Archive for the ‘Picnic/Party Foods’ Category



Vegan RO*TEL Dip


2 cups hemp or oat milk [I prefer one of these more full-bodied milks for this recipe]

10 oz can RO*TEL

¾ cup nutritional yeast

2 T flour

2 T oil

1 T Bill’s Best Chik’Nish

1½ tsp chili powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp chili flakes

½ tsp paprika

½ tsp cumin

Optional garnishes:


freshly diced tomato



Place the oil in a pot over medium heat.  Stir in the flour to create a light roux.  Cook for a few minutes until the color darkens a little bit and there is a nutty scent.  Stir in the seasonings and cook for another minute or so.  Slowly add in the milk while whisking to prevent clumps.  Add the nutritional yeast and RO*TEL.  Bring to a low simmer then remove from heat.  Serve warm.


Read Full Post »


This is a wonderfully quick and delicious autumnal whole grain-based salad.  It can be served at any temperature you wish, but is very nice when warmed.  I like to serve this over a pile of soft butter lettuce as a side dish to my gyros seitan for a hearty meal on a cold night.


Warm Bulgur Salad


1 cup coarse bulgur

1 cup diced green beans

½ cup toasted pine nuts

12 dried apricots, cut into slivers

¼ cup mint, chopped

¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped

1 leek, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

6 leaves dinosaur kale, finely chopped

Lemon vinaigrette with oregano  

  • 1T lemon juice + 2T olive, flax or nut oil + 1 tsp oregano

Salt and pepper


Bring 2½ cups of water or vegetable stock [If you want a more savory flavor] to a boil.  Add the bulgur, stir and cover.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Once the grain is tender simply drain off excess liquid and set aside.

While the bulgur is perking away, over medium heat, sauté the green beans, leek, garlic and kale in a small drizzle of olive oil until tender.  Add the apricots and pine nuts.  Toss to combine.  Transfer the drained bulgur to a large bowl and add the sautéed vegetables, parsley and mint.   Pour as much of the lemon and oregano vinaigrette over the bulgur salad as you wish and mix well.   Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Read Full Post »


Sweet, sticky and lip-smackingly good.  These beans are incredibly easy to make and well worth the effort to make from scratch, rather than simply opening a can of ready-made.  While they bake, uncovered, the sauce on top caramelizes and thickens as it darkens in color adding a richer flavor that you can stir through the whole before serving.


Sweet and Savory Oven-Baked Beans


1 lb dry white beans [I used Navy]

1 3-inch piece of dried kombu

1 ½ cups organic ketchup

1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed

½ cup molasses

¼ cup yellow mustard

1 T vegan Worcestershire sauce

1 T tomato paste

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T sweet paprika

1 T dry mustard

1 T chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

½ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp cayenne pepper


Soak the beans overnight in water.

Drain and rinse the beans, then place into a large pot.  Cover beans by 4 inches with water, add the piece of kombu, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, until the beans soften.

While the beans are simmering, sauté the onion in a drizzle of olive oil until translucent.  Add the garlic and tomato paste.  Continue cooking until the tomato paste has slightly caramelized.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Drain the beans, reserving 2 cups of cooking liquid.  Return the beans and reserved cooking liquid to the pot.  Add the sauce and mix thoroughly.  Transfer to a large oven-safe crock and bake, uncovered, for an hour. 

Read Full Post »


It’s summertime and people are out grilling and gathering around tables laden with food.  Problem is, there usually aren’t many vegan options.  These veggie dawgs will be a hit at your next gathering and are, as always, entirely vegan.  I had a few goals when I set out to make these veggie dawgs:  First, they had to contain some actual vegetables in order for me to call them a bonafide “veggie”dawg.  Second, I wanted to improve the texture and flavor of regular seitan dogs and create one that was less “bready” in nature.    Third, as always, I wanted them to be more nutritious.  I believe I suceeded on all three counts and hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.


Veggie Dawgs

Dry Ingredients:

1¼ cups vital wheat gluten

¼ cup nutritional yeast

¼ cup garfava flour

½ cup toasted walnuts, chopped  [400°F for 10 minutes on a sheet pan]

1 T Bill’s Chik’Nish vegetarian seasoning

1 T dry mustard

1T sweet paprika

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp oregano

½ tsp dried sage

¼ tsp sea salt

⅛ tsp allspice

Wet Ingredients:

½  block silken tofu

½ cup finely grated carrot

1 onion, sliced

½ cup cooked garbanzo beans

½ cup amber beer

1 ½ T walnut oil

1 T tamari

1 T vegan Worcestershire sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced


Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a pan and brown the onions over medium heat.

Add the following to a food processor and blend until homogenous:  tofu, browned onions, walnuts, carrot, garbanzo beans, garlic, tamari, Worcestershire and beer.

In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and whisk together well.

Mix the wet into the dry and knead with your hands until fully homogenous.  Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into 8 equal-sized portions.  Place 8 foot-long pieces of aluminum foil on a surface in a stack with the short edge facing you.  Place one dough portion along the bottom edge, a few inches from the end, and mold into a sausage shape that is bun-length long [@ 5 inches].  Using the foil, roll the dough into a cylindrical tube and twist the ends once completely rolled to form the tubular sausage shape.  Repeat the process for the remaining dough portions.

Steam in a steamer basket for 30 minutes.  Let the veggie dawgs cool and then either reheat in a pan or on a grill.






Read Full Post »

Red Quinoa Salad

Quinoa, though often called a grain, is in fact, a seed.  It is a fabulous source of protein and contains all essential amino acids.  The cold-pressed flax seed and walnut oils offer healthful Omega-3s, while the dried tart cherries are chock full of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins.  This salad is perfect for a light summertime lunch or as a side dish at a picnic or barbecue; I’ve actually eaten leftovers of it for breakfast.


1½ cups organic red quinoa

1 bunch asparagus

2 oranges, sections cut into supremes

½ cup dried tart cherries

Juice and zest of one lemon

1 T flax seed oil

1 T walnut oil

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Chive blossoms, to garnish


Add the quinoa to 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.  Drain in a colander and cool to room temperature. 

Add all the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Garnish with Chive or other edible flowery blossoms.

Read Full Post »


Cherries, especially the tart variety,  are receiving a great deal of attention these days in the athletic world due to their ability to mitigate pain after exercise.  This little fruit is packed full of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins as well as the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin which are important to the health of your vision. They are also, interestingly enough,  a good source of the calming antioxidant, melatonin.

I use a great deal of fruit and vegetable juices in my cooking to impart both flavor and nutrients to our food, so when Cheribundi approached us and asked if we’d try out their cherry juice, we eagerly agreed.  This sauce, coupled with the yuba, was savory and sweet, tangy and lip-smacking good.   In short, it had umami.   The slaw, absolutely necessary for any mustardy Carolina-style barbecue-sauced dish, was the perfect fresh and raw accompaniment. 


Pulled Yuba in a Cherry Barbecue Sauce with Sesame Slaw


1 cup tart cherry juice [I used Cheribundi’s Tru Cherry juice.]

½ cup dried sour cherries

¼ cup yellow mustard

¼ cup Dijon mustard

½ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup dark brown sugar

3 T tomato paste

1 T Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

1 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper

6 oz dried bean curd sheets [1 package]

Peanut oil


Add a drizzle of peanut oil to a pan and heat over medium.  Add the tomato paste and spread around the pan to caramelize and rid the paste of the tinned flavor.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the yuba and dried cherries, and bring to a low simmer.  Cook for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

While the sauce is simmering, soak the sheets of yuba in hot tap water to hydrate.  Once pliable, drain and roll into a tight bundle.  Cut into small shreds across the roll. 

Add the shredded yuba and dried cherries to the sauce.  Mix well to incorporate and set aside to marinate.  The longer you leave it, the more flavor the yuba will absorb.  To serve, simply return to the heat and warm through.  I served this sandwich-style on a toasted ciabatta bun.




Sesame Slaw


snow pea pods, julienned

red bell pepper, julienned

apple, julienned

golden beet, shaved with a vegetable peeler


fresh lemon juice and zest

dark sesame oil

black sesame seeds


I did not include amounts because it depends upon how much you wish to make.  I simply added equal portions of each fruit and vegetable ingredient and then used a 2:1 ratio of tahini to lemon juice as the dressing with a few drops of dark sesame oil added.  Season with sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper.  Garnish with sesame seeds.

Read Full Post »


The other day H decided that she was going to make some soft pretzels [I believe she used Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s recipe].  They turned out really well and, as it also turns out, they freeze beautifully.  Now, knowing that there were frozen soft pretzels lurking in the freezer, and having the urge to make a new variant of tofu, I decided to fashion a meal out of the two items.  The only thing that remained unresolved was what flavors to infuse the tofu with; a combination of agave, mustard, orange zest and chili sauce grabbed hold of my mind and pulled me into it’s undertow.  Sweet and mustardy with a kick of heat turned this idea into an amazing dinner.

The glaze would also work really well baked onto store-bought tofu.  It would jazz it up and make it a great addition to any spicy dish.


Agave,  Mustard and Chili Tofu


freshly made tofu,  ready to be pressed

½ cup agave syrup

2 T yellow mustard

1 T stone-ground mustard

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

zest of 1 orange

pinch of salt


Drain the tofu curds and let cool.

While the tofu is cooling, heat the agave, mustards, chili garlic sauce, salt and orange zest in a sauce pan and bring to a gentle simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let cool.

Once cooled, transfer the tofu curd to a large bowl and mix in ½ of the agave and mustard sauce.  Mix well, but gently.  Transfer the infused tofu to a mold and press for 30 minutes to an hour.

Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  Reserve the remainder of the sauce for use as a glaze.

Preheat oven to 350°.

When you are ready to serve, cut the tofu into slices* and place upon a silpat on a baking sheet [or other non-stick, oven-safe surface].  Spoon ½ of the remaining glaze atop the slices and bake for 20-30 minutes.  Add the remainder of the glaze and repeat.  Baking the tofu will firm up the texture and the glaze will become thick and sticky. 

*I grilled the tofu prior to glazing and baking it in order to give it grill marks and to give the outside layer a chewier texture.

Read Full Post »


Grilled Curried Tofu and Almond Butter Salad

Using almond butter and lemon juice rather than a faux mayonnaise makes this salad significantly healthier for you.  Almonds are a great non-dairy source of calcium and the chia seeds are full of omega-3 fatty acids.  Turmeric, in the curry powder, contains curcumin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.  Oh and that adage “an apple a day…”? Believe it.  Apples alone contain at least ten thousand identified phytonutrients.

This salad is great served on fresh, crisp Romaine lettuce spears but you could just as easily fill a pita pocket or as H likes to have it, wrapped up in a soft whole wheat tortilla.  I’ve given the amounts I used to make a salad for two.


4 slices firm silken tofu [or whichever tofu texture you prefer], sliced into ½ inch thick planks

½ red apple, diced

½ red bell pepper, diced

¼ cup raw almonds, chopped

1 celery stalk with leaves, sliced

1 T almond Butter

freshly-squeezed lemon juice

chia seeds (could substitute with poppy seeds)

sparkling apple cider

curry powder

sea salt

freshly cracked black pepper


Add one tablespoon curry powder to a volume of apple cider sufficient to cover the tofu.  Marinate refrigerated for as long as possible, up to overnight. 

Sear the tofu until it has grill marks, cool and then dice.  Add to a bowl along with the apple, red bell pepper, almonds and celery.  Whisk together almond butter and enough lemon juice to create a loose dressing. Add to the salad and mix well.  Sprinkle with chia seeds and season with salt and pepper to taste.  [You can add more curry powder to the salad if you like a stronger curry flavor.  I would mix it in with the dressing so that it becomes well dispersed.]

Read Full Post »


Three Chile Pepper Chili

Chili is one of those comfort foods that people love to see at a game day party.  It is so versatile it can also be used to top nachos and burgers, hot dogs and even atop pasta.   This is a really simple and tasty version that leaves a great deal up to you.  When I say that it’s up to you I mean, for example,  that if you do not like black beans don’t add them and simply add more kidney beans or another bean.  If you like your chili extra spicy or mild, adjust the chili pepper amount to suit your tastes.  I’ve provided the amounts I used but as I’ve said, be creative and add what flavors you like.   This recipe makes a ton of chili, enough for a game day party; it’s a good thing it freezes so well.

H made some cornbread that was delicious crumbled atop the chili.  Garnish with whatever turns you on be that cilantro, sour cream, fresh tomatoes, red onion or crushed tortilla chips.


2 – 15oz chili beans, undrained

2 – 25 oz cans kidney beans, drained

1 – 25 oz can black beans, drained

1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce

3 – 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes [I used Muir Glen’s fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies]

1 – 12 oz can tomato paste

32 oz tomato juice

3 roma tomatoes, deseeded and diced

2 green bell peppers, diced

1 large onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and deveined, diced

1 serrano pepper, deseeded and deveined, diced

3 poblano peppers, skin removed and diced

1 T ground cumin

1 T chili powder

1 cup water

salt and pepper to taste

canola oil


Drizzle a bit of canola oil in a large stock pot and cook the onion, garlic, poblano, jalapeno, serrano and bell peppers until softened.  Add in the beans, the fresh tomatoes and all the tomato products including the juice.  Add in the chili powder and cumin.  Stir well and cover.  Simmer on low for a couple of hours adjusting the consistency to your tastes with water.  Season with salt and pepper.

Read Full Post »

This is an incredibly satisfying and savory burger.  I was both eager and hesitant for H to try this because she loathes both mushrooms and onions.  To my profound relief, because I want to make these again they were so good, she loved them.  And yes, I said them.  She has had more than one over the past few days which is really the ultimate test needed to confirm that something is a hit.  This burger is a definite home run that would satisfy a meat eater’s appetite.  Not only did it have insane flavor but it had a real burger texture and didn’t fall apart as some veggie burgers can.  I slathered the toasted whole wheat bun with Wildwood’s Garlic Aioli and reserved some grilled mushrooms and onions to top this monster [I left those off of H’s burger, that would have been pushing it].  It really was the most satisfying burger I’ve had in years and is our new go-to veggie burger.  



Seitan Mushroom and Lentil Burger

If you want to add sauteéd mushrooms and onions to the tops of the burgers, which I highly recommend, you shall need to double the amounts of onion and mushrooms required for the recipe in order to reserve them for a condiment.  This recipe yields 8 burgers, of which extras can easily be frozen for future meals.

Dry Ingredients:

1 cup vital wheat gluten

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1.5 T garbanzo bean flour

1 T Bill’s Best Chik’Nish vegetarian seasoning

1.5 tsp onion powder

2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper

1 tsp mild paprika

1 tsp Mrs. Dash’s Steak Grilling Blend [Or whichever steak type seasoning you prefer]

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp allspice

Wet Ingredients:

1 cup Puy lentils, cooked [I cooked mine in mushroom broth for added flavor]

1 yellow onion, sliced

8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1.5  T  natural peanut butter [You want the oily kind because this is the oil for the dough]

1/4 cup mushroom broth

1 T soy sauce

1 T vegan worcestershire sauce [I use Annie’s]

2 T steak sauce


Caramelize the onions, mushroom and garlic in a pan over medium low heat.  [This will take a while but it is well worth it flavor-wise. Add the onions first and when they become soft add in the mushrooms and then the garlic in the last 5 minutes or so.] Add to food processor and pulse a few times.  Add 1/2 cup cooked lentils, peanut butter, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, mushroom broth and steak sauce.  Pulse until all are well incorporated yet keeping in mind that you don’t want a homogenous paste.  You want to retain some texture from the mushrooms.  Add in the remaining 1/2 cup lentils but do not pulse.  You want the lentils to remain intact for more texture.

In a bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix well with a whisk.  Add the wet to the dry and knead lightly into a dough.  Cut into 8 equal pieces and shape into patties.  In a skillet over medium-low heat, cook each side for roughly 10 minutes to both brown and cook the burgers throughout.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »