Thursday, April 22, 2021

Plant based, Copycat Olive Garden Gnocchi Soup


 This recipe got rave reviews from my crowd, and even my meat eaters went back for seconds who thought it was as good as the restaurant version despite the omission of dairy and meat.

It all started today when I was wandering through Home Goods today with a friend-for probably the first non-essential browsing/shopping I've done since Covid hit last year. 

In the funky and fun foods section (my name for the aisle, not theirs), I found some whole wheat gnocchi, that was plant based (Siene Arte brand). While the package cost around $8, it will make roughly 4 meals.

How could I purchase gnocchi and not attempt to create a plant based version of one of our favorite Olive Garden soups? Simply not possible!  
One great thing about this soup was how quickly it came together - simply chop and saute, make a roux, then blend a sauce and heat.  Also, other than the gnocchi, I had all of the ingredients on hand. 

Finally, we loved that it filled the house with an incredible aroma for everyone coming in at the end of their day. I hope you love it as much as we do! 

3 shitake mushrooms, sliced approx. 1/8-1/4"  (optional, but I think they give the soup a chewiness and slight mouth feel which would normally come from chicken)  
3 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded coarsely
1 box vegetable stock/broth (we like Trader Joes)
3-4 cups fresh spinach
2 Tablespoons coconut cream
3-4 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked in hot water  for 30 minutes if not using a vitamix/high powered blender)
3-5 cups water
1 1/2 cups whole wheat gnocchi
2-3 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce 
Salt and black pepper to taste

Place soy sauce in large, heavy bottomed pan and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add shiitakes, onions, garlic, celery and carrots and saute. Add vegetable broth as needed to keep pan from drying out.

In the meantime, in a small pan, heat coconut cream until melted. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Cook for a few moments, stirring constantly, and add enough vegetable broth, incrementally, to create a smooth sauce. 

Add roux to sautéed vegetables, along with any remaining vegetable stock/broth and mix until smooth.

Place cashews in high powered blender with 2-3 cups water. Blend into cream sauce.

Add cashew cream sauce to vegetables and roux, and stir to mix, adjusting water ratio as needed, as cashew cream will thicken slightly when heated.

Add gnocchi and spinach, tossing spinach gently. Allow to heat through, stirring frequently. 

Once gnocchis are heated and soft, remove from heat and serve. 
8-12 servings

Friday, April 2, 2021

Plant Based Eggless Egg Salad Sandwich

 It's been years since we've eaten eggs, and this sandwich was such a surprise. As a bonus, it is super quick and simple to make, and my meat eaters actually liked it (which is the gold standard). 

This recipe is adapted from a similar recipe found on "It doesn't taste Like Chicken," but has been adapted here for plant based eating. 

***Disclaimer, this recipe calls black salt, which is an unusual, yet 100% essential ingredient. Black salt has a very strong "egg-like" taste and a little goes a long way. I found mine at a local middle eastern store, but it can also be found on Amazon. Please don't try this recipe without this unique ingredient, because we will both be disappointed in your final product.

1 block medium or firm tofu

1/4 cup soy yogurt

2-3 Tablespoons yellow mustard

3/4 teaspoon black salt

2 green onions - finely chopped

1 dash ground cloves

2 dashes turmeric powder

Rinse tofu with water. Drain on a paper towel. Cover with a paper towel, and weigh down with heavy plate or cast iron pot, allowing to drain for an additional 10-15 minutes. 

 Finely dice tofu. Mix remaining ingredients together, then add tofu, adjusting salt and spices to taste. 

Serve with lettuce, on lightly toasted bread.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Whole Wheat and Oat Flour, Orange & Berry Breakfast Muffins

 It has been a REALLY long time since I posted a new recipe, but I've found myself coming back to this recipe several times, and wanted to share it. 

When I lived in Guatemala, there was a restaurant called, "A Su Gusto" which is roughly translated as, "As you like it."  I think that these muffins embody the spirit of "as you like it." 

As such, feel free to use whatever fruit you have on hand. I often use frozen berries, but sometimes use chocolate chips, or fresh fruit that I have in the house. Similarly, use the nuts and/or juices for flavor that you prefer. 

I love the flexibility of this recipe - for me it is truly a mix of "as you like it" smashed together with "whichever ingredients are on hand." I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. 

Combine the following ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups oat flour

1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut 

1/2 c. chopped, toasted pecans (or nuts of your choice)

1 T. +1 t. baking powder

1 T. chia seeds

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. sea salt

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/4 t. ground cardamon

1 T. orange zest (or citrus zest of your choice)

In another bowl combine the following wet ingredients:

2 c. plain yogurt - use this link for my simple soymilk yogurt recipe

3/4 c. mixed berries - your choice

2/3 c. non dairy milk (I use WestSoy plain because it has two ingredients - soybeans and water)

1 c. pure maple syrup

2 Tbsp orange juice (or juice of your choice) 

1 t. vanilla

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently combine until mixed. 

Bake at 350* in muffin tins lined with cupcake liners or parchment paper squares for 20-25 minutes. 

If desired, sprinkle with demarara sugar just as the muffins come out of the oven. 

Yield 24 muffins

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Super Simple Hashbrowns

These hashbrowns are incredibly simple with just 2 ingredients and some optional spices.

Pictured: Hashbrowns with Kale & Avocado Massaged Salad

For years I've tried a lot of different strategies for perfect hashbrowns - and I've repeatedly been disappointed. 
These hashbrowns are super easy (what's better than that? - no shredding, no grating, no rinsing and wringing out potato shreds). I also love that I can just throw these into the oven and forget about them - no tending or flipping or turning...they are a multi-tasker's dream!

And, the golden standard for our home - these are ALWAYS instantly devoured at our house, even by our kids who refuse to eat our plant based offerings. 

1 Package frozen shredded potatoes or hashbrowns* see note
6-13 oz canned coconut milk** see note

Sea salt to taste
Chopped jalapeno peppers - to taste
Chopped onions or onion powder to taste
Chopped garlic or garlic powder to taste
Black pepper to taste

Pour frozen hashbrowns into a large baking pan lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Depending on package size of potatoes, add enough coconut milk to very lightly/barely coat potatoes (see alternate option below). 
Season to taste with optional ingredients and lightly toss. 
Bake at 375* uncovered for approximately 35-40 minutes, until lightly browned on top. If desired, cook longer until bottom begins to crisp as well. Use oven's covection bake option if available. 

Alternate option - refrigerate coconut milk prior to use. Skim off coconut cream which rises to the top. Lightly melt cream in the microwave for 20 seconds +/- then and pour over potatoes and proceed as above.  

*When choosing the hashbrowns, make sure to find ones that are just potatoes without any mystery ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. I figure if I can't pronounce it, then it probably shouldn't be in my food. 
**I recommend Trader Joe's Organic coconut milk. It contains two ingredients - coconut and water - no thickeners or mystery chemicals. And yes, I'm probably the lady who cleaned out all of the coconut milk from Trader Joe's just before you got there - so sorry...we stock up every 3-4 months :) 

5 Ingredient, Plant Based Peanut Butter Cookies

Remember those delicious peanut butter cookies from your childhood? 
Here they are, in a simple plant based form. In this case, this means animal/dairy/egg/flour & gluten/oil/processed sugar free cookies. I doesn't seem possible. 
Adding to the wonder - these babies are incredibly quick to make - dare I claim that they can be made and in the oven within 5 minutes? 
Simply add the ingredients to the food processor, push the button, shape into balls, lightly flatten and bake. Viola! 
If that wasn't enough incentive, you might just have all of the ingredients in your pantry really, there's no excuse to not try these out! What are you waiting for? 
Go forth and bake!

1 can chickpeas - also known as garbanzo beans (drained)
1/3-1/2 cup 100% maple syrup
1 1/2 cups natural peanut butter (the kind without added oils or sugars)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)

Place all ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth. 
Roll into balls and place on silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. 
Use the tines of a fork to add the classic criss cross pattern and slightly flatten cookies (there's no leavening, so they won't rise - don't depress too much). 
Bake in preheated oven at 350* for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly browned on edges. 
Remove to a cooking rack. 

Friday, August 16, 2019

Plant based pho

Oh my - it has been a REALLY long time since I last posted. Long enough for me to graduate with my masters degree, for summer to pass by (almost) and to start a new business, get licensed with the state and (almost) begin to feel like I'm starting to settle in. 

A couple of weeks ago during a family reunion, we decided to take a detour so that we could see some family in Salt Lake City. It was a quick drop in visit, but before arriving we had to find something to eat. Luckily we found an awesome restaurant and fell in love with their vegan pho. It was SO good and I can't wait to go back. 
In the meantime, here's the version we came up with. Pho, is a delicious broth (traditionally beef flavored) which is served over rice noodles and served with an incredible array of fresh herbs which make this an amazing meal. 

In a frying pan, toast the following whole spices for 3-5 minutes while stirring/tossing:
4 anise stars
4 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
Add spices to a stock pot filled with 4 quarts (16 cups) of water
Bring to a boil 

Add the following to the boiling spices:
1 large or 2 medium onions (quartered)
4 minced garlic cloves
1 quartered and seeded jalapeno
A peeled, 4x2" knob of fresh ginger root, quartered
1 packet of pho spices (I found these at my local asian store)
Picture 1 of 6

Bring all ingredients to a boil. Remove jalapeno and then turn heat to medium and allow to simmer for approximately 30 minutes. 
Salt to taste and add 1-2 T. soy sauce

If making in advance, place this broth in a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight. 

Strain broth and bring to a boil. 

Thinly slice 4-6 shiitake mushrooms. Saute in 1 T. coconut cream until tender. 
Add sauteed mushrooms to pho broth. 
For additional and deeper flavor, add a few strips of dried seaweed or wakame to broth. Remove and discard after 5 minutes. 

Vegetables, herbs and noodles: 

4 - 6 cups of Napa Cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch green onions - chopped including the green stalks
2-3 cups bean sprouts
3 bunches Thai basil
3 bunches Sweet basil
1 bunch mint leaves - chopped 
1 package rice noodles
Thai chili peppers
To assemble:
Heat 2 quarts of water until boiling. Pour over (covering) rice noodles and let sit for 3-5 minutes. 
Meanwhile, add chopped cabbage to boiling pho broth and cook for 3-5 minutes. 

Place noodles in the bottom of serving bowls.

Cover noodles with broth
Garnish with cilantro, mint, basil, thai basil, thai pepper, green onions, sprouts, key limes and salt to taste. 

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Carrot, ginger, sweet potato, tomato, spinach and banana microwave chips - no oil

I got so excited about making potato chips that I decided to see what else I could make into chips using my silpat and the microwave.

Here are my hits and misses:

Using a potato peeler, create thin carrot curls. Place on silpat and lightly salt. Cook for approximately 3-4 minutes in the microwave.
I thought these were pretty good. Some of them cooked quicker than others, and some were just a teensy bit humid still when I took them out. I will make them again. 

Ginger shreds: For the record, ginger doesn't slice very easily with a peeler due to the tensile and hairlike inner strands. I'm a big ginger fan, so these are awesome as they are easily crumbled and can be sprinkled in salads etc. 
This took approximately 3 minutes

Spinach: These leaves cooked quickly - in about two minutes. While I wasn't sure they were completely done (some were a little bit limp), many of them were plastered to the silpat and difficult to get off. In addition, some of the spinach stems turned black, and I saw some sparks and small flames. 

While I liked these, I'm not sure if I will make these again. They were too hard to peel off of the silpat and came off in crumbles. If I ever need spinach crumbles - these are my go to. 

Sun dried Tomatoes: 
I loved how these turned out. Interestingly though, they still came out a little humid and damp, even though in some areas, black lacing appeared. Perhaps my tomato slices needed to be more uniform. 

I'll definitely make these again, however I will possibly use the microwave at a mid power level rather than on high. 

Sweet potato chips: 
These are probably my favorite turnout of the lot. Thinly sliced, lightly salted, they cooked at around 3-4 minutes. Lightly salted, a sweeter version of a potato chip. 

This is a definite make again.

Finally, last but not least, banana chips: 
I sliced these as thinly as possible. I also cut them on an angle. When I cut them straight it got messed up with the inner makings of the banana. Trust me - the angle is easier. 
At first I didn't think these would work. I cooked them on high for about 4 minutes. They were so moist and almost boiling. Then I lowered the microwave power to half and cooked them for approximately 2-3 minutes longer. I just kept checking them. I didn't want them to burn, but I didn't want them soft and floppy either. 
As it turns out, while these look burnt, they were actually pretty perfect. They hardened as they cooled, and were a perfect blend of banana sugary like candy. And they were inhaled. Sticky and chewy in the teeth like toffee mmmm.  Definitely one we will do again. 

4 minute Potato Chips - no oil

I've been on a roll today - we've been experimenting in the kitchen and have had some great success. Unfortunately, I have no photos because these were wolfed down as quickly as they came out of the microwave. Let that be a testament. 
Crispy, light, salty - check on all. Truly everything a potato chip should be, but without the oil. These are perfect for an any-time snack. 
These are incredibly tasty when dipped into some plant based ranch dressing too! 

Salt to taste

Potato peeler or vegetable slicer
Silpat mat *

Scrub potatoes. Using a potato peeler or vegetable slicer, thinly slice potatoes. Don't worry about peeling them. The thinner the slices, the better.
Arrange on a silpat mat, in a single layer.
Lightly salt/season as desired.
Microwave between 4-6 minutes.

*Note, parchment paper may be used if Silpat is not available.
To prevent discoloration and make crunchier, place potato slices into a bowl of cold water in between batches.

For the record, experimental cooking - fried egg on a silpat

This post is of a purely educational nature. I don't know if you aren't supposed to do this, I only know that I was super curious to see if it would work, and was thrilled to find that it did.

When we started to eat a plant based diet, fried foods definitely went out the window. Because we don't use coconut oil or cooking spray, most fried foods just weren't an option. Although we've used coconut cream we still hoped to figure out other alternatives at some point.

And so, today I experimented. I wondered if we could fry something on a silpat, on a griddle.
The answer is.....a resounding YES!! 

Here's the egg I fried... no oil, simply the silpat, and heat from the underlying griddle.

There was not sticking and the egg cooked perfectly. And yes, the silpat had some residue from the potato chips I had just been making with it in the microwave. Please just ignore that bit. :)

This experiment was a resounding success and I'm so excited to use the silpat to make my eggless french toast, and pancakes and everything that I want to fry, but don't because I don't use oil in my wfpb lifestyle!

Vegan Chick Pea Chocolate Chip Cookies - No Flour, Sugar, Oil or Milk

I know what you are thinking - garbanzo beans in chocolate chip cookies? Um...gross? 
I hear you. I was shocked when I first tried this recipe and before making a few tweaks of my own. I was skeptical of a cookie recipe that also didn't call for flower, and especially anything that could turn out without using processed sugar which often lends the structure to cookies. How could this be possible? 

Honestly, I have no idea, it is truly magical, and this recipe works! This recipe has become our favorite go to for chocolate chip cookies. I love that they don't have any flour (gasp), I love the natural ingredients, and that I can use the honey we harvest from our bees for this recipe. I also love that the chia seeds help the dough to stick together, and they add an interesting crunch and texture as well.

Place chick peas into a food processor and mix until blended into a smooth mixture. 
2 cans of drained chick peas

Add the following ingredients to the food processor and mix thoroughly:
1 1/4 cup creamy (all natural) peanut butter
1/2 cup raw honey
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla
3 Tablespoons chia seeds

Mix in the following:
1/2 cup organic, dried coconut (unsweetened)
1 cup vegan chocolate chips or cacao nibs (Enjoy Life or Pascha are two brands I like)

Drop by spoonfuls onto a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 350* for 15 minutes.
Cookies will be soft so allow to cool on baking sheet. They will firm up as they cool.

Vegan/Plant Based French Toast (No eggs or lactose)

I think we hit pay dirt this morning. While we've been eating a plant based lifestyle now for almost 2.5 years, there are just some comfort foods you miss. I went to bed last night wondering if aquafaba could be used to replace the eggs in french toast. totally can. 
Loved waking up to these this morning. 

Sour dough or other no oil, no sugar, unrefined unbleached whole wheat flour bread
1/2-3/4 cups aquafaba (juice from a can of chick peas/garbanzo beans)
1/4-1/2 cup of Westsoy Plain, unsweetened soy milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. cinnamon (to taste)
dash of salt (optional)
ground nutmeg and cardamom (optional - to taste)
coconut cream (from the top of a can of coconut milk) (so it doesn't stick to the griddle/pan)

Place aquafaba into a high powered blender such as a Vitamix and blend for a couple of minutes. It will froth, but it won't create peaks.
Pour into a shallow dish (such as a pie pan) and whisk in soy milk, vanilla and preferred spices.

Place slices of bread into this mixture and allow to soak up some of the liquid. Flip and repeat.

Cook on hot griddle - lightly greased with coconut cream to prevent sticking.
Flip halfway through cooking, and serve with 100% maple syrup.

Vegan/Plant Based Ranch Dressing - Oil and Lactose Free

Oh my heck. I tasted this and my brain started buzzing! This stuff gets an amazing creaminess from the cashews and tastes just like homemade buttermilk Ranch dressing.
This recipe is incredibly easy to whip up - but it requires some time in the middle - I usually just put it together before bed, then throw it together in 2 minutes the next morning. The total active time required to make this is probably only 10 minutes, however you will need to plan for 8-10 non-active  hours for the dressing base to cook and set.

Ranch Dressing Base:
1  of wbox (1 quart) Westsoy Soy milk (plain and unsweetened)
3/4 cups raw cashews
4 acidophilus capsules

Ranch spices - set aside
3/4-1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/4-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4/-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
black pepper - to taste

Place cashews in high powered blender (Vitamix) with one cup of soy milk. Blend until smooth. Add remaining soy milk and contents from acidophilus capsules and blend until well mixed.

Pour into pint or half pint glass jars and place in Instapot, using the yogurt setting and cook with the vent open (approximately 8-10 hours.)

Once it has cooled, pour /spoon into a mixing bowl and add the above spices - adjust to taste.
Return to jars or other container, cover and refrigerate.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Gingersnaps - plant based, gluten/egg/dairy free

Plant based gingersnaps? Finally - Yes please, and thank you!! 
  • These are beautifully crunchy on the outside, and chewy and soft on the inside. Fresh ginger and orange zest give them an extra kick of subtle flavor, and cinnamon and cloves add warmth and depth to these crowd pleasers.
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (solid mass from the top of canned coconut milk)
  • 2 cups demerara sugar (evaporated cane juice crystals) 
  • 1/2 cup sorghum syrup or molasses
  • 1 tsp  vanilla
  • 5 cups almond flour 
  • 2.5 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 T. freshly grated (finely) raw ginger
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 T. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves 
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 3 T. coconut milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup demerara sugar (for rolling)
  • In a mixer, cream coconut cream, sorghum/molasses and demerara sugar together. Mix in vanilla, raw ginger and orange zest. Add dry ingredients and mix. If the dough is too sticky, add additional almond flour using 1/4 cup increments. 
  • Using spoons, form golf ball sized balls, and roll in additional demerara sugar. Place on cookie sheet, and flatten slightly, using the back of a spoon or a fork. 
  • Bake at 350* F. for 10-13 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for an additional 10 minutes. 
  • Yield: Approximately 4 dozen cookies
  • *These store quite well in the freezer 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Chickpea Salad Pita or Sandwich

This is an adaptation from two recipes found in Jennifer McCann's Vegan Lunch Box. Nutty and crunchy with lots of possible variations for additional nuts and dried fruits, while packed with protein and flavor.  A great plant based/vegan replacement for a chicken or tuna salad sandwich.

2 cans garbanzo beans - drained, with juices reserved
2 T. nutritional yeast
1 t. sea salt
2 T. coconut milk cream

Combine ingredients in a bowl and gently toss.
Bake on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet at 425 for 25 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

Allow to cool.

1/2 - 3/4 c. reserved chickpea/garbanzo bean juice (commonly called aquafaba and used as egg white replacement)
2 T. toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 T. diced jalapeno
1/2 t. salt (to taste)
1 T. nutritional yeast
1 t. dijon mustard
1/2 t. ground ginger
1-2 t. maple syrup (to taste)
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. smoked paprika or liquid smoke - to taste
1-2 T. vegan sour cream or plain yogurt

Place reserved bean juices into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until the mixture reaches soft peaks (similar to egg whites). Mix in mustard, ginger, nutmeg, sesame seeds, salt and paprika to taste.

Combine roasted chick peas, pecans, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast and garbanzo bean juice mixture in food processor and process until garbanzos and pecans are coarsely broken.

Place mixture in medium bowl and mix in jalapeno, onion, and cilantro. Add sour cream/yogurt if needed to add moisture then add maple syrup and additional salt - to taste.

Serve in a pita, or as a sandwich with mixed greens, arugula, spinach, kale, avocado, tomato, sprouts etc. with lightly toasted wheat or sour dough bread.

Sunflower seeds
Dried Cranberries
Dried Blueberries
Tart dried cherries
Dill pickles (add a bit of pickle juice to the mixture too)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Grilled Plant Based Pizza

Oh my goodness! In our quest to find a plant based pizza that we actually like, we may have hit pay dirt. It's been a long time since we've had a pizza that we liked. We've tried lots of different recipes, tweaking things here and there, and then....we decided that it would be fun to experiment with making pizza on the grill (which we had heard about, but never actually tried).  Our pizza stone actually there was something about desperation being the mother of invention going on as well here folks - just keeping it real.

Although there was some trepidation at first, we were so surpised at how much we loved grilled pizza. The best thing about this pizza (other than that it tastes awesome) is that the cooking time is less than 10 minutes max, once it hits the grill, and it doesn't heat up my oven and home in the summertime.
Note however that it takes some advance preparation to allow the dough to rise, and to prepare the tomato sauce, and cheese.  All of these can be made in advance.

Dough: Use THIS recipe, adapted from Plant Pure Nation for the Pizza Dough
Optional Tomato/Marinara Sauce: Use THIS recipe for the tomato/marinara sauce
Cheese: Use THIS recipe from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken for the nut based vegan mozzarella cheese
Additional Chopped veggies of your choice
Olives, onions, mushrooms, artichokes, basil, peppers, pineapple, spinach, tomatoes....

Speed is of the essence once you begin to cook the pizza so make sure to have everything prepared and ready to go before putting it onto the grill.
When making the Mozarella cheese, do not cook it all of the way. Allow it to begin cooking, but before it gets too gooey, remove it from the heat. 

Prepare the breadstick dough recipe, stopping before step 10.
Prepare the tomato sauce and have it on hand.
Prepare the cheese sauce, slightly undercooked

Preheat grill, with closed cover, until it reaches between 475-600* F.

Once the dough has risen, make sure to cover the parchment paper well with coconut cream.
Place dough onto parchment paper and smooth out into pizza shape, using hands or rolling pin. I prefer the rustic style, since it gets a little mishapen when being placed onto the grill anyway. 

  • Carefully slide or flip pizza dough from parchment paper, directly onto the grill. Quickly adjust or arrange as neeeded. 
  • Close cover and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Make sure that the upward facing side (which will be the bottom) has also been coated with coconut cream, and carefully flip pizza over to the other side. 
  • Quickly spread the cheese sauce upon the dough using a spoon or rubber spatula, followed by the optional tomato/marinara sauce. 
  • If the tomato sauce is desired, add it on top of the cheese, rather than under it. Also, if left off the pizza at this point, it can be used as an excellent dipping sauce once the pizza is cooked.  
  • Quickly add all desired veggies and close lid. 
  • Allow to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, until cooked through. 
  • The mozzarella will not look stretchy or melty like animal based mozzarella. 
  • Carefully remove from grill, sliding onto a serving plate or pan. 
  • Immediately slice and serve. 

Bread Sticks - Plant Based

What started out as a pizza dough recipe, turned into breadsticks that we couldn't leave alone. Crisp and crunchy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside - these have been a hit with all of the eaters in our home. 
(Adapted from Plant Pure Nation's Pizza Party). 

Pizza Dough 
(Note - I usually double this recipe)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 ¾ teaspoon Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer (mixed with 1 Tablespoon water)
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more
3 cups unbleached, white whole wheat flour (you can also use whole wheat flour here too)
1/2 cup cream from coconut milk (refrigerate or lightly freeze coconut milk beforehand so that cream will rise to the top)
  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and maple syrup. Let stand until frothy.
  2. Stir in the egg replacer, flour and salt. Knead for 6-8 minutes, until smooth.  Add more flour as needed if dough is too sticky to knead.
  3. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp towl. Set aside in a warm place to rise, until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch down the dough and allow to double in size again, about 30 minutes.
  5. During the second rise, preheat the oven to 450-500 degrees. Leave your pizza stone in the oven during the preheating. Preheat oven for 45 minutes!!
  6. Place coconut cream into a glass dish or ramekin and lightly melt in microwave (10-20 seconds). 
  7. Spoon a bit of the coconut cream onto a large piece of parchment paper, and smear around with hands - covering palms in process. 
  8. Remove dough from mixing bowl, and pat out into a rectangle with hands. Use additional coconut cream to prevent sticking. 
  9. Roll dough out to be  ¼ inch thick. 
  10. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into slices that are 1/2-1 inches wide, and 6-8 inches long. Shape or roll into breadsticks as needed by hand.
  11. Place close together, but not touching on silpat, parchment paper, or hot pizza stone. 
  12. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  13. Remove and immediately brush with the remaining melted coconut cream and lightly sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Optional - Sprinkle with garlic powder for a garlicky breadstick
Serve warm - excellent with this Marinara sauce 
 *Note - this recipe works great for a grilled pizza dough recipe as well.

Amazing Carrot Cake - Oil, Egg, Sugar, & Gluten Free (but it still tastes terrific) Plant Based Cake

It has almost been two years since we started our plant based journey, and in those (almost) two years, I've made and tried some really bad cakes. I had pretty much given up even considering making cakes - even for birthdays, until I came across this recipe from

As I was making this recipe, I had some confusion reading the recipe and did a couple of things incorrectly. I also added some additional ingredients. Following is my adaptation, which we loved. 

·       3 cups nondairy milk
·       8 ounces pitted dates (14-16 Medjools or 28-32 Deglet Noor), chopped
·       1 very ripe banana
·       1 cup raisins - divided
·       2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean)

·       3.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
·       4 teaspoons cinnamon
·       4 teaspoons baking powder
·       2 teaspoon baking soda
·       2 teaspoons sea salt
      1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·       1 teaspoon salt
·       1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

·       3 cups grated carrots (4-6 medium)
·       1 cup chopped walnuts
·       ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, plus more for the garnish (lightly toasted if desired)

·       Vanilla Frosting (below)
Heat oven to 350*F.

Place oats in blender, and blend until a fine powder is formed. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.

Place milk, dates, banana, raisins and vanilla in blender and blend until smooth. (Soak for 15-20 minutes first to soften if not using a high powered blender.)

Add cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the oat flour and mix with a whisk to incorporate.

Mix in the contents from the blender.

Mix in the carrots, remaining raisins, nuts, and coconut.

Line 2 nine inch cake rounds with parchment paper, and divide batter between the two pans.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve with vanilla frosting (Double this recipe), and garnish with toasted coconut flakes.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Plant based "cracker jack" popcorn

I found this simple, five ingredient recipe online and adapted it, making it plant based. While it takes a while, I will definitely double the recipe next time since hungry hands couldn't keep out of it, each time we stirred it.

4 quarts popped popcorn
1/2 cup oil from the top of a can of coconut milk (I prefer Trader Joe's as it is organic and only contains water and coconut)
1/4 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Using a saucepan, bring honey and coconut oil to boil over medium heat. Add vanilla and salt.
Divide popcorn into two bowls, and evenly divide the honey sauce-pouri g it over the popcorn. Toss to coat.

Pour popcorn onto a parchment lined baking sheet or pan.

Bake at 250* for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.
Allow to cool (if possible)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Plant Based Fajitas

Fajitas! They are back - I wasn't sure how they would turn out without meat, but these were a hit! With this recipe, we discovered a happy use for soy curls. We weren't quite sure how we would like them as a meat substitute, but they provide a nice mouth feel - similar to meat, but without the animal. This recipe can also be adapted to omit the soy curls if desired. 
They come together in approximately 15-20 minutes.  

Thanks once again to my friend Whitney from Plant Pure Nation who introduced us to soy curls. Although I had read about them, I was dubious and skeptical. However, we've been pleasantly surprised with the many different meals we have been able to produce with this ingredient.  

tumbling jerky

Tonight, we were craving fajitas, and loved how quickly these came together. 

2 cups soy curls
3 cups water
1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers
1 medium onion - thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon coconut milk cream (the solid cream at the top of a coconut milk can)
1 Tablespoon 100% maple syrup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (divided)
2 teaspoons liquid smoke, or smoked paprika (divided)
3 Tablespoons taco seasoning  (divided)
2 Tablespoons Chile powder (divided)
2 Tablespoons Cumin powder (divided)
2 teaspoons salt (divided)
Corn Tortillas

Place soy curls in a bowl and cover with water, plus 1 inch. 
Add half of the taco seasoning, soy sauce, chile powder, cumin, salt, and liquid smoke to the water. Mix and allow to rehydrate for 15 minutes. 

While the soy curls re-hydrate, slice and prepare the vegetables. 

Heat a wok or frying pan on high, then add vinegar followed by the vegetables and the coconut creat. Toss and heat vegetables. 
Working quickly, squeeze water from soy curls and add to the vegetables. 
Add remaining spices, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and syrup. Season to taste (spice measurements are approximations - adjust to taste). 
Stir and heat just until soy curls are heated through. 

Serve in warm corn tortillas, topped with avocados or guacamole. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Plant Based Tamales - Oil and Lard Free

We experimented making tamales this weekend. We were thrilled to find that we could make them quickly with an Instapot. 
As with most whole food, plant based recipes, this recipe is time intensive and requires a couple of steps.  For best results, proceed in this order: 

Prepare Husks
Submerge corn husks in water - place a pot or plate on top of them to keep them submerged. Allow to soak for several hours while preparing the other steps. 

Red sauce 
10-15 Hot New Mexico Chile Pods with stems and seeds removed (they are dried and in bags) 
3 c. water +/-
3 whole tomatoes
1 whole onion (3/4 chopped)
1 tsp oregano
1 -2 cloves garlic
1 small can tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt

Boil chilies, and tomatoes until soft, and then blend together along with a 1/4 of an onion and 1 tsp oregano and a clove or two of garlic, and salt. Strain with a sieve. Mix in tomato paste.  Set aside. 

1 medium sized sweet potato (cooked, or microwaved for 6-10 minutes, then peeled)
1 can black beans (drained - juices reserved)
1 small can whole green chiles, drained and diced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 can jackfruit in brine, drained and chopped
1.5 Tablespoons 100% maple syrup
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 cups Red Sauce (see above recipe)

Saute onion and green chiles to soften. Add garlic, black beans and sweet potato. Use a bean or potato masher to combine mixture. 

Add red sauce, one cup at a time, adjusting for consistency. Add syrup, cocoa powder, and salt to taste - mix well. 
Mix in jackfruit. Set aside until ready to assemble tamales. 

6 cups maseca flour
6 cups vegetable broth (more as needed, or water)
1/2 cup reserved black bean juice
1-2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
2 Tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons chile powder

Mix dry ingredients together. Then add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly - the consistency should be like peanut butter. 

Additional Tamale Fillings:
Roasted red peppers, pitted prunes, green olives, black olives, raisins, etc. 

To Assemble Tamales: 
Tear several corn husks into strips to tie tamales with. 
Place steam basket into instapot, and add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the instapot. 

Place corn husk onto a flat surface with the widest, flat edge at the bottom.
Place a dollop of masa one inch above bottom of the corn husk. 
Spread out to 1-2 inches (depending on size of husks). 
Add filling to the middle, and additional desired fillings. Additional red sauce may be added if desired. 

Lightly press edges of the masa together then fold and wrap husk, overlapping sides. 
Fold bottom section up. Secure with strip and tie, leaving flat edge open. 

Place into a steam basket in the instapot, standing with open side up. 

Once instapot is filled, close lid, close the vent, and steam on low for 20 minutes. Allow to release steam naturally for at least 10 minutes. 

Remove tamales, and allow to cool. 
They will continue to firm up as they cool. 

Store in airtight container and refrigerate. 

*Guatemalan tamales traditionally have a prune/plum and a green olive which provide both a sweet and sour flavor.