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50 Creative Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes You Have Probably Never Thought Of

50 Creative Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes You Have Probably Never Thought Of

Do you ever find yourself scouring your cupboards thinking,”there’s nothing to eat”? Bored with whatever vegetarian dish you have been eating? Ready to shake things up a bit and tantalize your palate?

These 50 dishes are creative vegetarian recipes, and health-conscious too. But being healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Snap out of your kitchen rut with these creative alternatives to traditional dishes.

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Starters and Snacks

  1. Lasagna Stuffed Zucchini: A gluten-free and paleo way to do lasagna from Rate Your Burn.
  2. Black Bean and Corn Stuffed Sweet Potatoes: Like tacos, but healthier, and again from Rate Your Burn.
  3. Quinoa Baked Zucchini Chips with Siraracha Dipping Sauce. Less fattening and starchy than potato chips, with a spicy kick, from Cooking Quinoa.
  4. Margarita Popcorn: Need I say more? From Not Monroe.
  5. Crispy Baked Zucchini Fries with Sriracha Lime Mayo: Not fried, and with a zesty dipping sauce from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.
  6. Vegan Pesto: Made with healthy omega oil blend from Vega Products.
  7. Vegetarian Thanksgiving Brussels Sprouts Sliders: A healthy holiday starter from Tara Parker-Pope.
  8. Pesto pasta with added protein: Pesto pasta with Edamame for a great meal to stay fit from Cookie + Kate.
  9. Avocado Corn Salsa: A tomato-free salsa alternative, with some creamy avocado added, from Rate Your Burn.
  10. Turkey Veggie Tray: Festive and fun Thanksgiving crudite appetizer from Living Locurto.
  11. Festive Cheese Rounds: In the shape of a pinecone. Beautiful and tasty from Just Putzing Around the Kitchen.
  12. Cauliflower Tots: Get the same bite-sized fun as traditional tater tots, but less carbohydrates and less starch from SkinnyTaste.com.
  13. Ombre Citrus and Thyme Roasted Carrot Skewers: An artful appetizer for any gathering with fall spices from Beard & Bonnet.
  14. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Roasted Chickpeas: Chickpeas are high in calcium, and this is a healthier alternative dish with a sweet and spicy taste from Running to the Kitchen.

Salads

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  1. Roasted Squash Salad with Lemony Tahini Sauce + Feta: A warming winter salad with a light dressing from Naked Cuisine.
  2. Lemon Dijon Beet Salad: Roasted beets complimented by lemon for a savory and healthy salad from Poppies and Papayas.
  3. Lemon Cilantro Avocado Pasta Salad: A fresh, creamy twist on pasta salad full of healthy fats, from Rate Your Burn.

Main Dishes

  1. Crockpot Sweet Potato Lentils: Sweeten up those lentils in this slow-cooked recipe for a cold day from Pinch of Yum.
  2. Vegetarian Orange Chicken Cauliflower: A veggie twist on orange chicken with the low-carb and anti-cancerous benefits of cauliflower, from Vegetarian Recipes 24/7.
  3. Pesto Tortilla Pizza: A clever way to use pesto instead of tomato sauce, combined with tortillas for a quick and easy pizza treat from Cookie + Kate.
  4. Butternut Squash Risotto with Pine Nuts & Balsamic: Butternut squash lends a healthy creaminess to this fall risotto recipe from Delallo.
  5. Cauliflower Crust Pizza: A pizza crust free of dough, gluten, egg, nuts, and yeast for a paleo or gluten-free alternative to pizza from Tickling Palates.
  6. Baked Penne with Pumpkin Cream Sauce: This vegan recipe uses pumpkin instead of tomato, for those looking for a new way to make a favorite dish from Chic Vegan.
  7. Italian Orzo Stuffed Peppers: Orzo pasta stuffed peppers that bake up and make great leftovers from Delallo.
  8. Pizza Roasted Chickpeas: This clever dish puts pizza in a bowl, minus the dough, the carbs, and with the healthy protein and calcium of chickpeas from Amuse Your Bouche.
  9. Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo: This dairy-free, nut-free twist on Pasta Alfredo is creamy, and a clever way to use cauliflower as a sauce from The Detoxinista.
  10. Spinach Basil Pesto: Take pesto one step further by adding iron-rich spinach in for a more tangy flavor from two peas & their pod.
  11. Carrot Pasta with Zesty Garlic Sauce: Who knew you could make pasta out of carrots? Nutrient rich, low on carbohydrates and full of flavor, from Daily Burn.
  12. Cauliflower Steaks with Ginger, Turmeric, and Cumin: These “steaks” are a great vegan alternative to a meat dish, with pungent Indian spices from the kitchn.
  13. Poached Egg over Polenta with Olive-Herb Pesto: Eggs for dinner? But of course, with this elegant egg over polenta dish from Ariel Knutson of BuzzFeed.
  14. Tempeh and Sweet Potato Collard Wraps: Sweet potatoes aren’t just for Thanksgiving anymore. The sweetness and the greens blend perfectly together in this wrap from Laura Newcomer on Greatist.
  15. Ricotta, Kale, and Roast Pumpkin Lasagne: Who knew you could put pumpkin in something other than pie? The pumpkin is great for those tired of boring old tomato sauce, from The Krooked Spoon.
  16. Pesto Quesadilla: This quesadilla uses cannelini beans, for an Italian twist on a quesadilla for a change from Cookie + Kate.
  17. Quinoa Sweet Potato Tacos: Tired of the same old rice and bean tacos? Quinoa and sweet potatoes add a unique and healthy twist to taco night from Cooking Channel TV.
  18. Vegan Stuffed Squash with Dates and Pine Nuts: This is not only vegan, and delicious, but makes for a beautiful presentation in a bowl you don’t have to wash, because it’s made of a squash from Katherine Ratliff at Mind Body Green.
  19. Kimchi Mac and Cheese: This spicy take on comfort food gets its kick from adding in Kimchi, for healthy probiotics from Beard & Bonnet.
  20. Smashed Chickpea Avocado Sandwich: The smashed chickpeas, combined with mashed avocado on the bread of your choice make for a sandwich that holds together nicely and is full of healthy fats and nutrients from Green Valley Kitchen.
  21. Polenta Lasagna with Portabellas and Kale: This lasagna uses polenta instead of noodles, and is also fat-free AND vegan. Yum! From Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.

Sides: 

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  1. Butternut Squash Fries: Who needs potatoes anymore when these are so delicious and much more nutritious? From Rebecca at My Natural Family.
  2. Roasted Brussel Sprout Chips: A crispy alternative to potato chips, and a clever way to cook up brussels sprouts before they go bad in your fridge with this recipe from Rebecca at My Natural Family again.
  3. Roasted (Wish They Were Grilled) Cabbage: When the weather gets cold and you head inside, rather than use your grill, you can still get that grilled, rich taste with this cabbage recipe from Green Lite Bites.
  4. Creative Sauerkraut: If you are a fan of this tasty cultured food, but get bored with eating it the same old traditional way, try these new twists from Thank Your Body.
  5. Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Quinoa Salad in Balsamic Vinaigrette: Roasted Cauliflower is a creative way to go meatless and blends well with mushrooms and balsamic from Closet Cooking.

Breakfast

  1. Festive Fall Oatmeal: Add some seasonal apples and some peanut butter for protein to this warming, filling, and delicious bowl to start your day from Lizzie Fuhr of Pop Sugar.
  2. Quinoa Egg Scramble: Both quinoa and eggs are great sources of protein and make a recharging post-workout breakfast to help you build muscle from Lizzie Fuhr of Pop Sugar.
  3. Quinoa Hash Browns and Turkish Eggs: For addded protein and less carbs, combine your hash browns with quinoa, and then Turkish eggs, which use yogurt for a creamy breakfast dish from Cooking Channel TV.
  4. Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie: Sweet potatoes, in smoothies? Add some great fiber, beta carotene and start your day off right with this “pie” in a cup from Laura Newcomer from Greatist.

Desserts

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  1. Hot Chocolate Sticks: These bite-sized popsicles are made in an ice cube tray and are a clever way to whip up a quick and easy dessert treat from Brit + Co.
  2. Pre-Workout Protein Balls: This pre-workout treat is more like a dessert, using protein powder to make cookie dough bites that give you energy and support your workout from Lizzie Fuhr at Pop Sugar.
  3. Egg-Free Mini Pumpkin Pies: If you want a bite size treat to bring to a holiday meal, this vegan pumpkin recipe will do the trick from Fork and Beans.

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Bridget Baker

Web Presence Sherpa

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

More About Mental Strength

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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