Raw Vegan Cauliflower “Rice” Rainbow Salad with a Creamy Avocado Tahini Dressing

I think cauliflower may be one of the most versatile vegetables available to us. We always have at least one head of fresh organic head of cauliflower in our fridge and 2-3 bags of frozen. I use it for sushi “rice”, steamed and pureed like mashed potatoes, in pizza crusts, roasted, raw dipped in hummus, and it even makes a great binder in some desserts. It has a mild flavor which makes it easily adaptable to all kinds of recipes! This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy cauliflower – raw, blended into “rice”. You can use it in burritos, salads, even fry it up in the skillet with some vegetables like fried rice. Today we’re going to keep it raw and throw in a ton of fresh raw vegetables to give it a great mix of flavor, then make a really creamy dressing to pair with it!
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Ingredients:

1 head of organic raw cauliflower
1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
1-2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
1/2 diced orange bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
1/2 chopped cucumber
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 tsp sriracha
1 tsp garlic powder
sea salt/cracked pepper to taste

Wash a dry your cauliflower, then chop and add to your food processor. Pulse until you have a fine rice consistency. Add all other ingredients and mix well. You can let it set in the fridge for a few hours if you want to let all the flavors combine – it’s better after it’s sat together.

Creamy Avocado Tahini Dressing:

1/2 ripe avocado
2 tbsp Vitacost tahini
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1/4 cup lemon juice (more or less depending on how thick you want it)
1/4 chopped cucumber
sea salt to taste (optional)

Blend well in a high speed blender. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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I prefer to mix this dressing into the salad and store it that way.
This is a great salad to store in a container and take to work or school if you are needing to pack a lunch.
It keep exceptionally well, and tastes even better the second a third day in the fridge!

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If you aren’t a fan of a particular ingredient I encourage you to experiment with flavors your do enjoy! These recipes are so easy to adapt, so please don’t ever feel like you must go 100% off someone else’s ingredient list.

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I hope you all have a great week!
xo Sarah

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Vegan Gluten-Free Southwestern Sweet Potato Black Bean Quesadillas

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Holy guacamole. I think quesadillas should have their own food group. Since going plant-based vegan a few years ago this is the first time I’ve recreated them in a healthy animal-free way, and I have NO CLUE what took me so long! These are wholesome, filling, guilt-free, low-fat, PACKED with nutrients (sweet potatoes are one of the best foods you can possibly eat), and even better than I remember them being in restaurants. I will also add  my really simple guacamole recipe, because it should be smothered on most everything – especially these!

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Ingredients:

1 Food for Life Gluten Free Brown Rice Tortilla
1/2 mashed sweet potato
1/2 cup slow cooked black beans
1/2 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp minced onion
1/4 diced seeded jalapeno (more of less depending on how hot you like it)
1 diced Roma tomato
1 tbsp fresh minced cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375F. In a skillet, cook minced garlic and onion on low for 3-5 minutes, then add black beans and cumin powder. Cook until beans are heated through. Skin your steamed sweet potato and mash half, then stir in your black beans, and all the other ingredients. Spread the mixture on half of your tortilla then fold over the other half and bake for 8-10 minutes on each side. Serve with a big scoop of guacomole and fresh pico de gallo.

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Creamy Guacomole:

1 ripe avocado
1 tbsp diced seeded jalapeno
2 tbsp diced cheery tomatoes
1 tbsp diced sweet onion
1 tbsp fresh minced cilantro
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
cracked pepper/sea salt to taste

Combine all and mash until you get your desired consistency.
I like mine very creamy and easily spreadable, so I add a bit more lime juice as I go to get a creamier texture. Do what you like!
This makes a small batch – double or triple to make more at once. It keeps well sealed in the fridge.

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I always have some pre-made to spread on toast, salads, fresh vegetables, or whatever else is laying around! Avocados are such an excellent source of healthy fats and this delicious side dish is full of great vitamins and nutrients for your body.

 

If there are any of your favorite dishes you’d like to see “veganized” please comment them below! I always love a good challenge. Have a great week everyone!
xo Sarah

Vegan Butternut Barley Risotto || Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Fat-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan

One grain I don’t see used too often is barley. I think it’s one of my very favorites and it’s really so easy to make. You can use barley in soups, salads, in place of rice or meat in just about any dish, or just by itself it is so nutty and delicious! Barley is high in fiber, and has been proven to help prevent type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, and gallstones. It’s among the list of the world’s healthiest foods.

I came up with this recipe the other day playing around with a few of my favorite vegetables and flavors, creating a super creamy, savory, satisfying sauce to coat my cooked barley creating a “risotto”.

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Ingredients:

1 cup hulled barley
3 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1/4 cup steamed butternut squash
4-5 steamed baby carrots
1/4 cup drained rinsed chickpeas
3-4 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1 clove mined garlic
1-2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup chopped steamed broccoli
parsley flakes (optional)

Instructions:

To cook your hulled barley, add 3 cups of stock to 1 cup barley in a large pot with a pinch of salt and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling stir well and turn the heat down to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and cover for 10 minutes, then “fluff” well.

To make your sauce, add all ingredients to your high speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour sauce over your barley and stir well.

Add in your chopped broccoli and mix well. Salt and pepper as desired!

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I also added parsley flakes on top. It would be great with fresh parsley mixed in! My husband enjoyed this so much, I think it will now be part of our Christmas meal.

I hope you all are able to enjoy this week and the holidays with the ones you love! I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

xo Sarah

Raw Vegan Mint Cucumber Noodle Salad with sliced Strawberries and sweet Purple Grapes || Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Fat-Free, Oil-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Raw, Vegan

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I’m not much of a “juice cleanse” type of girl, so when I’m wanting to detox my body I go straight for the foods that I know do the trick! Cucumber and strawberries are wonderful natural detoxifying foods that help flush your system and leave you feeling vibrant and refreshed. I use cucumber daily – sliced thin as “chips” or hummus and dips, noodled, diced to add crunch to a salad, or just simply chopped up with a bit of sea salt and cracked pepper. It’s extremely low calorie and can be eaten in abundance, so if you’re looking for a crunchy hydrating snack it’s definitely one to go to!

This recipe couldn’t be easier! It’s one I do often because the flavors are sweet and subtle, and the hint of mint from the fresh mint leaves gives it such a fresh airy flavor.

Ingredients:
2 cucumbers
5 strawberries
1 handful of grapes
5 large fresh mint leaves

Directions:
Noodle your cucumbers (I use a Vegetti, you can purchase one on Amazin for very cheap – it works great!), slice you strawberries and your grapes, and add everything to a container.
Mix with your mint leaves and store sealed in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, so the flavors have time to set together.
Toss, drain as needed (the cucumbers may have sweated a little water), and remove your mint leaves. Serve cold. If you like extra sweetness, you can sprinkle on a little pure stevia and mix it in!

I hope you try and enjoy! Have a blessed day everyone.
xo Sarah

Roasted Garlic & Smoked Paprika Okra

Any time I eat okra, I can’t help but think of my sweet Nana. I remember vividly as a child, watching her cook in her little kitchen – a small framed woman bursting with this warm gentle spirit. She made everything from scratch, and without measuring a single ingredient, her recipes came out perfect every time. A good motto for us in our kitchen is “WWND” (what would Nana do). She’s not with us anymore, but she is missed greatly by all the people she left behind here – that precious woman left her mark in many hearts.

One of my favorite things she use to make was her homemade crunchy fried okra. I can’t promise that her recipe was healthy, low fat, or low calorie – but it was delicious. Like, eat 3 plates full and crawl to the living room for a 5 hour nap/coma kind of delicious. My diet has evolved pretty drastically over the years, but my love for okra stays the same. My recipe is different though – I bake instead of fry, and use fresh seasonings instead of breading. It brings out the true taste of the vegetable that I love so much, and allows me to still enjoy a meal that brings back such sweet memories.

Take a bowl full of fresh okra and cut into large piece

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Add 2-3 tbsp vegetable broth to coat, so the seasoning sticks.

Sprinkle of garlic powder, smoked paprika, and natural pink salt.

Bake on non-stick foil at 375F for 40-45 minutes, flipping halfway through.

 

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Easy as that – delicious, oil-free, baked seasoned okra. I hope you enjoy, friends!

 

Have a beautiful day!

xo Sarah

The Perfect Oil-Free Baked Potato Wedges with Vegan Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce

My goodness, is there anything more satisfying to the soul than warm carbs? A big plate of fresh baked wedges, my cozy bed, and a really good book (deep sigh..) – now, I know the typical french fry is seen as one of those foods we dare not eat unless we want it stuck to our thighs, but that isn’t even close to what the real thing is. I’m talking slightly crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside, bursting with natural flavor – void of the excess chemicals and oils that our friendly fast food chains love to coat on. These are the kind of complex carbs our bodies thrive on!

Carbohydrates get a bad rap here in the US. I am constantly hearing about the fad “low-carb diets” that allow you to drop weight quickly – but there is nothing about these fad diets that will sustain a healthy lifestyle or a healthy weight in the long run. Our bodies need these complex carbs – GOOD carbs, to live an active life! So don’t quit the carbs, quit the chemicals. Quit the processed “foods” that are literally created in labs, and start indulging in more fuel from the earth. Your body will thank you for it, I promise.

 

The Perfect Baked Wedges with Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce| southernblondevegan.com

Baked Oil-Free Wedges:

Simply wash and peel 1 sweet potato, and 1 regular potato.
Cut into wedges and dump in a large bowl.
Pour enough vegetable broth over the fries to evenly coat.
Season with garlic powder and my favorite pink natural salt (pictured below) – bake at 375F for 45 minutes on non-stick foil, flipping halfway through.

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Let them crisp up for 3-4 minutes on the sheet after you take them out.

Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce:

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1/2 cup soaked (overnight) cashews
1 tbsp Sriracha (more if you like more heat!)
1/4 cup unsweetened original almond milk
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp pink natural salt

Blend on high in your food processor until creamy. Enjoy friends!

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I also recently did an interview with a herohealthroom.com – (Interview with Sarah Argo of SouthernBlondeVegan.com)-  about some of my personal reasons behind a vegan diet, raising my toddler vegan, and advice I would give to anyone interested in making the transition. Definitely check out this website for great healthy inspiration!

 

I hope your week is lovely. Life is good today.

xo Sarah

 

 

 

Creamy Cinnamon Oats with Fresh Figs, Sliced Bananas, and Raw Vegan Coconut Brownie Bites

The cool breeze in the air today is whispering reminders that fall is near. Of all the seasons, fall is the one I savor most. It brings with it endless little pleasures! Nothing is more cozy on a fall morning than warm, thick, creamy oats. It’s the perfect day starter! Add in an over sized throw blanket with cuddles from my little girl and you have officially painted the picture of my perfect morning.

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Creamy Cinnamon Oats:
Add 1/2 cup organic old fashioned oats and1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk to a microwave safe bowl.
Microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes – let set for 2 minutes.
Stir in 1 tbsp organic ground cinnamon and 2 packets of raw Stevia.

Raw Vegan Coconut Brownie Bites:
Blend 4 pitted Medjool dates, 1/2 cup raw almonds, 2 tsp melted cocout oil, 2 tbsp shredded coconut,
and 1 tbsp raw cacao in your food processor. Pour into small mold and freeze for 2 hours.
Remove from freezer and cut into chunks.

Add all together and enjoy!

Today also marks the anniversary of a very painful day for us in the United States. My heart is heavy for those who were effected by the terrorist attacks on 9/11 but my heart is also hopeful, having seen this country pick itself back up from that day. My prayers are with those who may have lost loved ones – I long for a world where people love and respect every living being and their right to life.

All the love,
xo Sarah

Cinnamon Roasted Figs and Fuji Apples

How heavenly are figs? I have yet to meet someone who eats them and doesn’t respect their gooey creamy delicious sweetness! I love to really play these bad boys up by slow roasting them with my favorite apple (Fuji, of course!) and let the flavors intensify and melt together like the heavenly gifts from God that they are! If you think I’m being dramatic, you just need to try this. You’ll become a bit zealous for them too!

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Simply slice 3 organic figs and 1 organic fuji apple into bite size chunks and sprinkle with cinnamon
and a bit of organic Stevia (optional) – roast at 375F for 15 mins on foil.
Take out of the oven and fold foil over to steam them together. Eat warm. Eat slow.

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I hope you enjoy! God bless the rest of your day.
xo Sarah