The amazing thing about eating clean, is that it actually isn't that hard. It does involve preparing most of what you eat yourself, but it isn't any more difficult than "conventional" cooking, and sometimes it is even easier. Take this recipe for example, it is loaded with protein, vitamins, and fiber while still satisfying that sweet tooth, and all you have to do is throw the ingredients in a food processor and then bake!
Another great part about eating clean is that it gives you the opportunity to see everyday common food in a whole new light. Here we are transforming chickpeas into super chocolatey, fudgy brownies. You are basically creating a mouthwatering dessert that you SHOULD eat for your health! How amazing is that?!
Many times, gluten-free brownies come out crumbly and even a little bitter. This is not at all the case for this recipe. These brownies come together wonderfully and keep their smooth, creamy texture. My 5 year old also gobbles them up, and since these are full of healthy goodness, I can let her eat as many as she wants! This recipe is chocoholic-kid approved!
Chickpea Brownie Recipe
vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, refined-sugar free
*Note: The type of nut or seed butter here does not matter, if you only have peanut butter, you can use 1/2 cup peanut butter or use 1/2 cup almond, cashew, tahini, or sunflower seed butter.
**Note: If you want to reduce the amount of maple syrup add one ripe banana instead and only use 2 Tbsp of maple syrup.
Cauliflower is really an amazing vegetable. It is always on my weekly shopping list because there are so many ways it can be used: to make sauce, pizza crust, rice substitute, dessert (seriously), or even crackers as will be demonstrated below! For this cracker recipe, you will need to turn that head of cauliflower into rice. If you have never made cauliflower rice, it is pretty easy. Just cut up the cauliflower and place it in your food processor and process until it is the consistency of, well, rice.
You will not need all of the cauliflower rice for this cracker recipe but it can be handy to have around. Cauliflower rice is a great way to bulk up any recipe with "hidden" vegetables. It is very well hidden especially mixed in with actual rice, but it can also be used as a complete substitute for any rice dish. I've even seen it used as a substitute for rice in sushi!
Cauliflower Cracker Recipe
vegan, plant-based, gluten-free
So here it is, the obligatory hummus recipe. However, if you make this recipe you will be blown away. This is seriously the best traditional-type hummus recipe I have tried. I was a little skeptical because it seemed sort of unconventional (i.e., microwaving the chickpeas in their liquid?!), but it produces a wonderfully rich and creamy consistency that I have not seen in any other recipe. Usually, I play around with any recipe I find and alter them somewhat to accommodate my tastes and dietary needs, but this one is perfect how is it. Even though, I have added fresh herbs to it like cilantro for a slightly different twist, and the results were still spectacular. I guess the lesson is: there is always room for play!
Creamy Hummus Recipe
vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, refined sugar-free
Until I gave up dairy, I had no idea the many ways nuts can actually be used to mimic dairy favorites. To top it off, I would have never dreamed how easy it actually is. Take this vegan sour cream recipe, it is one step...that's it. All you have to do is blend all the ingredients in the blender. It is seriously that simple. After blending, you will have a lusciously thick and creamy spread that can be used anywhere you would typically use sour cream. I challenge anyone to try this out in place of traditional dairy sour cream. I guarantee it will be a strong competitor on taco night!
Vegan Sour Cream Recipe
vegan, gluten-free, plant-based, refined sugar-free
This recipe is a fun twist on the traditional hummus dip. The smokey flavor is a wonderful complement to the sweetness of the carrots. As with most of the recipes I share, it is also quick and easy to make. For my tastes, I prefer a thicker dip and use chickpeas, but really any light colored bean will do, e.g. pinto beans or cannellini beans. With pinto or cannellini beans the dip will be a little thinner, which can make it more ideal for use as a sauce instead of a dip.
Roasted garlic is a must for this recipe to come together, but the onions can be kept out if you like. I also love to roast the carrots and onions along with the garlic, but you can of course steam the carrots and onions. This dip pairs well with green peppers and cucumbers but my favorite way to enjoy is as a topping on homemade bread, fresh out of the bread maker!
Carrot and White Bean Dip Recipe
vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, refined sugar-free
I’ll be the first to admit it…I have a problem. I cannot stop making this recipe! Each week I tell myself I will try something different with the broccoli in my refrigerator, but it never fails, I end up making this. In all honesty, there are worse things. But since I love this recipe so much I wanted to share it with all of you who might be looking for a healthy, delicious alternative to the notorious onion ring.
The idea for this recipe came while I was preparing the onion topping for my green bean casserole. I just added broccoli to the onion mix to have added health benefits, and I was hooked. Of course you can just use this recipe to make healthy onion rings if you so desire. These are not only vegan but even gluten-free, if you can believe it. Be sure to make extra cause these puppies won’t last long!
Oven-Baked Onion Rings and Broccoli Recipe
vegan, gluten-free, plant-based, refined-sugar free
*Note: The mixture may need a little additional moisture to stick, but don't worry if not all of it sticks well, just add it to the top on the baking sheet and you will get a nice crispy top layer.
Amanda Windhof, PhD is an MS lifestyle advocate who wants to ensure a healthy diet is accessible to everyone.