60-120 minutes

Lemony Kale Rice

By the Gracious Vegan

Lemony Kale Rice 16x9.jpg

This recipe started from one of the many recipes for “green rice,” which usually use parsley for the green. They also often call for a lot of butter. I wanted to engineer a solution with kale as the “green” and without butter or oil. It definitely took some experimentation, but I think I’ve hit it. The key is a white sauce made with cashews and tofu. Delish!

Soak cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes. (I recommend this even if you have a high-speed blender.) 

  • 1/4 cup cashews

Prepare 3 cups of cooked brown rice. 

  • 1 cup raw brown rice + 2 cups water, cooked according to package instructions (other options include shelf-stable rice or frozen rice, such as Trader Joe’s)

Blend the following ingredients together in a blender until smooth.

  • The soaked cashews

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/4 cup tofu (any kind)

  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 1.5 Tablespoons flour (any kind)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Pour the blended mixture into a microwave-safe bowl or large measuring cup and microwave it on high for 1.5 minutes. Then whisk it and microwave it for another 1 minute and whisk. It should be a smooth, thick sauce. If it’s not thick, microwave it for another minute or so. 

Microwave onions in a microwave-safe bowl until soft, about 3 minutes. 

  • 1 small-medium onion, diced

Finely chop the kale and parsley in the food processor (it may take two batches). 

  • 4-5 ounces kale (4-5 large leaves)

  • 1/2 cup parsley (loosely packed)

Mix everything together (rice, white sauce, onion, kale, parsley, and lemon zest) in a big bowl.

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Spoon the mixture into a sprayed medium casserole dish (about 7” x 10”). On the top, sprinkle crumbs and spray with spray-oil. 

  • ¼ cup dried bread crumbs

  • Oil spray (optional)

Bake for 375°for 25-30 minutes till bubbly and golden on top.

Timing: About an hour, including baking

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO

Gluten-free if gluten-free flour used

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No-Bake Peanut Butter Wonder Bars 

By the Gracious Vegan


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


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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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Creamy Curry Split Pea Soup 

By the Gracious Vegan

Creamy Curry Split Pea Soup 16x9.jpg

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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No-Oil New York-Style Pizza Sauce 

By the Gracious Vegan

Vegan pizza with No-Oil New York-Style Pizza Sauce,  Gracious Vegan Ricotta Cheese , onions, and mushrooms, cooked on a pizza stone at 500 degrees.

Vegan pizza with No-Oil New York-Style Pizza Sauce, Gracious Vegan Ricotta Cheese, onions, and mushrooms, cooked on a pizza stone at 500 degrees.

What makes a sauce “New York-style” is the fact that it’s relatively heavily seasoned and it’s cooked. It is different from Neapolitan-style, which is an uncooked sauce, usually consisting of tomatoes and garlic only. For this version, I eliminated the oil (and some recipes use butter too). It certainly doesn’t lack flavor or substance without the oil. It more than holds its own with tasty toppings and cheeses.

Makes about 2.5 cups, enough for 4-5 medium pies

Combine the ingredients in a large saucepan (not a Dutch oven – too big). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to lowest setting, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 1 hour.

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, grated or minced

  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

  • A pinch red pepper flakes

  • 2 (6-inch) sprigs fresh basil with leaves attached

  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and split in half

Once the cooking is done, discard onions and basil stems. Allow to cool. It lasts up to two weeks in a covered container in the refrigerator or for several months in the freezer.

Timing: hands-on time 10 minutes; total time, 1 hour 15 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

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Gracious Vegan Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny square.jpg

By the Gracious Vegan

This is based on a Madhur Jaffrey recipe, but I’ve adapted it quite a bit, notably eliminating the coconut milk and streamlining the method. It takes some ingredient-hunting and a bit of time, but it’s so worth it. Curry leaves do freeze well, so once you buy a batch at an Asian market, you will have enough for many batches.

Makes 8 cups (about 5 servings)

Combine the stock mixture, spices, and all of these in a Dutch oven or soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover, turn the heat down, and simmer for about 50 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender.

  • 4.5 cups vegetable broth 

  • 2 small potatoes (8 oz. total), peeled and diced

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

  • 2 small turnips (8 oz. total), peeled and diced1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

  • 12 fresh curry leaves or 8 fresh basil leaves

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 1 Tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Separately, add the following ingredients to a small frying pan on medium heat. Stir and roast until they are a shade darker and fragrant. Cool them for 15-20 minutes, then grind them up in a clean coffee grinder. Then add them to the cooking soup.

  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black pepper corns

  • 2 Tablespoons whole coriander seeds

  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

Meanwhile, create cashew milk for the soup by blending the water, cashews and chickpea flour 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. 

  • 1.75 cup water

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews

  • 1.5 Tablespoon chickpea flour

Put it all together. Add the following ingredients to the soup once the vegetables are tender. Use a hand blender to puree the mixture.

  • The cashew milk

  • 1.25 teaspoons salt, or to taste

  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Simmer gently for 2-3 minutes to blend the flavors. Thin out with more stock if needed. 

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO

Timing: About 1 hour 10 minutes



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Scalloped Broccoli and Potatoes

By the Gracious Vegan

Scalloped Broccoli and Potato Casserole 16x9.jpg

I’ve come to prefer pre-cooked potatoes for scalloped dishes. It removes the risk of undercooking the potatoes even when the sauce is bubbly and brown. In this recipe, you get the goodness of potatoes and broccoli. They bring different nutrients, textures, and taste to the party, resulting in a very satisfying dish. 

Makes 8 servings

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a large low-sided casserole dish with spray oil. 

Vegetables. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the potato slices. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, then simmer for 4 or 5 minutes, until potatoes are just tender. Spoon them out of the water with a slotted spoon or spider strainer into a bowl or colander. 

  • 2 pounds red-skin or Yukon potatoes, peeled (or not, if you prefer) and cut into 1/4” slices

Now put the broccoli slices into the water for 3-4 minutes, or until just tender. Spoon them out into a separate bowl or colander.

  • 1 pound broccoli crowns, sliced into 1/4” slices, not florets (about 7-8 cups)

White sauce. Make white sauce.

Seasoned bread crumbs for topping. Combine these and set aside.

  • 1/3 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano

  • Large pinch of salt 

Layer and bake. Begin with one layer of the potatoes, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with salt. Add a thin layer of sauce. Add a layer of broccoli, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with salt. Add a thin layer of sauce. Repeat as many times as the ingredients last. Be sure to lightly salt each layer of potato or broccoli. Finish with a good layer of sauce. Top with seasoned bread crumbs.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375°for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 12-15 minutes, until filling is bubbly and crumbs are golden. If crumbs aren't toasted by that point, set under broiler until just toasted, just a minute or two. Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.


Timing: hands-on time 30 minutes (assuming white sauce is already made), total time: 70 minutes       

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 193 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat. fat, 34g carbs, 301mg sodium, 5mg fiber, 7g protein 

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free flour in the white sauce and gluten-free bread crumbs

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Easy Vegan Lentil Soup

Easy Vegan Lentil Soup FB 16x9.jpg

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


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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

Thanksgiving stuffing FB.jpg

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

Apple Crisp WFPBNO square.jpg

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 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 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. 

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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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 


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Creamy Pesto and Vegetable Sandwich

By the Gracious Vegan

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These sandwiches are great for picnics or just a nice meal at home. The creamy pesto spread makes people curious -- "What's in this? It's delicious." You can customize the rest based on taste and what you have in the house.

Makes 8 sandwiches

Creamy pesto spread. Put the almonds in the blender or other container. Pour in enough water so that the water line is at least 2 inches above the almonds. Let them soak an hour or more.

  • 2 cups blanched almonds (whole or slivered)

Drain and rinse the almonds in a colander and put them back into the blender. Add the following ingredients and blend until smooth. Add extra water a tablespoon at a time if the spread is too thick. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

  • ¾ cup water

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, tightly packed

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, cut into a few pieces

  • 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

  • Zest and juice of one medium lemon

The vegetables. Use a peeler, grater, mandolin, or knife to finely julienne, grate or thinly slice the vegetables. (Choose from the following or use your imagination.) 

  • Carrot

  • Beet

  • Cucumber

  • Tomato

  • Red cabbage

  • Red onion

Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit and skin, and slice into thin wedges. 

  • 1 avocado

To assemble, take a slice of bread or a roll, smear an eighth of the spread on it, and layer on the vegetables, avocado, sprouts/spinach, salt and pepper. Wrap the sandwiches in parchment or wax paper if you’re transporting them. Or eat immediately.

  • 16 slices of good quality bread, toasted, or 8 rolls (or use tortillas for wraps)

  • Fresh sprouts or baby spinach (optional)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Variations for the vegetable filling:

  • Roasted red peppers or sundried tomatoes, Greek olives, artichoke hearts

  • Leftover roasted vegetables

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 75 minutes

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free bread

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Baked Indian Fritters

By the Gracious Vegan


These fritters are very much like pakora appetizers at Indian restaurants. Baking them rather than deep-frying makes them a lot healthier. They’re substantial enough to serve as a main course or side dish. 

Makes: 13-15 fritters

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 

The zucchini. Trim and grate the zucchini. Move to a colander, sprinkle generously with salt and toss well, massaging the salt into the zucchini. The salt will be rinsed off later, so don’t worry. 

  • 1.25 pounds zucchini

Leave the grated zucchini in the colander for 20 minutes, then rinse under cold water. Squeeze as much water out as you can, then spread out on a clean dish towel. Cover with another clean dish towel and press or roll, getting the zucchini as dry as you can. 

The onion mixture. In a microwave-safe dish, microwave the following ingredients until the onion is transparent and soft, about 4-6 minutes.

  • 1 large onion, diced

  • 1 fresh green or red chili (jalapeño or hotter), de-seeded and de-veined (to keep it mild if you wish), finely chopped (or use half a can of diced mild green chilis)

  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon curry powder

The “egg”. Blend the following ingredients together with an immersion blender in a smallish 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

Flour and assembly. Whisk together the following ingredients ina medium-large bowl.

  • 1 cup chickpea flour (aka gram or garbanzo bean flour)

  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Add in the zucchini, “egg,” and onion mixture and stir until well blended. There should be no more flour showing and you should have a thick mixture.

Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Drop scant 1/4 cups of the mixture onto the sheet. Press down lightly. Bake for about 25 minutes or until fully cooked with definite golden or brown edges. 

Serve with chutney, such as my Mint Cilantro Chutney.

Timing: Hands-on time 40 minutes; total time 65 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving (5 servings): 113 calories, 2g fat, 0g sat. fat, 19g carbs, 427mg sodium, 4mg fiber6g protein 

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Golden Green Split Pea Soup


By the Gracious Vegan

This is one of those comforting soups that helps you relax. It's not trying to impress -- it just tastes good and wholesome, and that's enough. The combination of green and yellow split peas gives it a golden-green glow, and the vegetables provide welcome chunkiness and variety.

Makes 9 cups (6 servings)

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, water-sauté the following ingredients until the onion is soft and transparent, 5-8 minutes. (Start with ¼ cup water and add more if you need it.)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 medium carrot, chopped

  • 1 celery rib, chopped

Add the following ingredients to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peas are very soft, about 1 hour.

  • 1 medium potato, peeled and diced (1/2”)

  • 1 cup dried green split peas

  • 1 cup dried yellow split peas

  • 7 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 bay leaf

  • ½ Tablespoon salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

The soup will thicken as it sits after cooking. Stir in additional water as needed. 

Timing: 20 minutes hands-on time; 80 minutes total

Nutrition: 100% whole-food, unprocessed; WFPBNO

Per serving: 274 calories; 1g fat; 0g sat. fat; 49g carbs; 1091mg sodium; 18g fiber; 19g protein


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Hearty Vegan Vegetable Lasagna


By the Gracious Vegan

You don’t have to tell people there’s tofu in this lasagna unless they insist on knowing. My guess is that they will not care what’s in it. They’ll only want to know if there’s more. Multiply the recipe by 1.5 if you want to use a 9” x 13” pan. This freezes well.

Makes 8 servings

Pre-heat the oven to 375°. 

Soak cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes. (I recommend this even if you have a high-speed blender.) 

  • 1 cup raw cashews (whole or pieces)

Thaw the package of spinach by leaving it out for a few hours or by microwaving it for a few minutes. Let it cool a bit then squeeze out the water well.

  • One 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach

Noodles. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions.

  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles

Vegetables. Microwave or water-sauté the following vegetables until they are fully cooked. Drain away any excess moisture. 

  • 2 cups chopped white mushrooms

  • 3 cups chopped vegetables of your choice (e.g., zucchini, bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli)

Tomato sauce. Use Gracious Vegan Marinara Sauce or your favorite (you’ll need about 4 cups).

“Ricotta.” In a blender or food processor, process the following ingredients until smooth. The cashews may not get 100% smooth, but that’s okay.

  • The soaked cashews

  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained (the kind sold in the refrigerated section, not the vacuum-packed, shelf-stable kind)

  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1.5 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

Stir the thawed, squeezed spinach into the ricotta mixture separately. 

Assembly. In a baking dish (9” x 9” or 7” x 10”), pour in about a cup of sauce to cover the bottom. Layer 3 lasagna noodles (fold or tear them if necessary). Top with a third of the ricotta mixture. Top with a third of the mushroom-vegetable mixture. Repeat 1 cup sauce – 3 noodles – 1/3 ricotta – 1/3 vegetables two more times. End with the final cup of sauce. Top with breadcrumb mixture.

  • ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs (Italian or plain) mixed with ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Let sit about 5 minutes before serving. 


Timing: hands-on time 45 minutes, total time 1.5 hours

Nutrition: 100% whole-food, unprocessed ingredients; WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 339 calories, 11g fat, 2g sat. fat, 45g carbs, 230mg sodium, 9mg fiber17g protein

Gluten-free if gluten-free lasagna noodles used

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Divine Vegan Eggplant Parmigiana

By the Gracious Vegan

Divine Eggplant Parmigiana.jpg

Hard to believe that you can have eggplant parmigiana with virtually no oil. No breading, no frying. Just broiling the eggplant slices releases their flavor, caramelizes them, and keeps the dish clean tasting. Vegan parmesan means you can also avoid heavy dairy. Light and delicious, this Parmigiana will please the eggplant lovers among us. This dish freezes well.

Makes 8 servings

Eggplant. Turn on broiler to high (500°). Line a baking sheet with foil, spray it with oil, and fit as many slices as you can in a single layer on the foil. Spray the top of the slices with a little oil. (They get tough and dry if you don’t use any oil.) Broil 3-4” from the element until the tops are brown to dark-brown, about 4-5 minutes. Then flip them and broil until the other sides are browned, about 3-4 minutes. Repeat for remaining slices. Set aside and change the oven to bake mode at 375°.

  • 3 medium or 2 large eggplants, peeled or unpeeled, sliced crosswise into ½” rounds (for those who are a bit hesitant about eggplant, I recommend peeling them)

Sauce. In the meantime, water-sauté the aromatics in a Dutch oven or large skillet with ¼ cup water until onion is translucent, around 5 minutes. 

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

Add tomatoes and oregano, breaking up any whole tomatoes. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes.

  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 1.5 teaspoons dried oregano

Add and stir these in to finish the sauce.

  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • ½ cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped

  • Salt and pepper

Use a 9” x 9” square or an oval (12” x 8” or so) baking dish. Spread thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan, then add a thin scattering of vegan parmesan. 

Then create a single layer of eggplant. Repeat until all ingredients are used, ending with a little sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top. 

  • 1/3 cup dried breadcrumbs (Italian or plain) mixed with ¼ teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Bake at 375°until the mixture is bubbly, at least 35 minutes and maybe more. Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving. 

Timing: hands-on time 45 minutes, total time 90 minutes

Nutrition: 100% whole food (except for sprays of oil on eggplant); WFPBNO

Nutritional information per serving: 156 calories, 5g fat, 1g sat. fat, 25g carbs, 237mgsodium, 9mg fiber6gprotein

Gluten-free with gluten-free bread crumbs

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Gracious Vegan Toasted Quinoa Granola

By the Gracious Vegan

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This recipe is dedicated to my brother-in-law Kevin, who used this granola as fuel to hike up the Yosemite Falls trail this summer. The toasted quinoa adds a nice crunch and a solid dose of protein.  

Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place quinoa in a wide skillet and turn the heat to medium or medium/low. Stir or shake and toast the quinoa until it begins to pop and smell like popcorn, 5-7 minutes. As soon as it has been popping for about a minute, pour it into a large bowl and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes.

  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa (white or red)

After the quinoa has cooled, add these ingredients to the bowl and stir.

  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pour in the liquid ingredients and stir until well-combined.

  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Spread mixture on baking sheet and bake until golden-brown, about 45 minutes, stirring twice. It tastes best when it is baked until very dark brown (but not burned), so continue to stir and bake for 5-minute intervals until done.

Let cool completely before breaking into chunks. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

Timing: About 60 minutes to mix and bake, then you have to let it cool

Nutrition: Mostly whole-food unprocessed (except for the coconut oil and maple syrup) 

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Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars

By the Gracious Vegan

Oatmeal Caramel Chocolate Bars.jpg

These decadent bars won the very competitive family cookie contest last year. I dipped them in chocolate for the contest, but I don't recommend that unless you need a huge win. They are plenty rich without an extra coat of chocolate. The caramel sauce makes the difference between these cookies and other oatmeal chocolate bars. It adds a depth of cooked-sugar goodness that you can't get any other way.

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease or spray a 9" x 13" inch pan. Lining the bottom with parchment is optional if you need an absolutely smooth removal of bars.

Combine the following. The mixture will be very crumbly. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.

  • 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (1.5 sticks) melted vegan butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.  Let the crust cool slightly (about 10 minutes) then sprinkle the chocolate chips and chopped nuts over the crust. Mix them together before sprinkling over the crust. 

  • 1.5 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Mix the following together and then drizzle over the chocolate chips.

Top with the remaining oatmeal mixture. You will need to break it into small pieces to cover.

Bake at 350° for 15 minutes (until golden). Let the bars cool before cutting.

Timing: Between 45 and 60 minutes plus cooling time. This doesn't count what it might take to make vegan caramel sauce.

Nutrition: Significant fat and other processed ingredients

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Gracious Vegan Shepherd's Pie

By the Gracious Vegan

Gracious Vegan Shepherd's Pie.jpg

I wanted to find a recipe for shepherd's pie that wasn't too much like pot pie and that didn't use meat substitutes. If you like vegan "beef crumbles," there are a number of recipes out there for vegan shepherd's pie that you might like. But I find that omnivores can be suspicious of substitutes, so I kept adapting my recipe until I found shepherd's pie that ticked all the boxes.

Note that Trader Joe’s sells pre-cut onions, carrots, and celery. They also sell pre-cooked lentils. These can save you time, or start from scratch, the old-fashioned way.  

Makes 8 servings

Start the lentils – you’ll need one cup of cooked lentils. You can cook more and freeze the leftovers for another purpose. If you’re just making enough for this recipe, start with 1/3 cup lentils. Put them in a saucepan, cover with water by 2”, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes until they are soft but not mushy.

  • Dry lentils, 1/3 cup or more

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

For the filling: water-sauté the following ingredients in a Dutch oven or other large saucepan on the stove, starting with 2 Tablespoons water. Sauté for about 10 minutes, until the liquid released by the mushrooms is evaporated and the vegetables are tender. (Alternatively, cook these ingredients in the microwave.)

  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced or diced

  • 5 medium cloves garlic, peeled and minced

  • 2 medium stalks of celery, chopped or sliced

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 1 onion, diced

Add these to the Dutch oven (or microwave bowl) and stir well. Cook for a minute or two.

  • 1 cup cooked lentils

  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon thyme

  • 1 teaspoon sage

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Ground fresh pepper to taste

Add the liquid, stir, turn the heat to medium, and heat until the mixture is bubbly and thick, about 3-5 minutes.

  • 3/4 cup dry red wine (or more vegetable broth and 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar)

  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth

Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a deep dish 9-10” pie dish or large horizontal casserole dish.

For the potato topping: Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes until just tender. Remove from heat and drain.

  • 1.5 pounds russet potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks.

Put the potatoes in your mixer’s bowl. With the regular paddle, mix the potatoes by themselves for 1 minute at Speed 2.

Add the following ingredients and mix for 30 seconds at Speed 4, then 1 minute at Speed 6.

  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk

  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

  • 1/2 Tablespoon tahini (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Replace the paddle with the whisk attachment and whip on Speed 10 for 2-3 minutes.

Spoon the mashed potatoes over the top of the veggies in the pie dish, and smooth so that it is evenly spread. (You can also drag a fork over it in fun patterns.)

Bake the pie for 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees, uncovered, until the filling is bubbly and the edges of the potato topping are starting to brown.

Allow to cool for five minutes before cutting and serving.

Timing: Around 70-75 minutes

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free flour in the filling

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Gracious Vegan Easy Apple Tart

By the Gracious Vegan

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I kept adapting this recipe from an old (non-vegan) original. Finally it is right. There are many ways to make apple pies and tarts, but this one remains a favorite because it's so easy. Everything is mixed with a food processor. You don't have to roll out the crust--you just press it into the spring form pan with your fingers. It's easy to tell when it's done by the color of the crust. The taste of the vegan cream cheese (not my favorite food) is masked by what you mix in with it. And, best of all, everyone likes it, vegans and non-vegans alike.

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Crust: Cream together in food processor:

  • ½ cup vegan butter (room temperature)

  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

Add and process until just smooth:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Press this dough with your fingers (floured, if they stick) into the bottom and up the side (2”) of an 8” or 8.5” spring form pan. Make sure to repair cracks so that there are no holes.

Filling: Process in the food processor until smooth:

  • One 8-ounce package vegan cream cheese

  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar

Add and process until smooth:

  • 1/3 cup almond meal

  • ½ Tablespoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Pour this mixture into the pastry-lined pan.

Apple Topping: Combine these in a medium bowl:

  • ¼ cup organic cane sugar

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Add apples and toss with the sugar mixture (or stir with a spatula)

  • About 3 cups peeled, thinly sliced or chopped apples (2 large or 3 small-medium apples) (I like Golden Delicious, but Braeburn and Granny Smith work well too; avoid McIntosh)

If you chopped the apples, spoon them evenly over the cream layer. If you sliced them, arrange them in a circular pattern.

Almonds: Sprinkle almonds on top:

  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Bake at 450° for 10 minutes, then reduce to 400° and continue baking about 25 minutes more, until the cream cheese layer doesn’t jiggle. Remove from oven and let cool on a cooking rack.

After at least 30 minutes of cooling, remove the rim and bottom of the pan. For an extra-special touch, after the tart has cooled, warm up a few tablespoons apple jelly and gently brush them over the top, avoiding the almonds.

Timing: About 2 hours, including cooling time

Nutrition: Significant fat and other processed ingredients

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