5 guilt-free vegan recipes to make as temperatures drop

Home-cooked meal featuring avocado pasta and white bean appetizer by Amber Reed | Lariat

As winter approaches and temperatures get lower, a warm homemade meal can make all the difference. Eating healthy is extremely important, especially vegan meals. Eating a vegan diet can “help promote weight loss, manage diabetes and can lower your risk of certain cancers,” according to Rush Stories.

These five healthy recipes are quick to make and will be sure to warm you up. From crostini appetizers to black bean brownies, this list has everything needed for a complete night of clean cooking.  Enjoy!

1. Rosemary and garlic white bean crostini appetizer

White bean appetizer on a charcuterie board by Amber Reed | Lariat

-1 T olive oil
-5 garlic cloves
-1 T butter
-salt and pepper
-1 T rosemary
-1 can cannellini beans

Slice baguette into 1 inch pieces and chop 2 garlic cloves. Melt butter and smear on baguette along with garlic and drizzled olive oil.
Bake bread slices at 375 for 8-10 minutes, or until crispy.
Heat olive oil over medium in a skillet, then add remaining garlic and rosemary. Cook 4 minutes.
Add white beans, then mash together in a bowl until creamy.
Serve over crostini slices and garnish with fresh rosemary.

2. Creamy avocado pasta with toasted pine nuts and bread crumbs

Avocado pasta with toasted pine nuts by Amber Reed | Lariat

-1 avocado
-2 garlic cloves
– 1 t lime juice
-1-2 T basil chopped
-salt and pepper
-oil (add as needed)
-1 T pine nuts
-3 T panko bread crumbs
-1 cup pasta
-3 T butter

Combine avocado, basil, garlic, oil, spices and lime into a blender.
Toast bread crumbs and pine nuts at 400 for around 10 minutes, or until browned. Set aside
Heat skillet over medium-low and slowly brown the butter while the pasta cooks.
Add sauce to pasta and garnish with the toasted bread crumbs and pine nuts.

3. Vegetable and lentil soup

Lentil soup garnished with vegan cheese, tortilla strips and chia spouts by Amber Reed | Lariat

-2 T olive oil
-½ onion minced
-4 cloves garlic
-1 large carrot
-2 celery ribs
-2 cups rinsed lentils
-14 oz can crushed tomato
-6 cups vegetable stock
-½ t cumin
-½ t paprika
-2 bay leaves
-juice from half a lemon
-salt and pepper

Here are the bay leaves used in the recipe.

Heat oil in a large pot and add onions. Cook for 6 minutes.
Add celery and carrots and cook for another 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook slowly until soft.
Add remaining ingredients besides lemon and salt. Increase heat and bring to a boil.
After about 15 minutes, remove the lid and begin scraping the top layer off of the soup and discarding it.
Place lid on again, and turn heat down to medium-low. Simmer for 30-35 minutes or until lentils are soft.
Lastly, add salt and lemon. Garnish with tortilla strips, sprouts or chives.

4. Tofu spinach bowls with edamame

Spinach and edamame bowls by Amber Reed | Lariat

-1 pack extra firm tofu
-¼ cup hoisin sauce
-1 t sugar
-2 T soy sauce
-1 t freshly grated ginger
-¼ t red pepper flakes
-2 T olive oil
-1 t sesame oil
-1 cup rice
-2 cups spinach
-¼ cup edamame
-sesame seeds

Here is the hoisin sauce used in the recipe.

Slice tofu in half lengthwise, and place in between paper towels. Place an object on top, and let the tofu drain for 20 minutes.
In a bowl, combine hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, minced garlic and red pepper.
Place tofu in a tray, and pour sauce on top. Allow tofu to marinate 30 minutes.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and cook tofu on all sides until crispy.
Remove from heat and cook spinach with a splash of soy sauce and hoisin sauce. Then cook the rice.
Lastly, place rice in bowls and add tofu, spinach and edamame. Garnish with sesame seeds.

5. Black bean brownies

Freshly made black bean brownies by Amber Reed | Lariat

-1 can of black beans (rinsed)
-½ cup chocolate chips
-3 T canola oil
-3 eggs
-⅔ cup brown sugar packed down
-½ t baking powder
-1 t vanilla extract
-½ cup baking cocoa
-⅛ t salt

Combine beans and chocolate chips in a food processor or blender very briefly. Add eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt. Cover and process until smooth.
Transfer to baking tin or tray. Preheat oven to 350.
Place brownies into the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove and let cool before cutting.