Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

By the Gracious Vegan

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I am not a huge pudding fan, but combined with chocolate crumbs and whipped cashew cream, this pudding knocks it out of the park. It’s delicious and healthy at the same time. If you make just the pudding, you may want to choose cornstarch instead of ground chia seeds for the smoothest result. It doesn't matter with the parfaits, because the texture of the chocolate crumbs and the pudding get mixed together when you eat them.

Makes 3 cups of pudding and 1 cup of chocolate crumbs  

Soak the cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes.

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews

Blend the following ingredients in a blender until smooth. 

  • The soaked cashews

  • 2 cups water

  • 3/8 cup (6 Tablespoons) maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 2 Tablespoons almond butter

  • 1 Tablespoon ground chia seeds or 1.5 Tablespoon cornstarch (I grind the chia seeds in a coffee grinder)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pour the mixture into a saucepan, stirring often with a whisk, and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce the heat immediately and boil on low heat for 1-2 minutes, until it thickens up. Transfer to a bowl or other container and put into the refrigerator to cool for at least 3 hours. 

Make the chocolate crumbs separately by putting all ingredients in a food processor or small blender (like a “bullet”).

  • 1/2 cup dates

  • 1/2 cup almonds (I like toasted, but raw works too)

  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

  • 1/2 Tablespoon water

  • Pinch salt

Make parfaits in ramekins, ice cream dishes, or other kind of individual containers. Or make a layered pudding in a larger dish. Alternate layers of pudding and crumbs, then top with:

 Timing: Hands-on time 25 minutes; total time 25 minutes + 3 hours cooling time

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving (9): 181 calories, 10g fat, 1g sat. fat, 23g carbs, 3mg sodium, 3g fiber4g protein 

Gluten-free

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Grilled Olive Tapenade and Almond Goat Cheese Sandwiches

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These sandwiches evoke a special memory. On one visit to New Jersey by my sister and her daughters, I made and packed grilled tapenade and goat cheese sandwiches for our trip into New York City. We ate them on the train, and everyone loved them—they still talk about those sandwiches years later! Once I became a vegan, I feared that I’d never make them again. But now I can make them, even without butter or oil, and they taste fantastic! They take me back to that train ride and the wonderful day trip we had.

Adjust portions for as many sandwiches as you need. Spread one side of each slice of bread with mayonnaise or a very thin layer of tahini. Join together the two sides with mayo or tahini and lay the pairs on a plate or counter so you can spread the fillings on the top slice.

  • Whole grain bread

  • Vegan mayonnaise (I use this oil-free recipe, or store-bought is fine, but is not oil-free) or tahini

Spread a thin layer of olive tapenade on the bread. Then make thin slices of the goat cheese and spread them as much as possible on top of the tapenade.

Heat a skillet or griddle to medium-low. Uncouple the two pieces of bread. Put the one with the fillings on it mayo-side down on the griddle. Top that slice with the other piece of bread, mayo-side up. Cook for 2-4 minutes, until the bottom is golden (it can burn quickly). Then carefully flip the sandwich over. Cook for another few minutes until the second side is golden. Serve and enjoy!

Timing: 10 minutes if all the ingredients are made

Nutrition: Whole-food un-processed (if the mayonnaise is oil-free); WFPBNO

Gluten-free if gluten-free bread is used


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Red Cabbage with Almond Goat Cheese and Pecans

By the Gracious Vegan

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I owe the genesis of this dish to Deborah Madison’s Warm Red Cabbage Salad. It took a lot of undoing and redoing, however, to create something as magical without oil and without dairy cheese. This is a dish with amazing flavors and totally worth the work every now and then. The dish itself doesn’t take too much work, but it’s not every day that I make the almond-based goat cheese that is a must for this to work.

Add the following ingredients to a Dutch oven or wide skillet. Add 1/4 cup water and cook the vegetables until they are wilted to your preference. This takes about 10 minutes. I covered the pot for the first 5 minutes, then uncovered it for the remaining time so that the water evaporated. 

  • 20 ounces red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced or shredded  (about 5 cups)

  • 1 red apple (do not peel), cored, cut into 8 slices and then thinly sliced

  • 1/2 large red onion, quartered and thinly sliced

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Add the following and stir just enough to combine. Remove from heat quickly and serve.

  • About 2.5 ounces of Almond Goat Cheese (about a quarter of a 6” round), crumbled

  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans

  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup pitted and halved Greek or Kalamata olives

  • 1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar (or other kind if you don’t have sherry vinegar, but it is pleasingly mellow in this dish)

  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley (or 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh)

  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram (or 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh)

  • 1/2  teaspoon salt

  • Fresh ground pepper

Timing: About 30 minutes (assuming the goat cheese is made)

Nutrition: Whole-food, unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free

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15-Minute Plant-Based Bowls

By the Gracious Vegan

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Bowls aren’t always the fastest meal to make. You have to be very strategic to cook everything for a bowl in 15 minutes. Here are my suggestions. With a buddy in the kitchen, 15 minutes is definitely doable. Even with one cook it’s possible, but not as fun.  

Quick cooking grain 

  • Whole wheat, regular, or tri-color couscous (pour boiling water, amount equal to couscous, over it, cover, wait 5 minutes, stir, wait another 5 minutes)

  • Bulgur (boil 10-12 minutes with twice as much water as bulgur) 

  • Buckwheat groats (boil 10-12 minutes with twice as much water as groats)

  • Quinoa (boil 10-12 minutes uncovered with twice as much water as quinoa, then cover and let sit 5 minutes)

  • Cauliflower or broccoli rice (microwaving is the fastest way to cook these)

  • Prepare frozen or shelf-stable brown rice

 Protein

  • Beans (broil them with the vegetables) *

  • Broiled tofu or seitan *

Vegetables

  • Broiled zucchini *

  • Raw diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions

  • Boiled/microwaved corn, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, and/or other

Sauce

Toppings

  • Green onions

  • Shredded red cabbage

  • Olives

  • Pepitas or other seeds

  • Cilantro

  • Lime zest

  • Garam masala

* Easy basting sauce for broiling vegetables and proteins: 

  • 3 Tablespoons water

  • 1 Tablespoon miso (your choice of color/strength)

  • 1 Tablespoon tahini

  • 1.5 teaspoon lemon pepper or other spice mix

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Zucchini Curry Soup with Legume Soup Mix

By the Gracious Vegan

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I’ve already published a Curried Zucchini Soup recipe, but this variation was too good to bury there. I love the soup mixes you can buy that have a mix of split peas, lentils, barley, and tiny pasta. The ingredient list is short, and the method couldn’t be simpler. On the stove or in the Instant Pot, you just put everything together and let it cook until everything is wonderfully mushed together. I prefer not to puree this soup — I like the chunkiness of it.

Makes 5 servings

Add the following ingredients to a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Simmer, covered, for 60 minutes. (Or use an Instant Pot: use 4 cups water or broth, set on Manual for 15 minutes, 10-15 minute Natural Release.)

  • 1 small-medium onion, diced

  • 1 medium carrot, diced

  • 2 medium stalks celery, diced

  • 12 ounces zucchini, sliced or diced

  • 4.5 cups water or broth

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Vegi Soup Mix or other split-pea- or lentil-based soup mix (without flavoring packets) *

  • 2 teaspoons coriander

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Add salt to taste. Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree the soup, if desired. 

  • 1 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste)

Timing: Instant Pot about 45 minutes; stove-top about 75 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if you make your own mix or buy a gluten free mix

* To make 4 cups of your own mix, combine 1.25 cup yellow split peas, 1.25 cup green split peas, 1/2 cup brown lentils, 1/2 cup barley (or gluten-free grain like buckwheat), and 1/2 cup small or broken up pasta

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Pasta e Fagioli

By the Gracious Vegan

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“When the stars make you drool, like a pasta fazool / That's amore.” This stew is worth singing over! I started with an Olive Garden copycat recipe I found, then I had to take out the oil and meat and build up the meatless flavor. It works! The fresh basil and the combination of oregano, thyme, and garlic give this a classic and satisfying taste. Topping with vegan parmesan adds more layers of flavor and texture and is so worth it.

Makes 7.5 cups (5 servings)

Put the following ingredients in a Dutch oven or soup pot. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, until vegetables are tender, 10-15 minutes. 

  • 1 small onion or half large onion, diced or chopped

  • 2 small/medium carrots, diced or chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, diced or chopped

  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water

Add the following ingredients and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, partly covered. 

  • 2 cans (15-ounce) of cooked beans (I like one can each of pinto and small white beans, but any kind works well), drained and rinsed

  • 1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce

  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced or petite-diced tomatoes

  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

While the stew is cooking, cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions; drain well and set aside.

  • 1 cup (dry) small pasta (ditalini is a common choice, but choose any kind you want)

After the stew is cooked, add the following ingredients, stir, and serve. 

  • The cooked pasta

  • 1/3 cup (well packed) chopped or sliced fresh basil (or 1.5 teaspoons dried basil added earlier with the other spices, but fresh works better)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Optional topping:

If there are leftovers, the pasta will swell up and absorb some of the liquid. You can add water or more tomato sauce. 

Timing: about 45 minutes

Nutrition: whole food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if made with gluten-free pasta

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Jam Thumbprint Cookies

By the Gracious Vegan

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In my quest to devise sweet things with no sugar, butter, oil, or eggs, I found several recipes that involved tahini, one of my favorite ingredients. In sweet foods, tahini can taste a little bitter to some people, but I happen to love that edge. If your tastes run toward very sweet desserts, you may not like these, because the sweetness (from date sugar) is mellow. Note that the date sugar makes these dark—they almost look like a chocolate cookie. A winner!

Makes 20-24 cookies

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two sheet or cookie pans with silicone sheets or parchment paper. Whisk together the following ingredients in a mixing bowl and set aside.

  • 1 cup almond flour

  • 3/4 cup date sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • Pinch salt

In a smaller bowl or in a food processor, combine the following ingredients until they are smoothly combined. 

  • 1/2 cup tahini

  • 3/8 cup water 

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the tahini mixture to the flour mixture and stir until smooth. If mixture is still crumbly, add water by the tablespoon as needed until smooth dough forms. 

Form the dough into 1-inch balls and roll them in the sesame seeds before placing them onto the cookie sheet. 

  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds

Slightly flatten the balls and press a thumbprint into the center of each cookie. They will not spread much, so they can be fairly close together. Bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes or until the sesame seeds just start to brown.

Remove the cookies from the oven and fill each one with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Place the cookies on a wire rack to cool.

  • 1/4 cup raspberry or other jam*

*To make a homemade berry filling, mash fresh, ripe berries (or berries that have been thawed) with maple syrup or agave nectar until desired consistency is reached.

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 45 minutes

Gluten-free 

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Wonder Bars 

By the Gracious Vegan

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When I was in Seattle recently, I bought a Flying Apron Peanut Butter Joy bar. It was incredibly delicious. I set out to create a slightly healthier version by replacing rice and maple syrups with date paste and replacing sugar-sweetened chocolate chips with alternatives. Based on the rave reviews of these bars, I think I’ve succeeded.

Makes 18 bars (3” x 1.5”)

Line a 9”x9” pan with parchment paper.

Mix the following ingredients in a medium-large bowl with a wooden spoon.

  • 1.5 cups rolled oats (the quick-cooking/instant kind, not old-fashioned, which result in a type of chewy texture I don’t like)

  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (I prefer smooth) (heat it in the microwave to soften it if it’s hard to stir)

  • 3/4 cup date paste

  • 1/3 cup raisins

  • 1/4 cup shredded or flaked coconut (unsweetened)

  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds or other roasted seed

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Spread the mixture into the lined pan and spread it out into an even layer. 

Top the mixture with any/all of the following – press the toppings into the bars.

  • 1 Tablespoon (or more) flaked coconut

  • 1 Tablespoon (or more) cocoa nibs

  • 1 Tablespoon (or more) chopped nuts

  • (not whole-food unprocessed) Melt 2/3 cup chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon coconut oil together; spread over the top and sprinkle with flaked coconut or chopped nuts

Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour or until set. 

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: 15 minutes to make (if date paste already made), 1 hour to chill

Gluten-free

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Gracious Vegan Carrot Cake 

By the Gracious Vegan

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This recipe is an adaptation of Robin Robertson’s recipe for carrot cake. I did the multiplication to have enough for two layers or a 13x9 cake, plus I futzed with the measurements and replaced some of the oil with applesauce. Carrot cake is a bit old-fashioned now, but the autumn-spice flavor and the complex texture are timeless and appealing.

Makes one 8” double-layer cake or one 13”x9” cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F. For a layer cake, line two 8” round pans with parchment or wax paper. Spray the sides lightly with spray-oil. For a sheet cake, spray an aluminum or glass 9x13” pan with spray-oil.

In a medium bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. 

  • 3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour (or a combination)

  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the following ingredients. 

  • 1 + 1/3 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup nondairy milk

  • 3/8 cup applesauce

  • 3/8 cup canola or other neutral oil

  • 3/8 cup maple syrup

  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Then stir in the carrots and add-ins until just combined.

  • 3 cups grated carrots

  • 1/2 cup golden raisins and/or 1/2 cup shredded coconut and/or 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 30-40 minutes for 8” rounds or 40-45 minutes for 13x9”. The cake should be a definite shade darker than the raw batter, with the edges even darker, and a toothpick should come out clean.

For 8” rounds, let the cakes cool in pan for 15 minutes, then invert them onto wire racks to cool completely. 

Frost with: 

Timing: About 70 minutes, then more time to cool

Nutrition: Healthier than many cakes

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Vegan Cashew “Cream Cheese” Frosting

By the Gracious Vegan

This frosting goes well with the  Gracious Vegan Carrot Cake .

This frosting goes well with the Gracious Vegan Carrot Cake.

I don’t like frosting with a lot of vegan butter and shortening in them. I kept experimenting with combining a smaller portion of vegan butter than usual with some whipped cashew cream. The problem was that the water used in the whipped cashew cream made the frosting watery. So I approached it another way: I melted the vegan butter and had it serve as a liquid for whipping up the cashew cream. After you blend them together (with a few other ingredients) until the cashews dissolve, you refrigerate or freeze the mixture, then use a mixer to make it fluffy. I wish it could eliminate the chilling step, but I haven’t found a way to do so.

IMakes about 1.75 cups

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).

  • 1 cup raw cashew pieces

Melt butter in a small container in the microwave (or on the stove). 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter

Put the melted butter and soaked (and well-drained) cashews in the blender. Add the following ingredients. Blend on high under you have very smooth cream. 

  • 2 Tablespoons water 

  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • A pinch of salt

Add powdered sugar and blend again until smooth. 

  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar

Transfer to a container or the bowl you use with your mixer. Refrigerate the frosting for at least 4 hours (or freeze for 2 hours). Then whip it with a mixer on high for about 2 to 3 minutes until the frosting is smooth and as fluffy as you can get it. 

Timing: Over 2 hours because of the needed chilling

Nutrition: Not healthy, but better for you than frosting made with butter and shortening

Gluten-free

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Vegan White Chocolate Cashew Buttercream

By the Gracious Vegan

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After I included vegan white chocolate chunks in a contest-winning cookie recipe last Christmas, I decided I wanted that flavor in a cake frosting. Many experiments later, I have arrived at this solution. This frosting also serves well as a filling, as I show in this photo with the Gracious Vegan Almond Poppy Seed Cake.

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).

  • 1 cup raw cashew pieces

When they are done soaking, rinse and drain them. Then put them in the bottom of a blender and add just enough water to barely cover them. Blend on high under you have very smooth cashew cream. Set aside. 

Separately cream butter with a mixer on medium speed.

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter at room temperature

Very carefully melt the white chocolate. Use a double-broiler or a microwave (for the microwave, start with 45 seconds, stir, then 30 seconds, stir, then 10-second increments). Stop heating the chocolate when there are still a few small lumps of unmelted chocolate in the bowl and stir them smooth. Do not let it cool much before adding to the butter, or else there will be chunky pieces of chocolate in the frosting. Add to the creamed vegan butter and whip on medium until creamy.

  • 3.5 ounces vegan white chocolate chips or roughly chopped bar chocolate

Add powdered sugar, and cream on medium until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. 

  • 1.25 cups powdered sugar

Stir in the following ingredients and beat on high for about 1 to 3 minutes until the buttercream frosting is smooth and fluffy. 

  • Cashew cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • A pinch of salt

Timing: About 20 minutes

Nutrition: Not healthy, but vegan/plant-based

Gluten-free

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Gracious Vegan Almond Poppy Seed Cake

By the Gracious Vegan

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This is a barely adapted recipe from Vegan Richa. The reason I am not simply linking to it is that her recipe is difficult to triple (I rounded some to the nearest familiar measure for ease) and I added extra nondairy milk, because every time I made her recipe it was too thick. Note that the cake will be darker if you use almond flour made from unblanched almond. I think it’s prettier to use blanched, but both ways work well. This cake has a phenomenal flavor as well as texture. It has a moist, delicate crumb.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9” round cake pan with parchment or wax paper, or use a tube pan. Spray the sides of the pan with spray oil.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, mix the flax and milk and let them sit for 5 minutes. 

  • 1 cup nondairy milk 

  • 3/8 cup (6 Tablespoons) flaxseed meal

After 5 minutes, add the following ingredients and mix well.

  • 1/2 cup granulated organic cane sugar

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar (white or apple cider vinegar)

  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract (if lemon flavor is preferred, you can use lemon extract or your desired amount of lemon zest)

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients together and break up any lumps with a spoon or whisk. 

  • 3 cups almond flour

  • 3/4 cup starch (recommended: 1/2 cup potato starch + 1/4 cup tapioca starch)*

  • 3 Tablespoons poppy seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well until smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick from the center comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the pan. Cool completely before icing. For a layer cake, slice the 9” round in half and fill with Vegan White Chocolate Cashew Buttercream, then top with a berry sauce and berries. Note that spreading frosting on the cut side of one of these layers is difficult, because the crumbs come off the cake and onto the frosting. It works best by piping the filling or turning over the bottom layer so that the bottom of the cake is in the middle.

* A note about starches. Too much tapioca starch (which is the same as tapioca flour) or cornstarch can make baked goods too dense. Too much potato starch (not the same as potato flour) can make baked goods too crumbly. This is why Vegan Richa suggests the blend she does. This cake’s texture is on the crumbly side, which is one reason I like it. You could go half potato starch and half tapioca or cornstarch.

Timing: 15 minutes to prepare it, 30 to bake, and 15 to cool

Nutrition: Mostly healthy, though it contains some sugar

Gluten-free

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Hummus Variations: Beet and Spinach

By the Gracious Vegan

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I used to buy red pepper hummus from the store, so once I started making my own hummus at home, I wondered about adding other things to it. These two variations are the most colorful I found: beet and spinach. In addition to being tasty, the vegetables significantly lower the calorie count of the hummus.

Beet Hummus

Process 1 cup of Better-Than-Store-Bought Hummus with one can of sliced beets (well drained) and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. Yield will be about 1.75 cups.

Spinach Hummus

Process 1 cup of Better-Than-Store-Bought Hummus with one 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and very well squeezed dry) and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. Yield will be about 1.75 cups. 

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: about 20 minutes

Gluten-free

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Better-Than-Store-Bought Hummus

By the Gracious Vegan

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This recipe comes at the end of many years of experimentation with hummus recipes. I was searching for the type of hummus you get at Middle Eastern restaurants, but with a method that wouldn’t take 24 hours of soaking the chickpeas. This recipe works really well. The final ah-ha moment came when I figure out to process the chickpeas with the water and lemon juice before adding the tahini. That helps get the mixture as smooth as possible.

Makes about 4 cups of hummus

Place chickpeas in a food processor and process until you get a stiff paste. 

  • Two (15-ounce) cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Add the following ingredients and process for several minutes until the paste is very smooth. (It may be a little thin at this point – don’t worry.)

  • 3/8 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 3/8 cup water 

  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

Add tahini and salt and continue processing until smooth again. 

  • 1 cup tahini

  • 1.5 teaspoons salt

Add more water as needed (a Tablespoon at a time) to get the right creamy consistency.

  • Up to 1/4 cup additional water

If not using hummus immediately, refrigerate up to four days. You may need to stir in more water after it’s chilled. 

Nutrition: whole food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: about 15 minutes

Gluten-free

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Classic-Style Vegan Enchiladas 

By the Gracious Vegan

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I grew up in Southern California when you couldn’t get authentic Mexican food everywhere. No food trucks, no pop-ups, no regional Mexican cuisines. I love all the new dishes you can get, but I still love the flavor of classic red enchilada sauce. Over the last couple of years I’ve tried so many types of fillings that I’ve lost count. Finally a combination clicked — mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and corn. I use a little tofu, with spices, to bind them together so the rolling is as easy as possible. I hope you find these as satisfying and delicious as I do.

Makes 16-20 enchiladas

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

Water-sauté (start with 1 Tablespoon water) the following ingredients in a large skillet or Dutch oven until the vegetables are tender and all the liquid released by the mushrooms is evaporated, 10-15 minutes. 

  • 4 cups diced mushrooms (about 10 ounces)

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1 red pepper, diced

  • 1 green pepper, diced

After the vegetables are tender, add the corn and cook for a few minutes to incorporate and thaw it, if frozen. Take off the heat. 

  • 1 cup corn (fresh, canned, or frozen)

Separately, blend the following ingredients in a mini chopper or with an immersion (stick) blender or whisk until smooth.

  • 1/2 cup silken tofu (any kind)

  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix the tofu mixture into the vegetables for your filling.

Use one or two shallow casserole or glass baking dishes. Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish. Pour a cup of sauce into a pie plate where you can cover the tortillas with sauce. Briefly microwave a few tortillas at a time so they are as soft as possible. Dip each one into the pie plate with sauce and turn it over to coat it. Then lay it down (in the casserole dish) and put 3-4 Tablespoons filling at one end and roll it up. Place it at the end of the casserole dish. Continue with the rest of the tortillas and filling. Top with more enchilada sauce. 

If you like your enchiladas to stay very moist, cover the casserole with foil and bake at 375°for about 20 minutes. If you like them drier, bake for about 25 minutes, uncovered. In both cases you should hear some sizzling, which tells you they’re baked through. 

Serve with any/all of the following.

Timing: About an hour

Nutrition: Whole food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free

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No-Sacrifice Tahini-Dill Dressing

By the Gracious Vegan

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At only 29 calories per tablespoon (compared to at least 75 or 80 for most dressings), this no-oil tahini-based dressing offers full flavors that can stand up to and complement many different types of salad. 

Makes about 1.5 cups

Blend the following ingredients together in a blender or in a container with an immersion (stick) blender until smooth. 

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 3/4 cup water  

  • 3/8 cup tahini   

  • 3/8 cup silken tofu

  • 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1.5 teaspoons cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Freshly ground pepper

Add the dill and blend just a few second to distribute it into the entire mixture. 

  • 1/4 cup packed fresh dill or 1 Tablespoon dried dill

Transfer the dressing to a glass or plastic container and chill. The dressing may appear too thin when you first make it. It will thicken up overnight in the refrigerator. Chill. It will keep 7-10 days in the refrigerator. 

Timing: Under 15 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food minimally processed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free

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Massaman Peanut Noodle Soup

By the Gracious Vegan

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There’s hardly a Thai-inspired dish I don’t love. I’d seen a number of recipes for Thai noodle soup online, but most of them contained coconut milk (high in saturated fat), oil, and sugar. I had to figure out how to eliminate those without sacrificing taste and texture. Here is the result—a mouth-watering peanut-infused soup with noodles. It’s creamy and savory, but with hints of lime and curry paste to jazz things up.

Makes 5 servings

Start soaking the cashews and dates for the cashew broth, if needed.

Water-sauté the vegetables (start with 1/4 cup water) for 8 to 10 minutes, until the sweet potato pieces are soft.

  • 1.5 cups diced sweet potatoes (peeling optional)

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

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

  • 2.5 cups water

  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter 

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews

  • 1/4 cup, well packed, date pieces (pitted) (pre-soak the dates if they are hard) (or 1/4 cup homemade date paste)

Back to the sweet potatoes and red peppers: add the following ingredients to pot, stir them in, and cook for another few minutes.

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • 1 Tablespoon red curry paste (I like Maesri or Thai Kitchen brand)

  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

Increase heat to medium-high, add the following ingredients, stir, and cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes, until the thickness is to your liking.

  • 2 cups vegetable stock

  • The cashew broth

  • Juice from one lime (about 2 Tablespoons)

  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce 

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese roasted sesame paste, if you have it

Add the following ingredients and cook for 3 minutes.

  • 3 ounces whole grain thin noodles or spaghetti (you can use a package of ramen noodles without the flavor packet, but note that they contain refined flour)

  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, and divide the garnishes among the bowls.

  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts

  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Timing: about 45 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if gluten-free noodles are used

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Snow Pea, Asparagus, and Pasta Salad with Sesame Dressing

By the Gracious Vegan

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I started this recipe inspired by a dish in Jeanne Lemlin’s “Main-Course Vegetarian Pleasures.” I made a lot of changes to get the sugar and oil out, plus I thought snow peas would be a good addition. There are so many great flavors and textures in this salad—your mouth will have a great time! The Asian-inspired dressing is mellow and satisfies that sweet-sour craving many of us have.

Makes about 8 cups (6 servings)

See last ingredient in the recipe, roasted almonds. Begin roasting them if they are not already roasted. 

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Make sure the asparagus and snow peas are prepped. Add the pasta to the water and cook for all but the last 4 minutes of the cooking time (e.g., if directions say 9 minutes to al dente, boil them for 5 minutes before adding the asparagus). 

  • 8 ounces whole grain pasta (I used whole wheat rotini—corkscrew—pasta)

Then add the asparagus to the pot, bring quickly back to a boil, and boil 2 minutes.

  • 1 pound asparagus, bottoms peeled, then cut diagonally into 1.5-inch pieces

Then add the snow peas to the pot, bring quickly back to a boil, and boil 1 minute. Then drain the whole mixture under very cold water to stop further cooking.

  • 8 ounces snow peas, sliced once on the diagonal

Dressing. Blend all dressing ingredients in a Nutribullet or with an immersion (stick) blender and blend until the dates are dissolved.

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 3 Tablespoons Chinese roasted sesame paste 

  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce

  • 5 medium dates (or 3 Medjool dates), soaked if hard (or 1.5 Tablespoons brown sugar)

  • Freshly ground pepper

Bringing it all together. Toss the pasta and vegetables with the following ingredients and the dressing. 

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

  • 6 radishes, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted

Best served at room temperature, but chilled tastes good too!

Timing: About 30 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if gluten-free pasta is used

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Oven-Roasted Vegetable Fajitas

By the Gracious Vegan

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Don’t be alarmed by the number of spices. They are common spices, easy to find, but they add up to an uncommonly great flavor. The oven-roasting means you can skip the oil and still get that one-of-a-kind fajitas effect of charred edges and a velvety softness to the vegetables. The toppings finish the drama: the more the merrier!

Makes 6 servings

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper.

Toss the following ingredients together in a large bowl.

  • (optional) 4-8 ounces seitan, tempeh, or extra-firm tofu, sliced thin (about 1/2”), then cut at various angles

  • 4 bell peppers (a mix of colors is nice), sliced

  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

  • 2 small zucchinis, sliced

  • 1 onion, sliced thin or chopped

  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Mix the following ingredients together in a bowl or jar, then pour over the vegetables and protein and stir. 

  • ¼ cup lime juice

  • 2 Tablespoons tahini

  • 1 Tablespoon water

  • ½ Tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Divide the mixture onto the two sheet pans and spread out the contents into a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes, then stir and flip the vegetables. Roast for 10-15 more minutes, until the vegetables are tender, the liquid is evaporated, and the edges of some of the vegetables are brown. Serve with your choice of:

Timing: About an hour

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free tortillas and your omit the seitan

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Creamy Curry Split Pea Soup 

By the Gracious Vegan

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This comforting soup requires more spices than others, but it’s totally worth it. This tasty, substantial soup can serve as an entrée in its own right.

Freezes well. Instant Pot instructions at bottom. 

Makes 7 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 first for 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them and soak them for 20 minutes; drain.) Set aside. 

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews

  • 1 cup water

Add the following ingredients to a Dutch oven or soup pot, bring to a boil, cook for about an hour, partly covered, until the split peas are very tender. 

  • 5 cups vegetable broth

  • 1.5 cups dry yellow split peas

  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced or petite-diced tomatoes

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste 

  • 1 Tablespoon ground coriander

  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced

  • 1.5 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

Add the following and stir for a few minutes until the greens are wilted and the thickness of the soup is to your liking. 

  • The cashew milk

  • 2-3 handfuls of chopped kale or spinach

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • 1.25 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

For the Instant Pot: Put the main list of ingredients in the Instant Pot. 

  • Use 4.5 cups vegetable broth instead of 5 cups

  • Valve in the sealing position

  • “Manual” setting for 15 minutes

  • 10-minute natural release

Add the greens, cashew milk, cilantro, salt, extract, and stir in the Instant Pot

 

Timing: hands-on time: 30 minutes; total time 80 minutes         

Nutrition: whole-food, unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 206 calories, 2g fat, 0g sat. fat, 33g carbs, 857mg sodium, 12mg fiber, 13g protein 

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