Chinese and Burgers and Vegans…Oh My!

I often hear “I could never do that” when people find out that I’m vegan. Either they would miss hamburgers, Chinese food, cheese… but guess what… you don’t have to go without. There are so many amazing recipes out there that will curb any craving. We are so lucky that we have the internet today, so these recipes are right at our fingertips. When we find a new favorite, we write it on index cards with where the recipe is from and file it into our box. Here are two of the recipes we tried this week and will be making again soon.

Sweet and Sour Chickpeas Peppers Broccoli: This recipe was found on and is so amazing that we are actually going to have it again tonight. It was super quick and easy (we already had all of the ingredients at home). Including prep and cook time, it takes about thirty minutes to finish.

Sweet and sour sauce:
-1/4 cup sugar (I used 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp coconut palm sugar)
-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
-2-3 tbsp rice vinegar
-1.5 tbsp ketchup
-2 tsp soy sauce
-1/2 tsp garlic powder
-2 tbsp water

Chickpeas and vegetables:
-1 tsp oil
-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
-1/2 large red bell pepper thinly sliced
-1/2 green bell pepper thinly sliced
-1 cup small broccoli florets
-15 ounces chickpeas or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas
-generous dash salt, pepper, and cayenne

To Thicken:
-2 tbsp water
-2 tsp cornstarch

1. Mix all the sauce ingredients together and set aside
2. Heat oil over medium high heat on a large skillet. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until translucent.
3. Add the peppers and mix in. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add the broccoli and mix in. Cover and cook for 1 minute.
5. Add the chickpeas, sauce ingredients, a generous dash of salt, black pepper and cayenne. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
6. Taste the sauce carefully and adjust to preference. Add more sour, sugar, or salt.
7. Mix cornstarch in room temperature water and add the mixture to the pan. Mix in. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the sauce thickens.
8. Garnish with sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and and scallions and serve with cooked rice or grain of choice.

Tips: Instead of a half of each bell pepper, we used one whole green pepper. They are cheaper where we live and then we would have less possible waste. Additionally, we used cauliflower rice instead of regular rice, but really anything would be great with this dish. We only added sesame seeds for garnish, but it was delicious without the scallions or red pepper flakes anyway.


Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burger with Basil Aioli: This recipe is from and will curb any craving of a delicious burger without the animal cruelty. Not to mention, the aioli is seriously to die for. I would put it on anything (and I am not even a mayo person). My husband and I loved them so much that we both had two each and I have been thinking about them all morning. This is super easy and beats any vegan frozen burger (or even restaurant burger) we have had.

Vegan Aioli Ingredients:
– 1 cup Vegan Mayo
– 3 garlic cloves, put through a garlic press
– 24 fresh basil leaves, thinly slivered
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– salt
– fresh ground pepper

Portobello Burger Ingredients:
– 4 large portobello mushrooms, wiped clean with dampened paper towels
– 3 tbsp olive oil
– 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
– 1 tomato, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices
– 1 bunch arugula, washed and spun dry
– 4 hamburger buns
– salt
– fresh ground pepper

1. To make the basil aioli: combine all ingredients for aioli in a small bowl and mix with a whisk

2. For the Portobello Burgers: Cut the stems off the portobello mushrooms flush with the mushroom caps. Using the tip of a  paring knife, make tiny holes in the caps.

3. Combine the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar in a small bowl and whisk to mix. Generously brush the portobello caps and mushroom slices with some of the oil and vinegar mixture and season them with salt and pepper.

4. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high.

5. Arrange the portobello caps, rounded side down, grill until nicely browned and soft, about 3-6 minutes per side.

6. Spread the inside of the rolls or buns with basil aioli. Add the grilled mushrooms, tomato slices, and arugula.

Tips: We decided not to marinade and grill the tomatoes and instead we just sliced fresh tomato and topped the burgers with them. I used JUST mayo, but you can use any vegan mayo. You could even make your own! I know that has a couple recipes available and I have never tried a recipe of hers that I haven’t liked. She even has a chipotle mayo recipe that is amazing and definitely didn’t last long in my house.


I strongly suggest you try one (or both) of these recipes! You will not regret it. I am no chef, but I know my food and these were both delicious and super easy to make. They’d be great weekday meals or just special treats when you are having a special craving. Are you having non-vegan friends over for dinner? These would be great meals to have them try too – as long as there are no food allergy issues. The sweet and sour chicken tastes just like something I would get from my favorite take-out place. You could even sub-out the chickpeas for tofu! Play around with these and let me know what you think. I can’t wait to hear what you think.

Love Always,



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