Nana-politan Ice Cream Parfaits | plantcrush x Beets by Brooke

Who else gets excited when they can sneak veggies into their desserts? I like to make healthy choices most of the time, but I’m also not opposed to treats, like this nana-politan ice cream parfait I whipped up with my friend Brooklynne (@beetsbybrooke)!process-3.jpgWe got together to create a Galentine’s Day menu featuring beets! We made a divine heart beet pizza and salad for the main meal, and for dessert, we decided to go crazy and put beets in our banana ice cream too! Beets have a lovely sweetness that is truly marvelous. #beetcrush Continue reading

Heart Beet Pepperoni Pizza | Plantcrush x Beets by Brooke


IMG_0487This recipe is for that girl you can’t live without. Final Process PicYour best friend, your sister, your mom, whomever it may be–show them you love them by making this delectable heart beet pizza, complete with a side salad! Ok, you can also make this for your male/other friends too, but the point is, this pizza came about because of the spirit of Galentine’s Day!
Beets.jpgMy friend Brooklynne recently rebranded herself on social media as Beets by Brooke. Adorable, right? We met through mutual friends in the vegan community in Dallas, and have become quite close in the past half year or so! Brooke and I are both passionate about health and good food, and we both love beets, so we decided to do our first ever #beetcrush collab! Read on to find our cute recipe for Galentine’s Day, or Valentine’s Day, take your pick, it’s the season of love all around. Pizza Process2.jpgWe’ve put together the perfect simple 3 course meal for you and your best gal or valentine this year. Inspired by an epic meal at Lil Nonna’s in Austin, TX, we decided to try our hand at making beet pepperoni. Get ready for some gorgeous pizza, salad, AND dessert, all made with the beauty of beets. 3Give yourself at least 2 hours to make all the various components you need for this pizza, and prepare the beet pepperoni the night before so it can marinate. To save time, I also recommend preparing the caramelized onions and the garlic cashew cheese sauce (recipe below) the night before. You can also prep the dessert ingredients the night before!Pizza Process.jpgThis pizza is so good, it’s hard to make just enough for dinner. So the measurements below are enough for two pizzas! That way, you’ll have enough for dinner and for the morning after…what? Cold pizza is the best kind of breakfast. 🙂 2.jpg

Beet “Pepperoni”
makes enough for two thin crust pizzas
+ more for a side salad

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Wait Time: Overnight


  • 3 to 4 small red beets, washed and peeled (no need to peel if you plan to steam, see step 1 below)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons ume plum vinegar (or more red wine vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon liquid aminos
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup filtered water


  1. First, decide if you want to pre-steam the beets beforehand. Steaming the beets adds about 15 minutes, but it does make taking the skin off easier, and results in a more tender beet slices. Not steaming the beets results in a more chewy texture. I’ve done this recipe with both steamed and un-steamed beets, with good results–it’s up to your preference, tender vs. chewy.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients and set aside.
  3. Using a mandolin, thinly slice the beets. I used the second to thinnest setting, to get flexible slices that still have a bite to them.
  4. Place the beet slices in a shallow container, and pour the marinade over them, tossing well to coat. Let marinate for 30 minutes, or overnight.
  5. After marinating, cut the beets into heart shapes, using a mini heart cookie cutter–I used this one. The leftover pieces can be thrown in a salad.
  6. The marinated beets can now be used for pizza and/or salads!
    Save the marinade to use as a salad dressing for later.

Cashew Garlic Cheese Sauce
makes about 1.5 cups

Prep Time: 20 minutes


In a high-speed blender, blend the following until smooth:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked the night before (or boiled for 15 minutes)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic (about 2 tablespoons minced garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened nondairy milk (we used cashew)
  • sea salt, to taste

Whole Grain Herb Crust
makes enough for 2 thin crust pizzas

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Wait Time:
20 minutes


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)


  1. Mix the warm water and rapid rise yeast together in a bowl and set aside for a few minutes.
  2. Whisk together all the other dry ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the water and yeast mixture into it. Mix well with your hands.
  4. Add more flour/water as needed. Knead for a few minutes, until the dough is smooth and easy to work with. Set the dough aside in a greased bowl, wrapped tightly in plastic. Let it rise in a warm place for 20 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Heart Beet Pepperoni Pizza
makes 2 medium thin crust pizzas

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Wait Time:
20 minutes


  • whole grain crust (see above)
  • pizza sauce, any kind
  • garlic cashew cheese sauce (see above)
  • a few handfuls of baby spinach, cut into ribbons
  • caramelized onions (we used this method)
  • beet pepperoni (see above)
  • walnut parmesan, for serving (see below)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.
  2. Divide the pizza dough in half and roll out to form two pizzas. I love making oval-shaped pizzas, but you can also roll the dough into traditional circles if you like.
  3. Place the pizza dough on two baking trays, lightly greased with olive or coconut oil.
  4. Roll and pinch the edges around the pizza dough to form a crust.
  5. Assemble the pizza toppings to your liking.
  6. Bake the pizzas for 20 minutes at 375 F, or until the crusts are golden.
  7. Let the pizzas cool for 5 to 10 minutes before eating, if you can manage it!

Serve with a side of salad! Our salad consisted of roughly 2 cups of baby spinach + 2 cups of lacinato kale (stems removed), massaged with the leftover beet pepperoni marinade (massaging the kale is key, do not skip this)!Salad Dressing.jpgThe marinade made a great vinaigrette for our salad, and we added the leftover marinated beets to the salad as well. We also sprinkled some vegan walnut parmesan on top of the pizzas and the salads. I have a recipe for walnut parmesan below!Parm

Walnut Parmesan
makes about 1 cup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

In a food processor, pulse together the following:

  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder or Mrs. Dash’s garlic herb seasoning

Add more salt or nutritional yeast to taste!
This keeps in a sealed container for up to a month, longer if kept in the fridge.

I hope you enjoy this pizza recipe! For dessert, check out the nana-politan ice cream that we whipped up! Recipe here.Hero shot

Q&A With a Pig | BB Addresses Her Fans

For those of you who celebrate, I hope your Lunar New Year week has had a beautiful start! I’ve been spending a lot of time with family, eating great food and treats, and re-visiting childhood memories. In honor of the year of the pig, I asked you guys on Instagram to send in your questions about BB, the adorable pig I fostered a couple years ago. She has graciously taken the time to answer your queries below–enjoy!

How did Ann end up fostering you?

I was found wandering the streets in Fort Worth, and was taken to the Fort Worth Animal Care and Control Center. I had a couple scars…we’re not sure what happened to me, but thank goodness the animal shelter took care of me. They posted a picture of me on Facebook, and Ann found it through a local vegan group. Those people were so nice, helping me when they didn’t even know me! Ann shared the post with her former boss, V, who has had a pet pig before. V wanted to adopt me, but she was in the middle of moving, so Ann offered to foster me! She became my foster mom. 🙂 We lived together for about 3 months! Continue reading

UT Arlington gets Down to Earth | Finally, a vegan place on campus + a giveaway!

“The best feeling is when my customers tell me they feel the love I put into my cooking. The mission of Down to Earth is to bring you good food that’s good for you!”

— Alma Rangel, founder of Down to Earth

My university, UT Arlington, hasn’t always been the best place for vegans, vegetarians, or earth and health conscious folks. Having been a student there for almost a decade (yes, I’m in grad school now), I’ve seen it all–the struggle of choosing a bruised banana or a greasy hashbrown for morning fuel was real. I remember at orientation, I made my first friend over a sad/hilarious vegan bonding experience over the slim pickings at the salad bar. We rallied with other forward thinkers (veg and non-veg!), advocating for more plant-based options on campus in various ways, earning unanimous support from Student Congress.


Photo courtesy of Richard Hoang (The Shorthorn).

Options got better overall, but they weren’t particularly amazing or consistent. La Blue Casa had a great run at College Park, until it went down in an unfortunate turn. If you wanted vegan tacos, your best bet would be to make your own (which we did). Now, with the arrival of Down to Earth at College Park, students can get a variety of vegan tacos and other authentic, plant-based Mexican fare on demand. Read to the end to find out how you can win a free meal at Down to Earth!

Tacos and Lime.jpg

Down to Earth offers a variety of taco fillings, including nopalitos (cactus), calabacitas (Mexican squash), spicy sweet potato and black beans, and aguacate a la Mexicana (avocado fans rejoice)!

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Chinese 5 Spice BBQ Jackfruit Bánh Mì Bites

Happy 2019, friends! I’m just popping on the blog to share a quick recipe with you today, as I’ve gotten many messages about these jackfruit bánh mì bites on Instagram. I made them for a vegan NYE potluck my friends Christina and Courtney hosted, and they were a hit! The five spice is the lingering aroma that makes this dish epically memorable. I’ve used this warming spice in literally everything, from my go-to peanut sauce, to gingerbread cookies to faux beef stir fries, jackfruit bao bites, and even protein bars! It’s been my recent obsession and also is an homage to a lot of the food I had growing up in a Vietnamese household. This spice holds the ultimate expression of nostalgia for me.Chinese 5 Spice BBQ Jackfruit Bánh Mì Bites |

As I get older, I have really loved leaning into my Vietnamese roots more, after many younger years where I pushed my culture away in order to assimilate/avoid being bullied for being “different.” Now, it always feels so damn good to embrace my family’s heritage and blend it with my own personal experiences/influences. This dish is kind of a fusion dish–5 Spice BBQ jackfruit on bánh mì bites! I’ve made 5 Spice BBQ fusion jackfruit bao bites before, and this recipe is basically the same thing but with bánh mì fixings. Continue reading

2 Ingredient Chocolate Mousse With Citrus + Lychee

Lychee is one of my favorite southeast Asian fruits, second only to mangosteen. Its pink-white flesh is glossy, delicate and aromatic…the vibrant taste is absolutely unique. Think of a grape, but juicier, with smooth floral, rosy notes and pear undertones. Even comparing it to a grape is slightly insulting, because its freshness and flavor is on an entirely different level.

lychee fruit (1 of 2)

Clearly, lychee is my valentine this year.  Lychee is also considered a lucky fruit in Chinese culture, symbolizing family abundance and harmony, so this dessert would be a fun fusion dish for Lunar New Year gatherings this weekend. Red and golden hues make a lucky color palette. Continue reading

Beet + Ginger Vitality Soup for Chinese New Year // A Cup of Joan Collab

The Lunar New Year (commonly known as the Chinese New Year) is tomorrow! I’m so excited to finally share this collaboration that my friend Joan La (A Cup of Joan) and I have been working on. Joan is an ethical, vegan fashion blogger. Her content exists in a genre somewhere between storytelling, activism, and art. Ultimate goals–I love this babe so much!

I love the way Joan expresses herself and stands up for what she believes in. I’m Vietnamese (with some Chinese, but culturally I’m Viet) and Joan is Korean. We have passionately discussed the need for a bigger presence of Asian American and persons of color in the vegan movement. We’ve both noted that vegan versions of traditional Asian dishes are not as widely known, and it’s especially irksome when our cultural food is either looked down on or appropriated by “trendsetters” with no cultural context (vegan fish sauce as a start up venture, for example…). I could go into it more but this post is going to be long as it is, so I must save that for another time–let’s get to the good stuff! For our CNY collaboration, we decided to each post a recipe and share interviews with our moms, to celebrate our different cultures and share the similarities. Yesss, Asian female empowerment and solidarity! I urge you to check out Joan’s post here, and follow her beautiful inspiring Instagram here–you won’t regret it. Continue reading

Lemon Lavender Candied Ginger (Mứt Gừng) for Chinese New Year (Tết) |

Lemon Lavender Candied Ginger for Chinese New Year (Mứt Gừng)

Like any new year celebration, Chinese New Year is about new beginnings. Sweet treats are popular cross-culturally, as they symbolize a sweet, joyful start to the upcoming year. I think we can all agree that we definitely need more joy this year. This year, I was honored to be invited by the lovely Christine (Vermilion Roots) to participate in a Chinese New Year sweets party with several other Asian bloggers. It’s kind of like a virtual potluck—I urge you to check out the participating blogs below, to get a taste of the lunar new year from various parts of Asia! Continue reading

Fusion Jackfruit Bao Bites

Hi lovelies! It’s been way too long–I literally haven’t blogged since last year! I owe you a lot of recipes. But I will make it up to you guys, starting with these adorable little bao bites…yes, I knooow, they look incredible and more importantly, they taste just as delicious as they look–you’re welcome. 😉



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Ginger Mung Bean Soup

In the dead of winter, there are few things more comforting than a piping hot bowl of soup to warm you up from the inside out. I put ginger in almost everything I eat, especially in the cold seasons, and this soup is no exception. I was looking for a way to use up the surplus of split mung beans I had in my pantry (thanks mom), and this nourishing, spicy ginger mung bean soup came to be.

Ginger Mung Bean Soup |

Note: you will need split mung beans for this recipe, as shown above (not whole ones).

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