Veganuary Special Recipe! Purple Sweet Potato: Loaded with Love

When Veganuary’s communications coordinator, Michelle Valoz, reached out to ask if I’d like to collaborate on an Instagram reel in January…

I was thrilled for the opportunity to encourage thousands of people to adopt a plant-based diet and embrace a vegan lifestyle through their non-profit platform!

She let me know that Veganuary gathered a panel of experts to determine 2024’s official Vegetable of the Year. The panel determined that the purple sweet potato was the winner, and was hoping I’d be up for sharing a plant-based recipe.

The purple sweet potato is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. I often talk about “eating the rainbow” and the vibrant purple color of this potato comes from disease-fighting antioxidants called anthocyanins. According to a 2021 study in Antioxidants, the high antioxidant content in purple sweet potatoes fights inflammation and helps reduce our risk for heart disease and cancer. These root tubers are packed with fiber, vitamin C and potassium. As part of a whole foods plant-based diet, eating sweet potatoes can contribute to weight loss, improved immunity and heart health.

Below you’ll find the plant-based recipe I created specifically for this Veganuary collaboration. Make sure you check out the reel on Instagram too!

If you know me, you know that I’m all about helping people build a healthy RELATIONSHIP with food and their bodies. This means that I put a huge emphasis on HOW and WHY we eat (not just WHAT we eat), which makes sense considering 80-90% of people who lose weight through dieting gain it all back. For that reason I added a few tips on eating consciously and mindfully at the end of the recipe!

Purple Sweet Potato: Loaded with Love (a Veganuary Special Recipe!)

Makes 2 meals (with the possibility of leftovers)


*use organic whenever possible!

Loaded Potato

  • 2 large Purple sweet potatoes (or sweet potato variety of choice)
  • 1 15-oz can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups raw Broccoli florets, rinsed
  • A few sprays of Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable broth
  • Slap Ya Mama seasoning (or seasoning of choice, like the spice mix in this recipe from Rabbit & Wolves)

Kale Bed (adopted from my Noochylicious Kale Salad Recipe)

  • 1 bunch of Kale, destemmed, rinsed and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Noochylicious nutritional yeast (by far the BEST tasting nooch I’ve ever had!)
  • Slap Ya Mama seasoning (or seasoning of choice)

Tahini Dressing*

  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-3 Tbsp water
  • A pinch of Himalayan or Celtic sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees
  2. Line 1 small and 1 large baking sheet with parchment paper


  1. Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork.
  2. Place them on small baking sheet and roast for 35-50 minutes (depending on the size of the potato) until the skin has puffed slightly and it’s easy to pierce with a fork

Broccoli & Chickpeas

  1. Toss broccoli florets with a few sprays of extra virgin olive oil or vegetable broth
  2. Spread broccoli onto one half of the large baking sheet
  3. Spread the rinsed chickpeas on a kitchen towel, pat dry, and remove loose skins
  4. Toss the rinsed chickpeas in a bowl with a few sprays of extra virgin olive oil or vegetable broth, and a few dashes of Slap Ya Mama seasoning or seasoning of choice
  5. Spread seasoned chickpeas onto the other half of the large baking sheet
  6. Place in oven and roast 15-25 minutes

Tahini Dressing

  1. Combine tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt, and water in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly blended (if you double the recipe, you have the option of using a blender)


  1. In a large bowl, add chopped kale
  2. Add the olive oil and lemon juice and massage the kale with your hands until it becomes soft
  3. Add the nutritional yeast and seasoning and mix thoroughly


  1. Distribute the kale so that it’s covering the bottom of the plate.
  2. Place one of the potatoes onto the middle of the plate, cut it in half, and score it with a fork
  3. Place some broccoli on top of the potato halves.
  4. Drizzle tahini dressing over the broccoli.
  5. Add some chickpeas on top.

Enjoy (Mindfully!)

  1. Pause before you eat to consciously connect with the extraordinary plants on your plate that have the power to heal, nourish, and fuel our bodies, and the fabulous feeling that comes when we choose compassion.
  2. Eat mindfully, chewing each bite to a paste before swallowing, paying attention to all your senses, and listening to your body so you’ll know when you’ve had enough (stopping when you’re about 80% full and saving the rest as leftovers).

I also want to invite you to take advantage of the following fabulous resources to help you on your plant-based/vegan journey…

Take on the 22Reboot Challenge – The ultimate 22-day transformation system… The simplest, most effective path to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle you can be proud of.

Listen to The Rise & Thrive Podcast

Listen to The Vegan Life Coach Podcast

Interested in working with me (group or 1:1 coaching)? Email me directly: [email protected]

Holiday Special (EP 35: The Vegan Life Coach Podcast)

Navigating the holidays as a vegan, especially if you’re newly vegan or in the process of transitioning, can be really tough!


Subscribe: Apple Podcast | Stitcher | Spotify |  YouTube

*Links mentioned in the episode are at the bottom of this page.

In this episode we give you some valuable tips, tools, and strategies that will help you not just survive, but truly thrive this holiday season.

I talk about how fortunate I am that most of the people I spend my holidays with are vegan at this point, especially since I will be spending the time with my immediate family and closest friends this year.

Stephanie however, has a more “blended” family, which we know is the situation most of our listeners are in.

Add on top of the stress brought on by navigating the holidays with non-vegans, this year we are adding a pandemic to the mix… Oh boy! 😉

Having the holiday season amidst Covid19 means that many of the traditions we follow year after year won’t be feasible (at least not safely).

Stephanie and I talk about the opportunity we have this year, thanks to the pandemic, to view these challenges as a “forced pause,” giving us the space to step back and take inventory.

We give our listeners some solid strategies for taking full advantage of that opportunity, including determining what traditions you actually enjoy. This is a great year to let go of the traditions that don’t serve you or your family.

I love what Stephanie says about releasing old traditions and trying something new… “Design this holiday season just like you’re designing the rest of your life!”

Listen or watch the full episode for lots of laughs in addition to the valuable discussion to help you reduce your stress and make this holiday season one to remember (in the best ways possible).

– Ella


Episode 32: Letting Go

Take Our New Going Vegan Quiz!  


Grab the valuable gift we have for you HERE.

Have a question you’d like us to answer, or feedback you’d like to give us (we love hearing from you!)? Leave us a voice (or written) message HERE.

Interested in receiving a free coaching session to air on an upcoming episode? Apply HERE.

Mindful Eating: Why and How

What comes to mind when you hear the term, “mindful eating”? 

For much of my adult life, eating was either about controlling the appearance of my body or numbing negative emotion. The transformation I went through however, completely changed the way I experience food! (If you’d like to learn more about my personal journey, click HERE.)

Eating mindfully makes a HUGE positive impact on my own life, as well as the lives of our Plant-Empowered Coaching Program clients. We’re even doing a mindful eating CHALLENGE in our free Empowered Vegan Life Facebook group (if you haven’t joined our incredible group, join us HERE now)!

Here’s what Jamie Rottura, one of our inspirational Program graduates has to offer to help you jump start the habit of eating mindfully…

The term “mindful eating” can seem quite vague to many people.  It is tough to imagine what it looks like to eat with intention.  The term denotes eating while in a meditative state… but what does that mean?

Before I began the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program (PECP), I would eat at designated times of day (i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner, respectively), usually in-between tasks or while working.  I shoveled my food into my mouth because I had waited to eat until I was so hungry that I NEEDED food or I would pass out. Then, I would eat until I was too full to move and be angry at myself and unable to do much for a good hour or so after. 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this ONE thing made me feel so badly about myself.  I would feel sluggish and look at myself in the mirror thinking about how gross and gluttonous I was. I would go into a spiral of negative emotions about my body, therein feeling depressed and overwhelmed.  One meal could cause me to hate myself, back then. 

The mindfulness tools we learn within PECP have taught me how to break that awful cycle.  I now enjoy eating on a whole new level while also appreciating my body throughout the entire process. Eating is no longer another “task”… It is an experience that I look forward to without guilt or anger.  I taste flavors, feel textures and pay attention to the smell of food in a way that helps me savor every meal. 

Next time you sit down for a meal, try some of these tips that we practice in PECP:

  • Choose foods that fuel you instead of foods that are just there when you’re hungry.   
  • Chew food to a pulp before swallowing.
  • Ask yourself if you are enjoying the flavor and texture of the food.
  • Smell the food before each bite.
  • When you sit down to eat, make that the “thing” you are doing at the time.  Turn off the TV and other mindless distractions and enjoy the meal.  
  • Listen to your body’s reactions to foods. Ask yourself, “How do I feel when I eat this particular food? Does it make me feel energized or depleted? Am I satisfied or still hungry?”
  • Before you choose a particular food or meal, ask yourself, “Do I really want this right now?” If the answer is yes, then take a little at a time. If the answer is no, feel open to leaving that option off of your plate.
  • Remind yourself that you DO NOT have to finish the entire plate of food (that’s why storage containers were invented)!

Eating is an experience, not a means to an end. Enjoy every bite! 

My Story in a Nutshell


It all started when I was seven years old. 

My mom had picked me up after school to take me to gymnastics practice and asked how my day was. I told her we had learned about Daniel Boone (in case you don’t know, Daniel Boone was one of our first American folk heroes who infamously carried around a shotgun and wore a raccoon hat). 

I was confused. “Daniel Boone was supposed to be a hero mom, but he was not.” I said. “He was a mean man. He killed and ate animals!”

My mom was honest with me. She said, “Well Ella, we are just fortunate now-a-days. Unlike Daniel Boone, we get to go to the grocery store to buy our meat.” 

It was at that moment that I connected the food on my plate with the animal that it was. I was horrified! I told my mom, “I’m not going to do that anymore.” 

That was it – I never ate meat again.

I was extremely fortunate to have such loving parents. They gave me the freedom to explore who I was, and what was most important to me in this world.

Not only did I stop eating meat, but I had also discovered my purpose in life. Every chance I got, I wrote about how it simply made no sense for people to eat animals. Why would we kill another living being when we can easily live without inflicting such suffering? 

I couldn’t understand how anyone could love their dog and then turn around and eat a pig. I saw all creatures on this earth as equal in their right to live. And I saw us, as humans, the only species with the ability to consciously choose whether or not we eat other animals.

These strong beliefs came with a lot of weight, especially as I started getting older and discovered the truth about factory farming. I sought out information, and what I discovered was much worse than the image of Daniel Boone shooting Bambi that originally caused me to stop eating meat.

The undercover photos and videos I found of factory farmed animals felt like a knife in my gut. It was like I could feel the suffering of the animals and it tore me apart. 

When I discovered that the cruelty of the dairy and egg industries was no less than the cruelty of the meat industries I immediately went vegan. I was fifteen.

In my young mind, I thought that if only people knew the truth then surely they would go vegan like me. I didn’t see myself as different. I just thought I had discovered something other people were not yet aware of since the information back then was not readily available.

I therefore set out to spread awareness. I was a leader in a local animal rights group, organizing protests and leafleting every chance I got throughout my teenage years. 

I sat in cages on the sidewalk demonstrating the cramped conditions of chickens in battery cages. I wore buttons on my shirt at school, asking people to boycott companies that tested on animals. I led protests outside of fur stores, circuses, and pigeon shoots. I was on a mission!


After a while, I came to understand that many people simply did not WANT to know the truth about where their “food” came from. 

I was right that many people were unaware of the extent of the cruelty, but I was incorrect in thinking that simply presenting them with the information would be enough to motivate people to go vegan. This was a tough realization but it certainly didn’t stop me. I knew I’d be fighting for animals until the day I died. It was just a matter of HOW I was going to go about fighting.

Now don’t get me wrong… I believe we absolutely need those on the front line of this bloody battle. People to risk their freedom and even their lives to expose what goes on behind the closed doors of factory farms. 

We need people telling it like it is without concern for people’s feelings. I realize that may sound harsh to some, but there are millions of animals suffering, in horrible pain, and dying horrible deaths every second of every day. 

These animals, just like dogs and cats, experience love, happiness, grief, pain. If these were millions of dogs, almost everyone would be on board. They wouldn’t be calling the vegan movement “extreme”. But why? Why does a dog deserve life and love, and a cow does not? 

The problem is that people don’t want to let go of their defenses. It would make them wrong. It would mean experiencing negative emotions, including guilt, if they choose not to change their ways. Change is uncomfortable. Discomfort, however, is an investment in personal growth. Discomfort is the price of achieving not only a happy life, but also a meaningful life.

Going vegan is about wanting to make conscious choices. It’s about wanting to align your actions with what you truly value in life. It’s about not allowing yourself to say, “I love animals” and then turn around and eat their dead bodies. I learned that people have to be ready to open their minds and their hearts and care about the impact their choices make on other living beings and on the world, and to be willing to make a change.

Another important factor is believing that your voice, and your choices make a difference! Over 20 years after I led my first circus protest, in 2017, Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus took animals out of their acts. That’s a huge deal, and it happened in my lifetime. What’s 20 years of effort to save the countless elephants who will now be spared a life of captivity and exploitation?!


I would call the vast majority of my adult life, up until just a year ago, a period of life-experimentation, self-exploration. I experienced a lot of joy and excitement, but also dealt with a lot of shame and frustration. 

Although I would never wish many of my experiences on anyone else, I wouldn’t take back even the most painful parts. Every experience provided me with an opportunity to learn and grow. I see now just how resilient I am, and how cool is it that we can rewrite the stories we create about who we are and what we are capable of. I love knowing we are that powerful!  Let me explain.

It started with my first serious boyfriend. He was an alcoholic and a drug addict. It was during my time with him that I wrote my story about being “unworthy” and “not good enough”. From there my self-image went downhill. It was like I felt that, beyond my mission of fighting for animal rights, I really didn’t matter. 

Ella Disordered Eating Image

For the next 15 years I worked in the fitness industry and struggled in secret with a distorted body image, disordered eating, depression, anxiety, and terrible insomnia. 

Women were amazed by my strong, lean body and I was a walking billboard for the anti-stereotypes of what a vegan looked like. I inspired more people to start the transition to plant-based just by keeping myself in tip top shape, than anything else I could say or do. 

I put a ton of pressure on myself to be the shining example of a healthy, fit, vegan, which meant I couldn’t share my struggles. 

I was carrying around a lot of shame, which contributed to the disordered eating patterns. I would restrict my food intake, count calories, track macros, and walk around hungry 95% of the time. The other 5% I was binging, ashamed and alone (I could down an entire jar of peanut butter in one night).

The pressure I put on myself also led to body dysmorphia. I saw and felt fat that wasn’t there. After a devastating break-up from my fiance, I remember challenging myself to see if I could get below 100 pounds. I’m not one to lose a challenge and I managed it. I’m 5’7”.

My own food intake and weight were something I had control over. And with so much else out of my control I think that subconsciously, it gave me comfort.


It was a long, agonizing journey for me to come to terms with, and work though, my disordered eating and body image issues. It wasn’t until 2016, many years after I had built a name for myself with my brand, Sexy Fit Vegan, that I made it my mission to change my story of being unworthy and not good enough, and to heal myself.

I had worked my ass off creating my website and blog with the purpose of educating and inspiring people, but there was a disconnect between me and the people I aimed to help. I was frustrated by the lack of engagement. 

It finally hit me like a ton of bricks… It wasn’t about people lacking the desire to engage, it was about me not being honest with them or myself. I was presenting only the good, and continuing to hide all my struggles. Who can relate to someone who appears to have it all together?!

I set out to rid myself of the shame by getting vulnerable and sharing my struggles. I decided to not only come clean to my friends and family, but to all of my followers as well, which I did in 2017 with a series of blog posts I called “My Journey from Disordered Eating to Plant-Empowered Living.” Out of sharing came a sense of empowerment like I’d never experienced before. I finally felt free in my authenticity.

Now don’t get me wrong. The negative self-talk didn’t just disappear all of a sudden. It’s a process. I discovered a self-coaching system that allowed me to consistently do the work needed to finally reprogram my brain, rid myself of the limiting beliefs keeping me stuck, step into my power, and access the happiness that is already deep within all of us!

I then developed my transformational MASTER CLASS, started the Empowered Vegan Life Facebook Group, and created the Plant-Empowered Coaching Program to serve people who not only have the desire to transition to a healthy vegan lifestyle, but are also struggling with shame, an unhealthy relationship with food and their bodies, and are engaging in self-sabotaging behaviors that are preventing them from reaching their potential.

The coolest part is that what took me years to figure out is now serving people to their freedom in just six months! 

The new program is based on true transformation through empowerment and self-love.  It’s built on the basis of aligning your actions with your values. It teaches people to approach themselves with curiosity and compassion, to accept and respect themselves and their bodies. It coaches people down the path toward not only a healthy and happy life, but also a free and meaningful life. It coaches people to a place where they become the inspiration for others and make a positive impact in the world.

And though the program successfully helps people adopt a healthy, fit, vegan lifestyle, the focus in not about food! You see, for the people I work with, feeling powerless over food is just a symptom. And the countless diet plans and training programs they’d been beating themselves up over, were attempts at putting Band-aids on wounds that needed major surgery. 

And this leads me to where I am today! Continuing to spread my message of veganism through empowerment, through aligning your actions with your values and rewriting your story with self-love as the foundation.

3 Top Tips for Traveling Like a Sexy Fit Vegan Pro

Traveling as a vegan has become DRAMATICALLY easier the last couple of years (I would know, as I’ve been a traveling vegan for 24 years!)

Even airports are starting to get on board the vegan train thanks in part to the mass distribution of products like the Beyond Burger and the Impossible Burger, which are even hitting fast food joints like BurgerFi and Burger King.

My boyfriend recently texted me a photo of himself at the airport, excited to report he was chowing on a bagel with Daiya cream cheese!

Even though sticking with your healthy vegan lifestyle while traveling has become easier in some cities, it can still pose a challenge in less progressive areas, especially for vegan newbies, hence why I’m writing this article.

Here are my top 3 tips for traveling like a sexy fit vegan pro…

#1: Prepare Healthy, Hearty Food for the Plane

Many people often limit themselves to bringing only snack foods, like trail mix, chips, and candy with them on the plane. Instead, I have found that leaving the snacks behind, and instead bringing hearty, whole foods-based mini-meals works much better. That way, when I get hungry, I can eat something that is both healthy and satisfying, with the result of arriving at my destination feeling fantastic!

My “go-to” plane food is a chickpea salad I make by simply throwing together chickpeas, halved grape tomatoes, black olives, and avocado, tossing this with a little olive oil and Herbamare seasoning, and then adding micro-green sprouts and sunflower seeds. This meal is delicious, nutrient-packed, and keeps me feeling satiated for hours!

Start experimenting, and before long you’ll have your own “go-to’s” for your trips and it will be a no-brainer!

#2: Do our Research in Advance & Prepare Accordingly

There are many awesome apps now to help you navigate the food options in cities all over the world. Happy Cow is the oldest and possibly the most extensive website and app for finding vegan and vegan-friendly spots to eat.

Social media is also a great place to do your research these days by connecting with vegans in the places you’re traveling to. When I went to London last year for example, I join the “London Vegans” Facebook Group and was able to get great advice about vegan-friendly restaurants and markets.

To avoid getting hangry on your trip (which can really put a damper on one’s vacay), I recommend making sure you know where there is a market close to where you’re staying so that you can at least pick up a few items when you arrive, like apples and peanut butter to keep around as a snack (especially if you’re staying at a hotel without a refrigerator for restaurant leftovers).

 #3: Adopt an “Adventure Mindset”

If you’re familiar with my work, you already know I’m all about developing an empowered mindset, which allows people to make conscious, intentional, and mindful choices.

When traveling, I encourage you to leave your expectations at home, and think of the trip as an adventure, including making it fun to find the best vegan food in the city you’re visiting! Without expectations, you eliminate disappointment.

Doing research ahead of time is extremely helpful, but there can be  hidden gems that don’t show up on apps. Ask the locals!

Instead of relying solely on Yelp or Happy Cow, consider asking around once you arrive at your destination so that you don’t limit yourself to the more touristy restaurants and markets. I’ve found myself spending tons of time doing research in advance only to find that the best places end up being the spots that the locals have recommended. So take your eyes off the screens and interact with real people and have yourself an adventure!

Tropical Baby Potato Salad with Papaya Vinaigrette

Tropical baby potato salad

Summer cookouts are just around the corner. Impress your guests with this light spin on a vegan potato salad!

Relax in the sun and watch this unconventional potato salad disappear while the boring, fat-laden macaroni salad sits untouched at your next get-together.

Tropical Baby Potato Salad with Papaya Vinaigrette

Ingredients for dressing

  • 1/2 cup papaya, cubed
  • 1 Tbs fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp papaya seeds
  • 3 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Blend all dressing in a food processor. Refrigerate for at least one hour and shake well before serving.

Ingredients for potato salad

  • 24 ounces petite baby potato, halved, cooked al dente, and cooled
  • 1 small bulb of fennel with stems, sliced thin
  • 1/4 orange bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 2 scallions (white and green), sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1 small handful organic micro greens

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and fold together. Gently coat with papaya dressing and mix well. Adjust seasoning if necessary and serve immediately.

Asian Glass Noodle Salad

Spring is on it’s way, and along with it comes inspiration for intriguing new vegan recipes!

If you’re ready to set aside the casseroles and stews, and dig into a hearty salad, this recipe from Callicoon Kitchen provides the perfect bridge from winter to summer with hearty cold-weather flavors in a light, slightly spicy dressing. More proof that salads don’t have to be boring and predictable!

Chilled Asian Glass Noodle Salad


  • 6 ounces cooked Asian Glass Noodles, chilled
  • 5-6 Turkish figs – chopped
  • 1 small handful organic microgreens
  • 1/2 peeled and diced raw golden beet
  • 1/2 roasted sweet potato cooled and diced
  • 2 Tbs Austrian pumpkin seeds
  • 3 Tbs toasted sesame oil
  • 3 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

In a large mixing bowl add the chilled noodles, figs, beets and sweet potato one at a time, mixing well after each. Add pumpkin seeds and micro greens, then finish with sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and pepper flakes. Check for seasoning and serve immediately.

Spinach Dumplings with a Tangy Twist


These delectable spinach dumplings are filled with orange cauliflower, black lentils, and quinoa, and are finished with shaved toasted garlic and a spicy mango dipping sauce… Now that’s a mouth full!

“Everybody Wang Chung Tonight”🍴 If you love whipping up special, unique creations in the kitchen, you’re going to adore this dish. We’re talking about home-made, from scratch, healthy, nutrient and protein-rich dumplings here! 


Ingredients for Dumpling Wrappers

  • 1 cup chopped baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups A/P flour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup very hot water (not boiling)
  • 1/4 cup plus about 3 tbsp spinach purée

Directions: In a large bowl combine chopped spinach and water and purée with an emulsion blender until completely dissolved. In a separate bowl combine flour and salt and mix well. Slowly add hot water and spinach purée and mix well until a shaggy dough forms. See our other Dumpling recipes on how to roll out dough and fill them.

Ingredients for filling

  • 1/2 cup cooked Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup cooked baby Black Lentils
  • 1/2 cup cooked, fine chopped orange cauliflower
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 4 tbsp low sodium Soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

Directions: In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well after each and set aside.

Ingredients for mango dipping sauce

  • 1 mango diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsp chopped shallot
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sriacha
  • 1/2 tsp chili sauce
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk..start with 2 until desired consistency is reached

Directions: In a food processor combine all ingredients and refrigerate. Garnish with black sesame seeds. Enjoy🍴

Tips: Do not over stuff dumplings..⭐️

7 Essential Kitchen Staples for the Plant-Based Diet Newbie


One of the most challenging aspects of transitioning to a plant-based diet can be re-setting your default kitchen staples, and creating a new set of “go-to” meals.

As an ex-cheese addict myself, I struggled when I first started transitioning to a vegan plant-based diet, staring at my bare cupboards and fridge and wondering what on earth I could possibly cook.

A big part of making the transition easy and maintaining a plant-based diet is changing the main foods that you automatically keep your kitchen cupboards stocked with. Many people are under the impression that eating vegan is basically code for eating expensive, but if you’re clever about it, and stock up on the right essentials, you can in fact save money! Buying in bulk and keep certain “go-to” foods stocked in your kitchen at all times is key.

Make sure you never run out of these babies (your new best friends):

  1. Chia Seedschia seeds plant-based diet staple

I can’t sing the praises of these tiny little seeds enough (apart from when they get stuck in my teeth). Chia seeds are perfect to be mixed into your cereal, sprinkled on your salads or thrown into your cakes or pancakes as an extra nutritional hit.

Chia seeds are also a wonderful egg-replacement, binding things together just like an egg does, perfect in, say, homemade vegan burgers. For a delicious dessert or even breakfast, chia seeds can be used to make guilt-free chia pudding that tastes better than it looks!

  1. Milled Linseed

Linseeds are just as wonderful as chia seeds, packed full of many of the same nutrients. Buy them milled rather than whole, and they’ll be easier for your system to digest. Use them as a different egg-replacer, add them to your smoothies, and sprinkle them on salads to add variety to your plant-based diet.

  1. Nuts

    nuts on a plant-based diet

Nuts are a plant-based diet staple for most (with the exception of people with nut allergies), as nuts are an incredible source of nutrition. Just think… There are enough nutrients inside one little nut to produce a full-sized tree! One downside is that nuts can be expensive, especially if bought in small quantities. I suggest buying in bulk and taking advantage of any 2-for-1 offers to stock up and have your walnuts, almonds or cashews on hand for your cereals, smoothie bowls, cakes, stir fries, burgers, and nut milk… Be imaginative!

  1. Tahini

I can no longer imagine a life without tahini. It seems that my old cheese addiction has been replaced by this magical paste made from protein-packed sesame seeds. Whether it’s for whipping up your own hummus or making delicious, creamy and easy salad dressings, tahini will quickly become a staple to add to your plant-based diet “go-to” list.

  1. Canned Pulses

For most busy people, remembering to put your chickpeas, lentils or beans (collectively known as pulses) to soak the night before you want to use them is often impractical. Hell, I rarely plan ahead that much, and that’s often one of the advantages of veganism: no meat to defrost in advance! For those last-minute plant-based meals, having a few cans of beans and chickpeas in the cupboard can be a lifesaver.

A great bonus of these cans is that you can use the water your pulses come in as yet another amazing egg replacer! Aquafaba (which is what chickpea or bean water is known as) whips up into peaks just like egg whites. Try it, you’ll be amazed!

  1. Dried Pulses

When you do have the time to plan ahead and meal prep for the week, dried pulses are more planet-friendly (think of all those cans you’ll save) and more pocket-friendly too. I like to boil up big batches of beans at the weekend and then freeze them in meal-sized portions. I can then use the pulses for last-minute, mid-week pasta salads or to whip up some refried beans if I fancy Mexican.

  1. Nutritional Yeast

vegan chickpea salad sandwich with nutritional yeast

Do you miss that cheesy, creamy taste after switching to a plant-based diet? Luckily for you, you don’t have to resort to dairy products to get a bit of creaminess into your life. Nutritional yeast comes in little flakes or as a powder, and is a key ingredient in all vegan cheese recipes, and any recipe that tries to replicate a wonderfully creamy texture, with absolutely none of the cruelty.

Containing lots of B vitamins and often fortified with vitamin B12, keep nutritional yeast in your kitchen cupboard and experiment with the incredible recipes out there, like this Grilled Chickpea Salad Sandwich!

By keeping your kitchen stocked up with these plant-based diet bad boys, you’ve got yourself the basics for loads of delicious vegan recipes. Keep that fridge brimming with fresh vegetables and that fruit bowl spilling over and you’ve got everything you need to keep yourself nourished and thriving for a life time!

-Katie (

Tropical Kale Salad: A Tantalizing Summer Dish


This unique gourmet vegan recipe for Tropical Kale Salad is made with sweet kiwi, macadamia nuts, and mango, and is topped with a bright tangerine vinaigrette is super simple to make!

Full of brilliant colors and packed with a variety of nutrients, this tropical kale salad is a perfect vegan dish to serve in the sizzling months of summer.

Refreshing and satisfying, this salad is also gorgeous to look at. You’re sure to receive tons of compliments on the presentation alone. And then when you and your guests dive in, the flavors will tantalize taste buds!

In case you are wary of eating too much fruit, check out the post, Adopting a Healthy Vegan Diet Plan: The Fruit vs. Sugar Confusion. Ella gives you all the info you need to feel good about nourishing your body with fruit.

Tropical Lacinato Kale Salad with Sweet Kiwi, Macadamia Nuts, Mango, and a Bright Tangerine Vinaigrette

Ingredients for Salad
Serves 2

  • 2 Large handfuls Lacinato kale chopped
  • 1 small handful organic pea shoots chopped
  • 1/4 red onion thin sliced
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 Kiwi sliced
  • 1/2 mango thin sliced
  • 8 heirloom baby tomato sliced
  • 1/2 cup Rosemary croutons cubed
  • 6 assorted olives
  • chia seeds for garnish

Ingredients for Tangerine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup juice of tangerines and zest of 1 Tangerine
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small clove minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp chopped dill
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper

Directions for dressing

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl except olive oil. Whisk well. Slowly drizzle and whisk in extra virgin olive oil. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Directions for Salad

In a large mixing bowl combine kale, pea shoots and onion. Serve in a chilled plate. Evenly distribute macadamia nuts, kiwi, tomato, croutons and olives evenly between both plates. Top with sliced mango and garnish with his seeds. Drizzle on tangerine vinaigrette and serve immediately

Tips: Baby Spinach can be substituted for Kale. Pecans can also be substituted for macadamia nuts. Be sure to serve chilled.


*Like this recipe? Check out more of my creative, gourmet vegan recipes!