Category Archives: Vegan Recipes

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All Things Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

Today, dear friends and fellow chocolate enthusiasts, I offer you an incredibly delicious gluten-free and vegan chocolate cake with which to tempt your sweetheart on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. When Sacred & Delicious was first published in October 2018, Biblio Reviews wrote this: “The vegan Dark Chocolate Layer Cake was the best vegan cake I have ever made!”

I’ve adapted the book’s large sheet cake recipe to create a smaller cake you can bake in a heart-shaped pan or as a traditional 9-inch layer cake. Yes! A gluten-free and vegan cake that is moist, not overly sweet, and still delicious enough to make having seconds hard to resist. Just ask my husband!

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Introducing Kokum with a Vegan White Bean Soup

It’s bitter cold in North Carolina and across much of the country as I write this blog—a perfect time for a wintry Vegan White Bean Soup. I’ve seasoned it with kokum as a way to introduce this fruit that is unfamiliar to most Americans, although it has been used in Ayurvedic cooking for millennia.

Dried kokum is used in Indian cooking because of its sour taste. What makes kokum unusual is that, unlike other sour foods—lemon, lime, vinegar, tomato—kokum does not increase pitta’s fiery nature. If you have pitta problems and eat too much of these other sour foods, you can set yourself up for a lot of pitta maladies. These include acid indigestion and acid reflux as well as skin problems, headaches, and

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Post Halloween Detox

Post-Halloween Detox!

If you or your kids plan to eat a lot of Halloween candy, then I highly recommend that you plan a pot of Mung Soup with Vegetables for the day after! According to Ayurveda, mung beans are one of the healthiest foods on the planet and the greatest source of vegetarian protein, because they’re so easy to digest. This soup is made from whole mung beans, which have a scraping action. Translation: eating cooked mung beans will detoxify the body, specifically the colon, liver, kidneys, and the lymph system.

You can make a simple mung soup with a few spices and serve it with vegetable sides or, as I do, you can cook the soup with vegetables to make it a heartier dish. My preferences are Swiss chard and winter squash or a combination of

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Bring on the Cucumbers!

cucumber and coconut milk soup

Ayurveda’s common-sense dictum is that opposite qualities balance one another—whether in the body, the mind, or the emotions. So, to quell the last of the summer heat, I call for balance and say, “Bring on the cucumbers!”

In this lovely summer soup, the cooling power of cucumber is augmented by coconut milk, cilantro, and mint, all which cool the metabolism even further. Fresh ginger, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, and lime all aid digestion besides being richly flavorful. They are also warming foods, which bring balance to the dish for vata and kapha types, who tend to be cold natured.

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Cannellini Summertime

A few days ago my husband, Tom, walked into the kitchen and asked if we had any white beans. I thought What on earth for? and then, more politely, asked, “Why?”

“Thought I’d make some white bean hummus.” He smiled and assured me he’d get it started after golf, despite a 2:00 p.m. tee time. Although he has created some great dishes, this was not going to happen, I knew.

I said, “What if I make it instead?” Ask and ye shall receive! I must say, though, that it

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Cauliflower Steaks Three Ways

I tasted this scrumptious cauliflower dish at The Well Fed Community Garden in Raleigh in late May when Arthur Gordon, of Irregardless Cafe fame, created the dish on the spot! He gathered up whatever looked fresh and interesting at the farmer’s market along with herbs growing in the community garden and—voila!—came up with this amazing dish! I’ve adapted it only slightly to serve eight instead of eighteen and made it a tad milder so it doesn’t bring on more heat in this sweltering summer.The complete dish is a cauliflower “steak” that is rubbed down with a mixture of fresh herbs, roasted or sautéed, and topped with a red pepper cashew sauce. The first time I made this myself, I ran out of time and served only the first part of the dish, pictured here—cauliflower with herb rub. That alone was delicious! So, if you want a simpler dish to make for a July 4th bash, you won’t be disappointed.

A third option, also simplified from the original, is to skip the marinade. You chop the florets, grill them (or sauté them in a little salted oil), and top them with the cashew sauce.

If you want to go the extra mile to impress your guests, I recommend making the full dish: rubbed cauliflower steaks with red pepper cashew sauce. The sauce is simple, and you can use it over any of your favorite vegetables. I’ve found it wonderful over grilled summer squash, plantains, and sweet potatoes—foods I like to see on a summer menu!

Finally, if you want to replicate Arthur’s dish more precisely, you can add some hot sauce to the red pepper/cashew mixture. It’s a flavor I always avoid, but I know many people love it!

Wishing you all the freedoms hoped for when our forefathers proclaimed their independence on July 4, 1776!

Lisa with Arthur Gordon, founder of the Well-Fed Community Garden and Irregardless Cafe.

 

 

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Fun Food: Vegan Asparagus Wraps

You may recall that I promised a new asparagus recipe still in its gestation period. Today I’m delivering it: Vegan Asparagus Wraps. What I love most about these wraps is that, in my humble opinion, they fit into the category of fun foods. Children (or adults) who say they don’t like vegetables may just try something new if it looks like it might be fun to eat—and anything in a wrap looks like it’s hiding a secret treasure.

Cook the asparagus until just tender, and you’ll hear a crunch with every bite, which creates a pleasure sensation. Crunchy food involves all five senses—you see it, smell it, touch it, taste it, and hear it—amplifying the pleasure explosion in your mouth. (For this reason, I suggest that you buy stalks of a medium thickness rather than the pencil-thin spears, which can

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Bring on the Dark Chocolate for Valentine’s Day!

If you love dark chocolate and want to splurge a little for Valentine’s Day, do I have a treat for you and your beloved—perhaps the fudgiest brownies you’ve ever tasted! From a health perspective, the good news is that these are not outrageously sweet compared to standard fare, even though I’m told they are sufficiently decadent to stir the passions of any chocolate lover.

First, let me acknowledge what may be obvious to many readers: chocolate, fudge, and brownies are not part of ancient Ayurvedic cuisine. Nonetheless, I believe in adding some flexibility to my offerings so that people exploring Ayurveda don’t feel constrained by too much austerity. As one of my Ayurvedic mentors often says,

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Auspicious New Beginnings with Black-Eyed Peas!

Ask any Southerner how to start the new year in the most auspicious way, and they won’t even blink before naming a bowl of Hoppin’ John or some other version of peas and greens—like this vegetarian Black-Eyed Pea Soup with Collards! Serving such a dish on New Year’s Day is thought to bring good luck because long ago black-eyed peas reminded someone of coins. The greens are said to bring prosperity because greens are associated with green cash. If you enjoy food history, you can read more about this legend at Southern Living  and Epicurious.

My Black-Eyed Pea Soup is filling because of the generous proportion of peas, and it is made even more satisfying by the addition of butternut squash, a favorite winter vegetable. If you serve this soup over rice, like a traditional Hoppin’ John, you will need little (if anything!) else at your New Year’s Day table.

How can you make your New Year’s Day even more auspicious?

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Fresh Food Thanksgiving with Cranberry Salad

If you incorporate Ayurveda into your life, you will still be able to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast—in the spirit of Ayurveda. We do this at our house by cooking everything from scratch and, as much as possible, using fresh organic ingredients. Traditional Thanksgiving spices are more than seriously delicious; they naturally balance the qualities of each dish. So, yes, bring on the pumpkin pie because it’s not Thanksgiving without a little splurge! Just make it healthier and tastier for everyone by using fresh pumpkin and unrefined sugar.

But first, there’s the main event. At our table the stars of the menu are all side dishes: sweet potatoes topped with a pound and a half of pecans; cornbread dressing with caramelized onions, shiitake mushrooms, and fresh herbs; my “Elegant Green Beans” with leeks and basil; grilled tofu (for some protein to balance the carbs); and a refreshing cranberry salad. You’ll find recipes for all of these delectable dishes in my book, Sacred & Delicious, scheduled for publication in on October 16, 2018. But today, for you, I’ll share a sneak peek of the cranberry salad recipe.

This recipe is adapted from one shared with me by my brother, who credits the dish to Andrea Amburgey’s Aunt Louise. I’ve updated what was originally a 1960s’ Jello-based recipe, using only fresh fruits and creating a wholesome addition to any Thanksgiving buffet.

Finally, let’s count our many blessings on this special day, including the abundance of nourishing food at our tables. May everyone everywhere—one day soon, in our lifetimes—have enough nourishing food to eat.

Wishing you and your families a sacred and delicious holiday!

 

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