easy weeknight meal: sweet potatoes with cheesy pistachio dust (vegan, gluten free)

 

As a food blogger, it can be tempting for me to post oodles of complicated, fancy recipes that have a big wow factor. Because those are the things that get a lot of splash and attention.

But, that’s not reality.

As a mom of four and business owner two times over, I don’t have time most days for complicated and fancy. I’m guessing you don’t either.

Which is why I’m sharing more of a meal idea than a “recipe” with you today. It’s an easy weeknight meal that is uncomplicated, but tasty. Simple, but satisfying. Light on ingredients but packed with the nutrients your body needs to fuel itself for all the things you do.

That’s the beauty of an easy weeknight meal, isn’t it?

First we start with a sweet potato. Packed with vitamins, fiber, potassium, sweet potatoes are one of my favorite comfort foods. I like to prepare them either by baking them whole or cutting them in half and placing cut side down on a baking sheet to get a be-you-ti-ful carmelization, like you see with the sweet potatoes in the picture above.

Next comes a side of salad. Here’s where you can find the dressing and basic to a chop salad that frequently makes an appearance on our table. It’s one the kids like, especially since I let them customize their toppings. Just ignore the picture…clearly, I’ve been working on my photography skills.

To amp up the protein and keep this meal from being ho-hum, I whipped up and added some cheesy pistachio dust (dairy free, of course) to both the potato and the salad. You’ll find the recipe for that below.

 

 

If you’re pressed for time during the week, you can prep much of this meal ahead of time over the weekend by pre-baking the sweet potatoes and mixing up the pistachio dust and salad dressing. I don’t recommend prepping the veggies ahead (unless you’re having them the next day) since they start to lose some of their nutrients after being cut. Instead, chop them up while you’re warming the sweet potatoes (I always do this in the oven, as I ixnayed the microwave for food years ago).

So there you have it! An easy weeknight meal that can be partially prepped ahead of time or simple enough to come together even in a pinch.

 

vegan nut Parmesan

A trio of nut Parmesans to get your cheese fix even without the dairy.

Course: Topping
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
Pecan Parmesan
  • 1 c. pecans, toasted
  • 4 tsp. nutritional yeast
  • 3 tsp. avocado or olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
Cashew Parmesan
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 8 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp avocado or olive oil
Pistachio Parmesan
  • 1 c shelled pistachios
  • 9 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp avocado or olive oil
Instructions
  1. For each Parmesan (separately)...add the ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse or mix until the nuts are finely chopped. Do not over mix or the nuts will begin to release their oils and stick together.

Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks.

     

     

    (contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

    • Click here for my favorite food processor for the cheesy pistachio dust

    rainbow plate with roasted chickpeas and citrus garlic tahini sauce (vegan, gluten free)

     

    As a food blogger, I want to believe that everyone will absolutely love what I create and share. One hundred percent. All the time.

    This, of course, is not realistic…as my family frequently reminds me.

    Take this rainbow plate, for example. Yum, right?!

    Except if you don’t like red peppers, sweet potato, chickpeas, kale and/or eggplant, roasted, seasoned or dressed but not disguised in a soup or sauce. Since I happen to love all these veggies, this is a plate I want to dive into on repeat. I was hoping my family would want to do the same.

    My youngest, however, “didn’t like that dinner” and it was like pulling teeth to get my other three to finish (they ate their favorite veggies first, but that is different for each of them)). Even my husband didn’t give it glowing reviews, because, well, right now I’m the only die-hard veggie lover in my family.

    But despite the ho-hum, yuck reviews from my dearest ones, I’m still sharing this rainbow plate because I loved it and I know there are other veggie-lovers out there that will love it too.

    It’s simple to make and balanced with protein from the chickpeas plus it gives you all the vitamins and antioxidants your body is really craving. It’s simply dressed with a citrus garlic tahini sauce (more protein +tang) and the veggies could be roasted up on the weekend to prep for a busy week ahead.

    If you absolutely dislike one or more of the veggies I’ve included on this plate, just switch it up for a different vegetable of the same color. Because that’s the beauty of cooking and recipe sharing.

     

    rainbow plate with roasted chickpeas
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Cook Time
    35 mins
    Total Time
    50 mins
     

    An easy, delicious way to "eat all the colors," this rainbow plate combines roasted veggies with raw kale to give you all the nutrients and is dressed with a tangy garlic tahini sauce.

    Course: Entree, Main Course
    Servings: 2 people
    Author: Andrea Anderson
    Ingredients
    For the Rainbow Plate
    • 1-2 red pepper, cut in strips
    • 2 large sweet potato, cubed
    • 2 15-oz can chickpeas
    • kale, rinsed and chopped
    • 1 medium eggplant, diced
    • 2 tsp avocado oil
    • 1/8 tsp turmeric
    • 1/4 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • freshly ground pepper
    For the Citrus Garlic-Tahini Dressing
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup orange juice
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
    • 1/4 cup tahini
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
    Instructions
    For the veggies:
    1. Preheat the oven to 375 as you prepare the veggies. Add sweet potato and eggplant cubes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired.

    2. Meanwhile, prepare the chickpeas by combining them in a bowl with the seasonings and toss to coat well. Spread on a baking sheet.

    3. When the sweet potatoes have cooked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and rotate for even cooking. Add the eggplant and red peppers to the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired and return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes or until all the veggies are tender and roasted.

    4. At the same time, add the pan of chickpeas to a different rack in the oven and roast for 20-25 minutes or until they are slightly crispy. It's helpful to stir them a couple times during baking for even crisping.

    For the dressing:
    1. While the veggies are roasting, mix all the dressing ingredients in a blender or small food processor, blending until thoroughly combined. Dressing can be stored in an air tight jar in the fridge for one week.

    To assemble the rainbow plate:
    1. Add veggies and chickpeas in rainbow order to each plate, using as much kale as desired. Drizzle dressing over each serving.

     

    herbed spelt pizza crust (vegan, whole grain)

    Pizza night around our home is a weekly event. Usually I plan it for Friday nights, but have been known to mix things up occasionally.

    For awhile, this recipe was my go to for the crust (clearly I’ve been working on my food photography) since I wanted to cut the carbs and boost the nutrition, but truth be told, it takes a little more work than the traditional dough. I still love it, but with everything I have going on…keeping up with this food blog, starting a new business and life…I needed an “in a pinch” pizza crust solution that was easier to whip up, but still packed a solid good-for-you punch.

    I hit on this herbed spelt pizza crust as the solution.

     

    While it’s not gluten-free (sorry, GFers), it is whole grain and flavored with plenty of herbs and garlic to get your anti-oxidant fix in.

     

    Why whole grain spelt flour?

    While it’s related to wheat, it’s an ancient grain which is considered to be healthier and more nutrition than modern varieties. It contains more protein and zinc than wheat, and overall, I find it to be lighter in texture and prefer the flavor over whole wheat.

    (I’m still working on my family to convert them from white flour to whole grains, but Rome wasn’t built in a day and changing your families flavor preferences can take time and patience. But they absolutely love when I add all these herbs and garlic to their crust!)

     

    For the pizza itself, here’s how I put it together:

    • crust
    • hummus (cheese replacer)
    • sauce (here’s my recipe that I make monthly)
    • sliced onion rounds
    • red pepper, sometimes green and sometimes mushrooms
    • greens (extra nutritional booster and yummy too!)
    • cashew parm (recipe here) or nutritional yeast for extra cheesy flavor

     

    And here’s the herbed spelt crust recipe…

    herbed spelt pizza crust

    Bursting with flavor, antioxidants and whole grains, this herbed spelt pizza crust transforms pizza night!

    Course: Entree, Main Course
    Servings: 4
    Author: Andrea Anderson @wildberrypress
    Ingredients
    • 1 7g package quick-rise yeast
    • drizzle sweetener of choice
    • 3/4 cup warm water
    • 1/8 cup avocado oil
    • 1 3/4 cups whole grain spelt flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 tsp oregano, dried
    • 1/2 tsp parsley, dried
    Instructions
    1. Add very warm (but not hot!) water to a glass bowl along with the sweetener and yeast. Stir to combine and let the yeast proof (about 5 minutes). Water that is too hot will kill the yeast, so this proofing is important! You know the yeast is active when bubbles form and a foam develops on top of the water.

    2. Pour in oil, then the flour and remaining ingredients. Stir to loosely combine, then work the flour in by hand. Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour as needed and a little at a time if the dough is sticky.

    3. Cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place to rise until doubled (about 45-60 minutes with quick rise yeast)

    4. To form the crust, lightly flour the counter and rolling pin with flour. Gather the dough into a ball and place on the counter, flattening the dough with your palm. Roll the dough into a circle or rectangle (or whatever shape you desire!), making sure it will fit your pan.

    5. Place on a pan lightly greased with avocado oil and add your toppings (with the exception of greens). If you choose NOT to use hummus, lightly coat the top of the pizza crust with oil to prevent it from sogging up.

    6. Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 400 F oven or until the crust and toppings are lightly browned. If topping with greens, add them after removing the pizza from the oven.

     

     

     

    (contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

    • I used Bob’s Red Mill whole grain spelt flour in this crust which you should be able to find where ever Bob’s Red Mill products are sold. Or you can get it online here.
    • I get my avocado oil at BJ’s (a wholesale club), but if you don’t have a club near you, many stores are now carrying avocado oil which is better for high heat cooking. Or you can get it online here. If you aren’t a member of BJs and want to check it out, use this link to sign up for a BJs membership and we’ll both get $25!

    ode to chocolate: a valentine’s day recipe roundup

    Ahhhh, chocolate!

    Food in general may win men over, but you, chocolate, are definitely the way to a woman’s heart. God knew what He was doing when He made you a super-fruit and then gave us things like coffee and chili and peanut butter and dates to mix with you and make our taste buds swoon.

    The only thing, chocolate, is that you’re often paired with sugar and dairy milk and other sketchy ingredients which totally drags your healthy vibe down. So not cool.

    But I’m here for you, chocolate, and created this Valentine’s Day recipe round up which gives you the starring role supported by a cast of ingredients that plays to your superfood talents and lets your antioxidant superpowers shine.

    Ready? Roll recipes!

     

    Chocolate, you make a surprising appearance in this comfort food staple…

     

    His ‘n Hers Black Bean Chili

     

     

     

    And with the main meal out of the way, here are all the desserts and snacks you were made for..

     

    Mocha Hazelnut Torte

     

    Nanaimo Bars

     

    Rockier Road Brownies

     

     

     

    Chocolate Doughnuts with Milk Chocolate Glaze + Pink Sprinkles

     

    German Chocolate Cake

     

     

    Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

     

     

    Pistachio Wrapped Chocolate Truffles

     

    Dark Chocolate Pudding Mousse

     

     

    So there you have it, chocolate! Your Valentine’s Day recipe round up in a nutshell.

    So many recipes you were simply made for. I can’t to see what other combinations we come up with this year. Looking back, I see we haven’t made nearly enough of pairing you with peanut butter or fresh fruit or even finding ways to sneak you in where people least expect to see you. We’ll have to remedy that, you and I.

    XOXO

     

    P.S. In the comments, tell me which recipe you absolutely have to try and/or what kinds of flavor combinations you might like to see me team up with chocolate in future recipes. I have a few ideas up my sleeve, but I always love to hear from you!

    buffalo cauliflower wings (vegan, gluten free, dairy free)

    I cannot tell you how excited I am by how these buffalo cauliflower wings turned out! I’ve made them before, but experimented with a slightly different technique and voila! Beautiful plant-based buffalo wings just in time for the “Big Game” coming up in a couple of weeks.

    While I’m not exactly a football fan, I do excited for the Super Bowl because it’s an excuse to make fun party foods to snack on. Kind of like how people look forward to Cinco de Mayo even though they aren’t Mexican. LOL

    Anyway…these wings and the sauce are incredibly easy to make and are kept low in fat and gluten free by baking instead of frying and using rice flour over wheat. The inspiration came from the Lean Clean Eating Machine. I’ll even make these occasionally as my “main” dish with sides of veggies. Interestingly, my daughter, who typically loathes cauliflower, will actually eat these because of the spice, but my husband and sons won’t because of it. Go figure, right?!

    You may be tempted to skip making the sauce and buying it instead but don’t!! It’s extremely easy to make and spares the icky preservatives and strange ingredients typically found in most hot wing sauces.

    I prefer to pull the cauliflower florets apart to form the “wings” in roughly bite-sized bites and then chop up any stalk that’s left over.

    To help your buffalo cauliflower wings crisp up faster, you’ll want to move them around on the parchment paper each time you go to turn them…that way they don’t stay in the same soggy spot. While I like them best fresh, they hold up quite well overnight so you can make them ahead of time…just crisp them up in a 350 F oven for about 10 minutes before eating.

     

    Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
    Prep Time
    15 mins
    Cook Time
    40 mins
    Total Time
    55 mins
     

    Easy to make, these buffalo cauliflower wings are low in fat and gluten free since they are baked, not fried and use rice flour instead of wheat.

    Course: Appetizer
    Ingredients
    For the sauce
    • 1 cup red pepper sauce
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 2 T vegan butter
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 2 tsp tapicoa starch or 1/4 tsp xantham gum
    For the cauliflower wings
    • 1 head medium cauliflower
    • 1 cup brown rice flour
    • 1 cup water
    • 1 tspsalt garlic powder
    Instructions
    For the sauce
    1. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and whisk constantly over high heat until it thickens up. Turn off heat. Extra can be frozen.

    For the wings
    1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Rinse the cauliflower and then pull of the florets in bite-sized pieces. Chop up the stalk into bite-sized pieces.

    2. In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients for the coating until thoroughly combined. Add the cauliflower florets and mix by hand until the cauliflower is coated with the brown rice mixture.

    3. Place cauliflower on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle any remaining rice mixture over the larger cauli pieces. Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven and rotate the florets, then return for another 10 minutes or until the coating on the wings is dried and crispy. It's best to slightly shift the wings on the parchment to a drier spot to help with the crisping.

    4. Pour some wing sauce in a clean bowl and begin dipping the baked cauliflower florets in it one by one, coating thoroughly and returning the coated cauli wings to the baking sheet. Repeat with all the cauli wings added more sauce as needed. Reserve any spare sauce for extra spicy dipping.

    5. When all the wings are coated in the sauce, return the baking sheet to the oven and cook 10 minutes. Remove from oven, turn the wings as before and bake another 10 minutes or until the wings start to crisp up.

    6. Serve immediately or let cool on the baking sheet before storing in the fridge so they don't sog up. Extra sauce can be frozen.

     

     

    warming indian mulligatawny soup (vegan, dairy free, oil free, no added sugar, gluten free)

    As someone who prefers to use medication as an absolute last resort, I’m always on the lookout for food and recipes that give the body a fighting chance against infection before medication is needed.

    And this warming Indian mulligatawny soup is just what the homeopathic doctor ordered.

    Chock full of spices, vegetables and a kick of plant-based protein from red lentils, this soup comes together easily even if the ingredient list looks intimidating. Actually, it’s exactly because of all these ingredients (which are mostly spices) that makes this soup an excellent meal especially during cold and flu season.

    For example:

    • Ginger strengthens the immune system, helps with digestion and helps with respiratory health
    • Turmeric and cinnamon are antioxidants and anti inflammatory
    • Cardamon helps with digestion problems
    • Thyme soothes sore throats and coughs and also helps with digestion

     

     

    One of the reasons I also love this soup is that it’s one of the few soup recipes my husband also enjoys.  Without meats and cheese, he jokingly refers to most soups as “tea with vegetables” i.e. they don’t feel filling enough. The kids, on the other hand give it a mixed review. LOL

    This warming Indian mulligatawny soup is a plant-based and oil-free version of a recipe from The Wanderlust Kitchen and I’m grateful for the friend who passed it along. While the rice isn’t strictly necessary, it rounds out the recipe as a hearty meal. Quinoa would also work well as substitute.

     

    warming indian mulligatawny soup
    Prep Time
    25 mins
    Cook Time
    30 mins
    Total Time
    55 mins
     
    Course: Entree, Soup
    Cuisine: Indian
    Servings: 6
    Author: Andrea Anderson
    Ingredients
    • 1 yellow onion, chopped fine
    • 1 carrot
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 small apples, diced
    • 1 14.5 can diced tomatoes
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1 tsp powdered ginger
    • 1.5 T curry powder
    • 1.5 tsp cumin
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
    • 3/4 tsp turmeric
    • 1/4 tsp cardamom
    • 1 tsp thyme
    • 1 tsp salt
    • freshly ground pepper
    • 3 cups water
    • 1/2 cup red lentils, uncooked
    • 1 14 oz can full fat coconut milk
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilatro, chopped
    Instructions
    1. Add a little water to cover the bottom of a large soup or stock pot and saute the onions, garlic and carrots over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except the fresh cilantro and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are cooked thoroughly.

    2. Add fresh cilantro and serve over rice or quinoa if desired.

     

    easy black bean dip (vegan, dairy free, gluten free)

     

    I have a gift for you today…an incredibly easy recipe for you to make and I bet you have all of the ingredients in your pantry. It’s been one of my favorites for years and is inspired by a recipe I found on the Whole Foods recipe site before I even made the transition to a plant-based diet: Black bean dip.

    Although the “dip” word would make you think this is appetizer-only, I love making it for our main meal with a side of raw veggies and hummus! All of the “meaty” plant-based protein coming from the beans makes it hearty enough for that.

    Because this black bean dip is quick and simple to pull together, I love saving it for Sundays (my low key cooking or no-cooking day) and for times when I’m up to my ears in life and/or have been cooking up a storm. You know, kind of like what will happen this weekend.

     

     

    This black bean dip is made of only six ingredients and can be served with the traditional tortilla chips or you could try it with my sweet potato rounds if you have a little more time. Guacamole is an excellent side kick. You can get my basic guac recipe here or my new favorite spicy version here.

    Because this recipe is so easy going, I rarely measure the ingredients when I’m whipping it up, but I’ve included suggested measurements for you here. It’s a recipe that works well for experimenting to adapt to your tastes, but if you do so, start with my suggestions and go slowly from there.

    Bonus: You can make it a day ahead of time which also gives the flavors time to develop, though you might want to add a little extra salsa on the re-heating.

     

    Easy Black Bean Dip
    Prep Time
    5 mins
    Cook Time
    10 mins
    Total Time
    15 mins
     

    This six-ingredient is simple to whip up and works well as an appetizer or main dish.

    Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
    Cuisine: Mexican
    Servings: 6
    Author: Andrea Anderson
    Ingredients
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 cup black beans, cooked
    • 3/4 cup salsa
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • cilantro for garnish (optional)
    • torrilla chips for serving
    • guacamole on the side (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Add garlic and onion to a medium saucepan with a little bit of water and saute over high heat until the onion is translucent, adding more water if needed to prevent burning.

    2. Reduce to medium-high heat and add in remaining ingredients. Mash beans slightly for a chunkier dip and more thoroughly for a smoother dip. Cook until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated and heated through.

    3. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with cilantro if desired. Serve with tortilla chips and/or sweet potato rounds and a side of guacamole, if desired.

     

     

     

     

    his ‘n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili

     

    Before I adopted a plant-based diet, there were some dishes that I never made with meat. Like pasta sauce (here’s my go to recipe). And chili.

    Not sure why, but for some reason, I never liked the addition of meat in these dishes. However, once I went all in on the vegan eating, I knew I had to pay more attention to my protein sources.

     

    Let’s pause a minute on this while I clear up the myth that you can’t get “enough” protein on a plant-based diet…

    • First, all plants have protein, though some have more than others (think nuts, legumes, beans, lentils).
    • Secondly, our bodies don’t store protein and will eliminate the excess or turn it into fat.
    • Therefore, there’s absolutely no point in consuming more than your body will use for that day. For example, 1 cup of cooked, chopped chicken has about 43 grams of protein. That’s only 3 grams shy of the recommended daily requirement for the average woman. So unless our lady eats almost nothing else the rest of the day, she’ll be consuming way more protein than is needed.
    • By comparison, I reach a third of my daily requirements with a thoughtful, 100% plant-based breakfast. Combine that with lunch, dinner and snacks, I rarely have an issue meeting my daily requirements unless I’ve skimped on the nuts and beans.

     

    Which brings me to this secret-ingredient vegan black bean chili.

     

     

    Beans are excellent sources of plant-based protein, but I wanted to dot my protein “i’s” and “t’s” in this dish and add a little more. Plus I wanted to give the appearance that meat was present to appeal to meat eaters. Like my husband.

    So what’s the secret ingredient in this secret-ingredient vegan black bean chili? Walnuts! Finely chopping the walnuts with some garlic and onion powders and sage in a food processor or blender makes it look like I’ve added ground meat into my chili. Genius, right?!

    But wait, there’s a second secret ingredient too…chocolate!

    It may sound weird, but trust me on this. The chocolate tangos with the chili powder to deepen the flavor, plus it’s a superfood that has won many a woman’s heart so of course it needs to go there.

    And there you have it. The his ‘n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili.

    Let’s get cooking!

     

    5 from 1 vote
    his 'n hers secret ingredient vegan black bean chili
    Prep Time
    25 mins
    Cook Time
    1 hr
    Total Time
    1 hr 25 mins
     

    This protein-packed chili has two secret ingredients to appeal both to him and to her.

    Course: Entree
    Author: Andrea Anderson
    Ingredients
    • 3 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup veggie stock
    • 4.5-6 cups black beans
    • 2 large onion, chopped
    • 1 red pepper, diced
    • 1 green pepper, diced
    • 7-8 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 4 Tbsp chili powder
    • 3 tsp cocoa powder
    • 4 tsp oregano
    • 3 tsp salt
    • 4 tsp cumin
    • 1 cup walnuts
    • 3-4 dashes onion powder
    • 3-4 dashes garlic powder
    • 1-2 dashes ground sage
    Instructions
    1. If you're cooking your own black beans, do so according to package directions. I usually soak mine in cold water overnight, rinse then add to a fresh pot of boiling water and boil for about 115-20 minutes. Then I turn off the heat and soak for several more hours.

    2. If you want the walnuts more tender, soak them for 30 minutes in water that been just boiled.

    3. Add the onion, garlic and peppers to a large stock pot along with the veggie stock over high heat. Saute about 5 minutes or until the veggies start to become tender.

    4. Add tomatoes and spices. (Hint: I like using the 1 cup of water to rinse out the cans and add it into the chili pot - it helps prevent waste that way!)

    5. Add cooked beans.

    6. For the walnuts, add to a food processor or blender along with garlic and onion powders and sage and pulse until the walnuts are finely chopped. Then add to the chili.

    7. Bring the chili to a boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about one hour to let the flavors develop.

    Recipe Notes

    RECIPE NOTES: This chili tastes even better on the second and third day as the spices work themselves through. It also freezes well!

     

     

     

    (contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

     

     

     

    thanksgiving recipe roundup (vegan, plant-based)

    I cannot believe Thanksgiving is one week away!! How did that happen?!

    If you’re new(ish) to a plant-based/vegan diet, I’m guessing Thanksgiving can feel rather…intimidating. After all, the main feature of this holiday meal is the turkey. (Can you even hear “Thanksgiving” without picturing the turkey? I can’t!) And holidays usually mean eating with people who probably aren’t eating the way you at best or make you feel looney tunes for choosing a different diet altogether.

    But I’m here to encourage you that Thanksgiving – and all other holiday meals – can still be looked forward to and even give you chance to share how amazing a vegan diet can be! After all the turkey is only one part of the meal…the rest is a delightful array of sides which let the veggies we love shine.

    So let’s get on with the roundup, shall we? #inspirationloading

     

    Lentil Walnut Mushroom Balls by Oh She Glows

    Hands down this is my favorite dish that I look forward to every year. I use it as my “main” dish and love it because it reminds me of stuffing. I usually make a batch for Canadian Thanksgiving in October and have enough to last me until Christmas (since I’m the only one who isn’t eating the turkey).

    photo credit: oh she glows

     

     

    Classic Vegan Stuffing by Raepublic

    Confession: the stuffing is the one part of this meal I do eat even though it’s been cooked in the turkey. Shocking, I know. But I eat a vegan diet for health reasons, not strictly for animal rights, and it’s a rare indulgence. If you’re eating strictly vegan, however, give this stuffing recipe a try.

    photo credit: raepublic

     

     

    Vegan Porchini Mushroom Gravy by Veganosity

    I’m still working on a vegan gravy recipe that hits the spot. This one looks divine.

    photo credit: veganosity

     

     

    Easy Biscuit Recipe by Whole New Mom

    Anytime you can squeeze “easy” into a labor-intensive meal is a win! Plus this one is made from whole grains and can easily be made 100% plant-based by using dairy free milk.

    photo credit: whole new mom

     

     

    Fresh Cranberry Apple Relish by Veggies Save the Day

    I love this twist on traditional cranberry sauce which usually is loaded with added sugars – it wins be over by relying on the natural sweetness found in the apples and dates.

    photo credit: veggies save the day

     

    Jeweled Sweet Potatoes

    These are my favorite side dish that I’ve added as a “must have” to my holiday menu. They even eat like dessert!

     

     

    Savory Stuffed Butternut Squash by Emilie Eats

    Usually, I prepare my squash simply with just a little Earth Balance butter and cinnamon, but if you’re up for a twist on the traditional, give this recipe a try. It could stand in for a main dish as well!

    photo credit: emilie eats

     

     

    Apple Cabbage Slaw with Apple Cinnamon Dressing

    This is my new favorite salad because it’s so refreshing! A perfect contrast to the heavier dishes and spotlights how tasty clean eating can be. It’s one of the bonus recipes included in the Fall edition of my Perk Up Your Pantry recipe ebook, which you can get here.

     

     

     

    Fall Brussels Sprouts Quinoa Salad by Emilie Eats

    I love the looks of this “meatier” salad and all of the fall colors in one dish!

    photo credit: emilie eats

     

     

    Easier-than-pie Apple Crisp

    With all the work you put into the main meal, having an easy dessert recipe in your hip pocket is a must. Bonus: you can make the filling and topping separately up to several days ahead of time!

     

     

    Vegan Pumpkin Caramels by Minimalist Baker

    Here’s one way to spin dessert if you want to break away from the traditional pie. No added sugar, of course!

    photo credit: minimalist baker

     

     

    Pumpkin Pie-lets with Maple Coconut Whip

    Although I was never a pumpkin pie fan (it’s a texture thing), I do love this vegan spin on a Thanksgiving staple. The pie-lets are free of added sugar and the coconut whip has only a teensy amount. These are coming at you Monday here on the blog…stay tuned!

     

    loaded sweet potatoes with spicy guacamole and black bean sofrito (vegan, dairy free, soy free, gluten free)

     

    It always amazes me how hard it is to find a recipe that my entire family likes. I often get close with a 5 out of 6 thumbs up, but hitting a perfect score of 6 for 6 is maddeningly elusive. So imagine my surprise when this loaded sweet potato with spicy guacamole and black bean sofrito was a clear winner.

    Even with my daughter who doesn’t usually like bean dishes. Or my boys who prefer mild to spicy. Let’s pause while I celebrate with a hearty “ole.”

     

     

    I love the contrasting flavors, textures and color of this dish…the sweetness with the spicy, the creaminess punctuated with a light crunchiness, the deep orange flesh of the sweet potato with the brilliant green of the avocado.

    This recipe is extremely easy to pull together and is simply packed plant-powdered nutrition. Let me break it down:

    • The sweet potatoes are high in fiber and vitamins like A, B6 and C and carry a low glycemic index. And did you know you can eat their skins? You can! Just scrub them well before baking. I thought it would be weird to eat sweet potato skin at first, but I really like it!
    • The black bean sofrito boosts the protein along with the fiber in this dish. I learned the secret of yummy black bean sofrito when I was on a mission trip to Panama earlier this year…at each lunch and dinner while we were in the mountains, beans would be served (along with rice and some meat). I couldn’t get over how good the beans tasted and had to know what made them so flavorful. When I tried it after I got back home, I was extremely pleased with the results.
    • For the spicy gucamole, I wanted to do more than simply give it some heat – I wanted to sneak in some extra nutrients too which I accomplished by adding spinach. Were my kids any wiser? Nope!

     

     

    If you want to make this for a weeknight but anticipate being tight on time, bake your sweet potatoes ahead of time. Although the sofrito cooks up quickly, to make things speedier, you also could make it ahead of time. You’ll want to make the spicy guacamole fresh, though, but it will take less than 10 minutes. While you’re making the guac, you can be re-heating the potatoes and sofrito.

     

    loaded sweet potatoes with spicy guac and black bean sofrito
    Prep Time
    20 mins
    Cook Time
    1 hr
    Total Time
    1 hr 20 mins
     

    A nutrient-dense meal that's easy to pull together and a beautiful contrast in flavors, texture and color.

    Course: Appetizer, Entree, Main Course
    Cuisine: Mexican
    Servings: 6 people
    Author: Andrea Anderson
    Ingredients
    • 1 per person sweet potato, scrubbed
    For the black bean sofrito
    • 3 cups black beans, cooked
    • 1/2 onion, diced
    • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 large tomato
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • dashes pepper
    • 1/2 cup water
    For the spicy guacamole
    • 3 avocadoes, peeled and pitted
    • 4.5-6 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
    • 1 large garlic clove
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp, scant salt
    • 1/2 cup spinach, chopped fine
    • 1/3-1/2 cup jalapeno peppers, minced
    • dashes freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • dashes dried chili flakes, to taste (optional)
    Instructions
    1. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a knife then in a 375 degree F oven for about 45 minutes or until the flesh is very tender.

    For the black bean sofrito:
    1. Add the onion, garlic and tomato to a pot with a little water and cook over high heat until the onion is translucent. Add more water if needed to prevent the vegetables from sticking.

    2. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil and then simmer until the water is absorbed, using a potato masher to break up the beans slightly. For a creamier sofrito, add a little more water and adjust seasonings to taste.

    For the spicy guac:
    1. Cut the avocado into a bowl and mash. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Make sure you save the avocado pit which can be added to any leftovers to prevent browning.

     

     

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    • My daughter and I have a mild obsession with Jeff’s Natural’s jalapeno peppers which you can find here. Jeff uses purer ingredients than the canned kind and I love them in this spicy guacamole.