Easy Vegan Egg Salad

Looking for a quick lunch? My Easy Vegan Egg Salad can be mixed up quickly in one bowl with just a handful of ingredients. No boiling eggs (ick, that smell!!) and no struggles over peeling those egg shells (ugh-I never could get that right!)

When it comes to the mayonnaise part of the recipe, you have the option to use a store bought vegan mayo  (like Vegenaise) or you can mix up my own oil-free version of mayo. Even if you have a tofu skeptic in your house, I bet they will love my version of the classic (no) egg salad sandwich. The key ingredient, black salt (Kala Namak) gives this the “eggy” aroma and the little bit of turmeric brightens the color to a delicious yellow! I also recommend using “dill” relish, as opposed to “sweet” relish, so that you don’t add any unnecessary sugars.

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Easy Vegan Egg Salad

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Print

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Drain the tofu and wrap in towels to squeeze as much water out as possible. I don’t use a tofu press, so it’s up to you if you want to take that extra step
  2. In a medium bowl, mix all the ingredients, EXCEPT the tofu and celery (and onion, if using) and blend well.
  3. With your hands, crumble the tofu into the bowl and add the celery and onion and mix well until everything is coated.
  4. You can eat this right away, but I think it tastes better if it’s refrigerated for a while so the flavors can develop.
  5. Enjoy on your favorite bread, wrap or salad!!

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Hurry up and get to the kitchen and make yourself a bowl of this always classic lunch! You can serve it by itself, on a bed of greens, in a wrap or on some toasted sunflower seed bread, like I did.

Tag me @heidicooksplants when you make yours and let me know how much you love it!

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

 

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Oil Free Vegan Mayo

I am all about convenience, but I also strive to keep added oil out of my diet. Commercially prepared vegan mayo is typically loaded with oils. This recipe is super easy to make and keep on hand when you need a healthier alternative to commercial vegan mayo. If you happen to know of a vegan mayo made without any oils, please leave me a comment and let me know what you have found. This Easy Oil Free Vegan Mayo is simple to put together in a blender cup and keep stored in the fridge for about a week. 

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Oil Free Vegan Mayo

  • Servings: makes about one cup
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Ingredients:

  • 1 c. hemp hearts
  • 1/3 c water
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. ground mustard
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/8 t black salt

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender cup and blend until smooth.  I use a Vitamix, which has a smaller “cup” that makes it easier to blend small quantities, like dressings. Transfer to a sealed container and keep in refrigerator for no more than 7 days

DId you make this recipe? Tag me @heidicooksplants or leave me a comment.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

 

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I receive a small commission, at no extra charge to you. Thank you for supporting my blog.

 

My go-to Cookbooks

I say you can never have too many cookbooks. My fascination with cookbooks began many years ago when I discovered Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. I have to credit Ina  for helping me pretty much learn how to cook. It all started with her very first cookbook,   The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. From that point on, I was hooked. I continued to collect her cookbooks: Barefoot Contessa at home, Barefoot Contessa Family Style and Barefoot Contessa Parties. She has many more books, but these are my favorites. Even as a whole food, plant based cook, I am still able to reference many of her recipes and “veganize” them with my own modifications. And Ina, if you’re reading this, I’d love to collaborate so we can say “The Barefoot Contessa goes Plant Based.”  How easy is that?

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As my plant based journey evolved, I knew that I had to expand my cookbook collection to include books that reflected what I eat on a daily basis. There are hundreds of cookbooks that I could fill my shelves with, but I have narrowed down my all time faves to just 5 books. I think that’s a pretty fair number. I’m listing these in order of acqusition.

 

  1. The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone. This was my very first book years before I ever went plant based. Silverstone is a strong advocate for a vegan lifestyle and this book has lovely photos and recipes for all levels of cooks.
  2. Oh She Glows, by Angela Liddon. A fantastic started vegan cookbook. Liddon began as a food blogger and I have used this book again and again. You will not be disappointed with her recipes!
  3. The Engine 2 Diet Cookbook, by Rip Esselstyn and Jane Esselstyn. Rip is the founder of the Engine 2 Diet. He’s a former firefighter and endurance athlete who has made Plant Based his mission. This book is essential for anyone who is embarking on a whole foods, plants based lifestyle.
  4. How Not To Die Cookbook, by Dr. Michael Greger. Dr. Greger maintains the popular website, nutritionfacts.org He is the energizer bunny of plant based living. This cookbook is a companion to his popular book, How Not To Die. He is the real deal, with profits from his books supporting his website which receives no funding from any advertising. He runs everything on donations and profit from book sales.
  5. The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, by Jane and Ann Esselstyn. Fantastic resource with easy to follow recipes from this amazing mother-daughter duo. You’ll love their easy to follow recipes that are low fat, oil free and completely plant based.

Of course, there are so many more great books out there, but if you’re just starting out, these are the ones I would choose.

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll clue you in on how I get my kitchen set up with my favorite gadgets. Having the right equipment sets you up for success and can make all the difference when you are changing the way you eat.

Let me know what your favorite cookbooks are. I’ve always got space on my shelf foor one more!

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

 

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Avocado Air Fryer Spring Rolls Oil Free and Vegan

Have you tried those yummy yet very greasy avocado egg rolls at your favorite happy hour lately? We often order the Avocado Egg Rolls at Kona Grill and I absolutely love them. But, they’re fried and probably not plant based. My version is crispy and crunchy and made without any oil!

I’ve had a lot of success making other versions of air fryer spring rolls, as you will find in one of my previous posts.   I thought it was time to play around in my kitchen and make a copycat version. Here’s my healthy take on this restaurant snack without the added oil. These are also completely plant based and vegan.

Avocado Air Fryer Spring Rolls

  • Servings: Makes 12
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Ingredients:

Directions:

In a medium skillet, heat about 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and then add the broccoli slaw and saute until softened. Add salt and pepper to taste and then set the slaw aside. On a flat work surface ( I like to use these), lay out one egg roll wrapper with the point facing towards you. Start with a slice of avocado, and then add a little bit of each ingredient to the center of the wrapper. Try not to overstuff—it takes a little trial and error! Take the bottom corner and fold over to cover the filling. With a small pastry brush, moisten the reamining edges with a little water and then fold in the sides and gently roll away from you. Once all of your spring rolls are finished, you are ready to air fry!

Set your air fryer to 370 degrees. I placed 4 rolls in the basket at a time and cooked for 4 minutes and then turned and continued for 4-6 minutes. Everyone’s air fryer works differently, so I recommend checking every couple minutes. You want a nice browned and crispy shell for that awesome crunch!

Serve with the sweet chili garlic sauce or whatever sauce you like!

I am often asked what brand of air fryer I use. I have a Krups air fryer that I purchased last year. It has served me well this past year, but I think I’m ready for an upgrade. I’ve been researching some of the newer versions and I am interested in the new Ninja  Foodie Air Fryer . So, perhaps i can snag a new one on Black Friday this year!

This recipe makes 12 spring rolls and they can easily be reheated the next day in your air fryer or in the oven.  They make a fantastic appetizer or even a side dish. It’s a great way to get a serving of veggies (broccoli slaw) as well as a healthy dose of fat with the avocado. When you serve these to your friends and family, be prepared for rave reviews. They are always a hit at my house, and I want you to give them a try.

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Tag me in your photo on Instagram or send me a comment after you make these. I know you’re going to be a fan!

See you in the kitchen soon!

Heidi

This blog participates in the Amazon Affiliates program. When you purchase a product from the included Amazon links, I am paid a nominal fee. (really nominal!)

 

 

Healthy Pitaya Bowl

Am I the only person who didn’t know that dragon fruit was also known as pitaya?? I was strolling through the frozen aisle at Publix last week and saw this bag of frozen Pitaya chunks. I have bought fresh dragon fruit in the past and quite honestly, it tastes like nothing. It’s very pretty when you slice it open, but it doesn’t really have a flavor.

Dragon fruit has so many beneficial nutrients, though, so we should try to add it into our diets when we can. It’s rich in antioxidants and it’s full of fiber, which helps keep you full. This gorgeous pink fruit is also high in vitamins B3, which I learned can help your skin recover from a sunburn faster. Dragon fruit is also considered a powerful anti-inflammatory, which is great for anyone who suffers from arthritis.

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For lunch today I decided to make a Pitaya Bowl. I always have a supply of frozen bananas and other frozen fruits in my freezer, so this came together quickly. And lucky for me, I still had some granola that I made over the weekend. I highly recommend adding granola to your bowl. Fresh fruit is also a must––gotta have those antioxidants in your diet!

Healthy Pitaya Bowl

  • Servings: one
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Ingredients:

  • one banana, frozen in slices
  • 1/2 cup frozen pitaya chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries, or fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (you may need to add a little more, if too thick)
  • granola and fresh fruit to garnish

Directions: In a high speed blender, combine banana through almond milk.  When you are using all frozen fruit, it will be thicker and you may need to add a litle more almond milk. Pour into a bowl when done and garnish with granola and fruit. Enjoy!!!

 

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This is a filling and healthy treat that you could easily serve for breakfast, lunch or even as a dessert.  Let me know how much you like yours by leaving a comment. What fruit did you use? I’d love to know.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

Oil-Free Vegan Arugula or Basil Pesto

I went a little arugula crazy at the farmer’s market last Saturday. The market we visit almost every week has the most amazing organic produce vendor, Worden Farms. The bag of fresh, organic arugula is a steal at $4.00, but sometimes I have trouble finishing the bag before it’s past its peak!

So…here I am experimenting with some recipes and I thought, how about a creamy pesto, similar to the white bean and basil pesto that I make? I wonder how it would taste if I subbed the arugula for the pesto, Well…let’s find out, shall we?

Oil Free Arugula/Basil Pesto

  • Servings: Makes One Cup of Pesto
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Ingredients:

  • One 15 1/2 ounce can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • One lemon juiced. (Zest is optional if you want extra lemony flavor)
  • 1 cup of arugula OR Basil (very tightly packed)-I may have used closer to a cup and a half
  • 4 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 3-4 T. of nutritional yeast
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1/2 t. Aleppo pepper
  • 1 T. water

Directions: Add all of the above ingredients to a food processor and blend well. Stop and scrape down as needed. Depending on your processor, you may need to adjust the water if you want your thicker or thinner. Mine was just right with one tablespoon of water. Chill your pesto and serve with veggies or serve as a sauce with pasta. Enjoy!

This is a great alternative to a creamy vegetable dip. It’s completely guilt free because you aren’t adding any oil. The cannellini beans add a creamy, smooth texture and the nutritional yeast gives it just enough cheesy flavor without overpowering it.

I love to serve this pesto with veggies or my air fryer wonton chips and I think it would be a delicious topper on this sourdough pizza crust!

Arugula ranks among the top 20 foods on the ANDI scale (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index). It is considered a cruciferous vegetable in the same family as broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts. It is also high in nitrates which has shown to be helpful in lowering blood pressure and with only 10 calories in 2 cups, you are getting a lot of bang for your buck!

Let me know how you like this by leaving me a comment. If you make it yourself, please tag me @heidicooksplants on Instagram!

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

Gossip Girl Waffle (Fries)…and an ode to Rufus Humphrey

If you’ve been wondering where I’ve been lately, I was immersed in a complete Gossip Girl binge-watching frenzy. What started out innocently when I scrolled through the Netflix menu turned into a months long obsession of Blair, Serena, Chuck, Nate, Dan and the rest of the gang. My every spare moment was taken with wondering who Gossip Girl was and when will (s)he be revealed.  SPOILER ALERT: It was Dan Humphrey!!! I even downloaded 10 episodes to watch on my tablet while I was on a 5 day cruise.

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I know I’m extremely late to the party where all manner of GG is concerned. The show began its run in 2007 and lasted for 6 seasons.  Thank you, Netflix, for allowing me to peer into the lives of Manhattan’s Upper East Side and giving me more than a mere glimpse into their complicated and seriously dysfunctional lives. Between all of Blair’s schemes, underage drinking, dating crises and cynical plots were the waffles!

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Waffles seemed to be the star of almost every episode. During season one, Rufus had waffles ready for Dan and Jenny as they made their daily trek to their exclusive private school from their humble Brooklyn loft. In subsequent seasons, after Rufus finally married Lily and he moved into her luxurious penthouse, waffles were always on the brunch table. It became a running joke, pretty much, that everyone involved in a Humphrey breakfast was consuming waffles.original-22033-1425680648-47

I love a good breakfast waffle as much as the next gal, but today I’m giving you a much better option. And believe me, these are appropriate for breakfast too, if you want. I present to you…Oil Free Waffle Iron Fries

Oil Free Waffle Iron Fries

  • Servings: 4-6
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This is a pretty simple recipe. You will need Yukon Gold potatoes. I usually buy a 5 pound bag so I always have them on hand. You first need to wash the quantity of potatoes that you would like to have. I suggest baking a LOT of potatoes, because once you taste how delicious these are, you won’t want to share!

Bake the potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The cooking time depends on the size of the potatoes. When the potatoes are almost done, heat up your waffle iron.

Once the potatoes are done, you place a potato on each side of your waffle iron. My iron only has two plates, so I place one potato on each side. Next, close the lid and smash the potato so that the lid closes completely. Now you wait patiently. The key here is NO PEEKING. Let the potatoes cook for at least 8-10 minutes. Carefully lift the lid and remove your “fries”.  Continue until you have used all your potatoes.  If the potatoes are large, you can cut them in half before you press them into fries.

Enjoy with ketchup or your favorite condiment.

These waffle fries are Oil Free, Fate Free and absolutely delicious. They make a great side dish or you can make a whole meal out of them, as I typically do, adding some green vegetable and perhaps a side of beans.

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Snap a pic of your waffle fries and tag me @heidicooksplants on Instagram. I know you’ll love these as much as I do!

XOXO, Heidi Cooks Plants

P.S., Dorota is still the best character on the show, just sayin’

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Air Fryer Wonton Chips-4 ways

I love chips and I’m not choosy. Give me a potato chip, tortilla chip, pretzel, or sweet potato chip. You name it and I’m there. But, since I’ve been following a WFPB way of eating, I really try to avoid the chips and crackers because we all know it’s just empty calories and no one can ever eat just one. So now you can make these today and enjoy this guilt-free snack while you watch the Super Bowl (or Netflix)!

Enter my beloved air fryer. I just knew there must be some way to make a fat free, oil free yet tasty chip to replace my greasy, calorie-laden kettle chips. While scrolling through the grocery store the other day I spotted a package of wonton wrappers and I quickly looked at the ingredient list and I decided this could be my new chip material. So, I hurried back to the “test kitchen” to see what I could come up with.

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I began with some lofty ideas about making little dessert wontons stuffed with chopped apples and my chocolate hummus, but that didn’t exactly work out as planned. With a few more tries, I came up with 3 chip varieties that anyone can make. The seasoning I used could be adapted to any cuisine. I made some plain, some sweet and some savory. These take just minutes to prepare and are an easy and satisfying snack when you are craving that crunch.

Air Fryer Wonton Chips

  • Servings: varies
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Ingredients:

  • One package of wonton wrappers. I use these
  • Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
  • Zatar seasoning
  • 1 T. sugar mixed with 1 t. china cinnamon
  • Everything but the Bagel Seasoning
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:   Set your air fryer to 350 degrees. On a flat work surface, lay out 4 wonton wrappers and brush just the tops with the aquafaba. Sprinkle with seasoning and lay the 4- 8 sheets on the air fryer rack. (This really depends on the size of your air fryer racks). My most successful chips have come out when I slightly overlap each wonton on the rack. When you kind of form a “ring”, they will cook as one piece. When they cool off, you can break them apart. ** You use each seasoning separately to make the flavor you want***  Cook for about 6 minutes, shaking and looking once to make sure they don’t burn. Every machine is different––mine took about 6 minutes. They tend to stick together, but it’s easy to separate the chips once they are done. Continue with the quantity of chips that you desire, sprinkling with your seasoning of choice. I made some plain (salt and pepper), some cinnamon sugar, some with Everything but the Bagel Seasoning and some with the zatar seasoning.

These would also be delicious served with hummus or guac or even salsa. The next time I make these, I think I’ll use some smoky seasoning to serve with chili. These would be an excellent way to scoop up some of this delicious lentil soup, too. Make them your own with the seasonings and flavors that you like and you will never have to reach for the Lay’s (or Cape Cod Kettle Chips).

I hope that you give these a try. Please tag me on Instagram @heidicooksplants and let me know how you like them. See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

Oil Free Chocolate Hummus

I love chocolate. Rich, dark, creamy decadent chocolate. Guilty as charged. As a whole foods, plant based eater, I still like (and eat) chocolate. I’m human––and I’m guessing you are too. I’ve found a great way to satisfy that chocolate craving with fewer calories as well as adding some nutrient dense goodness.

Have you seen Chocolate Hummus in the grocery store yet? Our Publix sells it for almost $4.00 for an itty-bitty container. I even spotted it this morning at Aldi for $3.49. I picked it up, put my readers on to see the ingredient list and quickly placed it back in the cooler. The ingredients included coconut oil and tahini and I knew those were definite no-no’s. As soon as I got home, I knew I could make my own and now I can share with all of you!

 

Oil Free Chocolate Hummus

  • Servings: varies
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates that have been soaked to soften (reserve the water)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 T. pure maple syrup
  • Unsweetened, plain almond milk
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:  Add rinsed and drained chickpeas and the drained dates to the bowl of a food processor (reserve the soaking liquid from the dates) and blend until very smooth. You may have to stop and scrape the sides a few times. I added about 4 tablespoons of the date water to the mixture to get it to the right consistency. Next, add the cocoa powder, extract and salt and continue to blend. Add in the almond milk by the tablespoon if you need to. I added 2 tablespoons and then gave it a taste. I wanted mine a little sweeter, so I added just 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and blended again. Transfer to a serving bowl or a container and store in the refrigerator. Makes about a 2 cup serving.

Perfect as a dip for pretzels or fruit. I dipped some strawberries in mine and they were delicious.

 

Strawberries and chocolate are a favorite combination of mine. Back in my (non vegan) days, I was well known as the chocolate covered strawberry lady. I used to make them for parties or as a hostess gift. But, now, I’ll trade the high calorie chocolate for this!

You could spread on graham crackers or even apple slices. It’s a guilt free treat with no oil added and sweetened with just dates (and maple syrup if using). Healthy and nutrient rich and a lot less expensive than store bought.

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Decide to make your own? Tag me in your Instagram picture @heidicooksplants and let me know how you like it.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

 

 

Why should you go plant based?

Earlier this month, I gave a presentation to a group of men and women at a local senior center. It was my first time speaking to a group such as this and I wasn’t sure what to expect or even how I would be received. The organizer from the Meals on Wheels program told me that they like to have a snack, preferably sweets, and suggested I bring something for them to sample and incorporate that into my talk.

I had about a month’s notice to prepare for the talk which was going to be with “The Lunch Club” at the center. I had my keynote (Power Point) all set up and rehearsed and my speech notes were all ready to go. I wasn’t nervous, well, maybe just a little. Why would they want to listen to a talk about plant based eating?

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Yukon Gold “waffles”-side of chickpeas and roasted asparagus drizzled with balsamic glaze

I started talking, and a few latecomers walked in, and one woman said that I should start over. I had only gone through one slide, so she said..”oh, go ahead and start again”. I though to myself…Hmmm, they’re actually listening––and they’re interested!! In all honestly, I did offer the chocolate chip banana cake FIRST!

My talk progressed, and I had a few questions along the way. And everyone took an interest in what I had to say. We had a really great discussion afterwards. Only one or two people left when I finished talking, but the rest sat around and had another piece or two of cake. These men and women had at least 20 years on me. A few ladies had just come from the chair yoga class. One woman proudly announced that she is in her 70s and she does not take one single pill. She said she only eats organic (but she is not vegan). We had a great discussion on my why.

I am asked almost daily “why” I eat this way––vegan, plant-based, whole food––whatever you want to call it. My simple answer is that my body feels better when I eat this way. After more than 2 years of eating this way it has become my lifestyle. Although my motivation to begin this was purely for my health, I am definitely more conscious of the toll that animal farming is taking on the environment. After watching documentaries such as Food, Inc , Eating You Alive and Forks Over Knives, I believe many of you would think very differently about what you put on your plate.

Just yesterday, the Canadian government issued their 2019 health guidelines. And what do you know….their new food guidelines eliminates dairy as a food group and features fruits and vegetables on half your plate! Water is also encouraged as the beverage of choice and protein includes plant protein choices. I wonder how long until the US catches up??

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“Clean out the fridge” salad–tons of colors and flavor!

In our country, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are all preventable lifestyle diseases that can be reversed and prevented through a plant based, whole foods diet. The scientific evidence is out there. It’s as simple as changing what’s on the end of your fork. I know that I will continue to choose plants over pills, how about you?

Do you like my food photos? Stay tuned for my next post and I’ll show you how I made those waffle fries and how I cook with no oil.

See you in the kitchen soon,

Heidi

“This post is part of the wellpreneur blog challenge.”

http://learn.wellpreneuronline.com/blog-challenge/