Happy Herbivore Blog

40+ Plant-Based (Vegan) Cinco de Mayo Recipes!

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Holiday

Cinco de Mayo is just a couple days away!

Here are some recipe ideas from the blog and HH cookbooks to have a plant-proud fiesta all day long!

P.S. There's also an awesome Cinco de Mayo-themed meal plan this week! Get the deets here!

Breakfast Tacos


Breakfast Tacos (Happy Herbivore Light & Lean, p. 25)

Mexican Scramble (Everyday Happy Herbivore, p. 27) wrapped in tortillas

Migas (Happy Herbivore Abroad, p. 54)

Mexican Frittata (EHH, p. 39)

Tofu Chilaquiles

Nacho Bowl

Soups & Salads

Aztec Corn Salad

Mexican Chowder (EHH, p. 112)

Nacho Bowl (HHLL, p. 93)

Black Bean & Salsa Soup

Taco Soup (HHA, p. 23)

Quick Chili Mole (HHA, p. 27)

Tropical Taco Salad (HHLL, p. 130)

Mexican Cabbage (The Happy Herbivore Cookbook, p. 130)

Baked Chimichangas


2-Layer Tacos (HHC, p. 100)

Lentil Taco "Meat" (HHA, p. 43)

Quinoa Taco "Meat" (HHLL, p. 67)

Chickpea Tacos

Fiesta Bake (EHH, p. 158)

Bella Tacos (HHC, p. 91)

Burrito Bowl (HHLL, p. 89)

Smokey Black Bean Enchiladas (HHC, p. 105)

Baked Chimichangas (HHC, p. 101)

Taquitos (HHA, p. 53)

Stuffed Poblanos (HHA, p. 96)

Scott's Burrito (HHLL, p. 101)

TVP Tacos (HHC, p. 98)

Vegetable Enchiladas (HHA, p. 103)


Skillet Frijoles Negros (EHH, p. 176)

Drunken Beans (HHA, p. 49)

Mexican Chorizo (HHC, p. 147)

Loaded Mexican Potato (HHLL, p. 195)

Sweet Pea Guacamole

Chips & Dips

Baked Oil-Free Chips

Pineapple & Black Bean Salsa (HHA, p. 194)

Taco Sauce (EHH, p. 293)

Low-Fat Guacamole or Sweet Pea Guacamole (HHLL, p. 209)

Quick Queso (HHA, p. 198)

Loaded Nachos (HHC, p. 245)

AJ's Pico de Gallo (HHA, p. 202)

Mexican Dip (HHC, p. 230)


Aqua Fresca (HHA, p. 218)


Black Bean Brownies - try adding 1/2 to 3/4 tsp chipotle powder for a little spiciness!

A Vegan Taste of Disneyland (Plus the Vegan Truth About Dole Whip)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Travel

On Wednesday, Team HH and I visited the Happiest Place on Earth (a.k.a. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure).

One of my assistants is California-born, and loves Disneyland, so when I casually dropped into conversation I'd never been, she said "Umm... I think HH HQ needs a field trip." Actually, she just looked at me like I was a space alien, and with a slight hint of pity, which I translated to meaning we needed to take a field trip to Disneyland ;)

(I lived in Florida for most of my tender years and had many trips to Disney World... I had just never been to Disneyland).

When I suggested the corporate retreat to Mickey's house, another assistant pointed out that we get a ton of emails asking about vegan options on vacation, and especially at places LIKE Disneyland. In fact, last year I fielded 25 emails about Disney alone. (I answer a majority of the vacation and travel questions in my new book, The Happy Herbivore Guide to Plant-Based Living out May 13th!)


Clearly we needed to take one for the team, go to Disney, eat too much, and ride too many rides to do some research for you ;)

As a disclaimer, we weren't able to stop by every single restaurant (there are too many) and sample every veggie-friendly option (that would be incredibly expensive), but we did check several menus at both parks (to give you a good idea on what's available) and where possible, we tried to take pictures so you could also see the prices.

BTW, the entire team felt the prices were reasonable for a theme park. Maybe we aren't the best judges since we live in LA, but I bought this fruit platter (below, by skewers) for $3.69, and I've paid more for less food in grocery stores as well as airports.

Overall, we were pleasantly surprised to see how many healthy options were available throughout the park (especially for an amusement park -- I went to 6 Flags a few years ago for a birthday party and couldn't find a single banana, let alone a salad or vegetable dish).

Fresh fruit carts and bottled water (as well as water fountains) were everywhere.

If you want to stay plant-perfect (100% whole foods, no oil) it is possible. I stayed plant-perfect all day (except for the Dole Whip, I can't help myself there). I had a lot of fresh fruit, plus brown rice, and tofu, both pictured below. You can also find steamed vegetables like broccoli, and fresh salads, at most restaurants.

Restaurants: Most restaurants had vegetable options or vegetarian options that could easily be made vegan if you omitted the cheese. A good number of restaurants also had vegan items on the menu (and were clearly labeled "vegan").

The Staff: Knowledgeable and helpful. Everyone we talked to knew what vegan was and were able to tell us what we could and could not eat. At one point we must've looked lost, because two women pushing a popcorn stand asked if we needed help. Scott said, "I'm hungry. We're trying to find vegan food that's not fruit" and the women immediately listed off three near-by restaurant options.

We also "tested the waters" asking people in candy shops, and other stores, and were blown away how every person we asked was so knowledgeable about our dietary choices and limitations.

If they aren't sure (or you would like them to double check), they will ask the chef (and I've heard on numerous occasions the chef will come out and personally talk with you about your dietary restrictions).

For more information on Disneyland and Disney California Adventure restaurants, you can always browse the dining guide on their website. Disney also has a great printable PDF of vegan items available at different locations.


Bengal Barbecue (Adventureland)

Our first investigatory stop of the day was the Bengal Barbecue (located right across from Indiana Jones and the Jungle Cruise). I was doubtful a BBQ place would have anything to offer, but I love a good challenge.

Boom! The third item on the menu was the "Outback Vegetable Skewer" ($3.79)
My team loved the skewers and said they were seasoned perfectly and the right tenderness. I ordered a "fruit cup" and was shocked to see it was more than a "cup"!

Tiki Juice Bar (Adventureland)

On such a hot day (it was 97!), Dole Whip was a welcome treat (and probably the highlight of the trip). The Tiki Juice Bar offers Dole Whip (soft serve), Dole Whip Float (pineapple juice + soft serve), Dole Pineapple Juice and pineapple spears. I went for the traditional Dole Whip and it was pure pineapple heaven!

Before digging in, I posted a picture of my beautiful Dole Whip on Facebook, and I had no idea how much controversy there would be! More than 200 comments!

One of my assistants has a serious dairy allergy, and I'm allergic as well, so we did a TON of research on Dole Whip (before, during (literally standing in line) and after my visit) and here's the deal: Dole Whip is vegan. In 2013 they reformulated the recipe and removed sodium caseinate from the recipe.

In case there are any lingering questions, Precision Foods, the maker of Dole Whip, includes this statement on their website (along with the list of ingredients):

Vegan Statement: The ingredients used in this product do not contain dairy, therefore, the product is considered dairy free. The Rabbinical guidelines classify this product to be kosher-dairy. Allergen control and sanitation procedures are in place and are strictly followed. In addition, this product does not contain any animal based ingredients.

The pineapple flavor is the only one offered at Disneyland, but Dole does make other flavors (like orange and strawberry). However, not all of them are vegan.

Carnation Cafe (Main Street USA)

After hearing that the Carnation Cafe offers a vegan burger via Facebook (thanks Jennifer!), we decided to head over to the sit-down restaurant located on Main Street to see what it was all about. Every single person on my team felt it was waaaay too salty (even my husband, who usually likes salty things) but that didn't stop anyone from finishing ;) We all agreed that its cool to see a true homemade veggie burger (see all the veggies peaking out?) and not a frozen Boca burger. We're hoping the chef just mis-measured the salt that day.

The burger comes on a multigrain bun with vegan chipotle mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickled onions and is served with fries or fruit for $11.99.


Lucky Fortune Cookery (Pacific Wharf)

This was a great find! Scott ordered the Rice Bowl with tofu (yes! there's tofu at Disneyland!) and teriyaki ($10.49). Noticing the kids meal came with brown rice, I asked if it was possible to get just a side of brown rice. They happily did that for me, but then the side was a mini side since it was a kids portion. I'd recommend ordering at least two. I ate my rice with mango slices.

Other options at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure

I didn't personally eat at any of these locations, but I wanted to make a comprehensive list to show you navigating Disneyland/Disney California Adventure is possible. You should inquire about specific ingredients since not all of them are listed on the menus and they can change without notice, but they should be able to accommodate you.

Blue Bayou Restaurant (New Orleans Square)

Portobello Mushroom & Couscous Macque Choux & Blue Bayou House Salad

Cafe Orleans (New Orleans Square)

La Salade de Maison (without goat cheese, candied pecans, and alternative dressing)

N'awlins Vegetable Ragout (without cheese or corn cakes)

French Market Restaurant (New Orleans Square)

N'awlins Salad (without candied pecans)

Royal St. Verdana (New Orleans Square)

Vegetarian Gumbo

River Belle Terrace (Frontierland)

Becky Thatcher Black Bean Cakes

Aunt Polly's Harvest Medley (without cheese)

Smucker's Uncrustable Sandwich

Rancho del Zocalo (Frontierland)/Cocina Cucamunga (Pacific Wharf)

Vegetable Soft Tacos

Burrito Sonora (with veggies, without cheese or Guajillo Sauce)

Tostada Salad (with veggies, without cheese)

Cozy Cone Motel (Cars Land)

Vegetarian Chili Cone Queso (order without the cheese)

LEGAL DISCLOSURE: In exchange for our review, we were given two free passes.

Have you been to Disneyland? I'd love to hear your experience!

Herbie of the Week: Jesse (She Shares Her Plant-Based Pregnancy Experience!)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Meet our Herbie of the Week: Jesse!

I first "met" Jesse when she posted this beautiful picture and message on the Happy Herbivore Facebook page:

"My husband and I are expecting our first baby very soon (due March 20), and I can't even go into all the ways you have been apart of our journey. But I wanted to share this picture with you. One of the ladies I work with crocheted the blanket you see on the crib. She made the pattern herself by using your Herbie logo. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness and how gorgeous it was!"

I was so touched by Jesse's kind words that I asked if she would share her plant-based pregnancy experience for the Herbie of the Week series.

Hopefully all you mamas-to-be will find her story (below) helpful!

I always wanted a family, but until I switched to a plant-based diet, I did not feel up to the challenge of raising a child. I had many bad habits when it came to eating, drinking, and exercise. My husband and I made the decision to go plant-based and the first cookbook we ordered was the Happy Herbivore Cookbook. I still remember the first recipe we made was the onion rings and it's still one of my favorites! Changing my diet sparked many other changes in my life, I started exercising and my husband and I completed our first marathon in 2012 (fueled by HH Fudgy Brownies)! I started taking responsibility and accountability for my actions. I finally felt in control, and understood I was responsible for my own happiness. I starting living by the motto: "be the change you want to see in the world". My husband and I were at last ready start a family, and I found out I was pregnant in July 2013.

The first trimester was full of excitement, learning, and just about every other emotion you can think of! I was worried I would get flack from my friends and family about our plant-based diet, but was pleasantly surprised by the amount of support I received. I got questions from some people like “are you going to stay vegan?”, or “you're going to drink milk, right?”. I knew their intentions were in a good place, and I had done lots of research about a plant-based diet to know I could get adequate nutrition even while pregnant. My midwife stressed the importance of getting enough protein, but other than that, had no concerns about my diet choice.

The first few months were a challenge because I did feel quite nauseous. I never got morning sickness, but I would feel very tired and nothing sounded appetizing. I found myself craving meat and other animal products. It was summertime; many people were grilling and the smells were unavoidable. Even though I never gave into them, I felt guilty about my cravings. I knew if I gave in, it would make me feel worse than I already did physically and emotionally. The few things I could eat, I ate a lot (peanut butter toast, vegetable soup, pancakes, baked potatoes). I had some strange food aversions – beans and guacamole – which I LOVED to eat before! I didn't always make the healthiest choice, but I knew it would be a matter of time when I would start to feel better and up to eating more healthy options.

The second trimester was a totally different story! The nausea was gone, and I could go back to eating what I loved! I also had more energy so I could prepare more heathy meals for my husband and I. Now I'm late in my third trimester and still feeling great! I can't eat quite as much in one sitting as I'd like, so I try to do smaller more frequent meals. I also have snacks that are higher in protein (trail mix, protein shake, bagel with peanut butter).

My visits to the midwife went really well. They performed many tests: iron levels, hemoglobin, glucose, blood pressure, urine. All my tests came back normal, which was a huge relief! I was a bit concerned about my iron levels just because I tend to worry and I can get caught up in myths and misinformation, but after my test results, I was reassured that there was nothing wrong with my diet choice.

I lost weight in the first trimester because I wasn't getting enough calories. I wasn't getting enough calories because I felt sick from not eating often enough – it was viscous cycle! After I felt better in my second trimester, I quickly put on the pounds! I gained (so far) a total of 37 pounds, and my midwife says that's right on track! I heard many women complain of swelling, constipation, indigestion, and heart burn. I never worried about constipation – I knew I was getting plenty of fiber. I did get indigestion and heart burn later in the pregnancy because the baby was getting so big and there's only so much room! I experienced some mild swelling recently in my third trimester, but nothing compared to some of the horror stories I'd heard. I could still put on my shoes and all my rings fit on their original fingers.

Happy Herbivore played a major role in my life before and during pregnancy. Even at my most tired and unmotivated, I could always find something in my HH cookbooks that looked yummy! One of my strangest meals was HH pancakes, tofu scramble, and onion rings. It was absolutely delicious! Once HHLL came out, I quickly found my new favorite recipe – Tempeh Bacon! I make a sandwich with the tempeh bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, and hummus – I call it my BLTAwesome. My baby shower featured many HH items: Choclolate Cake (HHLL) and Carrot Cake Cupcakes (HHC) (both made into mini-cupcakes), Spinach Artichoke dip (HHLL), and Vegan Devilled Eggs (HHLL). All of which were a hit amongst my omni family!

After the baby is born, we are planning to raise them plant-based. Luckily, there is so much information available online about this topic and I'm looking forward to embarking on a whole new journey after the baby arrives!

Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Jesse! And congrats on your little Herbie!

UPDATE April 2014

Flora Linden Halstead was born on March 21, 2014 at 8:21 am. She was a very healthy baby weighing 7 lbs 6 oz, 19 ¾ in long. Giving birth was the most amazing experience of my life! I was able to have a natural delivery (no pain medication or other drugs) thanks in large part to my doula and fabulous support system. My husband and I were pretty scared bringing her home from the hospital, but every day gets a little easier as we continue to learn more about her! Flora is now over a month old, and she is just perfect. She is growing so fast – it seems every day she changes just a little bit and gains more weight.

In preparation for my postpartum recovery, I had several freezer meals – some of which I prepared and some my family prepared for me. Tempeh Joes (HHC), Apple Crisp muffins, chocolate chip cookies, and Carrot Cake Cupcakes were a few of my favorites – and they all froze/thawed very well. After I used up all the meals in the freezer, I was (and still am!) very thankful to have all my Happy Herbivore cookbooks. I know I can open any of them and find a quick simple meal to make. And I usually have all the ingredients on hand! Some of my current go-to recipes are from HHLL: Chickpea Tenders and Taco Burgers.

I can't wait to see what Flora will be like as she continues to develop her personality! I look forward to introducing her to the wonderful world of plant-based living.