Pumpkin & Coconut Milk Bisque (vegan/ plant-based & gf)

Pumpkin & Coconut Milk Bisque (vegan/ plant-based & gf)

Yield: 4 servings

I am a year-round soup lover, even when it is scorching hot outside, because soup is a quick and flavorful meal in a bowl that is hydrating and beautiful. Pureed pumpkin and lite coconut milk make this one creamy and golden, but the vegetables provide plenty of texture and a nutritional punch. Layering on the garnishes turns each bowl into an extravaganza, best scooped with a warm tortilla.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, any color, diced (I use 1 cup diced bell pepper of 3 different colors)
Pinch sea salt
1-15.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes with juice (I like to use the variety with garlic)
1-15.5 ounce can pureed pumpkin
1-15.5 ounce can lite coconut milk
1-10 ounce frozen package riced cauliflower, cooked according to package directions (for this recipe, I choose a lime and cilantro version)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
Additional sea salt plus freshly ground black pepper to taste
Water to thin as desired

Accompaniment: warm tortillas (gf if desired)
Garnishes: Plant-based sour cream (I like to melt it in microwave for drizzling), chili oil, black bean and corn salsa, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, roasted and lightly salted pumpkin seeds

In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot, bring olive oil to a sizzle over medium heat. Add onion, bell peppers, and pinch salt and saute, stirring frequently, several minutes, until softened. Adjust heat if necessary. Stir in remaining ingredients in order and let simmer 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until flavors are married. Serve in large bowls with warm tortillas, garnished as desired.

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Best Spoonbread (vegan & plant-based)

Best Spoonbread

Yield: 8 servings

If you are in search of the perfect plant-based spoonbread, look no further! Aquafaba and a teaspoon of baking powder replace eggs for a spoonbread with a creamy consistency inside and a crispy crust around the edges.  Plant-based butter and sour cream, creamed corn, and corn kernels combine to create a flavor-packed dish with a heavenly texture that will be your go-to side at summer barbecues and a staple at family dinners and holidays throughout the year.

1/2 cup aquafaba from chickpeas

1/2 cup melted vegan butter

1 cup vegan sour cream, e.g. Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream

1-16 ounce can creamed corn

1-8.5 ounce box Jiffy “Vegetarian” Cornbread Mix (actually vegan)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1-16 ounce can golden corn, drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan or casserole dish with nonstick spray. In bowl of electric mixer, whip aquafaba on medium-high until soft peaks just begin to form, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add melted butter, sour cream, and creamed corn and beat on low speed until well combined.  Add cornbread mix and baking powder and beat again on low speed just until combined and mixture is smooth. Add corn kernels and stir in by hand or mix one final time on low speed until corn is evenly distributed.  Transfer mixture to prepared dish and bake for approximately one hour or until golden brown, slightly crispy around edges, and set.  

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Quick Cobbler with Miso Option (vegan & plant-based/gf)

Yield: 8 servings

(Feel free to scroll just a little ways down straight to recipe.)

Note: while baking time is 45-60 minutes, that is all hands-free time and, otherwise, the recipe goes together in a flash.

Grace, one of my favorite, buoyant, and determined students, submitted this family favorite, along with her accomplished painting of blackberries, for the illustrated NA Family eCookbook my Art 1 students and I published this year to popular acclaim.

I veganized her already vegetarian recipe for company and, served warm or room temperature, it has become a fan favorite among our omnivorous and vegetarian friends alike.

I first served it to a gluten-free guest and prepared the recipe with Bob’s Redmill 1:1 gluten-free baking mix. It was perfection. Though I have since made it with all-purpose flour, it was ever so slightly doughier. So, I prefer it made with gf 1:1 baking mix or, as I tried another time, half all-purpose flour and half chickpea flour. Feel fee to experiment, also with the fruit…

Blackberries are Grace’s and my favorite, but blueberry or peaches and raspberry–with a couple tablespoons bourbon in the batter!–were also delicious. Avoid the temptation to use more fruit than the recipe calls for, as the ratio of fruit to cakey goodness will be off.

As for miso, Bob and I hosted our Starlight Supper Club last night for which we prepared an Asian-Mexican fusion menu. I whisked some yellow miso into the batter and my Blackberry Miso Quick Cobbler was a rave!

Enjoy my version or–your own–of this flexible recipe.

Quick Cobbler

Yield: 8 servings

6 tablespoons vegan butter
1 cup + 2 tablespoons Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 gluten-free baking mix or all-purpose flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons natural sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup nondairy milk (we like unsweetened soymilk)
Optional: 3 tablespoons white or yellow miso
2 cups fresh berries or diced fresh fruit
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Accompaniment: nondairy whipped topping (we like So Delicious brand Cocowhip)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in 8-inch casserole dish or 8-inch cast iron skillet, and slide into preheating oven for a couple minutes or until melted. Remove to heatproof surface. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup 1:1 gluten free baking mix or all purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, nondairy milk, and optional miso until no lumps remain. Pour batter evenly over melted butter, scraping bowl out well with a spatula, but do not spread in dish. Place fruit in scraped out bowl, sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons 1:1 gluten-free baking mix or all-purpose flour, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Drop fruit evenly over batter, swirl a few times with a table knife, and bake 45 minutes to one hour, depending on depth. Watch, and when golden brown, remove from oven to wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature with a dollop of nondairy whipped topping. Note: for extra crispiness, sprinkle with a tablespoon or two additional sugar before baking.

#vegan #veganism #veganshare #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodpor #vegansofinstagram #vegansofig #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #goveg #veganforlife #govegan #doitfortheanimals #animalsarefriendsnotfood #herbivore #crueltyfree #thebloomingplatter #tofutti #foodstylist #recipedeveloper #foodphotography @vegan_community
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Smoky Tomato Soup with Coconut Milk (vegan & plant-based)

Yield: 4-6 servings

All the veg we need without all the moaning and groaning from the veg-phobic…like my beloved spouse!

Created as an antidote to restaurant meals and other “fancy” cooking for our Starlight Supper Club and a happy hour this week while my cousin, Earl, is visiting from Houston, I loaded this recipe up with camouflaged vegetables so that Bob was none the wiser and he loved it! The guys enjoyed it with a plant-based grilled cheese sandwich for dipping, natch, but I thought it was perfectly satisfying unaccompanied. Note: If smokey isn’t your jam, use regular canned diced tomatoes.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
1 carrot, diced (approximately 1/2 cup)
1 stalk celery, diced (approximately 1/2 cup)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch slivers
Pinch salt
Pinch black pepper
2 to 3 large cloves garlic, halved
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons vegetable base or 1 large bouillon cube
1 teaspoon dried basil
2-15 ounce cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
1-15 ounce can coconut milk ( I use lite, but you do you!)
Optional garnish: drizzle olive oil and/or vegan sour cream thinned with water or non-dairy milk, fresh minced parsley or basil

In large skillet, heat olive oil over medium. Add fresh vegetables, except garlic, with pinch salt and pepper, and saute, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add garlic and saute 1 minute longer. Transfer to bowl of large food processor and process until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add tomato paste, vegetable base, basil, and 1 can tomatoes, and puree again until smooth. Add remaining can tomatoes and coconut milk and puree a final time. Return to skillet and heat until bubbly. Serve warm, garnished as desired.

#vegan #veganism #veganshare #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn#vegansofinstagram #vegansofig #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #goveg #veganforlife #govegan #doitfortheanimals #animalsarefriendsnotfood #herbivore #crueltyfree #thebloomingplatter #tofutti #foodstylist #recipedeveloper #foodphotography


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Luscious Cherry Garcia Nice-cream (vegan & plant-based ice cream)

Yield : 2 servings (easily doubles)

Are you a “nice-cream” convert? You may be after tasting our take on Ben & Jerry’s Cerru Garcia ice cream.

This luscious vegan & plant-based dessert boasts all the decadence and none of the added sugar or fat.

Its creamy texture contrasts beautifully with the crunchy almonds and chocolate chunks while each bite of plump cherry delivers a sweet-and-tangy burst of flavor.

Freeze the bananas the day before you plan to serve. The most difficult part about it is deciding whether to enjoy it as soft serve or scoops!


3 medium-large bananas, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces and frozen in an airtight container

Approximately 2 tablespoons unsweeted or plain non-dairy milk ( I use unsweetened soy)

Scant 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

16 cherries from can of cherry pie filling (I like Lucky Leaf: no corn syrup and only 100 calories per 1/3 cup)

Approximately 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Approximately 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chunks or chips

Topping: Nondairy whipped topping (I like Cocowhip)

Blend bananas, soymilk, and almond extract until creamy in high speed blender, food processor, or Nutri-Bullet (my choice). Stir in cherries, almonds, and chocolate chunks, and refreeze to desired consistency, about 30 minutes for soft serve. Serve in scoops topped with non-dairy whipped topping. For ultra-decadence, you can sprinkle with additional almonds and chocolate chunks or chips.

#vegan #veganism #veganshare #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansofig #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #goveg #veganforlife #govegan #doitfortheanimals #animalsarefriendsnotfood #herbivore #crueltyfree #thebloomingplatter #tofutti #foodstylist #recipedeveloper #foodphotography
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10-Minute Riced Cauli & Kimchi: a Summer Obsession

If lite, nutritious, colorful, and filling is your jam, this dish–warm or cold–is ready to devour in 10 minutes…you’re welcome! Plus the texture contrasts and bursts of layered flavors makes this “throw together” exciting to eat and share.

I can eat an entire recipe when famished, but it should serve two. I doubled the recipe for a luncheon with a pair of dear friends yesterday–they are retired and I am on summer break–and we had one serving left over (which will be my lunch today).

To my delight–and surprise in one case–they both asked for the recipe.

I hope you will enjoy this dish often this summer as I already have! When I dreamed it up while trying to devise a dish to go with my husband’s bulgogi for an upcoming supper club party, it quickly became my go-to.



10 ounces frozen riced cauliflower, steamed in the bag in the microwave for 5 to 6 minutes, according to directions

2.5 ounces baby spinach, wilted for about two minutes in bowl in microwave

2 tablespoons non-dairy cream cheese, flavored or not (I use Tofutti “Smoke”)

1/2 cup mild kimchi with vegetables (I use Cleveland brand from Harris Teeter; in Eastern VA and NC, it is in the cold case in the produce section where vegan items hang out)

1 tablespoon chili crisp (more or less to taste)

Garnishes: Peanuts, sliced scallions, sesame seeds–I like “tuxedo” (black & white mixed)–and optional carrot chip

Stir together cauli and spinach with cream cheese until melted. Stir in kimchi and chili crisp, reheat if necessary, or chill, and serve garnished as drsired.

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Simple Sour Cream Pesto Dip (vegan & plant-based/g-f)

Yield: approximately 1 1/2 cups

If, like me, you find yourself in need of an appetizer to take to a party–or just want to treat yourself or your family–but have little time and want to avoid a trip to the grocery store, this simple, speedy, and flavorful dip may be the answer. Plus, it sports holiday colors–though it is tasty all year–and is carnivore approved!

1 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (or 3/4 cup Better Than Sour Cream + 1/4 cup Better Than Ricotta
1/4 cup plant-based pesto
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely sliced or snipped green onions (approximately 1 large or 2 medium)
Garnish: a couple teaspoons thick balsamic vinegar (fig flavored is nice), a couple tablespoons finely sliced or snipped green onion, pinenuts, etc. I like to finish with a “flower” made from the trimmed end of a red bell pepper, as in photo.
Accompaniments: red bell pepper strips, cucumber slices crackers, bagel chips, etc.

Stir all dip ingredients together with a fork in a small-medium bowl. Transfer to serving bowl, drizzle with balsamic, sprinkle with green onion and pinenuts if using, and add optional bell pepper flower. Serve immediately with desired accompaniments, or cover and refrigerate until serving time.

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Tomato-Peach Caprese (vegan & plant-based)

Today I offer a perfect late summer vegan/plant-based recipe and an apology…for being “gone” for so long.

First the recipe:

Tomato-Peach Caprese is perfect for a light summertime snack, lunch, or dinner. Made with Tofutti Better Than Ricotta Cheese, fresh peaches and tomatoes, and chopped pistachios, it is especially light and refreshing served with cucumber slices, but serve it with crostini for a treat that is a little more substantial. We love the ricotta, but if you can’t find it locally, feel free to substitute Better Than Cream Cheese. But, good news: all Tofutti products are available at PlantX.


2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup Tofutti Better Than Ricotta Cheese

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

1.5 ounces chives, snipped (use kitchen shears); reserve 1 to 2 tablespoons

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 large ripe peach, diced

1 large ripe tomato, diced

1 to 2 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped

Sea salt

Accompaniments: crackers or cucumber slices


At least 30 minutes before preparing, combine garlic and olive oil in a small container and let steep at room temperature.

In a small bowl, stir together Tofutti Better Than Ricotta Cheese, red wine or balsamic vinegar, chives, and pepper until completely combined. Spread onto serving plate or board.

In another small bowl, gently toss together tomatoes and peaches with 1 tablespoon garlic oil and spoon on top of ricotta. Drizzle with remaining garlic oil and sprinkle with reserved chives, pistachios, and sea salt to taste.

Serve immediately with crackers and/or cucumber slices.

*Created exclusively for Tofutti Brands, Inc. by Betsy DiJulio of The Blooming Platter.

The apology:

As some of you may know, over a year ago, much to my delight, Tofutti Brands hired me as a recipe developer and food photographer. But, since fall 2020, I have also been a full-time teaching artist in the Upper School at Norfolk Academy in Norfolk, VA, where I concurrently–and gratefully–serve as the curator of Perrel Gallery. This rich new path follows a 16-year career as a public high school art teacher. And Tofutti isn’t my only side hustle, as I manage a busy magazine and newspaper freelance writing business.

I share this not as an excuse, but an explanation for my too-long neglect of my beloved website, The Blooming Platter.

Initially, I planned to post a recipe every time Tofutti did, but that plan got sidetracked by life and by my obsessive weekly recipe creation and testing. However, with this post, I am recommitting to that plan. I sometimes create other recipes which I will also share here. But for the most part, I am so consumed–see what I did there?–by my tasty work for Tofutti that virtually all my new recipes include Better Than Cream Cheese, Better Than Sour Cream, or Better Than Ricotta.

Substitutions/Tested Recipes

You can certainly try substituting other brands BUT be advised that, not only are Tofutti my favorite plant-based cream cheese, sour cream, and ricotta, but the recipes have only been tested with these products.

Get the Skinny

To make sure you don’t miss a single recipe, visit Tofutti here and sign up for our mailing list where your privacy will be respected and you will not be inundated. But you will receive all our recipes and eCookbooks, with the next featuring recipes for busy school and work mornings, afternoons, and evenings, as we gear back up for another school year.

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Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Indian Spices (vegan & plant-based)

Whole Roasted Cauliflower is my new favorite dinner: nutritious, delicious, gorgeous, and so low in calories and fat! This photo is from Tuesday night dinner with friends, but it is impressive enough for the centerpiece of a holiday feast.

Yet, it is also quick and easy. Though it bakes quite a while at 65 minutes, that is all hands-free time.

After removing the stem from the whole head of cauliflower–but not so much that the florets detatch–I blend 6 tablespoons hummus with sea salt and the spices of my choice.

This one was Indian so I used about 1/2 teaspoon each cardamom, coriander, curry powder, and turmeric. Then I rub the paste all over and under, place the cauliflower stem down in an oiled 8-inch gratin dish or metal baking pan for better browning, bake at 400 for 45 minutes covered, uncover, and bake for 20 minutes more.

Lastly, I top in a variety of ways. For this one, I heated together purchased onion jam (a “Burger Topper” I found at Kroger) with mango chutney I had on hand and sprinkled with finely chopped nuts, chives, and Everything Bagel Seasoning. I have also made a “yumtious” Middle Eastern iteration (see previous post).

I was a little late to the whole roasted cauliflower party, but I am making up for lost time!

#vegan #veganrecipes #veganfoodshare #veganfoodporn #plantbased #plantbasedrecipes #plantbasedfoodshare #plantbasedfoodporn #vegansofinstagram #vegansoffacebook #vegansofvirginia #thebloomingplatter #cauliflowerrecipes

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