Crumbled Tempeh Salad with Herbed Ricotta (vegan) Cheese

Guys this salad is really really good. And it's so simple and easy to make. The peppers are just quickly roasted in the oven while you're prepping everything else. And the rice can be made in a rice cooker or F it, just microwave the frozen stuff - done in just 3 minutes. And the tempeh is quick quick quick. 

Recipe: Crumbled Tempeh Salad with arugula rice topped with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny
Recipe: Crumbled Tempeh Salad with arugula rice topped with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny
Recipe: Crumbled Tempeh Salad with arugula rice topped with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

All you need is a frying pan, a cookie sheet and big ol' bowl to toss it all up in. The ricotta cheese takes some time but if you're in a hurry just use the store bought stuff. Kite Hill - if you have access to it - is the bomb! 

herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

But, I do have to say that I'm totally obsessed with making my own ricotta cheese. I don't do dairy, of course, so mine is made from almonds or macadamia nuts. I have a recipe for homemade ricotta coming in March but if you would like the recipe early, subscribe to my newsletter and the recipe will come directly to your inbox. Woohoo! Trust me you'll love making; It's so easy. 

herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

You can eat it with a drizzle of honey or add some sea salt and herbs. Try smoked paprika or garlic for a funky flair. Anyways, enough about ricotta. Sorry for that daydream. Back to this super awesome salad that will impress anybody and you'll be so happy you made it because it's uber healthy! 

Many of my friends are on a no rice post-holiday diet. If that's you, just omit the rice and add tons of arugula instead. Or if you have time whip up some cauliflower rice. Mmmmm!

Arugula Rice Recipe | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

There's nothing better than rice, sea salt, olive oil and HERBS. I adore chopped herbs. If you follow any of my recipes you'll know they are pretty much in or on top of everything I make. That and chopped nuts. Not only do they make things look pretty but they add an enormous amount of flavor and a little vitamin boost.  

Recipe: Crumbled Tempeh Salad with arugula rice topped with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

This salad serves about 3 people. My husband, babysitter and I devoured this dish for lunch today. It doesn't taste like diet food at all, but it really does check all diet boxes:

no gluten

no dairy

no meat

no fried foods

no packaged foods

loads of vegetables

clean protein

And so on...

Feel free to have fun with personalizing this dish. You can use mushrooms and also brussels sprouts. Use spinach in place of arugula, etc. But I like it just the way it is. 

Crumbled Tempeh Salad with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny
Crumbled Tempeh Salad with herbed vegan ricotta cheese | #plantbased #glutenfree #puremamas | @JuliNovotny

Crumbled Tempeh Recipe


  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 package tempeh, cut and then crumbled
  • 2 tsp harissa spice paste
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 3 Tbsp tamari


  1. In a warm skillet add 1 Tbsp olive oil and chopped shallots. Cook until they are translucent and starting to brown. (about 3-4 minutes). Stirring occasionally so that some do not burn. 
  2. Once they brown add the rest of the olive oil. Add the crumbled tempeh, garlic, tamari and harissa spice. 
  3. Cook on medium heat stirring once with a metal spatula. Let it cook for a few minutes and brown on the bottom (about 2-3 minutes). Then stir again. And scrape with a spatula. Keep doing this until the moisture and oils are all soaked in and tempeh looks nicely browned, dry and cooked. 
  4. Turn off heat. Set aside. 

Roasted Pepper Recipe


  • 1/2 lb Small Sweet Peppers (or just regular bell peppers)
  • oil for greasing the pan
  • salt + pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 420 Degrees F. 
  2. Grease the pan with olive or coconut oil. 
  3. Cut the peppers into little strips. 
  4. Lay them flat, not overlapping each other. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. 
  5. Cook until they soften and maybe get a tad brown on the edges. About 10-12 minutes. 

Arugula Rice Recipe


  • 3-4 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup wild arugula, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt + pepper

Herbed Ricotta Cheese


  • 1/2 cup homemade almond or macadamia nut ricotta cheese* (or store bought Kite Hill ricotta or other vegan ricotta style cheese. Or you can use regular feta or goat milk)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped herbs like chives and parsley
  • pinch sea salt


  1. In a bowl combine cheese, herbs and sea salt. 
  2. Gently fold until thoroughly mixed.


  1. Combine the baked peppers, cooked tempeh and arugula rice.
  2.  Toss with vegan herbed ricotta cheese* or regular goat or feta cheese. 
  3. Garnish with herbs and more toasted sesame seeds. 
  4. Serve warm. 

*For my macadamia nut ricotta cheese recipe please sign up for my newsletter. I have a great recipe free when you subscribe.  



Easy Peasy Garlic & Parsley PeeWee Potatoes

These garlic potatoes are one of my favorite recipes. I think it's the raw garlic and the sea salt that really do the trick. Or maybe it's the parsley? These little potatoes are so easy to make - they make a perfect pot luck favorite. Or as a side dish to any protein.  

Garlic & Parsley PeeWee Potatoes Recipe | #puremamas | #vegan

No baking or frying. Just boiled potatoes. 

Boiled Garlic + Parsley PeeWee Potato Recipe | #puremamas | @julinovotny
Garlic & Parsley PeeWee Potatoes Recipe | #puremamas | #vegan

I first had something similar years ago at my mom's house. I was hooked. I couldn't stop eating them and scooping the dressing into my mouth by the spoonful. I love potatoes baked though and we eat those a lot. So every once in awhile I whip this recipe out with a side salad. But beware - much like a bag of potato chips or popcorn - you might devour the entire bowl full if you don't pay attention. Luckily this recipe is full of really healthy ingredients. 

Garlic & Parsley PeeWee Potatoes Recipe | #puremamas | #vegan

Garlic & Parsley PeeWee Potato Recipe

Yields 4 side dishes


  • 1 1/2 lbs peewee (baby) potatoes (I like to slice some of the larger ones but leave little ones whole)
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 5-6 large cloves raw garlic


  1. Put potatoes into a pot. Completely cover the potatoes with water. 
  2. Boil the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes. They will be soft but still firm (not falling apart). - until soft.
  3. Strain out the boiling water. 
  4. Then mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl with potatoes. Toss them in the mixture over and over again while getting the rest of dinner ready. 
  5. Salt and pepper to taste and serve warm or room temp. 
Easy Peasy Garlic Parsley Peewee Potatoes | #puremamas | #vegan #glutenfree

Mind Blowing Roasted Root Vegetable + Radish Salad

Sometimes the simplest of salads are packed with the most flavor. We often spend too much time in the kitchen trying to make the perfect sauce; throwing one ingredient in after the other; trying crazy innovative ingredient combinations; only to be disappointed. Does this sound familiar?

Roast Root Vegetable + Radish Salad | Vegan | Gluten-free | #puremamas

This recipe is one of the most flavorful dishes I have ever made and the dressing is just a simple vinaigrette. No honey mustard or tahini or hard to find expensive spices. Just oil, vinegar and garlic. The radishes add a spicy crunch and the sprouts are even spicier. Roasted brussels sprout skins add a light toasty crunch. The sweetness of the herbed root veggies gives a caramel flavor. That combined with raw lettuces and fresh herbs is what gives this salad so much pizazz. 

Butter lettuce with roasted root veggies and almond ricotta cheese. #puremamas | vegan gluten free recipe

I'm just such a huge fan of raw and roasted vegetable salads. Combing these two textures is addicting. I added almond ricotta to this salad but you can use no cheese or real goat cheese if you're not vegan. Almond or macadamia nut ricotta cheese are so easy to make. Sign up for my newsletter and get a free recipe for mac nut ricotta next week. It is a subscriber only recipe that I created.  

Roasted Root Veggie Salad | #puremamas
Roasted Brussel Sprouts | #puremamas | vegan gluten free
Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with Almond Ricotta and Blood Orange Vinaigrette | #vegan #glutenfree recipe

Mind Blowing Roasted Root Vegetable + Spicy Radish Salad Recipe

Yields 2 large salads or 4 side salads

Roasted Veggie Recipe


Parsnip + Carrots

  • 4-5 Parsnip, sliced into long wedges
  • 4 large carrots, sliced into long wedges
  • resh Marjoram sprigs and leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 2 tsp Olive oil, drizzled and coated
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup, drizzled
  • 1 tsp Sea salt

Brussels Sprouts

  • 2 cups chopped or shredded brussels sprouts or just the outer leaves
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 420 degrees F. 
  2. Cut all the root veggies into long wedges - they should resemble large french fries.
  3. Place them on a baking tray or cookie sheet (see photo) so that they aren't overlapping each other. They should be touching the cookie sheet.  
  4. Coat them in oil and maple syrup. 
  5. Using a garlic press, you'll want to add fresh raw garlic. 
  6. Sprinkle marjoram leaves and sprigs over the veggies. 
  7. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper (optional) over the tops.
  8. Bake for about 40 minutes - until they are very soft and brow along the edges (see photo above).  
  9. Spread the brussels sprouts on a baking tray as well and combine all the ingredients until brussels sprouts are thoroughly coated. 
  10. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until the brussel sprouts are brown. You want them toasty not just softened. They should get almost burned looking. 

Roasted Veggie Salad Recipe


  • Roasted parsnips and carrots (recipe above - or bake them as you please)
  • Roasted brussels sprouts (recipe above - or bake them as you please)
  • 3/4 - 1 head of butter lettuce
  • 1/4 cup chopped rainbow radish
  • 1/2 cup chopped radicchio 
  • 1/4 cup curly radish sprouts 
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs - like parsley, basil, mint and cilantro (I used all 4 of them)
  • 3 Tbsp red onion, chopped into fine strips 
  • Toasted slivered almonds or hazelnuts (place raw nuts in the oven for 8 minutes - 350 degrees F)
  • almond ricotta cheese (or goat cheese or not cheese)* 
  • 4 Tbsp (approx 1/4 cup) blood orange olive oil + white balsamic vinaigrette dressing (recipe below)


  1. Place all ingredients in a large salad bowl and gently toss! Toss until flavors and ingredients are well mixed. 
  2. Add dressing and lightly mix again. 
  3. Serve in your favorite salad bowl or plate. And get ready to be mind blow. 
Mind Blowing Roasted Root Vegetable + Radish Salad | #glutenfree #vegan | #puremamas

Blood Orange Olive Oil + White Balsamic Vinaigrette


  • 1/4 cup Antica blood orange olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Antica white balsamic vinegar (pear flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp raw garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. Using a whisk, mix up all of the above ingredients in a measuring cup. The dressing will thicken once oil and vinegar are thoroughly combined. 
  2. You can double this recipe as well. And use the rest later. 
  3. Enjoy

*please note that this is NOT a paid sponsored post for this company. I got these oils and vinegars as a gift for Christmas from my mother-in-law and fell in love with them. I highly recommend you get some. You will freak out at the flavors. 

Roasted Root Veggie & Spicy Radish Salad with almond ricotta cheese | #vegan #glutenfree | #puremamas

Sign up for my newsletter to get the recipe for almond ricotta cheese. It's ridic. I won't be posting it on the blog until March. So if you want it now, then go ahead and sign up below. 




Creamy Harissa Tomato Soup {vegan}

One of my favorite things on a cold rainy day is tomato soup and a chilled glass of white wine at this cozy restaurant walking distance from my house. I love to sit and watch the rain and chat with friends. I wanted to recreate that cozy relaxed feeling yesterday (minus the wine, darn) when the rain came pouring down and the sky was covered in dark gray. 

Creamy Harissa Spice Tomato Soup | Vegan | Gluten-Free | #puremamas

I don't usually make tomato soup - believe it or not. I do a mean homemade marinara over pasta, but rarely soup. I keep saying I'm going to perfect a recipe for it, but often the idea sounds too boring for some reason.

But yesterday my left brain was in a funky mood...and I got the idea of adding a middle eastern flair to tomato soup - and whelp, this Harissa Tomato soup was born. Harissa is Middle Eatern spice that uses hot peppers. 

I wanted this dish to be creamy but not coconut (and I don't use real cream in any of my cooking)so chose macadamia nut cream. Sometimes I prefer it to cashew cream. It seems fitting for this recipe. But you can sub cashews and/or coconut cream instead if you'd like.  

Cream Vegan Harissa Tomato Soup with Gluten-Free Croutons | #puremamas

I though the addition of roasted raw cherry tomatoes would give it some extra flair as well - roasted tomatoes are an excellent addition to any tomato dish.

I decided to just throw the onions and garlic in the oven with the tomatoes to save time. But you can always sauté the garlic and onion with the olive oil instead - but that is an extra step. Omitting that step sounded appealing to me.

roasted tomatoes and onions | vegan | #puremamas

In addition to the harissa spice, the unique part of this soup is the addition of the homemade croutons. I love these croutons. My mom gave me the recipe years ago but it was made with butter. I sub vegan butter and they turned out just perfect. I use them all the time in caesar salads and kale salads as well. They are made in the microwave though, which I guess isn't the "greenest" or healthiest option, but sometimes the microwave is a life saver and if you only do it three times a year, so what

Tomato Soup with gluten free croutons | vegan | #puremamas

I hope you and your family love this soup as much as we did. Add a glass of cold white wine and you'll be so cozy and warm on a wet gloomy evening. Share with friends. And remember to slow down while you enjoy this soup because that's part of the feeling I was trying to recreate - not feeling rushed or stressed and just watching and listening to the rain come down. 

Tomato Harissa Soup | vegan gluten-free | #puremamas

Harissa Tomato Soup Recipe

yields 4-5 bowls


  • 7-8 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) large cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 large white or red onion, cut into chunks
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • sea salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp olive oil or spray coconut oil


  • 1 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked in water for an hour (discard soaking water before using)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 14.5oz can or box of diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • handful fresh basil leaves and/or oregano
  • 1 Tbsp sweetener (like cane sugar or honey)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt 
  • 2 tsp Harissa spice paste

garnish: croutons, vegan sour cream + fresh herbs of all kinds


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  1. Spread the first 3 ingredients (tomatoes, onions and garlic) onto a greased baking/cookie sheet. Sprinkle veggies with sea salt and pepper.
  2. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the veggies are soft and tomatoes start to brown on the bottom and onions start to brown on the sides.
  3. Meanwhile, in a Vitamix or other high speed blender, combine the soaked macadamia nuts with the veggie broth. Blend until creamy and there are no more chunks of the mac nuts. It should look like a cream. 
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender container.
  5. Add the roasted veggies and garlic. 
  6. Blend everything until smooth or just a tad bit chunky (depending on how you like your soup). 
  7. Transfer soup to a medium sized pot and cook on medium heat for about 20-30 minutes. Taste test the soup and see if it needs more pepper or salt. Salt brings out the flavors but you don't want to overly salt it. note: You will probably have to cover the soup because it does bubble and burp making a big mess. 
  8. Serve warm with croutons, (vegan) sour cream and fresh herbs. 
gluten-free microwave crouton recipe | crispy crunchy and just perfect | #puremamas #vegan #glutenfree

Gluten Free Crouton Recipe (microwave)


  • 5 pieces of sourdough or other white gluten-free bread, cut into cubes
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  1. In a microwave deep baking dish add the bread cubes and chunks of butter throughout (see image). Spread evenly. Sprinkle with garlic powder and sea salt. 
  2. Microwave bread for 1 minute 30 seconds.
  3. Stir and mix well with wooden spoon. 
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 about 3-4 times. The bread should be brown but not burned. The bread will not be soft when it's finished. 
  5. Let sit and cool. They will get very crunchy. 

Gluten Free Lemon Vanilla Bean + Coconut Muffins

Looks can be deceiving. These basic little muffins might look a little dry or boring on the outside but don't let them fool you; they are sweet, gooey and delicious on the inside. These muffins are gluten-free and vegan which is a win for plant-based eaters. I worked really hard on these muffins; but trying to recreate the gluten-filled traditional wheat flour muffins is almost impossible. So instead of being hard on myself I decided to just rethink the way a muffin should look and feel and accept the outcome. These muffins are more like a cross between a donut and a cupcake. Um, yep, you heard me right. So I think I should call them cake nuts or muffnuts? Or maybe not actually. (I'm laughing really hard right now)

lemon vanilla bean gluten free muffin recipe | #puremamas

These little muffin doughnut cupcake hybrids are yumI So instead of being bummed I decided to give myself a darn high five (that isn't really a thing). I mean who wouldn't want to eat something that has the texture of a muffin/donut/cupcake and tastes like lemony coconut cream vanilla bean pudding? Nobody!

gluten free lemon muffins | vegan #puremamas

Another high five moment this week: I finally got myself a legit big girl camera a few days ago and I've been experimenting ever since. I have been a Nikon gal since the start of my blogging journey for not other reason except that is the camera I had here at home. But now, after all these years, I decided it was time to play around with the Canon toys. I am not going to claim to be a good photographer because I'm far from it. So to say I'm a Nikon person or a Canon person would not be honest. I truly have no clue about most of it (but I do not use the auto feature, I can tell you that). I can however say with confidence that I am extremely thankful for Lightroom because the editing part is where I have experience. But I assure you I will get better at using this camera - it's one of my 2017 new years goals. 

vanilla bean + lemon gluten free vegan muffins recipe | #puremamas

Anyways, my kids loved this recipe. All 12 muffins are gone! Devoured! And I just made them an hour ago (oops, maybe they need a lesson in moderation). I ate two though and my husband had at least one. But they are THAT good. You can add berries to this recipe as well - we did blackberries one time and my kids wouldn't eat them. Just the thought of berry chunks made them less appealing. But please use this recipe as a base and have fun with it. You can make blueberry or raspberry muffins. Get creative. 

Not to mention these little gems are gluten-free and vegan! The lemon glaze topping is optional (it is made with powdered sugar) but adds a very cupcake or donut like dimension. A healthier option would be my berry chia seed jam.  Of course my kids liked them better with the glaze (duh). You could also top them with walnut butter for added protein or mashed banana for natural sweetness. 

gluten free vegan muffin recipe | #puremamas


Yields approx 12 muffins


  • 1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt


  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, approx 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (lemon peel grated with a fine cheese grater)
  • 1 egg substitute (or 1 real egg if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp coconut cream (the thick white stuff at the top of the can)
  • 5 Tbsp (about 3/4 stick) vegan butter (plus a little extra for greasing the muffin pan)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  2. Divide the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients into separate bowls. Beat the wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed (about 1 minute) using a hand mixer or by hand with a whisk. 
  3. Stir dry ingredients together and then sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 
  4. Using a hand mixer (or you can mix by hand) combine everything really well until mixture is wet and there are no clumps. 
  5. Grease a standard size muffin tray with any extra vegan butter or coconut oil. 
  6. Divide the muffin batter into the muffin tray. 
  7. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Keep checking them to see how they are doing and to be sure they haven't gotten too brown.*
  8. Let them cool. Glaze them after they cool. Or eat them as is without the glaze.   

*please note that these are gluten free muffins so they won't be exactly like the traditional wheat flour muffins. They don't get as airy and fluffy, but here are some tips to help them rise. These remind me more of a cupcake inside. 



  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted to remove chunks
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice or almond milk


  1. Using a hand mixer blend all of the above ingredients until well mixed and there are no more visible clumps.
  2. When the muffins have cooled almost completely, you'll want to top them with this glaze. Glaze will harden. 
gluten free vegan lemon vanilla bean coconut muffin recipe | #puremamas

Please comment and let me know your thoughts on the recipe. I'd love the feedback and feel free to tag me @julinovotny on Instagram if you do in fact make these.