Vegan Spaghetti and “Beyond Meat (R)” Sauce

When I was a kid one of my favorite things was watching my mom make meat sauce. I couldn’t see in the pot but I did get to taste test with pieces of white bread. I think I would eat about a half of a loaf of white Wonder bread by the time my mom was done cooking down the sauce. I would wash it all down with some good ol’ vitamin D “red” milk and a big orangey smile. Now that I am a grown up and a vegan… well… this isn’t on my list of things I can do. But I can try to recreate that taste. The only change to my moms sauce is really the meat. The rest was already vegan. So with that, I began my attempt with the use of the new Beyond Meat Crumbles. The only reason I attempted this recipe is because of these crumbles. They have the right flavor and texture and cook the same as regular hamburger would. This was always a problem with other crumbles; they either dried out or got mushy. Not Beyond Meat! So I was so confident making it I made it for dinner without even testing. Just to let you know… they didn’t let me down it, came out perfecto! I love Beyond Meat so so much. You should too. Also, this recipe is super duper simple and low ingredient. It is virtually error proof! Eat up!

 

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Spaghetti with “Beyond Meat” Sauce

 

  • 1 Extra large can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Extra Large Can of Tomato Puree
  • 2 mini cans of Tomato Paste
  • 1 package of Beyond Meat Crumbles
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Seasoned Salt
  • Dried or Fresh Basil
  • Granulated Garlic

 

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Cooking the Meat!

  1. Add a small amount of olive oil to an extra large sauce pot and when warm toss in Beyond Meat crumbles and a few pinches of kosher salt.
  2. Cook until heated and ready to eat.

 

Making the Sauce!

  1. Add all canned tomato products to meat.
  2. Sprinkle in Granulated Garlic, Basil, and Seasoned salt to taste.
  3. Add a little olive oil if you want now.
  4. Cook down stirring frequently over medium heat until slightly dense. Takes about 30-45 minutes.
  5. Keep the top on to avoid splatter!
  6. Serve over pasta of your choice. I prefer ziti with lines or angel hair. Enjoy!

 

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Food is Love. The Hippie Gypsy.

 

Springtime Ingredients and Curried Chicken Salad Recipe

Today is the first day of spring and with so many new ingredients hitting the produce and farm stands, my mouth is already watering. I am thinking of warm pasta dishes with sprinkles of green veggies and herbs. It is almost too much for my little brain to handle!

The weather is warming up over here in the Northeast and with a gray, rainy day today with a mild 37 degree temperature this morning, one cannot help but dream of the plants pushing their stems through the ground and smell the steaming artichokes, peas, and asparagus that will be waiting on our Easter Tables. So lets talk about what is in season and drop some ideas on how to prepare it for a spring brunch or even Easter!

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What is Fresh?

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  • Apricots
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Cherries
  • Fava Beans
  • Fennel
  • Green Garlic
  • Green Onions
  • Leeks
  • Lemons
  • Lettuces and Greens
  • Mint
  • Morels
  • New Potatoes
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Ramps
  • Rhubarb
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet Onions
  • Turnips

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What are some awesome vegan spring recipes in which to prepare these fresh spring ingredients?

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Apricots: Make a Curried Vegan Chicken Salad with sliced almonds and diced dried apricots (recipe below), or a Moroccan Grain Salad, or roast the apricot and serve it as a dessert just like I did with peaches here!

Artichokes: I am a HUGE fan of artichokes! I roast, steam, or just plain old toss them into so many dishes. Add them to a marinara or a cashew cream sauce with sum sundried tomatoes and they are amaxing. Or go all out for a party and make this awesome Spinach Artichoke Dip!

Asparagus: I rarely eat asparagus but when I do they have to be fresh and either steamed and then drizzled with oil, balsamic and salt (served cold) or roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Keep it simple!

Beets: Beets are an amazing food. Try golden beets steamed or roasted with a balsamic vinegar drizzle. Heaven on earth!

Carrots: Everyone loves carrots. They are in cans, fresh, and come in every color. Purple is the original color of a carrot though. Try something new with this spiced carrot spread recipe from Martha Stewart!

Cherries: Cherries are such a wonderful ingredient that can be made savory or sweet. Try making a traditional cherry pie or some cherry chocolate brownie cupcakes to indulge!

Fava Beans: Try a twist on the average soup or standard fava bean salad with this Sopa de Habas from Saveur!

Fennel: I love roasting fennel with other veggies and making it almost herbaceous to the dish. Check out my roasted veggies from the holidays here!

Green Garlic: Green Garlic is similar in use to Green onions. I support this unusually garlic by dicing it thin and tossing it in a salad with asian dressing, dried fruits, and sliced almonds. You can even rub the oils from it around the inside of the bowl to help bring out the taste.

Green Onions: I love green onions in two particular dishes (1) is the Dragon Potatoes at the Cantina in San Diego’s Pacific Beach (you can get the recipe and cookbook here), and (2) when sprinkled over a peanut satay noodle dish like this recipe which includes lots of the other items on here. Mix it up and enjoy!

Leeks: Leeks are similar to onions. I like them for soups. Try making a simple traditional potato leek soup at Easter.

Lemons: When I was a little girl we lived in the San Jose area of California. I would sit on the railing of the back deck overlooking our pool and eat lemons with my brother. When I met my husband one of the first things I found out is he still eats lemons and LOVES them. There are a million lemon recipes out there both savory and sweet. My favorites are Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Bundt Cake and Lemon Meringue Pie though.

Lettuces/Greens: We all know how to use lettuce to make a salad but what else can you do with it? Try seasoning it and grilling it. Not sure what kind of lettuce to use. Get a free trial to Cook’s Online Cooking School and learn with videos and recipe lessons how to make them perfectly! I just did the lettuces version this past week and learned quite a bit about what flavors are in each type and when to use them and how to use them! I pay $20/ a month but more serious folks can do the $40 a month program and get feedback from America’s Test Kitchen Chefs!

Mint: I like mint in dessert but I am not much of a fan in savory dishes although it is used heavily in the Mediterranean and middle eastern cooking recipes. So try something totally different and make a mint tea with mint, sugar, and water!

Morels: These mushrooms are so rich and can be made into almost anything! Check out this website and recipe guide that is dedicated to them and start experimenting! Also look at Martha Stewart’s Morels 101 !

New Potatoes: Roasted New Potatoes tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs are a staple. The only spring change I would make… add some edible flowers and Herbs de Provence!

Parsley: I re-blogged a great recipe that had a wonderful use of parsley the other day here with Roasted Potatoes and Avocado. Or try a Parsley Walnut Pesto for a hot or cold salad (swap the parm for Galaxy Foods Vegan Parmesan) or fun bruschetta!

Peas: My father hates peas but I grew up with them on my plate at least a few times a week. From the can with butter and salt. Yum. However with them so fresh try a variety of types and ways to make them! Steam some fresh snow peas or sugar snaps and toss in a stir fry with some tofu. Or perhaps make a minty pea dip or Pea Guacomole!

Radishes: Radishes are inherently a mexican topping. You add them raw and sliced to the top of any taco and it is instant heaven.

Ramps: ramps are a food that many are not familiar with but are part of that green onion/scallion style of food. But here on the east coast they are more common so we pickle them, put them in bread, and even toss them in the fryer! Check out some recipes here.

Rhubarb: My husband is a sucker for a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie from the baked section of our Grocery Store. My mom buys them for him all the time. But when i was little my grandfather used to recite a rhyme to me every so often asking me if the “rain would hurt the rhubarb” and I thought that rhubarb was the same as rebar that was on the cement pillars of the ski lift so I would be rolling my eyes like “No they are always covered in snow”. I laugh at my 4 year old logic. However does the rain hurt the rhubarb?  The answer is apparently no, but it is obviously a common question! That being said eat some of its sweet and sour flesh in a pie (just sub the dairy for non-dairy items)!

Scallions: Scallions grew like weeds in the backyard of my childhood home. I hated the smell but now it is nostalgic. They are great on almost everything so I wanted to find an out of the box recipe for you guys. This is what I found: Avocado, Celery, and Scallion Bruscetta with Mache! Also take a look at Martha Stewart for more inspiration on Ramps, Scallions, and Green Onions!

Spinach: I use spinach mainly in salads or steamed with vinegar on them. How do you cook spinach? Also there is always the Spinach Artichoke Dip above!

Strawberries: I love strawberries. Doesn’t everyone? But its actually not a berry. Although, Pineapples and Bananas are. Make a strawberry chocolate pie for Easter by tossing strawberries with tapioca pearls and sugar and then putting them in a vegan pie crust and pouring chocolate chips in the crevices. It is really that easy. check out Magnolia Bakery’s recipe! Also I love my chocolate dipped strawberry cupcakes. They are fun and easy for kids to make too!

Sweet Onions: I could use sweet onions all day. Onion rings, purree, or in a bread. Yummy Yummy! Try my onion bread recipe!

Turnips: I have never cooked turnips. Ever. So I will rely on some experts on some interesting recipes. Here they are: RECIPES . I must say the Maple Carrot Turnip Mash and the Turnip Slaw look awesome! Some of that slaw over my BBQ Seitan Pretzel Sandwich Recipe sounds devine!

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Curried Vegan Chicken Salad with Apricots and Sliced Almonds (Made for 1 person)

 Ingredients:

  • 6 pieces of Beyond Meat Chicken Lightly Seasoned
  • (1-2) tbsp of Vegan Mayonnaise like Just Mayo by Hampton Foods
  • 2 tbsp of Balti Curry Spice from Penzey’s
  • 1 dried apricot
  • 2 tbsp of sliced almonds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: Sliced Bread, green salad

Dice chicken strips into tiny pieces. Toss with mayo, then season, and stir until combined. Dice the dried apricot and toss into mixture with almonds, toss lightly, and serve cold immediately. You can put it on a salad or in a sandwich as well! Enjoy!

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The great thing you may have noticed is that many of the recipes use multiples of these ingredients together. That is the beauty of cooking seasonly. The flavors always jive well together. Plus you are helping save the planet by not getting your produce shipped in from a million miles away. Try buying seasonally and locally. It is pretty delicious! Happy First Day of Spring everyone!

Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

REBLOG: Chocolate Chip Cheesecake by Lucy’s Friendly Foods

This is certainly a must to reblog. It looks tasty and beautiful for spring. I would need to make a few alterations due to the change in country but seems easy enough to alter! It also has Tofutti as a main ingredient which is a favorite of mine! I would even consider topping with sliced fruit. Enjoy… Chocolate Chip Cheesecake.

Veganized Hamburger Green Bean Casserole aka Hamburger Pie aka “Mush” over Mashed Potatoes

When I was a little kid my mom would always make a dish we endearingly called “Mush”. It was ground hamburger with green beans and milky tomato soup poured over mashed potatoes. It was one of my favorite meals. It doesn’t sound great but honestly it is borderline amazing. The soup gets thick and creamy and gives the mixture a gravy/meaty tomato sauce/chili like texture. But once it is poured over mashed potatoes… heaven. I can’t explain it but to say it is simple and wonderful and now that Beyond Meat makes meaty crumbles that actually taste like ground meat. I can make it again!

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My Mom’s Recipe for Mush (Veganized)

  • 1-2 bags of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Seasoned salt
  • 1 can of green beans (drained)
  • 1 can Campbell’s Tomato Soup
  • 1 canful of Soy Milk (poured into the soup can)
  • Mashed Potatoes ( I used the dehydrated kind for this recipe with earth balance and soy milk)

 

COOK!

  1. In a large skillet heat oil and crumbles until warm and cooked through about 10 minutes (see bag label).
  2. Once cooked add soup and then one soup can worth of soy milk.
  3. Use a few sprinkles of seasoned salt to  season to taste.
  4. Add green beans last.
  5. Cook until the soup has cooked down to a thicker consistency like chili.
  6. Serve hot over mashed potatoes with a dab of earth balance butter.
  7. Enjoy!

 

Tip(s): If you add too much soup or milk and don’t have enough meat to thicken the sauce, add bulger wheat to absorb some of the liquid. It adds a meaty chew and will not talk away from flavor. it only needs about 15 minutes to soften also!

 

Serves 4.

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.

Creamy Pesto Sauce over Whole Wheat Pasta

I love pesto. I love everything about it. The strong smell of herbs, the creamy texture, the sharp cheesiness, and the fatty oils. I used to get that Bertolli pesto in the small hummus like container and just indulge. However, that container has a whole lot of Parmesan cheese and olive oil in it. Don’t get me wrong I love olive oil and Parmesan is the world’s top cheese supposedly but I am vegan and I need to start eating less oil and more whole foods so this weekend I tried to make a new pesto recipe and decided to add some protein and make it a nice creamy version of my favorite since I already have a classic pesto recipe on here. So please make some, add a few of my optionals, and indulge in a delicious creamy pesto pasta on this cold, snowy Meatless Monday!

 

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Oil Free Creamy Pesto Sauce

  • 1 container lite silken tofu
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 cup frozen basil
  • 1 tbsp pinenuts (pignolias)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic

Optional: (1) Add raw sliced almonds to the processor for a little texture. (2) Top with bruschetta tomatoes and a balsamic drizzle for a fresh twist. (3) Eat with American Flatbread Company’s new Farmer’s Tomato Pie instead of garlic bread or crusty bread.

 

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Preparation

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Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until well combined and then when you drain your pasta place the sauce in the pot over medium or medium low heat stirring often until bubbling. Add pasta and toss. Serve hot with bread or Tomato Pie!

 

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Serves 4.

 

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

Preparing Tofu the Right Way

Since I became vegan I have always been afraid of preparing my own Tofu. First it was that I didn’t know how to use the different kinds (lite, firm, silken, extra firm, huh?). Then it was that it was all watery and mushy. Last, it was that everyone told me I had to dry it out or press it down or just buy the pre-baked from Trader Joe’s (which I did). I never knew what exactly to do. Then I started reading blogs and still not completely comfortable. Then I starting asking other vegetarians and cooks that I knew. i got closer to confident. But this past month I got a free cooking school online pass. They taught me so much so fast. I feel so much more confident about my tofu skills now. So here is my simple and best way to prepare tofu successfully. The pictures are provided by my closest friend that currently is living in Florida and doing a fast in which she has to prepare vegan food but was an omnivore prior to this fast. (The fast is called the Danial Fast Click Here to learn more.) I gave her my recipe and she followed it perfectly and topped her veggie bowl with the tofu.

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Pan Fried and Baked Tofu

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1 block of lite or regular extra firm tofu
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal

 

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Prepare!

  1. Slice tofu into sticks by dividing the tofu in half and then half each side again creating 4 slabs. Divide those slabs into half to create sticks.
  2. Take tofu sticks and place on a plate that has 3 layers of paper towels. Let tofu drain on those towels at least 30 minutes. Then take an additional paper towel and press away excess water from the top.
  3. Next sprinkle with kosher salt and make rest 5 more minutes.
  4. In a bowl mix together cornstarch and cornmeal. Dredge the tofu through the mixture. You can add salt and pepper directly to the flour to create a seasoned flour.

 

Cook!

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan until almost spitting. To test heat place a droplet of water into pan and watch it sizzle.
  2. With tongs place sticks into the hot oil moving frequently so they do not stick. Rotate each side until lightly cooked then place on a silpat for the oven.
  3. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-20 minutes until firm and not longer leaking excess water.
  4. Place on a dish with paper towels to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve.

 

I eat it with a side of peanut satay sauce or over brown rice and veggies with terriyaki sauce. They come out almost with a light crisp like a tempura would but not oily. Its the perfect way to keep it moist, not oily, and crisp. Enjoy!

 

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PS: I have used the following substitutions successfully: Chia Seeds instead of Cornmeal, Arrowroot instead of Cornstarch, Canola instead of Olive Oil.

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.

 

 

Purple Potato French Fries

I buy purple potatoes frequently. (1) Because they are delicious, (2) because they are healthier, and (3) because they are more fun than regular white or red potatoes. When I was watching a cooking show the other day with my husband, one of the cooks used purple potatoes and they explained the health benefits and now my husband feels savvy in why I use them too. When I made these purple potato french fries he says to me “You know these are healthier than those starchy white potatoes.” I stated that yes I knew that and then laughed. At least all this crazy veganism is teaching him something too (other than how to avoid veggie based dinners by eating cereal and going to Taco Bell when I am not looking). With that, I want to introduce you to the tastiest french fries I have ever made and probably would never have made had I not been vegan. They are easy and better than Ore-Ida from the frozen bags and better than plain old baked white ones that I made as a kid. Enjoy!

 

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Purple Potato Fries

  • (1) Bag of Organic Purple Potatoes (24oz is about right)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of Olive Oil (1 is usually enough but use a little more so they get crispy and then drain them)
  • 1 tbsp or more Kosher Salt

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Cook!

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.

Take each round potato and slice off two sides so that they are lying down flat with a flat top.

Then slice into 6 sticks by cutting another horizontal line to make two flat rounds stacked on top of each other and then three slices across to make 6 sticks (3 on each of the 2 layers).

There is no need to peel the potato. You can however place them in a bowl of cold water to soak if you want.

Do this to all potatoes. Toss with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Place on cookie sheet and into preheated oven for at least 20-25minutes. You will see them brown, sizzle and crisp.

Remove when done and place on paper towels to drain.

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I add a touch more salt while they are still damp with oil and then serve!

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They are sweet and nutty and so so so good. You will love them, I promise!

 

Serves 4-6.

WW Points for 4 Servings: 5 pts

WW Points for 6 servings: 3 pts

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.

Sunday Prep Day: How to be a vegan easily

Sunday is my day to relax and mentally prepare for a long week ahead of me. I love Sunday in my head but hate when it arrives. It is the anticipation that as the clock ticks down I am just that much closer to another long week. So I have started doing what I always resisted. Buying healthy lunch ingredients and spending Sunday preparing. I decided that as this would be my first week doing this I would keep it simple. Salads and cereal and sliced bread for my breakfasts and lunches at work. It took my roughly 10 minutes to make (4) lunches for this week. It turns out it was a great idea because as the day went on my cold kicked in and my body got more and more tired. It is going to be a long week. Despite it having a holiday Wednesday. But I am prepared. I won’t need to run to CVS for a quick Asian  microwave dinner bowl or Panera Bread for a veggie sandwich that (calorie-wise) I should not be having except as a treat. So I went to Whole Foods, bought 1 container of baby kale, 1 container of mixed spring greens, 4 avocados, chopped mangoes, chopped berries, and a loaf of Iggy’s pecan cranberry bread. I already had the rest of my staples so I headed home.   IMG_2870 I made a quick salad with (4) glass and plastic containers out for sorting. layer of kale, layer of spring greens, layer of berries, layer of mango. I then took out the avocados and placed them in a separate bowl, diced with lemon, salt, and pepper. Then took out a measuring cup. I needed 1 cup of cereal in bags for my breakfast. I keep a container of all my cereals mixed together. I think it is more fun than just one type of cereal. I scooped (1) cup portions into biodegradable zipper sandwich bags that I got at Whole Foods a few months back. I keep a cereal bowl at work and then packed myself some extra hazelnut milk and salad dressing. I then cut slices of the bread in half and put a thin layer of Earth Balance on each using the same knife from the avocados. I put the bread in the same type of bags as the cereal. Done. 4 days, 8 meals. I keep reusable utensils and dishes at work that I rinse and wash out in the bathroom. So I was all set. We have a kitchen downstairs too for more complicated cleaning.   IMG_2871 So it really is that easy. If you want a little something more add a rice cup or frozen dairy free gluten free Amy’s burrito to your lunch. I keep Weight Watchers Red Beans and Rice cups in my office just to throw on top of salads. It is easy, vegan, and fills me up. With just 10-15 minutes of planning you have your whole week of healthy yummy food ready. It is also cost effective. Better than $10 at Panera Bread each day or $5.00 for breakfast at Dunkin Donuts! Enjoy! ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Food is Love.  The Hippie Gypsy.

Maple Glazed Seitan (Not Satan)

Every time I tell my husband or father I am going to make seitan for dinner they both say “Satan?” It is a running joke with them because they find the name hilarious and I prefer it over “wheat gluten” because everyone thinks that is an allergy not a food these days. I like seitan (say-tan) a great deal. I tried Upton’s Naturals brand this week. It seems comparable to the West Soy one I used before but I think I actually prefer the West Soy one. This bummed me out a little because I always heard Upton’s was amazing. Oh well. Everyone has their own tastes. Moving on a did a simple maple glaze on it and if you add a splash of liquid smoke your meal is forever transformed into a meat like yumminess that needs no side dish. I only wish I had some chopped green onions to garnish it!

 

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Maple Glazed Seitan

  • 1 box Seitan (in cubed form not strips)
  • 1/8 cup Maple Syrup
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke

 

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Cooking:

In a sautee pan heat oil slightly and add rest of ingredients.

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Stir until well combined and the liquid reduced caramelizing the seitan.

Enjoy!

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Optional: If you must serve to a group or want to get fancy… I would say place it on top of some white sticky rice and garnish with green onions.

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

Cheesy Veggie Stuffed Bread

I must say that I am in LOVE with the onion foccacia bread that is prepared at Whole Foods. I buy it all the time. I use it in my recipe for chicken pot pie. It is borderline amazing for any purpose. I just adore it. That being said I thought to myself after the holidays were over, “Wow I ate a lot of stuffing but I didn’t stuff it INTO anything”. Then I turned that on it’s head and wondered why not stuff a bread instead of stuff an animal. It is obviously healthier and less gross so let’s give it a whirl. Out came an amazing and delicious treat I have even served my guy friends at a recent dinner with a side of pumpkin curry soup. Enjoy! (they definitely did).

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Veggie Stuffed Bread

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Ingredients:

  • Onion Foccacia Square from Whole Foods
  • Sliced Green and Yellow Squash
  • Fresh Green Beans
  • Daiya Havarti (1/2) Block
  • Olive Oil

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Baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 430 degrees.
  2. Slice out a one inch section of the center of the bread so that it is hollowed out but still has some bread on top and bottom. Do not cut complately through like a sandwich though so that you can fold it shut after filling.
  3. Drizzle bottom interior of bread with olive oil then stack with sliced squash.
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  5. Crumble cheese on top and in between squash. Layer with Raw Fresh Green Beans.
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  7. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Fold top shut.
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  9. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  10. Enjoy!

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Food is Love. 

The Hippie Gypsy