Pecan Snowball Cookies Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Vegan

My spouse’s favorite holiday treats are pecan shortbread cookies, so I figured out how to make them gluten and dairy-free so that I can enjoy them too. The ingredients are simple and they are pretty easy to make. I did the whole thing in my food processor. I found out that no matter how many you make, you always want more because they disappear so fast.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15-18 minutes

Chill Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 43 minutes

Servings: 32


1 cup PECANS - finely chopped 
1 cup VEGAN BUTTER (at room temperature: soft but not melted) - I use Earth Balance sticks
2-1/4 cups GLUTEN-FREE ALL PURPOSE FLOUR (with Xanthan Gum)
or add 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum if your flour doesn't include it 
1/4 teaspoon SALT
More POWDERED SUGAR for rolling


  • PRE-HEAT oven to 400 degrees F
  • PREPARE a baking tray with parchment paper
  • ADD the PECANS to a food processor (sharp blade) and grind until they are a coarse powder
  • ADD the BUTTER, SALT, SUGAR, and VANILLA EXTRACT to the food processor (dough blade) and combine by pulsing until the dough starts to hold together. Try not to overprocess the dough. (You can do this all in a large bowl but you will need to cream the butter and sugar together)
  • SCOOP the batter into 1-inch balls using a tablespoon or cookie scoop* onto the prepared baking tray. Leave 1-inch between balls. (You can roll the balls by hand but try not to make them too big.) *I love my 1-inch cookie scoop.
  • FREEZE the tray for at least 5 minutes.
  • BAKE: 15-18 minutes (check often – they should be lightly golden)
  • REMOVE from the oven to COOL for 3-5 minutes but LEAVE THE OVEN ON.
  • PLACE about 1/3 cup more POWDERED SUGAR in a bowl
  • ROLL the balls in the sugar gently while they are still warm. They are very fragile at this point so handle them with care.
  • PLACE the cookie balls back on the tray after they are sugared.
  • RETURN the tray to the oven for 3 minutes to set the sugar.
  • COOL on the tray for 5 minutes
  • ROLL the balls again in more POWDERED SUGAR before carefully moving them to a cooling rack.
  • STORE in an air-tight container.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins Gluten-Free Dairy-Free

I love the smell of cinnamon in the kitchen. I wanted to make a quick and easy recipe for a breakfast muffin to go with coffee. And, I wanted it to give me that cinnamon filling and crumbly top of a coffee cake. I like the ease of muffins in the morning (or really any time). This recipe can be made vegan, if you use an egg replacer.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 24


1 cup LIGHT BROWN SUGAR - PACKED (For a sugar-free recipe use coconut sugar instead)

1 cup LIGHT BROWN SUGAR - PACKED (For a sugar-free recipe use coconut sugar instead)
1 cup GLUTEN-FREE ALL PURPOSE FLOUR (with Xanthan Gum) - I used Bob's Red Mill 1-1
1/2 cup VEGAN BUTTER - softened and chopped up

3 cups GLUTEN-FREE ALL PURPOSE FLOUR (with Xanthan Gum)
1/4 cup LIGHT BROWN SUGAR - PACKED (For a sugar-free recipe use coconut sugar instead)
3/4 cup GRANULATED SUGAR (For a sugar-free recipe use coconut sugar instead)
1/2 tsp SALT
1 cup VEGAN BUTTER - melted
3 EGGS, at room temperature (To make VEGAN - use egg replacer like FLAX eggs)
3/4 cup unsweetened NON-DAIRY MILK (I used Cashew Milk)


  • PRE-HEAT oven to 350 degrees F
  • Prepare 24 standard muffin tins with paper liners
  • FILLING: In a small bowl, WHISK all the filling ingredients until there are no brown sugar lumps. Set aside.
  • TOPPING: In a medium bowl, COMBINE all the topping ingredients and mix until it forms small crumbles. If you have a pastry blade that might help.
  • REFRIGERATE the topping until later
  • BATTER: In a large bowl, MIX together the flour, baking powder, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  • ADD the melted butter and vanilla, and using a hand mixer on low, completely combined with the dry ingredients.
  • BEAT in the eggs and mix until smooth.
  • POUR the milk in, about a 1/4 cup at a time, and BEAT until smooth. Set aside.
  • ASSEMBLE: FILL muffin cups about 1/4 full with batter.
  • SPRINKLE the filling on top of the batter in each muffin cup; cover from side to side.
  • FILL muffin cups with the rest of the batter (about 1/2 full – do not overfill)
  • SPRINKLE topping evenly over muffins in each cup and pat down so that it covers nicely
  • BAKE: 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the muffins
  • COOL in the pans for 10 minutes before serving or moving muffins to a cooling rack
  • STORE in an air-tight container for a few days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator and heat in the microwave for 10-15 seconds. These muffins are awesome when warm – I have been spreading vegan cream cheese on top.

Sweet & Sour Veggie Stir-Fry with Fried Tofu

I really enjoy the mix of sweet and sour flavors and this easy 30-minute veggie stir-fry highlights the flavor combination well. As you know if you have tried some of my other stir-fry tofu recipes, use extra firm cubes, dry them well, roll them in cornstarch and fry them in the wok for that perfect texture.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4


Sweet & Sour Sauce
1 can (8 ounces) CRUSHED PINEAPPLE in 100% juice
(drain and retain juice)
1/2 cup packed BROWN SUGAR
1 tablespoon CORNSTARCH
1/2 teaspoon SALT
1/2 cup WATER
1 tablespoon cooking OIL
1 14-ounce block of extra firm TOFU, pre-cubed
1 10-ounce bag of mixed ASIAN Vegetables
2 tablespoons CORNSTARCH
Pinch of SALT
BASMATI RICE, per serving
Optional Toppings: toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, or green onions


  • PREPARE RICE according to package directions
    • OPEN pineapple can and PRESS out the juice into a separate cup. SET aside
    • In a medium saucepan, MIX brown sugar and cornstarch
    • ADD water and the separated pineapple juice. STIR
    • STIR in the vinegar
    • BOIL over medium-high heat STIR continuously for 1 minute
    • ADD crushed pineapple and continuing stirring until thick
    • If using prepackaged extra firm cubes, DRAIN water from the package. PAT dry with a paper towel. SPRINKLE with a pinch of salt.
    • If using a block of extra firm tofu, DRAIN water from the package. Line a plate or baking sheet with paper towels. Place tofu on top of the paper towels and then cover with another layer of paper towels. PRESS gently to remove extra moisture. CUT tofu into 1-inch cubes. SPRINKLE with salt.
    • In a large bowl, PLACE 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
    • ADD dried tofu cubes to cornstarch and roll them around until they are evenly coated.
    • HEAT 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok (or large skillet) over medium heat. Roll oil around to make sure to coat bottom and sides.
    •  ADD coated tofu to wok and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown on one side. Do not stir for the first 2 minutes so that it can set. 
    • With a spatula, TURN and brown the tofu on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes until it’s totally golden. STIR occasionally.
    • TRANSFER the tofu to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.
    •  COOK frozen vegetables in the WOK according to directions on the package (usually steam for 6 or 7 minutes)
    • Return the wok to high HEAT
    • ADD tofu to the veggies in the wok
    • ADD sauce and using a large spatula TURN to coat everything evenly.  Season to taste.
  • SERVE over rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, or green onions.
  • STORE in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Butternut Squash Soup – Vegan & Gluten-free

Apples make this soup sweet while cayenne pepper and smoked paprika give it zest. This soup is simple to make in one pot, naturally gluten-free, and by using coconut milk, it’s vegan too. I was going to use fresh butternut squash, but I waited too long and it went bad, so I grabbed a few bags of frozen chopped butternut squash from the freezer and, voila, an easy and delicious winter delight was born.

Butternut Squash preparation: 1 hour if fresh or 20 minutes if frozen

Soup preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6


4 cloves GARLIC, minced
1 large ONION, roughly chopped
2 large APPLES, peeled, corded, and roughly chopped
1 medium BUTTERNUT SQUASH (3 lbs) or 40 ounces frozen
1 sprig SAGE
1/2 teaspoon KOSHER SALT
1/4 teaspoon ground BLACK PEPPER
1/8 teaspoon CAYENNE PEPPER
1 teaspoon NUTMEG
1 cup canned unsweetened COCONUT MILK (plus some for topping)


  • PREPARE butternut squash
    • If FRESH:
      • PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F
      • CUT squash in half lengthwise
      • SCOOP out seeds and discard
      • SPRAY flesh with cooking spray and a pinch of salt and pepper
      • PLACE flesh side down in a baking dish and add 1/2 cup of water
      • BAKE about 1 hour, until flesh is soft
      • COOL until you can handle and then SCOOP out the flesh
    • If FROZEN:
      • PLACE frozen cubed squash in a microwave safe bowl and add 2 tablespoons of water per 10 ounces of cubes
      • MICROWAVE for 5 minutes per 10 ounces (time depending on the power of your microwave). You want the cubes to be soft not frozen.
  • HEAT the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat
  • ADD the onions and SAUTE for 5 minutes
  • ADD the garlic to the onions and SAUTE for another 2 or 3 minutes until the onions are translucent and the garlic is tender
  • ADD the apples, butternut squash, sage, nutmeg, bay leaf, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and vegetable broth and STIR well
  • ADD the coconut milk and STIR until blended
  • Bring mixture to a BOIL and then turn off heat
  • REMOVE sprig of sage and bay leaf and discard
  • PUREE the soup directly in the pot using an immersion blender* to your desired smoothness.** Be very careful when working with hot liquid.
    • *If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a regular blender. Transfer the soup in small batches to a countertop blender and puree each batch until smooth. Be careful when filling the blender and make sure to put the top on because hot liquid can really hurt you.
    • **I leave some chunks of apple in my soup, just because I like it that way.
  • ADD additional seasoning to taste
  • SERVE warm TOPPED with extra coconut milk and a SPRINKLE of smoked paprika

Butternut Squash Vegetable Soup

When it is cold outside there is nothing as comforting as a hot bowl of vegetable soup. Around here we just love soups of all kinds. I try to make soup on the weekends to carry us through a few chilly nights during the week. This hearty soup is full of seasonal goodness from kale and squash and packed with protein from chickpeas to make it a complete dinner. Try it alone or with a nice gluten-free/dairy-free grilled cheese sandwich.       

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 35 – 45 minutes

Servings: 8 as a main course 


4 tablespoons OLIVE OIL
2 large ONIONS, diced
6 CARROTS, diced
6 PARSNIPS, diced
4 stalks CELERY, diced (optional)
4 cloves GARLIC, minced
4 cups (1 whole) peeled BUTTERNUT SQUASH, in 1/2" cubes
4 cups KALE, coursely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ALLSPICE
1/4 teaspoon Kosher SALT (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon CAYENNE PEPPER (more or less to taste)
4 sprigs fresh THYME
8 cups low-salt VEGETABLE BROTH
1 15-ounce can no-salt DICED TOMATOES
1 15-ounce can CHICKPEAS


  • PEEL and CUT the butternut squash into 1/2″ cubes (follow Simplyrecipes’ direction on how to peel and cut the butternut squash safely)
  • DICE onion, carrots, parsnips
  • MINCE garlic
  • WASH the kale and REMOVE it from the stem by laying the leaf upside down on a cutting board and cutting a V shape along both sides of the rib thereby cutting it free from the leaf.  CHOP the kale coarsely.
  • HEAT olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat
  • ADD onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften and turn translucent. STIR occasionally
  • ADD the garlic and cook for 1 more minute
  • ADD the butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, (celery if you want), allspice, salt, and cayenne pepper and stir until they begin to brown (about 10 minutes)
  • ADD the sprigs of thyme, broth, and tomatoes
  • Bring to a BOIL then reduce heat and SIMMER for 10 minutes (or until vegetables are tender)
  • ADD chickpeas and kale
  • SIMMER for another 10 minutes, until kale has wilted
  • REMOVE the sprigs of thyme before serving
  • STORE for 5 days in the refrigerator and 3 months in the freezer

Inspired by Ellie Krieger

Baked Zucchini Chips – Gluten-Free & Vegan

When I am out with friends at an Italian restaurant, I really miss having that tasty fried zucchini stick appetizer, so I  decided to make my own healthy gluten and dairy free version. The thinner you slice the zucchini rounds, the crisper they will be. These babies are baked, not fried, so eat as many as you would like. Try them with some warm marinara sauce and vegan parmesan cheese. MANGIA!

Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes

Servings: 4


2 large ZUCCHINI, sliced very thin
1/4 cup CASHEW MILK (or any alternative nut milk)
1/2 cup gluten-free FLOUR (almond works nice)
1/2 teaspoon GARLIC POWDER
1/4 teaspoon HIMILAYAN SALT
Ground CAYENNE PEPPER to taste (1/4 teaspoon)
Spray can of OLIVE OIL


  • PREHEAT oven to 425 degrees F
    • PLACE paper towels on a plate or flat baking pan
    • SLICE zucchini as thin as possible (1/4″ or less). You can leave the skin on.
    • LAY zucchini slices on the paper towels and SPRINKLE with salt
    • Let the slices sit for about 10 minutes to draw out excess liquid
    • PRESS rounds with a paper towel to BLOT up any excess liquid
    • PUT dried zucchini rounds in a bowl (call this Assembly Step #1)
  • While the zucchini is doing its thing to get out the excess water, in a gallon size plastic bag, PREPARE seasoning mix of flour, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper to taste. (You can use a bowl but I find the ‘shake’ method covers nicely.) Set to the side. (Assembly Step #2)
  • POUR milk in a medium bowl (Assembly Step #3)
  • PREPARE a baking pan (I reuse the one I dried the zucchini on) with parchment paper (Assembly Step #4)
    • MAKE AN ASSEMBLY LINE of all the ingredients starting with Step #1 the bowl of zucchini, Step #2 the bowl of milk, Step #3 the bag of seasoning, and finally Step #4 the baking pan
    • With a sharp fork (or a clean hand), DIP the dried zucchini in the milk
    • Then TOSS the milked zucchini into the seasoning bag and flip around until the slice is coated on both sides
    • With a sharp fork (or a clean dry hand) remove the zucchini slice from the seasoning bag and LAY it on the parchment paper in the baking pan
    • Repeat steps 1 through 4 until all the slices are coated.
    • LIGHTLY SPRAY each slice with olive oil, ensuring not to remove seasoning
  • BAKE for 15 minutes
  • TURN over each slice and LIGHTLY SPRAY again if needed
  • BAKE another 15 minutes until everything is golden brown. NOTE: cooking time will vary depending on how thin you sliced your zucchini rounds, so keep an eye on them so that they don’t get burnt. 
  • COOL the rounds on the parchment paper for a few minutes before removing
  • SERVE hot with your favorite tomato sauce and optionally sprinkle with vegan parmesan cheese
  • Note: Try to eat them all while hot because they got soggy when they cool

Easy Garlic Tofu & Veggie Stir-Fry

Stir-fry is the quickest meal at our house, usually no more than 30 minutes. This recipe is healthy and flavorful while being simple to prepare. Make sure to use the extra or super firm variety of tofu and dry it well before cooking. I like extra firm tofu because It is easier to work with and has a more substantial texture in the dish. Use whatever veggies you have on hand: every time I make stir-fry it is a little different so don’t be afraid to improvise. Just remember that color is important especially in a stir-fry.  

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4


4 cloves GARLIC, minced
1 tablespoon fresh GINGER ROOT, grated or minced
1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
1/4 teaspoon SALT
1/4 cup gluten-free SOY SAUCE
1 teaspoon CORNSTARCH
1 teaspoon WATER

1 14-ounce block of extra firm TOFU, pre-cubed
2 cups CARROTS, sliced
4 cups BROCCOLI florets, chopped
1 cup EDAMAME or chopped GREEN BEANS
1 8-ounce can WATERCHESTNUTS, sliced
2 tablespoons CORNSTARCH
Pinch of SALT
1 tablespoon cooking OIL
BASMATI RICE, per serving
Optional Toppings: toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, or green onions


  • PREPARE SAUCE: In a small bowl, WHISK garlic, ginger root, pepper, salt, vegetable stock, soy sauce, cornstarch, and water. Let it sit so that the flavors blend.
  • PREPARE tofu
    • If using prepackaged extra firm cubes, DRAIN water from the package. PAT dry with a paper towel. SPRINKLE with a pinch of salt.
    • If using a block of extra firm tofu, DRAIN water from the package. Line a plate or baking sheet with paper towels. Place tofu on top of the paper towels and then cover with another layer of paper towels. PRESS gently to remove extra moisture. CUT tofu into 1-inch cubes. SPRINKLE with salt.
    • In a large bowl, PLACE 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
    • ADD dried tofu cubes to cornstarch and roll them around until they are evenly coated.
    • HEAT 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok (or large skillet) over medium heat. Roll oil around to make sure to coat bottom and sides.
    •  ADD coated tofu to wok and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown on one side. Do not stir for the first 2 minutes so that it can set. 
    • With a spatula, TURN and brown the tofu on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes until it’s totally golden. STIR occasionally.
    • TRANSFER the tofu to a plate lined with a paper towel and set aside.
    •  Return the wok to high HEAT until lightly smoking (add more oil if needed). ADD broccoli florets, carrots, edamame, and water chestnuts, STIR and TOSS veggies frequently.  Veggies should be cooked but still firm (anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes should do it). Note: You can even use frozen mixed Asian vegetables, just follow directions on the package to cook.
    • TRANSFER the veggies to a bowl and set aside.
    •  Return the wok to high HEAT and ADD sauce mixture. STIR and COOK until sauce is boiling. 
    • ADD tofu and veggies to the wok and using a large spatula TURN to coat everything evenly.   Season to taste.
  • SERVE over rice. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, seaweed, or green onions.

Heavenly Dutch Apple Pie – Gluten-Free & Vegan

Who can resist the all-time holiday favorite, Apple Pie? My gluten and dairy-free version is a hybrid between a pie and a crisp. I use a store-bought gluten-free graham style crust for the bottom (because crusts are not my best skill and I am all about uncomplicated cooking) and a home-made crumble for the top. Try a warm slice of sweet apple pie, all moist and sticky, with a scoop of dairy-free Vanilla Ice Cream. Now that is my definition of heaven.  

Prep time: 15-20 minutes

Cook time: 45-55 minutes

Servings: 1 pie (6 or 8 slices)


1 Gluten-Free PIE CRUST (I use MI-DEL allegen safe graham style)
Crumble Topping
3/4 cup All Purpose GLUTEN-FREE BAKING MIX (King Arthur Flour)*
3/4 cup LIGHT BROWN SUGAR, packed
1/4 cup granualated SUGAR
2 teaspoons ground CINNAMON
1/2 teaspoon ground NUTMEG
1/4 teaspoon Kosher SALT
1/2 cup (1 stick) Vegan BUTTER, chilled and cut into small pieces
5 or 6 large APPLES, peeled, cored and sliced thin
For crisp try HoneyCrisp or PinkLady or tart try Granny Smith
1/2 cup granualted SUGAR
If using tart apples, you may need more sugar
1 teaspoons ground CINNAMON
1/4 teaspoon ground NUTMEG
1/4 teaspoon ground GINGER
Pinch of SALT

*If using all purpose gluten-free flour instead of baking mix,
you will need to add 1/2 teaspoon of XANTHAN GUM.


    • In a medium bowl, WHISK baking mix, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Make sure to get the lumps out of the brown sugar
    • BLEND in chilled butter with a fork or pastry blender until you have a nice crumbly texture
    • REFRIGERATE the bowl for 10 minutes until firm
  • PREHEAT the oven to 375 degrees F
    • PEEL, CORE, and thinly SLICE apples
    • In a large bowl, COMBINE apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt
    • SET the bowl aside and let the juices combine while the topping is cooling
  • ASSEMBLE the pie
    • REMOVE the crumble from the refrigerator and BREAK UP any large clumps
    • PLACE the pie on a baking sheet to catch any overflow spills
    • DUMP the filling into the pie crust and MOUNT in the center. Make sure to pour all the juices in.
    • SPOON the crumble topping evenly over everything and don’t be afraid to use it all. PAT DOWN the crumbles gently with a fork (I use my hand) to make sure that it sticks to the filling.
  • BAKE
    • BAKE in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until the juices are bubbling out the sides and the crumble is evenly golden brown.
    • If using a regular pie crust, about 25 or 30 minutes into the bake, COVER the edges of the crust with foil to prevent burning. You don’t have to do this if you are using a graham style crust, as it doesn’t extend past the topping. 
    • Depending on your oven, you might need to ADD 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time.
    • REMOVE the pie from the oven and let COOL completely for at least 1 hour before serving. Fruit pies continue to thicken as they cool, so you really want to allow it the time it needs to give you a perfect slice. 
  • STORE the pie covered at room temperature for several days or freeze.
    • Warm the pie in the microwave
    • Serve with your favorite dairy-free vanilla ice cream

Happy Peanut Butter Cups – Gluten-Free & Vegan

Chocolate and peanut butter: two flavors that make me happy. I like to make these little happy treats for birthdays and other sweet times. The process isn’t too complicated and with only 3 ingredients, you can’t go wrong. Note that the quality of the peanut butter you choose will affect the overall taste of the dessert, so use good stuff (organic vs Skippy, for example).  I hope they make you happy too. 

Total time: about 40 minutes from prep to eat 

Servings: 10-12


4 tablespoons of COCONUT OIL
3/4 cup good quality PEANUT BUTTER
12 cupcake PAPER LINERS 


  • PLACE 10 to 12 cupcake paper liners in a flat baking dish.
  • In a double boiler* on medium heat, MELT the chocolate with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. STIR occasionally until completely combined. TURN off heat but leave on the stove to stay warm.
  • In a small bowl, MIX peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil until well combined.
  • SPOON a small amount of the chocolate/coconut oil mixture into each cup; enough to cover the bottoms.
  • FREEZE the cups for a few minutes to set; 2 or 3 minutes should be fine.
  • Remove cups from freezer and DROP a small spoonful of peanut butter/coconut oil mixture on top of the hardened chocolate/coconut mixture in each cup.  FLATTENING with the back of a spoon. 
  • Then SPOON more chocolate/coconut oil mixture into each cup. If you want them to be like Reeses then put in enough chocolate/coconut oil mixture to cover all the peanut butter. I just drizzle chocolate on top for a pretty effect. 
  • FREEZE until ready to serve (at least 15 minutes to harden).
  • THAW to serve:  REMOVE the treats from the freezer about 30 minutes before you want to serve them. REMOVE the paper liners and place the naked treats in the refrigerator to thaw. If the treats get too soft they can lose their shape. If they do throw them back in the freezer for 5 minutes until they harden again.   

 *NOTE: Instead of a double boiler, I use a saucepan with about 1 inch of water in it with a heat safe bowl on top. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water, as you want the chocolate to steam not boil. 

Vegan 1 Pot Red Lentil Chili

The fantastic thing about this perfect protein-rich 1 pot winter dish is that even the die-hard meat-eaters in the family think it is the best chili they ever tasted (I never thought I would hear that!). This recipe couldn’t be simpler or more hearty and delicious.  There is no need to soak or precook the red lentils. Like with any good chili, I think it’s more flavorful the second day, so make a lot and refrigerate it.

Cooking Time: 40-50 minutes

Servings: 6 to 8


2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin OLIVE OIL (or Coconut)
1 medium yellow ONION, finely chopped
1 RED PEPPER, finely chopped
1 CELERY STALK, finely chopped (optional)
SALT and PEPPER, to taste
2 tablespoons GARLIC (4 cloves minced)
1 25-ounce can salt-free DICED TOMATOES (add your own salt to taste)
2 cups of WATER (more if needed)
1 1/2 tablespoons CHILI POWDER (more if you like it spicy)
1/4 teaspoon crushed RED PEPPER FLAKE (more if you like it spicy)
1 1/2 tablespoons ground CUMIN
1 teaspoon SMOKED PAPRIKA (this tastes different than regular)
3/4 cup dry RED LENTILS, rinsed, cleaned, and drained
1 15-ounce can BLACK BEANS, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can KIDNEY BEANS, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can CORN, drained
2 tablespoons MAPLE SYRUP (optional but brings our the favors nicely)
Serving Suggestions:
Top with Vegan CHEDDAR or MEXICAN MIX CHEESE, Shredded
Top with SCALLIONS, chopped
Serve with Gluten-Free Corn TORTILLA CHIPS


  • HEAT a large pot over medium heat. ADD oil.
  • SAUTE onion, red pepper, and celery for about 3 minutes stirring often. 
  • ADD garlic and STIR. ADD salt and pepper to taste. SAUTE another minute.
  • STIR IN diced tomatoes (with liquid), refried beans, and water. 
  • ADD spices: chili powder, red pepper flakes, cumin, smoked paprika. STIR completely to combine.
  • Bring to a BOIL over medium heat.
  • When boiling, ADD lentils, COVER, and lower to a SIMMER for about 15 minutes. ADD more water if the mixture is looking too think or dry. You want the lentils to cook completely and to get tender. STIR occasionally so that the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pot. 
  • ADD black beans, kidney beans, corn and more spices for your taste and maple syrup. STIR to combine.
  • SIMMER (not boiling) over medium heat so that you see little bubbles and then reduce to low for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.   
  • COOL slightly and then SPRINKLE Vegan cheese on top before serving.
  • SCOOP with your favorite tortilla chips. 

NOTE: This chili can last at least a week in your refigerator and freezes easily for several months. Just thaw and reheat on the stove. 

Pear & Brussels Sprouts Salad

With all the Romaine lettuce contamination scares in the United States, I decided to use Brussels sprouts as an alternative salad base. The maple-balsamic dressing and the pears make this salad so sweet and delicious that we literally fought over the bowl. I never thought I could learn to love those little ‘heads’ so much.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 6


1 pound of BRUSSELS SPROUTS, pulled and sliced
2 ripe PEARS, chopped
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries (CRasians)
1/4 cup PECANS, coursely chopped
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon of MAPLE SYRUP
1-1/2 tablespoons of BALSAMIC VINEGAR
1 teaspoon DIJON MUSTARD
1/4 teaspoon SALT
1/8 teaspoon PEPPER
1/4 clove GARLIC, optional


  • In a medium bowl, prepare the salad dressing by WHISKING together the oil, maple syrup, vinegar, and mustard and then salt and pepper to taste. Add garlic if you want a little extra kick.
  • CLEAN the Brussel sprouts by cutting off the stalk end and then pull off and discard the tough outer leaves. SLICE the Brussels sprouts as thin as you like with a very sharp knife. I mix both ripped leaves and thinly sliced pieces for a nice texture. 
  • In a large bowl, MIX Brussel sprouts, pears, cranberries, and pecans.
  • POUR salad dressing over mixture and TOSS salad.

This recipe was inspired by “Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette” from Martina’s Kitchen Mix by Martina McBride.

Vegan Potato Latkes

By replacing eggs with tofu, these amazing potato latkes (pancakes) are the perfect fried dish to celebrate Hanukkah. I use two frying pans to keep the production line going. People start stealing them from the plate before I ever get them to the table. 

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes a pancake/batch

Servings: 6-8


3 cups POTATOES (about 8 medium Yukon Gold or Idaho), drained well
1/2 pound firm TOFU, drained well
1 large ONION
1 teaspoon SALT
1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
1 clove GARLIC, optional
2 tablespoons gluten-free MATZO MEAL
1/2 cup Vegan BUTTER or other light oil for frying
APPLESAUCE or Vegan SOUR CREAM, optional


  • Using a fine or medium grater blade on your food processor,* GRATE the potatoes
  • DRAIN the grated potatoes really well before continuing. I put the grated potatoes in a big wire strainer over a large bowl. I then place a plate over the mixture and press down gently to express the potato starch
  • Using a medium grater blade on your food processor,* GRATE the onion (or finely chop if you prefer)
  • In a large bowl, ADD the onion to the drained potatoes and mix well
  • PROCESS or MASH the tofu until it is creamy with a few lumps
  • ADD the tofu to the onion/potato mixture
  • STIR in the seasonings and matzo meal
  • HEAT a small amount of the butter or oil in a large frying pan.  Let it get hot
  • SPOON (or I use my hands and make patties) the mixture into the frying pan and form pancakes. I usually get 6 to 8 pancakes in the pan at a time
  • FLATTEN the pancakes with a spatula
  • FRY each pancake for about 5 minutes over medium heat, then turn over until nicely browned on both sides. (I like my latkes dark and crisp, but my spouse likes them undercooked, so it’s up to your taste how long you fry) 
  • Layer paper towels on a plate or cookie sheet and place the cooked latkes on the paper towels to DRAIN. I make so many that I build a tower of draining latkes in paper towel tiers
  • Add more butter or oil as required to fry the next batch
  • Serve hot with applesauce or vegan sour cream

*To make latkes without a food processor, just grate the potatoes manually, chop the onions as finely as possible (or grate them too), mash the tofu, and follow the rest of the instructions above.

This recipe was inspired by Jennie Grossinger from “The Art Of Jewish Cooking,” personally autographed to my mother in 1958 by Jennie.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

What would Thanksgiving be without a wonderful gluten-free and dairy-free vegan pumpkin pie? I usually make 2 at a time because it gets eaten so quickly (just double the recipe with no problem). Treat yourself to some vegan whipped topping to finish it off (they have so many varieties of dairy-free whipped topping these days, who can resist?)    

Cook Time: 75 minutes

Servings: 8


1 15-ounce can of pure PUMPKIN PUREE (not pumpkin pie mix)
3/4 cup BROWN SUGAR (light brown sugar makes a nicer looking pie)
1 12-ounce packages of EXTRA FIRM SILKEN TOFU
1 teaspoon CINNAMON
1/4 teaspoon CLOVES
1/4 teaspoon NUTMEG
1/2 teaspoon SALT
1/2 teaspoon GINGER (I like ginger, use less if you don't)
1 9-inch unbaked gluten-free PIE SHELL
Vegan WHIPPED TOPPING (optional but a really good complement)


  • PREHEAT the oven to 435 degrees F
  • BLEND the pumpkin and brown sugar in a blender
  • ADD the tofu, salt, and spices and blend until smooth
  • POUR the mixture into the pie shell (I recommend putting the pie on a cookie sheet because the filling tends to run over the sides)
  • BAKE for 15 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 degrees F for another 60 minutes or until the filling has set
  • CHILL and server with vegan whipped topping

Green Bean Casserole – Vegan

This is my daughter’s all-time favorite and it disappears quickly. Nutritional yeast makes all the difference and you can get that at most health food stores (I get mine at the Amish Market). Don’t overfill the dish with too much sauce or it will be soupy. I undersize the casserole dish so that it sets up nicely.

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 6


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) vegan BUTTER
1/4 cup gluten-free FLOUR
1 1/2 cup vegetable BROTH
1 tablespoon gluten-free TAMARI (Soy Sauce)
1/2 teaspoon GARLIC POWDER
2 tablespoons Vegetable OIL
SALT and PEPPER, to taste
2 14.5-ounce cans French-style or Cut GREEN BEANS, drained
1 2.8-ounce can of gluten-free FRENCH FRIED ONIONS (hard to find but they do exist)


  • PREHEAT the oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a medium saucepan, MELT the butter over low heat
  • ADD the flour and WHISK continuously until gluey
  • ADD the broth, tamari, and garlic powder, whisking continuously for 1 or 2 minutes, until thick and bubbly
  • ADD the vegetable oil and nutritional yeast. Whisk until smooth
  • In a small casserole dish mix the GREEN BEANS and the SAUCE so that the beans are coated. Don’t use too much sauce or it won’t set nicely
  • BAKE for 10 minutes
  • Remove from oven and SPRINKLE the French-fried onions on top
  • BAKE another 10 minutes, until brown and bubbly

Oven Roasted Root Vegetables

Every year I try some different veggies (this year it was purple turnips and yellow beets) depending on what looks good in the market. The natural sweetness of beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes makes this an annual Thanksgiving favorite. This dish is a great alternative to the ever-present sugar and fat-laden sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows.

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Servings: About 12


2 cups CARROTS, peeled & sliced
1 pound BEETS, cut into 1" pieces
2 medium SWEET POTATOES, cut into 1" pieces
3 medium PARSNIPS, peeled & sliced
1 medium TURNIP, cut into 1" pieces
3 medium RED POTATOES, cut into 1" pieces
2 medium RED ONIONS, cut into wedges
5 cloves GARLIC, whole
1 tablespoon OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon fresh ROSEMARY LEAVES, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh THYME LEAVES


  • HEAT the over to 425 degrees F
  • LINE a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil. The size of the pan should match how many veggies you are using. I suggest a 17X11-inch
  • PLACE the veggies in the pan and mix with the herbs and the oil
  • ROAST the veggies for 30 minutes
  • POUR broth over the veggies and stir
  • ROAST another 20 minutes or until everything is tender