The Perfect Vegetarian Power Salad That Will Actually Fill You Up

I eat a pretty healthy diet in general, but lately I’ve been trying to clean up my diet even more. As a vegetarian, I eat a ton of nutrient-rich veggies and fiber-filled grains. On the other side of the coin, I also eat too many starchy carbs like beans and lentils. Don’t get me wrong, these foods have a ton of health benefits, but considering they make up a huge part of my diet and with all the talk about how we should be eating fewer carbs, I wanted to replace the starch with a few more leafy salads. The problem is, 9 times out of 10, I am left unsatisfied and bored after eating a salad and find myself hungry and reaching for salty, carb-filled snacks not long after. After a little bit of trial and error, I realized the key elements of a satiating salad: protein, fiber, fat and a variety of textures. This delicious salad is packed full or protein-rich tofu, calcium-filled feta, fibrous asparagus and a plethora of flavours and textures. It’s also super quick to prepare and can be made in large batches, making it an awesome option for Sunday meal prep. It’s low-carb as well, so it’s perfect for those on the keto diet. Say goodbye to dullsville piles of leaves and hello to flavour and healthy fats and plant-based protein.

INGREDIENTS

Salad

    1/2 Block Of Extra Firm Tofu
    1 Cup Of Mixed Greens (I like a mix of kale, spinach and arugula.)
    1-2 Tbsp Of Crumbled Feta Cheese
    1/2 Cubed Avocado
    1 Cup Chopped Asparagus
    1 Handful Of Chopped Cilantro
  • Dressing

    • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
    • 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
    • 1 Tbsp Lime Or Lemon Juice
    • 1 Tsp Minced Ginger
    • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
    • Herbs To Taste (I like oregano and rosemary.)

    DIRECTIONS

    1 // Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Celsius.

    2 // Mix all of the dressing ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl with a whisk. Set aside.

    3 // Chop the vegetables (apart from the asparagus) and toss in a bowl.

    4 // Drain the liquid from the tofu package and chop the tofu into bite sized pieces. Sauté with olive oil, salt and pepper until golden brown (approximately five minutes).

    5 // Cut the bottom end off of all of the asparagus and place on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until tender.

    6 // Once cool, add the asparagus and tofu to the rest of the salad and toss while slowly adding the dressing.

    7 // Garnish with extra cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Serve and enjoy!

    Enjoy your healthy and delicious salad! I promise you won’t be hungry in half an hour. Try it and let me know what you think!

    xoxo,

    Alicia

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    Sweet Potato Parmesan Gnocchi

    I truly love to cook. It’s creative, productive and there’s something so meditative about working with my hands. Not to mention how rewarding it is to be able to sit down to a delicious homemade meal that I know I made from scratch. I’m trying to experiment a bit more in the kitchen and lately I’ve been making a ton of homemade pasta. While I love using my pasta maker to make fresh fettuccine, it’s quite a time consuming process and sometimes I just want to be able to whip up something that tastes like I slaved for hours without having to actually spend a lifetime at my stove. This decadent recipe for Sweet Potato Parmesan gnocchi tastes and looks fancy, but is incredibly easy and quick to make. Instead of reaching for that prepackaged, preservative-filled gnocchi at your local grocery store, flour up your counter, roll up your sleeves and see for yourself just how easy (and delicious) it is to make Gnocchi yourself! Pour yourself a delicious glass of Pinot Noir and get cracking.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 2 Medium Sized Yams
    • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
    • 1/4 Cup Powdered Parmesan
    • 1/2 TSP Salt
    • 2 TBSP Garlic Powder
    • 1/2 TSP Sage
    • 1 Large Egg

    DIRECTIONS

    1 // Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

    2 // Cut up and peel your yams. Place them on a baking sheet drizzled in olive oil with a touch of salt and pepper and then bake them for 30 minutes.

    3 // Wait for the yams to cook completely and then mash them until they are smooth without any lumps. You can use a potato masher or fork, but a ricer works best.

    4 // Add the spices, Parmesan, salt and egg into the mashed yams and mix well.

    5 // Gradually add your flour bit by bit until you have a soft, pliable ball of dough. If your dough is too dry, add a touch or olive oil. If your dough is too moist, dust it in flour.

    6 // On a floured surface, roll out your dough into several skinny tubes and then slice into pieces that are about 1 inch thick. Use a fork to create ridges on your freshly cut gnocchi. This is not a total necessity but it will allow whichever sauce or flavourings you use to better adhere to your gnocchi.

    7 // Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add your gnocchi. Cook them for a couple of minutes or until they float to the surface of the water. Scoop them out with a ladle and place them into a serving bowl.

    8 // Toss your freshly made gnocchi with your favorite sauce and serve. I like it with just a touch of butter or olive oil with mushrooms sautéed in garlic, white wine and sage. With this recipe, simplicity shines and I love just letting the flavour of the gnocchi take center stage.

    9 // Enjoy your delicious gnocchi! How easy was that? Seriously, you don’t have to be an expert chef to create scrumptious, homemade gnocchi and it’s sooo much better than what you can buy prepackaged at the store. There is truly no comparison.

    If you try this recipe let me know how it goes! I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be hooked.

    xoxo,

    Alicia

    Vegan Pumpkin Spice Chai Snickerdoodles

    We all have our weaknesses, and while I am usually equipped with strong willpower when faced with baked goods, there are a few treats that I simply can’t say no to and am willing to spend an extra hour or two in spin class for. A few examples? My grandmother’s juicy apple pie, a flaky cheese croissant from a really good bakery, and these spicy-sweet snickerdoodles.

    This recipe is from Vegetarian Times, but I tweaked it slightly with sweet pumpkin purée and fragrant chai tea to make it extra delicious and fall-like. This recipe is super easy and can be customized totally depending on the season. For example, you could add some almond extract in the summer, mint in the winter, coconut in the summer – you get the picture. For the perfect cozy fall evening treat, whip up a mouthwatering batch of these tasty cookies and prepare to impress everyone with your crazy dessert chef skills!

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup cornstarch
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 stick (4 oz.) vegan margarine, softened
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 sachet of chai tea
    • 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
    • 1 tsp cardamom
    • 1 tsp nutmeg
    • 1/4 cup soy, almond, coconut or cashew milk
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    Cinnamon Sugar Topping

    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 3 tbs. cinnamon


    DIRECTIONS

    1 // Preheat your oven to 350°F and evenly coat your baking sheet with vegan margarine or cooking spray to prevent sticking.

    2 // In one large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients (apart from the sugar). Tear open a packet of chai tea and mix it in with the flour.

    3 // In a separate bowl, use beaters or a fork to cream margarine until it is light and very creamy. Add the sugar and pumpkin purée, and beat until it has a snow-like, fluffy texture.

    4 // Add soymilk and vanilla extract to your creamed sugar and margarine and beat until smooth. Next, add the dry ingredients and beat until it is thouroughly mixed.

    5 // Scoop out and roll little balls of your snickerdoodle dough. Coat each cookie in cinnamon and sugar before placing them on the baking sheet.

    6 // Put the cookies in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies should be lightly browned on top but still soft and chewy.

    7 // You can keep the cookies in an air tight container for about two weeks.

    These cookies honestly taste like everything good about autumn! Enjoy these decadent treats with a hot chai tea latte or steaming cup of coffee. If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!

    xoxo,

    Alicia

    Healthy Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

    I, like most normal human beings, love indulging in a frosty bowl of ice cream. Unfortunately it has been harder for me to enjoy my favorite treat as I have recently become a vegetarian and I’ve learned about all of the horrors that animals endure within the dairy industry. While there are quite a few great vegan ice cream brands and shops out there, I took it upon myself to create my own version – one that is healthy, delicious and free of sketchy preservatives.

    This recipe is ridiculously easy. Seriously, it requires 9 ingredients and you don’t even need an ice cream maker. It also has the creamiest most decadent texture that is pretty much identical to the real thing. I chose to make mint chocolate chip ice cream because it’s my favorite, but you could totally customize this depending on your tastes. For example, you could swap out the banana for strawberry, add more vanilla and forgo the mint to make classic strawberries and cream! The options are endless and oh-so delicious. 

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 Avocado
    • 1 Can Sweetened Coconut Cream
    • 2 Cups Coconut or Cashew Milk (I find that almond milk has too strong of a flavour that distracts from the mint and chocolate.)
    • 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
    • 1 tbsp Mint Extract
    • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
    • 1 Banana
    • 2 tsp Stevia 
    • 3 tbsp Matcha Powder
    • A Few Drops of Green Food Colouring


    DIRECTIONS

    1 // Measure out all of your ingredients apart from the chocolate chips, vanilla and mint extract, and food colouring.

    2 // Blend the avocado, banana, coconut cream, coconut milk, stevia and matcha powder until the consistency is rich and creamy – the avocado should make the consistency similar to whipped cream.

    3 // Pour the contents of the blender into a mixing bowl and add the extracts, food colouring and chocolate chips. Stir until the ice cream is a pale mint colour and the chocolate chips are evenly distributed.

    4 // Pour the ice cream mixture into a freeze-safe container and freeze it uncovered for 6 hours. The ice cream should be firm but easy to scoop.

    5 // Scoop, top with sprinkles, shredded coconut, chocolate flakes or whatever you feel like. Enjoy your cruelty/dairy/guilt free frozen treat! 

    I hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you give this a try, let me know how it turns out! 

    xoxo,

    Alicia

    Brie, Tomato & Basil Pasta

    On hot summer days when I’m feeling lethargic and unmotivated, I just want a meal that can be made quickly. And you know, one that is also delicious and not filled with fast-food preservatives and grease – it’s a tall order, I know. Enter, this simple but sumptuous Mediterranean pasta. With chunks of gooey Brie and aromatic sundried tomatoes and basil, it takes fifteen minutes to make but tastes like something you’d eat with delicate silverware over a white linen tablecloth. It’s also incredibly easy. Seriously, if you can boil water and have opposable thumbs to tear cheese, you can whip this dish up without a problem! Here’s how it’s done.

    INGREDIENTS 

    • 1 Wheel of Brie
    • 1 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes
    • 2 Chopped Fresh Tomatoes
    • 3 tbsp Fresh Chopped Basil 
    • 1 Package of Pasta (Choose whole wheat variations for extra fiber.)
    • Olive Oil (Use enough to lightly coat all of the pasta.)
    • 2 tbsp Butter
    • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder 
    • 1 tbsp Oregano
    • Salt and Pepper to taste.

    DIRECTIONS

    1 // Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the directions on the package (usually for around 10 minutes). Drain the pasta.

    2 // Drizzle olive oil over cooked pasta and toss until all of the noodles are lightly coated. Add the butter and toss the pasta further.

    3 // While the pasta is still super hot, tear up Brie into small pieces and add it to the pasta. Stir the pasta so that the melted cheese is dispersed throughout.

    4 // Add the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to the pasta. Toss in the sundried tomatoes and basil. 

    5 // Garnish the pasta with a little extra chopped basil to make it pretty!

    This is one of the easiest (and most delicious) pastas ever. It tastes equally yummy cold as it does hot and the flavours seem to intensify when you reheat and eat it the next day. You can also customize this recipe with any other add-one you want – for example, my boyfriend loves it with chopped up bacon bits. If you’re feeling like having a lazy evening but don’t want another meal that comes in a take-out box, this quick and tasty dish is absolutely perfect. You can also eat it cold as a pasta salad for a light summer’s day dinner.

    What’s your favorite lazy day recipe? 

    xoxo,

    Alicia

    Cheap & Easy | Protein-Packed Vegetable ‘Noodle’ Stir-fry

    As a student, there are times when I have to cut my grocery bill way, way down in order to afford life. When I can’t afford to splurge on the more exotic items I want (hello Coconut Bliss Naked Coconut Ice Cream and bubbly wine), I have a couple of go-to recipes that I turn to throughout the week to make sure that I’m not, quite literally, eating through my money. One delightful perk of my new-found vegetarianism is how cheap my meals can be if I just focus on whole foods. When you’re buying nothing but fresh produce and canned lentils, you can watch your grocery bills go from $60+ to quite often less than $30 in the blink of an eye. Still, no one wants to eat nothing but plain, raw veggies all day, so a little creativity is needed to transform them into delicious and nutritious meals that will leave you totally full for hours, while still craving seconds because it’s just that tasty. This particular recipe is chock full of satiating protein which will leave you satisfied until your next meal – without the bloat that comes from gulping down a steak. It’s also delicious, free of refined carbs and can be whipped up in 20 minutes. Read on to find out how to make this plant-based plate of heaven.

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 Large Carrot
    • 2 Large Zucchinis
    • 1/2 Can Beans (I love chickpeas, pinto beans, and black beans the most but the choice is yours!)
    • 1 Cup Extra Firm Tofu (chopped into cubes)
    • 1/2 Cup Tempeh (chopped)
    • 1/2 Onion
    • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
    • 2 Slices Vegan Cheese
    • * 1 tbsp Peanut Butter (or almond/cashew butter)
    • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder 
    • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
    • Chili Powder (to taste)
    • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
    • 1/3 Cup Soya Sauce 
    • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil

    DIRECTIONS
    1 // Wash and peel the carrot and zucchini. Use a spiralizer (follow the directions depending on which model you have) to cut both vegetables into long, noodle-like strands. Set aside.

    2 // Grease a skillet with a little bit of coconut or olive oil and add the vegetable ‘noodles’. Cook on medium heat.

    3 // Rinse your beans or lentils and add them to your noodles along with all of your chosen spices. The spices I have listed here are my favorite, but feel free to get creative with flavours of your choice – for example, curry, turmeric, cayenne etc. Toss the ingredients and turn the heat slightly down.

    4 // Add the diced tomato, tofu and tempeh to the stir-fry, along with the soya sauce and sesame oil. Stir all of the ingredients together. 

    5 // At this point there will be a lot of liquid in your stir-fry because all of the moisture will be cooking out of the vegetable noodles and tomato. One way to thicken it up is to add a bit of peanut butter (or any nut butter). This will also give the dish extra protein and enhance the Asian-inspired flavours. It’s totally optional but I really enjoy the creamy consistency and rich, nutty flavour it gives the stir-fry.

    6 // Continue to simmer the mixture on low-heat until all of the extra juices have been reduced. Feel free to add some vegan cheese for a little extra flavour and creaminess! 

    7 // Serve on its own or with some brown rice or quinoa for even more bite and protein. This dish is extremely filling (contrary to the popular belief that vegetarian and vegan meals leave you feeling hungry) and this recipe makes enough for two or three portions. Again, this recipe is totally customizable depending on your tastes. Swap out the spices and vegetables for your favorites. Don’t like carrots? Spiralize sweet potato or parsnips instead! Not a fan of tofu? Add some seitan and cut up portobello mushrooms! 

    I have really enjoyed cooking vegetarian meals and I find that because they do not have meat, the extra effort and creativity that goes into creating these dishes makes them even more delicious then some of the carnivorous meals I enjoyed in the past. It’s also nice not feeling bloated or lethargic after every meal! Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a vegetarian or vegan, keeping at least some of your meals completely plant-based throughout the week will have a powerfully positive effect on your health – as well as your cooking prowess! 

    Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Also, as always, I’m always snooping around for new veggie recipes, so please give me a shout my herbivore friends! 

    xoxo,

    Alicia

    My Go-To Green Smoothie

    green-smoothie-recipe
    When I’m in a pinch for time or simply want a super healthy meal on the go, green smoothies are one of my favorite breakfast options. They are packed with vitamins and can be made in minutes with minimal clean-up afterwards. Packed with chlorophyll and other essential plant-based nutrients, green smoothies have been praised for their many health and beauty benefits, such as glowing skin, shinier hair, a stronger immune system, and a decreased risk of heart disease. They are also a great way to sneak in extra greens without you even noticing them (kids love them)! There are a lot of great recipes out there that I enjoy, but this is my favorite green smoothie recipe of all time. Chock-full of healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants, this rich and creamy smoothie tastes like dessert but packs a serious nutritional punch. Plus it’s vegan!

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 Banana
    • 1 Avocado
    • 2 Handfuls of Mixed Greens
    • 1 Cup Blueberries
    • 1 Cup Frozen Strawberries, Peaches & Pineapple
    • 1 tbsp Spirulina
    • 2 tbsp Matcha Powder
    • 2 Cups of Vanilla Almond Milk

    DIRECTIONS

    1 // Add all of the fresh fruit and avocado into the blender and add one cup of almond milk. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

    2 // Toss in the leafy greens and frozen fruit along with the almond milk, spirulina, and matcha powder. Blend on high until the smoothie is entirely mixed and has a frosty yet creamy consistency.

    3 // If you prefer your smoothie to be sweeter, add a drizzle or honey or real maple syrup and blend on low to mix it in.

    4 // Enjoy your delicious and super healthy green smoothie!

    Have you tried green smoothies and, if so, are you a fan? If you give this recipe a try, let me know how you felt about it! It’s my fave but I’m curious about what others would think. Until next time!

    xoxo,

    Alicia