Easy Oil Free Bread (4 Ingredients)

Oil Free Bread CutThis oil free bread recipe doesn’t get much easier, which is great because we’re on quarantine here in Olón Ecuador without reliable access to vegan bread.

Most bread in this part of Ecuador is made with manteca, which is either vegetable or pig lard and we don’t eat either of those. There is an organic bakery in Olón that doesn’t use manteca, but they haven’t been open regularly and are often out of bread when we go.

The tiendas here in Olón have plenty of harina (flour) so I (this is JP) decided to take my chances making our own bread and it came out great!

Sadly, we haven’t found any whole wheat flour in any of the tiendas in this area, and we didn’t think to buy any last time we were at SuperMaxi in Salinas. It’s on the list now!

Luckily, we did have some active dry yeast on hand that we bought back in Cuenca to make pizza dough. While we haven’t looked for it yet, it was hard to find in Cuenca and we haven’t noticed it here either. Hopefully we can find it because I have a feeling we’ll be eating a lot of this bread!

The third ingredient is a little salt, which is needed for the dough to rise properly. And the last ingredient is warm water! Easy peasy!

HINT: We also like to add 2 teaspoons of garlic powder to our bread to give it some extra flavor. You can also try adding other seasonings like basil or oregano, or even some minced black olives or beets. Get creative and let us know how it turns out in the comments!

It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare the dough, but it needs to sit for 2 hours before you bake it and it needs to cool for a bit before you can cut into it. That means it takes closer to 3 hours total from mix to munch, so take that into account when you’re planning your baking time.

IMPORTANT: The key to getting a golden brown, extra crispy crust is to put some water in a baking dish on the bottom rack. I forgot it one time and the bread came out looking like a giant biscuit, and it stuck to the pan. Just be careful when you open the oven or you might get a steam burn! ¡No bueno!

Let’s get started!

Ecuadorian Peanut Butter Plantain Recipe

Peanut Butter Plantain Recipe PinThis Ecuadorian Peanut Butter Plantain Recipe was introduced to us by our Russian friend, Olesya, who lives with an Ecuadorian family here in Cuenca, Ecuador. She said her host family makes this recipe all the time, and we know why. IT’S DELICIOUS!!!

You can make this plantain recipe with green (verde) or ripe (maduro) plantains (platanos). We’ve tried both and prefer ripe plantains. They’re sweeter and more dessert like. The green plantains require more sweetener.

When Olesya made us this plantain recipe the first time, she served it in a small bowl and we ate it with a spoon. Since then, Amelia has done some experimenting with the recipe. We’ve found that we like forming them into balls and baking them in the oven for a bite sized finger snack/treat.

It’s also good with some cocoa powder or chocolate chips mixed in, or topped with some dried fruit. The options are endless!

If you like plantains, you may also enjoy our Oil-Free Grilled Plantains 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.

Quick and Easy Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese

Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese PinAfter my first attempt to make a Vegan Red Lentil Bolognese, Amelia improved upon it. While my version (featured in our Vegan What We Eat In A Day video on our VegansAbroad YouTube Channel) was a little easier and a one-pot bolognese, Amelia’s was more flavorful and closer to a conventional bolognese.

Some people recommend cooking the lentils in the same pot as the sauce, but we weren’t happy with how they turned out. We simmered the sauce with the lentils for about 45 minutes and felt like they still could have cooked longer. So in Amelia’s version, we cooked the lentils in a separate pot for about 30 minutes and that worked much better. We’re at high altitude here in Cuenca, Ecuador, so things take longer to cook here. Red lentils at sea level will probably cook in much less time.

We served our bolognese over regular linguine pasta, but it’s better if you use whole wheat pasta. Whole wheat vegan products can be difficult to find here, so sometimes we’re stuck with the regular pasta.

This recipe pairs well with our Easy Garden 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.

Vegan German Potato Salad

Vegan German Potato Salad PinThis Vegan German Potato Salad recipe tastes a lot like the potato salad my German grandmother made when I was a kid. It’s very vinegary and flavorful.

Traditional German Potato Salad is made with bacon so we simply omitted that and didn’t notice its absence. However, you may be able to simulate that flavor by adding some liquid smoke into the dressing. Bacon gets most of its flavor from the liquid smoke it’s bathed in, so adding a little of it to this recipe might do the trick.

Or you could use some bacon bits, which are vegan because they aren’t made of bacon. They’re not healthy, either, but they do taste like bacon. If you try either of these options, please let us know what you think.

Amelia liked the crunch of the raw celery and green onion, but I would prefer it slightly sautéed so there’s not as much difference in texture between the raw veggies and the cooked soft potatoes. It’s a weird texture thing for me to bite into a soft potato and then hit a crunchy piece of celery. If you’re like me, you might want to sauté the celery and onion in a little veggie broth to soften them up.

This recipe pairs well with any vegan burger, corn-on-the-cob, green beans or your favorite vegan dishes.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Vegan Curry Vegetables

Vegan Curry Vegetables PinThis Vegan Curry Vegetables recipe was inspired by a recipe in “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease” by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. After I found out my cholesterol was still high after eating a plant-based diet for more than 2 years, I realized vegans can still get heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn’s book had a lot of great advice backed by legitimate research, as well as lots of delicious sounding recipes.

Amelia put me in charge of this one since I found it. I made it the first time following the recipe in the book pretty much exactly, but I thought it lacked some depth of flavor so I modified it the second time around.

Most of Dr. Esselstyn’s study patients were suffering from severe heart disease, so most of the recipes in the book don’t use any salt. Amelia and I both have low blood pressure, so we’re not afraid to use a little salt in our recipes. You can skip the salt if that’s a concern for you.

In addition to salt, I added black pepper and tomato sauce. We eat at an Indian restaurant here in Cuenca, Ecuador called Namaste India and they use tomato in a lot of their curry dishes. It gives it a rich, tangy flavor that we really like.

The jarred tomato sauce we get here in Ecuador is very thick. It’s closer in consistency to tomato paste so you may need to adjust the amount of tomato sauce depending on how thick it is and your taste preference.

We used broccoli and cauliflower in our recipe, but it would be great with some yellow potatoes, too. Some fresh spinach would also be great either blended up in the sauce or added to the skillet during cooking.

This is a great one-dish recipe, but you could also eat it with some naan bread or a 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.