Vegan Italian Wedding Cookies

Italian Wedding Cookies. Russian Tea Cakes. Butterballs. Mexican Wedding Cookies.

You can call them a dozen different names, but I call them delicious. These little delectable balls happen to be my mother-in-law’s favorite cookie, so I’ll definitely be making them soon for a Christmas gift. Perfect time to share the recipe!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup softened vegan butter (I suggest vegan Earth Balance)

½ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 ¼ cup flour

½ cup finely sliced almonds (broken up a bit)

¼ teaspoon salt

Powdered sugar for coating

BAKE

Preheat over at 400 degrees

Mix butter, ½ cup powdered sugar and vanilla. Then mix in flour, nuts and salt. With clean hands (hello, pandemic), form dough with your hands into 1″ balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet about an inch apart.

The dough will be stiff.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until the bottom turns light brown. Seriously, watch your bottoms – they can burn quickly! Cool on a cookie rack for 15 minutes before dunking them in a small bowl of powdered sugar until fully coated.

TIPS

  • These balls like to breath (don’t they all). Don’t wrap them up tight in plastic wrap. It makes them sweat and the powdered sugar gets moist. I put mine in a bowl and simply cover with bees wrap.
  • You can buy whole almonds and crush them in a Ziploc bag, but I’m lazy and prefer to buy them finely sliced.
  • This is a dry, slightly crunchy cookie, so don’t be alarmed that the dough seems dry and stiff. If biscotti and cookies had a baby – this would be it.

Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup

Sometimes you have to think outside the box, or in this case, outside the pepper.

There are some foods from my childhood that are difficult to convert to a vegan recipe. My mom’s stuffed peppers are a perfect example. Consistency and taste of my past attempts never quite measured up to the peppers that my Italian mother would pull out of the oven. I went vegan in 2005, so it has been a long time since I ate them, but I can tell you with complete confidence that I finally have a plant-based recipe that measures up.

The key was to think outside the pepper. I’ve tried rice, quinoa, vegan beef crumbles and a combination of each IN the peppers, but never OUTSIDE the peppers. I stumbled across this stuffed pepper soup recipe from Cooking Classy that was definitely not vegan, but had good enough bones (bad choice of words) to be the foundation of my new recipe.

I was not hopeful that a soup would be nearly as satisfied as those huge meatballs in a shell of yesteryear, but I was wrong. This is life-changing good. It is also super easy and cheap to make. I’m eating it for breakfast as I type.

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup yellow onion (chopped)

1 cup red pepper (chopped)

1 cup green pepper (chopped)

2 garlic cloves (minced)

2 cans (14.5 oz) petite diced tomatoes

1 can (14.5 oz) tomato sauce

1 can (14.5 oz) vegetable broth

2 cups frozen vegan beef crumbles

2 ½ tsp dry parsley (or 2 ½ tbsp fresh parsley)

½ tsp dry basil

¼ tsp oregano

Salt and pepper to taste

Dash or two of red pepper if you like a spicy sauce

1 cup uncooked rice (white or brown – I used instant brown rice)

Add chopped onion and peppers to heated olive oil in a pot (I used an enameled caste iron pot). Sauté for 3 minutes, then add garlic. Cook for another minute.

Add tomatoes, sauce, broth, frozen vegan beef crumbles, and herbs. Adjust to medium-low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Cook your rice accordingly to the instructions on the package and set aside.

Start to get excited.

Check timer.

Start pacing.

Check timer.

Give the dogs a treat.

Ding!

Add the rice and serve.

COOKING TIPS

  • You can add more or less rice depending on how thick you want the soup to be or are just a carb-whore like me.
  • I prefer Gardein beef crumbles. I don’t think Beyond Meat has the right taste for this for this recipe, but to each their own.
  • You’ll be tempted to cook the crumbles first, but don’t. Add them frozen to avoid them getting too soft after cooking for 30 minutes.
  • There was enough to give me five servings, so you normal people should get at least 7 servings.