Vegan Cauliflower – Oat Pizza Crust
no pre-cooking of cauliflower required, unlike virtually all other recipes


My Vegan Cauliflower-Oat Pizza Crust retest was a success…the slices now hold up with no precooking of cauliflower, like virtually all other recipes!

This success makes me ridiculously happy after my failed attempt last night. I hate to be thwarted.  The keys?  Slightly thicker crust and optimal cooking times.

Blooming Vegan Cauliflower-Oat Pizza Crust
(only 200 calories for entire crust)

2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons flax seed meal or ground chia seed
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray baking stone very well with nonstick baking spray.   Process ingredients in a food processor until the consistency of slightly course cookie dough.  Press into a disk 1/2-inch thick (no thinner) on pizza stone.  It should be about 8 inches in diameter.  Bake 20 minutes.  Carefully flip and bake 5-6 minutes more. Top as desired–but avoid thick heavy toppings if you plan to lift the pizza slices by hand–and bake another 5 minutes.  Cool 3-5 minutes, slice and serve.

Note about flipping: I used one of those plastic cookie flipping devices that slides under a batch of cookies, as it will slide under the whole crust.  They are inexpensive, but if you don’t have one and don’t want to purchase one, perhaps bake the crust on oiled foil over a baking sheet and then carefully flip onto oiled baking sheet.


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Countdown to Your Best Vegan Thanksgiving
Five Dishes Everyone at Your Table Will Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year to be vegan. Though I am thankful every day that I chose many years ago to live more compassionately, it is during this season that I celebrate my favorite tastes and textures…and share them with you.

The mouthwatering menu I have selected for you features two entrée-like dishes, both meals in themselves because of the balance of ingredients: greens, grains, veggies and more.  So delightfully pretty, filling, and creamy are these dishes that the only side dish I recommend is a fresh bright salad that sounds some special autumnal notes in the form of dried fruits and smoked nuts.  All that remains to round out this bountiful fall feast is my late mother’s Double Cornfingers which I recommend serving in place of stuffing.  For dessert, I offer a recipe I developed for Tofutti a few years back that is a perennial favorite.  These pumpkin cheesecake bars with their streusel topping are super quick and easy but doesn’t look like it, especially when sliced and served on frilly paper doilies.

Each item listed in the menu below is linked to its recipe, and following the menu are captioned photos that will help you envision how your beautiful table will look as everyone gathers around with gratitude.

Speaking of gratitude, I am so grateful for all of you who make my platter bloom throughout the year.  With nurturing wishes to you and yours during this holiday season and always.

~Betsy DiJulio

Blooming Platter Vegan Thanksgiving Menu 2017

Butternut Squash Lasagna (with Smokey Marinara Sauce and Kale Pesto)
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Creamy Rice and Greens Stovetop Casserole
Kale Salad with Pomegranate Balsamic Figs and Dates Topped with Smoked Almonds
Sallie’s Double Corn Fingers
3-Layer Oatmeal Pumpkin Streusel Bars
Vegan Butternut Squash Lasagna
Vegan Acorn Squash Stuffed with Creamy Rice and Greens Stovetop Casserole
Vegan Kale Salad with Pomegranate Balsamic Marinated Figs and Dates Topped with Smoked Almonds
Vegan Double Corn Fingers
Vegan 3-Layer Oatmeal Pumpkin Streusel Bars
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Vegan Chex Mix Italiano

Photo Credit: Juan Gelpi

I just can’t stop. This is Chex Mix # 6 of 2017 and it is only February.

I gifted it to a couple who took me to dinner last night, as Bob had had to work late on a major project.  Dear friends and gourmet vegan cooks, Juan and Barbara Gelpi, wanted to introduce me to Ethiopian food at a small, charming cafe in VA Beach called Mesob.  (A mesob is a  a large colorful woven basket with a tall pointed lid and hole in the center; people sit around a mesob at mealtime with the food on a gebeta or large platter in the center.)

The Gelpis were veterans, but it was a new experience for me.  I discovered that I would eat just about anything scooped up in Injeri–so unbelievably bubbly and spongy–and will go back many times.

In the meantime, I will keep making one delicious batch of Chex Mix after another and sharing it with you, though warm weather is coming and I will probably curtail my experiments for the spring and summer.

After last night’s Ethiopian immersion experience, you can expect a berbere spiced batch.  For now, please enjoy my Chex Mix Italiano.

3/4 cup vegan butter

1/4 cup vegan basil pesto

1/4 cup vegan artichoike tapenade or pesto

5 cups wheat Chex Mix

4 cups Cheerios

1 1/2 cups Marcona almonds

1 1/2 cups veggie sticks

1 cup small rosemary and sea salt crackers (use any brand you love; mine came from Whole Foods)

1/3 cup pine nuts

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Optional: red pepper flakes to taste (for a little bit of heat)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place butter in large roasting pan, slide into oven, and allow butter to melt.   Stir in both pestos or pesto and tapenade.  Then stir in remaining ingredients, one at a time, in order, to coat evenly with butter mixture.  Roast for 1 hour, stirring well up from the bottom every 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, allow to cool, and package mix in airtight containers.

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Vegan Creamy Italian White Bean and Spinach Dip

Creamy Italian White Bean and Spinach DipThis luscious-but-healthy dip with sea salt pita chips was a hit at a recent wine tasting (for my husbands posthumous 57th birthday party, as he, sadly, didn’t quite make it).  Afterwards, the leftovers were scrumptious as a quesadilla filling.  I topped those golden beauties with vegan sour cream, shredded purple cabbage and carrots, and fresh cilantro leaves.


8 ounces vegan cream cheese

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise

2-15 ounce cans cannelini beans, rinsed and drained

Approximately 1 cup sauteed spinach, coarsely chopped

1/2-1 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced)

1/2-1 teaspoon rubbed sage

Zest of 1/2 lemon (good without; better with)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Sea salt to taste

Accompaniment: pita chips or other crackers

Mash together vegan cream cheese and mayonnasie until well combine.  Add beans and coarsely mash.  Add all remaining ingredients and stir together until well combined.  Serve chilled with your favorite chip or cracker or use as a filling for quesadillas or enchiladas.

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Vegan Focaccia with Red Grapes, Roasted Acorn Squash, and Kale Pesto

Focaccia with Red Grapes, Acorn Squash, and Kale Pesto--SlicesYou can top this focaccia with anything, but I have to say that my combination of red grapes, roasted acorn squash and kale pesto is a keeper.  And it’s so pretty for Christmas.

The simple focaccia dough recipe is only slightly adpated from one in a culinary magazine that I cut out years ago, but failed to credit.  Sorry!  My only change was to add a little bit of olive oil and to correct the number of ounces in the yeast package.  The recipe calls for 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast, but that is a 3/4 ounce package, not a 1/4 ounce package.  Details, details!


3/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)

3/4 ounce (2 1/2 teaspoons) package fast-acting yeast (like Rapid Rise)

1/2 teaspoon turbinado sugar

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use white whole wheat)

1 teaspoon sea salt + more for sprinkling

1 tablespoon olive oil + more for drizzling

Red grapes, halved (in amount you choose to space about 1 inch apart)

Roasted acorn squash, cut in thin slices (enough to alternate with grapes)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Kale pesto (use your favorite or one of mine)–amounts may vary– brought to room temperature

Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.  In a large bowl, stir together water, yeast, and sugar and let stand until foamy or about 5 minutes.  Gradually stir in 2 teaspoons olive oil followed by flour and salt to form a soft dough.  On a lightly floured work surface, knead dough with floured hands for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.  Shape into a ball, rub with remaining teaspoon of olive oil, and invert bowl over the top.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes.  Then, roll out dough into a 13 x 9 inch rectangle and transfer to baking pan, pressing gently into corners.  Let dough rise, covered loosely with plastic wrap, in a warm place for about 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Arrange grape halves and acorn squash in an attractive design over the top, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and bake in center of oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool focaccia in pan on a metal rack.  Dot with pesto, slice, and serve.

Focaccia with Red Grapes, Acorn Squash, and Kale Pesto

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Layered Vegan Eggplant Tart with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Tarts--3Yield: 6-4.5 inch tarts

Our farmer’s market still has local eggplant, and I hope yours does, because you will not want to wait until next summer to savor these simply beautiful and delicious tarts.  They were another of my contributions to our annual  Julia Child Birthday Bash in August.  Everyone loved them and I’m sure Julia herself would have approved!

The recipe is one I adapted from  It calls for either spreading the cooked shells with mustard or pesto.  I didn’t read it carefully and used both and LOVED it: Different, but subtle, and not weird at all.  The mustard provides a nice little unexpected zing.  I hope you agree!


1 recipe Press-In Tart crust (recipe follows)

1 recipe Roasted Red Pepper Sauce (recipe Follows)

1 approximately 12-inch long Japanese eggplant, cut into 24 1/4-inch slices, oiled and baked on an oiled baking sheet at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until softened

2 tablespoons Dijon or stone-ground mustard

2 generous  tablespoons vegan pesto (homemade, preferred)

Pinch sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Garnish: 6 sprigs fresh basil

To assemble, spread each cooked tart crust with 1 teaspoon mustard followed by 1 teaspoon pesto and 1/12 of the sauce.  Arrange about 4 slices of baked eggplant on top of the sauce, add a pinch sea salt, and then top with another 1/12 of sauce, allowing eggplant to show around the edges.  Sprinkle with just a hint of salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool enough to remove sides of tart pans without burning yourself and serve warm.  Or, allow the tarts to cool completely, remove sides, and serve room temperature.  Garnish with fresh basil sprigs.


Press-In Tart Crust:

Ever since I found this recipe at, it has been my go-to crust for everything!  It is so easy, never-fail, requires no rolling, and is quite flavorful.

2 cups flour (unbleached all-purpose, white whole wheat, or whole wheat)

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoons sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cup canola oil

3  tablespoons unsweetened soymilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center, and pour in oil and soymilk.  Whisk together just until combined.  Divide dough evenly among six 5-inch tart shells with removable bottoms, and press evenly onto bottom and around edges.  I like to break the dough into pieces and distribute it around the bottom of the tart pan so that maintaining an even crust is much easier.   Use a drinking glass to assest with the pressing if desired.  Bake 10-12 minutes and remove to a wire rack.  While tart shells bake, make sauce.


Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

2 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, stemmed, seeded, broiled until charred, and skin removed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red onion, diced

Sea salt

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high.  Add onion and a pinch of sea salt and sauté about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened.  Add garlic and sauté, stirring, for about 1 minute.  Place peppers, onion mixture, and balsamic mixture in the bowl of a food process, and process until fairly smooth.  Check for salt and adjust if necessary.


Eggplant and Roasted Red Pepper Tart


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Vegan Lasagna with Creamy Swiss Chard Filling, Walnut Pesto, and Fresh Roma Tomato Sauce

020Yield: 6 servings

In this lovely summer lasagna–a guest recipe I was asked to create for Tofutti Brands, Inc.–a fluffy and creamy Swiss Chard Filling finds its perfect counterpoints in rich Walnut Pesto; zippy, pleasantly acidic, lightly cooked Fresh Roma Tomato Sauce; and a crunchy topping.

Creamy Swiss Chard Filling (recipe follows)

sea salt

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil

6 dried lasagna noodles

1/2 pound (about 3 large) fresh Roma tomatoes, unpeeled, stem end removed, and halved

3 tablespoons loosely packed fresh basil leaves

1 cup walnut pieces

1 large garlic clove, halved

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Make Creamy Swiss Chard Filling in food processor, transfer mixture to a medium bowl, set aside, and rinse out bowl of  food processor.

Noodles:  Fill a large pot (4-quart)  3/4 full with water, add a tablespoon each of sea salt and olive oil, and bring to a gentle boil.  Add lasagna noodles, partially cover, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente, lowering heat if necessary.  Drain and arrange noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet, covered with a kitchen towel to prevent drying out.

Fresh Roma Tomato Sauce:  Place Roma tomatoes in food processor with basil and a pinch of sea salt and process until smooth.  Transfer to a medium (2-quart) saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens and most of watery moisture has evaporated; lower heat if necessary to prevent scorching and sticking on the bottom.  Remove from heat.

Walnut Pesto:  Rinse and dry bowl of food processor and add the nuts, garlic clove, and about a 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.  Pulse until finely chopped and, then, with motor running, drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil to make a thick paste.  Set aside.

Topping:  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet, add bread crumbs and toast, stirring occasionally, until crumbs begin to turn golden brown, lowering heat if necessary.  Add nutritional yeast and continue toasting and stirring for another minute or until crumbs are golden and yeast is fragrant.  Remove from heat.

Assembly:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil the bottom and sides of two 5 x 9″ metal or ceramic loaf pans.   Trim all of the lasagna noodles to fit the length of the pans and then cut the trimmings in half.  Line each of the pans with 2 overlapped lasagna noodles, spread each with 1/4 of the Creamy Swiss Chard Filling, and cover the surface of each with small dollops of 1/4 of the walnut pesto.  Top each with a single lasagna noodle and 1/2 of the noodle trimmings tucked along the sides if desired (or you may discard these).  Repeat layers, ending with a final single lasagna noodle.   Spoon half of the Fresh Roma Tomato Sauce over each, sprinkle with half of the bread crumbs, and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes, slice with a sharp serrated knife, and serve.

 Note: if you are watching your calories, this lasagna is equally as successful and delicious without the last lasagna noodle layer  Simply spoon the tomato sauce over the second and final Walnut Pesto layer, top with crumbs, and bake as directed.  In this case, you will need only 6 lasagna noodles.

Creamy Swiss Chard Filling:

1/2 pound stemmed Swiss chard leaves

14 ounces extra firm tofu, drained

8 ounces Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese

Juice and zest of 1/2 large lemon

2 large cloves garlic

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves

1/2 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon turbinado sugar (or any granulated sugar)

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper to taste

Finely chop Swiss chard in the bowl of a food processor.  Transfer chard to a medium bowl, set aside, and rinse out bowl of food processor.  Place all remaining ingredients in the food processor bowl and process until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.  Transfer to bowl with Swiss Chard and fold together until completely combined.

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Blooming Platter “Vegan Q & A Tuesday” with Laura Theodore aka the “Jazzy Vegetarian” + Laura’s Spaghetti and Wheatballs Recipe

November whizzed past and it’s already that time again…

Based on Inside the Actor’s Studio host’s James Lipton’s famous “Q & A”–after the Proust Questionnaire–“Vegan Q & A Tuesday” is The Blooming Platter’s  first Tuesday feature on a creative force in the vegan culinary world.  Read more about “Q & A Tuesday” HERE.

Laura Theodore in Turquoise SweaterFeatured Force: 

Laura Theodore

[See below for Laura’s Spaghetti and Wheatballs recipe.]

Laura Theodore is a television personality and radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author, and award-winning singer. She is the creator of the Jazzy Vegetarian, and author of Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious and Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites. Laura is the on-camera host and writer of the Jazzy Vegetarian Television Series on PBS and hosts the weekly show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio. Ms. Theodore has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, and USA Networks and has been featured in the NY Times, Family Circle, NY Daily News, NY Post, Readers Digest and VegNews.

Laura Theodore and Jazzy Vegetarian have been honored with a

2014 Special Achievement Taste Award

and nominated for three 2014 Taste Awards, 


“Best Home Chef in a Series”

Please consider voting for Jazzy Vegetarian here!     

1. What is your favorite word? Delicious

2. What is your least favorite word? Burnt

3. What turns you on? I love the smile on the faces of friends and family when I have served them a meal that they truly savor. Makes me feel like I have accomplished a good deed!

4. What turns you off? Creating a new recipe that I am SO excited about and it just does not taste right. Well – if at first you don’t succeed try again!

5. What sound or noise do you love? Hearing friends and family (at our dining table) raving about the dinner while I am in the kitchen prepping the next course!

6. What sound or noise do you hate? Me, cursing as I drop food or utensils on the kitchen floor when I am trying to do too many things at once!

7. *What makes you curse in the kitchen? Me – dropping food or utensils on the floor when I am trying to do too many things at once!

8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Broadway producer. I love musicals.

9. What profession would you not like to do? Doctor or Nurse

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? Glad you are here! I am looking forward to hearing a song and tasting those Spaghetti and Wheatballs!


Laura TheodoreSpaghetti and Wheatballs

Makes 3 to 4 servings (12 to 14 Wheatballs)

By Laura Theodore


1 1/3 cups lightly packed, fresh soft whole-grain bread crumbs (see note)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup diced onion

3/4 pound whole-grain spaghetti (see note)

3 cups prepared vegan marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a medium baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.


Put the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl. Put the walnuts in a blender or food processor, and pulse to process into coarse crumbs. Add the walnuts to the bread crumbs and stir gently to incorporate.

Put  the mushrooms and onion in a blender or food processor, and process to a chunky purée. Add the mushroom mixture to the walnut/bread crumb mixture and stir to incorporate. Spoon out about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the mushroom mixture and roll it into a ball. Continue in this way with the remaining mushroom mixture. Arrange the wheatballs on the lined baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Gently rotate each wheatball and bake for 12 to 16 minutes more, or until they are crisp and golden.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but firm. Drain the spaghetti well.

Meanwhile, pour the marinara sauce in a medium saucepan. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Gently add the wheatballs to the sauce, one at a time, cover, and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes.

To serve, put one-quarter of the spaghetti into each of four pasta bowls, and top with three or four wheatballs. Ladle marinara sauce over the top and serve immediately.


·         To make fresh bread crumbs: Put 3 to 4 slices of whole-grain bread in a blender or food processor and process into coarse crumbs.

·         You may use your favorite gluten-free pasta in this recipe.


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Countdown to Thanksgiving–Day #6: Vegan Butternut Squash Lasagna with Smokey Marinara Sauce and “Ricotta” with Kale Pesto

Butternut-Squash-Lasagna-1-800x600For my first two “Countdown” posts–Day 7 and, now, Day 6–I decided to address the Thanksgiving main dish, as it can be the trickiest for vegans, it seems.  Nothing against “Tofurky” necessarily, but it has never been what I craved to grace the center of our Thanksgiving buffet.

This dish, on the other hand, is, to me, Thanksgiving personified.  A rich and creamy–but healthy!–layered amalgamation of many of my favorite flavors of fall, this lasagna is THE BEST I have ever eaten, much less created.  Wait, I think it’s the only lasagna I have ever created.  I guess I figured I just couldn’t do any better!

This link will take you to my original post which includes a hyperlink to One Green Planet who generously published the recipe.  Your soon-to-be favorite lasagna is just two clicks away!

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