Saturday, September 14, 2013

Maple Cinnamon Twice Baked Sweet Potato

Simply sweet potato its best.  Try this with a garnet yam (which is really a sweet potato!), my personal favorite.   The only difficult part of the this recipe is waiting for the sweet potato to bake, but rest assured it is well worth it.  After the wait is over, all you have to do is mix the sweet potato flesh with a few other tasty ingredients and bake again for just 10 minutes.  The applesauce adds a nice little tang but it can easily be left out.  Love it extra sweet?  Add a touch more maple syrup, or try a sprinkle of brown sugar on top.  Definitely do splurge and a the vegan butter as it adds just that little bit of richness.  Let's also not forget about the wonderful health benefits of the sweet potato, that bright orange flesh is a sure indicator of all the beta-carotene packed in this tuber.  They also deliver a nice dose of vitamin C, vitamin B and iron, so eat up!
Confused about the difference between a sweet potato and yam?  It's really just because sweet potatoes are often mislabeled as yams.  Check out this article for more clarification. 
1 medium sweet potato, washed
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp maple syrup
1-2 tsp Earth Balance vegan butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
Pinch ground ginger
Pinch salt
Chopped pecans for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Pierce sweet potato a couple times with a fork.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes.
Remove from oven, cut a slit down the center of the sweet potato, and scoop out flesh into a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients except pecans, a mix thoroughly and until creamy.  Make any adjustments to taste.
Spoon back into the sweet potato skin, sprinkle with pecans, return to baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Falafel Spiced Roasted Chickpea Tacos

I really love falafel.  So much in fact that at one point I created a baked falafel recipe in my early days of blogging.  I've been meaning to revisit this recipe to see how I could revamp it, but to have to bust out the food processor, form little patties, and all that, just hasn't been something I've had time for.  So I had this brilliant idea to take all those spices and flavors and just coat the chickpeas in them, then roast them.  I do love roasted chickpeas. I substitute onion for onion powder, fresh garlic with garlic powder that way I wouldn't have to worry about it burning in the oven and the flavors would be all combined.   It worked like a charm!  I got my falafely goodness without the work. Yep, I'll pat myself on the back for this one.  It's pretty freakin' good.

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Makes 4 tacos


1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Diced tomato
Diced onion
Diced dill pickle (yes this goes very well with falafel)
Tahini dressing (I love the one from Trader Joes that you can find by the hummus or try my recipe)

Taco size tortillas


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Chickpeas to a bowl and add olive oil and lemon juice.  Give it a toss to coat.

In a small bowl, mix all the spices together.  This is important so that you have an even flavor throughout.  Add the spices to the chickpeas along with the fresh herbs and lastly the salt and pepper.  Toss to thoroughly coat.

Spread chickpeas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 30-40 minutes (depending how crispy you want them).

Friday, June 28, 2013

Southwest Black Bean Burger

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Makes 4 large burgers or 6 small


1/2 small onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne (optional)
1/3 cup pepitas
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
Salt and pepper to taste

Flour for dusting
Oil or cooking spray


Add onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, chipotle powder, and pepitas to a food processor.  Pulse several times until it all comes together.  Add remaining ingredients and pulse again until it comes together.  Do not over blend or the mixture can become too wet.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate 20-30 minutes to chill.  Once chilled it will be easier to handle. 

Shape into 4 patties.  Lightly dust both sides of each patty in flour. 

Heat lightly oiled skillet over medium heat.  Once hot, add burgers and cook a few minutes on each side until browned and heat through. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spiced Quinoa with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is actually not grain but rather a seed. What makes it so wonderful is that it's a plant-based, complete protein meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids (the ones your body can't produce).  Yea, that's pretty cool.  One cup cooked gives you 8 grams of protein with just over 200 calories and about 3.5g fat.  For long time I wanted so badly to love this little protein-packed wonder seed, but everytime I cooked it I found it tastless and mushy.  Yuck.  So, I decided to try using less liquid and swapped broth for water, threw in spices, garlic, etc. and voila, I was converted.

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Makes about 3 cups


Olive oil or cooking spray
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth (water can be substituted)
Salt and pepper to taste

Pepitas (already roasted pumpkin seeds) or regular raw pumpkin seeds
Chopped cilantro


Heat oil in a skillet.  Add onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Add vinegar, cumin, smoked paprika, quinoa; stir o combine everything and cook just a minute.  Add in broth and stir.  Turn heat up and bring to boil, then reduce to low and simmer covered 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  If there's still too much liquid, you can removed cover and cook a few minutes longer.  Garnish with pumpkin seeds and cilantro. Serve as a side dish, add beans to make it a main dish, or add to a wrap with veggies.

*To roast pumpkin seeds just lay on a baking sheet, spray with cooking oil, and bake at 350 for a few minutes until they start to turn golden.  I’ve never actually timed it but they always turn out ok.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vegan Frijoles Charros

One day I'll get around to soaking dried beans overnight and cooking them for hours, but that's not today.  There's never enough time.  So I figured out a way to cheat use canned pinto beans while still developing a sauce for them to bathe in.  Very flavorful and so easy!  

Bonus: you can puree them or mash with a fork and you've got healthier refried beans or add a little extra broth or some salsa, puree and you've got yourself a dip.  I just love taking one recipe and morphing it into several different dishes.

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Makes about 2 - 1 cup servings


Cooking spray or oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup green pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chopped jalapeno (optional)
1/2 cup diced tomato
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp chipotle powder (spicy) or smoked paprika (mild)
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed


Heat a lightly oiled, high-sided skillet over low-medium then add onion, pepper, garlic, and jalapeno with dash of salt.  Cook 5 minutes being careful not to let the garlic get brown.  Stir in tomato, cumin, chipotle or paprika, vinegar and let it cook for a minute, then stir in broth.  Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.

Transfer mixture from the pan to a blender or food processor and puree.  Add back to the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the beans.  Let them cook over low heat for 5 minutes, then serve.



Monday, May 6, 2013

Summer Strawberry & Avocado Salad with Basil Dressing

I must confess I often roll my eyes when I see salad with fruit in it on a menu.  It's definitely not one of my favorite food combinations.  However, I love pairing avocado with fruit so I thought I'd give strawberries a shot.  Normally I try everything in sandwich form but I this time I thought I'd get some mache lettuce (pronounced "mosh"), throw in some toasted nuts, and top with some leftover basil cashew cream sauce that I use on pasta.  Turns out it doubles as a salad dressing and basil goes so well with strawberries.  If just making it as a dressing, I simplify it a bit, cutting out the onion and sauteeing. 

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Lemon basil cashew cream dressing (makes about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup cashews soaked overnight
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 - 1/3 cup vegetable broth, water from cashews or plain water
1 handful of basil leaves (or more to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mache lettuce (or spring greens)
Sliced strawberries
Sliced avocado
Slivered almonds, toasted (also good with toasted pine nuts or pepitas which are roasted pumpkin seeds)


Add dressing ingredients to a blender and puree.  Simply plate your salad ingredients and pour dressing over it.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

BBQ Tempeh Sandwich with Coleslaw & Avocado

Can it just be summer already!?  The days are getting longer, the flip flops have had a couple outings, and baseball is here but I'm done with wearing a coat to the games.  So yea, I've been daydreaming about all things summer and it shows with what I've been craving.  
This is the first of many summer recipes that I'll be cooking up.  The marriage of a smokey barbecue sauce and a tangy coleslaw is simply divine.  Add in the avocado, put it between bread, and it's heaven!  It's important to get a stellar barbecue sauce and if you're vegan, read the ingredients.  Some have worcestershire sauce in them and therefore can have anchovies (yes, many worcestershire sauces have anchovies).  Some BBQ sauces also have honey so heads up for those who may avoid that as well.  I love Stubb's or Trader Joe's Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce, which is pretty kickass.  Check out it's 5 out 5 stars  review on this site loaded with reviews of barbecue sauces. 

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Makes 2 sandwiches


1/2 package of tempeh, sliced
Barbecue sauce

2 Tbsp unsweetened almond or soy milk
2 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp vegan mayo, such as Earth Balance or Vegenaise
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp grated onion
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups shredded or chopped cabbage
1 small carrot, grated

Slice bread or roll
Avocado, mashed


Place sliced tempeh in a shallow tupperware or dish.  Slather on the barbecue sauce with a brush (a small spatula or spoon will work) getting it all nice and coated. Let it sit in the fridge for an hour.

While it's marinating, make your slaw.  This is also best if it has a little time to sit.  Mix your almond milk, vinegar and lemon juice in a bowl.  Give it a stir and let it sit for a 5 minutes.  Now whisk in your mayo, sugar, onion, salt and pepper.  Make any adjustments to suit your taste.  Add cabbage and carrot and toss to thoroughly coat.  Set in the fridge.

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Take tempeh slices and lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, flip pieces and bake another 10-12 minutes depending on how thin the tempeh is sliced and how crispy you want it. 

Take some mashed avocado and spread on one or both slices of bread.  My favorite way to assemble is bread w/ avocado, tempeh, spread on a little extra barbecue sauce, coleslaw, bread w/ avocado.  Dig in!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Crispy Tofu Tacos

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner so it couldn't be a better time for perfecting some of those Mexican inspired recipes, of course done vegan and healthy.  When I teach cooking classes people always ask me for tips on cooking tofu.  I think getting the right texture is the biggest challenge when cooking with tofu.  In this recipe I've used one of my secret weapons, the vacuum packed tofu that's already been pressed.  Not the kind in water that you have to drain and press yourself.  This way you cut out a step and the tofu already has that firm texture.  You definitely wouldn't a watery, mushy mesh of tofu in your tacos. Yuck.
 I love the House Foods Vacuum Packed Tofu, and the Cutlet is great too because it also has a "skin" on it, as well as great texture. And bonus - they're CERTIFIED ORGANIC and NON-GMO CERTIFIED. So, so important when buying soy products. You can read more about GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms) on the Non-GMO Project site.

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Makes 4 tacos


1 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne (optional)
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
1 8oz. package vacuum packed tofu such as House Foods (not the kind in water)
1/4 cup diced onion (or add 1/2 tsp onion powder to spices)
4 crispy taco shells, warmed in the oven

Fixins: Avocado (mashed with a pinch of salt), pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, hot sauce


Mix spices in a bowl, then add soy sauce.  Crumble tofu into the bowl and mix with a fork to further break up tofu and thoroughly coat with spices. 

Heat a skillet sprayed with cooking spray or lightly coated with oil.  Add tofu and onion.  Cook over medium-heat, stirring a few times, for about 5-8 minutes.  Spoon into tacos shells and pile on the fixins!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

No-Bake Lemon Coconut Bars

I love lemon anything and I love coconut anything.  And I love the two together .  One of my all-time favorite desserts is the lemon coconut bundt cake in my Veganomicon cookbook but unfortunately I can't eat cake everyday. Since I've been experimenting with making my own version of Lara Bars, I had to do one of my favorite flavor combinations.  Oh boy, it did not disappoint.  I feel way less guilty about devouring these little treats that are raw, vegan, whole food ingredients, with no sugar added.  

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Makes about 20 1-2 inch squares


1 cup raw cashews
2 cups dried dates, pitted
3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
Zest of one lemon
2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch of salt


Note: If your dates aren't very soft, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes or until softened.

Blend cashews in a food processor until it's just beginning to turn from a powder to a nut butter.  This will take a few minutes so be patient.  Now add your dates and process until it all comes together.  This could also take a few minutes.  Scrape down the sides if needed.  Now add remaining ingredients pulse several times until all incorporated. 

Remove and place on parchment paper.  Press into a square or rectangle and place another sheet of parchment on top.  Optional: use a cast iron skillet to flatten the top.  Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour, then cut into squares.  Store in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Southwest Black Bean, Corn, and Rice Salad

So many great things about this dish - it's an easy mix some stuff together kind of recipe, it's vegan and healthy, it's delicious, and it doesn't really require cooking if you get the kind of rice you can just microwave.  Oh and it's versatile too.  You can switch up the grains (I used a combination or brown rice and barley), add avocado if you like, use it as a side or a main dish, in tacos or burritos, whatever you want.  The recipe makes 2-3 side dish servings but it can easily be doubled for a 4-5 person dinner or for a party.
Serves 2-3 as a side dish
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp chipotle powder or cayenne (optional)
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 cups cooked brown rice, barley or another grain
3/4 cup cooked black beans (about half a can drained)
3/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix spices, oil, broth and vinegar in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until everything is combined and mixed with the dressing.  This is best if left to chill in the refridgerator 1-2 hours before serving.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mango Coconut Rice

Yummy, creamy coconuty rice studded with chunks of sweet mango makes an easy tropical treat for breakfast or even dessert.  I prefer champagne mangoes but you can use regular ones as well and frozen mango is also an option.   Opt for unsweetened shredded coconut but if you can't find it, just omit or lessen the agave.  Another possible add-on for this, garnish chopped macadamia nuts and enjoy this tropical island vacation in a bowl!

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Serves 2


1 cup cooked brown rice
1/3 cup light coconut milk
Pinch of salt
1-2 tsp agave nectar
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 champagne mango, diced (just shy of a cup)


Place rice and coconut milk in a small pot over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, begin stirring and it will thicken quickly.  Once desired consistency is reached, remove from heat and stir in agave, coconut, and mango.  Spoon into a bowl and serve.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Veggie Lasagna with Tofu Cashew Ricotta

Yep, this lightened up, healthy lasagna is vegan but you really won't miss the cheese, I swear.  I know because I always loved cheesy baked pasta dishes so I if I was going to create a cheeseless lasagna, it had to be good.  I skip using any type of packaged vegan cheese on this because I'm really picky about how I use those and I wanted to preserve the other flavors going on here.  Of course you can always switch up the veggies based on what you like or have on hand.  One important tip, do pick a good quality pasta sauce if you don't make your own.  I love Rao's, Marinelli's, and Paesana sauces.
Serves 6
Basil Ricotta
¾ cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked in water 3-4 hrs
½ block of firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
¼ cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Low-sodium broth for sautéing
2 portobello caps, gills removed, diced
1 small bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 heaping cup chopped broccoli
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package
2 cups pasta sauce
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Add all the basil ricotta ingredients to a food processor and process until it all comes together.  Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a few  tablespoons of broth, just enough to barely coat bottom of the pan.  You don’t want too much liquid because you want the veggies to brown a bit.  Add portobello, bell pepper, and onion.  Cook 5 minutes stirring occasionally.  Stir in broccoli and garlic and, adding a little more broth as needed. Cook 3-4 minutes longer or until liquid has cooked off.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside. 
Assemble lasagna: (note: you will have to trim noodles to fit and you may not use them all).  Coat bottom of a 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with some of the tomato sauce.  Add a layer of lasagna noodles, spread 1/3 of the ricotta on the noodles, top with half the veggies.  Spread 1/3 of remaining sauce on top.  Repeat with another layer of noodles, ricotta, veggies and sauce.  Now top with the last layer of noodles, ricotta and sauce. Cover with foil and bake 35-40 minutes.

Monday, April 8, 2013

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars

This is my way of duplicating my favorite Lara Bar.  I figured they're so simple with just a couple ingredients that I could just make my own.  There's no sugar in these either, well except for the chocolate chips.  Keep them in the freezer and they'll be firm but still totally soft enough to eat without thawing.  Warning: these are addictive!
Makes about 20 squares or tablespoon size ball
20 dried dates, soaked in hot water 15-20 minutes
1/2 cup natural peanut butter, divided (no other ingredients except peanuts and salt!)
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
After soaking your dates they should be soft and pliable.  Add them to a food processor with half the peanut butter, and the cocoa.  Process until it's all combined and smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining peanut butter, chopped peanuts, and chocolate chips. 
You can either scoop tablespoon size amount of the mixture and roll into balls or take the mixture and press into a 1/4 inch thick disc on parchment paper.  Lay another piece of parchment and press on top so it is flat. Try a large cast iron skillet or just use your hands.  Chill in the freezer an hour or so. 
Remove from freezer, with a knife trim edges so they're straight (optional) and then cut into squares.  With the extra you've trimmed, you can roll into balls or just eat right then!
Store in the freezer.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lemon Garlic Cashew Cream Sauce

Yep, I'm pretty obsessed with making creamy sauces out of soaked cashews.  It's just so amazingly rich you forget you're eating something vegan.  This is one of my simplest sauces that you can definitely build upon.  It's great on pasta as pictured but also good poured on veggies or salad or as a dip too.  You can even use a little less liquid to make it thicker as a spread which is really great on sandwiches or on pizza in lieu of cheese. Oh so many things you can do with this!
Makes 1 cup
1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight, water reserved
1/4-1/2 cup reserved soaking water or unsweetened almond milk
2-3 tsp lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Place ingredients in blender or food processor and blend until smooth and desired consistency is reached. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hoe Cakes (aka Cornmeal Pancakes)

Hoe cakes, also known as cornmeal pancakes, are basically a pancake that is typically made with a equal parts flour and cornmeal.  They get their name from way back in the day when they were cooked on hoe over a fire.  These little treats were George Washington's breakfast of choice and he enjoyed them with honey.  I like mine with raw agave or maple syrup and vegan Earth Balance (note: the Whipped one tastes like butter and is much better than the Original).
Makes 3-4 small hoe cakes
1/4 cup almond milk
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour (I use half whole wheat and oat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
Canola oil
Recommended: use a cast iron skillet and set on burner over medium heat to allow it to heat while you mix ingredients. 
Measure your almond milk in a measuring cup and then add the lemon juice.  Give it a stir and set aside.
Add cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt to a bowl and whisk or stir.  Add applesauce, agave, and almond milk mixture and stir.
For each cake add about 2 tablespoons of batter to lightly oiled, heated skillet. Spread out to form a small circle.  Let cook about 4 minutes (will depend on how hot your skillet is) or until the edges start to dry and crust.  Flip and cook about 3-4 more minutes. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Mushroom, Kale, Potato Tacos

I've probably said it a hundred times but I really love handheld foods.  If I can stuff it in a tortilla or bread, I will.  If you want to make this easier, skip the potato and use frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes.  That will save you the step of having to boil a potato.
Makes 4 tacos
1 small potato, peeled and cut into 1" cubes (or 1 cup frozen shredded potatoes)
2 cups diced mushrooms
1/3 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1/5 block of drained and pressed extra-firm tofu (optional)
2 kale leaves, large rib removed, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Broth, cooking spray or oil for sauteing
4 corn tortillas
Fill a small pot with cold water, add potato.  Bring to a boil and cook 7-8 minutes. 
In a skillet add either a little broth or cooking spray/oil and heat over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and onion and pinch of salt, cook about 5 minutes. 
Add garlic, nutritional yeast and if using tofu, crumble into the skillet. Stir and cook and when potato is done drain from water and add to mushroom tofu mixture along with kale. Stir and cook just a few minutes until kale is just wilted. 
Season with salt and pepper, remove from heat and serve in tortillas with desired toppings. My faves are avocado and salsa or hot sauce.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

White Bean Barley Soup with Kale

Spring may be just around the corner but soup season isn't over just yet.  I've made this simple, hearty soup with few ingredients that make for a very satisfying, healthy meal.  I especially love the barley in this because of the great texture it adds, not too mention it's a whole grain with abundant health benefits.  Lower cholesterol, anyone?  It's packed with fiber and phytonutrients like all our other little plant friends so yea, it's good for us.  Let's not forget kale, the super green I've added here.  I go with the lactino kale (also called dinasour kale for its bumpy texture) and cut it up in small pieces because who wants to eat a giant leaf in their soup.  No thanks.  Throw it in at the end, just long enough to let it wilt.  You don't want to cook away all it's precious disease-fighting nutrients.

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Serves 6


Olive oil or broth for sauteeing
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup diced carrots
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1-32oz. container low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup pearled barley (of gluten-free grain)
1-15oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary (optional)
2 cups chopped kale
Salt and pepper to taste


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, garlic, pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, about 5-7 minutes.

Stir in broth and barley, increase to heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer about 20 minutes or until barley is tender.

Two choices for the next step:
Option 1: Stir in beans, rosemary and kale and cook a few minutes long until kale is wilts.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Option 2 (for thicker consistency): Transfer half soup to a blender with half the beans.  Puree and then pour back into the pot.  Stir in rosemary and kale, cook a few minutes long until kale is wilts. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Breakfast Carrot Cakes

This started as an attempt at a healthier, vegan carrot cake and evolved into a breakfast treat.  Lots of healthy, yummy goodness like carrots, pineapple, coconut, oats, walnuts baked into cookie shaped cakes.  Sure you can bake these in muffin tins but I prefer the way they bake when you just drop them on a baking sheet. 
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Makes 6 large or 12 smaller snack size

1/3 cup. maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup quick oats (or rolled oats lightly ground in a blender)

1/2 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped pineapple (fresh or frozen/thawed) or sub raisins
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl add maple syrup thorugh vanilla, set aside. 

In another bowl, add flour through oats and whisk.  Add these dry ingrededients to the wet ingredients and stir but don't overmix.

Fold in carrot, pineapple, nuts, and coconut.

On a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet dollop the the mixture into somewhat round shapes and then lightly press the top to flatten a bit.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hummus Avocado Salad

Hummus as a dressing?  Why not!?  Not only does it make your salad super creamy but it adds protein and substance unlike most dressings which are just empty calories.  The addition of avocado just adds to the deliciousness.  Throw in whatever veggies you want.  I happen to like keeping a Mediterranean theme going with this salad. So this isn't really a recipe but I've listed some of my favorite ingredients.  This is also really good wrapped up in lavash bread, pita, or a tortilla.
The base:
Grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
Red onion, diced
Avocado (ripe!), cubed
Splash of lemon juice
Pita chips
Extra Add-ins:
Kalamata olives
Fresh cilantro
Pepperoncini or peppadew peppers
Roasted red pepper
Sunflower seed
Any other veggies
If you have a large salad bowl and tongs that will help get this all mixed.  Just add the ingredients plus a little fresh lemon juice which will give it some zing and help thin it out your dressing.  Then add your hummus and just toss and a stir until the hummus gets all mixed in.  Add crumbled pita chips, give it a stir and serve. Viola.  It's that simple.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

White Bean & Herb Burgers

I love, love, love sandwiches.  There's just something awesome about stuffing a bunch of stuff between bread.  I like making vegan burgers with beans because it's great vegetarian protien component.  You can also freeze these so you have them on hand.  For toppings I used arugula tossed with lemon vinaigrette, tomato and of course avocado, just because I add it to everything and it's fantastic.  Next time I would try topping it with sauteed garlic mushrooms...mmmmm!  As for bread, it would be great on artisan bread but I just happened to have an everything bagle slim and although not that fancy, it was still great! 

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Makes 6 burgers


1/4 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 15oz. can cannellini beans
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (or gluten-free flour)
1/2 cup frozen shredded hashbrowns or cooked brown rice
Canola oil


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Optional step: lightly saute onion and garlic before adding to food processor.

Add onion, garlic and herbs to food processor and pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides as needed.

Add beans, lemon juice, tahini, salt and pepper.  Pulse several times until mixture comes together but is not pureed.  A few pieces of beans and texture is good in these.  Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and stir in breadcrumbs and shredded hashbrown pototoes or rice.

Divide mixutre in to 6 portions and roll into balls.  They should be equal size so make any adjustments then form into patties.  Lightly dust each one with flour on each side.

Heat lightly oiled skillet and cook each patty 2-3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.  Transfer to baking sheet and finish in the oven for 15 minutes.