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • 1 t bragg’s liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/8 t poultry seasoning
  • 1 t fresh dill, chopped, or 1/4 t dried
  • 1/4 t onion powder
  • 1 t fresh parsley, chopped, or 1/4 t dried


Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.  Cook the tempeh for 5 minutes per side until golden brown.  Remove from pan.

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After the tempeh cools for a few minutes, cube it into  1/4” pieces.  Place the cubes in a bowl and add the vegan mayo, dijon and braggs.  Stir to combine.

cubing the tempeh

cubing the tempeh

DSC_0665Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Makes enough for about 5 sandwiches.

DSC_0672With the sandwich in this lunch my family is also getting sliced organic strawberries and my favorite chocolate chip cookies from the Skinny Bitch in the Kitch cookbook.   For the recipe, click here.  Yum!

A week’s worth of vegan lunches – #1

DSC_0644I know there are a lot of new vegans out there who need ideas for delicious and nutritious lunches.  I’m sure there are some seasoned vegans out there who could use some suggestions also.  Well, I am coming to the rescue!  I have been making 4 vegan lunches every weekday for about 4 years now and I would like to share my favorites with you.  I pack up lunches for my kids, although sadly I only make 2 of these each day since my oldest just went off to college, and I often pack a lunch for my husband to take to work.  It has DSC_0648become a source of pride for me – knowing that my family is eating cruelty-free and incredibly healthy lunches and even though some may take a little more time than throwing together a pb&j (don’t get me wrong – I love a good pb&j quite often), they are well worth the effort.  Today I am posting the first of five lunches.  This one is what I just made and packed up tonight for tomorrow, Monday’s, lunch.

DSC_0651Vegan Lunch #1 – Monday

mock tuna salad sandwich, orange slices, and chocolate lime meltaways

I love making mock tuna – not just because it is vegan, but also because I love knowing that there is no mercury in it!  And it tastes really great!  I find that it is even better the next day, so I always try to make it the night before.  It is packed with protein and tons of flavor and is a definite favorite in my house!

Mock Tuna Salad

ingredients for mock tuna salad

ingredients for mock tuna salad

  • 1 box garbanzo beans (I prefer to use boxes that have no harmful glue, but you can also use 15 oz. cans).
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 pickle, diced
  • 1/2 t onion granules
  • 2 t nutritional yeast
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 3 T vegan mayo
  • 3/4 T kelp granules

DSC_0631In a large bowl, mash the garbanzo beans.  My family prefers them very well mashed, but some people prefer them with more texture.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Optional – for best taste, place in fridge overnight.

DSC_0637Once the mock tuna is made, making a sandwich with it is simple.  My kids prefer it plain, but for my husband I add lettuce, tomato and onion.

Along with the mock tuna sandwich, I have added orange slices, chocolate lime meltways (click here for the recipe) and a box of chocolate hazelnut milk.

mock tuna on a bagel, orange slices, chocolate lime meltaways and chocolate hazelnut milk for lunch

mock tuna on a bagel, orange slices, chocolate lime meltaways and chocolate hazelnut milk for lunch

This lunch is so healthy, delicious and easy to make!

See you tomorrow for lunch #2!!