Category Archives: Recipes

No-Bake Tahini Cherry Bars

These no-bake bars are the perfect treat to hit the spot, when it’s hot outside, you want something sweet,  but also something wholesome.  Prep was really easy, and a child could easily help with the stirring parts.  I added mini chocolate chips on half, to make it more appealing to little ones, because I think it’s going to be hard to convince a toddler to eat a dessert with tahini, if they’ve never tried it before.  These are perfectly sweet, and the hit of salt, is just what they need to make them really good.  Now to think what else I can add in other than dried cherries…

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Ready for the freezer

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No-bake Tahini Cherry Bars

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A great summer sweet & wholesome treat

No-Bake Tahini Cherry Bars

adapted from One Part Plant

makes 8-24 bars depending on how you cut them

INGREDIENTS

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp pure maple syrup

1/3 cup tahini, stirred well

1 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats (not the instant/quick cooking kind)

pinch of sea salt

1/4 cup dried cherries

handful of Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Line a 4×8 loaf pan with parchment paper.

On low heat, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan.  Once melted, remove from heat immediately and stir in vanilla and syrup.  Stir in the tahini.  Once combined, add oats and salt.  Stir until all the oats are coated.  Stir in the cherries.

Pour mixture into loaf pan and spread evenly.  If desired, sprinkle on chocolate chips, lightly pressing them in with your fingers.

Put in freezer for at least 45 minutes.  Cut and serve immediately. Store any leftovers, covered, in the freezer.

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Lentil Cream Cheese Tartines

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of my favorite food bloggers mention a cookbook, Pulse Revolution.  Curious, I looked it up on Amazon, and the Kindle version is so affordable (99 cents), I had to check it out.  All of the recipes are vegetarian, with many that include options to adapt for adding meat, if you desire.  I also found that while many of the recipes feature dairy, they are easy enough to adapt with non-dairy versions – like this Lentil Cream Cheese Tartines one.  I used Kite Hill Plain Almond Milk Cream Cheese and the rest was same as suggested.  The cookbook calls this a breakfast recipe, but we enjoyed for dinner.  Honestly, it’s so good, it’d be good any time of day.  I also halved the recipe, because we tend to use less cream cheese than the serving size.  And, for ease of a weeknight dinner, I used canned lentils – and prepared the cream cheese mixture in the morning.FullSizeRender-3

Lentil Cream Cheese Tartines

makes 4-6 toasts

adapted from Pulse Revolution

INGREDIENTS

4 oz. non-dairy cream cheese (I like Kite Hill plain)

1 tbsp chives, chopped

Lemon zest from 1/2 a lemon

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cooked lentils (I used pre-cooked canned lentils)

Your favorite gluten-free bread (we like Canyon Bakehouse Rye and Heritage Whole Grain)

Eggs (1 egg per toast)

DIRECTIONS

In a small food processor, blend cream cheese, lentils, chives, and lemon zest.  Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.  Set aside.  You can make in advance and refrigerate.

In a small nonstick fry pan, heat over medium heat.  Add a little bit of oil (about 1/2 tsp per egg).  Crack the egg in the pan and cook until the whites are cooked and the yolk is just starting to get firm.  Cook longer if you want a more well done egg.

While the egg is cooking, toast your bread.  Spread cream cheese mixture on bread and top with fried egg.  Enjoy immediately.

 

Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Tacos

As we’ve been trying new recipes, this Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Taco recipe is one I’ve been meaning to try for awhile.  I’ve made something similar but this recipe is definitely a turned up version – here, the roasted squash gets mixed in with some lime juice and a little vegan mayo (or canned coconut milk) to make it creamy and extra flavorful.  The interesting thing about cooking the lentils with some vegetable broth, cumin, and coconut aminos (or tamari), is the aroma smelled almost identical to taco meat.  This was a great dinner, and also makes a great lunch from the leftovers.IMG_4491.JPG

Creamy Butternut Squash and Lentil Tacos

makes about 10-12 tacos

adapted from One Part Plant

INGREDIENTS

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes (about 4 cups)

2 1/2 tsp cumin (more or less to taste)

Sea salt and pepper

Olive or coconut oil

3/4 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed

Veggie broth

3 tsp tamari or coconut aminos

10-12 corn tortillas

2 tbsp vegan mayo (I like Just Mayo Light)* OR canned full-fat coconut milk

1 tbsp lime juice

Toppings – avocado, sunflower seeds, hot sauce, lettuce (something crunchy since the squash and lentils are soft)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss the squash with 1/2 tsp of the cumin and about 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, some salt and pepper.  Spread the cubes out on the baking sheet and roast them for 30-35 minutes, until they’re soft.  (Don’t worry if some get extra toasty, it’ll just make the color of the mixture a little darker).

Meanwhile, in a small pot, combine the lentils with enough broth to cover them and stir in the coconut aminos and remaining 2 tsp of cumin.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are soft, but still a little firm, 20-25 minutes.  Make sure to watch the pot and add more broth or water if needed to cover the lentils.  Taste them as you go to make sure they’re not overcooked and mushy.  When they’re done, drain any excess liquid that hasn’t been absorbed.

Transfer the cooked squash to a food processor and add the mayo or coconut milk with the lime juice, and process until smooth.  Taste and add more salt or lime juice if needed.

When you’re almost ready to serve, warm the tortillas, however you usually do.

Assemble the tacos: spread a layer of the creamy squash on a warm tortilla and top it with a scoop of lentils (about 2-3 tbsp).  Add your favorite toppings and serve.

*I usually find Just Mayo Light at Whole Foods.  I also wouldn’t sub an egg-based mayo here, because I think it’ll change the texture.  If not using vegan mayo, use full-fat canned coconut milk to get the right creamy texture needed.

Broccimole (aka Broccoli Guacamole)

Who doesn’t like a good guacamole adaptation?!  True, why mess with a good thing, but I was still curious about what adding broccoli would do, and I’m very glad I did.  This is a much lighter alternative to guacamole, and it makes you feel good because there’s broccoli in it.  I thought this would be a kid-friendly recipe, which it’s not completely, but if yours are willing to taste it, they may just love it (or take three bites and realize they don’t yet).  It is definitely husband approved, and he thought the jalapeno would add a nice kick.

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Broccimole

makes about 1 1/2 cups

adapted from Malibu Farm Cookbook

INGREDIENTS

1 cup broccoli florets

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

Jalapeno pepper, chopped and to taste (optional)

1/2 bunch cilantro

2 limes juiced OR 2 tbsp lime juice

1/2 avocado – or more (up to 2), if you want it creamier

DIRECTIONS

Cook broccoli florets in boiling, salted water for 1 minute.  Remove and place in food processor with the rest of the ingredients (except the avocado).  Pulse until all chopped up.  Taste, and if desired, add 1/2 avocado, up to 2 avocados total.  Add salt to taste if needed.  Enjoy with chips.

Easy Falafel Salad

After some busy busy weeks making quick dinners, we challenged ourselves to make some new recipes – finally a reason to try this falafel one!  Truth be told, I’m not a HUGE falafel fan, but my husband is, so I’m always looking for recipes where I can treat him to one of his favorite foods.  I’ve always used canned garbanzos, so it was fun to soak dried ones and see what happens.  The result was a great tasting falafel that is plenty delicious, and lighter tasting than ones deep fried at your local Mediterranean restaurant – the texture and flavor is spot on.  Aside from the time to soak the beans, this recipe is really easy, and can get from kitchen to table in under 45 minutes.  We ate ours on top of a salad, but it can also be enjoyed in an open-faced sandwich or pita.

IMG_4497.JPGEasy Falafel Salad

makes about 14-16 falafel patties

recipe adapted from One Part Plant

INGREDIENTS

1 cup dried garbanzo beans, soaked overnight (or at least 8 hours*) and drained

1/3 cup onion, diced (I used sweet onion because I like the flavor better, though the original recipe calls for red onion)

1/3 cup parsley, chopped

1/3 cup dill, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, smashed with a knife

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp cumin (or to taste – could be less or more)

Sea salt

Cayenne pepper, just a pinch

1/2 tsp baking soda

Canola oil, coconut oil, or olive oil for frying (I like to use canola)

Butter lettuce or romaine lettuce (your favorite for a salad)

Toppings: hummus, tahini, tomatoes, cucumbers, bagaganoush, avocado – whatever you like to top your falafel with!

DIRECTIONS

  1.  Pat the chickpeas dry and let sit for a few minutes.
  2. The falafels taste best warm, so make sure you have all your salad ingredients ready to go.
  3. In a food processor, blend together all ingredients except the baking soda.  Pulse until smooth but a bit grainy.  This will take a few minutes.  Once combined well, add the baking soda and pulse a few more times.  Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings as needed.
  4. In a large pan, over medium-high heat, add some oil to coat the bottom of the pan (about 1 tbsp).
  5. Using an ice cream scoop, form patties with your hand and carefully place each one in the pan, forming a circle of patties around the edge of the pan.  It’s easy to be tempted to add one in the center, but this will overcrowd the pan, and make it difficult to cook them evenly.  After about 2-3 minutes, flip patties over**, so they’re a nice golden brown color.  Repeat until all patties are made – making sure to add more oil for each batch you cook. As patties are finishing, place on a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain off any excess oil (though there should be not much).
  6. While falafels are cooling, assemble your salad, and top with the falafels.  We like to add a few dollops of hummus and a drizzle of tahini too.  You can also add extra chopped parsley if you like.  Enjoy!

*I left the garbanzos to soak from the morning until evening, when I returned from work, and it worked great.  This is a good option if you forget to soak them overnight!

**I like to use a metal spatula and a stainless pan for this kind of pan frying.  I’ve used nonstick, but it doesn’t always create the crispy outside you want for something like this, and often leaves the insides either dried our or mushy and under-cooked.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Crunchy Red Cabbage

In the spirit of open-faced sandwiches, I landed on this recipe for Chickpea Salad (which has many variations if you search) because instead of mixing in a vegan mayo, this recipe calls for mixing in a unique combination of tahini, lemon juice, capers, dijon mustard, garlic, scallions, and cilantro. And, the result?  Delicious!  This recipe is one of the many reasons I enjoy food I make myself versus store bought or even the “best” vegan or non-vegan restaurants.  The sandwich tasted fresh and the perfect balance of flavors.  TBD if it’s a kid-favorite too.

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Chickpea Salad Sandwich with Crunchy Red Cabbage

serves 4-6

adapted from Love & Lemons

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15oz can), rinsed and drained

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp tahini

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

1 1/2 tsp capers

1 scallion chopped

1/4 chopped cilantro, loosely packed

2 tbsp lemon juice, plus a few extra squeezes for the cabbage topping

sea salt and freshly ground pepper


1 cup shredded cabbage

slices of your favorite gluten-free (or wheat) bread

Vegan mayonnaise (I like Just Mayo Light)

Radishes, thinly sliced

Microgreens or arugula

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small food processor* combine chickpeas, mustard, tahini, garlic, capers, scallion, cilantro, lemon juice and a few pinches of salt and pepper.  Pulse until combined and chunky – texture should be about 2/3 smooth and 1/3 garbanzno beans whole-ish
  2. Remove from food processor and put in a small bowl. Give everything a mix and mash whole beans with a fork until desired texture.  Chill until ready to serve
  3. To make cabbage topping, in a medium bowl, put cabbage and squeeze a lemon a few times (about 1/2-1 tbsp).  Mix in salt and pepper to taste.  Chill for 5 minutes.
  4. Toast your bread.  For an open-faced sandwich, top with a little mayo, microgreens, chickpea mixture, radishes, cabbage, and a little more micro greens.  Enjoy!
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last few bites

White Bean Dill Dip + Spread

Thanks to the One Part Plant cookbook, I discovered how much I like hummus-type dips with white beans instead of garbanzos.  I’ve really been enjoying the White Bean Buffalo Hummus I posted last week, and just tried a new recipe, that’s also REALLY great. Technically, it’s a dip, but I’m using it as a spread instead.  It reminds me a lot of Ina Garten’s Herbed Ricotta Bruschette – and without the dairy (yay for me!)  I’m really into open faced sandwiches (we can thank my Grandma for that tip), and this spread is PERFECT for that.  Enjoy!

 

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White Bean Dill Dip + Spread

makes about 1.5 cups

recipe adapted from Love and Lemons

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 ½ cups cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup loose packed fresh dill
  • your favorite bread, lightly toasted (I like this gluten-free one from Canyon Bakehouse)

DIRECTIONS

In a small food processor, or in a small bowl with an immersion blender, blend together the cannellini beans, olive oil, lemon juice, water, garlic, and salt. Puree until creamy, then add the dill and blend until incorporated. Chill until ready to use.

If using on toast, use about 2 tsp per slice of bread.  Spread on warm bread, and top with your favorite veggies.  I like thinly sliced cucumbers, radishes, microgreens, and a little pinch of sea salt.

Favorite Dairy-free Finds

In the past several years, I have tried A LOT of dairy-free alternatives to traditionally dairy foods.  I also don’t eat soy, so that has made the exploration even more interesting.  To save you the work of trying some pretty undesirable flavors, here are my favorites and where I can typically find them.  Send me any you think work trying too!

FAVORITE YOGURT

Kite Hill

Hands down, this is the best dairy-free yogurt I’ve tried.  From what I remember of yogurt, it has a similar texture (albeit a bit thinner), and great taste (read: no aftertaste).  My favorite flavor is Vanilla, though I also think the Peach and Blueberry are pretty good.

Where to buy – Whole Foods (usually cheapest, and they’ll give you a 10% case discount if you buy 12); Ralphs, Gelsons, and some Targets are also now selling, though their prices are about 20 cents more per container.

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FAVORITE SOUR CREAM

Kite Hill – Plain Yogurt

I have made several recipes with this now, when it calls for sour cream, and they all turn out great.  I’ve made desserts and main dishes, all equally great.  It also works well as a topping for tacos, or wherever you’d normally use sour cream, even latkes!

Where to buy – same as above

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FAVORITE “CHEESE”

Daiya Cheddar Block

Daiya cheese products can be controversial.  For someone who is used to eating cow’s milk cheese, this tastes completely different.  I haven’t had real dairy for a really long time, so I hardly notice a difference.  That said, I think getting the wedge of Daiya cheddar, and shredding it by hand, produces the best texture and taste, to what I remember of cheese. Especially on tacos, I think it tastes like Taco Bell cheese, but it’s been almost a decade since I’ve eaten Taco Bell – so again, my taste bud profile is skewed.  If you want a more creamy texture when baking recipes I suggest the pre-shredded versions, but know this won’t taste or melt like traditional cheese.  Often too, I end up realizing many recipes don’t even need cheese anyway, if the other ingredients are flavorful enough.

Where to buy:  Whole Foods, Ralphs, Sprouts (I’ve found it cheapest here), Vons

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FAVORITE MILK

Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk

I’ve tried them all – well a lot of them absent of Flax Milk and Hemp Milk.  I like this non-dairy milk to best because it reminds me of the nonfat milk I grew up on, and also it doesn’t separate in hot liquids, like coffee or tea.  It tastes great in cereal and we always have it on hand at our house. It’s also great in baking recipes where milk is in an ingredient, like frosting.  Though if making vegan frosting for a crowd, I add So Delicious boxed unsweetened coconut milk for my nut-free friends.

Where to buy: Sprouts (usually cheapest price here), Whole Foods, Ralphs, Vons

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FAVORITE BOTTLED ITALIAN-STYLE SALAD DRESSING

Sprouts Roasted Garlic Dressing

Many Italian dressings are made with soybean oil and/or parmesan cheese.  I recently found this Roasted Garlic dressing by Sprouts and it tastes like there’s cheese in it.  I grew up loving Mrs. Bernsteins Cheese Fantastico dressing as a treat at my Grandma’s house, and I think this tastes very similar.

Where to buy: Sprouts

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FAVORITE ICE CREAM

Pressed Juicery FREEZE – Chocolate/Vanilla Swirl

Non-dairy ice creams sold in cartons, in stores, are not my favorite.  I’ll eat a little every now and then, but I’ve had weird reactions to many of them, so I just avoid them, which is fine, because I’ve never LOVED ice cream anyway.  I did however, used to love frozen yogurt.  Pressed Juicery FREEZE, chocolate/vanilla swirl is SO good!  It’s soft-serve frozen almond milk – meaning completely dairy free (and soy free!).  Interestingly enough, the chocolate and vanilla flavors are lowest in sugar among the other flavor options like vegetable and fruit juice – which also have no added sugar.  I like to top mine with fresh strawberries.

Where to buy: Pressed Juicery, where FREEZE is available

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FAVORITE CHIPS 

Earth Balance Sour Cream & Onion Kettle Chips

Food Should Taste Good Kimchi Chips (tastes similar to Doritos)

If you’re switching to dairy-free and miss those sour cream & onion chips or Doritos, not to worry, there are two great replacements.  Earth Balance makes a great Sour Cream & Onion alternative, and I recently read about Food Should Taste Good Kimchi chips, which taste pretty similar to what I remember of Doritos, but not as salty and not quite as cheesy. They won’t leave you with orange fingers, but they are satisfying and a bit addictive too (as are the Earth Balance ones too).

Where to buy Earth Balance Sour Cream & Onion Kettle Chips: Whole Foods

Where to buy Food Should Taste Good Kimchi Chips: Sprouts

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Grown-up Beans on Toast

Another great cookbook I’ve been using lately is The Dude Diet.  Along with the great frittata recipe I made awhile ago, we recently made ‘Grown-up Beans on Toast.’  The recipe calls for chicken sausage, but we made without, and it still tastes great – even kid approved!  It’s pretty quick to make – took about 30 minutes start to finish – and, it tastes great as leftovers too.  The author says the recipe makes 2 servings, but I think it can make about 6-10 toasts, depending how much you use to top the bread.  If you eat meat, go ahead and use your favorite chicken sausage.  I’ll list those steps as optional below.  We made ours wheat and dairy-free using gluten-free bread, and Vegan Parmesan shreds.IMG_4052.JPG

Grown-up Beans on Toast

adpated from The Dude Diet

makes about 6-10 toasts

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp. olive oil

2 chicken sausages (sweet or spicy), diced – OPTIONAL

1/2 sweet onion, chopped finely

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 tsp. tomato paste

3/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 15 oz. can cannelini beans (or great white northern beans), rinsed & drained

1 15 oz. can diced or crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup water

Your favorite gluten-free (or traditional) bread, toasted

Chopped parsley, to sprinkle on top

Vegan Parmesan, to sprinkle on top (I like Follow Your Heart, found at Whole Foods)

DIRECTIONS

  1.  In a medium saute pan, heat pan and add olive oil.
  2. [OPTIONAL] Saute diced chicken sausage for about 4-5 minutes, until browned.
  3. Add onion and saute until translucent, just starting to brown.
  4. Add garlic and stir until fragrant.  About 30 seconds.
  5. Add dried oregano, tomato paste, salt, and paprika.  Cook for a few minutes more.
  6. Add drained beans, tomatoes and water.  Heat until boiling.  Then, reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes so flavors can combine.  I waited until most of the liquid had evaporated.
  7. Serve warm on toast.  Top with chopped parsley and vegan parmesan.

 

Buffalo Hummus

In searching for more recipes, I came across a new cookbook, One Part Plant by Jessica Murnane.  After making the Buffalo Hummus recipe, I spent time reading the introduction and was even more impressed. What resonates with me most is her creation of recipes as a result of finding foods that make her body feel better, versus a focused attempt to become plant-based and mostly gluten-free.  Her cookbook is sharing recipes she’s discovered along the way that make her body feel its best.  One of my favorite asides preceding the recipe for a Breakfast Potato Bowl is she got tired of ordering the oatmeal when she went out for breakfast with friends, so she started asking for the breakfast potatoes with the same veggies her friends were getting in omelettes – and the breakfast potato bowl was born!  Anyway, we tried her super easy recipe for Buffalo Hummus, and it’s pretty great.  Because chickpeas can be difficult on some to digest, she makes it with white beans, and adds in some buffalo sauce instead of garlic.  We enjoyed it as she suggests, spread on a warm tortilla and topped with veggies.

Buffalo Hummus

serves 4-6

from One Part Plant

INGREDIENTS

1 15oz can white beans, rinsed & drained (I used Great White Northern Beans, could also use Cannelini)

1/4 cup tahini

1/2 tsp pure maple syrup

2-3 tbsp Buffalo Sauce* (I used this one -PaleoChef Wing Sauce)

2-3 tbsp lemon juice

sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a small food processor (or high speed blender), place drained and rinsed white beans, tahini, syrup, 2 tbsp Buffalo sauce, 2 tbsp lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.  Blend until smooth.
  2. Taste a little bit.  If you think it needs more “kick” or flavor, add more buffalo sauce – I added 1/2 tbsp at a time, and found I needed 3 1/2 tbsp total to make it taste flavorful, but not spicy.  Add more lemon juice and salt, if needed. (I needed to add 1 more tbsp of lemon juice – 3 tbsp total, and two more pinches of salt).
  3. Enjoy as a dip or spread on a sandwich.  We enjoyed similar to pictured above, on a warmed corn tortilla with thinly sliced cucumbers, a pinch of chopped olives and a pinch of parsley.

*If you can stand more heat, I suggest using a “hot” Buffalo or Wing sauce.  She suggests trying to find a version without wheat, dairy, or eggs.  Tessemae’s is also supposed to be good – I saw it in the refrigerated produce section, near salad mixes, at Whole Foods.

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Buffalo Hummus – the final product!