Risotto with Pumpkin and Arugula

Meatless Monday: Pumpkin Risotto

Are you looking for a healthy pumpkin recipe to try? How about pumpkin risotto? Today’s recipe is a twist on classic Italian risotto – pumpkin! Why not? Pumpkin adds a sweet and unique flavor that’s perfect for fall. This Italian risotto recipe is both vegetarian and vegan.
Pumpkin Risotto (Yield: 4-6 servings) 


  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups arborio (risotto) rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin purée 
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp nondairy margarine
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until soft. Add the rice. Allow to cook, stirring, for a minute or two. Slowly add the wine.
  2. Start to add the low-sodium vegetable broth, 1/2 cup at a time. Allow the moisture to cook off before adding the next 1/2 cup. Stir frequently.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, stirring well, and cook for just a few minutes, until heated through.
  4. Serve

Meatless Monday: Creamy Cauliflower Au Gratin

Today’s Meatless Monday recipe calls for this creamy, vegan version of cauliflower au gratin. So if you’re looking for a reduced fat and dairy-free version of this classic side dish, try this easy recipe.  
Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Au Gratin


  • 2 large (or three small) cauliflowers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • water for steaming
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 Tbsp. unbleached flour
  • 1 cup liquid nondairy creamer or almond milk
  • 1 cup nondairy vegan sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2-3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika 
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs or French fried onion


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Steam cauliflower for just 3-4 minutes until starting to soften up, just to give it a head start cooking. 
  3. Place cauliflower in a lightly greased casserole or gratin dish.
  4. Whisk together the oil and flour over low heat until a paste forms, then add in nondairy creamer until thick and creamy, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat then stir in sour cream, parsley, and nutritional yeast.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, then pour sauce over cauliflower, tossing lightly to coat cauliflower.
  7. Sprinkle bread crumbs (or French fried onions) nutmeg and paprika over the top.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and the top begins to brown. Turn the oven on broiler for 1-2 minutes to really crisp up the top. Let sit for a few minutes to set before serving.
  9. Enjoy your vegan cauliflower gratin!

Pumpkin Muffins

To say I’m excited about fall would be a bit of an understatement. It’s September, and while I understand that it’s technically summer for another two weeks or so, I’m ready to crank up my oven, and start baking pumpkin muffins!!!   

Pumpkin Muffins (Yield: 12 muffins)


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups organic sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (fresh or from a can)
  • 1/2 cup unflavored almond milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a twelve-muffin tin.
  2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, almond milk, oil, and molasses.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix.
  5. Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. 
  6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  

Wellness Wednesday: Get Outside of Your Grocery Store

We all know that the spring are summer months are the best times of the year to shop at your local farmers market. But don’t about healthy fall produce? Autumn’s bumper crop of fruits and vegetables offers a wide range of great flavors Farmers’ markets are full of apples, figs, pears, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and winter squash. 

One of the best reasons to shop at a local farmers market is the access to the freshest, tastiest foods around. The food is typically grown in your area of residence, not thousands of miles away or another country, so your money stays nearby to help local farmers thrive.  

Having the option to buy more locally grown food has many benefits to your health and your community. Some of the benefits are listed below:

Eating local food is known as eating by the seasons. Even though many wish watermelon were grown year round in the Carolinas, the best time to eat watermelon is when it is purchased directly from the grower in the correct season. Watermelons are more flavorful and taste much better than the ones grown in the winter which have been picked before ripeness and travelled thousands of miles. 

Locally grown food has more flavor. Instead of being harvested early to be shipped and distributed, locally grown food is picked at their peak of ripeness. Many times, the foods you find at a farmers market have been picked within 24 hours or less of your purchase.

 Local foods have more nutrients. Nutritional value declines drastically as time passes after harvesting. Foods imported from far away typically are harvested before ripeness of nutrients, traveled great distances, and sits in distribution centers before getting to the grocery store.

The farmers can tell you how the food was grown. You can ask what methods they use to raise their animals and harvest their crops. It is satisfying to know who grew your food and where it came from.

Be a familiar face. Being a “regular” at the farmers market is enjoyable. You’ll feel like you belong there, you will get to know the growers and other regulars, and you’ll be known as a loyal customer. 

Local foods benefits the environment. Purchasing local foods help to preserve green space and farmland within your community. Also, on average, most food travels about 1,500 miles before it reaches our plates.

When buying local food, it does not need to travel as far which decreases the amount of gasoline used and reduces pollution.


Meatless Monday: Taco Pasta

Taco Pasta is perfect for those busy weeknights when you just don’t know what to make for dinner.The ingredients are likely already in your pantry and fridge- and if they’re not, you can make all sorts of substitutions with this dish!


  • 1 box of Pasta
  • 1 small jar of salsa (approximately 1.5 cups)
  • ½ cup of diced onion
  • 1 cup of corn (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 Tbsp. of chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. of cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. of Extra virgin olive oil


  1. Cook pasta per directions on box, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp. of oil in pan, saute onion.
  3. When onion is soft, add salsa, corn, beans and spices. Stir and heat.
  4. Combine “sauce” with cooked pasta.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!
Fresh baked Meyer lemon bars with powdered sugar

Meatless Monday: Vegan Lemon Squares

These vegan lemon squares are tart, sweet and delicious. They are the perfect vegan dessert!  


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup Earth Balance nondairy margarine 


1 1/3 cups water
3 tablespoons agar agar flakes
  • 1 1/4 cups organic sugar
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (from two large lemons)
1/4 cup almond milk
Extra powdered or confectioners’ sugar to decorate finished bars  


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
  2. Pulse flour, powdered sugar and cornstarch in food processor. Add margarine in spoonfuls and blend, 8 to 10 seconds, and then pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. 
  3. Sprinkle mixture into prepared baking pan and press firmly into an even layer with slightly raised sides to hold in the filling.
  4. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes and then bake for 40 minutes; remove from oven and let cool. 

Meanwhile, prepare the filling…

  1. In a sauce pot, soak the agar agar in the water for 15 minutes. While the agar agar is soaking, zest your lemons and squeeze your lemon juice. Mix the arrowroot into the lemon juice to dissolve.
  2. When the agar has been soaking for 15 minutes, turn the heat up and bring to a boil. 
  3. Boil for about 10 minutes, or until the agar is completely dissolved. 
  4. Add the sugar and turmeric and boil until dissolved, about 3 minutes. 
  5. Lower the heat to medium and add the arrow root and lemon juice mixture, then add the lemon zest and almond milk. 
  6. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. It should not be rapidly boiling, but lowly bubbling is ok.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust, let cool for 20 minutes and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, until the filling is only slightly jiggly and set. 
  8. Use a sifter or a fine mesh strainer to sprinkle the bars with powdered sugar.
  9. Slice into squares and serve.



Meatless Monday: Sweet and Sour Cauliflower

Sautéed cauliflower topped in a tangy, sweet and sour sauce served over brown rice. This dish is incredibly healthy and delicious. 

Ingredients for the Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 3 Tbsp. brown rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ½ – 1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce (depends on how hot you like it)
  • 1 Tbsp. gluten-free tamari
  • 2-3 Tbsp. brown sugar (depends on how sweet you like it)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

Instructions for the Sauce

  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook 2 minutes until softened. Add the ginger and garlic, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the pineapple, brown rice vinegar, ketchup, chile sauce, tamari and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the water and the cornstarch until smooth. Add to the sauce and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute and turn off the heat. Set aside until ready to eat.

Ingredients for the Cauliflower 

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
  • spring onions, for garnish (optional)

Instructions for the Cauliflower 

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and let brown for 30 seconds. Add the cauliflower to the pan and cook until softened and browned, anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your stove and how al dente you like it (you should definitely go by the texture of the cauliflower, not the time). Add salt, pepper and turmeric to the skillet. Mix well. Add the pineapple juice to the skillet and heat through.
  2. Plate the cauliflower and top with the sweet and sour sauce. Garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds. 
  3. Serve over brown rice. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from www.onegreenplanet.org