These bars make a fun and healthi-er gift. They are very easy to make – all you have to do is melt chocolate and stir in cereal. They can be made vegan and/or gluten-free if you check the ingredients on the chocolate and cereal. If these need to be made gluten-free, be extra careful to check the cereal as some rice cereal is sweetened with malt syrup, which is made from barley, a gluten-containing grain.
These 2-ingredient candy bars are very easy to make and can be made vegan and gluten-free. They make a great edible gift!
1 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup crisped brown rice cereal
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring constantly until melted. Alternatively, heat the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in 30 seconds increments, stir, and repeat until melted.
Gently stir in cereal and mix until all of the cereal is coated.
Pour the cereal mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and spread into a square in an even layer. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until firm.
Place the parchment paper and bars on a cutting board. Cut the square in half and then cut into smaller bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
There are many options for ingredients that you may use, but if you’d like to know the exact brands used in these photos, see below.
I used Barbara’s Organic Brown Rice Crisps cereal, which was labelled vegan and gluten free (“Verified to contain less than 20 ppm gluten”) at the time I bought it. It contained 1g sugar per 1 cup serving and was sweetened with organic fruit juice concentrate (pear or apple).
For the chocolate, I used Pascha Organic Dark Chocolate Chips, 55% Cacao, Semi-Sweet. It was “allergen-friendly,” vegan, and gluten-free.
This recipe is adapted from Minimalist Baker, which has tons of truly amazing recipes! Chimichurri is a flavorful Argentinian sauce typically served with grilled beef. This completely plant-based recipe pairs a healthier “steak” with this healthy topping. The sauce can also be prepared in a food processor for a smoother result.
This recipe is adapted from Minimalist Baker, which has tons of truly amazing recipes! Chimichurri is a flavorful Argentinian sauce typically served with grilled beef. This completely plant-based recipe pairs a healthier "steak" with this healthy topping. The sauce can also be prepared in a food processor for a smoother result.
4 portabello mushrooms (stems removed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup avocado (cubed)
1 cup fresh parsley (minced)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon garlic (minced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Toss mushrooms with olive oil and salt. To broil: place mushrooms gill side up on baking sheet and place under broiler for about 5 minutes on each side, or until tender. To grill: place mushrooms gill side up on preheated grill and grill each side for about 5 minutes or until tender.
In a medium bowl, combine avocado, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Top mushrooms with chimichurri and serve.
Grilling fruit caramelizes it for a crisp and sweet outside and a warm and tender inside. It also brings out the natural sweetness, so no added sugar is required! Try it as an appetizer, a side dish, or a dessert with your next barbecue.
This quick meal can be whipped up in about 15 minutes. Other than a spiral slicer, you could also use a julienne peeler or the grater attachment on a food processor. This recipe is completely plant-based without any animal products, but the combination of vegetables, beans and healthy fat will satisfy your appetite.
Optional additions include pine nuts, sauteed spinach, or cherry tomatoes.
Craving cheesy breadsticks? Although this recipe won’t fool anyone, it is a fun and tasty way to dip something bready and even somewhat cheesy into marinara sauce. It is made with whole, real foods, including vegetables, whole grains or nuts (depending on your choice of flour) and eggs. It is free of refined grains and dairy, and can be made without gluten or grains by using almond meal.
Swap out the flour for summer squash to make cheesy-tasting breadsticks that are much lower in calories and starch. A very tasty way to eat your veggies!
4 yellow crookneck squash or zucchini
4 large eggs
1/2 cup almond meal or whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil.
Cut the squash into 1 inch chunks, which should yield about 6 cups. Place half the squash into a food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped, but not mushy. Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with remaining squash.
Squeeze some of the liquid out of the squash. When finished, it should yield about 4 cups of squash. Whisk eggs and add to squash. Add flour, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic powder.
Spread squash mixture onto prepared baking sheet and form into an even, thin layer, about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with oregano. Bake for 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Move pan to top rack and broil for about 2 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Place a large cutting board on top of the baking sheet and carefully flip it over to move the breadsticks to the cutting board. Cut in half lengthwise, then cut into 1-inch strips. Serve with warm marinara sauce.
Holiday popcorn is a festive yet healthy treat made with whole grains, healthy fats, herbs and spices, and not too much added oil. It’s easy to pop your own popcorn on the stove, and healthier than microwave popcorn. Microwave popcorn bags are lined with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are potentially dangerous for our health and the environment – so make it yourself, and save money as well!
Holiday popcorn is a festive yet healthy treat made with whole grains, healthy fats, herbs and spices, and not too much added oil. Microwave popcorn bags are lined with perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are potentially dangerous for our health and the environment - so make it yourself, and save money as well!
2 tablespoons canola oil (or other high heat oil)
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon dried parsley
In a large stock pot, heat the oil and 3-4 kernels of popcorn, covered, over
medium heat until all kernels pop.
Pour in the remaining kernels, cover pot and shake to distribute. Remove pot from heat for 30 seconds. Return pan to heat, shaking pan continuously, leaving the lid slightly ajar for crisper popcorn, if possible. To do this, you can wear two oven mitts (ones that cover your wrists or beyond are best), hold the lid slightly ajar while holding onto the pot handles and shaking the pan as pictured. If you have a lid with a vent, you could just open the vent, or use any other preferred popcorn popping method.
When popping slows to 2-3 seconds between pops, remove from heat. Pour popcorn into a large bowl, removing any unpopped or partially popped kernels.
Combine the paprika, garlic powder, and salt. These measurements are general and you may want to add more, but the beauty of this recipe is that the quantities don't have to be exact.
Drizzle the olive oil over the popcorn, then sprinkle with the spice mixture. Toss to combine. Add more spices if desired. Garnish with parsley and serve.
These hearty, tasty, savory pitas make a great breakfast that you can warm up while getting ready for the day. This recipe is entirely plant-based and is a flavorful alternative to an egg breakfast sandwich. Start your day with protein, whole grains, and vegetables, and be rewarded with steady energy throughout the morning. Adapted from Scrambled Chickpea and Spinach Pitas from The Kitchn.
These satisfying breakfast pitas can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for a quick, healthy and portable breakfast.
1 yellow onion (diced)
2 tablespoons cooking oil (such as olive, grapeseed, coconut, or canola)
1 red bell pepper (diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced)
3 cans chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
4 cups baby spinach (roughly chopped)
3 whole wheat pitas (halved)
1/2 cup salsa or hummus (optional)
Place half of the chickpeas into a food processor and pulse until mashed but not smoothly pureed. Alternatively, mash in a medium bowl with a fork. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add bell peppers and cook until tender, about 4 minutes.
Add whole and mashed chickpeas, cumin, turmeric, and salt. Cook until chickpeas soften, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes.
If serving immediately, spread 1-2 tablespoons of hummus or salsa if using inside pitas, then fill each pita with chickpea filling.
If freezing, allow chickpea mixture to cool, then follow step 4. Wrap each pita in foil and place them in an airtight bag or container and freeze. To serve, heat in oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes if thawed or 30 minutes if frozen, or until warmed through. Alternatively, remove the foil and microwave until warmed throughout.
1 English cucumber (or 2-3 smaller cucumbers ( organic and thin skin preferred, such as Persian or Japanese))
1 Medium eggplant
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes (cut in half, organic preferred)
1 bunch flat leaf parsley (minced)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel eggplant and slice thinly. If you have time, lay on a baking sheet or large cutting board and sprinkle generously with salt, then let sit for 30-60 minutes to extract the bitter juices. Rinse and pat dry. Toss with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder. Spread into one layer on a baking sheet and bake until tender, flipping over halfway, about 10-15 minutes. You can also move the baking sheet to the top rack and turn on the broiler for a few minutes to brown. Let cool completely.
Use a serrated knife to carefully cut pitas in half, creating two thin rounds (rather than two half circles). Cut about half of the cucumber into thin discs. Use a vegetable peeler to cut long, thin strips.
On a serving plate, place one halved pita, cut side up. Spread a thin layer of hummus, then add a layer of the cucumber discs, using about half of the discs. Add another halved pita, thin layer of hummus, then half of the sliced tomatoes. Add another halved pita, thin layer of hummus, and half of the cooled eggplant. Repeat all layers one more time and top with a halved pita, cut side down.
Use remaining hummus to frost the "cake." Spread evenly with a rubber spatula over the top, then spread about 1/4 cup at a time around the edges.
Decorate the "cake" with the long thin ribbons of cucumber around the outside and cherry tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with optional parsley. Feel free to get creative with other vegetable decorations!
Basic Hummus Recipe
1 15-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (can also use white beans such as cannellini or navy beans
1/4 cup tahini
juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
salt to taste
water to thin if necessary
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and puree until very smooth. Add water as needed to thin it out. Hummus will thicken when refrigerated.
Traditional broccoli salad is typically made with mayo, sugar, and bacon. This healthy twist on an old classic is completely plant-based, replacing mayo with mashed avocado, cutting way back on sugar so you can appreciate the natural sweetness of the raisins, and uses creative seasonings to replace the flavor of the bacon. Make 1 1/2 times the dressing recipe if you prefer it to be a bit creamier.
This twist on classic broccoli salad omits all animal products, replacing mayo with mashed avocado, using seasonings to mimic bacon flavor, and greatly reducing added sugar.
5 cups broccoli florets
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup roasted sunflower seeds
3/4 - 1 cups avocado (about 1 large)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic (minced)
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
dash liquid smoke
Place broccoli, raisins and sunflower seeds into a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, mash the avocado until no chunks remain, then add remaining ingredients (or combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth). Combine avocado mixture with broccoli mixture. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours for dressing to soften the broccoli.
If you’re looking for a twist on boring old oatmeal, give this recipe a try. You can make it on the weekend and reheat individual portions for breakfast throughout the week. It is made with whole grains, fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats, and is completely plant-based and low in added sugar, yet tastes like carrot cake! It’s crispy on the top, tender on the inside, and contains a variety of other textures from the crunchy nuts and chewy raisins.
Each serving has only 1 1/2 teaspoons added sugar, less than most flavored oatmeal packets. The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 10% of calories from added sugar, which is about 12 teaspoons on a 2,000 calorie diet. However, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to 6 teaspoons a day for women and 9 teaspoons a day for men.
Recipe adapted from dietitian and cookbook author Ellie Krieger’s recipe.