Tag Archives: vegetarian

9 Celebs You Didn’t Know Were Vegan

1. Mike Tyson

A plant-based diet helped Mike Tyson lose 100 pounds over a 3 year period.

A plant-based diet helped Mike Tyson lose 100 pounds over a 3 year period.

2. Betty White

92-year-old Betty White has been vegan for years and vegetarian for decades.

92-year-old Betty White has been vegan for years and vegetarian for decades.

3. Bill Clinton

Former President Bill Clinton adopted a vegan diet in 2010 after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery several years earlier.

Former President Bill Clinton adopted a vegan diet in 2010 after undergoing quadruple bypass surgery several years earlier.

4. Al Gore

Former Vice President Al Gore is newly vegan, according to Forbes.

Former Vice President Al Gore is newly vegan, according to Forbes.

5. Joaquin Phoenix

Actor Joaquin Phoenix says he's been vegan since the age of 3 after watching a fish die on a family outing.

Actor Joaquin Phoenix says he’s been vegan since the age of 3 after watching a fish die on a family outing.

6. Alanis Morissette

Alanis Morissette says she eats vegan about 80% of the time.  She has done so since 2009.

Alanis Morissette says she eats vegan about 80% of the time. She has done so since 2009.

7. Usher

Usher turned to a vegan lifestyle in 2012 several years after his father died of a heart attack.

Usher turned to a vegan lifestyle in 2012 several years after his father died of a heart attack.

8. Russell Brand

Russell Brand has been a vegetarian for years, but switched to a strict vegan diet after watching the film "Forks Over Knives".

Russell Brand has been a vegetarian for years, but switched to a strict vegan diet after watching the film “Forks Over Knives”.

9. Woody Harrelson

Hunger Games star Woody Harrelson has been animal-free for over 25 years.

Hunger Games star Woody Harrelson has been animal-free for over 25 years.


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.

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!

Recipe: Cheesy Vegan Spaghetti Squash Casserole

There are few things I find more satisfying than visiting the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning, and using the treasures I find to make a local, seasonal meal later that day… even if it’s just for myself.  That’s exactly what I did this past weekend.  I woke up (sort of) early to go shopping, seeing that our days of farmer’s markets are just about done for the year.  I saw a spaghetti squash for $3, and I got inspired.  I have always been a fan of spaghetti squash because it’s low in calories and high in nutrients.  Plus, it kind of makes you feel like you’re eating noodles.  I usually eat it just like a big bowl of pasta with marinara, but I wanted to try something different this time around.  Enter TEESE.

Teese Cheese

It’s a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free vegan alternative to traditional cheese.  It melts.  It stretches.  Above all, it’s super delicious.  I’ve had other vegan cheeses, and Teese blows all of them out of the water.  They have several varieties.  I used the Creamy Cheddar Sauce in this recipe.  It’s made in Chicago, but you can find a place that sells it near you by visiting THIS link.  You can even order online.  Trust me.  It’s worth searching for!

This recipe takes some time, but there are only 5 ingredients, not counting the salt or the cooking spray.  The result is a decadent, holiday-worthy side dish that tastes like serious comfort food with a fraction of the calories!

Cheesy Vegan Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Serves 4

About 125 Calories Per Serving



  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • One 10 oz. tube of Teese Creamy Cheddar Sauce (if you are not vegan, dairy cheese can be substituted, but I cannot personally vouch for the results)
  • 10 oz. of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cooking spray


  1. With a large knife, slice spaghetti squash down the middle from the stem to the base.  Scoop out seeds.  Place each half face down on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes, until the outsides can be easily pierced with a fork.
  2. While the squash is cooking, unwrap the Teese and place in a large mixing bowl.  Set aside.
  3. Lightly spray a large skillet with cooking oil, and saute the garlic, leek, and mushrooms until browned.
  4. Add the ingredients, while still warm, to the bowl with the Teese.  Mix well to make a smooth, creamy sauce.
  5. When the spaghetti squash is done and cool enough to handle, scrape the strings from the shells using a fork into the bowl with the Teese sauce.
  6. Mix well and transfer to a large casserole dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for about an hour until thick and bubbly and browned on top.

If you’re feeling brave, consider these mix-ins to spice things up:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Tomato
  • Seasoned seitan crumbles

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

People can’t shut up about pumpkin right now.  Pumpkin latte this.  Pumpkin bread that.  I even saw a Facebook post the other day about Pumpkin spice M&M’s.  I mean, really.  There is a line, and I believe it has been crossed.

I’ve been fighting like hell not to care, but I finally gave up over the weekend when I saw a can of pumpkin puree on sale.  Shit.  I guess summer’s about over.  Whatever.  Let’s eat!

I can’t deny that pumpkin pie is delicious, so I came up with a way to eat something that tastes like it for breakfast!  This recipe is healthy, it’s filling, and if it can put a reluctant old grump like me in the mood for fall, anything is possible!


Serves One

Calories: About 330


  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 c. milk of choice*
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 1 tbsp. chopped & roasted pecans**
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. 100% pure maple syrup***


  1. Prepare oats according to directions with the milk called for in the recipe.  Include the cranberries, too.  They plump nicely when cooked.
  2. While the oats are still hot, stir in the pureed pumpkin, the spices, and the pecans.
  3. Drizzle maple syrup on top and enjoy!


* I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, which reflects in the calorie total calculated.  If you use a different type of milk, your calorie count may vary.

** I find roasting the pecans in the oven for just a few minutes makes a huge difference flavor-wise.  All you need to do is spread them on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees.  This is something you can do ahead of time.  5-10 minutes is probably plenty.  Just keep an eye on them because there is a fine line between roasted and straight-up burned.

*** If you’re aiming to cut sugar/calories and you still want a really sweet bowl of oatmeal, let a natural, calorie-free sweetener like stevia do the heavy lifting.  Add just a touch of maple syrup to the top for flavor.

Recipe: One Minute Cake in a Mug

How many times have you been sitting at home and been like… “Man.  How long is it going to take for someone to come up with a cake delivery service?”.  For me, it’s at least once every week.  Sometimes I’ll sub “cake” for “ice cream”… or maybe I’ll want both… but you get the idea.  Every now and then, you just want a little dessert without the hassle of putting on pants and leaving the house.  And I’m sure as shit not going to make an entire cake to keep at home, because I WILL eat the whole thing.  I just know myself, and that kind irresponsibility will only end in an elastic waistband.  Not worth it.

Anyhow, this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Chocolate Covered Katie, solves BOTH problems.  You get a quick dessert AND a single serving!  No anxiety about over-eating.  And, don’t get me wrong, you’re still eating cake… but, the ingredients in this recipe are healthier than your typical bakery treat.  Plus, it’s vegan (without the chocolate chips).  Enjoy it without guilt.  I suggest washing it down with an ice cold glass of cold almond milk.  Mmmmmm.

One Minute Cake in a Mug

Serves One

Calories: 285



  • 1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. cocoa/cacao powder
  • 3 tbsp. flour (I used whole wheat, but white works as does spelt of gluten-free)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar or sugar substitute (xylitol, maple syrup, etc.)
  • 1 stevia packet (equal to 2-4 drops of liquid stevia, or 1 extra tbsp. of sugar choice above)
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk of choice (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. semi sweet chocolate chips


  1. Combine the dry ingredients first.  Mix very well.
  2. Add wet ingredients, then transfer to a small greased container, i.e. ramekin or coffee mug.
  3. Nuke on high for 45-60 seconds.
  4. Let cool for a minute or two.  Enjoy straight out of the mug, or in a bowl with your choice of toppings.  Best when warm!

If you’re looking for a healthier frosting recipe to go with this cake, try Katie’s Reese’s Pieces Fudge Frosting.  It’s includes healthier ingredients, too… and it looks ahhhhmazing!

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