How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

Fall is pumpkin season! Pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes – everyone is going crazy for pumpkins! But let’s not forget the rest of the pumpkin – let’s remember to roast the seeds. Letting food go to waste is not the business, especially when that food can be a bit pricey when purchased in stores. Roasted pumpkin seeds make a nutritious snack that’s worth the time it takes to make them. Keep reading to learn how to roast your own pumpkin seeds at home.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • The seeds of at least one pumpkin
  • Salt, pepper or other seasonings you desire (some use pumpkin pie spice, you can also use chili powder – get creative!)
  • Olive oil, if desired
  1. Once you’ve removed the pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin, remove as much of the pumpkin “guts” as you can with your hands and place in a large bowl of salted water (the amount of salt varies depending on your tastes, I use about 1/2 cup) and let soak overnight.
  2. Once the seeds have soaked, remove from the water and let dry on a foil lined baking sheet to dry overnight – cover with a paper towel if desired to help dry and keep covered.
  3. Preheat your oven to 300°F. If you would like to use olive oil, drizzle some over your seeds now and mix with your hands to coat. Add desired seasonings and mix again.
  4. Bake seeds for about 1 hour, stirring half way through. The seeds are done roasting when lightly browned and their aroma fills the air.
  5. Store in an airtight container such as a food container or mason jar and enjoy!!

DIY Dried Herbs

Having a garden can be so fulfilling. From picking to preserving the process can be as long or as short as you want it to be and you can reap the benefits of your hard work for longer than your gardening season if you plan it. When I first started gardening, I started out small with herbs, but quickly realized that I couldn’t use enough fresh herbs to completely use up what I was growing. This became a problem year after year, and I’d feel so discouraged letting my herb plants die feeling like I didn’t get their full use. Jump forward to this year, when I finally took the time to preserve my own herbs so I could enjoy them for the months ahead.

Drying herbs is really quite easy with the bulk of time spent waiting for the herbs themselves to dry out. Other than that it’s just harvest, hang, and store. I’ll outline the steps briefly below. These steps can be followed with all herbs so that you can enjoy them before and after the season is over.

  1. Harvest Herbs – using shears or scissors, snip long stems of whatever herb you’re harvesting. Make sure the stems are long and even enough to put together in a bunch for hanging. The images that I took here show the process with my Oregano plant.
  2. Hang Herbs – pull your harvest into a bunch and secure at the ends. I used a rubber band, but you could also use string, a hair tie or ribbon to secure. Make sure whatever you use is nice and snug around the stems, because as the herbs dry out they will lose some of their girth and could slip and fall out of the band. Then use string or ribbon or whatever you have lying around to create a way to hang the herbs. I used a rubber band to secure and then slipped string through the rubber band to hang by a loop. Hang the herbs in a dry, cool place (I chose an armoire closet in my dining room). Some of the leaves may fall off during the drying process. If the mess concerns you, you can wrap a paper bag around the herbs to catch anything that falls. Leave in cool, dry place until herbs dry out – this will vary by location – just make sure not to remove the herbs until they are nice and crispy. Once dry the leaves should fall off super easily, sometimes with even just a slight touch.
  3. Harvest Dried Herbs – now this step may seem redundant, and I guess it sort of is, but now that your herbs are dry you need to pull the leaves from the stems for storage.

Vegan Sautéed Veggies

I was perusing Instagram the other day when I ran across a post of a fellow gardener pulling baby carrots from one of their garden beds. And I don’t mean baby carrots like the ones you buy in the store that look like toe-nubs (sorry, but they do). The carrots they pulled out of the dirt looked just like a carrot you’d find at the farmer’s market or fine grocery store – green tops and all – just much, much, much smaller. This made me think about how my own forgotten carrots might be doing in my own garden. I had previously given up hope on them, thinking that maybe I’d planted them too late, or in the wrong soil, or just in general did it wrong. I decided to follow my fellow Instagram gardeners lead and see if I couldn’t find some baby carrots as well. Lo and behold, a little digging and whole lot of giggling later, I amassed a fairly big bunch of teeny tiny baby carrots. This led me to also pull out my itty bitty beet babies which weren’t as cute as the carrots but still just as exciting to harvest.

After harvesting, I realized that I wasn’t quite sure what to do next. I had never seen such tiny root vegetables before and wondered what I could with them, if anything at all. First things first, I ate one of the carrots, and WOW did it pack more flavor than it looked like it would. It had that usual carrot flavor but with some serious kick. I guess that’s just how homegrown vegetables are in general. They have the same overall flavor of store bought veggies, but they’re always SO much tastier. What I ended up deciding was to use the baby carrots, the tiny beets and a few other garden finds to make lunch. After all, what’s better than a meal with garden ingredients? A meal made completely and entirely from items harvested from the garden. In addition to the carrots and beets, I had a butt-load of squash, a bunch of kale, several different kinds of fresh herbs and of course the carrot and beet tops. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to make the carrot tops work, so I ended up only using the beet tops in this particular meal. I had never used beet tops in cooking before so it was a fun experiment that turned out to be even more delicious than I could have hoped. The lunch that resulted was filling and flavorful and could also be used as a side to a nice dinner or barbecue. I imagine you could even get more creative with it and throw it on top of some pasta or quinoa for an even more satisfying dish. For me, the ingredients were satiating enough for a lunch dish, so that’s the recipe I will share here.

Overall, this meal was insanely flavorful, super healthy, and all in all just so exciting to make and eat. If you have a garden at home, I urge you to just have fun with what you’ve got. Food doesn’t have to follow rules or recipes and often times I think the freedom makes things a bit more flavorful. I hope you enjoy!

Vegan Sautéed Veggies

1/2 cup carrots, cut into small pieces if necessary

1/2 cup beets, cut into small pieces if necessary

1 small yellow squash, sliced into half coins

1 handful of kale, chopped

1 handful of beet tops, chopped

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

2 Tbsp vegan butter

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat vegan butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once melted add the carrots, beets and rosemary and cover, cooking for about 7 minutes or until slightly tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add squash, and a few shakes of salt and pepper, stir occasionally and cook until squash is tender.
  3. Lastly add the kale and the beet tops, continue to stir and cook for about 2-3 minutes or until the greens have wilted a bit. Add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
  4. Serve warm and enjoy!

Vegan Potato Salad

Spring transitioning into summer months is probably my favorite time of the year. The days aren’t too hot yet and the evenings still cool down enough to wear a sweatshirt. It’s the perfect weather for barbecuing. Cooking and eating outside is a warm weather activity that I wait for all year, and luckily, living in California affords me the opportunity to do this far more often than most. When I first transitioned to eating a more vegan diet I was worried that I wouldn’t have many options for barbecue-type foods, but fortunately, there are so many more options than I originally thought. Vegan burger patties, vegan sausages, vegan hot dogs, ALL of the things you would think of for an outdoor cookout. And beyond that, there are so many ways to change up your sides recipes to make them vegan. This is one of those recipes that I’ve been playing with for a while and is one of my favorite barbecue/cookout sides – potato salad.

This potato salad recipe uses red potatoes, but any type of potatoes will do. You can also peel them if you prefer – I like skins on for the extra nutrition boost and the whole less work and time argument. I used Follow Your Heart vegan mayo which is my absolute favorite. I’m actually not usually a mayo person at all, but this mayo is bomb. I also used fresh dill from our garden, but you could use dried, just be sure to use less if doing so (about half of what you’d use fresh). Without further rambling, let me just post the recipe…

Vegan Potato Salad

4-5 cups of red potatoes, cut into about 1 inch pieces

1/4 c red onion, diced

1/4 cup dill pickle, diced

2-3 Tbsp of fresh dill

1/2 c vegan mayo

1 Tbsp mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Boil a large pot of salted water and once boiling add potatoes. Cook potatoes for about 10-15 minutes or until pierced by a fork, stirring occasionally to avoid the water boiling over. You can also turn the heat down a bit once a boil is reached to avoid this.
  2. While potatoes are cooking slice and dice all other ingredients and add to a large bowl for mixing.
  3. Drain potatoes and rinse with cold water. Let potatoes sit for a while to cool off. You don’t want to mix your mayo with super hot potatoes or it will melt and be an icky looking mess. If you’re in a rush, leave cold water running over potatoes until mostly cool or slightly warm.
  4. Add potatoes to bowl with all other ingredients and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours before serving.
  6. Enjoy!

Vegan Zucchini Fritters

Summer is just about here and at my house that means it’s time for all things zucchini! My garden has only two zucchini plants this year, but already I’ve harvested two and have 3 more growing. Because of this influx of all green goodness, I’m looking into new and delicious ways to prepare this versatile veggie(or fruit… or whatever). These fritters are super easy and quick to make. I was able to make a batch in the middle of the day for lunch without too much effort. The ingredients list is fairly simple as well, making this recipe easy for anyone to make whether you’ve tried making vegan food before or not.

Serve this little babies with some vegan sour cream at the very least. We also had some hummus and naan with ours, and I think I may make these again to stuff some homemade pitas. They are best served warm right out of the pan, and I wouldn’t recommend storing them for too long in the fridge since the crispiness from cooking is the best part. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Leave a comment below if you tried it out!

Vegan Zucchini Fritters

1 small or 1/2 large zucchini, grated

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

3 Tbsp vegan butter, melted

Olive oil for cooking

  1. Squeeze or strain grated zucchini to release as much liquid as possible. Discard water and place zucchini into a bowl along with all ingredients except the olive oil.
  2. Mix into a sticky batter that will clump together to form patties or fritters.
  3. Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
  4. Form fritters at desired size and place in hot pan. Press down with a spatula to flatten.
  5. Let fritters cook on each side about 4 minutes or so (times will vary) or until the bottoms are nice and crispy and then flip – repeat on the other side.
  6. If cooking in batches, add more olive oil before each batch.
  7. Serve with vegan sour cream, and enjoy!

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Croutons

During times like these, it’s comforting to have food that has a long shelf life. Butternut squash, along with most other winter squashes, will last 1-2 months if stored in a cool, dark place like a pantry. This makes it a great pantry stocking option that is nutritious as well as tasty. Another great reason to get some butternut squash these days is that it’s high in Vitamin C and boosts immune systems. It’s also high in potassium, fiber and vitamin A, making it a great vegetable to add to your diet.

I absolutely love this soup. It is so warming and flavorful that sometimes I make it in double batches and put half in the freezer for later. It’s a seriously comforting soup that when paired with some crispy sourdough sage croutons makes you crave those colder rainy soup days. It is easy to make, but it can take some time to roast the squash fully so make sure you account for that. I suppose if you wanted to save time, you could cut up the squash before cooking, but I haven’t tried that myself. Once the squash is cooked this recipe is easy peasy to complete. I use my immersion blender for this soup (and many of my other soup recipes). If you do not have an immersion blender, carefully use a regular blender to blend soup to your desired consistency. Let’s get to it!

Vegan Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Croutons

1 large butternut squash, halved and seeds scooped out

1 apple, I like granny smith but any apple will do, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

5 fresh sage leaves, dry could work too, chopped

2 cups of vegetable broth

1 can coconut milk – place in the refrigerator so you can scoop out the cream layer

1/2 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

Sourdough Sage Croutons

A couple pieces of sourdough bread, ripped into bite-size chunks

3 fresh sage leaves, chopped

1/2 tsp or less of oil, this is just to add a drizzle to the pan for cooking the croutons

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and stab the fleshy parts of your halved squash all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet (you could add foil or parchment paper at this point to keep clean up easy). Bake for about an hour or until your squash is soft when pierced with a fork. Don’t start the next part until the squash is done or close to being done, or you will finish too early.
  2. Place diced apple and onion in a large pot with a little bit of water (maybe a couple Tbsp – you could also use oil here if you wish). Over medium heat, cook apple and onion until onion becomes translucent and apple is soft, stirring frequently. This takes me about 5-7 minutes, but may take longer depending on your stove. Add chopped sage and stir to combine.
  3. When the squash is finished cooking, remove from the oven and you can let it cool before this next part or be crazy like me and try to do it while it’s scalding hot – just be super careful. Scoop out the fleshy inside of the squash and add to your pot (which is still over medium heat). Keep scooping until all flesh is removed and in your pot.
  4. Add broth, water, coconut cream and some salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  5. Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a low boil. Once boiling point is reached, lower the heat and let the soup simmer for at least 20 minutes. I like to simmer a little longer to really get the sage flavor out, but it’s up to you.
  6. While the soup is simmering, make your sage croutons. Add a small drizzle of oil to a pan and heat over medium-high heat.
  7. Place ripped bread chunks and sage into the pan with the oil and stir. Dash a little bit of salt and pepper.
  8. Continue to stir frequently over medium-high heat until the chunks become crispy.
  9. Once soup is done simmering, use an immersion blender to blend the ingredients until smooth or to desired consistency.
  10. It is now ready to serve! Sprinkle your croutons over your soup and maybe add some vegan parmesan cheese. YUM!

Vegan Buffalo Sweet Potatoes

Things are getting crazy here in California amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I won’t get too much into it in this post (might do another one later), but what I will say is there are some silver linings mixed in with the chaos. One of those silver linings is having the time at home to prepare delicious and healthy meals. It’s so important right now to eat healthy and keep your immune system in tip-top shape. There are several documentaries and series out there that describe vegan diets as one of the best ways to guard against sickness and disease. It makes me happy that I’ve decided to make the switch, and I hope that I can inspire others to do the same with this blog.

This recipe (adapted from Running on Real Food) is delicious as all hell, super easy to make and can be made with mostly pantry items. If you don’t have avocado (thanks quarantine), you could use guacamole or leave it out all together. Another good green option is spinach or any type of salad mix, or you can leave that part out all together and it’s still so tasty. The ranch that I used is Follow Your Heart vegan ranch. I think it tastes better than regular ranch (and better for you), but I digress. If you’re in a rush, half the sweet potatoes before cooking and cook for 30 minutes instead of the 45-60 minutes. The last thing I want to mention is the HEAT. This recipe is spicy, at least to my standards. If you like more spice, you can sub the Frank’s wing sauce for a spicier version, if you want it less spicy choose a buffalo sauce that is more mild. Okay, enough chit-chat, let’s get to the recipe…

Vegan Buffalo Sweet Potatoes

2 sweet potatoes (or garnet yams)

1 15oz can garbanzo beans

1 bottle of Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Wings Sauce

Follow Your Heart Vegan ranch (or something similar)

1 avocado, halved and sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Poke holes all over the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the potatoes are soft when pierced.
  2. Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans and place in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add buffalo sauce until all beans are covered. Heat over low until warmed through, and smash some of the beans with the back of your spoon to give some variety in texture.
  3. Once the sweet potatoes are done, cut them in half and remove the skins (or you can skip this part if the skins don’t bother you). Lightly mash the sweet potatoes and top with the buffalo chickpeas, then the avocado slices then the ranch.
  4. Enjoy!

Vegan Teriyaki Tofu Bowls

Tofu is not something we eat very often in our house, but when I do make it, I want it to be as flavorful and least tofu-like as possible. This teriyaki bowl recipe is a great vegan substitute for a typical chicken teriyaki bowl with vegetables and rice. If you prefer to not include tofu, you could also just increase your serving of vegetables since edamame and broccoli are decent sources of protein. Ordinarily, I would probably also make this with brown rice, but was in a rush so decided to go with white rice instead.

Tofu is best when as much liquid is squeezed out as possible and replaced with a marinade or sauce. Whatever sauce you use will soak into the tofu lending it that particular flavor. This teriyaki sauce recipe is adapted from Mayim Bialik’s cookbook Mayim’s Vegan Table. It is a good sauce for when you’re in a little bit of a hurry, since it puts out strong flavoring without too much marinating time needed. I hope you enjoy!

Vegan Teriyaki Tofu Bowls

White or brown rice, prepared according to package instructions

2 red bell peppers, chopped

2 small broccoli crowns, chopped

1 cup of edamame

3/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup mirin

2 Tbsp 100% natural maple syrup

1 package of extra firm tofu

1. Wrap tofu in paper towels and press to release fluids. While tofu is pressing create sauce by whisking together the soy sauce, mirin and maple syrup.

2. When fluid is sufficiently removed from tofu, cut into 1/4 inch slices down the short side of the block of tofu. Place slices into sauce, making sure every piece is covered in sauce as much as possible.

3. While tofu soaks, prepare your vegetables. Tofu should soak for a minimum of 10-15 minutes for best flavor. Once the rest of the ingredients are prepared, place the vegetables and a few tablespoons of water into a large skillet over medium heat. Place lid on pan and let vegetables steam, stirring occasionally.

4. Cook the tofu in a separate nonstick pan while vegetables cook. Place pieces of tofu into heated nonstick pan over medium heat. Cook 4-5 minutes per side. Repeat until all pieces are cooked. You can use remaining sauce to flavor vegetables if desired. Pour sauce over steaming vegetables.

5. Serve bowls with a scoop of rice, a large scoop of vegetables and 5-6 slices of tofu.

Quick & Easy Vegan Enchiladas

I could probably eat Mexican-style food every day for a year and not grow tired of it. Even eating as a vegan without real cheese, Mexican food is hands down some of the tastiest and satisfying type of food out there. I love this recipe in particular because it’s packed with veggies, it’s quick and it’s easy to make. The most time consuming part is either the chopping or the rolling of the enchiladas themselves, but if you’ve got even a small amount of skill in the kitchen these tasks should take no time at all.

These enchiladas go great with some rice on the side (add some cilantro and lime to your rice for an extra delicious side) or eat them on their own – they are pretty filling! I like to make these with flour tortillas, but you could totally use corn if you prefer. I should also mention that I did eat these for leftovers but the avocado does turn dark after only a night in the fridge. It didn’t taste bad, but if you’re looking to use these for meal prep, maybe leave the avocado out until you’re ready to serve. I can’t wait to make these again!

Quick & Easy Vegan Enchiladas

7-10 tortillas (flour or corn is fine, I only had giant burrito tortillas on hand so I used those. Have enough to fill whatever pan you’re using)

1 avocado diced

1 large tomato diced

1/2 red onion, diced

8 oz corn (I used frozen because that’s what I had, but canned or fresh would work too)

1 8oz can green chiles

1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 28oz can green enchilada sauce

Your choice of vegan cheese for topping

Other topping ideas – olives, salsa, more avocado

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place all ingredients except tortillas, enchilada sauce and toppings in a large bowl and gently mix together.
  2. Grab a 9×13 baking pan and pour about 1 cup of sauce into the bottom of the pan.
  3. Place a tortilla in the pan and smother with the enchilada sauce you just poured.
  4. Fill tortilla with the vegetable mixture and roll up like a burrito (see gallery above for step by step images).
  5. Continue step 3 and 4 until you have filled the pan. I really like to squeeze them in there. If you run out of sauce along the way, just pour more in. This really isn’t an exact science, just make sure your tortillas are nice and saucy.
  6. Once your pan is full, top the enchiladas with more sauce, vegan cheese and any other desired topping.
  7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving.
  8. Enjoy!

Easy Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo

I love pasta! Who doesn’t, right? Red sauce is fairly easy to replicate as a vegan dish. It’s easy because it’s made of mostly vegetables. Simply omit the meat in meat sauce and you have a vegan red sauce (at least, usually). Alfredo can be a bit more tricky. It’s creamy and thick and has loads of cheese and dairy in it. But it doesn’t have to! This recipe is the perfect example of how eating plant-based can be easy, oil and gluten free and still just as delicious as a traditional alfredo. The main ingredient is cauliflower, and I never would have guessed that blending up this sometimes misunderstood vegetable would be so tasty!

This recipe is incredibly easy. It takes a handful of ingredients and about 20 minutes or less to make depending on how you time it out. I used gluten free fettucine, but of course you can use whatever pasta you like. Pair this pasta dish with your favorite veggies – we did broccoli – and enjoy a creamy bowl filled with pasta entirely guilt free. I think next time I’ll throw in some Beyond Meat “chicken” strips, YUM!! Let’s show you the recipe…

Easy Vegan Cauliflower Alfredo

12 oz. gluten free fettucine, cooked and drained

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets (size for this isn’t super important, since you’ll be blending it up later on, just make sure the sizes will fit in your blender)

1/2 cup vegetable broth

1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or dairy-free alternative of your choice)

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Fill a large pot with water and cauliflower, cover and place over high heat until it comes to a boil.
  2. Once mixture is boiling, reduce heat to low or medium-low and let simmer for about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is softened. (You can use this time to cook your pasta if you like, or do like I did and wait for the cauliflower to be finished so you can use the same pot.)
  3. Drain cooked cauliflower and then place into your blender along with all other ingredients (except pasta) and mix on high until smooth.
  4. Taste mixture to see if you need more seasonings and for salt and pepper.
  5. At this point, you can add directly to your cooked pasta, or you can put your sauce back on the stove to stay warm.
  6. Once you’re ready to serve, mix the sauce and pasta well. Top with pepper and fresh herbs of your choice. Serve with a side of steamed broccoli.
  7. Enjoy!