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Vegan Stuffed Eggplant

This vegan stuffed eggplant is roasted in the oven so the veggies get caramelized and delicious!

vegan stuffed eggplant

Sometimes when I make a vegan dinner, I brace myself for complaints from my diners. When I say my “diners” I mean my family. And when I say complaints I mean I get grunts and groans because there’s no “real food” and “not enough protein.” This is B.S. But, I aim to please, so I’ve been working on more filling and “meatier” vegan recipes. This vegan stuffed eggplant is a crowd pleaser.

When I made this recipe last week, I knew the time was right because Steve had just come home from a guys trip and I know when he comes home from one of these trips, he feels like he needs to clean up his act and eat healthy. So, call me a chicken, but I waited for this time to test out this recipe on him. It worked like a charm. He loved it so much that he even took some of the leftovers with him for lunch the next day. In my book, that’s a big win!

I am not a big fan of meat substitutes. I just don’t appreciate faux foods, I guess. I see lots of recipes that look awesome using faux meat products, but I’d almost always rather eat my meals without them. And, I don’t like to eat a lot of soy, so I shy away from tofu.

I do, however, love eggplant. Eggplant, when cooked well, is as satisfying as meat.

This eggplant dish is filling, delicious, healing, and fills the need for “meat” that my non-vegan eaters look for. And I hid some semi-spicy peppers in the mix, so there are some delicious surprises inside.

In Chinese medicine, we use eggplant to help reduce inflammation, lessen pain, and smooth your digestion. What a delicious way to heal…

The filling here is made with lots of tomatoes and peppers and onions and it is amazing. The stuffed eggplant roasts in the oven and the tomatoes get caramelized and sweet. I melted some vegan mozzarella on some of these vegan stuffed eggplant and I left some plain. Melting the cheese really took them up a level… OMG this is so good!

For another crowd-pleasing eggplant recipe, try my Paleo Eggplant Meatballs.

vegan stuffed eggplantvegan stuffed eggplant

Here are some of the healing ingredients in this vegan stuffed eggplant recipe:

In eastern medicine, eggplant is added to the diet when there is pain in the body because it’s great for relieving pain and reducing swelling. It’s especially good to eat eggplant when you are experiencing some nasty digestive issues. It relieves stomach pain, helps with dysentery, diarrhea, and painful urinary conditions. Eggplant has also been used topically to treat frostbite and canker sores… talk about a multi-tasking vegetable…

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. In the winter, I eat lots and lots of onions… I guess I should feel sorry for the people close to me! During cold and flu season, I recommend onions to everyone, and in lots of ways and forms; they actually can rid the body of bacteria.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.

vegan stuffed eggplant

Vegan Stuffed Eggplant
Author: 
Recipe type: eggplant, main dish, vegetables, vegan, paleo, vegetarian
Cuisine: recipe inspired by: The Iron You
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is a vegan main dish that even meat eaters will love. It gets roasted in the oven, so the veggies get caramelized and sweet... it's so good!
Ingredients
  • 4 slender eggplants
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more from brushing the pan
  • 1 med onion, chopped
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1-1/2 cups baby spinach, torn into pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed
  • ¼ cup jarred sliced pepperonci or banana peppers
  • 2 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • dried hot red pepper flakes, to taste
  • vegan mozzarella cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Slice the eggplants lengthwise until they are almost sliced all the way through, but not all the way through.
  3. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt onto each half of eggplant, then place them in a colander and let them sit for 30 minutes (this helps remove some of the water and bitterness from the eggplant).
  4. Place the eggplants, partially opened, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and then place them in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbs oil.
  6. Add the onion, tomatoes, spinach, garlic, peppers, and tomato paste to the skillet and sauté, stirring until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 mins. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Stir in the coconut sugar and red pepper flakes.
  8. Open the eggplants so they are butterflied, and place them in a baking dish.
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  10. Spoon the filling evenly into the eggplant.
  11. Roast in the oven for 45 mins. (If using vegan cheese, slice some up and tuck it into the eggplants when there is about 10 mins of cooking time remaining.)

vegan stuffed eggplant

White Bean And Kale Soup

This healing White Bean And Kale Soup is light and comforting at the same time… it’s so delicious!

white bean and kale soup

It’s the middle of the week and that means it’s about time for me to make a big pot of soup. On Sundays and Mondays, oftentimes I feel like creating more complex dishes. You know the kind… the ones that have separate sauces and lots of different components. The one’s that make your kitchen look like a bomb dropped on it. But, come mid-week, I’m all about the one-pot meal. And today, it’s a soup kind of day.

I find all soup comforting. Maybe it’s because it’s served in a bowl. Or maybe it’s because I love the great aroma of all of the things cooking together in one big pot. Or, maybe it’s because I love hot food. I guess it really doesn’t matter why… but it’s a good thing.

And, I’m a firm believer that soup is not just for winter.

I live in the city now, and if you would have told me before I moved here that I would be eating soup year round, I’d have thought you were crazy. I mean, the city in the summer can be really HOT. But, at our house in the burbs where we often kept our windows and doors open to feel the summer breeze, eating soup was a great thing to do as the night cooled down.  Moving into the city though has caused me to pump up the AC way more than I’m used to, so soup season extends here too — sometimes it’s freakin’ cold in here even in the summer!.

But, adapt we must… so the AC cranks up as soon as it gets warm. And, soup season seems continue on much more naturally because sometimes it’s really freakin cold in here… even in the summer.  Haha… how times change.

So, about this particular soup. It really is comforting. And it’s healing. And it’s one of those soups that lets you actually feel the energy seeping into your body as you eat it. Really, you can.

The white beans get a great creamy texture as they cook down. And then to make the soup even creamier, I blended up a little of it and stirred it back into the rest. The fresh rosemary gives it a really awesome herby taste and well, you are just going to love it.

I love to put raw Chinese herbs into my soups while they are cooking. And, depending on what my body needs at the time, I choose my herbs accordingly. This is a totally optional step, and doesn’t effect the recipe at all, but I’d love to help you learn to do this too — because infusing your soup with herbs is just awesome. I put some energy/qi-building herbs in this pot of white bean and kale soup and oh my… it’s like magic.

I have made this soup many times. I’ve seen so many different versions of this soup on so many different blogs that it makes me switch up the recipe a little bit each time I make it but I’ve never been disappointed. This time, as I was about to fire up the stove, I saw yet another recipe for it on one of my favorite blogs: The First Mess. It looked so good, that I had to change up my recipe yet again and implement some new components. I have to give a big thank you to Laura because this is the best version of white bean and kale soup yet!

Another great soup recipe you will love is my Cauliflower Chickpea Soup.

white bean and kale soupwhite bean and kale soup

Here’s some of the great healing ingredients in this white bean and kale soup:

Kale is everywhere these days. It is extremely nutritious, and because it to so popular you can find it already washed and prepared in lots of markets. Make sure you clean the kale leaves thoroughly and remove the center thick stems if they bother you (I don’t like to eat these think stems). This dark leafy green is a great source of fiber and calcium. It’s also rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium. One serving contains 200% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C and 180% of Vitamin A.

White beans are good at boosting energy and calming the mind. They can help improve your memory and can lower cholesterol. And, they are a great source of protein.

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

Celery actually helps stop bleeding — so if you or anyone you know has just had surgery, start adding celery to your dishes! Celery is also great to help lower blood pressure and it’s been known to help with insomnia.

Carrots help strengthen the organs in your body. They also are good for the eyes (this is their claim to fame) and they promote healthy digestion. Many moons ago, people used to make carrot tea to ward off measles and to prevent cancer. Carrots help detoxify the body and in today’s world of Chinese medicine, they are prescribed to ease constipation and tonsillitis.

Rosemary is great for your digestion, your heart, and your libido. It also can help boost your energy.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Also, whenever I cook anything with some liquid, I like to add some Chinese herbs for whatever conditions I feel need help at the time. One of my favorites is Huang Qi (Astragalus). It is great for an over-all strengthening of the body and it’s energy. So, when I set this pot to simmer, I added some raw Huang Qi and let it infuse into the soup.

white bean and kale soup

White Bean And Kale Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: soup, vegan, vegetarian
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: The First Mess
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This soup is like energy in a bowl. In a delicious and creamy form. Yum!
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely minced
  • 2 15-oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 bunch Lacinto (black) kale, thick center ribs removed and discarded, leaves chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • dried red pepper flakes, to taste
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 stick Huang Qi/Astragalus (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, and celery.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring until the veggies soften a bit, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, rosemary, beans, and broth.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Ladle ⅔ of the contents of the pot into a blender and blend until smooth, then stir this smooth mixture back into the pot with the rest.
  7. Stir in the kale.
  8. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  10. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  11. Enjoy!

white bean and kale soup

Paleo Meatloaf

Sometimes you just need a comforting paleo meatloaf… and oh how good the leftovers are…

paleo meatloaf

I’m a pretty fickle foodie. One month I’m all gung-ho vegan and then another month I’m all about the meat. This month I’m a little bit vegan and a little bit meat-y. But, I am almost always a Paleo eater. I learned many years ago that my body feels best without grains and without dairy. But, if I eat grass-fed organic meat, I’m also good. So, believe you me, I love to take advantage of those facts.

This meatloaf came to be last week when I was craving meat. I didn’t even realize it at the time, but all week long I was making recipes out of various types of ground meat. It’s making me laugh now when I think back on Steve’s face when I put a different variety of meatballs in front of him several meals in a row. Then, I moved on to meatloaf. Which I happen to love.

Truth be told, I love meatloaf, but nobody else in my house does. So, that means there’s a boat-load of leftover meatloaf in my fridge each time I make it. Have you ever made a leftover meatloaf wrap for lunch… OMG it’s sooooo good. And this time, I even made a bolognese sauce out of a few slices. Then, I made a sweet potato hash with meatloaf chunks one day. I don’t know why, but my family will eat all of these reconstituted meatloaf recipes, but they back away from the fresh thing. Go figure.

I’ve probably made hundreds of different types of meatloaf over the years. I figured it was about time I made a traditional meatloaf that was also paleo-friendly.

Take my word for it, you are not going to miss the bread in this meatloaf. And your gut will thank you. Oh, and your tastebuds will be pretty happy too…

This meatloaf has no grains and no dairy. It’s made with homemade ketchup, but you can buy a jar of paleo ketchup if you’d prefer to use that. I hid some hemp seeds in the loaf for some extra nutrition and I ground up some zucchini for a little added moisture. I think the next time I make it, I may even try to substitute some mushrooms for the zucchini and see how that tastes.

Bottom line: even if your family says no to meatloaf — like my crazy crew — make this anyway, because you will love it, and the leftovers are amazing!

If you like this recipe for paleo meatloaf, you will also love my recipe for Paleo Cheese-Stuffed Meatballs!

paleo meatloafpaleo meatloaf

Here are some of the awesome healing powers of this paleo meatloaf:

Beef is good for a lot of ailments. It’s good for edema/swelling in the body, it helps many people with their weak back and knees and, believe it or not, it’s good for that bloated, distended feeling we sometimes get in our stomachs. In the olden days, beef was stewed for hours so that the liquid could be sipped to combat chronic diarrhea. I use grass-fed beef whenever possible.

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

Parsley has been shown to reduce tumors in the lungs and to neutralize the effects of carcinogens, including cigarette smoke. It is high in vitamins A and C, and is good for your heart. This herb is also a natural breath freshener. So, if you have a chance to use more than a few sprigs as a garnish, go for it.

Hemp seeds are a superfood. They are high in protein, easily digestible, and contain a full complement of amino acids. They contain disease-fighting phytonutrients that are good for your blood, immune system, tissues and skin. Hemp contains a specific fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. It also helps balance hormones, making it a great choice to fight the symptoms of PMS. This super seed is also good for your liver and your brain.

Zucchini cools your body off and makes you feel better during those hot days of summer. It helps your body release excess heat and it will make your mind feel more calm.

In eastern medicine, nuts are known to be good for your brain, heart, skin and reproductive system. Almonds are particularly nutritious. They are a good source of protein and they give you energy. And, they are gluten-free. Almonds will help relieve a cough and asthma and are also good for constipation. This recipe uses almond flour.

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

paleo meatloaf

Paleo Meatloaf
Author: 
Recipe type: paleo, whole30
Cuisine: meatloaf, comfort food
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This meatloaf is comfort food to the max. It's got everything you need and want and it makes for the best leftovers ever!
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • 1 small zucchini, grated and squeezed as dry as possible
  • ⅓ cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 Tbs ketchup
  • ⅓ cup minced fresh parsley
  • ⅓ cup hemp seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Line a 9x5-in. loaf pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the onion and some salt and pepper.
  5. Cook, stirring, until the onions begin to soften, then add the garlic and stir for an additional 30 seconds.
  6. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, squeezed grated zucchini, almond flour, eggs, ketchup, parsley, and hemp seeds, and cooked onion mixture.
  7. Get in there with your hands, and mush it up until combined.
  8. Put the meat mixture into your lined loaf pan and spread it out evenly.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes, then spread the ketchup on the top and bake for an additional 40 minutes, or until its' cooked through.
  10. Remove from oven and let cook slightly.
  11. Slice and enjoy.
  12. Store the leftovers in the fridge and make lots of great stuff with it all week!

paleo meatloaf

Baked Eggplant Chickpea Skillet

I was craving veggies, but also comfort food… so I made this baked eggplant chickpea skillet for dinner. It’s like a cross between eggplant parm and a Moroccan chickpea stew and it hits all the right spots!
baked eggplant chickpea skillet

I’m not sure why, but every time I see a food described as a “skillet” I think it must be awesome. I’m a sucker for any type of breakfast skillet on any menu anywhere. So, when I have the chance to actually describe one of my dishes as a skillet, you can be sure I’m going to go for it. So, here’s my baked eggplant chickpea skillet.

People always ask me: “What are you?” in terms of my diet. I’m not sure what to answer anymore except that “I’m whatever is good for me at the time.” Last week I was on a meat kick and I made a huge meatloaf and a chicken curry dish and the biggest piece of salmon you’ve ever seen. The best part was that this big protein-fest made for the best leftovers ever. But now, I still have some left in the fridge, and I really can’t even look at it anymore. I mean, there’s only so many times I can eat the same thing no matter how many creative ways I re-invent it. And some of the ingredients I used aren’t dog friendly… ugh. Note to self: scale down on the number of servings!

Last night was my niece’s engagement party. It was soooo nice. A few of us wanted to eat a light dinner beforehand so we wouldn’t pig out on all of the enticing appetizers. I opened the fridge, looked in, saw all of the same food, and I just couldn’t do it. I so wished I had already made this baked eggplant chickpea skillet so that we could sit there with a bunch of forks and dig into that skillet! (By the way, the Poke bowls we ended up ordering in were so good!)

This week I’m feelin’ the veggies and I want to cook some vegan dishes, and even though I wished this food had been ready to eat last night, I’m happy it’s here today! This dish is healthy, clean, and comforting all at the same time. The first time I made this dish it was because I had seen a recipe for an eggplant and chickpea casserole from The New York Times and I just had to make a version of it.

Did you know that in Chinese medicine we use chickpeas to elevate the mood? Haha, I know that’s a pretty random thought here, but I just think it’s so awesome… And, this dish did make me happy…

It’s not quite prime farmers market season yet here in New York, so when I shopped for this dish I went to Whole Foods. They had more different types of eggplant than I’ve ever seen in one place. And they were so pretty. It took me awhile to choose which ones I wanted but I ended up choosing some long thin, light purple Japanese eggplants because there are no bitter seeds and the skin is really thin and not too noticeable. If you have a picky eggplant eater, I highly recommend this variety.

But… ooh, the white and neon purple striped eggplants… oh my! They are just so pretty. I’ll have to try those next time…

If you are a skillet freak like I am, you should also try my recipe for Vegan Skillet Zucchini Parmesan.

baked eggplant chickpea skilletbaked eggplant chickpea skillet

Here are some of the awesome things this baked eggplant chickpea skillet can do for you:

In eastern medicine, eggplant is added to the diet when there is pain in the body because it’s great for relieving pain and reducing swelling. It’s especially good to eat eggplant when you are experiencing some nasty digestive issues. It relieves stomach pain, helps with dysentery, diarrhea, and painful urinary conditions. Eggplant has also been used topically to treat frostbite and canker sores… talk about a multi-tasking vegetable…

In Chinese medicine, we use tomatoes to aid in digestion and to help detoxify the body. They are also good to combat excess cholesterol, lessen inflammation and curb asthma. Tomatoes can also quench thirst, and they can help fight some kidney infections.

Chickpeas actually help calm the spirit. They relieve anxiety and soothe irritability… it kind of makes you realize why hummus is so popular…

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. In the winter, I eat lots and lots of onions… I guess I should feel sorry for the people close to me! Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.

baked eggplant chickpea skilletbaked eggplant chickpea skillet

Baked Eggplant Chickpea Skillet
Author: 
Recipe type: stew, skillet, vegan, Moroccan, paleo
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: The New York Times
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This dish is warming, comforting, healing, and it's vegan. The sauce is slightly Moroccan in flavor and it compliments the eggplant so well. And it comes in a skillet!
Ingredients
  • 3 medium, thin, Japanese eggplant, sliced in half vertically, then sliced horizontally into ¼- to ½- inch thick half moons
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the eggplant
  • For sauce:
  • 1 medium onion, cut in ½, then sliced thin
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 28-oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste (I love this one -- it comes in a jar!)
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar (here's an organic one)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (here's a good brand)
  • additional basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  3. Brush the foil with some oil.
  4. Lay the eggplant out on the oiled foil. Brush the eggplant with more oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  5. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15 mins.
  6. Remove the tray from the oven, fold up the foil around the eggplant, crimping all sides so that the eggplant is completely enclosed, and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
  8. Meanwhile, make the sauce:
  9. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium heat. (If you don't have an ovenproof skillet, use a regular one and then before you put it in the oven, transfer everything to a baking dish.)
  10. Add the onion to the skillet, and saute until it begins to soften, about 3 mins.
  11. Add the crushed garlic, and saute, stirring, 30 seconds.
  12. Add the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  13. Season with salt and pepper.
  14. Add all the remaining sauce ingredients, except the chickpeas, stir to combine, and simmer, uncovered, 15 mins.
  15. Stir in the chickpeas and the eggplant.
  16. Place the skillet in the oven and cook, uncovered, for 50 mins.
  17. Remove the wilted basil leaves, if you want (I actually like to eat them) and replace them with fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional).

baked eggplant chickpea skillet

Paleo Pasta Carbonara

I just had to have a big bowl of pasta today… so I made this awesome Paleo Pasta Carbonara. And I ate way too much of it…

paleo pasta carbonara

I really did eat way too much. But, if I’m being honest, I can’t remember the last time I was dainty and restrained when there was a big bowl of steaming pasta in front of me. Ever since I found some grain-free pastas that I love, that actually taste and feel like real pasta, I’ve been creating these awesome pasta dishes whenever I want something fast and delicious.

Pasta carbonara is Italian comfort food at its best. It’s pasta with bacon and eggs… sooooo good! I remember this dish from when I was a child — the creamy sauce, the crispy, salty bacon, and of course, the perfectly cooked al dente pasta. This recipe recreates all of those amazing tastes and has all of the feels of that traditional dish.

And, by the way, by using grain-free pasta and whole eggs you are really putting your body in peak healing mode. For example, here’s why everyone loves eggs and you should too.

It’s important to remember (and I really do have to keep reminding myself…) that these paleo pastas are often protein based so there’s no need to eat such a huge amount. In fact, it’s better not to eat so much. I mean, when you are eating a pasta made out of beans or chick peas, you really feel better not eating the entire package. If I would just give myself a chance to digest before I shoveled this whole beautiful bowl of mouth watering paleo pasta carbonara into my gaping mouth, then my brain and my stomach would realize that I am satisfied after eating only a normal size portion. Ugh… when will I learn?

One of my all-time favorite things to do is to take a traditional comfort food and tweak it so that it meets my nutritional needs and becomes a healing meal. Yeah, I know, this doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing to a lot of you, but this really is what floats my boat. This recipe is healing, it’s dairy-free, it’s grain-free, and it’s delicious. Oh, and you can easily make this vegetarian (I’ve done this many times when I’m in a veggie phase) by using mushrooms or coconut bacon or vegan sausage in place of the pancetta.

I’m on a really big customized-recipe-creation kick right now… let me customize a recipe for you that will work for whatever’s going on in your body now… I’m such a geek that I really do get excited about doing this. I’ve got a soup with your name on it…  So CLICK HEREto be taken directly into my calendar to sign up for your free phone consultation.

I also get tremendous joy from creating a healthy recipe that my family actually loves. Because, let’s face it, my son, who is a great cook, doesn’t always go for what he terms my “voodoo foods”. So, last week when he Face-Timed me and he made paleo pasta carbonara, I was so happy. And, if it’s good enough for a 20-something Taco Bell lover, then it’s good enough for everyone — even the picky eaters in your family.

And, here’s my new FREE ebook for you:

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When you decide you love paleo pastas as much as I do, you should also try my recipe for Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta.

paleo pasta carbonarapaleo pasta carbonara

Here are some of the awesome healing ingredients in this recipe for paleo pasta carbonara:

Chickpeas actually help calm the spirit. They relieve anxiety and soothe irritability… it kind of makes you realize why hummus is so popular… I used a chickpea penne for this recipe and it was awesome!

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

I am a big proponent of eating the whole egg. So many of the nutrients and the taste are in the yolk; I’ll never understand separating nature’s perfect food. Eggs help with many types of dryness in the body. If you have a dry cough or a frog-in-your-throat, try eating some eggs. They have also been shown to help women with various conditions during and after pregnancy. Some people consider eggs to be a superfood. They contain a large amount of vitamins A and B and are a great source of protein. Eggs sometimes get a bad rap because of cholesterol, but it’s been shown that in 70% of people, eggs do not raise cholesterol, so don’t assume they are bad for you. Buy organic eggs and you are really doing the right thing.

Green peas are good for the digestion, especially if you are feeling constipated. In the olden days, people used to drink pea juice with their meals to avoid indigestion.

paleo pasta carbonara

Paleo Pasta Carbonara
Author: 
Recipe type: paleo, comfort food, grain-free, dairy-free
Cuisine: pasta, Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
If you love pasta as much as I do, then you have to try this healing paleo pasta carbonara. This is so comforting, really easy to make, and it's so delicious that even picky eaters love it.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. diced pancetta
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 8 oz grain-free pasta (I used this chickpea pasta)
  • ⅓ cup shredded vegan Parmesan cheese
  • ½ lb green peas
  • black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta, al dente. Save about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before you drain it.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet and add the pancetta.
  3. Stir in the shallot and garlic.
  4. Saute, stirring, until the pancetta starts to get a bit crispy.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and white wine.
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the pancetta.
  7. Stir in the egg mixture, Parmesan, and green peas.
  8. Add as much of the reserved pasta cooking liquid as you need to make the sauce the consistency that you like.
  9. Season with black pepper.
  10. Enjoy!

paleo pasta carbonara

Vegetable Noodle Lo Mein

vegetable noodle lo mein

I think vegetable noodles — of all kinds — are the new kale. Remember last year when kale was everywhere and in everything in every form? This year it’s veggie noodles. There are sweet potato noodles, zucchini noodles, squash noodles, beet noodles, carrot noodles and every other type of vegetable noodles you can imagine. To me, this is a great development. I can’t even look at a pasta recipe without mentally replacing the pasta with some type of veggie noodle or faux pasta. And I LOVE pasta… so my grain-free self is very happy. And, this vegetable noodle lo mein is the perfect recipe to try out your favorite type of veggie noodle. You can even mix it up and use a few different kinds here.

Confession time. My all-time favorite thing to do when I’m home alone for dinner is to order way too much Chinese food, sit on the floor, and eat it in front of the TV. I don’t mean I order a few too many containers. I mean I surround myself with a ton of white containers. I dig in with chopsticks — plates are forbidden — and I chow down.

And then I feel disgusting.

And bloated.

And a little sick.

But, wow, do the noodles and egg foo young taste so good going down…

But only on those rare occasions when I forget how sick I get from it, do I allow myself take-out Chinese food.

But — and this is a big but — I can cook myself Chinese food whenever I want, and feel just fine. And, let me just say, that this vegetable noodle lo mein tastes better than take-out. And there’s no bloating or nausea or self-loathing afterwards. Okay… so now I’m just being dramatic… I don’t think I’ve ever hated myself because I ate something I shouldn’t have… haha.

Anyway, I have to thank Michele at Paleo Running Momma for posting her awesome recipe for this type of lo mein, because her’s looked and sounded so amazing, that I just had to make it too!

When I am in full recipe creation mode, I peruse lots and lots of sources — yes this is how I get my jollies… Anyway, here’s a more traditional lo mein recipe from Jen Reviews.  I find that some of my clients  like to look at a traditional recipe, and then healthy-it-up a bit for their specific needs. If this is you, go for it, and don’t be shy about asking me any questions in the comments below.

And, if you want to try another great vegetable noodle recipe, try my Zoodles With Creamy Avocado Pesto.

vegetable noodle lo meinvegetable noodle lo mein

Here are some of the great healing ingredients in this vegetable noodle lo mein:

Butternut squash is more than just a delicious vegetable; it’s really good for you. It’s a good fever reducer, it can lessen stomach pain and it can be a comfort during pregnancy when the baby feels like she’s doing acrobatics. It’s also rich in carotenoids and Vitamin B6. This means it’s good for your heart and can help lower bad cholesterol. And, because butternut squash can help reduce inflammation in the body, it benefits almost everyone. I used some butternut squash noodles in this lo mein.

Pork strengthens the digestive system, helps with constipation, and can moisten a dry cough and other dryness in the body. It’s also good to strengthen your qi and give you energy.

I love mushrooms. In Chinese medicine, mushrooms ARE medicine. They are herbs. They are one of the most healing foods around. In China, mushrooms have been used for many years as part of a natural cancer treatment. They are one of the best immune-boosting foods around. I used shiitakes in this recipe. Shiitake mushrooms are probably the variety of mushroom that I use most. I love the way they taste and they help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. These shrooms also promote healing and have been found to fight tumors. In Asia, shiitake mushrooms are often fed to a patient who has just had surgery to help the healing process.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Scallions, as I tell you often, are one of my favorites. In Chinese medicine, the root of the scallion is a healing herb (Cong Bai). I always keep scallions on hand in my refrigerator so that I can whip up a batch of cold and flu fighting tea (scallion roots and ginger) the second anyone feels that scratchy throat coming on. It helps the body sweat out toxins. Scallions are antiviral and antibacterial; they are good for the common cold and general nasal congestion — just don’t eat too many if you have a fever.

Ginger is also a Chinese herb (Sheng Jiang). It’s especially good during cold weather and also during seasonal changes. So, when winter is trying to turn into spring, and we (those of us on the east coast) get some of those cold, raw, damp days, ginger will make you feel better and will help boost your immune system. Ginger is also great for some digestive issues. Old folklore shows that ginger was rubbed on scalps to stop baldness. And, in some circles, a ginger paste is still rubbed on arthritic joints to stop pain (don’t try this at home unless you are diagnosed with a cold-condition by an acupuncturist).

In Eastern medicine, bok choy is used to quench thirst, aid digestion, prevent constipation and treat diabetes. It is rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate and fiber. And there are only 20 calories in one cup of Bok Choy. So, it’s good for you, it’s easy to prepare, and it tastes good.

In Chinese medicine, lamb is known to be the most warming meat. We recommend it for a lot of ailments caused by cold conditions. It’s great for some arthritic conditions, weakness, and back pain. Lamb also helps with insufficient lactation and impotence. I happened to have some leftover cooked lamb (from a doggie-bag in my fridge), so I cut it up and added it here. Feel free to add whatever you have in your fridge!

Coconut Aminos is used as a substitute for soy sauce. This simple ingredient is vegan, gluten-free, and it’s good for your heart, aids in weight loss, and helps strengthen your immune system.

vegetable noodle lo mein

Vegetable Noodle Lo Mein
Author: 
Recipe type: Asian, Chinese, paleo, whole30, vegetable noodles
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: Paleo Running Momma
Serves: 6
 
The next time you are in the mood for Chinese take-out, try this recipe. It tastes better than any take-out, it's grain-free, healing, and you will love it!
Ingredients
  • For Pork:
  • 2 boneless pork chops, sliced thin
  • 1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs raw apple cider vinegar (I buy this one)
  • 1 Tbs coconut aminos
  • 6 oz butternut squash noodles
  • 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • ½ lb cooked lamb steak, sliced thin (optional -- you can use whatever leftovers are floating around in your fridge)
  • 3.5 oz shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 heads baby bok choy, sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
  • 6 scallions, sliced
  • a big fistful of spiralized carrots (or any other vegetable noodle you like)
  • 4 oz pea pods
  • ½ lb fettuccine (I used a grain-free almond fettuccine), cooked al dente
  • For Sauce:
  • ⅔ cup coconut aminos (you can buy this one)
  • ¼ cup toasted sesame oil (here's one)
  • 2 tsp tapioca flour (I like this kind)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine the sesame oil, vinegar, and aminos in a small dish. Add the pork and set aside to marinate.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the squash noodles out on it.
  4. Drizzle these noodles with 1-Tbs olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
  5. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until they are just a bit softened, but not mushy.
  6. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over high heat and add 1-Tbs olive oil.
  7. Remove the pork from the marinade and it it to the pan and stir until browned on all sides -- this will be fast.
  8. With a slotted spoon, remove the pork to a plate.
  9. Make the sauce by whisking all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  10. To the pan, add the mushrooms, bell pepper, bok choy, garlic, ginger, carrots, scallions, and pea pods. Stir continuously until the veggies are softened a bit, but not overcooked. Stir in the sauce and continue stirring until it's hot and a bit thickened.
  11. Stir in the butternut squash noodles, lamb (or any other cooked leftover meat you are using), and the cooked and drained fettuccine into the veggies. Stir over low heat just until everything is warm.
  12. Enjoy!

vegetable noodle lo mein

Baked Lemon Cod

I used to cook fish all of the time. I knew the fish monger by name, and we had an understanding — he let me smell the fish before I bought it, he always told me which variety was the freshest, and I in turn would tell him great ways to cook the different types of seafood. Then I moved. Ugh. Now I don’t make my beloved fish recipes as much anymore because I haven’t developed a relationship like that yet. When I do buy fish, I make it as simple as possible (because sometimes the more complex recipes make my apartment smell like fish a tad too much…) and I’m finding that sometimes I end up loving these new simple recipe creations as much as I used to love my old recipes. This recipe for Baked Lemon Cod is really simple and it’s a winner!

You would think since I now live in the heart of New York City, that I’d be able to find awesome fish… well, not so much… The prices are ridiculously high and the quality is ridiculously low. But, I finally found a place that will let me smell the fish. If you’ve never taken this approach before, I urge you to try it. And no, you don’t look like a crazy person in the store; you look like a chef. If the fish smells fishy, it’s not fresh. If you are looking at a whole fish, look at the eyes — if they are cloudy, it’s not fresh.

There’s nothing worse that getting home from the market, getting all of your ingredients ready, cooking your fish, and then, when you take that first bite… it’s… well, fishy… or slimy… or just old tasting. Funny, I never had this problem when I lived in the suburbs, but life’s full of new experiences and this is a new one for me. So, I will continue to smell and inspect the fish!

Anyway, let me get back on track. This Baked Lemon Cod is delicious. And, it’s simple. There’s no sautéing involved. There’s no flipping of delicate fish. There’s no complicated sauce. But it is truly delicious. I plan on going back to some of my old more involved fish recipes now that I feel like I can, but I will definitely be keeping this simple baked lemon cod in the rotation.

This would be a good recipe to cook for a crowd because all you need is a big sheet pan. Awesome!

So, if you are looking for a simple fish recipe, try this one. If you love it as much as I do you can add it to your weekly menu too.

And, if you want another simple fish recipe, try my Lemon Pesto Fish Fillets.

baked lemon codbaked lemon cod

Here are some of the healing ingredients in this Baked Lemon Cod recipe:

Fish is great to eat if you feel like you need more energy. It’s also helps with diarrhea and hemorrhoids. I used cod for this recipe, but any firm fleshed sturdy white fish would work great. Cod, like many fish varieties, is good for the cardiovascular system; it helps protect against heart attacks and strokes and helps regulate blood pressure.

Lemon peels contain calcium, potassium and vitamin C. Lemons are good for your stomach, they help detoxify your body, they balance your pH and they act as an antibacterial. If you have a sore throat or a cough, go for lemons to make things better. Lemons are great for quenching your thirst, and, in China, many years ago, hypertension was treated by drinking tea made from lemon peels. This recipe uses zested lemon peel and lemon juice.

Oregano is a powerful antioxidant and it is great at fighting bacteria. It’s also known as an herb that brings joy and happiness to people. I even use oregano essential oil and I put a drop in our smoothies or water when anyone has a cold… it works great (but be really careful and read all instructions with your oregano oil — if used improperly, it can burn you!)

Tapioca is a starch that comes from the cassava plant. It’s not really a flour in the traditional sense; it’s grain and gluten free. It’s good for your circulation and your digestion. Oftentimes I will make recipes (like this one) with tapioca flour — it works as a great substitute in a lot of recipes that would otherwise include flour or another thickener.

baked lemon cod

3.0 from 1 reviews
Baked Lemon Cod
Author: 
Recipe type: fish, cod, baked, simple
Cuisine: American, seafood, paleo, Whole30
Serves: 4
 
Here's an easy fish recipe for you! This is healthy, delicious, and is easy to make for a crowd.
Ingredients
  • 1-1/3 lb cod fillet, cut into 4 pieces
  • sea salt and black pepper, to season fish
  • 2 Tbs organic, grass-fed butter, melted, plus more as needed
  • Juice of 3 lemons, plus more as needed
  • 5 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • ⅓ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 20 grinds black pepper
  • ¼ tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano, minced, or ¼ tsp dried
  • zest of 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Season the fish with salt and pepper.
  3. Combine the butter, oil, garlic, and lemon juice in a shallow dish.
  4. Combine the tapioca flour, ½ tsp salt, and rest of spices/herbs in another shallow dish.
  5. Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, coating evenly on all sides, then the lemon juice mixture, and then the flour mixture again.
  6. Lay the fish out on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, making sure the fillets are not touching each other.
  7. Place the tray in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.
  8. Heat the remaining lemon juice mixture in a small pot over low heat and let it simmer for a few minutes, until hot. NOTE: if you find you need more liquid for sauce, squeeze more lemon juice into the pan and add a little more butter and/or olive oil.
  9. Remove the fish from the oven, drizzle a little lemon sauce on top and sprinkle with lemon zest.
  10. Enjoy!

baked lemon cod

Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Apple Salad

shaved brussels sprouts & apple salad

Shaved Brussels sprouts are awesome. I’ve been using them for everything. My true favorite thing to make with them is Caesar salad. Yes, it sounds weird, but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. I like to mix these shaved sprouts with kale or Romaine lettuce, slather them in my fav Caesar dressing and I’m a happy camper. This recipe for shaved Brussels sprouts & apple salad is a kicked-up version of my traditional Caesar recipe. I say kicked up because it also has apples and bacon in it. Really, what could be bad?

Obviously this recipe is not vegan, because…. well… umm… I’ve used bacon in it. But, I can honestly tell you that I’ve eaten this so many times, in so many ways, and there is so bad version. You can leave out the bacon or use a vegan bacon or a smoky mushroom to easily veganize this salad.

Oh, and I use my favorite Caesar dressing recipe — which just happens to be vegan — so really you can go full out vegan pretty easily if that’s your thing. My thing changes so often and obviously I’m a mess of contradictions because this version of shaved Brussels sprouts & apple salad with the bacon with my vegan cashew Caesar dressing is my favorite way to eat it so far!

I’m kind of a freak about leftover salad. I love almost anything straight out of the fridge as a leftover. Except salad. I just hate it when it goes all wet and limp. Enter this salad… it’s even better leftover the next day. The Brussels sprouts stand up so well to the creamy dressing that there is no grossness involved. This makes it perfect to make for a crowd because you can make it way in advance. This is just awesomely easy and convenient.

I served this salad as a main course with sliced chicken on the top and it was fabulous. I also ate it as-is alongside a roasted sweet potato for an awesome dinner. Versatility. Ya gotta love it!

And, if you’re looking for another great salad recipe that makes for good leftovers, try my Chopped Broccoli Salad.

shaved brussels sprouts & apple saladshaved brussels sprouts & apple salad

Here are some of the great healing benefits of this Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Apple Salad:

Brussels sprouts are from the same cruciferous vegetable family as cabbage, broccoli and kale. They are rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They are touted for their aid in weight loss because they have so much fiber and so few calories. Research has shown that these sprouts contain colon-cancer fighting substances and vitamins to protect against Alzheimer’s. Traditionally, they are known as more of a winter vegetable, but many markets now carry them year-round, which makes me happy because I like to eat them year-round!

It really is true that an apple a day is a good thing. Apples help to strengthen your heart. They are also good for your digestion and they can help eliminate mucus when you have a cold. Apples have a high antioxidant content, especially Granny Smiths and Red Delicious. This, combined with the fact that they have a lot of healthy fiber, is why apples are good at fighting Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and some cancers. They have also been shown to help ward off diabetes, high cholesterol and gallstones.

Research shows that pumpkin seeds may reduce blood sugar and increase bone density. And, because they are rich in iron, they are good if you are tired or have anemia. In Asian medicine, pumpkin seeds are sometimes used to get rid of intestinal parasites and to decrease inflammation in the body.

Cashews are really a multi-tasking nut. I use them all the time so I say it all the time: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated and is made up of oleic acid; this is the same acid that is found in olive oil, making these nuts a heart-healty choice. The cashews give this dressing a velvety, creamy texture.

Capers, although small in size, are a big source of anti-oxidants, and they actually can make you feel better emotionally because they activate the “happiness” center of your brain.

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

shaved brussels sprouts & apple salad

Shaved Brussels Sprouts & Apple Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: salad, side dish, vegetables
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
This is a creamy Caesar salad that's made with hearty shaved Brussels sprouts and apples... oh there's optional bacon in it too! This is one salad that is even better the next day!
Ingredients
  • 12 oz shaved Brussels sprouts (you can buy these store-bought at many markets, or shave your own by slicing them really thin)
  • ⅓ cup chopped, cooked bacon
  • ⅓ cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, sliced (discard the core)
  • One batch of my Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Mix all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Add as much dressing as you like, and toss well.
  3. Enjoy!

shaved brussels sprouts & apple salad

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

vegan spinach artichoke dip

Spinach artichoke dip is one of those weird things that almost everybody seems to love. I say weird, because even people who don’t love veggies or think they hate artichokes or spinach, seem to dive into a bowl of spinach artichoke dip whenever it’s around. This vegan spinach artichoke dip is no exception. I had people diving into this dip the second it was plopped down on my coffee table.

My kids used to order this dip (the cheesy original version) every time we went to a restaurant that had it. It always came out steaming hot and creamy and it smelled so good! It’s one of those things that I could never eat because of all the dairy. Well, this vegan version finally gives me my turn!

This dip is warm and creamy. It may be vegan, but it tastes so similar to the cheese-laden original, that nobody will know.

I loved this dip with sliced radishes and cucumbers and peppers, but the not-so-health conscious eaters in my crowd scooped up mounds of this dip with chips and pita.

It’s that time of year when we are post-Thanksgiving but pre-Xmas and Hannukah and New Years. So, we all try to eat as healthy as we can for the next few weeks. Right? I mean if we can do okay now, then we can really let loose that last week of the year. So, if this is your plan, slip this vegan spinach artichoke dip into your apps rotation during football games, basketball games, happy hours, whatever… because it sure helps when you are eating something that tastes sinful, but really isn’t.

Okay, enuf selling of this dip. Haha, you’d think I was getting a commission on it or something… but I’m not… I just want you to be happy from healthy food. Wow, that sounds pretty corny, huh?

Anyway, happy everything!

I want to thank Sina at Vegan Heaven for the original recipe for this dish.

Oh, and if you are looking for another healthy dip to try, take a look at my recipe for Beet Hummus.

This is Steve, with that look on his face saying this bowl is all for him and nobody better come near him… haha.. vegan spinach artichoke dipvegan spinach artichoke dip

Here are some of the awesome healing ingredients in this delicious vegan spinach artichoke dip:

White beans are good at boosting energy and calming the mind. They can help improve your memory and can lower cholesterol. And, they are a great source of protein.

It is true that spinach contains iron, but it’s this vegetable’s lesser-known qualities that really hold my admiration. Spinach contains a substance that helps eliminate prostate cancer. It’s also great for your bones and also for memory loss. Diabetic patients may find that eating spinach helps combat excessive thirst and can even be good for night blindness. Spinach can inhibit the body’s ability to absorb calcium, so calcium-rich foods should be avoided when eating this leafy green.

Artichokes are a good source of vitamins C and K and they also contain a healthy amount of magnesium. The are low in fat and calories but they do have some fiber, so they are a healthy choice. In Chinese medicine, we recommend adding artichokes to the diet to combat sadness, headaches, indigestion, and diarrhea. In olden times, steamed artichokes were sometimes prescribed to combat a yeast infection.

Cashews are really a multi-tasking nut. I use them all the time so I say it all the time: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated and is made up of oleic acid; this is the same acid that is found in olive oil, making these nuts a heart-healty choice.

Nutritional yeast gives things a cheese-y taste without using any dairy and it adds amino acids and Vitamin B, iron, zinc, and selenium to your diet. Nutritional yeast is a complete protein and also contains fiber, so it’s a really good thing!

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Onions are great for your immune system; they are a natural antihistamine. In the winter, I eat lots and lots of onions… I guess I should feel sorry for the people close to me! Recently, I recommended that a patient with bronchitis put sliced raw onions in her socks when she went to sleep… she woke up so much better; they actually can rid the body of bacteria. (I know I’ve told you this before, but it really is awesome!) Onion is a superhero in the food world!

vegan spinach artichoke dip

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: appetizer, dip, vegan, vegetarian
Cuisine: recipe adapted from: Vegan Heaven
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
This is one of those dips that people just keep eating and eating and nobody knows it's vegan. It's really creamy and delicious... and easy to make! Great for a crowd!
Ingredients
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • sea salt, to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 oz fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained, roughly chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the lemon juice,cashews, beans and nutritional yeast, and water in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Heat oil in a large pan and add the onion.
  4. Saute until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.
  6. Add the spinach, and stir until completely wilted, about 1 or 2 minutes.
  7. Stir in the artichokes.
  8. Stir in the cashew mixture.
  9. Season with salt.
  10. Spoon into a bowl and serve warm with crackers, chips, or fresh veggies.
  11. Enjoy!

vegan spinach artichoke dip

Creamy Vegan Baked Pumpkin Pasta

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

It’s pumpkin season! I know everyone gets so excited to go out and grab their pumpkin lattes, but not me. Don’t get me wrong — I love all things pumpkin too, but give me pumpkin comfort foods and I am the happiest ever. And this creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta blows your favorite pumpkin latte out of the water.

I never met a pasta I didn’t like. Especially a creamy pasta. Add in the fact that this is a hot and comfy baked pasta dish with a great crumb-topping, and you’ve got me drooling. So, when I saw a recipe for a baked pumpkin pasta by the amazing and inspiring Candice Kumai, I had to go for it.

What’s better than eating a delicious dinner with pumpkin in it while looking outside at the beautiful fall foliage? Nothing! Come on, look outside. Watch the leaves blowing around, smell the smells of fireplaces, open the windows and feel the slight chill in the air. Come on, do it. I live in the middle of the city, and I still open my windows and experience the wonder that is fall. Now, if I could figure out what kind of music to play while I’m cooking up all of this pumpkiny goodness… You know, winter is Christmas music in my kitchen. Summer is beachy music. But what’s fall? Hmmm… I’m open to suggestions…

I’ve made many pumpkin pasta dishes. Some of them end up looking like macaroni and cheese. Nothing wrong with that look… But, I’ve made the mistake of calling them something like pumpkin mac & cheese. This is a mistake, because it almost always disappoints the person I’m feeding, because while pumpkin pasta may look like mac and cheese, it doesn’t taste like it. But, pumpkin pasta is awesome. Especially this one… it’s creamy and pumpkiny and decadent tasting. I make mine with grain-free pasta and it is spectacular. I guess you get the point. I really think you should make this creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta.

For another delicious creamy vegan pasta dish, try my recipe for Creamy Mint Avocado Pasta.

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pastacreamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

Look at some of the healing ingredients in this awesome creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta dish:

Pumpkin can help reduce pain and fever and can soothe stomach irritations. It’s a great food to treat constipation, allergies and asthma. It’s high in vitamin A and can help protect your lungs and intestines from cancer.

n Asian medicine, we use coconut to strengthen the body, reduce swelling, and stop bleeding. Coconut kills viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It’s good for all types of infections and viruses in the body, including the flu, bronchitis, tapeworms, urinary tract infections, and herpes. And perhaps most importantly, it helps you keep your mind sharp and it makes it easier for you to focus. I like to use full-fat canned coconut milk for this pasta.

Kale is everywhere these days. It is extremely nutritious, and because it to so popular you can find it already washed and prepared in lots of markets. Make sure you clean the kale leaves thoroughly and remove the center thick stems if they bother you (I don’t like to eat these think stems). This dark leafy green is a great source of fiber and calcium. It’s also rich in many minerals, including magnesium, iron and potassium. One serving contains 200% of the daily requirements of Vitamin C and 180% of Vitamin A.

Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric. I only used a little bit of turmeric in this pasta, so you don’t really taste it… but feel free to use as much as you like!

Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….

Nutritional yeast gives things a cheese-y taste without using any dairy and it adds amino acids and Vitamin B, iron, zinc, and selenium to your diet. Nutritional yeast is a complete protein and also contains fiber, so it’s a really good thing!

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta

Creamy Vegan Baked Pumpkin Pasta
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 4-6
 
This is comfort food at it's most delicious. This healing vegan baked pasta is warming, delicious, simple, gooey, and just plain awesome.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb pasta of your choice (I used a grain free pasta)
  • 1-1/4 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 15 oz can pure pumpkin (I buy them by the case)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • leaves of 3 thyme sprigs
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil (for greasing the pan)
  • For crumb topping:
  • 1 cup crumbs of choice (I used chickpea crumbs)
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion flakes
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup chopped lacinto/dinosaur kale
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Grease a large square or rectangle baking pan with oil.
  3. Cook your pasta al dente, drain well, and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Place the coconut milk, pumpkin, turmeric, thyme, garlic, and salt and pepper into the blender. I used my Vitamix. You can make this in a regular blender, but it make take a little time -- make sure you blend until very creamy and smooth.
  5. Stir the sauce into the pasta, and pour the mixture into the greased baking dish.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, then remove the pasta and switch the oven to the Broil setting.
  7. Make the crumb topping: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
  8. After 30 minutes in the oven, spread the crumb mixture all over the top of the pasta and broil for a few minutes, until the crumbs start to turn brown. Watch it carefully -- no burning allowed!
  9. Enjoy!

creamy vegan baked pumpkin pasta