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

DSCN5810.jpg

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.

DSCN5826.jpg

Advertisements

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

DSCN5500

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.

DSCN5496

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!

DSCN5540

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.

DSCN5552

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!

IMG_1831

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.

IMG_1832

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.

IMG_0550

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.

DSCN5397

Berry Protein Smoothie

Smoothies are popular for a reason. They’re quick to make, easy to consume, and can be full of nutrients. Unfortunately, too often when you buy a smoothie on the go, they are laden with sugar and other questionable ingredients. You’re best bet then is to make your own! Not only will you know what is actually going into your drink, but you’ll also save money and it is so darn easy.
This is my basic smoothie drink when I am on the go and want a fruity drink with a kick of protein. My boyfriend asks me to make this very smoothie practically every day so it’s certainly only for everyone to enjoy.

Ingredients:
1 heaping cup of frozen mixed berries
cup plain greek yogurt
½ – 1 cup milk of choice
Splash of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup (could also use stevia, honey, agave, etc.)

DSCN5046

Directions:
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend!
Add more or less milk to achieve desired thickness.

DSCN5053

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!

DSCN5009

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.

DSCN4995
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.

DSCN5003

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.

DSCN5044

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.

DSCN5024
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.

DSCN5045

Quinoa Almond Salad

Every week on Sunday I like to make a large jar of grains to use throughout the week. I don’t really like to meal prep because I like to be inspired by what looks good at the farmer’s market or grocery store and I can’t anticipate what I will be craving a few days in advance. However, I have found that making a grain in bulk before the week picks up really cuts down on my dinner prep time and adding a few simple ingredients keeps the monotony at bay.
I generally like to rotate between lentils, brown rice, wild rice, or in this case, quinoa. Switching it up each week means I don’t get bored of the same old grain.DSCN4778
For this recipe I added a few ingredients and was pretty surprised at how gourmet it tasted! While the rosemary olive oil is optional, it really adds to the unique depth of flavor in this dish. I received this olive oil and red wine vinegar from a friend and it comes from a vineyard in Napa Valley that has amazing wine as well as oil and vinegar. You can even sign up for wine or their “Food Lover’s Club” to get these delivered.
Though I ate my creation as a side dish, it would be great as a base for a quinoa bowl or served on a bed of greens as a salad.DSCN4793

Serves 1

Ingredients:
½ cup cooked quinoa
½ tablespoon sliced almonds
1 ½ teaspoons rosemary olive oil, I used Round Pond (regular olive oil is OK)
1 ½ – 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

DSCN4801

Directions:
Put everything but sliced almonds in a bowl and mix. Add in sliced almonds and stir to incorporate. It’s that easy!

Lentil Tomato Mash

In an attempt to recover a batch of somewhat mushy lentils, I came up with this yummy and hearty side dish. With 13g of protein and 8g of fiber per serving in this trio lentil blend I purchased from Costco, you could easily make this dish as a main course served over some sauteed veggies or brown rice.
Now this dish certainly doesn’t look the prettiest so maybe not something for when you’re trying to impress guests at a dinner party, but it’s hearty, healthy and tastes darn good.

DSCN4776

Ingredients:
1 ¼ cup cooked lentils
1 cup crushed no salt added tomatoes
½ large white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons braggs liquid aminos/soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

DSCN4774

Directions:
Dice a ½ of a large white onion with 2 minced cloves of garlic and a bit of olive oil for a few minutes. Add in 1 cup of crushed tomatoes and 1 ¼ cup cooked lentils and stir around until heated through.
Sprinkle on paprika, chili powder, oregano, braggs liquid aminos/soy sauce and salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.