Vegan with Allergies

A blog about a vegan with food allergies

August 7, 2016
by Ilene

Eating My Greens Soup

Lately I’ve been tracking what I eat using Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen app on my phone. (Check it out on iTunes or Google Play.) It appears I’m missing out on cruciferous vegetables and greens. So I came up with a strategy, make a bag of frozen vegetables (cruciferous, of course) and have them with lunch and dinner. So now I’ve tackled one problem but not the other. It’s not that I don’t like greens, well maybe that is it. Anyway I have to trick myself into eating the kale staring at me every time I open the fridge. So I thought why not throw all the leftover vegetables into my Instant Pot and see what happens?


It turned out I had a few items clamoring to be used. A bunch of semi-wilted kale, half an onion, zucchini, yellow squash and mushrooms. I added some garlic and tamari and about 1 cup of my favorite broth mix from My Plant-Based Family.

First I had to clean and chop everything. I sliced the onion and left them in pretty large pieces. The mushrooms were already sliced saving some time. I diced the zucchini and squash small so they would cook quickly. Also, after cleaning the kale I chopped it into a mix of ribbons and smaller pieces.

Then I began by setting the Instant Pot to sauté and adding the onions.


After they cooked for about 3 minutes it was time to add the mushrooms and garlic.


It took about 3 minutes of cooking and stirring for the mushrooms to cook.




Then it was time to add the zucchini and squash.20160721_130800





After stirring everything really well I added the kale, tamari and broth over the top. Closed and set the Instant Pot to 3 minutes. I did a quick release when it was finished.

Time to test the results! It’s delicious. Maybe next time I should add my cruciferous vegetables and get two checks with one recipe.



Eating My Greens Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Gluten-free, vegan, nut-free vegetable soup
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • ½ Medium Onion sliced
  • 1-2 Cloves Garlic
  • 8 oz. Mushrooms sliced
  • 2 Zucchini chopped small
  • 1 Yellow Squash chopped small
  • 1 Bunch of Kale chopped
  • 1 tsp Tamari
  • 1 cup Broth
  1. Slice onions and mushrooms.
  2. Chop remaining vegetables small.
  3. Turn Instant Pot (IP) on saute.
  4. Add onions and saute for about 3 minutes or until translucent.
  5. Add mushrooms and garlic. Saute about 2-3 minutes.
  6. Turn off Instant Pot.
  7. Add zucchini and squash, mix well.
  8. Add kale, tamari and broth on top and close lid.
  9. Set IP on manual for 3 minutes. Quick release.
  10. Enjoy!


February 28, 2016
by Ilene

Making Ratatouille with Lentils

I love eating eggplant. It’s gotten me in trouble before. But that’s a whole other story. Whenever I go to the grocery store I check to see if any of the eggplant look edible. Lately it’s been very sad. The eggplant looks like it was in a boxing ring and lost. Bruised and battered eggplant is not edible. Last week I was very surprised to see happy looking eggplant at the store. Of course I had to buy it. This meant I needed to come up with a recipe.


Earlier in the week I was making a recipe that required brown lentils. Unfortunately all I had were red lentils. So I used them instead. Now I had lots of leftover red lentils. (You might see where this is going…)

I’ll warn you now this recipe makes a lot. Lucky for me I was going to a vegan potluck so I took most of it with me. The bowl was empty by the time I got through the long line to get food. Glad I saved some for myself at home!

I found a great broth mix at My Plant Based Family.


Making Ratatouille with Lentils
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Ratatouille with Lentils
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 10 servings
  • 2 Eggplant, peeled and chopped in ½" cubes
  • 2 Zucchini , chopped in ½" cubes
  • 1 Medium Onion, chopped
  • 12 oz Mushrooms
  • 2-4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 cup cooked Lentils (red are best)
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp broth mix
  • Bay leaves
  • Salt, pepper, basil, oregano (or other spices) to taste
  1. Use 1 tsp broth mix to make ½ cup of broth.
  2. Cook lentils according to package.
  3. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  4. Clean and chop eggplant and zucchini. Leave mushrooms whole.
  5. Chop onion and put aside. (It doesn't go in the oven.)
  6. In a large bowl mix eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms with broth.
  7. Place on cookie sheets. (You can use parchment paper to keep them from sticking.)
  8. Sprinkle spices on eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms.
  9. Bake veggies 20 to 30 minutes. Watch carefully so they don't overcook. The mushrooms will probably be done first.
  10. Chop mushrooms after they cool a bit.
  11. You can do the next part on the stove or in your Instant Pot. I used my Instant Pot.
  12. Saute onions until translucent, then add garlic and cook for one more minute.
  13. Add roasted veggies, lentils and red wine vinegar to the pot. Mix well.
  14. Add 1 cup of water if using Instant Pot.
  15. On top of the vegetables, place the tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves. Do not mix.
  16. Set Instant Pot to 3 minutes using Manual with natural pressure release.

November 28, 2015
by Ilene

Thanksgiving – Vegan Style

I had two Thanksgiving celebrations this week. Both vegan. Both potluck. That meant cooking even though I wasn’t hosting. The first celebration was the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Since I live close to Portland (sometimes known as Vegan central) there are a lot of people interested in a vegan celebration. Every year the Northwest Veg group prepares a very large potluck celebration. This year they only had 300 seats. It filled up quickly. Lucky for me I signed up early and got a spot. Last year I waited too long. The hall where it took place is actually a large building in the middle of an amusement park. It was 45 degrees out with a brisk wind so there was no chance anyone was interested in the park. As I’d never been to that part of town I headed out extra early. It actually was easy to find, right off the Sellwood bridge.


After finding a spot for my sweet potato spiced muffins I decided to check out what everyone else brought. The nice thing about vegan potlucks (well the ones I’ve been to anyway!) is that everyone includes a note with the ingredients by their dish. This helped me plan out which dishes I could eat and which table to hit first.

Here I am with my muffins.


I make these muffins about once or twice a month. They are pretty easy to make as long as you have fresh sweet potatoes. That’s the key to making them delicious.

1122151542I took a few pictures as I was walking around. It’s an amazing variety all made from plant based food.
table 1



So back to the muffins. I found the recipe at Savvy Vegetarian. I’ve incorporated a few of her tips to make these oil free. Make sure you check out her site as there are plenty of plant based recipes.


Sweet Potato Spice Muffins
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Delicious and easy to make.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup oat floor
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1 cup mashed sweet potato
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened soy milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • ½ cup raisins
  1. Cook and mash the sweet potato ahead of time. I usually do this a day ahead.
  2. You can make the oat flour by grinding quick or rolled oats in your food processor.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F
  4. Add the cider vinegar to the non-dairy milk and set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, oat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside.
  6. In a second bowl whisk together non-dairy milk mixture, mashed sweet potatoes, and applesauce.
  7. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients. If you are using raisins (I recommend this!) add them as well. Stir everything together until just mixed. Don't over stir as this will make your muffins heavy.
  8. Spoon batter into a full sized non-stick muffin pan. You can grease the muffin pan if it's not non-stick or look for some silicone muffin liners.
  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. The muffins are done when they are firm and a little brown around the edges. I usually test them with a toothpick to see if they need a few more minutes.
  11. Enjoy them warm or let them cool. You can freeze them once they've cooled. Just take a frozen muffin to work and it will be perfect when lunchtime comes around.

July 26, 2015
by Ilene

Some of my favorite allergy free foods

I try to cook most of my food from scratch to eat healthier and avoid allergy issues. But there are some foods that are a liitle more difficult to make yourself, plus on a busy work day sometimes I need something in case I miss lunch. I’ve found a few good items that work well when we travel. You never know if you’ll find something when stuck in an airport for hours.

One of the most difficult items to find is bread. I have a breadmaker… somewhere. It would be great if I was inspired enough to use it. Instead it’s a search for the impossible. Bread that has no dairy, egg, sesame or nuts and isn’t made on a line with tree nuts. Oh and it would be nice if it tasted good too. I’m searching for a good rye bread that meets that criteria. Haven’t found it yet. However I did find an Ezekial type bread (these have multiple grains and are usually sprouted) that fits the bill. Alvarado bakery makes a nice loaf of bread that is now at my local Safeway. Don’t ask me the price. I just close my eyes and buy it anyway.

A few years ago on our way to a cruise in Florida (yes, that happens often) we stopped at Epcot for a day. The Land pavilion is a very large dining room with lots of food stations. There’s an area with all kinds of allergy free/special diet foods. This is where I learned about a company called Enjoy Life. They make all kinds of fun foods like chocolate bars, chocolate chips, seeds & fruit and cookies. I’m definitely a fan. Mostly I buy the chocolate chips to make pudding or cookies. I promise those recipes are coming soon.

When we travel I always take food with me. This usually means my bag is lighter when I arrive than when I leave. Enjoy Life items like the seeds & fruit bag or candy bars are a few favorites. There is a kosher cup of soup that is “chicken flavored” that seems to not have any real allergens or much flavor. But it’s filling and not terrible. For some reason I can’t find any oatmeal cups not made on a line with nuts anymore. That used to be my favorite snack. Occasionally I’ve made some oatmeal bars to take along, This really helps when on business travel so I have a snack at the office.

A local company makes a fruit bar called “Just Fruit” with apple or pear as the base and other fruits as the second flavor. There is almost always one of these in my purse unless I just finished eating it. In case you live in the NorthWest, check New Seasons for it.

When you have a lot of food allergies it’s nice to find a few items that are easy. Luckily I like to cook but sometimes you need a little snack or a treat. It’s nice to know there are a few safe treats tucked away in my bag wherever I go.

What are your favorite allergy free foods? What do you take with you when you travel? If you could have any food made allergy free, what would it be? Add a note in the comments or visit me on Facebook.

March 8, 2015
by Ilene

Carnival Liberty

Heading home from a 7-day cruise to the Caribbean on the Carnival Liberty and thought I would share my travel adventures with you. We boarded the ship at Port Canaveral which is about an hour drive from the Orlando Airport. Breakfast was a cup of noodle soup I brought with me from home. I was definitely looking forward to the lunch buffet.

We went up to the Lido to check out the buffet. There were some plain vegetables on the salad bar along with a variety of cold salads with meat and dairy and a variety of hot dishes. I noticed that many of the dishes were marked as vegetarian which was something I hadn’t seen before. Most of them clearly had dairy so definitely not for me. I took some of the salad and plain veggies before moving on.

Besides the main buffet there was a Mongolian grill. Lots of great veggies to add to my salad. I didn’t try the grill as they reused the pans which included a peanut sauce as one of the options. It would have been nice if there had been a tofu option along with the meat and seafood. They had lots of steamed broccoli and green beans which I enjoyed all week.

Outside by the pool was the Blue Iguana Cantina which quickly became my favorite. All the beans and tortillas were vegan, but the rice had butter. I had a burrito with beans and veggies adding lots of goodies from the nearby salsa bar. There was fresh pico, cilantro, watermelon and various levels of spicy salsa that went well with the burrito and made an excellent salad dressing.

If you made it to the other end of the buffet and went outside there was a pizza place open 24 hours. One afternoon I went there and asked for a no cheese pizza with mushrooms. Usually they gave out slices, 4 slices in a pizza. Since no one else wanted mine I had the whole pizza. It was a thin crust with tomato sauce and lots of mushrooms. It was delicious and I finished about half of it.

I’ve got lots more to share about the dining room and special restaurant in my next post.

November 30, 2014
by Ilene
1 Comment


As this is my very first blog post, let me introduce myself. My name is Ilene and I’ve had food allergies my entire life. Before everyone knew about food allergies like they do now it seemed like I was the only one around. Occasionally I’d meet someone allergic to one or two foods but rarely did I find anyone with multiple food allergies. With a very limited diet I did well and avoided major issues until I left for college. Then I discovered anaphylaxis. It turns out I really was as allergic to nuts as we thought. And chickpeas too – who knew you could be allergic to them?

About 3 years ago I decided to try a plant based diet for a week to improve my overall health. The first week was magic. No food allergy issues at all. So I just kept going. It’s not always easy but then I was already used to the difficulty in eating out. I definitely cook a lot more and have even tried a few new foods.

The idea for this site came to me as I was reading posts on Facebook from people who said they’d like to try a plant based diet but had too many food allergies. Since I have more allergies than anyone else I know I thought this might be a way for me to help others who are interested in a plant based diet.

I hope that you find value in my site and decide to try a plant based diet. This site is open to all with no prejudices. It’s about “progress not perfection” as Lindsay Nixon of Happy Herbivore will tell you. We are all on a journey together.