Thyme-Scented Fennel and Leek Soup

A luscious spring soup that's dairy-free, vegan, and can be enjoyed by people with nut allergies. Pumpkin seeds are the super star of this recipe. By lightly toasting and pureeing them, you can create a light but creamy soup with subtle nutty undertones, which everyone can eat. Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as a source of the mineral zinc. They benefit your heart, liver and immune system, help fight diabetes, and offer unique benefits for men’s prostate health and women’s relief of menopause symptoms as well. This rich and creamy soup is loaded with layers of flavor - also outstanding served chilled, enjoy!!

Lentil, Mushroom & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

With its rich, mushroom-studded filling tucked under a layer of soft mashed sweet potato, it has all the hallmarks of a good shepherd's pie, but it's completely vegan — and includes a secret ingredient that adds body and creaminess to the filling, without any cream. Authentic shepherd's pie is a comfort food classic, but there's no room in my diet or grocery budget for a heavy dish of ground lamb or beef and buttery potatoes, except as an occasional treat. Lentils, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes, roasted until creamy-soft, need just a little salt and pepper to be a flavorful topping. This recipe uses one unusual ingredient: steel cut oats! The dry oats — cooked and drained with the lentils — release just enough starch to bind the filling into a creamy, mushroomy mass, rather than a loose scattering of lentils and vegetables. The oats also add a texture somewhat like ground meat, but they aren't noticeable unless you know to look for them, so your guests will have no idea their dinner includes a nutritious breakfast staple. Note: STEAMING the sweet potatoes saves you an HOUR off this recipe plus retains vital nutrients!