Sunday, December 20, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

With only 6 ingredients, these cookies are extremely easy to make. They're a bit fragile until completely cooled but after that it is safe to drizzle them with vegan chocolate.

Peanut Butter Cookies

¼ cup soy margarine, softened
1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup agave nectar
1 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda

Cream together the margarine and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl, then add the sugar and agave until . In a measuring cup or small bowl, blend together the baking soda and flour. Add the flour mixture to the large bowl and mix thoroughly. Place TBSP size balls of dough 1 ½ inches apart on a cookie sheet sprayed lightly with nonstick spray (or lightly greased). Use a fork to flatten them to just under ½ an inch thick and leave a criss-cross pattern on top. Bake the cookies at 375 degrees for about 11 - 13 minutes; they should look like cookies instead of dough but not be browned and will be still soft to the touch. Allow the cookies to sit on the tray for a moment to firm up before moving them to a cooling rack.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Want My Cookies?

I give family and friends some of my homemade cookies every year during the holiday season. This year, I'm going to give some to one of you!

As much as I'd love to send cookies to every one of my twitter followers, I'm an unpaid intern and well, ingredients and postage cost money. So, the best I can do is to randomly choose one person to receive some of my homemade vegan cookies. If you want a chance to be that person, here's what I'd like you to do:

1. Pick any one of the recipes on my blog to try making yourself.

2. Post a comment about that recipe; was it easy? did you like it? what did you serve with it? INCLUDE YOUR TWITTER HANDLE.

3. Tweet @thevegankitchen with a link to the recipe on which you commented.

4. Make sure you've done all those things on or before Wednesday 12/23/09. I'll put the twitter handles of all participants in a hat (or maybe a mixing bowl) and have my 3 year old randomly choose one; he can't read yet, so that's as random as it gets. I'll then notify the lucky person who will receive the cookies via twitter on 12/24. I will not be mailing the cookies until after Christmas so they won't arrive right away, possibly in time for New Years?

5. Please Note: These cookies will be made in my little kitchen at home so it's just like getting cookies from a friend. They are not from a commercial kitchen and will probably be made with the help of a 3 year old.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It took me a long time to figure out a vegan recipe that would give me extremely chocolate, fudge-like brownies without any odd ingredients or an overly-gooey texture. Finally, I can make brownies just the way I like them anytime the craving strikes! If you like chopped walnuts or chocolate chunks just add a little to the batter, or, if you like Mexican chocolate try adding a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.

½ cup margarine, melted OR 1/2 cup safflower oil*
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
¼ cup warm water mixed with 1 TBSP enerG egg replacer
1 cup flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt* (* if using oil instead of Earth Balance, use 1/4 tsp salt)

Combine and mix margarine/oil, sugar, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Add enerG and stir. In a measuring cup, blend flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir thoroughly. Prepare a 9x9” metal pan with nonstick spray then spread the brownie dough evenly into the pan. Bake it at 350 degrees for 22 to 25 minutes or until done. Allow to cool before cutting.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Banana Bread

When I was little I always looked forward to bananas getting past their prime because that meant my mother would make banana bread. I still love the way it smells when it bakes and the way it tastes when still warm from the oven; this is a comfort food! Although I couldn't find her recipe to adapt, I did manage to create one of my own and the resulting banana bread is possibly the best I've ever had.

1 cup Earth Balance or other dairy-free margarine
2 cups sugar (can be partly brown sugar)
1 package firm Japanese style silken tofu (Mori Nu)
4 cups flour (1 can be whole wheat)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
5 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 10-oz package of dairy-free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life work well)
2 cups chopped walnuts
cooking spray

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar. Mash the tofu then mix thoroughly into the creamed mixture. In another bowl of a measuring cup, stir together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda; add this to the large bowl and mix until lumps are gone. Stir in the bananas (you may have to use a hand to do this) and then the chocolate chips followed by the walnuts. Distribute this batter into 2 glass loaf pans sprayed with cooking spray or greased with margarine. If you prefer, bake as muffins in lined muffin pans. Bake at 325 degrees until the top is golden brown and the center is cooked, about 1 hour to 75 minutes.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vanilla Pumpkin Custard Pie **

For the pie crust you can use any type of 9" pie crust you like. Make one from scratch, buy a graham cracker crust, or buy a frozen pie shell; as long as the pie shell is baked before you make the filling it will be fine! Unless you have a very large pie shell there will probably be some extra filling which can be cooled in a dish and eaten like pudding.

pictured with Soyatoo brand rice whip. made with almondmilk and Wholly Wholesome brand gluten free crust

Vanilla Pumpkin Custard Pie

½ cup corn starch
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground clove
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups plain soymilk or almondmilk (some can be substituted with vegan creamer for a creamier pie filling)
1 cup pumpkin
9” pie crust, pre-baked

Combine in a large saucepan the corn starch, sugar, and spices. Whisk in the soymilk and vanilla. Continue whisking gently over medium heat until it begins to thicken and then add the pumpkin. Whisk thoroughly to mix in the pumpkin, remove from heat, and quickly pour into the pie crust. Allow to cool then refrigerate until set.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lentil Stew *

This stew is mild but flavorful and goes well with homemade mashed potatoes, rice, or slices of sourdough bread.

Lentil Stew

3/4 cup dry lentils
2 cups water
3 sundried tomatoes (not the kind packed in oil)
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp nutritional yeast
A pinch of salt

Rinse the lentils and chop the tomatoes. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring it to a boil, and then turn down heat and cover. Simmer the stew covered for 30 minutes then uncovered 15. The stew is ready when the lentils are tender.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Creamy Peanut Sauce *

Unlike the sesame peanut pasta which I make in large batches to use as leftovers, this sauce should be made in small enough amounts to be used right away. It has a more delicate texture and flavor that goes very well with rice noodles.

2 TBSP sesame oil
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
¾ cup plain soymilk
¼ tsp ginger

Put the sesame oil in the bottom of a small saucepan and add the peanut butter and soymilk. Heat the mixture over medium low while whisking the ingredients together with a small whisk. Once the sauce reaches a smooth, creamy consistency add the ginger and stir well with whisk.

Makes enough sauce for 2 – 3 cups cooked rice noodles. To keep the noodles from sticking together, toss with a tsp of sesame oil before adding the peanut sauce.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Lazy Stuffed Peppers

Although the words "stuffed peppers" bring to mind an endless list of possible stuffings, this recipe is the lazy version and contains only 5 ingredients (including water used during cooking). It doesn't even require the use of an oven or stove because all the cooking happens in the microwave. The recipe makes just enough for two if served with some sides.


1 large bell pepper
2 to 3 button mushrooms
about 3/4 cup of vegan soy "meatballs"
vegan grated topping (soy Parmesan)***

Thaw the "meatballs" & crumble them into a bowl; chop mushrooms & add to the bowl. Cut the pepper in half lengthwise & remove seeds. Place pepper halves in glass baking dish and stuff with mixture from bowl then top generously with soy Parmesan. Pour 1/4 inch water into baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, & microwave until pepper is cooked (about 8 minutes in mine).

*** I like Galaxy Foods vegan grated topping best

Friday, October 2, 2009

Raspberry Sauce *

I remember when I was little making a cake with raspberry sauce at a friend's house. She gave me the recipe but I managed to lose it and when I wanted to make the sauce again (years later) I had to recreate the sauce through trial and error and finally got it just right. It's a delicious topping for any number of desserts, including chocolate cake, but should either be made just before it will be used or distributed onto the dessert almost immediately after being made even if it will not be served until later.

Raspberry Sauce

½ c. sugar
2 Tbsp. corn starch or tapioca starch
1 bag frozen raspberries

Thaw raspberries and drain juice into a measuring cup. Add enough water to make 1 cup. In medium saucepan, stir together sugar and corn starch, then whisk in the liquid and add the berries. Heat over medium, whisking constantly, until the mixture boils and begins to look translucent instead of cloudy. Strain to remove seeds and pulp.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Basic Vegetable Soup **

I like to make many different kinds of soup, especially during the cooler months, and this recipe is for a basic vegetable soup. It's nothing fancy, but most of the ingredients can be stored for a long time and pulled out when you don't know what else to make or didn't make it to the grocery store. You'll need a really large pot to make this soup and several large containers for leftovers (as well as refrigerator space).

1 large onion, chopped
3 or 4 cartons of vegetable broth *
1/2 cup pearled barley***
1 bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 can of beans (other than chickpeas)
1 bag frozen lima beans **
1 can diced tomatoes
dried dill weed to taste (I like to use a lot)
dried parsley to taste (plenty of this also)

Combine the onion, broth, and barley in a very large pot over high heat. Add the vegetables, beans, limas, and tomatoes. When it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium or medium-low. Add the dill and parsley and stir. The soup will need to be stirred periodically; putting a lid on will retain more liquid. Once the barley is soft (but still a bit chewy) the soup is ready.

* If you like a lot of broth, use 4 cartons. If you like less broth, use only 3. If you want to make the soup cheaper, you can substitute water for part of the broth; each carton is 32 oz so just replace a carton of broth with 32 oz of water.

** I like lot's of lima beans in my soup but if you do not, just use a second can of beans instead.

*** For gluten-free soup, skip the barley and use one or two large potatoes cut into 1" pieces.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pineapple Black Bean Rice *

This dish is very easy and relatively quick to make; it also requires only 7 ingredients so it won't add half a page to your grocery list. Using a fresh pineapple that you cut up right before using makes all the difference in this dish; try to avoid canned and pre-cut pineapples for the best results. With pineapple and cinnamon adding much of the flavor, it's almost like having dessert for dinner!

¾ cup of white rice
14 to 16 oz pineapple, chopped with juice conserved in separate container
1 cup of red bell pepper, chopped
2 tbsp vegan margarine
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp Cinnamon

Pour the pineapple juice into a measuring cup and use water to fill it to ¾ cup. Cook the rice according to box directions using the juice/water mixture. Melt the margarine in a large frying pan and cook the pepper over medium heat until it gets slightly soft. Add the black beans and the chopped pineapple and cinnamon to taste, cooking until all ingredients are hot. Add the rice and cook for 2-3 more minutes, add more cinnamon if desired, and serve. Alternately, you can serve the pineapple mixture atop a layer of rice instead of stirring it in.

* For a sweeter rice, use canned pineapple juice for the whole ¾ cup of liquid

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sesame Peanut Pasta **

As much as I love to cook and bake, sometimes I just need a to make something simple that will be quick, easy, and give me plenty of leftovers for days when I have no time. Of course, it also has to be delicious and nutritious! This recipe for Sesame Peanut Pasta is one that meets all those needs.

You'll need a small frying pan, a saucepan, and a VERY large pot for this!

1 lb of pasta (spaghetti or bowtie or macaroni)
Water to cook the pasta
1 to 2 cups of frozen peas
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped scallions
4 tsp sesame oil
1 jar chunky peanut butter
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
Cooking spray or oil

In your large pot, begin cooking the pasta according to the box directions. Coat the bottom of your frying pan with oil or nonstick spray and sautee the scallions until just slightly cooked. When the pasta is almost cooked, turn the heat up and add the peas to thaw them(a minute should do); don't overcook the pasta to avoid having it fall apart once the peanut sauce is added. Take the pasta off the stove and drain it with a colander as soon as it is done.
Using a small bowl or custard cup, combine the ginger and garlic. Put the sesame oil in the saucepan and stir in the garlic/ginger mixture; a small whisk will work best but if you don't have one just use a spoon. Add all of the peanut butter and place on the stove. Heat it over medium-low, stirring with a spoon, until the peanut butter melts. Return the pasta and peas to the large pot and add the scallions. Pour the peanut sauce over the pasta and stir it through quickly to coat the pasta before it thickens. Finally, stir in the sesame seeds.

This dish can be served hot or cold, though I prefer hot. It goes well with sauteed red bell peppers. To add extra nutrition, use 2 cups of peas and try whole wheat pasta. For more protein, stir-fry tofu and add it to the noodles before stirring in the peanut sauce.

*** If you have only un-toasted sesame seeds, try toasting them in the frying pan before cooking the scallions or placing them on some foil in a toaster oven (watching carefully to be sure they don't burn).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Easy Rolls: baking with yeast

Baking bread/rolls from scratch may sound intimidating, but it's actually pretty easy. Aside from being fun and making your kitchen smell wonderful, baking your own rolls allows you to avoid all the bad ingredients in store-bought rolls: preservative chemicals, dough conditioners, high fructose corn syrup, and, of course, animal-derived ingredients. Rolls you bake yourself will be fresher and taste better, anyway. While it doesn't take much work, this recipe will take several hours to complete due to the dough requiring time to rise twice. I adapted it from a recipe found in an old copy of Fannie Farmer; I have found that cookbook more useful than any other for finding classic recipes to adapt.


1 packet of active dry yeast
1 cup of soymilk
1/3 cup of melted soy margarine (Earth Balance)
1/4 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

extra flour to reach consistency and for kneading
enough margarine to grease a cookie sheet
1 to 2 tablespoons melted margarine (for brushing tops)
cooking spray

Make the soymilk slightly warm, but not hot, and pour into the bowl of a stationary electric mixer. Add the yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Stir, then add the 1/3 cup of melted margarine, the sugar, and the salt. Set the mixer on a low speed and gradually add the 2 1/2 cups of flour. Let it mix for several minutes. If necessary, add just enough more flour to make the dough thick enough to handle; it is okay if it's a bit sticky because it will obtain more flour during the next step.

Now it is time to knead the dough. If you have a surface designed for this, such as a wooden board, use it. If not, just lay a pastry cloth flat on your table. Sprinkle flour upon your board or cloth and keep an extra scoop of flour to the side in case you need more. Transfer your dough. It helps to coat your hands with a little margerine or cooking spray. In a nutshell, kneading is using your hands to press the dough down, then fold it back on top of itself, then repeat, until it is easy to handle and rather elastic. If you would like to see kneading to obtain a better understanding, try looking it up on youtube. This video is short and shows decent kneading technique.

After kneading, spray the bowl with nonstick cooking spray and place the ball of dough back in the bowl. Cover it with a clean dish towel and place it somewhere warm. Allow it to rise for about an hour, at which time the dough should be about doubled in size.

Either spray your cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray or grease it lightly with soy margarine (I prefer the latter). Punch down the dough (releasing air bubbles and shrinking it back to previous size), kneading for just a moment if necessary. Although you can make any number of shapes, the easiest shape to make your rolls is round; just take a lump of dough the size of 2/3 of your fist and roll it between your hands. Place the shaped dough on the cookie sheet, evenly spaced. Cover with the dish towel and place in a warm spot to rise for about an hour.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and bake the rolls until just slightly browned on top, roughly 12 to 20 minutes. Makes 9 to 12 rolls, depending on how big each roll is.

Dough after kneading:

Three rolls, fresh from my oven:

Lentil Soup *

On a chilly (or sick) day, there is nothing I like better than a bowl of homemade soup accompanied by a warm piece of bread. Soup is easy to make, usually inexpensive, can use up veggies left in your fridge from making salad, and is made in large enough batches to have leftover soup for lunch several times. This recipe for lentil soup is lightly seasoned, so be sure to add your own favorite herbs or spices to taste!

1 tsp oil (olive or any vegetable oil)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, sliced OR 1 cup shredded carrot
4 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 cup dried lentils
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
dash of salt
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 cups water
2 small potatoes, chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, washed and torn up

First, use the oil to sautee the onions in a large pot until the onions are clear (about 4 or 5 minutes). Pour in the vegetable broth and water. Rinse your lentils in cold water, then add to the pot. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat, simmering until the lentils are soft and the potatoes are cooked (roughly 45 minutes to an hour). Remove the bay leaves. Add your own herbs or spices to taste; I like mine simple and often just add a little more salt and black pepper. Lentils will absorb more water as the soup sits, so when using it as leftovers you will need to add some water (probably each time you heat a bowlful).

Welcome to The Vegan Kitchen!

Whether you've been vegan for years or are just starting to experiment with vegan cooking, it's always fun to try new recipes. That is the type of experience I plan to share here. I hope you have as much fun in your kitchen as I have in mine!