Chickpea Salad Sandwich



This delicious recipe for mashed chickpea salad came from The Simple Veganista.

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and mashed with a fork or potato masher
  • 1/2 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/4  cup scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup or so hummus or tahini (any vegan mayo works too)*
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons mustard (stoneground or dijon)
  • sea salt & cracked pepper, to taste
  • dash of garlic powder
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • small handful pepitos (pumpkin seeds), optional
  • paprika/smoked paprika, garnish

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, scoop onto your favorite bread, and enjoy! (This would taste equally good atop a bed of lettuce!)


Vegetarian Chili


Try this meatless version the next time you are in the mood for chili and you may be surprised at how hearty and tasty it is. Oh, and it’s loaded with protein, fiber, and vitamins AND almost completely fat free!  Of course, I must give credit to my friends over at Forks Over Knives for the inspiration to make this dish. To get your vegan inspiration, please check out this amazing cookbook: Forks Over Knives, The Cookbook!

Ingredients (about 6 servings):

  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (You can use any color. I used one green and one red.)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbs chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne (if you prefer your chili a little on the spicy side)
  • 2 cups lentils ( I use an even mixture of red and green)
  • 1 box crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups cooked red kidney beans
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste

Saute the chopped vegetables and garlic in 1 cup of the vegetable broth until soft. Add the seasonings and continue to cook for a minute or two. Add the lentils, beans, and tomatoes, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add the salt and pepper to taste and the lime zest and juice.

If you would like to keep this dish vegan, you can top with chopped green  and red onions, guacamole, and maybe even some shredded “cheese.” I recommend the Daiya brand as it melts very nicely.

Otherwise, top with your favorite chili toppings and enjoy!

End-of-Summer Marinara Sauce

All of the hot weather we had  up until this week in the mid-Atlantic has given our Summer gardens a few extra weeks to flourish. A friend and I did a little picking yesterday and this was our incredible harvest! (Minus the apples, which will became an apple crisp )


What else could we possibly do but make up a couple of batches of sauce?


This is a VERY simple marinara, using about 18 fresh tomatoes, a chopped onion, a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, 3 cloves of chopped garlic, a bay leaf, a handful of chopped fresh parsley, and sea salt to taste. The trick is to let it simmer for hours and hours and to saute the garlic and onion for several minuted before adding the remaining ingredients. We decided that we wanted a less “chunky” sauce, so we put the peeled tomatoes in a blender to puree before cooking. Incredibly yummy!

Leeks in Olive Oil (Pirasa)


This traditional Turkish dish from the Black Sea region is a beautiful side dish or main course. My husband informs me that it is usually served cold, topped with lemon juice, and he loves it served with breaded and fried mackerel or grilled chicken. Pirasa can also be served hot and is good in all seasons.


  • 3 leeks, cut in 1/3 inch rounds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped in rounds
  • 1/4 cup brown rice
  • 1/3 cup unfiltered olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp agave nectar (in place of sugar)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a pot and saute onions until they turn clear. Add carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add leeks and stir for a couple more minutes. Add water, agave, salt and pepper. When the water boils add rice and lemon juice, cover, and simmer until the rice is cooked.
Pırasa is best when it’s served cold with a little lemon juice on top. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


What a great way to celebration the arrival of Autumn, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies! This recipe is gluten-free and almost completely refined-sugar-free (only in the semi-sweet chocolate chips, so you could substitute carob chips or unsweetened dark chocolate chips if you wish).


  • 2 Cups Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 Cup Agave Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Oil (whichever oil you prefer, preferably Coconut Oil)
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Sauce (see my recipe for Homemade Apple Sauce)
  • 1/4 Milk (you can use cow milk or any milk substitute, such as almond or coconut milk)
  • 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (you may use any type you wish. I used semi-sweet dark.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In one bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. In another bowl, mix the pumpkin, vanilla, agave, oil, apple sauce, and milk. Slowly mix the wet mixture in with the dry mixture with a pastry mixer until well blended. Add the chocolate chips and mix. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a soup spoon to scoop the dough and place on the parchment paper. You should be able to get about 20-25 cookies if you use a soup spoon to size and form the cookies. Bake for about 13 minutes. Enjoy!


Spinach Cupcakes

Adapted from the Weelicious recipe for Spinach Cake Muffins. These muffins are so yummy and a great way to add some greens into your kiddos’ diet. In an effort to reduce the amount of refined sugar that we eat, I substituted the white sugar in the Weelicious recipe for agave nectar. You could also use brown rice syrup. The trick is to know the conversions – see here. I also made my own applesauce from scratch instead of using store bought. See my applesauce recipe here.


Homemade Applesauce

This is a quick and easy way to whip up some healthy, sugar-free applesauce. It tastes delicious all by itself or it can be used in recipes.


  • 4 apples (I use whatever variety happens to be in my fruit basket)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (Optional)

Peel, core, and chop the apples. Place all ingredients in a pot and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until apples are soft. For a more chunky consistency, mash with a fork. If you like a smoother applesauce, use an immersion blender to mix. Enjoy!






Homemade Granola Bars with Almonds, Pumpkin Seeds, and Cranberries


This is a filling, healthy snack or addition to a lunchbox and a great way to welcome Fall!


  • 2 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 1 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 3 Tbs Unsalted Butter
  • 2/3 Cup Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Dried Cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, almonds, and pumpkin seeds and spread on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from heat and put in a large bowl.

In a saucepan, heat honey, brown sugar, vanilla over medium heat for a minute. Pour over oat mixture. Mix in the cranberries.

Line an 8 x 13 in baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Pour in the mixture and press into pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely and cut into rectangles. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Banana Cupcakes with Blueberries


Adapted from

Ingredients (12-15 servings):

  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups blueberries (you can substitute chocolate chips for the blueberries for a richer treat!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.

Line muffin pan with cupcake liners and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

Divide batter into 12-15 cups.

Bake 20-30 minutes (until the edges start to brown).

115 calories, 21g carbs, 3g fat, 4g protein




Mom’s Polenta with Rice and Beans

This delicious and nutritious treat is from The China Study Cookbook. It is a polenta casserole with short-grain brown rice, black beans, garlic, onions, tomatoes, and salsa, topped with homemade guacamole. It contains just a pinch of salt and gets all of its flavor from the cilantro in the salsa, the garlic, and chili powder. So yummy and filling!


Garden-Fresh Marinara with Whole Wheat Spaghetti

My daughter loves to go out to the garden and pick whatever is ripe.  Right now, that happens to be tomatoes. She came in the house the other day with bags loaded with tomatoes – Roma, Cherry, Celebrity, Champion. I had no idea how I was going to use all of those beautiful tomatoes. One can only eat so many salads and sandwiches!  So, my husband and I decided to make a batch of homemade marinara sauce. We were able to pull a couple of onions out of the garden and we had some fresh garlic from a neighbor’s garden handy. We also have three beautiful basil plants as well as a parsley plant on the deck. Here’s what we threw together, and, as you can imagine, our house smells like a Tuscan kitchen in summer time!

  • 10-12 tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 small onions, chopped (if you are using a conventionally-sized onion, use about 1/2 – 1 onion)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • sea salt, to taste
  • fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn or chopped
  • 2-3 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup unfiltered olive oil


First, immerse your tomatoes in rapidly boiling water for one minute. Have a large bowl filled with ice cubes and water ready. After your tomatoes have boiled for a minute, use tongs to place the tomatoes in the ice water bath. Remove the tomatoes from the ice water. The skins should peel off easily now.

Peel the tomatoes and remove the seeds. You can either place the tomatoes in a blender (I used my NutriBullet) or chop them up. We did a mixture of about 3/4 pureed and 1/4 chopped.

In the meantime, chop the onions. Place about 2 tbs of unfiltered olive oil in a pot and warm over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until they turn clear. Be careful not to brown the onions. Add the tomato sauce.

Add the chopped garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and parsley and lower heat to low setting. Let cook for several hours (the longer the better!). We added olive oil as the sauce cooked, because it thickens up a lot.

Cook your pasta per package directions and enjoy!




Lentil Salad with Lemon and Fresh Herbs


This dish came out of my favorite cookbook, Forks Over Knives, which I HIGHLY recommend if you are looking for some easy, delicious plant-based recipes.

The lentils have a light lemon-cilantro-mint flavor and the arugula adds a nice complimentary peppery taste. This is a very nice, light summer dish.

The recipe does not call for tomatoes, but my garden is overflowing with them at the moment, so I decided to add a few 🙂


Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Saffron


I was inspired to make this dish by a recipe on The Kind Life.  I followed the recipe almost to a tee, except that I substituted quinoa for the couscous, Melt Organic butter substitute for the Earth’s Balance spread, and I served it over a bed of arugula. Splendid!

Zucchini “Spaghetti” with Shiitake and Spinach Marinara

A friend gave me the idea to use shredded zucchini as a replacement for spaghetti noodles, and a few days later my mother bestowed upon me the biggest zucchini I have EVER seen (grown in her friend’s garden)!  I guess it was meant to be!



(This photo does not even do justice to the actual size and weight of this beauty!)

So, anyway, I shredded the beautiful zucchini using a run-of-the-mill cheese grater and sauteed the shreds in a large frying pan with about 1 Tbs of unfiltered olive oil for about 10 minutes.

Before that, I placed a box of Pomi Strained Tomatoes in a pot. To that I added about 1/2 cup of diced red onion, 4 cloves of garlic – diced, about 1 cup diced grape tomatoes, about 1/2 cup diced shiitake mushrooms (fresh and local from my favorite market!), 1 Tbs of chopped fresh basil, 1/2 Tbs of dried oregano, and a couple of handfuls of spinach – torn. I let that simmer for about 20 minutes while I shredded and cooked the zucchini.

Voila! An easy, nutritious, delicious meal…


Frozen Fruit Pops

Kids love a nice frozen treat on a hot summer day. Let’s give them something yummy and healthy. Instead of reaching for those store-bought frozen pops, let’s do something better!

This is the ingredient list of a popular frozen pop treat. Do you really want to feed these ingredients to your kids? I don’t, so we made our own!

  • Water
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup*
  • 2% or less of the following:
  • Apple Juice
  • Pear Juice
  • Flavors Natural and Artificial*
  • Citric Acid
  • Sodium Benzoate*
  • Potassium Sorbate*
  • Red Dye #40*
  • Yellow Dye # 6*
  • Blue Dye #1*

* YIKES! Here is our list of ingredients:

  • Orange Juice (ingredients: filtered water, orange juice concentrate)
  • Organic Pineapple Chunks
  • Organic Strawberry Slices

That sounds a bit healthier, don’t you think?  Oh, and by the way, they taste SOOOOOOOO much better than the store-bough pops! Try your own with your families favorite juice (just try to use one that has no added sugar or colors) and favorite summer fruits!




Turkish Red Lentil Soup

Lentils are little powerhouses loaded with fiber, iron, protein, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. They pack a powerful nutritional punch and they fill you up nicely!  This recipe adds some Vitamin C by way of lemon juice which further increases the amount of available iron that lentils deliver. They also deliver more B vitamins than any other plant or legume. This is especially important for those of us who have cut back on or cut out animal protein completely. Enjoy!

Turkish Red Lentil Soup:
(Serves 4-6)

  • 1 cup Red Lentils
  • 4 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 2 Carrots, grated
  • 1 Large White or Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbs Unfiltered Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Tomato Paste
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic
  • Lemon Wedges

Saute the chopped onions in olive oil until soft. Add the grated carrots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add the lentils, vegetable stock, cumin, red pepper flakes, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until lentils are cooked. Red lentils cook much more quickly than green or black lentils, so this should only take about 15-20 minutes or so. Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to mix the soup until blended.  If you like a more liquified texture, you can mix a little more or add more water or stock. Garnish with lemon wedge and serve. I like to add a little lemon zest for some extra tang as an additional garnish to the lemon juice.






Summer Bean Burritos

This is a favorite in our house and making it is as much fun as eating it!

This is a meatless recipe and instead calls for beans.  I like to use black beans, but you could use pinto, red kidney, great northern, or any other bean of your choice. So, the first step is to prepare your beans.  I recommend using dried beans and cooking them yourself  to avoid the BPA that may be lurking in canned beans. It takes a little more effort to do this, but it is well worth it.

You can soak your beans overnight or use the quick-cook method. I will share the quick-cook method with you because I NEVER remember to soak my beans overnight 🙂

Place your beans in a pot and cover them with about 2-3 inches of water. Bring them to a boil, remove from heat, and let sit for at least an hour. (When beans cook, they lose a lot of their nutrients into the water. Letting them soak for a while allows some of the nutrients to be reabsorbed.) Drain and cover with new water. Cook over medium-high heat until the beans are cooked to your liking. Personally, I like them a little “al dente.”

Next, prepare the tortilla dough (see the recipe page). While the dough rests, prepare your toppings.

Guacamole: Place the following in a food processor or mash with a fork until smooth.

  • 2 Avocados
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 cup Diced Onion or Shallot
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • 1 Clove of Garlic

Salsa: Mix all together in a bowl.

  •  1 Small Cucumber, Diced
  • 1 Medium Shallot or Red Onion, Diced
  • 2 Vine-Ripened Tomatoes, Diced
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

Now, cook the tortillas per the recipe.

Top with guacamole, salsa, beans, greens of your choice (we use cilantro and spinach), shredded cheese, and whatever else you fancy. Enjoy!




Avocado Pesto

I was inspired to make this from a recipe I found online. I changed some stuff, including the name, because it seems more like a pesto than an Alfredo to me 😉 Anyway, it makes a delicious summer pasta dish!

Serves 6-8

  • 3 Avocados
  • 2 Cups Fresh Basil Leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 6 Cloves Garlic
  • Juice of 3 Lemons
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • 1 Package of Whole Wheat Pasta
  • 2 Tbs Unfiltered Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, sliced
  • 2 Cups Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, chopped
  • Lemon Zest

Cook the pasta (I used fettuccine this time, but you could use any that you like) per package directions. While the pasta is cooking, mix theavocados, basil, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper in a food processor until smooth. When the pasta is cooked, mix in the olive oil, avocado pesto, olives, and tomatoes. Garnish with torn basil leaves and lemon zest. Enjoy!





French Lentil Soup

Soups provide a great way to add lots of vegetables to your diet. They are also great as left-overs!  As my family and I are trying to eat a more plant-based diet, we have to find alternate sources for protein. This one packs a protein punch, with about 18g per cooked cup.

  • 2 shallots, chopped (if you can’t find shallots in your store, substitute with 1 yellow onion)
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 organic celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 organic red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbs unfiltered olive oil
  • 2-3 cups greens, torn (you can use collards, spinach, chard, kale, or a mixture of any)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced and rested for five minutes
  • 6-8 Cups Water
  • 2 Cups French Lentils (you can substitute regular green lentils if you can’t find French.  I get mine in bulk at Whole Foods)
  • 3-4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 box crushed tomatoes (I say box because we are trying to avoid canned foods due to the possibility of BPA. POMI makes delicious boxed tomato products that you can find in most stores)

Saute the shallots, carrots, celery, and red pepper in olive oil until the shallots are tender.  Add the garlic, basil, oregano, and bay leaf. Stir in the lentils, water, and tomatoes and simmer for at least 1 hour. If you are using collards, kale, or chard, add them with the lentils.  If you are using spinach, add it at the end because it wilts very easily. Enjoy!




Tropical Fruit Smoothie

This is a summer favorite in my house! It is packed full of vitamins, fiber, and omega 3’s.

  • A Handful of torn kale leaves
  • A Handful of pineapple chunks*
  • A handful of mango chunks*
  • one orange
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds or flax seeds
  • 2-3 mint leaves
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • several raw walnuts

Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender (I have a nutribullet, but there are other high-powered blenders, such as the Vitamix and Ninja), mix, and enjoy!

*You can use fresh or frozen, depending on the consistency you desire.