Chickpea Avocado Salad Sandwich

Here is another great sandwich perfect for a lunch at home, school, or work.  This recipe was adapted from here which I discovered on pinterest.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
  • juice from 1 lime
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Mash the chickpeas in a medium bowl using a fork.
  2. Add the avocado and mash together with the chickpeas. (It might be helpful to mash the avocado separately first and then combine it with the chickpeas.)
  3. Mix in cilantro, green onion, lime, and salt and pepper.
  4. Spread on a sandwich and enjoy.

Note: This is best eaten the day it is made because it will be bright green from the avocado.  If you are saving it for another day or do not eat it all in one day, place the avocado pit in the center of the salad mix to preserve the green color.

Update: The last two times I made this sandwich, I actually combined parts of the ingredients in this Chickpea Avocado Salad recipe and in this Mock Tuna Salad.  Here’s the ingredients I used:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion flakes
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • pinch of sea salt

I’ve even used this recipe to make a hummus.  If you do this, make sure to process the chickpeas in a food processor until very smooth, then process the remainder ingredients until smooth.

This recipe makes about 6 sandwiches.
Based on 1 serving without bread:
The updated recipe yields approximately 115 calories and 5g protein

Chia Pudding

I love chocolate pudding and after hearing about a vegan pudding that used chia seeds, I immediately decided to buy some and try this chocolate chia pudding.  What I love about chia seeds are how nutrious and filling they are.

I have tried a few varieties, and each recipe I have found varies slightly with the amount of seeds, nondairy milk, cocoa powder, sweetners, etc.  Here’s some varieties I have tried:

Chocolate Chia Pudding:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or agave
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: Fruit

Directions: Mix everything together in a bowl using a whisk.  Let sit in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.  Add fruit topping if desired. (Makes 2 servings.)

(I have also tried this recipe using So Delicious Coconut Milk instead of almond milk and that gave it an additional great tasting flavor!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon melted peanut butter OR 2 tablespoons PB2 (mixed according to directions on jar)

Directions: Mix everything together in a bowl using a whisk.  Let sit in refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.  Add a fruit topping if desired. (Makes 2 servings.)

Even though I really enjoy these puddings, especially since they are filling and much more nutritious than regular pudding, I enjoy the Chocolate Avocado Pudding which is much more creamy and still on the healthier side.  But by far my favorite is the Dark Chocolate Mousse which is the creamiest and richest but not as healthy as chia or avocado, but definitely worth a tasty splurge!

Easy Vegan Hot Cocoa

Ever since eating a vegan diet and no longer buying Swiss Miss, I have been trying different ways to use cocoa powder as a way to make hot chocolate.

I know I could buy the vegan powders at natural food stores, but they can be pricey and I’d prefer to make my own.  Plus cocoa powder is so versatile I could use it for hot chocolate, desserts, and adding a chocolate taste to other foods.

Recently, I started using CocoCardio, which is cocoa powder, beet juice powder, and hibiscus extract.  It might sound strange but it tastes like chocolate when you add a sweetener.  It makes it a perfect addition to a hot chocolate that is even healthier than regular cocoa powder – it has tons of iron!

After multiple attempts of creating a hot chocolate that was perfect, not too sweet but not too bitter.  I finally discovered a recipe of the perfect ingredients for a delicious, sweet treat that’s vegan. Plus it’s made in the microwave which makes it quick and simple!

Ingredients:

  • About 1 1/4 cups almond milk (enough to fill a regular sized mug)
  • 1 scoop CocoCardio (or 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder)
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a regular sized mug, fill the mug  with the almond milk.  Heat for 1 minute.
  2. Add CocoCardio (or cocoa powder) and stir until most clumps are gone.  (I usually have to press some of the larger clumps against the side of the mug with the back of the spoon to break them up better.) Heat another minute, watching carefully so it does not overflow.
  3. Stir.  Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract, if desired.  Stir and enjoy!

What I love about this recipe is it is very adaptable.  If you want a sweeter hot chocolate, add more maple syrup.  If you want your hot chocolate to have extra chocolate flavor, add more cocoa powder. If you want a thinner hot chocolate, replace some or all of the almond milk with water.

If you would like to buy CocoCardio, use my code: LWZ362 for a discount!

Homemade Granola Bar

It is so hard to find a healthy vegan granola bar that is gluten free too.  I came across a recipe online for homemade granola bars and I thought this was a perfect way to make simple granola bars AND I can control what these bars are made with.  Any kind of nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or nut butter can turn these bars into a wide variety of flavors.  After they are made all that needs to be done is for them to freeze, be cut into individual bars, and wrapped so they are ready to grab and go!

This recipe was adapted from this website.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I bought Sunkist mixed dried fruit)
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1/4 cup nut butter (I used PB2)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed meal (If you have regular flax seeds, they would be better for texture)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with wax paper or foil.  Make sure to leave the ends of the paper or foil sticking out so you can easily pull the granola out later.
  3. Press the granola mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan.
  4. Freeze for about 2 hours.
  5. After 2 hours, pull out the granola by the extra ends of the paper or foil.  Cut the bars into individual servings. (I cut 7 bars)
  6. Wrap each individual bar in saran wrap and freeze until ready to grab and go and eat!

Note: These must be eaten frozen or thawed only for about 5 minutes.  If they get too warm they will no longer hold together.

After freezing for 2 hours, right before I cut the granola into individual bars.
Here’s one of the individual bars, looks delicious!
Here’s another individual bar, where you can see the side of it.

Black Bean Brownies

I have tried a few recipes of brownies made with black beans and this recipe is my absolute favorite.  There is no flour or added sugar, just agave and the natural sugars from the bananas!  In these brownies you can not taste the black beans, but you get a pretty strong banana taste (depending on the size of your bananas and how ripe they are) with a hint of chocolate.

Black Bean Brownie

This recipe was adapted from Happy Herbivore’s Black Bean Brownies.

Ingredients:

  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (use less if you don’t like a cinnamoney flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup instant oats (I used GF rolled oats that I pulsed in a food processor a few times)
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar (optional if you want a sweeter brownie or bananas are too green)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8×8 pan or line with parchment paper.
  2. Blend black beans in a blender or food processor for about 30 seconds.  Then, add bananas and blend for about 15 seconds (you might need to mix the beans and bananas with a spoon.)
  3. Add the other ingredients excepts oats and blend until smooth, scraping sides as needed.
  4. Stir in the oats with a spoon and pour batter into pan.  Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool before slicing.

Notes: If you want fudgier brownies, use 1/4 cup less oats.  And the white specks you see in my brownies are oats that didn’t get grinded all the way.  If you don’t want any white specks, pulse your oats in a food processor until a complete flour consistency.  The batter will probably also be smoother if you have a vitamix.

The longer these sit, the more you will taste the banana flavor. If you can wait, try not to eat these until the next day for the best flavor!

These also freeze well.  I had one in the freezer and am too impatient to wait for it to thaw on its own so I reheated it in the microwave for 30 seconds and it still tasted quite good!

Black Bean Brownie 2
This recipe yields 9 brownies.
Based on not using the optional raw sugar, 1 brownie is approximately 112 calories and 4g protein.

Jerk Asparagus

I love asparagus and normally I bake it so this was a fun, new and easy way to make some delicious asparagus!  This recipe was adapted from the book “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

I could eat a whole pound of asparagus myself, so I doubled this recipe since I was cooking for my family and I made a few other minimal changes to the seasonings.  Here’s the recipe I followed:

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds aspargus (I cut each aspargus in half so they would fit in the skillet better)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • ground nutmeg
  • ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Saute the ginger and garlic in the oil for about 30 seconds, then add thyme and a splash of water and let this sizzle for a few seconds.
  3. Add the asparagus, salt, and spices.  Use tongs to toss and coat adding a few splashes of water if it seems dry.
  4. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.

Note: For presentation, you can serve the asparagus with lime wedges.

This was not all the asparagus I made, only half.

This side was perfect with the other dishes I made for Easter Dinner: Broiled Blackened Tofu and Ginger Sweet Mashed Potatoes and Apples.

This recipe makes 8 servings.
1 serving yields approximately 38 calories and 2.5g protein.

Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples

These mashed potatoes were so sweet and went great with the other dishes in yesterday’s Easter dinner which also included Broiled Blackened Tofu and Jerk Asparagus.  This recipe was adapted from the book “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound apples, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (I used 4 apples) Red apples are recommended and even though peeling is time consuming, it is definitely worth the time to make the mashed potatoes of the best consistency.
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. (I used 3 yams)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon agave (optional, depending on how sweet you want it)

Directions:

  1. Preheat a 4 quart pot over low heat and spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Add the apples, sweet potatoes, water, and salt.
  3. Cover the pot and let them cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. (Make sure to keep the temperature at low heat or they will burn and cook unevenly)
  4. After 20 minutes, turn up the heat (just a little bit, like low medium heat) and add a little more water if needed (you may need to add more water later if not right now)
  5. Cover and cook for 20 more minutes, stirring often. (Keep checking to make sure they aren’t burning and if you need to add a little bit of water)
  6. After 20 minutes, check to see if they are tender.  If they are, they’re done.  (Mine needed to go a few more minutes)
  7. Mash with a potato masher. (I left a few small chunks in my potatoes, so mash to the consistency you like)
  8. Add the cinnamon, ginger, and agave and mash some more. (If desired, add salt and other seasonings after tasting first!)

These potatoes were delicious and very easy to make.  I’ll definitely be making them again sometime soon.  However, the sweet potatoes and apples in this recipe make a great combination and flavor that would be perfect as a side for Thanksgiving dinner!

Tomorrow: The recipe for the Jerk Asparagus.

Broiled Blackened Tofu

This year for Easter, I made my family a delicious vegan, gluten free dinner which consisted of Broiled Blackened Tofu, Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples, and Jerk Asparagus.

These recipes were adapted from the book “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

I actually doubled this Broiled Blackened Tofu recipe:

I used 38 ounces of tofu (it was from a big package bought at Costco).  The night before I froze the tofu then took it out to thaw this morning.  (This is not necessary, but gives the tofu a chewier flavor.)  Make sure to press the tofu before adding spices and broiling so it soaks in more flavor.

Spice Ingredients:

  • 5 teaspoons paprika
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons raw sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 8 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons tamari

Directions:

  1. Set up your oven so that the rack is 6 inches from the broiler.  Preheat the oven to broil.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  3. Mix together the spices in a wide bowl and set aside.
  4. Mix together the sauce ingredients in a different wide bowl.
  5. Poke each slice of tofu with a fork a few times to help the flavors seep in.
  6. Dip each tofu slice in the sauce mixture to coat all sides.  Then immediately dip in the spice mixture to coat each side.  (You may need to firmly press the tofu to make sure the spices stick.)
  7. Place the tofu on the baking sheet in a single layer and bake under the broiler for about 12 minutes, flipping once about halfway through.  The tofu is done when it looks dark and black in some spots.

Note: Next time I make this, I am going to cut the tofu squares in half diagonally to form triangles.  This will help add more flavor and crispness to the tofu.

This picture has much better color of how it really looked 🙂
Tomorrow: Ginger Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples Recipe!

Strawberries and Cream Quinoa Cereal

This was a yummy, filling breakfast with quinoa flakes and strawberries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving of quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • About 1 cup of strawberries, chopped

This was a very quick breakfast to put together.  I followed the directions on the back of the quinoa flakes box using almond milk instead of water and heated the quinoa flakes in the microwave.  Then I mixed in the strawberries!

Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze

I used to love mac and cheese, but haven’t had it since eating a gluten free and vegan diet.  I have seen several recipes online that I have been meaning to try out for a while and I finally tried out this one last night.  I followed the recipe exactly as directed except I doubled the recipe.  Below are the directions to make a family serving of this delicious Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze which was adapted from Oh She Glows.

Ingredients:

  • 20 oz butternut squash (I bought a prepackaged, already cut butternut squash)
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter)
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 oz brown rice or corn macaroni
  • Mix-ins of choice (e.g., kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, pumpkin seeds, etc)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a casserole dish with tin foil. Mix chopped squash with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, uncovered, or until tender.
  2. Once the butternut squash has cooked and is cooling, prepare the cheeze sauce.  In a bowl, whisk together almond milk and arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) until clumps are gone.  Set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan, add Earth balance over low-medium heat. Add almond milk and arrowroot powder mixture to the pot and whisk.
  4. Stir in nutritional yeast, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper and whisk over low heat until thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Begin to cook your pasta according to package directions.
  6. Once the squash is cool, add it into a blender with the cheeze sauce mixture.  Blend until a smooth consistency.  (You may need to do this in batches.)
  7. Once the pasta is cooked, drained, and rinsed, pour the macaroni into a large pot, along with cheeze sauce & mix-ins. (I used peas)

Here’s a picture of the prepackaged butternut squash I used:

I’m definitely going to have to make this mac n’ cheeze again. It was very easy to make!
Butternut Squash Mac n Cheeze
Update: For Mother’s Day I tried this recipe again but this time used fresh butternut squash and broccoli.  It was another delicious version of vegan mac n cheeze! Although, I do prefer the peas over the broccoli for this meal.
Here’s a picture, unfortunately it’s not that bright:
This recipe makes about 8 servings.  Based on using prepackaged butternut squash, original Silk PureAlmond Milk, and Wegman’s Gluten Free Fusilli, one serving yields approximately 318 calories and 9g protein.  (This does not include any additional mix-ins.)