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Compassionate Cooks

Compassionate Cooks is dedicated to empowering people to make informed food choices and to debunking myths about vegetarianism and animal rights through cooking classes, recipes and resources, workshops and lectures, articles and essays, a cooking DVD, the popular Vegetarian Food for Thought podcast, and Colleen's cookbooks, the award-winning The Joy of Vegan Baking and the new The Vegan Table.

Compassionate Cooks gives people the tools and resources they need to prevent disease, optimize their health, and create new habits that benefit the Earth and all its inhabitants.

Go to www.compassionatecooks.com for more recipes, class schedules and shopping.

Chocolate Cake

This might be the easiest cake in the world to prepare, and it ís incredibly versatile, lending itself to a layer cake, bundt cake, or cupcakes. Though this is a pretty common recipe, I want to give credit to Jennifer Raymond, for it was in her cookbook The Peaceful Palate that I first saw it.


1-1/2 cups (188 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup (80 ml) canola oil
1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
1 cup (235 ml) cold water

Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C or gas mark 4). Lightly oil a Bundt pan, 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan, or muffin tins.

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Create a well in the center of your dry ingredients, and add the vanilla, oil, vinegar, and water. Mix until just combined. Pour into your prepared pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If making cupcakes, check for doneness after 15 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack. To remove the cake from the pan, run a sharp knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake. Cool completely before frosting with Chocolate Frosting (see below) or with Buttercream Frosting (page 231). You may also dust with sifted confectioner's sugar and top with fresh raspberries.

Yield: One 9-inch cake (23-cm) or 8 cupcakes. Double the recipe for a layer cake or a bundt cake.

Serving Suggestions and Variations: Add a teaspoon of cayenne pepper or a teaspoon of chili powder for a 'Mexican Chocolate Cake.'

What's the Difference?

Cacao: The tropical evergreen tree and its dried and partially fermented beans that are processed to make chocolate, cocoa powder, and cocoa butter.
Cocoa Butter: The ivory-colored, naturally occurring fat in cacao beans. Cocoa butter is the basis of white chocolate.
Chocolate: The general term for the products of the seeds of the cacao tree, used for making beverages or confectionery.
Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened Cocoa): Made when chocolate liquor is pressed to remove most of its cocoa butter.

Chocolate Frosting

A chocolate lover's dream! Though many of the commercial brands of frosting are 'vegan,' they're also made with unsavory ingredients, such as partially hydrogenated oil or high-fructose corn syrup. This recipe is as easy as it is delicious.


1/2 cup (112 g) non-hydrogenated, nondairy butter, softened
3 cups (300 g) powdered (confectioner's) sugar, sifted
1/3 (42 g) cup cocoa, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla or 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
3-4 tablespoons (45 to 60) water or nondairy milk

With an electric hand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the sugar, and cream for about 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, and turn the mixer to high speed once all the ingredients are relatively well-combined. Beat on high speed until frosting is light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add l or 2 tablespoons more milk if it's too dry. Cover the icing with plastic wrap to prevent drying until ready to use. Store it in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Re-whip before using.

Yield: Enough for one 9-inch (23-cm) cake or 8 cupcakes

What's the Difference?

The terms 'frosting' and 'icing' tend to be used interchangeably, and they both describe a sugary, buttery mixture that covers and fills cakes and pastries. People in New England, the Upper Midwest, and the Western United States tend to use 'frosting,' and Pennsylvanians, New Jerseyeans, and those in the Lower Midwest and the South, prefer 'icing.' A few people in the South call it by a third name, 'filling,' even when it goes on top.

Three Days of Healthful, Compassionate, Vegan Meals!


Breakfast Smoothie

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day, and smoothies are a great way to start off exceeding your fruit intake! It's also a great way to get your Omega-3s from the flax seeds. Here's my favorite, which I have EVERY morning.

Blend until all mixed together. Yummy!

1 or 2 ripe bananas (1/2 banana is a "serving")
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries (or any other fruit)
3 dates (pitted)
2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup rice or soy milk

What's for Lunch? Mock Chicken Salad

Tempeh (tem-pay) is a wonderful soy food packed with protein and other nutrients. This salad offers great flavor and texture and is perfect to pack up or enjoy at home.

Cut tempeh into chunks. Steam tempeh for about 10-12 minutes. While the tempeh is steaming, chop veggies. Mix tempeh, veggies, and condiments in a bowl. Season to taste. Serve as a salad with leafy greens or on bread as a sandwich. Enjoy!

1 package tempeh
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4+ tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (I recommend Wildwood's Garlic Ailoi)
1-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Garlic & Greens Soup

This soup packs a punch, starting with a whole head of garlic, making the kind of robust, assertive bowlful you want on a cold winter day. With a good bread and a nice salad, it's a meal in itself. For best results, use two or three kinds of greens, mixing stronger flavors with milder ones. Try a combination of chard, kale, and bok choy.

Sauté the garlic and onion in the olive oil in a large non-stick pan, until the onions turn translucent. Wash the greens, trim away any tough stems and ribs, and shred the leaves with a sharp knife. Meanwhile, combine the diced potatoes, water, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth in a soup pot and bring to a boil. When the potatoes are tender, add the garlic and onion mixture, all the shredded greens, and the rice vinegar. Simmer everything together for about 30 minutes, then taste and correct the seasoning if needed.

1 head garlic, separated into cloves, peeled and chopped [I press the garlic]
1 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch each kale and chard or other greens

1-1/2 lbs. white or yellow potatoes, diced (no need to peel if you don't want to )

8 cups vegetable broth (or half broth, half water)

salt and pepper to taste

Fresh Strawberry Pie

To experience the full flavor of the fresh berries, use the sweetest, ripest strawberries you can find and serve the pie within four hours of preparing it. If your strawberries are less than perfectly sweet, you may want to add a bit of sweetener to the blended filling mixture. The optional psyllium is available at health food stores and is used to help the pie filling hold together. Without it, the finished pie is looser, but still delicious. Instead of the date-nut crust, you may substitute a graham or cookie-crumb crust, or a regular prebaked pie shell.

Grind the almonds in a food processor. Add the ¾ cup dates and process until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into a pie plate or spring form pan. Arrange 4 cups of the sliced strawberries on top of the crust in a circular pattern and set aside. In a food processor or blender, combine the remaining cup of strawberries with the 5 dates, lemon juice, and psyllium, if using. Puree until smooth. Pour the sauce mixture over strawberries and refrigerate pie for 1 hour before serving. EXTRA: Add some chocolate chunks to the top of the pie just before refrigerating it. The combination of the chocolate and strawberries is divine!

2 cups raw almonds or pecans
¾ cup pitted dates

5 cups sliced ripe strawberries
5 pitted dates, soaked 10 minutes in warm water and drained
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons psyllium (optional)


No Fuss Pancakes

These are the best pancakes I've ever had. They're fluffy, flavorful and are perfect with maple syrup, and they're so easy to make.

Mix together the dry ingredients and then stir in the wet ingredients. Pour onto a pan with a nonstick surface and cook over medium heat, turning once when the edges begin to bubble and brown. Top with berries or bananas.

1 cup unbleached white flour (or split it and use half whole wheat flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup soymilk or rice milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup, apple juice concentrate, or barley malt

Fast & Fabulous Fajitas

If you double the recipe, you can use the veggies for a Breakfast Burrito or Tofu Scramble the next morning. It's a great way to use whatever veggies are available in your fridge.

Heat tortillas in oven, toaster oven, or, even faster - just right over the gas range top. In a 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the squash, onion, peppers, and garlic; stir to coat with oil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in salsa, cumin, and salt. Cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Spoon vegetable mixture evenly down the centers of warm tortillas. Roll up tortillas, and serve with some non-dairy sour cream.

8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red or yellow onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 yellow squash, halved and sliced into strips
1/2 cup salsa
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

Versatile Peanut Sauce (for Stir-fry, Pasta, Steamed Veggies, and more!)

With this sauce on hand, you can create a multitude of habit-forming dishes. Toss peanut sauce with pasta and grains as well as steamed vegetables, salads, and slaws. When chilled, it's thick enough to use as a condiment on a sandwich of grilled vegetables.

Place the peanut butter, tamari, rice vinegar, cayenne, and 2/3 cup boiling water in the bowl of a food processor. Process to blend, adding additional boiling water, if necessary to create a thick but pourable sauce. Use immediately, or transfer to a jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. When ready to serve, blend in garlic and ginger to the portion you'll be using. If necessary, thin the sauce to the desired consistency with hot water.

1 cup unsalted natural peanut butter
2-1/2 tablespoons tamari (similar to soy sauce but contains no wheat)
1 to 2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (depending on your tolerance for the heat)
2/3 to 3/4 cup boiling water
Finely minced garlic and fresh ginger to taste

Magic Chocolate Cake

What's magic about this cake? It contains no eggs, no dairy, and it's super easy to make. Makes one 9-inch cake or 8 cupcakes. I have found that doubling the recipe (for both the cake and the frosting) is perfect for a two-layer cake.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl and stir with a fork until mixed. Make a well in the center and add the vanilla, oil, vinegar, and water. Stir with a fork until well mixed. Pour into a 9x9-inch baking dish (or cupcake pan), and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cream the margarine in a small bowl then add the sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and enough water to make a thick but spreadable frosting.

From The Peaceful Palate by Jennifer Raymond

1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
¾ cup sugar or other sweetener
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 cup cold water

Chocolate Cream Frosting
Makes enough for one 9-inch cake or 8 cupcakes
2 tablespoon softened non-dairy, non-hydrogenated margarine (preferably Earth Balance)
1-1/3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
½ teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons water


Fabulous French Toast

In a blender or food processor, puree the non-dairy milk, flax meal, tofu, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and canola oil until very smooth and think (the mix will get thicker as the flax absorbs some of the liquid). Dip a slice of bread in the batter. Turn over and let sit for a few moments to soak, then remove and place on a plate until ready to fry.

In a skillet over medium-high hear, add the canola oil hen hot and reduce heat to low/medium-low. Fry bread for 4-6 minutes on each side, until lightly brown). Try to flip only once so that the batter will set and brown nicely on the bread). Serve with berries and pure maple syrup.

1 cup vanilla soy or rice milk
2 T flax meal
1/2 cup firm silken tofu
1/4 cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp sea salt
1 tsp canola oil
8-9 bread of your choice
2-3 canola oil (or more, if needed, for frying)

Veggie Pasta Salad with Pine Nuts

Pasta salads are easy to make, inexpensive, and filling. Be creative and flexible with this recipe. Use any veggies you like. Mine are just suggestions.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Combine all the veggies, nuts, and herbs in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice, and vinegar. When pasta is finished cooking, drain it and add to the veggie mixture. Add dressing and toss everything together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

16 ounces bowtie or penne pasta (or any dry pasta of choice)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 cup orange or yellow pepper, diced
1 cup red pepper, diced
1 cup cucumber, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
1 cup artichoke hearts (marinated in olive oil), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mushroom Pecan Burgers

These burgers are amazing -and that's coming from a non-mushroom lover! Try them and you'll see. Paired with salad and roasted veggies, they're perfect.

In a food processor, mince mushrooms with parsley. Remove and set aside. In food processor (or by hand), mince onion with garlic. In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the garlic and onions with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper in olive oil for about 5-6 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, mix ALL ingredients together (or first mix tahini and hoisin into the warm onion mixture, to help distribute it better. Place mixture in the refrigerator for at least half an hour to help it bind. The mixture will be soft, but you will be able to form patties (if needed, add additional breadcrumbs or tahini). Scoop out mixture with your hands and form into patties. In a skillet lightly coasted with oil, fry patties over medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side until lightly browned and crispy on each side. Flip only once to keep patties intact.

1-¼ to 1-½ pounds cremini mushrooms (white mushrooms are fine but will be less flavorful)
½ cup fresh parsley
1 to 1-½ cups red or white onions, roughly chopped
2-3 medium-large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (a Chinese sauce found in the Asian section of the supermarket)
¾ cup toasted pecans or walnuts, chopped or lightly crushed
3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried sage
¼ teaspoon sea salt
ground pepper to taste
1-½ to 2 cups breadcrumbs

The Original, the Authentic, the Veganized Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

This is an improved version of traditional Nestle Toll House Cookies - better because there's NO cholesterol and no animal products, AND you get to sample the batter with no risk of Salmonella or any other nasty life-threatening bacteria!

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Add egg replacer one at a time, beating well after each addition; gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

*Earth Balance can be found at Whole Foods and other natural health food stores.

**ENER-G Egg Replacer is a brand-name powder mixture of vegetable starches that simulates eggs in baking. It can be used in recipes calling for unbeaten eggs, egg whites beaten stiff, and egg yolks. It can be found at Whole Foods as well as natural health food stores.

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Earth Balance*, softened (although Earth Balance is the best, you may use any other non-dairy butter/margarine)
3/4 cup granulated [white] sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Egg Replacer for 2 eggs**
2 cups (12-ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)


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