Blooming Best Hot Chili Oil (vegan & plant-based)

I put this addicting condiment on everything…or nothing!

I first became hooked on it in Braised Tofu in Hot Chili Oil–with bell peppers, sliced garlic, and fried peanuts–at Judy’s Sichuan in Virginia Beach, VA.

My first attempt was an utter fail, but the next method I developed is never-fail. I stir this Hot Chili Oil into–or drizzle it over– roasted vegetables, beans and legumes, grains, salads, noodles, soups, vegan mayo and sauces, and even into popcorn. It makes everything better! And it makes a quick and easy gift.

1- 7.41 ounce jar Laoganma Spicy Chili Crisp (I purchase at Kroger)

1/4 cup olive, peanut, or vegetable oil

1/4 cup orange infused olive oil or another 1/4 cup olive, peanut or vegetable oil (the orange and chili combo will send you!)

5 cloves garlic minced, covered, and heated for about 30 seconds in microwave to soften

Optiomal: sea salt

Decant Spicy Chili Crisp into a 12 to 16-ounce jar. Stir in oils, garlic, and optional salt. Store, covered, in fridge. Feed mixture periodically with more Spicy Chili Crisp, oils, garlic, and salt, as desired.


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Vegan Creamy-Cheesy Pasta with Sauteed Mushrooms & Onions
Plus Bonus Blooming Platter Low-Cal 4-Ingredient Mayo

Vegan Creamy-Cheesy Pasta with Sauteed Mushrooms and Onions

Yield: 1 serving (2 with a side salad)
App. 350 calories for entire recipe!

Decadent, delicious, low-fat and low-cal, this quick recipe is unbelievably tasty and satisfying.

By now, most of you know that my main calorie-saving secret for pasta is Shirataki (20 calories for 8 cooked ounces). Find it in a pasta-in-liquid filled pouch in the cold section of some grocery stores, including Whole Foods.

For this recipe, the other key low-cal ingredient is my Blooming Platter Mayo found on my website of the same name (and below).

Mayo in a pasta dish that isn’t a salad? Odd-sounding I know. But my mayo is silken tofu-based so it can be used whenever a savory creamy binder is needed, e.g. in place of cream, sour cream, or condensed soups in recipes. And it is, of course, the perfect tasty, thick, and creamy mayonnaise substitute at 10, rather than 100, calories per tablespoon.

Nonstick spray
1/2 red onion, slivered
1 cup sliced raw mushroooms
2 to 4 tablespoons white wine or water
8 ounces Shirataki pasta, rinsed and drained
2 to 3 tablespoons Blooming Platter Mayo (only 10 calories per tablespoon!)
2 tablespoons shredded vegan cheddar
2 tablespoons shredded vegan parmesan
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons pine nuts, smoked almonds, or a combination ( I like the combo)

Spray a large skillet with a couple of squirts of nonstick spray and heat over medium or medium high heat. Add onion and mushrooms and saute for about 1 minute, stirring continually. Add white wine or water and continue sauteing just until vegetables are barely soft. Stir in remaining ingredients, except nuts, and heat through, stirring, until cheese is melted. Stir in nuts and serve immediately.

Blooming Platter Low Calorie 4-Ingredient Mayo
Yield: 2 cups (only 10 tasty calories per tablespoon)

16 ounces (1 pound) silken tofu
Juice of 1/2 medium lemon
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Black salt to taste (sea salt may be substituted but Indian black salt–at Indian markets and online–lends a sulphury, eggy quality that is perfection)

Blend together in a food processor or blender for 3 or so minutes until completely combined, thick, and creamy. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfood #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfood #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn




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Best Blooming Platter Low-Cal 4-Ingredient Mayo
only 8 calories per tablespoon!

Does this luscious vegan mayo taste exactly like egg-based mayo?  No.  Will you care?  Absolutely not.  It is delicious and can be used in place of egg- and oil-based mayo alone or in tartar sauce and salad dressings, or even as a binder for casseroles in place of cream, sour cream, and condensed soups.  Note: omit the optional turmeric for an almost snowy white mayo.

Best Blooming Platter Low-Cal 4-Ingredient Mayo

Yield: 2 cups (8 tablespoons per tablespoon as compared to 100 for egg and oil-based mayo!)

Note: if you like a sweeter mayo, add a hint of stevia.

1 pound firm or extra-firm Silken tofu ( the package may not specify a firmness and it will be fine)

Juice of 1/2 medium or large lemon (about 1 tablespoon)

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Black Salt to taste- avoid skimping as it will wake-up the flavor (sea salt may be substituted, but Indian black salt–available at Indian markets and online–lends a sulphery “eggy” flavor that is perfection)

Optional: 1/8 teaspoon tumeric powder

Process all ingredients together in food processor or blendet until thick and very creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary and adjusting seasoning as desired. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

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Vegan Pad Thai Fries with Bangkok Sin(less) Sauce
Bonus: Blooming Platter Low-Calorie Mayo

Yield: 1 serving (easily multiplies)

I have a new summer crush…

But it is less of a recipe, except for the sauce and mayo, and more of a method for creating one of the tastiest treats you will ever put in your mouth.

My scrumptious sauce, which is very low calorie, compensates for any excessive calories in the fries.  We used Kroger brand crinkle fries–it has to be crinkle in my book!–to save money and felt that the quality was on point.  No need to pay Ore-Ida prices.

And we fried rather than baked them because we just purchased a Cuisinart Mini-Fryer, exactly like the Waring Pro Fryer we have, only smaller.  Waring Pro makes the same mini-fryer but Waring was purchased by Cuisinart and, while you can still purchase both, the Cuisinart model is the newer one.  Each costs $43.95 with free shipping on Amazon.

So, while we fried–and drained/blotted–our fries to test drive our sleek little fryer, you can bake them according to package directions and still love the results.

Then, you just pile fresh ingredients on top, which we like to set up like a mini-bar:  finely shredded cabbage because we had it, though bean sprouts would be the traditional; sliced green onions; chopped cilantro; and a spritz of lime juice.  Finish with a generous drizzle of my Bangkok Sin(less) Sauce and some roasted and lightly salted peanuts and you are all set.  I like to garnish the dish with lime wedges but I inadvertently left them out in the photo.

I love eating my fries with chopsticks, though I needed a fork right at the end to scoop up every outrageous bite.

1 serving frozen crinkle fries, baked or fried according to package directions, and drained on a paper towel-lined rack set over a rimmed sheet pan (this will keep bottoms crispy)

1/2 cup or more shredded cabbage, cabbage-carrot mix, or bean sprouts

1/4 cup sliced green onion

2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons or (much!) more Bangkok Sin(less) Sauce (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon roasted and lightly salted peanuts

2 lime wedges

Bangkok Sin(less) Sauce

Note: make more than you need for 1 serving

1/2 cup Blooming Platter Mayo (recipe follows; you can use Vegenaise or another prepared brand, BUT keep in mind that it is 100 calories per tablespoon to my mayo’s 8)

1/4 cup Thai Chili Sauce

Optional but delicious: 1 tablespoon vegan fish sauce (sold as vegetarian in Asian markets)

Optional but recommended: 1 teaspoon lime juice

Whisk together all ingredients and set aside.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Blooming Platter Low Calorie Mayo

(the BEST and so quick and easy)

Yield: 2 cups.  There are only 250 calories in the entire recipe or 8 calories per tablespoon!

1 pound Silken tofu (I used plain Nasoya brand which also sells a “Lite” and “Organic” variety)

1 tablespoon yellow or stone ground mustard

1 tablespoon Liquid Aminos

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 very large garlic clove, cut into about 3 or 4 pieces

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Sea salt to taste

Place all ingredients in bowl of food processor and process until smooth and creamy.  Taste and adjust seasoning if desired.  Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Product Recommendation:
Chut Up Peri Peri Hot Sauce and Beet Ketchup


When I recently received a product offer from the good folks at Chut Up, I was interested, but a little skeptical at their claims of a “healthier and tastier” family of all natural products: Beet Ketchup, Peri Peri Hot Sauce, and Apple and Caramelized Onion Chutney.  Labeling a product as “healthier” is a pretty bold claim and needs to be backed up.  So I did a little research and asked a few questions.

In the meantime, two cute jars arrived: the ketchup and the hot sauce.  I tasted them immediately and, I confess, was underwhelmed mostly by the hot sauce…at first.  But then, a short time later (days not minutes), as I was scraping the last of the Peri Peri sauce out of the jar, I realized that, far from the unremarkable sauce that I initially thought it was, it was instead quite noteworthy.

It is not sweet, tangy, smokey, etc.  So, at first blush, it seemed to lack notable character.  But what I realized as I spooned it onto, especially, my kale nachos night after night, is that its overwhelming noteworthiness is BALANCE.  It is not “too” anything.  Including hot. Don’t get me wrong: this is a “hot” not “mild” sauce.  But I don’t like my food to hurt, so this is the perfect hot sauce for me.  I found it quite addicting.

The ketchup was notable from the get-go.  Richer in color than your garden variety tomato ketchup, this beet variety is deep and complex in both flavor and color, but not so much that it interferes with the tastes of other foods. Yet it definitely sounds flavor notes you won’t find in Heinz and other common grocery store brands.

As for the healthy part, as far as I’m concerned, I eat hot sauce in such moderate amounts–ketchup too–that healthfulness is not a huge issue for me.  But, if you consume these condiments in generous quantities, you will appreciate knowing that none of the Chut-Up trio of products contains added refined sugar nor high fructose corn syrup and only modest amounts of salt.  Common ketchup, it turns out, is fairly high in both.  To obtain nutrition information, read the company’s backstory, or purchase products, I encourage you to visit the Chut-Up website.

I look forward to trying the chutney and developing my crush on the Beet Ketchup and Peri Peri Sauce into a full blown affair.  For less than $5 a jar, let the stocking stuffing begin.  And with Black Friday approaching, you might want to get your Chut Up on beginning this week.

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Blooming Platter Vegan Mayo
2 Delicious Low-Cal and Low Fat Versions

Ah, vegan mayo.  I love it so.  But, alas, at 100 calories per tablespoon–sadly, no different than egg- and oil-based mayo–I don’t allow myself to indulge nearly as much as I would like.  Or I end up having to log extra miles just to burn it up.  Enter Blooming Platter Mayo which I created in 2010 for The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes.

My Mayo, made with regular tofu, contains only 10 calories per tablespoon so you can slather it on to your heart’s desire.

My dear omni friend, Allison Price, attests to keeping a container in her fridge at all times and I suggest you do the same.  I love “Just” brand mayo, Vegenaise, and all the rest.  But both the calories and the price tag are a bit too high for me.

This mayo blends up in a few seconds with either 12 very basic ingredients or just 6 .  A dozen may sound like a lot, but I tested and tasted, carefully balancing all of the flavors to create what I considered to be the perfect balance.

BUT, everyone’s palate is different–and mine has changed–so have created a second version that usrs half as many ingredients and I think I prefer.

My cherished partner, Bob eats like a 10 year old midwestern boy–and will only eat Duke’s “real” mayonnaise.  So, with a jar in our fridge, I tasted miniscule amounts of it for comparison as I was tweaking the recioe from my cookbook.  I ended up using 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, as opposed to the original recipe’s 2 teaspoons, as a result.

I also added another pinch (1/8th teaspoon) of sweet paprika for a total of 1/4 teaspoon.  And, since the cookbook was published, I have discovered black salt (which is really grayish pink) with its distinctive sulphery and eggy taste.  So I used that in place of the original 3/4 teaspoon of salt, but I added some additional sea salt necessitated, I thought, by the greater amount of vinegar.  Find black salt online or in Indian markets.

However, wondering just how few ingredients I could get away with and still absolutely love the taste as much, if not better, I made another batch. For now, this will be my go-to recipe and it follows my tweaked original.

Here’s to a long-lasting love affair with mayo whixhever version you choose!

Blooming Platter Vegan Mayo

12 ounces extra-firm Silken tofu OR 14 ounces firm regular tofu + 2 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

3/4 teaspoon black salt or sea salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/8-1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/8 teaspoon turmeric

Process all ingredients together in food processor until thick and very creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary and adjusting seasoning if necessary.  Store in an artight containter in the refrigerator.


Blooming Platter 6-Ingredient Vegan Mayo (not counting salt)

12 ounces firm or extra-firm Silken tofu

1 tablespoon white vinegar

Juice of 1/2 a large lemon

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste (delicious with about half black salt, if you have on hand, for a sulphery “eggy” flavor)

Process all ingredients together in food processor until thick and very creamy, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary and adjusting seasoning as desired.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Tofutti Vegan Mayo from The Blooming Platter


Tofutti Blooming Platter Mayo
Recently, the good folks at Tofutti asked me to create a vegan mayonnaise using their Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream as a base. Using that product  as a creamy white base, this “mayo”–based on my tofu-based mayo in The Blooming Platter Cookbook–whips together in a flash.
It boasts an appropriately complex yet subtle taste that won’t overwhelm or conflict with other flavors, so you can use it as you would any other homemade or commercially-prepared mayonnaise.  Though I use paprika and turmeric, the mayo takes on just a hint of color as you can see in the photo.
Click on the hyperlink to go to the Tofutti site and access my easy, tasty recipe: Tofutti Mayo (Vegan)
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Vegan Red Wine Onion Jam

My Vegan Red Wine Onion Jam is good with virtually anything, including a spoon. You can also control the texture by how thinly you sliver the onion. You could even dice it instead. And you may cook it down as much as you like. I was starving and didn’t cook it as long as I might have so, in the photo, it may be a little less “pulpy” than you will want yours. Any way you slice or dice it, it is addicting, including as shown with a wedge of my Vegan Brie en Croute and some beautiful red seedless grapes almost identical in color to the jam.


For this recipe and some 170+ more,
I invite you to purchase my first cookbook:

The Blooming Platter:
A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes

Vegan Heritage Press
Spring 2011

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