Superstar Chef Donna Marino @donnamarino shared this ultra-healthy, ultra-tasty, whole food recipe that she made for a cooking demo @luvinarmsanimalsanctuary last weekend. Deliciosa!  

Did you know? Bibimbap (pronounced “bee-BIM-bop”) is a Korean rice dish meaning fresh vegetables mixed with rice and topped with a spicy Korean chili paste, Gochujang or Indonesian based Sambal Oelek, which makes it unique. 


This recipe is loaded with nutrition! It has an astounding 22 grams of protein in it and is an excellent source of Vitamin A (contains around 150% of our daily recommended value per serving). It is also an excellent source of calcium, iron, folate and magnesium.  Plus it is incredibly high in B vitamins!!

Here’s what Chef Donna had to say about her tasty recipe.

Another idea for a great veggie and grain bowl comes from Korean cuisine. Bibimbap bowls can easily be made plant-based by omitting the egg and any other animal products. I’ll often make these when I want to finish up odds & ends in my fridge. My favorite combination is below:

1 package of firm tofu in water (not silken tofu)

4 tsp soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos

1 tsp real food Gochujang (Korean chili paste) or Sambal Oelek

4 ounces mushrooms, preferably Shiitakes

4 ounces spinach

1 cubed sweet potato

1 c. edamame beans

Pickled daikon or cucumber (see below)

1 – ½ C. cooked rice. You can always use brown rice or another grain, like quinoa. I like to experiment with different kinds of rice, like red or black, to add visual interest.

Pickled cucumber or daikon

I use this quick pickling method. It’s best if the cucumber can sit at least a few hours in the mixture; overnight is ideal. You can decide on the amount of cucumber you would like to use for this part of the recipe. 

¼ c. rice wine vinegar

¼ c. water

2 tsp sweetener (can use sugar, maple syrup, date syrup or other sweetener of choice)

1 tsp salt (or to taste).

Add all ingredients to saucepan and bring the mixture to a low boil. Pour over the sliced cucumber/daikon and cover in refrigerator for several hours or overnight.


2 tbsp Gochujang

2 tsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp Tamari or coconut aminos

1-2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1-2 tsp maple syrup

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Toasted sesame seeds and green onion for garnish


Cook rice or grains and set aside.

Drain the tofu well and cut into cubes. Place in a shallow bowl or pan and pour soy sauce mixed with half the Gochujang over it. Set aside for at least 30 minutes so it can absorb the flavors. Turn the cubes over so that all sides get marinated. Mix the rest of the sauce ingredients and set aside. You’ll pour this over the final dish.

Air frying is a great way to cook vegetables and tofu without hardly any fat. You can spray some oil on the ingredients before cooking them just to keep them from drying out, or you can omit completely. In the above recipe, I’ve air fried the sweet potato and tofu. Rest of ingredients (mushrooms, edamame, spinach) I sauté in a pan.

If you don’t have an air fryer, baking the tofu is a good alternative. Set the oven to 355° F and place the marinated cubes of tofu on a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway.

Assemble by placing a layer of rice in a large bowl. Place vegetables on top of rice and top with pickled cucumbers; add sauce and garnish.

National Women’s History Month – Vegan Chefs

Celebrating these amazing women vegan chefs who are making history. We sought out women chefs that are not only plant-based vegan chefs, but also emphasis super healthy ingredients in their recipes.  

Bon Appetit!  

Britt Berline – Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Jocelyn Ramirez – Jackfruit carnitas tacos

Amanda Cohen – Cold Tomato Soup With Grilled Zucchini & Basil Tapenade

Jenne’ Claiborne – Marinated white bean salad

Tracye McQuirter – Banana Walnut Mini Muffins 

Rachel Ama – Chickpea & Butternut Squash Coconut Curry –

Do You Feel Your Heart Beating?

A Heart Pumping Amaranth Breakfast

February isn’t only for heart-to-heart Valentine lovers. It’s also NATIONAL HEART MONTH. Did you know that close to 700,000 people die from heart disease every year??  It’s the number one killer in the United States.  

To help protect your heart and keep it beating for years to come, try including foods like the following that help support this vital organ.

Cream of Amaranth 

If you’re tired of the same old oatmeal every day, try switching it up with heart healthy amaranth. When cooked, amaranth has the texture and taste similar to cream of wheat. Amaranth is a gluten-free ancient grain that is more of a seed than a grain, very similar to quinoa! 

How is Amaranth heart healthy? Amaranth is an excellent source of fiber (about 28% of our daily recommended amount in one serving), most notably soluble fiber.  Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in our intestines and carries it out of our body to lower the amount of cholesterol in our blood and protect our heart from damage. 

Other ingredients in this recipe that are heart protective:

  1. Bananas: Most people know that bananas are rich in potassium.  Potassium helps protect our heart by lowering our blood pressure so your heart doesn’t have to pump as hard. It does this by helping our body excrete sodium or salt, which often is a big contributing factor to raising blood pressure. 
  2. Berries: This recipe contains blueberries, blackberries and raspberries all with a special antioxidant called resveratrol. Resveratrol helps improve the health of the cells in our arteries, reducing the amount of plaque build-up and keeping our arteries strong and healthy. It also thins our blood to keep blood clots from forming that can lead to a heart attack. 
  3. Walnuts and chia seeds: Walnuts and chia seeds are rich in Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s help prevent heart disease by lowering triglycerides (fats in our blood), reducing blood pressure and raising HDL, our good cholesterol. They also help prevent blood clots from forming and prevent plague buildup in our arteries. 
  4. Cinnamon: As little as½ teaspoon a day has shown to reduce our not so good cholesterol (LDL’s) and lower triglycerides and blood pressure, to help protect our heart.  

Some added goodies: It’s rich in protein, iron and calcium!

Very Berry Amaranth Breakfast

Servings: 4


  • 1 ½ cups of raw amaranth
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup of walnuts
  • ½ of a medium sizebanana
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup raspberries
  • ¼ cup blackberries
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup soy or oat milk


  1. Place amaranth, water and sea salt in a medium size pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 35-40 minutes.  Amaranth should be nice and creamy! Tip: I will usually cook this the night before to save time and to help it set. 
  2. Once amaranth is ready, measure out ¾ cups of the cooked amaranth into a medium size cereal bowl. 
  3. Top with walnuts, berries, bananas and chia seeds and then add cinnamon, maple syrup and vanilla. 
  4. Cover the mixture fully with soy or oat milk.
  5. Enjoy!


Happy Valentine’s Day!!

A Sweetheart of a Dessert  

Chocolate and strawberries are a perfect pair on Valentine’s Day because they are both are considered “love” foods. Back in Roman times, strawberries were considered the symbol of Venus, the goddess of love because of their bright red color and sweet, voluptuous taste. Chocolate on the other hand, stimulates the pleasure center of our brains, giving us the same feeling as being in love, so a perfect combination. Ooh la la!

Chocolate Strawberry Cheese-Less Cakes

This recipe is made with raw cashews to give it that creamy, cheesy-like taste.  Even though this is a sweet treat to be consumed occasionally, it is still relatively low in sugar and contains a small amount of Vitamin C and Iron. 


Servings: 15 one-piece servings


  • ¾ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons organic virgin coconut oil
  • 3-4 large strawberries, diced  
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon non-alcoholic vanilla extract
  • ½ cup low sugar dark chocolate chips
  • Optional: Freeze dried “Just Strawberries”


  1. Place the cashews in a small bowl.  Cover with water and a lid. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (or even overnight).  Remove from fridge and strain cashews.
  2. Add the cashews, coconut oil, strawberries, maple syrup and vanilla to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste to make sure that it has the strawberry flavor you enjoy.
  3. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Pour the blender mixture into the loaf pan on top of the parchment paper and cover. Place in the freezer until mixture starts to solidify (about an hour). 
  4. Remove from the freezer and cut into bite size squares.  Or using a cookie cutter, cut out heart shapes out of the strawberry mixture. Place these shapes back into the loaf pan and return to the freezer for an hour or two if not overnight.
  5. When the strawberry cheese-less cake is frozen, place parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  6. Then melt the chocolate on low heat in a small pan. Dip the frozen shapes into the melted chocolate, trying to cover them completely.  Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet. If needed drizzle additional chocolate on top or on the sides so that is fully covered. 
  7. Top immediately with optional freeze-dried strawberries. 
  8. Place tray back in the freezer until chocolate hardens (about ½ hour).
  9. Let cheesecake thaw for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Most importantly, enjoy with your favorite Valentine!

P.S. I made my favorite chocolate covered strawberries with the leftover strawberries and chocolate. Yum!

Recipe adapted from Love Me, Feed Me- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake Bites. 

“Pseudo” Salmon for Valentine’s Day

Salmon is one of those elegant looking dishes often served on Valentine’s Day.  It is an impressive, romantic dinner recipe and a natural aphrodisiac. Ooh la, la! But what if you want the sophisticated look but still want to “save the fishy’s?” 


This recipe is made with fish-free tofu and includes the seaweed Nori to give it that fishy taste.  It is low in calories and saturated fat, high in fiber and protein too. It is an excellent source of calcium and iron!

I served it with a side of Lemon, garlic hearts of palm noodles and some fresh, crisp sauteed asparagus. I also topped it with leftover marinade sauce. Yum!


Servings: 5


  • 1–15-ounce block of extra-firm tofu  
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 2 sheets of Nori edible seaweed – torn into pieces.
  • 1 slice of raw red beet, skin removed and chopped (approximately 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free vegan seafood seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • An additional sheet of nori to assemble the salmon.


  1. Prepare the tofu by pressing it for at least 30 minutes. You can also use a tofu press if that is more convenient.  
  2. Once tofu is pressed, place it on a cutting board and cut it lengthwise into 5 salmon-sized pieces.
  3. Then with a small sharp knife, cut 1/8th inch diagonal cuts into the top of the tofu to make it look like flaky fish-like texture. Set tofu aside.
  4. For the marinade, add the broth, nori, beet, vinegar, miso, seafood seasoning and garlic powder to a blender and blend well. 
  5. Place the tofu into a medium size bowl.  Cover and mix thoroughly with the marinade sauce.  Be careful as tofu is fragile. Place it in the refrigerator overnight to really let the flavors meld and allow the color to saturate the tofu.
  6. Once the vegan salmon is marinated and you are ready to cook the recipe, preheat your oven to 400°. 
  7. Prepare a baking sheet. Cover with parchment paper and rub it with a splash of oil to keep the nori skin from sticking.
  8. Cut out nori strips that are the same size as the tofu. Dip them in marinade (so they stick to the tofu) and then attach them to the bottom of the tofu.
  9. Place in the oven and cook for 10 minutes on each side. 
  10. Serve immediately with your favorite Valentine Day sides. 

You can also use an air-fryer if you want a crispier texture.

Heart Healthy Tip: This recipe provides less than 1/4th of your daily recommended amount for sodium, which isn’t too bad.  However, if you want to make it more heart beat friendly for your Valentine, replace the white miso paste with a less sodium version and use no to low sodium broth.  

Quick, Simple Sweet and Savory Stir Fry

Quick, Simple Sweet and Savory Stir Fry

This recipe is SO simple to make and the sauce tastes fresh and delicious!!

Stir fry’s are a great after work dinner option, because you can literally take a bunch of vegetables from your refrigerator, cut them up and throw them in a pan to cook. Simple and easy!

I used a TON of vegetables because I like the variety, but you can certainly scale back on the different types that you use. 

This recipe is an excellent source of protein, Vitamin A, calcium and iron.  It has over 230% of your daily recommended amount for Vitamin C!

I used coconut aminos, which contain half the amount of sodium compared to soy sauce. It’s still relatively high in sodium, so if that is an issue for you, you may want to try adding about ¼ cup of water to the mix and spreading the sauce out over 4 meals. 

I don’t add thickeners to my sauces because I don’t like them, but you are welcome to add 1 ½ tablespoons arrowroot and ¼ cup of water to thicken it. 

Servings: 2


For Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon real lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon blackstrap molasses

To make: Place all ingredients in a blender and blend. 

Stir fry ingredients: As mentioned above, you can use any variety of vegetables you prefer.  And there is no need to measure.  You can just cut/chop and add as much as you think you’ll want to eat. 

  • Splash of sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, cleaned and sliced
  • 8-10 snap peas, ends cut off
  • 2 leaves bok choy, chopped
  • ½ head broccoli, cut into florets
  • ½ medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¼ medium zucchini, sliced
  • ¼ medium yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 slices fresh jalapeno
  • 1 1/5 cups tofu, cut into chunks
  • Sprinkle of repertoire spices including granulated garlic, granulated onion, sea salt and pepper
  • 1 cup farro (nutty rice)


  1. Add sesame oil to a large pan and heat over medium heat.
  2. Add all the vegetables, spices and tofu and cook for approximately 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir frequently.
  3. When vegetables are cooked al dente, add sauce and cook for another 5 minutes or until sauce is warm. Continue to stir while sauce is cooking. 
  4. Divide recipe in ½ and serve over a bed of warm farro rice in two bowls. Enjoy!