Garam Masala Baked Acorn Squash – Stuffed With Cranberry Rice

Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash With Cranberry Rice & Garam Masala

Oh acorn squash – how I thought you were disgusting when I was a child, and, now I know what it takes to make you delicious!

Many adults aren’t squash fans, probably because their family didn’t serve it very well.  This recipe can change all that.

Healthy Vegan Baked Acorn Squash – No-Oil, Whole-Foods Plant-Based

Most people don’t know how to stuff vegetables, do they?   The ones I know anyways, are wowed when presented with a flavourful rice filled acorn squash.

No need to be impressed folks, because this stuffed acorn squash recipe is a dead easy meal to make.

Downright relaxing for the cook actually.

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Roasted With Wild Rice, Dried Cranberries, Garam Masala, Spinach and Black Beans

This whole-foods plant-based (wpb) oil-free roasted and stuffed acorn squash is extra deliciously complex, because the whole grain wild rice (any nice healthy whole grain rice should do) has extra scrumptious dried cranberry bits in it, plus the east Indian dessert pepper spice Garam Masala.

Nutrition Facts
Garam Masala Baked Acorn Squash - Stuffed With Cranberry Rice
Amount Per Serving (1 / 4th of recipe)
Calories 568 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Sodium 727mg 30%
Potassium 1617mg 46%
Total Carbohydrates 125g 42%
Dietary Fiber 18g 72%
Sugars 21g
Protein 20g 40%
Vitamin A 86.5%
Vitamin C 44.8%
Calcium 17%
Iron 34.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

You can buy Garam Masala in the ethnic section of your grocery store.  I have a large bag of it, it goes nicely with fruit as well, like apple slices before bed, or on oatmeal.

Garam masala, cranberries, and acorn squash are a great combo.  Very romantic.

Plus, I’ve stirred some spinach ribbons, and optionally black beans, through this sticky sweet, spicy, rice, making things very much more interesting.

Can You Eat the Skin of Acorn Squash?

I looked it up and people said that the skin of acorn squash is edible if cooked long enough, so I announced this to my family, when serving them, they promptly all said “no thanks”.

Then I proceeded to try some of the skin on my squash, spit it out, and declared it was much too tough.

“Told you so” my husband said.

I would not encourage others to enjoy eating the skin.

Do enjoy the rest though. 🙂

FODMAP rating – without the black beans this recipe is Low FODMAP.  With the black beans, be sure to used canned, eat 1/4 cup or less of the canned beans and it is moderate FODMAP.

vegan garam masala cranberry rice stuffed acorn squash
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Garam Masala Baked Acorn Squash - Stuffed With Cranberry Rice

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, Western
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 568 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

Stuffed acorn squash presents well at any family gathering or dinner party, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.  The warm, peppery and sweet seasonings pair perfectly with fall and winter weather.

I can't over-emphasize how easy this dish is to make, but makes you look like a fairly accomplished cook.  As long as you have time to cook rice, it will come together 5 minutes after the rice is done.

This vegan no-fat version has dried cranberries, rice, spinach and optionally black beans, so it can easily serve as your entire meal.  

Ingredients

  • 2 cups wild rice or other healthy whole grains, like short grain brown rice, brown basmati rice, or quinoa
  • 4 cups water or as per rice package instructions
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 cup dried cranberries I use Craisins (sweetened)
  • 2 acorn squash small, or 1 large, washed and halved
  • 5 cups spinach finely chopped
  • 398 ml black beans, can small can, optional - if you are serving as a meal rather than a side dish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F

  2. Add rice, water, salt, garam masala and cranberries to a pot on high heat.  Bring to a boil, immediately reduce to low simmer, and cook for 45 minutes, or as per rice package instructions.  Check and stir often, to prevent the cranberries from burning.   If the rice is not soft once the water is gone, add more water and cook longer.  The dried cranberries can absorb liquid the rice needs.

  3. Break stem off acorn squashes (if there is one).  Cut in halves.  Scoop out the seeds and strings.  Sprinkle with pepper and salt, place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 - 45 minutes (timing will depend on the size of the squash).    

  4. Once the rice is done, turn off the heat.  Stir chopped spinach into the rice so it 'melts'.

  5. If using, drain and rinse black beans, add to rice mixture.  Let sit for a few minutes to warm the beans.

  6. Once done, remove acorn squash from the oven.  The squash should be soft all the way through.

  7. Spoon spinach, black bean, cranberry, rice mixture into squash, you should be able to pile it quite high, serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Omit the black beans to make this recipe a side dish. 

Goes well with lentil loaf at holidays.

Cut large squash into quarters before serving.

 

Nutrition Facts
Garam Masala Baked Acorn Squash - Stuffed With Cranberry Rice
Amount Per Serving (1 / 4th of recipe)
Calories 568 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Sodium 727mg 30%
Potassium 1617mg 46%
Total Carbohydrates 125g 42%
Dietary Fiber 18g 72%
Sugars 21g
Protein 20g 40%
Vitamin A 86.5%
Vitamin C 44.8%
Calcium 17%
Iron 34.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

 

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Italian Cornmeal Zucchini Polenta – 20 minutes

Easy Vegan Zuchinni Cornmeal Italian Polenta

Turn a Bag of Cornmeal into Italian Creamy Zucchini Polenta, FAST – with Savoury Seasonings

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Italian Cornmeal Zucchini Polenta - 15 minutes - Fat-free
Amount Per Serving (1 / 6th of recipe)
Calories 232 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Sodium 600mg 25%
Potassium 546mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 43g 14%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 4g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 5.4%
Vitamin C 29.1%
Calcium 3.4%
Iron 12.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

I’d never made polenta from scratch before.  Have you?

I didn’t know you could make a vegan, fat-free, polenta (think corn porridge!) using cornmeal, for dinner, and that it would only take 15 – 20 minutes.

It’s really easy and very yummy when you add some seasonings and zucchini to it.  The zucchini keeps it moist and stops it from hardening as much, as it cools.

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Cornmeal polenta is faster than pasta, easier than potatoes, speedier than quinoa, quicker than rice, and seriously lip smacking good.raw cornmeal for vegan polenta

If you do know how to make polenta, then you probably agree, making creamy vegan cornmeal polenta is really easy, and naturally tastes great as a no-oil gluten-free whole-grain plant-based quick easy vegan side-dish.

Simple Creamy Vegan Polenta

Boil water, add seasonings and extras (if any), add cornmeal, wait a few minutes, done!

My kids probably would have preferred if I left out the seasonings and extras.

But… I still had 4 zucchini squash from my neighbours and aunt taking up most of my counter ledge.

Must. Use. More. Zucchini. Autumn harvest and all.

So I created this shredded zucchini polenta recipe that turned out wonderfully.

Simple Creamy Vegan Polenta with Zucchini and Italian Seasonings

Boil water, food process a generous sized zucchini (mine made 4 cups), add salt, Italian seasonings like oregano, and rosemary, with generous pepper, add zucchini to the water, stir in cornmeal, wait 5 minutes, voila!

Savoury, vegan, fat-free, gluten-free, low FODMAP (for us folks with IBS), Italian style polenta.

Feeding Vegan Children – Skip the Green Bits

My kids were disappointed that the polenta had the seasonings, and the green bits of zucchini skin.

If you are feeding vegan children who are picky about mixed in green things, like mine, I would suggest you peel the zucchini and make the polenta with just salt, pull the kids portions out, then quickly add remaining seasonings for the non picky eaters.  Serve broccoli or something else green on the side, full transparency kids.

Fast

I say quickly, because cornmeal thickens up real fast in boiling water, I was very surprised, and pleased by this.  It is why I suggest adding the spices before the cornmeal in the recipe below, otherwise it is tricky to stir them into the thickness.

I ended up with lumps, and discovered they are very tasty, so don’t worry about those.  What a great easy carb for a supper on a busy night.  Polenta weekly from now on?!

Mmmmm Kind of Texture

The polenta is such a comforting texture when it is warm, like thick porridge, but more smooth, sophisticated, and appropriate for dinner.

Is this what grits are?  I really don’t know.

As soon as I find out, I will share my knowledge with you, it’s my mission.

To make vegan families the norm.

FODMAP rating – low FODMAP.  For people with IBS, no onions in this dish, and cornmeal is low fodmap, yay!

Vegan Dinner Idea Italian Cornmeal Zucchini Polenta
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Vegan Italian Cornmeal Zucchini Polenta - 15 minutes - Fat-free

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 232 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

Take water, a bag of cornmeal, a zucchini, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper and turn it into a filling, lip smacking, yummy, warm, vegan comfort food, that comes together so fast and tastes wonderful.

Whole-grains, gluten-free, plant-based, no-oil.  Tastes a bit like thanksgiving.

Use a food processor to prepare the zucchini, peel it first if serving picky children, throw it in some boiling water with the seasonings, add cornmeal, stir and wait 5 minutes for the cornmeal to cook.  

Very simple.  Very cozy.  Very smooth and full of taste.

Great recipe to try on a night you are running late and looking for a fast, easy, simple, vegan carb/starch side-dish for your supper.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 6.5 cups zucchini approximate, shredded in food processor, or grated. One large zucchini.
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast optional, truly, you won't miss it
  • 1 tsp oregano dried, or 1 tbsp fresh
  • 1 tsp rosemary or thyme, dried, or 1 tbsp fresh
  • 2 cups cornmeal cornmeal

Instructions

  1. Grate or food process zucchini. Peel first if serving to picky children, or picky adults.  Add zucchini and water to a large saucepan, stir to combine and bring to a boil.

  2. Add salt, pepper, oregano, rosemary, and nutritional yeast, if using.

  3. With water / zucchini and spices bubbling, add cornmeal in a thin stream, stirring with a wooden spoon to incorporate.  

    raw cornmeal for vegan polenta
  4. Turn heat to low.  Keep stirring over low heat for at least 5 minutes as the cornmeal cooks and loses it's raw taste. It thickens into polenta very quickly, which is why it is important to have the seasonings in the liquid before the cornmeal. Otherwise it is tricky to stir it all together.

  5. Taste test (blow on it, don't burn your tongue!) and adjust seasonings to your preference.

  6. After the cornmeal has been cooking, it should get thick, turn off heat, let it sit 5 more minutes, then it should be ready to serve.  The longer the polenta sits, the thicker it will get and the herbs will mellow out.  Oregano can be quite strong, I find it tastes better the longer it sits, and is really nice as leftovers.

    Creamy fat-free vegan zucchini cornmeal polenta
  7. Snip green onions or chives overtop when serving, some people like this with freshly squeezed lemon as well, or cranberry sauce.

    vegan no-oil cornmeal polenta with zucchini

Recipe Notes

Stir in black beans before serving if you are looking to add a vegan protein.

Serving ideas, with:

carrots sautéed in water, add spinach and fresh dill when carrots are almost done.

kidney beans or chickpeas and canned mushrooms microwaved in a steamer dish, seasoned with cumin or chili powder and freshly squeezed lemon.  

a nice dark leafy greens salad.

cranberry sauce.

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Italian Cornmeal Zucchini Polenta - 15 minutes - Fat-free
Amount Per Serving (1 / 6th of recipe)
Calories 232 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Sodium 600mg 25%
Potassium 546mg 16%
Total Carbohydrates 43g 14%
Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
Sugars 4g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 5.4%
Vitamin C 29.1%
Calcium 3.4%
Iron 12.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Green Tomatoes Chickpea Avocado Edamame Rice Salad

Mix Avocado, Fresh Green Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Edamame Beans for a Creamy Vegan Spread or Salad Bowl

Use up fresh green tomatoes in this creamy avocado, edamame, chickpea, whole-foods plant-based green goddess recipe.

Put it on rice, quinoa, or other grains with some greens, like a bed of spinach.  No-oil needed, it’s fat-free but full of natural omega fats to keep your body glowing.

Also try smashing this green spread on toast or as a filling in a lettuce wrap.

Hard to go wrong, and very easy to go right, with avocado and edamame, some frozen peas, and optionally green tomatoes.

Create yourself a super vegan creamy mixture and delight.

FODMAP rating – medium low amount of FODMAPS.  Monash recommends eating less than 1/4 cup of chickpeas, and less than 1/4 cup of thawed peas in a sitting.  If you proportion more grains and spinach and less of the filling, IBS sufferers should be able to enjoy this recipe.

Nutrition Facts
Chickpea Avocado Edamame Rice Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 / 6th of recipe including rice and red pepper)
Calories 530 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 510mg 21%
Potassium 1119mg 32%
Total Carbohydrates 89g 30%
Dietary Fiber 16g 64%
Sugars 10g
Protein 20g 40%
Vitamin A 73.7%
Vitamin C 101.5%
Calcium 13.2%
Iron 34.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

chickpea avocado edamame rice bowl
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Chickpea Avocado Edamame Rice Salad

Course: dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Vegan, Western
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 530 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

This has a green goddess appeal when you use green tomatoes fresh from your garden or local farmer's market.  Fresh and green, with creamy avocado, edamame, the tomatoes add a light citrus.

Red tomatoes also work, or omit the tomatoes.

On toast, on rice, in a lettuce wrap how else can we use this delicious filling, spread and smash?

Ingredients

  • 2 cups brown rice or a brown rice, quinoa blend
  • 1.5 cups edamame beans, frozen
  • 1 avocado
  • 540 ml chickpeas canned, drained and rinsed
  • 1.5 cups green tomatoes diced, optional
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard or more to taste
  • 1 cup peas frozen
  • 2 tbsp green onions as garnish, discard the white parts of the onions to make this recipe low FODMAP
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 4 cups spinach
  • 2 red peppers

Instructions

Cook Grains

  1. Cook grains, I used a rice quinoa mix.  Set aside to cool.

Prepare Edamame, Avocado, Chickpea Mix

  1. Microwave edamame in a microwave steamer to cook, as per package directions.  Usually 5 minutes. 

  2. Add avocado, drained chickpeas, green tomatoes, salt, and dijon mustard to a medium/large bowl.  Taste and adjust amount of mustard to your preference.

    vegan green tomato avocado chickpea salad
  3. Add edamame to the bowl.   Mine were in their shells still, so I microwaved them in their steamer bag and then shelled them into the bowl.

    Chickpeas, avocado, edamame smash
  4. Mash with potato masher until desired consistency.

    Edamame, Avocado, Chickpea Filling
  5. Stir in frozen peas, still frozen, they will cool it down and then you don't need to refrigerate.

Recipe Notes

To Assemble Salad:

Line a bowl or plate with fresh baby spinach or romaine lettuce.

Add rice/grains, and then the edamame, avocado, chickpea mix.  

Top with sliced red peppers, use scissors to cut green onions on top.

Add hot sauce.

Nutrition Facts
Chickpea Avocado Edamame Rice Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 / 6th of recipe including rice and red pepper)
Calories 530 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 510mg 21%
Potassium 1119mg 32%
Total Carbohydrates 89g 30%
Dietary Fiber 16g 64%
Sugars 10g
Protein 20g 40%
Vitamin A 73.7%
Vitamin C 101.5%
Calcium 13.2%
Iron 34.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
 
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Gorgeous Vegan Gravy

Fast Vegan Microwave Gravy – Fat-free

Being able to make a quick healthy vegan gravy will expand your plant-based cooking options. Not only is it delicious, but gravy can serve as the protein for your meal.

Look how much iron is in one serving of this gravy, and it contains 28% of your daily protein needs too, with zero fat and cholesterol.

This smooth, brown, thick gravy reminds us of Thanksgiving dinners and stuffing, and good times at family gatherings.   It is the perfect traditional brown gravy colour and has savoury flavour.

Nutrition Facts
Fat-free Vegan Lentil Gravy in 10 minutes
Amount Per Serving (1 / 7th of recipe)
Calories 194
% Daily Value*
Sodium 172mg 7%
Potassium 598mg 17%
Total Carbohydrates 34g 11%
Dietary Fiber 12g 48%
Sugars 2g
Protein 14g 28%
Vitamin A 0.3%
Vitamin C 2.9%
Calcium 3.2%
Iron 29.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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Low FODMAP Lentil Vegan Gravy
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Fat-free Vegan Lentil Gravy in 10 minutes

Course: gravy, Main Course, Sauce
Cuisine: Western
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 7 servings
Calories: 194 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

In under 10 minutes you can make smooth, perfect, plant-based, fat-free gravy, in the microwave.  You will get almost 4 cups, of smooth warm lump-free gravy.

I like to blend most of the lentils into this vegan gravy, and serve the rest of the lentils whole on the plate, or stirred into the gravy so people see they are getting legumes too.  

If you are using this gravy as the protein of your meal, one 540ml can of lentils for every 2 people should ensure there is enough gravy and lentils for everyone. 

This gravy recipe is also the sauce for my Green Bean Casserole, a classic and very tasty Thanksgiving type side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups water room temperature
  • 1.5 tbsp cornstarch or flour
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning Adjust the seasonings to your taste. This amount makes for a mild flavour.
  • 1/2 tsp salt Adjust to taste
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder optional, omit to make low FODMAP for IBS diets
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast optional
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 38 fl oz canned lentils 2 medium cans, drained and rinsed

Instructions

  1. Add water to a 5 cup or larger microwave safe bowl that is large enough to handle a hand blender.  I use a glass Pampered Chef 4 cup batter bowl because it has a rim to prevent boil-overs, a lid for storing, and a spout. 

  2. Whisk in the cornstarch, poultry seasoning, salt, optional onion powder, optional nutritional yeast, and pepper so there are no lumps in the water.

  3. Microwave for 2 minutes, whisk to combine well, microwave for 2 more minutes, whisk.  Your gravy should be fairly thick at this point.  Microwave longer if it isn't yet in one minute increments.  Microwave power varies.

  4. Stir in 1 1/2 cans (770ml) of the drained lentils, reserve 1/2 can of lentils.  Blend with a hand blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preference.

    Lentil Vegan Gravy
  5. If you have a large enough bowl, stir half of the set-aside lentils right into the gravy.  I like to reserve some plain lentils for anyone (small daughter!) who declines gravy, so they can still have lentils.

  6. Microwave 1 minute, stir and test the temperature. 

    Vegan Brown Gravy in Microwave
  7. Add gravy to a gravy boat, and serve hot.  Spoon reserved lentils on or beside the mashed potatoes, people can pour gravy over top.

Recipe Notes

Customize your gravy by trying other dried powdered herb combinations.  All of these can produce delicious results:

sage, rosemary, parsley, celery powder, seasoned salt, marjoram, thyme.

Spoon the lentils onto or near your mashed potatoes, and pour hot gravy overtop. goes great with steamed vegetables - like broccoli and carrots, brussels sprouts, with a cob of corn as well as something green. It's been a real hit.

Stir leftover lentils into the gravy for the next day.

Nutrition Facts
Fat-free Vegan Lentil Gravy in 10 minutes
Amount Per Serving (1 / 7th of recipe)
Calories 194
% Daily Value*
Sodium 172mg 7%
Potassium 598mg 17%
Total Carbohydrates 34g 11%
Dietary Fiber 12g 48%
Sugars 2g
Protein 14g 28%
Vitamin A 0.3%
Vitamin C 2.9%
Calcium 3.2%
Iron 29.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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This smooth, brown, fast, fat-free lentil based vegan gravy reminds us of Thanksgiving dinners, stuffing, and good times at family gatherings. A traditional brown gravy colour, with savoury flavour. Ready in 10 minutes, in the microwave.

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Mix Avocado, Fresh Green Tomatoes, Chickpeas, and Edamame Beans for a Creamy Vegan Spread, or Rice Quinoa Salad Bowl. Whole-foods plant-based green goddess recipe. No-oil needed, it’s fat-free but full of natural omega fats to keep your body glowing.

Garam Masala Baked Acorn Squash – Stuffed With Cranberry Rice

Deliciously complex, tasty, healthy baked, stuffed acorn squash. Cranberry rice and spinach stuffing, Garam Masala East Indian dessert peppery spice. UNIQUE!

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Super Summer-Time Pasta Salad

Healthy Vegan Black Bean Pasta Salad

We eat this salad on days I have waited too long to start supper.  If I want to feed my family food in 15 minutes, this will do!  My kids favourite food is pasta, so they love it.

Try this great no-oil whole-foods plant-based meal salad for a pot-luck, party, or BBQ. Get your plant-based protein from beans and whole grain pasta.  People will ask you about the dressing, surprise them by saying “it’s only dried herbs and lemon!”.

With frozen peas, cucumber, canned or frozen corn, green onions, tomatoes, whole grain pasta and black olives this simple vegan dinner salad is fast, fresh, and easy to put together.

Jump to Recipe

Nutrition Facts
Super Summer-Time Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 / 10th of recipe)
Calories 351 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 1275mg 53%
Potassium 719mg 21%
Total Carbohydrates 60g 20%
Dietary Fiber 11g 44%
Sugars 4g
Protein 15g 30%
Vitamin A 16%
Vitamin C 31.3%
Calcium 10.3%
Iron 25.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Hot pasta thaws the peas, activates the seasonings

While the pasta cooks, gather the vegetables, stir them together, still frozen.  Add the drained pasta and the heat cooks the peas a touch, the pasta cools, things get juicy, the dried herbs release flavour, and your meal is ready to serve in minutes.

Why whole grain pasta?  Read How To Judge the Healthiness of Grain Products to learn more about why whole grain pasta is going to help your gut microbiome, prevent cancer, and help you lose weight.

Olives make this salad so satisfying

Olives are better for you than olive oil – filled with a small amount of healthy unsaturated fat – the way nature intended us to eat fat, packaged with fibre and phytonutrients.

Canada’s food guide is being revamped, I just gave my input, and was pleased to see they recommend we limit saturated fats and instead choose unsaturated fats.  Good news!

Olives cause your brain to signal “yup, we are satisfied and full here!”  You get that mouth oil feeling, olives curb cravings.

Vegan meal salad that kids love

Simplicity means kid friendly, and most kids really enjoy pasta.  I call this pasta salad, and focus on the pasta when serving it to my kids, more than the vegetables.  Once they taste a few bites, they gobble it all up, making us all happy.  🙂

Vegan Meal Proportions

See my article, How to Eat Vegan For Energy and Weight Loss I talk about the proportions of beans, greens, veggies and starches to eat to keep up your energy and lose weight!  Tip: eat this salad on a bed of spinach or other dark greens, if you want to feel extra energy.

 

Vegan Healthy Pasta Salad Fat-free Italian
Print

Super Summer-Time Pasta Salad

Course: Main Course, Pasta, Salad
Cuisine: Italian, Western
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 351 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

This salad is a meal, a 15 minute vegan fat-free plant-based protein pasta salad dinner!  Black olives, cucumber, whole grain rotini pasta, frozen peas, corn, tomatoes, green onions plus Italian seasonings and lemon juice make an extraordinary delicious high fibre FRESH healthy pasta salad.  

Assemble the vegetables - including the frozen ones - add the drained pasta, stir and the temperature will become perfect to serve.  The peas will melt, even cook a bit, the pasta will cool, it's awesomely fast.

We are always surprised by how tasty this simple combination is.  It's just perfect.  Kids love the sweet peas, salty seasonings, and the pasta!

Ingredients

Pasta

Vegetables

  • 3 cups cucumber diced, 1 large is about 3 cups
  • 2 cups tomatoes cherry quartered, or large diced whole tomatoes
  • 4 green onions sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups corn frozen, or canned
  • 398 ml black olives pitted canned, whole, no-oil, add a splash of olive juice to the salad, then drain the rest.
  • 1080 ml black beans can drained
  • 2 cups peas frozen

Dressing

  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp basil dried
  • 1 tbsp oregano dried
  • 1 tsp salt depending on how salty your canned items already are
  • 6 tbsp lemon juice fresh squeezed for vitamin C if you can!

Instructions

  1. Heat water for pasta.  We like whole grain rotini for this, the rotini shape holds the seasoning well and doesn't get soggy as leftovers.  Once water is boiling, add the pasta, stir.  Cook to be firm - al dente, following package directions, don't overcook.

  2. While the water heats, dice the cucumber, tomatoes, green onions and add to an extra large bowl.

  3. Open the cans of black beans, corn (if using canned) and black olives.

    Add corn with it's juice (max 1/3 cup) to the bowl, I like to splash some of the black olive juice into the salad bowl too.  If you are using frozen corn it will create some juice when it hits the hot pasta, so don't worry.

  4. Add the drained black beans and olives. 

  5. Add frozen peas - it is important that they are frozen at this point because they cool the pasta.

  6. Add seasonings and lemon juice to a small bowl or measuring cup, stir to combine, taste test and adjust to your preference, pour over salad, and stir  through.

    Easy Healthy WFPB Bean Tomato Cucumber Pasta Salad
  7. Once pasta is done, drain pasta well, while it is still hot add the pasta to the vegetables and dressing.

  8. Stir to combine. Wait a couple minutes for the herbs to release their flavours, and serve!

Recipe Notes

 

Variations: 

Sub herbs for a dried Italian seasoning purchased mix.  Store mixes usually contain salt, so don't add any extra salt.  Read the label, choose a mix that doesn't contain added oils.

Sub cucumber for orange and yellow peppers, zucchini, or romaine lettuce.  As long as you keep the peas, corn, tomatoes and olives other vegetables work well.

Omit the Pasta: This tastes great without the pasta as well, as a bean salad, serve with toast, pitas, or rice, or just with spinach.

Vinegar: I'm curious if a vinegar would make this even nicer.  Afraid to try, because my kids aren't into vinegar much yet and we've got something here that works.

If anyone tries adding vinegar, please let me know!!  Personally, I'd use a balsamic.

 

Nutrition Facts
Super Summer-Time Pasta Salad
Amount Per Serving (1 / 10th of recipe)
Calories 351 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 1275mg 53%
Potassium 719mg 21%
Total Carbohydrates 60g 20%
Dietary Fiber 11g 44%
Sugars 4g
Protein 15g 30%
Vitamin A 16%
Vitamin C 31.3%
Calcium 10.3%
Iron 25.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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*Sweet* Sweet Potato Fries – wfpb no-oil

Easy, Simple, Fast, Best, Delicious, Healthy, Fat-Free, Sweet Potato Oven Baked Fries

People think you need to coat oven fries in oil, but they don’t know… try this recipe and you will learn better.  Moisture leaves the sweet potatoes as they bake, and activates the seasonings. Your fries will be crispy, oil-free, and full of flavour.

Nutrition Facts
*Sweet* Sweet Potato Fries The Whole-Foods Plant-Based Way
Amount Per Serving (1 / 5th of recipe)
Calories 89
% Daily Value*
Sodium 57mg 2%
Potassium 350mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 4g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 295.1%
Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 3.1%
Iron 3.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

I recommend Epicure seasoning mixes, I used this Cajun spice to make mine tonight.  It was spicy!  Epicure seasonings are amazing high quality spices, with high nutritional value, and no artificial ingredients like MSG or gluten fillers.

If you are in Canada, you can conveniently order spices and seasoning mixes from my Epicure site online catalogue and ship them to your home.

My kids had no seasonings, they dipped their fries in ketchup.  You can also use whatever spice blends you have around the house, like chili powder, or salt and pepper and garlic powder.

Back to oil – One gram of oil is 9 calories… empty, empty, harmful calories.  13.6 grams of oil (a tablespoon) is 120 calories.  One serving of these sweet potatoes without oil is only 89 calories!  When you add oil, you are adding calories that are nutrition poor.  You do not need processed oil to live.  We have been cooking oil-free since 2013.  If you think you need it…. what is something bad that happens to people who don’t eat oil?

Skip the oil.  Why no-oil cooking?

Jump to Recipe

Sweet potatoes have many health benefits, they are a super-food.

Like what benefits?  Well, much of the following information was conveniently provided on a paper that came with my bag of 6 sweet potatoes – let’s learn together, ok?

High in Fiber

Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber, which lowers your risk for constipation, diverticulitis, colon and rectal cancer, heart disease, type two diabetes and obesity.

The fibre in sweet potatoes provides a feeling of fulness and satisfaction, which makes you eat less!

High in Antioxidants

Antioxidants play a role in the prevention of heart disease and cancer, and sweet potatoes supply plenty of the antioxidants vitamin E, and beta-carotene.

Antioxidants are essential for good brain functioning and delay the effects of ageing on the brain. Vitamin E is found mainly in high fat foods such as oils, nuts, and avocados.

Only sweet potatoes provide vitamin E without fat and calories.

Vitamin A

One serving of this recipe is 285% of the vitamin A required for a person following a 2000 calorie diet.  BAM!

If you are short like me that is like 400% vitamin A… I don’t count calories, but I know from before I went vegan (when I stressed about calories ALL THE TIME) that I need about 1100 – 1200 calories a day to maintain my 5’2″ frame.  Now that I eat whole-foods plant-based I don’t need to stress…. if I notice I’m getting some extra flab, I eat more greens and it goes away.  Serious.

Low Glycemic Index

A low glycemic index is desirable and is characterized by slow absorption, a modest rise in blood glucose, and smooth return to normal. This is especially important for people with diabetes, whose good health is dependent upon stable blood glucose levels.

Diabetics and others wanting to avoid glucose highs and lows can turn to sweet potatoes, which have a low glycemic index.

Excellent Source of Potassium

Potassium plays a major role in maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance and cell integrity. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources of potassium, and sweet potatoes are among the top three richest sources. Naturally low in calories and high in nutritional value.

Ways to Include Sweet Potato Fries in Your Diet

Some ideas for using these nummy, nummy fries that you can consider while they are baking, or while you are peeling and chopping them.

  • Take sweet potato fries for lunch, topped with cinnamon flavoured applesauce
  • Add leftover sweet potatoes to your next stew or soup.  That’s going to be fast…
  • You can even eat raw sweet potato fries with your favourite dip (I read this on the sweet potato marketing literature that came with them, I have never actually tried this).
  • Eat sweet potato fries for vegan breakfast with scrambled tofu and pancakes.

Let’s dig into some sweet sweet potato fries!

 
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cajun sweet potato oven fries with ketchup
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*Sweet* Sweet Potato Fries The Whole-Foods Plant-Based Way

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan, Western
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 89 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

Don't buy frozen fries, make them fresh, and use orange sweet potatoes to get more antioxidants, potassium, and fibre, from a fat-free, low-glycemic index super-food!

Peel the potatoes, cut into sticks, spread on your baking sheet, sprinkle with seasonings, bake, enjoy.

See full instructions and pictures here!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.  Use a foil or silicone lined baking sheet or stoneware.  No-oil required.

  2. Peel the potatoes.

  3. Cut in half or quarters, place on the round side, slice down 2-3 times to make 1 inch lengths.  Set in a pile on the flat side, cut into sticks.

  4. Spread mostly in a single layer, some overlap is fine.  No-oil required.  Really jam the sticks together, they will shrink quite a bit.  Pack as many on the sheet as you can, because I think you are going to eat these up really quick-like and be sad if you don't have enough.  In fact, I wish I had put a lot more on my sheet here. 🙁

    sweet potato fries in sticks ready for baking
  5. Sprinkle with seasonings like seasoned salt, chili powder, or cajun seasoning from Epicure.  If you have a convection oven, then fire up two sheets and cook those babies at the same time.

  6. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes.  Remove if fries start to burn.

    baked healthy sweet potato fries no-oil
  7. Serve!  In this case we had them with beet greens (with fresh squeezed lemon) and vegan chicken fingers.  It was honestly a great combo.  Spicy cajun fries, salty lemon beet greens (they are naturally salty), sweet ketchup veggie fingers - it was all really good, and pretty good for us too, right?

    cajun sweet potato oven fries with ketchup

Recipe Notes

Serving suggestions:

With Ketchup mixed with cajun seasoning, or cranberry sauce, or lemon juice.

Nutrition Facts
*Sweet* Sweet Potato Fries The Whole-Foods Plant-Based Way
Amount Per Serving (1 / 5th of recipe)
Calories 89
% Daily Value*
Sodium 57mg 2%
Potassium 350mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 4g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 295.1%
Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 3.1%
Iron 3.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

 

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Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa and Lentil Pilaf – Orange Cranberry Apple Sauce

Easy Vegan Quinoa and Lentil Pilaf with Brussels Sprouts and Orange Apple Cranberry Thyme Sauce

This whole-foods plant-based, fat-free, no-oil healthy brussels sprouts with lentils and quinoa recipe is crazy easy.

The quinoa and lentil pilaf in one pot is a delicious staple that can serve as a vegan starch and protein base for many of your meals.

Here, I’ve added my orange thyme dressing, but other vegetables and sauces will work well too.

Jump to Recipe

 

Lentils and Quinoa in Only 20 Minutes

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Boil, Steam or Microwave Brussel Sprouts

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Add Orange Thyme Cranberry Tahini Dressing

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I recommend my Sweet Zing Orange Thyme Dressing.

You can click on the “sauce” tag in the sidebar to view a list of sauces.  Or use the search feature on the site and search for “sauce” or “dressing”.

Mmmm, just looking at these pictures again now, I remember how good this was!

The sauce has a lot of tasty ingredients – orange juice, diced apple, sesame paste (tahini), green onions, chia seeds, dried cranberries… it’s great.  Very quick, easy and simple to make too.

My kids liked the pilaf and brussels sprouts without the sauce, instead of the dressing, one added lemon juice, the other  loads of cranberry sauce from a can.

When I eat beans and rice, or lentils with quinoa I feel like I am living harmoniously with our planet, and usually surprised at how great they taste, and how satisfied I feel after.

I hope at least someone else can relate to what I am talking about.

Bringing peace through plants…  🙂

 

Brussels sprouts quinoa lentils with orange vegan sauce
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Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa, and Lentil Pilaf

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Western
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 243 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

Cook sprouted lentils and quinoa in the same pot in 15 minutes, add brussels sprouts, a sweet tangy orange, apple, cranberry sauce and it's a beautiful meal.

My husband and I aim to eat at least 1/2 - 1 cup of beans/legumes a day each and between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup for each of our kids.  This recipe will produce more lentils than quinoa so that your meal can be bean strong.  

Beans are an excellent carb - because they contain both carbs and protein and so many important nutrients.  Feel confident eating beans - they are going to make you so strong and give you energy!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried lentils sprouted lentils because they cook fastest, read the packages, select the fast cooking lentils.
  • 1 cup quinoa dried
  • 8 cups brussels sprouts
  • Orange Thyme Dressing recipe prepared, consider doubling the recipe to have enough for leftovers. One recipe makes 4 servings.

Instructions

  1. Heat water in a medium sized pot, on high.

  2. Add quinoa and sprouted lentils, stir.  Usually the water doesn't need to be boiling, check your instructions.  Follow package directions about rinsing, some brands require rinsing to remove bitterness or dirt or pesticides.  I often forget, hoping a reminder here helps you remember.  

    Here are the brands I used - both were available at Costco, other brands will work, check that the cooking time on the lentils is similar to the quinoa - about 15 minutes.  It seems that sprouted lentils usually cook faster than non-sprouted lentils.  

    My sprouted lentils say simmer for 8 minutes then let sit for 4 minutes.  My quinoa says simmer for 15 minutes.  I like lentils soft rather than chewy so I am happy to cook the lentils a little longer.

    Image of Quinoa and Sprouted Lentils in Packages truRoots
  3. Once boiling, stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or according to package directions.  If your lentils are going to take longer, then start them first and add the quinoa when there is 15 minutes cooking time left.

    How to Cook Lentils With Quinoa
  4. Meanwhile, steam brussels sprouts in a steamer pot on the stove (makes them so juicy and tender, mmmm my favourite way) or in a microwave steamer like this large Epicure silicone steamer.    You could also boil them in water, which is what I did this time.  Any of these methods takes about 15 minutes.

  5. Now prepare the sauce - the fat-free no-oil Orange Thyme Dressing for example.  It's going to take you 10 minutes.

    Tahini green onions and craisins in a vegan fat-free sauce.
  6. Once the pilaf is done, stir it to combine, it should be fluffy with no moisture.  If there is water left, keep it on low for 5 minutes at a time until it is dried out, and reduce the water amount in the future.  The lentils spread around the edge with the quinoa in the centre during cooking.

    Cooked Quinoa and Lentils in One Pot
  7. The pilaf should look like this once done.

    Image of cooked Quinoa lentil pilaf vegan recipe
  8. Serve the pilaf, with brussels sprouts and a generous portion of sauce.

    Brussels sprouts quinoa lentils with orange vegan sauce

Recipe Notes

Enjoy!!

Sometimes my pilaf takes longer to cook - closer to 25 minutes, even though the bags said 15. I probably use a slightly different temperature, or measuring cups.  I just keep cooking it until it is dry, and it always comes out fine.

Nutrition Facts
Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa, and Lentil Pilaf
Amount Per Serving (1 / 8th of recipe)
Calories 243 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Sodium 33mg 1%
Potassium 805mg 23%
Total Carbohydrates 43g 14%
Dietary Fiber 15g 60%
Sugars 2g
Protein 15g 30%
Vitamin A 13.6%
Vitamin C 92.6%
Calcium 7.2%
Iron 27.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

What's Special About VeganEnvy Recipes?  

VeganEnvy recipes are easy, low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based and nutrition rich.  Real food my family eats, and techniques we use to cook.

I choose ingredients that are proven to prevent and reverse disease, based on scientific studies, such as those reviewed on nutritionfacts.org and findings published by whole-foods plant-based (WFPB) experts featured in the Forks Over Knives (FOK) and What the Health documentaries FOK trailer.

Eating VeganEnvy recipes will make you lose weight, look better, feel better and live longer.  PLUS spend your money to cruelty free food systems, cut your environmental impact, and likely increase your compassion for, and awareness of, lives other than your own.

 
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Sweet Zing Orange Thyme Dressing

Vegan No-Oil Tahini, Apple, Green Onions and Dried Cranberries Sauce that is SO GOOD!

This oil-free dressing is sweet from the orange juice, apples and dried cranberries, rich and creamy from the sesame seed butter (tahini), and thickened with chia seeds. Use this fat-free healthy whole-foods plant-based vegan dressing with my Brussels Sprouts, Quinoa, and Lentil Pilaf or with any quinoa dish, or as a way to make Brussels sprouts taste awesome.

It’s got vitamin C that will help you absorb more iron.

The green onions and the thyme add some spice and sophistication.  Some people find quinoa bitter, same with Brussels Sprouts, this dressing counters the bitterness, and provides a savoury sweetness instead.

Healthy vegan low-fat dressing with a sweet zing.  Great with Brussels Sprouts and Quinoa.

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Image of Orange Thyme No-Oil Vegan Dressing with dried cranberries, so good on quinoa.
Print

Orange Thyme Dressing - Healthy Vegan Fat-Free Sauce

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Dresssing
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 154 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

Goes nicely with quinoa and green vegetables as a dressing/sauce.  Try it with my Brussels Sprouts and Quinoa Lentil Pilaf recipe.  Even better as leftovers. 

Consider doubling this dressing/sauce recipe - I wish I would have.  It goes great on spinach salad too.  You can adjust the number of servings here on the web page and it will recalculate.

With dried cranberries, orange juice, thyme, tahini (sesame seed paste), chia seeds, and green onions, it is so fresh and sweet and creamy, this one is a winner!

Ingredients

  • 200 ml orange juice I used a juice box, freshly squeezed would work too if you don't have juice around, but have oranges.
  • 2 tsp tahini sesame seed butter
  • 1/2 tsp ground thyme spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chia seeds for thickness
  • 2 green onions diced
  • 1/2 red apple diced into small cubes
  • 1 cup craisins dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Pour orange juice into a small bowl, add tahini, thyme, salt, and chia seeds and microwave 30 seconds to soften if the sesame seed butter was in the fridge.  Whisk together.

  2. Add the craisins so they can soak a bit.

    Tahini green onions and craisins in a vegan fat-free sauce.
  3. Add the diced green onions and apple.

    Image of Orange Thyme No-Oil Vegan Dressing with dried cranberries, so good on quinoa.
  4. Let sit for 5 minutes or more, for flavours to combine.

Recipe Notes

Consider doubling the recipe depending on how many servings or leftovers you would like.  It yields about 1 1/2 cups which was enough for 4 people at my house.

Try on my Brussels Sprouts and Lentil Quinoa Pilaf, or make a dinner salad with that same lentil quinoa pilaf and romaine lettuce.  

Also tastes wonderful on spinach salad.

Nutrition Facts
Orange Thyme Dressing - Healthy Vegan Fat-Free Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 / 4th of recipe)
Calories 154 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Sodium 294mg 12%
Potassium 164mg 5%
Total Carbohydrates 35g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 26g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 3.2%
Vitamin C 32.9%
Calcium 2.9%
Iron 4.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

funny vegan meme: avocados saying to each other "I said you're the good kind of fat!"

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Satisfying Split-Pea Soup

Vegan Smoky Split-Pea Soup, No-Oil

Get energized from one tasty bowl, with easy and delicious vegan fat-free dried green pea soup.  Potatoes, barley, and carrots, create a cozy, comfy, cheerful soup.  Like pea soup you may have eaten as a meat-eating child – but better!

Powered by healthy dried peas and potatoes, lots of iron, energy, fibre, and vitamin A, get ready to feel and look fantastic.

Veganized food usually tastes better than non-vegan, doesn’t it?  We vegans spend time to figure out which spices and vegetables make a meal delicious, and don’t rely on animal fat for taste.

Two special ingredients in this recipe, if you can find them: imitation bacon bits, and smoked paprika.  Both make the vegan pea soup taste smoky, and like you used a ham bone (I hope it is not offensive to any vegans for me to say that).

The imitation bacon bits swell up like pink meat crumbs, so be ready for that!  It was a little shocking for us, as non-meat-eaters. If you don’t like soy bacon bits, the soup will still taste great without them.  I didn’t figure out to add them until recently.

This fast, easy, and simple, best, split-pea soup, will be ready in just over an hour, rather than the more traditional two.

Jump to Recipe

 

Beauty

The dried parsley gives it a nice green colour, but this vegan split-pea soup’s beauty, is not from the way it looks, but, from the satisfying taste, and chewy texture.

Like your body on whole-foods plant-based no-oil recipes – beautiful on the healthy inside.  Oh, wait, you will be gorgeous on the outside too… and you are being beautiful to living creatures. That’s gorgeous too.

Barley

My nutrition calculator classified barley as a health food – health food? – barley was a staple of european diets, why did people stop eating it?  I don’t have time to research that now (got more recipes to publish)… I’m curious though.

Barley bread apparently was common in the British Isles dating back to the Iron Age, that’s over 3000 years ago.  Barley is a natural, unprocessed, whole grain.

Barley contains gluten, so if you’ve had a positive gluten blood test result, then swap it for long grain brown rice (cooks faster than short grain), or more potatoes.

If the blood test was negative (like mine was) consider that you might just be gluten sensitive because you eat too many low fibre and inflammatory animal products.  That’s what happened to me; before going vegan cured my IBS and gluten sensitivity.  Try increasing your fruit and veggies, skip the animal and processed foods, and when your gut is healthy the gluten sensitivity disappears.

Back to Basics

I always think of that nursery rhyme/song when I cook this:-

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,

Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;

Some like it hot, some like it cold,

Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

and I think, yes!  Soup made from dried peas, potatoes, and barley, what people lived on for centuries!

We are getting back to healthy basics here.

In our house this soup never lasts nine days though, it has disappeared sooner than that. 🙂

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Image of vegan no-oil split-pea soup close up in a bowl.
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Satisfying Split-Pea Soup

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Western
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 306 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

This soup is a favourite in our family, and we have been eating it for years.  Pot barley is such a chewy, tasty addition, but the soup is still great if you don't have any.  

This recipe allows you to cook the soup as you chop and add the ingredients in the order specified. Make sure it is bubbling the entire time, and you will be finished in 1 hour and 15 min instead of 2 hours. 

If it gets too thick, add hot water, a cup at a time.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups vegetable broth store bought cartons work great
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups green split peas dried
  • 1/2 cup barley dried, pot (hulled) barley is less processed than pearl barley. Substitute long grain brown rice if you want.
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp thyme or 2 bay leaves, discard before eating
  • 4 cups potatoes cubed, skin on, 1 1/2" diced
  • 1 onion sweet chopped
  • 2 cups carrots chopped
  • 2 celery stalk thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp parsley flakes
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika use smoked! Replaces the taste of smoked ham.
  • 1/4 cup imitation bacon bits vegan, ours are made of soy and paprika
  • salt to taste
  • pepper fresh ground, to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring broth, water, celery seed, bay leaves, rinsed peas and barley to a boil in a LARGE soup pot. Reduce to a simmer. 

  2. Dice and add potatoes, raise heat to high, once bubbling, lower heat again.

    Image of chopped red potatoes on a cutting board.
  3. Chop onions and carrots, add to soup and raise heat to high, once boiling, lower heat again. Tip: I like to food process the onion alone into small pieces, then add carrots, and slowly process until the carrots are in larger pieces than the onion. Takes 45 seconds this way. 

    Image of chopped onion and carrots in a food processor.
  4. Add the sliced celery, parsley, basil, smoked paprika, vegan bacon bits and salt.

    Image of vegan split-pea soup ingredients in pot before cooking.
  5. Cover and simmer on low for 15 more minutes.  Total time since the peas started boiling should be at least 75 minutes.  

  6. Taste test, and if the peas are soft, serve in bowls, with salt, whole grain crackers, and freshly ground pepper.

    Image of vegan no-oil split-pea soup close up in a bowl.
Nutrition Facts
Satisfying Split-Pea Soup
Amount Per Serving (1 / 8th of recipe)
Calories 306 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Sodium 537mg 22%
Potassium 1168mg 33%
Total Carbohydrates 59g 20%
Dietary Fiber 18g 72%
Sugars 8g
Protein 17g 34%
Vitamin A 119.7%
Vitamin C 21.3%
Calcium 9.7%
Iron 35.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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SaveSave

Vegan Asparagus Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad – No Oil, 30 Minute Dinner

Vegan Sweet Potato Asparagus Salad

Whole-Foods Plant-Based, Sweet Potato, Asparagus, Black Bean Salad

A 30 minute, delicious, healthy, vegan, meal salad, with asparagus, sweet potatoes, dill, green onions, Dijon mustard, and black beans.  Salad with a high proportion of nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients) to calories.

My husband and kids really enjoyed it.  It’s got some regular potatoes in there too, which taste great and make it more familiar.

You should make this recipe because it is a simple but sophisticated roasted potato salad.  It has unique flavours and different textures, made from common foods you probably eat regularly.

Jump to Recipe

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Here are links to look and buy the book on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.  Highly recommend!

A formula he recommends in his book, that I use when I plan my meals is:

Health = Nutrients/Calories, or H=N/C.

In Eat to Live, Nutritarian Diet Dr. Joel Fuhrman recommends:

  • you should eat mainly nutrient-dense, natural plant foods: vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, and seeds. Have a variety. Aim for foods with high nutrient-per-calorie density.
  • Eat few, if any, animal products (a few servings per week at most)
  • No oil
  • Eat no or almost no foods that are empty of nutrients or toxic to the body, such as sugar, sweeteners, white flour, processed foods, and fast foods.
  • Low calorie, low protein, very low-fat
  • Super foods that you should include in your diet every day: G-BOMBS – greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds.

Dr. Fuhrman presents a lot of compelling evidence that our food choices control our health, can extend our lives, and prevent disease in ourselves, our children, and other loved ones.

What a gorgeous rainbow of salad!

Done in 35 minutes.

 

oil-free sweet potato asparagus black bean salad
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Vegan Asparagus Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad - No Oil, 30 Minute Dinner

Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 240 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

Bring a complete meal to the table with this roasted sweet potato, bean, and asparagus salad with a tasty and zingy dressing.  No need to cool the salad, serve warm potatoes fresh from the oven.  Have a healthy, no oil, vegan meal on the table fast and easy in 35 minutes.

Ingredients

Roasted Sweet and White Potatoes:

  • 3 sweet potatoes medium, 1" cubed, skins on
  • 4 potatoes small, 1" cubed, skins on, I used red potatoes
  • 1/2 tsp salt 2.5 mL
  • 1/8 tsp pepper freshly ground
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 2.5 mL

Dressing:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tahini 22 mL sesame seed butter)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds 15 mL
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice 80 mL freshly squeezed if you can! about 2 lemons
  • 1/3 cup water 80 mL the water should equal the amount of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt (5 mL)
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard (45 mL)
  • 1 1/2 tsp agave syrup (7.5 mL) maple syrup or agave syrup or other sweetener, I like agave
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (2.5 mL) freshly ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp dill dried (2.5 mL) finely chopped (sub 2 tbsp fresh)
  • 10 green onions bunch, sliced

Steamed Asparagus

  • 3 lbs asparagus 3 450g small bunches, see picture, ends cut off and chopped into 1” pieces

Beans

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.  

Prepare Potatoes

  1. Scrub and large dice the sweet and white unpeeled potatoes into 1" cubes.  

  2. Spread over two baking sheets lined with parchment or non-stick mat or made of stoneware. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Convection Bake for 30 minutes.

    cubed white and sweet potatoes wfpb

Prepare Dressing

  1. While the potatoes bake, work quickly to prepare the dressing. In a 4 cup measure or medium bowl mix all dressing ingredients: garlic cloves, tahini (sesame seed butter), chia seeds, lemon juice, water (the water should equal the amount of lemon juice), salt, Dijon mustard, maple / agave syrup or other sweetener, freshly ground black pepper, dried or fresh dill, and green onions.

    whole-foods plant-based salad dressing Dijon mustard, green-onion chia-seeds dill lemon

Prepare Asparagus and Beans

  1. When there is 15 minutes left on the potatoes, cut and steam the asparagus in a microwave steamer for about 8 minutes with about 1/4 cup water, until tender and still a bit crunchy, not mushy. 

    how to steam asparagus in the microwave wfpb
  2. When the asparagus is done, drain in a colander with the rinsed beans.

Combine

  1. Pour the dressing over the salad.

    Dijon Mustard Dill Lemon Chia-seed Tahini wfpb salad dressing
  2. Mix the potatoes, asparagus, beans, and dressing together in a large salad bowl and season to taste. Serve immediately, warm.

    sweet potato asparagus wfpb salad with black beans

Recipe Notes

Eat cold or warm as leftovers.

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Asparagus Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad - No Oil, 30 Minute Dinner
Amount Per Serving
Calories 240 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Sodium 804mg 34%
Potassium 1239mg 35%
Total Carbohydrates 45g 15%
Dietary Fiber 13g 52%
Sugars 6g
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 167.3%
Vitamin C 38.5%
Calcium 14.3%
Iron 51.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Initial inspiration for this recipe came from: Oh She Glows Asparagus and Potato Salad

What's Special About VeganEnvy Recipes?  

VeganEnvy recipes are easy, low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based and nutrition rich.  Real food my family eats, and techniques we use to cook.

I choose ingredients that are proven to prevent and reverse disease, based on scientific studies, such as those reviewed on nutritionfacts.org and findings published by whole-foods plant-based (WFPB) experts featured in the Forks Over Knives (FOK) and What the Health documentaries FOK trailer.

Eating VeganEnvy recipes will make you lose weight, look better, feel better and live longer.  PLUS spend your money to cruelty free food systems, cut your environmental impact, and likely increase your compassion for, and awareness of, lives other than your own.

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Chocolate Banana Green Smoothie

Image of two dark brown Chocolate Banana Green Smoothies, featuring spinach and cocoa powder.

So Tasty!!!  Healthy Sugar-free Chocolate Green Smoothie with Spinach, Dates, and Non-Dairy Milk.

Green smoothies have such a clean aftertaste, yet still can be chocolatey, sweet, creamy and thick.  Whether your preference is almond milk, or soy milk or a different non-dairy milk, this smoothie combo is awesome.  I usually have one daily.

This smoothie with greens in it doesn’t look green at all, and I bet you cannot taste the spinach – except to notice a crispness when you smack your lips and a clean feeling on your teeth.

This delicious, low-fat, low-calorie, and satisfying smoothie is a beautiful chocolatey brown.

Chocolate, spinach, pineapple – they are great friends in a smoothie. You must try it!

Image of Vegan Chocolate, banana, pineapple, almond milk or soy milk smoothie before blending.

This is a simple, decadent, sweet and healthful smoothie that we are loving right now. The chocolate powder brings antioxidants, iron, and such lovely flavour. My husband agrees.

Soy milk makes it creamier than other non dairy milks, and adds protein too, but if you have almond milk in the fridge, go ahead and use that, it will be lower calorie.  I buy a higher fat soy milk for my girls, and a lower fat one for me.  Both give us lots of protein and energy.

Image of chocolate, banana, spinach, green vegan smoothie from the top, before blending.
Image of vegan chocolate banana green smoothie blending in a magic bullet.
Image of two smoothies ready for drinking, from the top, vegan chocolate banana green smoothies. So delicious and healthy!

 

Print

Chocolate Banana Green Smoothie

Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Smoothie
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 servings
Calories: 290 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

Chocolate, bananas, pineapple, dates, non-dairy milk and spinach bring this green smoothie together in a very sweet combination.  It is an easy and satisfying healthy snack.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana cut into chunks, fresh or frozen - with some brown spots for a more sweet smoothie
  • 3/4 cup spinach leaves fresh or 1/3 cup frozen
  • 1 oz pineapple 2 pieces, frozen or fresh pear or other sweet fruit
  • 1 cup soy milk 1 to 1.5 cups, unsweetened, low fat or regular, or other non-dairy milk like almond milk
  • 1 tbsp cocoa unsweetened powder, a heaping tablespoon, look for a brand with more iron
  • 2/3 oz dates 2 whole dried dates, squish them to make sure no pits are hiding inside
  • water or crushed ice to top up

Canada Links

Epicure Product Suggestions

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to a high speed blender cup in the order listed.  Some days I use low fat and other days I use regular soy milk, depending how creamy I want it to be.  Top up with water or crushed/cubed ice.

    If you use a sweetened non-dairy milk (like a vanilla or chocolate) then skip the dates.

  2. Instead of the cocoa powder, the Cocoa Acai Booster powder from Epicure (see link in ingredients) is a great substitution.  It only has 20 calories (same as cocoa powder) contains more antioxidants than plain cocoa and is seriously tasty with the Acai berries in it as well.

    Epicure Cocoa Acia Smoothie Booster
  3. Blend for 1 minute, until dates are fully blended.  Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Try adding 1 tsp turmeric for extra anti-inflammatory properties.  The chocolate should hide the flavour.

Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Banana Green Smoothie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 290 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 140mg 6%
Potassium 1054mg 30%
Total Carbohydrates 56g 19%
Dietary Fiber 8g 32%
Sugars 35g
Protein 10g 20%
Vitamin A 53.8%
Vitamin C 36.5%
Calcium 32.2%
Iron 16.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Image of vegan meme: "I could never go vegan" - said almost every vegan (before going vegan).

What's Special About VeganEnvy Recipes?  

VeganEnvy recipes are easy, low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based and nutrition rich.  Real food my family eats, and techniques we use to cook.

I choose ingredients that are proven to prevent and reverse disease, based on scientific studies, such as those reviewed on nutritionfacts.org and findings published by whole-foods plant-based (WFPB) experts featured in the Forks Over Knives (FOK) and What the Health documentaries FOK trailer.

Eating VeganEnvy recipes will make you lose weight, look better, feel better and live longer.  PLUS spend your money to cruelty free food systems, cut your environmental impact, and likely increase your compassion for, and awareness of, lives other than your own.

 
FOLLOW and SUBSCRIBE to VeganEnvy.com on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook!

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Creamy Tofu Pasta Sauce with Garlic, Zucchini & Tomato

Image of Creamy Tofu Pasta Sauce with Zucchini and Tomatoes

This recipe is a Creamy Tofu Pasta Sauce, with Garlic, Zucchini, Spinach & Tomato.  It is a fast, easy vegan dairy-free cream sauce that is high protein, healthy, and low fat because, like all my recipes, it is delicious without oil.

This fast tofu pasta sauce dinner only takes 30 minutes to make.

Use soft silken tofu to make a creamy, tomato and zucchini pasta sauce for dinner that is oil free and nut free.

Jump to Recipe

If you like garlic, tomatoes and creamy sauces you will like this simple pasta dish.  It is an easy and quick vegan recipe for beginners and experienced cooks alike.

This tofu pasta sauce has a flavour that is fantastic, and works with vegetables other than zucchini too.

Add spinach in the last step for a true vegan experience.  Don’t forget the lemon!

close up with spinach

Is Traditional White Cream Sauce Fattening?

Did you know?  Making a tofu pasta cream sauce from 600 g silken tofu instead of the equal 2 1/2 cups dairy Half & Half cream (considered low-fat cream) reduces calories from 787.5 to 270 calories.

Using soft tofu in your pasta sauce instead of half and half cream reduces fat from 69.5 grams to  15 grams.

And, if you made a white sauce with flour, skim milk and 4 Tbsp of butter you are getting even more fat – 2.5 cups of that sauce would be 905 calories and 65 g of fat.

So, stick with us healthy vegans here, and choose to keep your blood flowing to your brain without blockages.

Choose 15 grams of fat in this low fat, healthy tofu pasta sauce recipe without oil, vs. 65 grams of fat with traditional pasta sauces.

 

So, YES, dairy white sauce is fattening.

Plus, tofu is cholesterol free, dairy is full of cholesterol.

You can make this fast dinner recipe in the time it takes you to boil the pasta.

Image of whole grain whole wheat pasta boiling
Image of canned diced tomatoes and zucchini in the large pot

Pre-chop your vegetables and add them to a large pot.  Add the tomato paste and stir.

Image of adding the tofu based pasta sauce, it looks very white and creamy, but is dairy-free.

Blend the silken tofu and once creamy, add it to the vegetables.

 

New to using tofu?  Read all about silken tofu in my All About Tofu post.

 

 

Stir in cream sauce

Stir the tofu pasta cream sauce until completely combined.

 

Image the tofu based pasta sauce completely stirred in to the penne pasta.
Image of spinach melted in with the creamy tofu pasta sauce and whole grain penne.

 

Add spinach and stir to melt it into the pasta just before serving.

 

You don’t need to cook the spinach longer than a few minutes.

Voila!

While this vegan tofu pasta sauce recipe has no oil and is low-fat it will fill you up quite quickly.  It has a good amount of protein, and is full of nutrition that you need to be healthy.

It is a creamy, light, and delicious, dairy-free tofu pasta sauce dish, that is very satisfying, and nutritious, definitely a great vegan meal. 🙂

 

 

Vegan Creamy tomato zucchini pasta penne tofu soup
Print

Creamy Tofu Pasta Sauce with Garlic, Zucchini, Spinach & Tomato

Course: Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 276 kcal
Author: Jeanette Whitten

Make this vegan creamy low fat and healthy tofu pasta sauce dish with silken tofu for a completely satisfying, easy, fast and delicious high protein dinner.  Optionally, stir in fresh spinach, just so it wilts and melts, then serve with generous squeezes of refreshing lemon juice.  

It only takes 30 minutes to make and is flavourful!

No oil, but creamy.  Dairy free of course.

Ingredients

  • 13.5 ounces whole wheat penne pasta 375 g whole grain, or other short cut pasta
  • 8 zucchini small, cubed - a bagful from Costco
  • 5 garlic cloves - medium, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt 5 mL
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper diced, or 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste 60 mL or 1 small can
  • 28 ounces can diced tomatoes 796 mL large can, with juice
  • 22 ounces silken tofu soft, 2 packages, amazon.com
  • 6 cups baby spinach 180 g fresh and packed, 1 bag
  • 1 lemon 2 Tbsp juice or more, freshly squeezed

Suggested Toppings

Instructions

Assemble Ingredients

  1. Assemble your ingredients, open cans so you can add ingredients easily, this dish comes together very quickly.

Boil Pasta

  1. Put on a medium pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions while you make the veggies and sauce. 


Prepare Vegetables

  1. Cube the zucchini. Mince the garlic cloves.

  2. Heat a large pot to medium heat, add the cubed zucchini, garlic, and salt, and stir.  Moisture will come out of the zucchini - it shouldn't burn.  If it gets dry add water a tablespoon at a time to moisten. 

  3. Slice the red pepper, and dice the jalapeño, if using. Remove the seeds if you don’t like things too spicy! 


  4. Once the zucchini has slightly softened, add the peppers.  Stir for 2 minutes.

  5. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables.  Your pasta should be almost done. 

  6. Stir in the undrained diced tomatoes.

Blend Tofu

  1. Blend the silken (soft) tofu in a small blender until it looks like sour cream, and stir into the vegetables.    

Combine and Add Spinach

  1. Drain the pasta and add the hot pasta to the vegetables and sauce.

    Taste for salt, add more if required.

  2. Once bubbling, turn off heat, stir in spinach leaves just so they wilt, and serve.

    Squeeze liberal amounts of fresh lemon juice on each serving.

Recipe Notes

While the pasta is getting comfortable with it's new saucy partner, gather up any toppings you want to use.  

Like vegan parmesan cheese for sprinkling, additional diced jalapeño, and toasted pine nuts.

Enjoy your creamy, vegan, saucy vegetables and pasta!

Nutrition Facts
Creamy Tofu Pasta Sauce with Garlic, Zucchini, Spinach & Tomato
Amount Per Serving
Calories 276 Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 6%
Sodium 534mg 22%
Potassium 1102mg 31%
Total Carbohydrates 47g 16%
Dietary Fiber 8g 32%
Sugars 11g
Protein 14g 28%
Vitamin A 64.3%
Vitamin C 97.2%
Calcium 11.8%
Iron 18.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

Inspired by: http://funnyloveblog.com/2013/02/18/pasta-with-zucchini-and-tomato-cream-sauce/

 

Image of the funny vegan meme "I've Got 99 Problems and Protein Ain't One. Sincerely, Vegans Everywhere".

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