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



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!




Food is Love. The Hippie Gypsy.


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!



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)



  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.


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!




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.





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!


IMG_3080     IMG_3083


Serves 4.



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.


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





  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.



  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!


IMG_3045   IMG_3044


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


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!




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



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.


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



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


Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.

Vegan Sundried Tomato, Onion, and Rosemary Bread from a Bread Machine

I have wanted a bread machine since the day I saw one in a thrift store in Imperial Beach, California. It was $10 and looked like a deal to me. Although I am bummed I didn’t buy it back then I am glad now because I think I would’ve lost my love for them. The reviews on the cheaper models are terrible. They look like war stories of collapsed breads and mutilated pasta dough. That should be a crime because honestly breads and carbs are the only thing that make people truly happy sometimes and if they do all that work to make them from scratch and not go buy a slice of 8,000 calorie banana bread from the coffee shop, then they should be rewarded with something wonderful. Instead the bread falls in the center creating a volcano of doughy gooey mess that one must carefully discard without losing the little rudder that helps knead the bread in the bottom of the baking pan. (Yes, I have thrown mine out and had to recover it already). That being said over the weekend I was very sick with bronchitis. I think I may have coughed up my lungs. So what better to do when stuck in the house for a few days but bake.

I made a delicious batch of my low ingredient oatmeal cookies with bananas, hazelnuts, and chocolate and I made two breads. Only one of which survived because…. well…. I wasn’t paying attention and forgot the flour (yes the flour) in one of them. It didn’t dawn on me for about an hour and then I went OH COME ON! Because I knew the baking portion had started and the kneading/stirring had passed. So my bread lovers here is my recipe for my very successful and delicious smelling sundried tomato, onion, and rosemary bread.


Sundried Tomato, Onion, and Rosemary Bread

Ingredients (see below for sizes and layering):

  • Crisco
  • (1) White Onion
  • Dried Rosemary
  • Sundried Tomato Infused Olive Oil
  • Sundried Tomatoes in olive oil
  • Bread Flour ( I used Gold’s,  DO NOT use all purpose)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Vegan Sugar
  • Dry Active Yeast ( I use fast rising or bread only)
  • Water




First you need to cook down and puree the onions. Just place chopped onions in a pan with Crisco and a few pinches of salt and cook down until translucent. Then puree with a hand blender or food processor. Place to the side.

Take the bread baking pan out of the breadmaker and begin layering your ingredients. Many breadmakers come with their own ingredients and settings. I will generally make a 1.5lb loaf in a 2lb machine instead of the max so that any ingredients I add can be incorporated with enough room. I also always use medium settings like a medium crust color. Not light or dark. Moderation helps with a finicky machine I feel.



The layering of ingredients for this bread are as follows (read below before you start layering:

  • Water (3/4 cup)
  • Infused olive oil (2 tablespoons)
  • Few pinches of salt (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup of onion mixture
  • Sugar (1 teaspoon)
  • Bread Flour (3cups)
  • Dried Rosemary (1-2 teaspoons)
  • Optional: dash of granulated garlic or other spices
  • Active Dry Yeast (1 packet) (make sure to read below before this layer)
  • Sliced Sundried Tomatoes in Oil (1/8 to 1/4 cup)

You will layer the above ingredients one on top of the other in the baking pan to be stirred, kneaded, etc. by the bread machine however when you go to add the yeast there is a small trick. Make a crater in the center so that the yeast can get to the sugar and water easier. Yeast eats sugar so this is helping guide the process. If a recipe doesn’t call for sugar but does for yeast I encourage the same process and 2 pinches of sugar into the dough to help it rise better. Also always use bread flour it is different than all purpose containing more proteins, etc.



Last place the settings on your bread machine to a basic or white bread setting and moderate crust color and size is for 1.5 lbs. If you want you can always take the bread out and knead it a little before the rise setting and add a dash of water or flour if you think it needs it. I do this occasionally. Sometimes I also spray the pan with Pam/Canola or olive oil.

Once it rises and before it bakes add a drizzle of the infused olive oil and a pinch of salt on top. It will make it have a little extra zing on the crust.

Take out immediately after baking and place on rack. if you are not there that is okay. it will just get a little soggy on the bottom if it auto-shuts off.


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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!





Maple Glazed Seitan

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




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


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




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.


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).


Veggie Stuffed Bread



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



  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.
  4. IMG_2709
  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.
  8. IMG_2710
  9. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  10. Enjoy!


Food is Love. 

The Hippie Gypsy

Vegan Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I really really love Mac and Cheese. I love Amy’s new vegan rice mac and Daiya cheeze. I love my own vegan bacon mac and cheese. I love that whole foods squash casserole mac and cheese that I make with the stuffing topping. I mean I love anything even Mac and Cheese related. It is such a wonderful comfort food that I think anyone can relate. When I was detoxing off omnivore food after my surgery I remember crying in a CVS full of exiting hormones telling my husband I needed the instant mac and cheese in the cup and I was probably going to have a melt down if I didn’t get some. Yea it was dramatic. And no he didn’t leave me, he just ushered me out. I remember thinking I am acting like a pregnant woman with these hormones. Well thankfully I am no longer going through the detox period of becoming vegan and I also can make mac and cheese (vegan) anytime I want. This recipe is how I feel I would best be able to mimic the baked macaroni and cheese I made back when I was not vegan. This is not your 1980’s blue box macaroni and cheese. This is the real stuff. I think this is the best way to think of “homestyle” or “comfort” food recipes. These are not meant to be the most healthy but are generally far healthier than their omnivore predecessors. I hope you love the ooey, gooey yumminess as much as I did.



Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • (1) block Daiya Cheddar   IMG_2528
  • (1) cup Soy Creamer   IMG_2531
  • (1) stick Earth Balance Buttery Sticks   IMG_2532   IMG_2533
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (”nooch”)   IMG_2529
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder   IMG_2539
  • 1/2 teaspoon Yellow Mustard   IMG_2537
  • 1 tablespoon Thyme   IMG_2534
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic   IMG_2535
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Ingredients for Bake:

  • 2lbs of elbow macaroni (I use whole wheat)   IMG_2536
  • 1 bag Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds   IMG_2548
  • 1 cup or more of Panko Flakes (breadcrumbs)   IMG_2549

Prepare Sauce and Macaroni:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot bring salted water to a boil. Add elbows and cook until al dente. Drain and Set aside.   IMG_2540

In a sauce pan place all sauce ingredients except flour in a pot and stir until well combined and a little thick. It will be salty but this is good because you will need that to season the pasta.   IMG_2538      IMG_2541

Add flour last. The sauce should be pretty thick but pourable at this point.  IMG_2543   IMG_2545


Spray a casserole pot with oil and then add macaroni.

Pour sauce over macaroni and mix until well infused.

Add Daiya Shred and mix in until well incorporated. They will melt during baking.   IMG_2547   IMG_2546

Next top with panko and a few pinches of salt if you want (I even give a few quick sprays of oil to ensure browning).   IMG_2557   IMG_2556

Cook for 10-15 minutes. If you want it more brown cook 30 minutes but double the sauce recipe in order for the recipe not to dry out.  IMG_2555

Let Cool 5-10 minutes. Serve hot and Enjoy!   IMG_2550       IMG_2560   IMG_2562 IMG_2563

Serves 10-12.

Side Note: When reheating this dish from leftovers always place some water in the bottom of the bowl. This will ensure the pasta does not dry out in the microwave and the cheese can remelt. You can also add more cheese with the water. I do the Daiya Havarti to add some spice!

WW Points: 11pts for 15 servings. 14 for 12 servings.

Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.

Vegan Cheesy Tomato, Pasta, and Lentil Bake

I learned how to cook lentils last year from a girl who was born and raised in Ethiopia, Africa. She made the most delicious garlicy tomato infused lentils I had ever eaten with this flatbread made of Teff. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  It was at a vegan cooking demonstration on a Friday night in the hall of a church in the Fenway area of Boston that we all call “The Fens”. I had somehow persuaded my otherwise unwilling husband to attend. I knew he would probably want to skip the whole thing but luckily he was loving me enough that night to suck it up and attend. He ended up leaving happy because he liked most of the food and met another omnivore there dragged by his wife as well. After that I decided I must learn to cook lentils and incorporate them in my diet. They have so many good qualities and I am a sucker for a bean of any sort. So In my steamer I dumped water, salt, garlic, and tomato paste and started cooking my lentils. They take a while and I have learned to pick through them for stones and soak them in water to soften them. But my new favorite thing to do is take them and layer them in pasta or lasagna or any sort of casserole. It adds protein and heartiness without any strange new flavors or weird textures. Even the kids like them and the youngest is pretty much against all bean varieties except canned green beans. So this was the biggest hit of the summer in terms of my use of lentils: Vegan Cheesy, Tomato, Pasta, and Lentil Bake. I think even the mixture over rice would go well but I will try that at Christmas break 🙂



Cheesy Tomato, Pasta, and Lentil Bake

Lentil Mixture

  • 1 Bag of Lentils (Green French Lentils or Plain Lentils Work Well)
  • 1-2 cans of Tomato Paste
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Granulated Garlic Powder


  • (2) lbs of Rotini Pasta (I use the vegetable kind)

Cheesy Tomato Sauce Layers:

  • 4 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of Daiya Mozzarella
  • 1/8 cup of Galaxy Foods Parmesan
  • 1/2 block Daiya Havarti
  • Salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • Granulated Garlic Powder


  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Boil Salted Water for Pasta. Add pasta at rapid boil. Cook until Al dente, Drain and set aside.
  3. Open all Tomato cans.
  4. Fill Steamer with lentils after rinsed and picked through. You can presoak them for 30minutes to aid in the cooking process.
  5. Add water, a healthy amount of salt, and several shakes of garlic to the mixture. Place on Brown Rice setting and begin steaming. You may need to add additional time so check on the lentils for softness and mix 2-3 times during steaming. It may start to get thick so add extra water if needed.

Layering the Pasta Bake!

  1. Once your lentils are prepared and pasta is cooked. Spray a casserole pan with Pam or Olive Oil Spray.
  2. Sprinkle bottom with salt and layer with pasta, 2 cans of diced tomatoes*, sprinkle on a layer of parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic, then lentils.
  3. Picture 005
  4. Top with Havarti broken into small crumbled pieces like a feta cheese would be.
  5. Then repeat but top with mozarella.
  6. Picture 006


  1. Bake at 425 degrees for at least 30 minutes but no more than 45 minutes. The top should brown slightly.
  2. The layers will have meted together and form a yummy cheesy sauce.
  3. Serve hot! Feeds 8-12.

*Optional: Add chopped zucchini or Beyond Meat Chicken Strips to the layers before or after the tomatoes.


Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy