Category Archives: vegan

Gallo Pinto (Costa Rican Rice and Beans)

IMG_3625We just got back from a vacation in Costa Rica (Playa Flamingo to be exact, go book your trip now!)  where we spent a week in the ocean, hanging at a resort pool (complete with a swim up bar), having beach bonfires, doing yoga with an ocean view and having all sorts of adventures with a bunch of our pals. The reason for the trip was that our friends Nate + Sarah decided to get hitched in the paradise you see in the picture above. Geniuses.

It was great and so was the food. We ate rice and beans as a part of almost every meal for a seven days and when we got home the first thing Brent wanted to do was recreate the recipe, so we did.

photo (6)
Gallo Pinto
adapted from Vegetarian Times


  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked brown or rice
  • 2 cups cooked or canned black beans, drained, rinsed and liquid reserved
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1-2 tablespoons Vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (or Salsa Lizano if you are lucky enough to have it or want to buy it on
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime (or more, to taste)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, and add onion. When onion starts to turn a little translucent, add garlic, and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until onion is golden brown.
  2. Stir in 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to the onions and garlic.
  3. Add in the cumin, coriander, ginger with to the onions and garlic, mix until incorporated.
  4. Stir in rice, beans and seasonings, combining well. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup liquid from canned beans, if desired, to make the rice a little more moist, or as the recipe says “dirty.” I did this and it did bump up the flavor a bit.
  5. Cook until heated through, and add lime juice, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add another tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce or Salsa Lizano to the mix if you feel like your beans are missing a little seasoning. I only used 1.25 tablespoons and I thought it tasted great.

The original recipe called for an additional cup of rice, but I wanted a more even bean to rice ration. If you want to add that additional cup, just add an extra tablespoon of worcestershire or Salsa Lizano. I also used brown rice and it tastes great (and is better for you) I also really like squeezing a bit of lime over the beans after I re-heat them. Feel free to top with cilantro or green onion too.

My view today is of clouds and city, not of beaches and palm trees,  but at least I can eat this at work and pretend I’m back in Costa Rica… right?


Apple Oat Bars

I went apple picking this weekend with my pals Kate & Meg. You can see a way better recap of this on Kate’s baby blog!It was fun (minus the part when Meg and I tried to go wine tasting and we didn’t understand the system… and therefore failed) and I now have a million apples. One can only eat so many apples with peanut butter so I decided to make what I made after apple picking years ago-  Apple Oat Bars.

Apple Oat Bars
(adapted from Vegetarian Times)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (you can do 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 regular)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
3 Tbs. vegetable oil
⅓ cup apple cider or apple juice (use cider if possible!)
3 cups peeled, chopped tart apples, such as Granny Smith
¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan, or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Mix flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in mixing bowl. Using fork or fingertips, work in oil and cider until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Press about 1 1/2 cups oat mixture firmly into bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with apples. Mix walnuts into remaining oat mixture, sprinkle evenly over apples and pat into even layer. I did not use walnuts because I didn’t have them, but I wish I would have!

4. Bake 30-35 minutes (9″ pan)/ 35-40 minutes (8″pan) or until top is golden and apples are tender when pierced with a fork.

5. Cool completely on a wire rack (or in front of your window if summer is being nice and sticking around like it is here!) before cutting into bars. I also did not do this. Try not to skip this step… cutting them is a mess if you do.

These do taste pretty delicious a little warm if you are impatient and have to taste them right when they come out of the oven, but they are a lot prettier and will stay in bar form if you let them cool. I think they’ll be good packed away in lunches for or brought in to your co-workers if you want to be popular. They are also vegan, and possibly healthier than a brownie… but only accidently.


My Mom left a comment on my latest CSA box that I had all of the ingredients to make ratatouille. I hadn’t even thought of it, but I just got finished making an adapted version of her delicious recipe and IT WAS AWESOME!


1 large eggplant, chopped
¾ large green or red pepper, chopped
¾ large yellow onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T tomato paste
2 med. zucchini, chopped
3 or 4 fresh tomatoes chopped OR 1 can petite diced canned tomatoes
Fresh basil
Italian Seasoning
Parmesan Cheese (to top, if you want to make this not vegan)

1. Cut vegetables uniform size.

2. Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil under tender. Add tomato paste and Italian seasoning. Let tomato paste get a little hot and bubbly.

3. Add all ingredients except fresh basil. If you don’t have fresh, you can substitute dried basil if you want.

4. Stir over medium to medium low heat and cook covered for about 30 minutes. Stir from time to time. When all vegetables are soft, add the fresh basil. 5-10 leaves, to taste. If you don’t have fresh basil, you have already added the dried basil.

This is good served over brown rice (my favorite) or any type of pasta with a bit of parmesan cheese to un-veganize it. It is usually better the next day, after flavors have blended. AKA ready for you to take in a tupperware for lunch.

crock pot chickpea, butternut squash + red lentil stew

Aside from dumping some velveeta + salsa in a crock pot to keep cheese dip warm, I’ve never used a crock pot. I loved the idea of a crock pot though: dump a bunch of stuff in it and your dinner will be ready when you get home from work. Who wouldn’t?

When I saw a vegan crock pot chickpea, butternut squash + red lentil stew recipe on Eat Live Run I knew it would be my first crock pot try. I, of course, modified the recipe because I just can’t follow directions 100%.

Crock pot chickpea, butternut squash + red lentil stew
(adapted from Eat Live Run)

1 yellow onion, chopped
2 tsp olive or canola oil
1 large carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno, one seeded and minced, one with the seeds/ribs left in and minced
2 tsp garam masala
1 full or 1/2* of a butternut squash (about 3 lbs–avg sized), peeled and cubed
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes in tomato juice
1 quart (one full box) vegetable broth
1.25 cup red lentils
1 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
fresh minced cilantro for serving

*feel free to use a full butternut squash. i used half as they are very sweet and i wanted to try roasting the other half the next day.

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, carrot and jalapenos and saute for about six minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 more seconds, and then add the garam masala, stirring well to coat. Take off heat.

2. Place the chickpeas, butternut squash, canned diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth and onion mixture in your slow cooker. Turn the heat on LOW and cook for 8-10 hours…the longer you cook, the thicker your stew will be.

don’t be afraid to fill the crock pot up to the tippy top. everything cooks down, and it won’t boil over.

3. Top with cilantro and chopped onion (if you want) to serve when you get home from an 8-10 hour day at work (or a really fun weekend day out. invite me please). This stew freezes extremely well and will keep in the fridge for up to five days.

So, crock pot verdict: This was just as much work as a normal soup/chili/stew as  I had to chop the veggies up the night before, then saute onion/garlic/etc in the morning. BUT it was really really nice to come home from a long day of work + working out and not have to do much of anything. This especially worked well when Brent + I got home at different times/had different plans for the evening. It forced us to eat at home rather than resorting to getting food out, so it was a bonus. And, we now have about 5 lunches ready to go. I’d totally use a crock pot again. 

The recipe verdict: This was a little sweeter than I’d like. I’d add some heat in terms of spices: maybe cayenne, maybe some curry powder. It tasted good w/some onions and cilantro on top. It made it a little less sweet.

Thanks for Lunch Veggies

Why is this recipe called “thanks for lunch veggies”?? I have no idea. They are roasted veggies, basically. I just know that’s what I’ve been calling them since I learned the recipe in a nutrition class in college. I was once a nutrition major in college, but Chemistry made me turn my nutrition major into a minor; it comes in handy all the time.

This recipe was part of a “low salt” cooking lab. I remember being unenthusiastic… since I love(d) salt. BUT, this was the best recipe I tasted that day loved. I make it all the time.

4 shallots
4 cloves of garlic
3 carrots
1.5 pounds red potatoes (or 2 big russets)
.5 pounds green beans (aka really all you want)
2 zucchini/yellow squash
1 red pepper
1 10oz package of mushrooms
1.5 tbsp marjoram
1 tbsp olive oil
TINY BIT OF kosher salt

1. Pre-heat the oven to 450°
2. Chop the shallots in half (so you have 8 pieces), mince garlic, quarter the potatoes + chop the carrots into .5 inch pieces (chunky) and put in a bowl.
3. Add 1tbsp of olive oil and .5tbsp of marjoram, salt, pepper and mix it up.
4. Pam two baking sheets (or roasting pans). Divide the shallot/garlic/potato/carrots evenly on the two separate pans and roast them for approx 15 mins.
5. Chop the zucchini and red pepper to roughly the same size. Put in a bowl + add .5tbsp olive oil, .5tbsp marjoram, a pinch salt and pepper and mix. Add evenly to the baking pans you’ve just cooked for 15 minutes. Cook for more 15 mins.
6. Add the chopped mushrooms + green beans to the pans and cook for about 10 more minutes or until everything is roasted and cooked.

You can add whatever other veggies you like to these, but the above is my favorite combination. I like to eat these roasted veggies plain, drizzled with vinegar or in a wheat tortilla. I reaaaalllllly like to eat these in a tortilla with melted mozzarella cheese on top (as is pictured above), which ruins their vegan-ness but it’s worth it for me.

The best part about this recipe is that it makes A LOT. Enough for 6 or 7 meals. Go thank someone for lunch, and make these.

Strategic Veggie Tray

I love going though my fridge and cabinets on a Saturdays, dreaming up recipes to take to a whatever party is happening that night. Yesterday, it was our pal Kate’s b-day! She loves veggies, it was so hot I didn’t feel like cooking  and as you may have seen in some previous posts I have tons of veggies to use, so I decided use some strategy and bring a veggie tray. 

The Tray: Cucumbers, celery, carrots, green beans, snow peas and another cucumber. I tried to fill this swanky tray with Kate’s favorites so I did pick up a few non-CSA items (celery + carrots).

I decided I needed some kind of dip to go with this so I googled “white bean dip” and a Giada De Laurentis recipe was the first thing that Google popped up. I had all of the ingredients, so I was sold. I modified the original recipe a bit.

White Bean Dip: The Recipe modified from this recipe:

  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • juice of one whole fresh lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Easiest Directions Ever:

1. Put the garlic and parsley in the food processor until all chopped up.

2. Add beans, lemon juice and pulse until the mixture is combined.

3. Stream in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until it becomes a little fluffier than before. Taste the delicious mix, add some salt + pepper to taste, pulse again and transfer to a fancy bowl.

It is really delicious. And maybe what makes it even more delicious is that I photographed it on Oprah tissue paper.

It was a hit at the party, and tasted amazing with some multi-grain pita chips our pal Lezgan brought over. And, I realized while writing this that it was all accidently vegan.

Fridge Stir Fry

I didn’t stir fry the fridge, but I stir fried pretty much everything in it. Stir fry is awesome when you have a an assortment of veggies in your crisper with no plan in mind for them. I had the following orphaned veggies laying around, all of which other parts of them had previously been used in recipes: I got pretty lucky with this bunch! Though I’d never stir fried green beans before, I decided to try it. I say, whatever ingredients you want to use that you think would taste good with soy sauce, chop ’em up! Here’s what I did:

Mandatory Ingredients
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T ginger, minced or grated
1/3+ cup soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
1-2 T vegetable oil
pinch of sugar


1. Chop all of your veggies to as equal of a size as you can get them.

2.In a big frying pan or wok, heat 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil up for a couple of seconds and drop in the ginger and garlic. Let it cook for about one minute.

3. Add the diced onion to the garlic/ginger mix and stir every few seconds for about three minutes or until the onion is cooked. Make sure the garlic/ginger combo don’t burn. Then, transfer the contents of the pan to a plate and set aside.

4. Pam your pan or wok and add in the veggies that will require the most cooking time. For example, I added in the green beans and a bit of water and put the lid on for a few minutes, and then did the same in the following order; carrots, broccoli, green pepper, jalapeño (I only used a little) and put the lid on my wok and let them steam.

5. When the broccoli is about half-cooked, add in the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar. Then add the onions/ginger/garlic mixture back in. I also added more than 1/3 of a cup of soy sauce because I wanted my stir fry soy-saucey!

6. I like my sauce thickened and so the easiest way to do this is to make a corn starch slurry. I used about 1 tablespoon of corn starch and 3-4 tablespoons of water, mixed it up, and poured it into the stir fry. After stirring the slurry into the stir fry, let it bubble and simmer until the mixture thickens.

7. I added a dash of red pepper flakes and green onions right at the end.

The meal was delicious. I made some brown rice to go with it but glass noodles or another kind of rice would be just fine with this. We didn’t need any side dishes as this was clearly a complete meal!

And, it was once again, accidently vegan. See, vegan food is so good and easy. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! But…I promise to make something with cheese ASAP.