Black Bean Brownies (Vegan & Gluten Free)

From my friend and Fitness Professional, Beth Eisele

Black Bean Brownies (Vegan & Gluten Free)


  1. 15 oz can of TJ brand black beans
  2. 2 large flax eggs or other egg replacement
  3. 3T melted coconut oil (or any oil you prefer)
  4. ¾ c cocoa powder
  5. ¼ t sea salt
  6. 1 t vanilla
  7. ½ c sugar
  8. 1 ½ t baking powder
  9. (optional: nuts, coconut, chocolate chips for topping)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Lightly grease muffin pans, full size or mini: my favorite… I like using TJ’s olive oil spray

Rinse and drain beans

Follow instructions for egg replacement using food processor

Add remaining ingredients to food processor (not toppings, of course)

Puree until smooth, continuing to scrape down sides

Fill muffin tins and add optional topping(s)

Bake for 20-25 minutes, less for mini (sides should pull away from pan)

Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes then gently remove…they will be soft.

Store in air tight container and refrigerate for longer storage.

I’m not a huge dessert person but my friend, Beth, is and she swears by this recipe. She runs a bootcamp program and likes being able to give her students some options for healthy treats. I love that this recipe is pretty simple and doesn’t need any adaptation to make it vegan and gluten free.

Anytime I can get beans into my diet, I’m happy…this recipe does that! Black beans give us an excellent source of protein and fiber and, unlike other types of beans, have a significant amount of Omega 3’s.

Tuscan White Bean & Veggie Pesto Pasta

Adapted from….mis-quoted on video

Add some healthy plant-based protein to your next pasta dish! You will be amazed at how good the Italian classic, pasta e fagioli can be!


Tuscan White Bean Pasta


  1. 9 oz. Fresh Linguine Noodles (I found fresh Gluten free pasta at my local Whole Foods…score!)
  2. 5 Asparagus Stalks, cut into pieces ( I used much more…love asparagus!)
  3. ½ cup Cherry Tomatoes
  4. 1 Tub of Better Bean Tuscan White Beans
  1. ½ cup Olive Oil
  2. ¼ cup Raw Almonds
  3. 4 Cloves of Garlic
  4. 1 ½ cups Fresh Basil Leaves
  5. (I liberally used fresh pepper and sea salt and also a little faux parmesan)


Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging. In a small pot, boil the asparagus for about four minutes. (I boiled the asparagus with the linguine for 2 minutes, only and made the pesto first)

While these are cooking, add all of the pesto ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. Drain both the pasta and the asparagus. Divide the pasta onto two separate plates. (I think this makes 3-4 servings) Top with beans, pesto, asparagus, and tomatoes. Serves about two people. (see above…)

Wow! My first episode of season 2 in which I am blindly following other peoples recipes! Scary but this first one is a home run!

So much goodness all while avoiding gluten and dairy: beans, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, almonds, basil and garlic: an antioxidant smorgasbord! Asparagus is an amazing food: fights bloating and hangovers! Promotes weight management, kidney function AND is a mood enhancer/aphrodisiac…who knew?!

This is one of my favorite recipes of the whole season! I hope you and your family enjoy it, too and let me know how it turns out and what you think! Bon apetit!


Everyone’s Favorite Bean Salad

I can’t remember the first time I had this fresh, crunchy, colorful and delicious dish but I DO remember thinking how brilliant it was: so simple yet good for you, stays fresh in the fridge for a couple of days and a crowd pleaser…how can you go wrong? I think of this dish as a staple for any non-winter holiday and love how quick it is to make, how easily it travels and most important: how much everyone loves it! Huge bonus: as with most of my dishes, every ingredient is actually super good for you! In my Bean Tostada and Burgers recipes, I go into substantial detail about the benefits of beans. Check out those

I think of this dish as a staple for any non-winter holiday and love how quick it is to make, how easily it travels and most important: how much everyone loves it! Huge bonus: as with most of my dishes, every ingredient is actually super good for you! In my Bean Tostada and Burgers recipes, I go into substantial detail about the benefits of beans. Check out those

Huge bonus: as with most of my dishes, every ingredient is actually super good for you! In my Bean Tostada and Burgers recipes, I go into substantial detail about the benefits of beans. Check out those

In my Bean Tostada and Burgers recipes, I go into substantial detail about the benefits of beans. Check out those write ups and take this advice: try to eat some beans and greens every day…. seriously. If you just did that (and flossed everyday) you would dramatically improve your health! How about the benefits of all the other vegies? Let’s focus on corn:

How about the benefits of all the other vegies? Let’s focus on corn:

Anti Cancer
Corn contains a number of phytonutrients like carotenoids, anthocyanins, ferulic acid, vanillic acid, coumaric acid, syringic acid and caffeic acid. Studies at Cornell University indicate that the excellent antioxidant profile destroys free radicals that cause different cancers. Ferulic acid is very effective against breast and liver cancer. The fiber content also lowers risk of colon cancer.

Regulates Blood Sugar
The high fiber content and protein levels enable just the right pace of digestion leading to a steady absorption of sugars and preventing sudden spikes and drops, in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Benefits The Cardiovascular System
Some phytochemicals lower high blood pressure while some others reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. Folates lower homocysteine levels, higher levels of which are linked to increase in risk of heart disease.

Ensures Digestive Health
The fiber helps to alleviate constipation and issues with hemorrhoids. It maintains the healthy proliferation of the friendly bacteria in the large intestine.

Benefits In Pregnancy
The folate levels and the iron content keep the hemoglobin levels up in pregnant women and can help prevent neural defects in the growing fetus.

Better Bone Health
Minerals like iron, copper, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc promote healthy bones.

Wow! What a nutrition-packed dish! Let’s make it NOW!

Everyone’s Favorite Bean Salad


  1. 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed & drained (I used white & black beans from tetra packs) 1 1/2 cups frozen, canned or fresh corn kernels
  2. 1 red bell pepper, chopped (I added a little green sweet pepper, too)
  3. 2 tomatoes, chopped
  4. 1 small red onion, chopped
  5. 1 clove garlic, minced
  6. 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  7. Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
  8. 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
  9. drizzle with lemon infused olive oil (optional)


In a salad bowl, combine beans, corn, avocado, bell pepper, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro.

Drizzle with olive oil and toss with salt, pepper and cayenne. Enjoy!

Joy’s Ice “Cream”

Joy’s Ice “Cream”


  1. Frozen Fruit
  2. Dried Fruit
  3. Non-Dairy Milk (Coconut is my favorite, almond, soy, etc)
  4. Optional flavorings like Vanilla extract, Cocoa Powder, Cinnamon, etc.


Use a powerful blender to pulverize the frozen and dried fruit, adding liquid slowly, to get the desired consistency. Served right away, it will have a softer consistency but freeze a bit to get more of the “scooped” ice cream feel. This would be delicious with fresh berries on top.

In this episode, I used frozen and dried mango, coconut flakes and coconut milk but yo should experiment to get the flavor and consistency you desire. Many folks like to use frozen bananas as a base for their creamy texture that gives an end product more similar to ice cream. Adding citrus (lemon, lime, orange, etc.) will give more of a sorbet taste and feel.

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!”

Oh, my gosh! I grew up with that little ditty as a REAL thing…every day! Although we didn’t have much money growing up, we always seemed to have one of those giant plastic buckets with vanilla ice cream in the freezer and I had a big bowl of ice cream almost every day!

Maybe you also have an ice cream habit and even though you eat a pretty healthy diet, this is your one weakness. And you probably like “really good” ice cream, right? Not the stuff in the plastic bucket. Can’t be that bad for me, right?

Well, consider this: half a cup of premium ice cream contains between 17 and 25 grams of fat, depending on the flavor and brand you choose. 1 slice of cooked bacon contains between 3 and 4 grams of fat. That means when you have ½ c of ice cream, you are basically eating the equivalent of up to 6 slices of bacon. And lets get real: who stops at ½ a cup? Most of us consider the little pint-sized containers it comes in to be 1-2 servings…. you do the math!

This is a super easy recipe to make, especially if you have a high-powered blender, which I recommend for every well-equipped kitchen. I personally like Vita-Mix but there are several good ones out there.

Try your own version of this simple recipe and get your friends and family involved. Find your favorite twist and adopt a whole new “ice cream” habit!

Wild Rice

This is a simple recipe that you can play with and add things you like: nuts, cranberries, celery, greens, etc. If you really want to the dish to have the unique, earthy flavor of wild rice, don’t mix with other rice, as so many recipes call for!

Wild Rice


  1. Rice
  2. Earth Balance (or oil)
  3. Garlic (chopped)
  4. Onions (chopped)
  5. Crimini Mushrooms
  6. Parsley (optional)
  7. Salt and Pepper to taste


Bring 5 cups water to a boil. Stir in 1 cup wild rice, then reduce heat so liquid is just simmering. Cover and cook until grains are chewy but not broken open about 40 minutes. Drain excess liquid from rice and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt a little Earth Balance or oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic and onions until translucent and then quartered or sliced crimini mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have released their liquid and are golden brown, about 8 minutes; remove from heat and season with the salt and pepper, to taste. I like to add chopped parsley or other fresh herbs. (you could experiment with using dry sherry or wine in this step)

Mix mushrooms into prepared rice and season again with salt and pepper.

You can serve this as a lovely side dish or have as the “main event” at any meal. The high protein content (24 g per cup!!) makes it a satisfying dish, indeed. Pair with a salad and/or some vegies and you have a flavorful, healthful and hearty meal! Wild rice is actually considered a “water grass seed” not a rice and is one of the only 2 grains native to North America.

Native Americans valued “wild rice” as a nutrient dense, protein-rich staple they could travel far distances with without fear of spoilage and many believe allowed the vast expanse of the continent to be used as “homeland”.

Tofu Scramble

(Adopted from “Vegan With A Vengeance” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz )
Serves 4

Most folks prefer the scramble with nice big pieces in it. It’s crumbled, yes, but not completely in crumbles. Just kind of torn apart and then broken up a bit when cooking in the pan. Garlic, some cumin, a little thyme – that is the base. From there you can do countless variations using whatever is in your fridge that morning. In this episode, I used mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, peppers and avocado.

Tofu Scramble


  1. 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  2. 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed with your fingers
  3. 1/2-teaspoon ground turmeric
  4. 1-teaspoon salt
  5. 3 tablespoons water
  6. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  7. 3 cloves garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
  8. 1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained
  9. 1/4-cup nutritional yeast
  10. Fresh black pepper to taste


First stir the spice blend together in a small cup.

Add water and mix. Set aside.

Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat.

Sauté the garlic in olive oil (or just water) for about a minute.

Break the tofu apart into bite-sized pieces and sauté for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to stir often.

Get under the tofu when you are stirring, scrape the bottom and don’t let it stick to the pan, that is where the good, crispy stuff is.

Use a thin metal spatula to get the job done, a wooden or plastic one won’t really cut it. The tofu should get browned on at least one side, but you don’t need to be too precise about it. The water should cook out of it and not collect too much at the bottom of the ban. If that is happening, turn the heat up and let the water evaporate.

Add the spice blend and mix to incorporate. Add the nutritional yeast and fresh black pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve warm.

You can include these additions to your scramble by themselves or in combination with one another. All of the veggies add more nutrition, taste and variety of textures to the dish.

Broccoli – Cut about one cup into small florets, thinly slice the stems. Add along with the tofu.
Onion – Finely chop one small onion. Add along with the garlic, and cook for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Proceed with recipe.
Red Peppers – Remove stem and seed, finely chop one red pepper. Add along with the garlic and cook for about 5 minutes. Proceed with recipe. You can also roast them first and then add with tofu.
Mushrooms –slice or chop about a cup of mushrooms. Add along with the tofu.
Olives – Chop about 1/3 a cup of sliced olives. Add towards the end of cooking, after mixing in the nutritional yeast.
Spinach – Add about 1 cup of chopped spinach towards the end of cooking, after mixing in the nutritional yeast. Cook until completely wilted.
Carrots – Grate half of an average sized carrot into the scramble towards the end of cooking. This is a great way to add color to the scramble. Saffron will also do it.
Avocado –Just peel and slice it and serve on top.

Scrambled tofu is one of the most mundane vegan recipes there is. But for anyone experimenting with plant based eating, it’s one of the most important dishes to learn. For many, it’s a staple.

You don’t have to stop at breakfast, or limit yourself to a plate of scramble and hash browns Here are a few ways to spruce up your scramble, or use up your leftovers.

Serve in a squash bowl: Serve in half a baked squash. Caramelized onions would be nice, too.
Breakfast burritos: Wrap up with potatoes, fresh salsa and guacamole.
Add to mac and cheese: Use up leftover scramble (or make some scramble just for the occasion!) by adding it to your favorite vegan mac and cheese recipe.
Lettuce wraps: Tuck scramble into lettuce, serve with fresh tomatoes and drizzle with vinaigrette
Make a sandwich: A scramble sandwich with avocado, red onion and sprouts.
Make a knish: Make potato knishes and add a layer of scramble
Stuff peppers: Mix with a can of black beans and some salsa. Stuff into red peppers, bake and top with a little vegan cheese at the end.
Crepe filling: Serve in a crepe, with a vegan hollandaise sauce.

You can read more about the health benefits of tofu in my Thanksgiving Faux Turkey Breast recipe.

Here are just some of the health benefits of the veggies I used, but as I said earlier, the variations are endless!

Tomatoes contain lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant & scientific research has found a link between lycopene & lower levels of certain cancers. Lycopene has also been found to be beneficial to the heart & blood vessels, skin, & bones. When tomatoes are cooked, as in this rendition, the lycopene levels are higher & easier for the body to absorb.

Other vegetable toppings contain nutrients that promote better health.. Onions contain chromium & vitamin C, & can help regulate blood sugar, blood pressure & cholesterol. Bell peppers contain high levels of antioxidants & vitamins C, B6, & A, which help keep cells healthy. These vitamins also support the immune system, metabolism, digestive health & good vision. Mushrooms contain zinc, riboflavin & potassium, all necessary for many important functions in the body & help keep the central nervous system healthy. Combined, these nutrients go a long way to protect your heart & prevent disease.

No Bake Brownies

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  1. 10-pitted Medjool dates
  2. ¾ cup raw almonds or nuts of choice
  3. 3 tablespoons raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder (or JP+ Complete Chocolate Powder)
  4. 2 tablespoons almond butter or nut butter of choice
  5. 1-tablespoon maple syrup


Place the dates and almonds in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.

Process on high until it resembles a crumbly, sandy texture.

Add in the remaining ingredients and process until a dough begins to form.

Take 1-2 tablespoons of dough in your hands, gently roll the mixture into balls.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Enjoy immediately or store in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer.

Note: These can also be made into bars by pressing the dough into a square baking pan lined with parchment paper, then placing the pan in the fridge to set for about 30 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and slice the mixture into bars. Again, store these in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Makes 12-14 bites

Many of us CRAVE treats! Many of us CRAVE chocolate! This recipe is so great because it satisfies AND is actually good for us! There are several different variations of this recipe, some involve grains, seeds, etc. I will probably feature them in the future…stay tuned!

All of the ingredients in this treat is PACKED with health benefits. We have talked about nuts and nut butters in the past so:

The Benefits:

Let’s talk about Dates!

A Summary Of Dates Health Benefits: Dates Are Great For:

  • Weight loss
  • Relieving constipation, supporting regular bowel movements
  • Promoting heart health, reducing heart disease risk
  • Diarrhea
  • Iron-deficiency anemia
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Impotence
  • Promoting respiratory and digestive health
  • Pregnancy deliveries
  • Hemorrhoid prevention
  • Chronic conditions such as arthritis
  • Reducing colitis risk
  • Preventing colon cancer

Now How About Chocolate?

There are actually many health benefits associated with chocolate! Aren’t you glad? The secret is to not get all the other stuff many chocolate candies include.

5 Benefits of Raw Organic Cacao

  • 40 Times the Antioxidants of Blueberries.
  • Highest Plant-Based Source of Iron.
  • Full of Magnesium for a Healthy Heart & Brain.
  • More Calcium Than Cow’s Milk
  • A Natural Mood Elevator and Anti-Depressant.

Joy Makes Plant-Based Burgers and Fries!

Some of us have specific foods that we really have a hard time giving up when adopting a plant based, gluten free diet. Burgers and Fries can definitely fall into that category but by making some “tweaks”, we can satisfy our craving and still make a health-ful choice! Making your own bean burgers, rather than buying pre-made store bought versions, is simple and allows us to avoid fillers and additives we want to avoid. The recipe is flexible so play around until you find your favorite ways to make. The “Fries” are really baked and are a really great way to round out this meal, along with a green salad or just so many toppings that your burger “looks” like a salad! Enjoy!

Joy Makes Plant-Based Burgers and Fries!


  1. 14 oz can Kidney Beans (rinsed, well- drained & hand-mashed)
  2. ½ C raw oats
  3. ½ C cooked brown or red rice
  4. 2 T Tomato Paste (or other tomato product: salsa, ketchup, bbq sauce, etc.)
  5. 2 t mixed spice
  6. Whole, white potatoes (russets best)
  7. Granulated onion
  8. Freshly ground pepper & salt.
  9. (Optional other spices that you prefer)


Scrub potatoes and bake at 400 for approximately one hour.

While they are baking, prepare the burgers All of the burger versions start with the basic ingredients listed above. The other variations (below) substitute one or more of the other ingredients but the 14 oz can of kidney beans remains a constant so the other ingredients get doubled and the yield is, of course, doubled.

Simply mix the ingredients loosely and then flatten into patties and bake at 400 degrees on a parchment paper lined cooking sheet until tops are brown, flip and cook the other sides.

You will find the relative “done-ness” you prefer.

Cut the cooled potatoes into ½ inch slices then ½ inch strips, which resemble fries.

Arrange on a parchment lined cooking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, other chosen spices and lastly, the granulated onion.

Place under broiler until the tops turn brown, flip and repeat.

We then use gluten free buns & all the standard burger toppings: onion, lettuce, tomato, avocado, pickles, mustard, ketchup, , etc.

Other variations include Falafel (sesame seeds, garbanzos) & Breakfast “Patties” (poultry seasoning.).


(all use kidney beans & another type of bean so all ingredients get doubled)

Mexican: Kidney & Pinto Beans, Salsa and Mexican spice (nice taco filling )

Indian: Kidney & Garbanzos, Oats and sweet potato (instead of rice) tomato paste & curry

Italian: Kidney & White Beans, Diced tomato, rice, barley and Italian spices. (can use as meatballs)

Southwest: Kidney & Black beans, oats & rice, bbq sauce, corn, southwest spices.

Why is this recipe good for you?

Really, do I need to address this? If we can substitute beans for beef (or even turkey) we are greatly reducing calories, saturated fat and all the chemicals associated with animal production.

All beans contain lots of fiber, antioxidants, high levels of plant protein, vitamins and minerals and low-glycemic index carbohydrates. All of these components make beans ideal for:

Improving Heart Health

Lowering Cancer Risk

Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

Managing Weight

Boosting Energy

Improving Digestion & Gut Health

On top of the delicious, nutritious beans, we also get oats, rice (or other grains) high in B vitamins and fiber, the antioxidants from whatever tomato product we use and all of the veggies that we use as toppings. It’s such a delicious way to load up on veggies with a classic comfort food made better for us! Yay!

Of course getting rid of “frying” our “fries”, eliminates the danger of eating this delicious treat. Potatoes have gotten a bad rap over the years but are actually very good for us if we eat them without all the fats that most people often put on potatoes. Visit my episodes on Twice Baked Potatoes or Potato Rounds to get all of the details.

Joy Makes Stone Soup

Joy Makes Stone Soup


  1. What’s in your fridge? Put it in!
  2. Onion & Garlic, of course!
  3. Base: Tomato, Veggie Broth, “Cream” (made from blended nuts, cauliflower or plant milks)
  4. Tons of Veggies
  5. Optional: Beans, Pasta, and Grains
  6. Your choice of Spice. (Italian, Mexican, Indian, etc.)


This recipe employs the idea of using what’s in your refrigerator to put together a hearty pot of soup. This idea comes from an old folktale told in a variety of versions but here’s the basic story:

Some travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty cooking pot. Upon their arrival, the villagers are unwilling to share any of their food stores with the hungry travelers. Then the travelers go to a stream and fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making “stone soup”, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager does not mind parting with a few carrots to help them out, so that gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup that has not reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, the stone (being inedible) is removed from the pot, and a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all. Although the travelers have thus tricked the villagers into sharing their food with them, they have successfully transformed it into a tasty and nutritious meal that they share with all the donors.

Asparagus with Lemon and Garlic



  1. Asparagus
  2. Lemon
  3. Garlic
  4. Pepper
  5. Olive oil (optional)


In this episode, I lightly steam the asparagus but asparagus can also be grilled, sautéed or eaten raw,

Try pairing asparagus with a salad, grain or even tofu.

The Reasons Asparagus Keeps Us Healthy:

  1. For detoxification – asparagus has 288 milligrams of potassium/cup. Which is known for reducing belly fat. It also contains 3 grams of fiber, which cleanses the digestive system. According to a clinical dietician at UCLA Medical Center, asparagus in the ultimate in detox vegetables.
  2. For anti-aging purposes – asparagus is rich in potassium, vitamin A, and folate. It is also very high in glutathione – an amino acid compound with potent antioxidant properties.
  3. As an aphrodisiac – the asparagus is considered a psycho-physiological aphrodisiac because of its shape. It is said to trigger the mind to have a physiological response. The French word for asparagus is asperge; a slang word for penis.
  4. Against cancer – asparagus in high in folate, which is now known to be an important protection against cancer.
  5. Reducing pain and inflammation – folate helps reduce inflammation.
  6. Preventing osteoporosis and osteoarthritis – asparagus has high levels vitamin K which studies have shown can help prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Vitamin K aids in bone formation and repair. It is also necessary for the synthesis of osteocalcin, the protein in bone tissue on which calcium crystallizes.
  7. Reducing the risk of heart disease – folate has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  8. Preventing birth defects – getting enough folate is especially important for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Having a folate deficiency has been correlated with increased risk of Spina Bifida (a spinal cord birth defect) and also anencephaly (a neural tube defect). Folate helps to regulate embryonic and fetal nerve cell formation and may also help to prevent premature births.

Additionally, studies have shown that the nutritional benefits of asparagus can help prevent and treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones. You may notice some asparagus spears are thick and some are thin. The thick

You may notice some asparagus spears are thick and some are thin. The thick ones are best for roasting or steaming. I find steaming the best and also very quick. The thin spears are ideal for the grill or if you are planning to sauté. For optimum health benefits it is suggested that asparagus be eaten raw. Before eating, the woody stem should be removed from both the thick spears and the thin. Peel only the thick spears before cooking.