Tag Archives: healthy living

Vietnamese Inspired Banh Mi Bowl

We absolutely LOVE Vietnamese food in our house! We are so lucky to have a large number of amazing and authentic Vietnamese restaurants just a few blocks away!

Since going vegan, I’ve had to give up the beef pho and pork banh mi I once loved, so I really haven’t been to them! Today I decided enough is enough and I would just have to make it myself!

For this recipe, I can’t emphasize enough the benefit of pickling the veggies and marinading the tempeh ahead. The pickled carrots and radishes are what really make this dish taste authentic. You can begin the pickling process 1 to 3 days ahead.

Today I actually came up with this idea last minute, so I only had a few hours for the veggies to pickle (I know, I know, do as I say, not as I do). They came out crisp, fresh, but with a slight tang. It was still super delicious so if you’re short on time, don’t let it stop you!

As for the tempeh, marinading ahead really helps prevent it from having a bitter flavor. I always keep a block of it in my freezer so today I soaked it in the marinade while I let it thaw on the counter.

As a side note, if you want to make this banh mi bowl into…well…banh mi: serve it on a roll instead of over rice! We try to avoid over doing refined grains in this house (and we had pizza yesterday…whoops!), so bowl it is!

Vietnamese Inspired Banh Mi Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A fun, healthy twist on your favorite Vietnamese street food.

Pickle the carrots/radishes/red cabbage ahead ideally 1-3 days before serving. The longer it pickles, the stronger the flavor.

Ingredients

    For the pickled vegetables:
  • 1/2 pound carrots, julienned or sliced thin
  • 1/2 pound radishes, julienned or sliced thin
  • 1/4 of a head of red cabbage (optional)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white or rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • For the tempeh:

  • 1 block tempeh
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used sesame)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white or rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha or chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • For the bowl:

  • brown rice (1 cup dry)
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • fresh basil, chopped
  • fresh scallions, chopped (optional)
  • fresh lime for serving

Directions

  1. Before any other steps, start with pickling the veggies. Julienne the carrots and radishes, or slice extremely thin. Slice your red cabbage thin as well if you are using it. Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Taste test the pickling liquid and add more vinegar, sugar, salt, or water as needed to balance the flavor to your liking. Pour over the vegetables and keep in an air tight container with a lid overnight or up to 3 days ahead. I also recommend pickling the cabbage in a separate container from the carrots and radishes. Remember to reserve the pickling juice for sprinkling over your bowl at the end!
  2. Marinade the tempeh. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, water, sriracha (or chili garlic sauce), ginger, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro in a bowl. Mix together and pour over tempeh. Marinade in a container with lid for at least one hour, making sure to turn once halfway through.
  3. Begin making your brown rice. Submerge the rice in water and boil 30 min, then drain, return to stove top and let sit with lid to steam for 5 minutes before fluffing with fork. Chop the remaining cilantro, basil, scallions, and slice up your cucumber while the brown rice is cooking.
  4. Time to make the tempeh! Heat 2 tbsp cooking oil in a large pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the tempeh and the remaining marinade. Cook the tempeh approx 5 minutes on each side. The tempeh is ready when it has a puffed look from absorbing the liquid and is slightly browned on both sides. When finished cooking, cut into slices and set aside.
  5. Assemble your bowl! Spoon in some brown rice and pile on the cilantro, basil, scallions, cucumber, pickled vegetables, and tempeh to your liking. Squeeze some fresh lime on top and spoon on a drizzle of your leftover pickling liquid. Enjoy!

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe as much as I did! It was so easy, delicious, and perfect for summer. Let me know what you think!

Greek Pizza

Sometimes you just need pizza. Sometimes you take all the scraps in your fridge and turn it into pizza. Sometimes it ends up becoming Greek Pizza!

After making tofu souvlaki earlier this week, I got on a crazy Greek food kick. I also have been craving pizza. Out of my bizarre food cravings and refrigerator leftovers came this recipe!

For the pizza, I ended up making my own mozzarella AND feta cheese, but bought a pre-made pizza crust. Feel free to use store bought vegan mozzarella (violife and myokos are my fav brands), but I DEFINITELY recommend making your own tofu feta. It is incredible! No really, it’s actually incredible in both flavor AND texture…PLUS it’s an excellent source of protein!

The recipe for the feta comes from Bianca Zapatka. Click the link to her blog to learn more, but I’ll also summarize below. If you are making this recipe, I HIGHLY recommend making the feta the morning of or night before. The longer the flavors get to marinade- the better!!!

PS: she also has a super simple pizza dough recipe if you want to make that yourself too!

The mozzarella recipe came from www.groenteboertje.com (their name means Green Grocer in Dutch). Click the link for a video of how they made it!

Greek Pizza

  • Servings: 2 pizzas
  • Difficulty: easy
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An incredibly flavorful pizza you'll want to eat again and again


Links to creators of mozzarella, and feta recipes in blog post above.

Ingredients

  • 2 pizza crusts (pre made, or make dough from recipe linked above)
  • 6 oz jar of marinated artichoke hearts (1/2 a jar for each pizza)
  • 1 small package of sliced mushrooms (or if buying loose a few handfuls and slice)
  • 1 small jar kalamata or black olives (pitted, sliced, use as much as you like)
  • 6 tbsp pizza sauce (3 tbsp per pizza: I bought a small jar from the supermarket in the sauce aisle)
  • 1 small red onion or 1/2 large onion, minced
  • 2 small tomatoes or 1 large, diced
  • Optional: fresh basil

Directions

  1. The ingredients listed above are to be split between the two pizzas. If you’re only making one pizza you’ll only need half of these ingredients.
  2. Take the pizza crust or rolled out dough, spoon on about 3 tbsp of pizza sauce per pizza (or as much as you need to cover the dough in a thin layer).
  3. Layer on mushrooms, artichoke hearts, olives, red onion, and tomato to your liking.
  4. If making your own mozzarella, it comes out thick, gooey, and sticky. I took a spoon and just drizzled it across in stripes. If using store bought vegan mozzarella, grate and sprinkle on top to your liking.
  5. Sprinkle on tofu feta and fresh basil last. Bake pizza according to dough or crust instructions. Pizza will come out extra crisp if baked directly on an oven rack (no pan underneath) and then allowed to cool on a wire rack after.

Mozzarella Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews soaked in 1 cup boiling waterer 30 min and strained (or soaked >2 hours room temp water and strained)
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water

Directions

Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until completely smooth. Cashews must be soaked prior to blend in properly. Pour ingredients into a small sauce pan on medium heat, stir with whisk frequently until thickens into a gooey “cheese.” This takes about 5-10 minutes. The longer you cook, the thicker it gets.

Tofu Feta Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 package extra firm tofu (press between dish towels to squeeze out liquid and cut into small cubes)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1/2 cup cashews soaked in 1 cup boiling waterer 30 min and strained (or soaked >2 hours room temp water and strained)
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions


Mix oil and spices together and pour over tofu in a small container. Cover and let marinade in the refrigerator as long as possible! (I marinaded mine about 4 hours and it was stellar)

My husband gave this recipe “10 stars out of 5” and said “I could eat this every day.” You really have to try it! Drop a comment and let me know what you think 🙂

Jackfruit “Pulled Pork”

You have to try this one. Really. When I was eating meat, pulled pork was one of my favorite dishes. I was excited to read about how fantastic jackfruit was for making it, but when I tried it at restaurants or bought the jackfruit pulled pork kits at Whole Foods…I HATED IT! The problem is, barbecue is very personal to people who love barbecue. Some people prefer it smokey, some prefer it tangy, some prefer it sweet. I think a lot of the packets have too much of a vinegar punch to them. Take my advice, doing it yourself is extremely easy and can be personalized to your liking with minimal effort. Before you turn your nose up to jackfruit, just try it this way one time.

The key to making a good pulled jackfruit is making it easy for yourself to pull it! I used to try to pull it right out of the can. It works…but takes a lot of work! Boiling it first softens it quickly and makes the pulling process painless.

What type should you get? It doesn’t matter much if you get it canned or in a box, just make sure you are buying UN-ripened jackfruit. Not the bright yellow fruity kind. Lots of health food stores, asian grocery stores, and even mainstream stores have it, but you can also buy it online. My favorite brand actually comes in a box by Edward & Sons. The box says “Organic Young Jackfruit Meatless Alternative Unseasoned Pieces.” This recipe is actually adapted from the recipe on the back of the box! Thanks Edward & Sons!

Jackfruit Pulled Pork

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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A summertime favorite, incredibly easy to make, meat eater approved.


Keep in mind, jackfruit is NOT high in protein, and therefore will NOT be as filling as actual pulled pork. Plan your sides accordingly!
My favorite way to make this is to top with vegan coleslaw and avocado. I also really love putting this directly on top of a baked sweet potato for a super filling meal with really powerful flavor. It pairs great with baked or grilled asparagus as well!

Ingredients

  • 1 can or box of unripened jackfruit
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of your favorite vegan BBQ sauce
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or vinegar of choice)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: to make sweeter, 1-2 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
  • optional: for added protein, I love to add 3 tbsp of hemp seeds! It adds a nice texture and pumps up the nutrition power of this meal!

Directions

  1. Take the jackfruit (drain first if canned kind) and put in a large sauce pan. Cover the jackfruit with water and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.
  2. While the jackfruit is boiling, mince the garlic and onion.
  3. Check on the jackfruit. Take a fork and see if it can be shredded apart easily. If not easy to shred, wait another few minutes and try again. Drain the jackfruit and place on a separate plate or bowl and shred apart by using two forks.
  4. Return to saucepan to the stove, set to medium heat, and place oil in bottom of pan. When the oil is hot, add the onions and sauté until fragrant, then add the garlic and jackfruit back into the pan.
  5. Add barbecue sauce, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper. Turn down to low heat and simmer until the liquid reduces. After the liquid reduces take a taste. Add barbecue sauce, water, or sugar if needed.
  6. Enjoy!

This recipe is so great because you can constantly change the sauce to give it any kind of flavor you want! Think about Mexican seasonings for pulled pork tacos, asian seasonings for bao buns, or Caribbean seasonings for “Jamaican jerk pork.” The sky is the limit!

PS: I used my leftovers to make a great meal prep for the next two days. Pulled jackfruit + roasted asparagus + vegan coleslaw = PERFECT packable work lunch.

Let me know what you think! Drop a comment if you like it, have tried it, or have any suggestions for something I should try!

Edamame Buddha Bowl

I was inspired to make this “Buddha Bowl” after coming back from my trip to Austin! It was INSANELY challenging to eat healthy and I came back craving vegetables in a way I never thought possible! After my trip I went straight into working a long shift so I needed a decent meal prep to get me through the next few work days. Out came this! My favorite part is that you can easily enjoy it hot or cold- I love being able to have it either way on these hot summer days!

This bowl was super easy to make. It’s easily customizable and doesn’t require a fancy dressing recipe (although I do make an awesome home made Thai peanut dressing from scratch, this time I just got one pre made from Sprouts). It took me about 35 minutes including final assembly.

Edamame Buddha Bowl

  • Difficulty: easy
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A fresh, light, Asian inspired recipe for an easy weekday dinner or meal prep



For this bowl, I used a Thai peanut dressing I bought from the store, feel free to just sprinkle on some soy or teriyaki sauce, or just go for a squeeze of lime!

Ingredients

  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 2 cups of shelled edamame
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup of chopped or shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup of uncooked brown rice
  • cilantro, lime, dressing of choice for garnishing and flavoring

Directions

  1. Begin by cooking the brown rice. In a medium saucepan, bring at least 6 cups of water to a boil and add the rice. Continue to boil for 30 minutes, then drain the water, cover, and let sit in its steam for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
  2. While the rice is boiling, cook the edamame. Try to buy edamame already shelled to save time. Then you just have to boil for 5 minutes! Pop another sauce pan full of water on the stove and boil the edamame for 5 minutes. Drain the water when finished and set aside.
  3. While the rice and edamame are cooking, chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces. Then, steam the broccoli in the stove top or microwave to desired tenderness (I like to keep mine barely cooked and on the crunchy side for this specific recipe). I just took a third pan and put about a cup of water on the bottom, threw the florets on top, covered with a lid and simmered for five minutes.
  4. While the rice and broccoli are cooking, chop up the rest of the veggies. I chopped up my cucumber and used a veggie peeler for the carrots, but cut them up any way you prefer. For the red cabbage I do recommend using a food processor for shredding, but I actually just cut up about 1/4 of the head of the cabbage and plan to use the rest to make a coleslaw this weekend.
  5. Assemble the ingredients and garnish with chopped cilantro, a wedge of lime, and your favorite asian dressing (all of which are optional of course)!

I hope you enjoy! Drop a comment and let me know what you link. What are some of your favorite bowl ideas?

Easy Lemon Tahini Dressing

Lemon Tahini Dressing on my Paprika Chickpea Meal Prep

I’ve mentioned my lemon tahini a few times, I thought it might be nice if I actually posted a recipe for it! This lemon tahini dressing is so good on salads, over roasted veggies, or drizzled over almost anything! It’s so easy to make, healthy, and freezes well. What’s not to love?

Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. It’s used in recipes for home made hummus, baba ganoush, as well as salad dressings!

I found a super easy tahini paste recipe online, but you can also buy the paste already made in almost any grocery store. You might just need to ask for help finding it! I love making it from scratch because buying in bulk saves money and really cuts down on the plastic packaging waste in our home. Plus, it always tastes better and is super satisfying to when you’re done!

The base for the tahini paste recipe comes from inspiredtaste.net. I’ll include a summary in my lemon tahini dressing recipe below!

  • Difficulty: easy
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Feel free to skip making your own paste if you prefer store bought.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hulled sesame seeds
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil (or other neutral oil of choice)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 to 1 whole lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

    For the paste:
  1. If making your own paste, I highly recommend toasting the sesame seeds. To do so, take a dry sauce pan and heat on medium. Add sesame seeds and stir for about 3 minutes until fragrant and lightly colored (can burn easily so watch closely and stir frequently!)
  2. Add sesame seeds to a food processor and process until a crumbly paste forms (1min)
  3. Add oil (I used 3 tbsp like suggested in original recipe) and blend until smooth. If too thick, add another tbsp oil.
  4. The tahini paste is done! I set aside about half of the paste to freeze for other recipes. Then I used the other half for the dressing…
  5. To turn into dressing, add spices and the juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 tbsp if using concentrate) to the tahini and mix! You can do it with a spoon or right in the food processor. I used this ratio of spices for a half batch of paste. If you want to turn the whole batch into dressing, just double the spice quantity and use the whole lemon (or 2 tbsp concentrate)!

Easy right? Do you have any other plant based dressings you make at home? I would love to try it! Drop a comment below!

Paprika Roasted Chickpea Meal Prep

I’m a little late on posting this…but I promised a second meal prep recipe! This was made in about 45 minutes, mainly due to how long it takes to cook brown rice. Short on time? Pick another grain that cooks quicker! Or skip the grain and add more roasted veggies!

My meal preps have to be simple, easy, healthy, and quick. This one is based on seasoned, roasted chickpeas paired with roasted broccoli and brown rice. I paired this with a home made lemon tahini dressing that I keep in the freezer, but feel free to use just a squeeze of fresh lemon instead or pour some of your favorite pre made dressing on the side.

An easy, flavorful, quick meal prep for a weekday lunch or dinner.

I used chickpeas, broccoli, and brown rice. Feel free to swap out the broccoli for another veggie or add more veggies. Brown rice can take a while to make, so if you’re short on time consider something quicker like couscous.

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 crown of broccoli
  • 1 cup of dry brown rice
  • 2 tsp paprike
  • 1 cup of dry brown rice
  • 1 cup of dry brown rice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Directions

  1. Pre heat your oven to 375 degrees while you begin the brown rice.
  2. To cook brown rice, add the rice to a large pot of water (about 6 cups of water), bring to a boil and allow to boil uncovered for about 30 minutes. Drain the rice, then return to pot and cover with lid. Allow to rest off heat for another 5-10 minutes.
  3. While the rice is coming to a boil, rinse and chop the broccoli to the size you prefer. Put the broccoli in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with about 1 tbsp of olive oil (or other preferred cooking oil). Toss to lightly and evenly coat the broccoli. Transfer to an uncreased baking sheet and sprinkle salt and pepper over broccoli. Cook in oven for 10 minutes, then flip and cook another 10 minutes for crispy broccoli.
  4. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In the same bowl you used for the broccoli, go ahead and toss the chickpeas in. Add another tablespoon of oil, then the paprika, onion, garlic, plus salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a separate baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes, then stir and flip chickpeas and bake for another 5 minutes. If you overcook the chickpeas, they will turn out extremely crunchy, almost like a crouton. These can be great for snacking. For this meal, however, I like them just a little crisp. Bake longer or shorter to your desired level of crunch!
  5. When everything is done cooking, combine! Drizzle on your favorite dressing, a squeeze of lemon, or both!

Do you have any favorite meal preps or plant based dressing recipes you’d like to share? Drop a comment below, I’d love to try them!

Mexican Quinoa Meal Prep

Hey everyone! This is a super busy week for me, I am working two 13 hour shifts and one 14 hour shift (which is pretty typical), but my day off between shifts is going to be taken up my errands, packing, and cleaning and on Friday I’m off to Austin, TX!

I’m still working on convincing my husband that vegan food can be something he enjoys eating all the time, daily. He really loves simple, plain food and I love food with bold, rich flavors. Don’t get me wrong, he’s open minded, super supportive of my plant based lifestyle, and happily eats whatever I put in front of him…but along the course of my adventurous experiments, I think I accidentally convinced him that vegan food is spicy, rich, and heavy. If he could eat lunchables for the rest of his life, he would, so some of these experiments have scared him a little. This week I needed to make a big enough meal prep that would supply lunches for both of us since I’m working on brainwashing him.

The key to ANY good meal prep is simplicity. My favorite way to do it is to pick two-three veggies that go together and a grain. I often roast the veggies and cover with the same seasoning while the grain is cooking stove top. Combine and throw a wedge of lemon, lime, or pour a little vegan dressing on the side to make it interesting. The combinations are endless and the sky is the limit.

Here is one of my favorites! The base recipe is a super simple Mexican Quinoa Bowl. Sometimes during the week we turn it into a burrito or make it a super fancy bowl and add lots of ingredients. When it comes to weekday survival though, simplicity is the name of the game. This recipe is super simple. It’s designed to please the pickiest eaters, the vegan doubters, and the busiest people.

Yes, food CAN be healthy, quick, easy, compassionate, AND delicious.

Mexican Quinoa Meal Prep

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Incredibly easy, two pan dish, no chopping required (unless you want to, of course!)

This is the base recipe for a quick, easy meal prep. If you want to add more veggies like fresh diced tomatoes, red onions, and avocado, you won’t be disappointed with the extra time spent!

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: salsa, tofutti (“sour cream”), vegan cheddar, fresh lime wedge, cilantro

Directions

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a strainer. Place in a sauce pan with 2 cups of water or veggie broth for extra flavor, bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer until the water is absorbed (approx 15-20 min). Turn the heat off, leave the cover on and let it sit in its steam 5 min before taking the lid off to fluff quinoa.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, coat the bottom of a pan with 1-2 tbsp oil and put the stove top on medium heat. If you are cooking with onion, add it when the oil is hot and cook until onion is fragrant and translucent (2min). If you didn’t feel like chopping an onion, go straight to the next step.
  3. Add the corn, black beans, and spices. Sauté until veggies until the spices are fragrant and the veggies are warmed (approx 10 min)
  4. That’s it! I almost always top with salsa, cilantro, tofutti, and lime. Sometimes we get wild and wrap it in a tortilla or add avocado. Enjoy!

Let me know what you think! There are a million ways to do this recipe. Drop a comment below and let me know your favorite version!