Quick Recipes

Roasted Cauliflower*

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(Also, see "Roasted Veggies," this is a variation).


One head of cauliflower
herbs:  curry powder, thyme, garlic powder, black pepper
OPTIONAL: one-half teaspoon of olive oil. 
balsamic vinegar
tamari or soy sauce (preferably 'low sodium')
(OPTIONAL) tahini 


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut-op the cauliflower and place in a large bowl.
  • Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar and tamari or soy sauce.
  • Toss with generous amounts of curry powder, garlic powder and thyme;  also black pepper.  
  • OPTIONAL:  add 1/2 teaspoon olive oil to help the herbs stick, if desired.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. 
  • When cooked, may toss with a small amount of tahini (OPTIONAL)


May serve as-is, and/or combined with other roasted veggies.
May toss with cooked beans, corn, cut-up tomatoes and cut-up purple onion (or combine with any salad or stir-fry).  
May use lemon juice instead of vinegar.   May add chili powder, etc.




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Healthy Macaroni Salad*

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HEALTHY MACARONI SALAD:                  


  • People will ask you for the recipe – guaranteed.
  • You may want to add some extra cut-up purple onion, to taste, to make sure there’s adequate crunchiness.
  • We tried adding tomatoes but abandoned this attempt because of too much liquid.
  • Haven't tried this yet with garlic - would probably be good. 


  • 2 cups dry whole wheat macaroni, cooked (may add 1 teasp salt to the boiling water if desired)
    (makes 4 cups cooked)
  • 1/3 cup sliced olives.
  • 1 cup (or a tad less) cut-up red bell pepper
  • 1 cup cut-up *purple* onion    (don’t cut too small, for crunchiness)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Ground pepper to taste, about ¼ - 3/8ths teaspoon

  • OPTIONAL ADD-IN:   Mushroom pieces (sautéed in a non-stick pan without oil, adding vinegar when they begin to stick; when done add a little soy sauce or tamari).  You could use up to 1 cup cooked mushroom pieces, which results from about 2 uncooked portabello caps.  If adding mushrooms, olives may be omitted.


  • 2 TBSP tahini (sesame seed paste).
  • Tamari or soy sauce:  1 TBSP
  • Balsamic or white wine vinegar:  1 TBSP


Add cooked macaroni and other salad (not dressing) ingredients in a large bowl and toss.
In a small separate bowl mix the dressing ingredients.
Mix part of the dressing with the salad, and if desired, add the remaining dressing (depending on how much dressing you like).

Serve cold or at room temperature

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Lentils, Onions, & Pasta Sauce (Joe's Surprise)*

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  • Quick, satisfying, hearty dish.  Lentils are particularly delicious and cook quicker than other beans, in about 20 mnutes. 
  • This is a staple for me, and also for my vegan sister and brother-in-law (Tsela & Ed) who call it “Joe’s Surprise.”
  • No need to measure; use quantities to suit your taste.
  • Use regular (yellow) onions, not sweet onions, because you’ll be cooking them.  It’s very important not to overcook the onions, they should still be somewhat crunchy.   “Fry” in a non-stick pan, without oil (with a little extra liquid IF needed).  Cook them on one side, without turning, until they brown or “caramelize” on one side, then they’re done.  You will almost certainly over-cook them the first few times.   Use a timer so you’ll know how long to cook them the next time: about 1 - 2 minutes.
  • Store-bought pasta sauce is never very healthy (About a third of the calories come from fat) but you may need to use it in a pinch.  If you have time, use this home-made pasta sauce:



  • Whole Wheat macaroni, cooked
  • Lentils, cooked  (boiled for about 20 – 30 minutes)
  • Chopped Onions:  Lightly sautéed
  • Pasta sauce



Cook the ingredients separately, then stir them together.  Serve hot. 


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Home Made Salsa

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  • Store-bought salsa tends to be healthier than pasta sauce because it doesn’t contain oil.  (Typically a third of the calories from store-bought pasta sauce are from oil).
  • Most store-bought salsa does not seem suitable to me as an accompaniment for rice and beans, or potatoes, because it usually comes in the wrong consistency, IMO.  
  • You might find store-bought salsa that is basically just cut-up onions, tomatoes bell peppers, lime & herbs.  That’s the kind you want; they’re at Whole Foods & Moms Organic Market (but with extra salt).
  • So you’ll probably have to make this yourself; it takes a fair amount of chopping, and you can’t really freeze it, but very useful and versatile.   If you have this around you can throw it on rice and beans, or potatoes, for a delicious meal.  Or use it in an ingredient in a “hearty salad.”
  • The lime zest is great in this.  The right kind of zester makes it easy.  If you zest too deeply it will be bitter.

INGREDIENTS:     (quantities are not exact)

  • About 1.5 lb tomatoes, diced & drained (in a strainer) (about 4 -5 medium tomatoes), about 4 cups before being drained
  • ½ cup bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup sweet or purple onion, diced
  • 1 teasp cumin
  • ½ teasp salt    (optional)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice = juice of one lime
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • bunch cilantro or parsley, if cilantro isn't available (or if you don't like it).  


Let the diced tomatoes sit in a strainer and occasionally press them with a large spoon to squeeze out the liquid
            (reserve the liquid to drink later as tomato juice)

Mix with other ingredients


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Pasta with Pesto

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Whole-wheat pasta of your choice, mixed with any or all of the following ingredients:
cooked veggies
chopped purple onion
Optional: Additional chopped walnuts on top for garnish). 


1/2 cup water 
1/2 cup walnuts (1-1/2 ounces) 
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic 
1 bunch fresh basil (30-40 large leaves, or about 2 ounces) 

Optional:  2 teaspoons lemon juice (fresh)
Optional:   chopped parsley, and/or fresh or dried herbs such as "Italian Seasoning." 

In a food processor, blend all Pesto Sauce ingredients until smooth, adding a bit of water as needed to thin. 

Combine however much pesto sauce you want into the pasta mixture and toss.  




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Sweet Potatoes, Apples, Walnuts & Raisins*

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(Modified from www.DrFuhrman.com).

The fruit makes this dish sweet, almost dessert-like.   It is delicious, and very impressive at pot lucks.    


4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely diced 

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup raisins (or 8 medjol dates, pitted & chopped or 12 pitted deglet noor dates, chopped)

2 teasp cinnamon


Steam sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes,

Then add the apples and cook for another few minutes until soft.

Pour potatoes and apples into a large bowl and mix with remaining ingredients.

Then pour the mixture into one or two baking dishes and bake at 350 degrees uncovered for 30 minutes.

Serve hot or cold.

(Note: if too dry for your taste, may mix in water or apple sauce if desired).

(For the sake of simplicity, this recipe was modified from the original by omitting 1/4 teaspoon each of dried ginger and nutmeg, and ¾ cup of apple sauce; these ingredients are optional.  Another modification is raisins since they're more available than dates).

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Buckwheat Pancakes

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Note:  If you don't have buckwheat flour handy (who does?) then you can use the "Oatmeal Waffles" recipe - for waffles or pancakes.  

This buckwheat version is even better.  Adding ingredients directly into the blender saves time.  This is a combination of a vegan buckwheat pancake recipe, with healthy & tasty bananas & oatmeal added. Tastes great without salt.  

1/2 cup dry rolled oats (such as Quaker Oats or other brand)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
One ripe banana
1 teasp aluminum-free baking powder
1 cup non-dairy milk
1-2 teasp safflower oil, or cooking spray, for skillet
optional:   pinch of salt

optional but very good:   1 c fresh blueberries

Combine all ingredients, except the blueberries, directly into the blender and blend.  When finished blending, add the blueberries and pour onto a nonstick skillet that has been prepared with a small amount of oil.  Serve with syrup or jam if desired. 

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Quick Chili*

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Who doesn't like chili?   It's quick.  It's hearty.  It's versatile.  It's a staple.  

After trying and modifying many chili recipes, I tasted this simple recipe made by my brother Jim (without the Optional ingredients).  Jim is a serious self-taught amateur cook, and it was one of the best vegan chili recipes I’d tried.  Some of the Optional Ingredients make it even better IMO, but it's still Great without them. .


  • This makes a large quantity, you'll have plenty for the freezer!
  • Cilantro or parsley is optional.   (Some people love cilantro; others hate it). 
  • An alternative to canned beans is to cook beans in advance and keep them in the freezer (always) in 1.5 cup quantities (= 1 can), which fits nicely in a 2-cup Pyrex container. 
  • This is fabulous without salt, oil, or sugar, but suit yourself. 
  • Brown rice is a natural accompaniment. 
  • I always mix in a heaping pile of chopped dark greens (kale or collards etc.) to the portion being heated for immediate consumption, and cook them for 30 - 60 seconds before serving.   The appearance is not quite as good if you add a large amount of greens so I don't do this for invited guests. But it's a delicious way to get these super-foods into your diet.  ONLY add greens to the portion you're about to consume, and DO NOT store or freeze with the greens - they don't keep.     


2 large onions (or 3 medium) very coarsely chopped into large pieces. 
2 green peppers chopped (or 3)
2 large cans (28-oz each) of diced tomatoes, (OR 3.5 - 4 lbs of fresh tomatoes cut-up  -  or mix and match). 
1 6-oz can of tomato paste
3 cans (15 oz each) kidney beans, drained & rinsed   (1.5 cups of cooked beans = one 15 oz can)
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained & rinsed
3 TBSP chili powder   (4 TBSP also works).
1 Bay leaf
1 Teasp ground cumin  
1 lb of frozen corn kernels.
1/4 - 3/8 teaspoon ground pepper
OPTIONAL:  3 teaspoons garlic powder
OPTIONAL: 1 large  bunch OR at least 1 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro (OR parsley, not quite as amazing)  
OPTIONAL:  Sherry (amazing in chili): 2 fluid ounces = 4 TBSP is good, or a tad more.  (Sherry keeps well un-refrigerated). 
OPTIONAL:  Garnish with chopped walnuts 
OPTIONAL:  about a teaspoon of oil while cooking the onions and peppers to keep them from sticking, if needed. 
(Some people may feel that 1-2 TBSPs of olive oil make it taste better, but it's fabulous anyway and not worth the calories and other oily health issues).  


In a large pot add onions and bell peppers (and 1 teasp oil if using) and cook until starts to soften but retains some crunch.  (Can use any liquid instead of oil but you might have to stir more frequently).    
Add spices, beans, tomatoes (including the liquid).  (but not the corn or cilantro/parsley or sherry, if using). 
(If they're canned whole tomatoes, cut them up a little with a scissors).
Simmer for 20 minutes without over-cooking the veggies.
Add frozen corn kernels and cook for about 10 minutes more or until the corn is cooked.  
IF USING (OPTIONAL), near the very end of cooking stir in cilantro (or parsley) and sherry.    
Remove the bay leaf.
Freezes well. 

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Saucy Glazed Mushrooms

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Suggested by Dr. Dana Simpler.  Originally from Chef AJ

1 red onion- finely diced
2 pounds sliced mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, pressed (more if desired)
Low-sodium Tamari

Pour tamari over garlic and mushrooms and let marinate several hours or overnight.

Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid.

Saute onion in the leftover tamari in a non-stick pain until nicely browned, ~ 10 min., add more tamari a TBSP at a time - if the pan get's dry.

Add drained mushrooms, saute until all the liquid is absorbed and mushrooms have a nice glaze over them.

Delicious over pasta or as a side accompaniment

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Sweet Potato & Apple Home Fries*

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1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary (or more);  Easier if you buy pre-crushed.

2 medium sweet potatoes, diced

1 apple, cored and diced

parchment paper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Trim off the edges so they don't burn. 

If you're dried rosemary is whole, grind with the back of a spoon in a bowl until the pieces are smaller, but not powder.  (Or purchase as pre-crushed rosemary).  

Place potatoes and apples in a mixing bowl.  They should be moist enough so that the rosemary sticks to them (if not, you can toss them with a sprinkle of water).  

Sprinkle with rosemary and mix to coat.  Add more seasoning if desired. 

Transfer potatoes and apples to the cookie sheet, so they don't overlap, if possible. 

Bake for 25 minutes or until fully cooked and crisp.  For added crispness, try broiling for a minute or two, but keep a watchful eye so you don't burn your home fries.

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Burrito Bowl (Mexican Salad)*

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This recipe is used with permission from www.straightupfood.com. You can view the same recipe on that site here (where a recipe for guacamole is also included).

Cathy:  This recipe was inspired by many trips to Whole Foods Market for a burrito bowl when I was too tired to cook. Burrito bowls came onto the scene as more people cut out refined carbs, including tortillas. This is one of my favorite easy meals.
This recipe is very open to interpretation, so have fun with it and make it with all the ingredients and amounts that sound best to you. If you are watching your calories you may leave off the olives and avocado, since they're high in fat.


1 cup dry, short-grain brown rice
2 cups water
6 Romaine lettuce leaves, thinly sliced
1 cup very thinly sliced cabbage
1 can black or pinto beans (or about 1-1/2 cups home-cooked beans)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 of a sweet yellow or red onion, chopped (or two scallions)
1/2 cup black olives, sliced in half (about 20 olives)
1/2 cup cilantro, parsley or basil leaves, chopped
1 cup corn kernels (or kernels from one cob), cooked or raw
1 avocado, diced
2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
salsa (optional, see recipe below)


1. In a pot, bring rice and water to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 50 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes with the lid on. Remove lid and set aside.
2. Using two or more large soup or salad bowls, layer all of the ingredients equally into each bowl and squeeze lime juice over the top. Or in one large salad bowl, toss all ingredients together, including lime juice, then serve into your individual bowls.  May top with salsa if desired (see recipe below). The cooked beans and rice may be used warm or cold.

Preparation: 15 minutes (to chop and assemble)
Cooking time: 50 minutes to cook rice
Makes: 2 large entree servings or 4 salad servings

Cathy's Notes: 

Rice and beans: Try short-grain brown, long-grain brown, or wild rice; really, any type would work. The same goes for beans, however, pinto and black are the most popular varieties for this type of dish.

Dressing: I keep the dressing here very light, just lime juice, because this is such a hearty and flavorful dish. But you may want to add a little prepared mustard and/or brown rice vinegar along with the lime juice. And if you’re using avocado and/or guacamole, you really don’t need anything else besides the lime juice (you could use lemon juice as well).

Other ingredient options: Toast or steam a corn tortilla and chop into small strips or squares and throw in. Shredded carrots, cooked or raw greens or mushrooms, bell peppers, sprouts, chilies, and pumpkin seeds are also good. Leftover veggie burger crumbles are also a great addition.

Joe: Cathy suggests serving with home-made salsa (with recipe), but I thought the salsa was too similar to the burrito bowl itself. 

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Portobello Mushroom (Burgers) with Balsamic Vinegar*

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From Sharon McRae:   We sprinkle garlic powder, onion powder, and ginger over the mushrooms before baking. 


Portobello mushroom caps
vinegar (such as balsamic)
tamari or soy sauce (low sodium ideally) 
garlic cloves. 
black pepper 
(dried herbs if desired:  thyme, etc.)


  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Drizzle the gills with balsamic vinegar, tamari, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder (or cut-up garlic pieces).
  • (Some would recommend brushing with olive oil or sprinkling on salt.  You can try it the first time if you feel you need to, but totally delicious without these less healthy ingredients).  
  • Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and have shrunken slightly.
  • If using tahini (sesame seed paste), before cooking add several small dabs of tahini around the mushroom.  Makes it even more delicious!

SERVE on hamburger buns with onion slices, tomato slices, & condiments.
OR, cut-up and add to a stir-fry, salad, or pasta.   
OR, cut-up and serve as a side dish, alone or mixed with other roasted veggies.    



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Baked Tortilla Chips*

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(Shown with chipotle corn and bean salad)

• Corn or whole wheat tortillas


Preheat oven to 375F.
Cut each tortilla into fourths.
Place on a cookie sheet covered with a Silpat,* parchment paper, or cooking spray **
Lightly spray or hand-pat each chip with water.
Sprinkle with herbs or seasonings, if desired.
Turn chips over and Bake another 8-10 minutes until crisp.

* A Silpat is a non-stick Silicone Baking mat. Nothing sticks to it and you can reuse.
** FYI "cooking spray" is 100% fat although the label says "fat free."   (If using the spray, a non-stick baking pan makes it even less likely that anything will stick).

Official response from not planned
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Pasta, Beans & Veggies*

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This is one of many variations on a classic combination:  pasta (or grains), beans, veggies, and sauce.  It's ultra-fast, literally ready in minutes - IF you planned ahead (as you always should) and kept some of the main ingredients available and ready to go (i.e. cooked pasta and beans in advance).  This is a staple, good for the main dish, very satisfying.  Use whatever ingredients you have. 


  • Caramelized onion (see below), or you can just chop onion into large-ish pieces and stir-fry without oil.  I use a non-stick pan, but it can be easily done in a steel pan, using water or other liquid as needed to prevent onions from sticking.   If you have other vegetables, saute them too, such as bell pepper, broccoli,etc. etc.  mushrooms and celery are terrific additions.   Raw chopped cabbage is excellent, can be added near the end and adds crunch.  If using green leafy vegetables (collards, kale, etc.), add them a minute or less before cooking is finished.
  • Boiled lentils (or other cooked beans). I'm partial to lentils here: they're delicious and cook quick, but any beans or legumes work well.
  • Cooked whole wheat pasta (I'm partial to the macaroni-shape).  A variation could be slices of polenta (corn meal), which comes in a tube.  Alternatively, just serve the dish on a bed of rice instead. 
  • For the "sauce," either cut up fresh tomatoes (such as Roma), or else add some marinara, tomato sauce or salsa.   Or instead you can stir in a small amount of Hoi Sin sauce, or plain old BBQ sauce. 
  • fresh ground pepper to taste.
  • Spices (optional):  This dish is so good that spices are optional. I used tobasco.  "Italian seasoning" is good, or, of course, garlic, etc. etc.   You can save time by using garlic powder.

  • Optional:  fruit of some kind, such as raisins, or you could use cut-up apples, etc.
  • (Optional:  salt to taste;  If your tastebuds have gotten used to the taste of real food, you'll need little or none).
  • (Optional):  Nuts, such as almonds, or others.  I generally only use nuts if the dish needs a lift, or tastes plain without them, and I minimize the quantity in order to avoid the fat content.  Though some authorities believe nuts have health benefits when combined with other food (but not as a snack), especially if you don't have heart disease.  Regardless, they certainly can add to the deliciousness factor of any dish.  This dish is already awesome so they're probably not needed.   


This requires a non-stick pan, onions are not stirred.  (Or you can saute them in without oil in a steel pan, but you'd probably have to stir them).  
Chop onions coursely. 
Add them to a non-stick pan.  (Optionally you may toss them with salt before cooking, which causes them to release some liquid)
Spread them on a non-stick frying pan so that all the onion touches the surface (you may need several batches)
Cook them on medium high heat without oil and without turning, try not to peak too soon.  Cook until they're brown or blackened on one side, ("caremilzed") but still crunchy. 
The caremalized side tastes sweet, but the onion is not overcooked and still crunchy. 
You can add a little water or other liquid to the pan to prevent burning if needed. 



Boil the lentils until done, 15 - 20 minutes.  You can stir-fry (without oil) the other items separately and then combine them.  Or you can cook them in one large skillet, adding the onions and hard veggies first, then others.  About a half-minute before cooking is finished is when you add the green leafies, if using. 

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Bean Enchiladas

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(from Dr. Joel Fuhrman's book, "Super Immunity")

Serves 6


1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup sliced onion

1 cup no-salt added or low-sodium tomato sauce, divided

2 cups cooked pinto or black beans or one (15-ounce) can no-salt-added or low-sodium pinto or black beans, drained

1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

6 corn tortillas


Saute the green pepper and onion in 2 tablespoons of the tomato sauce until tender.  Stir in the remaining tomato sauce, beans, corn, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, cilantro, and cayenne (if using).  Spoon about 1/4 cup of the bean mixture on each tortilla and roll up.  Serve as is or bake for 15 minutes in a 375oF oven.

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Roasted Veggies*

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(Great accompaniment to beans, rice, or beans & rice, etc.)


  • With or without oil.  You can try it with oil the first time to make sure it's delicious enough.  FYI, a half-teaspoon coats a big bowl of cut-up veggies.  Later you can experiment with less or no oil, which is healthier. 
  • Nuts and raisins are calorie-dense but are otherwise healthy and can enhance the taste.  
  • Recommend also cooking with vinegar (optional).  Balsamic or rice vinegar may be preferred because it is a little sweeter than others, but any vinegar is fine.
  • A light-colored vinegar may look better on some light-colored veggies (we use white balsamic). 
  • Cook similar vegetables together.  In my pre-heated oven at 400 degrees, cauliflower takes 30 minutes, squash (like acorn squash) takes 18-20 minutes (don't overcook squash!), potatoes or onions take about 30 minutes, carrots about 20 minutes, zucchini needs less time, etc.   Wait for oven to come to temperature before cooking for predictable cooking times, and record the time for your oven, for future reference.   You need a timer or stopwatch.  Aim for some browning without burning.   You can finish them off under the broiler for extra browning – but watch them like a hawk.   Usually turning is not needed.  
  • These are tastiest if several veggies are combined, or if combined with other ingredients (tomatoes, beans, purple onions, cooked corn, parsley or cilantro, etc.).   
  • Even non-stick baking pans will burn unless you use parchment paper or a reusable silicone making mat (which is easiest).   With either of these, you don't need oil. 
  • For white potatoes:  rosemary, and/or paprika, pepper, maybe seasoned or regular salt).   Can add dried or fresh parsley near the end or after cooking.   Also garlic, either powdered, or minced or with garilic press.
  • Sweet potatoes:  don’t need spices, cinnamon is optional.   Plain roasted whole sweet potatoes can be cut into pieces and mixed with orange pieces and/or blueberries and/or nuts:  fabulous.   Or, for a better visual appearance (if serving to others): mash without skin before adding above ingredients. (Broil the chopped skins and eat them separately).
  • Especially for Brussels sprouts (30 or more minutes at 400 degrees) or other non-starchy vegetables:  fruit (raisins,           blueberries, and/or sliced apples coated- with-lemon-juice, etc.) can be added during or after cooking, and/or a small amount of chopped nuts.
  • Garlic: powdered (or pressed with garlic pressed added after cooking) is good with just about everything.
  • Black pepper, thyme, dill, curry, (maybe oregano?) - are our favorites - good on everything.   
  • Benson’s Table Tasty is the best salt alternative IMO, available by mail order.


  • Veggies of choice
  • vinegar (balsamic is sweeter than most others) 
  • Tamari or soy sauce (low sodium)
  • (OPTIONAL):  SMALL amount of olive oil (if using)
  • Parchment paper or silpat (silicone non-stick, re-usable baking mat); the silpat is quicker to use.
  • Herbs



Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  • Cut-up veggies, separated into those with similar cooking times.
  • In a bowl, toss with vinegar and tamari.  (About ¼ cup of vinegar for about a pound of cut-up Brussels sprouts, for example, is about right, but mostly you just sprinkle some in, amount not critical.
  • AND / OR:  toss with a very small bit of oil, if using (OPTIONAL).
  • Sprinkle with pepper, dried herbs or salt (if using)
  • Preheat oven (to keep track of cooking time) and bake most veggies at 400 degrees for 15 - 30 minutes, checking for doneness.  
  • Optional:  Run under broiler for extra browning. 


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Toasted Hummus Tortillas*

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Inspired by Forks Over Knives (the book);  originally from Elise Murphy - T. Colin Campbell Foundation

The crunch of toasted tortilla complements the hummus perfectly.  The tortilla makes this a comfort food (careful not to over-do it)!   And it's a portable finger food as well: clean, neat, and perfect to bring to a meeting or pot-luck. These freeze well and defrost in seconds in the microwave.  Keep them around and you'll never be caught without something reasonably healthy to eat ever again. 

Here's some background if you care to know:  There was a recipe for this in the book 'Forks Over Knives,' ("Easy Quesadillas") which I thought needed to be simplified & modified it.  It included chick peas, nutritional yeast, and had a southwester flavor.  I made it many times, but was never completely satisfied with the filling.   Meanwhile I discovered some hummus variations that I really loved, and realized it was better, and easier, with just hummus as the filling.  Once again, the KISS principle is confirmed!  (Keep It Simple, Stupid). 


Your favorite home-made hummus    See some variations HERE
whole-wheat tortillas


Spread hummus on a tortilla, and cover it with another tortilla.

Dry-fry the tortilla in a non-stick pan until both sides are brown.  It's OK if they're a little bit blackened: they're crunchier this way.    Remove from pan and cut them into wedges.

Note that additions to the filling like cilantro leaves, chopped raw sweet onion, or salsa, sound like brilliant ideas, but they tend to cause the tortillas to not stick together, or become too watery in the case of salsa.

(As mentioned, these freeze very well, but when defrosted they've lost their crunch, FYI - still great, though, and you should definitely freeze them). 


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Curried Lentils*

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Adapted by Vlad Konstantinov and Dr. Joe, modified from "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD

NOTE:  You can cook this in one of two ways, the One Pot method is preferred.     

(1)  ONE-POT METHOD:  Add lentils to boiling water, cook for 10 minutes, then add the veggies and everything will be perfectly cooked together.   It may end up like a soup depending on how much water you start out with.    (2)  The TWO-POT METHOD: Makes it easier to avoid a soup-like consistency, but more work, and the ingredients don't get to simmer together.  


  • 5 cups water
  • 2 Cups green lentils (= 16 Oz packet).  (We said green because we know how long to cook it;  other colors cook faster, also green looks good with the carrots and tomatoes).  
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 medium, or one very large onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 cup of celery, chopped  (Optional):  
  • 2 cups of carrots, peeled and chopped
  • One large potato (or two medium), cut into generous bite-sized pieces.
  • 3 fresh ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 3 cups chopped), preferably heirloom or Italian if available.  (i.e., tomatoes that taste good).   Or a 24 oz can of tomatoes, without liquid, whole or chopped.  If whole, cut them up with a scissors.   
  • (optional):   4 skinny green chili peppers OR 1 jalapeño  OR 2-3  mild chili peppers, to taste, seeded and chopped, OR  1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or 1 - 2 dashes of Tabasco sauce.  
  • one-half bunch of fresh parsley (optional)
  • 2.5 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste. 
  • Chopped nuts for optional garnish at end.
  • Optional salt to taste.  



    • Chop all veggies in advance, so they can be added at the right time.
    • Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a large covered pot.   (At any time add a little more hot water if needed). 
    • Add lentils and boil for exactly 10 minutes, then add in the chopped carrots, potatoes and onion (NOT tomatoes).   
    • At the same time, add the 3 cloves of chopped garlic,  the one chopped jalapeno (or chili powder), the 2.5 teasp curry powder, and fresh ground pepper.     
    • (At any time add a little extra hot water if needed, but too much will result in soup.  Cook Covered; the steam helps to cook the veggies which are not fully  submerged).   
    • Continue boiling until lentils and veggies are done;  potatoes should be done but not too soft.  
    • Just before serving, stir in the fresh chopped tomatoes and parsley.   The tomatoes should remain raw.  If added too early they tend to disappear.  Tasty heirloom or other good-tasting tomatoes are excellent this way; otherwise use canned.  
    • If using salt, add just before serving, or let diners add their own salt.  (Freeze any unused portion without salt).    
    • Garnish with chopped nuts or more raw parsley, if using.  


    • Boil lentils until done, drain off all the liquid, reserving some in case it needs to be re-added. 
    • Boil the potato pieces and carrot pieces in a pan separate from the lentils, until done, then combine with lentils. 
    • Caramelize onions and celery in a separate non-stick pan without oil (i.e. brown on one side without stirring), then add to the lentils. 
    • Add all the remaining ingredients, stir, and correct the seasonings.  


Either method:  Other optional ingredients added near the end of cooking:   cilantro, chopped zucchini, green peppers, greens, etc!   If using greens, add them about a minute before serving, and add them only to the portion that will be consumed.  (Don't add greens to any portion that will be frozen).   

Serve hot or cold, with pasta or rice




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Sweet and Sour Vegetables*

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Dr. Joe:   The 6-oz. cans of pineapple and low-sodium V-8 juice are readily available in six-packs, and make this dish quick and easy. 
You can go with pretty large pieces of the veggies, which cuts down on chopping time.
If you don't have pineapple chunks, you could double the pineapple juice to add extra sweetness.
With the optional peanuts, you could call it "Kung Pao Vegetables."   Either way, your guests will want the recipe!

Modified from http://drmcdougall.com/newsletter/recipeindex.html


6 oz can of unsweetened pineapple juice
6 oz can of low-salt vegetable juice (V-8) or tomato juice
1 TBSP low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 teasp lemon juice
1 TBSP cornstarch


optional: 1/4 - 1/2 cup of dry roasted peanuts  (or other nuts; peanuts seem perfect for this somehow; the dry roasted ones are especially crunchy & satisfying).

Any combination of:   green or red bell peppers, carrots, onions (preferably sweet or vidalia), mushrooms, celery, pineapple chunks, approx 8 oz can of water chestnuts (cut up).   About 4 - 5 cups total of cut-up veggies is about right.  All of the veggies are cut into medium to large pieces.

(The water chestnuts and pineapple chunks are especially tasty in this dish, but still optional).     

Brown rice.


Combine the Sauce Ingredients in a saucepan.  (Before adding the cornstarch, mix it in a small amount of the liquid first to help it dissolve).   bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened (may take 20 minutes or so).  

Meanwhile cut up the veggies into medium-sized pieces.

When the sauce is about ready, lightly saute vegetables VERY BRIEFLY without oil in a non-stick pan on medium high, or high, heat.  You can add a bit of water to avoid sticking but this usually isn't necessary.   If you let them cook awhile without stirring, they become nicely blackened.  Don't over-cook.  

Add the veggies to the saucepan with the thickened sauce.  

Salt is optional;  delicious without salt.

If using peanuts, add them just before serving or as a garnish.  (The peanuts are especially delicious in this dish).

Serve with or over hot brown rice.

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Spaghetti Sauce with or without "meat"balls*

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The marinara sauce is modified from Lowfatveganchef.com

The "meat"balls are made from Gimme Lean (brand) 'Ground Beef Style Veggie Protein'

Editor:    "We were surprised to learn that about a third of the calories in store-bought spaghetti sauce come from fat, and loaded with salt.  Salsa is usually fat-free.  We liked this recipe better than "Simple Marinara Sauce" from PCRM's  'The Cancer Project,' maybe because of the tomato paste. 

The "meat"balls are primarily TVP:  textured vegetable protein, i.e. soy protein.  It is a processed food, not as healthy as whole foods, but head and shoulders healthier than ground beef!  Other brands tend to have about one third of calories from fat, with no significant difference in taste, so a brand like 'Gimme Lean' is preferable.  Let us know if you find another low- or no-fat brand that you like!


1  large onion, diced
5  cloves of garlic, minced
2  24-oz cans of crushed tomatoes, (or three 15-oz cans, which is not quite as much, but also works). 
    (If you use fresh, whole or diced tomatoes you would want to put the sauce in a blender, or use an immersion blender which is easier). 
1  6 oz. can tomato paste
1  Tbsp sugar or sweetener, or to taste
2  tsp dried oregano
3  tsp dried basil
OPTIONAL:  1 or 2 TBSP of white or red wine (generally you'll omit this because it isn't necessary, and not worth the trouble of finding some left-over wine).

Optional "Meat"balls:  'Gimme Lean' Ground Beef Style Veggie Protein (pictured below)
Optional BBQ sauce and maybe hot sauce for the meatballs.


In a large skillet or pot, add the onions and sauté for several minutes until almost translucent.  (If it's a regular pan, i.e. not 'non-stick,' you'll need a little liquid with onions).  Add the garlic and sauté another minute or so. Add the tomatoes and seasonings and simmer for 10 more minutes or so.   The wine is completely optional (we don't usually use it), but if you like you may mix in 1 or 2 TBSP of white or red wine.    

If you're using "meat"balls, the Gimme Lean instructions say to form balls about 1/4," and brown in a pan with a bit of oil.  (Small meatballs tend to absorb the sauce & flavors better than larger ones).   If you want to boost their flavor, toss them with a little Barb-B-Q sauce, then broil them in the oven on aluminum foil, turning several times to get them brown.  You can't fry them in a pan with BBQ sauce which tends to ruin your pan.  Hot-sauce also boosts the flavor, if you like it:  mix some Tobasco into the BBQ sauce before applying it to the balls. 

Serve with pasta

Another variation, whenever you're having pasta is "pasta primavera!"  In other words, throw in a bunch of veggies: steamed or dry-fried.


   Without "meat"balls                                              These "meat"balls are fat-free & taste great.

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Quick and Fancy Brown Rice*

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Cook 1 cup brown rice by your favorite method
To the cooked rice, add any combination of whatever you have around.

Some ideas:

¼ cup cooked frozen peas
¼ cup cut-up & pan-roasted almonds
¼ cup raisins or dried currents
2 bunches of *very lightly* sautéed scallions
Some mild raw onion, chopped
A handful of raw chopped cabbage
Some beans (yum) - if canned: drained & rinsed
etc. etc. etc.  (just a few of these ingredients will be fancy enough).

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Sweet Potatoes with Fruit Cut-up or Mashed**

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  • Sweet potatoes are delicious plain, but even better with fruit.   This is a staple for me.  
  • Mashed sweet potatoes (without skins) are pictured above, but it's quicker just to cut them up, with the skins.
  • The visual appearance of cut-up sweets isn't terrific, so the mashed version is good if you're serving it to others.    
  • The only reason to remove the skins is for visual appearance.  If you do, cut them into strips and broil them until they're a little crunchy, they're delicious.  
  • Everyone should keep cooked sweet potatoes in the fridge at all times, so they’re ready-to go.
  • Cut-up oranges seem to be the best fruit for this by far for some reason.  Blueberries are also great. Apples and other fruits work also. .  
  • This is a hearty, filling, satisfying and 100% healthy meal that you can have anytime: breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • You absolutely don’t need butter or sweetener.  If you think you need a sweetener, get over it and add more fruit.  
  • Sweet potatoes taste a little better baked, but also delicious micro-waved or boiled.
    At 400 calories per pound, and with a very high satiety index, potatoes are a health food that helps people lose weight.  One of Chef A.J.s top three tips for ultimate weight loss is to "Eat Potatoes!"  ("You've been depriving yourself for far too long!")
  • Most (but not all) plant-based health authorities encourage consumption of white potatoes, but they all endorse sweet potatoes, which are even healthier.  



  • Cooked sweet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Fruit, such as cut-up oranges, blueberries, etc. etc.


  • Nuts and/or raisins make this fancier and even more delicious.
  • A dash of brandy is delicious with this (in no way healthy, mostly sugar)
  • Maybe cinnamon


Combine in a bowl!      See Below!




Here are the broiled, crunchy skins (ready to eat, or to mix back in with the mashed sweet potatoes)





And here are the sweets with the crunchy skins!




 Here are mashed sweets with mango & walnuts.  You can't see the brandy, but believe me, it's there.





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Potato and Chickpea Curry*

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from PCRM: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Makes 10 1-cup servings  

  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (or 1.5 teasp powder)
  • 2 lbs potatoes (about 5 medium-small) cut up into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 28-oz ounce can crushed or whole tomatoes (we prefer whole)
  • 2 15-ounce can chickpeas, undrained
  • 1 & ¼  teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 & ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • Add 1 – 2 sauteed onion

Note that all this is a lot of food and doesn't easily fit into a large frying pan, so cook items separately, i.e. cook the onions, remove from pan, then the potatoes.   The pre-cooked chickpeas don't need much cooking. 

Saute onions and cumin in a large pan – in water or wine.  Cook over medium high heat until onions are soft. 
Remove and set aside.
Scrub potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.  Dry-fry these (with some liquid if necessary).  
When potatoes are partially, or mostly, cooked, add all  other ingredients.  However, you may want to delay, until later, adding the onions (which were already cooked) so as not to overcook them.   Simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender.

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