The Easiest Monkey Bread Recipe Ever with @earth_balance and @Pillsbury Crescent Rolls #vegan

Every Christmas my mother would make cinnamon rolls for breakfast and we would snack on their sugary, gooeyness while opening gifts on the living room floor. Recently I have either have to make my own from scratch which can be a two day process or buy some that are vegan. This year my mom bought some online from someplace and they were actually pretty awesome. Some company she saw on Shark Tank I guess. However, I was looking for an easier option that I didn’t need to ship in for $100 or make for days. I am a lazy mom of a new infant and all my time is taken up either cooking, cleaning, burping, feeding, changing, or working. I barely sleep. So when I came across a Pillsbury recipe for monkey bread I thought oooooh I can veganize this. AND. I. DID. Bam!

monkey bread 4

It was amazing, the whole thing was eaten by 4 people in a gluttonous feast that lasted less than an hour. We were gross I know, but it was that good. Enjoy!


monkey bread 3


Vegan Monkey Bread



  • (4) Tubes of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Soy Creamer
  • Pam Canola Cooking Spray
  • (1) Earth Balance Buttery Stick
  • Optional: Nuts

monkey bread 5


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bundt cake pan, spray with cooking spray and then start pulling apart crescent roll dough and balling it up and dropping it into the pan.
  3. After each tube sprinkle a layer of brown sugar and cinnamon very lightly over the dough balls, then continue balling up the next tube worth of dough. The balls should be small about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter. I also sprinkled in walnuts at this point but any nut will do like pecans, walnuts, etc.
  4. After all dough is in the pan and everything is sprinkled, get a sauce pan and place the stick of earth balance butter in it to melt down over medium heat.
  5. Once melted add 1 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of creamer. Stir until combined into a soupy caramel sauce. I sometimes add a pinch of salt as well.
  6. Pour sauce evenly over the entire bundt pan of dough balls. I try going around the circle from the outside in to make sure I get some on everything.
  7. Note that the bundt pan will not be filled completely but will bake all the way tot he top once the dough rises in the oven.                monkey bread 6
  8. Place in oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  9. When it comes out i used a plastic spatula around the edges of the bundt cake pan first before I tipped it over onto the plate in order to serve it. Otherwise the caramel sticks and it won’t come out of the pan.
  10. Serve hot. Pick apart and enjoy!

monkey bread 1

Serves 8-16. Or 4 if you are my family 😉


monkey bread 2



Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.

My Aunt’s Taco Salad – Veganized with @BeyondMeat

I love love love my Aunt Linda’s Taco Salad. Everytime we would have a family event at my Dad’s parents home in southern Massachusetts she would seem to bring this very simple Taco Salad with her despite the fact she is a trained chef. You would think a trained chef would bring something more severe and fancy but nope, Taco Salad. Here is something I can tell you though, this is the best Taco Salad in the universe and if you are a trained chef and you want the masses to eat salad, this is the salad you bring! It is salty, sweet, hearty, and healthy all mixed together and thanks to Beyond Meat I can now make it VEGAN! (Insert personal dance party moves here). So grab this for the next potluck, Meatless Monday, or Taco Tuesday. You won’t be sorry.

Bravado aside here is the recipe. Enjoy!


Aunty Linda’s Veganized Taco Salad



2 bags frozen Beyond Meat Feisty Crumbles

2 tbs Olive Oil

2 heads of Iceberg Lettuce Shredded

2 tomatoes diced

1 snack size bag of Fritos (2-4 servings like you’d get at a convenience store)

Catalina Dressing (I use Kraft)



Heat Oil and crumbles in frying pan until cooked. Set aside


Finishing Preparation:

Chop and shred lettuce and place 1/2 in a bowl.

Chop tomatoes and place 1/2 in a bowl.

Add 1/2 of the crumbles to that bowl and mix. Then add remaining crumbles, lettuce, tomatoes, and toss until well combined.

Add Catalina dressing until covered like a Caesar salad.

Crush Fritos and add at the last minute and toss.

Serve immediately.




Happy New Year. Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.

3 Ingredient Vegan Biscuits

Yup, I said it three ingredient biscuits in just 20 minutes. No this is not heaven but according to my omnivore husband it sure does taste like it! He has deemed these biscuits his favorite vegan item I have ever made and that he would not know they are vegan because they are so buttery and fluffy. He also demanded I make them as a birthday cake in the future covered in gravy. So I guess I am going to have to start work on a white country gravy recipe! In the meantime he was happy with drizzled local wildflower honey. Yes we are those vegans that eat honey (See the Great Vegan Honey Debate Here). However, if you are not…. You can always try that vegan honey that is out since it is actually pretty identical in flavor or maybe some agave, maple syrup, jam, or brown rice syrup.

2014-08-27 20.32.27


I have been super sick throughout the last few months being pregnant and am finally starting to turn the corner into my third trimester. I can cook more and the smell of the refrigerator does not make me run to the bathroom to heave up my lunch of water fruits and veggies anymore. So this is definitely a good thing. I hope to start testing recipes again (with the taste test help of Lola my angel of a Dog) and getting more out to you all and I want to thank you all for your patience!


2014-08-26 19.38.31


Enjoy this cook hack of a recipe I saw online and veganized. I wish I knew the original source of the base recipe but I don’t so if you do please share!!!



3 Ingredient Vegan Biscuits

(1) cup Lemon Lime Soda (Sprite, 7UP, etc.)
(1) Cup Tofutti Brand Sour Cream
(4) Cups Bisquick

*1/2 to 1 cup of melted Earth Balance Buttery Spread is required to pour in bottom of pan but is not a biscuit ingredient for the dough


2014-08-27 20.31.09


Pour melted Earth Balance into bottom of baking pan. I used Pyrex pans as they are easier to see the baking through and to keep evenly heated.

Take 3 ingredients and mix until very sticky in medium to large mixing bowl with a fork. My little trick is to put 2 cups of Bisquick in the bowl and then wet ingredients and then the other 2 cups of dry to mix easier.

Form biscuits with your hands and pat down into buttered pan so that each biscuit is slightly separate from it’s neighbor. This allows for the butter spread to cook in between each.



Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

The bottom will be a golden crust and any peaks on top will have browned.

Makes about 6 very large biscuits. Cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!


2014-08-27 20.30.57  2014-08-27 20.32.20



The Hippie Gypsy

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!


2014-05-22 19.24.29


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.


Ooey Gooey Vegan S’mores Cheesecake Trifle

I joined the Wellness Committee at my work a few months back. I thought it was important to have a truly opposite opinion to the mainstream ideas of health in such a  group. One that focused not on conventional “healthy” recipes and ways of being “well” but one that is a little more alternative. I am obviously a vegan but I am also a bit of a hippie and very interested in how wellness is also about being mentally well and taking care of the earth to result in healthy food and a healthy planet. This holiday season we had a Christmas/Holiday/Seasonal get together/luncheon at work. The Wellness Group sponsored it and although it was healthi-er I think we have a long way to go. I must say that I did prepare a not so perfectly healthy trifle for the baking contest so I am as much at fault as anyone on the healthiness of this luncheon. To me this recipe is far from healthy but for the group, I think they will find it the healthiest option on the table with all things considered. Take a look and Happy Holidays! (PS I won the contest!)



S’mores Cheesecake Trifle


  • 2 packages Vegan Marshmallows
  • 2 containers Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
  • 2 cans of Coconut Milk (refrigerated overnight or longer to separate)
  • 1 cup powdered organic vegan sugar
  • 1 squeeze bottle of Breyer’s Hot Fudge Sauce (vegan and sold at Walmart)
  • 1 box of Fudge Brownie Mix (Betty Crocker is vegan)
  • 2 cans of pureed pumpkin
  • 1 box Chocolate Cake Mix (many vegan varieties are available)
  • 1 package of graham crackers



  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. IMG_2746
  3. Get out (2) medium mixing bowls.
  4. Get 1 smaller pie pan and 1 regular sized cake pan.
  5. Get out your trifle container.
  6. IMG_2743
  7. Spray cake and pie pan with Coconut Oil spray or some Pam-type equivalent of canola oil.
  8. Open cans of coconut milk and slowly remove top layer of coconut milk fat and leave coconut water at the bottom. Try to remove as little wet material as possible. Place in one mixing bowl with cream cheese. Mix until combined well. Sift in powdered sugar with a sieve or squeeze sifter. I use a plastic $1.99 sieve I got at the Chinese grocery store and it works great. No need for anything fancy! Place bowl of cream in refrigerator.
  9. IMG_2728 IMG_2730 IMG_2731 IMG_2732 IMG_2733 IMG_2734 IMG_2735 IMG_2738 IMG_2740 IMG_2741 IMG_2742
  10. In second bowl prepare brownie mix with one can of pureed pumpkin. Combine the two until smooth. Place in Pie Pan.
  11. IMG_2715    IMG_2716    IMG_2717
  12. In the second bowl (do not wipe) add cake mix and 2nd can of pureed pumpkin. Combine well until smooth and place batter in cake pan.
  13. IMG_2720    IMG_2721    IMG_2723


  1. Place both batters into oven. The cake will take approximately 30 minutes and the brownies will take approximately 50-55 minutes.
  2. IMG_2747
  3. Take squeeze fudge and line the bottom of the trifle bowl. The cake will be going in the bottom and tends to be crumbly. This will give the appearance on the exterior glass of a neat chocolate line while also keeping the moisture of the cake in.
  4. IMG_2725   IMG_2752
  5. Next, cut or tear marshmallows in half. This will allow for them to be stuck to the glass and cake when layering.
  6. When the cake comes out. Take the trifle bowl and press through to the bottom of the pan. This will create a circular indent. Most trifle bowls are smaller on the bottom than the top. That is why you place the cake and not brownie in the bottom. Cake will squish down and together so it will fit despite the slight size difference.
  7.  IMG_2748  IMG_2749
  8. Flip the pan over on a wire rack to unlodge from pan and cool.
  9. IMG_2753
  10. Once cool, tear away edges from the circular imprint and press down into the trifle bowl.
  11.  IMG_2754  IMG_2755   IMG_2756  IMG_2757
  12. The fudge will make up for any imperfections. Feel free to add more fudge in a circle on top to finish the layer. Then place a few dots on top of the cake to prepare for marshmallows.
  13. IMG_2758
  14. Press marshmallows up against the glass all around the bowl and then on top of the cake/fudge layer.
  15.      IMG_2759 IMG_2760
  16. Take out a creme brulee style kitchen torch and brown the cake layers. Be careful lot to get too close the the glass. Not all glass is heat friendly.
  17. IMG_2761 IMG_2762 IMG_2763   IMG_2726
  18. Fill in holes between marshmallows with some fudge. Then crumble graham crackers on top. I used 1 package from a box. Approximately 8 sheets (you can reserve some for top layer if you want or just use more!).
  19. IMG_2744    IMG_2764 IMG_2765
  20. Next place 1/3 of the cheesecake cream in the center of the crackers but try to avoid bringing the liquid too close to the edges.
  21.     IMG_2766  IMG_2768 IMG_2769
  22. Now add the brownie layer once it has been removed from the oven and cooled on a wire rack. You do not need to make a circular cut on this. Simply cut a triangular piece of brownie out of the “pie” and then it will allow for you to fold it into the trifle bowl by almost overlapping the edges where the cut was made. It also allows for you to have a snack 🙂
  23. IMG_2767   IMG_2770   IMG_2771   IMG_2772
  24. Next add the rest of the cheesecake cream and decorate with marshmallows, fudge, and crumbled grahams. I like to line the edge again with marshmallows and place a dollop of fudge between for a nice finish on it 🙂
  25.  IMG_2774   IMG_2776
  26. Refrigerate overnight to settle. Serve cold. Enjoy!



Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy


Check My Recipe Out on also!

Perfect. Toll-House-Style. Vegan. Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I love chocolate chip cookies. I love chocolate chip cookie dough even more. And in an honest, yet disgusting unveiling of my inner glutton, I love when you cream the butter, vanilla, and sugar together to make chocolate chip cookies. When I was a kid I used to try to steal dollops of the creamed mixture when my mom wasn’t looking. It was so good. I am glad I didn’t know about salmonella poisoning back then or the fat content of whole butter. Luckily with vegan baking, that salmonella is never a problem so yea… eat all the cookie dough you want! Also my brother is coming for Thanksgiving Dessert with his wife and my first and only nephew Baby Nolan and he (my brother) is a cookie monster, so I wanted to be able to make him chocolate chip cookies that I could also eat and so could any of my dairy intolerant family. My brother loves cookies so much I got him a replica cookie jar from our childhood for Christmas last year and it was not easy to find an owl cookie jar either! This will definitely be an experience thanks to my cookies 🙂

That being said here is my chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have been working on for ages. Every time I start I become uninspired by dry cookie dough (which every vegan can relate to due to the lack of eggs) and of course the ones that crumble or the ones that don’t taste quite right. These are not any of those. They are gooey and crunchy on the edges and melt until they are just thin enough but still soft inside. If you love cookies… you will also love me after you make this recipe.




Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. 1 cup of earth balance organic buttery spread
  2. 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  3. 3 flax eggs (3 tablespoons of water and 1 tbsp powdered flax per egg)
  4. 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract (I use Penzey’s Mexican)
  5. 1 and 1/4 cups of vegan sugar (try half brown sugar if you have it for a richer flavor)
  6. 2.5 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
  7. 1-2 teaspoons of salt (I use kosher)
  8. 1 cup of vegan semisweet chocolate chips (I used Kirkland (Costco brand) this time instead of Whole Foods)


*Optional: 1 cup of walnuts or pecans




  • Place all dry ingredients (except chocolate) in a medium to small bowl. Mix until well combined.
  • IMG_2621
  • Cream butter and sugar together in a larger bowl with a mixer. Then place all wet ingredients into the bowl and mix until well combined.
  • IMG_2620
  • If you have never made a flax egg all you do is place warm water in a bowl and pulverize flaxseeds in a coffee grinder until powdered and stir. It’s that easy.
  • IMG_2622   IMG_2623
  • Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until a dough forms. I use my hands but a mixer works well too.
  • IMG_2624
  • Last toss in chocolate chips and any nuts and knead into the dough. It will be a little oily. 
  • IMG_2626  IMG_2628



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place a silpat or parchment on your baking sheet. These cookies WILL STICK OTHERWISE! This is very important.
  • Once the oven is completely preheated, place balls of cookie dough on the silpat or parchment lined cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 20-22minutes.
  • IMG_2631
  • Remove let sit for 5-10minutes and then transfer to a cookie cooling rack.
  • IMG_2632
  • Makes 3 dozen. Enjoy!
  • IMG_2634



The Hippie Gypsy

My Vegan and Omnivore Family Thanksgiving Menu

I am going to officially post my Thanksgiving Day menu here for all to see. I know there will be questions and recipes wanted and over the next week I will try to post those too. I truly delight in the Holiday cooking I get to do. Making food for my family and friends is fun because not only do you get the joy of the cooking process but you get the joy of watching others feel happy and healthy and nourished and maybe a little stuffed on something you created. I also find it amazing how we extract things from the earth to make our bodies fuel. One would say if something is on the ground not to eat it but Thanksgiving is the holiday of root vegetables. Of course they get a heavy rinsing but its kind of a strange concept how we shun some things afoot but not others if prepared properly.

I know there will be confusion as some of these items are not vegan but I do have an all omnivore family so I pepper in a few items that are not vegan (*denoted with an asterisk* ). Prosciutto Pear Cups are not vegan. They are a Martha Stewart recipe that I used to make pre-vegan and my family still asks for and I make in mini muffin pans chopping the pears into tiny pieces and tossing with shreds of fresh Parmesan. The cheese will be a mix of vegan and vegetarian. I eat honey but I know many vegans do not so I denoted it with an asterisk (and you can always use agave!). The turkey and gravy is not vegan (obviously) but there is a mushroom alternative and my own vegan Field Roast Turkey. Everything else is vegan. The potato au gratin is one of my favorite things to make and the cranberry upside down cake has become a requested staple from my husband and was of my late grandmother. Enjoy!


“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”  ― Elizabeth Gilbert



Stuffed Mushrooms with Sundried Tomato Béchamel

Prosciutto Pear Cups with Parmesan Cheese Garnish*

Spinach Artichoke Dip in Bread Bowl with Carrot Sticks

Crackers (vegan)/Cheese Tray*

Sliced Bosc Pears

Honey to Drizzle Cheese and Pears*

Assorted Nuts

Picture 035





Turkey & Gravy ( For the Omnivores, organic, and locally sourced)*

Field Roast En Croute


Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes Au Gratin

Mushroom Gravy

Maple Roasted Veggies: Carrots, Sweet Potato, Shallots, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Fennel

Roasted Beet Salad: Beets, Olive Oil, S&P, Balsamic Vinegar

Butternut Squash Macaroni Casserole

Butternut Squash: Steamed and Pureed with Earth Balance on top

Homemade Cranberry Sauce: Sugar and Cranberries!

Jellied Cranberry Sauce: Most likely Ocean Spray Canned


Picture 575   scalloped potatoes   




Pumpkin Pie: Whole Foods

Cranberry Upside Down Cake: Homemade

Caramel Apple Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookies: Homemade


Tea: Yogi Kava and Yogi Detox are always in my house.

cookies on silpat




The Hippie Gypsy



Vegan Chicken and Rice with a Savory, Creamy, Sage Pumpkin Sauce

When you are a kid in any part of the world it seems like “chicken and rice” is a staple type of food. How those components are dressed is different depending on time of year, climate, and culture but all those aside we can all agree we kinda love the simplicity of this dish. It is fall and I had a few friends show up unexpectedly at my house last night. I literally had NO idea they were coming with their two kids and fairly large German shepherd – coyote mix (Ryder) who is my tiny 9 lb rat terrier – chihuahua mix’s (Lola) best friend (I know it’s odd but adorable. Pics of Lola are posted below). That being said I had to make up food in a snap for an all omnivore crowd with one child that is citrus and citric acid intolerant. That means no tomatoes or lemon or orange or lime. Which, oddly, I use quite a bit. So I figured a nice chicken and rice dish with a pumpkin cream sauce sounded easy enough. I grabbed my steamer and away we went. I steamed Rice Select Royal Blend with Red Quinoa on the brown rice setting of my steamer/rice cooker with water salt and earth balance per the cartons instructions and then went off to make my pumpkin sauce.

The upside? They brought a raw vegan pumpkin pie that was sooo delicious. Thanks guys!


(Lola and Ryder having dinner at Ryder’s house a few months ago)



Chicken with a Creamy Sage Pumpkin Sauce


  • 1 Container Beyond Meat Chicken-less Strips (lightly salted)
  • 1 can Pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp dehydrated onion
  • 1-2 tbsp Salt
  • 2 pinches Ground Pepper
  • 4 tbsp ground sage
  • 1-2 tsp Thyme
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 cup Soy Creamer
  • 1/4 cup Pacific Natural Foods Hazelnut Milk




  1. Place medium to large sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add all ingredients to sauce pan except chicken.
  3. Dice chicken set aside.
  4. Stir ingredients until mozzarella melts into the sauce.
  5. Add chicken. Simmer covered for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve over or beside rice.
  7. Garnish with parsley and unsalted raw chopped pecans.



Serves: 6.

WW Points for Chicken and Sauce: 4


Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

PHOTO of MY DOG LOLA with my Husband and I:

IMG_2605   IMG_2604

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