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30 Second Toaster Oven Pizza

Now, Kate might not agree with me, but not everything has to be fancy, or take time to cook. Often there isn’t the time, or inclination.

If you are new to vegan food, it’s a good thing to have a few of these ideas on hand: things that can be made in under 30 seconds, as long as the ingredients are around. [“And aren’t nasty”, Kate reminds me. Perish the thought.].

Take bread, slather with tomato paste, toffuti cream cheese and sprinkle oregano on top. Toast until toasty.

Toaster Oven Pizza


  • Bread
  • Tomato Paste Concentrate
  • Toffutti Cream Cheese
  • Oregano
  • Chana Masala

    We LOVE spicy indian food in our home. So I was thrilled when my friend Monica pointed me to this recipe for chana masala. I’ve made a few minor changes but for the most part, it’s dead-nuts-on. The flavors are very rich and plentiful and the dish is quite spicy, so if you can’t take the heat you might want to reduce the amount of cayenne pepper to 1/4 tsp or less. Me, I add one or two serrano chilis (diced) to the onion mixture to give it some oomph. It’s totally worth it.


    • 1 yellow onion, cut in half then sliced very thin
    • Olive oil
    • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced or crushed
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tsp garam masala
    • seeds from 3 cardamom pods, crushed (break open the pods with a mortar and pestle, separate the seeds and crush)
    • 28 oz canned tomatoes
    • 1 tsp sea salt
    • 2 15oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
    • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
    • (optional) 1-2 serrano chiles, diced

    The Method:

    1. Over medium heat, saute onions in olive oil until charred. Reduce heat to low, add garlic (and serranos) and a bit more oil. Add cumin, coriander, ginger, garam masala and cardamom seeds. Fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

    2. Add 1/4 cup of water, stir to scrape up bits, cook until water has evaporated.

    3. Pour in juice from canned tomatoes, then the tomatoes. Add salt to taste.

    4. Raise heat to medium, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then add cilantro and cayenne pepper, simmer until sauce thickents. Add chickpeas, stir for about 5 minutes.

    5. Add 2 tbsp water, cook until absorbed. Repeat a couple of times. Serve and garnish with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

    Tarte du Berger (French Shepherd’s Pie)

    I had a monster craving for shepherd’s pie the other day, but I also had an equally large craving for a really rich and comfort-food filled french stew. So I combined these two thoughts together to create Tarte du Berger, or Pie of Shepherds, in french. It’s filled with lovely root vegetables, leek-mashed potatoes and best of all, cognac-flamed seitan! This dish is sure to impress with not only the delicious tastes, but also the preparing of the meal itself. Warning: this recipe requires flame. Big flame.

    • 7-8 small Yukon Gold potatoes, diced (Russets would be fine as well, though less rich)
    • 3 tbsp Earth Balance non-dairy butter
    • 1/2 cup soy milk, unflavored
    • 2 leeks, sliced to the dark green part, then halved
    • 1/2 cup dry sherry
    • 3 cups minced seitan
    • 1/4 cup cognac (a sweet scotch like Macallan’s will do in a pinch)
    • 3 tbsp Earth Balance non-dairy butter
    • 1 yellow onion, quartered and sliced
    • 2 parsnips, diced
    • 8 fingerling carrots, diced (or two regular carrots, diced)
    • 8 button mushrooms, quartered (porcini are great, but expensive and occasionally uncommon)
    • 3/4 cup red zinfandel
    • 3 tbsp Earth Balance non-dairy butter
    • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
    • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (mushroom stock is really nice for this)
    • Salt and Pepper to taste

    The Method:

    1. Boil potatoes. Carmelize leeks by putting them in a saucepan with the dry sherry, bring to a boil, then turn heat down to medium / low and let the liquid cook off. Drain the potatoes and put them back in their pot with the leeks. Mash with 3 tbsp “butter” and slowly add soy milk until the potatoes are to your preferred consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

    2. Saute seitan in 3 tbsp butter until brown (you want it a bit crispy). With a long lighter in one hand and the 1/4 cup cognac in the other, pour the cognac onto the seitan and light the seitan. Lift the pan above the burner and jiggle it a bit to reduce the flame down. Be careful! The flame will go down in time. Remove seitan from pan once flame is out, but keep the juices in the pan. Set seitan aside.

    3. In the “juiced” pan, saute the onion (add “butter” if you need to) until just starting to brown. Add parsnip and carrots, cook until vegetables have a brown crisp to them. Add “butter” as necessary to keep them from sticking to the pan. Add mushrooms, cook for 5 more minutes. Remove veggies from pan and set aside, but keep the drippings in the pan.

    4. Put heat to low. In a small bowl, whisk flour with 3/4 cup stock until a roux is made. Slowly add to the pan, whisking the entire time. Add the remaining stock, slowly. Add the zinfandel slowly, mix well. Add the vegetables and seitan, mix well. Cook at a rolling boil until the sauce reduces to a thick gravy. You may need to make subsequent rouxes (rouxs?) and add them to the stew. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    5. In a large baking dish, layer first the seitan stew, then top with the mashed leek potatoes. Bake at 400 degrees in the oven, until the potatoes are browned on top. Enjoy!

    Eggplant Polenta Torte with Smoked Tempeh and Roasted Garlic Diavolo Sauce

    I love eggplant. I didn’t always love it. I used to find it bitter and rubbery, but now, thanks to my father-in-law, I know to sweat the eggplant first to remove the bitterness and make the eggplant nice and soft. The red sauce is my own invention; I first tasted something like it at a very non-vegan italian restaurant, and it took a few tries to realize that the key to the sauce was the roasted garlic. It seems like a lot of garlic, but when you roast it, the garlic gets sweeter and more mild than raw garlic.


    • 2 heads of garlic
    • olive oil
    • 2 cups polenta
    • 8 cups water
    • 1 tbsp sea salt
    • 1-2 serrano chiles, diced
    • 2 cans diced tomatos
    • 2 cans tomato paste
    • oregano and basil to taste
    • 2 chinese eggplants OR 1 italian eggplant, sliced 1/4″ thick pieces
    • 1 pkg smoked tempeh (I use the “Fakin Bacon” Smoked Tempeh)
    • 1 yellow onion, finely diced

    The Method:

    1. Sweat the eggplant by sprinkling sea salt on slices and laying them to rest in a slightly tipped pan or plate. This removes the bitterness. Leave on for about 20-30 minutes, rinse and set aside.

    2. Slice tops off garlic heads (do not peel them!), place in a baking dish and drizzle olive oil on them. Cover the baking dish with tin foil and braise at 350 degrees in the oven until the cloves pop out of the peel and turn a lovely golden hue. Remove cloves from the husk, shred and mash them with two forks in a dish, set aside.

    3. Boil water with salt. Whisk in polenta slowly. Bring heat to low. Add oregano, about a tablespoon. Continue whisking for 5 minutes. Cook on low for 10-15 minutes until the polenta pulls away from the sides. Pour half the polenta into an 8 x 10″ pan, and half into your baking dish (8 x 10″ x 2-3″ tall). The polenta should be about 1/2 to 3/4″ thick. Set aside to cool.

    4. Heat olive oil in skillet, add serranos and cook on high until they brown. Add tomatoes and tomato paste, mix well. Add basil, about a tablespoon and mix well. Add garlic mash, mix well, cook all for about 10 minutes on medium – low heat.

    5. Saute onion until brown (in olive oil). Add tempeh, crumbled, and mix well. Cook for 5-10 minutes, set aside.

    6. Layer some eggplant on the polenta in your primary baking dish (the deep one). On top of this, layer the tempeh, all of it. Spread about half the tomato sauce mixture on the tempeh/eggplant/polenta layers. Top this with the other layer of polenta (carefully), then layer the rest of the eggplant and sauce.

    7. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, then bake at 400 degrees in the oven for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes. Enjoy!