Vegan Gnocchi With Kale And Walnuts

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Quarantine Day 50. I can no longer remember what a Starbucks coconut milk latte tastes like. I have not worn real pants in two months. The concept of “day pajamas” and “night pajamas” is a thing of the past; I just wear the same pajamas until I shower again.

But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to talk about food. I have lots of cool things in the works, and I recently collaborated with my brother-from-another-mother on a recipe over FaceTime. We played around with ingredients, tweaked it until it was utterly delicious, and now I’m sharing it with you because he’s a luddite without a blog.

You’ll need:

  • Gnocchi
  • Kale
  • Walnuts
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Salt
  • Shredded vegan parmesan cheese (we love this one)
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (canned works well)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced or mashed (you can use less if you’re not big on garlic, but why?)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (check out Barnivore to find out which wines are vegan!)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour

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What to do:

1.) Boil some water and cook your gnocchi according to the directions on the package. It’s usually 2-3 minutes. During the last minute, add your kale to the pot. Drain the tasty gnocchi/kale mixture and make sure it cover it with a plate to keep it from drying out.

2.) Add your oil to a large pot along with the garlic, taking care not to let it burn. When your kitchen starts to smell like you’ve crawled inside a loaf of garlic bread, it’s time to add the flour. Mix it in with your garlic until it forms a paste, and then pour in the wine. Allow this to simmer for 3-5 minutes until it starts to reduce.

3.) Pour in your coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil, and let it bubble away for 5-7 minutes until it thickens. Make sure to stir it occasionally, but don’t stir it continuously, as this will make it take forever to thicken, and you’ll want to eat now.

4.) Add your gnocchi, kale, and walnuts to the pot, stirring to make sure everything is coated evenly. Cook for about a minute to warm the walnuts through and release their natural oils.

5.) Season with salt and pepper to taste, and then sprinkle your shredded parmesan on top. You can also garnish it with more walnuts or a dash of red pepper flakes for a bit more bite.

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There you have it! A hearty, fulfilling recipe with all the creamy goodness of dairy with none of the cruelty. You can definitely adapt this recipe to suit your taste if you hate kale or walnuts like some of the weirdos in my family, but keep in mind that all veggies require different cooking times. If you want something like broccoli or carrots, that will take longer to cook. Or you could do what I do and cheat — I use the frozen versions from Bird’s Eye all the time.  Steam them in the microwave, stir them in, and voila! (Note that some of the Bird’s Eye veggies come packed in a butter sauce, so read the labels carefully.)

What’s your favorite pasta recipe? Leave me a comment, or tag me on Instagram using #theunscaryvegan so I can see it!

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Go-To Vegan Granola

After naming my last entry after granola, I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes for granola. From here on out, there’ll be no more shelling out big bank for tasty goodness. Best of all, you can customize it to your preferences. My granola is great on its own as a snack, served with your favorite vegan yogurt, or as the perfect crunchy topping for oatmeal. (Keep it in the fridge in a sealed container for added freshness.)

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You’ll need:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (or your nut or seed butter of choice)
  • 1 tsp almond extract (you can use vanilla, but almond extract is my secret ingredient to almost everything I bake)
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt

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What to do:

1.) Preheat your oven to 325F. While the oven is heating up, mix all your wet ingredients in a bowl.

2.) Add the oats, seeds, and nuts into your wet mixture, folding your ingredients to make sure everything is evenly coated. Then dump it onto a coated or lined baking sheet, spreading it out into a thin layer.

3.) For baking, I always use the bottom rack in the oven because it seems to cook more evenly, but some ovens differ. Use whichever rack you use for baking and pop it in for 20 minutes. Take it out, add your cranberries — or whatever dried fruit you want to use — give it a quick stir to incorporate the fruit, and pop it back in for an additional 5-7 minutes.

4.) Eat! The granola will keep for a month in the fridge or at room temperature in sealed container.

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It’s that easy. What’s your favorite way to use granola?

The Granola Gamble: Why I Rebranded

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As you probably noticed, a few things have changed around here. I’ve been waffling back and forth with the idea for months but finally decided to take the plunge. Littleevil.co is now officially theunscaryvegan.com, and I’m honestly still a little bit freaked out. I’ve had some version of my old blog name for close to four years now, and I wondered, “What will this do to my organic traffic? Am I going to take a hit?” In the end, I decided it was better to stay true to myself and take the risk than it was to cling to something because it was already there.

I decided on the name The Unscary Vegan because I firmly believe that being an asshole isn’t helping the vegan movement at all. If I get up in somebody’s face and scream at them, they’re going to call me a lunatic and walk off. On the other hand, if I feed them a heaping serving of my vegan taco salad and then tell them, “Hey, it really is that easy,” they’re much more receptive. This is important to me. I care about animals, and I care about the planet. End of story. It was time for my social media to reflect it no matter how much I giggled over naming my blog after one of my cats.

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So here’s the thing: I’m going to cheer you on every step of the way. Every little change helps. If you drink almond milk instead of dairy, good for you! If you participate in Meatless Mondays, that’s awesome! If you decided to buy your leather handbag secondhand so you don’t contribute to animal cruelty, I’m so proud of you.

Here’s another thing: we are all human, and guess what? Humans are animals, too. I don’t want to be a dick to animals. Any of them.

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I’m still recovering from whatever the hell this is — my uncle, who is a doctor and not an armchair diagnostician, thinks it’s Covid — so I can’t promise a dozen new posts right off the bat, but they’re coming. Skincare is still my passion, so I’ll be sharing loads of products with you, and while I do use my old leather bags because I don’t believe in being wasteful, I also want to highlight some awesome vegan brands, too.

Sound off in the comments and let me know what you want to see!

10 Things To Make You Smile

I had a panic attack today.

Nothing specific to the moment prompted it. I was drinking a dark chocolate and coconut latte contemplating what I wanted for lunch, and despair hit me like a wave.

As bloggers or social media influencers or weirdos screaming into the void, whatever we are, we talk a lot about products we’ve tried, restaurants we’ve loved, and movies we’ve seen, but we don’t always talk about the unpleasant things we all face.

Sometimes we have panic attacks. Sometimes we wake up grumpy, and nothing goes according to plan. Sometimes we feel hopeless about the future even though things seem to be going perfectly. That’s natural. It’s normal. You aren’t a freak for feeling this way.

We, the human race, have been through a lot recently. I’ve personally been through a lot recently, and I’m sure the same is true for a lot of you. So I’m placing several posts I’m writing on the back burner to say this: you aren’t alone. Someone, somewhere, feels the way you feel right now. Maybe it’s even me.

Sometimes we need to stop and reflect on the good things out there so the bad things don’t overwhelm us. It’s not the same as ignoring what’s happening in the world; it’s a form of self-care, and it’s vitally important.

Let’s all take a break and enjoy the good in the world. Think of it as spring-cleaning for the soul.

We all live under this sky. All of us.
Is there anything cuter than a sleepy kitty?
Or a basket of puppies?
Look at this view. This is real, not Photoshop.
Nourishing your body nourishes your soul.
There are so many good people in the world, and we are all part of that global community. How can you make it better?
Human beings just like us built this city from rock and metal.
There are so many gorgeous places just waiting for you to visit them.
We live in a world filled with gorgeous plants like this one.
Don’t worry about the future right now. Take a deep breath and enjoy the present.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk. 😉