Tag Archives: vegan

Best Vegan Pancakes


Sunday is pancake day at our house and we are very picky. It has taken over a year of testing mixes and recipes to finally end up with one that consistently pleases. In my mind, and to my taste testing volunteers, this recipe tastes better than others even if you are not trying to go vegan. It does take a bit more thought and planning but the taste is worth the effort.

To make this more convenient, I make up 6 batches of this at a time in individual zip lock bags or mason jars that I store in the freezer. Pull out a baggie/jar, mix up the dry ingredients with a fork, add the oil and water and you’re ready to cook.


Vegan Pancakes

1 cup sprouted grain flour (nuts.com has a good one here or One Degree organic foods or King Arthur )

¾ cup All Purpose organic flour

¼ cup organic yellow Masa Harina corn flour

¼ cup coconut flour

¼ cup buckwheat flour

4 tablespoons coconut sugar

6 tsp. aluminum free baking powder

1 very rounded tablespoon ground flax seed

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 rounded tablespoon lemon zest (from organic lemon if possible)

1 tsp. sea salt

2 ½ cups warm water

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

(Optional) 1 cup fresh blueberries

Mix all the dry ingredients (and the blueberries if you go that route) together and make a well in the center of the bowl. Into the well, pour the melted coconut oil and warm water. Fold the wet into the dry being careful not to over mix the batter. Here is the consistency you are looking to achieve. Depending on humidity and the flours you are using, you may need slightly more or less water than specified in the recipe. I pour about 2 of the 2 ½ cups of water into the dry ingredients then mix gently to get a feel for it, then adjust as needed.


Ladle onto a hot skillet (this is my ceramic skillet from Scanpan shown here) lightly greased with coconut oil spray and cook on one side until bubbly then flip and cook until the other side is lightly browned.



Transfer to warm plate and serve.

In case you are wondering about some of the ingredients, here is the inside story. Sprouted wheat flour improves the digestibility and increases the amount of nutrients your body can get from the grain. It lowers the glycemic index of the wheat so that it doesn’t spike blood sugar the way regular flour does and has lowering effects on cholesterol. I find it needs to be mixed with some all purpose flour to get the right texture and air pockets.

Masa Harina is finely ground corn flour made from lime treated corn. Treating with lime turns the corn  into a digestible grain that is sweeter, softer and holds onto moisture better in baked items. Regular corn flour is not usually lime treated so check the label.

Coconut flour increases sweetness while adding additional protein in an easily digestible form. It does not give the final pancake a coconut taste according to my tasters in case you are concerned. Coconut sugar adds inulin, a pre-biotic fiber, that helps your good gut bacteria to thrive while having a lower glycemic index than regular sugar. The coconut oil must be melted and the water warm to mix well and stay a liquid in the recipe.

Buckwheat flour is gluten free and lends a hearty and full flavor to the cakes. All baking powder should be, but sadly is not,  aluminum free due to the link  between ingested aluminum and dementia. Check your pantry and make the switch if you need to.

Ground flax seeds (always store in the freezer or the oils go rancid), serve as a binder while contributing healthy omega 3 fatty acids from it’s alpha-linolenic acid , fiber and antioxidant lignans.

Cinnamon, besides being tasty, helps control blood sugar. Lemon zest sparks up the whole flavor of this recipe so please don’t leave it out. Zest organic lemons if you can since you will be eating whatever chemicals they put on the rind. It also helps the baking powder to bubble by adding some acid. I freeze zest in a zip lock or small shaker so it’s always ready to add. In a pinch you could use lemon juice but it does not have the same amazing aroma as the zest.

So there you have it, pancakes both as healthy and delicious as I can make them. Also good for dinner 🙂



S’mores Cookies


It’s SO summer and what do a girl’s thoughts turn to but…S’mores 🙂 Since going vegan, there are some things I have had to adapt. S’mores, that quintessential summer cookout treat, is one of them. While not a huge marshmallow fan, I do love them melted. The problem is that commercial marshmallows contain gelatin (an animal product) and the chocolate has milk.
One year, I tried to go all Martha Stewart and make my own marshmallows. While they were amazing in hot coco, they just melted off the stick over a campfire and were a ton of sticky work. Since then, vegan marshmallows have become more mainstream. Dandies makes a vegan/ gluten/GMO free version that holds up well to the rigors of S’more making. Milk free chocolate also exists. For baking, Enjoy Life brand makes regular, mini chip and mega chunk options. All of them are great and can either be ordered online or often found in local or whole foods markets.
One rainy summer afternoon, with no campfire in my future, I came up with this recipe to satisfy the craving and it was a family hit. Make up a batch of these and all you will miss is the wood smoke.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Earth Balance (or vegan butter substitute of choice)
2 tbsp. ground flax seed
6 tbsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1 cup ground up graham crackers (shoot for a mix of finely ground and bigger chunks)
¾ cup chocolate bar chips
¾ cup vegan marshmallows



Begin by adding the water to the ground flax seed in a small bowl and stir to combine. Set this aside to let it thicken. Next, cream together the sugars, Earth Balance butter, flax seed/water mix and vanilla until smooth.


Gradually add the flour until combined and then the crumbled graham crackers.


Once you have all the dry ingredients added, stir in the chocolate chips and mini marshmallows (if you like big chunks of marshmallow, leave the mini ones just as they come from the package. If you like smaller bits, cut them up with kitchen scissors or a knife first, as I have done here).



Place the dough by rounded teaspoons onto a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake in a 350 deg. F oven for 8-10 mins. Let cool slightly before moving to a cooling rack.




Try to keep them from being eaten all at once. Just try:)

Vegan Pasta with Lemon Caper Creamy Sauce, Asparagus & Peas


I decided to set myself a challenge last night and ‘veganize’ a myrecipes.com entree called pasta with lemon cream sauce, asparagus and peas (click here for the original version) so those wanting to follow a plant centered diet, could see how how to transform a cream based item.

The first, and most obvious, hurdle was to make a cream sauce without dairy. Enter the humble and adaptable cashew. Soaked for a few hours, or overnight in water, the nut becomes soft. Once in this state, it can be placed in a blender and  blended until the consistency is very cream-like. You can soak the nuts when you think about it, drain and store in the fridge in a closed container for a day or two until you are ready to cook.

I always look for ways to boost the flavor layers when I am cooking so, this adaptation adds onions, white wine, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, non-dairy yogurt, Herbamare, nutmeg, capers, fresh basil and a great balsamic vinegar drizzle to the original version. The best balsamic vinegar I have found at it’s price point is the Barrel-aged Balsamic from Wine Country Kitchens Napa Valley. It is thick and sweet and there is nothing it fails to improve. Lower on the acid side with a complex flavor profile that makes you stop what you are doing and really notice what you’re eating. This stuff is so good, it spoils you. Better than wine as a hostess gift but so nice you hate to hand it over.

Another trick to making things creamy with little to no oil or fat and without dairy, is mustard. Mustard seed contains 20-30% protein that assists in thickening. This trick is useful when making salad dressings that don’t separate as the mustard works as an emulsifier. My favorite mustard is Gray Poupon and I must not be the only one as the folks at seriouseats.com proclaim it the winner for Dijon in their taste test. It brightens flavors and lowers the amount of salt needed so, if you don’t regularly cook with mustard, salt lightly and taste as you cook to properly adjust the seasoning.

This recipe calls for Herbamare which, among it’s other ingredients, includes sea salt. If you are omitting this item, slightly more salt may be needed. Although on the expensive side, a container easily lasts me 9-12 months and I use it several times a week. This blend of celery, leek, watercress, onions, chives, parsley, lovage, garlic, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and kelp brings a savory taste to whatever it touches. A favorite for soups, dressings and pasta dishes at our house.

So here is my vegan version. Serves 4 as an entree or 6 as a side dish:


1/2 lb. penne pasta

3/4 cup soaked raw unsalted cashews

1 cup water or vegetable stock

1/2 cup diced onion (I normally like red onions for the sweeter taste and better nutritional profile, but they will lend a slightly pink cast to the final sauce. If that would bother you, yellow onions might be preferred here)

2 cloves minced garlic

1 tbs. non-dairy butter like Earth Balance

1/4 cup white wine

2 tbs. fresh lemon juice

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

2 tbs. non-dairy yogurt

1/4 tsp. Herbamare seasoning

3 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 bunch asparagus washed and cut into 1 inch segments from the tip to about 2 inches from the end of each stalk

1 cup frozen peas

1 rounded tbs. capers

salt and pepper to taste

2 tbs. finely chopped fresh basil

2 tsp. lemon zest for finishing

balsamic vinegar to taste

Begin by cooking your pasta in salted water according to package directions. Half way through the cooking time, add the peas and asparagus. Work on the sauce while the pasta is cooking.


Drain and return pasta, peas and asparagus to the warm empty pot when the full pasta cooking time has elapsed.

For the sauce, into a saute pan or skillet, place the non-dairy butter, white wine, onions and a pinch of salt. Cook the onions over low to medium heat until tender but not browned. Add the garlic and cook until the wine has largely evaporated. The onions and garlic should look moist but not be wet.

When the onions and garlic are done, put them into a blender with the soaked cashews, water or vegetable stock, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, mustard, non-dairy yogurt, pinch of salt and pepper, Herbamare, 3 tsp. of lemon zest and 1/2 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated if you can). Blend on high until all smooth and creamy. In my Vitamix, this is about 1 minute but your blender may vary. Once fully blended, pour over the pasta and vegetable mix and stir to combine. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Put the heat back on the pot and heat on low to medium for about 2 mins. until everything is piping hot.

To serve, spoon the mix into a hot bowl, sprinkle the top of each serving with the rest of the lemon zest and basil and then finish with a drizzle of the balsamic vinegar.