Posts tagged ‘vegan. grain free’

Smoky Broccoli Salad

Growing up, my favorite way to eat broccoli was covered in cheddar cheese. Of course, it was probably more cheese sauce than broccoli but I got a thumbs up from my parents for eating my veggies.

broccoli salad2

Now, my NEW favorite way of enjoying broccoli is raw in this salad…tossed in a delicious sweet n tangy dressing with hints of smoky bacon, scallions, nutty sunflower seeds and a touch of sweet currants or raisins. Sweet, salty, smoky, crunchy and healthy? Yes, it’s possible!

Plus, this dish can easily be made vegetarian or vegan, plus there are options to switch up the ingredients. Dried cranberries or halved grapes can be substituted in place of the currants/raisins. You can swap out the sunflower seeds for slivered almonds, walnuts or pepitas. If you don’t like mayo, just use more olive oil. Add in some smoked cheddar for the bacon if that suites you. Variety and options, you can’t go wrong!

broccoli salad1

Take this salad on your next picnic, potluck or BBQ, it travels well and is easy to prepare. I’ve been enjoying a big bowl as a quick lunch at work but it can be served as a side dish with your favorite summer or spring meal!

Smoky Broccoli Salad 
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Vegetarian/Vegan option, Refined Sugar-free, Quick, Paleo-friendly


2 medium crowns or stalks of broccoli (about 4 cups)
2 scallions, chopped
2 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled/chopped bacon (nitrate free if possible, omit for vegetarian,vegan)*
2-3 Tbsp sunflower seeds (pepitas, slivered almonds or walnuts can be subbed)
2-3 Tbsp currants or raisins (or dried cranberries or halved fresh grapes can be used)**

For the dressing
2 Tbsp mayonnaise or vegan mayo (I’ve used soy-free Vegenaise)
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey or agave (or could use a tiny dash of stevia)
2 -3 tsp dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
a dash of crushed red pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy)


1. Cut off the stems from the broccoli (save for another use) and cut into bite size pieces.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ingredients for the dressing and whisk until combined.
3. Add broccoli, bacon, seeds (or nuts), scallions and currants/raisins. Toss to combine and serve!

Yields 4 1/2 cups

*For vegetarian, you can swap out the bacon for 1/3 cup diced smoked cheddar cheese. If you omit altogether, you will lose the smoky element but that’s ok, it’s still delicious!

**If using fresh grapes, the salad won’t keep as long. Will be best if eaten same day or the next day.

broccoli salad

June 9, 2013 at 10:11 am 2 comments

Mashed Cauliflower “Potato” Bowl

All sorts of cauliflower recipes have been floating around the web, and I’ll admit that I’ve joined the fan club! What an incredible veggie – from sauces and soups to potatoes and pizza crusts, I am impressed with this seemingly ordinary ingredient.

cauliflower mashed bowl 1

This quick and quite filling bowl has been a go-to meal the last few weeks when I feel like I need some extra veggies and still want a satisfying dish. You can switch up the toppings and add-ins to make a southwestern dish or even an Italian or BLT version. While I am pretty routine, I do appreciate mixing things up a bit too :)

cauliflower mashed bowl 2

If you start with the base, –the cauliflower mashed potato recipe– you can customize your dish with your favorite ingredients. It’s flexible…you can serve this as a side dish just as the base, jazz it up with one or two ingredients or make it the main meal with several add-ins and protein of choice if desired. You gotta love options :)

Mashed Cauliflower “Potato” Bowl 
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, Vegan Option, Dairy-Free Option, Soy-free, Nut-free, Vegetarian Option


1 medium head of cauliflower, stem and core removed
1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp Earth Balance, ghee, butter or olive oil (Use Earth Balance or oil for dairy free. I prefer the first 3 options because of the flavor)
garlic salt or sea salt to taste (don’t skimp, it adds flavor)
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp of your favorite fresh chopped herbs – chopped chives, parsley etc (optional)

Your favorite add-ins (see below for different variations)
Italian Chicken Pictured:
baby spinach, sauteed in 1/2 tsp olive oil
julienned sun-dried tomatoes with Italian herbs in olive oil
oregano and basil
diced rotesserie chicken
Daiya (dairy free) shredded cheddar cheese


1. Cut cauliflower into florets and discard or save the stems. Steam for 10-12 minutes until fork tender. Do NOT overcook or the end result will be mushy, if you undercook it the “mashed potatoes” will be grainy. Check the cauliflower at 10 minutes to see what the texture is, if a fork can pierce it easily then it’s done.
2. Drain any excess liquid from your cooked cauliflower (I use a steamer basket) then add to the bowl of a food processor along with the Earth Balance/Butter/Oil and blend until completely smooth. Do not add liquid though, keep processing! You may need to stop and stir a couple times, it may take 5 minutes depending on your processor and amount of veg in the bowl.
3. Season (generously) with pepper and garlic salt (my preference) or sea salt to taste. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in mix-ins OR divide portions into bowls and top with “mix-ins” and serve! If you are adding salty add-ins such as bacon, sausage or cheese afterward, add some salt at the beginning and re-taste after mixing in ingredients.

Variation Add-ins:
BLT Bowl: add 3 slices of cooked, chopped (nitrate-free preferably) bacon, halved grape tomatoes OR chopped sun-dried tomatoes, and sauteed or wilted arugula/spinach or kale
Southwestern Bowl: Add 3 oz cooked chorizo or sausage, shredded cheddar cheese (optional), chopped scallions, 1 anaheim pepper, deseeded, diced sauteed, and 1/2 cup corn kernels
Mediterranean Bowl: Add 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, feta cheese or goat’s feta, toasted pine-nuts and chopped chives.

cauliflower mashed bowl bite

June 3, 2013 at 11:28 am 4 comments

Soft Banana Bread Cookies (Vegan, Grain-free)

I love buying a large bunch of bananas. I only eat but one or two in its fresh form, so when they reach the “ugly” stage and are a little too mushy and sweet for eating, I have a good excuse to bake.

banana bread cookies1

Not only are these soft, cake-like cookies grain-free and vegan, they are sweetened only with fruit — you guessed it, bananas! Instead of baking an entire loaf of banana bread, I opted for built-in portion control in the form on cookies :) Soft, muffin-like cookies that are reminiscent of the popular quick bread most of know and love. I added chopped walnuts and a handful of golden raisins for some texture, but feel free to swap out your favorite add-ins such as chocolate chips, pecans, dried cherries or even chopped candied ginger for a different twist.

With a short list of ingredients and a snap to prepare, you can feel good about these treats…and even eat them for breakfast :)

banana bread cookies2

Soft Banana Bread Cookies (Vegan, Grain-free)
Gluten-free, Vegan, Egg-free, Dairy-free, Peanut-free, Grain-free, Quick


2 1/2 cups almond flour or almond meal
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon (can add a pinch of other spices like nutmeg for a different twist too!)
1/4 -1/2 tsp sea salt
2 ripe large bananas or 3 small, mashed
1/4 cup creamy almond butter (or other nut butter)
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 raisins (I used golden raisins) or other dried fruit or mini chocolate chips/cacao nibs, optional


1. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (almond flour through salt)>
3. In a separate bowl, mash together the banana, nut butter and vanilla.
4. Stir in dry ingredients until a dough forms.
5. Using a tablespoon (I oiled mine so the batter didn’t stick), scoop dough into rounded tablespoons on prepared baking sheet (or oil your hands well and rolls into balls if preferred but the dough is sticky!).
6. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden brown on top.  Remove from oven and let cool completely (be patient) before removing from baking sheet, otherwise they will fall apart :) Enjoy!

Yields 28-30 cookies

banana bread cookies bite

April 16, 2013 at 9:47 am 7 comments

Pot Pie Soup (Grain-Free)

Pot pie is one of those comforting meals that I could eat in any form – casseroles, hand-held, soups, mmmm. Fresh vegetables, diced chicken, creamy potatoes and a soothing base combine for a one-dish meal that screams YUM in my book. I lightened up this dish without sacrificing taste and included options for multiple dietary needs :)  pot pie soupI’ve had my mind set on making a version of chicken pot pie soup for months. After too many chilly winter days, I finally got the time (and energy) to cook this homemade meal that was just as delicious as I’d hoped it would be. I had planned to make some almond flour biscuits alongside the soup, but time got away from me so I opted for crackers instead. Next time I whip up this dish, a batch of biscuits will be on the agenda! 
pot pie soup3

Pot Pie Soup
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Dairy-Free Option, Vegetarian Option


3 Tbsp arrowroot starch or tapioca starch (can sub your fav gluten free flour & increase to 4-5 Tbsp but wouldn’t be grain-free)
2 Tbsp butter, ghee, Earth Balance or olive oil (use Earth Balance or olive oil for dairy free)*
2-3 cups chicken broth or homemade stock, divided (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option) – depends on how thick you like it
4 cups milk of choice (cows, unsweetened soy, coconut, rice, almond or a combo)
2 celery stalks, small diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
8 oz sliced mushrooms
2  carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper plus more to taste
1/2 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
pinch of dried rosemary
1 1/2 tsp dried parsley or 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
4 yukon gold potatoes, diced small
3-4 cups cooked chicken or turkey breast, diced small (for vegetarian could sub 2 cup cooked lentils but may need to adjust seasoning)
1/2 cup frozen peas


1. Combine 1/2 cup of broth with the arrowroot (or tapioca) in a small bowl and stir until blended. Set aside.
2. In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat 1 Tbsp butter/ghee/oil over medium heat. Add celery, onion, mushrooms, carrots and sweat until onions and vegetables are cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.
3. Toss in garlic, salt, pepper and herbs and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
4. Add broth, milk and potatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. Add chicken and cook another 5 minutes.
5. Add the frozen peas and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
6. Whisk the arrowroot-broth mixture again and slowly add to the soup, and cook for 3 minutes until soup is thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!

*I recommend using butter, ghee or Earth Balance to give a richness and buttery flavor to this dish :) Feel free to use the olive oil if you prefer though!

pot pie soup1

March 9, 2013 at 6:42 pm 4 comments

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