Baked Penne and Cauliflower with Cheesy Sauce

This is the BEST vegan/grownup mac and cheese I’ve had, hands down.  It is the perfect combination of creamy and crunchy with a perfect crusty top layer.  Mmmmm. Might not be able to save any for leftovers tomorrow…

Let’s make it, shall we?

  • 1.5 tbsp plus 1 tsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into 1 in florets
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 can diced stewed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 c unsweetened soy or rice milk
  • 4 oz Daiya shredded nondairy cheddar cheese (that was half the bag)
  • 6 oz penne pasta (again, half the container)

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Coat a medium-sized baking dish with 1 tsp of the vegan butter.

Cook the cauliflower in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove the cauliflower from the pot of water and transfer it to a bowl. Reserve the pot of water.

Cook the nutritional yeast in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it is golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Add the remaining 1.5 tbsp vegan butter and stir until it’s melted.  Add the onion, garlic, and steamed cauliflower and saute until the onion starts to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook for two minutes.  Whisk in the mustard, salt, paprika, milk, and cheese.  Simmer until the mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Return the reserved pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook for 7-8 minutes, until tender but firm.  Drain.

Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish.  Stir in the cauliflower-cheesy sauce.  Cover with foil and bake until heated through, about 25 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top begins to brown.

Drool worthy, amirite?

Enjooooy your new favorite vegan comfort food with some nondairy milk and a hearty appetite.

Kale Salad with Orange-Tahini Dressing and Roasted Vegetables

I was a little wary of making another one of Ann’s salads, because the last couple required far too much effort for an assemblage of greens and veggies and some dressing.

However, this may have been my favorite of hers yet! I left out lots of stuff that she included in the recipe, specifically the tempeh, cucumber, and almonds, that would have given the salad more substance.  As it was, though, there was plenty of diverse flavors and textures that made it a yummy and surprisingly filling salad.

Roasted vegetables:

  • 2 medium yams, peeled and cut into 1/2 in cubes
  • 4 medium red beets, peeled and cut into 1/8 in cubes
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 tbsp brown rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, leaves cut into 1/8 in strips
  • 3 cups loosely packed baby spinach
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into 1/2 in pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 in strips
  • sweet mustard tempeh and spicy-sweet almonds that require extensive recipes. hmm nothankyou

For the vegetables, preheat the oven to 400 F.  Line a large, heavy baking sheet with parchment paper.  Toss the yams and beets in a large bowl with the oil, garlic, and salt to coat.  Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and roast, tossing after the first 20 minutes, until the yams and tender, about 40 minutes.  Let cool.

Dressing: Whisk the orange juice, tahini, vinegar, garlic, and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl to blend.  Gradually whisk the oil to blend well.  Season to taste with salt.

Assembly: Toss the kale, spinach, cucumber, and bell pepper in a large bowl with enough of the dressing to coat.  Add the roasted veggies and toss again, adding more dressing if necessary.  Now you’re ready to serve! Enjoy with Naked mango juice (shameless brand promotion).  It’s a big salad, so prepare for leftovers!


Hot Rice with Cold Lemon, Tomato, and (Really) Fresh Basil

Okay. To preface, I hate raw tomatoes.  I guess hate is a strong word.  I strongly dislike them.  Which is strange, because I’m a vegan (and all vegans are supposed to love all vegetables at all times, right?), and also I am enamored with creamy tomato soup, ketchup on hash browns, etc.  I decided I would challenge myself with this easy dish and just muck em down with a smile.  It worked! I think I’m slowly on my way to enjoying pico de gallo and the occasional rogue raw tomatoes in sandwiches.

Anyways.  This recipe is from Alicia Silverstone, takes about 15 minutes to make, and is lovely, fresh, and filling.

  • 1 cup Arborio or quick-cook brown rice (I used the latter)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (~1 large lemon)
  • 1/2 c fresh tomato, diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Put the rice in a saucepan with 2.5 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  Drain off the water not absorbed, and transfer the rice to a mixing bowl.

Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper (Alicia recommends that you start off putting only a tiny bit of salt/pepper in at first.  I recommend the same thing.   We’re like the same person).  Mix well.  Add the tomatoes, and sprinkle with basil.  Toss to combine and serve.

I was very fortunate to have literally garden-fresh basil.  I have a mini garden growing in my backyard right by my trampoline, and am growing lots of herbs (e.g., cilantro, basil, rosemary) and veggies (e.g., tomatoes, beans, beets, squash, cabbage), and even some raspberries and blackberries!  It is gorgeous and blooming and makes me really happy to see every morning.  And it was so nice to be able to mosey over to my backyard to clip off some basil.

If you can, you really should grow even just a windowsill garden.  It will bring you joy and food (which are pretty much the same thing).

Ready for my closeup:

We enjoyed our rice with grill-roasted peppers, and lettuce with a light dressing.  Mmmm.


Chocolate Silk Pie with Cashew Crust and Tofu Whipped Cream

I was mad craving chocolate the other day (what else is new), and was casually browsing through the dessert section of my vegan cookbooks (aka salivating at the glorious professional photographs of food porn).  I stumbled upon this intriguing recipe, which I noticed had chocolate.  And cashews.  And tofu (the secret ingredient).  And vanilla extract and maple syrup.  And did I mention chocolate?

Came home from work today with a few hours to spare, something you always need when you’re deciding whether or not to bake, and decided to just go for it.  Twas a delightful endeavor, totes worth it.

Before I start, I should emphasize that you betta looooove chocolate if you’re planning to make this.  Because I have some crazy people that happen to be related to me that aren’t “chocolate fans” (I won’t name any names), and that was their complaint about this dessert.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

For the crust:

  • 1/2 c raw whole cashews
  • 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 1.5 c semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1.5 firm silken tofu (I used Mori-Nu from whole foods)
  • 3/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the whipped cream:

  • 1 container extra-firm silken tofu
  • 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c apple juice
  • 1 tbsp agar agar flakes (we’ll get to this later) (basically it’s a vegetarian gelatin that I didn’t use but should have:
  • pinch of salt

Start with the crust.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Lightly coat in 9-in pie dish with oil.  Pulse the cashews in a food processor until finely ground (our food processor is mysteriously missing, so I had to use a mortar and pestle.  good times).  Stir the ground cashews and the flour in a large bowl to blend.  Whisk the oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl to blend.  Stir the oil mixture into the cashew-flour mixture to blend.

Press the mixture into the prepared pie dish.  Bake until the crust is set and pale golden around the edges, about 20 minutes.  Then decrease the oven to 325

Filling: While the crust is baking, stir the chocolate chips in a saucepan over low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth, about 10-15 minutes.  Puree the tofu, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a food processor until smooth.  Blend in the melted chocolate, making sure the mixture is well-blended (not too lumpy).  Pour the chocolate mixture into the prebaked pie crust.

Bake until the edges puff and dry but the rest of the filling is glossy, about 45 minutes.  Don’t worry if the edge of the crust looks a little crumbly (it will be but the rest of the crust is fine), and if the filling is still jiggling after baking.  Refrigerate the pie for at least 3 hours and up to 2 days.

While it’s refrigerating, you can start making the tofu whipped cream!

So usually I try and be crafty when I’m cooking/baking and purposely don’t include ingredients that I either don’t like or sound expensive and fancy.  Like agar agar flakes.  For some reason the sound of them reminded me of fish food.  No thanks.  Turns out they’re like super necessary to give the whipped cream the right consistency.  Of course you need the weird, exotic ingredient to make it work.   Of course.  So my whipped cream was basically watery tofu with some sugar, but it wasn’t bad.

Here’s what you’re supposed to do.  Blend the tofu, maple syrup, and vanilla in a food processor until creamy and smooth.  Then combine the juice, agar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until the agar dissolves.  Immediately blend the hot agar mixture into the tofu mixture, and transfer to a bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Chocolate silk pacman!

Okay, this might not win the aesthetic appeal award.  It may not look so good, but it is light and chocolatey and fantastic, trussst.

Whipped cream? More like tofu juice.

A slice of the moist pie with the tofu juice.  I mean, if that’s doesn’t sound appetizing to you, I don’t know what would be…

This treat also can be enjoyed with (vanilla) coconut milk!



Eggplant Chana Masala and Curried Basmati Rice

I was feeling in the mood this weekend for an Indian inspired entree, so I went with Alicia’s chana masala (a popular dry, spicy Indian dish with the main ingredient of chickpeas), and Ann’s curried rice.  These were really easy to make simultaneously because they had roughly the same prep time and lots of shared ingredients (e.g., olive oil, onion, curry powder, cumin).


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 1.5 c water
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Eggplant Chana Masala:

  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1/2 in pieces
  • 1/2 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 can peeled tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 can vegetarian chili (I recommend Amy’s medium-spice one)

I’d start off with the rice.  First, heat the oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until the oil is fragrant.  Add the garlic, curry, cumin, onion, and salt.  Decrease the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the rice and toss, then add the water and cinnamon stick.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to low, and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed.

While the rice is heating, you can saute the onions, garlic, oil, curry powder, and cumin for the chana masala in a large pot for about five minutes.  Add the eggplant, and saute for another five minutes.  Then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and chili.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.


Enjoy with SoDelicious coconut milk



Boiled Vegetable Salad with Umeboshi-Scallion Dressing

Boiled vegetables are not boring, contrary to popular belief.

To be honest, I was grabbed by the pretty picture of the assortment of vegetables together.  It looked like a magical vegan rainbow!


  • 1/2 head cauliflower, trimmed into florets
  • 6 red radishes, trimmed (I forgot these, oops!)
  • 1.5 celery stalks, cut into 1/4 in slices
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1/4 in thick half-moons
  • 1/2 head broccoli, trimmed into florets
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1 in pieces


  • 1/2 c water
  • 1.5 tbsp umeboshi paste
  • 3 scallions, cut diagonally

For the veggies: Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to boil.  Work with one vegetable at a time, and cook in the order listed until the colors brighten and they are just tender, which takes about two minutes each.  After each vegetable is cooked, immediately submerge in ice water to stop from cooking more, then drain and pat dry.

For the dressing: Whisk the water with the umeboshi paste in a small bowl, then add the scallions.

Gently toss the vegetables in a large bowl with the dressing to coat.  You can serve with sesame seeds if you like.

Beyond being healthy and packed full of nutrients, this dish was easy to make and enjoyable.  We had some ripe strawberries, blackberries and raspberries on the side that balanced out the salty taste of the dressing, without taking away from the garden-fresh taste of the veggies.


Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Need I say more?

Also, not to hop on the #whatshouldwecallme bandwagon, but I felt that this is appropriate given my last few recipe mishaps:

These are quite excellent, by the way! And are basically the grown-up, vegan equivalent of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, so they have definitely require a different kind of palate/appreciation for sweetness that isn’t derived from highly processed sugar.

  • 1/2 c Earth Balance butter
  • 3/4 c crunchy peanut butter (I also used Earth Balance, their stuff is delicious!)
  • 3/4 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 c granulated sweetener (I used cane sugar, she recommends maple)
  • 1 c grain-sweetened vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c soy, rice or nut milk

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the peanut butter, graham crackers, and sugar and mix well.  Remove the mixture from the heat, and put approximately 2 tbsp of the buttery mixture into the muffin cups.

Combine the chocolate and milk in another pan over low heat.  Stir just until the chocolate has melted , then spoon evenly over the peanut butter mixture.

Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

These are pretty fantastic, and are surprisingly buttery and moist.  My predicament was how to eat it (with a spoon? are fingers okay?) so I’ll leave that to you to figure out your method of consumption.  Enjoy with coffee or chai!

Sesame Tofu Frittata with Asparagus

I’m going to give a little disclaimer and let you know that attempting to make this actually didn’t work out so well for me.  Usually I just try and pretend that the  failed recipes I don’t include on here never really happened, but I’ll let someone else try and make this correctly because it has a lot of potential to be awesome.

Also, I took the shiitake mushrooms out of this because yuck.  But if fungi are your thing, by all means throw them in.

  • 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchstick-size strips (I cut mine way too huge… the smaller the better)
  • 3 scallions, sliced diagonally
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 container firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 c unsweetened soy milk
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 7 oz fresh asparagus

This takes a while, so be prepared.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Heat the sesame oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add the carrots, scallions, 1/2 of the garlic, and sesame seeds and saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the soy sauce and set aside.

Blend the tofu, flour, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, salt, turmeric, and remaining garlic in a food processor until smooth.  With the machine running, slowly add the soy milk and olive oil.  Process until thick.

Heat a heavy nonstick pan over medium heat.  Spoon the carrots, scallions, and garlic onto the pan, and pour the tofu mixture on top of that.  Cover and cook until the tofu begins to simmer in the center.  Decrease the heat to low and continue cooking for about 8 minutes.

Thennn you’re supposed bake it for 45 minutes.  But I decided to try and be crafty and just cook it for a really long time. That was a poor decision.  As was not using a nonstick pan.

For the asparagus topping, just place them on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and set in oven for about 10 minutes.  Then throw it on top of the frittata, so it looks approximately like this:

And it was good! But not baked through at all, obviously, since I cooked it instead (rookie mistake, right?).  I still definitely recommend this dish, especially as an additional egg/omelette-replacer in the morning.  It’s flavorful and hearty, which I like for breakfast.  Enjoy!!!



Ginger Pasta with Zucchini

Sorry sorry for the lackage of updates! Work has consumed my life but I’ll be better, I promise.  Fear not, many more recipes are on their way.

I missed writing in this little thing even though I’m not sure anyone is reading it. (IS SOMEBODY OUT THERE?)

Well.  Now that I’m done being an insane person, let’s cook, shall we?

I decided to venture again into Alicia Silverstone’s Kind Diet Cookbook, with an easyish recipe to boot.  I love anything ginger or pasta, so… yeah.  This worked out well.

You’ll need:

  • 8 oz. whole wheat penne
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1/4 block firm tofu, cute into bite-size cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • soy sauce to taste
  • 1-2 teaspoons of ginger juice (I just grated it super fine and then threw it in there)

Bring a large pot of water with salt to boil.  Cook the pasta until al dente, drain and set aside.

Mash the tofu with a fork in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet.  Add the onion and a salt and saute until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add the zucchini and saute for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the mashed tofu and soy sauce to the skillet.  Saute for 2 more minutes, then stir in the ginger and pasta.  Toss all together of medium heat until the pasta has been heated through.


My recommendation for this recipe is to go crazy with the soy sauce.  She says “to taste” (whatever that means).  I definitely didn’t put in enough so the pasta was begging for more liquid/flavor.   And the soy sauce complements the ginger really well.  You know what doesn’t? Marinara sauce + Ginger = Not good.  In case you were wondering.



Scrambled Tofu: Part Two

I was strapped for time today, and after a hurried run to Trader Joe’s and picking up some tofu, I decided to try out Alicia’s version of tofu scramble, a staple in the vegan diet.

It came as a pleasant surprise! Although I love the cheesy, rich flavor of the one I did before by Ann Gentry, this dish was more subtle and had hints of Asian fusion with the sesame seed oil, soy sauce, and green onions.  The best part about this recipe, though, was that it took less than ten minutes to throw together! And my theme this week is all about quick and dirty preparation, but gooood food.

All you need is…

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 c chopped mixed veggies (e.g., leeks, broccoli, zucchini, sugar snap peas, corn, onion, carrots, cabbage)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 package of firm, organic tofu
  • 1/8 c toasted seeds (I used sunflower, sesame and pumpkin are good too)
  • chopped fresh scallions or cilantro for garnish
Heat the oil in a skillet and, when hot, add the vegetables.  Saute until tender, about 5 minutes.  Season the veggies with soy sauce and salt.  Add the tofu and cook until heated through, about two minutes.  Add more seasoning to taste.  Serve sprinkled with the seeds, scallions, or cilantro.
This is what you get!

I promise there’s tofu and zucchini hiding under the mass of sunflower seeds and green onion! Enjoy this lovely Asian-style tofu scramble, which works great for any meal of the day.