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Vegan for the Holidays


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Vegetarians in Paradise
Vegan Recipes/ Vegetarian Recipes


A Joyful Vegan Christmas Dinner


Includes Recipes Below

Christmas is that time year that allows us to express joy in so many ways--joy in sharing the holiday with friends and family, joy in giving and receiving gifts, joy in seeing our homes dressed with festive decorations, and joy in feasting on foods that bring us pleasure without guilt. The menu we've planned for this joyous occasion is from the plant kingdom, elegant and hearty vegan fare for a regal holiday table.

We begin by raising our cup of rich Yuletide Soy Nog and toasting the holiday with friends and family in a ritual that begins the festivities with a joyful clink of glasses.

Gathering at the table for Christmas dinner we share our joy with a lovingly prepared, delectable soup as the starter. In keeping with the colors of Christmas, our Winter Rhapsody Soup creates a dazzling display with its brilliant hues of intense magenta. The featured ingredients, beets and potatoes, happily join hands, their flavors heightened with a splash of lemon and dill.

Our Apple Accent Salad features the deep greens of romaine and arugula sweetly punctuated with chunks of bright red apples. Accents of purple, yellow, and orange from a variety of fresh vegetables are complemented with the addition of crunchy toasted pecans. Highlighting the salad is the Cranberry Salad Dressing quickly made in the blender from fresh cranberries.

The hearty entrée is a delectable medley of rainbow colors with Curried Christmas Timbales, Cranberry Salsa, Steamed Brussels Sprouts, Symphony in Squash, and Buckwheat with Savory Mushroom Sauce. Abundant and satisfying, each dish is sparked with a richness of robust flavors. There's no doubt this is elegant vegan dining.

Perhaps dessert, the best part of the meal according to dessert aficionados, is served by the fireside, ending the festive evening by the warmth of a crackling fire. Sweet, spicy, and crunchy, Sugar Plum Nuts, prepared several days ahead, are the perfect nut nibbles. But the grand finale, a stunning, aromatic, spicy indulgence is Quince Mince Cobbler, a vegan version of mincemeat enhanced with a down-home cobbler topping.

An exceptional Christmas meal comes to a close, but the warm, memorable images linger. Non-vegetarians dining at this table will be amazed at the copious array of foods, the savory flavors, and the lavish presentation, all from the plant kingdom. One cannot help but catch the spirit of a luxurious vegan celebration. This could become a hallowed tradition.


Christmas toasting is the time for sweet spicy accents and rich creamy textures. Combine them, and you have a sensational beverage for celebrating the holiday. Prepared a day ahead, this festive treat only takes a few minutes to create. With a quick flip of the switch your holiday toast is ready to debut.

YULETIDE SOY NOG

Yield: 1 full blender or about 6 servings

    1 quart (1 liter) rich vanilla flavored soy milk
    1 12-ounce (340g) box soft or firm silken tofu
    3/4 cup (180 ml) maple syrup
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

    2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 teaspoon imitation rum extract

Combine the soymilk, silken tofu, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves in a blender. Add the vanilla and rum extracts and blend for a full 1 1/2 minutes on low speed. Chill before serving.


No one expects beet soup to possess a touch of magic. But this kettle boasts of sorcery with its rich, compelling flavors and impressive appearance. While most beet soups are a dull shade of burgundy, this one is almost alive with its brilliant magenta color. Prepare the soup a day ahead, and the flavors will blossom.

For a dazzling presentation, bring the soup to the table in a tureen along with some dill weed for extra garnish, and serve it in white or ivory-colored bowls.

WINTER RHAPSODY SOUP

Yield: 8 servings

    2 pounds (1 kilo) or 3 to 4 medium beets, peeled and cut into eighths
    4 cups (1 liter) water

    1 1/2 pounds (680g) or 3 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into large chunks*
    3 1/2 cups (840 ml) water
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    2 large onions, cut into eighths
    1 pound (450g) carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
    1/2 cup (120 ml) water

    1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1/3 cup (80 ml) minced fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

  1. Place the beets in a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan with the 4 cups (1 liter) water. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer about 20 to 25 minutes or until the beets are fork tender.
  2. Combine the potatoes, water, and salt in a 3-quart (3 liter) saucepan, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat down to medium, and cook about 6 to 10 minutes, or until they are fork tender.
  3. Put the onions and carrots into a food processor and pulse-chop until they are finely diced. Transfer them to a large skillet or wok and add the 1/2 cup (120 ml) water. Cook over high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 to 6 minutes, or until they are just tender, adding small amounts of water, if needed. Set aside.
  4. Have a large stockpot ready. In batches, transfer the cooked beets and all their cooking liquid to the blender and puree until smooth. Return the pureed beets to the stockpot.
  5. Puree the potatoes and their cooking liquid in the blender and add them to the stockpot.
  6. Reserve 3/4 cup (180 ml) of the cooked carrot and onion mixture for garnish. Puree the remaining cooked carrots and onions, adding a small amount of water, if needed, and add it to the stockpot.
  7. Add the lemon juice, dill, salt, and pepper to the stockpot and simmer about 5 to 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Garnish each bowl with a spoonful of the reserved carrot and onion mixture and sprinkle with a smattering of chopped parsley.
*We specify Russet potatoes because they have an ideal toothy texture that gives this soup its special body.

NOTE: If the soup is too thick, thin it to your desired consistency with water and adjust the salt and lemon juice measurements.


Add a lively perk to the salad course with the sweet, crunchy accent of bite-size chunks of crisp apples. The touch of sweetness adds a pleasant, complex dimension to a festive salad that's in keeping with the spirit of the holiday meal. The fall season invites a colorful array of delicious apple varieties like Gala, Fuji, Pink Lady, and MacIntosh, making it easy to feature the salad with a creative touch.

Apple Accent Salad is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.


APPLE ACCENT SALAD

Yield: 5 to 6 servings

1/2 to 3/4 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

2 carrots, shredded
1 bunch arugula, chopped
1 large Fuji, Pink Lady, MacIntosh, or Gala apple, chopped
1 cup (240 ml) shredded red cabbage
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped, toasted pecans

Alfalfa sprouts for garnish

  1. Wash the lettuce and pat it dry with paper towels or use a salad spinner. Place the lettuce in a large salad bowl and add the remaining ingredients except the alfalfa sprouts.
  2. Toss well and top with the alfalfa sprouts. Serve with the Cranberry Salad Dressing on the side.


Thinking outside the "box" and from inside the cranberry bin, we created this zesty dressing that employs the fruits of the season and boasts tangy pungent flavors. And what a delight to see salad greens splashed with a striking shade of elegant cranberry red. The dressing is special in more ways than one. While it is certainly delicious, it is also oil-free, making it a truly low-calorie salad dressing

CRANBERRY SALAD DRESSING

Yield: Makes 2 cups (480 ml)

    1 cup (240 ml) fresh cranberries

    3/4 cup (180 ml) water
    1/2 cup (120 ml) raspberry vinegar
    1 clove garlic
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon maple syrup
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
    1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum*

  1. Wash the cranberries in a strainer, drain them, and put them into the blender.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, and start the blender on low speed for a few seconds. Switch to high speed and blend for a full minute. Using a funnel, transfer the dressing to a narrow-neck bottle for easy dispensing.
  3. Shake well before using and store the leftovers in the refrigerator. Cranberry Salad Dressing keeps well for about one week.

* Xanthan gum, sometimes called corn sugar gum, is made by bacterial fermentation of a carbohydrate. It's used as a thickener and emulsifier. Guar gum is a dried white powder that comes from the leguminous guar plant that grows in India. Guar gum is also used as a thickener and emulsifier. Both xanthan gum and guar gum are available in natural food markets.


For a special occasion like Christmas, the centerpiece of the dinner plate ought to be an extravagant dish, not only for its savory quality, but for its visual sensation as well. Topped with the Bell Pepper Relish, these golden timbales stand tall on the plate. Prepare them a day ahead and simply reheat at 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) for about 12 to 15 minutes before serving.

Curried Christmas Timbales with Bell Pepper Relish is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.

Christmas Timbales

CURRIED CHRISTMAS TIMBALES
WITH BELL PEPPER RELISH

Yield: 6 servings

    1/2 cup (120 ml) raw Brazil nuts or cashews

    1 pound (450g) firm tofu, rinsed and drained

    1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
    1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
    2 cloves garlic
    1 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

  1. To make the timbales, preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and line a 6-section muffin pan with paper baking cups. Grind the Brazil nuts into a coarse chunky meal in the food processor.
  2. Drain the liquid from the tofu, rinse with cool water, and drain. Add the tofu to the Brazil nuts in the food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Process until blended to a creamy consistency. If the mixture is too dry or crumbly, add 1 or 2 teaspoons of water to moisten, and process.
  3. Spoon the Curried Timbale mixture into the prepared muffin pan, packing the mixture down to fill any air spaces. Smooth the tops and place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake the timbales for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool 10 minutes. Invert the timbales onto an attractive platter and remove the parchment papers. Arrange the timbales in a circle leaving the center open.
  5. Top each timbale with a spoonful of Bell Pepper Relish and decorate the edges of the platter with the remainder of the relish. Fill the center of the platter with Steamed Brussels Sprouts, and serve.

BELL PEPPER RELISH

    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1 green bell pepper, chopped
    1 cup (240 ml) chopped onions
    1/4 cup (60 ml) black raisins
    2 tablespoons pistachios
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon water
    Dash cayenne

    Dash hot sauce
    Salt and freshly ground pepper

  1. To make the relish, combine the peppers, onions, raisins, pistachios, olive oil, water, and cayenne in a large, deep skillet. Cook and stir over high heat for about 10 minutes, or until the peppers and onions are almost browned.
  2. Add the hot sauce and season lightly with salt and pepper. The relish makes about 2 cups (480 ml).

Note: For advance preparation, make the timbales a day ahead and reheat them in a preheated 350 degree (Gas Mark 4) oven for 12 to 15 minutes.


Simple to prepare, this relish adds a zesty touch to the dinner plate. The flavors are complex, combining tart, sweet, and spicy accents, yet they blend perfectly and provide a welcome perk to the entrée.

CRANBERRY SALSA

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups (600 ml)

    1 pound (450 g) fresh cranberries
    1 navel orange, diced
    1 cup (240 ml) diced fresh apples
    1 cup (240 ml) evaporated cane juice
    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    1/2 to 1 fresh jalapeno, finely minced

  1. Wash the cranberries and dry them with a paper towel. Put the cranberries into the food processor, and pulse-chop them until diced, but still chunky.
  2. Transfer the cranberries to a bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and toss well.


Squash Symphony

SYMPHONY IN SQUASH

A brilliant display of winter squashes with an array of innovative add-ins, this succulent, baked squash combination dishes up pleasing flavor along with its splashy colors. What better to harmonize with the festive collection of tasty dishes than perky yellow and orange squashes that complement the holiday meal.

Symphony in Squash is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    1 Delicata squash, about 3/4 pound (340g)
    1 small butternut squash, about 2 pounds (1 kilo)
    1 small pie pumpkin, about 1 1/2 pounds (675g)

    1 15-ounce (420g) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
    1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks
    1 medium onion, cut in half and sliced lengthwise
    2/3 cup (160 ml) golden raisins
    1/4 cup (60 ml) whole hazelnuts (filberts)
    1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped hazelnuts
    1/4 cup (60 ml) black currants

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    Salt and freshly ground pepper

    Garnish
    2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and have ready a 9 x 13-inch (23 cm x 32.5 cm) glass baking dish.
  2. Wash the squashes. Using a vegetable peeler or small, firm paring knife, peel off the skin. Cut the squashes in half using a large, firm chef's knife, and scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut the squashes into 1 1/2-inch (3.5 cm) chunks and put them into an extra-large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the garbanzos, bell pepper, onions, raisins, whole hazelnuts, chopped hazelnuts, and currants. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir well to distribute the oil and seasonings.
  4. Transfer to the baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil, shiny side down, and bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Lift the foil and test the tenderness of the squashes with a fork. They should be soft enough for the fork to pierce through the flesh but still hold their shape.
  5. Adjust the seasonings if needed. Just before serving, sprinkle the green onions over the top.


When the dinner plate needs that something very green for color balance, you can count on Brussels sprouts. They're no trouble to cook and take hardly any preparation at all. Little cabbages, Brussels sprouts enjoy the same highly nutritious reputation of other vegetables from the cruciferous family.

STEAMED BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Yield: 6 servings

    1 1/2 pounds (675 g) fresh Brussels sprouts
    Water

  1. Trim off a thin slice from the base of the Brussels sprouts and any leaves that are damaged. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half lengthwise.
  2. Fill a 3-quart (3 liter) saucepan with 1/2-inch (1 cm) of water. Put the Brussels sprouts into a steamer basket and set it into the saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Turn the heat down to medium-high and steam bout 6 to 9 minutes. or until the little cabbages are fork tender. Remove immediately and serve.


When considering a unique grain dish for a celebratory meal, nothing quite compares to buckwheat with its earthy, nutty flavor and definitive soft, cobbled texture. A favorite grain of Eastern Europe, buckwheat marries well with many sauces. For this festive occasion, prepare the Savory Mushroom Sauce the day before and serve it in a gravy boat on the side.

BUCKWHEAT WITH SAVORY MUSHROOM SAUCE

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

    3 cups (720 ml) water
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) toasted buckwheat

    Savory Mushroom Sauce
    1 pound (450g) cremini mushrooms, quartered

    1 cup (240 ml) chopped onions
    1/3 cup (80 ml) water

    1 1/2 cups(360 ml) soymilk
    1 tablespoon soy sauce or Tamari
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    Freshly ground pepper

    2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    2 to 3 tablespoons water

  1. To make the buckwheat, combine the water and salt in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir the buckwheat into the boiling water and when the water returns to a boil, cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to low, and steam 20 minutes. Lift the lid briefly to see if all the liquid has been absorbed. If it has, turn off the heat.
  2. If the grains seem too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water, and cover the pan to retain the moisture. When ready to serve, transfer the buckwheat to an attractive serving bowl.

SAVORY MUSHROOM SAUCE

  1. To make the Savory Mushroom Sauce, pulse-chop the mushrooms in a food processor until they are finely minced. Transfer them to a 4-quart (4 liter) saucepan and add the onions and water. Cook and stir over high heat for 2 minutes, or until they are soft. Turn the heat down to medium high, and add the soymilk, soy sauce, salt, and pepper, and bring to a gentle boil. Watch carefully to avoid a messy boilover.
  2. Combine the cornstarch and water in a small cup or bowl and stir to a smooth, runny paste. Add the paste to the bubbling sauce a little at a time until thickened to desired consistency, about 1 minute. Transfer the sauce to a gravy boat, provide a ladle, and serve it along with the cooked buckwheat. Savory Mushroom Sauce makes about 4 cups (1 liter).


Warning! These delicacies are addictive! One taste and you'll agree they're irresistible. These can be prepared several days ahead or even a week ahead. In past years, we've prepared these treats as gifts at holiday time.

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. It actually comes together quickly once you have everything ready.

Sugarplum Spiced Nuts is one of the delicious recipes from Zel Allen's cookbook The Nut Gourmet: Nourishing Nuts for Every Occasion published by Book Publishing Company in 2006

Sugarplum Spiced  Nuts
SUGARPLUM SPICED NUTS

Yield: 3 1/2 cups (840 ml)

1/2 cup (120 ml) 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 (80 ml) evaporated cane juice
3/4 cup (180 ml) rum or apple juice
3 cups (720 ml) coarsely chopped walnuts

  1. Place the powdered sugar into a medium bowl and set it aside.
  2. To make the spice mixture, combine the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, cayenne, and salt in a small bowl or cup. Stir the mixture well and set it aside near the stove.
  3. To make the coating, pour the canola oil into a large, non-stick skillet. Place the evaporated cane juice, rum, and walnuts in separate cups or bowls and set them aside near the skillet. Now you're ready to begin.
  4. Heat the canola oil over high heat for about 1 minute. Add the evaporated cane juice and stir another minute until hot and bubbly.
  5. Pour in the rum and stir constantly for about 1 minute, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  6. Quickly stir in the walnuts and continue stirring over high heat until all the liquid evaporates and the mixture becomes sticky and shiny. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the spice mixture and toss to coat the walnuts, stirring for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and add the remaining spice mixture, tossing continuously.
  8. Pour the spiced walnuts into the bowl with the powdered sugar and toss to give them a white dusting. Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a large dish or baking sheet to cool completely. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, Sugarplum Spiced Nuts will keep up to one month.


A dessert with true holiday splendor, this vegan mincemeat recipe is a lusty delight with its full palette of pungent spices so typical of holiday desserts. You can make the dessert the day before and serve it warm by tucking the baking dish into a cold oven at 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) for about 15 to 20 minutes. If the dessert has been sitting at room temperature, it could go into a preheated oven.

One unique feature of this holiday treat is the way the cobbler rests on the bottom of the baking dish at the start of the recipe, then, after baking, it appears at the top edges with the minced ingredients peering out from under a coverlet.

QUINCE MINCE COBBLER

Yield: 12 to 14 servings

Fruit and Spice Mixture

    1 cup (240 ml) dried pitted prunes, diced
    1 cup (240 ml) golden raisins
    1 cup (240 ml) black raisins
    1 cup (240 ml) Turkish dried apricots, diced
    1 cup (240 ml) evaporated cane juice
    1 cup (240 ml) apple juice or apple cider
    2/3 cup (160 ml) pitted dates, diced
    1/4 cup (60 ml) diced crystallized ginger
    1/4 cup (60 ml) orange juice
    1/4 cup (60 ml) brandy
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

    3 ripe quinces

    Cobbler Batter
    1 cup (240 ml) plus 2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice
    3/4 cup (180 ml) whole wheat flour
    3/4 cup (180 ml) all purpose flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder

    1 1/2 cups (360 ml) soymilk
    1/2 cup (120 ml) organic canola oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Gas Mark 4) and oil the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 32.5 cm) glass baking dish with 1 tablespoon of organic canola oil.
  2. To prepare the fruit and spice mixture, combine the prunes, golden and black raisins, apricots, evaporated cane juice, apple juice, dates, ginger, orange juice, brandy, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves in a large bowl.
  3. Wash and dry the quinces and peel the skins with a vegetable peeler. Use a firm chef's knife to cut the quinces in half, then into quarters. Remove the core and seeds with a firm paring knife. Cut the quinces into small dice and add them to the bowl with the fruits and spices and mix well.
  4. To make the cobbler batter, combine the evaporated cane juice, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, and baking powder in a medium size bowl and mix well. Add the soymilk and canola oil and stir them into the dry ingredients, mixing well to make a smooth batter.
  5. Pour the cobbler batter into the prepared baking pan. Stir the quince, fruit, and spice mixture well, and spread it over over cobbler batter, distributing it evenly.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove and allow the cobbler to cool about an hour before serving.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

Click here for other Vegetarian Holiday Meals



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