Vegan Tempeh with Pecans and Grape Tomatoes in a Sherry Wine Sauce

Yield: 2 lunch/brunch servings or 2 dinner servings with a side dish or salad

I am working with a personal trainer on Saturdays to achieve some specific results in about 5 weeks in preparation for an upcoming event. (More on this later!) In addition to cutting some calories to lose about 4 lbs., he wants me to consume more protein. So, after we worked out and stretched today, I came home and whipped together this very fast–and very tasty–lunch. It is absolutely packed with protein and quite gentle on the calorie count (truth to tell, I ate the entire recipe). Plus it is pretty to look at and, because of the sauce, feels special enough to serve to guests.

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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Vegan Sausages with Braised Onions, Cabbage, Apples and Potatoes Topped with Vegan Sour Cream-Horseradish Sauce and Red Apple Sauerkraut

Yield 6-8 servings

A vegan Oktoberfest may sound like an oxymoron. And it’s true, wienerschintzel and bratwurst aren’t typically meat-free fare. But this autumn, thanks to a simple vegan sausage recipe (for those who love to cook)—or prepared vegan brats (for those who don’t)—everyone, regardless of their dietary preferences, can take part in the merrymaking.

If an Oktoberfest celebration is not your style, this meal nonetheless makes a tasty, healthy and hearty—but not heavy—cool weather supper. Spicy white bean-based sausages are nestled into a braise of onions, cabbage, potatoes and apples before being topped with a dollop of sour “cream”-horseradish sauce and a tangle of red apple sauerkraut, my twist on the traditional red cabbage variety.

There is nothing purist about my take on traditional German fare, yet I pay homage to the cuisine through my combinations of ingredients. Take the sausages for instance. They are vegan cookbook author Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe made with my own spice mixture inspired by bratwurst and thüringer rostbratwurst.

By repeating some of the customary spices and ingredients, like coriander seeds and apples, from one component of the dish to another, I tie the flavors together while still offering plenty of harmonious contrast between tastes and textures.

Follow each recipe as-is for a satisfying four-part, one-dish Deutsch-inspired meal, or take some creative liberties of your own.


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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Vegan "Pulled" Spaghetti Squash Barbecue with Vegan Cole Slaw on Vegan Creamed Corn and Chive Cakes–Appetizer Version

I thought that my vegan version of “pulled” barbecue plus tradition-trimmings-with-a-twist looked so pretty as an appetizer that I wanted to share this photo. For the recipes, just type this recipe title in the search box or scroll down four posts.

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Vegan "Pulled" Spaghetti Squash Barbecue with Vegan Cole Slaw on Vegan Creamed Corn and Chive Cakes

Yield: 4-8 servings (depending on how hungry you are)

My pal, Katherine Jackson, requested a veg version of pulled pork barbecue. When I told her she had me stumped (because I wasn’t sure how I could shred something like seitan in a home kitchen), she suggested spaghetti squash. I thought that was a brilliant idea. And I hope you agree.

But, for me, no barbecue meal is complete without the counterpoints of crispy-creamy cole slaw and tender “buttery” corn cakes, so I added those to the mix. I think you’ll love this trifecta of tastes. Here’s to you, Katherine, for providing great inspiration!

Vegan “Pulled” Spaghetti Squash Barbecue

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 spaghetti squash, roasted (see recipe below)
Bloomin’ Barbecue Sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high just until simmering and carefully swirl to coat the bottom. Stir a few spoonfuls of sauce into the squash until well-coated, but not not saturated. Add squash to heated pan and gently press into one layer, filling the skillet. Cook for approximately 3-5 minutes. You want it to char just slightly in some places on the bottom but not stick and burn. Stir or loosen from bottom if necessary. Turn the squash over one spoon- or spatula-full at a time and cook for another 3-5 minutes to achieve the same light char in places. Serve with additional sauce, heated, with Vegan Cole Slaw on warm Vegan Creamed Corn Cakes. (All recipes follow.)

Spaghetti Squash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a baking pan. Split spaghetti squash lengthwise, scoop out seeds and stringy pulp and discard (compost!). Place squash halves face down on the baking pan and roast in the center of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from oven to a wire rack, let sit until cool enough to handle and then scrape flesh out of shell in a flaking motion using a fork creating “shreds.”

Bloomin’ Barbecue Sauce

Optional, but recommended: 1 small onion, finely diced and sauteed in a little olive oil over medium-high heat until golden and slightly caramelized
1-15 ounce can tomato puree
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Amino Acids
5 tablespoons sweetener (I like 1 tablespoon each of the following, but use what you have: maple syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, brown sugar)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Sweet paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1-3 teaspoons prepared mustard
pinch of coarse sea or kosher salt to taste
pinch of freshly ground black pepper to taste
a dash or two of Liquid Smoke to taste

Stir all together and heat gently until simmering. Simmer for just a few minutes to let flavors combine. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

For the Vegan Cole Slaw 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

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Vegan Stuffed Shells (plus Vegan Alfredo, Vegan Spinach Pesto and Veggie Marinara)

School + homework + extracurriculars = potentially harried evening meals. With school back in session, my goal this month for my “Veggie Table” column in The Virginian-Pilot was to provide busy families with a trio of meat-and dairy-free make-ahead sauces that can be combined in myriad ways for tasty and health-conscious mid-week meals, including stuffed shells. If the unsolicited praise from my carnivorous and skeptical husband and bachelor friend David are any indication, couples and singles will love these recipes too.

Since the flavors of the Mediterranean are universally popular, I decided to create three colorful Italian sauces: an Alfredo, a Spinach Pesto and a Marinara. Did I say meat- AND dairy-free? You bet I did. I trimmed loads of fat, calories and cholesterol from the silky Alfredo sauce by working a little alchemy with tofu and soy milk (you won’t believe it until you try it!). Cashews help impart a rich buttery taste.

And while basil is a reasonably healthy food, I use mostly spinach in my pesto for an even greater nutritional wallop without losing the sauce’s characteristic bold green color, texture and flavor. Similarly, as pasta sauces go, marinara is light, healthy and naturally vegan. But I turned up the vitamin volume in such a sneaky way that even veggie-phobic diners will be none the wiser. A puree of carrots and red bell pepper, along with onion and garlic, form the base of this vibrant sauce. The warm colors of the vegetables blend right into the fire roasted tomatoes without altering the taste, unless to make it even more mouth-watering.

Earn top marks regardless of how you complete this assignment: toss them alone or in combination with the pasta of your choice; follow my easy recipes for scrumptious stuffed shells three ways; or follow your own mix-and-match instincts.

Vegan Alfredo Sauce
Yield: approximately 2 ½ cups

1-12.3 ounce box Silken firm tofu (make sure it is the Silken variety)
1 cup unsweetened soy milk (not plain, as it is too sweet)
Juice of one lemon
3 cloves garlic
½ cup lightly salted cashew halves and pieces (don’t omit—they impart a rich buttery taste)
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
Generous pinch ground coriander
Generous pinch nutmeg
Generous pinch white pepper (or black pepper if you don’t mind specks)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt to taste

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Heat and use immediately, or store for a few days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use as you would any Alfredo Sauce or see my recipes for Vegan Stuffed Shells. If desired, sprinkle some chopped smoked almonds over dishes made with this sauce for the traditional “bacon-y” flavor.

Vegan Spinach Pesto
Yield: approximately 1 ½ cups

10 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, rinsed and dried
3-4 garlic cloves
1 cup lightly toasted walnuts halve or pieces (toast in a dry skillet over medium to medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently)
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional, but I highly recommend—available at health food stores and some supermarkets)
Juice of one lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
Generous amount of salt to taste (necessary to bring out flavors)

Place about ¼-1/3 of the bag of spinach in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until finely chopped. Continue adding spinach through the shoot, quickly, with motor running until all has been incorporated, scraping down sides as necessary. Stop processor and add remaining ingredients, except oil. Then turn motor on and stream in oil through the shoot until a thick bright green paste forms. Avoid over-processing at each stage. Check for salt and adjust if necessary. Heat or otherwise use immediately, or store for a few days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use as you would any pesto or see my recipe for Vegan Alfredo-Spinach Pesto Stuffed Shells.

Veggie Marinara Sauce
Yield: approximately 4 cups

1 small-medium onion, peeled and cut into chunks
3-4 cloves garlic
1 cup raw baby carrots or peeled carrot pieces
½ large red bell pepper, stem, seeds and membrane removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-14.5 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
½ can water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch garlic salt
Pinch onion powder

Place first four ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until a smooth pulpy paste forms, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion mixture and sauté, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are no longer raw, and some of the moisture has evaporated. Lower heat if necessary to prevent sticking. Add remaining ingredients and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until flavors have melded and sauce is heated through. Use immediately, or store for a few days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use as you would any Marinara Sauce or see my recipe for Vegan Stuffed Shells. Combine this sauce with a little of my Vegan Alfredo Sauce for a creamy tomato sauce.

Vegan Stuffed Shells
Yield: approximately 4 servings

Approximately 16 jumbo dried pasta shells
1- 12 ounce package Smart Ground Veggie Protein Crumbles (or use your favorite vegan ground meat substitute)
Vegan Alfredo Sauce
Optional: Vegan Spinach Pesto
Veggie Marinara Sauce

Fill a large pot with water, salt generously—you want it to taste like ocean water—partially cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add shells and boil gently for approximately 15 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Meanwhile, heat Crumbles in microwave or on top of stove, according to package directions. Mix the Crumbles with the Alfredo Sauce, the Marinara Sauce, or a combination of Alfredo Sauce and Spinach Pesto in a ratio of about 1 part sauce to 2 parts meat or until a creamy mixture that loosely holds its shape is formed. Oil the bottom of a baking dish, cover with a generous layer of Veggie Marinara Sauce, and nestle shells into the sauce. If desired, lightly and decoratively drizzle additional Veggie Marinara Sauce over the Vegan Alfredo or Alfredo-Spinach Pesto Stuffed Shells, or drizzle Vegan Alfredo Sauce over the Veggie Marinara Stuffed Shells. Cover and heat in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or just until warm throughout. Or cover and heat in the microwave. Serve immediately.

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Vegan Ham Steaks or Vegan Sausage Patties

Yield: 4 servings (2 steaks or patties per serving)

Created for my Vegan Snap Bean “Stew” with Vegan Double Corn Finger and Faux Ham Stacks, these ham steaks are great for virtually any application calling for sliced ham. With the addition of fennel seed, they take on the flavor profile of sausage and are perfect in Sausage Biscuits or in any other preparation calling for sausage patties. You could even try crumbling it.

1 cup water
2 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon Amino Acids or vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon brown rice syrup (or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (you may substitute garlic salt; just omit sea or kosher salt)
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground dry mustard
Sausage Patties only: 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon dried sage
8 ounces tempeh, sliced crosswise into 4 pieces

Combine all ingredients except tempeh in a large skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. While stock heats, stand each piece of tempeh on one of its long sides and, with a sharp knife, carefully slice it in half through the middle to make two thinner pieces. Place the 8 pieces of tempeh into the stock and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until almost all of the moisture is evaporated, being careful not to let it scorch. Add a little bit more water, if needed, to prevent stock from evaporating too quickly.

Stock Source: Stock is adapted from La Dolce Vegan! by Sarah Kramer

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Vegan Fancy Franks–Perfect for the Fourth of July

Yield: 8 hot dogs

You’ll love my “twist” on the traditional hot dog just in time for Independence Day in the U.S. Think “Pigs in a Blanket” kicked up a notch with the help of puff pastry dough. Once baked, they look really cute served upright in a wine glass, but they didn’t photograph too well like that. Regardless of how you serve them, guests of all ages will salute you. For adults only, I recommend accompanying them with Margarita Mayo and Pina Colada Catsup. It’s true that mayonnaise isn’t a traditional condiment for dogz, but something about the buttery “bun” contrasting with the tart lime makes for a delicious combination in this case. I also tried a Mojito Mustard, but lime, never mind mint, isn’t too tasty with mustard. A Mango Mustard, however, sounds marvelous. If you experiment with sauces, please share your results. Happy Fourth of July!

8 vegan hot dogs
1 sheet Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, thawed according to package directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat sheet or apply nonstick spray sparingly. Slice puff pastry into 8 equal strips. Working with one dog at a time, wind and spiral the dough down the length of the frank making sure to gently press the ends of the strip of dough against the underside of the dog at both ends. You may need to slice about an inch off of each piece of dough, depending on the size of your hot dogs. Place the dog on the baking sheet and repeat with remaining franks and dough, leaving a couple of inches between each one. Bake for approximately 22 minutes or until golden, but start checking after about 15. Serve warm or at room temperature with the condiments of your choice. I particularly like the following:

Pina Colada Catsup

1/4 cup catsup
2 teaspoons Cream of Coconut
2 teaspoons pineapple juice
2 teaspoons rum (I used a golden variety)

Whisk all ingredients together and serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Margarita Mayo

1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons tequila
2 teaspoons VERY loosely packed lime zest (approximately the zest of one small lime)
pinch salt

Whisk all ingredients together and serve or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Note: for a pretty and authentic Margarita presentation, you can dip the rim of a small glass or glass bowl in fresh lime juice and then in salt before filling with the mayo.

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