Vegan Hot Dogs

Yes! You can enjoy hot dogs and still be vegan!

Some of the brands on the market have gluten in them, so if you are strictly gluten-free, look for brands without.

Just like hamburgers, usually what we love about hotdogs are all the accoutrements: mustard, ketchup, relish, etc.

This recipe uses a wrap, instead of a bun but there are several gluten-free buns out there. I just personally prefer a wrap.

Whether you use a grill or pan, splitting the veggie dog down the middle, For more surface area, makes a big difference. I like to char both sides And then place on top of a gluten free wrap that I have lightly toasted, On both sides.

The accompaniments make all the difference…You need to find what you love.

I love chopped dill pickle (Bubbies are great…), chopped red onion and a little Bit of minced jalapeno. I also like to use yellow and Dijon mustard along with Ketchup…and then I wrap it all up like a burrito.

I’d love to hear about your favorite version!

The Best Darn Lasagna Ever (Vegan & Gluten Free)

This has become one of our family’s favorite dishes! Someone gave me a stained, torn copy of the recipe. I later discovered it on www.geniuskitchen.com I love making it before the holidays because it feeds a hungry house with something very different than we will be having for the holiday! It stores well and provides a hearty lunch, dinner or snack for the whole brood. I’ve also used the filling in my Eggplant “Cannelloni. The filling itself also freezes well.

I can’t say that EVERY ingredient is a health food but most of them are and using gluten free noodles and faux cheese and meat make it a much healthier option that traditional meat and cheese lasagna. There are many faux cheeses and meats on the market that are actually quite nutritious: made from nuts and plants. These are the brands that I choose.

Spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, garlic and tofu are superfoods that I love getting into my diet as often as possible and putting them into a dish as delicious as this lasagna makes it a no brainer! I won’t lie, this is a time-consuming dish to make, but so worth it. The biggest tip I can give is to make the filling one day and assemble it the next. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Wild Rice

This is a simple recipe that you can play with and add things you like: nuts, cranberries, celery, greens, etc. If you really want to the dish to have the unique, earthy flavor of wild rice, don’t mix with other rice, as so many recipes call for!

You can serve this as a lovely side dish or have as the “main event” at any meal. The high protein content (24 g per cup!!) makes it a satisfying dish, indeed. Pair with a salad and/or some vegies and you have a flavorful, healthful and hearty meal! Wild rice is actually considered a “water grass seed” not a rice and is one of the only 2 grains native to North America.

Native Americans valued “wild rice” as a nutrient dense, protein-rich staple they could travel far distances with without fear of spoilage and many believe allowed the vast expanse of the continent to be used as “homeland”.

Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

Joy Makes Plant-Based Burgers and Fries!

Some of us have specific foods that we really have a hard time giving up when adopting a plant based, gluten free diet. Burgers and Fries can definitely fall into that category but by making some “tweaks”, we can satisfy our craving and still make a health-ful choice! Making your own bean burgers, rather than buying pre-made store bought versions, is simple and allows us to avoid fillers and additives we want to avoid. The recipe is flexible so play around until you find your favorite ways to make. The “Fries” are really baked and are a really great way to round out this meal, along with a green salad or just so many toppings that your burger “looks” like a salad! Enjoy!

Variations

(all use kidney beans & another type of bean so all ingredients get doubled)

Mexican: Kidney & Pinto Beans, Salsa and Mexican spice (nice taco filling )

Indian: Kidney & Garbanzos, Oats and sweet potato (instead of rice) tomato paste & curry

Italian: Kidney & White Beans, Diced tomato, rice, barley and Italian spices. (can use as meatballs)

Southwest: Kidney & Black beans, oats & rice, bbq sauce, corn, southwest spices.


Why is this recipe good for you?

Really, do I need to address this? If we can substitute beans for beef (or even turkey) we are greatly reducing calories, saturated fat and all the chemicals associated with animal production.

All beans contain lots of fiber, antioxidants, high levels of plant protein, vitamins and minerals and low-glycemic index carbohydrates. All of these components make beans ideal for:

Improving Heart Health

Lowering Cancer Risk

Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

Managing Weight

Boosting Energy

Improving Digestion & Gut Health

On top of the delicious, nutritious beans, we also get oats, rice (or other grains) high in B vitamins and fiber, the antioxidants from whatever tomato product we use and all of the veggies that we use as toppings. It’s such a delicious way to load up on veggies with a classic comfort food made better for us! Yay!

Of course getting rid of “frying” our “fries”, eliminates the danger of eating this delicious treat. Potatoes have gotten a bad rap over the years but are actually very good for us if we eat them without all the fats that most people often put on potatoes. Visit my episodes on Twice Baked Potatoes or Potato Rounds to get all of the details.

Arugula Salad

About the Recipe

This is a very “individual taste” recipe. You have to find the proportions that you like. I used to buy arugula in the prepackaged bags because I am lazy and hate to have to wash and clean greens and I would use ¼ of a bag per person, for a normal sized salad, and ¼ avocado, 8 to 12 cherry tomatoes, ¼ lemon, one good sized garlic clove and about a tablespoon of walnuts; all per person. You will find the proportions that you and your family find yummy. Now I grow all my own arugula aeroponically and I don’t have to wash it and its WAY better than anything store bought!

The tomato, avocado and lemon make the salad really juicy so #1, you don’t need very much oil…just a splash and #2, it can get soggy, so make it right before you’re going to eat it.

The freshness of the ingredients really makes a difference. I like to use super juicy tomatoes; either the little organic cherry or grape ones or the smallish ones, still on the vine. (if you have Trader Joe’s near you, you know what I’m talking about.) I like them cut into quarters for maximum surface area. If you’re using the ones on the vine, of course, you’ll want to think about that size. I cut the avocados in smallish cubes and chop the walnuts…not super fine; sometimes I’ll just crush them with my hands. See what you like. Some people like to toast the nuts.

The Benefits of Arugula

Arugula, also known as rocket and rucola, is a less recognized cruciferous vegetable that provides many of the same benefits as the better-known vegetables of the same family – broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Arugula leaves are tender and bite-sized with a tangy flavor. Along with other leafy greens, arugula contains very high nitrate levels (more than 250 milligrams/100 grams).

High intakes of dietary nitrate have been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce the amount of oxygen needed during exercise, and enhance athletic performance. Wow! Eat more arugula! I like to put it on pizzas, sandwiches…really most dishes. It’s also great in a morning smoothie. Let me know how YOU like to use it!

Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Sage

This delicious recipe was adapted from a recipe from Chloe Coscarelli.

A Little about this Dish!

Okay, first of all…this is a fabulous fall dish! Now that I’ve made it, I’m going to have it as the first course of our Thanksgiving dinner. It’s really simple and the taste PLUS health benefits are fantastic!

People are a little confused about Risotto. Many confuse Arborio rice with Orzo…shaped similarly but Orzo is a wheat product and Arborio rice is a type of rice whose nature makes it super absorbent without it becoming soggy so makes it really easy to imbue with intense flavors. The other thing about risotto is that most recipes call for cream, butter and cheese…not the healthiest nor weight friendly way to make it but THIS recipe is completely vegan and the addition of pumpkin, sage, garlic and onion, really pack a super nutritional “punch”!

Arborio rice is high in protein, good carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Of course brown rice has a better nutritional profile but as an Italian choice, it sure beats pasta.

Pumpkin is super high in beta-carotene (the highest of any vegetable), which converts to vitamin A…great for eyesight & cardiovascular protection, potassium: fantastic for recovery from exercise (higher than bananas!) and vitamin K, a cancer fighter. Sage has been found to have flavonoids and polyphenols beneficial to brain health as well as anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Top this off with the anti-viral, anti-bacteria, anti-cancer properties of onion and garlic and we’ve got a winner! (a little side note about onions: the outer layers are highest in the anti-oxidant quercetin, so be careful not to “over-peel”)

Vegan, Gluten Free Gnocchi

Pre-made gluten free gnocchi: check out your local health food-type store. (We actually order gluten free gnocchi online, unfortunately, as it is hard to find locally which is ironic because gnocchi is just supposed to be made from potatoes!).

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