Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

White Chocolate Mint Tea Latte (Vegan)

Cool fall mornings are my favorite…when my cozy bed tries to lure me back in, yet I slip on sweats and slippers and head to the kitchen to brew a warm cup of tea. I find it energizing and invigorating! While I love my morning smoothies, I need to heat up first with something hot when it’s chilly in the house.

white choc mint tea latte
Why not make something nourishing and comforting at the same time? This minty latte has healthy fats from the hemp and cacao butter, peppermint that is soothing for your tummy and digestion, and contains a little protein and fiber from the hemp hearts. This latte is also caffeine-free (unless you use a green or black tea) so you can enjoy a cuppa as a treat after dinner if you’d like!

This quick and easy drink is ideal for sipping while you’re curled up on the couch reading a book, watching tv or having some downtime. If you aren’t a fan of white chocolate, feel substitute carob powder (for AIP) or raw cacao powder for a darker chocolate version and add a touch of coconut cream for richness.
white choc mint tea latte2

White Chocolate Mint Tea Latte
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Caffeine-free option, Paleo-friendly, AIP-friendly option, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free, Egg-free, Vegetarian, Vegan


16 oz boiling water
2-3 bags of herbal peppermint tea (I have some brands of mint tea that are stronger than others, if you prefer a more prominent flavor, use 3)
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 Tbsp raw cacao butter*
2 Tbsp hemp hearts (omit for AIP, and substitute 2-3 Tbsp coconut cream)
2 tsp agave, coconut nectar, honey (don’t use if vegan) or a pinch of stevia (adjust sweetener to taste)

1. Steep tea bags in boiling water until desired strength, usually 3-5 minutes for herbal tea.
2. Add prepared tea along with the remaining ingredients in a blender (I use a high-powered blender such as Vitamix) and blend until smooth. Enjoy while hot or warm!

*For a chocolately version, use raw cacao powder or carob (for AIP and caffeine-free). For a thicker, creamier result add a couple tablespoons of coconut cream.

October 1, 2015 at 8:38 pm 2 comments

Parsnip-Zucchini Hummus (Bean-free)

I’m notorious for grabbing the quickest, easiest option in the fridge to snack on when I’m hungry. Just like shopping at the grocery store on an empty stomach, my least healthy food choices are made when my blood sugar is low and/or I am unprepared. If I wash and pre-cut veggies, there’s a much better chance of grabbing them than if I had to wash and prep them, and same goes for an accompanying dip.

parsnip hummus 1

As much as I’d like to smother EVERYTHING in traditional hummus, legumes haven’t been sitting too well with me. I’ll indulge on occasion — just because they are SO good… and meaty, velvety beans are an ingredient I really enjoy. Instead, I reserve beans for a rare occasion, and have tried different versions of hummus for an alternative veggie dip.

When I found myself needing to prep veggies and make a dip for the week for lunch,  I knew I had to whip up something to satisfy my hummus craving. I blended some leftover roasted parsnips with some raw zucchini, and I was surprised at how addicting this dip is! I took the traditional flavors of hummus and spiced it up a bit with a chile-infused oil from our lovely Just Tapped oil and vinegar store (love these owners!). You can use plain olive oil or avocado oil if you’d like and sprinkle in some crushed red pepper or omit the pepper altogether and add a bit of lemon zest and extra lemon juice for a nice zing.

parsnip hummus1

If you haven’t experimented much with parsnips, they are the BOMB! A sweeter, yet slightly spicy cousin of the carrot, parsnips have a velvety texture when they are roasted much like a winter squash. Simply roasting parsnips with a little oil and sea salt make some epic “parsnip fries” and a great side at dinner or a hearty snack when you need a starch fix.

This parsnip hummus is slightly sweet yet spicy with a smooth creamy texture, perfect for a filling snack or as part of a meal. Serve with your favorite chopped veggies, use in your favorite wrap, smear over gluten-free crackers, or dip with plantain chips or sweet potato chips!

parsnip hummus2

Parsnip-Zucchini Hummus (Bean-free)
Nut-free, Paleo-friendly, Nightshade-free option, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Sugar-free, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Vegetarian, Vegan


2 medium parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 medium zucchini, peeled and cubed (can use yellow squash as well)
2 Tbsp tahini*
2 1/2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil, divided (I used chile-infused)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp ground cumin
juice from one lemon
dash of cayenne pepper (omit if you don’t like spicy)
1/4 tsp sea salt plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Tear off a large piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper and place cubed parsnips in the center. Drizzle 1/2 Tbsp of oil over the top, then create a foil or parchment packet and roast 25-30 minutes until tender and lightly golden brown. Remove from heat.
  2. In the bowl of  food processor or a high-powered blender (ie. Vitamix), add the following in order: lemon juice, garlic, tahini, 2 Tbsp oil, spices and zucchini. Blend until smooth. If you are using a blender, you may need to use the tamper.
  3. Add the roasted parsnips and process until smooth. If you prefer a chunkier hummus, pulse to desired texture. Season with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice if preferred. Refrigerate to chill for an hour or two, then enjoy!Notes:*The tahini I buy (in bulk) is really runny, if yours is thicker than a creamy salad dressing, you may need to add an extra drizzle of olive oil.

parsnip hummus close

September 25, 2015 at 7:58 pm Leave a comment

West African Stew

Our local health food store has this luscious West African Peanut Soup that they feature in their hot bar on occasion. There’s something about the soup that screams “comfort” (…and eat me of course!). It combines some of my favorite foods in one dish- sweet potatoes, nut or seed butters, greens and coconut milk.

west african stew close

After inquiring about the ingredients used in their soup, I knew I could come up with my own version that I could make anytime…without having to wait whether it’s offered on the menu that day. Dare I say that I might even like this version better? Maybe because I added some of my favorite veggies and punched up the creaminess with the coconut milk…I even enjoyed this cold right from the fridge for lunch one day when I didn’t have a way to heat up the soup at work.

west african stew 1

This stew (or hearty soup) is a great way to kick off this Fall season and warm up on chilly evenings :)

If you aren’t familiar with Berbere, it’s a lovely warm Ethiopian spice mixture with a bit of heat made with chile powder, paprika, ginger, coriander and several other spices. It pairs really well with the sweet potatoes, tomato, nut butter and veggies and can be used in a variety of ingredients – . I purchased this spice mix in bulk, but if you are looking to make your own, try this homemade mix.
west african stew 2West African Stew
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Nut-free Option, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Paleo-Friendly

1 Tbsp coconut oil or other neutral oil
1-2 medium carrots, small diced
1 large or 2 small stalks of celery, diced
1 small yellow or white onion, diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled (if desired and cubed, about 4-5 cups, I used a combo of white and orange flesh)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced (omit if you don’t like spicy)
1 14.5oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can full-fat coconut milk
32 oz low-sodium vegetable broth or stock
2 tbsp Berbere spice mix (I like the flavor punch, but you can use 1 tbsp if you like less spicy, mild flavors)
1-2 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos, gluten-free soy sauce tamari or coconut aminos (use coconut aminos for soy-free & paleo)
3/4 cup chunky or creamy peanut butter, sunflower seed butter (for nut-free) OR almond butter* (I’ve tried all 3 versions)
2-3 cups greens, rough chopped (chard, collards, kale, spinach)-optional
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
juice from one small lime

For serving (Optional but oh-so-good)
Cooked rice, quinoa or your favorite grain (omit for grain-free and/or Paleo)
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Chopped green onion
Chopped peanuts, slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
Chopped cilantro


  1. In a soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add garlic, sweet potato chunks, and jalapeño and saute another 3-4 minutes until onions are cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour in broth, coconut milk, tomatoes (undrained), Berbere spice mix, and Braggs/aminos and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, roughly 20 minutes.
  4. Remove 1/2 cup of the hot soup broth and place in a small bowl. Stir in the nut/seed butter and whisk until smooth (this helps prevent clumping and even distribution), then add back to the soup and stir again.
  5. Toss in the chopped greens and cook for a few minutes wilted.
  6. Stir in the lime juice and chopped cilantro. Taste and season with additional lime juice, liquid aminos, salt and pepper if desired.
  7. Ladle into bowls, garnish with grains, green onions, chopped nuts/seeds and additional cilantro. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the top and enjoy!

*I’ve made variations of this soup…feel free to make it your own! I’ll add in sliced mushrooms, swap out orange for purple sweet potatoes, add in greens, throw in some leftover cooked grains if I need to use some up, etc.

west african stew

September 21, 2015 at 6:21 pm Leave a comment

Garlic Chive Pesto Pasta with Langostino Lobster

Costco carries wild-caught langostino lobster tails, and my better half,  his daughter and I are all seafood lovers so naturally we could not resist this purchase. While it’s a bit pricier than chicken or veggies, we stretched the 2 pounds of this sweet langostino over three meals…and this garlic chive pesto pasta was one of the delicious results.

I rarely eat pasta, maybe twice a year when a random craving hits or I come across a “fun buy” and I give into indulgence. We bought this scrumptious gluten-free garlic chive pasta at Pike’s Place Market on our Seattle vacation this summer and “pasta guy” convinced us to sample a variety including “dark chocolate”. While I was tempted to buy anything chocolate, we settled on a bag of garlic chive “rooster comb”…simply because you can’t go wrong with Italian! Any gluten-free pasta can be used but our specialty pasta added some extra pizazz and flavor to the dish.
lobster garlic pasta salad

While I prefer pasta warm in general, this dish can also be eaten chilled. I devoured my leftovers straight from the fridge for lunch the next day and it was delightful :) If you are a vegetarian or vegan or just downright want more vegetables, omit the lobster and add another favorite veggie when you saute the summer squash. Broccoli, asparagus, zucchini and mushrooms would all be delicious additions!

Don’t be deterred from the longer direction list — essentially you blend all the ingredients for the pesto, cook the pasta and saute the veggies with lobster then toss everything together. It’s not as complicated as it may look at first glance!

Garlic Chive Pesto Pasta with Langostino Lobster
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Vegetarian & Vegan option, Sugar-free, Peanut-free, Nightshade-free, Egg-free option


2/3 lb wild caught langostino lobster tails (omit for vegan/vegetarian or sub shrimp if preferred)
9 oz gluten free garlic chive pasta* or your favorite gluten-free pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 yellow squash, diced (can substitute or add zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli etc)
3 cups spinach, baby chard or kale
2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Slices of fresh lemon for serving
Additional pine nuts for serving (optional)

For the pesto:
1 1/4 cups fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts (or cashews)
fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
1 large garlic clove, minced
large pinch of sea salt (~1/4 tsp or more to taste)
4 Tbsp olive oil

To make the pesto:
1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the pine nuts for a few minutes, but watch carefully since they burn quickly! You can skip this step but the toasted nuts adds another dimension to the pesto.

2. In a high-powered blender or food processor, combine basil through salt and blend for 15 seconds. While the blender or food processor is running, pour in the olive oil and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can pulse all ingredients together for a more rustic pesto until you reach your desired texture. Taste pesto and adjust with more salt and lemon if needed.

For pasta
1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of lightly salted water to a rolling boil on high. Add pasta and stir for the first 15 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-high and start the cooking timer once the water returns to a slow simmer or gentle rolling boil. Cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente, stirring occasionally.

2. While pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced squash and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes. Toss in lobster and greens and cook until lobster is warmed and greens are wilted, a couple minutes, then remove from heat.

2. Drain pasta over a colander, reserving a few tablespoons of pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta back to large pot along with 1-2 Tbsp cooking liquid and pesto, then toss to combine. Add Lobster-veggie mix and fresh chives and toss to combine again. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

4. Portion into serving bowls, sprinkle with additional pine nuts (if desired) and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Enjoy!

Serves 4-5 main dish servings

lobster garlic pasta 2

*This garlic chive pasta contains egg whites, for an egg-free version substitute your favorite gluten-free vegan pasta –penne, spaghetti, elbow etc. will all work here!

Notes: If you can tolerate dairy, this dish would pair well with a sprinkle of parmesan or asiago.

August 31, 2015 at 12:03 pm 2 comments

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