Recipe: Vegan Vanilla-Lime Cupcakes

Hello friends!

Today I decided to make some vegan vanilla-lime cupcakes because…it’s Tuesday! Hey, what more do you need? Also, why is it that every January I decide I want to start watching what I eat and at the same time I want to bake more?! Everything is okay in moderation, right?


These cupcakes are a ‘healthier’ alternative to the standard cupcake. I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour and  Splenda instead of granulated sugar. I also opted to use fresh lime zest and juice instead of the bottled stuff. It not only saves a few calories, but it really escalates the flavors!

I hope you give these cupcakes a try! Test the recipe yourself, and don’t forgot to let me know what you think in the comments!



Vegan Vanilla-Lime Cupcakes

Yields 24 cupcakes

Prep Time
  • 10-15 minutes
Cook Time
  • 22 minutes


  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups soy or almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 tbsps lime zest (about two whole limes)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Other – two mixing bowls, whisk, measuring cups, and an ice cream scoop.


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Fill cupcake pans with liners and set aside.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over very low heat until melted. Be sure to keep an eye on this process and to stir the oil.
  4. Whisk the melted coconut oil and sugar together in a bowl.
  5. Add the soy or almond milk, vanilla, coconut, and almond extracts, and lime zest/juice. Mix well, making sure the oil does not begin to create clumps.
  6. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Once mixed, fold into the wet mixture and stir until smooth.
  7. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. (I use a 2″ ice cream scoop. It perfectly fills cupcake liners!)
  8. Bake for 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted through the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool completely and then ice your cupcake. I used a standard vanilla icing with clear, sparkly sprinkles. To round out the cupcake, cut a lime into small wedges. Squeeze some juice over the icing and place the remaining wedge on top.
  10. Voila!


Recipe Review: Vegan Wedding Soup


So this week I decided to adapt another recipe from the Thug Kitchen cookbook. (Read my review of the Chick Pea and Dumpling Soup here). I’m Italian so of course I’ve had my fair share of wedding soup. However, I don’t think I had tasted it since I stopped eating meat years and years ago. After enjoying this recipe, I can say that I missed that flavor! It’s warm, a little salty, and completely satisfying on chilly evenings.

The soup is basically a mix of cannelloni bean ‘balls,’ orzo, kale, celery, carrots, onion, spices, and vegetable broth. Simple as that! Below you’ll find my adapted version of the recipe, as well as, as my commentary on making this dish. Enjoy! 


  • 3 cups white beans
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs (I used Trader Joe’s pumpkin corn bread crumbs…it’s what I had handy!)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast (I like Bragg’s)
  • 3 tbl. olive oil
  • 1 tbl. tamari
  • 1 tsp. each of thyme, basil, oregano, and no-salt, and lemon zest
  • 1 tbl. lemon juice
  • 2-3 chopped carrots
  • 2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 c. orzo pasta
  • 9 c. low sodium vegetable broth
  • 5c. chopped kale
  • 1/4c. chopped basil


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Now, first things first, you have to make the white bean balls. This is something I had never done before, but it was actually really fun! In a large mixing bowl, mash 3 cups (two cans) white beans until they form a paste-like texture. You really have to get in there and use your elbow grease. Slowly mix in ¼ c. chopped onion, 1/2 c. bread crumbs (I used Trader Joe’s pumpkin corn bread crumbs…it’s what I had handy!), 3 cloves minced garlic, 1/4 c. nutritional yeast (I like Bragg’s), 2 tbl. olive oil, 1 tbl. tamari, 1 tsp. each of thyme, basil, oregano, and no-salt, and lemon zest.

Once it’s all mixed together, roll table spoon size balls using your hands. So I have to admit that this is the point where I made a mistake. I mixed all of the ingredients except the bread crumbs and rolled all twenty balls. Then I realized what I had done so I had the pleasure of remixing the ingredients with the bread crumbs and re-rolling twenty bean balls. Sheesh! Anyway, once the balls are rolled, bake for 15 minutes, turn the balls over, and bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown. While the balls are cooking, it’s time to work on the soup.


The soup base is pretty standard. Heat 1 tbl. olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the rest of the chopped onion (3/4 c.), 2-3 chopped carrots, and 2-3 ribs of celery. Cook and stir for 5-7 minutes, or until the veggies start to brown and soften. Add in 3 cloves minced garlic and 1 c. orzo pasta and cook for another minute. Then begin to gently pour in 9 c. low sodium vegetable broth while stirring. Let all of the ingredients all simmer together for about 10-15 minutes, until the pasta and veggies are cooked. Then turn off the heat, add 5c. chopped kale, 1/4c. chopped basil, and a splash of the lemon juice.

FullSizeRender_1Once your soup and your bean balls are both done cooking, it’s time to assemble your hearty soup dish! Simply place a few bean balls in the bottom of a soup bowl and ladle the soup over the bean balls. Garnish with your choice of non-dairy cheese (I used mozzarella Daiya). Mangia Mangia!


Vegan Enchilada Lasagna: Combining an Italian Favorite with Mexican Flavors

I think I’ve mentioned that I am Italian so of course I LOVE pasta. During the holidays, my family eats lasagna, not just any ‘traditional’ holiday dish. My boyfriend and I also have a real hankering for Mexican flavors. When we visited LA this past year, I don’t think a day went by when one of us didn’t get something from a taco truck.

So how do you combine the best of both worlds? Easy. Make an enchilada lasagna. Many vegetarian recipes for this concept already exist online (but most call this a casserole); however, it’s a little harder to find a vegan version that lives up to your expectations – and that of your omnivore friends.

That’s why I’ve decided to share my tried and true version of this dish. The best part – it’s even better as leftovers or a pre-made dish made at the beginning of the week!

I hope you enjoy this recipe, as much as I enjoy eating it! Oh, and please feel free to share widely, just give me some credit or a link back. Thanks!



Vegan Enchilada Lasagna

Prep Time: ~15 minutes; Cook Time: ~30 minutes; Yield: Serves 6

Ingredients/ shopping list:

  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 jalepeno, minced (You can also use another pepper of choice! Sometimes I like to use serranos instead.)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can corn
  • salt, to taste (fresh ground is best)
  • pepper, to taste (fresh ground is best)
  • 1+ cans enchilada sauce (Depending on how ‘saucy’ you like it. I use one can of the Frontera brand sauce.)
  • ~12 six inch corn tortillas
  • 1 bag daiya cheese (use whatever flavor you like)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne


    1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.

    2. Chop your red and green peppers and onion. Drizzle some olive oil in a pan and sauté the veggies until they turn bright but still have a little crunch. Add in the minced jalapeño and garlic. Season with a little salt and pepper. Sauté another few minutes. (The veggies should be almost cooked, but not completely).

    3. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, transfer to a large mixing bowl and combine with the can of black beans and corn. Toss all ingredients with the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne.

    4. Get a 9×12 glass baking dish and your enchilada sauce. Spread the bottom and sides of the dish with sauce. Add a layer of tortillas completely covering the bottom of the pan. Top with 1/2 the veggie/bean filling and 1/3 the cheese. Add another layer of tortillas and completely cover with enchilada sauce. Repeat this process.

    5. End with a final layer of tortillas smothered in the remaining cheese and sauce. Cover with tented aluminum foil (so the cheese doesn’t stick!)

    6. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the tented foil and bake ~5-10 minutes until the cheese is fully melted and the enchilada lasagna is nice and bubbly.

    7. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes so it ‘settles.’


Chickpea and Dumpling Soup, A.K.A. Guaranteed Food Coma

I recently bought a new cookbook called “Thug Kitchen” at the recommendation of my friend Alicia (check out her blog). Now at first glance I thought – alright it’s supposed to be a funny cookbook that might have a few good recipes…let’s give it a try. I was wrong! This book is FULL of amazing recipes!

One of the first things I attempted to make was certainly not the easiest recipe, nor the one with the shortest prep/cook time. No, certainly not. However, it was an amazing, hearty dish that will serve as my work lunch this entire week. Since I haven’t had meat in as many years as it takes to be able to drive a car, I can’t say I’ve ever eaten chicken and dumplings. But I can say that I think this chickpea and dumpling soup hits all of the highlights – and it might even be better. Make it and see for yourself!

The first thing you need is to take a hearty shopping trip. This recipe uses the ‘trinity’ – onions, carrots, and celery. It also requires some basic vegan household staples like almond milk, flour, kale, and chickpeas. You can see my cluttered table of ingredients below.


The first thing you do is make the dough which honestly was kind of fun, although time consuming. This involves the basics – flour, baking powder, spices, and enough almond milk to get the right dough-like texture. Oh, and lots and LOTS of chives!



I spent the next hour or so chopping and cooking veggies and getting the ‘soup’ going. This recipe certainly isn’t for those who already don’t like to cook. I enjoyed this because I love prep work, and I love an excuse to use my big soup pot! The recipe calls for the cook to make a ‘roux’ though it doesn’t call it that. A roux is a soup base which is a staple for many southern dishes. It’s a simple mixture of extra virgin olive oil and flour, stirring on low heat, while slowly adding in some other liquids – white wine, vegetable broth, etc. The great thing about making roux the soup base is that it will give your soup a thick, creamy feel without dairy or butter! All of that stirring and simmering is worth it! Trust me!


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Eventually, the soup began to look like a soup and I have to admit – I was shocked at how fast the homemade noodles cooked and how great they tasted! (Can you believe I had never made dumplings before…or even my own pasta – and I’m Italian!)


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This soup is so good, I had to get seconds! It was like a warm blanket for my stomach. It has some kick due to using cayenne, but the flavors were all very well-balanced. This is certainly the perfect meal for a cold January evening.

Overall, I give this recipe, and the end result, an A+. It’s time consuming, but it turns out an excellent product. I’m going to be very sad when my leftovers runout.


So do you have a favorite ‘comfort food’ recipe? Please share!