Tag: vegan

6 grain + seed recipes to add to your bulk-prep rotation

Good Morning, Washington!

I’m delighted to be a guest on GMW again this morning – this time to talk about grains and seeds!  It was hard to nail down which dishes I’d make this time, since the potential given the topic is endless…and hard, too, to nail down what we consider grains and seeds!  In short, grains are seeds – they’re the seeds of plants in the grass family.  We also eat the seeds of flowering plants (poppy, chia), legume plants (beans), and trees (nuts).  In their whole form, grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds all contain protein, fat, and carbohydrate, though the ratios of those nutrients, specific amino acids, and micronutrient vary a lot between them.

Many seeds also contain phytic acid, a naturally occurring chemical that binds to minerals (limiting our absorption of them).  Cooking, sprouting, fermenting, and soaking can reduce phytic acid, so it’s not a matter of avoiding foods that contain it, just ensuring that you’re eating a variety of those foods through a variety of cooking methods!  Some research even shows beneficial effects from phytic acid, including cancer prevention and improvement of blood cholesterol.  So don’t be scared off by the “anti-nutrient” rap you may have heard…try these recipes and enjoy!

Get cookin!

All of these recipes are bulk-prep friendly – meaning that you can make batches at the beginning of the week to have a few times, cutting down on time in the kitchen, at the store, and just deciding what to have!  I love to have chia pudding as a breakfast base, a nutritious muffin as an afternoon snack, and some sort of bowl or single pot meal that reheats well for weeknight lunches and dinners.  If you need a menu planning & prep strategy, check out RealPlans – individualizable, easy and fun to use, and will have you trying lots of new recipes!

Bonus recipe!

For the Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad, I skipped the sour cream & mayo dressing in the recipe and made my own: so easy, SO delicious, and featuring a bonus seed: the cashew nut!  It’s creamy & protein-rich, just make sure you either soak them for a few hours ahead of time or have a high speed blender.

Smoky Southwest Dressing


  • 1 c raw cashews
  • 1.5 c water
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Juice of 1 lime


Puree all ingredients together until smooth – makes enough for 8 servings, so halve it if you don’t need so much!

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Pantry Power! Chickpea pumpkin curry from scratch

We’ve all been there

No time to run to the store, not much in the way of fresh veggies on hand, and dinner approaching by the minute.  That scenario is precisely why I recommend keeping a stocked pantry of versatile staples and a Pinterest account at the ready!  A pantry should take you way past spices and dried herbs – think canned foods, dried foods, and yes even frozen and refrigerator foods that have a long shelf life.  I used a combo of all of the above to make a delicious pumpkin chickpea curry, and served it over some leftover bulk-cooked quinoa I’d prepared on the weekend.

Need some help?

Download my Pantry 101 guide to figure out what staples you should stock by entering your email below:

When in doubt, make a curry

Or a soup, or casserole – all are fantastic with a grain, canned veggies, and long-lasting onions and garlic.  I had defrosted some pumpkin I pureed and froze last fall and needed to use it up (part of it went into bread and scones), and had an open can of coconut milk from a batch of muffins I’d popped in earlier that morning…leftovers everywhere!  Pumpkin and coconut are the base ingredients for a delicious Thai curry I’ve made before, so I scrounged a few other necessities up and had a full dinner with some leftover for lunch the next day in no time.

Chickpea Pumpkin Curry


  • 1-2 cups pumpkin puree (canned pumpkin works great)
  • 1-1.5 cups coconut milk
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1-2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 large (28-oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped or pureed (or a can of diced tomatoes; I used some cherry tomatoes I had on the counter)
  • 1-2 cups broth of choice
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 Tbsp oil
  • cashews and cilantro for garnish, optional


Preheat the oven to 400F; toast the chickpeas on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil for 10-15 minutes (you could just add them in, but I wanted mine to have more texture).  Heat the remaining oil to medium high in a large pot on the stove, add the onions and cook until translucent, then add garlic and spices and stir while cooking for 2-3 minutes, until spices are fragrant and toasted.  Add coconut milk, pumpkin, tomato, and broth and stir to combine; reduce heat to low and put a lid on to allow to cook for 5-10 minutes.  Add toasted chickpeas.  Serve warm over rice or quinoa, garnish with cashews and cilantro.

How the pros do it

This month’s RecipeRedux roundup is full of meals we made with what was on hand – be sure to check out other posts for ideas and inspiration to Iron Chef it up in your kitchen tonight!recipe-redux-linky-logo

Vegan coconut-peach crisp (+5 other fruit crisps!)

 Summer = peaches

There is NOTHING like a fresh summer peach, right?!  The crops were drastically reduced in some areas of the Mid-Atlantic this year due to a late spring freeze; those poor baby blossoms died right on the branches, leading to much smaller yields than normal.  But the ones that did make it produced big, amazing peaches, and we are just seeing the end of the season.  Last weekend, I cooked up a big meal for Gracy’s newest group of women, and we finished off a meal of ratatouille (I used this recipe; first roasting the eggplant to dehydrate it a bit, and served over spiralized zucchini noodles instead of including them in the stew!) with a coconut-peach crisp.

I’m not vegan myself, but when I cook for large groups I try to accommodate all eating patterns, so I swapped the butter normally found in a crisp for cold coconut oil and added some shredded coconut to really up the flavor!

Baking usually requires precision, but crisps are VERY forgiving.  I eyeballed most of the recipe; you could try swapping out or adding ingredients (maybe some nuts?  Chia seed?  Raisins??)  and still end up with a delicious outcome.  This crisp is light and crumbly, others can be crunchy or doughier.  Here are 5 more recipes to check out as you’re thinking about crisping:

  1. Triple Berry Crumble

  2. Easy Apple Crisp

  3. Paleo Strawberry Crisp

  4. Perfect Plum Crisp

  5. Asian Pear Maple Crisp

Most fruits are very crisp-friendly…start experimenting!  Oh, and if you want to enjoy my home-cooked food on a cozy retreat at a farm in Virginia…you’re in luck.  This culinary retreat with a food-prep focus will be the perfect way to transition to cold-weather eating.  Join me as you are, or with a significant other, friend, or family member in November!

Vegan coconut-peach crisp



  • 5 peaches, pit removed and chopped into large chunks (I never peel mine!)
  • 1/4 c cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • Dash salt


  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c shredded dried coconut
  • 1/4 c ground flax
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Dash ground ginger
  • 1/3 c solid coconut oil


Toss the peaches in a bowl with the cornstarch and sugar; set aside.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Combine dry crisp ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until evenly distributed.  Add coconut oil; cut in with a fork or use fingers to rub into the dry ingredients, allowing some larger lumps to form.  Spray or oil a baking pan (9×9 or 9×13) and add peaches, then pour crisp mix on top.  Bake until bubbly on the sides and golden brown on top, ~45 minutes depending on size of the pan, peaches, and oven – check occasionally and cover with tinfoil if the top is getting too dark too fast.  Serve warm; drizzle with cream or a thick almond or cashew milk with a bit of honey or agave!IMG_4137 IMG_4102 IMG_4104 IMG_4111

Getting sauced for the weekend (+chipotle tahini schmear)

Get saucy for summer

A sauce can make or break your dish – where else can you pack so much flavor into so little volume?  Nutritionally, sauces can also add a lot (of calories!) or just the right balance of savory, sweet, and salty for the perfect smear.  Burgers, veggies, hot dogs, wings, fries, sandwiches…all are elevated by a great sauce or drizzle!    Here’s a roundup of some amazing dietitian-approved homemade sauces that are based on whole foods and condiments you might already have in the fridge – most are vegan, all use real ingredients and cover all the bases: BBQ, mustard-y, herbacious and Asian-inspired.  They’re rounded out by the delicious chipotle dressing I made for this sweet potato noodle salad last week, thanks to the inspiration from Pinch of Yum (scroll to the bottom for my adapted recipe for the sauce!).

Sauce smart:

Click the pics for the recipes!

Easy Honey-Mustardroasted-broccoli-quinoa-salad-honey-mustard-dressing-4

Allergy-Friendly Barbeque Saucehomemade-barbecue-sauce-recipe

Spicy Habanero Avocado Cream SauceSpicy-Habanero-Avocado-Cream-Sauce2

Sesame Ginger Teriyaki Sauceteriyakisauce3-1-of-1

Chimichurri SauceChimichurri-Shrimp-5

Easy Peach Hot SauceEasy-Peach-Hot-Sauce-from-Primally-Inspired

Chipotle Tahini Schmear

Nothing better than a spicy/smokey flavor combo for the summer – make and keep this in the fridge for up to 3-4 weeks and enjoy as a dip, spread, or dressing! Click here for the original recipe, and how to make sweet potato noodles!



  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked chipotle seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried minced onions
  • 1 tsp agave or honey
  • 3 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • dash of salt


Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy.  Add more water to thin if making a dressing or leave it thick to put on sandwiches or burgers!


Your guide to glutamate (+vegan queso salsa dip)

On savory flavor

There are many foods and food components that make food taste savory – that rich, complex taste that’s independent of salty, and sometimes described as “meaty,” and known as “umami.”  One molecule that contributes to those flavors is glutamate – an amino acid that’s found in meat, cheese, and even vegetables including mushrooms, broccoli, and tomatoes.  (Read more here about sensitivity to glutamates, MSG, and the low-glutamate diet for people who are sensitive.)  It’s also found in nutritional yeast, a flaky protein and vitamin-rich product made from yeast cells (I’d write a whole article about its uses, history, and nutritional properties, but this blog post does that quite nicely!).

A word about yeast & yeast extract:

In full disclosure, I was sponsored to help create that video – and I’m grateful to be given a platform for the message!

I was really excited to see my friend Elaine post a recipe that uses nutritional yeast and is both Superbowl friendly and genuinely healthy!  The yeast provides that cheesy flavor, while the creamy texture and cheddar color come from tahini and carrots, respectively.  And it’s nut-free for those concerned about allergies!


picture from EatingByElaine


I decided to do mine with another twist, and sub canned tomatoes and chiles instead of soy milk for a Ro’tel-esque spin.  And let me tell you: this tastes AWESOME.  It even got the boyfriend seal of approval to bring to his friend’s Superbowl party today (which is not a healthy foodie oriented kind of crowd).


Have you used nutritional yeast before?  Any other recipes I should know about?  Without further adieu, here’s the recipe – enjoy!

Vegan queso salsa dip (adapted from EatingbyElaine)


  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup fresh, room temperature tahini (runny is best, Soom brand is excellent)
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ large lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • Garnish: sprinkle of paprika, sliced green onions, fresh cilantro


  1. Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil and add carrots
  2. When carrots are cooked (soft to a fork, ~10 minutes), drain and add them with all other ingredients except tomatoes to a high speed blender and puree until smooth
  3. Fold in tomatoes and chiles with a spatula
  4. Serve warm with chips or veggies and garnish with sliced green onions, paprika and fresh cilantro. You may want to microwave just before serving.


Healthy 2016: nutritious food prep for fast, delicious meals

quionoa bowlphotocred & recipe: the cozy apron

Sick of setting New Year’s resolutions to diet? Tired of feeling confused about what foods are healthy? Frustrated that there isn’t enough time to prepare healthy food? Pants a little tight after the holidays? Disorganized and haphazard in the kitchen?

Start fresh with a plan, customizable recipes, and learn to do it all with cooking demos with me in a MessHall workshop!

Reset your defaults.

Eating healthy is a habit. Your “defaults” – the things you do and eat on a daily basis – are the most important elements of your health. When those are healthy and structured, your life becomes healthy and structured. Don’t go on a diet – have a healthy, intentional diet. It all starts with a plan! This workshop provides you with a hard copy guide to target the areas that matter most, and customize them to fit in your real, busy life.

Learn to meal plan & prep like a pro:

We’ll lay some ground work with a short presentation to highlight some key elements of a healthy diet (for any eating pattern!), show how to make food prep an easy, structured part of your weekend (that won’t take all day!) and enjoy an adaptable meal you can use to plan lunches and dinners for weeks. Then comes the REALLY fun part: creating make-your-own jars to start you off right at home!

What’s included during the workshop:

  • Healthy eating workbook and planner
  • A crash course in nutrition science
  • A delicious, freshly prepared meal
  • Make-your-own chia pudding, granola, and overnight oats jars to take home
  • Improved sense of confidence and mastery in the kitchen – and beyond!

Make 2016 the year you start to do food right.

Diets work…as long as you’re on them! Only make changes you intend to keep – for a lifetime – and ditch the “I’m doing this to lose 10 pounds” mentality. You’ll be able to apply the info you learn here all year long, and far beyond.


Get tickets here –> https://www.eventbrite.com/e/healthy-2016-nutritious-food-prep-for-fast-delicious-meals-tickets-20066570653

Hope to see you there!

RecipeRedux: National Nut Day!

I guess there’s really a day for everything these days, isn’t there?  Really though, I try to encourage everyone to eat nuts on a daily basis – a handful is a serving, they’re high in protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats, and they can be stored at room temperature.  The perfect snack, breakfast component, and wonderful in dishes sweet and savory alike.   Easy to store and portion in the office, the car, your purse…and there’s got to be a seasoning mix to please everyone out there!  Ok – my ode to nuts is over, but definitely worth consideration if you aren’t already eating them regularly!

What if I’m allergic?

Turn to seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, chia, flax…these have generally the same nutrient profile as nuts, but are different enough that most people with nut allergies aren’t triggered.  Make sure to check with your doctor if you aren’t sure which allergies you have!

Back to nuts

This recipe packs everything that tastes good about fall into one bite: pumpkin, pumpkin spice, apple, and almonds!  Add chocolate chips if you want a sweeter treat, and sub maple syrup for brown sugar if you have it on hand.  Delicious enough for dessert, but healthy enough for breakfast (try enjoying with plain greek yogurt!) – my favorite kind of recipe.  Don’t forget to check out the other nutty recipes by clicking the blue frog at the end of the post!

Pumpkin spice almond bars



  • 2 cups old fashioned (rolled) oats
  • 1 c slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 apple, diced (keep skin on for more fiber!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 325° F.
  2. Spray an 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl combine the oats, quinoa, almonds, chocolate chips, apple, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  4. In a blender combine the sugar, banana, and pumpkin puree until smooth.
  5. Add pumpkin mixture to oat mixture and stir until all the oats are coated.
  6. Place oat mixture into the prepared pan and spread to be flat and even, packing down with the back of a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Let the bars cool, and cut into desired size (makes 10 snack sized bars).

Back to the table: chunky market veggie gazpacho


Produce, produce, everywhere

It’s getting to that point of the summer when I actually have more produce than I can handle around my kitchen…between bringing home a load from the market weekly and visiting my mom’s garden on Tuesday, I have a glut of cherry tomatoes, beets, corn, peaches, and peppers.  One of the best problems to have, right?  Since this month’s RecipeRedux theme is “back to the table,” I decided to put out a bunch of yummy dishes and have an al fresco smorgasboard for a friend visiting from out of town.  Summer dinners are much more casual, but convening around food at the end of the day is an important family ritual to keep up, even if you don’t need to use silverware for all the food!

A word about gazpacho

Gazpacho should be easy.  After all, it’s basically a vegetable smoothie that you eat with a spoon.  Some recipes call for blanching and deseeding of tomatoes, peeling cucumbers, and chilling overnight but that all seems overly complicated to me.  Yes, my soup will have more texture than a restaurant version, but that means more fiber and other nutrients.  This article reviews the “5 mistakes of gazpacho” – and I’m making that one on purpose!  My friend said it was the best gazpacho she’d ever had, and that she loved the texture, so it goes to show that a few extra peels never hurt 🙂


Chunky market veggie gazpacho


  • 3-4 medium [fresh, local] tomatoes (or about 3 cups of cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 small bell peppers (yellow, orange, or red work best)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 clove garlic (this may be the only thing you want to roast – left raw, it gives the soup a spicy edge!)
  • 1 small English cucumber
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • toppings: fresh basil, corn, croutons, parmesan cheese…try what you like!


Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse into chunks; puree to desired thickness.  Optional: add breadcrumbs for a thicker texture.

Tomato pie with cashew cream


Summer is the only season to eat fresh tomatoes

At least, if you live in the northeast, where the most amazing heirloom tomatoes start coming around mid July and stick around through October.  Tomatoes bred to travel well don’t usually taste like much, but the ones from local farmer’s markets are good enough to eat whole!  I’m lucky enough to have access to fantastic heirlooms working at Chesley Vegetable Farms in my neighborhood on Saturdays, and got some yellow ones last weekend.

Another thing that happened last week: cashew cream.  I guess most people call this cashew cheese, but I think the consistency is more like a spread than a true cheese, and I like to add some extra water so it’s a little saucier (also great over noodles this way!).  A new friend introduced me to this recipe and I promptly made a double batch (note: my friend added a little nutritional yeast to hers, which really put it over the top!).  Since the cashew cheese is vegan, I figured baking it in a vegan crust would fit nicely – and voila, a summer treat that is loaded to the brim with fiber, protein, and veggies.

Summer tomato pie with cashew cream

  • vegan crust (I used 100% whole wheat flour; olive oil would work best)
  • cashew cream (I added 1/2 cup of water and used roasted garlic cloves)
  • 5-6 medium tomatoes
  • dash black pepper

Preheat oven to 350F. Press the crust into a 9″ pan, up the sides and evenly onto the floor.  Add half the cashew cream and spread over the bottom with the back of a spoon.  Slice tomatoes across the side (perpendicular to the stem, not through it) and gently push seeds out to remove moisture.  Place de-seeded tomatoes in a single layer, then add the rest of the cream, spread, and add another layer of tomatoes.  Garnish with black pepper.  Bake for 1 hour, then remove and let cool for 20-30 minutes before serving.  (This would probably also be great with herbs between the cream and tomatoes, and might work well with other summer veggies…maybe some zucchini or eggplant??)

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A Rocket Retreat (+southwest corn chowder with smokey paprika)


Rocket, round 2

Same gorgeous spot, more challenging Rocket yoga, and a different menu this time – back in October during the last retreat I did with Jonathan, fall foods were in peak season and the menu had more raw, fresh foods.  January is a very different story, and the recipes centered around cold-weather comfort foods like chili, soup, and curry.  We were all too happy to be tucked away in the well-appointed house on the bay…with a brief excursion for a couple of brave souls to do a quick polar bear plunge!

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Air temp was around 30F, I believe…a cold shock to the body is great for the cardiovascular system, as long as you can get warm again soon enough thereafter!  Between the fire, hot drinks, and warm meals, these two were well covered in that department.

We did 3 Rocket classes, an arm balance workshop, an acro workshop, and had two designated times for discussion about the Rocket sequence and nutrition between Friday and Monday.  Jonathan’s retreats are less a retreat and more of a “charge” if you ask me…here are some highlights from the trip:

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RecipeRedux: smokey & spicy!

Coinciding well with one of the dinners I made, this month’s RecipeRedux theme is “heating up with smoke & spices.”  I made the retreat meals a veggie-rich, vegan base that rocketeers (rockettes?) could load up with their choice of garnishes.  Smoked paprika is a fantastic way to add depth of flavor and richness to vegetables, especially a good creamy corn chowder.  My secret for “cream” is to puree a few scoops of the cooked soup and add it back to the pot, making the broth thick and rich.  Try this if you’re cooking for a crowd of eaters who don’t all like the same level of spice, dairy, or meat in their diet!  I paired them with these vegan biscuits – subbed whole wheat for most of the white flour she calls for, and added some chopped rosemary.  Don’t forget to check out the other recipes this month by clicking the blue frog at the end of the post, and as chance would have it, my last Rocket retreat feature recipe was also smokey – spiced sweet potato wedges!


Southwest corn chowder with smokey paprika


  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 c corn
  • 30 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 4 c vegetable broth
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced (skins on for more fiber!)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 2 orange bell peppers, diced
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp dried marjoram
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika (I used McCormick’s)
  • 24 oz can white beans, drained

For garnishing (optional):

  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3 limes, halved
  • 1 lg plain greek yogurt
  • 2-3 c seasoned croutons
  • 2 c shredded white cheddar
  • 1 c parmesan
  • 3 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded, lightly salted

Heat the oil in a soup pot on the stove (at least 6qt).  Add garlic, onion, peppers, potatoes, and spices and saute until well blended and softened.  Add the tomatoes, corn, beans, and broth and bring to a simmer, reducing heat, and cook for at least 45 minutes.  Remove 2-3 cups and puree with cornstarch; add back into soup.  Add toppings of choice and enjoy!  Serves 8 meal sized portions.

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