Lentil and Kale Tacos with Pico de Gallo

Do you ever come home from work and just feel like giving up on the whole cooking process? Believe me I feel you on this...sometimes cooking and doing dishes are the LAST thing you want to do after a long day. However, this recipe is simple enough to make with only a few ingredients that you can easily whip up in 30 minutes. I PROMISE! 

The lentils provide a nice 'meaty' texture, the kale add a good amount of greens to the dish and the Pico de Gallo add TONS of flavor. The best part about making the pico yourself, is you can make a lot and let it marinate in the fridge, it tastes better each day...

Now, If you really want to master Mexican cooking, you can even make your own tortillas. I do this from time to time, and make a big batch to keep in the freezer. Here's a simple corn tortilla recipe you can use. The texture of freshly made tortillas is the best! Store bought ones will never do a traditional corn tortilla justice. 

I cooked these tacos with a group of people at a workshop I hosted this past weekend and not only did we have a lot of fun making them, they also received raving reviews. It's all about flavor! So I hope this recipe inspires you to make a new kind of taco, because who doesn't like a good taco?! Am I right?!  Also, I highly recommend snacking on some freshly made guacamole and chips while making these. Enjoy :) 

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Makes 8 tacos

Ingredients: 

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked green lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups dinasour kale, esteemed and thinly sliced 
  • 1 Tablespoon avocado oil 
  • 1 yellow onion , sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Pico de Gallo:

  • 2 ripe tomatos, deseeded
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 inch piece of jalapeño (optional)
  • 2-3 limes, juiced

For the tacos:

  • 8 soft corn tortillas 
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • lime wedges

Instructions:

Pico De Gallo:

  1. De-seed your tomatoes by scooping out all the liquid seedy bits and discarding. Then, dice your tomatoes. 
  2. Then dice your onion and jalepeno and roughly chop the cilantro. 
  3. Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl and squeeze the juice of 2-3 limes into mixture. I like my pico with a lot of lime, so you can add more lime juice according to taste. 

Lentil and Kale Tacos:

  1. Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add in the onions and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onions have softened and are beginning to brown.
  2. Add the cooked lentils, kale, broth, maple syrup, lime juice and all the spices to the pot and cover. Reduce heat and let it simmer until the kale softens a bit, and about 1/2 of the liquid is absorbed. About 5 minutes.
  3. If your mixture is a little wet then allow to cook uncovered for a bit longer, and if it needs more liquid you can add more broth to your mixture. 

To assemble the tacos:

  1. Warm your soft tortilla shells underneath your oven's broiler for about 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly crisp and brown. When warmed, add a scoop of the lentil and kale mixture, and top with your Pico de Gallo and an avocado slice, a couple red onion slices, some cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. ENJOY!

Vegan Cinnamon Spiced Horchata

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I updated this traditional Mexican drink by making it dairy-free, but it's still full of flavor and nutrients! When you begin to try new recipes out, you'll realize that you can upgrade a lot of other recipes you used to make, by taking out inflammatory ingredients such as dairy, flour, and sugar. This recipe is the perfect example!

The soaked rice blended together with water and almond milk provide a silky smooth texture, and the dates add a natural sweetness. Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices to use especially during the holiday season, it just has that warming effect on your soul. This drink is a great alcohol free option to offer your guests during the holidays and if you want to add alcohol to half of your batch, feel free to add some rum to the mix.

I remember when I first started transitioning my diet, I would make classic dishes I loved and craved but would use healthier substitutes. For example, I would make pancakes and oatmeal using GF oats, almond milk, flaxseed eggs, and maple syrup instead of eggs, milk, and flour. The flavor was still there, but the inflammatory ingredients were gone! I began to have more energy, was able to work out harder, think more clearly, and was getting sick a lot less! The better and better I felt, the more motivated I became and I just kept searching for healthy restaurants and recipes, because when you have a variety of options available, you won't be missing anything. I promise you! You'll only be excited about trying all these new things!

So I hope you enjoy testing this recipe out and please let me know what you think in the comments below! 


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Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup basmati rice
  • 6 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain 
  • 8-9 pitted medjool dates 
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cinnamon stick 

Instructions

  1. Soak the rice in 2 cups of hot water for at least 2 hours. The rice should be soft and easily break in half. Drain and add to a blender.
  2. Add 4 cups water, almond milk, dates, vanilla, and the cinnamon stick, top with lid and cover with a towel to ensure it doesn't splash. Blend for about 5 minutes until the mixture is extremely smooth and there aren't any large pieces of dates or cinnamon. 
  3. Taste your horchata to see if it needs more dates for sweetness or if its too sweet you can add more almond milk. 
  4. In two batches, pour the mixture over a bowl or pitcher covered with ca cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. This will sift out all of the pulp and make your horchata nice and smooth. 
  5. Strain the mixture until only pulp remains in the cloth, squeezing to get every last drop out. Set nut milk bag aside with pulp aside. 
  6. Next, whisk together the mixture and pour into a mason jar and keep in your fridge for up to 3 days. Serve your horchata over ice with a cinnamon stick for garnish and enjoy!

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Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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Move over pumpkin lattes, pumpkin smoothies are coming through! This has to be one of my favorite new smoothie recipes to make. It’s so creamy, and reminds me of vanilla pumpkin ice cream. I’d even recommend adding in your favorite vanilla protein powder.

You can either use canned organic pumpkin, or roast and puree pumpkin at home. I opted for canned pumpkin, and the only ingredient listed was organic pumpkin so that’s how you know it’s safe to use.

 

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

A cup of cooked pumpkin is extremely rich in vitamin A, containing over 200 percent of our recommended daily intake. This squash is also beneficial to losing weight. It is a high source of fiber, containing 3 grams in one cup. It;s been proven that when people eat more fiber, they consume fewer calories per meal.

This would also be a good smoothie to drink post workout, because pumpkins are extremely rich in potassium. A vitamin your body needs to replenish post workout. In just one cup of pumpkin there is 564 milligrams of potassium.

This is also another great seasonal food to incorporate in your diet in the colder months, because it helps to protect and boost your immune system function. Being rich in vitamin C, and antioxidants to help fight off free-radical damage as well.


Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup organic pumpkin puree

  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

  • ½ cup canned organic coconut milk or heavy cream

  • ½ cup ice

  • 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds

  • 1 Tbsp. almond butter

  • 2-3 dates

  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice

  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon garnish

  • ¼ tsp ground ginger for garnish

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  1. Blend all the ingredients together in your blender until smooth. Enjoy!

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Protein Salad Bowl

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I decided to use all my favorite ingredients and make a protein filled salad bowl. Since I'm eating strictly plant-based now (I decided to cut out dairy, meat and eggs for good) I've been incorporating more beans and potatoes into the mix, especially on days I work out hard. You know what I've noticed? I have WAY more energy (YES!), less breakouts (I think eggs were the culprit), and in a better mood. Food really does affect your gut and the way you energetically feel. I go back and forth experimenting with incorporating animal foods into my diet, but I honestly always feel best just eating strictly plant-based. 

Not only do beans and potatoes contain high amounts of protein, greens like spinach and broccoli do as well. So you can imagine how much protein is in this salad! 

You can also substitute the white potato with sweet potato. I bought these purple skinned potatoes from the local farmers market, so I wanted to use them up. 

What really brings this salad together is the vegan rawmesan 'cheese,' which I've been sprinkling on just about anything I can. Its made with nutritional yeast, which is high in vitamin B. When eating strictly pant-based you need to be very conscious that you're receiving all the nutrients your body needs. When your body is deficient in vitamin B you'll notice you're constantly tired, moody, sleep poorly, and your skin may even begin to look flushed and pale. Avoid these symptoms by eating more vitamin B rich foods like greens, nutritional yeast, nuts, seeds, and other foods listed here

I hope you enjoy this recipe, and remember to generously sprinkle that rawmesan 'cheese' on top!


Makes 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups mixed greens (divided) 
  • 3 small potatoes (or 1 medium potato of your choice: sweet potato, red potato, white potato)
  • 3 sprigs of thyme 
  • 2 portobello mushrooms
  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 head of broccoli 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder 
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 ear of sweet corn
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 Tbsp Vegan rawmesan 'cheese'

Instructions: 

Roasted Potatoes:

1. Preheat oven to 375'F. 

2. Cut your potato in to small pieces, and spread in baking dish and drizzle avocado oil or olive oil on top, and salt and pepper. Mix in the sprigs of thyme, and roast until golden brown for about 40 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes. 

Portobello Mushrooms:

1. Chop mushrooms into bite sized pieces and cook in your skillet with salt and pepper on medium heat stirring frequently for about 15-20 minutes.

2. Set aside once cooked. 

Chickpeas and broccoli: 

1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add in broccoli, and cook until softened. For about 5-7 minutes. Drain broccoli once softened. 

2. Add 1 Tbsp of avocado or olive oil, cooked broccoli, chickpeas, spices, and salt and pepper into your pan and cook on medium heat with a splash of water for about 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste. 

Sweet Corn:

1. Husk corn. 

2. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add corn. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Cut the kernels off the core and set aside. 

Assembly:

1. Add 1 1/2 cups of mixed greens to each bowl and then divide all the toppings to each bowl. Add the avocado and the vegan rawmesan on top. 

2. Use your favorite dressing. I used a simple French vinaigrette dressing and it tasted great! Enjoy!

 

 

Banana Coconut Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies


Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe bananas (mashed)

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

  • 1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

  • 1/3 cup shredded dried coconut

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

  • 1/4 mulberries or dried fruit of choice

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

  • Pinch fine sea salt


Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  

2. In a large bowl, stir together bananas and coconut oil until smooth. Stir in oats, dried coconut, walnuts, mulberries, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, chia seeds and salt.

3. With your hands, roll mixture into 12 balls, each about the size of a Ping-Pong ball, and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

4. With the bottom of a glass or the palm of your hand, flatten cookies until they are about 2 inches in diameter. (If they flatten unevenly or edges crack, you can press them into a neater round shape but it’s not necessary.)   

5. Bake until cookies are lightly browned and dried, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack and let cool completely.

6. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Butternut Squash and Vegetable Thai Coconut Curry with Tamari Tempeh

This recipe blew me away. I adapted it slightly from a one I came across, and was worried because I didn't use all the ingredients it called for it wouldn't come out the same, but it came out even more flavorful than I expected!

The butternut quash and leek combination is the perfect seasonal mix for the wintertime. The thai infused flavors of the coconut, lime, ginger, and garlic provide so much flavor! As you know by now when I cook, I'm all about FLAVOR! 

Not sure what to make during your busy work week? This quick recipe doesn't take long to whip up and is way better than ordering takeout. It also makes about 6 servings, so you'll have leftovers for lunch or dinner during the week ahead. 

Also, people tend to think that ordering takeout food that claims to be "healthy" is nourishing. However, eating lots of takeout can actually stunt your weight loss goals. A lot of the food you order out has poor quality oils and salts added to it. This not only adds unnecessary calories to your meals, it also harms your digestive system and causes indigestion and weight gain.

Don't get me wrong, I recommend incorporating oils in your diet, but high quality ones like organic olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil. You should be controlling your intake of these oils though, and when you eat out you're unfortunately allowing someone else to. A lot of the time the preferred oil of choice in restaurants is canola oil or extremely processed olive oil and its best to avoid these oils altogether! 

Cooking more at home allows you to control what goes into your food and body, and you want it to be the best quality stuff right? 



Makes about 6 servings

Ingredients: 

Curry:

  • 1 Tbsp. avocado oil
  • 6 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
  • 2 inch piece of ginger (finely chopped)
  • 2 (13.5oz) cans of full fat organic coconut milk 
  • Rind of 2 limes
  • Juice from 4-6 limes (to taste)
  • 1/2 large butternut squash (peeling and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces)
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 2 leeks (thinly sliced)
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 
  • 2 red peppers (thinly sliced)
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • Cilantro and lime wedges to serve
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Tempeh:

  • 4 Tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1 package of organic tempeh
  • 4 Tablespoons organic tamari

Instructions:

1. Heat 1 Tbsp. of avocado oil to your saucepan and add in your garlic, ginger and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

2. Then add in your coconut milk, lime rind, and lime juice and bring to a boil then simmer and cover with lid for about 20 minutes to allow flavors to marinade. 

3. In a separate skillet heat about 4 tablespoons of avocado oil and add in thin sliced of tempeh. Then pour over your tamari. Allow to cook for about 4 minutes on each side until browned. Once fully cooked and browned, set aside. 

4. Add your chopped butternut squash into your coconut milk and lime mixture and allow to cook for 20 minutes until cooked through. 

5. In another skillet add 1 tablespoon of avocado oil and cook your diced onion for about 3 minutes until translucent. Then add in your leeks and turmeric and cook for another 6 minutes on medium heat until tender. Set this mixture aside in a bowl. 

6. Cook your red pepper in another skillet and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. 

7. Finally, add in the leek mixture, red peppers, spinach and cilantro into the coconut milk mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes on medium-low heat. 

8. Then mix in your tempeh to the curry and serve. You can serve this alone or over brown rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges. Enjoy!