It is a tradition at this time of year for many people to bake cookies. If you’d like to try baking healthier cookies this year, try some of the following from “Vive le Vegan” by Dreena Burton, reprinted with permission:
Double Chocolate Almond Explosion Cookies
(makes 8-10 large cookies, or 12 smaller ones) Read more
Add some variety to your grains by experimenting with barley. Barley is considered the first grain to be domesticated and many consider it more digestible than other grains.
The most basic edible form is hulled barley, where the outer inedible hull is removed, but the bran and germ of the grain remain. Pearled barley is steam-processed to remove more of the bran. Most of the barley found in the typical supermarket is pearl barley. Although it is technically a reﬁned grain, it’s much healthier than other reﬁned grains because (a) some of the bran may still be present and (b) the ﬁber in barley is distributed throughout the kernel, and not just in the outer bran layer. Pearl barley cooks more quickly than whole grain barley.
Barley is rich in nutrients, especially in both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help lower cholesterol and cut the risk of diabetes. It provides minerals such as manganese, selenium and copper, plus B vitamins and protein. Like wheat and rye, barley contains gluten, which makes it useful as a flour, but unsuitable for those with gluten sensitivities. Read more
Zucchini, also known as a courgette, is a type of summer squash. Green or yellow in color, and shaped like a cucumber, this nutritious vegetable provides vitamin A, folate, potassium and manganese, plus antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Like all vegetables, they have plenty of fiber.
Choose smooth, firm zucchini, and if you’re growing them yourself, don’t let them grow too large, as they become fibrous. You can store them in the refrigerator for several days, but use them before they start to soften and the skins become pitted.
Most famous, perhaps, in the classic French recipe, Ratatouille, zucchini are extremely versatile. They can be consumed raw, as sticks for dipping in hummus or salsa for example, or they can be sliced thickly for veggie kebabs or stews, sliced thinly and lightly fried with herbs, cubed and included in a stir-fry or even split in half, stuffed and baked in the oven. Adding them to muffins or baking zucchini bread is a great way to get young children to eat some vegetables unknowingly!
Serve these golden fritters with Chili Beans or with Ratatouille.
1 1/3 cups fortified soy- or rice milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium zucchini
1 cup fresh, frozen, or canned corn
1 vegetable oil spray
Combine non-dairy milk and vinegar. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Chop or grate zucchini (you should have about 1 cup), then add to cornmeal mixture. Add non-dairy milk mixture and corn. Stir to mix.
Lightly spray a non-stick griddle or skillet with vegetable oil and heat until a drop of water dances on the surface. Pour on small amounts of batter and cook until edges are dry, about 2 minutes. Carefully turn with a spatula and cook second side until golden brown, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.
Makes 10 1-cup servings
Ratatouille is a perfect dish for late summer and early autumn when tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants are at their peak. Serve with bread or pasta and a crisp green salad.
1/2 cup water
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large eggplant, diced
1 – 2 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 medium zucchini, sliced
Heat the water in a large pot and add onions and garlic. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in eggplant, tomatoes, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Cover and simmer, stirring frequently, until eggplant is just tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes.
Stir in bell pepper and zucchini. Cover and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Epazote is a pungent herb, available dried in Latin markets. It’s often added to bean dishes as much for its carminative (gas-reducing) properties as for its unique flavor. Chayote (pronounced chi-OH-tay) is a mild, pale green squash about the size of a pear.
12 small corn tortillas
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried epazote
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 medium zucchini, cubed
3 chayotes, seeded and cubed
½ cup raisins
Minced fresh cilantro
Heat the tortillas on a hot griddle to soften them, then wrap them in foil to keep warm and set them aside. In a medium bowl, combine the onion, garlic, epazote, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and the tomatoes, and set aside. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add the zucchini, chayotes and raisins. Sauté until the squash is just crisp-tender. Add the tomato mixture and sauté until heated through, being careful not to overcook the squash. It should have a slight crunch. Spoon the filling onto the warmed tortillas and sprinkle with the cilantro.
Fresh strawberries are the sweet red fruit of the strawberry plant. They are at their best fresh in the summer months, although imported strawberries can be found year round. Frozen strawberries are always available and work very well in smoothies or desserts where a fresh texture is not so important.
Strawberries contain natural sugars and some dietary fiber, with plenty of vitamin C. Fresh strawberries are delicious but they don’t keep for long, so be sure to wash and trim them, then eat them as soon as possible.
It’s well worth the investment in organic strawberries. Non-organic strawberries are grown with a large selection of pesticides, making them some of the most toxin-laden produce available. Organic strawberries on the other hand, are allowed to ripen slowly in the sun, absorbing the nutrients of the soil. The result is a firmer fruit, with less water content and much more flavor.
Makes 4 servings Fresh strawberries are a sign of summer. For fun, cut the shortcakes into different shapes using cookie cutters.
2 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
4 teaspoons sugar
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons organic canola or safflower oil
1 tablespoon frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed (undiluted)
1/3 cup fortified plain or vanilla soy- or rice milk, as needed
1/2 cup Tofu Whipped Topping or other non-dairy whipped topping
Combine strawberries and sugar and toss gently. Let stand 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450°F. To make the shortcakes, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and stir with a dry wire whisk. Combine oil and juice concentrate in a small measuring cup and beat with a fork until well blended. Pour into flour mixture, and cut in with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
Using a fork, stir in just enough non-dairy milk so dough leaves the sides of the bowl and rounds up into a ball. (Too much non-dairy milk will make the dough sticky; not enough milk will make the shortcakes dry.) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly 20 to 25 times, about 30 seconds, then gently smooth into a ball. Roll or pat dough into a 1/2-inch-thick circle and cut with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter into 4 rounds. Place shortcakes on a dry baking sheet as soon as they are cut, spacing them about 1-inch apart. Bake on center rack of oven until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately transfer to a cooling rack.
Carefully split shortcakes crosswise while they are warm, and spread with a small amount of the whipped topping. Place bottom halves of shortcakes on four dessert plates, and spoon half of the strawberries over them. Cover with the top halves of the shortcakes. Spoon on remaining strawberries, and top with the remaining whipped topping.
If desired, any other fresh, seasonal berries of your choice may be substituted for the strawberries.
Kiwi Strawberry Salad
Makes 2 servings
1 pint large organic strawberries
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
2 tablespoons orange juice
lime zest, for garnish
Rinse strawberries and pat dry with paper towel. Cut or pull out the leaves as well as the hull of the strawberries with a paring knife. Peel kiwis with the knife. Cut strawberries and kiwis into thick slices. Arrange the fruit in overlapping layers on a serving dish. In a small bowl, mix lime juice, agave nectar or honey, and orange juice until blended to make the dressing. Drizzle the fruit with the dressing. Garnish with lime zest.
If you prefer a more liquid consistency, replace some of the tofu with more soymilk. For a more solid dessert, use more tofu and less soymilk. You can use other fresh fruits in season, such as peaches, pineapple, nectarines, mango, papaya, kiwi, pears, cantaloupe, etc. Be adventurous!
4 ounces (1/2 cup) silken tofu
1/2 cup vanilla soymilk
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 large banana
Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Serve.
Sauté cashews, zucchini, onion, garlic, chili powder, water, tomato paste, and salt until onion turns translucent. Add 1/12 of the mixture to each tortilla or taco shell, followed by lettuce and salsa.
Light and delicate, millet is a nice, high-protein alternative to couscous. The combination of millet, cashews, and broccoli makes a substantial side dish.
2 cups millet
6½ cups water
2 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons mustard seed
1 large bunch broccoli, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup cashews, chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Place the millet and 6 cups of the water in a medium saucepan, cover and cook over medium-high heat until the millet is soft, 15 to 20 minutes. While the millet is cooking,
heat the oil in a large pan. Add the mustard seeds and cover the pan. As the seeds fry they will begin to pop (like popcorn). When you no longer hear any seeds popping (a minute or so), add the broccoli, onion, the remaining half cup of water, cashews and soy sauce. Sauté the ingredients until the broccoli is tender, about 15 minutes. Serve the sautéed mixture over the cooked millet.
Cashew Coconut Date Cookies
You can use pre-ground cardamom for this recipe or grind your own, which will give it a more intense flavor. Break the pods open and crush the black seeds with a mortar and pestle. Be sure the dates you use for this recipe are fresh and moist. Organic medjool dates are particularly nice.
Makes about 40 cookies
1½ cups quick or old-fashioned oats, ground fine in a food processor, or oat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup natural unsalted cashew butter
3 tablespoons water
½ cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup natural granulated sugar (like Sucanat)
2/3 cup nonhydrogenated margarine
2/3 cup unsweetened grated coconut
½ cup finely chopped pitted dates
Approximately 40 cashew halves (optional)
Heat the oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl whisk together the ground oats, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the cashew butter with the water in a large bowl until smooth. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and beat until well blended. Add the sugar and margarine and beat until completely incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until completely blended. Stir in the coconut and dates.
Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets. Press each dough ball gently with your fingers, and nestle one cashew half, if using, into each dough ball. Bake until the tops are lightly browned but the cookies are still slightly soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire racks
Here’s another delicious alternative to using eggs. Silken tofu can be used in many ways, such as for a breakfast scramble, a chocolate pudding, or as in this recipe, a quiche. This recipe is from our own Veg-Feasting Cookbook, which is packed with delicious recipes from around the world, all provided by local restaurants and Vegfest chefs.
Provençal Vegetable Quiche
By Chef Robin Robertson, Author, Presenter at Vegfest
Silken tofu is used instead of eggs and cream in this light and luscious quiche. Mediterranean spiced vegetables and a flaky crust make it a good choice for a light lunch or supper entrée served with a crisp green salad.
Serves 4 to 6
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¼ cup chilled corn oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cold water, or more as needed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, white part only, washed well and chopped
1½ cups chopped zucchini
1 cup chopped white mushrooms
1 cup finely chopped fresh or canned tomatoes, well drained
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup pitted black olives, chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh marjoram leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups drained and crumbled firm silken tofu
1 cup soymilk or other dairy-free milk
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup grated Parmesan-style nondairy cheese (optional)
To make the crust, combine the flour, corn oil and salt in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. With the machine running, add the water and process until the mixture forms a ball. Flatten the dough, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to fit into a 10-inch quiche pan or pie plate. Line the pan or plate with the dough and trim the edges.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leek, zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and the liquid evaporates, about 7 minutes. Stir in the olives, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
In a food processor or blender, combine the tofu, soymilk, mustard, cayenne and salt to taste. Blend well. Spoon the vegetable mixture into the crust and sprinkle with the Parmesan-style cheese, if using. Pour the tofu mixture over all, distributing it evenly.
Bake until the filling is set and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting.
Vegan Eggs are here! Thanks to our friends at Follow Your Heart, we can finally make a dent in the 43.56 billion (yes, that was billion not million) eggs produced in the United States last year. Finally, we can have egg free omelets, quiches and good old stick-to-the-ribs scrambled eggs. They’re called VeganEgg and they’re taking the veg food market by storm.
These cholesterol free and compassionate lovelies are also touted as being sustainable “eggs”. The company reports that replacing just one year’s worth of American’s egg consumption is worth 48 billion driving miles worth of greenhouse gas emissions. Even the production of just one regular egg costs 52 gallons of water, when you factor in the irrigation for feed as well as the direct chicken and egg requirements. On an national level that comes out to 4.6 trillion gallons of water (yes, that was trillion with a t). The company making the VeganEgg is very environmentally minded. All their manufacturing energy needs are powered by state-of-the-art solar energy.
Eggs pack a lot of cholesterol. While the extra cholesterol in eggs only adds a little to the blood levels of the average American whose diet is already overwhelmed with cholesterol from animal products, it really shoots up the cholesterol levels for those following an otherwise healthy diet, and increases the amount of “bad” cholesterol relative to the “good.” Egg production is also really tough on chickens, that are usually packed into cages so tight they can’t turn around, and of course they all end up in the slaughterhouse.
Just as importantly for all those with an appetite, we’re happy to report that eyes roll when people taste ‘em. For all you omelet lovers, we have a delicious Italian Omelet recipe courtesy of Follow You Heart below.
VeganEgg is currently available at 6 locations in Washington state, and online. Please visit http://followyourheart.com/buyveganegg/ for a list of locations. More locations are expected very soon.
1/4 cup Follow Your Heart vegan cheese, shredded (we used Garden Herb)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Whisk or blend VeganEgg™ with ice cold water until smooth. Let sit for 1 minute.
Melt vegan butter in a pre-heated medium-sized skillet set to medium-high heat. Pour mixture into skillet (“egg” should sizzle in pan), and gently pull “egg” mixture toward the center with spatula so that uncooked “eggs” can reach the hot pan surface. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, then add “cheese”, tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper to one side of omelet (the half farthest from you will make folding easier later on).
When omelet starts to dry around the sides, use spatula to gently scrape and loosen omelet edges from skillet. You can carefully peek under with the spatula to see if browning has starrted, and reduce heat if necessary. When surface of omelet looks dry and underneath is golden brown, carefully flip empty side of omelet onto the “cheese”, basil and tomatoes side. This takes practice, but consider yourself an omelet master if you can do it in one go.
Here’s a recipe is from London’s Club Mexicana, an all vegan food stand
Club Mexicana’s BBQ Pulled Jackfruit
2 jalapeños, finely chopped
2 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp chilli powder
2 tsp cumin
0.5 tsp cayenne
125ml lime juice (more if you like it tangy)
1 cup dark brown sugar
4 cans of jackfruit (young)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp dijon mustard
Fry the garlic & jalapeños in oil for a minute. Add all the spices, stir and cook until fragrant (a minute or so). Add the ketchup, lime and brown sugar. Stir until all the sugar has melted. Partially cover and keep cooking on a low heat until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of ketchup.
Drain and thoroughly rinse the canned jackfruit. Use your hands to tear the strands of jackfruit from the harder core. The fruit will come apart very easily. Put the pulled jackfruit into a bowl and put the cores into another bowl. Once everything has been pulled apart use a knife to finely chop the harder cores. It doesn’t matter if these are still a bit chunky once chopped as it adds more texture to the dish.
Heat oil in pan and add the pulled jackfruit. Cook until it gets a bit grey and loses some moisture. Add the dijon mustard and stir in. Add a little water if it starts to stick to the pan.
Add about half the BBQ sauce (more if you want a very sticky dish) and stir in to coat. Cook until it’s almost starting to get a little crispy and sticking to the pan a little.
Spoon on top of warm corn tacos and top with romaine lettuce, guacamole, vegan sour cream, a squeeze of fresh lime and a sprinkle of cilantro.
The Veg-Feasting Cookbook includes recipes from all over the world, as prepared by local area restaurants and chefs. In honor of Cinco de Mayo, we’ve chosen a delicious Yam Enchilada recipe, provided by Oceana Natural Foods Coop in Newport OR, for you this month.
Yams are used often in cooking in Central and South America. They can grow quite large and may be sold in chunks in Latin American markets. What we call “yams” in this country are in fact a dark-fleshed variety of sweet potato. Although they’re not related to true yams, sweet potatoes make an acceptable substitute in recipes like this one.
Serves 6 to 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup sweet paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon whole coriander
1 tablespoon chili powder
1½ teaspoons sea salt
1 bay leaf
6 tablespoons brown rice flour
4½ cups tomato sauce, homemade or commercially prepared
1½ pounds yam, peeled and sliced into
¼-inch-thick slices (about 4½ cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
15 -18 small white corn tortillas
3 cups shredded almond or soy cheese
¾ cup diced scallions
6 tablespoons chopped black olives
6 tablespoons diced green chiles
¾ cup soy sour cream
Chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oven to 400°F. For the sauce, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the onions and sauté until they are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, cumin, coriander, chili powder, salt and bay leaf, stir to blend, and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the rice flour and the tomato sauce and whisk thoroughly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
For the filling, toss the yam slices with the cumin, garlic and olive oil. Bake on a baking sheet until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove the yam slices and reduce the oven heat to 350°F.
To assemble, pour one third of the sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch casserole and add one layer of tortillas. Spread half of the yams evenly in the pan, then sprinkle in half of the shredded almond or soy cheese, and half the diced scallions, olives and green chiles. Pour more sauce on top. Add another layer of tortillas, top with the rest of the yams, the rest of the scallions, olives, and green chiles, and cover with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over the top.
Cover and bake for one hour, then uncover and bake until the top is browned, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Cut and serve garnished with the chopped cilantro.
Michelle Schwegmann and Josh Hooten, founded Herbivore, a T-shirt design company, in 2002 as a means of providing stylish clothing to spread the message of animal rights. Their latest endeavor is a new vegan cookbook, Eat Like You Give a Damn, which includes over 100 of their favorite vegan dishes. In this book they’ve extended their art and ethics into the kitchen, showcasing how and why everyone can and should eat like they give a damn. They will be giving a cooking demonstration at Vegfest this year.
We are happy to share a delicious recipe from their cookbook:
Cheesy Polenta with Mushrooms, Swiss Chard and Pinto Beans
Cheesy Tomatillo Polenta
2 cups water
2 cups no-salt-added vegetable broth
1 cup coarsely ground yellow cornmeal
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 cup tomatillo salsa or other mild green salsa
Mushroom, Swiss Chard, and Pinto Bean Sauté
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1½ cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped poblano chiles
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 can (15 ounces) no-salt added pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups stemmed and chopped Swiss chard leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, toasted (see tip) and chopped
To make the polenta, put the water, broth, and salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the cornmeal, stirring constantly. The polenta will thicken quickly and bubble (stand back to avoid splatters). Decrease the heat to low (keep stirring!) and stir in the nutritional yeast and salsa. Cover and cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until the polenta is as thick as you like it, 10 to 15 minutes.
To make the saute, put 1½ teaspoons of the oil in a large, heavy skillet (cast iron if you have one) and heat over medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the oregano and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms release their juices and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes longer. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.
Put the remaining 1½ teaspoons of oil in the skillet and heat over medium heat. When hot, add the onions, chiles, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions start to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the beans, chili powder, and cumin and stir to mix well. Stir in the Swiss chard, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the reserved mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, spoon the polenta onto plates, top with the vegetable mixture, and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds.
Tip: To toast the pumpkin seeds, heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the pumpkin seeds and toast, stirring frequently, until they turn a shade or two darker and are fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. To keep the seeds from burning, remove from the heat immediately and transfer to a plate to cool.