Italian Bread Salad with Tangy Basil Vinaigrette


I always associate this one with potlucks. Maybe that’s because I have so many vivid memories of people, in said potluck setting, raving about this salad. However, be warned—it makes no excuses for its totally bold, intense flavor! Anyway, a salad giving you excuses would be pathetic and just a little creepy.

Note: If you need some extra help planning your Thanksgiving meal this year, I've created a ten-course menu (the same one I'm using!), complete with recipes, a shopping list, and a timetable checklist to take the stress out of your holiday!!! You'll also receive the telecall link, so you can listen to the workshop, as an extra bonus! Click here for the deets. : )

Italian Bread Salad
 
Recipe from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth


8 oz. loaf of slightly stale crusty sourdough bread, cut into cubes (6 cups of bread cubes)*


Deliriously Delectable Dressing:
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
⅓ cup (tightly packed) fresh basil leaves
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup non-virgin olive oil (or additional extra-virgin olive oil if you prefer)
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


Salad Stuff:
½ lb. red leaf or romaine lettuce (one medium sized head)
One medium-large cucumber, very thinly sliced
One small red onion, very thinly sliced
Three Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
¼ cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped in half

1. *Cut or tear the bread into bite sized cubes or pieces. You should end up with six cups of bread cubes. Allow them to sit overnight in a partially open bag. The purpose of this is to make the bread slightly stale so that it does not become soggy when the dressing is added to the salad. Of course, if you already have stale bread, you can pretend like this step never happened.



2. Place the garlic, basil, and a little of the olive oil in a blender. Blend on low to emulsify the ingredients. Add the remaining olive oil and other dressing ingredients and blend on high for a minute or so, until very smooth and thick.


3. Wash the lettuce. Dry it with paper towels or in a salad spinner to remove all of the excess water. This step is important, as too much water on the lettuce will dilute the dressing. Prepare the other vegetables at this point as well.


4. Put the bread cubes in the largest bowl you can get your hands on. Place the lettuce, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, and olives on top of the bread. Pour all of the dressing on top, making sure to get every last drop with a rubber spatula. Using the same spatula, stir the salad very well to mix the dressing evenly.


5. Cover the salad bowl and refrigerate it for an hour or so. This will allow the dressing time to work its magic. Stir again and serve, either at room temperature or chilled. Enjoy having the most popular item at the potluck! You will never live this down.


Serves about 6; 30 minutes or under! (with slightly stale bread) SF/Purple (according to the health guidelines in my books and Be Radiant program)

Rosemary Mushroom Strudel


photo by Olga Vasiljeva

Mushroom lovers, this dish was made for you (us)! There is nothing like a medley of well flavored mushrooms to delight the palate and nourish the body. If you are gluten intolerant, you can substitute pan-fried polenta for the puff pastry. However you end up, this is a delicious, easy, and impressive way to begin a meal. Oh, and yes, this is a great side dish for Thanksgiving!

Rosemary Mushroom Strudel

½ lb. frozen puff pastry dough (thawed according to the package directions)*

Mushroom Mania:

1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps

1½ cups (3 oz.) sliced or chopped portabella mushroom caps

1½ teaspoons fresh rosemary leaf, chopped

½ teaspoon each: dried thyme and fresh lime juice

¼ teaspoon each: organic sugar and ground black pepper

5 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon each: balsamic vinegar, tamari (or shoyu or soy sauce), and olive oil (or rosemary-infused olive oil)

Garnish:

1 tablespoon olive oil or rosemary infused olive oil

1 teaspoon each: dried minced onion and fresh rosemary leaf, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Sauté all of the ingredients for the mushroom mania medley (mmm...) over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until all of the liquid is absorbed.

2. Cut the puff pastry into 3-inch squares. Alternatively, you can opt for fun shapes, made using cookie cutters. Place the pastry pieces on lightly oiled cookie sheets, leaving just a little room in between so they can puff out. Top them evenly with the mushroom medley.

3. Drizzle the additional olive oil evenly on top of them and sprinkle with the dried onion and rosemary. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Serves 4; 30 minutes or under! GF (with polenta)/Purple (according to the health guidelines in my books)

*To substitute polenta for the puff pastry, simply follow the directions for making polenta on page 94 of RHIW. When the polenta is firm (after chilling overnight), cut it into squares or shapes and pan-fry it until golden browned on both sides. Top the hot, pan-fried polenta pieces with the cooked mushroom mixture, sprinkle with the garnishes, and serve.

Perfect Polenta - Quick, Easy, and Vegan!

This is a very quick and simple version of the Italian classic. Granted, this is a major shortcut compared to the traditional method which takes an hour or more to cook. However, this version is still delicious and makes homemade polenta accessible for people who wouldn’t otherwise try it. As this is also a kid pleaser, many parents I know (including myself) have made this a staple in their repertoire. There are several ways to serve this, so you will want to read through this recipe entirely before you begin. A delicious variation (if you will be serving it as firm, pan-fried polenta) is to stir additions into the polenta while it is still creamy. Rosemary, fresh or roasted garlic, organic lemon zest, and sautéed, sliced mushrooms all work beautifully for this.


Creamy Polenta with Variations

1 cup dry polenta meal
3¼ cups water
2 tablespoons non-hydrogenated margarine
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast powder
¾ teaspoon sea salt (or less if you prefer)


1. Place the polenta and water in a medium saucepan and whisk (with a wire whisk or fork) to remove lumps. Cook over medium heat, whisking continually, until it begins to thicken. Stirring the polenta constantly will prevent it from spattering, clumping, and other forms of disorderly conduct.
2. Once it begins to thicken a bit, turn the heat down to the lowest setting your burner can manage. Continue to cook, whisking very often, until it is thick (usually about 5-10 minutes).
3. Stir in the margarine and allow it to melt. Once it has melted, mix it in well. Finally, add the nutritional yeast and salt. Stir the mixture until everything is well combined.

Serves 4-6; 30 minutes or under! GF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)

To serve creamy style:
If serving the polenta immediately, it is delicious just plain. However, you can top it with tomato sauce or soy cheese. If desired, you may add just a little more water to the portion you will be eating as creamy polenta. If you are reserving some polenta to make “firm style,” do not add any extra water to that part.

To serve firm style:
Option 1: Place the cooked, warm polenta in plastic wrap and roll it up into a log formation (like you see in stores). After it has chilled in the fridge for several hours (or overnight) and become firm, it can then be cut into rounds. Sauté the firm polenta rounds in a little oil or margarine over medium heat until golden on both sides (about 3-5 minutes on each side).
Option 2: You can press the creamy polenta into a pan. Cover and refrigerate for several hours (or overnight). Once it has chilled and become firm, you can cut it into squares (or fun shapes using cookie cutters). Finally, pan-fry the shapes in a little oil or margarine until golden on both sides.

Green Bread (the ultimate vegan garlic bread!)



Many years ago, I was cooking for a family of four. Whenever I would make them this, their young son would do a happy dance and sing of his love for what he called “green bread.” Needless to say, this is a big hit with kids! Also keep in mind that you do not need to use all of this spread right away. It freezes surprisingly well, and also keeps in the fridge for at least a week.


Photo by Michelle Bebber

Green Bread

½ cup (1 stick) non-hydrogenated margarine
10 large cloves garlic, peeled (if it seems like too much, it’s almost enough)
2 tablespoons (lightly packed) fresh parsley
¼ cup (tightly packed) fresh basil
1 scallion (green onion), trimmed (use both white and green parts)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Ze Bread: about 10 large slices of crusty multigrain or sourdough bread

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a food processor, combine the margarine, garlic, parsley, basil, scallion, and salt until thoroughly “greenified” (and no chunks of garlic or scallion remain).
2. Spread this generously on the bread slices—don’t be shy! Bake just until golden browned (be careful not to over-brown) and serve immediately.

Serves about 10; 30 minutes or under! Blue according to the guidelines in my books)

Fatoush Salad

photo by Olga Vasiljeva

After eating this for years in restaurants, I finally came up with a recipe of my own for this fresh and delightful salad. This version is lower in fat and slightly more minty than the other kinds I’ve tasted. If you don’t care for mint, simply replace it partially (or fully) with parsley. Recipe from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

4 tortillas (or pita rounds), cut into 1½-inch pieces
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, regular or extra-virgin

Dressing:                                  

• 3 tablespoons olive oil                       

• The fresh juice of 1 large lemon         

• ½ teaspoon sea salt                           

• Fresh ground pepper to taste                                   

• 1 tablespoon zatar (optional, but fabulous)   


Salad:

• 1 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved

• 2 cups diced (or very thinly sliced) cucumber

• ½ cup minced fresh mint 

• ¼ cup chopped scallions (green onions)        


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the tortilla or pita strips in a single layer onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Brush them with the 1-2 tablespoons of oil.

2. Bake the strips until they are golden brown and crisp. Set them aside.

3. Whisk the dressing together and set it aside.

4. Next, place the tomatoes, cucumber, mint, and scallions in a medium-large bowl.

5. Add the tortilla or pita strips to the salad and top with the dressing. Gently combine everything until thoroughly mixed and serve.

Serves 3-4; 30 minutes or under! GF (with gluten-free tortillas)/SF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)

The Perfect Hummus Experience


Today, I've decided to share my beloved recipe for hummus perfection. My friends over at Sunshine Burger were asking how to make a really good, totally from-scratch hummus, so I just had to chime in with this recipe from my first book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

Creamy Hummus with Variations

I fell in love with the flavor of this thinner, lemony hummus in college. The favorite lunch spot of everyone I knew was a café that served just this sort of hummus. I spent years trying to recreate it and finally discovered that the secret was to add enough lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil so that the end result would be unusually creamy and light tasting. 

Of course, if you prefer a thicker hummus you can simply omit the olive oil (or use less of it). If possible, refrigerate this for several hours (or overnight) before serving. This will give the raw garlic a chance to mellow and allow the flavors to become happily married.

1½ cups (one 15 oz. can) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed & drained*
2-3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup raw tahini (sesame paste)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt (or less if you prefer)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil (regular or extra-virgin)*

In a food processor, blend the garbanzo beans and garlic cloves very well. Add the tahini, lemon juice, salt, and oil and process until fully emulsified and creamy. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to ten days. For best results, allow to warm to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 2 cups of hummus; 30 minutes or under! GF/SF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books and Be Radiant program)

*For a lower fat hummus, reserve the liquid when you drain the beans. Use ¼ cup bean liquid (and 2 tablespoons oil) instead of the full amount of oil.
                                                               photo by Olga Eglite


Serving Suggestions:

Classic: Sprinkle the hummus with a little paprika and parsley. If you wish, drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil over the top. Serve with warmed pita wedges or crusty bread. Kalamata olives can also make an appearance here.

Falafel Burger: For a quick, delish falafel experience, place a Sunshine burger (falafel flavor) on a whole grain bun and slather with this creamy hummus. Top with sliced onions, lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes. You're welcome.

Hummus Wrap: Spread a tortilla generously with hummus. Top with all of your favorite fixings. I like to use chopped tomato, pickles, thinly sliced red onion, lettuce or spinach, fresh basil, kalamata olives, and cucumbers.

Greek Hummus “Pizza:” Please see the recipe for “Fresh Greek Delight” on page 135 of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth or check it out here on my blog. You won’t regret it.

Hummus with Zatar: Zatar is a tangy, unique, and delightful combination of sumac, thyme, and spices, and can be found in many health food stores (or online). You may sprinkle it over the hummus for a lovely and surprising flavor addition.

10 Ways to Use ZUCCHINI!!!

Yes, the excessive exclamation points are there for a reason. I have an overly enthusiastic, never ending, borderline obsessive love for summer squash, aka zucchini. I don't seem to ever get sick of the stuff! Chock full of fiber, vitamins, and general veggie goodness, zucchini are incredibly versatile and delicious when prepared with care.

So here are some of my favorite ways to use zucchini. Which will come in handy for people like me on days like today when several friends give me all their extra zucchini. Yes, I have 25 zucchinis in my fridge. And I'm not the least bit concerned! Because....

You Can Use Zucchini in So Many Ways! Here are 10 For Starters:

1. Make a simple, yet super delicious pasta sauce: Peel, chop, and steam 2 cups of zucchini. Blend with 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of vegan butter (I use Earth Balance). Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over whole grain pasta and top with cut chives or scallions. Add a dash of paprika for color and viola! The perfect entree.

2. Have a LOT of zucchini and not sure you can use it all up in time? Lengthen their lives by dehydrating them! Zucchini chips are a delicious, nutritious snack and even kids flip for them! The recipe for "Zucchini Chips To Dry For" is from my first book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth, and is also here on my blog.

3. Have a spiralizer? Make raw zucchini noodles! They're especially delish topped with vegan pesto (fresh basil, roasted pine nuts, xvoo, and plenty of garlic).

4. I've been doing this almost daily: Cut zucchini into slabs, then place on a cookie sheet. Top with seasoned salt, garlic granules, dry polenta, and pepper. Spray with olive oil and bake at 400 F until browned on both sides (you will have to flip them midway). This usually takes about 10 minutes per side.

5. For a super simple wrap, steam zucchini (or make some "Anna's Zucchini" from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth) and place in a sprouted grain tortilla. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, pepper, and a bit of Daiya vegan cheese. Sounds odd, but I find it ODDLY addictive. ;-)

6. Grate up some zucchini and squeeze the water from it. Combine it with grated or mashed potatoes, cornmeal, and spices. Pan-fry for zucchini potato latkes.

7. These September Surprise Muffins are one of my daughter's favorites. Even the frootloop-eating kids at her school were begging for seconds!

8. Zucchini are a crucial component in veggie fajitas. Chop them up, add some spices, and pan-fry along with mushrooms, onions, and red bell peppers. Roll them up in a sprouted tortilla along with beans, fresh salsa, and guacamole. Satisfaction!

9. Grilled zucchini is my love child. Why, do you ask? Because. Because I love it so much it hurts. To make this painfully delicious treat, brush zucchini slabs with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic, and sea salt. Grill until very tender. Eat plain - you don't want anything else up in your business at this point.

10. Grate raw zucchini into salads and veggie wraps.

Yes, I could go on and on! But I won't. Instead, I will post this and let you get on with the important work of making zucchini happiness part of your own life. Happy zucchiniing! (it's a word)

Hungarian Chickpeas!

Photo by Janet Malowany

Holy bean love, people...these are insanely delicious! This recipe is one of my favorites from my third cookbook, Radiance 4 Life. It's very quick and easy to put together, but does require smoked paprika. You can usually find this divine elixir of spice in health food stores, many supermarkets, and most international food markets. It's worth the (relatively inexpensive) purchase though - smoked paprika will lend a rich, earthy, complex flavor like nothing else. It's also great sprinkled on babaganoush or hummus, or as a seasoning for a wide variety of dishes.

So, without further delay...

Hungarian Chickpeas!



▪ 15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

▪ 2 tablespoons pitted and quartered kalamata olives (or other Greek olives)

▪ 2 tablespoons each: raisins, chopped cilantro, and minced yellow or white onion

▪ 1 tablespoon each: extra-virgin olive oil and raw agave nectar

▪ 2 teaspoons each: dijon mustard, fresh lime juice, and smoked paprika

▪ 1 teaspoon dried oregano

▪ 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed

▪ ½ teaspoon sea salt


Combine all of the ingredients and stir very well. Serve cold or at room temperature. This will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to a week.

 Serves 2/GF/SF/Green (according to the health guidelines in my books)
30 Minutes or Under!







10 Minute Gluten-Free Pasta with Artichokes!

I have an undying love of artichokes and felt like indulging said love yesterday with a big bowl of goodness. And although I'm not gluten-free, I don't like to overdo any one nutrient - so I take lots of breaks from wheat. One of the best ways to do this is with corn-quinoa pasta. Even if you're like me and don't have to avoid gluten, you'll love the flavor, texture, and visual appeal of this healthy pasta!

8 oz. dry corn-quinoa pasta (I use "Ancient Harvest" brand)
Two 15 oz. cans or jars of water-packed artichoke hearts, drained
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
lots of black pepper, to taste
sea salt to taste (I use white truffle sea salt for extra deliciousness)

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. While the pasta is cooking, place all of the other ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Once the pasta is al dente, drain and toss with the "sauce." Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Makes 4 servings
GF/SF/Blue (according to the guidelines in my books)

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins with Zesty Lemon Glaze





The most frequent thing I hear when serving these muffins is: "How can you possibly expect me to eat just one of these?" Luckily, these are much healthier than typical lemon poppy seed muffins due to the use of whole grains, flax, and animal-free ingredients.

This recipe is from my book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth. (photo by Olga Vasiljeva)

Flegg (flax egg replacer)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (flax meal)
3 tablespoons boiling water

Dry Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup organic sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda
3 tablespoons poppy seeds

Wet Ingredients
¾ cup nondairy milk
¼ cup each: fresh lemon juice, melted coconut oil, and pure maple syrup
1 heaping tablespoon minced or grated organic lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Zesty Lemon Glaze
¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons organic powdered sugar
½ teaspoon minced or chopped organic lemon zest
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Whisk the flaxseed and boiling water together in a large bowl. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes, or until gooey. Real gooey.


2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, using a whisk (or sifter) until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

3. When the flegg has become sufficiently gooey, add all of the wet ingredients to the flegg bowl. Stir the wet ingredients into the flegg mixture until well combined.

4. Next, add the dry mixture to the large bowl with the wet ingredients. Stir them together until well combined, but do not over-mix.

5. Spray a dozen muffin cups lightly with oil (or place paper liners in each cup). Pour the batter evenly into each muffin cup or liner.

6. Bake the muffins for 20-30 minutes, or until they are golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

7. After a few minutes, take a knife and go around the edges of each muffin to loosen them. Gently remove them from the muffin tin and place them on a cooling rack or plate.

8. To make the Zesty Lemon Glaze: Place the powdered sugar in a small bowl and sift or whisk it (if necessary) to remove any lumps. Add the zest, juice, and vanilla to the bowl and stir well to combine.

9. Once the muffins have cooled a bit, drizzle the glaze over them. Now, see if you can eat just one!

Makes 12 muffins; GF (with substitution)/SF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)

Raw Cinnamon Rolls




These are one of my favorite recipes from my third book, Radiance 4 Life. They've been such a lifesaver on my travels! I love how they're so sweet and satisfying, yet devoid of any sweeteners (other than whole dried fruit). Enjoy!

Photo by Olga Eglite

Raw Cinnamon Rolls

Think of these as a quick, delicious, healthy alternative to packaged energy bars. Since they’re so nutrient-dense, just one little roll can be surprisingly satisfying!
▪ 1 cup raw walnuts
▪ ½ cup raisins
▪ ½ cup (packed) pitted dates (about 12 dates)
▪ 2 teaspoons cinnamon
▪ ¼ teaspoon each: sea salt and ground nutmeg
1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor. Blend until well combined and very crumbly, but don’t over-blend—you want to retain some texture.

2. Pull out small pieces of the mixture and roll into 1-inch balls with your hands. These will store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for several weeks or more.

Makes 18 rolls (9 servings)/GF/SF/Green/R/F/30 Minutes or Under

♥ Superstars: walnuts, dates


Fresh and Fast Thai Tofu Bowl

Here's a recipe from my third cookbook, Radiance 4 Life. All of the recipes in the book are chock-full of superfoods and, as always, vegan. This recipe is one of my favorites, as it's so satisfying and light, but so delish! Hope you enjoy.

(Photo by Olga Eglite)

Fresh and Fast Thai Tofu Bowl



This colorful dish combines cooked and raw items for a fresh, fast, delicious entrée. It may look like a lot of ingredients, but this really does come together very easily, and the entire dish can be prepared while the rice is cooking.


Rice:
▪ 2 cups water
▪ 1 cup forbidden rice (or long grain brown rice)
▪ 2 teaspoons tamari

Simple Sesame Tofu:
▪ 16 oz. tofu, firm or extra firm (use sprouted tofu if possible)
▪ ¼ cup tamari
▪ 2 teaspoons garlic granules
▪ 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
▪ 2 teaspoons coconut oil

Fresh Veggies:
▪ 2 medium carrots, grated (1 cup grated carrots)
▪ 1 cup finely chopped or shredded cabbage, green or purple
▪ 4 scallions, trimmed and chopped

Final Flavors:
▪ ½ cup Thai sweet red chili sauce
▪ ¼ cup dry-roasted peanuts
▪ ¼ cup (packed) fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons

1. Place the water, rice, and the 2 teaspoons tamari in a pressure cooker, rice cooker, or pot with a tight fitting lid. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender (about 20 minutes in a pressure cooker or 45 minutes otherwise).

2. While the rice is cooking, get the tofu ready for action. Slice into 8 slabs and place on paper towels in a single layer. Cover with more paper towels and place a cutting board or cookie sheet over the top. Weight it down with something heavy such as a gallon of water or a case of strawberry kombucha.

3. While the tofu is pressing, prepare the rest of your ingredients and set them aside. To crush the peanuts (and trust me, you want them crushed), place them in a sealed plastic bag. Roll over the bag with a rolling pin or smash the bag with another heavy object. My daughter finds a large spoon quite fun and effective for this task. Set aside.

4. To finish the tofu: Remove the tofu from the pressing situation it’s in and cut into ½-inch cubes or little triangles—and yes, technically speaking, triangles are cuter. Next, place in a single layer on a plate and sprinkle with the ¼ cup tamari. Turn the pieces so that they’re evenly coated with the tamari. Sprinkle evenly with the garlic granules and sesame seeds. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil. When melted, add the tofu and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, or until the tofu is golden-browned on all sides.

5. To bowl up your entrée: Place some rice in each bowl and top with carrots, cabbage, and scallions. Place some tofu on top of that and drizzle with some Sweet Red Chili Sauce. Sprinkle with peanuts and basil and serve immediately.

Serves 4/GF/Green (according to the health guidelines in my books)


5 Minute Vegan Buffalo Bites!

I was feeling mighty snacky yesterday and wanted something along the lines of the Vegan Buffalo Wings from my favorite vegetarian restaurant, Watercourse in Denver. Speaking of which, please do yourself a favor if you're ever in the Denver area and stop on by that place. Mmm mmm goodness!

However, I wanted a relatively healthy and uber-quick version of their yummy treat (they make theirs with breaded, deep fried seitan). This is what I came up with - it's a keeper in my book and I hope you enjoy it as well!

14 oz. container extra-firm tofu (use sprouted tofu if possible)
3 tablespoons non-virgin coconut oil

3 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup hot sauce (a basic, inexpensive cayenne hot sauce works well)
1/2 cup cornmeal or dry polenta

1. Cut the tofu into 8 slabs and press with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Cut the tofu into strips, then into small rectangles (about 1/2-inch x 1-inch in size).
2. Heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil.
3. Sprinkle the tamari and hot sauce evenly over the tofu.
4. Add the tofu to the skillet and sprinkle the cornmeal on top. Stir-fry immediately to coat the tofu evenly with the cornmeal.
5. Continue to stir-fry until the tofu is golden-browned on all sides, about 3-5 minutes. Serve plain, with additional hot sauce, or vegan ranch dressing for dipping. Yeah baybay!!

Serves 4
GF/Blue (according to the guidelines in my books)
30 Minutes or Under!

Tip: For the vegan ranch, I'd suggest using Vegenaise lowfat vegan mayo as the base - I love it because it's made with flax and olive oils (And it tastes great, despite being lower in fat!). If you need a recipe, check out this one from VegWeb - OR buy my new book next month! There's a recipe in it for "Guilt-Free Ranch Dressing" that's yum!

Raw Moroccan Quinoa Spinach Toss

This recipe has been adapted from my book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth. The recipe in RHIW calls for barley, but I'm loving it with this quinoa variation! I recently demonstrated this at a local health food store, and everyone was really impressed with how delicious it was, given how healthy and easy to make it is!

Raw Moroccan Quinoa Spinach Toss

I could live on this stuff! It’s fat-free, raw, nourishing, easy to make, and tasty! If you haven’t guessed yet by now, I’m a big fan of Moroccan seasonings—sweet, tart, and savory all at once. Yum!


1 cup dry quinoa, soaked overnight, then rinsed and drained well

Sweet-Savory Sauce:
1 teaspoon each: ground cumin and minced organic orange zest
¾ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
4 teaspoons each: fresh lemon juice and very finely minced onion
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons raw agave nectar

Simple Salad:
½ cup raisins
1 cup (packed) baby spinach, cut into very thin ribbons or minced

Optional:
Fresh mint, minced (about 1½ tablespoons)
Sea salt to taste (even I don’t salt this one, though!)

1. If you haven’t yet soaked the quinoa, you will need to do that first.

2. Stir the sauce ingredients together in a medium sized bowl until well combined.

3. Add the quinoa, raisins, and spinach to the sauce and toss to thoroughly combine.

4. Allow the mixture to marinate for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to saturate the sauce into everything. If you do have the time to marinate this for an hour, that’s even better.

5. After the dish has finished marinating, you can add the mint and/or some salt if you like. If you have leftovers, this will keep for a few days in an airtight container, refrigerated.

Serves about 4-6
GF/SF/Green (according to the health guidelines in my books)

Coconut-Lime Rice

Ooh baby, this is good. Are you ready for a flavor blast? Yes? Then put on your seatbelt and make up a batch of this. It's great served with spicy stir-fried tofu or tempeh and a green salad. Recipe from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

Coconut-Lime Rice

Yum. That’s all I have to say on the matter.

½ cup finely minced onion (white, yellow, or red)
4 teaspoons toasted (dark) sesame oil
1 cup each: jasmine (or basmati) rice, water, and coconut milk
2 teaspoons organic lime zest, finely chopped (zest of one lime)
¼ teaspoon dried turmeric

Final Freshlings:
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon sea salt
One scallion (green onion), trimmed and chopped
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed


Combine the onion, oil, rice, water, coconut milk, zest, and turmeric in a covered pot or rice cooker. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer (covered) for about 15 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve. Hello, flavor party!

Serves 3; 30 minutes or under! GF/SF/purple (according to the guidelines in my books)

Fresh Greek Delight

This recipe from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth is guaranteed to please!

I first tried this dish in an innovative, family owned Greek restaurant. They, of course, used their own freshly made pita bread as the base. I have recreated this delicious, fresh, and very addictive entrée using pre-made pita bread (or a tortilla) as it’s much quicker and, thus, perfect for everyday eats!

Fresh Greek Delight

½ cup of your favorite hummus

Flat Bread:
One fresh pita bread round (or one 8-inch sprouted or whole grain flour tortilla)*

Toppings Per Flat Bread Round:
½ cup (lightly packed) baby spinach leaves
⅓ cup chopped tomatoes (roma, cherry, or grape tomatoes work well)
6 kalamata olives, pitted and sliced in half
2 tablespoons very thinly sliced red onion (several thin rings of onion)
1 tablespoon (packed) fresh basil, sliced into ribbons

Grand Finale: 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Place your pita bread (or tortilla) directly on a rack in the oven and allow it to become lightly browned. This should only take about 5-10 minutes.

2. Remove the flat bread from the oven and place it on your plate. Spread the ½ cup of hummus evenly over the top of it. Next, evenly distribute the spinach, tomatoes, olives, onion, and basil on top of the hummus. Drizzle with the additional olive oil and serve immediately.

Serves 1; 30 minutes or under! GF (with substitution)/SF/Blue (according to the guidelines in my books)

*If you are gluten intolerant, you may try a 100% sprouted grain tortilla or use a gluten-free tortilla.

Top 10 Tips For Healthy Travels!

So, it's become fairly obvious that this is a really important and hot topic . . . and that I actually need to write a book on the subject! Which I plan to do after my next book is finished this spring. After my usual post-book chill time, of course. ;-)

Healthy traveling is a subject very near and dear to my heart, as I travel quite a bit and am obsessed with the union of delicious vegan food and optimum health. However, I'm all too familiar with the challenges that traveling presents. Lack of healthy options on the road, figuring out how and what to pack, and not having access to a kitchen can be very tricky things to navigate. So, I will share some of the things that have worked well for me. Please let me know if you have a favorite tip of your own, and keep those great suggestions coming!

Top 10 Tips for Healthy Travels!

1. When I know I'm going to be traveling through a city, I use either Happy Cow or VegDining to find vegan-friendly restaurants. Even if you're only veg-curious, you'll usually find much healthier options there!

2. To stay vitalized while traveling, two things will help you immensely: veggies and water! To stay up on your vegetable intake, try packing veggies that travel well. I've found that the following work well for me: carrot and celery sticks, dried kale or zucchini chips, raw kale salads (such as those in my most recent book), cherry tomatoes, and sugar snap peas. As for water, that's pretty self-explanatory. Drink more of it.

3. If you're staying or traveling through somewhere with dismal options and haven't planned ahead, you can consult this vegetarian list of options for chain restaurants. It will help you to find something that will keep you, well, from starving to death.

4. Plan, plan, plan! Being a food nerd is sexy, I don't care what they say. Take out your little sheet of paper and sparkly pen and make a list of all of the healthy foods that you love - especially those that will keep well in a cooler for at least a few days. Some of my favorite items that always end up in my cooler on road trips? Bean salads, tabouli, hummus, salads, raw nut dips (such as cashew "tuna"), bean burritos, tempeh sandwiches, fresh spring rolls, veggie fried rice, quinoa salads, and whole grain Asian pasta salads.

5. Fruit will remind you that life is good. You can find it anywhere (well, almost) and it will fuel you with electrolytes, calories, vitamins, and fiber until your next meal.

6. You can often find reasonably healthy sustenance at a regular old grocery store. Possible options: Fruit, pre-made hummus (use with veggies, pita bread, or regular bread for dipping), nondairy milk and whole grain cereal, guacamole and organic tortilla chips, the makings for a pb & j, and instant oatmeal.

7. Even without access to a kitchen, you can do some magic of your own. In fact, I even travel with a portable burner (OK, I use it for food demonstrations - but I'd take it either way at this point!) and blender. I also take basic cookware, including a skillet, spatula, garlic press, cutting board, and chef's knife. With just those items, I can make the following: power shakes and smoothies, stir-fry, tofu and tempeh cutlets for sandwiches and wraps, whole grain pancakes, bean dips, and more.

8. Go raw! Raw foods travel well and don't require cooking (obviously). What are some raw food yummies that travel well? Dehydrated goodies (veggie chips, fruit jerky, raw granola, crackers, etc.), nut spreads (for wrapping in lettuce or tortillas), cashew cheese (for dipping in crackers), nori rolls, flax crackers, and so much more!
 
9. When traveling, I always have my cooler with me. Sure, it seems cumbersome, but it's so worth it! I learned a trick from my mom too, as far as keeping it cold all handy-dandy like: Freeze water bottles (or gallon jugs of water) and place them in your cooler. That way, they'll keep everything cold while you simultaneously drink ice-cold water and stay hydrated!

10. Need to pack items that don't require refrigeration or any sort of prep work? Here is a peek into what I bring in that sort of circumstance. I keep it by the driver's seat and call it my "snack bag" (really creative title, no?): Mary's Gone Crackers sticks and twigs (or any of their crackers), almonds (raw or tamari roasted), fruit (tangerines/oranges, grapefruit, and apples are hearty travelers), dehydrated kale chips, green powder (I mix it with my water), Two Moms In The Raw granola bars, Lara Bars (or, preferably, my homemade versions thereof), trail mix (walnuts, cranberries, cacao nibs, etc.), and, of course, a little organic dark chocolate.

Hope this helps you to get inspired for healthy, yummy travels. Please keep giving me your great suggestions and questions - I love hearing from you! xxoo

Ten Ways with Cabbage!

Cabbage! Yes, it deserves an exclamation point. It's not only jam packed with nutrients, fiber, antioxidants, and anti-cancer compounds - it's also delicious and versatile.

However, when I asked what veggie people were most unsure about how to use, cabbage was one of the most common answers. So, I wanted to dedicate a blog post just for the love of cabbage. Are you ready? Let's ride!


10 Ways to Use Cabbage:

1. Saute cabbage along with garlic, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and shredded carrots. Wrap in phyllo and bake for delicious "egg rolls." Dip in sweet chili sauce or plum sauce for an extra kick.

2. Toss shredded purple cabbage with lime juice, agave nectar, minced fresh ginger, and chili flakes. Salt to taste and serve cold.

3. For an easy, impressive Asian side dish: Toss shredded green and/or purple cabbage with toasted sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds, agave nectar, tamari, garlic, and fresh ginger. Serve over spinach and top with crunchy sesame sticks. Garnish with a lime wedge.


4. I once hosted a potluck and one of the guests brought the most delicious cabbage rolls - you know, one of those dishes you just never forget! She simply made a stuffing of blended cashews, barley, lemon juice, shredded carrots, onions, sea salt, and garlic. Then, she placed a little of the filling in each cabbage leaf, wrapped them up, and steamed them until soft. So good! You can also do a more traditional tomato-based stuffing using crumbled tempeh or tofu along with Italian seasonings.

5. Speaking of potlucks, I attended one in Florida last month that included another unforgettable cabbage dish. The woman had just picked the (green) cabbage that morning, chopped it, and added the following: fresh ginger juice, turmeric, lemon juice, and sea salt. It sounds simple, but I had about four helpings. Freaking addictive.

6. For a simple vegan coleslaw, just substitute reduced fat (or regular) Vegenaise for mayo in your favorite coleslaw recipe. And yes, I do prefer the reduced fat Vegenaise, as it's made with better oils (flax and olive) than the other kinds. Most health food stores carry it.

7. For me, cabbage is one of the best ways to garnish Mexican fare. It adds color, nutrition, and crunch! I like to use raw, chopped red cabbage to top tostadas, burritos, tacos, and baked chimichangas.

8. Fresh spring rolls (aka summer rolls) always benefit with the addition of cabbage. In a soaked rice paper wrapper, place some red cabbage, shredded carrots, crushed peanuts, cilantro, lettuce, and basil. Wrap up and serve cold with sweet chili sauce for dipping. For those of you with my books, you'll find a plethora of detailed fresh spring roll recipes in both. Yes, I'm an addict.

9. I just asked my daughter (a cabbage lover from way back) what her favorite way to eat cabbage was. Her response: "Take a piece of lettuce. Put a cabbage leaf in it. Put a raspberry or strawberry inside and roll it all up." (I think anything with berries involved has a chance with her.)

10. For simple Thai curried cabbage: Stir-fry napa cabbage in some coconut milk, red curry paste, and fresh ginger. If desired, add some agave nectar and sea salt. Cook just until the cabbage is wilted and bright green (well under 5 minutes). Serve plain or with brown basmati rice.

Thanks so much for stopping by!