Smoky Cashew Tacos with Cabbage + Avocado

This was lunch yesterday. It might look gourmet but don't let looks fool you. These simple vegetable tacos were so easy to make, delicious and totally healthy. There is absolutely no cooking involved (except toasting of the cashews which can be done in advance). 

I prefer to eat lunch at home. Whether it big a big loaded sandwich; rice with avocado and zoodles; a massive smoothie; hummus toast topped with spinach; or something a tad more creative - it's best at home. I save money and I know exactly what is going into the meal. Not only that but it is a lot quicker than driving or walking to a restaurant, ordering, standing in line and ten waiting again. Making these tacos and doing the dishes took me less than 20 minutes. 

The cashews can be done in advance and kept in an air tight container all week long. Add them to any dish for added flavor and super power crunch. Cashews are high in healthy fats and protein. The smoked paprika and coriander seeds add a massive flavor explosion. 

I'm so obsessed with both those spices lately. I don't usually use them together though. So this was a fun one. 

This recipe makes 2 individual tacos. You could make it 3 if you proportion the ingredients out a more efficiently. But it's meant to feed just one person or two if you're not starving. 

The herbs and cabbage make up the majority of the taco. The avocado and cashews act as the "meat". These tacos are

Super crunchy  






Yields 2 - 3 Tacos


2 cups thinly chopped cabbage 

1 scallion (green onion) thinly sliced (dark green dry part discarded)

1 lime, juice only

1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar

1/2 teaspoon agave nectar (optional)

pinch sea salt

1/2 tsp olive oil or sesame oil

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 avocado, sliced into wedges

Basil and mint leaves or cilantro if you have it

2 or 3 soft corn tortillas

Smoky Paprika Cashews (recipe below) 


  • Mix first 7 ingredients in a small bowl with spoon until mixed well and cabbage is thoroughly coated. Set aside. 
  • Warm tortillas in a pan on low heat (flipping once) or in the microwave (for 20 seconds)
  • Layer the tortilla with herbs first. Then cabbage. Then avocado. Top with a handful of smoky cashews. 



1 12oz bag whole raw cashews

1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp coriander seeds

3/4 tsp agave nectar or cane sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp jalapeno or ground cayenne spice


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a large bowl combine cashews and all of the other ingredients at once. 
  • Toss and coat; repeat. 
  • Once the cashews are completely coated in the seasonings, place them onto a baking sheet. 
  • Cook in the oven for about 10-12 minutes until browned but not black. 
  • Let them cool for about 5 minutes before eating. They will be super crunchy once they are completely cooled. 

Note: The bowl you use to coat the cashews can be used to toss the cabbage. That's what I did. Saves me some dish washing and the flavors are similar to what goes into the cabbage mixture anyways. 


I would LOVE if you took the time to Pin my recipe to your Pinterest board. Or better yet, if you make, leave me a comment and let me know how it was. I really appreciate feedback. Also - you can tag me on instagram @julinovotny if you take a snap shot. 


Sweet Potato Vietnamese Rice Noodle Bowl


The other day on Instagram I had quite a few people wanting the recipe for my Sweet Potato Vietnamese Noodle Dish with Kale. 

Direction messages on Instagram are just the worst because you can't yet add links. So, I decided to share the recipe here instead. 

This dinner is one of my all-time new favorites. It's a combination of two recipes from my blog. 

The first - for the Vietnamese rice noodles and sauce - you'll want to check out my kid's Pad Thai recipe

The second - for making the Sweet Potato noodles - you'll want to check out  this recipe {don't use the tahini sauce, just sautee them following the directions given}. 



1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 Tbls tamari

2 Tbls toasted sesame oil

1 Tbls agave nectar or sugar

1 lime, juice only

1 tsp seasoned rice vinegar

1 1/2 tsp raw garlic sauce or 2 cloves garlic, pressed


  • Combine everything into a blender and blend on low until completely smooth and well mixed. Or whisk it all together by hand. 
  • For cooking the rice noodles you can follow the directions on the back of the package. Basically it's so simple - you just boil water, turn off the heat and then add the noodles. They are done in  3-4 minutes flat. That's it. Rinse with cold water. 



13 oz (369 grams or like 6 cups) sweet potato noodles

2 Tablespoons coconut oil (I prefer the odorless kind) or vegan butter

sea salt + pepper, to taste


  • Turn your raw (uncooked) sweet potatoes into noodles. You'll need a spiralizer. Or you can buy them ready made at Whole Foods - in the cold produce section - and other fine gourmet health food stores. 
  • Heat oil in a frying pan or wok on medium to high. {I don't usually cook on high, but for desired sweet potato results this recipe calls for a higher heat}.
  • Add noodles. Add salt and pepper. 
  • Cook for about 5 or 6 minutes. You'll want to flip noodles over and over with a metal spatula so that they don't burn or stick to the pan. Keep going until noodles are browned. 




1 head lacatino kale

1 lemon

pinch of sea salt


  • In a food process or by hand, you'll want to finely chop the kale, removing the steam first. Trick to removing the steam is to start your hand at the thick bottom of the kale steam and lightly pull outer leaves off as your hand moves down the center of the stalk. Like stripping the leaves off the stalk by pulling. The center stalk should remain without the good greens you want for the salad. 
  • Let the chopped kale soak in the juice of the lemon. 
  • When you're ready to use it, toss the kale in sea salt. 

Sweet Potato Vietnamese Rice Noodle Bowl

Yields 2 dinners


Now that you have the noodles all cooked and prepped and the sauce ready to go. You'll combine both set of noodles in the same pan you cooked the sweet potato noodles in.

Add the sauce and gently fold the noodles over and over until they are all coated. 

Add the kale and fold again a few times. 

Serve with fresh herbs and chopped peanuts. 

Serve warm. 

It's a total hit. 



And if you loved it please do tell me. Or if there is something missing or wrong, let me know that as well. 

You can tag me on instagram or hashtag #puremamas 

Pin any of my recipes as well - I will be eternally grateful. 

Happy weekend everybody. 

XOXO - Juli

Tahini Cardamom Protein Balls

Protein is such a big topic when it comes to plant-based eating. It's the number one question I get asked when talking about being vegan. It's a very legit question. A long term low protein diet can be detract from optimal health and nutrition goals. Our body uses and requires protein everyday for all bodily functions. 

Vegans aren't lacking in protein options per se, but we do have to be more creative than the average meat eater.

Grabbing a slice of turkey is a quick and easy way to get protein. But when meat isn't an option sometimes we have to make smoothies or something like these protein balls for easily accessible high-protein snack. The added benefit? Making your own recipe means additional fiber, minerals and vitamins. 

There are endless options when it comes to flavors and ingredients when it comes to making a good protein ball. But the basic foundation includes:

Nuts or seeds (or both in this case)

A sweetener (dates in this case)

Additional protein (vanilla SunWarrior in this case)

Flavors (i.e. coconut, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, chocolate, etc.)

Have fun with toppings. I used hemp seeds, cacao nibs and cocoa powder. 

This is a great base for your protein balls. 

Vanilla Tahini Protein Balls

yields 12-15 balls


2/3 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup vegan vanilla protein powder

7 dates, soaked for 20 minutes

1 tsp cardamom powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup tahini 


1. Process the almonds and protein powder together in a food processor - pulsing over and over again - for about 30 seconds to a minute. Set aside mixture in a separate bowl. 

2. Add soaked dates (discarding all but 3 Tbsp of the soaking water). Blend them in the food processor bowl with the 3 Tbsp water. Process for about 20 seconds. Add tahini. Process again for 30 seconds. Stopping every few seconds to scrape down sides of the bowl if necessary. 

3. Add the almond and protein mixture back into the bowl combined with this date tahini mixture. Process for about 20 seconds until a dough is formed. 

4. Form dough into balls and place in an air tight container in the freezer until ready to serve. 


This recipe was adapted from - check out her recipe as well for more details. 



Easy Peasy Edamame Kale Salad || Tahini Dressing

This is kind of the dump-any-veggies-in-your-fridge kinda of salad. In addition, everything in this salad came from Trader Joes - so it wasn't expensive nor does it contain hard to find ingredients. 

My goal is to help families get healthier foods in their busy bodies as well as create simple recipes that can easily be added to the weekly routines. We all fall victim to the we're just too tired and busy to worry about where dinner is coming from or if the kids had a veggie with their pizza. 

I could eat this style salad with literally nothing but lemon and sea salt for dressing. The freshness and the crunch is sometimes lost when you slather on the dressing. Simplicity is also great for health reasons - often time salad dressings can be loaded with processed ingredients, sugar, and tons of iodized salt. But homemade oil-free sugar-free tahini dressing is quite the opposite. I love the added fat (from the tahini) and zest of lemon that adds to this dish. Just a little goes a long way. 

Next time your at Trader Joes grab their pre packaged and boiled edamame beans. So delish! They have a tad bit of salt already which is nice. I marinate my kale in lemon before adding to recipes. It makes it so easy to devour. 


Yields 1 individual salad


1/4 cup edamame beans, pre boiled (I used the ones from Traders)

1/2 cup kale, destemmed + chopped 

1 small zucchini, peeled or spiralized

5 cherry tomatoes, chopped into 4 pieces

2 Tbsp raisins

2 Tbsp chopped almonds, toasted

handful fresh herbs likes cilantro 

1/2 lemon, juice

sea salt + pepper


+ In a small bowl combine the chopped kale and the lemon juice, massage. Let sit while you prep the rest of the salad. 

+ In a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients; then add the kale. 

+ Toss and add sea salt and pepper to taste. 

+ Add 1/2 Tbsp of tahini dressing (recipe below). Continue to add more dressing to suite your needs. 


Yields 1/2 cup dressing


1/4 cup tahini (I used Trader Joe's brand)

1/2 Tbsp water

1 1/2 lemons, juiced

1 Tbsp vegan mayo

sea salt


+ Blend the above ingredients in a blender until smooth. 



Roasted Smoky Chickpeas + Tomatoes Over Saffron Rice

I just got back from a wonderful wonderful trip to Napa. A family friend of ours -- the Staglin Family -- puts on an amazing fundraiser for Brain Health. This year was the 22nd Annual Music Festival. It's such a great experience: there's a scientific symposium, a wine tasting (with 85 of the top wineries in Napa), a concert (this time it was Michael Franti), and a beautiful dinner. BasilHealth was also a sponsor, which was really special. 

It was a hot to say the least, but I barely even noticed because I was just so immersed in the wine, the chatter and the music. 

Upon landing back in San Diego, after such a fun weekend, it was nice to see some rain. The unexpected storms (yes, even the weather (wo)man didn't predict this one) is always the best kind. I still haven't seen any lightning or heard any thunder, but I'm still happy. 

Yesterday I was experimenting in the kitchen with aquafaba (the liquid inside a can of garbanzo beans) again. This time I made little meringue cookies. They turned out perfect. Check my instagram for deets. 

I had an entire can of chickpeas left and decided to make something Indian style. I decided that smoked paprika was the best fit for tomatoes and chickpeas. With just a touch of sweetness, spice and some sea salt, the dish came out perfect. 

I've said in the past that it's important to keep rice on hand. Whether you make it weekly or daily in a rice cooker or you're feeling lazy and keep it frozen, doesn't matter; just always keep white or brown rice handy. This dish would be GREAT over pasta as well. 

Roasted Smoky Chickpeas and Tomatoes Recipe

Yields 2 main dish servings or 4 side dishes


  • 2-3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed

  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika*

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon agave nectar or sugar

  • ½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained

  • 1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes

  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil or cilantro, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 450°.

  2. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl.

  3. Add beans, tomatoes, and 1/4 cup cilantro to remaining spiced oil mixture; toss to coat.

  4. Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper.

  5. Roast beans about 20 minutes.

  6. Cook up some white or brown rice or use already cooked rice. Divide rice among the plates.

  7. Spoon bean mixture over rice. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup fresh cilantro.

For the Rice:

  • 3 cups of already cooked brown or white rice

  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron 

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil


  1. Cook rice as you wish (microwaveable rice, rice cooker, etc.)
  2. Add saffron and olive oil. Mix well. 

This dish is GREAT for dinners in when you're super busy and don't have much time to put a gourmet meal together. Trust me, the family will love it and think you spent hours cooking it.