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Veganize This!

Vegan Made Easy

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Following a vegan diet by no means needs to restrict what you can eat—you just need to know how to “veganize” your favorite dishes. This often is easy, but sometimes it seems impossible to do. Never fear! We asked which recipes you most wanted to make sans the egg, dairy, and meat, and the following were some of your Facebook responses (bonus: They all can be made gluten-free, too!). If there are more recipes that you would like to see, please let us know on Facebook or @Shape_Magazine using #veganizethis.

Dolmas (Stuffed Cabbage)

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When people hear “dolmas," usually stuffed grape leaves come to mind, but these leaves can be hard to find. (I looked in five different grocery stores and markets to make this recipe, and no luck!) Cabbage leaves work just as well. While this dish is time-intensive, the result is a showstopper. Makes 12 to 18 stuffed cabbage leaves


1 head green cabbage

2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup brown basmati rice

Olive oil

2 yellow onions, diced

2 cups garbanzo beans

1 cup chopped tomatoes, with juice

2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill

2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pinch paprika

Pinch nutmeg

Salt, to taste

2-3 Tbsp raisins

1 tsp agave

Juice of 2 lemons


1. Boil cabbage in water 4 minutes, remove, and set aside

2. Add stock to a pot over high heat and boil. Add rice, reduce to simmer, and cover for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, lightly mist a heavy pan with olive oil, heat to medium, add onions. Sauté until caramelized, then add garbanzo beans and cook another 10 minutes on low heat, stirring frequently and adding vegetable stock if liquid is needed. Add cooked rice with any stock remaining, tomatoes and juice from tomatoes, stir, and cook another 10 minutes at medium, or until liquid is absorbed. Reduce heat to low, add remaining ingredients and 1 cup water, and mix well. Cover and cook 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

4. On a large plate, spread 1 large cabbage leaf, place 2 to 3 tbsp of filling, and fold the cabbage leaf around the filling (top, side, bottom, side), making a rectangle. Repeat with remaining filling.

5. Line the bottom of a heavy, large pan with leftover cabbage leaves and place leaves on top, lining them up and layering as necessary. Pour a mixture of water, pinch of salt, and the juice of 1 lemon over the dolmas to cover them, then, place a heavy plate (that won’t break from heat) on top of the stuffed leaves, cover, and cook over low for 45 minutes. Check the level of liquid occasionally, and add more water if it all gets absorbed. Remove from heat and serve warm, using a slotted spoon.

Black Bean-StuffedPlantain Empanadas

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My two favorite Mexican foods—plantains and black beans—in one delicious dish! While these also take some time, it’s worth it. Makes 6 empanadas


3 ripe plantains

2-3 tbsp onions, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 can black beans, rinsed

Salt and pepper to taste

Cornmeal flour

Vegan cheese, to serve (optional)

Vegan sour cream, to serve (optional)


1 tsp olive oil (or more if desired)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup diced onion

4 ripe tomatoes, diced, with juice

2-3 tbsp basil, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Pre-heat oven to 375. Cut off ends of plantains, slit the peel lengthwise, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until tender. Once cool, remove peel and mash.

2. For the filling, heat a pan over medium heat and lightly coat with oil. Add onions, and sauté, stirring frequently until slightly translucent. Add garlic and stir frequently for another two minutes. Then add beans, salt, and pepper, and mix. After about a minute, mash the beans with a large fork, leaving some chunks. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil. Using any flour of your choice (I prefer cornmeal flour to keep this gluten-free), coat your hands and then divide the plantain mixture into six equal-sized balls. Flatten the balls like dough onto the baking sheet, recoating your hands with flour as needed. Place a large spoonful of the bean mixture on top of each plantain circle. Fold the rest of the plantain “dough” over the beans and seal the empanada with your fingers. Bake empanadas for 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, add olive oil for sauce to a small pot over medium heat and sauté garlic and onions for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes with juice, basil, salt, and pepper, reduce heat to low, and stir frequently for another five minutes. Blend with an immersion blender or by transferring to a food processor.

5. To serve, place one or two empanadas on a plate and lightly cover with sauce and vegan cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Creamy Kabocha Squash Soup

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Many of you requested creamy vegan soup, and it’s so simple to make! This is perfect for a fall or winter appetizer or main dish. I like to serve it with cornbread. Serves 3 to 6


1 small kabocha squash, peeled (about 5 cups chopped)

1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1-inch piece ginger

1 tsp agave (or sweetener of choice)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

4 cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups vegetable stock

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Basil, for garnish (optional)


1. Place first 10 ingredients (kabocha through pepper) into a large pot over medium heat. Stirring frequently, slowly add stock as needed to soften squash, sweet potato, and onions for about 7 to 10 minutes. Then reduce heat to low, add remaining stock, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. (Note: If you have a slow cooker, you can throw all of these ingredients in before work, place heat to low, and proceed to the next step when you get home.)

2. Place contents of the pot into a food processor, add almond milk, and purée until smooth.

3. Ladle into bowls and garnish with basil if you like.

Lemon Pudding

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Creamy and decadent, this pudding may not be the color you’re used to, but the taste and texture more than make up for the hue.
Serves 2


1 avocado, peeled and pitted

2 lemons, peeled and seeded

3 Tbsp raw blue agave


Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.

Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon, and Pecan Streusel

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I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t fall head-over-heels in love at first taste with this brunch dish. This can also easily be made into muffins. Serves 12 to 16



1 1/4 cups vegan dark chocolate chips or chunks

2/3 cups organic vegan brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon


3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

1 Tbsp flaxseed meal

3/4 cup vegan sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 1/3 cups very ripe mashed bananas

3 Tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 1/2 cups spelt flour (or gluten-free flour)

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

Pinch salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly coat an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with margarine and flour.

2. Mix streusel ingredients in small bowl and set side.

3. Mix applesauce with flaxseed meal and set aside.

4. Using a mixer, mix sugar, coconut oil, and applesauce mixture in large bowl until fluffy. Add mashed bananas and almond milk, and blend. Slowly add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and mix until smooth.

5. Spread half the batter into the prepared baking pan, cover with half the streusel, then cover that with remaining batter, and top with remaining streusel.

6. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when placed in center of cake.

7. Allow to cool over night and serve in the morning.


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