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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Best Blog Tips

This is a meal that I made pretty-much on the spur of the moment last week, utilizing some ingredients that I need to use up.  It turned out to be one of our favorites so far! Lots of veggies and flavors and creamy goodness, and a minimum of effort.

I originally set out to make an orzo salad (my husband loves orzo, the pasta that looks like rice), but I ended up serving it hot because we didn't want to wait!  It was super-delicious that way, as a sort of pilaf.  The next day, we enjoyed it cold, for lunch, as a salad.  I love making versatile recipes!

CONFESSION:  There is a bit of a sameness about these recipes and I probably would not serve them together again. However, for that particular meal, as I said, I was using up certain ingredients and the idea for the orzo dish came to me partially because I wanted to use up as much of the vegan ricotta as I could!

Printable Copy

Serves 2 to 4

4 large Portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 cup vegan ricotta (my vegan ricotta recipes, one tofu, one almond)
1 cup (packed down) finely-chopped fresh spinach (OR use chard or tender kale leaves instead), which has been washed and spin-dried
1/4 cup vegan parmesan (your choice—I like Go Veggie by Galaxy)
1/4 tsp. EACH dried basil, thyme leaves and oregano
3/4 cup of your favorite marinara sauce (fresh tomato sauce with garlic and basil)
extra vegan parmesan to sprinkle on top

Sprinkle the inside of the mushroom caps with a little salt and pepper.  Place them on a baking sheet and spray with a little oil from a pump-sprayer.  Place the pan about 6 inches under your oven’s broiler.  Broil (checking often), until the gills look juicy and the mushroom is softer and semi-cooked.  Remove from the oven and set aside. Turn the oven to 450 degrees F on Bake mode.

In a medium bowl, mash together the ricotta, spinach, vegan parmesan, and herbs.  Combine well.  Divide the mixture evenly between the 4 mushroom caps, mounding firmly.  Sprinkle with some of the vegan parmesan. Bake for about 10 minutes.  While they bake, gently heat the marinara sauce, either on the stovetop or in the microwave.  Serve the mushrooms hot with some of the sauce spooned over them.


Serves 4

You can substitute any vegetables you like for the ones I used.

1 cup orzo pasta
2 cups vegan broth
Roasted Vegetables:
2 medium zucchini, cut across in half and then length-wise into 3/8-inch slices
1/2 large onion (any color), thinly sliced
3 bell peppers, preferable different colors, but it doesn’t matter if they are all the same
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup vegan parmesan (your choice—I like Go Veggie byGalaxy)
1/4 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon vegan broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup vegan
ricotta (my vegan ricotta recipes, one tofu, one almond)
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

Bring the broth to a boil in a small pot and add the orzo.  Bring back to a boil, the turn to Low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. 

While the orzo cooks, place the prepared vegetables on an oiled baking sheet and spray with oil from a pump-sprayer.  Broil under your oven’s broiler, about 4-5 inches from the heat, until they are starting to brown.  Turn them over to the other side and broil again until they are softened and starting to brown. Watch carefully so that they do not char.  Remove from the oven.

Immediately stir the cooked orzo with a spoon and pour into a bowl. 

Blend the Dressing ingredients together until smooth, using a blender or immersion/stick blender.  Add to the bowl with the orzo, along with the roasted vegetables, parsley, basil, vegan parmesan and chopped olives. Combine gently.

Now, you can serve this still hot, at room temperature, or chilled as a sald, depending on your circumstances or preference.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Best Blog Tips

Just wanted to let you know that an article of mine is featured in the latest issue of VegNews magazine (Aug 2014)-- a little bit of history and four colorful and scrumptious vegan-style Peruvian recipes, inspired by foods that I remember from a childhood visit to my father's family in Lima.  I hope you get a chance to see the article and try the recipes.  

The print version is available at Whole Foods, Chapters and other stores, and *you can access it for free online* at  (Personally, I like to have the print version of magazines, but you can download the PDF from this link, and/or print pages.)

Here's a little preview:

Vegan Chikn Anticuchos (Spicy Peruvian Kebabs)

Soltero de Queso/Bachelor's Salad


Escabeche de Tempeh


Lucuma Ice Cream

I hope you'll try some of these-- enjoy!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Best Blog Tips

On Monday some old friends from Portland, OR came over to Denman Island for a quick visit and a picnic.  We took a driving tour around the island, stopped at one of the more interesting beaches, and then landed at Fillongley Park, with it's lovely long beach and view of the snow-capped coastal mountains on the mainland, and walk through the old-growth forest to the lovely meadow that was once a homestead.

I brought a picnic lunch to share (our guests brought a watermelon for dessert-- perfect!) and we set everything out on one of the picnic tables near the beach.  I made a vegan traditional-style potato salad (recipe from my first book "The Almost No-Fat Cookbook" and made with my Tofu Mayonnaise):

and my Mulri-Grain Inari Sushi (I'll post the recipe soon!)

along with some of my "B of T" (Breast of Tofu or Crispy Marinated Tofu), with Thai Sweet Chile Sauce and lemon wedges. 

For the veggie dish, since we have an abundance of kale in the garden, I made this lovely salad, which everyone really enjoyed (recipe below):

Serves 6

This is a riff on a recipe in Nava Atlas' wonderful book "Wild About Greens", BTW.  I can't claim it as my recipe-- I just substituted apples for the pears and used my own homemade salad dressing!

10 ounces of kale (weigh after stripping from the stems), washed and spun dry
1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice
1 1/2 cups thinly-sliced red cabbage
2 medium apples (tart-sweet), washed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
about 1/2 cup of Pomegranate Molasses Salad dressing (recipe below), or more to taste

Slice the kale into thin ribbons and place in a large bowl.  Sprinkle with the salt, olive oil and lemon juice.  Rub the mixture through the kale with your fingers.  Keep rubbing the kale until it softens and darkens. Add the other ingredients, including the salad dressing and toss well. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving time.

Yield: about 3/4 cup

Mix together all of the following ingredients:

1/2 cup vegetarian broth or water
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, crushed


Monday, June 30, 2014


Best Blog Tips

This is going to be short and sweet!  Last night I was making a last minute quick meal and looked to see what needed using.  I found a cauliflower and 1/2 cup each of my homemade mayo and some Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream that I had bought for another recipe, as well as some green onions and parsley.  Loving roasted cauliflower as I do, here is what I did with it (and it was delicious!):

 Printable Recipe

 Serves 4   

1 large head    cauliflower   
3 tablespoons    olive oil   
1 cup    chopped green onions (white and green)   
1/2 cup    hickory-smoked almonds, roughly-chopped   
1/2 cup    fresh parsley, roughly-chopped   
1/2 cup    vegan sour cream (such as Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, or you could try a homemade version, such as this cashew version, or this tofu version.))   
1/2 cup    vegan mayonnaise (preferably a low-fat version, such as my Tofu  Mayo or my Eggless Low-Fat Mayo, or Reduced-Fat Vegenaise or Spectrum Naturals Eggless, Vegan Light Canola Mayonnaise )
1 1/2 tablespoons    grainy Dijon mustard   
1 tablespoon    balsamic vinegar   
1/2 teaspoon    salt   
   freshly ground black pepper to taste   
Heat the oven to 400°F. Clean and trim the cauliflower and cut or slice into small (2-ite) piece. Distribute evenly in one layer in a large shallow roasting pan and toss with the olive oil and a bit of salt. Roast for 20 minutes, or until the pieces are a bit browned and tender, but not falling apart.
While the cauliflower roasts, chop te parsley, almonds and green onions and set aside, and make the dressing.
To make the dressing, simply whisk together the ingredients until smooth. 

When the cauliflower is done, let it cool slightly, then mix gently with the dressing and other ingredients. Serve at room temperature. 
 Nutrition Facts 
Nutrition (per serving): 386.6 calories; 64% calories from fat; 28.9g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 650.5mg sodium; 1122.2mg potassium; 26.1g carbohydrates; 10.4g fiber; 8.4g sugar; 15.7g net carbs; 12.4g protein. 


Monday, June 23, 2014


Best Blog Tips

A couple of years ago I had three articles on vegan protein alternatives featured in Alive Magazine.  I just realized that I never mentioned them on this blog!  I was looking up a recipe from one of the articles to make again, and thought some of you might welcome some new recipes for tofu, tempeh and basic seitan. So, I'm posting the links to the articles and recipes with the photos below.  I hope you'll find something new and intriguing in this collection.

The photos are all by Scott Yavis.

***The first article was "Versatile Tofu: The Kitchen Chameleon", from the June 2012 issue, which featured 5 recipes:

From top to bottom:
Smoked Tofu Cheese Spread with Smoked Almonds
Tofu Tikki Masala
Smoked Tofu and Fruit Wraps with Chipotle Cream

Top: Jamaican Ginger Beer Sherbet; Bottom: Korean BBQ Tofu and Vegetable Kebabs

***The second article was on Seitan, from the August 2012 issue, featuring 7 recipes, including how to make an easy, basic seitan that is used in all of the recipes.

Top: Basic Seitan; Bottom: Turkish-Style Seitan Shish Kebab
Top: Seitan Marengo; Bottom: Catalonian-Style Seitan Stew with Lemon, Saffron, and Almonds
Top: Farfalle and Seitan Salad with Pecan Pesto; Bottom: Baked Seitan and Bulgur Kibbeh (Middle Eastern Meatless Loaf) with Tomato and Onion, and Lower-Fat Vegan Taheena Sauce

***The third article, also from the August 2012 issue, was "Tempeh for Dinner: Try a Venerable Southeast  Asian Staple", which featured 5 recipes (plus one for my homemade vegan "chickeny" broth powder).

From top to bottom: Smoked Tempeh and Okra Gumbo with Red Beans;
Tempeh "Chorizo"
 Tempeh with Syrian Lemon and Olive Sauce

Top: Cantonese-Style Orange-Sauced Tempeh; Bottom: Black-Eyed Pea Chili with Smoked Tempeh


Monday, June 16, 2014


Best Blog Tips

I made this the night before last for a quick, hearty supper.  We had it for lunch the next day, enjoying it just as much, and tomorrow I'll bring the last bit for a work lunch. You really can't find a tastier, heartier, easier, everyday dish.  It's also high in fiber and nutrients, low in fat and calories, and quite inexpensive (particularly if you use home-cooked beans), especially factoring in how many meals a couple can expect in return!

One of the things I love about this dish is the rapini (also known as broccoli rabe or raab).  It's what is considered a "bitter green", but that "bitter" edge to the flavor is a great foil for the mellow beans, sweet carrots and flavorful vegan sausage.
Rapini or broccoli rabe/raab
Here's some background about rapini from :
"Although it has broccoli's name, broccoli raab is not related to broccoli.  It is, however, closely related to turnips which is probably why the leaves look like turnip greens. Lots of broccoli-like buds appear here and there but a head never forms. It is grown as much for its long-standing, tasty mustard-like tops as for their multiple small florets with clusters of broccoli-like buds. Good-quality broccoli raab will have bright-green leaves that are crisp, upright, and not wilted. Avoid ones with leaves that are wilted, yellowing, or have dark green patches of slime.

Used extensively in Italian and Chinese cooking, it is not as popular in the United States but is gaining popularity. The stems are generally uniform in size (hence cook evenly) and need not be peeled. Clean it as you would other greens, removing the bottom portion of the stems which appear tough (sometimes the stems are tougher than other times depending on the age of the rapini). They stems can be removed up to where the leaves begin, and sautéed before adding the leaves to the pan. This vegetable is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium. Rapini is available all year long, but its peak season is from fall to spring. To maintain crispness, refrigerate, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag or wrap for up to 3 days."  NOTE:  I try to use rapini right away-- it doesn't keep well.  If you can't use it within 2-3 days of purchase, blanch it briefly in boiling water, drain well and freeze it.

If you've never tried rapini before (and it is available in all of the supermarkets in our area, which is NOT a metropolis!), this would be an excellent way to try it for the first time.  I hope you enjoy this dish as much as we do. 

Serves 6
If you really don't like or can't find rapini, you can substitute similar green veg, such as mustard greens and/or turnip greens, or , for milder flavor, kale or chard or even Chinese broccoli (gai lan).

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into small dice
2 stalks celery (with leaves), chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes (Optional)
4 cups (or 2/ 19 oz. cans) cooked white kidney, Great Northern or cannellini beans, OR pinto or Romano beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups tasty vegan broth (I like Better than Bouillon No-Chicken or Vegetable)
1 lb. (1 bunch) rapini (broccoli rabe), washed, drained and thinly-sliced (See this page if you are unfamiliar with this vegetable.)

Heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan.  When hot, add the onion and sauté over medium-high heat until the onion softens and starts to brown.  Add the celery, carrots and garlic and sauté for a few more minutes, adding a squirt of water or dry white wine as needed to keep the mixture from sticking.  Add the oregano and chilli flakes, the drained beans and broth, and the sausage “coins”.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, UN-covered. 

Add the sliced rapini, stirring until it starts to wilt.  Cover and cook for about 10 more minutes, or until the rapini is cooked to your taste.  Taste for salt and pepper.

Serve with crusty bread or toast.  Leftovers are a bonus!

Nutrition (per serving): 338.5 calories; 25% calories from fat; 9.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 486.3mg sodium; 915.9mg potassium; 43.2g carbohydrates; 16.7g fiber; 5.2g sugar; 26.6g net carbs; 22.9g protein.


Monday, June 9, 2014


Best Blog Tips

Several years ago I developed a delicious vegan version of the popular Boursin® cheese spread (the recipe is in my book "World Vegan Feast"). While it is much lower in calories than the "real thing", I decided a while back to try to lower the fat and calories even further without sacrificing flavor and texture. I've been working on this again for a few weeks and I'm finally satisfied with the following version, which I endeavoured to make as uncomplicated as possible.  Because it doesn't contain vegan butter, it's softer than my higher-fat version, but not "gloppy". (I discarded one version that required cooking some of the mixture with agar-- it didn't firm it up much anyway.)

Just in case you aren't familiar with Boursin®, here's some background: From Wikipedia: "Boursin® cheese is a soft creamy cheese available in a variety of flavours. Its flavor and texture is somewhat similar to the American cream cheese.Boursin® cheese was first produced in 1957 by François Boursin in Normandy. Boursin® is a trademark - Boursin® cheese was at one time produced exclusively in Croisy-sur-Eure, France, by the Boursin® company, a subsidiary of Group Bel, but is now also produced in the United States for North American distribution by Unilever."

**NOTE: This recipe does require another recipe-- 1/2 cup of my low-fat Coconut-Corn Spread butter sub (contains no oil). It's easy to make and has many uses-- on toast, potatoes, vegetables, etc., so I keep some in the fridge at all times.  You can make it several days ahead of making the Boursin-style spread. The recipe for it is just below the Boursin-style spread recipe **

Nutritional info:
Although this lowfat vegan version of the spread tastes and feels rich, 1 tablespoon contains less than 23 calories, less than 1.5 g fat, and no cholesterol.  Another plus-- this lowfat vegan version contains over 100 mg LESS sodium than the "real thing" .

As a comparison, 1 tablespoon of my original vegan version (in “World Vegan Feast”) contains 47 calories and 4 g of fat.

1 tablespoon of the "real thing" (commercial dairy Boursin®) contains 120 calories, 13 g of fat (8 g saturated), and 35 mg cholesterol.

**I took this to a dinner party recently and got rave reviews, BTW.**

Printable Copy (includes Corn Spread recipe)

Servings: 32
Yield: 2 cups
Basic Spread Mixture:          
1 (12.3 oz.) box firm or extra-firm SILKEN tofu, prepared as instructed in NOTE below in bold, just above recipe text         
1/2 cup Coconut Corn Butter (see recipe below )      
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice    
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white miso         
1/2 teaspoon guar gum           
1/2 cup raw cashews or cashew pieces, soaked OR ground very fine in a coffee/spice mill or mini-chopper (See NOTE at beginning of recipe instructions)      
Basic Flavoring:         
1-2 medium cloves garlic, crushed       
1-2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives OR 1/2 tsp. dried dill weed          
1 teaspoon dried parsley or 1 tablespoon fresh
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper   
Alternative Flavorings: (based on the different varieties available from Boursin®)       
1.) Omit herbs and garlic and use more pepper           
2.) Use shallots instead of garlic          
3.) Make a sweet version with chopped nuts and dried fruit (Omit the Basic Flavoring, of course!)           
4.) To the Basic Flavoring, add some chopped roasted red pepper or sundried tomato
5.) To the Basic Flavoring, add such herbs as basil or dill weed           
6.) Make a Holiday version by adding chopped apple and dried cranberries, and a touch of cinnamon (Omit the Basic Flavoring, of course!)         

NOTE ABOUT CASHEWS: If you have a powerful blender like a Vita-Mix, you don't have to grind the nuts first. Just soak them for 10 minutes in boiling water to soften them up, then drain them.

To prepare the tofu:
Crumble the tofu in a clean tea towel or piece of cotton sheeting, gather the ends up and twist, knead, and squeeze for a couple of minutes to extract as much of the water from the tofu as possible. OR, IF YOU HAVE A TOFU PRESS, place the whole block of silken tofu in it and press for 30 minutes. Discard liquid and crumble the tofu into the food processor or high-speed blender.
Add the remaining Basic Spread Mixture ingredients in the order given EXCEPT for the cashews and flavoring ingredients. Blend or process at high speed for several minutes. Be patient-- it has to be VERY smooth. You may have to stop the machine a couple of times and scrape the sides and push the ingredients that have accumulated under the blade towards the middle. When smooth, add the ground or soaked cashews and blend again, in the same way.

When as smooth as possible, and blending easily without help, add the Basic Flavoring, or whatever additions you prefer. Blend again if you want them well-incorporated into the spread, or pulse if you want, for instance, small pieces of apple or other fruit, nuts, or vegetables, to be discernible.

Scoop into 3 straight-sided oiled 6-ounce ramekins, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. They will firm up in a few hours (though it will be softer than real commercial Boursin), and can be served out of the ramekins.

NOTES: 1.) The spread might seem to "puff up" a bit after a few hours-- this is the guar gum expanding.  Just stir it down and smooth out again. 2.) You can freeze this.

 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per serving/1 tablespoon): 22.4 calories; 57% calories from fat; 1.5g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 85.2mg sodium; 39.0mg potassium; 1.2g carbohydrates; 0.2g fiber; 0.3g sugar; 1.1g net carbs; 1.2g protein.

BRYANNA'S COCONUT-CORN SPREAD (butter substitute for spreading on breads, potatoes and vegetables, etc.)
Yield: about 2 cups
This spread is easy, inexpensive, and needs no exotic ingredients. It can be soy-free. It melts when spread on hot food and has a clean rich taste.

1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup cold water
2/3 cup hot water
1/4 teaspoon agar powder
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup finely shredded UN-sweetened coconut
1/3 cup nondairy milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Mix in a microwavable bowl or a small saucepan, mix the cornmeal and 1/3 cup of the cold water. Stir in the agar powder, and then the hot water.

Cook in a double-boiler-type arrangement (with the saucepan inside of another pan of simmering water) for 10 minutes, OR MICROWAVE on high power in the bowl for 1 minute, whisk, microwave 1 minute more, whisk, and microwave 1 minute more.

Place this in a blender along with the warm water, coconut, milk, lemon juice, and salt. Blend for several minutes, until as smooth as possible (this is important). Be patient! It may have a bit of graininess from the coconut, but should not have much.

Place in a covered container in the refrigerator. It firms up nicely, but remains spreadable. It's good on veggies, too, and you can add garlic and broil it for garlic toast (maybe with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan).
Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per 2 tablespoons): 27.8 calories; 53% calories from fat; 1.7g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 151.9mg sodium; 27.3mg potassium; 2.8g carbohydrates; 0.6g fiber; 0.2g sugar; 2.2g net carbs; 0.6g protein; 0.6 points.