warm farro citrus salad


Have you ever been at a restaurant and everything you ordered was really good? I mean, memorable and satisfying and maybe a little weird/something you wouldn't normally pair together but it works, like really works?

That's how I felt at Federal Pizza in Phoenix, Arizona. When was I in Phoenix, you ask? Just a few weeks ago, my older sister Christine and I escaped the East Coast winter for a few days in the desert sun. We visited with our younger sister Grace, saw the Grand Canyon, wore shorts (well, I did anyway) and it was awesome. If you need more proof, there's a quick video recap below. Try not to get too jealous, guys. The snow will melt soon-ish, I think.

So pizza is pizza, right? Some is better than others, sure, but you kind of know what to expect. And even though the pizza there was slammin' (exactly) because they were crazy-smart enough to combine roasted sweet potatoes, fresh ricotta and sage onto a pizza (life-changing, I swear), that's not the part of the meal I wanted to replicate. Well, I take that back: I did, and I probably will, eventually (though hold the cheese for this cutie). But what I was really intrigued by was their Clockwork Orange Salad. Snappy name, sure, but it was also just full of all the best, fresh flavors. Citrus always wins in my book, but there was cauliflower, shaved Parmesan, pistachios, arugula, etc.

Of course I didn't think to scan their menu when I went shopping for ingredients to replicate. One of those moments. I knew I needed to find arugula, but I couldn't. And the rest of the ingredients were a little bit hazy to me. I just remembered it being good.

Despite this, here's what I came up with. For this recipe, you'll need:

1 cup farro, cooked
2 cups salad greens of choice (I used a mixed herb blend)
1 medium orange, segmented
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
1 small cucumber, sliced
1/2 cup green peas
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 medium avocado, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper

Start by getting your farro cooked according to the package instructions. You can do this far in advance if you don't mind it being chilled or room temperature, but I preferred it to still be a little warm. 

In the meantime, toss together your greens, bell pepper, carrots, cucumber, and green peas. In a small bowl, whisk together your orange juice, olive oil, salt and pepper until well combined. Toss over your salad until evenly coated.

Serve over a bed of your prepared farro and top with orange segments, avocado slices, green onion and a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts.

So, if you look at the Federal menu, the answer is: not even close. But that's okay, because this actually did the trick. It quelled my craving, as well as my craving to find a way to work quell into a blog post. The avocado replaced the cheese and the hazelnuts subbed in for the pistachios. There were a few extra vegetables and a few of the originals (asparagus, cauliflower) missing, but it all worked out in the end. I guess I'll just have to get it again when I go back in April to see these guys (that's Death Cab, not Panic at the Disco, by the way).


vegan whole wheat graham crackers


I don't know what it is about graham crackers. It's just one of those cravings I get every now and then and just can't shake. It must have something to do with being a kid or having s'mores around a campfire at night. They've got everything a good snack should without being too sweet or too filling or too anything, really. They're the perfect vehicle for something else (cheese, jam, chocolate, etc.), which is what makes them even better.

There's not much wrong with some of the graham crackers you can buy on the shelf these days. And in fact, it's actually pretty easy to find ones that are accidentally vegan. I say accidental because it doesn't exactly appear to be the aim of the company, but when you scan the ingredient list (which you do, right?), it all checks out: no animal products.

Still, even if you can buy something pretty good, it's always my goal to see how I can make it a little bit better. Why not, right? And who's going to complain about having warm cookie/crackers coming out of the oven (which is more or less what you're dealing with here) right?

For this recipe, you will need:

3/4 cup + 1 tbsp whole wheat graham flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground flaxseed + 1 tablespoon water
3 1/2 tablespoons almond milk
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon sugar, optional (for sprinkling on top)

A word about graham flour: this is some interesting stuff. Basically, it's most distinguishing characteristic is the coarseness of the grind. It has a high protein content and works great for any recipe where you're aiming for a dense, crisp texture. Which, of course, makes it perfect for graham crackers. You gotta get that snap

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. If you have some silpat mats, prep two baking sheets. Otherwise, parchment paper will do just fine. In a small cup, stir together your flaxseed and water and put aside so it can set up.

In a large bowl, whisk together your flours, sugar, salt, spices and baking soda until evenly combined. In a smaller bowl, whisk together your olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup, molasses and your prepared flax egg. This might take a second to come together, but it'll happen. Add your wet mixture to your dry and fold together. What you're aiming for is a malleable but somewhat dry dough. If using a rubber spatula isn't really doing the trick, get in there with your hands. That's what dough is for anyway, right?

Once your dough is ready, form into a ball and press down on a lightly-floured surface. Roll into a rectangular shape, or as close to it as you can come. You can make these into any shape you want (it really is the perfect dough for cute cookie cutters) or you can go ultra-traditional and use a pizza-cutter or pastry cutter to make perfect rectangles or squares.

Arrange on your baking sheets about an inch or so apart (they won't spread out much) and prick each cracker with a fork a few times. You can get creative here, or aim to mimic the graham crackers of your childhood. Top with some of your sugar, if desired, and transfer to the oven for 15 minutes, rotating your pan halfway through.

Okay, so I'm usually an advocate for digging in the second something is cool enough for consumption. Chalk this up to impatience or wanting to know how it/they turned out, whatever. The truth of the matter here is that these guys are better if you wait. Why? Sure, they will taste great right out of the oven, but they won't have that familiar crunch that makes graham crackers, well, graham crackers. Also, if you've got any left for storing (only saying) don't seal them off in plastic. These do great in a glass or ceramic jar or even on a plate loosely covered with foil. Plastic won't totally ruin them, but leave the top off the container or the bag open so that they retain (or increase!) their crispness.

And of COURSE, if you're going to go as far as making your own vegan graham crackers, you'd better treat yourself to some vegan s'mores. How is this possible, you ask? The fine folks of Dandies are rocking my world with their gelatin-free variety. Hats off to you, you beautiful geniuses: they are perfect. How perfect, you ask? See below.


The molasses gives these crackers a rich, dark color and an almost rye-like flavor. I may try these again swapping out the molasses for honey. I know that would eliminate the vegan factor, but it might taste a touch more traditional while keeping it dairy-free. Let me know what you think!

Update: I tried this recipe keeping everything exactly the same except I substituted the molasses for honey. Came out great!


cappellini with vegan cauliflower cream sauce


Okay, so much like the cheese-less mac and cheese that, if not marketed as mac and "cheese" turns out to be pretty damn good, this creamy pasta also gets its cream element from plants. Specifically, a cauliflower.

Which, if you want me to be perfectly honest, I think can definitely come off as pretty damn naturally creamy. Just try this soup if you don't believe me.

For this recipe, you'll need:

1 pound cappellini (or whatever pasta shape you're into)
2 cups kale, finely chopped (or whatever greens you're into)
Salt & pepper
1/2 cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cup almond-coconut milk, unsweetened
2-3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon miso paste
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Scallion, thinly sliced

Start by getting your pasta going, though you can time this based on the shape you choose. You don't want to have it ready too soon, then you'll just be stuck with, well, stuck together pasta and no sauce in the world, cauliflower-y and cream-less, can help you there.

In a separate pot, get some water boiling. Once it's rolling, add some salt and your cauliflower. Reduce the heat and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and toss into a high-power blender.

Add your almond-coconut milk (or you could go straight coconut if you're really looking to amp up the creaminess), garlic, lemon juice (for a little bit of bite), olive oil, miso, pepper and a little more salt. Blend it up and give it a taste. Good? Yeah, I thought so. But, if you feel like it's lacking a little something, add a little more miso-lemon-milk-salt or whatever it is you think it needs the most.

Right about now, if you timed it right (and you did, didn't you?), your pasta should be ready to go. Pour the cauliflower sauce and the kale (uncooked) onto your pasta and toss to coat evenly. Top with scallions and a little bit of fresh parsley for a yeah-I-made-this-it's-no-big-deal effect. Parsley seems to do that to a homemade dish. And it also tastes great.

So for a "creamy" (yeah, the air quotes are necessary) pasta without the cream and without a whole lot of prep work (think weeknight dinner, for sure), give this a try. You might be surprised! You might also add a little Parmesan on top. But hey, there's no cheese-judgement here.


vegan pumpkin bread


Even though we're a little past the time of year when everyone goes pumpkin-crazy, I realized the other day that I still hadn't made a traditional pumpkin bread. When the weather gets cold, it's one of the best things have sitting on your countertop, perfect for breakfast or in the afternoon with a cup of super-duper hot tea. Nothing better.

And what's great about quick breads like these is that they're exactly that: quick. And quick usually implies pretty easy, too, which this one is. And, shocker, it also happens to be vegan. But I have an idea for you non-vegans (present): if you make this crowd-pleaser for some unsuspecting guests, don't spill the vegan beans unless they ask. And I have a feeling they won't.

Some stuff you can just get away with being vegan without an compromise of flavor or texture, and this happens to be one of them. The richness of the pumpkin and the hit of the spices are all on point. You might have people even ask you for the recipe. Then, and only then, will you be forced to say, And oh yeah, it's vegan.


For this recipe, you'll need:

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup coconut oil (vegetable oil will also work)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Using some more coconut oil (or whatever you've got handy), grease a 9"x5" loaf pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together your flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices until evenly mixed. In a smaller bowl, whisk together your pumpkin purée, oil, maple syrup and milk until combined. Fold your wet ingredients into your dry, about 15-20 quick folds without over-mixing. (The batter will be on the thicker side, closer to the texture of a dough. But that's okay!)

Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until slightly darkened on top or a toothpick comes out clean.

See? How easy was that? The hardest part of this entire process might be the waiting.

I really liked this loaf. I honestly think it got better the next day, which is all the more reason to commend yourself for not eating the whole thing on the spot. Trust me, it wouldn't be difficult.


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