Quick + Easy Baked Sweet Potato w/ divine Roasted Chickpeas


In 2013 I discovered The Minimalist Baker and since then I turn to there incredible site for all things plant based and delicious. Today, I realized it has been to long since I have updated my blog and I decided to share this delicious recipe by the Minimalist Baker with you. I hope you check out their site and enjoy their very ADD friendly meals. Leave a comment below to let me know what you think.

Find the full recipe here: http://minimalistbaker.com/mediterran…

Shine ON,














Cashew-Less Vegan Queso


Cashew- Free Vegan Queso Dip! Made with a secret ingredient to keep it creamy, velvety and totally cashew, soy, gluten and dairy free! #vegan

Good afternoon loves,

So the truth is when I am not singing, writing, or cooking I am always on the hunt to find the most delicious vegan foods that are quick to make and easy on the budget.

This year with The Distracted Beet I am going to be taking a different approach. Essentially, since I am full time on the road performing with The Bergamot and spreading The Unity Collective USA to all 50 states I figured it would be neat for me to share some of my favorite recipes and tips with you from my very favorite blogs!

I will also incorporate hip coffee shops and restaurants we hit up along the way on tour.

Plus, if I get a chance to access a kitchen while out on tour I will of course share my own recipes with you.

So we can think of this as a multi-faceted approach to blogging something old ( grabbed from one of my favorite blogs), something new (sharing a hip restaurant from out on the road), and something delicious just for you (from my own recipe collection).

Minimalist Baker : January 20th, 2016 

It always happens. Just as I’m about to drift off to sleep at night, a recipe idea zings into my brain out of nowhere. This time, for vegan queso.

Roasted Eggplants


I’ve tried vegan cheese based with cashews. It’s good, and it’s the first way I learned to mock cheese texture and flavor without using dairy. But I knew there had to be a better way.

I mean, not that I’m into counting calories, but cashews are very high in calories and fat and you can detect them in sauces unless you really build up the flavor from spices and otherwise.

So, the thought was, “What else is creamy but neutral and would make a good base for cheese sauce?”

The zinger I got at midnight whilst falling asleep: EGGPLANT!

Roasted Eggplant

Eggplant is amazingly versatile, especially once roasted. I enjoy it in pastas, whirled into baba ganoush or even roasted and layered into a hearty veggie sandwich. I adore the creaminess of baba ganoush and suspected its eggplant base would make an excellent base for vegan queso.

DING DING DING. I was correct.

Vegan Queso Recipe!

This sauce starts with roasted eggplant. I speed up the process by slicing it into thin rounds and broiling. A little steam in foil and then you can pull away the skin with ease. Then, just throw it into a blender with almond milk, nutritional yeast and a handful of spices and you’re good to go.

Look at that creamy queso goodness.

Vegan Cashew-less Queso Dip! Healthier and creamier than nut cheese and SO delicious!

A little cornstarch in the mix helps it thicken up once heated in a saucepan for serving. This is an optional step but I recommend it for that ultimate luxurious cheesy texture. (If you don’t use cornstarch, try another thickener, such as arrowroot powder.)


All that’s left to do is add in a few Tbsp of slightly drained Rotel (just like real queso dip!) or your favorite chunky salsa. This really sends the texture and flavor over the top to mock the real thing.

Rotel Vegan Queso Dip!Easy Vegan Queso Dip! Cashew, soy and glutenfree! #vegan #glutenfree

Oh. My. Word.

You’re not gonna believe how delicious this is. And guess what? HUSBAND APPROVED!

John tried it, and he doesn’t like cashew sauces, and he really liked this dip! We agreed that it was ridiculous how close it was to real queso dip. Seriously amazing!

Cashew-Less Vegan Queso! Thick, creamy, velvety and almost undetectably close to real queso!

So what does it taste like?

Super cheesy
Slightly spicy
Perfectly dippable
Totally pourable
Begging to be added to all your favorite dishes

Don’t worry. I have a few recipes in the works utilizing this dreamy dip! And another bonus, itreheats extremely well! If you’ve ever made cashew cheese you know it doesn’t exactly reheat well. But with this, you can just pop it in the microwave or put it back in a saucepan and it’s just as good!

Creamy Vegan Queso Dip! Cashew, Soy and Gluten Free! #vegan #glutenfree #queso

Yet ANOTHER bonus? This dip is cashew-, soy-, dairy-, and gluten-free!

And did I mention it’s way lighter in fat and calories than nut- and dairy-based quesos? Just 55 calories and 3.5 grams of (healthy) fat per serving! What’s not to love? Make this dip! And if you do, take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so I can see! Cheers!


Cashewless-Vegan-Queso-DipTHE BEST Vegan Queso Dip! CASHEW FREE! Cashew, soy, gluten, dairy free and SO creamy and delicious!

4.2 from 83 reviews
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Author: Minimalist Baker
Recipe type: Appetizer, Sauce
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 6
  • 7-9 rounds of eggplant, sliced 1/4-inch thick (~half of a medium eggplant)
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1.5-2 cups unsweetened original almond milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (see instructions)
  • 1/4 tsp finely minced fresh garlic (I used crushed garlic from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (optional for thickening | sub another thickener if desired)
  • 1/4 cup chunky medium salsa, slightly drained (OR 1/4 10-ounce can of Rotel original diced tomatoes and green chilies)
  • OPTIONAL: Smoked paprika and hot sauce for added color and flavor upon serving.
  1. Slice your eggplant into thin rounds just under 1/2 inch (not quite 1/4 inch), then sprinkle both sides of the flesh with a little sea salt and arrange in a colander to help draw out some of the moisture and bitterness. Let set for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with cool water and thoroughly pat dry between two clean towels.
  2. Preheat oven to high broil and place an oven rack near the top of the oven. Arrange the dried eggplant rounds on a baking sheet lightly spritzed with non-stick spray and drizzle both sides of the eggplant with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with a very small amount of salt.
  3. Broil on high for 4-5 minutes on each side, watching carefully as to not let them burn. Flip at the halfway point to ensure even cooking. Once the eggplant appears tender and both sides have golden brown color, remove from the oven and wrap loosely in foil to steam.
  4. After a few minutes, unwrap and peel the eggplant skin away. It should come right off. If you pack your roasted eggplant into a 1-cup measuring cup, it will be almost 1 cup.
  5. Place eggplant in a blender with the 1.5 cups (to start) almond milk, 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder and cornstarch and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a pinch more sea salt and a little more nutritional yeast. To thin, add more almond milk.
  6. Transfer to a small saucepan and warm over medium to medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly – about 5 minutes. The longer you go the thicker it will become.
  7. NOTE: If it isn’t looking as thick as you want, thicken with a slurry of cornstarch by adding an additional 1 tsp cornstarch to a small bowl with a little almond milk and 2-3 Tbsp of the cheese mixture. Whisk to combine and then stir back into the pot. This should thicken it right up.
  8. Once hot and thickened, remove from heat and stir in DRAINED salsa or Rotel. Don’t put the liquid in or it will make it runny. Pour into a serving dish and top with a little smoked paprika and hot sauce for flavor/color.
  9. Serve with chips, crackers or veggies. Keep warm in a mini crockpot or over a tea light warmer if you have one. Microwaves well.
  10. NOTE: When this dip sits out for a long time it loses its orange hue. It doesn’t affect the flavor but it doesn’t look as appetizing, so it’s really best when fresh!
  11. Refrigerate and cover leftovers. Reheats extremely well in the microwave or in a saucepan. Will keep for up to a few days, but best when fresh.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 6 servings.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ~1/4cup Calories: 55 Fat: 3.5g Saturated fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 4.7g Sugar: .7gSodium: 326mg Fiber: 2g Protein: 2.3g

4 Minute Acai Energy Bowl (Vegan + Glutenfree)


Four weeks ago I found myself touring through a town called Norfolk Virginia…

My husband Nathaniel, myself, and our dear friend Ian (who btw is a very talented musician check him out and show him some love) ate lunch at this revolutionary vegan spot in Virginia Beach called Fruitive. Low and behold we ordered a Acai Berry Bowl and a new love was born.

The acai berry is one of the healthiest berries you will ever find holding ten times the amount of antioxidants as grapes, and two times the amount of blueberries. 

This antioxidant-rich fruit has been heralded for centuries as a healing, immune-stimulating, energy-boosting fruit.

Research has shown that this antioxidant-rich berry supports in the prevention of diseases. It has antioxidants that lower cholesterol levels, boosts energy, it aids in weight loss, keeps digestive system clean and in optimal function, boosts sex drive, and reverse typical processes of aging related to oxidative damage. (paper source)

After this great experience in Virginia, I had to learn how to make a killer good acai bowl myself.

First and foremost acai bowls are a traditional Brazilian breakfast that’s brimming with nutrients and vitamins, it will give you sustained energy and you will feel great until your next meal. You can enjoy this acai bowl as a breakfast, lunch, or for a pick me up snack.





4 Minute Acai Energy Bowl


  • 2 Packets of SAMBAZON Frozen Organic Acai Berry Packets (unsweetened) I buy mine at our local Whole Foods
  • 1 Banana fresh or frozen (I used fresh in this bowl)
  • ½ cup Almond Milk, unsweetened or try my homemade Almond Milk recipe


  • 1/4 cup Maple Granola
  • 1 TB Hemp seed
  • 2 TB Walnuts
  • 4 Strawberries cut up
  • 1/2 Banana cut up into slices

Directions: Simply add all main ingredients into your high-speed blender until thick and creamy. (1 min to blend)

Once your Acai base is ready pour it into a bowl and then begin to add the fun toppings, including Maple Granola, Hemp Seed, Walnuts, Strawberries, Banana.

Note: Other fun toppings you could add are Almond nut butter, additional berries, and other frozen or fresh seasonal fruit.

Your berry bowl will come out creamy and rich, and you can always add more frozen ice cubes or frozen bananas to obtain your desired thickness. Enjoy!

Shine ON,


Brooklyn Red, White & Blue Blueberry Oatmeal (Vegan + Gluten-free)


These summer oats are dreamy. They’re:

Perfectly sweet
Loaded with blueberry flavor
Creamy with a bit of crunch from the granola
And perfect for summer mornings



This is such a great dish to look forward to in the morning. Summer is about living in the freshness of the season eating whole foods that you can pick in your backyard.

I adore going berry picking.
I like to pick enough to freeze extra berries on trays.
Once they are frozen I like to take them off the trays and place them in ziplock bags to keep on hand for the rest of the year.

Look at all that blue, dreamy, and bright.
Perhaps I should have saved this recipe for the forth of July
The following photo is so patriotic utilizing red, white, and blue.
Those gogi berries really add this savory undertone that helps the blubbery flavor pop to the surface of your palate
When I was a little girl I remember how important eating breakfast before school was.
I recall eating a bowl of oatmeal every day before school, I suppose that is where my love of breakfast began.
Since, I have a very creative brain eating a hardy breakfast became a staple in our household.
It helped stabilize my blood sugar levels and fuel my body so I could have sustained energy throughout the morning so I could focus and create more.
Prep time
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10 ingredient, 25 minute oats infused with fresh summer blueberries, vanilla and pure maple syrup. A simple, fast and healthy breakfast option for any time of year, especially Summer.
Author: The Distracted Beet
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 1-2
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, GF for gluten free eaters
  • 1  cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Almond Granola
  • 1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1Tbsp Almond Milk
  • 1 Tbsp Gogi Berries
  • 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla
  1. Bring water to a boil in a small  to medium sized saucepan. Once boiling add your oats and reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking until the oats have absorbed most of the water – about 5 minutes – stirring frequently.
  2. Once your oats are just about done cooking (~5 minute mark), stir in your Blueberries, Gogi Berries, Pure Maple Syrup, and Vanilla Extract into your cooked oats. You can either turn off your burner or put it on low. and stir to combine. Taste and adjust flavor/seasonings as desired. To thin, add a splash of non-dairy milk (such as almond).
  3. Divide cooked oats between two serving bowls and sprinkle with Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Maple Almond Granola, and at the end drizzle on top your Almond Milk. Sit down, grab your loved one and enjoy immediately. Best when fresh.


I’d love to hear your thoughts about this recipe.

What say you?  Got any good kitchen stories, tips or strategies around oatmeal ?

Leave a comment below and let me know! 

And as always Shine ON beautiful //