Archive for the ‘Holiday Food’ Category

Snacks for your game day celebration don’t have to be fat-laden dips and deep fried. Appetizers can be both healthy and delicious. What’s better than guacamole when watching the game? It’s good-for-you when paired with whole wheat crackers or tortilla chips (especially if you use low-sodium organic corn chips). If you like spinach and artichoke dip, I have a recipe for one that replaces all of the saturated fat with healthy fats, but doesn’t short you on deliciousness. I’ve included several healthy and yummy appetizers below! Enjoy!


Delicious and easy to make.

4 ripe avocados
2 cloves garlic, minced  OR 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 purple onion, diced fine
1 ripe tomato, seeded and diced fine
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, stems removed OR 1/2 tbsp. dried cilantro
½ tsp. cumin
1 tsp. lime juice
Dash of cayenne pepper
Low-sodium salt & pepper

1) Peel avocados and remove pits. Mash with potato masher or fork until only slightly lumpy.
2) Blend in other ingredients.
3) Serve with tortilla chips

Note: In a pinch and short on ingredients – avocados mashed with garlic powder, salt & pepper will still make a tasty dip.


Chickpea Spread

Hearty and Yummy

2 15 oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Chickpea Spread

Chickpea Spread

½ red pepper, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
½ tbsp. Vegenaise
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. chopped chives
salt and pepper

1) In large bowl, mash chickpeas. Can be chunky, but there should be no whole chickpeas left. I used a potato masher.
2) Add diced red pepper and stir.
3) In small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour dressing over chickpea mixture and blend together.
4) Serve with blue corn tortilla chips or your favorite crackers.


Cranberry Salsa

Deliciously different

2 cups fresh cranberries
1 orange, sectioned and chopped
2 tsp. grated orange rind
½ medium green pepper, chopped
1-2 jalpeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine
½ cup sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro (dried ok if no fresh on hand)
1/8 tsp. salt

1) Mash cranberries with a potato masher (or use a food processor) until cranberries are coarsely chopped.
2) Stir in remaining ingredients.
3) Cover and chill at least two hours.
4) Serve with sweet potato chips or your favorite tortilla chips.


For the spinach artichoke dip recipe and other healthy Greens recipes, check out the new cookbook Fifty Shades of Greens at www.fiftyshadesofgreens.com




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beachbike_summerMemorial Day weekend kicks off Summer. For the next three glorious months, we can enjoy warm weather, beach trips and laxy evenings catching up with friends and family under the stars. It’s time to celebrate with a picnic. We’ve spent all winter inside, let’s get outdoors and enjoy a vegetarian cookout this weekend. Here are a few recipes to get you started on your start of summer celebration.

Vegetarian Hotdog Chili

Vegetarians don’t have to deprive themselves of delicious chili on their veg dogs.

1 cup ground veggie burger

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tbsp. onion, chopped fine

1 1/2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Salt & pepper

1) Heat olive oil in skillet on medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and sauté about 5 minutes, maybe a little longer, until translucent.

2) Add ground veggie burger and spices. Stir together and cook in the pan about another 5 minutes.

3) Add to your veggie dog.

Makes plenty of chili for two hot dogs. A nice topping of chili for four dogs.


Sara’s Veggie Kebabs

Perfect for Summer grilling.

Choose 3 or 4 of the following:

1 pepper, your choice of color

1 onion

8 button mushrooms

½ package extra firm tofu

1 Quorn “naked” vegetarian chicken

1 Yellow squash

1 Zucchini squash

1 Eggplant


3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup olive oil

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. parsley

1 tsp. basil

Salt & pepper

1Barbecue) Cut chosen ingredients into about 1 inch pieces.

2) Mix together marinade ingredients and pour into large ziplock bag.

3) Add vegetables to bag and shake. Let sit in refrigerator 30 minutes or up to a couple of hours.

4) Place on skewers alternating vegetables

5) Grill

Makes 4 kebabs


Susie’s Baked Beans

Essential side dish for your Summer cookout.

2 cans (15 oz.) vegetarian baked beans

l can fat-free navy or great northern beans (drained)

1 can fat-free pinto beans (drained)

1 small onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped


2/3 cup catsup

1 tsp. prepared mustard

1/3 cup brown sugar (more if you like it sweeter)

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 tsp. Worstershire sauce

2 tbsp. barbecue sauce (Such as Sauers or Jack Daniel’s)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1) Mix first five ingredients together in large oven-safe pot.

2) Add sauce ingredients and stir together.

3) Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, reduce heat in oven to 250 degrees. Bake uncovered for an additional one hour. Cover dish with foil and bake another 30 minutes.


Easy Pasta Salad

When you need to bring a dish to your Summer party, this pasta salad is a good choice. You probably already have the ingredients on hand and it pulls together in minutes. Also, it’s great for tailgate parties and picnics because it’s mayo free.

2 ½ cups uncooked tri-colored Rotini pasta

¼ red bell pepper, chopped

¼ green bell pepper, chopped

¼ broccoli crown (just the florets), chopped

8 radishes, chopped

1 cup of your favorite Italian dressing

¼ cup Parmesan cheese (optional)


pasta salad

pasta salad

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Don’t overcook. Drain.

2) Wash and prepare vegetables.

3) Combine drained pasta, chopped vegetables and dressing in a medium-large bowl. Stir everything together.

4) Stir in Parmesan cheese, if desired.

5) Serve right away or refrigerate for about an hour before serving. Keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator. Okay to serve at room temperature.

Note: These are the veggies I used, but feel free to substitute your favorite veggies or whatever you have on hand.


Strawberry Pretzel Salad

This salad may sound unusual but it is a hit at our family gatherings. It combines sweet and salty and everyone loves it.

2 cups pretzels, crushed

½ cup sugar

¾ cup butter or butter substitute, melted

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

¾ cup sugar

10 ounces whipped topping

6 ounces vegetarian gelatin* substitute, preferably strawberry flavored

2 cups boiling water

20 ounces frozen strawberries, sliced, with juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1) Mix pretzels, ½ cup sugar and butter and spread in a 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool.

2) Mix cream cheese, ¾ cup sugar and whipped topping together. Spread on top of cooled pretzel layer.

3) Dissolve vegetarian gelatin in boiling water and add strawberries. Let it partially set. When gelatin mixture is partially firm, spread it on top of the cream cheese layer.

4) Chill thoroughly.

5) Cut into slices and serve.

*Jello is not vegetarian.


Berry Peach Crisp

Berry Crisp

Berry Crisp

Healthy, light, delicious way to enjoy fresh peaches and berries

4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries, sliced peaches or a mixture of these

1¼ cup oatmeal- quick cooking works well, don’t use instant

3 tbsp. Smart Balance, softened

2 tbsp. Canola oil

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp. sugar (omit or reduce if limiting sugar)

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1) Add berries with white sugar and stir. Let sit for about 10 minutes.

2) Mix together Smart Balance, Canola oil, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add oatmeal and stir together.

3) Pour berries, peaches or berry and peach mixture into a medium casserole dish that you have greased with Canola oil. Top evenly with oatmeal mixture.

4) Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

5) Serve hot with vanilla soy ice cream.

Six servings

Celebrate Summer!

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Easter comes at a different time each year, and this year it’s early in the calendar. But it’s not too late to plan a lovely brunch. All the recipes below are healthful and vegan.

Easter Brunch Menu

Oatmeal Pancakes
Berry Sauce
Veggie sausage or veggie bacon
Fresh juice and coffee

Oatmeal Pancakces

2 cups oatmeal (quick cooking is fine, but don’t use instant oatmeal)
3 cups vanilla, unsweetened or regular almond milk
3 tbsp. ground flax seed whisked with 8 tbsp. water (substitute for 2 eggs)
½ cup oat flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. Canola oil
1 tbsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. Nutmeg
¼ tsp. Ginger
¼ tsp. Allspice

Oatmeal Pancakes

1) Mix oats and almond milk together in bowl until blended. Place in refrigerator overnight.

2) The morning of your breakfast, add all ingredients together with oat mixture and blend. You may need to add a splash or two of almond milk if it is a little thick.

3) Grease a flat skillet and make the pancakes just like you make regular pancakes. If you like silver dollar, make those. If you like one great big pancake, have at it. Generally I used about ½ cup of batter per pancake.

4) Flip pancake and cook other side. Both sides should be golden brown.

Serve with maple syrup or berry sauce.

Berry Sauce

This sauce is packed full of antioxidants and contains very little sugar. It’s good for you and tastes great!

1 pint of blackberries
½ pint of blueberries
1 tbsp. sugar (optional)(maple syrup is a good sugar substitute here)
1 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. ginger
1/2 cup waterGoldendoodle dog in bunny ears.

1) Wash berries and mix together with sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Let set about 10-15 minutes so berries macerate.
2) Place berry mix in a medium-sized kettle. Add honey and spices and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a low boil.
3) Boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Then reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes.
5) Berries will burst and you will have a delicious sauce.

Happy Easter!

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If you are wondering what to prepare for your Christmas Eve supper or Christmas Day dinner, here are a few ideas. Most of these recipes are easy, healthy, and also vegan. Recipes listed at the bottom.

Elegant and Easy

Mock Chicken Scallopini
Purple new potatoes drizzled with olive oil
Spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil
Crusty brown bread
Appetizer – Hummus and crackers or pumpernickel sliced super thin
Dessert – Bananas Foster

Fruit turnovers

Fruit Turnovers


Tofurkey with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Roasted Butternut Squash
Whole Wheat Rolls
Appetizer – Cranberry Salsa with crackers or tortilla chips
Dessert – Fruit Turnovers


Tortellini Soup

Tortellini Soup

Tortellini Soup with Spinach, White Beans and Red Peppers
Green Salad
Good bread
Appetizer – Chickpea Spread with hearty crackers
Dessert – Apple Dumplings


Pasta Puttanesca
Greek Salad
Garlic Bread
Appetizer – Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Dessert – Tofu Chocolate Pie


Mock Chicken Scallopini (Gardein makes a delicious one and I’ve got a great sauce recipe to go with it – email me if you would like the sauce recipe -vegetarianlight@gmail.com )
Purple new potatoes drizzled with olive oil (Boil quartered potatoes for about 12 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with salt)
Spinach sauteed with garlic and olive oil (http://www.vegetarianlite.com/Sides/Spinach.htm)
Crusty brown bread
Appetizer – Hummus with crackers or pumpernickel sliced super thin
Dessert – Bananas Foster (http://www.vegetarianlite.com/Desserts/BananasFoster.htm)

Tofurkey with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots (https://dailyvegetarianrecipes.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/a-tale-of-two-tofurkeys/)
Roasted Brussel Sprouts (https://dailyvegetarianrecipes.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/last-minute-veggie-side-dishes/_)
Roasted Butternut Squash (https://dailyvegetarianrecipes.wordpress.com/2011/11/24/last-minute-veggie-side-dishes/)
Whole Wheat Rolls
Appetizer – Cranberry Salsa with crackers or tortilla chips (http://www.vegetarianlite.com/Appetizers/cranberrysalsa.htm)
Dessert – Fruit Turnovers http://www.vegetarianlite.com/Desserts/FruitTurnovers.htm)
Tortellini Soup with Spinach, White Beans and Red Peppers (https://dailyvegetarianrecipes.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/feed-your-friends/)
Green Salad
Good bread
Appetizer – Chickpea Spread with hearty crackers (http://www.vegetarianlite.com/Appetizers/chickpea.htm)
Dessert – Apple Dumplings (http://www.vegetarianlite.com/Desserts/AppleDumplings.htm)

Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/vegetarianlight.

Merry Christmas ya’ll!

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Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts can be Yummy

With the “Big Meal” less than a few hours away, some of you still might not know what dish to bring to your family get-together. Or maybe you are hosting Thankgiving this year and feel like you need to add another side dish, but you don’t have a lot of time or energy.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Roasted Butternut Squash are two super easy, delicious, and healthy side dishes.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

1) Cut off ends of Brussel Sprouts and cut them in half.

2) Toss with olive oil, salt & pepper and place in a large casserole dish greased with olive oil.

3) Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes – should be fork tender.

Watch the Thursday Light video: Jro and I show how to make Roasted Brussel Sprouts: http://youtu.be/4JNPQ3wN7VU 

Roasted Butternut Squash

Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed (you can buy this pre-prepared at the grocery store)
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

1) Start with Butternut Squash that has already been peeled and cut into cubes or pieces.

2) Toss Butternut Squash with olive oil, salt & pepper in a large bowl.

3) Spread Buttnernut Squash across a greased baking sheet.

4) Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes. Should be fork tender.

I hope you enjoy these super easy, heart-healthy, and delicious side dishes. Happy Thanksgiving and happy holidays y’all!

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It was the best of times. You had the day off from work, your daughter was home from college, and the house smelled like apple pie.

It was the worst of times. The new puppy just had an accident in the foyer, your in-laws were coming over in less than an hour, and you forgot to thaw out the Tofurkey roast.

Tofurkey brand roast is delicious, no doubt about it. Sometimes though, you might forget to defrost it. Frozen Tofurkey is like a block of the antarctic. Expect to wait a while to eat. Or maybe you just decided  at the last minute to serve a mock “turkey,” and you need it ready in a hurry.

Which Mock “Turkey” Should You Choose?

For old-fashioned Tofurkey, the way mom used to make it, choose the original Tofurkey roast. It comes stuffed with a bread and rice stuffing. You baste it and slow cook it in the oven for over an hour in a casserole dish with potatoes, carrots and other veggies you choose. The house will smell like Thanksgiving. Tofurkey also sells a “giblet” gravy with its tofurkey.

Tofurkey Dinner

Old-fashioned Tofurkey Dinner

For mock turkey in a hurry, choose the Celebration Field Roast. It’s also filled with stuffing. You can heat it up in the microwave! Ready in minutes.

Field Roast

Sliced Field Roast Dinner

Both brands are Vegan, tasty and make great leftovers.

If you choose to go the Tofurkey Brand route, here is a recipe you might like to try:

Tofurkey with Roasted Potatoes, Carrots, Onions and Brussel Sprouts

1 Tofurkey roast, thawed
2 white potatoes, quartered
3 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, cut into 8 pieces
About 10 brussel sprouts, cut in half (optional)
10 halved mushrooms (optional)


½ cup olive oil
3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
4 tsp. ground sage
2 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. parsley
½ tsp. celery seeds or celery salt
½ tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1)    Remove thawed Tofurkey roast from plastic casing.

2)    Grease a large casserole dish with oil or non-stick spray. Set Tofurkey roast in the center of the casserole. Arrange potatoes, carrots and onion around the Tofurkey.

3)    Place baste ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake vigorously. Pour half of the baste over the Tofurkey roast. Drizzle a little olive oil over the vegetables.

4)    Cover with foil or tight fitting lid and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

5)    Toss brussel sprouts with some olive oil. Add them to the casserole dish. Pour remaining baste over the Tofurkey. Cover again and continue baking another 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

6)    If you want to add mushrooms, add them when there are about 10 minutes left in the baking time.

7)    Serve each person a slice of Tofurkey and some veggies. Let’s eat!

 **If you purchased the “giblet” gravy, simply heat it up on the stove. I like to add sliced mushrooms to the Tofurkey “giblet” gravy, turning it into an easy yummy mushroom gravy.

 Note: Tofurkey Roast has stuffing inside already.

This dish serves about 4-5 people. Makes good leftovers, including Tofurkey sandwiches!


If you need additional assistance with making your tofurkey roast, feel free to consult the Vegetarian Light Youtube video: http://youtu.be/_X80FlhA5zA.

Tofurkey website: http://www.tofurkey.com/

Celebration Field Roast Grain Meat Co website: http://www.fieldroast.com/

Follow Vegetarian Light on Facebook: www.facebook.com/vegetarianlight

Happy Thanksgiving and holidays y’all!

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It’s Fall. Time to get your favorite casserole dish out of the cabinet, find a great recipe or two, and whip up some warm, soul-soothing comfort food. A casserole can feed a large group for a night, or a small group for several nights. Leftovers are great! And with the holidays around the corner, it’s probably a good idea to find some interesting recipes and try them out!

Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

You won’t be dissapointed with this one! If you like a spinach, artichoke dip, you will love this casserole. It combines spinach, artichokes, fiber-rich brown rice and other nutritious, delicious ingredients. So it’s super healthy and low-fat, unlike the cheese and butter-laden dips served at many restaurants. This casserole can be either the main dish or a side dish. I hope you enjoy it.

Spinach, Artichoke, and Brown Rice Casserole

  • Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

    Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

    1 ½  cups cooked brown rice

  • 3 cups spinach, washed and
    stems removed
  • 1 can (14 oz.) quartered artichoke
    hearts, drained
  • ¼ cup fat free or
    reduced fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 weight watchers mozzarella
    cheese stick (or ¼ cup low fat mozzarella cheese)
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella
    cheese (topping)
  • ½ cup water sliced water
    chestnuts, slices cut in half
  • 1 cup cream of mushroom soup (I used organic)
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened almond
    milk (or skim milk)
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp. marjoram
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • ½ tsp. celery salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Smart Balance
    (butter substitute)
  • 1 ½ tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1)    Put rice on to cook (according to directions), or cook in advance.

2)    In a large skillet, add onion and Smart Balance. Cook about 5-8 minutes, until onion is mellow.

3)    Add olive oil and garlic. Saute a minute. Then add spices.

4)    Add artichoke hearts and water chestnuts. Saute another minute or so.

5)    Add cream of mushroom soup, almond milk, and Greek yogurt. Stir everything together.

6)    Rough chop the spinach. Add to the mixture and stir in until wilting.

7)    Add 1 ½ cups of the cooked brown rice to the mixture and stir together. As a last step, cut the Weight Watchers mozzarella cheese stick into small pieces using kitchen scissors (1/4 inch or less) and stir into the mixture.

8)    Pour mixture into a medium-sized casserole dish sprayed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese.

9)    Bake in 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Will brown on top and be totally delicious!

Makes 4-5 substantial side dish servings.

Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

Spinach, Artichoke and Brown Rice Casserole

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