Category

Sides and Snacks

Hey y’all! I’ve been all over Dallas in January, teaching workshops on healthy eating.  It’s been such a blast to talk to and learn from so many amazing women. Amy Johnson of Mrs. Plant in Texas and I got together and started a PlantPure Nation Pod in Frisco, Texas. At our first meeting, we taught members how to make green smoothies and mason jar salads.

PlantPure Nation Workshop | SPIRITPLATEPlantPure Nation Workshop | SPIRITPLATEPlantPure Nation Workshop | SPIRITPLATEThen I helped Amy with a Batch Cooking class where she taught how to prep a variety of ingredients and snacks to have on hand during a busy week. One of the recipes she showcased was this amazing queso (more on this later).

I also did a women’s health workshop with a local congregation and taught how to make three calcium-rich dishes for bone health: black bean soup, tofu scramble, and an asian rainbow salad – all oil-free and delicious! 

Everyone loved the food and the kids were asking for seconds of the salad! I feel so blessed to be able to share my love and passion for healthy eating. And moreover I LOVE when the participants go on to make what I’ve taught:

Mason Jar Salads | SPIRITPLATE

How beautiful is that?!

Okay, but now January is over.  Let’s be honest, we’re done fooling ourselves with our “resolutions”. Now, we can get back to REAL food…like nachos

Loaded Nachos with Cashew Queso | SPIRITPLATESí señor! This weekend is the Superbowl and there is no room for the word “diet,” AM I RIGHT?! I want my nachos crunchy, drippy, and extra spicy: fully-loaded with all the mouth-blazing jalapeños I can get!

WFPB Vegan Loaded Nachos | SPIRITPLATE

Well, good thing Amy taught me how to make her amazing queso. It’s so quick and easy – just toss everything in a blender, then heat. It’s cheesy and full of that bold Tex-Mex flavor that I simply adore. And can I let you in on a secret? Aly’s dad LOVES it! Any time he hears the word “vegan,” he makes a face. “That’s not real food,” he’ll say. But there’s three dishes of mine he can’t get enough of: my chocolate chip cookies, my kale avocado salad, and these nachos

WFPB Vegan Loaded Nachos | SPIRITPLATEAlright so you know I was kidding about the diet thing right? C’mon, you know I’m not gonna let you off that easy! If you’re having nachos, they better be the most colorful nachos you’ve ever seen. Get in them greens, some blue corn tortilla chips, and red cabbage for extra crunch. Be creative and lose the guilt with these loaded nachos, perfect for your Superbowl party!

Get Mrs. Plant’s Incredible Queso Recipe HERE

Game Day Loaded Nachos
Serves 4
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
674 calories
83 g
0 g
34 g
11 g
4 g
324 g
302 g
4 g
0 g
28 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
324g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 674
Calories from Fat 303
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 34g
53%
Saturated Fat 4g
19%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 12g
Monounsaturated Fat 16g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 302mg
13%
Total Carbohydrates 83g
28%
Dietary Fiber 11g
44%
Sugars 4g
Protein 11g
Vitamin A
25%
Vitamin C
41%
Calcium
23%
Iron
20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the beans
  1. 1 can black beans
  2. 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, sliced*
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. 1 tbsp onion, diced
  5. 1 tsp cumin
  6. 1 cup water
  7. salt, to taste
For the nachos
  1. 1 recipe chipotle black beans (above)
  2. 1 recipe Mrs. Plant Queso (above)
  3. 2 tomatoes, diced
  4. 2 green onions, sliced
  5. 1/2 cup red cabbage, shredded
  6. 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños
  7. 4-6 sprigs cilantro, chopped
  8. 1 avocado, diced
  9. 1 16-oz bag organic blue corn tortilla chips**
  10. Tapatio hot sauce, to taste
For the beans
  1. Drain and rinse beans. (You can reserve the liquid aquafaba for another recipe.) Add to a small pot over medium high heat.
  2. Add all bean ingredients except for water. Let cook until fragrant, then add water and use an immersion blender to roughly blend beans.
  3. Stir and let heat through until the edges bubble. Remove from heat.
For the nachos
  1. Spread out chips on a 9 x 12 oven-safe tray. Place tray in oven and THEN preheat the oven to 350F. When the oven reaches 350F, turn the oven off and remove tray of chips.
  2. Now's the fun part - assembling the nachos: First drizzle the hot bean mixture evenly over the chips. Then the warm queso.
  3. Next add the remaining ingredients in the following order: tomatoes, cabbage, green onions, jalapeños, avocado, and cilantro.
  4. Lastly add a few shakes of Tapatio hot sauce over the whole tray. Serve immediately!
Notes
  1. * - You can find this in a can in the Latin Foods section at any supermarket.
  2. ** - Use baked tortilla chips, rather than fried for a oil-free dish.
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calories
674
fat
34g
protein
11g
carbs
83g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/

Balsamic Thyme-Glazed Carrots. Soy Chili-Glazed Brussel Sprouts. YES. 

Soy Chili Glazed Brussel Sprouts | SPIRITPLATEEvery year, I experiment with at least one new dish to bring to my Thanksgiving table, while keeping the rest of the traditional dishes, well, traditional. This year I wanted to try a sticky-icky glaze on roast veggies, and I tested two versions. A sweeter, tangier version with carrots and a spicier, salty version using brussel sprouts.
Balsamic Thyme Glazed Carrots | SPIRITPLATEI’m sure you could substitute any veg here: broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, and even squash comes to mind. I just think it’s a nice departure from the usual bland, roasted and often fatty veggies that usually exist on the periphery of our holiday spread rather than taking center stage with bold flavors.

Balsamic Glazed Carrots & Soy Chili Glazed Brussel Sprouts | SPIRITPLATE

Join us this week as we post TWO recipes each day for your Thanksgiving consideration. Add just ONE completely plant-based side to your Thanksgiving menu this year, saving yourself those extra calories and post-meal lamentations. Tomorrow, we’re talking desserts!  

Balsamic Thyme-Glazed Carrots
Serves 8
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
85 calories
19 g
0 g
1 g
1 g
0 g
135 g
103 g
13 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
135g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 85
Calories from Fat 7
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
1%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 103mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates 19g
6%
Dietary Fiber 3g
13%
Sugars 13g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
379%
Vitamin C
11%
Calcium
5%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs baby carrots, or thin whole carrots, washed and peeled
  2. 1 tsp olive oil (optional)
  3. 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  4. salt, to taste
  5. 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  6. 3 tbsp brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Toss carrots in olive oil, if using, salt, and thyme. Spread evenly on a rimmed baking tray and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until carrot skin is wrinkled but the center has a firm bite. Flip carrots once halfway through.
  3. In the meantime, combine brown sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Reduce down until thickened, like caramel. You should smell the sugar caramelizing and the bubbles should get bigger and slower to pop.
  4. Remove carrots from oven and toss them in the glaze. Plate and serve hot.
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calories
85
fat
1g
protein
1g
carbs
19g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/
Soy Chili-Glazed Brussel Sprouts
Serves 8
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
45 min
96 calories
20 g
0 g
1 g
5 g
0 g
155 g
930 g
10 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
155g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 96
Calories from Fat 8
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
1%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 930mg
39%
Total Carbohydrates 20g
7%
Dietary Fiber 5g
19%
Sugars 10g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
20%
Vitamin C
207%
Calcium
7%
Iron
13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs brussel sprouts
  2. 1/2 cup soy sauce, tamari, or liquid aminos
  3. 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  4. 4 tbsp brown sugar
  5. 2 red thai chilis, halved OR 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  6. 2 cloves garlic, minced OR 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  7. cilantro or green onion, chopped for garnish (optional)
  8. toasted sesame seeds or crushed peanuts for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450F and move oven rack to the topmost slot.
  2. Wash, trim, and pat dry brussel sprouts. Half each brussel sprout lengthwise, no matter how small the sprout is.
  3. Place cut side down on a baking tray and place in oven on the topmost rack.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes or until crispy, flipping once every 15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, chilies, and brown sugar. Reduce down until caramelized and thick, careful not to let it burn. You should smell the chili and caramelized sugar and the bubbles should become larger and slower.
  6. Remove brussel sprouts from oven and toss in the glaze to evenly coat.
  7. Serve immediately with cilantro, crushed peanuts, green onion, or sesame seed garnish.
Notes
  1. The brussel sprouts will get soggy sitting in the glaze, so add the glaze immediately before serving and not before.
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calories
96
fat
1g
protein
5g
carbs
20g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/

greencasserole3I’ve never been a fan of green bean casserole. Every year, I messed with it a teensy bit before serving to my family. I kept the key players the same – blanched green beans, a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup, and French’s fried onions. How much cayenne or sauteed onion or poultry seasoning would go into each attempt would vary by year, but I never tried making it outside of Thanksgiving as it was just an uninspiring dish. The green beans were weepy, the cream of mushroom soup was bland and starchy. I did like the crunchy onions, (perhaps the best part!) but wasn’t a fan of these processed onions with so many unseen ingredients that were hard to pronounce. 

The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole | SPIRITPLATEThis year, I’ve had enough. I through the whole damn recipe out the window and started from scratch (as all wonderful things are made). This time, I battered and pan-fried my own fresh onions in a little flour, breadcrumbs, salt, and cayenne before adding them atop my par-cooked green beans that I mixed with my Country-Style Mushroom Gravy that I make from scratch. I stuck the casserole in a 400F oven for a few minutes until the edges bubbled and the onions caramelized further. Slice and serve. 

The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole | SPIRITPLATEOne bite, and I knew I had done it right. So this was why people loved green bean casserole! The green beans were still crispy and slightly sweet. The mushroom gravy lent an umami depth that I didn’t find in the Campbell’s soup version. The onions were still my favorite part – crispy, caramelized, with a slight bitterness of the burnt edges and that hint of cayenne. Oooh it was perfect! Aly commented that it didn’t even taste vegan, but quite rich and creamy as though it had a ton of butter in it – which of course it didn’t. 

The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole | SPIRITPLATEBut fear not, green-bean casserole haters. If my vegan remix of this traditional dish doesn’t convince you, I’ve got another green bean dish that just might.

Remember, this week we’re sharing TWO recipes each day for your Thanksgiving pleasure. I hope that you’ll incorporate just one completely plant-based dish in your Thanksgiving menu this year. 

Refreshing Green Bean Salad | SPIRITPLATEIn Dallas, there’s this wonderful place called Mercy Wine Bar. My cousins and I would drop in on Mondays, as they had this incredible Flamenco band play, and we’d munch on their phenomenal food. My sister loves their sundried tomato tortellini, but I fell in love with their Summer Bean Salad (one of their vegan options). Green beans, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes and quartered purple potatoes make up this refreshing dish tossed in a mint, parsley, lemon, and EVOO dressing. The result is fresh, light, and oddly hydrating – I promise it’ll be a breath of fresh air on your otherwise heavy Thanksgiving table!

Refreshing Green Bean Salad | SPIRITPLATEIf you’re worried about this somehow being too much of a Spring/Summer dish, rather than a Fall/Winter dish, fear not. The green beans, purple potatoes, and lemon tie wonderfully in with other Fall-inspired dishes. Really this a year-round recipe, and one of our favorites.

Give them both a try and let us know what you think!

The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole
Serves 10
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
39 calories
7 g
0 g
1 g
1 g
0 g
65 g
186 g
1 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
65g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 39
Calories from Fat 7
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
1%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 186mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 7g
2%
Dietary Fiber 1g
6%
Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
4%
Vitamin C
3%
Calcium
3%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb green beans, washed, ends removed, and halved
  2. 2x recipe Country-Style Mushroom Gravy*
  3. 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
  4. 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  5. 1/4 cup almond milk
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1/4 tsp cayenne
  8. 3 tbsp breadcrumbs or panko
  9. 1 tsp olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Place green beans on a plate in a circle, keeping the center free of beans. Wet a paper towel and lay it over the plate. Microwave beans on high for 1 min. Remove paper towel, place beans in a oven-safe casserole dish and set aside.
  3. Place flour with salt and cayenne in a bowl and mix. Place almond milk in another bowl. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  4. Toss all the onions in the flour mixture until evenly coated, then place in along milk bowl.
  5. Add the panko or breadcrumbs to the remaining flour mixture. Return onions to this bowl tossing to coat in the crumb mixture.
  6. Place coated onions in the skillet, and toss pan a couple times to distribute the oil.**
  7. Cook, tossing occasionally, until onions are browned with some blackened bits.
  8. Pour mushroom gravy over green beans in the casserole dish. Sprinkle the onions on top, along with any fallen breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until heated through and gravy is bubbling.
  9. Serve hot.
Notes
  1. *For more texture, blend only half the mixture, keeping some mushroom slices whole. See post for recipe link.
  2. **Avoid using a utensil to mix the onions as this will disturb the breadcrumbs from sticking to the onions. Toss the pan instead, using a backwards flipping motion.
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calories
39
fat
1g
protein
1g
carbs
7g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/
Refreshing Green Bean Salad
Serves 10
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
257 calories
52 g
0 g
3 g
9 g
0 g
456 g
295 g
7 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
456g
Servings
10
Amount Per Serving
Calories 257
Calories from Fat 26
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
5%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 295mg
12%
Total Carbohydrates 52g
17%
Dietary Fiber 7g
29%
Sugars 7g
Protein 9g
Vitamin A
30%
Vitamin C
77%
Calcium
8%
Iron
19%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb green beans or haricot verts, fresh or frozen (ends removed)
  2. 10-12 purple potatoes, boiled and quartered
  3. 10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  4. 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  5. 1/4 cup mint, finely chopped
  6. 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  7. 1 large lemon, juiced
  8. 1 tbsp quality extra-virgin olive oil
  9. 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
Instructions
  1. If using frozen green beans, follow package instructions to microwave steam them, then place in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. If using fresh green beans, either microwave them with a wet paper towel on high 1 min, or blanch in simmering water for 1-2 minutes, then place in an icewater bath to stop the cooking process. Once cooled, remove from water and place in a large mixing bowl. You are aiming for bright green coloring, with a crisp bite. Do not overcook.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to bowl, toss to coat evenly.
  3. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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calories
257
fat
3g
protein
9g
carbs
52g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/

Every day this week, we are posting TWO recipes for your Thanksgiving pleasure. Adding just ONE completely plant-based dish to your Thanksgiving spread is a welcome reprieve on this day of indulgence, and your body will thank you! 

Today, we’re serving up some Tangy Apple and Butternut Squash Soup and a Massaged Avocado Kale Salad. 

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup | SPIRITPLATE Now both of these dishes are my favorites. The kale salad I eat year round, usually plain with just avocado and lemon juice massaged into the kale and seasoned with salt and pepper. It is a staple in our household and we usually make a large batch every week as not only it highly alkaline and filled with wonderful antioxidants – but it tastes so rich and indulgent and fresh. Every now and then I like to jazz it up with some kind of onion – leek, scallion, or red, something crunchy like nuts or seeds, and something sweet like apple or tomato – so feel free to fancy this humble salad up for your Thanksgiving table.Avocado-Massaged Kale Salad | SPIRITPLATESpiced Butternut Squash Soup | SPIRITPLATE
The soup is something I’ve made variations of in the past. Every fall I whip up a pumpkin, squash, or carrot soup using coconut milk, nutmeg and cayenne. Recently however, I attended a vegan popup dinner here in Dallas hosted by Lauren of Three Twelve Co. and Lala’s Cakes – and she featured a butternut squash soup like I’d never tasted before. It had this tanginess that perfectly balanced out the sweet and savory – a flavor profile that was surely missing from my past dabbles in squash soup. Turns out, Lauren had used green apple puree to add that wonderful twang and to thicken the soup.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup | SPIRITPLATE

This is my version of that incredible soup, and I truly hope you enjoy it!

Creamy Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 8
Print
Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
71 calories
14 g
0 g
1 g
2 g
0 g
84 g
107 g
4 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
84g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 71
Calories from Fat 11
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
2%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 107mg
4%
Total Carbohydrates 14g
5%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 4g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
4%
Calcium
5%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the soup
  1. 1 tsp olive oil
  2. 1/2 onion, diced
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 butternut squash
  5. 1 cup water, divided
  6. 1 large green apple
  7. 1 can coconut cream
  8. 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  9. 1/2 tsp cayenne, or to taste
  10. salt, to taste
For the croutons
  1. 4-6 slices day old crusty bread (I used a french baguette)
  2. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  3. 1/8 tsp cayenne
  4. olive oil, as needed
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and sweat for ten minutes.
  2. In the meantime, peel and dice the butternut squash, removing the seeds with a spoon.
  3. Add the garlic to the pot and toss to coat until fragrant.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of water and the butternut squash. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, peel and chop the green apple then set aside.
  6. In a separate small pan, heat up a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Dice the sliced of bread into 1/2-inch cubes and added them to the pan. Dust with garlic and cayenne and toss several times in the pan to coat the bread evenly. Let toast on all sides for a few minutes until charred, then remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Add the apple, nutmeg, cayenne, and salt to the butternut mixture, and cook for a few minutes until apples and squash are tender.
  8. Add the coconut cream and then use a handheld blender or place everything in a high-speed blender to puree the entire mixture until smooth.
  9. Bring mixture to a simmer for a few moments then check for seasoning. Add the remaining half cup of water to thin out the soup as desired. Serve piping hot with garlic cayenne croutons.
Notes
  1. Butternut squash can be found at almost any grocery store in the fall and winter time. I have not tried this recipe with other squashes, but my guess would be that the structure of butternut lends itself well to a creamier soup that its stringier counterparts such as acorn, spaghetti, or pumpkin.
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calories
71
fat
1g
protein
2g
carbs
14g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/
Avocado-Massaged Kale Salad
Serves 4
Print
Cook Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
88 calories
7 g
0 g
7 g
1 g
1 g
72 g
43 g
1 g
0 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
72g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 88
Calories from Fat 62
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
11%
Saturated Fat 1g
5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 43mg
2%
Total Carbohydrates 7g
2%
Dietary Fiber 4g
16%
Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A
2%
Vitamin C
27%
Calcium
1%
Iron
3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 bunch kale
  2. 1 large avocado
  3. 1 large lemon, juiced
  4. salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash kale and pat dry. Rip leaves from stems and then tear leaves into bite-sized pieces. Place into a large bowl and discard stems (or use later in a green juice).
  2. Halve and pit avocado, then scoop out the meat and add it to the bowl.
  3. Add the juice of one lemon to the bowl.
  4. Using your hands, massage the avocado and lemon juice into the kale leaves, squeezing and twisting to coat each leaf evenly with the lemon avocado mixture.
  5. When done, the leaves should turn a dark green and glisten with the avocado fat and be quite tender when chewed.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Notes
  1. In the picture, I have stood two thinly sliced zucchini pieces on end to create a "bowl" in which to place the salad. This is purely for display purposes and completely optional. I've added sauteed leek, fresh cherry tomato, radish and a spice and seed blend to the salad.
  2. This salad can be jazzed up in any way you see fit - I've added with apples and pecans, with quinoa, plain, with onions and tomatoes. Choose toppings you love.
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calories
88
fat
7g
protein
1g
carbs
7g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/

This week, I’m posting two, yes TWO, Thanksgiving recipes everyday! Prepping for Thanksgiving is no easy task. You’ve got to pick your menu, make your grocery list, buy all your ingredients (and God forbid you forget something!), prep each dish the night before, and then cook ALL day to ensure everything gets done at the same time for your hangry family. Let’s not talk about the cleanup that follows!

Vegan Sour Cream & Onion Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Country-Style Gravy | SPIRITPLATE
Then, when you think about those traditional dishes you’re consuming, well the average person consumes 4,500 calories during their Thanksgiving meal (twice the daily intake for most people!) and 229 grams of fat – that’s 3.5 times the recommended daily allowance which most nutritionists argue is too high already!*

So knowing how much hard work goes into preparing the one meal, and how much havoc said meal then wreaks on your body, it’s no wonder people fall into a food coma.

That’s why I’m posting two recipes everyday this week to provide healthier options for Thanksgiving sides WITHOUT sacrificing flavor. 

First up, mashed potatoes. I used the Creamy French-Style Treeline Treenut Cheese in Scallion to give a rich sour cream and onion flavor to my mashed potatoes. You can find this cheaper (about $7) at your local Whole Foods. Trust me, it is worth it! The cheese has the texture of cream cheese or goat cheese but with the tangy nuance of sour cream and a bold onion flavor. It is PERFECT for mashed potatoes. 

Vegan Sour Cream & Onion Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Country-Style Gravy | SPIRITPLATE

I choose to leave the skin on because 1) I love the texture, 2) extra nutrients, and 3) it looks pretty! You can use any potato here, but I just used two large russet potatoes as that’s what I had on hand.Vegan Sour Cream & Onion Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Country-Style Gravy | SPIRITPLATE

To get the right buttery creaminess, I used almond milk, the cashew cheese, and vegan butter. (Obviously, if you are allergic to nuts, please do not use the milk or cheese I’ve mentioned here. I would instead use the vegan butter and your favorite herbs to flavor the potatoes.)

Now, none of these are low in fat, but they are all entirely free of cholesterol and have the added nutrients found in the nuts like vitamins E and B2, and minerals copper, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium and zinc.

Use a little bit of the starchy water left over from boiling the potatoes to add more creaminess to your potatoes without adding fat. 

Vegan Sour Cream & Onion Mashed Potatoes and Mushroom Country-Style Gravy | SPIRITPLATENext up, the country-style mushroom gravy. Now, I don’t know about you but I never liked the brown gravies made from the stock and giblets of the turkey. On Thanksgiving or any other day, I prefer the thicker, country-style gravy. I used to create this using one of those just-add-water McCormick packets that used ridiculous amounts of salt. Now I make my own gravy using mushrooms for a wonderful savory umami flavor. 

Choose your favorite mushroom, and sauté them until all the liquid is released then evaporated. Add a splash of your favorite wine, salt and pepper (don’t worry, the alcohol evaporates and there will be no alcohol content in the gravy) and once the wine reduces, sprinkle in some cornstarch. Add almond milk (or soy, or rice, whatever is your favorite) and some broth, plus your favorite herbs or spices and simmer until thickened. I like to add a spoonful of the Treeline cheese to the gravy when adding the milk and broth, to give it a complimentary flavor to the potatoes, but that is entirely optional. Blend the whole mixture in a high-speed blender, and you’re left with a rich and creamy country-style gravy. SUPER easy and takes no time at all. 

Both of these recipes are incredibly versatile, as are the other recipes coming your way this week!

I hope you’ll include just one entirely plant-based side at your Thanksgiving this year. The benefits of including a lighter option far outweigh any inconvenience! Happy cooking! 

Vegan Sour Cream and Onion Mashed Potatoes
Serves 6
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
141 calories
24 g
5 g
4 g
3 g
2 g
138 g
33 g
1 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
138g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 141
Calories from Fat 34
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
6%
Saturated Fat 2g
8%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 5mg
2%
Sodium 33mg
1%
Total Carbohydrates 24g
8%
Dietary Fiber 2g
7%
Sugars 1g
Protein 3g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
12%
Calcium
3%
Iron
8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 large russet potatoes or about 12 small redskin potatoes
  2. 1 tbsp Earth Balance butter
  3. 1 sprig rosemary
  4. 3 tbsp Treeline Cashew Cheese
  5. 3 tbsp almond milk (or soy or rice)
  6. 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  7. 1/4 tsp onion powder (optional)
  8. salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat a pot of water on high heat to a boil.
  2. Wash potatoes but do not peel. Dice into 3/4-inch cubes. Add the potatoes to to the pot of water and cook until done, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. While the potatoes are cooking, heat up the butter in a small bowl in the microwave. Add the rosemary sprig to the butter and set aside.
  4. Reserve a 1/2 cup of the boiling water, then drain the rest.
  5. Mash potatoes in the pot, pressing down with a twist of the wrist to break up the potato.
  6. Add the cream cheese, almond milk, spices, and the melted rosemary butter (remove the sprig).
  7. Stir together until creamy. If your potatoes aren't creamy enough, add the starchy water a few tablespoons at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
  8. Adjust seasonings, then serve hot with Country-style Mushroom Gravy.
Notes
  1. Tip: Use an ice cream scoop to serve your mashed potatoes, giving them height and dimension for a truly irresistible elegant look!
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calories
141
fat
4g
protein
3g
carbs
24g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/
Country-Style Mushroom Gravy
Serves 6
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
15 min
69 calories
8 g
0 g
2 g
4 g
0 g
241 g
185 g
4 g
0 g
1 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
241g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 69
Calories from Fat 12
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 2g
2%
Saturated Fat 0g
1%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 185mg
8%
Total Carbohydrates 8g
3%
Dietary Fiber 2g
9%
Sugars 4g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
1%
Vitamin C
5%
Calcium
5%
Iron
4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 10-12 baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  2. 1 tsp olive oil
  3. 1 tsp corn starch
  4. splash of your favorite wine
  5. salt and pepper, to taste
  6. 1 sprig rosemary or sage
  7. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  8. 1/4 tsp onion powder
  9. 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
  10. 1 cup vegetable broth
  11. 1/2 cup almond milk
  12. 1 tbsp Treeline Scallion Cashew Cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a medium-sized non-stick skillet at medium-high heat.
  2. Add mushrooms and saute until softened and all liquid is evaporated - about 10 minutes.
  3. Add salt, pepper, and splash of wine. Wait until the wine bubbles away, then add the rosemary or sage and all the spices. Toss to coat. Sprinkle the cornstarch all over the mushrooms and toss to coat, until no chunks remain.
  4. Stir in the cashew cheese, if using. Add the almond milk and vegetable broth. Simmer until thickened, about 7 minutes.
  5. Remove rosemary or sage sprig. Add mixture to blender and blend on high for 30 seconds or until completely smooth.
  6. Serve over mashed potatoes or use as base for green bean casserole!
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calories
69
fat
2g
protein
4g
carbs
8g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/
*According to University of Utah Health Care.

There’s something about holding a warm mug that is so pleasurable as the weather gets cooler. Even in the summer, I always crave hot liquids – coffee in the morning, tea in the evening, lemon water after meals, turmeric and honey almond milk before bed. This soup is amazing and hits the spot – rain or shine. Its rich Italian flavors means it’s versatile for any season – but most especially when all you want is a steaming bowl of soup.
Pasta e Ceci | SPIRITPLATEThis soup is called Pasta e Ceci, a cousin to the more common Pasta e Fagioli that is usually made with cannellini beans. It is so simple in terms of ingredients and methods.
Pasta e Ceci | SPIRITPLATEThe trick here is to let it cook low and slow to release all the flavors. Use the sweating technique, rather than sauteing to bring out the pure flavors of the onions, tomatoes, and herbs.
Pasta e Ceci | SPIRITPLATEI guarantee you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to make and and how deep the flavors are!
Pasta e Ceci | SPIRITPLATE

Pasta e Ceci Zuppe
Serves 6
The cousin of Pasta e Fagioli, this zuppe is a simple and hearty Italian classic.
Print
Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
142 calories
22 g
0 g
4 g
5 g
0 g
271 g
895 g
5 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
271g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 142
Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
6%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 895mg
37%
Total Carbohydrates 22g
7%
Dietary Fiber 1g
5%
Sugars 5g
Protein 5g
Vitamin A
5%
Vitamin C
29%
Calcium
4%
Iron
7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion, finely diced
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 3 small sprigs fresh rosemary
  5. 2 cloves garlic
  6. 3 plum or roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  7. 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  8. 1 15-oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained OR 1 1/2 cup fresh cooked chickpeas
  9. 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth*
  10. 1/2 cup ditalini OR 1 cup penne**
  11. 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  12. 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  13. 2 tbsp fresh basil, sliced into ribbons (chiffonade)
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large soup pot or 
Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 
onion, salt, and rosemary sprigs,and sweat for several minutes, until the onions are translucent and the rosemary fragrant.
  2. Add the garlic, stir, and sweat for a couple more minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste, stir thoroughly to evenly coat onions with the paste. Add the fresh tomatoes and cook down, stirring occasionally until completely softened and the oil separates from the tomatoes - about 10 minutes. Remove the rosemary sprig.
  4. Add the chickpeas and turn up the heat. Stir to coat the chickpeas in the mixture and turn up the heat to medium high. Toast the chickpeas so they get some color from the oil and high heat.
  5. Once toasted, mash half the chickpeas against the side of the pot with the back of a wooden spoon. (The starches released will thicken the broth.)
  6. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Remember the pasta will soften as it sits in the hot broth, even after being removed from the heat.
  7. Check for seasoning, adding salt as needed, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).
  8. Remove from heat and serve piping hot with fresh basil and crusty bread.
Notes
  1. *I love Not Chick'n Bouillon cubes.
  2. **Using a high-quality laminated pasta (I used a rough textured penne made from bronze plates - read your pasta box labels to know how they're made) and cooking it in the broth rather than a separate pot yields two results: one, the pasta absorbs the flavorful liquid and is infused with the flavor of the broth, and two, the starches released from the pasta (and chickpeas) thickens the broth further.
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calories
142
fat
4g
protein
5g
carbs
22g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/

Let’s get ready to rumbleeeeeeeee!
Wait, no, that’s basketball isn’t it?

Okay, okay, so I know next to nothing about sports, but what I do know is GAME DAY SNACKING. Exhibit A:

Buffalo Cauliflower

Yep. It’s here. The best buffalo cauliflower you’ve ever had. It’s crunchy. It’s spicy. And it dances on the line of healthy and unhealthy – could it be more perfect?!

buffcauli2

Let’s get real for a sec. I made these for the first time a year ago today, on the eve of the Fall Equinox, and have since refined and amended the recipe. Seeing that notification on my Facebook this morning (you know those annoying timeline reminders?) got me thinking back to the past year.

Fall is the time for harvest, to reap what we’ve sown in the past year and buckle down and brace ourselves for the hard winter. It’s my favorite time of year. And yes, I’m pretty basic in my love for Pumpkin Spice Lattes and boots, and candles, and all thinks squash and leaves, and posting all over my social media every two seconds about it all (“YOU GUYS. THIS BREEZE!“). But I’m also cognizant that autumn is a time for reflecting on my personal “harvest”: what have I accomplished? What do I need to be happy and successful and loved for the remainder of the year? What do I need to hold on to, and what hasn’t worked – what do I need to let go?

This is the time to give thanks for all the moments in the past year, to take stock of the lessons I’ve learned, good and bad, reflect upon them and then prepare for the future. Fall, and all its changing leaves, is my biggest reminder that nothing stays forever, that moments and memories fade and wash away, and that’s what makes them precious. It’s the winding down of all that spring buzz and summer activity, into the slow, wise stillness of winter. 

I am completely enamored with that stillness, and with the change that brings it, and that is why I love the Fall.

Don’t get me wrong, I love football too (even if I don’t quite get it). I love that it brings the family together and we bundle and cuddle up, and enjoy each others’ company. And I love buffalo sauce. buff_ranch_final

So here’s to a warm, reflective, and blessed season full of football, pumpkins, and SPICE!

Twice-Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
Serves 6
Crunchy and spicy cauliflower takes the place of boneless chicken wings.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
231 calories
21 g
30 g
14 g
7 g
7 g
187 g
549 g
4 g
0 g
5 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
187g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 231
Calories from Fat 119
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g
21%
Saturated Fat 7g
37%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 30mg
10%
Sodium 549mg
23%
Total Carbohydrates 21g
7%
Dietary Fiber 4g
17%
Sugars 4g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
7%
Vitamin C
79%
Calcium
5%
Iron
10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the wings
  1. 1 head cauliflower
  2. 1 cup chickpea/garbanzo bean flour
  3. 1 tsp italian seasoning
  4. 1 tsp garlic salt
  5. 1 cup water
  6. 1/2 cup panko crumbs
For the sauce
  1. 2/3 cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
  2. 1/3 cup unsalted cold vegan butter
  3. 1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
  4. 1/4 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  5. 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  6. 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  7. 2-3 twists of fresh black pepper grinder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Remove stem of cauliflower and separate into bite-sized florets. To really fool your guests, remove the stems from each of the florets - you can use these stems in another recipe.
  3. In a large bowl, throughly combine chickpea flour, italian seasoning, garlic salt, and water. Toss the cauliflower florets in this mixture until completely coated.
  4. Roll the coated florets lightly in panko crumbs, then place flat side down on a parchment-paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 16 minutes, flipping the florets once half-way through.
  6. While the cauliflower is baking, make the buffalo sauce: Combine all sauce ingredients into a small pot or pan and heat to a boil, whisking frequently. Once the sauce boils, turn off the heat and let stand until the cauliflower is done baking.
  7. When cauliflower is done, whisk sauce once more (to avoid separation) and toss the florets in the buffalo sauce.
  8. Replace the sauced florets on the parchment sheet and bake another 15-20 minutes until crispy.
  9. Allow the finished "wings" to cool slightly and serve warm with more buffalo sauce, celery, and vegan ranch.
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calories
231
fat
14g
protein
7g
carbs
21g
more
SPIRITPLATE http://spiritplate.com/