Guest recipe: Pumpkin brownies!  »

What up, my sexy vegan ladies (and dudes, y’all are welcome, too)? It’s getting to be fall here in the Midwest, which means I’m arbitrarily dumping pumpkin into everything I’m baking. This week, it’s dark chocolate pumpkin brownies. I’m giving you the recipe as a half-batch (because I have no self control and eat the entire pan, so, you know, I’m being healthy this way, right?), but the times for a full batch are included.  Let’s bake, bitches!

1/2 cup vegan butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin (I buy the canned stuff, but you can be fancy and cook your own, too)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 to 1 cup flour
1/2 to 3/4 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt your butter, and mix the ingredients in order, making sure each is well combined before moving on.

Grease and flour an 8x8” baking pan, pour the batter in, and bake for 26 minutes. If you’re hungry (or you have to share), double everything, pour into a 9x13” pan, and bake for 32 minutes.

Cool, cut, devour. Goes best with coffee.

Lisa Holmes is a vegan art student living in Missouri. Her free time is spent baking, swing dancing, singing a capella music, and building things out of stained glass. Find her on Twitter at @labelledinosaur.


Pumpkin Madness!  »

Just because Halloween is past us, doesn’t mean it’s time to put the pumpkin away just yet. After all, it’s still decorative gourd season! Here are just a few of the seasonally available pumpkin-flavored goods you can be sure of enjoying until January at least.

For me, the season was inaugurated not with changing leaves, but when I first noticed the return of Starbucks' beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte. Get that shit with soy milk, no whip—with or without a shot of espresso as your mood dictates—and you’re golden. I ask you, is there a better way to enjoy these coming cold(ish) months than with a steaming hot cup of corporate good cheer?

UPDATE: Scrooge came early this year! Against our better judgment, we believed the word of a Starbucks employee and didn’t examine the ingredients label for ourselves. The PSL is not vegan, even with soy milk—we are very bummed! Mea maxima culpa. SOLUTION: Make your own with this easily veganizable recipe.

Peet’s Coffee also has a pumpkin-flavored latte available, but it’s not as good as Starbucks’ version. Consider it the lesser of the two. Unlike Starbucks, however, these are definitely vegan.

Clif Bar features a “Spiced Pumpkin Pie” flavor as one of three seasonally available flavors. The others, just so you know, are “Spiced Gingerbread” and “Cranberry Orange Nut Bread.” I can’t vouch for cranberry yet (it’s new), but the others are delicious (for Clif bars). AND they will give you vitamins and energy to keep you going on the…trail…or whatever.

For those marginally more inclined towards making something themselves, Trader Joe’s brings us their Pumpkin Bread and Muffin Mix. This stuff is the shit. We’ve already shown you how to hack their bread mixes. The important takeaway is: substitute 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin for the eggs! After all, why would you want to dilute your bread with anything that’s not MORE pumpkin?

Now available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s is Buffalo Bill’s pumpkin ale. This is a relatively decent beer which earns unaccountably low marks from sites such as Beer Advocate. They must know something I don’t! Side note: Buffalo Bill’s brewery is located just over in Hayward, and their menu actually has a vegan pizza listed. Granted, it’s just veggies and no cheese, and it’s the only vegan item they have, but still! They might be getting a visit from me soon!

Superior to Buffalo Bill’s by all accounts (including mine) is Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale. This is for “real” beer drinkers only, and comes with a price tag to match. Available at Whole Foods and City Beer Store, this is what I’ll be pouring over my head in between Pumpkin Spice Silk rinses, all holiday season.

What’s your favorite vegan pumpkin food product? Seriously, I would love to know: I won’t be happy until I’m eating nothing but pumpkin in its various forms.

[Photos by pinprick and jwiv.]


Recipes: seasonal soups!  »

Newspapers: not entirely useless! Today’s Contra Costa Times (newspaper to the stars! of the East Bay! kill me!) features a few soup recipes that sound delicious and can be easily veganized. Really, there’s no reason why they aren’t vegetarian; no one needs to use chicken broth when vegetable stock is just as easily made/obtained and doesn’t involve animal death. That cruelty-free isn’t the default is stupid and careless. We’ve got a long way to go, vegans.

Still, the soups—butternut squash chipotle bisque, roasted tomato with garlic croutons, and carrot with cumin and lime—look tasty, uncomplicated, and pretty perfect for early fall in the Bay Area, when the nights are growing longer and colder but the last of the tomatoes are still lingering on the vine.

Butternut Squash Chipotle Bisque (serves six to eight)
1 medium butternut squash
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1½ cups chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 to 6 cups stock or broth
3 tsp. minced, canned chipotle in adobo
Salt, fresh ground pepper
optional: ½ cup vegan sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds, discarding the stringy pulp. Put the seeds in a sieve and rinse. Set aside.
2. Grease a glass baking dish with 1 Tbsp. oil, then place the squash in the dish, cut side down. Pierce all over with a fork and roast 45 minutes or until tender. Let cool.
3. Heat remaining oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion, celery and carrot for 10 minutes. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes more.
4. Scoop the flesh of the squash into the pot and stir. Add 4 cups broth and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender.
5. Meanwhile, toast the reserved squash seeds in a small pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until crunchy, about 30 minutes. Season heavily with salt and set aside.
6. Puree the soup in batches in a blender, adding more broth to get the desired consistency.
7. Stir the remaining 2 tsp. chipotle into the bisque and ladle into soup bowls. Top each with a dollop of vegan sour cream, salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of seeds.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Garlic Croutons (serves six)
18 plum tomatoes
2¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
¾ teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
3 large garlic cloves, minced
½ cup olive oil plus extra
3½ cups stock, divided
2 Tbsp. fresh basil
Garlic Croutons
1½ Tbsp. olive oil
1½ Tbsp. nondairy butter
2 cups bread cubes (half-inch dice), made from French bread, crusts included
1½ tsp. minced garlic

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Oil a large baking sheet generously.
2. Halve tomatoes lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. Let drain.
3. In a large bowl, mix pepper, salt, rosemary, garlic and ½ cup olive oil and whisk to blend. Add tomatoes and toss well. Marinate for 15 minutes.
4. Arrange tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet. Drizzle any remaining oil mixture over them. Roast until tomatoes are softened and browned around the edges, about 50 to 60 minutes.
5. Place half the tomatoes in a food processor. Pour in 1 cup stock and pulse until pureed.
6. Coarsely chop remaining tomatoes. In a soup pot, combine the chopped and pureed tomatoes and remaining stock and bring just to a simmer. Season with salt.
7. For the croutons, melt the oil and nondairy butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add bread cubes and cook, stirring, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2 minutes until bread is golden and crisp.
8. Garnish each serving with basil and croutons.

Carrot Soup with Cumin and Lime (serves 6)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cups chopped leeks
1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
3½ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
6½ cups stock
2 Tbsp. lime juice
Kosher salt, pepper
Garnish: chopped cilantro and grated lime zest
optional: 8 Tbsp. vegan sour cream, divided

1. Heat oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add carrot and leeks and saute until leeks begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add cumin and red pepper flakes and saute 30 seconds more.
2. Add the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, about 35 minutes.
3. Puree the soup in batches and return soup to the pot. Serve hot, with a dollop of sour cream and a squeeze of lime juice stirred into each bowl. Or cool the soup, whisk in 6 tablespoons of sour cream and refrigerate for three hours or overnight. When ready to serve, stir in lime juice, season to taste and serve topped with a sprinkling of cilantro and lime zest, and a dollop of vegan sour cream if desired.

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