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

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  • 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 (for vegan mayo try this)

  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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, 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, lime juice, 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

roasted artichokes with lemon aioli

roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli

I’m no stranger to life’s dark moods, to anxious thoughts, doubts, fears and unmet expectations. I’m no more or less human than anyone else. But I believe in pleasure too and love and the beauty of small things. Like watching a bee burrow itself into a flower, drinking the sweet nectar only to happily make its way out and buzz about to the next one. Small, beautiful, unnoticed.

Then there is the artichoke, maybe not necessarily small, but beautiful and previously unnoticed by my eyes. In my far too frequent trips to the market, I never stopped to pay much attention to it. I found it intimidating; those pointy leaves, a little closed off - perhaps a defense mechanism? After all, the goal is to just get to the very best part - the heart and the only way to do that is to peel layer after rough layer.

But one day, while making my typical rounds I suddenly stopped short when spotting the artichoke bin. I had one thought and one thought only. I want to photograph it! I never thought beyond that, like maybe I’d actually eat it? And like it…a lot?

I returned home, dropped my shopping and got to work. Nothing else mattered, just the beautiful artichokes. And so it began; one thing led to another and then next thing I know, I’m siting at my kitchen counter with a plate of artichokes, about to eat them for the first time. So I sat, mesmerized and sucked into the moment, enjoying bite after bite, slowly, meditatively even, dipping, and biting, dipping and biting until I got to the very best part, the essence of the choke.

As for the dip, since mayo and aioli are staples in my house, it wasn’t a difficult decision. And a simple lemony aioli was the ideal companion for these mysterious, divine leaves.

I’ve eaten many things in my life, but I don’t believe anything has brought me quite as much pleasure as photographing, preparing and eating an artichoke has. A true delight for the senses, a celebration of life’s small pleasures all in one small, green, rough and yet so delicate vegetable.

roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli

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roasted artichokes with lemon aioli

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 35-40 minutes

  • makes: 2 artichokes

Ingredients:

  • 2 artichokes

  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest

  • 1/4 cup good mayo (for vegan option use egg free mayo)

  • 1/4 tsp finely minced garlic

  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/2 lemon

  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

  • 1/2 tsp salt divided

  • 2 tbsp olive oil


Equipment:

  • roasting sheet

  • parchment paper

  • small mixing bowl

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Trim artichoke leaves by snipping just the tops with scissors. Cut stem and leave about 1-2”. Cut artichokes in half and rub with lemon half and squeeze juice all over the artichoke halves. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Lay artichokes face down on parchment paper lined roasting sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, combine mayo, mustard, pinch of salt, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice in small mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

When artichokes have finished cooking, remove one leaf at a time and dip bottoms in aioli and enjoy!


Roasting artichokes is one of the easiest way to enjoy them, especially when paired with a tasty lemon aioli. Check out this delicious and simple recipe. #artichokes #roastedartichokes #vegan #calmeats #paleo #whole30 #dairyfree #appetizerrecipe #appetizer #glutenfree #grainfree #lemonaioli #starters






asparagus sausage scramble with egg

asparagus
red onion, asparagus, scallions
tray with mixed vegetables
asparagus sausage scramble with egg

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself here, considering that we’re only a few days into spring, but I can’t help but already celebrate asparagus season. I’ve had a fascination with asparagus since first discovering this green beauty upon moving to the States.

Asparagus feels memorable every time it ends up on my plate. Despite its year long availability, it is a pricier vegetable and I reserve it for special meals. But in spring, when the farmers markets explode with the green spears, I take full advantage and gorge on it.

Even though asparagus at first glance seems robust and sturdy, it can easily be wrecked in the cooking process. It needs to merely kiss the heat for a few minutes in order to come into its full, glorious potential. I guess I never really thought about vegetables making out with heat but okay…I guess this is where we are now.

But let’s get back to today’s recipe. I wanted a versatile enough dish that could easily make for a simple breakfast lunch or dinner. I also wanted it allergy friendly and first and foremost, tasty, with earthy yet bright flavors to celebrate all that spring has to offer.

Red onion and sausage create a flavorful base and are tossed with cauliflower rice, sweet bell pepper and asparagus. Ginger and coconut aminos, add depth and the whole thing is finished with some bright lemon zest. Now, you could certainly stop there, but if you want to take it a step further, you could add an an over-easy egg and take this dish to another level.

asparagus sausage scramble with egg
asparagus sausage scramble with egg
asparagus sausage scramble with egg

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asparagus sausage scramble with egg

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 25

  • makes: 4 servings


Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil

  • 2 sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped

  • 1lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces

  • 1 yellow, red or orange bell pepper, chopped

  • 4 cups cooked cauliflower rice (follow package instructions) or make your own here

  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos

  • 1” knob grated ginger

  • zest of 1/2 lemon

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

  • 4 eggs

  • optional: 1 green onion sliced, green parts only


Equipment:

  • large cast iron or heavy bottom skilled

  • medium frying pan


Directions:

Heat cast iron skilled over medium heat. Add oil and sausage. Cook sausage breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it’s cooked through - about 10 minutes. Remove sausage and set aside.

In the same pan, if needed, add a little more oil, onion and a pinch of salt. Cook onion stirring regularly for 5 minutes until translucent. Add bell pepper and asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes until vegetables have softened a little.

Return sausage to pan, add cauliflower rice, sausage, grated ginger, coconut aminos, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until all ingredients have combined.

In a separate pan, cook eggs to your preference and serve along with asparagus scramble.

Optional, top with green onion and serve right away.


A 30 minute recipe that can make for a simple breakfast, lunch or dinner. A delicious combination of asparagus, red onion, sausage and cauliflower rice are tossed together with ginger and coconut aminos to create this speedy dish. It’s low carb, paleo, gluten free and whole 30 too. #paleodinner #30minuterecipes #whole30dinner #glutenfreedinner #quickmeals #glutenfree #dairyfree #whole30 #calmeats #paleo #realfoodrecipes #cleaneatingrecipes #speedydinner