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Vegan Mediterranean Grilled Tofu

Mark Reinfeld

This dish combines both cooked and raw vegan items, including some of the most flavorful ingredients in the Mediterranean cuisine. Be sure to use extra-firm tofu as it will hold up better on the grill. If a grill is not available, you can roast the tofu cutlets in the casserole dish, along with the marinade, in a 375°F oven for 20 minutes. 

7 teaspoons tamari
4 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons water
1 ⅓ (14-ounce) packages extra-firm tofu, well drained
4 (canned) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup seeded, drained and chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped raw spinach or arugula
12 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoon diced red onion
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoon basil, in chiffonade*
1 tablespoon fresh minced oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts
  1. Preheat grill to high.
  2. Make the marinade: place the tamari, 4 teaspoons of lemon juice, 4 teaspoons of olive oil and water in a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish and stir well. Slice one brick of the tofu lengthwise to form 3 cutlets. Slice off a similar-size piece from the second brick; reserve the remaining tofu for another use. Place the cutlets in the casserole dish for 10 minutes, flipping occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping: put the artichokes, tomatoes, spinach, olives, onion, capers, basil, oregano and thyme in a mixing bowl and mix gently but well.
  4. Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and black pepper. Add to the topping and mix gently but well.
  5. Grill the tofu, gently flipping a few times to make sure that char marks appear on both sides, about 4 minutes per side, depending upon the temperature of the grill.
  6. Return the cutlets to the casserole dish or serving platter. Top each cutlet with half a cup of the topping and garnish with pistachio nuts.

* To chiffonade is to cut into long thin strips. Stack the basil leaves, roll them tightly, and then slice into thin strips with a sharp knife.


  • Follow the basic recipe, but replace the tofu with two 8-ounce packages of tempeh. Tempeh, a fermented soy product, is available in either the refrigerated or frozen section of all natural foods stores and many larger supermarkets.
  • Follow the basic recipe, but replace the tofu with four large portobello mushrooms (stems removed).

Mark Reinfeld is a multi-award winning chef and author of seven books, including the best selling 30 Minute Vegan series and his latest book, Healing the Vegan Way. Mark has over 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, and Bon Appetit Management. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted "Best Restaurant on Kaua'i."

Vegan Borscht

Mark Reinfeld

With origins in the Ukraine and popular throughout Eastern Europe, borscht has made its way across the Atlantic and all the way to the Catskill Mountains in New York, popularly referred to as the Borscht Belt. The base of the soup is the humble beet, which was immortalized in the book Jitterbug Perfume, and which will be sure to let your cutting board, and your hands, know that it was used in the dish. For the full effect, serve with a dollop of Vegan Sour Cream. 

A vegan or plant-based diet is one that is free from all animal products. Vegan foods are pareve by nature - without dairy or meat. The reasons people choose to enjoy vegan foods are many. First and foremost, they taste incredible! People also turn to vegan foods for weight-loss and disease prevention. It seems that every week there are new studies and testimonials published of people who have regained their health by dropping their cholesterol levels, losing weight, and coming off heart and diabetes medications by including more plant based foods in their diets. There are now numerous studies demonstrating that many serious illnesses, such heart disease, obesity, and diabetes can be prevented and reversed by enjoying more vegan foods.

Want to be Earth friendly? In addition to providing an out of this world culinary experience, eating vegan foods also happens to be one of the most effective steps we can take to protect the environment. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions -more than the entire World’s transportation industry combined. Others turn to vegan foods out of compassion and sensitivity to suffering of the animals, especially those raised through factory farming. Whatever your reason for having enjoying a vegan meal, there is no need to compromise on flavor - an exciting culinary universe awaits!

1 tablespoon oil
1 yellow onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup sliced celery
3 garlic cloves
1 cup small-diced potato
1 cup diced carrot or parsnip (or 1/2 cup of each)
3 beets, chopped into 1/4-inch chunks (about 3 cups)
5 1/2 cups heated vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon wheat-free tamari or other soy sauce (optional)
1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
About 1/2 cup Vegan Sour Cream
Black sesame seeds
Dill sprigs
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (Vegenaise or homemade)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh dill, or a pinch of dried dill (optional)
  1. Place a large pot over medium-high heat. Place the oil, onion, celery, and garlic in the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the potato, carrot, beets, and vegetable stock and cook until the beets are just soft, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Add the lemon juice and vinegar, the soy sauce, if using, and the salt, pepper, and celery seeds, if using, and stir well. Carefully transfer to a strong blender and blend until creamy. Return the mixture to the pot. Add the dill and parsley and stir well.
  3. Combine the vegan sour cream ingredients in a small bowl and stir well.
  4. Garnish each bowl with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkle of black sesame seeds, and a sprig of fresh dill.


  • For an added layer of flavor, add 2 tablespoons of tomato paste along with vegetable stock.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke along with vegetable stock.

Mark Reinfeld is the winner of’s Recipe of the Year Award for 2011 and has over 20 years experience preparing creative vegan and raw food cuisine. Mark was the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society’s 2013 & 2012 Summerfest, one of the largest vegetarian conferences in the world. He is described by as being “poised on the leading edge of contemporary vegan cooking”. He is the founding chef of the Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, winner of Honolulu Advertiser’s ‘Ilima Award for “Best Restaurant on Kaua’i”. Mark is also the recipient of a Platinum Carrot Award for living foods – a national award given by the Aspen Center of Integral Health to America’s top “innovative and trailblazing healthy chefs.

Mark received his initial culinary training from his grandfather Ben Bimstein, a renowned chef and ice carver in New York City. He developed his love for World culture and cuisine during travel journeys through Europe, Asia and the Middle East . His first cookbook, Vegan World Fusion Cuisine, coauthored with Bo Rinaldi and with a foreword by Dr. Jane Goodall, has won several national awards, including “Cookbook of the Year’, and a Gourmand Award for ‘Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the USA ’. Mark's upcoming book, The 30 Minute Vegan Soups On! will be released in November of 2013. Mark currently offers culinary courses, trainings, and consulting services worldwide and online. 

Vegan Gel Fruit Flag

Headed to your congregation's Independence Day-themed Shabbat oneg? Brighten your holiday buffet and celebrate Old Glory with this festive, healthy dessert. Kids will love helping to assemble it!

Looking for more ways to incorporate your Jewish-American identity into your Fourth of July celebration? Read more about one Jewish family's unique tradition and consider adapting it to make it your own. 

2 boxes vegan gel dessert
1 pint blueberries
2 pints strawberries, sliced
2 bananas, cut in 1/4-inch slices
22 cherries
  1. In a  9 x 11-inch pan, create the flag's red and white stripes with alternating rows of sliced strawberries and bananas, leaving an empty square in the top left-hand corner.  
  2. Pour the blueberries into the square.
  3. Place cherries across the rows of strawberries.
  4. Following the directions on the box, prepare the clear vegan gel.  
  5. Pour the gel over the entire fruit flag.  To set, refrigerate several hours or overnight.
  6.  Enjoy!

Beet Hummus

Tina Wasserman

Say "beets" in the Jewish community and people often think of borscht, that slightly sweet/tart, cold soup, whose bright magenta color morphs into pastel only when a dollop of sour cream is added. Beets were a cheap and plentiful tuber abundant in Eastern Europe and Ukraine (the word borsch refers to soup of any kind in Ukraine) and became a staple of the impoverished Jewish and Polish communities. In most temperate climates, beets were harvested in summer and early fall and stored all winter in root cellars.

Hummus, the mixture of chickpeas and sesame paste, originated in the Middle East and could probably be considered an Israeli national dish, because it is served at all meals and festive occasions. A few years ago I was served beet hummus at an upscale restaurant in Tel Aviv. The following is my interpretation of this delicious dish and a great way to introduce children to beets.

One 15-ounce can whole beets, rinsed and drained
One 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup tahini (sesame butter)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon baharat, or cinnamon or allspice and a pinch of cayenne
1 teaspoon kosher salt
10 grindings of black pepper or to taste
  1. Place drained beets and garbanzo beans in a food processor work bowl, and pulse the machine on and off until the two ingredients are blended into a coarse texture. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl with a rubber spatula.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, and process until the ingredients form a fairly smooth paste.
  3. Place the mixture in a decorative bowl, and serve with pita bread or vegetables for dipping.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • As an alternative to canned beets, this recipe may be made with one large, fresh beet that has been oven roasted and peeled.
  • When pulsing the processor, incorporate counting skills. Count each time the child presses down on the button. A machine that is to be turned on for 5 seconds can be timed by calling out "one-100, two-100," and so on.
  • Baharat is a mixture of spices whose use originated in India but is widely used in the Middle East. Different mixtures of spices are found in different regions, but cinnamon, cumin, cloves, and sometimes pepper or lemony sumac are most often included as the basis for this mixture. Cinnamon or allspice can be substituted for this recipe.
  • Do not substitute peanut butter for the tahini in this recipe. Peanut butter and peanut oil are so distinctive in flavor that they rarely can be substituted for other butters or oils called for in a recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Apples and Onions

Tina Wasserman

This recipe is featured in Tina Wasserman's book, Entree to Judaism for Families filled with tools to help children learn to cook with confidence, with clear, step-by-step instructions for every recipe and tips for adults to make the experience safe and rewarding.

This recipe may not be a traditional Jewish dish, but I created it in a way that my ancestors in Lithuania and Poland would have done. Shabbat, holidays, and weddings all inspired cooks to transform their basic food into something more elaborate. In Eastern Europe, squash, apples, and onions were stored all winter in cold home cellars. Adding an onion to a recipe was a normal occurrence. But adding an apple with its sweetness elevated the dish to something special.

Butternut squash is an ideal winter vegetable because it ripens in early fall, but its hard skin allows it to be stored and eaten all winter long. Here I combine sweet and savory produce and seasonings to make a great side dish or even a main course served with pasta or a grain.

1 large onion
2 Fuji, Honeycrisp, or Jonagold apples
20 ounces pre-cut butternut squash (about 4–5 cups of 1-inch cubes)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt to taste
20 grindings of black pepper or to taste
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup toasted almond slivers or sunflower seeds (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the onion in half, and then slice each piece crosswise into ½-inch strips. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper or foil (dull side up). Set aside.
  3. Using an apple corer/slicer, cut the apples into eighths, and then cut each wedge into 3 or 4 chunks. Add to the onions along with the squash cubes.
  4. Add the oil, thyme, vinegar, salt, and pepper to the baking sheet and toss well.
  5. Spread out in a single layer, and bake for 30 minutes or until the onions are golden and the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.
  6. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle with the cinnamon, dried cranberries, and nuts (if using). Toss lightly and place in a serving dish.

Kitchen Conversations

  • How many colors are in this dish?
  • Which ingredients are fruits and which are vegetables?
  • Since you didn’t add sugar to the dish, what makes the onions and squash sweeter?
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Since some apples are very hard, placing your hands next to, or on top of the child’s hand while pressing down will be useful—but don’t press too hard on their little hands if the apple is very hard!
  • It is much safer to use an 8-inch chef’s knife with a child under six than a paring or utility knife. Standing behind the child and holding the knife with him or her instills confidence at the same time that you focus on safety.
  • Combining the cranberries and apples with the savory vegetables makes the dish more intriguing for young children and will promote eating a new, healthy vegetable.
  • This dish is perfect as a side dish for chicken or fish. However, serve this dish on top of quinoa or barley and you will have a nutritious vegetarian main dish.

Vegan Sweet Potato Latkes (Potato Pancakes)

Lisa Dawn Angerame

A colorful variation on traditional Hanukkah latkes.

2 large sweet potatoes
1 onion
1 flax egg (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax powder + 3 tablespoons water)
2 tablespoons brown rice or chickpea flour
pinch of salt
sunflower oil for frying
vegan sour cream (for topping)
homemade apple sauce (for topping)
  1. Whip up the flax egg. Set aside.
  2. Peel the sweet potatoes and grate them using a box grater. Place them in a dish towel and wring out as much of the water as possible.
  3. Cut the onion into chunks and chop in food processor. Mix the onions into the sweet potatoes, add the flax egg, flour and salt.
  4. In a non-stick skillet, heat oil on high setting. Use an ice cream scoop to drop small mounds of the mixture into the skillet. Press down gently with a spatula and cook until the first side is nicely done. Flip over and cook well on the other side. Drain on paper towels.
  5. Serve with sour cream and applesauce.

Lisa Dawn Angerame is living as a vegan for her family's health, the health and welfare of the animals, and that of the planet. 

Vegan Lokshen Kugel (Noodle Pudding) Just Like Mom's

Lisa Dawn Angerame

My mother's lokshen kugel is probably the best thing she made for us every year on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. It took some trial and error to successfully make it vegan, but here it is! This recipe makes a big, casserole-dish-sized kugel.

16-ounce bag egg free wide ribbon noodles
3 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water)
16-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup vegan cane sugar
1 stick Earth Balance, melted
Tofu cream cheese:
1 pkg silken tofu
3 1/2 tablespoons raw cashew butter
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon agave
Cottage-style tofu:
1 package firm tofu
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 teaspoon agave
  1. To make the tofu cream cheese, place the silken tofu in a clean towel, gather the ends up and twist and squeeze as much of the water out as possible. Crumble it into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth. Set aside.
  2. To make the tofu cottage style, press the tofu. When it is drained, crumble it and add in the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Boil the noodles and preheat the oven to 350°. 
  4. Make the flax eggs and set aside until they are really creamy. 
  5. Melt the Earth Balance. Drain the noodles. 
  6. In a big mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients well. Turn out into a baking dish and bake for 45 minutes to crisp up the noodles on top. Let the kugel cool and then slice. Note: This kugel is even better the next day right out of the refrigerator.

Lisa Dawn Angerame is living as a vegan for her family's health, the health and welfare of the animals, and that of the planet. She blogs at

Vegan Sweet Noodle Kugel

Lisa Dawn Angerame

To celebrate a sweet Rosh HaShanah, here is a great option for a soy-free noodle kugel.

8-ounce bag of egg free wide ribbon noodles
2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water)
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup vegan cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder
4 ounces crushed pineapple
1/2 cup golden raisins
  1. Boil the noodles. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  3. Make the flax eggs and let them sit until they are nice and creamy. 
  4. Mix all the rest of the ingredients in a big bowl.
  5. When the noodles are ready, drain and pour into the mixture. Mix well. Turn out into a baking dish and bake for an hour until the top is nice and crispy.

Lisa Dawn Angerame is living as a vegan for her family's health, the health and welfare of the animals, and that of the planet. She blogs at

Vegan Challah

Lisa Dawn Angerame

Round challah symbolizes the cycle of the year and are traditional for Rosh HaShanah; challot are traditionally braided for Shabbat. Either way, the key to delicious challah is kneading the dough.

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup very warm water
4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegan cane sugar + 1 teaspoon vegan cane sugar
1/3 cup safflower oil
  1. Mix yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl.  Let it sit until it bubbles.
  2. Combine flour, salt, and sugar.  Add oil and then the yeast mixture. 
  3. Mix together and knead for at least 10 minutes (by hand or with a bread mixer.)  You know when it is done when you can push your finger into it and the little indentation stays there.  Aha! 
  4. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and let it rise for an hour and a half. 
  5. Take the dough out to shape into challahs. Then let the challahs rise again for fifteen minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°.  Brush the challahs with cold water and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

Lisa Dawn Angerame is living as a vegan for her family's health, the health and welfare of the animals, and that of the planet. She blogs at


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