Classic Carrot-Raisin Salad

Carrot raisin salad recipeHere’s a simple salad that goes with just about anything. Carrot-raisin salad might just be the first that kids will enjoy! A food processor is a must for preparing this salad quickly; or you can start with pre-grated carrots that come packaged, but make sure they look nice and fresh.

Serves: 4 to 6

  • 8 ounces carrots, peeled (or use baby carrots)
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise or Cashew Cream
  • Generous pinch of ground cinnamon

Grate the carrots in a food processor, then transfer to a serving bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix together thoroughly.

Let the salad stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, then serve.

Variation: Use raw sweet potato in place of the carrots. Yes, sweet potato is delicious raw!

classic carrot raisin salad





Garlicky Fresh Tomato and Basil Pizza

garlicky margherita pizzaHere’s a fresh take on the classic tomato pizza called Margherita. This variation is packed with flavor from a generous amount of garlic. To heighten the garlic flavor and aroma further, you can sauté the garlic in infused oil as suggested in the recipe. This is a perfect pizza for late summer when tomatoes are at their peak of flavor.

Makes one 6-slice pizza; double the recipe if desired

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or infused garlic oil (I use Boyajian Garlic Oil)
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • One good-quality 12- to 14-ounce pizza crust
  • 3 to 4 medium flavorful tomatoes, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
    (try a combination of tomatoes, including yellow, red, and heirloom)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced pitted briny black olives (such as Kalamata)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste, optional
  • 1/4 to 1/2 loosely packed cup sliced fresh basil leaves, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425º F.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until golden. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is lightly browned.

Place the crust on a pizza stone or baking sheet. Spread evenly with the onion and garlic mixture. Arrange the tomatoes in concentric circles over the surface. Sprinkle the olives over them, followed by pepper and the optional red pepper flakes.

Bake for 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the crust is golden. Remove from the oven, then scatter the basil over the surface.Let stand for a minute or two, then cut into 6 wedges and serve.

garlicky vegan margherita pizza recipe


Holiday Baking: Manchego Cheese Wafers

Manchego Cheese Wafers, ready to go in the oven

In the food magazine world, when someone comes up with a new recipe, the term used is “recipe development.” I like the expression a lot because “developing” is distinct from “inventing” or “creating.” Most recipes are, in fact, based on previous recipes, dishes other cooks and chefs have made … and it is a rare occasion indeed when a recipe developer comes up with something that has never (apparently) been done before. And so, anybody and everybody can be a recipe developer. All it takes is a little imagination.

Case in point: Some impromptu recipe tweaking I did while doing my holiday baking. I wanted to make Cheddar cheese wafers, a Southern classic I absolutely adore, but I wanted to make them a little more, well, fancy. Gourmet. Unusual. Whatever. The original recipe is simple: butter, Cheddar, flour, cayenne pepper, and Rice Krispies. Roll into balls, flatten into rounds, top with a pecan, and bake until golden.

I had a huge chunk of Manchego cheese that needed to be used up, so I decided my cheese wafers were going to be Manchego this year. That shifted the flavor palette from Southern to Spanish, so I switched out the cayenne pepper for some Espelette pepper powder from the Basque country. I rolled the dough between two sheets of wax paper and cut it with fluted cutters to save time, skipped the pecans and instead topped the creations with pumpkin seeds. And there it was, a whole “new” recipe. I didn’t test it with non-dairy ingredients, but I bet it would work as a vegan hors d’oeuvre as well. Here it is for you to try:

Manchego Cheese Wafers
Makes about 50 wafers

1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp. Espelette pepper powder or Aleppo pepper powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups (8 oz.) grated Manchego cheese
1½ cups flour
1 cup Rice Krispies
Raw pumpkin seeds, for garinsh

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Beat together butter, pepper powder, and salt with electric mixer until smooth and butter begins to turn pale orange. Beat in cheese until creamy, then beat in flour. Stir in Rice Krispies.
2. Press dough into ball, then flatten into disk. Place disk between 2 sheets of wax or parchment paper, and roll to 1/3-inch thickness with rolling pin.
3. Cut dough into 1 to 1½-inch circles with round cutter. Place wafers on ungreased baking sheet, and top each with 1 pumpkin seed. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until edges and bottoms begin to turn golden. Cool on wire rack.


Gingery sweet potato and apple saute with toasted almonds [Vegan]

This recipe has the perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavors to create something really interesting and delicious — and healthy!

Become independent:

VegKitchen December 2013 Newsletter

Dear readers,

I sincerely apologize for the inconsistent delivery of the monthly VegKitchen newsletter to which you subscribed. In mid-November, VegKitchen experienced such an amazing surge of growth that we ran into unforeseen issues due to the massive traffic. The site has been displaying a slightly wonky temporary design, and all should be up and running and looking good by the New Year. This has also impacted my ability to get the newsletters out in a timely fashion.

After the new year, you’ll be able to choose whether to stick with the monthly newsletter, or to subscribe to the weekly version. Either way, thanks to all of you for being VegKitchen readers and subscribers. VK has been online in one iteration or another since 1996 (!) but the growth of interest in plant-based meals over the last couple of years has been phenomenal.

If you’re still looking for inspiration for the upcoming holiday season, here are a few round-ups for this time of year:

vegan shepherd's pie recipeVegan Christmas Recipes
10 Ways to Survive (and Thrive) as a Vegan During the Holiday Season
Easy, Festive Brunch Recipes and Menus
Vegan Appetizer Recipes

And if you just want to stay warm and out of all the hoopla, make one of our Warming Winter Soups or Contemporary Casseroles. I hope to be back with you shortly with a better looking site and newsletter, and in the meantime, please stay connected via VK’s Facebook page for daily recipes and tips. Wishing you a good close to 2013 and a happy and healthy 2014. Together, we’re saving the planet, one plant-based meal at a time!




Orange-Mango Smoothie

Mango and banana smoothie recipeGet a healthy dose of vitamin C with this delectable mango, banana, orange juice in a combination that tastes like an intensely delicious creamsicle.

Makes 2 to 3 smoothies

  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1 cup orange or carrot-orange juice
  • 1 cup vanilla nondairy milk (almond or other)
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, optional
  • Mint leaves for garnish, optional

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smoothly pureed. Or place in a container and process with an immersion blender. Serve at once in tall glasses.

Mango and banana smoothie


Savory Stuffed Winter Squash

kasha-stuffed-squash by leslie cerierWith organic chia seeds, organic red palm oil, and herbs, gluten-free kasha and vegetables is transformed into a colorful side dish that is fabulous stuffed into winter squash. Recipe contributed by Leslie Cerier. Photos by Tracey Eller.

Serves: 4 to 6

  • 3 medium or 6 small winter squashes (such as acorn or carnival)
  • 2 tablespoons milled chia seeds (see Note)
  • 2 1/3 cups water
  • 1 cup kasha (buckwheat groats)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or see Note
  • 2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
  • 1 cup leeks or onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 ½ teaspoons dried
  • 2 teaspoons fresh sage, coarsely chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds

Place the milled chia seeds in a small bowl with 1/3 cup water; set aside and boil 2 cups water in a tea kettle.

Heat and melt the red palm oil in a 9-inch heavy skillet. Add mushrooms, leeks, celery, red bell peppers, kasha, chia mixture, and sea salt, and saute mixing occasionally for 5 minutes, or until the ingredients are fragrant, and well mixed. Turn off the heat.

Add the boiling water, and bring the ingredients to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Add and stir in the thyme and sage. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if desired. Let cool briefly, and serve stuffed into baked winter squashes such as acorn or carnival, garnished with hemp seeds.

kasha-stuffed-squash by leslie cerier


Note: Leslie developed this recipe for Nutiva, and recommends Nutiva Organic Red Palm Oil in place of olive oil, as well as Nutiva Organic Milled Chia Seeds.