Here is my warning to you: This dip in insanely addictive and not for the faint of heart. This is not a healthy dip, although it could be much worse; but it is absolutely perfect for parties, get-togethers and any other occasion in which you would need an awesome appetizer. I know first hand that this dip pairs well with Mexican lagers and margaritas!
I will say, this was not a completely original idea from myself. This started with my mother and her crazy bean dip that she’s made for at least the past 10 years. Ever since I went vegan, I was smell the dip and get a tad bitter that I didn’t want to eat any. This past week, I figured it was time for my own (vegan) version, and my parents and I agree that this is definitely a good match! Not to mention it was gone within a night between 4 people. Oops.
Melted Daiya Pepperjack shreds paired with the salty, well-seasoned soyrizo and an added kick from some pickled jalapeños means that this filling dip packs a punch when it comes to flavor. The TVP and black beans add some texture and protein to the mix, and (vegetarian) refried beans make up another part of the base. This dip is super easy to make, so it’s great for a last-minute dish to bring to a party; maybe one of the Super Bowl variety, since that’s tomorrow??
It has been raining, well sprinkling really, all day today and the weather is nice and cool. No gusty winds or downpours, just enough rain drops to cover everything in a thin layer of water. It’s days like today that remind me of when I was in grade school; whenever it rained, it always meant that it was time for grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. Now, whenever it rains, I feel that I am obligated to make some version of this, like a grilled cheese sandwich made with focaccia dipped in tomato basil soup.
Today was a day to do things a little differently, though. I’ve had some bread bowl loaves hanging out in my freezer, and I was just waiting for the perfect recipe to use them. What I thought of was an amalgamation of things that I love! One being tomato soup (with spinach in this case), another being sourdough bread bowls, and lastly, some cheddar shreds. All of the ingredients came together beautifully, with the browned bread bowl with its flavorful soupy filling and cheesy topping; it is definitely the epitome of comfort food.
Of course, the only problem with tomato soup when it’s nearly December is that tomatoes are not in season (but, don’t tell my tomato plant that), so I have resorted to using canned sauces and tomatoes. Which I have to say, feels a lot like cheating considering that I’m used to roasting tomatoes and making soup from scratch. But, this makes it a super easy recipe to make, that your family can enjoy in no time.
After editing entirely too many photos, I’m already overwhelmed by what I’m about to show you in this post! I’m going to try and be brief about each company that I cover; I’m only highlighting a few of the brands that either stuck out to me or that had new products to show. And of course, as you can see by the title, there’s a giveaway at the end filled with tons of goodies that are all vegan!
As some of you may know, I went to the Expo with Jill of Vegan Cuts; if I had gone by myself I think I would have been completely overwhelmed! There was a breakfast sponsored by Earth Balance and Glutino the first day, but it was rather pathetic for anyone that is vegan. There was a smoothie bar where you could get a soy yogurt/milk/blueberry smoothie (not a whole lot of fruit ), some soggy tofu and some fried potatoes that I put salsa on. Earth Balance’s new peanut butters were there, but all of the bread wasn’t vegan! Urgh. I just spooned some onto my plate (as seen above), thankfully there would be tons of samples coming our way.
One of the first booths we stopped by was Big Tree Farms. Their raw chocolate was creamy and rich; but the product that we were most interesting in was their powdered coconut water. Coco Hydro is a powdered coconut mixture (some with different natural flavors) that you combine with water when you want to have coconut water on the go. It tasted good and was very interesting, plus the new packaging looks very clean.
Wean Green, a company hailing from Canada, has taken the old concept of Pyrex containers and revamped them to have a secure lid and unbreakable container. Even though their products are targeted toward families/parents with babies and young children they can appeal to a broader audience than that. The colorful lids that snap securely onto the container are brilliant and heavy-duty.
I quickly stopped by the So Delicious booth to check out their new line of almond products, plus pick up some tickets for the Vegucated screening that was going to be happening that night. The new flavors of the almond Greek-style yogurt that I tried were chocolate, vanilla, and blueberry (the also have original flavor); the blueberry was definitely my favorite. Their line of almond milks have added protein in them and taste great, but what really stole the show for me was the new almond ice creams they had. Mocha Almond? Yes, please!
Not only did I make delicious sugar cookies for my friend’s get-together last Saturday, I also made these tasty Empanadas! Ever since reading about this traditional Chilean dish in my high school Spanish class, I’ve wanted to make a version of my own. I was inspired by the pastry crust folder-over thing (technical term, obviously) that I brought back from my grandmother’s house in Michigan and knew that I had to make something with it and I’m so glad that I did.
Before I get started with the recipe, I’d just like to wish you all a Happy Worldwide Vegan Day! Yay! Now, back to the dish. These pumpkin chili empanadas are filled with delicious black beans, baked shredded pumpkin, lots of spices and fresh produce. I served mine with salsa to really take it to the next level, and a little added heat from some Tapatio. I like my food to make me sniffle when I eat it, so sue me!
Ingredients (makes 10-12 Servings, depending on how big you make them)
-For the Filling:
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion, Diced
- 3 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
- 1 1/2 Cup Red or Orange Bell Pepper, Diced
- 1 cup Tomato, Diced
- 2 Cups Cooked Pumpkin, Chopped
- 1 14 oz. Can No Salt Added Black Beans
- 1-8 oz. Can Tomato Paste
- 2 Tbsp. Pickled Jalapeño, Minced
- 2 tsp. Chili Powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. Dried Cilantro
- 1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp. Cumin
- 1/2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
- 1 Cup Daiya Cheddar Shreds
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium. Once hot place onions and garlic in pan and cook until the onions are clear, making sure to stir almost constantly. Next, add the bell pepper, tomato and pumpkin to the onions; saute together for roughly 5 minutes. Drain the can of black beans and rinse them, then add them to the pan along with the tomato paste, jalapeño, and spices.
- Sprinkle the Daiya Cheddar Shreds throughout the pan and stir together so that everything is mixed well, and lower the heat of the pan to low-medium until the shreds are a little melted. We are not introducing extra liquid into the chili so that it does not make the crust soggy or hard to pick up once baked.
For the crust I used a recipe from Chow Vegan called “Super Easy DIY Pockets“, the only changes that I made to the recipe were that I quadrupled the recipe, used whole wheat flour (I would suggest using All Purpose instead) and added turmeric for the orange tint to the dough.
I rolled out the dough into 7″ circles that were about 1/8″ thick, then placed them into my little pastry folder-over and filled them with about 1/2 cup of the pumpkin chili. The one below is a bit too full!
I then proceeded to carve lil’ pumpkin faces into two of them and then I realized I was super short on time so I just punctured three holes in the top of the rest of them. I wish I would have been able to do all of them, look at how cute they are!
Mmm.. the filling. I’ll definitely be making these again, even if the innards are a bit different.
And here is the pumpkin that I carved for Halloween, last night! I got a few compliments from little kids and parents, so that totally made my day. I have a lot of pumpkin seed recipes coming your way in the next week or so!