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.

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.

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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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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Brown Rice Milk Recipe

Brown Rice Milk PinThis Brown Rice Milk Recipe is a quick and easy, money-saving alternative to store-bought non-dairy milk. It takes just a few cents of cooked brown rice, some water, and optionally your choice of sweetener. We also like to add a little vanilla to ours.

We really like making our own creamy brown rice milk because it saves us quite a bit of money, but it also saves a lot of packaging that either goes in the trash or must be recycled. And it doesn’t have any preservatives or other mystery ingredients.

You can make a quart (4 cups) of brown rice milk for about 50 cents. Compare that to more than $4 for your typical store-bought non-dairy milk and the savings can really add up over time.

We use agave as our sweetener, but you can use your sweetener of choice. Maple syrup, stevia or U-Sweet would also work.

Our friend Rosy from Fratello Vegan likes to add cardamon to her’s and she says her three beautiful daughters love it.

You may want to use more or less water to get your preferred level of creaminess. One cup rice to three cups water gives it a pretty creamy texture.

The key to getting it creamy is to blend it in a mixer for at least 3 minutes. There will still be some settling as it sits in the fridge, but you can shake or stir it to mix it back up. We’re not big milk drinkers so you may prefer the store-bought milks if you want to swig a big glass with your chocolate chip cookies, but this works great for cooking (it thickens as you simmer it) and in cereals like our Rolled Oats Breakfast or Vegan Muesli.

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 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.

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 Asian Stir Fry [Oil-Free]

Easy Vegan Asian Stir Fry PinThis Easy Vegan Asian Stir Fry that’s oil-free is one of our staple recipes. We eat this one usually once and sometimes twice per week. We typically serve it over healthy brown rice, but sometimes we eat it plain or over some boiled yellow potatoes.

We almost always have the main ingredients on-hand: broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, mushrooms, onions, red cabbage and garlic. But feel free to use whatever you have on-hand or need to use before it goes bad, like green peas, snap-peas, carrots, sprouts, spinach, etc. Be creative!

This recipe has lots of protein, fiber, iron and enough vitamin C for 3 days RDV. With the soy sauce and salt, it’s a little high in sodium, so feel free to skip the salt and/or use low sodium soy sauce.

Like most of our recipes nowadays, we don’t use any oil in this steam fry. Without the rice, this recipe only has 155 calories, but add 1 tbsp of olive oil and you nearly double that. There’s simply no need to add all those extra calories from a liquid that’s 100% processed refined fat. Besides, lots of evidence suggests oil is “The Vegan Killer.”

Instead, we sauté using our homemade Easy Vegetable Broth from Scraps. It doesn’t add many calories, but it does add a lot of delicious flavor.

Since this recipe is so low in calories, but high in nutrient density, it’s a great weight loss recipe. Skip the brown rice and eat it plain to reduce the calories even more.

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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Broccoli Chickpea Chipotle Buddha Bowl

Broccoli Chickpea Chipotle Buddha Bowl PinThis Broccoli Chickpea Chipotle Buddha Bowl is easy, fast, oil-free, low-calorie, nutritious and delicious. It’s a great recipe if you’re in a hurry and watching your calories.

Since I stepped up my gym workouts, I’ve been wanting a high protein lunch that’s fast and easy to prepare. I made this one before my workout so it was ready when I got back from the gym. If I don’t plan ahead like this, I find myself eating the first thing I see when I get home instead of the best thing for a post-workout meal.

This is the second Buddha Bowl I’ve created after Amelia encouraged me to take on this Buddha Bowl project. The last one was the Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl and it was also amazing!

Most Buddha Bowls are neatly arranged with each ingredient placed separately in the bowl over rice, quinoa, barley, greens, etc. But it takes a lot more time (and pots) to prepare everything individually and assemble them when everything is done. I prefer the one-pot variety to save time and generate fewer dirty dishes. Maybe my next one will follow the rules…but I’m not much of a rule follower…

I created this Buddha Bowl with the ingredients we had on hand. We always have onions and garlic, but today we also had broccoli and red cabbage. They add a lot of color and antioxidants.

Red cabbage is one of the best foods you can eat for preventing and fighting cancer. The brighter color a food is, the more antioxidants it has. That means red cabbage has more than green cabbage. Plus, I like the taste of red cabbage better than green, although both are delicious in the right recipe.

I like to sauté my onions and garlic separately so they get a little extra tender, but you can probably put everything in the pot at the same time and cook it all together. That’ll make it a little easier.

Steam frying is the key to sauteing veggies without oil. You need to use a generous amount of vegetable broth, and cover the pan so the moisture doesn’t evaporate. We try to cook without oil as much as possible, and there’s really no need to use it when you’re sauteing veggies. It just adds a lot more calories without much other benefit.

Despite the common myth, your body does not need fat from processed oils. You get all the fat you need from unprocessed plants. Oils may even contribute to heart disease and several kinds of cancer.

If you don’t have any chipotle seasoning on hand, you can swap that out for chili powder or some spicy Thai hot sauce.

You can eat this dish without the brown rice…it’ll just decrease the number of servings. Personally, I love brown rice, and it’s far better for you than white rice. Brown rice has been shown to help with weight loss and type 2 diabetes, while white rice can make both of those worse.

However you decide to prepare this Broccoli Chickpea Chipotle Buddha Bowl recipe, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the variety of tastes, textures and colors. Let us know how it turned out in the comments below!

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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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.

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