SweetGreen's {vegan} Umami Bowl

I have been talking so much lately about my pet peeve when dining out: the only vegan options are "we can leave off the cheese". That's true, if the cheese is the only part that's not vegan, then just leave it off the dish. But I'm sure the dish was created with that cheese in mind; taking it away would ruin the essence of the entire dish. 

That being said, I often eat vegetarian at restaurants because otherwise the food doesn't taste that great. My dream would be for almost every restaurant to have just one dish on the menu that catered to vegans; I would be awesome to see a cashew cheese or a special avocado dressing or a faux meat option that was made for those not eating meat or dairy. One day my dream will come true. 

But thankfully, for now, at least some restaurants are on top of this and do care about their vegan customers. sweetgreen's has a new Spring Menu which includes a dairy and meat free Umami Grain Bowl that is designed just for us dairy- and meat-free eaters. Hooray!

Even more exciting - they are sharing this fun recipe with us here today. You can get creative on how you roast your mushrooms and tofu. And of course you can play around with the bowl ingredients as well. One of my favorite things is mixing cooked/roasted with raw for variety of textures and flavors (super fresh and early with more oily and rich/salty). Try adding some toasted nuts if you feel up to it as well. 


organic quinoa + farro

swiss chard

pea shoots

roasted mushrooms

red onion

spicy sunflower seeds

roasted organic tofu

miso ginger sesame dressing (below)

Chop everything into a bowl and add the miso sesame dressing. 

Miso Sesame Ginger Dressing Recipe


2 Tbsp Sweet White Miso Paste

2 Tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce

1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar

½ tsp Sesame Oil

¼ cup Warm Water

2 Tbsp Mirin

1 Thumb Sized Piece of Ginger, Peeled and Minced 1

Garlic Clove, Smashed and Minced


Combine all of these ingredients in a blender, blend on low until smooth, and increase speed to medium while adding: ½ cup Grape Seed Oil Taste this and make adjustments to your own taste.

sweetgreen is a destination for delicious food that’’s both healthy for you and aligned with your values. We source local and organic ingredients from farmers we know and partners we trust, supporting our communities and creating meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to create experiences where passion and purpose come together.

Balanced Diet For Plant-Based Athlete

This article is something I'm really excited about because I often get asked by extreme athletes, or friends training for marathons and Ironmans what kinds of plant foods they need to be eating everyday. I am not a big athlete - although I used to run at least 26 miles a week - so I hesitate to give advice or suggestions.  

Instead Tara Martine is the guest blogger today, sharing her diet tips and plant-based meal ideas with us all. Tara is a vegan athlete, Registered Dietitian, nutritionist, endurance athlete & owner of Whole Impact Nutrition, LLC. 

And shhhh - I'm like now obsessed with this girl and I want to start running 7 miles a day again! 


Excellent nutrition is one of the most important ingredients in the recipe for peak athletic performance.  A vegan diet can help you become stronger and faster by:

1.     Improving the state of your cardiovascular system to enhance blood flow and oxygen delivery to working muscles.  If you are eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), you can expect the initial stages of atherosclerosis to begin in your early teens.  Over time, the resulting plaque build-up and hardening of the arteries can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke.  However, for athletes, this also means reduced and restricted blood flow to working muscles, which translates into reduced aerobic capacity.  To improve your athletic performance and endurance, you need to clean out those arteries!  The only proven way to reverse atherosclerosis is to base your diet on whole plant foods.

2.     Providing antioxidants and phytochemicals to reduce inflammation and speed recovery between workouts.  Antioxidants and phytochemicals are nutrients found in plants that protect our DNA against damage, slow the aging process, and help heal our tissues.  The quicker you can recover from one workout, the sooner you can push yourself harder in the next one.  Remember, plants are nutrient-producers; animals are nutrient-consumers.

3.     Making it easy to reach your optimal competition weight.  Whole plant foods are chock full of nutrients which satisfy your body at the cellular level without contributing excess calories to your diet.  Because these foods are so high in fiber they naturally fill you up and it is virtually impossible to overeat.  All of a sudden, getting to a lower body fat percent and maintaining it becomes easy.  Furthermore, ditching the fast, fried, processed, pre-packaged foods and animal products will allow you to be free of cravings and give you endless energy.  

The number one rule when going plant-based is to eat enough calories.  Sometimes when athletes transition to the vegan diet, they are not accustomed to eating the volume of food required to provide them with enough fuel.  However, this is the beauty of a whole-foods plant-based diet - you actually eat MORE to weigh less, get faster, and be more healthy. 

Just like an omnivorous diet, the vegan diet should be based on carbohydrates in order to provide you with energy.  Top sources of carbohydrates include all fruits, whole grains (i.e. oats, quinoa, barley, bulgur, brown rice), and starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, and beans. These foods should be incorporated into every meal and at snacks.

But what about protein?  Healthy protein sources for a vegan include beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, vegetables, tofu, & tempeh.   With that being said, as long as you consume adequate calories, you will naturally consume enough protein.  Protein deficiency is simply not something that Western populations need to be concerned about.  Instead, you should be more focused on getting enough fiber!  Are you getting at least 25 g/day as a woman or 30 g/day as a man?

A quick word on fat.  You need to eat fat in your diet because it provides you with energy reserves, cushions your organs, helps with thermoregulation, and is an important component of your cell membranes.  Fat should be consumed as part of whole foods like nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocados, and olives.  All refined fats, including oils, should be minimized. The only way to reach optimal health and performance is to base your diet on whole foods in the closest form to which they were grown.


The Best Breakfast: Oatmeal

-Old-fashioned oats

-Blueberries (may be fresh or thawed from frozen)


-Peanut butter or almond butter



-Beet Performer Passion Fruit Beet Juice

Place blueberries in large breakfast bowl.  Cook oatmeal on stove top as per package directions.  In the last minute of cooking stir in 1-2 Tbsp of nut butter, a sprinkling of cinnamon, and 1 Tbsp of ground flaxseed.  Pour oatmeal into bowl of blueberries.  Top with sliced strawberries.  Pair with 1 can of Beet Performer Passion Fruit Beet Juice.

A Quicker Best Breakfast:  Overnight Oatmeal

-Old fashioned oats

-Soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)

-Raisins (or other no-sugar-added dried fruit)



-Dried shredded unsweetened coconut

-Beet Performer Beet Juice

Mix 1 cup oats w/ 1.5 cups non-dairy milk in a tupperware container.  Add dried fruit, cinnamon, nuts of choice, & coconut.  Mix, cover, and store in refrigerator overnight.  The next morning, either eat cold or heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, until heated through.  Pair with 1 can of Beet Performer Beet Juice.

Mid-Morning Smoothie Snack

-Baby spinach or baby kale

-Ripe banana

-Frozen mango


-Soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)

-100% orange juice

Add a few handfuls of greens to bottom of high-powered blender.  Add a ripe banana, 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed, 1.5 cups of frozen mango, 0.5 cups non-dairy milk, and 0.5 cups orange juice and blend until thoroughly combined. You may need to adjust quantities of liquid to achieve desired consistency.  

Pre-Workout Snack:  Fruit + Beet Juice

Select a choice of 2 fruits (i.e. apple + banana) plus 1 can of Beet Performer Beet Juice 1-2 hours before your workout.  Beet juice contains nitrates which are converted into nitric oxide inside the body.  Nitric oxide is a potent vasodilator which will improve the health of your arteries and help deliver more oxygen to working muscles.  Studies show that consuming beet juice prior to competition can increase the amount of time that you can workout before becoming exhausted, can increase your speed in a time trial, and enable you to go faster at the end of a race.

Power Lunch



-Slivered almonds


-Cherry tomatoes


-Shredded carrots

-Chopped onion

-Red quinoa, cooked

-Raspberry vinaigrette dressing

-Sweet potato


Fill a large bowl or plate with chopped kale, spines removed.  Top with blueberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, shredded carrots, chopped onions, slivered almonds, edamame, & red quinoa.  Drizzle with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing.  Pair with a baked (or microwaved) sweet potato on the side, topped w/ cinnamon.  Eat a piece of fruit of choice for dessert.

Post-Workout Protein Shake

-Frozen bananas (peel ripe bananas & place in zip lock baggies in freezer)

-Peanut butter or almond butter

-Soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)


-Cocoa powder

Place 4 frozen bananas inside high-powered blender.  Add 1-2 Tbsp nut butter, dash of cinnamon, 1 Tbsp cocoa powder, and 1/2-1 cup of non-dairy milk.  Blend until desired consistency is achieved.  Use 1/2 cup non-dairy milk for ice cream-like consistency and more for a shake-like consistency.  

On-The-Go Afternoon Snack

Grab 1-2 handfuls of nuts of choice and pair with 2 fruits of choice.  Dried fruit makes a convenient snack, just make sure it doesn’t contain any added sugar.

On-The-Go Afternoon Snack #2

Use chopped carrots, cucumber, celery, bell peppers, or other veggies to dip into 1/4 cup of your favorite hummus.  

Re-Fuel With Dinner


-Bell peppers (red, yellow, orange)

-Olive oil

-Vegetable broth

-Black beans (1 can)

-Dark red kidney beans (1 can)

-Light red kidney beans (1 can)

-Corn (1 can)

-Diced tomatoes (2 cans)

-Tomato paste (1 can)

-Chili powder



-Hot sauce, if desired



-Brown rice

-Side salad

Cook rice as per package directions.  Sauté chopped onion & bell peppers in 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add vegetable broth as needed to prevent sticking.  When onions & bell peppers are soft, add all beans (drained & rinsed) and corn to pot.  Add spices to taste (~2 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp cumin, 2 tsp turmeric, 2 Tbsp hot sauce) and stir all ingredients together.  Add canned tomatoes (undrained), tomato paste, and 1/4-1/2 cup vegetable broth.  Stir to combine.  Bring to boil, then lower to simmer for 20 minutes until heated through.  Serve over rice and top with chopped avocado & fresh cilantro.  Pair with a side salad.

After-Dinner Snack Ideas

Kiwi fruit, tart cherries, goji berries, raspberries, or almonds.  These foods contain natural melatonin, which may help you fall asleep faster and sleep sounder.  Better sleep =  better recovery = better athlete :)


Creamy Potato Soup + Simple Eggless Pancakes

This potato soup is one of my favorites because it's so creamy {cheesy} and filling yet made with only plants. No dairy, no flour, no grains, no sugar. Just potatoes, garlic and cashew cream. It's a smooth puree as opposed to a chunky soup. It goes really well with a green salad and chilled glass of white wine. 

I topped mine with fresh pepper and some sriracha sauce for some added spice. You see more pics and get the entire recipe over on The Honest Company blog. If you're tired of minestrone and tomato bisque, you'll want to make this recipe. 

And I've also been playing around with aquafaba for awhile now. Have you ever heard of such a thing? It's basically the liquid you find inside the can of garbanzo beans. You know that kind of gooey thick clear stuff that we normally throw out before using the beans? Well, for those of you vegans who don't like to waste anything, this ingredient is for you. 

Aquafaba acts as a binder in recipes; it's an egg replacer so to speak. Think chocolate mouse and lemon meringue. 

I decided to perfect a super simple, super healthy pancake recipe using aquafaba. Because we eat so many pancakes in this household. 

The ingredients are so clean and with just a blender, you can make these delicious, egg and gluten free pancakes. 

I always use real organic maple syrup and some kind of buttery spread with mine. But you can top your with bananas, cinnamon, chocolate chips, whip cream and so on. 

My kids go crazy for these pancakes. 


Yields 8 medium-sized pancakes


2/3 cup almond meal/flour

½ cup gluten-free baking flour

1/3 cup quick cook oatmeal {or 1 plain oatmeal packet}

1/3-3/4 cup aquafaba {garbanzo bean liquid}

1 ½ Tbsp cooking oil {plus extra for cooking}

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

1 very ripe banana {with brown spots on it}


1. In a high-speed blender, blend everything on low, then medium and then high for about 30 seconds, or until mixture looks creamy and well blended. 

2. Heat skillet on medium with a little oil to lightly coat the entire pan. Pour mixture onto hot skillet and cook until you see the batter bubble up a bit. Then flip. 

3. Cook again for a good 2-3 minutes. 

4. Keep flipping until you have desired pancake texture. 

5. Repeat until batter is all gone. 

Allergy note: If you’re allergic to nuts, forget the almond meal and just use extra gluten-free baking mix. I tried it this way as well and it works fine.

I am also sharing really good cookie recipe using aquafaba over on the BasilHealth web site. Plus I talk more about this ingredient in the article as well. 

Check it out...

Cheers to happy and healthy weekend everybody! Enjoy and don't to be grateful. 



Super Power Kale Caesar

It’s pretty much unanimous that kale is the new black. It’s not just the vegan yogis who are obsessing over this antioxidant rich vegetable—it’s just about everyone and for good reason.

This dark leafy green is high on the list of the world’s healthiest foods, because just a half cup serving packs large amounts of vitamins K, A and C; minerals zinc, calcium, potassium, manganese, copper and phosphorus; as well as protein, folate, B vitamins, lutein and alpha linolenic acid.

And one of my most favorite ways of eating this leafy green is in a kale caesar {I do love my sautéed kale though}. I love romaine, don't get me wrong, and romaine is also a really healthy veggie. But the darker, more bitter and more dense the leafy green, the more super powers it has.

I wrote a post for BasilHealth again this week talking all sorts of kale news. I swear I even mention kale when talking about preventing cancer.  It's that intense. 

You won't want to miss my recipe for vegan gluten-free croutons that you can make in the microwave. Yeah, I know, I don't even have a microwave in my kitchen because I despise them that much. It sits in the garage where it can put off all the EMFs it wants to. I use it to warm up coffee or tea or frozen rice in a quick minute. I also make vegan gluten-free caramel sauce in that thing...yep, recipe will be coming soon. 

And although this caesar salad is full of hearty plants, the recipe I'm sharing isn't vegan. I know, you must be thinking I'm going some kind of crazy and fallen off my healthy wagon; but, don't fret, I am just being real and honest. Sometimes life calls for short cuts and it's not always the perfect route. 

This recipe though can be made vegan, which is how I prefer it. Sub avocado or your favorite vegan parmesan for the parmesan cheese!

Kale Caesar Salad Recipe

yields 4 nice size salads


1 bunch swiss chard, washed and thinly chopped

1 bunch kale, washed and thinly chopped 

1/3 cup parmesan 

Homemade or store-bought gluten-free croutons


1/3 cup olive oil

5-6 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

4 Tbsp lemon juice

1 can anchovies, mashed and oil removed {sub 2 Tbls capers for vegan version}


1. In a large salad bowl, add the chopped dark greens and parmesan. 

2. In a separate glass bowl or measuring cup, add the ingredients for the dressing. You’ll want to make sure you thoroughly mash the anchovies first. Then with a fork or whisk, you’ll want to whisk the dressing until it almost looks creamy. About 30 seconds.

3. Dress the salad a few minutes before you’re ready to eat. Add croutons and mix again.

Please if you make this sauce please share on Instagram because I'd love love to see it and hear your thoughts. Please don't forget to tag me @julinovotny or you can use hashtag #puremamas