Sometimes you just want comfort food. And one of the great things about intuitive eating is that you can have it whenever you want, without guilt!
Before I was vegan, I loved the Irish boxtys they’d serve at a pub in San Diego–essentially a potato-filled calzone with cheese and meat. (I’ve since learned that’s not what a boxty technically is, but that’s not the point!)
So on a dark and stormy night, I decided to come up with my own vegan version… which ended up surprisingly healthy for the comfort food goal. And then at my fiancé’s request, I made it again the next night, and the next week. We’re addicted. It’s definitely found its way into our comfort food rotation that used to primarily consist of homemade burgers and pizza.
It’s hearty and very savory thanks to the beef, and the potatoes are super satiating. Plus, the cheese sauce is secretly based on whole foods!
Makes 1 large calzone, serves 2
3 medium peeled gold potatoes, about 450g total
3 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk (I used soy)
2/3 the cheese sauce recipe below, save the rest for dipping!
Preheat oven to 440 degrees F. Put potatoes in a pot, fill with enough water to cover them by a few inches, and put it over high heat. If you want them to boil faster, chop the potatoes before putting them in the pot. Boil potatoes until they are fork-tender and able to be mashed.
Meanwhile, sauté the beef and onions together according to the directions on your vegan beef package. For the Beyond ground, break it up into chunks as you sauté it so it turns into crumbles (or whatever sized chunks you’d like in your calzone). Remove from heat once the beef is cooked and onions are translucent. Be careful not to overcook, since they’ll get cooked more in the oven.
Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a bowl. Mash the potatoes, adding the dash of garlic and milk as you do until they are a creamy texture. Add more milk as necessary, or you could add vegan butter if you want them to be richer.
Roll out the pizza crust into a circle, as you would for a normal pizza. I use parchment paper on top of a baking sheet, but you can use whatever pizza baking method you prefer. First layer on the mashed potatoes, then layer the beef and onions on top, then add the cheese sauce. Be sure to leave at least an inch around the edges free of any toppings. Then, fold the crust in half so that the edges line up, and pinch it together. (If any filling comes out the sides at this step, don’t worry about it–I just eat it 😉 )
Bake for 12-14 minutes at 440 degrees, or until the crust begins to get firm when tapped and is golden brown.
Remove from oven, cut it in half, and serve! You can hold it in your hand like a pizza pocket if you’re in an especially comfort-food-y mode (that’s what we do!). We also sometimes dip it in the extra cheese sauce, or drizzle it on top.
1 cup roughly chopped gold potatoes
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup unsweetened nondairy milk (I use soy)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
Boil the potatoes, carrots, and onion until tender. (You can do this along with the potatoes for the calzone–just be sure you separate them to get the right amounts in each!)
Combine all the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Add more salt and lemon to taste.
Today I’m teaming up with Goode Foods to bring you a recipe that’ll help keep you warm in the cold weather: chili!
I’ve been eating Thanksgiving leftovers for almost every. single. meal. since we celebrated it last weekend. I guess that’s what happens when you make 7 dishes for 4 people. 😉 And after all that heavy comfort food, all I wanted this weekend was something veggie packed and oil free—but still comforting. And this chili fit the bill perfectly!
I also made tofu sofritas to put a fun spin on it and up the protein factor. It’s so chewy and delicious, and a perfect contrast for the melt-in-your-mouth beans and veggies!
So, thank you Goode foods for inspiring me to make this! I’m a big fan not only because their canned beans & veggies are delicious and grown by local farmers, but they support veganism—all their products are vegan, and they team up with vegan bloggers (like me!) to get more healthy vegan recipes out there.
Large yellow onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic
3/4c chopped bell pepper
1 large carrot, chopped
4 large celery stalks, chopped
3 – 15oz cans of pinto and black beans (I used Goode Foods: 2 cans black, 1 can pinto–any combo works!)
The holiday season is a mostly wonderful time… but between the fun of getting together with loved ones, having more free time, and being surrounded by holiday decor, there lurks the fear of seemingly inevitable weight gain.
I spent years and years being so afraid of weight gain, and so desperately planning my post-holiday diet, that it was hard to enjoy the holidays at all. Especially Thanksgiving, because the whole day is so focused on food. But now that I’ve learned how to escape that cycle, I want to share some tips to help you stop worrying about your weight this holiday season too, so you can focus on what’s important instead 🙂
1. Eat more (of some things).
Sounds counterintuitive, I know.
But the science is clear: some foods are more satiating than others. Studies have found that if you eat 250 calories of potatoes, for example, you’ll feel more than twiceas full as you would from eating 250 calories of cheese1. And as a result, you also eat much less after eating potatoes than after eating cheese.
And you can take advantage of this fact to help you pace yourself during your holiday meals.
If you’re mindful about having a good helping of those satiating foods (think starches & veggies), it’ll balance out the high calorie density, low satiety foods (think meat, cheese, & desserts), and help prevent you from overeating.
So what exactly does that look like? Try having a dish as close as possible to a plant based whole food–maybe mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a veggie side, or even stuffing–that you eat first or that you serve yourself extra of, to give you that baseline of satiation before going for seconds (or thirds) on everything else.
Another strategy is to have some snacks or appetizers before the big meal. This can help by making sure you don’t go into dinner feeling ravenous and overstuffing yourself before your brain can catch up.
2. Don’t plan to diet beforehand or afterwards.
This is a big one. Almost everyone who has ever dieted plans to diet before and/or after the holidays. But it’s exactly that mindset that leads to overeating and weight gain in the first place.
In fact, studies show that people who are most successful at losing weight in general are the ones who gain the most weight during the holidays2.
Sounds crazy, right?
A few years ago I would have thought so too, but now it makes perfect sense.
First, we know that dieting leads to yo-yo weight gain and loss in the long term. So dieting before the holidays is the perfect way to set yourself up to go into binge mode during the holidays and gain all that weight back… and then some3.
Second, when you go into the holiday season expecting to gain weight, that’s exactly what happens. It’s a very easy self-fulfilling prophecy, because the expectations are all in your mind, and it’s your mind that causes you to overeat. (Your body never asks for that!) When you start eating, you probably have negative emotions about how much weight you’re going to gain. And we know that for people who diet, negative emotions lead to more overeating.
It’s a vicious cycle that leaves you miserable during the holidays, and heavier (and still miserable) afterwards.
So what should you do instead? Ditch the diets, and start eating intuitively instead. (Check out my guide for how to get started.) Your mind and waistline (and probably your loved ones too) will thank you.
3. Plan to make yourself more holiday foods afterwards.
Part of what makes us overeat at holiday meals is that the food is scarce. Maybe it’s even “forbidden” the rest of the year.
If you don’t eat that pecan pie today, you might not get to eat it again until next year.
But the reality is that the only reason holiday food is scarce or forbidden is if YOU decide that you aren’t allowed to have it at other times. And that makes it so much more alluring. After all, there’s a reason they say that the forbidden fruit is sweetest.
And, science shows that people who avoid eating certain foods for dieting purposes end up overeating them later3.
If you don’t allow yourself to have certain foods most of the year, you end up overeating them even more during the holiday season because you know you’ll be deprived of those foods again soon.
This is not your last chance for pecan pie, so you don’t need to eat it like it’s your last time having pecan pie.
So this tip is an easy one: just allow yourself to have your favorite foods. (This is a good anti-weight-gain tip in general, not just for the holidays!) Either make some of your holiday favorites before the season starts to test out some recipes, or schedule a day after the holidays to make or buy those holiday foods you always crave. (And, of course, save leftovers from the holiday meal itself!)
Or best of all, go all out with intuitive eating and just eat what you want when you want it. No scheduling necessary. That’s how I’ve lost weight and maintained it–it just works.
With this tip, you’ll go into your holiday meals knowing that the pecan pie really isn’t that rare–and if you know there’s more where that came from, you’ll feel much less of an urge to overeat it.
(Can you guess that I really love pecan pie? 😉 )
4. Treat it like any other meal.
Try changing your expectations going into your holiday meals. If you don’t treat them like a big daunting event where you’re expected to overeat, you’ll be less likely to overeat.
Like the last tip, this is also about reducing the scarcity of the food: the goal is to get rid of that feeling that the Thanksgiving food (or other holiday food) is a limited resource. Don’t treat the food like it’s the special part of the day. That’s not what makes a holiday a holiday.
It’s the loved ones, the focus on what you’re thankful for, or even just a day off from work that makes it a holiday.
If you want to create something special and rewarding in your day, in place of focusing on the meal, you could also try treating yourself to some self care: is there a book you’ve been wanting to read, a videogame you’ve been dying to play, or some bubble bath you’ve been wanting to try? Treat yourself or set aside some time for yourself during the day to make it feel special.
5. Shift your focus.
Changing your mindset is so powerful. Mindset makes us overeat in the first place, and mindset can be the reason we stop.
This holiday season, try shifting your focus. Instead of thinking about how food will affect you and your body, focus on who you’re sharing that food with. Focus on why you’re there eating a holiday meal in the first place.
And, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, try replacing guilt, shame, and fear with gratitude. Gratitude that you have food to eat, loved ones to eat it with, and a body that allows you to enjoy the holidays. Maybe your body doesn’t look exactly how you want it to (yet), but try to appreciate it for what it allows you to do.
After all, practicing gratitude has been shown again and again to make people happier4, and even to improve their body image5.
And with that, I wish you all a very happy holiday season. I hope that these tips can help you enjoy it even more. ❤
Last year, I had my first fully vegan Thanksgiving. Of course, I’ve eaten vegan at every Thanksgiving since I went vegan 5 years ago, but I’m used to having at most 1-3 things to eat at potluck friendsgivings… but this time, ALL of the food around me was vegan!
I had so much fun getting to make this giant feast for my fiancé and I, and it turned out amazingly. And I’ll be doing it again this year for him and my lovely (nonvegan) soon-to-be in-laws! So, I’m sharing the dishes I made, and plan to make again this year, to give you some Thanksgiving inspiration!
1. Cheesy scalloped potatoes
Everything was amazing, but these were the star of the show. Here’s the thing with most vegan scalloped potato recipes: they’re wonderfully healthy, full of nooch and cashews and whatnot, and take a bit of time to prep. Usually I’m all about that. But for this, we wanted something 1) easy and 2) super decadent and stuffed with storebought vegan cheese… because, y’know, Thanksgiving. So here’s a sneak preview of my recipe before I do a whole post on it:
2pounds Yukon gold potatoes
¼cup vegan butter (we use Miyoko’s)
2cupsvegan half & half
Salt & pepper
2 1/2cups vegan cheese shreds, we used a mix with cheddar & white cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degree F
Peel the potatoes and boil them whole until they’re starting to get tender, about 15 minutes.
Now make the cheese sauce. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the flour, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes, or until the flour turns golden brown. Stir in half & half and cook until thickened, stirring often, for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups of shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Slice the potatoes into 1/8 inch rounds–I recommend using a mandolin to get the slices even. Place 1/3 of the potatoes overlapping in a single layer in the baking dish, seasoning with salt and pepper. Spoon about 1/3 of the cheese sauce on top of the potatoes.
Repeat for two more layers. Pour all of the remaining cheese sauce over the top layer of potatoes. Spread to ensure all of the potatoes are covered.
Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheese and a dash of paprika for color.
Bake in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly.
This was a nice healthy counterpart to the rest of the feast. It was refreshing to load up on lentils, veggies and starches in between digging into the rich scalloped potatoes and roast. You can also do prep for this the day before by chopping up all the veggies. Or, you could even make the whole thing the day before–it was great leftover!
I ended up making my own version of this and will be posting my recipe before long–but you can’t go wrong with any recipe involving sweet potatoes topped with toasted, buttery pecans! You can make the sweet potatoes and topping the day before, then wait to combine them til the day of: just add the topping and pop it in the oven once you’re nearing dinner time!
You could make your own roast, but for the time to taste trade off, I would recommend going store bought for this. Our favorites are the Trader Joe’s vegan roast, and the Field Roast line of roasts. (Tip: we’ve tried all the roasts we’ve seen in stores, and really did not like Tofurkey’s roast unfortunately)
5. Brussels sprouts with bacon
This one’s an optional side–any of your favorite veggie sides would work. You could also roast these in the oven if you have space, but a major plus of this version is you can leave the oven free for the roast, stuffing, scalloped potatoes, & sweet potatoes!
6 strips vegan bacon (I recommend Upton’s naturals for this recipe)
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
1/2 large onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the bacon in a pan until it’s your desired level of crispiness/chewiness.
Remove the bacon, and chop it once cool.
Melt the butter in the pan, then add the onions and brussels sprouts, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts turn golden brown.
Add the bacon back into the pan with the sprouts, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
In addition to being a fun but easy fall-themed dessert, these were great for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, too! (I made them the day before because they keep great.)
7. Bonus dessert: Pecan pie bars
If you’re a big pecan lover like me, you might prefer this simplified version of a more classic dessert: pecan pie! I know there are already pecans on the sweet potato casserole, but I believe there’s no such thing as too many pecans on Thanksgiving. 😉 I didn’t make them last year but I’m planning to this year–they’re always a big hit at potlucks.
For the crust:
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil
For the filling:
6 tablespoons coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup coconut cream (or coconut milk for a lighter version)
2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350, and line a 9″ pan with parchment paper.
Combine the crust ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and coconut oil) and stir until they combine into a dough. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust is slightly firm to the touch.
Now for the filling: stir the coconut oil, maple syrup, and sugar in a sauce pan until combined, then boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add in the coconut cream and the pecans.
Pour the filling onto the crust and spread it evenly.
Bake until the filling is bubbling and set (no longer runny), 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving, surrounded by those you love ❤
Today I’m sharing a staple in my kitchen: veggie sushi. Summer or winter, rain or shine, sushi is always a hit with me! And, bae requests it non-stop… even before he was vegan 🙂
A key part of our sushi addiction is dipping it in teriyaki–it just takes it to the next level. It’s also really flexible in what you can add for fillings, as long as you have avocado and carrot on hand as a base. It’s both light and filling somehow, and packs in those veggies in a way that tastes totally addictive!
Cook the rice in a rice cooker or on the stove. Stir in seasoned rice vinegar, and set aside to cool while you prepare other ingredients.
Cut avocado in half, and slice each half lengthwise into ~6-7 slices.
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrot into ribbons. Or, if preferred, cut into matchsticks.
Slice cucumber or other ingredients into a similar size.
Get a small bowl with 2-4 tbsp of water in it, and set near your sushi-rolling area.
Place a nori sheet onto a sushi mat or clean tea towel. Spread half of the rice evenly across the nori, leaving the top 1″ free. Lay half the veggies on top of the rice about 2″ from the bottom, layering them in a stack. Dip your finger in the small bowl of water and wet the top rice-free 1″ of the nori; this will make it stick to itself!
Lift the bottom of the nori + rice sheet and roll it over the vegetables, and keep rolling it over itself all the way to the top. Add more water to the outside of the seam if necessary. Squeeze the roll a little bit to keep everything together. (Check out a nice sushi rolling guide here.)
Repeat steps 6 & 7, but using the remaining half of the rice and veggies.
Slice into 1″ rolls, or keep them as sushi burritos (my preferred way to eat them!)
Dip in teriyaki, soy sauce, or spicy vegan mayo, and enjoy!
Ever since I started gardening a few years ago, I’ve wanted to grow sungold tomatoes. I’m always hearing how they’re magical and taste like candy.
I planted one last year, but I only got to try a few because squirrels got almost all of them. It was a tomato tease, but at least I figured out what all the hype was about (among humans and squirrels, apparently): they really are amazing.
This year I’m overflowing with them… thanks to the 6 foot tall, 128sqft squirrel-proof cage I built around them in spring. I’m also overflowing in early girls, romas, and sweet 100s thanks to the cage, too!
I had a giant harvest of tomatoes over the weekend, and I wanted to use them up while they were fresh. I wanted to make something where they’d really be the star of the dish instead of hidden in another recipe. And I wanted it to be really easy, because I was tired from gardening!
Enter salsa fresca.
This salsa can be made with any tomato, but I made it with sungolds and a few early girls and it was mind blowing. Sungolds are really sweet, so it had the sweetness of fruity salsa (like the kinds with mango or pineapple), but it was still pure tomato flavor.
This salsa was also perfect for using up my big hot pepper harvest, because it really showed off their flavor!
~1lb (500g) tomatoes
Half large red onion
2-3 small jalapeños*
2 big garden salsa peppers (or more jalapeños, or 1-2 serranos)
1/2 cup whole cilantro leaves
1 tsp fresh oregano
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
*If you have very spicy jalapeños, start with fewer and add more at the end until it’s your desired level of spiciness!
Add peppers, cilantro, oregano, and lime to a food processor. Process until everything is minced, but not pureed.
Add onions to food processor. If you like your salsa with liquid (like in these photos) or prefer not to have to chop the tomatoes, add them to the food processor with the onions. Pulse until they are in small chunks, as large as you like in salsa. Otherwise, if you prefer chunkier salsa with less liquid, then add in hand-chopped tomatoes after chopping/processing the onions on their own.
Add salt and cumin to taste. You may also want to add in additional minced peppers if you like it spicier!
Enjoy with tortilla chips, on nachos, in burritos & tacos, on salads, etc.! If you make the recipe, tag me @veganmiche on Instagram and I’ll share it 🙂 I’d love to see!
One of the biggest obstacles to being able to eat healthier and lose weight is figuring out what food to make! There are so many amazing recipes out there, so I thought I’d start sharing some recipes by others (in addition to my own) to give you some extra food inspo here and there.
Plus, I want to spread some love for the vegan recipe blogger community, so I’m going to start doing occasional showcases of amazing looking recipes that I’ve stumbled across from other blogs–specifically, fellow smaller WordPress bloggers!
Here are July’s 15 picks, hot off the presses (or cold, depending on the recipe 😉 ):