Posts tagged ‘vegan family’

July 10, 2013

A Vegan Mac and Cheese for the Healthy Family

Okay, so I am so excited to introduce one more new writer. I had been following Ophelia’s blog for some time now and have made almost every recipe she has posted. Seriously. Her chocolate-avocado pudding is one of my favorites. And now she is writing for us! Because I’ve always wanted to make sure that the Family That Reads Together is also Eating together. But let her introduce herself:

I am French and vegan (no, it’s true!). The French part, well, I obviously didn’t choose, but the vegan part was a decision I made about 10 seconds after watching a slaughter-house/factory farm video (thank you liberal arts schools!).

Cue 2009, the birth year of my daughter. I realized the moment my daughter was born that not only was I entirely clueless in my new role as a mom, but that my vegan cooking skills were going to be put to the test by the brand new palate of a child! Overwhelmed by the magnitude of this new responsibility, I had to dig deeply for a creativity I didn’t know I had.

And so here is some of that creativity! Welcome Ophelia! Thanks for joining us! (You can find her own blog at

A Vegan Mac and Cheese for the Family that Eats Healthy Together!

Yes, everyone needs a good vegan mac and cheese recipe. Let me rephrase that: everyone needs at LEAST one good mac and cheese recipe. If you search around, you will find that there are many out there and most of them will be satisfying (you know, the whole point of this dish). BUT, what many lack is a bit of originality (yes!) and a wise ratio of good nutrients. Just a roundabout way of saying that many require WAY too much margarine for my taste and (boringly) rely on flour to thicken the sauce. Cue this recipe.

Title: Vegan Fusion World Cuisine
Author: Mark Reinfeld and Bo Rinaldi and the chefs at Blossoming Lotus
Genre: Cookbook

This recipe comes straight out of the Blossoming Lotus cookbook. I love it because it covers my two most basic mottos: it’s easy (I mean, all you need is a blender!), and delicious. This one comes with an added bonus: it’s also original. Its originality comes from the main ingredient: tahini. Tahini is just another word for sesame butter (as in, ground up sesames). Most of us unknowingly consume tahini in hummus or perhaps even in the occasional “tahini dressing” (recipe to come!). Regardless, let’s be clear about this butter: it’s high in calcium, iron, good fats and protein. Win!

Ok, so gathering the ingredients is what will take you the most time, though they can all be easily found in your local health food store. This recipe also calls for raw garlic, which many little ones might find too strong/spicy in flavor. I recommend trying it anyway at first and if you notice a reluctance, perhaps blend it with less or even without garlic, take a batch out for your child and then go to town with the garlic for yourself.

If you want to make this entirely gluten free, simply replace the oats with ground up flaxseeds (same ratio), and use quinoa pasta instead. And you know, it doesn’t HAVE to be poured over pasta. Clearly you can use it as a dip, pour it over veggies, rice, quinoa or even eat it with a spoon (yeah, I said it). Enjoy!

Mac and Cheese (or “Cheez” if that makes you more comfortable!)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1 1/2 cup soy, rice or almond milk (unsweetened preferrably)

2 TBSP rolled oats

2 TBSP tahini

2 TBSP nutritional yeast

1 tsp soy sauce (or tamari or bragg’s)

3/4 tsp dijon mustard

1 clove of garlic

1/2 tsp turmeric

salt and pepper to taste

Place all these ingredients in a blender and blend until completely smooth.

Pour over pasta

and stir.


Top with sauteed or raw veggies


So what do you think? Are you in for vegan mac and cheese? And if you try this recipe out, let us know how it worked for you and your family! Happy eating!

March 9, 2012

Ridiculously easy and so very yummy chickpea burgers

Welcome to another installment of The Family That Eats Together Fridays! These chickpea burgers are the best thing to come out of my recent (nonvoluntary) experiment in (pseudo)-veganism. When Gyroscope’s instestinal tract decided it was going to temporarily refuse to handle dairy, I had to eliminate from my diet. One easy way to do this was to eat a lot of vegan meals.

I was so excited to get out an incredibly awesome cookbook called Veganomicon, which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to spice up their family cooking with some more vegetables and healthy flavors. Even if you aren’t vegan or anything close to it, you are guaranteed to love these meals.

One of my favorites (and my husband’s who is a true meat-eater), are the chickpea burgers. They are ridiculously easy, which is also a plus. We had them recently with some purple sweet potato fries. Yum! The Wizard of Why is still not sure what he thinks of these, but we can’t usually get him to eat regular burgers, either, so he might not be the best test…

Here’s the recipe from Veganomicon, with my notes in italics:

Chickpea Cutlets (Makes 4, take 10 minutes)

And they are serious about the time. These are ridiculously easy!


Make sure to soak the dried chickpeas over night before cooking to make it go faster. The recipe calls for cooked, so you need to cook before starting. Roast the extras in a hot oven with salt and spices for an awesome snack.

  • Olive oil for panfrying
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (You could probably use canned, but I fell in love with chickpeas when I started using dry ones. They are so delicious you will never buy a can of anything again.)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten (This sounds weird, but makes the whole burger and it’s texture. And you will use the whole box because you will be making these again and again, I swear.)
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (I have used almost everything with this recipe; white panko, whole wheat panko, regular crumbs and seasoned ones. Use what you have–just make sure if you use seasoned ones they go with the flavors you are adding.)
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce (For reasons I won’t go into, I can’t eat soy right now, but 2 Tablespoons of molasses does just fine by this recipe!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (I always use more; I am from the school of “there’s never enough thyme in any recipe”.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika (This may be the best, but I’m sure any paprika would work. I put in extra of this, too.)

    Vital wheat gluten and panko bread crumbs

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rubbed sage 

I’m going to paraphrase the recipe, but it’s really easy:

1. Mash chickpeas until no whole ones are left (this is an awesome task for eager little hands!), then add in all the other ingredients and knead for about 3 minutes, until strings of gluten have formed. (Make sure you put in chickpeas first; don’t NOT work in reverse!)

2. Preheat heavy skillet; make four cutlets and need together and then flatten into a 4×6 in shape. (Kids will enjoy making their own!)

3. Add thin layer of olive oil to the pan and cook for 6 – 7 minutes on each side. Recipe says you can also bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, of you brush them with olive oil first. Flip and bake again for 8 – 10 minutes on other side.