Welcome, I'm Barbara! I am a home chef, recipe developer, blogger/photographer, nugget, and dill salad lover of Botanical Barbara. I am a lifelong lover of cooking, connecting over food, and teaching others how to cook.
I set out to live a life with one guiding principle: that I am in the highest level of alignment with living my purpose, which is sharing my love of food. I stand for delicious plant-packed meals that fuel and nourish. I will walk you through the steps to becoming a CFO (Chief Food Officer) in your kitchen. My goal is to make you feel relief when it comes to running a home kitchen, you're proud of. If you're picking up what I'm putting down, get on the email list for all the things.
What I prioritize when creating a recipe
The number one priority is that the dish must be: reliably delicious. During the recipe development process, I aim to get as many taste testers as I can for review and feedback. Not only for the dish's flavor and textures but also for the instructions.
Equally important is adding expert-level tips & instructions. The skillset of cooking does not come through genetics and is often not instinctual. Learning how to cook can be the biggest timesaver and healthiest skill set you learn.
Here's what you can expect on my site:
It's not hard to find incredible flavors in the plant kingdom, but this is number one! I want the dish you take time to prepare for yourself and/or your family to be flavorful and something you'll want to make again & again.
Straightforward with clear instructions
I learned to cook after transitioning to fully plant-based. The majority of my initial recipe searching was through Pinterest and Google, which often has hit-or-miss, unreliable recipes. When I felt the need to elevate my database, I started browsing cookbooks and subscribed to the blog creators I trusted. There were many missteps throughout my journey of learning to cook plant-based. As my understanding of cooking methods and vocabulary grew, fewer failed dishes emerged. I write all recipe instructions as if someone was just learning to cook at an eighth-grade level.
High nutrient value & expert cooking education
This is a health-focused blog, and my recipes are saturated in nutrients because that's how I live. While working as a Registered Nurse, most of my career was in community education. Teaching people how they can improve their health through plants and whole foods is what I love to do.
Not only is this a priority, so the reader understands what to do, but cooking shouldn't feel like a complicated task. It's actually FUN. It's a chance to connect with the food you consume and a vital skill for a thriving body.
Variety of cooking methods
I love experimenting with different styles and methods when cooking. Many recipes have the option to cook with an Air Fryer or Instant Pot, but neither is needed.
I grew up with my sister, who is allergic to nuts, seeds, and gluten. While not always possible, most of my recipes will have easy substitutions for those that are allergic to the common ingredients. I strive to create dishes that are suitable for everyone.
The vibrant colors of food provided by the earth are such a gift. Styling the dish in each photo lights me up and is a skill I am passionate about advancing.
Liking what you see?
My vegan expertise
I walk the talk! Plants were at the very beginning of my journey over seven years ago when I went vegan. Within that time, the vegan movement has massively grown. I am vegan for the animals and plant-based for my health, but I'm not about any -isms. My recipes are made for everyone, and the cooking skills I teach transition into everyday cooking.
As a Registered Nurse (BSN), I spent most of my career in community health, specifically educating Medicare members (65+) who had chronic diseases like Congestive Health Failure and Diabetes.
The two undeniable trends I saw throughout my experience in healthcare are that when you are sick, the biggest impact is quality of life, and symptoms can change drastically with diet modifications.
I've personally healed from a plant-based diet. Plants helped heal me of my adult cystic acne. When the dermatologist told me my only option was Accutane, I dug my heels in the sand and made drastic life changes.
I have passionately been educating people about their health under systems that do not prioritize empowering those people with knowledge of plants. It wasn't until I left that I felt full freedom and power to share what I believe is critical to living a healthy life.
My philosophy on food
I believe in balance (you guessed it, I'm a libra) and freedom from fear. Discernment is a critical skill all humans must acquire to live happy, healthy lives. Food is the body's foundation, and not one body is the same.
There’s no right or wrong way to eat when you’re choosing meals with understanding and intention. The goal of Botanical Barbara is to provide you with cooking knowledge and inspiration to bring more plants into your kitchen.
Frequently Asked Questions
My motto is "I can turn any dish vegan," so it's easy to get inspired. I get ideas from eating at restaurants when browsing the menu, browsing through cookbooks at my local library, scrolling through social media, seasonal produce, and intuitive food cravings!
I typically find something that lights me up, figure out the best ingredients to use with flavors that will make it taste mouthwatering, and then test out the best methods in my kitchen. My go-to taste tester is my husband, Michael (if you know him, you're aware he is very honest and loves to give feedback 🤣).
Besides that, I love sharing my meals with friends and family, and once it gets the thumbs up, it's on the blog.
The recipe I make the most is my Vegetarian Caesar Salad. I love it because I can get a quick meal on the table in minutes.
As for a favorite main dish recipe, my all-time favorite is Healthy Butternut Squash Soup (Vitamix Recipe). It has fresh flavors and is insanely easy to throw together.
Thanks for asking!
Recipes: Not at this time. I do not allow the republication of my recipe text or photos without my consent. If people copy and paste my recipes onto their websites, it negatively affects how my website gets viewed in the search results. That's not cool! It also opens up issues with copyright. If you have any recipe inquiries or questions, please reach out via email.
Photos: Yes, and thank you for sharing! Credit the photos with two links, one to back to the recipe post and one to botanicalbarbara.com
Yes! I love working with brands and am happy to promote products I like. Submit any inquiries to my contact page.
I'm not sure, but I'd love to help you out. The comment section is a great place to discuss and benefit by helping others out. Sometimes recipes can have typos or be confusing, so please leave a comment or shoot me an email, and we will clear it up!
Huge thanks for all the friendly and respectful comments! I LOVE RECEIVING THEM. Comments and recipe ratings are major for this blog being seen by search engines. With that being said, any offensive, off-topic, or generally rude comments will be removed. Especially if the comment doesn't allude to the recipe having been made by the submitter. I'm curating a positive environment for my readers, and we should all be kind to one another.
When I'm not Botanical Barbara, I love being in the kitchen; it's the heart of the home. I also love, love going out to eat, especially when the evening is an experience with creative dishes, atmosphere, and getting dressed up.
My other love is shopping for vintage clothing and mid-century modern furniture with my husband. Home environments with modern design tickle a specific part of my brain that makes me happy. Palm Springs is our happy place!
Yes! At the time of our plant-based transition, we also lost our pig, Luna. Her passing shed light on how much factory farming is destroying our environment and causing immense suffering to the animals it consumes. We couldn't continue blindly eating, so my husband and I went vegan in her honor.