Thai Carrot + Sweet Potato Soup
Thai Carrot + Sweet Potato Soup (vegan)


1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 sweet onions, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoons red curry paste

4 cups veggie broth

1/4 cup raw almond butter

3 cups diced + peeled carrots

3 cups diced + peeled sweet potatoes

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt + pepper to taste

optional toppings:

lime juice

chopped cilantro

roasted tamari almonds


1) In a large pot, melt the coconut oil over medium heat.

2) Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and saute for 5 to 6 minutes, until the onion is translucent.

3) Stir in the curry paste.

4) In a small bowl, whisk together some of the broth with the almond butter until smooth. Add the mixture to the pot, along with the remaining broth, carrots, sweet potatoes, salt and cayenne. Stir until combined.

5) Bring the soup to a low boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender.

6) Blend with an immersion blender right in the pot. Top with optional toppings. Enjoy!

Recipe from Oh She Glows

Mains, SoupsKristen CarliComment
Roasted Tamari Almonds
Roasted Tamari Almonds


1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped

1 tablespoon tamari, or coconut aminos, or soy sauce


1) Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In a medium bowl, toss the almonds with the tamari until the almonds are completely covered. Spread the almonds on the prepared baking sheet in an even layer.

3) Roast the almonds for 9 -12 minutes.

4) Let cool completely on the pan. The almonds will harden as they cool. Using a spoon, scrape the almonds off the parchment paper and enjoy! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks.

Recipe from Oh She Glows

SnacksKristen CarliComment
Chickpea Nuggets
Chickpea Nuggets (vegan)


2 cans of chickpeas

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup panko

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

salt + pepper


1) Preheat the oven to 375F.

2) Place the panko on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and place parchment paper on the baking sheet.

3) Pulse the oats in a food processor until a fine flour is formed. Transfer to a bowl.

4) Drain the chickpeas, reserving the liquid. Pulse chickpeas and spices in food processor until crumbly.

5) Whisk 1/2 cup of the chickpea liquid in a small bowl until a foamy liquid forms. Add the foamy liquid and 1 cup of oat flour into food processor. Pulse until combined.

6) Add a few pinches of salt to the toasted panko.

7) Form roughly 24 nuggets out of dough. Coat in the toasted panko/ salt mixture and place on parchment paper covered baking sheet.

8) Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy. Serve warm with Sir Kensington’s ranch + ketchup.

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

Mains, SnacksKristen CarliComment
Pasta with Spinach, Mushrooms, + Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce

Another day, another pasta dish! I can blame it on my Italian roots, but let's be honest, pasta is one of the easiest meals to improvise. The noodles are a blank canvas that you can color with the veggies of your choosing. In this dish, I made a creamy sauce using coconut yogurt, keeping it plant based but delicious with a splash of some lemon juice to brighten it up!

Pasta with Spinach, Mushrooms, + Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce (vegan)
Pasta with Spinach, Mushrooms, + Creamy Lemon Garlic Sauce (vegan)


1/2 pound of pasta (whole wheat, lentil, gluten-free, etc)

1/2 red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

8 oz sliced mushrooms

6 oz unsweetened coconut yogurt (I like sodelicious)

3 big handfuls of spinach

juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt + pepper, to taste


1) Boil large pot of water. Add pasta and stir. Continue to cook until al dente.

2) In a large saute pan, add extra virgin olive oil, red onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. Allow to cook until onions are translucent.

3) Add mushrooms. Stir frequently. Cook for additional 5 minutes or until mushrooms have reduced in size and begin to brown.

4) Add the coconut yogurt, lemon juice, and spinach. Stir to wilt spinach and create creamy sauce, about 2 minutes.

5) Drain pasta and add to sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Pasta, MainsKristen CarliComment
Tater Tot Casserole

I’ve never met a potato I didn’t like! When I stumbled upon this vegan TATER TOT CASSEROLE recipe by The Colorful Kitchen, I knew I had to try it. First of all, your girl loves a simple meal. And this one just uses frozen veggies, frozen tater tots, and vegan cheese. easy peasy + budget-friendly. It’s not an everyday meal, but it’s just the dish you need to lift your spirits and warm your soul!

Vegan Tater Tot Casserole
Vegan Tater Tot Casserole
Vegan Tater Tot Casserole


2 tablespoons vegan butter (We love Miyoko’s!)

24 oz frozen veggies

24 oz frozen tater tots

1 cup vegan shredded cheese (I used So Delicious!)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

salt + pepper


1) Heat the vegan butter in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the frozen veggies. Season with garlic powder and plenty of salt and pepper. Cook until warmed through.

2) Preheat the oven to 425F, or the temperature listed on the tater tots packaging.

3) Grease a 9x13 casserole dish. Add the cooked veggies.

4) On top of the veggies, add the tater tots, covering the entire surface.

5) Cook for 25 minutes, or the time listed on the tater tots packaging.

6) Remove from oven, add the shredded cheese on top of the casserole and return to oven for 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Colorful Kitchen

MainsKristen CarliComment
Garlic Cauliflower Mash + Coconut Mushroom Gravy

The holidays can be hard for the plant-based folks of the world. It can be hard to go to the numerous holiday parties and Thanksgiving dinners knowing that most people don’t share your food philosophy. This year, I want you to do your best to relinquish control when it is out of your hands. Pull the “mostly” card. Enjoy time spent with friends and loved ones around the table without feeling guilty about the food on your plate. You can only control so much!

Now, that said, when you get a chance to bring a dish of your own, let’s try and show some of our friends to see that plant-based food can be just as delicious. Let’s pack the dishes that we prepare with veggies and trojan horse them onto the buffet line. And let me tell you, this garlic cauliflower mash, topped with coconut mushroom gravy, is the perfect way to make it happen. Cauliflower compliments the potatoes in a really subtle way, but still deliver all the benefits that cruciferous vegetables bring to the table. And don’t even get me started on this gravy!

I’ve been searching for a plant-based gravy for quite some time. Folks, we’ve found THE ONE. Adding coconut seems a strange proposition, but it makes this recipe shine. It is a flavor unlike any animal-based gravy you’ve had, and highlights how plant-based cooking can be uniquely delicious, introducing flavor profiles you hadn’t considered before.

So, make the mash, top with gravy, and show the world how the holidays can highlight more than roasted birds and beef!

Cauliflower Mash + Coconut Mushroom Gravy (vegan)


Garlic Cauliflower Mash-

1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into florets

2 large potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice

3 tablespoons vegan butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

salt + pepper, to taste

Coconut Mushroom Gravy-

1/4 cup vegan butter

1.5 cups white mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups veggie broth

1 cup canned coconut milk

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour

salt + pepper, to taste


1) Make the garlic cauliflower mash. Boil the cauliflower and potatoes together until fork-tender, about 25 minutes and drain. In a 4 quart pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and lightly saute for a couple minutes. Add the cauliflower and potatoes and mash until mostly smooth. Use an immersion blender, if you like your mashed potatoes smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2) Make the coconut mushroom gravy. In a large skillet heat the vegan butter over medium heat. Once the vegan butter is hot, add the mushrooms, onion and garlic. Saute for about 4 minutes, until the onion and mushrooms are tender. Add the veggie broth, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, thyme and bring to a boil. Add the flour and whisk thoroughly to prevent clumps. Add the salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the skillet from the heat and let it sit, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Cauliflower Mash adapted from Oh She Glows

Coconut Mushroom Gravy adapted from Nom Yourself

SidesKristen CarliComment
Black + White Freezer Fudge

It is November. In my book, that mean’s the holiday season is upon us. We’re talking Christmas music, roasting chestnuts, the smell of fresh pine gracing your nostrils. If you need me for the next two months, you can catch me jamming to John Legend’s Christmas album stuffing my face full of desserts.

We love our cookies and our pies, but it is time to diversify your holiday treat offering. Might I suggest this black & white freezer fudge. Using cashew butter for a salty, savory punch and marrying it with some sweet cocoa gives us a beautiful swirling appearance, and a totally delicious flavor. Word to the wise, you need to keep this in the freezer or fridge, so keep that in mind if you are planning to bring this to any upcoming holiday parties!

Black + White Freezer Fudge (vegan)


Roasted Nuts-

1/3 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/3 cup raw cashews, roughly chopped

Vanilla Cashew Fudge-

1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature

1/2 cup cashew butter

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

large pinch of fine sea salt

Chocolate Almond Fudge-

1/2 cup coconut oil, room temperature

1/4 cup almond butter

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

large pinch of fine sea salt


1) Preheat oven to 300F. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with a piece of parchment paper, leaving some overhang.

2) Roast the nuts. Spread the almonds and cashews over a small rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10-14 minutes, until lightly golden.

3) Make the vanilla cashew fudge. In a bowl, stir together the coconut oil, cashew butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract and salt until well combined and completely smooth. If it’s not getting smooth enough, you can use electric beaters to help it along. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and spread it out evenly. Immediately sprinkle on about 1/3 of roasted nuts and press down to adhere. Place the pan in the freezer.

4) Make the chocolate almond fudge. In the same bowl in which you made the vanilla fudge, combine the coconut oil, almond butter, cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla and salt and stir well until smooth and no clumps remain. If it’s not getting smooth enough, you can use electric beaters to help it along.

5) With a spatula spoon the chocolate fudge mixture over the vanilla fudge layer and spread evenly. Scatter remaining nuts over the top of the chocolate fudge and press to adhere. Freeze for 60-90 minutes, uncovered.

6) Slice into small squares and serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month. This fudge melts at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

Peanut Butter Cookies

Store-bought cookies make me sad. Yes—I’m even talking about the legendary Oreo (did you know it was vegan?). Put a Milano up against something homemade, and I guarantee you’ll enjoy the latter more. And, like most things, making cookies yourself gives you transparency into the ingredients. You can be sure that you are buying quality, more nutritious cookie components. And yes, even in dessert, it is important to avoid the preservatives and stabilizers that are present in the kinds stocked on the grocery shelves.

These cookies are simple to make, and are a unique take on a traditional peanut butter cookie. The coconut, peanut butter and dark chocolate compose a symphony of bitter, sweet, savory and salty flavor. It has everything you want, and nothing you don’t!

Peanut Butter Cookies (vegan + gluten free)


1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

2.5 tablespoons of water

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 cup dark chocolate/ non-dairy chips

1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter (natural peanut butter is really important - be sure to avoid added oils so as to not affect texture)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons maple syrup


1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water to create a flax egg. Set aside for a few minutes.

3) In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut, rolled oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and chocolate.

4) Add the peanut butter, vanilla, maple syrup to the bowl with the flax and stir until combined. This mixture will be thick.

5) Spoon the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Knead the dough with your hands to incorporate. It will appear dry but keep kneading with your hands, it will eventually incorporate.

6) Lightly wet your hands and form dough into 12 balls the size of golf balls. If any chocolate chips fall out of the dough, simply push the dough balls into the chips at the bottom of the bowl. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Gently press down on each ball to flatten slightly.

7) Bake for 12-14 minutes. The cookies will be very soft and delicate coming out of the oven, but they will firm up as they cool. The bottoms will be golden brown. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5-8 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

Red Chili Flake + Crispy Garlic Broccolini

Sometimes, you just need to let the ingredients speak for themselves. Broccolini is one of my favorites. It is similar to broccoli, but retains a nice crunch when lightly sautéed, and has a lightly bitter flavor. So, we want to add a few things that set broccolini up for success and round out the palate. Crispy garlic brings the savory, a bit of lemon juice brightens, and red chili flakes offer the slightest bit of heat. Each of these elevate the naturally great flavor of the broccolini to give you a side dish everyone will love.

Red Chili Flake + Crispy Garlic Broccolini


8 oz broccolini

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

a squeeze of lemon juice


1) Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic and chili flakes. Stir and heat until fragrant.

2) Add the broccolini and saute for 3 minutes uncovered. Then cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes or until tender and slightly charred.

3) Add the squeeze of lemon and serve immediately.

SidesKristen CarliComment
Vegan Tzatziki

In our house, grain bowls generally follow one of two flavor profiles: Southwestern or Mediterranean. When working with the latter, we often crave the cool, herby flavor of a Greek tzatziki. But how could you make tzatziki without yogurt? Cashews to the rescue, my friends. When blended well, they are a perfect creamy substitute for yogurt.

Vegan Tzatziki


1 cup soaked cashews

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons tahini

juice of half lemon

1/4 cup minced cucumber

1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

4 mint leaves, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

salt + pepper to taste


1) In a high speed blender, add the cashews, water, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and cucumber. Process until smooth.

2) Add the dill, mint, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Recipe adapted from Nom Yourself

Lemon Tahini Dressing

Umami. Ever heard of it? Umami is best described as the savory flavor. Not salty, not sweet, not sour, not bitter. Umami. It’s present when your mouth waters after tasting non-plant-based foods like parmesan cheese, red meat, and many broths and stocks. It is often missing in plant-based food.

But, thankfully, there are a couple umami bombs that we can use to bring some savory flavor to our plant-based life. Tahini and nutritional yeast are both umami bombs, and yes, they are front and center in this dressing. Throw it on salads, roasted veggies, or really, anything!

Lemon Tahini Dressing (vegan)


2 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup tahini

juice of 3 large lemons

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt + pepper, to taste


1) Pulse the garlic in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Store in refrigerator for up to 7 days. Dressing with thicken upon sitting. Stir well before use.

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

Cherry Tomato Salsa

Every Arizonan should have a personalized salsa recipe. I mean, it is the ketchup of the southwest. And much like ketchup, store-bought varieties are loaded with sugar. A leading salsa brand has 1g of sugar per tablespoon. Much of this sugar comes from the use of tomato concentrate, both a money saving move and an easy way to please our tastebuds with a subtle sweetness.

The thing is, salsa is so so so easy to make on your own. By doing so, you get to skip the sugar and enjoy the fresh flavors of real food. This recipe uses cherry tomatoes instead of a typical beefsteak or bush tomato. Cherry tomatoes are naturally sweeter than the larger varieties, which means that you get the benefit of sweet flavors to balance out the heat and acidity, without having to add sugar or tomato paste.

By the way, feel free to pass this recipe off as your own. I wont judge ;)

Cherry Tomato Salsa


1.5 lbs of cherry tomatoes

2 garlic cloves

2 green onions

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

juice of 2 limes

salt + pepper, to taste


1) Mince the garlic and green onions in a food processor.

2) Add remaining ingredients to food processor. Pulse to combine. Stop at desired consistency. Store in refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Cilantro Corn Salsa

What’s your go-to order at Chipotle? Personally—and unsurprisingly—I am a fiend for their fajita-style veggies. But my favorite ingredient to throw into my burrito bowl is the corn salsa. So, I set out to recreate my own version. I gotta say it was a huge success.

Poblano peppers are subtly spicy, and well balanced with the sweetness of yellow corn and the acidity of the lime juice. Cilantro can be a tough one for folks. I’d recommend you give it a try on this dish even if you aren’t a super-fan. There is so much going on, that the flavor doesn’t stand-out on its own, but is noticeably missing if you decide to leave it out.

So, next time you need to spice up your burrito bowl, give this a shot!

Cilantro Corn Salsa


2 cans of corn, drained

1/4 white onion, diced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

juice of 2 limes + 1 lemon

1 poblano pepper


1) Broil a whole poblano pepper lightly coated in oil for 5 minutes each side. Watch carefully.

2) Remove poblano pepper and place in a brown bag. Roll down to seal in heat. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

3) Remove poblano pepper and remove skin. Be careful as it will be hot. Remove stem, seeds, and flesh on the inside. Chop into a small dice.

4) All all remaining ingredients together. Toss to combine. Store in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.

Vegan Cashew Sour Cream

Honestly, one of the things I miss most in many vegan versions of southwestern cuisine is sour cream. I love the stuff. I always have. The creaminess and slightly tangy flavor tempers the spice-forward, and often hot, flavor profile native to my home state. So, I’ve been searching for a way to bring that to plant-based cooking. Who would have thought cashews could provide the perfect solution? Yet, somehow, someway, this nut provides everything I need to elevate my southwestern inspired meals!

Vegan Cashew Sour Cream


1 cup soaked cashews

1/2 cup water

juice of half a lemon

pinch of salt


1) Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender (a food processor will not get the desired consistency here!) Add more water if necessary. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Creamy Carrot + Potato Soup

I’m a big fan of underdogs. The autumn soup hall-of-fame is a pantheon of classics that are enjoyed by the bowl by millions of Americans each year. We’re talking broccoli cheddar, clam chowders, potato leek, chicken noodle. But one soup, a real crowd pleaser, has been sitting atop its throne for decades too long: Tomato soup.

Yes, I acknowledge that dunking crusty bread into the slightly acidic yet oh-so creamy concoction is a uniquely pleasurable experience. Of course, that’s why we all love it. But I’ve been trying to create some contenders to take the crown off the tomato’s head. That’s why I made our favorite charred red pepper soup, and its why I created this creamy carrot and potato soup. And folks, we might just have an underdog with enough crowd pleasing elements to knock tomato soup back down to earth.

Carrot soup sounds weird—I know. But it brings a ton to the party. The carrot has a delicate sweetness and classic vegetable flavor that, in my opinion, already brings more nuance to the table than your basic tomato soup. We add some ginger to temper the sweeter notes and brighten the flavor of the dish. Potatoes are the glue that gives it an amazing texture, and coupled with some cashew milk, we’ve got the creaminess that we all crave, without the lactose tummy-ache that many of us feel the next day.

Vegan Creamy Carrot + Potato Soup


1 yellow onion, chopped

4.5 cup of carrots, chopped

1 potato, peeled + chopped

32 oz veggie broth

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

2 cups cashew milk

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

salt + pepper to taste


1) In a large stock pot add the extra virgin olive oil and onion. Cook until translucent.

2) Add carrots, potato, veg broth, and ginger. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes.

3) With an immersion blender (or pour into a high speed blender), blend until smooth.

4) Add the cashew milk, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat until heated through.

Kale Noodle Soup

Seasons change, but the classics don’t. As fall hits the country—and finally arrives here in Arizona!— everyone is clamoring for their favorites. But next time you’ve got a hankering for some chicken-noodle, give this one a shot. It’s got everything you love about that savory staple with the added benefits of our favorite leafy-green.

Making soup from scratch is incredibly easy and allows you to know exactly what is going into your bowl. So many of those store bought soups—canned and seemingly “fresh”— are loaded with sodium (Hi, blood pressure! Get it?), preservatives, and veggies of mysterious freshness. This way, you get to enjoy those savory flavors with only a bit more effort. Give it a try!

Kale Noodle Soup (vegan)

Yield: 6-8 servings


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 large carrots, sliced

4 stalks celery, chopped

1.5 cups white mushrooms, chopped

3 cups kale leaves

1/2 package of capellini pasta

8 cups veggie stock

4 cups water

salt + pepper


1) Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and mushrooms to the pot and saute for 6 minutes.

2) Add the veggie stock, water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the kale. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

3) Add the noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat! Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Nom Yourself

SoupsKristen CarliComment
White Bean Burgers

Everyone’s got a version of a black bean burger. I mean, don’t get me wrong, black beans are fine. I’m not mad at them, you shouldn’t be either. Those little buggers are packed with tons of nutrients. But, don’t lie. Aren’t you a little sick of them? Don’t you want to step up your bean burger game? I know I sure did!

To be honest, white beans are on my Mount Rushmore of plant-based proteins. They are soft and don’t have a thick skin to get in the way of things. They take on other flavors extremely well, which is super important in creating a bean burger. So I figured, why not give it a shot? Why not try to develop a white bean burger? Well, folks, here it is!

White Bean Burgers (vegan)


1 can white kidney beans, drained + rinsed

1/4 onion, chopped

1/2 cup rolled oats

1.5 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon Trader Joe’s seasoning salute


1) Pulse oats in a food processor until a coarse flour. Set aside. Pulse beans in the food processor until chunky.

2) Put all ingredients into the food processor. Pulse until combined. Be careful not to over process into a mush!

3) Form into 5 balls. Place on baking sheet and press to form flat patties. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Pan fry over oil, cooking 5 minutes each side until crispy. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Butternut Squash Cheezy Pasta

Have you ever taken a bite of something and done a little dance move? Then took another, and danced again. And another bite, another move, repeating this cycle until you’ve both choreographed a full “So You Think You Can Dance” routine and finished the bowl? Just me? Well, take a bite of this dish and then tell me it didn’t make you want to bust a move!

Listen, I’m not a huge squash fan. Its just not my fave. But when fall comes around grocery stores are basically throwing it into your shopping cart. So when I end up with butternut squash, I want to minimize all the nasty, soggy parts that I don’t like about squash, and maximize the semi-sweet, nutty flavor. How do I do this? Puree that bad boy, turn it into a sauce, and dump it over pasta with freshly cracked black pepper.

When butternut squash is pureed, the earthy, nutty flavors really come out to play and you end up with a velvety texture that is oh-so appealing. In this recipe, we throw in a bit of nutritional yeast to give it a cheese-like funk (in the best way), and flavor with some garlic and spices.

This one will be a crowd pleaser. If you serve it to a dinner party, I’ll guarantee the dinner ends in a dance party.

Butternut Squash Cheezy Pasta (vegan)

Yield: 6 servings


3 cups butternut squash, diced + peeled

3/4 cups soaked cashews

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb uncooked pasta


1) Steam the butternut squash until tender.

2) Blend all ingredients (except pasta) in a high speed blender. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

3) Heat a large pot of water over high heat. Once boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions.

4) In a large bowl, dump drained pasta and add butternut squash sauce. Stir to combine. Serve with fresh cracked black pepper on top. Enjoy!

Lemony Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts

So let’s talk about spinach for a second. I am starting to feel badly for this leafy green. For a veggie that has such a reputation for building strength (thanks, Popeye), it sure withers away when the heat turns up! We’re on to you, spinach!

Thankfully for us, though, what it loses in size is our gain. Because spinach wilts so much, it is the perfect delivery vehicle for some powerful nutrients. We often forget how amazing spinach is—it has been living in the shadows of kale for the last few years. But it is one of the veggies that I think everybody should be eating more of. It has a neutral flavor itself, but easily takes on the flavor of aromatics (think garlic, herbs, onions). For this dish, we keep it simple and sauté with oil, finish with lemon juice, and garnish with pine nuts.


Yield: 1 serving


6 oz spinach

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1/2 of a lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons pine nuts


1) Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add spinach and stir until spinach is wilted.

2) Add lemon pepper and lemon juice. Toss with pine nuts. Serve!

SidesKristen CarliComment
Pesto Minestrone Soup

If you’re anything like me, nothing makes you happier than crushing a huge bowl of pasta and red sauce. And while you and I could happily scarf said dish of tomatoey, carby goodness 7 days a week (shhh its our secret!), we fear that our neighbors and friends might start talking behind our backs. So, for those haters we love so much, we’ll oblige them with this delicious pesto minestrone soup. Here’s why it’ll feel like you’re pulling a fast-one on them.

Really, this tomato-heavy broth is packed with vegetables to help disguise our beloved noodle friends. And a heaping spoonful of my walnut basil pesto makes the broth a little murkier (and a lot tastier!) so our pasta pals can rest judgement free until they land in your tummy. They’re happy. You’re happy. The neighbors are happy that you’re enjoying a balanced diet. Everyone wins.

Pesto Minestrone Soup (vegan)

Yield 6 servings


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cups diced carrots

2 cups diced celery

2.5 cups butternut squash, peeled + diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp dried thyme

28 oz diced tomatoes

8 cups veggie stock

1 cup uncooked small pasta

1 bay leaf

1 cans cannellini beans

4 handfuls of spinach

2 tablespoons Walnut Basil Pesto

salt + pepper


1) Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, until the veg begin to soften.

2) Add the tomatoes, stock, pasta, bay leaf, salt + pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until pasta is tender. Discard bay leaf.

3) Add can of beans and heat through. Remove from heat and add spinach. Stir in pesto. Enjoy!

SoupsKristen CarliComment