Fran Costigan’s Coconut Macaroons


Just in time for Passover. Macaroons! When we were little, my mother bought those macaroons in the can. I loved them. Today, I made Fran Costigan’s macaroons which are reminiscent, but better than, those old faves.

The original recipe is actually for chocolate-dipped macaroons but we opted for plain. If you are into that, go to Fran’s website and find the recipe here. You can also get her amazing book Vegan Chocolate which is unbelievably beautiful and full of amazing (and easier than you might think) chocolate recipes.

My son and I made these macaroons just now, kind of on a whim, so we had to use what we had on hand. I hope Fran, or as we affectionately call her, Grandma Fran, doesn’t mind! We used coconut palm sugar instead of granulated sugar and flax instead of chia. They came out great!

Note: These are gluten-free and oil free!

makes 12 macaroons

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons shredded coconut, divided
1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons room temperature water)
1/4 cup coconut flour
7 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons coconut palm sugar, divided
3 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and toast in a 350 oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden. Pour off the coconut, line the baking sheet with parchment and keep the oven on.

Place the ground flax in a bowl and cover with water. Whisk together.

In a mixing bowl, combine the coconut flour, 7 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 cup of the toasted coconut.

Whisk the flax egg well and then mix in the vanilla and coconut milk. Pour the liquid into the coconut flour mixture and mix to combine very well.

Press the dough together using your hands.

In a small bowl, combine the extra sugar and coconut.

Use a 1 tablespoon ice cream scooper to make each macaroon and squeeze it into a ball making sure the dough sticks together. Roll each macaroon in the coconut/sugar mixture and then press it onto the baking sheet flattening it just a bit.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned.

Let cool. Enjoy!

Baked Creamy Spinach & Leeks


This is part of a recipe from Veg Kitchen’s Nava Atlas. She makes a Passover matzo/potato gratin with this creamy spinach and leek as the layered filling. Personally, I just like the filling. It is like a cross between creamed spinach and spinach artichoke dip but it is better than both of them!

Last night, I brought it to my mother’s for the seder and we baked this creamy creation in two of these little dishes. There was not a single piece of spinach left. Everyone (read: all of the non-vegans) loved it and couldn’t get over the vegan creaminess!

Note: Leeks vary in size. This is the big, or as my son would say gimundo, leek I used in the recipe but use whatever you find in the store. Just remember, cooking is not an exact science and it will be delicious no matter what!


1 big leek, white and pale green parts, about 2 cups
1 bunch of fresh spinach, about 4 cups
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried
Pinch salt and white pepper, to taste

Cashew Cream *
1/2 cup raw cashews **
1/2 ripe avocado
The juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup of water

* There may be more cream than you need for the dish. See notes below.

** If you don’t have a Vitamix, soak the cashews overnight or cover with a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes.

Drain the soaking water and place the cashews, avocado, lemon juice and water in the Vitamix and let it rip until it is smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Chop the leeks and clean really well. Add a few tablespoons of water to a sauté pan and drop the leeks in. Add a pinch of salt. Cook until super soft. Add more water if necessary.

Clean the spinach really well and chop it up. Add a little water to the leeks and then add the spinach. Wilt it down completely.

Chop the dill and sprinkle it over the spinach leek mixture. Add about half of the cashew cream and mix really well. Add more if you think it isn’t creamy enough or save the rest for another dish.

Serve it warm right out of the sauté pan or bake it in a 350 for 30 minutes or until it is heated through. Enjoy!

My New 7 Vegetable Soup


I used to make 7 vegetable soup with potatoes. I have since refined my recipe and skip the tubers. Why you ask? Well, my Vitamix is so powerful that it turns potato soup into glue and since we love our soups pureed I switched it up. This soup is super delicious and full of goodness especially when topped with matzo balls! Just in time for Passover tonight.

1 onion
6 carrots
3 stalks of celery
3 parsnips
8 baby turnips or 2 regular size turnips
1 gigantic leek or 2 regular size leeks
2 cloves of garlic
4 cups of water
Fresh dill, as much as you like
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Parsley and dill, for garnish

Prepare your mise en place by roughly chopping the vegetables into roughly the same size pieces.

Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water into a big soup pot and add the onions. Cook on medium heat until the onions start to soften. Add the rest of the vegetables and the rest of the water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and add the dill.

When everything is soft, turn the heat off and let sit for a few just to cool off. Transfer into the Vitamix or blender or use an immersion blender. Puree as much as you like.

Pour back into the pot and reheat or refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Serve topped with fresh dill and chopped parsley and/or matzo balls. Enjoy!


Passover: Matzo Balls v2

It’s Passover! I am so happy to be making this proven recipe for matzo balls. If you remember, three years ago when I started this blog, I went through a series of experiments using all kinds of ingredients to create vegan matzo balls. The last attempt was the worst. The matzo balls completely dissolved upon hitting the boiling water. I was about to give up when I found Nava Atlas and her site Nava is an amazing cook, blogger, and cookbook author and her recipe for matzo balls saved me!

My friend Frank and his wife Sandra dropped of a Christmas present at our apartment this year: Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. When I went through the book, I found a different recipe for the matzo balls. Nava omitted the packaged matzo ball mix and instead uses plain matzo meal dressed up with a little onion and garlic powder, salt and pepper. No more extra sodium and more homemade! Right up my alley. She has also posted the new recipe on her website.

I made 24 matzo balls from this recipe!

Note: if you are making these ahead of time, reheat in a warm oven, not the soup, or the matzo balls may start to fall apart!

1 cup quinoa flakes
2 cups boiling water
1 cup matzo meal *
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 teaspoon each onion powder and garlic powder, or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon salt and white pepper, or more to taste

* Use matzo meal in the package or do what I did. Break up about 8 sheets of matzo and place them into the food processor. Process until fine. Sift through a fine mesh strainer for really fine meal.

Boil the water.

In a large mixing bowl, cover the quinoa flakes with the hot water and let stand for 3 minutes.

Stir in the matzo meal, oil, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder and mix until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 275 and line a baking sheet. Roll into 1 inch balls. I use my small ice cream scooper to help me estimate the size. Try not to pack the balls too tightly.

Arrange on the baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes carefully turning after 10 minutes. Don’t let them brown!

Drop right into soup or if making ahead of time let cool and then reheat in a warm oven.


ps. don’t forget this amazing recipe for matzo brei! It is a favorite around here!