4th of July Orzo Salad

Another 4th of July is upon us! One of my favorite ways to stay “cause” over the picnics, BBQ’s and firework parties is to make and take an Orzo Salad which everyone will taste, love and…not even miss the rancid, fatty oil. You will have your starch (satiety) and probably only need a green salad to be content, social and NOT “effect”!

It is a small labor of love.

Enjoy the day of freedom!





1 pkg. orzo (gluten free is great, whole grain is great) cooked
1 cup thawed corn or 2 fresh ears
1 cup frozen edamame (steamed for 8 min. and cooled)
1 small red onion diced (1/2 cup)
1/2 red bell (or yellow or orange) diced (1/2 cup)
1/2 carrot shredded (optional)



4 T Tamari sauce
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 T Dijon mustard
1/2 cup water
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 t oregano
1 t basil
1 T parsley
1 T chives
1 green onion (garnish)
1 T salt (or to taste)
1 t sugar
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Wisk together



Cook pasta according to package, RINSE in cold water, place veggies, pasta, half spice/half sauce mix in a bowl, mix then cover and place in fridge for 1 hour.


NOTE: Pasta will drink in ALL the flavours of the veggies, and seasoned sauce.


After pasta is completely cooled in the fridge for one hour (at least) add the rest of the sauce/spice mix to the pasta and gently toss.

Adjust flavours.

If for some reason the sauce has soaked up even more, make another batch of sauce. You can always use excess on a green salad.

NOTE: All pasta is made differently. You’re adding water into something that HAD water then was dried, so the amount of water or fluid needed will change. ALSO, realize you aren’t using OIL, which is fat, rancid and gross. So you may need more vinegar, etc. don’t worry about it, the taste will make you not even get the idea that there’s no oil.

The ORZO measurements are for typically 12 oz. If you actually find a 16 oz., well you’ve got the gold, but if 8 oz. get 2 packages and just measure a 1/2 cup more of the second package. You can always adjust the seasonings or double your sauce.

Garnish with green onion, more parsley, a dash of oregano and basil!




It may be a tad early to start thinking about recipe picks for Super Bowl Sunday, but I don’t see anything wrong with some preparedness.

I recall hosting my first “meatless”, whole food, plant based, vegan super bowl party. I was nervous and hoping every dish I decided on and prepared would be perfect and felt there was no room for error. I remember being very articulate in what I decided on for this manly of all manly days!

Lentil Sloppy Joe sliders was my first pick. Sure husband and my son helped with this, as the first time they tried it, they were astonished by its greatness! Seriously, they were. (Recipe below)

Another dish I decided on was vegan queso dip. This is a family favorite almost weekly in the summertime with all the fresh tomatoes, peppers and onions the earth provides. Some canned chipotles in adobe sauce aid in my no queso sauce. (Recipe below)

Other ideas:
– Baked potato bar and toppings
– Baked fries with a variety of dips or sauces
– White bean buffalo nuggets (see my recipe for white bean buffalo burgers) or they can be made into slider size
– Vegan pizzas, using authentic pita bread, smoked tomato basil hummus or caramelized onion hummus for the “sauce”

Cheers to Super Bowl LI !!!


2 cups red lentils + 4 cups water
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 carrot, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
6 Tbsp. brown sugar
Salt to taste
Dash of cayenne
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar (balsamic)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
10 kaiser rolls, split and toasted or slider whole wheat 15-20 or sliders


Place all ingredients in 3-4 quart crockpot with remaining ingredients except for vinegar, mustard, and kaiser rolls. Cover and cook for 2 hours on high, 5-6 hours on low until thickened and the lentils are tender.

Note: If there’s still too much liquid tilt the lid and put crockpot on high until better thickened (about a half hour). I’ve cut back on the water for the sloppy joes as we do not want a lentil “soup”.

If lentils aren’t done and getting too dry add a splash of water and mix up and keep on low another 15 to 30 min.

Stir in vinegar and mustard just before serving. Make sandwiches using toasted buns.

Another nice twist to these is making them Buffalo style sloppy joes. In this case add in 2-4 Tablespoons of Frank’s red hot!



No Queso Sauce

1 cup raw cashews or cashew pieces
2- chipotle peppers in adobe sauce
1-2 tbsp. adobe sauce
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
salt to taste
5 cups homemade salsa (*see recipe below)

Soak the cashews in boiling water enough to cover for at least a half hour.   Drain and reserve water, and toss the cashews, salt, adobe sauce and peppers in a blender and add some water and blend until smooth adding more water but making sure it’s nice and thick.  Place in a bowl with the salsa and microwave in 30 second intervals.  Stir in between intervals and serve hot with low fat baked corn tortillas.
Note: You can use more or less adobe and peppers to you liking.  It gives the recipe a nice smokey flavour so indulge!



Salsa/pico Ingredients:
1 small onion quartered
8 jalapenos quartered
6-8 tomatoes
juice of half a lime
salt to taste
Quarter the onion and place in the blender.  Quarter the jalapenos and place in blender. Place as many seeds as you wish for heat.  I use a lot.  You can add the lime juice now. Chop up in blender (or food processor).  Remove and put into a bowl large enough to hold the tomatoes.  Core and quarter the tomatoes, add salt and place in blender and chop.  Add this to the salsa and taste to adjust any salt, lime juice or more seeds for heat.



Longing for Spring Angel Hair Pasta

Several days ago I decided to post this picture on Instagram and Facebook as the creation was so incredibly delicious. It is a pasta dish which involves MACERATED tomatoes.

It received such an overwhelming amount of “likes”, that I just had to make this my first BLOG post of 2017! This is a very light spring dish that, yes, I was craving in 10 degree weather. But I had a few containers of Campari tomatoes around that I wanted to use and this was going to be the perfect dish for them. Grape or cherry tomatoes work well also.

Macerate is a term used for soaking vegetables or fruit to soften them or sort of marinating them, if you will, in order to release the vegetable’s natural juices and sweetness.

Note that this technique typically calls for the use of olive oil. I was first introduced to this recipe about 8 years ago by Ina Garten, who uses a 1/2 cup of oil. Given the fact I don’t use oil anymore for cooking or ingesting, I had to come up with another solution.

I figured lemons wouldn’t work due to the acidity against the tomatoes. I toyed with the idea of maybe using balsamic vinegar but, for me, it would have too much acid to combine with the tomatoes for so many hours. And I didn’t want the tomatoes completely broken down for this dish as there’s no “cooking” of the sauce.

Finally, I decided on a cup of veg broth that is oil free. Eureka! I sliced the tomatoes in half, tipped in 6 cloves minced garlic, 15 rolled and sliced basil leaves, crushed reds, salt and black pepper. I covered the dish with plastic wrap for about 4 hours.

I then cooked up some gluten free angel hair, drained it and tossed the sauce all together. I added in more salt to taste and some homemade vegan parmesan. You can add more basil if desired.

The result…NO LEFTOVERS! The freshness of the tomatoes and the basil will get you longing for Spring, yet warming you in these cold winter days. Note that whole grain angel hair works great and if you can find capellini, well…it makes it even better!

Enjoy this HOW TO recipe (below) and message any feedback and success that YOU had with this recipe.

1 lb. cooked angel hair pasta
24 Campari tomatoes, halved
1 cup veggie broth (oil free)
15-20 leaves fresh basil
6 cloves fresh minced garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl a cover with plastic wrap for 4 hours on counter top. After 4 hours cook the angel hair, drain, reserving a cup of water. Toss the tomato mixture into the pasta and serve with vegan parmesan and a few more leaves of basil.  If too dry, add some pasta water. Plain toasted whole grain bread gones well with this dish or even just a side salad. Great for meatless Monday’s or non-plant based friends or family.