Massaged Kale Salad

Okay so I know I’m not exactly new on this kale trend. In fact I’m far far behind. My problem with kale has always been how bitter and tough it is- I swear anyone who likes it is lying through their teeth…

Anyhow, massaged kale totally changed my mind about the dark green “health food”. My sister suggested this as a side salad for dinner one night and I reluctantly agreed. But to my surprise I really liked the salad! Tossing the kale with a little oil totally changes the texture and fast – I love it. If you’ve been hesitant to jump on the kale train try this and let me know what you think!


Massaged Kale Salad with red pepper and carrot


2 large bunches of kale

1 red pepper 

4 large carrots

1 tsp sesame oil 

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp ginger

garlic to taste



Break kale into bite sized pieces. Place in a large bowl. Add in sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. Using your hands “massage” the kale for about 5 minutes. Top with sliced red bell pepper and chopped carrots – toss so the whole salad is mixed and enjoy!


Miso Cucumber Noodles with Eggplant and Beyond Meat

As I’ve mentioned, on weeknights I strive to create healthy and easy meals that are also delicious. After a long day at work, I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen so that I can eat something healthy for dinner. That’s why I keep several recipes like this in the back of my mind! It’s delicious and healthy but so easy to make.

If you like the sauce, make extra and keep it in the fridge. You can use it as a salad dressing or marinade for another type of vegetable!


Miso Cucumber Noodles with Eggplant and Beyond Meat

serves one


1 medium cucumber

1 cup sliced eggplant

1 serving (about 6 strips) grilled Beyond Meat

1 tbsp miso

2 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp minced ginger

1 tbsp water



Begin by slicing your eggplant. Put a little oil in a pan and add in eggplant. Put a lid on the pan and let cook for about 5 minutes, stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, wash and dry your cucumber. Using a vegetable peeler, make noodles out of the cucumber. Place them in a bowl and set aside.

Combine miso, vinegar, ginger, and water to make your sauce. Adjust the amount of water to create the desired thickness. Drizzle a little sauce over your cooking eggplant, and cook for a few more minutes.

Saute the Beyond Meat strips for about 3 minutes on each side. Place eggplant & Beyond meat over your cucumber noodles, drizzle with remaining sauce, and enjoy! A quick, easy, and healthy meal 🙂



Restaurant Review #3: Tao Natural Foods

I have another Minneapolis restaurant to share until I move on to new locations next week! This restaurant is an old favorite made new again by introducing outdoor seating and at your table service.

Tao Natural Foods, located at 2200 Hennepin Avenue, is a small health food store with an attached cafe, which recently expanded to include an evening menu that is served by wait staff (instead of ordering at the counter and waiting for your food).

On their home page, Tao writes “For over 40 years we’ve been quietly chipping away at creating, quite possibly, the best little health food store around. Please come and relax over a great cup of coffee or enjoy a nourishing meal in our cozy cafe. While we are busy preparing your meal, you can browse our supplement shop and grab that cream, pill or herb for what’s been ailing you. If you can’t find what you need in a bottle, no worries, we’ve got specialized health practitioners here too! We offer services ranging from Integrative Health Coaching to Therapeutic Massage, Acupuncture, Ayurvedic Medicine and Reiki. Call today to make an appointment, or just stop in and see all that we have to offer you. Hope to see you soon!” They offer quite the repertoire of options for any of your health needs. 

Usually, after we order our food, we wander the health food store and see what new products they have. On the cafe menu, I’ve been known to order the Warm Garden Salad, “A generous portion of steamed veggies on a bed of mixed baby greens topped with swiss cheese, sunflower seeds and Goddess Dressing!” And I seriously can’t recommend it enough. I usually get it with a side of their Balsamic Dressing, and as a girl who can’t get enough of her veggies, I am always pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of the description (a generous portion of steamed veggies). I’ve also enjoyed the homemade Black Bean Veggie Burger, which I also love.

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About two weeks ago I went back with my brother, dad, and grandma to try their new nighttime menu. We started with the Pickled Plate and Warm Medjool Dates. The dates had meat on them, but got rave reviews from my brother. However, they are very rich so it is definitely an appetizer you’d want to share with at least one other person, if not more. The pickled plate was good, but not something I’d go back to Tao for.

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We also tried a few drinks. Jens ordered the Muscle Mania smoothie (banana, peanut butter, hemp protein, maple syrup, vanilla and almond milk) which was delicious, thick, and filling. My dad tried a juice, which was tangy from ginger but very delicious.

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The real stars of the meal were the main dishes. My brother tried the spicy chicken quesadilla on the started menu and liked it. My grandma went with the cheese plate, which includes local cheese, olives, fruit and crackers. She was happy with her meal, and the tastes I stole of local cheese were delicious.

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My dad and I both decided on the The Tao: Macrobiotic Inspired, which is both vegan and gluten free. Our plate came piled with delicious food: ginger-steamed vegetables, brown rice, black beans, fermented cabbage, and grilled tofu on top. The plate was delicious, my only complaint being that there was not enough flavor. This was quickly solved by tamari and soy sauce, and I chowed down happy as a clam.

Although too full for dessert on this particular occasion, I can’t wait to go back and try the Goat Cheese Ice Cream (with strawberries in balsamic reduction) 

Stir Fry with Buffalo Vinaigrette

I recently decided to try textured vegetable protein, something I had never cooked with before. It comes dry, and you prepare it by combining it with water and microwaving it. I love it! It’s such a versatile protein and is fun to use. You’ll be seeing more of it in my recipes coming up! If you don’t feel like trying textured vegetable protein, try any type of crumbled protein instead.

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Stir Fry with Buffalo Vinaigrette

serves two


5 large carrots

1 cup mushrooms

2 cups broccoli

1 yellow onion

1 cup textured vegetable protein

1/2 avocado

1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tsp garlic

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp lemon juice

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Dice onion and place in heated pan with olive oil or cooking spray. Cook about two minutes. Meanwhile chop carrots, mushrooms, and broccoli, add to pan with onions and cook until veggies are cooked (about 6 more minutes).

Cook the textured vegetable protein according to directions on package. Set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients (besides the avocado) in a bowl to make the vinaigrette. Slice the avocado.

Finally, layer the vegetables, textured vegetable protein, and vinaigrette on a plate. Top with avocado and serve.

Sriracha Noodle Soup

Even though it’s getting warmer, I still love soup. It’s such an easy thing to throw on the stove and is customizable to whatever you have in your fridge. For example, this soup was supposed to have sweet potatoes in it, but when I cut into my sweet potato it was rotten – so I adapted and added some different ingredients in.

Soup is also great when you’re cooking with friends. We made this recipe last week while catching up over glasses of wine. All that is really required is chopping and heating, so if you get distracted it’s no big deal 🙂

I want to try this recipe again with the sweet potato that is in the original recipe we adapted this from ( – if you try it, let me know how it tastes! Adjust the sriracha depending on how spicy you like it!

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Sriracha Noodle Soup

serves 3-4


1 medium red onion

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 1/2 tbsp minced ginger

1 carton vegetable broth (about 5 cups)

2 tbsp lime juice

1-2 tbsp sriracha

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

3-4 servings rice noodles

Cilantro + bean sprouts for garnish

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In a pit, heat a little oil or cooking spray. Stir in red onion and cook until soft (about 4-5 minutes). Add the garlic and ginger and stir for about one minute. Add in 4 cups vegetable broth, lime juice, sriracha, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.

Add the carrots and mushrooms. Cook about 2 minutes. Finally add the noodles and put a lid on the pot – cook until soft (about 5-6 minutes).

Serve the soup in bowls. Garnish with the cilantro and bean sprouts and extra lime juice. Add more sriracha on top for an extra kick!

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Chocolate Banana Spread

It’s so easy to get in a breakfast rut. Grabbing a bar on your way out the door or pouring a bowl of cereal is super easy. But when I don’t nourish myself with a healthy and hearty breakfast I find my stomach grumbling and attention waning far before it’s time for lunch. So I try to always make something filling and healthy to start my day out on a good note. I’m usually an oatmeal person, but yesterday the thought of eating another bowl of oats just did not seem appealing.

I love Ezekiel Bread, and always keep the cinnamon raisin variety in my freezer.  I decided to make this delicious spread to put on two pieces of toast and enjoy with my morning coffee. This spread would also be delicious on oatmeal or mixed in with yogurt. Get creative but enjoy!

You may be thinking, chocolate for breakfast?! I admit that I’m a chocolate addict but I love chocolate at any time of day. However, the added sugar in most chocolate things is hard early in the day (hello 10am crash). I keep unsweetened cocoa powder in my pantry because it’s an easy way to add chocolate to recipes without extra sugar. The mashed banana in this recipe is so sweet it doesn’t need any extra sugar! Decadent but healthy breakfast 🙂


Chocolate Banana Spread

serves one


1 very ripe banana

1 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup almond milk



Mash your banana in a bowl. Add in cocoa powder, and add milk a little at a time until you achieve desired consistency. Spread on your toast and enjoy!


Mango Sriracha Dressing on Cucumber Noodles with Tempeh & Broccoli

I really love sriracha and am always looking for new ways to use it. I love this sauce – it was really easy to make and I’ve had enough leftovers for a few meals. The sweetness of the mango pairs well with the spicy sriracha. Cucumber noodles are a tasty and light alternative to pasta. I love this as a light lunch! It’s especially easy to make if you have the sauce saved in your fridge. While you’re cooking the broccoli and tempeh you can make the cucumber noodles. Your meal will be ready in 15 minutes tops. Perfect!


Mango Sriracha Dressing on Cucumber Noodles with Tempeh & Broccoli 


1 medium cucumber

1 cup broccoli

1 serving tempeh (about 1/3 cup)

1 cup fresh mango

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp salt

1 tbsp sriracha

1/4 cup water



Begin by making your sauce. Combine all dressing ingredients (mango, lime juice, oil, salt, water and sriracha) in a blender or food processor and mix until combined. Transfer sauce to jar or tupperware, you’ll have a lot extra. 

Use a vegetable peeler to create noodles from your cucumber. Heat a little oil in a pan and cook your broccoli. Meanwhile, cut your tempeh into cubes and cook about 2 or 3 minutes on each side. Arrange noodles, broccoli, and tempeh on your plate and top with your Mango-Sriracha sauce. Easy and delicious!



Adapted from:

Brussels Sprout & Tempeh Stir-Fry

If you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight meal, this is it! It takes about 15 minutes in total and is delicious and easy. If you’re hungry, serve it over a grain for a more filling meal!

For a more flavorful sauce, add some ginger and garlic. However, it’s plenty good without, and tastes light and fresh. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you have on hand. I imagine red pepper or broccoli would taste delicious in this dish.


Brussels Sprout & Tempeh Stir-Fry

serves two


Brussel Sprouts (about 20)

2 servings tempeh

1/2 a yellow onion

1/2 cup carrots

1/2 cup mushrooms

1 tbsp cornstarch

3 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1/4 cup water



Begin by mixing cornstarch, soy sauce, rice vinegar and water in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside.

Next, chop the onion half and halve the brussels sprouts. Heat a little oil or cooking spray over, and add onions and sprouts. Meanwhile, slice carrots and mushrooms and add to the pan after about 4 minutes. Cook all vegetable together for about 4 more minutes. Slice the tempeh.

In a separate pan, cook the tempeh about two minutes on each side. Add to the mixture of all the vegetables, and poor sauce on. Cook two more minutes and transfer to serving dish. Enjoy!


Adapted from:

Sweet Potato Alfredo (vegan!)

Sometimes you just crave a creamy indulgent dinner. Something that’s warm and flavorful and tastes amazing. That’s how I was feeling Saturday when I made this dish. The flavors are insane (this is my new favorite sauce) and bonus – it’s vegan. Try it on your favorite noodles and feel free to add in extra veggies or your favorite protein.


Sweet Potato Alfredo (vegan!)

Serves 4-6*


1 medium sweet potato

2 shallots

2 cloves of garlic

1 cup whole unsalted cashews

Dash of olive oil

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 tsp chopped rosemary

1/3 cup water

rice noodles

1/4 cup chives

res pepper flakes




Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel the sweet potato and cut into fourths. Peel the shallots and slice in half. Live a baking pan with foil and place garlic cloves, sweet potato, and shallot in it. Toss with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook for 30 minutes (or until potatoes are tender) and then remove from oven and set aside to cool.

While potatoes are cooking, cook your pasta according to instructions on the package. Save some of the pasta water on the side.

Place cashews in a food processor. Blend with sweet potato, shallots, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and a little salt and pepper. Puree, adding water as necessary until it becomes a creamy consistency.

Chop up seitan and cook for two to three minutes on each side. Set aside.

In a large skillet, toss the cooked pasta with some sauce. Add more water if needed to loosen. add chopped chives, red pepper flakes, and seitan.

Serve and enjoy!

*We made the full amount of sauce but only two servings of pasta – ideal because the sauce was so good I was excited to have leftovers in my fridge!


adapted from:


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Baked Samosas

Every time I make rice paper wraps I wonder what to do with the leftover wraps. They come in a massive pack and I had never tried to use them for anything else. These samosas proved the versatility of the rice paper. Instead of using them as a spring roll, you can cut them in half and stuff samosa filling into them. They are customizable (feel free to change-up the ingredients with whatever vegetables you have on hand) and delicious. Bonus – they’re baked, so you get all the flavor of a samosa without the heaviness (they’re typically fried). Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients – the only skill needed is chopping!

This recipe made enough samosas for about two people if you’re having them for dinner, but could easily work as an appetizer as well. Enjoy!


Baked Samosas

Makes 15-20 Samosas


Rice paper wraps

1 medium red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp minced ginger

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup cashews

1 cup baby bella mushrooms

1 cup carrots

1 cup chickpeas

2 cups fresh spinach

1 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp ground mustard

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tbsp sesame seeds

dash cinnamon

dash cayenne

Trader Joe’s Mango Chutney



Preheat oven to 400° F. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat, add cashews and toast until lightly golden. Remove from heat, chop up, and set them aside.

Dice onions, mushrooms, and carrots. Heat a little oil in a pan and garlic and all the spices. Add onions, carrots, and mushrooms. Stir to coat all the vegetables in spices. Cook five minutes and add chickpeas. Cook five more minutes. Remove from heat and add in spinach and toasted cashews.

Take a pie pan and fill it with an inch of hot water. Take a rice paper wrap and let it sit in the water until it softens. Cut it in half with a sharp knife. Fill each half with a big scoop of filling and fold sides of wrap up. Repeat until all of the filling is used. Place all samosas on a greased baking sheet. Cook in oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and flip the samosas. Bake for ten more minutes until slightly crispy and golden brown.

Remove and serve with mango chutney! Delicious!

Adapted from: