Vegan Recipe: Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita

Every now and then I like to get fancy. With my cooking that is. Usually I’m a pretty basic cook. I love to make burritos, curry, big salads, etc. They are simple, tasty, quick to make, and usually pretty healthy.

Actually, I think of myself as a lucky cook. I have a “talent” for throwing things together and having them turn out pretty darn delicious. Just as some people can follow a recipe, take a cooking class, really work at a creating a dish, yet it still doesn’t work, I can “make it work.” And really, it’s just luck.

Lentil Cakes6

Anyway, I usually do stick with the basics.  This dish, Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita, is me finding my fancy side. Based on a recipe I was given by a local restauranteur, I “made it vegan” by switching out the dairy products and eggs for a plant based version.

Lentil Cakes9

Guess what? It tastes just as good!

Today I am joining up with Tina and Deborah for Meatless Monday! Click the photo below and check out all the other recipes from others joining the linkup party!



Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita

Lentil Cakes7

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Recipe: Indian Lentil Cakes with Cucumber Mint Raita
Prep time
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Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
  • 1 cup mixed dried lentils (such as red, black, and mung )
  • ½ cup basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 serrano pepper-chopped
  • 2 cups chopped arugula
  • 1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 teaspoons each salt and pepper
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • For Raita:
  • 2 cups soy or other non-dairy Yogurt
  • ½ cup chopped peeled seeded cucumber (I love the Persian cucumbers that do not need to be peeled and seeded)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon raw agave syrup
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 Tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  1. Rinse lentils and rice, cover with water and soak for 3-6 hours.
  2. Drain and transfer to food processor. Add ginger, garlic and serrano. Process until a grainy paste is formed-add a few tablespoons of water if needed. Add arugula, peas, cilantro, onion, salt and pepper -pulse several times until well combined.
  3. Heat a few Tablespoons coconut oil in a skillet and add ¼ cupfuls of batter fry until golden, flattening and flipping as needed. Add more oil, if needed between batches. Serve w/ Raita
  4. For the Raita:
  5. In a medium bowl mix yogurt, cucumber, cilantro, mint, lemon and agave-
  6. Heat coconut oil in small skillet on medium heat-when hot add mustard seeds, once they start to pop, add cumin seeds stirring just about 10 seconds, add garlic stirring for a few more seconds, quickly add to the yogurt mix. Stir to combine-Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lentil Cakes8Now for a little training recap

Training has gone much better this week as I build my base for the SLO Marathon. I ran 18 miles total, which is an increase of about five miles over last week, so that’s good. As I’ve mentioned, I want to use December to increase my mileage to 25-35 miles per week and get my long run up to 10 miles. I plan to start my training plan for the marathon on January 1 (or second, depending on my new year’s eve). Here’s the recap:

Monday: Running, 5 miles. Yoga: 60 minute class (at work. Hurray for gym perks!).
Tuesday: Rest, though I did play around with the TRX and functional trainer for about a half hour.
Wednesday: Four mile tempo run. One mile warm up, 4-half mile intervals at LT pace with a 1/4 mile recovery. First of any kind of speed work in months, so it was hard but I felt good afterward.
Thursday: Thirty minutes Pilates workout.
Friday: Thirty minute Circuit Training Class. This was at work, basically because I have to sub in a couple weeks and I wanted to get an idea of what level, etc. My knee was really hurting for some reason, so my workout was kind of limited, but enough to make me sore the next day.
Saturday: Six mile run, followed by a 90 minute Vinyasa class (with April so it kicked my butt).
Sunday: This is doggy run day, so a total of three miles with the dogs. Easy Breezy.

Dog run

The plan for this coming week is to increase the mileage for each workout.  Just a little bit, and to increase the challenge of my Wednesday tempo run. Again, just a little bit.  Also to practice yoga at least three times. To do that, I’ll get to the studio once or twice, plus I’m going to try out Yoga30., and the new online classes offered by April and Yoga Central (see below for details).

Things to remember:

SLO Marathon 1024x379 Starting with a Bang...

Join me (and Alan!) in San Luis Obispo on April 26, 2015, for the SLO Marathon. Save $10 on registration for either the full or half marathon with the code: WOODAMB. Register soon for the best savings and I’ll see you in April!

Yoga Central Starting with a Bang...

My favorite yoga studio, Yoga Central is going global! You can sign up here, and read this post for details on signing up for online classes at Yoga Central.

Do you celebrate Meatless Mondays? Do you have a favorite vegan or vegetarian dish that you serve your family? What’s on your training schedule?

Vegan “Tuna” Salad with Jackfruit, Avocado, and Quinoa

Jackfruit Tuna

If you follow this blog, you know my love of Jackfruit since I discovered it last year. This amazing fruit/vegetable makes the perfect whole food meat substitute. It contains no soy, gluten, additives, preservatives, or any other unpronounceable ingredient. It shreds like pork or chicken, and absorbs the flavors of the seasonings that you cook it with. It is very low in calories (only about 80 in the entire can), but because it is a fruit, it is also low in protein, so I recommend serving it with beans or some other protein source to ensure a balanced meal.

Jackfruit Tuna 4

Vegan Tuna Salad with Jackfruit, Avocado, and Quinoa

Jackfruit can be found in most Asian markets. Be sure to purchase the “green” jackfruit in water or brine. Ripe jackfruit is used as a dessert fruit and is very sweet.

Vegan "Tuna" Salad with Jackfruit, Avocado, and Quinoa
Prep time
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Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 can Jackfruit (green, in water or brine), rinsed and drained
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ½ cup onion, chopped, divided in half
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup vegan mayo
  • ¼ cup orange or yellow pepper, chopped
  • ¼ cup celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried kelp
  • mixed salad greens
  • 1 cup prepared quinoa
  • cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 2 avocados, halved and scooped out with a spoon
  • lemon juice
  1. In a small bowl, use a fork to shred the jackfruit (so it looks like tuna or shredded chicken).
  2. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Cook half of the onion and garlic until the onion is clear, two to three minutes.
  3. Add the jackfruit and cook, stirring occasionally, until the jackfruit's moisture has evaporated.
  4. While the jackfruit is cooking, place the beans in the bowl. Use a fork to mash them. Add the vegan mayo, orange pepper, celery, cucumber, the rest of the onion, dill, salt, pepper, and kelp. Stir gently. When the jackfruit mixture is cooked, add it to the salad ingredients and mix until the jackfruit is coated. Squeeze a little lemon juice over the mixture. Refrigerate until chilled.
  5. On large salad plates, arrange the salad greens, a few tomatoes, ¼ of the quinoa, and a half avocado.
  6. Squeeze some lemon juice over the avocado.
  7. Spoon the jackfruit salad onto the avocado halves and serve. Sprinkle with a little paprika if you like.

This recipe serves four, but since there are only two of us, I used just one avocado and saved the rest of the salad for sandwiches.  Or, for a “tuna” melt, grill between a couple slices of rye or sourdough bread with a couple slices of grilled onion and some vegan cheese.
Jackfruit Tuna 2

Jackfruit Tuna 3Check out my other Jackfruit Recipes:


Chili: Vegan and Gluten Free


Have you tried jackfruit?

Meatless Monday: 3 Favorite Vegan Recipes

I joining in a Meatless Monday linkup with Tina Muir. After over five years of blogging and creating vegan recipes, this is the first time I’ve ever done a Meatless Monday post! Check out Tina’s post and all the others participating in the linkup.

But first, some deep thanks.

I just want to express my appreciation for the support that all of you gave me after I was fired last week. Your words were so kind and understanding that I immediately felt better. I have taken down the post for a few reasons, not the least of which that I probably wouldn’t want a future employer to read it.

I spent the last few days enjoying a little unplanned time off while I mentally prepare for the challenge ahead. An additional challenge faced by all of us who live in the desert is that it is so seasonal. While I’m confident that I can find a job as a trainer, the people who are potentially my clients won’t be back until November. So, in addition to looking for jobs in personal training, I have a few other ideas that I will let you know about as I begin to roll them out.

Shout Out to Pavement Runner

A quick shout out to Pavement Runner who did a back to back San Francisco Marathon on Sunday. Yup, that’s right. Starting at midnight (or some crazy hour), he ran the reverse SF course, finished, took a few minutes to refuel and change, then took off with the regular runners. And finished! I’m sure his full recap will be up as soon as he wakes up, so keep an eye out. The prize that I won in his contest to raise money and awareness for the SF SPCA (SF Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) arrived this weekend. It’s a beautiful Half-Zip Performance top from Tribesports. My only regret is that it will be a few months before it’s cool enough here to wear it.


Meatless Monday: My 3 Favorite Vegan Recipes

First off, here is a new recipe. I tend to eat a lot of salads during the summer. It’s just too hot to eat cooked food, plus the air conditioner is working hard enough without having to outwork the oven. This Mexican Salad is colorful, and combined with the spicy avocado dressing has a great bite.

Mexican Salad 2

Mexican Salad
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4
  • 3 cups mixed greens of choice, chopped medium
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • ½ cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 can (or one cup) cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ cup yellow peppers, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Lime juice
  • Spicy Avocado Dressing (see below)
  1. Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the salad (about a tablespoon). Toss with the avocado dressing.

 Spicy Avocado Dressing


1 avocado
Juice of 1 lime
1 serrano chili, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon pepper


Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If the dressing is too thick, add a little more water.

Mexican Salad 3

I have made a lot of Tofu Scrambles in my time as a vegan. Even though I’ve written up the recipes each time, I rarely follow my own, preferring to use whatever veggies I have on hand. This one turned out especially good, so I thought I’d share it.

Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble
Prep time
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Recipe type: Main/Breakfast
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4
  • 1 package firm or extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1 small potato, chopped
  • ¼ cup red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ package vegan chorizo (Soyrizo)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon black salt (Kala Namak - optional - see below)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (if using the black salt reduce to ½ teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  1. In a small bowl, combine tofu, turmeric, cumin, black salt if using, salt, and pepper. Use a fork to blend and to give a "scrambled egg" texture. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.
  3. Add potatoes, and cook until slightly browned.
  4. Add onions, peppers, and chiles and cook until the vegetables are soft, about five minutes. At this point the potatoes should be almost cooked, but not soft.
  5. Add the Soyrizo. Break it up as you stir the mixture. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the tofu mixture. Stir it in and cook for about 5 more minutes.
  7. Serve with tortillas, beans, rice, avocados, salsa, or whatever condiments you like.

A note about the black salt. Ever since I read this post by Cadry, I have been a little obsessed with her Eggy Tofu. I have started adding the Kala Namak to all my eggy tofu recipes, like this one or quiche. It is optional, so you can skip it or purchase it here (affiliate link).

Finally, I decided to share this Shawarma recipe again (I’m actually making it for dinner tonight). I recently had the best comment on the original post. It made me smile and laugh because I knew exactly how she felt:

Shawarma Quote 2


Vegan Shawarma
Prep time
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Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Serves: 2
  • One package (or one cup if homemade) seitan or chicken substitute, cut into strips
  • One Tablespoon lemon juice
  • One teaspoon Garam Masala
  • ½ teaspoon Paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon Cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • ½ cup soy yogurt
  • One Tablespoon Malt Vinegar
  • Two Cloves Garlic, minced
  1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the seitan with the garam masala, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Add the lemon juice and toss to mix. In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt, vinegar, and garlic. Add the “meat” mixture and stir together. Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
  2. Preheat Broiler. Spray broiler pan lightly with cooking spray. Spread seitan in a single layer on the pan. Broil until lightly browned, then turn over and repeat on the other side.
  3. Serve with warmed pita bread, hummus, or shawarma sauce. (Can also be served with vegan tzatziki or tahini sauce.) Top with tomato salad.

The recipes for the hummus, shawarma sauce, and tomato salad can also be found in the original post.

Participating in Meatless Monday is a great way to reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel. For me, it is all about the animals, so here’s this, from the Humane Society, “By making Meatless Monday a part of your weekly routine, we can help to create a more humane society. In fact, if all Americans participated in Meatless Monday, more than a billion animals would be spared from factory farms each year.”

Check out my Recipe Page for more meatless options.

No Fooling! #SpringintoYoga Begins! Plus a Vegan Chicken Salad Recipe! And a Giveaway!

Wow! Exclamation points all over the place! That’s because I’m so excited that the Spring into Yoga Challenge starts today!

Spring into Yoga

It’s simple. I know that I have a hard time keeping yoga in my life, even though I love and need it. I know that I’m not alone in this. The goal for April is to practice a minimum of 10 minutes every day. Then post a comment or photo on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #SpringintoYoga.  At the end of the month, a winner will be chosen randomly from those who have completed the challenge. The winner will receive a $50 gift card to Yoga Outlet!

The first principle of yoga is ahimsa, meaning non-violence, and in my mind that includes non-violence to animals too. That’s why I’m happy to share my Super Fan status with Beyond Meat and a delicious recipe for a vegan Curried Chicken Salad. Plus you can win a couple coupons to try Beyond Meat yourself!

Vegan Chicken Salad

Curried Chicken Salad

The folks at Beyond Meat contacted me recently to thank me for my support in previous posts, and to ask if I was interested in being a Super Fan. It’s not really a job, but I received some coupons for Beyond Meat, two of which I’m excited to share with you. In fact, there are no commitments to being a Super Fan, but I really do love Beyond Meat so I’m happy to share this recipe.

Beyond Meat


4.3 from 3 reviews
Avocado Stuffed with Vegan Curried Chicken Salad
Prep time
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Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2
  • 1 package Beyond Meat Grilled Chicken
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup almonds, sliced
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup prepared quinoa
  • paprika
  1. Using a fork or your fingers, shred the chicken and place in a large bowl
  2. Add the celery, onion, almonds, cranberries, and apple. Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad, then toss together.
  3. Add the curry powder, salt and pepper, then toss again.
  4. Mix in the vegan mayonnaise. If the salad seems a little dry, you can add a little more.
  5. Gently mix in the parsley.
  6. To serve:
  7. Divide the quinoa on two plates. Place a half avocado on top. Spoon the salad on top of the avocado. Sprinkle with a little paprika

Curried Chicken Salad 2

This salad was delicious, if I do say so myself. It is one I will save and make again and again. Easy too.

Now if you’d like to enter to win two packages of Beyond Meat Chicken Free Strips or Beefy Crumbles to try for yourself, please enter using the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’d like a $1 off coupon, send me an email with your mailing address and I’ll send one along (all my contact info is here). Or you can just click here.

I am an affiliate advertiser for Yoga Outlet and they will be providing the winner’s gift card prize. As a Super Fan for Beyond Meat, I received five free packages of Beyond Meat (two of which I am giving away here) and a handful of coupons. And a T-shirt.

#Vegan Recipe: BBQ Tofu Salad (Perfect leftover use!)

It all starts with Cross Country. It is upon us.

Starting tomorrow and continuing for the next two months, I will be traveling on an un-air conditioned yellow school bus to various invitational cross country meets in Southern California. Let me change that slightly to make you feel even sorrier for me. I will be traveling on that bus with 31 teenagers.

Actually I jest. I love my team and actually enjoy the bus ride (pillows are key!). This week our meet is at Cal Poly in Pomona, so we’re looking at a two hour drive. Add the actual races and the lunch stop in there, you’re saying goodbye to Saturday. Not to mention the bus leaves from the school at 5:00 am. Yes, you read that right.

That brings me, finally, to my point. I love coaching cross country but it is very time consuming. We have practice daily (except Sunday, thank goodness), the meet on Saturday, plus I have rosters to type, results to compile, etc. Of course, I have a full time job, and this whole blogging thing. Plus, you know, I like to exercise a bit here and there. I am fortunate that my husband is my co-coach, so at least we get to see each other during cross country season.

I am time challenged! There are not enough hours in the day. Something’s got to give!

What seems to give first is food preparation. Generally, I cook at home almost all the time. I do that for many reasons. I love to cook, it is obviously much healthier, restaurant food is expensive, plus the lack of vegan restaurants in my area discourages eating out.

Just because I’m busy, I don’t want to give up healthy eating. I am not and never will be organized enough to prepare a full week’s worth of dinners on Sunday. Plus, I’d be spending my only real day off in the kitchen. Instead, I think BIG. Instead of using my small bit of leftovers for lunch, I prepare enough food for at least two meals. Alan’s happy as long as there is one day in between the same dish. And I’m happy to have an easy meal to prepare (can you say “reheat?”)

The other way to think BIG is to use the leftovers to create an entirely different dish. Think of the variations on leftover Thanksgiving turkey. That is what I did for this BBQ Tofu Salad. The other night, I prepared the barbecued tofu (I should say BBQ-style because I cooked it in the oven), and served it with corn. I made an extra portion knowing that I would do something with it later on in the week. This salad is the result.

Before we get to the recipe, check out my video of my Cross Country team rockin’ a gym workout!

Cross Country


BBQ Tofu Salad with Arugula and Smoky & Spicy Ranch Dressing

The BBQ tofu was leftovers, but I originally prepared it by slicing a drained block of tofu into three slices, marinating in a mixture of 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or other hot sauce), 1 teaspoon liquid smoke. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for about a half hour. We had two of the slices for dinner and I refrigerated the third slice.

Since the leftover tofu is cold, you might want to warm it up a bit before putting it in the salad. Cut it into small cubes. Combine arugula (or other favorite greens), tomato, yellow pepper, green onions, kidney beans (or other beans of choice), radishes, avocado, and tofu. Toss together with Smoky and Spicy Ranch Dressing (I used the dressing from this recipe and added 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke). Feel free to switch up veggies, add some nuts or seeds, etc. It’s your salad. Enjoy.

One nice thing about those long bus rides. If I bring my computer, they’re perfect for getting some writing done!


Enjoy my last free weekend for a while last week in Idyllwild.

How do you manage eating healthy in spite of your busy schedule? Any tips to share?

#Vegan Recipe: Quinoa, Avocado, and Mandarin Orange “Chicken” Salad

“Here she is with yet another quinoa recipe,” you may be saying. And you’d be right. I’ve certainly expressed my love of quinoa both here and on numerous other recipe blogs. This high protein, power packed grain is the perfect addition to salads, can be served as a side dish on its own, tastes delicious either hot or cold, and is quick and easy to prepare. What’s not to like?

I eat a lot of salads. A lot of salads. Salads are cool (literally), salads are fast, making a salad doesn’t heat up your house. All this stuff in important during the summer in La Quinta, where we generally say goodbye to two digit temperatures from June through September.

Just because they’re called salads, don’t be thinking that they are some kind of wimpy lettuce and tomato concoction designed to create fast weight loss. My salads have substance. They have oomph. They are hearty. I’d say this is because I have to please a man, my husband, but I’d be lying. I’m the one with the appetite, and my salads satisfy.

Quinoa, Avocado, and Mandarin Orange “Chicken” Salad

1 package Mandarin Orange “Chicken” (Both Gardein and Trader Joes have excellent choices)
1 cup quinoa, prepared according to package directions, cooled or chilled
3 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup green onions, sliced
8 oz can mandarin oranges, drained and split (half for the salad, half for the dressing)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, roasted
1/2 cup edamame, cooked and chilled
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
Mango/Mandarin Vinaigrette (see below)


Prepare the Mandarin Orange “Chicken” according to package directions. (In spite of the heat, I chose the baked method because they come out crispier that way). I let them cool a little.

Prepare the quinoa and set aside to cool, or refrigerate for an hour to chill.

Combine all the ingredients and toss together. Serve.

Mandarin Mango Vinaigrette

1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 can (8 oz) mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup lime juice
1/8 cup agave syrup
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

There you have it. Another quinoa/summer salad. Around here we’ve got another two months of hot weather. Stay tuned, I’ll probably be serving up some more.

Are you a salad eater? Do you have a favorite? Isn’t quinoa the most awesomest food ever?