Tag Archives: kale

Stroganoff Non-Hamburger Helper

25 Feb

A skillet meal the gloved one would be proud of....Lefty, not Michael Jackson. But I bet he'd like it too.

When I was a kid, the sight of few human beings made me as happy as a vision of Betty Crocker’s anthropomorphic meal-time-in-a-box mascot, Lefty the Helping Hand, hanging out on our kitchen counter. Because that meant only one glorious thing: Helper was coming!

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom is not a fan of the kitchen. So Helpers were a common sight in our house — much to the joy of little Bridget. They were so gooey. So noodely. So salty. So yum.

In particular, I adored the 1990 version that featured Lefty wearing a Russian hat:

The Berlin wall is down! Creamy noodley goodness for all!

Anyway, that was 24 years ago. Flash forward through slap bracelets, Tamogotchis, Britney and Justin’s matching denim ensembles, MySpace and the resurgence of all things Apple, and while 29-year-old Bridget no longer eats animal foods, I still cherish the hell out of some Helper memories.

So, not too long ago, I decided I was going to turn this most-dear childhood staple into something a little healthier. The first step? Way less salt. And, obviously, no artificial preservatives. Easy peasy.

Now, your typical stroganoff sauce consists of sour cream, oil, butter, beef broth, onion, garlic powder and salt and pepper. As you know, I don’t play with those first four items. So I improvised. I traded out cashews for the artery-clogging trifecta of cream, oil and butter, added apple cider vinegar for the sour tang, and replaced the beef with a combo of vegan, meatless soy crumble and vitamin-D-packed mushrooms. Mmm, shrooms.

I also felt the need to squeeze some green into my ode to a healthier Lefty. I went with a cup or so of frozen peas, but spinach or kale would be a good plan, too.

The results did not disappoint.

Before I give you the play-by-play on how to whip this up, here’s a little info on why cashews are so awesome:

Cashew apples. These are a thing, apparently.

Cashew apples. These are a thing, apparently.

While they’re not fat free by any stretch of the imagination, cashews certainly kick butter, cream and plain old olive oil’s asses. First of all, they’re actually less fatty than some of  their other nut brethren, and they boast unsaturated fat (the kind that’s good for you).  They’re also made up of a bunch of minerals, which make your skin, hair and nails all pretty-like. Plus, cashews provide B vitamins, and they contain several antioxidant compounds regarded as anticancer agents. Also, they’re actually a seed (Mr. Seed to you). Who knew?

And now, let’s pig out!…

Stroganoff Non-Hamburger Helper
Serves ~4


Sauce (makes about 3 cups)

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • A generous shake of dried parsley
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
Everything else
  • 6 oz. non-egg noodles
  • 6 oz. vegan meatless crumbles (I used Gardein)
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas (or other veggies, such as kale, spinach, etc.)
  1. To make them as creamy as possible, soak your cashews for at least a half an hour. If you are lucky enough to own a Vitamix or similarly turbo-powered blender/food processor, then you can skip this step.
  2. Combine all your sauce ingredients in your blender/food processor, and whiz until smooth.
  3. In a non-stick skillet, combine noodles, sauce, mushrooms and peas and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
  4. When mixture bubbles, turn heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Dig in!

Bon apetit! 


Alfredo Pizza with Kale, Squash and Mushrooms

6 Dec

Mmm...pizza. Food of the gods.

There’s no point in slicing it. I’m eating the whole thing. In one bite.

This adorable puppy wants you to make pizza.

We all seem to really like puppies, too. But, sadly, this post has nothing to do with them.

There are very few things everyone agrees on. A casual perusal of your Facebook wall ought to make that evident. But one of those rare nouns that can bring us all together in agreement — think Pepsi lovers and cat ladies joining hands with Coca-Cola worshipers and dog people — is pizza. Thanks, Italy!

Pizza is marvelous and simple and brings a smile to peoples’ faces from Japan to Africa to Uncle Sam’s Land.

Of course, there are tons of ways to doctor yourself up a plant-based pie. But this gem is a little non-traditional, using (to die for) cashew alfredo sauce instead of the traditional red, as well as bright and beautiful — and crazy good for you — kale and summer squash, as well as baby bella mushrooms.

Fun facts time. Did you know that mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D? And did you also know that summer squash is a rich source of Vitamin A and C, plus magnesium, fiber, folate, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium and Vitamin B6? Aaaaand did you know that kale is a demi god? Okay, well not quite, but it can do some amazing stuff for your body.

Alls I’m saying is, this pizza not only tastes faboosh, it’s also good for you. You could amp up the nutrition level by cutting the vegan cheese and using a whole wheat crust, but I chose to go the regular, unbleached white flour route this time, and sprinkle on some Daiya.

FYI, the sauce is also amazing on pasta. Nomnomnom. And it’ll keep in the fridge, covered in an airtight container, for a few days. You can also freeze it for months.


  • 1 prepared pizza crust (my favorite recipe from Veggieful.com)
  • A handful of baby bella mushrooms (or any kind you like), washed and sliced
  • One summer squash, sliced into bite-size pieces
  • A big handful of kale, ripped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegan mozzarella, if you like
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream (recipe below)
  • A splash of grapeseed oil or olive oil (about a tablespoon)
  • A tsp of lemon juice or so (to taste)
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Dried parsley flakes, to taste
  • 2 Tbsps corn meal

How To

As you can see from the ingredient list, I really eyeball this sauce. I didn’t use any measuring cups, but just mixed as I went and kept taste testing. If you think you’d like some other herbs, throw ’em in! Want more pepper? You add that pepper, gal or guy! But here’s the gist:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll out your dough onto your pie pan, and lift up the edges to sprinkle the corn meal underneath. I also sprinkle a little bit on the top, too.
  3. To make your alfredo sauce, mix together your 1/2 cup of cashew cream and the oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley, taste testing as you go, until you have a sauce you like. Then spread it out over your dough.
  4. Top with the sliced veggies, and cheese if you like, and bake for 30 minutes, until the crusts are browned.

Cashew Cream Recipe


  • 1 cup raw, whole cashews
  • 1/4 cup cold water

How To

  1. Soak your cashews in cold water for six to eight hours, then strain them.
  2. Place the strained cashews in a food process with 1/4 cup of cold water, and blend, blend, blend some more, until it’s smooth as silk — no bits left. If you want your cream to be thinner, just add a bit more water.

That’s it! This will make you a whole cup, but you can store what’s leftover from the alfredo sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. It makes for a very tasty dill dip for veggies, or salad dressing, too. Just add lemon juice, grapeseed oil, parlsey, a bit of salt and lots of dill.

Bon appétit! 

Portland Observed. And Quinoa with Roasted Garlic, Asparagus, Kale and Tomatos

7 Jun

So much yum, yet so few calories!

So much yum, yet so few calories!

Happy Friday, kids! Today I have for you a delectable quinoa treat that recently arose from my imagination (and need to go through a bunch of asparagus and kale before leaving town for the beach this weekend. Hooray!).

It’s full of veggie goodness, quick to prepare, reheats very well, and has a somehow buttery flavor while still managing to be low in calories and good for you. You’re welcome.

But before I get to the recipe fun, I have to share two things: the wonder that is asparagus, and some observations about PDX.

First, did you know that in addition to being jam packed with vitamins and minerals and all that jazz, asparagus may help slow the aging process, even keeping your brain from deteriorating into Grandpa Simpson-dom, as well as fight a bunch of cancers? Yup. It’s true. Plus, it like tastes good and stuff.

Second, I went on a run down my new street in my new town yesterday and noticed some things about Portland: people still sit on their front porches and talk to each other because, even thought it’s 84 degrees, no one believes in air conditioning. There is such a thing as a naked bike ride here, and a “Fascist Architecture Tour.” Portlanders have replaced their front yards with vegetable and herb gardens. This town may have the highest dreadlocks-per-capita ratio in the United States. I’m looking into it. In Portland, people wave to you on the street — people you don’t even know. Some of them will even flash you the peace sign. And grown men ride skateboards here. Like, a lot of them.

You should come visit.

And now, fooooooooood!

Quinoa with Roasted Garlic, Asparagus, Kale and Tomatos


  • 6 cloves garlic, stripped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained (if you have a fine mesh strainer, that’d work best)
  • 1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar (or a dry white wine or perhaps cooking sherry if you have it)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale leaves (you could also use spinach)
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered and de-seeded
  • 8 stalks of asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Parmesan cheese

Get Cookin’

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wrap up the garlic in tinfoil and then bake for a half an hour.
  3. Pulse the roasted garlic in a food processor until it’s gooey.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and red pepper to the pan and cook one minute.
  5. Now add the quinoa to pan and cook another two minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the vinegar, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, keep stirring the whole time.
  7. Add the broth and bring the whole mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes.
  8. Add four of the asparagus spears, chopped into bite-size pieces, to the pan, and recover. Simmer the lot for another 7 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  9. Move the pan off the burner, and stir in the garlic, kale, tomato, and cheeze.
  10. Spray the other four asparagus spears with some olive oil cooking spray and throw them on the grill, in a pan or on your George Foreman (like me) until they have grill marks. Serve these alongside the main dish.
  11. Plate your creation and eat it up! It’s delicious!

This should serve four. Or it will serve just one person four times if her boyfriend refuses to try it.

Anyhoo… I also crunched the nutritional numbers for you guys (okay, I also may have done it for my own benefit, as I’m back on the MyFitnessPal bandwagon):

Nutritional Information

Calories 134.2 Total Fat 4.9g Cholesterol 0mg Total Carbohydrates 34.2g Fiber 2.7g Sugars 0g Protein 3.8g Vitamin A 25.8% Vitamin C 19.8% Calcium 9.4% Iron 10.4%

Bon appetit!

Cauliflower-powered mushroom Alfredo

13 Mar

Cauliflower alfredo with mushrooms and kale chiffonade.

Made with veggies and magic.

I heart alfredo sauce and have missed it sorely since I stopped consuming animal bits. Although the interwebs turned up a few plant-based recipes, none of them were quite able to fill the sauce-shaped hole that buttery, creamy, traditional Alfredo had left in my heart.

Until now.

After my fabulous boss and friend, Marsha, emailed me a pasta recipe that used cauliflower and white beans as a sauce base, I was inspired.

Cauliflower Clark Kent

Get me a phone booth and I’ll turn into Super Man. True Story.

Turns out, aside from being totes good for you, cauliflower can bring the bam to a whole host of recipes (also, just so we’re clear, I don’t care if I’m nearing 30, I’m going to keep saying “totes.” And you can’t stop me). And white beans also pack a serious nutritional punch, especially when it comes to protein, fiber and antioxidants.

Using those two veggies as my foundation, I Frankenstein-ed my own ideal plant-based Alfredo, complete with not one but two vegan cheezes.

Plus, while this is not quite an oil-free recipe (thanks a lot, Daiya mozzarella I just couldn’t part with), it is very low in oil. Where once I would have used four tablespoons of olive oil, I chose vegetable broth and silken tofu. So, this oil-lite sauce contains only 60 fat calories from oil, versus a whopping 480. And Aunt B’s booty is thankful.

Cauliflower-powered mushroom Alfredo
Makes about 4 cups of sauce


  • 2 cups of Cauliflower (about half a head), cut into large florets
  • 1 cup white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 Tbsp silken tofu
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheeze (if you don’t have or want store bought, here’s a super-fast and easy recipe at Veggieful.com that I used)
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheeze (I used Daiya)
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 large Toscana kale frond, cut into thin, ribbon-like strips (double this if you’re cooking for two)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced mushrooms (double this if you’re cooking for two)
  • Pasta (I rock the whole wheat linguine)

Alfredo time!

  1. Either make your own parmesan cheeze and leave it in the food processor/blender, or pour your store-bought cheeze in there.
  2. Boil the cauliflower in a medium-to-large-size sauce pan for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it’s soft.
  3. While your cauliflower is boiling, sauté the shallots and garlic in two tablespoons of vegetable broth until they’re soft and yellowing. If they start to stick, add a little more broth or water.
  4. Plop the cooked and drained cauliflower in the food processor or blender, along with the shallots, garlic, beans, milk, tofu, mozzarella, and white pepper and process until you have a smooth sauce.
  5. After you cook and drain your pasta, put it back in the pot and carefully mix in your sauce.
  6. Season to taste with sea salt.
  7. Sauté the mushrooms in the other two tablespoons of veggie broth before folding them into the pasta, along with the kale, and heating the whole lot through.
  8. Serve yourself the yummiest cholesterol-free Alfredo I have ever tasted, being sure to send good vibes my way.

If you made this a meal for one (as I did), you’re going to have about three cups of sauce left over (lucky you). Store it in an airtight container in your fridge, and it’ll keep for a week or so.

As my beautiful roommate Brynn said upon having a taste of this sauce, “you can put this on anything.” And I plan to — broccoli, asparagus, boots. Got any other ideas? I’d love to hear ’em.

Bon appetit!

Easy-peezy spicy garbanzo bean and kale tacos

4 Mar

Yummy yum spicy chickpea tacos!

Garban-so-easy vegan tacos. Get it? Heh.

When last we met, I promised you, and my dear friend Maggie, a recipe for vegan tacos. Today I deliver. Yumtastically, I might add.

They’re spicy. They’re simple. They’re fast. What’s not to love? And these little guys are packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants and, most importantly, nomnom-ness. The end result reminded me of a chicken taco, only minus bird.

Carl and Michonne =  BFF 4eva

Carl and Michonne = BFF 4eva

And when I say they’re fast, I’m not blowing smoke up your hookah. I whipped these together in about 20 minutes last night as I was racing out to Fat Cat to watch “The Walking Dead.” [Side Note: I lurv that surly pants twins Carl and Michonne are now zombie-slaying besties. You?]

This recipe, with some alterations (as always) comes from one of my favoritest blogs: The Happy Herbivore. Definitely check it out. Head Herbie, Lindsey, recently inspired me to shift to a low-to-no-oil life. That’s going slowly at the moment, but I’m figuring it out. I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, if you guys have any oil-free tips, lay ‘em on me.

Anyhoo, back to your food…


  • 15 ½ ounces (1 can) garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1 ounce taco seasoning (recipe below, or use a packet if you have one)
  • 1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tsp lemon or lime juice
  • 8 taco shells, soft or crunchy
  • 1 avocado
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 leaves Toscana kale, sliced into strips and sans stem

Taco Seasoning Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (omit these if you’re a big baby you want to tone down the spice)
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper

Taco time!

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the taco seasoning, tamari/soy sauce and lemon/lime juice.
  2. Add your drained and rinsed chickpeas to the mix, and then stir them gently with a spatula or spoon until they’re all coated.
  3. Let your little pea friends stew in their spicy bath while you wait for the oven to heat to 400 degrees.
  4. Throw a piece of tinfoil on a cookie sheet and spray it with canola or olive oil before spreading the chickpeas out in an even layer. Warning: I would seriously advise against skipping the foil, as the sauce will indeed harden and become a beyotch to clean off your pan.
  5. Bake the lot for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until they meet your crunch requirements.
  6. If you’re using soft tortillas, as I did, warm them up on a skillet over medium heat for one or two minutes on each side.
  7. Spread some avocado, as much as you like, on the inside of each taco shell or tortilla, add a spoonful or two of the chickpeas, then top with the kale and tomatoes and — voila! — vegan tacos are yours to enjoy.

I will say that when I first made these, I had some salsa at the ready. But, as it turns out, the chickpeas come out of the oven so flavorful, especially when combined with the creamy avocado, they truly didn’t require any more topping.

Bon appetite!

How I broke up with McNuggets, plus a sweet mustard vinaigrette recipe

15 Feb

I can relate, Mr. Gorilla.

I can relate, Mr. Gorilla.

“How do you do it?” “But how do you get enough protein?” “But do you eat cheese?” “No cheese?! What are you, a communist?!”

I get asked a lot of questions about the way I eat. And occasionally I get yelled at in public (uh huh, that last quote is real). I get it. Being vegan is not the norm, and the not-norm is a curiosity. So, today is the day I answer some of those inquiries en masse.

The truth is, I previously loved me a McNugget. And a double-quarter pounder with cheese meal, too. So how did I end up chomping on kale and quinoa instead of burgers and chicken-like bits?

Well, I certainly didn’t develop some super-human level of willpower to resist good food. The two chocolate peanut butter cup cookies and Molly’s Cupcakes I massacred yesterday can attest to that. In actuality, my perception of what good food is shifted. How’s that, you ask? I give the deets here.

If you have any other questions for me, feel free to ask. You can even call me a commie, if you want. I won’t be offended.

And because I can’t leave you all high and dry without a recipe, here’s one for my favorite salad, courtesy of the cool dudes and dudettes at Chicago’s The Centered Chef.

Kale apple salad

Sweet, tangy green goodness.

Sweet and Tangy Kale Apple Salad

Serves 8

Vinaigrette Ingredients

  • 2 ½ Tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ Tbsp grape seed oil
  • ½ tsp shallot, minced
  • ¼ tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp parsley, minced
  • sea salt, to taste

Salad Ingrediets

  • 9 cups kale, stems removed
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup red onion, cut into very thin strips
  • ½ cup green apple, diced
  • ¼ cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Salad it UP

  1. Whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients together in a mixing bowl and place it in the fridge to chill.
  2. Soak the kale under cold water for a few minutes to release any dirty bits, then rinse it under cold water before you dry it (in a salad spinner or with paper towels).
  3. Strip the leafy parts of the kale off the stems to use in the salad. You can keep the stems and chop them up really fine before you put them back in the salad, if you don’t want to waste them.
  4. Slice the kale into thin ribbons.
  5. Toss the vinaigrette with the kale, along with the cranberries and onions.
  6. Kale can be kind of a tough beyotch, so let it sit for a few minutes and soften in the dressing.
  7. Toss in the apple chuns, sprinkle on the walnuts and, voila, beautiful salad yum yums are yours!

Bon appetit!


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