Category Archives: Recipe-Sauce

Product Review: Parma! Vegan Parmesan Cheese Substitute

Dairy, like coffee, is one of my vices that I have an on-again, off-again relationship with. I’m closer than ever to weaning myself and have been very pleased to see what the new wave of dairy-free substitutes have come up with.

Enter Parma.

Parma is a vegan parmesan cheese substitute. They graciously sent me several samples to try and I have been quite enjoying them! They totally hit a nostalgia factor that has been missing since I eschewed old school Kraft parmesan some time in the 90’s. My suspicions of Kraft were not unwarranted; it appears their “100%” Parmesan cheese has been cut with cellulose, commonly derived from wood pulp.

Anyone else remember this stuff??


Like the ‘parmesan’ of my youth, Parma has a fine, granulated texture that makes it perfect for sprinkling atop any kind of Italian dish you can think of. Unlike the cellulose-laced ‘cheese’ of my youth, Parma’s ingredients are as follows: Nutritional Yeast, Organic Sunflower
Seeds, Walnuts, Himalayan Crystal Salt, Organic Hemp Seeds (original flavor). So instead of a dose of inflammatory milk proteins, I’m shaking out some lovely omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins onto my plate. I’m digging it. Also, it creeped me out that Kraft cheese could sit on the counter for 3 years and never taste off. Why is that?!?! Parma must be kept in the fridge. That’s a sign it’s real food, people.

Parma adds a burst of lovely flavor to popcorn, pasta, dips and sauces.

So you can bet I busted open the Original flavor to try on some gluten-free pasta with marinara once my samples arrived! I did a side-by-side comparison of the original and the garlicky-green Parma and must say the flavor bump of the garlicky green won me over! I think I could put that on just about anything!

Soon after I was hit with a craving for a creamy dressing so I made what ultimately ended up being a zesty, creamy dip that I’m loving paired with artichokes (truly life-changing) and other veg. It’s added a nice shift in typical flavors I work with and I’m really excited to bring Parma into my repertoire to keep things interesting as I (again) pursue dairy-free living. Parma is in most urban health food stores (even in Anchorage, Alaska!) and is also available on Amazon (here)*


Try this dip the next time you get your hands on a steamed artichoke or any time you want a zesty, cheesy dip or sauce!

Creamy Parmesan Dip (vegan/gluten-free)

First, make an Egg-Free Mayo
(recipe adapted from the New York Times)

  • 1/4 cup liquid from a can or pot of cooked chickpeas (this is known as aquafaba)
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 3/4-1 cup avocado oil or other neutral oil


Add aquafaba, mustard, salt, vinegar, and honey into a blender. Whirl on high, and slowly drizzle in the oil until the liquid emulsifies into a mayonnaise.

Next, make dip:

  • 1 cup aquafaba mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2/3 cup Parma Vegan parmesan
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • salt to taste

Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator; keeps for about 2 weeks or longer. Can be mixed in with pasta, roasted vegetables, or used as a dip for cucumbers, artichoke (this is the best!) and other veggies.

DISCLOSURE: Product samples were gifted to me, but all opinions expressed are my own. Affiliate links allow Amazon to send me a small commission as a thank you for the referral. The price on any item is the same for you whether it is an affiliate link or not, and using affiliate links contributes to supporting VIBRANCE, a small, female-owned business.

Zoodles with Peanut Lime Vinaigrette (Vegan and Paleo Options)

This peanut lime vinaigrette is an adaptation from a recipe recommended to me by a member of the VIBRANCE Village of Health on Facebook. The lime lightens up the sauce a lot and, unlike a traditional peanut sauce, this one does not feel heavy and comforting for winter, but rather light and refreshing and best enjoyed on hot summer evenings or days when you are pining for hot summer evenings. Having discovered it in dreary, grey January, it’s been a culinary reminder of days to come.

If you’ve not spiralized I highly recommend it! It’s a fun way to get extra veggies in (think carrots, zucchinis, yams, and more) and kids enjoy being part of the spiralizing process, which then has them more invested in eating the outcome. I have a Paderno I picked up 5 years ago that is still going strong but would now totally choose this Spiralizer on Amazon because it comes with extra blades and recipe ebooks.

If you’re like 87% of Americans and struggling to get enough veggies in, our totally free challenge, 30 Days of Glorious Greens is the perfect challenge for you. Offered only once year in March, this program dives into best practices to get greens in, delicious recipes, and fascinating science behind the glory that that is the humble green. You can sign up below the recipe!

Zoodles with Peanut Lime Vinaigrette


Makes 1 cup of sauce and 4-6 servings of zoodles.


3 zucchini

1/2 cup shredded carrot

1/4 cup chopped scallions

For Sauce:

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. tightly packed cilantro
2 tbsp. peanut butter (use sunbutter or almond butter for paleo adaptation)
3 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp + 1/2 tsp coconut aminos

1/4 tsp. fish sauce (omit for vegans)
1 tbsp.rice vinegar
1 tbsp. ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha, or more to taste
1/4 cup avocado or mild olive oil


  • Add chopped nuts, sprouts and extra cilantro on top before digging in.
  • Add 1.5 cups diced chicken, shrimp or tofu to make it a meal


  1. Spiralize zucchini (I use the leftover ‘core’ as a dip for hummus)
  2. In a blender, puree all sauce ingredients except the oil.
    While the blender is running, add oil in a thin stream until dressing is emulsified.
  3. Mix zucchini with carrots and scallions. Add the dressing and toss well to mix thoroughly. Best enjoyed within 24 hours, but will last 2-3 days (note that over time the zucchini will lose moisture and become more dense, but still delicious).


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Game Day Instant Pot Hot Wings

Since football season is here it means that HOT WING SEASON is here! The great thing about hot wings are that they are an easy crowd pleaser that can be made to be fairly healthy. Here’s a Instant Pot Hot Wing recipe you can take with you to the next game – you’ll look like a culinary bad ass, but Instant Pot does most of the work!

This recipe is gluten-free and paleo-friendly and is adapted from The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook which has recipes for all kinds of eaters. I’ve cleaned it up by following instructions to broil instead of fry the wings and by making my own hot wing sauce, which is easy and keeps the dairy and gluten-free folks happy!

Bomb-Diggity Game Day Hot Wings

  • 3 pounds chicken wings
  • 1 cup water
  • kosher salt
  • 2 cups wing sauce (see recipe below)

Add chicken wings and water to Instant pot. Season with salt to desired taste. Selected ‘Manual’ and ‘high’ pressure on Instant pot and set time to 10 minutes.

While Instant Pot is cooking the chicken wings assemble the hot wing sauce:

Hot Wing Sauce

  • 1/2 cup avocado oil*
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 1/3 cup sriracha
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. coconut aminos
  • 2 limes, juiced

Combine all ingredients in a blender or vitamix until garlic is well blended and set aside.

When the wings are finished, use the natural pressure release for ten minutes and then manually release any additional pressure. Removing wings and place upon a cooling rack to drain or press them dry between paper towels. Preheat oven to broil.

Dump wings and sauce into a large bowl. (you may want to reserve a little bit of sauce for dipping; its totally up to you!) Mix until sauce coats those wings well! Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up) and lay wings on the baking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes, or until crispy. Flip wings and broil for 3-5 more minutes, then remove.

Serve with celery sticks and your favorite hot wing dip.


*I use avocado oil instead of olive oil because it is a mild flavored oil that has a high smoking point. Olive oil should not be used for broiling, frying, or sautéing due to its low smoke point. If you have an olive oil that is reportedly acceptable for such purposes its quality is highly questionable.

Three Marinades to Get You Grilling

Labor Day weekend hails the end of summer and is considered by many Americans to be the last grilling weekend of the season. This coming weekend, we recommend you polish off the summer in style with one of the tasty marinades  below. These have been adapted from the June 2008 issue of Real Simple Magazine.

All recipes below will marinade 2 pounds of meat, seafood or veggies. To prepare, mix all ingredients in a baking dish or sealable glassware and marinate for 20 minutes to overnight, turning a few times to ensure proper soaking of all surfaces. The exception to this is all forms of seafood – it should not be marinated more than 15 minutes as the acid in marinades break down the delicate tissue quickly and you will be left with mushy fish.

Photo by JaBB|Flickr Creative Commons
Photo by JaBB|Flickr Creative Commons


Southwest Marinade

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup avocado or grapeseed oil (these withstand the high heat of the grill better than EVOO)
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (VIBRANCE is a fan of Celtic Sea Salt)

Best as a marinade for chicken, flank steak, pork chops, bell peppers, corn on the cob and summer squashes.

Ginger Sesame Marinade

  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (or tamari if you can tolerate soy)
  • 1 tbsp. sugar free fish sauce  (Omit if using tamari)
  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 scallions,thinly sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

Delicious with scallops, shrimp, salmon, pork tenderloin, London Broil, mushrooms, and eggplant.

Lemon Rosemary Marinade

  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary stolen from your neighbor’s yard (it taste’s better that way!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Delightful with chicken (one-in), boneless leg of lamb, shrimp, bass, lamb chops, zucchini, summer squashes, asparagus, shallots and leeks.


Recipe of the Moment: Cilantro Chutney

I am fortunate that my greatest lapses in miscommunication with my partner result in inconveniences such as excessive cilantro in the house.


When one has too much cilantro, the easiest answer comes in the form of  Hari, or cilantro chutney. If you’ve ever dipped your samosa or papadum in the little dish of green sauce served at an Indian restaurant you’ve had this bright and delicious condiment.

Even though it’s a favorite of mine, I’ve never made it until now. Inspired by a cilantro chutney I picked up in Vancouver at a Food Truck show (Pella’s Gourmet may not even be available outside of the Vancouver Farmer’s Market these days, but they are a delicious find worth supporting to international fame) I tried my hand at cilantro chutney.

The result is spicier, chunkier and less tart than the sauce I attempted to mimic, but it holds it’s own as a legit condiment. I have served it alongside both salmon and lamb this week. It pairs well with fattier proteins as the astringent nature of cilantro cuts the heaviness of the meats, but it will also do well with chicken or other lighter protein sources. An all around condiment, it adds a touch of liveliness to meats, soups, and eggs.


makes apx. 1.5 cups

  • 1 cup fresh mint
  • 2 cups cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano chili, seededcilantrochutney
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, peeled
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp. shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp. coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. tamarind paste
  • water to thin, as desired

Place solids in vitamin or food processor and blend until finely chopped. Add liquids, thinning with water to desired consistency.

Recipe of the Moment: Lemon Tahini Dressing of YumYumz

This vegan dressing is a great substitute for a traditional Caesar. It has a nice creaminess and bright yet bold flavor that pairs well with heartier greens such as kale, romaine, or endive.

I use it when I want a Caesar salad simply because, with a scant 6 ingredients, it is very easy to prepare!

½ cup tahini
¾ cup water
1 lemon, juiced (about 2 or 3 tbsp)
1 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tbsp. pepper

Place all ingredients in the blender and whirl until smooth. Makes about 1 1/2 cups dressing.

Thank You – and Happy Thanksgiving!

As a special thank you for your support, encouragement and feedback, I want to offer all my readers a special gift:

Free Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes!! 


Please click here ( Thanksgiving recipes ) to download the seven page recipe booklet containing such favorites as pumpkin pie and herbed turkey, as well as an extra dessert, dairy-free whipped cream and a couple of yummy vegetable recipes (gotta get those greens in!). All recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly. To save it to your computer, you may need to “right click” the link and “save as..”

Thank you again for your continued support! I am looking forward to growing and sharing so much more with you in 2013!

If you are not on our monthly newsletter list – full of recipes, helpful articles, and special offers, click here to join! You can also get more frequent smatterings of yummy, relevant tips, recipes and nutrition and fitness information at my Facebook page:


Peanut Dressing

This dressing is wonderful in salads with salmon, chicken or beef as well as tossed in a cold or warm noodles (peanut noodles are a great hit with kids!). I enjoy it for a  fall salad dressing – it’s heavier and pairs well with robust greens such as romaine, radicchio, and will even mellow out chard, kale and the more bitter winter greens. Enjoy!

1/3 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup rice wine or champagne vinegar

2 tbsp. coconut oil

2 tbsp. tamari

2 cloves (1 tsp) garlic, peeled

1 tsp. grated ginger

1 tsp. hot sauce (optional)

Place all ingredients in the Vitamix and blend until emulsified. Thin with water, coconut milk, or rice milk if desired. If you do not have a Vitamix, I recommend dicing the garlic before blending.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free Chicken in Mushroom Cream Sauce

After recommending this recipe to several of my dairy intolerant clients, I had to try it for myself. Lo and behold, it tasted far better than I ever could have imagined! This is destined to be a staple in my kitchen! Special thanks to Carol Kicinski at Simply…gluten free for sharing her creative genius with the world! I added a bag of frozen Tuscan vegetables to the dish as an effortless way to get more veggies in. And you can bet I’m going to make the sauce as an alternative to alfredo for my rice pasta!

Dairy Free Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce

4 six ounce boneless skinless chicken breast halves
2 -3 tablespoons olive oil, use divided
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic – minced
8 ounces mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free chicken broth, use divided
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
Kosher or Sea Salt & pepper
2 tablespoons arrowroot or cornstarch
Additional tarragon or thyme for garnish – optional

Heat two large skillets over medium-high heat. Add enough olive oil to each pan to coat the bottom (between 1 and 1 ½ tablespoons).

Liberally season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Add to one skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on one side. Turn the heat down to medium, flip the chicken breasts over and cook the other side until browned on the outside and cooked through about 3-4 minutes. Remove to a plate to rest a few minutes while finishing the sauce.

In the other pan add the chopped onions. Turn heat down to medium low and cook until onions are soft and starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes until browned. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Turn up the heat to medium high and add the ½ cup chicken broth. Cook for about 1 minute until the chicken broth has reduced by half. Add the coconut milk and heat through about 2 minutes. Add the chopped tarragon and thyme. Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed.

Make a slurry by mixing the remaining 2 tablespoons of chicken stock with the arrowroot or cornstarch. Add to the sauce and cook for about 30 seconds until sauce thickens.

Slice the chicken breasts diagonally in about 1 inch slices and put on a platter. Spoon sauce over the chicken breasts. Garnish with fresh herbs if desired.

Serve 4.

By the way, if you don’t have two large skillets or don’t want to dirty two up, cook the chicken then cover with foil on a plate to keep warm and just use the same skillet for the sauce. Just add a little more olive oil to the pan and continue as above.

Detox Friendly Pesto

This vegan pesto was a great hit last night! The miso is a fine substitute for cheese; most could not even tell the difference!

1 cup pinenuts (use equal parts pumpkin and sunflower seeds for nut allergies)

1/2 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil

4-5 cloves garlic

3 tbsp. chickpea miso (or mild yellow miso if you are not detoxing or soy-sensitive)

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice (1/2 – 1 lemon)

2 bunches fresh basil

Tear basil leaves from stem. Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Thin with additional lemon juice, if desired.

Toss with spaghetti squash, use to flavor soups, or add onto sandwiches and pastas.