George and Julia's Vegan Underground

Archive for the category “Recipe”

Sweet potato and jalapeño bisque

So for the Super Bowl, George and I were thinking about what to make for snacks almost all day. Finally once the game started, we decided on tacos…

Well we had some sweet potatoes around the house and I began googling for a sweet potato and jalapeño mash to be the base. I ended up finding another recipe, a sweet potato bisque. It was completely non vegan. There was bacon and rendered bacon fat involved, half and half and everything to turn a vegans stomach. Well I read the recipe and altered it to make it vegan. Thanks to our vitamix it was easy to make:

  • 3 sweet potatoes- soften all three, purée two, and dice the third
  • 3 roasted jalapeños
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 5 1/2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 cup almond milk

Purée 2 sweet potatoes, roasted jalapeños, roasted garlic, almond milk and vegetable broth.

In a soup pot, sauté onions with coconut oil and cumin. Once onions are translucent, add diced sweet potato and mix well. Then add sweet potato purée. Salt and pepper to taste.

It’s sweet and very pleasant. Not overly spicy but has a lingering warmth. Reminds me of corn chowder. Roasting the jalapeño and garlic was to add smokiness that bacon would usually have. Coconut oil was used to replace the rendered bacon fat and to still give it a richness. There you have it, vegan sweet potato and jalapeño bisque. Eat guilt-free.


Juiced Up Thursday

Well here’s another installment of Juiced Up Thursday. Today’s juice isn’t a juice but a smoothie. As I mentioned from last week I’ve been doing more smoothie action than juice. Well this mammoth of a smoothie is chock full of protein. You non-vegans who worry about your vegan friend’s protein shouldnt worry if this is what they’re slurping down. In consists of the following ingredients that assist with your body’s muscle repair:

  • Carrot– vitamin C, A and K in the house
  • Spinach– protein and vitamin B and E
  • Kale– protein and manganese with a hefty helping of vitamins K,A and C
  • Dates– can you say Iron? Cause dates are loaded with Iron and B complex-vitamins
  • Blueberries– anti-oxidants, say no more
  • Chia seeds– complete protein with all your favorite amino acids and good for feeling full longer
  • Goji berries-anti-oxidant and helps with aging
  • Walnuts– protein and healthy fats

Warning: This smoothie will repair your muscles and replenish all vitamins

As you see from the list of ingredients this smoothie is no joke. I just wish there was a little acidity in it to give it a fuller flavor. Otherwise great drink to kick off the workday.

Juiced Up Thursday

Well we’re back for another juicy Thursday! The Breville is spinning and the fresh veggies and fruits are to be sacrificed. So what was used for the juice this Thursday?

Kale, carrots, lime, cucumber, pepper, strawberries, blueberries, apple

Just for some of you visitors who are new to the Juiced Up Thursday saga, the kale, peppers, and cucumbers are from my personal garden. The rest is store bought. This was a big switch up from the usual boring juices I make: Kale, cucumber, carrots, apple, and lemon. I decided to throw in the berries because well it is berry season after all. And the switch up from lemon to lime was because I thought the strawberries were tart and adding another tart fruit would’ve been quite the lip-pursing experience.

Handful of strawberries

Handful of blueberries

So what do these new additions do for the body?

Strawberries: This sweet, juicy summer fruit is a world class superfood. It boosts your immunity, and is full of anti-oxidants and vitamin C. It also has been linked to wrinkle protection. So put that bottle of olay down and grab a bowl of strawberries. This fruit also helps prevent cataracts, and fights cancer. The Ellagic acid in this petite fruit has played a huge role is suppressing cancer cell growth. And ladies if you’re expecting, strawberries are rich with folate which helps with pre-natal health. Lastly, it regulates blood pressure and lowers cholesterol. This fruit packs a punch!

Blueberries: Everyone wants to find a magic diet pill, but really they should take a look at the little blue fruit in the pint container. Blueberries are known for assisting in weight management. It cuts down on cravings! So stress eaters, think about adding this superfruit to your diet. It also helps with reducing cholesterol, and has strong anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties. Nature’s only true blue food, the blueberry is chockfull of antioxidants and polyphenols. It assists with prevention against some cancers and the onset of Alzheimer’s

Peppers: Doesn’t matter if it’s sweet or hot, the verdict is in, peppers help with weight-loss efforts. Hot peppers contain capsaicin which gives that burning sensation, but best of all it boosts the metabolism! In sweet peppers there’s a compound (CH-19) which resembles capsaicin which gives it that fat burning effect. Peppers also protects against the build up of cholesterol, and helps with inflammation. Lower cholesterol means lower heart disease rate, and this spicy nugget contains tons of vitamin B which means it helps prevent strokes.

Lime: When you think lemons you think acidic, but when you think limes you need to start thinking alkaline! Limes are full of alkalizing minerals. And apparently pirates fear limes because this little green fruit is famous for curing scurvy. Limes are great for skin care, weight loss, digestion, respiratory disorders, gout, arthritis, diabetes, fatigue and heart disease. Next time your waiter offers lemon in your drink, think about switching it up to lime.

That’s a lot of fruit…

When I made this at the last second I decided to OMIT the apple. Because I thought I was breaking my 1 cardinal rule about juicing: Don’t use more fruits than vegetables. So at the end it was 8 stalks of Kale, 3 Carrots, 1 small Cucumber, 1 small Pepper, Handful of Strawberries, Handful of Blueberries and  1 Lime.The verdict? Delicious. I will make this again soon.

The lonely apple.

Five Tool Stew

Matt Kemp
Photo credit:

It’s baseball season and in honor of the bat swinging superstars I decided to pay homage to America’s pastime with this Vegetable Stew. This stew is crowd favorite and can be very versatile just like Mike Trout, Buster Posey, Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun and Josh Hamilton. It features 5 vegetables you can get all year round: Zucchini, Cherry Tomatoes, Onions, Peppers (mild or hot), and Beans.

3 out of 5 prepped and ready to go

Like every great superstar there needs to be solid role players and in this stew we have several great secondary ingredients: Fresh lime juice, fresh pineapple juice, garlic, fresh cilantro, tomato paste, and mexican spices. But before we field the ingredients we need to build our foundation first.

What the heck is it cooking in?

There is NO OIL involved in this. But I’m not going to say it’s entirely oil free. Grab a medium sauce pan and turn the heat to high and pour about a quarter cup of water in it. When it’s boiling (more like sizzling), drop in 1/3 of a vegetable bouillon cube (this is where a little oil sneaks in). Once the bouillon sliver dissolves turn the heat down to medium and add onions and salt. Be aware that during this process the water evaporates so in order to keep your pan from browning you might have to add tablespoons of water (I added 3).

When the onions become translucent add garlic and stir for about a minute before adding the zucchini and peppers. I allowed the zucchini and peppers to cook for about 2 minutes before adding a spoonful of tomato paste. Once tomato paste is fully mixed in, add the cherry tomatoes and zucchini insides (zucchini insides to be explained at the end).

Missing just one major ingredient: Beans

Once fully stirred, add the beans. Whatever beans are your fancy, have at it. I admittedly did not use dried beans. Instead I used 1- 14.5oz can of black beans, and 1- 14.5oz can of garbanzo (Chickpea) beans. Drained and rinsed of course.

5 big players in, now let’s round the bases for the winning run

At this point your vegetable stew isn’t quite looking like a stew at all, so we’ll need to add some liquid and spices to bind it all together. Add 1/2 of a lime juiced (if it’s not a juicy lime add a quick squeeze from the other half), and 2 tablespoon of pineapple juice. Then stir in the following mexican spices: 2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, dash of cayenne pepper, and a pinch of dried oregano.

Now that’s looking like a stew!

Once all the ingredients above are stirred in, salt and pepper to taste. To finish this veggie delight off, add 2-3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro to the stew and mix in before serving.

As I mentioned above this is very versatile and can be eaten with a spoon or served a little differently. It’s a great source of protein so I used this stew as my “meat” for my vegan and gluten-free tacos!

Topped with diced pineapple and julienned jicama for “cheese.” Avocado on bottom

Towering gluten-free vegan taco

jicama cheese adds depth and flavor


Major ingredients:

  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large zucchini, boated and diced. Chop and set aside insides*
  • 3-4 small mild (or hot) peppers (or 1 large bell pepper), diced
  • 2  14.5oz can of beans of your choice, drained and rinsed

Secondary ingredients:

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 tbs pineapple juice
  • 3 tbs fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Heaping spoonful tomato paste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional ingredients:

  • Corn tortillas (I prefer Maria and Ricardo’s brand)
  • jicama, julienned
  • avocado, sliced
  • pineapple, diced


  1. In medium sauce pan on high heat add 1/4 cup of water and add vegetable bouillon cube. When cube is dissolved, turn down heat to medium and add onions and salt. When onions are translucent add garlic and cook for an additional minute, then add zucchini and peppers.
  2. Cook zucchini and peppers for 2-3 minutes then stir in tomato paste. Once fully stirred in, add cherry tomatoes and zucchini insides. Cook for an additional minute and stir in beans.
  3. Stir in lime juice, pineapple juice, oregano and spices. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until liquid is noticeable. Mix cilantro into the stew and then salt and pepper to taste before serving.

* Zucchini boated and diced

I don’t like how mushy zucchinis get so I’ve been scraping out the insides, setting them to the side and then dicing/cubing the harder outside of the zucchini. Once the insides are scraped out, I cut the zucchini into 5 strips and dice into even small cubes. It keeps the consistency of each piece, and also helps create more texture in the dish.

Process of boating

I made this for my family party and it was a huge hit! The vegetarians loved it and so did the carnivores. It’s nearly fat-free, completely gluten-free, good source of protein, entirely vegan and of course super healthy!

Gluten-Free Zucchini Boats

I’ve returned to Connecticut after spending a few weeks out on the road, and when I came back the garden was overflowing. When I went foraging I saw some of the peppers were ready for picking and the cherry tomatoes were coming in like gangbusters. I also came across a massive zucchini, which left me entirely stumped on what to do with a vegetable the size of a toddlers leg.

The perfect ingredients to make a primavera… but where’s the creativity in that?

I had a bad case of cookers block. So I did what anyone with any kind of mental block would do… go on facebook and then google random stuff. That’s where I got my inspiration to make a zucchini boat (aka zucchini pizza). I’m using quinoa and sunflower seeds as the protein and the cool thing about quinoa is that it’s a complete protein, which means that it has all nine amino acids. Sunflower seeds offers the amino acid Lysine and increases protein to any dish. But use sunflower seeds in moderation because although they do contain heart-healthy fats, they are high in calories.

Too much talking, grab a spoon already and start scraping!

So first things first, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees and start making your quinoa (1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water). Then go grab a spoon and gut the zucchinis. Don’t go too deep when scraping because you want to keep the shape of the zucchini while it bakes and not get mushy. Set aside the insides to be used in the filler. You can coat the inside of the zucchini boats with oil or vegan shortening. I used sunflower spray oil sparingly.

Place gutted zucchinis on a pan with foil.

Chop up your vegetables. This recipe can be varied any way you want it to be, but I’ll list what I used:

  • 1 cup oregano and basil mixture chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 hot peppers diced
  • pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 cup kale chopped
  • 1/3 cup mango minced (set a tablespoon or so aside)

    From top left and going clockwise: Kale, cherry tomatoes, zucchini innards, basil/oregano mix (mostly basil), hot peppers.

In a skillet spray a little oil or use 2 tablespoons of sauce as oil replacer (like tomato sauce or peanut butter, depends on what kind of flavor you’re aiming for). I used vegan pesto as my oil replacer.

Hello Pesto!


On medium to low heat, add your minced garlic first, cook for a minute or two. Then add your peppers and cook them for another minute. Add zucchini, tomatoes, and herbs. Stir in for another minute then add quinoa, sunflower seeds, mango and kale and stir together for another minute or two. Then salt and pepper to taste.

What fun colors and textures

I didn’t use the entire pot of quinoa. I actually used less than half of it. I used as much as I cared to use, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way on this. I used about 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds. Once the filling has reached my desired texture (I didn’t want to overcook the kale), I spooned it into the zucchini boats and topped it with mango bits so it looked like cheese.

Fill ‘er up!

Close up before it heads to the oven

Place the pan into the oven and cook the zucchini boats for about 15-20 minutes. I would personally keep them in for closer to 20 minutes but not much more than that. Don’t want the boats to capsize and break.

When done cut in half and serve

Have fun when you make your version of a zucchini boat! This is a dish I could see in the Engine 2 Diet

Juiced Up Thursday!

It’s Thursday and filling in for Julia is me (George) for another Juiced Up Thursday!!! So today’s juice is technically a smoothie but keep in mind that the same ingredients could also be used to make a tasty juice with the same nutritional content (sans fiber). In the picture you can see our sad juicer sitting unused in the background. Since Julia bought me a Vitamix for my birthday (which is today), the juicer has been gathering dust.

Here’s the juice, I mean smoothie (give me a break, it’s my birthday). Today’s concoction includes:

Spinach gives you iron, calcium, protein

Celery improves circulation

Kale protects against prostate and colon cancers, effective immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent, anti-oxidant and anti-cancer activities

Carrots help protect from skin, lung and oral cavity cancers, destroying pre-cancerous cells in the tumors, helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure

Strawberries are protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease process

Bananas replenishes energy and revitalize the body instantly

Flax reduces in total cholesterol, give you omegas

Hemp Seed Powder gives you protein, omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids

Lemon is great for weight loss

The verdict:

Like Beyond Sushi, my smoothie is nutritious and delicious. Even though I intentional kept the sugar content low, you could barely taste the bitterness of the kale. Thank you lemon. I might omit the flax and hemp if you are making it as a juice unless you like the taste of sand.

Julia should be back for next week. She should really bank some. She’s so much better at this.

Spicy tomato sauce

Thanks to the vitamix, we’ve whipped together our lunch in no time. It includes the following:

  • 6 Roma tomatoes (2 without pulp)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 tbs organic tomato paste
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil and oregano mix
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbs agave (touch less)
  • 1 tbs cashew cream cheese
  • Salt to taste

Threw it into the vitamix in that order and turned the dial from 1 up to 8 for about 20-30 seconds. Then we tossed the blended sauce into a sauce pan and cooked up some pasta. Super fresh and tastes wonderful. We did take it from the cook book included with the vitamix but made some healthy George and Julia vegan tune ups to it.

Vitamix California Salsa

As we get acclimated to having te vitamix in our kitchen, we decided to take a page out of the vitamix recipe book: California Salsa

6 Roma tomatoes quartered
1 jalapeño
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 medium onion
1/2 lime juiced
1/2 tsp salt

Just google vitamix California salsa and I’m sure the directions will pop up. We thought its a bit watery so next time we’ll pulp half the tomatoes. We’d probably add another jalapeño too, and some garlic. Not much heat. Maybe add some corn too because we like corn.

Juiced Up Thursday

A week goes by and then Thursday rolls around, and you know what that means! Another Juiced Up Thursday. Woo! Today’s Juiced Up Thursday was a bit of a learning experience for me. For two years I’ve thought that this purple hue vegetable growing in my backyard was Oriental Lettuce.

Meet Oriental Lettuce… I think

Well as it turns out, with a little help from google, this is actually what Oriental Lettuce looks like (aka Chinese Lettuce):

Looks more like cabbage to me.

So what’s actually growing in my backyard is a different variety of… drum roll please…


That’s right, I have two different kinds of kale growing in the garden. So what better way to celebrate the discovery of  what I like to call oriental kale, by joining the two kinds in my juicer. I’m not sure if all kale is treated equally, but on this blog we do. So just to recap the greatness of kale, I’ll list the benefits again:

Kale: Includes calcium, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin A, C and K. Good source of minerals like copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Basically it keeps your body fresh and helps you inside and out.

So what’s today’s juice all about?

I love making juice but I didn’t love the ingredients in the fridge. Someone, not me, keeps buying beets. I can’t stand beets. I think they taste awful and even with how great they are for your health I try my hardest to avoid them. However, the only thing in my fridge today was carrots, apples, beets and lemon. And I’ve tried that combination once before and it sucked. I also should mention I have blueberries as well. So today I went with this:

  • Bundle of Kale (2 kinds)
  • 4 Carrots
  • 1 Beet (with it’s greens)
  • 1 Lemon
  • Handful of Blueberries

Not the most attractive juice.

As you can see again the majority of this juice was vegetables. Do you see a common theme here? Just to put some minds at ease, George and I like vegetable heavy juices because with extracting juice from fruits you get a lot of sugar and not the dietary fibery goodness. Where as vegetables are much lower in sugar and carry a little more bang for your buck in the nutrients isle.

Well bottoms up…

Even with the revolting beets, I have to try it out.


It doesn’t taste bad, even with the beet juice in it. Yeah it’s a little bitter, but it tastes hearty and decent. So what are the benefits of the beets and blueberries?

Beets: Welcome to the super food party beets. Beets carry tons of nutritional punch like magnesium, sodium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, and calcium. It also has plentiful amounts of antioxidants which helps fight premature aging. The deep red color which stains everything it touches is called betacyanin and it’s a anti-cancer agent. There’s so much more too but for all you vegetarians and vegans, beets also is a home to various amino acids. Who needs meat when you’ve got the beet?

Blueberries: Everyone wants to find a magic diet pill, but really they should take a look at the little blue fruit in the pint container. Blueberries are known for assisting in weight management. It cuts down on cravings! So stress eaters, think about adding this superfruit to your diet. It also helps with reducing cholesterol, and has strong anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties. Nature’s only true blue food, the blueberry is chockfull of antioxidants and polyphenols. It assists with prevention against some cancers and the onset of Alzheimer’s

Juiced Up Thursday

Here’s another edition of Juiced of Thursday! I wish I had something brand spanking new to report from the juice station, but unfortunately I’m kind of boring. Sorry folks.

Kale, carrots, and celery again? Geez…

As you see from the picture above it was another kale inspired juice. But this time I did add a little twist to it. Like the previous two Juiced Up Thursdays, the usual suspects are back:

  • Kale (8-10 stalks)
  • Carrots (3)
  • Celery (8 stalks)
  • Pear (1)
  • Lemon (1/2)

But I did decide to hit the garden back up for a little extra ingredients for today’s juice. What’s booming back there right now is cucumber (1 small) and mint (1 cup of leaves). Literally, the mint has taken over the herb garden and I’m just dumbfounded on what to do with it. The only thing I can think of is mint chutney and mojitos  Seriously, if any of you readers out there can think of anything to do with copious amounts of mint, please comment on this post.

That’s only the 1/3 of it…

So what’s the benefits of these new additions to the juice?

Cucumber: This vegetable is a diuretic and helps fight water retention. Ladies listen up! It’s 96% water and contains alkaline-forming minerals. Helps regulate blood pressure, and acidity in the blood. Also is used to help cool down and normalize body temperature. I threw this vegetable in my juice because it helps with inflammation, and as I keep harping all week, I recently had surgery.

Mint: This bountiful herb is known for it’s assistance in digestion. Helps with indigestion, nausea, and headaches. That’s not the only ache it helps with, if you’ve got a cough or are having trouble catching your breath, the aroma of mint can really help. Mint also helps with acne, oral care, asthma.

So how did this juice come out?

It was okay

Meh, I’ll probably make it again because of the overall benefits. It wasn’t too minty, but had a nice refreshing aftertaste. If I were to make it again I might make it with an addition of a granny smith apple. The vegetable to fruit ratio was 2:1. George would’ve approved.

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