Category Archives: Gluten-Free

Kale Beet Quinoa Salad

Being a herbivore, I eat a lot of vegetables. I roast, grill, and bake ’em. I steam, boil and puree ’em. I eat ’em raw and I eat ’em cooked. But probably my favourite, and most common, way to eat ’em is in a salad. I eat a salad or two every day. These days I’m getting my salad on by using seasonal vegetables as much as possible. Right now that means lots of slaws with cabbage and root vegetables. And kale salads. That’s what I’m giving you today … a kale salad recipe.

There are two vital things to do with kale to transform it into a salad green – tear or chop into small pieces and massage! I used to only eat kale salad at restaurants because I couldn’t be bothered to massage the stuff! But then I had a couple of experiences where I was served a salad with honkin’ big pieces of chewy, unmassaged kale, and I decided I’d better take things into my owns hands afterall! And I literally mean my own hands, because there ain’t no other way to massage kale than with your hands!

So here you go … get your salad on!


Kale Beet Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa, cooked

4 roasted beets, diced

1 head of kale (I used Dinosaur Kale), torn into small pieces

2 tbsps olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp maple syrup

Once the quinoa is cooked and cooled, set aside. Put the chopped beets in a large bowl and set aside. Put the torn kale into another bowl. Drizzle a tbsp of olive oil onto the kale and sprinkle on about 1/4 tsp of salt. Massage the oil and salt into the kale until the kale begins to soften up and release some juices. Pour the remaining tbsp of olive oil over the kale along with the red wine vinegar, the mustard, the maple syrup and 1/4 tsp of salt. Toss the massaged kale with the dressing ingredients. Add the kale to the beets and toss together. Add the quinoa and gently combine. The quinoa will turn purpley-pink in this salad … not necessarily a bad thing … I just wanted to warn you! Taste a spoonful of kale/beet/quinoa and adjust the dressing as needed. Needs more tartness? – add some more vinegar and/or mustard. Needs to be a little sweeter? – add some more maple syrup and/or some mustard.

If you prefer, you can whisk all the dressing ingredients together and massage it all right into the kale. Or you can massage the kale with oil and salt as above, then whisk the remaining dressing ingredients. Add the kale to the beets, pour in the dressing, toss gently, add the quinoa.




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Parsnip Apple Soup

Today is very cold! The temperature dropped 10 degrees from last weekend to this weekend! We’ve even had snow! This kind of quick change in weather and temperature is hard to get used to. Even dressed for the cold, I found myself walking around outside with a tense and hunched up body, daydreaming about beaches in Hawaii!


I mean, look at it! The trees and bushes are still green (under that snow)! It’s not right! I’m not ready! Brrrr!

Well, when it comes to food and cold weather, what do you think of?

I think of soup!

For lunch today, I had a delicious Tomato Fennel Soup at Tractor Everyday Healthy Foods ( Warmed me right up, it did! Later, when I got home and saw that I had parsnips and leeks in my CSA box, I immediately decided to make my own soup.


I’d just read the latest post on Dishing Up the Dirt and there was a Parsnip and Apple Soup featured so I decided to use that recipe as my guide. I think you’re going to like it!

Parsnip Apple Soup

(adapted from Dishing Up the Dirt, Parsnip and Apple Soup,


scant tbsp. butter (vegan or the real thing)

1 tsp vegetable oil

1 leek, chopped finely

3 parsnips, peeled and chopped in small pieces

1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped in small pieces

3/4 tsp coriander

salt and pepper

2 cups chicken flavoured vegetable stock

1/4 cup cashew cream

Melt and heat the butter and the oil together over medium heat in a medium to large sized pot. Add the leek, parsnips and apple and combine, increasing the heat a little bit. Add in the coriander and salt and pepper (I used several grindings of fresh black pepper and about 1/4 tsp salt). Stir together and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft and releasing their juices. If you like, you can add a splash of water to keep the vegetables from sticking. Pour in the stock, cover and simmer over medium to low heat for 20 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency. (In our household, “Tom” prefers a bit of texture in his soups, so I left a few bits of vegetables in the soup. I think the soup would be quite lovely if you thoroughly puree it too). Stir in the cashew cream, warm through and serve. Yum!





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Red Lentil Squash Curry

I don’t know about you, but my menu planning tends to suffer as the workweek goes on. I usually start off well with part of Sunday devoted to earmarking recipes, food prep and ingredient shopping for the week ahead. And this bit of planning ahead is really helpful as it allows me to arrive home from a long work day knowing that supper is planned and partially prepped. By Thursday, however, my ideas have petered out, my creativity is low and I drive home from work thinking about whether I’ll order out or have avocado toast for supper! It’s not so much the making the meal that wipes me out, but the thinking of what to make. If I have a plan for supper, I don’t really mind making it even when arriving home after a 9 or 10 hour work day. This is when the slow cooker has often come to the rescue! If I can throw something together in the slow cooker in the morning before leaving for work, then it’s doing double duty – the meal is planned and the meal is cooked! Here’s what the slow cooker produced recently. (I apologize for the pictures! I tried to make the curry look appetizing in my pics, but it’s really difficult to make cooked red lentils look like anything but tan-coloured mush!)

Red Lentil Squash Curry

(adapted from Kitchen Treaty, Slow Cooker Pumpkin, Chickpea, and Red Lentil Curry)


1 small to medium sized onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp. grated ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 delicata squash (or equivalent squash), cut into bite sized pieces

3 small potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces

1 large carrot, but into bite sized pieces

1 cup dry red lentils

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

1 tbsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cumin

scant 1/4 tsp cayenne

2 cups veg broth

1 tomato, skinned and chopped

1 can light coconut milk

1 tsp salt

juice from 1 lime

cilantro, chopped

1 cup brown basmati rice

1 cup peas

Put everything from onion to veg broth into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Also, before you leave for work, wash the rice and leave it to soak in two cups of water. When you get home, drain the rice, put it in the rice cooker with just under 2 cups of water. Next, turn the slow cooker to high, stir in the tomato, coconut milk and salt, cover and cook while the rice is cooking. When the rice is done, fluff it up, stir in the peas, and keep warm. Stir the lime juice into the curry. Serve the curry over the rice with a side of something green and steamed like kale or broccoli. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro over the curry.




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Kale Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

I got a new blender this weekend! I bought it to replace my on-it’s-last-legs blender. This old blender operated only on the lowest setting or on pulse, plus the rubber ring that sits between the blade and the bottom of the blender pitcher disappeared!

The blender I ended up purchasing is a Hamilton Beach Professional 1500 watt Blender.


This blender is a compromise, or maybe a blending of two requirements … I wanted a high powered blender and “Tom” wanted a quiet blender. It turns out that the higher the wattage or power of a blender, the noisier it is and we wanted a blender with a minimum of 1000 watts. Well, it turns out that there actually are a few quiet high powered blenders out there. They can be very expensive though. We finally settled on this Hamilton Beach blender because it’s got the power, it’s got a quiet shield, it’s got a variety of settings including a self-clean setting, and it was on sale at London Drugs right near our house! The pitcher is a bit small at only 1 litre, but I think I can live with that.

As soon as we got the blender home, we wanted to try it out – me to try out the high power and “Tom” to test out the quiet shield. I decided to make the salad dressing for a kale salad in the blender (I would usually make a dressing in a measuring cup with a whisk). Well, let me tell you that a high powered blender whips salad dressings together so well that the oil and vinegar does not separate! So cool! And quiet? Yes indeed! “Tom” is very happy with that quiet shield!

Kale Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette


Unfortunately, this is the only picture I took of the salad. I took it with my phone in poor light.

3 tbsps apple cider vinegar

2 tbsps honey

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic (minced if you are whisking, cut in quarters if you are high power blendering)

pinch sea salt 2 tbsps olive oil

handful of walnuts, broken

1/2 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped into small pieces


5 or 6 fresh strawberries, large dice (I used local strawberries which are still available from the local road stand if you can believe it!)

In the blender, add the dressing ingredients, vinegar to oil. Blend on medium power for less than a minute, until ingredients have transformed into a smooth sauce. Toast the walnuts in a small frying pan over medium heat, shaking and stirring, for about a minute or so until the nuts smell toasty and just start to brown. Set aside to cool. Place the kale leaves in a large bowl. Add a drizzle of the salad dressing and a sprinkling of salt. Massage the sauce and salt into the kale until the leaves begin to wilt and reduce down. Add the strawberries to the bowl, pour on about 1/2 of the dressing, toss gently to combine. Sprinkle on the cooled walnuts.

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Vegan Cream Cheese

I am so proud of myself! I made vegan cream cheese today and it’s delicious!


You know, sometimes I lack confidence in the kitchen. I enjoy cooking and creating delicious and creative vegan dishes and meals, but, most of the time, I follow a recipe. I get a bit anxious about launching off on my own without a recipe to anchor my creativity. Oh yes, there are several dishes I can make off by heart or have invented (humous, various salads and salad dressings, chili, bowls …), but most cooking days find me consulting a recipe. Now, this cream cheese recipe … I based it on Kaylie Johnson’s Dairy Free Paleo Cream Cheese Recipe on the blog Paleo Gluten Free Eats. I followed her recipe, but I wasn’t pleased with the flavour. So, you know what I did? I added a bit of this, a bit of that until I was satisfied. While I was adjusting, I realized that I was feeling confident and sure, that I have enough experience to just go for it. Although I used someone else’s recipe to start, I made this recipe my own. I can truly call it my own because I used what I know, what I like, and made something that worked for me. Yay me! So here it is:

1 cup cashews, soaked

1 1/2 tbsps water

1/8 cup + freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/8 tsp salt

1/16 tsp finely minced garlic

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until very, very smooth. If you are using a high powered blender like a Vitamix, you shouldn’t have to blend for too long to get everything blended and the right consistency. If you have an ordinary blender, like I do, you will have to blend for at least 5 minutes, probably more, scraping down the sides as you go. I was able to keep the blender going while using a spatula to push the mixture from the sides into the middle. This way, the blender didn’t get stuck and I got everything really well blended together.


This cream cheese is a savoury type, due to the salt and garlic, so use it in that way – on crackers, on bagels, on toast, with tomatoes … whatever your cream cheese thing is! I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure you could use this cream cheese in things like a layered mexican dip or in a salad dressing. Try it and let me know what you think and how you used it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a snack!




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Greek(ish) Salad and Humous(ish)


I really love Greek salad and humous! I love the freshness of the vegetables in the salad and I love the wholsomeness of humous. Humous, of course, is a mainstay of a vegan’s diet and I make it weekly if not more often. And I make some version of Greek salad regularly as well. I call this one Greekish salad because it has what I consider the base of a Greek salad – cucumbers, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes with a lemon juice and olive oil dressing – then has a few other things thrown in that you wouldn’t typically find in a Greek salad. Same goes with the humous – a base of chickpeas, tahini, garlic and lemon juice –  it’s a bit “ish” because I changed the type of beans. Read on to find out more.

Greekish Salad


1 English cucumber, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

10 (or so) grape tomatoes, cut in quarters

5 green onions, diced

1 cup of quinoa, cooked

handful of chopped green cabbage (optional)

1 tsp olive oil

2 tsps red wine vinegar

2 tsps fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, pressed

1/2 tsp salt

several sprigs fresh oregano, minced (if you can get it)

Put the vegetables and quinoa in a large bowl. Whisk the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, salt and oregano together then pour over the vegetables. Toss together.




1 1/2 cups navy beans

2 tbsps tahini

1 clove garlic, minced

juice of 1/2 lemon

zest of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend for at least 5 minutes until very smooth, adding water 2 tbsps at a time. I like my humous to be not too thick and not too runny.


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Vegan Raita and Kachumber Salad

Over the weekend, I made a new curry … well, new to me … or rather, a new take on a familiar curry. I found a great recipe for Chana Saag (Curried Chickpeas and Spinach) in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbook, Isa Does It.


The recipe, as I said, was for Chana Saag … Coconut Chana Saag as a matter of fact:


Now, I’ve made Chana Masala (curried chickpeas) before and I’ve made different types of Saag (spinach curry) and I’ve made curry with a coconut milk sauce, but this recipe kind of combines all of this – chickpeas, spinach and coconut milk – and turns out a really delicious curry. Try it out why don’t you? It’s pretty easy and quick to make and it’s very tasty.


So, yep, I decided to make the curry, but I wanted some interesting sides to go along with it. Of course, I cooked some rice – white basmati with peas (“Tom’s” favourite) – but I really wanted a salad. I did a little research on Pinterest and on the internet and discovered that curries are often accompanied by a salad called Kachumber Salad. The name alone is enough reason to make it! This salad is usually made up of chopped cucumber, tomato and onion with a bit of acid and salt as a dressing. I changed this up a bit by adding cabbage and using green onion. As for the raita (yogurt and cucumber or other chopped/grated vegetables), it’s a standard condiment for curries, so I decided to invent a vegan version of raita using cashews to replace the yogurt. “Tom” and I were very pleased with not only the curry, but the salad and the raita, so I thought I would share the love and post the recipes. I really hope you try one or more of these recipes next time you’re cooking Indian. And please use the comment section to tell me what you think.

Kachumber Salad


1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 tomato, chopped

about 1 quarter of a small head of savoy or green cabbage, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

handful of cilantro, coarsely chopped

4 or 5 leaves mint, coarsely chopped

juice of a lime (2 tbsps.)

1/2 tsp salt

Combine the vegetables, cilantro and mint in a bowl and gently toss. Pour in the lime juice and sprinkle in the salt and gently toss again. Leave the salad to marinate for a bit, maybe 20 minutes. If you leave it too long, the juice from the cucumber and tomato will dilute the salad. This salad is best eaten all at once. This recipe makes 3 servings.

Cashew Cucumber Raita


1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight or soaked for an hour in boiling hot water

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsps. water

juice of 1 lime (2 tbsps.)

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1/8 tsp cayenne

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 English cucumber, peeled and grated

1 green onion, chopped

handful of cilantro, finely chopped

4-5 leaves mint, finely chopped

Put the cashews, 1/4 cup water, lime juice, cumin, ginger, cayenne and salt in a blender and blend for 1 t0 2 minutes until everything starts to blend together. Stop, scrape down the sides and add 1 tbsp. water. Blend again for a couple of minutes. Add another tbsp. water if needed to make everything blend smoothly, but not too runny. Blend for a total of 5 minutes for the smoothest results.

Mix the cucumber, green onion, cilantro and mint together in a bowl. Pour in the cashew mixture and mix well. Let sit for a few minutes then taste and adjust for seasoning. (If your curry is quite hot and spicy, you might want to add more cilantro and mint to the raita; if it’s a milder curry, you might want to add some more cayenne and/or cumin).






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Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing

Salads are pretty great, don’t ya think? I mean, there’s gotta be an infinite number of ways you can combine some vegetables, maybe some grains or some noodles, possibly some fruit. And then there’s the dressing. You can take your same ol’, same ol’ salad and add a new dressing and it’s not so same ol’ anymore, is it? Or you can take your standby dressing and pour it on a different base of vegetables and you’ve got something new! Take this salad for example. I introduced this salad way back in April 2014 – a chopped salad with all the ingredients arranged separately in the bowl – and, last week I recreated it with a few different vegetables and a new dressing. Voila! A new salad!


The salad ingredients choices are my own, but the dressing is inspired by Minimalist Baker’s Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing.


Chopped Salad with Spicy Avocado Dressing

(Ingredient amounts depend on how many servings you want to make. The dressing makes about 4 servings.)

quinoa, cooked

red cabbage


orange bell pepper

green onion




1/2 ripe avocado

juice of 1/2 lime  (3 tbsps.)

juice of 1/2 orange (3 tbsps.)

2 tsp agave nectar

1 tsp hot sauce

1/4 tsp cumin

a sprinkle of cayenne (less than 1/8 tsp)

2-3 tbsps. water

Arrange the quinoa and vegetables in individual bowls. I like to chop up one ingredient and arrange in the bowls, then chop up the next ingredient and arrange in bowls and so on.

Put all the dressing ingredients except the water in a tall container and blend with an immersion blender. When things start to get too thick, add in the water, 1 tbsp. at a time until the dressing blends smoothly and is pourable but not runny.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad ingredients. Admire your artistry, then toss everything together in your personal bowl!




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Vegan “Cheese” Sauce and Garlic Aioli

I made another yummy taco salad last weekend. I had a house guest staying so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out some new recipes … you know, give “Tom” a break from being the only taste tester. The new recipes we sampled were vegan taco “meat”, vegan “cheese” sauce and a cashew garlic aioli. All were pretty good, but the cheese sauce and the aioli were outstanding!


The cheese sauce is made from potatoes and carrots! I found the recipe on A Dash of Compassion. Here it is:


Vegan “Cheese” Sauce

(adapted from A Dash of Compassion’s Easy Vegan Cheese Sauce –

Serve the cheese sauce with this taco salad or make nachos or however and wherever a cheese sauce goes in your world! 


2 cups peeled and chopped potatoes (about 4 or 5 medium sized potatoes)

3/4 cup chopped carrots (about 1 large and 1 small or 2 medium carrots)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1/3 cup water

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 tsps. salt

Cook the potatoes and carrots together until very soft. Drain, rinse with cold water, set aside to cool a bit. Combine everything in a saucepan and blend with an immersion blender. Add more water, 1 tbsp. at a time, if needed to make a pourable sauce. (I added 2 tbsps. water).

Cashew Garlic Aioli

(adapted from Vegan Heaven’s Vegan Sour Cream –


Use this aioli anywhere you would use sour cream or mayonnaise. We ate it as a dip for fresh-from-the-garden vegetables and as one of the condiments for the taco salad.


1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight or soaked for an hour in boiling water

2 tbsps. lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup + water

Drain the cashews from their soaking water. Put cashews, lemon juice and garlic in a blender. Blend for about a minute. Add 1/4 cup water and blend again. Add more water, 1 tbsp. at a time, to the blender in order to get the sauce to blend freely, but not so much to make the sauce too runny. Blend for 5 minutes in total to get a smooth sauce.




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Dinner Party Extrodinaire!

“Tom” and I just finished hosting a great dinner party. It was such a relief to get this party going because it was prefaced by organizational challenges – procrastination, rescheduling, commitment, on again, off again. Usually our little gang of dinner partyers has our dinners scheduled ahead of time, but not this time for some reason. Funny thing is I’ve had the menu planned for months! So once we nailed down a date, I was raring to go! Here is the menu:

Cauliflower Ceviche *

Mexican Fiesta Taco Salad with Cilantro Cashew Cream *

Slow Cooker Refried Beans *

Chocolate Mousse – Strawberry-Cherry Parfaits *

fresh fruit (watermelon and cherries)

* see below for recipes

You can find the recipes for the Taco Salad and the Chocolate Mousse on my blog – see links above.


Cauliflower Ceviche

(adapted from Dora’s Table’s Cauliflower Ceviche)

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

1 cup of diced tomatoes

1 cup of peeled, seeded, chopped cucumber

1/2 Serrano pepper, minced

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

3 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp (or more) salt

Put the cauliflower florets into a pot of boiling water and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge into a big bowl of cold water. When cool, chop finely. (I threw the cauliflower into my mini-food processor to chop). Put all the chopped vegetables in a big bowl, add the cilantro, lime juice and salt and mix together. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes. We ate this with tortilla chips and alongside the taco salad as a kind of salsa.

This was the first time I made this dish. It was pretty good and was well received, but I think the next time I make it I will take it up a notch. I only put 1/2 a Serrano pepper in because I wanted to be careful about the heat, but I could easily have put the whole thing in. (You just never know with peppers … you can get a super fiery one or a fairly mild one)! Also, the dish needs more lime juice or vinegar or something to up the tangy taste. This will make the dish more liquidy, but after marinating, the ceviche could be transferred to another bowl leaving the excess liquid behind.

Cilantro Cashew Cream (This stuff is crazy delicious!)

(adapted from Oh She Glows’ Cilantro Lime Garlic Cashew Sauce)


3/4 cup cashews, soaked overnight

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

1 large garlic clove, minced

3 tbsps. fresh lime juice (the juice of 1 whole lime)

2 tbsps. avocado

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup water

Drain the soaking water from the cashews. Through everything into the blender and blend for 2 or 3 minutes. Stop, scrape down the sides and blend for another 2 or 3 minutes. (Unless you have a high powered blender then you can blend it until smooth in 2 minutes).


Slow Cooker Refried Beans

(my own recipe)

image2 cups dry pinto beans, thoroughly rinsed and drained

1 small onion, diced

4 or 5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp hickory black pepper, if you have it, otherwise use plain black pepper

1 tsp chipotle paste (I make paste by throwing a can of chipotle peppers in adobe sauce through the blender, then I store the paste in a jar in the fridge)

5 cups vegetable broth

Throw everything in the slow cooker and cook on high for 5 hours. Turn to low, coarsely mash the beans in the pot with a potato masher, and keep warm in the slow cooker until ready to use. I stirred a tsp of hickory smoked salt in just before serving. (The refried beans will probably be a bit runny. When they cool down, they thicken up. You can also reduce the liquid in the slow cooker by 1/2.)

Strawberry-Cherry Parfaits

(makes 5 servings)


1 recipe chocolate mousse

2 cups strawberries

2 cups halved, pitted cherries

2 tbsp maple syrup

5 cherries with stem attached

Make the chocolate mousse ahead of time and leave in fridge to set for a few hours. Put the strawberries in a small saucepan over medium to low heat and add the maple syrup. Bring to low boil then let simmer for 30 minutes. Put the cherries in a small saucepan and heat over medium to low heat. Bring to low boil and let simmer for 20 minutes.

In parfait glasses (I don’t have parfait glasses so I used wine glasses), begin the layering process. Set out the glasses, and put a layer of chocolate mousse in each. Then put in a layer of strawberry compote, another layer of chocolate mousse, then a layer of cherry compote, and finish with a layer of chocolate mousse. Of course, you need to put a cherry on top!



Looks like a mess when it’s all on the plate, but don’t let that fool you! It was all dee-licious!

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