Immune Boosting Soup


This immune boosting soup is the first thing that I crave when a sickness begins to creep on up. And let's face it- we all get sick. There's just no way around it. No matter how much you try to prevent that nasty crud that seems to always make its rounds during this time of the year, it's just inevitable. Now, instead of complaining about it- make this soup! It's so very good for you and delicious. Wholesome, brothy, full of spicy ginger and large chunks of vegetables floating in a golden turmeric broth, this soup is the definition of health (if you need some proper evidence supporting how amazing fresh ginger and turmeric are, go ahead and google their benefits. You'll be overwhelmed with the results). Now, instead of noodles, I prefer to add spiralized butternut squash which provides another punch of nutrition. They become tender and succulent while also providing that noodle texture we all know and love. Feel free to throw in whatever greens and fresh herbs you like (or none at all). Lastly, this soup is fantastic with rice or quinoa. Enjoy. 

Serves 4 to 6

3 cups celery (about 5 to 6 stalks)
2 cups carrots (4 to 5 carrots)
2 cups chopped leeks, only the white and light green parts* (2 stalks)
2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms (3.5 oz pack, de-stemmed)
3 cups chopped onion (1 large onion)
¼ cup fresh ginger, microplaned or grated + minced
2 tablespoons turmeric, microplaned or grated + minced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic (3 to 5 cloves)
2 tablespoons olive oil (or desired oil)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
¼ teaspoon cayenne, or desired amount
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
8 cups filtered water, plus more if desired
4 cups peeled and spiralized butternut squash (1 small squash)
A few handfuls of kale, if desired
2 to 3 heaping tablespoons chopped parsley, if desired
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup unpasteurized chickpea miso (or desired miso)

1. Add the celery, carrots, leeks, shiitakes, onion, ginger, turmeric, garlic, olive oil, nutritional yeast, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt (start with less if you are sensitive) in a large pot. Mix well and bring to medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to sweat, becoming soft and tender but while maintaining some crunch. 

2. Pour in the water and bring the heat up to high. Once to a boil, throw in the butternut squash noodles. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the squash noodles are tender. Remove from heat and throw in the kale and parsley. Mix well. 

3. In a small bowl, mix together the lemon juice, miso, and one ladle of broth until smooth. Pour the mixture into the soup and stir to incorporate. Give it a taste and add more sea salt and cayenne pepper if desired. I did. :)


For the leeks, you want to only use the white and baby green parts. The dark green leaves are fibrous and undesirable. One you remove the dark green leaves, slice the stalk in half and you notice loads of dirt. Make sure to rinse all that out thoroughly! I even rinse the leeks once more after cutting because no one likes sand in their soup. 

You can buy pasteurized miso if that's all you have access to, but the good stuff with all of the probiotics will be in the refrigerated section. Adding this to the soup at the very end will help keep them alive. Chickpea miso is a great option for people who try or need to avoid soy. 

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies


Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

These cookies remind me of that delectable part of the brownie that I love so very much. You know… when the edges become crispy and chewy? Like that. I've provided just a touch of peppermint extract to boost that seasonal flavor, while crushed peppermint candy canes add another pop of flavor, plus a beautiful crunch on top. I prefer a more chewy cookie, so I go for the longer baking time, but there is no right or wrong. Heck, the raw batter is scrumptious as is. The point being, you can push and pull this recipe in many ways, so have fun! Most importantly, these are a fantastic holiday cookie that anyone would be happy to sink their teeth into. Even the Grinch. 

makes about 24 cookies

¾ cup vegan butter, cold
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
2 tablespoons ground flax meal
½ cup plant-based milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup mini chocolate chips
⅓ cup roughly crushed peppermint sticks

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Combine the vegan butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and sea salt in a mixing bowl. Using a fork or a hand mixer, blend until light and fluffy (if using a fork, this could take a minute). Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, peppermint extract, ground flax meal, and milk. Mix well and set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, coffee powder, and baking soda. Mix well. Add the dry to the wet and mix well until the batter is incorporated.

4. Scoop mounds (about 2 tablespoons in size) onto the baking sheets with a good amount of space in between each cookie (about 1 ½ inches at least). Next, spray the tops of the mounds with cooking spray and using your finger or the back of a spoon, gently press the cookie dough mounds flat, helping to shape them into beautiful cookies. You don't have to press them too much, so please take a chill pill. Sprinkle the tops with desired amounts of mini chocolate chips and pop them in the oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how soft/chewy you like your cookies.

5. Once done, remove from oven. IMMEDIATELY, sprinkle the crushed peppermint sticks on top and gently press in any large pieces of candy cane there may be. This will make sure everything sticks. Let cool for a few minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to let set, about 10 minutes.


If using smaller baking sheets, you might have to make more than two batches, as the cookies will spread and you'll need more surface area. Just keep the dough covered in the fridge if this is the case. 

For a softer, gooier cookie, go with 10 minutes of baking. For a more crispy on the edges and chewier cookie, go closer to 15 minutes. I prefer 15. ;) 

I found these to be delicious hot out of the oven, once completely cooled, and the next day. Each stage offers different characteristics of enjoyment, so try them all ways! Do note that after about 2 days, they will go soft and taste a bit stale.

In regards to the candy canes, I used a hippy-dippy organic brand from the health food store. This means the sugar is not refined (vegan) and the dyes are made from plants (not chemicals). You can, of course, use whatever kind of candy canes you like- I'm just letting you know what I used. 

The Best Vegan Macaroni and Cheese


Macaroni and Cheese... that's vegan? Is it possible? Is it true?

Why, yes. Yes it is!

Now, don't get it twisted y'all. This didn't use to be the case. Vegan cheese has come a long, long way since I went vegan nearly 10 years ago. I've seen and tasted some pretty bad stuff out there, but I had to do it. You see, contrary to popular belief that vegans sit around all day trying to figure out how to deprive themselves of all things delicious in the world- we actually miss cheese. Like, we get it. We didn't stop eating it because it was delicious! We stopped eating it for many other reasons that I will not go into here. The point is that vegans are humans just like everyone else. We want cheese, too.We longingly watch the cooking shows where the celebrity chefs effortlessly plop sticks of butter into a saucepan while shredding blocks of beautiful artisanal cheeses, easily picked up from the local shop. Only a few years ago, us poor and desperate vegans would venture to make our very own version, only to become disappointed by finding grainy, mealy, and oddly colored vegan cheeses at the store. Some companies even make vegan cheese 'lookalikes' which contain animal by-products like whey and casein. These people are evil- evil I tell you!

Fortunately, the vegan cheese game is stronger than it's ever been. With products that are rich in flavor and creamy in texture- I am proud to say that vegan cheese is now a respectable ingredient to use at home. Don't believe me? Go check out the vegan cheese sections at Whole Foods or your local health food store for yourself. You'll be surprised to see an array of products ranging from your traditional slices, shreds, and spreads. There are even artisanal vegan cheese shops popping up all over the world! Ayyy!

But enough about that- let's get down to business: Macaroni and Cheese. The good stuff. The ultimate comfort food. The kind of dish that makes all your problems melt away while you stuff your face in a dark corner with ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness. Sadly, for vegans, this dish has become a distant memory. Instead of trying to use the disappointing vegan products we became accustomed to before the good ones hit the market, we had to take matters into our own hands by making a vegan version that, well, tasted vegan. You know the one... a ridiculous amount of nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, and vegan butter tossed with whole wheat pasta. Of course, this concept was only a starting point for us 'foodie vegans'. Soon after, vegan mac n' cheese became one of the most intricate and complicated recipes in the world, with an ingredient list boasting dozens of ingredients. Things like: lemon juice, tamari, miso, acidophilus, citric acid, modified tapioca starch, potato starch, truffle oil- and the list goes on! Vegans everywhere were desperate to create a sophisticated vegan mac n' cheese that would impress not only fellow vegans but omnivores as well.

As it turns out, we never did. No matter how hard we tried- no matter how many boiled potatoes and carrots we added or bright yellow turmeric we scooped in, the common standard American diet consumer would take one bite and say, "It's good. But it's not Mac N' Cheese." As it turns out, we vegans have completely lost our way. We have forgotten what true macaroni and cheese tastes like. We've been overcomplicating it for so long that we've spiraled down into the abyss of vegan mac n' cheese- a lonely universe filled with empty containers of nutritional yeast and flashing images of omnivores rolling their eyes.

Well not anymore! And here's the recipe to prove it. But first, let's break down the traditional version so you can see where I am coming from. A traditional mac and cheese calls for butter, cream or milk, a variety of store bought cheeses, and few spices here and there with maybe some breadcrumbs and a roux. It calls for easy, accessible, and everyday ingredients that come together very quickly in a simple dish. Therefore, I have created this 'Vegan Translation', as Isa Chandra would call it. This recipe is the closest thing I have had to traditional style Macaroni and Cheese since going vegan. Think country style. Think holiday celebration. Think childhood. Do note that I've shown this to my non-vegan friends and they said they could have easily been fooled. Ayyyy!

I teamed up with Follow Your Heart because they have some of the best cheese out there. I highly recommend using this brand to make this recipe. You can try subbing out other brands, but I can't guarantee that it will come out as good as this. You can usually find Follow Your Heart products at Whole Foods, co-ops, health food stores, and I've even seen it at regular grocery stores as well (this is the company responsible for Vegeniase). I would stick to the flavors of American, provolone, and smoked gouda as this combination works really perfectly. You can try subbing out the provolone for cheddar or pepper jack if you'd like. Instead of making a blonde roux, like traditional mac, I just added cornstarch which gives it a thicker and creamier texture, while also being gluten-free. Because I don't like most package plant-based milks (they always taste chemically and a bit stale to me), I just make my own in the blender with water and cashews. Instead of cooking the cheese sauce, I replaced this step by just adding the remaining ingredients to the blender with the milk and blending everything to form a thick, creamy cheese sauce. If you don't have a high-speed blender (and because the sauce is very thick) you may want to blend the cheese sauce in two batches and add them separately. If you are using a Vitamix or other high-speed blender, make sure to use the wand as much as needed to help it blend easily. I would say start slow and easy and then crank it up when it's ready. Ok, ENOUGH. Let's get to cookin'!


The Best Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Serves 6 to 8, takes less than 1 hour, gluten free option (you can halve this recipe if you'd like)

1 (16 oz) pack desired macaroni noodles, plus water + salt to boil

1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight if using a regular blender)

4 cups filtered water

¼ cup vegan butter

⅛  teaspoon nutmeg

¼  teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 pack American slices by Follow Your Heart, chopped

1 pack smoked gouda by Follow Your Heart, chopped

1 pack provolone slices by Follow Your Heart, chopped

Topping (totally optional and not necessary)

1 bag shredded pizza style shreds by Follow Your Heart

6 teaspoons vegan butter

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Fill a large pot with water and a healthy sprinkling of sea salt. Bring to a boil and add the macaroni noodles. Boil for about 5 minutes, until they are al dente (remembering it’s ok if they are slightly firm because they will cook more in the oven, so you need to calm down). Drain with a colander and transfer to a 9” x 13” baking dish (this recipe will just fit in that!) or desired baking vessel (bonus points for using a large cast iron). Set aside.

3. In a high-speed blender, add the cashews and water and blend until smooth and creamy. This should take a minute or two. Add the chopped cheeses, butter, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, turmeric powder, and cornstarch. Start by blending on low and gradually turn up the speed, until you are left with a smooth and creamy sauce, scraping down the sides and moving everything around as needed (please work with your blender… it needs your help and sometimes it feels as though you think it’s invincible.) If using a smaller blender, divide the cashew milk in half and try making the sauce in two separate batches. 

4. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles in the baking dish. Mix well. Optional: sprinkle the shredded pizza style cheese on top. Then evenly dispersing the butter in small dollops on top.

5. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden and the cheese is thoroughly melted. Remove from the oven and stir with a large spoon. Let stand for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.


If bringing this to a party, you can make it in advance. Just wrap it up tightly and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to go. Bake this at the location and serve immediately. If you would like to freeze this you should bake it for about 10 to 15 minutes longer because, well, it's frozen. 

An alternative to using a blender is by cooking the sauce on medium heat, stirring constantly, in a large saucepan or pot on the stovetop the sauce becomes smoother and creamy. If this is the case, you should mix the cornstarch with a little water before adding so it doesn't clump. If you can't make your own cashew milk, use a plain unflavored soy creamer or pea milk creamer. If you can't find creamers, use desired plant-based milk (the sauce will be slightly less creamy). 

If using a regular blender you might want to soak your cashews overnight or for at least a few hours to make it easier for them to be blended up smoothly. I have a high-speed blender because I'm fancy, so I don't have to fret about this.

Please chop up the cheese slices so that the blender has a fair chance at blending everything until smooth. If your blender cannot handle this, then you might have to melt everything in a saucepan first and pour that over the noodles. I didn't have a problem with this. And before you ask, you must blend the cheeses up so that it melts effectively. The traditional recipe usually melts the sauce on the stovetop before adding to the noodles. My goal was to skip that step as to not dirty another pot. Use your best judgment. 

If you do not serve this immediately, you will lose that velvety smooth texture and it will start to coagulate. This is totally ok and actually happens to regular macaroni and cheese. If you’d like to make it smooth again, you can add some more cashew cream or nondairy milk and heat it back up, mixing it well. But this is a pain. And it still won't look as good as it does when your first bake it. So just eat it immediately. You shouldn’t have a problem doing that. 

If you don’t want to make a big batch, simply halve this recipe. :)

Apple Peanut Butter Caramel Bars

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It's the 10th anniversary of one of my favorite vegan cookbooks: Veganomicon! To celebrate, I have decided to share with all of you this delicious recipe. This one, in particular, was created by my bestie Isa Chandra (she co-authored the book with Terry Romero). While we were flipping through the book, I stumbled upon this shot. When I mentioned it to her, she squealed and immediately told me I should try it. So I did. And boy was it good! 

Don't believe me? Try it for yourself. It's the perfect time of year for it as well, so you have no excuses. 

Apple Peanut Butter Caramel Bars

Makes 12 bars, takes about 1 hour + 15 minutes, plus cooling time


3 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup refined coconut oil, softened
3 tablespoons unsweetened almond or coconut-based milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Crumb Topping

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons organic sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons refined coconut oil, melted

Apple Filling

3 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 6), cored and sliced thinly (peeling is optional)
1/3 cup organic sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Peanut Butter Caramel

2/3 cup chunky peanut butter (the no-stir kind, not the kind that separates)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons brown rice syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with coconut oil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Prepare the crust: Place the graham cracker crumbs in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with the oil and mix until moistened. Add the milk and the vanilla and mix with your fingers; the crumbs should hold together if pinched. Press the crumbs firmly into the prepared baking pan to form the crust.

3. Prepare the topping: Combine the flour, sugar, spices, and salt in a mixing bowl. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil into the flour and mix with your fingertips until crumbs start to form. Keep tossing the mixture with your fingers; you want the crumbs to be fairly large for crumbs. Add more oil, if necessary.

4. Prepare the apple filling: Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl, coating all the apples.

5. Assemble the bars: Layer the apples onto the crust and sprinkle with the crumb topping. The topping won't solidly cover the entire pan; just sprinkle it randomly over the top so that the apples are peeking through in places. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the apples are tender.

6. When the bars are almost done baking (at the 35-minute point), start preparing the peanut butter caramel: Mix all the caramel ingredients very well, with a fork, in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat for about 3 minutes. The mixture should soften and slide off the fork in ribbons. 

7. When the bars are done baking, drizzle the caramel in ribbons all over the top. Let cool completely before serving; you can place the pan in the fridge to hasten the cooling process. Slice into bars and serve.


I used creamy peanut butter and put it in a squirt bottle to drizzle because I'm fancy. 

For the crumb mixture, I added everything directly to the baking dish instead of mixing in a bowl and then transferring. You don't have to do this but its one less bowl to clean! Ayyy!

I had a blast styling them too.


A Vegan Foodie's Guide to NYC


Ok y'all. You asked for it. So I did it. My detailed guide to eating the most delicious vegan food in New York City. An in depth list of favorite places for shopping, snacking, dining and stuffing your face. Now get ready to take some notes, do some research, and brace yourself for learning the ins and outs of how to be the ultimate vegan foodie in New York City. [Please note that I am well aware of the many other vegan destinations in NYC. There are probably dozens more. And that's fantastic! These are just my personal recommendations for the places I frequent the most or that I find most impressive. And just to give you an idea, there are still loads of places for me to try as well, even after living there for 5 years!] Ok, let's go. 

Modern Love Brooklyn 

Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Lorimer L / JMZ)

This swanky vegan spot is hoppin'! With a menu decked out with scrumptious vegan comfort food, a specially curated selection of vegan wines and beers and decadent house made ice cream and desserts, this place will knock your socks off. The menu is seasonal and changes often, so always hop on over to their website to see what's up. It also happens to be run by my most favorite person and best friend in the world, Isa Chandra. Tip: This is a great date spot and also perfect for the vegan skeptics out there. Do make a reservation just to be safe. If you do go by and you see my girl Isa - give her a big hug for me. She'll just love that. Haha! Look for the one with the bangs, glasses and a beat up Joy Division t-shirt.

100% Vegan 

Haymaker's Corner

Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Graham Ave L)

Oh sweet Jesus, I love this spot. Is it because they always have a beautiful array of exotic La Croix flavors? Or is it because they have those hard to find vegan chip flavors that you only see occasionally? Or maybe it's the deli in the back with house made vegan meats, vegan cheeses and prepared foods like potato salad and lasagna? ALL OF THE ABOVE. This spot is basically a small grocery store/deli with some seating, so don't expect full service.  Tip: My absolute favorite thing about this spot is....hold on, I'm getting emotional....their muffaletta sandwich. It is out of control good.  Also, I always hit up Haymaker's before I head to the airport so I can stock up on bomb snacks to make everyone around me jealous. 

100% Vegan 

Variety Coffee

Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Graham Ave L) and more

This is my favorite coffee shop ever! When I lived in Brooklyn, it was my neighborhood spot. I literally went there everyday. After 5 years, I became very close with most of the staff and it almost felt like a family to me. Aside from the sentimental value, they also have delicious coffee which they make fresh, constantly throughout the day in small batches using a large french press. If you are looking for iced, they make their own cold brew as well. They always have soy milk out as an option and they use good almond milk for vegan lattes and such. Tip: They usually have a vegan cookie but it sells out early.

Vegan Options

Brave Gentleman

Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Graham Ave L)

This spot doesn't actually have food or beverage but because it is right next door to Variety Coffee, I had to at least point it out. Brave Gentleman is a vegan apparel brand which is apart of the 'slow-fashion' production model. Investing in superior vegan materials, ethical labor & classic styles, Brave Gentleman has gorgeous clothing, shoes, bags, wallets and more. The owner, Joshua Catcher, is also a friend of mine. He happens to be devastatingly handsome and very sweet, so if you pop in and see him, tell him, "Hi" for me.  

100% Vegan 

Dunwell Doughnuts

Bushwick, Brooklyn (Montrose L) and East Village

Another shop that is just around the corner from Brave Gentleman and Variety Coffee (about a 15 minutes walk) is one of the best places ever- Dunwell Doughnuts! This shop is dedicated to VEGAN DOUGHNUTS. I'm a classic 'Glazed' kind of guy, but don't you worry- they have loads of different flavors and toppings, almost to the point of being overwhelming. They also have vegan ice cream and coffee. Tip: If you are like me and fancy the 'Glazed' variety as well, try to make it in earlier than later as those are the first to run out. Update: There is now a second storefront in the East Village of Manhattan. 

100% Vegan 

Screamer's Pizzeria 

Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Bedford L or Nassau G) 

If you are looking for that classic NYC slice of pizza, this is your spot. You know, the kind of places that have 2 slices + a coke for only a few bucks. Now just like any regular pizza slice spot, don't expect a nice sit down meal. This is an in and out kinda place. But it's no problem because the pizza is so good you will gobble it up before you walk a block away. Tip: Their 'White' cheese pizza is my absolute favorite, so do yourself a favor and get that one first. I could eat the whole thing to myself. Actually, I *have* eaten the whole thing to myself. Because I'm on a diet. 

100% Vegan 

Adelina's Wine

Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Greenpoint Ave G)

Adelina's is a cozy little nook in the heart of Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Just steps from the G train, Adelina's rustic interior, home cooked menu, and wide selection of delicious vegan wine makes this place a true gem. Their menu is loaded with classic Italian inspired cuisine, in particular their house made pizzas with their very own vegan mozzarella. Adelina's has a special place in my heart because I have done many pop-events there including brunch, pizza special night and two separate truffle dining experiences. If you pop by, ask for Toby (the owner) and tell him I sent you. He's lovely. 

90% Vegan

Taim Falafel

Nolita, Manhattan (Spring Street 4/6) or West Village (A, B, C, D, E, F, W trains to West 4th)

When my friend Russel asked me if I had ever had Taim falafel I shook my head no to which he responded with a huge grin, "Ok, let's go!" I didn't understand why he was so excited until we arrived and I popped one of their falafels in my mouth. Crispy and golden brown on the outside while light, fluffy and oh so flavorful in the middle- it literally collapsed in my mouth in the most delicate and delicious way. If you love falafel or even if you're not a huge fan- you simply must try this place. It is a game changer. Tip: They also have loads of fun vegetable sides, sauces, and hummuses that are vegan. 

All Vegetarian. Mostly Vegan. 


Nolita, Manhattan (Spring Street 4/6)

I had not had a proper bowl of good ramen until I visited this busy little shop in Nolita (North of Little Italy). What I encountered was a broth that was bursting with flavor and garnished with a selection of interesting vegetables and delicious homemade buckwheat noodles. There's nothing quite as satisfying as slurping a huge spoonful of brothy noodles now is there? As for vegan options, they have a designated vegan menu that has many different choices which makes things oh so easy for us. Tip: They do not take reservations and they are very busy so be prepared to wait (or just go during off hours like I do and you shouldn't have a problem). I will say the tables turn pretty quickly so you shouldn't have to wait that long.  

Designated Vegan Menu

Jack's Coffee

West Village, Manhattan (A, B, C, D, E, F, W trains to West 4th) and more

Scattered throughout the city is Jack's Coffee. I love this company because they only use the highest quality, organic, shade grown beans for their coffee. Their cold brew in particular is very smooth and has chocolatey undertones. They also have a selection of different baked goods and soups are made daily and happen to be vegan. Always double check though. They're usually very sweet. 

Mostly Vegan


Flatiron, Manhattan (23rd Street NQRW or 23rd Street 4/6)

Eataly is a foodies's dream come true, for vegans and non-vegans alike! This large store has an extensive produce selection, multiple restaurants, and a bakery. From incredible produce, unique pasta, fresh truffles and delicious bread, Eataly is a magical place where you could spend a good hour wandering around, if only to look. Tip: Check out their mushroom selection. They always have unique varieties. There are two locations: one in Flatiron (which I'm partial to) and one Downtown.

Maison Kayser

Flatiron, Manhattan (23rd Street NQRW or 23rd Street 4/6) and many more

The Maison Kayser that I frequented most is right around the corner from Eataly, although there are multiple locations in NYC. Founded by Eric Kayser in Paris in 1996, Maison Kayser is an authentic artisanal French Boulangerie, meaning that the bread and other baked goods are mixed and baked on-site all day long. Most of them are not vegan friendly but the baguettes *are*. And let me tell you. They. Are. The. Best. I mean, I could eat a whole one on my own. Tip: I recommend just popping in for one baguette at least. Most likely, it will still be warm as they are baking them constantly throughout the day. If you want to take it to the next level, find yourself a toaster and get your hands on some vegan butter. Nothing better in my opinion. This bread also makes an epic sandwich and is perfect for dipping into spreads/oils. Picnic in Central Park anyone?

Vegan Options

Blossom Chelsea

Chelsea, Manhattan (23rd Street C/E)

This Blossom was actually one of the first vegan restaurants I had ever been to. I was so excited to actually have a reservation, order a glass of wine, and have a delicious, well thought out entrée opposed to the usual salad with no dressing and a side of fries. My favorite menu items at this location are hands down the Seitan Scallopini (lemon caper white wine butter sauce with crispy seitan, truffled mash potatoes, and sautéed kale), the cashew cream ravioli with fried sage and the trumpet mushroom calamari with spicy marinara. Tip: You absolutely need a reservation for this location. They're also open for lunch.

100% Vegan 

Cocoa V

Chelsea, Manhattan (23rd Street C/E)

Cocao V is directly across the street from Blossom Chelsea and it is owned by my dear friend Pamela Elizabeth. There you can find an extensive selection of outrageous, decadent and artisinal vegan chocolates and other specialty desserts. A perfect ending to a long day in NYC. You can check out their amazing selection here

100% Vegan 

Chelsea Market

Chelsea, Manhattan (14th Street ACE or 14th Street L)

This is definitely a tourist trap. But, so what? Sometimes tourists traps can be fun- in small doses. This shopping center happens to have many different vegan goodies. Ninth Street Espresso has delicious coffee, Seed and Mill has outrageously good Halva (if you don't know that that is you should), Manhattan Fruit Exchange has loads of fun produce and snacks to try, The Green Table is a local restaurant with an ever changing menu that often times has a few vegan options (but always ask and double check- you know the drill.), Buon Italia has amazing Italian imported goods/grocery items (like, the coolest pasta, oils, and snacks). The Filling Station has all of your specialty salts and oils. Try the smoked salt, truffle salt, and apricot olive oil. Amy's Bread has a ton of delicious vegan options: try the olive twists... yum! Chelsea Market is always adding new storefronts as well, so I'm sure there is even more to explore now then when I last was there. P.S. There is also an Anthropology at the front of the market... so like, duh... Anthro. 

Urban Vegan Kitchen

West Village, Manhattan (A, B, C, D, E, F, W trains to West 4th)

Urban Vegan Kitchen is a funky little spot in the West Village of Manhattan. And it just so happens that I helped them create their initial menu which they are actually still serving currently!  They've been creating new daily specials while also hosting events with guests chefs, so be sure to check out what is going with them when you are in town. Some of my favorite recipes that I created for them are the Breakfast Sandwich, the BLT, and the Chickun and Waffles. 

100% Vegan

One of my original recipes, the Breakfast Sandwich, created especially for Urban Vegan Kitchen. This photograph came from my test kitchen when I was living in NYC, so don't expect it to look exactly like this! Don't you worry though, it will taste just as good. ;)

One of my original recipes, the Breakfast Sandwich, created especially for Urban Vegan Kitchen. This photograph came from my test kitchen when I was living in NYC, so don't expect it to look exactly like this! Don't you worry though, it will taste just as good. ;)

Blue Bottle Coffee

Chelsea, Manhattan (14th Street ACE or 14th Street L) and many more

This Oakland based company has some mighty damn fine coffee. Whether it be drip or cold brew, you can't go wrong. They also have a house made vegan granola that is to die for. You can have it served with almond milk for a nice little snack. I used to eat it on my breaks when I worked at the Apple store just around the corner at their Chelsea location. There are quite a few locations in NYC which you can locate here, so do make sure to pop in one and give them a go.

Vegan Options

An Choi

Lower East Side (Delancey Street F or Grand Street B/D)

I guess you could call this place a hole in the wall. One that plays really hip music and has a bartender that is way cooler than you. Don't worry though, they have vegan pho that is so good, the pretentiousness won't matter. I particularly love their combo where you can order a half bowl of pho and a half of tofu bahn mi (make sure to request no butter and mayo) for only $15. Their rice paper rolls are worth investigating, too. Tip: You can ask for extra pho fixins like Thai basil, lime slices, and mung bean sprouts for no extra charge. But ask nicely. Check out there menu full here.

Vegan Options


Lower East Side (Delancey Street F or Grand Street B/D)

This is actually now called Erin McKenna's Bakery, but it was called Babycakes when I lived in Brooklyn. It was actually the very first place I arrived to when I moved there (my friend was working there at the time), so it's kind of nostalgic for me. That being said, I honestly am not a big fan of gluten free baked goods (this place is entirely gluten free) but I will point out that their chocolate chip cookies are really flippin' good. Crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle. I would go in just for that. Now, if they have savory biscuits, snag one or two of them as well (I'm talking the broccoli, onion and cheddar type combos here people.) I would skip the doughnuts as there are just pieces of cakes with holes cut in them. You're not fooling me babycakes, er, Erin...

100% vegan


Koreatown, Manhattan (33rd Street 4/6)

This buddhist Korean restaurant is totally awesome. Upon entering, you will be asked to remove you shoes. You then will be led to a table that has pillows instead of chairs. Next, you will be offered a menu full of fun and exciting dishes that you most likely have never seen before. Soups, bowls, salads and entrees loaded with odd mushrooms and unique veggies- this dining experience is an adventure for sure. Try not to be overwhelmed with the menu as it is very large. I would recommend taking a look at it here before you go, just to give you a head start. Tip: They are quite busy, so please make your life easier by making a reservation.

100% Vegan 


Midtown East, Manhattan (2, 4, 5, 6, 7 Grand Central - 42 Street)

This Buddhist Japanese restaurant is one of the most unique dining experiences I have ever had. With multiple courses, incredibly obscure ingredients and dynamic cooking techniques and methods- you are in for a treat. Kajitsu serves a type of cuisine known as Shojin: vegetarian cooking that originates in Zen Buddhism which abstains from meat or fish. The main focus is to use fresh and seasonal ingredients which are prepared in ways that enhance the flavor of each component, with the finished dishes beautifully arranged on plates. I'm not going to lie- there were quite a few dishes that I wouldn't necessarily call delicious more so than interesting... does that make sense? Let's just say there were certain sea vegetables and gelatinous components that I wasn't crazy about. But seriously, no regrets. Not to mention their menu changes frequently so your experience will be completely different than mine. Tip: Do note that Kajitsu is pretty pricey and you will need a reservation way in advance. 

100% Vegan 

Superiority Burger

East Village, Manhattan (1st Avenue L or Astor Place 4/6)

Superiority Burger is sooo good! This itty bitty spot in the east village is one of those places that is too cool for school but they still let you come in and order. It is completely vegetarian and mostly vegan. Because it's tiny, don't expect to dine in- although you might be lucky enough to snag a seat. I would say plan on taking it to go for a picnic or to enjoy on the stoop of someone's building (how New York..eye roll). Tip: My favorite things to order are their daily specials and desserts, especially the ice creams and sorbets (the owner is an award winning pastry chef and has a really cool cookbook).

Vegetarian, Mostly Vegan


East Village, Manhattan (1st Avenue L or Astor Place 4/6)

This shop is on the same block as Superiority Burger. Coincidence? I think not. There are many different goodies there but my favorites of the shop are Sweet Maresa's macarons. They are the best out there. Seriously. I mean, who has time to make homemade vegan macarons? Well, Maresa does. And she does it well. 

100% Vegan 

cinnamon snail

Midtown West, Manhattan (Penn Station ACE or B, D, F, M, N, Q, R,W Herald Square)

A once crazy popular food truck turned to a brick and mortar grab and go restaurant, Cinnamon Snail has a fully vegan menu loaded with sandwiches bursting with flavor, savory breakfast items, and most importantly- over the top desserts (like doughnuts with mini doughnuts on top). The Snail is located at the Pennsy Food Hall which is set up like a food court so although your food is order/pick up- there is plenty of room for you to sit and enjoy. Tip: Buy a box of their baked goods to bring to a dinner party and say that you made them. Update: There is a second location in the Financial District as well.

100% Vegan 

Juice Press

East Village, Manhattan (1st Avenue L or Astor Place 4/6) and many more

One thing I truly miss about NYC is having access to organic, cold pressed green juice. Seriously. I would drink one from Juice Press about 3x a week. I recommend Mother Earth which is strictly greens: celery, kale, swiss chard, dandelion, parsley, lemon, ginger & cucumber. That's my kinda juice! I also like their ginger based shots and their coconut milk beverages (the one that has just coconut milk and coconut water blended together- yum!). There are dozens of these sprinkled all throughout the city. I'm confident you will run into one if you ever visit the city. 

100% Vegan 

paulie gees

Greenpoint, Brooklyn (Greenpoint Ave G)

One of the main reasons I love this restaurant is because the style and overall feel of the interior is remarkable. It's worth it just to go for that! But they also have a vegan menu with some killer pizza (it's all about the dough) and refreshing salads. They even make their own nut cheeses and seitan for us. Isn't that sweet? If you do plan to go, be prepared to wait as they don't take reservations (well, at least last time I checked they didn't). Tip: To avoid a line, go earlier or later in the evening. If you call, they'll usually tell you how long the wait is too. Also, this place is kind of in the middle of nowhere so unless the weather is nice and you want to walk, plan on taking an Uber. Warning: the host will act like she's doing you a favor when she seats you. 

Vegan Options

Pilot Kombucha 

(No storefront.)

This NYC based kombucha company is awesome! 1. Because they have really cool and unique flavor combos. 2. Because the kombucha is not too sweet. I HATE really sweet kombucha. It actually really pisses me off. But Pilot is perfectly sweetened. And I just love the packaging/branding. Listen to some of the cool flavor combos: Celery Juniper, Turmeric Aloe & Lavender Peach. I mean, can you handle it? So good. Tip: My favorite is the Celery Juniper. 

100% Vegan 

Anita's Coconut Yogurt

(No storefront.)

When I first tasted Anita's yogurt, I said, "I have to meet this person!" And I did. Funny enough, her production kitchen was just a 15 minute walk from my apartment in Brooklyn. Upon entering the space, I noticed how organized and clean it was. Then I noticed only the highest quality organic coconut milk being used as the main ingredient. It was then I realized why this product was so perfect. From them on, Anita and I have maintained a friendship (because she's fabulous) and I always eat as much yogurt as I can when visiting. I'm fairly certain it will be available in most markets...eventually. But for now, it's only available in the NYC area. Here is a list of different businesses that carry her yogurt. 

100% Vegan 


(No Storefront.)

Lori of Cheezehound is one cool cat. And she knows how to throw down when it comes to making artisanal and incredibly realistic vegan cheeses. She uses high quality, organic nuts and seeds as the base but the main ingredient happens to be time and patience. Her cheese is different than others on the market, too. What I have noticed with other artisanal cheese companies is that their products tastes like super lemony nuts that are blended up- do you know what I mean? They don't have that exquisite depth of flavor and luscious texture us foodie vegans are looking for. Well, not hers. The textures, aromas, and flavors are the closest thing to real cheese that I have ever tasted. And her mozzarella blows all the other competitors away. Far away. You can find her cheeses at these NYC locations: HighVibe, Orchard Grocer, The Alchemist's Kitchen & Riverdel Cheese. 

100% Vegan 

Riverdel Cheese

Brooklyn, NY (Eastern Parkway Brooklyn Museum Station 2/3 and 4)

This quaint little vegan cheese shop, albeit small, is not playing around. They take their curation of vegan cheeses and specialty products very seriously. What you are left with is a wide selection of products that inevitably ends up being very impressive! This spot is an absolute must if you make the trip to NYC. Not only do they carry dozens of products, they also make their own cheeses in house as well. Lastly, they have really delicious (and decadent) sandwiches which they make fresh to order in the shop, so be sure to check those out before stopping by (take a look at the menu here). Tip: They even have their own version of the 'McMuffin' called the 'McDel'. I mean, c'mon!

100% Vegan 

Orchard Grocer

Lower East Side (Delancey Street F or Grand Street B/D)

This is the sister business to vegan shoe store Moo Shoes. They are stocked with all kind of cool vegan products and snacks, while also serving a small menu and soft serve ice cream. One cool little fact about this store is that it is completely palm oil free. Yaaaay! After you visit here, check out Babycakes and An Choi which are both just around the corner.

100% Vegan 

Vegan Shop Up

Bushwick, Brooklyn (Morgan L Train) 

The Vegan Shop Up is one of the most special vegan events happening in NYC. This is because it brings together all the best small and local vegan businesses together under one roof. This leaves you with a plethora of delicious vegan food and products to try. (Cute little story, I used to have a table at the events where I would sell things like gumbo and vegan cheese grits.) The main shop up happens monthly at a bar called Pine Box Rock Shop in Brooklyn, but there sometimes are other ones happening elsewhere. Join their mailing list or follow them on Instagram to stay in the loop. Tip: Lori from Cheezehound is usually there. ;) 

100% Vegan 

A winter's produce haul from the Union Square Farmers Market. Photo taken by @tutes. 

A winter's produce haul from the Union Square Farmers Market. Photo taken by @tutes. 

Union square green market | Grow nyc 

Union Square, Manhattan (L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6 to Union Square)

I frequented the UNSQ Green Market probably 3x a week when I lived in NYC. I couldn't get enough. This market was instrumental in helping me build my knowledge of local produce, mushrooms and unique edible flowers. Rain or shine, the market happens Monday, Wednesday, & Friday - all day! (8 am - 6 pm) The best part? There are different vendors each day. I can't even begin to tell you how much variety you have to choose from. Granted there are meat, cheese, and egg vendors but most of them are all veggies, shrooms, and baked goods! Some of my favorite farms and business are Windfall Farms, Tamarack Hollow Farm, Eckerton Hill Farm, Norwich Meadows Farm, Two Guys from Woodbridge and Bread Alone Bakery just to name a few... Fun Fact: I have met many other foodie Instagrammers at the market. It's a great place to meet likeminded people!

Del Posto 

Meatpacking District, Manhattan (14th Street ACE or 14th Street L)

You might be surprised that Mario Batali's epic Italian restaurant has vegan fare, but it's true! This is by far the most fancy and expensive restaurant on this list (the second one being Kajitsu), but I wanted to provide at least two fine dining spots.  Now, unless you have a black AmEx, this place is only for celebrations and special occasions. If you request vegan when you make your reservation, they will make you a full tasting menu. Although I only dined there once, what I will say is that the overall experience was incredible! I happened to go with my family to celebrate my sister's engagement. I was the only vegan dining at the table and so my menu became a spectacle for everyone to watch (in a good way- not like a salad with no dressing at Olive Garden). We were all very impressed.  

Everyday Angelica had two seasonal desserts offered along with seasonal cookies and parfaits. This one is a Blackberry Coconut Lavender tart.

Everyday Angelica had two seasonal desserts offered along with seasonal cookies and parfaits. This one is a Blackberry Coconut Lavender tart.

A tribute to angelica kitchen (1976 - 2017)

East Village, Manhattan

Even though Angelica Kitchen closed its doors early this past spring, I felt obligated to mention the establishment as a tribute. Do understand that if Angelica were still open, it would have been my #1 recommendation. Why? Because Angelica Kitchen is still to this day, my favorite restaurant in the world. Let me show you their mission statement and maybe you can understand why:

"Since 1976 Angelica Kitchen, has been serving fresh, delicious food in an atmosphere where sustainable agriculture and responsible business practices are the main ingredients. This combination reflects our deep respect for the environment and our gratitude toward the dedicated people who produce our food.
Angelica Kitchen is pure vegan - 100% plant based - and a minimum of 95% of all food used to prepare our menu has been grown organically.
Maintaining committed, direct relationships with local farmers, food artisans, purveyors, and customers keeps our menu reasonably priced while ensuring the vitality of the ingredients. Ingredients used to prepare our menu are grown ecologically and fairly traded; we use renewable sources of energy and a high quality backwash carbon system to filter our water; our active composting assures as little waste as possible."

I was lucky enough to be a server at Angelica Kitchen while living in New York. I ended up leaving the job to pursue Mississippi Vegan full time but I immediately became an avid patron, dining there on average 3 times a week. Often times I would just pop in for a cup of soup (they had the best soups!). You see, after working there for 5 months and consuming the food frequently, I was hooked. I truly craved Angelica like nothing before. Mainly because it made me feel so good! Aside from eating healthy food and feeling my best, Angelica taught me about integrity. They claimed to be healthy and 95% organic- and they honestly were. When I first started working there, I noticed all of the produce coming in from local organic farms. Always fresh. Always organic. On top of that, their whole menu was made from scratch, nothing processed. They took extra steps in soaking and cooking their beans while using kombu so that they were digested more effectively. They made their own seitan from scratch using organic whole wheat flour. They never use processed sugar or excess amounts of oil and didn't even have a deep fryer. Their goal was to serve the most delicious food that was equally as nutritious. I had never been to a sit down restaurant like that before. It taught me that you can still go out to eat and feel fantastic after your meal. If you are interested in learning more about this historic restaurant, please check out their cookbook- it has become a standby in my kitchen, full of knowledge, tips, and recipes. If I ever were to open a restaurant (which I never will because I'm not utterly insane), it would be like Angelica Kitchen. Thank you for changing my life in the most beautiful way Leslie. 

Well, that's it!

I hope you enjoy this guide as much as I did creating it. I felt as though I was being propelled right back into the streets of my old home while reminiscing. The crazy, bustling and magical streets of New York City can be an overwhelming place. Especially with the amount of choices and decisions that have to be made daily. I hope that this guide will assist you and give you some helpful direction. My goal is to make delicious vegan food accessible and fun to find. I will continue to add to this list whenever I find something new and exciting to share. Until next time!

Much love,








Garden Pesto Pasta


This pasta is absolutely divine (if I do say so myself). It literally screams 'summer', I mean... look at it! In actuality, the pesto is what's really divine. The noodles and vegetables are just a vehicle. I wanted to really play on the theme of 'Green' so I chose to use fresh English peas, sugar snap peas, freshly picked herbs, and fava beans offering all different shades and varieties of textures (4x the green people!). The pesto itself is loaded with so much flavor, you'll barely be able to handle it. Tossing this in with piping hot pasta and crispy fresh vegetables, it makes for the perfect summer dish. Feel free to play with different ingredients as you could take this in so many fun directions. To access unique varieties of basil, I highly recommend checking out your local farmer's market as they will have all of the cool stuff. I actually used 7 different varieties of basil in my pesto but I just so happen to be growing them all ;) Time for you to get some pots of your own, eh? Have fun!

garden pesto pasta

make 4 - 6 servings and takes less than 1 hour, gluten, soy and nut free options


1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup blanched almonds (no skin)

2 cups fresh basil (as many varieties available), rinsed & packed

1/3 cup fresh oregano, thyme, parsley & chive, rinsed & packed

1/4 cup cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon mellow white or chickpea miso

2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon lemon zest

2 - 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (depending on desired tanginess)

1/2 teaspoon sugar or agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

vegetables + pasta: 

1 cup English peas, frozen

1 cup sugar snap peas, blanched 

1 cup fava beans, blanched

1 box or bag of orecchiette pasta (or variety of your choice)

Fresh herbs to garnish

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the almonds and nutritional yeast on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes until the mixture is fragrant and lightly toasted. Remove, let cool, and toss into a food processor along with the basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, and chive, olive oil, miso, garlic cloves, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar or agave, pepper, and sea salt. Blend for a few minutes until nice and smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides with a spoon. Taste a little bit and see if you'd like to add more salt or pepper. Set aside. 

Bring one small pot of water with a dash of salt to boil and toss in the fava beans and cook for 5 minutes to give them a head start. Then add the English peas and sugar snap peas. Cook for another 5 minutes until the peas are bright green. Drain the vegetables and submerge them in a large bowl of ice water to shock them. Drain the vegetables and pick out the fava beans. Remove their tough outer shell and add them back to the peas. Set aside.

For the pasta, bring a large pot of water with a dash of salt to a boil and cook the pasta until done (follow the instructions on the package). Once done, drain and return the pasta back to the pot. Scrape in all of the pesto and add the vegetables. Toss well and serve. Garnish with fresh herbs, black pepper, and sea salt if desired.




Make sure the almonds are blanched! Whole or slivered are ok as you will be blending them up in the pesto. If the skins are on, they will make the texture rather undesirable (trust me, I've regrettably done it before). You could blanch the almonds yourself by boiling them in water with the skins on for 1 minute, removing them, and then peeling the skins off... but seriously? Just buy them blanched y'all.

Please note to zest the lemon before juicing. You won't be happy doing it the other way around. This recipe should only require one lemon unless you have the smallest lemons in the world.

The reason for shocking the vegetables in an ice bath is to stop them from cooking while also locking in their bright color. This method also gives a nice crunch to them as well, you'll see. 

Fava beans are a bit of a pain but they are so worth it. If you are lucky enough to find frozen and peeled fava beans- great! But most likely, you'll only see them in their shells. To remove the edible part of the beans, open the pod and remove the beans. The outer shell is tough and is not edible. After it has been cooked, you can rather easily remove this outer shell by piercing it delicately and then peeling. What you'll find inside is a bright green fava bean that is buttery and delicious! 

Allergies! Because the pesto itself is gluten-free- you can absolutely use gluten free pasta to go all the way. If you want to make this soy free, use chickpea miso. To make this sugar free, use agave. To make nut free, use sunflower seeds (not sure it will be quite as good or pretty, but you get the idea...) or you can remove the nuts altogether. Ok, are y'all happy now!?

The pasta makes for a nice cold salad the next day, but I do prefer it hot if you decide to use orecchiette. If you do want to serve it as a cold salad, I would recommend using bowtie, rotini (spirals), or penne noodles, as the orecchiette tends to stick together. I actually don't mind this texture when it is served hot, but when served cold, it can be a bit overwhelming, so try the other varieties. 

Ok, that's all. Bye!





In light of summer being just around the corner, I wanted to give you guys a delicious and easy recipe for one of my favorite snacks- bruschetta. This is the perfect way to enjoy juicy tomatoes and fresh herbs. I've made sure to keep this recipe as simple as possible (Only 10 ingredients!) while also throwing in some special tricks to make it unique enough to be worth your while. Do note that although the instructions are kept to a minimum, there are a ton of tips to help you out. Y'all know I like to talk. Ok, enjoy! 


make 2 servings and takes about 15 minutes, nut free, soy free & gluten free option


2 slices sourdough bread, ½ inch or slightly thinner if desired  

2 large or 3 small garlic cloves

3 tablespoons olive oil + a drizzle

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 

½ teaspoon mellow white or chickpea miso

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, not packed

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, not packed

1 cup fresh basil, not packed

Splash of lemon juice, about ½ teaspoon

Fresh pepper & sea salt, to taste

In a mortar in pestle*, add the garlic, olive, oil, nutritional yeast, and a just a pinch of salt and pepper and mash until you are left with a smooth paste. Spread the mash evenly over both sides of bread slices, coating every square inch of each side. Bring a skillet to medium heat and grill the bread on each side for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown, checking often to make sure not to burn. Once removed from the skillet, spread a paper thin amount of the miso on only the top of each piece of toast.

For the topping, finely chop all of the fresh herbs and add them to a mixing bowl along with the tomatoes, splash of olive oil & lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and spoon onto toast. Serve immediately.




Place the loaf of bread in the fridge for a few hours before slicing. This makes the bread hard and much easier to cut. Using a bread knife is ideal as well. There’s a reason these were invented guys, use them! Use gluten-free bread if you wish! 

If you do not have a mortar and pestle, just finely mince the garlic, smash it with the side of your knife, mince some more, and add that to the oil, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and mix well.

Miso! I know, like, what? Well, yeah! It’s super delicious and has a cheesy flavor. Don’t worry, you’re not adding a ton! Just a very small amount. This provides the toast with an extra level of flavor and richness. Try it! I promise you’ll like it. When adding salt to taste, do remember that the miso adds a kick of saltiness, so just be aware of that when you are doing your final touches to taste.  If you want to make this soy free, use chickpea miso. It's awesome.

Make it pretty! Now I know what you're thinking, “My bruschetta will never look like that...” Well, it can if you really care! Just take the extra 5 minutes it takes (ok, maybe 10) to plate it nicely. Reserve some of the prettiest fresh herbs for the final touches. If you take your time studding them in, you can create your own little world and make the prettiest toast ever. Well, not as pretty as mine. Ha! Jk. Or you could just throw it together and devour- there’s no right or wrong here people.

You can certainly cut the bread into smaller pieces and serve this as a small bite size appetizer for a party. You can also pop the bread in the oven to toast it up a bit more. What I have noticed is that you want the toast to have some chew so that it holds the topping more efficiently. If it’s too crispy, everything will just fall off!

I highly recommend making this as an afternoon snack for a friend. Try enjoying it with a glass of delicious red wine and some olives to snack on. That’s what I would do! :)

Miso Maple Mustard Glazed Carrots


These are absolutely delicious. Sticky, sweet, savory, and tangy. An all-star vegetable side, let me tell you. And talk about easy! Literally whisk together a few ingredients for the glaze, toss that with the carrots, roast, and enjoy. Rainbow carrots are obviously ideal because they are such show-offs, but regular carrots will certainly suffice. Now just to give you a little backstory, it was only a few months ago that one of my friends recommended that I try cooking with the miso-maple combo. And it turns out- they are natural bffs. Once I started playing with the pair, I quickly realized that spicy whole grain mustard would be a lovely addition to the party. Upon further investigation, I came to notice that there were plenty of similar recipes out there using this combination, so I'm certainly not the first. But I sure do make them look pretty, don't I? Have fun! 

Miso Maple Mustard Glazed Carrots

Makes 2-4 servings, gluten-free and nut-free, take about 45 minutes

1 pound carrots, sliced in half lengthwise 

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons good olive oil

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 tablespoons good whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons mellow white miso

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons gluten-free tamari

Crushed red pepper, to taste (optional)

Fresh black pepper, to taste (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Next, make the glaze by whisking together all of the ingredients, except the carrots, in a cast iron skillet or baking dish. Add the carrots and toss them in the glaze until they are evenly coated. Roast for about 35 minutes, removing them halfway through to toss the mixture around to ensure the glaze is well incorporated into the carrots. Remove the dish from oven once the desired texture is achieved.




When slicing the carrots, start by cutting the tops off. Then cut them in half lengthwise, and then cut them across in the middle, creating bite-sized slivers. If some of the carrots are smaller than the others, just cut them in half lengthwise and not in half again. Keep in mind that you want them to be roughly the same size so that they cook evenly. 

When making the glaze, instead of mixing in a bowl and transferring to the baking dish, just whisk everything directly in the dish/skillet. That means less clean up for everyone. 

I highly recommend roasting the carrots in a cast iron skillet because it always cooks vegetables beautifully. If not, a small baking dish will work. I think these do best when the carrots are snug and next to one another. This helps prevent the glaze from burning and ensures that the carrots are nice a juicy. Now, I'm not saying stack them on top of each other. You see the picture, you get the idea! 

You can certainly cook the carrots for less than 35 minutes if you want a crunchier carrot or longer if you want them to be more soft and succulent.

This vegetable side would be perfect served with some seasoned rice, sautéed greens, and a few pieces of marinated baked tofu/tempeh. They are also delicious the next day after sitting in the fridge overnight. Try throwing them in a salad, a wrap, or on a sandwich. 

Lastly, to make this soy free you could use chickpea miso, instead of soybean miso, and coconut aminos as a great alternative to tamari. :) 



Curried Potato Soup with Roasted Chickpeas


When I first posted my cashew cream of potato soup, I damn near broke the Instagram server. There were loads of requests for the recipe so I decided to share it with all of you. Lucky for you, this recipe is super approachable and fun. Because it is so incredibly easy, you could potentially be enjoying it for yourself in absolutely no time! This version, I added curry seasoning, but you could leave that out and add fresh rosemary and minced garlic. The possibilities are endless! I will say that the roasted chickpeas are a lovely addition to the curry, so do give that a go if you try this. Ready, set, go!!


makes 4-6 servings, takes about 45 minutes, gluten free and soy free

soup base:

6 cups water

3 cups diced russet potato, peeled*

1 cup raw cashews

4-5 garlic cloves

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 large bay leaves

1 heaping tablespoon of curry powder 

crispy chickpeas:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons Mirchi spice blend or any Indian spice blend

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

For the soup base throw the water, potatoes, cashews, sea salt, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, and bay leaves into a large pot and bring to a boil. Once this has come to a boil and the potatoes are tender, remove from heat. Let cool for about 20 minutes. Once cooled, remove the bay leaves and add the mixture to a high-speed blender. Add the curry powder and blend until smooth and creamy. Return to pot, heat, and serve. Garnish with roasted chickpeas and fresh herbs. Here's how you make the chickpeas.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix together in a bowl the chickpeas, olive oil, spices, nutritional yeast, and sea salt. Mix well and toss onto a baking sheet. Spread evenly and bake for 30-40 minutes, removing and tossing halfway through to ensure even cooking. Once toasted to desired texture, remove and use to garnish soup or keep in an airtight container for a snack.




This soup base is a great go-to 'cream of potato soup' without the curry. Boiling the cashews with the potatoes makes them blend easily and provides the heavy cream we are looking for. And the possibilities are endless: add roasted shallots and mushrooms as garnishes (which I've done previously in my Instagram gallery- go look). You could add vegan shredded cheese, shiitake bacon, and green onions on top to make it fully loaded potato soup. Or, you could simply serve it with a drizzle of truffle oil and cracked black pepper. Now that sounds good! 

I used one very large russet potato. But if you can't find one large one, it will most likely be two medium-sized ones. You want the pieces to be the size of a cubic inch. This makes the cooking time very short... around 15 minutes max.

You can use other curry powders if you don't have access to Spicemode. You can also use just a mixture of your favorite seasonings for the chickpeas as well. If you don't have access to pre-made Indian spice blends, try mixing dry turmeric, cumin, cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg and clove together. Since the chickpeas are already cooked, you can taste them before roasting to see if you like the way they taste. Just have fun with it!

In regards to the roasting time, I only roasted mine for 30 minutes and the texture was a bit soft- which I liked! The texture reminded me of roasted potatoes. Now, you can certainly roast them for an extra 10-15 minutes to make them crunchy. It just depends on your mood and what you want. Do be careful towards the end- you don't want them burning! 




Rosemary Pecan Bars


If you like pecans and rosemary like me, then you will just die over these bars. Mainly because they highlight both ingredients so well. Lucky for me, I live close by many pecan trees as well as plenty of rosemary bushes- so I have the best selection! Fret not though, both are easy to acquire at your local grocery store. In regards to bars, don't get me wrong, I love pecan pie. But I honestly find that making a perfect crust is kind of... annoying. It's always a huge production and the biggest mess. Not bars though! This shortbread recipe is so easy, it will take you all but 5 minutes. And because it is infused with lemon zest and fresh rosemary, it's even better than you can imagine. Now for the filling, well, it's just perfect: ooey, gooey, and caramelly. My bestie Isa Chandra perfected it years ago and it's my go-to pecan pie filling. Now don't be scared of the tofu in it, you'll never know. And don't even think about using eggs instead, it just won't work. Muhahaha! Ok, I'll let you go make this now. Let me know what you think.


rosemary pecan bars

serves 10-14, takes about 1 hour

shortbread crust:

1/2 pound (1 cup) vegan butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
2 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Next, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and rosemary using a stand or hand mixer. Once mixed until fluffy, slowly add the flour a little at a time until it is all incorporated. Press the mixture in a 9" x 13" pan and bake for 15 minutes. Once baked, remove and set aside and begin to make your filling. Leave the oven on at 350 degrees, as you will bake the bars at the same temperature.

pecan pie filling:

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup vegan butter
6 oz silken tofu
1/4 cup cold unsweetened plain non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecan halves

Place the tofu, milk, cornstarch, vanilla, and salt in a food processor or blender and puree until completely smooth. Set aside.

In a medium pot, mix the sugar, brown sugar, and maple syrup with a whisk until dissolved over medium-low heat. Once small bubbles start to form, use a flat ended wooden spoon and move the mixture around for 8 minutes. Once the mixture is thick and smells like caramel, you are done. 

Turn off the heat and add the butter. Then pour in the set aside mixture and mix well. Fold in the pecans and pour over shortbread. Bake for 40 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and let cool for 3 hours.

Slice and enjoy!



For the butter, I make my own by blending different vegetable oils with an emulsifier. This ensures that I know exactly what is in my butter. If you would like to make your own, do some online research- there are loads of recipes out there. (I am currently working on one for my book ;) Luckily, there are many plant based butters on the market these days. If your local grocery store does not carry any, ask them and they usually will begin to- I've actually done this myself. 

For the milk, I used unsweetened almond milk. You could get away with using soy or coconut as well. I always recommend using unflavored and unsweetened.

For the lemon zest, use a microplane. If you don't have one, you should seriously get one as they are a must-have in the kitchen. Also, only use the bright yellow part of the skin, the white part is bitter. I've seen people scrape and scrape. No, ma'am! Just the surface, please.

For the pecans, you can use chopped, it's totally ok to. It just looks prettier to use halves.

When slicing, the first piece may be more difficult to get out than the rest, but once you do, it is a breeze. I used a non-stick baking pan. If you are scared, you can put parchment paper in the pan to help you remove the pieces, but because the shortbread is so buttery and because the filling sets, it is really easy to get out. If you need to quicken things up, you can place the pan in the fridge to shave off some time. That's what I did!

Shoutout to my girl Isa Chandra for always having amazing recipes to fall back on. She helped me in figuring out the perfect filling for this one. She's the vegan queen bee y'all! 

Maple Coconut Caramel Popcorn


MMM... This sticky, crunchy, sweet and salty popcorn is everything! For these particular clusters photographed above, I used mini-popcorn* which is why the kernels are so tiny and cute. Now it is certainly ok to use regular kernels as well, just note that it will make the clumps more delicate and easier to fall apart. But whether baked in clusters or sprawled out on the baking sheet, the result is super delicious all the same. I recommend serving this at a party in a big bowl or dividing it up into small goody bags for presents.

maple coconut caramel popcorn

makes 6-8 servings (you can double the recipe), takes about 30 minutes, gluten free and soy free

3 cups popcorn (popped at home or pre-popped)

¼ cup thinly sliced almonds, toasted and chopped

¼ pistachios, toasted and chopped

1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil

¼ cup maple syrup

blonde coconut sugar

maldon salt

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add popcorn to a large bowl with the almonds and pistachios.

Next, make the caramel by melting the coconut oil and maple syrup in a small pot and mix well on low heat. Once melted, bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 3 minutes, until it smells rich and 'caramelly' (I know, I made that one up), while thickening. Carefully remove from heat and pour over the popcorn and nuts. Mix well with a large spoon.

Using a ¼ cup measurer (or a large spoon) divide the mixture into 12 mounds or just evenly disperse the mixture on the baking sheet. Sprinkle on top about a teaspoon of coconut sugar and Maldon salt.

Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until desired crispiness. Once done, remove from oven, let cool for 15 minutes.




For the image, I used mini-popcorn (Pipcorn brand). These tiny popped kernels hold together nicely for clusters. If you use regular kernels, I recommend spreading them out and expecting more of a crackerjack consistency as opposed to individual clusters.

If you do pop the kernels at home, make sure to remove any un-popped ones. You don’t want want people hurting themselves!

Make sure to use unrefined coconut oil, as you want the buttery, rich flavor it has to offer (opposed to refined coconut oil which is neutral in taste.)

Blonde coconut sugar is made from coconut palm tree blossoms and has a delicious flavor that is buttery and 'caramelly'. Again, there's that word.

 Maldon salt is light and flakey, providing the perfect texture and topping for this popcorn.

You can double this recipe if you want to make a large batch. 

This recipe was inspired and adapted from the recipe in Donna Hay’s book Life in Balance. If you aren't familiar with Donna Hay, you should be. She's amazing.

Broccoli Heart and carrot Slaw


Have you ever wondered what to do with broccoli stalks? Well, here is the perfect (and delicious) way to put them to use. All you need is a mandoline, carrots, leftover broccoli stalks, and a few pantry items and you are on your way to enjoying a delightful snack, flavorful side dish, or the perfect addition to sandwiches, wraps, or salads. Here's how to make it:

Broccoli Heart and carrot Slaw

Makes 2 servings, takes about 15 minutes, gluten free, soy free, nut free

2 cups julienned rainbow or regular carrots (2-3 large carrots)

1 cup julienned broccoli hearts (2 broccoli stalks)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil 

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Sea salt to taste*

Green onions (to garnish)

Start by prepping the veggies. Give them a good wash and pat dry. Next, using a sharp vegetable peeler,  peel the carrots and broccoli stalks. Next, carefully slice them with a mandolin using the julienne blade or manually using a sharp knife. Once done slicing, heat a large cast iron skillet with just a drizzle of olive oil on medium high heat. Add the veggies and stir for 4-5 minutes until just cooked. Remove from heat and throw in the sesame seed oil, toasted sesame seeds, rice wine vinegar, and a dash of salt. Stir the mixture well and let sit for a few minutes before serving. Lastly, taste and finish with as much salt as desired. Top with sliced green onions.




Julienne is a cooking term that means to slice something in a long thin strip resembling a matchstick. I recommend using a mandoline because they make slicing precise but I'm warning you- they are very dangerous! Please be very careful by either using a guard or wearing protective gloves when using one. If you don't have a mandoline, just use a very sharp knife. It will take you longer but the texture is well worth it. The veggies end up tasting like noodles. :)

Broccoli Hearts are just the center of the broccoli stalks. If you have never tried the hearts, this is a good way for you to do so. Eaten raw or cooked, the hearts are crunchy and buttery. I just love them. Be sure to get the whole outer skin off, as it is fibrous and undesirable to eat. You'll notice a difference in texture when peeling the outer skin off and when the heart becomes soft and tender to peel. 

Sesame seeds provide this dish a nice crunch and pop of flavor. If you only have raw sesame seeds, just dry toast them in a pan for about a minute until they are fragrant.

Don't overcook the vegetables! You want them to have a crunch to them. They also will continue to cook once you remove them from the heat. 

Salt is an ingredient I like to leave up to each individual cook. I personally used 1/2 teaspoon. But you might like less. Start with a dash, taste, and then add more if you would like. You could also use tamari or soy sauce in this recipe. I chose not because I didn't want to darken the color of the slaw and I wanted to keep this recipe soy free. Aren't I just the sweetest?

My blog


Hey y'all! 

My name is Timothy Pakron aka Mississippi Vegan. I am a southern boy living in Brooklyn, NY, where I have a cozy little apartment in the neighborhood of Williamsburg. After studying studio art in college and graduating, I have been actively pursuing my career as a visual artist. And like many other creative individuals, a large collection of other jobs. After spending time in New York City, while exploring many different avenues, my passions inevitably rose to the surface and my career path shifted in a very big way. 

For the past two years, I decided to take a break from creating contemporary art with traditional mediums like photographic film and oil paint. Instead, I decided to focus on using edible plants and mushrooms as my artistic mediums. And since making this decision, all of my time and energy has been dedicated to food styling and food photography. I've also begun working with cookbook authors, helping with restaurant menu consulting, learning about foraging, and cooking for the public through pop-ups. While doing all of this, I have been sharing my knowledge about the absolutely delicious and wonderful vegan lifestyle that I am proud to live.

It has been incredibly rewarding to share my food creations with the world, especially as an artistic expression. I have been overwhelmed with all of the love and support that my followers have provided me and now it is time to give back. So what is the next step?

My Blog

I have thus decided to start documenting my recipes with detailed instructions so that I can share them with the world. So that you can now try my food. And in return, this will allow me to teach you how to make some of my favorite dishes. The end goal is to help you to make the most delicious and satisfying food while only using the magnificent plant and fungi kingdoms. My recipes are always free from animal products and certainly full of love. My blog will also give me the opportunity to share my knowledge on certain ingredients, cooking techniques, and will allow me to express my personal thoughts more in depth than just a small comment on Instagram.

Now, I know, I know, a blog isn't a new concept here. All of the top people in my field have them and I now fully realize why! It is not only special but of utter importance, that I can create recipes that will allow my thoughts and ideas to be in your home and in your kitchen. It has become second nature for me to create a dish, photograph it beautifully, and to then share it. But writing down the exact measurements, details, and instructions- in a way that will allow you to do so easily? That's a different story. It's a challenge. And I am ready to take it on. 

My goal 

My goal is to provide enticing, fun, and delicious recipes with easy instructions. I want you to say, 'Oooh! I want to make that!' And I will do my very best to be consistent and try to post one recipe per month. There may be some weeks that I post an ingredient highlight or a farm visit, but the majority of posts will be recipes that I want you to try. Update: This was before I got my book deal! Therefore, I've had to put my blog posting on the back-burner, but only temporarily! Once my manuscript is delivered this December (2017), I will be able to post more often the following year. Thank you for your patience and understanding :) 

Now, all that I ask of you is to try the recipes for yourself and your loved ones. I need feedback people! Please leave your comments below each recipe. Take pictures of what you create. I would absolutely love to see your creations. If you are on Instagram, please tag me in the picture(s) and hashtag #mississippivegan. You better let me know that you tried one of my recipes! And if you're not on the gram, please feel free to shoot me an e-mail to share your pictures and thoughts. Also, sign up for my mailing list so that I can keep you updated on what I am posting.

This blog is a very important building block for me at this moment in my life. It means the world to me that you can be a part of it. I know and feel that it is absolutely necessary for me to develop my recipe writing skills. It is time for my food to be created in homes and kitchens all around the world.

Thank you!


Timothy aka Mississippi Vegan

All photographs of me on this post by Tutes