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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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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5 Minute Tofu Cabbage Roll-Ups

This recipe is another one of my more idea recipes than an actual step by step one. I end up making these a lot actually either for a snack or dinner when I am in a pinch. I generally go for the spicy route but you can use whatever seasonings you desire. Get creative with your marinade or make it easy for yourself and use a store bought sauce such as teriyaki or BBQ. I also like to place my filling in cabbage leaves but feel free to use taco shells or wraps!

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Ingredients:
Tofu
Marinade: I used 1 tablespoon siracha, ¼ teaspoon each of chili powder, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder, ½ tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste with salt and pepper to taste
Cabbage leaves
Salsa/pico de gallo/vinegar based slaw
Optional: additional vegetables, seeds or herbs for topping

Directions:
Mix together marinade ingredients into a bowl. Once fully whisked, crumble tofu into the bowl with the marinade. Toss to coat and let sit for at least 10 minutes in the fridge. For added crispiness, you can add almond flour or an other flour of choice into the mixture for a more “breaded” texture.
Spray a sauté pan with coconut oil and once heated, place marinated tofu into the pan. Using a wooden spoon, continuously mix around the tofu so it does not stick to the pan. You want the tofu to brown and become crispy.
Once complete, remove tofu from pan and place desired amount in lettuce cups. Top with sauce and veggies of choice.

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Served with salmon wrapped asparagus and garlic toast topped with bruschetta

Vegan Cheezy Tofu Topped Eggplant

With eggplant’s peak season coming into full swing, I thought it was the perfect time to post a recipe using one of summer’s best vegetables. Whenever I am at the market, I always make sure to pick out an eggplant with firm and glossy skin. I also make sure that it seems a bit heavy for it’s size and then I know ift is going to be a good one!
I came up with this recipe the other night as I wanted something hearty and flavorful, but also healthy and full of protein. Thanks to the tofu and vegan cheese, this recipe is protein packed but also vegan so it won’t weigh you down.
Enjoy the full dish for dinner or just one open sided half as an appetizer.

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Ingredients:
1 eggplant
Oil of choice
½ cup tofu, crumbled
½ cup marinara sauce
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon dried basil
¼ cup sliced mushrooms
2-4 tablespoons shredded cheese of choice (vegan, nutritional yeast, parmesan, mozzarella, etc.)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: fresh basil or parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Rinse Eggplant and cut off top and bottom and then slice in half, lengthwise.
Score inside of eggplant sides to create checkerboard pattern. Either brush insides of eggplant with olive oil or use cooking spray and season with salt and pepper.
Place eggplant halves cut side down on a baking tray and place in oven for 35-40 minutes until tender.
When eggplant halves have about 5 minutes more to cook, begin to saute mushrooms. Once beginning to brown add in tofu and spices and stir. Finally, add in marinara.
Remove eggplants from oven and flip over.
Serve each eggplant half with half of the tofu mushroom mixture.
Optionally top with fresh herbs.

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Cauliflower Alfredo

The problem with so many creamy fattening foods is that they are so darn delicious. You can go to the store and buy many “light” alternatives, but while these options may be lower in calories, they are often sky high in chemical additives and strange ingredients you can’t pronounce.
So what’s a health and taste conscious person to do? Experiment and make your own recipes of course!
I’ve been using cauliflower a TON lately as a swap for things from rice to oats to mashed potatoes. One night while I was making a cauliflower mash I noticed the creamy texture you can get from pureeing cauliflower and thought, wow this could make an awesome sauce!
This recipe is super simple and you can adjust it to your own tastes with additional seasonings like cayenne, or a more buttery flavor with a tablespoon of butter or olive oil. With a vegan option and 2 ginormous servings for 60 calories, it’s an all around win.

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Serves heaping ½ cup servings or 4 heaping ¼ cup servings

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups raw cauliflower florets (160g)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2-4 tablespoons grated parmesan or nutritional yeast (to desired cheesy taste)
1 cup unsweetened cashew milk
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
Place all ingredients into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Cover the mixture and let it simmer for around 15 minutes until cauliflower is completely soft.
Using a blender or food processor, blend the mixture until smooth.

Serve on top of pasta, zucchini noodles, veggies, or just about anything! Maybe not ice cream though…

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Spiced Cauliflower Tomato Soup

Soup is the best thing in the cold months. Even out here in California, temperatures are dropping and I love warming up a nice cup of soup when I come home.
To really get full though, I like thick or chunky soups and this recipe certainly does not disappoint.
This soup is super tasty, ultra thick and under 60 calories per cup. Oh it’s vegan, gluten free (duh) and 3.5 grams of fiber!

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Makes 5 1 cup Servings

Ingredients:
1 large white onion
3 cloves garlic
4 cups cauliflower
1 small hot chili pepper
3 cups organic vegetable broth (add more for thinner soup)
¾ -1 cup diced no salt added tomatoes
½ teaspoon each oregano, thyme and black pepper
¼ teaspoon cumin
Salt to taste

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Directions:
Cut onion into smaller pieces and mince garlic cloves.
Spray the bottom of a large pot with olive oil over medium heat. Place onions and garlic in the pot. Stir occasionally until onions soften.
Cut chili pepper and place it into pot along with cauliflower. I used frozen cauliflower but fresh works well too.
Stir around until cauliflower softens (around 5 minutes).
Add in vegetable broth and tomatoes, stir, and turn up heat and wait until soup comes to a boil.
Once at a boil, turn flame down to a simmer, cover pot, and let cook for 25-30 minutes.
After the 25-30 minutes are up, add in spices. Taste mixture to see if you would like to adjust your spices.
Using an immersion blender or a regular blender, blend the entire soup and then you’re done!
Note- this freezes well so feel free to keep out what you will eat within a few days and freeze the rest in an airtight container!

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Tomato Veggie Sauce

Whenever I go on vacation I do my best to use whatever I have left in my fridge as to not waste. Some things I will freeze, bake, or dry to preserve them for longer, or I will get creative and make some recipes!
I decided to use up my extra veggies to make an onion tomato sauce that I tossed with zucchini noodles for dinner the night and then I places what I had left of the sauce in the feezer to use for a later time. This is the recipe I created with what I had on hand but feel free to improvise with whatever you have!

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Ingredients:
2 garlic cloves, minced
⅓ large white onion
1 ½ cups grape tomates
3 large celery stalks
⅓ cup parsley
1 cup vegetable stock
½ teaspoon dried rosemary
¼ teaspoon each chili powder, black pepper and dried oregano
⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

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Directions:
Spray a medium to large sized pot with olive oil and saute the garlic with the onion until translucent. Add in the grape tomatoes and celery stalks and cook while occasionally stirring until celery is softened and tomatoes are blistered.
Add in 1 cup of vegetable stock and bring mixture to boil.
Add in parsley and cover pot and reduce flame to a simmer.
Let sauce cook for 25-30 minutes.
Remove lid and either using an immersion or regular blender, blend sauce until it is smooth.
Use as a dip, sauce for pasta or veggies and more!

Low Fat Pesto

Pesto is amazing, but that stuff can be shockingly high in fat and calories. On average, a mere ¼ cup is 230 calories and 21g of fat. This recipe makes a great pesto that is only 14 calories and less than 1 gram of fat per tablespoon, making it only 55 calories and 3.7g of fat for a ¼ cup!
Feel free to play with the quantities below to create a consistency and flavor of your liking. Feel free to add in a tablespoon or two of olive oil and sub the cashews for pine nuts for a more traditional tasting pesto!

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Ingredients:
½ cup vegetable broth
2 garlic cloves
1 cup fresh basil
⅓ cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons cashews

Directions:
Place everything into a blender or food processor and blend until desired consistency is reached.
Add more or less broth depending on how thick/thin you would like your pesto.

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One Pan Tofu Ratatouille

I love eggplant, but it often looks intimidating and I usually turn to more familiar squashes like zucchini or yellow squash. However, when passing it in the store the other day, I felt inspired to purchase a single eggplant and create a new dish.
Eggplant’s peak season is July-October, so while this dish is delicious year round, I always suggest focusing your meals on produce that is in season so it is freshest and often a more environmentally friendly choice.
I have never made ratatouille before, but I knew the gist of the ingredients and the texture of this signature Italian dish. I decided to add in some tofu for an added protein kick, which I added to the pan first to enhance its crispiness. The whole meal was made in about 20 minutes and all in one pan, which my boyfriend who is on perpetual dish duty was certainly grateful for.
This recipe makes two HUGE servings with are each under 200 calories, 23 grams of carbs (7.5 which are fiber) and 12 grams of protein!

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Makes 2 large servings or 6 sides

Ingredients:
1/2 large eggplant, cubed
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh organic spinach
½ container extra firm tofu, cubed (you could use any protein of your choice)
1 cup organic diced tomatoes
¼ teaspoon each dried basil, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, cumin and garlic
3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
Himalayan sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a large sauté pan, heat oil and garlic. Once fragrant, add in tofu to heat. Once tofu is lightly golden brown, add sliced onion and eggplant and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring often until onions are translucent and eggplant is somewhat soft. Add in chopped bell pepper and cook for an additional 5 minutes until heated through.

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Toss in your dark greens and mix. Once greens wilt, add in diced tomatoes and seasoning. Stir together and let mixture simmer for 5-8 minutes.
Top with chopped basil.

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Steamin’ hot!

Poached Pesto Cod

When I want a simple, yet filling dish to cook up for dinner, I often turn to fish. Throwing it on the pan with a side of vegetables is super easy, and with just a few added steps, you can make a dish that looks (and most importantly, tastes) restaurant worthy.
Poaching sounds so daunting, but here you will see it’s actually super easy! It is also a very healthy and delicious way to cook fish since it requires no oil and instead uses indirect heat which results in tender, moist (sorry for any of you who hate that word) fish.
Here I sauteed vegetables to serve as the base for my fish and served the poached fish on top, drizzled with a pesto sauce. Make sure to use a low sodium broth in this recipe though because otherwise the sauce gets super salty when combines with already salty pesto. I recommend using Pacific/ Atlantic line or pot-caught Pacific cod as it is an ocean-friendly seafood choice due to the fact that its populations are well-managed and the fishing gear used is environmentally friendly.

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Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 ⅓ cup sliced mushrooms
⅓ cup sliced onion
2 6 oz cod fillets
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¾ cup low sodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons pesto (try my low fat pesto recipe here!)

Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onions into the pan and stir occasionally for about 2 minutes until onions soften.
Sprinkle both sides of cod with salt and pepper.
Place mushrooms and onions to create an even later in the pan and place the cod on top.
Bump up the heat to high and pour in the broth. Next, cover the pan and cooked for 4-6 more minutes until cod is just cooked through.

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With a slotted spoon, transfer the cod and mushrooms and onions to a large serving plate and cover to keep warm.
Continue to cook the broth over high heat, uncovered for about 5 minutes, until reduced to about ¼ cup. Once reduced, turn off heat and add in the pesto. Pour this finished sauce over your fish and vegetables.

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