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Indian Chana Masala Stew {vegan & gluten-free}

On cold days I’m always in the mood for cozy comfort food like soups, stews and curry. One of my most favorite Indian comfort meals is a big bowl of chana masala. This absolutely delicious and nourishing Indian Chana Masala is vegan and gluten-free. You can make it in your CrockPot slow cooker with just a few essential ingredients, and let the slow cooker do all the work. 

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Waiakea Water x 7 Day Challenge

Water. We are made of it. We need water for healthy digestion, mental focus, physical fitness and function. Drinking eight glasses a day is the magic number to maintain optimum health, yet how many glasses of water are we really drinking every day? I happen to love drinking water (I’m definitely a water snob) and very picky when it comes to the taste and quality of my H2O. So I went for the Waiakea Water Challenge to drink 3 liters per day of naturally alkaline Waiakea for 7 days straight. Here’s what happened:  [click to continue…]

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Veggie Grill’s New Seasonal (and Tasty!) Winter Menu

Veggie Grill, my most favorite vegan fast-casual chain, updated their seasonal winter menu for the year. New Year’s resolutions are fresh on everyone’s planners, so a healthy lunch or a family dinner at Veggie Grill is a great choice. As many people are eating a more plant-based diet, the freshness of their winter menu pleases the palates of all types: vegan, vegetarian, and omnivores (a.k.a. less-meat-a-tarians) alike can be happy with what’s on their plate this season.

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Sunset. Cherries. Gentle breeze. Red Thread 2015 red wine blend makes the ideal wine gift for Valentine’s Day. Did you know, that according to Chinese legend, a matchmaker god connects two people by a magical red thread, destined to be lovers?

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Vegan Dan Dan Mian Noodles + Giveaway!

I have such a love for spicy noodles. When Eddie and I go out on dates, he likes taking me out for authentic Chinese food. Sichuan in particular is a favorite! As much as I appreciate his knowledge of good Chinese food in Los Angeles, most of it isn’t vegan. Eating my veggies and tofu while watching my sweetie devour spicy chicken feet and all kinds of oily-spicy-fishy-meaty things (and sweating profusely) isn’t that appetizing. There’s a few tofu and veggie dishes available for me, usually, but not much. So during our date nights, I’m always on the lookout for healthier vegan options. I try to steer Eddie into places that make vegetarian and vegan versions of traditional Chinese dishes, just to balance things out. Believe it or not, there are many amazing vegetarian and vegan Chinese restaurants to choose from. Sometimes I attempt to recreate my favorite Chinese dishes at home, à la veggie!

This recipe came together with two of my most favorite brands: Lahtt Sauce and Banza. Join me on Instagram and enter the giveaway here. We are hosting this joint giveaway from February 3rd-5th, 2018, and winners will receive: 4 jars of all-purpose chili oil sauces in mild, medium and hot (three vegan and one traditional Chinese recipe). Also, winners will receive 6 boxes of Banza chickpea pastas. 

To promote the giveaway for Lahtt Sauce and Banza that I’m hosting on Instagram, I decided to make Dan Dan Mian (spicy street noodles) using Lahtt Sauce gourmet chili oil sauce. This is my own fresh vegan version, using Banza chickpea noodles instead of Shanghai style noodles (omitting the minced pork entirely). If you want to make this dish as close to the real deal Dan Dan Mian (but totally vegan) you could sauté some plant-based crumbled “pork” and add it into your sauce. But let’s be clear: this dish is a fun vegan twist on Chinese street noodles. I’ve had a Chinese vegan “kidney” and basil dish that came close to the original version, so anything goes when making plant-based recipes. 

Lahtt (Cantonese for “hot“) Sauce has four different varieties of their sauces: Vegan Mild, Medium, Hot, and Traditional (made with bacon and shrimp) Medium. This all-natural, no MSG, no preservatives, no GMOs, just delicious umami from a blend of sunflower oil, gluten-free organic tamari soy sauce, dried onion, dried garlic, fermented black bean, dried shiitake mushroom, tomato paste and salt. There’s also dried garbanzo bean, chili peppers, dried ginger, ground sesame seed paste, sesame oil, vinegar and licorice powder to add some extra flavor. The vegan sauces use shiitake mushroom for that magical taste that brings out the chili punch. Even the mild is remarkably flavorful without being too salty. I used a spoonful of the vegan medium sauce and a spoonful of the vegan hot for this recipe. 

Banza chickpea pasta is another product I use regularly. My whole family comments on how good the pasta tastes every single time I serve it up! High protein, high fiber, no empty carbs. It’s delicious, nourishing, and has great texture, unlike some of the gluten-free types out there that get gummy and sticky. Made of chickpeas and tapioca pea protein, it’s allergen-free and nourishing, without that heavy bloated feeling you can get from wheat pasta. They have many shapes to choose from. I used Banza spaghetti for this Dan Dan noodle recipe. 

Vegan Dan Dan Mian Noodles

Ingredients

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon tahini paste

1 tablespoon almond butter, raw & creamy style

1 heaping tablespoon Lahtt Sauce, vegan, medium

1 heaping tablespoon Lahtt Sauce, vegan, hot

1 lime, juiced 

sea salt (for cooking water)

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons shaoxing rice wine

8 ounces Banza spaghetti noodles

cilantro, leaves

scallions, sliced

1-2 limes, halved, to taste

Directions

Make sauce:

1. In a large Pyrex glass measuring cup or bowl, mix together the sesame oil, tahini paste, almond butter, Lahtt chili oil sauces, and juice of 1 lime. Blend until well incorporated.

Cook pasta:

2. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. When ready, add the Banza noodles and cook according to package, about 7-9 minutes. Do not overcook.

Sauté garlic and mix sauce:

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add chopped garlic. Cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add shaoxing wine and stir to combine. Remove from heat.

4. Pour the sauce mixture into the garlic oil and allow to settle, mingling the garlic oil and sauce.

5. When the pasta is al dente (cooked through with a slight tack to the bite), drain, and rinse the noodles with cool water to keep from cooking. You can add a little sesame oil to separate the noodles if sticky. 

Toss sauce with noodles:

6. Place noodles in large bowl and pour the sauce all over. Toss the noodles until all of the sauce soaks up and is well covered.

Serve:

7. Serve noodles in wide bowls and garnish with scallions, cilantro, and lime wedges.

If you make this, let’s see it on Instagram! Tag #thesensualfoodierecipes  

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