This dish is a perfect accompaniment to my Ropa Vieja, or it’s an easy meal served by itself! I used canned beans to make it a quick weeknight meal-It can be ready in 25 minutes or less! But if you have the time you can slow cook your beans for an extra layer of flavor.
Black beans are legumes. Also known as turtle beans because of their formidable, shell-like appearance, black beans are, in fact, the edible seeds of the plant. Black beans are rich in carbohydrates, and they are also an excellent source of fiber (both soluble and insoluble). Black beans also do not contain sugar. So depending on how they’re cooked, they can have a low glycemic index. Black beans are also protein powerhouses, with 7 grams of protein in a 1/2 cup serving!
If you want a little heat feel free to add a jalapeño, or your favorite hot sauce! I like to serve this with a long grain white rice. Enjoy!
I’ve always been fascinated with Cuba. Perhaps because it remains a romantically forbidden destination, or maybe because Hemingway wrote two of my favorite novels there. Or, maybe it’s the food. Enter the Ropa Vieja.
Considered Cuba’s national dish, its name translates to ‘old clothes,’ and the story goes that a destitute old man once shredded and cooked his clothes because he could not afford food for his family. He prayed over the bubbling concoction, and a miracle occurred, turning the mixture into a tasty, rich meat stew. Generally made with flank steak, this vegan version uses the ever-versatile Jackfruit. For our Ropa Vieja recipe, we’re also adding an array of other classic Cuban and Spanish ingredients such as olives and pimentos.
Ropa Vieja only tastes better the next day as the flavors have more time to meld, so this is a perfect dish to make in large batches for leftovers! I like to serve it over Cuban black beans and cilantro rice. If you can find them, fried plantains called Maduro’s make an excellent accompaniment as well!
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 250°.
Drain jackfruit and dry with a towel.
Mix bouillon cube with 1/2 cup of hot water.
Heat oil in a large heatproof pot over high.
Cook jackfruit, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, 5–7 minutes. Add bouillon mixture to pan and scrape and bits of jackfruit stuck to the bottom of a pan. Stir in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
In the same pan add remaining tablespoon of oil and cook onion, bell peppers. Add salt, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 12–14 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pan, until vegetables are golden brown, 3–5 minutes.
Stir in wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated.
Stir in paprika, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne until vegetables are coated; continue to cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add tomatoes and coarsely break up with a spoon (they’ll continue to break down as they cook). Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
Add jackfruit back into vegetable mixture with bay leaf.
Cover and transfer to oven. Braise until jackfruit and vegetables are very tender about 30 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes.
Discard bay leaves. Using a potato masher or 2 forks, tear and smash jackfruit into sauce until it’s shredded and incorporated into sauce.
I have a potato obsession. But my favorite potato is the mighty sweet potato. Unlike a regular potato, a nightshade family member, the sweet potato is a large edible root within the morning glory family. And sweet potatoes come in many colors too!
While potatoes with orange flesh are the richest in beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes with purple flesh are richer in anthocyanins. Beta-carotene and anthocyanins are naturally occurring plant “Phyto” chemicals that give vegetables their bright colors. Phytochemicals are biologically active compounds found in plants and are known to:
Aid the function of the immune system.
Protect cells and DNA from damage that may lead to cancer.
Slow the growth rate of some cancer cells.
Help regulate hormones.
Why use a purple potato? Because anthocyanins have the capacity to lower blood pressure, improve visual acuity, reduce cancer cell proliferation, inhibit tumor formation, prevent diabetes, and lower the risk of CVD, which modulates cognitive and motor function.
This pretty warm winter soup was inspired by another anthocyanin…the açaí bowl!. It’s super healthy comes together very quickly. You can easily make this a “no-oil” soup by steaming your vegetables instead of roasting them.
If you choose to use oil, be sure to keep the temperature well below the oil’s smoke point or the point at which the oil starts to burn (that’s about 410 degrees for extra virgin or unrefined olive oil). Because overheating oil breaks down the nutritional composition of the oil changes the flavor, and releases harmful free radicals.
I added a delicious beet puree to this soup, but you can add whatever you want. Good choices might be pieces of roasted cauliflower, pumpkins seeds, hemp seeds, or soy cream.
3 large purple sweet potatoes, peeled and medium diced
1 large head of organic cauliflower, chopped into medium florets
2 large leeks, white part only, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, mined
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
1 (32 oz) container organic vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°.
Add chopped potatoes and cauliflower to a mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Add spices to a small bowl and mix well.
Spread vegetables evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle the spice mix over vegetables. Place baking sheet in the oven, and roast vegetable for 30 minutes, turning vegetables at the half-way mark.
When vegetables are done, remove from oven and let cool.
Warm a dutch oven over medium heat. When the pan is heated, add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add the leeks and saute until leeks have softened and are slightly brown.
Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds to a minute.
Add cooled vegetables and vegetable stock to a dutch oven, and stir.
When the soup is warmed, use an immersion blender, or carefully ladle half of the soup mixture into a blender. (If using a high-speed blender, be careful to hold the lid, as the heat can build pressure and the lid can fly off). Continue until all the soup is blended to the consistency you prefer. **I blended the first batch until entirely smooth. For the second batch, I blended it to have some texture and then mixed the two.
Return to dutch oven and taste for seasoning.
Serve warm and top with fresh tarragon, roasted cauliflower, hemp seeds, pumpkins seeds (pepita’s), or beet puree.
**While blending the soup, I placed the first pureed batch into a large mixing bowl.
I love chili on a cold winter’s day! This chili was a favorite of ours until we went vegan. I felt so overwhelmed in the beginning that many recipes sat on the proverbial shelf. This recipe was one of them, until now!
I love soy curls! I had heard about them for several years but never bought any. Then one day, I found myself craving an old favorite, the carne asada taco. After perusing dozens of vegan recipes, I discovered one using soy curls. I bought them and well, the rest they say, is history. Since then, I’ve used them in making fajitas, Chili Verdes, and now, in this white bean chili.
My old recipe used chicken, of course, and white cheese. This new version uses the soy curls and my béchamel sauce. I always keep a container of the sauce in my freezer, so that’s what I used. If you want a nut-free version, then soy cream is a great option. I added a bit of chili powder at the end, too, just for a little kick!
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
Tortilla chips or strips, monterrey jack cheese, sliced avocado for serving (optional)
In a medium bowl, add soy curls and cover with 32 oz. of vegetable stock. Let sit until soy curls have rehydrated, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
Warm a dutch oven over medium heat. When heated, add oil. When the oil is shimmering, add onion and sauté until onions are translucent, about 7-8 minutes.
When soy curls have rehydrated, use a slotted spoon and remove soy curls from stock (reserving stock). Add soy curls to the pan and sauté until brown (about 7-8 minutes). If the curls begin to stick, add stock 2 tablespoons at a time.
Add garlic, and sauté until fragrant—about 30 seconds.
Add spices and green chilis to the pan. Dry sauté for approximately 1-2 minutes, or until spices are fragrant.
Add vegetable broth and deglaze the pan. (Stir the bottom of the pan and removed all fond)
Add white chili beans and corn. Stir well.
Cook chili until ingredients have warmed. About 15 minutes.
Add soy cream or béchamel sauce and stir until warmed through.
Check for seasoning and serve warm.
Top with vegan sour cream, avocados, and cilantro, diced onions, optional.
When we first became plant-based eaters, we came across a simple recipe for a chickpea salad from the fine folks at Forks Over Knives! This recipe turns out to be from my absolute favorite food blogger in the whole world, Minimalist Baker. It is hands down the best chickpea “tuna” salad recipe I’ve found. I’ve made no modifications to their recipe, but I did make a stack out of it!
Now, I have a set of food rings that I use to stack, but you can use any round container ( a 1/2 or 1-cup dry measuring cup would work great). A quick note, though, if you’re using something with a bottom, you have to assemble your stack backward. So, if you want the tomatoes on top, you have to put them in first.
For this stack, I small diced tomatoes and red onions (uniformity is key to a pretty stack) and small cubed avocado, tossed in lemon juice, and added salt. I also added cilantro to my tomatoes and topped the stack with radish microgreens. And as always, we double our batches of the salad! It’s so yummy! Enjoy!
Place the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork, leaving only a few beans whole. For this, I use my food chopper from Pampered Chef.
Add tahini, mustard, maple syrup, red onion, celery, pickle, capers, salt and pepper, and sunflower seeds (if using) to the mixing bowl. Mix to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
*Stacks: (see note)
In a small bowl, add tomatoes, red onion, 1/2 lemon/lime juice, 1/2 the salt, and cilantro. Mix well.
In another bowl, add avocados, the other 1/2 of the lemon/lime juice, and 1/2 the salt. Mix well.
If using a food ring, fill ring 1/3 full with avocado, repeat the next two layers using chickpeas, and tomatoes. Press firmly and remove the ring. Top with microgreens and cilantro.
If using a round mold with a bottom–trace and cut a piece of parchment or waxed paper to fit inside the mold. Add tomatoes, chickpea salad, and finish with avocados. Press firmly, but not too hard. Carefully use a knife to score the edges of the stack and flip mold. Remove parchment paper. Reassemble any pieces that have fallen away. There may be a few, no worries! Top with microgreens and cilantro.
*This is for one stack.
You can freeze what you don’t use, otherwise, l keep it covered in refrigerator for 4-5 days.
I love tacos. I could eat them every day, and in every way you could imagine—cauliflower tacos, jackfruit tacos, portobello tacos, black bean tacos, refried bean tacos…you feelin’ me? But my favorite may be these Raw Walnut Tacos. They are super easy to make and super healthy. They are also great because you probably already have everything you need to make them. If you don’t have walnuts or want to be nut-free, don’t worry. You can also use sunflower seeds. I like to use this taco meat for my Hot Tamale Pie as well!
The cashew queso is also a favorite. It’s a concentrate, so you can take 1/4 cup of the cheese sauce, add 1 cup of water, and voila! Heat it in 30-second increments, and this recipe will make a total of 4 cups of cheese sauce!
I love cold weather. I love snow. And I love hot cocoa. Since it’s cold and it snowed, the only thing missing was this recipe! There isn’t much to say other than you probably have all the ingredients on hand to make it! I like this brand of cocoa powder and this brand of oat milk.
You can double or triple the batch and easily warm up for more later! ENJOY!!! You can also add the whipped cream to a piping bag, swirl it over the cocoa and top with cinnamon, or cocoa powder! Also this whipped cream is light and fluffy and stays creamy for days in the fridge or months in the freezer as a vegan cool whip. Just take it out of the freezer and let it warm up for about 10 minutes before using.
I love naan! It’s the first thing I think about when I know I’m getting indian food. It’s the Indian equivalent to Mexican chips. Naan is a leavened, oven-baked flatbread found in the cuisines mainly of Western Asia, South Asia, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Caribbean. And if you have a pizza oven you’ll love this recipe!
When you may look at the directions, you may think that it’s not very easy, but trust me, as a girl who is nothing close to being a baker, even I can do it. There are several essential things to note, however. The first is to pay attention to the kind of yeast you’re using. If using active dry yeast and instant (or rapid-rise) yeast, you can use them interchangeably in recipes, but active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before using, while you can mix instant yeast right into the dough. Also, instant yeast doesn’t have to be proofed first.
“Proofed” means sitting in a warm, happy place, allowing the dough to rise. Instant yeast may also be marketed and sold as rapid- or quick-rise yeast. Enzymes and other additives are included to make the dough rise faster. With this yeast, you can skip the dough’s first rise and shape the loaves right after kneading. “Active” describes any dry yeast that needs to be activated before use, hence the warm water. You can use either. I used the active dry because it’s what I have on hand.
The other thing to note is the pan you use. You can use a regular cast iron pan, or if you’re like me, and make your tortillas, you will want to use a comal. The comal is a Mexican style grill or griddle, and unlike a regular cast iron pan, it is thin. It heats up efficiently and retains the heat, making it a favorable tool for recipes that require high, stable heat. Hence, the perfect pan for naan!
1/2 cup warm water or vegan milk (not hot or it will kill the yeast)
1 1/2 teaspoons dry active yeast
1 teaspoon organic vegan cane sugar
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup plain dairy-free yogurt or coconut cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
Measure warm water or milk, add yeast and sugar. Stir and set aside until foamy (about 10 minutes.)
Meanwhile, add flour, salt, and baking powder to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Once the yeast mixture is foaming, add the vegan yogurt or cream and oil, and stir to combine. Add to dry ingredients. I used a wooden spoon to stir – the dough will be sticky.
Turn onto a floured surface (I used my countertop) and knead just enough flour to the dough to form into a loose ball (about 2-3 minutes). Add a bit more flour if too sticky. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook.
Place back in mixing bowl and rub with a bit of oil, turn to coat.
Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place for at least 2 hours (I put mine in the oven since my oven has a proof feature which sets the range to 100°.) You can also heat your oven to its lowest setting, turn off the heat, and put the bowl in the cooling oven.
Remove dough from bowl and turn onto a floured surface. Knead for 30 seconds (adding additional flour if sticky). Then divide into eight even pieces using a knife or pastry cutter.
Lightly knead each ball until it forms a loose ball and place it on parchment paper. Repeat until each piece of dough is formed into a ball. Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Prep cilantro and/or other fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme.
When the dough has rested, begin heating a cast-iron pan (I used a comal) over medium heat.
Roll out into an oval or circle with a rolling pin. Carefully flip dough and pat with a bit of water to prevent sticking to the pan. Press the garlic and herbs/cilantro into the dough until it sticks. Then place the wet-side down on the hot pan.
Cook until the edges of the dough look dry and it’s beginning to bubble. Then flip the dough with a spatula and cook until the underside is brown.
Repeat until all naan is cooked.
Brush each flatbread with vegan butter; top with sesame seeds, minced garlic, or fresh herbs.
A few years ago, I taught a vegan Indian food class, and it sold out within a few days. Everyone loved the rich, spicy flavors of India, and this dish will not disappoint! You can make it quickly, and it perfect for these cold winter days!
Aloo Gobi is a simple dish made from cauliflower and potatoes originating in the North Indian Punjab region. (“Aloo” is Urdu for potato, while “gobi” means cauliflower). There are generally two kinds of Aloo Gobi, one made with onions and tomatoes, and one without. I love both, but this one is my favorite.
I loved using Asafetida in this dish because it makes Indian food taste, well, Indian! You can find it in most Indian or international grocery stores for around $4.00. When used properly, a pinch of asafetida supercharges every other spice in the pan, like salt but in a funkier way (and without any sodium).
This is a quick and easy weeknight meal that can easily be re-heated for lunch the next day! Although it is a stand alone dish, I love it served over curried lentils! I like to serve this dish with my easy garlic Naan, cilantro, and vegan yogurt!
Easy and delicious, this Aloo Gobi makes a perfect weeknight meal!
2 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1” cubes
1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 medium onion, very finely chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon ginger, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¾ teaspoon garam masala
¾ teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves
Pinch of asafetida (optional, but recommended)
Pinch of cayenne (adjust according to preference)
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning finished dish
1–2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro leaves, chopped
Unsweetened vegan yogurt
Heat 2 tablespoons (or a solid glug) of oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds and fry until golden brown and beginning to pop. Reduce to medium heat and stir in onion. Cook until lightly browned.
Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the garam masala, coriander, chili powder, fenugreek leaves, turmeric, and cayenne, and asafetida, and stir to combine.
Add potatoes and cauliflower to pan, and toss to coat.
Spread mixture in a large stoneware or 3” ceramic baking dish.
Bake at 400° F (204 C) for 20 mins, then cover with parchment and bake for another 15 mins or until tender. Taste and adjust salt and spices accordingly. Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime juice, and unsweetened vegan yogurt.
Serve over lentils or rice.
*Be sure to dice your vegetables evenly, so they cook evenly.
President’s Day weekend, I’m doing a 12.3-mile hike of Taum Sauk Peak in the St. Francois Mountains. It’s a small section of the larger 400 mile Ozark Trail. It’s also the highest peak in the state, coming in at just under 1,800 feet. It’s not the Rockies, but hey, a girl has to start somewhere! Anyway, my go-to pre-hike breakfast is always a hearty bowl of oatmeal. It’s filling and gives me a steady supply of energy, especially on the long hikes. As with most recipes, I always imagine how I can make them better. Hence, the Cherry Berry Baked Oatmeal, hearty enough to eat with a fork, it can be modified in an infinite number of ways. It’s great because I can wrap it in foil and eat it in the car. I like to top it with flaked coconut, a little drizzle of warmed maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon!
Many baked oatmeal recipes use eggs, which are used for two things- adding protein and binding all of the ingredients together. Some recipes also use applesauce or mashed banana, which are great for reducing the calories. Unfortunately, they also have reduced binding capacity. For this recipe, I opted to use the often overlooked, great at hiding in the background chia seed! Chia not only adds protein with minimal calories, but they are also an excellent binder. They’re loaded with antioxidants and omega-three fatty-acids! I added baking powder to lift this otherwise dense and sometimes hard to swallow dish! Trust me, my ability to speak has been rendered useless by oatmeal on more than one occasion! Insert wink emoji.
You can make this a year-round treat by adding other seasonal stone fruits, like apricots and plums! You can make it on Sunday and enjoy it for the rest of the week! It’s also a nice change-up for me from my typical fruit and vegetable smoothie. The truth is, subconsciously it’s my desire to make my house smell like cinnamon and baked fruit. Enjoy!
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Mix the water and chia seeds in a liquid (glass) measuring cup and set aside.
Place the oats, nuts, and 1 ½ cups of the cherry/berries in a medium mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring 2/3 cup brown sugar, banana, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the coconut oil has melted and ingredients are well combined. Remove from heat. Add chia mixture and milk, stir until incorporated.
Add wet ingredients to dry oat mixture and stir until combined. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch round or square baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes, until oats are slightly golden.
When oats are done, remove from oven and let cool, about 20 minutes. The oatmeal should be a little soft when you remove it and will firm up as it cools.
Meanwhile, while oats are cooling, add the remaining 1 ½ cups cherry/berries and 1/3 cup brown sugar to a medium saucepan. Over medium-low heat, simmer berries and brown sugar with a pinch of sea salt until berries break down and become syrupy, about 7-10 minutes.
Serve hot berries over cooled oats and add additional toppings such as whipped cream, coconut flakes and pecans, if desired. Enjoy!
This oatmeal keeps well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
This mixture can be stripped down into a no-bake, and made hike-thru friendly by subbing protein powder for milk and using dried fruit. Also, skip the coconut oil and baking powder.
My friend Carla asked me for this recipe the other day. I had made this soup for a cooking class once, and she loved it! However, the recipe has taken a few twists and turns since the class. Each time I make it, I think to myself, “It’s close, but no cigar.” I finally realized what was missing when I added a small jalapeño to the mix of roasted veggies!
The soup is delicious, either hot or cold, and can be served as a winter warmer or cold as an early spring delight! Either way, you can’t go wrong. The other best part? It takes less than 30 minutes to make! You can leave the jalapeño if you like a little heat or remove it if you don’t. Here you go Carla!
1 cupcashew cream (can also use plant-based milk, just won’t be as creamy)
4 cups vegetable broth (DIY or store-bought)
1–2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional // for a slightly cheesy flavor)
1/2 medium lemon (optional // juiced // for brightness)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, add trimmed asparagus, quartered onion, garlic cloves, tarragon, and jalapeño. Toss with avocado oil.
Add all ingredients to the baking sheet. *See Note
Bake for 10 minutes, remove from oven, turn vegetables. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
When vegetables are done, reserve 8 asparagus tips. Then and add remaining ingredients to a blender with the peas and half of the vegetable stock. Be sure to hold the blender lid when blending as the heat and pressure can build, and the top will fly off. (It’s happened). When mixed well, add purée to a dutch oven over medium heat. Then add remaining stock, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and cashew cream. Simmer until warmed through. Finish soup with lemon juice. Taste for seasonings.
Serve with croutons and asparagus tips.
*I like to stack my tarragon and garlic pieces on top of the asparagus to keep them from having direct contact with pan. It helps to prevent them from burning.
This bowl is easy and delicious! And as with most bowls, You can make it in a variety of ways. I loved the tofu in this one and made a little extra to nosh on later! This recipe is an adaptation of a New York Times recipe, and the only thing I swapped was the honey for the agave nectar. I know some vegans who still eat honey, but I prefer to leave my bee friends alone! I also cut the oil by 2/3, mixed the sriracha and honey to make a glaze, and then tossed in the tofu.
This flavor bomb that can be ready in under 20 minutes! Great for a quick and hearty meal! Enjoy!
1(14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2 tablespoons Agave nectar, or maple syrup, for serving
In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa with 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and cook over medium-low until the water is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff it with a fork.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, miso, mirin, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil and 1/2 teaspoon sriracha. Stir in the ginger.
Add the kale, massage it with the dressing and set aside to marinate. Spoon the cooked quinoa onto the kale and toss to coat.
In a nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil over medium. When the oil shimmers, cook the tofu, turning occasionally, until crisp on all sides, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb any excess oil.
In a medium-size bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of agave nectar and 1 tablespoon of sriracha together until combine. Add tofu and coat well.
My dog Milo loves his treats! Although he eats pretty much anything and everything, so I guess that’s not saying much! Well, while he may not care what he eats, I do. Have you ever looked at the ingredients on a bag of treats? Yikes! I bought a bag of peanut butter banana treats, thinking they were vegan, and I got home and realized there were things like maltodextrin, gelatin, caramel coloring, and even eggs. Eggs! I never even thought about eggs in a dog treat.
The good thing is there are only three ingredients. They’re easy to make and will save you a lot of dough (all puns intended)! Seriously a bag of dog treats was $12.99. I made these with ingredients I already had at home! You can make them with either bananas or pumpkin puree. I made both. You could even use apple sauce but would have to adjust your flour a bit. They will keep for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
This year I have taken up trail-running and long-distance hiking. I’ve been a distance runner for nearly 20 years, but my passion for the pavement has been waining. Recently, however, I ran a very challenging half-marathon through the woods, and I’m hooked! I love being amongst the trees and am enjoying the challenge of climbing rough terrain and being completely present while I run or hike. But I am burning through the calories and often find myself losing steam around miles six or seven. Hence, the trail mix bar! It’s a significant energy boost, and these bad boys are DELICIOUS!
The nice thing about these bars is that you can make them any way you want to. I created MY perfect version, and so far, everyone else loves them too! But feel free to get creative and make them with any nut butter, seed, or grain you choose! My husband loves raisins, but I do not, so I made him a batch of his own. One thing I would recommend keeping in the recipe is the coconut nectar. I chose coconut nectar because it has a low glycemic index and is minimally processed. They obtain the nectar directly from the tree, and since it’s not boiled, it doesn’t convert into fructose. It’s also loaded with iron and zinc and contains 17 different amino acids and antioxidants!
I keep them refrigerated, but you don’t need to. Just store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container, and they should be good for up to a week!
Line the bottom of a 9×12″ baking dish with parchment paper. Be sure to have some extra hanging over the sides, making it easier to remove from the pan.
In a food processor, add the almonds and cashews. Pulse until lightly chopped, and there are only a few if any large pieces are remaining. This step is essential. If you skip it your bars will not stick together.
Pour mixture into a large bowl and stir in sunflower seeds, oats, flax, puffed cereal, and raisins if using. Stir until combined. Set mixture aside.
In a medium sauce pan, add peanut butter, coconut oil, and coconut nectar. Melt and stir to combine. Allow mixture to cool for 2-3 minutes and then add chocolate chips.
Add peanut butter mix to dry nut/oat mix and stir well to combine.
Spoon mixture onto prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth. Be sure to press mixture down firmly into the pan. You want it to be very compact.
Place bars into the refrigerator to chill for at least 2-3 hours, but preferably overnight.
When ready, cut bars into rectangles. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week at room temperature or two weeks in the refrigerator.
**Can also be frozen. Layer cut bars in between layers of parchment paper and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for up to 12 weeks. Thaw at room temperature.
Years ago, before a Cardinal’s baseball game, I went to a cool restaurant here in St. Louis called “Pieces.” They have hundreds of board games and tons of great vegan food options. After perusing through their superb vegan menu, I settled on their Midwest Poke Bowl. The taste was so delicious and complex, but not complicated! I was blown away by how well the simple combination of flavors came together. Anyway, a few days ago, the Post Dispatch had a Poke bowl on the cover of their “Let’s Eat” section, and it brought back the memory of the delicious bowl I had eaten at Pieces. It seemed like the perfect time to make my own.
If you don’t know, Poke, pronounced “POH-keh,” is a two-syllable word that means “cut into chunks” in Hawaiian. The compressed watermelon replaces the traditional raw chunks of ahi tuna or octopus and is marinated and compressed in a delicious ginger sesame soy sauce. I used my vacuum sealer to compress the marinade into the watermelon. Why compress it? Because flavor, flavor, flavor is the key to this recipe! Compressing any porous food concentrates its flavor and adds a depth and dimension you wouldn’t get otherwise. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer or sous vide machine, you can use this method for compressing.
While some recipes use regular rice, I decided to use seasoned sushi rice with wakame or seaweed. I also topped the edamame with aTogarashi spice mix comprised of seaweed, orange zest, ginger, sesame seeds, and chili powder. The recipe is finished with sriracha aioli and black sesame seeds. It’s soooo yummy and healthy! One last thing! Be sure to make your watermelon and aioli ahead of time, as they needs time to sit and get happy!
1 tbsp wakame, or kombu (this is optional, but definitely builds the flavor profile)
1/3 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbsp vegan sugar
1 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1–2 Tbsp sriracha (depending on heat preference)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
salt to taste
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/8” slices
1 red onion, minced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced lengthwise, (I used a mandolin set a 1/8″)
1 carrot, julienned (or, you can buy carrots pre-shredded)
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
10 oz bag edamame, cooked according to package directions
2 Tbsp Togarashi spice mix for edamame, (or, 2 tsp red chili flakes)
French fried onions (optional)
Black sesame seeds
Lime, sliced into 6 wedges
d all ingredients except the oils to a blender and blend on high speed until mixed well. Turn blender down to low speed and slowly add the oils until combined.
Add watermelon to a vacuum bag and compress using a vacuum sealer, sous vide machine or the ziplock method. Compress watermelon and seal the bag. Refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 4-6 hours.
Rinse rice very well under cold water, until water runs clear, about 2 minutes. This step is essential. Shake until almost dry.
Cook rice according to package directions. I used my Instant Pot to cook the rice, and it works well.
Add wakame to rice and water before cooking. Again, this is optional but highly recommended.
While rice is cooking, add rice vinegar, sugar, and sea salt to a small saucepan and cook on medium-high heat until the mix reaches a soft boil and sugar and salt have fully dissolved. (You can also microwave).
When rice is done cooking, spread evenly onto a baking sheet and let cool—drizzle rice with sushi vinegar.
Combine all ingredients in a measuring cup and refrigerate until ready to use.
When ready to assemble, remove watermelon from the bag and reserve liquid.
Add rice to a bowl and divide watermelon accordingly.
Add spice mix to cooked edamame.
Divide avocado, onion, edamame, cabbage, carrots, and cucumber between bowls and drizzle with reserved liquid and aioli.
Top with black sesame seeds, french fried onions, lime wedge, and scallions.
Yesterday was my mother-in-law‘s birthday. She was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, a city near and dear to my heart. We were supposed to go down for Mardi Gras in NOLA next month. But, because of Covid, we had to cancel our plans. So alas, if we can’t go to New Orleans, I thought it only appropriate to bring New Orleans to us. We started the evening with these delicious vegan crab cakes drizzled in a spicy Creole Ravigote! Our main was a Cornmeal Encrusted Tofu Po’ Boy with a Creamy Coleslaw! The key to this recipe is the hearts of palm! However, there is a lot of concern about the sustainability of hearts of palm, and for a good reason.
The problem with hearts of palm.
Harvesting the “heart of palm” kills most palms. So wild harvesting can very damaging if done on a widespread basis. The hearts of palm that I buy is the “Native Forest” brand. Here is a quote from their website—”Here we rely upon the Euterpe precatoria, or huasaí palm tree, which grows profusely throughout this vast Amazonian rainforest.
Long term leases secure approximately 240,000 acres of pristine native forest for the wild hearts of palm ecological project, thereby protecting the land from any rain forest-destructive development. In addition to preserving the region’s ecology, this project brings needed employment to those who live deep in the Amazon basin, providing them the opportunity to work closer to their families and their ancestral homes.”
But not all brands are as conscientious as Native Forest, and it’s best to check. The Environmental Working Group’s page is an excellent resource for checking everything from sustainability, to child labor, as well as products that contain pesticides, GMO’s etc,
So back to the recipe! The hearts of palm are a perfect replacement for crab meat. These little gems are crispy on the outside and flaky and moist on the inside. My mother in law (who is not vegan) was completely blown away! You can pan fry, air fry, or oven fry them, whatever your preference. Just be sure to heat your oven to the lowest setting and add them to the oven as you make them to keep them warm.
Gnocchi is an Italian pasta made from potatoes. I love gnocchi, it’s so yummy, and there are some delicious freshly pre-made packages out there! Be sure to check, though, because some varieties do contain eggs. There are so many ways you can make it, too. In the spring, I love making it with fresh basil pesto and toasted pine nuts!
This savory mushroom and spinach version is simmered in a rich and creamy Cashew Béchamel! It is a perfect weeknight meal taking only 20 minutes and a handful of ingredients! Yup! Folks will think you spent all afternoon on it! I won’t tell if you won’t! 😉 I will be working on a simple, from-scratch sweet potato gnocchi in the next week, so stay tuned!
1 teaspoon each dried parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 cup raw unsalted cashews
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
Add cashews to a sauce pan and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
While cashews are boiling, clean mushrooms and cut into 1/2 slices.
Peel and slice onion in half widthwise, and then Julienne.
Peel garlic clove, crush with the back of a knife and mince.
Warm skillet over medium heat. When warm, add oil. When the oil has warmed to a shimmer, add onion and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms. Sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add sage, parsley, thyme, and rosemary. Sauté until mushrooms have softened and onions are translucent. Add spinach and cook until spinach has wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, add gnocchi to boiling water and cook until gnocchi begins to float, about 3-5 minutes.
While the gnocchi is cooking, add cooked cashews to a blender with 1 1/4 cup water. Add garlic powder and salt. Blend until smooth.
When gnocchi is done, drain water and add to onion/mushroom mixture, add cashew béchamel sauce. Simmer over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken. Taste for seasoning.
We are so fortunate to have the best Indian grocery store not too far from our house. There are aisles upon aisles of spices, rice, and about a hundred kinds of dal! Dal is often translated as “lentils” but refers to a split version of various lentils, peas, chickpeas (chana), kidney beans, and so on. If a pulse, or bean, is split in half, it is called a dal. So the chana dal that I used for this recipe is a split chickpea!
To me, the best part of this recipe was the addition of whole spices. Imagine how good your kitchen will smell while sautéing onions, cloves, a whole cinnamon stick, and cardamom. Delicious! You can use any green on hand, I just happened to have some spinach that needed to be used, but kale is a great option, too.
This is an easy recipe for the Instant pot too. Use the sauté feature to cook the onions and spices. Then pick-up the recipe at step three and cook on high for 15 minutes. I cubed and browned my sweet potatoes before adding them to the lentils. If you don’t roast them or brown them first, you run the risk of them becoming mushy.
Curried dal is deliciously satisfying and super easy to make! You will also have plenty of leftovers! Serve with warmed naan or toasted bread.
3green cardamom pods
3tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
4cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon peeled and grated ginger
1Serrano chile, stemmed and finely sliced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/3 cup yellow curry paste
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
10 oz fresh baby spinach
½teaspoon mustard seeds
2tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
2teaspoons kosher salt
1 full 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
Garnish with yogurt, and cilantro, and smoked paprika
Rinse the lentils in a strainer in cold water until the water runs clear, then place in a medium bowl, cover with water, and set aside. Using the side of a knife, carefully crack open the cardamom pods.
Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil into a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Cook for about a minute, then add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are browning and soft. Add garlic, ginger, and chile and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
Drain lentils and add to the pot; add turmeric, curry paste, and 4 1/4 cups of hot water. Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. Once they are boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft and creamy.
While lentils are cooking, warm a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, and when shimmering, add sweet potatoes. Brown potatoes on all sides and cook until they are almost fork tender. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, add the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat and, when shimmering, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the reserved onion mixture and fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the spinach, shredded coconut, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt—Cook for 1 minute. Add the lime juice and stir.
When the lentils are soft and creamy, add the coconut milk and remaining salt. Add spinach mixture and sweet potatoes—taste for seasoning. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until potatoes have warmed through. I added just a bit more curry paste to mine, but I like heat! Serve in a bowl, and spoon over rice. Top with yogurt, cilantro, and smoked paprika.
I’ve been on a French food kick lately. To me, the rich, flavorful, savory cuisine exists in a completely separate dimension in the food world. Every night for a week, I made a different dish, a Mushroom Bourguignon, a Ratatouille, and a Leak and White Bean Cassoulet. My final dish was this delicious Potato Galette.
Originating in Norman times – when it was known as a gale – the term galette simply refers to a ‘flat cake’ filled with either sweet or savory thinly sliced ingredients. However, depending on what part of France you’re in, it can mean something totally different. In Brittany, a galette saucisse is basically a crepe. The galette de rois, is a cake made for Epiphany, or the end of the Christmas season, and is made of two circles of puff pastry sandwiching a frangipane (almond-flavoured sweet pastry cream ) filling. Each comes with a crown and always has a trinket, called a fève, or bean, baked into it. This galette Bretton is essentially a pie made without a pan and uses fines herbs (pronounced feen), a mainstay of French cuisine, a blend of tarragon, chives, chervil, and parsley.
This savory galette is a perfect meal for a cold winter’s day!
2 1/2 cups Organic All-Purpose Flour (To make gluten-free use Bob’s Gluten All-Purpose Free Flour add ¼ tsp xanthan gum for every cup of flour used)
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon Sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks or 3/4 cup) vegan butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 to 8 tablespoons of ice cold water*
2 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
10 ounces Russet potatoes, scrubbed and cubed in 1/2 inch pieces (about 2 medium potatoes)
2 medium leeks (white and light green parts, cut into half-moons and rinsed well)
8 ounces cremini mushrooms (wiped clean and quartered)
1 cup vegetable broth (roughly)
4 Tablespoons Fines Herbs
Pepper, as desired
2 cups cashew cream
4 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Chickpea (Garbanzo Bean) Flour
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, salt, and sugar together. Cut in the butter using a fork, kitchen sheers, or pastry blender until it is grainy and reaches the consistency of sand. Add the ice cold water, starting with 5 Tbsp, and mix it with your hands until uniform. The dough should be moist but not soggy. Add remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time if still crumbly. Form the dough into ball and divide in half. Cover the bowl, and place it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
To make the galette: Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium pan (I used a 10-inch cast-iron skillet) over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides-about 5-7 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
In a the same pan, add in about 1/2 c of vegetable broth. Once heated, add the sliced onions, mushrooms and thyme and cook down, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes. You will need to add more vegetable broth (1-2 tablespoons at a time) as time passes to prevent burning, but they KEY to perfect caramelization without oil is to only add more broth and once all of the previously added liquid has completely cooked off. Once onions are done, add potatoes and garbanzo bean flour, and cook for one minute. Making sure to mix well. Add in cashew cream and mix until combined.
Once the dough has chilled, roll each dough out into a rough circle, about 1/3” thick. Transfer it to the lined baking sheet.
Divide mushroom/potato mixture over each pastry, leaving about 1” around the edges of the pastry. Sprinkle with more fines herbs and pepper as desired. Fold in the galette crust. Pleat about every 3 inches. I used 2 tablespoons of *aquafaba mixed with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to brush the crust.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is crispy and golden brown. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
*Be sure the water is ice cold so that the butter does not melt while mixing.
*Aquafaba is the viscous water that comes from a can of legumes such as chickpeas.
The holidays are a great way to showcase your artistic side! Making a great vegan charcuterie board such as this just a few years ago would have been much more complicated than it is now! There are so many great choices out there for vegan meats, cheeses, sauces, and even plant-based meats!
The key is knowing how to put it all together! To me, variety is the spice of life! So I like to find a variety of hard cheeses, soft cheeses, dips, and crackers. Daiya makes a great Farmhouse style block cheese, and of course, Miyoko Schinner, the original Queen of the Vegan Cheese, makes some pretty amazing cheeses that will blow your vegan minds! I like to slice the cheeses in different ways. Cubed, quartered, triangled, wavy, or ribboned, there is no wrong way to slice! In face the more the merrier!
Other accouterments might include olives (if you can find olive branches, they make a great garnish), pimentos, any variety of nuts, seasonal fruits, fresh figs, and don’t forget your garnishes! Sometimes, I will slice and use a toasted baguette! In the photo above, I made a sun-dried tomato cheesecake with rosemary. As a garnish, I used fresh sprigs of rosemary with some fresh cranberries for a festive look!
The other key to a good board is to have things spread out evenly. If you have a spread on one side, make sure you have one on the other side too! Balance is key! The best part is that it will allow you to showcase your artistic side and delight your guests! Don’t forget to add a few cheese knives and picks! I like the stainless steel picks because they can be reused! Whatever your style, have fun and enjoy!
Christmas is my favorite time of year! And this is one of my favorite appetizer recipes. I used to make a non-vegan version with eggs and dairy, so I was worried that I might lose some consistency; however, this cheesecake did not disappoint! It is so good and will be gone in a flash!
If you make your own cream cheese, you will definitely save a buck or two. But if you don’t, I would encourage you to spend the money on a good vegan cream cheese. I used Kite Hill Chives cream cheese and was delighted! Serve with crudités and crackers and few copies of the recipe!
1/2 cup julienne-cut, sun-dried tomatoes with herbs packed in oil, drained
1/3 cup cup toasted pine nuts
Assorted crackers and crudité
Fresh rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes small diced, micro-greens, fresh rosemary
For the crust: Pre-heat oven to 350°. Pulse together the walnuts, flour, and salt to a fine meal in a food processor. Pulse in the butter until it forms a crumbly dough. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 7-inch springform pan. Place on a baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and let cool.
Beat cream cheese on medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Blend in milk and next five ingredients, mixing on low speed. Fold in Parmesan cheese and rosemary; spoon over crust and spread to pan edges. Bake 45-50 minutes or until center is just set when jiggled. Remove from oven and gently run a paring knife between the cheesecake and pan. Cool 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours.
Place cheesecake on a serving plate. Toss together sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts in a small bowl. Spoon mixture over cheesecake and garnish with micro-greens and fresh rosemary. Serve with crackers and crudité.
This soup is not mine. I wish it were because it might be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. I had always loved French Onion soup. So it was no surprise when my friend took me to a French restaurant in Soho called Balthazar that I ordered their Onion Soup Gratinée. These were my pre-vegan days, of course, and for weeks afterward, I only dreamt of this soup. It was so unbelievably satisfying that I finally reached out to my friend Kate and asked her to get me the Balthazar cookbook. The day I got the book in the mail, I went to the store, bought a 3-pound bag of onions, and went to work.
Now that I’m vegan, there were only a few small modifications to make. I am thrilled to say the flavor has not been altered at all. The trick is to make sure that the onions are deeply caramelized. Cooking the onions may take longer than expected, about 40 minutes. Be sure to keep the heat at medium and stir frequently. You do not want the onions to burn. The other key to this soup is the cheese. I used Miyoko’s Mozzarella cheese and grated it over the toasted sourdough bread.
A quote from the Balthazar’s cookbook…”Borrow a custom from Bordeaux and spill a little red wine into the bottom of your nearly empty soup bowl. The tradition, down known as chabrot, dictates a quick swirl of wine into the tail-end of the hot broth and then a hearty gulp right from the bowl.”
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
4 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved through the stem end, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon unsalted vegan butter
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
4 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 quarts vegetable stock
1/2 cup port
6 slices of sourdough bread, about 1 inch thick, toasted
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and, stirring frequently to prevent burning, sauté until they reach a golden color, approximately 30 minutes.
Add the butter, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the white wine, bring to a boil, and reduce the wine by half, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock and simmer for 45 minutes. Preheat the broiler. Remove the thyme springs and bay leaf, and swirl the port into the finished soup.
Ladle the soup into the 6 ovenproof bowls.
Fit the toasted bread into the bowls on top of the liquid, and sprinkle 1/3 cup of Mozzarella onto each slice. Place under the broiler for 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts to a crispy golden brown. Allow the soup to cool slightly, about 3 minutes, before serving.
Happy Hanukkah to all of my wonderful Jewish friends! I am a potato lover through and through…soooo making my Potato Latkes seemed like the most obvious choice for today! Some recipes use eggs. This one is a super simple recipe with only six ingredients! 🌱 🌱
These potato pancakes (called latkes) are meant to symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah, when the oil of the menorah in the ransacked Second Temple of Jerusalem was able to stay aflame for eight days even though there was only enough oil for one day. The symbolism comes in the form of the oil in which latkes are fried.
Just a quick tip…after shredding your potatoes, immerse them in cold water to keep them from discoloring. If you’re using a hand grater, you can shred them directly into the bowl of water. Soaking the shreds helps to keep them from turning brown; it also has the added benefit of making crispier latkes. Tart and fruity applesauce—unsweetened is best—cuts through the grease and lightens them right up, leaving you feeling perfectly satisfied, but not stuffed!
No eggs needed! The starchy potatoes when combined with the flour make the eggs unnecessary!
2 large potatoes peeled, grated and squeezed dry (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon fine sea salt), plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup canola oil, divided, for frying
1. Using a food processor with a coarse grating disc, grate the potatoes and onion. Transfer the mixture to a clean dishtowel and squeeze and wring out as much of the liquid as possible.
1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Scoop 1/2 cup potato mixture into skillet and use a spatula to flatten and shape the drops into discs. Repeat. Fry patties 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Cook remaining latkes in batches of 2, adding 1tablespoon of oil to skillet each time.
2. To drain, transfer latkes to wire rack on top of baking sheet lined with newspaper. Sprinkle with salt while still warm. You can also place latkes on pan in oven to keep warm. Serve with vegan sour cream or applesauce!
When I was in college, like most other kids my age, I lived on ramen noodles. And I’m talking about the $.25 per package ramen noodles. They were easy, cheap, and filled me up! It wasn’t until I lived with my vegetarian roommate Judy that I realized I could add things to my ramen and make it even better. I think I started by just adding scallions. Pretty soon, I added sautéed mushrooms and garlic. Eventually, my recipe became more and more complex. When I became a vegan, the beef became tofu, and the recipe had evolved again
The best part of Ramen is that you can make it in an infinite number of ways. I like mine spicy, but if you don’t, you can leave out the gochujang, and it will be just fine! Gochujang is a Korean chili paste that may make dishes spicier (depending on the capsaicin in the base chili) and make dishes sweeter and smokier. Or if you like spicy but don’t want to buy something new you can use any hot sauce. You can add your favorite ingredients or whatever you happen to have on hand. There is no wrong way to make it. The key is a rich and flavorful broth. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!