Local author spreads wealth 
of knowledge on healthy eating

Four years ago, Rhonda Dunlap switched to a vegan diet for reasons of health and personal beliefs. The Gran Valley woman is the author of the cookbook “Guide to Super Raw Foods: Eat Fresh, Gain Energy & Lose Weight.”

Four years ago, Rhonda Dunlap switched to a vegan diet for reasons of health and personal beliefs. The Grand Valley woman is the author of the cookbook “Guide to Super Raw Foods: Eat Fresh, Gain Energy & Lose Weight.”

Rhonda Dunlap’s vagan cookbook.



Here are some of Rhonda Dunlap’s vegan substitutions:

■ Milk — Rhonda uses almond and/or rice milk. Others also use soy.

■ Eggs — A commercial egg replacement, or 1 tablespoon ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoon water equals 1 egg.

■ Butter/margarine — Earth Balance Spread.

■ Sweeteners — Agave is her No. 1.

As far as seasonings go, Rhonda uses regular spices and herbs, fresh whenever she can.

Mediterranean Quinoa

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed

1/2 yellow onion

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes soaked in a little water and a dash of olive oil to moisten

1/4 cup Kalamata olives or black olives, sliced

1 bunch fresh kale

1 tablespoon coconut oil

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Juice of one lemon

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

1 clove garlic

1 teaspoon curry

Cook quinoa per instructions, about 15 minutes. It will double, get dry and fluffy. When quinoa is cooked, add the washed garbanzo beans.

Soak the dried tomatoes for 30 minutes and then slice into thin strips. Wash kale and devein stems. Chop the kale into bite size pieces.

Brown onions in olive/coconut oil in large pan on medium heat. Add in garbanzo beans, olives, tomatoes and garlic. Stirring, add rest of ingredients and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes until kale wilts. Serve over cooked quinoa.

Coconut Curry Medley

2 pouches Tasty Bite Barley Medley or barley


Make 2 cups of barley with these ingredients added in:

1/4 cup green lentils

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Coconut curry:

1 15-ounce can of coconut milk

1 medium onion chopped

1 tablespoon curry

1 medium butternut squash cooked or bag of frozen

1 tablespoon arrowroot or corn starch

1/2 cup raisins

1/3 cup toasted, sliced almonds

1/3 cup shredded coconut

Cook barley per instructions.

Brown chopped onion in a little coconut oil. Add garlic, curry, whole can of coconut milk and arrowroot or corn starch to thicken. Set aside.

Place barley mixture into the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Top barley with cooked or frozen butternut squash and raisins. Pour the coconut curry mixture on top of barley and butternut squash. Place in a preheated oven of 325 degrees for 20 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkling of shredded coconut and toasted sliced almonds.


Kale Salad with Cranberries

I large head Lacinato kale

1/4 cup pine nuts

3 tablespoons dried cranberries or cherries

Optional: Sprinkle of hemp seeds


1 tablespoon maple syrup or raw agave syrup

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and dry kale. De-vein kale leaves (optional) and chop into small bite size pieces. Mix dressing ingredients in mid-sized bowl, add cranberries or cherries. Add kale and squeeze to marinate kale and dried fruit in the dressing. Allow sitting for a few minutes. Serving with pine nuts and sprinkle with hemp seeds. Hemp seeds add a boost of protein and Omega 3s.



1 cup carrots or sweet potatoes

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup raw agave syrup

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Optional: dash of curry

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Blending carrots with almond butter is such a satisfying treat.



1 frozen banana

2 Medjool dates

1 cup raw nut milk

2 tablespoons raw cacao

2 tablespoons raw carob

Handful of ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth and enjoy this delicious treat!

“One thing leads to another” sure applies to me this year with this column.

First came my informal survey asking what “go to” cookbooks, websites and other sources you use for recipes and culinary questions and instructions. Responses were many and varied, and diets or eating plans included Paleo, Mediterranean, diabetic, vegan, gluten free, vegetarian, raw food, Atkins and My Plate (USDA). Some shared details of diets prescribed by dietitians and health professionals or their own plans.

This motivated me to try 52 new-to-me recipes this year and to visit with some of you and area chefs to taste and learn about what’s on your plates.

One friendly email came from Marian Dorn, a vegan, and now member of my 52 Recipes in 2014 Club. She assured me that vegan dishes are delicious and enjoyed by non-vegans. She suggested a visit with Rhonda Dunlap, who coordinates the Grand Junction Branch of Vegan Life Colorado with Marian. Rhonda also is the author of the new cookbook “Guide to Super Raw Foods: Eat Fresh, Gain Energy & Lose Weight.”

When I arrived at Rhonda’s home, she and her friend and fellow vegan, Stephanie Litus, were busily preparing a variety of vegan dishes, both raw and cooked. Marian was right. I enjoyed everything put on my plate.

Reminder: Vegans don’t eat any animal products, including dairy or eggs. Vegetarians eat dairy and eggs. Rhonda chose a vegan diet four years ago for health and for personal beliefs. While she is strictly vegan, her husband is 85 percent vegan, and Rhonda is OK with that. She includes as many raw foods as possible in her meals.

Rhonda isn’t the preachy sort. She willingly shares information and is simply happy if she can motivate others to include more plant-based foods in their diets for good health, even if those foods are served alongside lean meat.

Like many vegans and vegetarians, Rhonda is a fan of juicing. She juices all kinds of fruits and vegetables, using the fiber leftovers in dishes and smoothies.

Rhonda says a really good juicer is a must, as is a powerful blender such as a Vita Mix. Rhonda purchased a used one 20 years ago and uses it every day for grinding, blending raw and cooked foods, smoothies and more.

On her menu are whole grains and lot of seeds and nuts, with a focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, in addition to those she freezes. She tries to eat organic and local as much as possible, but says, “let’s be realistic, you can’t always buy everything organic.”

Rhonda’s new cookbook is available through Amazon.com in paperback, color or black and white, and on Kindle or by PDF on the Raw Site (available in four versions) Paperback also available at Crystal Books & Gifts in downtown Grand Junction. She also pens a newsletter and you can sign up for it at the Natural Health Food Café or vegnutblog.wordpress.com.

Rhonda’s blog can be found at raw-food-diet-magazine.com. To contact the Grand Junction Branch of Vegan Life Colorado club: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Vegan or not, you’ll love these recipes!


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