Vegan Life

  1. Vegan Crème Brûlée

    Crème brûlée is one of those desserts that just makes you feel fancy. But this vegan version is so easy, you could have it every day. I've tried a few vegan crème brûlées that were on the bland side, but this one has a rich, creamy vanilla flavor that will probably make you want to have more than just one.

    If you're hosting a dinner party, this is the perfect recipe to prepare for your guests (the combination of food and fire always seems to impress people). You can prepare the base ahead of time, then caramelize the sugar right before you're ready to serve it. This recipe needs to chill for a couple of hours, so be sure to plan ahead!

  2. Vegan Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Pop-Tarts

    I'll admit that these homemade brown sugar and cinnamon Pop-Tarts don't taste exactly like the original. But they do taste like what I always wished the brown sugar and cinnamon Pop-Tarts tasted like. While the original crust was underwhelming (am I the only one who used to break off the edges just to get to the filling?), the crust in this recipe is flavorful and delicious.

    The biggest challenge in this recipe was the filling. Other recipes all seem to use very similar fillings which came out lacking flavor, and would get hard and chewy when they cooled a little. But this filling tastes perfect, and even better, it stays soft and moist when it cools. (A combination of vegan butter and coconut cream is the secret!)

  3. Vegan Lemon Tart

    This lemon tart is a vegan take on a classic French recipe (tarte au citron). It's made with a slightly sweet shortcrust (pâte brisée) and a lemon curd filling with a base of coconut milk and coconut cream.

    For the pâte brisée, I used Earth Balance sticks instead of butter. It's traditionally made by mixing the butter into the dry ingredients with the fingertips, but Earth Balance softens quicker than standard butter, so I used a fork to keep the dough from softening too much. Since the filling doesn't need to be baked, we'll blind-bake the crust (bake it without the filling). You'll need pie weights or dry rice or beans to keep the crust from expanding while it's baking.

  4. Mashed Butternut Squash

    Butternut squash is one of my favorite foods, as it's so versatile, delicious, and healthy. It's often just part of a dish with many flavors, but I also enjoy it on its own, as mashed butternut squash with a few added ingredients.

    As much as I love butternut squash, it can be a headache to cut and peel it. Fortunately, this mashed butternut squash recipe doesn't require any peeling or cubing! After three slices (plus spooning out the seeds), the squash goes in the oven and then the flesh gets easily scraped away from the skin.

  5. Vegan Butternut Squash Ravioli with Sage Butter and Mushrooms

    As a regular vegan home chef without any special training, the idea of making my own ravioli was a little intimidating not too long ago. But since I've managed to create beautiful, delicious ravioli at home, I am sure that you can too! And this vegan butternut squash ravioli recipe is worth all the work when you taste it.

    For the butternut squash filling, I really wanted to let the flavor of the squash shine, so I didn't add any tofu or vegan cheese. Instead, I added garlic, almonds, lemon juice, and seasonings to enhance the creamy sweetness of the squash. I also used a basic sage-butter sauce with mushrooms to complement the ravioli filling without overpowering it.

  6. Vegan Queso Dip

    One of my favorite things in life is hosting parties, dinners, and gatherings at home. Cooking delicious, indulgent foods that everyone loves is a big part of that. This vegan queso is so cheesy that no one ever believes it's vegan! But it is! Even better, it's healthy! The main ingredients for this dip are cashews and vegetables--much better than dairy-based dips.

    This recipe uses a cashew cream base, and nutritional yeast, tomato paste, carrots, butternut squash, and powdered seasonings bring the flavor. For texture and flavor, I included chopped tomatoes, corn kernels, and a diced jalapeño pepper (but you can use any veggies you'd like for this, or leave them out for a smooth cheesy dip).

  7. Jalapeño Dip with Chili Potato Wedges

    At parties, this appetizer sometimes gets overlooked for flashier, more visually interesting dishes. But it always gets finished, because the few people who try it end up eating the whole thing.

    I love making this recipe because it's so easy and delicious. The dip can be made in a blender and doesn't need to be heated. And the potatoes just get coated with oil and seasonings, then put in the oven to get all crispy and delicious, while I do practically nothing. That makes it perfect for parties or game day.

  8. Vegan Donuts Donut-Shop-Style Glazed & Chocolate Frosted Donuts

    While many online donut recipes are for cake-like donuts, my favorite donuts are fried yeast donuts. Those are the light, airy, chewy donuts that are the base for glazed donuts and frosted donuts with sprinkles (and the donuts we'll be making in this recipe). I've included a recipe for a classic glaze as well as a chocolate frosting, so you can choose to make whichever one you'd like. (Each coating recipe makes enough for all twelve donuts and donut holes, so if you want to make half and half, make sure you cut the recipe for each coating in half as well).

    If you've ever eaten the glazed donuts from Krispy Kreme, you probably know that they have a light in the window to let you know when the donuts are fresh. Just like theirs, these vegan donuts taste best just after the glaze has set. So it's best to make only as many as you and your family can eat right away. If you do have leftovers, I recommend freezing them as soon as possible using freezer bags. Then, when you're ready to eat them, take them out of the freezer an hour or two ahead of time to defrost. After they're defrosted, you may want to pop them in the oven for 2-3 minutes at 275 degrees Fahrenheit to warm up a bit. Keep in mind that the glaze may melt a little if you put them in the oven.

  9. Chickpea Curry with Cashew Cream

    A "curry" dish is hard to define, since it can use many types of sauces (or no sauce), and many different spice blends. Many of the chickpea curry recipes on the internet are some form of the American version of channa masala, made with cumin and coriander, tomatoes, and a coconut milk base.

    In this dish, I wanted to create something slightly different, so I used a spice blend that contains more turmeric (similar to Caribbean curries). I also used cashew cream as a base for the sauce. Turmeric is a root that's related to ginger. Both turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory properties, so I love adding them to my dishes. As Hippocrates said, "let thy food be thy medicine."

  10. Detroit-Style Vegan Pizza

    Let me start by saying that I've never been a big fan of vegan pizzas—especially vegan cheese pizzas—because they usually just taste okay. (However, I do enjoy a veggie-topped pizza with just a little vegan cheese). That's not the case with this pizza. I am not exaggerating when I say that this Detroit-style pizza tastes phenomenal.

    Until recently, I never knew that my favorite pizza was actually Detroit-stye pizza. When I tried it for the first time at Jet's Pizza in Fort Lauderdale, I thought it was just Sicilian pizza. While Detroit-style pizza is actually a descendant of Sicilian pizza, there are a few differences. With Detroit-style pizza, the cheese goes all the way to the edges and forms a crispy browned cheese crust. The sauce is often piled on top of the cheese as well, creating a gooey blend of bread and cheese under the sauce. This "red-top" method of making pizza actually works quite well for vegan pizza, since vegan cheese tends to melt better when it's surrounded by sauce.

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