MEATLESS MONDAY: SWEET POTATO & BLACK BEAN TACOS WITH AVOCADO SAUCE 

These tacos are perfect for your next meatless Monday or taco Tuesday, as these tacos can literally can be made in under 30 minutes, making them an easy weeknight dinner.

The roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, and slaw will all last in the fridge for a good two-three days so you can heat up the sweet potatoes and black beans and assemble the tacos as you’re ready to eat them.

Ingredients 

Tacos:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 (15oz) can of black beans, warmed up
  • white corn tortillas

Slaw:

  • ½ bag (~8 ounces) of shredded cabbage/ coleslaw (broccoli slaw would also work well)
  • ½ cup of chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup of coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons of agave
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of white whine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

Avocado Sauce:

  • ½ cup of nondairy sour cream
  • 1 avocado, pitted and skinned
  • small handful of chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional for garnish: extra cilantro
  • Sriracha

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste.
  3. On a prepared baking sheet, evenly spread out the diced sweet potatoes and put them in the pre-heated oven to roast for 20 minutes.
  4. While they roast, prepare the slaw: In a large bowl, melted coconut oil, lime juice, cumin, white wine vinegar, and agave are mixed together. Then the slaw is tossed in as well as the cilantro. Set aside.
  5. To prepare the avocado sauce: add Avocado, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper are blended together in a food processor until the sauce is creamy smooth.
  6. Heat the black beans on the stove.
  7. Once the sweet potatoes are done roasting, the tacos can be assembled by topping a tortilla with the sweet potatoes, black beans, slaw, and the sauce.
  8. ENJOY!!

This recipe serves 8

  

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Black-Eyed Pea Chili

I’m a big believer in starting off the new year with a meal of black-eyed peas and collard greens. It’s one of the few holiday food traditions that is actually healthy (and can be vegan). The legend behind this Southern tradition is that a meal of peas and greens will bring prosperity and luck in the coming year, but I like to think of it as a great way to get off on a good foot nutritionally, with basic, whole foods.

Here is a recipe I like that uses black-eyed peas with quinoa and corn to make a healthy, delicious meatless chili! 

Black-Eyed Pea Chili (Servings: 8)

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 cups (24 ounces) fresh black-eyed peas, or 2 1/2 cups (1 pound) dried peas, soaked overnight and drained
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder, red pepper, or hot smoked paprika (adjust to taste)
  • 2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with juice (fire-roasted preferred)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
  • 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a large, non-stick Dutch oven or chili pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until they soften, about 5 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the black-eyed peas, broth, and everything up through the tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. 
  3. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the peas are tender. The time will vary depending on the age of the peas, but count on at least 75 minutes, and add more broth if it looks like it’s getting dry.
  4. When the peas are tender, check the seasoning and add more to taste (this is a good time to increase the heat by adding more chipotle powder). 
  5. Add the corn and quinoa and cook until the quinoa is tender, at least 20 minutes. (If the chili seems too “soupy,” uncover the pot; otherwise, keep it covered).
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Wishing you and yours a Happy & Healthy New Year!

Recipe by The Fat Free Vegan

    Is It a Cold or Flu?

    The cold versus flu debate is one that rages in households every fall. Since both illnesses have similar symptoms, it’s easy to understand why people get confused.

    The symptoms are certainly comparable. However, while you might have a cold many times throughout the year, you’ll typically only get the flu every few years or so.

    How to Tell If You Have a Cold

    The biggest indicator that you’re suffering from a cold is if your symptoms are mostly in your nose. The three key signs of a cold shouldn’t come as a surprise:

    • Runny nose
    • Sneezing
    • Nasal stuffiness

    A cold can also be accompanied by a fever of 100 or 101 degrees or slight scratchiness in the back of your throat. Length of time matters, too: a cold typically lasts about a week.

    • Low grade fever
    •  Sore throat
    • Cough

    How to Tell If You Have the Flu

    The flu is definitely not limited to just the nose. When the flu hits, you’ll typically feel it all over. The onset of symptoms is swift, and usually starts with a high-grade fever between 102 and 105 degrees (keep in mind children will usually have higher fevers than adults). Additional symptoms include:

    • Muscle aches
    • Fatigue (often extreme)
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Sneezing
    • Severe coughing

    While the symptoms of the flu are more severe, they still last roughly as long as a cold – about 7 to 10 days. Many people experience another stretch of fatigue and fever at the tail end of that timeframe.

    The flu is extremely contagious, so it’s easily passed from one person to another. Since the virus exists in the tiny droplets emitted from coughs or sneezes, you’ll also contract the flu if you touch something with the virus on it, and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes afterwards. Avoiding the flu is possible if you take a few simple precautions.

      
    How Can You Avoid Cold & Flu Viruses?

    The CDC recommends taking “everyday preventative actions” to stop the spread of germs, such as covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; staying home when sick and frequented washing your hands with soap and warm water.

    Meatless Monday: Kale & Black Bean Burritos

    If you haven’t tried a kale and black bean burrito yet, then you’ve got to give these burritos a try and see what you’ve been missing! 

    Avocado is a great substitute for cheese or sour cream, as you get all the creaminess with none of the dairy. And, the red onions offer a little crunch. 

    Kale and Black Bean Burritos (Servings: 4) 

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1 large bunch of kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 lime, juiced
    • 1 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 tsp. of cumin powder
    • 1/4 tsp. of chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp. of Himalayan sea salt
    • ½ teaspoon seeded and finely chopped fresh jalapeño (optional)
    • 1-2 garlic large cloves, minced 
    • 2 (15 oz.) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained 
    • 4 large burrito-sized flour tortillas
    • 1 avocado, diced
    • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped 

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. In a bowl, combine the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, chili powder, sea salt, jalapeño, cilantro and kale. Toss to mix well and set the bowl aside to marinate.
    2. Warm the beans and minced garlic with a couple of tablespoons of water. You can do this in a small sauce pan on the stove over medium-low heat (sauté the garlic in a drizzle of olive oil before adding the beans). Add small amounts of water as necessary. Use a fork to mash up the beans a little and add salt to taste, if necessary.
    3. Warm the tortilla in a skillet or in the microwave for a few seconds. Top the tortilla with the black bean mixture, diced avocado, marinated kale (you may end up with more kale than will fit in your burrito, reserve the extra and serve it on the side). Top with red onion. 
    4. Roll up the burrito by first folding the tortilla over from the bottom to partially cover the beans and greens, then fold in the 2 sides; finish rolling and place the burrito seam side down on a plate. 
    5. Slice in half and serve with guacamole or hummus on the side, if desired.

      Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate

      Meatless Monday: Vegan Southern-Style Dressing

      Whether you call it “stuffing” or you live in the south and call it “dressing,” no Christmas or Thanksgiving meal is complete without it! 
      Ingredients:

      • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
      • 2 Tbsp. nondairy, non-hydrogenated butter (Earth Balance)
      • 1 large onion, chopped
      • 4 celery stalks, diced
      • 8 oz. button or cremini mushrooms, chopped
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1 bay leaf
      • 1 tsp. dried sage
      • 1tsp. dried thyme
      • ½ tsp. dried rosemary
      • ½ tsp. dried oregano
      • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
      • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
      • ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
      • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
      • 2 cups vegan stuffing mix (see below)
      • 1.5-2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth  

      Instructions:

      1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large sauté pan, heat the oil and butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add in the onion and celery and let cook until the onion is translucent. Add the mushrooms and let cook until softened and browned, about 5 minutes. Mix in the garlic and the seasonings.
      2. Add the parsley and the stuffing mix to the sauté pan. Mix well. Moisten the stuffing mixture with broth until it is soft but not wet. Remove the bay leaf and let the mixture cool.
      3. Transfer the stuffing to a large casserole dish that has been brushed with some oil or cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes. 
      4. Enjoy!