miyoko’s artisan vegan ‘butter’

butter closeThis creamy ‘butter’ spreads beautifully, melts well, and works fine in baked goods.  You can smoosh fresh pressed garlic into it for garlic bread.   It’s ridiculously fast and easy.  Even better, it tastes so sweet and fresh you won’t miss butter, let alone Earth Balance’s (or various others’) tub of unpronounceable ingredients.  All you do is measure out six ingredients, whir them up in a blender, and chill.

The recipe is completely Miyoko Schinner‘s; the vegan cheese genius Miyoko gave me permission to blog it.  Found it on the lovely blog Luminous Vegans.  Adjust salt to your liking, from 1/4 tsp for extra sweet, to 1/2, to a whole teaspoon for lightly salted.  You can find plant-based lecithin in the health food section of most groceries or order it from Amazon. 


(makes 2 cups) ingred butter

1 cup refined organic coconut oil (liquefied by warming)

1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup canola or other mild oil

2 teaspoons liquid lecithin

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt



1.  Whir it all up in the Vitamix or blender.  It will turn light yellow and smooth very quickly.

2.  Pour into a glass container, cover, and chill for about an hour.  It stays fresh in the fridge for about two weeks.


*Miyoko’s book, Artisan Vegan Cheese, is a real winner!  If you like this vegan butter, you may let someone know you want to experiment with vegan cheeses and end up receiving it for your birthday!

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 spicy roasted squash spread

This recipe evolved from an urge to fill wraps with something other than hummus.  I adapted a fabulous recipe for cashew ‘cheese’ from the blog Positively Vegan.  It works well with butternut squash or yellow winter squash.  The spread received enthusiastic thumbs-ups at home, so I’m sharing!


Time:  1 hour soak/roast + 15 minutes prep.
Yields 4 cups spread
1 cup raw cashews (soaking them will take an hour)
2 acorn squash
4  cloves garlic
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 t smoked paprika
1 t cayenne
1 t red pepper flakes
1 heaping T white or red miso
tamari to taste
1 T tahini
1 T apple cider vinegar


Step One:
Cover cashews with water and set aside to soak (allow an hour or more). Preheat oven to 425.

Step Two:
Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds (delicious washed and roasted, later). Cut squash into fourths or a bit smaller. Place open side down in baking dish with a little water in it. Toss in the garlic cloves, smashed slightly to get the peel off easily. Cover with aluminum foil and bake forty-five minutes to an hour, or till soft.


Step Three:

Scoop squash away from its peel and place in food processor. Drain cashews and add them, and all other ingredients, to food processor. Whir it all together, about a minute, scraping down sides a couple times and adding a little more (or less) spice as you like. That’s it!


vegan spicy lentil spread

This creamy, garlicky green lentil spread/dip is a lively alternative to hummus.  Toasting the walnuts takes nine well-worth-it minutes and adds depth of flavor.  Inspired in part by this nonvegan recipe at Food & Wine and also this one from Vegetarian Times.  Omit peanut butter and brown rice syrup if you want the cayenne and garlic to knock you over!


Prep Time:  30 minutes to cook lentils,+ 10 minutes to prepare.

1 cup dry green lentils (2 1/2 cups cooked)
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup kale
1 cup cilantro
1/2 red onion
6 – 8 cloves garlic
1 scant T brown rice syrup
2 T olive oil
2 T peanut butter
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 t ground cumin
1 t ground cayenne
1 t salt
1 1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t cracked black pepper



Step One: Cook lentils for half an hour or till soft, in a bit less than 3 cups water. Drain cooked lentils well in a colander.

Step Two:  While lentils are cooking, toast walnut halves in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon here and there as they turn fragrant and tinged with golden brown. While toasting, gather all other ingredients and put them in the food processor.  (Be sparing with the spices at first unless you like it pretty wild!)

Step Three: Add lentils to contents of  food processor.  Close it up and whir on high setting for twenty seconds. Remove lid and scrape sides a bit, to get everything in on the whirring.


Step Four: Process another 40 seconds or till creamy and hummus-textured. Adjust seasonings to taste.

That’s it! Enjoy this in wraps, sandwiches, scooped over salad greens, or as a dip for carrots or chips.

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