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Vegan Recipes/ Vegetarian Recipes


DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS DINNER

I'm dreaming of a nostalgic Mel Torme/Currier and Ives white Christmas--you know those familiar scenes with logs crackling in the fireplace, children all bundled in colorful, knitted hats and scarves, snow-covered rooftops, fence posts tipped with snow, streets and sidewalks a polished white wonderland, snow-topped evergreen pine trees, and car roofs and hoods turned white with snow. Wait a minute! I live in California! No way could this dream come true! No matter how much I fantasize about this gorgeous yuletide scenario, it's just not very likely to occur in my surburban, sunny Southern California neighborhood.

But I'm a wishful romantic who frequently sends a flurry of what-ifs scrolling through my mind. That lovely vision of the perfect white Christmas faded, but was not really lost. Rather, it was transformed. If we Southern Californians can't enjoy a Christmas with snow on the ground, we certainly could feast on a White Christmas Dinner. So I began to imagine each course white as snow but dressed in holiday reds and greens. That festive picturesque scene was a can-do and is ready for anyone romantic enough to share my what-if!

While I held that image of everything on the plate looking white as snow, the foods I chose didn't cooperate entirely. Though I began with foods that are white, after cooking, baking, or blending, the white became a bit tarnished. Still, the theme prevails.

Hopefully, the unique menu will provide a few temptations and compel you to serve your friends and family a few selections from this scrumptious meal.

WHITE CHRISTMAS MENU

First Course:
Eggplant Herb Tart with Walnuts

Soup:
Smoky Celery Root Chowder with Pomegranate Seeds

Salad:
Cool Yule Salad or Snowy Day Salad
Artichoke Brazil Nut Dressing

Entrée:
Holiday Snow Quiche with Broccoli Garlic Sauce
Snow Capped Cauliflower Mountain with Cashew Cream Sauce
Steamed Green beans with Water Chestnuts and Diced Red Pepper
Cranberry Apple Salsa

Dessert:
Winter Wonderland Coconut Pie with Raspberry Sauce
Sugar-Plum Spiced Nuts

Though the intention of the White Christmas Dinner menu was to concentrate on white foods and enhance them with holiday reds and greens, not all white foods stay white when cooked or baked. The following recipes began with fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that were varying shades of white. Even nuts of the lightest color like cashews and pine nuts are ivory--but you get the idea.


Eggplant aficionados will think they have just found nirvana when they take the first bite of this unique, succulent tart. The delicious herb blend and the textural effect provided by the walnuts make the perfect complements to the sophisticated flavor the eggplant imparts. To create this appetizer, cut the tart horizontally into thirds and then make three vertical cuts to make 12 servings.

Eggplant Tart
EGGPLANT HERB TART WITH WALNUTS

Yield: 12 servings

    4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    4 tablespoons minced fresh mint leaves
    3 tablespoons minced freshs parsley
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) crumbled firm tofu
    1/2 cup (120 ml) coarsely ground walnuts
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground black pepper

    2 medium eggplants, sliced 1/4-inch thick
    1 large onion, chopped

    6 sheets filo dough, thawed
    1/3 cup approximately (80 ml) extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
    Salt and pepper
    Paprika
    12 cherry tomatoes
    12 small mint leaves

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and have ready a large, lightly oiled jellyroll pan. Combine the basil, mint, parsley, garlic, dill, thyme, and tarragon in a small bowl using the fingers to distribute the herbs evenly. Set aside.
  2. Combine the tofu, walnuts, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, toss well, and set it aside. Place the eggplant slices and the chopped onions in separate bowls and set aside.
  3. Unroll the package of filo dough and place it on a kitchen towel. Keep the stack covered with another kitchen towel to prevent the filo from drying out. Working with 1 sheet at a time, carefully lay the filo sheet on the countertop and brush it lightly with the oil. Gently lift it and place it on the jellyroll pan. Repeat with all 6 sheets of filo.
  4. Sprinkle three-fourths of the onions over the filo leaving a 1-inch edge of filo all around. Cover the onions with the tofu mixture, then, sprinkle three-fourths of the herb blend over the tofu.
  5. Lightly brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the oil and place them over the herb blend, overlapping them slightly. Top the eggplant with the remaining onions and herb blend and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold the filo edges in on all sides, forming a border ridge, and bake for 50 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Cut the tart into 12 servings. To garnish, cut each cherry tomato in half, leaving it atttached at the base. Place an opened tomato, cut side down, in the center of each tart serving and place a mint leaf under the attached portion of the tomato before serving.


Divinely light and creamy, this exceptional soup is so delicate and velvety, it promises not to steal away your appetite or prevent you from enjoying the festive meal ahead. You can conveniently prepare the soup up to two days ahead and chill thoroughly. Warm it gently to avoid burning. Almost any soup looks great served in a wide soupbowl, but it's always fun to present this course in something unique like a teacup or coffee mug with a colorful napkin or doily underneath.

Celery Root Chowder

SMOKY CELERY ROOT CHOWDER

Yield: 6 servings

    2 medium onions, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 cup (120 ml) water
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

    4 cups (1 liter) water
    2 parsnips, peeled and diced
    1 large celery root, peeled and diced

    2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened soymilk
    1 1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
    1/4 teaspoon liquid hickory smoke flavoring

    1 15-ounce (430g) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    2 teaspoons vegan bacon bits

Garnish

    2 button mushrooms sliced
    2 tablespoons minced parsley
    2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

  1. Combine the onions, garlic, water, and olive oil in a 10 to 12-quart (10 to 12 liter) stockpot and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onions begin to brown slightly.
  2. Add the 4 cups (1 liter) of water, parsnips, and celery root and cover the stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer about 10 to 12 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Puree the vegetables and all the liquid in the blender in batches, adding the soymilk with each batch. Leave about 1 cup of the diced vegetables unblended to add a pleasing texture. Return the blended soup to the stockpot.
  4. Stir in the salt, lemon juice, and hickory smoke flavoring and adjust seasoning if needed. Then add the beans and bacon bits. Warm gently and garnish each bowl with a slice of mushroom and a sprinkle of parsley. Top with pomegranate seeds and serve.


What makes this salad unique is that it doesn't rely on lettuce for the base. The limited palette of red, green and white sets a different tone for the salad. A hearty collection of snow-white vegetables dominates the bowl, while featuring bright accents of Christmas red and green. Salad dressing, too, while not pure white, looks like snow that has lingered long enough for children to enjoy making snow angels.

Cool Yule Salad

COOL YULE SALAD

Yield: 6 servings

    2 medium white rose potatoes, unpeeled, diced
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1 medium anise bulb, white part only, chopped
    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    1 English cucumber, sliced, slices halved
    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) diced jicama
    8 button mushrooms, sliced
    6 to 8 radishes, coarsely chopped
    1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

    1 bunch dinosaur kale (also called black kale or lacinto kale)

  1. Place the potatoes into a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan with the salt and add water to cover. Uncovered, bring the potatoes to a boil over high heat and cook about 3 minutes. Fork test for doneness and immediately pour the potatoes into a strainer over the sink and run cold water over them. Drain thoroughly and transfer the potatoes to a large salad bowl.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, place the chopped anise into a medium bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Drain and add to the bowl with the potatoes. Add the cucumber, jicama, mushrooms, radishes, and bell pepper.
  3. Fill a 3-quart (3 liter) saucepan 2/3 full with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove and discard the tough portion of the core from the kale and chop the kale into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces. Add the kale to the boiling water in two batches. Boil for 1 minute and remove to a dish with a slotted spoon. Cool 1 minute, pour off any excess water, and add the kale to the salad bowl. Toss well and serve with the Brazil Nut Artichoke Dressing.


Following the theme of whites and pastels with strong accents of red and green, this unique combination of salad vegetables provides a delightful medley of sweet and savory flavors and crunchy textures. A special occasion salad like this one deserves a very special dressing, one that's thick, creamy, and savory. Serve with Artichoke Brazil Nut Dressing.

SNOWY DAY SALAD

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    1/2 large head green cabbage, coarsely chopped
    1 medium jicama, julienne cut
    1 red apple, cored and chopped
    1/2 pound (225g) button mushrooms, sliced
    1 small sweet onion, chopped
    2 leaves bok choy, chopped
    1 bunch radishes, sliced

    2/3 cup (160 ml) dried cranberries

Combine the green cabbage, jicama, apple, mushrooms, onion, bok choy, and radishes in a large bowl and toss well. Place the cranberries in a small bowl and serve both family style with the dressing on the side.


Thick and ultra creamy, this dressing is the perfect salad topping for those who crave rich flavors that feel naughty to the core. Because it's so thick and indulgent, a little bit goes a long way, yet still offers plenty of satisfying taste.

ARTICHOKE BRAZIL NUT DRESSING

Yield: 1 3/4 cups (420 ml)

    1/2 cup (120 ml) whole Brazil nuts

    1 13.75 ounce (430g) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained
    1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened soymilk
    1/2 cup (120 ml) water
    1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Grind the Brazil nuts into nut butter in a small electric grinder/chopper or coffee grinder and transfer to a blender.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, and blend to a thick, creamy consistency.
  3. Transfer the dressing to a serving bowl and serve with a ladle or use a funnel to pour it into a narrow-neck bottle for easy pouring. Covered and refrigerated, the Artichoke Brazil Nut Dressing will keep for one week.


With bated breath, guests await the main course, the special dish worthy of its honored place at the holiday table. This beautiful quiche won't disappoint. It's eye appeal wins praise at first sight-and its captivating flavor is hands-down rewarding. This dish, including the broccoli sauce, can be made up to two days ahead and gently warmed before serving.

Holiday Snow Quiche

HOLIDAY SNOW QUICHE WITH BROCCOLI GARLIC SAUCE

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    1/2 pound (225g) potatoes
    1 pound (450g) extra firm tofu
    1 cup (240 ml) cooked brown rice
    1 small onion, chopped
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne

    1/2 red bell pepper, diced
    1/2 green pepper, diced
    1/2 cup (120 ml) pine nuts

    Broccoli Garlic Sauce
    2 large broccoli crowns, cut into florets including stems
    2 cups (480 ml) water

    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 small garlic clove
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 tablespoon diced red bell pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (Gas Mark 5). Line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) springform pan with parchment by first releasing the springform collar. Cut the parchment 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the bottom of the pan and place it over the bottom. Replace the collar and snap it into place. Then, cut the excess parchment away from the base of the pan.
  2. Cut the potatoes into bite size chunks and place them in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan with water to cover. Bring them to a boil over high heat and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until fork tender.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked potatoes to the food processor and add the tofu, brown rice, onion, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and cayenne. Process a full minute or two, or until all the ingredrients are well combined.
  4. Transfer the quiche mixture to a large bowl and stir in the peppers and pine nuts. Mix well to distribute them evenly. Spoon the quiche mixture into the springform pan, spreading to the edges and pressing to fill any air pockets. Smooth the top with the back of a spoon.
  5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until firm when lightly pressed. Cool 15 minutes, then, loosen the edges with a knife before releasing the springform collar. Place the springform base with the quiche on a large platter and decorate the center with the Broccoli Garlic Sauce, smoothing and spreading it with the back of a spoon into a three or four-inch circle.
  6. To make the Broccoli Garlic Sauce, place the broccoli florets into a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan and add the water. Cover the pan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low and steam 5 minutes, or just until fork tender.
  7. Transfer the cooked broccoli to the food processor and add the lemon juice, garlic, salt, and enough of the cooking liquid to create a thick, spreadable sauce. Decorate the center 3 or 4 inches (3.5 to 10 cm) of the quiche with a circle of broccoli sauce and garnish with the diced red bell pepper. To serve, cut portions with a serrated knife and serve them with a pie server.


While this presentation is a dazzling way to serve steamed cauliflower, time may not permit a fussy process. One great time-saver is to prepare the sauce a day or two before serving and reheat it gently on the stovetop just before serving. Another alternative is to simply cut the cauliflower into florets and steam them along with the broccoli florets in one saucepan. Then, garnish with red bell pepper strips and herbs to dress it up for Christmas. Serve it sauced or pass the sauce at the table.

Cauliflower Mountain

SNOW-CAPPED CAULIFLOWER MOUNTAIN

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    Cashew Cream Sauce (below)

    1 large head cauliflower
    1 large broccoli crown, cut into florets
    Water

    Garnish
    1/2 red bell pepper, julienne cut
    12 sprigs of herbs (cilantro, parsley, tarragon, or dill)
    1 tablespoon minced parsley

  1. Prepare the Cashew Cream Sauce and set it aside.
  2. Trim and discard the leaves and base of the cauliflower core. Place the whole cauliflower into a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan and fill with 1-inch of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to low and steam 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is fork tender.
  3. Place the broccoli florets into a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan and fill with 1/2-inch (1 cm) of water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and steam 3 minutes.
  4. To serve, carefully lift the whole steamed cauliflower from the saucepan and place in the center of a large platter. Surround it with broccoli florets, and garnish with the julienne strips of red bell pepper. Spoon some of the Savory Cashew Cream Sauce over the top, allowing it to cascade somewhat. Sprinkle a pinch or two of minced parsley over the top and serve with a knife and fork. Spoon the remaining sauce into an attractive serving bowl, bring it to the table, and serve it with a ladle.
    Cashew Cream Sauce
    2/3 cup (160 ml) coarsely chopped cashews
    2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened soymilk
    2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 teaspoon salt
    Dash cayenne
    Freshly ground pepper
    Dash nutmeg (optional)

  1. Grind the cashews to a fine meal in batches in an electric mini-chopper/grinder or coffee grinder.
  2. Combine the soymilk, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, cayenne, and pepper in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Watch closely so the mixture doesn't boil over. Turn the heat down slightly, keeping the mixture bubbling gently.
  3. Add the ground cashews, stirring with a wire whip until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. If the sauce seems too thick, thin it with 1 to 2 tablespoons of additional soymilk. Garnish with a sprinkling of nutmeg, if desired, and serve. Makes about 3 cups (720 ml).


This bright red and white salsa lends a pleasantly perky accompaniment to the festive meal while it greets the eye with confetti-like holiday red accents. To best compliment this fruity dish, present it in a white bowl and be sure to add a touch of green for the top.

CRANBERRY APPLE SALSA

Yield: about 2 cups (480 ml)

    1 sweet apple, coarsely chopped
    2/3 cup (160 ml) coarsely chopped onions
    1/2 cup (120 ml) whole fresh cranberries

    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1 tablespoon maple syrup
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    Pinch cayenne

    Sprig of mint

Combine the apple, onions, and cranberries in a food processor and pulse-chop briefly to make a chunky, diced mixture. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Garnish with a mint sprig for the finishing touch.


It's Christmas, the big kahuna of holidays--that special day that says it's OK to go all out with a decadent dessert that puts the culinary halo on a memorable meal. Start with a mature coconut, one that's a rich hue of sable brown. Whole coconuts are often given the cold shoulder because preparing them is considered way too much work. Truth is, they're not that much work, but the task will keep you entertained in the kitchen for a little while. And the reward is a super delicious payoff. Once the coconut is prepared, the recipe is easy to assemble. It helps to have an 11-cup food processor or larger to make this in two batches. Because the pie is ultra rich, a small wedge provides the perfect sweet ending to the festive meal.

Coconut Pie

WINTER WONDERLAND COCONUT PIE

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

    1 mature coconut

    1 1/2 pounds (675g) firm tofu
    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) evaporated cane juice
    1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lime juice
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
    1/2 teaspoon ground cardomom
    Pinch salt

    Raspberry Sauce
    Small sprig of mint leaves

  1. Place the coconut in the sink, and use an awl and a hammer to punch all three holes in the "eyes" of the coconut. Drain and discard the coconut water. Place the coconut into a plastic bag and set it on the ground. Hold the end of the plastic bag closed, and use the hammer to crack the coconut into several pieces. With a small, firm paring knife pry the coconut meat off the shell, and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) springform pan with parchment paper. Place the coconut meat into the processor in 2 batches and process about 3 to 4 minutes until very finely ground. Measured, you should have about 4 to 5 cups of coconut meat. Put half the coconut into the processor and leave the other half in a medium bowl. Have a large bowl ready.
  3. Add half of each of the remaining ingredients, except the raspberry sauce and mint, to the processor: the tofu, evaporated cane juice, lime juice, vanilla extract, coconut extract, cardomom, and salt. Process until the ingredients are well incorporated. You may have to stop the machine and scrape down the sides once or twice. Pour the coconut mixture into the large bowl and process the remaining coconut, tofu, evaporated cane juice, vanilla extract, coconut extract, cardamom, and salt. Add to the large bowl and mix well to blend both batches.
  4. Use a large spoon and a spatula to transfer the coconut mixture to the springform pan, spreading evenly to the edges. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, uncovered. Cool completely and chill for at least 4 hours.
  5. To serve, release the base from the springform and place it on a platter or footed cake plate. Cut into wedges and drizzle with a portion of the Raspberry Sauce. Place the mint sprig in the center and serve with the remaining Raspberry Sauce on the side.

Raspberry Sauce

    1 12-ounce (340g) package frozen raspberries, thawed
    1/2 cup (120 ml) water
    1/2 cup (120 ml) plus 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice
    3/4 teaspoon coconut extract

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree. Pour into a serving bowl and chill. Serve chilled or warm gently just before serving. Makes about 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) sauce.

Serving Suggestions:
As an alternative to topping with the Raspberry Sauce, spoon a pool of sauce onto each serving plate and place the coconut pie on the sauce. Garnish with fresh raspberries on top.

If you're one who can't live a day without chocolate, you can drizzle chocolate sauce over the top in place of the Raspberry Sauce.

Spoon the chocolate sauce into the bottom of a dessert dish to create a thin chocolate lake. Then, place the wedge of coconut pie on top.

Just before serving, cover the top of the coconut pie with slices of banana, then drizzle raspberry or chocolate sauce over the top.


Covered in confectioner's sugar, these nutty delights look as if they'd been rolling in a snowbank. What better finish to conclude a White Christmas feast.

An ideal gift for special friends at holiday time or simply an extra special treat to serve on a dessert table, these nutty delights can be made well in advance of the holiday rush. They're good keepers if you store them in airtight containers.

The success of this recipe depends on measuring out all ingredients in advance of assembly. It actually comes together quickly once you have everything ready.

Sugarplum Spiced  Nuts

SUGAR PLUM SPICED NUTS

Yield: 3 1/2 cups (840 ml)

    1/2 cup (120 ml) vegan powdered sugar

    Spice Mixture
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    2 teaspoons ground cloves
    2 teaspoons ground allspice
    2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
    2 teaspoons ground cardamom
    2 teaspoons ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    1/4 teaspoon salt

Coating

    1 tablespoon organic canola oil
    1/3 cup (60 ml) evaporated cane juice
    3/4 cup (180 ml) rum

    3 cups (720 ml) raw walnuts

  1. Put the vegan powdered sugar into a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  2. Measure the spice mixture into a bowl or cup, mix well, and set aside.
  3. Prepare the coating by pouring canola oil into a large stir-fry pan. Measure 1/3 cup (80 ml) evaporated cane juice, rum, and walnuts in separate cups and set aside near the stir-fry pan. Now you're ready to begin.
  4. Heat the canola oil in a large stir-fry pan over high heat for about 1 minute. Add the 1/3 cup (80 ml) evaporated cane juice and stir another minute until hot.
  5. Pour in the rum and stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 1 minute.
  6. Quickly pour in the walnuts and continue stirring over high heat until all the liquid evaporates and the mixture becomes sticky and shiny. Cook about 1 to 2 minutes longer to eliminate any liquid clinging to the nuts.
  7. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture and toss to coat, stirring another minute. Turn off the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture, tossing continuously.
  8. Pour the mixture into the bowl with the vegan powdered sugar and toss to coat completely. Spread the nuts out onto a large dish or baking sheet to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Sugar Plum Spiced Nuts will keep up to one month.


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