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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Cauliflower Quinoa

Cauliflower Quinoa PinThis Cauliflower Quinoa recipe is a real palate pleaser. It’s savory and delicious, with lots of protein and other nutrients, but without many calories. One cup is only about 183 calories. That makes it a great weight loss recipe.

Due to its high protein content and nutritional value, quinoa has risen in popularity over the last few years, which has also led to an increase in its price. Quinoa can be quite expensive now, but Whole Foods has a Super Grains blend that’s much less expensive. Feel free to substitute that for pure quinoa.

This is a great one dish meal for lunch, or paired with a soup or side salad if you have a bigger appetite.

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 Locro de Papa Soup

Vegan Locro de Papa Soup PinThis Vegan Locro de Papa Soup recipe is a plant-based version of a traditional Ecuadorian potato soup. It’s a delicious and satisfying soup for a cold rainy day.

We learned about Locro de Papa Soup on our first trip to Ecuador. Due to a language barrier, we didn’t know it was traditionally made with cheese. We asked the server in our broken spanglish if it had cheese, but he must not have understood us because he assured us it didn’t. I’m pretty sure it did, though.

Despite having cheese (we think), our very first traditional Ecuadorian dish was a real palate pleaser! So Amelia decided to figure out how to make it “sin queso” and this was her creation thanks to a little help from Laylita’s Recipes (an Ecuadorian native from Vilcabamba).

The traditional recipe calls for little cubes of mozzarella or similar cheese, but we’ve replaced that with cubes of tofu to give it the same texture without the saturated fat. It’s best to use organic tofu if you can find it. Most tofu sold in grocery stores in the states is organic.

The key to getting the traditional locro color and taste is the achiote powder. We had a hard time finding this in Denver, but we eventually found some in a Whole Foods. Two of the three Whole Foods and none of the other grocery stores we checked carried it.

We used olive oil to saute the onions and garlic, but you can replace that with a 1/4 cup of veggie broth to make this an oil-free dish.

Like any soup, this pairs well with a salad or some whole grain bread for dipping.

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.


Cauliflower Potato Soup

Cauliflower Potato Soup PinWe created this delicious Cauliflower Potato Soup with a beautiful head of cauliflower we got at the market. It looked so pretty we hated to cut it up!

We spent most of New Year’s Day 2018 in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes and this was one of them. We also made Ginger Vinaigrette Beets, a Spinach Salad and a failed attempt at Sweet Potato Pie.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable in the same family as broccoli and Brussel Sprouts. That means it’s one of the best vegetables you can eat. And with only 156 calories, this filling soup is also great for your weight loss goals.

It pairs well with a Hearty Side Salad or Spinach 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.


Broccoli Mushroom Stir Fry

Broccoli Mushroom Stir Fry PinAmelia whipped up this delicious oil-free Broccoli Mushroom Stir Fry recipe so we could use some shiitake mushrooms we found on sale. Since they’re usually so expensive, we rarely buy them, but we love them oh so much! If you can’t find any that are affordable, you can just use whatever mushrooms you have available.

We used a spicy Chinese red chili sauce to give the recipe a little extra spice. Feel free to use your favorite spicy hot sauce or try different ones.

Based on recommendations from some of our favorite nutrition doctors, we try to avoid oil whenever possible, even olive and coconut oil. While oil does lend a richness to food, its long-term harmful effects to our arteries and the weight gain associated with such a dense source of calories sour the taste a bit.

That’s why most of our stir fry recipes use vegetable broth instead of oil to “steam fry” our veggies. The key is to cover the pot between stirs to trap the moisture so the veggie broth doesn’t evaporate and your veggies don’t dry out.

This is a good one dish recipe, but you can also serve it with some delicious Vegan Miso Soup.

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.