Photo Credit: A Virtual Vegan

I recently had the honor of interviewing Lani Muelrath, author of The Plant-Based Journey and all around inspiring woman.

If you aren’t familiar, Lani is an award winning teacher and author who overcame her own lifetime struggle with weight over more than 17 years ago when she lost 50 pounds.

I love her philosophy and she has so much practical wisdom to share about smart exercise, optimal nutrition, and mastery of psychology in transforming bodies and lives.

Not only is The Plant-Based Journey one of the most complete guidebooks I’ve read on how to transition to a plant-centric diet and truly transform your life, it also includes some mouth watering recipes.

And today, I get to share one of them with you.

Hope you enjoy the Portobello Pot Roast Recipe, excerpted from the Plant-Based Journey and courtesy of Lani Muelrath and Ben Bella Vegan.

Portobello Pot Roast

Yield: 4 servings

This recipe came to me as a happy surprise from my friend Jim Presentati.

I first met Jim on our favorite mountain biking trail. Soon after he told me his phenomenal plant-based success story. Jim raved about the “absolutely delicious portobello mushroom pot roast” that his wife, Kathy, makes.

The next time I saw him, he mentioned it again. Time to investigate!

When Kathy graciously sent me her recipe, I couldn’t help but think it was a perfect match for this section of the book.

Who doesn’t know and love pot roast? The portobellos make the perfect savory swap-out and create a whole new gustatory experience.


Photo Credit: A Virtual Vegan

Here is my version, adapted from Kathy’s recipe, with just a tweak or two.

Vegan Portobello Pot Roast


  • ½ cup white wine (you can also try red—I’ve even made this with sake), divided
  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced into ¾-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2–3 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 4 potatoes, quartered
  • 4 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper or lemon pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 3–4 sprigs fresh thyme


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large saucepan, heat ¼ cup of the wine and add the portobello mushroom slices. Allow them to cook through and brown a bit—you’ll need to keep moving them around and turning them—and then remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining ¼ cup wine to the pan and add the onion and garlic. Caramelize the onions by stirring them until they wilt and begin to brown. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside.
  4. Mix the flour, sage, and basil together in a small bowl. Stir in ¼ cup of the broth to create a paste, and pour the mixture into the same pan you used for the mushrooms and onions. While stirring constantly over medium heat, very slowly add the rest of the broth so that you create a gravy or sauce.
  5. When the mixture just starts to boil, turn the heat off and add any additional seasonings you prefer. (Kathy suggests parsley and pepper.)
  6. Add the potatoes, carrots, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to the gravy mixture. If more liquid is needed to keep the vegetables from drying out, add more broth.
  7. Add the mushrooms and onions to the mixture and ladle into a large ceramic or glass pot or casserole dish with a lid, layering in the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. Place the lid on and put into the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and serve hot.


Alternate Cooking Options *If you have a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven that can go from cooktop to oven, you can prepare the entire dish in that fashion, as Kathy does. *Assemble everything in a big pot on the stove or pressure cooker and cook until the vegetables are done. The flavor pizzazz provided by searing the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and gravy is compromised somewhat. Yet if you’re pressed for time, each variation is delicious


Enter To Win A Free Copy The Plant-Based Journey

Lani and her publisher Ben Bella have been gracious enough to provide a copy of the Plant-Based Journey to our community, and you can enter to win!

We’ll choose a winner by random drawing on Tuesday July 12th, 2016. *UPDATE: The giveaway has now closed. Congrats to our winner Helena!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Sign up for the email list using the form below. If you are already subscribed, you do NOT have to subscribe again.
  2. Leave a comment below letting us know the following: Do you have a meditation or mindfulness practice? If not, why? Is it something that you are interested in starting?

*Note: Giveaway is only open to residents of the US and Canada

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Healthy, simple and impressive: it’s the trifecta for a plant-based recipe. It’s difficult to come up with a meal that checks all three boxes, but this one comes pretty close!

These Thai Brown Rice Noodle Cups are beautiful whether  served as pictured in the cabbage leaves or just tossed together in a larger bowl. They transport well thus making it perfect to picnics, potlucks or a trip to the beach.

Best of all, it all comes together in about 30 – 40 minutes but easily half the time if you have other hands helping you chop in the kitchen. The brown rice noodles are yummy and comforting, the sauce is flavorful and creamy and the veggies add crunch, color and pizzaz.

I love this meal because the vegetables I have listed below are just a suggestion. You can really throw anything in that you have on hand – cucumber, radish, celery, corn, etc. Have fun with it and skip that extra trip to the store.


4-6 full sized servings

Almond Butter Sauce
1  C Almond Butter
½  C Water
1 Clove of Garlic
1’’ Peeled Ginger
Juice of 1 Lime
2 Tbs Coconut Oil or Sesame Oil *
2Tbs Coconut Aminos or Soy Sauce in a pinch
2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
½  tsp Salt or to taste
¼  tsp Cayenne (add more if you want it spicier)

Noodles and Vegetables
1 package of brown rice pasta or pasta of your choice
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 handfuls of snow peas, julienned
2 carrots, spiralized, shredded or julienned
1 beet, spiralized or shredded
1 red cabbage, about 8 leaves removed

2 scallions, sliced
Handful of cilantro, chopped
Handful of basil, chopped
2 TBS sesame seeds
¼ C peanuts



  1. Start by filling medium sized pot with water and heating it on the stove.
  2. While you wait for the water to come to a boil, prep your sauce.
  3. Measure all of the Thai Almond Butter Sauce ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Now, prep your veggies. Cut them up and set all the chopped veggies aside in a large bowl.
  5. Once the pot of water is boiling, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  6. Once the pasta is finished, strain and set aside.
  7. Chop the scallions, cilantro and basil. Place half in the large bowl with the cut vegetables and set the other half aside in a small bowl garnishing.
  8. Combine pasta and sauce in the large bowl with the vegetables and herbs.
  9. Toss until everything is coated in Sauce
  10. Portion out the pasta mixture into cabbage leaves or bowls.
  11. Top with the remaining herbs, sesame seeds and peanuts.


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Vegan Tempeh Recipe


Last week we told the story of Jeff and Joan Stanford, a sweet and inspiring couple who dedicated the last 30 years to the creation of a sustainable inn and eco-retreat.

If you missed the article and interview, be sure to take a look. It’s incredible what they have created.

This week we get to peek behind the scenes of The Ravens Restaurant, the inn’s award-winning plant-based eatery that contends with the finest dining establishments in Northern California.

The Ravens strives to show guests from all corners of the globe that plant-based living is ready for the mainstream. Their fare is a testament to how delicious, versatile and satisfying plant-based dishes can be.

Jeff and Joan have compiled the restaurant’s best recipes into a new cookbook that is available now.

While some cookbooks hit the shelves with the recipes untested, these dishes have had to earn their spot on The Ravens menu, served to hundreds of guests and refined to perfection.

Not only do we have a copy of their book to giveaway, they’ve also been generous enough to allow us to feature one of the recipes from the book.

So without further ado, we hope you enjoy this Almond Hazelnut-Battered Tempeh recipe. From Jeff and Joan’s kitchen to yours.

Bon appetite!

Almond Hazelnut-Battered Tempeh (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Whole food! Tempeh is a fermented soy product, and as those of you who have cooked it before will know, it sometimes retains the taste of the culture used for fermentation. In this recipe, the marinade helps wash away the taste of the culture.

The almonds and hazelnuts provide a crunchy crust. If there is leftover encrusted tempeh from the dinner preparation, we put it out for our staff, who eat it like kids eating fish sticks.

This dish is perfect to use as the base for any holiday entrée; serve with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and a fruit sauce: cranberry—what else?

Almond-Hazelnut Battered Tempeh

Yield: Serves 4-6


    For the Marinated Tempeh:
  • 1 tablespoon sliced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 cups water
  • 1⁄4 cup gluten-free tamari
  • 1 (6.5-ounce) package tempeh, sliced 1⁄2 inch thick on the bias
    For the Flax “Egg” Wash:
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
  • 1⁄2 cup warm water
    For the Almond Hazelnut Crust and Assembly:
  • 1⁄2 cup raw almonds
  • 1⁄2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Spray oil or 2 tablespoons olive oil


    For the Marinated Tempeh:
  1. Combine ginger, garlic, water, and tamari in a saucepan and add the sliced tempeh. Cook until tempeh his heated through, about 10–15 minutes.
  2. Drain tempeh from cooking liquid, set aside, and let cool.
    For the Flax “Egg” Wash:
  1. In large mixing bowl, combine flaxseeds and warm water and whisk until thickened. More water may be added as necessary; mixture should resemble thick pancake batter.
    For the Almond Hazelnut Crust and Assembly:
  1. In food processor, combine almonds and hazelnuts and process until coarse, sandlike consistency is achieved.
  2. Add salt and pepper and process for a moment longer until well incorporated.
  3. Place in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. Dip each slice of tempeh into the flax wash and immediately dredge in the almond and hazelnut mixture until the tempeh is well coated.
  6. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray, then set tempeh slices on it.
  7. Bake for 20–30 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
  8. Alternatively, place 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan, or oil a griddle and heat to medium heat. Place each piece of tempeh on the pan or griddle and cook until golden brown on each side (5–7 minutes per side).


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Photo credit: Kate Lewis

I once juiced an onion. Yes AN ONION! What was I thinking???? Blood cleanser?! DO NOT DO THIS.

This is just one…let’s say telling…example of my many experiments with smoothies and juicing. And my experience has given me a different viewpoint than most.

Today we are going to laser in on this juicy subject in celebration of Kris Carr’s new book, Crazy Sexy Juice. We have a recipe to share from the book, as well as a free copy to give away!

For starters, it’s important to understand the difference between blending and juicing. Here’s a handy infographic from Kris that outlines the differences.

Now that we know the difference between these two methods, the essential questions remain: Should we be juicing? Should we be making smoothies? Or should we skip them altogether?

Some say yes, others say no. For me, I say it depends on your goal. Let’s dive in.

Are Smoothies and Juicing Good For Weight Loss?

One of the most common arguments against smoothies and juicing is that it is better to eat whole foods in their natural state, particularly when it comes to weight loss.

For example, a typical smoothie may contain 2 bananas, 3 cups of spinach, 20 almonds worth of almond butter, and a cup of blueberries.

If you were to pour those smoothie ingredients out of the blender and onto a plate, it would take at least 20 minutes of fastidious chewing to finish your meal. I’d also wager that you’d feel quite full afterwards.

Once blended, you can slurp it all down in about 30 seconds, and here’s the important part: You may or may not feel full.

Typically a smoothie will fill me up for about 15 minutes before I’m hunting for something else to munch on, so I rarely use them as a meal replacement.

This is based on the concept of satiety and caloric density. When weight loss is your goal, it’s best to choose foods that leave you feeling the most satisfied for the least amount of calories.

For example, Chef AJ talks about the value of eating 1 pound of veggies for breakfast. Are you going to feel (and stay) full after eating a pound of veggies? You better believe it.

So if weight loss is your goal and you have the luxury of choosing between a smoothie and a pound of veggies, make the veggies your top choice.

However, most of us are insanely busy and overwhelmed as it is.

Our mornings are often a race against the clock to get the kids ready for school, put some food on the table and get out the door in time for work.

In fact, we created our minimalist food prep course the 12 Minute Kitchen in order to provide quick and easy plant-based meal options for just these kinds of situations.

If you are overwhelmed trying to prepare plant-based meals and continually falling short, green smoothies are a fantastic (and realistic) option. It’s one of the best ways to fill your belly with delicious nutrient dense plant foods in a hurry.

Here’s the take away: Choose green smoothies if you are having trouble getting your greens, are not yet 80-100% plant-based, or have trouble finding the time or energy to prepare a plant-based meal.

If you find yourself going through the drive through, or indulging in junk food because you didn’t manage to make the perfect breakfast, then go for the green smoothies!

If your primary goal is weight loss, you aren’t seeing the results you want, and you’ve already cut oil, then skip the green smoothies in favor of a whole food plant-based meal that will leave you feeling fuller, longer.

When Should You Drink Smoothies and When Should You Juice?

Photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/notahipster/7429094062/in/photolist-cju3QE-5HVmU6-dgnCJV-biHh74-biHh5D-jrKRxa-eTVfZs-acjFjj-2RqBQx-jJdv2G-jrKVnp-jrJnuR-dovpBk-beVdS4-dwAhwA-4vTjKM-7yuNCv-beVdPT-4K1S6r-4K66FG-7VfTtz-cWEMSA-bm6qi4-cZfn2u-boVsST-782yXM-bbvpg2-9toe8v-dgnEUj-dgnCPt-dgnESA-eTGXnR-eTHrdF-9ipy7z-62cVWj-eTHSjR-eTH9BR-aWfoXD-biHh34-beVdTB-9esntf-aoLXwC-9xhYDE-gAo2CB-x3YCC2-e4VTXT-jrJu9x-jrMPXf-dgnEL7-noGLbg">Stacy Spensley</a>

Photo credit: Stacy Spensley

As I mentioned above, I love smoothies because they are just so darn realistic.

They are a fantastic way to get the good stuff into your diet, are quick and easy to prepare, and you don’t have to be a chef to make a delicious smoothie.

So when should you choose a green juice over a smoothie?

If you haven’t yet had your first juicing experience, you’ll quickly find that it takes considerable more time, effort and produce to make a glass of juice.

When is it worth it to invest all that additional energy? When you need to pull out the big guns.

A green juice is like a concentrated injection of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. You are delivering the nutritional potency of several pounds worth of veggies directly into your system.

This can help create and maintain the systemic conditions that promote health and healing, such as creating an alkaline environment and reducing inflammation.

The body is a complex system, and modern life presents many obstacles to radiant health. Between depleted soils, questionable food production practices, and more toxins in the environment than ever before, sometimes we need a boost beyond healthy food.

Do you have a chronic health condition or health crisis? Are you already eating 100% plant-based and not losing weight? Struggling with food addiction?

These are the situations when it becomes especially worthwhile to invest the time and energy in juicing.

When I first went plant-based, I drank a minimum of 16 oz of green juice a day for close to two years.

I have no doubt that this accelerated the change towards a physiology of health and well-being that began when I put plants first.

And during my time at the Tree of Life Center in Patagonia, Arizona, I watched hundreds of people experience profound healing and transformation on a 7-day green juice fast.

But here’s the catch: I spent close to an hour every morning making my daily juice, and it was not an inexpensive endeavor.

I, of course, saw it as a valuable investment, but it just may not be possible for everyone to devote that kind of time and energy towards juicing.

If you’d like to learn more about the ins and outs of juicing, check out the Ultimate Guide To Green Juice.


Photo credit: Kate Lewis

Here’s the takeaway:

Green juice is a powerful tool, but it requires a large investment of time and energy.

When changing our diets, we usually have limited time, energy and willpower. If you are exceptionally busy or overwhelmed just trying to put healthy food on the table, focus on eating more plant-based meals and don’t worry about juicing for now.

If you are in the midst of a health crisis, doing everything right and still not losing weight, or struggling with severe cravings then it’s especially worthwhile to invest in juicing.

Juicing Disclaimer:

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, this is a less than scientific explanation of juicing. I’m still not a doctor or nutritionist, and I am just relating my personal experience and observations.

Consult a qualified medical professional before adopting any of these practices, and do not attempt a green juice fast without medical supervision. Especially if you are on medications.

Smoothie and Juicing Pro Tips

Smoothies are a great medium for superfoods and supplements

Smoothies are a great way to get in superfoods, such as protein powder, tonic chinese herbs, or any other supplements or superfoods you are including in your diet.

Increase satiety with flax and chia or slowly sipping your smoothies.

According to a study mentioned by Dr. Greger, adding a tablespoon of flaxseed to your green smoothies can increase satiety and suppress appetite up to four hours after consumption.

And according to Regan, too much flax or chia can ruin a tasty smoothie so it’s best to start with a teaspoon or two. Also the longer the flax or chia sits the more gelatinous it will become, so add it in just prior to drinking or grab a spoon.

Sipping your smoothie, rather than gulping it down, can also increase satiety and leave you feeling full longer.

Watch out for sugar

Juicing and blending concentrates the natural sugar content in fruit and makes it more absorbable. You can end up consuming a large amount of sugar very quickly and spike your blood sugar.

Be mindful of the amount of fruit (or other sources of sugar) that you are including in your juice and smoothies. Make it palatable with the least possible amount of sugar, and aim to reduce the sugar content as your taste buds adjust.

I used to include a whole apple in every green juice, but I now think that green juice is incredibly delicious without any sweetener at all.

Up Your Smoothie and Juice Game with Kris Carr’s New Book — Crazy Sexy Juice!


Learn more about Crazy Sexy Juice

Regan and I have had a crush on Kris Carr for a long time. Her Crazy Sexy Kitchen recipe book is one of our favorites, and we are super excited for her new release Crazy Sexy Juice.

We asked for a sneak peek recipe to share with you and Kris came through. Not only do we have a recipe to share, but Kris also has a number of bonuses available if you purchase the book, and we have copy of Crazy Sexy Juice to give away! Details on how to enter the giveaway are at the bottom of this post.

But first, here’s a great recipe to get you started with green juice.

Get Started With This Recipe — A Classic Green Lemonade

Green lemonade is the Cadillac of juicing recipes. This is my take on the beloved classic. The juice is a little sweet (thanks to the apple) and a little spicy (gracias to the ginger). The natural bitterness of leafy greens is cut by a bright squeeze of lemon.

You can use almost any type of leafy green in place of chard or kale. Romaine, baby spinach, collard, bok choy, broccoli—you name it! In fact, I love adding broccoli stems to this recipe. Get creative.

This juice is a perfect vehicle for all of your greenest fridge scraps.


Photo credit: Kate Lewis

Classic Green Lemonade

Yield: Makes 2 Servings (16 to 20 Ounces)


  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 apple, cored and seeded
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 3 leaves Swiss chard or kale
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled


  1. Wash and prep all ingredients.
  2. Juice all ingredients.

Enter to Win a Copy of Crazy Sexy Juice

UPDATE: The giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to Anna, the winner of the Crazy Sexy Juice giveaway!

We’ll be randomly selecting one recipient (see entry details below) and notifying the winner on Thursday, November 5th.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Sign up for the email list using the form below. If you are already subscribed, you do NOT have to subscribe again.
  2. Leave a comment below letting us know the following: Do you make smoothies or juice? Which do you prefer and why? Give an example and be specific.

*Note: Only open to residents of the US and Canada

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I love birthdays.

In my family, ever since I was a little girl, we have always had the tradition of birthday breakfast.

The best parts about birthday breakfast?


The good ol’ days, celebrating birthdays with Mom.


Ready for birthday breakfast

Waking up to a  festively set table, time together in the morning when no one is rushing and, of course, a far more elaborate breakfast than the average day.

As a chef, I can’t help but remember each of the foods that my family members likes and dislikes.

We celebrated my Mom’s birthday a while back, and in honor of her special day I decided to use all of my mom’s favorite sweets — hazelnuts, chocolate, coconut and “dry, Italian almond cake” as inspiration for one, crumbly, delicious birthday cake.

This cake comes out with a deep caramel flavor from the coconut sugar/hazelnut combination, the nutella is the perfect complimentary icing, and I highly recommend  topping it all off with some coconut whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Needless to say, my mom loved it and I think you will too!



Vegan Birthday Cake — Hazelnut Cake with Homemade Nutella (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Vegan Birthday Cake — Hazelnut Cake with Homemade Nutella (Vegan, Gluten-Free)


  • 1 cup + 2 tbs light coconut milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnut meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a flour cake pan (with coconut oil).
  2. Whisk the vinegar into the almond milk and set aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt.
  4. In the same bowl as the coconut milk and vinegar, combine the coconut sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract.
  5. Make a well in the flour mixture, pour in the wet coconut milk mixture.
  6. Stir until completely combined, being careful not to over mix.
  7. Pour into the greased and floured cake pan.
  8. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the edges brown and pull away from the pan.
  9. To test and make sure the cake is done, stick a toothpick in the middle, if it comes out dry it’s finished.
  10. Let sit for about 5 minutes before removing from pan and letting cool on a wire rack.
  11. Once cooled, top and serve with:
  12. Homemade Nutella or you can opt for a store bought version.
  13. Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream or ice cream.


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Salad has a bad rap.

But sometimes it’s for a good reason.

Recently, Matt and I were out at lunch and ordered a large salad. When our salad came it was overly sweet, decked out with fruit and a fruity dressing and was tossed with wimpy lettuce.

Typically when I order a salad out at a restaurant that serves standard fare, I end up fairly disappointed.

In our house, salad is a MEAL. And it most definitely isn’t sweet.

I’m talking a huge gorilla bowl of mixed greens with avocado, olives, chopped vegetables and kimchi tossed with a light oil and vinegar dressing.

The flavor is deep and each bite is satiating and more over it’s ridiculously simple to put together.

When most people envision a plant-based diet, they imagine a creative meal plan that looks something like this:

Salad, salad, salad, salad, salad, salad, salad, salad, salad, salad, salad, salad, salad.

It’s no wonder that so many people shake their heads and say, “that’s great for you, but I could never change my diet.”

Which is why I’m so excited to share this recipe with you today!

Salad Nicoise with Creamy Mustard Dressing

This plant-based Salad Nicoise is a hearty take on a french classic that will turn any non-believer into a salad fanatic!

In fact, this dish has already had it’s 15 minutes of fame as the Meatless Monday feature in the national Humane Society Newsletter.

It’s wonderful in the summer when you’re looking for a heartier meal that isn’t heavy or one that you’ll regret later (I’m looking at you vegan mac and cheese). And, it’s wonderful in the winter when you’re craving something fresh that will still fill you up.

The recipe features hearty vegetables such as asparagus and artichoke hearts as well as a tangy, creamy mustard dressing.

It takes a little bit longer to prepare than a traditional salad, but the result is more than worth it.

Feel free to substitute the fresh veggies in the recipe for frozen. i.e. frozen, defrosted green beans instead of asparagus.



Salad Nicoise with Creamy Mustard Dressing


    Dressing Ingredients
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2-4 hours
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
    Salad Ingredients
  • A few handfuls mixed greens
  • 2 red-skinned potatoes, boiled or roasted and halved
  • 1/2 bunch slender asparagus, steamed or roasted
  • 1/4 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 3 artichoke hearts, quartered
  • 1 handful (about 12) Kalamata olives
  • 1 handful (about 10) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A few slices of red onion
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper


  1. Place cashews, lemon, olive oil, water, garlic, coarse and Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  2. Pour dressing into a bowl and stir in the chopped parsley and basil.
  3. Season both the potatoes and asparagus with a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. Make a bed of mixed greens and top with potatoes and asparagus, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, olives, tomatoes and red onion.
  5. Drizzle on creamy mustard dressing.




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How To Succeed On A Plant-Based Diet With Lindsay S. Nixon Of Happy Herbivore

How To Succeed On A Plant-Based Diet With Lindsay S. Nixon Of Happy Herbivore

I’ve never been much of a chef. So it drives me crazy when someone says something like, “oh, just taste it and see what it needs.”

I flashback to spending all this time in the kitchen trying to fix a sauce that wasn’t turning out.

Here’s what “just see what it needs” looked like to me:

  • I’d add a little more lemon juice. Blend. Taste. Hmm, that didn’t help much.
  • So then I’d pick a random spice out of the drawer, smell it, taste it, add it. Blend again. Taste. Hmm, that’s actually a little bit better!
  • Then I’d add another teaspoon of the spice that was helping. Blend. Taste. OH NO, THIS TASTES AWFUL! HOW DO I FIX IT?
  • Start the randomly adding and tasting procedure over again.

Ah the joy of learning how to cook! Eventually I did get better, but I still lack that innate skill that others have.

And it’s funny because when you become proficient at something, you totally forget what it was like to be a beginner.

There is an actual term for this phenomenon — psychologists call it the Curse of Knowledge.

It basically means that once you learn the ropes, you lose touch with what it was like to be a novice starting from scratch. It becomes difficult to relate.

I think this is one of the reasons why so much of the health advice out there doesn’t hit home. The experts have totally forgotten what it’s like when you are just starting out!

I recently had the opportunity to interview Lindsay Nixon of Happy Herbivore fame, and she talked about the process of helping her parents go plant-based.

She said it was eye-opening to see just what it meant to completely revamp your diet at 60, and she was able to gain a whole new perspective and appreciation for what it truly means to be a beginner.

I still remember what it was like having no idea what I was going to eat, shopping for ingredients that I had never heard of, trying to figure out if I was indeed going to spend $20 on this strange substance in a jar called “coconut oil.”

And is it any different than coconut butter?!?! I’m still not sure…

Luckily, there are more resources than ever to make transitioning to a plant-based diet as easy as possible.

And today I’m thrilled to share my interview with Lindsay, where we discuss the joys, trials and travails of our plant-based journeys, and her latest book The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living.

Watch the interview and learn:

  • (1:47) The best way to transition to a plant-based diet and why this method is more successful.
  • (6:57) The strange reason why trying to be perfect can often sabotage our progress.
  • (21:07) How Lindsay convinced her parents to go plant-based after her Dad had a heart attack.
  • (24:11) The one book that Lindsay reads every New Years Day, and why it has been so life-changing.
  • (28:58) The surprising side effect of creating and following meal plans, and how they can change your relationship with food.

If you like this video, please subscribe to our youtube channel!

Show notes:

The Happy Herbivore Guide To Plant-Based Living

Lindsay has gained some serious wisdom over the past several years, helping hundreds if not thousands of people transition to a plant-based diet.

Her guide is the resource that I wish I had as a beginner. Heck, I might even have avoided all those painful (and pretty ridiculous) mistakes I made along the way!

I joke that she has put together the bible on plant-based living. I highly recommend it, especially if you are just starting out on your plant-based journey.

She covers all the common questions on nutrition, how to transition, traveling, etc.

But my favorite aspect of the book is the focus on how to deal with social situations. She has extremely helpful advice on how to attend or host dinner parties, what to do when your friends ask you out to eat, and what to do if your family and friends are unsupportive.

The social aspect continues to be the most difficult thing for me, so I was excited to see so much good info in the book.

If you are interested in learning more about her book, it is available on Amazon.

Enter To Win A Free Copy Of The Book!

Lindsay and her publisher BenBella Books have been gracious enough to provide two copies of her book to our community, and you can enter to win!

We’ll be randomly selecting two recipients (see entry details below) and notifying the winners on Saturday, June 27th.

UPDATE: The give away has now ended. Congratulations to Stacy and Casey!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Sign up for the email list using the form below. If you are already subscribed, you do NOT have to subscribe again.
  2. Leave a comment below letting us know the following: Do you (or did you) struggle with the learning curve of healthy eating? What is the most overwhelming part of getting started? Give an example and be specific.

*Note: Only open to residents of the US and Canada

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Matt could eat hummus and veggies for every meal from now until the end of eternity.

In fact, last year we went on a road trip to the Grand Canyon and California and ate hummus for two weeks straight, three times a day. I kid you not.

Personally, I like a little more variety.

We’ve been especially busy the last few months (we’ve been hard at work creating something special to share with you, details coming in the next few weeks!) and when we’re busy we tend to focus on our go to quick and easy meals.

More accurately, we tend to focus on just one of our quick and easy meals then eat it over and over again.

In order to branch out, we like to experiment with different mediums and sauces. For instance, we’ll make pasta noodles out of zucchini with a tool called a spiralizer.

Combine the noodles with a bomb diggity sauce, and you’ve got a quick, easy and delicious dish that feels new and exciting.

So today we have a veggie pasta recipe to share featuring a light, creamy and delicious avocado basil sauce.


It’s the perfect summertime meal when you’re tired of salad and want something more comforting. This sauce would go great on any kind of noodle. We opted for zucchini and kelp noodles.

Both were wonderful, especially a combination of the two. Best of all, it’s easy enough that anyone can whip it up in no time flat. Give it a try and let us know what you think!

Note: the sauce is a little salty on its own, but the flavor balances out when mixed with the noodles. Additionally, I like to use my hands to mix in the sauce with the noodles. It allows the sauce to spread out more evenly than using a utensil. It’s also much more fun!

Zucchini Pasta With Avocado Basil Sauce (Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Serving Size: 2


  • 1 bag of kelp noodles or 2 zucchini (cut zucchini into noodles using a spiralizer)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1-2 cups of tightly packed basil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • Handful of pine nuts or walnuts, toasted (optional)
  • Handful of kalamata olives (sliced in half)


  1. Place basil and garlic into a food processor.
  2. Pulse until chopped.
  3. Add avocado, olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper to the food processor.
  4. Process until creamy.
  5. If using kelp noodles, remove from package and rinse with cold water.
  6. If using zucchini noodles, cut the noodles using a spiralizer and place in a bowl.
  7. Place noodles and sauce in a bowl and mix until the noodles are evenly coated. Try mixing with your hands!
  8. Add in nuts, tomatoes and olives.
  9. Enjoy!


What do you do when it’s time to add a little bit more variety to your meals? Let us know in the comments. We read every single one.

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Come March, I think it’s safe to say that everyone on the East Coast is eagerly anticipating spring time.

We’re all ready for one jacket instead of three, flowers lining the sidewalks instead of the grey sludge that seems like it will never, ever melt and where the heck are those robins?! They should really be out by now…

Maybe it’s the waiting, maybe it’s the clouds, but come this time every year I’m left a little uninspired and lethargic — especially in the kitchen.

I no longer want the heavier, foods I craved December through February, but I’m not quite ready to give up the warmth those meals provided.

Soup always seems to be the answer.  It’s light, filling and it has that warmth I crave.

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite soup recipes

This creamy vegetable soup is simple, satiating, versatile and can be adjusted to fit just about any dietary preference.

My favorite preparation of this soup is using cauliflower or broccoli. I add in soaked cashews as a replacement for cream and boy do they do the job!

Keep in mind, if you are trying to watch your caloric intake or are allergic to nuts, feel free to reduce to ¼ cup or leave them out altogether. It won’t be the same but it will still be good. Those of you that are oil-free, leave it out and saute in broth instead.

Most importantly, have fun with it. This recipe is nearly impossible to mess up.





Creamy Vegetable Soup 10 Ways


  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8-10 cups vegetable of choice, roughly chopped (this is equivalent to one head of cauliflower) i.e. broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, butternut squash, celery, etc.
  • 32 fl oz (1 container) vegetable broth
  • ½ cup cashews, soaked four hours
  • 1 tbs lemon luice
  • 2 - 2.5 tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Optional garnish or add-ins: Fresh herbs, ginger, baby spinach, baby arugula, steamed vegetables, chopped nuts, seeds, spices, etc. Get creative!


  1. Warm olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute until everything begins to brown.Add all the vegetables, broth, lemon, salt, pepper and cayenne.
  3. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until vegetables are tender- easily pierced with a fork.
  4. Using a ladle, transfer contents of the pot into your high-speed blender, add the cashews.
  5. Blend until smooth. If you would like the soup thinner, add water or more broth. Start with a little bit at a time, it will thin out very quickly.
  6. Serve or return to the pot and heat on low.

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How are the holidays going for you?

We had a wonderful plant-based Thanksgiving with family and friends, and now we are spending the week in Boulder celebrating Regan’s birthday.

For the most part we’ve managed to stay on plan, but Wednesday night Regan’s brother took us out for dinner at this incredible authentic pizzeria where he works.

Salad led to vegan pizza led to pine nut cookies and long story short, we ended up straying from the straight and narrow and woke up the next morning puffy-faced with sugar hangovers.

And so we are given another opportunity to explore the delicate dance between keeping our commitment to health while still experiencing the fullness of life.

The combo of family dynamics, old memories, travel, and added stress make staying healthy throughout the holidays especially challenging.

And just in case you, like us, have been less than perfect, it’s important to remember that the most important thing is to continue on.


It’s easy for one misstep to snowball as we use our backslide to justify another round of backsliding.

“Well, I already ate the cookie, I might as well sit in my room and eat a turducken, buffalo wings, and tiramisu!”

But being successful doesn’t mean that you never make a mistake. Rather it’s what happens after the mistake that is most important.

The veteran acknowledges that this is just part of the path, gets back on the wagon, and tries just a little bit harder the next day.

So no matter how the holidays are going for you, it’s never too late to get back on track. Brush yourself off and keep heading in the right direction.

And just in case you need a little push, Regan has a super simple and delicious recipe for you today — more satisfying than salad, but just as light, fresh, and nutritious.

Plus it’s easy and takes only a few more minutes to throw together!

Enjoy and happy healthy holidays to you and yours.VeganPeanutSauceSpringRollWrapper

Spring Rolls With Thai Almond Butter Sauce


    Almond Butter Sauce
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1’’ peeled ginger
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil or sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (add more if you want it spicier)
    Spring Rolls
  • Brown rice spring roll wrapper
  • Fresh vegetables and greens
  • Optional: garnish of white and black sesame seeds, chopped nuts, fresh cilantro, basil and chopped scallions before rolling.


  1. Begin by preparing your vegetables and greens. I like to use cucumber, carrot, purple cabbage, peppers, baby spinach and sprouts.
  2. Cut the vegetables in strips, matchstick style and roughly chop or chiffonade the greens and herbs.
  3. Next place all the sauce ingredients into a high-speed blender and combine until smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Now fill a large bowl with hot water- but not so hot that you can’t stand the touch.
  5. Place the wraps into the water and let them sit until they are soft and pliable.
  6. Finally you are ready to put together the wraps. Line the center of the wraps with the fresh vegetables, greens and any additional garnishes.
  7. Finish by rolling the wrap like you would a burrito.

VeganSpringRolls (1)

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