Daily Vegan Lunch for 19 September, 2013: Fresh Broccoli Pesto and Noodles

vegan raw broccoli pesto


2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into chunks
2 cups basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

Salt to taste

4 – 5 cups cooked spaghetti or angel hair pasta


Cook noodles according to package directions, set aside. Combine uncooked broccoli, basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, and garlic in a blender or food processor. Pulse about 20 seconds. Taste test and add salt to taste shortly before before the basil is rendered as paste. Add 1/2 cup water if desired; I did not add water. Pesto should be very finely chopped but not liquid sauce.

Combine pesto with cooked spaghetti or angel hair, mix until thoroughly combined.

Daily Vegan Lunch for September 9, 2013: Caprese Salad

vegan caprese salad


6 cups kale (I used baby kale) massaged or fresh spinach leaves
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 cup olives, pitted and sliced

2 cups basil leaves

6 blobs buffalo mozzarella, chopped roughly


1/2 cup balsamic vinegar plus 2 tablespoons olive oil or

2/3 cup prepared balsamic vinaigrette

Salt and pepper


Chop basil leaves.  Massage and shred kale and toss to mix thoroughly with basil.  Mix with chopped tomatoes and olives, then gently add buffalo mozzarella balls and sprinkle with oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper before serving.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 7 September, 2013: Vegan Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese Salad

What to do with so many end of summer tomatoes?  I made Miyoko Schinner’s brilliant buffalo mozzarella out of cashews!  You CANNOT tell the difference between it and real cheese.



1 cup plain (unsweetened) almond yogurt or other plant-based yogurt such as coconut or soy
1 cup cashews, soaked for 8 hours and drained

1 cup water, divided

1.5 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons tapioca powder

1 tablespoon agar powder


Bowl of ice water


Handful of fresh basil leaves
1 ripe tomato per serving
4 – 5 blobs of cheese

1 teaspoon olive oil plus 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar per serving
Salt and pepper


Make the cheese base by combining soaked cashews, yogurt, and 1/2 cup water in a blender until very, very smooth and creamy.  If 1/2 cup isn’t enough water to get the cashews to blend, add water by 2 Tablespoonfuls at a time until it blends.  Scrape down the sides of the blender frequently during  the process.  Alternately, use cashew butter in the place of soaked cashews.

Scoop into a bowl and allow the mixture to ferment from anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.  It will thicken into cream cheese and you can stop right there if cream cheese is what you wanted.   Stir tapioca flour into the cashew mixture.

I did this: made a big double batch of 2 cups worth of cashews and yogurt, then fermented half for cream cheese (no tapioca flour) and half for buffalo mozzarella.  My blender blends large amounts better than it does small ones so this was a winning strategy.

In a small pot, heat reserved 1/2 cup of water and agar, bringing to a boil.  Once it boils, turn the heat to medium-high and simmer the agar water for 3 – 4 minutes.   Add the tapioca floured cream cheese.  Whisk in and stir continuously until the mixture thickens dramatically and takes on a glossy, stretchy texture.  When it seems as thick as it is going to get,  scoop out the mixture with an ice cream scoop into the ice water.

Allow the cheese balls to set up for about 20 minutes.


Assemble cheese balls, basil, and chopped fresh tomatoes on a plate, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 3 September, 2013: Peanut Butter Basil Udon

vegan peanut butter and basil udon

4 cups udon noodles, cooked
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon agave nectar (optional)
1 cup peanuts
1 tablespoon chili sauce or 2 teaspoons Sriacha or tabasco
1.5 cups basil, packed

1 cup green onion, chopped
Cilantro, to garnish

Cook udon noodles according to package directions, rinse and set them aside.

Combine peanuts and basil in a food processor or blender.  In a pan on medium heat, melt the peanut butter and mix it with the soy sauce.  Stir the cooked udon noodles into the melted peanut butter sauce and add the chili sauce and basil/nuts from the food processor.  Garnish with cilantro and green onion.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 2 September, 2013: Coconut Curry Basil Noodle Soup

can of massaman curry seasoning, vegan no palm oil

If you like Malaysian or Thai food or spicy, tropical flavors in general, you’ll really want to get to an Asian grocery store or an online grocery store for curry paste. I am very blessed to live close to a big Korean market that happens to sell a lot of Thai, Chinese, and Japanese food along with Korean offerings. In this grocery store, there is a whole wall of curries that are designed to add to soups, stews, and whatever. It’s quite amazing that so many of these curries contain no animal ingredients, however, I take issue that most of them list palm oil as the first ingredient. As a rule, I try to avoid palm oil because its use is destroying the habitats of many beloved creatures like orangutans whose homes are destroyed so palm oil plantations can flourish. After much looking, I found a great red curry paste in a can called Massaman that had no palm oil. It was perfect! If you can find or order Massaman, buy it. It sure beat hunting down all of the ingredients it already contains, like tamarind, lemongrass, and galangal.

vegan noodle basil curry coconut milk



3 cups water
1 vegan broth cube
1 tablespoon Massaman curry paste or other prepared curry paste, found in Asian grocery stores
1 handful rice or sweet potato (glass) noodles

1/2 cup coconut milk

1.5 cups fresh basil leaves
1 green onion, chopped


Combine water and broth cube in a large pot and bring to a boil. As it boils, add a heaping tablespoon of curry paste and let it dissolve. Turn the heat down to medium high and add the glass or rice noodles, pushing them down with a spoon. After 5 minutes of cooking in the broth, noodles are already done. This is the joy of rice or sweet potato noodles versus typical Western spaghetti — they cook much, much faster. And they’re gluten free. Anyway, add the coconut milk and turn the heat off. Honestly this did not need coconut milk to be good but I was trying to be authentic.

Chop the basil and green onion and stir into the soup shortly before serving.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 1 September, 2013: Basil Cashew Cheese Baked Potato

vegan basil cashew cheese baked potato


1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 clove garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup plus a few tablespoons water

1 tablespoon sun dried tomatoes (I used oil packed from a jar)
1 cup fresh basil

2 – 3 baked potatoes (depends on size) or 5 cups of pasta


Drain cashews after soaking (you can save the water for blending, I did not this time) and put them in a blender or food processor with lemon juice, salt, garlic, and 1/4 cup water.

Process until very smooth, adding water by the tablespoon if needed and scraping down the sides of the blending apparatus.

Once the cheese is smooth, add the basil and sun dried tomatoes, pulse until they distribute themselves throughout your cheese.

Prick a potato with a fork and bake it — I cooked mine in the microwave for about 5 minutes but I could have stuck it in the oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees to do the same thing. Split the cooled potato and top it with basil cheese. This also would make an excellent alfredo sauce.

Daily Vegan Lunch for August 31, 2013: Auntie Pasta’s Salad

vegan antipasto macaroni salad


1 vegan sausage
1 teaspoon oil for frying

2 cups cooked macaroni

1 cup artichoke hearts, drained
1/2 cup Greek olives, pitted and chopped

1.5 cups fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste


Pre-fry sausage by cutting the sausage (I used Tofurky Italian sausage) into 1/2 inch slices and browning on each side in a pan, set aside. Prepare macaroni according to package directions, drain and put in a large bowl. Add sausage, artichoke hearts, chopped olives, basil, and olive oil to macaroni and stir to combine. Salt to taste. Chill before serving.

Daily Vegan Lunch for 4 June, 2013: Potato, Kale, and Basil Soup

vegan kale, basil, and potato soup




1.5 cup onions, chopped
2 teaspoons oil
1.5 cups potatoes, not skinned, chopped (I used Yukon Gold)
1 cup celery, chopped
2 cups curly kale, torn into small pieces
1 cup carrots, chopped

5 cups water
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup basil, finely shredded

1 vegan broth cube or 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon

Salt to taste


Fry onion and potatoes in the bottom of a large pot in oil on medium heat until potatoes begin to brown slightly.  Turn heat to medium-high.  Add water, broth cube, celery, and carrots.  Cook at a slight boil until potatoes are tender.  Add kale.  Add garlic, basil, and salt to taste after letting it boil 2 more minutes.

This soup held up extremely well in the freezer.  Once thawed, the kale stayed green and the flavors were very subtle and nicely blended.