Have Yourself A Vegan Valentine’s Day

By Sharon Wilkinson

For those of you who equate vegan food with carrot sticks and broccoli buds, think again. Vegan foods can stir the senses, create a state of calm, recharge the imagination, and help the planet while offering up healthy, delicious, and satisfying world cuisine that celebrates our love of eating.  As with most dishes, the finest ingredients, unusual pairings, and thoughtful presentation make the difference between a simply good and a great meal. Regardless of your love life, this Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to try a vegan dish…be it breakfast in bed with your beau, a cozy, comfort meal for your adored siblings, or a champagne and decadent chocolate dessert fest with your single gal pals, below are three recipes that will whet your appetite:

Breakfast in the Boudoir

From Vegan Artist Makini Howell, whose new cookbook, Plum…Gratifying Vegan Dishes,  will leave your beau begging for more…


Good Old-Fashioned French Toast Stuffed with Strawberries and Sweet Soy Cream

This luxurious stuffed French toast is the classic model, creamy and sweet, You can use soft potato bread or rustic, and vary the fruit from berries to figs

Makes 4 servings

·         1 ½ cups vanilla soy milk

·         1 tsp white vinegar

·         1 cup egg foam

·         1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

·         1 tsp agave syrup

·         ½ tsp ground cinnamon

·         ¼ cup canola oil, plus extra for oiling the griddle

·         4 slices break, about 2 inches think

·         1 cup hulled, fresh strawberries

·         ½ cup sweet soy cream

·         Sorghum syrup for drizzling on French toast

In medium bowl, whisk milk and vinegar until thick. Add foam, vanilla, agave, cinnamon and whisk to combine. set aside

Lightly oil griddle or large frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Halve each bread slice nearly to bottom, leaving bread attached at spine, like an open book. Dip bread into milk mixture for 30 seconds on each side, then place on griddle. Cook until brown, 4-7 minutes, then flip with spatula and cook on other side until bottom in crisp and brown, about 4 more minutes

To serve, spoon 1ld top over, add dollop of cream and drizzle with syrup. Serve immediately.

Comfort Foods for the Ones You Love

image002From Lindsay Nixon, the Happy Herbivore’s new Light & Lean Vegan Cookbook, a happy accident produced a classic meatloaf, reborn as a vegan dish, that even your pickiest eaters will adore…

Meatloaf Bites

Makes 8 servings


“One afternoon I grabbed what I thought was corn from the freezer but later realized it was mixed vegetables. Once they thawed on the counter I knew they weren’t going back in, so I looked for a new, inventive way to use them. A can of kidney beans started calling, and before I knew it I had a vegetable-filled meatloaf in the oven. Since this meatloaf is baked in a muffin tin (great for serving sizes and portion control), I call it meatloaf “bites” and, yes, leftovers are great as a burger!”


·         1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

·         1 tbsp. onion powder

·         1 tbsp. garlic powder

·         1 tbsp. Italian seasoning

·         1 tbsp. chili powder (add another 1 tsp if you like it spicy)

·         3 tbsp. ketchup

·         2 tbsp. mustard

·         1 tbsp. Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (recipe in full cookbook)

·         1 c frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

·         6 tbsp. instant oats

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or use nonstick. Mash beans in a bowl with fork or potato masher until well mashed. Add remaining ingredients, except oats, and stir to combine.

Stir in oats. Spoon into muffin tin and pack down. Bake for 20 minutes until crisp on the outside and fairly firm to the touch (firms a bit as it cools). Serve with ketchup

Chocolate and Champagne Celebration with your Single Gal Pals

cid:image010.jpg@01CF210B.D6627F90Single girls feel intense pressure on Valentines’ Day. Forget about it gals, celebrate yourselves with decadent chocolate and bubbly

Makini Howell’s, Plum…Gratifying Vegan Dishes cookbook has just the antidote.


Everybody-Dives-In Chocolate Chip Brownies

Makes about 12 brownies


·         ¾ cup vegan buttery spread

·         4 ounces rice yogurt

·         1 ½ tspn vanilla extract

·         1 ¼ cups evaporated cane juice

·         1 ½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

·         ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

·         1 tspn baking powder

·         ¼ tspn baking soda

·         1 cup rice milk

·         1 cup vegan chocolate chips

·         Canola oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Whip buttery spread, yogurt, vanilla, and cane juice mixture until slightly fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda to the mixture. Then add the milk and mix until thoroughly combined. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.

Coat a brownie pan (such as an 8-by-8-inch Pyrex) with cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan. Bake until the brownies are firm in the center and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center just a few crumbles sticking to it, 18 to 20 minutes.


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