I don’t know about you, but where I live, we’re in a heat wave. It’s so hot right now that I have no desire to do anything but lie in front of the fan sipping an ice-cold beverage. Luckily, the (non-alcoholic, though you could easily add your liquor of choice) drink recipe I’m sharing with you today is pretty much the BEST summer drink ever. It’s also great to drink after you work out (or, at this point in the summer, anytime you go outside) and replenish some electrolytes! It’s cold, sweet, creamy, coconutty, and oh-so-refreshing.
I have to give all the credit for this drink to Bombay Food Junkies, an incredible vegan Indian-fusion restaurant and food truck in my former home of St. Louis, Missouri. I have thought more than once about going back to St. Louis for the food, and Bombay Food Junkies is one of the city’s best. If you’re ever in the area, you have to check it out!
BFJ used to serve this drink, or their version of it, and I have fond memories of sipping it on similarly sweltering St. Louis summer days. I don’t know their exact recipe, but if memory serves, they used the same simple ingredients of coconut water, coconut milk, and lime juice, and it all comes together into a beautiful beverage. I couldn’t find any information online about the origin of this drink, other than maybe a lighter variation of a coconut lassi (which is traditionally made with yogurt), but if you know anything about it I would love to hear from you in the comments.
Please let me know if you make this coconut-lime drink to cool down on a hot day, and I hope you enjoy it!
Time: 5 minutes
2 cups coconut water
1/4-1/2 cup canned coconut milk/cream
1-2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (~ 1 lime)
Ice (for serving)
In a blender, add the coconut water, coconut milk, and lime juice and blend to combine. Start with the lesser amounts of coconut milk and lime juice; you can always add more to enhance the flavor.
Taste the mixture and adjust as needed, adding more coconut water for sweetness, more coconut milk for creaminess, or more lime juice for tanginess.
Pour into ice-filled glasses, garnish with an additional lime wedge if you wish, and enjoy!
Depending on the brand of coconut milk and type of lime you use, the “intensity” of these ingredients may vary, which is why I include a range of measurements. For example, my coconut milk ended up being mostly cream, so I could get away with using less of it in this drink; another brand of coconut milk might take more to get the same level of creaminess. Of course, you can adjust based on your personal preferences for the flavors, too.
I think this would also be DELICIOUS with some fresh mint—I haven’t tried it that way, but please let me know if you do! And, as I mentioned above, it could be a great cocktail, too—maybe with some rum?
If you don’t have a blender, you can simply shake up the ingredients in a closed mason jar, making sure the coconut milk (if solidified) gets fully combined. Or, you can melt the hardened coconut milk/cream in the microwave to make it even easier to mix together by hand. I am too warm already to put in the effort of shaking, so I used a blender; plus, I like how it makes the drink frothy.
Grapefruit with brown sugar was one of my favorite snacks growing up. I remember watching my my prepare it for me with love, then later emulating the steps myself: Slicing the grapefruit in half, carefully sawing around the outer edge of the flesh and loosening the wedges between each segment, and finally, sprinkling on a thick layer of brown sugar that instantly became a delicious sludge as it half-dissolved into the grapefruit juice. Looking back, I’m not sure why it was always brown sugar, specifically, or why we even had a collection of tiny, pointy, serrated grapefruit spoons in our otherwise standard cutlery drawer. But this flavor combination always brings back the memories for me; plus, it’s just delicious.
A few grapefruits recently came into my possession, and I wanted to recreate my nostalgic snack in a new format. I looked around online at recipes for grapefruit pound cakes (drawing the most from this one) and swapped out white sugar for brown and a confectioners-sugar icing for a crispy glaze. The grapefruit flavor is delicate, the cake itself heartier and darker than it might be otherwise due to the extra molasses in the sugar. Olive oil makes itself known flavor-wise in the batter, but mellows out once it’s baked. There’s no egg or egg substitute, so this cake can be a bit delicate; just handle with care and you’ll be golden. I hope you enjoy it!
Vegan Grapefruit Brown Sugar Pound Cake
¾ cup nondairy milk
150 grams (¾ cup) brown sugar, + 2 Tbsp for topping
½ cup olive oil
½ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, strained, + 1 Tbsp. for topping (about 1 grapefruit’s worth of juice)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a loaf pan with neutral oil.
To a large mixing bowl, add milk, 150 g brown sugar, olive oil, 1/2 cup grapefruit juice, 2 tsp grapefruit zest, and vanilla extract. Whisk until combined, then add the rest of the ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda and powder) and mix again until combined.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 minutes.
While cake is baking, prepare brown sugar glaze topping: mix together remaining 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp grapefruit juice, 1 tsp grapefruit zest, and a tiny sprinkle of salt, until sugar is mostly dissolved.
Remove cake from oven and use a pastry brush to apply the glaze to the the top of the cake, then return to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
Remove cake from oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, carefully take it out of the loaf pan and allow to cool completely before slicing (if you can be patient enough).
Recipe adapted from this one by Short Girl, Tall Order.
Cream cheese frosting, as a concept, is so far removed from cheese itself that it really only has a few attributes in common. Creamy? Yes. Tangy? Yes. Umami? No. Salty? No. Funky? Definitely not. Vegan cream cheese frosting, dare I say, is even further away.
So it never made sense to me to buy a pre-made vegan cream cheese to make cream cheese frosting. Can’t you replicate the qualities of a good cream cheese frosting without any…cheese, vegan or otherwise?
As it turns out, you can!
For my purposes, lemon juice is the secret ingredient. Adding just the right amount transforms a basic buttercream frosting into a tangy, cream-cheese-y, ready-for-carrot-cake delight.
I also like to use some coconut cream in my frosting to add richness in a different way than just vegan butter.
Check out my recipe below, and please let me know if you try it out!
Vegan cream cheese frosting
1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup coconut cream*
1 Tbsp lemon juice (from about half a lemon, but definitely measure it)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2-2.5 cups powdered sugar
If needed: A splash of plant milk
If you haven’t already, soften your butter by microwaving it at 50% power for 15 seconds at a time until soft to the touch.
Combine your butter, coconut cream, lemon juice, and vanilla extract in a large bowl and mix with a hand or stand mixer until well-combined, smooth, and fluffy.
Add powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, and continue mixing until the frosting has reached your desired sweetness level and texture. (You want it to be soft enough to spread, and thick enough that it won’t fall of your cake once you frost it.)
If your frosting is too stiff, you can add a splash of plant milk and re-blend. If it’s too runny, add more powdered sugar. If it’s not cheesy/tangy enough for you, you can add a little bit more lemon juice, but be careful! It’s a fine line between “cream cheese frosting” and “straight up lemon-flavored frosting,” and you can’t really go back from the latter.
Ideally, cool/set it in the fridge for about 30 minutes before using it to frost a cake. Then, enjoy!
*For coconut cream, you want the solid stuff in a can of coconut milk. Sometime these cans are already separated, but if not, you can stick it in the fridge the day before you’re going to use the coconut cream. Then, when you’re ready, open the can without shaking it and scoop out the solids. That’s coconut cream!
You could probably substitute more of vegan butter or coconut cream for each other in this recipe, if you have a preference for one of the other, but I haven’t tested the recipe this way. Let me know how it goes if you do, though!
This is probably my favorite salad dressing—and I don’t even eat that much salad!
It’s inspired by the Love & Magic dressing at SweetArt, an incredible vegan restaurant and bakery in St. Louis. I went to college in St. Louis and whenever I needed a pick-me-up treat, I biked to SweetArt and got myself a cupcake (only $2 on Wednesdays!). When I wanted to be a bit more nutritionally responsible, I indulged in their burger—still the best veggie burger I’ve had to date—and a side of the kale salad with Love & Magic dressing.
I was obsessed with figuring out the secret to their dressing, and I never did, until a couple years ago when a Thanksgiving recipe called on me to make a marinade with maple syrup and Dijon mustard. I tasted it and it was delicious…and it reminded me of that elusive, magical dressing. Since then I’ve honed in on a recipe that may not contain all the same Love & Magic as SweetArt’s, but it’s still pretty damn great.
Tl;dr: Make this dressing, and whenever you’re in St. Louis, get a burger, a salad, and a cupcake from SweetArt—you’ll be glad you did.
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
5 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
Black pepper, to taste
In a jar, combine all ingredients. Screw the lid on tightly and shake vigorously to combine. Taste the dressing and if desired, add a bit more maple syrup for sweetness, vinegar for acidity, mustard for tang, or soy sauce for saltiness/depth of flavor. Enjoy!
Note: Recipe adapted from this one from the Food Network.
If you or a loved one blanch at the mere mention of kale, you may be entitled to this recipe for Really Good Greens.
1 large bunch lacinato kale (or other dark leafy green)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, sliced into thin rings
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
0.5 tsp vegan chicken-flavored bouillon paste (I use Better than Bouillon No-Chicken Base)
Black pepper, to taste
Wash your greens and tear or chop them into roughly bite-sized pieces.
Heat a large, tall-sided pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, then add shallot. Once shallot is softened, about 3-4 minutes, add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 more minute.
Add chopped kale to the pan and top with soy sauce and bouillon paste. Mix to combine, and keep over medium heat until kale has wilted and bouillon paste has completely dissolved. (If you prefer your greens more saucy, place a lid on the pot while the kale wilts; otherwise, leave it uncovered.)
Once kale is wilted, add black pepper to taste. Enjoy!
In the gentle slopes of the Appalachian mountains, spring is synonymous with ramp season. Or at least a small sliver of it, anyway—these cheery yellow-green leaves spring up from the forest floor for just about a month. Their impermanence makes them feel special. But due to overharvesting, slow-growing ramps may become elusive in a more permanent way. It’s important to treat these special plants like the special treat that they are. Here is a great resource for ramp identification and sustainable harvesting. Enjoy responsibly.
A friend clued me in to a patch of ramps growing by a nearby pond, and I made the trek to grab a few leaves. I’ve made ramp pesto before, which is delicious, but this year I decided to blend them into a creamy sauce with some white beans I had in the pantry. The light, savory ramp flavor shines through here, with just a few other ingredients to round out the sauce.
I used sweet potato “noodles” for no reason other than that I was out of pasta and didn’t want to make a special trip to the store, but I’m sure regular wheat pasta would be just as delicious, if not more so (shh, don’t tell sweet potatoes, one of my great loves, that they just don’t hold a candle in this form to the original). Kale was the green veg I had on hand, but if I made this again, I would probably roast up some broccoli instead. Basically, the star of this recipe is the ramp sauce, and the supporting elements are pretty much interchangeable.
Please let me know if you make this recipe, and I hope you enjoy. Happy ramping!
Sweet potato noodles with creamy ramp sauce and crispy kale (vegan)
Time: 45 minutes
2 medium sweet potatoes (~1.25 lb.)
1 tsp olive oil
1 bunch red kale, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces
salt & pepper, to taste
Optional: 1 pack Field Roast apple sage vegan sausages
Spiralize sweet potatoes. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use a regular vegetable peeler to create fettuccine-like strips.
Wash and roughly chop the ramp leaves and peel and crush the garlic clove. Sauté the ramps and garlic in 1 tsp olive oil on low-medium heat until fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.
Add the ramps and garlic to a blender along with the rest of the sauce ingredients. Blend until smooth, adding more water if you want a thinner sauce.
If needed, add another tsp olive oil to the same pan. Cook chopped veggie sausage (if using) for ~3 min. on each side until browned. Then, add kale, salt, & pepper and cook for several more minutes until kale is wilted and crispy in places. Transfer to a bowl.
In the same pan, sauté the sweet potato noodles (swoodles? let’s go with it) on medium heat, adding a bit more oil or water as needed to keep them from sticking to the pan. After 3 minutes or so, cover the pan to steam the swoodles until al dente, about 6-7 minutes total.
Add sauce, kale, and veggie sausage to the swoodles and cook on low heat until sauce is heated through. Serve and enjoy!
The sweet potato noodles can get soggy if they are left saucy for too long, so if you’re saving some of this recipe for later, keep the uncooked sweet potato noodles separate from the sauce and saute+ combine them immediately before eating.
Recipe somewhat inspired by this one from Minimalist Baker.
Hello! Hope you are well in these strange times. I just made this dish for lunch by throwing together some bits and bobs that I had lying around from other recipes, and I was pleasantly surprised by how it turned out. Pasta is my favorite comfort food, and it’s always fun to find a new and quick way to prepare it. This one utilizes tofu feta, for which I just posted a recipe that you should also check out. 🙂
Optional: cooked chickpeas or veggie sausage (I love Field Roast)
Boil pasta in salted water according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water.
While the pasta is cooking, mince garlic and roughly chop or tear spinach and basil.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add vegan butter.
Once the butter is melted, add tomato paste and garlic to the skillet. Fry for a couple minutes or until fragrant.
Season with a bit of salt and pepper. If using red pepper, chickpeas, or veggie sausage, add ’em at this point and saute for a couple more minutes.
Add spinach and pasta water (starting with 2/3 cup and adding more if needed) to the skillet. Stir to dissolve the tomato paste into the pasta water until a smooth sauce forms.
Add cooked, drained pasta to the sauce (or vice versa) and stir to combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if needed.
Divide pasta into two servings and top each with fresh basil and tofu feta. Enjoy!
*This pasta is also great with a chopped fresh tomato instead of tomato paste and just a splash of pasta water, which forms less of a sauce and more of a juicy, fresh tomato-y delight. Try it both ways!
I should maybe stop adding “: a recipe” to the end of my recipe posts, huh? Maybe there’s a better system?
Anyway, this is the best (in my humble opinion) tofu feta recipe! I’ve shared it quite a few times on my Instagram stories, but now I’m immortalizing it on my blog. The texture of tofu is not quite the same as that of feta, but the flavor is perfect: creamy, cheesy, tangy, salty, herby. What’s not to love?
This feta is super quick to prepare, but it does require chilling in the fridge for 24 hours. That wait time is not optional—it makes the feta immeasurably more delicious once all the flavors have had ample time to mingle and infuse into the tofu. Patience is a virtue!
Use this recipe to top pastas, salads, roasted vegetables…it makes pretty much anything more delicious.
My best tofu feta
Time: 25 hours (but only 15 minutes active prep)
1 lb. firm or extra-firm tofu
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
juice of 1 lemon (~2 Tbsp)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp oregano
Optional: fresh basil or sun-dried tomatoes
Press your tofu: drain the excess liquid from the tofu package, then wrap the block in a clean kitchen towel. Sandwich it between two cutting boards/baking pans/other flat kitchen tools and place several heavy cans or cookbooks on top to squeeze out excess moisture. This improves the tofu’s ability to absorb the feta flavors. Press for 20 minutes.
Once pressed, use your fingers or a fork to crumble the tofu into smallish chunks in a bowl.
Add the remaining ingredients to the tofu and mix well to combine. Then, sample it. The flavors will develop while it’s chilling, but at this point you can add more of whatever you feel might be lacking: nutritional yeast for cheesiness, lemon juice or ACV for tanginess, etc.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.
Enjoy! Some optional add-ins to make it even more delicious: Fresh basil or sun-dried tomatoes.
I’m comin’ at ya with another recipe post! This is the vegan mac & cheese that I make at least once a month. Is there any more quintessential comfort food than mac & cheese? I DON’T THINK SO. Anyway, I’m writing this post late at night from my self-isolation and if I keep writing I’m going to get pretty loopy, so I’m just going to move on to the recipe. (Bonus: You should have most, if not all, of these ingredients in your pantry right now! :)) (Another bonus: This mac & cheese is whole-heartedly omnivore approved. Though it doesn’t taste exactly like traditional mac, it’s very delicious in its own way.)
Important note: This recipe was very much inspired by/based on the VegNews Best Ever Vegan Macaroni & Cheese, but I’ve adapted it enough that I feel OK with claiming it as my own. Still, I would be nowhere without this OG inspiration! (And by “nowhere” I mean eating subpar vegan mac & cheese. No thank you.)
My best vegan mac & cheese
Serves: 4-6 (depending on how much you eat……)
Time: 45 minutes
16 oz. small pasta (I suggest macaroni, obvi, but you do you)
2 cups potatoes, chopped (~ 1 medium or 2 small potatoes)
1 scant cup onion, chopped (~ half an onion)
1/2 cup carrot, chopped (~ 1-2 carrots)
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup vegan butter
1/3 cup neutral oil (I use canola or coconut)
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of ~ 1 lemon)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp salt
Black pepper, to taste
Optional: Smoked paprika (a few shakes, for smoky flavor)
Optional: Turmeric (a pinch, just for color)
Optional: 3 cups broccoli, chopped
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add your pasta and cook according to package directions.
If using broccoli: Add the chopped broccoli to the boiling pasta when you have ~ 4 minutes left to cook it.
While pasta water is boiling, chop your vegetables and add the potatoes, carrots, onion, and garlic to a medium pot with 2 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are fork-tender.
While the vegetables and pasta are boiling, add the remaining ingredients (cashews, vegan butter, oil, mustard, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and optional spices) to a high-speed blender.
When the vegetables are tender, add them + the water they cooked in to the other ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.
Sample the cheesy sauce and adjust, adding more salt, pepper, etc. to taste, then blend again. (You can also add cayenne, red pepper flake, or other spices at this stage, but I figured if you’re going to do that, I don’t need to tell you to do it. Ya know?)
Combine your luscious sauce with the drained pasta (and broccoli, if using) until it’s evenly coated. Serve with a protein, like Field Roast sausages or smoky tempeh. Bon appetit!
This recipe is pretty forgiving and tastes delicious in every iteration! With that said, here are a few substitutions you can make as needed.
If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you should soften the cashews (soak them in hot water for a few hours or boil them for 20 minutes) before adding them to the regular blender. If you only have a small, smoothie-sized blender, you can make the sauce in batches (with some of the vegetables & water in each) and stir them together at the end.
The vegan butter & oil can be swapped for other fats in whatever proportions you have on hand. My happy medium is half-solid at room temp (butter) and half-liquid (oil), but feel free to switch it up.
Also, if you’d like to lower the oil content in this dish, you can reduce the oil and butter to 1/4 cup each and/or swap some of them for more cashews. The sauce just won’t be quiiiite as creamy. Add a splash of water if needed to thin out the sauce.
If you don’t have lemon juice on hand, you can use apple cider vinegar instead. I prefer the lemon, but ACV will do the trick as well to add a cheesy tang.
I haven’t tried this, but it occurs to me that you could substitute cauliflower for the potato for a lower-carb option. I might have to test this substitution next time…stay tuned!
Please let me know if you make this recipe or if you have any questions about it. Hope you enjoy!
This is the first of (hopefully) many recipe posts on my blog. I’ve been cooking for myself regularly since I went vegan, three and a half years ago, because my college did not have a wealth of options in that category. I’ve discovered a lot of amazing recipes along the way, and also started to get more confident improvising in the kitchen.
I made the following dish last week while visiting a friend’s house. She had a lot of root veggies and a block of tofu to use up, so we made this hearty meal for dinner: Deep, roasty flavors, a filling grain, and a green element adding some much-need vitamins. I wouldn’t call it comfort food per se because it’s not, like, mac and cheese (stay tuned for that recipe!), but it’s definitely comforting. I don’t have much else to say other than, I hope you enjoy!
Oh, one more thing: This recipe isn’t an exact set of steps to follow as much as it is a template to use or adapt to your own needs (and current pantry contents). It’s pretty flexible, so I wrote it as such.
Roasted root vegetables, balsamic tofu, and warm kale salad with couscous
Time: 1 hour
1 block (~16 oz.) firm or extra-firm tofu
Grain of choice (we used ~1 cup dried couscous)
Assorted root vegetables—we used:
1 large potato (sweet potatoes would also be great!)
4 small beets
1 bunch kale, or other dark leafy green
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp nutritional yeast (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste
Pat tofu dry and gently squeeze out any excess water. Cut the tofu into small cubes.
Combine the balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, and salt + pepper (we used about a teaspoon each of the latter two) in a container with a lid. Add the tofu to the marinade and shake it around until it’s all covered. Let the tofu marinate for at least 30 minutes.*
In the meantime, prepare your root vegetables: Wash and chop them into small pieces, roughly the same size as the tofu. Spread across one and a half baking sheets lined with silicone mats (or parchment paper). Lightly drizzle the veggies with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, then use your hands to toss and coat all the pieces.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
When the tofu is marinated, add it to the other half of the baking sheet. Save the leftover marinade.
Bake the veggies and tofu at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
While the veggies and tofu are roasting, prepare your grain according to package directions.
Also while they’re in the oven, prepare the kale: Remove large stems and tear the kale into bite-sized pieces. Massage for 30 seconds, then add to a large skillet with 1 Tbsp. olive oil on medium heat. Cover the skillet and steam the kale for a couple minutes.
Mix the remaining olive oil with the leftover marinade and pour it over the kale, stirring until it begins to wilt and get brown in a few places. Turn off and remove from heat.
Serve the grain, kale, roasted veggies, and balsamic tofu while warm. (I didn’t do this, but I think they’d be delicious topped with a drizzle of tahini sauce). Enjoy!