No Oil Easy Plantain Tortillas

Plantain TortillasThese easy and delicious no oil plantain tortillas are great all by themselves or topped with your favorite beans and grilled veggies. You can eat them just like any other tortilla.

This recipe was inspired by the quarantine. While many fruits and veggies have been scarce and difficult to find, green plantains (platanos verdes) are still cheap and readily available so we’ve been looking for ways to prepare them.

We used a food processor to make the plantain “dough” but you could just use a potato masher. It’ll take longer, but you’ll get a good workout from it!

If you cut these plantain tortillas into triangle cornchip shapes, they make good dipping tools for your salsa or use them to make tostadas with your favorite toppings.

Easy Oil Free Bread (4 Ingredients)

Oil Free Bread CutThis oil free bread recipe doesn’t get much easier, which is great because we’re on quarantine here in Olón Ecuador without reliable access to vegan bread.

Most bread in this part of Ecuador is made with manteca, which is either vegetable or pig lard and we don’t eat either of those. There is an organic bakery in Olón that doesn’t use manteca, but they haven’t been open regularly and are often out of bread when we go.

The tiendas here in Olón have plenty of harina (flour) so I (this is JP) decided to take my chances making our own bread and it came out great!

Sadly, we haven’t found any whole wheat flour in any of the tiendas in this area, and we didn’t think to buy any last time we were at SuperMaxi in Salinas. It’s on the list now!

Luckily, we did have some active dry yeast on hand that we bought back in Cuenca to make pizza dough. While we haven’t looked for it yet, it was hard to find in Cuenca and we haven’t noticed it here either. Hopefully we can find it because I have a feeling we’ll be eating a lot of this bread!

The third ingredient is a little salt, which is needed for the dough to rise properly. And the last ingredient is warm water! Easy peasy!

HINT: We also like to add 2 teaspoons of garlic powder to our bread to give it some extra flavor. You can also try adding other seasonings like basil or oregano, or even some minced black olives or beets. Get creative and let us know how it turns out in the comments!

It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare the dough, but it needs to sit for 2 hours before you bake it and it needs to cool for a bit before you can cut into it. That means it takes closer to 3 hours total from mix to munch, so take that into account when you’re planning your baking time.

IMPORTANT: The key to getting a golden brown, extra crispy crust is to put some water in a baking dish on the bottom rack. I forgot it one time and the bread came out looking like a giant biscuit, and it stuck to the pan. Just be careful when you open the oven or you might get a steam burn! ¡No bueno!

Let’s get started!

Vegan German Potato Salad

Vegan German Potato Salad PinThis Vegan German Potato Salad recipe tastes a lot like the potato salad my German grandmother made when I was a kid. It’s very vinegary and flavorful.

Traditional German Potato Salad is made with bacon so we simply omitted that and didn’t notice its absence. However, you may be able to simulate that flavor by adding some liquid smoke into the dressing. Bacon gets most of its flavor from the liquid smoke it’s bathed in, so adding a little of it to this recipe might do the trick.

Or you could use some bacon bits, which are vegan because they aren’t made of bacon. They’re not healthy, either, but they do taste like bacon. If you try either of these options, please let us know what you think.

Amelia liked the crunch of the raw celery and green onion, but I would prefer it slightly sautéed so there’s not as much difference in texture between the raw veggies and the cooked soft potatoes. It’s a weird texture thing for me to bite into a soft potato and then hit a crunchy piece of celery. If you’re like me, you might want to sauté the celery and onion in a little veggie broth to soften them up.

This recipe pairs well with any vegan burger, corn-on-the-cob, green beans or your favorite vegan dishes.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant based eating.

Kid-Friendly Tofu Fingers

Kid Friendly Tofu Fingers PinWhile we were visiting Amelia’s family in Atlanta, Amelia’s 9 year old niece  challenged us to make more kid-friendly vegan recipes and this Tofu Fingers recipe one of them. She really liked them, as did the whole family. She’s a VERY picky eater, so anything other than “I hate it” means she loved it. She dipped hers in ketchup, but her grandpa and I preferred BBQ sauce.

If you’re concerned about feeding organic soy to your children, rest assured it’s not only safe, but highly nutritious. Most of the myths about soy were created by the dairy industry when soy milk started eating away at their profits. The unbiased, legitimate science shows soy is actually protective against the very ailments that, ironically, dairy has been shown to cause.

One of the main concerns about soy is the phytoestrogen content that the myths claim can interfere with human hormones. Phytoestrogens are a type of plant estrogen that behaves much differently in the human body compared to mammal estrogen found in cow’s milk, which looks just like human estrogen inside our bodies.

In fact, one study found that soy was protective against early puberty in girls, whereas consumption of meat was strongly associated with early puberty in both girls and boys.

We strongly encourage you to buy only organic soy products, though. The unbiased science is far from settled on the health effects of GMO, but putting that aside, there are plenty of non-health reasons to avoid GMO products. GMO’s encourage monocrops, which are destroying the soil. They are leading to superbugs and superweeds that are resistant to even the strongest pesticides. They lead to more fertilizer and pesticide use, which contaminates water supplies. And they give corporations too much control of our food system. Please consider watching GMO OMG for an overview of the GMO industry.

Back to the recipe at hand… These Tofu Fingers are very tasty dipped in your favorite dipping sauce like ketchup, BBQ sauce, Vegan Ranch Dressing, salsa, Grandpa’s Vegan Dipping Hot Sauce, etc. They make a great afternoon snack or appetizer, or as a side dish with soup and salad.

Tofu Fingers 2

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant based eating.

Easy Vegan Artichokes (Oil-Free)

Easy Vegan Artichokes PinThis Oil-Free Easy Vegan Artichokes recipe is super simple and absolutely delicious. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare the artichokes and another 20 to 30 minutes to steam them so they’re a great snack or appetizer to show off to your dinner guests.

Several years ago, long before we went Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB), Amelia tried to make some roasted artichokes but they came out tough as vegan leather. Since they were so expensive back in the states, we decided to not ruin any more perfectly good artichokes that someone else could prepare more successfully.

However, now that we live in Ecuador, the artichokes are much more affordable so I decided to give them another try. These artichokes cost us only 28 cents each! We already went back and bought 4 more after we made this delicious recipe!

The prep work is very easy. Just cut a little off the top and bottom of the artichoke, use a very sharp knife to cut them in half, and then scoop out the hairy fibrous material at the center. Steam them for 20 to 30 minutes until they’re nice and soft, then serve with some fresh squeezed lemon juice over them.

Easy Vegan ArtichokesA lot of people don’t know how to eat artichokes prepared this way, so here’s a quick tutorial. Peel off a leaf, hold the pointy end with your fingers and put the flat end in your mouth. Pull off the soft part at the base of the leaf with your teeth and enjoy. Once you get to the center, it’s all edible and delicious!

You can also scrape out all the good stuff and use it to make artichoke dip, but that would be very time consuming. We usually just by them frozen or canned for dip recipes.

Easy Vegan Artichokes Cooking Video

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If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant based eating.

Easy Garden Salad

Easy Garden Salad PinI make this Easy Garden Salad every 3 to 4 days. It makes enough for 6 to 8 large salads so it saves a lot of time in salad prep. It’s also highly nutritious and checks off several of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen boxes.

We used to make our salads individually, but we found that life often got in the way and we didn’t have time to make them. That’s when I came up with the idea to make a giant salad when I did have time, and store the ingredients in the fridge so they were ready when we wanted to eat them.

Save the scraps in a sealable container that you can keep in the freezer to make your Easy Vegetable Broth from Scraps. We have found that making our own veggie broth not only tastes better than store bought, it doesn’t contain oil or other preservatives, saves the packaging and makes great use of the scraps we were throwing away. We were using at least one veggie broth container per week so it saves us about $20/month.

Until recently, I put the greens and the toppings in the same container, but I found that all the tasty parts migrated to the bottom of the container making it difficult to dish out. To fix that issue, I now store the greens in a separate container from the colorful toppings.

When we’re ready to eat this delicious garden salad, we put a bunch of greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, arugula, mixed greens, lettuce, etc.) in a large bowl and then scoop out a cup of the rainbow and put that on top of the greens.

Our rainbow usually consists of carrots, cucumber, peppers, corn, beets, red cabbage, artichoke hearts (in water), hearts of palm, garbanzo beans, red onion and tomatoes. We also like Golden Berries (Uvillas or Peruvian Ground Cherries) that we get here in Ecuador. They’re a little yellow cherry tomato sized fruit with a citrus flavor.

Easy Garden Salad

Then we top the salad with nuts, seeds, olives and/or avocado for some healthy fats to help us get at all those fat soluble nutrients in the salad. You can also top your salad with some Tahini Salad Dressing or other nut or avocado based homemade salad dressings, but it’s best to avoid oil-based salad dressings because oil isn’t a whole food; it’s a processed refined fat.

We usually eat our salads with lime juice and some form of vinegar (rice wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, white balsamic vinegar). Sometimes we use soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.

Then we sprinkle our Easy Garden Salad with a generous amount of oregano and sometimes red pepper flakes and/or fennel seeds to get even more antioxidants.

Try different dark leafy greens, veggies and dressings in your salad to keep things interesting. According to Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. Greger, Dr. Barnard, Dr. Kahn, Dr. Fuhrman and other plant-based doctors, we should all eat at least one large dark leafy green salad — every — single — day. So find things you like and try new things, too.

This recipe pairs well with any of our soups or sandwiches.

Easy Garden Salad Cooking Video on Vegans Abroad

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant based eating.

Summer Black Bean Salad

Summer Black Bean Salad PinThis Oil-Free Summer Black Bean Salad recipe was inspired by a recipe from Amelia’s Aunt Marie. It’s easy to make and full of color and flavor. It tastes great all by itself as a side dish, or over a leafy green salad.

Last time we were back in Atlanta visiting Amelia’s family, her mom Jane made us this dish and everyone loved it! Aunt Marie included olive oil and cheese in her recipe, so we just removed those and didn’t notice them missing. In fact, I’m guessing the cheese would overpower the mild flavors of the other veggies.

A friend of ours told us this recipe is similar to Cowboy Caviar. However, real Cowboy Caviar also has black-eyed peas, diced tomatoes, and several other seasonings. Aunt Marie’s recipe is certainly a lot easier to make with its fewer ingredients and most of the flavor coming from the salsa.

Amelia’s mom inspired us to make more dishes with salsa as the flavor enhancer. It’s a lot easier and faster to make a delicious dish when all you have to do is open a jar of salsa and pour it in. We generally use my Grandpa’s Vegan Dipping Hot Sauce instead of store-bought salsa because we think it tastes better and it also saves us about $3/jar.

This recipe makes a great side salad for your favorite Mexican dishes, like Vegan Tortilla Soup or Mexican Lasagna.

If you choose to eat this Summer Black Bean Salad over leafy greens, you may want to add some fresh lime juice and/or vinegar to the greens beforehand to give them more flavor.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant based eating.

Vegan Baked Beans

Vegan Baked Beans PinThis Vegan Baked Beans recipe (or BBQ Baked Beans) is absolutely delicious! It’s sweet, savory and spicy, but it also has a LOT of sugar, so do your best not to eat all of it in one sitting!

For a 1/2 cup serving, there are 207 calories with 92 coming from sugar. It has 23 grams of sugar (still far less than a can of soda), which is more than half of the recommended daily value. That means this is NOT a health food recipe. It’s meant to be a treat on a special occasion (like Labor Day) or a family event when you want to show people how good vegan food can taste. If you’re currently a diabetic, you should definitely not eat these beans!

While this recipe does have a lot of sugar, it also has some healthy ingredients. The beans are loaded with protein and fiber, as well as calcium and iron. They’re also really low fat, with less than half a gram per serving. Our bodies are very efficient at burning carbs (including sugar) for energy, and they’re very efficient at storing fat for future use during times of famine (that most of us never have to experience). So if you’re in good shape, at your ideal body weight, and without diabetes, you can enjoy these Vegan Baked Beans knowing your body will know how to handle the carbs (it’ll probably make you feel like going for a long walk after dinner).

Most BBQ Baked Beans are made with lard and/or bacon, which obviously isn’t vegan or healthy (unless you live in upside-down world). However, you can achieve a similar taste by using liquid smoke. After all, that’s what gives bacon it’s flavor. Without liquid smoke and sometimes maple syrup or molasses, bacon would taste like bland, fatty meat…pretty much how all meat tastes without plants added for seasoning. But if the liquid smoke is too reminiscent of bacon for you, just skip it.

If you’re in the US, most liquid smoke and molasses aren’t vegan. That’s because they contain non-organic sugar, which is processed using the ground up bones of dead animals to give it a pretty white color. Sugar in most parts of the world has a tan hue, which tastes the same, it’s just not as superficially pretty. Look for “pure liquid smoke” without molasses. And look for vegan or organic molasses, or molasses made with organic sugar.

These Vegan Baked Beans pair well with any vegan burger, potato salad, corn-on-the-cob, green beans, or any of your favorite vegan recipes.

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant based eating.

Vegan Tortilla Soup

Vegan Tortilla Soup PinEven though I just finished eating lunch, my mouth is watering just thinking about this Vegan Tortilla Soup recipe! It’s that good!

While conventional tortilla soup typically uses chicken as the protein, we used white beans instead. Beans are loaded with protein and fiber, but contain no cholesterol nor measurable saturated fat. They’re also a good source of iron, magnesium and potassium.

There are several different types of white beans: navy beans, great northern beans, cannellini beans and butterbeans. We like navy beans in our soups because the starch gets released during cooking, making the soup creamier. However, you can use whichever beans you prefer or have on-hand for this recipe.

For the tortilla strips, we used two small corn tortillas made with only two ingredients: whole corn and water. Whole Foods carries organic corn tortillas that are made with corn, water and a hint of lime. When eating a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) no-oil diet, it’s important to look for minimally processed foods without added oils and sugars (or other mystery ingredients).

We cubed some avocado as a topping for our vegan tortilla soup, but if you’re trying to lose weight or lower your cholesterol, you may want to skip the avocado until you’ve reached your goal. Saturated fat, regardless of whether it comes from a plant or animal, will raise your cholesterol and can contribute to heart disease and weight gain.

This recipe pairs well with a nice Side Salad or some Corn Tortilla Corn Chips and Salsa.

Vegan Tortilla Soup Cooking Video

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant based eating.

Oil Free Grilled Plantains

Oil Free Grilled Plantains PinThis Oil Free Grilled Plantains recipe is exceptionally delicious! Unlike most fried plantains, these are much lower fat due to a little trick Amelia thought up.

We bought some plantains and I was standing there staring at them while Amelia was making some hummus. I was complaining to her that without oil, it’s hard to get the browned look that we take for granted when cooking with oil, especially with traditionally fried items like plantains.

She had reserved the aquafaba from the chickpeas (aquafaba is chickpea juice) and suggested I use that as a browning agent. It was a eureka moment!

So I took 1/4 cup of the aquafaba and put it in a bowl. Then I added some brown sugar, fresh squeezed orange juice, a little water and a little cilantro to the bowl and stirred it up. Then I added the sliced plantains to the bowl and stirred to coat them. When I put it on our electric griddle, it browned just like it had oil on it. It was even crispier than I expected.

Plantains have a lot of calories: over 200 for one plantain. That’s twice the calories of a large banana. So with the added sugar, this isn’t a very low calorie treat, but it is pretty healthy otherwise. If you’re a sugar-phobe, you can try it without the brown sugar or replace it with another type of sweetener. However, the brown sugar did caramelize on the griddle, helping to brown the plantains and seal in the flavors.

Remember, brown sugar in the States is only vegan if it says it on the package, or if it’s organic. Otherwise, it could have a variety of animal derived products in it.

This Oil Free Grilled Plantains recipe works well as a snack (it’s very filling) or as a dessert with some vegan ice cream. You can also use it as a sweet and savory side dish. Yum!!!

If you make this recipe, please let us know your thoughts in the comments below. And please share with your friends to help spread the word about healthy plant based eating.