DO Try This At Home

Home cooking has taken on greater importance over the past few years. Rising interest in food overall had already tipped the scales in favor of more homemade meals, and then the pandemic hit, making it a beacon of hope amid dwindling choices. For those with demanding schedules, tight budgets, tricky dietary restrictions, or limited experience, the shift has been anything but palatable.

Go ahead, take it easy. Laura Theodore is revitalizing comfort food as we know it, giving everyone the tools to create healthy, hearty, home cooked meals on their own terms. That means accessible ingredients, user-friendly instructions, and even low-impact clean up when it’s all said and done. If you’re craving a bite of nostalgia with better nutrition, Easy Vegan Home Cooking has exactly what you need.

BBQ Tempeh Triangles (p. 136)

Everything prepared in your own kitchen qualifies as “home cooking,” but there’s deeper meaning to the concept than such a basic definition can allow. Traditionally, the term implies comfort food, something made with intention, love, and care. It’s not fancy, and sometimes even downright ugly, but each bite feeds more than just the basic need for fuel. Takeout can never rise to such heights.


Laura’s Blueberry-Banana Smoothie (p. 41)

Easy Vegan Home Cooking includes over 125 cozy, comforting recipes that transform minimal ingredients into deeply satisfying meals. Bucking the conventional notion that soulful, crave-worthy cooking needs to make nutritional compromises, these dishes are notably low in added oil, salt, and sugar. Removing such cheap crutches lets fresh flavors do the talking instead.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Butternut Squash Soup (p. 76)

You’ve gotta taste it to believe it. That’s why I’m excited to share this giveaway for a copy of Easy Vegan Home Cooking by Laura Theodore! To enter, let me know in the comment section below what “home cooking” means to you, and what your most essential home cooked meal is. Don’t forget to come back and register your entry in the giveaway widget, along with additional opportunities to win.

Easy Vegan Home Cooking by Laura Theodore

Vegan Baking Basics

Butter, eggs, and milk, essential staples of traditional desserts, no longer need apply when it comes to baking up the best treats. Vegan alternatives have come a long way in recent years, making it effortless to create sweet delights that are not only as good as the traditional recipes, but often even better. The results may seem magical, but there are no tricky secrets to unveil here! A few simple swaps will reveal just how easy to is to bake completely plant-based delicacies.

When it comes to converting classic recipes, there are no hard and fast rules, but guidelines to help steer you in the right direction. It may take a bit of fine-tuning to get just the right combination, so don’t get frustrated if it’s not perfect on the first try. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

To replace butter, the options available on the mainstream market have never been more abundant or more delicious. Some name brands contain whey or other milk-derivatives, while others conceal the elusive, animal-derived Vitamin D3, so be alert when scanning ingredient labels. For ease, I prefer to use it in stick format, such as Earth Balance Buttery Sticks or Miyoko’s Creamery European Style Cultured Vegan Butter. Never try to substitute spreadable butter from a tub! These varieties have much more water to allow them to spread while cold, and will thus bake and cook differently.

  • Alternatively, if the recipe calls for melted butter, you can often substitute melted coconut oil at a 1:1 ratio. Just be careful to select refined coconut oil, as virgin coconut oil will impart a distinctive tropical taste.

To replace milk, an unlimited range of perfect replacements beckon from the dairy aisle! Once limited to sour, beany soy, you can now choose from milks made of hemp seeds, oats, almonds, cashews, flaxseed, and more. They’re all mostly interchangeable when it comes to baking applications, as long as you opt for a variety that is unflavored and unsweetened. Rice milk is the only sort that doesn’t make the cut for me, personally, as it tends to be watery, and in the worst cases, gritty.

  • To recreate buttermilk, simply place 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar in a 1 cup measuring scoop before filling the rest of the way with your non-dairy milk of choice. Stir gently to combine and let “curdle” for a few minutes before proceeding.
  • To replace cream or heavy cream, pure, full-fat coconut milk is the answer. Shake well and use it straight for ice cream, but if you want to make a light whipped topping, let the can chill in your fridge overnight. Scoop out the thick white cream on top and place it in the bowl of your stand mixer, leaving the clear water at the bottom. The water can’t be whipped, but don’t discard it; It’s fantastic in smoothies, curries, and many other recipes! Beat the cream on high speed for about 5 – 8 minutes until fluffy. Sprinkle in a touch of sugar, if desired.

To replace eggs, the possibilities are vast. Bear in mind that the greater number of eggs you try to remove, the more difficult it will be to achieve consistent results. I would feel comfortable replacing up to three eggs in most recipes before needing to do more invasive structural rewiring for the rest of the formula. Bear in mind that the average medium egg is about 3 tablespoons in volume, whereas a large is closer to 4 tablespoons, so adjust accordingly.

  • My favorite eggless binder is aquafaba, the not-so-secret ingredient taking the world by storm, dubbed a “miracle” by some and a food science breakthrough by others. Believe it or not, it’s simply the excess liquid found in any ordinary can of chickpeas. Any bean can produce aquafaba, but the unique ratio of protein and starch found in garbanzo beans has been found to best mimic the unique binding and whipping properties previously only seen in egg whites. For more delicate applications like meringues or marshmallow fluff, you can always concentrate your aquafaba to create a stronger foam matrix by cooking it gently over the stove and reducing some of the water.
  • Otherwise, flaxseed or chia seed gel performs beautifully in most applications, particularly savory baked goods and breads. It takes a ratio of 3:1, water to ground seeds, mixed up and let sit for a few minutes to thicken. Make sure the seeds are ground very finely for the gel to be most effective, and least noticeable in the final texture.
  • Old-school alternatives include mashed banana, applesauce, and pumpkin puree, which work fine in heartier muffins and cakes, but inevitably contribute a denser texture and influence the overall flavor.

Rewrite your grocery lists, skip the animal products, and begin preheating your oven. Happy baking!

20 Soup-erb Vegan Soup Recipes

Every season is soup season if you ask me, but January is legitimately designated as National Soup Month. Considering the colder temperatures, it really is the best time to cozy up with a hearty bowlful, be it creamy, brothy, chunky, or otherwise. Just like salads, almost everything can be categorized as “soup” if you try hard enough, so where does the intrepid, undecided cook start?

When you want to get something on the stove without stressing over the best recipe, I’ve got you covered. These are my 20 most popular plant-based soup recipes that are all tried and true. I’ve made each of them scores of times myself, and if you don’t believe me, the glowing comments don’t lie.

Pull out your biggest stock pot and get ready to stew up a double batch. These foolproof formulas will bring you comfort and joy all year long.

Continue reading “20 Soup-erb Vegan Soup Recipes”

Ice Cream Season

To anyone who decries ice cream solely as a summertime food, buckle up and put on a sweater. I’ve got numerous wintry treats in Super Vegan Scoops! tailor-made for the season that will change your mind.

Apple Pie Sundae

First gradually, and then suddenly, the seasons shift once more. Progressively cooler breezes blow in every night until thick, knit blankets reemerge from storage, unfurling upon beds like the triumphant victory flags of fall. Golden leaves tumble from their branches, crunching and snapping underfoot, dusting every pathway like freshly fallen snow. Tastes adjust as well, directing cravings towards the comfort of warmer, richer foods. When it comes to dessert, no dish better represents this transitory period than the classic apple crisp. A fool-proof formula for success, the combination of tender apples, bubbling away in their own cinnamon- and nutmeg-spiked juices holds universal appeal.

Bearing all the best characteristics of the classic pastry but in with a considerably cooler core, a rich scoop of apple butter-rippled ice cream perches atop warm, fork-tender apples, gently poached and delicately cradled by a single-serve flaky crust. Incorporating the faintly woodsy flavor of burnt sugar, these treats don’t just welcome autumn’s return, but celebrate it with gusto.

Frosty Pumpkin Roulade

The cult of pumpkin spice is unstoppable, growing in tenor and ferocity with every passing season. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice candles, pumpkin spice cough drops, pumpkin spice lip gloss, and pumpkin spice scratch-and-sniff bandages; they’re all real! If it can be infused with the flavor (or scent) that dominates all of fall, it absolutely will be. Pumpkin pie is at the very top of the Thanksgiving dessert hierarchy of course, as the purest, original manifestation of the flavor sensation.

In light of the newfound fervor for pumpkin spice, I feel a revolution is upon us. Coming from another venerable line of traditional baked goods, ready to unseat the longstanding overlord, is the spectacular pumpkin roulade. Typically filled with airy mounds of vanilla-spiked whipped cream, each spiral of aromatic pumpkin crumb gains even greater appeal with buttery pecan ice cream instead. Wrapping up two desserts into one, pumpkin spice fanatics will have a fresh focus for their seasonal obsession, and fair-weather fans will be mightily pleased, too.

Mulled Wine Sorbet

Drawn to the kitchen by the heady aroma of citrus and spice, the soothing scent of mulled wine evokes memories of the holidays, as warm and cozy as a thick knit sweater. Though typically enjoyed steaming hot, to fortify against a cold winter’s night, it’s also quite delightful served over ice, which is where this much cooler rendition got its inspiration. Pull on your mittens and scarves to embrace this spirited yuletide treat!

Peppermint Bark Roulade

Regardless of holiday party plans, as host or attendee, no matter how long or short wish lists may be, I have two words for you: Peppermint Bark. All it takes is chocolate and crushed candy canes, yet it can elicit the same level of enthusiasm as a laborious multi-tier Christmas cake. You’d think the stuff was sprinkled with pure gold judging by the way some people clamor to snap up piece after piece.

Something about the combination of creamy chocolate slabs, festooned with crunchy red and white striped mint confections seems to strike a chord with everyone, young, old, jolly, and curmudgeonly alike. It’s all about the ratio and quality of ingredients that hits the sweet spot.

Plain peppermint stick ice cream is a wondrous limited edition treat, but without a chocolate crunch, something seems to be missing. Enter, the glorious peppermint bark roulade, complete with creamy candy cane ice cream, topped with crisp chunks of chopped chocolate, all wrapped up in a fudgy, tender chocolate cake. As if that wasn’t enough, the whole thing is smothered in another layer of snappy dark chocolate magic shell, and finished with a flurry of crushed peppermint candy. It’s a bite of holiday joy that’s far better than anything you could wrap up with a bow.

Santa’s Secret Stash Sundae

When he’s on his epic Christmas Eve odyssey, Stanta is powered by the laughter of children, reindeer magic, and the holiday spirit itself, but we all know he needs to stop and refuel on something more substantial every so often. If I were going to treat Mr. Klaus, it would be with this magnificent collection of seasonal specialties. It all starts with a thick, chewy sugar cookie, because tradition does mandate the classic offering. Instead of a wane glass of milk, though, I’m topping it with a generous scoop of eggnog ice cream, melting into the warm skillet while rivulets of tart cranberry sauce burst through each nook and cranny. Lightly spiced nuts crunch through each layer, adding a refreshing textural contrast. Old Saint Nick never tasted a midnight snack quite like this.

Don’t forget about all the evergreen, all-purpose scoops that always hit the spot, any day of the year. There’s never a bad time to slice into a Brooklyn Blackout Ice Cream Cake, or lick a Cannoli Cone, for example. So get cozy, blast the heat, and break out the frozen treats! It’s still ice cream season, as far as I’m concerned.

20 Best Vegan Christmas Cookies

Cookies never go out of season, but the winter holidays are truly the best time to stay warm by the oven and indulge your sweet tooth. So much of the experience has to do with spending time with friends and family, creating memories that will long outlast those cherished treats.

The end results spread joy to all those gifted, and it’s easy to make enough to go around. If you’ve been waiting for a reason to bake cookies, this is your prime opportunity.

Guided by tradition, certain morsels show up to the party year after year. However, there’s always room on the cookie platter for something new.

Whether you’re looking for a twist on a classic or an entirely different way to shake up the dessert course, I’ve got you covered. These are some of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are guaranteed to keep your celebration sweet.

Continue reading “20 Best Vegan Christmas Cookies”