In this and the blog posts to come, I am keeping good my pledge in my most recent post. I am posting recipes for my favorite vegan or plant-based meals. These are my meatless mainstays for the month of May. All month I will be posting recipes I use most frequently. They are also the ones friends and family who focus their meals on meat have most requested.

These “recipes” are ones I rarely need to reference directions for anymore. I make them so often they are committed to habit. For the sake of these posts, I will make them as clear as I can. I will include some variants I use. That way you can modify and adapt them yourself with less fear of messing up. I want everyones efforts to eat less meat to be as successful as possible, something to become a new habit.

How Many Vegans?

I searched the internet to see if there were any data on how many Americans are already committed to reducing meat consumption to the extent of going vegan. One report said over 40% of restaurant guests order vegetarian or vegan items. But the estimate of the number of people who are following a vegan approach to food regularly is estimated at less than 2%. Is it more daunting to prepare a meal out of ones comfort zone norm? That process is what I hope to make easier with the recipes I share here.

Cherry cacao smoothie
Finished Cherry Chocolatee Smoothie in a glass

First, the most requested meal in my house, Cherry Chocolate Smoothie! This one recently won a contest for a favorite way to eat almond butter, and avocados. Healthy plant based whole food plant protein, coupled with a healthy fat and fiber source. Avocados and cacao, thanks to our neighbors south of our border, provide this healthier way for us to honor Cinco de Mayo.

Cherry Chocolate Smoothie

I start with about one cup of coconut milk or soy milk or rice milk in my Vitamix blender. I have done this recipe using other blenders and it may need a little more liquid, time and pre-cutting of ingredients. The Vitamix makes it smoother faster.

Add greens to non dairy milk
Adding the greens to the non dairy milk first makes the final result smoother

To make blending easier, I add remaining ingredients a few at a time to the liquid. You can even use water if you you don’t have access to a non-dairy milk. The almond butter will turn it into the equivalent of almond milk. First, add at least a cup or more of greens, typically celery leaves, parsley or carrot greens when we have them. I also forage for dandelion leaves in the garden, young ones are best. If you are new to adding greens to smoothies, start with less and add more as you become accustomed to the taste. This is a good one to start with. You can also use spinach or chard, or romaine lettuce, or beet greens,

blended greens and liquid
greens after blending

Blend well. Then, to the two or more cups of green liquid I add about a cup of frozen cherries and blend again. Sometimes I also add a pear or banana or apple. Recently I have been using up frozen apricots I bought a box of at the farmers’ market a year ago, so a few of those go in or blueberries. Using some frozen fruit eliminates the need to chill with ice cubes that dilute it. If you don’t have frozen fruit, you may need to chill the smoothie before drinking.

What makes it super rich and yummy?

Once the fruit is well blended I add a heaping tablespoon each of cacao powder and cacao nibs, about a tsp of vanilla flavor, and half an avocado. Blend again.

avocado and cacao additions
Add a quarter to half of an avocado to blended fruit and greens, plus a heaping tablespoon each of Cacao powder and cacao nibs. Blend well.

Then add about a quarter cup almond butter (crunchy or smooth, raw or roasted). Sesame tahini is another alternative. Sesame is high in calcium. Sunflower seed butter or Pumpkin seed butter are also good. Blend another 15 to 20 seconds.

If it is getting too thick, I add just enough liquid to get the blender moving again. I like smoothies thick. If you prefer a more liquid texture, add more liquid. This one is almost a pudding and sometimes we eat it with a spoon.

Then I serve it to the members of the house who have the anti-cilantro gene. 

But Wait, There’s More!

For myself, I add a big handful of cilantro and blend a final time. If you are still concerned about not getting enough protein, adding pumpkin seed protein powder or pea protein powder or any protein powder of your choice is optional.

An added drop of stevia (or a leaf or two from the plant in the garden) helps transition those who are not yet accustomed to an unsweetened smoothie. You could also add a little honey if you are still transitioning from a sweet-tooth. Or keep the ratio of greens to fruit lower.

Enjoy! And leave a comment if you tried it. Did you have success with any variants? problems I might be able to troubleshoot for you?


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