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12 large Tuscan kale leaves, rinsed, dried, cut in half lengthwise removing center ribs and stems (also known as dinosaur, lacinato, palm tree, or black  kale)
1 TBL olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste
Soya Kaas parmesan soy cheese (optional – tastes good without soy cheese)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl toss the kale leaves with the olive oil. Season lightly with salt and pepper and sprinkle with soy parmesan cheese. Arrange leaves in single layer on 2 large baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 30 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to cool and soak up any excess oil.

Nutritional benefits: Tuscan kale is highly nutritious. One cup provides more than 100 percent of the daily value (DV) of vitamins A and K, and 88 percent of the DV for vitamin C. Kale is a rich source of organosulfur compounds that have been linked to cancer prevention. High in fiber, kale also contains more easily absorbed calcium than milk.

This recipe is a great starter or side dish to lasagna.

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3/4 cup frozen edamame beans, pre-shucked
2 cups fresh spinach, tightly packed
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1/2 cup tahini paste
2 TBL olive oil
2 TBL flax oil
1 TBL lemon juice
1 TBL Braggs or tamari
1-2 tsp Asian chili-garlic sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Steam edamame until thawed and bright green. In food processor, add in edamame remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve with pita wedges and fresh raw veggies. Use in wraps as a spread.  Great source of protein.

Makes about 2 cups

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12 oz container Tofutti Sour Cream
3 small lemons (1 teaspoon of grated zest and 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
3 oz Soy Feta (Mediterranean Herb Feta by vegcuisine.net), crumbled
20 radishes, trim ends and wash well (15 sliced thin, cut into matchsticks then chopped for the dip mixture, 5 sliced thin to use as dipping radish rounds for the dip)

In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream, lemon zest and juice, chopped dill, and sea salt. Add in crumbled feta and radishes just before serving. If you add in radishes the day before the nice white dip will be discolored. Stir well to combine. Serve with sliced radish rounds and crackers or crusty bread. Makes a delicious sandwich spread as well!

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2 roasted red peppers
1 head roasted garlic, peeled
1 TBL olive oil
1 TBL lemon juice
12 oz container Tofutti Sour Cream
salt and pepper

In food processor or blender, puree roasted peppers and roasted garlic. In medium bowl, combine puree mixture with oil and lemon juice and stir to combine. Add in tofutti sour cream, season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well to combine.

Serve with blanched asparagus tips, green beans, broccoli, baby carrots, or pita chips

Roasting peppers:
Cut the peppers in half and clean out the seeds and innards. Place them on a baking sheet skin side up. Place the sheet in a 450-500 degree oven set on broil. The skin will start to blacken and soften in 7-10 minutes. Once the skins are brownish-black, remove from the oven and immediately place the peppers in a large ziploc bag. Close and let sit for 20 minutes or so (or until the peppers have time to cool and “sweat”). Once they have cooled you will be able to peel the skins right off. Or, you can buy them already roasted to eliminate this step.

Roasting garlic:
Cut off the end of garlic, so that bulbs are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil and salt, wrap in foil, and then roast at 425 degrees F for about 35 minutes. Remove outer skin once roasted.

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1/4 cup Earth Balance (dairy-free butter)
10 oz package of vegan marshmallows (Dandies brand)
1/3 cup Suzanne’s Ricemellow Creme (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups of a rice crisp cereal

In a large saucepan, melt Earth Balance on low heat. Add in marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add in ricemellow creme if desired and stir to fully incorporate into melted mixture. Recipe works without this addition, but I prefer to add it for more flavor.

Remove from heat. Add in vanilla and stir to combine. Add in rice crisp cereal and mix until cereal is coated with mixture. Press in a lightly greased pan (13″x9″). Cool before cutting and removing from the pan.

Tip: For chocolate dipped pieces, melt some chocolate chip morsels in the microwave for about 1 minutes and stir until completely melted (Whole Foods 365 brand vegan). Dip half of a cut treat in the chocolate. Place on wax paper and refrigerate 15 minutes to harden the chocolate. You can also freeze for 10-15 minutes and they actually taste like ‘fairy food’ (chocolate covered honeycomb).

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2 cans (14 oz each) artichoke hearts in water, rinsed, drained and coarsely chopped
½ cup Veganaise
¼ cup parmesan cheese (Soya Kaas), plus more for topping
1 TBL fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic (press through garlic press)
2 scallions

Preheat over to 450 degrees. In food processor or kitchenaide stand mixer, place half the chopped artichokes, veganaise, ¼ cup parmy, lemon juice and garlic. Process until smooth.

Add scallions and remaining artichokes. Pulse or blend for 30 seconds to combine. Transfer to 1 quart baking dish or use individual ramekins. Top with a light sprinkling of parmy.

Place baking dish on cookie sheet to prevent spills. Bake 35 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve with Stacy’s Pita chips or crudités
(bell pepper is my favorite). Any leftovers heat up well in the
microwave the next day (try 30 sec intervals).

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1/2 cup parsley (Italian flat leaf), finely chopped
1 cup basil, finely chopped
5 oz bag of fresh spinach leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup chives, finely chopped
1 TBL plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 cups Vegenaise
2 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 tsp fresh lemon juice

In a blender, add all ingredients and blend/puree until smooth and well combined, scrapping down the sides of the blender in between. Adjust the taste to your liking. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Makes 3 cups of dressing

1 8oz container Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1 14oz can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 10oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, rinsed and squeezed to remove excess water
1/2 cup Veganaise
1/2 cup parmesan cheese (vegan brand I like for this is Soya Kaas), plus more for garnish
1 clove garlic, pressed through garlic press

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients with an electric mixer on low and then medium speed until combined. Spread mixture in a 9-inch pie tin. Sprinkle top with the additional parmesan Soya Kaas.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. I like to broil the top for 1 minute until slightly golden brown. Serve with Stacy’s Pita Chips, tortilla strips, multi-colored bell pepper sticks or other fresh raw veggies.

South Beach Diet

non-stick spray for pan
2 slices of your favorite bread
non-dairy butter (I like Earth Balance)
2 slices Rice Cheddar Flavor cheese singles (Galaxy Nutritional Foods brand)
1 heaping TBL of Daiya Mozzarella shredded cheese

Butter one side of each piece of bread. Heat pan and lightly coat with a non-stick spray. Lay 1 piece of buttered bread in pan, butter side down, lay on 2 cheese singles and sprinkle on Daiya mozzarella, then top with remaining piece of bread, butter side facing up.

Cover and fry over medium to high heat for 3-4 minutes. Check the underside and flip over once golden brown. Repeat on uncooked side until golden brown.

Makes 1 grilled cheese sandwich

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Brazil Nuts (raw)
Macadamia Nuts (dry roasted unsalted)
Marcona Almonds (roasted and salted, can use other almonds, but these are my favorite)
Cashew Pieces (roasted and unsalted)
Walnuts (raw pieces)
Pecans (raw and unsalted pieces)
Sunflower Seeds (raw and unsalted)
Pumpkin Seeds (raw and unsalted)

In a medium size bowl, mix together all nuts and seeds, using 1/4 cup each. You can always add in a little more of what you enjoy most. Eat a handful as a snack for a quick protein energy boost.

You can also add in raw pepitas and pistachio nutmeats (dry roasted, unsalted halves & pieces).

Trader Joe’s has a wide variety of nuts and seeds at reasonable prices. I get my pumpkin seeds at Whole Foods.

The Story of Nuts:
Many people avoid nuts because they are high in calories and fat. Nuts are a great source of protein and do contain fat, but this is the type of fat you want in your diet. Nuts provide unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), delivering omega-3. Eating nuts can help lower the risk of heart disease. Nuts provide many vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. They contain fiber, vitamin E, selenium, folic acid, copper, magnesium, boron and the amino acid arginine, which boosts the immune system and lowers elevated blood pressure levels. The plant sterols in nuts help to reduce cholesterol absorption from fatty foods.  Some nuts, like pecans, walnuts and almonds, contain tryptophan, an amino acid that stimulates the production of serotonin, the happy feel-good hormone, which can help against depression. Here are a few of my favorites:

Almonds – this nut comes in many varieties and can be used in all sorts of recipes. Almonds are probably the most nutritious of nuts, delivering magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, vitamin E, zinc, and lots of protein.

Brazil Nuts – a provider of selenium, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals that can attack healthy cells and increase the risk of heart disease and various forms of cancers, like breast, lung, bowel, and prostate. Rich in zinc and magnesium, Brazil Nuts are great for anti-aging.

Cashews – provider of a high iron content, as well as zinc, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and are rich in protein and carbohydrates.

Macadamia Nuts – this nut has the highest level of monounsaturated fat (the good fat) over any other nut, but can lower harmful blood cholesterol.

Pistachios – you can buy the ‘nutmeats’ already removed from the shells, or in a shell, but then you have to work for the nut. Pistachios are high in iron, protein, fiber, and magnesium and make a delicious topping on roasted butternut squash.

Walnuts – this is the only nut high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid, so eating these after you consume fatty foods help disperse the saturated fats and lower triglycerides. Saturated fats come from animal protein and dairy products, so cut these out of your diet to be a true vegan.

You can consume from 1-2 oz of nuts per day. It is best to mix so you consume a variety and take advantage of the benefits each nut provides. Always look for nuts that are raw and unsalted. Store nuts in the refrigerator to keep fresh.  

Buy nut butters and seed butters (my favorite is Sunflower Seed Butter Trader Joe’s), but read ingredients to make sure you are buying unsaturated fats (mono and poly). The butters will have the oil separated, so you will need to stir to combine before each use. Some need to be refrigerated, so read the container.

Allergies can be an issue for some, so know what you cannot eat if you do have allergies. An allergy from nuts can result in a skin rash or hoarseness in the throat.

A mix of nuts makes a delicious and satisfying movie-going snack. For sweet and salty, I like to add in a few chocolate chip vegan morsels along with a couple of pretzels broken into pieces. Get creative!