Happy Herbivore Blog

Fat-Free Vegan Aztec Corn Salad (Gluten-Free)

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

From the moment the temperatures heat up, my desire to cook and create recipes falls to the wayside. This appears to be especially true this summer since our tiny New York City apartment feels hot as hell, even with a window air conditioning unit.

My normal "it's too hot to cook" stand-by recipes like tofu scramble with garden vegetables, hawaiian bbq teriyaki chickpeas, salsa chickpea lettuce wraps and portobello steaks have also become undesirable since they involve using the stove and standing over an open flame when its 90 degrees isn't going to happen. So, we've been eating a lot of salads and HH's mock tuna.

But even with the summer heat I still want cooked food from time to time, so I've been making use of my appliances: baking in my toaster oven and using my rice cooker and steamer to do all my other "cooking."

This recipe is a great example of that. I borrowed the flavors and ingredients from my Aztec Corn Soup and turned it into a slightly chilled summer salad. It's really easy to make and quite delicious. I cooked my quinoa in my rice cooker (on the white rice setting) and steamed fresh corn in my steamer.  

Recipe:Aztec Corn Salad


A lightly chilled summer salad that makes the perfect side dish. Also try tossing leftovers into a whole wheat wrap for a really delicious sandwich. Fresh sliced avocado also goes perfect over top if your diet permits sparing natural fats.



Combine all ingredients except lime juice and chill or allow to cool until room temperature. Add lime juice before serving. 

Chef's note: You can substitute three ears of fresh corn for the frozen.

Interview: Coughing Colors

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Herbies

Her twitter handle is @coughing_colors. She has a rad tattoo on her chest that you just can't help but stare at. She's beautiful, witty, warm and one of the most captivating people I've ever met...

I've been social with Megan for a while now and shortly after I started my "inspirational interviews" column she offered to share her story in how veganism saved her life. She warned me, though, that unlike previous interviewees it wasn't about weight-loss or beating disease but about the journey of a soul... how going vegan helped her reclaim her mental health and find a way up from rock bottom.

To say her story shocked the hell out of me would be a dire understatement. Today, Megan is so full of life and energy.. to be around her is like basking in the sunshine. I simply can't imagine her any other way which make this interview exceptionally powerful.

When I started this column I wanted to feature interviews of people who changed their life with they changed their diet. I envisioned people the Natala, Candice and Carol who lost weight and beat disease, but also also those like Megan, who remind us not only that mental health is important too, but that when we feed ourselves, we also feed our souls.

HH: First, the million dollar question: How long have you been vegan? 

Two years this September, but I had been throwing the idea around for a long time before that. When I was 13 I went to a punk rock show where the band members talked about why they were straightedge and vegan. I thought it was cool how they were trying to change things with their dietary choices and for the next 10 years or so, I always toy ed with the idea in my mind.

HH: What stopped you from going vegan sooner?

I never thought that I would have the will power or courage to do it. I've failed at most everything I ever tried to do (i.e. dieting, biting my nails) so I thought, "what makes this any different?"

HH: So what changed?

In August 2008 my boyfriend, Michael, committed suicide. I have bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder so the the loss of someone I cared so deeply for sent me straight into severe manic depression. I spent most of my days crying with no hope. I cried so hard that I couldn't breathe and my insides actually started to throb in pain. I felt lost, empty, hopeless.

HH: When did things turn around?

A month later at the Syracuse VegFest. I went to help a friend run a booth for a local organic market. I thought getting out of the house would help get my mind off my loss.

HH: What was it about the VegFest that changed you?

The exhibits showing animals suffering really hit home for me. I knew the emotional pain I felt was nothing compared to what they were going through. I felt obligated to spare another living creature for experiencing the pain and emptiness that I felt. I went vegan right then and there... from cheeseburgers to lettuce!

HH: How did veganism help with your mental anguish and emotional pain?

Veganism gave me something else to focus on. It allowed me to look past the sorrow and despair. Plus, knowing I was making a difference in the lives of others made me feel great. It also help me stop eating "raw emotions."

HH: So veganism was very therapeutic for you?

Absolutely. Veganism truly saved my life. I was on the edge, wanting to join my boyfriend six feet under. Going vegan pulled me back. 

I knew in my heart that I needed a drastic life change. Going vegan was the perfect radical, life changing event I needed to revamp my life and move on from my loss. Going vegan gave me something to live for. Something to fight for.

HH: Aside from becoming the happy, healthy person you are today; Have you experienced any other benefits since going vegan?

Yes! Being a vegan showed me that I love cooking! Who knew! I also realized through veganism that there are a lot of really amazing food choices out there that do not involve death. That aspect really spoke to me. I have experienced enough death; I don't want anymore around me.

HH: Do you feel you are healed now thanks to veganism?

Things have changed and life has moved on, but I am a better person today than I was two years ago. I tribute my success, my happiness, my well being....everything, completely to veganism. 

HH: Where can we interact with you further?

I'm on twitter (@coughing_colors) and facebook... and you can visit my blog.

Thank you so much Megan for sharing your very honest -- and powerful story with us! It was very brave of you and I can safely say your journey has touched all our hearts.


Fat-Free Whole-Wheat Vegan Zucchini Muffins

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

My zucchini plants are quite bountiful. After one very large zucchini I harvested three more a week later... all of which were size of my forearm. Then two days later, I had another one ready for harvest! 

My thoughts immediately shifted to a zucchini bread I made some years ago (when Happy Herbivore was still in its infancy). The recipe and picture are a hot mess, let me tell you. Oh, how far I've come.

Still, the recipe has received enough positive reviews that I thought I'd rework it a bit: Take out the flax-egg because I prefer to use "everyday" ingredients now and revamp the flavors a bit to be a little more... edgy.

I also went for muffins since they bake in a fraction of the time as bread, and, well, the less time my oven has to be hot, the better. It was 102 degrees in Central Park yesterday!

The result? deliciousness. And at less than 100 calories per muffin, these little zucchini clouds of whole wheat love are the perfect summer harvest snack. They're just a little sweet and really filling. Bake up a batch and see!

I also recommend they're chocolate cousins: HH's chocolate-zucchini muffins!

Recipe:Zucchini Muffins


Use up your harvested zucchini to make a batch of these slightly sweet muffins with a hint of lemon. You can also make a lovely light zucchini bread with this recipe.  



Preheat oven to 350F. In a large mixing bowl whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt together. In another bowl combine sugar, applesauce, vanilla, lemon zest, zucchini and non-dairy milk. Stir until well combined. Add wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until just barely combined. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake 18-25 minutes. If making a bread bake 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. If toothpick pulls out cleanly the bread is done. (You can also add 1/4 cup chopped dried fruits such as cranberries or raisins, chopped raw walnuts or minced crystalized ginger to this recipe.)