Five Vegan Salad Recipes for Lunch

Avocado and Mango Salad with Passion Fruit Vinaigrette
(Bon Appetite, photo – Leo Gong)
As soon as I read the words, ‘passion fruit vinaigrette’ I was hooked! Combine that with avocado, mango and a thoroughly pleasing dose of Dijon mustard and Sherry wine vinegar and you have yourself a salad worth smiling about!
See recipe at Epicurious

bulgur-salad-with-cherriesBulgur Salad with Cherries (Body + Soul)
This salad will look and taste amazing with the ruby red cherries scattered amongst the walnuts, bulgur wheat and herbs. As the recipe suggests, combine this with a green leaf salad for a healthy and nourishing meal.

See recipe at Whole Living

dagmars-detox-saladDagmar’s Detox Salad (Good Food Magazine)
Who doesn’t feel the need to do a little detox now and then? If that time is now for you, why not try this incredible salad of carrots, cabbage, apples, radishes and seeds? The dressing is equally nutritious and ‘body beneficial’ with fresh ginger, honey*, olive oil and lemon (*you can substitute honey with a vegan sweetener of your choice).
See recipe at BBC Good Food.

soba-salad-with-miso-vinaigretteSoba Salad with Miso Vinaigrette
I do enjoy a good soba salad for a delicious and satisfying lunch. I love the idea of the unusual vinaigrette in this recipe made with white miso paste and pickled ginger.
See recipe at Vegetarian Times

strawberry-fennel-and-orange-saladStrawberry, Fennel and Orange Salad
(Body + Soul)
Make use of the seasons best organic strawberries by using them in this superb summer salad which is light, juicy and crispy!
See recipe at Whole Living

Five Ways to be Green in Chicago

Chicago is home to Obama, Oprah and ‘oh so good’ deep dish pizzas but what about its green scene? Here are five impressive green places to get you started.

Shop at Pivot (pictured above)
After you’ve sat in the audience for a taping of Oprah (we should all be so lucky) and then checked out the Oprah store, why not walk a few blocks to Pivot and shop for some sublime eco fashion? Pivot is ‘Chicago’s first boutique devoted to eco-fashion’ and their stylish, CFL lit, zero-VOC painted store has every popular eco label a girl could wish for: Mociun, Del Forte, Ecoganik, She Bible, Toggery, Kate Organic and of course, Chicago based designer, Lara Miller. Pivot often hold events in store which is great news for any local green girls but for those girls not lucky enough to live in Chicago, you can still purchase Pivot’s chic pieces through their online store. Want more good news? It’s currently sale time at Pivot and they are offering a whopping 40-70% off items in store and 50% off online purchases (until July 24th). Just visit their website to nab the special discount code.

1101 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, IL, 60607
Pivot Boutique

Eat at Green Zebra
This vegetarian-friendly restaurant is located in West Town and offers a slick and sophisticated menu featuring tempting taste bud delights such as Roasted Parsnip Ravioli, Foraged Mushroom Dumplings, Miso Risotto and equally scrumptious desserts. In fact ever since reading the description of their Vegan Chocolate Cake with crispy peanut butter, banana sorbet and salted caramel, I have not been able to think of anything else!

1460 West Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL, 60642
Green Zebra

green-genes-chicagoShop for little ones at Green Genes
This adorable store is relatively new to Chicago (it opened in March 2008) but their carefully selected range of eco-friendly products for ‘children and their grown-ups too’ will excite both locals and tourists alike. Not only do owners Heather and Christina aim to fill their store with organic and eco-friendly products but they even made sure their store interior adopted a similar eco conscious philosophy by using bamboo counters, low VOC paints and packaging from biodegradable materials. Look out for their online shopping site coming soon.

5111 North Clark St, Chicago, IL, 606040
Green Genes

karyns-fresh-corner-cafe-chicagoEat at Karyn’s Fresh Corner Cafe and Raw Vegan Gourmet Restaurant
Karyn Calabrese is making it oh so easy to live a healthy life in Chicago with her two restaurants, holistic day spa and weekly meal program! At the North Halsted location you will find a Raw Salad Bar, Fresh Juice Bar offering exotic smoothies such as the ‘Really Rare and Raw’ smoothie made with ‘nutmilk, dates, banana and vanilla’ and raw, vegan desserts like strawberry cake and lemon squares. Yum, yum, yum! The Raw Vegan Gourmet restaurant serves an eclectic menu from pad thai to tamales of corn husks filled with organic masa and other wondrous delights! There is also a store and an Inner Beauty Center on site.
1901 North Halsted Street, Chicago, IL, 60614

Karyn’s Cooked – Conscious Comfort Foods
Vegans need their comfort food as well, so this is the perfect stop for anyone seeking a delicious alternative to the raw food offered at the Raw Vegan Gourmet restaurant. Here you will be served wonderful brunches of banana french toast or lunch and dinner dishes like vegan pizzas, enchiladas and burgers!

738 N Wells St, Chicago, IL
Karyn Raw

greenheart-shop-chicagoShop fair trade at the Greenheart Shop
Shopping for an array of products under one roof is bliss but what about when all the products are fair trade? A green girl’s heaven! Greenheart is Chicago’s ‘only nonprofit eco friendly, fair trade store’ and you can happily, rest assured all the wonderful products lining the shelves come from artisans who have been paid ‘fair living wages’. Greenheart has a treasure trove of items for everyone and every occasion. It is the ideal place to purchase gifts that are both ethical and aesthetical for your family, friends or you (choose from clothing, homewares, beauty, food – it’s all here). They even stock my favourite eco bag brands, English Retreads and Mar y Sol, formerly known as Mad Imports. The store has recently moved into larger premises (1911 W. Division) proving the demand for green is growing in major cities like Chicago.

1911 W. Division
Greenheart Shop (online shopping is available through their website).

Vegan Dinner Ideas – Seven New, Quick and Easy Pasta Recipes

perciatelli-with-roasted-tomatoes-and-eggplantPerciatelli with Roasted Tomatoes and Eggplant
(Martha Stewart Living)
Perciatelli is similar to spaghetti, which you could also use in this recipe. This is a robust and flavour packed pasta with red and yellow peppers, basil, cayenne pepper and lots of tomatoes.
See recipe at Whole Living

ditalini-with-pesto-beans-and-broccoli-rabeDitalini with Pesto, Beans and Broccoli Rabe
(Bon Appetit, image:Susan Gentry McWhinney)
Ditalini or ‘other short tube-shaped pasta’ is the way to go with this dish containing cannellini beans and broccoli rabe. This recipe calls for store bought pesto so UK or European peeps may like to try Zest pesto (vegan or vegetarian options) which is my favourite.
See recipe at Epicurious

Eggplant Pasta Salad
(Sara Quessenberreggplant-pasta-salady, photo: Anna Williams)
This tasty pasta can be enjoyed hot or cold and would be a popular dish to take to a picnic or BBQ. The capers, white wine vinegar and pine nuts elevate this pasta from ‘blah’ to ‘can I have some more mama?’
See recipe at Real Simple.

spaghetti-with-olive-and-pine-nut-salsaSpaghetti with Olive and Pine Nut Salsa
(Gourmet, image: Romulo Yanes)
This recipe has a short list of ingredients and is super easy to prepare. The capers and dried hot red-pepper flakes add extra oomph also.
See recipe at Epicurious.

Pasta with Beet Greens
(Melissa Roberts, Image: Stephanie Foley)
Pepper your penne with some new ingredients such as beet greens (spinach or silver beet), black olives, pine nuts and golden raisins.
See recipe at Gourmet

Beany Pasta Pot (Good Food Magazine)

Here is a highly nutritious and filling pasta made with red pesto, borlotti beans and even an apple!
See recipe at BBC Good Food.

Courgette ‘Pasta’ with Cashew Mint Cream
Any raw food enthusiasts or those looking for a new twist on pasta will enjoy this healthy and flavoursome dish! I’d love to know what you think of this courgette pseudo pasta.
See recipe at Waitrose.

Nine Vegetarian Bruschetta Recipes

avocado-bruschetta-with-green-sauceAvocado Bruschetta with Green Sauce
– Martha Stewart Living
Herb up with this flavour packed bruschetta recipe! Basil and parsley leaves create a divine green sauce that tastes delicious with avocado.
View recipe at Martha Stewart

Crushed Broad Bean and Mint Bruschetta
– Olive Magazine
So simple yet so utterly delectable! This recipe makes eating greens a pleasure with its use of broad beans and mint. The inclusion of parmesan could be optional.
View recipe at BBC Good Food

chickpeas-and-balsamic-vinegar-bruschettaChickpeas and Balsamic Vinegar Bruschetta
– Real Simple (image by Mark Lund)
Toast toppings have never been so flavourful or filling! The humble chickpea is elevated to new gourmet realms in this recipe thanks to a dash of balsamic vinegar.
View recipe at Real Simple

Polenta Bruschetta with Tapenade
– Good Food Magazine
If you’re puzzled when it comes to creating new and delicious polenta recipes, why not try this bruschetta recipe? With an olive tapenade and sun blushed tomatoes, this appetizer will be a sure-fire hit amongst friends or family!
View recipe at BBC Good Food

bruschetta-with-fava-beans-greens-and-blood-orangesBruschetta with Fava Beans, Greens and Blood Oranges
– Bon Appetit (by Joanne Weir, image: Kana Okada)
With an earthy smothering of fava beans, crispy green salad topping and the surprise burst of citrus, these bruschette will surely delight anyone who takes a bite!
View recipe at Epicurious

Bruschetta with Eggplant and Olive Topping

– Australian Women’s Weekly (image by Brett Stevens)
Honour the origin of bruschetta with this Italian rich recipe which also features capers, pine nuts and basil on a slice of ciabatta.
View recipe at Australian Women’s Weekly

Cranberry Bruschetta

– Natural Health Magazine
Put a twist on the usual bruschetta with this unique recipe using sweet potato, rosemary, hazelnuts and cranberries.
View recipe at Natural Health Magazine

Bruschette Recipe, Baby Artichoke

– Jamie Oliver (image by David Loftus)
Artichokes, garlic, lemon and mint combine to make a truly tasty bruschetta in this Jamie recipe.
View recipe at Jamie Oliver

bruschette-with-chickpea-puree-and-arugulaBruschette with Chickpea Puree and Arugula
– Gourmet (image by Andrea Fazzari)
The pairing of chickpeas and arugula (rocket) would be quite sublime on a thick, toasted slice of country loaf!
View recipe at Epicurious

Vegan Confectionery (because we eat candy too!)

If you are vegetarian, vegan, health conscious or just love hearing about new sweet treats that taste sublime, then have I found the goods for you! Biona Organic Tutti Frutti Jelly Bears are the answer to gelatin eschewing girls the world over (only carnauba wax is used in these little bears). The certified organic ingredients and fruitful flavours are tangy and burst happily about on the taste buds. They taste like the real thing to me (and I used to be quite the authority on candy back in the day when gelatin was too hard for me to give up).

Pop these chewy bears in your handbag for that 4pm sugar slump or take them to the movies so you feel just like all the other candy munchers. And if you have any kids in your life, decide whether to share these delicious treats with them at your own peril because they will love them.

I have yet to try other confectionery from Biona but they also offer organic tutti frutti wine gums, cola bottles, licorice bears and pineapple chews. If anyone has tried these or other vegan confectionery they love, do let me know!

Homemade Organic Granola Recipe

There is something very satisfying and comforting about having a homemade breakfast cereal in the house. Once you whip up a batch of this delicious and healthy granola, you’ll probably never opt for the store bought stuff again. Enjoy this granola with either dairy free milk or yogurt and sprinkle lavishly with ruby red and luscious blue seasonal berries. Oats are great too for releasing energy slowly and they will keep you going until lunch without needing to snack. But if you do get the munchies later on in the day, this makes a great nutritious snack that will stave off any hunger pangs. It’s so tasty and has just the right amount of sweetness, nuttiness and fruitiness. I think I need to go and grab another bowl now!


  • 500g bag of organic jumbo oats
  • 1/2 cup of organic shredded coconut
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of your favourite organic dried fruits (cranberries, apricots, figs)
  • 1/2 cup of organic nuts such as almonds, pecans and walnuts
  • Organic sunflower oil
  • Organic honey


How to make

  • Spread the rolled oats into a roasting dish, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and the coconut and mix together.
  • Combine the sunflower oil and honey in a cup to measure just less than 1/2 cup. Pour this over the oats and use a fork to ensure all the oats are well covered.
  • Place in a 200 degree (celsius) oven until golden brown (approximately 20 minutes). Be sure to watch the oats carefully and stir them often as they can cook fairly quickly.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool while you prepare the dried fruit and nuts in a separate bowl.
  • Use some kitchen scissors to easily cut the dried fruit into smaller pieces. Add the fruit and nuts to the oats and mix well.
  • I store my granola in an airtight glass jar and the mixture keeps well for 3 weeks or longer.

Healthy Winter Warming Drinks – Part One

Cinnamon, Orange, Honey and Rosebud Tea

cinnamon-orange-honey-and-rosebud-tea– Ching-He Huang
The dried rose buds make this drink sheer prettiness in a cup! Oranges, cinnamon and honey are the only other ingredients you will need to create this gorgeous winter drink.
View recipe at Delicious.

Spiced Hot Dark Chocolate – Body + Soul

spiced-hot-dark-chocolateThis delicious and decadent drink has to be good for you with dark chocolate, soy milk, cayenne pepper and spices.
View recipe at Whole Living.

Chai Tea with Soy Milk – Martha Stewart Living

chai-tea-with-soy-milkDuring winter, every time is Chai time! The combination of spices such as cinnamon, cloves and fresh ginger really do warm the soul.
View recipe at Martha Stewart.

Mulled Cranberry Cocktail – Whole Living

mulled-cranberry-cocktailWhat could be more Christmassy than this? Its fun, festive and delicious. I’d personally switch the sugar for your natural sweetener of choice and then sip away. Merry Days!
View recipe at Whole Living.

Hot Cocoa with Almond Milk

hot-cocoa-with-almond-milk– Martha Stewart Living
Few things are more comforting than a cup of hot cocoa. Try making your next one with this recipe using almond milk and cinnamon sticks (and maybe switch the sugar for agave or something similar).
View recipe at Martha Stewart.

Mulled Apple Juice – Emma Lewis

mulled-apple-juiceSo simple yet so sip-tastic! You only need five ingredients for this Christmas time drink.
View recipe at BBC Good Food.

Vegetarian Lunch Recipes for the Week Ahead

MONDAY – Rainbow Superfood Salad (Allegra McEvedy)
Get some health in a bowl with this colourful quinoa, broccoli, beetroot, cabbage and mushroom filled salad.
See recipe at Good Food Channel (was UK TV Food).

TUESDAY – Bulgur Salad with Chickpeas, Roasted Red Peppers and Spiced Cumin Dressing

If you want some light, flavourful salads for summer and picnics, then this Smitten Kitchen recipe sure looks good. Add some organic pitta breads and you’ve got a luscious lunch sorted!
See recipe at Smitten Kitchen.

aromatic-noodles-with-lime-peanut-sauceWEDNESDAY – Aromatic Noodles with Lime Peanut Sauce (pictured above)
This easy to make recipe can be whipped together in 15 minutes and hello, there’s lime peanut sauce! Delicious. This will definitely leave co-workers or surrounding picnic companions with serious lunch envy!
See recipe at Food Network.

THURSDAY – Ottolenghi’s Wild Rice Salad
Ottolenghi’s four London locales always have amazing salads and dishes on display and long queues of hungry diners. If you don’t live in London or haven’t bought their cookbook, you can try this salad with pistachio, dried apricots, mint and rocket.
See recipe at Ottolenghi.


FRIDAY – Herb Marinated Peppers on Bruschetta with Home Made Pesto

If you work from home or just want an easy weekend lunch, this tasty bruschetta will bring a little gourmet gaiety to your house. Enjoy the zangy burst of flavor from the lemons, peppers, basil and garlic and when you proudly make your own green pesto, you may be inspired to make extra in order to stash some in your freezer for pesto pasta emergencies.
See recipe at Good Food Channel (was UK TV Food).

How To Give Up Milk Chocolate

Saying ciao to cacao is something many people aim to do for a plethora of reasons. I personally wanted to stop eating milk chocolate as it was the only thing holding me back from being a certified vegan (well, except for honey, so I guess I’m not fully there yet but it’s not like I’m calling myself a vegetarian who eats fish and chicken). Anyway, chocolate was my only stroke of wickedness in the food world and the thought of living in a world without decadent and not so decadent, melt in your mouth, ‘turn any bad day good’ chocolate delights seemed just wrong!

I’ve never been a dairy Mary except for the milk chocolate (Green & Black’s Organic Milk Chocolate was my weakness and I’m sure they have noticed a significant decline in their sales since I gave them up back in April). So what convinced me to give it up for good? One read of the ‘Famous Milk Letter’ did the trick (see link at end). So, now I was ready to venture into a world without milk chocolate but how was I to do it? How would I cope with the inevitable cacao withdrawal symptoms of shaking, mood swings and mistaking strangers in the street for walking Kit Kats, Caramello Koalas and Toblerone bars? I wasn’t sure how to give up milk chocolate for good but as I clung tightly to my empty Green & Black’s chocolate wrapper, I vowed to find a way!

Here is how I gave up milk chocolate several months ago with no relapses. I truly haven’t found it hard at all and have enjoyed exploring the land of vegan chocolates as they are just as delicious (even more so), often quite good for you and leave you feeling much better after eating them!

Step 1: Replace the habit
I think this is the most profound step to breaking any bad habit. You need to do or eat something similar to your habit so the change feels easy and less of a shock. My routine involved some milk chocolate after dinner as my dessert so I made sure I had a vegan chocolate ready to eat in lieu of the milk chocolate for the evenings. Whatever time of day your cacao craving strikes, try and eat a vegan chocolate treat instead. You won’t feel deprived and there are so many delicious vegan options out there. Just remember, some people say it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit or even less to adapt to a new food or taste, so stick with it and it will soon feel very natural.

Step 2: Try eating delicious vegan chocolate

Booja Booja Truffles
These are hands down the product that make being a vegan with a sweet tooth easy. I never used to like truffles but one or two bites of Booja Booja’s Hazelnut Truffles is enough to satisfy any chocolate cravings. They are divine!

Plamil Chocolate
This is another great one that many vegans probably already depend upon as the range is just like the chocolates you once loved in bar form and in delicious flavours. From what I remember, when I first tasted this chocolate I did notice the texture was different but now that my taste buds have adapted, I often reach for a strip of this chocolate for a treat (especially the Orange Chocolate).

milk-chocolatePulsin Discs
These raw chocolate discs are blended with exotic and potent ingredients such as goji berries, vitamin C, maca and ashwagandha root. Try the energy bomb with guarana, korean and siberian gingseng and great tea extract before your next ashtanga yoga class or when that 4pm sugar slump hits. Other varieties include: Berry Burst, Bliss Bomb and Coffee Brownie.

Cocoa Loco Nakd Bar
I’ve found these bars to be great for those times when you’re on the go or can’t find a decent vegan lunch or snack. They are tasty, filling, vegan, raw, high in protein and contain no artificial ingredients. The Cocoa Loco bar contains: dates, oats, mixed nuts, raisins, apple juice, cocoa and natural flavouring.

Non-dairy Chocolate Ice Cream
Chocolate and ice cream lovers will have all their sweet needs meet in a tub of good quality vegan chocolate ice cream. I favour Booja Booja’s Hunky Punky Chocolate ice cream as it only has four ingredients and tastes incredible. I also like how their ice cream is light and refreshing and doesn’t leave you with that icky feeling so many dairy ice creams often leave you with.

Step 3: Drink some chocolate tea
Ideal for those moments when a chocolate craving strikes or you begin to miss hot chocolates. Sipping some chocolate tea is a healthy and light option that still offers a wonderful chocolate taste and aroma! Try Pukka’s Organic Pleasure Tea with cocoa, licorice, cardamom and chicory.

Step 4: Be a chocolate beauty

Perfect Organics Body Butters
A little chocolate scented body butter is great for you and your skin and thankfully Perfect Organics offer two delicious shea butters with organic cocoa butter: Mint Chocolate and Mandarin Chocolate (very natural and luscious with only four ingredients).

milk-chocolate-2Raw Gaia Raw Chocolate Orange Bath Melt
Soak in a decadent bath and let your chocolate cravings drift away as the organic cacao butter and sweet orange oil soften and repair your skin.

Raw Gaia Raw Chocolate Face Pack
Raw Gaia also do a fabulous antioxidant rich, chocolate face mask which leaves skin with a healthy glow (see end of post for review).

Akamuti Shea Cocoa Mint Foot Butter
Keep your tootsies soft and pretty with this lovely foot moisturiser containing organic cocoa butter and tingly, cooling organic peppermint and spearmint essential oils.

Badger Balm Cocoa Butter Lip Balms
Moisturise your lips with organic cocoa butter from Badger Balm. There are two packs to select from (Mint, Mocha & Creamy or Orange, Lime and Creamy). These lip balms also contain soothing organic aloe vera, moisturising olive oil and beautiful organic essential oils. The Mocha Cocoa even has extracts of dark roasted organic Arabaca Coffee beans.

Step 5: Read the Famous Milk Letter at Not Milk.

Vegan Appetizer Recipes

Galloping Horses – Olive Magazine, BBC Good Food
I should have included these in last week’s vegetarian Thai meals, but at least these Thai-inspired morsels can be enjoyed now. The sweet and sour mixture of peanut butter, sugar and soy sauce sits atop pineapple cubes and look beyond impressive and delicious. I’m not sure why they are called galloping horses? Perhaps your dinner guests start galloping towards the platter with horse-like appetites when they see them?

spicy-black-beans-and-avocado-canapesSpicy Black Beans and Avocado Canapes
– Kate Merker, image: Burcu Avsar
These not only look and taste great but they are really easy to toss together. Just make enough as they will be gobbled up in seconds!

kiwi-summer-rollKiwi Summer Roll – Body + Soul
These luscious little rolls will be great for summer. Love the unique idea of wrapping kiwi fruit, rice noodles, peanuts and a tasty sauce in rice-paper wrappers.

croste-di-polenta-con-cicoriaCroste Di Polenta Con Cicoria
(Polenta with braised chicory)

– Antonio Carluccio, image: Lisa Linder
Impress friends with this Italian recipe from Antonio Carluccio (via Jamie Oliver’s site). You could make these polenta patties even smaller into bite size pieces and leave out the chicory perhaps. Just substitute the chicken stock for vegetarian stock and enjoy the remaining ingredients which are vegan.

rosemary-focacciaRosemary Focaccia – Australian Women’s Weekly
Bountiful bread selections are always welcome alongside an array of appetizers. Making your own rosemary focaccia, garnished with rosemary sprigs or cherry tomatoes will make you feel like a genuinely proud, baking Betty!

grated-potato-pancakesGrated Potato Pancakes – Martha Stewart
So many people love potatoes and these little pancakes will be no exception! You’ll just need some oil, salt and pepper. It’s as simple as that.

fatayer-spinach-lemon-and-pine-nut-pastriesFattoyer (Spinach, Lemon and Pine Nut Pastries) – Waitrose
As this recipe explains, you can prepare these as ‘full-size pastries’ or as ‘bite-sized canapes’. I think they will also make a delicious and unusual lunch for work.

green-onion-pancakesGreen Onion Pancakes – Australian Women’s Weekly
This unusual recipe had me intrigued and one look at the minimal ingredient list, had me convinced to include them in today’s appetizer round-up. The green onion filling is infused with sesame loveliness and the dipping sauce of black vinegar, soy sauce and red chili is the perfect finishing touch.