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Currently showing posts tagged easy

  • Fresh Summer Roll Bowl with Chili Cashew Sauce

    Do you like fresh spring/summer rolls? But want to skip the roll and go straight to the bowl? This recipe is super easy, flexible, and delicious and will get an unbelievable amount of tasty veggies and noodles coated in creamy sauce on the table in no time. Use any nut in place of the toasted cashews, peanuts, almonds, etc, all work. Make it!


    Fresh Summer Roll Bowl with Chili Cashew Sauce

    Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

    Serves: 2-4

    Ingredients:

    • 1 package rice noodles of choice
    • 1 zucchini, thickly julienned
    • 1 carrot, thickly julienned
    • 1 cup red onion or shallot, thinly sliced
    • 1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced, optional
    • 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced, or broccoli floret

    Sauce:

    • 1/2 cup toasted cashews (unsalted)
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, hulled
    • 1 Tbsp white or rice vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp sweetener of choice, or 1 whole pitted date
    • 1 Tbsp soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos 
    • 1/4- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
    • 2 Tbsp fresh shallot, chopped
    • 1 red, thai, or serrano chili, de-seeded and chopped (leave the seeds if you like the heat, omit chili entirely if you want it 100% mild)
    • 1" piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 3/4-1 cup warm water, as needed

    1. Slice all veggies and set aside. Cook rice noodles as directed. While noodles are cooking, heat 1 Tbsp of oil in skillet and add sliced onion, carrot and zucchini. Let cook over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes until softening and starting to brown a bit. Add mushrooms and red cabbage and let cook for an additional 5-6 minutes with cover on pan. Season veggies with salt, pepper, and soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos to taste and keep warm in pan. 

    2. Put all ingredients for sauce in high powered blender and blend on high for 1 minute until creamy. Add water only as needed to achieve smooth creamy sauce consistency. Either pour over individual bowls of noodles topped with veggies, or toss everything together with sauce in large bowl and serve. Enjoy!

  • Potato Leek Hash Brown Pancakes with Homemade Ketchup

    Ever have a craving for hash browns but don’t want to go through all the steps to make them? Well you’re in luck, because this recipe gives you all of the flavor and non of the fuss. All you need is a basic blender and a bowl and you’re on your way to fast, hashbrowny goodness in about 5-10 minutes.  You can add in other veggies like spinach, or use half sweet potato half russet potato. Serve with condiments of choice, though ketchup is the good ol American standby. I’ve included our recipe for easy homemade ketchup if you want to give it a try. Tastes better than store-bought, is healthier, and keeps a while in the fridge. Enjoy!


    Potato Leek Hash Brown Pancakes with Homemade Ketchup

    Vegan, Optionally Gluten-free, and Soy-free

    Servings 2 

    Prep time: 5-10 minutes Cook time: 15-20 minutes

    Pancake Ingredients:

    1 cup russet potato, chopped (skins on)
    1 cup leek, chopped (or onion)
    1/2 cup water
    1 cup flour (GF all purpose or wheat)
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/8 cup finely chopped red bell pepper 
    2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped


    Homemade Ketchup
    6 oz can tomato paste
    1/4 c agave syrup 
    1/2 cup white vinegar
    3/4 tsp brown sugar 
    1/2 tsp salt 
    1/8 tsp garlic powder 
    1/8 cup water


    1. For pancakes, combine potato, leek, and water in a blender. Blend for a few seconds to turn into a slurry, you don't want it completely creamy, a few small bits are good.

    2. Combine flour, salt, black pepper, bell pepper, and parsley in a medium mixing bowl and stir. Add potato slurry and stir well until combined. You will have a batter.

    3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Use a nonstick skillet, or use 1 tsp of medium heat oil to coat pan. Add a ladle of batter at a time to hot pan and cook until edges begin to dry out a bit and its starting to crisp on bottom, usually 1-2 minutes. Flip over and cook on other side, 2-3 minutes until browning and cooked through. Taste test for doneness. Transfer to a plate to keep warm and cook remaining pancakes.

    4. If making ketchup, simply combine all ingredients tomato paste through water in a small sauce pan and whisk to combine. Simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes until fragrant and bubbling and transfer to a bowl to cool. Store in fridge and use as needed.

  • Fresh Vegetable and Herb Spring Rolls with Almond Dipping Sauce

    Most folks who've gone out for Thai or Vietnamese food have had these delicious fresh spring rolls and loved them, and thankfully they're not at all hard to make at home. They're wonderful because they're amazingly versatile, beautiful and nutritious. You can fill them with virtually any raw or cooked vegetable, so long as they're thinly sliced. Additional fillings you can try are strips of fried tofu, sauteed/roasted mushrooms, or vermicelli noodles. The spring roll wrappers can be found in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores, get the 8 or 9" ones. The one thing you do not want to leave out of these guys are the fresh herbs. They MAKE the flavor of these rolls. Any combination of fresh mint, cilantro, parsley, or basil will work, but I'd go with at least two, our favorites being mint and basil. The dipping sauce is easy to whip up, and can be made in larger quantities and stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.  If you make these to bring to a party, make them as close to party time as possible, and cover the plate with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap to ensure the rice paper wrappers do not dry out. These will become a recipe staple for you once you give them a try, they are that good.


    Fresh Vegetable and Herb Spring Rolls with Almond Dipping Sauce

    Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free

    Makes 8 rolls

    Prep time: 15-30 minutes

    1 package of "spring roll skin wrappers"
    1 cup thinly sliced red (or green) cabbage
    1-2 cucumber or carrots, julienned
    1 sliced avocado
    1 cup fresh mint leaves
    1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    1 cup fresh basil leaves

    Almond Dipping Sauce
    1/2 cup almond butter (creamy or crunchy)
    3/4 cup warm water
    1 Tbsp rice or white vinegar
    1 Tbsp sugar or agave syrup
    1 Tbsp coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp fresh shallot or onion
    1/2 tsp (or more) fresh thai chili (optional)


    1. Thinly slice all veggies into strips and place in separate clusters on large plate. Remove herbs from stems and add whole leaves to plate as well.

    2. Boil water and fill very wide bowl or pie plate about half way full, let sit for a few minutes to cool ever so slightly. Two at a time, soften spring roll sheets by dipping them into the hot water, using your fingers to move them around. Depending on hotness of water, it will take about 2-10 seconds for them to soften. They should be pliable but not mushy and falling apart, think al dente pasta, as they will continue to soften even out of the water. Layer two softened spring roll sheets on top of one another on cutting board (wood works well here) and fill bottom third with a a bit of each veggie and herbs, do not overstuff! Less is more here. Roll up like you would a mini burrito, tucking in sides and rolling up tightly. It will conveniently stick to itself, making this very easy. Cut in half and place on serving plate.

    3. In a blender combine all ingredients for almond dipping sauce and process 10-20 seconds until very creamy. Transfer to small bowl and top with chopped scallions or additional chopped chili pepper, if desired.

  • Garlic and Thyme Pan Seared Mushrooms

    If you like mushrooms, you’ll love this dish. I like to serve these over pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, toast….the list goes on. You can use any mushrooms, though our favorite is portobello, crimini, or chanterelles as you see in the picture. But regular ol’ white button mushrooms would work great as well. The key to delicious mushrooms is to cook them over medium heat until they release their water and start to crisp up a bit. At that point you can add lots of chopped garlic, a splash of white wine if you like, and a generous pinch of thyme. Salt and pepper to taste and they’re ready to devour!


    Garlic and Thyme Pan-Seared Mushrooms

    Serves 2-4 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 lb mushrooms of choice; crimini, portobello, white button, chanterelle, shiitake, etc, sliced thinly
    2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh garlic
    1Tbsp thyme, fresh is great, but dried is fine too
    1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
    1/4 tsp black pepper, or to taste
    1 Tbsp olive oil, or use non stick pan
    2 Tbsp of white wine, optional
    2 Tbsp fresh chives or green onions, finely chopped, optional


    1. Gently heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, or if skipping oil, heat a non-stick pan. When hot, add mushrooms and cook for a good 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, depending on the water content of the mushroom you're using. (White button and crimini cook fastest, chanterelle, shiitake, and portobello take a bit longer)

    2. When mushrooms have begun to release their water, continue stirring until they begin to brown. Add white wine if using, or skip and add the garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper.

    3. Cook an additional minute or two to mellow the garlic, and get it nice and golden. Take care not to let the garlic burn. Season to taste and sprinkle with chives or green onions just before serving. Enjoy on toast, over pasta, rice, as a side, or served as a nice appetizer. Enjoy!

  • Curried Butternut Squash Lentil Soup

    Here are my two favorite creations so far this fall. I made them both on a whim last night for Nick, as he had a long day at work and had been requesting some curried butternut squash soup for a while. Little did I know how fantastic this particular soup would turn out!  This soup is jam packed with flavor and nutrition. Protein from the red lentils and tons of vitamins and fiber from the squash. 


    Curried Butternut Squash Lentil Soup (Protein packed!)
    Serves 6-8
    Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 25-30

    Ingredients:
    2 lb butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed
    1 medium yellow onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    1" piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
    1 cup red lentils
    4 cups vegetable broth (about 1 carton)
    1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
    1 Tbsp cumin seed, whole
    1 Tbsp brown mustard seeds
    1 can coconut milk
    1 tsp salt, or more to taste
    1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
    1 Tbsp medium-high heat oil
    (optional: add 1 tsp turmeric and 1/2 tsp black pepper, for extra anti-inflammatory benefits)

    1. In a large soup pot, or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and red chili flakes. Heat until mustard seeds begin to pop, about 1-2 minutes. Do not let cumin burn.

    2. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook over medium-low heat with lid on for 2-3 minutes until onion begins to soften. Add cubed squash and red lentils and stir to coat. Add broth and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover pot and cook over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes until squash is very soft and mashable.

    3. Add coconut milk and stir to combing. Add salt (and black pepper and turmeric if using) to taste. Add cilantro if using. The soup will be chunky at this point. Eat as is, or use an immersion blender to blend until creamy. You can also use a regular blender, but you will have to blend in batches. Keep warm on low heat. Freezes well!




  • Sesame Brussels Sprout Curry

    Today I have a lovely recipe for you that could easily become a staple in your house. It has certainly been one for us for the past few years. By varying the veggies used, you can easily turn this into at least 10 different curries. Serve it over any kind of brown rice (brown jasmine and bhutanese red rice are our current favorites), or over rice noodles, soba noodles, or quinoa. Very satisfying comfort food, perfect for these fall nights. Any leftovers make excellent lunches as well. Rich in calcium, protein, and healthy fats from the sesame seeds, cancer fighting and immunity boosting compounds in the brussels sprouts, onion, and garlic, circulatory benefits from the chili pepper, and beta carotene in the carrot. To top it off, turmeric and black pepper are an anti-inflammatory powerhouse combination. Your body will thank you for the flavor and nutrition contained in this curry!


    Sesame Brussels Sprout Curry
    Serves 2-4

    Prep time: 15-20 minutes

    Cook time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
    1" piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
    1 small chili pepper, thai, serrano, ancho, all ok (de-seeded if less heat desired, chopped finely)
    1 medium yellow  or red onion, diced
    1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
    1 medium red or yukon gold potato, diced (or 1 small sweet potato, diced)
    1/2 lb of brussels sprouts, bottoms cut off and sliced in half
    1 can of coconut milk, full fat
    2 Tbsp tahini (or nut butter of choice)
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 Tbsp rice vinegar, or other vinegar
    1 Tbsp agave, or sweetener of choice
    1 Tbsp tamari or coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute)
    1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted in skillet until golden (or chopped toasted peanuts)
    1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (optional)
    1 tsp sesame oil (optional)


    1. In a skillet, saute onion, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper in a tsp of sesame oil, or if omitting oil use a non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes until softening and fragrant.

    2. Add potato and brussels sprouts and toss well to coat. Add coconut milk through black pepper and stir well. Bring to a gentle simmer and cover pan, cooking 5-10 minutes over medium low heat until potato and sprouts are cooked through and tender.

    3. Toast sesame seeds or nuts over low heat until turning golden. Remove from heat and grind in mortar and pestle if you have one, or a quick whir in a coffee grinder works too. If you want to skip this step, that's fine, but grinding them lightly really enhances the flavor.

    4. Season to taste with salt and pepper, top with cilantro if using, and sesame or nuts. Serve over rice, noodles, or quinoa.

  • Toasted Hazelnut and Eggplant Pasta

    Crispy hazelnuts and tender eggplant slices top a simple and comforting pasta dish. Fragrant with fresh oregano and drizzled with balsamic vinegar, this makes a perfect rainy day dinner. I’m a big fan of including nuts in cooked dishes, and this one is no exception. The crunch, flavor, and healthy fat that’s added makes this dish a winner.


    Toasted Hazelnut and Eggplant Pasta

    Serves 4

    Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1/2 lb pasta of choice
    1 small eggplant (I used three mini chinese eggplants), sliced 1/4" thick
    1/2 yellow or white onion, diced
    3-4 Roma tomatoes, diced
    4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
    1/2 lb spinach, chopped (optional)
    1/4 cup flour of choice (wheat, GF, rice, chickpea all ok)
    1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
    3 Tbsp olive oil
    2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
    handful of fresh oregano leaves, chopped or 1 Tbsp dried oregano
    salt and black pepper to taste


    1. Cook pasta until al dente, drain, rinse and drizzle with olive oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

    2. Place flour, a pinch of salt and pepper, and a pinch of oregano in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Toss eggplant slices in the flour mixture one at a time until coated. Heat a deep skillet with 1 Tbsp of high heat oil over medium heat, and add eggplant slices. Cook on both sides until tender and evenly browned, usually 2-3 minutes per side. When done transfer to a plate and set aside. Keep warm.

    3. In same skillet, cook onion and garlic until lightly browning, and add tomato. Cook covered on medium heat for 4-5 minutes until tomatoes break down a bit. Add spinach if using. Turn heat to medium low and add pasta, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, nutritional yeast (if using), oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Heat until pasta is heated through, and everything is coated.

    4. Top with toasted hazelnuts and eggplant slices, and drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar just before serving. Adjust salt and pepper as desired. If your hazelnuts are raw, toast for 4-5 minutes in skillet over medium low heat, then chop on cutting board. Serve immediately and enjoy!

  • Breakfast Tortilla Pesto Pizzas

    This particular pizza recipe requires no making of crusts, and is only baked briefly in oven or toaster oven. If you roll it up to take it on the go, you will have yourself a breakfast pizza-burrito :) This pizza comes together in two easy steps (and can be reduced to 1, if you make pesto ahead of time or buy pre-made). Get yourself a tortilla, brown rice, whole wheat, corn, teff, whatever you like. I used a 9" Food for Life brown rice tortilla. Make pesto in a blender or food processor. Spread pesto on top of tortilla and top with thinly sliced veggies of choice. I used 1 small purple potato, a tiny bit of fresh onion, a crimini mushroom, and some fresh corn off the cob. I popped it in the oven and baked it for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. When the tortilla was crispy I added some thinly sliced avocado and Chinese spinach leaves,  sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and devoured it. The beauty of this recipe is it's versatility. If you keep tortillas, some kind of nut or seed, garlic, herbs and veggies on hand most of the time, you're good to go any day of the week. If you make a batch of pesto once a week and keep it in fridge, you'll only have to slice a couple of veggies and you'll be on your way to morning pizza heaven. To boot, these pizzas are protein, vitamin, and mineral packed (thank you nuts and seeds!) and are filling. So you'll be happy and energized until lunch time. Give them a try!


    Breakfast Tortilla Pesto Pizzas

    Makes 1 personal pizza
    Prep Time: 10-15 min Cook Time: 10 min

    Ingredients:

    1 tortilla of choice
    Pesto (throw everything in blender or food processor)
    1/4 cup nuts or seeds of choice (I used pumpkin, but sunflower, walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, almonds would also all work well)
    1 clove garlic
    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1 Tbsp lemon juice
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 cup spinach (or kale, swiss chard, arugula, any greens will work)
    1/4 cup fresh basil (or parsley, mint or cilantro if you're feeling adventurous!)
    1/3 cup water

    Toppings:
    thinly sliced potato, mushroom, onion, corn, chives, spinach, greens, peppers, avocado, broccoli, etc

    I used:
    1 small purple potato, thinly sliced,
    1/4 small onion, thinly sliced,
    1 crimini mushroom, thinly sliced
    1/4 cob of corn, de-kerneled
    1/4 avocado, thinly sliced
    few Chinese spinach leaves (hence the red-purple color of my pesto)


    1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees. Make your pesto by combining all ingredients in a blender or food processor and processing for 30 seconds (scraping down sides a few times), until creamy.

    2. Pour onto tortilla and spread out evenly with a spoon, it should be a nice thick layer of pesto.

    3. Top with your thinly sliced veggies, though leave avocado off until it comes out of oven. Place on baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until tortilla starts to brown and get crispy and toppings are soft and cooked through.

    4. Remove from oven and top with avocado if using, salt, pepper and any other favorite flavors. Cut into slices or roll up like a burrito. Enjoy!

  • Summer Roasted Red Salsa

    Tired of buying those not very good, expensive salsas in the jar? Homemade salsa really is as simple as it gets. Quarter your vegetables and throw them on the grill or in the oven until roasted (10-15 min). Toss everything in a food processor and blend away! Sooo much better than store bought, and much, much cheaper too! For some smokey flavor I like to add in a bit of chipotle pepper or smoked paprika. You can also add some fruit to brighten it up. Mango and pineapple are both great. Simply cut them up and roast with the veggies. Makes quite a bit and keeps in the fridge for about a week. Perfect summer snack!


    Summer Roasted Red Salsa

    Serves 8-10

    Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1/2 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters
    4 ripe roma tomatoes, halved
    1 jalapeno (or chipotle) pepper, halved (seeds removed if you like a mild salsa)
    3 cloves of garlic, peeled
    1 Tbsp brown sugar (or agave or maple syrup)
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar or lime juice)
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped


    1. Heat oven or grill to medium high heat (if oven, 425 degrees). Prepare all veggies and lay them on aluminum foil (on top of baking tray, if you're worried about juice dripping from tomatoes). Cook undisturbed for 10-15 minutes until veggies are starting to brown.

    2. Remove from heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Add all veggies and remaining ingredients, sugar through cilantro, to bowl of food processor and process until you reach ideal salsa consistency (some like it chunkier than others). Season to taste and chill for 20-30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

  • Blueberry Breakfast Bread

    Today I share with you a brand new recipe I just whipped up on a whim. Sitting on our deck, dreaming about the fresh blueberries I had just picked up, and all of a sudden it hit me: blueberry bread! To be fair, this is somewhere between blueberry bread and blueberry cake, but it has just the right sweetness (with no refined sugar), the right crumb (see above), and is unbelievably moist (especially for gluten-free baked goods that sometimes suffer in that department). It is without a doubt one of the best vegan, gluten-free sweet treats I have made, and to top it off, so simple. It's a really basic recipe, so feel free to add more cinnamon, nuts, extra fruit, crumbs, etc, and know you can use ANY berry or fruit and it would be delicious.


    Blueberry Breakfast Bread

    9"x9" pan

    Prep time: 5-10 minutes Bake time: 20 min

    Ingredients:

    2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour (or wheat flour)
    1 Tbsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
    1/2 cup maple syrup
    1/3 cup oil (I used avocado, but any neutral oil or melted coconut would be ok)
    1.5 cups fresh blueberries


    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and lightly oil square 9"x9" baking pan. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add all wet ingredients and stir together just until most lumps disappear. Add blueberries and stir to fold in.

    2. Pour into baking pan and bake for 20 min (9"x9" pan) to 30-40 min (loaf pan) or until knife inserted into center comes out clean, and top is golden brown. Let cool before cutting, and enjoy!

  • Velvety Vegan Alfredo Sauce

    This creamy alfredo sauce is so rich and velvety you won’t believe it’s vegan. It’s a beautiful recipe to have under your belt for those weeknights when you just can’t think of something to make for dinner. It’s also ready in about 10 minutes, which is a big bonus. Pour this over your favorite pasta tossed with some steamed veggies and call it a meal!


    Creamy Vegan Alfredo Sauce

    Serves 2-4

    Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1/4 cup flour (gluten-free all purpose or wheat)
    1/4 cup olive oil
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 cup non dairy milk
    3/4 cup-1 cup water, as needed
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1 tsp soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
    black pepper to taste


    1. In a small saucepan, heat flour on low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds until it smells toasty. Add oil and stir to combine into a thin paste. Add garlic and cook on low heat for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly until it begins to bubble slightly.

    2. Keep on low heat and add non-dairy milk, stirring in slowly. It will thicken up. Begin to drizzle in water, whisking as you go until you have a thick, rich sauce consistency, adding more water as needed. Add remaining ingredients, salt through black pepper and stir well to combine. Keep on low heat, letting it bubble gently until serving time. It will be velvety and delicious.

    3. Pour over favorite pasta with mixed veggies, broccoli, or rice. Enjoy!

  • Sesame Drenched Asparagus

    This recipe is likely one of the simplest I've put together in quite a while. Only 6 or so ingredients, and it comes together in about 15 minutes. For all it's simplicity, it looks quite fancy, so you can easily fool your friends (and yourself) into believing it took a while to prepare. The generous helping of sesame adds many needed nutrients, including excellent amounts of copper, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. This dish furthers your absorption of sesame's iron by adding a bit of lemon juice (vitamin C helps you aborb iron more easily). As asparagus is a seasonal vegetable, don't wait too long to make this, grab the next bunch of fresh asaragus you see and have at it. Enjoy!


    Sesame Drenched Asparagus

    Serves 4

    Prep time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 bunch of fresh asparagus
    1 lemon
    1/4 cup tahini
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/4 cup sesame seeds
    freshly ground black pepper, to taste


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place washed and dried asparagus spears on a baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes until bright green and tender. They may brown in some spots, this is good.

    2. While cooking asparagus, toast sesame seeds in a skillet on LOW heat (they burn easily). Stir them pretty continuously, in five to ten minutes they will start to smell toasty, and be browning slightly. Take them off heat and set them aside.

    3. When asparagus is done place on a wide plate and drizzle tahini and lemon juice over top. Toss them to coat. Sprinkle with salt and sesame seeds and toss again. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and serve immediately.

  • Super Star Lentil Taco Salad

    Dreaming of warmer days and summer fresh vegetables, I made the next best thing and put together a simple and savory lentil taco salad. Fresh tortillas are topped with tomato seasoned lentils and perfectly grilled chili spiced veggies. Finish with sliced avocado or guacamole, some chopped cilantro or parsley and drizzle of hot sauce and you have yourself a lovely meal. This took me about 25 minutes to put together, including the homemade tortillas I made from scratch! (Which are soooo easy, if you'd like to know how please just email) Here is the recipe, very versatile, full of healthy plant protein and perfect for a quick weeknight meal.


    Star Lentil Taco Salad

    Serves 2-4

    Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 1/2 cups green or brown lentils
    3 cups vegetable broth or water
    1 cup chopped tomatoes (canned or sun-dried are fine)
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp chili powder (or to taste)
    2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
    1 cup red onion, sliced
    1 cup mushrooms, sliced
    1 cup red pepper, sliced
    1 cup broccoli, cabbage, or brussels sprouts, sliced
    1/2 cup cilantro (or parsley), chopped
    1 tsp medium-high heat oil (avocado, canola, grape seed, coconut)
    1 avocado, sliced
    corn tortillas, 2 per person

    Other vegetables to use: carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, zucchini


    1. Combine lentils, broth or water, 1/2 tsp salt, tomatoes, turmeric, and black pepper in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer, and let cook for 15 minutes until lentils are soft and liquid is absorbed

    2. While cooking lentils, heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add chili powder to oil and stir. Add all veggies, onion through broccoli and saute until lightly browning and softening, about 5-10 minutes. Add cilantro, 1/2 tsp of salt (or more to taste) and 1 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar. Stir and remove from heat.

    3. Individually warm tortillas in a pan to soften and gently wrap them in a clean dish towel to keep warm.

    4. When lentils are done cooking, stir in 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice), and add salt if needed. Place a heaping spoonful of them on plate, top with sauteed veggies and sliced avocado. Cut tortillas into triangles (like cutting a pie) and arrange around lentils and veggies.  Drizzle with hot sauce if desired and serve!

  • Multi-grain Waffles 101

    There is something so simple, and versatile, and personalized about making waffles or pancakes. For many of you, it may seem like a complicated and messy process, reserved only for weekends or special occasions. But it needn't be, and here's why. The basic structure of making vegan, gluten-free waffles is actually very simple and they can even be made ahead of time, to a degree. You start with a good gluten-free flour blend, like Bob's Red Mill, to that you add pretty much ANY flour and/or nut or seed meal of your choice, some examples include; buckwheat flour, oat flour, corn flour, corn meal, almond meal, ground walnuts, ground pecans, ground sunflower seeds, and the list goes on. The key is sticking to a basic ratio (which I will give in a minute), mixing your very minimal dry ingredients, and then adding your wet ones. Once you have the basic mix down, you can add crushed nuts, seeds, or fruit if you desire.  The way to make it a head of time, is to have a batch of dry ingredients pre-mixed and kept on hand, that way you can just spoon the needed amount into a bowl, stir in oil and liquid and you're ready to go.  Contrary to public opinion (which douses them in sugary syrup and whipped cream), these are actually very nutritious. Filled with healthy whole grain flours, nuts, seeds, and fruit, these are like the smoothies of the hot breakfast world. They can be made into pancakes if you don't have a waffle maker, and are delicious that way as well. Give them a try!


    Multi-grain Waffles 101

    Vegan and Gluten-free

    Servings: 1

    2/3 cup Bob's Red Mill GF Flour Blend, (or whole wheat flour if not Gluten-free)
    1/3 cup buckwheat flour, oat flour, quinoa flour, corn meal, etc.
    1/4 cup almond meal, flax meal, hemp seeds, any ground nuts or seeds
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp baking powder
    1 Tbsp oil
    1/2-1 cup non-dairy milk or water

    Additions: chopped fresh or frozen fruit; like berries, chopped apples, pears, dark chocolate chips, jam, coconut flakes, spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger.


    1. Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl, add oil and liquid (non-dairy milk or water) and stir well to combine. It will be a thick batter.

    2. Heat waffle iron or skillet and lightly oil. Cook batter in waffle iron on med-high heat, or proceed to make pancakes as you normally would, ladling out by the spoonful onto a seasoned skillet, flipping when bubbles appear, and cooking for 30 seconds on other side.

    3. Top waffle or pancakes with a small spoonful coconut oil (in place of butter, yum) or jam, or fresh fruit, or crushed nuts or seeds. Drizzle with a maple syrup if desired (grade B is best, as it contains the most amount of nutrients) and devour!

  • Crispy Spiced Cauliflower & Okra

    Okra, if you're not familiar with it, is a tasty little pod that is common in Middle Eastern, African, Indian, and Southern dishes. Pros: It has a unique, mild flavor, is very high in Vitamin C, fiber, and folate, and can be cooked a myriad of ways. Cons: it is sometimes hard to find in stores, and the pods contain a somewhat slimy substance, a mucilage, that can either be used to thicken a stew or gumbo, or minimized by roasting in the oven as we do here. Okra can be found in many local international grocery stores, including Indian, Asian, African, and Middle Eastern, and may be available at stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's. Our local (and preferred) source in Seattle is Lenny's Produce in Greenwood, which is a great little place for many unique fruit and vegetable finds at great prices. If you can't find okra or aren't a fan, make this with just cauliflower or cauliflower and mushrooms instead! Wonderful with a side of basmati rice, this is a fast and very healthy dish that can be prepared easily on a weeknight. The spices are quite fragrant in this, and not only satisfy our taste buds, but also offer us many medicinal benefits. Spice liberally!


    Crispy Cauliflower and Okra

    Serves 2-4

    Prep time: 10-15 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

    1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
    3 cups okra, cut into one inch pieces
    1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
    1 Tbsp whole cumin seeds
    1 tsp ground turmeric
    1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    1 Tbsp brown mustard seeds
    1 Tbsp high heat oil (avocado, coconut, canola, grape seed)
    1 Tbsp rice flour (or potato starch)
    2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
    2 tsp fresh lemon juice


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place tablespoon of oil on metal baking tray.

    2. Chop okra into one inch pieces, discarding top caps, and pointy bottoms. Chop cauliflower into uniform florets. Place both on baking sheet and use your hands to toss in oil. Sprinkle with rice flour, all spices, and salt and toss to coat again.

    3. Place in oven and bake for 10 minutes, toss well for even browning, and bake for an additional 10 minutes until cauliflower and okra are both browned and crispy. Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice just before serving. Enjoy with a side of basmati rice, a nice tamarind chutney, a simple dal, or a la carte!

  • Red Cabbage & Jicama Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

    Most folks who've gone out for Thai or Vietnamese food have had these delicious fresh spring rolls and loved them, and thankfully they're not at all hard to make at home. They're wonderful because they're amazingly versatile, beautiful and nutritious. You can fill them with virtually any vegetable, so long as they're thinly sliced. Additional fillings you can try are strips of fried tofu, sauteed/roasted mushrooms, vermicelli noodles, carrot strips, and avocado. The possibilities are endless. Jicama, if you're not familiar with it, is a most delicious tuberous root vegetable from Mexico. It's flavor is mild, slightly sweet, with a one of a kind texture and crunch. Worth seeking out, it can be found in most grocery stores, or try your local Asian or Mexican market. If you can't find it you can substitute carrot, radish, or broccoli stem strips. The spring roll wrappers can be found in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores, get the 8 or 9" ones. The one thing you do not want to leave out of these guys are the fresh herbs. They MAKE the flavor of these rolls. Any combination of fresh mint, cilantro, parsley, or basil will work, but I'd go with at least two, our favorites being mint and basil. The dipping sauce is easy to whip up, and can be made in larger quantities and stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. It's tasty on pretty much everything, and if you're a peanut fan like we are you'll see why. If you make these to bring to a party, make them as close to party time as possible, and cover the plate with a damp paper towel or plastic wrap to ensure the rice paper wrappers do not dry out. These will become a recipe staple for you once you give them a try, they are that good.


    Red Cabbage and Jicama Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

    Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free

    Makes 12 rolls

    1 package of "spring roll skin wrappers"
    1 cup thinly sliced red (or green) cabbage
    1 cup thinly sliced cucumber strips
    1 cup thinly sliced jicama (or carrots, radish, or broccoli stems)
    1 cup fresh mint leaves
    1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    1 cup fresh basil leaves

    Peanut Dipping Sauce
    1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
    3/4 cup warm water
    1 Tbsp rice or white vinegar
    1 Tbsp sugar or agave syrup
    1 Tbsp coconut aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp fresh shallot or onion
    1/2 tsp (or more) fresh thai chili (optional)


    1. Thinly slice all veggies into strips and place in separate clusters on large plate. Remove herbs from stems and add whole leaves to plate as well.

    2. Boil water and fill very wide bowl or pie plate about half way full, let sit for a few minutes to cool ever so slightly. One at a time, soften spring roll sheets by dipping them into the hot water, using your fingers to move them around. Depending on hotness of water, it will take about 2-10 seconds for them to soften. They should be pliable but not mushy and falling apart, think al dente pasta, as they will continue to soften even out of the water. Layer two softened spring roll sheets on top of one another on cutting board (wood works well here) and fill bottom third with a a bit of each veggie and herbs, do not overstuff! Less is more here. Roll up like you would a mini burrito, tucking in sides and rolling up tightly. It will conveniently stick to itself, making this very easy. Cut in half and place on serving plate.

    3. In a blender combine all ingredients for peanut sauce and process 10-20 seconds until creamy. Transfer to small bowl and top with chopped scallions or additional chopped chili pepper, if desired.

  • Juniper Rosemary Golden Gravy

    To all of our cooking class participants; past, present, and future, for the holidays this year, Nick and I are gifting you his secret Juniper Rosemary gravy recipe. If you're unsure what you might do with such a gift, let me tell you:

    1. Pour it over everything; mashed, roasted, sauteed potatoes, steamed broccoli, rice and beans, shepherd's pie or any pot pie, tofu cutlets, veggie burger patties, quinoa, well, you get the idea.

    2. Make extra, because it's that good!

    This is a simple and versatile vegan gravy recipe that can be played up, down, or in any direction depending on the herbs and spices you use. A great book to get your creative juices flowing in the kitchen, (and another great gift!) is The Flavor Bible, which is a compendium of flavor pairings, and resource for what ingredients go well together. We use it often when coming up with new taste combinations, like this gravy, here at the Kitchen. For those of you who were at our most recent cooking class on Whidbey Island, (pics, here!), you got to taste a variation of this special gravy first hand. It's golden hue and warming spices are perfect for this time of year, and really breathe something special into earthy, home style dishes like the Shepherd's "Pielettes" we prepared in class. More classes teaching more plant-based recipes, every month! Sign up here. Happy holidays and enjoy!


    Juniper Rosemary Golden Gravy

    Serve 4-6 Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 5-10 min

    1/4 cup flour (Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free blend, or wheat)
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    1/4 cup olive oil
    2 1/4 cups water
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1 tsp crushed rosemary
    1/2 tsp crushed juniper berries
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp black pepper



    1. In a small saucepan, gently heat flour and nutritional yeast over low heat, 1-2 minutes until smelling slightly toasty.

    2. Add oil and whisk together, forming a roux. Let cook for 1 minute, stirring so it doesn't burn.

    3. Add water and whisk in well. Add salt, rosemary, turmeric, juniper berries, and black pepper. Let simmer and thicken for 3-4 minutes over very low heat, stirring occasionally. It will be thick, creamy, and very satisfying.

    4. Serve over potatoes, steamed veggies, pot pies, or brown rice.

  • Creamy Tomato Thyme Soup

    Looking for the easiest go-to soup for this winter? Look no further than this bowl of creamy Tomato Thyme. Made with minimal ingredients, anyone can whip this up in no time. Serve with a piece of crusty bread, top with some sliced avocado, or a side of vegan grilled cheese and you'll be in warm creamy tomato infused heaven. Perfect for these cold snowy days everyone seems to be having.


    Creamy Tomato Thyme Soup

    Serves: 4 Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 15 min

    1 28oz can of tomatoes, dices, crushed, or pureed
    1/2 cup coconut milk
    1 medium onion, diced
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    1/2 tsp salt (or leave out if canned tomatoes are salted)
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
    1 cup water
    1 tsp olive oil


    1. In a medium pot heat olive oil on medium low heat, add chopped onion and garlic and saute lightly for 2-3 minutes.

    2. Add tomatoes, and all remaining ingredients. Simmer on medium heat, covered, for 10 minutes until heated through and fragrant.

    3. Serve as is (chunky) or blend to desired creaminess (recommended), using either an immersion blender, or by transferring to a blender and pureeing in batches. If using traditional blender, be sure to let it cool first.

  • Broccoli and Onion Pakora (Oven-Baked Chickpea Flour Fritters)

    Vegetable pakora are chickpea flour fritters made with a wide variety of vegetables, they are traditionally served as snacks in India, but can be eaten as part of a meal as well. Chickpea flour is very affordable, a good source of protein, and can be found in many grocery stores (look for Bob's Red Mill), and especially in markets that stock ingredients for Indian cooking. These can be made with virtually any vegetable, just chop it into small bits, throw it into the spiced batter, and bake them on a baking sheet for 7-8 minutes on each side. Freshly chopped cilantro is a nice addition as well. They come out crunchy, savory, and delicious every time. Here these are served with red lentils and rice cooked together into a creamy porridge, a few slices of avocado, and a drizzle of store bought tamarind chutney. You can't beat belly warming dishes like this in the fall and winter. The combination of easy to find spices is both comforting and flavorful, and turmeric gives a significant boost to immunity and fights inflammation in the body.


    Broccoli and Onion Pakora (Chickpea Flour Fritters)

    Serves 4-6 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

    1 cup chickpea flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp cumin
    1 tsp turmeric
    pinch cayenne pepper
    1 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
    1 cup finely chopped broccoli
    1 1/4 cup water


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees, lightly oil baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of oil.

    2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine chickpea flour with salt and spices and stir well. Add water and whisk together until no lumps remain.

    3. Add thinly sliced onion and chopped broccoli to the batter and stir to incorporate.

    4. Spoon large dallops onto the baking sheet, spaced about 1-2" apart.

    5. Bake for 7-8 minutes on each side, flipping when bottoms of fritters have turned brown and crisped up.

    6. Serve with condiment of choice, alone, or over rice.

  • Homestyle Lentil Walnut Bolognese

    This sauce is a universal crowd pleaser, with few ingredients (and easy to find ones at that),  you simply set it on the stove and let it simmer away until serving. Earthy and hearty this is a go-to sauce for spaghetti, as a filling for vegan lasagna, or spooned over steamed veggies. The walnuts give a significant boost of healthy fats, oils and protein, while lending a “meatiness” and flavor that is unsurpassed. This recipe makes quite a large batch, so feel free to half it or freeze some for a later date.


    Vegan Lentil Walnut Bolognese

    Serves 8-10 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook time: 35-45 minutes

    1 cup yellow onion, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, chopped
    1 can of diced tomatoes, 28oz
    1 can of tomato paste, 6 oz
    3 cups water
    1 1/2 cups green lentils
    1 1/2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
    1 cup crushed walnuts
    2 Tbsp oregano (fresh or dried)
    1 Tbsp medium-high heat oil (canola, avocado, grape seed, etc)
    1 tsp salt
    black pepper to taste


    1. Heat the oil in a very deep skillet, or medium pot on medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

    2. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, lentils, and brown sugar and stir well. Let simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes, until lentils are tender but still hold their shape.

    3. Add crushed walnuts, salt, pepper, and oregano and stir well. Serve over pasta of choice, roasted spaghetti squash, or use as a sauce filling in your next veggie lasagna.

  • Three Bean Chili over Skillet Corn Cakes

    It is officially fall here in Seattle, the clouds have come in, and naturally chili is the first thing we will cook.  After our "Bring on the Beans" cooking class this past weekend, we are still in a bean frenzy. I made about 10 cups too many beans while preparing for class, and while I froze some, there were still too many begging to be eaten. So here it is, a brand new Fire and Earth Kitchen creation. The skillet corn cakes this chili sits atop, are absolutely delicious, but not at all necessary in order to enjoy this colorful masterpiece. If you're short on time, serve it a la carte, or with some bread or tortilla chips. Perfect food to warm a rainy day. As always, 100% vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free. Enjoy!


    Three Bean Chili and Skillet Corn Cakes

    Serves 4-6 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 25-30 minutes

    Ingredients:

    The Chili:
    1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    1 onion, chopped
    1/4 lb mushrooms, chopped
    1/2 cup celery, chopped
    1 carrot, chopped
    1 cup sweet potato, cubed
    1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
    1 cup broccoli florets
    1 Tbsp high heat oil (avocado, canola, peanut, etc)
    1 Tbsp chili powder
    1 tsp salt (or to taste)
    1 Tbsp maple syrup (optional)
    1 Tbsp turmeric
    1 Tbsp paprika
    1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
    1 tsp "Liquid Smoke" (optional-for smokey flavor)
    1 large 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes (or 3-4 cups fresh tomatoes)

    The Corn Cakes:
    1 cup masa harina (corn flour with lime)
    1 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
    1/2 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    2 Tbsp maple syrup
    2 Tbsp oil
    1-1 1/2 cups water


    1. Start the chili in a large pot or deep skillet. Heat the oil to medium heat, add the chopped onion, celery, carrot and mushrooms and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the sweet potato, corn, and broccoli. Add the kidney and black beans. Process the drained chickpeas in a food processor (or mash by hand in a bowl) until they resemble crumbs. Add to pot as well.

    2. Add all spices, maple syrup, salt, Liquid Smoke, nutritional yeast and tomatoes. Add water if necessary. Bring to a gentle simmer and let cook undisturbed for 20 minutes until sweet potatoes are cooked through and nice chili consistency has been reached.

    3. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients for corn cakes, masa harina though baking powder. Add wet ingredients, maple syrup through water. Stir well and heat skillet to medium high heat. Add 1 Tbsp of oil and spoon batter onto pan, tilting pan to spread into a circle. When browning on bottom and bubbling on top, flip over and cook 30-45 more seconds. Repeat.

    4. Serve chili atop corn cakes, with a dallop of vegan sour cream if you like.

  • Black Bean Onion Pilaf

    Simple, hearty fall lunch for you today. Full of tasty immunity boosting alliums (red onion, garlic, and chives) this dish will give you an energy boost and help prevent those persistent colds that start appearing this time of year. It makes quite a bit of food, so set some aside for dinner and save yourself some cooking later. Get creative with what veggies you use, whatever you have on hand will work. The power of simple fresh ingredients and a few spices....Keep it easy, guys!


    Black Bean Onion Pilaf

    Serves 2-4 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 25-30 minutes

    1 medium red onion, chopped (reserve 2 tbsp, finely chopped, for topping)
    2 garlic cloves, chopped
    1 carrot, thinly sliced
    4-5 crimini (or button) mushrooms, sliced
    1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped (optional)
    2 cups vegetable broth or water
    1 cup brown rice (jasmine, long grain, short grain, basmati)

    1 cup greens, chopped (swiss chard, kale, collard greens, or spinach)
    1/2 cup green onions or chives, chopped
    11/2 cups black beans, cooked (1 can is ok, rinse and drain well)

    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp chili powder
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but tasty)
    1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
    1 Tbsp medium-high heat oil of choice 


    1. In a deep skillet, add tablespoon of oil and saute onion, garlic, mushrooms, pepper, and carrot for 2-3 minutes. Add rice and stir 30 seconds until glossy. Add vegetable broth or water, bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 20-30 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked.

    2. Add chives and greens to pan, along with black beans, salt, chili powder, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice. Stir well and cover for 1 min to let beans and greens heat through. Plate and top with finely chopped red onion. Enjoy!

  • Rainbow Eggplant Stacks

    It's nearing the end of summer here in the Pacific Northwest and eggplant, tomatoes, greens, and mushrooms are all being harvested. This morning I imagined a simple stack of rainbow goodness to harness the flavors of the season, so here it is. For as fancy as these look, they couldn't be any easier. One of those recipes which relies solely on the simplicity of the ingredients themselves. It's quite versatile and the ingredients are easily substituted. Start with a base of crispy oven baked eggplant, top with a mound of wilted greens, seared mushroom, fresh tomato, and top with another slice of eggplant. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar if you like, and serve. Rich in flavor and phytonutrients, this easy dish could easily become a new staple.


    Rainbow Eggplant Stacks

    Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free

    Serves 2-4 Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

    Ingredients:

    1 medium sized eggplant, sliced
    1 Tbsp potato starch (or corn starch)
    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1 Tbsp dried oregano
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1 Tbsp neutral oil (avocado, canola, grape seed)
    1 bunch of swiss chard (or spinach, kale, or collard greens), chopped
    1 large portobello mushroom (or as seen here, 1/2 lb chanterelle mushrooms), sliced
    1 ripe tomato, sliced
    freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
    drizzle of balsamic vinegar (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat large metal baking tray with 1 Tbsp of oil. Slice eggplant into 1/2" thick slices and place on baking sheet. Use your hands to gently coat them in oil. Sprinkle with potato starch, nutritional yeast, sea salt, and black pepper and toss to coat well. Spread into an even layer on sheet and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes, flip them over when browning on bottom and bake for another 5 minutes.

    2. While baking the eggplant, slice the mushroom(s) into 1/4" thick slices and sear in a pan until browning and crispy on both sides, flipping as needed. No oil needed, the juices from the mushrooms will prevent sticking. transfer to a small bowl.

    3. In the same pan, wilt the greens. Simply place chopped greens in pan, cover, and let cook on medium heat for 2 minutes (slightly longer for kale or collard greens) until bright green and wilted. Add water by the spoonful if needed to prevent sticking or burning. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and set aside.

    4. When eggplant is lightly browned and soft inside, remove from oven and begin making your stacks. Simply stack eggplant, a mound of greens, a slice of mushroom, a slice of tomato, and sprinkle of sea salt. Top with another eggplant round and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Repeat! Very yummy!

  • Blackberry Maple Syrup

    Easiest way to fancy up your breakfast or brunch without any fuss? Gently heat 1/2 cup of maple syrup with 1/2 cup fresh blackberries  (or any berries, for that matter) for 10 minutes on very low heat, until berries soften and it comes to a gentle simmer. After 10 minutes turn off heat and strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer catching the seeds and berry pulp. Pour syrup into a glass jar and use immediately or store in fridge. Fabulous over pancakes, waffles, or vegan french toast! Enjoy.

  • Ketchup Baked Home Fries

    What's better than a ketchup draped pile of steaming potatoes in the morning? Ever consider coating them in ketchup before you cooked them? I did, and this is what we got! With a little garlic and spices tossed in these came out crispy, savory, and delicious. Potatoes are full of potassium, and are a great staple to keep in the pantry. Experiment with different potato varieties, red skinned, blue potatoes, or the darling fingerlings. These will make a lovely addition to your next brunch!


    Ketchup Baked Home Fries

    Serves 2-4 Prep time: 10 min Cook time: 20-25 min

    5-6 medium yukon gold potatoes, cubed (no need to peel)
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (optional)
    1-2 Tbsp neutral oil (avocado, grape seed, canola)
    1/4 cup potato starch (or corn starch)
    1/8 cup ketchup
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp black pepper
    1-2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, lightly oil baking sheet and set aside.

    2. Cut potatoes into roughly 1 inch cubes and place on baking sheet. Cover with remaining ingredients and use your hands to toss to coat.

    3. Spread into an even layer on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, flip potatoes and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

    4. Serve sprinkled with fresh parsley if desired and ketchup drizzled on top. Enjoy!


  • Fresh Blueberry Shortcake

    Taking advantage of the bounty of blueberries this season, I decided to create this stellar (and so easy you won't believe it) dessert. All you need are a few simple ingredients and and these little  blueberry stunners will be on the way to your table. It's best to prepare all of the ingredients, then assemble them right before serving, or let everyone create their own! This recipe is 100% vegan and gluten-free, uses minimal sugar, and really is a cinch to whip up if you have everything on hand, just make sure to chill your coconut cream ahead of time. Make these now-blueberry season will be over before we know it, don't let fresh blueberry shortcakes pass you by!


    Fresh Blueberry Shortcake

    (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-free)

    Serves 6-12, depending on serving size

    Preparation time: 20 minutes Bake time: 15 minutes

    Shortcakes:
    1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free flour blend
    1 Tbsp cornstarch
    1 Tbsp flaxmeal
    1/4 tsp salt
    2 tsp baking powder
    2 Tbsp coconut oil
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 Tbsp vanilla extract
    1 cup water

    Blueberries:
    2 pints fresh blueberries
    1-2 Tbsp maple syrup

    Coconut Cream:
    2 cans full fat coconut milk (chilled overnight in fridge)
    2 Tbsp maple syrup
    1 Tbsp vanilla extract


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners and set aside.

    2. Mix dry ingredients, gluten-free flour through baking powder in a large mixing bowl.

    3. In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil, stir in sugar, vanilla extract and water.

    4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk together.

    5. Pour batter into cupcake liners, filling halfway full. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test. Remove from oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack while you make the blueberries and cream.

    7. Toss the blueberries with the maple syrup in a medium sized bowl.

    8. Open the chilled cans of coconut milk and pour off the liquid, reserving the thick cream. Place cream in a separate bowl and add the maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk together well.

    9. Remove shortcakes from paper liners and gently cut in half forming a top and bottom. Spoon each bottom generously with coconut cream, blueberries, and more coconut cream. Cover with shortcake top and enjoy!

  • Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta

    Here in Seattle, we wait all year for the local heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and abundance of fresh  fruit to enter the markets. And when it finally does, it's time to really take advantage! This savory, light summer fare is the perfect way to end a workday. It's fast, easy, satisfying, and can be dressed up or down depending on the day. The vegetables included are completely flexible, any of your favorites will work, so be creative with what you have on hand. This dish comes together in no time (though there are a few steps), just get all the ingredients out and follow the steps below, it should take 20-30 minutes to come together. The sunflower seed pesto is spectacular on it's own, and if you don't have time for anything else, at least make this and spread it on some toast. The light nuttiness of the sunflower seeds mixed with the punch of the fresh garlic, and the bright taste of basil is wonderful and really captures the essence of summer. As always, completely vegan, gluten and soy free. Enjoy!


    Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta

    Serves 2-4 (depending on hunger)

    1 box gluten-free pasta (I used Ancient Harvest quinoa spaghetti)

    Pesto
    1 cup basil
    1/2 c sunflower seeds
    1/4 cup olive oil
    3-4 cloves garlic
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp sugar
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

    Sauteed Veggies
    1 cup chopped broccoli
    1/2 cup chopped red onion
    1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms (optional)

    Tomato Marinade
    1 cup sliced/diced cherry or heirloom tomatoes
    1/2 tsp sugar
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1 tsp balsamic vinegar
    1 tsp olive oil


    1. Mix tomatoes with oil, vinegar, sugar and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

    2. Bring water to a boil for pasta. Cook pasta as directed. Drain when al dente.

    3. Sauté veggies on medium heat for 5 minutes in a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

    4. in food processor combine sunflower seeds, garlic, basil, salt, sugar, pepper, yeast, oil and lemon juice. Process until creamy, scraping down sides as needed.

    5. Combine pesto with warm noodles, serve topped with sauteed veggies, tomato marinade, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar if desired.

  • Black Bean and Orange Breakfast Tacos

    These tasty little black bean and orange breakfast tacos are protein packed, filled with veggies, and super fresh tasting from a hint of freshly squeezed orange juice. If you make the bean filling ahead of time and pre-slice your tomatoes, you will cut preparation time down to under five minutes! The filling is a combination of sweet onions, crimini mushrooms, fresh corn,  black beans, and freshly squeezed valencia orange juice. Set in a toasty corn tortilla and topped with fresh arugula and chopped tomatoes these are heavenly. Play with the filling and topping ingredients once you have the structure down. Avocado would be great, as would chopped red pepper. These would make for a lovely brunch as well!


    Black Bean and Orange Breakfast Tacos

    Makes: 4 Preparation time: 5-10 minutes

    1/2 cup black beans
    1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced
    1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
    1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (or frozen)
    2 Tbsp orange juice (freshly squeezed if possible)
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1/4 tsp chili pepper
    1/4 tsp paprika
    1/8 cup nutritional yeast
    freshly ground black pepper
    1 package corn tortillas
    1 ripe tomato, diced
    1/2 cup fresh baby arugula (or lettuce)
    1 avocado, thinly sliced (optional)


    1. In a skillet with a bit of oil, saute onions, mushrooms, fresh corn, and black beans for 4-5 minutes until onion is soft. Add nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, chili pepper, paprika, and orange juice and mash with a potato masher. Set filling aside in a small bowl.

    2. Wipe out skillet, add 1 tsp of oil and heat corn tortillas on each side.

    3. Fill each tortilla with a bit of greens and bean filling. Top with tomatoes and avocado if using. Enjoy!


  • Best Quinoa Veggie Burgers & Pumpkin Seed-Onion Cream

    If you're looking for a recipe for easy to prepare, protein packed veggie burgers that will knock your socks off everytime, then look no further. These fit the bill, and to top it off I've included a recipe for a pumpkin seed-onion cream spread that really is to die for. One of the easiet things you will ever make, and it will become a staple in your fridge for sure. The burgers are packed with high quality plant based protein from the lentils and quinoa, fiber from the veggies, and super anti-inflammatory power from the turmeric. The pumpkin seed spread is full of needed iron and zinc, and provides a healthy dose of healthy fats and protein. It's also completely raw, so it maintains all of it vital nutrients and enzymes. If you don't like the taste of a tiny bit of sweet raw onion, then feel free to leave it out, but i think it adds a wonderful flavor. The spread will keep for about a week in the fridge (if it lasts that long), and is wonderful on crackers or toast, or as a dip for sliced veggies. The possibilities go on and on. Give these a shot!


    Best Quinoa Veggie Burgers

    1/2 c quinoa, rinsed
    1/2 c red lentils, rinsed
    2 cups water
    1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    4 crimini mushrooms, chopped
    1 yellow summer squash (or zucchini), chopped
    1/2 cup corn kernels (optional)
    1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    2 Tbsp ketchup
    1 Tbsp mustard
    1/4 cup coarse cornmeal
    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    1/3 cup rice flour (or slightly more as needed)
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp paprika
    1 tsp salt
    freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Pumpkin Seed-Onion Cream Spread (Raw)

    1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (will be green)
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
    juice from 1 lemon
    1 Tbsp raw onion (red or sweet onion work well), chopped finely (optional, if desired)
    1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    water, as needed (1/4-1/2 cup)


    1. Prehat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil metal baking sheet with neutral oil like grapeseed, avocado, or canola.

    2. Place quinoa, lentils, and water together in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then cover pot and reduce to a simmer. Let cook undisturbed for 10-15 minutes until water has been absorbed.

    3. While quinoa-lentil mixture is cooking, saute onions, mushrooms, squash, and corn over medium heat in a bit of olive oil until tender. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

    4. When quinoa is done, add to veggies in bowl. Stir to help it cool and add rest of the ingredients. Use your hands, or a large spoon to mix it well.

    5. The mixture should hold together well when you form it into patties. If too moist or sticky add a bit of rice flour a little at a time. Gently form into palm-sized (or smaller) patties, and place on baking sheet evenly spaced apart.

    6. Bake for 7-10 minutes, then flip them over, and bake for another 7 minutes or so. They should be golden brown and crispy. (If you prefer to grill them, bake in the oven for 2-3 minutes each side, to firm them up a bit, then transfer to grill to finish cooking).

    7.For the pumpkin seed-onion cream. In a food processor, process pumpkin seeds, salt, and  nutritional yeast into very fine crumbs/powder. Add lemon juice, chopped onion, and black pepper  and process again for 10-20 seconds. Slowly drizzle in water until spread-like consistency has been reached and continue processing for another 30 seconds to 1 minute until super creamy. Store in glass jar in fridge, use anyway you like.

    8. Assemble your burgers- spreading your bun, bread, or lettuce with pumpkin seed cream, topping with a burger, and adding avocado, tomato, and fresh greens. Sprinkle with sea salt and you're done!

  • Fourth of July Berry Crumb Pie

    Here I have your go-to July 4th party pleaser, pure magic in a pie plate. Stuffed with layers of organic blueberries, strawberries & rhubarb, this pie tops them all. Your fourth of July will never again just be about BBQ and sparklers. So go to the store, get these simple ingredients, and spend about 1 hour making this pie. It is easy to prepare, and breathtakingly delicious. Your friends, family, and BBQ mates will adore you (especially since it's vegan, gluten and soy-free-which means most everyone can eat it, and no one will know the difference) Looks like a long recipe, but it's really not. You can simplify by using only one berry filling (just double the filling recipe), or making it with wheat flour (leave out the xanthum gum). Very easy, enjoy!

    Fourth of July Berry Crumb Pie

    Crust:
    1 1/4 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Blend
    1/4 tsp xanthum gum
    1 tsp sea salt
    2 tsp sugar
    1/2 cup coconut oil
    1/8 cup water (or as needed)

    Blueberry filling:
    1 lb fresh blueberries
    1/2 c brown sugar
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/3 cup white rice flour
    juice from 1 lemon

    Strawberry Rhubarb filling:
    1 lb fresh strawberries (de-stemmed, sliced)
    1 piece rhubarb (about 1 cup, diced)
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1/3 cup rice flour
    juice from 1 lemon

    Crumb:
    1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Blend
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/8 cup coconut oil

    1. Begin by preheating oven to 350 degrees and lightly oiling a pie plate with a bit of coconut oil.

    2. Make your dough in a medium mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients, whisk together. Add coconut oil and cut in with two forks or your fingers until it resembles crumbs. Slowly drizzle in cold water, mixing with your hand, until dough comes together in a moist but not sticky ball. Place in fridge to chill a bit while you make fillings.

    3. On the stove heat two medium pots or deep skillets. To one add all of the ingredients for the blueberry filling, and to the other all of the ingredients for the strawberry filling. Bring each to a low boil, stir well and let simmer on low heat, covered, for about 15 minutes until fruit breaks down and it is thickening, remove from heat and let cool on stovetop.

    4. Meanwhile, place dough in oiled pie pan and use your hands to press it into the place. You want it to be about 1/4" thick and evenly spread out. Use your fingers to shape the rim so it looks nice. Poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork and pre-bake in oven for 10 minutes while fillings continue to cool.

    5. Make the crumb topping by mixing all the dry ingredients in a small bowl, adding the coconut oil, and mixing it gently with your fingers until crumbs form, set aside.

    6. Remove crust from oven, fill with blueberry filling, then strawberry on top. Sprinkle with crumbs and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then remove foil and bake another 5-10 until crust is golden and crumbs have crisped up. LET COOL THOROUGHLY before serving! Serve alone or with a scoop of your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream. Happy 4th!

  • Garlic Broccoli with Coco-Peanut Sauce

    This simple sauce of peanuts and coconut milk is draped over tender garlic broccoli creating a perfect union of savory flavors. It's one of those dishes that comes together so quickly, you may feel unsure you included all the ingredients. But worry not, it really is that easy. Perfect by itself over a bowl of verdant broccoli, or add a bowl of steamy brown rice, or toss it with a mound of chewy rice noodles for a filling meal. Add in more sauteed veggies to up the ante, thinly sliced mushrooms, onions, peas, asparagus, you name it. Give it a try, really tasty and satisfying!


    Garlic Broccoli with Coco-Peanut Sauce

    3 heads broccoli, chopped into florets and small stems

    2-3 cloves garlic, chopped

    1 Tbsp olive oil

    Coco-Peanut Sauce

    1 cup canned coconut milk

    2.5 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

    1/2 tsp sea salt

    1 tsp brown sugar

    1 tsp rice vinegar

    1/2 tsp turmeric

    1 pinch cayenne pepper


    1. In a skillet saute garlic in olive oil on medium-low heat for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add broccoli and turn heat to med-high. Saute for 3-5 minutes until broccoli is bright green and browning in some spots.

    2. Prepare your sauce. To a small saucepan, add all sauce ingredients. Whisk together over medium low heat until combined, thick, and bubbly.

    3. Spoon generously over broccoli; and rice if desired. If serving with rice noodles, toss to combine.

    Enjoy!

  • Red Lentil and Amaranth Protein Patties with Spicy Avocado Mayo

    These little patties are so simple to whip up, amazingly versatile, and almost fool-proof. They come together in no time, and you can change up the ingredients based on what you have in the fridge. They are great on top of a salad, as an appetizer with a nice dipping sauce, or make them slightly larger and serve on a bun as a tempting veggie burger. The possibilities are endless. To boot, they are extremely nutritious, filled with lentils and amaranth which are packed with plant protein, and both of which are great for metabolism and heart health. A good dose of parsley adds a punch of Vitamin K (77% of your daily needs in 1 tablespoon!) Feel free to play with the veggies which are added, though I find the russet potato works wonders as both a binder and a starchy crisp agent. Don't bother to peel it, leave the skin on for extra nutrition, just grate it up. Amaranth is carried in most natural food stores with a bulk section, near the quinoa. It is very similar to quinoa nutritionally with a complete profile of all amino acids, but it's about half the price and easy to digest. If you can't find it, quinoa will work in these as well. Give it a try!


    Red Lentil & Amaranth Protein Patties

    1/2 cup amaranth, (uncooked)

    1/2 cup red lentils (uncooked)

    2 cups water

    1 medium russet potato, grated

    1 small onion, chopped

    2 garlic cloves, chopped

    1/2 cup parsley, chopped

    1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

    1 Tbsp mustard

    2 Tbsp ketchup

    2 Tbsp rice flour

    2 Tbsp coarse cornmeal (or regular)

    1/2 tsp cumin

    1 tsp paprika

    1 tsp sea salt

    1/2 tsp black pepper

    Spicy Avocado Mayo

    1 ripe avocado, mashed

    2 Tbsp Vegenaise (or any vegan mayo)

    1 tsp balsamic vinegar

    1 tsp olive oil

    pinch sea salt

    good pinch cayenne pepper


    1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place 1-2 Tbsp of high heat oil (avocado, organic canola, grape seed) on a baking sheet and spread evenly.

    2. In a medium pot, place amaranth, lentils and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover pot, and reduce to a simmer. Let cook undisturbed for 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed and amaranth and lentils are cooked. It will be porridgey, let it cool.

    3. While amaranth is cooking, grate the potato into a large mixing bowl. With your hands squeeze the shredded potato over sink to release excess water. Return to bowl and add chopped onion, garlic, and parsley. Add cooked amaranth/lentil mixture and mix well with your hands. Add mustard, ketchup, spices, cornmeal and rice flour. Mix well.

    4. Form into small patties, then place them on baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes on each side until golden brown and crispy.

    5. While cooking, make avocado mayo. Simply mash avocado in a small bowl with the back of a fork. Add rest of ingredients and stir well. Serve atop the patties, or on the side as a dipping sauce. Enjoy!

  • Pumpkin Seed Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

    Succulent oven roasted mushrooms, packed with nutrients and an enormous amount of vegetable magic squeezed into each cap. Rich in iron, zinc, and protein, the pumpkin seeds lend their unique power packed profile to this dish.  It's prep time (5-10 min) to "wow your friends" ratio is superb, and you will be the star of any potluck or holiday dinner you bring these to. They also make a wonderful mid-week meal, as you can play with the herbs you use, and dress them up or down as desired. Give 'em a shot!

    Pumpkin Seed Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

    Makes: 12  Prep: 5-10 minutes  Cook: 15-20 minutes


    12 crimini mushrooms

    1/4 cup yellow onion

    3 cloves garlic

    1 cup cauliflower

    1/4 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds

    1 cup fresh basil

    1 Tbsp flax meal

    1/4 cup fresh oregano (or 2 Tbsp dried)

    2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

    2 Tbsp olive oil

    1/2 tsp sea salt

    black pepper, to taste


    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil baking sheet with high heat oil (avocado, grape seed, organic canola).


    2. Separate mushroom stems from caps, and place caps on baking sheet.


    3. Place mushroom stems and all other ingredients in bowl of food processor. Run until all pieces are small and uniform and mixture binds together. You may have to scrape down sides of bowl a few times.


    4. Fill each mushroom cap with a generous spoonful of the filling. Sprinkle with salt and nutritional yeast.


    5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until mushrooms have released their liquid and tops have become crispy.


    6. If desired, serve with a side of tomato salad (tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper). Enjoy!

  • Pan-Seared Spring Veggies with Seasoned Quinoa

    In celebration of an early spring in Seattle, I cooked up a rainbow of veggies today and served them with a simple quinoa seasoned with leeks and mushrooms. The colors of this dish are stunning, each ingredient brings a lovely shade to the plate, and with it many beneficial phytonutrients to support our health and happiness. The entire meal takes about 30 minutes to prepare, and really does look lovely with all the veggies served together. Feel free to cook just one, or all of the elements. The quinoa is protein, vitamin, and mineral rich and is so easy to prepare. Pan-seared beet slices make a wonderful snack. Feel free to experiment, and enjoy. Happy spring!


    Pan-Seared Spring Veggies with Seasoned Quinoa

    Seasoned quinoa:

    1 cup quinoa (white or red)

    1.5 cups of water

    2 Tbsp of chopped leek

    2 crimini mushrooms, sliced

    1 tsp sea salt

    1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

    1/2 tsp paprika

    1/2 tsp turmeric

    black pepper to taste

    Veggies:

    1/2 lb asparagus

    1 large beet, thinly sliced

    1 leek, sliced crosswise into 1/2" rounds


    1. In a medium pot, saute 2 Tbsp chopped leeks in a bit of olive oil over medium heat. When browning add slices of mushroom and stir to coat. Let cook 2 minutes more. Add quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is fluffy and water is absorbed.

    2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare your veggies. In a skillet (cast iron is great) heat a teaspoon of high heat oil and add your beet slices. Sprinkle them with sea salt and let them cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until starting to brown in spots and tender. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

    3. Next the asparagus. Simply break off the bottom 2-3" of asparagus (it's woody) and discard.  Add the rest to the same skillet. Sprinkle with sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil, cover, and let cook for 2-3 minutes until bright green and tender. Remove from pan and set aside.

    4. Lastly, slice your leek into 1/2" rounds, starting at the base and working all the way up to the bottom of the green section (save green tops in your freezer to make a vegetable broth another day). Keep the leek rings intact in their concentric circles. Place them gently in the same skillet, with a bit of high heat oil, sprinkle with sea salt, cover them and let them cook 2-3 minutes until browning on the bottom and bright green and fragrant. Leave in pan, until ready to serve.

    5. When quinoa is fluffy, add balsamic vinegar, sea salt, paprika, turmeric, and black pepper. Stir and serve with pan-seared veggies. Drizzle with extra balsamic vinegar if desired. Enjoy!

  • Almond and Pear Thumbprint Cookies

    These sweet, cinnamony cookies are a snap to make, and healthy too. They're filled with all the goodness of almonds (which aid in weight loss, are high in vitamin E, phosphorus, magensium, and potassium-all very imortant for heart health) and have a sweetened pear jam dalloped on top. They make a lovely on the go breakfast treat, are perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon, and would make a great after school (or work) snack with some cold almond milk. Don't underestimate the importance of including nuts in your diet, research show that including just 4 servings (.25 cup/serving) of nuts a week can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 37%! They're full of healthy fats and antioxidants that we need to thrive, so buy some raw almonds, throw them in your coffee grinder and make some tasty cookies you can feel good about eating. These are low in sugar (you could substitute agave or dates for a lower glycemic index), are made with a few simple ingredients, and are free from gluten, soy, eggs, butter, and milk. They do contain a good amount of cinnamon which i love for it's warming flavor, and it pairs perfecty with pears. It also increases circulation in the body, so if you have cold hands or feet eat it regularly. If you like your cookies less cinnamony, you can cut the amount in half. The texture of these is phenomenal, soft with a little crisp on the bottom. If you've been turned off from gluten-free baking in the past due to the tragedy of cardboard gluten-free cookies, give these a try, they will not disappoint you!


    Almond and Pear Thumbprint Cookies

    (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)

    Makes 20 cookies

    2 cups Bob's Red MIll gluten free flour blend

    1 cup almond meal (just grind raw almonds in coffee grinder)

    1 tsp salt

    1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

    1/2 tsp xanthum gum

    1 tsp baking soda

    1 cup coconut oil (room temperature)

    1/2 cup brown sugar

    2 Tbsp vanilla

    1/3 cup almond milk

    Pear jam topping

    2 pears (I used bartlett), chopped finely

    2 Tbsp brown sugar (or maple syrup or agave)

    pinch of salt

    1 tsp cinnamon

    2 Tbsp lemon juice

    1/4 cup almond slivers or slices for topping


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and place parchment paper on rimmed baking sheet.

    2. In a skillet, make pear jam by placing all ingredients over medium heat and give it a stir. Let simmer with a cover on, for 10 minutes while you prepare dough.

    3. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a larger bowl mix coconut oil and brown sugar until creamy. Add vanilla and almond milk and stir to incorporate. 

    4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir to combine. A dough will from. 

    5. Form dough into golf ball sized balls, and place them on the parchment. You should have roughly 20. When done gently press your thumb into the center of each one, making a deep indent for the jam to sit in.

    6. Spoon each with a good sized dallop of jam (I would even put a little more than you see in the picture) and top with 5 almond slivers in the shape of a florette. 

    6. Bake for 10 minutes at 375, remove from oven and let cool on tray. Trasfer to a wire rack and let cool 5-10 minutes more. Enjoy!

  • Roast Purple Yam and Mushroom Bowl

    I was introduced to these beautiful Okinawan purple yams a few years ago by my dear friend Sophia. She would simply wash and boil them whole, let them cool to room temperature, slice them into beautiful purple medallions and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. They are an amazingly versatile food and so good for you. Filled with anthocyanins (the flavanoids in blue and purple potatoes, berries, eggplant, and black beans-anything with that red-blue-purple-black color) they bring us huge benefits like protecting our memory and reducing inflammation. Additionally their skins are full of essential iodine, which helps regulate the thyroid gland. So leave their skins on and eat them often. They are cultivated in Asia and Hawaii, but they are widely available here in in Asian markets. Look for their light brown exterior and a sign that says "purple yam (or sweet potato)" as the purple flesh will be hidden inside. You can boil, steam, fry, mash or roast them. Use their lovely purple hue to your advantage and pair them with some nice contrasting colors. Remember to eat a rainbow of colors as often as you can, as each color found in fruits and vegetables provides us with different necessary nutrients. Start by trying to eat all the colors of the rainbow in one week, before you know it you'll be eating all the colors everyday.  In this recipe the slight sweetness of the yam is balanced with the earthiness of roast mushrooms, and slivers of sweet yellow pepper provide just the right amount of bright freshness. Experiment with how you prepare them!


    Roast Purple Yam and Mushroom Bowl

    1 Okinawan purple yam

    1/2 lb crimini mushrooms (shiitake would be nice too)

    1/8 c light neutral oil (avocado, canola, grapeseed)

    1 clove garlic, finely chopped

    1/2 tsp sumac (optional-lovely spice with fresh lemony flavor)

    1/2 tsp thyme

    sea salt and cayenne to taste

    1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, and oil baking sheet. Slice purple yam into thin french fry like strips. Quarter mushrooms. Place mushrooms and yam slices onto baking sheet, toss to coat in oil and sprinkle with garlic, thyme, sea salt, cayenne, and sumac, if using. Bake at 425 for 15-25 minutes until mushrooms dry out a bit and everything crisps up.

    2. Serve on a bed of lettuce, sprinkled with lemon juice and a drizzle of tahini. Enjoy!

  • Black Bean Avocado Breakfast Tacos


    Whoever said vegans can't enjoy a hearty breakfast without sausage, eggs, and cheese is just kidding themselves. These super easy, make-em-in-5-minutes-before-work tacos are a healthy, hearty meal perfect anytime of day. Though I especially like them for breakfast as they're a simple, yet nutritionally complex start to your day. They give you a good dose of protein and fiber (black beans), healthy fats (avocado), phytochemicals & Vitamin C (bell pepper) and a bit of healthy grains from the corn tortilla. If I had some baby spinach I would have included that as well, and there you'd have a complete meal with yummy iron rich greens to round things out. A healthy intake of beans is proven to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, so include them in your meals as often as you can. I did use a sprinkling of Daiya vegan cheese, which is made from pea protein and tapioca and really does melt like the real thing. Though it's completely optional, as the creaminess from the avocado mixed with the savory black beans is enough to make you very happy. Give them a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

    What you need:

    2 corn tortillas

    1 can black beans

    1 avocado

    1 small bell pepper (red, orange, yellow)

    1 pinch sea salt

    1 pinch cayenne

    1 handful baby spinach (optional)

    1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

    1 tsp lemon juice (optional)

    Daiya vegan cheese (cheddar or mozzarella-optional)

    1. In a saucepan, heat your black beans over medium heat until bubbly. Stir in a pinch of sea salt, cayenne, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice if using (use it if you got it).

    2. In a skillet on medium heat, put a tablespoon of oil: olive, grapeseed, canola, etc. Add a corn tortilla and top with a sprinkling of the cheese (if using), a tablespoon of blackbeans, a bit of spinach (if using), a few slices of avocado and thinly sliced bell pepper. Cover with a lid and let everything heat through, and the bottom crisp, 2-3 minutes. Repeat with second tortilla. Drizzle with a bit of hot sauce if desired, and enjoy!