Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Roasted Fennel Cranberry Pear Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

Utterly fantastic...just wait until you chomp down on this combination of flavors! Yum.

Prep the salad:

2 bulbs roasted fennel, diced
2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed, cooked and chilled
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 red pears, unpeeled and diced
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
1/4 cup stemmed, chopped fresh dill

Toss above ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Now prepare the dressing:

Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 1 orange)
4 Tbsp olive oil
6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground peppercorns

Add dressing to quinoa mixture, lightly stirring to coat. Ready to serve or refrigerate.

Recipe notes: This salad tastes even better on day 2, and keeps for about 3-4 days in the refrigerator. A perfect addition to Winter holiday meals.

*gluten-free and soy-free

Roasted Fennel (vegan, gluten-free)

I could just eat roasted fennel as a stand alone side dish, but it's also really delicious in my Fennel Cranberry Pear Quinoa Salad. This roasting formula works for most root and bulb veggies, so experiment and use creatively.

2 bulbs organic fennel, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1 Tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

Toss fennel in a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper to coat. Roast at 400° F for about 40 minutes or until mostly tender (fennel remains slightly firm when roasted).

*gluten-free, soy-free

Friday, November 8, 2013

Lobia (Black-eye Pea) Masala (vegan, gluten-free)

There are a couple of vegetables that I will usually not eat...unless prepared in an Indian recipe! Green beans is one. Black-eyed peas is another. This recipe for lobia or black-eyed peas brings a whole new perspective to this strong flavored bean. Prepare to have your taste buds dancing with delight!

You will need a food processor for this dish.


coconut oil (optional)
3 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger, peeled
1 medium onion, peeled
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (NOT powder, available at Indian grocers, labeled methi)
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 pint cherry tomatoes (or 2 medium tomatoes)
2 cans black-eyed peas (lobia) WITH liquids
1 tsp Garam Masala (spice mixture, available at Indian groceries or make your own)
1 tsp sea salt or to taste

Heat up to 1 Tbsp coconut oil over medium heat in a medium stock pot. In a food processor, pulse garlic and ginger until diced small. Add onion to the food processor and pulse until diced medium-small...careful not to puree the onion. Add the onion, ginger and garlic mixture to the heated coconut oil in your stockpot, and saute for 3-5 minutes, until onions are translucent. 

While the onion mixture is cooking, process the tomatoes in the food processor, pulsing until they reach a medium dice, careful not to puree them. Set aside.

Add the turmeric, fenugreek leaves, and red pepper flakes to the onion mixture and stir in, saute for another 1-2 minutes.  

Add the processed tomatoes to the onion mixture, stir in and simmer another 3-4 minutes, or until the tomatoes start to release the oil (they will look shiny).

Add the black-eyed peas along with their liquid, and stir well. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce the heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes. 

Remove the heat, stir in the garam masala and salt to taste.

Serve with freshly cooked Indian long-grain rice (ask your local Indian grocer, the rice makes ALL the difference).

*gluten-free and soy-free.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Garden Ranch Cream Cheese Pizza (vegan, gluten-free)

With the warmer weather of Summer, I like to eat as much of the produce from the garden in the RAW as possible. But, I also love pizza. Now, I can have both! I am still celebrating the invention of this incredible gluten-free pizza crust, and am finding it to be very versatile. It holds up great in this recipe, and doesn't get soggy when refrigerated. This is a great way to get folks to enjoy their veggies without complaint!

Start by making my Gluten Free Vegan Pizza Crust recipe. Follow the direction all the way through the pre-baking...but bake it all the way, about 20 minutes in a 450 degree F oven. Then, pop the crust off the non-stick pan and onto a cooling rack and COOL COMPLETELY. If you don't have a non-stick pan, line the pan with baking parchment before pressing crust into pan for easy removal after baking.

While you are waiting, make the sauce and prep your toppings!

Ranch Cream Cheese Spread
Combine and refrigerate for about 30 minutes:

1 recipe Cashew Cream Cheese (or purchase about 12 oz pre-made at your local grocer, but these tend to be overly processed and quite unhealthy)
1 Tbsp dried chives
1/2 tsp garlic powder (or 1 fresh garlic clove, minced)
1 tsp dried onion flakes
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt or to taste

*hint...if you are a cream cheese lover, you may want to double the spread recipe, use it all on the pizza or use the leftovers as a spread or dip.

Prep Veggie Toppings
Be creative here and use anything you like! Here is what I have experimented with...

Bell pepper
Carrots (spiral sliced is nice)
Cherry tomatoes
Crushed red pepper

Assemble the Pizza
Slather the cream cheese spread on your cooled pizza crust, add toppings, and presto, you are done! 

Slice and enjoy. Refrigerates very well and is great for breakfast.

*gluten-free, soy-free depending on your choice of cream cheese

Cashew Cream Cheese (vegan, gluten-free)

This delicious, creamy spread can be use creatively, in spreads, dips, and any recipe that calls for cream cheese. If you are planning to make a savory style cream cheese flavor, use the recipe as is. If you are planning to make a sweet style cream cheese flavor, you may need to omit the lemon and/or vinegar depending on your ingredients. For example, chocolate doesn't blend with lemon well.

Soak overnight:
2 cups raw organic cashews
4 cups water

Drain cashews and place in a food processor, add:

Juice from 1 organic lemon
1 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
water to create desired thickness (up to 1/2 cup seems to be a good range)
sea salt to taste (about 1/4-1/2 tsp)

Process until smooth, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate to thicken a bit more. You can also process for less time, so it is a bit more 'lumpy' and use to replace cottage cheese and ricotta in many recipes.

*gluten-free and soy-free

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Quinoa Fiesta Salad (vegan, gluten-free)

THIS SALAD IS THE BEST!!!! Sorry for shouting, but this salad really gets me going. The flavor is outrageous, it is filling, and perfect for the hot Summer days we have been experiencing. This recipe started from another poster online, and we kept tweaking it to get just the right punch of flavors, colors,  textures and servings (because it disappears FAST). BAM!!! Enough chatter, here it is...

Remember, your health and the health of our planet depends on your choosing ORGANIC, NON-GMO produce!

Step 1: Cook the Quinoa
This is something I typically do the day ahead, so the quinoa can sit and chill in the fridge seems to have a better texture that way.

2 cups uncooked organic quinoa, rinsed
4 cups water

Place rinsed quinoa and water in your rice cooker (at least a 6 cup capacity cooker) and turn it on to cook. No rice cooker? Place the quinoa and water in a medium sauce pot on the stovetop over a medium high heat; bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to a very low simmer. Cook on this very low heat for 10-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Set aside to cool.

Step 2: Prep the Veggies
Prep and set aside...

10 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 small Thai chili pepper OR 1 small jalapeño, seeded and diced small
zest of 2 limes (save the rest of the limes for dressing recipe)
2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 sweet bell pepper (orange is nice for COLOR), diced small
3 cups cooked black beans
1.5 pints cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 or 2 firm-ripe avocados, pitted and diced

Step 3: Make the Dressing
Combine the following ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to blend:

1/2 cup olive oil
juice of 4 limes
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 tsp ground cumin

Step 4: Put it Together!
Combine chilled quinoa, prepped veggies and dressing in a large mixing bowl and toss gently with a large spoon or spatula. Ready to serve, or chill in the refrigerator.

HINT: You can play with the veggie combination and even try adding small amounts of fruit, like mango or peaches. Delicious!

*gluten-free and soy-free

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thai Curry Pizza (vegan, gluten-free)

Back when I was a much less conscious eater, I would 'treat' myself to a Thai Curry pizza from a locally famous pizza house. It was delicious to my not-so-refined taste buds, but my body despised the gluten, yeast, and dairy...not to mention the additives and preservatives that likely rounded out the ingredient list.

After making the switch to yeast-free, gluten-free and vegan, pizza was a little more challenging...but I am the adventurous type. I recently created a pizza crust that I love, and am now producing a near replica of the Thai Curry pizza, without all the toxins. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

FIRST STEP ---> make one recipe of my Gluten-free Vegan Pizza Crust—get it pre-baked as directed in the recipe for the crust, then proceed to the directions below.

Now, make your THAI CURRY SAUCE:

1/2 can full fat coconut milk
3 Tbsp red curry paste (try Thai Kitchen brand, it's vegan or make your own)
1 to 2 Tbsp sifted garbanzo flour, for thickening (you can also sub arrowroot flour here, just dissolve it in a small amount of cold water prior to adding to the boiling mixture)
salt to taste

Heat coconut milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add red curry paste, stir well. Add the garbanzo flour a tablespoon at a time and heat until it just begins boiling; the mixture should thicken to a desired consistency for spreading on your pizza crust. Remove from heat.

SPREAD the Thai Curry sauce over your pre-baked pizza crust. 

ADD the following TOPPINGS:

1/2 - 3/4 cup halved cashews
mild nacho slice jalapeño, drained
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 package Daiya mozzarella shreds
(If you eat vegan meats, try adding a chicken-style strip as a topping)

Now BAKE at 450 degrees F for another 15-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your crust. Remove to a cutting surface and slice, enjoy! 

Gluten-free Vegan Pizza Crust (vegan, gluten-free)

I did it (jumping up and down)! I created a gluten-free, vegan pizza crust that I really love...and I have been searching for over a year. I have really missed pizza since going gluten free. I found my inspiration from the new Daiya frozen pizzas and was surprised that I really liked the crust. While I wouldn’t want to eat frozen pizza on a regular basis, I did find some inspiration for making my own crust at home. The issues I found with their crust recipe is that it contains live yeast, which my body dislikes greatly, and xanthan gum, which I personally feel is worth skipping when there are less questionable ingredients like chia and flax to create a binder. So, I went to work and created something that is very similar, yet fresher and no doubt healthier. Not only do I love the flavor (savory and nutty), it is easily held in the hands for all the fun of eating without a fork, no crumbling. I enjoy a crunchy crust, so I pre-bake the crust, but you can skip that step if you like a softer crust. 

Makes crust for one large, thin crust pizza.

COMBINE the following dry ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk:

2 c brown rice flour
1/2 c potato flour
1/2 c potato starch (or more potato flour if you don't have this on hand)
1 Tbsp tapioca flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 Tbsp raw cane sugar (totally optional, in fact I left it out today)

WHIP rice milk and chia together in a food processor or 'bullet' style blender about 30 seconds:

3/4 cup + 3 Tbsp rice milk
1 tsp ground chia seed (I grind it with a mortar and pestle)

POUR rice/chia mixture in with dry ingredients and add:

4 Tbsp olive oil

MIX well, work with hands until dough forms together in a ball, like this:

If the dough seems dry, and another tablespoon of rice milk, it should do the trick. The dough will be somewhat crumbly, but should stick together well if you try to use the dough ball to pick up the crumbs.

Then, place the dough on a non-stick cookie sheet, and use the hands to press the dough out onto the pan. If you don't have a non-stick pan or your non-stick pan is well-used, line the pan with baking parchment before pressing crust into pan for easy removal after baking.

Now you are ready to pre-bake the crust! Place in the preheated 450 degree F oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add your favorite sauce and toppings, or try my Thai Curry Pizza. The pizza in this photo series was simple, I was craving cheese pizza, so I made a sauce made from fire-roasted tomatoes, garlic powder, Italian spice blend and topped it with Daiya mozzarella shreds. You don't have to put a cheese substitute on your pizza (processed food isn't great for you...even the vegan stuff), you can make a vegan 'cheese' sauce (link coming soon), sprinkle with nutritional yeast, or just eat your toppings naked!

Once you have dressed your pizza up the way you like it, return it to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your crust. I like mine to look like this, so I went for 20 minutes:

If you used a non-stick cookie sheet, the pizza should slide right off onto your cutting surface...mindful of the heat. Don't cut it in the will ruin your pan! :)

Now slice and enjoy...YUM!!!

*gluten-free, soy-free.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Peppered Potato Kale Soup (vegan, gluten-free)

Guest Post: Recipe by John Arms

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, sliced
2 medium onions, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 medium potatoes (use your favorite)
1/2 Tbsp sage powder
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
6 cups water
3 veggie bullion cubes

Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat; saute leeks, onions and salt until onions are translucent. Add garlic, sage, and ground black peppercorns and saute another 1-2 minutes. Add water, bullion cubes and potatoes. Increase to medium-high heat and bring to a boil; reduce heat as needed and gently boil until potatoes are tender (about 10 minutes), stirring frequently to ensure bullion cubes are dissolved.

While potatoes are cooking, wilt the kale. Pour 1/4 cup water into a medium stock pot over medium-high heat; add kale and stir constantly to wilt, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside (do not drain and leave it in the stock pot).

Once potatoes are tender, remove the potato mixture from heat and process in the blender in batches until smooth and creamy. Add the blended potato mixture into the medium stock pot with the wilted kale; mix well and return to medium heat if needed to bring to desired serving temperature.

Makes 4-6 servings.

*gluten- and soy-free.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Breakfast Scramble (vegan, gluten-free)

1 Tbsp organic avocado oil or vegan butter (optional)
1 cup organic white button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 small onion, diced
1 small Thai chili, minced (optional, gives it a nice heat)
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 cup organic, sprouted, non-GMO tofu, like Wildwood (can omit, or substitute 1 cup black beans)
1 cup frozen, organic broccoli florets
1 cup organic, unpeeled potatoes, diced and boiled
1 cup cooked organic long-grain rice (I usually throw in my leftover rice)
1 cup chopped fresh organic spinach
1 cup whole or halved cherry tomatoes
sea salt to taste

Heat oil or butter in a saute pan over medium heat; add mushrooms and saute until all the moisture has cooked out and they begin to lightly brown. Add garlic powder to the mushrooms and saute for another minute. Then, add onions, the Thai chili and cumin seeds and saute until the onions are translucent. Add turmeric, cumin powder and coriander powder. And saute another 1-2 minutes (if needed, add a bit of water to this stage if the pan seems dry, the spices need to cook a bit in the moisture to bring out their flavors).

Add the frozen broccoli, saute another 1-2 minutes. Add the tofu, cooked potatoes, and rice, stirring well and heating through. Add tomatoes and spinach at the end, heating the tomatoes through and wilting the spinach. Add sea salt to taste and serve with Wayfare vegan, soy- and gluten-free sour cream!

*can be soy-free if omitting tofu, gluten-free

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Punjabi Baingan Bhartha / Indian Eggplant Dish (vegan, gluten-free)

This is my favorite way to eat eggplant. Like green beans, I wasn't really a big fan of eggplant until I had them Indian I can't get enough! The amazing thing to me about the exotic flavors of Indian food, is that the main ingredients tend to be very similar, yet result is such a drastic difference in taste when adding a different vegetable. This dish is very filling and will serve four. Enjoy!

3 medium eggplants, whole

Prick eggplants with a fork or knife, and place on a lined cookie sheet. Bake at 450 for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until collapsing. Cool completely. (Often I bake these late in the evening and let them sit in the oven overnight.) Peel open and spoon out the fleshy part of the eggplant, seeds included. Set aside.

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
dash or two of salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. turmeric powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it!)
1 tomato diced (or 1/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes)
2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
1/2-1 tsp garam masala

Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a deep sauté pan or small stock pot; add onion, ginger and salt and cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic cloves and cook 1 minute more. Add turmeric and red pepper flakes and stir in well, cooking 1-2 minutes more. Add tomato, and cook until tomatoes appear glossy, like the coconut oil is separating from them (about 5 minutes).

Now, add in the eggplant flesh. Heat through and begin to crush or mash the eggplant while cooking about 10 minutes. The eggplant should be well mashed.

Add fenugreek leaves and cook another 2 minutes or so, then add the garam masala. It is important not to overcook the garam masala, just another minute or two.

All set to serve with fresh cooked basmati rice!

*gluten-free and soy-free, contains tree nuts (coconut).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Moong Dhal (vegan, gluten-free)


I'm completely in love with Indian cuisine. Dhal is a classic food found in every region of India. It's a hearty soup made from lentils and spices. This dhal is made from split and skinned moong beans, found at any Indian grocery. The recipe below is a standby in my kitchen. My Indian cooking is heavily influenced by the Punjab region, known for the best food in all of India. 

For me, dhal is perfect for days when my body needs a little boost, or when I'm busy as it is easily prepared in the crock pot. You will need a standard size crock pot to accommodate the portions in this recipe, although it's fine to cook it on the stovetop as well. I always make enough for 3-4 meals. It reheats well after refridgeration, but I don't recommend freezing.

Crock pot

3 cups of split moong dhal, rinsed very well
8 cups water
1 Tbsp turmeric powder

1 tsp sea salt

Add rinsed moong beans, water, salt and turmeric to the crock pot. Set on high heat for 6 or more hours, until beans are completely mushy and mostly dissolved into the water.

1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 small onions, diced
1 inch ginger root, diced very small

3 cloves garlic, diced
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1 heaping Tbsp dried methi leaves (fenugreek)
salt to tast

Heat coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and a dash of salt; saute until onions are translucent. Add garlic, crushed red pepper and methi leaves; saute for 2 minutes more. Add onion mixture (called a turka) to the dhal in the crock pot, stirring well. Adjust salt to taste. Dhal can be served now or allowed to heat for another 30 minutes or so to better meld the flavors.

Serve with basmati rice, although it is delightful solo as well.

*gluten-free, soy-free, contains tree nuts (coconut)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kale + Mushroom + Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers (vegan, gluten-free)

Choosing a compassionate diet is about liberation, not deprivation. In my hOMe, we are always re-inventing traditional recipes with so much success that non-vegans often proclaim "I would never have guessed this was vegan!" Here is once such conversion. Your heart and taste buds will thank you for making the switch!

Recipe by John Arms

Yield: 8 servings (reheats well!)

2 cups dry long grain basmati rice

3 3/4 cups water
1 - 8 oz package of mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 jalapeño, diced
salt + pepper to taste

1 bunch kale, stemmed and chopped
1/3 cup water

1 - 16 oz container vegan sour cream (we use Wayfare brand, it's soy/gluten free and delicious)
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1 package Daiya cheddar shreds

4 bell peppers, halved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded

Preheat oven to 400 F

1) Prepare the rice by soaking 15-30 minutes; rinse until water runs mostly clear and drain. Add rice and 3 3/4 cups water to a medium sauce pot over medium high heat; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed into the rice (keep covered and undisturbed). Avoid stirring the rice or it will become sticky. Place cooked rice in a large mixing bowl to cool to working temperature.

2) In a dry skillet, sauté mushrooms over medium heat until nearly all liquid has cooked off (10 minutes). Add onion, garlic, jalapeño, salt and pepper and continue to cook until onions are translucent. Add mushroom mixture to the bowl of rice, avoid stirring for now.

3) In the same skillet, add 1/3 cup water and kale; wilt the kale and add to the bowl of rice.

4) In a small bowl, combine the vegan sour cream, vegan mayo, and Daiya shreds, then add to the bowl of rice; now stir to combine all ingredients well.

5) Fill pepper halves with rice mixture and place in a casserole dish. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Add 1/3 cup HOT (or your baking dish will shatter) water to the casserole dish, cover and bake for 30 minutes more; the water will help to steam and complete the cooking of the peppers. Remove from oven and serve!

*gluten- and soy-free