Tuesday, July 19, 2016

10 Vegan Recipes Worthy of a Cookout

For the non-animal product eating, summer cookouts can occasionally feel, how shall we say, limiting: ribs! Burgers! Cheeseburgers! Ice cream! Potato salad swimming in mayonnaise! This — despite an otherwise excellent selection of picnic sides — can be a little discouraging. But! Cookouts need not be so — and vegan folks need not just linger by the spread of side dishes hoping for an ear of corn or a frozen veggie burger, either.

Here are 10 delicious vegan recipes from Food 52's Gena Hamshaw worthy of a summer afternoon barbecue:

Creamy Vegan Avocado Potato Salad


Tempeh Kebabs with Homemade BBQ Sauce

Sweet, tangy homemade barbecue sauce is a perfect complement to the nutty, earthy taste of tempeh. 

Grilled Avocado Halves with Cumin-Spiced Quinoa and Black Bean Salad 

Creamy, satisfying avocado meets a hassle-free, versatile quinoa salad that works on its own as an anytime summer side dish.


Black Bean and Corn Burgers

These veggie burgers are a little bit spicy, thanks to a mixture of paprika, cumin, and chili, and a little bit sweet, thanks to fresh summer corn. 


Penne with Sweet Summer Vegetables, Pine Nuts, and Herbs

Think of this recipe as summer in a bowl. The sweet corn, bursting cherry tomatoes, and tender zucchini lighten up a savory, satisfying bowl of pasta. 


Vegan Sweet Potato Biscuits

A sweet or savory spin on biscuits that feature sweet potato for a tender, moist interior and a very pretty golden color.


Vegan Summer Succotash

The combination of sweet vegetables and buttery coconut oil makes this easy dinner an irresistible delight.


 Perfect Vegan Pie Crust

This pie crust is totally authentic and yet totally dairy free -- all thanks to the magic of coconut oil. 


Strawberry Vanilla Coconut Ice Cream

This rich, dreamy ice cream -- which no one would ever guess is vegan -- benefits from fresh ingredients: seasonal, freshly picked strawberries and fresh vanilla bean. 


No-Fuss Vegan Cornbread 

This cornbread is a perfect balance of savory and sweet, rich and light.


[via Food 52]

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

26 Vegan Recipes For Comfort Food

1. Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze: Two Ways
Butternut squash pureed into macaroni and cheese just sounds like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it? It is also a fun way to sneak in another veggie. Get the recipe here.


2. Nirvana Enchilada Casserole 
Layers of corn tortilla sopping up spicy, fragrant, red sauce then overstuffed with mushroom, pinto beans and roasted potatoes. On top is a voluptuous cashew creme that will have you rolling your eyes to the back of your head like a zombie. An enchilada zombie.

3. Matzo Ball Soup
These matzo balls are firm and hold together awesomely well. They’re soft on the outside, but delightfully dense and toothsome in the middle. Try it out for yourself.

4. Tofu Popcorn Chick’n (+ it's gluten free)
This tofu chick’n recipe is so versatile. You can eat them on their own as popcorn chick’n or nuggets. You can put it in a wrap or a sandwich, on a pizza – so many possibilities! Try it!

5. Broccoli & Cheeze Soup
Why should dairy eaters have all the creamed soup fun? Create this delicious vegan option, instead.

6. Almost Famous Fried Pickles
It’s hard to believe the pickle can be improved upon, until you fry it up and taste it for yourself. Get the recipe here.

7. Peanut Butter Banana Chip Cookies
In this amazing recipe the sugar content is fairly low. They aren’t cakey, but not too crisp either. Somewhere in the middle with a pleasant crunch and a complex sweetness. And of course, they have a lovely peanut buttery undertone.

8. Mushroom Stout Pie With Potato Biscuits
A fluffy potato biscuit soaking up a deeply savory gravy that is at once mysterious and familiar. The stout really gives this dish an allure, and two kinds of mushrooms make it meaty and earthy and just umami like nobody’s business. And ya know, for a special occasion, it’s not too fussy.

9. Crispy Baked Onion Rings
Crispy, flavorful, and good-for-you, these onion rings make a great snack or addition to any meal. I could also see a big batch of these being made for a party served with a homemade dip. Can also be made gluten-free.

10. Vegetable Lasagna With Kale, Beluga Lentils & Carrots
This delicious lasagna recipe will make you forget about meat and cheese with kale and lentils!! Get the recipe here.

11. Creamed Kale
Nondairy milk and cashews combine to create a creamy sauce for kale or your favorite leafy greens. Try it for yourself!

12. Homemade Vegan Caesar Cocktail
Is this a vegan version of a Caesar cocktail or is it an adapted version of the Bloody Mary? I can’t decide. Whatever you call it, this is one fantastic drink with a whopping 4 servings of vegetables per 500 ml glass. Be sure to add the seasonings to taste and you can’t go wrong. Bottom's up!

13. Chocolate Cupcakes With Avocado Chocolate Icing
They say avocados and chocolate are brain foods right? (I don’t know who says, but it seems like something I might have read somewhere). I know it sounds weird and maybe a little gross to put them together but it actually works to make really thick and rich chocolatey frosting. Try out this recipe.

14. Creamy Polenta And Mushrooms
Creamy polenta, chickpeas and a mix of sautéed mushrooms & tarragon. This recipe is sure to be a main stay.

15. Mushroom “Alfredo”
Almonds blended with almond milk make a rich sauce for this vegan pasta dish. We like the flavor and smooth texture of spelt pasta and the way rotini traps the sauce, but feel free to substitute your favorite pasta. Get the recipe here.

16. Mozzarella Sticks
For the full diner experience, crack open a jar of pickles, whip up some vegan milkshakes, and make sure you have marinara sauce on hand. And remember, all food tastes better around 2AM. Dig into the recipe here.

 17. Double Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
A double dose of cinnamon gives these cookies a wonderful spicy aroma and even bigger cinnamon flavor.  Try them out now!

18. Vegan Chili
Hearty, healthy, and always ready to make you happy, this chili makes for a dependable partner. Whip up a batch with this popular recipe.

19. The Philly Reuben Sandwich 
A hefty sandwich, filled with sauerkraut and tangy Russian dressing that oozed out of the edges of the sandwich with each bite. Filled with marinated seitan and wrapped in warm rye bread. Try the recipe yourself

20. Spinach “Chicotta” Stuffed Pasta Shells
“Chicotta” is a new creation that will change the way you look at plant-based cheeses. It’s a ricotta-like cheese made from… chickpeas! With just some chickpeas and a few other simple ingredients, you can whip up the creamiest and most delicious non-dairy cheese you’ve ever tasted. Try this recipe tonight.

21. Miso Shitake Soba Soup
This soup is full of warming healing ingredients (shiitakes, ginger, miso, etc)… and would be the perfect thing if you’re under the weather… figuratively or quite literally. Get the recipe here.

22. Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich
Being a sandwich, this is totally a legit lunch. Grab a pink of Trader Joe's "Soy Creamy" vegan vanilla ice cream! Get the recipe here.

23. Creamy Broccoli And Mushroom Pasta
The vegan parmesan goes so well with the creamy mushrooms, the salty broccoli and the toasted pine nuts with the touch of heat from the red chili flakes. Yum yum yum! Try this recipe tonight!

24. Butterfinger Candy
This recipe is very simple, but you need to know two things before we begin: you must have a candy thermometer for this recipe, and you must read through the entire recipe before you start. Everything comes together quickly, and I certainly don’t wish a candy disaster on anyone.

25. Vegan Big Mac
Not only is this burger healthier and yummier than the original, it is also extremely easy and crazily filling! What a great way to impress your dinner guests with a vegan Big Mac! Try this recipe now!

26. Easy Cheezy Pizza
Nothing beats a yummy cheezy pizza…. Mmmmmm.  Get the recipe here.

[via Buzzfeed]

Friday, May 13, 2016

8 Healing Herbs You Can Grow

Please note: Healing herbs are not meant to be medicinal, and that you must be careful that any plant you ingest is safe for you and your family.

1. Chamomile

Chamomile is known by almost everyone for it’s ability to ease us into sleep, when steeped into a tea. It also is used for stomach upset. Dry the flowers for long term storage in ziploc bags, or use them fresh steeped into a tea. This is a gentle herb that can be used for children as well.

The best variety to grow, and the most commonly used for tea is German Chamomile. This is an annual that grows into a bushy plant about 2 feet tall. It prefers well draining soil, full sun to part shade, and moderate water. Chamomile is easy to grow from seed.

2. Feverfew

Feverfew (Tanacetum) has had some scientific studies done on it’s use for migraine headaches, with some positive results. Brewed into a tea, feverfew is best used as a preventative for migraines.

Grow Feverfew from seed, sprinkled onto the soil in early spring. Like Chamomile, it needs light to germinate, so don’t cover, just water in. Give it plenty of sun and you will be rewarded with hundreds of tiny button daisy flowers on a 20 inch bush. This is also an annual, but tends to self seed liberally. Also like Chamomile, brew flowers into a tea.

3. Lavender

Lavender is used to ease tension, and is generally used in aromatherapy… that is, the scent is used in oils and infusions. It is also edible, the flowers being used in salads or drinks, and can also be brewed into any tea.

Easy to grow, lavender loves the sun, and is drought resistant. It does fine in poor soil, but the soil must be well drained. It will not tolerate heavy soil. Several different types and colors are available , the most common is English Lavender, but French Lavender and Spanish Lavender are popular as well, although less hardy. The varieties bloom at slightly different times, but usually from later spring through mid summer, with another short flush in the fall.  A short lived perennial, it will come back for several years, but will then tend to die back, stating in the center of the plant. Luckily, you will find many volunteers popping up ready to take it’s place. Did we mention, it’s gorgeous as well?

4. Peppermint

Peppermint is one of the tummy trouble remedies I actually use, and so do my kids… It really does help relieve nausea and even stomach cramps. It can be energizing as well.

Peppermint is an aggressive plant that can take over a garden if you let it! Although I love growing any kind of mint, if you don’t want to be pulling it like a weed, plant it in pots. Prefers afternoon shade in hot areas, can tolerate some shade in any area. Perennial that comes back every year. Grows best in fertile, moist soil. Flowers are not showy. Foliage is aromatic, and leaves are edible in salads, sauces and can even be frozen in ice cubes to refresh cold drinks.

5. Thyme (Thymol)

Thyme is a powerful antiseptic and astringent. Used for coughs and sore throats, it is gargled with or made into a tea, usually in combination with other herbs. Also used as a disinfectant spray.

Thyme is an herb that has become popular with several decorative varieties in the last few years, including one of my favorites, ‘Doone Valley Thyme’ with its pink flowers. Flowers are tiny but plentiful, and the plant loves sun and tolerates drought. Varieties exist from the low growing ‘creeping Thyme’, to the parent variety, common thyme. Common thyme has been said to have the highest level of Thymol, or oils. A semi woody shrub, it is useful in the garden as well as the kitchen.  Easy plant to grow.

6. Garlic

Garlic is one of those herbs that continues to prove it’s health benefits. Long known for it’s cardiovascular health benefits, it is also used as an anti viral and anti fungal… In my opinion, the best way to take advantage of the healing powers of garlic is to cook with it!

Garlic is easy to grow, especially if you already grow vegetables. Each clove from a garlic bulb will grow into it’s own bulb, and yes, you can plant from grocery store garlic. Simply soak them in a jar of water with a tablespoon of baking soda before planting, to prevent fungal diseases.

Plant garlic in fall, and allow to overwinter. In June or July, when the green stalks are 3/4 brown, gently dig up bulbs and tie together several bunches, then hang to dry. Store in a dry, cool place. Make really good pasta!

7. Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is used in a tea for anxiety. Just pick the leaves as desired and brew.

Grow lemon balm in  partly shady area for best results. Rich, moist soil will give you the best plants with the highest amount of oils in the leaves. Being a tender perennial, it will not survive any but the modest winters.

8. Parsley

Lastly, we have parsley. More than a garnish at the side of the plate, parsley helps cleanse the liver, flush the system of excess water and soothes the stomach.

Parsley prefers part shade and rich soil, and does well grown indoors in a sunny windowsill. I prefer to grow the flat leaved variety. Give afternoon shade in hot areas. Harvest by cuttings leaves as needed.

Monday, April 18, 2016

What To Eat In Springtime

The fast procession of Spring blossoms is dizzying -- Acacia and Loquats, Anemones and Redbuds, Violets, Primroses, Bluebonnets and Black Eyed Susans; Irises, Pear Trees, and snow white Yarrow. The flowers of this Season are too many to name. Come Springtime, there is just no stopping the momentum which propels all of life forward.

It is this incredible burst of green life which makes Spring the most opportune time to gather wild edibles and brew daily teas from the herbs growing just beyond your door. It is these plants which thrive in Springtime which have an astounding ability to reawaken the body and sharpen the mind, in preparation for the coming season of fullness. It is a time of deep green nourishment, and we hope you will join us, in drinking deep of all that spring has to offer through this verdant introduction to our favorite seasonal wild foods.


Viola spp.

Parts Used  //  Leaf + Flower
Energetics  //  Cool + Moist
Herbal Actions  //  Demulcent, Astringent, Vulnerary, Alterative, Nutritive

Violet tops the list of our favorite Spring edibles.  The leaves are pleasingly succulent and satisfying eaten raw and the flowers are mellow but fragrant with a subtle sweetness to them.  Wildcrafted Violet leaves + flowers are two of the star ingredients in our Healing Breast Oil. Used externally, this blossoming beauty helps to keep the lymph flowing smoothly, relieves tenderness and swelling, helps to prevent and resolve lumps, bumps, and other growths, and increases the suppleness and resilience of the skin of the breasts and nipples.  Also called Heartsease, due to both the shape of its leaves and its affinity for gladdening a heavy heart, Violets help to bring a subtle brightness back to the world during bouts of ennui.  Enjoy leaves and flowers eaten fresh on the trail or added to salads.  The Leaves can also be made into a truly unique pesto with an incredibly unique and indescribably delicious demulcent quality.  They're particularly rich in vitamins A and C and help to keep digestion and elimination regular with their nourishing mucilage.

Stinging Nettle

Urtica spp.

Parts Used  //  Leaves
Energetics  //  Drying, Stimulating
Herbal Actions  //  Anti-Inflammatory, Nutritive, Alterative, Rubafacient, Diuretic

Nettles is, perhaps, the most famous and infamous of all herbs.  Those who meet it unsuspectingly in the wild, don't soon forget their encounter.  The sting of nettles lingers for up to twenty four hours and can be likened to an electric buzzing as it dissipates. Historically, some have taken advantage of this irritating quality and intentionally undergone what is referred to as Urtication (for the latin, Urtica spp.).  Urtication involves intentionally stinging oneself with Nettles in order to bring circulation and immune factors to a certain part of the body.  It has been used to counteract joint pain, numbness (I can only laugh at this...), baldness, and more spiritual ills which have driven the Soul from a certain part of the body.  While I have never personally undergone Urtication, I am curious about attempting it on my increasingly overtaxed right thumb (thank you, iPhone),

Nettle is incredibly rich in minerals -- most notably calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron -- making it useful for addressing a wide range of complaints including adrenal fatigue, spasmodic cramping, anemia, and general weakness.  It is one of our favorite herbs to enjoy as a nourishing infusion and it combines well with Raspberry Leaf and Oatstraw for this purpose.   Note :: Do not try to eat this plant fresh unless you have been shown how by someone who has done so and remained unscathed.  Do not harvest leaves plant has gone to seed.  Enjoy the fresh leaves as a strong infusion or cook them with olive oil, garlic, and spinach for a real treat. Dried leaves can be powdered and added, to smoothies at a later date.  Oh, and we cannot sing the praises of our Wild Onion + Nettle Seed Finishing Salt loudly enough.  It is so good.


Stellaria media

Parts Used // Aerial Parts
Energetics // Cooling
Herbal Actions // Nutritive, Vulnerary, Demulcent, Diuretic, Anti-Inflammatory, Alterative

Chickweed is a true darling of Springtime.  It often grows in close quarters with Cleavers and the two make a winning combination as a daily tea to breathe life back into the body after a long winter's rest.  Chickweed is also a favorite herb to infuse in oils and salves for its incredible skin healing properties.  Used both internally as a tea or food and externally as a wash, salve, or oil, it is one of the finest plant allies for resolving longstanding skin conditions.  It combines particularly well with Dandelion and Rose to this end, particularly when the underlying cause is hepatic.  Easy to digest yet incredibly nutrient dense, it is a favorite food for restoring the body after illness or convalescence.  Super Abundant in most places where it grows, Chickweed can be enjoyed daily in salads, smoothies, and pestos.


Lamium amplexicaule

Parts Used // Aerial Parts
Energetics // Mildly Cooling
Herbal Actions // Nutritive, Astringent, Vulnerary

Henbit is, at first glance, a diminutive and innocuous plant.  It grows tenaciously through cracks in city sidewalks, covers lawns and parks, and unfortunately, goes mostly unnoticed even by plant lovers.  It's taste is mild and mineral and its small purple flowers possess a subtly sweet nectar and seem to have a sense of humor about the world.  Add it to pestos, infuse it in vinegar, or enjoy it to other spring greens raw or cooked.  The entire plant is edible and quite tasty.  A strong infusion of the entire plant can be used as a compress to soothe bites, stings, mild skin irritations, and swellings.  And, as the name implies, Hens love it.


Tradescantia spp.

Parts Used // Leaf, Stalk, and Flower
Energetics // Cool + Moist
Herbal Actions // Demulcent, Vulnerary, Nutritive

This succulent and mild blossom is coming up through the sidewalks and blooming in thickets in lawns and on by ways. She is cool and moist, sweet and tender. With a distinctly nourishing and demulcent quality, she balances the Vata nature of Spring with ease. Her prolific flowers can be enjoyed raw in salads or smoothies and and the young leaves and shoots can be cooked along with wild onions. Due to the mucilaginous quality of this plant (think okra) it can be added to soups, stews, and gumbos as a thickener. Additionally, this mucilage lends a cooling soothing quality making Spiderwort a great choice for helping to heal mild burns in a manner much like Aloe Vera. Pro tip, eat a few flowers along the trail and see what color they turn your spit!


Gallium aparine

Parts Used // Above Ground Parts
Energetics // Cool + Dry
Herbal Actions // Vulnerary, Lymphatic, Diuretic, Nutritive,  Alterative, Anti-Inflammatory

Cleavers encourages the flow of lymph throughout the body and can help to resolve fibrocystic tissue.  Helpful both internally as a tea and externally as a wash for eruptive skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and boils.  This incredibly prolific plant has an affinity for the urinary tract and kidneys and acts as a stimulating and soothing diuretic in cases of infection.  A relative of the dye plant Madder, the roots can be used to produce a red dye -- though this seems a futile endeavor considering the pithiness of the roots.  Enjoy above ground parts as a daily infusion to support lymphatic health in spring or combine with Turks Cap Leaf + Flower and drink freely as a strong infusion for irritation or infection of the urinary tract.

Wild Arugula

Eruca sativa

Parts Used // Young Leaves + Flowers
Energetics // Warm + Dry
Herbal Actions // Digestive, Warming, Aperient, Nutritive

Wild Arugula is a real treat in its immature "micro" stage. Peppery and stimulating, it makes the perfect addition to any late Winter meal. I especially enjoy it sprinkled over eggs, added to beans and rice, or as a simple salad tossed with lemon and oil and backed within a roasted winter squash. It can be enjoyed mature as well but becomes increasingly spicy as it grows larger. Try it in this state thinly sliced, sautéed, and added to a kale salad with bacon, dates, and blood oranges. One of the first flowers to emerge on the cusp of Winter and Spring -- the bright yellow blossoms make a for a sunny garnish when most edible flowers are still months away.

Wild Onions

Allium spp.

Wild Onions are one of the first feral foods to appear in Spring.  I am here in Central Texas, in Austin, where I was born and raised, and these tender alliums are everywhere!  My mother's lives just up the street from a remarkably vital stretch of water and wild.  Less than a quarter mile from a medium sized highway, this natural sanctuary so tucked away, feels like my own private Eden whenever I come to visit her.  The diversity of wild foods and medicines which thrive in this small haven is astounding.  The Wild Onions are some of the first to find their way onto my plate in Spring, along with cheerful dandelions blossoms and their delicious bitter greens.  Then there are the diminutive and tart Oxalis leaves, the creeping Dewberry now in bloom, the overgrown mats of Cleavers, and the Pecans overhead just beginning to leaf out. There are also sizable Trout in good numbers in the creek, and though I'm not yet much of an angler, they've piqued my curiosity.  All of  this against a backdrop of what is to me, an iconic Springtime vision -- a profusion of edible magenta blossoms covering the Redbud trees.

Harvesting wild onions is a deliciously grounding way to reconnect with the Earth as she grows more fertile with each passing day of Spring. I recommend finding a patch of damp earth, dappled with sun and shade, and placing one palm flat on the ground as you gently coax each bulb from its subterranean resting place. The soft sound and gentle release as the roots succumb to the pull of your hand, moving from soil to sunlight, is marvelously wholesome and satisfying. It is also a resplendent thing to have your fingers covered in wild dirt. I like to leave just a little bit of it on the bulbs rather than washing them too thoroughly. I am a strong believer that a little dirt is very good for you. If that sounds strange, I encourage you read more about that here.


Taraxacum officinale

Parts Used // Entire Plant
Energetics // Warm + Dry
Herbal Actions // Digestive, Hepatic, Aperient, Nutritive, Diuretic, Alterative

First and foremost, Dandelion is an excellent nutritive herb. Useful as both a food and a medicine, Dandelion is remarkably mineral rich and high in antioxidants A + C making it useful in some forms of anemia as well as for strengthening bones + teeth. The implications of including wild and mineral rich greens in your daily diet cannot be overstated--eat a salad of of Dandelion leaves and blossoms each day of Spring and you will surely notice a marked shift in your mood, cognitive function, energy, skin, digestion, and general connection to all that is Wild, within and without.

The leaves of the Dandelion are a potent diuretic which, unlike diuretic medications, works to replenish the minerals (read :: potassium) lost through urination and ultimately to strengthen the kidneys and entire urinary tract through its careful use.  Because of its diuretic effect, Dandelion is an excellent choice for treating Urinary Tract Infections when combined with increased fluid intake and soothing herbs such as Marshmallow Root or Cornsilk--an infusion of the leaves is preferred for this application.  The entire plant, but particularly the root, acts on the system as a mild laxative, or aperient.  It helps to move sluggish bowels, making it an excellent choice for the change of seasons.  Its regular use improves liver function significantly and can therefore have a profound and lasting effect on skin conditions, hormonal imbalances, and even conditions as significant as Hepatitis.  Through its action on the liver, Dandelion effectively cleanses the blood and supports optimal lipid and hormone metabolism.  The bitter taste of the herb itself speaks volumes about its uses.  The powerful bitter flavor promotes bile secretion and soothes indigestion--particularly when the imbalance is caused by impaired fat absorption and digestion.  Greasy stool is a strong indication that Dandelion may be of great use.  The root of Dandelion is also incredibly high in Inulin--a complex sugar which nourishes the beneficial bacteria in our intestinal tract.  Healthy gut flora effects everything from cognitive function to auto-immune processes, so drink up.  To optimize Inulin extraction, a long slow decoction of the root is preferred--combine with Marshmallow Root (soothing and nourishing to the intestinal tract) and Burdock Root (also full of Inulin) for a heavy hitting dose of the good stuff!

Note // Proper identification is of paramount importance. Please consult a
field guide or local wild foods expert before harvesting any new plants you not familiar with. Additionally, always ask permission and offer sincere thanks to the plants for their sustenance.