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.

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Vegan Butternut Squash Soup

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup PinThis Vegan Butternut Squash Soup recipe is perfect for cold fall days. It’s has a nice savory/sweet flavor and it’s easy to make. A bowl of this hot soup will warm you right up!

Living in Ecuador, we have a very limited selection of squash so when we return to the states for a visit with the family, we load up on butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash when we go to the store.

We were going to make our Healthy Butternut Squash recipe, but Amelia’s mom spotted a butternut squash soup recipe in a magazine and suggested we use the squash we bought for that, instead. It was a great idea because this soup was delicious! The unseasonably cold fall weather here in Atlanta made it even better!

We paired this soup with a large Easy Garden Salad and a bowl of fruit for dessert. It was a flavorful, filling and nutritious lunch.

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.

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Chickpea Chocolate Cookies (Gluten Free)

Chickpea Chocolate Cookies PinThis Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Cookies recipe is so delicious! The cookies are moist and oh so chocolatey. They’re perfect for non-vegan potlucks. They’re also great if you’re suffering from an intense chocolate craving because you can have them ready to eat fresh from the oven in about 20 minutes.

There’s no flour in this recipe. The chickpeas do all the heavy lifting. That means it’s gluten-free as long as all the other ingredients don’t have gluten. The chickpeas also make these cookies a protein powerhouse with 4 grams per cookie.

The peanut butter combines with the cocoa powder to make a really rich chocolate peanut buttery taste. The vegan chocolate chips are optional since the cookies are already very chocolatey. By omitting them, you’ll cut the saturated fat in half and the calories by a third. Each cookie is 82 calories without the chocolate chips.

If you like moist chocolate desserts, you’ll also LOVE our Vegan Beet Brownies.

Chickpea Chocolate Cookies 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.

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White Bean Dip or Spread

White Bean Dip Spread PinThis White Bean Dip is great for dipping your veggies into, but it’s also a delicious and healthy spread for your sandwiches. It’s similar in texture to hummus, but it’s made with white beans instead of chickpeas. It’s a great option if you’re tired of regular old hummus (gasp!).

And Amelia says it’s “super easy” to make. You just combine all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse it until it’s the consistency that you like.

Since there’s no tahini in this recipe, it’s much lower fat and lower calorie than traditional hummus. Thanks to the balance of protein and carbs, it’s a great pre or post workout snack, too.

It has a mild flavor so it tastes great with a wide variety of veggies, especially when used as a spread on veggie sandwiches.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Vegan Black Eyed Peas

Vegan Black Eyed Peas PinThis Vegan Black Eyed Peas recipe is one of my favorite dishes, even though I didn’t like black eyed peas before switching to a plant-based diet. Along with cucumbers, beets and onions, they’ve joined the growing list of foods that I didn’t like before, but love now.

Black eyed peas are loaded with protein, fiber and iron. One serving (about 1 cup) has 18 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber and 42% RDV of Iron with only 263 calories. That means this recipe is not only nutrient dense and filling, but it’s also relatively low calorie. That makes it a great weight loss recipe, too!

Black eyed peas are a staple in southern cooking. My mom’s side of the family comes from a small Missouri (pronounced Missour-a in my family) town so we know southern cookin’.

When I was a kid, mom always made black eyed peas on New Years day. It’s an old southern tradition that’s said to bring good luck throughout the year. Even though I hated black eyed peas back then, she still made me eat a spoonful…just in case.

Well, now I love them and Amelia is kind enough to make them for me on the regular. We normally eat them with a salad, but they would also pair well with another southern favorite, our Vegan Cornbread.

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.

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Vegan Black Bean Soup

Vegan Black Bean Soup PinThis Vegan Black Bean Soup recipe is like a party in your mouth! It’s loaded with savory flavors and lots of protein. Top it with a little diced avocado for some extra deliciousness and you’ve got one delicious bowl of soup!

Beans are a great source of protein, calcium and fiber. That’s why they’re such an important part of a plant-based diet. It can take your body a few weeks (or months) to adjust to the flatulence caused by beans in some people, but the short-term discomfort is well-worth the long-term health benefits.

Before we transitioned to a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet, I never ate beans because of the horrible stomach and intestinal discomfort. Within a few months of switching our diet, I slowly started adding beans into the mix. Now we eat them every day and only occasionally do they cause gas. I’ve found that red beans still seem to be the worst offenders, while black beans, chickpeas and lentils are now fine.

According to the Harvard Health Letter, “A little bit of extra flatulence could be an indication that you’re eating the way you should!” So if you accidentally let one slip while waiting in line at the bank, just smile and say “Hey. I’m plant-based.”

This Vegan Black Bean Soup pairs well with a salad or cornbread.

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.

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Popcorn with Lime Juice

Popcorn with Lime Juice PinThis Popcorn with Lime Juice recipe is a great low calorie snack. The lime juice gives the popcorn a delicious flavor with minimal calories and some extra Vitamin C.

For oil-free popcorn, use an air popper (without the butter, obviously). Or, you can make it in a pan on the stove using 1 tbsp of vegetable oil. That adds some additional calories and oil certainly isn’t a whole food, but we haven’t figured out how to make oil-free popcorn on the stove yet. If  you know how, please let us know!

We learned about the lime juice trick on a trip to Ecuador. Some restaurants serve popcorn with lime wedges as a table snack. I don’t know why we never thought of squeezing fresh lime juice over popcorn since we love corn chips with lime, but it never occurred to us.

The lime juice gives the popcorn a tangy, almost buttery, flavor. It also gives something for your salt to stick to, if you like salt on your popcorn.

We recommend using organic popcorn.

Popcorn with Lime Juice not only tastes better than the conventional topping, but it’s also much lower calorie and healthier. Enjoy!

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.

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Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad PinThis Spinach Salad is one of our mainstays. With only 48 calories per serving, it’s a low calorie delicious nutritious powerhouse side salad!

Spinach is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium and folate. It may also help prevent cancer and heart disease, making it one of the most important dark leafy greens you can eat. We try to eat it several times per week, if not every day.

Making a delicious salad like this takes time. That’s why we make enough for 6 servings, eat 2 servings and store the other 4 servings for up to 3 days in a sealable container in the fridge.

We do this with all of our salads to save time. Just be sure to add the vinegar or other liquid toppings when you serve the salad to prevent it from becoming soggy.

We use this recipe as a simple side salad, but we also like to jazz it up with some garbanzo beans, walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, diced avocado, shaved carrots, celery, dried cranberries or whatever else we have on hand. These ingredients add a lot of extra calories and protein, making them ideal for turning this side salad into a main course.

This salad pairs well with some Broccoli Soup or Celery and Potato Soup for a healthy, low calorie, filling lunch.

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.

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