Kale with a Crunch Kale chips are delicious. Trust me on this one. If you’ve been scared to eat a chip made out of a vegetable, or scared of vegetables in general, stop whatever you’re doing and make these. They’re crispy, crunchy, light, and oh […]
Tag: vegan recipe
Rosemary for the win When it comes to fall and winter cooking, rosemary is one of my favorite go-to’s. Its warming flavors capture the cozy weather vibes so well. I feel like kale and butternut squash with a generous sprinkle of rosemary is an ideal […]
Keepin it Real Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce is a holiday table staple. But I’ve always been slightly weirded out by the jello-y mush that comes from a can. And which initially retains the shape of said can. Weird.
And they usually contain corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. That’s beyond weird. That’s just plain bad in my book. Fortunately my mom has always made her special cranberry ‘chutney’ for the holidays, which is made of all real cranberries, plus some other unexpected goodies.
Because in case you haven’t gotten the memo, real food is real good for you. And that goes for cranberries too: they’re packed with anti-cancer and immunity-boosting benefits. So the goal is to maximize both the flavor and the nutritional benefits of all the delicious eats.
My mom’s recipe does call for some sugar to sweeten it up a bit, so I asked if I could get the recipe this year and see if I could clean it up just a bit more.
So Fresh n So Clean
So here we go! The recipe already called for fresh cranberries, so we’re obviously keepin it fresh. It also calls for a real orange, an apple, plus some celery, onions, walnuts and ginger – and you guessed it, all fresh.
When my mom first served this chutney I was a little weirded out by the celery and onion. But the flavors all blend together and balance each other so well, the vegetables really just add dimension to the recipe. Plus they’re obviously healthy. So they stay.
I nixed the sugar and dried fruit and added a little unsweetened apple sauce plus some raw honey. I also added a small dash of monk fruit just to balance it out. It all came together really well, and I wound up with a super-clean, nutritious version of cranberry sauce.
Skip the honey to keep it vegan, or add more to taste if not using monk fruit.
Check out a few of my other paleo and vegan friendly thanksgiving and holiday recipes:
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Sugar-free paleo, vegan fresh cranberry sauce with some unexpected guests that bring the gift of nutrition: fresh fruit, nuts, and vegetables
- 1 12oz bag fresh cranberries may use frozen
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup diced orange with rind
- 1/3 small sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp raw honey may add more to taste, or replace with monk fruit
- 0-1 tsp monk fruit sweetener start low and add slowly
Add cranberries, applesauce, water, and orange to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add onion, apple, celery, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, and honey and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Allow to cool and serve.
It’s Gravy Baby Turkey or not, no Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without gravy. Traditional gravies are obviously made with the turkey pan drippings, cutter, cream, and regular all-purpose white flour. None of which are suitable for a vegan and or paleo-friendly recipe. So here ya […]
The Main Attraction: Vegan Feast Alternative Nothing truly replaces a traditional turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. But these days there are plenty of options that deliver all the fall feels for vegans and people trying to adopt a more plant-based. But for a lot of us […]
Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast
For those skeptics our there, just hear me out for a second. Sweet potato may not jump to mind as a traditional breakfast food option. But really, it makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Sweet potatoes basically taste like dessert, but they are quite versatile and pair with both sweet and savory.
When going paleo, low-carb, or gluten-free or giving up grains altogether, breakfast beyond smoothies can be tricky to navigate. Fortunately, sweet potato bread, muffins, pancakes, and even savory loaded sweet potatoes and patties are all a thing.
But what about a nice warm bowl of oatmeal? Can anything really stand in for that breakfast stand-by? Maybe not entirely. But we can get pretty close: enter sweet potato mash.
While sweet potatoes clearly are not a direct substitute taste-wise, they do provide a similar consistency and the same warming comfort a hot bowl of oatmeal serves up on a cold winter morning. And if you throw them in the food processor for just a few seconds with the skins on, you’ll wind up with a smooth yet slightly chunky consistency similar to oats with the bits of skins mixed in.
They’re sweet but not overly sweet, provide a solid dose of real food nutrition to start the day, and can take a variety of toppings and add-ins just as well as the best bowl of oatmeal. I like to top mine with blueberries, chopped pecans, a generous sprinkle of cinnamon, and a bit of unsweetened coconut. But really, as with oatmeal, the sky’s the limit.
Sweet potato mash also works perfectly as a side dish, with or without the toppings. And of course it can stand in for a healthy dessert alternative!
Sweet potato health benefits
But first, the benefits. Sweet potatoes are chock full of carotenoids, which are full of potent health benefits due to their rich phytochemical concentrations. My favorite: cancer risk reduction. Increased intake of carotenoids has been associated with reduced risk of multiple types of cancer. Interestingly, they might also help protect us from harmful UV sun rays. Research has found that supplementing sunblock with daily intake of carotenoids before (and during) sun exposure can help reduce the rate of sunburn and sun damage, likely because it slows the absorption of UV rays.
Sweet potatoes have also got you covered on the Vitamin A front: one cup provides over 200% of the recommended daily intake, as well as 50% of your Vitamin C and Manganese, making them an excellent immunity-boosting staple. They also provide a substantial amount of the B vitamins and biotin, plus copper, pantothenic acid, potassium, phosphorous, and fiber.
Not only are they high in antioxidants, but they are contain anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies show a reduction in inflammation in nerve and brain tissue following sweet potato consumption. The phytonutrients prevent demyelination caused by excess fibrinogen, which has implications for diseases like multiple sclerosis. The research so far backs it up – I won’t argue with that!
In spite of their relatively high GI rating, sweet potatoes have been show to actually improve blood sugar regulation, even in people with Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, another class of nutrients found in sweet potatoes called glycosides have been shown to contain antibacterial and anti fungal properties.
The Upshot: Nailing the Breakfast Game
While research into all of these potential health benefits is ongoing, the upshot is clear: eat your sweet potatoes!
In order to maximize the bioavailability of the nutrients (aka how efficiently your body absorbs the nutrients), adding a little fat to your meal is a good idea. Sweet potato and avocado is one of my favorite combos.
But you can easily add just a little olive oil to a dish, or to keep it sweet, I like to add coconut oil. For those who aren’t fans of the coconut flavor, unrefined coconut oil has no coconut flavor.
Sweet Potato Mash
A paleo, grain-free, gluten-free alternative to breakfast oats.
- 2-4 sweet potatoes depending on size
- 1 tbsp coconut oil refined or unrefined
- Toppings of choice. My favorites include: pecans, walnuts, unsweetened shredded coconut, cacao nibs, blueberries, dried fruit, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, warming spices, a drizzle of honey or maple syrup for a touch of added sweetness if desired.
Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a nice and bake at 400F for 35-50 minutes (depending on size; they should be soft when fully cooked).
Place the sweet potatoes in a food processor, add the coconut oil, and blend until thoroughly mashed. Option: scoop the insides from the skin and mash with a fork.
Scoop into a bowl, add toppings as desired, and eat up!
Healthy Paleo Pumpkin Pie Dip Pumpkin season is officially upon us. We have pumpkin and squash and sweet potato versions of everything. But pumpkin pie-inspired delicacies are in a category of their own. With the holidays coming up I wanted to make a healthy version […]
Cauli Mash: The Best Thing to Happen to the Modern Thanksgiving Dinner Menu With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’ve been compiling, planning and creating delicious, healthy, diet-specific alternatives to the classic dishes. These days there are so many people with specific dietary restrictions, it can […]
Best Soup Ever
Pumpkins and squash are everywhere, and squash soup has been high on the to-do list. I’ve made several versions in the past, but this time I wanted to spice things up a bit and thought I’d add some ginger and turmeric. No joke, this may be one of my favorite soups, ever.
This creamy soup is so delicious and so filling it can really stand alone. Throw some cilantro and pumpkin seeds on top and you’re golden. Just like the soup.
This creamy butternut squash soup is full of goodness and robust flavor. With a touch of sweet from the squash and sour from a green apple, savory from leeks and broth, spice from ginger, turmeric, cumin and black pepper, and satisfying healthy fats from avocado and coconut cream, this soup captures the best of all worlds, in my humble opinion.
Even Better: Health-boosting benefits
The best part is that each of these ingredients is chock full of health and immunity-boosting vitamins and minerals. Squash is high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and an excellent source of manganese and potassium, which is a key component of blood pressure regulation. Green apples pack a punch of nutrition, as do leeks which are also cancer-fighting powerhouses.
And the spices are not just there for the flavor: they’re also chock-full of health benefits. Turmeric and ginger are powerful anti-inflammatories and cumin improves digestion and enhances immunity, just to name a couple of it’s myriad health-boosting benefits.
And truly, a generous garnish of fresh cilantro ups the flavor factor dramatically – something about it just works so well in this soup (as long as you’re not someone who thinks it tastes like soap!). Plus, it adds a major boost of bonus health benefits. Cilantro improves liver function and is a powerful detoxifier: it helps rid the body of heavy metals like lead, which can not only cause a host of health issues, but can also interfere with antibiotic efficacy.
Cilantro also has strong antioxidant properties that combat oxidative stress, lowers anxiety and improves sleep, helps balance blood sugar, prevents UTIs, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol, relieves digestive issues such as nausea, indigestion, gas and bloating and protects against food poisoning, soothes skin irritations, helps support health menstrual function, and prevents neurological inflammation. Phew!
Finally, I added a sprinkle of raw pumpkin seeds which add a nice little crunch and provide a hefty dose of magnesium and some added protein.
Creamy Ginger Turmeric Butternut Squash Soup
Creamy vegan, paleo spiced squash soup packed with anti-infammatory and immunity-boosting benefits
- 1 medium butternut squash, chopped
- 1 green apple, chopped
- 2 medium leeks, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 heaping tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 3 cups vegetable both depending on size of produce and desire thickness, may add up to 1/2-1 cup more broth
- 1/2 medium avocado
- 1/4 cup coconut cream can sub full fat coconut milk
Boil the butternut squash until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Add olive oil to the bottom of a large pot and heat on medium.
Sautée the leeks and ginger with the turmeric, cumin, pepper and salt until tender and slightly browned. Add the Squash and apple and sautée until the spices are mixed in.
Add the vegetable broth, covering the ingredients. Depending on the exact size of your squash and produce and desired thickness of the soup, you may wish to add an extra 1/2-1 cup of broth. I added 3 cups and it made a very thick soup.
Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Heat for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the head and carefully add to your blender, or use an immersion blender. Add the avocado and coconut cream and blend on high until the soup is completely puréed.
Garnish with cilantro or parsley and sprinkle with raw pumpkin seeds to taste. I like to add an extra dash of cumin and turmeric on top as well as sea salt and black pepper to taste.
**may sub extra broth in place of coconut cream
More Soup for You It’s October and while the days have still been warm, the mornings and evenings are cool and the air has that distinct autumn crisp. I’ve totally been feeling all the fall feels. Pumpkin, squash, soup, and yes, more soup. So today […]