Vegan Super Foods

Today, I was planning to post a 3-2-1 breakfast recipe (much like my 3-2-1 Salad recipe, only a breakfast version). Unfortunately, I discovered a problem with my camera when I was doing some test shots. My lens was broken and I couldn’t even shoot. I’m in the process of getting a new lens, but until then, I can’t use photography in any of my posts. Sorry!

Before I discovered my broken lens, I went grocery shopping for ingredients for the breakfast recipes. I ended up wandering through the supplements aisle in Whole Foods to look for a little something to spruce up my smoothies. The more I browsed, the more questions I had about of all of the amazing plant based super foods in that aisle. Instead of pestering an unsuspecting Whole Foods employee, I decided to do a little bit of research when I got home.

I created the chart below based on information I found from the companies that sell these products, as well as other sources, like WebMD and Dr. Oz. (Obviously I sought out only the most reputable sources!) Please be advised that this information is not to be construed as medical advice, and none of the statements contained herein should be construed as proof that use of these supplements will achieve the results they claim . For more information, please vist the manufacturer’s website, navitasnaturals.com.

superfoods

So what are some of your favorite plant based super foods?

Roasted Beets and Asparagus with Farro

roasted beets and asparagus with farro - conveganence

I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday, and I found that the offerings were much more plentiful than they were a few weeks ago. I went overboard, as usual. I bought fresh garlic, swiss chard, 2 bunches of asparagus, a bunch of beets, sugar snap peas, purple potatoes, and a lavender plant.  Now all I have to do is eat it. All of it. Well, except for the lavender. That’s for decoration.

roasted beets and asparagus with farro - conveganence

It’s already Tuesday and so far I’ve only used a bit of asparagus for the crepes I made on Sunday. Therefore, I decided to try to kill three birds with one stone by combining the remaining asparagus with the beets and fresh garlic. Short story long, that’s how this dish came to be. I must admit, I have never been a huge fan of beets, but this recipe has converted me. The sweet, tender flavor of the beets paired nicely with the savory roasted asparagus and shallots. The lemon and chive dressing pulls everything together with a light astringent finish. The addition of the farro makes this dish fit for a main course, but you could also serve the veggies over a bed of greens or on their own.

roasted beets and asparagus with farro

Roasted Beets and Asparagus with Farro (and Lemon Chive Dressing)

Serves 2-3

Prep time: about 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the Salad:

1 bunch beets, peeled with tops and bottoms removed

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1″ pieces with woody stems broken off

4 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 large shallot, sliced very thin

1.5 C farro (I like Trader Joe’s 10-Minute Farro)

For the Dressing:

1/2 C fresh lemon juice

3-4 tbsp finely chopped chives

4 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 clove garlic, crushed

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 450F. Prepare a baking sheet by sprinkling it with a layer of salt. Place the beets on the salt and bake for 45 minutes. Then, add the asparagus, garlic, and shallots and bake for another 15 minutes.

2. While the beets are baking, prepare the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a food processor until well blended. Set aside.

3. Cook the farro according to package directions. Set aside.

4. When the vegetables are roasted, remove the beets from the baking pan and cut into 1″ cubes.  Remove the asparagus and shallots from the pan using a slotted spoon or spatula so you can sift out any excess salt.

5. Divide farro among plates. Top with vegetables and drizzle with dressing. Serve warm. (Although I ended up eating it cold, and it was delicious!)

Sweet and Savory Crêpes

vegan sweet and savory crêpes - conveganence

I should probably disclose the fact that I’m somewhat of a francophile. I love France and hope to move there someday. My husband and I got married in Paris almost 2 years ago, and we swore up and down that we’d return soon. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. So when I have a craving for Paris but I don’t have the time or disposable income to swing a 7+ hour flight across the Atlantic, I try to infuse my day with something French. Today was one of those days, so I fired up Edith Piaf on my iPod and made some crêpes for breakfast. These turned out just as delicious as any crêpe I’ve had from the vendors in the Jardin des Tuileries. Added bonus: they are dairy and egg free, and friendlier to the waistline.

Another disclosure: this is my first time making vegan crêpes, so I had to search the Internet high and low for the perfect recipe. Thankfully I found it at Vegan Yum Yum. I adapted it just a bit so I wouldn’t have to make a trip to the grocery store. Click here for the original…she also has some great ideas for fillings. I opted to keep my fillings relatively simple, as I only have my husband and myself to feed, but I’ll definitely try some of her other suggestions next time I make this recipe.

vegan sweet and savory crêpes - conveganence

vegan sweet and savory crêpes - conveganencevegan sweet and savory crêpes - conveganence

Sweet and Savory Crêpes

Serves 4

Prep Time: 1 hour (including 30 minutes of chill time)

Crêpe Ingredients

2 C unbleached all purpose flour

1 C hazelnut milk, soy milk, or other nondairy milk (I used hazelnut milk)

1/2 C Earth Balance vegan butter

1 1/3 C water

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp vegan sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling Ingredients

For Sweet Crêpes: assorted fresh berries, vegan chocolate hazelnut spread (recipe below), melted vegan chocolate, whipped coconut milk cream (recipe below)

For Savory Crepes: fresh asparagus (cut into 1/2″ dice), mushrooms (chopped), spinach, chives, thyme, garlic (Note: I just tried to use up what I got at the farmer’s market yesterday. You can use any types of herbs or veggies you have on hand.)

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the crêpe batter, except for the sugar and the vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Divide batter equally between cups or bowls that will be easy to pour from (I used large liquid measuring cups).

2. Add the sugar and vanilla to only one of the bowls, and whisk until smooth. This will be the batter for the sweet crêpes. Place batter in refrigerator and let chill for at least 30 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, prepare the savory toppings. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add mushrooms, asparagus, thyme, and chives, cook for another few minutes, until mushrooms begin to give up their juices. Add the spinach gradually, by the handful, wilting each handful before adding the next. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.

4. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over boiling water (or just microwave it, like I did). Set aside.

5. To make the crêpes, use a nonstick skillet or better yet, a crepe pan. It is also helpful to have a pancake turner so you can flip the crêpes. Spray the pan with cooking oil and heat it to medium-high.

6. Remove the batter from the fridge. Whisk in a couple tablespoons of water to thin out, if necessary. Keep in mind you want your batter to be thick, but easy to pour.

7. Pour about 1/4 C crêpe batter into the center of the pan, and lift and rotate the pan slowly to allow the batter to spread out in a thin layer on the pan. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, then flip. Cook for another 2 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Repeat the process until you go through your entire supply of batter. You should end up with about 8-10 crêpes. If you mess up your first crêpe, don’t worry! There is a 95% chance you will ruin the first one, even if you’ve made crêpes a million times before. With that information in mind, perhaps pour a smaller amount of batter on the pan for your first crêpe so it doesn’t go to waste. 

8. Reheat any toppings if necessary. Top crêpes with whatever you want, and serve!

Coconut Whipped Cream Recipe

Ingredients

1 can full fat coconut milk

1 tbsp vegan sugar

1.4 tbsp vanilla extract

Directions

Refrigerate can of coconut milk overnight. Freeze small mixing bowl overnight as well. When ready to make whipped cream. empty can of coconut milk into frozen bowl. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously, until coconut milk begins to thicken. If it doesn’t thicken, stick the mixture in the freezer for about 20 minutes and try again. Keep cold.

Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Spread Recipe

Ingredients

1/2 C hazelnut butter

1 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tbsp coconut oil

Directions

Whisk ingredients together (or use an electric mixer) until smooth.

vegan sweet and savory crêpesvegan sweet and savory crêpes - conveganence

Blossoming Berry Sorbets

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

Just recently, I discovered the bulk looseleaf tea aisle at Whole Foods. In that aisle, you can find any type of tea that strikes your fancy, and you can buy as much or as little as you want. I like brewing my own white tea with chamomile, lavender, and rose hips. You can use the dried flowers and herbs in the tea aisle for other purposes too, like creating your own salt scrubs, essential oils, and other bath products. Today, I decided to try something new with my tea fixins by blending them into sweet, summery sorbets.

I combined the rose hips with fresh raspberries, and the lavender with fresh blueberries. The lavender and rose hip flavor came through subtly, neutralizing the tang of the berries. I was very happy with the way the sorbets came out. They were very easy to make too, so they’d be perfect for deceiving your friends into thinking you’re fancier than you really are.

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

Blueberry Lavender Sorbet

Serves 2

Ingredients

12 oz fresh blueberries, rinsed

1 tbsp + 1 tsp dried lavender

1/2 C vegan cane sugar

1/4 tsp salt

juice and zest from 1 small lemon

Directions

1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, and lavender with 1/3 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sugar and salt dissolve. Set syrup aside and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

2. In a blender, combine the syrup, blueberries, lemon zest and lemon juice. Blend until smooth.

3. Strain blueberry mixture into a bowl to get rid of the skins and any large chunks of lavender. Chill mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

4. Add mixture to ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, put mixture in freezer, checking every hour or so until it reaches the desired consistency.

blueberry lavender and raspberry rose hip sorbets - conveganence

Raspberry Rose Hip Sorbet

Serves 2

Follow recipe for Blueberry Lavender sorbet, only use 12 oz of raspberries (instead of blueberries) and 2 tbsp dried rose hips (instead of lavender).

I recommend that you serve the sorbets immediately so they don’t get too frozen. If you want to store them in the freezer, mix in a couple tablespoons of berry liqueur or corn syrup before storing.

3-2-1 Salad

3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog

When I worked as an attorney, I ate lunch at my desk almost every single day. Most of the time, the food I ate wasn’t very healthy. It was heavily processed, high in sodium (think frozen lunches, canned soups,  or even chips and crackers). By the time 2pm rolled around, I would feel exhausted, bloated, and crabby. I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about!

If only I had known that I could avoid the mid-afternoon doldrums with just a little bit of planning. (Actually I probably did know that, I was just too miserable to do anything about it.) Anyway, this recipe is something I think I will make every week for both myself and my husband, whose office eating habits are even worse than mine used to be.

I call this the 3-2-1 salad because the recipe makes 3 salads for 2 people in under 1 hour, AND for less than $15 (assuming you’ve got olive oil and vinegar or your favorite dressing on hand). This simple, budget friendly recipe is vegan (of course), gluten free, soy free and sugar free. Plus, each salad is full of my two favorite nutrients: protein and fiber.

3-2-1 Salad

Prep time: 45 minutes

Makes 6 salads

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 small head of broccoli, chopped into very small florets

1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into very small florets

1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 C red quinoa

1 can artichoke hearts

1/2 C kalamata olives

3/4 C julienne sliced sundried tomatoes

1/2 C shelled pistachios or other nuts of your choice (optional)

Dressing ingredients: (or use your favorite dressing)

1 C cilantro, chopped

1/2 C olive oil (probably less)

3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

juice from 1 lemon

3-4 cloves garlic

1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

Instructions:

1) Combine ingredients for dressing in a food processor (except for olive oil). Drizzle in olive oil, a few tablespoons at a time, while pulsing food processor. Taste test every so often and stop adding olive oil when the spice becomes milder. Chill dressing for at least 30 minutes.

2) Preheat oven to 400F. Drain and rinse chickpeas, and spread on a baking sheet in a single layer. Toss with a bit of olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

3) Meanwhile, put quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.

4) In a food processor, combine artichoke hearts and olives until minced. You could also chop by hand.

5) Create Salad #1 (left photo) by layering the quinoa, artichoke hearts, olives, sundried tomatoes, and half the kale. (This salad would probably be fine without dressing. I just put a bit of extra oil from the sundried tomatoes in mine.)

6) Create Salad #2 (middle photo) by layering the remaining kale, chickpeas, chopped red pepper, and pistachios.

7) Create Salad #3 (right photo) by layering the white beans, kidney beans, broccoli and cauliflower.

8) Refrigerate salads and dressing until ready to serve. Each salad should last a few days. When you’re ready to eat, just add a bit of dressing to the jar, close the lid, and shake it up!

3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog3-2-1 Salads - conveganence blog

Pink Lemonade Cake with Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

Pink Lemonade Cake - by Conveganence

The other day I saw the most beautiful, mesmerizing pin on Pinterest: a light, fluffy pink lemonade cake with creamy white frosting. I clicked through to the recipe, but alas, it was not vegan. Shocker, I know. So this whole week, I’ve been obsessed with making a vegan version of this cake. After a couple hit or miss attempts (including a nice tasting but sad looking gluten free version), I think I finally got it right. I might be a few days behind on posts, but I was determined to make this cake and put it on the blog!

I realized when I was photographing this cake that I already have a disproportionate number of pink food items on the blog. For that, I apologize. Also, I’m sorry this cake isn’t exactly diet friendly. But it would be fun for a special occasion, like a baby shower, bachelorette party, or bridal shower. Or a Thursday.

This cake turned out very moist and spongy. I don’t bake that often, but I’ve found that vegan cakes and cupcakes typically have more moisture and density than their non-vegan counterparts. This is a good thing! I made a vegan cream cheese frosting, which paired perfectly with the lemon flavor of the cake.

Pink Lemonade Cake

Prep time: 25 minutes, Bake time: 35-40 minutes

makes two 9″ rounds

Ingredients:

2 C vegan cane sugar

1/2 C vegan butter (I used Earth Balance buttery sticks), plus more for prepping cake pans

1 C applesauce

3 C all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 C nondairy milk

4 tsp vanilla

1 small packet of powdered pink lemonade (about 1 tbsp)*

zest and juice from 1 medium lemon

few drops red food coloring (optional)*

vegan cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

*make sure these ingredients do not contain Red 40, which is made of beetles. If you cannot locate these items without Red 40, use 1/4 C of raspberry or strawberry puree to achieve the pink color.

Instructions

1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Prep two round 9″ cake pans with the buttery spread and flour.

2) Using an electric mixer, blend the butter and sugar until mixture is crumbly.

2) Add vanilla to mixture. Add applesauce, mixing in 1/4 C at a time until fully incorporated.

3) Add the flour and baking powder, mixing in 1/2 C at a time until fully incorporated.

4) Add milk, lemonade powder, lemonade mix and lemon zest. Mix until smooth. Fold in a few drops off food coloring at a time until the batter reaches the desired color.

5) Put half of the batter in each cake pan. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. (While cake is baking, prepare the frosting.) Remove from oven, and allow pans to cool for 10-12 minutes before removing cake and transferring it to a cooling rack. Allow cake to cool for 1 hour before frosting.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

(makes enough frosting for two 9″ round cakes)

1/2 C vegan butter

8 oz vegan cream cheese (I like Tofutti brand)

3 C powdered sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend ingredients together until smooth. Chill in refrigerator while cakes are cooling.

Pink Lemonade Cake - by conveganence

Pink Lemonade Cake - by conveganence

Portobello, Tempeh and White Bean Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Q: What’s the best night of the week?

A: Taco night. Hands down. Always.

The prospect of taco night has excited me since I was a young child. (Evidently my life has never been that exciting.) My mom would pick up an Old El Paso taco kit at the grocery store, which was a staple of any decent 1980s childhood. The kit came with about 5 too many taco shells, taco seasoning, and some kind of red sauce. She’d also pick up a packet of shredded cheese, sliced black olives, sour cream, green onions, and a big tomato. When the taco filling was ready, we’d get to assemble our own tacos. I’m not even sure why I’m explaining this process to you, since you’re probably already familiar.

Sadly, taco nights were lost to me for a while when I stopped eating meat and animal products. But once I stepped outside of the culinary comfort zone of the Old El Paso taco kit, I was able to take taco night to a whole new level. No offense to my parents, but vegan taco nights have been the best I’ve ever experienced!

For example, these portobello, tempeh and white bean tacos. They are spicy, meaty (yet meat-free!) and have plenty of fiber and protein. They are gluten-free if made with corn shells. The pineapple salsa is a must for this recipe. The sweetness of the pineapple perfectly balances the heat from the tacos. In my opinion, this is what makes the dish, so don’t leave it out! If you’re not a fan of pineapple, you could probably substitute another fruit…maybe strawberry or mango.

portobello, tempeh and white bean tacos - conveganence blog

Portobello, Tempeh and White Bean Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 45 minutes

Salsa Ingredients:

1.5 C fresh pineapple, chopped into 1/4″ cubes

1.5 C seeded and diced tomatoes

1 small white onion, diced

1/2 C cilantro, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, diced (leave seeds in for more heat, otherwise remove them)

juice from 1 lime

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Taco Ingredients

2 portobello mushroom caps, diced (be sure to scrape out the gills first)

8 oz tempeh, cut into dice

1 14-oz can white beans

1 medium yellow onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 8-oz can tomato paste

juice from 1 lime

2 C vegetable or vegan “chicken” broth

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tbsp oregano

salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

olive oil

Other

taco shells

vegan sour cream

sliced avocado

vegan shredded cheese (I recommend Daiya brand)

Instructions:

Combine all salsa ingredients into a large bowl. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until onions begin to soften. Add portobello and tempeh and cook about 5 more minutes, until the mushrooms begin to give up their juices. Add the white beans and spices, cook for about 3 more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken. When sauce is close to desired texture, stir in the nutritional yeast and add the lime juice. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Serve on taco shells and top with pineapple salsa and desired toppings. There will be plenty of leftover pineapple salsa, so store any remaining in an airtight container. It should keep in the fridge for a few days.

portobello, tempeh and white bean tacos - conveganence blog

portobello, tempeh and white bean tacos - conveganence blog