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Thai Crunch Salad from the Happy Herbivore

If you didn’t read my interview with Lindsay Nixon last week, she is introducing her new cookbook: Happy Herbivore Light & Lean: Over 150 Low-Calorie Recipes with Workout Plans for Looking and Feeling Great.

Personally, I am really excited about her new cookbook!  I have a couple of the Happy Herbivore cookbooks in my personal library and love her simple recipes.  Her “Light & Lean” is a perfect addition to the ones I have!!

As a sneak preview, here is one of the recipes to her new book:

Thai Crunch Salad from the Happy Herbivore

Thai Crunch Salad from the Happy Herbivore

Single serving Gluten-free, Quick, Budget, Single Serving

Before I was plant-based, I loved the Thai Crunch salad at California Pizza Kitchen. I finally decided to re-create a lighter vegan version of it for this cookbook. It’s easy, fresh, fast, and satisfying. (I also loved their Original BBQ Chicken Chopped salad, hence my BBQ Salad [in full cookbook] recipe!) By the way, CPK is one of the vegan-friendliest restaurant chains in the US. They have a PDF online indicating which menu items are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.


  • 4 c napa cabbage, red cabbage, or lettuce (or a combination)
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • ¼ – ½ c edamame
  • ½ cucumber, sliced or diced
  • Thai Peanut Dressing
  • crushed peanuts (optional garnish)
  • cilantro (optional)
  • lime wedges (garnish)


  1. Toss cabbage/lettuce, carrot, green onions, edamame, and cucumber together in a salad bowl, then top with Thai Peanut Dressing, crushed peanuts, and cilantro (if using), and garnish with a lime wedge. (I also love squeezing fresh lime juice over the salad.)
  2. Chef’s Note: For a soy-free version, substitute chickpeas for the edamame.

DRESSING for Thai Crunch Salad from the Happy Herbivore


  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tbsp sweet red chili sauce
  • juice of 1 lime wedge
  • 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
  • 1 ¼ tsp rice vinegar
  • garlic powder
  • ground ginger
  • 1–2 drops Asian hot sauce (e.g., Sriracha)
  • 1 tbsp nondairy milk


  1. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, add peanut butter with water, chili sauce, lime juice, soy sauce or
  2. tamari, rice vinegar, a few dashes of garlic powder and ground ginger, plus hot sauce. Microwave for
  3. 10–20 seconds (so peanut butter is melty), whisk into a sauce, and then whisk in nondairy milk. Taste, adding more hot sauce as desired.
  4. Makes 1/4 cup
  5. Chef’s Note: For a richer sauce, substitute coconut milk for the nondairy.


Check out all four of Lindsay’s Happy Herbivore Cookbooks, including her new one:



Plant-Based vs. Vegan

After over a year and a half of posting on this blog, I have realized that I am more Plant-Based vs. Vegan!!  How did I come to this conclusion?

Lindsay Nixon author of the famous Happy Herbivore blog discusses the difference between Plant Based vs. Vegan.  Here are some of the points in her article:

What is a Plant-Based Diet? (The Difference Between “Plant-Based” and “Vegan”)

HH Logo

As the name suggests, a plant-based diet is a diet that focuses around plant foods: fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, and zero animal products. No meat, fish, butter, milk, eggs, cheese, gelatin or other animal by-product. …

Veganism, according to Wikipedia, is “the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, as well as an associated philosophy that rejects the commodity status of sentient animals. A follower of veganism is known as a vegan.” …

You could live on French fries, white bread, Twizzlers, Oreos and soda and still be vegan, but you wouldn’t be plant-based or following a plant-based diet. In fact, you could be vegan and never eat anything that looks like or resembles a plant. Take a look at vegan junk food such as faux cheese and imitation meat, for example. They may be vegan, but they’re not plant-based. When it comes to food, “Plant-based” refers to whole foods — beans, grains, fruits and vegetables, not processed foods that were once whole foods.

I love Lindsay’s distinction:  ‘Plant-based’ refers to whole foods!!

Also, because I (we) are also Gluten Free as well as Vegan (or more appropriately, Plant based!), I am especially conscience of the processed GF Vegan foods in the grocery stores!  Maybe these products avoid the foods we want and need to avoid, but, generally, they are NOT healthy choices.  Most are heavily laden with GMO ingredients and the processing often removes many of the important nutrients.

Personally, I love this time of the year.  I frequently our little local Farmer’s Market and buy a weeks worth of produce for a fraction of the price of processed Gluten Free Vegan foods.  I love the fresh fruits and veggies and use them in many different types of salads.

Yes, I eat an occasional can of Amy’s vegan style soups, Gluten Free noodles, or organic corn chips — but I feel so much better eating those fresh fruits and veggies.

How about you?  Do you have a local farmer’s market or are you lucky enough to grow your own fruits and vegetables?



Gluten Free Vegan Traveling Tips

Summer time is here!!  Traveling is in the air and many of us will be hitting the road to visit friends and relatives, going camping, experiencing theme parks …. of whatever you do while on vacation.

Being Gluten Free and Vegan requires some pre-planning to make your travel more enjoyable.  I did some research and found some great Gluten Free Vegan Traveling Tips I would like to share.

Road Trip 3

First, Pamela’s Products offers a list of travel tips that I have condensed here:

  • Pack snacks for the plane or car ride.  Gluten free bars or muffins are perfect snacks!
  • Bake bread in advance, wrap it in a Ziploc bag, and put it into a shoebox. This will ensure your bread will not be crushed during your travels.
  • “Do your homework!”  Make sure to research gluten-free restaurants in advance so you know where you can eat safely.
  • When traveings abroad, carry gluten-free restaurant cards in the native language. Also, check the internet to find out what celiacs in the local community recommend.
  • Check glutenfreetravelsite.com (and you can also get the app). The site is an “online collection of user-submitted gluten-free dining and travel tips from around the world.”
  • Traveling with someone who understands your dietary needs – who will not make you feel bad or inconvenient due to your allergies – is helpful. Traveling with a supportive person can ensure a much more pleasant vacation.

If you are planning a camping trip, I love what Lindsay of the Happy Herbivore suggests as staples for your camper (which many of her suggestions also work well for traveling of any kind):

  • Oatmeal
  • Fresh fruit and fruit salad
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Ketchup, mustard, fat-free vegan mayo 
  • Tomatoes and lettuce
  • Canned or boxed organic beans
  • Soy dogs or veggie burgers (homemade or store bought, depending on your preference)
  • Coffee and non-dairy milk (almond milk)
  • Variety of gluten free wraps, breads and buns

Check out more of her suggestions:

Plant based Camping Trips

Vegan Camping

I frequently make myself a large green salad with all the ‘fixings’ and keep it in a cooler packed with ice.  Amy’s canned beans and soups are also a good travel item as they can be eaten right out of the can.  And of course, I bring snacks like granola bars, bananas, oranges or whatever fruit is in season.  Gluten free vegan chips are also a good item to pack as well.  I also have a love for Jack-in-the-Box taco …. I know, not very good food, but a treat for me from time to time!!

What do you do when you are traveling?  What do you eat while you are traveling?




Giving Up Dairy

We spent the last two weeks talking about Cow’s Milk vs. Non-Dairy Milk, Part One and Part Two.  But what about Giving Up Dairy all together?  If cow’s milk is not good for you, neither is cheese, ice cream, sour cream, …..

My favorite article on this subject comes from Dr. Mark Hyman.  He writes a very lengthy article on the fallacies of the food pyramid and quotes Walter Willett, M.D., Ph.D (the second-most-cited scientist in all of clinical medicine and the head of nutrition at Harvard’s School of Public Health) views on dairy:

Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It at all Costs

1. Milk doesn’t reduce fractures. Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the Nurses’ Health Study dairy may increase risk of fractures by 50 percent!

2. Less dairy, better bones. Countries with lowest rates of dairy and calcium consumption (like those in Africa and Asia) have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.

3. Calcium isn’t as bone-protective as we thought. Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk. vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures.

4. Calcium may raise cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — a known cancer promoter.

5. Calcium has benefits that dairy doesn’t. Calcium supplements, but not dairy products, may reduce the risk of colon cancer.

6. Not everyone can stomach dairy. About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products — a problem called lactose intolerance.

So, now you know that dairy is not good for you and you should avoid it as much as possible (of course, if you are vegan, you are probably already doing that!).  But what do you do to replace dairy.    Here are a few recommendations from Lindsay Nixon from Happy Herbivore:

How to Give Up Cheese, Yogurt, etc.

1. Know your motivation. Keep in mind why you’re dumping dairy (see above).

2. Willpower. Know that you’re going to have to fight off an addiction. There will be a withdrawal — stay strong and break the cycle.

3. Find substitutes. Find vegan cheese and dairy substitutes to help make the transition easier. Find a non-dairy milk you like. If you liked whole milk, try almond milk. If you liked skim milk, try rice milk. Try different brands and different milks — soy, almond, rice, sweetened, unsweetened. You will find one you like.

Try different cheese substitutes (just make sure it’s vegan. Some rice, soy, and almond-based cheeses contain casein or whey, milk proteins). The most popular brand is Daiya. Other brands include Tofutti and Follow Your Heart.Gluten Free Vegan Substitutes

I have just released a digital guide, How to Replace Gluten, Dairy and Eggs in Your Diet, that lists numerous tips to help you along.  Order a copy today!

If you are interested in more information from either Dr. Mark Hyman or Dr. Walter Willett, check out the links below:



Cow’s Milk vs Non-Dairy Milks, Part Two

Last week we talked about Cow’s Milk and some of the reasons why dairy is not good for our bodies.  Today, I want to talk about Non-Dairy Milks.

Non-Dairy Milks are plant based milk.  In other words, they are made from plants, nuts and seeds.  Here is a short list of the most popular ones:

  • Almond milkMilk 09
  • Coconut milk (my favorite, by the way)
  • Hazelnut milk
  • Hemp milk (my husband’s favorite)
  • Oat milk (not sure if there is a Gluten Free variety available!)
  • Rice milk
  • Soy milk (I don’t recommend soy milk)

Lindsay Nixon, the Happy Herbivore, provides a list of what to look for when buying your non-dairy milk:

1. Make sure the plant-based milk you are using doesn’t contain oil. Refrigerated milks tend to, but shelf-stable do not. The shelf-stable ones also tend to be cheaper, and the great thing about them is you can stock up so you never run out in the middle of the recipe.

2. If you trying to eat a low-fat diet, you might want pick the brand with the lowest amount of fat per serving. This tends to be rice or oat milk, as soy and almonds both are fairly rich in fat naturally. You can, however, find low-fat and fat-free soy milks.

3. Pick the brand with the least number of ingredients.

4. Buy unsweetened if you can. If you need your plant-based milk sweetened, that’s fine. Sugar is a scapegoat, not the biggest concern. A little sweetener in your plant-based milk is nothing to worry about — just make sure you’re buying sweetened plain or vanilla, not chocolate or another flavor, which is basically a candy bar in a glass.

Although, Lindsay and I don’t agree on oil based milk, she has some excellent points for choosing Non Dairy Milk.  (If you have been following my blog for any length of time, you know how much I love coconut products — including coconut milk.)

You can also, easily, make your own Non Dairy Milk.  I have published a complete recipe for making Non Dairy milk here.  My husband, Malcolm, prefers homemade Non Dairy Milk and has developed his own recipe!

If you are interested in more dairy substitutes, I recommend you purchase a copy of my new ebook:

Gluten Free Vegan Substitutes:  How to Replace Dairy and Egg in Your Diet.



Recipe Adaptations

Recipe Adaptations become a way of life for Gluten Free Vegan cooking.  Even though there are lots of Gluten Free Vegan recipes available, there is often one of two items that I want to substitute in the recipe.  But how do you know what is the best substitutions?  Most is by trial and error — but there are folks out that that have made it easier for us.Chef 50

Lindsay Nixon of Happy Herbivore wrote a post recently listing many of the substitutes anyone can use in recipes.

Here is some of the highlights of her article:

Ingredient Substitutions & Recipe Adaptations (And How to Make Any Recipe Allergen-Free)

  • Soy Sauce: For a gluten-free substitution, use wheat-free tamari. For a soy-free soy sauce, you can use coconut aminos (which are also gluten-free)
  • Gluten: Any time whole-wheat flour is called for, use a gluten-free all-purpose blend (premixed blend like Bob’s Red Mill GF Mix work well.)
  • Milk/Vegan Substitutes: You can find soy milk and almond milk pretty much everywhere now. Other options are rice milk and oat milk.
  • Cheese: The most popular brand, which is tapioca-based (and therefore soy-free and gluten-free), is Daiya. Trader Joe’s also sells this brand now under their label. Other vegan brands are Follow Your Heart and Teese.
  • Yogurt: Most supermarkets carry soy yogurt … for more variety: you can find rice, almond, and coconut-based yogurts too.
  • Ice Cream: You can also find soy, rice, coconut, and almond-based vegan ice creams.

Recipe Adaptation, Generally: When making a substitution, think about what that ingredient does and ask yourself if the proposed replacement is similar in taste, consistency, color, etc.

If you are interested in more article on the subject, check out the following:

  1. Using Substitutions in Your Recipes (this article list my personal favorites at the bottom of the post.)
  2. Gluten Free Baking: Gluten Replacers

Vegan Q & A from The Happy Herbivore

Happy Herbivore is one of my favorite blogs.  Lindsay, the author, shares good advice and is on top of the industry with her tips and information. She is not Gluten Free, but still offers some great tips on Vegan eating and dinning.

Today I am featuring two of her posts of Vegan Questions and Answers.  Check out what she has to say:

This Week’s Q&A

(Eating Vegan on A Budget

and Tofu Quiche)

Q:I want to go vegan very badly, but we live on a VERY tight budget. I also can’t have soy, any hope?

A: You can live well on beans, rice, fruits and vegetables. Dry beans/lentils are $2 or less for 1 bag, which will feed you for the week. Rice is also very inexpensive, especially if you buy in bulk. At my supermarket, you can get 10 bags of frozen vegetables for $10, and you can squeeze three meals out of each bag. Go to an Indian or Asian supermarket and your buck will go even further. …

Q: I have been predominantly vegetarian due to my ethical standpoint but sometimes find myself straying. I’ve eaten meat products in the last week. I feel I lack the dietary range to stay interested….

Q: What brand of [food i.e. tortillas, salsa] do you use/recommend?

Q: When using a cheese substitute, do you opt out of versions with casein or whey, or if that’s all you have access to, do you use it?…

Q: Does the tofu quiche freeze well?

READ FULL POST — including the complete answers to all the questions above.

She writes another post about her experiences as a new Vegan.  I appreciate her honesty in this article — admitting that she was a bit rude to meat eaters.  Haven’t we all been there!!

She suggests that we lead by example!  Brilliant!!  Not everyone is going to agree about our food choices, but that is okay!  My husband is a meat eater (we have a ‘mixed marriage’ 🙂 !)  But do I love him any less?  Do I condemn his eating choices?  Of course not!  Each person must be allowed to make their own choices, and like Lindsay says, we can only lead by example.

Here is an excerpt from her article:

How to Keep Yourself from Becoming a “Vegan Snob”

“I’m curious how do you keep yourself from becoming a ‘vegan-snob’? I find myself getting more and more grossed out by people consuming animal products. I cringe in my mind, but don’t say anything. Have you ever felt that way?”

Yes. A thousand times yes. I’m not ashamed to admit it. It was especially bad when I was new to eating a plant-based (vegan) diet. In fact, I didn’t bite my lip. Or cringe in my mind. I was what you might call an outspoken vegangelical. If I’m going to be honest, I should admit I could be crude and hostile….

I feel bad about it. I do. I think that’s why I try so hard to preach a message of compassion now. Not just compassion for animals, but compassion for people, too. My past reminds me why my stance is that we should lead by example….


Lindsay Nixon has published two cookbooks.  If you are interested in purchasing either or both of them, click the link below:


Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwich

Vegan Tuna Salad Sandwiches one of my favorite meal/recipes — I have been enjoying it for several years now!  Imagine my surprise when I saw it on Lindsay’s blog, Happy Herbivore.  I guess great minds think alike (snicker!!).

You can eat this wonderful spread on a nice slice of Gluten Free Bread or use it as a dip!  I have even eaten it on Corn Thins (like rice cakes, only made with corn — very good!

 Mock Tuna Salad

  • 15 ounces chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 whole celery stalks
  • 2 tbsp relish (dill pickle)
  • ½ tsp onion flakes
  • 2 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegan mayo (fat-free)
  • ½ tsp kelp


In a large mixing bowl, mash chickpeas with a fork until coarse and no whole beans are left. Alternatively, pulse beans in a food processor a few times — careful not to puree, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Shred celery with a cheese grater or pulse a few times in a food processor. Transfer to the mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients, stirring to combine. Add more vegan mayo and/or kelp as necessary or desired and black pepper to taste.


Lindsay has compiled some wonderful recipes in her cookbooks.  Check them out here:


My Favorite Vegan Blog — Happy Herbivore

Happy Herbivore by Lindsay Nixon is my favorite vegan blog — and although her blog is mostly info on vegan diet and recipes, she posts lots of info on gluten free eating as well.

To introduce you to Lindsay, here is here welcome message:

Hi! I’m Lindsay and Happy Herbivore is my recipe website, home to more than 100 fat-free and low fat healthy vegan recipes! I cook with no added fats and mostly whole, unprocessed food. You won’t find processed flour, refined sugars and gobs of oil or margarine in my recipes. What you will find, however, is food that is good for you and tastes great!

Here are some of my favorite posts at Happy Herbivore:

Lindsay has also published cookbooks:

The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

Everyday Happy Herbivore: Over 175 Quick-and-Easy Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

Everyday Happy Herbivore

And I do believe she is currently working on another cookbook to be published soon!