Tag Archives: plant-based

Creamy Basil Pasta with Fresh from the Garden Tomato and Squash

I love gardening with my kids it teaches them so much about our food is a great way for them to participate with dinner. This recipe is delicious, kid-friendly and you can make it different every time you cook it based on what is in season.

This recipe is packed with hidden plant-protein using whole wheat pasta 8g of protein per serving, Nutritional yeast-40g of protein per half cup, cashews have 25g of protein per cup.


1 cup of raw cashews
2 cups of boiling water
1 bunch of fresh basil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and whole
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup of nutritional yeast
1 large sweet potato, cooked whole in microwave for 6 minutes, meat scooped out of potato
1 tsp of kosher salt
juice from 1 lemon
1/2 lb of whole wheat thin spaghetti pasta
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 cups of small diced summer squash
1 cup of cherry tomatoes

In a high-quality blender like a vitamix cover raw cashews with boiling water and let sit for 30 minutes. Add basil, nutritional yeast, 3 garlic cloves, salt, lemon juice and sweet potato. Puree until smooth taste for seasoning.

Cook pasta as directed in salted water. In a large saute pan on medium-high heat add olive oil and squash. Saute for 3-4 minutes stirring occasionaly. Add tomatoes and garlic and saute for another 5 minutes on medium high heat. Add sauce to squash and pasta and serve.

Happy Summer!

5-Spice Tofu with Soba Noodles Mushroom and Sugar Snap Pea Stir Fry

The Asian Diet has shown significant low amounts of Breast Cancer which is the leading cancer found in women. Studies have shown that replacing soy with animal products help reduce your risks of cancer as long as you eat less then 5 servings a day of soy.

As a Mother of two little girls it is very interesting to me to find in a study that if you starting consuming Soy as a Child you had a greater chance of fighting breast cancer than starting to consume soy later in life. Mushrooms also play a part in the diet, studies of Asian women who ate a diet of at least 15 mushrooms a month had significant lower amounts of breast cancer.

All of this information can be found at Nurtitionfact.org video which credits the exact studies that were performed "Why do Asian Women Have Less Breast Cancer"

As a Chef I love Buckwheat Soba Noodles they cook in under 5 minutes, they have great texture and color to your plate. Nutritionally they are wonderful, they are vegan and made with Whole Wheat, Buckwheat Flour and Yam with 11g of protein and 3g of fiber for one 1/2 bundle portion.

I love this dish for a quick under 20 minute weeknight dinner and you can switch with your favorite sauces and vegetables to make it your own.

Serves 4
For Tofu
1 package of firm tofu, drained and placed into between paper towels with something heavy on top to press out liquid. I do this for a few hours but even just 10 minutes will help remove liquid.
1/2 cup of corn starch
1 tsp of salt
2 tsp of Chinese 5-spice
2 Tablespoons of EVOO

For Stir-Fry
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 cup of sugar snap peas
1 cup of broccoli florets
green onion for garnish
1/4 cup of soy sauce, separated
1 tablespoon of black bean sauce
1 bunch of soba buckwheat noodles


Slice tofu into chunks. On a plate combine corn starch, salt and Chinese 5-Spice. Toss tofu into corn starch mixture. In a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet on medium-high heat add Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Once hot sear tofu until crispy on two sides about 2 minutes per side. Place on paper towel.

Boil soba noodles as directed on package and add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce to water takes about 5 minutes to cook noodles. Drain noodles and reserve water if needed for stir fry.

In same skillet as tofu add mushrooms and saute on medium-high heat for 5 minutes add one more tablespoon of EVOO if needed. Add sugar snap peas and broccoli and saute for another 3 minutes. Add noodles, black bean sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and add reserved water from noodles if needed to become saucey. Saute for an additional 2 minutes. Top with tofu and green onions and enjoy.




Why you need to eat this Tortilla Soup

I think there is a lack of education along with eating meat in our country, I know this because after being a chef for the last 10 years I really didn’t think about the process of eating meat until just recently. It sounds like an extreme conspiracy theory but yet it is true that our country’s Agriculture department is a huge money maker allowing horrible practices for the animals we eat and our environment. I like to remind myself the vegan movement is not asking for your money, beans and grains are very cheap, they are asking for you to care about animals, yourself and our environment. Yet the meat industry is making money and fund associations and government programs to keep meat and diary important in our culture.


Why are we still okay with eating meat? We do not need meat for any reason nutritionally, in fact is is much healthier for us to not consume animal products.
The only food source that contains cholesterol is from animal products. The Centers for Disease Control Prevention website states that in the United States “1 out of 3 adults has high cholesterol” and “People with high total cholesterol have approximately twice the risk for heart disease.” The website also states that “610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.”

We have also learned that we do not need any nutrition from animal products that we cannot get from plant-based. I have always thought that we needed meat for protein but that is not true and protein is found in many plant-based foods.

So why are we still eating Animal Products…??? Tastes?

That is where I come in as a Chef you can trust me you will be eating well with a Vegan menu always satisfied, full and eating a delicious menu. You will have to cook more at home but we all know that is better for us and with time and more education there will be more plant-based options on restaurant menus.

Please have an open mind, educate yourself, try eating plant based, it is important to watch Forks Over Knives and What the Health on Netflix and make your own decisions.

This was one of my favorite Tortilla Soups I have ever had you will not miss the meat.

Plant Based Toritlla Soup

8 oz of soaked white large beans, corona or lima work great *
1/2 link of soy chorizo
1 large red onion, diced
1 cup of carrots, dice
1 cup of sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon of EVOO
1 cup of celery, diced
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 tsp of cumin
32 oz of vegetable stock, I like Trader Joe’s Hearty
Garnish with Green Onion, Lime, Avocado and Tortilla Chips

In a large pot saute onions in olive oil for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add potatoes, celery, carrots, and soy chorizo season with salt and pepper saute for another 10 minutes.

If using a crock pot place items from pot into hot crock pot or if doing on stove add beans, cumin, big spoon of salt and stock to pot.

Simmer on low for 1-1.5 hours uncovered or in crock pot on low for 8 hours or high for 6. Add more water if needed. Taste for seasoning and garnish.



Blood Orange Chocolate Mousse Pie-Vegan

Trust me you will love this recipe, melting chocolate in microwave creates the mousse in minutes. This cruelty-free recipe is also plant-based using silken tofu instead of heavy cream letting you enjoy this delicious and healthy dessert. Share this recipe and everyone will be shocked that it is Vegan. Just make the mousse and serve in Martini Glasses for a quick recipe perfect for entertaining.

Dairy is unhealthy for us and a unethical practice that is making billions of dollars in our country. Stop supporting the dairy industry and you will become healthier. Enjoy my Vegan recipe below and you will not miss any dairy products.



12oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Blood Orange Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Kosher or Sea Salt
1 container of organic silken tofu
Directions: Melt chocolate in microwave for 3 minutes and then 30 second increments after that checking and stirring until melted. Drain liquid from tofu. In a blender pulse tofu until smooth. Add warm melted chocolate and remaining ingredients to blender and puree until smooth. Pour into cooled pie crusts. Cool for 30 minutes. Can be made a day in advance.

Chef Lauren’s Olive Oil Crust
2/3 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup of water
2 cups of All Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoon of salt
Preheat oven to 350 Whisk 2/3 cup of Olive oil and 1/3 cup of water with fork for 2-3 minutes until emulsified. You will know it is ready when Olive Oil and water have become one and created a cloudy appearance. Add salt and flour continue mixing with fork. Spread on floured cutting board to finish combining by hand. Roll out with floured rolling pin to desired shape. Roll roughly into a round circle. Place into round pie pan. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. 

Corn, Tomato and Avocado Plant-Based “Ceviche”

As the temperatures heat up this plant-based “Ceviche” is perfect to help cool off your evening. Featured at my last Food & Wine Pairing with Monticello Vineyards we paired this with their 2014 Oak Knoll Chardonnay.

Serves 4

1 lb of heirloom tomatoes
3 cobs of summer corn
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 small can of hearts of palm, drained and chop into 1/2 inch circles
zest and juice of two lemons
3 tablespoons of We Olive Lemon Olive Oil
1/2 bunch of minced chives
salt for seasoning
Plantain Chips

Dice tomatoes and place in a strainer over bowl or draining into sink. Salt tomatoes generously, this helps remove the liquid from tomatoes and most of the salt stays within the liquid. Let drain for at least a half an hour. Place all three cobs of corn in husks unopened in microwave for 12 minutes.
While hot with an oven mitten slice off the bottom of the cob up to 1 inch above the nub.
Push through the cob through the husk and cob will come out without stings. Slice kernel off of cob.

Combine tomatoes, chives, corn, avocado and hearts of palm dress with olive oil, lemon juice, zest and season with salt.

Can be made two days in advance, add avocado before serving.