Easy, vegan and non-vegan crowd pleasers

Ditch the chips and dogs and feel better this Fourth of July – there’s plenty of healthy recipes out there – vegan or non-vegan – that will help you have fun and keep you feeling good. Plus, they’re incredibly delicious.

guacamole avocado lime

  1. Crowd-Pleasing Guacamole


2 ripe avocados

1 lime

1/4 cup red onion, diced

1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced (optional)

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon sea salt


Begin by mashing the avocado flesh in a bowl. Simply stir in the remaining ingredients until everything is nicely combined and serve.

unctional Forum: The Evolution of Brain Health

  1. Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Salt and Vinegar Chickpea Croutons


1 small (15 oz.) can cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 ½ cups white vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon Vegenaise (optional)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (more to taste)

1 tablespoon ground vegan Parmesan cheese (more to taste)

4 cups chopped raw kale

1 small handful pea shoots, chopped

2 tablespoons hemp hearts (more to taste)

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat your oven to 400ºF degrees. In a pot, add the chickpeas and vinegar, and bring up to a boil. Turn off the heat, and let the chickpeas steep in the vinegar for 20 minutes. Drain the chickpeas, and arrange on a baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes. Toss, and roast for 5-10 more minutes, until crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the Vegenaise, olive oil, lemon juice, yeast flakes, Parmesan, and a pinch of salt and pepper until smooth. Add the kale, and massage into the dressing for a minute until the kale becomes tender. Add the pea shoots and hemp hearts, and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more cheese if desired.

To serve, divide the salad into two bowls, and garnish with the chickpea croutons. Enjoy!

Note: This salad is hearty, and keeps well in the fridge for lunch the next day. Reheat any leftover chickpeas in the oven at 400ºF degrees for a few minutes until crispy.

Watermelon Salad Recipe slices of watermelon

  1. Watermelon and Cucumber Tonic


6 cups cubed seeded watermelon, divided

1/4 cup mint leaves, divided

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, divided

1 English cucumber, peeled, sliced and divided (about 3 cups)

2 1/2 cups tonic water, chilled

1 1/4 cups gin


Combine half each of watermelon, mint, juice and cucumber in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Line a fine sieve with 4 layers of cheesecloth, allowing cheesecloth to extend over edges; strain watermelon mixture through prepared sieve over a bowl, reserving juice mixture. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth together. Holding cheesecloth over sieve, squeeze to release the remaining juice mixture. Discard solids. Repeat the procedure with the remaining watermelon, mint, juice and cucumber.

Combine 2 1/2 cups juice mixture, tonic water and gin, stirring well to combine. Reserve any remaining juice mixture for another use. Serve over ice.

Curried Chicken Salad

  1. Grilled Chicken Thighs with Pineapple, Corn and Bell Pepper Relish


Cooking spray

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds)

2 cups cubed fresh pineapple (about 1/2 pineapple)

1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear)

1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar


Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat; lightly coat with cooking spray. Combine garlic powder, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle over chicken. Add chicken to pan; cook 10 minutes on each side or until done.

Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, pineapple and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl. Serve relish over chicken.

sun dried tomatoes

  1. Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Pinwheels


8 ounces (227 g) vegan cream cheese (we like Trader Joe’s brand)

1/2 cup lightly packed (50 g) sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil), chopped (plus more for topping)

1/4 cup lightly packed (45 g) frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (optional)

2 large cloves garlic, minced (~ 2 Tbsp, 12 g)

1/4 cup (20 g) vegan parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

Pinch each sea salt and black pepper

2 large flour tortillas (ensure vegan friendliness on package)

24 fresh basil leaves, divided


Add vegan cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, garlic, vegan parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly to combine.

Divide filling between two flour tortillas and spread into an even layer all the way to the edge. Top each with 10-12 fresh basil leaves, leaving one edge bare so the tortilla can stick to itself. Press basil down slightly to adhere.

Tightly roll up tortillas from one end to another, starting from the end with basil all the way to the edge, working toward the end that’s slightly bare.

Once rolled up, squeeze gently to compact everything and lay seam-side down for slicing.

Use a serrated knife to gently cut tortillas into 1/2-inch slices. Between the two tortillas, you should have a total of 20-22 pinwheels.

Arrange on a serving platter and serve immediately, or chill for up to 24 hours, covered in the fridge. Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator, covered, for two to three days, though best when fresh.

2 glasses of sangria

  1. Easy Traditional Red Sangria


1/2 apple, cored, skin on, chopped into small pieces

1/2 orange, rind on, sliced into small pieces, large seeds removed (plus more for garnish)

3-4 Tbsp (41-55 g) organic brown sugar (or 3 Tbsp [37.5 g] organic cane sugar)

3/4 cup (180 ml) orange juice, plus more to taste

1/3 cup (80 ml) brandy, plus more to taste

1 750 ml bottle dry Spanish red wine

Ice to chill (~1 cup)


Add apples, oranges and sugar to a large pitcher and muddle with a muddler or wooden spoon for 45 seconds.

Add orange juice and brandy and muddle again to combine for 30 seconds.

Add red wine and stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust flavor as needed. We added a bit more brandy, orange juice and brown sugar. Stir to combine.

Add ice and stir once more to chill. Serve as is, or with a bit more ice. Garnish with orange segments (optional).

Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours, though best when fresh.

raspberry chocolate

  1. Raw Chocolate-Raspberry Brownie Bars

Ingredients for Base

1 cup raw nuts (either almonds, macadamias or cashews work well. You can use one type or a mixture)

1/3 cup cacao

3 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

12 Medjool dates, pitted

Ingredients for Middle Later

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

2/3 cup raw cashews

4 Tbsp. shredded coconut

6 Tbsp. organic maple syrup

1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

Ingredients for Top Layer

½ cup of cacao butter (or melted coconut oil)

½ cup of cacao powder

¼ cup of organic maple syrup

Directions for Base

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until all the ingredients are well mixed and the macadamias are crushed.

Add mixture to a lined tin, smooth out with a spoon and place in the freezer to set.

Directions for Middle Layer

Blend all but the coconut oil in a high-speed blender until smooth.

Add coconut oil and blend until well combined.

Add to the base and smooth over with a spatula or back of a spoon and place into the freezer for at least one hour.

Directions for Top Layer

Melt the cacao butter in a double boiler on low heat (We highly recommend shaving or chopping the cacao butter into smaller portions before adding to the double boiler).

Add the organic maple syrup to the double boiler and whisk until combined.

Whisk in the cacao powder.

When well combined, pour over the middle layer and smooth over with the back of a spoon.

Put back into the freezer and let it set completely (around one hour).

Remove from the tin, slice straight away and store in an airtight container in the freezer because the raspberry layer softens easily.


  1. Vegan Triple Berry Ice Cream


1 can full-fat coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar or maple syrup

1/2 cup cashews

1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 cup mixed berries

berries of your choice for chopping


Mix all ingredients in a high-powered blender.

Chill ice cream mixture for one or two hours in the refrigerator. Pour mixture to ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Blackberry Strawberry bowl

  1. Grilled Blackberry, Strawberry, Basil and Brie Pizza Crisps


1/2 pound recipe of your favorite pizza dough

1/4 cup olive oil

16 leaves basil chopped and divided

8-12 ounces brie, sliced

1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped

3/4 cup blackberries

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Balsamic Honey Glaze

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons honey


Prepare the dough one to two hours ahead of time.

While the dough rises, make the honey balsamic glaze. Add the balsamic vinegar and honey to small sauce pan and simmer until reduces by half. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.

When ready to grill the pizzas, preheat the grill to high heat.

Add the blackberries to a bowl, and add about half of the basil. Lightly mash the blackberries with a fork.

Invert a baking sheet and generously dust with flour.

Divide the pizza dough in half and roll each half as thin as you can, but make sure not to rip the dough. Cut the dough into 12 to 16 squares or circles. Add the olive oil to a small bowl and brush both sides of the pizza rounds with the olive oil and place on the baking sheet.

Carefully add half of the pizza rounds to the hot grill and grill for no more than two minutes. The dough will bubble up; this is good! Remove the pizzas using tongs and repeat with the remaining pizza rounds. When all the pizzas are grilled, turn the heat on the grill down to medium.

Top the grilled side of each of the pizzas with slices of brie, but make sure to leave a ½ inch border around the edges, so the brie does not melt all over the grill. Then top with lightly mashed blackberries and the chopped strawberries. Carefully return the pizzas to the grill and grill another three to five minutes, or until the brie has melted and the pizzas are crisp. Top with the remaining fresh basil and drizzle on the honey balsamic glaze.

To make the American flag pizza, place the blackberries in the left-hand corner of a square pizza crisp, and then push the strawberries into the brie in rows. Grill as directed above.

You may also bake your pizza crisps in the oven. Just bake the dough for a few minutes first, and then top with the toppings.


  1. Balsamic-Glazed Steak Rolls


Fresh rosemary, chopped

red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

medium zucchini, sliced into thin strips

medium yellow onion, halved and then thinly sliced

A few white button or cremini mushrooms, cut into thin strips

For the Rosemary Balsamic Glaze:

teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

large clove garlic, minced

¼ cup dark balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons dry red wine

2 teaspoons brown sugar

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

¼ cup Progresso™ beef-flavored broth


Rub each side of the steak slices with a little extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, freshly ground black pepper and some chopped fresh rosemary.

Heat one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the vegetables until crisp-tender, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Place a few of the vegetable strips vertically on one end of each steak cutlet so that once rolled up, the end of the vegetables are sticking out of each end of the steak roll.

Roll it up, and secure it with a toothpick. Repeat for each steak roll.

For the Rosemary Balsamic Glaze: Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add the balsamic vinegar, red wine, brown sugar and the rosemary sprigs, and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for five minutes. Add the broth, return to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 15 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs.

Prepare the grill and cook on each side for about two minutes, or according to desired doneness. Do the same if cooking them in a skillet, frying over medium-high heat until done.

Serve immediately, drizzled with the rosemary balsamic glaze. Baked potatoes make a great accompaniment.


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