Elotes (Mexican Style Corn)

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This year, the Fourth of July was really memorable because my entire family was able to get together. We grilled at my sister’s house and I made vegan Elotes for the first time. It actually turned out really good! Elotes refers to Mexican style corn on the cob. You can find it all over Chicago sold by street vendors or food trucks. It’s really rich and full of flavor but the traditional version is not vegan. This vegan version of Elotes is a really easy recipe with few ingredients. If you’re trying to eat lighter you can skip the vegan butter and reduce the mayonnaise by half. You can find vegan mayonnaise and parmesan cheese in most grocery stores. The vegan parmesan from Go Veggie tastes delicious but has a strong smell that may not be appetizing to some. My nieces and nephews really enjoyed the vegan Elotes but my sister was not a fan of the vegan parmesan… I think nutritional yeast is a great substitute if you’re not a fan of vegan parmesan. Elotes are tangy, buttery, creamy and a little spicy. There’s nothing better than grilled corn in the summer! The cilantro really makes it taste really fresh and the cayenne adds a little kick. If you don’t have a grill you can boil the corn for about 10 minutes instead and still get great results. You can also take the corn off the cob once it’s cooked and mix in all of the ingredients if you prefer something that can be served out of a dish. It’s just as delicious that way and a lot less messy! If you make this recipe make sure to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram and Facebook or pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Elotes (Mexican Style Corn)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn, husks removed
  • 2 limes, cut in halves
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter (such as Earth Balance brand)
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (such as Vegenaise brand)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup grated vegan parmesan cheese (such as Go Veggie brand) or nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Grill corn for about 3-4 minutes per side – about 10-15 minutes total depending on grill temperature. Corn should be evenly golden brown. Squeeze lime juice on each ear of corn. Spread one tablespoon of butter on each ear of corn. Next, spread one tablespoon of mayonnaise on each ear of corn. In a small bowl, combine cilantro, vegan parmesan, cayenne pepper, cumin powder, garlic powder, and salt. Top each ear of corn with 1/4 of the parmesan mixture and serve while hot.

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Mango Turmeric Smoothie Bowl

Mango turmeric smoothie bowl with coconut, dragon fruit balls, blueberries, and edible flowers.

Summer weather makes me crave mangoes! Mangoes were hard to come by when I was a kid growing up in a small town. The juiciest, sweetest ones I have ever had were in India. Growing up, we visited my grandparents in Chennai in southern India every summer. I would look forward to all of the food but the mangoes were just amazing! This smoothie bowl is naturally sweet because of the frozen mango and doesn’t require any added sweetener. I used 2 tsp of Energy by Goldyn Glow to mine. It’s a turmeric superfood blend with maca. I like it because it adds a delicious, slightly spicy kick and has multiple superfood powders all in one. It’s also organic and vegan. You can make your own superfood powder blend at home with turmeric, ginger, black pepper, and maca powder instead. Smoothie bowls are easy to make once you get the hang of them. You will need a powerful blender or food processer and will have to stop the blender a few times to scrape the sides and bottom. You can add extra almond milk if you find that your smoothie bowl is too thick. Once it’s all blended, it should have the consistency of soft serve ice cream. You can top it with your favorite superfood toppings like coconut, hemp seeds, cacao nibs, chia seeds, or even edible flowers. This bright, tasty superfood smoothie bowl is a great way to start your day!

Mango turmeric smoothie bowl in a jar with dragon fruit balls and edible flowers.

Mango Turmeric Smoothie Bowl

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 sliced, frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp Energy by Goldyn Glow
  • Or substitute Energy powder with:
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor on low speed until smooth. You will need to stop the blender a few times to scrape down the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula. The consistency should be thick and creamy – almost like soft serve ice cream. Once all ingredients are well combined, transfer to a bowl and top with your favorite toppings. Serve immediately.

Mango turmeric smoothie bowl in a jar with blackberries, dragon fruit, and edible flowers.


GoldynGlow ENERGY – Organic Turmeric Superfood Blend with Gelatinized Maca Root

Vegan Pasta Primavera

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This healthy and delicious vegan pasta is ready in just 30 minutes. It’s full of flavor but only contains ten simple ingredients. The verdant color and fresh flavors are perfect for spring time. After all, the Italian word primavera literally translates to spring in English. The soy cream I used in this recipe adds a rich, creamy flavor without all of the calories and fat of traditional heavy cream. You can vary which spring vegetables you throw in, depending on what you have and what you prefer. I chose to use some of my green favorites like asparagus and English peas. It’s important not to overcook the vegetables, otherwise they lose their color, crispness, and also some of their nutrients. The vegetables will also keep cooking once you turn down the heat and add the pasta. I chose to sauté them quickly, but you can also blanch the asparagus and peas in boiling water for one minute or steam them for a few minutes, if you prefer. If you’re using frozen peas and spinach, make sure to thaw them before you use them. This pasta is fresh and light enough to eat every day. I kept the spices to a minimum so that the flavor of the fresh vegetables could really shine through. You can substitute the farfalle with almost any type of pasta including penne or even angel hair. This recipe is great if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to use your spring vegetables. I like to make a big batch on Sundays to eat throughout the week. The leftovers are great as a “desk” lunch the next day. If you make Vegan Pasta Primavera, make sure to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram or Pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Vegan Pasta Primavera

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups farfalle (uncooked)
  • 1 tbs vegan butter (such as Earth Balance brand)
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup fresh English peas
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup soy creamer (such as Organic Valley brand)
  • 1/4 tsp salt plus more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper plus more to taste

Directions

Cook farfalle in a large pot until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta a set aside. Next heat butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Cook shallot for about 3-4 minutes. Next add garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Add asparagus and cook for about 3 minutes. Add peas and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add spinach and cook until just wilted. Reduce heat to low and add cooked pasta. Stir in soy creamer, salt, and pepper. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve while hot. May store leftovers in the fridge for up to three days.

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Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Carrot cake is one of my all time favorite desserts. I was craving it this weekend and decided to “veganize” a traditional carrot cake recipe. This vegan version of classic carrot cake is not too sweet and not dry. This cake made my entire apartment smell so good! The cinnamon and nutmeg really complement the carrot flavor. Grating carrots is definitely not my favorite pastime, but it’s worth it for this scrumptious cake! Because vegan cakes don’t use eggs, they don’t rise as much as traditional cakes. This is why the layers of this cake aren’t as thick as it’s traditional counterpart. I used vegan cream cheese to make the decadent icing. I prefer the Kite Hill brand as its texture is easy to work with and contains no soy (it’s made with almonds). I don’t recommend using the Daiya brand as it has a really tough texture. If you’re not avoiding soy, Toffuti brand vegan cream cheese should also work well but it contains many processed ingredients.

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Icing the cake is a 2 step process.

Flax eggs are a great substitute for regular eggs in vegan baking. Once the flax powder is mixed with water, it turns into a thick, egg-like sludge which acts as a binder for the cake. I lowered the amount of oil for this recipe and added extra applesauce instead – this made it taste rich without extra fat. Walnuts are a traditional topping for carrot cake but I decided to change it up a little and add coconut instead. I had my friends over for this cake and they pretty much devoured it! It’s rich, moist, and super tasty without being too sweet! The cream cheese frosting is super creamy and can be used as a decadent dip for things like pretzels as well. I love making carrot cake in the spring and found this recipe to be simple and really delicious. If you make it, make sure to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Facebook and Instagram or Pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Vegan Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 “flax eggs” (whisk 2 tbs flaxseed powder in 6 tbs water and let sit for 10 minutes)
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 cups grated carrots (medium packed)
  • 1 1/2 cups organic light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic granulated sugar (such as turbinado)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 1 (8oz) package of vegan cream cheese, softened (such as Kite Hill brand)
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (such as Earth Balance brand)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups organic powdered sugar
  • Optional topping:
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease to 9 inch round baking pans with vegan butter and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the wet ingredients – flax eggs, canola oil, applesauce, grated carrots, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract on low speed for about 1 minute. Combine dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt in a separate, medium sized bowl. Add dry ingredients into stand mixer bowl in two to three batches while mixing on low speed. Mix for about 2 minutes (do not over mix). Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure ingredients are evenly combined. Pour batter evenly into both 9 inch baking pans. Bake for about 35-38 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back to touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for about 30 minutes before frosting. Prepare frosting while cake is cooling. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add softened cream cheese, softened butter, and vanilla extract and whisk at medium speed until well combined. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and whisk on medium speed until frosting is smooth. Place one layer of the cooled cake on a cake stand and frost with about 1/2 the frosting. Next, add second layer of cake and top with remainder of frosting. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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Adapted from: https://www.livewellbakeoften.com/the-best-carrot-cake-recipe/

Beet Hummus

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Spring weather is finally here! Warmer weather motivates me to make light and simple food. If you haven’t tried beet hummus yet, you are missing out! It can be used as a dip or a spread and pretty much goes with everything. The bright pink color is stunning and brightens up any meal. Beets can be messy to handle because the color will stain everything. I usually try to wear food safe gloves while handling them and try to make sure that I wipe off anything they come in contact with quickly. I find that boiling beets is an easy way to cook to them. Once they are cooked and cooled, the peels come off very easily – you don’t need a peeler. Cooked beets have a buttery, slightly sweet flavor. They are very low in calories and fat yet still very filling. They are high in fiber and also vitamin C. I added chickpeas to my recipe in order add some protein and extra fiber to this tasty dip. The tahini is the secret ingredient that brings an irresistible flavor and depth to this recipe. Beet hummus goes with fresh vegetables like carrots and cucumbers as well pita chips or pita bread. I like to spread it on my toast in the morning and also use it on sandwiches. Beet hummus is great as a healthy appetizer or snack. If you are short on time, you can use about 1.5 cups of pre-cooked beets instead of cooking them yourself. This recipe can also be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. I love beet hummus and actually prefer it over regular hummus these days. As always, if you make this recipe let me know how it turns out by posting a picture on Instagram or Facebook and tagging @thefriendlyepicurean or pin this recipe on Pinterest.

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Beet Hummus

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 small beets
  • 1 (15oz) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 2 small cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste
  • 1 tbs chopped parsley (optional topping)
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds (optional topping)

Directions

Wash beets thoroughly and place in a medium sized saucepan with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 45-50 minutes. Beets swill be fork tender when done. Submerge beets in cold water. Remove peels with your hands once beets are cool to touch. Cut beets into quarters and place in food processor along with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, and salt. Process in food processor until smooth. Add more salt to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with parsley and sesame seeds before serving. May store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Bang Bang Cauliflower

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Bang Bang cauliflower is one my favorite dishes. I would say it’s the Asian inspired version of Buffalo cauliflower. I first tried it at a restaurant a few blocks from my apartment and fell in love with the flavor of the sauce. The restaurant version is really tasty but deep fried. My version is a little healthier because it’s baked and uses panko breadcrumbs to add some crunch. Because this recipe is dairy free, there’s no egg involved. I used vegan butter instead of egg to make the breading stick. The butter allows some of the panko to stick but it’s still a light coating. Panko breadcrumbs are used in a lot of Asian dishes as breading. They are made differently vs. traditional breadcrumbs and are light, airy, and very crunchy. A little goes a long way! The sauce is really the star of this dish and somewhat addictive! It’s tangy, spicy, and creamy and pairs really well with the crispy, hot cauliflower. I love the added freshness and flavor of the green onions on top, but you can certainly serve this dish without them. The versatile sauce also goes well with other vegetables and can be used as a dip for almost anything including tofu, tempeh, or dumplings. It’s really easy to make and the fresh lime juice really kicks up the flavor. Sweet chili sauce is not hard to find in any grocery store and adds a little touch of sweetness to the sauce. Feel free to adjust the ingredient proportions of the sauce to your preference! You can add more Sriracha sauce to taste depending on how spicy you like your food. The soy sauce adds some salt to the sauce – feel free to add a little more of that to taste as well. Adding less vegan mayonnaise will thin out the sauce. This colorful and spicy dish is perfect as a vegan appetizer at your next dinner party. If you make Bang Bang Cauliflower make sure to take a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram and/or Facebook or pin this recipe on Pinterest!

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Bang Bang Cauliflower

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 10 cups of florets)
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter, melted (such as Earth Balance brand) or canola oil
  • 1.5 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs vegan mayonnaise (such as Vegenaise brand)
  • 1 to 2 tbs Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbs sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 to 2 tbs fresh lime juice
  • canola oil spray
  • 1/4 tsp salt (add more to taste)
  • 3 tbs chopped green onions (optional topping)

Directions

Preheat oven to 420F. Spray two baking sheets with canola oil spray and set aside. Cut cauliflower into even and small sized florets. In a large bowl toss cauliflower with butter (or oil), making sure all florets are evenly coated so that the panko can stick to them. Place panko breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl. Roll florets in panko breadcrumbs and place on baking sheets, making sure cauliflower pieces are not touching. Spray cauliflower with canola oil spray. Bake cauliflower for 20 minutes, then flip cauliflower pieces carefully with tongs or a spatula, and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Cauliflower and panko coating will appear golden brown when done. After baking, sprinkle cauliflower with salt and add more to taste. While cauliflower is baking, prepare the sauce. Whisk together mayonnaise, Sriracha (add more or less depending on desired spice level), sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, and lime juice until smooth. Place cauliflower in a large serving bowl/platter and top with sauce and chopped green onions. Serve while hot. Consume within 1 day of preparing (panko will lose its crunch). Extra sauce may be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

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