Category Archives: vegetarian

Eggplant Apple & Kale Salad Recipe

While I spent hours on end being a yogi last weekend, he went to town in the kitchen. We had grabbed groceries together on Sunday morning, and by 6pm half of the veggies had been chopped and/or roasted to perfection. And in a new twist, so had one of the fruits.

Aside from the occasional banana-soft-serve treat, or summer-grilled peach, we rarely consume fruit any way but raw. If you’re more adventurous, you’ll already know this: heat the sugars out of any fruit and you’ll never again question that its nature’s candy. Apples included.

All of that to say, that to get this salad party started you do this:

Heat the oven to 350*.
– Chop 2 medium apples (of your choice) and 1/2 purple onion
– Toss with cinnamon on a baking sheet.
-Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on how tiny those chopped pieces are – less if they’re smaller, more if they’re big)

– Slice 1 eggplant into discs (about 1” thick)
– Drizzle with oil, sea salt & cumin (and/or cayenne pepper)
– Roast for 20-30 minutes, until softened

Both of these could be used for a lot of things, but my first thought was my lunch salad the next day. And sautéed kale, which seems to pair well with pretty much anything.

eggplant apple salad

Eggplant Apple & Kale Salad

~2/3 cup Chilled roasted apple-onion mix (see above)
2 roasted eggplant discs (reheated)
2 cups kale, sautéed in EVOO
1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
(….if you’re like me: salt to taste.)

Because the veggies were roasted with seasonings, and the kale was shining in all of its oil-sauté glory, this needed no dressing or extras. And since everything was already roasted and ready, this came together in approximately 5 minutes.

Bon appetit!

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Filed under food, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

{Paleo} Vegan Eggplant Pizzas

In my continued quest to befriend the eggplant, we went down a road that never fails a single taste-bud test: the pizza. We don’t cook according to any labels, but this recipe happens to be gluten-free, vegan- and Paleo-friendly.

Yes, even a  bacon-loving, 1/4-a-cow-in-the-freezer* dude eats “vegan” meals every once in a while. Veggies hold a high power in this house!

The trick with using an eggplant “crust” is this vegetable’s affinity for moisture. To avoid total mush, start by slicing your eggplant, placing the rounds (~1 inch thick) on a paper towel and salting. Let this sit for about 20-30 minutes. If you’re impatient and cook on a time budget like me, even 10-15 minutes will help.

Then, turn your oven on and hop to it!

Vegan Eggplant Pizzas

1 medium eggplant, sliced (1-inch thick rounds)
~3 Tbsp olive oil

Vegetables of choice!
We went with sautéed yellow squash and red onions.

1 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I usually go with Muir Glen)
Salt/Pepper, Thyme, Oregano – to taste
2 leaves fresh basil
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375*. Drizzle olive oil over the eggplant slices; roast for 15 minutes. During this time, prep and/or sauté your vegetables (if you like them cooked first – skip this step if you want them crispy). Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor, or high-power blender, and blend/pulse until smooth.

Remove the eggplant slices and top with sauce + veggies. Cook for another 8-10 minutes. 

2014-09-04 18.36.20

As you can see, we got a bit distracted by the guac-master’s other creation of the night. So, that also happened.


As with any pizza, the options are endless and totally up to the season’s harvest, your taste and/or dietary preferences. But as mentioned above, this was a meat-free dinner for the meat-lover in our house, and I heard no complaints! You could even cut these into fourths and make them a party-pleasing appetizer. Either way, the eggplant wins, yet again.

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Filed under dinners, gluten free, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

Strawberry Spring Salad

A week ago I was running with ear warmers, gloves & my fleece-lined lululemon pants (i.e. the best piece of running gear I’ve ever purchased. Hands down.). This morning, Kate & I headed out at 6 am in shorts & tees, taking pictures like this:

Cherry Blossoms Jefferson 1


Spring has arrived! This means a lot of things – my favorite season is finally here, for one – and the grocery store shelves are reflecting the shift. Thanks to our CSA last year, I know all too well that strawberries must be purchased in season or not at all. Once you taste them fresh off the vine, first thing in the morning at the office, you’ll never go back.

Before this week’s 90* days hit, I hoped I could passive aggressively force spring into action by taking advantage of a fruit sale at TJ’s. On sale? Organic? In April?! PLEASE TASTE GOOD & bring warm weather with you.

Spring strawberry salad 1

If you bring a tasty salad to the menu, too, that’d be great.

Strawberry Spring Salad
Makes 2 servings

5 medium strawberries, sliced & chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 cucumber, halved & sliced
1/2 avocado, chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Salt/pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette
2-4 cups organic mixed greens
Optional: chickpeas (or lean protein of choice ), squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Grab a fork, sit on a deck/porch, in a park or right near a window as the sun shines in, and enjoy!


Filed under DC, lunches, recipes, vegetarian

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

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