Zac Efron’s ‘Down to Earth’ Co-Star, Darin Olien, Has Some Amazing Vegan Recipes

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Feb. 10 2023, Published 12:43 p.m. ET

Darin Olien

Those of us who watch Zac Efron’s sustainability-focused Netflix series, Down to Earth, are now familiar with the Disney alum's co-star, Darin Olien. The self-proclaimed health guru adds an interesting element to the show, bringing extensive amounts of nutrition knowledge to the table. But prior to being on the show, he was posting plant-based recipes on his blog.

That's why we've created a roundup of Darin Olien's best vegan recipes.

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From Super Simple Sweet Steel Cut Oat Cookies to "Cheat Day" Creamy Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo, the author, wellness expert, TV co-host, and podcast host has a wide range of animal-free recipes on his website that are easy to make and super tasty. That said, we're looking forward to trying all of them out for ourselves.

Here's a look into a few of them.

Apple & Ginger Spice Salad

Apple Salad
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"Ginger has been around for centuries, and has time-tested, digestion-enhancing properties, plus a host of supercharged health benefits," Olien writes of his Apple & Ginger Spice Salad recipe. "This flowering plant in the family Zingiberaceae is used as both a spice or a medicine, and can be eaten fresh, dried and powdered, or as a juice or oil. In this recipe, fresh-grated ginger adds a pungent kick to a sweet, raw salad."

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With a delicious and super fresh combination of 1 to 2 peeled medium carrots, a chopped green apple, grated ginger, cinnamon, lemon juice, and 2 to 3 tablespoons of chopped walnuts, this dish definitely makes for a protein-filled, sweet-and-savory meal.

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Supercharge Your Traditional Rice Pudding

Rice Pudding
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To accompany his Supercharge Your Traditional Rice Pudding recipe, Olien uses the classic Julia Child quote: “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.”

Like your classic rice pudding, it combines brown rice, coconut milk, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla — but it adds coconut flakes. He also suggests including cacao nibs, almonds, dried fruit, and spices... yum.

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Super Simple Sweet Steel Cut Oat Cookies

Source: Getty Images

Olien's Super Simple Sweet Steel Cut Oat Cookies are "satisfactorily sweet," as he says, without sending you into a full-on sugar coma. By just combining a cup of steel-cut oats, two mashed ripe bananas, 1/2 cup of chopped almonds, cinnamon, vanilla, sea salt, flaxseed, and 1/4 cup of cranberries — and baking it at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes, you'll have a quick sweet snack in seconds.

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Protein-Power Trail Mix

Trail Mix
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"Sacha inchi is a great snack for traveling or backpacking when you don’t have easy access to other healthy foods," Olien says of this Protein-Power Trail Mix that features the healthy seeds as a prominent ingredient. Combine them with cacao nibs and golden berries to make a sweet and super healthy hiking snack that'll definitely help you recharge on the trail.

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"Cheat Day" Creamy Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo
Source: Getty Images

Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo? Say less.

Olien's plant-based version of the classic sauce blends almond milk, coconut milk, Vegenaise, Erewhon Chia seed pesto, and nooch — making for a creamy and delicious alternative to the usually heavy cream-based version.

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Strawberry Goldenberry Smoothie

Source: Getty Images

With a ton of Vitamin C, fiber, and protein, Olein's Strawberry Goldenberry Smoothie is at the top of our list.

Combining frozen spinach, frozen strawberries, frozen coconut meat, coconut milk, goldenberries, and distilled water makes for a quick and delicious breakfast drink. TBH we're craving one right now.

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Coconut Milk in 2 Minutes

Coconut Milk
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While we didn't think it was possible, Olien proves you can, in fact, make your own coconut milk in just two minutes.

You'll start out by pouring two cups of distilled water into the blender, before adding two tablespoons of coconut butter, and blending until smooth. Pour into a container, and use within five days, shaking before each use. Seriously, it's that easy.

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