• Appetizers,  Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Salad,  Sides,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Zucchini Ribbons & Caramelized Hearts of Palm Salad with Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette

    You know what’s the greatest?

    When you get a new outfit or shirt and are really excited to wear it (because you secretly think it’s the cutest thing ever) and you show up at some event and your best friend’s cousin, that you don’t really like but are nice to anyway, is wearing the same thing. Even worse, you see someone in the grocery store wearing it with stained pajama pants and a cat purse!  Has that ever happened to you? Well, maybe not the cat purse, but you get my point. When I was younger it was always the worst if it was someone younger than me wearing the same thing as me because then I thought I must look younger in it. That’s tough when your 11 and think you are so old.

    Anyway, I was just wondering about the odds of anyone else on the planet in the history of all mankind ever eating this salad. I decided that even still they are pretty slim chances, but I guess it’s not all together impossible. It’s just such a random combination. I caramelized hearts of palm, which are very common and popular here but I’ve never seen them done like this, and then made some of my favorite walnut pesto into a dressing and through in everything else that sounded good. I made it on a bed of ribboned zucchini because I was out of lettuce. Plus, I prefer non-lettuce based salads anyway.

    It just doesn’t seem like anyone else could have made this exact thing, right? I may be over estimating my uniqueness. It’s like on Madgascar when the lion tells the zebra that he is black with white stripes while all of the other zebras are white with black stripes. I can’t help that I know this. My little siblings love those movies so I’ve seen them a few times, okay!

    Well, I’m hoping that whether or not this has ever been made before, it will be made now when I share it with you guys. The combination is really good together and, while all of the toppings are great, my sister and I had to agree that the hearts of palm are definitely the highlight of the whole thing. I really liked this dressing too. Of course, I’m the type of pesto lover that would like to drink it by itself, but I think the balance of basil, salty, sweet, and sour was just about perfect in it, even if you aren’t as crazy about it as I am.

    This is a great side salad for a diner party or it can be a main course with something like chickpeas. We had it with pizza and it complemented the flavors perfectly.

    Zucchini Ribbon Salad with Lemon Pesto Vinaigrette (Vegan+GF)

    Instead of opting for that boring salad, try changing things up with this unique and flavor loaded one with the most delicious pesto vinaigrette!
    Prep Time 25 minutes
    Cook Time 5 minutes
    Total Time 30 minutes


    Lemon Pesto Vinaigtrette:

    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons one small handful fresh basil leaves, washed
    • 1/4 cup raw almonds
    • 3 large cloves garlic
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup


    • 1 can hearts of palm I used pre-cut rounds but if using the longer ones just chop into smaller pieces
    • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
    • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or regular
    • salt & pepper
    • 1 large zucchini
    • 1 large tomato diced
    • 1 medium avocado diced
    • 1 cup sweet whole kernal corn
    • 1 cup fresh blackberries
    • 1 small bunch of fresh basil leaves shredded


    1. Combine all the ingredients for the pesto vinaigrette in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until smooth. Set aside.
    2. Melt coconut oil in a medium frying pan and add hearts of palm, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute, stirring occasionally, for about 6 minutes or until the edges turn a nice golden brown. Remove from heat and cool while prepping salad.
    3. Use a potato peeler to grate zucchini into ribbons and toss in a bowl with palm hearts and other ingredients for salad.
    4. Add dressing to taste and serve immediately or refrigerate without dressing for no more than 3 hours.

  • Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Salad,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    End of Summer Vegan Caprese Salad (Vegan+GF)

    Summer is slowly slipping away and turning into rainy Autumn. It’s kind of sad.

    Depending on where you live, Autumn can be a beautiful time of year. When I lived in Tennessee it was my absolute favorite season. I would spend all summer dreaming of the bright colors, crisp air, and comfortably cool weather after a few months worth of cut-the-air-with-a-knife humidity. Plus, there were always the holidays coming in their rightful seasons.

    The fall season here has its merits too. There are still some pretty colored trees and the weather isn’t very cold, just rainy. And I do enjoy the rain sometimes, but months of it is hard to deal with. I think I’ve been spoiled by the near perfect weather of this summer. If I had the holidays to look forward to then I’d be completely happy to trade seasons with the Northern Hemisphere, but as Christmas is in the summer here, there isn’t much to get excited about. It feels like eating your dessert before dinner and then wishing you had saved it.

    I’m happy for you up North, though. If I have to lose my beautiful summer than I’m glad you guys can enjoy it soon. Maybe I can hop a plane and spend the winter in Europe or something.

    I know that the changing of seasons is a good thing and I should stop complaining and get over it. Okay, okay, I’m going to but I’m holding on to the last bits of summer by making recipes that scream summer to me. Pasta salad is something that I feel I didn’t make enough of this year.

    Actually I only made it a few times, what’s wrong with me? Oh, and there are so many other things that I  wanted to make and forgot to. There’s no way I can cram it all into the next few weeks. Ah, well, next year I’m planning things out better. You know, because that always works. Uh huh (yeah right). Hey, let me dream.

    This is one of the easiest dishes to throw together and the best part is that it is great eaten cold or hot. I, of course, served it cold for the most summery version, but heat this up and toss in some chickpeas and it can become a cozy dinner for a cold night.

    I’ve never been a big tomato eater but whenever I put tomatoes in things like this I wonder why in the world not. The flavors in this complement each other perfectly. The only thing that would have made it better is some fresh basil, which I somehow ran out of right before making this. I’m putting it in the recipe anyway because it’s a must. Other than that, I don’t think I’d change a thing.

    So whip this up, add some fresh basil, and enjoy it in whatever season it happens to be where you are.

    End of Summer Vegan Caprese Salad (Vegan+GF)

    Celebrate the end of the season with this simple and delicious pasta salad!

    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 25 minutes
    Soaking Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 40 minutes
    Servings 8 servings


    • 1 16-ounce box rotini pasta (Use gluten free if needed)
    • 4 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 small onion chopped
    • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary minced
    • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
    • 1/3 cup olive oil divided
    • 2 medium tomatoes diced
    • 1 large zucchini diced
    • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • 1 block firm tofu drained and dried of excess liquid
    • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
    • salt and pepper to taste


    1. Cut the tofu into small cubes and throw into a bowl and add apple cider vinegar and a sprinkle of salt. Toss to coat. Place in the fridge to marinate for 15-30 minutes
    2. Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, saute onion, garlic, rosemary, and thyme with 2 tablespoons oil until browned and fragrant.
    3. Drain pasta and pour into a large bowl. Add cooked onion mix, tofu, and veggies, then toss with remaining olive oil and balsamic. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve at desired temperature

  • Dairy Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Snacks,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Individual Indian Tikka Masala Pizzas with Whole Wheat Crust (Vegan)

    Friday is finally here again, Yay! I think this calls for some pizza. How do you guys feel about Indian food?

    I love authentic flavors of different parts of the world. Indian food is one of my favorites. Unfortunately I usually have to make single serving Indian stuff if I want to eat it because most of my family won’t even get near it.

    I’m not gonna lie, I only got a few of them to even try this and out of those that did not everyone liked it. So fair warning, this is only a recipe for those of us with adventurous taste buds. I think it is delicious. If you like tikka masala then this is definitely the recipe for you.

    I really wanted to share this recipe with you guys. Well, those of you who appreciate ethnic flavors. Happy weekend!

    Individual Indian Tikka Masala Pizzas with Whole Wheat Crust (Vegan)

    Instead of the typical side of basmati rice, try your tikka masala pizza style tonight! You'll thank me later.


    For Crusts:

    • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
    • 1 1/2 cups warm water
    • 3 cups whole wheat flour
    • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil

    Tikka Masala:

    • 4 garlic cloves finely minced
    • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • 1 small onion thinly sliced
    • 1/2 head cauliflower florets chopped
    • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
    • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
    • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
    • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
    • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste
    • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 3 tablespoons flour
    • 1 cup plain cashew or coconut yogurt
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus some for garnish
    • 1 cup cashew cheese optional


    1. Dissolve yeast in water in a large bowl and let sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to bubble. Add salt, oil and flour and mix until dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.
    2. Grease a large bowl with oil and put dough inside then cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm place to rice until doubled in size.
    3. Suate garlic, ginger, onion, and cauliflower with oil over medium high heat in a large skillet until onions are browned. Reduce heat and add spices, tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chickpeas. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.
    4. Whisk lemon juice, yogurt, and flour until smooth and stir into pan. Continue stirring until sauce has thickened. Add cilantro and cook for 1 - 2 minutes longer then remove from heat.
    5. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. When pizza dough has doubled in size, divide into 4 or 6 pieces. Dust pans or pizza stone with cornmeal and spread dough balls on top. Spoon tikka masala onto each piece and, if adding, sprinkle on the cashew cheese. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until edges of crust are golden and center is done.

    6. Allow pizzas to cool for at least 5 minutes before cutting. Serve hot topped with fresh cilantro.

  • Appetizers,  Dairy Free,  Gluten Free,  Main Course,  Recipe,  Sides,  Vegan,  Vegetarian

    Easy Black Bean and Lentil Chili (Vegan+GF)

    Did someone say they were feeling chilly? or was that chili? I couldn’t tell cuz, honestly I’m feeling both!

    In recent years, my family has become huge fans of Chili. My parents and older siblings have always liked chili, but my younger siblings have not liked it up until recently. So as result, I did not make it that often. But now, it’s a household favorite so I am always trying to put a little spin or tweak to it here and there.

    I love adding lentils to chili because they hide really well. We also like to serve it with cornbread. I have shared a few versions of cornbread but THIS ONE is probably the best if you’re looking for a good one. the recipe for the cornbread in a later post, sorry can’t promise when that will be, but soon. 

    Today, I wanted to share with you guys a quick and easy recipe for a really hearty chili to warm you up this season. I hope you enjoy!


    Easy Black Bean and Lentil Chili (Vegan+GF)

    Simplistic dinners are always a go to when things get really busy. That's why this super easy chili is a family favorite.

    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour
    Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
    Servings 12 - 14 servings


    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 medium onion chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper chopped
    • 1-2 jalapeño peppers minced
    • 1 can 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 2 8- ounce cans tomato sauce
    • 2 cups vegetable broth
    • 2 cups cooked red lentils drained
    • 2 cups cooked black beans drained
    • 2 1/2 tablespoons worchestershire be sure your brand is vegan if necessary
    • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Optional for Serving:

    • cilantro
    • coconut yogurt
    • shredded "cheese"


    1. Add oil, onion, garlic, and peppers to a large, high-sided, skillet and cook until softened.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
    3. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes to 1 hour until thickened.
    4. Serve hot and if you like, topped with "sour cream", cilantro, and shredded "cheese".