Tag Archives: healthy

Recipe: Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!  On day 3 of this week’s recipe blitz, I bring you a suitable substitute for mashed potatoes – mashed cauliflower!

Usually, mashed cauliflower lacks a certain creaminess, which is disappointing.  But instead of using dairy to fill the void, I added something else – white beans!  Don’t knock it until you try it.  It makes total sense.  Pureed beans are what?  Hummus.  Hummus is creamy.  So are mashed potatoes.  The circle is complete, and it totally works.  Add a tiny pat of Earth Balance or butter on top of your mashed-up mound, garnish with some green onions, and WHOA.  Flavor explosion.

Garlic Cauliflower Mash

Serves 6



  • 2 heads of cauliflower
  • 1 and 1/2 c. canned white beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/2 c. plain unsweetened nut milk.  I used almond.
  • 4 small shallots, diced
  • 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • sea salt, to taste
  • Cooking spray.  I used coconut oil cooking spray from Trader Joe’s.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop cauliflower into florets.  Add to a baking sheet with garlic and shallots.  Coat generously with cooking spray, stir, and roast for about an hour until cauliflower is tender and slightly browned.  The shallots and garlic may look a little burned.  This is okay.  The little crispy bits will at a lot of flavor to the final product.  This is also why the cauliflower mash looks more brown than white.  Brown = flavor!MASH 2
  3. Add roasted cauliflower combo to a food processor with beans and nut milk.  Puree on high until you reach a creamy consistency.  It took me several minutes.  Just be patient.  It’ll get there.
  4. Add sea salt to taste, and serve warm.

Recipe: Chocolate Maple Pecan Pie

Welcome to day 2 of my Thanksgiving Blitz!  I’m posting holiday recipes each day through Thursday.  Today, let’s indulge in some PECAN PIE!


I never really liked pecan pie until one day, someone added chocolate chips.  Total game changer.  But traditional pecan pie, chocolate or not, has a lot of eggs, butter, and refined sugars.  This version is not only plant-based, but 100% whole grain and refined sugar-free!  The secret ingredient – tofu!  Don’t gag.  I promise you can’t even tell it’s there.  All it’s doing is taking the place of the eggs in helping bind and set the rest of the ingredients.  Do not fear the tofu!

Chocolate Maple Pecan Pie

Serves 8



  • 1 pre-made whole grain 9 in. pie shell.  I got mine in the freezer section of Whole Foods.
  • 2 tbsp. 100% whole wheat flour.  Any flour you have should work.
  • 1 c. pecans halves, chopped… plus a few extra to decorate the top
  • 6 oz. extra firm tofu, drained & dried
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened nut milk.  I used vanilla almond.
  • 1/2 c. vegan chocolate chips.  I used Lily’s brand dark chocolate baking chips, which are sweetened with stevia.  Amazing.
  • 1/2 c. 100% pure maple syrup
  • 1 c. unrefined granulated sweetener.  I used stevia to avoid extra calories, but something like coconut sugar would also work.
  • 1/4 c. virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, puree the tofu, nut milk, flour, and vanilla together to make a paste.  Set aside.
  3. In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisk together the maple syrup and granulated sweetener.  Cook until bubbly, then remove from the burner.  Add coconut oil and stir until melted.
  4. Whisk in the tofu puree, then add the chopped pecans and the chocolate chips.  Poor entire mixture into the prepared pie shell.
  5. Decorate the top of the pie with pecan halves, then bake at 350 degrees for about an hour until pie is set and the crust is slightly brown.  Let cool before serving.  Keeps well in the fridge.

OPTIONAL AWESOMENESS:  Coconut whipped cream.  Guys, it’s so easy to make.  Check out the tutorial at one of my favorite sites, Oh She Glows.

Recipe adapted from Post Punk Kitchen


Recipe: Savory Sprouted Stuffing With Cranberries & Pecans

Thanksgiving is a mere 3 days away!  And this week, starting today, I’ll be doing something I’ve never done.  I’ll be posting one recipe each morning through the big day!  Four recipes in four days.  It’s a Thanksgiving blitz!  So make sure you LIKE The Hungry Tortoise on Facebook to keep up.  These are all dishes that are easy, traditional, and delicious.  And seriously, unless you tell them, your family will have no idea they’re totally plant-based.

On to today’s taste treat – STUFFING.  Who doesn’t love stuffing? STUFFING 4

Growing up, it was all Stove Top all the time.  I could still eat an entire box in one sitting without batting an eye.  Not the healthiest idea, but everything changed for me when I realized how easy it would be to make a healthier stuffing from scratch.  With almost any recipe you find, just substitute the broth & the butter for plant-based versions and you’re on your way!  But because I’m not satisfied with just bread and seasoning, I added a few yum yums to this version.  The pecans add some crunch, the cranberries provide a sweet compliment to the savory, and the mushrooms make it meaty.  For the bread, I used Ezekiel 4:9 100% Whole Grain Sprouted Bread.  It’s hearty so it holds up well, and because it’s sprouted, it’s easier for your body to digest.

Savory Sprouted Stuffing with Cranberries & Pecans

Serves 6



  • 12 slices of sprouted whole grain bread, diced into half-inch cubes
  • 8 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. plant-based buttery spread.  I used Earth Balance.
  • 1.5 c. pecans, chopped
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  • 1.5 to 2 c. of veggie broth
  • 1 tbsp. poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. sage
  • 1 tbsp. dried savory
  • OPTION: vegetarian sausage.  I used the smoked apple sage variety from Original Field Roast Grain Meat Company.  I got it at Whole Foods, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place cubed bread on a large baking sheet and toast until slightly crispy.
  3. In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt the buttery spread and sauté the celery, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and sausage (if using).  Cook until translucent and slightly caramelized.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the toasted bread with the ingredients you just sautéed.  Add the pecans, cranberries, and herbs.
  5. With the ingredients still in the mixing bowl, slowly drizzle in the veggie broth.  I used a full two cups because I like my stuffing a little soggy.  If you like your drier, use a little less.  Totally up to you.
  6. Once everything is well-mixed, transfer to a casserole dish greased with buttery spread or cooking spray.  Cover with foil.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 10 for a slightly crispy top layer.

OPTION:  Another nice touch that I definitely recommend – baking the stuffing in an acorn squash.  Not only will it look fancy, but you get that squash-stuffing combo on your fork.  So tasty.  Just make sure you bake the squash halves alone for about 20 minutes to get them started.  Add the stuffing when they’re just slightly tender.


Food Review: Chipotle’s Sofritas

I still remember the first time I had Chipotle.  It was early on during my freshman year of college.  I had a chicken burrito.  Truth be told, I wasn’t a huge fan at first.  It only took one more trip for me to come around.  Now, like most people on planet Earth, I’m drawn to the place.  It’s relatively inexpensive, the ingredients are simple and fresh, it’s veggie friendly, and now… drum roll, please… Chipotle is testing a plant-based protein option.  It’s called SOFRITAS!  Holy frijoles!SOFRITAS 1

The sofritas option consists of organic tofu, seasoned and braised.  Chipotle says it’s shredded.  I’d say the texture more resembles ground turkey or chicken.  But before you get too excited, know this – right now, sofritas are only available on the West Coast, in Chicago, and a limited number of cities on the East Coast. They’re not available everywhere quite yet.  But it didn’t take long for Chipotle’s brown rice to spread like wildfire.  I have a feeling sofritas aren’t far behind.

So I tried them in a bowl today, and here’s the verdict in a word – YES.SOFRITAS 2Sofritas have a lot of flavor, so much so that I didn’t need my favorite smoked chipotle Tabasco sauce.  Some reviewers say there’s too much salt.  I disagree.  But I also put salt on almost everything, so my tongue might be a little pickled.  Who knows.

The texture, as I said, resembles ground turkey or chicken.  The tofu is extra firm, so it holds its shape well.  I’m used to loading my bowl with just veggies, rice and beans, so it was nice to add something a little different.  I finished the entire thing, and when I was done, I was satisfied, but not overly full.  I even managed to run a solid 3 miles as soon as I got home.  Yes, without puking.  Shocking, right?

The best part is that the calorie content is relatively low.  Sofritas have 145 calories in a 4 ounce serving.  That’s compared to 190 in almost every other protein option, including chicken.

Bottom line:  I was really looking forward to trying sofritas.  My beloved Chipotle did not let me down.  I will be ordering them again.

Thirsty Thursday: Plant-Based Hot Cocoa

Dairy is a hard thing to avoid, especially once you realize it hides in EVERYTHING.  Breakfast cereal, chocolate, sandwich bread, protein bars… even non-dairy coffee creamer!  It’s mind-numbing… and kind of cruel.  But, despite the craziness, I’m making an effort to stay away from dairy, at least for now, as an experiment to find out how it affects the symptoms I experience with rheumatoid arthritis.  I came across another woman in the blogging community who also has RA.  Her name is Jamie Shupak.  She’s a TV personality in NYC, an author, and she founded the food blog TV Dinner.  She is smart and creative, and the site has lots of great recipes.  Definitely check it out.  But she stopped eating dairy and ended up feeling a lot better, so I figured… if it worked for her, why couldn’t it work for me?  I’ll let you know if it does!

Until then, I’m getting creative so that I can still enjoy my favorite treats.  Want a rich, creamy mug of hot chocolate without the cow?  Follow the instructions below!

Plant-Based Hot Cocoa

Serves 2

240 Calories Per Serving



  • 1 c. light coconut milk
  • 1 c. unsweetened almond milk
  • 2.5 tbsp. raw cacao powder (cocoa powder will also work)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • All-natural sweetener, to taste (calorie calculations are based on stevia, which has no calories)


  1. Heat coconut milk & almond milk on the stove top over medium-low heat in a small sauce pan.
  2. Add cacao, vanilla, and sweetener.  Heat until desired temperature is reached, stirring constantly.

Helpful Tip:  Any leftovers keep well in the fridge to drink cold or re-heat in the microwave.

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles

Eat raw cookie dough without fear of salmonella or diabetes!


Today’s recipe is inspired by this site’s most popular recipe EVER, the infamous Chocolate Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookies.  The main ingredient, once again, is chickpeas… but I tweaked the measurements a bit for a doughier, less-sticky batter.  These little spheres are 100% plant-based, dairy-free, grain-free, and guilt free… unless you eat 75% of the batch yourself in one weekend… which I may or may not have done.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Truffles

Makes 45 Balls

45 Calories Per Ball (25 w/o Chocolate Shell)


Cookie Dough

  • 1 and 1/4 c. canned chickpeas, rinsed and patted try (almost an entire can, but not quite)
  • 1/2 c. natural peanut butter
  • Powdered stevia.  Use the equivalent of 1/4 c. sugar.  Other natural sweeteners like maple syrup or agave may work, but the dough will be significantly stickier and harder to work with.
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips (use vegan chips to make the recipe dairy-free)

Chocolate Shell Coating

  • 1/4 c. organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. cacao or cocoa powder
  • Stevia or other natural sweetener, to taste.


  1. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Throw all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, into a food processor.  Blend, scraping the sides occasionally, until combined.  This will take some time and patience.  The dough will be a bit crumbly.
  3. Remove blade.  Add chocolate chips.  Fold them into the dough by hand.
  4. With a teaspoon, scoop small portions of the dough into your palm.  Roll into the shape of a ball.  Place on parchment-lined cookie sheet, and stab with a toothpick.  Repeat until all of the dough is gone.
  5. Pop the balls in the freezer for a few hours.  This will allow the chocolate shell coating to harden on contact.
  6. When balls are frozen, melt coconut oil on low heat, either on the stove top or in the microwave.  Add cocoa and stevia.  Stir until dissolved.
  7. Dip each cookie dough ball in the coconut oil mixture one by one.  The chocolate should harden almost immediately.  Return to the parchment paper to set.  Repeat until all balls are dipped in chocolate.
  8. Store in the fridge, especially in summer.  Otherwise, the chocolate shell will melt!


Recipe: Sweet Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms

True story.  I lived and worked with my best friend for almost 4 years before moving to Chicago.  Also true – this friend hated mushrooms.  We shared meals often, which meant no mushrooms on anything ever.   Not even on my half of the pizza.  A small price to pay for friendship, right?

When she got a fancy new job in California, saying goodbye was hard.  Tears were shed.  But maybe the only good thing about her moving away was that I got to say HELLO again to delicious, meaty mushrooms.

Today’s recipe is one I’m especially proud of, not just because it’s beautiful and really, really yummy, but because I had almost nothing by way of groceries in my apartment when I made it.  This recipe wasn’t planned ahead of time, as most on this blog are.  It was birthed from necessity, and by scraping together whatever was left in the fridge and pantry before payday.

These little mushrooms are hardy.  They’re filling.  They’re healthy.  And wouldn’t they make cute little appetizers for Thanksgiving?  Sweet potato poppers!  Adorable!

Sweet Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes About 6 Mushrooms

33 Calories Each



  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 6 large mushroom caps (I used plain ol’ white mushrooms), rinsed with stems removed
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 6 pecan halves
  • sea salt, to taste


  1. Peel, slice, and boil the sweet potato until tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. While the sweet potato is boiling, brown your onion in a small skilled with a little bit of cooking spray.
  3. When the potato is done, drain the water, and transfer it to a heat-resistant food processor with the onion.  Blend until smooth.  Add sea salt to taste.
  4. Stuff the clean mushroom caps with as much of the mashed sweet potato as you can.  Top each with a pecan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender and the potato tops are just a little bit brown.
  6. Drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy!


Craving more sweet potato?  Try my recipe for Crispy Sweet Potato Chips!

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