My Favorite Cheese Sauce

When I went vegan, I really didn’t miss cheese that much. Honestly, the last thing to go for me was yogurt and I sort of just stopped buying it. Same with cheese, I ate what I had (I don’t waste) and then just stopped giving the dairy industry my money (directly, indirectly I guess by being American I still do, but I digress)

Anyway, I do enjoy vegan cheese when it is offered. When I’m out at restaurants, with friends or if someone offers me some, I won’t say no.

Let’s get real though, vegan cheese can get expensive. It also has a lot of ingredients I don’t recognize. I love processed food as much as anyone, but being an athlete and taking my health into consideration, I probably shouldn’t indulge too often.

Lucky for me, I came across tons of cheese sauce recipes that have made plant based eating easy when I do want some of that hearty yellow goodness. After making them for a while, I started to experiment with making my own.

I wanted something with a bit of tang, not too much kick and holds onto whatever I choose to put it on. I also wanted something more “single-person” sized. I don’t need a gallon of cheese sauce, no matter how good it is, I will get tired of it.

This recipe makes 1.5-2 cups worth depending on the size of your veggies. It is customizable depending on what spices you like or what veggies you have.

For the health nerd in me, ALL THE INGREDIENTS ARE RECOGNIZABLE!

Simple ingredients make this #vegan cheese sauce AMAZING! #whatveganseat #meatlessmonday Click To Tweet

Make this sauce and enjoy!

Epic Vegan Cheese Sauce

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 1.5 cupsTotal:

You'll Need...

  • 1 medium potato (approx. 1 cup) cubed
  • 5 baby carrots (or 1/2 carrot diced)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 t lemon juice
  • 1 t tumeric
  • 2 t mustard (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small pot of water, bring the potatoes and carrots to a boil. Cook until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain and pour into a food processor or blender. Add all the other ingredients into the blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately or store in the fridge up to a week.

Note: Instead of using a carrot and a potato, you might also use butternut squash or pumpkin. 1 cup of each is a good substitute. Adjust your seasonings according to your preference.

I am linking up for Meatless Mondays with Running On Happy and The Fit Foodie Mama

Almond Butter Chickpea Pasta With Butter Beans

 

Chickpeas are a staple in my diet. Not only are they really versatile and able to be used in sweet and savory dishes, but they are a perfect food for runners. High in both carbohydrate and protein, beans in general provide many essential nutrients that I need to fuel long runs. Start your Meatless Monday off right!

Not only are they great in macronutrients, but they have a swell micronutrient profile as well. Chickpeas are a great source of fiber which helps cleanse the colon and maintain a healthy gut.

Why is that important?

Well, I eat a lot, fiber helps my body process those calories and nutrients and then swiftly eliminates the extras.

Chickpeas also provide 70% of your RDA for folate (helps make DNA) and almost 80% for both manganese and calcium (healthy bones, essential enzyme function).

Chickpeas are naturally gluten free, which brings me to the wonderful product I was gifted from Barney Butter: Banza Chickpea Pasta!

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Pasta is something I eat TONS of. Not only spaghetti, but I enjoy every shape, color and type available. When I was sent a few boxes of Banza to try, I was overjoyed simply because, well, a new type of pasta shipped to my door is like the second Christmas.

Banza pasta is non-GMO, naturally gluten-free and high in protein thanks to it’s signature ingredient: CHICKPEAS

How does it taste?

It’s heartier than other pastas I’ve tried, but honestly if I didn’t cook it myself, I wouldn’t know the difference. It was simple to make, delicious to eat and most importantly, I had a great run the next morning (that’s how I judge the worthiness of food).

Now of course I had to create a recipe with this pasta (although I loved it with this cheese sauce) and it seemed like a natural fit to make an almond butter pasta.

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The inspiration for this recipe comes from my attempt to use up veggies in my fridge for my future move and a stew I absolutely adore. At my (old..sob) past job, I always got excited for West African Stew. Not sure exactly what is in it other than collard greens, peanuts and sweet potato, but it is mighty delish!

This recipe is a take off from that. Subtract the sweet potato, add some beans and almond butter and we’ve got a WINNER WINNER TOFU DINNER!

This pasta dish is perfect for cold nights or next day lunches eaten cold. Try it out and then share the love and tell Banza what you thought!

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Almond Butter Chickpea Pasta With Butter Beans

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 1Total:

You'll Need...

  • 2 T almond butter
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 T ginger
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup butter beans
  • 1 cup Banza Chickpea pasta, cooked to instructions

Directions

  1. In a small pot, boil the vegetable broth over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, garlic, ginger and salt. Allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  3. While that is simmering, in a small bowl, stir together almond butter and tomato paste until combined.
  4. Transfer 1/4 cup of the simmering liquid to the bowl and stir until no clumps remain.
  5. Marry the contents of the bowl to the rest of the vegetable broth in the pot.
  6. Stir in the spinach and butter beans.
  7. Allow to heat through for another 5-10 minutes.
  8. Add the pasta to the pot and stir to coat.

Serve immediately, keeps about a week in the fridge.

Try this Almond Butter Chickpea Pasta with Butter Beans made with @barneybutter and @eatbanzo #vegan #glutenfree Click To Tweet

I am a Barney Butter Ambassador! #HealthyBBSummer Contest

Good morning all! Just a quick Week In Review before getting to the fun part of today’s post! Thanks to Meg for hosting!

This past week was very eventful, so just like Friday, I feel happy just writing them down!

1.) I finished the fundamentals, module 1 and half of module 2 for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I am almost caught up!

2.) I took time to read this week. Like a magazine. Seriously, it’s been a while!

3.) I visited my sister at her job, it was nice to see her.

4.) I sat down and really thought about what I want out of life. What brings me joy. What my passion is and how I will use my certification from IIN to get there. My brain is a working on that one!

5.) I made lentils, quinoa, mac&cheese, quesadillas, black bean brownies, and a new dessert I need to name (go me for the food prep!)

6.) I used my brain. Man, it feels good!

7.) Oh, and I posted some blogs…and a recipe for White Chocolate Carrot Scones…CHECK THEM OUT!

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Ok, now to do my job as a Barney Butter Ambassador!

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When I think of almond butter, a certain company always comes to mind. I always see that bright blue labe and brown font that provides an iconic taste. I am, of course, talking about Barney Almond Butter.

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A couple months ago, I connected with the Barney Almond Butter company and provided some information about me. I had no idea what their social media team was cooking up, but quite honestly, I was very excited. Imagine if Nike asked for your picture and bio.

Kind of the same thing for me. Y’all know I love my nut butter!

A few days ago, I was offered the chance to be a Barney Butter Ambassador!

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I am beyond thrilled because I love Barney Butter and want to share the ways this company is magical to you all. Small nut butter companies are important to me because of what they represent. Barney Butter is a California based company and uses almonds from right down the street.

All their butters maintain 6 basic promises:

Kosher

Vegan (except for Honey and Flax)

Quality (blanching the almonds eliminates phytic acid)

Non-GMO

Gluten-free

Peanut-free

I am so passionate about Barney Butter simply because it is a nutrient dense, chemical free energy source that fuels my 80-90 mile per week training. I eat a lot of nut butters during training, so quality matters. I can’t constantly put chemicals and fake ingredients into my body because it will eventually affect my running.

Barney Butter takes all the worry away. I feel safe fueling my body with this handcrafted butter.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, this company can’t possibly get better.

Well guys, it does!

Not only do they make smooth and crunchy plain almond butter, they also have a few delicious flavors for the nut butter eater who likes to mix it up.

Vanilla Bean & Espresso
Honey & Flax
Cocoa & Coconut
Raw & Chia
My favorite is probably vanilla espresso. It is a completely new to me flavor and I finished the jar in two days. These flavors are spoon worthy but I also love to put them on waffles and bananas.

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Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, my favorite recipe for this almond butter is stuffing it in a date. Serve that at your next party #fancy

On August 1st (TODAY! Welcome to August!) Barney Butter is offering you, yes YOU the chance to win 2 $250 gift cards, one for you and for your friend. And I know whichever one of you wins will want to give the gift card to me, but sorry my friends, I cannot win. The contest is called the #HealthyBBSummer contest.

To enter, submit a photo using the hashtag #HealthyBBSummer on Instagram or Twitter, or submit a photo through Facebook. The photo must show a Barney Butter product outside.

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Go get your tan on! Explore your city! Share your nut butter with your dog (it’s hilarious!)!

More contest details can be found here.

I am excited for this partnership to ensue, and I am excited to share it with you!

Check out our Ambassadors page, get yourself some Barney Butter and tag us in some pictures!

What flavor do you want to try?

What will you do with $250?

Feeding My Inner Beast: The Beyond Meat Beast Burger

You know my feelings on fake meats. Usually I leave them. I would just rather have a bowl of rice and beans.

It’s funny because I haven’t eaten meat in almost 5 years (I was vegetarian before vegan) but I always thought I would be able to remember what it tasted like. The other day, I was making someone a turkey sandwich at work and for the life of me, I could not remember what turkey tasted like. I even like, tried to remember.

But nope…nada…zilch.

I can’t remember what the most frequently eaten sandwich for 18 years of my life tasted like.

I even asked my coworker to describe it. And she was like “um…it’s kind of…bland…like I don’t know, there’s not much flavor.”

Hmm…guess I’m not missing anything.

Anywho, back to the Beast burger!

I was really excited to have this, simply because I’ve watched my friend Chris (The Vegan Zombie) explore the Vegan Beer Festival these past few weeks and try all the amazing vegan food. I was living through his YouTube Channel for a few days before realizing that duh, I could make those things too.

What is Beyond Meat? Its a game changer.

beyond meat

The Beyond Meat team believes there are better ways to feed the planet. They believe that plant based, whole food nutrition not only leads to healthier people, but a healthier planet.

Beyond Meat resolves to:

Reduce Animal Harm

Improve Human Health

Positively Impact Climate Change

Address Global Resource Constraints

They want people to still enjoy the flavors and textures from meat products, but do so in a healthier, kinder and more sustainable way. I can totally get behind that!

I just had to try them out. Even if you’re someone like me who can pass meat and give it the stink eye, the novelty and awe factor was just too great to pass up.

What is the Beast Burger? 23 grams of pea protein and veggies.

That is it folks. Just veggies.

What do you get in each package? Two frozen meatless patties that are hard to distinguish from beef.

Honestly, my coworker’s and roommate were impressed with the resemblance.

How do you cook it? 6-8 minutes per side, starting from frozen.

There is no defrosting necessary, which was great for me because I literally had 20 minutes to make this patty before work. I work well in time constraints haha.

And the most important part: How did it taste?

Well folks this is a loaded question. Quite honestly, I thought it was delicious and would eat it again. I was a bit out off by how real it seemed, but my coworker’s and roommate loved that. The burger I made had all the fixings from what I remember from my last hamburger. Mustard, onions, tomato, lettuce, cheese and I added sprouts. I used a Rosemary salt bagel as the bun because I am not a fan of the multigrain rolls we have at work. Go big or or home kids.

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It was very reminiscent of my burger days, and after I got over of how much it reminded me of an actual cow, I loved it! It has the mouth feel of a burger, pretty tender texture and holds up to a bagel bun and toppings really well. I was a happy eater 🙂

Just another indicator or delicious: when I want to take a nap after a meal and rub my tummy because it’s happy, that means lunch was good. After the Beast, I wanted to take a nap to relish in the awesome nutritious burger I just consumed. My next post race day meal will have to include this innovative burger!

Bonus: my coworker’s want to try it!

Would I recommend it? Of course!

I think that even if you’re sqimish around fake meats like me, it’s worth a go. It’s just really that good folks! For people who simply “cannot give up the meats,” this is a God send. There is honestly no excuse not to try this.

What has always boggles my mind is why, when there are so many wonderful foods that provide the same satisfaction as meat, people still eat it. The innovations at Beyond Meat are changing that.

Check out their website and sign up for their email list! Most months have a free voucher or coupon so you can try it yourself. Plant based eating is the future. Beyond Meat makes that transition a bit more easy.

The future of protein is here! Check out the Beast Burger from @BeyondMeat #vegan #protein #health #veganfood Click To Tweet

Have you ever tried Beyond Meat?

Want a free voucher? Leave a comment and I’ll pick one reader and send them some coupons!