Category Archives: RECIPES

Snacking – Vegan Style (W/Bonus Recipe)…

Having quick, simple, healthy and vegan-friendly snacks on-hand doesn’t have to be hard by any means. Actually, with a little planning, it can be quite easy. It’s really fun and simple to keep your fridge stocked with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, a sure way to get most of the nutrients you will need to keep your body and mind fueled. Combining your produce with nuts, nut butters and seeds will make your snack even more substantial. These snacks are not just for strict vegan, but for anyone looking for some handy, healthy snacks. Naturally, fruit and veggies are great snacks and should be at the top of anyone’s snacking list. However, here’s a list of other snack ideas.

Some of the Healthier Vegan Snack Ideas:

  • Vegan yogurt with granola or fruit
  • Baked tofu, store-bought or homemade
  • Tofu jerky
  • Pretzels
  • Rice cakes with peanut butter or jam
  • Edamame
  • Granola
  • Kale chips
  • Vegan trail mix
  • Sweet potato fries
  • Pita and hummus
  • Pita and baba ghanoush
  • Dates (watch these, very high in calories)
  • Apples, bananas or celery with peanut butter or another nut butter
  • Nuts, sunflower seeds
  • Applesauce
  • Dried fruit
  • Granola bars or protein bars
  • Banana chips
  • Dehydrated fruit leathers
  • Crackers with olive tapenade
  • Chips and salsa
  • Chips and guacamole
  • Veggies with goddess dressing
  • Cucumbers with vegan sour cream
  • Frozen grapes
  • Soy nuts
  • Popcorn (really good with nutritional yeast)
  • Sesame sticks
  • Graham crackers (not Honey Grahams)
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Crackers with pesto
  • Chips with bean dip (store bought or homemade)
  • Homemade granola bars
  • Bagel with peanut butter, hummus or guacamole
  • Vegan muffins
  • Vegan brochette

A Bit Less Healthy Snack Ideas:

  • Vegan ice cream
  • Vegan cookies
  • Vegan deli meats wrapped with vegan cheese
  • Frozen hash browns, French fries or tater tots
  • Vegan chocolate
  • Vegetarian pepperoni slices
  • Fried or baked zucchini chips

*Note: It’s best to avoid vending machines, though the snacks served by them may be convenient, the vegan options (if there are any) are often lacking the nutrients you need. They’re also not the best sources of energy.


  • Make an extra large (or double) batch of muffins, and cookies, etc. and freeze them.
  • Clean and cut your fruits and veggies for the week ahead and put them in the fridge until you’re ready.
  • Soak your nuts and seeds in advance and dehydrate them and they’ll be ready to grab and go.
  • If a dip will be part of your weeks’ snacks menu, prepare it ahead of time and refrigerate.
  • When planning your meals for the week, plan your snacks also.

Bonus Recipe:

Vegan Cheese Dip

  • 1 Can – 15½ oz. Great Northern, Navy or Cannellini Beans (drained)
  • ½ Cup – Roasted Red Pepper (or Pimiento)
  • 3 Tbsp. – Nutritional Yeast
  • 3 Tbsp. – Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 3 Tbsp. – Sesame Tahini
  • 1 tsp. – Sea salt
  • 1 tsp. – Yellow Mustard
  • 1 tsp. – Onion Powder or Granulated Onion (not onion salt)

Put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth. Can be stored in fridge for up to a week.

Stay tuned…Coming soon…The next series of articles will cover the spiritual/mental/emotional aspects of a vegan diet and lifestyle.

Rae Indigo is ERYT 500

Veganism – Getting Started

Adding love and compassion to your life with a plant-based diet is not as hard as you might think.

Everyone has heard the phrase, “every journey begins with the first step.” And that first step is prompted by desire. There are many reasons to transition to a vegan lifestyle and everyone’s reason is going to be slightly different. A large percentage of vegans believe that there is a solid link between animal foods and a host of degenerative diseases such as diabetes, cancer and hypertension for example. Some people adapt a plant-based diet because they simply love animals and don’t want to be a repository for their corpses. There are other reasons like the environment, religion, weight loss and the list goes on. Whatever particular reason you choose, you will inevitably end up widening the circle of compassion in this world. Your mind and body will soar to new levels health and well-being.

George Bernard Shaw: “Animals are my friends…and I don't eat my friends.”

When starting off, don’t try to be a perfect vegan, just do the best you can. Every day it gets a little bit easier. With a little time and experimentation you’ll find a strategy that works for you. If you’re one of those rare individuals that feels eliminating all meat, fish, and dairy foods all at once works for you, then do it. If you need more time to adjust to a vegan diet, just take it slowly and start eliminating non-vegan items from your diet every day (or week). Make changes that you feel comfortable with, at your own pace. Some start by giving up red meat and fowl but continue eating fish (Pescatarian). Others give up fish in addition to meat and poultry but continue to consume dairy products and eggs (lacto-ovo Vegetarian).

For many people it helps to network with other vegans through blogs, web sites etc. You will soon learn much from the vegan community and will become a more informed consumer.

Stay away from processed foods, fast foods and avoid ingredients like hydrogenated/trans fats and refined sugars. Read labels, some companies remove the word “animal” from their ingredient labels to deceive the consumer. A good rule of thumb is: if you don’t know what it is, or if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.

It’s not all hard to eat out at non-vegan restaurants if you’re a little selective. It just takes some time to learn what to order and adjust. Some restaurants now inform their customers that they’re “vegan friendly.” Quite a few restaurants will accommodate you and cook your veggies etc. without dairy or lard. It’s not always a good idea to proclaim you’re vegan because there’s still a lot of people that don’t understand that. Simply tell them you’re vegetarian and allergic to dairy (milk, butter & eggs). They’re more likely to take your request seriously if you say you have an allergy.

The best food you can eat is the food you prepare for yourself. Although some people are challenged to find sufficient time or energy to cook, but when they can, look at cooking as creative time. Put on some appropriate music, have fun and create. Whenever possible set some time aside during the week to make some vegan “go to” options. These will come in handy at a later date when you’re tired or short on time. Cooked grains last quite a few days in the refrigerator (like rice, quinoa & farro). Add a quick stir-fry to them or make a cold salad with cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. Learn to sprout seeds (alfalfa, lentil seeds and mung beans are easy). Consider starting a small indoor herb garden, growing cilantro, basil and rosemary are popular choices and are simple to grow.

Mindfulness is one of the most important things a vegan can practice. Mindfulness itself can and will change your life and the way you eat. Never eat in front of a computer screen or television set. Instead sit somewhere quietly or with family or friends and enjoy the food. The practice of mindfulness, combine with eating slowly will help you eat less and enjoy food more. You will also find yourself practicing mindfulness in other areas of your life.

Remind yourself daily that the key to kicking meat and dairy is giving yourself enough time to feel the wonderful and extraordinary changes as they take place in your mind and body.

Stay tuned…Coming soon “Vegan Substitutes for Animal Products”

Rae Indigo is ERYT 500

Homemade Vegan Facemasks

Our skin is our primary barrier against external attack, insulating and protecting us from being damaged.  If it is compromised, the damaged and/or irritated skin is then even more sensitive and permeable to external attack, and its appearance is also impaired.

The following “cruelty free” facemask recipes are meant to replenish undernourished skin, heal and sooth damaged, dry, chapped, sunburned, aging or irritated skin. They also offer an alternative to commercial, artificial and chemically laden facemasks and creams. They save you the money of paying big bucks for a spa-style vegan face mask when you can make one yourself!

By returning the facial skin back to a normal pH these masks will also help to clear up and prevent acne.

They’ll keep for up to a week if covered and placed in the refrigerator, plus they feel amazing when applied to the face cold.

It is recommended that you apply these facemasks to the entire face, allowing it to dry for about 20 minutes or so after which you can rinse it off with warm water and pat the skin dry with a soft cotton towel.

Avocado, Strawberry and Turmeric Mask  

Ingredients and directions – makes enough for 5 masks:

• 1 small avocado

• 1/2 cup strawberries

• 1 tsp matcha (a finely milled or fine powder green tea)

• 2 tsp turmeric

• 1/4 cup almond milk

Either mash the strawberries and avocado with a fork or add to a processor and process until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir or blend to combine.

Avocados are a natural moisturizer moisturizing and they are also very high in Vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant. Strawberries contain a compound called salicylic acid which is anti-bacterial and astringent and strawberries also act as an exfoliant, helping to remove dead skin cells. Matcha is powdered green tea which is super high in antioxidants and polyphenols which help prevent the aging of the skin and help with inflammation. Turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory both taken internally and applied externally, helping with skin conditions like acne. Almond milk is high in vitamin E which is a potent antioxidant.

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Cool Cucumber Mask

• 1 cucumber, grated

• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice

• 3 fresh mint leaves, crushed

Combine all the ingredients in bowl and mix well. Apply to the face and neck. After 15-20 minutes, rinse thoroughly. Your skin should now feel cool, soft and refreshed.

This facemask was inspired by an age-old beauty secret: cucumbers. Cucumbers contain silica, which can help rejuvenate your skin, tighten your pores, and even treat nasty sunburn!

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Oatmeal Nut-milk Mask

  1/2 cup rolled or whole oats

• 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut or almond

• 1 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar

Blend the oats in a food processor until no large grains remain. Add the coconut milk and apple cider vinegar and pulse until well mixed. Apply to the face and neck. After 15-20 minutes, rinse thoroughly. Enjoy rejuvenated skin!

The idea of an oatmeal mask isn’t new, but this simplified version of the classic facial is pure goodness. Oatmeal can help restore your skin’s natural moisture and also help heal scarring.

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Facemasks are considered by many skin care specialists to be an essential part of any good skincare routine. They provide a deep cleaning and an increase in hydration not readily available in most commercial products. It can be especially difficult for vegans to find affordable facemask options in retail stores that are free of animal derived ingredients and/or ones that have not been tested on animals.

So consider making your own vegan-friendly facemask using one of the recipes above and nothing but fresh, all-natural ingredients from your kitchen. With regular use of one of these masks, you should see a major improvement in the overall quality and appearance of your skin and overall complexion.

The Five Koshas (Part 4 – Vijnanamaya Kosha: wisdom sheath)

Vijnanamaya Kosha is the fourth of the five Koshas (sheaths) and is a Sanskrit terms “jna” (to know), “vi” (apart), together they imply discernment. Maya means composed of, Kosha means sheath. So, Vijnanamaya Kosha is the sheath that is composed of the discerning intellect.

The Vijnanamaya Kosha is also known as the sheath of intuitive knowledge/wisdom. Our intellect gives us the discriminative capability that helps to differentiate between good and evil, between right and wrong etc. The intellect can be looked upon as having two components:

  • One that is controlled by our ego and driven by our past memories and impressions (samskaras).
  • And the other which is controlled by our pure intuition.

The “ego-driven” intellect most often leads to actions which result in pain and suffering, while actions prompted by pure intuition and discriminative knowledge will give us satisfaction, peace and happiness.

When one practices meditation, their mind becomes purified and their intellect can then begin to depend more and more on this pure intuitive wisdom rather than being so influenced by the ego.

This is the sheath of wisdom that lies underneath the processing, thinking aspect of mind, or the sheath of mental activities (Manomaya Kosha). It knows, decides, judges, and discriminates between this and that, between all that is useful and not useful. A major part of Sadhana (spiritual practice) is gaining ever increasing access to this level of our being. It is the level that prompts our “higher wisdom” to seek Truth, to inquire within, in search of the true Self or eternal center of consciousness.

Vijnanamaya Kosha, as the conscious body, lies deeper than the previously described Koshas and it also remains interactive and dependant on them. This sheath is responsible for inner growth, for ethics and morals. It allows us to reach beyond mundane existence into wisdom and subtle knowledge as it actively seeks to move from the exoteric to the esoteric; from the world observed by the eyes to the inner space behind the eyes.

Independent of any specific religion, the studies of holy texts like the Bible, the Torah, the Bhagavad Gita and other texts from the great sages of antiquity, will lead us to the same realization because all religions are based on this same truth. In this sheath we recognize and return to the “real” life, the life that both preserved and outlasts the body.

By meditating on, and exploring the Vijnanamaya Kosha, and then going inward, to and through the remaining and final Kosha (Anandamaya Kosha), thus arriving at the “Self” (Atman).

Stay tuned, next we’ll explore the innermost and final sheath: The Five Koshas (Part 5 – Anandamaya Kosha: bliss sheath)

5 Positive Lifestyle Changes for the New Year (Part 4)

Are you in a rut? Are you feeling like you’re losing your “touch”? Is complacency becoming the norm? Maybe what you need are some basic lifestyle changes. In the coming days we will review five suggestions for the New Year to help improve your health and overall wellbeing – helpful advice that may also initiate a sense of self-renewal and give you more energy, which in turn will give you a whole new outlook on life.

To review part 1, click on: Go on a cleanse or detox diet.

To review part 2, click on: Improve your dietary choices

To review part 3, click on: Find a daily activity that insures you’re getting enough exercise.

Here’s part 4…

4. Pick one habit or trait that is detrimental to your health and eliminate it.

Bad habits often have a huge effect on your life and what makes these habits so challenging and hard to change is the reality that they usually aren’t based on well thought out choices and decisions, so using logic to eliminate them is oftentimes unproductive. Think about it; for instance, everyone who smokes cigarettes knows without a doubt they are bad for them, but that knowledge doesn’t help them much when the try to quit. They require a bit of strategy to overcome.

Try these strategic tips to help get you rid yourself of these habits and get your life and health back on track:

Replace a bad habit, rather than simply trying to drop it. You must have felt some benefit to the habit or you wouldn’t have allowed it to become a part of your life. Consider substituting something positive as a replacement for that which was given up. Examples: When craving a cigarette, sit down and breathe slowly and deeply, visualize yourself inhaling smoke rather than clean air, you’ll be amazed at how effective that can be. If you are in the habit of being a couch-potato after dinner, instead of plopping down in front of the TV, take the dog for a walk or find some other semi-pleasurable chore to engage. Use your imagination, you’re bound to come up with some sort of practical substitution.

Don’t take on too many things at once; deal with one challenge at a time. Perhaps you’ve decided you want to quit smoking, improve your diet and start an exercise program…all that would be overwhelming and you’d probably cave on all three. Pick just one; give yourself a month or so. Then, once you have a handle on that, add another one and give that a month.

Have patience with yourself; don’t be in such a hurry. Think how happy you’d be if you could get rid of your four worst habits. By dealing with one habit at a time as recommended above, that’s only four months, which is a relatively short time if you consider how long you’ve had each habit.

Learn to recognize the triggers that prompt bad cravings and/or your addictive tendencies and remove them. If your intention is to improve your diet, get rid of all the junk food in your house and go to the bathroom or simply walk away when those tempting TV commercials come on. Most habits don’t have a much of thought behind them, they’re a lot like reflexes without sensory stimulation they have little power.

Tell any friends who may be sympathetic and supportive. These friends can help you reach your goal by reminding you should you stray from your purpose.

If you’re going to start a regular exercising regime, be consistent; schedule yourself so that you do it at the same time each day. Many find this to be much easier than trying to exercise 3 or 4 times a week.

Stay motivated, keep reminding yourself that there’s no better feeling than knowing you have control over your life. Your self-esteem will soar as you realize you’re a victor and no longer a victim of your bad habits.


5 Positive Lifestyle Changes for the New Year (Part 2)

Are you in a rut? Are you feeling like you’re losing your “touch”? Is complacency becoming the norm? Maybe what you need are some basic lifestyle changes. In the coming days we will review five suggestions for the New Year to help improve your health and overall wellbeing – helpful advice that may also initiate a sense of self-renewal and give you more energy, which in turn will give you a whole new outlook on life. To review part 1, click on:  Go on a cleanse or detox diet.

Here’s part 2…

2. Improve your dietary choices

Everyone who knows Rae Indigo knows quite well she practices and promotes a plant-based (vegan) diet, and ultimately recommends that for all her students. Rae leads retreats worldwide, including diet & nutrition programs that provide students with the knowledge, experience and skills to use proper food choices to transform their lives from the inside out, deliciously, enjoyably and with purpose.

Knowing that it is very hard to instantly (and completely) switch over to a plant-based diet, this article will share some simple ways that anyone can use to improve their diet. Anyone who practices these habits and incorporates them into their daily lives will vouch for their benefits. Here are 7 ways to get you started and headed in the right direction…

1. Eat a colorful diet. And this doesn’t mean different colors of candy. Make it a habit to include at least five different colored foods (preferably fruits and veggies) a day into your diet. Some suggestions…Instead of the standard American breakfast of eggs, home fries and bacon, make a smoothie in your blender with a banana, some blueberries, strawberries, OJ and almond milk. For lunch, toss some salad greens with grated carrot, tomato and bell pepper strips. For a mid day snack, have an orange or an apple. For dinner, baked butternut squash filled with blanched peas and carrots and some brown rice on the side.

2. Exchange or eliminate refined sugars and sweets. Candy and most sweets are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other additives that are bad for your health. So when your sweet tooth is calling, satisfy that craving with items that are naturally sweet. Stock your kitchen with dried fruits, homemade trail mix or cacao bits. Make sure you have plenty of fresh, seasonal fruit in your fridge (like peaches, apricots, grapes, berries or cherries). Melon kabobs are a quick and easy sweet snack for the whole family. Without sacrificing your health, you can still indulge your sweet cravings by snacking sensibly.

3. Prepare more meals at home. Preparing raw dishes or cooking at home not only saves you money but it also keeps you in complete control of what you are putting into your body. You are certain of all the ingredients that go into the dishes that you make. If you learn to plan ahead, the task of cooking at home becomes a joy, and it doesn’t need to be time consuming either. By using recipes that give you several days’ worth of meals you won’t have to slave over the stove for hours every day.

4. Buy locally and eat seasonal foods, selecting organic fruits and veggies whenever possible and/or practical. By shopping wisely you’ll find there are a variety of different fruits, vegetables and grains that are available at different times throughout the year. Whenever seasonal produce is available, you not only save money (since items aren’t overpriced due to importing costs), but you also get more flavor. This practice keeps you from getting bored and sustains your motivation to eat well, allowing you to consume a variety of different and beneficial nutrients.

5. Start a small indoor container garden. Growing your own food is a great way to add variety and flavor to your meals during the off season when your outdoor garden is asleep. Going outside to pick a few fresh things to add to your meal is very rewarding, but for many this is not possible all year ‘round. Depending on the amount of room you have (and window space), you can grow anything from tomatoes and peppers, radishes and lettuce, chives, parsley and herbs, and even if you have limited space, sprouts are always a nice addition. Not only do the things you grow taste amazing, they’re practically free.

6. Buy things like grains, beans, lentils, and seeds in bulk. Perhaps start a coop with like minded friends. In most cases this will help you save money, reduce waste, and keep your pantry well stocked. Having these items on hand you can quickly put a healthy meal together, helping you to resist the temptation to get take out.  They key is to remember what you have and occasionally rotate your supplies so they don’t go to waste.

7. Rather than one or two large meals a day, eat smaller meals multiple times a day. By eating small amounts of food throughout the day you’ll keep your blood sugar levels normal, preventing you from allowing your blood sugar get too low, which makes you feel like you’re starving, often leading to binge eating. This also helps you control your portion sizes keeping your stomach from being stretched. Most importantly perhaps, by eating regularly throughout the day you’ll keep your metabolism fired-up. In order for metabolism to continually burn calories it needs fuel.

Improving your dietary choices really isn’t all that difficult. As you can see, these seven small changes will improve your overall fitness, motivating and prompting you to continue to look for ways to further achieve your goal of an optimal state of health and wellbeing.

Stay tuned for part 3. – Find a daily activity that insures you’re getting enough exercise.

Raw Vegan Holiday Salad Recipes

Rawsome Salads

Orange, Avocado, Spinach Salad

This salad recipe kind of sounded like an odd combination, but the flavors actually mesh pretty well together. The sweetness from the orange goes nicely with the tanginess of the lime and creaminess of the avocado.


  • 1 orange
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Black pepper to taste


  • Section the orange and use a knife to cut off the skin from the sections. Try to drizzle any of the remaining juice into a small bowl.
  • In the small bowl containing the orange juice, whisk together the remaining juice, olive oil, lime juice, and sea salt.
  • In a serving bowl, add spinach and sliced avocado. Pour dressing over top and gently toss. Sprinkle with black pepper.

Creamy Sea Salad

Dulse is a popular sea vegetable that is good in soups, salads, or even sandwiches. It has a soft chewy texture and a rich reddish brown color. It can be bought in flakes or as whole stringy leaves. Dulse is a good source of protein, B-12, chlorophyll, enzymes, and fiber.


  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup dulse flakes
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup sprouts
  • Dash sea salt
  • Dash black pepper (or to taste)


Place all ingredients into a bowl. Gently toss. Add your favorite raw dressing.


Coleslaw always seems to be the salad you take with you on picnics. When using the purple cabbage, it’s definitely one of the prettiest salads. Try it and see if it’s also one of your favorites!


1 cup purple cabbage

  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  •  1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil


Place all ingredients into a bowl and gently toss.

Simple Green Salad

This recipe is super easy and honestly, you can substitute any of the greens for ones that you like in this or any of the salad recipes. This just has a variety of greens and variety is good for your body! A list of scrumptious salad greens to insure colorful variety…

  • Arugula
  • Cabbage (green or red)
  • Chard, Swiss (green, red or rainbow)
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Kale
  • Radicchio
  • Romaine
  • Spinach
  • Watercress

It’s easy to pick just one type of green to eat in your salad daily (baby spinach is my choice!), but it’s also nice to give your body a variety, here’s a simple suggestion to get you started.


  • 1 cup red kale
  • 1/2 cup mustard greens
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1 cup arugula


  • Remove ribs from kale and mustard greens.
  • Chop all greens into bite size pieces and toss.
  • Add your favorite vegan raw dressing.

Raw Pad Thai Salad


  • 2 zucchinis, sliced into strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 2 large handfuls of bean sprouts, approx 2 cups
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts (use almonds, peanuts or cashews)
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 4 green onions, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • Juice from one lime
  • 1 tablespoon raw, cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt


Toss all ingredients together in a bowl until well coated. Add a dash more salt if desired and enjoy!

Vegan Holiday Snack Recipes

Olive Tapenade

Olive tapenade is a great spread to serve with crackers for an easy gourmet appetizer or hors d’oeuvres. This recipe, which uses two kinds of olives, making a nice color combination, adds to the appeal of the dish. This olive tapenade recipe is both vegetarian and vegan, and can be prepared in just a few minutes. You might also want to try this recipe for olive tapenade with sun dried tomatoes, or if you like spicy food, try this version of olive tapenade with peppers and hot sauce.


  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1/2 cup green olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste


In a food processor, simply process all ingredients for a few seconds, being careful not to process too finely, since tapenade should not be too smooth.

Serve with crackers, flatbread, baguette, or slices of toasted artisan bread.

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

This easy vegan bruschetta is made with fresh tomatoes and basil and drizzled with olive oil. No cheese is needed if you use fresh red ripe tomatoes and flavorful basil. As for the salt, any kind will do, but sea salt or kosher salt will give the best flavor.


  • 12 slices French or Italian bread, lightly toasted
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt or kosher salt


Combine tomatoes, oil, basil and salt in a covered bowl and let marinate at least 4 hours (do not refrigerate; tomatoes will lose their flavor).

Use a slotted spoon to layer on to bread. Serve immediately.

Spicy Vegetarian/Vegan Bean Dip

A classic vegetarian bean dip with spicy chilies and Tabasco sauce. Vegetarian bean dip is great for a casual vegetarian Super bowl or party appetizer. This vegetarian bean dip recipe is also vegan.


  • 1 – 28 ounce can vegetarian baked beans, drained
  • 1 – 4 ounce can green chilies, diced
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp Tabasco sauce (or your favorite hot sauce to taste)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • Tortilla chips
  • Preparation:

Drain beans and add to blender. Add chilies, vinegar, chili powder, Tabasco, onion powder, salt and garlic powder blend until smooth. Pour into bowl and garnish with green onions.

Serve with tortilla chips.

Vegan Holiday Dessert Recipes

Brownies (egg and dairy free):

Brownies are a classic and simple treat and this recipe makes it easy for the lactose intolerant to enjoy them just as much. The recipe comes from a dessert spot in New York City.

  1. Mix 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum.
  2. In a second bowl, mix 1/2 cup of applesauce, 1/4 cup of canola oil, 1 tablespoon of vanilla and 1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips.Mix both bowls together.
  3.  Bake for 15 minutes at 325 degrees.

Gingerbread Cookies:

Take a traditional holiday recipe and turn it vegan with this recipe.


  • 4 tablespoons coarse sugar (turbinado or demerrera or “sanding” sugar)
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup almond (or soy) milk
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Sift dry ingredient (except sugar) into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl combine wet ingredients, including the raw sugar and whisk or beat on medium until blended.
  3. Stir in the pre-sifted dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. The dough will be quite sticky and you may need to dampen your hands to work with it. Roll the dough into little balls (about 1 Tablespoon) and flatten out to your liking.
  5. The thinner the cookie the crisper it will be – a slightly thicker cookie will yield a crunch on the edges and a slightly chewy interior.
  6. Press the coarse sugar onto the tops of the cookies and bake about 10 minutes at 350 on a greased cookie sheet.

Pumpkin Pie:

The holidays wouldn’t be the same without a pumpkin pie. Here’s a vegan version of the old standard recipe.

  1. Mix 2 cups of pumpkin purée, 1 cup of almond (or soy) milk, 3/4 cup of raw sugar, 1/4 cup of cornstarch, 1/2 tablespoon of molasses, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, 1/3 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of allspice.
  2. Pour filling into pie crust. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Banana Ice Cream (dairy free):

All ice cream has dairy in it, right? Well, not so, here’s some awesome ice cream made from a frozen banana.

It’s simple…freeze a banana, put it in a food processor, and that’s it. It takes a little bit of time to get creamy. But, that’s it. Add a teaspoon or so of peanut butter and just a  bit of cocoa powder (optional).

Healthy Holiday Indulgence

This is the time of year when we get together with family and friends who are probably less aware of, and surely less sensitive to, the dietary choices we’ve made in regards to the impact food has on our overall health. During this time cravings for the unhealthy foods we’re offered everywhere we go can be a powerful challenge to our coping skills. It can also be somewhat troubling to know how to properly respond to questions (or even criticism) without trying to convert those around you.

Although we know better, we can still have unhealthy cravings. And there’s a thin line between craving and addiction (see THIS POST). It’s critical to keep in mind that healthy eating habits are an advantage, not a deprivation over the holidays. Knowing that you are choosing not to pollute your body with the toxic food ingredients that surround us all during these festive occasions will keep you on track and may even be an inspiration to others – who knows, perhaps they’ll learn to embrace these differences rather than resent them.

You gotta love the old adage, “Nothing tastes as good as health feels”, which prompts us to remember that yucky, lethargic feeling we used to get after indulging ourselves with sugary, salty, fatting, msg-laden foods.

In an ideal world, we would be surrounded by delicious, healthy, nutritious, hypo-allergic foods; especially at holiday time when everyone wants to feel their very best in order to make the most of their celebrations with loved ones. So in the spirit of the holidays, over the next couple weeks this blog will feature a variety of nutritious and satisfying plant based recipes that will help us stay on the path to optimal health and wellness.

We’ll start with these recipes, but stay tuned there’s more to come.

Appetizer – Mushroom-Almond Pate (serves 4 – 8)


  • 1 cup almonds, ground
  • 2 oz. (approx ½ stick of Earth Balance vegan butter substitute)
  • ½ lb. portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ tbs. salt
  • ½ tsp. thyme
  • pepper to taste
  • ½ cup water


  • Melt the Earth Balance, add the thyme and sauté the mushrooms.
  • Add the water and allow the mixture to season and cook off a bit.
  • When the liquid is about halved, remove from the heat add the ground almonds and puree to a fine pate.

Serve with warm pita triangles or crackers of your choice.

Lentil, Walnut & Celery Salad (serves 4)


  • 8 ounces lentils
  • 2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 scallions, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • cumin to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped


  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Cook the lentils with the salt, cumin and a bay leaf until just tender but not too soft depending on what sort of lentils they are.
  • Drain and cool (discard the bay leaf).
  • In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients and add to the lentils.
  • Shake together the vinegar and oil and pour over the lentils.

Can be served warm or cold.

Entrée – Tempeh Bourgogne (serves 4)


  • tbs. olive oil
  • pkg. (approx 9 oz.) tempeh, sliced in bite sized pieces
  • package (8 oz.) mushrooms, sliced
  • large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red wine or more if needed
  • 2 tbs. Braggs Aminos
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 red bell pepper (optional), cut in small pieces
  • 1 tbs. arrowroot flour or cornstarch


  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
  • Add the onions and saute until semi-clear.
  • Add the chopped red bell pepper and sliced mushrooms.
  • Lightly saute the vegetables.
  • Add the tempeh pieces and saute until golden brown.
  • Add the wine, Braggs and seasonings.
  • Shortly before serving, mix the cornstarch in a bit of red wine and add slowly this to the mixture in the frying pan, stirring until the sauce thickens.

Serve this with cooked potatoes, either mashed, or boiled.