Easy Avocado Carbonara (Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free)

20 Minute Meals, Dairy-Free, Entree, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free

Yes, I’ve made this three times in the last week.

Truth be told, I’ve technically never actually had traditional carbonara pasta. Seeing as it is typically made with cream and pasta, and I am dairy-free and gluten-free, odds weren’t quite in my favor. But, I imagine this avocado version is exactly what carbonara should be…if not better.

The avocado takes “creamy” to a whole new level. The egg makes the sauce fluffier (and even creamier), and the pepper ties everything together. The best part? This recipe takes max fifteen minutes. Usually when I’m hungry, I have negative patience to spend time cooking. But this avocado carbonara is so quick and so worth it. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 servings of your favorite pasta (I’m using gluten-free Banza Cavatappi)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tbs. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbs. lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp. salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • Optional: Add pancetta or bacon bits for an extra savory bite!

Recipe:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions (reserve some pasta water for later, just in case).
  2. While your pasta is cooking, add avocado, egg, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic powder to a blender. Blend until creamy and well-combined.
  3. Add the avocado sauce to a medium or large saucepan and cook over very low heat for 2-3 minutes. Mix in the cooked pasta and stir for another 1-2 minutes (we don’t want to overcook and scramble the eggs). If the sauce is too thick, add in a bit of your reserved pasta water. At this point, you’re welcome to add in optional chopped pancetta or bacon.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl. Optionally top with extra pepper and/or sliced almonds for crunch. Serve warm!

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Spicy Chickpea Pockets (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Dairy-Free, Entree, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan

Crispy, hearty, spicy…need I say more?

If you’re on “Cooking TikTok,” you may have seen the pan-fried spring rolls trend. This is my rendition, and I am obsessed. I was already a fan of regular spring rolls, but crispy? Sounded like heaven…

I wanted to make an Asian-inspired filling that was hearty and protein-packed. I thought about the types of dipping sauces I like with spring rolls, and sweet chili sauce popped into my head. Why not make my own sweet chili sauce and incorporate it into my filling? Enter chickpeas (and some veggies), and these spicy chickpea pockets were born. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6 pockets

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp. honey
  • Optional: Make additional sauce for dipping. For the dipping sauce, halve the salt, apple cider vinegar, and honey.

Filling

  • 1 cup canned or cooked chickpeas
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/8 yellow onion
  • Approx. 15 stems of cilantro

Wrapper

  • 6 rice paper wrappers (about 22 cm diameter)
  • Small bowl of water

Recipe:

  1. Mix sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  2. Finely dice carrot and onion. Remove the stems from the cilantro, and roughly chop the leaves.
  3. In an oiled medium sauce pan, add carrots and cook for 5 minutes over low heat. Add onions, chickpeas, and sauce. Sauté over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes or until all ingredients are cooked and softened.
  4. Transfer chickpea mixture to a medium bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash mixture to break down chickpeas. Add cilantro and mix well.
  5. On a large plate, take a rice paper wrapper and brush water over both sides. It may take a few moments to become pliable–do not over-wet the paper (it will become too soft and rip). In the middle of the wrapper, add about 2 tablespoons of the chickpea mixture. Carefully fold the wrapper like a burrito and set off to the side. Repeat for the remaining 5 wrappers to create 6 “chickpea pockets.”
  6. Add the chickpea pockets (thickest side of the wrapper should go down first) to a well-oiled, medium sauce pan over low-medium heat. Cook until lightly browned and crispy. Flip and cook the other side until lightly browned and crispy.
  7. Serve warm!

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Best Granola Ever (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

20 Minute Meals, Breakfast, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Snack, Soy-Free, Vegan

I can eat this in one sitting…

I’m very particular about my granola. I like it chunky, nutty, and au naturel. I’ve tried my fair share of store-bought granolas (there definitely are some good ones!), but most are heavy on refined sugars, don’t have enough chunks, and just don’t have the right flavor. This granola clusters recipe totally changes the game. I don’t find hazelnuts enough in granola, and adding them here adds a perfect, nutty depth. Plus, the mix of cinnamon and maple syrup creates a sense of warmth and coziness–perfect for the winter months!

Enjoy this granola as a snack (I will literally eat this by the handful), over yogurt and fruit, or however you like it. It is definitely a pantry staple for me…

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5-7 minutes
Serves: 2 1/2 cups of granola

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tbs. chopped hazelnuts
  • 2 tbs. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbs. almond butter
  • 3 tbs. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Press granola evenly into a rectangle (about 1/2-3/4 cm thick) onto the parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before breaking rectangle into clusters. Enjoy!

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Chicken Maple Meatballs (Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free)

Dairy-Free, Entree, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free

This meatball just won Meatball of the Year.

I know humility is a virtue, but this meatball recipe is absolutely the Best. Meatball. Ever. I’m usually one to grab ground turkey at the grocery store, but my local market was out of ground turkey this week (shocking, I know). So, I opted for ground chicken instead. I am glad I did–and so will you, once you try this recipe.

Since it’s fall, I wanted to make something cozy, and maple syrup seemed like the way to go. I never thought I would be putting maple syrup in my meatballs, but I’m all for it. The maple syrup doesn’t make the meatballs sweet, but it adds a sort of nutty, warm flavor to the dish. Now, I’ve got leftovers for days, but I’m not complaining. Try it out–you won’t regret it!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 12-15 meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

Recipe:

  1. Add all ingredients to a medium mixing bowl. Using a fork, gently mix together, trying to keep the mixture as fluffy as possible.
  2. Using two spoons, shape meatball mixture into 1.5 inch sized balls.
  3. In an oiled pan over medium-low heat, pan fry meatballs for 2-5 min on each side, or until lightly browned. Keep the lid on the pan while cooking to lock in the moisture. I fried the meatballs on three sides, allowing the meatballs to cook all the way through.
  4. Serve with your favorite pasta and sauce. I’m using my roasted red pepper sauce (recipe on the blog). Enjoy!

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Nutty Chocolate Truffles (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

20 Minute Meals, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Snack, Soy-Free, Vegan

Dessert, but make it healthy.

These truffles aren’t so much dessert as they are an all-day snack because I cannot stop eating them. I think the secret is the tahini. I never thought sesame and chocolate would go together…but they’re really a match made in heaven. The almond flour (which adds great texture!) and the maple syrup just elevate that nutty flavor. I make these at least once a week, probably more. Aside from being delicious, they also only take 5 ingredients, so I really have no excuses not to make them. I’ll stash them in my bag for an afternoon snack or snag a few as a post-dinner dessert. They’re easy and quick and so worth it!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 6 truffles

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup almond flour
  • 2 tbs. cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs. tahini (adjust for texture)
  • 1 tbs. maple syrup (adjust for texture and sweetness)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: 1 tsp. cocoa powder for dusting

Recipe

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Use the back of a spoon to push the mixture together–it will feel dry at first, but it will blend after a few rounds of mixing. Add more tahini or maple syrup if the texture is too dry.
  2. Shape mixture into six 1-inch balls. Optionally toss or dust with cocoa powder.

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Roasted Date Brussel Sprouts (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

20 Minute Meals, Appetizer, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan

Fall starts now.

It’s the first day of fall, a.k.a time to bring out the bad boys (brussels sprouts). I’ve had brussels sprouts a million and a half ways, but these may just take the top spot. First of all, they’re roasted (keep steamed brussels sprouts away from me!). Second, you can’t add dates and cashes and not love the flavor. The medjool dates–plus a hint of honey–bring just enough sweetness to take away the bitterness of the brussels sprouts while not stealing the show. And the cashews? The nuttiness and crunchy texture bring the whole dish together.

These brussels sprouts are perfect for honestly any kind of fall meal. Cozy night in, date night (and a glass a wine), or Thanksgiving. Enjoyyy!

Prep Time: 5-8 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Serves: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shaved brussels sprouts
  • 3 medjool dates, pitted
  • Approximately 15 salted, roasted cashews
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. honey

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
  2. Roughly chop the cashews and dates into centimeter-sized pieces.
  3. Toss brussels sprouts, dates, salt, garlic powder, oil, and honey together in a small baking pan (I’m using a 1.6 quart glass baking dish).
  4. Bake for 12 minutes, or until brussels sprouts turn lightly golden.
  5. Mix in the roasted cashews and enjoy!

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Almond Date Protein Balls (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

20 Minute Meals, Breakfast, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Snack, Soy-Free, Vegan

For the days when you have literally no time…

Lately, I’ve had a lot of those days. I don’t have a lot of time for breaks, and when I do, I need a BIG energy boost. Enter my Almond Date Protein Balls. I’ve been making variations of these for years, but I always come back to this recipe. Besides being delicious, they’re packed with nutrients. First, we’ve got one of my all-time favorite superfoods: chia seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of fiber and omega-3s. Then, we’ve got protein from rolled oats and almond butter. Together, they really elevate my energy levels and keep me fuller for longer. Plus, there’s no refined sugar–only dates and honey.

These protein balls are easy to pack and take on the go. Whip them up, store them in the fridge, and grab a few to stash in your purse when you’re heading out. You won’t regret it!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 8 protein balls

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tbs. almond butter (adjust for texture)
  • 2 tsp. honey (adjust for texture)
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted (or 1-2 tbs. raisins)
  • 8 almonds
  • 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • Optional: 1 tsp. melted coconut oil

Recipe

  1. Chop dates and almonds into small pieces.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add more almond butter, honey, or coconut oil if mixture is too dry.
  3. Shape mixture into eight 1-inch balls. Enjoy!

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Crispy Cauliflower Tacos (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Dairy-Free, Entree, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan

Vegan never looked so good…

Tacos are a major food group for me. Baja fish tacos, chicken tacos, chorizo tacos…and then there are the vegan tacos. Vegans really stepped up to the plate for this one. I’ve had tofu tacos, mushroom tacos, even cactus tacos. Now, enter the cauliflower tacos. Cauliflower has been turned into pizza crust, gnocchi, “steak,” and buffalo wings, so I wanted to try my hand at cauliflower tacos. They did not disappoint. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside–need I say more? Plus, with the right toppings (don’t skip the avocado), this dish reaches a whole new level. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 16-20 minutes
Serves: 3 servings

Ingredients:

Taco / Filling:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 6 corn tortillas
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 + 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 + 1/8 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Toppings:

  • 1/4 head red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Hot sauce (I love Cholula!)
  • 1 lime, juiced

Recipe:

  1. Cut cauliflower into 1-2 inch florets. Toss with olive oil, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, cumin, and salt.
  2. In an air fryer, fry cauliflower in batches such that the florets just cover the bottom of the fryer. Cook at 400° Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
  3. Heat tortillas in pan over low heat until warm and pliable.
  4. Add cauliflower and toppings to tortilla. Enjoy!

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Easy Grilled Chicken (Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free)

20 Minute Meals, Dairy-Free, Entree, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free

Juicy summer chicken!

This recipe is required for your next summer barbecue! The dry rub only consists of four ingredients, and it brings a great Latin American twist. Inspired by my go-to taco seasoning, the blend of cumin, chili powder, and paprika makes this a quintessential grilling dish. The char that this chicken gets is beautiful and delicious. Plus, the entire process is quick and easy, so you don’t have to miss out on any of your party’s fun! Toss the chicken on the grill, set a timer, grab a drink, and enjoy!

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Serves: 2 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. chicken tenders
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika (adjust to taste)
  • Pinch of cumin
  • Pinch of salt

Recipe:

  1. Heat grill to 400-450° Fahrenheit.
  2. Brush olive oil on both sides of the chicken.
  3. Sprinkle one side with cumin, chili powder, paprika, and salt. Place chicken rub-side down on the grill. Close the grill cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle another pinch of chili powder, paprika, cumin, and salt on the face-up side of the chicken. Flip the chicken and close the grill cover. Let cook for 8 minutes.
  5. Remove chicken from the heat and let sit for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the chicken to continue cooking. Enjoy!

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Baked Hummus Pasta (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Dairy-Free, Entree, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan

Yes, hummus pasta.

You may have seen the viral “baked feta pasta” that has been taking over TikTok. People have been going crazy over baking a block of feta cheese with cherry tomatoes, and then mixing it all together into a pasta sauce. Because I’m dairy-free, I opted for the vegan version of this dish: baked hummus pasta. The hummus and tomatoes add a great tanginess, elevated by the great roasted flavor from baking. It is SO easy to make and SO good.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 servings dry pasta
  • 1 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. oregano
  • Pinch of salt (adjust to taste)
  • Squeeze of lemon (optional)
  • Sprig of fresh basil (optional)

Recipe:

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.
  2. Place tomatoes and garlic in a medium glass baking dish. Toss with olive oil.
  3. Dollop hummus into center of dish and sprinkle with pepper and oregano.

Cooking

  1. Bake for 35 minutes, or until tomatoes blister.
  2. Cook pasta according to the box’s directions.
  3. Using the back of a fork, crush tomatoes and garlic. Mix together with the hummus until a creamy sauce forms.
  4. Add salt and lemon juice to taste. Mix the pasta into the sauce and optionally garnish with basil.

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