Saturday, July 20, 2013


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This is a newly revised version of my low-fat vegan mayo recipe that appears in several of my cookbooks including my newest one, "World Vegan Feast", and elsewhere on this blog. I have used, and refined, this recipe for years because I am a mayonnaise lover.  When I use it, I like to slather it on liberally! Hence, my preoccupation with a very lowfat vegan version of it that comes up to my taste standards. Of course, as a baby vegan, I tried those recipes where you blended a stream of oil into some soymilk (which contains lecithin, an emulsifier, as egg yolks do).  They usually worked well, but were just as high in fat and calories as the original. So, for years I made tofu mayonnaise, and I still like it, but my husband never really did, and silken tofu, the main ingredient, makes it more expensive. We both prefer this recipe, and it is very inexpensive.  Four Hellman's fans of my acquaintance loved this (and were surprised that they did). It’s smooth and creamy, and just tangy enough.

This recipe is a child of an old-fashioned salad dressing recipe, called a "Boiled Dressing" (a bit of a misnomer, since it was actually cooked gently in the top of a double boiler). "Boiled Dressing" was made with ingredients available to common people or farm folks, who did not have access to, or could not afford, vegetable oil.  Olive oil was not available to any but the wealthy until the late 19th century, so only they could enjoy vinaigrette and oil-based mayonnaise. Oil-based mayonnaise was not available commercially in the USA until 1907, when Mrs. Schlorer's mayonnaise hit the shelves in Philadelphia. I looked it up and it is still available! Hellman's followed in 1912.

"Boiled dressing" would usually contain a tablespoon or two of butter, and the water, milk or cream (or a combination) base would be thickened with flour or cornstarch and an egg yolk or two. Sometimes it contained a bit of sugar (especially when used on coleslaw) and sometimes not.  (I suspect that the sweeter type is the prototype for Miracle Whip.)

You will find recipes for "Boiled dressing" or "Cooked Salad Dressing" in early North American cookbooks, and in some Southern and Mid-Western cookbooks.  I started out by veganizing a recipe in a Mennonite cookbook called the "More-with-Less Cookbook" (first published in 1979), and refined it over time.

As you might deduce, I'm forever trying to improve upon this recipe. This time, even though it is already a very low-fat recipe, with just enough oil to make it pleasantly creamy, I was trying to revise it for those who do not eat ANY extracted oils. I decided to try using raw cashews, measure-for-measure, instead of oil. A few whole nuts are allowed in some versions of a no-oil vegan diet, so I thought I'd give it a go. (See the calorie comparisons in the introductory text in the recipe below.)

It worked beautifully-- beyond my expectations, actually. It is very creamy and I didn't even have to add the tiny bit of guar or xanthan gum that I usually do as a stabilizer when I use oil. (It has held up well in the refrigerator for about a week and a half so far. Without the vegetable gum, the oil version tends to get a bit runny after a while.)  I will make it this way from now on, unless I run out of raw cashews!

For those who are allergic to soy, prefer not to use oil, do not like tofu mayonnaise, or the commercial "light" mayos (most are not vegan, anyway), this is a delicious (and inexpensive) solution.

For those allergic to corn and or gluten: It's harder to find than other starches, but wheat starch can be used like cornstarch more easily (tsp. for tsp.) than, say, arrowroot, which I have never had success with.  Wheat starch is easily available from and it is gluten-free! (See  )  I have also purchased it in Asian food stores and the International sections of some supermarkets.  Food Scientist Shirley O. Corriher (who I will mention more about below) says: "Asian grocery stores are a great place to buy starches. They have arrowroot, potato starch, rice starch, tapioca starch (a powder), wheat starch, etc. at a fraction of their cost in regular stores."
However, if corn or wheat starch is an issue, here's an article about all of the possible substitutes:
With some of them, you use a bit more or a bit less, and some must be cooked longer, etc. So, you will have to do some experimenting.  Personally, in the past I experimented with arrowroot (not in this recipe, though) and it didn't work for me, but many people use it. You never know til you try!

I use cornstarch because it works well in this recipe, is cheap (even organic is relatively cheap) and is easy to find.  Wheat starch works the same way. Corriher explains why in this short article:

For more detailed information on starches and how they work, here are two more articles by Corriher:  and

I experimented quite a bit over the years with this mayo recipe and I definitely recommend corn or wheat starch for best results.

I can't stress enough that this recipe is EASY TO MAKE and takes only a few minutes of your time!  You will save money and calories.  And you can use the type of nondairy milk that suits you. (I've used hemp milk with good result, BTW.)

Printable Recipe

BRYANNA’S CREAMY LOW-FAT VEGAN MAYONNAISE WITH NO EXTRACTED OIL (can be soy-free, nut-free, GF and corn-free, and is vegetable-gum-free) (Updated Sept. 2017)
Servings: 32;  Yield: about 2 cups
There are about 90 calories in a tablespoon of regular non-vegan mayo and also in Vegenaise Original or Earth Balance Mindful Mayo. There are 45 calories per tablespoon in Vegenaise Reduced-Fat, 35 in Spectrum Eggless Light Canola Mayo, but only 12 calories per tablespoon in this mayo-- so you can indulge yourself!  NOTE: This was calculated using my homemade soymilk, but I calculated it (with Living Cookbook software) using various nondairy milks and they were all in this range.

Mix A:
1 cup any non-dairy milk (except canned full-fat coconut milk) you like to drink, Original type-- doesn't have to be un-sweetened 
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (my favorite), plain rice vinegar, white wine vinegar, or lemon juice (or a combination of any of these)
1-1 1/2  teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard (mustard powder)
1/4 cup raw shelled Brazil nuts (roughly chopped before measuring), raw macadamia nuts, or raw hazelnuts, brown skins removed (See below for why I don't use cashews.)
NOTE: Low-cost, nut-free options-- unsalted dry-roasted peanuts (a legume), shelled raw sunflower seeds (soaked in boiling water for 5 minutes and drained), or raw sesame seeds, or a combo. I like half dry-roasted peanuts and half shelled raw sunflower seeds.
Optional: 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes (This adds a subtle richness to the mayo.)

Mix B:
10 tablespoons cold water (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon agar powder (NOT flakes)
4 tablespoons cornstarch (or use wheat starch--do not substitute other starches! Wheat starch is GF! See text above the recipe for more info and possible substitutes. PS: You can buy organic cornstarch in health food stores and online.)
If the cooled-off mayo seems too thick or stiff to you, beat it with a whisk (you can do it right in the jar if you have a whisk that fits) until creamy. 
If you cut down the amount of cornstarch, it gets a bit runny after a week or so.  The whisking method works for me-- it stays creamy but thick.

NOTE BEFORE YOU START: This mayo does not thicken as you blend it, like egg mayonnaise or soy mayonnaise made with lots of oil, so don’t blend it and blend it, thinking it will thicken as it blends-- it won’t!! It will thicken in a few hours in the refrigerator.

Place the Mix A ingredients into your blender jar and have ready. In a small saucepan or microwave-proof bowl, mix together the water and agar from Mix B, and let sit for a few of minutes. Add the starch and whisk well.

If making in the saucepan on the stovetop, stir constantly over high heat until thick and translucent-- not chalky white. OR: Microwave option (my preference): Use the microwave-proof bowl for the mixture, and microwave on 100% power for 30 seconds. Whisk. Repeat this about three times, or until thick and translucent/semitransparent- not chalky white, even if this takes more than four 30-second intervals in the microwave. Use a silicone spatula instead of a whisk after the first time, to scrape the bottom of the bowl of any starch that gets stuck and mix it in with the rest of the mixture. NOTE: If you don't cook this thoroughly (and "translucent" is the key word), the mayo won't thicken properly.

Scrape the cooked Mix B into the blender (using a spatula so that you get as much of it as you can out of the bowl or pot) containing Mix A. Blend until the mixture is very white and frothy and emulsified,

Pour the mayo into a clean pint (2 cup) jar (there may be a little bit over, which you can pour into a tiny jar or sample cup), cover and refrigerate for several hours, until it is set. It should be firm enough to stand a knife up in. Keep refrigerated. It will keep for about 2 weeks.

MISO MAYO VARIATION: Omit the salt and add 3 tablespoons white miso.

ROASTED GARLIC MAYO VARIATION: At the end of blending, add 1 head of roasted garlic, squeezed out of the skins.

ANOTHER VARIATION: Do you prefer a Miracle Whip-type spread to mayonnaise? Try this:
Use 3/4 to 1 teaspoon mustard powder and add 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1 tablespoon organic sugar or agave nectar to the recipe (sugar levels in this type of recipe vary, so start with this and then let your taste dictate).

For more variations see this blog post.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per tablespoon):
12.0 calories; 42% calories from fat; 0.6g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 92.6mg sodium; 9.1mg potassium; 1.4g carbohydrates; 0.1g fiber; 0.2g sugar; 1.4g net carbs; 0.4g protein; 0.3 points.

Cooking Tips
1.) This mayonnaise, with the addition of herbs, garlic, etc., can be used as a savory vegetable and toast topping.

2.) If you leave out the agar in the basic recipe, this makes a good base for cold savory sauces.

It's not that I have anything against cashews per se, but, to quote from this article"What are the most eco-friendly nuts?(worth a read): "Cashews are a little trickier. They’re light on the land, providing wildlife habitat and preventing erosion, but the processing stage is much more intensive. Cashews grow primarily in Vietnam, India, and northern Africa, but most are shipped to India for processing; there, workers shell the nuts by hand, sometimes exposing their skin to burns from the caustic oils inside. (Check out this detailed look at the system.) And that’s nothing compared to the human rights abuses suffered by some cashew processors in Vietnam, according to Human Rights Watch. Fortunately, there are some Fair Trade cashews to be had, and I’d go for them whenever possible."  Here is an article about the treatment of cashew processors in India.

Note from me: Fair Trade cashews, of course, are more expensive than non-Fair Trade. (And organic does not necessarily mean Fair Trade as well.) 
I tend to use mostly raw shelled sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and dry-roasted, unsalted peanuts now for creamy mixtures-- they are all about $10 a lb. cheaper than cashews.
See recipes for 


Tuesday, July 16, 2013


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These patties are a variation of an old recipe I hadn't made for a long time-- a vegan "chicken" spinach loaf.  They are unabashedly NOT soy or gluten-free!  But they have a homey feel, good flavor and texture, and they are so simple that the seasoning is open to interpretation.  The loaf was made with the usual "chickeny" herbs-- sage, thyme, rosemary marjoram-- but I used a bit of a Middle Eastern theme with cumin, mint and basil the last time I made them.  They could be made quite spicy, either by adding hot sauce, or using a spicy sauce on top of them.  Or they could be made with Asian flavors-- lemongrass and cilantro, maybe, or 5-spice powder.  

You could also, I think, use other vegetables-- kale, chard, zucchini shreds (make sure  these are well-squeezed), for instance.  you could use green onions instead of white onion.  I think you get the idea-- this recipe is a good one to play around with, so have fun!


10 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed well (a tofu press is good for this) 
(OR 1 lb. fresh baby spinach, steamed, chopped and squeezed well)
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 T. “chicken-style” vegetarian broth powder or paste
1 3/4 cups boiling water
2 cups plain textured soy protein granules (TVP) OR crumbs from Soy Curls
1 lb. medium-firm tofu, drained
1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten (gluten powder)
1 T. nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 T. salt
1 tsp. garlic granules
1/2 tsp. EACH dried sage, thyme, rosemary and marjoram
OR use 2 tsp. EACH ground cumin, dried mint and dried basil
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 T. soy sauce

Heat the first the oil in a nonstick, cast iron or hard-anodized skillet and sauté the onion over medium-high heat until softened. 

Mix the bouillon with the boiling water.  Add to the TVP and let sit 10 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mash the drained tofu and mix well with the squeezed spinach, cooked onions, soaked TVP and remaining ingredients, except the gluten flour. Mix thoroughly.  Add the gluten and mix well again. 

Scoop up some of the “dough” and roll into a ball, then press down into a patty on a piece of baking parchment.  You can make small patties, thin patties, thick patties— whatever you like.  This recipe makes quite a few, about 18 normal-sized patties, depending on how thick you like them.

Place the patties on parchment-lined baking sheets, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Cool thoroughly in the refrigerator, then layer in a rigid storage container with parchment in between the patties and refrigerate, or freeze for future use.

When ready to serve, brown them on both sides at medium heat in a lightly-oiled nonstick, cast iron or hard-anodized skillet.  Serve in buns with your favorite condiments, or by themselves with a favorite sauce or gravy.


Sunday, July 7, 2013


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Lime-y Avocado Sorbet

                  Easy Three-Berry Vegan Frozen Yogurt

I had to laugh after I told my husband that we were  trying out a rather unusual sorbet after dinner.  he said, "It's not avocado is it?" (He had seen it, evidently.)  I said, defensively, "It's lime!"  Which was true, up to a point.  So, I served it (as pictured above and below) and he loved it, at which time I confessed and he admitted that he should be more open-minded.

I've been getting out the ice cream machine lately for experimenting, since it's suddenly full summer here.  I have had two successes with my first two tries, so far.  The Three-Berry Vegan Frozen Yogurt   was a riff on an old recipe from my book "Soyfood Cooking for a Positive Menopause", and it is very low in fat (as long as you don't use a vegan yogurt made from full-fat coconut milk!), and so refreshing and beautiful!  Using frozen berries to make the mixture means that you can start freezing it in your ice cream machine immediately, instead of having to wait for it to thoroughly chill.

The second (referred to in my first paragraph), came about simply because I had two large ripe avocados to use up and I had been wanting to try an avocado frozen dessert for some time.  I try to keep the fat level down in most of my cooking, so I wanted to make an avocado sorbet with only the avocado providing the creaminess.  (Many recipes I have looked at also call for full-fat coconut milk, which would raise the calorie level considerably.)  So I started out with a simple recipe from The Savvy Vegetarian.  She didn't specify the size of the 3 avocados called for, so I assumed she meant medium ones.  I had 3 large ones, so that's what I used.  I also added some lime zest to pump up the lime flavor-- the zest adds so much flavor compared to using the juice alone.  It's higher in calories and fat than the berry dessert, but well worth it once in a while!

I hope you enjoy these super-easy vegan frozen delights!

Servings: 6
Yield: 3 cups
One of those inexpensive little ice cream makers with the metal insert that you freeze (like a Donvier) works just fine with this recipe.  I started out with a simple recipe from The Savvy Vegetarian and changed it a little. (See above.)
1 cup cold water        
2/3 cup freshly-squeezed or organic bottled lime juice          
2 large  perfectly ripe avocados-- scoop the flesh out of the shells just before blending       
3/4 cup light granulated unbleached organic sugar OR 1/2 cup light agave nectar   
zest of 2 medium organic limes
1/2 teaspoon Instant Clear Jel OR 1/8 teaspoon Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum (This keeps the mixture from freezing absolutely solid and adds creaminess, but, since the avocado contains natural oils, the mixture is creamy enough that you might not feel you need it. See about Instant Clear Jel here.)
Large flake coconut, lightly toasted, if you like        

Add the ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor in the order given.  Process the mixture until smooth. Place the mixture in a covered container and chill thoroughly before freezing. Freeze according to your machine's instructions. Scoop into a covered freezer container and freeze until firm before serving.

 Nutrition Facts

Nutrition (per 1/2 cup serving): 231.7 calories; 42% calories from fat; 11.8g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 7.5mg sodium; 421.3mg potassium; 33.9g carbohydrates; 5.3g fiber; 25.7g sugar; 28.6g net carbs; 1.6g protein; 4.8 points


Printable Copy

(Can be soy-free)
Servings: 8
Yield: Makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups

I used soy yogurt, but you can use whatever is your favorite. One of those inexpensive little ice cream makers with the metal insert that you freeze (like a Donvier) works just fine with this recipe.

2 1/2 cup plain vegan yogurt  
3/4 cup light granulated unbleached organic sugar
OR Grade A light maple syrup or 1/2 cup agave nectar (use less if your fruit is very sweet) 
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice (or bottled organic)  
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp pure lemon extract OR the zest of 1 organic lemon
1 1/2 cup frozen three-berry mixture
1 teaspoon Instant Clear Jel OR 1/4 teaspoon Xanthan Gum or Guar Gum (This keeps the mixture from freezing absolutely solid and adds creaminess, especially with low-fat frozen desserts. See about Instant Clear Jel here.)

Add the ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor in the order given, and process the mixture until smooth. Freeze according to your machine's instructions. Scoop into a covered freezer container and freeze until firm before serving. (NOTE: If you use thawed or fresh berries instead, you will have to thoroughly chill the mixture before freezing in the machine.)

 Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per approx. 1/2 cup serving): 135.9 calories; 7% calories from fat; 1.1g total fat; 0.0mg cholesterol; 9.7mg sodium; 47.1mg potassium; 30.6g carbohydrates; 1.8g fiber; 25.6g sugar; 28.8g net carbs; 1.9g protein; 2.5 points.


Thursday, July 4, 2013


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This salad is one of my favorite recipes from my book "World Vegan Feast", and a great one for any summer celebrations, picnics or potlucks. 

Happy Fourth of July to my American readers and friends!

Printable Copy
(July 1st/Canada Day; July 4th/USA)
Serves 6

This recipe is from my book "World Vegan Feast" (Vegan Heritage Press, Woodstock, Virginia, 2011), and I have added some new information about cooking potatoes in this version of the recipe.
This patriotic salad makes a delicious counterpart to your favorite vegan burgers (here's my latest version), or even as a light main dish.  If you aren’t American or Canadian, you can simply use any kind of waxy, thin-skinned new potato wherever you are!

NOTE ON COOKING POTATOES: Use waxy potatoes for potato salads, rather than baking potatoes.  Waxy potatoes contain less starch and hold their shape better after cooking.  Steaming is the preferable method of cooking, and also microwaving (instructions in recipe), especially for blue and purple potatoes, which I find tend to get mushy when boiled.  Common white waxy potatoes in North America are round whites and long whites-- they have very thin skins.
2 pounds new or nugget potatoes: use half white potatoes and red potatoes, or use 12 ounces white potatoes, plus 10 ounces each of red and blue potatoes
1/2 cup vegan broth
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
freshly-ground black pepper to taste (Note: I like this with plenty of pepper!)
Additional Ingredients:
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 large green onions, sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
1/2 cup crumbled extra-firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup vegan parmesan substitute (such as my "Walnut Parm" from "World Vegan Feast"; or Parma!; or Go Veggie! Grated Parmesan Flavor Cheese Alternative,  formerly known as Galaxy Vegan Soy Parmesan; or my Okara Parmesan; or Parma Zaan Sprinkles )
Gently scrub the potatoes, but leave the skins on.  Leave the potatoes whole if they are very small nuggets.  Otherwise, cut into 1-inch dice.  Steam the potatoes over simmering water until  tender, about 15 minutes.  Alternative (and recommended for blue potatoes) directions: Micro-steam the potato chunks in a covered microwave-safe casserole.  For 2 lbs potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks, rinsed well, and drained, cook at 100% power for about 12 minutes. You do NOT need to add water to the casserole, BTW.

Transfer them to a serving bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the broth, oil, both vinegars, mustard, sugar, salt, garlic, and plenty of black pepper.  Whisk together to blend well, then the Dressing over the still hot potatoes.  Add the red and green onions, dillweed, tofu and vegan parmesan. Toss well to combine.  Cover and refrigerate until serving time.