Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 16: If There’s An Actual Zombie Apocalypse, All I Want Is A Cyanide Capsule

But setting aside my own mental health issues and lack of desire to survive an apocalypse, much less one borne of one of my most stupid anxieties… the challenge is to make something with non-perishable food. This is actually kind of a real challenge in light of all the natural disasters of late: between wildfires, flooding, and earthquakes, the area I live in constantly threatens to upend everything.

Listen, I pay attention to the news. I have friends in places dealing with actual disasters right now. Earlier this year, in fact, we had to evacuate our home due to flooding – it was fine in the end, thank god, and we left before the waters rose – so this prompt is anything but cute fun to me. In fact, I have to say that thinking about how to address this prompt for a silly blogging challenge got me into a really weird, anxious headspace.

That said, I do not have an emergency kit to speak of, but I should make one. That’s primarily what I’ve been thinking about, because when I get anxious, I want somewhere to put that energy. Planning is a good thing. So I’ve been researching long-term storable food options, what we might actually want to have in terms of supplies, and how to put it all together so maybe, in the midst of hell, food isn’t totally miserable too. (My mom looked at me like I was crazy when I asked what spices she kept in her emergency kit. I guess I am.)

…but I didn’t actually want to MAKE any of it right now, because it’s my goddamn farmers’ market day… so for the VeganMoFo content of this post, I have one recipe idea that can be made with dried or canned food and a single burner/boiling water.

Recipe idea: Moroccan-spiced stew over couscous

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 can plain vegetable soup with tomato broth
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • Spice blend like ras al hanout
  • Raisins and/or dried apricots, chopped (optional)
  • Sliced almonds or shelled pistachios
  • Salt & pepper

Boil 2 cups of water, then pour over couscous in a heat-safe bowl. Cover and let sit about 20 minutes, then season and fluff. Add the canned soup and beans to the pot with spice blend and a handful of raisins. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes to heat and get the flavors to meld. Taste to adjust spices/seasoning. If time and fuel permit, let it simmer long enough for the soup to thicken. Serve over couscous and sprinkle with nuts.

As for my current “emergency food kit,” it effectively consists of whatever’s in my pantry now (a lot, but it probably wouldn’t last too long or work well without power), plus some snacks I picked up at Trader Joe’s this morning while researching freeze-dried and shelf-stable stuff.

I do not want to have to eat this. Except the trail mix and chocolate. And I’d have to buy peanut but that does not require refrigeration (but I liiiiike all natural stuff!).

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 15: My Spice Collection Is Out of Control

The other day, I made a recipe from Vedge: trumpet mushroom cioppino with fennel and leeks. Dang, it was tasty.

It called for Old Bay seasoning, which is not something I keep on hand, so I went looking for a recipe. Hoo boy, it has a lot of things.

First, I had to figure out if I even had a key ingredient: celery seed. It’s not something I cook with often, but I’ve bought a lot of weird little packages of spices over time. It took me several minutes to shuffle through my spice tub o’ doom to find it. The rest of the ingredients I knew I had, but finding all the individual containers was time-consuming.

I’d love an ACTUALLY ORGANIZED spice collection, but I don’t have a good system. When I’ve tried, I never seem to have enough small containers to grow with the random little bits of things I pick up: those tiny Spicely boxes, bulk spices, etc. Some things end up in too-large jars; others stay in baggies with twist-ties that completely wear out. And simply stacking things in the tub in some semblance of logical order never seems to hold up. I don’t presently want to throw a bunch of cash at the problem and invest in a big set of spice organizers, so…the mess of a tub it is.

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 14: Shameful Food Waste Confession Time

I know what I’m supposed to do: save my onion ends, mushroom stems, tomato skins, etc. and make a veggie stock. I am probably NEVER going to do that. I don’t even know where I would store a giant thing of homemade stock.

Not that I never use the extra bits. Tops and stems of a lot of veggies are beloved by our rabbit friends (carrot peelings and the cast-off parts of lemongrass stalks, too). And when I cook something, I try to use as much of it as possible. I (usually) mince kale stems and chard stalks and saute them with garlic and onions in however I’m cooking the leaves. Sometimes I’ll use shiitake mushroom stems in a quick broth with a piece of kelp to make the base of a nice noodle soup (with sauteed or roasted sliced shiitake caps, natch). And reviving leftover meals ain’t no thing–yesterday, I made a leftovers burrito to send with my mom as she headed south for the winter filled with ropa vieja seitan, black beans and rice, and the tiny bit of mojo-braised collard greens.


But I don’t HAVE any of things things handy to SHOW you how I use ‘em. So you can see my compostables bag. Which, at the moment, I don’t even compost: my yard is too overrun with weeds to bother with garden compost; my city does not offer food waste pickup separate from regular garbage service. I just fill a sealed-up, well-used plastic bag with the bits I can’t otherwise use and toss it. I don’t like to give the bugs any more of a free buffet than I have to.

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Hello, my name is Emily, and I’m sad, but I still have to cook

I sent out the second edition of my weird little newsletter this morning. Subscribe if this speaks to you!

Hello, my name is Emily, and I’m sad, but I still have to cook

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 13: I Want to Help People Eat More Plants

For a while now, I’ve fiddled with the notion of offering my time and energy–for money, of course–to help people go vegan or at least incorporate more vegan food in their diet. Some people are intimidated by cooking; others by vegetable prep. Some simply don’t know where to begin or how to put the pieces together. I’m no dietitian or experienced chef, but I have been cooking since I was a kid, and I spend time every single day thinking about, making, and eating food. I love helping people, and some of my friends already ask me for cooking advice. Why not expand on that and see if it’s a way to make some cash?

Well, I’m not there yet. Though I did start a (free) mailing list/newsletter where I field cooking questions. It’s small for now. If you’re interested, I’d love to have you in the audience. Subscribe at Eat More Plants @

For the purposes of today’s prompt, however, I took a slightly different tack on the “eat more plants” business model and created a meal kit out of one of my go-to meals. Now, I’ve never actually gotten a meal kit–what’s the fun in that? Menu-planning and grocery shopping are basically my hobbies–but I can make up a recipe card. Why not? It’s an excuse to do a bunch of weird photo-editing and layout work, both of which I’m EXTREMELY RUSTY at. (And by “rusty,” I mean it was something I fiddled with in high school, which was almost 20 years ago. Some things have changed.)

Since I can’t actually make you a meal kit, I gotta tell you what to get so you can follow the instructions!

You will need:

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • salt
  • 1 package of tofu
  • soy sauce
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • tahini
  • hot sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • nutritional yeast
  • water


  • Saucepan with lid or rice cooker
  • Saute pan or skillet with lid
  • Baking dish
  • Citrus reamer (or another way to strain out lemon seeds)
  • Dressing shaker or a cup/small bowl and a whisk
  • Measuring cups
  • Spatula
  • Spoon or rice paddle
  • Tongs
  • Knife
  • Microplane zester or garlic press (optional, but very handy)

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Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 12: Grocery Shopping Is Awesome

Visiting co-ops, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets is one of my favorite things to do in any town I visit, even if I’m not there long enough to justify buying anything. So it should come as no surprise that the weekly chore of gathering what we use to make our food is something I actively look forward to.

We typically use 3-4 sources for our groceries: the farmers’ market (usually Campbell on Sunday mornings), Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (both of which are near the market, so it’s an easy loop trip), and Imperfect Produce delivery (use this link to sign up and we’ll both get $10!).

For the Sunday morning run, my boyfriend usually joins me, and I task him with gathering items from different vendors at the market, as well as gathering a chunk of the list at the grocery store. To save time! Or something! And we use one particular tool to help us do this easily: Google Keep.

There are many apps you can use to create shopping lists – and, of course, good old-fashioned pen and paper – but what I like about Keep is that I can share it with my boyfriend (or anyone) so we get all the updates to the list in near real-time, I can edit it from anywhere (including my computer) instead of trying to remember to put it on the paper list, and I don’t forget it at home when we head out. Hell, if we make an off-schedule trip to a different store, boom, there’s the list. It also lets you drag and drop to rearrange the list, so you can organize it any way you want.

My Imperfect Produce box is customizable from Friday through Sunday, so I usually customize on Friday and make my grocery list accordingly. I can’t really get ALL of my veggies in the box, but it’s handy to know which ones I don’t need to pay full price for.

I mean, I could give you advice about using the bulk bins, but doesn’t everyone?

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 11: The Kitchen Tour: The Movie

I literally filmed myself giving you a tour of the kitchen. I did not plan to put myself on camera, and I had to find a video-editing app for my phone to stitch the intro in, then I played with some of the settings. (Just be glad I didn’t make like ten 30-second clips and add goofy transitions between each one!)

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 10: Almost All Vegan Food Is Unconventional Already

What are our best secret ingredients, after all, but weirdo vegan secrets? Aquafaba? Nutritional yeast? Cashews that are not merely part of a snack nut mix?! Come on. Any one of these things will garner a raised eyebrow from most of your relatives, and that’s not even counting those who make a face at the mere thought of eating tofu.

One of those weirdo vegan ingredients that has gotten me questions in the grocery checkout line is tempeh. “What do you do with it?!” they ask. And I always answer: marinate, pan-fry, bake, or…crumble, simmer, and sauce. The latter feels more “secret ingredient”-y: tempeh marinara is delicious, easy, and one of my go-tos on nights when I don’t know what else to cook.


Step 1: Dice up the tempeh and simmer it in a saute pan with red wine (about halfway up the tempeh pieces), splash of soy sauce, and some seasoning: oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, crushed fennel seeds if you’re feeling adventurous.


Step 2: When most of the wine is absorbed, smash the tempeh with a fork or potato masher, then add a little olive oil to help some of it brown a bit. This is also a good time to add onion, if you like.


Step 3: Add crushed tomatoes or tomato puree (~24 oz. can or jar) and stir, then bring to a simmer while you wait for the pasta to cook. (Oh. You should’ve started some pasta water.) Toss in as many cloves of microplaned garlic as you can tolerate peeling as the sauce heats up. (If you don’t have a microplane or garlic press, just mince the garlic and give it a 30-second saute with the olive oil, before you add the tomatoes.)


Step 4: Season to taste (salt, pepper, nooch) and consider stirring in fresh parsley or basil, if you have it. A handful of baby spinach or arugula also wouldn’t be out of place. Fold in your cooked pasta (you already cooked your pasta, right? And set aside some cooking liquid to revive it/unstick it if your timing wasn’t awesome?).

Step 5: Eat some pasta. Be glad you didn’t buy those weird faux ground beef crumbles instead of tempeh.

The tempeh could also be used, sans tomato sauce, as sausage crumbles in other applications, such as pizza topping. Ohhh, it’s good on vegan pizza.

I also recommend making your favorite version of a vegan parmesan. A lot of recipes call for roasting things, drying things, etc. but I am LAZY and I just put hemp seeds, almonds, and nooch in a spice grinder and let ‘er rip until it’s a nice powder.


For my dinner, I used this sauce to make a baked penne dish with roasted eggplant and tofu-cashew ricotta, adapted from an omni recipe on Chowhound. The sauce is the same process, though I added some sliced onion at the crumble-saute step and about ¼ cup of chopped kalamata olives with the tomato sauce. I also did not layer the baking dish, but you could. Melty vegan cheese, if that’s your thing, would be a nice addition. It’s actually delicious even without baking, just sprinkled with nutty nooch.

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 9: Ode to a Knife

This is the first poem I have written since high school, and they have all been very bad.

O Chef’s Knife,

If at first entranced by your gentle waves,

I am immediately impressed

With your keen blade

As it glides with my hand through the layers of an onion,

Too quick to make me cry

Or how confidently your sharpened edge

Slices through a ripe tomato

Skins the eyes that surround sweet pineapple flesh

Chiffonades a thick roll of greens

I must respect

Your superiority

And keep watch over fingertips

Else betray my competent façade

Add to my collection of scars

Every day you stand between me and a meal

And every time I’m grateful

Every day you’re up for the task

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 8: Meet Some Friends I Made With Salad!

I have a couple friends who love salad. Their names are Lilly and Ollie and they weigh about four pounds each and have lopped ears. They’re total raw foodists, which isn’t for me, but I get it. Rabbits just have different digestive systems.


Their favorite foods include dandelion greens, escarole, fennel, parsley, cilantro, dill, lettuce, radishes, and carrots. (Carrots are a special treat.)


I have to admit this is sort of a cop-out, because I intended to make a salad we could BOTH enjoy, then show you both the human and rabbit versions, but it just didn’t happen. To make up for it, I took a video of me feeding one of the furballs.


Yes, her area is a damn mess. She makes it that way and I don’t sweep it up every hour. She is old and stuck in her ways.

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 7: No Fake Anything

For my money, no international cuisine embodies today’s theme of “original vegan” like Indian food. Sure, they’re more likely to cook with dairy, but vegetable oils are common and inexpensive and lentils, beans, rice, and other grains are critical components to dishes throughout the region.

At the farmers’ market this week, I picked up a few veggies that really lend themselves to Indian-inspired preparations: cauliflower and mustard greens. I’ve also had my eye on a recipe for fancy-looking roasted cauliflower and spiced rice dish with pomegranate seeds (also seasonal!) from Vegan for Everybody – and it was easy enough to find a simple palak recipe (pureed greens sauce) that would pair well with chickpeas, thanks to Vegan Richa’s website.

I have GOT to improve my plating skills, ‘cause this is a unicorn rainbow of deliciousness and I made it look a little meh. OH WELL.

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Eat More Plants by Emily Eats Plants

Hey, I started a weird email newsletter! It is not going to be the same as the blog or the Instagram, but it will talk about food. And other things. Feelings. Et cetera. I will try to write something weekly-ish!

Eat More Plants by Emily Eats Plants

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 6: I’m Nuts for Vegan Cheese


Yeah. OK. So finally, there’s vegan cheese that doesn’t gross me out, and it’s made out of nuts. But it’s also super expensive, so I usually just make some vegan cheese. Cashew ricotta is quick and easy for a creamy filling/topping; nutty nooch is just nuts/seeds of my choice–usually almonds or walnuts and hemp seeds–whizzed in the spice grinder with nutritional yeast for a parmesan sub. But the best ones are cultured.

I’ve made the herbaceous cultured cashew spread from Vegan Eats World a whole bunch of times, and it’s a dang winner. Well, I do not bother with sauteeing any garlic or shallots; I just add raw garlic (BOOM) and lemon zest along with the herbs. It is awesome on bread. It is excellent as pasta sauce. It’s not bad in a salad dressing.

But really, a simple presentation is the best one. Something carby. A little tomato. Delicious.

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 5: I Don’t Believe in an Interventionist Veganism

But I know, darling, that you do.

Seriously, though – making a lifestyle change based on one meal is a bit much to ask. So maybe let’s focus on that thin pie slice of maybe-could-be-vegan-but… sorts. You know, the ones who say things like “But I love cheese too much.” Yes, I realize that’s tomorrow’s prompt. So let’s refocus on the pie metaphor and make a goddamn delicious vegan pizza.

I’ve made a lot of vegan pizzas over the years, trying to find what works, because I cannot with the options available at pizza restaurants. (How sad! I really did eat a lot of omni pizza in my youth…) The key thing is getting used to pizza without the chewy, melty layer of cheese–DAIYA DOES NOT COUNT, ICK–and somehow giving it that rich, salty, yummy thing that omni pizza has in spades. The key, I’ve found, is that things must be pre-cooked–spinach sauteed, especially–and olive oil generously applied. Seasoning is critical. Best toppings include mushrooms, spinach, well-spiced crumbled tempeh, artichoke hearts, and cherry tomatoes. But, if I’m honest, my version of a deep-dish pie piled with vegan staples isn’t going to calm the culinary nerves of a soy-phobic non-vegan.

This might.

America’s Test Kitchen, bastion of omnivorous home cooking, came out with a brilliant vegan cookbook this year, Vegan for Everybody. They applied their nigh-scientific methodology to a full slate of vegan cooking techniques, including ricotta subs (cashew, tofu, cauliflower, etc.). And one of its applications is this gorgeous mushroom pizza: sauteed cremini AND shiitake mushrooms, garlic, a really good homemade whole wheat crust, cashew ricotta, and parsley. Simple, but delicious and substantial. It feels fancy. And it might help change a mind or two: Hey, maybe this could be OK.

Served with salad. Because vegans gotta vegan.

Food Blog Vegan MoFo

#VeganMoFo Day 4: Don’t Order Me a “Vegan” Option, I’ll Go Ahead And Brown-Bag It

Ugghhh…the dreaded veggie wrap tray. Cold, moist, bland, barely edible. Crudites. The shittiest hummus you’ve ever bothered to eat. Cookies that definitely aren’t vegan but you might sneak a bite because you just want something that might taste OK, but then they taste like nothing.


I made that kind of stuff, but not so shitty that you don’t know how you’ll make it through the rest of this very long, very boring day.

First up, hummus. Instead of regular chickpea-based hummus, I went with white beans (cannellini, specifically, because it’s what I had on hand) and roasted a whole little head of garlic to throw in the blender with it. The remaining ingredients–olive oil, juice of half a lemon, tahini, salt and pepper–are pretty basic, because I really wanted that sweet, roasted garlic to sing. Served with fresh veggies for color and crunch. Easy-peasy.

Next, the veggie wrap. No mere crudites wrapped in a fucking tortilla, no sir. I started with baked tofu, seasoned simply with soy sauce and a dash of liquid smoke. Then I whipped up a quick massaged lacinato kale salad with a thick, creamy dressing made with herbed cashew cheese, nooch, more nuts, and red wine vinegar. I also wanted avocado, but I didn’t end up using much because they were not great when I cut into them. The big whole wheat tortillas I bought got a quick warm-up on a griddle pan before filling them with tofu and kale. Simple, but full of flavor and texture.

And you know I already had cookies from yesterday’s junk food post. Mmmm, cookies.