Vegan Nut-Free Nacho Cheese

Vegan Nut-Free Nacho Cheese
Vegan Nut-Free Nacho Cheese

Before I went vegan, I was one of those people that would say I couldn’t live without cheese. Nachos was one of my all time favorite foods—I could not imagine a life without nachos. Even when I made the connection and became vegan, I accepted that I would never enjoy nachos the way I used to. Well.. lo and behold.. I now have a vegan, nut-free nacho cheese trick up my sleeve and I’m happy to say it hits on every single sensation I loved and remembered about nachos.

Pro-tip: if you want a super easy (but not nut-free) option, Siete Foods makes an amazing Mild Nacho Cashew Queso that works fantastically on nachos as well. Sprinkle on a little vegan shredded mozz (I like Good Planet, 365, and Daiya Cutting Board Collection brands) and you’ve got a very solid, quick and easy vegan nacho recipe!


Vegan Nut-Free Nacho Cheese Recipe

Ingredients (2–3 Servings)

  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • .5 cup carrots, peeled and cubed
  • .25 cup vegetable oil
  • .25 cup plant-based milk, I used Silk soy milk
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • .5 tsp salt
  • +Any combination of cayenne powder, chipotle powder (or use a small amount of real chipotle peppers in adobo sauce), chili powder, smoked paprika


1. Boil the potatoes and carrots in pot of water for approximately 10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain them from the boiling water and add to a blender.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and combine until smooth—taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. I usually go pretty light with all the red seasonings but then continue to add and build up flavor. I also usually end up adding more salt, more lemon juice.

3. Serve immediately over nachos. You could also use as a dip but it won’t be gooey like other vegan cheese dip recipes out there—I like to keep this recipe super simple. For nachos, I like any combination of tortilla chips, black beans, corn, cilantro, scallion, tomatoes, bell pepper, olives, etc. Add a slice of lime on the side for an extra punch of flavor. Enjoy!

More From Zest

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta

Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta
Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta

Stuffed shells?! You might be thinking this seems hard to veganize, but with products like vegan cream cheese, artichokes, hearts of palm, or even white beans (not used this time around but a great substitution for any of the fauxcotta ingredients), this recipe is a super customizable, pantry-friendly comfort food. The filling is delicious in these stuffed shells, but also tastes great in vegan bruschetta and probably in any other ricotta-dependent recipe.

I used both hearts of palm and artichokes because I had them laying around, but this recipe would be delicious in a number of ways: cream cheese + artichokes (no hearts of palm), cream cheese + hearts of palm (no artichokes), white beans + artichokes (no cream cheese), white beans + hearts of palm… so on and so forth 😊 Play around with whatever you have on hand and see what you come up with!


Vegan Stuffed Shells with Pesto Fauxcotta Recipe

Ingredients (2–3 Servings)

  • Jumbo shells, I used 18 shells to fill a 9×9″ square baking dish
  • Vegan mozzarella, I used Good Planet brand (optional)
  • Salt & pepper


  • A quarter or a third (2+ oz) of an 8 oz package of vegan cream cheese, I used Kite Hill brand
  • 1 heaping cup canned or jarred artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained
  • ~1–2 canned or jarred whole hearts of palm, equivalent to ~2.8–5.6 oz canned or jarred hearts of palm in pieces, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • Generous handful of fresh basil, I used a 1.25 oz package
  • Lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 14 oz can whole steam peeled tomatoes (don’t drain!)
  • A quarter of an onion, finely diced
  • Half of a small carrot, finely diced (optional)
  • Half of a stalk of celery, trimmed and finely diced (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Dried (or fresh) basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Olive oil
  • Yondu vegetable umami seasoning (optional)
  • Salt & pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 375º.

2. Start the homemade tomato sauce by adding the oil and mirepoix (onion, celery, and carrot) to a small pot. Cook for ~5–10 min on medium heat or until everything is soft and cooked through.

3. Add the garlic, and tomato paste and mix well, cooking for a minute.

4. Roughly purée the canned tomatoes in a food processor and add to the pot, along with all of the seasonings (bay leaf, basil, oregano, Yondu, salt & pepper). Mix well and reduce heat to med-low. Cover and let simmer for 15–20 minutes. Cover & set aside.

5. Add all fauxcotta ingredients to a food processor and adjust lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil, and cream cheese quantities to taste.

6. Cook jumbo pasta shells according to package instructions, but stopping them when they are al dente and still holding their shape. Rinse with cold water.

7. Use a piping bag, sandwich bag with a corner cut off, or a spoon to scoop fauxcotta into each shell.

8. Spread half of the sauce into the bottom of the baking dish, then add all of the shells, seam-side up. Drizzle the remainder of the sauce over the shells and top with a sprinkling of vegan mozzarella (optional).

9. Place into hot oven and bake for 20–30 minutes, or until the shells seem fully cooked and tender, and the sauce is bubbling.

10. Serve with some fresh basil and vegan parmesan (optional), I like the Go Veggie brand’s. Enjoy!

More From Zest

Vegan Cold Peanut Noodles

Vegan Cold Peanut Noodles

Now that it’s warming up outside and starting to feel like spring, I’ve been craving dishes that require less cooking. This Vegan Cold Peanut Noodle recipe is perfect for days like these because it’s quick, easy, and the only thing you need heat for is cooking the noodles. This dish includes raw red bell pepper, carrots, and cucumbers, but is highly adaptable to other items you might have on hand, much as green beans or snap peas, edamame, or tofu.


Vegan Cold Peanut Noodles Recipe

Ingredients (2 Servings)

  • 4 oz noodles (any long, thin type will do, I recommend Soba)
  • ~.33 cup bell pepper, chopped in thin strips then halved
  • ~.33 cup cucumber (any kind), chopped in sticks or disks
  • ~.33 cup carrot, peeled, chopped finely into sticks, grated, or sliced with a peeler
  • Chives or scallion, chopped finely
  • Handful of fresh cilantro (optional)

Peanut Sauce:

  • Heaping .25 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1.5–2 tbsp sriracha, depending on how spicy you want it
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • Generous pinch of garlic powder (recommend powder over fresh garlic as raw garlic can be very overpowering, and this recipe makes more sauce than needed so the garlic taste will continue to get stronger in the fridge)
  • ~1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp hot water


1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Keep an eye on them so that they don’t cook past al dente. Drain, rinse, then set aside or put into fridge or freezer as you prepare the rest of the recipe.

2. Prep all of the veggies.

3. Mix sauce ingredients, tasting as you go. Add more sugar if it is overpoweringly acidic. Add more water if it is too thick. Add more peanut butter and/or sugar if it is too spicy.

4. Combine the noodles and veggies, and spoon in the sauce as you stir, making sure it is evenly distributed, using tongs. There will likely be sauce leftover. Optionally, top with additional cilantro, chives, scallion, roughly chopped peanuts, sesame seeds, etc. Enjoy!

This recipe was inspired by “Cold Peanut Noodle Salad” from Julia of Savory Tooth. Thank you for sharing!

More From Zest

Vegan Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash with Tofu Steaks

Vegan Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash with Tofu Steaks
Vegan Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash with Tofu Steaks

Tonight’s meal came together in a funny way… In my recent Misfits Market delivery, I was convinced I received a rutabaga. I looked up a mashed rutabaga and carrot recipe and was very excited to try a root vegetable I had never tried before. As I peeled it, I thought, “wow, it’s beautifully bright red inside, but that makes sense because rutabagas are root vegetables just like beets.” And that’s when I smelled it.. and realized, this was actually a beet! I was able to easily pivot and make this recipe with sweet potato, and it turned out fantastic! But now, what to do with these beets?!


Vegan Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash with Tofu Steaks Recipe

Ingredients (2 Servings)

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1.5 carrots, sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • ~2 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance brand)
  • ~3 tbsp full fat coconut milk (optional, you could also use any plant-based milk)
  • Handful of green beans, trimmed
  • .5 package of extra firm tofu, pressed and sliced thickly
  • Corn starch
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp olive or neutral oil
  • ~1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Salt & pepper
  • Splash of lemon juice


1. Add the sweet potato, carrot, and garlic cloves into a pot of boiling, salted water.

2. Press, pat dry, and slice the tofu into thick “steaks”. Toss each slice in corn starch, wiping off excess starch so that it’s a light coating. The tofu should feel dry and smooth from the starch but not thickly coated.

3. When the sweet potato and carrot are both very tender, drain and return them to the pot. Turn off the heat. Add the vegan butter, coconut milk, salt, and pepper to the pot and mash it all together with a potato masher. I ended up immersion blending mine too since the carrot didn’t mash as well as the sweet potato. Cover to keep warm.

4. Heat sesame oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add tofu steaks. Season with salt and pepper and let both sides fry for about 3–4 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

5. In a separate pan, heat 1 tbsp olive or neutral oil over high heat. Once hot, add the green beans, salt, and pepper, and stir frequently. They only need a couple minutes if you like them crunchy, like I do. Turn off the heat and finish with a small splash of lemon juice.

6. To serve, plate everything up and drizzle a little soy sauce on the tofu steaks. Enjoy!

More From Zest

Vegan Tempeh Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Vegan Tempeh Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce
Vegan Tempeh Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

I received another delivery from Misfits Market and got some beautiful string beans, carrots, baby broccoli, red onion, and lime, so I figured it’d be a perfect opportunity to make a stir fry! I’m not sure about other vegans, but tempeh is not a staple in my kitchen—something about its texture and often nutty taste just makes me reach more readily for tofu instead… But fear not, this recipe utilizes a separate stir fry sauce that gives the tempeh amazing flavor—I loved it! I might have to start buying it more often.


Vegan Tempeh Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce Recipe

Ingredients (2 Servings)

Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar*
  • 3 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 tsp soy sauce

Stir Fry Sauce:

  • 2 tsps brown sugar*
  • 5 tsps soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1–3 cloves of garlic, diced finely or grated

Other Ingredients:

  • ~3 tbsps Sesame oil
  • .5 package tempeh, sliced thickly into strips
  • ~.33–.5 carrot, sliced into matchsticks
  • ~.33–.5 cup bell pepper, sliced
  • ~.33–.5 cup green beans, ends trimmed and cut into halves or thirds
  • ~.33–.5 cup onion, diced
  • ~.33–.5 cup baby broccoli, stems and florets roughly chopped
  • .25 cup water
  • 1 tsp ginger, diced finely or grated (optional)
  • Handful of fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • ~.5 cup rice (follow package instructions for 2 servings of rice, optional)

*Please be aware it is nearly impossible to discern if brown sugar is vegan—unfortunately, many North American sugar companies do still use animal bone char in the production of sugars, including brown sugar. As a somewhat recent vegan, I already had this in my pantry so I didn’t want it to go to waste. You could simply omit this from the recipe to keep it 100% vegan, and the recipe will still taste great.


1. If using raw rice, start it now. If frozen, wait until nearly ready to serve.

2. Make the peanut sauce by whisking all of the peanut sauce ingredients together. Set aside.

3. Make the stir fry sauce by whisking all of the stir fry ingredients together. Set aside.

4. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat and add 1 tbsp sesame oil to the pan, swirling to coat the pan well. Add the tempeh and half of the stir fry sauce, briefly tossing the tempeh in the sauce before allowing it to start browning. Cook for a few minutes per side, until it becomes goldeny brown. Remove from pan and set aside.

5. Add additional 2 tbsps sesame oil to the pan and add in all of the veggies and ginger. Stir fry these for a few minutes, then add .25 cup water, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the beans are tender.

6. Remove the lid and increase the heat. If it seems too liquidy, carefully drain out some of the excess water. A little excess is okay as it will cook off. Add the remaining stir fry sauce, add back in the tempeh, mix well, and keep on the heat for a couple of minutes.

7. If using frozen rice, prepare it now.

8. To serve: first add the rice, then the stir fry, then garnish with fresh cilantro, sesame seeds, and lime wedges. Serve with peanut sauce and Sriracha on the side. Enjoy!

This recipe was inspired by “Tempeh and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce” from Jeanne Kelley of Cooking Light. Thank you for sharing!

More From Zest

Vegan Sweet Potato Tikka Masala

In my recent Misfits Market delivery, I received a sweet potato that I needed to use, so I thought, instead of tofu tikka masala, what if I used sweet potato? As it turns out, the Indian spices really complement the natural sweetness of the sweet potato. Despite not being a huge sweet potato fan, I am definitely going to be making this again!


Vegan Sweet Potato Tikka Masala Recipe

Ingredients (2 Servings)

  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • .25 white onion, roughly diced
  • .25 bell pepper, deseeded and diced
  • .5 jalapeño, deseeded and diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, quartered/large diced
  • .25 cup frozen peas
  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes
  • ~.25–.5 can coconut milk
  • ~.25 unsweetened plain plant milk (I used soymilk)
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1–2 cloves garlic
  • ~.5 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Lemon juice
  • Turmeric
  • Garam masala
  • Curry powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ~.5 cup rice (follow package instructions for 2 servings of rice)


1. Place the diced sweet potato into a pot of boiling water and wait until fork tender, about 10–15 minutes.

2. If using raw rice, start it now. If frozen, wait until nearly ready to serve.

3. In a nonstick pan over med–high heat, add vegetable oil and the onions, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger. Stir and allow to cook until the onions are translucent, about ~5 mins.

4. When the potatoes are ready, drain them and add them to a bowl for marinating. Add soy sauce, sesame oil, nutritional yeast, and curry powder and stir through so that all potato pieces are well coated. Heat a separate nonstick pan on high heat, add some sesame oil or vegetable oil to the pan, and once hot, add the potatoes. Ensure every piece has contact with the pan. Stir occasionally until all sides are browned, then set aside.

5. Once the vegetables in the other pan are softened, add the coconut milk and fresh cilantro. Using a food processor, pulse the entire can of whole tomatoes with the soy milk and then add the mixture to the pan. Stir well and lower heat to a simmer. Season with a generous dash of turmeric, garam masala, salt, pepper, and about 1 tsp of lemon juice. Add peas to pan and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken.

6. If using frozen rice, prepare the rice at this point. Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings; I added additional salt, lemon juice, and garam masala.

7. To serve, layer rice, then veggies and sauce, then top with the pan fried sweet potato and garnish with additional fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

More From Zest

Vegan Sweet Potato Burritos with Avocado Pico de Gallo

Vegan Sweet Potato Burritos with Avocado Pico de Gallo
Diced sweet potato for Vegan Sweet Potato Burritos with Avocado Pico de Gallo
Jalapeño, bell pepper, tomato, lime, and onion for Vegan Sweet Potato Burritos with Avocado Pico de Gallo
Pico de Gallo with corn, black beans, cilantro, tomato, avocado, and lime juice
Close up of Pico de Gallo with corn, black beans, cilantro, tomato, avocado, and lime juice
Pan fried diced sweet potato for Vegan Sweet Potato Burritos with Avocado Pico de Gallo
Vegan Sweet Potato Burritos with Avocado Pico de Gallo

I love a burrito with beans and rice, but sometimes it’s fun to switch it up! These easy vegan sweet potato burritos take a classic pico de gallo and elevate it with a lot of mix-ins. I’m talking black beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, and more. If you love fresh, raw ingredients, I think you’ll enjoy this recipe!


Vegan Sweet Potato Burritos with Avocado Pico de Gallo Recipe

Ingredients (3 Burritos)

  • 1 sweet potato, washed and diced (works great with any kind of potato)
  • 1–2 fresh whole tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • 1 avocado, halved, depitted, and diced
  • .25 bell pepper (I used yellow), deseeded and diced
  • 1 scallion, sliced finely
  • ~.25 cup corn (I used frozen, or cut off the cob)
  • ~.25 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ~.25 cup white or red onion, peeled and diced
  • .5–1 jalapeño, deseeded and diced finely (optional)
  • ~1 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 3 burrito-sized flour tortillas
  • Taco seasoning (or substitute smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder)
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Aluminum foil (optional)


1. Boil the diced sweet potato until it’s fork tender, 10–15 minutes.

2. While the potatoes are boiling, combine all “pico de gallo” ingredients: tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, scallion, corn, black beans, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime juice. Mix well and add dashes of salt, ground pepper, cumin, and smoked paprika. Set aside.

3. When the sweet potato is ready, drain and set aside. Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a pan on med–high heat. Once hot, add the potatoes to the pan, making sure every piece has contact with the pan. Don’t mess with them for a couple minutes to allow them to get crispy. Stir to get color and crispness on all sides.

4. Once all sides are pretty much done, sprinkle a generous amount of taco seasoning (see ingredients list for substitutions). I also recommend adding about a tablespoon of water to the pan so that the seasoning does not stick to the bottom of the pan and immediately burn. Stir to coat the potatoes well, then allow them another minute or two on the heat.

5. In a large, nonstick, dry pan on med–high heat, heat tortillas one by one on each side, about a minute on each side. Be careful to not let them burn!

6. Tear 3 strips (or however many burritos you’re making) of aluminum foil, each strip should cover half of the rolled burrito, which in my case meant about 4 inches wide. Place the warmed tortilla on top of the aluminum foil and add one third of the potatoes and one third of the pico de gallo mixture. Roll the burrito, tucking in the edges of the tortilla, and wrap one end of the burrito in the aluminum foil. Set aside and repeat for all burritos.

7. With the nonstick pan still warm, add the burritos into the pan, seam-side down. This is optional, but it helps the burrito seam close up and rewarms the burrito before serving. Be careful not to burn!

8. Once warm, serve the burritos, aluminum foil and all. Optionally, serve with salsa on the side. Enjoy!

More From Zest

Vegan Cashew Cream Alfredo Pasta

Vegan Cashew Cream Alfredo Pasta

I recently purchased a high-speed blender and have been enjoying experimenting with vegan cashew cheeses! This recipe utilizes some leftover cashew cheese that I made previously for pizza, but also combines some vegan cream cheese for extra creaminess. The veggies in this dish can be mixed and matched to your desire. I used artichoke, shishito peppers, green bell pepper, and red onion, but I often also throw in some spinach or vegan bacon bits!


Vegan Cashew Cream Alfredo Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2)

Vegan Alfredo Sauce:

  • 0.25 cup raw cashews
  • 0.5 cup water
  • 1.5 tbsp + 1 tsp tapioca starch/tapioca flour
  • 0.5 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 0.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 0.13 tsp garlic powder
  • ~1oz vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti brand)

Other Ingredients:

  • ~0.25 cup red onion, diced
  • ~0.25 cup green bell pepper, sliced then halved lengthwise
  • 3 artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and roughly chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • Handful of shishito peppers, stems cut off and chopped in half
  • 2 servings of dry pasta (I use penne)
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (I use Earth Balance brand)
  • Handful of fresh basil for garnish, ripped up
  • ~1 cup reserved pasta water
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper


1. To make the cashew cheese, add the cashews to a small pot and with water. Bring to a boil for 10 to 15 minutes until they are softened.

2. Drain and rinse the cashews and add them along with the water, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, salt, and garlic powder to a blender (the vegan cream cheese will come in later). Blend until completely smooth.

3. Pour into a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, and continually stir as it cooks. It will start forming clumps, and then it will become a gooey blob. This takes 5 minutes or less. This cheese can be used for any number of recipes, but for this pasta dish be sure not to overcook it as we will need to loosen it back up in the Alfredo sauce. (As I mentioned, I had this cheese leftover in my fridge. If I were to make this cheese fresh for this recipe, I might recommend taking it off the heat just before it becomes a blob!) Set aside.

4. Cook pasta according to package instructions, and remove from heat once al dente. Reserve about a cup of pasta water. Set aside.

5. While the pasta is cooking, add the butter, garlic, onion, artichoke, and bell pepper to a pan over medium high heat. Panfry for about 3–5 minutes.

6. Add the cashew cheese into the pan, pouring in about a tablespoon at a time of the reserved pasta water into the pan to break down the cheese blob. Continue to add pasta water and smoosh around the cashew cheese, it may take a decent amount of pasta water.

7. Add in the vegan cream cheese, continuing to use pasta water to combine everything into a smooth sauce. Keep the pan simmering and reducing.

8. Once sauce is to your desired thickness, turn off the heat and taste to adjust seasonings. More salt? Black pepper? Nutritional yeast? Add in the pasta and stir well to combine.

9. In a separate pan, heat ~1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil on high heat until it is nearly smoking. Add the shishito peppers, moving them constantly so that they don’t get too burnt. After about 3 minutes, remove from heat and sprinkle generously with salt.

10. Serve the pasta with the shishito peppers on top. Garnish with some fresh basil, and optionally, a drizzle of olive oil. You could even opt to add vegan bacon bits or herby panko bread crumbs to bring this dish to the next level. Enjoy!

The vegan cashew cheese was inspired by “Melty Stretchy Gooey Vegan Mozzarella” from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

More from Zest

Vegan Roasted Veggie, Kale & Rice Bowls


I’ve really been loving my recent subscription to Misfits Market, which sends me two boxes a month of seasonal, fresh produce “rejected” by supermarkets based on their size or shape.

This week I had a bunch of veggies to play with: eggplant, red onion, green pepper, shishito peppers, plus a bunch I had already stocked up on, like kale and carrot.

I figured a roasted veggie & brown rice bowl would be a great way to use up as much as possible!

Roasted eggplant sliced into rounds with a mandoline, with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Roasted eggplant rounds with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper sliced into quarters.
Roasted red onion, carrot, and green bell pepper with olive oil, salt, pepper, curry powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Vegan roasted veggie, kale, and rice bowls with blistered shishito peppers.


Vegan Roasted Veggie, Kale & Rice Bowls Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped large
  • 3-ish leaves kale, stripped and ripped
  • 1 carrot, sliced in thick rounds
  • 1/2 eggplant, sliced in thick rounds (I used a mandoline)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced in thick rounds then halved down the center
  • 1-ish cup uncooked rice
  • Panful of shishito peppers
  • Smoked paprika
  • Curry powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt, pepper, water, olive oil


1. Toss the carrot, onion, and bell pepper in olive oil, curry powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Spread onto parchment-lined baking sheet and cook for about 30 mins at 450°F.

2. Spread eggplant rounds onto separate parchment-liner baking sheet. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper, then drizzle (or paint) balsamic vinegar and olive oil onto both sides. Bake at same times and temperatures as other veggie tray.

3. Prepare the rice according to package instructions (if raw) or wait until later (if microwaveable).

4. Wash, strip, and rip the kale into small pieces and put into a bowl. Pour a little lemon juice on it and massage it into the kale for about 2 minutes. Put aside in fridge.

5. Prepare the dressing: mix tahini with juice of one lemon, salt, and thin it out with warm water. Whisk well and set aside.

6. Halfway through bake time, flip eggplant slices and mix the veggies around. Crank the heat to 500°F if color is not developing enough.

7. When veggies only need 5 more minutes, start the shishito peppers. Heat about 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan on high heat. Once almost smoking, add shishitos and stir constantly so they don’t get too burnt. After about 5 minutes, remove from pan and toss with salt and any leftover lemon juice.

8. When the veggies come out of the oven, cut the eggplant into quarters.

9. To serve: start with rice, then kale, then roasted veggies and eggplant. Dress with the tahini dressing, and serve with shishito peppers on the side. Enjoy!

More From Zest

Vegan Creamy Pesto Pasta

It’s Monday, I had to work late, and then it downpoured on me on my way home when I didn’t have an umbrella! This called for a quick, easy, and comforting meal—Vegan Creamy Pesto Pasta—using plenty of veggies, fresh basil, and vegan cream cheese.


Vegan Creamy Pesto Pasta Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2)

Creamy Pesto Sauce:

  • ~1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • ~1 clove garlic (or dash of garlic powder)
  • ~1 tsp lemon juice
  • ~1 tbsp water
  • ~1 tsp olive oil
  • .25 package / 2 oz of vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti brand)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Other Ingredients:

  • 2 servings of dry pasta (I used macaroni shells)
  • ~2 artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and roughly chopped
  • ~.25 cup red onion, diced
  • ~.25 cup snap peas and/or string beans, chopped
  • ~.13 cup spinach (I used frozen)
  • Sprinkle of vegan parmesan (optional) (I used Go Veggie brand)


1. Add all Creamy Pesto Sauce ingredients to a food processor, except for the vegan cream cheese, and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.

2. Boil the pasta according to package instructions, and while it boils heat a drizzle of vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Drain and set aside once cooked.

3. While the pasta boils, add the red onion and string beans/snap peas to the pan and sauté for a few minutes. Once tender, add artichoke, spinach, and vegan cream cheese. Stir continuously to melt the cream cheese.

4. Once the cream cheese is more or less melted and well combined, add the cooked pasta to the pan, along with the pesto. Mix well, season to taste, and garnish with additional basil leaves and vegan parmesan.

More From Zest