Vegan dishes turn up heat


Vegans and non-vegans alike gathered at the cooking demonstration “Go Vegan!” held at Healthy Living Market on Jan. 31. The class demonstrated that vegan meals could be successfully pre-pared for any meal of the day, including snacks. 

A variety of vegan meals and snacks were prepared by Healthy Living Market demo coordinator Gerda Lederer who helped to uncover hearty recipes suitable for the vegan lifestyle. (A vegan is a person who does not consume animal by-products, including milk and eggs.)

Starting off the demo was a dish that could also jumpstart a morning: A soy sausage breakfast casserole was prepared based on a recipe found in the cookbook Vegan Planet. “The original rec-ipe did not call for veggies. We decided to kick it up a notch,” Lederer said. 

Soy “meat,” tofu and veggies were combined with crisp bread that was soaked in almond milk and then baked in the oven until golden brown on top. 

Accompanying breakfast was a maple, raisin and walnut tofu spread atop a toasted bagel. The cream cheese substitute was made with almond butter and tofu, and was in-fused with cinnamon and vanilla. It was also high in protein, Lederer said. 

The spread is not limited to just bagels, either. “Put it on crackers, apple slices or celery,” Le-derer said. 

After breakfast, of course, comes lunch. A twist on a classic lunchtime sandwich, tofu “egg” salad was served. Firm tofu was blended with tahini — a sesame seed paste — rather than mayonnaise. Onion, green pepper, celery and parsley were then added. The mixture was placed in a toasted wrap along with shredded vegetables and sprouts. 

“This would make a good party food,” Lederer said. “Have it with veggies or crackers.”

For dinner, the class had a vegetable curry. Packed with vegetables of all colors the curry, which was served with rice, was chosen for vegans who said the biggest challenge of being a vegan is the texture of foods, according to Le-derer. 

Red, green, yellow and orange painted students’ plates as dinner was served. 

“I’m sure you’ve all heard to eat the rainbow,” Lederer said. “I think there is so much truth to that.” 

According to Lederer, you can add any vegetable you want to a curry and adjust the heat of the dish depending on what spices are used and in what proportions. 

A tropical dessert marked the end of the vegan food journey. Black rice pudding topped with banana and toasted coconut was served warm. 

Prepared with coconut milk rather than dairy milk, the dessert topped off the 100 percent vegan meal plan.

Numerous diet specific cooking classes will be held at Healthy Living throughout Feb. For more information, go to