Monday, July 15, 2024

Awesome Vegan Zucchini Lasagna Recipe


Vegan Lasagna: delicious, nutritious, and attractive

In a food rut? My suggestion is to make Awesome Vegan Zucchini Lasagna, as I did this week. This gluten free plant-based dish is sure to perk up your taste buds. It's a simple-to-follow recipe that's tasty as all get out. 




Zucchini, which is at its peak during the summer, is featured in place of lasagna noodles. 

The filling is made with bright red tomato sauce, vibrant herbs and spices, and tofu,which is high in protein, fiber, calcium, and additional nutrients. This protein powerhouse builds muscle, protects your health, and lowers cancer risk.




Although this lasagna is low-carb and gluten-free, it's hearty and filling. Each serving is colorful, tasty, and nourishing.



Awesome Vegan Zucchini Lasagna with Arugula, Caper, and Red Pepper Salad 


No need to worry about handling tofu. Here are simple directions to prep tofu.



The secret to making this bland tasting high protein ingredient flavorful is to season it well. Use plenty of Italian type spices and herbs. Your meal mates and you will shout its praises.  




With no cholesterol and moderate cost to boot (organic tofu is approx. $2.00-$3.00 per package), this entrรฉe is both healthy and economical.




Let it bubble away in the oven, while you read the Sunday paper or watch the game. If you prefer, prep it a day ahead so the flavors meld. Allow a half hour prep time and an hour cook time. Whenever you decide to cook it, take it from me, it's fun to assemble, cook, and serve.



Awesome Vegan Zucchini Lasagna Recipe






1 14 oz.-16 oz. container firm or extra firm organic tofu that has been drained

4 medium organic zucchini

2 15 oz. cans crushed, chopped, or diced organic tomatoes including juice, or a jar of ready-made tomato sauce, or fresh in-season tomatoes instead

1 can (4 oz.) organic mushrooms or 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms chopped

1 medium chopped organic onion

4 fresh garlic cloves peeled and minced

1 cup fresh chopped basil (1/2 cup for sauce and 1/2 cup for tofu)

2 teaspoons dried thyme (half for sauce and half for tofu) or 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped thyme (half and half)

2 Tablespoons of fresh chopped sage (half for sauce and half for tofu) or 2 teaspoons dried sage (half for sauce and half for tofu)

1/4 cup fresh oregano (half for sauce and half for tofu)


Optional: Adding extra items to the sauce adds depth, increases thickness, nutrients, and calories. Try adding one or more of the following: 1/2 cup fresh tomatoes, 1-6 oz. can organic tomato paste, 2 organic chopped carrots, 1 organic red pepper chopped, 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, bunch organic parsley chopped, a few sprigs of rosemary, beans or legumes, or other seasonings you enjoy.


TIP: Although this recipe has many ingredients, you can simplify it by replacing all the herbs and spices with a ready-made Italian seasoning blend


What to Do:


1.    Gather ingredients including a 13"x9"x2 1/4" baking pan or similar. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Drain tofu for at least 10-15 minutes, then mash or chop drained tofu. 


2.   Cut off end pieces of 4 medium organic zucchini. Zucchini is often sandy, so scrap and rinse zucchini. Slice each with a mandolin slicer or by hand. Make pieces about 1/8 " thick. Here's a photo to show you how 2 zucchini look, after they have been scrapped clean, and the other two have been sliced thin.

Zucchini for Vegan Lasagna: delicious, nutritious, and attractive


3.  Chop onion and mince garlic. Brown onion and garlic in a small frying pan, and put half into the tofu bowl.


4. In a bowl, combine all ingredients that are going into the sauce including chopped onion and garlic and blend them together. I like thick sauce so I always add an optional can of tomato paste.


5. Spread a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish and put a layer of zucchini over it. 


6. Spread the tofu mixture over that. Top with a third layer (zucchini layer). Top with remaining tomato sauce. Grind on fresh pepper and salt to taste. Add parsley, basil, or other fresh herbs as a garnish. May also add vegan cheese shreds.


7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 400 degree F oven for approximately three-quarters of an one hour. Uncover and cook until zucchini is soft and lightly browned. Test to see whether a knife will cut through a piece easily.

See how fun it was to make? Only seven steps and you're done!


Awesome Vegan Zucchini Lasagna is the perfect dish to eat on the weekend, either for brunch or dinner. It serves 4-6 generous portions, with leftovers.



Before you go, please comment.


Have you ever made Lasagna out of zucchini?


Please share below.


Are you trying to replace animal sourced protein with Whole Food Plant-based Protein? Would you like to try this recipe? Please let me know.


I appreciate each comment, but will not publish those with links. Thanks for understanding.


If you want a taste-treat, or are vegan, or have friends or family who eat plant-based, this is a good dish to serve. It also is a great dish to bring to a potluck or other type of event.


Please let me know when you make it. If you found this post interesting, please share on social media with a link-back to this post.



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Monday, July 1, 2024

Books for a Brillant Summer-Part 2

Stack of Summer Reading Books

On June 1, 2024 I published a blog post Books for a Brilliant Summer right here at Colors 4 Health.

It was so much fun reading the books, sharing my reviews, and seeing your comments that I'm following up with this post.


Please look below for Part 2 of Books for a Brilliant Summer.

Books for a Brilliant Summer 
Part 2 

First off, summer reading and synchronicity have been working well in my life.  On two separate occasions, my dear friends Lynne and Marilyn suggested I read poetry from the same woman poet whose work resonates with them. 

That's the amazing way they planted a seed that motivated me to seek out the poetry of Mary Oliver.

I thought about the high regard each of my friends holds for Mary Oliver. Then I ran to my local library and checked out a copy of A Thousand Mornings.

Poetry Reading for a Brilliant Summer

Jacket Design: Darren Haggar/ Jacket Photograph: Jacques Pion / Lens Modern

I read it from cover to cover (96 pages) in one sitting. Published in hardcover in 2012 by Penguin Press, this tiny book of poetry captures moments and situations in daily living that are lyrical, ring true, and show nature and living beings in an clear, honest, and observant way. 

Oliver’s poetry is appealing to me, partly because I cherish nature’s bounty as she did, and am concerned about environmental issues. I also found solace, support, and validation as a woman and human being. 

Although this book is lightweight it is powerful. Mary Oliver's poetry has won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

I plan to explore other poetry from Mary Oliver and here are details

Essays for a Brilliant Summer

Riverhead Books/Cover Design Janet Hansen Cover Image Tom Merton

Somehow: Thoughts on Love is a book of essays by the bestseller writer Anne Lamott. Lamott, a San Francisco based author, has written 20 books (that number is a combination of fiction and non-fiction). 

This non-fiction work is largely autobiographical, and covers essays about recovery from alcoholism, single motherhood, nature, gratitude, and many ways she has witnessed love or been healed by receiving or giving love. A must read.

Lerner Publishing/Photography Jennifer S. Larson

Dig In! Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps by Kari Cornell is a fun book that helps the reader learn how to grown fruit and vegetables from nothing but kitchen scraps. Instead of throwing away or composting food leftovers, use them to grown more.

Lerner Publishing Group publishes books for children, but this book it a handy book for anyone who wants to learn more about plant propagation, gardening, and ways to live more sustainably.

I really dig it (pun intended), because the illustrations are clear, directions are simple, and there are many tips that show how to use cuttings to grow new plants. Farm to table recipes are included to take advantage of crops from home gardening. 

Tuscan Recipes for a Brilliant Summer

Clarkson Potter/Photography Eric Wolfinger

Extra Virgin Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen by Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar is a large cookbook (272 page) from TV personality and actor Deb Mazar and her husband, a chef and partner in TV show on the Cooking Channel, "Extra Virgin." 


It piqued my interest, because I love the taste of extra virgin olive oil in Italian food, and the book has 120 contemporary Tuscan dishes with illustrations, including some that are vegan.

The recipes for oven-roasted potatoes, red sauce (vegan and suitable for pasta, pizza, or veggies), pizza dough, and a luscious-looking Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup are ones that contain ingredients that I already have on hand.

Published in 2014 by Clarkson Potter, you may be able to borrow it from a public library, order it online, or get it from a thrift store. 


Suspense Novel for a Brilliant Summer
                                    Atria Books/Simon & Schuster



Last but not least is Lisa Jewell's novel None of This is True. It was published in 2023 by Atria Books, a Subsidiary of Simon & Schuster. It's a hold on to your seat suspenseful read. 

In brief, it's a psychological thriller about a woman who discovers she is the subject of her own popular true crime podcast.

The two main characters are Alix Summer (podcaster) and Josie Fair, a woman with a painful shadowed history who wants her story told.

The plot had many twists and turns and I suspect if you enjoy suspense, mystery, and a well-written crime drama, you'll enjoy this one.

There are many more books I would love to read this summer, and I keep on getting ideas about new ones from the media, reviews from fellow bloggers, and my readers. Here is a link to a summer reading post I wrote last summer.

Before you go, please comment below.

Which book that you read recently do you recommend and why?

Did you read any of the books I reviewed? If you haven't read them, which ones piqued your interest and why?

I appreciate each comment, but will not publish those with links. Thanks for understanding.

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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Books for a Brilliant Summer

Summer Reading is Brilliant

I love to read during the summer, as my schedule is more flexible, reading helps keep my brain cells active, sparks imagination, improves vocabulary, and entertains and inspires me.

When I delve into an absorbing unread novel, memoir, book of essays or poems, or self-help book that’s written from a new perspective or diverse voice, it helps expand my horizons and stimulates personal growth.


My reading goal this summer is to spend more time reading, rather than count the number of books I’ve read.

Without further ado, here are brief reviews of those books I've read so far or ones I  aim to read this summer.

The Truth About the Devlins, a great summer read

Courtesy of G. P. Putnam Sons

The Truth about the Devlins is the newest offering from the prolific writer Lisa Scottoline. Think of it as a thriller, mystery, suspense novel, psychological fiction, and legal story. 

See the author discuss details about this book that may help you decide whether you want to read it or not. 

Scottoline is the number-one bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of thirty-five novels. Her law background and diligent research about topics, characters, and even settings makes her books so believable and life affirming.



The omen, a great summer read

St. Martin's Press, Jacket Design Michael Storrings

The Women by Kristin Hannah is a compelling historical novel, published in 2024 by St. Martin's Press. It is a story of devastating loss and epic love. The book's main character Frances "Frankie" McGrath is a woman who enlists in the United States Army Nurse Corps during the Vietnam War. 

The narrative reveals the struggles, heartache, and courage of this brave young woman and others who served in the war, yet were forgotten at home. Once started, it's hard to put it down. 

I was intrigued, because it presents many sides of the issue about America involvement in the Vietnam War. 

Memoir How to Say Babylon by Safina Sinclair

Simon & Schuster/37 Ink

How to Say Babylon is a memoir by Safiya Sinclair, published by Simon & Schuster/37 Ink. This non-fiction book, captures moments from Sinclair's childhood on the island of Jamaica, and her strict Rastafarian upbringing. 

It sheds light on the steps Sinclair takes to break free from harsh patriarchal views and repressive control, to find her own voice as a woman and poet. 

I enjoyed reading it, because it's an enigma. The style is poetic and beautiful, yet it holds no punches. It feels personal and universal, illustrating one woman's quest for equality and millions of women's courageous actions to overcome childhood wounds and come into their full power.  

This book has won the National Book Critics Circle Award, was a New York Times Notable Book, and Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick. It was honored as a Best Book of 2023 by The New York Times, Time, The Washington Post, Vulture, Shelf Awareness, Goodreads, Esquire, The Atlantic, NPR, and Barack Obama.

How to Know a Person, great summer reading

Random House, Pete Garceau Cover Design, Photo David Brooks

How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen is a non-fiction tome that offers tips about self-improvement, and provides psychological and philosophical insights for those who desire more effective communication skills, improved relationships, and a longing to be seen deeply and see others deeply. 

Rather than a lot of technical and/or tedious statistics and studies, author David Brooks’ clear, direct, and compassionate style shows readers ways he's learned to get more intimate in conversations. 

Brooks peppers the narrative with stories and illustrations of how life tasks, coming to terms with individual strengths and shortcomings, and the wisdom that comes from experience can foster empathy, and lead to improved understanding and connection with oneself and those we interact with.

I thoroughly enjoyed and was inspired by this book. I believe the world would be a better place, if people of all persuasions read it.

David Brooks is one of America’s leading writers and commentators, is an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, a writer for The Atlantic, and appears regularly on PBS Newshour. He is the bestselling author of The Second Mountain, The Road to Character, The Social Animal, Bobos in Paradise, and On Paradise Drive.  


More books on my summer reading list and beyond are:


Dig In! Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps by Kari Cornell


A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver


Somehow by Anne Lamott


My Own Words Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams


Breaking the Mold Changing the Face of Climate Science by Dana Alison Levy


Extra Virgin Recipes & Love from Our Tuscan Kitchen by Debi Mazar and Gabriele Corcos 

Those books I haven't reviewed in this post will probably appear in Part 2. That is, unless I lose interest in reading them or run out of time to finish them.๐ŸŒž


Dear reader, perhaps you know other books not on my summer reading list that you'd like to recommend.


Please comment about your favorites in the comment section below.


If my post piqued your interest, please share that info.


Have you read books mentioned above? l sure wish you'd share what you thought of them. 

Don't be shy about sharing a link to this post on social media. 

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