Virtual Vegan Potluck: Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad

Welcome to My Plant-Based Family and the Virtual Vegan Potluck. Today over 100 bloggers are joining forces to entice you with delicious vegan recipes. I signed up to bring a salad. I chose to incorporate two seasonal flavors, butternut squash and fresh cranberries.

If you want to start at the very beginning of the potluck go to Vegan Bloggers Unite! There are buttons at the bottom of this recipe you can follow to progress through the potluck.

Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad with Oil-Free Cranberry Dressing


 Ingredients for Butternut Squash & Quinoa Salad 1 serving (dressing recipe below)

  • 2-3 cups of your favorite salad greens
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup roasted or steamed butternut squash
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1/4 of an onion


  1. Cut onions into rings and cook in a hot skillet, stirring regularly until onions are crispy.
  2. In a medium bowl mix cooked quinoa, squash and cranberries together and carefully stir in grated ginger.
  3. Spoon quinoa mixture over fresh greens. Top with cooked onions and oil-free cranberry dressing.
  4. If desired toss everything together.

Tip: My husband prefers this salad without the onion, feel free to leave it out.


Oil-Free Cranberry Salad Dressing

Ingredients (2-4 servings)

  • 1/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp xanthum gum


  1. Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor (I used my Magic Bullet) and process until everything is smooth.
  2. Taste and add more maple syrup if it is to tart or add more water or juice if dressing is too thick.

Tip: If you don’t have xanthum gum you can get away without it if you do not add the water. The dressing will be more tart and thinner but works great in a tossed salad. You could also add a little corn starch instead.


In previous potlucks I’ve brought Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins, Gluten-Free Apple Muffins and a Lentil Shepherds Pie. If you are just stopping in today for the potluck feel free to look around, maybe checkout my Recipe Page. It is full of Whole Food, Plant-Based Recipes that are oil-free and mostly Gluten-Free.

You can go backward in the potluck to 86 Lemons by clicking the Go Back button below; or journey forward to In Fine Balance by clicking the Go Forward button.


Lentil Shepherd’s Pie for the Virtual Vegan Potluck


Today I’m taking part in the Virtual Vegan Potluck. I’ve participated before, “bringing” Gluten-Free Apple Muffins and Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins (with or without chocolate chips.) Now I’m branching out a bit with a main dish, trust me you will LOVE it!


You can start at the beginning of the potluck at Vegan Bloggers Unite or simply pick the category that most interests you. There are 169 bloggers participating so it may take a while to make your way through. The potluck was designed so you can seamlessly click from one blog to the next.

shepherd pie VVP

This Lentil Shepherd’s Pie has a lot of steps and a lot of ingredients but it is EASY to make. It has gotten rave reviews at several venues, even the Omni’s love it. It is a great holiday meal and perfect for a potluck. My toddler could not get enough.

shepherd's pie

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie (Vegan & Gluten-Free)


Potato Layer

  • 4 large potatoes
  • up to 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • up to 1/2 cup plant milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Lentil Layer

  • 2 cups cooked Lentils
  • 1/2 tsp Liquid Smoke (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste (optional)

Veggie/Sauce Layer

  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup onions, diced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup green beans (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup green peas (I used frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Rice Flour (I use brown rice flour for a GF version, you can use wheat flour)
  • 1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 cup Rice Milk
  • Optional onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste


Potato Layer

  1. Scrub, peel, and cut potatoes into large chunks.
  2. Cover with water and bring to a boil, cook potatoes until they are very soft.
  3. Drain potatoes and mash with a potato masher.
  4. Add salt and pepper, nutritional yeast and about half of the milk. Continue to mash or (whip) until everything is mixed, add more plant milk, nutritional yeast and salt as necessary to get the flavor just right. (Depending on the size of your potatoes this might not be enough seasoning)
  5. Set aside.

Lentil Layer

  1. Place cooked lentils in a pie pan, stirring in Liquid Smoke if desired.
  2. Spread lentils and pack them down into a smooth bottom layer.

Veggie/Sauce Layer

  1. Cook carrots, celery, and onions in a skillet, adding small amounts of water when veggies begin to stick.
  2. As the veggies begin to soften add mushrooms, green beans and peas.
  3. Once all veggies are soft, sprinkle in flour and nutritional yeast then give it a quick stir.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the plant milk and lightly stir. Keep your eye on this and add more plant milk as it thickens, continuing to stir.
  5. Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper to your preference.
  6. Once the sauce is like a thick gravy pour the veggie/sauce over the lentils.

Spoon potatoes over Veggie/Sauce Layer and smooth out. Put in the oven and broil for 10 minutes. Check often to make sure the top is browning and not burning.

– – –

This dish is great for a potluck, a family holiday dinner or to take to a family who needs a little bit of blessing. It reheats beautifully and could be frozen for a future meal.

I hope you ENJOY!

If you want to make your way through the potluck you can got back to On the Path to Zen or forward to Veghotpot to check out what they brought.

I hope you take some time to make your way through the potluck.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins

Welcome to My Plant-Based Family! Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you are enjoying the Virtual Vegan Potluck. If you stopped by my page and aren’t quite sure what I’m talking about you are in for a treat. Over 100 bloggers are each “bringing” a dish to the potluck today. Just follow the links at the end of this post or click here to start at the beginning.

We have been eating a plant-based diet for 1 year. Last spring we found out my youngest son’s skin issues were the result of gluten. Thankfully he doesn’t have to miss out on delicious baked goods. I’m happy to report that this recipe is kid tested and approved! Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you, this recipe is easily made with pantry staples. If you don’t need to eat gluten-free but really want a delicious pumpkin filled treat check out the Pumpkin Bread or these Pumpkin Cupcakes.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins (Vegan)


  • 1 cup Brown Rice Flour
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour
  • 1/2 cup Potato Starch
  • 1 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1 ripe banana (I defrosted a frozen banana)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin or 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F and prepare your muffin pan, I use non-stick cooking spray (the only time I ever use oil).
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a big bowl, except optional chocolate chips.
  3. Mix all wet ingredients in a medium bowl.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until mixed well.
  5. If using chocolate chips, add now.
  6. Scoop batter into muffin tins until almost full.
  7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. If making mini muffins bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Store in an air tight container at room temperature.


These muffins are delicious and quite possibly the most delicious gluten-free muffin I’ve ever tasted.  They are perfect for a snack, but could also be eaten for breakfast or if you add chocolate chips a decadent dessert. Most of the gluten-free baking I’ve done doesn’t taste so great the next day but these pass the two-day test with flying colors. I’m taking them to a baby shower this weekend, if I can keep by kids from eating them all.

If you are looking for more gluten-free muffin recipes check out these Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins or Gluten-Free Apple Muffins.

Please continue through the potluck, after all you don’t want to miss a single dish do you?

Virtual Vegan Potluck:Gluten-Free Apple Muffins

Welcome to My Plant-Based Family, Virtual Vegan Potluck Edition. I hope you’re enjoying yourself so far. If you want to start from the beginning check out Vegan Bloggers Unite! There are about 60 bloggers attending so clear your schedule and sit down for a fun time.

Today I’m bringing Gluten-Free Apple Muffins to the potluck. They are divine and you simply must try one or three! They are moist and delicious,  you really can’t tell they are gluten-free or vegan.

I recently took them to an event and little children were running up to me asking for more so there are definitely kid approved, a few kids even followed me outside as I was leaving with their cute little hands out.

Gluten-Free Apple Muffins


  • 3/4 c brown rice flour
  • 6 Tbsp potato starch
  • 6 Tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 c water, you can also use orange or apple juice
  • 1 c diced apple


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium size bowl mix together the first four ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, and cinnamon. 
  4. In a large bowl mash banana then add applesauce, sugar, vanilla and  water. Mix wet ingredients. 
  5. Pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just mixed. 
  6. Gently stir in diced apples.
  7. Spoon batter into paper lined muffin cups or use a non-stick pan. 
  8. Bake until toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. I baked mini muffins for about 15 minutes and regular sized muffins for about 20 minutes. 
These are a great addition to brunch, a midday snack or dessert. The only problem with the mini muffins is that they are incredibly easy to toss in your mouth without thinking about it. These should be stored at room temperature in a covered container.  They did not last too long at our house so I’m not sure how they taste after a few days. 🙂
Don’t stop now, you can go forward or back from here to enjoy the rest of the potluck!