Tag Archives: favorite recipes

Savory Cocoa Pumpkin Soup (page 110)

We were initially just going to include one pumpkin soup recipe, but we were having so much fun caramelizing the onions that we came up with two options. This savory version is our best solution to butternut season.

Makes about 6 cups
Takes 90 minutes

1 butternut squash
4 cups diced yellow onion
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon powdered coriander
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 chile peppers
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups plant milk
1 (3 ounce) bar of dark chocolate
2/3 cup pumpkin seeds

Bake the squash at 375°F for about an hour, or until it’s soft enough to pierce easily with a fork. While the squash is in the oven, dice the onions and cook them in a large pot on low, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Chop the chili peppers and roughly chop the chocolate.

By the time the squash is ready, the onion should be caramelized well. Add the coriander, curry powder, chile peppers, vegetable stock, and plant milk to the pot. Remove the skin from the butternut with a knife, chop the squash into chunks, and add them to the pot.

Stir in the chocolate and continue stirring until the chocolate is melted. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup to a smoother consistency. Add the pumpkin seeds. Serve with a side of pumpernickel bread.

Dad’s Strawberries, Chocolate Style (p. 84)

Strawberry season would come around when I was a kid, and I’d wake up one morning to sugared strawberries, which was the best surprise ever, and which my dad would make by sprinkling sugar over strawberries and putting it all in the fridge. I can even remember which container he would use. The sugar pulls the liquid out of the strawberries and you end up with syrupy strawberry goodness.

This year, when strawberry season came around, I realized that we had no choice but to reinvent it. We eat this with pancakes, but it also goes well on peanut buttered toast.

Makes about 4 cups of strawberry topping (plus one mug of strawberry drink)
Takes all night (plus 2–4 hours baking the optional caramelized sugar)

Caramelized Sugar
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Pour a bag of sugar into a glass baking pan and shake the pan so it’s evenly distributed. Do not use a metal pan—that will melt the sugar instead of caramelizing it. Cook the sugar for 2–4 hours. Crush any chunks. Caramelization makes the sugar a little less sweet and more flavorful, which will result in a more complex strawberry dish. This will make a subtle difference for those with discerning taste buds.

6 tablespoons white sugar or caramelized sugar
4 cups sliced strawberries
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Plant milk (optional)

In a large container, combine the strawberries, mint, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract. Put the lid on and put the container in the fridge. In the morning, it’s ready! Use a fork to serve these strawberries over pancakes or toast.

Fresh, rich strawberry drink: Drain the syrupy by-product from the bowl of strawberries into a cup and add 1–2 times as much plant milk as there is syrup. Stir it, then sip it. This is objectively amazing and might be the best part of the whole “Dad’s Strawberries” recipe.

Strawberry salsa: If you want something you can eat straight, decrease the sugar to 1/4 cup and replace the cocoa powder with 1/4 cup of cocoa nibs, and let it all sit for an hour instead of overnight.

Strawberry-Mint Sandwich (p. 121)

We were at a cafe working on this very cookbook, minding our own business, when we overheard someone order a savory sandwich. Of course, I had to ask the question: “What would a sweet sandwich look like?” As it happened, strawberries were in season, so we went home and tested our theory. This strawberry-mint sandwich is delicious and we recommend making it with fresh, thinly-sliced rye bread.

Makes one sandwich
Takes 10 minutes

3 medium strawberries
2 slices of bread
2 tablespoons grated chocolate
Mint leaves to cover a slice of bread
2 teaspoons cocoa butter, divided

Slice the strawberries and lay them out in a single layer on one slice of bread. Sprinkle the grated chocolate over the strawberries, cover everything with a layer of mint leaves, and close your sandwich with the second slice of bread.

Place half of the cocoa butter in a skillet over medium heat. Put the sandwich on top of the pat of cocoa butter so that the fat will soak into the bread rather than spreading around the pan. Cover the skillet and cook the sandwich for about two minutes, or until the bottom of the sandwich begins to turn golden-brown. Flip the sandwich, placing the remaining cocoa butter under the sandwich, and cook for another two minutes, covered.

Serve while it’s hot from the pan.

Hummus of the Gods (p. 88)

stylized illustration of Quetzalcoatl (sort of looks like a snake/dragon with two heads)

The pinch of asafoetida—another “food of the gods,” like chocolate—was just the thing this particular hummus needed to bring all the flavors together. This hummus makes a delightful treat for a potluck, and as a bonus, someone else will probably bring the vegetable sticks/chips/bread for dipping.

Consider making a double batch and storing half in the freezer for later so you don’t have to make it as often.

Makes 2 cups
Takes 30 minutes

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 small red beet, shredded
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus additional for garnish
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder plus additional for garnish
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of asafoetida powder
Cocoa nibs for garnish

Combine all ingredients, reserving any bean juice for recipes that require aquafaba. Blend the hummus for a smoother dip or mash by hand for a chunkier dip.

Serve with vegetable sticks and chips or bread.

Divine hummus: Press a small indentation into the center of the hummus, and pour a puddle of vegetable oil into it. Sprinkle cocoa powder or nibs on top.

Don’t use much tahini? If you live near a grocery store with an extensive bulk section, bring a small container and buy just what you need.

TIP: Asafoetida is one of those things that all your other spices might start to smell like, so double-contain it!

Chocolates we have loved

“Chocolate Coins” by William Warby via Wikipedia

The question everyone’s been asking us: so which chocolate should I buy?

Food is Power has already done the hard work of compiling and maintaining an up-to-date list of ethical fair trade (or better) vegan chocolates.  So we’ll leave that to them.

Here are the responsible chocolates we’ve latched onto over the years:

  • Dandelion: I’ve only actually had one of these, but it was given to me by a friend (who lists me in IM as dandelion, which pleases me).  Plus they’re bean-to-bar, so that’s something.
  • Divine: The company is partially owned by a cacao growers’ collective in Ghana.  The collective holds two seats on the board of directors and, as shareholders, collective members receive dividends from Divine’s profits. 
  • Diego’s chocolate: A lovely and uniquely made cigar-shaped chocolate that’s “Mayan-grown, Mayan-made from tree to chocolate in Guatemala”.  We mention these folks in our book.
  • El Castillo del Cacao – I’ve bee living in León, Nicaragua for a couple weeks now, and this locally-produced organic chocolate seems to be THE local option.
  • Heavenly Organics: Not vegan!  But so good, and they say they’re bee-friendly.  They buy from Indian worker-owned cooperatives they helped make. Unsweetened dark chocolate with a honey + simple flavoring center.  Great for folks like me who never wanted their peas touching their mashed potatoes (and shoved their chicken in the upholstery when I thought nobody was looking) at the dinner table growing up.  Simple, yet interesting.
  • Madecasse: Produced in Madagascar!  I liked their pink pepper & citrus one.  They recently seem to have grown?
  • Taza: Direct trade, based in the east coast.  Theirs is the round chocolate, usually kind of gritty like Mexican chocolate.  So great.
  • Theo: Based in Seattle, they’re into making fair trade, organic chocolate accessible.  I enjoy their mission statement, and I stock up on these to use as minor presents to give to friends & strangers as thank yous.
  • Tony’s Chocolonely: They’re also into making fair trade chocolate accessible, but they’re so single-minded about slave-free chocolate that they’re not focused on the organic aspect, and I can live with their logic. (They’re also aware of their environmental impact with dairy, which is a start.)  I do like how they’re reframing and mainstreamifying the fair trade concept.  Another chocolate that’s great for gift-giving.

Ranger Cookies by Heidi Timm (p.66)

Note: All mentions of aquafaba in this recipe actually came from the publisher, not Heidi.  She’s probably fine with it, but we didn’t notice those edits to run them past her.

We spent so much of the winter at Heidi’s café writing this cookbook and eating the most amazing baked goods in the entire city. She was kind enough to share one of her recipes with us. So if you happen to have a friend with cows and chickens, or maybe you’re actually freegan, this is our highlighted dairy recipe.

Heidi suggests that vegans can swap Smart Balance for the butter and replace the egg with a smashed ripe banana or 3 tablespoons of aquafaba.

Makes 15–20 cookies
Takes 45 minutes

1 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 cup dried sour cherries, chopped coarse
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces or chocolate chips
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 extra large egg or 3 tablespoons of aquafaba
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), with racks on the top and bottom thirds. Use parchment paper to line 2 sheet pans and set aside.

Pour dry ingredients into a bowl.

In another bowl combine the oats, pecans, dried cherries and chocolate.

In the mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly add the egg and beat until incorporated.

Gently sift, or with the mixer down to low, add the flour mixture to the bowl. Stir until just combined.

Finally incorporate the oats, nuts, fruit and chocolate with wooden spoon.

Use a 1/3 cup scoop, then press to 3/4 inch.

Bake the cookies, two trays at a time, for 12 minutes. Rotate at 6 mins. Cook until the cookies are uniformly golden, but still wet in the middle. They should appear slightly undercooked.

Remove from the oven and cool on the speed rack.

Aquafaba Cashew Ganache & Frosting by Goose Wohlt (p.48)

While we were writing this cookbook, we learned about this new-fangled ingredient called aquafaba. “Aqua” as in water, and “faba” as in bean. You may know it as the viscous water that garbanzo beans are packed in. Turns out that viscousness means it can do all sorts of amazing tricks! Plant-based meringue, anyone? Seriously. Aquafaba. It’s blowing minds and rocking the vegan world.

Goose Wohlt coined the term “aquafaba” and was the first to use it to make a vegan meringue in 2015. Shortly thereafter, Rebecca August started the “hits and misses” Facebook group where all the initial aquafaba experimentation emerged. These two luminaries of the aquafaba community have both graciously agreed to include a recipe for this cookbook. Serendipitously, their two recipes complement each other perfectly.


Chocolate ganache is typically made from chocolate and cream. In this recipe, the combination of blended cashews and aquafaba with a touch of coconut oil act as the cream substitute.

This recipe can be a bit temperamental to match up with the variation in aquafaba consistencies available, but once you find the right balance of aquafaba, cashew, and chocolate, it makes a super easy and quick dark-chocolate ganache. Using cashew cream made from aquafaba resulted in a nice and glossy ganache, even when set, without imparting any discernible bean or cashew flavor. The best part, it only takes a few minutes to whip together.

If you have 2/3 cup of aquafaba, top it off with water. Between the aquafaba and cashews, there is enough emulsification to prevent it from seizing the chocolate. The amount of cashews, aquafaba, and chocolate will determine how thick the final ganache is. If your aquafaba is really thick, use fewer cashews. If it’s really watery, go with the higher amount.

Makes 2–3 cups
Takes 15 minutes

8 ounces 50–70% dark chocolate
1/2–3/4 cup raw cashews, as needed
3/4 cup aquafaba
1 tablespoon refined coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

Put the chocolate in a medium-sized bowl and set it aside, along with a lid that will cover it, for when you’re done blending the other ingredients.

In a vitamix or other high speed blender, combine cashews, aquafaba, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt.


Blend on highest speed for no more than 3 minutes. The idea is to get the cashews as creamy as possible and steaming hot, but not so hot that they cook and emulsify. If your mixture doesn’t pour out of the blender without scraping when you’re done, it probably got too hot or there are too many cashews for your aquafaba. It should be like thick cream, not pudding. I don’t need to scrape the blender.

I haven’t tried it, but I suspect that if you don’t have a high speed blender, you probably need to soak the cashews in the aquafaba overnight in the fridge before blending, and you may need to heat the cashew cream just to a simmer on the stove after blending. A high speed blender like a Vitamix will heat it up on its own in short order, so you don’t need the additional soaking or heating steps. [We found that our small “Magic Bullet” blender heated the mixture to steaming, but your blender may vary.]

Once the cashew cream is hot, pour it over the chocolate and cover the bowl. Let the bowl sit, undisturbed, for four minutes, but not too much longer because you don’t want it to cool down too much. Stir it all together quickly until completely uniform. You want the chocolate to melt slowly, but not get too cold. Stir it until there are no more chocolate lumps.

Final temperature should be right at 88–89° F (31° C) .

If you’re using it to pour onto something, you can pour right away. Or, cool it in the fridge for a bit to harden and roll into balls for dipping in tempered chocolate.

Chocolate frosting: Eight ounces of chocolate will give you a fudge-like consistency when it sets up. If you want something closer to a wet frosting, go with less chocolate (e.g., 6 ounces).

Cookbook Style Guide – Handy References

We’re sharing the style guide and checklist we developed for this cookbook in the hopes that it will be useful for other people too.

The kitchen checklist (ODT & PDF) is to make sure you have all the relevant information when you’re done developing/testing the recipe.  The formatting checklist (ODT & PDF) covers some of the same items to be really sure the recipes are consistent and accurate; and adds a bunch of formatting & styling.  Some of it is based on the Microcosm style guide and other parts are from The Recipe Writer’s Handbook.

The recipe formatting checklist is a heavily used treasure trove of a resource that we referenced several times for each recipe in the book.

Saucy Roasted Eggplant (p.141) & Saucy Roasted Eggplant Pie

This easy eggplant dish gets rave reviews at potlucks.  The cocoa is used as a subtle spice, but for a bolder chocolate flavor you can use 1/4 cup of cocoa powder and increase the sugar to one tablespoon.

Makes one 8 x 13-inch cake pan
Takes 60-90 minutes

1 eggplant (about 1 pound)
13.5 ounces of coconut milk (about 2 cups)
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 teaspoons ras el hanout or garam masala
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Cut the eggplant into slices up to 1/4″ thick and put a single layer in the bottom of an oiled 8 x 13-inch cake pan.

Mix together the coconut milk, diced tomatoes, cocoa powder, ras el hanout, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.  Evenly distribute about half the sauce over the eggplant.  Add the remaining eggplant slices as a second layer, and then pour all the remaining sauce on top.

Roast until the eggplant is soft and completely saturated with the sauce.  This may take 40-60 minutes depending on your oven and the thickness of your eggplant slices.

Serve with a starchy food to sop up the sauce.

Fantastic burrito filling or bean dip: Keep any sauce that remains after baking.  Add the sauce to a couple cups of cooked black beans and heat it on the stove for 5-10 minutes.  If you mash the beans while cooking them, it also makes a great bean dip.

We used this recipe to make the filling for the savory pie we brought to Day #5 of Nine Days of Pie at Afru Gallery. It was a hit! We were informed that of hundreds of unique pies tried over the years, this was truly one of the best. High praise!

Someone asked Darin at the book reading today which chocolates he recommends as equitable. That’s a book of its own! [UPDATE: chocolates we have loved] However, Darin suggested Creo and Tony’s Chocolonely as a couple example chocolate companies he recommends to show the range of slavery-free chocolates that are sold locally. Here’s a blurb I thought was interesting from Tony’s Chocolonely’s FAQ:

Did you know that certified chocolate bars (e.g. Fair Trade) also contains non-certified cocoa – and vice versa? If you buy certified chocolate, you can be certain that somewhere in the world the quantity of certified beans needed to make your bar was purchased. It’s just not physically in your bar. It’s really not. We can tell you precisely where the cocoa in our chocolate comes from. We believe that traceability is a critical step toward 100% slave free chocolate.

Reminder: When making Saucy Roasted Eggplant, if you use a can of tomatoes, they’re typically pre-salted, so you can omit the called-for salt.

Saucy Roasted Eggplant Pie: Follow the Saucy Roasted Eggplant recipe above, with the following exceptions: Dice the eggplant into 1/2″ cubes instead of slicing it. It will only take up a single layer in the cake pan. That’s fine, just cover it with all the sauce. Dicing the eggplant means there’s more surface area. You don’t need to cook it as long; it took 35-45 minutes to soften in the oven we used – the goal is for it to provide almost no resistance when pierced with a fork. Remove the eggplant from the oven. Stir in two cans of beans (or four cups of cooked beans). We used one can of black and another of cannelini. Fills two standard pie shells.

If your pie shells don’t come with instructions, it’s probably sufficient to pierce the bottoms with a fork (after defrosting, if applicable), bake them at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, until they start to brown, take them out, add the filling, and bake them for another 10 minutes to help everything settle.