Easy Mediterranean Couscous Salad

I’m so excited to share with you guys this super easy Mediterranean couscous salad. I love how light, refreshing, summery, and colorful this salad is. It’s the perfect side dish or meal on a hot summer day and you don’t really feel like cooking. Pearled or Israeli couscous is so fun to cook with and quite delicious. I wouldn’t recommend the finer/smaller couscous in this dish. If you can’t find pearled couscous, I would use a smaller pasta, like orzo instead. The only cooking involved in making this salad is cooking the couscous. Everything else is raw and only needs chopping. This makes for a quick, healthy, and tasty dinner in no time!

Easy Mediterranean Couscous Salad
Makes about 4 large servings

1 1/2 cups Israeli/pearled couscous
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
1 large yellow squash, diced 
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt 
Fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped parsley or cilantro 
1/2 cup your favorite balsamic vinaigrette (see notes) 
Splash of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup feta (optional if not vegan) 

Cook Israeli couscous according to the package instructions. Drain off any excess water.

In a large serving bowl, add couscous and all the other ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined. Add a splash of lemon juice or a drizzle of balsamic vinegar for more brightness. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the flavors meld. Serve and enjoy! Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes
I used Member's Mark white balsamic vinaigrette from Sam's Club. You can use whatever balsamic vinaigrette you like.  

Whole Wheat Mango Muffins

Happy First Day of Summer! What better way to celebrate than with these delicious whole wheat mango muffins! I love how mangoes are back in season. They are one of my top 3 favorite fruits. These muffins are super fluffy, made with wholesome ingredients, perfectly sweet, and filled with juicy mangoes. Basically, it’s a bakery style muffin, except for healthier, vegan, whole grain, and sweetened with unrefined sugar that won’t make your sugar spike. These muffins are perfect for breakfast, as a snack, or even dessert. They are also very freezer friendly, which is a must in my house! I love that I can always have muffins on hand in my freezer. When you want one, just pop it in the microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Mango Muffins
Makes about 12 muffins

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 all-purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water)
2/3 cup coconut sugar (or any granulated sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain almond milk + 1 Tbsp vinegar (vegan buttermilk)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted 
1 heaping cup diced mangoes 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan or spray with oil.

In a medium bowl, make flax egg by combining the ground flaxseed with water. Mix and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.

In a liquid measuring cup or bowl, combine almond milk (or any non-dairy milk) with vinegar. Set aside for 5 minutes. This is your vegan buttermilk!

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix until well combined.

In the bowl with the flax egg, add the coconut sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk until it is well combined. Then add the buttermilk mixture and melted coconut oil. Whisk again until combined.

Add wet ingredients to the dry. Mix with a spatula until just combined. Careful not to overmix! Fold in the mangoes.

Fill each muffin mold until almost full. This will ensure big, fluffy muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden and when a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then transfer the muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

Vegan Tofu Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Easy dinners are my jam and these vegan tofu ricotta stuffed shells are not only easy to whip up, but it’s a definite crowd pleaser. Father’s Day is this weekend and this dish will definitely hit the spot! It’s a completely vegan version of the well loved classic, stuffed shells. Both kids and adults can enjoy this dinner. I love the super flavorful tofu ricotta and how nutrient dense it is. It’s packed with fiber, protein, and greens! It’s a great way to sneak those greens in for those picky eaters! Grab your favorite marinara sauce and make these stuffed shells!

Vegan Tofu Ricotta Stuffed Shells 
About 24-26 shells 

14 oz firm or extra firm block of tofu 
1/2 cup roasted garlic hummus
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 - 1 tsp salt 
Cracked black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
5 oz fresh spinach, steamed/blanched
12 ounce box jumbo shells
32 oz jar marinara sauce 

Press tofu to remove excess water. Wrap the drained block of tofu with a clean kitchen towel or a couple layers of paper towel. Place a heavy pan on top with some books. Press tofu for 15-20 minutes. 

Cook the jumbo shells according to box instructions. Drain and rinse well. Set aside. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. After the tofu is done being pressed, crumble it with your hands into a large mixing bowl. Add the hummus, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Mix well until it resembles ricotta cheese. Chop blanched spinach and fold it into the mixture. Make sure everything is well combined. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed, adding more salt or pepper.

Spray a large casserole dish (9×13) and pour enough marinara sauce to cover the bottom. Fill the shells with about 1.5 to 2 tablespoons of the tofu ricotta. Place in the casserole pan. Once you finish filling the shells, about 24 shells, pour the rest of the sauce over the shells. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Then take foil off and lower temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for another 10-15 minutes. 

Remove from oven and serve. Enjoy! 

Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Ganache Glaze (vegan, gf)

It’s National Donut Day and you better bet I’m celebrating with these delicious chocolate ganache glazed chocolate donuts! You may know that I have a small obsession with donuts and they are one of my top favorite treats. Donuts are my weakness and I’m always in the mood for them. I have a friend that sends me a dozen donuts EVERY year for Valentine’s Day. She knows the way to my heart…and tummy! Anyways, these chocolate donuts are healthier than your average store-bought donut. They are gluten-free and made with oat and almond flours. They are also refined sugar free. The chocolate ganache glaze makes these donuts so decadent, you won’t even be able to tell that these donuts are healthier. They are packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants from the cacao powder. You can have them for breakfast, as a snack, or a yummy dessert. Now go treat yourself a donut and celebrate this awesome holiday!

Chocolate Donuts with Chocolate Ganache Glaze (vegan, gf) 
Makes 12 donuts 

1 cup oat flour
1 cup blanched almond flour 
2/3 cup cacao powder 
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt 
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any non-dairy milk) 
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup coconut sugar (you can use brown or cane sugar too)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Chocolate Ganache Glaze 
3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips 
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray your two donut pans with oil and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, almond flour, cacao powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well combined and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the almond milk (make sure it’s room temperature or slightly warm so the coconut oil doesn’t harden), melted coconut oil, coconut sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.

Add wet ingredients to the large bowl of dry ingredients. Whisk until smooth and combined.

Spoon batter into each donut mold until almost full (they don’t rise a ton). Carefully shake the pan to distribute the batter evenly.

Bake for 18-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean and the tops are firm to the touch.

Place donut pans on a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Then carefully remove donuts and place on the cooling rack to cool completely.

Make the chocolate ganache glaze by putting the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment. Only microwave until melted, careful not to burn the chocolate.

Carefully dip each donut into the ganache, with the smooth baked surface (the side that was touching the pans) covered in the ganache glaze. Be extra careful because the donuts are tender and you don’t want to break them. You can also spoon the glaze onto the donuts. Put donut back onto the cooling rack and finish glazing all the donuts. Enjoy!

Store in an airtight container on the counter for 3 days.

Muesli Chocolate Chunk Anytime Cookies

These muesli chocolate chunk breakfast cookies maybe one of my favorite healthy oat cookies. I love using the brand Seven Sundays‘ muesli to make these cookies because their ingredients are simple and clean. The muesli adds the perfect crunch to these cookies that make them such a good texture. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with muesli, it is basically just a mixture of oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. You can eat it cold or cook it similarly to oatmeal. I like to think of it as elevated oats. 🙂 These muesli chocolate chunk cookies are great for breakfast on the go, as a snack, post workout fuel, or dessert. They are oil-free, gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar free. These little cookies are packed with good for you nourishment like fiber, protein, and healthy fats. They are super easy to whip up and can be made in one bowl! YAY!

Muesli Chocolate Chunk Anytime Cookies 
Makes about 14 cookies

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water) 
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup drippy nut butter (I did half tahini, half almond butter)
1 1/2 cup Seven Sundays Classic Bircher Mix Muesli 
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

In a large bowl, make flax egg. Combine the ground flax seed and water. Mix and set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.

After 5 minutes, add the maple syrup and nut butter to the bowl with the flax egg. Stir until well mixed and smooth.

Add in the muesli, oat flour, cinnamon, and salt. Mix until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks.

Scoop about 2 Tbsp of dough and roll into balls. You can wet your hands a little bit if the dough is sticking to your hands. Place on cookie sheet and flatten with your hands.

Bake for 13-16 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottoms.

Cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes. Then transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely. They will firm up more as they cool.

Enjoy! Store in an airtight container on the counter for 3 days.

Healthy Cinnamon Sugar Banana Bread Donuts (vegan, gf)

I hope all of you guys are celebrating this long weekend with friends and family! These healthy cinnamon sugar banana bread donuts are the perfect, healthy, sweet treat for your Memorial Day breakfast! They are gluten-free, vegan, and have no refined sugars! Made with wholesome ingredients, these are donuts you won’t feel guilty about eating more than one. If you’re anything like me, you can easily pound donuts away. They are my guilty pleasure, so it’s nice to have a “healthy” (but tasty) donut once in awhile. Anyways, they are super moist and easy to whip up. They are also great as a snack or dessert.

Healthy Cinnamon Sugar Banana Bread Donuts (vegan, gf)
Makes 5-6 donuts 
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp water)
1 ripe medium to large banana, mashed
2 Tbsp avocado oil (or melted coconut oil) 
2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 Tbsp oat flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
scant 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder 

Cinnamon Sugar Topping
2 Tbsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease/spray your donut pan very well.

Make flax egg by combining the ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, make cinnamon sugar topping by adding coconut sugar and cinnamon and stir. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the oat flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Whisk until well combined.

In a smaller mixing bowl, add the flax egg, mashed banana, oil, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently stir with a spatula until just combined. Don’t overmix. Spoon batter into your donut pan. Mine made about 5-6 donuts. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar topping over the top.

Bake for 14-17 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then carefully take the donuts out and place on a wire rack to cool.

Enjoy! Best when fresh!

Best Ever Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan, gf, paleo)

These tahini chocolate chip cookies are probably my favorite cookies ever! No joke, these have the perfect crisp exterior and chewy centers. I love the nuttiness from the tahini and almond flour, paired with the chocolate chips. YUM! These cookies are just lightly sweetened and make for the perfect healthy, but delicious dessert. I could literally pop like 5 of these babies when they come out of the oven. Warm cookies are my weakness and tahini is my jam. I also love these as a snack. Basically, these cookies are good for ANY time of day. They are grain-free, vegan, gluten-free, and paleo friendly. I don’t really know what else to say except for you HAVE to make these tahini chocolate chip cookies! They really are the BEST EVER!

Best Ever Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies (vegan, gf, paleo) 
Make about 12 cookies

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water)
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or you can use brown sugar)
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips
flaked sea salt or kosher salt for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.

Make flax egg by combining the ground flaxseed and water in a medium bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes to thicken up. To the bowl with the flax egg, add the tahini, coconut sugar, and coconut oil. Stir until well combined.

Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well with a spatula. Fold in the chocolate chips. Let it sit for 5 minutes.

Use a cookie scoop and place on baking sheet. Flatten slightly with your hands. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Just until slightly golden. Let it sit on the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. They firm up once cooled.

Enjoy!