Spicy Vegan Sloppy Joe’s

sloppy joes

Hi all! Sorry for the brief hiatus we’ve been on the last couple weeks, Andy and I have officially entered into wedding season, and are/ have been traveling almost every weekend since the end of June. That being said, we’re going to do the best we can over the next several weeks to keep up with recipes! Apologizes in advance if we fail…anyways, the point here is that we’re way overdue for a recipe, so I should really get to it! These Vegan Sloppy Joe’s were inspired by a delicious recipe made for us our friend, Kailey, on the 4th of July, which she found on She Likes Food. With this delicious recipe, she inadvertently turned our Independence Day Vegan, and meat eaters and veggies alike rejoiced! We decided to give it a whirl and tinker a bit with the recipe, adding a bit more of this, a little more of that, a pre-made barbecue sauce to speed up the process, and a lot more spice, needless to say, my family ate up every last lentil. Quick, easy, delicious, and almost healthy. Sounds like the perfect BBQ food if you ask me! Enjoy! Makes 5-6.


10 Minutes Prep, 30 Minutes Cook


-Hawaiian Buns

close sloppy-1 Can Cooked Chickpeas (15 oz.)

-Dry Green Lentils (1/2 cup)

-1 Large Shallot (diced)

-3 Medium Cloves Garlic (minced)

-3 Fresh Jalapeños (diced)

-1 Beefsteak Tomato (diced)

-Louisiana Style Hot Sauce (splashed)*

-Barbecue Sauce (3/4 cup)**

-Olive Oil (1 tsp.)

-Salt (pinch)

-Water (1 cup)

*We used Jack’s, as mentioned in our Buffalo Cauliflower recipe, but as with that recipe, we suggest Frank’s Red Hot as a good alternative.

**We used Sweet Baby Ray’s, but we’ve also used Trader Joe’s brand and that was just as good. Use your favorites!


Thoroughly rinse and drain chickpeas. Place lentils in medium pot with 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer for about 20-25 minutes, or until tender and cooked. In a large pan over medium heat, add olive oil, shallots, and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook for about 1 minute before adding garlic, and jalapeño peppers. After another minute, add Barbecue Sauce and Hot Sauce. Mix thoroughly and stir over stove for about 3 minutes. Add lentils and chickpeas and stir for about 4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and mix for about 1 minute until blended. Place the mixture onto buns and enjoy!

Suggested Sides and Drinks:

We served these up with a spring mix salad with a light balsamic dressing. We also used some tortilla chips and scooped up our leftover mixture, and let me tell you, it makes as good of a chip dip as it does a burger! As a drink we had a light and refreshing Belgian-style beer.


Avocado Tartines

avocado tartine

Happy Thursday! And (almost) Happy 4th of July for all my fellow Americans out there! We really wanted to make our Lemon Bar recipe for this week because it’s the perfect thing for an Independence Day BBQ, but alas, our lemons are not yet fully grown. (So be on the lookout for those soon!) Instead, we decided to do a little recreation of one of my favorite lunches last summer in London, from Le Pain Quotidien, an international chain that I highly recommend for a light lunch out. However, if you’re not feeling like going out, why not try ours? Super easy to make and just as good, if not, I dare say, better! Give them a try and let us know what you think! Hope you all have a happy and safe holiday weekend. Makes 4 slices.


5-10 Minutes Prep


-2 Ripe AvocadosDSC_0115_

-4 Slices Thick Multigrain Bread

-1/2 Beefsteak Tomato (diced)

-1 Small Bushel Green Onions (diced)

-Sunflower Seeds (to taste)

-Ground Sea Salt (to taste)

-Pepper (to taste)

-Cumin (pinch)

-Olive Oil (drizzled)

-1 Lemon (wedged)


Very lightly toast bread until slightly crispy, but not yet golden brown. Mash avocados and spread evenly across bread. Evenly sprinkle tomatoes, green onions, and sunflower seeds over avocado. Sprinkle very small pinch of cumin over each slice, followed by salt and pepper. Lightly drizzle olive oil on top and serve with lemon wedges. Just before eating, squeeze fresh lemon juice over slices.

Halloumi Wraps

halloumi wraps

Hi veggies! Hope you’re all having a happy and pleasant Thursday. Wondering what’s for lunch? How about one of our Halloumi Wraps?! The only complicated thing about these wraps is finding the cheese! I had never heard of Halloumi before I moved to London for graduate school…I quickly found it there around every corner and absolutely fell in love with it. Halloumi is a grilling cheese from Cyprus that is a little like mozzarella but made for grilling, it’s absolutely divine. I searched for months after moving back to California and finally found The Trader Joe’s brand Halloumi (my personal fave) and Kryssos Halloumi. With either of these you can quickly have a light and delicious Greek-style wrap with us! Enjoy and let us know what you think!


5 Minutes Prep, 3-5 Minutes Cook

Ingredients:open halloumi wrap

-Halloumi Cheese (about 4 thin slices per wraps)

-Pita Bread (1 per wrap)

Hummus (to taste)

Tzatziki (to taste)

-Tabouli (to taste)

-1/2 Red Onion (diced)

-1/2 Tomato (diced)


Slice desired amount of Halloumi into thin slices (about 1 1/2-2 inches tall). Place strips onto ungreased pan and cook at medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until thoroughly browned on each side. Place desired amount of remaining ingredients on pita bread and add grilled Halloumi. Eat!

Suggested Sides and Drinks:

We had these with Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, a classic in the beer world. As a side we put our extra hummus and pita to good use and just dipped the pita in the hummus!

Zucchini Pesto Pasta

zucchini pasta

I don’t know about where you are, but it’s HOT here. Too hot for pasta. But it’s never too hot for fresh vegetables, and that’s what this Zucchini Pesto Pasta is packin’. This has all the flavor of eating pasta without all the carbs and gluten. And it takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish. So basically, it’s the perfect dinner for you to make tonight. Enjoy!


15 Minutes Prep, 3-5 Minutes Cookzucchini noodles


-4 Small-Medium Zucchinis

-Fresh Basil (2 cups, packed)

-3 Cloves Garlic

-Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1/3 cup)

-Squeezed Lemon Juice (2 tsp.)

-Cayenne Pepper (pinch)tomatoes

-Fresh Grated Parmesan (1/4 cup)

-Salt (to taste)

-Pepper (to taste)

-Cherry Tomatoes


For Zucchini Pasta: First, we highly recommend getting a Veggetti – it’s cheap, and gets the job done almost instantly. Cut off ends of zucchini, and put it through the Veggetti. If you don’t have time to get one, however, you can just use a peeler or thin knife to cut into strips. Repeat with all zucchini. Spray pan lightly with cooking spray and sauté for about 3-5 minutes until softened slightly.

For Pesto Sauce: Add basil and garlic to food processor until well combined and coarsely chopped. Slowly add olive oil to mixture. Lastly, add lemon juice and parmesan and pulse until blended. Season with generous amount of salt and pepper.

Chop cherry tomatoes in half and add to pesto sauce. Mix zucchini with sauce and serve!

Suggested Sides and Drinks:

We served our “zoodles” with thin strips of sourdough baguette with and olive oil and balsamic mixture for dipping. For a drink we served it up with a nice white wine.

No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

chocolate bars

Something we haven’t yet revealed about ourselves: we LOVE desserts. So, it’s probably past the time that we put up one of our dessert recipes, but here you go! These No Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Bars are very quick and easy to whip up, and they just taste like a little slice of fudgey deliciousness. I think that this week, we’ll just let the bars speak for themselves. Enjoy!


5 Minutes Prep, 5 Minutes Cook


-Sugar (2 cups)

-Milk (1/2 cup)

-Butter (1 stick/ 8 tbsp.)

-Unsweetened Chocolate Powder (1/4 cup)

-Oats (3 cups)

-Peanut Butter (1/2 cup)

Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (1/2 cup)*

-Vanilla Extract (2 tsp.)

-Kosher Salt (pinch)

Note: If you don’t have access to a Trader Joe’s and this amazing concoction, double peanut butter to 1 cup.


Begin by laying down about 3-4 feet of wax paper. Add sugar, milk, butter, and chocolate powder to a boil over medium heat and allow to boil for 1 minute, or until melted (stirring occasionally). Adjust heat to low setting and add oats, peanut butter, cookie butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir until thoroughly mixed and melted. Pour mixture onto half of the wax paper. Fold remaining wax paper over mixture and flatten with rolling pin until desired thickness (we usually aim for about 1/4 inch). Allow to cool for about 30 minutes. Remove upper layer of wax paper and slice into squares.

Suggested Sides and Drinks:

Because this is dessert we’re not suggesting any sides for you. But, if you’d like an adult beverage pairing we suggest a nice red wine or a Stout or Porter style beer. Or, why not just go old fashioned, have this with a glass of milk?

Eggplant Parmesan

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The Real Veggie is truly a family affair. Andy and I have been happy to introduce Rachel’s sister, Holly, to the internet through some of her recipes, and this week we’ve handed the reins completely over to Rachel’s brother, Erik. Erik whipped up this delicious Eggplant Parmesan for us and we just can’t get enough of it. Erik wanted to try out the blogging portion along with the cooking, so that’s why it might look a little different this week. But hey, nothing’s wrong with a little variety! Happy cooking and welcome to the first of many of Erik’s recipes!


  •  1/2 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs eggplant
  • 1 lb mozzarella
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp black powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 1 3/4 cup planko
  • 1 oz parmesan powdered cheese
  • 1 heaping tbsp dried basil

Prep time: 15-20 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Total: 1 hour

We wanted to do the eggplant parmesan since it is a simple and easy make. While it may take some time and a few dishes, other than the eggplant and mozzarella, you probably already have all of the ingredients at your house. Plus, it is absolutely delicious, and there’s plenty of room to play with the recipe to suit your tastes. For example, in this recipe we used twice as much cheese and about 1/3 less tomatoes from the original recipe that we worked from.

First, get some water boiling in a pot large enough to submerge your tomatoes in. Then, slice the eggplant about 1 inch thick, and rinse in a colander over a bowl with about 1/8 tsp of salt. Let the eggplant dry for about ½ hour. Cut small “X”s on the bottom of the tomatoes and boil them for a couple of minutes or until you can peel the skin right off. Heat up about ¼ cup of vegetable oil to sauté the minced or pressed garlic, until golden brown. Puree the tomatoes and add them to the garlic when they’re ready, along with about ¼ tsp of black pepper and ¼ tsp red pepper, 1 heaping tablespoon of dried garlic, and 1 ½ tsp of salt. Keep this on a low simmer and stir every 5-10 minutes

Next, get 3 medium sized bowls. In one, mix ½ cup of flour with about ¼ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp black pepper. Whip three eggs in the second bowl. Mix 1 1/3 cups of planko and 1 oz of powdered parmesan cheese for the last bowl. Lay out wax paper or non-stick aluminum foil and lay out the eggplant slices separately (or keep them in the colander but have the paper ready). Douse each slice in each of the bowls respectively (flour, egg, planko), letting the excess fall off, and lay them back out separately. Heat up about ½ cup oil in a large pan. You’re going to want to fry as many slices at a time as possible. Fry them all, turning them once after about 5-6 minutes each side on medium heat, and laying them out on paper towel to dry.

Now layer the sauce, fried eggplant slices, and shredded mozzarella in a baking tray. Place on middle rack of oven preheated to 375 F and bake for about 30 minutes, until cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Puffs


This week we give you what might be our quickest and easiest recipe yet! Andy and I made these Spinach and Goat Cheese Puffs up awhile ago, based on our family’s vegetarian Thanksgiving main course, which is a huge hit with the meat eaters and vegetarians, alike (Sorry, guys. You’re going to have to wait till November for me to tell you more about that). These are great as a quick snack, appetizer for a party, or a light meal with a side salad. They’re easy, tasty, fluffy, and full of iron. Doesn’t get much better than that! Makes 8.


5 Minutes Prep, 10-12 Minutes Bake


-1 Package Crescent Roll Dough (8 triangles)

-Spinach (2 cups, steamed)

-Goat Cheese (approx. 3/4 cup, crumbled)

-Crushed Red Pepper (about 1 tsp.)

-Parmesan (sprinkled)


Preheat oven to 350 F. Steam spinach and drain out all excess water.* Roll out crescent roll dough triangles on ungreased baking sheet. Place an equal amount of goat cheese, spinach, and sprinkled crushed red pepper on the widest part of each dough triangle. Roll into crescents and sprinkle parmesan over. Bake 10-12 minutes or until just turning golden brown.

*Note: This can be done quickly in the microwave, or over stovetop.

Suggested Sides and Drinks:

We usually eat these as appetizers or snacks, meaning there aren’t really any suggested sides or drinks. However, if you want to make a light meal out of this, we suggest a salad with a vinaigrette as a side, paired with a light and fruity Chardonnay.

Black Bean Burgers


It’s Holly’s week on The Real Veggie again! Andy and Erik (Erik is Holly and Rachel’s brother, who I’m hoping you’ll all meet through some of his recipes on here soon) just graduated last week (yay!), so we had a veggie friendly barbecue and Holly made us these AMAZING Black Bean Burgers. So, naturally, they’re going straight from our kitchen to you. Without further adieu, here’s Holly!

I’m excited to share one of my all-time favorite recipes today! These black bean burgers are not only delicious; they are also extremely healthy, low in calories and high in protein. They’re so good that even my husband, a meat lover who wouldn’t dare come near a Gardenburger, loves them! This recipe makes 5 patties, but if you have extras you can freeze them and they are just as enjoyable reheated! I usually bake them but we recently put them on the grill for a graduation BBQ and they were a hit! Of course you can top them however you like, but I have included my suggestions for toppings as well, and I highly recommend you give this Mediterranean twist a try! I’ve even included a simple recipe for Tzatziki below, which really adds wonderful flavor to the meal. I like to keep it separate and top it on every bite. Enjoy!


15 Minutes Prep, 20 Minutes Bake


Black Bean Burgers:

-1 Can Black Beans (16 oz., drained and rinsed)

-1/2 Medium Onion

-4-5 Cloves Garlic

-1 1/2 Eggs

-Chili Powder (1 tbsp.)

-Cumin (1/2 tsp.)

-Hot Sauce (2 tbsp., I use Tapatío)

Black Bean Burger Toppings:

-Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs (1 cup)

-Whole Grain Sandwich Thins

-Spreadable Goat Cheese (or melted to spread)

-Red Onion (sliced)





-Plain Greek Yogurt (3 cups)

-1 Lemon (juiced)

-2 Medium Cucumbers (seeded and diced)

-Salt (1 tbsp., for cucumbers)

-Dill (2 tbsp.)

-Salt (to taste)

-Pepper (to taste)




For Black Bean Burgers: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, cover large cookie sheet with foil and lightly grease. If grilling outdoors, preheat grill to high heat and lightly grease a sheet of aluminum foil.
  2. Pour beans into food processor for easy mashing, then scoop out into a large mixing bowl. If you do not have a food processor you can mash the beans in a large bowl with a fork.
  3. In food processor, finely chop onions and garlic. Then mix into the mashed beans.
  4. In a smaller bowl mix 1 ½ eggs (for the ½ egg I usually try to get a somewhat even ratio of half egg and yolk, but the ratio is not that important), chili powder, cumin and hot sauce and stir.
  5. Pour egg mixture in with bean mixture and mix evenly. Add bread crumbs in ¼ cup increments, stirring until the mixture is sticky and holds together.
  6. Separate into 5 even balls of mixture and then shape into patties and place evenly spaced on the cookie sheet. (Tip – if you shape them on the cookie sheet, make sure you can lift them off of the foil before baking, this will help avoid sticking)
  7. If baking bake for 11 minutes then flip patties and bake 11 more minutes. If grilling, place patties on foil and grill for about 8-9 minutes on each side.

tzatzikiFor Tzatziki: 

  1. Peel cucumbers with a vegetable peeler, and then slice lengthwise down the middle. Using a teaspoon, scrape the seeds from the centers and discard. Dice the remaining cucumber, pat dry with a paper towel, and toss with salt in a colander. Set aside and let the salt draw out excess liquid for at least 30 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, combine cucumber, lemon juice and dill.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix cucumber mix in with yogurt.
  4. You can serve your Tzatziki right away, but I find the flavors meld together and develop to their full potential after being chilled for at least an hour.

**I never leave the Tzatziki out of my Black Bean Burgers! If I’m in a rush, don’t have a cucumber, or simply want a fast small portion, I simply mix dill, garlic powder, salt and pepper into plain greek yogurt and you’ve effectively still got the flavor without the time!

Suggested Sides and Drinks:

These pair perfectly with our Italian Pasta Salad recipe, together they make the perfect summer lunch or dinner. I highly recommend drinking these with Ballast Point’s Grapefruit Sculpin, it’s got just the right amount of grapefruit to balance the hops.

Fettuccine Alfredo & Bruschetta


This week was Mother’s Day! We had Mother’s Day brunch on the beach in Malibu for my Mom on Sunday, and made a nice home-cooked meal for Andy’s Mom. Andy and my brother are graduating this week, so things have been a little crazy around here. So, we decided to take this opportunity and kill two birds with one stone (I’ve never been fond of that expression….) and use our Mother’s Day meal as our recipe of the week. This Alfredo recipe is superrrrr buttery, so if you’d like it a little lighter substitute about 1/4 cup of sour cream for half of the butter. Honestly, I like it better that way. But this is a very rich sauce that seems to be a crowd pleaser…and the bruschetta…let’s just say that I could live on just that for the rest of my life. Mother’s Day may be over, but it’s never too late to make a nice meal for your Momma! Give it a whirl and let us know what you think!


20 Minutes Prep, 15 Minutes Cook


Fettuccine Alfredo:

-Fettuccine (1/2 box, or as needed)

-Butter (1 stick)

-Heavy Cream (1 cup)

-Parmesan (2 cups, grated)

-Garlic Powder (1/4 tsp.)

-Salt (to taste)

-Pepper (to taste)

-Pasta Cooking Water (as needed)


-1 Baguette

-Olive Oil (approx. 1/4 cup)

-5 Cloves of Garlic (minced)

-Mozzarella (8 ounces, cubed)

-4 Tomatoes (diced)

-Fresh Basil (2/3 ounces, chopped)

-Salt (to taste)

-Pepper (to taste)

-Balsamic Vinegar (drizzled)


For Fettuccine: Warm butter and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until butter is melted. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder (don’t be afraid to be generous with the salt and pepper). Add parmesan and stir until melted.Cook pasta according to package directions. Strain. Add drained pasta cooking water to Alfredo sauce if thinner consistency is desired (recommended). Mix pasta with sauce. If desired, serve with freshly grated parmesan, crushed red pepper, and fresh ground pepper.

bruschettaFor Bruschetta: Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut baguette into thin slices (about 1/4 inch) and arrange on baking sheet. Brush both sides of each piece with olive oil. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or when just starting to brown. While bread is baking, cut mozzarella into very small cubes (again, about 1/4 inch). Dice tomatoes into 1/4 inch cubes. Coarsely chop basil, and finely mince garlic. Combine cheese, tomatoes, basil, and garlic in a bowl and add desired amount of salt and pepper. Mix until mixture is even. Spoon an even amount onto each piece of bread. Lightly drizzle balsamic vinegar over each piece.

Suggested Sides and Drinks:

This was a huge, very filling meal. So, in addition to the pasta and bruschetta, we served this with a mixed greens salad with light balsamic vinaigrette. We recommend a light and refreshing Chardonnay as a compliment to this very rich dish.

Buffalo Cauliflower

Buffalo Cauliflower

Today I have an important PSA about Cauliflower. I don’t know how many of you are cauli-converts, but it’s past time that we all embrace cauliflower as a fruit of the gods. I’m not talking about the gross boring cauliflower your parents made you eat as kids, I’m talking about the cauliflower that can make delicious mac and cheese, or in this case, a delicious and spicy buffalo appetizer. This is a great recipe for those of you who have recently converted to vegetarianism and miss these types of snacks (i.e. Andy – he’s got almost two months under his belt now)! And, it’s equally as great for the lifetime vegetarians like myself (Rachel) who want a hot, delicious, and healthy appetizer to make for guests. So, with this ridiculously easy recipe, I hope to get you all on a path towards discovering the versatility and all around amazingness of cauliflower. Happy baking!


5-10 Minutes Prep, 25 Minutes Bake

Ingredients:cauliflower florette

-Cauliflower Florets (approx. 6 1/2 cups)

-Water (1 cup)

-Flour (1 cup)

-Garlic Powder (2 tsp.)

-Louisiana-Style Hot Sauce (3/4 cup)*

-Unsalted Butter (1 tbsp., melted)

-Ranch Dip/ Dressing (approx. 1 cup, optional)

-Celery Sticks (optional)

Note: We used Jack’s Hot Sauce, this is our all-time favorite hot sauce that you can get in a tiny diner in Bishop, CA., but they’ll ship it to you if you call in and place an order! Their number is (760) 872-7971. We highly recommend picking some of this up, even if just to have on hand, we put it on EVERYTHING. However, for the purpose of this recipe, you can use whatever Louisiana-Style Sauce you like, Frank’s Red Hot is a particularly good alternative.


Preheat oven to 450 F. Spray large baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut the cauliflower into small pieces, removing as much of the stem as possible. Mix together water, flour, and garlic powder in a large bowl until smooth batter is formed. Pour cauliflower into bowl and thoroughly coat all pieces. Spread evenly on pan. Bake for 20 minutes. In separate bowl, mix butter and hot sauce till smooth. Pour hot sauce mixture over baked cauliflower and mix until each piece is coated. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes.

Suggested Sides:

Serve with celery, ranch, or your favorite dressing!