Tag: Vegan

Peanut Butter Brownies: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan, Sugar-Free Recipe

Peanut Butter Brownies: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan, Sugar-Free Recipe

The Peanut Butter to my Chocolate It’s been ages since I’ve made brownies. Because brownies are just too delicious. I try *not* to bake all the time these days, because when I do it’s hard *not* to eat the whole batch in two days. And […]

Cranberry Bread: Paleo Vegan Recipe

Cranberry Bread: Paleo Vegan Recipe

Keeping The Tradition Alive My mom was never big on baking, but cranberry bread has been a holiday staple for as long as I can remember. She’d even make mini loaves of it to give to my teachers way back in the day. While I […]

Warm Kale Squash Fall Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette Plus Benefits of Rosemary

Warm Kale Squash Fall Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette Plus Benefits of Rosemary

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 combo when it comes to fall cuisine.

And for the holiday table, dried cranberries and pecans are the perfect compliments to add a little nuttiness and tart sweetness to the mix. Pumpkin seeds add an extra crunch and extra fall vibes.

It’s a tried-and-true combination, so when I was coming up with my holiday menu, it was a no-brainer to add this salad to the mix.

warm kale squash salad with rosemary vinaigrette paleo vegan dairy-free gluten-free

Rosemary to the rescue

But I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go with the dressing. I thought about going tart, I thought about going sweet. I even considered doing a creamy almond dressing. But none of them really hit home.

As I hinted at above, I do love roasting my squash with rosemary, however. And then it hit me: rosemary dressing. Duh! I’ve never been one to go fancy with my salad dressings – I used to hate salad dressing – so I wasn’t entirely sure what direction to go.

But then rosemary vinaigrette came into being and pulled the dish together so well. And of course, it’s pretty simple!

warm kale squash salad with rosemary vinaigrette vegan paleo dairy-free gluten-free recipe

Health Benefits of Rosemary

I absolutely adore rosemary. This member of the herb family has flavor profile that is hard to pin down. It’s closely related to mint but with a very different flavor: it has a warming, slightly bitter, almost pine-like taste. Sometimes when I bite into it I swear I can taste butter. But that might just be my taste buds wanting it taste butter…! 😉

And rosemary just looks so cute, kinda like the needles on a pine tree! It’s pretty much the most festive edible addition to your dishes, and delivers all the dish-elevating flavor you could hope for.

And good thing it tastes so good, because although the small quantities typical of a single dish won’t deliver a significant nutritional boost, the regular addition of rosemary to your dishes will allow the benefits to accumulate.

rosemary health benefits

Here are some of the ways rosemary benefits your health:

  • Mood and stress balancer. It improves mood, clears the mind, and relieves stress in those with stress hormone imbalances. More, please!
  • Boosts Immunity. Rosemary contains active compounds that are anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant, and perhaps most importantly, anti-inflammatory. Win-win-win. These anti-inflammatory benefits are the most notable: the antioxidants carnosol and carnosic have been associated with reducing inflammation of muscle tissue, blood vessels, and joints.
  • Improves Digestion. Rosemary also soothes digestive upset, including constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and upset stomachs.
  • Memory Booster. Research into the benefits of rosemary on memory is ongoing, but it has historically been used as a cognitive stimulant and has more recently been linked to cognitive stimulation in elderly patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
  • Detoxifier. Rosemary is a mild diuretic, meaning it can aid in flushing out toxins during urination. In addition to helping eliminate toxins, pathogens, salts, and even excess fat when consumed regularly, it has been linked to improved liver health. Rosemary consumption is linked with faster healing time of the liver, which is one of the slowest organs to heal, as well as lower levels of cirrhosis.
  • Skin health. Rosemary, particularly in its essential oil form, contains anti-aging benefits and helps to heal blemishes and maintain clear, hydrated skin.

Rosemary also stimulates blood flow, acts as an analgesic (pain reliever), and works as a breath freshener. Basically, what doesn’t it do…!?

warm kale squash salad with rosemary vinaigrette vegan paleo dairy-free gluten-free recipe

How to Use Rosemary

  • To Maximize flavor, cook with it. Add it to your dishes: bake with it, garnish, sautée, sprinkle it into soups and stews, and rub it into meat dishes. Basically, use it in every way you can think of.
  • To maximize nutritional value: don’t cook with it. Ok ok, that’s totally contradictory. But cooking does reduce the benefits, so add it toward the end of cooking, or do both: cook with it and garnish with fresh rosemary once you are ready to serve!
  • People even use rosemary essential oils to deliver a concentrated dose of the goodness.

warm kale squash salad with rosemary vinaigrette vegan paleo dairy-free gluten-free recipe

Warm Kale Squash Fall Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette

Back to the salad. It does require a little oven and mortar and pestle action, so it’s not the quickest recipe I’ve ever done, but it’s still quite simple.

First I roast the chopped butternut squash, with – you guess it – rosemary. As the squash is roasting, I make the dressing and the rest of the salad. As it’s a warm salad, I heat the dressing in a pan then add the kale. At the end I toss in the cranberries*, pecans, and pumpkin seeds.

*A note on the dried cranberries. Frankly, I don’t eat much dried fruit these days because it contains a lot of sugar (natural sugar is still sugar). This salad works perfectly fine without it, but for the holiday table I add it in cuz it’s festive. Skip to keep it paleo-happy.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m pretty sure fresh pomegranate seeds would work really nicely too, and add a generous antioxidant boost to the feast!

warm kale squash salad with rosemary vinaigrette vegan paleo dairy-free gluten-free recipe

warm kale squash salad with rosemary vinaigrette paleo vegan dairy-free gluten-free

Warm Kale Squash Salad with Rosemary Vinaigrette

A simple yet hearty and delicious warming salad with rosemary vinaigrette. Vegan, paleo, dairy-free, gluten-free recipe

Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Amanda


Kale Squash Salad

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and cut into smaller pieces I use curly kale
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries *optional. may replace with pomegranate seeds
  • 1/2+1/2 tbsp fresh or dried rosemary
  • 1 sprig rosemary optional
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Rosemary Vinaigrette

  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the over to 400F. Places the chopped butternut squash on a pan and toss with the olive oil, 1/2 tbsp rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, checked and tossing halfway through. 

  2. While the squash is roasting, make the vinaigrette. Place the rosemary, salt, and garlic in the mortar bowl. Use the pestle to crush the garlic and rosemary and mash them together. 

  3. Slowly add the lemon juice and olive oil and continue to mash. 

  4. Transfer the dressing to a large pan and heat over medium. Add the kale, rosemary, salt and pepper and sauté a few minutes, until the kale is bright green and soft. 

  5. Turn off the heat and add the pecans, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries if using. Toss the ingredients together while the pan is still warm. The squash should be just about ready, so add that to the pan and toss all the ingredients together. 

  6. Transfer to plates and serve. 

Recipe Notes

If using fresh pomegranate seeds, top with these at the end. I also sometimes add some sliced avocado at the end if I'm eating this as my meal. 

Want more healthy squash recipes? Check out my Creamy Ginger Turmeric Squash Soup and my Paleo stuffed squash!

Naked Baked Apple Slices

Naked Baked Apple Slices

Have your Pie and Eat it Too… For Breakfast Literally there was frost on the ground this morning when I woke up, and I don’t think yesterday was any warmer. In the cold weather, my breakfast smoothies aren’t quite as appealing. I crave warm food, […]

Cauliflower Mash, 3 Ways: Vegan, Paleo, and Keto

Cauliflower Mash, 3 Ways: Vegan, Paleo, and Keto

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 […]

Creamy Ginger Turmeric Squash Soup

Creamy Ginger Turmeric Squash Soup

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.

creamy hearty ginger turmeric butternut squash soup vegan paleo

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.

Garnish Generously

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 

Course Soup
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Author Amanda


  • 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


  1. Boil the butternut squash until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

  2. Add olive oil to the bottom of a large pot and heat on medium. 

  3. 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. 

  4. 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.

  5. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Heat for 15-20 minutes. 

  6. 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. 

  7. 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. 

Recipe Notes

**may sub extra broth in place of coconut cream 

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars: Vegan Gluten-Free Refined Sugar-Free Recipe

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars: Vegan Gluten-Free Refined Sugar-Free Recipe

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Bar Style Fall is officially in full swing. Pumpkins. Pumpkin spice. Pumpkin everything. Apples. Chai spice. Cinnamon brooms…yep I got one from Trader Joe’s, and it smells amazing. It smells like fall, and it smells like baking. So […]

Creamy Celery Soup: Vegan Paleo Keto-Friendly Recipe

Creamy Celery Soup: Vegan Paleo Keto-Friendly Recipe

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 […]

Why Cleanse: The benefits of cleansing and signs your body needs one

Why Cleanse: The benefits of cleansing and signs your body needs one

Cleanse your system the fun way

The words cleanse and detox often cause strong, guarded reactions. The idea of deprivation or consuming bizarre foods you can’t even pronounce is simply not appealing to most. But before you turn and run… truth bomb: you don’t have to suffer on a cleanse! You can have your coffee and drink it too if you really can’t fathom going without.
And best of all: you don’t have to deprive yourself! Cleansing can be done in a completely satisfying, totally delicious way.

Why cleanse

The fact is, our bodies are designed to detox on a daily basis. Detoxification is a natural process. However, modern life is so full of toxins that it’s difficult for our bodies to keep up with the constant toxification loads placed on it through our food, the products we use, and the air we breath. By periodically and systematically eliminating foods that are more taxing on the digestive system and are known common irritants, we allow our bodies’ systems to rest and reset.
Symptoms often include relatively minor annoyances like poor sleep, weight gain, brain fog, mood swings, food cravings, or bloating to name a few. (But let’s be real, anyone who suffers from these knows how real the frustration is when nothing seems to work, no matter what you try!). But toxic overload can also be a factor in more serious conditions such as chronic insomnia, autoimmune conditions, asthma, arthritis, acne, irritable bowel syndrome, and more.


What is a Cleanse?

These days you hear the terms cleansing and detoxing everywhere. Detox your life. Do a juice cleanse. Do this detox diet and make these detox-friendly recipes. The two terms are often used seemingly interchangeably, so what’s the difference?
Detoxification is actually a natural process that happens every day in our bodies to clear out toxins and waste. A true detox diet typically refers to a highly restricted diet that may reduce down to only liquids (fruit and vegetable juices) and usually calls for specific supplements to support the detoxification process.
Cleansing ultimately has the same goal as a detox – to give your body the chance to reset – but takes a somewhat gentler, more sustainable approach. A cleanse essentially cleans up your diet: it eliminates processed junk food and strips the diet down to the essentials – nutrient-dense real, whole foods. Think: lots of fruits and vegetables.
By removing the junk from your diet and consuming foods that support the body’s natural detoxification processes, you allow your body to rid itself of the toxins and waste that have been building up over time – a natural detox. It’s basically like unclogging a drain. Cleansing allows our kidneys and liver to function more efficiently, which makes for a healthier, happier body.
Blueberry Green Power Smoothie – recipe in my free cleanse guide

Who should cleanse?

While weight loss is a common goal of such diets, cleanses are a good idea for anyone struggling with low energy, stress, poor health, or, frankly, nearly any form of disease in the body. Cleansing can not only repair the body, but it can remedy your relationship to food and help you rethink the way you fuel yourself.
Basically, if you fall into any of the following categories: you should consider a cleanse:
  • If you wake up feeling less than vibrant or energetic. If you feel like crap all the time. If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed below.
  • If you struggle with keeping the weight off. As it turns out, not all calories are created equal. Sugar and refined flour have a unique effect on the body’s metabolism, and often trigger hunger and cause people to overeat. Not to mention, sugar triggers inflammation.
  • If you’re addicted to sugar, carbs, or salty food-like junk. The fact is, it’s not your fault. It’s the sugar and the flour and the chemicals and the concerted efforts of the food industry over the years to hijack our brains so we become addicted, repeat customers.
  • If you’ve never done a cleanse or detox. These days, all of us could use a little reset. And most of us could do with a little more self-care. Cleansing allows you to focus on self-nourishment. You and your body are your top priority for over a week. How great is that?

But wait, cleansing sounds hard!

I get it. For most of us accustomed to the SAD (Standard American Diet), cleansing sounds like an onerous chore. And frankly, it can sound really intimidating to many. No pizza? No burgers? No fries? No cookies!? And on top of all that… no coffee??? Are you nuts!? (Well, maybe a little, but that’s neither here nor there ?)
As I mentioned above, while perhaps not the absolute ideal, you can have your coffee on a cleanse. Just stick to one cup of organic coffee in the morning, then maybe reduce to decaf, and then possibly consider dandelion tea. If you can start to wean yourself down a few days before, even better!
I LOVE my coffee too, but I do encourage clients to give the no-coffee thing a shot at least once as we easily get hooked on the caffeine. It’s possible that after a few days, you may even choose to go without.
Here’s the thing about cleansing: if often opens up a whole new world of eating. Healthy, nourishing food can be absolutely delicious, and your whole approach to eating can shift. Cleansing can get you better attuned to what your body truly needs, and many often find they begin to crave these healthy options full of nutrients your body requires rather than empty calories that mess with our chemistry. Delicious food that nourishes body, mind and soul – who wouldn’t want that?

When not to cleanse

Detoxing is one thing – many people should avoid strict detoxes. When it comes to whole foods cleansing, there are far fewer risks.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should always avoid strict detoxes, however my gradual, whole foods cleanse approach is safe to follow during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
There are of course situations when caution is advisable. Anyone suffering from a serious condition should always clear any major dietary changes with their doctor. Diabetics in particular must excercise caution, as with any dietary change.
Because this approach is gentle and calls for real, whole foods, there is nothing to be lost except for what you want to lose: the toxic crap that makes us feel less than great!

The cleansing process

What happens when you eliminate all the ‘dead’ foods? Foods that contain gluten, flour, wheat, dairy, sugar and trans fats are technically dead, and dead foods have lower energy. Because they’re dead. No wonder consuming them makes us feel like crap.
So, first, you replace them with lots of live foods: delicious fruits and veggies and clean plant-based edibles. Once you eliminate the processed, refined, and difficult-to-digest dead foods, your body will feel cleaner, leaner, and lighter. You’ll be able to think more clearly, have more energy, and be more productive. Imagine feeling light and free and full of energy – imagine feeling like the best version of yourself, every day.
I won’t sugar-coat it: things often get a little worse before they get better. Cleansing can release toxins stored in tissues into the bloodstream and cause a little fatigue, brain fog, or skin flare-ups, but this usually only lasts a couple days, and proper preparation and cleanse-enhancing activities can ease these symptoms.
A cleanse isn’t necessarily an easy quick-fix solution. It’s not a magic pill (they don’t exist). It does take a little planning, effort, and willpower to stay the course when everyone around you is indulging in pizza, cake, and beer. But consider getting your friends or family on-board: social support and friend-power is a winning combo!

Bottom Line: It’s worth a shot!

Once you get through to the other side, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this ages go. And you may find something somewhat astonishing: that food in its natural state not only tastes good, but that it’s better than all the other stuff you used to indulge in. You may find that you start to prefer, fresh, real food.
Bottom line: Cleansing effectively switches your metabolism into full gear, activates your body’s natural healing abilities, and helps you function better than you even thought possible.

Cleanse-friendly food

Signs you need a Cleanse

Still not sure if a cleanse is really worth it for you? Here are some common signs your body could benefit:
  • have trouble sleeping
  • get headaches
  • gain weight easily, especially in the belly
  • feel exhausted and depleted
  • feel a lack of focus and energy
  • have trouble losing weight
  • experience bloating or gas
  • have digestive complaints
  • have excessive sinus problems
  • suffer from joint pain
  • have acne, eczema or other skin problems
  • feel stuck, unmotivated, or irritable
  • feel stressed and overwhelmed
  • experience mood swings
  • crave sugar or starchy food

Symptoms of Toxic Overload

What underlies these signs are typically the symptoms of toxic overload. The complaints listed above are often how the body signals that it’s experiencing toxic overload and wants a little TLC.
The symptoms of toxic overload are much more extensive than the relatively minor frustrations listed above. The symptoms are also extremely varied and can impact the entire bodily system. Seemingly unrelated conditions may all result from this underlying issue. As mentioned above, chronic insomnia, autoimmune conditions, asthma, arthritis, acne, irritable bowel syndrome, and more serious conditions can all by influenced by toxic overload.

Below is a list of the many symptoms of toxic overload:

  • headaches
  • weight gain or loss
  • constipation
  • belly bloat
  • painful gas
  • frequent belching
  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • joint and muscle aches
  • muscle tension
  • soreness
  • acne
  • warts
  • itching
  • eczema
  • skin eruptions
  • inability to focus or concentrate
  • foggy brain
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • lethargy
  • flu-like symptoms
  • allergic reactions
  • hives
  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • coughing
If you experience any of the above, this is a sign your body needs a good internal cleaning. Overall health and optimal wellbeing begin with gut health and nutrition, and cleansing your body is the best way to shift your body into healing and optimal functioning.

What now?

Ready to cleanse? Got any questions? Get in touch with me now and we’ll come up with the best plan for you! My cleanse guides are packed with even more information and are full of delicious, cleanse-friendly recipes to get you started.
In the meantime, check out a few of my cleanse-friendly recipes:
Why You Should Eat More Watermelon + Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Why You Should Eat More Watermelon + Vegan Watermelon Feta Salad Recipe

Watermelon is good, and good for you Seriously, what’s more refreshing than watermelon on a hot summer day? In life, I rarely think, I want some watermelon. But then summer rolls around and I take my first bite and I’m like oh yeah, this stuff is […]