Eggplant Tofu Lasagna

We all love lasagna but we definitely don’t all love how it makes us feel afterwards. Filled with dairy and gluten, it is a super heavy meal that is hard to justify eating every day. Thankfully, I’ve created a vegan and gluten friendly version! With four large servings that each pack 9 grams of protein for only 90 calories, you can safely eat the whole dish, no stomachaches required.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 large eggplant
12 oz firm silken tofu
2/3 cup marinara sauce
1 cup spinach
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
6 basil leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2/3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Slice eggplant into roughly 1/4- 1/2 inch slices. I sliced my eggplant into coin shapes but lengthwise would be preferred. Salt eggplant slices on both sides and arrange into a colander in the sink to remove excess water/bitterness for 15 minutes. Rinse salted eggplant slices well and dry thoroughly. Lay a baking sheet on top and place something heavy on top to soak up the excess moisture.

In a food processor combine final 8 ingredients until smooth consistency is achieved. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Oil an 8×8 baking dish and spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. Lay eggplant slices in an even layer on top of the sauce. Top eggplant slices with 1/3 of tofu cheese mixture followed by an even layer of 1/3 cup of spinach and then more marinara. Repeat this process two to three more times until all ingredients are used.

Place entire dish in oven for 20-25 minuts until eggplant is slightly browned and sauce bubbles.

Remove and let cool for at least 5 minutes.

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Miso Acorn Squash

Happy last day of 2016!

Before we end the year I thought I would leave you all with a super quick and healthy recipe. I had never cooked acorn squash and I was very happily surprised with how it turned out! This marinade could be used for any type of squash or pumpkin or really any vegetable for that matter.

If you do not have miso readily stocked in your fridge, I highly suggest you buy some! It has a slew of benefits including:

  • Probiotics. …
  • Improved digestion. …
  • Lowers blood pressure. …
  • Many Nutrients including copper, manganese and vitamin k

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Ingredients:
1 Acorn squash
2 tablespoons miso
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce/liquid aminos
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut squash in 1/4- 1/2 inch slices.

Whisk all ingredients but squash in a large bowl. Place squash slices in the bowl and using hands or tongs toss to coat.

On a parchment or silpat lined backing tray, place squash slices evenly so they do not overlap. Allow slices to bake for 45-60 minutes, flipping half way through until tender to a fork and crispy on the outside.

Optionally sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

Merry Christmas Eve and happy first night of Chanukkah!

The holidays are a great time to enjoy special treats, but not everything that tastes good has to be terrible for you. I baked up these oatmeal cookies a week ago for some skeptical friends and they were shocked at how delicious they were. Both gluten free and vegan, these cookies get their chewy texture from coconut oil and a nice molassesy flavor from coconut sugar. They are also really quick to make and easy to bring along to your next holiday party.

Makes 20 cookies

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/4 cup milk of choice
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons apple sauce
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup coconut or turbinado sugar
2 packets monk fruit/stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

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Directions:
In a small bowl mix up flaxseed, milk, coconut oil and apple sauce into a bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes to gel and create your flax egg. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine all remaining ingredients.

Once the flax mixture has thickened, pour this into the larger bowl of try ingredients and thoroughly combine. Using your hands, form the dough into a large ball in your bowl and place into your freezer for 15 minutes (allowing the coconut oil to re-harden).

When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350 and remove the dough. On a greased or silpat lined cookie sheet, drop heaping tablespoons of dough. Lightly flatten the tops of each of the cookie dough balls and place into the oven for 12-16 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.

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Butternut Squash Soup

I’m back!

It has been a while since I last posted but sometimes life is busy and recently I just haven’t had time to blog. However, I have not stopped cooking and I have plenty of recipes up my sleeve to share with you all!

To start off, I wanted to bring you a seasonal recipe, butternut squash soup! This is a lighter take on the beloved classic that it super easy to make and something all will enjoy.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
1/3 large white onion
1 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced/diced
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2-4 cups vegetable broth
1/2-1 cup non dairy milk (I used cashew)
1 tablespoon butter or olive/coconut oil

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Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut your butternut squash in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds.

Spray each side of the butternut squash with olive or coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place your the squash face side down on your lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until brown and caramelized. Remove squash from the oven and allow to cool, still keeping it face side down.

While the butternut cools, place a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil in a sauté pan and heat to medium heat. Dice 1/3 medium white onion and place into the sauté pan. Once onion softens, place the minced garlic cloves in the pan and allow to sauté with onions for an additional minute. Turn off heat and once slightly cooled, place this onion garlic mixture into your blender.

Now that the butternut is cooled, using a spoon scrape the insides into the blender as well. Begin by adding 2 cups of vegetable stock and a half cup of milk of choice in the blender along with all the spices, maple syrup and tablespoon of butter/oil. Puree the mixture until smooth. To achieve desired thick/thinness optionally add more vegetable broth and or milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy on its own or sprinkle with breadcrumbs or toasted nuts for a heartier dish.

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Sweet Cinnamon Jicama Fries

Have you heard of jicama? It’s a root vegetable with origins in the Mexican peninsula that tastes like a crossbreed between an apple and a potato. It is extremely nutritious, low in calorie and carbohydrates and high in fiber. You can enjoy it raw, in stir fries, baked as faux french fries and more. The skin is extremely tough and fibrous so it must be peeled off, but with its milky sweet flavor and serious crunch, it is extremely versatile.
Instead of a traditional fry recipe, I decided to make a sweet and crunchy snack. Enjoy these cinnamon jicama sticks on their own or dipped in nut butter!

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Ingredients:
1 cup jicama sliced into sticks
2 teaspoons maple syrup
¼- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Pinch of salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F
Peel skin off of jicama and slice into ½ to ¼ inch sized sticks. Whisk syrup and cinnamon in a medium sized bowl and add in jicama sticks. Toss to coat.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat sheet. Place jicama sticks on baking sheet and spread out so they are in one even layer.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.

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Watermelon Mint Sorbet

With watermelon season coming to a close I thought I would give you all a recipe to savor the flavors of summer before it officially ends. I bought some watermelon from my farmer’s market a month ago and knowing I would now be able to finish it all before it got too mushy, I decided to cube and freeze a bunch. When I rediscovered the cubes in some tupperware at the back of my freezer I was very excited to say the least. I’ll certainly be buying some more watermelon at the market this coming weekend to freeze so that I can savor the flavors of summer throughout the Fall with this refreshing mint watermelon sorbet.

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Serves 1-2

Ingredients:
2 cups frozen cubed watermelon
4-5 fresh mint leaves
2-4 tablespoons lemonade
1-3 teaspoons sweetener of choice (agave, honey, coconut sugar just to name a few)

Directions:
Place everything into a blender and begin by adding 1 tablespoon of lemonade. I would suggest adding only a bit of sweetener at this time so you can taste to see your preference.
Blend and add your second tablespoon of lemonade. Scrape mixture down from sides and keep blending. Add lemonde by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached.
Scoop and serve immediately.
May be stored in the freezer but pull out to that for about 10 minutes before serving.

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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Protein Bites

When on the go I always like to carry an arsenal of snacks with me. It is easy to bring along nuts, fruits, etc. but in terms of protein sources, it can be a little trickier. I try to stay away from prepackaged protein bars as they tend to have super funky ingredients, so I decided to set out to create my own fun protein treats!
These pumpkin spice bites are vegan, high in protein, a good source of fiber and super easy to take on the go. They also taste like cookie dough so who wouldn’t want that?! These are perfect as a snack or dessert, and if you eat the entire recipe it’s only ~160 calories.

Ingredients:
1 serving vegan protein powder (I used Earthblends Non GMO Vanilla Pea Protein)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
2-3 teaspoons syrup of choice (I used a pre biotic fiber syrup but agave, honey, maple syrup, etc. all work)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ – ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (can also use just cinnamon or a mixture of cloves, cardamon, etc.)
⅛ teaspoon butter extract, optional, but surprisingly vegan!
½ tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Sweetener to taste

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Directions:
Whisk together the 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water to create a “flax egg”. Place this mixture in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Remove flax mixture from fridge and add in protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract and optional butter extract and sweetener (liquid stevia works great). Stir and then add in 2 teaspoons of syrup and stir entire mixture with a spoon. Depending on how try your mixture is, add in another teaspoon of syrup. Do not lose faith though, and keep mixing! It will take a bit for a thick dough to form. If mixture really is too dry then, add in a teaspoon or two of water, but be wary of adding in additional liquid.
Once dough is fully formed, using your hands create 4-5 balls. Place these fridge and allow them to set up for at least 15 minutes. After this time has elapsed, place about a ½ tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa on a dish and individually roll each ball to coat in the cocoa.
Keep in the fridge for optimal texture, but refrigeration is not necessary.

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Cucumber Hummus Boats

Hummus is a great, high protein vegan spread, but all that health can take a wrong turn when you pair it with a Costco sized bag of pita chips (I am very much singling out my boyfriend here).
For a light snack or app that looks festive, make these simple cucumber hummus boats. They are easy to make and the combo of creamy hummus and crispy crunchy cucumbers is on point. Any type of hummus or really any type of dip/spread will do for that matter. I’ve used sriracha hummus, black bean dip and more and they all work great!

Ingredients:
2 cocktail cucumbers
2 tablespoons hummus of choice
4 cherry tomatoes
1 teaspoon sesame seeds

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Directions:
Slice cucumbers in half and using a small spoon or grapefruit spoon, remove seeds to create a boat like shape.
Scoop a half tablespoon of hummus into each cucumber half and spread evenly.
Slice cherry tomatoes and place on top of hummus.
Sprinkle each cucumber boat with ¼ teaspoon of sesame seeds.

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Cheesecake Popsicles

Even though my OG favorite dessert will always be ice cream, sometimes a more portable and lighter alternative is exactly what I’m craving.
I came up with this recipe after realizing I had perfectly good cottage cheese in the fridge that had an expiration set for the end of the week. Not sure what else I would do with it, I decided to craft a recipe.
Thanks to the cheese-ness of the cottage cheese and creaminess of Greek yogurt, these pops really do have the essence of cheesecake.
These are also the perfect light snack with under 40 calories and 3 grams of carbs, yet almost 7 grams of protein! So have a pop, or 2 or 3!

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Ingredients:
1 cup cottage cheese
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons milk of choice
Sweetener to taste
Optional ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:
Place cottage cheese in a blender and blend u too curds are broken up and consistency is smooth.
Place remaining ingredients in blender, optionally adding more milk if mixture is too thick.
Evenly pour mixture into 6 Popsicle molds.
Freeze 5-6 hours or overnight.

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Garlic Balsamic Mushrooms

One of my favorite items at the Whole Foods salad bar is the balsamic mushrooms. The simple flavor combo gave me the inspiration to make my own super quick mushroom side dish. What’s great about this recipe is it only takes minutes to make but has rich flavor without all the added oil.

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Ingredients:
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ tablespoon Vegetable broth/water
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:
Spray a pan with coconut or olive oil and place minced garlic in the pan. Stir around for a minute to lightly sauté the garlic.
Add in the sliced mushrooms.
Stir the mushrooms around frequently and add in your veggie broth/water so mushrooms begin to sizzle. Allow mushrooms to cook for an additional minute and then drizzle on the balsamic vinegar along with the onion powder and black pepper. Mix around mushrooms thoroughly so they are evenly coated by the balsamic vinegar.
Once mushrooms achieve a browned color with golden edges, they are complete.

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