Vegan Recipes Find a Home at Today’s Events

Vegans rejoice!

With more and more people following vegan diets it has sent chefs scurrying back into cookbooks to create flavorful and nutritionally balanced dishes that meet your dietary requirements.

If you are a vegan, I’m sure you have attended events where your plate consisted of the same vegetables being served to other guests – just minus the meat. Or worse yet, you “meal” was a plate of plain pasta tossed with olive oil and herbs.

One of my recent catering jobs was for a mostly vegan audience and I came up with these dishes:

Butler-passed hors d’oeurves
Beet pesto with pita chips
Crabby cakes (vegan cake with remoulade sauce)crabbycakes

Chilled English Pea Soup 

Entrée course of Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

Coca-Cola Cake

Each course was rich with flavor and texture – and are easy enough to prepare yourself. To get the most from each recipe:


  • Use fresh, organic vegetables
  • Fresh herbs are best, but if dried herbs are used, make sure they are fresh and aromatic
  • Seeds, like cumin or coriander, develop the best flavors when lightly toasted over medium heat in a pan

Beet Pesto with Pita Chips


(Adapted from
Four 2 to 3 ounce fresh beets (trimmed weight), peeled and quartered
1 cup, firmly packed, fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
1/3 cup smoked almonds
2 large garlic cloves, halved
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (whole)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (whole)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (ground)
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 large lemon
Juice of 1 medium-large lime
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes or to taste

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until almost smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
And, on a hot summer day, there is nothing more refreshing than chilled pea soup. This may be served in bowls – or in small glasses (shooters) – for more casual service.

Chilled Spring Pea Soup


1 Tbs. olive oil
¼ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced small shallot, chopped (2 Tbs.)
1 lb. frozen peas, thawed
32 oz. vegetable stock
⅛ tsp. white pepper
¼ cup large fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
1 ½ tsp. lemon zestMethod
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook 2-3 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add peas to pan, just cover with vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Simmer until peas are tender. Add salt and pepper. Cool slightly.
Blend with immersion blender, or in stand blender or food processor until smooth. Add mint leaves and lemon zest, and blend 30 seconds, or until very smooth.

There is no need to for vegans to miss out on dessert! This recipe, another adaptation from, is a hit with everyone!

Coca-Cola Cake

For the Cake:

1 cup natural sugar
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I like white whole wheat)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1/4 cup vegetable oil or grape-seed oil
1/2 cup Coca-Cola, root beer (not diet) or a natural cola/root beer brand
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons dairy-free buttermilk (5 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons non-dairy milk, e.g. So Delicious Dairy Free Original Coconut Milk Beverage + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar whisked together to curdle)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar (plus extra, if needed, to yield the consistency you desire, but more sugar makes it lighter in color and less fudgy)
1/4 cup dairy-free margarine
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons Coca-Cola, root beer (not diet) or a natural cola/root beer brand
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans + more for garnish, optional (omit for nut-free)

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease, and lightly flour an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder.
In a 1-quart saucepan, combine the margarine and oil. Bring just to a boil and pour over dry ingredients.
Add the cola to the batter, and whisk well to combine.
Dissolve the baking soda in the vegan buttermilk and add it to the batter along with the vanilla extract. Whisk just until combined. The batter will seem a bit thin.
Pour the batter into your prepared ban and bake 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean; avoid over baking.
Remove from the oven to a wire rack and frost immediately.

For the Frosting:
While the cake bakes, place the confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl.
In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the dairy-free margarine, cocoa powder and Coca-Cola; bring just to a boil.
Pour the liquid over the sugar, and whisk to combine until smooth. Whisk in more confectioner’s sugar if necessary.
Add the vanilla extract and pecans (if using), and stir to distribute.
Spread frosting over warm cake. Garnish with pecans if desired.  When cool, cut into squares and serve. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

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