≡ Menu

Vegan Thanksgiving

TG Leftover Pizza 018b

I’ve been making a stuffed seitan roast for Thanksgiving every year for nearly 30 years, so naturally, I have to put a “spin” on it every so often.  Usually, I like to be creative with the leftovers, but it occurs to me that these so-called Thanksgiving leftovers would make great main events on the actual holiday.  So here’s a round-up of some of my favorite creations over the years, beginning with the Thanksgiving Pizza shown above.

Then there was this Thanksgiving “Pie” — a spin-off of the Almost One-Dish Thanksgiving Dinner from 1,000 Vegan Recipes which includes layers of seitan, tofu, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a puff pastry crust.


I’ve also transformed the various Thanksgiving dinner components into a tower — complete with green bean casserole on top and surrounded by a cranberry-enriched brown gravy:

Thanksgiving Tower 11-24-10 043b

One time I layered everything into a “cake” frosted with mashed potatoes:

TG Cake w slice IMG_0679

And another time I made T’day yuba-wrapped spring rolls:

Thanksgiving Spring Rolls 11-24-10 044a

Most often, however, our holiday meal looks like this:

TG Dinner Plate 2012 7101a

or like this:

Pastry-Wrapped Seitah Roulade

The infamous green bean casserole is usually present on my table.  Sometimes it looks like this:

TG Grn Bn Cass 2012 029a

But I’ve been known to serve a “deconstructed” version as well:

Decon Green Bean Cass 11-14-11 003a

And don’t forget dessert:

Pumpkin Cheesecake drizzle 1c

I hope this post gives you some “food for thought” to make this a delicious and compassionate Thanksgiving!



Spinach & White Bean REV

Today’s recipe is another of my favorites from my new book, Cook the Pantry.  This one is for White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas and it couldn’t be easier or quicker.  The recipe calls for canned beans and frozen spinach, but you can certainly use home-cooked beans and fresh spinach if you have them on hand.  The recipe easily doubles or triples, depending on how many hungry mouths you have to feed. Serve with your favorite salsa and lunch (or dinner!) is served.

White Bean and Spinach Quesadillas
Makes 2 servings
Frozen spinach and canned white beans combine with garlic and spices to make a delectable filling for these hearty quesadillas. No cheese needed. Serve with your favorite salsa. This recipe is from Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson © 2015, published by Vegan Heritage Press. Photo by Ann Oliverio.

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Salt and ground black pepper
1 (15.5-ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 large flour tortillas

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the beans, lemon juice, coriander, and cumin. Cook, stirring, until the spinach is cooked and the flavors are blended, about 5 minutes. Mash the beans well while cooking. Set aside.
Place two large tortillas on a flat work surface. Divide the spinach mixture evenly between the tortillas. Spread the filling mixture evenly on half of each tortilla. Fold the remaining half of each tortilla over the half with the filling and press gently to enclose and spread the filling close to the edges.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Arrange the quesadillas in the hot skillet, one at a time or both, depending on the size of your skillet. Flatten with a spatula and cook until browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the quesadillas and cook until the other side is golden brown. Serve hot.


The winner of the Vegan-Ease Giveaway is: Cathy whose favorite easy meal is My favorite easy meal is a burrito made with a large whole grain tortilla filled with on-hand cooked beans, grains, and veggies.  Thanks to all who entered!  Cathy, please email me with your mailing address so a copy of Vegan-Ease by Laura Theodore can be sent out to you. And a big thanks to Laura for allowing me to host a giveaway and share her vegan omelet recipe!  Speaking of Laura Theodore….I will be her guest next Wednesday, November 18 on Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.  Be sure to tune in!


omelet 3

I’m excited to participate in the blog tour for Vegan-Ease, the new cookbook by Laura Theodore, aka The Jazzy Vegetarian. In this book, “ease” is the operative word.  In addition to being easy to prepare using easy-to-find ingredients,  each recipe also includes an “Ease-Factor” ranking from 1 to 3 to make meal-planning a breeze. The book also features a selection of menus to help put it all together.

The recipes include everything from  delicious sides like Roasted Baby Artichokes, and baked delights such as Lemony Cornmeal and Cranberry Muffins, to main dishes such as Vegetable Quesadilla Bake, and a temping array of desserts, salads, and soups including Roasted Cauliflower and Green Pea Soup.

Laura has graciously allowed me to share with you a recipe from the breakfast section of the book for Spinach-Tomato Vegan Omelet.  PLUS!! she has also allowed me to offer a copy of Vegan-Ease to one lucky winner.

To enter the Giveaway, leave a comment at the end of this post telling me what your favorite easy meal is.  That’s it!  Enter now — the giveaway closes on Sunday 11/8 at midnight.  The winner will be announced on Monday 11/9. (U.S. only, please.)

Now here’s that yummy omelet recipe…..

Spinach-Tomato Vegan Omelet
Makes 2 servings / Ease Factor: 3

I tried for years to create a tasty vegan omelet, so I was super excited when I came up with this oven-baked version. Because a tofu-based omelet is more delicate than the classic egg version, I have developed a jazzy method for helping it to stay together when serving. It takes a little bit of extra fuss, but is well worth the effort.

2 medium tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch thick slices
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Several grinds of freshly ground pepper
5 to 6 cups very lightly packed baby spinach, washed and dried
1 block (14 to 16 ounces) firm regular tofu
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1?8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1?8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika (for dusting top)
¼ cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat with vegan margarine a heavy, ovenproof 10-inch round sauté pan or skillet with tight fitting lid.
Arrange the tomatoes in the prepared skillet by overlapping them slightly. Sprinkle the thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper evenly over the top of the tomatoes. Top the tomato layer with all of the baby spinach, pressing it down slightly.
Put all of the tofu “egg” layer ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Spread the tofu mixture evenly over the spinach, smoothing the top as you go. Dust the top of the tofu layer with the additional 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika. Cover tightly and bake for 45 minutes. Put the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.
Carefully cut the omelet into two servings, by slicing down the middle. Gently lift one-half of the omelet out of the pan, using two very large, flat spatulas. Place it tomato side down onto a rimmed dinner plate. Place a second rimmed dinner plate of the same size firmly over top of the omelet and quickly flip it over to invert the omelet so the tomatoes will now be facing upward. Sprinkle the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of the vegan cheese, if desired. Then, use the spatula to gently fold the omelet over. Proceed plating up the second half of the omelet in the same manner.
Spoon the sauce that remains in the bottom of the pan over each omelet. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste. Serve warm.

Amount per serving, based on 2 servings: 188 Calories; 11g Fat; 2g Saturated fat; 21g Protein; 107mg Sodium; 7g Total Carbohydrate; 2g Sugars; 4g Fiber

Recipe © 2015 Laura Theodore, published by Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC, reprinted by permission.



Black Bean Noodles for Halloween


If you’re looking for a fun dish to make on Halloween, look for these black bean noodles.  They’re made with just black beans and water — no additives — and they’re vegan, gluten-free, high in protein, and low in carbs. I buy them on Amazon, but I”ve heard they are also available at Costco.

My favorite way to use these noodles is in Asian dishes like a noodle salad or stir-fry.  I even featured them in my book Cook the Pantry in a recipe called Manchurian Black Bean Noodles.  (I generally don’t use these noodles in Italian recipes because I’m a purist when it comes to Italian food, and the taste and texture is different from Italian pasta.)

So I made the Manchurian Noodles for dinner last night with the addition of some diced carrots for Halloween — but I forgot to take a photo!  Coincidentally, my FB friend Birgit also made the Manchurian Noodle recipe from my book last night — but SHE remembered to take a picture.  So, with her permission, I’m sharing her photo of the dish — her’s doesn’t have the carrots in it, but I highly recommend adding some cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, or butternut squash if you make this for Halloween.

manchurian black bean noodles

Here’s the recipe:

Manchurian Black Bean Noodles
Serve with a green salad or make it a one-dish meal and top it with a cooked orange veggie for Halloween!
Note: If you don’t have black bean linguine, you can use any noodles you may have on hand. This recipe is from Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson © 2015, published by Vegan Heritage Press.

1 (8-ounce) package black bean linguine (or other pasta)
1 tablespoon safflower oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped scallion, optional
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional

Cook the pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and
ginger, and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir in the soy sauce, sambal oelek, ketchup,
vinegar, sugar, onion powder, and cayenne. Add the black beans and water and bring just
to a boil, stirring to mix well. Partially mash the beans while stirring to make a thicker
When the pasta is cooked, drain it and transfer to a large serving bowl or individual shallow
bowls. Top with the sauce and garnish with scallions and cilantro, if using. Serve hot.




Spaghetti Lo Mein + Giveaway Winner

Spaghetti Lo Mein3 LoRes

Today I’d like to share my recipe for Spaghetti Lo Mein from Cook the Pantry.  It’s one of my go-to weeknight dinners and can be ready in the time it takes to get Chinese takeout.  Only this version isn’t loaded with oil and msg!  Another thing I like about this recipe is its versatility.  You can make it with any noodles you like such as rice noodles or other gluten-free noodles; you can change up the veggies too, using cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, or another favorite in place of the broccoli.  You can also include some stir-fried tofu, seitan, or tempeh instead of the optional Soy Curls. And of course, you can adjust the heat and other seasonings to suit your own taste.

Before we get to the recipe, it’s time to announce the winner of Proteinaholic, the great new book by Dr. Garth Davis and Howard Jacobson.  The Random Number Generator has chosen: Birgit Davis.  Congratulations, Birgit!  Email me with your address and a copy of Proteinaholic will be sent out to you.

Now, here’s that recipe for Spaghetti Lo Mein from Cook the Pantry.  If you already have Cook the Pantry, I hope you’ll do me a favor and post a review of the book on Amazon to help spread the word.  And if you don’t have Cook the Pantry yet, check it out — it’s only $12.76 on Amazon and is loaded with easy recipes using on hand ingredients that get you in and out of the kitchen in 20 minutes or less!

Spaghetti Lo-Mein
Makes 4 servings
If you don’t have fresh vegetables on hand for this recipe, substitute frozen stir-fry vegetables, cooked according to package directions. This recipe is from Cook the Pantry by Robin Robertson © 2015, published by Vegan Heritage Press. Photo by: Annie Oliverio.

8 ounces spaghetti
2 cups small broccoli florets
2 tablespoons tamari or other soy sauce
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sriracha (optional)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons dry sherry (optional)
1 tablespoon safflower oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 cup sliced scallions
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 cup reconstituted Soy Curls (optional)

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender. About 3 to 5 minutes before the pasta is done cooking, add the broccoli. Drain the pasta and broccoli and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, combine the tamari, hoisin, sesame oil, and sriracha, if using. Add the water and sherry, if using. Mix well and set aside.
Heat the safflower oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, bell pepper, mushrooms, carrot, scallions, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the Soy Curls, if using and stir to combine. Stir in the reserved noodles and the sauce mixture, and cook for a few minutes, tossing gently to combine until heated through. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve hot.


Cook the Pantry











Now for something completely different…. a giveaway and guest post from Garth Davis, MD, and Howard Jacobson, PhD, the authors of the fascinating and well researched new book: Proteinaholic: How Our Obsession with Meat is Killing Us and What To Do About It.   After you read the informative Q&A, leave a comment to be entered to win your own copy of Proteinaholic!

Here’s the Q&A:

Q: If you decide to become a vegetarian or vegan, do you need to combine grains and beans at every meal to make sure you get enough protein?
A: Protein is so abundant, it’s impossible to be protein deficient if you’re getting enough calories. Our requirements are quite low, since we’re very efficient at using and recycling amino acids. The only way you could be protein deficient is to survive on sugar. Even enriched, bleached white wheat flour contains 11% protein!

Q: Isn’t protein the most important nutrient? Shouldn’t we err on the side of getting too much rather than not enough?
A: The real danger in our society is excess protein, which occurs commonly in those eating animal products on a regular basis. Animal protein toxicity contributes to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, just to name a few common chronic conditions.
The “protein scare” is a marketing tactic with no basis in science. If you’re worried about whether you’re getting enough protein, take 15 seconds and check out the Proteinaholic protein requirements calculator, which is based on research done by the US government and the World Health Organization.
Q: Why do doctors, personal trainers, and bloggers all tell me to eat lots of protein? If they all agree, how can they be wrong?
A: Doctors learn almost nothing about nutrition in medical school. Your doctor probably knows less about nutrition than you do.
The modern history of protein intake recommendations has been one of continual inflation. The US Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) takes the average protein requirement and adds enough extra to cover over 97% of the population, so there’s a 47% that if you follow the RDA, you’re getting too much protein. Add to that the fact that most medical and fitness professionals disregard the science-based RDA in favor of unvalidated calculations that are much higher. Then they overadjust for activity, incorrectly assuming that getting exercise hugely ramps up your protein requirements. Turns out it doesn’t. Bodybuilders need only 5% more protein than sedentary folks. Endurance athletes need 67% more, but since most Americans eat double or triple the RDA, we’re all eating far more protein than even the most dedicated ultramarathoner requires.
Finally, they misuse the formula, mistakenly basing their calculations on weight rather than lean muscle mass. Think about it: if you weigh 150 pounds, you need a certain amount of protein. If you gain 150 pounds of fat, you now weigh 300 pounds, but you don’t need more protein. That’s why science-based protein calculators (like the one at Proteinaholic.com/calculator) use lean body mass (all your weight minus your fat) to figure out how much protein you need.
Q: If animal protein leads to weight gain, how come people lose weight on low carb diets like Atkins or Paleo?
A: The rapid initial weight loss from a low carb diet is mostly water loss. When we deprive our body of its preferred fuel, carbohydrates, it grabs the next best thing: glycogen from the liver. This glycogen is stored in water, so when we burn it, we dispose of the water as well. Once we use up this reserve tank, the weight loss slows depending on calories in and calories out – in other words, fundamental thermodynamics. And people tend to eat less on low carb diets because of the lack of variety, and the nausea that accompanies the consumption of that much animal protein. Also, in my bariatric medicine clinic, pretty much 100% of my patients coming in for last-resort weight loss surgery have tried Atkins or another low-carb variation, often multiple times.  They all say the diet worked, in that they lost weight at first, but they were just too weak and undisciplined to stick with it. The truth is, you can’t stick with an Atkins diet long term any more than you could handle a low-oxygen diet. After a while, you would be gasping for air no matter how much willpower you brought to bear. And when you deprive your body of the fuel it needs, it will eventually hijack your brain to convince you to eat those “evil carbs.” Adherence failure is built into low carb diets. It’s not you.
Q: If I want to lose weight, shouldn’t I be avoiding foods like potatoes, rice, corn, and fruit?
A: Whole grains, starches, and fresh fruit are actually the dieter’s best friends. These foods provide the bulk of calories in every lean population ever studied. The only societies with obesity problems are those that add large amounts of animal products and highly processed and artificial foods to their diets. According to the National Weight Control Registry, which has tracked over 10,000 people who have lost a lot of weight and kept it off for years, the diet most closely correlated with success is a “low-energy, low-fat diet.”  And in multiple studies, vegans weigh less than ovo-lacto-vegetarians, who weigh less than those who include fish. Meat eaters are the heaviest. In fact, a plant powered diet rich in starches and fruit proves more effective than extremely calorically restrictive diets, which backfire by telling our bodies to slow down our metabolism in response to a famine situation.  So ignore what your paleo friends have been parroting. Eat from earth’s bounty, not too much, and get active. The pounds will start falling off.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment below to win a copy of Proteinaholic.  The Giveaway closes on Sunday 10/25 at midnight.  A winner will be announced on Monday, 10/26.