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Tag: cooking

Vegan in Japan (Part One)

History and Practical Tips

We made history running the very first vegan group trip to Japan, and it was a huge success. (And then we ran a second right after!)

While Buddhism-inspired vegetarianism has been part of the Japanese culture since around the 6th and 7th centuries, “veganism” as a concept is very new. In this first episode of what will be a podcast series, I provide a frame through which to understand the challenges and the threads of eating plant-based in Japan, including 

  • the influence of Buddhism and other factors that resulted in a mostly plant-based culture for a good portion of its history
  • how the move toward modernizing Japan — as of 1868 during the Meiji Restoration — instilled the habit of meat consumption 
  • the fact that Japanese cuisine is very regional and dependent upon tradition and location
  • how chefs are revered as the end-all, be-all of food preparation and to question ingredients they use (including animal products) could be seen as a challenge to their skill and expertise
  • the “foodie” fervor surrounding Japanese cuisine can sometimes border on the absurd, which gives rise to elaborate food rituals and ceremonies but can also provide ample material for satirical commentary

In the episode, I also provide a number of suggestions for what to look for generally if you are traveling in Japan as a joyful vegan, including

  • which items to look out for that typically have animal products in them
  • what and how to ask for vegan options
  • where to find the best options, generally speaking

LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE!

Jewish Cuisine

A Plant-Based Celebration of Diversity, Continuity, and Resiliency

On the one hand, “Jewish cuisine” or “Jewish food” is difficult to define, because it is influenced by the foods in the many countries where Jews have emigrated to. And it’s as diverse and adaptive as the Jewish people themselves.

On the other hand, there is indeed something we can call “Jewish food,” characterized by a rich tapestry of flavors, ingredients, and cooking techniques, and influenced by the dietary laws and culinary traditions found in Jewish religious texts.

Jewish cuisine celebrates diversity while at the same time serving as a unifying element for a community that has been dispersed across the world.

Let’s explore this together in today’s episode.

Colcannon (Irish Mashed Potatoes) Recipe

Vegan Colcannon — Plant-Based, Nutrient-Dense, and Delicious!

Colcannon is a wonderful example of traditional Irish cuisine, resonating with the principles of “cucina povera” or “poor cuisine” reminiscent of Italian cooking, as I’ve previously explored elsewhere, especially in my podcast.

Both culinary traditions share a common thread of resourcefulness and thriftiness, elevating humble ingredients into wholesome, comforting dishes. Just as “cucina povera” in Italian culture transforms simple ingredients like bread, olive oil, and tomatoes into exquisite creations such as Panzanella, colcannon epitomizes the Irish approach to turning basic staples, such as potatoes and greens, into a heartwarming, belly-filling, and flavorful masterpiece.

These culinary legacies, rooted in simplicity and tradition, remind us of the enduring connections between food, culture, and our own ancestral stories — especially for those of us with Irish roots.

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet or yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chopped kale (curly kale works well)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your preferred plant-based milk)
  • 4 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 4 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Boil the Potatoes:
    • Place the diced potatoes in a large pot and cover them with water. Add a pinch of salt to the water.
    • Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the potatoes for about 15-20 minutes, or until they are tender and can be easily pierced with a fork.
    • Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.
  2. Prepare the Kale:
    • While the potatoes are cooking, blanch the chopped kale in a separate pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes, or until it’s bright green and tender.
    • Drain the kale and rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. Mash the Potatoes:
    • Use a potato masher to mash the cooked potatoes until they are smooth and free of lumps.
  4. Add Plant-Based Milk and Vegan Butter:
    • To the mashed potatoes, add the unsweetened almond milk and vegan butter. Mix well until the butter has melted, and the mixture is creamy. Adjust the milk and butter to achieve your desired consistency.
  5. Fold in Kale and Green Onions:
    • Gently fold the blanched kale and sliced green onions into the mashed potatoes. Ensure they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  6. Season and Serve:
    • Season the colcannon with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
    • Serve your vegan colcannon hot, and enjoy this comforting and flavorful dish!

This vegan colcannon is a delicious, plant-based twist on the traditional Irish dish, perfect for a hearty meal any time of the year, especially around St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween.

Did You Know?

Traditionally, colcannon was a cherished dish served during Allhallowtide, a period encompassing All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween / October 31st), All Saints’ Day (November 1st), and All Soul’s Day (November 2nd). This hearty Irish fare, consisting of mashed potatoes, kale or cabbage, and often accompanied by hidden treasures like rings and coins, was not only a delicious treat but also a part of festive fortune-telling rituals.

Rising Food Prices, Healthy Food Choices

How to Eat Well on a Budget

Those who already know the health, ethical, and environmental benefits of a whole foods plant-based diet also know the economical advantages as well.

For years, it has been my pleasure to give people the tools and resources they need to eat healthfully and compassionately – affordably. And by “affordably,” I’m not talking about eating cheap food.

Cost goes well beyond dollars and sense, and eating healthfully affordably means considering all the costs of our consumption – costs to our health, to the Earth, to the people who produce it, to the animals, and to our spirits. 

Eat at home.

People often complain that they don’t have time to eat and cook healthfully, but if we were really honest, we’d realize that it’s not that we don’t have the time; it’s that we don’t make the effort.

If we have the time to pack the family into the car, drive to a restaurant, wait for a table, decide what to order, wait for the food, pay the bill, and drive back home, then we have time to chop some vegetables and make a delicious, inexpensive meal at home. 

Be a savvy shopper. 

Instead of looking only at the retail price for items in the grocery store, look at the unit price. The “unit price” tells you the cost per pound, quart, or other unit of weight or volume of a food package and is usually posted on the shelf below the food.

Instead of paying for brand names and packaging, buy your dried foods from the bulk bins, including pasta, grains, flour, oatmeal, lentils, beans, even herbs and spices. Fill them up in containers and bags you bring from home. 

Cook from scratch.

Not only is it less expensive to cook using food from the bulk bins, such as beans and lentils, but when it comes to baking, nothing beats starting from scratch – both in terms of taste and cost.

For instance, one batch of a dozen Drop Biscuits from my cookbook The Joy of Vegan Baking costs about $1.15; that’s $.10 per biscuit. This goes for any baked good – especially those made without dairy or eggs. When you buy cake mixes in a box, you pay a lot of money for what is essentially just flour, sugar, and baking powder. 

if we don’t have time to be sick, we need to make time to be healthy. 

~Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

Choose nutrient-dense foods.

Get the most bang for your monetary buck and your nutritional buck. When we eat “empty calories” (foods and beverages that have the same energy content of any other calorie but devoid of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, amino acids, and fiber), we spend precious calories (and dollars) and receive no benefit in return. So in terms of cost-savings, consider nutrient-density the goal.

Plan ahead.

We should never decide what to have for dinner at dinnertime. Knowing the night before – or at least that morning – and preparing in advance prevents us from making unhealthful and expensive choices when we’re already hungry. Planning ahead when we shop is also helpful so that we buy just what we need for the meals we’ve planned instead of falling victim to impulse or empty-calorie purchases. 

Also, bringing healthful snacks when we hit the road ensures that we’ll be covered when hunger hits. Vending machines rely on our not having planned ahead, so make some snacks ahead of time and bring them along.

These are just some ways to increase our savings as well as our health. After all, if we don’t have time to be sick, we need to make time to be healthy. 

Tofu Scrambling to Heal my Broken Bones

I recently broke my ankle (ouch!), but I’m not letting that stop me from healing as joyfully and deliciously as possible. Inspired by my best friend who broke BOTH HER ANKLES at the same time, I’m documenting the nutrient-dense meals I’m eating with a focus on bone-healing nutrients.

And we’re starting with this 𝑻𝑶𝑭𝑼 𝑺𝑪𝑹𝑨𝑴𝑩𝑳𝑬 with bell peppers, carrots, red onion, spinach, turmeric, and avocado!

TOFU

First up, we’ve got TOFU, which is a total powerhouse of plant-based protein and minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc, all of which support my 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒕𝒉 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒓𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚.

BELL PEPPERS AND CARROTS

Then, we’ve got BELL PEPPERS and CARROTS, loaded with vitamins A and C, which are essential for 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒏𝒈𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒏𝒈. Plus, they help produce collagen, which is crucial for 𝒇𝒊𝒙𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒅𝒂𝒎𝒂𝒈𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒔𝒖𝒆𝒔.

RED ONIONS

Next up, we’ve got RED ONIONS, packing a punch of flavonoids and quercetin, which have 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊-𝒊𝒏𝒇𝒍𝒂𝒎𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒙𝒊𝒅𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒕𝒊𝒆𝒔.

Translation: they’re gonna help 𝒓𝒆𝒅𝒖𝒄𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒘𝒆𝒍𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒑𝒂𝒊𝒏 in my ankle and keep me feeling good overall.

SPINANCH

Spinach is a fantastic source of vitamin K, which is essential for bone health and helps with the absorption of calcium. It’s also packed with other vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and magnesium.

TURMERIC

TURMERIC is the next superstar ingredient, with its curcumin providing 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊-𝒊𝒏𝒇𝒍𝒂𝒎𝒎𝒂𝒕𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒙𝒊𝒅𝒂𝒏𝒕 𝒃𝒆𝒏𝒆𝒇𝒊𝒕𝒔 that help with inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are major players in 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒊𝒏𝒈.

And last but not least, we’ve got AVOCADO, with its healthy fats, vitamins K and C, and potassium, all supporting my 𝒃𝒐𝒏𝒆 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒕𝒉 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒂𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒉 𝒆𝒙𝒕𝒓𝒂 𝒄𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒅𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒊𝒐𝒖𝒔.

Tofu Scramble Recipe

Of course you can add whatever veggies, spices, or herbs you like! Here’s a nice basic nutrient-dense scramble! (More recipes in my library of On-Demand Cooking Classes; you get video demonstrations + printable recipes!)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons water or 1 tablespoon olive oil for sautéing
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, or green), diced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 16-ounce package firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup raw spinach leaves, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Heat the water or oil in a sauté pan.

Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the peppers and carrots, and sauté for another few minutes, until the onions and peppers are tender.

Next, using your hands, crumble the tofu into the pan to create the consistency of coarse breadcrumbs, and stir to combine.

Add the spinach, turmeric, salt, and pepper, and sauté for about 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the tofu is a bright yellow color and thoroughly heated. Season to taste, and serve.

Traditional Polenta: Three Ways

Creamy Polenta, Polenta Squares, and Polenta Fries!

Polenta is a traditional Northern Italian dish made from boiled cornmeal that has been a staple in Italian cuisine for centuries. It is a simple and hearty dish that can be served on its own or as a base for a variety of toppings and sauces. Despite its humble origins, polenta has gained widespread popularity around the world for its versatility, comforting texture, and delicious flavor.

Polenta can be traced back to ancient Roman times when it was known as puls, a porridge made from a variety of grains, including barley and millet. In medieval times, polenta was made from chestnut flour, which was abundant in the northern regions of Italy. It wasn’t until the 16th century that corn, which had been introduced to Europe from the Americas, became the primary ingredient in polenta.

Creamy Polenta

To make polenta, cornmeal is slowly simmered in water or stock until it thickens and becomes creamy. It is traditionally stirred constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps from forming and to achieve a smooth and velvety texture. Once cooked, polenta can be served hot, topped with a variety of savory or sweet ingredients, or chilled and sliced into wedges to be fried or grilled.

Polenta can also be used as a base for a variety of dishes, such as polenta lasagna, where layers of polenta are substituted for pasta, or polenta cakes, which are a delicious gluten-free alternative to traditional cakes.

The typical ratio for making polenta is 4 parts coarse cornmeal to 1 cup water, though I tend to add a little more, especially when making creamy polenta — to ensure it retains its creamy texture and doesn’t set up too quickly.

Ingredients

4-1/4 cups water (or half vegetable stock and half water)

1 cup (170 g) coarse cornmeal (polenta)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 tablespoon nondairy butter (such as Miyoko’s or Earth Balance)

1 teaspoon salt, added gradually (and you may not use all; depends on your taste)

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the water over low-medium heat until it comes to a full boil. Secure the lid to accelerate the process.

Once the water is boiling rapidly, slowly add the cornmeal, whisking continually as you do to prevent lumps. The mixture will be hot and bubbling, so be careful not to get splattered. Just keep steadily stirring, and don’t walk away.

Once the polenta is fully incorporated and you’re certain you have no lumps, reduce the heat to low, and maintain a gentle simmer while the cornmeal continues to thicken up, just a minute or two.

At this point, cover the pot with a lid, and set your timer for 20 minutes, returning every 5 minutes to uncover it and give it a stir with a wooden spoon. You don’t have to stand at the stove stirring the polenta the entire time; just return every 5 minutes, give it a stir, then re-cover. This will result in the creamiest, silkiest polenta.

After 20 minutes, remove from the heat and add the butter and the teaspoon of salt. Stir until fully incorporated, taste to adjust seasonings, adding additional salt or freshly ground pepper. Cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.

At this point, you can plate up the polenta right away, or continue on to make the polenta squares or fries — below.

Polenta Squares (or Hearts)

Once cooked (as above), the polenta can be spread out in a dish to cool and set. Once firm, it can be cut into squares, triangles, or any other shape you desire.

To make polenta squares or “cakes,” you can use the same basic recipe for traditional polenta above. The key is to allow the cooked polenta to cool and set before cutting it into shapes. This can be done by pouring the cooked polenta into a greased baking dish or sheet pan and spreading it out evenly.

Once it has cooled and set, the polenta can be cut into squares or other shapes and served as a side dish or used as a base for a variety of dishes.

One popular way to enjoy polenta squares is to fry them until crispy and golden brown. They can be served as a side dish or as a base for toppings such as roasted vegetables or tomato sauce.

Polenta Fries

Nary a week goes by that I don’t make these golden fries of goodness. These fries are perfect as a side dish, a snack, or a starter. For parties, I serve them up in their own individual bowls, along with some dipping sauce. Because the polenta has to set up before you can make the fries, just plan ahead a few hours. You can also set the polenta up overnight.

Directions

Once the polenta is set up and you’re ready to make your fries, take it out of the fridge, and cut your polenta into uniform slices resembling large french fries.

Gently brush or spray the polenta slices with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Air fryer method
The air fryer is my preferred method for these fries, but you can also use an oven; it will just take longer. Place as many of the polenta fries in your air fryer basket that will fit as a single layer without overlapping, and lightly mist the tops with cooking spray.

Cook in an air fryer to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), for 15 minutes. Gently flip the fries with a spatula and cook until crispy, about 5 minutes longer, or to your preferred crispiness. Transfer the fries to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining fries. Best served while hot, they are perfectly fine at room temperature.

Oven method
An air fryer is just a compact convection oven, so you can absolutely make these in a regular oven, preferably at the convection setting. Preheat your oven to 350, spread the polenta on a parchment lined baking sheet, bake for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through, until they reach your preferred crispiness.

Polenta is often considered a staple dish in Italian “cucina povera,” which translates to “poor kitchen” or “peasant cooking.” It was a simple and affordable dish made from cornmeal and water that sustained people for centuries. Today, polenta is enjoyed as a versatile and delicious dish that can be served in many different ways.

You May Also Be Interested In

Best Online Vegan Cooking Classes — Plant-Based and Zero Waste

The Art of Teaching Cooking

Ever since I started teaching vegan cooking classes in 1999, I’ve loved the art behind choosing the class theme and crafting the menu, whether it’s based on:

First and foremost, of course, is the fact that everything I teach is vegan, but after that, a world of possibilities awaits! I’m inspired by different cuisines and cultures, spices and flavors, textures and techniques, but mostly what I desire is to inspire someone to get into the kitchen to create food that will nurture, nourish, and delight.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau teaching virtual vegan cooking classes

Engaging the Senses

Cooking is a sensual experience in that all of our senses are engaged, and our experience of eating begins long before we start chewing — what a dish looks like, what the kitchen smells like, what a recipe is called, what a food sounds like during preparation or cooking, and what it feels like to touch it with our hands, our teeth, and our tongue. What memories are evoked.

I consider all of these factors when developing my recipes and crafting my classes, and the greatest gift for me is to know that one — even just one — of my recipes may become part of someone’s repertoire. That they will follow instructions I’ve carefully considered. That they will make culinary tweaks and tickles to adjust it to their liking. That they will enjoy the process as much as the result.

Online cooking classes are fun, interactive, and enjoyed globally

Join a Class in 2023

The first half of 2023 is scheduled out, and I hope you can join me. Click on each to book your spot, and enjoy a discount when you book more than one class.

𝐅𝐄𝐁𝐑𝐔𝐀𝐑𝐘: Cozy Colorful Soups ⁠(Purple Kale and White Bean Soup, Six Shades of Red Soup, Brazilian Black Bean Stew)

𝐌𝐀𝐑𝐂𝐇: Classic Northern Italian Cuisine ⁠(Saffron Risotto (Risotto alla Milanese), Homemade Gnocchi with Pesto Sauce, Polenta alla Spianatora)

𝐀𝐏𝐑𝐈𝐋: Simple Southern Italian Cuisine ⁠(Stuffed Shells with Marinara Sauce, Spaghetti with Lentil Meatballs, Eggplant Caponata)

𝐌𝐀𝐘: Homemade Tofu and Soy Milk (Save money, eliminate packaging, and increase your cooking skills!)⁠

𝐉𝐔𝐍𝐄: Plant-based Food and Wine Pairings (Join me and my partner-in-wine (i.e. my husband) for this special class in which we provide a comprehensive lesson for the best red, white, and rose wines and the plant-based foods they pair with.)⁠

If you can’t decide, remember 𝐆𝐈𝐅𝐓 𝐂𝐀𝐑𝐃𝐒 are also available!⁠

The classes are fun, interactive, and live in real-time! This means, I see you, you see all the other participants, and you see me cooking in my Oakland kitchen and answering your questions. What’s more: you receive all the recipes in advance of the class and a video recording of the class after it’s over. 

Visit JoyfulVegan.com to join a class today

What type of cooking classes or recipes are you looking for? Comment down below.

St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu

Vegan Irish Cuisine

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 🍀🇮🇪 Today, we’re taking a deep dive into the rich culinary heritage of Ireland, celebrating the delicious traditional foods that have been passed down for generations and making a St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu.

You heard that right.

Traditions are meant to be adapted. Traditions are meant to reflect our values. So, let’s get to it.

Irish cuisine is hearty and comforting — thick soups, chunky stews, creamy sides, and warming drinks. This is the food I grew up on in my Irish-American family. My name IS, after all, Colleen Patrick — Colleen meaning “girl” and Patrick referring to the patron saint of this holiday. (The “Goudreau” part of my last name comes from my husband.)

Officially, I’m 75% Irish and 25% Italian, my ancestors having immigrated to the United States in the late 19th century. And I’m 100% vegan. So, that makes a St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu right up my alley! 😇

St. Patrick’s Day History

The history of St. Patrick’s Day dates back to the 17th century, when it was first observed as a religious feast day by the Catholic Church in Ireland. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was a fifth-century Christian missionary who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland.

He is also known for using the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the Irish people.

Over time, St. Patrick’s Day became a public holiday in Ireland, and it was celebrated with religious ceremonies and feasts. It was also a day when people would wear green, which is now a symbol of Ireland and a nod to the country’s lush green landscape.

In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day became popular among Irish immigrants in the late 19th century. These immigrants organized parades and other celebrations to celebrate their heritage and culture. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday in Ireland and is celebrated around the world.

Irish Main Dishes and Sides

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE (AMERICAN): One of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day food traditions is corned beef and cabbage, and I have memories of my mother cooking this in the slow cooker every March. However, this dish is not actually a traditional Irish meal. It is believed to have originated in the United States in the mid-19th century, when Irish immigrants substituted corned beef for bacon, which was more expensive in America.

Hearty Irish Vegan Stew

HEARTY STEW (IRISH): In Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is more commonly celebrated with a traditional Irish meal of a thick, hearty stew with potatoes, carrots, and onions. For my vegan version, I use plant-based meat, though you can just leave that out and just feature root vegetables. You can use store-bought seitan, sausage, or any favorite vegan meat. To avoid extra packaging and cost, I make my own seitan, which is much more economical and ecological. You can find my recipe in the on-demand class library, or just click on the button below:

COLCANNON (IRISH): Another traditional Irish dish is colcannon, a delicious and creamy mixture of mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. This simple yet satisfying dish would be served with a dollop of (nondairy) butter, and it’s a great accompaniment to any main dish. It is also a perfect way to get some St. Patrick’s Day GREEN in your menu — using healthy, delicious greens. You can take that further by making a side of

  • kale chips
  • sauteed collard greens
  • pea soup
  • spinach or arugula salad

Think green!

BOXTY (IRISH): An alternative to colcannon is boxty, a traditional Irish potato pancake. There are different regional variations of boxty throughout Ireland, with some recipes including other ingredients like onions, garlic, or herbs. Boxty has been a staple of Irish cuisine for centuries and is still popular today, particularly in rural areas of the country.

I demonstrate how to make boxty in my St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu, which provides my video instruction with tons of tips and tricks.

SODA BREAD (IRISH): Another traditional item for this holiday is soda bread, which has been a staple in Irish cuisine for many years, and it’s still enjoyed today for a few reasons. One of the main reasons is that it’s a simple bread to make using basic ingredients that were readily available to the Irish people throughout history, including flour, salt, baking soda, and soured milk (or buttermilk).

Using plant-based milk instead of animal milk is an easy vegan switcheroo for a bread that is otherwise vegan. Enjoy my recipe for Irish Soda Bread here.

Irish Dessert and Drinks

For dessert, Irish people often enjoy traditional dishes like apple cake, bread pudding, or trifle. They may also indulge in Guinness beer (now vegan!), Bailey’s Irish Cream (a vegan version now available!), or Irish whiskey (always been vegan, thank goodness!). 😇 These iconic Irish beverages have been enjoyed for centuries, and their rich flavors are the perfect complement to any traditional Irish meal.

You can enjoy my Whisky Apple Cake recipe as part of the St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu. And if you have my book, Color Me Vegan, you will find a beautiful Green Matcha Cupcake, which is a fun way to feature some of the Irish green!

Green Recipe Inspiration!

Here are some more ideas for green recipes for St. Patrick’s Day:

Green Matcha Smoothie with Blueberries
  1. Green smoothie bowl: Blend spinach, banana, kiwi, and coconut milk to make a creamy and nutritious green smoothie. Top with sliced fruit, granola, and nuts for a satisfying breakfast or snack.
  2. Irish soda bread with green herbs: Add chopped green herbs like parsley, chives, or basil to your Irish soda bread dough to give it a fresh and savory twist.
  3. Shamrock avocado toast: Spread mashed avocado onto toasted bread and use a cookie cutter to cut the shape of a shamrock. Top with sliced cherry tomatoes, green onions, and a sprinkle of sea salt.
  4. Green hummus: Blend chickpeas, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Add a handful of fresh parsley, cilantro, or spinach and blend until the mixture turns bright green. Serve with pita chips or crudites.
  5. Matcha latte: Whisk together matcha powder, agave, and warm plant-based milk to make a frothy and invigorating green tea latte.
  6. Pistachio “nice” cream: Make a homemade pistachio nice cream by blending pistachios into your frozen bananas. Blend the mixture in a blender until it’s thick and creamy.
  7. Shamrock sugar cookies: Make sugar cookie dough and add green food coloring to the mix. Cut out shamrock shapes with cookie cutters, bake, and decorate with green icing and sprinkles.

So let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in true Irish style with delicious, nutritious, compassionate vegan recipes! You can find my video, recipes, and menu of TRADITIONAL IRISH STEW, POTATO PANCAKES (BOXTY), AND APPLE CRUMBLE by clicking on the button below.

St. Patrick’s Day Vegan Menu Ideas

What are your favorite vegan St. Patrick’s Day recipes? Let me know in the comments below!

Vegan Passover Menu

Why a plant-based Seder beautifully reflects the values of this important Jewish holiday

A brief history of Passover

The story of Passover dates back over 3,000 years ago when the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt under the rule of the Pharaoh. Moses, who was raised as an Egyptian, learned of his true heritage and led the Israelites to freedom.

After enduring a series of plagues, including the death of all their firstborn, the Pharaoh finally relented and let the Israelites leave Egypt. They were in such a hurry to leave that they did not have time to let their bread rise, and instead made unleavened bread to take with them on their journey.

The Passover Seder, the ritual feast that begins the Passover holiday, includes a retelling of the Exodus story, using symbolic foods and rituals that represent the Jewish people’s journey to freedom. It is a time for families and communities to come together and share in the tradition, history, and values that have sustained the Jewish people for generations.

How the values of Passover and veganism align

Passover commemorates the Jewish people’s journey from slavery to freedom, and emphasizes the importance of treating others with dignity and respect.

Similarly, veganism seeks to minimize harm to animals and reduce exploitation in the food system, promoting compassion for all beings.

Both values highlight the importance of recognizing the inherent worth and value of all individuals, regardless of their species, background, or circumstances. Freedom from harm, liberation from enslavement, and hope for a better future are central values in both Passover and veganism.

Vegan Passover Seder menu

The Seder, which means “order,” is the traditional Passover meal that includes reading, drinking wine, telling stories, remembering history, eating special foods, singing, and other Passover traditions.

One significant practice of this holiday involves the removal of leavened foods commemorating the fact that the slaves fleeing Egypt did not have time to let their bread rise.

Matzo represents this unleavened bread and is used in many forms throughout the holiday — as crackers, as flour, as meal / bread crumbs, as bread. 

Options for a vegan Passover menu abound, and you can find 11 delicious recipes in my specially curated RECIPE BUNDLE FOR A VEGAN PASSOVER. Enjoy these easy-to-make, eager-to-please recipes for:

  • Matzo Ball Soup
  • Borscht (Beet Soup)
  • Charoset
  • Noodle Kugel
  • Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers
  • Roasted Beets and Fennel Bulbs with Fennel Oil
  • Matzo Pizza with Cashew Mozzarella
  • Mushroom Walnut Pâté
  • Matzo Chocolate Brittle
  • Flourless Chocolate Tart
  • Coconut Macaroons

Most of the ingredients in these recipes are whole plant foods, some of them call for store-bought ingredients, such as olive oil or balsamic vinegar. If you are keeping kosher for Passover, just double-check your commercially bought ingredients before using.

I included ingredients that you should have no problem finding certified kosher, but depending on how observant you or your host and their guests are, you’ll want to double-check if they’re labeled “kosher for Passover.”

Your best bet is to check a kosher grocery store, the kosher section of a larger grocery, or one of the many online stores that carry kosher products, especially if they come from Israel!

GET YOUR PASSOVER BUNDLE TODAY!

Vegan Seder plate

The six symbolic foods on the Seder plate play an important role, since they’re used to recount the story of the exodus and convey the elements of the powerful message of Passover: that freedom is possible, that slavery can end, and that the future can be better than the past.

Many plant foods are already traditionally part of the Seder plate, namely:

  • Charoset, which represents the mortar that Jews worked with when they were enslaved by the Egyptians. Ashkenazi Jews typically make charoset with apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and wine; Sephardic Jews often use figs and dates. Also delicious.
  • Bitter herbs, which symbolize the bitterness and harshness of slavery. This is often represented with horseradish.
  • Additional bitter herbs, such as romaine lettuce or endive, have the same effect.
  • A green vegetable, such as parsley, which represents new life, is dipped in salt water, signifying the tears of the slaves.

A couple animal products are also used as symbols, namely a boiled egg to symbolize new life and a shank bone to represent the lamb who was offered for sacrifice, but non-animal alternatives are widely accepted:

  • The most common vegan substitute for the shank bone is a roasted beet, whose “bloody” appearance is used to represent the blood of the sacrificial lambs. Beets are referenced as a Passover Seder option in the Talmud.
  • While the egg doesn’t have the same kind of long-established traditional substitute, there are a few different options used by Jewish vegans in its place:
    • something egg-shaped — like a plastic or wooden egg, or even a smooth rock 
    • seeds, because they symbolize and hold the potential for new life, can be used in place of an egg. An avocado pit is used by many because it is a seed and it somewhat resembles the shape of the egg it is replacing.
    • the type of eggplant that is round and white is a great substitute; it even looks like an egg.  
    • rice, being outside of the category for grains forbidden to eat at Passover, was another vegetarian Seder option given in the Talmud.

Pick the one that resonates with you and take heart in the fact that a vegan Seder is not only traditional in its own right, it reflects the principles of freedom and mercy that signify this holiday.

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