Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

Copycat Sweetgreen’s Spicy Cashew Dressing

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I keep trying to hack Sweetgreen’s dressing because everyone knows Sweetgreen’s dressings are the bomb; it’s what makes the salad. Here’s my take on their Spicy Cashew Dressing. It’s full of healthy fat thanks to the EVOO and raw cashews. It’s sweet, tangy, obviously spicy, and has a layer of umami to it. I can’t wait to add this to lots o’ salads and bowls because when you want to eat it with a spoon, it’s that good, right?

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Munchin’ on Mushroom Pho

Oh, pho. It’s the perfect type of soup when you want something high in nutrients with a bright, fresh taste–especially when one has a cold (like I unfortunately do). Pronounced fuh, pho is a Vietnamese soup of broth, noodles, protein, and herbs. I’ve made a tofu pho and beef version with zoodles, but have been craving a version without the meat. A while back when I was visiting Philadelphia, my mom and I enjoyed a meal at V Street, were we had BBQ carrots that were wonderfully savory and “meaty.” With that as an inspiration, sautéed mushrooms and carrots act as the “meat” in this Mushroom Pho with Black Rice Noodles giving it a rich flavor. It’s brightened up with fresh Thai basil, cilantro, and lime juice, while black rice noodles give it a unique twist and a chewy texture.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Mexican, One Pot Dish, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Bountiful Black Bean Soup

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It’s spring in Boston! Meaning it’s moving to be consistently above freezing during the day. Here’s a bright, vibrant soup to transition from those cold, bundled up winter days to I-just-need-a-light-jacket. Black Bean Soup is a pantry staple. Chances are you have a can of black beans or a bag of dry black beans sitting around in your pantry. Add some veggies and spices, top with avocado, Greek yogurt (or sour cream) and some lime juice for a colorful, light, yet filling soup.

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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Cue That Summertime Cilantro Lime “Rice”

I think I just found my new summer staple: Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice. If you’re lazy like me, Trader Joe’s was worth the $2 investment and ease of prep. To keep it even simpler, I chopped the stems and leaves together; cilantro adds that bright, fresh taste to the “rice” and pairs so nicely with fresh lime juice. Think a knock-off of Chipotle’s rice that you want to eat by the spoonful.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish

The New Trend: Kelp Noodle Bowls

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Kelp noodles are so fun! I never knew they existed until I saw this recipe on TIU. These noodles are super low in calories and carbs and virtually without fat. The noodles have a crunch, an al dente texture and a nondescript taste. They kind of remind me of tofu in the sense that they take on whatever flavors you’re cooking with. I tried my hand at Chicken Kelp Noodle Bowls. I added fresh ginger root, garlic, scallions, soy sauce and lime juice for a fun Asian flair. Toss kelp noodles with chicken cooked in coconut oil and shiitake mushrooms, you have such a fun and decidedly different weekday meal. I liked these so much that I went back to Whole Foods to grab more, but they’re out. I’ll have to make these next week with shrimp — stay tuned!

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Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegetarian

New Twist on Pesto

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Happy Meatless Monday! I had too much cilantro and arugula hanging out in my fridge. It’s also in the 40’s today. (Um, what’s up, Mother Nature? It’s basically June.) I really wanted a dinner that’s hearty and warm. I whipped up an Arugula Cilantro Pesto to top some ravioli and sweet potato pasta to combat this chilly, rainy weather. The fun part about this recipe is that it’s really a place to start. You start with these basic proportions and add more cilantro and/or arugula as needed, some lime juice here or there and maybe parm; it’s all to taste. It’s the perfect meal prep and now I’ll add it to my freezer to use this summer!

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

Crispy, Crunchy Coconut Tofu

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You know when you go out in the summer and all you see is coconut shrimp this and coconut shrimp that? Here’s a meatless Monday take on that — Crispy Coconut Tofu Bowls. I got this idea/recipe from Well Vegan and it definitely came from a plant-based protein roundup from either SELF or BuzzFeed. (Obviously I receive biweekly emails for meal, recipe ideas and cooking tips from both.) After coming back from Sanibel Island, I was still feeling the tropical vibes during this rainy weather and this recipe seemed like the perfect solution. I definitely cut down on all of Well Vegan‘s prep time, simplified the tofu process, lightened it up by baking instead of frying and skipped their added sauce. This recipe looks way more complicated than it is and just requires a little foresight to prep the tofu ahead of time. By swapping a can of full-fat coconut milk for So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk, the quinoa still turned out dense, yet fluffy with a very subtle coconut flavor. I must say the best part about this is the toasted coconut flakes and panic that result from the baking process — pure perfection.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

Keen on Rainbow Quinoa Salad Bowls

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I’ve been on a colorful salad and bowl kick lately. This Rainbow Quinoa Salad did not disappoint. Can you sense a taste trend here? I also really liked this Peanut Ginger Dressing and it was very easy to make. I made this salad dressing combo during the week when I had exams and presentations and had my last serving today. Can I already have another? I used a combination of yellow and red bell peppers to give a more colorful kick and balance the other colors. Served cold, it hit the spot during this warm, toasty April week.

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Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Vegan, Vegetarian

Fresh Mules Just in Time for Happy Hour

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My friends over at Copper Mug wanted a healthy Moscow mule made with kombucha, just fresh juice or something all natural. (BTW, they have gorgeous copper ware like mugs, martini glasses, jigger — you name it.) I settled on trying to incorporate Kombucha Gingerade since it’s low in sugar, uses fresh ginger juice and packed with probiotics. The fresh ginger gives is an extra kick. Still want to sip on a cocktail post-holidays, but want a “detox?” Sip on this Kombucha Gingerade Moscow Mule — just in time for happy hour.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Salad

Tangy & Fresh Thai Salad

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To be totally honest, I never really measure salad dressings. I kind of dump, pour, mix and combine like a mad scientist concocting a new compound. The resulting Spicy Peanut Dressing was tangy and acidic from the vinegar and lime juice, but still savory and spicy, both of which I really enjoyed. The flavors complement the fresh herbs quite well. Sometimes, I think kale is really leafy and green, but when chopped, mixed with fresh herbs and topped with the right dressing, kale is pretty benign and makes for a great base. I also am a firm believer that everything tastes better bite-size and chopped. I used a plain rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods for a quick and easy meal. Plus, it beats firing up the oven or stove during the summer. Just chop and combine for this tasty Chopped Thai Chicken Salad.
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