basic vegetable stock (vegan, sodium free, soy free)

Besides creating healthy yummy recipes, there are two things I love to do that go along with creating healthy yummy recipes: finding ways to save money and reducing waste.

This basic vegetable stock manages all three.

How? Glad you asked.

The genius of this vegetable stock is it’s simplicity…just save your scraps of onion, garlic, carrot, celery and wilted bits of fresh herbs, freeze them, then turn them into a flavorful stock. No hard and fast recipe needed, but here are a few helpful tips:

  • A higher ratio of onions and garlic will produce a more savory stock; carrots and celery one with a sweeter overtone.
  • It’s possible to include members from the brassica family (e.g. kale stems, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, etc.) but I personally don’t recommend it since they carry strong, and sometimes, bitter, flavors.
  • To keep your sodium levels in check, I prefer leaving out the salt in the stock. However, I would add freshly ground pepper or a up to a teaspoon of whole peppercorns. A few pinches of turmeric also works.
  • When you’re first getting in the habit of doing this, leave a designated veggie scrap container on your counter or even write yourself a reminder…there have been countless times when I meant to save my scraps only to toss them in the garbage out of forgetfulness.
  • I store my scraps in a designated bag (I reuse cereal box liners for this!) in our freezer and pull them out when I have enough for a large pot.
  • I usually freeze my stock in mason jars, but if you like sauteing with veggie stock (a much better option than oil…although I just use plain water), use an ice cube tray to produce convenient small portions.

 

There you have it…in one large stock pot, you have a flavorful base for soups and stews, get a bigger bang for your buck by using food parts normally pitched directly in the garbage, save money on buying pre-made stock and spare the landfill more container garbage. It kind of feels like being a superhero. But with an apron instead of a cape.

Last thing…in case you’re wondering if I do this all the time? No. Right now I try for once a month because sometimes life is just too busy or I don’t have enough scraps saved to make the stock needed in a recipe. For me, it’s about doing the best that I can…and keeping an emergency container of store bought sodium-free stock in my pantry for all those other times,

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Penny-saving Basic Vegetable Stock
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

A simple stock to flavor your recipes and get extra mileage out of your vegetable scraps.

Ingredients
  • onion scraps
  • garlic scraps
  • celery scraps
  • carrot scraps
  • wilted herbs
  • peppercorns or freshly ground pepper
  • 2-3 pinches turmeric (optional)
Instructions
  1. Collect enough vegetable scraps to fill at least one half of a large stock pot. Fill the pot with water up to about 2-3 inches below the pot rim. Add pepper corns and turmeric, if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 35-45 minutes or until all the vegetables are very tender.

  2. Place a vegetable colander over a second large pot or stock pot and carefully pour the cooked vegetable stock into the colander, making sure the stock is collecting in the pot below (and not running down the sides - it happens!).

  3. Either use immediately in a recipe or let cool completely before transferring into mason jars, ice cube trays or other storage containers.

  4. Freeze and use within 2-3 months.

 

 

 

roasted carrot coconut ginger soup (vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free)

This roasted carrot coconut ginger soup absolutely hollers “fall” doesn’t it?

The bright orange color. The roasted root vegetables. The richness of the coconut milk and comforting heat of the ginger. Then add a sprinkle of spicy sweet pumpkin seeds and this is a meal and the sings. The inspiration for this soup came from similar versions I’ve seen in stores. But my version comes without the added oils that most store-bought varieties include and cutting back on added oils = a healthier you.

There are two extremely important lessons I learned when making the soup: 1) peel the carrots before roasting them. I merely scrubbed them to leave the nutrient-rich skin in tact, but found it gave a bitter overtone to the soup.

 

 

2) Be extremely careful if you puree hot soup in a blender. I overfilled mine to “speed up” the blending step which resulted in a big mess and a couple burns on my skin. Yep. Big time blender fail.

 

 

Also, when I made this soup, I pureed the roasted carrots, onions and ginger with the coconut milk and then put in my stock pot along with the water, seasonings and lentils.

 

However, you could try adding everything to the stock pot, bringing it to a boil, then simmering for at least 30 minutes before blending it. Doing it this way would save you an extra step.

If you want to serve your soup with the spicy sweet pumpkin seeds – something I highly recommend! – you can get that recipe when you purchase a copy of the Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition recipe ebook. Not only does it include the spicy sweet pumpkin seeds, but you’ll get:

  • 5 essential sauce recipes
  • 5 essential snack recipes
  • 5 easy main dish recipes
  • 3 fall-inspired bonus recipes
  • A shopping list of all ingredients

PLUS you’ll receive two bonus items: a meal prep tip sheet and a meal plan tip sheet which includes a suggested meal plan featuring the recipe in the Fall Perk Up Your Pantry recipe book. All for only $8! Click here to buy it now.

 

 

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roasted carrot coconut ginger soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time
1 hrs 30 mins
 

A soup that absolutely hollers, "fall." From it's bright orange color, warming heat and rich creaminess, it a perfect recipe to celebrate the season.

Course: Main Course, Soup
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 8-10 medium carrots, peeled, cut in half
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 14-oz can full fall coconut milk
  • 1/5-2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup red lentils, well rinsed
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Place carrots cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet (avocado oil recommended) or one lined with parchment paper along with onions and garlic. Roast in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until carrots get a slight char on their cut sides.

  2. Remove from oven and add all ingredients to a stock pot, bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils are cooked and carrots are very soft.

  3. Using a blender stick or traditional blender, carefully puree soup until very thick and smooth. Serve immediately or store in fridge for a day or two to let flavors further develop.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:  Serve with spicy sweet pumpkin seeds for a fun twist and added crunch (in place of crackers)

 

 

 

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  • You should be able to find canned full-fat coconut milk in most grocery stores. I buy either the Thai Kitchen brand or Whole Foods 365 coconut milk (which is better since their cans are BPA free!). However, if you can’t find it, try here.
  • I get my red lentils in bulk from Whole Foods, but you also can find them here.

the best basic burrito recipe (vegan, dairy free, oil free option, gluten free option)

I could easily eat Mexican food most days of the week. That and my favorite Indian curry. I love how effortless it feels, how easily it adapts to a plant-based diet and that leftovers go a long way.

This basic burrito recipe is one of my go-to’s and is inspired by a recipe I found on Whole Foods years ago. One of the things I hope you will love about it is that once you have the basic flavor profile down, you can easily tweak it to your preferences…a little more garlic here, less tomato there, more spice, more lime).

 

Once the basic burrito mix is assembled, here’s how I put it together…

1) Grab your favorite tortillas (gluten free if needed) and spread on a generous layer of hummus – red pepper is best. The hummus is what makes vegan burritos “survive” without the cheese. If you need to keep things oil-free, use oil-free tortillas and oil-free hummus.

 

2) Add a few slices of avocado and mash well. This also helps round out the creaminess and moisture usually provided by dairy cheese. If you can’t stand avocado, you can use just a little and mix it in well with the hummus and your taste buds won’t be any wiser. Trust me. I’ve tested this on my avocado-averse family members.

 

3) Scoop on the rice.

 

4) Then add the bean mixture.

 

5) Accessorize with jalapeno peppers and chili flakes if you like a lot of heat. #bringiton, I say!

 

6) Now you’re ready to roll it up and put it in the oven. Usually, I just secure it with a toothpick, but you can wrap it in parchment paper if you are planning this for a take-it-with-you meal.

 

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best basic burritos

Easy to prepare, customizable and leftovers that go a long way are why this is my basic burrito recipe. Fresh flavors, oven toasted tortillas and creamy plant-based sub-ins for dairy cheese come together to make this weeknight favorite.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Basic Burrito Filling
  • 3 cups black beans, canned or cooked according to package directions
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 limes, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • dashes pepper
  • 1/4 cup veggie stock
Other ingredients
  • 1.5 cups brown rice
  • tortillas
  • red pepper hummus
  • avocado
  • jalapeno peppers (optional)
  • red chili flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. If you don't have a rice cooker and need the rice ready in a hurry because you forgot to make it earlier (like I often do!), bring a pot of water to a boil, add the rice and cook it as you would pasta - over high heat and with the lid off. Set the timer for 23 minutes. In the meantime, you can prep your burrito filling...

  2. Add all the basic burrito filling ingredients to a mixing bowl, stir until thoroughly combined and adjust seasonings to your taste.

  3. To assemble the burritos, spread a generous helping of hummus on the tortilla and add a few pieces of avocado - give the avocado a mash. Spoon on the rice, then the bean mixture and "accessorize" with the jalapeno peppers and chili flakes if desired.

  4. Secure burritos with a toothpick or wrap in parchment paper and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes or until the tortillas are lightly browned on the edges.

Recipe Notes

These burritos keep well as leftovers and can be reheated by wrapping in tin foil and placing in a 350 degree F for about 20 minutes or until heated through. Oven re-heating may not top the microwave in speed, but it keeps your tortilla crisp like it was meant to be.

 

 

If you have family members who promise you they can’t survive without meat and will launch a revolt if you serve them only veggies, I give you permission to cook up some meat and add it to the burritos for the sake of keeping the peace.

 

 

 

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  • Though I prefer homemade tortillas, life is just too busy. So I save my sanity and buy my tortillas from Trader Joes – the chile ones are my favorite. If you need gluten-free tortillas, you can try these. For oil-free tortillas, try the Food for Life brand which can be found in most health food stores.
  • My favorite brand of store-bought hummus is Sabra. Roasted red pepper is my preferred flavor, especially for Mexican recipes (and even looks a little like cheese).
  • I prefer the unsalted veggie stock by Kitchen Basics if I don’t have my own on hand. If you can’t find it in your local grocery store, you can get it here.
  • My daughter and I have a mild obsession with Jeff’s Natural’s jalapeno peppers which you can find here. Jeff uses purer ingredients than the canned kind.

 

marinara sauce for pasta or pizza, oil & sugar free

100_0929For the longest time I could not bring myself to eat pasta with sauce on it.  Chalk it up to getting the flu after eating spaghetti for dinner. Instead, I requested my spaghetti be served with Italian Salad Dressing.

Years went by until I worked up the nerve to start eating pasta with a little bit of sauce, but it wasn’t until I went to Venice, Italy as a senior in high school that I finally understood why people love pasta.

I started making my own sauce a few years ago when I switched to eating vegan and also cutting back on oils (most store bought sauces contain oil and many also contain sugar). The inspiration for this recipe comes from the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease book which also inspired my change in diet.

Since we are a family of six and this sauce freezes well, I make a large quantity. That way, I only need to prepare this about once a month. It makes enough to fill about five large mason jars plus a few smaller jars for pizza sauce.

When I don’t have tomatoes on hand from my garden, my favorite brand of canned tomatoes are Muir Glen’s organic diced or whole tomatoes because 1. they’re organic and 2. Muir Glen took the BPA out of their can lining. Thankfully, I can buy these in bulk at BJs to save money.

marinara sauce collage

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the marinara sauce recipe

oil & sugar free marinara sauce for pasta or pizza

Prep Time: 10-20 minutes

Cook Time: at least 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-small onions, diced
  • 15-20 medium-large garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 28-oz. canned tomatoes
  • ½ c. fresh basil
  • 3 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Dashes freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 6-oz cans tomato paste (optional)

Instructions

In a large stock pot, sauté onions and garlic with a little water to prevent the vegetables from sticking.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, blend tomatoes in batches to desired sauce consistency.

Add blended tomatoes to stock pot along with other ingredients except the tomato paste.

Simmer at least 30 minutes or longer to let flavors develop.

For pizza sauce, set aside several cups of the pasta sauce and stir in tomato paste until thoroughly combined. Doing so in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat helps with this process.

Recipe Notes

I use Muir Glen’s organic whole or diced tomatoes and blend them to a fairly smooth consistency.

Garlic is the key to a tasty sauce, but if you’re not a big fan of garlic, start with a slightly smaller quantity.

This recipe makes a lot and it freezes well. One batch usually yields enough sauce for 3-4 pasta meals plus 3-4 pizzas.

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