Category Archives: vegan

Lentil Vegetable Soup

Lentils are high in protein, iron, fiber, folate and magnesium(read heart healthy), and they improve digestion so they are something I always have on hand and I try to cook them for the familiy here in there, usually in the form of soups. This is a recipe most of the family likes; like 5/7 of us which is good in my opinion…we have a couple picky eaters who will only eat the allotted 3 bites we ask them to try, but honestly they do that with anything besides burritos or pizza.

Start off with chopping up your veggies: onion, carrot and celery. You don’t need much, just a half cup of each. Then warm your olive oil in a large pot (I use a soup stock pot), and once it’s warm, add your veggies and cook them til they’re tender, about 5 minutes. Add in your garlic, and Italian seasoning, stir for a minute, then add in the lentils, vegetable stock, water and tomatoes. Bring this to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer, uncovered for about an hour. No need to stand right next to it and stir, I just grabbed a book and sat and read, and helped kids with homework til the buzzer rang. Once done, add in the salt, pepper and spinach and stir to combine; the spinach will wilt which is perfect. And that’s it! Easy, healthy and so yummy and warming! Enjoy!

Lentil Vegetable Soup
*serves 8

1 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
1/2 c yellow onion, chopped
1/2 c carrot, chopped
1/2 c celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
2 c dry lentils, rinsed (I used red but any will work)
4 c vegetable stock
4 c cool, filtered water
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c baby spinach, rinsed
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Pour oil into a large soup pot, over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook for about 5 minutes, until tender but not burned. Add garlic, Italian seasoning and cook another minute. Add lentils, vegetable stock, water and tomatoes. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Stir until spinach is wilted and serve.





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Filed under gluten-free, Soups, vegan, vegetarian

Tikka Masala (paneer, chicken or vegan option)

My friend Jaya, who is from India gave me an amazing Tikka Masala recipe! All through dinner my husband and I were going back and forth on how wonderful it was and came closer to the restaurant style Tikka Masala than any other we’ve tried, and we’ve tested quite a few recipes. I was surprised to find out that the sauce didn’t have any dairy! Which is even better as dairy is mucus forming so I try to not do too much, especially in winter months when there seems to be more head colds going around. I deleted one of my other Tikka Masala recipes from this blog as this one is SO much better, but I’m keeping the crock pot Tikka up for now…but if I try this in the crockpot and it works, I may be updating that as well.

Here are your ingredients, and notice I’ve already created the marinade for the paneer (or you could do chicken) and it’s resting while I chop the other veggies.

Here’s a close up of a couple of the spices. I buy mine from Sprouts, but a lot of grocery stores should carry them on their spice/baking aisle, or if you have an Idian grocery store close by, head there because you’ll also find your Indian Green Chile there as well.

In a frying pan over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil. Once it is hot add the chopped onions and cook until translucent about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped green chili, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cook for one minute; this will help release the flavor in the spices and you’ll smell a wonderful aroma. Add the chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cover and let Cook 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill or pan fry the paneer (or chicken). Add any extra marinade to your tomato mixture.

Take this tomato mixture and transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth.


Once blended put the sauce back in your pan on the stove and add water a tablespoon at a time to thin it according to your preference (I usually add 1- 2 tablespoons) once this is simmering add your grilled Paneer and Cook for five more minutes. Serve over brown basmati rice (or whatever rice you like) and garnish with chopped cilantro.


Paneer Tikka Masala (chicken and vegan option)

1 c cubed paneer (or chicken, tofu, chopped veggies, etc)
1/4 c plain yogurt (or could use full fat coconut milk)
1 T chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
pinch of salt
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 T melted coconut oil (or other oil)

For the Sauce:
2 T coconut oil
2 medium white onions (yellow is too sweet)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
3 large Roma tomatoes (romas are better for sauces, more meaty)
1 indian green chile, chopped (these are smaller and thinner than a jalapeno; if you don’t have an Indian market nearby and you can’t find this at a store, I would try doing 1/2 a jalapeno…if it’s not spicy enough, once the sauce is all made, you could add in more)
cilantro for garnish



Marinate the paneer in 1/4 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, half teaspoon garam masala, half of the juice from a lemon, and 1 tablespoon oil and a pinch of salt. Allow it to sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

In a frying pan over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil. Once it is hot add the chopped onions and cook until translucent. Add the chopped green chili, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon garam masala, a pinch of salt and cook for one minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and 1/2 cup water. Cover and let Cook 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill or pan fry the paneer (or chicken). Add any extra marinade to your tomato mixture. Take this tomato mixture and transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth.

Once blended put the sauce back in your pan on the stove and add water a tablespoon at a time to thin it according to your preference (I usually add 1 to 2 tablespoons) once this is simmering add your grilled Paneer and cook for five more minutes. Serve over brown basmati rice (or whatever rice you like) and garnish with chopped cilantro.

*If vegan, you could totally do this without the paneer or the chicken. You could just serve this sauce plain over brown basmati rice or add any of these: firm cubed tofu, cashews, golden raisins, chopped veggies including potatoes, peas, carrots etc

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Filed under Dinner, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian

Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn 


We love peanut butter popcorn and I have another recipe posted on here that we also make all the time but I wanted to share a variation of that recipe that I often use because sometimes I don’t have brown rice syrup on hand, and sometimes I have a big Costco bag of SkinnyPop popcorn (which only has a couple of ingredients, which I love!) and I want to make a fun, yet somewhat healthy, Friday night treat for the kids that I know they’ll love (you could also easily pop 1/2 c kernels as well, which is what we usually do). It’s super quick and easy, you’ll be done in five minutes and have a delicious treat, one in which everyone will keep coming back for more. And look at how few ingredients you need! I love it! (As a side note, you can add a little vanilla extract to this recipe when you add in the peanut butter, but we treat vanilla like gold these days as prices have jumped crazy high, so if it doesn’t make that much difference in a recipe, I tend to leave it out.)


First you’ll want to get out get out a large mixing bowl and either make your 1/2 cup, plain, air popped popcorn, or measure out 10 cups of Original flavored SkinnyPop. Set the popcorn aside.

Next you’ll want to add your coconut sugar and honey to a medium saucepan over medium, to medium-high heat. Stir this mixture together  and once it comes to a soft boil, set your timer for 1 minute and allow it to boil while you’re continuously stirring. Once the timer rings, remove it from the heat and add in your peanut butter and quickly stir until they’re melted together. Immediately pour this peanut butter and honey mixture over your popcorn and stir until everything is combined and evenly coated. And that’s it!


Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn

*makes 10 c

10 c SkinnyPop original popcorn (or 1/2 c kernels popped)

1/2 c coconut sugar

1/2 c honey

1/2 c natural peanut butter (creamy or crunchy; personal preference)

In a large mixing bowl add 10 cups of popcorn. Set aside. In a medium sauce pan, stir together coconut sugar and honey over medium  to medium high heat. When it comes to a soft boil, allow it to boil for one minute while stirring continuously.  Remove from heat, immediately add peanut butter and stir until combined and melted together. Immediatley pour over popcorn and stir to combine. Enjoy!


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Filed under Desserts, gluten-free, vegan

Wild Rice Salad


All the kids are back in school! My elementary kids started back Monday and our 8th grade daugther started back today which means the house is super quiet! There are definitely pros and cons to that, but as it’s our first day, I’m going to be honest and say that it’s very nice :). But it’ll only be that way for a few hours each morning as our youngest is in AM kindergarten this year. This will ease me into an all-day quiet home for next year :).  I hope you all had an enjoyable summer, I know we sure did and I soaked up all the time together with all five kids. On top of camps and family vacations (WA to see my family), we did a sort of homeschool type schedule in the morning where we studied, cleaned, exercised, practiced instruments etc and were usually done around 1pm so they had several hours in the afternoons to play and swim and explore. This schedule meant that I was even more busy than most summers as I did a lot of supervising and tutoring during the day and once play time rolled around I wanted to play with them, so I did! And now we’re back!

There were a couple of recipes that I’ve made lots over the summer that I realized were not posted here on this blog, so I am going to share one of them with you today: Wild Rice Salad. I found this recipe in the cook book Run Fast. Eat Slow.  and lightly adapted it. It is packed with nutrition with it’s kale, radishes, green onions, wild rice and edamame (soy beans), and the homemade creamy dressing (creamy from the tahini) pairs perfectly with this salad. I usually serve this along side a dinner entree, like Italian or American, though I personally always end up eating this as the main entree, while the rest of my family has it as a side. And the leftovers are just as good, if not better, from marinading all night. My husband is not normally a kale fan but I think with the homemade dressing and the kale being finely chopped, he doesn’t mind it at all. In fact whenever I make it he mentions how much he likes this salad, and he takes the leftovers to work! Here are the ingredients for the apple cide vinaigrette dressing:

Sometimes I slice my radishes and then cut them in half, and sometimes I cut them in quarters or dice them even smaller. Any way you like is fine.

Typically I grate my carrots into the salad with my potato peeler because I like how thin you can get them, but you could also slice them with a knife if you like  them to be a little thicker. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Wild Rice Salad- lightly adapted from Run Fast. Eat Slow.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette Dressing:
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp minced onion (or 1 tsp onion powder/dried onion)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste/butter)

Combine all ingredients in a mason jar with a lid and shake vigorously for a few seconds. (Can be used immediately or keep in fridge for up to a week so it can be made in advance.)

For the salad:
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 c wild rice, rinsed
Apple cider vinaigrette dressing (above)
6 radishes, diced
3 c loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
3 carrots, grated
6 green onions, sliced
1 c edamame, cooked and shelled
salt and pepper, to taste

Bring 4 cups of water and the salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the rice and reduce the heat, cover and simmer until the rice is soft and chewy, about 35 minutes. Drain the rice, tranfer to a large salad bowl and immediately toss with half the dressing. Allow the rice to cool in fridge while you cut up veggies. Add them to your rice and toss until combined. Add more dressing and salt and pepper to taste. Let the salad marinate in the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to serving. This is also great the next day as leftovers. If you don’t use all the dressing(I usually have some leftover), you can save it in the fridge to use on other salads during the week.


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Filed under Salads, vegan, vegetarian

Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad

I can eat quinoa in so many ways, I throw it in stir frys, chili’s, in place of brown rice, but my husband doesn’t love quinoa, and will always go for the brown rice instead of quinoa. But this recipe is an exception. I think all the mexican foods, kale and the lime juice, masked the flavor and texture.He told me twice during dinner that he really liked this salad, and the next morning he had it for breakfast with some scrambled eggs on the side! If you’re looking for a good way to use this superfood, that contains all 9 essential amino acids, give this one a try!


Mexican Kale Quinoa Salad
Serves 6-8

1 c dry quinoa
1 1/2 c water
1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
3 c loosely packed, finely chopped kale, stems removed
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (include seeds if you like spice)
1/2  red onion, chopped (if you don’t love onion, try soaking in cold water for 10 min, drain then add to salad)
1/2 c chopped cilantro leaves
1 1/2 c cooked black beans (or a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1/3 c lime juice (about 3 limes)
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c Feta cheese, crumbled (chopped olives work too)
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 c toasted pepitas (toast on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for about 5-8 minutes)

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water, quinoa and 1/4 tsp salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until water has been absorbed. Transfer to a large salad bowl and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool. Once cool, add the kale, bell pepper, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, back beans, lime juice, oil, Feta cheese and remaining 1/4 tsp sea salt to the quinoa and toss to combine. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Just before serving, top with the avocado slices and pepitas.


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Filed under Dinner, gluten-free, Lunch, Salads, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan, vegetarian

Quick Veggie Stir Fry

I love stir fry! I often eat them for lunch and I love that I can take whatever random leftover veggies I need to use from my fridge, throw them into a pan with some already cooked brown rice, a little sauce and some cashews and I have a healthy, yummy meal in very little time! I make brown rice in my rice cooker about once a week and make enough that I’ll have some leftover for this very reason. Another way to make this meal even faster is to chop up your veggies before hand and just have them ready in your fridge. Usually when I make dinner, if a recipe calls for part of a pepper/onion/broccoli etc, I will just cut up the whole thing which saves time later because I don’t have to get my cutting board and knife out again and wash them etc.

This is the sauce I use when I make this quick stir fry recipe (I also have a recipe for a sauce I make from scratch that I’ll share another time). I either use the coconut aminos or the teriyaki flavored coconut aminos, both taste great, and you could also use soy sauce or braggs liquid aminos.


Here’s a picture of another stir fry I made with some fresh pineapple I had on hand. I love that you can play around and add in whatever you like. Sometimes I’ll throw in a 1/2 cup of quinoa too.


Veggie Stir Fry

1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 white or yellow onion, sliced
1 bell pepper, sliced
1 small package sliced mushrooms (white or cremini)
1/2 c raw cashews
optional: tofu, tempeh, broccoli, carrots, pineapple
1/4 c coconut aminos  (could use braggs liquid aminos or soy sauce)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 c cooked brown rice

Melt coconut oil in a wok over medium/high heat. Add vegetables and allow to cook until softened and onions are translucent, adding 1 Tbsp water at a time, if necessary, to prevent sticking and burning about 3-5 minutes. Add cashews, coconut aminos, pepper flakes and brown rice and stir to combine. Turn heat to low and allow to cook for 2 more minutes. Serve immediately.


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Filed under Dinner, vegan, vegetarian

Berry Crumble

I have no excuse for the ‘no-post’ last week except that I didn’t plan ahead, meaning we had guests in town for a week, then my kids were off of school the next week for Spring break which was the week of the missed post, and since I knew I wouldn’t get around to it with them around, I should’ve written the post awhile back, but I did not. So I apologize. But that’s not to say that this won’t ever happen again, because it probably will some day, but I will try to let them be few and far between. Alright, let’s move on!

Last week was my 34th birthday and my sweet husband (and bff) made me a dessert he thought I’d like but boy was he wrong…I LOVED it! He knew I’d like it because of the ingredients: no dairy, no refined sugar but still sweet with a crumble topping and just amazing! And really, you can’t go wrong when there’s a crumble topping. He doubled the crumble topping from the original recipe because he knows me :). This is our modified recipe with the doubled crumble topping. Finish it off with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or in my case, coconut milk vanilla ‘ice cream’ or coconut milk whipped topping. I hope you enjoy!

Berry Crumble
serves 6-8

4 c sliced strawberries (frozen or fresh)
2 c blueberries (frozen or fresh)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp corn starch or tapioca starch
1 1/2 c rolled oats
3/4 c almond flour or almond meal
1 c chopped raw walnuts or pecans
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp sea salt
2/3 c pure maple syrup
1/2 c coconut oil, melted
Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (I use coconut milk ‘ice cream’ instead of dairy)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and adjust rack to center of oven. Get out a 12 inch  cast iron skillet(or 9×13 pan) and set aside. In a large bowl, toss together the strawberries, blueberries, lemon juice and corn starch. Spread the mixture in the skillet or 9×13; no need to grease. In the same bowl, whisk together the oats, almond flour or meal, nuts, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Add the maple syrup and oil and stir until combined. Spread the oat topping evenly over the berry mixture. Place in the center of the oven. Bake until the topping is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling, 25-30 minutes(closer to 30  if using frozen fruit). Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


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Filed under Desserts, gluten-free, vegan

Maca Date Shake

This is a great shake for anyone, but especially athletes as it contains dates (many runners and bikers eat dates on their long runs), and Maca Powder which is considered a Superfood because it not only has a positive effect on hormones, but also increases energy levels and stamina. Health benefits aside, I love this shake! It’s almost like having a milk shake. It’s important to enjoy the foods we eat. I love when the shakes about done, but there are some tiny bits and pieces of the dates that have sunk to the bottom. They’re sweet and chewy.


And a word of advice on the dates. I buy mine at Costco in the produce section, as that’s where I find them for the best price, and unless used within a week or so, should be stored in the fridge, but I will take out the 4 I need for this recipe the morning of, put them in a baggie and let them sit out for a couple of hours until I’m ready to make my shake, because my blender has an easier time blending them up when they’re at room temperature. And I have a high power blender.



Maca Date Shake
serves 1

1 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 c dates (about 4 medjool dates, at room temperature or 1/4 c of the chopped dates in oat flour)
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/2 tsp vanilla(I only use this about half of the time…great either way)
1 tsp maca powder
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c ice

Optional: 1/2 frozen açaí packet (only use 1/2 c ice if you use this option…also, açaí will change the color and make it look more chocolatey) 

Place in high power blender, milk first, and blend until smooth.

*Maca Powder: of the cruciferous family (like broccoli), and is considered a Super Food. Grown in the mountains of South America, Maca has a positive effect on hormone balance, energy levels, and is a health booster.


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Filed under drink, gluten-free, Smoothies, vegan

Powdered Peanut Butter & Banana Protein Shake

For those of you who follow me on instagram(elisa_realfoodsmom), you’ll recognize this recipe from a post I did last week.


I found this powdered peanut butter on sale at Sprouts and picked it up when I saw there were only three ingredients and no refined sugar (peanuts, salt and coconut sugar, which is unrefined).


Since then we’ve made multiple batches of peanut butter and banana protein shakes! You could also sub the powdered stuff for all natural peanut butter, 1:1 ratio (if you’re watching calories though, the powdered is the way to go).



Powdered Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Shake
*Makes about 14 oz

10oz unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp powdered peanut butter
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like sunwarrior vegan mix)
1/2 frozen banana
4 ice cubes

Blend until smooth. Makes about 14 oz!


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Filed under Breakfast, Smoothies, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Acai Protein Shake

My macro counting didn’t last very long, and actually, I don’t think I ever hit the protein amount they suggested :). I recently read some research about how too much animal protein in our diet (including dairy, whey etc), spikes the insulin, which reminded me of T. Colin Campbell’s research from his book The China Study, also talking about how we should only be consuming smaller amounts of animal protein to prevent sickness and disease…I should pick that book up again as it’s been too many years. I highly recommend it. Anyhow, I am still counting calories because I love food so much, even whole healthy foods, that I tend to eat more than my body needs, so I’m trying to reign that in a little :). For now I’m trying to eat like the French people(“French kids eat everything” is another great read), with 3 meals a day and one snack. Counting calories helps me to stay within those boundaries. I don’t feel like I’m super hungry all the time because I’m not, I’m getting a good amount of food and of the right kinds of foods, a lot of plants, but I don’t ever really feel stuffed either, which is also good because being stuffed is not good for our stomach.  I have  four more weeks to go with my calorie counting goal, and then I’m hoping I will have established some good healthy habits that I will  continue to keep.

I’ve been finding that my late afternoon snack is often times some sort of a vegan protein shake or some veggies, fruit and hummus.  I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different protein shake recipes and this Acai and chia shake is a good one that’s full of so many nutrients, including omega 3 fats from the chia seeds.

Start by pouring your almond milk into your blender, add the chia seeds and then let it sit for a few minutes (they will swell and get ‘jelly’) while you pull out your remaining ingredients. Add everything else and blend until smooth. You can use a few stevia drops to sweeten or a little stevia powder.





Acai Protein Shake
*makes 20 oz

2 c unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder (or another vanilla, but I love this vegan mix)
1/2 Acai Smoothie packet (could sub another smoothie packet like pitaya)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 drops liquid stevia

Pour milk into blender and add chia seeds. Allow to soak for a few minutes and in the meantime get out the remaining ingredients. Add the protein powder, acai, cinnamon and stevia and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

253 calories; 10 g fat, 20 g carbs, 21 g protein


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Filed under Smoothies, vegan