Posted by: Andi Angel | August 6, 2015

Vegan Smoky Southwest Mayo Dressing

The recipe below is pretty closely based on this Subway Chipotle Southwest Sauce Copycat Recipe by Todd Wilbur, author of “Top Secret Recipes Unlocked”.

I used vegan mayo instead of regular, fresh-squeezed lemon juice instead of lime juice, ACV instead of white vinegar, hot chili powder and liquid smoke instead of chipotle powder, light salt in place of regular, stevia instead of sugar, powdered thyme instead of regular dried, and as much cumin as would fit between my thumb and forefinger.


1/2 cup vegenaise
2 teaspoons lemon juice (about one small lemon, 1.5″ diameter)
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon water
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground hot chili powder
1/4 teaspoon “light” salt (half potassium chloride, half sodium chloride)
1/4 teaspoon stevia powder
(huge) pinch ground cumin
pinch ground thyme
2-3 drops liquid smoke


  • Place all ingredients in a small bowl or jar.
  • Mix well.
  • Chill for at least an hour, or better yet, overnight for best flavor melding.

Options and ideas:

  • Add 1 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro.
  • For less mayonnaise flavor, sub part or all of the vegenaise with sour cream or vegan sour cream.
  • For chipotle flavor, sub chipotle powder for the chili powder and omit the liquid smoke.
  • Vegenaise and mayo can vary in consistency, so if you’re starting with some that’s more thin and loose, you may want to hold off on the water and wait until the end to add it for better control over the consistency.
  • Use on burgers, wraps, sandwiches (grilled or cold), or as a dip for veggies or chips.
  • If you’re not too concerned with keeping it strict vegan, you can use honey to sweeten it, or regular mayo or Miracle Whip.
  • Depending on your tastes, this recipe may tolerate a full teaspoon of chili powder and an extra teaspoon or two of the lemon juice. The salt may be reduced, or even omitted.

Feel free to tweak it to your tastes – and be sure to share in the comments what you did, and how it worked out for you!

Posted by: Andi Angel | December 10, 2014

Amazing Vegan Bean with Bacon Soup

Vegan Amazing Bean with “Bacon” soup

Yep, you heard me right. Nope, not joking. The secret of the “bacon” is good ol’ liquid smoke, just like Campbell’s uses. Except that this soup is better than Campbell’s! Thicker, no MSG, entirely plant-based, and tastes exactly how I remember Campbell’s tasting. (It’s been a while, since I stopped eating things containing neurotoxins like MSG, disodium guanylate and disodium inosinate a few years ago.)

This stew-like soup was so yummy that once I filled my stomach, I waited 20 minutes to digest it some, had some more… then 20 minutes after that, polished off the last of it. I’d have licked the bowl if my face would fit in.


1. To a medium pot, add: 2 cups water
boullion for 2 cups’ worth of “beef” broth
1 tsp. crushed garlic
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
2. While the pot comes to a boil, finely dice a few
Tablespoons of : carrot

3. Add veggies in and boil while you add a few taps of medium spicy chili powder
sweet paprika
black pepper
and 6-8 drops of liquid smoke

4. Drain and rinse one 15oz. can of small white beans

…and add to pot.

5. Simmer soup for 1 hour

Serves one hungry person, or two with a side salad. Try not to burn your tongue, like I did. (Which I practically never do – I’m usually cautious, but I just couldn’t wait. Total foodgasm.)

Posted by: Andi Angel | December 10, 2014

Quick Vegan Bruschetta

It sure doesn’t taste like the tomatoes came out of a can.

Quick Bruschetta


1 (15 oz) can plain petite diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 tsp.crushed garlic
1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (extra flavor, or extra health? you decide!)
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. dried basil
heaping 1/4 tsp. salt (or about 6-7 shakes)
4 taps smokehouse pepper


1.  Mix all together and chill. Tastes great right away, but is best to give it 2 hrs or more to let the flavors intermix.
2.  Serve on fresh or toasted bread, or as a fancy cracker topping. Take care to use mild-flavored bread or crackers so the grains don’t compete with the bruschetta flavor.

Posted by: Andi Angel | October 4, 2013

Quick Easy Smoky Vegan Pea Soup

Something I’ve been finding lately about raw or very lightly cooked veg is that the flavor is milder and much more tolerable than cooked veg. The first time I realized this was when I added 3 or 4 cups of spinach to my first experimental Greens ‘n’ Grains Smoothie, and didn’t taste spinach nearly as much as I thought I should.

This soup is made with either frozen or fresh peas, and not with split peas, so the cooking time can be reduced almost to nothing (aside from how long you saute the onion and carrot). This seems to result in a milder flavor that may appeal even to folks who don’t typically care for pea soup, which is a huge bonus for those of you looking for something simple and quick that everyone will eat.

For a bonus on top of a bonus, peas are one of those fantastic rare foods that give you protein, fiber and greens all in one go. (Tonight we used it as a stand-alone meal. If I’d made the focaccia bread I was thinking about doing, I’d have served that along with the soup. What would you serve with it? Share some ideas below!)

Time frame: 15 to 30 minutes. If you’re a quick hand chopping the onion (or you have some already diced), and you saute the veg for only 4 or 5 minutes, and boil/simmer after adding the frozen peas for only 4 or 5 minutes before blending, you could whip this out from bare counters to food on the table in 15 minutes flat. If you give the veg a little time to caramelize (more like 15 minutes), and give the flavors more time to meld (another 15 minutes), you’ve still got something tasty and quick that will be easy to remember and hard to mess up.

Smoky Vegan Whole-Pea Soup

In a medium saucepan, 5 minutes on medium heat, saute:

2-3 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 medium onion

2-4 Tbsp. grated carrot


1 1/2 cups water

3 cups fresh or frozen peas

2-4 drops liquid smoke

Salt and pepper to taste

Simmer 5-15 minutes.

Blend to desired consistency.

I only blend part of the soup (2/3 to 3/4), so that some of the peas are left whole. Sometimes I blend 1 or 2 cups of the peas with the water before adding them to the pot, so that I don’t have to deal with scalding soup in my blender.

Customize it:

Use vegetable broth instead of water, experiment with herbs or spices, or try roasting your veg instead of sauteing it (though this obviously lengthens your time commitment considerably). If you’re not vegan and you miss meaty flavors, and the smoke doesn’t quite fill that for you, you can use a chicken or beef broth in place of the water.

Posted by: Andi Angel | March 1, 2013

Easy Strawberry-Banana Vegan Milkshake

Using the blender’s own measuring marks:

1. Pour in 1 cup of coconut milk.

2. Add 1 small banana (enough that the coconut milk rises about 1/2 cup more).

3. Add enough frozen strawberries to raise the liquid level to 2 cups.

4. Blend it up and serve.

Share with a friend, or down it quick before anyone finds out what you’ve been up to.

Want to get adventurous? Add a little vanilla extract for smoothness, a little pineapple for tropical kick, or use almond milk for a nutty/earthy variation. Substitute other berries to experiment with the flavor, or add nuts to kick up the protein & good fats, and slow down the glycemic impact.

Posted by: Andi Angel | January 31, 2013

Sunny Afternoon Smoothie

1 cup apple juice

1/2 cup oranje juice

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks

4-5 frozen mango chunks

4-5 frozen peach slices

about 1 cup frozen strawberries (I measure this by how much the liquid level rises after I pulse the blender enough to immerse the fruit)

optional – plant protein powder (I used about 1/4 scoop vanilla flavored Raw brand powder)


So refreshing after playing in the park!

Posted by: Andi Angel | January 26, 2013

Oatmeal 1-2-3, with Raw Variations

(See raw variations towards bottom of article)

I originally titled this post “Incredible Custom Homemade Oatmeal (with Raw Oatmeal Variations)”, but “Oatmeal 1-2-3” is a snappier description of the yumminess we’re going to wreak here.

This “create-your-own” recipe has very few ingredients, and takes about 3-5 minutes from empty stove/bare countertop to food on the table. There’s little to no cooking know-how involved, unless you are absent-minded like some people ::tentatively raises hand:: and may burn or overcook the bottom forgetting to stir.

So why bother to post it? For one, using something besides water to cook it is a bit of a creative leap that some of us might not make; for a very long time, I didn’t, even while trying to think of ways to make oatmeal tasty without resorting to objectionable ingredients. But maybe more importantly, it’s easy to forget that sometimes simple food can be incredibly tasty, and doesn’t necessarily have to keep you in the kitchen for extended periods of time. I’d guess that well over 90% of the recipes on the web have more than 5 ingredients and take more than 15 or 20 minutes to make (at least on the sites I’ve been to).

So this post is really about bringing us back to the basics to encourage the creative freedom of riffing on the classics. And best of all, since it’s custom-made to what you like (assuming you like oatmeal, since you clicked on this post to read it), you’re just about guaranteed to find this useful.

It goes like this:

1. Select a cooking liquid: Whatever sounds tasty, or tastes acceptable to the health benefits you’re after. Apple juice, V-8 Fusion (fruit and veggie blends that taste like fruit), coconut milk, almond milk, hemp milk, goat milk, soy milk, cow milk, water.

2. Throw the oatmeal into the cooking liquid and turn on the heat. You can cook it quickly or slowly – with quick oats I never go above medium. With steel-cut, you’re going to want to crank ‘er up at first to get it going before you turn it down to simmer.

3. Mix-ins. Can be added before, during, or after cooking. The beautiful thing with chopped dates is that they will melt in straight and smooth if you boil them with the oats. Raisins added at this point come out plump and juicy. When I want berries, though, I like to take them straight from the freezer and add them after cooking. This cools the whole thing and keeps the berries intact. Try fruit (dried, frozen, fresh, even canned if that’s what’s handy and what you like), nuts, seeds (chia, sunflower, hemp, am I leaving any other awesome ones out?), miscellaneous (bran, germ, psyllium husk and the like, vanilla or almond extracts, chocolate chips), spices. This is so easy to do, oats are well-cheap, and you’re not going to waste a lot on an experiment gone wrong. I’ve had a few that didn’t turn out so great, but they weren’t inedible.

If you used water, you may want to add a sweetener, preferably natural. Real maple syrup, molasses (or both of these, for a natural “maple and brown sugar” flavor; just go easy with the molasses as it can be pretty strong), agave nectar (though agave is little better nutritionally than sugar syrup, but it’s low glycemic), honey… There are a lot of great options out there. A few weeks ago I came across this awesome site, NaturallySweetRecipes. I loved their natural sweetener guide, and I highly recommend that you go check that out for other ideas, though if you used dates, applesauce or apple juice, you may not need or want to.

The combinations are limited only by your imagination and the foods available to you. Some ways I’ve done our oatmeal:

Raw: Done simply by soaking the oats in the chosen liquid instead of cooking them. I don’t think this would work well or quickly with steel-cut, but a lot of people reduce the cook time of their steel-cut oats with an overnight soak, so maybe they’d be edible by morning.

Apple Spice: Apple juice, cinnamon and cloves, or pumpkin pie spice. Tastes better than the store-bought packets. Nut lovers may want to add some walnuts or pecans. This is an easy and tasty one to do raw.

Pumpkin Pie: Apple juice, couple dabs of pumpkin puree, mashed banana, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, touch of molasses, chopped pecans.

Raisin Spice: Water, chopped dates, raisins, cinnamon.

Cinnamon Roll: Coconut milk, vanilla extract, maple syrup, cinnamon, raisins.

Cherry Almond: Cherry juice, almond extract, chopped frozen cherries. Ooh… next time I should try this one with chocolate chips, and make it Black Forest! I also did this with a jar of Morello Cherries from Trader Joe’s, using the juice for cooking liquid.

Strawberry Banana: I don’t remember how I did this one. I think I mashed in the banana and chunked the frozen strawberries to cool it.

Chocolate chip cookie: This one was a while back, too… I think I used a bit of vanilla extract and some chocolate chips. And I think it ended up not being as good as it sounded. But if you find a way to make this one work, I’d love to hear about it!

One last idea: if you’re adventurous and like savory stuff, you could experiment with some herbs and cheese. I don’t eat cheese anymore, and sweet oatmeal sounds much better to me than savory, but if you try that, let me know how it goes!

Posted by: Andi Angel | January 7, 2013

Mostly Dairy-free Chocolate Drink

This is a great drink to do with your child.

My 5-year-old son wants to be vegan, but he dislikes coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk and almond milk. He used to like chocolate soy milk, but last time I tried, I couldn’t get him to drink it.

Tonight when he said he wanted chocolate milk like the kind he’d had in his preschool class, I had to remind him that that kind was made with cow’s milk. I thought, maybe if we blend some “milks”, and dilute it with a bit of water to mute the taste. He agreed to try it, and wanted to help, so we got a little 4oz glass measuring cup and a tablespoon measure. I measured things, then let him pour or dump, and stir to mix.

2 oz water

2 oz rice milk

2 oz coconut milk

2 oz soy milk

2 Tbsp. Ovaltine

Stir until mixed, and don’t forget the straw, because it tastes better through a straw. At least for a kid it does.

You can do this entirely dairy-free by using cocoa powder and following the instructions for making cocoa, but we had some Ovaltine that I want to use up. I’m reluctant to throw things away, even if they don’t match up to our dietary ideals, partly because it’s a waste of money (or Food Stamps), and partly because we’re not at the level of perfection yet in our diet. As the saying goes, it is not meet that a man should run faster than he has strength.

From the empty cup quickly drained and put in the sink, I’d say this drink was a success. I may experiment with this a bit more down the road – I’ll keep you posted!

Have you ever successfully hidden an ingredient, and gotten someone who normally didn’t like it to eat it? Tell me about it in the comments!

Posted by: Andi Angel | November 4, 2012

Vegan Spanish Rice

This goes great in burritos. And if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby or you like to save a penny, you can always use 2 cups of cooked brown rice. (Take 2/3 cup uncooked rice in 2 cups of water and cook for about 45 minutes.)

It’s both the easiest and tastiest rice I’ve ever eaten, and takes only about 15-20 minutes when you start with precooked rice. How can you top that?

• 1 pouch Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice (it’s pre-cooked and frozen)
• 2 tablespoons oil
• 1 onion, chopped finely
• 1 small can tomato sauce (get one without corn syrup)
• ½ 4oz. can diced green chilies, drained (2oz chilies)
• ½ tsp. crushed garlic
• ½ tsp. cumin
• ¼ to ½ tsp. chili powder to taste

1. Heat the bag of pre-cooked rice (microwave 3 min. or stovetop 10-12 min.).
2. Meanwhile, in oiled frying pan, sauté onion. Add tomato sauce and seasonings and stir until well-blended.
3. Add cooked rice, and cook, stirring until tomato sauce thickens a bit, 7-10 more minutes.
4. Add green chilies and cook about 1 minute more as you stir.
5. Celebrate. Er, eat. Might wanna blow on it, but you may end up hurting your mouth anyway because it’s kinda hard to wait.

Posted by: Andi Angel | June 14, 2012

Simple, Quickish Vegetarian Lasagne

(See the bottom of the post for how to veganize this recipe.)

So I might as well start by telling you what I mean by quickish. I recently came across a recipe in one of my cookbooks which had the word “Fast” in the title – might have been Weight Watchers’ “Fast and Fabulous” – but the recipe, some kind of casserole, maybe even lasagne, took 20-30 minutes of active prep and an hour and 10 minutes to bake in the oven. Then it was supposed to sit for 5 or 10 minutes. No kidding? I have to start making it a good two hours ahead of when I actually want to eat, and you’ve included this in a “Quick Recipes” cook book.

Do you have time to deal with that sort of nonsense? I don’t. I’ve had chances in the past to putz around in the kitchen most of a day, but now that baby makes five, it ain’t happening like that anymore. 🙂

Most of my stuff these days comes out edible or better, but I still kinda consider myself a non-cook, maybe because I don’t have a whole lot of recipes memorized. I do a lot of improv to accommodate ingredients on hand, which means a lot of my dishes are sort of first-time experiments. This, coupled with my ADD, makes everything go a lot slower, so it takes me a lot longer to actually cook something that most people can breeze through in a snap.

Even when I do have a recipe, I often have to allow myself double the time it says it’s supposed to take, on account of my ADD… so the recipes I choose need to be simpler and quicker, or I end up not having time for other important things.

But, I still love me some home cookin’, so what happens is I look for simplicity and short-cuts, and for recipes with flexible ingredient ratios and easy-to-remember ingredient patterns. And I NEVER attempt any recipe that claims more than 30 minutes of active prep time.

The lasagne recipe I started with looked simple enough, but I found the first couple of attempts took me an hour or two of active time while trying to work with what I had on hand. Once I got the hang of it, subbed in some no-boil noodles, and adjusted some ingredient ratios a bit, I could assemble the pan in 20 minutes, including chopping olives by hand (because they’re way cheaper than the cans of pre-chopped).

Which means that YOU could probably slap this out in 10 minutes flat, including the time it takes to gather ingredients. If it takes the full 35 minutes to bake and a full 15 minutes to stand before serving, you can score yourself some homemade lasagne in an hour from start to finish, with only 10 minutes of that being active prep.

And without further ado –                                                                                                            ……….

1. Soak in water: 6 no-boil lasagne noodles (3 x 6 in.)

2. In medium bowl, beat: 2 eggs,

add 1 1/4 Cup ricotta cheese,

3 Tbsp. minced onion or  green onion,

2 tsp. dried parsley,

1/2 tsp. garlic salt or sea salt.

3. Preheat oven to 350 F and get handy some grated mozzarella (10-12 oz.) and 1/2-3/4 Cup parmesan. Pop open a 24-25 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce, and a can or two of chopped olives or mushrooms (optional).

4. In a 9″ x 13″ pan, smear a spoonful of sauce and place 3 lasagne noodles on top. Add a layer of half the ricotta mixture, about 4 oz. mozzarella, and 1/4 Cup of parmesan. Use half the remaining sauce for the next layer, then sprinkle on your olives or mushrooms to taste.

5. Repeat the sequence:  remaining noodles, remaining ricotta, 4 oz. mozzarella, 1/4 Cup parm, remaining sauce, and remaining olives or mushrooms.

6. Top with remaining 2-4 oz. mozzarella, and a few shakes of any more parmesan you might have, or a handful of shredded cheddar.

7. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until cheese is golden brown.

8. Allow to stand and firm up for 10-15 minutes before serving.                                 ……….

Bonus time-saving tip:  If you want olives or mushrooms (or bell peppers, sun-dried tomatoes or other veg) without the extra step of adding them on top of the sauce, look for a spaghetti sauce that already has those veggies in it.

Other veggie options to add on top of the sauce:

* Roasted bell peppers

* Sun-dried tomatoes

* Shredded carrots

* Spinach

* Squash, sliced in coins then quartered

* Veggie “beef substitute” crumbles, “sausage-less sausage”, or veggie “pepperoni”

Fair warning:  I haven’t tried any of these yet, so if you don’t saute your bonus veg first, it might add to the cooking time. The good news is that I adapted this recipe from one that was using a 7″ x 11″ pan, so there should be plenty of room for two generous layers of veg if you want to really kick up the health and flavor factors of this dish.

Veganize it:  Use tofu in place of the ricotta, and vegan mozzarella and parmesan.

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