Cowboy Caviar

By the Gracious Vegan

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There are many recipes for Cowboy Caviar, but this one has no oil, and I don’t taste much of a difference. You can mash the avocados a bit or keep them in dice form.

Stir all the ingredients together 

  • 2 medium/large or 3 small avocados, peeled and diced

  • 2-3 tomatoes, diced

  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1.5 cups cooked black-eyed peas (if using canned, one can rinsed and drained)

  • 1.5 cups cooked corn (if using canned, one can rinsed and drained)

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed chopped cilantro

  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice, or more to taste

  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1/2-1 teaspoon hot sauce (Tabasco, sriracha, or other)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Serve with Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla Crisps.

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO

Timing: About 15 minutes

Gluten-free

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Easy Vegan Lentil Soup

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By the Gracious Vegan

To paraphrase airline pilots, “I know you have a choice in lentil soup recipes…” Yes, there are a lot of them out there. The difference here is the healthiness (whole-food, no processed ingredients if you use date paste) and the seasonings—the little bit of sweetness and acidity added at the end make all the difference. Worth a try.

In a Dutch oven, combine the following ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover, and let simmer for 1 hour. (Instant Pot – 10 minutes high pressure, natural release 10 minutes)

  • 1.5 cups brown lentils

  • 6 cups water (5 cups if using Instant Pot)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 2 celery stalks, diced

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Add the following ingredients, stir in, and taste for seasonings

  • 1.5 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar or 1 Tablespoon date paste

  • 2 teaspoons red vinegar

Timing: About 90 minutes on the stovetop; about 30 minutes with the Instant Pot

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed (WFPBNO) if you use date paste instead of brown sugar

Gluten-free30

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Pumpkin Ice Cream Sundaes

By the Gracious Vegan

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This super-healthy pumpkin ice cream (no sugar, no added fat) is a great alternative to pumpkin pie after the Thanksgiving meal. It’s easiest if you make it right before serving — then it’s the texture of soft-serve ice cream. If you freeze it, you’ll need to let it sit out for 30-60 minutes before serving to get it back to the right consistency (it ices up a bit).

Makes 3.5-4 cups of ice cream

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor (I have better luck with the food processor) and blend/process on high until a smooth and creamy ice cream forms. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides one or more times. 

  • 3 bananas (cut into ½” cubes and frozen well in advance)

  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree 

  • 1/3 cup nondairy milk

  • 1/4 cup date paste

  • 1.5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Create sundaes with one or more of the following

  • Vegan Whipped Cream

  • Chopped roasted nuts

  • Dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, chopped dates)

  • Granola

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: if you already have date paste and frozen bananas, it take about 10 minutes

Gluten-free

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Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake

By the Gracious Vegan

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This miraculous concoction has no butter, oil, eggs, or sugar. The almond flour is the key for moisture and texture, and the dates kick in the sweetness. The result is a dense but not gooey cake—to me, that’s perfect.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease an 8" round cake pan lined with parchment paper.

Sift these ingredients into a medium/large bowl. 

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Add the flour and salt into the sifted ingredients, stir or whisk them together, and set aside. 

  • 1.5 cups almond flour (superfine or fine is best for the texture)

  • Pinch salt

Place the dates and liquids in a blender. Blend until a smooth paste forms.

  • 1.5 cups packed pitted dates

  • 3/4 cup water

  • 1/3 cup nondairy milk

Blend the following ingredients into the date paste for about 30 seconds so that the thickeners are activated.

  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until smooth. Spread the batter in the pan. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving so that it has time to set.

Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serve with fruit, date-sweetened Vegan Whipped Cream, Healthy Chocolate Fudge Sauce, toasted nuts, and/or chocolate banana ice cream.

Timing: About 50 minutes total, then cooling time

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed WFPBNO

Gluten-free

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Autumn Gravy Bowl

By the Gracious Vegan

This bowl can go in so many different directions. The beauty of it is that you can use all sorts of leftovers. The gravy pulls it together. 

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Makes: Varies

Base

  • Sweet, white, red, or Yukon gold potatoes—roasted, mashed, etc.

  • Wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, millet, or other grains

  • Leftover bread dressing

Cooked Vegetables (roasted, steamed, etc.) 

  • Broccoli

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Corn 

  • Green beans

  • Lima beans

Protein

Toppings

  • Dried cranberries

  • Walnuts 

Drizzled with

 

Timing: Hands-on time varies; total time varies

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed (WFPBNO)

Nutritional information per serving: Varies, depending on what ingredients you choose.

Gluten-free possibilities

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Potato-Vegetable Bake with Gravy

By the Gracious Vegan

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This is a variation on the British “Bubble and Squeak,” a dish using potato and cabbage leftovers, fried with butter, bacon, or other fats. Adding other vegetables and baking instead of frying result in a healthier dish with tons of savory goodness, especially when topped with gravy. Baked beans also go well with this dish.

Makes 7 servings 

You’ll need peeled, cooked potatoes. The fastest way to cook them is by placing potato chunks in a microwave-proof casserole or bowl, adding a couple tablespoons of water, covering, and cooking on high for 5-10 minutes until tender, stirring once halfway through. Timing will depend on your microwave and the chunk size. If you have leftover baked potatoes, they would work fine as well.

  • About 1.5 pounds russet, red, or Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cut into chunks

When the potatoes are done, put them in a large bowl and use a potato masher or pastry cutter to coarsely mash them. 

Separately, in a large microwave-proof casserole or bowl, cook the following in the microwave with a little water, until all the vegetables are tender, stirring once or twice, about 5-10 minutes. Add them to the bowl with the potatoes.

  • 1 large onion, chopped or thinly sliced

  • 4 large mushrooms (any kind), chopped or sliced

  • 1 red pepper, diced

  • 6 cups mixed chopped or shredded vegetables (cabbage, carrot, Brussels sprouts, broccoli slaw mix) 

Add the following ingredients to the bowl and stir well.

  • 1.5 teaspoons dried sage 

  • 1.5 teaspoons dried thyme leaves 

  • 1.25 teaspoons salt 

  • Freshly-ground black pepper

  • 1.5 cups cooked beans (if using canned, rinse and drain them) (optional)

Taste the mixture for salt and pepper and adjust if needed. Scoop it into the greased casserole dish, smooth the top, and press down a bit so things hold together. Spray lightly with oil on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until you can hear it fizzing, and the top has some nice brown bits on it. Serve with Gracious Vegan Easy Gravy.

 

Timing: Timing: Hands-on time 30 minutes, total time 50 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed (WFPBNO)

Nutritional information per serving (with beans, without gravy): 152 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat. fat, 33g carbs, 466mg sodium, 7mg fiber, 6g protein 

Gluten-free

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Vegan Dressing with Gravy

By the Gracious Vegan

Tweaked and perfected over the years, this recipe is great as is, but you can customize the vegetables and the seasonings.

Makes: 10 servings

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Heat the oven to 375°F.  Lightly grease a 9”x13” baking dish with oil or cooking spray. Make a vegan "egg" by putting the following ingredients into a two-cup measure. Blend with a stick (immersion) blender until the mixture is thick, about a minute. Set aside.

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened nondairy milk

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric

Tear or cut bread into 3/4-inch pieces until you have 8-10 cups. Put in a large bowl.

  • 14-16 ounces whole grain country, Italian, French, or other loaf (not sandwich bread). It should be dry, going stale. If it isn’t, bake the cubes for a few minutes in a 200º oven until they are dry. 

Microwave the following vegetables in a microwave-safe container until tender, 4-7 minutes, depending on your microwave. Add to the bowl with the bread.

  • 1 cup chopped celery

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 1 cup chopped carrots

  • 1 cup chopped green peppers

Add the following ingredients to the bowl and toss everything well.

  • 1 cup toasted nuts (all one type or mixed: walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, etc.)

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh, flat-leaf parsley

  • 1.5 Tablespoons dried sage

  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt 

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Pour the broth over the stuffing and stir gently. The bread should be moist but not soggy. Add up to another 1/2 cup of broth if necessary.

  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth, more as needed

Stir in the “egg.” Spread the stuffing into the greased casserole, cover tightly with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is lightly browned and crisp, another 20-30 minutes. Serve with Gracious Vegan Easy Gravy.

 

Timing: Hands-on time 45 minutes; total time 1 hour, 40 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed (WFPBNO)

Nutritional information per serving (without gravy): 193 calories, 8g fat, 1g sat. fat, 25g carbs, 441 mg sodium, 4mg fiber, 7g protein 

Gluten-free if gluten-free bread is used

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Apple Crisp with Date and Oat Crisp Topping

By the Gracious Vegan

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This very healthy version of apple crisp doesn’t sacrifice taste or satisfaction. You won’t believe there’s no butter or sugar. You have to try it to believe it. 

Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Peel and core apples. Thinly slice them into a large bowl.

  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples

Sprinkle the flour onto the apples and toss or fold them to coat the slices with flour.

  • 2 Tablespoons whole wheat pastry or other flour

Add the following ingredients into the apples and stir until all apples are coated and the date paste is well distributed. 

  • 1 cup date paste (here’s my recipe for Date Paste

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 large lemon)

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Spoon the mixture into a casserole dish or a glass baking pan. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. While the apples are baking, make the topping.

Topping. Chop the dates in a food processor until they are in small bits.

  • 3/4 cup dried dates, pitted

Add remaining ingredients and pulse to just combine them. 

  • 1/2 cup oat, whole wheat pastry, or other flour

  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

  • 1/4 cup cashew or almond butter

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats (instant or old-fashioned) 

  • 1/4 cup flaked or shredded coconut

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

The mixture should hold together enough to make small clumps. If it's too dry, add water, just a tablespoon at a time, to reach a clumping consistency. 

  • 2-4 Tablespoons water

When the apples have baked 35 minutes, remove from oven, spread the topping on the apples, return to oven, and bake 20 minutes, uncovered, or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden.

Serve with Vegan Cashew Cream if desired.

Timing: About 70 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if gluten-free flour is used

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Date Paste

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Dates are the best whole-food sweeteners for using in a wide range of recipes (as opposed to, say, bananas, which are a great sweetener for some dishes but not as versatile as dates). You can buy date sugar (very tiny dry chunks of dates), but I prefer date paste, which is just dates and water blended into an ultra-smooth paste. If a recipe calls for sugar, honey, or agave, I generally use double or just less than double the amount of date paste. Date paste doesn’t always work as a substitute—you need to test the recipe before, say, using it for a dinner party recipe.

Makes: Amount of date paste made is about the same as the measure of dates you start with

Start with a 3:1.25 dates-to-water ratio (e.g., 3 cups pitted dates to 1.25 cups water). Make sure all pits are removed. Cutting each in half beforehand will help. Do not use commercial chopped dates—the oat flour is not good for date paste.

Use a food processor to make the date paste. (I don’t have great luck with a blender, even a high-speed one, but maybe it will work for you.) You may have to stop and scrape down the sides one or more times. Once it’s smooth, you’re done. It can be frozen and will keep for months in the freezer. 

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: Under 10 minutes

Gluten-free

 

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Baked Tofu

By the Gracious Vegan

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Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put a piece of parchment paper on a sheet pan. 

Take tofu out of package. Dry it well, pressing on it, with paper towels.

  • 16 ounces extra firm tofu (not the shelf-stable vacuum-packed kind)

Slice it into 1/2” slices and lay the slices on the parchment paper.

Mix the following ingredients together in a small bowl.

  • 1 Tablespoon water

  • 1 teaspoon tahini

  • 1 teaspoon miso (white or yellow recommended; red if you like tangy miso)

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Added spices appropriate to your dish (e.g., thyme/rosemary/sage, smoked paprika/chili powder/garlic powder)

Brush both sides of the tofu slices with the mixture. Put the pan into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, then flip the slices. Then bake 15 minutes more, until both sides are golden. It will firm up more as it cools. 

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 45 minutes

Gluten-free with wheat-free tamari instead of soy sauce

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Moo Shu Vegetables

By the Gracious Vegan

Makes 6 servings

Every cuisine has some kind of wrap, and Moo Shu vegetables are a delicious Chinese-inspired wrap. The hoisin sauce is the key. It’s available at most grocery stores, and certainly at all Chinese-oriented Asian markets. It’s sweet and tangy, not spicy-hot. There are moo shu wrappers you can buy at Asian markets, or you can use flour tortillas. If you haven’t tried moo shu before, you’re in for a tasty surprise.

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Water-sauté these vegetables in a Dutch oven or other large open pan. The vegetables should be tender to your liking, and all the liquid should be evaporated.

  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or minced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced.

  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced

  • 8 mushrooms (any kind), sliced or chopped

  • 1 small head of green cabbage, shredded, or use bagged coleslaw (1 pound)

  • 1 carrot, grated (if your bagged slaw has a lot of carrots, you can omit this)

Stir the following ingredients and briefly heat the entire mixture together. Test for seasoning adjust with salt and pepper if needed.

  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce (will need more below)

  • 1.5 Tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1/2 Tablespoon Chinese rice vinegar (or other kind, but not balsamic)

  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame paste

  • 2 teaspoons water

  • 1 teaspoon sugar or agave syrup (or 2 teaspoons date paste)

Stir in the tofu

  • 6-8 ounces baked tofu, cut into small pieces (use my Baked Tofu recipe, or you can buy already baked tofu in many stores)

Remove mixture from heat. Warm your wrappers of choice. Spread about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of hoisin sauce on each wrapper. Divide filling evenly into wrappers and top with a bit of sesame seeds. 

  • 12 small or 6 large whole wheat flour tortillas or rice flour wrappers

Extra hoisin sauce

Nutrition: Mostly unprocessed (the hoisin has sugar in it)

Time: 25-30 minutes

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Vegan Whipped Cream

By the Gracious Vegan

Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake with Vegan Whipped Cream

Vegan Flourless Chocolate Cake with Vegan Whipped Cream

This cashew-based whipped cream has a unique flavor. It’s not the same as dairy whipped cream. Many omnivores like it better. By using date paste, you can make this a whole-food recipe, with no processed ingredients and no added fats or sugar.

Soak cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes. (Even if you have a high-speed blender I recommend soaking the cashews, since you won’t be using a lot of water.) 

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews

Drain and rinse the cashews and put them in a blender with the following ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup water (or more, if you use date paste)

  • 5 Tablespoons date paste, or 2 Tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum (you can omit this; it makes the cream a bit stiffer, similar to the effect of gelatin)

  • A pinch of salt

Blend on high for up to several minutes, until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a sealed container and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to thicken.

The whipped cream will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. It can also be frozen. You may have to whisk or blend it after letting it thaw.

See a brief explanation of xanthan gum.

Timing: About 25 minutes if you use the boiling-water soaking method

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed (if you use date paste); WFPBNO

Gluten-free

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Sweet Potato Pecan Pie with Gingersnap Crust

By The Gracious Vegan

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Make this for Thanksgiving and you will be showered with praise. It’s not whole-food unprocessed, but it’s incredibly delicious and can show omnivores how good desserts can be without dairy and eggs.

Makes: 12 slices

Preheat oven to 365° F.

Crust. Use a food processor to break down the gingersnap cookies into crumbs

  • 9 ounces gingersnap cookies

Add the following ingredients and process briefly until incorporated. 

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 5 Tablespoons vegan butter, melted

Transfer the crumbs to a 9-inch springform pan and pat with your hands into the bottom and up the sides (about 1 - 1.5 inches). Bake the crust for 5 minutes.

Sweet potato layer. Process the following ingredients in the food processor until smooth.

  • 1.5 cups cooked sweet potato (18 ounces baked or microwaved, skins removed)

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup tofu (I prefer firm silken tofu that comes in the vacuum pack) (see more tofu needed below)

  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Carefully spread the sweet potato mixture over bottom of pie shell.

Pecan layer. Sprinkle the pecans over the sweet potato layer.

  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Process the following ingredients in the same food processor.

  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup

  • 3/8 cup tofu (same recommendation as above)

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted

  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder or cornstarch

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the corn syrup mixture gently over the nuts and smooth it out evenly. 

Bake for 60 minutes or until the top is bubbly and the filling looks almost fully set. Cool on wire rack.

Serve with Vegan Whipped Cream.

Timing: Hands-on time 30 minutes; Total time 90 minutes + cooling

Nutrition: About equal processed and unprocessed ingredients. 

Nutritional information per serving: 336 calories, 13g fat, 3g sat. fat, 52g carbs, 255mg sodium, 2mg fiber, 3g protein 

Gluten-free if gluten-free crust is used

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No-Oil Roasted Sweet Potatoes in Bowls 

By The Gracious Vegan

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Sweet potato cubes can be roasted on parchment paper without oil and will bake up nicely. The approach here is different. The tahini mixture coats the sweet potatoes and browns as the sweet potatoes roast. You get closer to a roasted look and feel but without the oil. 

Makes: 4 servings

Roast the sweet potatoes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Whisk the following ingredients together in a large bowl. 

  • 5 teaspoons water

  • 4 teaspoons tahini

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Pinch of smoked paprika

Add in the cubed sweet potatoes and fold with a spatula until all the cubes are coated. 

16 ounces sweet potatoes, 1-inch cubes

Pour the sweet potato cubes onto the parchment paper. Roast for 15 minutes, then flip and roast for 10-15 minutes more, until desired tenderness is reached. If needed, switch to broiler mode and broil the potatoes 1-2 minutes to get the tops brown.

Ideas for bowls

Lebanese-inspired

Garbanzo beans; Cucumber, tomatoes, onions; Tahini Sauce; green onions, Greek or green olives

Greek-inspired

Black beluga lentils; Tomatoes, onions, zucchini; Vegan Tzatziki; green onions, Greek olives

Mexican-inspired

Black beans; Corn, peppers, tomatoes; Vegan Crema and/or salsa; California olives, pepitas, cilantro

Thai-inspired

Baked/broiled tofu, tempeh; bell peppers, zucchini; peanut sauce; cilantro, lime zest

Indian-inspired

Baked/broiled tofu, tempeh; green beans, cauliflower, bell peppers; curry sauce; cilantro, garam masala

Timing: Hands-on time 20 minutes; Total time 45 minutes                                                

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving (roasted sweet potatoes only): 126 calories, 3g fat, 1g sat. fat, 23g carbs, 355mg sodium, 4mg fiber, 3g protein

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Baked Sweet Potatoes with Easy, Tasty Toppings 

By The Gracious Vegan

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Easy baked sweet potatoes can make for a quick lunch or dinner. Combine them with leftover soup or salad, and you’ve got a meal. 

Makes: Adjustable

Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven, microwave, or Instant Pot. Wash, dry, and pierce each sweet potato in several places with a fork or pointed knife. 

  • Sweet potatoes (as many as you want)

For oven-baking, place the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Baking times can vary depending on potato size.

For microwave-baking, wrap each sweet potato in a paper towel (it doesn’t need to be moist). Microwave for 3 minutes, check it, then cook for a minute at a time until just tender (they will continue softening). Baking times will vary depending on your oven, how many potatoes you bake together, and the size of the potatoes.  

For Instant Pot, put 1 cup cold water in the pot, insert the steamer rack that came with your Instant Pot. Slice each sweet potato in half the long way. Pile the sweet potato halves on the rack, putting the fattest halves on the bottom and facing all the cut sides up. Set on “Steam” for 4 minutes. Use natural release method (10 minutes). 

Suggestions for toppings

  • Black beans and salsa (Guacamole optional)

  • Chili beans and Vegan Crema (ditto on Guacamole)

  • Cowboy caviar (a mixture of black-eyed peas, corn, avocado, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, a little vinegar and salt)

  • Chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and cucumber with Tahini Sauce

  • Leftover chili

  • Cooked vegetables with leftover sauce (peanut sauce, creamy tomato sauce, white garlic sauce, creamy pesto sauce, gravy)

  • Vegan Crema, pomegranate molasses, and an interesting dried spice like urfa biber, za’atar, or Aleppo pepper

Timing: Hands-on time 10 minutes; Total time 10-60 minutes                                             

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving (one 8-ounce sweet potato without toppings: 192 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat. fat, 46g carbs, 128mg sodium, 7mg fiber, 3g protein 

Gluten-free

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Sweet Potato Cakes

By The Gracious Vegan

Sweet Potato Cakes with  Vegan Tzatziki

Sweet Potato Cakes with Vegan Tzatziki

This recipe looks a little fussy at first glance, but it results in beautiful, tasty sweet potato cakes with a light texture, and if you make it a few times, it will become routine.

Makes: 16 cakes (5 servings)

Preheat oven to 425°. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray the papers with cooking spray. 

Microwave one of the sweet potatoes (poke it with the point of a knife in a few places to allow air to escape; cook on high for about 5 minutes or until soft). Scoop out the flesh into a bowl and mash it. 

Grate the other two raw sweet potatoes. 

  • 3 sweet potatoes totaling around 1.5 pounds 

Make a vegan "egg" by blending the following ingredients together with a stick blender in an appropriately sized container (e.g., a two-cup measure). Blend on high until the mixture is thick, about a minute. 

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened nondairy milk

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum

  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon turmeric

Combine the mashed and grated potatoes, the “egg,” and the following ingredients in a medium/large bowl and stir together. 

  • 4 green onions, greens and whites, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup dried bread crumbs (whole wheat crumbs work well)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Create potato cakes by taking 1/4-cups of the mixture, flattening them, and laying them on the sprayed parchment paper. Spray tops with cooking spray. Bake 20 minutes, then flip them over. Bake another 6-8 minutes until golden. 

Serve with Vegan Tzatziki or a gravy or sauce.

Timing: Hands-on time 25 minutes; Total time: 55 minutes                                                

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 147 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat. fat, 33g carbs, 679mg sodium, 5mg fiber, 3g protein

Gluten-free if using gluten-free flour

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Curried Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup

By The Gracious Vegan

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Substituting creamed cashews, water, and coconut extract for coconut milk really saves on saturated fat. A quarter-cup of coconut milk has 11 grams of saturated fat, as much as a Burger King Whopper. In this soup, the sweet potatoes, lentils, spices, vegetables, and coconut milk substitutes make for irresistible texture and taste. No sacrifice here.

Makes: 10 servings

Create cashew milk for the soup by blending the cashews and water together on high for 30 seconds or longer, until the cashews are dissolved. (If you do not have a high speed blender, soak the cashews for 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them and soak them for 20 minutes; drain.) Set aside. 

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews

  • 1.5 cups water

Combine the following ingredients in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are done and the sweet potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. 

  • 8 cups vegetable stock

  • 1 large (red or yellow) onion, minced

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger root

  • 16-18 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2” dice (about 4 cups)

  • 2 cups dried brown or red lentils

  • 1 medium or large red pepper, diced

  • 1.5 Tablespoons curry powder

  • 1/8 teaspoon (or more) crushed red pepper flakes

Once the soup is cooked, stir in the following ingredients and cook gently for a few minutes until desired thickness is achieved.

  • The 1.5 cups of cashew milk

  • Juice of one lime (about 2 Tablespoons)

  • 1/4 cup (packed) cilantro, finely chopped

  • 3-4 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Salt will likely not be needed because of the soy sauce, but add in salt if desired. 

Timing: Hands-on time 30 minutes; Total time 70 minutes  

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 197 calories, 1g fat, 0g sat. fat, 35g carbs, 639mg sodium, 8mg fiber, 12g protein 

Gluten-free

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Gracious Vegan Tahini Sauce

By the Gracious Vegan

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I worked hard to get these proportions right. This comes out right every time, at least for my tastebuds. This works on everything: falafel, baked potatoes (sweet or white), all sorts of vegetables, and cooked grains as well. It is fast to make and lasts about a week in the refrigerator.

Makes 1.5 cups

Blend these together (food processor, blender, or stick blender). Add more water if needed.

  • 3/4 cup tahini

  • 1/2 cup warm water

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Timing: About 10 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food, unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information (per Tablespoon): 46 calories, 4g fat, 1g sat. fat, 1g carbs, 49mg sodium, 1mg fiber2g protein

Gluten-free

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Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnut Butter

By the Gracious Vegan

Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnut Butter FB 2.jpg

I adapted this recipe from the cooking magazine Fine Cooking. I decreased the amounts of nuts, oil, and butter by a lot and made the process easier. Otherwise they nailed it, especially with the combination of lemon zest and fresh thyme. This is a special dish. I recommend serving it with Pesto Stuff Pasta Shells for an elegant dinner. 

Serves 4-6 as a side.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Put the hazelnuts on a small rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven until they are just golden—check after 5 minutes and check after 2-minute increments from there.

  • ¼ cup hazelnuts (whole or chopped, about 1 oz.)

Turn the oven to 425°. Let the nuts cool for about 10 minutes. Finely chop the nuts in a small food processor. The nuts should be finely ground, but not so much that they turn into nut butter.

Pulse the finely chopped nuts together with the following ingredients in the food processor and set aside.

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

  • 1.5 teaspoon lightly chopped fresh thyme

  • ½ teaspoon agave nectar

  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Separately, toss together

  • 1.75 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered or cut into 6 wedges if very large (about 6 cups)

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1.5 Tablespoons olive oil

Roast the sprouts for 15-20 minutes at 425°. If they are not golden, stir and roast longer until done. Remove from oven and stir in the vegan butter and the nut-herb-agave mixture in the roasting pan.

  • 1.5 Tablespoons vegan butter, cubed

Transfer the sprouts to a warm serving dish or arrange sprouts on each plate.

Timing: about 40 minutes

Nutrition: Mostly whole-food

Gluten-free

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Cold Sesame Noodles, Without Oil

By the Gracious Vegan

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I finally discovered the secret to “real” cold sesame noodles: it’s the Chinese sesame paste. There isn’t a good substitution. If you have access to an Asian grocery store, that’s your best bet, but you can find it online as well. I owe this find to Sam Sifton of the New York Times and his recipe for Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles. I adapted and tweaked his recipe to remove the oil. I added options for whole wheat noodles and dates instead of sugar. The flavors are recall the best sesame noodles from Chinese restaurants, without the greasiness you can sometimes get.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until barely tender, about 5 minutes. (If you choose whole wheat noodles, it may take longer.) Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and pat dry with a paper towel.

  • 9 ounces dried chow mein noodles (or other noodles that don’t contain eggs)

In a medium bowl, blender, or food processor, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

  • 5 Tablespoons soy sauce

  • 4.5 Tablespoons Chinese (roasted) sesame paste

  • 1.5 Tablespoons water

  • 3 Tablespoons smooth peanut butter

  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (or 3 Tablespoons date paste)

  • 1.5 Tablespoon Chinese rice vinegar

  • 1.5 Tablespoon finely grated ginger

  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (3 medium cloves)

  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon chili-garlic paste, or to taste

Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with

  • Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch by 2-inch sticks

  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts

Timing: less than 30 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed if you use whole wheat noodles and dates; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free noodles

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