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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Date Walnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing (Oil Free)

Date Walnut Vinaigrette PinThis oil-free Date Walnut Vinaigrette Salad Dressing recipe is rich and delicious! Most vinaigrettes have oil, but since we’re oil-free plant-based eaters, we used walnuts as the (truly) healthy fat. The dates give it a little sweetness and the balsamic gives it a little tanginess.

Many of the phytonutrients in dark leafy greens and other vegetables are fat soluble, which means you need some healthy fats in your digestive tract at the same time as the veggies to allow your body to extract the most nutrients.

A lot of people still think oil is a healthy fat, but it comes with a lot of extra baggage and lacks all the fiber and many of the beneficial nutrients that come in the whole-food form. Oil is essentially a refined fat that may have some healthy ingredients, but it’s packaged along with several unhealthy ones. It’s far healthier to get your healthy fats from whole foods like nuts, seeds and avocados instead of processed foods like oil.

Date Walnut Vinaigrette

Using 3/4 cup of water in this recipe yields a pretty creamy salad dressing. You can make it even thicker by cutting back to 1/2 cup water, or you can thin it out by using a full cup. It really depends on your own personal preferences.

You can put this delicious Date Walnut Vinaigrette dressing on most of your favorite salads, including our Easy Garden Salad, Spinach Salad or Hearty 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.
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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.

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Lazy Girl Easy Vegan Enchiladas

Easy Vegan Enchiladas PinThis Easy Vegan Enchiladas recipe is fast and easy to make. Why spend time trying to wrap and bake tricky enchiladas when you can do them open-faced?

I love our Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas recipe, but we never have it because it’s such a pain to make. When we first made them for the website, it took us 3 tries to get them to come out good enough to be photographed. And we haven’t made them since!

So I asked Amelia if we could do them a different way that would be easier. After all, it’s the ingredients that taste good; not the shape. I suggested we sauté the filling in our cast iron skillet and then bake it covered in our Vegan Enchilada Sauce, but Amelia’s way was even easier. We served them open-faced on corn tortillas and poured the enchilada sauce over them. Then we topped them with some baked corn tortilla strips.

These “lazy girl” enchiladas, as Amelia calls them, are by far the easiest and fastest way to make delicious enchiladas.

Easy Vegan Enchiladas

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 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.

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Spicy Avocado Sauce

Spicy Avocado Sauce PinWe made this Spicy Avocado Sauce to go with our Cauliflower Tacos w/ Lentils recipe and it was delicious! It’s so rich and creamy. And the jalapeño gives it a little kick, although this is optional if you don’t like spicy things.

This recipe is also great as a dip, sandwich spread or salad dressing. It almost has a ranch dressing flavor. Several important phytonutrients in salads are fat soluble, which means they need to be consumed with a healthy source of fat like nuts, seeds and/or avocados in order for our bodies to effectively extract all the nutrients.

Avocados have been shown to contain a lot of fiber and many beneficial phytonutrients of their own, and the fat found in avocados also helps our bodies get the most bang for our salad buck.

It doesn’t take much fat for our bodies to harness the power of fat soluble veggies, though. You only need about 1/4 of an avocado in your salad OR five walnut halves to get the benefit from the greens, so don’t load up your salad with a lot of nuts, seeds and avocado or the calories and fat will skyrocket. A little is good for you, but a lot is bad for you.

We like our foods spicier than most, and Amelia likes them spicier than me! If you have a bland palette, feel free to skip the jalapeño.

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 Artichokes (Oil-Free)

Easy Vegan Artichokes PinThis Oil-Free Easy Vegan Artichokes recipe is super simple and absolutely delicious. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare the artichokes and another 20 to 30 minutes to steam them so they’re a great snack or appetizer to show off to your dinner guests.

Several years ago, long before we went Whole-Food Plant-Based (WFPB), Amelia tried to make some roasted artichokes but they came out tough as vegan leather. Since they were so expensive back in the states, we decided to not ruin any more perfectly good artichokes that someone else could prepare more successfully.

However, now that we live in Ecuador, the artichokes are much more affordable so I decided to give them another try. These artichokes cost us only 28 cents each! We already went back and bought 4 more after we made this delicious recipe!

The prep work is very easy. Just cut a little off the top and bottom of the artichoke, use a very sharp knife to cut them in half, and then scoop out the hairy fibrous material at the center. Steam them for 20 to 30 minutes until they’re nice and soft, then serve with some fresh squeezed lemon juice over them.

Easy Vegan ArtichokesA lot of people don’t know how to eat artichokes prepared this way, so here’s a quick tutorial. Peel off a leaf, hold the pointy end with your fingers and put the flat end in your mouth. Pull off the soft part at the base of the leaf with your teeth and enjoy. Once you get to the center, it’s all edible and delicious!

You can also scrape out all the good stuff and use it to make artichoke dip, but that would be very time consuming. We usually just by them frozen or canned for dip recipes.

Easy Vegan Artichokes 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.

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