Vegan Refried Beans

Vegan Refried Beans

Vegan Refried Beans PinAmelia’s Oil-Free Vegan Refried Beans are so good you won’t be able to stop eating them! They require very little effort to prepare and they’re amazingly delicious.

And did I mention they’re oil-free? That means no empty calories from oil, which is commonly added to canned refried beans.

This recipe calls for canned pinto beans, but it’s also delicious with black or canary beans.

If you’re using Dried Beans, soak them for at least 4 hours, then rinse and drain. Cook over low heat for about 2 hours in enough water to cover the beans. You want the beans to be soft. We usually do this the day before we want to make the refried beans so they’re good to go. You don’t need to rinse and drain your cooked beans…you can use the liquid from cooking previously for your refried beans.


Broccoli Chickpea Chipotle Buddha Bowl

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!


Cauliflower Chickpea Buddha Bowl

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!


Vegan Black Bean Soup

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 heart-healthy fat and you’ve got one delicious bowl of soup!

Beans are a great source of protein 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.

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.


Vegan Locro de Papa Soup

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.


Vegan Mexican Lasagna

Vegan Mexican Lasagna

Vegan Mexican Lasagna PinWe love our vegan comfort food, and it doesn’t get any better than this Vegan Mexican Lasagna! It’s savory, satisfying and muy delicioso!

Amelia found a recipe using tofu, salsa and a few other ingredients mixed together to make a crumbled tofu Mexican dish, but it had one major flaw. While it tasted delicious, it wasn’t very appetizing to look at. In fact, it looked a little gross.

After a few comments from the peanut gallery (me) about its lack of visual appeal, Amelia had the brilliant idea to use it as the “cheese” filling for a Mexican Lasagna. It kind of has a ricotta-y texture and tons of flavor, so that seemed like a good use for it.

Using our Vegan Overnight Lasagna as a guide, we created this super delicious Vegan Mexican Lasagna. In place of tomato sauce, we used salsa. In place of lasagna noodles, we used torn up corn tortillas. In place of cashew ricotta, we used Mexican tofu ricotta. And in place of Beyond Meat’s Beefy Crumbles, we used refried beans. We also didn’t let it sit overnight since the tortillas were soft and didn’t need to absorb the liquid like the lasagna noodles do.

We cooked it covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes and uncovered for another 20 minutes and that seemed to work fine. It would be great topped with some vegan shredded cheese, but we wanted it to be an oil-free recipe so we skipped it and just added a little extra salsa when we dished it out.

Serve it with some diced tomatoes, avocado or a small side salad. Maybe even some extra refried beans. This is a great recipe to feed to friends and family. They won’t know it’s vegan.

Vegan Mexican Lasagna Cooking Video


Cauliflower Potato Soup

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.


Ginger Vinaigrette Beets

Ginger Vinaigrette Beets

Ginger Vinaigrette Beets PinWe finally bought a pressure cooker! And this delicious Ginger Vinaigrette Beets recipe was our first creation!

Pressure cookers are great way to reduce the time it takes to cook beans and dense vegetables. Since we eat lots of both, we decided to break down and fork over the dough to buy one. So far, so good.

This recipe was in the manual that came with our Presto pressure cooker (we couldn’t find an Instapot) and it didn’t disappoint. Although, we love beets in just about any form, so we may be a little biased.

The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of sugar. Yikes! We rarely add sugar to recipes, but we decided to add 1 tbsp just in case the vinaigrette was too sour. Personally, I think it would taste fine without any added sugar since the beets are already very sweet. Depending on your taste preferences, you may want more sugar because it is pretty tangy.

These Ginger Vinaigrette Beets would go well diced on your Hearty Side Salad or your Spinach Salad, or as a standalone side dish with your Broccoli Mushroom Stir Fry or Baked Tempeh and Broccoli.


Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad

Spinach Salad PinThis Spinach Salad is one of our mainstays. With only 48 calories per serving, it’s a low calorie delicious nutritious powerhouse side salad!

Spinach is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, calcium and folate. It may also help prevent cancer and heart disease, making it one of the most important dark leafy greens you can eat. We try to eat it several times per week, if not every day.

Making a delicious salad like this takes time. That’s why we make enough for 6 servings, eat 2 servings and store the other 4 servings for up to 3 days in a sealable container in the fridge.

We do this with all of our salads to save time. Just be sure to add the vinegar or other liquid toppings when you serve the salad to prevent it from becoming soggy.

We use this recipe as a simple side salad, but we also like to jazz it up with some garbanzo beans, walnuts, pecans, sesame seeds, diced avocado, shaved carrots, celery, dried cranberries or whatever else we have on hand. These ingredients add a lot of extra calories and protein, making them ideal for turning this side salad into a main course.

This salad pairs well with some Broccoli Soup or Celery and Potato Soup for a healthy, low calorie, filling lunch.


Broccoli Mushroom Stir Fry

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.