A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

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Vegan Spelt Tortillas

I’ve always been underwhelmed by tortillas.  Although I love the idea of them (they are after all useful for wraps, burritos, quesadillas, and other delicious meals), they are often dry, stale, and flavorless.  So I began scouring the internet looking for easy to make options.  I shouldn’t have been surprised to find the winning recipe on the vegan blog, Oh She Glows.  The tortillas have a light, sweet flavor and are delicious whether eaten alone or accompanied by toppings and fillings!


[caption id="attachment_2820" align="alignnone" width="640"]Spelt Tortillas Spelt Tortillas[/caption]


First, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking soda).


[caption id="attachment_2812" align="alignnone" width="640"]Spelt Tortillas Dry Ingredients Spelt Tortillas Dry Ingredients[/caption]


Then add the olive oil and hot water and mix until combined.


[caption id="attachment_2813" align="alignnone" width="640"]Adding in Olive Oil Adding in Olive Oil[/caption]


Form the dough into golf sized balls and flatten slightly into patties.


[caption id="attachment_2814" align="alignnone" width="640"]Forming Patties Forming Patties[/caption]


Roll out each patty into a thin circle (don’t worry about making it perfect!).


[caption id="attachment_2815" align="alignnone" width="640"]Rolling out the dough Rolling out the dough[/caption]


Lightly coat the tortilla with olive oil and place the tortilla oil side down on the skillet.


[caption id="attachment_2816" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tortilla in Pan Tortilla in Pan[/caption]


Cook each side until golden.


[caption id="attachment_2817" align="alignnone" width="640"]Finished Tortilla Finished Tortilla[/caption]


Stack tortillas on a plate….


[caption id="attachment_2818" align="alignnone" width="640"]Stack of Vegan Spelt Tortillas Stack of Vegan Spelt Tortillas[/caption]


And fill with delicious ingredients!  If you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop making these.  They just seem to go perfectly with every meal!


[caption id="attachment_2821" align="alignnone" width="640"]Spelt Tortilla with Hummus and Avocado Spelt Tortilla with Hummus and Avocado[/caption]


Vegan Spelt Tortillas
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons spelt flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup almost boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  1. Mix together flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl
  2. Add in hot water and olive oil stir. A rough dough will begin to form
  3. Knead dough with hands until dough is uniform
  4. Preheat a large skillet over medium heat
  5. Form dough into golf sized balls and lightly coat with flour
  6. Roll out dough with rolling pin into thin, circular shape
  7. Lightly coat dough with olive oil
  8. Place tortilla olive oil side down on the skillet and cook for 30 to a minute (or until golden)
  9. Use a spatula to flip, and cook the other side of the tortilla for an additional 30 seconds (or until golden)
  10. Place warm tortillas on a plate
  11. Once, tortillas have cooled to room temperature, store in room sealed plastic bag


Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I’ve been having a real sweet tooth lately.  Maybe that’s what happens when you’re 5 months pregnant? I have been trying to at least divert my cravings to things that are somewhat healthy.  When my latest desire hit, I went to what has quickly become my favorite dessert cookbook: BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery.  Normally, I’m a chocolate person.  However, there was something about the lemon/poppy seed combination that made me want to try it out.  And I am GLAD I did!!  I will be making this lemon poppy seed cake soon 🙂


[caption id="attachment_2667" align="alignnone" width="640"]Baked Loaves of Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Baked Loaves of Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Bread[/caption]


First, it’s time to round up the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake ingredients.


[caption id="attachment_2661" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Ingredients Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Ingredients[/caption]


Place the rice milk, apple cider vinegar, and poppy seeds in a bowl without stirring, and set the bowl aside.


[caption id="attachment_2662" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Wet Ingredients Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Wet Ingredients[/caption]


Measure out and mix together the lemon poppy seed cake dry ingredients — the gluten-free flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.


[caption id="attachment_2663" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Wet Ingredients Lemon Poppy Seed Wet Ingredients[/caption]


Then it’s time to add the wet ingredients — coconut oil, agave nectar, apple sauce, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon peel.


[caption id="attachment_2664" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Wet Ingredients Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Wet Ingredients[/caption]


Finally, add in the poppy seed mixture and combine.


[caption id="attachment_2665" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Wet Ingredients Mixed Together Lemon Poppy Seed Wet Ingredients Mixed Together[/caption]


Grease the loaf pan (I decided to make mini loafs!) with coconut oil, and pour the batter in.  My batter was runnier than other loaf and cake batter I have made in the past.  But don’t worry!


[caption id="attachment_2666" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Batter in MIni Loaf Pan Lemon Poppy Seed Batter in MIni Loaf Pan[/caption]


My mini lemon poppy seed cake loaves turned out very well — they were super moist and a delightful contrast of sweet and tangy flavors.


[caption id="attachment_2668" align="alignnone" width="640"]Baked Lemon Poppy Seed Loaves in Pan Baked Lemon Poppy Seed Loaves in Pan[/caption]


I will for sure be making this lemon poppy seed cake again soon!!


[caption id="attachment_2671" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Bread[/caption]

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
  • ⅔ cup rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds
  • ¾ cup gluten-free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil, plus extra to grease loaf pan
  • ¾ cup agave nectar
  • ⅓ cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • t tablespoons lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Put rice milk, apple cider vinegar, and poppy seeds in bowl. Do NOT stir and set aside
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the gluten-free flour, the brown rice flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt
  4. Then add the coconut oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon zest, and mix together.
  5. Stir in the rice milk, apple cider vinegar, and poppy seed mixture.
  6. Grease loaf pan with coconut oil.
  7. Pour batter into loaf pan and cook for 35 minutes. Rotate pan in oven 180 degrees after 18 minutes.
  8. Allow cake to cool for at least 20 minutes. Then use a knife to run around the edge of the loaf. Gently flip the loaf pan upside down and allow loaf to fall out into your hand. Place on a plate.
  9. Serve immediately or wait until completely cool to store in airtight container.


Red, White, and Blue Vegan 4th of July Cake!

I love holidays and holiday food.  But I’ve never had a really great dessert recipe for the 4th of July.  Until now.  Today’s post is all about Hannah Kaminsky’s red, white, and blue cake recipe from her cookbook Vegan Desserts: Sumptuous Sweets for Every Season.  No one will be able to resist this raspberry cake topped with light white icing and fresh blueberries.  All in all, it is the perfect summer treat.


[caption id="attachment_2612" align="alignnone" width="640"]Piece of 4th of July Cake Piece of 4th of July Cake[/caption]


Raspberry Cake:


First up is the raspberry cake.  Take a bag of frozen raspberries out of the freezer and allow to thaw.


[caption id="attachment_2598" align="alignnone" width="640"]Raspberries in Food Processor Raspberries in Food Processor[/caption]


Place the raspberries in a food processor and puree.


[caption id="attachment_2599" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pureed Raspberries Pureed Raspberries[/caption]


Then it’s time to gather and combine the remaining cake ingredients.


[caption id="attachment_2600" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cake Ingredients Cake Ingredients[/caption]


Add the raspberry puree…


[caption id="attachment_2601" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixing in Raspberries Mixing in Raspberries[/caption]


And you will end up with a beautiful (and tasty!) red batter.


[caption id="attachment_2602" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cake Batter Cake Batter[/caption]


Lightly grease and flour your cake pans.


[caption id="attachment_2603" align="alignnone" width="640"]Prepared Cake Pan Prepared Cake Pan[/caption]


And divide the batter evenly between the two pans.  You can begin to bake your cakes while you make the frosting.


[caption id="attachment_2604" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cake Batter in Pan Cake Batter in Pan[/caption]




This frosting was easy to make and unlike any other I had made before.


[caption id="attachment_2605" align="alignnone" width="640"]Making Frosting Making Frosting[/caption]


For starters, you will need a saucepan! Who knew that when you combine cornstarch and non-dairy milk over heat, it takes on an entirely different texture?


[caption id="attachment_2606" align="alignnone" width="640"]Thickened Corn Starch and Almond Milk Thickened Corn Starch and Almond Milk[/caption]


As you let that the mixture in the saucepan cool, cream together the sugar and Earth Balance.


[caption id="attachment_2608" align="alignnone" width="640"]Blended Earth Balance and Sugar Blended Earth Balance and Sugar[/caption]


Then add the saucepan mixture to the mixer.  Blend the icing for a few minutes until thoroughly combined.

NOTE: I think this is where I took a mis-step while making my cake.  My frosting didn’t come together as well as I had hoped, but I only mixed the ingredients together for about 20 seconds.  I suggest taking seriously Ms. Kaminsky recommended blending time of 2-3 minutes.  You will likely end up with a much smoother icing than I did!


[caption id="attachment_2609" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixing Frosting Mixing Frosting[/caption]


Then it’s time to make the cake!!  Place one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand, add a layer of icing, and add the second cake on top.


[caption id="attachment_2610" align="alignnone" width="640"]Assembling Cake Assembling Cake[/caption]


Ice the outside of the cake and adorn with fresh blueberries in any way you wish.  I loved the light, fresh flavor of this cake.  Perfect for a hot summer day and a great alternative to red velvet.  I also think that the recipe would be great as cupcakes!   I hope this recipe makes your 4th of July brighter and happier!


[caption id="attachment_2682" align="alignnone" width="640"]Slice of red, white, and blue cake Slice of red, white, and blue cake[/caption]


Red, White, and Blue 4th of July Vegan Cake!
  • CAKE:
  • 12 ounce bag of frozen raspberries, thawed
  • ½ cup plain non-dairy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup earth balance
  • 1 and ⅓ cups sugar
  • 2 and ¾ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup plain non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup earth balance
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries, for decoration
  1. CAKE:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease and flour 2 8" round pans
  3. Put raspberries in food processor and puree
  4. Mix together remaining ingredients and cream together
  5. Add in raspberry mixture
  6. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans
  7. Bake for 24-30 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean
  8. Allow to cool completely before frosting
  10. Place cornstarch and non-dairy milk into saucepan
  11. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat
  12. Continue to stir until mixture is thick like a pudding
  13. Allow to cool before proceeding with the next step
  14. Cream together the sugar and earth balance
  15. Add in cooled pudding mixture until light and fluffy
  16. Frost cake and decorate with fresh blueberries


Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Last week it was cold and rainy in San Diego (ie weather Southern Californians consider to be “winter”).  And so I decided I would warm up with some home made soup!  I love making this Curried Butternut Squash Soup (inspired by a non-vegan recipe from Runner’s World)!  The curry powder and coconut milk ensure that the soup is super creamy and full of flavor.


[caption id="attachment_2224" align="alignnone" width="640"]Curried Butternut Squash Soup Curried Butternut Squash Soup[/caption]


First, gather your ingredients!


[caption id="attachment_2200" align="alignnone" width="640"]Curried Butternut Squash Ingredients Curried Butternut Squash Ingredients[/caption]


The most time intensive part of the soup preparation is peeling and cooking the squash!  First, peel and cut up the squash.


[caption id="attachment_2201" align="alignnone" width="640"]Chopped Butternut Squash Chopped Butternut Squash[/caption]


Next, it’s time to place the squash pieces in a bowl and lightly coat them with olive oil.  You can also add a dash of salt and pepper if you like!


[caption id="attachment_2202" align="alignnone" width="640"]Butternut Squash Pieces in Bowl Butternut Squash Pieces in Bowl[/caption]


Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spread the squash on top.


[caption id="attachment_2220" align="alignnone" width="640"]Uncooked Butternut Squash on Cookie Tray Uncooked Butternut Squash on Cookie Tray[/caption]


Remember that cooking will shrink the squash!


[caption id="attachment_2221" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cooked Butternut Squash on Cookie Sheet Cooked Butternut Squash on Cookie Sheet[/caption]


Next, place all of the soup ingredients into the blender, and combine until smooth!


[caption id="attachment_2222" align="alignnone" width="640"]Curried Butternut Squash Soup Ingredients in Blender Curried Butternut Squash Soup Ingredients in Blender[/caption]


The best part is that if you blend the ingredients while the squash is still hot, you won’t need to heat the soup up!  Simply pour the it into bowls and serve!


[caption id="attachment_2223" align="alignnone" width="640"]Butternut Squash Soup Topped with Vegan Sour Cream and a Sprig of Parsley Butternut Squash Soup Topped with Vegan Sour Cream and a Sprig of Parsley[/caption]


Curried Butternut Squash Soup
  • 1.5 cups butternut squash
  • 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Peel butternut squash and slice up into chunks
  4. Put chunks into bowl and lightly cover with olive oil.
  5. Place butternut squash on tinfoil lined cookie sheet.
  6. Bake butternut squash for 30 - 40 minutes or until soft.
  7. SOUP:
  8. Place butternut squash, coconut milk, vegetable broth, and salt into blender.
  9. Blend until smooth.
  10. Garnish with vegan sour cream or additional curry powder.


My Favorite Holiday Barley Casserole

What does a vegan make for Thanksgiving?  While there are plenty of festive options, my “go to” recipe is for the Barley Casserole from my “go to” vegan cookbook, The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone.



This casserole is hearty, extremely flavorful, and popular with both vegans and non-vegans.  It also tastes equally delicious hot or cold.


[caption id="attachment_1590" align="alignnone" width="640"]Aerial View of Barley Casserole Aerial View of Barley Casserole[/caption]


The first step is to prepare the barley.


[caption id="attachment_1576" align="alignnone" width="640"]Barley Boiling Barley Boiling[/caption]


And strain it!


[caption id="attachment_1577" align="alignnone" width="640"]Barley in Strainer Barley in Strainer[/caption]


Gather the ingredients…


[caption id="attachment_1578" align="alignnone" width="640"]Barley Casserole Ingredients Barley Casserole Ingredients[/caption]


And sauté the garlic and onion.


[caption id="attachment_1579" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sauteed Garlic and Onion Sauteed Garlic and Onion[/caption]


Then add the veggies.

The recipe also calls for shoyu.  What is shoyu and how is it different from soy sauce?  The short answer is that shoyu is natural soy sauce.  Natural soy sauce is made from a combination of soybeans, roasted hard red wheat, sea salt, and water while mass-produced soy sauce is made from chemically produced defatted soybean pulp.  To learn more about the differences between shoyu and soy sauce click on:


When I made this recipe, I used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, a soy sauce alternative.  Bragg’s Liquid Aminos is a certified Non-GMO, gluten-free, protein concentrate made from soybeans.  It tastes like soy sauce and can be substituted in any recipe.



The bottom line is that you can use soy sauce, Shoyu, or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos in this recipe and achieve great results!


[caption id="attachment_1580" align="alignnone" width="640"]Veggies for Barley Casserole Veggies for Barley Casserole[/caption]


Add the spices…


[caption id="attachment_1581" align="alignnone" width="640"]Spices for Barley Casserole Spices for Barley Casserole[/caption]


And you’ve completed the barley layer!


[caption id="attachment_1582" align="alignnone" width="640"]Barley Mixture Barley Mixture[/caption]


Next up, is the Tahini Dressing.


[caption id="attachment_1583" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tahini Sauce Ingredients in Food Processor Tahini Sauce Ingredients in Food Processor[/caption]


Blend all of the ingredients in food processor.


[caption id="attachment_1584" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tahini Dressing in Food Processor Tahini Dressing in Food Processor[/caption]


Mix 3/4 cup of Tahini Dressing to the barley mixture.  It’s then time to assemble the casserole!  Start with a layer of barley.


[caption id="attachment_1585" align="alignnone" width="640"]Barley Layer Barley Layer[/caption]


Then add a layer of Tahini Dressing.


[caption id="attachment_1586" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tahini Dressing Layer Tahini Dressing Layer[/caption]


Then add a second layer of barley.


[caption id="attachment_1587" align="alignnone" width="640"]2nd Barley Layer 2nd Barley Layer[/caption]


And a final layer of Tahini Dressing and put the casserole in the oven.


[caption id="attachment_1588" align="alignnone" width="640"]2nd Layer of Tahini Dressing 2nd Layer of Tahini Dressing[/caption]


While baking, mouth watering aromas will fill your home.    And after 35 minutes, the Barley Casserole is done!


[caption id="attachment_1589" align="alignnone" width="640"]Barley Casserole Out of Oven Barley Casserole Out of Oven[/caption]


Dishes like this ensure that I never miss meat.  Dig in and enjoy!


[caption id="attachment_1575" align="alignnone" width="640"]Barley Casserole in Bowl Barley Casserole in Bowl[/caption]



Vegan Barley Casserole
  • Barley Layer
  • 2 cups hulled barley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 5 tablespoons shoyu
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ cup tahini dressing (see below for recipe)
  • Tahini Dressing
  • ¼ small onion, diced
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 1 tablespoon shoyu
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch of paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried basil or ½ teaspoon fresh basil
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup water
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350
  2. Boil 3 cups of water and add barley.
  3. Cook until tender (about 55-60 minutes)
  4. Add olive oil to saucepan and saute onion and garlic
  5. Add carroty, celery, shoyu, salt, basil, oregano, and garlic powder, until vegetables are tender.
  6. Add barley to vegetable mixture and set aside.
  7. Combine onion, tahini, shoyu, garlic powder, paprika, dried or fresh basil, dried oregano, and water to food processor for tahini dressing
  8. Mix ¾ cup Tahini Dressing to barley mixture
  9. Transfer half of the barley mixture to a 8 x 12 baking dish
  10. Drizzle half of the Tahini Dressing on top of the barley mixture
  11. Add the other half of the barley mixture on top of the tahini layer
  12. Drizzle the other half of the Tahini Dressing on top of the second barley layer
  13. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes


Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

Who doesn’t love sweet potato casserole, especially when it has a brown sugar, pecan topping?   For me, this dish signifies the beginning of the holiday season.  I based my recipe off of Susan Voisin’s on FatFree Vegan Kitchen:



I first assembled my ingredients…


[caption id="attachment_1496" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients Sweet Potato Casserole Ingredients[/caption]


And roughly chopped the pecans.


[caption id="attachment_1503" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pecans for Casserole Pecans for Casserole[/caption]


It was then time to roast the sweet potatoes.  I poked them a few times with a fork before putting them in the oven.  I start to monitor the sweet potatoes when the juices begin to bubble out of the holes made by the fork.


[caption id="attachment_1498" align="alignnone" width="640"]Roasted Sweet Potato on Parchment Paper Roasted Sweet Potato on Parchment Paper[/caption]


It’s also easy to remove the skin of the sweet potato when they’re warm.  Just make sure not to burn your fingers!


[caption id="attachment_1497" align="alignnone" width="640"]Peeling Sweet Potatoes Peeling Sweet Potatoes[/caption]


I don’t have a potato masher, so I decided to use my electric mixer.


[caption id="attachment_1499" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sweet Potato and Earth Balance Sweet Potato and Earth Balance[/caption]


Which quickly made my sweet potatoes smooth!


[caption id="attachment_1500" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mashed Sweet Potatoes Mashed Sweet Potatoes[/caption]


I added spices, maple syrup, and some sugar.


[caption id="attachment_1501" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sweet Potato Base Ingredients Sweet Potato Base Ingredients[/caption]


I greased my pan with coconut oil and poured in the sweet potato mixture.


[caption id="attachment_1502" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sweet Potato Casserole Base Layer Sweet Potato Casserole Base Layer[/caption]


It was then time to make the top layer of the casserole.


[caption id="attachment_1504" align="alignnone" width="640"]Casserole Topping Ingredients Casserole Topping Ingredients[/caption]


Once the ingredients were mixed, I had a delicious looking topping!


[caption id="attachment_1505" align="alignnone" width="640"]Topping Ingredients Mixed Together Topping Ingredients Mixed Together[/caption]


I used my hands to sprinkle the mixture on top of the sweet potato layer.


[caption id="attachment_1506" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sweet Potato Casserole Layered Sweet Potato Casserole Layered[/caption]


After 45 minutes in the oven, the casserole was ready!  I admit I had my first taste right when it came out of the oven.


[caption id="attachment_1507" align="alignnone" width="640"]Piece of Sweet Potato Casserole Piece of Sweet Potato Casserole[/caption]


The sweet potato casserole is easier to serve, however, once it has cooled!


[caption id="attachment_1508" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pieces of Sweet Potato Casserole Pieces of Sweet Potato Casserole[/caption]



5.0 from 4 reviews
Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Base Layer:
  • 4 roasted sweet potatoes (see below for instructions on how to roast sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Topping:
  • ¼ cup Earth Balance
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Roasted Sweet Potatoes
  2. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Place 4 sweet potatoes on parchment paper lined cookie sheet
  4. Poke potatoes with fork several times
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes tender
  6. Remove skin from sweet potatoes
  7. Base layer
  8. Preheat oven to 350 and grease 8 x 8 pan with coconut oil
  9. Mash sweet potatoes and mix with Earth Balance
  10. Mix in almond milk, orange juice, vanilla extract, sugar, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  11. Pour mixture into greased pan.
  12. Topping:
  13. Mix Earth Balance, brown sugar, flour, chopped pecans, and maple syrup in a bowl.
  14. Sprinkle topping on sweet potato base layer.
  15. Bake dish for 45 minutes.


Vegan Rosemary Avocado Quick Bread

I reserve Tuesday mornings for my vegan cooking class at Casa de Luz in San Diego.  It’s a time for experimenting with new recipes and connecting with other vegans in the community.  Liz Gary is a wonderful teacher who organizes the class and ensures we never run out of recipes.  Recently, a regular attendee, Gina Sample, led our group through a number of delicious dishes, one of which was Rosemary Avocado Quick Bread.  I liked it so much that I had to make my own loaf and share the recipe with you!

Gina has a website which focuses on plant based nutrition for athletes (this makes sense since she is a triathlete!).  Gina shares vegan recipes specifically geared towards athletes and maintains a blog.  She also offers services like vegan cooking classes and demos.  To learn more about Gina, check out her website at:



[caption id="attachment_1403" align="alignnone" width="640"]Ariel View of Rosemary Quick Bread Ariel View of Rosemary Quick Bread[/caption]


The genius of this bread is its simplicity.   Notably absent are the usual warnings about over mixing dough or the dangers of not adding enough yeast.  In this recipe, you just mix the ingredients together, put the dough in a loaf pan, and bake.


[caption id="attachment_1395" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Ingredients Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Ingredients[/caption]


This was also the first recipe I ever made using vegan buttermilk.  It turns out veganizing buttermilk is delightfully easy.  It is as simple as combining lemon juice or apple cider vinegar with almond milk.


[caption id="attachment_1396" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Buttermilk Vegan Buttermilk[/caption]


Next, it was time to gather the dry ingredients in a bowl.


[caption id="attachment_1397" align="alignnone" width="536"]Rosemary Quick Bread Dry Ingredients Rosemary Quick Bread Dry Ingredients[/caption]


The recipe calls for mashed avocado (ie avocado that is free from lumps). I chose to put the avocado in my food processor and let it do the manual labor for me!  You could, of course, manually mash the avocado with a fork or potato masher.


[caption id="attachment_1398" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pureed Avocado Pureed Avocado[/caption]


There are two categories of vegan egg substitutes: (1) commercial products like Ener-G Egg Replacer or Bob’s Redmill Egg Replacer that are available for purchase or (2) home made egg substitutes.

The commercial products come in powder form and are made from things like potato starch and tapioca flour.  In this recipe I used Ener-G Egg Replacer.  1 egg = 1.5 teaspoons Ener-G + 2 tablespoons water.  I prepared this mixture in a separate bowl before combining it with the other ingredients.

Home made egg substitutes made with chia seeds or flax meal also work well in recipes.  1 egg = 1 tablespoon of chia seeds or flax meal + 3 tablespoons water.  It is important to prepare a home made egg substitute in a separate bowl and give it a few minutes to sit, so it can thicken.


[caption id="attachment_1399" align="alignnone" width="640"]Ener G Egg Replacer Ener G Egg Replacer[/caption]


It is then time to put all of the ingredients in a bowl…


[caption id="attachment_1400" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Ingredients Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Ingredients[/caption]


And mix them together!


[caption id="attachment_1401" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Dough Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Dough[/caption]


Once combined, the dough should be placed in a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.


[caption id="attachment_1407" align="alignnone" width="640"]Dough in Loaf Pan Dough in Loaf Pan[/caption]


After 40-45 minutes in the oven, you will have a lovely looking loaf of bread that has a slight green hue from the avocado.  Perhaps, this is also destined to be a St. Patrick’s Day recipe?


[caption id="attachment_1402" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread Vegan Rosemary Quick Bread[/caption]


The pictures of this bread do not do it justice.  It is unbelievably moist, and the Rosemary gives it a rich savory taste.  This is a bread that can be eaten on its own without toppings or spreads.  It also makes a great accompaniment to soup.


[caption id="attachment_1417" align="alignnone" width="640"]Slices of Vegan Rosemary Avocado Quick Bread Slices of Vegan Rosemary Avocado Quick Bread[/caption]


5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Rosemary Avocado Quick Bread
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup cane sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup vegan buttermilk (mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 cup almond milk)
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 vegan egg replacer (made with Ener-G, chia seeds, or flax)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line loaf pan with parchment paper
  2. Make buttermilk in separate bowl and set aside
  3. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt in bowl
  4. Pulse avocado in food processor or mash with fork
  5. Add avocado, buttermilk, and vegan egg to dry ingredients and mix well
  6. Pour batter into loaf pan
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes
  8. Allow to cool, before serving. Store in airtight container.


Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese

Fun fact: on average, Americans eat 23 pounds of cheese each year.  And it’s my guess that the ubiquitous Parmesan cheese accounts for a fair share.  After all, it is essential to Italian staples like spaghetti and the beloved “chicken parm.”  Even the Caesar salad gets dusted with Parmesan before landing on the checkered red and white tablecloth.

For more information on America’s cheese habits click on:


So are vegans out of luck?  No way, according to Terces Engelhart, co-owner of the vegan eatery Café Gratitude!  In her cookbook, I am Grateful: Recipes and Lifestyle of Café Gratitude, Engelhart shares some of the recipes used at her restaurants.  (Café Gratitude has locations in Venice, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and Berkeley.)  It is one of my favorite cookbooks, purchased immediately after my first meal at Cafe Gratitude.



The Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese is nestled in the “Dressings, Sauces, and Toppings” section of the cookbook.  One of the best parts of this recipe is that you only need three ingredients and five minutes to make it!


[caption id="attachment_1161" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese Ingredients Measured Out Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese Ingredients Measured Out[/caption]


As the name suggests, the anchor ingredient is the Brazil nut.  This large nut is found in the tropical forests of Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru.  The trees are can grow up to 165 feet tall and are thought to live 500 – 700 years!

Brazil nuts are nutrition powerhouses! They are a good source of fatty acids, vitamin-E, B complex vitamins, and trace minerals like selenium, copper, magnesium, and manganese.  To learn more about Brazil nuts, check out:



[caption id="attachment_1160" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pile of Brazil Nuts Pile of Brazil Nuts[/caption]


Gathering all of the ingredients into the food processor doesn’t take long!


[caption id="attachment_1162" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese Ingredients in Food Processor Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese Ingredients in Food Processor[/caption]


And after less than a minute, you will have your final product…


[caption id="attachment_1163" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese Blended in Food Processor Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese Blended in Food Processor[/caption]


Fluffy and flavorful vegan Brazil nut Parmesan cheese.


[caption id="attachment_1164" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pile of Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese Pile of Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese[/caption]


Sprinkle liberally on just about anything.  Today, I added mine to vegan stir-fry!


[caption id="attachment_1166" align="alignnone" width="640"]Stir Fry With Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese Stir Fry With Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese[/caption]


5.0 from 1 reviews
Vegan Brazil Nut Parmesan Cheese
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1.5 cups
  • 1 cup Brazil nuts
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • ⅓ teaspoon of salt
  1. Chop 1 teaspoon of garlic.
  2. Place Brazil nuts, chopped garlic, and salt in the food processor and pulse until combined. Watch out for hidden lumps!
  3. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.


Vegan Granola: Part One (of Two)

Autumn in San Diego is somewhat misleading.  The sunshine feels more intense, because the marine layer is strangely absent.  The wind can feel warm, because the Santa Ana’s are blowing.  And the leaves don’t turn red and gold, because palm trees play by their own rules.  But I don’t care.  Fall is fall, and one of my favorite fall dishes is homemade vegan granola.


[caption id="attachment_1093" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Granola Falling Out of Mason Jar Vegan Granola Falling Out of Mason Jar[/caption]


Granola’s sweet taste, crunchy texture, and versatile flavors make it a food for anytime during the day.  I love it as a snack on the run, or a peaceful breakfast at the kitchen table with a newspaper (ok, fine, it’s an US Weekly).  And this recipe goes well with the hemp milk recipe that I posted last week!


[caption id="attachment_1094" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Granola Cluster Vegan Granola in Hemp Milk[/caption]


Angela Liddon writes an amazing vegan recipe blog called Oh She Glows.  I followed the recipe for her granola as follows:


If you have never made granola, don’t be intimidated.  It’s a forgiving recipe.  It will still taste good even if you add an extra handful of coconut or almonds!

The dry ingredients act as the base.


[caption id="attachment_1095" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Granola Dry Ingredients Vegan Granola Dry Ingredients[/caption]


But you can throw in additional nuts, seeds, or dried fruit – whatever you are in the mood for.  Ms. Liddon suggests dried cranberries, raisins, and pumpkin seeds.  I don’t like raisins, so I ramped up on dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds!


[caption id="attachment_1097" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pumpkin Seeds and Dried Cranberries Pumpkin Seeds and Dried Cranberries[/caption]


I rounded up all of the wet ingredients…


[caption id="attachment_1096" align="alignnone" width="640"]Granola Wet Ingredients Granola Wet Ingredients[/caption]


And heated the wet ingredients, stirring until they combined.


[caption id="attachment_1102" align="alignnone" width="640"]Granola Wet Ingredients on Stove Granola Wet Ingredients on Stove[/caption]


I combined the wet and dry ingredients and mixed them together.


[caption id="attachment_1098" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Granola Mix Vegan Granola Mix[/caption]


Finally, I spread the mixture on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or tin foil.  Your work is almost done!  The granola is then baked in the oven at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes.


[caption id="attachment_1099" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Granola on Cookie Sheet Vegan Granola on Cookie Sheet[/caption]


As the granola begins to bake, your home will smell amazing.  (It’s worth taking a short walk outside, so you can enjoy the effect, upon reentry, at full force.)  To make sure that it bakes evenly, take the tray out of the oven every 15 minutes and stir it.  When the granola is done, let it cool.   Then break it up into pieces and store in an airtight container.


[caption id="attachment_1091" align="alignnone" width="517"]Vegan Granola in Mason Jar Vegan Granola in Mason Jar [/caption]


Hungry for more granola?  Me too!  Check back soon for “part two” – another vegan recipe, but VERY different!!


Vegan Granola: Part One (of Two)
Serves: 6 cups
  • 2.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup raw sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 3-4 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • handful pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (including any add-ins) into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place the wet ingredients in a saucepan and bring them to a boil.
  4. Turn down the heat and stir the ingredients until blended.
  5. Combine the dry and wet ingredients.
  6. Spread granola mixture in thin layer on cookie sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper.
  7. Bake granola at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.
  8. Take the cookie sheet out of oven every 15 minutes to stir the granola mixture to ensure the granola bakes evenly.
  9. Allow granola to cool.
  10. Break granola up into pieces and store in airtight container.


Home Made Hemp Milk




Do you have to give up milk if you are vegan? NO!  Absolutely not.  Non-dairy milks are delicious, and the options are quickly multiplying.  We now see milks made from nuts, grains, beans, and seeds – any of which can bring cereal to life, make oatmeal creamy, or just sit in a tall glass alongside a carob chip cookie waiting to be dunked.

So the question is not whether to try non-dairy milk.  Rather, the real question is WHICH type of non-dairy milk to pick off the shelf.  My current love affair is with hemp milk.  A recent turn of events.  In fact, last year I had only a vague idea that hemp existed and, today, it is a worthy contributor to my credit card debt.


[caption id="attachment_998" align="alignnone" width="604"]Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds[/caption]


What Are Hemp Seeds?

Hemp seeds come from a variety of Cannabis that has low levels of THC (or none).  In other words, hemp seeds contain THC like poppy seeds contain opium.  Interestingly, cultivating hemp in the United States, even for culinary purposes, is still illegal.  You can drink it, eat it, and wear it, but you better not grow it.  As a result, the United States imports hemp seeds, mostly from Canada.  For more information on hemp seeds, check out:



[caption id="attachment_1001" align="alignnone" width="640"]Hemp Seed Close Up Hemp Seed Close Up[/caption]


Why Hemp?

Hemp seeds are nutritionally superior to other seeds because of (1) their fatty acids and (2) their protein make-up.

(1) Hemp’s Fatty Acids:

Health agencies recommend that humans consume foods that have an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of around 4:1.  Western diets, however, typically have an omega-6/omega-3 ratio of 10:1, or more.  In other words, most Americans are ingesting too much omega-6.  This is where hemp seeds can help to balance you out!  The ratio in hemp seeds is about 3:1.  So, even if you feel slightly betrayed reading about ratios on a food blog, at least there is a healthy payoff!

(2) Hemp’s Protein:

Hemp contains all of the essential amino acids – and in an easily digestible form!  For more detailed articles on hemp seed nutrition check out:


How to Make Hemp Milk:

The good news is that it takes less than 5 minutes to make hemp milk!  First, you need the hemp seeds (of course!).


[caption id="attachment_1003" align="alignnone" width="640"]Hemp Seeds in Measuring CupHemp Seeds in Measuring Cup Hemp Seeds in Measuring Cup[/caption]


Then it’s on to the sweetener.  The sweetener is an optional ingredient, but I prefer the flavor with it! I used maple syrup in my milk, but you could also use agave.


[caption id="attachment_1004" align="alignnone" width="640"]Agave and Maple Syrup Agave and Maple Syrup[/caption]


I also like to add a little vanilla extract to my hemp milk.


[caption id="attachment_1006" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vanilla Extract Vanilla Extract[/caption]


Place the hemp seeds, sweetener, vanilla, and water in the blender…


[caption id="attachment_1007" align="alignnone" width="536"]Hemp Milk Ingredients in Blender Hemp Milk Ingredients in Blender[/caption]


And after less than a minute, you have hemp milk!


[caption id="attachment_1008" align="alignnone" width="475"]Hemp Milk in Mason Jar Hemp Milk in Mason Jar[/caption]


For me, this recipe tastes amazing straight out of the blender.  Don’t be afraid to drink a glass right away! And remember to give the milk a brisk stir after it has been sitting in the refrigerator – there aren’t any preservatives or chemicals milk to keep it from separating.


Home Made Hemp Milk
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 4 cups of water
  • ¼ cup raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Put hemp seeds, water, maple syrup or agave, and vanilla extract in blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds or until creamy.
For sweeter milk, add additional maple syrup or agave.
This milk can also taste great with some added cinnamon!