Go Dairy Free Re-Features My Vegan Savory Black Bean Cupcakes with Whipped Sweet Potato Frosting Just in Time for Halloween

If you’ve not visited Go Dairy Free in a while, I recommend you click on the link and head on over, as I think you’ll love the new format.  New look.  Same great information, ideas, recipes, and resources that is continually expanded.

In a recent email, GDF creator, Alisa, wrote “I’m slowly updating old recipes with our new format, so I just refeatured one of your recipes from last year!”

The recipe is for my Savory Black Bean Cupcakes with Whipped Sweet Potato Frosting.  Sound odd?  Well, they are pretty unique, I have to say.  Sort of like a bread, protein and starchy vegetable in one.  In a word: delish, if I do say so.  And so very pretty.

Please enjoy them with my wishes for a very Happy Halloween!

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Bloomin’ Best Vegan Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Butter Muffins

Yield:12 regular size (not super size!) muffins

I received such rave reviews on my recently created Bloomin’ Best Vegan Peanut Butter and Apple Muffins that I decided to try my luck with a sweet potato version. 

I know, I know…for a seasonal cook to be using sweet potatoes in May seems anethma.  But, our farmer’s market leaves their spuds in a cold cellar over the winter so that once the market opens again in the spring, its customers are treated to beautiful golden sweet potatoes.

I planned to make the sweet potato version of the muffins exactly like the peanut butter and apple inspiration, but I needed a substitute for the creamy moisture of the peanut butter.  Fortunately I remembered a gift of some unopened pumpkin butter (which contains no dairy despite the name) from my sister-in-law.  Its moisture content is even higher than peanut butter, though both are thick and creamy, so these muffins are  more delectably moist than their forebears.  Both are delicious.

Enjoy whenever sweet potatoes are in season–or brought out of the cold cellar–in your neck of the woods!

1/2 cup pumpkin butter

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup unsweetened soymilk (you can use plain, but you might want to slightly decrease the sugar)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup natural sugar

2 cups white whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch ground allspice

Pinch ground cinnamon

Pinch ground cloves

3 cups finely grated sweet potatoes, skin on (fine like food processor-fine)

Line muffin cups with papers or oil well with nonstick spray.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together pumpkin butter, canola oil, soy milk and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in sugar, flour, baking powder and baking soda just until a smooth batter forms.  Then stir in grated sweet potatoes only until incorporated.  Divide evenly among prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 minute or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to cool completely or to enjoy while warm.

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Vegan Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash with Black Salt Cashew Cream

Yikes, today almost came and went with no MoFo!

But never fear, I’ve got the perfect fall recipe for when you need to dish up a little comfort, and who doesn’t need that these days?

Since hash is traditionally served with an egg, and I had a little savory cashew cream in my fridge, I wondered if I could flavor it with black salt, whose distinctly sulpher-y taste is uncannily reminiscent of an egg, and use it as a topping.  Indeed!  It was perfect.

Thank you, Isa, for turning me on to the wonders of Indian black salt, which is actually a beautiful gray color.  Pick up a bottle at Indian markets or specialty food stores.  I snagged mine at Napa Style (and probably paid a lot more) while on vacation in San Francisco this past summer.

Begin making the Cashew Cream the day before you plan to use it:

Cashew Cream

You will have lots of leftover, but you’ll be glad you do!

2 cups raw cashews, divided in half

2 cups water, divided in half

Sea salt to taste

In a covered bowl, soak 1 cup cashews in 1 cup water overnight in the refrigerator.  Rinse and drain.  Process the cup of soaked cashews with the additional cup of raw unsoaked cashews and the remaining cup of water in a food processor for several minutes, or until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add salt to taste, process just to combine, and store covered in the refrigerator.

Vegan Chorizo and Sweet Potato Hash with Black Salt Cashew Cream

Yield: 4 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 large clove garlic

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (it is very important to patiently cut the dice this small

1-12 ounce package vegan Chorizo, casing removed (I use Trader Joe’s brand)

2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves


4 or so tablespoons of plain Cashew Cream, seasoned to taste with a pinch or more of black salt (recipe above)

4 sprigs of fresh thyme (it’s especially pretty when in bloom)

In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil to shimmering.  Add onion and saute, stirring frequently, until softened and a little bit of color starts to develop, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add garlic, bell pepper, and sweet potato, and saute, stirring frequently about 5 minutes or slightly longer until the bell pepper is quite soft and the sweet potato is beginning to become tender. Crumble chorizo into the pan and saute, still stirring very frequently, for an additional 5 minutes or slightly longer until sweet potato is very tender.  At any point, if the mixture appears to be drying out, you may add another tablespoon of olive oil or water, and/or slightly reduce the heat.  Sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and heat through for another 30 seconds to a minute.  Serve hot with dollops of the Cashew Cream mixture and a sprig of fresh thyme.

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Vegan Sweet Potato Latkes

Yield: approximately 8 latkes

I can’t believe I haven’t posted any new recipes since last Saturday, but I stayed at school late several days this week, so the light wasn’t good for photographing when I got home and time was short. I made these latkes last Sunday with the sweet potato left over after making pancakes on Saturday. I hope you enjoy this savory take on “sweet potato pancakes” as much as I did (and Minnie too…I let the mini-Dane share one with me).

2 fairly firmly packed cups of grated sweet potato (I used the grater attachment on my food processor)
2 tablespoons grated onion, drained of excess juice
1 tablespoon dried parsley
3 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch garlic powder
pinch onion powder
coarse sea or kosher salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
canola oil for frying
Garnish: dollops of vegan sour cream and a sprinkling of paprika, coarse sea or kosher salt and optional snipped chives or parsley.

Preheat oven to warm. Place potato shreds in a large bowl. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients, trying to evenly disperse the cornstarch. Mix together all ingredients until well combined using a fork and/or your fingers to keep the potato shreds separated. In a large *well-seasoned cast iron skillet over medium-high, heat a thin layer of canola oil to shimmering. Place approximately 1/4 cup size mounds of the mixture into the skillet and immediately press firmly with a spatula so that latkes hold together. Latkes will be fairly flat. After about a minute or enough time for a crisp surface to begin to develop, gently loosen the bottom of the latkes from the skillet by sliding a spatula under each one. If the latkes appears to want to fall apart, remove the spatula, press again from the top and cook for another 30 seconds or so. In total, cook for approximately 4 minutes on the first side, pressing frequently, to insure crispiness, and checking to make sure latkes are not sticking to the skillet. Carefully flip and cook for another 4 or so minutes on reverse. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm in the oven while preparing remaining latkes. Serve with a small dollop of vegan sour cream, a sprinkling of paprika and coarse sea or kosher salt and, if you’d like, snipped chives or parsley.

*I have not made these in a non-stick skillet, but it might be even easier provided the latkes brown properly.

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Vegan Thanksgiving Menu 2009

You won’t miss the turkey—nor the butter, milk, eggs, or marshmallows—in this Thanksgiving meal.

For my November vegan cooking colum, “The Veggie Table,” published in today’s edition of the Virginian-Pilot, I created an entire vegan feast—including a main dish with plenty of protein—that could, quite possibly, satiate even the non-vegans at your table.

The pretty and tasty star of this meal is a creamy puree of baked sweet potatoes and cannellini beans encased inside flakey and buttery Phyllo dough. On the side is my from-scratch version of that old family favorite: green bean casserole with crispy onion topping along with pureed parsnips like you’ve never tried. Simmering them in soy milk for extra creaminess is only one of my secrets. Dessert is a silky pumpkin flan with a salted pecan and faux-caramelized sugar topping. Deceptively decadent, it is even packed with protein and vitamins.

Celebratory and extra-special—yet simple to boot—this menu won’t leave anyone feeling excluded, except maybe the turkey, and he’ll thank you for it.

Note: Each of these recipes is also posted separately with individual photos. For another vegan vegetable side dish to accompany this meal, try my Vegan Maple Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts on this site.

Vegan Sweet Potatoes and Cannelini Beans in Phyllo Dough
Yield: 4 servings (easily doubles)

3 medium sweet potatoes, baked or microwaved until tender
I-14 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons orange or apricot marmalade
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (available at health food stores and some grocery stores near the flour)
1 tablespoon dry or 3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
Garlic salt or powder to taste
Onion powder to taste
Coarse sea or kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

8 sheets Phyllo Dough, thawed and covered with a towel
Generous ¼ cup vegan butter, melted
2 tablespoons dried rubbed sage

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scoop flesh from sweet potatoes into a medium sized bowl and mash well. Stir in beans and mash just to gently break them up. Stir in remaining filling ingredients until well combined. Stir together butter and sage and, with a pastry brush, oil bottom and sides of an 8-inch square metal baking pan. Working with one sheet of Phyllo at a time, fold one side down to make about a 9-inch square. Fit into bottom of pan and tuck edges in so that dough fits flat, brushing with sage butter as you go. Repeat 3 more times. Spoon filling onto bottom crust and smooth top. Repeat crust procedure with remaining four sheets, this time laying them on top of the filling to make a top crust. Place pan in center of oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool approximately 10 minutes, and cut into four squares. Serve warm.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole
Yield: 6 servings

9 ounces frozen green beans, thawed in colander, drained and patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 green onions, thinly sliced
3-4 stalks celery, halved lengthwise, and thinly sliced
2-3 medium-large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast (available at health food stores and some grocery stores near the flour)
4 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened soy milk
Coarse sea or kosher salt to taste
White pepper to taste
Optional garlic salt or powder to taste
Optional onion powder to taste
1 2/3 cups French’s Fried Onion Rings in a can, divided into 2/3 cup and 1 cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 1 ½ quart casserole dish. In a large cast iron skillet or heavy saucepan over medium-high, heat olive oil to shimmering. Add onion, celery, garlic and a pinch of salt, and sauté, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften. Add mushrooms and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened. Meanwhile dissolve flour in a few tablespoons of the milk. When vegetables are soft, sprinkle with nutritional yeast and stir well to coat. Add flour and milk mixture plus remaining milk, stir well, and cook for about 3 minutes or until mixture thickens and flour loses its raw taste. Season to taste with next four ingredients. Remove from heat and stir in green beans and 2/3 cup onion rings. Spoon into oiled baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, gently stir, sprinkle top with remaining onion rings and return to oven for 5 minutes. Serve immediately, if possible, so that onion rings are crispy. To do ahead: bake casserole for first 30 minutes, cool to room temperature, and store, covered with foil, in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 350 degree oven, covered, and, when hot, uncover, top with onion rings and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Vegan Lemony Parsnip Puree
Yield: 4 servings (easily doubles)

4 parsnips, peeled, ends trimmed, and cut into ½” thick slices
Unsweetened soy milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, peeled, and diced
2 medium-large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 tablespoon vegan sour cream
Zest of one lemon
Coarse sea or kosher salt to taste
White pepper to taste
Optional garlic salt or powder to taste
Optional onion powder to taste
Optional Garnish: parsley and additional lemon zest

Lay parsnip slices into large cast iron skillet and pour in enough soy milk to just barely cover the slices. Heat over medium-high to simmering and continue simmering until parsnips are tender and milk has cooked down and thickly coated the parsnips; this may take about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, in a medium cast iron skillet over medium-high, heat olive oil to shimmering. Add onion, garlic and a pinch of salt, and sauté until vegetables are softened and golden. Place parsnips, any remaining milk, onion and garlic into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add remaining three ingredients and process until smooth, scraping down bowl with a spatula as necessary. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and optional garlic salt and onion powder. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with parsley sprigs and additional lemon zest. If you are not serving the dish immediately, cool puree to room temperature, cover and chill without garnishes. When ready to serve, reheat in microwave, garnish and serve.

Vegan Pumpkin Flan
Yield: 8 Servings

1-12 ounce block of firm Silken Tofu (drained)
½ of a 13 ounce can pureed pumpkin or about ¾ cup
1 cup unsweetened, plain, vanilla or lite vanilla soy milk
2 ½ tablespoons cornstarch (you may alternatively use 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, but the result may be slightly more cakey than custardy)
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup brown sugar (this is not a really sweet custard, so add another ¼ cup brown sugar if you prefer)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 teaspoon vegan butter
½ cup pecan pieces
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons water
½ cup brown sugar

Optional Garnish: 1 box Soy Whip

Custard: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8-9 inch round glass or ceramic pie dish. Place all filling ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process until smooth and completely combined. Scrape into the pie dish, gently smooth top, and bake 45 minutes (but check every 5 minutes beginning at 30.) Let cool to room temperature and, if not serving right away, chill, covered. Serve chilled or at room temperature with warm topping.

Topping: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter, add pecans and salt, and toast, stirring frequently, until light golden brown which should take a very few minutes. Remove from heat and scatter nuts over the top of custard. In a small microwave-safe cup or bowl, mix together water and brown sugar. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds, stir, and pour evenly over the top of custard. Serve immediately with or without dollops of Soy Whip.

Optional Garnish: Pour Soy Whip into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and beat until soft peaks form.

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Vegan Sweet Potatoes and Cannelini Beans in Phyllo Dough

Yield: 4 servings (easily doubles)

This vegan main dish is special enough for a holiday feast, but simple enough for weeknight meals. Plus, it’s too good to only savor once a year!

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 Sweet Potatoes Caribbean

Yield: 4 servings

This recipe was inspired by a childhood favorite. My mom used to serve mashed sweet potatoes on a ring of pineapple with a marshmallow baked on top. I borrowed that presentation sans marshmallow for my tropical take on a southern staple.

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 Roasted Lemon-Coriander Sweet Potato Slices

Yield: 4 Servings

I created this dish since an old favorite, Terra Chips, are not vegan (they contain whey). I love the lemony note in coriander, so I played it up with fresh lemon zest. My husband said these potatoes would be delicious fried as chips–so I must have come close to my inspiration–but I prefer them roasted.

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 Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges with Dipping Sauce

Yield: 2-4 servings

2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil (just enough to coat; more will steam instead of roast the potatoes)
salt (or garlic salt to taste)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

For flavored wedges:

1 teaspoon of one of the following: ground cumin, chili powder, curry powder, sweet paprika, Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, etc.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice sweet potatoes into 8 wedges. Pour oil into bottom of metal baking dish with 2-inch sides. Add potatoes, salt and pepper, and optional spice of choice. Roast for 20-30 minutes (check after 20), stirring about every 5 minutes, until slightly crispy-caramelized and tender, but not too soft.

Note: your wedges will be larger than those in the photo, as my potatoes were actually too small.

Serve with Dipping Sauce:

Stir together equal parts vegan mayonnaise or my Tahini Topping (included on this site) and any pesto or sauce that will complement the seasoning you chose for the potatoes. My recipe for Vegan Cilantro Pesto (also on this site) is a great choice for plain, cumin or chili roasted wedges.

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