The snow has melted and the sun is beginning to shine, summer is almost here! It’s time to put on the bathing suits and dust off the grill because outdoor time is right around the corner. So will you travel? Gardein’s good friend- The Healthy Voyager, gives a quick look into great summer traveling ideas!

Getting away for a stint in the summer is the best way to unwind and get away from it all. Here are some fun ideas for healthy, budget and eco-conscious summer adventurers.

The Road Trip – A great money saving and green idea, as you can split the cost of gas with however many people you can fit in the car. It’s also a great idea to get out of town for those who don’t get too much time off. Find a small town and make a point to visit the one thing that makes it famous. For cheap accommodations, research hostels before you leave, or pile your whole crew into an inexpensive hotel room or two. Plus you can always stay with friends and relatives along the way. Take back roads and plan ahead to see memorable roadside attractions.

Volunteerism – A great idea if you want to go somewhere, don’t have coin AND want to give back. You can meet some wonderful people, make lasting memories and spend your summer break building houses or helping those in need. Check out the Charity Guide on volunteer vacations for more information.

Camping – If you’re the outdoor type, what better way to spend some time with your friends on the cheap? Or spend a bit more money and rent a cabin with a big group. Cabin rentals and campsites are often less expensive in the spring time so plan ahead! You can save a ton of money by packing a bunch of healthy food to cook as well as being in an area where you can get some good exercise whether it’s a hike, a swim or a canoe ride.

Cruises – A good bang for your buck in this economy! Cruise lines are practically giving trips away and they are a great way to see a lot in a little time. If you plan ahead, you can make sure that they accommodate your special diet and you can feast like a king/queen as all meals are included in the price!! Also, cabins can sleep up to 4 people so that helps bring down the cost.

Stay-cations – With high gas prices and a struggling economy, make the most of your town. Take a tour of your city’s tourist attractions, visit museums or search for hidden gems across town. Being a tourist in your own town can be quite fun and you’ll have a greater appreciation of your hometown! To spice it up a bit, camp out in your back yard, invite friends over and project movies on to a sheet or blank wall for fun outdoor movie night!

Dream Vacay: Go abroad – Have you ever wanted to visit Italy? Well, make plans to join The Healthy Voyageur for a once in a lifetime trip to Naples, the Amalfi Coast and even Pompei, all while enjoying earth shatteringly delicious, organic, vegan food! Information and reservations can be made here: http://www.greenearthtravel.com/2015-the-inaugural-year-of-vegano-italiano-festival/

Carolyn will be hosting the inaugural Vegano Italiano Festival, July 11-18th, and would LOVE to have you join her! She’ll be along for all of the fun while also teaching a fun demo on healthy, Italian home cooking. Don’t miss this incredible event and amazing culinary experience!

Ok, dreaming of Italy but don’t think you can make it? Bring the tastes of Italy home with you with these fabulous plant based recipes!

Chick’n and Veggie Lasagna Rolls

Cauliflower Ricotta Cheese

  • 1 head of stemmed and riced cauliflower (cut off florets and pulse in food processor until cauliflower resembles rice, careful not to puree)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Lasagna rolls

  • 1 box cooked lasagna noodles (gluten free, if desired)
  • Pasta sauce of choice
  • 1 cup sauteed mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups sauteed spinach
  • 2 Gardein chick’n scallopini, cooked and diced

To make the cheese:

Place the “riced” cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 7-8 minutes (do not add water). Add in remaining ingredients until fully incorporated. Season to taste.

To assemble to rolls:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add a thin layer of pasta sauce to bottom of the lasagna baking pan to prevent rolls from sticking, about 1/4 inch thick.

Mix mushrooms and spinach into the ricotta cheese mixture until fully incorporated.

Take a lasagna noodle and spoon a heaping spoonful of the ricotta filling mixture onto it. Spread evenly onto noodle and then roll fairly tightly into a tube. Place the noodle into the pan and repeat until all noodles are in the pan. Once you have made 1 layer of rolls, pour sauce on top so the next layer of noodles doesn’t stick. Top all rolls, once done, with more pasta sauce and shredded cheese, if desired.

Bake for 20 minutes or if cheese added, until cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve 2-4 rolls at a time with extra sauce, top with vegan parmesan and enjoy!

Gnocchi and Veggie Stir-Fry

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 16-ounce package vegan gnocchi (or make your own with the recipe from The Healthy Voyager’s Global Kitchen Cookbook)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 cups chopped kale or spinach leaves
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning spice mix, more if needed for taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 package of Gardein chick’n strips, cooked
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (optional for low fat option)

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook, stirring often, until golden brown brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and onion to the pan and saute, stirring, over medium heat, for 2 minutes.

Stir in garlic and water. Cover and cook until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add kale (or spinach) and cook, stirring, until starting to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, beans, salt, pepper and seasonings, then bring to a simmer.

Stir in the gnocchi, top with chick’n and sprinkle with mozzarella.

Cover and cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling, about 3 minutes.