Cast Iron Vegan Chili

I made this for all my vegan and vegetarian friends and family. Not all meals have to have meat and some taste even better without it. If you are a carnivore, just give this a try and you’ll realize what I mean.  Look at the vibrant colors! You see onions and red, yellow and purple bell peppers. 

Add the carrots for some orange…

Put everything together…

I’m really enjoying a local farm stand this summer that’s right down the road from me. All ingredients came from there and I believe one of the reasons this dish tasted so delicious. The fresher the better! 

Serves 8

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup each dry black and pinto beans, rehydrated according to the instructions (or use canned beans and will equal about 3 cups total after draining)
  • 2 ears corn (or 1 can of corn)
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped small
  • 3 bell peppers, largely diced 
  • 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 13 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 3 oz Tom paste
  • 28oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 jalapeños, roasted and diced small for garnish
  • red onion, diced small for garnish
  • cilantro or parsley, for garnish

What to do:

  1. If you’re using the dried beans like I did, you’ll need to start this the night before or follow the instructions for the quick cook. 
  2. In a large cast iron Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium. 
  3. Sautée the onions and bell peppers with some salt and pepper about 5 minutes until slightly soft. 
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the the carrots and garlic. Sautée another 5 minutes stirring frequently. 
  5. Add the fresh tomatoes, a little more salt and pepper, stir and simmer until you see the liquid expel from the tomatoes. 
  6. Boil the corn, let cool, slice off with a knife and add to the pot. 
  7. Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and paste, stir until combined and add all the spices and nutritional yeast. Reduce the heat to low and stir again. 
  8. Simmer on the lowest heat for an hour to hour and a half stirring occasionally. 
  9. Serve in a bowl with the garnishes listed or whatever you choose. Feel free to add some hot sauce for some heat if you don’t do the jalapeños 😉

Side note: You can roast your own jalapeños directly on your stove top. Be sure to char all sides, let cool, peel the char and diced away. Very simple and can be done with any kind of peppers. 



    Tomatillo Verde Sauce

    Talk about a versatility…this sauce is the epitome of it. You can put this on top of tacos, eggs, salads as your dressing, dip, you name it. 

    What you see above is the Verde Sauce on top of a salad I threw together with the various things I had in my refrigerator. I also had left over shredded pork from pork tacos the night before (which also had verde on it 😉) that you see on top. 

    The pork tacos were quasi tacos because I’m really trying to cut carbs and sugar from my diet. I used Boston Bib lettuce for the wrap but a mini romaine lettuce would also be perfect. The recipe for the pork is here. I topped everything with tomatoes, avocado, red onion, fresh cilantro, carrots, and a little extra salt and pepper to the pork. 

    As for the Verde Sauce itself…

    What you’ll need (and remember I make in bulk to freeze some for future so feel free to cut it in half):

    • 18 Tomatillos 
    • 2 jalapeños 
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • Juice of one lime
    • fresh cilantro to taste
    • S & P

    What to do:

    1. Boil a pot of water that will hold tomatillos and jalapeños. 
    2. Remove the husks off the tomatillos and run them under water until clean.  Also, clean the jalapeños.
    3. Boil the tomatillos and jalapeños for 10 minutes and strain. 
    4. Place them in a food processor with the remaining ingredients. 
    5. Pulse until smooth. 

    Use it for whatever you want and enjoy!

      Trottole Pasta Salad

      I’m all about pasta this weekend! I used  Simply Balanced Organic Trottole Pasta for this recipe. It’s a fun shape and all the good stuff you add to a pasta salad incorporates well into it. You can pretty much use any type of pasta for this dish if you can’t find this type. Some good alternatives would be farfallepenne or even multi colored radiatore! Remember to always salt your water when boiling pasta!!

      If you want to make this a vegan dish, use a vegan friendly pasta. 

      What you’ll need:

      • 16 oz Trottole pasta
      • 1 medium Eggplant, roasted and diced
      • 2 Carrots, chopped small (I used my Kitchen Aid Spiralizer if you have one)
      • 5 Kale leaves, chopped fine
      • 2 Green Onions, chopped into thin rings
      • 4 oz Tomatoes, grape or cherry, halved (optional)
      • Juice of 1 Lemon
      • 1 Tbls dried Thyme
      • 2 Tbls Garlic Powder
      • 1 small can of sliced black olives 
      • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
      • S & P

      What to do: 

      1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
      2. Begin to boil the water for the pasta. 
      3. Remove some of the skin on the eggplant with a peeler, dice and place on a sheet tray with olive oil and S & P. 
      4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until completely soft, remove and let cool. 
      5. Boil the pasta according to the instructions, drain and let cool. 
      6. Meanwhile, prepare the carrots, kale, onions, tomatoes and lemon juice and add all into a large bowl. 
      7. Add the eggplant, thyme, garlic powder, S & P to the mixture. Combine thoroughly. 
      8. Once the pasta has cooled, add it into the mixture with more olive oil and toss. Put in more or less oil and S & P to your taste. 


          Feta and Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

          Well, it’s been a while since my last post. I guess I’ve been busy!!  I’m really glad summer is here. There are so many healthy and yummy things to eat this season. Here is one of them, although, I make them year round 🙂 This is great for vegetarians and could even be converted to […]

          Vegan Wrap w/ Quinoa Bean Avocado & MORE!

          You want a vegan friendly, vegetarian and/or a plain healthy meal? Here it is! Recently, I’ve been making a lot of vegan food; I love it!!  This is so simple and with just 7 ingredients. 

          Here’s what you’ll need:

          • Whole wheat fajita size wraps
          • 1/2 cup Quinoa 
          • Avocado
          • Black Beans
          • Feta “cheese”
          • Swiss chard leaves (or your choice of greenery)
          • 1 cup Vegetable broth 

          What to do:

          1. Heat  small sauce pan on high adding the broth and bring to a boil. 
          2. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve, add to the boiling broth and reduce to medium low heat stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. 
          3. Remove the pan from heat and put the lid on until the rings appear. 
          4. Rinse the beans in a strainer. 
          5. Lay out the wrap, add all ingredients and wrap it up.      


            Vegan Tofu Breakfast Scramble | Start The Day Off Right

            This recipe is certainly a keeper. I will definitely be making this again. My husband even asked me to and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t typically like tofu. With tofu, it’s all about the spices and the amount of them you use. It’s also about the quality. I used Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu which is organic and non GMO. 

            Here’s what you’ll need:

            • 1 package (14 oz) extra firm tofu
            • 3 large leaves Swiss chard
            • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
            • 1 red pepper, chopped
            • 1 can black beans
            • 1 tsp garlic powder
            • 1 tsp chili powder
            • 1 tsp turmeric
            • 1/2 tsp season all salt
            • 1/4 tsp black pepper
            • Cheddar “cheese”, shredded 
            • 1 tsp olive oil

            Optional (shown in my pic):

            • Avocado
            • Blackberries
            • Sprouted Grain Bread

            What to do:

            1. Heat a large sauté pan on medium and add the olive oil. 
            2. Add the mushrooms, pepper and Swiss chard and sauté about five minutes starring every minute.  
            3. While you wait, remove the liquid from the tofu. Place 2 paper towels under and 2 above and press lightly. Repeat as necessary. You’ll need several paper towels to absorb it all. 
            4. Mix the spices in a bowl.    
            5. Add the beans to the sauté pan and the whole block of tofu in the middle. 
            6. Break the tofu into small pieces while mixing everything together.  
            7. Add the spices and mix. Sauté another 5 minutes. 
            8. Add the “cheese” on top and melt. (Check out Daiya)  


              Veggie and Quinoa Stuffed Zucchini

              Do you have an abundance of vegetables from your garden and not sure what to do with them?? Well, find the biggest zucchini or yellow squash you have and stuff it with a mix of vegetables, quinoa and little cheese and call it a day!  This will take about 1/2 hour to prep and 1/2 to cook. 

              I can’t take credit for this coming from my own garden; it actually came from my sisters. Great job Em! I was unsuccessful this year, however, I did benefit from others 🙂

              In my version, I used a number of vegetables and white quinoa. You can honestly use whatever you have available if you don’t have exactly what’s in this ingredient list. 

              What you need:

              • 1 large zucchini
              • 1 orange pepper 
              • 1/4 sweet onion
              • 4 cloves of garlic, minced 
              • 1 tomato
              • 3 carrots
              • 5 collard green leaves
              • 1 cup quinoa
              • 1 cup vegetable broth
              • 1 cup water
              • 2-3 Tbls olive oil
              • Grated Parmesan cheese
              • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
              1. Chop the carrots, onion, pepper, collard greens and tomato. 
              2. Heat the olive oil in a large sautee pan on medium high heat. Preheat the oven to 375. 
              3. First add the carrots and let simmer for 3 minutes. Then add the onion, garlic, pepper, and collard greens and simmer another 5 minutes (or until veggies are soft) stirring every minute. Add the S&P also. Lastly, add the tomato.
              4. Add the broth, water, and quinoa. Mix well and reduce to medium heat. Simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes. 
              5. While that’s cooking prepare the zucchini. Slice in half lengthwise, remove the skin and scoop out the center. 
              6. Remove the lid, stir and simmer another 2 minutes or until the liquid has been dissolved and the rings show on the quinoa.
              7. Stuff the mixture into the zucchini, top with parm and bake for 20-30 minutes. It really depends on how big your zucchini is. It will look and feel soft.   


                Overnight Oats, Chia, and Then Some

                Overnight Oats, Chia, and Then Some

                Recipes for overnight oats are all over the net. Oats are pretty bland, for the most part, so I like to spice it up. The more I put in the better it tastes!  There are so many goodies you can include in your overnight oats including seeds, nuts, and/or fresh and dried fruits. Don’t stop there! You can use any kind of milk and a bit of your favorite sweetener too (just stay away from anything artificial). My point is, don’t limit yourself to just one recipe. Switch it up, put some variety into it and add some flavor!

                This is just a side note but I like making these on a work night so I can grab my breakfast and walk out the door in the morning. Plus they’re a healthy way to start the day!

                Make your own favorite combination out of these ingredient ideas. I would suggest only using one type of oats at a time and one type of milk with or with out yogurt. Put as many fruits, seeds, nuts and sweeteners in as you’d like. Take it easy on the sweeteners too, you don’t want a sugar high. 

                Types of Oats:

                  1. Organic rolled quick oats
                  2. Steel cut
                  3. Regular rolled oats
                  4. Scottish oats

                  Types of Seeds:

                    1. Chia
                    2. Sunflower
                    3. Pumpkin
                    4. Hemp
                    5. Flax
                    6. Sesame

                    Types of nuts:

                    1. Almonds 
                    2. Cashews
                    3. Peanuts 
                    4. Pecans
                    5. Pistachios 
                    6. Walnuts

                    Types of Fruits (fresh or dried):

                    1. Blueberries
                    2. Raspberries
                    3. Strawberries 
                    4. Cherries
                    5. Currants
                    6. Pomegranate 
                    7. Acai berries
                    8. Bananas
                    9. Blackberries
                    10. Dragon fruit (so pretty to look at and packed with nutrients but not much flavor)

                    Types of Sweeteners:

                    1. Agave
                    2. Raw sugar
                    3. Brown sugar
                    4. Honey
                    5. Maple Syrup

                    Types of Milk:

                    1. Traditional cows – whole, 2%, or skim (try to stick with organic)
                    2. Plain Greek Yogurt in addition to your choice of milk (again organic)
                    3. Almond
                    4. Coconut
                    5. Soy
                    6. Rice

                    I’ll share my personal favorite combo to give you a better idea. I put 2 Tbls of oats and chia and 1 Tbls of the other ingredients in a mason jar. At the end, I fill it up with milk. 

                    • Quick oats
                    • chia seeds
                    • sunflower seeds
                    • pumpkin seeds
                    • flax seeds
                    • almonds 
                    • fresh blueberries
                    • dried cherries
                    • agave
                    • organic milk
                    • Greek yogurt

                    P.S. All of my ingredients are organic even though I don’t always say it and highly suggest you do the same.