vegan spinach artichoke dip

20141009_153540This creamy-textured dip will disappear quickly even at nonvegan gatherings.  Bake it in two ramekins if you want to freeze half to reheat another day.  Alter levels of garlic and spice depending on your crowd.  Adapted from this recipe by Dreena Burton.  Shown here served hot with organic blue corn chips.  A delightful alternative to hummus!

2 generous c frozen artichoke hearts
2 10-oz pkgs frozen spinach (cut or leaf)
1 c raw cashews
3/4 c plain unsweetened almond milk
3 T lemon juice
1/4 c nutritional yeast flakes
3 -6 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 t spicy brown mustard
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t black pepper
3/4 t salt
2 pinches cayenne
generous few pinches freshly grated nutmeg



1. Preheat oven to 425 F.  Thaw spinach (2 minutes in microwave) and squeeze most of the water out. Thaw artichoke hearts about halfway (1 1/2 minutes in microwave).

2. Place all ingredients except spinach and artichoke hearts into bowl of food processor. Whir it all up till quite smooth.

3. Process a little over half the artichoke hearts by pulsing just enough to chop slightly.

4. Remove blade and stir in spinach and remaining artichoke hearts.


4. Bake in one or two ramekins, covered with foil, 18 minutes. Switch oven to broil; brown the top slightly, uncovered, for two to three minutes. Serve hot with sliced french bread, pita, or corn chips.




vegan coconut milk yogurt

After months of experimention I have come up with a consistently successful recipe for vegan yogurt with light coconut flavor.  It’s creamy, tart, and (ta-da) nearly as thick as Greek yogurt!   My favorite way to serve this yogurt is with fresh fruit in season and vegan super granola.  The pictured yogurt has a swirl of over-the-top raspberry sauce.  Will blog that soon!


Stirring agar agar powder (made from seaweed) into thick oat milk is the trick to a nice thick yogurt.  Until I developed that trick, most batches were delicious but quite runny.  Too much oat milk, though thickening, tasted too ‘oaty'; tapioca flour made it lumpy; guar gum, gritty. While soaking oats, make sure your kitchen counters are clean and take a few minutes to boil some water in your medium pot, then run it over your utensils and into the yogurt-culturing container.  This discourages unwanted bacteria from ruining your batch.  The sugar is not meant to sweeten the yogurt, but to ensure that good bacteria have something to gobble up.  Incubation time can be anwhere from four to eight hours, depending on your tartness preference.

This process is simpler and easier than it looks!

Days before you start, order this online: Vegan Yogurt Starter from Cultures for Health.  You will also need these:  Yogurt Thermometer and a Yogurt Maker.  A Nut Milk Bag comes in handy too.ingred

1/2 c steel-cut oats
2 cans full-fat coconut milk
1 T sugar
1 3/4 t agar agar powder
1 packet vegan yogurt starter


1.  Soak steel-cut oats in water for thirty minutes. Drain and rinse well several times. Place oats in Vitamix or blender with enough water to measure one cup on blender container. Whir for twenty seconds. Place a bowl in the sink, catch the oat milk in bowl by squeezing it through a nut milk bag (it should make one half cup of very thick milk). Set aside.

2.  Pour coconut milk in medium pot and heat at medium high for about five minutes till it reaches 140 F.  (Do not overheat or yogurt will turn out runny no matter what else you do).  Take pot off burner.  Add sugar and stir.

3.  Add agar agar to oat milk; stir well.  Add that thick mixture to hot coconut milk.

4.  Let mixture cool to 110 F, stirring occasionally to keep it from forming lumps.  (This fine 68 F fall day, it took about thirty minutes to cool.  In summer, it takes longer.)

5.  Sprinkle contents of one packet vegan yogurt starter powder into mixure; stir.  Small air bubbles are not unusual here, as you can see in the photo of mixture ready to put into yogurt maker below.

6.  Pour mixture into container of yogurt maker.  Set timer for six hours.  If you have the model I have, you can leave the house now as it will begin chilling the yogurt after your chosen incubation time.  airbubyog

Chill and enjoy!


suze’s vegan oat bars

These nutritious breakfast or snack bars are simple to make.  Mix dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients, press into a pan, and bake. That’s IT.  I like to whir the banana, apple juice and vanilla in the Vitamix instead of mashing with a fork.  No banana lumps, and it’s faster.  This is an adaptation of my Wisconsonite friend Suze’s recipe, who is about 80% vegan for health and environmental reasons.  As she says, this is a ‘very forgiving’ recipe — you can make swaps, change it up, and it still works.  Her notes:  I only use 1/2 cup of dried fruit.  While I feel the 1 ripe banana is a must, using 1/2 cup applesauce or apple jelly plus 1/2 cup water also works well .  1 cup of cranberry juice is great too!  Oh!  And lining the pan with parchment makes cleanup a breeze!  

Ha, leave it to me to use three times the fruit called for…and a heaping half cup of nuts!



Prep Time:  10 minutes

Bake Time:  30 minutes

2 c old-fashioned oats
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wht flour
1/4 c ground flaxseed
2 T hemp seed (optional)
1/3 c brown sugar
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/3 c each dried blueberries, cranberries, raisins (or any combination of dried fruits)
1/2 c toasted pecans or walnuts (optional)

1 ripe banana
1 c apple juice
1 t vanilla


Step One: Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with coconut oil.

Step Two: Mix dry ingredients well. Toss in fruit and toasted nuts; mix.

Step Three: Mash the banana. Mix it with apple juice and vanilla.

Step Four: Pour wet ingredients into dry. Stir well with wooden spoon; use hands if needed.

Step Five: Press into greased pan. Bake for 30 minutes at 375. Cool slightly before cutting. Makes 16 -24 bars or squares, depending how you cut them.



vegan blueberry banana bread

Lemon zest completes the mix of delightful flavors in this fat-free vegan breakfast bread. Thanks to Susan at fatfree vegan kitchen blog for her excellent recipe.  After two months of nonblogging/winter hibernation, repeated success with this bread inspired me to go ahead and blog my tweaked version.  Confession: I don’t measure the nutmeg. I just grate enough to dust the mashed bananas well. 20140311_150036


3 slightly overripe bananas
1/3 c almond milk (original unsweetened)
4 T brown rice syrup
2 T lemon juice + zest of half a lemon
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 t baking powder
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3/4 t cinnamon20140311_134427
1/2 t or so freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 c walnuts
1 heaping cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray or grease loaf pan (9 x 5) with coconut oil.
Step One: Chop walnuts coarsely, then toast for about seven minutes over medium heat. Stir them every once in a while as they become fragrant and begin to turn golden brown.
Step Two: Mix together in larger of two bowls the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and walnuts.
Step Three: Mash bananas well with a fork. Grate nutmeg over them. Zest half a lemon and toss it over the bananas. Juice lemon(s) till you have two tablespoons of juice.
Step Four: Combine wet ingredients into smaller of two bowls: mashed banana mixture, almond milk, brown rice syrup, and lemon juice.
Step Five: Pour wet mixture into dry mixture. Stir gently till it becomes a nice dough — don’t overdo it. Fold in blueberries.
Step Six: Bake at 350 till golden brown, 55 minutes to an hour.

The banana bread slips right out, pretty much right away. Cool on a rack and serve still warmish, or toasted piece by piece (my favorite way to eat this) with Olivio spread.!

vegan black bean chili

This hearty, medium-spicy chili pairs beautifully with my vegan skillet cornbread.  Put some fresh greens alongside, and you’ve got a complete easy make-ahead dinner that tastes even better the second day.  How nice to eat chili and feel satisfied but not stuffed afterwards!  Bulgur wheat idea is from Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run recipe, and I found basic bean-to-onion and such ratios at eat, live,run, a nonvegetarian blog.  Guess a lot of runners want the protein and calories of vegan chili!  I ground whole cumin seed just a bit, more like, ‘cracked’, with a mortar and pestle.  If you have a spice grinder, use whole cumin seed and grind briefly for freshest cumin flavor punch. Cacao is optional; it adds a sweet dark undertone, and pushes up the antioxidant level.


Prep Time: 20 minutes (+ bean-soaking & cooking time if using dry beans)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 jalapenos
2 t cumin, freshly ground if possible
1 tsp cayenne
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 can tomato paste (the 6 oz can)
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, julienned
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup bulgur wheat
2 1/2 Tbsp cacao powder
4 cups black beans, cooked    blackbnchili

Step One: Chop onion and peppers. Thaw corn in microwave.  In a large pot, cook onions and peppers in olive oil till onions are soft.

Step Two: Add cumin and cayenne, stir. Add diced tomatoes, sundried tomatoes, and tomato paste. Stir, then cook for five minutes, till fragrant.

Step Three: Add all other ingredients and cook on medium heat for twenty minutes. Adjust seasoning/heat and simmer on low for another ten minutes. Serve hot with cornbread.


vegan skillet cornbread

This moist, lightly sweetened confetti cornbread smells intensely good while baking! Adapted from a recipe at The Vegan Road blog.  Jalapeno, a small red pepper, and corn boost flavor, color and texture.  Serve alongside chili or soups, or warmed up with orange marmalade or mango chutney for a sweet-hot snack.

Prep Time: 10 minutescornbrdskillet
Bake Time: 30 minutes
1 cup cornmeal — yellow or white
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp flax seed
4 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 jalapeno
1 small sweet red pepper


Preheat oven, with 8″ iron skillet in it, to 425.

Step One: Combine cornmeal, flour,baking powder, and salt in larger of two bowls.

Step Two: Heat almond milk in microwave for one minute and twenty seconds. Grind flaxseed in spice grinder. Add ground flaxseed to hot almond milk to form ‘eggy’ mixture. Let sit while you move on to step three.

Step Three: Dice peppers. Mix peppers and thawed corn into dry ingredients.

Step Four: Whisk olive oil and maple syrup into almond milk/flax mixture.

Step Five: Add wet ingredients to dry; do not overmix.

Step Six: Lightly grease heated iron skillet with olive oil. Pour cornbread batter into skillet and bake at 425 for twenty-five to thirty minutes, or till toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean and top is golden. Serve hot!


easy vegan chai

This first snowy day of the season called for the stimulating cardamom, clove & cinnamon scents and flavors of chai.  I use loose organic Rishi Masala Chai but any high-quality blend will do.  Filling the mug then adding half a mug of almond milk gives the right portion, as some water steams off while infusing the spices.  For an extra kick, toss a small slice of fresh ginger root in the simmering tea.

Time: 12 minutes
water to fill your mug
2 T (approx.) loose whole leaf chai blend
almond milk, unsweetened vanilla
sugar to taste, 1 -2 spoonfuls


Step One: Fill your mug with water; pour into small saucepan. Add 2 T loose chai if you have a large mug like the one pictured; more or less depending on size. Cover and bring to boil.

Step Two:  Lower heat and simmer near boiling, partially lidded so steam can escape, for ten minutes.

Step Three:  Fill your mug halfway with almond milk; pour into simmering tea.  Let it heat up for one minute.

Step Four:  Pour ‘milky’ tea through a strainer and enjoy.