Four-Way Chili Mac

“Copy cat” recipes seem to be all the rage as of late. I can’t get onto Pinterest without seeing at least one pin proclaiming to have found the secret ingredients to some sauce or batter. Now this is not a copy cat recipe below, but more of a vegan tribute to something I remember fondly from childhood.

It has been several years since I last ate Three-Way Chili at Steak and Shake, but it was brought to mind when some of the beloved diner chain’s coupons were put (in vain) in our mailbox. I don’t really know exactly when I first tried the dish, but what I do know is that my young self was in awe of the meal because it was a combination of two of my favorite foods: chili and spaghetti. I still love both of those to this day, so a vegan update to the meal was a necessary one.

Four-Way Chili Mac

Serves 6


  • 12 oz. package whole-wheat thin spaghetti
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans red beans
  • 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup diced white onions


  1. Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions and drain.
  2. In a large pot combine red beans through salt. Bring to boil, then lower to a simmer. Combine cornstarch with cold water and pour into the chili mixture. Stir well and continue to simmer until a thick saucy texture is achieved.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce.
  4. Divide cooked pasta among serving plates, topping each with a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce, a hearty scoop of chili, and a sprinkle of white onion.

Nutrition per serving:
Calories: 383 Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 0g Protein: 18g Carbohydrates: 78g Sugars: 11g

Hummus Pizza

I’ve had pizza, I’ve had hummus, and I’ve even had pizza flavored hummus, but now two worlds will collide in this ridiculously delicious recipe. Really filling, and definitely cheaper than takeout, this is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Hummus Pizza

Serves 4, 2 slices per serving


  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tablespoon tahini  
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dry basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup packed spinach, chopped
  • 1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives


  1. In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and brown sugar. Stir in the warm water until a soft dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes, then cover and let sit in a warm area for 1 hour.
  2. While the dough rises, make the hummus. In a food processor, combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and chickpeas through salt and blend until smooth.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a pizza pan with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and spread the dough on it. Bake for 10 minutes. Top the crust with the hummus and remaining ingredients, then broil in the oven for 1-2 minutes, until spinach is wilted and all toppings are heated through.
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Nutrition per serving:
Calories: 473 Fat: 20g Saturated Fat: 2.7g Protein: 14.5g Carbohydrates: 63g Sugars: 7.6g

Sun Dried Tomato Bread

Freshly baked bread is one of my favorite smells in the world. It fills the house and reminds you that later there will be a tasty baked good for sharing.

That’s why this recipe for bread from the slow cooker, based on an original recipe by Host the Toast, is such a great option. It’s easy, delicious, and the resulting loaf is quite an impressive orange hue. Someone I worked with once said “If you can bake bread, people will think you’re a wizard.” So don your robes and try this recipe!

Sun Dried Tomato Bread

Inspired by Host the Toast’s Rosemary Bread
Makes 1 loaf, about 8 slices


  • 1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil packed sun dried tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons oil from tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour


  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, water, and sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes. The mix should become foamy looking.
  2. In a food processor, add the sun dried tomatoes and oil. Pulse the mixture until the tomatoes are finely minced. Add the tomatoes to the yeast mixture, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix the ingredients (using my hands worked best for me) until a cohesive dough comes together. Shape the dough into a large ball.
  3. Move the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm area and leave to rise for 1 hour.
  4. Set your slow cooker to high heat. Line the bottom and sides of the slow cooker with parchment paper.
  5. Put the dough into the lined slow cooker. Place paper towels across the top of the slow cooker before putting on the lid. This will help catch moisture and stop the bread from getting soggy.
  6. Cook the bread for 2 hours. Let it cool before slicing, and serve with olive oil on the side for dipping.

Nutrition per serving (8 servings per loaf):
Calories: 239 Fat: 7.1g Saturated Fat: 1g Protein: 8g Carbohydrates: 40g Sugars: 1.4g

Lucky Black Eyed Pea Burgers

Although I didn’t grow up doing it, probably due to my mother’s distaste for the main ingredient, it’s a tradition in the South to eat black eyed peas and some type of greens on New Year’s Day for luck and financial prosperity.

The reputation of the pea’s luckiness supposedly dates back to Civil War times where they escaped being destroyed by Sherman’s troops because they were considered food fit for only livestock or slaves. It soon became a valuable food-source for the surviving Confederates.

Eventually the practice of serving it with a type of greens (kale, collards, mustard, or cabbage) for financial gain became normal too. Now it’s common on New Year’s Day for my Instagram feed to be packed with photos of lunches consisting of peas and greens. blackeyedburger

I decided to change things up this year and after scouring the cupboards for inspiration settled on making pea burgers with a sautéed garlic kale topping.

Lucky Black Eyed Pea Burgers

Makes 4 large burgers


  • 2 cups cooked black eyed peas
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped kale
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Burger toppings (pickles, lettuce, tomato, condiments, vegan cheese, etc.)


In a large bowl, mash the black eyed peas until a coarse paste forms. Stir in the next 10 ingredients (soy sauce through flour).

In a large frying pan, bring the coconut oil to medium-high heat. Form the pea mixture into 4 patties. One at a time, fry the patties until golden brown, about 4 minutes on each side. Place cooked patties onto a paper towel lined plate to soak up any extra oil.

In a small frying pan, bring the olive oil to medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook until golden brown. Stir in the kale and cook until completely wilted.

Form your lucky burgers by placing the black eyed pea patties, sautéed garlic kale, and any desired toppings on warm buns. And don’t forget to enjoy the new year!