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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Tahini Stir Fry with Tofu

Tahini Stir Fry PinThis Tahini Stir Fry with Tofu recipe is one of our favorites stir fries. We used to eat this one almost every week because it’s fast, easy and flavorful. However, since I found out I still have high cholesterol, we’ve cut this one out for awhile.

We still eat stir fries similar to this one every week, but the tofu and tahini add 5 grams of saturated fat per serving, which is way more than I need to consume while trying to lower my cholesterol. It’s also not great for weight loss so if you’re trying to lose weight or lower your cholesterol, you’re better off eating our low-fat Easy Vegan Asian Stir Fry.

Greger might disagree with this advice, but I side with Esselstyn and Ornish on this one. They’re the experts in heart disease, which runs rampant in my family, along with cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity. With the deck stacked against me, Amelia and I have decided to err on the side of caution when it comes to foods high in saturated fat, like tahini.

With that said, the tofu in this recipe adds a nice meaty texture and contributes most of the 18 grams of protein. And it absorbs the flavors of the sauce and other ingredients so it’s very tasty. This recipe is also loaded with fiber, vitamin C, calcium and iron.

This is a nice one-pot meal (not counting the rice) so it’s also fast and easy to clean up.

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 Sweet and Sour Seitan with Veggies

Vegan Sweet and Sour Seitan PinThis Vegan Sweet and Sour Seitan with Veggies recipe is sweet, savory and delicious! It’s also a little spicy, thanks to the hot pepper Amelia added.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe in Dr. Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. I read Dr. Esselstyn’s book after discovering I still had high cholesterol after more than 2 years of eating a Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB) diet. And I found this out on the same day my mom had a stent put in her heart to fix a large blockage. You can read more about this bad day in my blog post, “Can Vegans Get Heart Disease?

Dr. Esselstyn’s book is full of delicious, low-fat and oil-free recipes. It’s also full of scientific evidence showing that a WFPB diet is the only diet proven to prevent and reverse heart disease.

We modified this Vegan Sweet and Sour Seitan with Veggies recipe a little bit by using both broccoli and cauliflower, as well as a hot pepper that we got at our favorite mercado here in Cuenca, Ecuador. We also used a fresh pineapple instead of canned, which meant we had less juice than you get from canned pineapple. We added a tablespoon of brown sugar to make up for the missing sweetness. Finally, we changed the order of things a bit to make it a little quicker and easier to prepare.

It’s hard to find cornstarch here in Ecuador, so we use the widely available yucca powder as the sauce thickening agent. You can also use agar powder, tapioca powder or arrowroot. Use whatever you can find.

Try different veggies, using whatever you have on hand, or veggies that need to be used before they go bad. Being creative brings new and exciting flavors to recipes so they stay interesting.

We got our no-oil seitan from Fratello Vegan here in Cuenca, Ecuador. In addition to delicious vegan food made to order with a great view of the Tomebamba river, they also sell seitan, vegan chorizo sausage, vegan desserts and other vegan foods that can be hard to find in grocery stores.

While the plant-based and vegan movements are growing rapidly here in Ecuador, the grocery stores are still a bit behind the times. They do have some vegan options, but the selection is limited and often out-of-stock. It’s nice that Fratello is helping us to fill in the gaps.

Vegan Sweet and Sour Seitan Amelia Allergic ReactionAfter we ate this delicious meal, Amelia found out her pineapple allergy is still alive and well. Normally, cooking pineapple seems to make it safe for her to eat, but about 30 minutes after dinner, she broke out in hives all over her body. They lasted about an hour and then went away, thankfully.

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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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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Sauteéd Radishes Recipe

Sauteed Radishes Recipe PinRaw radishes are an acquired taste, but this Sauteéd Radishes recipe are sure to be a hit with almost anyone. Sauteing softens the peppery taste, bitterness and tough texture, making them a perfect low calorie (only 18 calories per serving!) side dish or addition to your Hearty Side Salad.

When I was younger, the peppery flavor and bitterness of radishes was too strong for me. But as I grew older, I began to enjoy raw radishes with a little salt or shaved over my salad. If, like me, you didn’t like them the last time you tried one, give them another try now. Your tastes are constantly changing and this vegetable is a nutrition powerhouse.

Radishes are a cruciferous vegetable like cauliflower and broccoli. They have lots of fiber, carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and other minerals. There is also evidence to suggest they help prevent and fight several forms of cancer, earning the radish its superfood label.

This Sauteéd Radishes recipe pairs well with a Vegan BLT, Red Bean Burger, Black Bean Burger or your favorite summer main dish.

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 Stuffed Eggplant

Vegan Stuffed Eggplant PinAmelia whipped up this Vegan Stuffed Eggplant for us as a low calorie dinner made from veggies we had in the fridge. We wanted to drop a few pounds so she’s been making us some delicious low calorie meals made mostly of fresh veggies, and this is one of my favorites!

Carving out the eggplant is the hardest part of this easy meal. I used a curved grapefruit knife to remove the flesh and that seemed to work well. Then I sliced it up to go with the other veggies that Amelia had prepared.

If you want to lose weight, this is a great recipe. It’s filling with all the fibrous veggies, but very low calorie. In fact, it only has about 140 calories so you can even serve this as a side dish with a Portobello Mushroom Steak. It would also be a really good lunch on a low-cal day or served with a delicious baked or boiled potato.

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 Jambalaya with Black Beans

Vegan JambalayaThis Vegan Jambalaya with Black Beans recipe is like a little taste of Naw Luns (that’s Cajun for New Orleans). This dish is hearty, filling, a little spicy and oh so flavorful.

This jambalaya is also a great recipe for your weight loss plan. With only 200 calories per serving, it packs 8 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein, as well as 26% RDV of Iron. With a delicious recipe like this, you don’t need to punish yourself with a bland weight loss diet.

I ate the first bowl plain without any toppings. For the second bowl, I put a dollop (about 1 tbsp) of unsweetened So Delicious Plain Yogurt on top. It tastes a bit like sour cream so it gave it a little extra tanginess. You can also add some hot sauce (Tabasco or Red Hot) and stir it in to give it more kick.

This pairs well with our Vegan Cornbread recipe.

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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