Tag Archives: Tomato

Cherry Pecan Chicken Salad (Soy-Free / Egg-Free with Stuffed Tomato & Gluten-Free Shaped Finger Sandwich Options) for Mother’s Day Tea


Skip the watercress and cucumber, and opt for heartier fare for your Mother’s Day Tea with this easy allergy-friendly recipe for Cherry Pecan Chicken Salad. Serve this delicious soy-free and egg-free delight with gluten-free bread or crackers for all your guests to enjoy worry-free. Or just make a nutritious lunch of adorably shaped finger sandwiches for the kiddos and a stuffed tomato for yourself. Either way, try some today!



  • 1 oven baked chicken breast (see my recipe for this here… or use a can, leftovers, or even turkey)
  • ½ cup pecan pieces (or walnuts, almonds, etc.)
  • ½ cup diced green onion (or leeks, onion, etc.)
  • ½ cup dried cherries (or dried cranberries, raisins, etc.)
  • ¾ cup soy-free veganaise (or mayo, vegan unsweetened yogurt, etc… or mix these ½ and ½)
  • sea salt to taste (or salt free substitute)
  • ground peppercorns to taste
  • optional: heirloom tomato to stuff, gluten-free crackers to top, artisan lettuce to fill, gluten-free bread for tea sandwiches, etc.



Bake and cut a chicken breast into cubes. (See my roasted cocorico chicken with root veggies recipe here, and my chicken with sautéed mixed greens recipe here.) Wash and dice the green onion.


Measure and mix all of the ingredients. Add sea salt and pepper according to your taste and sodium requirements.


Here I cut the top off of a large red and purple heirloom variety tomato, and then scooped out some of the center. Then I spooned a good portion of chicken salad into it and garnished the top with ground red peppercorns and green onion.


The green and purple artisan lettuce it’s resting on, also makes a wonderful carb-free wrap for the chicken salad. Those are gluten-free vegan Mary’s Gone Crackers in the Super Seed variety… yum!


The chicken salad was the perfect filling for the gluten-free tea sandwiches I served at the Spring Garden Mother’s Day Tea.


To go beyond tea sandwich triangles, simply press a cookie cutter into the bread, and fill with chicken salad. (Tulip, daisy, and butterfly shapes were my choice for the tea, but you can see bunny bread here with my carrot crouton recipe.)


Thanks Mom, for all the chicken salad you’ve made me over the years!

Faithfully Yours,



P.S. If you’re looking for another easy version of this, try my turkey salad recipe here.

“Nacho Average Fiesta Dip” & Spicy Nachos Compuesto (Dairy, Corn, Red Pepper, & Gluten-Free) Easy Appetizer for Cinco de Mayo Fiesta


My “nacho average fiesta dip” is the main ingredient for my spicy nachos compuesto, and it proves that you don’t need to add red pepper to get a spicy kick out of Tex-Mex. And they make perfecto Cinco de Mayo appetizers because they’re not only quick and easy to make, but are also free of other allergens (like dairy, corn, and gluten) that are so typical of Mexican cuisine. So feel free to indulge without feeling indulgent… & ¡Fiesta forever!

“Nacho Average Fiesta Dip” Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces canned vegan refried black beans (the vegan varieties have no lard added… or try pintos, or make fresh)
  • 7 ounces canned fire roasted crushed tomatoes (or use freshly chopped and roasted)
  • 8 ounce package gourmet soy-free vegan cheddar shreds (this kind doesn’t have canola, soy, or milk casein protein… but use any variety of cheese you prefer)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or lime)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or minced fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon ground peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or salt substitute)
  • 2 teaspoons dried cilantro (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
  • chips, crackers, or veggies for dipping (try a corn & gluten-free alternative like bean and rice chips)

Spicy Nachos Compuesto Ingredients:

  • diced green onion
  • diced tomatoes
  • fresh cilantro
  • sliced black olives
  • shredded lettuce
  • chips (try corn-free bean and rice chips like these Beanitos)
  • prepared “Nacho Average Fiesta Dip”
  • optional: vegan yogurt or sour cream
  • optional: guacamole (try my spicy recipe that’s red pepper free here)

“Nacho Average Fiesta Dip” Instructions:


Gather all your ingredients and mix them together.


Heat the mixture until the cheese melts. (I used a microwave on 80% power stirring every 2 minutes, for a total of 8 minutes… but a saucepan on a stovetop works well too.)


Blend the hot mix until the cheese is indistinguishable from the beans and rice. (I, of course, used my handy-dandy immersion blender.)


Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with sliced olives, cilantro, and fresh ground peppercorns.248Leigh

Serve with freshly cut veggies, crackers, or your favorite chips. (I used beautifully dark “Beanitos” made in Austin because the bean and rice combo make a complete protein, at 4 grams per serving… plus they’re yummy.)


Spicy Nachos Compuesto Instructions:


Arrange an overlapping layer of chips onto a dish, and spoon hot “Nacho Average Fiesta Dip” over the top. Add the remaining ingredients in amounts that suit your taste-buds.


I had yogurt on hand and guacamole already made, but the nachos didn’t even need them. The Fiesta Dip had all the flavor I craved. Try tasting the chip-dip combo before loading yours up.


All of that salad-like part (lettuce, tomato, olives, green onion, and cilantro) that makes up the compuesto part of the nachos transforms this recipe from a snack into a meal… and therefore a guilt-free indulgence.


¡Yo quiero spicy nachos!

Faithfully Yours,



P.S. Try my Healthy Tex-Mex Cilantro Chicken Spinach Quesadilla Recipe (Dairy, Red Pepper, Corn, & Gluten-Free) Easy Appetizer for Cinco de Mayo Fiesta as well!

Healthy Tex-Mex Cilantro Chicken Spinach Quesadilla Recipe (Dairy, Red Pepper, Corn, & Gluten-Free) Easy Appetizer for Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

This cilantro chicken quesadilla is the latest in my healthy undercover veggie series because it gets spinach haters to eat like Pop-eye. And you don’t have to strong-hold the recipe to make it gluten-free and dairy-free… just switch out a few simple ingredients so that everyone may enjoy it. This makes it the perfecto appetizer for a fabuloso Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. It’s one of my favorite delicioso lunches because it’s so quick and easy to make. So let this recipe send you to Tex-Mex heaven too… guilt free!


Ingredients (for each quesadilla)

  • 2 brown rice tortillas (or any variety of wrap you like)
  • a few ounces gourmet vegan soy-free cheddar shreds (this kind doesn’t have canola, soy, or milk casein protein… but try any variety of cheese you like)
  • ½ sliced baked chicken breast (see my sautéed greens with chicken recipe for instructions, or use any ground meat)
  • 1 ounce thawed frozen spinach (or use less fresh spinach)
  • ⅛ of a diced onion (or use green onion, leeks, dried onion…)
  • a few sprigs of fresh cilantro (or dried, to sprinkle with the onion or top as garnish)
  • optional spices: sea salt, ground peppercorns, garlic powder (to sprinkle inside the quesadilla)
  • ½ diced tomato (or salsa to top the finished quesadilla with)
  • optional: vegan unsweetened yogurt or sour cream topping
  • optional: guacamole topping (try my spicy recipe that’s free of red pepper here)



First gather all the ingredients then wash and chop the veggies. (I’ve used frozen spinach here because it’s easy to keep on hand for impromptu meals, being frozen means it’s retained all of its nutrients, more quantity may be added than if using fresh, and it doesn’t need to be washed and dried before cooking. Microwave it if you like, but definitely chop it into smaller bits.)


Lightly spray a skillet with oil and place it over medium heat. (Here I’ve used a ceramic variety, but the non-stick types work well.) Line it with your first layer of tortilla, and then sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over it.


Layer the chopped spinach over the cheese. Then dust it with spices according to your preferences.


Scatter the diced onion across the spinach layer. Add cilantro if not using it as garnish… or do both!


Then distribute the chicken over the onion. (Think about cooking extra chicken to slice and freeze for easy last minute lunches like this one.)


Add the remainder of the cheese. (An even layer acts like a glue for the tortilla.)


Top with the last tortilla and press it down with a large spatula as it cooks through. (Using a cast iron press is another option.) When the quesadilla has heated thoroughly enough to stick together, flip it over quickly with a large spatula. This side won’t take as long to cook… it will be done when it has browned nicely.


Transfer the finished quesadilla to a cutting plate and slice into equal triangles like a pizza. Serve it in the round or stacked in a pretty arrangement like this.


Offer bowls of toppings like guacamole, yogurt, sour cream, salsa, diced tomatoes, and fresh cilantro… or add dollops and sprinkles to each slice.


I like to smother flavor toppings onto each triangle then grind fresh peppercorns over the top… and the cilantro is not only a pretty garnish but adds a distinct burst of flavor.


Keep a bunch of these warm in a low temp oven to serve all at once for your Cinco de Mayo Fiesta… or just make them for yourself as mouthwatering meal that only seems indulgent!

Faithfully Yours,


P.S. Holy guacamole! I’ve been seeing a new commercial that erringly pronounces the G in that green goodness over and over and over. If any of you out there are now wondering which way is right way to say it… think Fozzie Bear and begin the word with “wocca”. “Muchas gracias amigos!” on behalf of my Texan ears. 🙂


P.P.S. And if you crave more Tex-Mex… try my “Nacho Average Fiesta Dip” & Spicy Nachos Compuesto (Dairy, Corn, Red Pepper, & Gluten-Free) Easy Appetizer for Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.


Meatloaf “Cupcakes” & Mashed Potato “Frosting” April Fool’s Recipe (Allergy-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free) + Traditional Loaf Option & Hearty Meatloaf Sandwich


Lay asunder mean-spirited pranks this April Fool’s Day, by celebrating with a merrymaking menu. Meatloaf “cupcakes” with mashed potato “frosting” are sure to bring smiles to the sourest of faces, but it can also be shaped into a traditional loaf… the way your grandma used to make it. This is the style that slices best into hearty meatloaf sandwiches, perfect for the next day’s lunch. And this allergy friendly recipe sticks together perfectly, without the need for egg, dairy, or gluten. Best of all, it’s sure to replace, “Are we really having meatloaf again?” with “When can we have meatloaf again?”


Meatloaf Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds ground beef (or ground turkey or chicken)
  • ½ almond milk (or any variety of milk)
  • 1½ cups brown rice breadcrumbs (or any variety crumbs)
  • 2 six ounce cans tomato paste (preferably organic)
  • 2 tablespoons golden flax meal (or ground seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or salt replacer)

◊ if making a traditional loaf… top with organic ketchup (which has sugar instead of corn syrup) before baking

◊ for meatloaf sandwiches… add gluten-free bread, lettuce, & veganaise to the ingredient list

Meatloaf Instructions:


Mix everything (except for the ground beef) together in a bowl well.


Add the ground beef, and mix it well with clean hands.


Fill a muffin tin with your meat mixture. I lined mine with naturally non-stick parchment baking cups, but use baking spray if placing directly in the tin. The easiest way to fill these is to make giant meat snowballs, and press them into each cup. This ensures no air pockets are included. Note that the meat will rise up and shrink in as it bakes.


If using traditional loaf pans, spray them with baking spray (like coconut oil spray) before filling with the meat mixture. Note that multiple small loaf pans cook more evenly than a single large loaf. Top the mounded mixture with a generous amount of ketchup. Bake in a 350ᵒ oven for about 30 minutes (depending on your oven’s temperament).


Remember to check the center of a large loaf, or the center of the innermost cupcake, for doneness. (I mention this because I’ve actually been served raw meatloaf at a dinner party… Yikes!)


Mashed Potato Ingredients:

  • 2½ pound Yukon Gold Potatoes (preferable because of viscosity & natural butter flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or salt replacer)
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

◊ if not making this as a “frosting”… add ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil & ½ cup almond milk for creaminess

◊ for garnish “sprinkles”… fresh ground pink peppercorns (which look red to me)

Mashed Potato Instructions:


Wash the potatoes with a veggie brush and quarter cut them for speedy cooking. Peel them if you’d like the “frosting” to look more like real frosting, but I chose to leave mine on in order to preserve vitamin and fiber content. Bring them to a boil in salted water, and then simmer. (My mother insists on boiling them the entire time, and it works, so anything you do to cook them is fine so long as they’re well cooked… because raw white potatoes are actually toxic.)


The potatoes are done when they’re fork tender. Drain out the cooking water.


Add in your spices… and mash away, mash away, mash away all. (Or use the easiest and quickest method invented… the immersion blender!) Add oil and milk only if you are eating this by itself as a side dish, because it will prevent it from being as sticky… which is a good thing when you’re using it as faux frosting on a meaty cupcake. (Eaten together, you really don’t miss the oil and milk, because you’re tasting it with the flavor of the meatloaf.)

Optional Serving Instructions:


Meatloaf will leach liquid with cooking, so drain your cupcakes before serving. I actually replaced the parchment cups on mine before topping them with mashed potatoes, but they look great without the paper for a non-April Fool’s meal. Top your cupcakes with potato frosting using a silicone spoonula if you have one. (It’s a spoon-like spatula… I nicknamed mine the “Count”.)


Cut a traditional loaf into servable slices for dinner and tomorrow’s tasty lunch.


Ketchup, veganaise, and lettuce on gluten-free bread make a hearty meatloaf sandwich that will clean you out of leftovers in a hurry!


Serve these meals with a healthy dose of super-greens. This salad has romaine lettuce, fresh parsley, cherry tomatoes, sprouted pumpkin seeds, and sprouted hemp seeds. It has a creamy ranch-style dressing made of unsweetened vegan coconut yogurt seasoned with chives, marjoram, coriander, pink peppercorns and sea salt.


Unfaithfully Yours (April Fool’s Y’all!),


P.S. For other healthy mashed tater recipes, check these out:


Irish Colcannon / Herbed Kale Mashed Potatoes St. Patrick’s Day Recipe (Allergy-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan)


Quick & Easy “Shortcut” Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes Recipe (Heart-Healthy & Dairy-Free)