Recipe: Creamy Low Fat Broccoli Soup [Vegan, HCLF]

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Calling all soup lovers! If you like broccoli and cheese soup but don’t want the dairy or processed fake cheeses, this recipe is for you. (Especially my fellow high carb, low fat vegans!)

Although we don’t get to experience much of a real winter where I am in California, I still can’t help but love soup season. I’ve been experimenting with spicy lentil, roasted tomato, and sweet potato soups over the last few weeks, but I keep coming back to this broccoli one. Yukon gold potato lends the soup its creaminess, and the cheesy flavor comes from nutritional yeast, along with onions, garlic, and a few cashews. It’s also flexible and fun to customize: you can add whatever veggies you have on hand, and vary amounts as you please and it’ll still turn out great.

It’s packed with nutrients (and even quite high in protein!), it’s quick and easy to make, and it’s especially delicious when paired with toasted sourdough!

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Serves 2-3

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium yukon gold potato (about 200g)
  • 2-3 cups broccoli pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 4-5 large mushrooms
  • 2-3 handfuls of kale or spinach
  • 1 tsp vegetable broth powder (or a vegetable bouillon cube, or veggie broth)
  • 2 tbsp cashews (omit for lower fat)
  • 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted bread (especially sourdough) for serving

Instructions:

  1. Boil or microwave potato until soft.
  2. Roughly chop the garlic, onion, celery, and mushrooms. They’ll all be blended later, so just chop them enough so they have some surface area for cooking.
  3. Dry-sauté garlic and onion over medium heat until the garlic toasts slightly, then add the water, broccoli, celery, mushrooms, potato, and kale or spinach. Simmer until soft.
  4. Remove from heat, and add to blender along with cashews, nutritional yeast, and almond milk. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add more water and/or almond milk as necessary to get soup to the consistency you prefer.

Serve with freshly toasted bread, and enjoy!

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Nutrition information (for half the recipe):

Calories: 250 | Fat: 6g | Carbs: 35g (5.5g fiber) | Protein: 14.5g

 

Side note: I've been in LOVE with this broth powder. Finally, a broth-maker that is both oil free and lasts indefinitely!

Side note: I’ve been in love with this broth powder since I discovered it a month ago… finally a way to make broth that is both oil free and lasts indefinitely!

Recipe: Chocolate Caramel Turtle Bars (Vegan)

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Today, I had a bit of a milestone in my development as a food blogger: I successfully veganized the first recipe I ever posted here. I have cast off my shackles of dairy and eggs once and for all!

Dramatic descriptions aside, I’m pretty excited. I thought that my vegan baking would always be sub par compared to the creations I used to whip up; creations that had everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing and begging for more. I thought that my family, boyfriend, and friends would never be excited for my vegan food, always destined to elicit a resounding “well, they’re good for vegan food, I guess…” Not that I’d ever actually received that type of feedback, but I always feared it. I’m a perfectionist, you see.

However, after some wildly successful doughnuts, chocolate chip oat cookies, brownies, thin mints, cinnamon rolls, and now these turtle bars, I’ve finally found my vegan baking confidence. My fears of lukewarm responses are a thing of the past. I can now veganize recipes spontaneously and feel confident that they’ll turn out just as good as the dairy-filled versions!

I hope you guys will enjoy these bars as much as I did. Their familiar taste brought back happy memories of starting this blog–not to mention, they taste even better now because no animals were harmed to make them. (Okay, so the taste is pretty much exactly the same, but with the added psychological warm glow of not hurting cows.)

How ironic that my first post started with a silly disclaimer about not hurting turtles!

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Ingredients:

Dough and toppings:

  • 1.5 cups flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1.75 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup earth balance butter, melted
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips

Caramel ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup earth balance butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the chopped pecans on a tray and toast in the oven for 4-5 minutes until fragrant. Remove from oven and place in a heat-safe bowl with the chocolate chips when done (they’ll start to melt).

2. Prepare the crust: In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, and oats. Add in the melted earth balance and stir until combined. Press 2/3 of the mixture evenly along the bottom of a 13×9″ pan, and bake for 10 minutes.

3. Prepare the caramel: combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and 3/4 cup earth balance in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and let it bubble for about 5 minutes–it should turn darker brown. Then, pour it into the bowl with the pecans and chocolate chips and stir until combined.

4. Spread the caramel-chocolate-pecan mixture evenly over the crust you just baked–be careful not to dislodge any of the crust. Then sprinkle the rest of the flour-oat mixture evenly across the top, and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.

5. Let cool, cut, and enjoy!

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 Recipe: Creamy Tofu Tikka Masala (Vegan)

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Ever since I came to Berkeley three years ago, the biggest obstacle to being 100% vegan was an Indian restaurant called Biryani house. Berkeley is teeming with vegan options, but this place had the absolute best food I’d ever tasted in my life. And that’s a big deal for me, because I’ve had the good fortune of eating at a lot of great restaurants.

I used to go there with friends a couple of times a month to gorge myself on their freshly baked aloo naan, perfectly spiced vegetable biryani, and most importantly, their decadent paneer tikka masala. Unfortunately, my vegan aspirations were dashed due to the fact that their tikka masala not only sported paneer (cubes of Indian cottage cheese), but was also likely drowned in heavy cream.

(Fun fact: my weight seemed to fluctuate along with how often I went there.)

When I finally got more serious about being 100% vegan last year, I had to stop going there. And as if to enforce my self-discipline, it actually closed just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons. A bittersweet moment.

Anyways, getting to the point: I’ve been trying to recreate that tikka masala for quite awhile now. After a few tries–all of which were delicious, but not decadent like theirs–I finally came up with a recipe that tasted almost the same. It’s creamy, spicy, much healthier than its restaurant counterpart, and most importantly, vegan. And I’m pretty darn excited about it.

Now to work on aloo naan recipes!

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Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 400-500g super firm tofu (the kind that is vacuum sealed instead of water packed, and has the density of a block of cheese–I use Tofu Yu. If you can’t find that, try freezing an extra firm block then thawing it out and using it as you would super firm.)
  • 80g cashews (a little less than 3/4 cup), soaked overnight or for a few hours
  • 15oz can of plain tomato sauce
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1-2 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 + cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk (as needed)
  • Handful cilantro
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (more as desired)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika (more as desired)
  • 2 pinches of amchur powder

Directions:

1. Cut up the onion and garlic, and combine them with the tomato sauce in a large pan over medium heat. Add in the cumin, cardamom, coriander, ginger, nutmeg, cayenne, paprika, and amchur powder, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

2. While the sauce is simmering, cut your tofu into cubes, and fry until golden (I used a teaspoon of coconut oil, but you could also do it dry). Remove from heat once golden.

3. After 15 minutes, remove the sauce from heat. Allow to cool (if necessary; I didn’t have to for my vitamix) and blend with the drained cashews until smooth and creamy. Add unsweetened almond or cashew milk as needed to get it to your desired consistency.

4. Combine tofu with sauce in a serving bowl, and serve it with jasmine rice, naan, your preferred grain, or enjoy it solo!

Nutrition info: 

  • Calories per 1/5 of recipe: 230 calories
  • Carbs: 17g (3g fiber)| Protein: 15g | Fat: 13g

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Thanks for reading!

Michelle

 

Recipe: Piñata Burrito Bowl [Vegan]

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I’m starting to fall in love with bulk cooking. Not only am I free from prepping food and dish-washing each and every night, but it leaves me more time and energy for the gym. Talk about a win-win!

For my second bulk dish, I went with a burrito bowl since I’d had burrito cravings for days. The reason I’m calling this particular recipe a piñata bowl is because it’s a bit of an explosion of color–with lots of green, red, and yellow–and is rather pretty to look at. And more importantly, it tasted AMAZING. It lasted me five nights, and I found myself looking forward to it every night. I was sure I’d get bored of eating the same thing even three nights in a row, let alone 5, but this bowl has proven me wrong!

Not only is it delicious, but it’s got plenty of protein and fiber and can be made nearly fat free if you omit the avocado. Perfect for those on a high carb lifestyle, and for those looking to eat a giant burrito equivalent for way fewer calories!

It’s also versatile, since you can substitute veggies as you’d like, as well as brown rice for the quinoa, or other types of bean/protein for the black beans.

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Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup dry (uncooked) quinoa
  • 1 cup dry black beans (or a can of black beans)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one medium lime
  • 3 small summer squashes
  • 2 small zucchinis
  • 2/3 white onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5 big kale leaves
  • 6 fire roasted red peppers (I used piquillo)
  • 1 – 15oz can corn
  • Cumin, salt and pepper
  • Chili powder/cayenne/paprika/chipotle powder (only need one)
  • Avocado, tomato, shredded romaine, and hot sauce/salsa for topping

Directions:

1. Prepare the lime-cilantro quinoa: cook the quinoa according to instructions on the package. It should take less than 15 minutes. Also, rinsing before cooking is recommended to wash off the saponin, which can cause reactions in sensitive people. As it cooks, chop up the cilantro. Once the quinoa is done, combine it with the cilantro and half of the lime juice and salt to taste. Set aside.

2. Prepare the black beans according to instructions on the package. For dried beans, this generally calls for soaking them overnight, draining them an hour before dinnertime, covering them with an inch of water and bringing them to a boil, and gently simmering for one hour. You can also try quick-soaking or just cooking without soaking, but it will take longer. Season with salt.

3. Prepare the veggies: chop up the squash, zucchinis, onion, kale, and peppers. Mince the garlic, and sautee it in a medium-large pot with onion until it begins to turn translucent, over medium heat. Then add the squash, zucchini, and kale. Sautee until tender. Add the peppers and corn, and remove from heat. Add the juice from the other half of the lime, along with 1/2 tsp cumin and 1/2-1 tsp of either chili powder, cayenne, paprika, or chipotle powder. (Or mix and match as you like!) Season with salt and pepper.

4. Prepare toppings: slice up 1/2 avocado and 1 small roma tomato per serving; if serving all at once, use 2.5 avocados and 5 roma tomatoes. Chopped/shredded romaine is also a nice addition, about 1/4-1/3 cup per bowl. Add hot sauce or salsa as desired.

5. Combine the the quinoa, black beans, veggies, and add the toppings. Eat them separately or mix them all up–it tastes great either way!

Nutrition info: 

  • Calories per 1/5 of recipe: 350 calories (450 with 1/2 avocado)
  • Carbs: 65g (14g fiber)| Protein: 16g | Fat: 3g (13g with avocado)

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Recipe: Vegan Pasta Bolognese (with lots of veggies)

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Lately, I’ve been on a mission to simplify my life in the food department. As much as I’ve loved coming up with new recipes every day, it can get exhausting and takes up a lot of time. So a few weeks ago, I decided to do something drastic: make a dinner that would last me for more than one night, rather than making some whole other new dish the next night like I usually would.

And it was a success! Instead of spending an hour cooking an entirely new dinner the next day, I spent that time reading a book and relaxing after a day of midterms. I could get used to this.

The pilot meal was a pasta bolognese, and it was delicious! It’s a super simple weeknight dinner, with leftovers that seem to keep getting better and better. I stored the pasta and veggies separately, and each night just had to combine them with the marinara and “beef” crumbles.

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Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 4oz dry pasta (I used ancient grain penne)
  • Mushrooms, garlic, kale, broccoli, and any other veggies you’d like
  • 1.5 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup Beyond Meat beef crumbles

Directions:

1. Prepare pasta according to directions on the package–will vary by type.

2. Prepare your veggies as you’d like: I roasted brussels sprouts and broccoli in the oven at 400 degrees for ~10-15 mins, and sauteed mushrooms and kale together with garlic.

3. Combine cooked pasta and veggies, marinara sauce, and Beyond meat beef crumbles, and serve hot.

Nutrition info: (using 2 cups of broccoli and kale)

  • Calories per 1/2 of recipe: 420 calories
  • Carbs: 67g (9g fiber)| Protein: 25g | Fat: 7g

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Enjoy your quick and easy weeknight dinner!

Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Chip Sweet Potato Muffins [Low Cal]

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Hello friends! During the last year, I had moved my blogging efforts over to a different fitness blog due to a bit of a lifestyle overhaul, but realized that people are still looking at recipes here every day. I can’t even believe it–I never thought that during such a long period of inactivity, my recipes would warrant so many daily views. I’m floored!

But more importantly, I’m inspired: inspired to come back and share some of my favorite recipes I’ve come up with over the last year, in the hopes that they might prove useful to any of you.

Some changes: I’m now fully vegan, and found a passion for lifting and fitness. And, more relevant to this blog, I’ve been dabbling in high carb, low fat veganism! (Also known as HCLF.) However, I still have tons of fun avocado and nut-filled recipes to share, so there will be all types of vegan food here. But it’ll mostly be healthy and low cal, now. 🙂

So to kick things off, I wanted to share one of my favorite new recipes, from last week: chocolate chip sweet potato muffins. They’re a tad addictive, and my omni friends were shocked that they were vegan (always my test of good vegan food). They were even more surprised when I told them they’re incredibly low cal, too! They’re my new favorite snack when I’m out and about: I’ve been bringing them to class straight from the freezer and they’re perfectly moist and thawed an hour later.

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Makes one dozen small muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour (for gluten free, try buckwheat flour)
  • 1/2 banana
  • 250g sweet potato, baked
  • 1 cup non dairy milk (I used unsweetened soymilk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp splenda, or sweetener of choice
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 -1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

Directions

Ingredient prep: Use pre-baked sweet potato, or bake your own in the oven at 375 degrees F for around 45 minutes, or until soft. If you don’t have oat flour, make your own by grinding 1 cup of oats in a food processor–I like mine slightly course. Remove from food processor to a bowl, and set aside.

1. Combine baked sweet potato with banana, soymilk, and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Add maple syrup and sweetener, and set aside.

2. Combine the flours, baking soda and powder, salt, and spices in a medium sized bowl. Stir in chocolate chips, then add in wet ingredients and stir. If the batter is too dry, add non dairy milk until it’s at muffin-batter consistency.

3. Spoon batter into a standard sized muffin pan–it should fill one dozen cups about 2/3 full.

4. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove muffins to a cooling rack.

Nutrition info: 

  • Calories per muffin: 90
  • Carbs: 16.5g (2g fiber)| Protein: 2.5g | Fat: 1.8g
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If you’re not into the low fat thing, they’re great topped with cashew butter and coconut butter! (And every other nut butter, I’m sure)

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Enjoy!

Michelle

Vegan, Healthy Chocolate Mousse Pie

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Please excuse the ugly, blob-like excuse for a pie–I was lacking a pan. Thankfully it tasted better than it looked!

I am currently on a diet. It’s a sad time for me.

My brother is getting married in two weeks, and I’m going to be a bridesmaid–my goal is to undo most of my “freshman fifteen” by then. (I’m almost halfway done!) Because of this, any opportunity to eat food makes me unnecessarily excited; I keep finding myself spending much of the day dreaming up new recipes I can try and fit into my diet plan to make myself feel like I’m still eating all the gourmet food I want.

This time, I dreamt up a pie. A paleo, gluten free, mostly raw, vegan chocolate mousse pie, to be exact. So I woke up and I fiddled around in the kitchen until that pie-dream became a reality. And it ended up not only being one of the most nutritious breakfasts of all time, but one that tasted like a decadent, explosively calorific dessert.

But it wasn’t all that calorific at all, considering it was filling enough to be both my breakfast and lunch. And it may have earned the title of the best breakfast I’ve ever had. (Though that could just be the diet talking.) Not to mention it has 20 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of protein!

Sadly, my cute mini pans are all back at college, so I couldn’t make the crusts continue up the sides like a normal pie–so these photos weren’t very pretty. But, the experience did prompt me to go buy a mini pan today to keep at home!

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Makes one 6″ pie

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 1 tbsp almond flour
  • 1.5 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed (I used golden)
  • 1 tbsp protein powder (can replace with any of the above ingredients)
  • 1 tbsp chocolate hazelnut butter, or almond butter
  • 1 tbsp or more of coconut, almond, or soymilk
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • **You could also add dates if desired

For the filling:

  • 1/2 banana, sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cold avocado
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8-1/4 cup coconut, almond, or soymilk
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 pinches cinnamon
  • Sweetener and/or salt (optional)
  • Add-ins & topping options: espresso powder, sea salt, coconut shreds, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, dates

Directions

1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the flours, flax seed, protein powder, and salt if desired. Add the nut butter and mix until evenly combined. Add non-dairy milk of your choice until it turns into a dough like consistency; the amount will vary depending on your protein powder.

2. Press crust into a small pie or springform pan, and bake in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until it begins to crisp up and turn golden at the edges.* You can either press the crust just into the bottom of the pan (like I had to for these photos), or have it continue up the sides like a normal pie. Remove from the oven to cool.

3. Make the filling: Place all the filling ingredients (except for toppings) into a food processor and blend until smooth.

4. Once the crust has cooled, spoon the filling into it. Eat it on the spot, or store it in your fridge or freezer. Serve chilled!

*If you want to make it raw, freeze the crust instead.

Calories per pie: ~450

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My makeshift crust, since I didn’t have a proper pan!

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Vegan Caramelized Banana Bread Quinoa Porridge [Low Cal]

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I’ve been in a bit of a breakfast rut lately. I’ve been making brunches for my family every weekend, but I’d never eat those kinds of things on my own: non-vegan french toast and parfaits, oh my! I have my usual avocado berry breakfast smoothie every morning–or occasionally my new tropical bowl, which I’ll have to post another time–but I haven’t come up with a new, vegan, gourmet breakfast recipe in over a week. (That’s a long time for me!) I decided that this had to change. It is summer, after all!

I ended up wanting to go back to my quinoa porridge concept from the last week of the semester. Instead of pumpkin, I turned to a differ flavor I was craving: banana bread. Last weekend, my boyfriend brought me half a loaf of his mom’s (absolutely scrumptious) banana bread, and I managed to eat the entire thing in the span of a few hours. After a huge bread-filled brunch. That’s just not right.

Anyways. I got my banana bread fix in a much, much healthier way that I could actually feel good about. And even though it lacked the refined flours and sugars that the true bread version had, I’d argue that it tastes just as good!

Give it a try–you won’t regret it! If you don’t like quinoa, feel free to sub in your favorite oats.

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Makes a little over a cup, or ~300 mL

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup soy, coconut, or almond milk
  • 1 banana
  • 3 pinches cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Half-pinch of salt (optional)
  • Cashew cream or non-dairy yogurt (optional)
  • 1 tbsp walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
  • Optional add-ins: chia seeds, flax, protein powder

Directions

1. Rinse your quinoa, and pour it along with 3/4 cup water in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Let it cook about 15 minutes, or until you can see the germ ring and it’s soft with an oatmeal-like consistency.

2. Prepare the caramelized banana: cut 5 slices for garnish and set aside, if desired. Mash the rest of the banana. Transfer the slices to a saute pan over medium heat and cook until browned on both sides. Set aside. Put the mash in the pan and saute it until slightly browned and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes.

3. Prepare the cream topping (optional): Mix cashew cream or yogurt with 1/2 tsp maple syrup and a pinch of cinnamon.

4. Once the quinoa is soft, add the mashed banana and your milk of choice until it’s at your desired consistency. If you add too much, you can just cook it down again. Add the nutmeg, 1/2 tsp maple syrup, and 2 pinches of cinnamon, or to taste.

5. Pour into a bowl and top with the maple cream, walnuts, and caramelized banana slices.

Calories: 325 without walnuts and yogurt; ~400 with

Enjoy your fancy (but easy to make) breakfast!

Michelle

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