Category Archives: Meatless Monday

Vegan Almondmilk Broccoli & Sage Risotto

It’s been a while since we’ve sat down to have dinner together. Grab a fork, this is one of my favorites…

The first time I tasted risotto it was homemade; Denver lulu-friend/chef Whitney & I would have weekly cook-at-home dinner parties, and her kitchen skills weren’t to be messed with. A foodie at heart, this girl makes a mean risotto – dry white wine, authentic parmesan n’ all.

Fast forward two years: (mostly) giving up dairy might mean I don’t enjoy the salty taste of parmesan (nearly as often) these days, but it doesn’t mean recipes can’t be altered to create veg-friendly versions of a few favorites. Once I realized that quite a few dairy-free eaters enjoy homemade risotto, the experiments had to commence.

Risotto pairs well with any combination of vegetables – peppers, edamame, broccoli and mushrooms tend to be my favorite add-ins. This specific version balances seasonal butternut squash and chopped broccoli with fresh herbs and Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Originalin place of heavy cream, saving a lot of calories and swapping in much healthier fat. (If you pick the almond milk over skim milk, you’re saving 30 calories! And lactose, too.)

And with this version? We’re clearing the bowls of every last bite.

Heather Calcote Vegan Sage & Broccoli Risotto

Vegan Sage Broccoli & Squash Risotto
Makes ~4 servings

1 cup Arborio rice
1 ¼ cup
Silk Pure Almond Unsweetened Original
½ cup light coconut milk
1 ½ cup water
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1 cup butternut squash, peeled & chopped
2 tbsp green onion, chopped
Salt/Pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary
4-5 fresh sage leaves, chopped

In a deep sauté pan, heat oil over medium. Add squash, broccoli and green onion, sautéing for 4-5 minutes (until softened). Season with salt and pepper to taste (approx. ¼ tsp of each). Add rice and toss for one minute. In a separate bowl, whisk liquids with herbs. Add one cup of liquid mixture to rice and vegetables, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and continue mixing liquid in ½ cup at a time as it absorbs; stir frequently. Once all liquid is added (total cook time: 20-25 minutes), serve warm over a bowl of greens or as a side.

Silk2 010

Per Serving:
Calories: 245 | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: <1.0g
Carbs: 44g | Fiber: 5g | Protein: 4g
Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 150mg

If you compared this to a classic risotto, you’re looking at a 500+ calories per serving vs. 245, and upwards of 13g of saturated fat vs. less than 1g. This vegan-friendly option has a similar texture and better flavor, in my opinion, while actually providing the nutrients of a “side” vs. an entrée. Bring this to your next potluck and nobody will be wondering where the butter is.

The true taste test: I cooked this for our meat-lovin’ friends and it got two-thumbs up. Success!

This recipe post is part of a sponsored campaign with Silk and FitFluential, LLC. All opinions are my own.


Filed under dinners, food, lunches, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian

Sautéed Sesame Brussels Sprouts

I wasn’t 100% sure where to put my feeling on Brussels sprouts, after a frozen bag-gone-bad really didn’t do them any favors. Fresh is always best, but even then the smell of those things cooking can knock anyone out of a small apartment kitchen quicker than rotten garbage disposal contents or too-many-days-old trash (in my opinion…).

(Did you know they were spelled Brussels sprouts? That extra “s” is tricky.)

raw brussels sprouts stalk

Don’t be too intimidated by this stalk – the little sprouts are easy to pop/chop off and taste much better off of this than straight from a plastic bag!


Did you know…

-One serving = 6 sprouts, 45 calories & 90% of recommended daily Vitamin C intake.
-They’ve been shown to have cholesterol-lowering benefits.
-Due to their high concentration of “glucosinolates”, they’re a top-ranked cancer-fighting food.
-One cup of Brussels sprouts provides almost 200% of the recommended daily Vitamin K intake.


Luckily they don’t taste like they smell – nature has a few tricks up  its sleeve!

brussels sprouts 1

In search of a new, creative way to get these on the dinner plate I found some inspiration from Emily (Daily Garnish). It’s hard to screw up vegetables with an Asian flare! But, we didn’t have rice vinegar or liquid aminos, so I improvised…

Sautéed Sesame Brussels Sprouts

Olive oil
15-20 Brussels sprouts*, halved
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Seasonings: garlic powder, salt/pepper

*Remove from stalk and rinse well, if applicable.

Heat 0.5-1 tbsp. of olive oil in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add sprouts, cooking and stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Whisk apple cider vinegar, sesame oil & seasonings in a small bowl. Combine with sprouts and stir until combined. The heat will cook off some of the sauce, but also let the flavors soak into the sprouts.

We enjoyed these with a side of baked sweet potato “fries” & mashed cauliflower. A comfy, satisfying & colorful dinner plate (and low-light iPhone capture)…

brussels sprouts dinner


Are you a sprouts lover?
If not, would you try this version? If so, what’s your go-to cooking method?


Filed under dinners, food, Meatless Monday, Nutrition, recipes

Slow-Cooker Recipes: Spiced Red Lentil Soup

Coming off of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend left us both craving a warm bowl of vegetables and a night watching Christmas movies (although, when does that not sound like a good time?). It’s cooled off a little bit in the District, leaving me with reason to finally bust out the slow-cooker and test its power.

Crockpot DOTR

If you’re like me and have little to no clue what to do with these, the following links are immensely helpful:

7 Easy Slow-Cooker Recipes Fitness
Healthy Crock-pot & Slow-cooker Recipes & TipsEatingWell

(Look towards the bottom for more specific recipes.)
Healthy Slow-Cooker Recipes Pinterest Board (jackpot!)
Vegetarian Slow-Cooker RecipesAllRecipes
Vegan & Vegetarian Slow-Cooker RecipesSavvy Vegetarian

I selected something that involved red lentils and other ingredients that we happened to have on-hand. With a few modifications, this was our first slow-cooker success!

Spiced Red Lentil Soup
Makes ~4 servings

1.5 cups dry red lentils
3 cups organic vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1 can (15 oz.) organic fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 medium carrots, peeled & chopped
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 tbsp. green onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. oil
Seasonings to taste: salt/pepper, cumin, chili powder, oregano
Optional add-ins: chickpeas, black beans, green chili, celery, corn.

In a sauté pan, heat oil over medium. Add garlic, carrots and onion, cooking until all are softened. Transfer to slow-cooker and combine with all remaining ingredients.

Cook on “high” for 4 hours…and voila! That’s it. Grab a bowl & spoon!

Spiced red lentil crockpot chili


Slow-cooker fans – what are your go-to recipes? I’m still slightly terrified of leaving this on for the whole day, but it makes a great weekend dinner that provides lunch leftovers! I ate this the next day with a handful of kale thrown into the mix.


Filed under dinners, lunches, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian

Gluten-Free, Vegan Zucchini Fritters

One goal of the this week was to try new recipes; summer hours mean later dinners and more time spent out enjoying the season. Those “late” dinners are usually quick ones –  just-in from riding, running, yoga-ing, walking, etc and want something five minutes ago! And by “quick”, I mean routine and uncreative.

Pinterest to the rescue! I don’t log on often, because when I do the next hour is totally gone – sucked quickly into cyberspace to be divided among “Food & Drink”, “Women’s Apparel” and “Travel”.  I have a board full of recipes for the Veg Life, few of which I’ve ever actually made.

Thanks to a tip from weekend visitors – one board for recipes “to make”, one board for recipes we have made (transfer pins), to keep it all straight! – I used my Veg life pins to inspire this week’s grocery cart.

First up, Zucchini Fritters! This made the cut solely because I have a large, fresh-from-the-(Good Life) farm zucchini in the fridge.

Zucchini Fritters – Vegan & Gluten-Free*
Recipe adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

2 zucchinis, coarsely grated (I had one large, one small)
1 medium white potato, coarsely grated
1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup Quinoa flour**
Salt to taste
1 tsp dried rosemary (or herb of choice)
1 tsp dried thyme (or herb of choice)
1.5 Tbsp olive oil, divided

*Currently out of farm eggs, which I didn’t realize until mixing these together. This egg-free version is vegan-friendly.
**Could substitute any other flour (whole-wheat, oat, etc.).

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl – reserve 1 Tbsp oil for “frying”.

Zucchini fritters cookingHeat remaining oil over medium in a deep sauté pan. Form mixture into “patties” – this is a loose term, as you’ll notice these are very moist and don’t seem to stick initially. Just form those patties and trust the veggies.

Cook on each side for 4-5 minutes, until browned and sticking. Just like a pancake, you’ll know when to “flip” because it will actually do so (vs. crumbling into tiny zucchini+potato pieces).

I could do three fritters at a time; this batch made a total of ~12.  One serving is 2-3, depending on how big you make them.

Zucchini fritters 2

Serving suggestions: atop quinoa (a la us) or pasta, or with tzatziki dipping sauce (great appetizer option!). If you have something else in mind, go with that.

Either way, enjoy this simple veg-filled dinner!


Filed under dinners, Meatless Monday, recipes, vegetarian