Vegan Food Swap: July


This month, I received an amazing box of goodies from first-time vegan food swapper Kim S, who doesn’t have a blog (yet!).  As I unpacked the box, the goodies just kept coming out.  Wow!  Thanks for a truly awesome box!

The plantain chips were a household favorite and there was a pretty yummy bar that I ate for pre-race fuel last Saturday.  It’s hard to stay out of the grape candies.  I think one of my favorite parts about having a box of vegan food arrive  every month is accumulating a stockpile of snacks that are highly portable and ready for all kinds of adventures.

Are you interested in exchanging care packages with cool vegans from around the country every month?  That’s what the Vegan Food Swap is all about. Click the link to find out more and sign up.


“Instant” Pho


I make “instant” pho somewhat regularly.  The secret is keeping a homemade pho seasoning mix on hand.  As long as you have that, noodles, some kind of greens, and some protein source that can be thinly sliced (I like tempeh) you’re well on your way to a fresh and delicious bowl of soup.  I make my own mix based on ingredients in pho cubes from an Asian grocery store.  I’ll post a recipe once I’m done experimenting with the ratios.  It’s tough work sampling so many bowls of pho!

Review of Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food

Cookbook Reviews, Reviews

Alicia C. Simpson’s Quick and Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food: 150 Down-Home Recipes Packed with Flavor, not Calories is a black and white cookbook with one section of full color photographs.  I counted pictures of 20 recipes.  Helpfully, the recipes which have pictures appearing in the photo insert have a camera icon next to them.  As much as I rely on good pictures of every recipe to help me decide what I want to try cooking, I understand the dilemma of vegan cookbook authors–often publishers aren’t willing to spring for full-color pictures of every vegan recipe.

I’ve found that one good test of vegan cookbooks is its recipe for basic seitan.  With this in mind, when I wanted to stock up my freezer, I found the basic seitan recipe in this book.  The overall procedure is great–you make a dough and boil it in water–but it seems odd to me to flavor the cooking broth and not the dough directly.  Nevertheless, with modifications, this is my new favorite seitan recipe.

One neat feature is the section called “A Menu for Every Size and Occasion” which lists menus of various caloric values.  Additionally, nutrition information per serving appears for every recipe.

At first glance, this book seems to include many soy ingredients, but substitutions are easy enough.  A great feature is that many of the recipes build on each other–you start with a recipe for some basic component and then use it in a more complex recipe.  I love when cookbooks do that instead of instructing readers to buy and use their favorite vegan hot dog.  Speaking of hot dogs, the recipe for those on page 161 looks pretty delicious.  It uses the foil and steam method of seitan cooking.  Surprisingly, I’d have to find my own recipe for reduced-calorie hot dog buns.  You’ve got to draw the line somewhere, I suppose.  You can find a recipe for corn dogs on the next page, however.

I think there are some tasty gems in this cookbook.  If I had it on my shelf, I think I’d use it as  a go-to source for making comfort food.  But for now, back to the library it goes.

Ultimate Lasagna


I was pretty excited about trying Daiya wedges. They taste pretty awesome. For your viewing pleasure, I took pictures of the lasagna before and after it was baked to show off the lovely way it browns. I used some squash from my CSA but you can easily adapt this recipe to whatever is in season.

9 whole wheat lasagna noodles cooked to al-dente (or use the kind that is ready to bake)

8 oz hemp ricotta
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 half onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, sliced or minced, depending on your preference
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning mix
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste

3 large pattypan squash, thinly sliced (easy to do in food processor)
Olive oil

28 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 package jack style Daiya wedge

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Sauté the squash in olive oil. Add salt to help squash release water. The goal here is to reduce water content in squash so it doesn’t make your lasagna soggy.

While the squash is cooking, mix ricotta, yeast, onion, garlic and seasonings in small bowl. Set aside.

Put a layer of crushed tomatoes in the bottom of a 9 X13” casserole, enough to thinly coat the bottom. Put the first three noodles on the tomatoes and layer with half of the ricotta stuffing. Add a layer of cooked squash (half of the total squash) and top with tomatoes. Add second layer of noodles, the rest of the ricotta and squash, and some tomatoes. Top with final layer of noodles, last of the tomatoes, and slices of Daiya. Bake until Daiya melts and browns, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes to allow cool slightly.

Coconut Mini Bundt Cakes


This is a moist pound cake recipe with a light coconut taste.  It would be good frosted with chocolate or vanilla frosting and freezes well.  It’s moist enough to enjoy plain or accompanied by fruit.  You might like to try adding a half cup shredded coconut as an add-in if you have it around.


1 cup hemp milk (or milk of your choice)
1 can coconut milk
5 oz unrefined coconut oil
2 tablespoons vanilla
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 ½ teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease Bundt pan, mini Bundt pans, or muffin tins and set aside.  Mix wet ingredients until smooth.  Add dry ingredients and mix until few lumps remain.  Pour into greased pan or pans.   Cake will rise during baking so do not fill pans to top unless you want puffy cupcakes.  Bake in preheated oven until brown around edges—timing varies depending on pan.  Large Bundt pan will take at about 60 minutes.  Mini pans and regular-sized muffins will take about 25 minutes.  Cake is easiest to remove from pan when slightly cooled.  For larger cakes, do the inversion method.  Cool in pan inverted on plate, give a few taps, and release cake to pan.  For large or small cakes, you may need to run knife around edges to help cake release.

Simple Harissa Hummus

Recipes, Uncategorized

If you start with Harissa olive oil like I got in the June Vegan Food Swap, this recipe comes together quickly.  If you don’t happen to have harissa olive oil around, use regular olive oil.  If you want spicy hummus, you will need to add pepper flakes, chili powder, or some such.  If you add something that’s not in powder or oil form, add it with the garlic.  For added flavor, top with smoked paprika when you serve.  I thought I would have a picture of this but it ended up disappearing before I got the camera out.  Stay tuned–I’ll post a picture the next time I make it.


2 cloves garlic
2 cups chick peas
½ cup tahini
3 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup water (or to taste, depending on what consistency hummus you like)
Salt, to taste (start with a small pinch)
¼ cup Harissa Olive Oil

Process garlic in food processor until the pieces are all stuck to the processor bowl.  Add chick peas and process until they become uniformly grainy.  Add all other ingredients except olive oil.  Process until it doesn’t get any smoother.  Slowly pour oil into running processor.  Put into refrigerator for flavors to meld and, if you desire, top with smoked paprika and additional olive oil before serving.  I like this with plain whole wheat tortilla chips.

Open-Faced Radish Sandwiches with Zippy Spread


This recipe features radishes from our CSA.  It’s kinda hard to stop eating these pretty little bits of yum.  This recipe makes enough spread to make sandwiches for two and have some spread left over.  It’s a good idea to make the spread ahead of time, but it will still taste good if you make it to use immediately.

First, make the Zippy Spread

1/2 cup room-temperature butter substitute
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
1 green onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or 3 teaspoons dried
lemon juice and zest from one lemon
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper

Mash ingredients together and allow to sit in the fridge for as long as you can stand it.  30 minutes will do, but the longer, the better.  This time allows the flavors to come together.


One small bunch radishes
8 slices sourdough bread mini loaf (or whatever bread you have around)
Zippy Spread (you will have leftover spread)

Clean and thinly slice the radishes.  A food processor comes in handy for the slicing.  If they have leaves, trim those off and set aside.   Spread the Zippy Spread on bread and top with radishes.  You can put the radish leaves on as well, if you have them.