Black-eyed Peas with Kale

This is one of those dishes I could practically live on—it’s light, easy to throw together, satisfying, and soooo yummy. This entrée works best with soaked peas, so you may want to plan ahead for maximum goodness.

Recipe from The Two-Week Wellness Solution. (and incidentally, this is an all-time favorite recipe amongst my fans and readers - I hope you fall madly in love with it too!)

• 1½ cups dry black-eyed peas, soaked in water overnight (or 8-12 hours)

• ½ cup diced onion

• 3½ cups liquid vegetarian “chicken” broth (if you have my books, you can use "Chicky Baby Seasoning" to make broth - just use one tablespoon of the seasoning per 1 cup of water)

• 4 bay leaves

• 4-inch piece of kombu

• 2 cups (packed) kale, preferably lacinato (cut into thin ribbons)

• 6 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced

• 2 teaspoons each: sea salt, nutritional yeast, and olive oil

• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

To Taste (optional): hot sauce of your choice (habanero, tabasco, etc.)

1. Drain the black-eyed peas to remove the soaking water and then rinse them.

2. Place the beans in a pressure cooker (or regular pot with a tight-fitting lid). Add the onion, broth, bay leaves, and kombu and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the black-eyed peas are tender. This will take about 15 minutes in the pressure cooker (after the top begins to spin) or 45 minutes in a regular pot.

3. Once them beans is finally done, drain off most of the excess liquid. Remove the bay leaves and kombu. Next, stir in the kale and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the kale is wilted. Remove from heat.

4. Stir in the salt, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and lemon juice. Top with some of the hot sauce (if using) and serve.

Serves 4/GF/SF/Green

Fatoush Salad

photo by Olga Vasiljeva

After eating this for years in restaurants, I finally came up with a recipe of my own for this fresh and delightful salad. This version is lower in fat and slightly more minty than the other kinds I’ve tasted. If you don’t care for mint, simply replace it partially (or fully) with parsley. Recipe from Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

4 tortillas (or pita rounds), cut into 1½-inch pieces
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, regular or extra-virgin


• 3 tablespoons olive oil                       

• The fresh juice of 1 large lemon         

• ½ teaspoon sea salt                           

• Fresh ground pepper to taste                                   

• 1 tablespoon zatar (optional, but fabulous)   


• 1 lb. cherry tomatoes, halved

• 2 cups diced (or very thinly sliced) cucumber

• ½ cup minced fresh mint 

• ¼ cup chopped scallions (green onions)        

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the tortilla or pita strips in a single layer onto a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Brush them with the 1-2 tablespoons of oil.

2. Bake the strips until they are golden brown and crisp. Set them aside.

3. Whisk the dressing together and set it aside.

4. Next, place the tomatoes, cucumber, mint, and scallions in a medium-large bowl.

5. Add the tortilla or pita strips to the salad and top with the dressing. Gently combine everything until thoroughly mixed and serve.

Serves 3-4; 30 minutes or under! GF (with gluten-free tortillas)/SF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)

Contest Winner Announced!

Hey lovely peeps! Um, what's that, you say? Did I tell you I was going to announce the latest winner on September 20th? Yeah, it's still the 20th...somewhere in the world...right? No? OK, so I'm a total spaz for forgetting to mark this very important day on my calendar! Bad me! But enough of the self-deprication. Onto the light. Onward into better calendar-noting habits. And yes, please do forgive me for my lapse!

One person hopefully will forgive me at least, as she's getting the grand GIFT-GIVING PRIZE of THREE signed copies of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth! And that person is...drumroll.... RebeccaMom! Girl, your Christmas gift-giving just got a lot cheaper!!

So, thanks all for being so fabulous and participating in this contest! I loved reading your favorite fall meals - isn't it just the best time of year to be in the kitchen??! And also, for a fun lil' note, I'll soon be the vegan blogger for The Network as well. I'll be sure to let you know on my Facebook page once my first blog is up - should be very soon! Also, watch out for their new reality show on the CW network, coming this January. I've seen the trailer and I can't wait!

Superfood Ice Cream - Fat-free, vegan, and delicious!

Photo by Janet Malowany

Superfood Ice Cream

Imagine a creamy dreamy soft serve ice cream that's totally devoid of anything bad, and chock-full of everything good. You're welcome.

Bananas are a premium source of potassium, and cacao nibs are one of nature's best (and most delicious!) antioxidant-rich whole foods. Oh! And for those of you who aren't familiar with maca, it's a butterscotchy-tasting root that can be purchased in most health food stores in a raw, powdered form. I love it not only for the flavor, but also because it's incredibly health-boosting, energizing, strengthening, and vitalizing. I have several maca recipes in my third book, but am constantly experimenting with it to find even more yummy ways to use it! Mmmmmmaca. Enjoy!

-       2 cups frozen banana chunks (frozen for at least 12 hours, using very ripe bananas)
-       ¼ cup (or less) almond milk - just enough so that your mixture will blend
-       2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-       Optional: 1 tablespoon maca powder
-       dash ground nutmeg
-       Add last: 2 teaspoons raw cacao nibs

-  In a food processor with an S-blade, place all of the ingredients, except for the nutmeg and cacao nibs.

 Blend until smooth and creamiliscious (it's a word), using just enough of the almond milk so that your mixture blends up well.

- Serve immediately, dusted with nutmeg and topped with the cacao nibs.

Serves 2

GF/SF/Raw/Green (according to the health guidelines in my books)

The Perfect Hummus Experience

photo by Olga Vasiljeva

Happy Friday, friends! Today, I've decided to share my beloved recipe for hummus perfection. My friends over at Sunshine Burger were asking how to make a really good, totally from-scratch hummus, so I just had to chime in with this recipe from my first book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth.

They were also wondering how to make this without using canned beans. I personally cook beans from scratch on a very regular basis. As in, my pressure cooker looks like it's been through several natural disasters. (It's really only been through one)

Cooking beans from scratch is a wonderful way to eat great on a budget as well, so I highly recommend it! There are many bean tips and yummy bean recipes in my books, but for those of you who don't have them (yet), here are the basics:

1. Soak your beans! Just place them in plenty of water overnight (or for about 8 hours), then drain them in the morning. This simple step will make them way more digestible (and quicker to cook).
2. For the love of all that is beans, toss in a piece of kombu while you're cooking them. Kombu is a sea vegetable that will do several things - it will add minerals, bring out the flavors, and increase digestibility. You can find dried kombu in any health food store.
3. If possible, use a pressure cooker. Don't be scared. They won't explode...unless you're using your grandma's model from 1954 and you do something really crazy with it. The newer models are all equipped with safety features, and pressure cooking is a great way to save time, use less energy, and preserve nutrients.

So, it really is your choice. You can use dried beans that you've cooked yourself, or for a quickie, go ahead and use some organic canned beans (Eden is a great brand). Either way, please enjoy this recipe...and let me know what you think!

Creamy Hummus with Variations

I fell in love with the flavor of this thinner, lemony hummus in college. The favorite lunch spot of everyone I knew was a café that served just this sort of hummus. I spent years trying to recreate it and finally discovered that the secret was to add enough lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil so that the end result would be unusually creamy and light tasting. Of course, if you prefer a thicker hummus you can simply omit the olive oil (or use less of it). If possible, refrigerate this for several hours (or overnight) before serving. This will give the raw garlic a chance to mellow and allow the flavors to become happily married.

1½ cups (one 15 oz. can) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed & drained*
2-3 medium cloves garlic, peeled
¼ cup raw tahini (sesame paste)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt (or less if you prefer)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil (regular or extra-virgin)*

In a food processor, blend the garbanzo beans and garlic cloves very well. Add the tahini, lemon juice, salt, and oil and process until fully emulsified and creamy. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to ten days. For best results, allow to warm to room temperature before serving.

Makes about 2 cups of hummus; 30 minutes or under! GF/SF/Blue (according to the health guidelines in my books)

*For a lower fat hummus, reserve the liquid when you drain the beans. Use ¼ cup bean liquid (and 2 tablespoons oil) instead of the full amount of oil.

Serving Suggestions:

Classic: Sprinkle the hummus with a little paprika and parsley. If you wish, drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil over the top. Serve with warmed pita wedges or crusty bread. Kalamata olives can also make an appearance here.

Falafel Burger: For a quick, delish falafel experience, place a Sunshine burger (falafel flavor) on a whole grain bun and slather with this creamy hummus. Top with sliced onions, lettuce, pickles, and tomatoes. You're welcome.

Hummus Wrap: Spread a tortilla generously with hummus. Top with all of your favorite fixings. I like to use chopped tomato, pickles, thinly sliced red onion, lettuce or spinach, fresh basil, kalamata olives, and cucumbers.

Greek Hummus “Pizza:” Please see the recipe for “Fresh Greek Delight” on page 135 of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth or check it out here on my blog. You won’t regret it.

Hummus with Zatar: Zatar is a tangy, unique, and delightful combination of sumac, thyme, and spices, and can be found in many health food stores (or online). You may sprinkle it over the hummus for a lovely and surprising flavor addition.

You can also find my recipe here for the "Wellness Weekend." Thanks so much, friends, and have a great weekend! :-)

Ginger Lime Carrot Soup

Ginger Lime Carrot Soup

This soup (recipe from my newest book, Radiance 4 Life) is pure, vibrant, delicious health in a bowl! If it were any healthier, it might be illegal in certain states. In fact, let’s just keep this between you and me.

▪ One medium sweet potato, baked until soft (1 cup sweet potato flesh)
   ▪ 3 medium-large carrots, trimmed and chopped (1½ cups chopped carrots)
   ▪ 2 cups plus 1 additional cup nondairy milk (plain and unsweetened)
   ▪ 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
   ▪ 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
   ▪ 2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
   ▪ 1¼ teaspoons sea salt
   ▪ ¼ - ½ teaspoon ground cayenne (½ teaspoon will make it very spicy)
   For serving: ¼ cup chopped cilantro

1. Bake the sweet potato if you haven’t already done so. Remove the skin and set aside.

2. In a medium pot, place the carrots in 2 cups of the nondairy milk. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the carrots are tender. This should take about 20 minutes.

3. Place the sweet potato in a blender along with the carrots and milk. Add the additional 1 cup of milk and all of the remaining ingredients (except the cilantro). Blend well, until very smooth. Serve immediately, topped with cilantro. Let the moaning begin!

Serves 4/GF/SF (if using soy-free milk)/Green (according to the guidelines in my books)

  Superstars: sweet potatoes, carrots, ginger, garlic, lime, chili peppers (cayenne)

Red Lentil, Spinach, & Lemon Soup

photo by Michelle Bebber (McCluggage)

So, today when I was trying to figure out what to share on my blog, I decided that - since it's my sweet mama's birthday - I would post one of her all-time favorite recipes of mine. She has always been one of my biggest fans and supporters and has shared my books with many of her friends and our family members. In fact, she recently made the decision to switch to a vegan diet after watching Forks Over Knives! So, Mom, this one's for you - thanks so much for being so wonderful and for always letting me know how much you love not only me but also my work. You're the best! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

Red Lentil, Spinach, & Lemon Soup (From Radiant Health, Inner Wealth)

My mom longs for this soup whenever she’s feeling under the weather. She equates it with Nature’s perfect medicine! Luckily, it’s also a snap to make and tastes phenomenal. Lemon lovers, this is just what the good doctor ordered!

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons oil (sunflower, coconut, olive, or safflower)
Medium-large onion, finely chopped (1½ cups chopped onion)
6 cups water, preferably filtered
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dry red lentils
Zest of 1 large organic lemon (about 2 teaspoons grated or finely minced zest)

It’s Thyme for Freshness:
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves, optional
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (start with ¼ cup if you’re lemon-shy)
½ cup nondairy milk, plain and unsweetened
4 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups (lightly packed) fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoon sea salt (or less if you prefer)
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Green Garnish:
¼ cup minced fresh chives (or scallion tops)

1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until soft and lightly browned.
2. Add the water, red lentils, and lemon zest. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are very soft, about 30-40 minutes.
3. Turn off the heat and add the thyme, lemon juice, milk, garlic, spinach, salt, and pepper. Stir well and cover the soup pot with the lid. Allow the soup to sit, covered, until the spinach is wilted.
4. Stir well and serve garnished with the fresh chives (or scallions). Feel it!

Serves 6; GF/SF/Green (according to the health guidelines in my books)

Gift Giving Giveaway!!

Greetings, friends!

I hope you're all enjoying your week so far. I know it's a little early to start thinking about the holidays, but since it's always nice to have gifts on hand for other occasions, I felt oddly inspired to do a giveaway today! And when I feel oddly inspired, I simply cannot be stopped.

Many of you have ordered several copies of my first book, Radiant Health, Inner Wealth to give as presents. Thanks for that, by the way! In fact, this has happened so often that I've occasionally done gift-giving specials and discounts on multiple copies of that book. I've been told it's a great resource for new vegans as it includes over 240 recipes as well as a complete kitchen set-up, food glossary, menu planning guide, and a bazillion other handy tips. I'm doing a giveway for THREE signed (2nd edition) copies of Radiant Health, Inner Wealth! If you win, you can give your copies to that aunt of yours who loves to cook, your friend who is flirting with veganism, or your boss just because you want to suck up. Your call. Or if you don't have a copy yet, keep one for yourself for the love of all that is good and holy!!

For your chance to win, please follow these simple steps...

1. Follow this blog (scroll down to the right side & click on "join this site")
2. "Like" my facebook fan page
3. Reply to this post telling us what your favorite plant-based autumn recipe is
4. Check back on my facebook page (or this blog) on September 20th to see if you've won!

Good luck and thanks for playing! And yes, so sorry but this contest is only for those in the U.S. (I learned the hard way when I spent $60 on shipping when of my previous contest winners was in the UK) I love, love, love my non-U.S. fans though. Kisses! Love! Please don't be bummed! :-)

I Want To Go Vegan - But How Do I Deal With The Rest Of The World? And Parties?

I've been asked about this topic so frequently - and by some of my closest family members and friends - that I've decided to do a blog post on it. Many people tell me that they're in love with the recipes in my books, they're fired up after watching "Forks Over Knives" (and/or the heartbreaking "Earthlings") and really want to make a change. They know that they can completely satisfy their taste buds with delicious vegan foods when they're in their own kitchens (or at fabulous vegetarian restaurants), but when they're out, they lose momentum.

And for those of you reading this who are all like "This blog post is lame! I came here for chocolate!" you might want to consider checking out all of what a plant-based (vegan) diet could do for you. As someone who has been vegan for 20 years now, I absolutely love it! The health benefits are amazing, the food is top-notch, and I don't have to worry about so many of the crippling health problems that are running rampant in our society. Win!

You may notice that this is an unusual blog post for me - in length and topic. I toyed with the idea of making it shorter, etc., but decided to give my readers the benefit of the doubt. I hope you will find it useful. And please let me know what you think! are a few of the questions I'm frequently asked, along with my responses.

"How do I refuse foods with animal products when I'm at someone's house? I don't want to seem rude!"

Trust me, I understand! I hate to seem rude myself and make every effort to be considerate and easygoing. So, here is generally what I would recommend: Ask your host(ess) in advance if there is a dish you can bring to contribute to the gathering. Say "Since I'm eating vegan these days, I'd love to bring a dish to share." That way, you are offering a contribution, letting your host(ess) know you're vegan, and not asking for special favors (though they're implied! ;-)) all at once.

Once you're actually at someone's house, you can just gently ask about the ingredients. You can even say "Sorry to be a pain, but I'm not eating anything with animal products in it. Can you please tell me which foods are vegan?" If you're polite and gentle with your words, you will help eliminate the stigma that vegans are demanding and/or rude. Because most of us aren't! :-)

And last of all, do not feel bad about saying no to many of the foods that are offered. I think we underestimate so many of the people around us! We think they'll be crestfallen if we don't eat all of the foods that are offered. But in truth, you never know where someone is at. Perhaps seeing our example will inspire them to try a healthier diet themselves. Perhaps it will make them use less of the unnecessary animal products in their own meals when they see us making different choices. Don't assume someone is going to be offended by the food choices you make, because perhaps they'll be inspired instead!

And hey, even if they are offended, the truth is that we cannot please people all of the time. If we are generally kind, thoughtful, easygoing, and polite, a few non-mainstream food choices will be no big deal. And again, as a 20-year vegan myself, I can say with confidence that this gets way, way easier with time!

I love the vegan foods from yummy vegetarian restaurants and your I know that you don't need the animal stuff to make food taste amazing! BUT...when I go to parties, events, or restaurants where there isn't exactly a four-star vegan caterer, the choices are insanely boring. Help!

Yeah, I hear you! The thing that immediately comes to mind for me was my 20-year reunion a few years ago. The vegan selections were abysmal. I think I ended up with a salad (even the raspberry dressing tasted like toxic metal - what's up with that??) and some overcooked vegetables. YUM. Oh, and I think I paid like $25 for the privilege of eating that meal, too. Uh, yeah. This, my friends, is why some people think we vegans live on boring food and have a difficult lot in life. Which we don't under any other circumstances!

But yeah, back to the point at hand...what to do? First of all, you usually know when you're going to end up somewhere with crappy food choices. And I'm probably not going to tell you anything here that you haven't heard before. There's no magic solution here. But I will tell you what works every time for me. Here's what I do: First of all, I eat beforehand. Then, I don't really care what they have there for me to eat. Sometimes l also bring a few snacks, just in case. While I'm there, I focus on the non-food aspects, namely the people that I'm there to see! And if it's an event where it's appropriate to bring a dish to share, I always do.

And for those of you who might feel bummed about not indulging in the standard American fare that is being offered, all I can say is that it WILL get easier! If you associate non-vegan food with something that is totally off limits (say, toxic chemicals or garbage), you won't be tempted. I know it sounds like an extreme way to put it, and I hope I'm not offending anyone here. But really, this is how I look at food. It's either FOOD (something that will nourish me) or NON-FOOD (something that will feel like garbage in my body).

In fact, I think that's what helped me so many years ago. I struggled most of all with giving up chicken. Those who knew me back then may even remember me saying "I can give up red meat, but I will NEVER give up chicken!" It was my favorite "food" growing up. Well, once I hit my sophomore year of college and began watching videos on the incredible suffering that goes into producing my beloved fried chicken - and once I began to see how much healthier I was without it - I began to view chicken in a whole different light. I would see a piece of chicken and instantly an image of a sick and suffering chicken would pop into my mind. No thanks!

So, simply put - work on your associations. If there are foods you want OUT of your diet, then begin to change the way you think about them. Associate new images and feelings with those foods. Make it a conscious effort. I can guarantee you, it really does work!

My family is giving me a hard time about being vegan. They say I'm being extreme and also that it's not as healthy as I think. What me do??

Yes, I am also familiar with this one!! Back when I became vegan, most of my family was against the idea. In fact, many of them really gave me sh*t about it! But I stuck with it. And here's what reaaaaally made a difference: I got very good at making delicious vegan foods and invited them over for dinners! It got to the point where they stopped saying things like "What can you even eat as a vegan??" and started saying things like "WOW, I can't believe this is vegan! This is the best thing I ever ate!"

My sweet grandma (lover of chicken pot pie and ham and cheese sandwiches) once said "If you cooked for me, I would go vegan!" So, yeah, get good at cooking. It will do more for gaining support than anything else I could possibly tell you! And for those of you who need some seriously omnivore-converting recipes, be sure to check out my books and this blog for ideas!

Another idea is to watch Forks Over Knives with them. I watched this recently with my mom and she texted me several days later to say she was going vegan!! GO MOM!

My final suggestion is to just be patient and give them time. Not everyone is like my daughter Alethea, who has been a happy vegan all her life. Most of us were also meat-eaters at one point, so let us not forget to be compassionate with others! We win more team members with compassion, understanding, and love than we do with pressure and pushing.

And remember too that people often do not have a complete understanding of nutrition, no matter how many dairy ads they saw as a child! ;-) They really are worried about how you're going to get your protein! But in my case, I just continued to answer their questions with patience. I kept a sense of humor when they teased me (a good sense of humor goes a long way!!). I cooked them insanely delicious food. And now, most of the ones teasing me are now vegetarians or vegans themselves! Patience. Love. Humor. Joy. Deliciousness. Yes, they work wonders! :-)

And last but not least, it's as Einstein (also a vegetarian) once said: "Setting an example is not the main means of influencing another, it is the only means." Just BE that example of great health, joyful living, and compassion, and you will create more positive change than you could ever know.

I hope I answered many of your questions...and if not, let me know! I'm happy to address this subject, as I feel it is really important. Much love and thanks so much for stopping by! xoxo