Tacos on Toast






I had a two-hour break between classes this morning, and used the first half of that break to go for a swim. That meant that once I got back to my apartment, I was on a bit of a time crunch to shower, get ready for my next class, and grab a quick but healthy lunch before heading out. I had some black beans in my fridge that I wanted to eat, as well as an avocado, but didn’t have time to cook rice to serve them with. I thought, well, I could just make some toast on the side, that’ll be quick, and then it hit me: why not combine them? The experiment was a success, and I would recommend this quick and easy lunch to busy people everywhere.


  • 2 slices of your favorite whole grain toast
  • 1/2 of an avocado
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 of a medium tomato, diced
  • small handful of cilantro
  • Salt and pepper


Spread avocado thickly and evenly across both slices of toast, and drizzle with lime juice. Top with black beans and tomatoes, and press them down into the avocado with a fork for easier eating. Finally, garnish with cilantro and finish with salt and pepper. You can add whatever ingredients strike your fancy to this very versatile recipe, too – I think red onions, bell peppers, and corn would be excellent additions. Enjoy!


Sweet Potato Lentil Curry

IMG_2853This stew is one of my favorite recipes, especially to make on cold, snowy days like today. With the flavors and aromas of spicy curry combined with hearty lentils and nutritious veggies, it is perfect for warming up after shoveling snow or walking back from class in subzero wind chills. It is also very easy to alter according to the vegetables you have on hand. Stay warm everyone!


  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, or 2 tomatoes, blanched and diced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you are so inclined!)

After preparing the vegetables, sautée the onion and celery in olive oil until the onion is translucent. Then, add the rest of the ingredients, along with four cups of water. Bring to a boil, and cook about 25 minutes, until the sweet potatoes and lentils are tender.

Veggie Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce


This is a delicious dinner that tastes as fantastic as it looks. I love Thai food, and while I’m not going to pretend my at-home imitations are quite authentic restaurant-quality, I do like to channel the flavors and ingredients of my favorite ethnic cuisines in my home cooking. Enjoy!

Ingredients (for 2 servings):

2 servings worth of brown rice noodles
1 medium yellow onion, sliced into strips
1 large or 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced (about 1 cubic inch un-chopped)
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
1 small head of broccoli
1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame
2 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp brown sugar
1/4 cup shredded carrots
2 green onions, chopped
cilantro, chopped, to taste
crushed red pepper, to taste

-Prepare rice noodles according to package directions 
-Saute ginger, garlic, and onions in olive oil
-Add red pepper, broccoli, and edamame, stir fry until broccoli is tender and edamame is thawed
-Turn down heat to low and add noodles when finished cooking
-Add peanut butter, folding into noodles
-Mix soy sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar and add to pan
-Garnish with cilantro and green onions.

Mexican Quinoa Salad

One of my favorite recipes!

This weekend, I had to bring a salad to a family function, so I went with this quinoa salad, a proven crowd favorite. I adapted the recipe from a Whole Foods cooking class  I attended in a few years back and have been enjoying it often since. Combining a familiar but no less delicious mix of Southwestern flavors with the nutritious benefits of quinoa, a pseudograin with a complete amino acid profile, you can’t go wrong here!

For the Quinoa:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tbsp ground black pepper

For the toppings:

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

Add all of the quinoa ingredients to the pot, bring to a boil, and simmer 12-15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Add the cilantro and mix, followed by the corn, beans, and veggies. If you’re not serving this immediately, it tastes great refrigerated as well; just save the avocado to add right before you eat. The spiciness level of this salad is fairly mild, but if you’re looking for an extra kick, adding some jalapeños or cayenne pepper will do the trick.





Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes

Avocado Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter FrostingIMG_2841

As a vegan of five years, I’ve done a good bit of experimenting with alternative baking methods, from black bean brownies to date-nut dessert bars. Until this summer, however, I hadn’t had much luck on the cake and cupcake front. However I recently found an unsuspecting winner in this department: avocados. After reading about their potential to be used as a healthy fat substitute in baking, I had to give it a try.

Now before you cringe at the sheer incongruity of something so green and warty becoming the glue of such a decadent dessert, just think for a minute about guacamole. It’s thick and creamy and primarily composed of fats that give it that luscious, addicting texture…kind of like butter, except with unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat and cholesterol (and it’s green). You can sub a medium-sized avocado for one stick of butter, as both come to about half a cup, and it works wonders! You can also use avocados for a tasty frosting– just make sure to thoroughly mix in the cocoa to avoid green spots peeking through.

I made a version of this earlier in the summer when I was in Costa Rica, where many vegan baking staples were difficult to come by but avocados were cheap and plentiful. This version is altered to be lower in refined sugar, but tastes just as great!


  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ½ cup agave nectar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 avocado

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Combine the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls, being sure to mash the avocado well, and stir thoroughly. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and whisk with an electric mixer for at least a minute, until batter is smooth. Line baking pans, add batter, and bake for 20 minutes. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Chocolate Avocado Frosting

  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder

Mix well using electric mixer, and frost cupcakes once they have cooled completely.

Give these to your friends and family and see if they can guess what’s in them…my brothers definitely didn’t, but they did give their stamp of approval. Enjoy!



Thai Crunch Quinoa Salad

This recipe was inspired by my favorite dish at California Pizza Kitchen, the Thai Crunch Salad (hence the name). This uses quinoa as the base instead of Napa cabbage, so it’s a more filling, protein-packed entree, but it retains the flavors of cilantro, avocado, and Thai peanut sauce that I love in the original.

Thai Crunch Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1.5 cup frozen edamame
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • ¼ c unsalted dry roasted peanuts

Cook quinoa in water, bringing water to a boil and then simmering 10-15 minutes.  Cook edamame according to package instructions and add to quinoa when finished, along with other ingredients and dressing.


  • 2 tbsp natural almond or peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cupwater

Combine all ingredients but almond butter and water and mix well.  Add almond butter and stir into liquid, adding water as needed to achieve consistent and creamy texture. Mix evenly into quinoa.

This can be served warm or refrigerated, but since I made it ahead of time for a dinner party, I served it chilled and it was great. The recipe serves at least 8.

Super Healthy Banana Bread

Banana bread has been one of my favorite treats since my pre-vegan days, and I’ve been trying for awhile to find a good, healthy recipe that rivals the non-vegan original my mom makes. This variety is 100% whole grain, low in fat and with no added sugars, but it is nonetheless moist and cake-like due to the use of sweet, ripe bananas along with one superfood that is also, as it turns out, a super baking ingredient: chia seeds. Combined with 1/4 cup of water for every tablespoon of seeds, they form a gel-like substance that makes as good an egg replacer as it does a pre-run energy gel.  Here’s the recipe.

  • 2-3 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4-1/2 cup walnuts, if desired
  • 1/4 cup oats to garnish the top of the loaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mash bananas with a fork or masher in a large bowl. Combine flour and other dry ingredients and add to bananas. Add chia seed mixture and vanilla extract, and mix well until all flour is incorporated into the dough. Lastly, add the walnuts. Grease a pan with vegetable oil or cooking spray, and pour in the batter. Cook for 45 minutes in a normal loaf pan, 25 minutes if using mini pans like I did here, or 20 minutes if making muffins (which I’ve also tried with this recipe!). Check to make sure the loaf is cooked, let it cool as necessary, and enjoy!

Curried Quinoa Salad

Hello internet, I’m back after two busy weeks! Lots of working, commuting, visiting, running, and, yes, cooking have gone by, yet I haven’t managed to come up with anything to post on here. Shameful. Mostly, I think, it’s that I need to get more in the habit of photographing my culinary creations. Don’t worry, I’ll work on it.

Anyway, this weekend I tackled a thirteen-mile long run, after which I needed a hearty, protein-filled meal to refuel the tank, so I made this spicy and delicious quinoa salad for dinner. The best part: it only takes 20 minutes to prepare!

Quick and easy, this tastes even better than it looks!

Curried Quinoa Salad

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Cook the quinoa in the water with the spices, bringing to a boil and simmering 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the pepper and tomato and prepare all other ingredients. Add everything to the pot when the quinoa is done, and voila! Dinner is served.


Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

Can’t beat leftovers for lunch. :)

Last night’s dinner was a tried and true favorite that I perfected about two years back. Rich, flavorful, and based off a traditional classic, it has the seal of approval from my omnivorous parents and siblings, so I make it often. As the only vegan in the house, my new recipes are sometimes first met with suspicion, as if the food is somehow less valid or missing something, but I have to say they’ve become much more open-minded since I began cooking on a regular basis.

This particular recipe is packed with veggies and legumes, providing tons of protein, fiber, and nutrients, and it derives its flavor not from salt or sugar but the potent combo of cocoa powder, cumin, and chili powder – sort of like a Latin American mole sauce. A lot of people are surprised about the inclusion of chocolate, but I’m convinced its savory flavor makes the recipe.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili

A pan-full of colorful goodness.

  • 1 large sweet potato, cooked
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can black beans and 1 can kidney beans (or 2 black)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • chili powder: 1 tsp = mild, 2 tsp = medium, 1 tbsp = spicy

Cook the sweet potato for 6 minutes in the microwave, or by your preferred method. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables and sautée them in olive oil, adding first the onions and peppers, followed by the zucchini. When the onions are translucent and the zucchini cooked, add the tomatoes and sweet potato and stir in, mashing the sweet potato as you go. Add the water and spices, and simmer. Drain and rinse the beans, and add to the pan. At this point, it can be served whenever you think it looks done – it should resemble the photo above.

This dish is delicious on its own, or served over brown rice.  Enjoy!

Red Pepper Peach Chickpea Salad

After a long day of work followed by a long run, I needed a quick dinner with lots of protein, and without an overwhelming variety of veggies or legumes in the house, this is what I came up with. The sweetness of the peaches complemented the peppers and a tangy vinaigrette for a pretty delicious – and quick – result!

A really easy dish that turned out deliciously!

Red Pepper Peach Chickpea Salad

1 can chickpeas

1 red pepper, diced

5 green onions, chopped 

1 peach, diced

1 small carrot, grated

Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp pomegranate-infused (or regular) balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp water

First, rinse and drain the chickpeas and add to large bowl. Next, chop and dice your vegetables and mix them into the beans. Combine the ingredients for the vinaigrette and pour over the salad evenly, mixing well. Lastly, grate the carrot over the salad to garnish. Enjoy!

Prep time: 10 minutes. Feeds 3-4 as a side dish.