Thursday, January 26, 2023

Instant Pot Steamed Potatoes and Potato Salad

Beautiful organic potatoes steam easily and quickly in the Instant Pot !

bag of red potatoes

Steaming potatoes in the Instant Pot is easy peasy. I mean it. 
Simply wash and quarter your potatoes. Place them in a steamer basket inside the liner of the Instant Pot. Add water and set to pressure cook for 4-5 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. I steamed this batch for 4 minutes.

bowl of quartered potatoes

Once steamed, I proceeded to make a simple delicious potato salad using celery, scallions, and plant-based mayonnaise which I made myself in just minutes. 

quartered potatoes in the Instant Pot

15 medium potatoes, washed and quartered
2 cups of water

Place the steamer basket into the insert liner of the Instant Pot. Add the quartered potatoes and water. Secure lid making sure the pressure valve is sealed. Set to pressure cook for 4-5 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes. When done, cancel function and release steam according to the manufacturers directions. When done, carefully remove the lid and the steamer basket. Place potatoes into a bowl to cool. 

vegan potato salad

Use for potato salad, salad nicoise (link to recipe), or mash potatoes. 

Potato salad with Vegan Mayo (link to recipe)
2 cups of chopped organic celery
1 cup of scallions
1/2 cup of diced red onion
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/2 cup of vegan mayo (recipe: 3 minute Vegan Mayo in blender)
2 tablespoons of capers 
1/4 cup of caper juice

Place cooled potatoes in a large bowl. Add celery, scallions, red onions, garlic powder, vegan mayo, capers, and caper juice.  
Optional: 2 tablespoons of cumin seed

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Homemade Plant-Based Mayonaise- Creamy, Dreamy, Fast and Easy

tofu mayonnaise, plant-based

Get out your blender and get ready for an amazing treat! 
This delicious plant-based mayonnaise is low in fat, oil-free, high in protein, and tastes and looks delicious! 

It's perfect for anyone who has an egg allergy or doesn't eat eggs or tons of oil- like me!

Do you know that regular mayo contains 10 grams of FAT per tablespoon? That is because regular mayo contains mostly oil.

This plant-based recipe contains no oil and is about 1 gram of fat per 2-3 tablespoons! Huge difference! I think lower fat for heart healthy!

Free photos of Business

How Does It Taste?


How much effort does it take to make it ? 

Minutes to make it and clean up the blender!  
Now I have mayonnaise for the entire week. 

How will I use it ?- the possibilities are endless. 

dips, mayonaise, ketchup,
My mom used to mix ketchup and mayo together to make what she called " French Dressing". I'm excited to make some mayo based salad dressings using my new plant-based mayo. 

 I have not had traditional mayonnaise in 2 years since I became a vegan (was a vegetarian for about 40 years) and truthfully I did miss mayonnaise in potato salad, on sandwiches, in mock tuna/chickpea salad, etc.

mayonnaise in a glass cup

This is a game changer for me and anyone on a vegan oil-free egg free diet!

Since it is also much lower in fat and cholesterol than traditional mayo, you might want to try it because it's so easy to make and tastes great. 

The final result is a smooth creamy mayonnaise that looks and tastes similar to mayo and absolutely delighted me in my red potato salad. 

1 container of firm silken tofu
1/2 teaspoon of mustard powder
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard 
Salt and pepper 
Water enough to blend (about 1-2 teaspoons only if needed) 


Add all of the ingredients to a strong blender and blend until creamy. Transfer into a large jar and use as desired for sandwiches, salad dressings, potato salad, etc.

My Soups Cookbook is Available On Amazon 

If you are a follower of my blog, you know that I LOVE soup and published a plant-based soups cookbook (affiliate link to Amazon)

Soups cookbook, Easy Plant-Based Soups From Farm To Ladle

 with over 80 easy and delicious soup recipes that are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and meet kosher-parve requirements as well. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Creamy Cauliflower Soup Using Frozen Cauliflower

bowl of cauliflower soup, vegan, gluten-free

It's soup season and cauliflower makes a really tasty soup that requires very little effort on your part especially because I use frozen cauliflower right from the bag and yes it comes out great! 

If you are looking for ways to take a few shortcuts in your homemade cooking, this soup may be just what you need. It cuts down on the work but not on the nutrients.

Let's face it- there is nothing like a pot of homemade soup to bring family and friends together in the winter!

Don't want to use frozen cauliflower? 
You can cut up two medium-large cauliflowers into florets and cook them a little longer. I've done it both ways!

Cauliflower, Vegetable, Food

However, I always keep frozen cauliflower in the freezer. I'm able to purchase a 1 pound bag of organic frozen cauliflower at Whole Foods Market for just $1.99/bag. Since we eat out quite often in Florida, my fresh produce often goes bad before I get to cook it, therefore I use frozen vegetables most of the time.

Cauliflower soup, vegan, gluten-free,

Lately, I've been finding that a variety of frozen produce works great in soups and is a real time and mess saver! Truthfully, I don't notice any difference in the final taste either. 

If you don't care for cauliflower, try my  green bean soup (link to recipe) made with frozen green beans which is real easy and tastes exceptional.

White Vegetables Are Loaded With Nutrients 
For this delicious pure white vegan soup, I used onions, cauliflower, garlic powder, and a large parsnip. It's a white soup made with all white vegetables. 
  • Onions offer protective antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, fiber, and nutrients. Great during cold and flu season.
  • Parsnips are a cousin of the carrot and offers excellent fiber as well as anti-inflammatory properties and immune boosting Vitamin C. My mother used to use parsnip in many of her homemade soups. 


Cauliflower Is A Powerful Cruciferous Vegetables 
 Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, arugula, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, boo choy, and collards greens provide valuable antioxidants that are thought to help boost immunity against diseases such as cancer. These are great vegetables to include in your daily diet.

The flavor of this soup is mild and creamy and not only delivers a bowlful of cruciferous goodness but also feels comforting and soothing to the tummy. A perfect choice to warm you up on a cold day. Of course being in Florida, the weather is mild and warm, but I still love to eat soup.

Bowl of creamy cauliflower soup, vegan, kosher

Another bonus is that this soup is really low in calories and carbs too! It's a perfect soup if you are following WW. 

This recipe makes about 4-6 bowls of soup. If you are cooking for one or two, simply cut the recipe in half. I cook for two, but we do not mind eating soup two days in a row. 

Cutting Board, Knife, Chopped, Parsley

Garnishes Add Flavor Too
Once you make this soup, you could experiment with adding additional garnishes such as chopped dill, parsley, scallions, gluten free croutons, GF crackers, seeds or nuts. 

Instant Pot or Stove Top Works
I make all my soups in the Instant Pot, but you could easily make this soup on the stove top. 

2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
1 large parsnip, washed, peeled and diced small
2.5 bags of organic frozen cauliflower florets (1 pound bags) 
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
5 cups of vegetable broth, divided
Sprinkle (or more to taste) of ground sage (or substitute another spice that you like or have on hand) to each bowl before serving.
Cracked pepper to taste 

Directions for Instant Pot 
Add onions, parsnip, and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth to the insert liner of the Instant Pot. Press sauté and sauté for about 4 minutes, stirring. Add frozen cauliflower, garlic powder, remaining vegetable broth, and cracked pepper, stir well.  Secure lid, cancel sauté and press to pressure cook for 1 minute. 

When done, release steam manually according to the manufacturers directions. When all steam is released, carefully remove the lid. Using an immersion blender to blend the soup (right in the IP or pot) until creamy. Adjust seasoning (extra salt, pepper, garlic powder) and add garnishes of your choice.

Stove Top Directions
Sauté the onions and parsnip in vegetable broth. Add cauliflower, garlic powder, remaining broth and pepper. Cook covered until cauliflower is soft. Use an immersion blender to blend to creamy. 

Gold Rim Crockery, Soup Bowls, Terrine

My Soups Cookbook is Available On Amazon 

If you are a follower of my blog, you know that I LOVE soup and published a plant-based soups cookbook (affiliate link to Amazon)
Soups cookbook, Easy Plant-Based Soups From Farm To Ladle
 with over 80 easy and delicious soup recipes that are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and meet kosher-parve requirements as well.

1. All of my recipes on my blog are gluten-free, vegan, and oil-free (since 2020); and prior recipes are all gluten-free and vegetarian or vegan.
2. This is a dairy-free creamy thick soup 
3. Variation Options: Add some oat milk to the soup if you like
4. I buy parsnips by the pound in Whole Foods, but they are available in most markets (sometimes in a bag like carrots).
5. I used sage as a spice for this light bland soup- if you don't have sage in your cupboard (who does?) try a spice of your choice - thyme? 
6. Hi to Vicki
7. Hi to Laurala 
My two good friends who religiously read my blog- Love you both and appreciate your support 💖

Another Parsnip Recipe

Monday, January 16, 2023

Carrot Tahini Soup In The Instant Pot

carrot soup with parsley, vegan, Instant Pot

Carrot soup is easy to make, nutrient-rich, and delicious. Adding tahini to carrot soup turns it into something unusual and amazing!! 

It's a perfect recipe to eat at on a week night for a family dinner or to serve as an interesting soup for special company. Cooking for one or two? Cut the recipe in half. 

carrots on pretty plate

Fresh carrots are a staple that I always stock in my refrigerator just in case I want to make soup. Sometimes to add a few carrots to a hearty lentil soup recipe (link to recipe) or sometimes to use in a simple carrot soup, such as this wonderful carrot tahini soup.

tahini paste
I use this organic tahini paste in a glass jar from Trader Joe's 

Are you familiar with tahini paste?
It is a paste made from sesame seeds and very popular in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries. It is frequently added to chickpeas to make hummus or baba ganooj spread (link to recipe). It provides calcium, iron, copper as well as other valuable minerals and vitamins. Tahini has a unique pleasing flavor and helps make this carrot recipe slightly exotic. 

Onion, Slice, Knife, Food, Ingredient

This vegan gluten-free soup calls for just a few basic ingredients plus some flavorful spices.

Are you aware that spices are an excellent source of valuable antioxidants. We need antioxidants to help protect our cells from cell damage that may lead to disease. 

Keeps in refrigerator 2-3 days or Freezes well
This soup can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. It can be frozen for 2 months, but I would freeze before adding the tahini paste and then add the tahini paste prior to serving. 

bowl of carrot soup with seeds for garnish

Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, or pumpkin seeds which all add some extra protein to this pretty vegetable soup. 

I do love carrots and have made other carrot recipes in the past which you may also like such as Roasted Tomato Carrot Soup (link to recipe) or Carrot Ginger Soup With Lime (link to recipe).

cup of vegan carrot ginger soup, Instant Pot

I initially saw the idea for this soup recipe on a blog called Havoc In The Kitchen (link to Ben's recipe and blog) and then discovered other similar recipes on a variety of other blogs. Ben's photography and presentation are exquisite - you gotta go take a look -

After looking at a number of recipes, I decided to use one of my own basic Instant Pot carrot soup recipes and just added tahini and some za'atar. It came out great! Thanks Ben for the idea!!

Personally, I like to make all my soups in the Instant Pot, but of course this easy recipe could just as easily be made on the stove top if you prefer.

1 onion, chopped 
8-10 large organic carrots, cleaned and sliced
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder or 4 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
3 cups of vegetable broth 
4 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric 
4 teaspoons of tahini (or more to taste) 
1/2 tsp of cumin, coriander, or za'atar (pick one not all)
Cracked black pepper to taste 
Garnish: seeds of choice (sesame, pumpkin, almonds) or fresh greens

Add the onion, carrots, garlic powder or garlic, broth and water to the insert liner of the Instant Pot. Set to pressure cook for 4 minutes. When done manually release steam according to the manufacturers directions.  Add remainder of ingredients except garnish. Using an immersion blender blend until smooth and creamy. Serve and garnish. * before serving adjust seasoning- add more salt, pepper, and garlic powder if needed. 

My Notes: 
1. Za'atar is a natural spice to go with this soup 
2.This soup pairs well with avocado toast (GF of course) for a light lunch. If you feel you want more protein top the avocado toast with mashed chickpeas. 
3. This soup is kosher parve and may be suitable to use for a Sephardic Passover recipe.
4. This soup is vegan, oil-free, and gluten-free
5. Tahini separates in the jar. You will need to mix the paste and the oil together before using. I usually like to pour off and discard some of the oil from the jar before mixing to somewhat reduce the high oil content of tahini paste. 
6. Organic carrots are readily available in most markets. I think they taste better and are better for you!
7. Tahini paste does not need refrigeration unless indicated on jar.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Quinoa, Sliced Almonds, and White Raisins

quinoa with sliced almonds and white raisins

Have you made quinoa a lately? 

You'll find this exotic recipe slightly sweet but quite delicious. It's perfect for impressing company, yet simple enough to be part of your weeknight menu.

Quinoa is a high protein seed that is considered a whole grain that provides substantial protein and fiber. 

For a light and fluffy quinoa, I cook it in the Instant Pot on the 2 minute setting (instructions for quinoa in the Instant Pot). I then add the other ingredients to the cooked quinoa, toss and serve.

cumin seeds

I very seldom use white raisins, but they seem to be the perfect choice in this light tasting dish that also includes cumin seeds, cardamom seeds, and sliced almonds. The flavors are delightful and will keep you coming back for more.

I love that this recipe can be made in advance and tastes just as good the 2nd day as the first. In fact, I enjoy eating it heated up, at room temperature, or even cold for breakfast instead of oatmeal.

4 cups of cooked quinoa (how to cook light fluffy quinoa-link)
6 cardamom pods 
1/2 cup of sliced almonds
1 cup of white raisins
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds 
1/4 cup lime juice 
1 tablespoon of raw honey or agave 

Cook quinoa with the cardamom pods. When done and cooled slightly, toss with white raisins and sliced almonds. Mix the lime juice and raw honey and stir well. Add to the quinoa mixture. 

My Notes: 
1. Sometimes I like to add 1/2 cup of red onion to this recipe- just saying... 

2. ****If for any reason you do not have or do not like cumin seeds or cardamom pods, feel free to leave them out for a less exotic but still good tasting dish.

3. This is based on an Iranian recipe from a friend 

Sharing this post on Weekend Cooking at the Intrepid Reader and Baker where you can read about dinner at the Eiffel Tower this week!

Monday, January 9, 2023

Quinoa with Pine Nuts and Cilantro

quinoa with toasted pine nuts

If you love quinoa and are looking for an exciting side dish, this recipe will win you over. 

Finding a variety of ways to enjoy quinoa is easier than you think. 

Twice a month, I participate in a pot luck couples dinner with a group of friends. I am usually asked to bring a gluten-free vegan side dish that I am able to eat (being the only one who is gluten-free and vegan).

It's been an interesting challenge for me to come up with different ways of preparing rice, quinoa, or potatoes to be able to bring something different each time we meet. 

pine nuts in a bowl

For this recipe, I decided to add toasted pine nuts or pignoli (as they are called in Italian) to add to my quinoa.

Where Do You Find Pine Nuts ?
Who would have ever thought that pine nuts actually come from pine trees! In fact, the nuts are the seeds found in the pine cones of the pinyon pine tree which is a small evergreen.

pine cones

Pine nuts are expensive because they are difficult to harvest.  
However, they really make any dish extra special. 

In Florida, I am able to get an ounce and half of pine nuts for about $4 which is the perfect amount for this recipe. 

The theme of our pot luck this week is Iranian/Persian food. I was asked to make something to complement the main entree of Iranian/Persian meatballs. 

Of course, I won't eat the meatballs, but I will eat this quinoa dish. In addition, I'll eat the salad and vegetable dishes. 

This wonderful Meditteranean style recipe is easy to make and will delight your taste buds. I toast the pine nuts to bring out a richer creamier texture and flavor. I cook the quinoa with some cardamom to give it a slightly sweet flavor which is very typical of some Persian dishes.

3 cups of uncooked quinoa 
1 ounce of pine nuts, pan toasted (see notes)
1 cup of chopped tomato
3/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons of cumin seeds, divided
optional: 6-8 cardamom pods

1/3 cup of freshly squeezed lime juice. 
1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon of honey (or agave if you don't use honey)
Mix the lime, water, and honey until blended.

Cook quinoa according to the package directions or (use my easy Instant Pot recipe) adding the cardamom pods and 1/2 the cumin seeds. When the quinoa is done, allow it to cool slightly and then toss with remainder of ingredients and the dressing.  


How to toast the pine nuts
Heat a skillet, place the pine nuts in the pan and toast for about 2-3 minutes and shake to prevent burning.
Did you know that quinoa contains a significant amount of protein?  
Nutritional Benefits of Quinoa
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein- same as a 8 ounce glass of milk
  • I cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of fiber.
  • Quinoa is actually a seed but is considered a whole grain
  • Quinoa is also gluten-free 

Though technically a seed, Quinoa is classified as a whole grain and is a good source of plant protein and fiber. One cup cooked provides about 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. .  


Sunday, January 1, 2023

Two Soups For A Healthy Start of 2023

2 bowls of tomato soup

Think homemade healthy soups and healthier habits for 2023!

After indulging in all the rich holiday food and drink, lighter food is just what's needed to help restore balance for the new year.

If your New Year's resolution includes committing to healthier eating habits, then these two soup ideas will start you on the right track. I think everyone agrees that eating more fruits and vegetables is the way to go.

large bunches of carrots

I'm sharing two low fat roasted vegetable soups that are light in calories yet rich tasting. I call them quick soups because they are very dependent on the pre-made vegetable broth for flavor.

Both soups are extremely easy to make and both are warming, healthy, and comforting.

strainer with cherry tomatoes

Key To Making A Tasty Quick Soup
The key to any quick (plant-based) soup is a good tasting vegetable broth. Personally, my favorite store bought vegetable broth is Tabatchnicks vegetable broth, but you may have found other brands that taste really good too or you may make your own. 

I would love if you shared your favorite vegetable broths brand  in the comments at the end of this post. Or if you make your own vegetable broth, share a link to your recipe.

One more note- roasting brings out the sweetness of any vegetable especially carrots and cherry tomatoes! You will find that both carrots and tomatoes become very flavorful.

Easy Roasted Carrot Soup
This is a mild, rich tasting, light soup that is a perfect starter for a brunch or a soup and salad meal. Serves 4. 

4 cups of sliced carrots, roasted
1 cup of thickly sliced yellow onion, sautéed 
4 cups of Tabatchnick (or any brand) vegetable broth
Salt, black cracked pepper, garlic powder
optional: cumin to taste 

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. 
Cover two separate cookie sheets with parchment paper. Lay the sliced carrots on one cookie sheet and the onions on another. (I changed it- sauté the onions for a better flavor)
I toss my vegetables in aquafaba (the liquid from cooked or canned chickpeas) to eliminate using oil. If you prefer to use oil, lightly spray the vegetables with oil. Season with the salt, cracked pepper, and garlic powder. 
Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, checking frequently to make sure the onions don't burn.

When vegetables are roasted, allow them to cool for about 15 minutes. Remove from the cookie sheet, add to a blender, add the vegetable broth and blend until smooth. Add cumin if desired.

Easy Roasted Cherry Tomato Soup
Serves 4

Cherry tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes. There are grape tomatoes, multi colored cherry type tomatoes from Canada, yellow cherry tomatoes etc. For this soup, I used 2 pints of the multi- colored tomatoes from Canada with orange colors, reds, and greens.

I have childhood memories warming up to a bowl of delicious tomato soup in the winter. And how can we forget the Campbell's soup commercials for tomato soup! ( Campbells tomato soup is :  M'm M'm Good!)

Do you remember this commercial ? 

Don't get me wrong, my homemade tomato soup is not a copy of the Campbells soup recipe. 

2 pints of cherry tomatoes, washed, halved, and roasted
Salt, black cracked pepper, garlic powder
4 cups of Tabatchnicks or any vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cover a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
Lay the halved cherry tomatoes on the cookie sheet. ( I toss them in aquafaba- the liquid from cooked or canned chickpeas) or you can spray them with oil. Season with the seasonings.
Roast for 20 minutes or until cherry tomatoes are roasted. Check to prevent burning. 

When roasted, remove from the oven, and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Add to a saucepan with the vegetable broth. Using an immersion blender, blend until completely blended. 
Using a large fine mesh hand colander, strain to remove bits of skin and seeds. When I strain it, I use a large spoon to keep stirring the thick liquid around in the colander.

When strained return to the saucepan and heat slightly and serve. Garnish with watercress or broccoli sprouts.

Happy New Year to all of my readers and I hope all of your wishes are fulfilled this year- so think big!