Vegan Taco Soup

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Despite all the vegan recipes I post here, I am not actually vegan. Someday I’ll devote a whole blog post to this topic, but for now here is a quick rundown of why. I grew up vegetarian and to this day continue to eat this way. On top of that, as a kid, I developed an allergy to dairy, so that made it easier to just tell people that I ate a primarily vegan diet. As humans, we like to categorize and label things and so I think it was easier for people to understand how I ate when I gave them a label. So for a long time, I said I pretty much ate a vegan diet, which is true… except I still consume honey and the occasional egg. But having said that, for environmental and ethical reasons I do my best to eat raw + local honey and free-range, organic eggs (my favorite are ones from the farmer’s market, but I can’t always get them) But this is all besides the point… my point here, which I will go into further depth in another post, is that I eat a primarily plant-based diet. BUT, the important thing here, is to eat whatever feels good to you. Eating healthy is important to me, so is not eating meat, and lastly, I just don’t eat dairy because I just don’t want to die. But society doesn’t have a label for me, so I just say I’m mostly vegan or plant-based, hence why a lot of my recipes are vegan, but the occasional ones have eggs! Anyone, this vegan taco soup is a souper rad meal, you should totally give it a try.

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So, I really loved sour cream before going plant-based, but now I go for two options, the store-bought vegan sour cream, which although good, has a lot of ingredients and comes packaged in plastic. Or, the other option is making your own vegan cashew sour cream!

The recipe is super simple. Take 1 cup of cashews and soak them in boiling water for 30mins, drain the water off and throw them into a blender with the juice of one lemon, 1/2 tsp salt, and enough water to blend. Blend everything until thick, smooth, and creamy in a high-speed blender and feel free to add more lemon or more salt to taste.

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Super simple, super easy, and the leftovers make a great lunch.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 salsa
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp veggie stock concentrate
  • 1-2 cups water
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • toppings – cashew sour cream, blue corn tortilla chips, sliced green onions, fresh lime juice

In a large saucepan, sauté the diced onion in olive oil for a few minutes until they begin to soften, next add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, simmer for 10-15mins. Serve hot with crushed tortillas, green onions, cashew sour cream, and fresh lime juice.

 

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trash panda’s delight

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Trash panda’s delight, a vegan’s take on the garbage plate. So it is pretty far from the actual ingredients of a garbage plate, but I like to think the concept is similar. And in all honesty I didn’t know what to call this. So trash panda’s delight it is. An ode to my favorite neighborhood alleyway trash pandas.

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baked potato slices + vegan “meat” + broccoli + avocado + cashew cream + avocado 

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the vegan “meat” in the making [tempeh, mushrooms, onions, garlic]
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Serves 2-4

  • 1 sweet potato + 1 russet potato (or two smaller yellow potatoes)
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 2 crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup tempeh
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews*
  • 1/2-1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 avocado diced
  • 1 green onion sliced

Preheat oven to 425°F, clean and slice the potatoes, leaving the skin on for added nutrients. Toss the sliced potatoes in a pinch of salt and a few tablespoons of olive oil, then spread evenly on a lined baking tray. (I like to use my Silpat because it’s reusable.) Then place in the oven for 15-30min until soft and slightly crispy.

While the potatoes are baking, dice the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Add the mushrooms and onion into a pan with around a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt + ground pepper. While that is sautéing, crumble in the tempeh and continue to cook for another 2mins, then add the minced garlic and cook for another few minutes. Set aside.

Cut up the broccoli and steam until tender. (Don’t overcook!) Set aside.

Next, add lemon juice, soaked cashews, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of salt into the blender. Blend until smooth, adding more water to achieve desired consistency. It should be creamy, but not too thick.

Now time to build. Start with potatoes, next broccoli, then tempeh mushroom mixture, drizzle over sauce, and top with the green onions and avocado.

*If you don’t have a high-speed blender, I would recommend soaking overnight. Otherwise, 30mins to an hour in boiling hot water should work just fine.

Green Smoothie #1

When I really think about it, I drink a lot of green smoothies, but the truth is most my green smoothies don’t look so green, and that’s ok! Yeah, it is super cool to take an instagram of your bright green smoothie, but I got a little bored of not being able to put berries in my smoothie for fear of turning it brown. Well I fear no more, because lately I’ve been making this not so green, “green” smoothie daily.

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The ginger and the juice in this smoothie isn’t really optional, unless you would like to taste the full earthiness the kale and spirulina have to offer.

Ingredients

  • 2 stalks of kale
  • 1 cup of juice (orange or apple)
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1-2 cups frozen berries (blueberries + strawberries)
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tsp barely grass juice powder
  • 1 tbsp homemade coconut yogurt*

Blend the kale, juice, and ginger until smooth. (You can skip this step, but be forewarned, you might find pieces of kale in your smoothie.) Then add in the berries and green powders and blend until smooth. If needed, add more juice or water to reach desired consistency. Top with coconut yogurt + enjoy!

 

lentil curry + crispy tofu

This is honestly one of the most fusion meals I’ve created…but it is so so good. The curry almost feels thai, yet also indian, with lentils which remind me of dal bhat, and then crispy tofu takes us back to thai again. All around its a solid meal filled with acres of plant based protein.

Sautéed green veggies for the side.

This recipe was adapted from Anett Velsberg’s peanut lentil curry.

Ingredients:

– LENTIL CURRY –

2 tbsp coconut oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced

2 carrots sliced

1-2 potatoes diced

1 tsp smashed coriander seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 cup red lentils

2 cups water + 1 tbsp veggie stock concentrate*

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

– TOFU –

1 tbsp olive oil

1 pack of extra firm tofu

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp tamari

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the spices, are fragrant. Add the vegetables, lentils, stock and crushed tomatoes. Stir and place the lid on. Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

While the curry is cooking, preheat oven to 400°F. Next, wrap a towel around the tofu and press under something heavy for 5-10mins. Dice into medium-sized cubes and toss with olive oil, nutritional yeast, and tamari. Spread evenly onto a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20mins until desired crispiness is reached

Add the coconut milk and mix well. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then top with lime juice and crispy tofu. Serve with rice, steamed or sautéed  green veggies, and flatbreads. Enjoy!

*This veggies stock concentrate has a lot of flavor and salt, so I definitely would recommend using it. But if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it then use normal veggie broth (instead of all the water) and add some extra salt.

Sprout Wrap

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This wrap makes is easy, delicious, and transportable! And who doesn’t love sprouts?

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I made this recipe when I was eating eggs, but you could easily substitute the scrambled eggs with tempeh or tofu.

Ingredients

  • wrap – my favorite is Mountain Bread wraps
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • scrambled eggs or your choice of protein
  • kale slaw
  • Brianna’s French vinaigrette salad dressing

Cook your protein source, mix the dressing with the kale slaw, then stack it all into the wrap and roll it up! It is that simple!

 

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | A Note on Sugar

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It has been said that sugar is the cigarettes of our generation and honestly I didn’t really realize how addictive it was until I tried to stop eating it. And this is even after I’d given up most refined sugars. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but I’ve always preferred more natural sugars. I’ve had several birthdays during my childhood where I had half a watermelon as my cake, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t consume my fair share of sugar. I often load up on lots of “natural sugars”, like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dates, honey, coconut sugar… And even those are unhealthy if consumed regularly. So in the spirit of health, I’ve decided to share one of my favorite sugarless recipes that can still qualify as a dessert.

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 water
  • 6-9 tb chia seeds*
  • 1 lemon zested
  • frozen or fresh berries

Blend the coconut milk and water until smooth. Pour out into a container and mix in the chia seeds and lemon zest. Pour into storage jars and leave in the fridge until the chia seeds have soaked up all the liquid and expanded. Top with fresh or frozen berries.

*depending on how thick or thin you like your pudding

Smoothie Recipes

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Smoothies are a really great way to add nutrition into your body fast. Without them, I don’t know if I would be surviving college right now. And the great thing about them, is that once you get the hang of it, you’ll be a master at throwing stuff into the blender and having a delicious smoothie in minutes. But incase you aren’t that good at improvising, I’ve collected a few of my favorite smoothie recipes. And here is a cool green smoothie chart guide. Continue reading

Vegan What I Ate Wednesday #1

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7:30am: I usually like to start out my day with a big smoothie. Today it contained 2 oranges, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 frozen banana, and water.

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11:00am: I got hungry in my wellness for living class, so I snacked on some tamari almond while learning about fats. It was almost like I had planned it.

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12:30pm: I was feeling like eating lots of green food for lunch. I started out with a big salad that had 1 cup spinach, 1 cup romaine mix, 1/2 avocado, 1/3 cup cucumber slices, 1/2 lemon juiced, and 1/4 cup raw sauerkraut. Then I ate a cup of brown rice with braggs amino acid along with 1 cup of steamed broccoli.

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1:00pm For my dessert after lunch I had a bartlett pear. It wasn’t the ripest, despite being yellow, but nevertheless it was still delicious.

3:00pm: Got my workout in with a 1.5mile run.

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4:00pm: Post run oatmeal, if you know me, it wouldn’t be a day without a bowl of oats.

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5:30pm: Pasta with broccoli and mushrooms from the cafeteria. Granted I did just eat oatmeal, but carbs are life and I felt like pasta.

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8:15pm: 2 dates with coconut flakes for dessert

9:00pm: vitamin D & vitamin b12

This is a realistic what I eat in a day, I am not perfect, but I try my best to meet the RDA requirements with whole plant based foods while still eating on a college diet. It is possible to eat healthy and vegan in college, you just have to be committed to it. Above I have posted what my day of eating looks like when I plug into Cron-o-meter. I didn’t quite meet all my targets, but I was close at 99%

Green Goodness Salad

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This salad is my go to dinner in college. It is quick, healthy, and delicious and it helps use up some of my required meals at school. Every week I stock up on saurkraut, avocados, and lemons. Then every night I take my metal lunch box container and pick up whatever looks good at the salad bar. Usually it is a mix of spring salad greens, spinach, and a romaine lettuce mix. I also get whatever vegetables look good. This time it was broccoli and cucumbers. Continue reading

Weekly Grocery Haul 1//17

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local frozen berries, oat bran, flaxseed meal, kale, pink lady apples, peanut butter, lemons, avocado, onion, turmeric, sauerkraut, carrots, ginger, & oranges.

Each week I make a trip off campus to the local health food store to get food that supplements my meal plan that I am required to have here at my university. The meal plan includes 8 meals each week and some money to spend for food on campus. Usually I use that money to buy kombucha and use my meal plan to get things like salad and more fruit.

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oranges, avocados, limes, ginger, bananas, apples, tempeh, almond milk, & peanut butter

Now that I am in my second quarter of college, my grocery hauls are starting to get pretty consistent. Each week I like to keep quick healthy food on hand to make it easier to eat nutritious food when I am busy. Here are some of my standbys week to week… Continue reading