Avocado Chickpea Toast

By the Gracious Vegan


Avocado toast is a fast breakfast, and with this addition of chickpeas, it’s also the delivery system for lots of protein and fiber, not to mention iron, zinc, folate, and potassium (found in all legumes). You could prepare the whole can of chickpeas at once and have the topping ready for 4 servings.

Makes: 1 serving

Prepare the chickpea topping by mashing the following ingredients together with a fork, pastry blender, or potato masher. You’re going for a coarse mash, not a smooth texture.

  • 3/8 cup canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed) (1/4 of a can)

  • ½ Tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

Toast two slices of bread.

  • Two slices thin-slice whole grain bread

Spread a quarter of an avocado on each slide of toast.

  • Half of a ripe avocado

Spread the chickpea topping over the avocado and enjoy.

Timing: 10 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 365 calories, 24g fat, 2g sat. fat, 51g carbs, 773mg sodium, 15g fiber, 13g protein

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free bread

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Breakfast Burritos

By the Gracious Vegan

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This scramble provides a hot meal bursting with flavors and nutrients. You can customize this in so many ways by choosing different vegetables, beans, and toppings. One recipe can last the whole work week. 

Makes 5 servings

Water-sauté the following vegetables in a Dutch oven or large skillet until the onion is transparent. (Or microwave with a microwave-safe dish and cover for 3-5 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft.)

  • ½ cup onion, diced

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 cups diced/sliced vegetables of your choice (e.g., bell peppers, broccoli, yellow squash, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms)

Add the tofu to the vegetables on the stove. (If you microwaved the vegetables, transfer them to a Dutch oven or large skillet.) Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until any liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

  • 1 pound firm or extra firm tofu, drained and lightly pressed, then well crumbled

Add the spices and beans and stir until everything is completely incorporated and heated.

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • ½ teaspoon turmeric

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 can pinto or black beans, drained and rinsed

Serve with two tortillas per serving. Top with salsa, cilantro, and any optional toppings.

  • 10 corn or flour tortillas

  • Salsa

  • Chopped cilantro to taste

  • Optional: avocado chunks, diced onion, vegan crema

Timing: 20-25 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 273 calories, 5.6g fat, 0g sat. fat, 43g carbs, 453mg sodium, 11g fiber, 15g protein


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Overnight (or Instant Pot) Chai-Flavored Hot Cereal

By the Gracious Vegan

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Warm and comforting on a cold morning, this cereal is also packed with protein, complex carbohydrates, and other important nutrients. If chai spices aren’t your thing, you can go without the spices or substitute your favorites. I tried using ground spices, but it didn’t work nearly as well—once you have cinnamon sticks, cardamom seeds, and ginger on hand, this is a snap. Update: see how to make it without the overnight soaking with an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker.

Makes 4 servings

The night before (or at least 2 hours before). In a very large glass or ceramic bowl or casserole dish, combine these ingredients.

  • 1 cup whole grains (steel-cut oats, millet, barley, spelt, kamut, quinoa, or a combination)

  • 4 cups of water

  • 2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal (optional but very good for you)

  • 2 cinnamon sticks

  • Seeds from 6 cardamom pods (or ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom if you can’t find the pods)

  • 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 5-10 grinds of fresh black pepper

Microwave the mixture on high, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Then stir and microwave it again for 4 minutes. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or overnight.

In the morning. The cereal is ready. Just remove the cinnamon sticks, heat the mixture, and divide it among 4 bowls (or storage containers for serving later in the week). Serve with any or all of the toppings below.

  • Plant-based milk (almond, soy, cashew, oat, etc.)

  • 1-2 teaspoons hemp seeds per serving

  • Chopped almonds

  • Sweetener (date sugar, date paste, banana, sweetener with stevia brown sugar or other)

  • Fresh or dried fruit

Alternative cooking method: Use the multigrain or manual setting on your Instant Pot. Decrease water to 3.5 cups. Program the Instant Pot for 5 minutes. Use the 10-Minute Natural Release Method.

Timing: hands-on time 15 minutes, total time overnight (or at least 2 hours); with Instant Pot, about 30 minutes total

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional content of this dish depends on the combination chosen. I’ve used the following combination to calculate the amounts below: half-quinoa, half-steel cut oats with ½ cup of soymilk, 2 teaspoons hemp seeds, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and ½ Tablespoon chopped almonds

300 calories, 9.5g fat, 1g sat. fat, 42g carbs, 55mg sodium, 3g fiber, 13.5g protein

Gluten-free if made with gluten-free grains

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Have-It-Your-Way Smoothie

By the Gracious Vegan

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You don’t need yogurt or even tofu to make a great, healthy smoothie. Buckwheat groats and nuts deliver protein, healthy carbs, and almost half the recommended daily amount of fiber. This recipe encourages you to play with fruits and flavors to keep from getting bored. The optional super-foods add high levels of antioxidants and other helpful nutrients.

Makes 1 serving

Soak the groats and nuts overnight (they can be soaked together in the same bowl).

  • 3 Tablespoons raw buckwheat groats

  • 3 Tablespoons nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.)

Drain and rinse the buckwheat and nuts. Put them in a blender, add the remaining ingredients, and blend on high until smooth.

  • 3/4 cup water (or more if smoothie is too thick to blend)

  • 1/2 frozen banana

  • Optional superfoods (highly recommended):

    • 1/2 Tablespoon flaxseed

    • 1/2 teaspoon amla powder

    • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric

    • Sweetener (2 dates, ½-1 Tablespoon agave nectar, a spoonful or two of date sugar, brown sugar, 1 package sweetener with stevia, etc.)

Your choice of:

Zesty Mango

  • ¾ cup frozen mango cubes

  • 1 teaspoon lime zest

  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Peachy Comfort

  • ¾ cup frozen peaches

  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger powder

Gingery Blueberry

  • ¾ cup frozen blueberries

  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Mixed Berry Matcha

  • ¾ cup frozen mixed berries

  • 1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder

Total time: Overnight + 10 minutes (hands-on time 10 minutes)

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO


Nutritional information per serving:          

380 calories, 14g fat, 1g sat. fat, 63g carbs, 4.5mg sodium,12g fiber, 11.5 g protein

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Gracious Vegan Toasted Quinoa Granola

By the Gracious Vegan

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This recipe is dedicated to my brother-in-law Kevin, who used this granola as fuel to hike up the Yosemite Falls trail this summer. The toasted quinoa adds a nice crunch and a solid dose of protein.  

Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place quinoa in a wide skillet and turn the heat to medium or medium/low. Stir or shake and toast the quinoa until it begins to pop and smell like popcorn, 5-7 minutes. As soon as it has been popping for about a minute, pour it into a large bowl and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes.

  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (white or red)

After the quinoa has cooled, add these ingredients to the bowl and stir.

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pour in the liquid ingredients and stir until well-combined.

  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Spread mixture on baking sheet and bake until golden-brown, about 45 minutes, stirring twice. It tastes best when it is baked until very dark brown (but not burned), so continue to stir and bake for 5-minute intervals until done.

Let cool completely before breaking into chunks. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Timing: About 60 minutes to mix and bake, then you have to let it cool

Nutrition: Mostly whole-food unprocessed (except for the coconut oil and maple syrup) 

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Gracious Vegan Brunch Tater Tot Casserole

I adapted this, with many failures along the way, from an egg-based recipe I had from years back. The tofu-based quiche filling is the key--who knew hummus would be the secret ingredient that makes it all work? My version is a mash-up of recipes from the Minimalist Baker and Fat Free Vegan. The casserole, with its top layer of sizzling browned tater tots, is a "wow" dish best served right out of the oven, but it might also work in certain potluck situations where you can reheat it in an oven so the tater tots are crisp. I enjoy the leftovers warmed up in the microwave, but I eat them with the memory of crisp potatoes. 

Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Spray a 9”x13” pyrex rectangular pan or other similar baking/casserole dish with spray-oil.

Water-sauté in medium skillet (alternatively, microwave them for 4 or more minutes until soft without oil) until vegetables are just soft and all the water has evaporated.

  • 1 small/medium onion, diced

  • 1 medium green pepper, diced (or a combination of red and green)

  • 3 cups vegetables, cut into thin slices or small dice (one or combination of broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, cabbage or other to your liking)

  • 8-10 ounces sliced or chopped mushrooms (3-4 cups)

Separately, combine the following ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth.

  • Two 12.3 ounce packages extra firm or firm silken tofu, drained of any liquid (use the kind in the vacuum pack, not the fresh packs)

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch (or arrowroot or potato starch)

  • 6 Tablespoons hummus

  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon namala black salt if you have it, or regular salt

Pour the “quiche” mixture into the sautéed vegetables and gently fold together. Spread the mixture into the 9”x13” pan. Put tater tots on top in a single layer

  • 2 lbs. tater tots, thawed (put in refrigerator the night before)

Bake in preheated 350⁰ oven for 50 minutes or more, until the quiche underneath just starts to turn golden. (If the mixture is close to the top of the pan, put a large rimmed baking sheet underneath.) Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 

Timing: about 90 minutes, including prep and baking

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed except for the oil in the tater tots


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"How Not to Die" Pumpkin Smoothie

By the Gracious Vegan

I adapted this from a paragraph in Dr. Michael Greger's recent book How Not to Die. He was describing one way he gets his daily turmeric. He gave a vague description of what he does--a "handful" of this and a "pinch" of that. I experimented with various measurements and came out with this glorious smoothie. It includes many of the nutrients Dr. Greger recommends, based on his reading of the best nutritional research: turmeric, cinnamon, amla powder, ground flax seed, cranberries, and soy. It's filling and delicious, too!

Makes 1 large (24 oz.) or 2 small smoothies. This smoothie is thick -- you can thin with water or more non-dairy milk. Without the sweetener calories, and using unsweetened almond milk, this is only a total of 140 calories! 

Blend the ingredients together in a high speed blender until smooth.

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 teaspoon amla powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed

  • 1/4 cup frozen cranberries

  • 1/8 to 1/4 cup date sugar (or you can use pitted dates, date pieces, or other sweetener--I know everyone has strong opinions on sweeteners)

  • 1 cup crushed ice

  • 1.5 cups soy milk (or other non-dairy milk, although Dr. Greger advocates for the soy-turmeric combination)

Timing: About 15 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed (depending on the sweetener you choose); WFPBNO


Photo by Robert Judge

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