vegan tacos with chipotle lime mayo

vegan tacos
vegan tacos
vegan tacos
vegan tacos

At last, spring is here. I feel safe writing it now; even certain that we might be safely past the bi-polar days of early spring.

This season I fell in love with nature more than at perhaps any point in my life. I can’t get enough of it. I crave walking barefoot on dewey morning grass, watching petals glide through the air making their descent while listening to the symphony of birds.

Spring feels like a sensory orgasm of sorts; maddening beauty all around…colors, vibrancy, crisp air. There is a feeling of aliveness in my body every time I step outside and I simultaneous curse myself for not having noticed this breathtaking beauty in springs past. Or at least not on such a fervent level.

So in honor of all things alive and colorful, I wanted to make a simple recipe that’s fresh, full of vegetables and rich in flavor; a dish that would do to tastebuds what spring does to the senses. After all, when the weather warms up, I think most of us naturally gravitate towards lighter food and a good amount of vegetables .

And one of my favorite ways of eating loads of vegetables is in the form of tacos. While I do like raw vegetables just fine, frankly I prefer them roasted and/or sautéed. I find they’re far better on digestion too despite potentially losing some of their nutrients. And the best part? You get to wrap them in a delicious tortilla and pile on your favorite toppings which will hopefully include a plethora of chipotle lime mayo.

These vegan tacos are staples in my house and never disappoint. The combination of sweet potatoes, zucchini, bell pepper sweet corn and black beans tossed with spices, garlic, honey and lime hit just the right spot for me. I don’t eat beans and corn often but I make an exception for these tacos. If you’re strict whole 30 or paleo, no sweat - skip the corn and beans and they will still taste fantastic.

Now you can certainly skip the MYOT (make your own tortillas) but to me cassava tortillas truly round out this dish. Yes, it’s a little extra work but oh so worth it. You can find the recipe for these easy to make tacos here.

Whether you’re enthralled with spring or just enjoy vegan tacos, check out this simple weeknight or any night dinner.

vegan tacos
vegan tacos
vegan tacos

Print Friendly and PDF
  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 30 minutes

  • makes: 10 tacos

Ingredients:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” pieces

  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1” pieces

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1” pieces

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1 cup cooked black beans (skip for paleo and whole 30)

  • 1 cup defrosted organic corn (skip for paleo and whole 30)

  • 1 tsp ground paprika

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

  • zest of 1 lime

  • juice of 1/2 lime (if not juicy use 1 lime)

  • 1 tsp honey

  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro plus extra

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • cassava tortillas (recipe here) or buy this brand

  • spicy mayo (recipe here) or buy this brand

  • optional: avocado slices

  • optional: sliced radish

  • optional: sliced red cabbage

  • optional: additional chopped cilantro

Equipment:

  • large cast iron pan

  • roasting tray

  • parchment paper


Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Add sweet potatoes, zucchini and bell pepper, all spices, salt and pepper to parchment paper lined roasting tray. Roast for 25-30 minutes until vegetables are soft.

If making tortillas, make them now. Recipe here.

Meanwhile, shortly before vegetables have finished roasting, preheat cast iron pan on medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds stirring continuously. Lower heat, add corn and black beans and warm through for 5 minutes stirring continuously. Turn off heat, add lime zest, lime juice and honey and add roasted vegetables and chopped cilantro. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Scoop vegetable mixture on tortillas, top with spicy mayo, avocado, radishes and cabbage and additional cilantro if you wish.


If you’re looking for a delicious dinner you can whip up in 30 minutes, try these roasted vegetable vegan tacos. The great thing is they can be customized for whole 30 and paleo lifestyles, are completely vegan . #tacos #paleotacos #whole30tacos #vegantacos #vegan #vegetarian #roastedvegetables #calmeats #veganmexicanfood #dinner #healthyrecipes

nutrient dense blueberry smoothie

nutrient dense blueberry smoothie
dried rose petals
nutrient dense blueberry smoothie
nutrient dense blueberry smoothie

So here’s a funny thing. As is the case with many foods, I tried my very first blueberry when I was close to 15. Not because I didn’t like them, but because I had never heard of them. Other than strawberries, I don’t recall having access to many berries growing up.

I was rather suspicious the first time my then step-sister insisted I try them. They reminded me of something poisonous so I passed the first few times they were offered. I don’t easily crack under pressure but eventually curiosity got the best of me and I decided to give them a shot.

And of course, it was love at first bite, okay, handful…no, bowlful. Without shame, I ate until I was stuffed. To this day that’s still the case. Blueberries probably rank as one of my favorite fruits next to cherries and watermelon. These three make me lose my mind and I will happily go into a fruit coma for them.

But in all seriousness, besides tasting wonderful, blueberries are packed with antioxidants and nutrients we could all use more of. And sure we are fortunate enough to be entering blueberry season, but it is awfully short and before we know it, it’s nothing but a memory. Though the great thing is, you can always (we are so very lucky) find organic frozen blueberries which have been picked at their peak.

And oh right, this post is about a nutrient dense smoothie. I wanted something that could be used as an actual meal, that would provide nutrients, give you energy and prevent sugar drops. So I kept this low in sugar but I promise you won’t miss it because the flavor makes up for it! Though if you’re trying to satisfy your sweet tooth, feel free to add 1-2 tsp of honey to the mix and a pinch of salt.

So here’s what goes into this smoothie: Nut milk of your choice, collagen, avocado, coconut oil, almond butter and frozen blueberries. A quick blend and you’ve got yourself a tasty nutrient dense blueberry smoothie to keep you full and satisfied for hours. If you wanted to, add the smoothie to a bowl and dress it up a bit with additional blueberries, chia seeds and toasted coconut flakes would match up perfectly.

nutrient dense smoothie
nutrient dense blueberry smoothie
smoothie lighter-6.jpg

Print Friendly and PDF
  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • blend: 1 minute

  • makes: 1-2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen bluebrries

  • 1/2 rupe avocado

  • 1 tbsp cacao

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

  • 1 tbsp almond butter

  • 1 scoop collagen (skip for vegan)

  • 1.5 cups almond, cashew or coconut milk


Equipment:

  • blender


Directions:

Combine all ingredients and blend well for one minute. Serve right away.

* For a more liquid consistency, add in 1/2 cup more nut milk.


Smoothies are a perfect way to start the day, but even better when they’re rich in nutrients, low in sugar and keep you full and satisfied for hours. Frozen blueberries are mixed with almond butter, coconut oil, cacao, cashew milk, collagen (skip if vegan), and avocado. #vegan #smoothie #breakfastsmoothie #nutrientdensesmoothie #blueberries #calmeats #nutrientdense #whole30 #paleo #breakfast #snack #whole30breakfast #whole30snack #paleobreakfast #paleosnack













thai coconut soup with chicken and lemongrass

thai coconut soup with chicken and lemongrass
thai coconut soup with chicken and lemongrass
thai coconut soup with chicken and lemongrass
thai coconut soup with chicken and lemongrass

Sometimes I see things quite clearly but it takes a bit for them to fall into place. At times I want to rush the process but when it’s not quite solid in my mind, it gets tucked away. And when I least expect it, it hits me like a pile of bricks. I can’t stop thinking about it and want it more than anything.

So this recipe took shape. I wrote the name of it months ago and did nothing with it. I’d glance at it occasionally in my reminders and ignore it. I knew I wanted to make it but the details were blurry. However, several days ago, as I sat at my grey desk at work, surrounded by fluorescent lights, emails dinging away, I saw it all before me; colorful, each ingredient pouring out of my thoughts as though I’d made it before. I feverishly wrote, seeing it unfold in my mind’s eye.

I don’t question these moments. They can’t be chased, sought out or wished for. They happen as if by divine intervention. They feel real, raw and gratifying.

But the truth is, this recipe is anything but miraculous - it’s just really damn good. Saying that about my own food makes me sound slightly if not quite narcissistic but I’ll be honest, I loved it. It took one try - because I knew what I wanted it to be. I sat over the pot with spices at the ready…adding steadily until it became a reality. For this coconut soup, the broth is everything.

The beauty is that you most likely already have these ingredients in your pantry and fridge. You need coconut milk, broth, spices, a few veggies and rotisserie chicken. That's right - I wanted to keep it simple and find that rotisserie chicken adds a unique flavor to the broth.

But there’s one ingredient that makes this whole dish - and that’s lemongrass. It seems insignificant, considering that it’s just a stalk but I assure you, it’s where the flavor lies. Most grocery stores carry it and if not, good old Amazon is always a good option. I promise, you won’t regret making the effort to obtain it as it will truly make the soup.

thai coconut soup-10.jpg
thai coconut soup with chicken and lemongrass
thai coconut soup with chicken and lemongrass
thai coconut soup with chicken and lemongrass

Print Friendly and PDF
  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 25

  • makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

Equipment:

  • large soup pot

Directions:

Bring chicken broth, coconut milk, red Thai chili paste, coconut milk, coriander, smashed garlic, ginger and lemongrass to a boil. Reduce heat and cook on low for 10 minutes.

Add mushrooms, red pepper, sugar, salt and chicken and cook for another 15 minutes on low.

Lastly, add basil and cilantro, remove lemon grass and if you wish garlic cloves and serve with additional chopped basil.


If you like Thai soup, you’re going to love this one because it’s easy to make and far better for you than any takeout soup! The flavor of lemongrass, Thai red curry sauce and coconut milk are a feast for the senses. #paleo #glutenfree #chicken #thaicoconutsoup #coconutsoup #thaisoup #thaicuisine #thaifood #calmeats #grainfree #whole30

rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble

rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble
rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble
rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble

I grew up only a sea away from a country rich in flavors and spices. Some traditional recipes made their way onto our table but not nearly enough given the proximity.

My mom would frequently travel to Turkey for work and would come back baring delicious foods that we’d never dream of having access to in Romania. One of them was halva. Funny because I’d had it my whole life but Romanians always made it with pressed sunflowers and never tahini.

That was my very first introduction to a flavor I would come to revere as an adult. It is unmistakable - an ingredient used in Middle Eastern and Asian dishes alike. Truthfully one that can’t be substituted.

So a few moths ago while stocking up on tahini I had a burning desire to make a quick sauce. The only problem was, I now had a tasty sauce on my hands but hadn’t quite thought about what I’d do with it. Sure, roasted carrots or sweet potatoes would always be good options for dipping but I was in the mood for something new. Something that would wake up my taste buds.

Rutabaga already had its moment in a previous post where I gushed about its versatility and distinctive taste, but I feel the need to reiterate just how delightful this unassuming root is. While raw it tastes somewhere between a turnip and cabbage, when cooked its essence is revealed. Everything that’s been hidden beneath the waxy surface comes to life when this noble root has just a few minutes in the heat.

To top it all off, I wanted something to complete the taste I was after - something intense but not overpowering. A sprinkling of cashew crumble is exactly what this dish needed. It is one of the simplest and most delicious ones I’ve had. Flavorful, intense and satisfying.

rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble
rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble
rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble

Print Friendly and PDF

prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes
makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large rutabaga, peeled and spiralized

  • 1/2 cup runny tahini

  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews

  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided

  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil

  • 2 tsp coconut aminos

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • a handful of very thinly sliced carrots

  • handful of very thinly sliced cucumber

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro (optional)

  • 1 green onion, green parts only (optional)

Equipment:

  • blender

  • large mixing bowl

  • small mixing bowl

  • spiralizer

  • large non stick frying pan

Directions:

Combine tahini, water, lemon juice, coconut aminos, salt and sesame oil in large bowl and set aside.

In blender finely grind cashews until they’re fine. In small bowl, combine them with 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and mix well with your fingers by pinching the mixture until it becomes crumbly - set aside.

Preheat pan on medium heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil and rutabaga noodles and toss frequently for 5 minutes until they begin to soften but are not mushy.

Remove from heat and add to bowl with tahini sauce. Toss to combine.

Place noodles on plates and add carrot and cucumber slices along with as much cashew crumble as you wish. Top with cilantro and green onion and serve.

If you’re looking for a flavorful noodle bowl but are following a grain free lifestyle, look no further than this tasty rutabaga recipe with tahini sauce and cashew crumble. It’s a satisfying, creamy and you won’t miss the pasta. #veganrecipes #vegan #tahini #rutabaga #paleorecipes #paleo #plantabased #whole30recipes #whole30 #paleonoodles #whole30noodles #cashews #tahinisauce #calmeats #veganfood #rutabaganoodles

cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

white flowers
flowers in hand
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

Every once in a while, life throws us the most unexpected and marvelous things, maybe even life changing. Okay, okay perhaps not life changing but certainly unexpected and most definitely marvelous. I speak of none other than orange blossom water.

I first read about orange blossom water in Mimi Thorisson’s books A Kitchen In France and French Country Cooking. At first glance it hardly impressed me but over time I kept going back to those pages, intrigued by the role of this mysterious water in sweet dishes. What could be so impressive about it? Of course I imagined it would simply be orange flavor which is fine but I certainly wouldn’t attach the adjective unexpected to it.

So this orange blossom water sat in my Amazon cart for some time until I decided that I had nothing to lose and would just order it and see if I’d ever use it. Well, the moment it arrived and I unscrewed the cap, put a bit on my finger and dabbed it behind my ears and wrists and just sat with the scent for a while.

It was unlike anything I had smelled before - sweet, warm, deeply intense. I knew that I would this smell and flavor in my life often. And so it occurred to me - I would add it to paleo pancakes, which I eat every day. And to go along with the orange blossom water, another ingredient that’s deserving of praise and that’s cardamom.

And so these cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water have been my staple morning companions for the last 2 months. Truth be told, I’m not adventurous when it comes to breakfast. I know what I like and I stick with it so when I find something new, I’m usually ecstatic. And since I prefer sweet to savory in the morning, these pancakes topped with almond butter, a pinch of salt, drizzle of honey and chia seeds, became a perfect match for my morning coffee. I look forward to breakfast every morning.

I like making a big batch of pancakes and storing them in the refrigerator all week. All they need is just a minute in the micro, if you like them warm. If you’re not a micro person, toaster oven will work just fine to warm them through.

cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

Print Friendly and PDF

cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 20-25 minutes

  • makes: 12-15 pancakes

Ingredients:

Equipment:

  • large mixing bowl

  • large cast iron or non-stick skillet

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and whisk well. Let batter sit for 5 minutes.

Preheat skillet on medium heat and add a little bit of coconut oil. Add roughly a 1/4 cup of batter to skillet (I can usually fit 3 pancakes at once) and cook until pancakes start to bubble (about 1-2 minutes), then flip and repeat. Continue with the rest of the batter.

Serve with suggestions: peanut or almond butter and honey or keep it classic with just maple syrup.

Pancakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and reheated as needed. (I do 1 minute in micro for 3 of them)


If you want to take your paleo pancakes to a new level, try adding cardamom and orange blossom water to them! The combination is incredibly flavorful, creating a delicious unexpected pancake. Try it for yourself! #paleopancakes #paleobreakfast #paleo #glutenfreepancakes #grainfreepancakes #glutenfreebreakfast #glutenfree #grainfreepancakes #grainfree #vegetarian #breakfast #brunch #orangeblossomwater #orangeflowerwater #calmeats