Cilantro Pepita Pesto Sweet Potato Fries

Cilantro Pepita Pesto Sweet Potato Fries

I love fries! Well, I love homemade baked fries the most. I eat them several times a week (okay most days..) and I can't imagine how sad my plate would be without a big side of fries! I love russet potato fries, red potato wedges, yellow potato fries and of course sweet potato fries!! 

And while I LOVE just plain fries with a bit of salt, I love to sometimes jazz them up with a bit of something. This something is some awesomely delicious oil free vegan pesto made with cilantro and pepitas (if you haven't had them they are hulled pumpkin seeds!) 

If you hate cilantro you can use basil instead, I won't judge!

Oh and by the way - my family loves these fry baskets that I picked up at the store! So fun for sandwiches and fries outside or at home sitting on the couch! We just line them with parchment paper and throw our meals into them. Easy clean up!

Cilantro Pepita Pesto Sweet Potato Fries

Cilantro Pepita Pesto Sweet Potato Fries

makes 4-6 servings

  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into fries
  • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro
  • 1/2 cup toasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 jalapeno, optional
  • juice of 1 lime
  • big pinch of salt 
  • 1/2 cup water

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick silicon baking mat. 

Lay the sweet potato fries on the baking sheets in a single layer and bake for 15 minutes. Flip the fries and then bake for another 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Meanwhile blend the cilantro, pepitas, garlic, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and water together until smooth (I used my awesome new Blendtec for a really smooth sauce but a food processor would work as well!) Taste and add any additional salt as necessary. 

Toss the fries with as much of the pesto as you like! Any leftover pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 

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Pineapple Collard Greens - Simply Healthy

Pineapple Collard Greens

Are you in love with collard greens yet? If not, this is the dish to make your heart do somersaults!  It's a sweet and sour dish with just a few ingredients. It's a super effective and easy way to make a huge pot of greens that you will gobble down.  Your family might just gobble them all down too. 

I posted the nutritional information for collards on this post for Quick Collards and Jalapeno Garlic Polenta. Just so you know, they are awesome nutritional powerhouses! Calcium, Vitamin A, Protein and Fiber plus so much more!!! You've got to jump on this collard green bandwagon.

Pineapple Collard Greens

These are super good as a side dish to these vegan Buffalo Chickpea Burgers with some baked fries. My 3 year old has been asking to have it on brown rice every day since I've started making it. She absolutely LOVES them. So do I!  

Pineapple Collard Greens

Pineapple Collard Greens

  • 12 cups collard greens (about 2 bunches), stems removed and leaves chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 can pineapple rings in juice, 3/4 cup juice reserved 
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar (like this one!)
  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium tamari or soy sauce

Chop up the pineapple and measure out 1 cup. If there's some leftover eat it! (or share I guess...)

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium high heat. Add the collard greens, chopped pineapple, 3/4 cup pineapple juice, rice vinegar and tamari. Bring to a simmer, put a lid on it and turn it to medium-low. 

Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Check every now and then to make sure that all of the juice hasn't evaporated (and add some water if necessary.) Let it cool slightly once it's done and serve! 

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Spicy Chipotle Potato Salad

Vegan Chipotle Potato Salad

Potato salad - how do I love thee? So many variations, so many ways to get inspired and get it on the plate. It's good warm or cold. It's good with burgers or just on it's own. Maybe it's my potato addition talking but I'm pretty sure that potato salad is in my top favorite foods that I just don't make often enough. 

Now this is, of course, nothing like potato salad you may see at the grocery store or on menus. This is healthy, awesome, fresh and SPICY - yeahhh baby! Smokey spicy from chipotle peppers. (You can usually find chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce in the "Ethnic" isle of large grocery stores.)

Vegan Chipotle Potato Salad

I know this seems more of a spring dish than a winter but I am just feeling like I need a bit of spring in my life right now! Asparagus is in all of the grocery stores right now and I just can't get enough. It's my favorite vegetable right now. My three year old is loving it too so I keep buying it and making it in different ways! 

Spicy Chipotle Potato Salad

  • 6 large red potatoes
  • 8-10 stalks asparagus, woody ends trimmed off
  • 1 cup corn (frozen is okay!) 
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 cup Plant Strong Mayo (recipe here!!! or use your favorite plant strong mayo)
  • 3 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 2-3 drops liquid Stevia or a pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

First, cook your potatoes - my favorite way is to cook them in my slow cooker (here's how I do it!) Then I let them cool completely and cut into bit sized pieces. Or instead you can cut up the potatoes into bite sized pieces first and then steam them until fork tender. Then put them into a large mixing bowl.

Next you are going to steam your asparagus. If you are steaming your potatoes you can add the asparagus during the last few minutes if you have a steamer large enough. Get out a steamer (I LOVE mine!) and place it in a large pot with water filled up to just under the bottom of the steamer. Make sure you cut off the bottom 1 inch of the asparagus stalks and discard. Then cut the rest of the asparagus into bit sized pieces (about an inch long.) Add the asparagus and the corn to the steamer. Steam for 5-6 minutes, or until the asparagus is tender but still a beautiful shade of green! Take them out and add to your large mixing bowl. 

Make your plant strong mayo if you don't have some already made. Then take out 1 cup of the mayo and blend in the chipotles, lime juice, stevia and additional salt (I use my immersion blender for this so I can keep it in the same container!) Pour over the potatoes, corn and asparagus.  Mix in your chopped green onions and cilantro. Gently mix and then taste it - add extra salt, pepper or even some extra adobo sauce from your canned chipotles to the batch if necessary and stir! It's best if it has had time to chill together but you can eat it right away. 

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Perfect Oven Hash Browns

Perfect Oven Hash Browns

I have a very vivid memory of eating breakfast with friends after a long long night. Someone made hash browns. Now I LOVE potatoes - but homemade hash browns from scratch (like raw potatoes grated) has got to be one of the worst things I've ever had. The texture was horrible. It was greyish brown... oh gosh it was so bad. I really hope that friend doesn't read this and remember. Haha!  I'm sure that others have had some kind of success with using that method. I haven't. It isn't fool proof. Mornings require fool proof for me. 

And then BING! The answer! Have you ever accidentally thawed out frozen hash browns? It's just cooked shreds of potatoes. COOKED. So just take those potatoes that you've been cooking in your slow cooker (and you have plenty in the fridge, right? If not, get on that!) and get ready to make some easy oil-free oven hash browns! 

Next week I'll be moving to a new house (again!) and so I'm going to break in my new kitchen with a video on how to make homemade hash browns without oil in your skillet!

Perfect Oven Hash Browns

Perfect Oven Hash Browns

The KEY to good fluffy fully awesome not from frozen hashbrowns is prebaked potatoes. There is no substitution. Next week I'll be making a video on how to do it on your stovetop! Sometimes it's just nice to have some space available on the stove for tofu scrambles, gravy making, etc!

  • Baked Potatoes that have cooled, preferably refrigerated several hours. You can use red, russet or gold potatoes. Probably even purple potatoes (I never see those!) I cook my potatoes in the crockpot!   (1-2 baked potatoes per person)
  • salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with either parchment paper or a silpat baking mat

Take a sturdy box grater (like this one) with large holes and shred your cooled baked potatoes. The skins are just fine to leave on. Some will shred up and some will end up just falling off in big pieces that you can discard. 

Now toss in a pinch or two of salt. You can also add other seasonings here like chili powder, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. 

Take a handful of the grated potatoes and place it on your lined baking sheet. Form it into a little flat disk that is a little bit larger than your spatula (you want to be able to easily flip these!) Gently press it down so that it sticks together. Continue doing that until you have used up all of your potato. 

Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Now gently flip your hash browns over and then bake again for another 10-15 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve with gravy, plant strong biscuits, fruit, unsweetened yogurt or whatever you love to eat with your hash browns! 

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Baked Heart Shaped Seasoned French Fries

Baked Heart Shaped Seasoned French Fries (Plant Strong!)

This is about the lowest effort cutesy food you can make with huge results! My daughter was so cute about these. She said "Mama these are hearts. They mean luuvv (yes she says it like that!)" So we ate our love up with some ketchup (mustard for me!) and enjoyed our potatoes in yet another way! 

Baked Heart Shaped Seasoned French Fries (Plant Strong!)

These will be perfect for serving up with some Easy Black Bean Burgers and a side of Asparagus with Creamy Lemon Dill Sauce or Sriracha Roasted Broccoli! Talk about a sweet healthy vegan meal! 

Hopefully the diagram below is clear enough to show you how easy it is to cut these. You cut the whole potato instead of each individual piece (that would take forever! No one has time for that!) 

And don't feel limited by the seasoning blend I have here. Maybe try it with some Italian seasoning instead, or curry powder or even just salt and pepper. 

heartfries1.jpBaked Heart Shaped Seasoned French Fries (Plant Strong!)g

Baked Heart Shaped Seasoned French Fries

  • 4 large potatoes 
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (salt free like this one!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat non-stick baking mat. Wash your potatoes really well. 

Below is my little diagram of how I cut the potatoes to make them into little hearts. Super easy!


You can use a manoline to slice them so they are all the same thickness. 

Toss with the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Spread into a single layer and put them into the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes. I start to check after 15 minutes and then every 5 minutes after that. Recently I discovered that I don't even need to flip them for them to turn out good. I just wait until they start to lightly brown in spots on the tops and sides and then I know they are done! 

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