Livin' La Vida Vegan!

Butternut Squash, Pepitas, & Kale Tacos


The Taco Bus is a Tampa Bay institution and they serve several vegan dishes including a butternut squash taco.  I order it every time we go and was eager to find a way to create the dish at home.  This recipe was discovered by my friend Diane Luckey, one of the best cooks I know — her party buffets are legendary!  She happily shared the recipe with me and I made them today — even better than the Taco Bus version!  So many different flavors and textures for a wonderful combination.  I had never cooked with pepitas (pumpkin seeds) before and they were easy to toast and delicious with cayenne pepper.  The spicy crunch they add to the dish along with the tangy cashew cream are what is missing from the Taco Bus version.  A note about the cashew cream — the recipe calls for six tablespoons of lime juice and I thought that was a typo but once you add it to the rest of the flavors it’s just right if you use a small amount of the cream, if you want to load it on I’d recommend cutting the lime juice in half.

For the recipe follow this link –

On another note, I highly recommend the movie, “100 Foot Journey” — so visually beautiful and a remarkable story about good food, love, loss, and following your dreams.  Be forewarned however, you will need to get Indian food right after the movie!

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Cauliflower Hashbrowns


Love finding healthier choices!  Hashbrowns are delicious but potatoes are full of carbs so my husband came across this recipe for cauliflower hashbrowns and we were eager to give them a try — delicious!

For the recipe and an interesting story of how the author discovered it, please use this link:

Easy to make, savory, and a nice addition to breakfast!

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Caramelized Onion & Shallot Pasta


This recipe was inspired by the movie “Chef” — I recommend the movie except for the one moment where he’s cutting up a whole pig!  There was a scene in the movie where he made pasta for a friend, I wasn’t sure what he put in the pan first, it looked like large pieces of garlic but that scene made me want some pasta stat!  I started by heating about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan and added a chopped onion.  I then added a large chopped shallot and two large garlic cloves, shaved into large pieces.  I caramelized the mixture by keeping it over medium heat for about fifteen minutes, adding a bit more olive oil as needed.  I then added about a third a cup of white wine and some freshly chopped garden tomatoes along with ground salt and pepper.  I served it over Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Pasta (complete protein, high in fiber, low glycemic) and the flavor was exquisite — so easy with minimal spices but just perfect.  My husband and I gobbled it up!

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Polenta & Chickpea Scramble

polenta eggs

For breakfast the easiest vegan option is cold or warm cereal but sometimes you just need that savory flavor in the morning.  My husband loved eggs and misses them almost daily — I’ve been searching for something that would stave off his craving and we’ve done it!  Polenta and chickpea scramble is a new morning staple.

I served them up with hash-browns with fresh tomatoes for a very hearty breakfast.

You’ll find the recipe at the link below — enjoy!


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Creamy Turmeric Tea


The perfect way to start your morning!  The original recipe comes from Dr. Sanjay Gupta but I made it even better with vanilla and replaced the honey for maple syrup to make it vegan — enjoy!

Microwave one cup of almond milk and then add in the following while vigorously whisking until blended: 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup.

Let’s look at the amazing benefits of Turmeric!  Follow this link for a list of fourteen drugs turmeric can replace!

Here are ten reasons you want to include turmeric in your diet daily:

  1. Detoxifies your liver naturally.
  2. Helps manage weight, and aid in fat metabolism.
  3. A staple in Chinese medicine for helping lift mood in cases of depression.
  4. As a natural pain killer and with its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis.
  5. As a natural antiseptic it accelerates wound healing and repairing of damaged skin.
  6. Can help internally and topically with psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
  7. Helps in soothing an upset stomach.
  8. A natural preventative against flu viruses.
  9. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.
  10. It’s delicious — try some of this tea today!
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Baked Tomato

baked tomato

This is a quick and easy recipe a friend posted on Facebook — it’s tomato season up north (sadly it has passed in Florida).  Thought my NY friends would enjoy this recipe with all their fresh garden tomatoes that are ready for picking!

I served them for breakfast with arugula tofu scramble (see recipe posted on 7/21/13)– made for a flavorful breakfast.

For the recipe follow the link below — the only change I made was substituting Parmesan cheese for cheesy nutritional yeast instead.

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Miso Mushroom Zucchini Ramen Noodles


Oh boy this soup is good!  Seriously a new favorite and it doesn’t get much healthier than this!  For the recipe follow the link below, I doubled it and it was plenty for my husband and I — I’d recommend cutting the red pepper flakes in half though unless you enjoy the heat!

You’ll need a fun tool for this recipe — a spiral vegetable cutter.  My mother-in-law got me a Veggetti for my birthday so I was all set.

Now let’s talk about the healthy aspects of this soup — it’s made with miso paste which is just about the healthiest food on the planet!  The most octogenarians per capital live on the tiny island of Okinawa, Japan and they eat miso daily.

I found ten scientifically researched benefits of eating miso on

  1. Contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
  2. Stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.
  3. Restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.
  4. Aids in the digestion and assimilation of other foods in the intestines.
  5. Is a good vegetable-quality source of B vitamins (especially B12).
  6. Strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid.
  7. Reduces risk for breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers.
  8. Protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.
  9. Strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.
  10. High in antioxidants that protects against free radicals.

Just typing this up is making me crave it again — gotta run to the market to get the ingredients!

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Carrot Dog

carrot dog

Nothing says summer like burgers and dogs on the grill — vegans have plenty of veggie burger options but the dog choices we’ve tried have not been desirable.   Along came this recipe for a carrot dog and boy were we shocked at how much a carrot can taste like a hot dog!  It only takes planning as you have to marinade the carrots for 24 hours ahead — try it, you’ll love them!

The recipe below recommends frying the dogs but we tried them on the grill and they were delicious!

Recipe for marinade:

Instructions for grilling:

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Tempeh Kabobs


Summer grilling season begs for kabobs — an easy and delicious meal!  Simply cut up your veggies of choice (along with the tempeh we did mushrooms, unions, peppers, eggplant, and zucchini) and place on a skewer — marinate in sauce of your choice (we used 1/2 cup of coconut water, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, and a few sprinkles of liquid smoke) for at least an hour and then grill on medium for 30 – 45 minutes, depending on how thick you cut your veggies.  Once done take off the skewer and serve over quinoa or rice — yum!

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