Tag Archives: acv

Italian Pasta Salad (Vegan, cooked w/raw option)

Pasta Primavera Salad - Vegan and Gluten Free

This Italian pasta salad recipe is heart-healthy and easy to make. It is low in fat and full of raw vegetables with a flavorful flax seed oil pesto sauce.

My Dietary Transition

I have been working to transition my diet to that which follows the protocols outlined by Dr. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn for optimal human health. (Check out the health resources link on this blog to find some of their work if you have not already.) Essentially, it is a low fat whole foods plant based diet. I was already eating a whole food plant based diet with a lot of raw food, but still eating far too many nuts and oils with the wrong proportions of omega fatty acids. I am giving their recommended 80-10-10 (carbs-protein-fat) approach a try, which hypothetically should be achieved simply by eating a varied diet of whole plant foods. If I use oil, I am trying to use flax oil exclusively for my cold dishes, as it is the only plant based oil that is higher in omega-3 than omega-6 fatty acid, and using coconut oil occasionally, but sparingly for my occasional cooked dishes (and in large amounts on my skin as a moisturizer!).

The Recipe Origins

As my grandfather recently passed away from heart disease, I’ve been encouraging my family to adopt some more heart-healthy dietary habits by preparing meals for them this week while I am visiting. I was originally going to take this recipe to a vegan potluck dinner with some friends, as I thought it would be a nice light meal that would appeal to most people. When I ended up back home over the news about my grandfather, I made it for my relatives instead. 

A Note About Grains

I chose to include some grains in this recipe to make it more appealing to the audience I was preparing it for. One important thing to note is that when following the heart-healthy protocol, any grains which are consumed should be whole grains. This means that the germ, endosperm, and bran are not removed in processing. Otherwise, the grains lack fiber and nutrients. I found an organic rice pasta at my local grocery store (I LOVE PUBLIX!) that uses whole grain rice flour, which worked out really nice for the recipe. If your local hippy market doesn’t carry any such thing, you can order it from Amazon: Jovial Organic Brown Rice Fusilli.

HOWEVER, I generally prefer to limit my consumption of grains, due to their phytic acid content (which can be reduced by sprouting and fermenting, and offset by a healthy population of lactobacilli in the gut), but I digress. We can discuss that in another post at another time. Until then, EAT YOUR FRUITS AND VEGETABLES! 😉

How to Make it Raw

The rice pasta is the only cooked ingredient in the dish, so if you’d like it to be a completely raw vegan meal, you can just make noodles out of the zucchini instead of slicing it as I did for this version of the recipe, and omit the rice pasta all together. This was my original plan for the recipe. However, if sharing with hungry omnivores, the whole grain rice pasta makes the recipe a bit more familiar.

Pasta Primavera Salad
Serves 4
This light heart-healthy pasta primavera salad contains an array of colored raw vegetables, marinaded in a flax oil pesto dressing, and a whole grain organic rice pasta. The pasta is a great option for non-raw family members, but can be omitted if you would like the dish to be completely raw vegan. In that case, just spiral cut your zucchini into noodles instead. 🙂
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Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Pasta Ingredients
  1. 3 spiral cut zucchinis OR 1/2 lb whole grain rice pasta
Salad Ingredients
  1. If using pasta, then chop 2 zucchinis for the salad (don't chop any extra if they are your noodles)
  2. 1/2 heart celery, thinly sliced (appx. 1.25 cups)
  3. 1 cup grated carrot (appx. 3 medium carrots or 4 small organic carrots)
  4. 2 cups chopped grape tomatoes (1 pint package)
  5. 1 cup chopped yellow sweet pepper (appx 3 sweet peppers or 1 yellow bell pepper)
  6. 1/2 cup chopped artichoke heart (appx 5 hearts - marinaded in brine, not oil)
  7. 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (up to 1/2 cup if you love parsley)
  8. 1 cup chopped kalamata olives (reduce to 1/2 cup to reduce the fat - stored in brine, not oil)
  9. 1/2 cup chopped scallions (5-6 stalks)
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup flax seed oil
  2. 1/2 cup filtered water
  3. 1 large handful fresh basil
  4. 2 TB apple cider vinegar
  5. 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  6. 1 tsp oregano
  7. 1 tsp thyme
  8. 1 tsp onion powder
  9. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  10. 1/4 tsp sea salt
Pasta Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions OR spiral cut zucchini and massage in 1/2 tsp of sea salt and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until soft and pliable, then rinse with cool water.
Salad Directions
  1. Chop all vegetables as indicated and add them to a very large bowl.
  2. If you are using pasta noodles, then chop some zucchini for the salad. If you are using zucchini noodles, then omit zucchini from the salad.
Dressing Directions
  1. Add all dressing ingredients to a high speed blender (Vitamix is my preference) and blend thoroughly until everything is smooth and well incorporated.
Assembly Directions
  1. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix until it is evenly distributed. Let the dressing sit on the vegetables for about 10 minutes to allow them to soften and soak in the flavor.
  2. Mix the pasta (either zucchini or rice noodles) into the large bowl with the salad and dressing.
  1. This pasta salad recipe will feed 4 people as a meal or 6-8 as a side dish. We had 6 at dinner and finished the bowl, but one of us had 3 portions and made a meal of it. 😉
  2. Feel free to double the recipe for an extra large or extra hungry crowd. I made a double batch so that there would be leftovers for lunch the second day.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Broccoli Slaw (Raw Vegan)

Broccoli Slaw

Remember the Cream of Broccoli Soup recipe last week, and the suggestion to save any extra broccoli stems that were available? This broccoli slaw recipe is a great way to make use of them and get some good quality plant-based protein in your diet.

It’s also super easy to make. Just run your stems through a food processor or cheese grater along with some carrots, sesame seed, and hemp seed, then mix some heart healthy flaxseed oil and raw ACV in there with a pinch of sea salt (and pepper if you like), and you’re good to go!

Broccoli Nutrition 101

  • Did you know that per calorie, broccoli provides more protein and iron than beef?
  • It also provides a plethora of micronutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants, outperforming beef in every way, except of course in fat and cholesterol. 
  • Broccoli sweeps your intestines clean like a broom and all the fiber that it contains helps to lower cholesterol and helps you feel full. 
  • Broccoli contains phytonutrients that aid in detoxing unwanted contaminants from your body. These phytonutrients support activation, neutralization, and elimination. It’s the trifecta!
  • Broccoli contains high amounts of both vitamin A and vitamin K. Together, these help to balance the metabolism of vitamin D, a nutrient most people in our society are deficient in.
  • Broccoli is a rich resource of a flavanoid called kaempferol, which gives broccoli an anti-inflammatory effect for people suffering with allergies.
  • Broccoli is also a great source of vitamin C, something humans cannot manufacture on their own. 1 cup of broccoli (appx. 156g) provides over 100% of the RDI for vitamin C. Bonus for allergy sufferers: vitamin C is also a natural anti-histamine.
  • Broccoli can protect you from heart disease. It promotes the production of enzymes that protect the blood vessels in your heart.
  • Broccoli helps to prevent osteoarthritis. One of the phytonutrients that it contains fights the inflammation mechanism that leads to cartilage destruction.
  • Broccoli protects you from many types of cancer because it is full of antioxidants. These benefits are lost when it is overcooked!
  • You can eat as much broccoli as you want and never have to worry about over-indulging or getting too many calories. When I started eating this way, I stopped counting calories, carbs, and all the other things people are afraid of and I never looked back. Nature has balanced the whole plant foods that it gives us so perfectly that if we eat a varied diet with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, we will get everything we need.
  • Sources:

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds provide a complete plant based source of protein, in that they provide all of the essential amino acids. They also have a delightful nutty flavor! If you don’t have any or don’t like them, that is no problem. By eating a varied whole food plant based diet, we can consume all of the amino acids that we need to stay healthy.

Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

Raw unfiltered ACV is amazing stuff. The Gerson Institute recommends it, and I have a lot of respect for what they do. They have a high success rate healing cancers and serious diseases with their whole foods plant based nutritional protocol. Raw unfiltered ACV that still has pieces of the vinegar mother in it has a great source of digestive enzymes and probiotics that help you to digest your food and balance your gut flora (it also makes amazing ACV fermented garlic). It alkalizes the body and also helps to lower blood sugar levels and may be helpful for diabetics and those struggling to lose weight. This is my go-to vinegar. 

Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed is in my opinion the healthiest oil there is. Almost all nuts and plant-based oils except for flaxseed oil have more omega fatty acid 6 than omega fatty acid 3. Flax seed is the exception to that rule. (Chia seed is also heavier on omega-3, but we don’t make oil from it.) It contains more omega 3 than omega 6. This is important because the ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in the diet is in the 1:1 to 1:3 range. The standard American diet (SAD) is upwards of 1:16! Omega-6 promotes inflammation, while omega-3 reduces it. That being said, a little inflammation is needed for a healthy immune response; therefore, some omega-6 in the diet is necessary. However, most of us consume the wrong ratios. The work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, a heart surgeon, has shown consistently that the consumption of oils and nuts with the wrong balance of omega fatty acids damage the endothelium (lining of the heart’s arteries). His work shows that the right plant based diet not only slows, but STOPS heart disease.

Broccoli Slaw with Flax Seed Vinaigrette
Serves 2
This quick broccoli slaw recipe is a great way to use up leftover stems. Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse that prevents many diseases and provides more protein per calorie than beef!
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
  1. 4 cups shredded broccoli stems
  2. 1 cup shredded carrots
  3. 2 TB cold pressed flax seed oil
  4. 1 TB raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  5. 1 TB hemp seeds
  6. 1 TB sesame seeds
  7. 1/8 tsp sea salt
  8. Fresh ground pepper to taste (I used appx. 1/2 tsp)
  1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and toss together until well combined. Split the slaw into two portions and enjoy!
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/

Healthy Coleslaw w/Avocado Dressing (Raw Vegan)

Raw Vegan Avocado Coleslaw

Growing up in Florida, I remember having many varieties of coleslaw served at summer cookouts and birthday parties. I use the term, “summer” loosely, of course. It feels like summer here for 6 months out of the year, so we had coleslaw at Memorial Day and Labor Day cookouts as well. 

Now that “summer” is creeping up on us down here in the southeast US, I thought it would be nice to put together a lighter and healthier version of the traditional mayo and sugar-laden coleslaw dish.

My recipe uses Napa cabbage instead of regular green cabbage. Napa cabbage has a more delicate texture and flavor, and it has a higher concentration of folate than other varieties of cabbage. I have also added some scallions for a little extra texture and flavor. 

For the coleslaw dressing, I chose to use ripe avocados to create a creamy base instead of mayonnaise. This recipe is entirely free of eggs or dairy, so it won’t turn rotten if you have it outside for a picnic. I also used a garlic-infused raw ACV (apple cider vinegar) that resulted from from fermenting some raw garlic in the ACV for 8 weeks (and still counting), and a small amount of low glycemic raw unrefined coconut sugar.


Raw Vegan Avocado Coleslaw
Serves 2
A healthy alternative to a traditional coleslaw, this recipe uses no egg, no dairy, and no refined sugars.
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Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
20 min
Slaw Ingredients
  1. 4 cups Napa cabbage, chopped
  2. 1 cup shredded carrot
  3. 2 stalks scallion, chopped
Dressing Ingredients
  1. 2 ripe avocados
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 1/2 cup garlic infused raw apple cider vinegar (sub: plain ACV + 2 tsp garlic powder)
  4. 2TB extra virgin olive oil
  5. 2 tsp mustard powder
  6. 1 tsp celery seed
  7. 1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  8. 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper (or to taste)
  9. 2 TB raw coconut sugar (I like this one, as it is unrefined and low glycemic: Coconut Secret Coconut Crystals - Raw Coconut Sugar)
  1. Mix shopped vegetables for the slaw in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add all dressing ingredients to a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix
  3. Mix dressing into slaw
  1. Serves 2 as a meal or 4 as a side dish
  2. I am planning to experiment with a sunflower seed base as well, for those who may be turned off by the green color of the avocado, but I think it imparts a nice creamy texture.
  3. I used Napa cabbage here instead of regular cabbage because I like the softer texture than regular cabbage.
A Taste of Two Plates http://tasteoftwoplates.com/