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.


Vegan Chana Masala

Vegan Chana Masala Pin

This Vegan Chana Masala recipe (made with chickpeas) was inspired by an Indian cuisine cooking class that we took at Baking Anis in Cuenca, Ecuador taught by two Chilean chefs. It’s such a small world!

The chefs normally sauté with butter, but they made a special batch using oil for Amelia and me (this was before we went oil-free). The Chana Masala was delicious, and I also learned how to make red roses from tomato peels in that class! (I can also make orange roses from peach and nectarine peels. They’re a fancy garnish.)

Amelia made our recipe oil-free and low-fat by sautéing with veggie broth instead of oil. This dish is a nutrition powerhouse with 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber per serving. It’s also a quick and easy one-pot meal (not counting the brown rice, which we make in our pressure cooker).

This Vegan Chana Masala recipe makes 2 servings with 1 cup per serving. We usually eat a Hearty Side Salad with it.

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 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.


Vegan Refried Beans

Vegan Refried Beans PinAmelia’s Oil-Free Vegan Refried Beans are so good you won’t be able to stop eating them! They require very little effort to prepare and they’re amazingly delicious.

And did I mention they’re oil-free? That means no empty calories from oil, which is commonly added to canned refried beans.

This recipe calls for canned pinto beans, but it’s also delicious with black or canary beans.

If you’re using Dried Beans, soak them for at least 4 hours, then rinse and drain. Cook over low heat for about 2 hours in enough water to cover the beans. You want the beans to be soft. We usually do this the day before we want to make the refried beans so they’re good to go. You don’t need to rinse and drain your cooked beans…you can use the liquid from cooking previously for your refried beans.

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.


Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl

Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl PinThis Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl recipe was inspired by a trip to a plant-based restaurant in Cuenca, Ecuador. It’s one of our favorite restaurants in Cuenca and they have several Buddha Bowls on their menu.

The co-owner and chef, Paul, backpacked throughout South America and ended up in Montevideo, Uruguay where he got a job as a chef in a plant-based restaurant. He returned to Cuenca with one of his co-workers and they opened their own plant-based restaurant called Café Libre. It’s what I would call gourmet vegan food (except for a couple of items that contain eggs).

Not only is the food delicious, it’s also presented in a way that is sure to draw your phone from your pocket so you can take a picture and share it with your friends on Facebook. It’s that good!

This Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl recipe is my own creation, made with some of my favorite ingredients and spices. Amelia usually makes our new recipes, but she put me in charge of the Buddha bowls since I love them so much.

We had some cauliflower that needed to be used so that’s where I started. Paul has a chickpea Buddha Bowl on the Café Libre menu and we had a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) in the cupboard so that was ingredient number two.

We always have onions, garlic and chili peppers on hand so those were natural choices. I also like to add mushrooms for their chewy texture. Baby bellas are our favorite type and we usually have some of those in the fridge.

Swiss chard is a very nutritious dark leafy green, and recipes like this are a good way to add dark leafy greens to your diet. Kale, spinach or a combination would also be great. You could also skip the swiss chard and pair this with a dark leafy green Hearty Side Salad or a low calorie Spinach Salad.

Most of the time, we sauté with vegetable broth to reduce the calories (1 tablespoon has 120 calories) and also because oil isn’t a whole food. There is also a lot of evidence that oil may be as bad for our health as any other fatty food. Dr. Michael Greger thinks of “oil as the table sugar of the fat kingdom” and Mic the Vegan calls it the Vegan Killer.

From a calorie perspective alone, we think it’s worth avoiding oil if possible. And there’s absolutely no need to sauté with oil when steam frying with vegetable broth (or vegetable bouillon or water or wine) works just as well.

The remaining ingredients give the mixture its flavor and a lot of extra nutritional benefits. Lime is loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants. Apple cider vinegar has been shown to help with weight loss, turmeric has been shown to fight cancer and spices in general are loaded with antioxidants that have been shown to fight aging and all sorts of cancers.

I like a little sweetness to go with my spicy so I added some agave. Normally I would use maple syrup, but we didn’t have any (sniff sniff). You can skip this to reduce the calories and the liquid sugar. You can also skip the salt if that’s a concern (especially if you have high blood pressure or kidney disease), but it helps bring out the other flavors.

This is a great one-pot lunch recipe that you can make ahead of time and eat it cold or heat it up the next day. I made this a two serving recipe, but if you serve it over 3/4 cup of brown rice, you can get 4 servings out of it.

This Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl recipe is a nutrition powerhouse that’s loaded with healthy sources of protein, carbs and fat. It’ll keep you satisfied and powered until dinner. 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.


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.


Cauliflower Potato Soup

Cauliflower Potato Soup PinWe created this delicious Cauliflower Potato Soup with a beautiful head of cauliflower we got at the market. It looked so pretty we hated to cut it up!

We spent most of New Year’s Day 2018 in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes and this was one of them. We also made Ginger Vinaigrette Beets, a Spinach Salad and a failed attempt at Sweet Potato Pie.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable in the same family as broccoli and Brussel Sprouts. That means it’s one of the best vegetables you can eat. And with only 156 calories, this filling soup is also great for your weight loss goals.

It pairs well with a Hearty Side Salad or Spinach Salad.

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.


Ginger Vinaigrette Beets

Ginger Vinaigrette Beets PinWe finally bought a pressure cooker! And this delicious Ginger Vinaigrette Beets recipe was our first creation!

Pressure cookers are great way to reduce the time it takes to cook beans and dense vegetables. Since we eat lots of both, we decided to break down and fork over the dough to buy one. So far, so good.

This recipe was in the manual that came with our Presto pressure cooker (we couldn’t find an Instapot) and it didn’t disappoint. Although, we love beets in just about any form, so we may be a little biased.

The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of sugar. Yikes! We rarely add sugar to recipes, but we decided to add 1 tbsp just in case the vinaigrette was too sour. Personally, I think it would taste fine without any added sugar since the beets are already very sweet. Depending on your taste preferences, you may want more sugar because it is pretty tangy.

These Ginger Vinaigrette Beets would go well diced on your Hearty Side Salad or your Spinach Salad, or as a standalone side dish with your Broccoli Mushroom Stir Fry or Baked Tempeh and Broccoli.

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.


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.


Cooked Rolled Oats

Cooked Rolled Oats PinThis Cooked Rolled Oats recipe is a traditional favorite and a hearty breakfast that’s sure to keep you satisfied until lunch. Enjoy topped with your favorite fruit and/or berries.

We like our oats and eat them a lot. We especially like them raw in our Rolled Oats Breakfast, but on a cold winter morning, these Cooked Rolled Oats are hot and satisfying.

Whole grains like oats have gotten a bad reputation from the low carb communities, which may be contributing to the leading cause of death among those who eat very little them: heart disease.

Whole grains, especially oats, have been shown in numerous clinical trials to reduce heart disease, prevent strokes and help with weight control. In fact, eating 3 servings of whole grains per day may be just as effective at treating hypertension as taking prescribed medications.

If you’re still a believer in the low carb fad diets, it may be time to revisit your preconceptions to minimize your risk of preventable disease.

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.