Mango Kick + Other Faves = Smile at your Smoothie

Per the title and previous post (and the mango salsa in my fridge), I’m on a mango kick, so the other day when I popped into Trader Joe’s to get my favorite tofu, I did my normal mosey about the aisles and decided to get some frozen mango cubes. Well, that was a good idea because it bore the most delicious of smoothies, complete with all the tastiness you might expect from the likes of a Jamba Juice without all the sneaky calories.



  • 1 c frozen mangoes, cubed
  • 1 c sweetened vanilla almond milk (I use Sprout’s brand)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 orange
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup ice
  • 5 mint leaves


Throw it all in a blender and pulse to your desired thickness.


The mint is the kicker. Perfect for the summer heat that has all but settled here in San Diego!

Posted in Smoothies, Uncategorized, Vegan | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Mango Three Bean Salad + Mango Lime Cilantro Tahini Dressing = Virtual Vegan Potluck III

Aaaahhhhh!!! Virtual Vegan Potluck! Did you see how many people are participating?! Whoa. Way to go VVP Team!


I almost didn’t sign up this year because I sold my soul to my senior class and their end of year term papers, but what’s spring time without a little virtual vegan love? So I rolled with it in simple terms: salad. In reality, salad can be just as complicated as any other course, but I’ve been on such a “leave the ingredients alone” kick that I thought this just might work for me. In my opinion, a salad is anything that has some form of vegetation. I tend to just throw all my favorite fruits and vegetables in a bowl and hope they meld together okay, which they tend to do. All my favorites in a bowl is actually what I could call this salad, but instead I’ll give it the long, descriptive name of: Mango Three Bean Salad with Mango Lime Cilantro Tahini Dressing. It’s long, but at least you know exactly what you’re getting.



  • All the veg you could possibly desire, including either red or green onions – all chopped (or sliced)
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1.5 cups white corn kernels (frozen or right off the cob)
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • juice of 1.5 limes
  • water in reserve
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 3 tbsp. Tahini
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of 3.5 limes
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1.5 tsp. of agave nectar
  • 1 bunch or about 2 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 water
  • salt and pepper to taste

photo-39 copy



In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the coconut oil and drop in the garlic, letting the flavor seep for 30 seconds to a minute. Add in all the beans and the corn, mixing to combine. Sprinkle on the ginger, salt, and pepper, and mix again. Let it cook out and flavor blend for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you find the beans are sticking or loosing some of their pizzazz, add a touch of water. Once cooked, remove from the heat to cool. Meanwhile, make a salad with all your favorites, but be sure to add some red or green onion and the mango. These flavors will balance one another and pick up in the dressing. When the bean mixture has cooled, add it to your salad, toss, and put it in the fridge. And, hey, if you’re going to be taking pictures, try wiping off the side of the bowl :P!



Put everything in a blender and blend the living heck out of it until you reach a smooth consistency.

*Note that when you put the leftover dressing in the fridge, it thickens up quite a bit. No problem. Just add a little water, and give it a good shake if it seems too thick.


Toss the salad with the dressing and serve it up. This would be an excellent side dish on taco night, which is, like, every other night at my house, a great addition to any summer eats, or a complete meal all on its own.

For more virtual vegan goodness, check out these peeps.

In Pursuit of More – Dig it.


And don’t forget Ellen Jones’ goodness over at The Veg Coach.


Posted in Dinner, Dressing, Healthy, Homemade, Mexican, Salad, Uncategorized, Vegan, Virtual Vegan Potluck | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Oy + Vegan Cleanse = Salad Stuffed

Has it really been over four months since I have posted? And I didn’t even write the last post! I know I’m not the most frequent blogger as of late anyway, but come on now, Barbie, that’s crazy! Such is life…

Last week, I was on Spring Break, so I decided to do a raw(ish) vegan cleanse. I was pretty good on the raw, but not perfect, in that some nuts were roasted at one point and whathaveyou, but otherwise, pretty good. More importantly, I felt amazing! This week, I’ve been finishing the yearbook at school, which has made for some very full days and very late nights, so I lost my momentum on the totally unprocessed bit, but I’m hopping back on board today. Ah, always that process.


ImageI’ve been on a new kick with salads – no dressing. What? My friend, Lusia, got me on it – just make sure your salad ingredients speak for themselves. But still, a little extra moisture never hurt anyone, right? So, here’s the trick – zest and juice! Zest a lemon, orange, lime (or all three) and then squeeze the juice on your salad. Not only does a citrus taste delicious, but it also helps magnify the existing flavors. Coooool.

Then! I went to my dear friend, Quena’s 30th fancy dinner party, where I was still able to eat completely vegan (amazing) and had a delicious lemon tahini dressing. Most of the ingredients for the food she made came straight from her family’s garden. And yes, I did tell her to start a blog! Ohhh, I was in heaven. Back on dressing, at least sometimes. I attempted a recreate at home to drizzle on my everything in the fridge salad.



Meyer Lemon Tahini Dressing


  • 2 heaping tbsp. of tahini*
  • zest of 1.5 Meyer lemons
  • juice of three Meyer lemons*
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1.5 tsp. of agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. of granulated garlic (I would have preferred fresh, but (holy smokes!), I was out!)
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

*Really, the bottom line is to do equal parts – this lasted me a few big salads, but if you need more, just do more and keep tasting it until it’s where you want it. When it tastes good, stop – my kind of recipe.



Put everything in a jar. Mix it up. I used a fork to whisk, screwed the lid on, and then gave it a good shake.


Posted in Dinner, Dressing, Energy, Healthy, Power Food, Raw, Salad, Uncategorized, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Guest Blogger + Vegan Cumin Zucchini & Cinnamon Yam Tamales = Honorary Mexican

IMG_0593I believe I have enough Mexican friends and eat enough Mexican food and live close enough to Mexico to be an honorary Mexican. I’m super excited about this post. My beautiful friend, Nicole, and I made vegan tamales the other day. Nicole is my forever foodie friend, and here is her guest blog post:

The idea of making some vegan tamales came around last year when I ate the baby from the King Cake. Well, I think it was a hard bean that represented “the baby.” For those who are not aware of these barbaric ways, a King Cake or Rosca de Reyes is typically made from Christmas Eve to Epiphany, when the three Kings (Wise Men) came to visit baby Jesus. There is a trinket put in the cake, sometimes it is a tiny ceramic baby baked in the bread, sometimes it is a hard bean. The person who finds the “prize” must then host the next party or provide the family with tamales (and atole). I had a year to complete this task and now that 2013 is hot on our heels, I finally made the tamales!

This is not the traditional recipe, but it is an amalgam of what I’ve read, eaten and desire. My friend is vegetarian and I wanted to make sure that she could eat them.  The best thing about these little corn husk presents are the juicy kernels of fresh, sweet corn. There’s an ongoing debate about lard, people. I replaced the traditional lard with coconut oil. And it was goooood.


  • Vegan Masa (makes about 15 mid sized tamales)
  • 4 c. masa harina (corn flour)
  • 2½c. dissolved “Not Beef” Vegan Beef Bouillon Cube in water
  • 1 c. coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ c. fresh corn kernels


Cumin Zucchini

  • ½  c. red onion, diced
  • 1 c. zucchini, diced
  • 1 c. medley of yellow, red, and orange bell peppers, diced
  • ½ c. black beans
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Cumin (to taste)


Cinnamon Yam

  • 1 c. yam, diced
  • 1 c. fresh corn kernels
  • ½ c. red onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Cinnamon (to taste)



  • Mixer (we used a standing mixer with a blender blade)
  • Hands
  • Mixing bowls
  • Frying pan
  • Big pot to steam
  • A steam contraption so the tamales do not boil at the bottom
  • Soaked corn husks in hot water for 45 min- one hour

Our makeshift steamer


First, I would make sure that I get my corn husks soaking in some warm-hot water. You can already preselect the sizes to make sure that you’ll have large enough husks to hold such deliciousness. Make sure that they are completely immersed. Also, dissolve the bouillon cube in at least 2 ½ c. of water to make the vegan broth.


Then, I would have someone industrious and with a keen eye for detail dice up your mise en place: all the fillings. Saute the ingredients for each filling separately with a tablespoon of grapeseed oil on medium heat. I do not measure salt or spices, put in what your palate likes, tasting after each addition. However, take care to caramelize the Cinnamon Yam mixture, letting it bring out its natural sweetness slowly. Then add the cinnamon near the end. Put the fillings aside for assembly.

Making Masa:

In a standing mixer, or with buff arms and a big stick, put in the flour, salt, and coconut oil and blend on a low setting until it resembles something like coarse meal. Then gradually add the broth until in your hands it resembles play-dough. My way to test: take a tablespoon of the mixture, flatten it over your flattened fingers about a ¼ in. thick and wiggle your fingers to see if it bends or breaks. You want it to bend, but not with too much liquid where it is mushy.  Add the fresh corn and blend it in.

Assembling Tamales:

With your best corn husks, dry them with a towel and put about  ⅓- ½ c. or so of the masa and flatten in about ¼ in. thickness, evenly, in the middle out to the sides like a squat rectangle or square. Add the mixture like a strip down the middle of the masa following the length of the corn husk. With the husk, wrap the masa around and push to seal it— fold it like a letter, length-wise. Then fold the bottom up, press to seal the masa on the bottom, make a tie out of some long strips of husk to keep it closed. At the top, you can keep it open, but press the top masa to close it up, too.

IMG_0577 - Version 2

Put your assembled tamales, standing upright, in a big pot. Steam for about 1 hour. 


How to know when they’re done: when you pull them out, let them set for a minute, pull the husk at the open end and it should easily pull away from the masa. You can eat them immediately, refrigerate for a week, or freeze them and eat them any time. (I would try to eat them before they start tasting like freezer, though.) Add salsa, guacamole, or any additional condiments that make these tamales sing for you.





Posted in Comfort Food, Dinner, Guest Blogging, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pasta Night + Carb Dread = Asparagus Alternate

Ahhhh, it’s so difficult to blog when I’m in school, so I’m really looking forward to doing some cooking over break and catching up with all my blogging buddies. I’m sure I’ve been missing out on endlessly delicious foods. Here’s a quickie to get me back in the swing.

Yesterday, I made a spaghetti sauce. One of those thick, silky, all day on the stovetop sauces, but I’ve been getting really into running lately, and I’ve been eating awesomely, even through the holidays, so the thought of jacking up the program with some comforting, satisfying spaghetti, while tempting, wasn’t sitting well. A common substitute is zucchini, but I didn’t have any, so rummaging through the fridge, I found a big bag of asparagus. Boom. Done.

After dropping off the bottoms, I sliced each spear into quarters and boiled for about eight minutes in salted water.


They still had the tiniest of a bite, but were wonderfully limp enough to slightly mimic pasta. You could also slice them thinner for a more noodle-like look and feel (if you have the patience for that kind of cutting). Served up with my marinara and a side salad, I really didn’t feel like I missed out at all and didn’t have any pasta pounds in the end.



Posted in Comfort Food, Cooking, Dinner, Healthy, Pasta, Substitutions, Vegan | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Butternut Squash Shells + Double Sauce = Virtual Vegan Potluck #2

Welcome to the Virtual Vegan Potluck! I had such a great time making a dessert and going through everyone’s posts last time, and I can’t wait to see what people have done this time around! And how it’s grown! For a complete list of participants, click here; otherwise, enjoy following the links each blogger will post connecting you to the next person in the potluck.Without further ado…

You know when you have a grand idea and you keep thinking about it, but then you go to the store to get your ingredients and check the package and realize that wonton wrappers (which you’ve never used before) are made with eggs and your “egg” roll (oh, right…I suppose that was an obvious one, right?) appetizer idea is now a bust? You know that feeling? That was me amongst all the Halloween shoppers after work today, and so began my roaming about the store. I strolled by some large shells and decided they would work. To me, an appetizer falls into one of several categories: soup, salad, finger foods, and things on a stick. I had to figure out a way to make stuffed shells fall into one or more of those categories to prevent it from being a main dish, and this is what I ended up with: butternut squash stuffed shells…on a stick…which is removable…turning it into a finger food, with a tomato or basil dipping sauce. It makes sense…perfect sense.



  • 12 cooked, large pasta shells (boil in salted water for 12-14 minutes – be careful to not overcook)
  • 1 cup reserved starchy pasta water
  • 6 cups ice water
  • 1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 2 whole cloves garlic (these will roast with the squash)
  • 1/4 cup basil
  • 1 tbsp plain soy yogurt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp panko crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with the chopped garlic, salt, and pepper and evenly lay out on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Meanwhile cook the shells. Once they are finished cooking, take them out of the boiling water and place them in the ice water to stop the cooking process. After about two minutes, remove the shells from the ice water and let them dry on a clean towel. When the squash is finished, let it cool and then put it in the blender with the basil and yogurt and puree. You may need to add a few tablespoons of starch water to get the blender going (I did). Once the squash reaches a slightly chunky consistency, carefully spoon it into the shells. When the shells are stuffed, lay them out on a foil-lined baking sheet, holding them together with a toothpick. Combine the panko and garlic powder. Sprinkle the tops of the shells with the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, throwing on the broiler in the last five minutes to brown the tops.

Tomato Sauce


  • 1/2 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic cove, chopped
  • 3 tbsp vegetable broth
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 15 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp agave nectar


Cook down the garlic and shallot in the vegetable broth in a saucepan. Add all other ingredients, stir together, and let simmer to a thick sauce. Add some starchy water to thin out if necessary.

Note: at this point I was done. I sat down to taste all my food. Good, but after a day of teaching teenagers on Halloween, I’m sure you can imagine the unholy amounts of candy that came through my classroom. Feeling kind of blah, this tomato sauce with the stuffed shells was all feeling a bit heavy to me, so I thought, a different sauce might fit this better. Thus became…

Basil Cucumber Sauce


  • 1 cup plain soy yogurt
  • 1 peeled, seeded, and squeezed cucumber, cubed
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste


After drying the cucumber out as much as possible by squeezing it in a clean towel, cube it, and drop it in the blender with the other ingredients until you reach a smooth consistency.

Note: I liked this sauce better.

Pour your sauce, plate your shells, and serve it up.

An aside…thank you to those who put together the VVP! You are all awesome!

To see what That Was Vegan? has made and to continue on your delicious vegan gorging click here or on the button below.

Or to see any of the other posts, go back to the VVP participant list. (I recommend starting with dessert).

Posted in Appetizers, Party Food, Pasta, Uncategorized, Vegan, Virtual Vegan Potluck | Tagged , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Raw Almond Coconut Energy Balls + Hunger = Snacks for Stamina

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not a morning person…whatsoever. I always wished I was, but alas, all my efforts to be so have never worked out. Over the summer I made these peanut butter energy balls that I’ve been meaning to 1. make again and 2. post about, and neither has happened; however, I realized I haven’t been eating breakfast or much at all during the day because of that not-a-morning-personitis, which means I am starving when I leave work, which means I am much more likely to make poor food choices, so the other night I decided to get on it. I changed it up to a slightly healthier version by using almond butter, but the results are still delicious and give me a good amount of protein to help actually fill me up. Plus, they’re perfect for on-the-go breakfasts, a snack during the day, or a pre/post-workout bite.


  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped raw almonds
  • 1 cup almond butter (I used salted, but not roasted)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar*
  • 1 smashed banana, the riper, the better

*Give your mix a taste before adding. I needed a bit ore sweetness, but you may not. In fact, this may make it too sweet for you, depending on the peanut or almond butter you are using.

Note: I have also added soft and smashed chickpeas to the mix, which adds even more protein and tastes really good. I actually just forgot this time to do so.


Put everything in a bowl and mix using a handheld electric mixer. Form into 1 – 1.5 inch balls. Place on a plate and put in the freezer to help form. Once hard, you can remove the balls from the plate (you might need to pry them off) and store in a container in the freezer. When you take them out, they only need about one minute to soften enough to eat.

Makes about 14 balls

Don’t you just love mega-healthy homemade pop’em snacks? I’ve been so happy every morning that I can just grab and go because in addition to not being a morning person, I tend to be a tad unpunctual. As I am literally running out the door, I grab an apple, throw a couple balls onto a paper towel, and by the time I’m in my car, they are ready to eat.

Word of warning to my braces-wearing friends – those raw chia seeds will get stuck in your metal, so I would either eliminate or make sure you have a toothbrush ;).

Posted in Breakfast/Brunch, Energy, Healthy, Power Food, Raw, Snacks, Uncategorized, Vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments