Feeding a Vegan Family

When people hear we are vegans they often ask me how I feed my children, or say, “I could do it for myself, but my family would never go for it!”  This blog is the explanation.  It is a record of all the wonderful foods and recipes we discover, invent and evolve as a family. But most of all, it is food made into visible love.

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Apple Squash Pancakes


Gluten free, sugar free, vegan

This week we went apple picking and this morning I put together apple pancakes that were good for all eating plans. I started with whatever gluten free flour was in the cupboard, used the last squash from my garden (a wee little one) as a thickener, and threw in apples. The results were delicious!

3/4 C of brown rice flour (or any gluten free flour)

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 tablespoon flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons water

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 C of cooked acorn squash

1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (I used cashew milk)

1 apple chopped into bite-sized pieces

1/4 C toasted pecans

optional: 2 tablespoons coconut cream

optional: 1/8 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger

optional: 2 tablespoons sugar (no longer sugar free!)


Sift or shake together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Mash together the non-dairy milk with the squash, flax seed mix and optional coconut cream. Combine. Fold in apples, pecans and optional ginger.

Cook as you would any pancake on a griddle or large skillet. Serve with maple syrup or just eat them plain! The squash gives them a slightly creamy texture.


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Hummus 202

We continue our Hummus production research—cooking our own every weekend, and eating at Tel Aviv’s finest Hummus joints whenever we visit.

People who sampled this updated Hummus recipe say it rivals any Tel Aviv restaurant!


2 cup dry chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
5 peeled garlic cloves
1 cup tahini paste
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
thin(!) slice of a hot pepper
1 tsp salt
olive oil
paprika, ground cumin
chopped parsley

Making the Hummus

  1. Check the dry hummus carefully. Remove any debris and strange looking beans.
  2. Soak in cold water for at least 24 hours. Change the water every several hours.
  3. Drain and add to plenty of boiling water
  4. Skim any foam that collects on top
  5. Add the baking soda. Continue to skim the foam as needed.
  6. Once the foam stops collecting, add the garlic. Continue to cook until the beans are soft (about 40 minutes, but will vary according to beans).
  7. Drain and set aside the cooking liquid
  8. Split the drained, cooked beans evenly into two containers. One should contain all the garlic.
  9. In a blender, combine and blend the tahini, lemon juice, salt, a little cumin, pepper, and 2.5 cups of cooking liquid.
  10. Add the beans with the garlic. Blend.
  11. Combine the resulting smooth hummus with the whole beans in the 2nd container
  12. Pour the mixture into bowls. Serve with a little olive oil, Paprika, a little parsley, and optionally some lemon juice, on top.



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Simple Summer Vegetable Lunch

Simple vegetable lunch, 15-20 minutes to prep and cook:

Steamed (in the microwave) asparagus laid over a bed of salad (lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red pepper, cabbage shreds, and toasted pumpkin seeds tossed lightly in lemon juice and olive oil and some kosher salt)

Quick sauté in olive oil of corn cut off the cob, sliced mushrooms, sliced red peppers, salt and red pepper flakes.

Set up the sauté first, then as it cooks, prep the salad and steam the asparagus, while occasionally stirring the sauté. The corn dish is unbelievably tasty.

The remainder of the asparagus bunch was left out on a plate in the center of the kitchen butcher block and was completely scarfed up by 3 15-yr-old boys as a snack.


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Broccoli Cornmeal Fritters

I was avoiding the fairly empty refrigerator before dinner and thinking about how much I didn’t want to go shopping. In my usual head-on approach to a necessary task,  I was sneaking a read on my iPad Kindle app when a pop-up notification appeared telling me the July issue of BHG was on my ipad. In some fit of domesticity I ordered an electronic subscription several months ago and had kind of forgotten about it. I went straight to the recipe index and noticed a whole section on broccoli. Hmm, thought I, I have broccoli in the fridge…
A few tweaks of the recipe to “veganize” it for Irad (whole wheat flour, flax seed in place of eggs, rice milk in place of milk), and voilà!

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup corn meal
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 and 1/2 cups of rice milk
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
One head of finely chopped broccoli, softened by steaming or in microwave for 2 minutes
Mix dry ingredients together. Fold in the rice milk quickly along with the broccoli.
Form the fritters into patties, and fry lightly in pan. Serve immediately with a light salad.

Optional: Add-in fresh corn kernels

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Hummus 201

I decided it was time to update our hummus recipe, because we have changed our own recipe over the last few years. This version does not require a Vita-mix to make your own tahini, but it does require access to a store that sells tahini. The best tahini is usually found at an Arab specialty market, but markets like Whole Foods also sell it.


Thorough research, which included eating hummus in numerous places around Tel Aviv, exchanging tips with fellow hummus makers, and receiving requests from people who do not have a Vitamix, and a lot of experimentation, led to the following winning recipe:


1 cup dry chickpeas
1 tsp baking soda
3 garlic cloves
1 cup tahini paste
2  lemons
1/3rd fresh Jalapeño pepper
1 tsp salt
olive oil
paprika, ground cumin
1. Soak the chickpeas overnight
2. Drain the  soaked chickpeas, and cook in plenty of water, with 3 garlic cloves and 1 tsp baking soda, until soft (about 40 minutes, but will vary according to beans)
3. IMPORTANT! The baking soda will cause a stiff foam to collect on top of the boiling water. SKIM THIS FOAM OFF AND DISCARD. This is the magic secret process for good hummus.
4. Drain the of beans, set aside the cooking liquid
5. Set one cup of cooked chickpeas aside, and place the rest in a food processor
6. Add the tahini, the juice of one lemon, salt, very little ground cumin, Jalapeño, and 1.5 cups of the cooking liquid
7. Blend until you get smooth consistency. Add liquid if necessary
8. Pour the fresh hummus into 3 bowls. Sprinkle the whole beans, set aside in step 5, on top
9. Add olive oil and the juice of one lemon on top. Sprinkle with Paprika.


We eat this hummus every weekend, and each time the kids claim it is the best ever…4-assembly

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Roasted Brussel Sprouts


Nothing could be simpler than roasting brussel sprouts.

1 lb brussel sprouts1 Tbs olive oil
Kosher salt (sea salt, Himalayan salt—a coarse grinding salt.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prep brussel sprouts by trimming stem off and slicing in half. Lay them out single layer on a jelly roll pan. Sprinkle the olive oil on to the pan and shake and roll them around to coat them and the pan. Grind salt over the top.

Put in heated oven for 10 minutes. Open oven and grab pan (with pot holder!) and shake them around, or flip them with a spatula. Heat another 10 minutes.
Serve immediately. I often lay these out right as kids get home from school and are hungry for snacking and… they disappear.

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Beet Bonanza: Apple Walnut Salad AND Bonus Borscht


This is a salad I learned to make in Israel. Most recipes from Israel are either eastern European in origin, or middle eastern, and this belongs to the former. In Israel there are hundreds of ways to prepare beets, and thousands of ways to prepare eggplant. This salad lands on the sweet side of the spectrum.

6 good sized beets
2 apples
1 Cup walnuts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 fresh lemon
salt to taste

Cook beets in the skin. Remove beets from pan and reserve cooking water for borscht. Run beets under cold water and slip skins off. Chop beets into cubes on cutting board – plastic cutting board is good because a lot of red beet juice will soak into your wooden cutting board. (It can be removed with a good scrub.)

Cube apples and chop walnuts. Mix together with beets, add lemon juice, olive oil and salt (lemon and olive oil and salt is the ubiquitous middle eastern dressing). Chill and serve!



Also in Israel, Borscht is served as a cold drink, not just a soup.

Take the reserved cooking water from your beets, mix in juice of 2 lemons and 1/4 cup of sugar. The juice will take on a bright red color. Chill and serve as refreshing drink.

Garnish: Often sour cream is added to this. I like it as is, but it is possible to add a vegan tofu sour cream and whip in with whisk.

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Fava Beans (Ful)


These middle eastern beans are a wonderful source of protein. I call them the steak of the bean family. We do a very simple preparation:
1 Cup of large fava beans (called ful in the middle east)
Water for boiling
Large onion
2 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs salt (or more to taste)

Soak beans overnight. Cover with water and boil for 2 hours.
Drain and set aside.
Saute large onion to point of carmelization.
Combine cooked beans and carmelized onion with 2 Tbs cumin and salt to taste. Cover with water and simmer for another hour until the beans are sitting in a thick broth.

Serve with lemon juice and parsely. Eat them plain or over couscous, or grain of your choice.

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Colorful Fall Salad

Colorful Fall Salad

Colorful Fall Salad

This is a colorful and simple salad with a high “wow” factor.

Julienne dinosaur kale, red cabbage and carrots (I use a hand grater to quickly grate the carrots,) mix with a splash of olive oil and the juice of one lemon. Add kosher salt. Slice an avocado over the top, mash it in and mix it all together. For added punch throw in some toasted sunflower seeds.


The result is an incredibly tasty, highly colorful and very nutritious raw salad that will complement any meal. Or pair it with crusty, fresh baked bread for a light lunch. Kids actually love it, too!

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White Bean, Kale, and Sweet Potato Casserole

ImageThis hearty casserole melds contrasting textures and flavors in a heart-warming stew. The beans add richness, the kale a slight bitterness, the sweet potato, well, sweetness! Somehow it all comes together, topped with veggie sausage, to create a rich and satisfying melt-in-your-mouth winter meal. This was another slow-cooker experiment for me—and it worked beautifully cooking all day and filling the house with wonderful aromas—but it can also be done successfully in a dutch oven or large sauce pan at a slow simmer for 45 minutes. Either way, kale is added towards the end of cook-time, and sausage comes on post-pot.

1 large onion
2 cans of white beans (cannellini beans)
2 medium sweet potatos
1-2 parsnips
1-2 carrots
Bunch of lacinato kale (or any dark greens)
pinch of thyme
bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of water
2 Tofurky Italian Sausage

Slow-cooker method: Sauté the onions until translucent. Put in ceramic cooker pot. Add the bay leaf, thyme, carrots, parsnip, beans and sweet potato. Season with salt and pepper. Add one cup of water. Cover and cook on low for eight hours. During last half hour of cooking, stir in chopped kale.

Slice the veggie sausage into small bite size chunks and light brown in frying pan. Dish your bowls of stew into serving dish, and put a sprinkling of sausage pieces on the top.

If you are cooking stove-top, use 2 cups of water instead of one, simmer for half an hour. Add kale and cook for another 15 minutes. Serve as above.

I doubled the recipe for my family of five, which gave us a good sized dinner with some fresh bread and salad on the side—and leftovers for lunches.

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