Whole-food unprocessed

Peas and Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce

By the Gracious Vegan

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This creamy tomato sauce gives the traditional Italian vodka sauce a run for its money. Peas are the perfect complement to the nutty, cheesy sauce, and all kinds of pasta would work well in this dish. The sauce freezes well. 

Makes up to 21 servings

The Sauce (makes 7 cups). Soak cashews in cold water at least 2 hours, or pour boiling water over them, cover, and let them soak 20 minutes. (You can skip this step if you have a high-speed blender.)

  • 1 cup raw cashews

When ready, drain the nuts and put them in the blender with broth or water and blend on high for as long as it takes to create a very smooth “cashew cream.” 

  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water

In a Dutch oven or other large pan, sauté garlic and onions over medium heat in 2 Tablespoons vegetable broth or water until the garlic and onions are soft (or microwave with 1-2 Tablespoons water).

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced 

  • 1 red or white onion, roughly chopped 

Add the following ingredients to the pan and cook about 5 minutes.

  • 4 cups plain tomato sauce (or crushed tomatoes)

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

Add in the cashew cream and the basil and stir. 

  • 2/3 cup fresh basil leaves (measured lightly packed), roughly chopped (or 1 Tablespoon dried basil, but fresh basil really makes a difference)

Use an immersion blender (or let the mixture cool a little and use a regular blender) to create a smooth sauce. You can add up to 1 cup water if the sauce is too thick. Make it as smooth or chunky as you like. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Salt and pepper to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon salt)

The peas and pasta. For each serving, use

  • 2 ounces chunky pasta (whole wheat or other whole-food version preferred)

  • 1/3 cup frozen peas (I like petite peas)

Boil the pasta and add the peas into the pasta for the last 3 minutes of cooking. Once they are cooked to your liking, drain them and combine with about 1/3 cup sauce per serving.

Timing: hands-on time 25 minutes; total time 25 minutes  

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Gluten-free if you use gluten-free pasta

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Spaghetti Squash with Cashew Ricotta, Spinach, and Peas 

By the Gracious Vegan

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Who knew that vegetables could taste this good? Add a little vegan ricotta and parmesan cheeses to these vegetables, and they become addictive. You can bake this dish in the squash shells or in a casserole dish. 

Makes 4 servings

Make cashew-based ricotta cheese if you don’t have some handy. (It freezes well.) Make vegan parmesan cheese if you don’t have some handy. (It refrigerates and freezes well.)

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place the two halves of the squash cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish. Add 2 Tablespoons water. Microwave them, uncovered, until tender, 10-15 minutes, depending on your microwave’s strength.

  • One spaghetti squash (2.5 - 3 pounds), cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed

Separately, in a large skillet or cooking pot, bring a little water in the bottom to a boil (1/4 - 1/2 inch of water). Add the peas, bring it back to boiling, and cook them 2 minutes.

  • 1.5 cup frozen peas (I like petite peas)

Add the spinach and stir until it is wilted, 1-2 minutes. Then boil for another minute. Drain well and transfer the peas and spinach to a large bowl. 

  • 5 ounces fresh spinach (chopped if it is not baby spinach) (alternative: 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed)

Use a fork or spoon to scrape the softened squash from the shells. Put these innards into the large bowl with the peas and spinach. Then add the following ingredients and stir everything together.

Place the empty squash halves in a casserole or other suitable dish for baking. Spoon filling into each. (Alternatively, just spoon the mixture into a sprayed small-medium baking dish.) Top with more vegan parmesan.

  • 1/8 cup vegan parmesan cheese 

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 400°F until the top is golden. Garnish, if desired, with:

  • Additional crushed red pepper

  • Chopped fresh basil 

Timing: Hands-on time 25 minutes (longer if you need to make the cheeses), total time 50 minutes

Nutrition: whole-food plant-based; WFPBNO

Gluten-free

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Garlicky Grape or Cherry Tomatoes with Angel Hair Pasta

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This easy recipe turns any grape or cherry tomatoes into an intriguing pasta dish that will keep you coming back for more. The combination of garlic, tomato juices, fresh basil, and vegan parmesan cheese creates a magical sauce that’s just hard to stop eating.

Makes 4 servings

Start a large pot of water to boil. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position (4-6” from element). Use a 15” x 10” Pyrex pan or large rimmed baking sheet (optional to line with foil; do not line with parchment paper, which will burn) and lightly spray with oil (optional). Put broiler on high. 

Spread the tomatoes on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Broil, shaking the pan occasionally, until they are cracked, very soft, and shrunken, about 15-20 minutes. They’ll be blackened in places. 

  • 2 pints (20 oz.) grape or cherry tomatoes

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Microwave the garlic cloves for 45-60 seconds to soften them. Then chop them. 

  • 4 large or 5 small cloves garlic, peeled

Cook the pasta and drain. Return to the pot.

  • 8 ounces dried whole wheat angel hair pasta

Add the following ingredients to the pasta, toss, and serve.

  • The tomatoes

  • The garlic

  • Large pinch dried red pepper flakes

  • 12 large basil leaves, fresh, chiffonade-cut (i.e., sliced thin)

  • 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 

  • Fresh ground pepper

Nutrition: whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 30 minutes

Gluten-free if gluten-free pasta is used

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Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry

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I mostly enjoy sugar snap peas raw with other vegetable sticks. This changes the game! Sugar snap peas are wonderful in stir-fry. They star in this one, along with other vegetables of your choosing. The sauce brings ginger, garlic, miso, sesame, and chili flavors to the party, meaning this is the opposite of bland. This recipe uses no oil or sugar, but you wouldn’t know it.

Serves 4 

Combine all the stir-fry sauce ingredients in a jar or bowl—or use a stick blender to get everything really well blended.

  • 2 Tablespoons mellow white miso

  • 2 Tablespoons regular or tamari soy sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons water

  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger

  • 1 Tablespoon agave nectar or 2 Tablespoons date paste

  • 1 Tablespoon roasted sesame paste (or Chinese sesame paste) (if you don’t have this, use sesame oil)

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

Use a wok, very large non-stick skillet, or a Dutch oven. Water-sauté the following ingredients, using a Tablespoon of water, until all the vegetables are cooked until desired firmness is reached and the water is evaporated.

  • 8 ounces whole sugar snap peas (about 3 cups)

  • 3 cups of other vegetables, sliced or diced, which might include asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, yellow or green zucchini, grated or thinly sliced carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, or cabbage (add red cabbage as late as possible, because the purple tends to stain other vegetables) 

After the vegetables are tender-firm to your liking, stir the sauce in and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Serve on rice. Garnish, if desired with

  • 3-4 green onions, sliced on the diagonal 

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 30 minutes

Gluten-free

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Sweet and Tangy Edamame

By the Gracious Vegan

These are a fancy version of the edamame pods we often get in Asian restaurants as an appetizer. Here I add a no-oil glaze that takes the whole experience up a notch.

Makes 4 cups of edamame pods

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Cook the edamame by adding the frozen pods to a large pot of boiling water. When they float to the surface, they’re done (either drain them or scoop them out). (Do not pressure cook.)

  • 4 cups frozen edamame in shell

In a large saucepan (so you can stir in the edamame later), water-sauté the following ingredients in a Tablespoon or two of water until they start to get tender. 

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

Add in the following ingredients and cook at a low boil for 3-5 minutes, to reach the desired glaze consistency. 

  • 3 Tablespoons water

  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 3 Tablespoons date paste or 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1.5 Tablespoons brown sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons roasted sesame paste (or sesame oil)

  • 1/8 teaspoon or more crushed red pepper flakes

Add in the cooked edamame and toss to cover all the pods. Pour any leftover glaze into a small dipping bowl to serve it with. Garnish if desired with:

1 teaspoon roasted sesame seeds

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: About 20 minutes

Gluten-free

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Edamame and Potato Soup

By the Gracious Vegan

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This delicious soup may surprise you. Most of us eat edamame only as appetizers in Asian restaurants. Here they co-star with potatoes in a healthy and tasty soup. Some people who say they don’t like dill even like this flavor, so give it a try. It’s super-easy in a pressure cooker, but I provide stovetop directions as well.

Makes 6.5 cups (5 servings)

Add all the ingredients to the Instant Pot. 

  • 1 pound potatoes (any kind), cut into small/medium dice (your choice to peel the potatoes or not)

  • 1 small onion or half a medium/large onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 medium stalk celery, chopped (about 1/3 cup)

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 cups vegetable broth

  • 1.5 cups frozen shelled edamame

  • 1.5 teaspoon dried dill (or 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped)

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (unless your broth is salty, then be careful)

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cook on high pressure (“Manual”) for 5 minutes, with 10-minute quick release. 

Stovetop directions: Increase the water to 3.5 cups. Put everything together in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Mash to your liking (I like to keep some of the potato and edamame chunky).

Top with garnishes if desired.

Timing: About 45 minutes with the prep

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed, WFPBNO

Gluten-free


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Edamame Salad Sandwiches

Edamame are fresh young soybeans, before the insides dry into yellowish-white beans. Those of us who know edamame likely tasted it first at an Asian restaurant, where edamame pods are served as an appetizer. In this recipe, shelled edamame are used as the foundation for a tasty sandwich spread. The beans don’t have a ton of flavor on their own, making it crucial to bring in some spices, mustard, and other flavors. This makes enough for multiple sandwiches – it may last all week!

Makes 2.25 cups

Cook the edamame in the microwave (4-6 minutes with 2 Tablespoons water) or on the stove (boil for about 5 minutes), until they are tender and still a bit firm. (I don’t use the Instant Pot for edamame, because they go mushy even with 0 minutes of high pressure.)

  • 1.5 cups frozen shelled edamame

Once they are cooked and drained, pulse them in the food processor briefly (5-6 pulses for me). Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. 

Pulse the next ingredients individually in the food processor until they are chopped. Transfer them to the mixing bowl.

  • 1 stalk celery

  • 1 medium (or 6 baby) carrots

  • 2 large or 3 small green onions

  • (optional) 1/2 cup olives, chopped (I like Greek black olives best, but green, green-with-pimientos, or California olives also work)

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and combine everything. Adjust the seasonings and hummus/tahini/mayo to your liking.

  • 1/4 cup hummus

  • or vegan mayo or a combination of tahini, water, and lemon juice (2 Tablespoons each of tahini and water, plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, stirred together before adding)

  • 1.5 Tablespoons stoneground mustard (or other type if you prefer) 

  • 1 Tablespoon roasted, chopped nuts or seeds 

  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • Ground pepper to taste

For sandwiches, use bread of your choice (toasted or not) and one or more of the following toppings.

  • Lettuce leaves

  • Sliced tomato

  • Sliced red onion

  • Dill or sweet pickles

  • Avocado slices

Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed; WFPBNO

Timing: Very fast — about 20 minutes

Gluten-free if gluten-free bread is used

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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.

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

  • 1.5 Tablespoon cornstarch

  • 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, tempeh, 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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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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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

Tahini-Dill dressing 16x9.jpg

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

Thai Peanut and Noodle Soup 16x9.jpg

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

Snowpea and Asparagus Salad.jpg

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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