Tag Archives: vegan

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup

1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced
½ Herdez canned chipotle chili pepper, peeled and seeds removed **(see note)
3 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 green onions, chopped
Small handful of cilantro, chopped

Heat oil over medium heat in large saucepan. Add onion and sautee for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and continur to sautee about another 2 minutes. Add sweet potato and chipotle to pan. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Place contents of the saucepan in a blender and puree until smooth. Add more vegetable stock, if needed, to achieve a smooth consistency. Return soup to pan, heat, and add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and top with chopped green onions and cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

Spicy, full-flavored, smoky, and warming are just a few words that describe this simple soup. It can be served as a starter as well as a main course. If you love heat in your food and are feeling a bit daring, add a whole chipotle pepper instead of a half of one.

**Note: Herdez brand chipotle peppers are beautifully smoked whole jalapeno chili peppers in a can. Many of the peppers in the can are already peeled and, if they are not, the skins slide right off the whole pepper with little effort. After removing the skins, slice the pepper in half, lengthwise, and remove the seeds with your fingers or a butter knife.

Green Bean & ‘Lentil Pasta’ Salad

2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
½ teaspoon oregano
12 ounces lentil pasta
½ lb fresh green beans
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
½ cup Italian basil, chopped

In a skillet, saute the first six ingredients until the tomatoes begin to burst. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Cook pasta in water, according to package directions, and add green beans during the last three minutes of cooking. Rinse pasta and green beans in cold water and drain. Place pasta and green beans in a large bowl and toss with tomato mixture and remaining ingredients. Chill and serve.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

The lentil pasta makes this pasta salad ETL compliant. It’s savory and satisfying. Keep in mind that the leftovers aren’t as great as the newly made pasta salad as the lentil pasta tends to break down a bit after 24 hours and, although the flavor is as wonderful as day one, the texture changes a bit. This was inspired by the recipe Green Bean Pasta Salad, published in the June 2018 Rachel Ray Every Day magazine, page 28.

Artificial Sweeteners

Today’s brief topic: Artificial Sweeteners. The basic idea behind ETL is that if we stick with whole food, plant based food and beverage choices, we can’t go wrong. That’s easier said than done in some cases, especially when first starting out on the ETL journey. How does ETL apply to sweeteners? I know first hand that on, rare occasion, a date paste, dried monk fruit, or prune puree isn’t going to deliver the desired sweet taste and/or texture in certain foods and beverages. And for those of us trying to lose weight, a zero calorie alternative sweetener that is safe for consumption and ETL is kind of like a dream come true. With refined sugar off the table, what is the next best thing to use when needing that good, old fashioned sugar taste and mouth feel, every now and again, without harming our bodies and staying within the ETL boundaries?


Erythritol is a polyol (sugar alcohol) and is used as a bulk sweetener in reduced calorie foods. It occurs naturally in fruits such as pears, melons and grapes, as well as foods such as mushrooms and fermentation-derived foods such as wine, soy sauce and cheese.

This is a great four minute video by Dr. Michael Greger, MD explaining the differences of each of the big name artificial sweeteners and whether or not they cause the human body harm: ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS. It’s an eye-opening, four minute bit of information that you will start putting to use immediately. Learn, enjoy, and love yourself.

Rice & Black Bean Salad

½ cup vegetable broth
1” ginger, peeled & grated
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 ½ cups black beans (or one 15 ounce can), drained & rinsed
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, quartered lengthwise, cut into ¼” thick slices
½ cup red bell pepper, diced
½ cup green onions, sliced

In a small saucepan, bring broth, ginger, and garlic to a boil. Stir in vinegar, pepper sauce, and tamari and remove from heat and let cool. In a large salad bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and top with the cooled dressing and toss. Cover and chill for up to 6 hours. Stir well before serving. Serves 4.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

Tangy, full-flavored, and extremely satisfying are just a few words that describe this salad. It can be served as a side dish as well as a main dish. White long grain rice may be used in place of the brown rice if desired. The photo features white rice but brown rice offers more nutritional value and tends to hold together a bit longer before getting soft, offering a better experience for eating leftovers–if there are any! Double the recipe to share with a group of folks. You’ll enjoy the unique nature of this one.

Asian Salad Dressing

5 dates
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tahini
1 clove garlic
1 green onion
3/4″ piece of ginger
1 chili pepper
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup cilantro

Place all ingredient in a blender and blend until smooth.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

Bold, yet smooth, this dressing is sure to compliment your next bowl of chopped cabbage and mixed vegetables. Try this over a steaming bowl of brown rice for a unique take on a satisfying entrée rice bowl.

Spinach Salad Dressing

1 clove garlic
1 cup dates
¼ large onion
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 medium apple, cored
½ cup cashews
4 tablespoons prepared mustard
½ teaspoon salt (optional)
½ teaspoon pepper
1 cup water

Blend all ingredients together in a high powered blender on high to make a smooth dressing. Add more water to get desired consistency. Makes 3 cups.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

I worked long and hard on this one. I was craving an old fashioned, sweet spinach salad dressing for some fresh greens but the old recipes I had access to called for granulated sugar—up to one cup in a single recipe! The dates fill in for the sweetness in this gem. Prepared mustard has a good amount of sodium per serving on its own, however, once the dressing is prepared, a little goes a long way which minimizes the sodium intake per serving, overall. Cashews replaced oil and gave it the substance needed for the dressing to hold together without separating. Although I have not tried it yet, I would bet the farm that this would make an excellent coleslaw dressing as well. Score!

Sweet Potato Halwa

3 medium sweet potatoes
1 ¼ cup water
½ cup raw cashews
4 pitted dates
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
a few saffron strands mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoon finely chopped mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, and/or pistachios)

Bake the sweet potatoes in a 350 degree oven until they are soft on the inside, about 40 minutes or so. While the sweet potatoes are baking, blend 1 ¼ cup water, ½ cup raw cashews, and dates in a high powered blender into a smooth liquid. Peel and mash the sweet potatoes. In a non-stick pan on low heat, add the mashed sweet potatoes and cashew blend and heat up. Add the cardamom powder and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes ensuring that the mixture has little liquid remaining and not completely dry. Add water if necessary. Add the saffron and nuts and mix well. Serve hot.

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

Talk about a great tasting, healthy dessert… this one is it! Sweet potato halwa is a favorite in India. The traditional version is normally loaded with ghee. This nutritarian version is minus the fat, but rich in fiber, potassium, and calcium thanks to the sweet potatoes. This variation was inspired by Tarla Dalal. Her original version may be accessed here: Sweet Potato Halwa

Chia Seed Pudding

¾ cups raw cashews
1 ½ cups water
4 large pitted dates (or 6 small to medium dates)
1/3 cup chia seeds

Place the cashews and water in a high powered blender and blend on high until a creamy cashew milk is formed. Add dates and blend until the dates are pureed in the cashew milk. Place the milk mixture in a bowl and add chia seeds. Mix until the seeds separate and then let sit for 10 minutes or so. Mix again to evenly distribute the chia seeds and place in the refrigerator until set and chilled through, about an hour or more. Serve on its own or with fresh fruit and raw chopped nuts. Makes about 4 servings.

Chia seed pudding

★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

Chia seeds are packed full of nutritional value. To name just a few of what this superfood has to offer, a 2 tablespoon serving of raw chia seeds includes:
• 11 grams of fiber
• 4 grams of protein
• 9 grams of fat (5 of which are Omega-3s)
• 18% of the RDA of calcium
• 30% of the RDA of magnesium
Considering the benefits, you can rest easy knowing that this dessert is delicious for all the right reasons.

Mexican Red Chili with Cactus (Nopales con Chili Rojo)

2 cups peeled cactus, cut into ½” by 2” strips
4 to 5 dried New Mexico chili pods, stems and seeds removed
4 small tomatoes
½ onion
½ cup cilantro—use stems and leaves
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons oregano
1 ½ teaspoons salt (optional)

Place the cactus in a medium saucepan and fill with water to 1” above the cactus. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the cactus and set aside in a separate bowl. Place the chili pods in the medium saucepan and put just enough water to cover the chilies. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes until chilies are soft. Transfer soft chilies from the saucepan to a blender, reserving the chili-water. Place the remaining ingredients, except for the cactus, into the blender with about a half cup of the chili-water. Blend until nice and fluid but with some small chunks remaining, adding more chili-water if necessary to create desired consistency. Pour out the unused chili-water from the saucepan. Add the chili blend to the saucepan and place on medium-low heat. Add the cactus to the chili blend and simmer for about 15 minutes. Serve hot with warm tortillas.


★★★★★ 5 out of 5 stars—Best ever!

This has to be the easiest and best chili I’ve ever made. I know that a true Nutritarian would omit the salt completely but, in my opinion, it does bring out the flavor of the New Mexico chilies. I opted to use the salt and it proves I am still aspiring to become 100% Nutritarian. Cactus may be purchased whole, in which case it must be peeled and cut by you, or, if you’re lucky, you may find it peeled, cut and prepackaged in your local grocery store like I did—it’s a great convenience. Use this chili as a soft taco filling or as a topping for tostadas over beans and baked corn tortillas, or simply consume it by itself. It may just become your new comfort food.

For more ideas and recipes to simplify the Nutritarian lifestyle, please visit: http://aspiringnutritarian.com/

Thai Cucumber Salad

¼ cup white vinegar
2 large pitted dates
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 cups peeled, seeded, and sliced cucumbers
¼ cup snow peas, trimmed and thinly sliced
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
1 tablespoons seeded and minced jalapeno
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Blend the vinegar, dates, and soy sauce into a smooth liquid. Place the remaining ingredients in a bowl and toss with the blended vinegar. Chill until ready to serve.


★★★★ 4 out of 5 stars—Loved it!

This is a refreshing salad that is full of vitamins and minerals, It transforms fresh, simple vegetables into a savory Thai side dish or a very light main entree.