Main Dishes

Zucchini & Summer Squash Pasta Salad

This summer we’ve been grilling with friends a lot. Since I haven’t been eating meat, I’ve been experimenting with veggie dishes to bring to parties. I’ve been loving tons of fresh zucchini, summer squash, and tomatoes. Look how pretty it looks!

IMG_8119 updated.jpg

This vegan gluten-free dish is sure to be a hit with any group! It also is a great way to use fresh veggies from your garden or a local farmer’s market!


Zuchinni Pasta Salad

Zucchini & Summer Squash Pasta Salad

  • Servings: 15
  • Time: 25
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

This gluten-free and vegan pasta dish is easy, quick, and loaded with veggies and chickpeas for protein.

Tips: (1) Feel free to substitute fresh, dried, or even young living essential oils in the recipe. I’ve provided the options. I talk about my dish with essential oils here in this veggie pasta sauce post. I’m available to help you use them in and out of the kitchen. You can order them here(2) Never overcook gluten-free noodles because it makes them mushy. Add a little olive oil to the water with gluten-free noodles (this keeps them from sticking), stir them, and boil them for the minimum time recommended. With this recipe strain them, and rinse them with cold water.


  • 1 zucchini 
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 large sweet yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • parsley (1 tablespoon dried or 3 tablespoons fresh)
  • basil (1 tablespoon dried, or 3 tablespoons fresh, or 6 tiny drops of Basil Young Living Essential Oil)
  • oregano (2 tablespoons dried, 6 tablespoons fresh, 12 tiny drops of Oregano Young Living Essential Oil)
  • 1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 8 oz chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes (I used cherry heirloom tomatoes)
  • 1 bell pepper (I used orange to add color)
  • 1 teaspoon real salt
  • 5 grinds on pepper grinder
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil + 3 tablespoons
  • 1 bag gluten-free noodles (I used a spiral quinoa noodle because they are more firm)


  1. Start a pot of water to boil on the stove with a little salt for your noodles. Be prepared to start the noodles when the water is ready.
  2. Wash vegetables (I used Thieves Fruit and Veggie Spray).
  3. Slice zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Chop bell pepper and fresh herbs (if desired). Mince garlic and onion.
  4. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan.
  5. Sauté bell pepper, zucchini, summer squash, garlic, and onion for ~3 minutes.
  6. Drain and rinse your chickpeas
  7. Add mushrooms and herbs, salt, and pepper. Continue to sauté for ~3 more minutes until veggies are almost tender.
  8. Add chickpeas and tomatoes to the pot, along with 1/2 cup olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Sauté for 1 minute more.
  9. Stir in the cooked gluten-free noodles.
  10. Serve cold.


I brought it to a BBQ.IMG_8135.JPG


Asparagus and Artichoke Tofu Scramble (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Every time that I ate eggs, my gut would be distended. I heard of tofu scrambles, when I discovered my high sensitivity to eggs, but they never really appealed to me. I loved omelets, and nothing can replace the flavor of an egg. However, since starting a plant-based vegan diet a month ago, I have been making a different tofu scramble every weekend. It switches up my morning smoothie routine; you can see my smoothies if you follow me on instagram @myrealdish. So, I’ll be doing a series on tofu scrambles, and this is the 1st dish in the series. This Asparagus and Artichoke Scramble is a favorite for not only breakfast, but also dinner! I love easy ways to add veggies into my morning meals, and this gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan dish is easy and packed with flavor! It’s a win for everyone!




  • Servings: 2-3
  • Time: 15
  • Print

This vegan and gluten-free tofu scramble has asparagus, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and shallots.

Credit: Country Living

Tips: (1) Snap the ends of the asparagus with two hands, and where the natural break occurs is how you know which part of the stalk needs to be discarded. (2) Drain the tofu before using it. (3) Extra firm tofu works best if you want chunks like a stir-fry, but the softer tofu, creates more of a soft scrambled egg consistency.However, the softer tofu has a tendency to stick to the pan, requires more oil, and is more wet.

Asparagus Tofu Scramble


  • 1 can (8.5 oz) of whole artichoke hearts
  • 12 oz asparagus
  • 2 large tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 14 oz organic tofu
  • 1 – 2 large cups of spinach
  • 1 shallot (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Prepare your vegetables: break the asparagus in ~3 or 4 parts discarding the ends, chop the shallot,  and slice the whole artichokes in half.
  2. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat, with 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Sauté the shallots and asparagus first for ~4 minutes.
  4. Drain the tofu, and slice it into chunks
  5. Add the tofu, spinach, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes.
  6. Continue to sauté for ~4 more minutes or until you see the asparagus is crispy-tender, but not mushy. Add a little extra olive oil as needed to the pan.
  7. Serve and enjoy!


What are your favorite vegetables to mix with tofu?




Blood Orange Scallops

Sometimes a lack of food in the house is the biggest blessing, because it causes me to be creative! I’m so glad that I hadn’t been to the store all week, because the result was this sweet blood orange sauce with a hint of spice from the cumin and paprika. IMG_1218


  • 12 oz of large scallops thawed (I bought Wild Caught from Costco)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • 5 twists pepper
  • Redmond Real Salt

Sautéed Green Peppers

  • ½ cup blood orange
  • 2 bell peppers (I used green for color contrast)
  • 2 very small shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey (raw local preferred)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil

Blood Orange Sauce

  • 1/2 cup blood orange
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin

1 cup prepared rice


  1. Prepare your rice. I used an organic short grain brown rice.
  2. Chop peppers, shallots, and smash the garlic with the flat part of your knife and mince – set aside.
  3. Dry scallops with paper towel over a plate.IMG_1220.JPG
  4. Remove towel. IMG_1225.JPG
  5. Season scallops with 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 5 twists pepper, and lightly spread the real salt. Set aside.IMG_1228.JPG
  6. Juice 1 cup of blood oranges (I used 5 blood oranges) into a measuring cup and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.IMG_1220
  7. Prepare your sauce by putting 1/2 cup of the blood orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon of the cumin into a small sauce pan.
  8. Turn it on medium heat. Once it starts to slightly bubble, turn it to low, and let it simmer.IMG_1222.jpg
  9. Take the remaining ½ cup of the blood orange juice, and heat on medium high heat in a large skillet.
  10. Add peppers, shallots, and garlic. Sauté until the peppers until they almost absorb all of the blood orange juice. Add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil and start to scrape the blood orange juice from the pan and continue to sauté the peppers.  IMG_1221.JPG
  11. Add 1 teaspoon of honey to the peppers and continue to sauté until tender, but not mushy, for ~4 – 7 minutes.
  12. Heat another skillet to medium high heat. I have a Calphalon Unison Nonstick 12-Inch Round Grill Pan that I love. Spray it with olive oil spray, then sear them for 2 minutes on each side until they are crusty. You can also heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until smoking. Add avocado oil to skillet and sear scallops, about 1 to 2 minutes per side, until they develop a golden-brown crust and are just cooked through.IMG_1229.JPG
  13. First plate the brown rice, layer the green peppers, scallops and top with the blood orange sauce.blood orange scallops cover.jpg




Spanish Paella

paella coverAs a Spanish teacher, I have traveled to Spain and eaten paella in every city that I visited. It is very hard to find fresh clams in St. Louis, but it is easy to find frozen wild caught langostinos, shrimp, and scallops, thanks to Costco. So, I went with the seafood that was available. Since I had langostinos, I thought of ingredients that would taste good with them, so that is why I added the non-traditional fennel  and roasted bell peppers ingredients. This dish is LOADED with seafood and meats, feel free to use what you have available in your freezer or at your local market. Also, it is a HUGE dish that serves 12. You can always 1/2 the recipe to meet your serving size.

The highlight of my shopping trip for this paella was finding this Kitchen Basics brand of broth. It is the ONLY brand that I have ever found that is both MSG and gluten-free! Previously, all stock that I have found has MSG – even if it is gluten-free. It was on sale at Dierberg’s for 2 for $6.

I also looked for gluten, nitrate,  and casein-free meats. Since I couldn’t find traditional Spanish sausage, I went with Bilinki’s Andouille Chicken Sausage and Volpi Traditional Prosciutto. Both are pre-cooked. If your meats aren’t pre-cooked, then you will need to sauté them with a little olive oil in a pan about 10 minutes before the dish is done, and then  incorporate them into the paella.img_0805


  1. You will also need to thaw your meats and seafood  before preparing.
  2. The rice you choose will impact your cook-time. I used Lundberg Organic Brown Short Grain Rice  and the cook time is 45 minutes for this rice. You want a short grain, or Bomba Rice. In my opinion, the 45 minute cook time allowed the flavors to set in the paella.
  3. You can use a mortar prestle in order to grind your saffron with a little salt before adding it to the paella; it will give your dish a brighter yellow color and infuse a stronger flavor. This is of course optional.


Herb sauce

  • 2 cups parsley
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped

Chicken Thighs 

  • Prepare 6 chicken thighs ( I bought organic 3 pack from Costco and used 2 packs).
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Redmond Real Salt & 6 twists on the pepper grinder
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 


  • 3 – 32 oz containers of chicken broth
  • 8 garlic cloves (small)
  • 2 small onions
  • 6 oz prosciutto
  • 6 oz spanish sausage sliced into ¼ slices (I actually used Chicken )
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 cup roasted bell peppers
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Redmond Real Salt
  • 1 teaspoon saffron springs (I got mine at Costco)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 lb langostinos (wild caught preferred, thawed)
  • 1 lbs baby shrimp  (wild caught preferred, thawed)
  • 8 mussels
  • 10 large jumbo shrimp (to place of top & decorate the dish)
  • 1/16 cup lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups short grain rice (I used Lundberg Organic Brown Short Grain Rice)
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. Thaw your meats and seafood. (See hints)
  2. Peel and smash 12 garlic cloves.
  3. Mince 2 of the garlic cloves.
  4. Put chicken thighs in slow cooker  or baking dish and bake them on low heat in your oven.
  5. Sprinkle chicken with Redmond Real Salt & 6 twists on the pepper grinder. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon on, sprinkle 2 cloves minced garlic, and drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over chicken.IMG_1366.JPG
  6. Cook on high for 2 hours (this can be done in advance the night before on low for 4 hours or in the morning the day you will be cooking the dish).
  7. While chicken cooks, continue preparing the paella. Juice 1 ⅛ cups lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup. 
  8. Chop parsley & 3 cloves garlic in order to prepare the herb sauce. Then combine parsley, 3 garlic cloves, 1 cup lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil into a small mixing bowl and set aside. Save the last 1/16 cup of lemon juice for pouring over the paella when it is done.IMG_1369.JPG
  9. Continue chopping 8 garlic cloves, onions, fennel, and red bell pepper. Put into a medium mixing bowl with 1 teaspoon paprika and set aside.IMG_1368.JPG
  10. Chop roasted bell peppers and set  aside in a measuring cup.
  11. Slice sauce into ½ inch slices, and prosciutto (both of my selections were pre-cooked).
  12. Heat 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil on medium high heat in a very large pan.
  13. Sauté chopped vegetables in the pan for 5 minutes. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 teaspoon Redmond’s Real Salt and continue to sauté for 3 minutes. IMG_1371.JPG
  14. Add rice to vegetable mixture and sauté until mixed well.IMG_1374.JPG
  15. Add herb sauce, chicken broth, and saffron. Bring to a low boil for 10 minutes. Stirring every couple of minutes.IMG_1376.JPG
  16. Add sausage and prosciutto to a rice mixture, and cover for 30 minutes. Stirring a couple of times.IMG_1381.JPG
  17. In 20 minutes, 10 minutes before the rice mixture is ready, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Sauté mini shrimp and langostinos for 2 minutes. Remove into a bowl.
  18. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat in the pan. Sear large scallops for 1.5 minutes per side.
  19. Add the mussels, shrimp, langostinos, jumbo shrimp, and scallops to the large pot. Along with 1 cup peas (optional).
  20. Remove chicken from crock pot when finished, slice it, and add it to the paella.IMG_1380.JPG
  21. Simmer on low until the rice is cooked and broth is absorbed. FYI your pot will be FULL. You will need to carefully stir the mixture as your rice continues to soak up the broth.IMG_1386.JPG
  22. When the rice is done, pour 1/16 cup of lemon juice over the paella and gently turn it so that it doesn’t spill.
  23. When it is finished, you can place a couple of paper towels on top for ~15 minutes until you are ready to eat it. Or, if you have a stainless steel pan, you can put it in the oven on 200, and let it stay warm there until you are ready to eat.IMG_1388
  24. Plate and serve! I placed the jumbo shrimp and the mussels on top before serving. IMG_1394susanellenlogoweb

Shepard’s Pie (Gluten & Dairy-Free)

Shepard’s Pie (Gluten & Dairy-Free)

I was craving Shepard’s Pie (also known as cottage pie), but I only had three potatoes. So instead of Mashed Potatoes, I used Mashed Garlic Roasted Cauliflower on top. It added almost a cheesy taste, and it was great with the gluten-free vegan biscuits that I made using Pamela’s Biscuit & Scone Mix .IMG_1114.JPG

Here’s my twist.  In addition to the ingredients for the Mashed Garlic Roasted Cauliflower, you will need:

  • 1 lb ground lamb (or bison or ground beef)
  • 2 tablespoons Worchestire sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Redmond’s Real Salt
  • 10 twists on a  pepper grinder
  • 4 drops Young Living Thyme Essential Oil (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 4 drops Young Living Rosemary Essential Oil (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • ¾ cup chopped carrot
  • ½ cup organic frozen peas
  • ½ organic frozen corn
  • ½ cup organic frozen beans
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (coconut or almond flour make it Paleo)
  • 2 cups beef broth (I used Home Goodness Organic Beef Broth from Costco)


I’m personally a huge fan of cooking with essential oils, because at the time I didn’t have any fresh thyme or rosemary at my house –  I didn’t even have potatoes! The essential oils are so convenient, never expire, and still add great flavor. You can read about my dish with cooking with oils here. If you are interested in purchasing Young Living Essential Oils, you can click here. I’d love to help you learn to use oils not only in your kitchen, but in your daily life!


    1. Preheat oven to 400ºF & prepare Baked Cauliflower Recipe
    2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, then add lamb. Brown lamb until fully cooked, about 5 minutes (I find there’s enough fat released in the beef that I don’t need to add oil to the pan). While it’s cooking, prepare your vegetables.
    3. Chop onion, and garlic (smash with knife and then chop).img_1063
    4. Chop carrots. I only had baby carrots, so I chopped them in fourths and then cut them.IMG_1068.JPG
    5. Soak up excess grease with a paper towel.img_1067
    6. Add onion, garlic, and carrot, worcestershire sauce,Real Salt, pepper,Young Living Rosemary Essential OilYoung Living Thyme Essential Oil, then cook for approximately 10 minutes, until carrots are soft.
    7. Add the frozen peas, corn, and green beans (I snapped the green beans in half), and cook for 2 minutes.IMG_1076.jpgIMG_1077.JPG
    8. Add gluten-free flour and vegan butter to the pan, and toss around until butter is fully melted and the flour disappears (~1 minute). IMG_1078.jpg
    9. Add beef stock. Then, bring liquid to a boil over high heat.IMG_1079.jpg
    10. Cook for a minute or two until broth thickens into a light sauce.
    11. Remove pan from heat, and transfer meat and veggie mixture to an 8×8 baking dish.IMG_1085.JPG
    12. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
    13. Pull Baked Cauliflower from the oven, and finish preparing Mashed Garlic Roasted Caulflower 
    14. Top lamb mixture with  Mashed Garlic Roasted Caulflower img_1093img_1091
    15. Bake 20 – 25 minutesShepard's Pie.jpg

What are your favorite comfort foods?


Eggplant Pizza Bake

Eggplant Pizza Bake

I was craving pizza, and planned on making eggplant pizzas. However, when I started to brainstorm my meals for the week, I wanted a way to stretch my recipes and save prep time. So after making the Protein Loaded Pizza SauceI prepped the veggies for pizza, and then made extra for this dish. It’s a divine combination of tomato, eggplant, zucchini, cajun spice, and goat cheese. 

Start with the Protein Loaded Pizza SauceIt will take 30-60 minutes to simmer. Then prep your veggies and start your Eggplant Pizza Bake.eggplant-pizza-bake


Directions:Prepare the Protein Loaded Pizza Sauce.

  1. Preheat oven to 500.
  2. Clean the veggies. I soaked the mushrooms in Young Living Fruit and Vegetable Soak – it is the best at getting dirt off fruits and vegetables.
  3. Chop garlic and shallots.
  4. Slice zucchini into ¼ inch thick slices, and slice mushrooms.
  5. Slice eggplant in ¼ inch slices, and place them on a couple cookie sheets. img_0799
  6. Put 1/4 cup olive oil in a measuring cup with 4 drops Young Living Basil Essential Oil and 2 drops Young Living Thyme Essential Oil. I talk about my dish with essential oils here in this veggie pasta sauce post. I’m available to help you use them in and out of the kitchen. Click here to learn how to order them. img_0798
  7. Brush the olive and essential oil mixture on the slices of eggplant. Salt and pepper generously. Flip them over and repeat with the other side.
  8. Sprinkle 2 chopped cloves garlic on the eggplant.
  9. Broil eggplant at 500 for 7 mins
  10. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in pan on medium-high heat, add zucchini, shallots, and remaining 2 cloves of garlic, and sauté for 3 minutes. 
  11. After three minutes add 2 tablespoons olive oil, mushrooms, 2 drops Young Living Basil Essential Oil, and 1 drop Young Living Thyme Essential Oils. Cook until tender, but not mushy.
  12. Change the oven temperature to 350.
  13. Slice the sausages (if desired). I like this brand because it’s antibiotic, gluten, casein, nitrates, nitrites, and MSG-free. This flavor has a little kick, and one sausage adds just a hint of cajun spice to the dish. I’ve been in search of vegan / gluten-free sausages and they are a hard findimg_0805
  14. Spread a thin layer of pizza sauce at the bottom of a 10 x 12 glass pan – this prevents the eggplant from sticking without using a spray.
  15. Place eggplant on top of the sauceimg_0811
  16. Sprinkle the goat cheese over the eggplantimg_0816
  17. Top with a layer of mushrooms, zucchini, and sliced andouille chicken sausage (omit for vegetarian, but consider a sprinkle of a cajun spice if avoided).
  18. Repeat layers. Eggplant, sauce, goat cheese, mushrooms, zucchini, and sausage. IMG_0824.JPG
  19. Bake for 45 minutes. 
  20. Remove from oven, and let it cool for 10 minutes.IMG_0831.JPG
  21. Serve & enjoy!img_0841

What are your favorite eggplant dishes?


Protein Loaded Pizza Sauce


We love pizza, but finding gluten and dairy-free pizza in a restaurant is hard. So we make “pizza night” into a fun activity to do with the kids! It’s great, until my daughter has a breakdown after she slops the sauce onto the edge of the crust or doesn’t spread the cheese evenly (I keep my Tranquil Roll-On handy with this child at all times). Sometimes she complains that sauce is too spicey too. So, I set out to make my own. I found a recipe on that included fennel seed, and I changed it a lot. I hate that most sauces have cane sugar and parmesean cheese. If I’m going to have cane sugar, it better be a very tasty dessert – preferably with chocolate.

I’m always trying to find more ways to increase protein in our diet. I was at Fresh Thyme looking for Baking Powder, and I came across Bob’s Red Mill High Protein TVP (textured vegetable protein). The bag says “it takes on the flavor of whatever recipe to which it is added.” I thought it would be great not only for the pizza sauce I was making, but also chili and soups. The sauce turned out great, and you wouldn’t know that I added anything to the sauce by the taste. It does have soy; if you have a soy allergy, make the pizza sauce without it!

This recipe makes 4 small gluten-free pizzas, and I tripled it in order to make 4 small gluten-free pizzas, and an eggplant pizza bake. I love it when I can to turn one dish into two for multiple nights! Plus, it’s always convenient to make extra sauce and have it ready in the freezer!


  • 2 tablespoons organic olive oil
  • ½  cup shallots finely chopped
  • ¼ cup celery (~1 stick) finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can organic tomato sauce (I used Kirkland brand from Costco)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Redmond’s Real Salt
  • ½ teaspoon coconut sugar
  • ¼  teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill High Protein TVP (textured vegetable protein) (optional)



  1. If you are going to include Bob’s Red Mill High Protein TVP, boil the water. Add a little less than ⅓ cup of boiled water over ⅓ cup of protein. The bag recommends 1 cup protein to ⅞ cup water, so that’s how I did the math as best as I could. Set the protein mixture aside and let it set for 10 minutes.img_0779
  2. Finely chop shallots and celery (I sliced the celery stick into 4 tiny strips and then chopped it).img_0778 
  3. Smash your garlic with the flat part of your knife and then mince.
  4. Sauté veggies in a large skillet until very tender and almost translucent.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients and let simmer for 30 – 60 minutes.
  6. Get your pizza ready!!!img_0804