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 Baked Beans

Vegan Baked Beans PinThis Vegan Baked Beans recipe (or BBQ Baked Beans) is absolutely delicious! It’s sweet, savory and spicy, but it also has a LOT of sugar, so do your best not to eat all of it in one sitting!

For a 1/2 cup serving, there are 207 calories with 92 coming from sugar. It has 23 grams of sugar (still far less than a can of soda), which is more than half of the recommended daily value. That means this is NOT a health food recipe. It’s meant to be a treat on a special occasion (like Labor Day) or a family event when you want to show people how good vegan food can taste. If you’re currently a diabetic, you should definitely not eat these beans!

While this recipe does have a lot of sugar, it also has some healthy ingredients. The beans are loaded with protein and fiber, as well as calcium and iron. They’re also really low fat, with less than half a gram per serving. Our bodies are very efficient at burning carbs (including sugar) for energy, and they’re very efficient at storing fat for future use during times of famine (that most of us never have to experience). So if you’re in good shape, at your ideal body weight, and without diabetes, you can enjoy these Vegan Baked Beans knowing your body will know how to handle the carbs (it’ll probably make you feel like going for a long walk after dinner).

Most BBQ Baked Beans are made with lard and/or bacon, which obviously isn’t vegan or healthy (unless you live in upside-down world). However, you can achieve a similar taste by using liquid smoke. After all, that’s what gives bacon it’s flavor. Without liquid smoke and sometimes maple syrup or molasses, bacon would taste like bland, fatty meat…pretty much how all meat tastes without plants added for seasoning. But if the liquid smoke is too reminiscent of bacon for you, just skip it.

If you’re in the US, most liquid smoke and molasses aren’t vegan. That’s because they contain non-organic sugar, which is processed using the ground up bones of dead animals to give it a pretty white color. Sugar in most parts of the world has a tan hue, which tastes the same, it’s just not as superficially pretty. Look for “pure liquid smoke” without molasses. And look for vegan or organic molasses, or molasses made with organic sugar.

These Vegan Baked Beans pair well with any vegan burger, potato salad, corn-on-the-cob, green beans, or any of your favorite vegan 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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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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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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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.

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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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Vegan Black Bean Soup

Vegan Black Bean Soup PinThis Vegan Black Bean Soup recipe is like a party in your mouth! It’s loaded with savory flavors and lots of protein. Top it with a little diced avocado for some extra deliciousness and you’ve got one delicious bowl of soup!

Beans are a great source of protein, calcium and fiber. That’s why they’re such an important part of a plant-based diet. It can take your body a few weeks (or months) to adjust to the flatulence caused by beans in some people, but the short-term discomfort is well-worth the long-term health benefits.

Before we transitioned to a whole-food plant-based (WFPB) diet, I never ate beans because of the horrible stomach and intestinal discomfort. Within a few months of switching our diet, I slowly started adding beans into the mix. Now we eat them every day and only occasionally do they cause gas. I’ve found that red beans still seem to be the worst offenders, while black beans, chickpeas and lentils are now fine.

According to the Harvard Health Letter, “A little bit of extra flatulence could be an indication that you’re eating the way you should!” So if you accidentally let one slip while waiting in line at the bank, just smile and say “Hey. I’m plant-based.”

This Vegan Black Bean Soup pairs well with a salad or 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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