Category Archives: Vegan Recipes

Is HPP Juice Worth Your Gold?

Evolution Fresh Hits HonoluluJust a year after receiving my Starbucks Gold Card, recently the  company emailed me that my Gold rewards status had fallen back to green and I had “lost all my Stars.” Dear Me! 

A life-long coffee lover, I stopped drinking coffee around the time I began practicing a mostly raw vegan diet, though I still enjoy the aroma and the occasional sip of coffee while borrowing Starbucks’ internet.

Recently, when Evolution Fresh juices arrived on Starbucks’ shelves in Honolulu, I thought I had found a new way to restore my coveted “Gold” status: Juice!

I wrote about Starbucks acquiring Evolution Fresh a couple years ago for its Cold-Pressed and High Pressure Processing (HPP) juice technologies. In addition to Evolution Fresh, there are many other national brands using HPP, such as Suja Juice (carried by Whole Foods), and more to come!

What is Pascalization?

At first I thought “HPP” was something new, but when I learned that another term for HPP was “Pascalization” (named after 17th century French scientist Blaise Pascal) I knew it must be pretty old!  Continue reading

Two Delicious Recipes for Whole Buckwheat

The popularity of my post “Are Soba Noodles Healthier Than Spaghetti?” showed that many of you are looking for ways to introduce healthy whole grains and cereals into your diets. Great news!

Buckwheat (or soba) in Japanese is one of THE most nutritious foods. I’m referring to buckwheat groats, not the namesake soba noodles, which are often made of mostly plain old refined white flour. Continue reading

Vegan Lemon Cake for Every Occasion

 

Previously, I wrote about my experience trying to recreate a vegan version of a now-shuttered Tokyo bakery’s “lemon cake with wow”. As promised, I’ve continued my quest for a vegan lemon cake recipe that matches the best of non-vegan lemon cakes.

I tried both of the lemon cake recipes from Fairfoods (a bakery and caterer located in Devon, England), beginning with their gluten-free recipe. Since I had never used xantham gum, I followed the instructions closely (even weighing the ingredients–instead of using measuring cups–as professional bakers do) and also determined that the British “2 dssp” (dessert spoons) of ground flaxseeds translates to 4 teaspoons in American.

The gluten-free cake batter was so thick and viscous, I thought I had made a mistake, but Clare of Fairfoods assured me that thick and sticky batter is normal for xanthan gum, as long as it is not lumpy. “Always sieve the flours, xanthan and raising agents together,” she told me, “and give the batter a really good whisk so it is even. Just whisk as much as it needs and no more. ”

Sure enough, after baking, the cake’s consistency was spongy and moist.   Continue reading

Vegan Pesto Brings Everyone Together

Aren’t the best recipes spur of the moment? And better still when they’re fast, easy and crowd-pleasing…

It’s a challenge cooking meals for vegan and omnivores, those with dietary restrictions, and tastebuds that are less than adventurous–especially when it comes to trying “healthy” plant-based foods. And you can forgeddabout raw foods.

With dinnertime fast approaching, I took inventory of what we had in the house:

  • Fragrance of fresh basil, a gift from a friend’s garden, was calling to be used every time the refrigerator was opened
  • A large head of cauliflower crowded the drawer
  • A container of baby spinach leaves would be a shame not to use it while fresh, too

I decided to make a basil spinach pesto with cauliflower–withholding the miso or nutritional yeast I usually include–to allow my mother and aunt to add grated cheese at the table. I would opt for parmesan sprinkles–a blend of sesame seeds and nutritional yeast–inspired by Jo Stepaniak’s “Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook”.

Rather than sauteing cauliflower separately, I added it with the pasta water (though boiling is not optimal for nutrition), and the consistency was just right after 7-8 minutes. At least, it saves time, and pots to clean.

Continue reading

What Am I Going to Eat for Lunch?

Almost everybody understands that whole, plant-based foods like vegetables and fruits are beneficial for health. And you know intuitively that living foods–such as sprouts–are even healthier. Yet you still draw a blank when it comes to preparing a healthy meal in a hurry.

Hummous–originally made with chickpeas or garbanzo beans–was one of my favorite foods long before I became vegan, and before Veganomicon author Isa Chandra Moskowitz poetically proclaimed the Middle-Eastern bean dip as being “like air for vegans”.

Recently, I’ve been making hummous with sprouted lentils and chickpeas instead of cooked, and while it tastes different–with a crispy-fresh bite, as you might expect–it’s still exotically delicious. Raw or cooked, hummous is easy to make, inexpensive, and keeps several days in the refrigerator, so you can make a big batch on the weekend and eat it all week long, as a dip or in sandwiches.

Unfortunately, most store-bought hummous is full of oil, salt, and other preservatives. With little to no oil, this recipe is low-calorie and nutrient dense. Lentils are one the best sources of protein, and one cup of raw lentils provides 26g of protein vs 18g for cooked lentils.

If you’ve made hummous with canned (pre-cooked) beans, this recipe may take slightly longer, but there’s no comparison in freshness and nutrition. Continue reading

Make Your Own Nut Milk Lately?

I’ve learned so much about raw and living foods in the past few months that I don’t know where to begin telling you. After re-learning to cook when I adopted a vegan diet seven years ago, a raw diet feels like you’re starting over yet again. Only with raw foods, it’s not called “cooking”–it’s called “food production”!

Although students prepare almond milk numerous times during 4-weeks at Matthew Kenney Academy, it was especially satisfying to make almond milk while at my mother’s home recently, using a regular old blender (no Vitamix required) and a makeshift nut-milk bag (paint strainer) purchased at Home Depot.

Being able to make staple foods usually bought from a store will give you a great sense of self-reliance, and preparing nutritious almond milk is quick and easy (especially so if you’re a cow). Raw almonds provide a rich source of vitamin E, calcium, phosphorous, iron and magnesium.

Simple Almond Milk Recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup almonds

3-4 cups filtered water

Instructions:

Soak almonds in water overnight (8-12 hours)

Drain and rinse almonds, then throw in blender

Add water, and blend at highest level until smooth (may take 2-3 minutes, but don’t allow milk to become hot)

Pour milk through your nut milk bag over a bowl

Squeeze nutmilk bag to remove all milk from almond pulp

Retain pulp for future use (dehydrate or freeze), and rinse your nutmilk bag

Transfer milk to a quart mason jar and refrigerate (keeps up to 1 week)

You may want to sweeten your almond milk to taste with dates or agave, flavor it with vanilla, and add a little lecithin to keep it from separating (or you can just shake before using).  Continue reading

Do You Like Coffee in Your Milk, or Milk in Your Coffee?

A recent article in the Washington Post discussing the effects of various foods on heart health identified the greatest health risk of coffee to be weight gain from blended coffee beverages packed with empty calories from sugar and dairy fat.

Lately, it seems the creator and biggest purveyor of the beverages has been trying to rise above criticism they’re as guilty as McDonalds and other fast food chains for contributing to high rates of obesity and diet-related diseases.

Along with introducing oatmeal to its menu, Starbucks published guides to 20 Drinks Under 200 Calories” as well as “Favorite Foods under 350 calories” on its website.  Unfortunately, Starbucks plays down the healthiest beverages (full-leaf teas, brewed coffee, espresso, caffe Americano, etc.) which all have under 10 calories. For example–if you’ve grown tired of Pike Place–did you know you can order any beans Starbucks carries be prepared with a French-press?

Adding milk or cream and sugar to brewed coffee is so common among Starbucks’ U.S. customers, the baristas “leave room” in the cup by default. No wonder hard-core coffee drinkers (those who know the difference between an ibrik and a v60) don’t take the chain seriously, especially after it introduced the lightly-roasted Blonde coffee (now its most popular), further blurring the line with pedestrian coffee.

Of course, only Starbucks’ pure coffees/teas and those made with soymilk–instead of dairy milk–are of any interest to those on a whole foods plant-based diet (those who haven’t given up caffeine, at least).

For the record, Starbucks custom-blended soymilk contains more calories and saturated fat than its skim milk. However, soymilk contains no cholesterol (vs 5g for non-fat milk) and does contain fiber, a beneficial nutrient found only in plant-based foods. Continue reading

Easiest Vegan Breakfast Recipe – Bircher Muesli

Bircher Muesli was a long-time breakfast treat, discovered in hotel breakfast buffets around Asia. While typically made with dairy products, such as milk, cream or yogurt, this vegan version uses soy milk and lemon juice. I can think of few breakfasts that are as easy, healthy or delicious!

Ingredients: (2 servings)

1/2 cup rolled oats or other whole-grain cereal

cup soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)

1 tablespoon shredded coconut (or other dried fruit)

1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds (or other nuts/seeds)

1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 medium apple, unpeeled

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method:

Combine oats with soymilk in the evening (or several hours before you plan to eat) and place in refrigerator.

Prior to eating, add lemon juice and mix well (soymilk will thicken).

Cut apple into quarters, remove core, and grate with cheese grater.

Stir grated apple, fruits, nuts and seeds into oats.

Chew well to enjoy nutrition far exceeding processed breakfast cereals. Just try it, and see how good you feel! Continue reading

Warming Up to Vegan Masala Chai

The first time an Indian friend prepared masala chai (tea) for me, it was one of the most heavenly things. I had his recipe affixed to my refrigerator for years, but somehow stopped making it after giving up dairy products. Making a vegan tea masala is so simple, it’s silly, but that was before I realized anything is possible without animal ingredients.

Hot chai tea masala is great  in the winter, due to the warming effect of fresh ginger. Iced chai tea masala makes a super satisfying drink in the summer, too.

Ingredients (2 servings)

2 TB black tea (I use Brooke Bond Red Label orange pekoe, but Assam is also good)

1 cup soy milk (or other non-dairy) milk – unsweetened/unflavored

1 cup water

2 TB fresh ginger (grated)

1-2 cardamon pods (slightly crushed)

Tea masala spice mixture (powdered ginger, black pepper, bay leaf, green cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg), to taste

Method:

Place tea into a small sauce pan and add soy milk, water, ginger, and cardamon pods

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Don’t let your eyes off the pot, because it boils over in an instant!

Reduce heat immediately, and simmer for another 5 minutes

Shake some tea masala spice into the bottom of a cup.

Pour the tea into cup through a strainer, stir, and enjoy!

If you’re used to drinking traditional tea masala (most Indian restaurants don’t offer a choice with soy milk), it may take some getting used to the taste of non-dairy tea masala, but enjoy knowing it has no cholesterol and is loaded with anti-oxidants. Use sugar sparingly (if necessary), in order to appreciate the taste of the masala spices.

Vegan Okara Oatmeal Carob Chip Cookies

Cooking with okara (soybean pulp) is fairly common among vegans attempting to make the most of the fiber rich bi-product of homemade soy milk. These versatile cookies served as breakfast, snack and energy bar on a recent visit to Hawaii. I found the recipe online, reduced the sweetener, and jazzed it up with spices from Veganomicon’s chewy oatmeal-raisin cookies.

Makes 20 large cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup okara

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1-1/2 cups rolled oats (or quinoa flakes)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegan carob

1/2 cup pecan (or other) nuts, sunflower seeds, etc

1/2 cup raisins

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Continue reading