I love tacos. I could eat them every day, and in every way you could imagine—cauliflower tacos, jackfruit tacos, portobello tacos, black bean tacos, refried bean tacos…you feelin’ me? But my favorite may be these Raw Walnut Tacos. They are super easy to make and super healthy. They are also great because you probably already have everything you need to make them. If you don’t have walnuts or want to be nut-free, don’t worry. You can also use sunflower seeds. I like to use this taco meat for my Hot Tamale Pie as well!
The cashew queso is also a favorite. It’s a concentrate, so you can take 1/4 cup of the cheese sauce, add 1 cup of water, and voila! Heat it in 30-second increments, and this recipe will make a total of 4 cups of cheese sauce!
I love cold weather. I love snow. And I love hot cocoa. Since it’s cold and it snowed, the only thing missing was this recipe! There isn’t much to say other than you probably have all the ingredients on hand to make it! I like this brand of cocoa powder and this brand of oat milk.
You can double or triple the batch and easily warm up for more later! ENJOY!!! You can also add the whipped cream to a piping bag, swirl it over the cocoa and top with cinnamon, or cocoa powder! Also this whipped cream is light and fluffy and stays creamy for days in the fridge or months in the freezer as a vegan cool whip. Just take it out of the freezer and let it warm up for about 10 minutes before using.
I love naan! It’s the first thing I think about when I know I’m getting indian food. It’s the Indian equivalent to Mexican chips. Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread found in the cuisines mainly of Western Asia, South Asia, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Caribbean. And if you have a pizza oven you’ll love this recipe!
When you may look at the directions, you may think that it’s not very easy, but trust me, as a girl who is nothing close to being a baker, even I can do it. There are several essential things to note, however. The first is to pay attention to the kind of yeast you’re using. If using active dry yeast and instant (or rapid-rise) yeast, you can use them interchangeably in recipes, but active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before using, while you can mix instant yeast right into the dough. Also, instant yeast doesn’t have to be proofed first.
“Proofed” means sitting in a warm, happy place, allowing the dough to rise. Instant yeast may also be marketed and sold as rapid- or quick-rise yeast. Enzymes and other additives are included to make the dough rise faster. With this yeast, you can skip the dough’s first rise and shape the loaves right after kneading. “Active” describes any dry yeast that needs to be activated before use, hence the warm water. You can use either. I used the active dry because it’s what I have on hand.
The other thing to note is the pan you use. You can use a regular cast iron pan, or if you’re like me, and make your tortillas, you will want to use a comal. The comal is a Mexican style grill or griddle, and unlike a regular cast iron pan, it is thin. It heats up efficiently and retains the heat, making it a favorable tool for recipes that require high, stable heat. Hence, the perfect pan for naan!
1/2 cup warm water or vegan milk (not hot or it will kill the yeast)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 teaspoon organic vegan cane sugar
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup plain dairy-free yogurt or coconut cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
Measure warm water or milk, add yeast and sugar. Stir and set aside until foamy (about 10 minutes.)
Meanwhile, add flour, salt, and baking powder to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Once the yeast mixture is foaming, add the vegan yogurt or cream and oil, and stir to combine. Add to dry ingredients. I used a wooden spoon to stir – the dough will be sticky.
Turn onto a floured surface (I used my countertop) and knead just enough flour to the dough to form into a loose ball (about 2-3 minutes). Add a bit more flour if too sticky. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook.
Place back in mixing bowl and rub with a bit of oil, turn to coat.
Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place for at least 2 hours (I put mine in the oven since my oven has a proof feature which sets the range to 100°.) You can also heat your oven to its lowest setting, turn off the heat, and put the bowl in the cooling oven.
Remove dough from bowl and turn onto a floured surface. Knead for 30 seconds (adding additional flour if sticky). Then divide into eight even pieces using a knife or pastry cutter.
Lightly knead each ball until it forms a loose ball and place it on parchment paper. Repeat until each piece of dough is formed into a ball. Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Prep cilantro and/or other fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme.
When the dough has rested, begin heating a cast-iron pan (I used a comal) over medium heat.
Roll out into an oval or circle with a rolling pin. Carefully flip dough and pat with a bit of water to prevent sticking to the pan. Press the garlic and herbs/cilantro into the dough until it sticks. Then place the wet-side down on the hot pan.
Cook until the edges of the dough look dry and it’s beginning to bubble. Then flip the dough with a spatula and cook until the underside is brown.
Repeat until all naan is cooked.
Brush each flatbread with vegan butter; top with sesame seeds, minced garlic, or fresh herbs.
A few years ago, I taught a vegan Indian food class, and it sold out within a few days. Everyone loved the rich, spicy flavors of India, and this dish will not disappoint! You can make it quickly, and it perfect for these cold winter days!
Aloo Gobi is a simple dish made from cauliflower and potatoes originating in the North Indian Punjab region. (“Aloo” is Urdu for potato, while “gobi” means cauliflower). There are generally two kinds of Aloo Gobi, one made with onions and tomatoes, and one without. I love both, but this one is my favorite.
I loved using Asafetida in this dish because it makes Indian food taste, well, Indian! You can find it in most Indian or international grocery stores for around $4.00. When used properly, a pinch of asafetida supercharges every other spice in the pan, like salt but in a funkier way (and without any sodium).
This is a quick and easy weeknight meal that can easily be re-heated for lunch the next day! Although it is a stand alone dish, I love it served over curried lentils! I like to serve this dish with my easy garlic Naan, cilantro, and vegan yogurt!
Easy and delicious, this Aloo Gobi makes a perfect weeknight meal!
2 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon ginger, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¾ teaspoon garam masala
¾ teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
Pinch of asafetida (optional, but recommended)
Pinch of cayenne (adjust according to preference)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning finished dish
1–2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves, chopped
Unsweetened vegan yogurt
Heat 2 tablespoons (or a solid glug) of oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and fry until golden brown and beginning to pop. Reduce to medium heat and stir in onion. Cook until lightly browned.
Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the garam masala, coriander, chili powder, fenugreek leaves, turmeric, and cayenne, and asafetida, and stir to combine.
Add potatoes and cauliflower to pan, and toss to coat.
Spread mixture in a large stoneware or 3” ceramic baking dish.
Bake at 400° F (204 C) for 20 mins, then cover with parchment and bake for another 15 mins or until tender. Taste and adjust salt and spices accordingly. Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime juice, and unsweetened vegan yogurt.
Serve over lentils or rice.
*Be sure to dice your vegetables evenly, so they cook evenly.
President’s Day weekend, I’m doing a 12.3-mile hike of Taum Sauk Peak in the St. Francois Mountains. It’s a small section of the larger 400 mile Ozark Trail. It’s also the highest peak in the state, coming in at just under 1,800 feet. It’s not the Rockies, but hey, a girl has to start somewhere! Anyway, my go-to pre-hike breakfast is always a hearty bowl of oatmeal. It’s filling and gives me a steady supply of energy, especially on the long hikes. As with most recipes, I always imagine how I can make them better. Hence, the Cherry Berry Baked Oatmeal, hearty enough to eat with a fork, it can be modified in an infinite number of ways. It’s great because I can wrap it in foil and eat it in the car. I like to top it with flaked coconut, a little drizzle of warmed maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon!
Many baked oatmeal recipes use eggs, which are used for two things- adding protein and binding all of the ingredients together. Some recipes also use applesauce or mashed banana, which are great for reducing the calories. Unfortunately, they also have reduced binding capacity. For this recipe, I opted to use the often overlooked, great at hiding in the background chia seed! Chia not only adds protein with minimal calories, but they are also an excellent binder. They’re loaded with antioxidants and omega-three fatty-acids! I added baking powder to lift this otherwise dense and sometimes hard to swallow dish! Trust me, my ability to speak has been rendered useless by oatmeal on more than one occasion! Insert wink emoji.
You can make this a year-round treat by adding other seasonal stone fruits, like apricots and plums! You can make it on Sunday and enjoy it for the rest of the week! It’s also a nice change-up for me from my typical fruit and vegetable smoothie. The truth is, subconsciously it’s my desire to make my house smell like cinnamon and baked fruit. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Mix the water and chia seeds in a liquid (glass) measuring cup and set aside.
Place the oats, nuts, and 1 ½ cups of the cherry/berries in a medium mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring 2/3 cup brown sugar, banana, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the coconut oil has melted and ingredients are well combined. Remove from heat. Add chia mixture and milk, stir until incorporated.
Add wet ingredients to dry oat mixture and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch round or square baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes, until oats are slightly golden.
When oats are done, remove from oven and let cool, about 20 minutes. The oatmeal should be a little soft when you remove it and will firm up as it cools.
Meanwhile, while oats are cooling, add the remaining 1 ½ cups cherry/berries and 1/3 cup brown sugar to a medium saucepan. Over medium-low heat, simmer berries and brown sugar with a pinch of sea salt until berries break down and become syrupy, about 7-10 minutes.
Serve hot berries over cooled oats and add additional toppings such as whipped cream, coconut flakes and pecans, if desired. Enjoy!
This oatmeal keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This mixture can be stripped down into a no-bake, and made hike-thru friendly by subbing protein powder for milk and using dried fruit. Also, skip the coconut oil and baking powder.
My friend Carla asked me for this recipe the other day. I had made this soup for a cooking class once, and she loved it! However, the recipe has taken a few twists and turns since the class. Each time I make it, I think to myself, “It’s close, but no cigar.” I finally realized what was missing when I added a small jalapeño to the mix of roasted veggies!
The soup is delicious, either hot or cold, and can be served as a winter warmer or cold as an early spring delight! Either way, you can’t go wrong. The other best part? It takes less than 30 minutes to make! You can leave the jalapeño if you like a little heat or remove it if you don’t. Here you go Carla!
1 cupcashew cream (can also use plant-based milk, just won’t be as creamy)
4 cups vegetable broth (DIY or store-bought)
1–2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional // for a slightly cheesy flavor)
1/2 medium lemon (optional // juiced // for brightness)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, add trimmed asparagus, quartered onion, garlic cloves, tarragon, and jalapeño. Toss with avocado oil.
Add all ingredients to the baking sheet. *See Note
Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, turn vegetables. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
When vegetables are done, reserve 8 asparagus tips. Then and add remaining ingredients to a blender with the peas and half of the vegetable stock. Be sure to hold the blender lid when blending as the heat and pressure can build, and the top will fly off. (It’s happened). When mixed well, add purée to a dutch oven over medium heat. Then add remaining stock, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and cashew cream. Simmer until warmed through. Finish soup with lemon juice. Taste for seasonings.
Serve with croutons and asparagus tips.
*I like to stack my tarragon and garlic pieces on top of the asparagus to keep them from having direct contact with pan. It helps to prevent them from burning.
This bowl is easy and delicious! And as with most bowls, You can make it in a variety of ways. I loved the tofu in this one and made a little extra to nosh on later! This recipe is an adaptation of a New York Times recipe, and the only thing I swapped was the honey for the agave nectar. I know some vegans who still eat honey, but I prefer to leave my bee friends alone! I also cut the oil by 2/3, mixed the sriracha and honey to make a glaze, and then tossed in the tofu.
This flavor bomb that can be ready in under 20 minutes! Great for a quick and hearty meal! Enjoy!
1(14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons Agave nectar, or maple syrup, for serving
In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa with 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and cook over medium-low until the water is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff it with a fork.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, miso, mirin, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil and 1/2 teaspoon sriracha. Stir in the ginger.
Add the kale, massage it with the dressing and set aside to marinate. Spoon the cooked quinoa onto the kale and toss to coat.
In a nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil over medium. When the oil shimmers, cook the tofu, turning occasionally, until crisp on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
In a medium-size bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of agave nectar and 1 tablespoon of sriracha together until combine. Add tofu and coat well.
My dog Milo loves his treats! Although he eats pretty much anything and everything, so I guess that’s not saying much! Well, while he may not care what he eats, I do. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a bag of treats? Yikes! I bought a bag of peanut butter banana treats, thinking they were vegan, and I got home and realized there were things like maltodextrin, gelatin, caramel coloring, and even eggs. Eggs! I never even thought about eggs in a dog treat.
The good thing is there are only three ingredients. They’re easy to make and will save you a lot of dough (all puns intended)! Seriously a bag of dog treats was $12.99. I made these with ingredients I already had at home! You can make them with either bananas or pumpkin puree. I made both. You could even use apple sauce but would have to adjust your flour a bit. They will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
This year I have taken up trail-running and long-distance hiking. I’ve been a distance runner for nearly 20 years, but my passion for the pavement has been waining. Recently, however, I ran a very challenging half-marathon through the woods, and I’m hooked! I love being amongst the trees and am enjoying the challenge of climbing rough terrain and being completely present while I run or hike. But I am burning through the calories and often find myself losing steam around miles six or seven. Hence, the trail mix bar! It’s a significant energy boost, and these bad boys are DELICIOUS!
The nice thing about these bars is that you can make them any way you want to. I created MY perfect version, and so far, everyone else loves them too! But feel free to get creative and make them with any nut butter, seed, or grain you choose! My husband loves raisins, but I do not, so I made him a batch of his own. One thing I would recommend keeping in the recipe is the coconut nectar. I chose coconut nectar because it has a low glycemic index and is minimally processed. They obtain the nectar directly from the tree, and since it’s not boiled, it doesn’t convert into fructose. It’s also loaded with iron and zinc and contains 17 different amino acids and antioxidants!
I keep them refrigerated, but you don’t need to. Just store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container, and they should be good for up to a week!
Line the bottom of a 9×12″ baking dish with parchment paper. Be sure to have some extra hanging over the sides, making it easier to remove from the pan.
In a food processor, add the almonds and cashews. Pulse until lightly chopped, and there are only a few if any large pieces are remaining. This step is essential. If you skip it your bars will not stick together.
Pour mixture into a large bowl and stir in sunflower seeds, oats, flax, puffed cereal, and chocolate chips. Stir until combined. Set mixture aside.
In a medium sauce pan, or microwave, add peanut butter, coconut oil, and coconut nectar. Melt and stir to combine. Allow mixture to cool for 2-3 minutes and then add to dry nut/oat mixture. Stir well to combine.
Add peanut butter mix to dry nut/oat mix and stir well to combine.
Spoon mixture onto prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth. Be sure to press mixture down firmly into the pan. You want it to be very compact.
Place bars into the refrigerator to chill for at least 2-3 hours, but preferably overnight.
When ready, cut bars into rectangles. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week at room temperature or two weeks in the refrigerator.
**Can also be frozen. Layer cut bars in between layers of parchment paper and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 12 weeks. Thaw at room temperature.
Years ago, before a Cardinal’s baseball game, I went to a cool restaurant here in St. Louis called “Pieces.” They have hundreds of board games and tons of great vegan food options. After perusing through their superb vegan menu, I settled on their Midwest Poke Bowl. The taste was so delicious and complex, but not complicated! I was blown away by how well the simple combination of flavors came together. Anyway, a few days ago, the Post Dispatch had a Poke bowl on the cover of their “Let’s Eat” section, and it brought back the memory of the delicious bowl I had eaten at Pieces. It seemed like the perfect time to make my own.
If you don’t know, Poke, pronounced “POH-keh,” is a two-syllable word that means “cut into chunks” in Hawaiian. The compressed watermelon replaces the traditional raw chunks of ahi tuna or octopus and is marinated and compressed in a delicious ginger sesame soy sauce. I used my vacuum sealer to compress the marinade into the watermelon. Why compress it? Because flavor, flavor, flavor is the key to this recipe! Compressing any porous food concentrates its flavor and adds a depth and dimension you wouldn’t get otherwise. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer or sous vide machine, you can use this method for compressing.
While some recipes use regular rice, I decided to use seasoned sushi rice with wakame or seaweed. I also topped the edamame with aTogarashi spice mix comprised of seaweed, orange zest, ginger, sesame seeds, and chili powder. The recipe is finished with sriracha aioli and black sesame seeds. It’s soooo yummy and healthy! One last thing! Be sure to make your watermelon and aioli ahead of time, as they needs time to sit and get happy!
1 tbsp wakame, or kombu (this is optional, but definitely builds the flavor profile)
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp vegan sugar
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1–2 Tbsp sriracha (depending on heat preference)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
salt to taste
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/8” slices
1 red onion, minced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise, (I used a mandolin set a 1/8″)
1 carrot, julienned (or, you can buy carrots pre-shredded)
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
10 oz bag edamame, cooked according to package directions
2 Tbsp Togarashi spice mix for edamame, (or, 2 tsp red chili flakes)
French fried onions (optional)
Black sesame seeds
Lime, sliced into 6 wedges
d all ingredients except the oils to a blender and blend on high speed until mixed well. Turn blender down to low speed and slowly add the oils until combined.
Add watermelon to a vacuum bag and compress using a vacuum sealer, sous vide machine or the ziplock method. Compress watermelon and seal the bag. Refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 4-6 hours.
Rinse rice very well under cold water, until water runs clear, about 2 minutes. This step is essential. Shake until almost dry.
Cook rice according to package directions. I used my Instant Pot to cook the rice, and it works well.
Add wakame to rice and water before cooking. Again, this is optional but highly recommended.
While rice is cooking, add rice vinegar, sugar, and sea salt to a small saucepan and cook on medium-high heat until the mix reaches a soft boil and sugar and salt have fully dissolved. (You can also microwave).
When rice is done cooking, spread evenly onto a baking sheet and let cool—drizzle rice with sushi vinegar.
Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup and refrigerate until ready to use.
When ready to assemble, remove watermelon from the bag and reserve liquid.
Add rice to a bowl and divide watermelon accordingly.
Add spice mix to cooked edamame.
Divide avocado, onion, edamame, cabbage, carrots, and cucumber between bowls and drizzle with reserved liquid and aioli.
Top with black sesame seeds, french fried onions, lime wedge, and scallions.