Let Them Eat Vegan!

A title like that truly needs no further introduction, but I still can’t resist gilding the lily a bit. To anyone in the market for a well-rounded cookbook with delicious ideas from breakfast through dessert, all developed with an eye towards wholesome ingredients, there isn’t a title I can recommend more highly than Dreena Burton‘s latest masterpiece, Let Them Eat Vegan! I won’t hesitate to admit that my advice on the matter is entirely biased, though; It was my incredible fortune to supply the photographs found inside, tasting my way through the whole experience. A dream job if I ever did land one, these dishes came together with ease, and were so naturally enticing that they practically styled themselves.

Pan-Fried Falafel Patties (page 145), Smoky Spiced Tahini Sauce (page 54), and Quinoa Taboulleh with Olives (page 40) all go together to create one transportive middle eastern feast. Preparing three recipes for one photo can be a daunting task, but not so for this trio; each component was a snap to whip up, and keeps beautifully if made in advance, too. I do love all things falafel, and these bad boys have the edge on the competition, because they’re cooked in only a dab of oil, rather than the traditional vat for deep-frying. The texture and taste don’t suffer one bit from this adaptation- If anything, it allows those complex spices to shine through even brighter.

Even something as unassuming as a tempeh sandwich- or “Tempeh Tickle“- (page 122) with Spinach-Herb Pistachio Pesto (page 154) is a meal to remember. Satisfyingly hearty without being overtly “meaty,” it’s something both crunchy-granola vegans and staunch carnivores could enjoy in peace.

Rarely do brownies sweep me off my feet any more, as reliably rich and chocolaty as they are, but Dreena’s are something else entirely. Layered with a decadent, lightly tangy blanket of “cream cheese” and topped with whole chocolate chunks, each bite is a delicious study in complimentary textures. An additional pinch of salt crowning the whole tray is truly better than the icing on the cake. Even if you’re as jaded on these classic bar cookies as I am, give this recipe a shot. In Ms. Burton’s talented hands, brownies are still every bit as revolutionary as when they were first “accidentally” invented in the early 1900’s.

Yield: Makes 16 - 20 Bars

Creamed Cheese Brownies with Salted Dark Chocolate Topping

Creamed Cheese Brownies with Salted Dark Chocolate Topping

No faux cream cheese to be found in these deep, rich, fudgy brownies. Cashews stand in for a cream cheese–like layer, which takes these brownies to, ‘OMG these are freaking good!’ ’Nuff said—go make them.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


Creamed Cheese Layer:

  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp vanilla non-dairy yogurt (if using coconut yogurt instead of soy, add another 1 tsp lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp (rounded) sea salt

Brownie Layer:

  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp sifted (or light) spelt flour
  • ¾ cup unrefined sugar
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 1 tbsp plain or vanilla non-dairy milk
  • 3½ tbsp neutral-flavored oil


  • 1/3 – ½ cup chocolate chunks (use a good quality dark chocolate bar, and break/cut into small chunks)
  • Few pinches coarse sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare cream cheese layer: Puree all those ingredients with an immersion or high-speed blender until very, very smooth (a mini food processor can also be used, but it usually doesn’t produce as smooth a texture as does an immersion blender). Process for several minutes, if necessary, until very smoothed out.
  3. Prepare the brownie layer: In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt, and sift in the cocoa and baking powder.
  4. In a small bowl, first combine the arrowroot with the maple syrup, stirring until smooth, then add the vanilla, milk, and oil. Add the wet mixture to the dry. Stir until evenly mixed and thick. Transfer about two-thirds of the mixture to the prepared pan. Use a square of parchment to help the press mixture into the pan evenly and spread it out. Spread the cream cheese layer over the top. Then, as best as you can, spread the remaining brownie batter over the cheese layer. You can take pieces and lightly spread first with your fingers and place in patches over the cream cheese layer—and it doesn’t have to fully cover; there can be spaces—most will fill in and come together while baking.
  5. Add the topping: Place the chocolate chunks on top, and then sprinkle with salt. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan, running a spatula around the outer edge to loosen. (The brownies will appear not fully cooked, but do not cook longer—I repeat, do not cook longer! Instead, let cool and they will become fudgy!) Once cooled, score the brownies with a sharp knife to ease cutting the chocolate before it completely hardens. Then refrigerate brownies to cool more, cut into squares and dig in!


If This Apron Could Talk: Trust the baking process! The amount of batter used for the base—and then topping— looks like it cannot possibly fill out to form a beautiful brownie. Lucky for us, the oven creates some magic in about half an hour!

From the book Let Them Eat Vegan! by Dreena Burton. Excerpted by arrangement ith Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2012. ttp://www.dacapopresscookbooks.com Photo by Hannah Kaminsky.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 163mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 2g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.


Now that’s just barely even the tip of the iceberg. It would be a shame to keep such a gem to myself, so I’m thrilled to offer one lucky reader a copy of Let Them Eat Vegan!, as generously furnished by Da Capo Lifelong Books. For your chance to snag a copy, you know the drill; Leave a comment with a name and functioning email address in the appropriate boxes, and tell me about your favorite Dreena Burton recipe, from any of her equally fabulous books or website. If you haven’t yet tried any (What are you waiting for?!) talk to me instead about what you want to make first from Let Them Eat Vegan! The winner will be chosen at random May 9th at midnight EST, and announced shortly thereafter within this same post. Check back to find out who will end up 200 recipes richer!

PS, you may not want to wait for the contest to run its course, because Dreena has a special promotion going on now, including autographed bookplates and plenty of delicious extras along with your shiny new cookbook. If you end up winning a second book here, it also makes an excellent gift for anyone who likes food, so check it out!

106 thoughts on “Let Them Eat Vegan!

  1. Those Pan-Fried Falafel Patties sounds pretty amazing – I’d love to give those a try! :)

  2. Well, how can we resist anything described as “OMG, these are freaking good?” Those brownies really do look fabulous. I have a tried and true “go to” vegan chocolate brownie recipe but I’ve bookmarked yours for next time. I think the cashew layer is especially brilliant.

  3. Oh my … I have not yet “met” Dreena Burton or her recipes!! But this post has me drooling, and I definitely plan to rectify this!! Your opening photo of Falafel Patties and Smoky Spiced Tahini Sauce will definitely be the first thing I try if I’m picked!!

  4. I make Dreena’s “Supercharge Me” cookies and eat them for breakfast all week. Delicious!

  5. My mom recently moved to a vegan diet – I’d love to try one of these recipes for her.

  6. Those brownies! I’ve just been introduced to Dreena, but am looking forward to enjoying her recipes!!!

  7. I tried her Jerk Chickpeas a few days ago. Wow, just wow. I just printed a copy of these brownies and will be making them this weekend. I hope I win this cookbook, I want to try everything.

  8. My favorite Dreena recipe is her Kids hummus recipe from ED&bv. I love her cookbooks because I feel she knows what it’s like to be a Mom who needs to get a meal on the table ASAP. Her recipes are quick, tasty and kid friendly! I am not sure I can wait til May 9th to order this, lol!

  9. Unlike everyone who has already commented, I’ve never tried any of Dreena Burton’s recipes for the simple reason that I don’t have any of her cookbooks YET! I’ve already put Let Them Eat Vegan onto my online shopping list, to buy as soon as finances permit.

  10. I haven’t made any of her recipes yet but they ALL look delicious! I will make the Jerk Chickpeas first.

  11. how exciting that 2 of my favorite food bloggers got to work together! lucky you! i haven’t yet tried any of dreena’s recipes (i know…..) and relly can’t decide where to start! but since i’m a sweet kind of person – those ‘cream cheese’ brownies sure look delish!

  12. Those brownies look awesome! So glad they are made without subbing “faux cream cheese”, I try to stay away from that kind of food. I need a dessert recipe for this weekend and these will fit perfectly, thanks for sharing and for the giveaway! Alex

  13. The Cream Cheese Brownies look amazing! I need to try this recipe and I need to add Dreena Burton’s cookbook, Let Them Eat Vegan, to my collection!

  14. I was eyeing up the picture of those brownies on Dreena’s facebook page just a couple of days ago so I’m so excited to see the recipe here! I read through the new book’s index and it all sounds great, what a privilege to be a tester and photographer.

  15. There are a lot of good things to choose from – the falafel patties would be a first choice.

  16. Hmmm, I think I would want to try the blueberry oat bars first, I’m a sucker for both blueberry and oats! Thanks for the chance to win!

  17. I’d love to get this book. My favorite Dreena recipe is her chocolate chip cookies.

  18. I would really love to try those brownies! They look delicious. I just discovered Dreena Burton and I can’t wait to try her recipes!

  19. Hannah, I’m *so* glad you posted this! Dreena is one of the greatest, and my book hasn’t arrived yet – so I’ve been desperate to try these! Yum!

    (Not a competition entry:) )

  20. Love both of your cookbooks, Vegan Express (Nava) and The Everyday Vegan (Dreena) are household standbys! I love Dreena’s mushroom phyllo pie as it makes a beauitful festive meal for those special occasion dinners where vegans otherwise feel left out. So tasty!

  21. That smoky spiced tahini sauce and quinoa taboulleh sound to die for!!! Thanks for introducing me to Dreena Burton…will def be checking out more of her recipes now :)

  22. I just purchased my first Dreena book, and I’ve only made one recipe – Lemon Poppy Seed Crackle cookies. They’re delightful!

  23. My favourite Dreena recipe? Where do I begin? Moroccan Phyllo Rolls, Banana oat bites, banana cashew ice cream and her thai corn stew…..just to name a few :-)

    Thanks for the contest!

  24. I haven’t had a chance to try any of her recipes yet but now I can! I’m off to make those brownies right now. They look absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing.

  25. I’ve been hearing so many good things about this book lately that I NEED it! (and about the excellent photos, might i add :P) I really want those falafel. Like…now.

  26. Oh Hannah you have done it again my dear. I am going to be giving a talk and demo this upcoming summer on some healthy eating alternatives for food allergens and super foods. I am sure you won’t mind a little PR all the way from Asia if I direct them to your cookbooks and website. Are you okay with that? Take care, BAM

  27. I love many (most?) of Dreena’s recipes but I always find myself going back to her salad dressings, particularly the lemon zinger vinaigrette.

  28. I love all of Dreena’s hummus recipes and her Quinoa Chickpea Confetti Casserole! I have been looking forward to this new book!!

  29. I do love those brownies…they are easy to prepare, low in sugar and oil and so decadent tasting!! I’ve made lots of recipes so far from here and have honestly loved everything I’ve made. This cookbook has been on my counter for the past 2 months, I use it every day and don’t see it going on the book shelf anytime soon.

  30. Well, everything sounds AMAZING that Dreena has created. I am really excited to make the falafel patties…those sound so great! Can’t wait to try out many of her recipes :)

  31. Oh my goodness! Those brownies sound wondrous! My current favorite recipe is the Banana Oat Bundles from Viva le Vegan. They come together quickly and make a great breakfast when paired with a green smoothie or snack while out running errands.

  32. I like to make Fudgy Brownies from Vive le Vegan. Non vegans are always surprised that vegan brownies are just as good as (probably better than) non-vegan ones. I’ll be trying these cream cheese brownies on the non vegans next!

  33. Can’t believe I haven’t come across her before! I would love to try the middle eastern feast! All the recipes sound so goood and are very in line with how I want to cook for my family. Thank you!!

  34. Congratulations, Hannah! The photos are stunning; now wonder Dreena wanted you and your magic touch :)

    Would you believe I’m most swooooonering over the savoury options? Felafal beats brownies anyday in my book :)

  35. Sounds like a fantastic book, and the fact that we can see some of your beautiful photos to illustrate Dreena’s wonderful recipes really is the gilding of the lily! The brownies look amazing, but I’d also like to try her Quinoa Nicoise Salad…thanks for the giveaway, my dear!

  36. unfortunately i do not have any of her cookbooks so i don’t have a favorite but those falafels look delicious …..

  37. oh goodie!! It’s HERE! I love Dreena’s books so much. I use them all – but I must confess, I *especially* love her cookie recipes. They are pretty much the only cookies I ever make. She is a cookie genius. Congrats on beautiful pictures, Hannah – they look amazing!!

  38. I love Dreena’s soup recipes. My favorite may be her chickpea wild rice soup in Eat, Drink & Be Vegan…but every one I’ve made is fantastic.

  39. Dreena’s Tamari Roasted Chickpeas are still a regular staple at my house! They are so simple and so damn tasty. I also got my mom loving her method of panfrying marinated tofu and tempeh with a cornstarch coating – it makes the outsides so cripsy while keeping the insides moist, and now my mom doesn’t usually want to cook these things any other way! Thank you for your review of the new book :)

  40. As the temperature slowly climbs to the triple digits :) so does my need to consume a wide array of frosty sugary treats. I already have plans to try Hannah’s Caramel-Cinnamon Ice Cream with Black Gingerbread Chunks, but I would also love to try Dreena’s Macadamia Ice Cream as well as her Strawberries n’ Cream Ice Cream. I will also admit I’ve been counting down to Hannah’s Vegan A La Mode release. Can’t wait!

  41. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t tried any of Ms. Burton’s recipes, but I’ve seen so many blogs reviewing the cookbook that I’m absolutely dying to get it and cook my way through the whole thing! I’m at home sick today, with very little appetite, but those photos (especially the brownies) actually made my mouth water a little!

  42. Am a 21 year vegetarian this May and am seriously considering going vegan. This cookbook – and the vegan blogs I’m now exploring – are a great starting place.

  43. That cheesy white bean and chickpea soup looks mighty tasty! This cookbook looks awesome!

  44. GODDAMN I AM MAKING THIS!! Thank you!! ^_^ I’ll be sure to blog about my results

  45. I have to admit I am seriously thinking about making these brownies tomorrow. My interest was peeked at cream cheese but I think it is the salt that seals the deal! ;)
    I’m super excited to grab a copy this cook book … it all looks so tasty!

  46. Oh yum! Will definitely be making these brownies this weekend, and Three’s Company Pie is up after that! I hadn’t been familiar with Dreena’s recipes before, so even if I don’t get lucky, I’ll be grabbing one of her books in the future. Thanks!

  47. Beautiful photos! I don’t have any of Dreena’s books. I’d really like to try making falafel at home (my friend and I are falafel freaks!), and the ones you photographed look fun!
    hungryvegantraveler [[at]] gmail

  48. Those frosted brawnies look incredible. And, as I love anything thai-inspired, the thai corn soup and the thai chick-un pizza are sure to become favorites

  49. All of Dreena’s recipes I’ve tried were great! The most recent one I’ve made was her gluten-free chocolate chips cookies – they were delightful!
    That tempeh sandwich looks amazing; it seems to be the perfect thing to pack when I know I’ll be out and about without access to satisfying vegan options… And those brownies – yum! Thank you for sharing the recipe, and for offering us a chance at winning a copy of the book.

  50. i’m looking forward to making the falafel right away! have made several things from her other books, hard to pick a favourite..

  51. I was on her blog the other day and realized this was coming out soon! I’m strapped for cash until the end of the summer- but I’d love to be able to start cooking from it sooner!

  52. I love the hide the lentils tomato sauce and the sweet and sour chipotle tempeh with sweet potatoes, both from eat, drink and be vegan. That Quinoa Taboulleh sounds delicious though!

  53. I am a HUGE fan of Dreena’s (EVERYTHING I’ve made from her has been A-MAZING), and I’m SO excited to see her new book and drool over all the delectable creations she has dreamt up for us!

  54. Those brownies look incredible! I love that there’s no fake cream cheese in them. I definitely have to try these sometime. I just saw this book reviewed on another blog; I may have to check out a copy! There are sooooo many vegan cookbooks out there that it’s hard to know which are worthwhile; this one definitely looks like it is.

  55. There’s some many to choose from – but probably something from the one-pot meals (since I do tire of doing dishes). The braised tempeh with lemon, thyme and capers sound like an instant favorite…every part of that sounds tasty!

  56. Oh my, all those sauces look amazing! I like to keep a couple sauces in my fridge at all times to facilitate quick/tasty post-commute dinners. I would definitely try my hand at the Pumpkin Seed Chipotle Cream and the Spinach Cashew Pizza Cheese Spread (srsly?! sounds so good).

  57. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these, from what you’ve said over the last few weeks it sounds amazing! I’ve been put on a cookbook buying hiatus, apparently I’ve been buying too many of late, ha!

  58. I have been experimenting for a while trying to find the perfect falafel and tahini sauce combo, so that would be at the top of my list to try from this one!!

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