One-Pot Lentil Sloppy Joes

By the Gracious Vegan

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I hope I’ve nailed this one. It’s trickier than I thought it would be. The texture can go from underdone to mushy in a heartbeat. Green lentils work best because they hold their shape better than brown or red. The spicing needs to be mild but strong, without any single flavor dominating. You can add some tomato sauce if you want it saucier and more chili powder (or smoked paprika or chipotle powder) if you want it spicier. This is a family-friendly recipe and great for summer dinners. And only one pot to clean up!

Makes enough for 5-6 Sloppy Joes

Water-sauté the following ingredients in a Dutch oven or other large pan until the onion and peppers are just tender, about 5 minutes. 

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 2 Anaheim peppers or 1 green bell pepper, diced

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced

Add the lentils and water and bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer (covered) until lentils are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Make sure the lentils are cooked through. There should be just a little water on the bottom of the pan when you are done.

  • 1 cup green (French) lentils

  • 2.5 cups water

Add the following ingredients, stir, and simmer (uncovered) until the sauce thickens, 3-5 minutes.

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder

  • 1 Tablespoon prepared yellow mustard (not dried)

  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons oregano

  • 1.5 teaspoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Serve in buns with optional toppings.

  • 6 whole-grain hamburger buns

  • Shredded red cabbage

  • Sliced green onions

  • Coleslaw

  • Dill pickles

 Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: about 50 minutes

Gluten-free if gluten-free buns are used

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One-Pot Cheesy Chili Macaroni

By the Gracious Vegan

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This recipe is fast, easy, and delicious. In about 30 minutes you have a healthy, satisfying entree for dinner that the whole family will love. And it brings the added bonus of only one pot to clean afterwards. You could add another can of beans if you want it beanier.

Makes 8 servings

Water-sauté the following ingredients in a large pot (at least a 4-quart size) until the vegetables are just tender.

  • 1 small-medium onion, cut into small dice

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 bell pepper (your choice of color), diced

Add the following ingredients into the pan in the order below. Cover the pan, bring to a boil, turn down to simmer and cook for 10 minutes, gently stirring occasionally, making sure to keep all the pasta covered with water.

  • 3 cups dried elbow macaroni (12 ounces) (whole grain or legume-based recommended)

  • 4 cups red enchilada sauce (store-bought or homemade)

  • 3 cups vegetable broth

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Add the following ingredients and cook, uncovered, until the sauce is a good consistency, 3-6 minutes.

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I prefer fresh cashew milk: 1/3 raw cashews and 1 cup of water blended until the cashews are completely dissolved)

  • 1 (15-ounce) can cooked beans of your choice (pinto, black, kidney, etc.), drained and rinsed 

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 30 minutes

Gluten-free if gluten-free pasta is used

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Hot and Creamy Artichoke and Spinach Dip 

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By the Gracious Vegan

Most recipes for artichoke and spinach dip are loaded with two or three kinds of cheeses and a lot mayonnaise. A calorie bomb! This one tastes great with no dairy products or mayonnaise. The cashews and tofu give it creaminess, and the nutritional yeast and miso provide the cheesy flavors. Serve it with some good bread and it will be a hit!

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a blender, blend the following ingredients until smooth (actually, it’s fine if the cashews are not fully smooth).  

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk 

  • 3/8 cup raw cashews (unsoaked)

  • 1/2 cup silken tofu

  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

  • 1.5 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 1 Tablespoon white or yellow miso

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp dry (ground) mustard

  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Add artichokes and spinach. If you like relatively large artichoke chunks, stir them in by hand. If you like smaller chunks, add them to the blender and pulse a few times. 

  • 1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts (not packed in oil), drained and rinsed

  • 1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-squeezed out (or 6-7 ounces fresh baby spinach, steamed or microwaved and squeezed out)

Transfer the mixture to an oven-proof baking dish, and bake for about 20 minutes, until the top starts to turn brown. 

Timing: About 35 minutes, including pre-heating the oven

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO


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Roasted Mini-Peppers Stuffed with Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

By the Gracious Vegan

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Looking for an elegant appetizer? Look no further. The first thing I love about these is the taste—the combination of mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes is a favorite of mine, and they shine against the ricotta-like base that holds everything together. The second thing is the sturdiness—they don’t fall apart—because of the cornstarch. A little goes a long way. The third thing is the way the mini peppers get roasted without oil. The oven temp and the timing work out incredibly well.

Makes 20 mini pepper halves

Line a baking sheet pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Blend the following ingredients in a small chopper or food processor until well blended. The cashews will not be perfectly smooth, which is okay. 

  • 1/2 cup silken tofu

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews (unsoaked)

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt 

Separately, chop the following ingredients together in a food processor until finely chopped. Then water-sauté them in a skillet or microwave them until the mushrooms’ liquid evaporates, 3-5 minutes.

  • 2 cups (4-5 ounces) white mushrooms (button, cremini, or mini-portabella)

  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), chopped 

  • 1 clove garlic

Stir the tofu mixture into the vegetables. 

Lay the mini pepper halves on the sheet pan and stuff them with the filling.

  • 10 mini peppers, cut in half lengthwise – do not top them, do not remove the stem. Just remove the seeds.

Bake for 20-24 minutes until the mixture is a shade darker and looks set.

Garnish and serve.

Nutrition: Whole-food, unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 45 minutes (30 minutes hands-on)


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Brownies with Peanut Butter Swirl

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By the Gracious Vegan

I owe the base recipe to Forks over Knives, although I introduced the date paste to replace half of the maple syrup. The peanut butter swirl satisfies the craving for salty-sweet and, for me, makes the flavor deeper and more satisfying. You could go whole hog and serve these squares as a dessert with chocolate banana ice cream and my healthy, delicious chocolate sauce

Makes one 8-inch-square pan of brownies

Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, extending paper over the edges. 

Wet ingredients. In a small bowl or in a measuring cup, fork-whisk together the following ingredients.

  • 2/3 cup date paste (or you could use another 1/3 cup of maple syrup in addition to what's called for below)

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

  • 2 Tablespoons smooth almond butter

  • 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry ingredients. In a medium bowl sift together the following ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Peanut butter swirl. In a separate smaller bowl, fork-whisk the following ingredients together. 

  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (I like smooth)

  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 Tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Add the applesauce mixture into the flour-cocoa mixture and stir until just combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Drop the peanut butter mixture onto the brownie batter in about 8-9 dollops. Use a knife to swirl and feather it lightly into the top of the brownie batter. 

Bake for 30-33 minutes or until firm. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then lift the uncut brownies out of the pan with the edges of the parchment paper. Let the brownies cool another 5-10 minutes before eating, or let them cool completely. 

Timing: About 50 minutes, then cooling time.

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

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Pasta with Arugula in a Creamy Lemon Sauce

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By the Gracious Vegan

This recipe started with a Barefoot Contessa dish. She used oil, heavy cream, and dairy parmesan. I got rid of all those and re-built the method as well. The peppery arugula holds it own again the velvety lemon-infused sauce. The combination is strong and very pleasing. 

Makes 5 servings

Cashew cream.Soak the cashews in cold water for at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let soak 20 minutes. (You can skip this step if you have a high-speed blender.)

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews

Drain them, put them in the blender with water, and liquefy for 30 seconds to several minutes until absolutely smooth. Set aside.

  • 3/4 cup water

Pasta. Start the pasta water. When it is boiling (as you work on the sauce and vegetables) add the pasta and cook according to package directions. 

  • 8 ounces pasta such as rotini (spirals), penne, or other (whole wheat or other whole grain or legume-based)

Sauce and vegetables.Cook the garlic and broccoli in a Dutch oven or other large pot for 3-4 minutes (covered, with several Tablespoons of water added), until tender. 

  • 1 clove garlic, minced or grated

  • 3-4 cups broccoli florets

Add the following ingredients to the garlic and broccoli. Stir. Add more water as needed to create a creamy sauce. Cook until heated through and the arugula has wilted. 

  • The cashew cream

  • 5 ounces of fresh baby arugula

  • 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes

  • Zest and juice of one lemon

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper

Add the pasta to the sauce and toss them together. Serve with 

Timing: About 25 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO

Gluten-free if gluten-free pasta used

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Silky Swiss Chard and Zucchini Soup

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By the Gracious Vegan

This beautiful green soup is packed with nutrients from the Swiss chard, zucchini, and beans. The texture is also very pleasing, which is why I called it “silky.” You can play with the spicing—more lemon juice, more crushed red pepper flakes, as you like.

Makes 7 servings (10 cups) 

Water-sauté the onions and Swiss chard stems until they are soft (start with a couple tablespoons of water and add more if needed), 5-7 minutes.

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • Chopped stems from a large bunch of white-stemmed Swiss chard (a typical bunch weighs around 1 pound) (red chard makes the soup brown, so I avoid it)

Add the following ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook around 7 minutes after it starts boiling, until the Swiss chard is soft but still green and the zucchini is tender.

  • 4 cups vegetable broth, store-bought, homemade, or from bouillon cubes or powder

Roughly chopped leaves from the Swiss chard bunch

  • 2 medium zucchinis, topped and sliced

  • 1 can (drained and rinsed) cannellini or other white beans

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more)

Sir in the lemon juice.

  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, or more to taste

Puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until perfectly smooth or in a regular blender in batches (return it to the pot). (My immersion blender does not achieve a smooth enough texture; I have to use the Vitamin.)

Taste and add more lemon juice or crushed red pepper, if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with vegan crema, if desired. 

Timing: Around 40 minutes, including prep time

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO


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Creamy Collard Greens Puree 

Creamy Collard Greens Puree in a baked sweet potato

Creamy Collard Greens Puree in a baked sweet potato

By the Gracious Vegan

This puree is great as a side dish, but has so many other possible uses: on baked potatoes, crackers, bread, pasta, or pizza, or as part of a bowl or quesadilla, or snuggled next to stewed tomatoes, mashed potatoes, or rice pilaf. Yum! 

Makes 2.5 cups of puree (8-10 servings as a side)

Trim the stems from the collard greens. If the leaves are large, cut them in half or quarters.  (You can either compost the stems or finely slice them and add them to the Instant Pot.)

  • About 1.5 pounds of collard greens (two medium-large bunches)

Put the steam rack in the Instant Pot, add a cup of water, then stack the leaves in a pile. Close the top and use the steam setting for 5 minutes. Quick-release after 10 minutes or so. 

Transfer the steamed collard greens to the food processor. Add the following ingredients.

  • 2 teaspoons tahini

  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (to your taste)

Process until a puree texture is reached. You may need to add a little water, and you may need to stop and scrape down the sides once or twice. 

Timing: Around 30 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO


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Fabulous Tomato Bruschetta Without Oil

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These bruschetta originated in New Jersey, where the local summer tomatoes are the tastiest imaginable. Most bruschetta recipes called for chopped tomatoes, but this one uses slices of tomatoes. If you have homegrown or local tomatoes, using tomato slabs will make a divine difference. In Oregon we don’t have the bonanza of tomatoes like Jersey, but I can find excellent large cherry tomatoes throughout the summer and occasionally some large tomatoes. The original approach for these called for pan-frying the bread in oil. I’ve found you can get the same effect with a mixture of tahini and water. Tahini also plays a crucial role in the drizzle. No oil here, but no sacrifice either.

Makes 10 bruschetta—can be adjusted up or down

First, on a cookie sheet, make the “loaded” tomato slices. 

Lay out the tomato slices on the cookie sheet.

  • 10 large tomato slices, about 1/2” thick

Season each tomato slice with 

  • Salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

Spread garlic and shallots on each tomato slice.

  • Very finely chopped garlic and shallots mixed together (1 large clove garlic and about the equivalent amount of shallot)

Then, on top of the garlic and shallots, spoon on

  • Very finely chopped basil and parsley (about 3/8 cup of leaves each, then chop them)

Finally, drizzle this quick dressing on top right before serving. (Whisk them or shake them together in a small bowl or jar.)

  • 3 Tablespoons water

  • 1 Tablespoon tahini

  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar (use the expensive stuff if you have it)

Toast the bread and finish the bruschetta. 

Instead of using oil, mix or whisk tahini and water together in a small bowl to create a thin sauce.

  • 1.5 Tablespoons water

  • 1 Tablespoon tahini

Preheat a large non-stick skillet and/or a griddle. Brush bread on both side with the tahini-water mixture. 

  • 10 slices of great bread. Breads called “battards” work well. French bread too. (Italian and ciabatta loaves tend to have too many air holes.) 

Pan-fry the slices on the first side. When they are just brown, flip them over. While the bottom browns, put a loaded tomato slice onto each one and let that warm a little bit. 

Timing: Under 30 minutes. Once you start toasting the bread in the pan, these will take about 10 minutes. 

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free bread

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Lemony Kale Rice

By the Gracious Vegan

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This recipe started from one of the many recipes for “green rice,” which usually use parsley for the green. They also often call for a lot of butter. I wanted to engineer a solution with kale as the “green” and without butter or oil. It definitely took some experimentation, but I think I’ve hit it. The key is a white sauce made with cashews and tofu. Delish!

Soak cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes. (I recommend this even if you have a high-speed blender.) 

  • 1/4 cup cashews

Prepare 3 cups of cooked brown rice. 

  • 1 cup raw brown rice + 2 cups water, cooked according to package instructions (other options include shelf-stable rice or frozen rice, such as Trader Joe’s)

Blend the following ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

  • The soaked cashews

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/4 cup tofu (any kind)

  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 1.5 Tablespoons flour (any kind)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Pour the blended mixture into a microwave-safe bowl or large measuring cup and microwave it on high for 1.5 minutes. Then whisk it and microwave it for another 1 minute and whisk. It should be a smooth, thick sauce. If it’s not thick, microwave it for another minute or so. 

Microwave onions in a microwave-safe bowl until soft, about 3 minutes. 

  • 1 small-medium onion, diced

Finely chop the kale and parsley in the food processor (it may take two batches). 

  • 4-5 ounces kale (4-5 large leaves)

  • 1/2 cup parsley (loosely packed)

Mix everything together (rice, white sauce, onion, kale, parsley, and lemon zest) in a big bowl.

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Spoon the mixture into a sprayed medium casserole dish (about 7” x 10”). On the top, sprinkle crumbs and spray with spray-oil. 

  • ¼ cup dried bread crumbs

  • Oil spray (optional)

Bake for 375°for 25-30 minutes till bubbly and golden on top.

Timing: About an hour, including baking

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO

Gluten-free if gluten-free flour used

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Spinach-Mushroom Quesadillas

By the Gracious Vegan

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I started this recipe by experimenting with sliced mushrooms and fresh baby spinach. Eventually I came to prefer finely chopped mushrooms (with the food processor) and frozen chopped spinach. This smoother base stays in the tortilla better when you eat, and the flavors blend nicely. Optional layers and toppings make these extra-special quesadilla, and very healthy too.

Makes 5 servings

Start the vegan crema if you choose to use it (highly recommended). 

Sauté these ingredients in a large skillet or a Dutch oven with a Tablespoon or two of water, stirring frequently, until the liquid released by the mushrooms is almost evaporated and vegetables are soft, about 8 minutes.

  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced, grated, or finely chopped

  • 8 ounces mushrooms (your favorite variety), chopped in a food processor or finely chopped with a knife

Add spinach and cook for 2-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until spinach is thawed and well combined with the garlic and mushrooms. 

  • 10-12 ounces frozen chopped spinach (thawed, or you can thaw it in the pan)

Drain mixture if there is excess liquid or cook a bit longer to make sure the mixture is dry. Then stir in the following ingredients and stir until everything is well incorporated.

  • 3-4 Tablespoons vegan crema, silken tofu (whisked in a bowl until smooth), vegan sour cream, vegan cream cheese, or thick cashew cream

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder 

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt  

Spread a fifth of the mixture onto half of each tortilla and top with shredded vegan cheese as an option.

  • Five 8” whole wheat flour tortillas

  • 1 cup vegan cheese (optional) (not oil-free – see crema option below for oil-free)

Then fold the tortilla in half. Cook the quesadillas on a griddle or in a dry skillet until light brown on the first side, then flip them and cook them on the second side until light brown. 

For an oil-free option, gently open the cooked quesadilla and add one or more additional layers: 

  • Vegan crema

  • Chopped red onion, red pepper, chopped cilantro, and/or green onions

  • A scattering of beans, such as black or pinto beans

Timing: About 30 minutes (if the vegan cream is already made)

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO

Gluten-free if gluten-free tortillas used

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Kale and Soba Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

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I’ve discovered that I really like kale, raw or cooked, in very small pieces, the kind of pieces a food processor produces. I rinse the kale, shake out the water, cut it into large pieces, and process it until the pieces are small, like the size of your pinky nail. It mixes well with other ingredients this way, and I find it easier to chew. The peanut dressing on this salad is addictive. I could eat it on lots of things, not just this salad. Maybe on baked potatoes, in a bowl, or on broiled or baked tofu or tempeh. There’s so much to like about this recipe.

Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.

  • 2.5-3 ounces dry soba noodles (or you can buy a 7-8-ounch package of pre-cooked soba noodles and follow the package directions for heating them with boiling water)

Gently stir the cold noodles together with the following vegetables in a large bowl. 

  • 3-4 green onions, green and white parts, sliced into thin rounds

  • 1 small or half a large red pepper, thinly sliced or diced

  • 4 ounces kale (any kind), thinly sliced or processed in a food processor into small pieces

  • 2 small or 1 large carrot, grated

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Peanut-sesame dressing. Blend the following ingredients in a blender until smooth. The mixture should be thick but drizzly; if it's too thick, blend in additional water in 1-Tablespoon increments. 

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 3 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

  • 1.5 Tablespoons white wine vinegar or rice vinegar

  • 1.5 Tablespoons tahini (or, better, roasted sesame paste)

  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

  • 3 medium dates (softened in water if they are dry) or 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

  • Optional: sriracha sauce to taste if you want it spicy

Combine and garnish. Toss the dressing with the noodles and vegetables. It is ready to serve or can be refrigerated for up to a few hours (or more, but the dressing begins to soak into the noodles). Optional to garnish salad with:

  • Coarsely chopped peanuts

Timing: around 30 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO

Gluten-free if you buy 100% buckwheat soba noodles

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Spicy Sweet Potato Chipotle Quesadillas with Guacamole

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So few ingredients, such a great taste! The combination here makes for a perfect quesadilla filling in both taste—spicy but also sweet and savory—and texture—not mushy, but it sticks together and doesn’t spill out of the tortilla. Top it with homemade guacamole, and you’ve got a party in your mouth!

Makes 5 servings

Water-sauté the following ingredients in a large (12”) skillet or a Dutch oven until the vegetables are just tender. 

  • 12-13 ounces sweet potato, peeled and grated (about 3 cups grated)

  • Half of a medium onion, diced

  • Half of a bell pepper (any color), diced

Stir in the following ingredients. 

  • 3-4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1/2 teaspoon (or more) chipotle chili powder (or used finely diced chipotle peppers from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Spread a fifth of the mixture onto half of each tortilla, then fold the tortillas in half. Cook the quesadillas on a griddle or in a dry skillet until light brown on the first side, then flip them and cook them on the second side until light brown. (Spray with oil if you want more brown color.) 

  • Five 8” whole wheat flour tortillas

Serve with Gracious Vegan Guacamole.

Timing: About 30 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free, if gluten-free tortillas are used

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Kale and Quinoa Greek Salad

By the Gracious Vegan

Makes 6 cups

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This salad has the taste of a Greek salad but is much healthier. The quinoa and lentils pack it with protein, while the two of them plus the kale offer a lot of fiber. Tahini substitutes for oil, which brings the fat content down and adds protein and micronutrients. But apart from all these benefits, it tastes great. I recommend green or black lentils because they don’t break down and dissolve like brown lentils. 

Place the lentils in a saucepan and cover by 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 20-25 minutes until tender. Strain and set aside.

  • 1/2 cup French (du Puy, green) lentils or black (beluga) lentils 

While the lentils are cooking, make the quinoa. Cook them however you like. One method is to place quinoa in a small saucepan with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat, keep the lid on and let sit another 2-3 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

  • 1/2 cup quinoa

Once the lentils and quinoa have cooled a little, place them in a medium-large bowl with the following ingredients and stir gently.

  • 3-4 ounces kale (any kind) (3-4 large leaves), chopped and massaged (3-4 cups) or processed into smaller bits in the food processor 

  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup Greek black (Kalamata) olives, pitted and halved (or chopped)

Whisk together the dressing ingredients with a fork or in a smaller chopper appliance. Toss the dressing with the salad and serve at room temperature or chilled. 

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 2 Tablespoons tahini

  • 2 Tablespoons water

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Timing: About 40 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO


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Pea and Potato Creamy Masala

By the Gracious Vegan

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This curry dish features two popular vegetables along with an appealing creamy tomato sauce with Indian spicing. The fenugreek seed powder is key to its success, and you can find it online or in Asian grocery stores. 

 Makes 5 servings

Soak cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes while you start the rest of the recipe.

  • 1/3 cups raw cashews

Boil, steam, or microwave the potato chunks until they are just tender (the microwave will take 7-10 minutes, depending on your microwave’s strength). Put them aside.

  • 1 pound Yukon or red- or gold-skin potato, in 1” cubes (peeling optional)

Separately, water-sauté the following ingredients in a Dutch oven or other large pan until they are soft, 8-10 minutes.

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, grated, or finely chopped

  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger

Add the spices and stir 1-2 minutes.

  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seed powder

  • Cayenne pepper for spiciness (I use a pinch, but some like it hotter)

Add the diced green chili pepper and cook 1-2 minutes. 

  • 1 green chili pepper (jalapeno with seeds removed, or a spicier variety if desired), finely chopped

Separately, drain the cashews and place them in a blender with water 1 cup water and process until absolutely smooth and creamy.

Then add tomato paste to the blender and blend it with the cashew cream.

  • 1/2 cup tomato paste

Add the cashew-tomato mixture to the Dutch oven along with the following ingredients. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add additional water to achieve your desired sauce consistency.

  • The potatoes

  • 1.5 cup peas (thawed or frozen)

  • 3/4 cup water (or more)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice, other cooked grains, or with flatbread. 

  • Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish

Timing: Hands-on time 40 minutes, total time 40 minutes                     

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving (with 1/2 cup cooked brown rice per serving): 299 calories, 4g fat, 1g sat. fat, 57g carbs, 717mg sodium, 7g fiber, 9g protein 


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Peas and Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce

By the Gracious Vegan

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This creamy tomato sauce gives the traditional Italian vodka sauce a run for its money. Peas are the perfect complement to the nutty, cheesy sauce, and all kinds of pasta would work well in this dish. The sauce freezes well. 

Makes up to 21 servings

The Sauce (makes 7 cups). Soak cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes. (You can skip this step if you have a high-speed blender.)

  • 1 cup raw cashews

When ready, drain the nuts and put them in the blender with broth or water and blend on high for as long as it takes to create a very smooth “cashew cream.” 

  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water

In a Dutch oven or other large pan, sauté garlic and onions over medium heat in 2 Tablespoons vegetable broth or water until the garlic and onions are soft (or microwave with 1-2 Tablespoons water).

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 

  • 1 red or white onion, roughly chopped 

Add the following ingredients to the pan and cook about 5 minutes.

  • 4 cups plain tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes)

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

Add in the cashew cream and the basil and stir. 

  • 2/3 cup fresh basil leaves (measured lightly packed, about 1 ounce), roughly chopped (or 1 Tablespoon dried basil, but fresh basil really makes a difference)

Use an immersion blender (or let the mixture cool a little and use a regular blender) to create a smooth sauce. You can add up to 1 cup water if the sauce is too thick. Make it as smooth or chunky as you like. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Salt and pepper to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon salt)

The peas and pasta. For each serving, use

  • 2 ounces chunky pasta (whole wheat or other whole-food version preferred)

  • 1/3 cup frozen peas (I like petite peas)

Boil the pasta and add the peas into the pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Once they are cooked to your liking, drain them and combine with about 1/3 cup sauce per serving.

Timing: hands-on time 25 minutes; total time 25 minutes  

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 298 calories, 3g fat, 1g sat. fat, 55g carbs, 329mg sodium, 10mg fiber, 13g protein 

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta

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Spaghetti Squash with Cashew Ricotta, Spinach, and Peas 

By the Gracious Vegan

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Who knew that vegetables could taste this good? Add a little vegan ricotta and parmesan cheeses to these vegetables, and they become addictive. You can bake this dish in the squash shells or in a casserole dish. 

Makes 4 servings

Make cashew-based ricotta cheese if you don’t have some handy. (It freezes well.) Make vegan parmesan cheese if you don’t have some handy. (It refrigerates and freezes well.)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place the two halves of the squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish. Add 2 Tablespoons water. Microwave them, uncovered, until tender, 10-15 minutes, depending on your microwave’s strength.

  • One spaghetti squash (2.5 - 3 pounds), cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed

Separately, in a large skillet or cooking pot, bring a little water in the bottom to a boil (1/4 - 1/2 inch of water). Add the peas, bring it back to boiling, and cook them 2 minutes.

  • 1.5 cup frozen peas (I like petite peas)

Add the spinach and stir until it is wilted, 1-2 minutes. Then boil for another minute. Drain well and transfer the peas and spinach to a large bowl. 

  • 5 ounces fresh spinach (chopped if it is not baby spinach) (alternative: 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed)

Use a fork or spoon to scrape the softened squash from the shells. Put these innards into the large bowl with the peas and spinach. Then add the following ingredients and stir everything together.

Place the empty squash halves in a casserole or other suitable dish for baking. Spoon filling into each. (Alternatively, just spoon the mixture into a sprayed small-medium baking dish.) Top with more vegan parmesan.

  • 1/8 cup vegan parmesan cheese 

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400°F until the top is golden. Garnish, if desired, with:

  • Additional crushed red pepper

  • Chopped fresh basil 

Timing: Hands-on time 25 minutes (longer if you need to make the cheeses), total time 50 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food plant-based; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 379 calories, 17g fat, 3g sat. fat, 48g carbs, 60mg sodium, 14mg fiber, 14g protein 


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Garlicky Grape or Cherry Tomatoes with Angel Hair Pasta

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This easy recipe turns any grape or cherry tomatoes into an intriguing pasta dish that will keep you coming back for more. The combination of garlic, tomato juices, fresh basil, and vegan parmesan cheese creates a magical sauce that’s just hard to stop eating.

Makes 4 servings

Start a large pot of water to boil. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (4-6” from element). Use a 15” x 10” Pyrex pan or large rimmed baking sheet (optional to line with foil; do not line with parchment paper, which will burn) and lightly spray with oil (optional). Put broiler on high. 

Spread the tomatoes on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Broil, shaking the pan occasionally, until they are cracked, very soft, and shrunken, about 15-20 minutes. They’ll be blackened in places. 

  • 2 pints (20 oz.) grape or cherry tomatoes

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Microwave the garlic cloves for 45-60 seconds to soften them. Then chop them. 

  • 4 large or 5 small cloves garlic, peeled

Cook the pasta and drain. Return to the pot.

  • 8 ounces dried whole wheat angel hair pasta

Add the following ingredients to the pasta, toss, and serve.

  • The tomatoes

  • The garlic

  • Large pinch dried red pepper flakes

  • 12 large basil leaves, fresh, chiffonade-cut (i.e., sliced thin)

  • 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

  • Fresh ground pepper

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 30 minutes

Gluten-free if gluten-free pasta is used

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Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry

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I mostly enjoy sugar snap peas raw with other vegetable sticks. This changes the game! Sugar snap peas are wonderful in stir-fry. They star in this one, along with other vegetables of your choosing. The sauce brings ginger, garlic, miso, sesame, and chili flavors to the party, meaning this is the opposite of bland. This recipe uses no oil or sugar, but you wouldn’t know it.

Serves 4 

Combine all the stir-fry sauce ingredients in a jar or bowl—or use a stick blender to get everything really well blended.

  • 2 Tablespoons mellow white miso

  • 2 Tablespoons regular or tamari soy sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons water

  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger

  • 1 Tablespoon agave nectar or 2 Tablespoons date paste

  • 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame paste (or Chinese sesame paste) (if you don’t have this, use sesame oil)

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Use a wok, very large non-stick skillet, or a Dutch oven. Water-sauté the following ingredients, using a Tablespoon of water, until desired tender-firmness is reached and the water is evaporated.

  • 8 ounces whole sugar snap peas (about 3 cups)

  • 3 cups of other vegetables, sliced or diced, which might include asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, yellow or green zucchini, grated or thinly sliced carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, or cabbage (add red cabbage as late as possible, because the purple tends to stain other vegetables) 

After the vegetables are tender-firm to your liking, stir the sauce in and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Serve on rice. Garnish, if desired with

  • 3-4 green onions, sliced on the diagonal 

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving (with 1/2 cup brown rice per serving): 207 calories, 3g fat, 1g sat. fat, 37g carbs, 912mg sodium, 6mg fiber, 7g protein 

Timing: About 30 minutes


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Sweet and Tangy Edamame

By the Gracious Vegan

These are a fancy version of the edamame pods we often get in Asian restaurants as an appetizer. Here I add a no-oil glaze that takes the whole experience up a notch.

Makes 4 cups of edamame pods

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Cook the edamame by adding the frozen pods to a large pot of boiling water. When they float to the surface, they’re done (either drain them or scoop them out). (Do not pressure cook.)

  • 4 cups frozen edamame in shell

In a large saucepan (so you can stir in the edamame later), water-sauté the following ingredients in a Tablespoon or two of water until they start to get tender. 

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

Add in the following ingredients and cook at a low boil for 3-5 minutes, to reach the desired glaze consistency. 

  • 3 Tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 3 Tablespoons date paste or 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1.5 Tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame paste (or sesame oil)

  • 1/8 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes

Add in the cooked edamame and toss to cover all the pods. Pour any leftover glaze into a small dipping bowl to serve it with. Garnish if desired with:

1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 20 minutes


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