Cozy Sweet Potato Peanut Stew with Spinach

A simple, lightly-spiced peanut stew with sweet potatoes, carrots, and spinach. Peanut butter is the magic ingredient which thickens the stew and gives a wonderful savory flavor and rich creamy texture.


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This creamy peanut stew has been featured on my blog before, almost two years ago now, but since then I’ve made it over and over again. Since it has become one of my favorite stew recipes, I decided to dig it out from the dark depths of my oldest blog posts.

There's something really comforting about including peanut butter in a savory recipe. It makes this vegetable-packed soup, actually very filling and satisfying. The savory flavor of the peanut butter goes perfectly with the subtly sweet carrots and sweet potatoes, and tender baby spinach leaves add a splash of color.

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I love white sweet potatoes in this recipe, but orange sweet potatoes will also work quite well.

Sometimes, I like to serve this stew over a bowl of cooked whole grains. I've also served this stew on it's own, and it stands well as its own dish too!

For this recipe, I like to have the main ingredients chopped and measured before starting. Once everything is chopped, you're only about 30 minutes away from a finished meal.

This recipe keeps really well in the fridge for up to 5 days, so double the ingredients if you want to enjoy it all week! 

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Check out the video below to see it all come together!


Italian Antipasti Marinated Mushrooms

These marinated mushrooms are perfect for adding to salads or served as part of an Antipasto plate. Small white button mushrooms are boiled in a vinegar mixture along with garlic, herbs, and diced pimentos. Then, the cooked mushrooms are stored in the brine which helps to preserve them. Because this recipe is oil-free, the mushrooms will actually keep for longer, up to 2 weeks in the fridge!

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A couple weeks ago, I found myself at the Antipasto salad bar at the grocery store, checking out all the pickled foods and olives when I came across some seriously delicious looking marinated mushrooms. I picked some up and definitely enjoyed them, but they were covered in oil, and that just didn’t seem necessary. It didn’t really add anything to the flavor and if anything it made them a bit slimy.

So I decided to try and make my own version, completely free of oil, but still just as flavor-packed and tangy. It turns out, the oil really doesn’t serve any purpose at all. In fact, not using any oil means that these will keep for much longer because the acidity of the vinegar works to preserve the mushrooms and garlic.

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You can add these to salads and wraps, or even slice them and add them to sandwiches. For the most part though, we like to snack on them when browsing the fridge.

If you ever find yourself with too many mushrooms and need a fast way to preserve them, this is the perfect recipe for that situation. The ingredients are minimal and simple, and you can change it up by adding in which ever herbs you prefer.

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For storing these mushrooms, you can use any sealed container or jar you like, but storing them in glass is ideal. I think it’s best to just repurpose old leftover jars of sauce or other leftover jars, but if you’re into fancy Italian glassware, I love my Bormioli Rocco Fido jars (affiliate link). They have lasted me years and not only do they look beautiful, they also hold up to the dishwasher and even have survived being dropped.

To watch the whole simple cooking process, check out my recipe video. Note: I don’t have a small deep pot that works with my induction burner which I use to film recipes, so I opted for a sauce pan, but boiling these in a small deep pot would be best and requires much less frequent stirring over the course of the cooking time.

I hope you enjoy this tasty mushroom recipe!



Notice: This blog post contains affiliate links, which simply means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for your continued support! 

Golden Turmeric Coconut Butter Granola [vegan, oil-free & gluten-free]

Crispy clusters of golden granola made with turmeric, coconut butter, rolled oats, buckwheat and mineral-rich nuts and seeds. Naturally sweetened with maple syrup, this simple granola recipe is free of refined sugar, processed oils, and gluten.

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Lately, this sunny yellow, lightly-spiced granola has been my new favorite breakfast. Coconut butter and maple syrup make the perfect rich binding mixture, and along with the nuts, seeds and whole grains in there, this granola makes for a healthy, nutrient-dense meal. Top it with fresh berries and plant-based milk, or enjoy it as a snack over some vegan yogurt.

One of the best parts about making golden granola cereal is that you also end up with delicious golden milk! Turmeric is what gives this granola a bright yellow color and it also contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I’m always trying to find ways to include more turmeric in my day, and this is definitely one of my favorite ways to enjoy it!

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I chose to use coconut butter because it’s mild flavor lets the warm spices shine through, where as other nut butters can sometimes be a bit heavy and overpowering. No refined oils are needed in this recipe because the natural oils in the coconut butter allow the granola to crisp up perfectly.

Coconut butter is just blended coconut meat, with nothing added and nothing taken away, so it still contains all of it’s fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making it a much healthier alternative to coconut oil.

For a lower-fat version, you could substitute the coconut butter for date paste (soaked, blended dates) instead.

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This granola is done in under an hour and makes about 6 cups. It’s best to bake it at a low temperature for a longer amount of time to avoid creating harmful compounds which are created when certain foods are cooked at high temperatures. This granola will still get perfectly crispy and lightly golden, it just requires about 35-40 minutes in the oven at 275 ℉.

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Once it’s done baking, allow it to cool completely then store in a jar or sealed container on the countertop or in the fridge. The longest mine has ever lasted is three days, but it should keep well for about a week or so.

To see the whole process, check out my recipe video:

Let me know if you try it out and leave a comment below. I hope you enjoy this granola recipe!


Pasta e Fagioli- Pasta, White Bean & Vegetable Soup [Vegan, Oil-free & Gluten-free]

Warm up this winter with this comforting, veggie-packed. pasta & white bean soup. Based on a traditional Italian peasant dish, Pasta e fagioli is a healthy and budget-friendly recipe. Top with vegan parmesan and fresh herbs such as rosemary and basil.

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Happy 2019! After a long break over the holidays, I’m back with more healthy vegan recipes to share.

This winter, I’ve been making a lot variations on bean soups, but this pasta & bean soup might just be my new favorite. It’s a simple recipe made with some fresh veggies and herbs, fire roasted tomatoes, cannellini beans, and small-shaped pasta.

It’s a versatile recipe that works well with many different herbs, fresh and dried. I prefer using fresh herbs, but don’t always have them on hand so I’ve listed options for both. Rosemary, basil, and marjoram are my preferred herbs in this soup recipe, but other herbs like oregano, sage, and thyme would also work well.

I also added in some extra vegetables to make this soup even healthier, but they aren’t totally necessary so feel free to omit the carrots or spinach if needed.

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Here’s the recipe for this simple 2-ingredient vegan cashew parmesan. It is the perfect savory topping for this soup!

I hope you enjoy this deliciously healthy soup recipe! Check out the video I made below to see the whole process and if you try out this recipe, let me know how it goes!


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!



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!


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!


Calming Cherry Hibiscus Moon Milk

A soft pink & frothy night-time beverage with homemade pumpkin seed milk, tart cherry juice, hibiscus tea, and lavender syrup. Each ingredient aids in sleep and relaxation.

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Hibiscus tea is incredibly healthy and I’ve known for a while that I need to be having it more often, but for a long time I couldn’t get into the strong, tangy flavor on it’s own. By blending it with a creamy, rich, pumpkin seed milk and adding a touch of lavender syrup to sweeten it up, it has become my new favorite nightly drink.

Autumn can be a very busy time of year, so it’s extra important to take care of ourselves through eating nourishing plant foods as well as making sure to get a good night’s sleep. This cozy, frothy drink is full of nutritious, antioxidant-rich ingredients which each have unique properties that support sleep quality through reducing stress and promoting relaxation.


Pumpkin Seed Milk

Pumpkin seeds have relatively high amounts of the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid the body uses to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. Pumpkin seeds also contain high amounts of zinc, which can help the brain convert tryptophan into serotonin. Adequate serotonin levels are related to the ability to stay asleep and not wake throughout the night. 

Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus tea, made from the dried petals of hibiscus flowers, is one of the most healthful drinks around due to its high antioxidant & manganese content. It also has a very strong effect on lowering blood pressure. One six-week study found that three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered systolic blood pressure significantly, without unpleasant side effects (Journal of Nutrition, February 2010).

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherries contain a lot of melatonin which aids in sleep. In a study published in Natural Medicine Journal participants drank 30 ml of tart cherry juice 30 minutes after waking and 30 minutes before their evening meal, thereby boosting their exogenous melatonin intake by 85 mcg a day. The results showed significant increase in time in total sleep time and sleep efficiency with cherry juice supplementation.

Lavender Syrup

Much of the research on the relaxing effects of lavender has been done on the inhalation of lavender oils, and not on ingesting lavender in the form of tea, syrup, or other tinctures, but I’d expect ingesting lavender would still have similar effects and the floral flavor and scent is a perfect complement to the hibiscus flowers.

The recipe for the lavender syrup can be found here, or feel free to use maple syrup or other unrefined liquid sweetener of choice.

Optional Relaxing Add-ins

  • Ashwagandha root powder

  • Amla powder

  • Fresh ginger (grated and steeped along with the hibiscus), or powdered ginger

  • Green tea, for a day-time version

  • Turmeric, expect a color change

  • Reishi mushroom powder



Hibiscus tea and tart cherry juice are both acidic, which means when combined with milk it will curdle immediately. Knowing this, I was hesitant to try making a milky hibiscus tea drink. Then I found this recipe and realized that if I blended it, it will go from curdled to deliciously frothy and smooth.

I experimented with this recipe and blending it definitely took care of the curdling issue, however you should still expect some separation to occur. The pink fluffy latte-like foam will sit on top of the hibiscus tea if it sits out for a while, so this drink is best made right before consuming it, or stirred/shaken well if it sits for a while. If enjoying the drink slowly, it can helpful to keep a tea spoon near by to stir in the frothy layer if the separation becomes a little much.

I hope you enjoy this relaxing night-time beverage!


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. 


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. 

The mandoline I use and love is the Oxo Good Grips Mandoline (affiliate link), just make sure to always use the food holder or a cut proof glove when working with the mandoline.

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!

Notice: This blog post contains affiliate links, which simply means that I earn a commission if you purchase through those links, but your price remains the same. Thank you for your continued support! 


Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

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This chocolate cherry smoothie is the perfect indulgent, yet secretly-healthy summer beverage. Chocolate and cherries are one of my favorite food pairings, but these days when it's too hot to turn on the oven it's time to consider other ways to make that combination happen, so this week I've been making this delicious smoothie quite often.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we got six pounds of cherries in our CSA box, which we quickly devoured raw and any leftovers went into baked goods. Well, last week we took it to a whole new level when we got a whole 18-pound case of cherries from the farmers market- which I realize sounds insane given that my household has just two people and one small rabbit (who doesn't eat fruit), but once I pitted all of them and put them in the freezer they fit in two gallon sized freezer bags, which is actually a pretty manageable amount to store and use up within a reasonable time frame.

Because of this, you may have noticed that I've been making a lot of cherry recipes lately- probably too many, but I promise there are some cherry-free recipes coming soon!

For now, I've been fully enjoying cooking with them, photographing them, and eating handfuls every time I pass by the fridge. 

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I haven't posted many smoothie recipes on my blog- actually, I just checked and this is the first one! That's because there's only a very brief time of the year when I can enjoy a smoothie without feeling like I'm turning into a human ice cube, and now that it's above 80 degrees most days here in the PNW, I am fully enjoying icy cold smoothies- and not even needing to take a hot shower after to warm up!

While I can't fathom enjoying a smoothie any other time of the year than in the summer, if you're reading this and you're the kind of person who can drink a cold smoothie in the dead of winter, you go right ahead! There's no need to wait for cherry season to come around to make this smoothie since most grocery stores will have frozen cherries available all year. 

For added nutrition, you can blend a handful of spinach or kale into the smoothie and the sweetness of the cherries will completely mask any flavors from the greens. 

I hope you enjoy the recipe!


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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Vanilla Overnight Oats with Hemp & Chia Seeds

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As the weather is warming up these days I've been finding myself craving colder food again, so for now I've ditched the hot breakfast grains and started opting for overnight oats.

Overnight oats are similar to oatmeal, but instead of heating the oats to soften them, they soften on their own through the process of soaking overnight in the fridge. When I first heard about this idea a few years ago, I didn't find it all that appealing- I mean who wants to eat soggy cold oatmeal? Out of curiosity I eventually tried it for myself and added in some hemp and chia seeds, and surprisingly it wasn't like eating soggy oatmeal at all. The texture was thick, creamy, and much more similar to a chia seed pudding than oatmeal. It's been one of my go-to breakfasts ever since!

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All you need is a mason jar or tupperware container with a lid, about 16 oz. size should be perfect. Mix together the rolled oats, hemp seeds, chia seeds, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon and give it a stir, then add in the plant milk. Close the jar and give it a good shake and let it sit overnight in the fridge, or for at least 4 hours. (The longer it sits the better, up to 24 hours.)

The next morning when you're ready for breakfast, add in some fresh berries or any chopped fruit you'd like. To make it even sweeter you can add a bit of maple syrup, or for a healthier, lower sugar option mix in a sliced or mashed banana. 

Overnight oats doesn't have to be limited to breakfast food. Sometimes I make a batch in the morning so I can let it soak all day and have "overnight" oats for dessert. It also makes a great portable meal to take on the go or to eat while traveling. 

While there are several variations and flavors you could add to change it up, I usually keep things simple, so for now here's my easiest, most basic overnight oats recipe. Enjoy!



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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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.


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. They can be a little tricky to find at the grocery store, so I buy these hemp seeds on Amazon (affiliate link).

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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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Almond Butter Tempeh Salad With Miso Ginger Dressing [Oil-Free, Vegan]

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This salad with marinated almond butter tempeh and creamy miso ginger dressing has been my go-to salad recipe for the past few weeks. It's filling and savory from the marinated tempeh but also refreshing and spicy from the creamy dressing made with fresh ginger and fermented miso paste. 

I used to think I hated tempeh, no matter what I did it always tasted bitter. Eventually I learned that tempeh really needs to be steamed first to remove the bitter flavors, but even then I didn't know what to do with it. Then I found this recipe for marinated peanut butter tempeh by Minimalist Baker and that changed everything for me. I adjusted the recipe to be oil free and also slightly lower in sodium, but still maintain that delicious flavor, and now I can't get enough of it. I love adding it to fresh salads, but it's also wonderful in warm grain bowls with rice and steamed greens, as shown below. 

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I like the tempeh cut into little triangles. Cut the tempeh in half the long way first and then cut the thin pieces into triangles. 

Making the marinade for the tempeh is really easy. Just mix together the marinade ingredients in a bowl and gently stir or toss the tempeh until it's fully coated. 

If I have time I try to let it sit in the marinade for as long as possible (2-24 hours), but usually I only have about 15 minutes. Even in that small amount of time the tempeh still picks up a lot of flavor. 

Lay out the marinated tempeh pieces on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees until golden brown. 

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If you like ginger, you're going to LOVE this salad dressing recipe. As always it's oil-free, vegan, and made with healthy whole food ingredients. It's got quite a kick to it and goes so well with the almond butter tempeh in this salad bowl. All you need is a high speed blender or food processor. Add all of the ingredients and blend until it's super creamy and no chunks remain. Store the dressing in a sealed container in the fridge and it will keep for 4-5 days for use in salads all week. 

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I hope you enjoy this flavorful salad recipe! 



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!


Tofu Benedict with Pumpkin Biscuits, Broccolini & Hollandaise Sauce [Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan]

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The first time I ever had a vegan tofu benedict was at Champs Diner in Brooklyn a few months after first going vegan. This was a time when I knew nothing about cooking and had no idea how amazing vegan food could potentially be. When I tried their tofu benedict I was amazed by how much it tasted just like the eggy vegetarian versions I remembered having before going vegan. It was the ultimate filling, comforting brunch food. Back then, I remember thinking that gourmet restaurant-style vegan food was something I'd only ever be able to enjoy at restaurants because it would be way too complicated to make from scratch. Over the years I've since learned just how easy it can be to recreate some of my old favorites and began experimenting with my own version of this classic brunch recipe. 

Traditional eggs benedict includes ham and this was also true of the vegan version at Champs, but I've always found faux meats unappealing and also not very healthy, so I chose to leave that out of the equation. I also decided to go with a less traditional almond flour and pumpkin biscuit instead of using regular white flour, which adds a nice autumnal twist and makes these biscuits much healthier- and they're also gluten-free! On top of the biscuits, I stacked smoky baked tofu, followed by a creamy, buttery cashew hollandaise sauce.

This recipe is a little nut-heavy with the almond biscuits and the cashew sauce, so it's not going to be the healthiest everyday kind of meal, but it's perfect for serving brunch guests or having a fancy sunday breakfast. While it is higher in fat than most of my recipes, it's still oil-free and contains plenty of fiber to keep your gut flora happy and thriving. 

My favorite topping for this recipe is usually pan-seared broccolini and fresh chives. The broccolini adds a great crunch and texture to the dish, but I have also had some success with using sauteed spinach and layering it underneath the tofu rather than on top. I'd still recommend trying this with broccolini if you can find it though! Regular broccoli won't work for this recipe as it's too thick, so if you can't find broccolini (the long skinny version of broccoli), spinach is the way to go. 

This is my favorite recipe to serve guests, not only because it looks so beautiful, it's also shows how delicious and filling vegan food can be. While there are many parts to the recipe, it's a lot easier to make than it seems at first. Make the biscuits, bake the tofu, blend the sauce, sear the broccolini, and then assemble & serve. I promise the time spent is well worth the effort! 


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