Make no assumptions when ordering vegetable dishes in a steakhouse. Copious amounts of butter, cream and cheese are standard ingredients. When you’re in a restaurant, ask for vegetables with light seasoning and no oil. When you’re at home, though, knock yourself out. Chose between three steakhouse style vegan vegetable recipes: creamed, spicy or air-fried. Transform basic and boring vegetables into heavenly health food without using oil or sugar.
You know you’re truly whole foods plant based when you prefer to cook and eat at home.
Creamed Spinach (first recipe)
Jump to Spicy Kale Saute
Jump to Crispy Air-Fried Vegetables
Vegan Creamed Spinach Recipe
This rich, vegan creamed spinach has an elegant Steakhouse-style presentation--sans butter, cream and cheese. Plant-based recipes can be as simple and delicious as their artery-clogging counterparts. Easy prep, and done within 10 minutes. Make this with other leafy greens as well, such as swiss chard, mustard, collard or beet greens and kale.
Blend all ingredients except spinach until creamy and smooth.
Transfer cream to a skillet. Turn on low heat. Add spinach by the handfuls, stirring constantly, adding more spinach as each batch wilts. If sticking occurs, either reduce the heat or splash with water. Remove from heat as last batch cooks. If using a cast iron skillet, remove from heat before it's finished as it will continue to cook.
Alternately, sauté spinach on low heat in a little water before adding the cream. As the volume decreases, add the cream sauce. Remove from heat.
Sticky Blender Solution: Did you know that your blender will wash itself? Yep. Just fill it 2/3 water and a drop of dish soap. Blend until clean.
The volume of this dish depends on how you cook the spinach. If you use the second method, or substitute frozen spinach, the spinach is evenly cooked. If significantly reduced, you may need to hold back some of the sauce (or add more spinach). This is why I prefer the first method, as some of the spinach leaves remain large and fresh looking. Cooking in cast iron skillets is a bit "touchy." but it can work. A stainless steel skillet would be easier. Either way, keep the heat low and stir constantly.
Spicy Kale Sauté Sauce
Turn basic and boring vegetables into high demand centerpieces. The spicy kale sauté sauce layers all five tastes: spicy, sweet, salty, sour and umami. This recipe can be used with other greens or any other vegetable. Drizzle over sweet potato, marinate eggplant or roast with cauliflower.
Remove stems from kale and rip into small pieces. If you like kitchen gadgets, there is a handy helper that makes this fast and easy. It works for small stems too, like oregano and thyme.
Whisk the spicy kale sauté sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Add kale and stir until leaves are coated.
Option One: Refrigerate until leaves are tender. Serve cold.
Option Two. Sauté for a few minutes until leaves are tender. Serve warm.
The spicy kale sauté sauce isn't just for kale . . .
Make Crispy Air-Fried Vegetables with No Oil
You can make crispy air-fried vegetables with no oil if you have the right blend of seasonings. This simple seasoning recipe works well on everything. Serve these tasty snacks as finger food, sides or toppers for soup and salad. A micro-spritz of avocado oil improves the crunch factor.
seasoning for crispy air-fried vegetables with no oil
Preheat the air-fryer to 375 to 400 degrees. Use lower heat for soft veggies like zucchini and tomatoes, and higher heat for firm veggies like root vegetables and squash.
Make crispy air-fried vegetables with no oil seasoning—just whisk the ingredients. Next, chop vegetables into bite size pieces. Thoroughly coat vegetables with the seasoning in a large bowl. Continue to stir until the liquid has been absorbed by the veggies.
Place vegetables in air-fryer. If desired, spritz with avocado oil. Heat for 10-20 minutes (depends on the size of the batch and desired doneness). Stir periodically and add another spritz of avocado oil at the halfway point.
Taste. Add salt and pepper (or Everything seasoning) if desired. Serve warm or cold.
You can make crispy air-fried vegetables with no oil. However, a spritz of avocado oil can improve the crunch factor. Avocado oil spray is the only oil spray I allow in my kitchen. Regular oil sprays have propellants such as butane or propane in them. Seriously. Do not put that on your food! Avocado oil is pure, and can make crispy air-fried vegetables thanks to a high smoke point. A minimal amount creates a big crunch. If you don't have avocado oil, you can add 1 tsp. sesame oil to the seasoning. Or just skip it.
If you want a dipping sauce, try healthy horseradish sauce. It's oil free and nut free.
Colleen Kachmann is a health coach, writer, teacher, yogi, mother of 4 (+3 bonus stepkids), and personal chef. She has a B.S. in education from Indiana University, and a master of science in health coaching from International Health Coach University. She also successfully completed the Women’s Functional & Integrative Medicine Professional Training Program through the Women’s Integrative Medicine Institute. Buy her book on Amazon. Find her on Twitter Pinterest Instagram YouTube Facebook
Regardless of your desire to be vegan, or go completely dairy free, there is no room to argue that store bought dressings are nasty. It’s counterproductive to clean up your diet by incorporating more vegetables if you are just going to cover them with chemicals.