Category Archives: vegan

Monday, September 28, 2015

Perfectly Whipped Sweet Potatoes

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Fall where are you!  It’s hitting the mid 90’s again this coming week (insert big eye roll here).  I am yearning to wear my sweaters and boots!  Soon…soon.  Around these parts it starts to really feel like fall at end of October, early November, so we have a few weeks yet.  But this hot weather is not stopping me from making some yummy fall inspired food. I made some absolutely out-of-this-world delicious whipped sweet potatoes on Saturday night for dinner. Seriously tasted like dessert. SO GOOD.  My kids loved it!  My daughter said, “Mommy, what’s in here…it tastes like pie.”  I made the sweet potatoes with this pork dish (sans the applesauce) that is so easy and always a hit and the two went together like gangbustas.  Anyway, if you are looking for a new way to eat sweet potatoes, try whipping them up.  I am totally going to make these whipped sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving and I’m so excited about it!  They are seriously delicious.  Look out fall…I’m coming for ya.  Continue reading

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Labels: ACD, AIP, GAPS, holidays, Paleo, sides, Thanksgiving, thanksgiving side dishes, vegan, vegetarian, winter cuisine.

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Monday, September 21, 2015

The Perfect Coconut Rice

First Pics for blog

I love rice!  For a while I stopped eating it when I was exploring different diets, such as the SCD and Paleo.  Luckily, rice (white rice in particular) agrees with me so I eat it often.  My friend Eileen from Phoenix Helix has a great post all about white rice.  It’s worth the read to gain more information about how rice interacts with the body.  Something important I always do when preparing rice is soak and rinse.  This is especially important when preparing brown rice because it helps leach out the arsenic that occurs naturally in all rice, but in higher amounts in brown. Continue reading

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Labels: sides, vegan, vegetarian.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Thetastyalternative.com

My local Natural Food Coop has been making a fiesta quinoa salad for years (10+).  I ate it like crazy when it first showed up in the deli and would also pick some up for potlucks or for dinner.  A few years ago I started making it myself.  I remember it was a blistering hot summer, and for weeks it was over 100 degrees and I refused to turn on my oven for most of it.  Like most summers, we live off of cool meals such as avocado mint soup, salads galore, raw treats and homemade ice cream. This quinoa salad is super refreshing and it’s a favorite among my family and friends. Maybe this dish will make an appearance at your next party…or for dinner one hot summer night.  xo, –Amber  Continue reading

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Labels: allergy-friendly, grain free, salads, summer cuisine, vegan, vegetarian.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Butternut Squash Coconut Hemp Smoothie

Oh boy, folks, this smoothie is incredible.  It’s thick, creamy, and not icy (my three musts in a smoothie).  I don’t know about you, but I use pumpkin and butternut squash interchangeably.  TruthfullyI find butternut squash is much sweeter than pumpkin and I love it in desserts.  It’s fun to mix it up though, as I feel like pumpkins are taking over my life.  Ha ha.  A delicata would also be great in here!  They are perhaps my favorite squash of all! My son slurped this down for his morning snack and off to play.  I’m not a coffee drinker, so I like to make smoothies for a little pre-breakfast pick me up.  Be adventures and try the many different varieties of squash available this time of year.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.  
Butternut Squash Coconut Hemp Smoothie 

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup filtered water
-1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
-1/2 cup baked butternut squash
-1/2 cup ripe banana (1 medium)
-2 tablespoons coconut nectar (honey or maple syrup)
-1 tablespoon raw hemp seeds (optional)
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (more to taste)
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
-3 ice cubes*

How To:
1.  Add everything to a blender and blend until the ice cubes are properly crushed.  The smoothie should be chilled, but not icy.  If you like icy smoothies, than by all means, add in more ice.  

Notes:
*AIP & SCD, omit hemp seeds – they are not permitted.  
*I use these for ice cubes – I purchase at a store in town, but they can also be found online.  
*Use any protein source or powder in place of the hemp, or just omit.  
*In place of the ice cubes, freeze the banana (cut up first) over night and add an additional 1/4 cup of water or coconut milk.
*Want to start with pumpkin in your smoothie?  Try my Chocolate Pumpkin Hemp Smoothie or Pumpkin Coconut Almond Smoothie. 
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Labels: AIP, fall cuisine, GAPS, SCD, smoothie, snacks, vegan.

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Raw Strawberry Chocolate Cereal (nut free, grain free, vegan)

Breakfast can be sort of difficult when on a grain free diet (and/or a nut free diet).  Ever try purchasing a cereal that’s grain free, nut free, cane-sugar free, and vegan.  Ha ha.  Good luck.  If one exists is’t probably off-the-charts expensive (or comes in a 4 ounce bag).  Over the years I’ve adopted the motto: If you can’t find it, make it, which has served me well.  I said good-bye to store bought cereals a while ago for several reasons.  But now I have only two reasons: it’s cheaper and healthier to make at home.  That’s really the bottom line.  I hope you give this cereal a try.  You can add just about anything to the base of seed mixture, so get creative.  I also must mention that my kids LOVE this recipe, as well as the apple cinnamon recipe, for breakfast or snack.  They literally squeal when they get up and see this breakfast waiting for them at the table.  Now that’s a great way to start the day! 
Raw Strawberry Chocolate Cereal 
nut free, grain free, dairy free, cane-sugar free, vegan
Ingredients:
-2 cups organic raw sunflower seeds
-1 cup organic raw pumpkin seeds
-1 cup shredded coconut 
-1/4 cup raw hemp seeds
-3/4 cup coconut sugar
-2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (small chop)
-1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder 
-3 tablespoons chia seeds 
-1 teaspoon liquid stevia 
-1 teaspoon ground chia 
-1 teaspoon psyllium husk
-1/4 teaspoon salt 

How To:
1.  In a large bowl add the sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds and cover with filtered water (about 2 inches over) and soak for at least 8 hours.  I like to soak mine as long as I can, so I gave mine about 15 hours. 
2.  After they have soaked, drain and rinse (do not pat dry or try to dry the seeds, you need the moisture).
3.   To a large bowl, add the wet seed mixture and all the other ingredients and mix well with your hands.  This is the really best way to incorporate all the ingredients. Here is the dehydrator  I use. 4.  I spread the mixture onto these screens (which come with the dehydrator). I do not use these fruit roll sheets. 
Make sure the seed mixture is in a nice thin layer so it dehydrates evenly and thoroughly.  
5.  I set my dehydrator between 110 – 115 degrees, put in the laundry room and let it rock.  After about 18 hours I check for the crisp level.  I dehydrate longer until that perfectly crisp texture is achieved.  
6.  The final mixture will be very stiff and pop out in a sheet.  Break into pieces and store in an air tight container.  This will keep for weeks.  But it never lasts that long.  
Here is what the cereal looks like when finished.  
It’s very crispy and brittle.  
This batch makes a nice amount.   
I store in glass containers in the cupboard.  
*
Interested in another raw cereal?
See HERE for a Raw Apple Cinnamon version

And be sure to enjoy your homemade cereal with homemade nut or seed milk:

____________________________________________
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Labels: breakfast, nut free, raw, snacks, vegan.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Kalamata Olive and Sweet Pepper Macaroni Salad (gluten free & vegan)

Confession: I LOOOOOVE macaroni salad.  I love it goopy or dry, with hard boiled eggs, chicken, hot peppers, bacon, or veggiesand whatever else you want to throw in there, I’ll eat it.  I find macaroni salad just delightful.  And it’s a must for me to eat macaroni salad along side baked beans (and chicken of course).  The beans must be hot, the macaroni salad nice and cool, chop that chicken up and mix everything together so you get a flavor blast of every bite.  Mmmmmm.  So awesome together. It’s the whole summer food vibe that brings back wonderful memories of camping and backyard barbecues.  But there is just something magical about that macaroni/baked bean/and chicken combo that screams summer.  Rock your macaroni salad however you like – it’s a versatile dish.  The macaroni recipe I am sharing today is a crowd pleaser (and bonusit’s vegan and gluten free).  I made it last weekend for a family gathering and it was a hit. Summer arrives early for us here in Northern California and I am already deep in a macaroni salad state of mind.  I hope you get a chance to enjoy this recipeor perhaps it will inspire you to make your own version of this classic summer dish.  Salud. 
Ingredients:
-3 1/2 cups dried gluten free Tinkyada elbow pasta* 
-1 cup small chop sweet orange or yellow pepper
-1/2 cup small chop dill pickles 
-1/3 cup chopped green onion
-1/3 cup chopped celery
-1/3 cup chopped kalamata & green olive mix, or just kalamatas 
-1/4 teaspoon garlic granules (or more, just be careful with the spice factor if serving to chidlren)
-1/2 teaspoon onion granules 
-1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste – remember the olives are salty)
-3 tablespoons oil 
-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar OR coocnut vinegar 
-1 to 2 teaspoons dried parsley
-optional: juice from pickle jar to taste

How To:
1.  Boil and rinse the pasta.  
2.  Add in all the ingredients listed above to prepared pasta.  Mix well.  
3.  It is my STRONG recommendation that you make this at least 12 hours ahead of time.  Store in a covered glass container in the fridge.  Macaroni just gets better as it sits with all the flavors.  It’s also my suggestion to remove the macaroni salad at least 30 minutes before serving and add in some additional liquid if necessary (such as, more mayo, pickle juice, vinegar, oil, etc).  I like to add in some additional oil and mayo
Serves 6 – 8 (if used a a side dish). 

Notes:
*Tinkyada is my favorite pasta brand.  To make, bring nearly a gallon of water to a rapid boil.  Add in some oil and a touch of salt.  Then add in the dried pasta and stir, continuously until the water starts to again rapidly boil.  Now you can leave it alone until the pasta is soft. I find that stirring continuously in the very beginning helps the pasta from sticking together.  Test pasta 15 minutes later for doneness. Now this is an important stepbrown rice pasta must be rinsed. So I rinse with cool water until the pasta is cool and clean of excess starch.    
Here are the kiddos enjoying their macaroni salad with a turkey and avocado sandwich with a side of crisp lettuce and fresh blueberries. 
Yum! 
I made Megan’s Paleo breaded chicken recipe last week and it was amazing!  The perfect accompaniment for baked beans and my macaroni salad (and yes, after I took this picture I dumped that bowl of baked beans all over the plate).  I’m a dedicated food mixer.  
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Labels: gluten free, sides, summer cuisine, vegan, vegetarian.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Delicious French Lentil Soup with Butternut Squash and Dino Kale (SCD Friendly, Vegan)

There’s a great little restaurant down the street from my house and next door to my beloved Davis Foods Coop, called Monticello. They serve seasonal cuisine and uphold a farm to plate menu (they even have their own farm!) – I just love that.  Their menu is awesome, serving up organic chicken, gluten free breads, a ton of vegan soups, organic salad, etc.  If you are ever in Davis (California), call me and I will take you there.  It’s fabulous, fresh and healthy.  A few months ago I took my son to this favorite spot for lunch.  Their soup of the day knocked my socks off.  It was so simple, yet so delicious.  I asked what was in the soup (without getting too nosy), then rushed next door to my Coop and gathered the ingredientsand I made it that night for dinner.  It’s a simple French lentil soup, but what makes it extra special is the addition of kale and butternut squash.  The butternut squash and carrots impart a delicate sweetness to the dish and the tender kale is the perfect texture against the creamy lentils.  I played around with the recipe a few times until I found the perfect ratios. I hope you also enjoy this soup.  It’s very satisfying.  Oh, and I love it the next morning with two fried eggs, avocado, and a splash of hot sauce.  
Superb my friends.  
Ingredients
-2 cups onions, small chop 
-2 cups carrots, peeled and small chop
-3 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and small cubed 

-1/2 pound (8 ounces) of dino kale, wash and remove large stem  

-2 cups French lentils, soaked for 6 – 8 hours* (please see notes about the soaking).   
-7 cups filtered water 
-2 teaspoons garlic granules
-1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 tablespoons oil
-3 turns of the pepper grinder

How To:
1.  In large soup stock pan (my dutch oven is too small for this recipe), add onions, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute for 5 minutes on medium heat.
2.  Add in the carrots and butternut squash and saute for 3 to 5 minutes.  
3.  Drain the lentils of their soaking water and add them to the pot, along with the garlic granules, the additional 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, and water.  Bring to a rapid boil for 2 minutes.
4.  Turn heat down to low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes.
5.  After 45 minutes, uncover.  Tear the kale with your hands as you add it to the pot.  Stir kale around and bring the soup to very gentle simmer.  Simmer for an additional 15 minutes, until kale is nice and tender.  
6.  Turn off heat and let sit until ready to serve (cover if you wish).  Warm through before serving.  Serves 6 adults.  I like to serve with a wedge of lemon.  

Notes:
*The lentils must be soaked for this dish for two reasons: (1) when making SCD soups with lentils, soaking them is necessary, and (2) the water in this soup has been calibrated only to the soaked lentils. I have found soaked verses dried legumes require different water ratios.  So please follow directions as specified for best results.

Shared on: Melt in your Mouth MondaysMotivate Me MondaysMonday Mania, Mealtime Monday Just Another Meatless MondayOn The Menu MondayMix It Up Monday, Fat TuesdaysSlightly Indulgent Tuesdays Allergy-Free WednesdaysGluten Free WednesdaysReal Food Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Keep It Real Thursdays, Pennywise Platter ThursdaysWellness Weekend  Fight Back FridayFresh Bites Friday, Whole Foods Friday, Gluten Free Fridays, Healthy Vegan Friday Sweet Saturday, 

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Labels: main dish, SCD, Soup, vegan, vegetarian, winter cuisine.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rainy Saturday Morning Hot "Cocoa" (vegan, dairy free, cane-sugar free)

Finallyrain!  Glorious fall rain that we desperately need here in drought-ridden Northern California.  It’s a warmish storm, but we’ll take it.  Snow is falling in the mountains, just a short drive away, and waiting for us to come play.  Soon, soon.  But for now we will enjoy this wet weather here in the valley and sip on some sweet, warm “cocoa.” 
Ingredients:
-3 cups dairy free milk (I use homemade walnut milk)
-3 tablespoons carob powder*
-3 tablespoons maple syrup
-1 teaspoon vanilla 
-(optional: 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract) 

How To:
1.  Combine above ingredients in blender and blend on high for 30 seconds
2.  Transfer liquid to small sauce pan and gently heat, stirring frequently 
3.  Serve warm (or hot) – warm is good enough for the kiddos
Notes:
*By all means, use chocolate in place of the carob (such as raw cacao powder).  
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Labels: cane sugar free, dairy free, drinks, fall cuisine, vegan.

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Ode to Cafe Gratitute: Part 1 ~ The Community Bowl (Kale, Black Beans, and Rice with a Cashew Cream Sauce)

I learned about Cafe Gratitude a few years ago and it has been my favorite restaurant ever since.  The closest location is about 50 minutes away, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because if CG was located in my town, I would need to find an evening and weekend job just to pay for my addiction to their food.  Nearly every time we travel to the Bay Area/San Francisco we stop at CG.  And every time it’s a delightful treat.  Not only do they serve amazing organic vegan (and raw) cuisine, but they are also a green/sustainable establishment.  They grow their own food at an organic farm just about 25 minutes from our house.  I have such a love affair with this restaurant.  I want to live there (I know, weird).  I’m just a total sucker for earth loving, progressive, friendly, crunchy folks.  Because I can’t eat there for every meal (like I dream about) I make many of their recipes here at home.  Today I’m sharing a dish called the Community Bowl that I always get for the kids when we stop by the restaurant.  They love it and it makes a great dinner.  

(An article in the Huffington Post published October 21, states that Cafe Gratitude will be closing all their Northern California locations due to “aggressive lawsuits” brought about by current and former employees).  
Noooooooooo!!! Well, this just sucks.  First I feel badly for the owners.  I don’t know all the details to this story and don’t know if they did something illegal, but it’s unfortunate these great restaurants are closing.  Really unfortunate.  At any rate, I look forward to sharing some of my favorite dishes and recipes with you over the next few months.
  The Community Bowl
(Kale, Black Beans, Rice and Cashew Cream Sauce) 
Ingredients:
-1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped (we like Dino Kale)
-2 cups brown rice 
-3 cups prepared black beans (soaked and boiled) 
-3/4 cups cashews, soaked 4-6 hours
-1 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
-1/4 to 1/2 cup filtered water (or more if needed) 
-1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt 

How To:
1.  Cook the two cups brown rice as directed
2.  Use plain prepared black beans OR saute the black beans with some oil, a splash of water, dash of salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules (I prefer this method)
3. Use plain kale OR saute with a little water and salt to soften greens (my kids prefer kale on the soft side, as it can be a little tough)
4.  In a blender, add the soaked cashews, 1/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Blend.  Add more water to create creamy consistency.  And then taste.  This is were you add in more salt and lemon juice to taste.  What you are looking for is a creamy, slightly tart sauce.  In the restaurant they serve this dish with a garlic tahini cashew based sauce that is amazing, but too spicy for the kids, so when I order it I just ask for the cashew cream sauce.  

Start by mixing the kale and black beans

 Then add the rice 

 And finish with the cashew cream sauce

Shared on: Melt in your Mouth MondaysMotivate Me MondaysMonday Mania, Mealtime Monday My Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless MondayOn The Menu MondayMix It Up Monday, Meatless MondayGluten Free MondaySlightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Raw Foods Thursday, Keep It Real Thursdays, Wellness Weekend, Whole Foods Friday, 

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Labels: dairy free, gluten free, main dish, vegan, vegetarian.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Sweet and Simple Mango Dressing with Three Delicious Salad Ideas

This harvest moon is just gorgeous and I can’t WAIT to start decorating for fall.  However, I’m finding it hard to get in the mood here when it’s 100 flippin’ degrees outside.  Yellow leaves, hot apple cider, scarecrows and soup are the farthest things from my mind.  All I want to do is jump in a pool, sip smoothies, and eat salads.  So keeping with the theme here of hot fall nights, I am sharing three fun and easy salad ideas, all topped with one simple mango dressing.  Theoretically, you could just blend up a super ripe mango and use that as a dressing, but I’ve added just a few other ingredients to give it some depth of flavor.  I know we will get our cool down soon.  Until then, you’ll be seeing more warm weather dishes here on The Tasty Alternative.  Salud. 
*

Sweet and Simple Mango Dressing:

Ingredients:
-1 VERY ripe mango, peeled and chopped (2 cups)
-1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
-1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
-3 tablespoons filtered water
-1 tablespoon oil (I use grapeseed)
-1/8 teaspoon salt 

How To:
1.  Blend all ingredients in food processor (or blender of choice) until smooth.  
2.  Will keep in fridge up to 4 days.   

Notes:
*If the mango is not super ripe, I recommend adding a sweetener. 
*vinegar variations: you could add just 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.  Alternatively, you could add in just two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, but the color will turn very dark.  Any vinegar would work really, perhaps even lemon juice.  
Here with Salad #1 we have a spinach and spring mix topped with crispy red apple, pumpkin seeds, dried figs and dried apricots.  Pistachios or walnuts would also taste fabulous, as would chopped Asian pear or crunchy kohlrabi
Salad #2 is fiesta inspired.  Spinach, romaine, and spring mix topped with garlic sauteed black beans, red onion, roasted pumpkin seeds, avocado and tomatoes.  The mango dressing is the perfect sweet flavor against the savory toppings.  Grilled chicken, green peppers, cilantro or cashew sour cream would also be fabulous on this salad.  
Lastly, salad #3.  A bed of spinach and spring mix topped with roasted sweet potatoes, roasted pumpkin seeds, diced shallot and dried cranberries.  The warm sweet potatoes wilt the greens just enough and the splash of cool sweet mango adds quite the flavor dimension.  Roasted delicata or butternut squash would taste divine, other ideas for this salad include fresh or dried figs, nectarine, or roasted sunflower seeds. 
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Labels: main dish, salad, vegan, vegetarian.

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