From Ellen DeGeneres to Beyoncé to César Chávez to your yoga instructor, many individuals have adopted a vegan diet. The trend began in the early 2000’s when heart health was notably found to be linked to meat consumption. That is, the more meat and animal products you ate, the less healthy your cardiovascular system was. With the advent of more and more people at least having interest in making the transition to a plant-based animal free diet came an abundance of wonderfully yummy vegan recipes! And it’s my job to share some of those with you here! But before we get into some tasty goodness, let me mention a special course on vegan cooking that breaks down the basics for every meal of the day including snacks and desserts as well as what to do with holidays. The biggest problem to switching to a vegan based style of eating is the lack of choices available. But all you have to do is a little digging and you can cook your way to a vegan lifestyle in no time!
So let’s get this party started! I’ve included a perfect day of meals, snack and dessert.
1. Vegan Egg McMuffins
- 1 block firm tofu
- Vegetable oil
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- Garlic powder
- Black pepper
- 1 slice vegan Canadian bacon
- 1vegan English muffin
- 1 slice vegan cheddar cheese
- Vegan margarine spread
- Slice ⅓ of the tofu horizontally so that it is about an inch thick. Either cut it into a square, or use a metal food ring mold or knife to cut it into a disk. This is your “egg”.
- Sprinkle turmeric powder onto the “egg” and gently coat all surfaces so that they are a light yellow color. Season with garlic powder and black pepper.
- Heat 1 tsp oil in a frying pan and cook the “egg” and Canadian bacon, so that they are browned on both sides.
- Meanwhile, toast the English muffin and butter with vegan margarine.
- Assemble the sandwich using the cheese, “egg” and vegan bacon.
2. Sweet Potato Soup + citrus + chipotle
- 1 cup mashed sweet potato (from a baked sweet potato – all sticky and sweet)
- 1/2 cup+ No-Chicken Broth (or substitute vegetable broth) — add more to thin out to desired consistency
- 1/2 cup soy milk*, original or plain or unsweetened flavors (I used Soy Dream)
*almond milk will work too
- Add to taste (what I used):
* orange or satsuma zest (a pinch)
* salt (3 pinches)
* chipotle powder (1/2 tsp)
1/4 cup diced avocado
2-3 tortilla chips, crushed (I used red, spicy jalapeno chips!)
dash of seasoned chili saltOptional: nutritional yeast, canned white beans (blended in), cinnamon, black pepper, cayenne, lime juice (lime wedge served on side), parsley or chopped spinach served over top.lower sodium note: salt is very important for this recipe! It brings out all the flavors of the sweet potato base! If you need to go light on sodium, however, give lime or apple cider vinegar a try to perk things up..
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Bake your sweet potato until tender.
3. Remove potato skin, add to blender along with the broth and non-dairy milk. Blend on low until smooth. Taste a drop to see that it is slightly bland at this point. Add the salt and spices to taste. I added the zest last and folded it into the poured soup.
4. Serve with garnish or avocado and crushed chips over top.
Note: The hot potato should warm the soup enough to be served as is – or you can warm on the stove or microwave until hot enough to suit your taste buds.
3. Baked Mango Sriracha Cauliflower Wings
Allergen Information: Free of Dairy, egg, corn, soy, yeast. Can be made oil-free, gluten-free with GF flour.
Serves 2-4 depending on hunger level
- 1 head of cauliflower (mine was small-medium-ish size)
1 cup water
3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp flour (I used half whole wheat + half white)
3/4-1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder
1/2 tsp each of smoked paprika, chili powder/cayenne
a very generous dash of black pepper
2 tsp oil (optional)
- Mango Sriracha Glaze:
1 cup mango jam or preserves (or use orange marmalade or grape jelly for variations)
1/4 cup Sriracha sauce or to taste :)
1 Tbsp or more hot sauce or to taste (I used Frank’s red hot)
1/4 cup Orange juice or apple juice (more juice if you like a thinner glaze)
a generous pinch of garlic powder
1/4 tsp ginger powder
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Chop the cauliflower into 1.5-2 inch pieces. Mix everything under batter in a bowl until smooth and thick enough batter that can coat the cauliflower pieces well (add more flour if needed). Dip cauliflower in the batter and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Line the sheet with parchment or grease very well. Bake for 20 minutes.
In a pan, mix all the ingredients under glaze and heat on medium. Taste and adjust spice, sweet and tang if needed (add sugar or vinegar for extra sweet or tang). You can also use fresh or frozen ripe mango puree + maple/sugar instead of preserves (as suggested by some readers who made these already). Once the glaze is hot, add the baked cauliflower to it. Toss well to coat carefully and let the glaze come to a boil and thicken. 2-3 minutes. You can use a large pan that can fit all the florets or do 2 batches. Do not toss/move the florets too much. Serve hot as is, with rice/grains or with any creamy cool dips like ranch. Alternatively, bring the sauce ingredients to a boil and pour over the baked cauliflower, toss to coat and serve.
Use grape jelly or Orange preserves. Add a 1/4 cup ketchup to the glaze.
Use Barbecue sauce or sweet and sour sauce.
To make buffalo wings, mix in enough hot sauce with melted vegan butter or oil (2:1 ratio) and toss the baked cauliflower in it, bake for a few minutes and serve.
4. Homemade Cro-nots
The real Cronut takes three days to make and is fried in Grapeseed oil at a very specific temperature before being filled with cream and topped with sugar and glaze. So while these aren’t the real deal they are rather exquisite. Maybe one day I’ll have time to go full force with the cream filling, but for now I wanted to get a feel for the basic pastry. These are just coated with sugar and a basic glaze. They are perfect.
- 1 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread
- 1 packet (.25 oz) of active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup hot water (heated to 110 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Oil for frying
- granulated sugar for dusting
1. Place your first cup of Earth Balance between layers of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll to a medium sized rectangle that is about an inch thick. Place in the refrigerator to harden.
2. Scald the non-dairy milk. Remove from the heat and stir in the Earth Balance. Set this aside.
3. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the hot water. Let this sit for a about 10 minutes. While the yeast is sitting, whisk together the ground flax seeds and 3 tablespoons of water.
4. When the yeast is bubbly, stir in the milk and Earth Balance, the flax seed/water mixture, sugar and salt. Stir the flour in 1 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
5. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let this rise for 2 hours, until doubled.
6. Roll the dough to a large rectangle at 1/4″ thick. Place the refrigerated Earth Balance in the center of the dough and fold the excess dough over the Earth Balance to cover it. Turn the dough seam down and roll into a rectangle that is 1/4 inch thick. Fold the dough into thirds (like a letter), making sure the edges line up. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. If your fridge doesn’t get cold enough, you can put it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
7. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it into another rectangle making sure the longest edge of the rectangle is towards you. Fold it into thirds again from left to right. Place back in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. Repeat the rolling and folding 3 more times.
8. Roll the dough out to 1″ – 1.5″ thick. Cut out your shapes (I used the standard donut shape) and place them in the fridge for 30 minutes. While the cronuts are chilling place a cooling rack over a paper bag or paper towels on your counter.
9. Heat your oil over medium heat to 350-360 degrees. Fry the cro-nots until they are deep golden brown. Remove them from the oil and drain them on the cooling rack. Be very careful removing them, as they are flaky and come apart very easily.
10. After the pastries have cooled, roll them in sugar and top with your favorite glaze. Eat right away! Refrigerating overnight is not even almost recommended.
For more plant-based cooking, check these out: