This recipe is my adaptation of a former bosses, Chef Julie Robles, at Tavern.  She created this when she worked at Lucques.  It’s a fool proof recipe that tastes so much more complex than it is to make.  I changed it up by making it oil-free, you can use whatever ripe tomatoes (not just ripe yellow tomatoes) you fancy for the base of the soup, I no longer use red wine vinegar to make it, and I don’t peel the cucumbers or strain the soup to retain the insoluble fiber content.  It’s a rustic cold soup, rich in the vital anti-oxidant lycopene, vitamins A and C.

What I love most about gazpacho is that it is raw and not cooked so this soup retains so much of its beneficial enzymes, making it easier to digest.  Another reason I love making gazpacho is that it is oh-so easy to make!  In the past, I made gazpacho for my clients using red wine vinegar but for this recipe I swapped it out with raw coconut vinegar because it is alkaline and has more health benefits.  I personally feel that coconut vinegar tastes much better than apple cider vinegar, plus coconut vinegar has more nutrients—17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH.   It is also an excellent source of a prebiotic,  Fructooligosaccharide (FOS), that promotes digestive health.

I hope you enjoy this refreshing and delicious, cold soup along with all of its benefits!

Enjoy and cheers to good health!



Servings: 2 to 4

Time: 10 minutes





1 1/2 Tbsp of red bell pepper, chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp of red onion, diced

1 1/2 Tbsp cucumber, seeded and diced

9 small cherry tomatoes, cut in half

6 cilantro leaves

big pinch sea salt
a pinch freshly ground black pepper

1 1/4 pounds ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 1/2 Persian cucumbers, coarsely chopped

1/4 jalapeno, seeded, and cut in half

2 sprigs of cilantro

1 clove of garlic, chopped

3 Tbsp vegetable stock or filtered water

1 Tbsp of coconut vinegar (can substitute with raw apple cider vinegar)

3/4 tsp sea salt

cayenne pepper, as needed



1. In a small bowl, toss together 3 Tbsp of diced cucumber, 3 Tbsp diced red bell pepper, and 1 1/2 Tbsp diced red onion.  Season with a couple pinches of salt and pepper.  Toss again.  Set aside

2.  Place all of the soup ingredients into a high-powered blender.  Blend well.  If the soup is too thick, adjust the consistency with the vegetable stock or filtered water.  Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

3.  Pour the mixture into 2-3 soup bowls and scatter the garnish over the soup equally.

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Ricotta Cheese – Gluten-free and Vegan

ricottaI love Italian food and the day I go to Italy, I’m sure I’m going to have myself a big bowl of authentic pasta, even if there’s gluten or cheese in it.  For now, I want to continue my detox, keep my body clean, free from toxic sludge, while still being able to enjoy my favorite Italian dishes.

After watching David Rocco make gnudi on “La Dolce Vita”, I was really craving a butternut squash gnudi. To make gnudi, one needs ricotta, and although I’m trying to stay away from soy, too, the only vegan ricotta recipes I found online were made with tofu.  I used Morinaga organic, non-GMO firm tofu, to be safe.

My version of vegan ricotta was a delicious addition to my butternut squash gnudi.  As for my gnudi, I would a post picture of them with the recipe; however, I used buckwheat flower and quenelle-shaped them.  Can you just imagine?  My husband thought they looked like Mr. Hanky from “South Park”, although they tasted yummy.  My apologies for the visual.

I still need to learn how to work with amaranth, and all the other flours.  It may take some time, but I will get there.

I’ll tweak the gnudi recipe a bit more, omit the buckwheat flour, and will post another time.

For now, I will share my vegan, gluten-free ricotta cheese recipe.  This is perfect for lasagna, ravioli, and any other pasta recipe that requires ricotta! Enjoy!


8 oz tofu

1/2 tsp garlic, minced

1/2 tsp shallot, minced

1/2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 tsp sunflower seed (or grapeseed) oil

1 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp fresh basil, chopped

1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped

sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste


Drain liquid from tofu. In a bowl, squeeze and crumble tofu.  Add all other ingredients, mix and mash together until it looks like the real thing.  Viola!  Ricotta!

Buon Appetito!



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Chocolate Chai Cookies – Vegan and Gluten-free!


Peyman loves his mom’s Persian cooking, and he especially loves her chocolate chip cookies.  Every week after our family dinners, his mom packs cookies for him.  As much as I love my mom-in-law and her cookies, they are not vegan or gluten-free and I am unable to enjoy them.   Consequently, I decided to create a gluten-free vegan chocolate chip cookie that is just as good as my mom-in-law’s.

In my search for a yummy recipe on Instagram, I came across a cookie that looked just like his mom’s, posted by @becauseyoureyoung.  The cookie’s reviews from her friends and co-workers were very positive.  I decided to give the recipe a try.

I do not love the raw batter’s taste or scent of garbanzo bean flour as they bake so I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome and couldn’t help myself from eating 3 cookies in one sitting!  Thank goodness for reviews.  These cookies are amazing!  They are basically chocolate chip cookies but with an Indian (East Asian) twist.


I make these for my friends and family—they all love these cookies, even the pickiest of eaters!

I made a few slight adjustments to the recipe, but still, with the permission of @becauseyoureyoung, I will now share this recipe with you!  Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Please note:  they are addicting!  You can also reduce the sugar to ¾ cups plus 2 tbsp, if you’d like to cut down the sugar in this recipe.


Chocolate Chai Cookies – Vegan and Gluten-free!

Servings: 24

Time: 40 minutes

Brief: Chewy chocolate chai cookies are my favorite! They are grain-free, easy to make, and oh so good!

Diet: V, GF, GFV, DF, SF, NF



1/2 cup coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup steeped chai rooibos tea*

1 cup coconut palm sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 cups garbanzo bean flour

2 heaping tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


*I use Yogi brand Chai Rooibos tea.

**I use Chocolate Dream dairy/gluten/soy-free semi-sweet baking chips



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In boiling water, steep the chai rooibos tea for at least 3 minutes. Measure out 1/3 cup of tea.

3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the coconut oil, vanilla, tea, coconut palm sugar, and sea salt.

4. In a small bowl, combine the garbanzo bean flour, cinnamon, and baking powder and mix well.

5. Add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir well to combine.

6. Fold in the chocolate chips.  Chill the batter in the refrigerator for about 7 minutes prior to scooping. (The more loose your cookie batter is, the more they will spread when they bake).

7. Scoop 2-Tbsp cookie balls onto a half sheet pan, lined with a Silpat mat or parchment paper and press down to flatten them ever so slightly with your hand or a rubber spatula.  You should be able to fit 12 cookies onto a half sheet pan.

8. Bake until they start to just brown at the bottom, for 9-11 minutes, depending on how powerful your oven is.

9. Allow the cookies to rest on the half sheet pan for about 2-3 minutes besides transferring them to a cooling rack.

Note: This recipe makes 24 cookies total.  Enjoy and remember, enjoy everything sweet in moderation!





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Quinoa Kale Salad


While reading Kimberly Snyder’s blog post last week, I was inspired to eat kale salad.  That same day after I had my hair done, on my way home, I noticed a cute little restaurant tucked within a busy street corner — Sage in Echo Park (Los Angeles).  While in my car, I read the yelp reviews, which were great… so I stepped right in.  Sage is a vegan, organic, raw restaurant. Normally, I’d be scared to walk into a place like this, but many reviews said they don’t compromise on flavor, which, thankfully, they were absolutely right about.

At 1:30pm, it was still bustling with patrons.  I had a seat, asked my server what he recommended and he pointed out his favorites in all of the sections of the menu.  Since I’d read Kimberly’s blog post about kale salad, I decided to go with the recommended Goatless Greek Quinoa Kale Salad.  It was a tad saltier than I expected, but nonetheless delicious. I left Sage that Friday afternoon, full and satisfied.  Then I got home and jotted down some notes about my experience.  Usually when I really enjoy a meal, I go back the next day.  I like to really savor food and keep long-lasting memories of a meal I loved so much fresh on my mind and palette. The next day, after we spent the day at Peyman’s parents’ house, we went to Sage for dinner.  Yep, I liked it that much. Peyman was a little apprehensive about it at first, just like me, but was surprisingly pleased after dinner.  We’d arrived at 8:30pm, a peak time for dinner.  There was a waiting list of 10 parties before us.  They, however, had outdoor seating with heating lamps, and we were so hungry that we decided to just take the little table outside that no one wanted: right across from a graffiti laden van.  Service was attentive and quick, and the food was delish!  During dinner, Peyman observed masses of hipsters walking in and out of the restaurant and said, “This place is a gold mine”. I agreed.  I thought it was definitely a diamond in the rough, being in a pretty sketchy part of town.



The next day, Sunday, I had a gathering at our place with my girlfriends to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  In keeping with the St. Pat’s theme, I made a chocolate stout cake and a green cake with chocolate, mint and pistachio.  I also provided fruit for my friends, while they brought wonderful components for our huge, delicious feast.  I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it was a cheat day for me!  After the day was through, I felt blessed and very grateful to have thoughtful friends with such good taste in food.

On Monday, I got back on track with clean-eating and with the memory of Sage still fresh in my mind, I created a kale salad for Peyman and I to eat for dinner.  First I watched Kimberly make her Dharma Kale Salad, then I applied a similar technique of breaking apart the kale and smashing the avocado into the kale as a dressing into my own salad.  I incorporated some ingredients I liked in Sage’s kale salad.  We liked it so much, I made it for my sister the next day for lunch and she liked it so much she made it the following day for her family.  She said, though, that my measurements were a little off (her’s came out a little differently).  But as with any recipe, I told her to taste, and season or add things as you make it.  I tried my best to get a more accurate measurement of the ingredients, below.

Here it is.

Quinoa Kale Salad

Yields 2 large servings

Time 20 minutes



1 head of Kale, stem removed

At least 1/8 teaspoon of sea salt

2-3 tomatoes (about 1 cup), diced

1 avocado, diced

1 gala Apple, diced

1/4th onion, diced small

1 tablespoon flaxseed

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1/4-1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

About 1/4 cup  or small handful of walnuts, toasted (toasting optional) and roughly chopped (toast in a 300 degree oven for about 8 mins..or until fragrant or until they taste yummy)

2 tablespoons of dried cranberries

At least 3-4 shakes of cayenne pepper, depending on how much of kick of heat you like in your food

1 whole juicy lemon

1/4 cup Cucumber, chopped (optional)


Click here, to see a demonstration on how to massage kale with sea salt and avocado.

1. Wash greens well. Remove the kale stems and save them for later – to be used for a green juice or shake.

2. Add kale leaves and salt to a large bowl. With clean hands, tear the kale into bite-sized pieces while massaging salt onto the leaves.  This will sort of tenderize the leaves.

3. Add remaining ingredients.

4. With clean hands, toss the salad, while massaging the avocado onto the kale leaves. Toss, toss, toss.

(No oil is required because the avocado is the fat.)

5. Season to taste. If you think it needs more salt, add more salt or try adding some seaweed or dulse for less sodium. If you want it spicier, add more cayenne.

6. Toss. Serve and enjoy.


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