Baked Zucchini Chips – Gluten-Free & Vegan

When I am out with friends at an Italian restaurant, I really miss having that tasty fried zucchini stick appetizer, so I  decided to make my own healthy gluten and dairy free version. The thinner you slice the zucchini rounds, the crisper they will be. These babies are baked, not fried, so eat as many as you would like. Try them with some warm marinara sauce and vegan parmesan cheese. MANGIA!

Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes

Servings: 4


2 large ZUCCHINI, sliced very thin
1/4 cup CASHEW MILK (or any alternative nut milk)
1/2 cup gluten-free FLOUR (almond works nice)
1/2 teaspoon GARLIC POWDER
1/4 teaspoon HIMILAYAN SALT
Ground CAYENNE PEPPER to taste (1/4 teaspoon)
Spray can of OLIVE OIL


  • PREHEAT oven to 425 degrees F
    • PLACE paper towels on a plate or flat baking pan
    • SLICE zucchini as thin as possible (1/4″ or less). You can leave the skin on.
    • LAY zucchini slices on the paper towels and SPRINKLE with salt
    • Let the slices sit for about 10 minutes to draw out excess liquid
    • PRESS rounds with a paper towel to BLOT up any excess liquid
    • PUT dried zucchini rounds in a bowl (call this Assembly Step #1)
  • While the zucchini is doing its thing to get out the excess water, in a gallon size plastic bag, PREPARE seasoning mix of flour, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper to taste. (You can use a bowl but I find the ‘shake’ method covers nicely.) Set to the side. (Assembly Step #2)
  • POUR milk in a medium bowl (Assembly Step #3)
  • PREPARE a baking pan (I reuse the one I dried the zucchini on) with parchment paper (Assembly Step #4)
    • MAKE AN ASSEMBLY LINE of all the ingredients starting with Step #1 the bowl of zucchini, Step #2 the bowl of milk, Step #3 the bag of seasoning, and finally Step #4 the baking pan
    • With a sharp fork (or a clean hand), DIP the dried zucchini in the milk
    • Then TOSS the milked zucchini into the seasoning bag and flip around until the slice is coated on both sides
    • With a sharp fork (or a clean dry hand) remove the zucchini slice from the seasoning bag and LAY it on the parchment paper in the baking pan
    • Repeat steps 1 through 4 until all the slices are coated.
    • LIGHTLY SPRAY each slice with olive oil, ensuring not to remove seasoning
  • BAKE for 15 minutes
  • TURN over each slice and LIGHTLY SPRAY again if needed
  • BAKE another 15 minutes until everything is golden brown. NOTE: cooking time will vary depending on how thin you sliced your zucchini rounds, so keep an eye on them so that they don’t get burnt. 
  • COOL the rounds on the parchment paper for a few minutes before removing
  • SERVE hot with your favorite tomato sauce and optionally sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese
  • Note: Try to eat them all while hot because they got soggy when they cool

Vegan 1 Pot Red Lentil Chili

The fantastic thing about this perfect protein-rich 1 pot winter dish is that even the die-hard meat-eaters in the family think it is the best chili they ever tasted (I never thought I would hear that!). This recipe couldn’t be simpler or more hearty and delicious.  There is no need to soak or precook the red lentils. Like with any good chili, I think it’s more flavorful the second day, so make a lot and refrigerate it.

Cooking Time: 40-50 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8


2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin OLIVE OIL (or Coconut)
1 medium yellow ONION, finely chopped
1 RED PEPPER, finely chopped
1 CELERY STALK, finely chopped (optional)
SALT and PEPPER, to taste
2 tablespoons GARLIC (4 cloves minced)
1 25-ounce can salt-free DICED TOMATOES (add your own salt to taste)
2 cups of WATER (more if needed)
1 1/2 tablespoons CHILI POWDER (more if you like it spicy)
1/4 teaspoon crushed RED PEPPER FLAKE (more if you like it spicy)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground CUMIN
1 teaspoon SMOKED PAPRIKA (this tastes different than regular)
3/4 cup dry RED LENTILS, rinsed, cleaned, and drained
1 15-ounce can BLACK BEANS, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can KIDNEY BEANS, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can CORN, drained
2 tablespoons MAPLE SYRUP (optional but brings our the favors nicely)
Serving Suggestions:
Top with Vegan CHEDDAR or MEXICAN MIX CHEESE, Shredded
Top with SCALLIONS, chopped
Serve with Gluten-Free Corn TORTILLA CHIPS


  • HEAT a large pot over medium heat. ADD oil.
  • SAUTE onion, red pepper, and celery for about 3 minutes stirring often. 
  • ADD garlic and STIR. ADD salt and pepper to taste. SAUTE another minute.
  • STIR IN diced tomatoes (with liquid), refried beans, and water. 
  • ADD spices: chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, smoked paprika. STIR completely to combine.
  • Bring to a BOIL over medium heat.
  • When boiling, ADD lentils, COVER, and lower to a SIMMER for about 15 minutes. ADD more water if the mixture is looking too think or dry. You want the lentils to cook completely and to get tender. STIR occasionally so that the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. 
  • ADD black beans, kidney beans, corn and more spices for your taste and maple syrup. STIR to combine.
  • SIMMER (not boiling) over medium heat so that you see little bubbles and then reduce to low for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.   
  • COOL slightly and then SPRINKLE Vegan cheese on top before serving.
  • SCOOP with your favorite tortilla chips. 

NOTE: This chili can last at least a week in your refigerator and freezes easily for several months. Just thaw and reheat on the stove. 

Almond Paste Macaroons

I love almond anything and these traditional Italian Christmas cookies are quick and easy to make for any holiday gathering with pre-made or store-bought almond paste. At only 30 to 40 calories per cookie, who can resist eating a few? They are gluten and dairy free, and if you make them with egg replacer they can even be Vegan. Be careful not to overcook them or they turn into little rocks. 

Cook Time: 20 – 30 minutes

Servings: 18


1 extra large EGG WHITE (Vegans can use EGG REPLACER)
1 8-ounce can ALMOND PASTE (or make 14-ounces of your own as follows)
(Vegans can use EGG REPLACER, with 3 teaspoons of CORN SYRUP)
2 teaspoons ALMOND EXTRACT
1/4 teaspoon SALT
1/2 cup granulated SUGAR
18 Sliced ALMONDS, optional


  • If you are making your own almond paste then do it at least the night before you make the cookies because it needs to be refrigerated to firm up.
  • To make almond paste: 
    • In a food processor, GRIND the blanched almonds (or use almond meal/flour already ground)
    • COMBINE the ground almonds and sugar and PULSE until well mixed
    • ADD almond extract and pulse again until combined
    • ADD egg whites (or egg replacer and corn syrup) and mix until it forms into a dough. If the mixture is too wet, add more sugar or almond flour
    • TURN OUT onto a clean work surface, KNEAD a few times, and ROLL the dough into a log
    • SPLIT the log into 2 servings (about 7-ounces each). Then WRAP each log in plastic and place in the refrigerator overnight. The dough will keep for at least a month in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer. 
  • PREHEAT oven to 325 degrees F
  • LINE a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  • COMBINE almond paste (after you break it into pieces for easier blending) and sugar in food processor. 
  • ADD egg white (or Vegan egg replacer) and mix in the food processor until the dough is sticky (2 or 3 minutes). (Note: If you chose to go the Vegan route, the cookies are not as chewy which is why you might want to add corn syrup, but it just isn’t the same as egg whites and it is hard to get the dough tacky enough.)
  • DROP rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet about 1 inch apart.
  • TOP cookies with either 1/2 a cherry or a sliced almond. You may have to press the cherry or almond into the cookie a little bit to make it stick.
  • BAKE 15 – 20 minutes on the middle shelf and then move them to the upper rack for 5-7 minutes.  The cookies should be golden brown in color.
  • MOVE cookies and parchment paper to a cooling rack and let them completely cool before placing in airtight containers.      

Inspired by the “Almond Macroons” recipe on the side of the Solofoods Almond paste box.