3-Ingredient Date Caramel Sauce

This creamy date caramel sauce is made with just dates, plant-based milk, and a tiny pinch of salt. A pourable sauce to drizzle all over apples, oatmeal, cinnamon rolls, or add to any autumnal dessert.

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Apple season is upon us and there’s no better way to enjoy apples than sprinkled with cinnamon and dipped in date caramel sauce.

This caramel sauce is silky smooth, not sticky or chewy like traditional caramel, so it’s much easier on your teeth, and with no added sugar, it’s a healthier alternative too.

The best part is that you can make this with only three ingredients:

Dates, vanilla plant-based milk, and a tiny pinch of salt (optional). That’s it!

For a pourable sauce, use 1 cup of plant milk, or for a thicker caramel use 1/2 cup. I prefer the thinner sauce because it’s easier to drizzle it all over everything, and that’s mainly how I like to use it.

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Here are few of the ways I’ve been using this date caramel sauce:

  • as a dip for sliced apples and pears

  • on top of oatmeal, baked oatmeal bars, or in overnight oats

  • drizzled all over homemade cinnamon rolls or apple pie

  • blended with apples to make a caramel apple smoothie

  • add some to granola

  • swirl into the batter of your next cinnamon loaf or cake

  • stir into your morning coffee or tea for a refined sugar-free sweetener

  • blend with frozen bananas and apples to make caramel apple nice cream

This recipe makes about 12 oz of sauce. This will keep fresh for up to 10 days in a sealed jar in the fridge.

If you try this out, let me know what you use it on and leave a comment below!


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!


Mediterranean Summer Squash Boats With Smashed Chickpeas & Almond Cheese Crumbles

Sunny yellow summer squash are stuffed with a Mediterranean inspired smashed chickpea filling and topped with sliced kalamata olives, fresh herbs, and almond cheese crumbles made from leftover homemade almond milk pulp.

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When summer squash made their first appearance in our CSA produce box this past week, I knew right away that I wanted to enjoy these golden beauties roasted and stuffed with a chickpea filling. 

Stuffed summer squash and zucchini are sometimes referred to as "zucchini boats" given their long hollow shape. They're so much fun to make and to eat! You can use any kind of summer squash you'd like including the classic zucchini and other colorful and striped varieties. 

Slice your squash in half the long way and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. You can save the seeds to add to smoothies or place them in a freezer bag to make your own vegetable broth. The seeds contain a lot of nutrients, so don't miss out! 

The more you scoop out, the less stable these boats will become, so only scoop out the seeds and be sure to keep lots of the fleshy part of the squash in there. 

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To make the smashed chickpea filling:

  1. Drain and rinse 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas and place them in a medium sized bowl. 
  2. Add in 1/2 cup pasta sauce of choice, I really like Engine 2 brand oil-free tomato basil marinara for this recipe, and add in 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast.
  3. Smash it all together using a potato masher or a fork, then add salt and pepper to taste.

Making vegan cheese from leftover almond milk pulp:

I've been making my own almond milk for the past few months now, so lately I've been finding myself with lots of leftover almond pulp. I've tried several almond pulp recipes, from cookies to crackers to muffins, all of which have never really worked out for me. Almond pulp varies so much in moisture content based on how much liquid you're able squeeze out of it when making almond milk, that it can be difficult to use in baked goods which require very specific amounts of liquid. 

Instead of baking it into something, I prefer to use it raw and make it into a crumbly nut cheese, which is very similar to Cotija cheese or an extra crumbly feta. It's salty, savory, and makes the perfect cheese topping on so many of my favorite meals. The slight bit of moisture in the pulp allows it to stick together and clump perfectly. 

I'm really impressed with how much this tastes like cheese, and while it's not white like traditional cow's milk cheese, you can make this with blanched or slivered almonds, which have had the skin removed, and then it will be perfectly white and the look of it will be even more similar. 

If you don't make your own almond milk and don't have any almond pulp, you can still make this recipe by using almond flour. You just need to add in water or more lime juice a few teaspoons at a time until it starts to form small clumps. 

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To make the almond pulp vegan cheese crumbles-

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond pulp, or the pulp leftover from making 1 liter of almond milk (1 cup raw almonds, plus 4 cups water), or use 1 cup of almond flour. 
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir together using a fork to mash the ingredients until well-mixed and crumbly in texture. If using almond flour, add more water or lime juice a teaspoon at a time until small clumps start to form. Taste and add more salt or garlic and mustard powder if desired. 

This nut cheese is best served on top of food and kept mostly dry. If added to a salad and tossed with a wet dressing, it will turn into an almond paste which you may or may not want on your salad. I enjoy it on top of tacos, pasta, avocado toast, and grain/legume bowls. 


Assemble & bake:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, or skip this step if you want to make these in an air fryer.

Scoop 1/4 of the chickpea mixture into each squash half, then place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until the zucchinis are tender and the mixture is browned. If using an air fryer, place the stuffed squash halves into the air fryer basket and cook them in the air fryer for 15 minutes at 380 degrees. Depending on the size of your air fryer you might need to do this in batches.

Remove the squash from the oven or air fryer and top with sliced kalamata olives, raw almond cheese, and fresh chopped herbs.

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Summer squash and zucchini have a very low calorie density, so I find it's best to think of these as a snack and not a full meal. Though, they could be a full meal if you doubled the portion size and served them over a bed of fresh greens. 

Have you ever tried squash or zucchini boats before?

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


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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Sweet Potato Breakfast Toast (SOS-free!)

 Violet attempting to steal a strawberry

Violet attempting to steal a strawberry


Have you ever heard of slicing a sweet potato into bread slice shaped pieces and toasting it? I know It doesn't sound like it would be all that life changing, but ever since I started doing this I eat so many more sweet potatoes and way less bread than ever before! 

I still love a nice toasted slice of whole grain bread, and while bread certainly isn't bad for you, especially when whole grains are involved, bread is still a processed food and processed foods are almost always less healthy than plant foods in their whole, unprocessed form.

I've noticed that I don't feel my best when I eat too much bread or any other processed food and I don't have quite as much energy as when I eat whole foods like sweet potatoes. So for the past couple of weeks I've switched out toast or oatmeal in the morning for baked sweet potato slices and I feel better than ever and stay full for longer as well. I love choosing different combinations of toppings and find myself looking forward to breakfast more than any other meal of the day. 

While sweet potato toast won't replace your sandwich bread and the natural sweetness of the potatoes is sometimes questionable with savory toppings, I find it to be the perfect vehicle for sweet toppings like nut butters, dairy-free yogurt, berries, and other fruits. 

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The sweet potato slices become perfectly crispy on the outside but the inside stays soft and gets super sweet.

With oatmeal, I always have to add a little maple syrup or coconut sugar, but I don't find that I need to add any sweetener to this breakfast besides fruit and it still tastes like a dessert. Actually this recipe is completely salt, oil, and sugar-free, aka SOS-free!

There are several ways in which you can make sweet potato toast, but however you make it, be sure to eat it right after it's been cooked. If it sits out for too long after you toast it, it will be a little soggy and floppy- not at all how the sweet potato toast experience is meant to be. They won't have that same quality that makes them so delicious unless you heat them back up again in the oven or toaster until crispy.

Luckily there are many options, even a make-ahead option, that will make sweet potato toast so quick and easy that it becomes your new favorite breakfast. 

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Tips & Tricks

  • When picking out sweet potatoes at the store, choose ones that are a bit wide and round. While long skinny potatoes will still work, I find that I can cram more toppings on a wider slice. 
  • When it comes time to slice the potato, make sure the large knife you are using is freshly sharpened. Then slice off a very small piece of the potato in the spot where you want it to be balanced while you cut. This will give it some stability so the potato doesn't roll while you're cutting into it.
  • Then, carefully slice it the long way into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. It's unlikely that all your pieces will be uniform in size and that's okay, just do your best and as long as they're somewhere near that size range you're good to go! 
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Cooking Options

Once you have your sweet potato sliced into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices, there are a few different ways you can choose to make it into toast.

Here are a few that I've tried and tested-

Oven:

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Place slices on a wire rack or on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-22 minutes until the slices are lightly golden on the outside and the edges are just starting to brown. Flip them over halfway through cooking time for slightly more even crisping. Enjoy right away.

Air-fryer:

This is my favorite way to make sweet potato toast because there's no waiting for the oven to preheat and I don't even have to flip the slices over because the air fryer does such an amazingly even cooking job.

  1. Place the raw sweet potato slices in the air fryer basket and cook for 18-20 minutes 390℉ or whatever setting your air fryer has for potatoes/fries. 
  2. Add toppings and serve immediately after they come out of the air fryer. 

Toaster or Toaster Oven:

Yes, believe it or not you actually can put raw sweet potato in the toaster to make sweet potato toast, but it's probably not the most efficient way to do it. You would have to stand at the toaster for a long time while you keep checking on it to make sure it doesn't burn and end up putting it through a toast cycle several times before it's done.

This might not be the best thing for your toaster too as sweet potatoes can get a little sticky sometimes. So if you do want to try this method, it's best to cook the sweet potatoes in the oven first, then store them in the fridge and toss them in the toaster or toaster oven right before you eat them. 

  1. Preheat oven to 400℉.
  2. Place slices on a wire rack or on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender but not fully cooked.
  3. Remove pan from oven and allow potatoes to cool completely before transferring to storage container. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  4. When you want sweet potato toast, grab a precooked slice from the fridge and put it in your toaster or toaster oven until it's crispy and golden on the outside, then enjoy right away. 
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My Favorite Toppings

  • Nut or seed butter- (pecan, walnut, almond, cashew, sunflower etc.) I like to buy raw nuts in bulk and make nut butter myself in the food processor and always have a jar of it in the fridge. 
  • Dairy-free yogurt- ideally sugar-free, unsweetened, minimal ingredients. My favorite brand is Forager cashew yogurt, but coconut or almond yogurt can be great as well! 
  • Hemp seeds or ground flax seeds- I add these in for omega 3s when I'm using any nut butter that is high in omega 6, such as pecan, almond and cashew. When I make walnut butter which is super high in omega-3s I leave the omega-ratio-balancing seeds off.
  • Bananas- available all year & perfect for when other fruits are out of season
  • Berries- blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.
  • Other seasonal fruit- figs, plums, peaches, etc. 
  • Cinnamon- cloves and nutmeg also pair well with certain fruits like apples and pears

If you decide to try making sweet potato toast, let me know what you think of it and also what cooking method and toppings you chose to use! ☼

Flax Crackers & Green Olive Hummus [Oil-Free, Vegan]

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Sometimes you just need a good salty, crunchy snack, but store bought crackers often contain questionable ingredients and preservatives. For the longest time, I put off making my own healthy crackers because I thought it would be impossible to make crackers without oil and flour, two ingredients which I avoid using often in my home cooking.

One day, I finally stopped doubting myself and experimented with making a flax and almond based cracker and to my surprise it turned out crunchy and delicious.

I haven't had to buy crackers from the store ever since!

My favorite way to enjoy these crackers lately is to dip them in hummus and lately my favorite hummus flavor has been roasted garlic and green olive.

The hummus is super simple to make and it blends up very easily. I get kind of frustrated when I make a hummus recipe which requires a lot of scraping down the sides of the blender and is so thick that the blades get stuck.

The trick for a good fluffy hummus, is to save some of the brine from the can of chickpeas and use that in the mixture to achieve a whipped texture. This also makes the blending process much easier and faster. 

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This recipe makes roughly 16 oz. of hummus which fits perfectly in a mason jar! The hummus will last for up to a week when stored in a sealed container in the fridge.


How to Make Vegan Parmesan with Only 2 Ingredients

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This vegan parmesan recipe is one of the most simple recipes ever. It only requires two ingredients: raw cashews and nutritional yeast. 

When I first started experimenting with creating my own vegan parmesan at home, I followed a few slightly more complex recipes with more ingredients, and while the end result was delicious, I found that the parmesan wasn't as versatile as I would like it to be. 

I would cook a meal that was already salted and flavored the way I wanted it, then I'd add in my salty garlic-y homemade parm and it would totally overpower the taste. So I stopped adding salt, onion powder, garlic, etc. and before I knew it everytime I made it I was making it the same exact way with only cashews and nutritional yeast and this recipe has worked for me time and time again. 

While the flavor is subtle and not super salty like actual parmesan, you get a lot more control over how much salt you choose to add so you can get away with using more of this parmesan without things getting too salty or overpowering. 

I have tried using nutritional yeast on it's own as vegan parmesan substitute, and while this will work in a pinch, nutritional yeast has a slightly sweet flavor so it's not quite ideal on it's own. When it's balanced with the raw cashews, it lends a nice cheesy flavor without becoming overly sweet. 

I put this stuff on everything; pizza, pasta, potato patties, sauces, breading, soups, etc. so since I use it all the time I like to always have some in a jar in my fridge where it will stay nice and fresh for several weeks. 


Smoky White Bean & Caramelized Onion Quesadillas [Vegan, Oil-Free]

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Quesadillas hold a very special place in my heart. Since becoming a vegetarian as a young kid, quesadillas were just always the easiest thing to throw together at a friend's house or order out at restaurants. I always wanted them as plain as possible with just a ton of cheese and nothing else except maybe sour cream. Up until a few years ago, I had never heard of the idea of filling them with anything else besides cheese, but since becoming vegan and realizing how important fiber is I have wholeheartedly embraced the idea of healthier filling alternatives. 

These quesadillas are filled with smoky smashed cannellini beans and sweet caramelized onions. They are crispy, savory, and definitely have a tangy cheesy flavor that is so crucial to any quesadilla experience. They get their cheesy flavor from nutritional yeast, tahini, and lemon juice.

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What really takes these quesadillas to the next level is a layer of caramelized onions. They require a bit of time and patience, but add such a good flavor that it's worth it. If you don't have time, the quesadillas will still be delicious though, and by not adding them you can cut the cooking time down from 50 minutes to 10 minutes, so I fully understand if you choose to pass on them. 

If you do decide to take the longer route of adding in the caramelized onions, you'll be so happy you did once you taste how delicious the sweet onions are with the smoky white beans.

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I recently read a post on Sweet Simple Vegan about how to caramelize onions without oil and realized how impatient I had been being when caramelizing onions in the past. I'd always try to get away with saving time by making turning up the heat, but the key is to keep the heat on medium low the whole entire time. This allows them to brown slowly and not dry out, making them extra sweet and juicy. Another key point is to use water while frying, but wait for the pan to completely dry out before adding more water. I found all of these tips super helpful!

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I hope you enjoy this delicious & healthy quesadilla recipe!


Beet Hummus Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms [Vegan, Oil-Free]

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Roasted portobello mushroom caps make a deliciously healthy alternative to the classic hummus and avocado on toast. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with having hummus on some sliced whole grain bread, but it's a good idea to change things up every so often. Since I make a batch of hummus almost every week, after a few days of having it on toast, I find myself looking for other ways to enjoy it. This time I decided to try stuffing it in a roasted portobello mushroom and it was so tasty! 

My favorite hummus lately has been this vibrant pink beet hummus. The key to making the beets have sweet flavor rather than an earthy bitter flavor is to make sure to use well-cooked beets. Any way you choose to cook them is fine, as long as they are very soft and cooked all the way through. This hummus is so fluffy and easy to blend because we use some of the liquid from the can of chickpeas (aka aquafaba) which becomes really airy when blended making the hummus have a softer whipped texture. I also use a bit more tahini to balance out the flavor of the beets and make the hummus extra savory. 

This recipe takes only slightly more effort then having hummus on toast. The portobello mushrooms are wiped clean, coated in a simple marinade, and then roasted for 10 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the oven and stuff with hummus, then roast for another 10 minutes, remove from the oven and garnish with whichever toppings you like. 

I hope you enjoy the recipe! 


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I used boiled beets so the color of the hummus before it was baked was a light pink color which darkened to hot pink in the oven. If you use roasted beets, the color will be even more vibrant, and will turn dark red when roasted. 

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Cheezy Potato Quesadillas [Vegan, Oil-Free]

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These potato quesadillas are exactly the healthy quesadilla replacement I've been searching for all these years since giving up the cow cheese. They are deceptively cheezy, and would make a great replacement for cheese lovers looking to make healthier food choices. The potatoes are boiled and then mashed with a rich hollandaise sauce made from cashews that is easily whipped up in the blender. 

This is another quick recipe that takes only 20 minutes! All you have to do is chop and boil potatoes, blend up a sauce, and mash the sauce into the potatoes and you have your quesadilla spread ready to go! Spread the mixture between two small tortillas (or a big tortilla folded in half) and bake for 10 minutes until lightly crispy. 

Potato quesadillas are the perfect addition to packed lunches as they store well tupperware containers and can be enjoyed warm or cold. 

I like to enjoy them with either vegan sour cream or hot sauce, but these would also go really well with salsa or other tomato based sauces. 

If you make these I'd love to hear what you think. Leave a comment down below if you try it out!

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Pumpkin Leek Risotto + Leftover Risotto Balls!


Is it pumpkin season yet? I may have jumped the gun on this one, but I've been obsessed with this pumpkin leek risotto lately. It has a delicate creamy flavor with a light herb seasoning and just the right amount of pumpkin flavor. 

You could spend an hour roasting a whole pumpkin or squash, and that would definitely be delicious, but for the sake of time I usually make this with canned pumpkin. That helps keeps the time on this recipe under 30 minutes, which makes it a viable option for a weeknight dinner or quick lunch. 

Since I tend to make risotto in large batches, I've started turning the leftovers into little crunchy risotto balls. Simply cool the risotto in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to firm up the mixture, then scoop out spoonfuls and hand shape into spheres. Roll the spheres in a bowl of breadcrumbs, bake in the oven, and serve with marinara sauce. 

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These risotto balls make a wonderful appetizer to bring to fall parties (Labor day already?!) or to introduce people to vegan food who may not have considered before just how tasty plant-based foods can be. 

Here's what you'll need:

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Not shown: Vegetable broth, Salt

The first time I made risotto, I was very intimidated and worried about ending up with a mushy mess stuck to the bottom of the pan. The key to avoiding this is to keep the heat no higher than medium and to stir constantly. This dish cooks quickly, but needs your attention and stirring for most of the cooking time (~15 minutes)

We add the vegetable broth in one cup at a time. Once the leeks are cooked, the rice has been added, and the vinegar has been absorbed by the rice, it's time to add our first cup of broth.

When the rice has absorbed most of the broth, as shown in the photo below, then you can add another cup of broth and repeat until rice is cooked and fluffy. 

 The rice has absorbed our first cup of broth so now we can add the second cup. 

The rice has absorbed our first cup of broth so now we can add the second cup. 

When all of the broth has been added and absorbed, it will look like the photo below. The rice will have become more translucent and it will be creamy and soft. 

Now we'll lower the heat to a simmer and add our herbs, pumpkin puree, and cashew parmesan. 

Let the dish rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Top with additional cooked leeks for garnish.

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At this point, you could serve it as it is, or allow the dish to cool and then place in the fridge overnight. Once mixture has cooled, hand roll into balls, and then coat with a breadcrumb mixture. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat, and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. 

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Samosa Potato & Pea Patties

My go to meal when I've run out of fresh produce the day before a grocery shopping trip usually involves some mix of potatoes and legumes. This time I decided to make potato patties with samosa spices and peas. 

I've made actual samosas a few times before and they are always such a fun snack, but rolling out the dough and constructing them is sometimes a long slow process. These patties provide the same classic samosa flavors in a fast to cook and easy to assemble package. 

The breadcrumbs give these a nice crunch on the outside while the inside is soft and flavorful. Tahini adds a richness to the potatoes so there's no need for any butter or processed oils. 

Make a big batch and store them in the fridge or freezer. They are perfect for bringing to work or school for a delicious and healthy addition to a packed lunch.

Spinach Artichoke Dip [Vegan, Nut-free, Oil-free, Gluten-free]

This healthy dip tastes so creamy and indulgent you'll forget that it's packed full of nutrient rich leafy greens. The key with this recipe is blending parts of it and leaving other parts more chunky. I used to make this by throwing everything into the blender all at once and pulverizing it all into a kind of hummus style dip, and that was alright too- and probably a great option for people who aren't so into the texture of artichokes, but I prefer this dish when it's well balanced between chunky and creamy. 

You can make this dip in half an hour and have it on hand all week for snacks or quick meals. Since this recipe is nut-free and made of mostly canned foods, it's really inexpensive, making it an ideal dish to add to your weekly meal rotation if you're on a budget. 

One of my favorite ways to enjoy this dip is in a sandwich with avocado or baked tofu, but I don't have any of those things on hand today so I used the spread on a sandwich all on it's own and it was still awesome!