Creamy Double Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce (nut-free, dairy-free & oil-free)

Enjoy all of the pumpkin with this creamy, vegan-cheesy, double pumpkin cream sauce. Pumpkin seed cream and pureed pumpkin are blended together with savory onions, garlic, nutritional yeast, and sage to make a deliciously creamy, autumnal pasta sauce.

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Pumpkin seed cream + pumpkin puree = pure creamy double pumpkin bliss.

When fall began this year, I set out to create a uniquely creamy pumpkin sauce recipe using all different parts of the pumpkin. I’ve seen other vegan pumpkin alfredo sauce recipes which use pumpkin puree along with cashews or coconut milk to make it creamy, but I had never come across a recipe using pumpkin seeds to make the cream before, so I started experimenting.

To make this super easy to throw together, I used canned pumpkin puree and raw shelled pumpkin seeds. If you wanted, you could roast a whole pumpkin to make your own pumpkin puree and then individually remove the shells off each pumpkin seed until you completely lose your mind, but I don’t recommend going that route if at all possible. This time of the year, grocery stores tend to make the canned pumpkin puree easier to find, so take advantage of that and save yourself from a potential pumpkin-induced breakdown.

The pumpkin taste in this sauce is very subtle and the flavor that comes through the most is a rich cheesy flavor from the nutritional yeast and the miso paste. If you want to taste more of the pumpkin, you can reduce the amount nutritional yeast, but I prefer the cheesier version.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds or pepitas

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 1/2 cup yellow onion or shallot, diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 tsp fresh sage, minced, or 1/4 tsp dried

  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin, canned will work well

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, or less if desired

  • 3/4 - 1 tsp salt, or to taste

  • 1/2 tsp white pepper

  • 1 tsp white miso, optional

First, make the pumpkin seed cream by blending the pumpkin seeds with water until completely smooth. If you have a high speed blender there’s no need to soak the seeds, but if you have a regular blender, soak the pumpkin seeds overnight first to soften them. Once blended, set the blender with the pumpkin seed cream aside for a moment.

Next, sauté the chopped onions and garlic for about 7 minutes until browned. Stir in the sage, pumpkin puree, nutritional yeast, pumpkin seed cream, salt, and pepper. Simmer over medium low heat for another 5 minutes while slowly stirring everything together. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a moment before pouring the contents of the pan back into the same blender. Add in a teaspoon of white miso paste (optional) and blend the sauce together until it is totally creamy and smooth, then pour over prepared pasta of choice. This makes about 27 oz of pasta sauce, or enough for 4-6 bowls of pasta. I keep mine in a jar in the fridge and use it all week.

I used whole wheat linguine, but you can use gluten-free noodles or any kind or shape pasta you’d like. It makes a great fall version of vegan mac and cheese as well!

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This pumpkin alfredo sauce is a crowd-pleasing recipe that’s easy to make and perfect for pumpkin season. The pumpkin seed cream is a pale green color which makes the color of this sauce a bright almost lime-tinted yellow that is so vibrant and unique. I hope you enjoy this fall recipe as much as I do.

If you love creamy vegan-cheesy sauces, check out some of my other recipes-

Leave a comment below if you try this out, I’d love to hear what you think of it!



Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado Tomatillo Sauce

Flavorful spiced potatoes and black beans are rolled up in whole grain tortillas and topped with a zesty roasted tomatillo and avocado sauce, then baked until heated through. Top with fresh chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

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When tomatillos started showing up in our weekly CSA produce box, I began experimenting with making my own enchilada sauce from scratch. Tomatillos are quite tangy so I roasted them and blended them up with some avocado which adds the perfect creamy balance, as well as flavorful additions like roasted garlic and onions, jalapeños, fresh cilantro, and of course lots of lime juice.

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For the filling, I boiled some diced yellow potatoes until just fork tender, then I sautéd them with onions, garlic, savory-smoky spices and black beans.

The whole grain tortillas I had on hand were a bit large, so I was only able to fit four into my baking dish and that worked just fine- though I did have to use two utensils to serve it! Smaller tortillas will be easier to serve, but either size will work. Gluten-free tortillas will work well too.

This is best served fresh but it will keep pretty well covered in the fridge for a couple of days, though leftovers never seem to stick around very long!

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To watch the whole process, check out my latest recipe video.

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think of it in the comments!


Lemon Potato Orzo Soup [full recipe + video]

Warming turmeric and zesty lemon make this potato orzo soup extra healthy and immune-boosting. It's the perfect cozy soup to have any time of the year. 

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Yes, it is still summer and it's definitely still hot where I am, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying a delicious bowl of soup! Lately, I've been craving a hearty potato soup full of orzo pasta and fresh tangy lemon juice, so despite the heat I decided to go for it and spend a just few minutes by the stove top to make that happen. 

This is a variation on a tofu no-chicken noodle soup recipe I made a few months ago, but instead of tofu I used cubed yellow potatoes, and instead of noodles I used orzo pasta. I also added some ground ginger and a teaspoon of turmeric which tastes wonderful with potatoes and makes this soup extra healthy. It's a simple but flavorful recipe made with some of my favorite herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice. 

I'm finally getting back to making recipe videos again! Let me know what you think of the video in the comments- do you like seeing the recipe in the form of a video, or do you just prefer a written recipe with photos?

For now, I intend to keep the videos short and simple, but eventually I want to make longer videos for our YouTube channel as well.

My plan is to start making recipe videos for each recipe from now on, as well as going back and making videos for some of my favorite older recipes, which I'm super excited about because making videos and the process of putting them together is actually so much fun.

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This soup is absolutely worth turning on your stove top for, even in the summer!

If you make this lemony potato & orzo soup, let me know what you think of it.


How to Make Oil-free Vegan Mushroom "Bacon"

Crispy, savory, vegan mushroom bacon. Made on the stove top with a simple, oil-free marinade of tamari, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. 

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Okay, so I guess everyone can stop eating bacon from pigs now... right?

I mean seriously, look at those mushrooms, it doesn't get any meatier than that. The marinade is just the right amount of smoky and salty with a hint of maple syrup to caramelize the mushrooms. The chewy texture of these large king oyster mushrooms makes them an even more realistic vegan bacon-replacement. 


 A sweet gentle pig sleeping after getting belly rubs at Catskill Farm Animal Sanctuary. 

A sweet gentle pig sleeping after getting belly rubs at Catskill Farm Animal Sanctuary. 

A few reasons to stop eating bacon:

  • Processed meats like bacon are classified as a class 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization. 
  • Pigs are more intelligent than dogs and chimpanzees and they can even use a joystick to play video games. Pigs are also very social, they remember locations well, they remember negative and positive experiences, can tell the difference between individual pigs and humans, recognize themselves in mirrors and learn from other pigs.
  • Bacon contains high amounts of saturated and trans fats which lead to our #1 killer, heart disease. 
  • Ninety-seven percent of pigs in the United States today are raised in factory farms, where they are crowded into warehouses with no ability to move. They are fed drugs to keep them alive despite neglect and make them grow faster, but they grow so large so fast that many of the animals to become crippled under their own weight. 
  • Factory farmed pigs are on a steady diet of the antibiotics that we depend on to treat human illnesses. This overuse of antibiotics has led to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.
  • An average slaughterhouse kills up to 1,100 pigs every hour, which makes it impossible for them to be given humane, painless deaths. Even on small farms, pigs are smart enough to know when they are about to be killed and will fight to stay alive and resist going to slaughter just like we would if we were in their situation. 
  • We have so many wonderful alternatives to bacon, from packaged pre-made options, to less expensive homemade versions made form coconut, tempeh, seitan, eggplant, tofu, and of course... mushrooms!

Choosing your 'shrooms

The best "bacon" mushrooms are going to be the larger ones like king oyster mushrooms, also called king trumpet mushrooms (shown below), as well as portobello mushrooms. Both kinds will work well for this recipe, but I prefer king oyster mushrooms when I can find them.

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How to perfectly slice king oyster mushrooms using a mandoline

King oyster mushrooms are best sliced on a mandoline using a serrated slicing blade. This will give them the perfect looking texture for this recipe as well as ensure that the mushrooms are an even thickness which will help them to cook evenly. Aim for anywhere from 1/16th--1/8th of an inch in thickness. 

 King Oyster mushrooms sliced on a serrated mandoline blade

King Oyster mushrooms sliced on a serrated mandoline blade

How to slice portobello mushrooms with a knife

For portobello mushrooms, while you could slice them on a mandolin, I prefer to thinly slice them using a knife. Make sure your knife is freshly sharpened- it's especially important when slicing softer produce. 

Remove the portobello mushroom stem, then place your mushroom gills side up and carefully slice into long slices which are roughly 1/16th-1/8th in thickness, as evenly as possible. 

 Portobello mushrooms thinly sliced with a sharp knife

Portobello mushrooms thinly sliced with a sharp knife


How to pan fry mushrooms without oil

  1. First, mix together all of the marinade ingredients (2 tbsp tamari, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp maple syrup, and 1/2 tsp liquid smoke) in a small bowl. Place your sliced mushrooms (8 oz.) in a large bowl, then pour over the marinade. Toss a few times to fully coat each mushroom, then let them sit in the marinade for 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat, then once warm add a portion of the marinated mushrooms to the dry pan, placing as many as you can flat in the pan without layering or crowding them. You may need to do this in batches. Leave the marinade in the bowl for later use in the recipe.
  3. Let the mushrooms cook, undisturbed, for about a minute or until the bottom of the mushrooms turns golden brown. You may need to turn the heat down to medium/low or low if your pan starts smoking, but keep the pan pretty warm. Using tongs, flip the mushrooms back and forth every minute or two until each side is lightly charred and crispy. This could take anywhere from 5-8 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. 
  4. Add your next batch of mushrooms to the pan in a single layer and again let them sit for the first minute until the bottoms turn golden, then flip them every couple of minutes until each side is light brown and slightly charred. This will take less time than the previous batch because the pan will be hotter, about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Once all batches have finished cooking, add the mushrooms you cooked in the previous batch(es) back to the pan and pour over the marinade. Turn the heat to low and cook for another 3 minutes or until the marinade has boiled away and the mushrooms are crispy on the edges but still have a nice sheen, then remove from pan and serve over rice or in any recipe where a bacon alternative is called for such as- sandwiches, wraps, or pasta. 

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If you can't find king oyster mushrooms at your grocery store, try your local Asian market. I think the king oysters look a little more meaty, but whichever mushrooms you choose, both make for a fantastic, healthy, plant-based version of bacon.

Portobello mushrooms are much easier to find and will also work well. You may actually find that they cook slightly faster than the time listed for the king oyster mushrooms, depending on how thinly you slice them. 

 portobello mushroom bacon

portobello mushroom bacon

My favorite way to enjoy mushroom bacon is on top of some vegan mac and cheese. It's the ultimate comfort food, made extra healthy with mostly unprocessed, 100% plant-based ingredients. 

 Nut-free  Vegan sweet potato Mac & Cheese  topped with mushroom bacon

Nut-free Vegan sweet potato Mac & Cheese topped with mushroom bacon

If you try this mushroom bacon recipe, let me know how it goes and what you serve it with!


Taco Salad with Walnut & Cauliflower "Meat" Crumbles

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This taco salad tastes just like a restaurant style take out treat, but it's made with minimally processed plant based ingredients so you can feel even better about making it an everyday kind of meal that will keep you feeling happy and healthy.  

I first tried a vegan taco salad made with raw walnut meat at a local raw vegan cafe near by and it completely blew my mind. The flavored walnut crumbles reminded me of the fast food tacos from my childhood, with all the right spices and the perfect crumbly texture.

While it was super delicious, it was also covered in oil and contained way more walnuts in a single serving than I would normally consume, and my skin was not happy about it. Since that version was a little too nut heavy for me, I set out to create my own more vegetable-based recipe using riced cauliflower and a moderate amount of walnuts and it turned out to be just as good!

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I didn't feel like using my food processor this time, so I chose to use thawed frozen riced cauliflower and I quickly chopped the walnuts by hand. Then I mixed them together in a bowl with some spices and tamari. 

If you are working with whole fresh cauliflower then all you'll need to do it chop it into florets then add it into the food processor and pulse a few times until crumbly, then place in a bowl. Next add the walnuts to the food processor and pulse a few times before adding them to the same bowl, then stir in the tamari and spices.

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Spread this mixture out in a thin layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes then give it a stir and bake for another 10 minutes until lightly golden brown. 

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To make this taco salad, I started with a bed of chopped spring mix, but any kind of lettuce or tender greens will work. Then on top of that I added guacamole, my roasted corn salsa, shredded purple cabbage, the walnut cauliflower crumbles, a drizzle of cashew sour cream and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. It's the perfect zesty summer salad!

This taco meat replacement is also amazing in actual tacos. in grain bowls with rice or quinoa, added to tomato sauces to make a meaty bolognese sauce, in wraps, or pile it in a big lettuce or cabbage leaf instead of a taco shell- the possibilities are endless!

What are some of your favorite summer salad recipes? If you try out this recipe I'd love to hear what you think of it! 

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Instant Pot Burrito Bowl with Roasted Corn Salsa

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Beans and rice are a staple in my kitchen because not only are they super healthy, they're also budget friendly and so easy to make- especially in a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot. This simple beans and rice recipe is made with dried black beans, which are less expensive than canned and make for the best restaurant-style beans. 

While I love the instant pot now, it's taken me a long while to figure out how the dang thing works. When we moved into our new place, I picked up two new kitchen appliances at the same time, an air fryer and an instant pot. The air fryer, being as straight forward as an appliance can be, has been something I've used multiple times a day, but the instant pot took me a little longer to figure out.

What has impressed me the most about the instant pot is the fact that I can cook dried, un-soaked, beans, and in under an hour and  the result is the best fully-cooked flavored beans. Even though not soaking them is possible and very helpful when short on time, I still like to give my beans a good soak for at least a few hours ahead of time, so I can rinse out some extra lectins and make the beans even easier to digest. 

I topped it off with a delicious roasted corn salad, made with freshly roasted ears of corn, tomato, bell pepper, red onion, lime juice, and cilantro (or parsley if you're not a cilantro fan like me!) Not only is this salsa the perfect burrito bowl topping, it's also amazing in wraps, on veggie burgers, on top of chili, or even on it's own as a side dish. 

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How to Make Black Beans & Rice in an Instant Pot

1. Rinse and drain your dried black beans. Soak the black beans for a few hours if you have time, if not that's okay too. 

2. Chop your onion and garlic and then press the Saute button on your instant pot and wait for it to heat up. Add a small splash of water or broth then add in the onions. Cook the onions for 5 minutes, then add in the garlic and spices and continue to cook for another minute. 

3. Turn off the Saute mode by hitting cancel, then add in the beans, rice, vegetable broth, and salt, and give it a quick stir. 

4. Place the cover on the Instant Pot and set the valve to the sealing position (pointed away from you). Set the Instant pot to 30 minutes on HIGH pressure in manual pressure cooking mode. 

5. Allow the pressure cooker to release the pressure naturally for at least 15 minutes before releasing the valve and opening the lid. Give the beans and rice a good stir and then serve with the roasted corn salsa. 

*If you don't have an instant pot or pressure cooker cook the rice and beans separately. Cook your rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop, and use canned beans or cook dried beans from scratch on the stovetop or rice cooker, then mix them together and top with the roasted corn salsa. 

This is a freezer-friendly meal that can be prepared ahead of time and enjoyed with all sorts of different toppings, so make a big batch to have instant burrito bowls ready to go for several weeks. 

If you try this recipe, I'd love to hear what you think of it. Leave a comment down below and let me know how it turns out! ❀


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Tofu No-Chicken Noodle Soup with Lemon & Black Pepper [Vegan, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free]

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It's still cozy soup season in early April right? Here in the Pacific Northwest, although it's been a little warmer, we are still fully in the rainy season so I've been into all things cozy and comforting these days. 

Chicken noodle soup is one of those timeless classic soups that almost everyone loves. Even though I grew up as a vegetarian, I still remember enjoying cans of the Amy's no chicken noodle soup all the time. Those are great in a pinch, but nothing actually compares to a homemade soup- and this soup is so easy to make there's no excuse to go reaching for the canned stuff. 

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The tofu "chicken" is baked in a marinade of tamari, nutritional yeast, and paprika, which makes it so savory and delicious. I recently got an air-fryer so I've been loving that for making crispy tofu, but it's just as easy and efficient to bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes. 

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This soup is full of zesty flavors like lemon and black pepper along with savory tofu-chicken-complementing herbs like sage, marjoram, and thyme. What brings it all together and gives it that authentic savory broth taste is the no chicken bouillon broth paste made by the brand Better Than Bouillon. It's available in most grocery stores near where they sell the broth and while the packaging says vegetarian, it's actually vegan! It's so delicious but it can be a bit high in sodium so I've listed a low-sodium option in the recipe as well. 

This recipe will please vegans and non-vegans alike! The crispy marinated tofu makes a perfect chicken substitute for even the pickiest of eaters and the broth tastes like the most classic chicken broth from your childhood, all without harming any animals.  

If you try out this recipe, I'd love to hear what you think of it! Hopefully it's exactly the soup recipe you needed to stay cozy through this rainy early spring weather. 

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Balsamic Borscht- Beet & Cabbage Soup

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This vibrant red beet soup is packed full of nutritious whole plant foods and cooked with flavorful mustard and a splash of balsamic vinegar. The beets are peeled and become very sweet when cooked, so there's no earthy taste here! Just sweet, tangy, wholesome goodness. 

This soup contains a variety of some of the healthiest whole plant foods possible, including beets, potatoes, carrots, purple cabbage, leeks, garlic, and fresh herbs. Despite this soup being such a healthy meal, you wouldn't guess that from the way it tastes. It's lightly sweet from the beets and gets a delicious tangy flavor from the balsamic vinegar which is added in at the very end. 

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This recipe is fairly easy, but be warned- there's a lot to chop!

Sometimes it helps to put on a podcast to listen to in the background, but lately I try to use the time spent chopping as an opportunity to tune in and be more present with what I'm doing. It's a great time to slow down and feel grounded while preparing myself a truly nourishing meal. 

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Once everything is chopped and the cooking has commenced, I like to whip up a quick cashew sour cream. My favorite vegan sour cream recipe is this recipe by Hot For Food. While this soup is fantastic with or without sour cream, it's so easy to make that I usually find it worth the small amount of effort. 

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If you've been following my blog since the beginning, you may remember that one of my very first recipes was a for a borscht soup! Since then, my recipe has changed a bit with the addition of the balsamic vinegar and getting really specific on the exact measurements after making this countless more times since then. 

Over the years this has become one of my all-time favorite recipes and one that I've been really excited to update and share with you so that you can try it out for yourself. As good as it tastes, the way it makes you feel is the best part! I hope you enjoy the recipe, and if you do feel free to let me know what you think of it by leaving a comment down below.  


Oil-Free Veggie Fried Rice with Peanut Sauce

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Lately, I've been loving this rice and veggie stir-fry. Fried rice was a dish I was pretty sure I would never be able to make taste just as good without oil, but with the right sauce it's actually very possible!

Instead of oil, we fry the vegetables in coconut aminos which adds a wonderful umami flavor. Then the cooked rice is added in along with a savory peanut sauce which makes this dish taste rich without needing any refined oil. 

For this recipe, you can use any kind of whole grain rice you like. I've used wild rice, black rice, brown rice, and even quinoa- all with fantastic results. I think black rice is probably my favorite though, and it's actually the highest in antioxidants too!

Whichever rice or other similar whole grain that you decide to use, the first step is to give it a good rinse and then cook it in your rice cooker. 

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While the rice is cooking, prepare your veggies. You can use 2-3 cups of whichever finely chopped vegetables you prefer. I usually go for a mix of bell pepper, carrots, broccoli/broccolini, and edamame or peas.

While the variety of those veggies changes a bit each time I make it, I always use chopped green onions and garlic to add more flavor and give it a more authentic restaurant-style fried rice taste.

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Once you have your veggies chopped, it's time to make the sauce. 

My favorite stir-fry sauce is this spicy & savory peanut sauce. It's a simple mix of coconut aminos (or use low-sodium tamari), peanut butter, hot sauce, and maple syrup. There's no blending required- simply add the ingredients into a small bowl and give it a good stir until creamy. 

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Now on to the oil-free vegetable frying-

To make the veggies extra savory and avoid having them be soggy, I like to use just a 1/2 tablespoon of coconut aminos in place of oil. 

Once the pan is hot, add the coconut aminos and garlic, cook for a few minutes then and the rest of the veggies. Since they are chopped small, they cook in about 5 minutes. Then, add in the cooked rice followed by the sauce. Stir it all together while the rice cooks with the veggies for another 2-3 minutes. Then add in the green onions at the very end, remove from heat and serve. 

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Let me know if you try out this easy oil-free veggie fried rice recipe, I'd love to hear what you think of it!


Vegan Pizza Soup with Bell Pepper & Mushrooms

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This hearty soup has everything you love about pizza all in one bowl. The only thing missing is the crust, but if you want the full experience just serve this soup up with some fresh bread! 

When I first started making this variations of this recipe I didn't intend to call it pizza soup, but every time I'd make it my partner would tell me it tastes like pizza. I've since come to fully embrace idea of pizza flavors being in a soup and so I've tried to make it a bit more pizza-like each time which resulted in this thoroughly pizza inspired soup creation.

I chose to use classic pizza topping veggies like mushrooms and bell peppers and I also added in barley and white beans to make the soup extra filling and give it a bit more texture and substance. If you're not into barley feel free to leave it out, but it you like an extra thick soup it definitely lends itself to that consistency. 

The fresh herbs give this soup an authentic pizza flavor.  While I used dried oregano for convenience, I opted to use fresh basil and thyme as well which if you can find them fresh they really add such a good flavor. 

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While this soup is still delicious without the parmesan topping, I find that pairs nicely with the tomato sauce and gives it such a realistic pizza flavor. Check out my Vegan Parmesan recipe for a super quick and easy way to make your own at home and enjoy the extras on all sorts of food, it's seriously so good on almost anything savory. 

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This recipe requires a little bit of chopping, but it cooks up on the stovetop in just 30 minutes making it a perfect weeknight recipe! It's also oil-free and full of whole grains, healthy plant protein, and fiber to keep you feeling healthy and vibrant.

If you love pizza, give this soup a try and let me know what you think of it! 

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Sticky Sweet & Sour Sesame Baked Tofu [Oil-Free]

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This tofu recipe is as simple as it is delicious. The tofu is tossed in starch and then baked while the sticky sweet & sour sauce takes just a few minutes to whip up on the stovetop. 

It tastes amazing served over rice with a side of pan-seared broccoli. If you've been missing savory restaurant-style food, this dish will definitely take care of that craving. 

I've adapted this recipe from the Crispy Sweet & Sour Tofu recipe by Hot For Food, following her instructions to make this completely oil-free by baking instead of frying the tofu and I also added a bit more ginger and garlic to suit my own tastes. 

I hope you enjoy this delicious oil-free tofu recipe!


Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce [Low-Fat, Vegan, Oil-Free, Nut-Free]

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This alfredo sauce is so flavorful and creamy with no oil, dairy, or nuts needed! It's made from cauliflower, which when cooked for a bit and blended with the right ingredients, it transforms into the most perfect alfredo sauce texture. 

Don't get me wrong, I love a good heavy cashew-based sauce, but over the years I've found that too many nuts can make me feel not so great. So instead of nuts, this recipe uses hemp seeds which are super healthy and contain lots of omega 3 fatty acids that support long-term brain health and cognitive function. 

Hemp seeds help to make the sauce creamy and thick without throwing your omega 3-6 ratios off-balance and they have a delicious nutty flavor that works perfectly with the other flavors in this sauce. 

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Behold, a creamy sauce you can feel good about pouring over your pasta. No dairy, nuts, or oil needed! 

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Does it taste like cauliflower though?

Well, a little bit, but not in the way you might expect.

Because the cauliflower is cooked for about 15 minutes it really softens up and loses that strong fresh vegetable taste. It does taste very subtly of cauliflower, but in a soft delicate way that won't make you feel like you're eating straight up pureed veggies. 

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I used whole wheat pasta and added in some peas and my favorite mushroom bacon, which I highly recommend, but feel free to add whichever veggies you have on hand or enjoy the sauce on it's own over the pasta, it's delicious either way!

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Mashed Potato & Sauerkraut Casserole [Vegan, Oil-Free]

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This mashed potato & sauerkraut casserole is one of my favorite vegan comfort food recipes. With a juicy layer of quality sauerkraut on the bottom, a layer of fluffy vegan-cheezy garlic mashed potatoes in the middle, and crispy herbed breadcrumbs on top, this sauerkraut packs in all of the best flavors and textures into one package. 

When I think of casseroles, I expect something that's going to require a lot of preparation, but this casserole is so simple! Especially if you don't enjoy chopping lots of different ingredients, because all you have to chop in this recipe is potatoes- and that's it! Mashed potatoes are actually really easy to make from scratch. I recommend russet potatoes because they are the best for mashing, once they're peeled, chopped and steamed, I mash them with a creamy garlic sauce that I whip up in the blender while the potatoes are boiling. Then I place a layer of sauerkraut in the bottom of a baking dish, top it with the mashed potatoes and sprinkle herbed breadcrumbs over the top. 

I've had this idea for a potato and sauerkraut casserole for a few months now, ever since I made a potato and sauerkraut soup recipe and became completely obsessed with the combination. In the process of creating this recipe I've learned a lot about the nature of potatoes. My original version was a scalloped potato casserole, creamy au gratin style, with layers of tangy sauerkraut interlaced between thinly sliced potatoes. When I took it out of the oven, it looked beautiful, but unfortunately when I tried it the potatoes were rock hard and uncooked. I put it back in the oven and cooked it a while longer... and then even longer... but the potatoes refused to cook. I ended up looking online for why this might be happening and as it turns out, potatoes won't cook in acidic substances, such as the tangy sauerkraut that I love so much.

I felt a little defeated and decided to let the idea sit on the backburner for awhile. Eventually, while eating my favorite cheesy potato quesadilla recipe, inspiration struck again and I realized I can use a similar creamy mashed potato filling so that it's already cooked so it can't be disturbed by a layer of sauerkraut. So I tried it out with mashed potatoes and this time it actually worked! The recipe that I had been dreaming about for months was finally a hit and I've been making it over and over again ever since. 

Be sure to use a high quality sauerkraut such as my all time favorite brand, Bubbies. You can find the best sauerkrauts in the refrigerated section at your grocery store. Generally, the sauerkrauts that don't need to be refrigerated aren't as good as the ones that do require refrigeration.

This is a great recipe to make ahead of time or even in a larger portion because it keeps well in the fridge for up to 5 days, though mine always tends to disappear very quickly. I hope you enjoy this recipe and that it becomes one of your favorites as well! 


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I ended up using three medium-sized russet potatoes for this recipe, which made about 4 cups, but since potatoes sizes vary I'd recommend measuring out 4 cups of cubed peeled potatoes.

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Place the potatoes in a pot and cover them with cold water until they're just submerged under the water. Place the pot over medium-high heat to bring to a boil. As soon as the potatoes start to come to a rolling boil, set a timer for 7 minutes and turn the heat down to medium. After the time has passed check to make sure the potato chunks are fork tender and then drain the water out of the pot and then return the potatoes to the same pot. 

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Make the creamy garlic sauce in the blender either while the potatoes are boiling or right after by combining all of the sauce ingredients in the blender until smooth. 

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Add the creamy garlic sauce to your steamed potatoes in the pot along with some chopped chives and then mash until well combined. 

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Assemble the casserole in your dish by starting with an even layer of sauerkraut, followed by a layer of mashed potatoes, and then quickly mix together your breadcrumbs and herbs and sprinkle them over the top. I've never had any issues with the sauerkraut sticking to the bottom of the baking pan, so I don't bother greasing the pan first. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from oven, cool for 10 minutes, and then serve. 

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Mediterranean Minestrone Soup with Sweet Potato and Fresh Herbs

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Minestrone has got to be one of the most well-known comforting soups out there. For me it's always been one of those throw all the vegetables you have in a pot and see what works kind of a recipe, but after many attempts I've learned what my favorite qualities are in a minestrone soup and what needs to stay consistent for the best results. 

I've found that the best vegetables to use in a minestrone are mediterranean veggies like bell pepper, zucchini, potatoes, and chickpeas. They pair so well with a tomato broth and fresh herbs like thyme and sage. 

When I think of mediterranean ingredients, for some reason I think of kalamata olives. I am a big fan of olives in places you wouldn't expect to find olives, but I know many others probably don't share the same enthusiasm for olives in everything. If olives are not your thing, go ahead and omit them from the recipe, but if you love olives as much as I do then I hope the idea of olives in a soup is a bit more appealing. I think they add such a lovely salty flavor, especially when chopped very small. 

The sweet potato makes this recipe so much more filling and healthy, but yukon gold potatoes will also work well. I would advise against russets though, as they are a bit too floury and will break down too much in the soup. I'd also advise against carrots and cauliflower, which I've used in this soup in the past and felt like they just didn't quite belong. If you don't have chickpeas, you can definitely substitute any white beans you have, and it's even possible that other types of beans like kidney and black could work in this too, but I've only tried using white beans and chickpeas so far with great results. 

This recipe is perfect for a chilly late-fall night when you're looking for something that is easy to cook all in one pot fairly quickly. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! 

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I've been working on bringing more of my recipes to life through videos, and lately my favorite way to do this has been through stop motion. I've loved making stop motion videos in college as a photography major, but it's been about seven years since the last stop motion video I've made, so I've got some practicing to do to remember how it all works (not getting my own shadow and kitchen utensils in the frame for example >.<)  Although it's a bit tedious, there's something so fun about the process of setting it up and watching it all come together for the end result. I'll definitely be making more of these for future recipes!



Miso Ramen Veggie-Packed Soup with Tofu and Bok Choy [Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan]

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This isn't your typical restaurant-style, enjoy-before-your-actual-meal miso soup. This miso ramen recipe is a fully satisfying veggie-packed main course. 

I love miso soup, but I often find myself a little underwhelmed and not quite as satiated as I'd like. Many of the miso soup recipes I've tried in the past have lots of noodles and even tofu but are lacking in the colorful crunchy veggies that make me so happy and satisfied. So I loaded this recipe up with some of my favorite fibrous whole plant foods which made for a miso soup that can actually hold up as it's own full meal. 

Depending on what you currently have going on in your fridge, you can add in whichever veggies you're currently working with. Some of my favorites which I used in this soup included, mushrooms, bok choy, carrots, and purple cabbage. Other veggies that could work well in this might be bell pepper, broccoli, chard, or spinach. 

No matter what veggies you choose what really makes a good miso soup is the broth of course! White miso is a fermented salty paste made from soybeans and gives it that classic miso soup flavor. In addition to that I like to add a little hot sauce and tamari for an extra kick of flavor. 

Something that really ups the wow-factor when serving this is searing the bok choy until it's golden brown. You don't need any oil to make this happen, just slice the bok choy in half the long way and then place it sliced side down in a hot pan, using a wooden spoon to press it down until it get's some color to it. While this isn't necessary, it makes for a beautiful final presentation, but if you're just looking to eat it as fast as possible you can skip this step and rip the bok choy into individual leaves then add it at the end in the last 2 minutes of cooking. 

I hope you enjoy this veggie-loaded miso soup! If you try it out and post a photo, tag me on instagram @herenownutrition or leave a comment down below. 


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Sauerkraut Potato & White Bean Soup

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I don't know what it is with cabbage, but lately it's been my new favorite thing. I've never been that into pickled or fermented foods before- I mean I love pickles, but pickled flavors in a soup? I just wasn't sure I could get down with that. Sauerkraut on it's own has never been too impressive to me, but with the right combination of veggies and babushka spices, the sour and savory flavor it adds is downright magical. 

Since I have a Russian partner, I'm always looking for classic Russian recipes I can veganize. This soup, called Shchi has been a staple in Russian cooking for thousands of years, and it's full of some of the healthiest whole plant foods possible. I didn't have any parsnips, so I subbed for potato which worked really nicely, though if you have parsnips I'm sure those would be great also. 

Since the sauerkraut is really the star of the recipe, it's important that you chose a super delicious one. Typically, the best sauerkrauts are the fermented ones that come in a jar in the refrigerated section. My favorite lately has been Bubbies:

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This soup is so wonderfully tangy and satisfying. It's great on it's own or with a side of whole grain bread and a dollop of vegan sour cream. It's a fantastic recipe to cook any time of the year and if you make a big batch it keeps really well in the fridge for up to a week. This recipe will serve two very hungry people as a main course, or four people as a side dish.

If you try this recipe, leave a comment down below, I'd love to hear what you think of it! 

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Butternut Squash Ravioli with Alfredo Sauce

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Ravioli is one of those foods that can be difficult to find vegan versions of. Since it seems like the idea of ravioli without a ricotta cheese stuffing is unthinkable to food manufacturers, I set out to make my own healthy vegan version using butternut squash.

Don't let the pasta dough making step intimidate you, I promise it's way easier than it seems and after you do it once you'll want to try stuffing just about everything you make inside pasta dough. Sure it's quite a bit more time intensive than some of my other recipes, but the time your spending is well worth it and the process of making these is actually really fun.

This past weekend I tried Hot For Food's pierogi recipe which was just amazing! It was my first time ever making a pasta dough and it was way easier than I expected. I replaced the oil in her dough recipe with more water and everything worked out just fine without it. So this week, when I remembered that I had a butternut squash waiting to be used up, I knew that I wanted to utilize that pasta dough recipe to make butternut squash ravioli.

I decided to go with a rich and creamy alfredo sauce which complements the squash perfectly. Though I'm sure these would be great with a marinara or pesto sauce as well! I used a microplane grater to grate one macadamia nut for some "parmesan" on top, but this was more just for the aesthetic as the sauce is creamy and indulgent enough as is. 


Mash steamed squash with the rest of the filling ingredients.

Before:

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After:

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Prepare the dough and allow to rest in the fridge. Then roll it out really thin and make evenly sized little circles or squares. I like to use a cup with a sharp edge. My cup was about 3 inches in diameter which made 30 whole ravioli, but the number you get will depend on the size you make them and how thin you roll the dough. 

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Place each dough circle on a parchment paper lined tray to keep them from sticking to the surface. 

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Take 1 or 2 teaspoons of filling and plop right in the center of half of your dough circles. 

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Use a small cup of water to wet your finger, then run your finger around the outside of the whole circle, then sandwich your dough circles together and press gently to seal together. You can decorate the edges with a fork, but only if you want to. They will stay sealed just from the gentle pressing alone. 

Heat a pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt on the stovetop. Once boiling, add in a few ravioli and wait a minute or two for them to float to the top. Then scoop them out using a slotted spoon and place on a plate. 

Garnish with vegan alfredo sauce or any sauce of your choosing and then enjoy right away. 

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Hot & Sour Cabbage Soup

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This hot & sour cabbage soup is one of my favorite new soup recipes. I've never been super enthusiastic about cabbage before, but since throwing this recipe together, I feel completely different about it now. Somehow the combination of sour with spicy fits so well with the purple cabbage and brings out it's best qualities.

Purple cabbage is the healthiest kind of cabbage because it has the most antioxidants. Green cabbage will also work in this recipe, but not carry quite the same nutritional load. Plus the purple color it gives the soup is so pretty!

Recently I've started adding a bit of sauerkraut to this soup along with some of the juices, and that adds to the delicious sour flavor, but if you don't have access to good fresh sauerkraut that comes in a jar in the refrigerated section, feel free to omit it and replace with an extra tablespoon of lime juice. The tofu is also optional. The cabbage and mushrooms are hearty enough that it's not entirely necessary, but it does make the soup more filling. 

This soup recipe was inspired by the Dr. McDougall's hot & sour ramen noodle instant soup. When we were travelling in our trailer across the country, we loved the convenience of having instant soups at rest stops and campsites along the way, but they're not an ideal health food at all. I wanted to make my own version that was full of healthy veggies instead and the result was this delicious cabbage soup.

If you try this recipe, leave a comment down below! 

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One-Pot Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry [Vegan, Oil-Free, Quick & Easy!]

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It's starting to feel like fall here in Washington and I find myself craving sweet potatoes now more than ever before. I especially love sweet potato in curries with warming spices like turmeric, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. All you need is one pot and roughly 30 minutes later you have a cozy bowl of delicious food to snuggle up with. 

I've been experimenting a lot lately with adding nut butters into savory stews and curries, which if you haven't tried it before it may sound a little weird, but I promise it works! It gives savory dishes the best creamy texture with no oil or coconut milk needed. If you love the taste of peanut butter go ahead and use that for this recipe, but if you're skeptical or not a nut-butter person, try using raw cashew butter, which has a very mild flavor but will still give this dish a wonderful creamy texture. 

This curry is super healthy and packed with fiber and micronutrients from whole plant foods. Lentils and sweet potatoes are two of the healthiest foods in the world, aside from dark green leafy veggies- which you can totally add in there too! Fiber is what keeps our digestive system working properly and keeps our gut bacteria friendly. Long term, high fiber consumption reduces bloating and removes toxins from our systems. Forget juice cleanses and clean up your insides with high-fiber plant foods! That's where the real healing can start.

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Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese with Mushroom Bacon (Nut-Free, Vegan, Oil-Free, Gluten-Free)

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Since going vegan two years ago, I've spent a lot of time trying out all sorts of different mac and cheese recipes. I've tried cashew cheese, almond cheese, butternut squash cheese, and just about every type of sweet potato, or potato and carrot cheese sauce there is, but I keep coming back to this version. 

This recipe is inspired by the sweet potato mac at one of my favorite NYC restaurants, By Chloe. I've made this version nut-free (depending on which plant milk you use), flour-free, oil-free, and it can also be gluten free depending on the pasta you choose. It gets a tangy cheddar-like bite from the tahini and lemon juice and a classic cheesy flavor from the nutritional yeast. 

The smoky mushroom bacon is really the star of this recipe. For a while I never really sought out vegan versions of bacon because having been a vegetarian for most of my life, it wasn't something that I needed a replacement for, but after trying all different sorts of vegan bacon made from whole plants I've really grown fond of mushroom bacon in particular. It's smoky, salty, and just the perfect texture to add into mac and cheese. 

If you're looking for the most comforting vegan recipe that's still healthy and packed full of nutrients, this is it! For a truly nourishing whole food meal, use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta of choice and add in a handful of spinach. 

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think by leaving a like or a comment down below. I hope you enjoy this indulgent yet guilt-free mac and cheese recipe as much as I do!

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