Tag Archive: Vegan

Raw Brownies With Avocado Frosting

Raw Brownies With Avocado Frosting

As much as I don’t like the cold, Winter and Fall are some of the best baking months because there’s sometimes nothing to do but stay in and sit next to the heater. Now that Spring’s here and the heat waves, too, no-bake recipes are suddenly ten times more appealing. 

I made these “brownies” over the weekend for a sweets fix that wouldn’t involve sifting flours and melting chocolate. It’s pretty much the same recipe I made 3 years ago with an extra avocado frosting on top. Avocados and dates definitely don’t sound like dessert ingredients, but you’d be surprised how rich and chocolaty these come out. 

Raw Brownies With Avocado Frosting

These are easier to stash and store without the frosting, which does go bad about as quickly as guacamole, so if you’re planning on waiting a while to eat these wait until the last minute to make the frosting. It’ll taste better if you do.   

Raw Brownies With Avocado Frosting

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 8-12 brownies):

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons coconut butter(optional but recommended)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons water
  • 1/2 a ripe avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons agave or honey


  1. Blend the dates in a food processor until they are pulverized and start to stick together. The dates don’t have to be fresh but make sure you’re not using dry and stale ones or they won’t stick.
  2. Add the walnuts and coconut butter and continue blending until the dough starts to stick to itself. Add the water as necessary if your ingredients are too dry to clump.
  3. Lastly add 3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder and continue blending until it’s mixed in.
  4. Dump the processed ingredients onto a piece of parchment paper. With your hands, clump them together into a square or rectangle.
  5. Freeze the dough for 5-10 minutes until it’s firm and cut it into even sized squares. Store in the refrigerator for freshness.
  6. To make the “frosting”, mash the avocado into a smooth puree. Add the agave and remaining cocoa powder and mix thoroughly.
  7. Spread an even amount on top of each brownie square. Garnish with any extra walnuts.

4 Winter Brussels Sprout Side Dishes

Winter Brussels Sprout Salad3

Brussels sprouts are easily one of my favorite vegetables. Whenever I hear someone say they don’t like them I think “they must not have had them cooked right.”

My last recipe for Life by DailyBurn was a Winter brussels sprout salad that I’m sure could turn around even the biggest picky eaters. It has walnuts, apples, and a little lemon for tartness in addition to savory roasted sprouts and would fit into any Christmas or holiday menu. 

If–for reasons unexplained–those aren’t the right brussels for you, here are a few other recipes that might suit your sprouty palate:

Fennel Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Fennel roasted brussels sprouts is a new favorite that actually makes me want to put fennel into my grocery cart. Because of the honey and cranberries, this dish is a little bit sweeter than the rest. 

Maple roasted brussels sprouts are better for a picky palate. Their simplicity makes them a crowd pleaser while still having just the right sweet & salty balance.  

Balsamic brussels sprouts with red wine is the tangiest of these dishes. It’s great for a dinner or hearty meal, especially paired with whichever wine you cook with. 

Maple Vanilla Oatmeal

Maple Vanilla Oatmeal

Some meals are too simple to ever justify paying for them; oats should be at the top of that category. In the corner restaurant near my apartment, cinnamon is considered a premium topping right next to blueberries and strawberries. Would you really pay extra for a finger-tip worth of cinnamon? Put that wallet away.

If you don’t have a go-to oatmeal recipe, Winter’s a good time to pick one up. It’s warm, hearty, and filling but quick and easy to put together for 1 or a crowd. You can dress this recipe up with walnuts, raisins, sliced apples, or any number of different mix-ins, but on its own it’s good, too. 

The vanilla in this recipe adds a slightly savory and complex flavor to cut the sweetness of the maple, but if you’re making this for a picky palate you might want to leave it out.

Maple Vanilla Oatmeal

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 2 Servings):

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Combine the oats, salt, and 2 3/4 cup water in a medium pot on the stove.
  2. Bring the pot up to a boil over medium-high heat stirring occasionally. Leave uncovered.
  3. As the water boils stir more constantly with a wooden spoon.
  4. When the oats have cooked and stick together, turn off the heat. Add in the vanilla, syrup, salt, and cinnamon and continue stirring for 20 seconds.
  5. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly before scooping into 2 bowls.
  6. Serve warm with brown sugar and cinnamon on top. 

Easy Maple-Curry Acorn Squash

Maple Curry Acorn Squash

When you live in the city, it’s sometimes hard to tell exactly what season it is. That’s what Starbucks limited edition drinks are for.

After I saw it was pumpkin spice latte season already, I knew it was time to start digging up old squash recipes. This recipe I’ve posted an annoying amount of times but still come back to again and again.

It’s one that I always make because I know how easy and delicious it is. Using curry powder to flavor the squash adds an untraditional kick that keeps the squash anything but boring. Still it’s familiar enough that semi-picky eaters will enjoy. 

Maple Curry Acorn Squash

You can really use this coating on any type but I prefer acorn the best for this since I think it has the mildest flavor. Butternut and winter squash tends to be sweeter on their own. 

Maple-Curry Acorn Squash

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 4 servings):

  • 1 Large acorn squash
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt*

*omit if your curry powder is already salted.


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking tray
  2. Cut the squash in half to remove all the seeds. Once de-seeded, cut along the ridges into thin wedges.
  3. In a large bowl, toss the wedges with the maple syrup, curry powder, and salt so that the squash is evenly coated.
  4. Lay the squash out on the baking tray and roast for 45 minutes or until fork tender.
  5. Remove from the oven and serve hot.

Sweet Tea Vodka Lemonade

Sweet Tea Vodka Lemonade

Though it’s only Wednesday, this week definitely calls for a drink.

It’s funny how much the seasons and weather change our tastebuds. This is by far one of my favorite Summer drinks (though the elderflower fizz puts up a tough fight). It’s just light and sweet enough but also packs a punch. 

I’ve posted before on how to make a drink like this from scratch, but that’s not always the most efficient thing to do. This drink can absolutely taste just as good with ingredients from the store; it’s just important to buy quality ingredients. If they don’t taste good on their own, they won’t taste good mixed together. 

Sweet Tea Vodka Lemonade Pitcher

If you really want to kick this drink up a notch, I’d recommend adding crushed fresh herbs. You can add crushed mint for a classic sweet drink flavor or a little crushed basil for something more sophisticated.

Sweet Tea Vodka Lemonade

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 2 servings):

  • 1/2 cup quality iced tea
  • 1/2 cup lemonade (the fresher the better)
  • 2 oz Vodka
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • Lemon wedges to garnish


  1. Combine the iced tea, lemonade, vodka, and ice cubes in a large cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake vigorously until well mixed and the ice begins to break up. 
  3. Pour equally into two tall glasses.
  4. Garnish with a lemon slice before serving.

Vegan PB & J Smoothie

Vegan PB & J Smoothie

I somehow have become a morning exerciser. The first day of waking up, rolling out of bed, and putting on gym shorts instead of a pot of coffee was rough. The second was just as rough. But every day since it’s gotten a little easier.

After working out I’ve been more inclined to make a smoothie than bowl of oatmeal or anything else. It’s quick and easy to drink when getting ready for work. I’ve been trying different mixes to keep things interesting every time and this one is a winner.

It has the classic flavor of the inside of a PB & J, just in liquid form. It’s perfectly sweet and even packs some greens in it, too, if you opt in for the spinach(which you won’t be able to see or taste fully blended–I promise). 


If you’re not a fan of peanut butter or just don’t have any lying around try making this with almond butter or even coconut butter.      

Vegan PB & J Smoothie

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 1 meal serving or 2 snack servings):

  • 1 medium banana

  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

  • 1/3 cup frozen spinach

  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a high-power blender. 

  2. Pulse briefly and then blend until the ingredients make a creamy smoothie. Add water if necessary to make smooth and creamy.

  3. Pour into a tall glass and drink cold. 

Raw Chocolate Fudge Pie

Rich raw chocolate fudge pie

If there’s any way to make peace after 2 weeks of not posting it’s this recipe.

Spending the weekend with friends or family is great but usually leads to a week without recipes. Last weekend was the exception. My friend Eury visited and stayed with me and insisted(she’s going to hate that word–“suggested”) we make the raw fudge pie recipe she’s been working on.

Whether you’re gluten-free or gluten-full, vegan or a meat lover, there’s no denying raw desserts are just better than regular ones. They’re always fudgier, creamier, more flavorful, and easy to convince yourself they’re healthy so you can go back for seconds.

Rich raw chocolate fudge pie

With permission I’m sharing Eury’s recipe which’ll easily win over the staunchest crowd. The cashew filling has the same taste and texture as any milk chocolate fudge.  If you do not care about the health benefits of eating raw and only make this because raw desserts have amazing flavors and textures, feel free to substitute the maple syrup for honey, corn syrup, or simple syrup. 

Raw Chocolate Fudge Pie

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Ingredients(Makes 16 servings):

For the crust:

  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 2 cups cashews
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. Pulse the almonds and walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
  2. Add in the syrup, cocoa powder, and vanilla for the crust and continue processing until it forms a mixed dough.
  3. Press the dough into a 9-inch pan until the bottom’s about 1/4-inch thick.
  4. For the filling, process the cashews into a fine powder. Make sure not to over blend them into cashew butter.
  5. Add in the maple syrup and water and continue blending until smooth.
  6. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until it forms a smooth liquid filling.
  7. Pour the filling over the crust and spread into an even layer.
  8. Refrigerate for ~4 hours until the center has set. Cut with a sharp knife into servings. Refrigerate when not enjoying.

8 Healthier Thanksgiving Side Dishes


It’s already November and Thanksgiving is quickly creeping up. Not quite as quickly as I thought evidently with my bus tickets booked for the wrong weekend, but quickly nevertheless.

I’m not someone who thinks eating healthy during the holidays has to be tough, especially if you’re the chef. It’s all about finding and making recipes that are satisfyingly delicious but also good for you and your family. Here are a few recipes to try that break out of the mold of white bread and buttery foods that will still fit in at the Thanksgiving table.

And I’ll apologize in advanced for some of the terrible photos these recipes have, especially the ones from 2 years ago. They’re in desperate need of a holiday makeover.

Instead Of Buttery Vegetables Try…

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts are a perfect sweet side dish with a lot of nutrients and fiber included.

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Red Wine have a tangier taste that adults will love. They’re especially good paired with the wine they’re cooked with.

Instead Of Traditional Stuffing Try…

Quinoa Stuffing(gluten-free/vegan) tastes just like traditional stuffing with all of the fixins but without the bread and empty carbs. It’s a great healthier option on the Thanksgiving table but even better heated up the next week for leftovers.

Roasted Broccoli Quinoa would be the health-nuts version of stuffing. It’s full of good carbs and a nutty flavor to satisfy.


Instead Of Mashed Potatoes Try…

Low-Fat Butternut Squash Casserole uses squash instead of potatoes but still has a creamy mouth-feel and savory taste to it.

Low-Fat Garlic & Herb Mashed Potatoes are a great substitution for regular mashed potatoes. The garlic and herbs add enough flavor that you’ll never know they’re made with Stonyfield yogurt.

Try Making Yourself…

Cranberry Sauce is a favorite of mine whether it’s homemade and intricately flavored or just from a can. This recipe’s for any cranberry connoisseur out there.

Vegetarian Buffalo “Chicken” Dip is something I recommend for any get together, holiday or not. It will always get eaten up.

Got a favorite holiday recipe with a healthy twist? Share it in the comments below to help inspire other readers.

A Q & A With the No Meat Athlete

October 5th 103

Last week I got the chance to meet up with Matt, the No Meat Athlete, in New York after getting an early copy of his new book(!!). The last time I met up with Matt was when he was running the Boston Marathon; since then he’s run a 100-miler and started plans to run a sub 3-hour marathon, so it’s safe to say he’s been busy.

The book covered a lot of the same topics you’d find on Matt’s blog from running/workout advice, recipes, anecdotes and more. I’ve taken a hiatus from running recently and have plenty of pages bookmarked to go back to when I get my next fitness itch.

Of course I was drawn to the recipe section, including the easy peanut butter sauce shown above. The book advocates a plant-based diet, a flexible term which means different things for different people. However you eat it’s a good reminder that you can always use more fruits and vegetables(this definitely rings true for me).


I got the chance to ask Matt a few questions about food, fitness, and the topics in his book.

A lot of the recipes in your book are more like math formulas; why is that?

I think the obvious answer is that it’s because I studied math in grad and school and my mind just works that way, but the real reason is that food for me is more about practicality than it is art. With ultrarunning and kids and writing and everything else, I have less time for cooking than I used to, so it’s helpful to have a template you can use, say, to throw together a veggie burger with the ingredients you happen to have on hand. I think a lot of people find themselves without a whole lot of time or energy to spend on food, and having formulas that you can use over and over with different ingredients, is really convenient.

I once had a blog with the very hokey name “Food Makes Fun Fuel.” What would you say is your most fun fuel for your workouts?

Fresh dates! The ones with the pits in them, so they’re still soft and have an incredible flavor. They taste like candy, but they’re nutritionally very similar to energy gels and are compact, too, so you can carry a few with you when you run and know that you’re fueling with something far healthier than processed gels.

What’s your favorite indulgence food?

Does beer count? Assuming it doesn’t, then pizza. It was the hardest thing for me to give up when I went vegan, but as much as I hated Daiya vegan cheese at first, I eventually got used to it. Now I can make or order a vegan pizza with Daiya and honestly I don’t enjoy it any less than I used to when it had real cheese. It’s so easy to make dough at home, too, and a lot of times I change it up with BBQ sauce and red onions, or even homemade Caesar dressing as the sauce and lettuce and grilled tempeh to top it.

What’s been your biggest sense of joy from your years of blogging?

Wow, great question. I’ve come to really appreciate how important it is that blogs allow anyone to pick themselves (as Seth Godin put it), instead of sitting around waiting for the publisher or the record label or whoever else to “pick” you. You can just start writing, sharing your ideas, your food, your music, etc. And then it’s just up to the audience to decide if your work and your message are good enough. The gatekeepers don’t have the power anymore, and if you want to do something special, it’s up to you to do it and you don’t need to wait for someone to tell you it’s okay. And blogs, as simple as they seem, are the most important tool for doing that.

What food, lifestyle, or fitness blogs do you check most frequently?

Zen Habits (zenhabits.net) and Tim Ferriss’ blog (fourhourworkweek.com/blog) are some of my favorites; both are more in the “lifestyle” category than anything else. For food blogs and recipes, I’m a huge fan of Oh She Glows (ohsheglows.com) and Choosing Raw (choosingraw.com) — they almost always have a healthy, vegan version of whatever it is I’m trying to make.

What 3 ingredients should everyone who’s reading this add to their weekly grocery list?

1. Baby kale. It’s not as bitter and tough as the regular stuff, so it works really well raw, in smoothies, in salads, and on sandwiches, and it’s one of the most nutrient dense foods you can eat.
2. Hummus. Spread it on a bagel, dip broccoli, carrots, and cucumbers in it, make a simple sandwich by spreading it on sprouted bread and topping with some kale, or use it in a wrap or pita for long run fuel.
3. Raw trail mix. It’s not really an ingredient, I know, but I eat it all the time — it’s a great way to get in a bunch of nutritious calories while you’re traveling or for between-meal snacking. If I’m in a pinch for breakfast on the road, a few big handfuls of trail mix with a banana or apple gets me by.



Congrats Matt on the book and for being an inspiration to so many!

Hipsterfood’s Easy Lentil Soup

Hipsterfood’s Easy Lentil Soup

I always imagine soup as being one of those long, time-consuming foods to make. It definitely can be, but now I know it doesn’t have to be. I found this recipe on the blog, hipsterfood, and thought it looked too easy not to try. I’m also a sucker for anything with lentils in it.

Hipsterfood’s Easy Lentil Soup Yield

One thing that they don’t mention in the actual recipe is that you need a lot of water. I’d estimate that I added about 4 cups of water through the whole process and mine still came out thicker than the batch on their blog. I also left out the celery and added whatever herbs/spices I had on hand. A little paprika gave a nice smoky flavor to it all.

Hipsterfood’s Easy Lentil Soup Croutons

At the end I made “croutons” by chopping up some gluten-free bread, frying it in a little olive oil and seasoning them. Now I know I’ll never have to buy croutons again. It’s also terrific with melted cheese or sour cream on top.

What’s your favorite soup recipes? I’d love ideas for more to make.