Harissa Roasted Butternut, Cauliflower and Chickpea Bowl

Harissa Roasted Butternut, Cauliflower and Chickpea Bowl

If you love sweet and spicy, make this harissa roasted butternut, cauliflower and chickpea bowl immediately! It's really simple to throw together. Just roast fall vegetables and chickpeas in a glaze of harissa paste and pure maple syrup and serve over quinoa with feta, pomegranate and herbs for garnish. A totally nourishing vegetarian meal for winter or fall! 

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Instant Pot Mushroom and Wheat Berry Risotto

Instant Pot Mushroom and Wheat Berry Risotto

No more arm workout! This Instant Pot mushroom and wheat berry risotto gets extra rich and creamy in the pressure cooker! 

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Purple Sweet Potatoes with Miso Butter

Purple Sweet Potatoes with Miso Butter

Step up your side dish game with these baked purple sweet potatoes with miso butter! Loaded with antioxidants, fiber and flavor!

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Chickpea Puree with Creamy Mushrooms

Chickpea Puree with Creamy Mushrooms

This bowl of chickpea puree with creamy mushrooms infused with thyme and white wine is pure comfort! Dig in! 

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Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing + Weekend Fun

Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad with Creamy Garlic Dressing + Weekend Fun

Welp, I just got my first sunburn of the year, so I guess I better go ahead and share the winter squash recipes my queue, starting with this roasted kabocha squash salad with creamy garlic dressing.

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Persimmon Kale Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Persimmon Kale Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Have you ever tried a persimmon? Enjoy this unique fruit in this persimmon kale salad with pomegranate dressing! 

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Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Bake with Mushrooms and Greens

Creamy Cauliflower Pasta Bake with Mushrooms and Greens

This creamy cauliflower pasta bake with mushrooms and greens is a comforting and budget friendly meal for winter! 

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Creamy Lentils and Mushrooms with Roasted Broccolini

Creamy Lentils and Mushrooms with Roasted Broccolini

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Kikkoman and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

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Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Float

Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Float

Meet the greatest thing to happen to you this winter – the hot chocolate ice cream float!

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Vegan Delicata Squash Cassoulet with Roasted Garlic

Vegan Delicata Squash Cassoulet with Roasted Garlic

This vegan delicata squash cassoulet with roasted garlic is packed with all the warm and cozy goodness of traditional French cassoulet. Perfect as a meatless main for the holidays!

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Black-Eyed Pea and Greens Casserole with Cornbread Crust

This Southern black-eyed pea and greens casserole with cornbread crust will ensure plenty of prosperity in the New Year! Enjoy it vegetarian or flavor with a little bacon for luck. 

Wow. In just a few short days, we'll be saying goodbye to 2015 and ringing in a new year. Is it just me, or has this year flown by? Or do I say that every year, completely forgetting the speed at which 365 days passes?

How are you feeling about the New Year? I find most people fall into two camps: excitement or dread. Excited for all the opportunities and experiences that await, or dread for the pressure to come up with an epic, life changing resolution, all while coming off a Christmas cookie (or champagne) hangover.

If you fall in the latter group, be sure to check back here on Wednesday, when I'm sharing my strategy for creating a non-resolution that truly can transform your life over the course of a year. But also, please know I'm a huge fan of starting resolutions/non-resolutions somewhere around January 5th or so. Give yourself some time to breathe after the hectic pace of the holiday season. It's hard to think about what's truly important in life when your brain just wants to focus on post-Christmas sales, which sparkly dress to wear on New Years, and sleep.

Let's save that mental energy and instead think about something a little less exhausting - food. Growing up, I don't know if  we had a traditional New Years food, but since Scott and I started dating 10 (!!!) years ago, I've cooked a Southern New Years feast complete with black-eyed peas, greens, cornbread and pork. Down here, we believe black-eyed peas bring prosperity, greens bring money, pork brings progress (because pigs root forward when foraging, obviously), and cornbread brings gold. Apparently, us Southerners are quite focused on getting rich. Whether the meal actually brings riches or not, who knows, but either way you get a tasty feast.

I like to have fun with the tradition, every year creating a new dish with the same basic elements. Since our tastes lean more plant-centric (and also because I have no clue how to cook a pork roast), I like to use a little bacon for flavoring and greens and black eyed peas as the main ingredients. We've done everything from New Years soups to black-eyed pea patties served over a mess of greens!

Last year I made this casserole to share on the blog, but didn't make enough cornbread to cover the top. Whoops! It was so tasty, I had to attempt again! This is kind of like a Southern version of a tamale pie, with a crispy cornbread topping over a casserole of baked greens, black-eyed peas in a molasses-sweetened tomato sauce. I kept it vegetarian this time, but for New Years, I'd flavor the greens and beans with a couple slices of bacon or stir in a little leftover ham from Christmas.

Black-Eyed Pea and Greens Casserole with Cornbread Crust

Serves 6

Feel free to saute 2 slices of chopped bacon with the onions and garlic to flavor (and for luck!).



  • 1 cup dried black-eyed peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large bunch collard greens or kale, stemmed and leaves chopped
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 14-ounce can pureed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce

Cornbread Topping:

  • 1½ cups stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ cups buttermilk or kefir
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley


  1. First, cook the black-eyed peas. If you remember, soak them in a big bowl of water overnight/all day (I never remember). Place peas in a large pot and cover with a couple inches of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 1 hour until tender, but not falling apart. Taste a couple to ensure doneness. Drain and set aside until ready to use.
  2. When ready to cook casserole, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large sided skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper. Saute until tender, about 5-7 minuets. Add greens and water. Stir, cover and cook 10 minutes until greens are tender. If starting to dry out, add more water. Add tomatoes, molasses, dijon, hot sauce and season with salt and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Add black-eyed peas, stir to combine, and pour into large casserole dish. Let sit while you make cornbread topping.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients for the cornbread together. In a medium bowl whisk the egg, buttermilk, and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined. Whisk in scallions and parsley. Pour cornbread batter evenly over the casserole, spreading with a spatula to even. Place in the oven and bake 25-30 minutes until topping is browned and cooked through.

More lucky recipes for the new year:

Black Eyed Pea Patties with Hoppin' Collards
Black Eyed Pea Patties with Hoppin' Collards
Collard Green Salad with Beets, Black Eyed Peas and Cornbread Croutons
Collard Green Salad with Beets, Black Eyed Peas and Cornbread Croutons
Cornbread Tomato Salad with Buttermilk-Lime Dressing
Cornbread Tomato Salad with Buttermilk-Lime Dressing

Wild Rice and Mushroom Casserole

This cozy vegetarian wild rice and mushroom casserole makes a simple winter main paired with a side salad, or serve as a side dish for a holiday feast! 

Almost since I started this blog nearly 3 years ago (!!!) I've been participating in monthly Recipe Redux challenges, along with a (now huge!) group of healthy food bloggers. But they've been around a bit longer than that, and this month, Recipe Redux is turning 54 months old. To celebrate, we're bringing back a little party game we played last year, turning to page 54 in the nearest cookbook and whipping up whatever we find.

The stars kind of aligned when I opened up Super Natural Every Day, my go to cookbook when I'm in need of inspiration for a simple and nourishing meal. I'd made this mushroom and wild rice casserole many times in the past and it's exactly the kind of food I want to eat on a cold winter day. Usually I serve it as a main paired with a simple arugula side salad, but you could easily serve it as a side dish on Christmas.

It also falls in line with my quest for more simplicity in cooking. You'll need a recipe the first time, but after making it once, it's pretty intuitive. When you have cooked whole grains leftover from batch cooking, it's even easier. The formula is pretty fun to play around with, and hard to mess up. I've made this with both wild rice and brown rice, but you could easily use other types of whole grains - farro, millet and quinoa all work. While I stuck with cremini mushrooms for today, this dish is also a fun way to highlight different types of wild mushrooms. You could also use different vegetables, like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower or broccoli, or up the veggies with a handful of spinach or kale. It's also a great way to use up a little extra cheese you have on hand. I used the gruyere I had from making a flatbread for journal club, but you could swap feta, provolone, cheddar or even some gouda.

Mushroom and Wild Rice Casserole

Serves 4 as a main, 8 as a side. Adapted from Super Natural Every Day


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 16 ounces mixed mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 cups cooked wild or brown rice, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 2/3 cup shredded gruyere cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and a pinch of salt. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute until mushrooms are tender and have released their liquid. Season with salt and pepper and remove to a large bowl. Add rice to the mushrooms and mix to combine.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt and thyme. Pour into mushroom-rice mixture and stir to combine. Pour mixture into the baking dish. Sprinkle the top with cheese. Cover with foil or a lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for an additional 20 minutes until the edges are golden.

Polenta Vegetable Lasagna with Kale, Butternut Squash & Mushrooms

This gluten free polenta vegetable lasagna with kale, butternut squash & mushrooms uses precooked polenta rounds in lieu of lasagna noodles for a weeknight-friendly lasagna!

gluten free polenta vegetable lasagna
gluten free polenta vegetable lasagna

This post is almost painful to write. Not because this recipe wasn't a resounding success. Believe me, it was, and if you need extra proof, just ask Ashley from The Fresh Beet. She got to enjoy the leftovers with me last week :) It's painful because lasagna is by far the warmest, most comforting dish you can possibly make, especially when packed with roasted winter squash and kale. Yet as I'm writing this, it's 84 degrees, humid, and I'm sitting on my front porch sweating in shorts, a t-shirt and itchy eyes from pollen.

Buuuut, I know it's still winter in places that aren't nicknamed "the armpit of the South." Plus, this recipe was too good not to share, and there's only a few more weeks where I can get away with using winter squash!

Lasagna with precooked polenta tubes
Lasagna with precooked polenta tubes

I make a pretty epic veggie lasagna. I wish I could claim it as my own, but I follow the recipe for Green Kitchen Stories World's Best Vegetable Lasagna verbatum. The truth is in the title. But as epically delicious as it is, I hardly ever make it. Takes way too long!

[Tweet "A recipe for easy polenta lasagna with #kale, butternut squash & mushrooms by @RHartleyRD #vegetarian"]

This version uses three shortcuts. First, I used jarred tomato sauce in lieu of a homemade sauce (Trader Joe's all the way!). Then, I used prechopped butternut squash rather than hassling with a sturdy gourd and a sharp knife. Finally, instead of cooking whole grain lasagna noodles, I swapped precooked polenta tubes, cut into rounds.  While it's not exactly a 30 minute meal, it's weeknight doable.

Polenta Lasagna with Kale, Butternut Squash and Mushrooms
Polenta Lasagna with Kale, Butternut Squash and Mushrooms

Have you ever cooked with precooked polenta rounds? It's a great ingredient to have on hand for quick meals and side dishes. Bonus points - it's a whole grain! If you've never seen it before, you can purchase precooked tubes of polenta, Italian grits, usually in the pasta aisle. Here's some recipe inspiration:

Vegetarian Polenta Lasagna Stacks

Crispy Polenta with Poached Eggs, Mushrooms & Tomatoes

Sweet Buttered Polenta Pancakes with Fresh Summer Berries

Crispy Polenta Bites with Arugula Tapenade 

Easy Grilled Polenta Parmesan Chips

Kale, Mushroom & Tomato Sauce with Polenta

Vegetarian Lasagna with Polenta and Kale
Vegetarian Lasagna with Polenta and Kale

Since it's technically Spring and starting to feel like it too, swap in asparagus for the squash and spinach for the kale.

Polenta Lasagna with Kale, Butternut Squash & Mushrooms


Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE


serves 6

Look for tomato sauce that is low in sugar, preferably with less than 4 grams of sugar in a serving. I used Trader Joes tomato basil marinara.


  • 12 ounces precut butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 lb kale, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 18-ounce tubes of precooked polenta
  • 1 26-ounce jar tomato sauce
  • 16 ounces organic ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss squash with 2 teaspoons oil, season with salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes until browned and tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. While squash is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add kale, garlic and saute until starting to wilt, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until mushrooms have released their liquid and vegetables are tender, about 7-10 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta cheese, egg, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes.
  5. Reduce oven heat to 375.
  6. Slice the two polenta tubes into 36 rounds total.
  7. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place 12 polenta rounds evenly on the bottom. Top with half the kale and mushroom mixture, half the squash, half the ricotta. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce over the top. Repeat with another layer of polenta and the rest of the vegetables and ricotta. Top with another 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, the remaining 12 polenta tubes, then the rest of the tomato sauce. Top with slices of mozzarella.
  8. Bake for 45-55 minutes until bubbly and the mozzarella is melted and browned. Let sit for 10 minutes for before slicing and serving.


 You might also like:

Quinoa Crusted Eggplant & Zucchini with Mozzarella
Quinoa Crusted Eggplant & Zucchini with Mozzarella
Dairy Free Macaroni and Cheese
Dairy Free Macaroni and Cheese
Penne with Kale, Roasted Tomatoes and Brie
Penne with Kale, Roasted Tomatoes and Brie

Kabocha, Kale & Roasted Garlic Soup

A simple winter soup made with the most delicious of all the winter squash - kabocha. Roast a head of garlic along with the squash for a rich, caramelized flavor and stir in sauteed kale for a hit of fresh green. 

Kobocha Kale and Roasted Garlic Soup

Remember when I first met kabocha and quickly fell in love? Well guess what? We're still going strong! In fact, I've left Scott and kabocha and I are moving in together ;-)

Okay, that last part was weird...

But in all seriousness, kabocha and I have been having quite the love affair this winter. I can't get enough of it's dense, creamy texture and rich sweetness! I've been throwing roast cubes of it into everything I eat...and sometimes snacking on caramelized cubes of it between meals. But mostly, I've been making soup. Lots and lots of soup.

I tend to get sick of pureed soups pretty quickly, but I remain enamored with this basic one, even after multiple batches. You can use this recipe as a template and add different flavors and spices as you like. Give it a Middle Eastern flair with a sprinkle of za'atar, swirl of olive oil and dollop of plain yogurt. Stir in sweet rice cake balls to make a traditional Korean soup called danhobak juk. Stir in curry and turmeric for an Indian spiced soup. Or, go all Paula Dean with it and cook the kale in rendered bacon fat then garnishing with crumbled bacon. Kale cancels out bacon, or something like that.

Vegan Winter Squash, Garlic and Kale Soup

For a topping, I saved the kabocha squash seeds and roasted them as I whipped up the soup. One thing I love about winter squash is you get a meal and a snack out of one piece of produce. Squash seeds are packed with nutrition - healthy fats, fiber, zinc, and copper to name a few. I've seen many recipes that call for meticulously soaking and cleaning the seeds, but I say pfffttt to that! The squash "guts," if you will, may not be as pretty, but it adds flavor and that's the important thing.

This is one of those recipes that speaks for itself, so I'll just get to it. But first, tell me your go-to winter soups in the comments below. The temperature is dropping and I need some inspiration!

Kabocha, Kale & Roasted Garlic Soup
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: serves 4-6
You could certainly make this with any other winter squash, it's just that kabocha is the best, so why would you :) Other greens, like chard or collards, work in this as well, just adjust your cooking times accordingly so the greens are wilted, not crunchy.
  • 1 medium kabocha squash
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of kale, thick stems removed, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Carefully cut the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and guts using a spoon, reserving only the seeds in a small bowl. Cut each half in half so you have four sections. Drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on a large baking sheet.
  3. Peel away the paper outer layers of the garlic. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and wrap with a square of aluminum foil. Place alongside the squash.
  4. Place pan with garlic and squash in the oven and roast about 45 minutes until tender. Check the squash after about 30 minutes with a fork to see if it's tender. Remove from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
  5. While cooling, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and saute 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add kale, salt and pepper and saute until wilted, adding a couple tablespoons of water to help it steam.
  6. While the kale is wilting, scoop squash flesh and roasted garlic (just squeeze the individual cloves out of it's paper) into a blender. Add vegetable broth, turmeric and caynne and blend until pureed. Pour into the pot with the kale. Add 2 cups water to the blender to help rinse out the remaining squash puree and pour that into the soup. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Bring soup to a simmer then cook 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  8. Reduce oven temp to 375. While the soup is simmering, toss the seeds with 1 teaspoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet (can use the same one you roasted the squash on). Roast for 10-15 minutes until crispy and crunchy, but not browned.
  9. Serve soup garnished with toasted seeds.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Mushrooms and Leeks

Canned pumpkin and coconut milk seem like an unlikely duo, but when blended with herbs, spices and bit of citrus, it makes a rich, creamy and complex pasta sauce. Top with sauteed leeks, mushrooms and peas to make it a meal.  

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Mushrooms and Leeks

Since my teenage years, on a semi-regular basis, I've been mistaken for Italian. I've got German, Scottish and Latvian blood, but not a speck of Italian, at least to my knowledge. There's been some awkward moments, like when I was walking through Little Italy and a little old lady spoke to me in Italian...then gave me a death stare when I couldn't respond. Then there was that time a woman in Williams Sonoma asked me how I make pasta from scratch, to which I replied "uhhh, I put it in boiling water." And of course, we can't forget the rumor that went around in high school that my dad was in the mafia. Don't even ask how that one started.

I always presumed it was my olive complexion and dark hair, but after creating this dish, I think I've figured out the source of confusion. Rumor must have somehow got out about my excellent pasta sauce making skills.

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce with Orange and Sage

If you've made my pasta primavera with cauliflower sauce, dairy free mac and cheese or horrendously photographed but amazingly delicious almost cheeseless pasta casserole, then you know this rumor to be true. This creamy pumpkin sauce blows them all out of the water.

This bowl of pasta was one of the most comforting things I've ever experienced, right up there with fleece-lined leggings and snuggles from my fur babies (one of which is doing a little better - thanks for all your well wishes!). Comfort food to the max. Plus, it's got the whole carb and carb thing going on - never a bad thing in my opinion.

Vegan Pumpkin Pasta with Mushrooms and Leeks

I've used pureed pumpkin in pasta sauces before, most notably my vegan mac and cheese (one of the most popular recipes on this blog). But for this sauce, I wanted it to be almost alfredo-like and silky smooth. And for that, you need fat and lots of it!

I used two healthy fats to create this sauce. First, coconut milk, which adds only a faint hint of coconut flavor that actually melds together really nicely with this sauce. I also mixed in a couple tablespoons of almond butter, although you could use cashew butter or tahini even if you have it on hand. Both of these fats lend a nice mouthfeel to the sauce, but also a complex flavor as well.

Dairy Free Pumpkin Pasta with Mushrooms and Peas

Speaking of flavor, there's so much going on in this bowl! I added lots of sage, picked from our "herb garden," aka sage garden because that's what took over! Fresh orange juice brightens the sauce and sweetens it a bit as well. The turmeric adds a little peppery flavor, but mostly I added it in for the health benefits and gorgeous color.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Mushrooms and Leeks
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: 4
For a gluten free version, make this with the gluten free pasta of your choice. I used quinoa pasta, my personal favorite. To reduce the calorie and carbohydrate content of this dish, try zucchini noodles, which would taste delicious with the creamy pasta sauce.
  • [b]Sauce: [/b]
  • 14-ounce can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • [b]Remaining Ingredients:[/b]
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 ounces shiitakes, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 8 ounces 100% whole grain spaghetti (I used quinoa spaghetti)
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a medium pot, whisk together sauce ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes to let the flavors combine.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add leeks and saute 5-7 minutes until tender. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Add mushrooms and cook until their liquid has released and reabsorbed, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in peas and cook until defrosted and warm. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss spaghetti with the sauce. Top with vegetables and serve.

 You might also like: 

Pumpkin, Pear and Gorgonzola Flatbread

Pasta with Spicy Tempeh Sausage, Broccolini and Creminis

Dairy Free Mac and Cheese

Pasta with Tempeh Sausage, Broccolini and Creminis

A classic Italian combination - sausage, bitter green veggies and pasta - gets a vegan makeover with a spicy, homemade tempeh sausage. Toss it with whole grain pasta, sauteed mushrooms and baby broccoli for a comforting healthy meal. 

Vegan Tempeh Sausage Pasta with Broccolini

Tempeh is kind of a mystery, isn’t it? Most of my clients have never heard of it, and those who have, still don’t have a clue what it is. Myself, I’ve eaten it regularly for years, but I’m still not even sure I’m pronouncing it correctly. Tem-pay or tem-pee? I just don’t even know.

When I introduce tempeh to a client, it’s always a bit awkward because I know my description isn’t gonna sell it. Tempeh is made by culturing and fermenting whole soybeans and then pressing them into a cake. The result is a firm, yet tender and crumbly patty with a texture similar to a veggie burger. Not necessarily tempting, right? Just stay with me on this one. Baby Broccoli, Cremini Mushrooms and Pasta

Being fermented, and hopefully you’re aware of the general awesomeness of fermented foods, tempeh is more nutritious than tofu. The fermentation process breaks down phytic acid, a nutrient found in soy, beans and grains that can partially block the absorption of some nutrients, especially minerals. This means many of the vitamins and minerals are more easily utilized by the body. Also, because tempeh is made with the whole soybean, it has a higher fiber and protein content.

Other health benefits: tempeh is an excellent source of manganese, copper, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and magnesium. It contains many phytonutrients including flavonoids, phenols, and phytosterols. If consumed uncooked, you’ll also get a nice dose of beneficial probiotics.

Vegan Sausage Pasta with Mushrooms and Broccolini

Tempeh can be intimidating. Soybeans fermented with bacteria and pressed into a cake? Umm, yeah no. Yet, I actually think tempeh is the perfect soy food to convert meat lovers. It’s crumbly texture perfectly mimics ground meat in dishes like tacos, chili and in this flavorful pasta dish.

The combination of sausage, greens and pasta is a classic one in Italian cuisine and one of my favorites. I was pretty amazed at how well the tempeh mimicked the spicy, salty flavors and texture of tempeh. I’ve made tempeh sausage before, but inspired by a recipe from Delicious Knowledge, I decided to marinate the tempeh first in a mixture of soy sauce and vegetable broth. This infuses it with umami flavors that take it to another level.

Tempeh Sausage Pasta with Mushrooms

Feel free to switch this recipe up with different vegetables, based on what you have on hand or what’s in season. Roasted red peppers, broccoli rabe, cauliflower, kale and other bitter greens would all work well. To save time, skip the olive oil-parsley sauce and use a couple tablespoons of pesto instead. I made this gluten free with quinoa pasta, my favorite of the gluten free pastas.

Pasta with Tempeh Sausage, Baby Broccoli and Creminis
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: 4 servings
  • [b]Tempeh Sausage: [/b]
  • 8 ounces tempeh, crumbled
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed, lightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon fresh, minced sage or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • [b]Other Ingredients:[/b]
  • 8 ounces whole grain fusilli or other pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces baby broccoli or broccolini
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
  1. In a medium bowl, combine tempeh, broth and soy sauce. Let marinade 30-60 minutes.
  2. When ready to cook, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and a pinch of salt and saute 5 minutes until tender. Drain tempeh and add to to skillet along with the fennel, basil, oregano, sage, red pepper flakes, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper to taste. Saute until well browned, about 7-10 minutes.
  3. While tempeh is cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until tender. Drain and set aside in a large serving bowl.
  4. After tempeh is cooked, remove and set aside in a large serving bowl. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet on medium-high heat. Add broccoli, mushrooms, salt and pepper. After a few minutes, add a couple tablespoons of water to help the vegetables steam. Cook a total of 7-10 minutes until mushrooms have released their liquid and baby broccoli is tender. Remove from skillet and set aside in the same pan as the tempeh sausage.
  5. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet along with the garlic. When it starts to sizzle, add the parsley and stir quickly. Scrape the parsley oil sauce into the serving bowl with the pasta and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Love this recipe? Check out these other healthy pasta recipes:

Spaghetti with Browned Butter & Roasted Cauliflower

Pasta Primavera with Creamy Cauliflower Sauce

Penne with Kale, Roasted Tomatoes and Brie


Cure a Cold Gingery Green Soup

Give your immune system a boost to fight off that cold with a warm bowl of gingery green soup, packed with immune supporting ingredients like ginger, turmeric, green leafy veggies and garlic!

Cure a Cold Gingery Green Soup
Cure a Cold Gingery Green Soup

Does it seem like everyone is sick right now? We hosted supper club this Sunday and about half the people there were just getting over something, myself included. Of course, now the other half are probably currently sick from being in my germ infested house. Sorry guys. Hope the coq au vin was worth it!

Whenever I catch a cold, it usually runs it's course in a couple days, but this one has lingered almost a week. Yesterday morning I was fed up after I woke up feeling congested and groggy yet again. So, I decided to whip up a soup with all the immune supporting ingredients!

Immune Support Soup with Kale and Spinach
Immune Support Soup with Kale and Spinach

Although I do still believe in the curative powers of chicken noodle soup, I wanted to take this recipe in a different direction. I chose this recipe from 101 Cookbooks as a base, which I've had stashed in a binder for years only to stumble across it again last week. Perfect timing, no?

This soup basically has every food known to enhance immune function packed into each bowl. Okay, so maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it's definitely has it's fair share of cold and flu fighters! Here's a look at what's inside:

Vegetarian Flu Fighting Soup
Vegetarian Flu Fighting Soup

Green leafy veggies // Citrus fruit is probably what comes to mind when you think of vitamin C, but green leafies are a pretty good source too. Green leafy vegetables have also been shown to help lymphocytes, a type of immune cell, function properly. 

Ginger // Ginger tea is one of my favorite tricks for a sore throat. I'm actually drinking it as I type! This gingery broth helps soothe a sore throat. Plus, ginger is an effective way to reduce nausea, so this light, brothy soup would be perfect if you've got a stomach flu.

Garlic // Garlic has been used medicinally for years to treat everything from gangrene to the plague. However, there's actual scientific evidence showing garlic's benefits for colds. One study found people who take garlic supplements were less likely to catch a cold, and those who did recovered faster.

Turmeric // Powerfully anti-inflammatory turmeric is fantastic for immune system support. It helps to boost a protein called CAMP, which helps the immune system fight bacteria and viruses.

Yogurt // Did you know the majority of your immune system is located in your gut? Beneficial probiotics from fermented foods like yogurt are a critical part of that system.

So, how do I feel now? My fingers may be permanently stained yellow from turmeric, but I feel much better! If you're feeling under the weather, I'm sending healing thoughts your way and a warm bowl of this soup!

Kale, Spinach and Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger Broth
Kale, Spinach and Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger Broth

Cure a Cold Gingery Green Soup

Serves 6

For a vegan version, simply mix the turmeric into the broth at the end of cooking. It will turn the broth quite yellow, but it will be delicious. Or, you could substitute a plain coconut milk yogurt, which I think would taste pretty great with the Asian flavors in this soup. Adapted from 101 Cookbooks. 



  • 1 large yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped small
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts chopped
  • 3 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch spinach, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce

Turmeric yogurt:

  • 1/2 cup plain, organic yogurt
  • 1 small nub of fresh turmeric or
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (optional for color)


  1. First, make the turmeric yogurt. Using a microplane grater, grate the turmeric into the yogurt or whisk in turmeric powder. Season with salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion, a pinch of salt and saute until lightly browned and tender, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and saute 25 minutes until caramelized.
  3. Place sweet potato, kale, leek, ginger, and garlic in a pot with water, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes until tender. Add spinach, cover and simmer another 5 minutes until wilted. Add lemon and soy sauce to taste.
  4. Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt.

Love this recipe? You might also like:

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Ambrosia Apples and Tempeh Bacon

Honey sweet Ambrosia apples add the perfect crisp, juicy crunch to this vegan salad packed with fall flavors. 

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Ambrosia Apples
Brussels Sprouts Salad with Ambrosia Apples

Disclosure: I was asked to participate in the #iloveambrosia campaign as a member of Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time and gifted a dozen Ambrosia apples. Thanks for supporting Avocado A Day! 

If there was anyone more excited than me when I was asked to participate in the #iloveambrosia apple campaign, it was my pup, Savannah. Adorbs, isn't she?

Being the good dietitian's dog that she is, her favorite treat isn't rubbery pupperoni or even her all natural, smoked salmon treats. It's apples. Y'all, that dog will do anything for apples. She'll pull out tricks we've never even taught her just to get the core leftover from our snack. She can even hear the sound of us biting into an apple from the other side of the house! Because we're suckers for that precious little face, she generally gets a decent portion of every apple we eat, plus the ones that get mealy or brown.

Sliced Ambrosia Apples
Sliced Ambrosia Apples

When a package of twelve GORGEOUS Ambrosia apples arrived at our doorstep, I thought her eyes would pop out of her head with excitement. I actually tried to get her picture with the apples, but it basically turned into that scene from There's Something About Mary when Matt Dillon's character gives Fluffy the dog speed. True story.

I totally get her excitement. These were some pretty darn gorgeous apples. No hint of blemish, even after a week in the heavily trafficked fruit crisper. A deep pink blush over a creamy yellow background. Shiny skin. Huge.

I was even more excited when I took a bite.

I know I overuse superlatives, but this was the best apple I've ever tasted.

Ambrosia Apple, Brussels Sprout and Tempeh Bacon Salad
Ambrosia Apple, Brussels Sprout and Tempeh Bacon Salad

Aptly named after the food of the gods, Ambrosia apples mysteriously appeared as a seedling in a orchard full of Jonagolds. After the pickers stripped the tree clean of it's perfect fruit, the farmer decided to produce more. Ambrosias are one of the sweetest apple varieties with a flavor reminiscent of honey. I generally prefer tart apples, but the complex flavor, crisp flavor and juiciness won me over!

After tasting the apple, I knew I wanted to keep it in it's raw form and preserve it's perfection. I also wanted to do a savory recipe rather than sweet. Dare to be different, I say.

The sweet Ambrosia apple perfectly pairs with bitter Brussels sprouts leaves. The smoky tempeh bacon, nutty pecans and acidic lemon dressing balance out the flavors. I should note, this salad was made for batch cooking. The apples, which oxidize slower than other varieties, didn't brown and the sprouts stayed crisp for the three days I kept it in the fridge. All it needs is a dash more lemon before serving and you're good to go!

Vegan Salad with Brussels Sprouts, apples and Tempeh Bacon
Vegan Salad with Brussels Sprouts, apples and Tempeh Bacon

Like all apples, Ambrosia's are a good source of fiber with 4 grams in each medium apple. It's especially rich in soluble fiber, known for it's cholesterol lowering benefits. It's also a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C. Much of the research on apples has focused on their polyphenol content, a type of phytonutrient which makes apples especially good for blood sugar regulation. The polyphenols found in apples slow down carbohydrate digestion, stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin, and reduce glucose absorption. Make sure to eat the skin where many of the nutrients concentrate!

Tempeh Bacon, apples and Brussels Sprouts
Tempeh Bacon, apples and Brussels Sprouts

Now, I know you all are on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what Savannah thought of these apples. I'm sorry to report that she's just not a fan. Not because they aren't delicious, but because her mommy and daddy ate all of them, leaving her with just a few, almost completely stripped down cores. Her puppy dog eyes are cute, but no match for the allure of these apples.

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Ambrosia Apples and Tempeh Bacon

Serves 4

Although this salad, full of healthy carbs, fat and protein, is perfectly satisfying, if you want to bulk it up a bit more, add chickpeas. And although it would not longer be vegan, blue cheese would be a welcome addition as well.



  • 8 ounce organic tempeh
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil


  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 2 large Ambrosia apples
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • Dressing:
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard


  1. First, make the tempeh bacon. Cut the tempeh in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 12 thin slices, for a total of 24. Place in a zip top bag or plastic container with lid. In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, molasses, and spices. Pour over tempeh and let marinade at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300 degrees and brush a baking sheet with olive oil. Line the tempeh up on the baking sheet and brush the tops with more olive oil. Bake for 12-14 minutes, flip, then bake an additional 8 minutes until browned and slightly crisp.
  3. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise through the core. Using a paring knife, cut away the core so the leaves fall apart and separate. Add to a large salad bowl. Dice the apple and add to the sprouts along with the pecans. Toss in the pecans.
  4. Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Toss with the salad and serve.

Love this recipe? Check out these others from the archives:

Caramelized Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and Capers

Roasted cauliflower gets a holiday upgrade with naturally-sweet golden raisins, toasted walnuts and capers. 

roasted cauliflower golden raisins capers
roasted cauliflower golden raisins capers

By posting this recipe, I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with this contest. I was not compensated for my name. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. Literally, and figuratively.

When I was on vacation with my family, the topic of our Christmas Day meal came up, and somehow, I ended up volunteering to cook the entire meal for all ten of us.


Normally my dad is in charge, and although he's a great cook, let's just say his emphasis is a little more on the meat and a little less on the sides. With half the family qualifying as a borderline vegetarian, I figured a few satisfying veggie sides and a main to accompany my dad's decidedly non-veggie main would make people happy. Plus, I'm pretty excited to show the non-veggie lovers how delicious they can be when you treat them right.

caramelized cauliflower golden raisins
caramelized cauliflower golden raisins

In preparation, I was thinking of the best veggie dishes I've ever had I immediately remembered this dish from 

Holy Taco

in Atlanta. Nutty, roasted cauliflower tossed with sweet golden raisins, salty currants and crunchy walnuts. So much deliciousness in every bite!

Let's talk about the raisins, because although every component is important, it's what truly makes this dish. The sweetness brings out the caramelized flavors of the cauliflower and makes for a great sweet and salty combination with the capers. Naturally-sweet with no added sugar, unlike many other dried fruits, I always keep raisins on hand to add a bit of sweetness to savory dishes like

braised greens



, and



Maybe it's the association with oatmeal cookies and and other sweet treats, but I find many people don't realize how nutritious raisins are. Remember, it's dried grape, so raisins have all the same beneficial compounds. One of those compounds is kaempherol, an antioxidant flavonoid which has been linked to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. It may even help prevent nerve disorders and osteoporosis. Golden raisins, my personal favorite, are a particularly rich source. Another neat bonus to golden raisins - the dehydration process increases the amount of quercetin, another flavonoid with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. Raisins are also a good source of fiber, potassium and iron.

So, let's ring in the holidays with raisins!

healthy roasted cauliflower with raisins
healthy roasted cauliflower with raisins

Caramelized Cauliflower with Golden Raisins and Capers

Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend you can find in most well stocked groceries or order online. If you don’t have it, simply season the cauliflower with salt and pepper. The other ingredients add plenty of flavor


  • 1 head cauliflower, stemmed and chopped into florets
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup California golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons capers


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss cauliflower with olive oil. Sprinkle with za’atar and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet and roast for 25-30 minutes, stopping halfway through to add the walnuts and flip the cauliflower.
  3. When the cauliflower is caramelized and tender, remove from the oven. Add the golden raisins, toss to combine and transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with capers and serve.

You'll also love:

Spicy Harissa Bean Soup

 Warm up with a spicy bowl of this simple, bean soup, flavored with a Middle Eastern condiment called harissa. It's the perfect way to use up random leftover bits of dry beans, which tend to accumulate in a whole foods kitchen! 
spicy harissa bean soup

No sooner than we had packed up our leftovers from Thanksgiving, we were on the road again, this time to Clemson for our annual rivalry game. Since our group of friends is scattered throughout the Southeast, the game is a great excuse to get everyone together. We rented a cabin by nearby Lake Hartwell and spent the weekend in Clemson visiting our old stomping grounds, reconnecting and eating more pizza than I care to admit.

For the most part, our group of friends is fairly health conscious. A major topic of conversation was what to cook for dinner Sunday night to “detox” from our recent indulgences. Although we joked about kale salads with nothing on it, we were all planning deliciously healthy dishes with decidedly un-Thanksgiving flavors – my raw nut meat tacos, an Asian-style tofu salad, and turkey veggie wraps.
Me? I wanted something warm to soothe my throat, sore from cheering. Something vegan, for obvious reasons. And, something spicy to give my taste buds a break from all the rich, cheesy, and sweet foods I’ve had in the past few days. So, I came up with this simple, harissa spiced mixed bean soup.
spicy mixed bean soup
Alternate title: how to use up your stockpile of almost empty mason jars of beans. Since getting my pressure cooker, which perfectly cooks dry beans in 30 minutes, I almost always purchase them from the bulk section. Of course, this means I have a constant supply of completely useless amounts of dry beans taking up space in my pantry. This recipe is the perfect way to use it up. You can use as many different types as you like in whatever quantities you like. It calls for 2 1/4 cups of beans total, but if you use a little more or a little less, that's fine. You’ll just end up with a thicker or thinner soup. 

This soup is spiced with Middle Eastern condiment called harissa. It’s a spicy paste made with roasted chilies, peppers and other spices. I purchase it store bought, but you can make your own, which I hear is ah-MAZING. The harissa adds an incredible depth of flavor to this fairly simple bean soup.  

Middle Eastern spicy bean soup

Of course, the main ingredients are most important when planning a healthy meal, but condiments are a great way to sneak in both nutrition and flavor. Harissa is a perfect example of this. Here's a look at the health benefits of harissa's main components.

CHILI PEPPERS// A substance called capsaicin gives chili peppers their heat. It also had powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, which works by inhibiting a neuropeptide involved with the inflammatory process. It's actually used as a topical pain reliever. Chili peppers even boost metabolism, making spicy food a great, add-in if you're trying to lose weight. Studies have also found chili peppers to have cardiovascular benefits and reduce the risk of diabetes.

ROASTED RED PEPPERS // Most people associate citrus with vitamin C, but red bell peppers actually contain 150% of daily needs in a 1 cup serving. Red peppers also contain some of the same sulfur-related compounds found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables.

GARLIC // Garlic is one of my favorite foods for cardiovascular health. It helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides, protects blood vessel walls against oxidative stress and helps lower blood pressure. To increase the benefits, let chopped garlic sit for a little bit before using it, which allows enzymes to get to work to make the allicin compounds more available.

EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL // My favorite fat! We all know by now that it's great for cholesterol and heart health. But did you know olive oil can improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of cancer (especially breast and digestive cancers), and reduce the risk of diabetes?

CORIANDER // Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant, a fact I only recently learned. As a diabetes educator, coriander is a spice I tell my clients to incorporate whenever possible as it can actually help stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas.

CUMIN // Cumin is helpful for digestive health, increasing the secretion of pancreatic digestive enzymes. Animal studies have also found cumin may protect against liver and stomach cancer, likely due to it's antioxidant properties.

spicy vegan bean soup

Running out to pick up a jar? The sauce is amazing tossed with roasted carrots or winter squash, spread on a grilled cheese sandwich, or in a chickpea and vegetable stew.


Spicy Harissa Bean Soup
Author: Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE
Serves: Serves 8-10
I used a combination of baby limas, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas and a couple tablespoons of pinto beans. Feel free to use what you already have. If using lentils, add them towards the last 30 minutes of cooking. Harissa varies significantly in spice level, so you may want to start off with a couple tablespoons of paste if you're not too big on heat.
  • 2 1/4 cups mixed dried beans
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes (BPA free)
  • Balsamic vinegar, for garnish
  1. Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with plenty of water. Soak for 8-12 hours. Drain.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add garlic, onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper. Saute 10 minutes until onion is translucent and lightly golden. Add harissa, thyme, basil, oregano and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and cook 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add broth, tomatoes and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 2 - 2 1/2 hours until beans are tender. Serve garnished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.