Totally Dairy-less Creamy Mushroom Pasta (V/GF)

First recipe of 2017 woohoo!

My favorite recipes are most often birthed from me not knowing what the heck to make. Usually when I have plenty of food in the fridge, freezer and cupboards but it’s not immediately obvious how they can work together. I knew I had a box of Jovial brown rice pasta and fresh mushrooms (which is you haven’t guessed are like, one of my favs) and so this dish just happened late one night. The creamy texture came out so good, reminiscent of a stroganoff or Alfredo sauce, except not nearly as heavy and with a subtle miso flavor. Which I liked.A lot. So there. Also it’s soooooooooo easssyyyyyyyyyyy…I wanted to make a vegan cream sauce that did not require soaking cashews overnight or food processing potatoes because I was feeling super lazy. *Me to myself* You did good kid…



Isn’t bowtie pasta fun? 



1 box fav Gluten Free pasta. I used Jovial brown rice bowties.

1 cup frozen peas

1.5 cup sliced white mushrooms

2 tsp chopped garlic

3 tablespoons vegetable broth

1/4 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons fresh organic miso (paste form not powder)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt/pepper to taste



Sauté garlic and mushrooms in olive oil until soft. Add peas and cook on low/medium heat until the peas are defrosted. Add vegetable broth and sauté until mostly absorbed.

Meanwhile undercook pasta by one minute according to directions on box, drain and immediately run under cold water. Set aside.

Back to the pan lower heat and add the almond milk, miso, nutritional yeast and salt pepper. Mix under low heat until all blended and the miso paste is dissolved.

Add pasta and toss until pasta is coated and let simmer for about 3 minutes.




Kale Parmigiano Pasta

The recipe is so KILLER because it’s not only incredibly nutrient dense, it also tastes like cheesy comfort food heaven.

One of my top comfort foods as a young one was pasta and Parmesan cheese, nothing else, no butter, nothing. Dry pasta. Parmesan cheese. This is a way healthier version. The pasta I used is fiber, omega 3 and more nutrient packed SPELT pasta. I usually use brown rice pasta but spelt is my new jam and I like it even better. Add super powered kale, lots of fresh garlic and healthy fat olive oil. Fresh grated Parmesan cheese tips this to the point of maaaadddddnesssss!

But seriously it’s too easy to even write a formal recipe for this…


Boil some spelt (or whatever) pasta according to box and run under cold water. Set aside.

Sauté some fresh chopped garlic in olive oil. Add chopped & rinsed organic kale and sauté until kale is soft. Add salt, pepper. Add 1/4 cup pine nuts and lightly brown in pan with kale.

Add 1/4 cup white wine until dissolves. Toss in cooked pasta and add more olive oil to coat.
Add in about 1/2 cup Parmesan (adjust to cheesy desires) and mix. Turn up heat until slightly browns/crisps then flip and cook again until same.

Serve. Get seconds. Dream about.



Meditating on Winter Soup w/Purple Potatoes

So a couple of weeks ago I went on my first daylong meditation retreat. I have been meditating seriously ( very serious, man) for about 8 months now. I tried a few different schools and techniques, including Zen Buddhist meditation before stumbling upon Perfectly Here Mindfulness Center in the SFV, CA. What I liked about it was it seemed like a science-based approach to meditation and I am all about science. Science is cool. I wanted to learn exactly WHY the brain benefits from meditation, not just left alone to stare at a wall for 45 minutes when I had no idea what I was doing. I started with the level 1 class and I have just wrapped up the level 2. I have definitely picked up some positive habits taking these two courses and noticed that I have been handling STRESSFUL SITUATIONS…a lot better. So I figured the next step was to attend a daylong.

I had ZERO idea what to expect but I knew it would involve a lot of meditating, for a long time…like all day…hence, daylong. I was really worried that it would be too much for me, that I would run out screaming, interrupting everyone else’s journey to serenity. Luckily that totally didn’t happen. The time flew by and we changed up the meditation styles so frequently I never got bored. And I found the group meditation environment actually helped me meditate better, which is weird, right?

My favorite part was lunch. Obviously, yeah, cause food. But this wasn’t just regular eating this was MINDFUL eating. Everyone prepared and set up for lunch in complete silence, and we all sat together in complete silence. It was a little weird at first (especially hearing everyone chew) but it was also strangely intimate. We were served a vegetable stew that was so comforting and belly warming in it’s simplicity. Especially on a chilly, dark day. And keeping with the mindful teachings I thought about the journey of the vegetables…growing in the dirt, being picked by farm workers, riding in the truck, being displayed in the stores. I thought about another woman at the retreat who I knew had been given the task of chopping the vegetables for the soup. How we were all eating the outcome of her labor. And suddenly the moment became beautiful and exciting. Not to mention the soup was fabulous.

I decided then that I was going to make a veggie soup too! I wanted it to be colorful and comforting and belly warming and encourage the same thoughts of gratitude the retreat soup had given me. The perfect soup for the crisp December weather.

I knew I wanted to have sweet potatoes in the soup because that was my favorite part about the retreat soup. When I went to church (aka Whole Foods Market) to buy supplies I came across these gorgeous Japanese PURPLE sweet potatoes. I fell in love with the vibrant color and felt like it radiated the vibes I wanted my soup to have. So I picked up some purple baby reg potatoes too, you know, to double the purple power. Two kinds of purple potatoes and kale provide the OOMF for this hearty soup. I hope you love is as much as we did in my home. We served it with some dark, crusty rustic bread.



2 cups Japanese purple sweet potatoes, cut

1 1/2 cup purple baby potatoes

2 bunches kale, chopped

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 cup white mushrooms, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can white beans (or kidney beans), drained and rinsed

4 tablespoons organic miso

6 cups veggie broth

2 cups water

1 tablespoon turmeric

salt, pepper to taste

Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour

In a large pot, combine veggies, water and broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce heat.

Add spices and let cook on low about 45 minutes or until potatoes are begin to get tender. Add the miso and beans and cook for 15 more minutes.

Serve alone or with crusty bread. Keeps excellent in the fridge for leftovers. Grub down!






Veggie Italian Meatballs (GF)


As I mentioned in previous posts, a tradition was recently started in my household. Monday is homemade pizza night. And so it has been for the past ten Mondays or so. Yesterday the chain was broken however, as the suggestion of good old-fashioned spaghetti and meatballs caused great enthusiasm. I blame the Sopranos. 

About 5 years ago, when I lived by the beach, me and my boyfriend at the time decided to watch the entire Sopranos series from the beginning. I had never seen it and he had watched it back when it originally aired. From the very first episode we were mesmerized. It took over our lives, we couldn’t stop. The only other time I recall a TV show abducting my life in such a way, it was Battlestar Galactica. The kind of show where you stay in your pajamas for days, order in, turn to your partner and say “just ONE more?”…and of course it’s never just one more. That’s what happened with The Sopranos. And if you have watched the show you know they are ALWAYS eating. Always. Especially Tony. Pasta, bread, ziti. And watching that made us crave that red smothered, cheese covered American-Italian style grub so freaking bad. Almost every night we ordered in pasta. In was a high-carb time. But I survived.

Back to the present, there has been some discussion recently in my current home about re-watching The Sopranos. But there are concerns. Will it derail my life? Will I want pasta 24/7? Can my body afford such cravings? Will watching the show again destroy all my new healthy practices? I don’t know man. I don’t know. I just know that even the mere suggestion was so powerful, I started to crave that simple, childhood triggering, red sauce smothered, all-American spaghetti and meatballs.

The seed was planted. There was no stopping it.

But of course, being me, I had do something a little different and experimental so I would have something to post about. There are a billion recipes on the net for traditional spaghetti and meatballs, the world doesn’t need another. So I decided to attempt a veggie based “meat” ball. It was important to me that the texture be as close to a traditional meatball as possible, and that it look like one too, without using “fake meat” products. Because honestly I think fake processed meat taste kinda gross. 

I saw a lot of recipes for veggie versions online made with everything from tofu to beans to quinoa to zucchini. I struggled a little deciding what ingredients to use for the “base” and because I couldn’t decide I ended up using zucchini AND garbanzo beans. I was worried it might end up tasting more like falafel balls than meat balls but surprisingly, and probably because of the spices used, it didn’t. It turned out…pretty awesome. I am proud of this recipe. Really proud. When your carnivore partner can’t believe there isn’t meat in it, you know you did good. *pats self on head*

I used gluten-free Panko and pasta, hence the GF tag but of course these are optional, any type of Panko crumbs will work and of course any kind of spaghetti. This recipe uses an egg but can be easily veganized with flax egg or your favorite vegan egg substitute. It’s really just used as a binder for the balls.

I used my trusty Vitamix to make the garbanzo/zucchini “dough”, but a food processor will also work. I also freezed half of the mixture for an easy future dinner, because I will definitely be craving this again!

Tony Soprano might have me taken out for this, but I’d like to think he would happily gobble it up and tell me it was pretty fuckin’ good for a “Madigan”. 🙂





2 large zucchinis, cubed

1 can Garbanzo beans, rinsed

1 medium white onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 egg

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

2 cups Panko bread crumbs

Olive oil for skillet

Spices I used: oregano, thyme, paprika, Himalayan salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, Flavor God lemon garlic powder.

Jar of favorite marinara sauce



Place rinsed garbanzo beans, parsley and chopped zucchini in a bowl. Toss together. Process together in a Vitamix or food processor until ground well and but not too smooth or pureed, you will want some small chunks for texture. I pulsed on low until I got the texture I wanted. You should be able to still see pieces of zucchini. I actually blended in two separate batches. Set aside.


In a skillet sauté the onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl pour in the zucchini/garbanzo mixture. Add the cooked onions and garlic, nutritional yeast, egg and desired spices. Mix with a flat spatula while adding the Panko 1/2 cup at a time until the batter is not too wet and forms a nice firm dough that can easily be formed into balls that stay together. For me that was about 2 cups.


With clean hands form the dough into ping-pong sized balls and place in olive oil heated skillet on a medium heat. Should make approx 20 balls.

Cook the balls, turning over, until golden brown on all sides and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Wipe the excess oil from the skillet and pour in the marinara sauce. Place on a low simmer heat and when lightly bubbling, add the balls back in. Simmer covered for about 10 minutes then flip them over and simmer for another 10 minutes so the steam and sauce can cook through the middle of the ball. This also helps with the texture.

Serve on top of your favorite pasta! Crave it hardcore for the next few days!

Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Dairy-Free Cream Sauce (V/GF)


It’s November. Do you know what that means? Well I’ll tell you. That means it’s officially time for HOLIDAY RECIPES!!!! Can you tell I am very excited? I am. Last night I got crazy experimental in the kitchen…just me and a spaghetti squash and a vision. I WAS going to make spaghetti squash fritters but you gotta just go where the inspiration wave takes you, you know?

One of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes of all time has always been a traditional all-american green bean casserole. You know the one with the can of cream of mushroom soup, soggy beans and french fried onion toppings. LOVE that gross stuff. I would always make it even if I was the only one eating it! This will actually be my first year NOT making it. I have been trying very hard to cut dairy from my diet for health reasons. Even though I totally cheated the other day with some Froyo…which I regretted very much…I have been VERY good lately.

The cool part about the “cream” sauce in this dish is that there is NO freaking dairy. None. Nada. It’s made with Cannellini beans. BEANS. It’s crazy. And a few more ingredients and my trusty Vitamix. I was pretty stoked when I tasted this sauce. Very reminiscent of those Campbell’s cream soup in texture, but way healthier. It would be excellent in a green bean casserole ( hell, maybe I WILL make it after all), also as an alternative to Alfredo sauce with a pasta. I am not going to lie, I am pretty proud of this and excited to share, even if like only five people read this…


I had some frozen peas and carrot left over from my Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Pumpkins, but the cool thing about this dish is that you can really add any veggies you want! You do you.


1 small spaghetti squash

2 cups raw spinach

1 cup white mushrooms

1/4 cup veggie broth

1 can Cannellini beans

1 cup nutritional yeast

1 cup almond milk

4 whole garlic cloves

1/2 cup organic extra virgin olive oil

1 cup gluten-free Panko breadcrumbs

1.4 cup more nutritional yeast for topping

paprika or turmeric



Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the spaghetti squash in half, length wise. Spray each half with cooking spray. I used Coconut oil. Place face down in a cooking pan. Roast for 40 min.

Remove spaghetti squash from oven and let cool completely. Then scape the soft cooked insides with a fork to create the spaghetti and place into a bowl. Set aside.

Change oven temperature to 350.

In a large saucepan sauté the peas, carrots and mushrooms in some veggie broth (just enough to not soften them without burning or sticking to the pan. When soft add the spaghetti squash, spinach, salt and pepper and mix together on a medium heat for about 10 minutes. Spoon veggie mixture into a casserole dish leaving about a half inch or so from the top and set aside.


In a Vitamix or equally powerful blender OR a food processor toss in the beans, cup of nutritional yeast, olive oil, garlic, almond milk and desired amount of salt/pepper. Blend on medium for about 20 seconds or until thick and smooth like Alfredo sauce.

Pour the sauce over the veggie mixture in the casserole dish and spread evenly with a large wooden spoon, pressing down lightly so the sauce soaks through the veggies.

Place dish in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

While the base is baking mix the panko crumbs, about another 1/4 cup of the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and paprika or turmeric in a small bowl and toss together.

Remove dish from oven and sprinkle the top with the bread topping. Spray on a *little* cooking spray over it to help it brown and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until topping is lightly browned.

Take out of oven and stuff your face. Try pairing it with a nice simple salad. Bring this to your Thanksgiving shindig maybe?





Pesto Soba Noodles with Tofu

Here is a dinner I whipped up last night and wanted to share with y’all because it was just so quick, easy and most importantly, packed with crazy awesome flavor. A while back I scored some buckwheat soba noodles in bulk from and have been using them with stir-frys and curries instead of rice buuuuuut I wanted to try something a little different…and the experiment worked out very well for all tummies involved. 

If you eat oil-free this is definitely NOT the recipe for you as it uses a lot of olive oil but I adore olive oil so yeah, that’s what’s up.

I used my Vitamix for the Pesto because I use my Vitamix for EVERYTHING (I’m obsessed) but a food processor or nutribullet type blendy thing will also work.


1 package buckwheat Soba noodles

1 cup white mushrooms sliced

1 package organic extra firm tofu, cubed 

2 cups fresh spinach leaves

1 bunch fresh basil leaves

1/2 cup pine nuts, split

4 cloves garlic

1/2 fresh lemon, squeezed 

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt/Pepper to taste

In a Vitamix or food processor blend the basil, lemon juice, 1/4 cup of the pine nuts, olive oil and garlic on a high setting until well processed and smooth. Set aside.

Boil the Soba noodles according to package, drain and run under a cold water. Set aside.

In a large skillet sautée the mushrooms and tofu in olive oil until the mushrooms are soft and the tofu is lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Switch to low heat and add the spinach and the Pesto sauce, stirring continuously just enough to wilt the spinach and heat the Pesto. Turn off heat, add the Soba noodles and lightly toss until noodles are coated. 

Heat a separate small pan on the stove and add the remaining 1/4 of the pine nuts and dry toast, tossing until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. 

Top the noodles with the toasted pine nuts and grub down in front of some Gilmore Girls.

❤ KA

Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Mini Pumpkins (V)


This recipe all started when a girlfriend of mine suggested an evening of Zootopia on Netflix (cute movie) and cooking dinner together. I drew a blank about what I should cook as I had been telling her forever I wanted to cook for her and now I had to put my money where HER mouth was! The heat was on. I asked her what she felt like and she said “something fall.” The wheels got turning. I love fall and fall foods and all things fall. I eye-raided Pinterest for a while but we ended up settling on a recipe she found in a book that featured stuffed mini pumpkins with a baked Caprese-like filling. Needless to say it was bomb.

I starting thinking about all the other things I could stuff pumpkins with. Soup filled pumpkins. Pie stuffed pumpkins. PUMPKIN PIE STUFFED PUMPKINS. Then I remembered that I had been really wanting to make a vegan Shepherd’s Pie. I made a mushroom based one years and years ago that came out awesome, then recently had seen a recipe where they used lentils and have totally been dreaming of how good it would be to have a mushroom AND lentil base. Then I was like…OMG…I could fill a pumpkin with that!

When I make Shepherd’s Pie of any kind, I do a traditional potato crust/topping but going with the fall theme I decided to try it with a sweet potato topping. The result was pretty freakin’ wonderful and I was very excited to share it on here as quickly as possible.

The pumpkins I used were called Wee B Littles. My friend looked them up during our trial run and made sure they were ok for eating. Any mini pumpkin should work as long as it’s good for eating. Obviously. Yeah. Anyway, I found this pumpkin type to be a perfect size and delicious to boot.

It was also filled with lots of seeds which I then roasted and used for a side salad. I made a very simple salad of spinach and sliced apple topped with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and the pumpkin seeds I roasted while I prepped the pumpkins. I seasoned them with salt, pepper and Flavor Gods lemon garlic powder. I highly recommend doing this! It rounded out the meal perfectly. And surprisingly easy to make, except separating the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin guts was a little bit of a pain. WORTH IT.

I anticipate more pumpkin-stuffing before the season is over. I would really like to try a dessert version next so stay tuned. 🙂



4 small pumpkins

2 large sweet potatoes, baked

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cups white mushrooms, finely chopped

8oz frozen peas and carrots

1 can organic lentils

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup Chardonnay

4 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, split

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary

1/2 cup almond milk

3 tablespoons organic flour

3 tablespoons water

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp paprika

salt/pepper to taste

Extra virgin olive oil



Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the tops off the pumpkins, in a circle, with a pumpkin carving knife to make a lid. I scored it four times, on each side, to made it easier before using the pumpkin knife.

Poke holes on the top of the whole sweet potatoes with a fork and set in the oven, directly on the rack to bake while you prep the rest, about 45 minutes.

Clean out pumpkins removing all the “guts” and put aside seeds in a colander for roasting as a side salad topping (optional). After rinsing and cleaning I roasted the seeds for 20 minutes on a pan sprayed with coconut oil. After 20 minutes I took them out, topped with seasoning and a little more spray of oil and then stuck it back in for 10 more minutes.

Use a generous amount of olive oil to rub on the inside AND outside of the cleaned pumpkins, including the lid. Place the four pumpkins in a baking dish, including lids. I used a pyrex casserole baking dish. Set pumpkins aside.

In a large saucepan sauté the onions in olive oil until they start to become translucent. Add mushrooms and sauté until they soften. Add the frozen peas/carrots and sauté until no longer frozen.

Add the Chardonnay and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring.

Lower heat and add lentils, vegetable broth, rosemary, salt and pepper. Cover with lid and let simmer about 25 minutes.

Combine the 3 tablespoons water with the 3 tablespoons of flour until it makes a thin paste.

Remove lid and stir in two tablespoons Earth Balance and the water/flour mixture. Let simmer another 5-10 minutes until it thickens a little to a thin gravy consistency. If still too thin you can add more water/flour mixture.

Fill the pumpkins with the sauce and veggie mixture about 2/3rd’s full. Bake for 30 minutes.


Remove the skin from the baked sweet potatoes and put the rest into a bowl. Add the remaining Earth Balance and the almond milk. Mash with a fork until fluffy. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Remove pumpkins from oven and top with the mashed sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the tops with paprika. Bake for an additional 5-7 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve with a healthy side salad topped with your roasted pumpkins seeds. Receive much love from the people you serve this dish. Thank me lots. 🙂

❤ KA



Quickie Bolognese (w veggie option)


This sauce happened when I went to grab my usual jar of Whole Foods brand pasta sauce and then was like “No no…you’re better than this. Not like, a lot better, but better enough.” Instead I grabbed a can of crushed tomatoes and figured i’d start there. I ended of throwing together a pretty damn good “pressed for time” sauce that took about 30 minutes to make yet had big homemade flavor. I felt much better about ditching that pre-bottled stuff.


I made mine with organic ground turkey but I added enough chunky veggies that I believe this sauce would be equally bomb and hearty without the meat, so simply omit it if you swing that way. Either way, this simple sauce is PACKED with vitamin rich veggies.



1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (with or without basil)

1.2 6 oz can tomato paste

1 yellow onion chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cups white mushrooms, lightly chopped

2 cups raw spinach

1 pound organic turkey meat (if desired)

1 cup sliced black olives

Spices: salt, pepper, oregano

Olive Oil


Add some olive oil to a large skillet on medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic until lightly browned. Add mushrooms and turkey if using meat. Cook until turkey is browned or mushrooms start to soften (about 10 minutes). Add spinach to mixture.

Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and mix until blended. Add black olives and spices to taste.

Lower heat and simmer about 15 minutes.

Serve over your fav pasta. I almost ALWAYS use this TINKYADA brand brown rice pasta when I need my pasta and I always undercook a couple minutes cause i’m about that al dente life. You can get it at Whole Foods or Thrive Market.




Best Non Dairy Ice Cream (so far) “SO Delicious” Cashew Milk Ice Cream

So recently I learned something very sad about myself. I learned that my body doesn’t seem to respond very well to dairy anymore. I cut out milk and replaced it with almond milk years and years ago, I think when someone told me it was mostly mucous and then I couldn’t stop imagining I was drinking cow mucous. And I actually started to prefer the taste of almond milk after I got use to it. But every now and then I love me some good stinky European cheese and ice cream is…I mean it’s ice cream. It’s ICE CREAM. I love making a healthier NICE cream in my Vitamix (see my Cinnamon Macadamia Nut recipe), but sometimes it’s just not the same. So having to find alternatives was depressing. I didn’t like soy. I tried coconut ice cream and found that every single flavor tasted heavily like coconut and it was overpowering. Don’t get me wrong, coconut is delicious but sometimes you want a flavor that isn’t coconut, ok?

I saw some vegans on IG mention cashew milk ice cream, and many claimed it was the best, even over Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy line. So I made a mental note to try it but I never seemed to find it anywhere and I moved on.


Then one day it was at my local Whole Foods. And it was even better than I was really REALLY hoping it would be. Granted I haven’t tried any other flavors but I don’t know why I would want any other flavor when one called SO Delicious: Salted Caramel Cluster exists. The consistency and texture is by far the closest to real ice cream i’ve tried so far, I love the  rich nutty taste of the cashew milk and this flavor is to die for. If you are looking for an ice cream fix but dairy makes you feel like dying afterwards, RUN to Whole Foods (or somewhere else that carries it near you) and thank me later. 🙂

UPDATE: Snickerdoodle is now my favorite flavor.