The winter of 2018 was brutal. Even though snow is still on the ground and I’m wearing a winter coat, it’s officially spring and time for Easter. My vegan daughter needs an Easter basket, so my search to find vegan Easter candy begins.
I googled Vegan Easter Candy and found a lot of very nice and expensive on-line stores where I could order candy. But I didn’t want to pay for last-minute shipping and the prices were so high I’d have to mortgage my house to buy enough candy to fill three baskets.
I decided to hop over to Walmart to see what was available. Surprisingly, I found quite a large selection but there were no vegan chocolate Easter candies and what’s Easter without a chocolate bunny?
I was pleased to find individually wrapped candies to put inside Easter eggs for the egg hunt. Unfortunately the only chocolate candy I found was Junior Mints. Finally, I discovered a vegan bunny at Stop&Shop. Most stores have the milk chocolate bunnies but they aren’t vegan. The only vegan one I could find was the dark chocolate.
To make your life a little easier, I’ve compiled a list of grocery store vegan candy for your vegan
Right off the bat, I have a disclaimer: there’s no rice or frying in my SkinnyVeganGirl Fried Rice. But then again there are about 50 calories per cup versus over 400 calories in traditional fried rice. You’d have to eat over 8 bowls of this fried rice to equal the amount of calories in 1 bowl of Benihana Vegetable Fried Rice. The recipe I’m sharing is flexible so long as you have riced cauliflower, a carrot, a stalk of celery, green onions, garlic and ginger. You can kick it up a notch by adding several sliced mushrooms and a 1/4 cup of frozen green peas. The calorie count will still remain ridiculously low.
Every culture has its version of the ‘roll’, whether it’s an egg roll, burrito, crepe, taquito, Chinese lettuce wrap, goi cuon, American roll-up and cabbage roll. There are different versions of the cabbage roll from various counties: Sweden, Finland, Bosnia, Italy and perhaps most famously Poland.
Cabbage rolls are usually soft-boiled cabbage leaves wrapped with minced beef or pork and rice and baked in tomato sauce. It’s a simple peasant food. I can remember my mother in law admonishing me not to cook cabbage in my house because neighbors would smell it and think I was impoverished.
Yes cabbage does release a lingering strong odor when cooked but cabbage is very nutritious. You can open a window and turn on a fan if you are so delicate. Cabbage rocks! It’s full of manganese, dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin B1 and B2, folate, calcium, selenium, iron, protein and niacin.
And by the by, it’s filling, tasty and a child friendly dish!
Every year toward the end of September, I feel a pain in my heart. I’m giving up the glorious sun filled days of carefree summer where there are no worries about homework and tests and our family has vacation and sleeping in on the schedule. But as the days get cooler and the leaves change color a new routine replaces the dog days of summer. We rent skis for the winter, plant chrysanthemus and just like that I’m loving fall.
I guess I’m a season chameleon. I can’t wait for Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving dinner, apple picking, jumping into leaf piles and chowing down pumpkin pie!
But my kids aren’t exactly enthusiastic for my Grandma’s pumpkin pie recipe: one’s a vegan therefore won’t eat it due to the eggs or milk and the other one is trying to eat only healthy food. Traditional pie crust is not healthy. It’s full of fat and calories (unless you use my healthy vegan pic crust. Stay tuned!) The pumpkin is the nutritional star with leading roles going to high vitamin C and A, high fiber and zero fat in a can of 100% pure pumpkin.
Hence I devised vegan pumpkin pie custard! It tastes just like Grandma’s pumpkin pie (minus the pie crust) and is a nutritional bonanza!
one can of 15 OZ pure pumpkin
12 fl oz. almond milk (you can substitute other vegan milks)
3/4 cup of coconut sugar (or sugar of your choose)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 flax seed egg
Grind the flax seeds in a mini-grinder or coffee grinder until fine
Soak the seeds in the water
Preheat your oven to 350° and grease the ramekins
In your mixer bowl put all the dry ingredients and gently whisk
Add flax seed eggs mix
Slowly add milk while mixing
Ladle mixture into ramekins
Put ramekins in a pan filled with water about an inch below the top of ramekins
Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until pumpkin mixture has firmed
Take out of water bath and refrigerate for another hour or more
When I was growing up, I looked forward to when my parents went out at night because that meant we could have Kraft Mac & Cheese. Supposedly the company made it healthier a couple of years ago by removing artificial dyes, flavors and preservatives. Hold on Kraft fans, this new Kraft dinner is not a healthy choice to eat. It’s low in fiber and still high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat. I came up with a healthy vegan mac & cheese that doesn’t have any artificial ingredients is low in sodium, but high in protein and fiber, and zero added sugar and only 2 teaspoons of healthy oil. Yes, it does take more time to make, but it tastes better and is better for you and your family.
1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
2 teaspoons grape or virgin olive oil
1 chopped medium yellow onion
1 cup sliced bella mushrooms, (can use crimini or white mushrooms)
1 red pepper finely chopped
1/4 cup finely sliced sun-dried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup cilantro stem removed and cut (reserve 2 tablespoons)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 can (15.5 oz.) small white beans drained (reserve the bean liquid for later use)
2 Tablespoons white wine or low sodium veggie broth*
1 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt!)
1 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon turmeric
2 cups dried cavatappi (or elbow) pasta, cooked and drained
1/2 green onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Place cauliflower florets on a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. Drizzle with oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. Place under broiled until gently browned. Watch closely.
In a large fry pan saute onions in broth for 5 minutes then add mushrooms, red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. Continue to saute adding broth as necessary, until soft.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain.
Prepare sauce by adding beans, wine or broth*, turmeric, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons cilantro and cayenne pepper to blend. Blend until smooth, stopping to stir and adding liquid as needed.
Combine cauliflower, pasta, green onion and remaining cilantro in fry pan. Then stir in sauce.
Heat over low medium for a couple of minutes until warmed.
* I frequently use wine in recipes. I understand some people have a hard time metabolizing it or want to avoid for other reasons. I totally get it. Substitute low-sodium veggie broth. For those of you who can’t tolerate “LTP” remember it is found in the skins grape but white wine is fermented without the skins. Check with your doctor if you can tolerate white wine.
Yum, yum, yum! This is a Tex Mex salad that can be served as an entrée. I like bringing it to group BBQ because its healthy, filling and vegan. And if I bring it there will be at least one vegan dish that I can eat. This simple recipe only calls for the corn cooking in the microwave several minutes. Other than that everything else is raw and easy to assemble.
4 ears of corn, Kernels cut off the cob
2 cans (1 lb. 13 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 bell pepper chopped (red, orange, yellow or green)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 avocados chopped
1 shallot chopped
For the Dressing:
4 limes juiced
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves chopped
1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients, except dressing in a large bowl
Put all the dressing ingredients in a jar so you can shake and add later if you are bringing it to a gathering
Shake dressing and combine with other salad ingredients
If you’re a vegan you know jackfruit is a frequent meat substitute in many vegan recipes. When this nutritious fruit is cooked it mimics the texture of pulled pork and its mild taste can easily be seasoned to a variety of flavors. Just recently several national chain food stores have started carrying the fruit in the produce section. It’s sold whole or in pieces. You may prefer buying a cut up jackfruit section since whole jackfruit can weigh as much as 80 pounds. Whole Foods and many Asian markets stock fresh and canned jackfruit. If you choose to use the canned variety, make sure it’s packed in brine or water, not sweet syrup. Jackfruit may look intimidating but its well worth the effort to learn how to prepare and cook.
approximately 3 lbs of unpeeled jackfruit or 2 drained (20 oz.) cans
1 large yellow onion
1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow)
3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground fresh pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 cups veggie broth plus 2 tablespoons
Cut jackfruit into several smaller sections. (Note: jackfruit is very sticky so you may prefer to wear gloves and cover your cutting board with a sheet of parchment paper.) Remove rind with a knife.
Keep slicing jackfruit into large chunks. Remove the seeds and from the pieces.
Put a large heavy bottom pot filled with broth on the burner to boil. Meanwhile cut jackfruit into thin shreds.
Add sliced fresh jackfruit or drained canned jackfruit to broth and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes.
While jackfruit is simmering, slice one large onion and bell pepper. Sauté onion and pepper in a pan with 2 tablespoons broth until soft.
Combine sautéed veggies with jackfruit and remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. You can serve the ‘pulled pork’ on a gluten-free roll as it is traditionally done. I prefer to serve it with roasted baby potatoes.
I admit it. I love cooking with family and friends. And yes I love art projects. I used to joke when I lived in Manhattan that if you were to jump on the sidewalk outside my apartment a cloud of glitter would emerge from its exterior. I love creating with my children. It’s a fun time to explore, joke and play. Yet somehow at the age of 15 and 18 the glamor of spreading shaving cream sprinkled with glitter on the table top doesn’t cut it with my children. Instead , I have substituted colorful veggies and play (or pizza) dough. And oh what fun we have. The pizza may not be pizza parlor perfect but I guarantee it tastes as good!
1 store-bought bag of pizza dough (about 16 oz.)
1 medium onion thickly sliced
1/2 orange pepper and 1/2 red pepper (any types are fine) cut into large pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Marinara sauce
Olive oil for grilling
Fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup flour (for your hands and the surface so dough doesn’t stick)
Salt and pepper as desired
Light the grill.
While grill is pre-heating, decide if you want to make one large pie or smaller individual pizza so each kid can make her own. Let dough come to room temperature.
Lightly flour cutting board and hands so the dough doesn’t stick.
Now it’s time to channel your inner pizzaiolo although I’ve never successfully tossed a pizza into the air. A rolling-pin and hands, is my method of choice.
5. By this time the grill is usually hot enough for grilling the veggies (450º). Grease the grill then add the veggies. After several minutes lightly grease the top of the vegetable before you flip them. Grill for a couple minutes longer then reserve.
Brush one side of pizza dough with olive oil and place oil side down on grill. Cook for several minutes. Then brush oil on the top and flip. At this point I add the cherry tomatoes to the grill.
Brush the cooked side of pizza with Marinara sauce. Leave on grill for several more minutes watching carefully so the bottom of the pizza doesn’t burn.
When pizza is almost done top with veggie and basil.
Everyone loves dumplings and they’re easy to make if you have dumpling wrappers. The only caveat is a lot of premade wrappers contain egg. If you prefer you can use gluten free wrappers if you can find them. I finally found vegan dumpling wrappers at a nearby Asian market. Joy!
1 packet of dumpling wrappers (about 40) thawed if frozen
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/4 cup shredded carrot
1 medium onion chopped
3 Tablespoons chopped ginger
3 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon chopped jalapeno pepper( or to taste)
1 package tofu (8-12 oz,
1/2 cup loosely chopped cilantro
1 Tablespoon light soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sake, dry sherry or white wine
1/4 cup light soy sauce (for dipping sauce)
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (for dipping sauce)
Separate dumpling wrappers and place on a non-stick surface. Then cover with a damp towel so they don’t dry out.
Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of salt over cabbage and let sit for about 15 minutes to get rid of excess water. Then rinse salt off cabbage and squeezed dry in a a clean dish towel or paper towel.
Squeeze moisture from tofu by placing the block in dish towel or paper towel. Squeeze well and crumble at the same time.
To make the filling, place all ingredients, except soy sauce and rice wine vinegar for dipping sauce, in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Stuff dumplings by holding the wrapper in one hand and placing a tablespoon of filling in the center.
Then wet 1/2 the wrapper’s circumference with a finger dipped in water.
Fold in half to make a semi-circle. Crimp edges shut with the prongs of a fork.
Continue until done.
Place a large pot two-thirds of the way filled with water on the burner to boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt.
When boiling add as many dumpling that can fit in pot. Boil until they rise to the top then boil for 1 minute more.
Remove by strainer and boil the remaining dumplings
Yum, I love comfort food: food that is warm, tasty, healthy, and filling. But it’s no longer comfort food for me if animals had to suffer, or if the production of some the ingredients is wasteful and environmentally unsound. I guess putting food into my body that causes pain, slaughter, sickness and pollution is not great for my digestion. My philosophy on sustainable living and loving is summed up in this delicious recipe. And when you’re done eating you can rest assured that the consumption of this meal has helped farmers and planet Earth. That’s a mighty good aftertaste.
2 cups Arborio rice
2 chopped bell peppers (I picked what I had on hand a red and a yellow.)
1 cup frozen peas
1 Tablespoon grated lemon zest
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup green onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup white wine divided into 2 half cups
6 cups veggie broth
1 Tablespoon herbs de Provence (Mix of savory, thyme, and rosemary.)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
Warm veggie broth and wine in a pot. (Hint: I freeze leftover wine for later use.)
Add the garlic, onions and herbs. Saute one minute then add peppers and saute two minutes before adding sliced mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms are slightly browned.
Add rice and stir for several minutes until browned.
Slowly add warmed liquid 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until all the liquid is absorbed.
5. When there’s only about 1 cup of liquid left to stir in add the rest of the ingredients and stir until all liquid is absorbed.