Category Archives: vegetarian

Monday, September 28, 2015

Perfectly Whipped Sweet Potatoes


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

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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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fresh Cabbage & Herb Spring Rolls with Sunbutter Honey Dipping Sauce

 About a month after I started blogging I posted a recipe for baked spring rolls and they were my favorite food for months.  I made them over and over againuntil like most things I make over and over againI became satiated (and over it).  I haven’t really made spring rolls in a while.  Last month (in December) I was looking for a recipe to bring to a holiday party.  I thought, “What would everyone like, carnivores and vegetarians alike?”  So I made some raw spring rolls and wowza they are fun to make and super yummy.  I forgot how much I enjoy stuffing those little rice wrappers.  And the sauce, oh the sauce!  The sunbutter honey dipping sauce that accompanies these little rolls has such a delightfully complex flavor.  Sunbutter is a great sub for peanut butter in traditional peanut-based sauces.  Definitely give it a try.

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Labels: allergy-friendly, appetizer, sauces, spring cuisine, summer cuisine, vegetarian.


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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Healthy and Hearty Summer Salad with Homemade Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Salads are a MUST make dish this week here in Northern California.  There is a heat wave coming through pushing us up into the triple digits for several days.  Today is gorgeous and so we are taking advantage of this mild weather and heading to the Farmer’s Market tonight for some dinner and fun.  Yesterday I made a big batch of honey balsamic vinaigrette in preparation for the heat and the many salads I have planned to make.  My kids always gobble up their greens with this sweet and tangy dressing.  Also a great drizzle for roasted potatoes, veggies, chicken, etc.  I think we all need a good go-to balsamic vinaigrette recipe.  I hope this one makes it into your kitchen soon.  
Summer Salad with Homemade Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Salad Ingredients:
-9 ounces fresh greens (I used 3 ounces each of: dinosaur kale, arugula, and baby spinach)

-1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped apple
-1 cup chopped cucumber
-2/3 cup diced red onion
-2/3 cup chopped sweet orange pepper (I like the gypsy variety)
-1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds 
-Fresh herbs for garnish (I used parsley and tarragon) 

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
-3 tablespoons local honey (vegans sub with 3 tablespoons coconut nectar and maybe a drop or two of stevia to your sweet preference, perhaps maple syrup would work as a sub too)
-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 teaspoons salt
-1/2 teaspoon garlic granules 
-1/2 teaspoon onion granules
-1 teaspoon dijon mustard

How To:
1.  To a blender, add in the vinegar, honey, salt, garlic grans, and onion grans.  Blend on low for 10 seconds.  
2.  Keep the blender running on low and drizzle in the oil very slowly.  
3.  Then add in the mustard.  Blend on medium-high for 10 seconds.
4.  Adjust salt and other flavors to taste.

*I’ve included two links above to the products I use.  I buy them in town, but I wanted to give you an example of what I am using. 

Shared on: Raw Foods Thursday, Wellness Weekend  Fat Tuesday
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Labels: Paleo, raw, salads, SCD, sides, summer cuisine, vegetarian.


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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. 
-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 
-1/2 cup soy free vegenaise mayo OR make your own
-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). 

*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. 
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.  
Shared onShared on: Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Motivate Me Mondays, My Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mealtime Monday, Fat Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Wellness Weekend, Healthy Vegan Friday, Pure Ella Potluck Party Friday
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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.  
-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.  

*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 Mondays, Motivate Me Mondays, Monday Mania, Mealtime Monday Just Another Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Fat Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, Whole Foods Wednesdays, Keep It Real Thursdays, Pennywise Platter Thursdays, Wellness Weekend  Fight Back Friday, Fresh 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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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) 
-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 Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Meatless Monday, Gluten Free Monday, Slightly 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:

-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.   

*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. 
Shared on: Melt in your Mouth MondaysMotivate Me MondaysMonday Mania, Mealtime Monday My Meatless Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, On The Menu Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Raw Foods Thursday, 
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Labels: main dish, salad, vegan, vegetarian.


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Friday, September 7, 2012

Mini Vegan Garden Pizzas (allergy-friendly, gluten free, dairy free)

Last weekend I wanted to make something fun for lunch.  Pizza sounded good – garden pizza sounded GREAT.  Although we have many more warm days ahead here in Northern California, I have been dreaming about my winter garden.  So I picked some of our last tomatoes and zucchini and used them for mini pizza toppings.  Some sweet pineapple rounded out the flavors perfectly.  Beet cashews spread (beet “cheese” spread) was a delightful contrast with the pesto sauce.  I hope you enjoy this fun little spin on traditional pizza – and what great way to use up your summer garden veggies.     
-Pesto sauce here or here 
-Cashew beet sauce (recipe can be found here)
-3 medium zucchinis, peeled, chopped and sauteed with salt 
-2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced
-1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks 
How To:
1.  Make pizza dough as specified.  Don’t be shy with the flour, as this will help you roll out the dough.  Treat it like any other dough.  
2.  Roll out and use a cookie cutter to make the mini pizzas.  Transfer to non-stick surface (such as a silicone mat).  Place the mat directly on a cooling rack to bake or use something like this pizza rack with some parchment paper, and bake for 8 minutes (at 400 degrees).  
3. After baking, remove crusts from mat and cool on the cooling rack (do not cool the pizzas on the mat, as moisture will form).  
4.  Build your pizzas and bake (directly on the cooling rack, no mat) for 8 – 10 minutes.   
Serves 4

Shared on: Melt in your Mouth Mondays, Motivate Me Mondays, Monday Mania, Mealtime Monday My Meatless Monday,Just Another Meatless Monday, Fat Tuesday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays,  Whole Foods Wednesdays, Tastetastic Thursday, Keep It Real Thursdays, Pennywise Platter Thursdays,Wellness Weekend, Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Friday Food, Whole Foods Friday

My Birthday Pot Luck Party Friday, 

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Labels: dairy free, gluten free, lunch, summer cuisine, vegan, vegetarian.


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