Cauliflower Crust Pizza

What if I told you, that you could eat a piece of delicious pizza, minus the carbs, plus more than three quarters of your daily vitamin C intake in a serving of vegetables….what would you say?? Well, here it is; cauliflower crust pizza. This pizza is amazing, there just isn’t a better word to describe it. Your favorite comfort food, extra cheesy and warm, but no carbs. I know what you’re thinking, “am I dreaming, is this real life?” It’s real, people. And it’s really freakin’ good. Cauliflower makes the perfect crust substitute, it has an easily adaptable flavor, and it holds the crust shape beautifully. Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, meaning cancer-fighting as well as anti-immflamatory and anti-oxidant rich. Basically, cauliflower is the Beyonce of vegetables…and all hail Queen Bey!

Prep time: 15 min           Cook time: 20 min         Serves: 2-4

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup parmasean cheese
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 45o degrees and place baking stone or large baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper in oven
  • Wash then thoroughly dry cauliflower. Cut off stems and place florets into food processor and chop until cauliflower resembles snow-like texture. Place chopped cauliflower in microwave in microwave safe bowl. Cook for 4 minutes then dump into a clean kitchen towel and allow to cool
  • Once cooled, squeeze out excess water. Make sure completely cooled or you will burn your hands. Dump squeezed cauliflower into a bowl then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well, using your hands works best
  • Once mixed together, place dough ball onto the parchment paper or hot pizza stone. Form a pizza shape with dough and pat down thoroughly. You don’t want it o be too thick or too thin
  • Place into oven and cook for 9 minutes. Remove from oven, add desired sauces and toppings then place back into oven and cook for another 6 minutes, until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let cool for 1-2 minutes before serving

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Vegetable Tempura

Vegetable tempura makes my heart smile. Vegetable tempura that can be cooked and on my plate in 15 minutes or less? Now that makes my heart sing, ‘ceeeelebrate good times, come on!’ This tastes just like the vegetable tempura I order religiously every time I visit my favorite sushi restaurant but I get to enjoy it from the comfort of my couch. This is a recipe you can really have fun with. For this recipe I used carrots, broccoli and avocado but some other options would be radishes, sweet potato and button mushrooms-but you can really add in anything you want to eat! This vegetable tempura is so quick and simple to make you can now have amazing, restaurant quality tempura at the snap of your fingers!!! And by having dinner cooked in 15 minutes, you’ll have lots of extra time for you!!

Prep time: 5 min       Cook time: 10 min     Serves: 4

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable oil for frying

batter

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sparkling water

dipping sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  • Heat the oil over high heat then begin to prepare vegetables
  • Wash and peel vegetables, slice away tops and ends of baby carrots, trim the ends of the broccoli, etc.
  • In large bowl, combine all batter ingredients and whisk together until just smooth. Dip in the vegetables and ensure they are evenly coated then shake off excess batter
  • Using a slotted spoon, add several vegetables at a time into the oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Be careful not to overfill oil with vegetables, they will stick together. When the batter has puffed up, carefully remove vegetables to a paper towel to absorb excess oil. Repeat until all vegetables are cooked and placed onto paper towel.
  • In the meantime, make dipping sauce. Combine all sauce ingredients and whisk until combined. Serve tempura immediately with individual bowls of dipping sauce

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Broccoli and Ricotta Calzones

These delicious, cheesy calzones are perfect for a busy weeknight! They are so easy to make and a great finger food for your little ones!! Plus, who couldn’t use an extra serving of veggies in their life?? I’ve pretty much perfected my calzone making but it’s super fun to play around with different ingredients! You could try your calzone with spinach, broccoli, artichokes, you name it! What veggie doesn’t go great with cheese?! These freeze beautifully as well so feel free to double the recipe and save some for next week!

Prep time: 15 min      Cook time: 15 min     Serves: 4

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • 10 oz frozen chopped broccoli florets
  • 8 oz ricotta cheese
  • 4 oz mozzarella shredded
  • 1 oz parmasean cheese grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten with 2 tbsp water plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano dried
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Combine thawed broccoli, ricotta, mozzarella, oil, egg yolk, garlic powder, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes in a large bowl
  • Place pizza dough on lightly floured surface and divide into 4 pieces
  • With your hands or a rolling pin, flatten each piece to about 7 inch round on a piece of parchment paper
  • Spread 1/4 of broccoli and ricotta filling over half of dough round, making sure to leave a 1 inch border around the edge
  • Brush the edges with the egg wash and then fold the other half of the dough circle over the spinach mixture leaving the bottom 1/2 inch border uncovered
  • Press edges of dough together and pinch with a fork or fingers to seal
  • With a sharp knife, cut 5 steam vents into each calzone then brush tops with remaining egg wash
  • Transfer calzones onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes then brush with any remaining egg wash and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and bake for another 7 minutes
  • Move to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes then serve

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VEGAN Black Bean Soup

Yes, I eat soup in the summer, all summer long, I have no shame!! People look at me like I’m crazy, and I get it! But, I love soup so much, no amount of hot, humid weather can stop me. I actually used to keep a ‘soup journal’ when I was younger and I would describe and rate the soups I would order at restaurants and places I traveled with my family. I’m quite the soup-conissour, if I do say so myself. Black bean soup has always been one of my favorites. It has such simple, natural ingredients but has so much rich flavor. It really fills you up and keeps you feeling full longer. Plus, the high fiber and protein content is always appealing for us meatless-folk (in my best Southern accent.)

Prep time: 10 min     Cook time: 45 min      Serves: 6

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 3 stalks celery chopped fine
  • 2 large carrots peeled and sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 15-oz cans black beans rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional garnishes: diced avocado, thinly sliced radish, tortilla chips

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery and carrots and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are soft, about 15 minutes
  • Stir in the garlic, cumin and pour in black beans and vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook and reduce heat if necessary to maintain a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes
  • Puree 4 cups of the soup in food processor and blend until smooth. Add pureed soup back into pot and add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish as desired and serve hot

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Sweet Potato and Kale Au Gratin

Sweet potato and kale team up to create this healthy and delicious meal everyone is sure to fall in love with! Sweet potato and kale au gratin is the perfect gluten-free and paleo-friendly dish to make for a special occasion or just a regular weeknight. This recipe only has a handful of simple ingredients and is so easy to make it’s a perfect recipe for cooking experts and beginners alike. The leafy, green kale fills this dish with powerful antioxidants, fiber and vitamins such as vitamin K and vitamin A while the sweet potato packs a punch of manganese, copper, and iron! Talk about a dynamic-duo!!

Prep time: 10 min     Cook time: 35 min      Serves: 6

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Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose (gluten-free) flour
  • 3/4 cup organic whole milk
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the sweet potatoes, season with salt and pepper and stir occasionally for about 4 minutes until sweet potatoes are lightly browned. Add chopped kale and stir occasionally until kale is slightly wilted. Add 1/2 cup water and cook, continue stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until the kale has wilted and the water has cooked off. Stir in lemon juice then remove from heat
  • In separate medium skillet heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute before adding the flour. Whisk frequently until well combined. Slowly whisk in the milk and 1/2 cup water. Continue whisking 3 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Turn off heat and season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Transfer the cooked sweet potatoes and kale to the skillet of béchamel sauce and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to baking dish and bake in oven for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving

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Veggie Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Topping

This recipe is that rich, filling homemade pot pie you know and love but on steroids!! The vegetable pot pie has a creamy herb-infused sauce and the fresh homemade cheddar biscuit topping just makes the dish that much better. Feel free to use a bag of frozen vegetables like I did to save on time! You can really use any vegetables you’d like and if you want an extra protein boost-toss in a can of chickpeas. You might be wondering why most of the recipes I’ve posted so far are winter recipes..well…if you live anywhere like where we do in upstate NY… it’s freaking freezing!!! We are still sadly wearing our winter coats. So, while I’m dreaming of warmer weather…the only real warmth I’ll be getting is from this vegetable pot pie! Hey, it’s better than nothing though!

Prep time: 20 min     Cook time: 35 min    Serves: 6

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Ingredients

Filling

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp fresh pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 lb frozen mixed vegetables

Cheddar biscuit topping

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp cold butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice

Instructions

  • Dice the onions and add to oven safe skillet with the butter. Sauté over medium heat until onions are soft and translucent. Add 3 tbsp of flour and sauté another 2 minutes then add milk and whisk until there are no more lumps. Add seasonings and allow to come to a simmer, whisking continuously until it thickens
  • Add in the vegetable broth and allow to come to a simmer again. Add the frozen vegetables and stir to fully combine. Reduce to low heat and allow the mixture to heat through, stir occasionally and begin to prepare the biscuit topping
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add in the butter and either with your hands or pastry cutter work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles damp sand. Stir in the cheddar cheese
  • Add the milk to the biscuit mixture and stir until a dough begins to form. If the dough seems too wet, simply add a dusting of flour on top
  • Spread some flour down on a flat surface and press the dough down into a 3/4 inch thick circle, then cut into 6 biscuits. Place the biscuits over top the vegetable pot pie
  • Bake the vegetable pot pie in the skillet for 20 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbly around the edges. Serve hot

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Sesame Tofu with Broccoli

I’ve always been a tofu lover but never quite found the right way to cook it so that it came out really perfect..until now! Tofu is the ultimate meat substitute since it’s high in protein and low in fat and sodium. For this recipe you will need to do just a little planning ahead so you have enough time to press the tofu. If you’re not familiar with pressing, it’s basically a 30 minute pressing of the tofu between 2 weighted down plates so that any excess liquid is drained so when you pan fry the tofu it comes out light and crispy. This pan fried sesame tofu is extra crispy and drenched in a tangy sesame sauce, the broccoli and rice help make it the perfectly balanced meal for you and the little one!

Prep time: 45 min     Cook time: 15 min     Serves: 2-4

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Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

Stir fry

  • 14 oz block tofu extra firm
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 frozen broccoli florets
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 3 sliced green onions
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • Place a few paper towels or a clean, lint free dish cloth on a large plate. Remove tofu from package and place on the paper towels. Place several more paper towels on top then place a second plate on top weighed down with a few canned goods or tea kettle filled with water. Press tofu for at least 30 minutes to remove excess water
  • While the tofu is pressing, prepare the sauce. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, water, sesame oil, brown sugar, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, and cornstarch. Stir well until cornstarch and brown sugar are dissolved completely and set sauce aside
  • Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and season with 1/4 tsp salt. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of cornstarch over the cubes and then toss the cubes in the cornstarch to fully coat them. Repeat with the second tbsp of cornstarch until all cubes have even coating of cornstarch
  • Heat large saucepan over medium heat. Once heated, add 2 tbsp vegetable oil and tilt pan until bottom is evenly coated in oil. Add the tofu cubes and let cook on one side until golden brown. Then, use a spatula to flip to an uncooked side and continue to do this until all sides are golden brown before removing crispy tofu to a clean plate
  • Add frozen broccoli to skillet and stir until edges are slightly browned. Lower the heat to medium-low, even if the broccoli is not fully thawed yet, it will warm through after adding the sauce
  • Give the bowl of sauce a final stir and pour into the skillet with the broccoli. Stir and cook until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Once this happens, turn off heat and add in tofu cubes
  • Serve over bed of cooked rice and top with sliced green onions

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