From pandemic pet project to printed and published, it’s been quite a journey bringing my ninth cookbook into the world. Born at a time when life came to a screeching halt, when the very future of cookbooks in general was in jeopardy, it seemed like the absolute stupidest thing to pursue.
Between supply chain issues, shortages, and grocery delivery mishaps, I couldn’t even count on having adequate ingredients to follow a simple recipe, let alone develop another hundred of my own. Let’s not forget that dinner parties were off the table, so there was little need for large format meals generally set to feed anywhere from 6 – 12 at a time.
Still, I persisted. Not out of optimism that things would get better or some greater vision of the future, but for a lack of it. In a time of unprecedented tragedies one after another, this was all I knew how to do, the only thing that provided any modicum of comfort. By cooking, crafting photos, creating my own narrative, I could escape that reality just outside my kitchen door.
Chickpea Pan Pie
The Everyday Vegan Cheat Sheet is a genuine pandemic baby, venturing forth into the wilderness of civilization for the first time with wide eyes. For all the delays, near misses, gambles, and standard publishing frustrations, I think the timing couldn’t be more perfect. Now that we’re gathering together again to break bread, these are the recipes I subconsciously created as a victory lap. This book could only exist in this particular moment.
Getting down to the brass tacks here, The Everyday Vegan Cheat Sheet is a down to earth guide for turning out complete plant-based meals using a standard, no-frills sheet pan. Blending nostalgia with a taste for adventure, wholesome ingredients with indulgent flavors, easy prep with stunning results, it’s everything I craved but couldn’t otherwise find. Veganism is finally taking off as a mainstream movement and sheet pan cooking is all the rage, but why had no one combined the two yet? I took that personally.
Nacho Mamma Loaded Tortilla Chips
Thank you for everyone that made this possible. Book #9 is every bit as incredible as book #1, given the particularly volatile nature of the publishing industry these days. Who knows if this will indeed be the last, but even so, I’m proud of everything inside these pages. I hope they can bring comfort and joy to your table, too.
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.
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!
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.