Meredith Hink MS, RD, CD

I am a Corporate Dietitian with a foodservice distribution company. My professional areas of interest include food safety and sanitation, food marketing, food law, and vegetarian nutrition. In my spare time I am an avid food photographer and enjoy spending time with my husband and two dogs. Visit Meredith's website →

More posts by Meredith Hink MS, RD, CD

Vegan Beet Gyro

vegan beet gyroGyros make the perfect grab and go lunch that can incorporate a lot of the Farmers Market finds in a little package.  This cold variety substitutes beef with cooked, thinly sliced beets and is complimented with a tangy tomato and cucumber Tzatziki sauce.


  • 3 beets, cooked and sliced thin
  • 2 cups thinly sliced cucumbers
  • ½ cup thinly sliced tomatoes
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion rings, cut in half
  • 1/3 cup Tofutti® Better than Sour Cream (or non-dairy sour cream)
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped, fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups cooked, thinly sliced beets
  • 6 wheat flatbreads


  1. Combine sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, onion slices, vegan sour cream, vinegar, dill, nutritional yeast flakes, salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before use.
  2. If desired, heat wheat flatbread.
  3. Spread each flatbread with 1/3 cup beets and a heaping 1/3 cup tomato and cucumber tzatziki sauce.

Yield: Serves 6 gyros

Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

Roasted Vegetable Quinoa SaladRoasting the vegetables helps to produce a rich, savory flavor. This is the perfect side dish for any meal. Add your own variety of vegetables from your own garden or local market to make your own version of this delicious dish.


  • 12 basil leaves (3 Tbsp.)
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 3 cups chopped, de-seeded tomatoes (reserve the seed pulp)
  • 1 1/3 cup chopped red onion
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable broth


  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Roll basil leaves into a tight roll and cut thin strips. Mix with salt, pepper, olive oil, and minced garlic in a small bowl.
  2. Lay chopped vegetables on a silicon mat or aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil herbal mixture over the vegetables.
  3. Place in oven and heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring the vegetable broth to boil in a medium size saucepan over medium heat.
  5. Stir in quinoa and heat for 25 minutes until most of the broth has been absorbed. Stir in the tomato seed pulp and heat another 10-15 minutes until all the moisture has been absorbed.
  6. Mix with roasted vegetables. Serve warm

Yield: 5 ½ cups

Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day — Vegetarian Style

Mock Meat and Potato Stuffed Cabbage RollsWhile non-vegetarians feast on corned beef and cabbage this Saint Patrick’s Day, why not have your own celebration with this dish — Mock Meat and Potato Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. A wonderful accompaniment to this dish is Irish Soda Bread.

Mock Meat and Potato Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Yield: 6 cabbage rolls


  • 5 large, red potatoes
  • 6 cabbage leaves
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 1/4 tsp. chili powder (of choice)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package soy deli meat
  • 1 cup vegetable broth


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash and scrub red potatoes. Cut potatoes into chunks and place in boiling water over medium-high heat. Boil for 25 minutes.
  3. Steam the cabbage leaves for 5 minutes. Once the leaves have been steamed, set them aside to cool slightly.
  4. Drain water from red potatoes. Mash with buttermilk, chopped parsley, salt and pepper to a paste consistency.
  5. Place 2-3 slices soy deli meat and 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes inside each cabbage leaf. Fold leaf edges around soy deli meat and mashed potatoes. Place stuffed cabbage rolls in a 3-quart baking dish. Pour vegetarian broth around cabbage leaves. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Muffins

Chocolate Covered Strawberry MuffinsWhy give your sweetheart a box full of high-Calorie treats, when you could surprise him/her with this healthy breakfast treat?

Yield: 12 regular size muffins, 24-36 mini muffins


  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup egg whites or use one egg equivalent of your preferred egg replacer
  • 1/2 cup skim milk or your favorite milk alternative
  • 1/2 cup pureed strawberries


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease muffin tins.
  2. In a bowl, mix dry ingredients. In a second bowl, mix wet ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir by hand for 20-30 strokes or until batter is mixed, but still lumpy.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin tins.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes for mini muffins or 20 minutes for regular muffins.


Dress Up Your Holiday Drinks

Mock GlöggWhat can you drink to get the fun and flavor of the holiday season without extra calories? Reach into your spice cupboard and refrigerator discover how to dress up your drinks without dressing up the Calories?

Mock Glögg (gloog)

A non-alcoholic twist on a popular Swedish drink that is served warm.

  1. 1 48 fl oz bottle of 100% grape juice
  2. 5 sticks of cinnamon
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom
  4. 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  5. peel of 1 orange

Combine all ingredients in a pan or crock pot. Heat until simmering, but not boiling. Serve warm. Yield: 6 – 8 fl oz portions

Sunshine Slush

Bring a touch of sunshine to winter with this frosty drink.

  1. 1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries
  2. 1 cup prepared 100% orange juice
  3. 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend and serve. Yield: 2 – 6 fl oz portions

Cinnamon Chocolate Steamer

Still craving chocolate? Have any leftover cinnamon extract from holiday baking? Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon extract to heated chocolate soymilk and you will have warm drink to perk up your taste buds.

Banana Split Waffles

Banana Split WafflesCreate a special, healthy treat fit for just two or the whole family with this spin on an old soda fountain favorite.


  • 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 11 fl. oz vanilla soy milk
  • 1/8 cup cooking oil


  • 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 6 strawberries, sliced
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Dried cherries


  1. Prep and heat waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine and then form a well.
  3. In the middle of the well, place vanilla, mashed bananas, soy milk, and cooking oil.
  4. With a large spoon, combine the mixture but do not over mix. There should still be lumps in the batter.
  5. Cook batter in waffle iron according to directions.
  6. Top with crushed pineapple, strawberries, chocolate syrup, and dried cherries.

Yield: Makes 1-2 waffles per person, depending on waffle iron size.

Festive Dips for All Occasions

Recipes by: Debbie Petitpain, MS, RD, LD and Nina Crowley, MS, RD, LD

Need a quick dish for viewing football or an appetizer for Thanksgiving? Instead of rushing out to see what is available in the stores, try making the following quick and tasty bean dip recipes. These recipes were submitted jointly by Debbie Petitpain, MS, RD, LD, and Nina Crowley, MS, RD, LD to a recent VN DPG recipe contest.

White Bean Dip with Rosemary

Black Bean Salsa

Mashed Parsnips with Shitake Mushroom Sauce

Mashed Parsnips with Shitake Mushroom SauceHoliday cooking lends to creative presentation. This dish, utilizing white parsnip instead of potatoes, looks and tastes great as a savory and sweet, vegetable “sundae.”


  • 8 cups – parsnips, cleaned and trimmed, cut into matchsticks
  • Pan spray
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup shelled, chopped pistachios
  • 1- 12 oz. container Tofutti® Better than Sour Cream
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp sliced shallots
  • 4 cups sliced shitake mushrooms (approx 8 oz)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 6-8 fl. oz water


  1. Heat oven to 325°F.
  2. Place parsnips on baking sheet that has been coated with pan spray. Bake 35-40 minutes or until parsnips are fork tender.
  3. While the parsnips are baking, heat one teaspoon olive oil in frying pan over medium heat.
  4. Add brown sugar and chopped pistachios.
  5. Stir approximately one to two minutes until pistachios are well coated.
  6. Take off heat and set aside.
  7. Clean frying pan and add one tablespoon olive oil. Heat over medium heat.
  8. Add shallots and cook until slightly brown, approximately three to five minutes.
  9. Add shitake mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are soft, approximately three to five minutes.
  10. Add vegetable broth.
  11. Stir in cornstarch and cook until sauce thickeners.
  12. When parsnips are finished baking, combine with Tofutti® Better than Sour Cream in a food processor and blend until parsnips are mashed (note: do not blend until smooth – just well mashed).
  13. For plating, scoop ½ cup mashed parsnips into a dish or bowl and top with ¼ cup mushroom sauce. Garnish with carmelized pistachios.

Yield: 8-9 servings

Sweet Potato Crisp

sweet potato crispCreate a new sweet potato side dish this Thanksgiving.  Your taste buds will dance with the taste of sweet potatoes, pineapple, rolled oats, cinnamon, and ginger.

I recommend slicing the sweet potato very thin for the best final result. This can also be accomplished with vegetable slicer.


  • Non-stick pan spray
  • 2 cups thinly sliced, peeled sweet potato (approximately 1 large sweet potato)
  • 20 oz. can crushed pineapple, drain and reserve juice
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup agave or maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp. soy flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. roasted and salted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350◦F.
  2. Spray an 11 x 7 inch pan with pan spray.
  3. Mix sweet potato slices and crushed pineapple.  Spread in bottom of the pan.
  4. Mix the reserved pineapple juice with the remaining ingredients, except for the sunflower seeds, in a mixing bowl and spread across the top of the sweet potatoes.  Sprinkle sunflower seeds on top.
  5. Cover and bake for 40 minutes.

Sweet Potato Fries

Often the star at holiday celebrations, sweet potatoes make a wonderful addition to lunch or dinner throughout the year.

sweet potato fries holiday side dishOften this vegetable is the star at holiday celebrations when it finds its way into sweet side dishes or baked into pies, but sweet potatoes make a wonderful addition to lunch or dinner throughout the year. Sweet potatoes can be baked, boiled, or even micro-waved as a healthy side dish or added to a main dish at any meal. One baked, medium (5″ length) sweet potato provides approximately

  • 103 Calories
  • 4 grams of fiber
  • 24 grams of carbohydrate
  • 22 mg Vitamin C (which is 37% of the Daily Value)
  • 21,909 IU of Vitamin A (which is over 4 times the amount required in a day)

If you are looking for a new way to add this colorful vegetable that is packed with Vitamins A and C to your diet, create crispy baked fries for dinner tonight.

Lemony Pepper Sweet Potato Fries

Yield: 3 cups


  • 1 lb raw sweet potatoes (approx 3-4 medium)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Mrs. Dash® lemon pepper seasoning blend or other favorite seasoning


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spray or rub with cooking oil.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into fries that are approximately ½” thick by 2-3″ long.
  3. Mix lemon juice and lemon pepper seasoning blend in a large bowl.
  4. Add sweet potatoes and toss to coat.
  5. Spread sweet potatoes in a single layer on the two baking sheets.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until the fries have decreased in size by half and are soft in the middle.

Taking Comfort in Warm Food

Winter is a time to take comfort in warm food. The weather outside might be frightful, but winter meals need not be. Three Vegetarian Nutrition members submitted recipes that are sure to become your favorite comfort food for cold weather days.

Smokin' Ground Tempeh Smokin’ Ground Tempeh by Amy Gilman,  is a smoky, spicy dish that our recipe judges compared to a vegetarian version of Sloppy Joes just add or Sweet Potato Biscuits.

nutty quinoa

Nutty Quinoa by Shari Portnoy, MPH, RD, LD is a quick and easy dish that combines flavorful quinoa with mixed vegetables and cashews.
sweet potato biscuits Sweet Potato Biscuits by Melissa Church, MS, RD, LD are especially wonderful right out of the oven.  They pair well with the Smokin’ Ground Tempeh.

So, if you happen to find yourself stuck in a cold spell, warm up with these great recipes.

Lemon Quinoa Stir Fry

Lemon Quinoa Stir FryThis stir fry features quinoa in place of rice and has a colorful mix of vegetables with red pepper, kale, and edamame.  It also has a surprisingly lemon flavor thanks to the lemon juice and zest added just prior to serving.  If you prefer a more toned down lemon flavor, add half the lemon juice suggested.

Yield: approximately 8 – ¾ cup servings


  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 ½ cups thin, julienne strips of red pepper (1 large red pepper)
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 5 oz. sliced, water chestnuts (1- 8 oz. can, drained)
  • 1 cup shelled edamame, cooked
  • 1 ½ cups seitan strips (8 oz.)
  • Juice and zest of one lemon


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a boil.
  2. Add quinoa and simmer over medium-low for 25-30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is cooked.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat canola oil over medium heat.
  4. Add red pepper and chopped kale and cook for 5 minutes or until soft, stirring constantly.
  5. Toss in water chestnuts, edamame, and seitan strips and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes to warm the seitan.
  6. Add cooked quinoa, ¼ cup lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp. lemon zest.  Cook until juice has been absorbed.
  7. Serve warm.

Polenta Pizza

polenta pizzaPizza night has taken a new twist at my home. The usual flour based crust has now been replaced by polenta. Instead of the pizza stone we now use our trusty cast iron skillet. Pizza night will never be the same again.


  • 3 cups water
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup diced green pepper
  • 3 cups sliced mini portabella mushrooms (8 oz. box)
  • 2/3 cup prepared hummus
  • 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 12 inch cast iron skillet


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add salt to water and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce to medium low heat and add 1/3 cup polenta.
  4. Stir for 2 minutes until thickened, then add remaining polenta and stir until creamy, approximately 8-10 minutes.
  5. While the water is boiling, heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  6. Add onion, green pepper, and sliced mushrooms. Saute until soft, approximately 3-4 minutes. Remove vegetables from skillet.
  7. When polenta has cooked, spread the polenta evenly in the still warm cast iron skillet. Spread hummus over polenta and spread onion, pepper, and mushroom mixture over hummus. Spread cherry or grape tomatoes on the pizza.
  8. Place polenta pizza in oven for 15 minutes.

Note: polenta pizza may need to be served with a spoon if served straight from the oven. The polenta will become firm and be easier to cut when it cools.

What is Kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi Salad with Raspberry VinaigretteTo the uninformed eye kohlrabi looks like a large, green turnip. In fact another name for this member of the Brassica family is German turnip. Kohlrabi can be eaten cooked or raw. It comes in a variety of colors from light green to dark purple, although in both varieties the flesh is white beneath the skin. Kohlrabi is best consumed when it is young and tender. The taste is milder than other Brassicas and the flesh is crisp and juicy. Except for a few Gigante cultivar, kohlrabi is best harvested when it is the size of a tennis ball. Kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin C with a 100 gram (3.5 oz) serving providing 62 mg of vitamin C. Never tried kohlrabi before? Give the following recipe a try.

Kohlrabi Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Yields: 2 – 2 ½ cups


  • 1 medium sized kohlrabi, peeled and julienned
  • 1/3 cup white, distilled vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/3 cup raspberries

Place peeled and julienned kohlrabi in a bowl. Blend vinegar, honey, and raspberries in a blender. Add to kohlrabi. Cover, shake to mix, and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy!

Calico Bean Slider Burgers

calico bean sliderThese savory little slider burgers make a perfect mouthful. Dress them up with your favorite burger toppings.


  • 1 cup finely diced mini bella mushrooms
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/3 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/3 cup black eyed peas or Northern white beans
  • 1/3 cup kidney beans
  • 1/3 cup black beans
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. sweet basil
  • ½ tsp. rosemary leaves
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil


  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the canola oil in a food processor until well mixed.
  2. In a medium frying pan heat the canola oil over medium heat.
  3. Form patties out of two tablespoons of bean mixture.
  4. Cook five minutes on each side.
  5. Serve on a dinner roll or in a wrap with your favorite sides.

Yield: 8-10 slider burgers

Chocolate Banana Nut Leather

Chocolate Banana Nut LeatherCreate your own healthy snacks with a food dehydrator.  When making fruit leathers you need a special thin tray that allows you to spread out the sauce so it will dry evenly.  Make your next food adventure this chewy, naturally sweet fruit leather.


  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¼ cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/8 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Oil a fruit leather tray.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, peanut butter, and applesauce until well blended.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Using a spatula, spread thinly over fruit leather tray.
  5. Dry overnight (10-12 hours) on fruit/vegetable setting (135◦F) or until leather is no longer moist and can be peeled from tray.
  6. Wrap in plastic wrap and bag for quick access.

Yield: 1 tray of fruit leather

Entertain Them With Beans

Sweet & Spicy Bean DipLooking for a new football viewing recipe? Tired of the same old bean dip? Try Sweet and Spicy Bean Dip featuring Great Northern beans.

Sweet & Spicy Bean Dip


  • 1 – 15 ounce can Great Northern beans, drain and wash
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup cooked, sweet corn
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese alternative
  • 1 – 1.25 oz package taco seasoning
  • 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 – 8 oz. package vegan cream cheese, softened
  • 1 – 8 oz. vegan sour cream
  • 3 Tablespoons dried chives
  • Spinach leaves
  • Crackers


  1. Blend the Great Northern beans, almond butter, olive oil, and lemon juice using a food processor or blender. Divide bean dip in half, leaving one half in the processor or blender and placing the other half in a separate bowl.
  2. Blend corn and alternative cheese with the bean dip in the processor. Scrape sweet bean dip into one bowl.
  3. Place the other half of the bean dip back into the processor or blender and blend with taco seasoning and sun dried tomatoes to create a spicy bean dip. Extra olive oil may be required to blend sun dried tomatoes
  4. Combine softened cream cheese, sour cream, and dried chives in a third bowl and stir until well mixed.
  5. Line a dinner plate with spinach leaves.
  6. Spoon sweet, yellow bean dip onto half of the plate and spicy, red bean dip onto the other half. Spoon sour cream and chives dip on top of both bean dips.
  7. Serve with the crackers of your choice.

Seitan Broccoli Hot Dish

Recipe & Photography by:  Meredith Hink, MS, RD, CD
Serves: 5 – 1 cup servings
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Seitan Broccoli Hot Dish

When the weather turns cold and the nights are long, it is time to retreat to the dishes that bring warmth and good memories.  The feature dish for this month is a vegetarian adaptation of an old family favorite.  From my family to yours, enjoy!


  • 2 Tbsp. Canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup vegetable bouillon
  • ¼ tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 cup Daiya® cheddar style shreds
  • 2 cups Brown rice, cooked
  • 1 8 oz pkg Seitan, cubed
  • 2 cups Broccoli spears, frozen
  • Nonstick pan spray


  1. Heat oven to 350◦F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.  Add whole wheat flour to make a roux.  Brown slightly.
  3. Gradually add vegetable broth, stirring constantly until a thick sauce is created.  Add garlic powder.  Add ¾ cup cheddar flavor Daiya®.  Remove from heat.
  4. Spray 10 x 6 pan with nonstick pan spray.  Spread cooked, brown rice along the bottom of the pan.
  5. Break seitan into 1 inch pieces. Layer with broccoli spears in 10X6 baking pan on top of brown rice.  Pour cheese roux over broccoli, seitan, and rice.
  6. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup Daiya® over dish.
  7. Cover and bake 45 minutes or until dish reaches 135◦F.

Nutrition Information (1 cup serving)

Calories: 301; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 32 g; Dietary Fiber: 5 g; Sugars; 2 g; Sodium: 406 mg; Protein: 16 g; Vitamin A: 744 IU; Vitamin C: 30 mg; Calcium: 65 mg; Iron: 1.6 mg

Mock Tuna Shell Salad

Mock Tuna Shell SaladThis refreshing, summer salad has slight hints of the sea without any fishy ingredients. Onion and celery lend a crunch to this otherwise soft salad. Also tastes great if you refrigerate it overnight to pack in your lunch the next day. For extra crunch, serve on a bed of mixed salad.


  • 1 ½ cups dry (3 cups cooked) whole wheat mini shell pasta
  • 1 – 15 oz. can no salt added garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup diced, yellow onion (1/2 large onion)
  • 2 stalks diced celery (approx. 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup green peas
  • 2/3 cup Original Vegenaise®
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay® seasoning (30% less sodium)
  • ½ tsp. dried dill weed


  1. Prepare whole wheat shells according to package directions.  Once cooked, rinse under cool water.
  2. Place can of garbanzo beans in food processor and pulse 4-5 times or until garbanzo beans are finely shredded.
  3. Combine whole wheat shells, garbanzo beans, onion, celery, green peas, Vegenaise®, Old Bay® seasoning, and dill weed in a large bowl.  Refrigerate until cold.

Yield: 6 cups

Nutritionals (per 1 cup serving)

Calories: 353, Calories from Fat: 160; Fat: 18 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 230 mg; Carbohydrates: 36 g; Fiber: 7 g; Sugar: 4 g; Protein: 9 g; Vitamin A: 5% DV; Vitamin C: 10% DV; Calcium: 5% DV; Iron: 15% DV

Eggplant Hummus

EggplantWhile strolling down the aisles of the farmer’s market lately I was surprised by the variety of eggplant that I could find. Eggplant comes in a variety of colors from the deep purple, ovoid fruit which is typically cultivated in Europe and North America to the elongated, white, green, or bi-colored varieties found in Asia. Eggplant also goes by many names including aubergine, brinjal, and Chinese or Japanese eggplant. Eggplant is used in a variety of dishes around the globe from French ratatouille, to Middle Eastern baba ghanoush, to stuffed Indian brinjal. A 100 gram serving of cooked eggplant provides just 35 Calories, 8.73 grams of total carbohydrate, 2.5 grams of dietary fiber, and 0.23 grams of fat. If you love eggplant dips, give this recipe a try.

Eggplant Hummus

Yield: 1 ½ cups


  • 4 small eggplants or 1-2 medium eggplants (3/4 cup cooked)
  • 15 oz can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp roasted garlic


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice eggplant in half and place on an oiled baking sheet, cut side down. Cook for 30-40 minutes until fruit is soft. Allow to cool. Scoop out into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to blender or food processor.
  3. Blend until smooth and refrigerate. Prepare 1 day ahead to allow flavor to develop.
  4. Serve with chips, crackers, or slices of pita bread.

Strawberry Kiwi Salad with Balsamic Dressing

strawberry_kiwi_saladBite into flavor with this sweet, fruity salad topped with tangy, balsamic dressing and crunchy almond slivers.  Hint: to get thin slices of strawberries, try using an egg slicer.


  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup Go VeggieTM cream cheese alternative
  • 4 cups mesclun spring mix salad
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 cup sliced almonds


  1. Combine balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small saucepan.  Heat over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes or until mixture is reduced to half.  Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese alternative to form a creamy sauce.
  2. Prepare four salad bowls.  Place 1 cup spring mix in each bowl.  Top with ½ cup sliced strawberries, kiwi slices, and ¼ cup fresh peas.
  3. Drizzle balsamic dressing over salad.  Top with ¼ cup sliced almonds.

Yield: 4 servings

Beet Winter Blues Away With Salad

SaladFor those of us lucky enough to live in the “snow belt” winter can seem like a never ending season. Although soups and casseroles are easy comfort foods, nothing helps to beat the winter blues like a nice, crunchy salad. Celebrate the end of winter by combining these winter and spring fruits and vegetables.


  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1-2 beets
  • Chopped walnuts (garnish)


  • 1/3 cup grapefruit juice
  • 2 Tbsp flax oil
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp guar gum
  1. In a small bowl, combine grapefruit juice, flax oil, and brown sugar. Stir until well mixed. Add guar gum. Stir and allow to thicken 5 minutes. Makes approximately ½ cup dressing.
  2. Peel and thinly slice beets. If you want an extra bite, place the sliced beets in a bowl of vinegar water.
  3. Thinly slice apples.
  4. Place 1 cup of mixed greens on each plate. Top with beet slices, apple slices, grapefruit dressing and garnish with walnuts

Serves 4

Asparagus and Grape Stuffed Vegan Omelet

Asparagus and Grape Stuffed Vegan OmeletOne vegan omelet is enough to satisfy one or two people.  Enjoy for breakfast, brunch, or lunch.


  • 10 stalks of asparagus cut into 1 inch stalks (approx. 1 ¼ cup)
  • ½ cup halved red grapes
  • ½ cup chickpea flour
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp dill
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar


  1. Steam asparagus in a steamer for 8 minutes.  Add halved red grapes and steam for an additional 4 minutes.  Toss steamed asparagus and red grapes in balsamic vinegar.
  2. Spray a 10-inch frying pan with pan spray.  Heat over medium heat.  Mix together chickpea flour, baking powder, nutmeg, dill, and thyme in a bowl until well blended.  Using a whisk, slowly whisk in the coconut water until a smooth batter forms.  Add batter to the frying pan and spread evenly across pan.  Cook for 6-8 minutes until the batter is cooked through and able to be removed with a spatula.  Add asparagus and red grapes on top of chickpea omelet.  Fold in half and remove from pan.

Yield: 1 omelet

Sautéed Eggplant Parmesan

August is a great time to start bringing in the harvest. Tomatoes and eggplants are now ripe for the picking all over the United States. What better way to enjoy this bounty than through a wonderful recipe that combines the flavor of these late summer plants.

Sauteed Eggplant Parmesan Sautéed Eggplant Parmesan by Tomeka Young brings together the rich flavor of tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, and eggplant into one colorful dish. This dish goes well with a side of whole-grain pasta. Enjoy this dish made with fresh, in-season ingredients while the bounty lasts!

Appetizing Artichokes

ArtichokeArtichokes are an edible, Mediterranean vegetable that make a great appetizer for two or three people. Half of a medium globe by itself is equivalent to ¼ cup vegetables and 30 Calories. For those who are new to this delectable dish, the edible parts of the artichoke are the bottom of the leaves and the artichoke heart. The tops of the leaves are woody as are the hairy, immature florets or “choke” that sits on top of the artichoke heart. The leaves and artichoke heart can be dipped in a variety of sauces. My husband and I have found this balsamic vinaigrette to be a simple, yet tasty dipping sauce for our favorite appetizer.


  • 1 artichoke*
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard


  1. Place one medium saucepan of water on stove top. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Prepare the artichoke by cutting off the stem and snipping the tips of the leaves using a pair of kitchen scissors.
  3. Boil artichoke for 15-20 minutes or until the leaves can be easily peeled from the artichoke.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl. Makes 1/3 cup dipping sauce.
  5. To serve, peel artichoke leaves from the artichoke and dip the bottom of the leaves into the vinaigrette.

*Note: One medium artichoke comfortably feeds two people.

Picatta without the Chicken

Hungry for a bit of chicken picatta, but don’t want to “ruffle the feathers” by using poultry? Seitan is a vegan protein source made from wheat gluten. Seitan is more chewy and springy than other meat alternatives, making it a wonderful substitute in dishes that call for poultry.

Vegan Chicken Picatta Picatta without the Chicken (recipe) by Patricia Sheehan perfectly balances salt and lemon flavors to create a wonderful dish for a summer evening that spares all animal products. Now that is something we can all toast.

Baked Bean Couscous Salad

Baked Bean CouscousWhen summertime rolls around and everybody is pulling out their favorite BBQ side dishes I like to reach back to one of my favorite comfort foods from college days – baked beans and couscous. Over time I’ve added a few cups of produce to the recipe to add more texture, color, and of course, flavor. Best of all, this recipe can be easily prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes.


  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup diced, green peppers
  • 1 cup chopped, red onion
  • 28 oz. can baked beans
  • ¾ cup dry couscous
  • ½ cup minced, red onion (optional for garnish)


  1. In a medium saucepan heat canola oil over medium heat.
  2. Add green peppers and chopped onion and cook approximately five minutes, stirring occasionally until they soften.
  3. Add baked beans and bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in couscous and reduce heat to low. Cover and allow couscous to cook for 7-8 minutes.
  5. Fluff with a fork and serve garnished with minced red onion.

Yield: Approximately 5 cups

Vegan Poutine

Vegan PoutineThis Quebecois specialty is sure to please the entire family. Traditional poutine is made with French fries, meat gravy, and cheese curds. This vegan version highlights the taste of buttery, Yukon gold potatoes and savory mushroom and white bean sauce.


  • 1 lb. peeled Yukon gold potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs. mini portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 15 oz. can white beans
  • 2 Tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. sweet basil
  • ½ tsp. rosemary leaves
  • Daiya cheddar style shreds (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut peeled potatoes into matchstick size pieces (approximately 5 cups).  Toss with 1 Tbsp. oil, yeast flakes, salt and pepper.  Spread on a silicone lined baking pan.
  3. Bake 10 minutes.  Turn and bake an additional 10-12 minutes.
  4. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add sliced mushrooms and cook until soft.  Reduce heat to low.
  5. Puree white beans.  Add to cooked sliced mushrooms along with thyme, basil, and rosemary leaves.
  6. Serve mushroom sauce on top of baked Yukon gold fries.  Garnish with Daiya cheddar style shreds if desired.

Yield: 4 servings – 1 cup French fries and 3/4 cup mushroom gravy

Chocolate Velvet

A VChocolate Velvetegetarian World Tour: Canada

Recipe contributed by: Vesanto Melina, MS, RD
Food Photo by: Meredith Hink, MS, RD

This sensuous and creamy dessert comes from “The Raw Food Revolution Diet” by expert raw chef Cherie Soria and registered dietitians Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (The Book Publishing Company, 2008). It will feed the soul of every chocolate lover and can be served as a sauce or pudding. The secret ingredient, avocado, makes it thick and rich, yet avocado cannot be detected in the flavor, so you can play a guessing game with tasters.

Chocolate Velvet

Makes 1 1/2 cups (6-8 servings)


  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened raw cocoa powder or carob powder
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water plus 1/2 cup water


  1. Combine the avocado, cocoa powder, agave syrup, evaporated cane juice, 2 tablespoons of the water, and all of the vanilla extract and cinnamon in a food processor fitted with the S blade and process until smooth.
  2. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of water and process again until well blended. The more water you add, the thinner the sauce will be. (If you prefer to use a blender rather than a food processor, be careful not to process the mixture too long. If too much air is beaten into the sauce it will become too fluffy.)
  3. Stored in a sealed glass jar in the refrigerator, Chocolate Velvet will keep for up to 1 week.


Chocolate Frosting or Filling: Use only 2 tablespoons of the water and omit the remaining 1/2 cup.

Chocolate Mousse: Use a blender instead of a food processor and use only 1/4 cup of the water to create a fluffy consistency similar to a classic mousse.

Frozen Fudge Bars: Freeze the mixture in popsicle trays.

Celebrate Spring with a Spicy Mexican Salad

Celebrate the growth of new, green shoots of life in gardens across the country.

Spicy Mexican Salad Spicy Mexican Salad by Brenda Davis, RD, and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD, is a wonderful, raw salad that features delicious sprouted lentils. If you have never sprouted lentils before, don’t worry, they don’t take a lot of work, just a willingness to try something new. The sprouts are a delicious and healthy reminder that spring is here.

Seitan and Soba Soup

Seitan and Soba SoupOn wet spring evenings when the weather is damp and chilly I love to sit down to my comfort food – a steaming hot bowl of thick noodle soup. Soba noodles add a rich flavor that blends well with seitan and vegetables. When I have a late spring cold I also like to add mustard, especially a spicy mustard, for some added heat.


  • ¾ cup sliced carrots
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • ¾ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup finely chopped seitan
  • 4 cups vegetarian broth
  • 1 cup soba noodles, broken into 2-3 inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons mustard (optional)


  1. Place broth in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, approximately 10 minutes.
  2. Add carrots and celery and cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add onions, seitan, and noodles and cook for an additional 6-7 minutes.
  4. Add mustard just prior to serving.
  5. If storing for later use, additional water may be needed as the soba noodles tend to absorb water.

Yield: Approximately 4 ½ cups

Seitan Stroganoff

seitan stroganoffStroganoff is one dish that can be fixed in a hundred different ways.  It can be composed of many ingredients, or just a few. This simple stroganoff recipe highlights the juicy texture of the mushrooms and seitan. It is light on sauce but still full on flavor.


  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 6 oz. dry whole grain extra wide noodles
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 14 ½ oz. vegetable broth
  • 8 oz. package of seitan
  • 1 tsp. thyme, dried


  1. Heat oil in medium saucepan until warm.
  2. Add mushrooms and chopped onions and sauté until onions are soft and semi-translucent.
  3. Add garlic.
  4. In a separate pan bring 2 quarts of water to boil. Add whole grain noodles and cook 5-6 minutes until tender.
  5. Meanwhile, add flour to saucepan to create thick sauce.
  6. Add vegetable broth.
  7. Once sauce is boiling, add seitan and thyme.
  8. Toss with cooked, whole grain extra wide noodles.

Yield: approximately 7 cups

Nutritionals (per 1 cup)

Calories: 168; Calories from Fat: 34; Total Fat: 3.6 g; Saturated Fat: 0.5 g; Trans Fat: 0 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Total Carbohydrates: 24 g; Dietary Fiber: 3.6 g; Sugars: 2.3 g; Sodium: 365 mg; Protein: 12 g; Vitamin A: 5.86 IU, Vitamin C: 1.93 mg; Calcium: 25 mg; Iron: 1.82 mg
*Broth nutritionals based on reconstituted Knorr® Vegetarian Vegetable Bouillon – 1 cube reconstituted.

Salad in a Glass

Salad in a GlassMy family refers to this recipe as a salad in a glass. When I don’t have time to sit down and have a salad I can still have my greens in a jar. The balsamic vinegar adds an extra zing.


  • 6 oz. plain cultured coconut milk
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 peeled kiwi, sliced
  • 15 spinach leaves
  • 1 tsp.  balsamic vinegar


  1. Place cultured coconut milk, strawberries, kiwi, spinach leaves, and balsamic vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Serve – garnish with fresh strawberries and spinach leaves if desired.

Yield: 1 ½ cups

Tofu Stir Fry Pockets

tofu stir fry pocketsForget the chopsticks and take out box! This sweet and hot dish with crunchy lettuce and bite-size, breaded tofu is ready to go in its own pita pocket. No utensils required.


  • 1 large banana – peeled and cut into chunks
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 -20 oz can pineapple chunks in juice, reserve juice
  • 1 -12 oz block extra-firm tofu, pressed
  • 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb frozen broccoli stir fry mix
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and sorted into leaves
  • 7 pita pocket rounds – split in half


  1. Combine banana, 2 Tbsp of soy sauce, chili powder, and ¼ cup reserved pineapple juice in a blender and blend for 30 seconds until a sauce is formed.
  2. Cut tofu into 40 one-inch cubes.
  3. Toss tofu in banana-soy sauce and then roll in panko bread crumbs.
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp canola oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Fry tofu in oil, rotate to a different side every 4 minutes until sides are golden brown.
  6. While tofu is frying, heat 1 Tbsp canola oil in a second skillet over medium heat.
  7. Stir fry vegetable mix, pepper flakes, 2 Tbsp of soy sauce, pineapple chunks, and dried cranberries over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until vegetables and fruit are cooked and liquid has reduced to a glaze.
  8. Toss tofu in stir fry mix.
  9. Place 1 lettuce leaf and 1/2 cup stir fry into each pita pocket.

Serving Size

14 pita pockets with ½ cup each filling and romaine lettuce

Entertaining with Avocado

Fall Coleslaw and Open Face SandwichWhen it comes to dressing up your dishes this holiday season, go green (use avocados)! This fruit, also known as the butter pear and the alligator pear, is native to the New World and can be used in everything from appetizers to desserts. Its mild flavor and high fat content help to balance out highly flavored dishes. Although 82% of the avocado’s Caloric content is derived from fat, the majority of that fat is monounsaturated. The avocado is also a good source of potassium and vitamin C. A 100 gram serving provides 160 Calories, 485 mg potassium, and 10 mg vitamin C. To get you started on your holiday planning, try these recipes:

Fall Coleslaw

Yield: 2 cups coleslaw


  • 1 avocado, mashed – 1/3 cup
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp sodium free lemon pepper
  • 2 cups coleslaw mix
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp toasted pumpkin seeds


  1. In a small bowl, combine mashed avocado, vinegar, and lemon pepper. Stir until well mixed.
  2. In a medium size bowl, place coleslaw mix. Add avocado dressing and stir to coat.
  3. Add dried cranberries. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
  4. When ready to serve, top with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Open Face Sandwich


  • Cocktail pumpernickel bread
  • Extra sharp white cheddar
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Avocado, sliced thinly


  1. Place one piece of thinly sliced cheddar cheese on pumpernickel slices.
  2. Decorate with mandarin oranges and avocado slices.

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Soup

Sweet & Spicy Peanut SoupWhen the weather starts to turn cool, it’s time to “turn up the heat.” This spicy twist on a traditional soup adds a kick to an otherwise sweet soup.


  • 2 stalks celery, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced (1 cup)
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (2 ¼ -2 ½ cups)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 qt vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • Juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup)
  • 3 Tbsp coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup light, unflavored soy milk
  • Chopped, unsalted, roasted peanuts (for garnish)
  • Cilantro leaves (for garnish)


  1. Combine diced celery, green pepper, and yellow onion in a bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Gradually add celery, green pepper, and yellow onion to oil and heat until soft.
  3. Microwave sweet potatoes* until soft. Peel away skin and cut into big chunks.
  4. Add to celery, green pepper, and onion.
  5. Add sliced jalapeno pepper, vegetable broth, natural peanut butter, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, and sea salt. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove bay leaves and add lemon juice and chopped cilantro. Stir to mix, then transfer soup to food processor and process soup to smooth consistency.
  7. Return to saucepan or Dutch oven. Add soymilk and stir until mixed.
  8. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro.

Yield: approximately 6 ½ – 7 cups

*Prep sweet potatoes by washing them thoroughly, cutting slits in them with a knife, and wrapping them in wet paper towel. Some microwaves have special settings for baking potatoes. If your microwave does not, set the sweet potatoes to heat on high for about 5 ½ minutes.

Share the Harvest

butternut squashOctober in the upper Midwest is usually the time for final fall harvests from the garden.  The last of the tomatoes are gathered and processed.  Herbs are cut and dried.  Apples of all varieties are picked for snacking enjoyment.  Annual trips to corn mazes are planned and taken and golden trophies are carefully chosen and carried or carted from the pumpkin patch.

I am fortunate to have grown up in and continue to live in an area that is rich in agriculture.  I can attend a farmer’s market almost any day of the week from May through October.   Although I have not always considered myself as such, I feel blessed knowing that I have a connection to the land and to its bounty, one than many Americans who live in literal “food deserts” are not able to enjoy.  Even worse, some don’t even know that they are missing this connection.

But I also have hope and a sense of responsibility to share the harvest with others.  There are many opportunities out there.  In my hometown our farmer’s market has a collection table where extra produce can be purchased and donated so that people who many not be able to afford it can enjoy fresh produce.  We have several local gardens located in inner-city neighborhoods where people of all walks of life are welcome to work and eat from the land.  Local nurseries, garden centers, master gardener groups, libraries, and technical colleges offer a variety of classes on gardening from container gardening to straw bale gardening, composting to seed saving.  Even at work, people bring in grocery bags full of fresh produce from apples to zucchini.  We share recipes on turning green tomatoes into mock raspberry jam, swap heirloom seeds, and talk about what the deer and rabbits got away with this season.  Even in October we plan ahead with the eternal optimism of micro-farmers, looking ahead to what is possible next season.

As lovers of the earth and its bounty I encourage us to “share our harvest.”  It might be a recipe for using a seasonal fruit or vegetable.  Or perhaps it is saving and sharing seeds with friends, co-workers, and neighbors.  It could even be just talking about our experiences with a garden, no matter how big or small that garden is.  Talking about the fruits of our labors is a wonderful way to spread our passion for plant based living.

Crunch into Crispy Collard Chips

Tired of snacking on potato chips? Need something to munch on during the day without adding a lot of Calories to your diet? Try Crispy Collard Green Chips by Megann Harris, RD, LD! This crunchy recipe is rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. A dehydrator is recommended to help completely dry these super-thin chips to just the right crispness. Store in an airtight container when done to help chips stay crunchy and enjoy!

Crispy Collard Green Chips
by Megann Harris, RD, LD

Pina Colada Grilled Dessert

Pina Colada Grilled DessertPineapple has been a symbol of welcome in many cultures for centuries. It is an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese. So fire up your grills and welcome spring with this tasty dessert. Please note temperature may vary depending on the type of grill used.


  • 6 slices fresh pineapple, ½” thick
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup agave syrup
  • 2 Tbsp lime zest
  • ¼ cup sweetened, flaked coconut


  1. Preheat grill to 425°F.*
  2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice and agave syrup.
  3. In a second bowl, combine lime zest and flaked coconut.
  4. Baste pineapple slices with lime juice and agave syrup mixture using a basting brush. Place pineapple slices basted side down directly on grill. Cover and grill for five minutes.
  5. Baste pineapple slices with lime syrup mixture and carefully flip. Cover and grill for another five minutes.
  6. Baste slices a final time and flip. Top slices with lime zest and coconut mixture.
  7. Cover and grill for five minutes or until the coconut has toasted. Serve warm.

Yield: 6 slices

*Please note: grill temperature was based on a gas grill.

Be Like the Squirrels and Go Nuts!

NutsLet’s take a lesson from the squirrels and save some room for nuts in your diet. Nuts are considered a healthy addition to the diet in moderation. According to, a recommended serving for nuts is a one-ounce serving, which is equivalent to 23 almonds, 13 cashews, or 9 walnut halves. Although many nut lovers tend to favor a few particular kinds of nuts, eating a variety of nuts can help to maximize the benefits that this group can provide.

  • Soy nuts, which are a legume, contain 11 grams of protein, 1.12 mg (6% DV) of iron, 387 mg (11% DV) of potassium, and 2.3 grams (9% DV) of fiber per ounce.
  • Peanuts, which are also a legume, contain 1.30 mg (7% DV) of iron, 2.4 grams (10% DV) of fiber, and 3.4 mg (17% DV) of niacin per ounce.
  • Almonds contain 1.05 mg (6% DV) of iron, 3.5 grams (14% DV) of fiber, and 200 mg (6% DV) of potassium per ounce.
  • Cashews contain 1.89 mg (11% DV) of iron, 187 mg (5% DV) of potassium, and 1.64 mg (11% DV) of zinc.
  • Walnuts are well known for their omega-3 fatty acid content.

These are just a few nutritional highlights that this flavorful group provides. In addition, because of their higher fat content, nuts can help with satiety and are an easy to carry snack. To keep sodium intake down, skip the salted nuts and instead opt for dry roasted nuts or purchase raw nuts and toast them yourself in a skillet over medium heat.

So, when you are looking for a healthy, portable snack this holiday season, remember the squirrels and grab a small handful of nuts.

Smoky Tempeh Scramble Burritos

Yield: 10 – ½ cup servings
Preparation time: 30-40 minutes

Smoky Tempeh Scramble Burritos

Chipotle peppers are a wonderful way to add a smoky, spicy flavor to any dish.  This scramble is rich in flavor and texture and will be sure to be a crowd pleaser.  The addition of the chipotle peppers can be adjusted up or down depending on your spice tolerance.


  • 1 cup diced green peppers
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 8 oz pkg tempeh, diced
  • 1/3 cup chipotle peppers in adobe sauce, diced
  • 2 cups frozen hash browns
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 pkg. 8 inch whole wheat tortillas
  • Fat free sour cream or vegan sour cream substitute


  1. Prepare and combine diced peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onion, tempeh, and chipotle peppers.
  2. Heat canola oil in 12 inch skillet over medium heat.  Layer hash browns on bottom, then tempeh mixture on top.  Add salt and pepper to preference.  Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until hash browns are brown and crispy.  Then, using a spatula, flip over the hash brown and tempeh mixture.  Cook an additional 8-10 minutes until all vegetables are thoroughly cooked through.  Add juice of 1 lime within last few minutes of cooking.
  3. Portion ½ cup into wheat tortilla and serve with sour cream substitute.

Nutritionals (per ½ cup of tempeh scramble, tortilla and sour cream not included)

Calories: 113; Fat: 3.4 g; Saturated Fat: 0.5g; Trans Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 117 mg; Carbohydrate: 15g; Fiber: 4.6 g; Sugar: 2.5g; Protein: 6g; Vitamin A: 508 IU; Vitamin C: 20.5mg; Iron: 1.5 mg; Calcium:42 mg

Guacsoymole Garden Spread

Guac-oy-mole Garden SpreadThis delightful avocado and tofu spread is light and refreshing – perfect on tea sandwiches, cucumber slices, or even with chips. Fresh dill helps to provide a fresh flavor to this dish.


  • 12 oz. extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried sweet basil
  • ½ tsp dried thyme leaf
  • Optional: crackers, cucumber slices, or small slices of sandwich breads


  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender. Blend for a few minutes until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate at least one hour prior to serving.
  3. Serve as a dip or a spread or fill a piping bag and pipe onto crackers, slices of cucumber, or open face sandwiches.

Yield: approximately 2 ½ – 2 ¾ cups

Cranapple Fruit Soup

Cranapple Fruit SoupTired of the same old winter soup? Missing fruit this winter season? Try fruit soup.

Fruit soup, which is attributed to Scandinavian, Baltic, and Eastern European cultures, is mainly composed of fruit juice and dried fruit with the addition of spices and sometimes tapioca. It can be served warm or cold and takes less than an hour to prepare. Here is one variation on an old favorite.


  • 3 cups white cranberry juice
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup tapioca pearls
  • ½ cup dried apples, cut into pieces
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Place cranberry juice, water, and tapioca pearls in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until tapioca pearls are translucent.
  2. Add dried apples, dried cranberries, and cinnamon stick and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove cinnamon stick (if desired, leave in for a stronger cinnamon flavor).
  4. Serve warm.

Boost Your Fall Palate with Colorful Dishes

Bring some color to your table with two savory dishes from Frances Arnold and Gita Patel.

Carrots, Cabbage, Chard and Cumin Extravaganza Carrots, Cabbage, Chard and Cumin Extravaganza by Frances Arnold, RD combines vibrant carrots, Swiss Chard, and purple cabbage to create a true extravaganza of colors and flavors.
Stir Fried Savoy Cabbage Salad Stir Fried Savoy Cabbage Salad by Gita Patel, MS, RD, CDE, LD combines Savoy cabbage and red peppers with cumin and red chili peppers to help provide a warm, colorful dish perfect for any cool autumn night.

Don’t disappoint your palate – excite your taste buds with these colorful and flavorful plates.

Tea and Lemon Grass Stir Fry

Tea and Lemon Grass Stir FryTea can be used for more than drinking. It makes a great flavoring agent for stir fry dishes. This savory dish also highlights several late summer vegetables.  So get out the tea bags and “brew” up this dish.


  • 2 cups boiling hot water
  • 6 tea bags (green or chamomile)
  • 2 cups (4 oz.) sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup finely diced red onions
  • 1 cup diced red bell peppers
  • 1 cup diced green bell peppers
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 oz. seitan strips
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon grass (or 0.75 oz. package of stalks)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Step tea bags in boiling hot water for 3-5 minutes (or according to package directions).
  2. Heat oil in a medium size frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add mushroom strips, peppers, and seitan.  Heat for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add tea and lemon grass and heat for 5 minutes or until tea mixture starts to boil.
  6. Add rice, cover, and reduce heat for 20 minutes.
  7. If lemon grass stalks used, remove prior

Beat the Heat with a Frozen Fruit Treat

Frozen Fruit TreatFrozen fruit such as grapes, blueberries, and strawberries make a delicious and nutritious treat during the warm, summer months. They are an excellent replacement to sugary popsicles and the flavor is all natural! Preparation is the key to properly freezing foods. When preparing most whole frozen fruits, use the following techniques.

  • Only freeze fruits that are at their peak of flavor — if you don’t grow it yourself then purchase the fruit when it is in season.
  • Do not try to freeze too much at one time! An average home freezer can only adequately freeze 2-3 cubic feet of food at one time.
  • Wash and thoroughly dry all fruit before freezing — a salad spinner works well with whole items such as grapes, blueberries, and whole strawberries.
  • Spread fruit on a rimmed baking sheet or tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Freeze for 1-2 hours or until frozen solid.
  • Place items in a freezer grade glass or plastic container.
  • Remove as much air from the container as possible.
  • Frozen fruits can keep for about 8-12 months.

For more information on freezing specific fruits and vegetables try the following websites:


Triple Your Fruit, Triple Your Benefits

Triple BerryCelebrate berries and indulge in the fruits of the season. This triple berry recipe is a family favorite from my mother in law and is packed full of vitamin C, potassium, phytochemicals, and of course, flavor! So this summer, triple your benefits by combining the fruits of this season.


  • 1- 32 oz (2 lb) pkg strawberry – cut in quarters or in sixths (if large)
  • 1- 12 oz pkg blueberry -fresh or frozen
  • 1- 12 oz. pkg blackberry
  • 1- 0.14 oz pkg Splenda®


  • Wash strawberries. Remove the hull and cut into quarters or in six pieces if the berry is large.
  • Mix strawberries with blueberries, blackberries, and Splenda® or sweetener of your choice.
  • Enjoy.

Yield: 10 ½ cups or 21 – ½ cup portions


SorbetLooking for a fun and refreshing way to cool down your menu? Why not try a sorbet! Sorbets are fun and easy to make. Unlike ice cream, sorbets do not require a special piece of equipment, just a good blender or food processor. Sorbets can be made using one type of fruit or several types of fruit

A recommended combination is 8 oz of frozen fruit to 1 cup of juice. Just blend and freeze until mixture is firm. This makes about 2 cups of sorbet so invite a few friends over to try your latest concoction. Featured in the photo are kiwi limeade, strawberry guava, and peach mango sorbets.

Liquid Gold Dressing

Recently the VN Food Feature articles went globe-trekking, visiting our international members to ask them for their favorite recipes.

One visit is to a member in Canada. This dressing is from dietitian Vesanto Melina and the nutrition classics she has co-authored with Brenda Davis, “The New Becoming Vegetarian” and “Becoming Vegan” and also from “Raising Vegetarian Children”. It is delicious on baked potatoes, rice, steamed vegetables, and pasta, as well as salad. Two tablespoons provides your days’ supply of omega-3 fatty acids, along with 80 percent of your vitamin B12. For a thicker dressing, use more ground flaxseed; for a thinner dressing use less. The dressing thickens over time. ».


  • 1/2 cup flaxseed oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari or Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast powder or flakes
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp or more ground flaxseed (optional)

Makes 1-1/2 cups – 2 cups

Recipe contributed by: Vesanto Melina, MS, RD
Food Photo by: Meredith Hink, MS, RD