A European Revelation…


So I have to be honest.

I was having a crisis of faith.

I just didn’t feel veganism the same way I had felt vegetarianism. I think it’s the difference between being able to see you’re eating an animal and reminding myself that cheese hurts a cow in a somewhat nebulous way.  I knew animal byproducts were bad, but I didn’t feel bad when I ate them.

And then I went to Europe. My first time over there, and I knew being vegan was going to be difficult, and furthermore I didn’t want to go to Paris and not have a butter croissant or brie.  So I decided I would take a break and then decide when I got back if I still wanted to be vegan.


Now I hope I don’t offend all you Europeans out there, but I found it very difficult to get enough vegetables in Paris and Florence!  I suppose there may be more at more expensive restaurants or maybe people cook them at home… but I couldn’t find them.  And after sleeping in the Milan airport and then then 24hour travel on the way back…I was done.  On the plane ride back I read a Bay Area Vegan magazine, and on the walk from the BART station, through the beautiful Berkeley neighborhoods, I just knew.  I wanted back in.  I wanted vegetables!  And I didn’t want any more cream or cheese.  So here I am again.  And I’m back with a vengeance! Or.. vegan-ance?

First up:

Butternut Squash Mac and “Cheese”: Found this on Post Punk Kitchen’s 2011 recap.  This recipe single-handedly restored my faith in vegan mac and cheese, and made me an Oh She Glows follower!


Then I decided to do a couple easy side recipes: Refrigerator pickles and Cumin Cauliflower.


Technically, I can’t tell you how the pickles are until they… you know, pickle for a while.  The cauliflower is yummy, although I probably should have let it caramelize more.

But then I made this…which I wasn’t really sure about, and it was my first foray into miso…but wow.


It is crazy delicious. And then I was on a roll so I made this too. Again, my first time making dumplings. And YUM!


And I saved all my leftover stuff top make my own stock at some point in the future (thanks PPK!).  I also got some more experience juggling multiple recipes (going to be useful when I want to put an actual meal together!)


And here’s the recipes!

  • 1 fresh butternut squash (peeled and chopped) OR 1 cup canned butternut squash OR canned pumpkin (I did fresh, it was very easy)
  • Extra virgin olive oil, S & P
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter replacer)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened & unflavoured almond milk
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) (I used the latter)
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast, or more to taste
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp kosher salt (or to taste) & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 servings macaroni (8oz or half a 16oz package) makes 3 1/4 cup cooked (I actually did a full package)

1. Roast the squash (toss with olive oil, salt and pepper in a baking dish and put in a 400 degree oven until soft)

2. Boil water, put in macaroni for 7 minutes.

3.. Melt butter, add milk, arrowroot or cornstarch, nutritional yeast, mustard and s&p. 

4.. Add a cup of squash to food processor and puree, then add in cheese sauce.

5. Mix everything together: macaroni, sauce, and chunks of butternut squash.


Refrigerator pickles:

(Adapted from this recipe.)

  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons celery seed (I use 2)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sliced cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced or chopped

Combine everything in a jar and refrigerate.

Roast cauliflower with salt and pepper and cumin (I added some garam masala just for fun)

Carrot soup with Miso

(from Smitten Kitchen)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 regular or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped or grated ginger, or more to taste (I skipped this because I forgot to buy it- whoops!)
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup white miso paste, or more to taste
  1. Saute carrots in olive oil.
  2. Then add onions and then garlic a minute later.
  3. Add vegetable broth, then puree in batches.
  4. Stir in miso paste, and enjoy!

Dill-ey Stew with Dumplings!

For the stew:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 medium sized sweet onion (like Vidalia or Walla Walla), quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups vegetable broth, at room temperature
  • 2 stalks celery, tops removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick (I actually used a whole bunch.)
  • 1 1/2 pounds potato, in 3/4 inch chunks (I used three large potatoes)
  • 1 cup carrots (I did three regular sized carrots)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 1 15 oz can navy beans, rinsed and drained (about 1 1/2 cups)

For the dumplings:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoons dried rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Make a roux with the olive oil and flour by whisking flour into oil.
  2. Allow flour to brown up a bit and get nutty.
  3. Add onions and coat with roux, and saute a bit.
  4. Add garlic and salt.
  5. Then add broth, celery, potatoes, and carrots.
  6. Add in thyme and dill as well as pepper.
  7. Bring to a boil and then cover and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile make the dumplings by mixing dry ingredients, then make a well in the middle and add in wet ingredients.
  9. When the potatoes are good add in beans and then form dumplings and drop in.
  10. Cover pot and let simmer for another 14 minutes to cook the dumplings.

PS: I’m on pinterest now, if anyone wants to check that out.

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1 Response to A European Revelation…

  1. Mom says:

    Everything looks sooo good! But what I noticed in your Paris photograph was that you are wearing nail polish!!!! Let me know how the pickles turn out. I made some of my own recently that turned out like the little cucumber salad you sometimes get at Thai restaurants. Mac and cheese looks really good too. Love you,

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