Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup

Easy Black Bean Soup PinThis Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup is just what it says, quick and easy. Amelia’s mom, Jane, got this recipe from the AARP Magazine and gave it to us. Amelia’s dad told us he LOVED it! We were just as impressed!

After we went vegan and started eating a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet, Jane was legitimately concerned. Like most American’s and western dieters, she was raised to believe that we need meat, dairy and eggs to be healthy. She voiced her concern about our dietary changes, but trusted that her daughter had done the research and knew what she was talking about.

Rather than becoming judgmental and insisting that we were wrong and she was right, Jane decided to educate herself by first reading How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger. Then she watched What The Health on Netflix and started looking at more information from the WFPB doctors and scientists.

It took her a little while to come to terms with the unhealthy food marketing myths that we were all raised to believe, but now she often tells us how right we are. She even bought Dr. Greger’s How Not To Die Cookbook and cooked several of his recipes for us!

I have immense respect for anyone who will look at new information with an open mind, and be willing to change their stance when presented with new, credible information. It was certainly difficult for me to change my mind and I sometimes still think to myself, “It’s been over 2 years and I still haven’t died yet!” In reality, I’m far healthier, my cholesterol is down and I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds without trying.

Back to the recipe at hand… This Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup recipe couldn’t be much easier. It literally took a couple of minutes to prepare and less than 10 minutes to cook. You just add two cans of black beans to a pot with a cup of salsa and a teaspoon of cumin. Stir it up and heat it until it simmers.

The original AARP recipe didn’t call for salt, but we thought it needed some so Amelia added 1/2 tsp and that seemed to bring out the flavors more. We also used our Grandpa’s Vegan Dipping Hot Sauce as the salsa, but you can use store-bought to save time. Just make sure it doesn’t have added oils.

It would also be delicious with some sautéed chopped peppers, jalapeños, garlic and/or onions. You can sauté them first with some veggie broth or water in the same pot (covered) for about 5 minutes. This is called steam frying. Then pour the other ingredients in on top and stir. Continue heating it until it’s bubbly.

You can serve this Quick and Easy Black Bean Soup plain in a bowl, or serve it over brown rice, yellow potatoes or sweet potatoes. 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.

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Chunky Tomato Sauce w/ Vegetables Over Pasta

Chunky Tomato Sauce w/ Vegetables PinThis Chunky Tomato Sauce w/ Vegetables is an Amelia special. She threw a bunch of vegetables we had on-hand in a skillet and sautéed them with a little vegetable broth. Then we served them over some whole grain pasta. Delicious and easy!

We used 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes (6 medium sized) that we got at the mercado for the “chunky tomato sauce” part. I cored them and cut X’s on the bottom, then brought them to a boil and let them simmer for about 5 minutes. Then I drained them, added cold water to the pot and let them sit for a few minutes to cool. This makes the peels come right off. Then I chopped them up and handed them off to Amelia.

You can also used canned diced tomatoes to save time and effort, but we really like using fresh ingredients and it only takes an extra 10 to 15 minutes.

We used whole wheat spaghetti for our recipe, but you can use your favorite pasta, including gluten free if that’s your thing. Just try to use a whole grain variety.

This is a great one-dish meal or would pair well with a side salad and some fruit for dessert.

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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Date Walnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (Oil Free)

Date Walnut Vinaigrette PinThis oil-free Date Walnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing recipe is rich and delicious! Most vinaigrettes have oil, but since we’re oil-free plant-based eaters, we used walnuts as the (truly) healthy fat. The dates give it a little sweetness and the balsamic gives it a little tanginess.

Many of the phytonutrients in dark leafy greens and other vegetables are fat soluble, which means you need some healthy fats in your digestive tract at the same time as the veggies to allow your body to extract the most nutrients.

A lot of people still think oil is a healthy fat, but it comes with a lot of extra baggage and lacks all the fiber and many of the beneficial nutrients that come in the whole-food form. Oil is essentially a refined fat that may have some healthy ingredients, but it’s packaged along with several unhealthy ones. It’s far healthier to get your healthy fats from whole foods like nuts, seeds and avocados instead of processed foods like oil.

Date Walnut Vinaigrette

Using 3/4 cup of water in this recipe yields a pretty creamy salad dressing. You can make it even thicker by cutting back to 1/2 cup water, or you can thin it out by using a full cup. It really depends on your own personal preferences.

You can put this delicious Date Walnut Vinaigrette dressing on most of your favorite salads, including our Easy Garden Salad, Spinach Salad or Hearty Side 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.
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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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Lazy Girl Easy Vegan Enchiladas

Easy Vegan Enchiladas PinThis Easy Vegan Enchiladas recipe is fast and easy to make. Why spend time trying to wrap and bake tricky enchiladas when you can do them open-faced?

I love our Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas recipe, but we never have it because it’s such a pain to make. When we first made them for the website, it took us 3 tries to get them to come out good enough to be photographed. And we haven’t made them since!

So I asked Amelia if we could do them a different way that would be easier. After all, it’s the ingredients that taste good; not the shape. I suggested we sauté the filling in our cast iron skillet and then bake it covered in our Vegan Enchilada Sauce, but Amelia’s way was even easier. We served them open-faced on corn tortillas and poured the enchilada sauce over them. Then we topped them with some baked corn tortilla strips.

These “lazy girl” enchiladas, as Amelia calls them, are by far the easiest and fastest way to make delicious enchiladas.

Easy Vegan Enchiladas

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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Spicy Avocado Sauce

Spicy Avocado Sauce PinWe made this Spicy Avocado Sauce to go with our Cauliflower Tacos w/ Lentils recipe and it was delicious! It’s so rich and creamy. And the jalapeño gives it a little kick, although this is optional if you don’t like spicy things.

This recipe is also great as a dip, sandwich spread or salad dressing. It almost has a ranch dressing flavor. Several important phytonutrients in salads are fat soluble, which means they need to be consumed with a healthy source of fat like nuts, seeds and/or avocados in order for our bodies to effectively extract all the nutrients.

Avocados have been shown to contain a lot of fiber and many beneficial phytonutrients of their own, and the fat found in avocados also helps our bodies get the most bang for our salad buck.

It doesn’t take much fat for our bodies to harness the power of fat soluble veggies, though. You only need about 1/4 of an avocado in your salad OR five walnut halves to get the benefit from the greens, so don’t load up your salad with a lot of nuts, seeds and avocado or the calories and fat will skyrocket. A little is good for you, but a lot is bad for you.

We like our foods spicier than most, and Amelia likes them spicier than me! If you have a bland palette, feel free to skip the jalapeño.

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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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.

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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.

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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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Vegan Mexican Stir Fry

Vegan Mexican Stir Fry PinThis Vegan Mexican Stir Fry is a great weeknight meal since it’s quick to make and amazingly delicious. Since this recipe only has about 89 calories per serving, you really need to eat it with something else. You can prepare some brown rice and refried beans ahead of time and heat them up to save time.

It takes only a few minutes to chop up some peppers and onions, and since most of the flavor comes from the salsa, you can easily have this ready to eat in under 10 minutes.

We make ours with my Grandpa’s Vegan Dipping Hot Sauce and Amelia’s Vegan Refried Beans, but you can just as easily use store-bought refried beans and salsa. Just make sure they’re oil-free and lard-free. A lot of canned refried beans have lard. Yuck!

This is one of our go-to recipes. We eat this one almost every week, especially on nights when Amelia has her belly dancing class at The Tribal Fusion House here in Cuenca, Ecuador. If you’d like to see her belly dancing, here’s a video. She’s in front on the right.

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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